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Narragansett Friends' 
Meeting 

IN THE XVIII CENTURY 



WITH A CHAPTER ON QUAKER BEGINNINGS 
IN RHODE ISLAND 



CAROUNE HAZARD 




BOSTON AND NEW YORK 
HOUGHTON, MIFFLIN AND COMPANY 

1S99 







G-ms^ 



/3 



/ 






COPYRIGHT, 1899, BY CA&OLINB HAZARD 
ALL RIGHJS RESBRVBD 



PREFACE 



This little book has grown from a paper 
read before the Rhode Island Historical 
Society in September, 1894. In present- 
ing it I mentioned the name of my master, 
the late Professor Diman, to whose inspir- 
ing teaching and example I owe an increas- 
ing debt of gratitude. And so I want to 
write his name here, knowing that his train- 
ing is an abiding force in the lives of his 

pupils. 

C. H. 

Oakwoods in Peace Dale, R. I. 
September 25, 1S99. 



CONTENTS 



Page 

CHAPTER I. Quaker Beginnings in Rhode 
Island 3 

Correspondence with Massachusetts. The ar- 
rival of the Woodhause at Newport Quakers 
driven from Massachusetts. Cruel laws. Mary 
Dyer and her companions. . Her sentence and re- 
prieve. Her death. 

CHAPTER II. The Establishment of the 
South Kingstown Monthly Meeting ... 41 

Disturbed conditions in Rhode Island. Visit 
of George Fox. The Greenwich meeting. The 
meeting divided. « 

CHAPTER III. The Meeting-Houses ... 59 

The records. The "Old Meeting-house." 
The Clerk and Treasurer. Westerly Meeting- 
houses. Matunuck Meeting-house. Richmond 
Meeting-house. Repairs and accounts. Youths' 
meetings. 

CHAPTER IV. The Clerks of the Meeting 77 

Peter Davis. Stephen Hoxsie. Peleg Peck- 
ham. Thomas Hazard. The Overseers and 
Queries. 

CHAPTER V. The Work of the Meeting . 95 

Surrounding churches. Friends' discipline. 
New Lights. Temperance. Fighting. Suing 
at law. Debtors. Traveling. 



vi CONTENTS 

CHAPTER VI. The Women's Meeting . . .117 

Clerks of the Women's meeting. Preaching 
Friends. Patience Greene. Marriages with 
dancing and vain mirth. Marriage in shifts. 

CHAPTER VII. Slavery 139 

John Woolman. Testimony of Richard Smith 
in 1757. The Rathbun case. Slavery in the 
Women's meeting. 

CHAPTER VIII. The Revolution 159 

Jeffrey Watson's diary. Nailer Tom's diary. 
Sufferings by war. Good government Results 
of the meeting. 



QUAKER BEGINNINGS IN RHODE 

ISLAND 



I 



Aquidneck's isle, Nantucket's lonely shores, 
And Indian-haunted Narragansett saw 
The way-worn travellers round their camp-fire draw» 

Or heard the plashing of their weary oars. 

And every place whereon they rested grew 
Happier for pure and gracious womanhood, 
And men whose names for stainless honor stood, 

Founders of states and rulers wise and true. 

Whittier. 

The first mention of Quakers in the re- 
cords of the Colony of Rhode Island occurs 
in the year 1657, when a letter arrived from 
the commissioners of the United Colonies 
addressed to the governor of Rhode Island : 
The commiffioners being informed that 
divers Quakers are arrived this summer 
at Rode Ifland and entertained there, 
which may prove dangerous to the Col- 
lonies, thought meet to manifeft theire 
minds to the Governor there as foUow- 
eth: — 

Gent: — We suppofe you have un- 
derftood that the laft yeare a companie of 
Quakers arived at Bofton vpon noe other 
account than to difperfe theire pernicious 



4 NARRAGANSETT FRIENDS* MEETING 

opinions had they not been prevented by 
the prudent caxe of that Government, . . . 
whoe vpon that occaiion commended it to 
the General Courts of the United CoUon- 
ies that all Quakers Ranters & such no- 
torious heretiques might be prohibited 
coming amongft vs.^ 

The " prudent care " of the authorities 
of Boston and the Bay towns is well known. 
Fines, imprisonment, and whipping at the 
cart's tail all fell within the limits of pru- 
dence ; and, not content with care for their 
own colony, the letter goes on to say : 

We thinke noe care too great to pre- 
ferve us from such a peft, the contagion 
whereof (if received) within youer Col- 
lonie were dangerous, &c, to be defused 
to the other by means of the intercourfe 
especially to the place of trade amongft 
us — Wee therefore make it our requeft 
that you, as well as the reft of the Col- 
lonies take such order herein that youre 
naighbours may be freed from that dan- 
ger ; that you remove thofe Quakers that 
have been receaved, and for the future 
prohibite theire cominge amongft you.^ 

* R. I. C. R., vol. i. p. 374. 

* R. I. C. R., vol. L p. 374-375. 



QUAKER BEGINNINGS 5 

This letter is dated Boston, September 
12, 1657, and signed "Simon Bradstreet, 
president." Mr. Bartlett, the learned com- 
piler of the Rhode Island Colonial Records, 
points out that while the commissioners 
demanded the expulsion of Quakers from 
Rhode Island, the Massachusetts govern- 
ment were sending Quakers into the col- 
ony, as in the. case of Humphrey Norton. 

The Quakers who caused this concern of 
mind to the honorable commissioners had 
come to Aquidneck from England, and had 
been kindly received. Indeed, they could 
hardly have found a place in the world of 
that day where more people, by inheritance 
and tradition, would have been inclined to 
welcome them. The town of Newport was 
not yet twenty years old, being an offshoot 
from the first settlement on the island at 
Portsmouth. It was Portsmouth which gave 
Mrs. Hutchinson an asylum when her teach- 
ing had become too mystical for the rigid 
theology of Boston. " With her," says Pro- 
fessor Diman, " religion was less a creed 
than an inner experience; to her enthusi- 
astic faith, the Holy Ghost seemed actually 
to unite itself with the soul of the justified 
person." ^ Nicholas Easton, who built the 

* Sir Henry Vane, J. L. Diman, Orations and Essays, 



6 NARRAGANSETT FRIENDS' MEETING 

first house at Newport, seems to have shared 
her beliefs, though doubtless with differ- 
ences, for Rhode Island soon became 
famous for its divergence of opinion. Ac- 
cording to Winthrop, he was " a man very 
bold, though ignorant," and much exercised 
on the question of man's will and God's 
sovereignty. He maintained "that man 
has no power or will of himfelf, but as he is 
acted upon by God. Being shown what 
blasphemous confequence would follow here- 
vpon, they profeffed to abhor the confe- 
quences, but ftill defended the propofitions 
which," Winthrop adds, "difcovered their 
ignorance." ^ Samuel Gorton, also a mystic, 
had been found even too mystical for the 
company on the island, and, after a short 
and troublous sojourn at Portsmouth, be- 
took himself and his doctrines across the 
Bay, where he founded Warwick. So the 
spiritual atmosphere of the island was pre- 
pared for the arrival of Friends in 1657 far 
more than any of the other settlements 
could have been. 

The reply of the colony of Rhode Island 
to the letter of the commissioners shows the 
curious mixture of liberality and prejudice 

^ Arnold's History of Rhode Island^ p. 152. 



QUAKER BEGINNINGS 7 

characteristic of the founders. Benedict 
Arnold was president of the colony, and he, 
with William Baulston, Randall Houlden, 
as he writes his name, Arthur Fenner and 
William Field, sign the very interesting 
letter which was sent in reply, dated Octo- 
ber 13, 1657: — 

Our defires are, they declare, in all 
things poflible, to purfue after and keep 
fayre and loveinge correfpondence and 
entercourfe with all the coUonys, and with 
all our countrymen in New England, • . . 
by giving juftice to any that demand it 
among us, and by returning fuch as make 
efcape from you, or from other colonys, 
being fuch as fly from the hands of juf- 
tice for matters of crime done or 
committed amongft you, &c. And as 
concerning thefe quakers (so called) which 
are now amongft us, we have no law 
among us whereby to punifh any for only 
declaring by words, &c, theire mindes and 
underftandings concerning the things 
and ways of God as to falvation and an 
eternal condition. 

Here we have a distinct declaration of 
the limits of the civil power, a declaration 
as far in advance of the times as Roger 



8 NARRAGANSETT FRIENDS' MEETING 

Williams himself, and breathing his spirit, 
if not actually inspired by him. And yet, 
immediately following this noble sentence, 
the letter continues in the spirit of its own 
day: — 

And, moreover, we find that in thofe 
places where thefe people aforefaid in this 
coloney are moft of all suffered to declare 
themfelves freely, and are only oppofed 
by arguments in difcourfe, there they leaft 
of all defire to come, and we are informed 
that they begin to loath this place, for 
that they are not oppofed by the civil! 
authority, but with all patience and meek- 
nefs are suffered to fay over their pre- 
tended revelations and admonitions, nor 
are they like or able to gain many more 
to their way . • . and yet we conceive 
that their doctrines tend to very abfolute 
cutting downe and overturninge religious 
and civill government among men if gen- 
erally received. 

This letter was addressed " to the much 
honoured the General Court sitting at Bos- 
ton for the CoUony of Maffachusetts." ^ 
Thus, while agreeing with the Massachu- 
setts authorities as to the evil influence of 

* R. I. c. R., vol. i. p. 378. 



QUAKER BEGINNINGS 9 

the Quakers, the Rhode Island men held 
fast to their principle of religious liberty. 
Six months later the question was taken up 
by the general assembly sitting at Ports- 
mouth, and a letter was sent " To the much 
honored John Endicott, Governor of the 
Massachusetts," which is even more explicit. 
Quakers, this letter declares, " are generally 
conceived pernicious, either intentionally, 
or at least wise in efect, even to the cor- 
ruptinge of good manners and difturbinge 
the common peace and focieties of the 
places where they arife or refort unto," etc. 

*• Now, whereas freedom of different con- 
fciences, to be protected from inforcements 
was the principle ground of our Charter 
both with respect to our humble fute for 
it, as alfo to the true intent of the Honor- 
able and renowned parleiment of England 
in grantinge of the same to us ; which free- 
dom we still prize as the greateft hapiness 
that men can pofefs in this world : 

" Therefore we shall for the prefervation 
of our civill peace and order the more feri- 
ously take notice," the letter continues, to 
have Quakers conform in all civil things, 
" as traynings, watchings and such other 
ingadgements," and will inquire from Eng- 



lO NARRAGANSETT FRIENDS' MEETING 

land as to a proper course to pursue, being 
informed that many Quakers are " suffered 
to live in England, yea, even in the heart 
of the nation," John Sandford, clerk of the 
assembly, signs this letter, but here again 
the spirit, if not the hand, of Roger Wil- 
liams is evident. No one could prize more 
than he the "freedom of different con- 
fciences," and no one was more ready to 
extend this "greateft hapiness that men 
can pofefs in this world " to others. 

The Quakers who were the subjects of 
these letters from Massachusetts arrived at 
Newport in the little ship Woodhouse, 
Robert Fowler master, during the summer 
of 1657.^ He was a North of England man, 
and, while building his ship, became con- 
vinced, and had a divine intimation, that the 
ship he was then building should be de- 
voted to the use of the society he had 
joined. In July of the previous year, 
(1656), Mary Fisher and Anne Austin " ar- 
rived in the road before Boston before ever 
a law was made there against Quakers," 
Sewel says, " and yet they were very ill 
treated." They were searched before they 
landed, and about one hundred books taken 

^ Appendix : A Quaker's Sea JoumaL 



QUAKER BEGINNINGS II 

from their trunks and chests and burned by 
the hangman. They were then committed 
to jail as Quakers, because one of them in 
speaking to the deputy governor, Richard 
Bellingham, said thee instead of you^ which 
he asserted was proof enough. They were 
stripped and searched under pretence of 
finding some evidence of witchcraft, and 
kept without light, the windows being 
boarded up to prevent any communication 
with them. Nor was any food provided for 
them till Nicholas Upsal " was so concerned 
about it (liberty being denied to send them 
provisions) that he purchased it of the jailor 
at the rate of five shillings a week, lest they 
should have starved." After five weeks of 
this treatment, a shipmaster was bound in 
one hundred pounds' bond to carry them 
back to England, and the jailor kept their 
beds and their Bibles for his fee. Scarcely 
a month after the arrival of these two fear- 
less women, eight more Friends arrived, and 
were treated in the same manner, and sent 
back after eleven weeks in the Boston jail.^ 
It was at this juncture that Robert Fow- 
ler came to London with his offer of the 
new ship, and found five of the Friends who 

^ Sewel's History^ vol. i. pp. 210, 211. 



12 NARRAGANSETT FRIENDS' MEETING 

had been sent back from Boston determined 
to go once more. Six other Friends joined 
them, and the little company made ready 
to sail from Southampton. The captain's 
mind almost failed him, but, encouraged by 
George Fox, he writes : " I received the 
Lord's servants on board, who came with 
them, with a mighty hand and an out- 
stretched arm." Fowler has left an account 
of this voyage, called " A True Relation of 
the Voyage undertaken by me, Robert Fow- 
ler, with my small veffel called the * Wood- 
houfe;' but performed by the Lord, like 
as he did Noah's Ark, wherein he shut up 
a few righteous perfons, and landed them 
safe even at the hill of Ararat." Besides 
Fowler, the master, the crew consisted of 
only two men and three boys, and he de- 
clares that they made none of the usual 
observations, but waited daily upon the 
Lord, for " we see the Lord leading our 
veffel even as it were a man leading a horse 
by the head," The voyage took two months, 
and our respect for Fowler's seamanship is 
justified by the fact that New Amsterdam 
was the first port they sighted. Here they 
landed five passengers, while with the re- 
maining six the Woodhouse proceeded to 



QUAKER BEGINNINGS 1 3 

Rhode Island, or, as we should now say, 
Newport, where " we were received with 
much joy of heart," one of the Friends 
writes. 

Mary Clark was one of these passengers, 
who had left her husband, a merchant 
tailor in London, with her children, and 
went to Boston " to warn these persecutors 
to desist from their iniquity; but after she 
had delivered her message, she was unmer- 
cifully rewarded with twenty stripes of a 
whip with three cords, on her naked back, 
and detained prisoner about twelve weeks 
in the winter season. The cords of these 
whips," Sewel adds, " were commonly as 
thick as a man's little finger, having each 
some knots at the end ; and the stick was 
sometimes so long that the hangman made 
use of both his hands to strike the harder." 

Christopher Holder and John Copeland, 
passengers on the Woodhouse, who had 
been banished from Boston the previous 
year, also pushed their way into the colony. 
Holder endeavored to speak a few words at 
Salem " after the priest was done," but was 
hauled out of church by the hair of his 
head, and a glove and handkerchief thrust 
into his mouth. From Salem he was sent 



14 NARRAGANSETT FRIENDS* MEETING 

to Boston, where whipping and cruel im- 
prisonment awaited him. 

Thus early did the passengers of the 
Woodhouse bear testimony against the ty- 
rannical laws in the Massachusetts. 

Mary Fisher, one of the two first Friends 
who came, had an experience of more Chris- 
tian treatment from the Mohammedan sul- 
tan a few years later, when in 1660 she 
journeyed in the East, and at Adrianople 
went " alone into the camp and got some- 
body to go to the tent of the grand vizier 
to tell him an English woman was come 
who had something to declare from the 
great God to the sultan." He procured an 
audience for her the next morning, and 
coming to the camp alone as before, she 
was received as became an ambassador. 
She hesitated to speak, " mightily ponder- 
ing what she might say," when the sultan 
inquired " if she desired that any might go 
aside," and when she answered no, " bade 
her speak the word of the Lord to them 
and not to fear, for they had good hearts 
and could hear it." The Turks listened 
with respect till she had done, and the sul- 
tan said she had spoken the truth. He de- 
sired her to stay in the country, " saying 



QUAKER BEGINNINGS 1 5 

that they could not but respect such a one 
as should take so much pains to come to 
them so far as from England with a mes- 
sage from the Lord God." He offered her 
a guard to conduct her to Constantinople, 
which she refused, though the sultan pressed 
it upon her, saying it was in respect to her, 
for he would not she should come to the 
least hurt in his dominions. But she per- 
sisted in declining it, and arrived in Con- 
stantinople " without the least hurt or scoff," 
and returned safe to England.^ 

What a contrast to the return to England 
from New England, only four years before, 
after public whipping and untold indignities, 
and all manner of hardship ! 

Sarah Gibbons and Dorothy Waugh, also 
of the Woodhouse company, bore public 
testimony in Boston, and it was of William 
Brand, of that same heroic company, that 
John Norton said, when he lay almost dead 
after repeated and cruel whippings, "W. 
Brand endeavored to beat our gospel ordi- 
nances black and blue, if then he be beaten 
black and blue it is but just upon him; and 
I will appear in his behalf that did so." 
This Norton added because the people were 

^ SewePs History y voL i. p. 328. 



l6 NARRAGANSETT FRIENDS* MEETING 

exasperated at this cruelty, and "caused 
such a cry that the governor sent his sur- 
geon to the prison to see what might be 
done." ^ 

Sewel's History, in which these things are 
recorded, was written by a Dutchman, a 
learned Quaker of Amsterdam, whose grand- 
father was one of the Englishmen who left 
home for conscience' sake. His knowledge 
of Greek, Latin, English, French, and High 
Dutch was acquired " while throwing the 
shuttle in the loom, during his apprentice- 
ship to a stuff maker." He wrote a diction- 
ary and grammar of his own language, and 
translated many treatises. His " History of 
the Rise, Increase and Progress of the 
Christian People called Quakers " was writ- 
ten in Low Dutch, and translated by him- 
self into English. The first English edition 
was published in 1722 in London. " I do 
not pretend to elegancy in the English 
tongue," he says, " for being a foreigner and 
never having been in England but about 
the space of ten months, and that nearly 
fifty years ago, it ought not to be expected 
that I should write English so well as 
Dutch, my native tongue." But his Eng- 

* Sewel, History^ vol. i. p. 254. 



QUAKER BEGINNINGS 1 7 

lish needs little apology. It is direct, sim- 
ple, and forcible, perhaps far better than if 
he had attempted the " elegancy " of his 
time. The documents he has preserved 
are invaluable, and his own comments so 
apposite that his work is the standard au- 
thority to-day on the history of Friends, 
no less than when it was published. Long- 
fellow studied it so closely for his New 
England Tragedy of John Endicott, that 
whole passages are simply paraphrases from 
Sewel, as, for instance, this speech of Nor- 
ton's : — 

" Now hear me, 
This William Brand of yours has tried to beat 
Our Gospel Ordinances black and blue ; 
And, if he has been beaten in like manner, 
It is but justice, and I will appear 
In his behalf that did so." 

The zeal of Endicott, and " priest Nor- 
ton," as Sewel calls him, for the suppression 
of heresy, is too well known to require set- 
ting forth in this place. It must be re- 
membered what times they lived in, and 
the fact that their theology practically made 
the world, not God's world, but the devil's. 
Thus many seriously believed that, in coming 
to a new country inhabited by heathen, they 
were come to the territory of Satan, and 



l8 NARRAGANSETT FRIENDS' MEETING 

consequently had to fight the powers of 
darkness with every weapon possible. The 
laws of the colony of New Plymouth con- 
tain among the " offences capitall," under 
which head wilful murder, burning of 
houses and ships, with gross offences against 
morality, are classed, an offence which is 
described as a " Solemn Compaction or con- 
versing with the divell by way of witchcraft 
conjuraSfon or the like." A community 
which conceived it possible for persons to 
make this " Solemn Compaction" could not 
be expected to judge leniently opinions dif- 
fering from their own. Under the theo- 
cratic theory of government, the civil arm 
was bound to attend to morals, and what 
was a more deadly sin than heresy ? The 
special offences of the Quakers were set 
forth in an act made at a General Court 
held at Boston the 20th of October, 1658, 
in which the legislation of two years against 
the Quakers culminated. Following acts 
which provided for whipping and the cut- 
ting off of ears, this act of 1658 provided for 
the arrest without warrant of any Quaker 
by any constable or selectman, who should 
commit the Quaker to close jail without 
bail, until the next court, when he should 



QUAKER BEGINNINGS I9 

be tried, and, being proved a Quaker, should 
be banished on pain of death, A legal trial 
was, by a law made in the same year, ad- 
judged to be a trial by a court of three 
magistrates without jury, who had power to 
hang at pleasure. This law was made by 
so small a majority, only one vote Sewel 
says, that the magistrates were constrained 
to add, " to be tried by special jury," Long- 
fellow sums up the legislation very accu- 
rately in " John Endicott " : — 

" Whereas a cursed set of Heretics 
Has lately risen commonly called Quakers, 
Who take upon themselves to be commissioned 
Immediately from God, and furthermore 
Infallibly assisted by the Spirit 
To write and utter blasphemous opinions, 
Despising Government and the order of God 
In church and commonwealth and speaking evil 
Of Dignities, reproaching and reviling 
The Magistrates and Ministers, and seeking 
To turn the people from their faith, and thus 
Gain proselytes to their pernicious wa3rs ; — 
This court considering the premises, 
And to prevent like mischief which is wrought 
By their means in our land, doth hereby order 
That whatsoever master or commander 
Of any ship, bark, pink or catch shall bring 
To any roadstead, harbor, creek or cove 
Within this jurisdiction any Quakers 
Or other blasphemous Heretics, shall pay 
Unto the Treasurer of the Commonwealtli 
One hundred pounds, and in default thereof 



20 NARRAGANSETT FRIENDS' MEETING 

Be put in prison and continue there 

Till the said sum be satisfied and paid." 

• ••••• 

'* If any one within this jurisdiction 
Shall henceforth entertain, or shall conceal 
Quakers, or other blasphemous Heretics, 
Knowing them so to be, every such person 
Shall forfeit to the country forty shillings 
For each hour's entertainment or concealment. 
And shall be sent to prison, as aforesaid. 

Until the forfeiture be wholly paid." 

• ••••• 

*' And it is further ordered and enacted, 
If any Quaker, or Quakers, shall presume 
To come henceforth into this jurisdiction, 
Every male Quaker for the first offence 
Shall have one ear cut o£E ; and shall be kept 
At labor in the Workhouse till such time 
As he be sent away at his own charge. 
And for the repetition of the ofEence 
Shall have his other ear cut o£E, and then 
Be branded in the palm of his right hand. 
And every woman Quaker shall be whipt 
Severely in three towns ; and every Quaker, 
Or he or she, that shall for a third time 
Herein again ofEend, shall have their tongues 
Bored through with a hot iron, and shall be 
Sentenced to Banishment on pain of death." 

Nor did these cruel laws end here, for 
the magistrates were alive to the disap- 
proval of the larger minded of the people, 
as Nicholas Upsall, who sent food to the 
starving Quakeresses, found to his cost A 
clause was added for the special benefit of 
such men. 



QUAKER BEGINNINGS 21 

^ Every inhabitant of this Jurisdiction 
Who shall defend the horrible opinions 
Of Quakers, by denying due respect 
To equals and superiors, and withdrawing 
From Church Assemblies, and thereby approving 
The abusive and destructive practices 
Of this accursed sect, in opposition 
To all the orthodox received opinions 
Of godly men, shall be forthwith committed 
Unto close prison for one month ; and then 
Refusing to retract and to reform 
The opinions as aforesaid, he shall be 
Sentenced to Banishment on pain of Death. 
By the Court Edward Rawson, Secretary." 

Nicholas Upsall could not forbear to pro- 
test against the early laws, for Longfellow's 
summary covers two years' legislation, and 
warned the magistrates, not only of the 
unreasonableness of their proceedings, but 
to take care they be not found fighting 
against God. But this was taken so ill 
that he was fined, and imprisoned for not 
coming to church, and finally banished in 
the winter season. 

" Coming at length to Rhode Island, 
he met an Indian prince," Sewel says, 
"who having understood how he had 
been dealt with, behaved himself very 
kindly, and told him, if he would live 
with him, he would make him a warm 
house, and further said, 'What a God 



22 NARRAGANSETT FRIENDS' MEETING 

have the English, who deal so with one 

another about their God 1 ' " 

Notwithstanding the severity of these 
laws, or rather because of their severity, 
Quakers continued to come to Massachu- 
setts. When the seaboard was closely 
guarded against them, they found entrance 
by " a back door," as Edward Rawson, the 
Secretary of the Colony, declares to the 
King and Council in 1661. The penalties 
were proved insufficient " to restrain their 
impudent and insolent obtrusions," and he 
goes on to describe the measures taken as 
" a defence against their impetuous, frantic 
fury," which " necessitated us to endeavor 
our security." We have already seen that 
Rhode Island was the " back door " through 
which these " malignant promoters of doc- 
trines directly tending to subvert both 
church and state " found entrance into the 
well-guarded colony. The worst of the of- 
fences against civil government seems to 
have been the failure to doff the hat to a 
magistrate. Some of the women bore testi- 
mony against the cruel laws by wearing 
sackcloth, with ashes on their heads, or de- 
clared the spiritual nakedness of the rulers 
by a visible exemplification. But in a time 



QUAKER BEGINNINGS 2$ 

when it was no uncommon thing to see a 
woman, stripped to the waist, fastened to 
the tail of a cart, and whipped in the centre 
of the town by the public hangman by 
the magistrates' order, these voluntary testi- 
monies are the less surprising. " It must 
be admitted," Whittier writes of these early 
Friends, " that many of them manifested a 
good deal of that wild enthusiasm which 
has always been the result of persecution, 
and the denial of the rights of conscience 
and worship." 

But Quakers simply travelling from one 
place to another, with no other offence 
than being Quakers, were unsafe. Hored 
Gardner, who is described as an inhabitant 
of Newport, came to Weymouth, " with her 
sucking babe, and a girl to carry it," in 
1658, " whence for being a Quaker she was 
hurried to Boston, where both she and the 
girl were whipped with a three-fold knot. 
After whipping, the woman kneeled down, 
and prayed the Lord to forgive those per- 
secutors ; which so touched a woman that 
stood by, that she said, surely she could 
not have done this if it had not been by 
the spirit of the Lord." 

The most famous case of suffering among 



24 NARRAGANSETT FRIENDS' MEETING 

the early Friends was that of Mary Dyer. 
Her husband, William Dyre, as the record 
spells it, was a man of importance in Rhode 
Island. He was one of the men appointed 
to lay out the town of Newport, and from 
1640 to 1643 was Secretary of the Colony. 
He held the office of General Recorder 
later, and was General Attorney in 1650. 
Mary Dyer was a woman of strong charac- 
ter, great enthusiasm, and excellent under- 
standing. Sewel gives the history of her 
courage at length. She came to Boston 
from Rhode Island in 1657, he says, not 
knowing the laws which had been made 
against Quakers, and was imprisoned. Wil- 
liam Dyer, her husband, upon hearing this, 
came from Rhode Island and obtained her 
release, "becoming bound in a great pen- 
alty not to lodge her in any town of that 
colony, nor permit any to spealc with her : 
an evident token that he was not of the So- 
ciety of Quakers so called, for otherwise he 
would not have entered into such a bond ; 
but then without question he would also 
have been clapped up in prison," the worthy 
Dutch historian adds. Two years later (in 
1659) Mary Dyer was again in Boston, 
when William Robinson, a merchant of 



QUAKER BEGINNINGS 2$ 

London, and Marmaduke Stevenson, came 
there. Nicholas Davis was also there, and 
after whipping Robinson, who was a teacher 
among the Quakers, all four were banished 
on pain of death. The sentence is dated 
September 12, 1659, and it appearing, "by 
their own confession, words, and actions, 
that they are Quakers," they are sentenced 
" to depart this jurisdiction on pain of 
death, and that they must answer it at their 
peril, if they or any of them after the 14th 
of this present month, September, are found 
within this jurisdiction, or any part thereof." 
Mary Dyer and Davis accordingly left Bos- 
ton and the colony, while the others only 
went to Salem, not being free in mind to 
comply. And it was not long that Mary 
Dyer remained away, for in the next month 
(October) she returned, and all three were 
taken into custody. On the 20th of the 
month these three were brought into court, 
when Endicott made them an oration, de- 
claring that the court desired not the death 
of any, but ending, " Give ear, and harken 
to your sentence of death." Robinson had 
prepared a paper expressly declaring that 
while in Rhode Island he was commanded 
of the Lord to repair to Boston, and lay 



26 NARRAGANSETT FRIENDS* MEETING 

down his life there, as a testimony against 
the wicked and unjust laws. This paper 
Endicott read, but refused to have read 
publicly, Stevenson was then called, and, 
seeing how his companion had fared, made 
no defence. He was sentenced to death, 
and it was the turn of Mary Dyer, "to 
whom Endicott spoke thus: *Mary Dyer, 
you shall go to the place whence you came 
(to wit the prison) and thence to the place 
of execution, and be hanged there until 
you are dead.' To which she replied, * The 
will of the Lord be done.' Then Endicott 
said, ' Take her away. Marshal.' To which 
she returned, * Yea, joyfully I go.' And in 
her going to the prison, she often uttered 
speeches of praise to the Lord ; and being 
full of joy, she said to the Marshal, he 
might let her alone, for she would go to 
the prison without him. To which he an- 
swered, * I believe you, Mrs. Dyer ; but I 
must do what I am commanded.' " 

In prison Mary Dyer wrote a very re- 
markable letter, addressed to the General 
Court in Boston, justifying her coming to 
Boston, as it was by the will of the Lord 
she came. " I have no self-ends, the Lord 
knoweth," she writes. Seeing the evil of 



QUAKER BEGINNINGS 2f 

their unjust laws, she entreats the court 
not to be found fighting against God, but 
"to repeal all such laws, that the Truth 
and servants of the Lord may have free 
passage among you. . . . Seeing the Lord 
hath not hid it from me, it lyeth upon me 
in love to your souls thus to persuade you, 
. . . Was ever the like laws heard of among 
a people that confess Christ come in the 
flesh? and have ye no other weapons to 
fight against spiritual wickedness withal, as 
you call it ? Woe is me for you ! Of whom 
take ye counsel ? Search with the light of 
Christ in you, and it will show you of whom, 
as it hath done me, and many more, who 
have been disobedient and deceived, as now 
ye are; which light as ye come into, and 
obeying what is made manifest to you 
therein, you will not repent that you were 
kept from shedding blood, though it were 
by a woman," She likens her request to 
Esther's before Ahasuerus, saying that he 
did not contend it would be dishonorable 
to revoke his decree. She appeals to " the 
faithful and true witness of God which is 
one in all consciences. If they put this 
request from them, she continues, the Lord 
will send more of his servants to gather 



28 NARRAGANSETT FRIENDS' MEETING 

the harvest; for the light of the Lord is 
surely approaching, even to many in and 
about Boston, which is the bitterest and 
darkest professing place . . . that ever I 
heard of. Let the time past, therefore, suf- 
fice, for such a profession as brings forth 
such fruits as these laws are. In love and 
in the spirit of meekness I again beseech 
you." 

Mary Dyer's query as to whether the 
General Court had " no other weapons to 
fight against spiritual wickedness withal," 
reminds one of the Rhode Island way of 
dealing with doctrine. Roger Williams 
stoutly maintained the " freedom of differ- 
ent consciences from inforcements," but he 
was far from indifferent as to his neighbors* 
beliefs. How could he be, being a godly 
man, and certain that by belief, rather than 
by conduct, a soul is to be judged? There 
were long discussions in Rhode Island, de- 
bates on all conceivable questions, and 
pamphlets appealing to the reason and con- 
science of the reader. These " weapons " 
were always at hand in the Providence 
plantations, and doubtless were well known 
to Mary Dyer. Her appeal to the General 
Court, written as she supposed on the eve 



QUAKER BEGINNINGS 29 

of her execution, is certainly a noble one. 
From her point of view, she could have 
done no less than offer up her life, if the 
offering should secure liberty to her op- 
pressed brethren. It is difficult to see just 
why she supposed it would do so. Some- 
thing of stubbornness must have crept into 
her constancy to make her persist in sacri- 
fice. 

Her letter had small effect on the court, 
as may be imagined, and the day came for 
execution. It was the 27th of October, 
1659, when the three prisoners were led to 
the gallows, in the afternoon, escorted by 
about two hundred armed men, beside 
horsemen, and the minister, John Wilson. 
The three friends walked hand in hand, 
Mary Dyer in the middle. As she was an 
elderly woman, the Marshal said to her, 
" Are you not ashamed to walk thus, hand 
in hand between two young men ? " " No," 
replied she ; " this is to me an hour of the 
greatest joy I could enjoy in the whole 
world. No eye can see, no tongue can ut- 
ter, and no heart can understand the sweet 
incomes or influences, and the refreshings 
of the spirit of the Lord which I now feel ; " 
so " they went on with great cheerfulness, 



30 NARRAGANSETT FRIENDS* MEETING 

as going to an everlasting wedding feast," 
though the drummers drowned their voices. 
At the gallows Wilson made a taunting 
remark to Robinson : " Shall such jacks as 
you are come before authority with their 
hats on ? " he asked, and Robinson replied, 
" Mind you, mind you, it is for not putting 
off the hat we are put to death." He was 
the first to suffer. " I suffer for Christ," he 
said, " in whom I live, and for whom I die." 
Stevenson was next hanged, with a word of 
holy confidence upon his lips, and Mary 
Dyer stepped up the ladder. The halter 
was adjusted, " her coats were tied about 
her feet," the old record says, and John 
Wilson lent the hangman a handkerchief 
to cover her face. Just as the hangman 
was about to do his work a cry came, 
"'Stop, for she is reprieved 1' Her feet 
being then loosed, they bade her come 
down. But she, whose mind was already 
as it were in heaven, stood still and said she 
was there willing to suffer as her brethren 
did, unless they would annul their wicked 
law." But they pulled her down and car- 
ried her back to prison. It now appears 
that this was a ghastly farce arranged by 
the authorities to intimidate this intrepid 



QUAKER BEGINNINGS 3 1 

woman. The decree itself, signed before 
she left the prison, prescribes the cruel 
method of her release. She was to be car- 
ried " to the place of execution and there 
to stand upon the gallowes with a rope 
about her necke till the rest be executed, 
and then to return to the prison." ^ 

It was at the entreaty of her son that 
this reprieve was granted ; " an inconsider- 
able intercession," the Secretary, Edward 
Rawson, says, in his account to the king of 
these proceedings. " Mary Dyer (upon pe- 
tition of her son, and the mercy and clem- 
ancy of this court) had liberty to depart 
within two days, which she accepted of," 
Rawson declares. From prison, the next 
day after the execution, at which she mani- 
fested such heroic courage, she wrote 
another letter to the General Court, full of 
the same spirit. " When I heard your last 
order read, it was a disturbance unto me, 
that was so freely offering up my life to 
him that gave it me." She warns the 
judges to put away the evil of their doings, 
to " kiss the Son, the light in you, before 
his wrath be kindled in you." And this she 
wrote while the image of her dead compan- 

* Horatio Rogers, Mary Dyer^ the Quaker Martyr^ p. 53. 



32 NARRAGANSETT FRIENDS* MEETING 

ions must still have been before her eyes, 
and the tale of the barbarous treatment of 
their dead bodies in her ears. But she re- 
turned to prison, she says, " finding nothing 
from the Lord to the contrary, that I may 
know what his pleasure and counsel is con- 
cerning me, on whom I wait therefore, for 
he is my life and the length of my days ; 
and as I said before, I came at his com- 
mand and go at his command." 

The discontent among the people was so 
great that the magistrates resolved to send 
Mary Dyer away. She was accordingly 
put on horseback, and escorted by four 
horsemen fifteen miles toward Rhode Is- 
land, where she was left with a horse and a 
man to complete the journey. She spent 
the winter in Long Island, and then, com- 
ing home in the spring, she was moved " to 
return to the bloody town of Boston," 
where she arrived on the "twenty-first of 
the Third month, 1660," — that is, May, for 
the old style of reckoning the year from the 
first of March was still in use. Ten days 
after her arrival she was sent for by the 
General Court. " Are you the same Mary 
Dyer that was here before?" Endicott 
asked her, and it seems the court was 



QUAKER BEGINNINGS 33 

preparing an escape for her, being disin- 
clined to proceed to extremities, for another 
Mary Dyer had come from England. But 
she replied undauntedly, and without eva- 
sion, " I am the same Mary Dyer that was 
here at the last General Court." She was 
then asked if she avowed herself a Quaker, 
to which she replied : " I own myself to be 
reproachfully so called." Endicott said her 
sentence had been passed, and was now the 
same. " You must return to prison," he 
said, " and there remain till to-morrow at 
nine o'clock, then, thence you must go to 
the gallows and there be hanged till you 
are dead." " This is no more than what 
thou saidst before," Mary Dyer rejoined. 
" But now it is to be executed, therefore 
prepare yourself to-morrow at nine o'clock," 
Endicott replied. 

She then said, " I came in obedience to 
the will of God to the last General Court, 
desiring you to repeal your unrighteous 
laws of banishment on pain of death ; and 
that same is my work now, and earnest re- 
quest," and more she said of her call, and 
of others who would come to witness against 
these laws. Endicott asked her if she were 
a prophetess, to which she replied that she 



34 NARRAGANSETT FRIENDS' MEETING 

spoke the words the Lord spoke in her, but 
Endicott cried out, " Away with her ! away 
with her ! " So she was taken to prison. 

A letter from her husband arrived about 
the time Mary Dyer entered the colony, 
being under sentence of banishment on 
pain of death. " If her zeal be so great as 
thus to adventure, oh, let your pity and 
favor surmount it and save her life," her 
husband pleads. 

I only say this, yourfelves have been, 
and are or may be, huf bands to wives : so 
am I, yea to one moft dearly beloved. 
Oh do not deprive me of her, but I pray 
give her me once again. Pity me ! I beg 
it with tears, and reft your humble sup- 
pliant.^ 

But this touching appeal was of no avail. 
The next day, June ist, the Marshal came 
and roughly commanded Mary Dyer to fol- 
low him. Then she was brought out, and 
with a band of soldiers led through the 
town, with drums beaten before and be^ 
hind her. What a scene for the quiet 
streets of a New England town! The fresh 
leaves of early summer upon the trees, the 
sun shining overhead, the whole popula- 

* Bryant's History^ vol. ii. p. 194. 



QUAKER BEGINNINGS 35 

tion following the soldiers, the noisy drums 
rattling discordant notes, and the centre of 
of it all one lonely woman, " of a comly and 
grave countenance," and the undaunted car- 
riage of a pure and lofty spirit, calmly walk- 
ing to the fate which she had once before 
confronted, and which even now by a word 
from her could be averted ! For after she 
had ascended the ladder it was said to her 
that if she would return she should be 
spared. " Nay I cannot," she replied, " for 
. in obedience to the will of the Lord I came, 
and in his will I abide faithful to the death." 
Then the captain, John Webb, said that 
she had been there before, and was there- 
fore guilty of her own death, knowing the 
penalty of returning to Boston; to which 
she replied : — 

Nay, I came to keep blood guiltinefs 
from you, defiring you to repeal the un- 
righteous and unjuft law of banifhment 
upon pain of death, made againft the 
innocent servants of the Lord ; therefore 
my blood will be required at your hands 
who wilfully do it ; but for thofe who do 
it in the simplicity of their hearts I defire 
the Lord to forgive them. 
Then Wilson, the minister, who had lent 



36 NARRAGANSETT FRIENDS* MEETING 

his handkerchief to cover her face before, 
said to her, " Mary Dyer, oh repent, oh re- 
pent, and be not so deluded and carried 
away by the deceit of the devil." One can 
fancy the touch of scorn which must have 
tinged her manner, saintly as she was, as 
she replied, " Nay, man, I am not now to 
repent." 

Then she was asked if she would not 
have the elders pray for her, but answered, 
" I know never an elder here." 

They asked if she would have any of the 
people pray for her, to which she replied 
she desired the prayers of all the people of 
God. Some one scoflSngly said, " It may 
be she thinks there is none here." And 
she, looking calmly about, said, " I know 
but few here." The prayers of the elders 
were again urged upon her. " Nay," she 
said, " first a child, then a young man, then 
a strong man, before an elder in Christ 
Jesus." 

Then some one mentioned that she said 
she had been in paradise. " Yea, I have 
been in paradise several days," she an- 
swered, and continued to speak of the eter- 
nal happiness she was to enter upon. So 
she met her death, and died, as her chroni- 



QUAKER BEGINNINGS 37 

cler says, " a martyr to Christ, being twice 
led to death, which the first time she ex- 
pected with undaunted courage, and now 
suffered with Christian fortitude." 

I have dwelt at length upon the story of 
Mary Dyer's heroic courage, because she 
was the only woman who suffered death in 
that time of persecution, and because she 
was a Rhode Island woman, closely bound 
by ties of love and friendship to the Friends 
already in Rhode Island. 

At this distance of time, we can see that 
the magistrates also had something to plead 
as warrant for their conduct. She had been 
warned, and in coming back took her life 
in her hand. The dignity of the law had 
to be upheld. We have had cases in more 
recent times of unjust laws being enforced, 
by judges who did not believe in them, in 
the very town of Boston, in the time of the 
fugitive slaves. There was something in 
their argument that her blood was upon 
her own head. But with the spirit of a 
saint she rose above all human argument 
Like a Hebrew of old she could say, " The 
word of the Lord came unto me;" and 
with St. Paul, " Woe is me if I preach not 
the gospel." This zeal consumed her. 



38 NARRAGANSETT FRIENDS* MEETING 

Quaker though she was, and so bound to 
meekness by teaching and principle, she 
had tasted the glories of martyrdom, and 
could not rest till she was counted worthy 
to suffer to the end. If, in our modern 
spirit, we inquire what her husband and 
children said to her sacrifice not only of 
herself but of them, and the suffering and 
pain she brought them, her grave face, with 
its rapt expression, rises to rebuke us. This 
life was nothing, the next all, in those stern, 
heroic times. Earthly affections were to be 
trodden under foot. " Set your affections 
on things above " was an injunction to be 
literally followed. So, with a responsive 
thrill for her noble courage, and a sigh for 
the occasion of it, we finish the record of 
this heroic woman. Her death reaped its 
harvest. The " Seed," as Friends delighted 
to call the principles of truth they lived and 
died for, flourished abundantly. Within 
a year of Mary Dyer's death, the Rhode 
Island yearly meeting was established, 
which grew till it became the general meet- 
ing for the whole of New England. 



II 



THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE 
SOUTH KINGSTON MONTHLY 
MEETING 



II 



The little colony which proved a refuge 
for Quakers not only, but for all those of 
oppressed conscience, had only been united 
as to civil government three years, when 
the Woodhouse landed her missionary band 
on the "isle of Aquiday." There were 
political dissensions as well as religious. 
After the charter had been granted to 
Roger Williams, in 1643, it was still four 
years before the towns united in setting 
"their hands to an engagement to the 
charter ; " ^ a delay caused in part by the 
difficulties of travel, and the long voyage 
from England. The two island towns of 
Newport and Portsmouth were richer than 
the little towns of Providence and War- 
wick, and local jealousies were rife. Gov- 
ernor Coddington of Newport, in 1651, 
obtained a commission as governor for life, 
"whereby the Townes of Newport and 
Portsmouth were disjoynted from the Col- 
onic of Providence Plantations,"^ and it 

1 R. I. C R., vol. i. p. 147. 
> R. I. C. R., vol i. p. 268. 



42 NARRAGANSETT FRIENDS* MEETING 

was not till August 31, 1654, that the final 
union of the towns was accomplished. 

With this disordered political condition, 
the religious conditions were still more 
disturbed. The disaiffected from all the 
colonies came to Rhode Island. All vari- 
eties and shades of opinions could be 
found, from harmless mysticism to doc- 
trines subversive of the good order of so- 
ciety, and many a wild theory was pro- 
pounded. Rhode Island has often been 
spoken of as a colony of religious tolera- 
tion. But it was not toleration that Roger 
Williams taught. He laid down a larger 
principle, the " freedom of different con- 
sciences from inforcement," that is, the 
broad principle of each man's being the 
sole arbiter of his own fate, and directly 
responsible to his Maker for his belief. 
This was a new doctrine, a doctrine of 
growth and development, calculated to build 
strong and noble characters. But, while 
remaining true to it, Roger Williams did 
not weakly shake off all responsibility as 
to the spiritual condition of his colonists. 
On the contrary, while keeping clear from 
the " inforcements " which were so freely 
used in the neighboring colonies, he gave 



SOUTH KINGSTON MEETING 43 

full rein to his tongue, using all the wea- 
pons of argument and invective to scourge 
the wayward fanatics who came to him 
back into what he considered the true way. 
The story has often been told, and needs 
no repeating here. Whittier, with true in- 
sight, has entered into Roger Williams's 
feeling, in " A Spiritual Manifestation," 
when he makes him say : — 

" Each zealot thrust before my eyes 
His Scripture-garbled label ; 
All creeds were shouted in my ears 
As with the tongues of Babel. 



'* Hoarse ranters, crazed Fifth Monarchists 
Of stripes and bondage braggarts, 
Pale Churchmen, with singed rubrics snatched 
From Puritanic fagots. 

'* And last, not least, the Quakers came. 
With tongues still sore from burning, 
The Bay State's dust from ofiE their feet 
Before my threshold spuming ; 

" A motley host, the Lord's dibrisj 
Faith's odds and ends together ; 
Well might I shrink from guests with lungs 
Tough as their breeches leather : 



'< I fed, but spared them not a wit ; 
I gave to all who walked in, 
Not clams and succotash alone, 
But stronger meat of doctrine. 



44 NARRAGANSETT FRIENDS MEETING 

** I proved the prophets false, I pricked 
The bubble of perfection, 
And clapped upon their inner light 
The snuiOEers of election." 



It was in this country of "faith's odds 
and ends " that the Quakers found their 
opportunity. The martyrdom of Mary Dyer 
watered the seed, and when George Fox 
came, twelve years later, he confirmed the 
church. The visit of Fox was the starting 
point for many meetings in America, but 
in coming to Rhode Island he came to his 
own. He arrived on the 30th of the 3d 
month, 1672, from Long Island, and was 
"gladly received by Friends," he writes. 
This was the 30th of May that he arrived, 
when he " went to Nicholas Eastons, who 
was governor of the Island ; there we lay, 
being weary with travelling." He had a 
meeting the next first day, a large meet- 
ing, he says, " to which the deputy gov- 
ernor and several justices came, and were 
mightily affected with the truth." It is 
curious to note how often Fox mentions 
the dignitaries who attended his meetings, 
in spite of his being no respecter of per- 
sons. The week following his arrival, the 
June yearly meeting for Friends in New 



SOUTH KINGSTON MEETING 45 

England was held. Fox himself tells the 
story of it. Some Barbadoes friends ar- 
rived ; and the meeting lasted six days, he 
says, and — 

Abundance of other people came. For 
having no priefts in the ifland, and no 
reftriction to any particular way of wor- 
ship ; and the governor and deputy-gov- 
ernor with several juftices of the peace 
daily frequenting meetings ; it so encour- 
aged the people that they flocked in from 
all parts of the ifland. ... I have rarely 
obferved a people in the state wherein 
they stood, to hear with more attention, 
diligence, and affection, than generally 
they did during the four days. 
Men's and women's meetings followed 
for "ordering the affairs of the church, 
. . . that all might be kept clean, sweet 
and savory amongft them." After which 
Friends dispersed. But Fox and Robert 
Widders stayed on the island, " finding 
service still here for the Lord through the 
great openness, and the daily coming in of 
frefh people from other colonies for some 
time after the general meeting." " After 
this I had great travail in spirit," he writes, 
"concerning the Ranters in those parts 



46 NARRAGANSETT FRIENDS' MEETING 

who had been rude at a meeting which I 
was not at." So he appointed a meeting 
among them, " believing the Lord would 
give me power over them ; which he did to 
his praise and glory." At this meeting 
also there were justices and officers who 
were "generally well affected with the 
truth." One justice of twenty years' stand- 
ing was convinced, "spoke highly of the 
truth, and more highly of me," Fox adds, 
" than is fit for me to mention or take no- 
tice of." What comfort it must have been 
to the travelling Friend, who was usually 
greeted with stripes and imprisonment in 
his own country, to find true appreciation ! 
His chief acquaintance with justices in 
England was as a prisoner on charge of 
breaking the peace, and it is small wonder 
that, saint as he was, this being heard with 
favor by justices and officers should have 
seemed to him a special cause for thanks- 
giving. 

After the Newport meetings. Fox went 
to Providence in great travail of spirit, for 
the people, he says, " were generally above 
the priests in high notions; and some 
came on purpose to dispute." There had 
been absolute freedom in the little town of 



SOUTH KINGSTON MEETING 47 

Providence in the thirty-six years of its ex- 
istence. Each householder could, and often 
did, exhort Roger Williams, with the hu- 
mility of greatness, counted himself only as 
a teacher also ; one among many. But the 
power of George Fox's eloquence and per- 
sonality silenced his opponents. He came 
from Newport by water, attended by the 
governor and many others, and held his 
meeting in a great barn, which was thronged 
with people, " so that I was exceeding hot, 
and in a great sweat," he writes ; " but all 
was well ; the glorious power of the Lord 
shined over all ! " 

Roger Williams was not at the meeting 
that hot summer's day, but a little later 
rowed himself to Newport to confront the 
advocates of the Quaker doctrine. He and 
Fox did not meet, however. One wonders 
if they could have recognized the nobility 
of each other's nature had they seen each 
other face to face, or if the " Burrows " from 
which Roger Williams " digg^ George Fox ^ " 
were too dark and mystical for the scientific 
spirit of Williams to tolerate. There must 
always be the two orders of men, — the intui- 
tive seer, and the logical reasoner. Both 

1 George Fox diggd out of his Burrows. 



48 NARRAGANSETT FRIENDS' MEETING 

these men have their noble share of the 
world's work, and in the case of Fox and 
Williams both made a distinct contribution 
to the spiritual life of mankind ; Fox with 
his devout and keen perception of divine 
immanence in the indwelling spirit, and 
Williams with his new doctrine of the free- 
dom of man's conscience from " inforce- 
ments." These two should certainly have 
found points of contact in an age which 
is the fruit of both their teachings. As it 
was, the apostle came to the town of the 
liberator, and left it without seeing him. 
After the manner of the time, they both 
wrote polemical tracts, the most famous 
of which is Williams's " George Fox digg^ 
out of his Burrows." 

Returning to Newport, Fox next went 
across the Bay to Narragansett. Again the 
governor accompanied him, and they held 
a meeting at a justice's, " where Friends 
never had any before." I have elsewhere 
endeavored to show that this meeting was 
probably held at the house of Jireh BuU,^ 
who was a justice at that time. The year 
before, the General Court sat at his house. 
It was sometimes called the garrison house, 

^ College Tom^ p. 9. Houghton, Mifflin & Co. 



SOUTH KINGSTON MEETING 49 

and was the largest in Pettaquamscut. " The 
meeting was very large, for the country 
generally came in, and people from Con- 
necticut and other parts round about,"* 
Fox writes. " There were four justices of 
the peace," he adds. " Most of these peo- 
ple were such as had never heard Friends 
before ; but they were mightily affected, 
and a great desire there is after the truth 
amongst them. So that meeting was of 
very good service ; blessed be the Lord for- 
ever!" The justice at whose house the 
meeting was held invited Fox to come 
again, but he was then " clear of those 
parts." But he laid the place before John 
Burnyeate and John Cartwright, who ar- 
rived in Newport before he left, and they 
"felt drawings thither and went to visit 
them." 

The house in which this Narragansett 
meeting was established had a tragic fate. 
It stood on the old Pequot trail, which in 
Queen Anne's time became the highway, 
on the ridge of Tower Hill. Tradition 
places it on the right-hand side travelling 
north, a little distance south of the present 
corner made by the descent of the road 

'^Journaly p. 452. 



so NARRAGANSETT FRIENDS* MEETING 

running to the west. Only three years 
later, in December, 1675, it was destroyed 
by Indians, and many of its inmates, includ- 
ing women and children, were killed. It 
was the destruction of this house which was 
the actual incitement to the Great Swamp 
Fight, which practically exterminated the 
Indians, and put an end to King Philip's 
War. 

There are no records of Friends' meet- 
ings on the west side of the Bay until 1702, 
when the Greenwich meeting was estab- 
lished, which included the Narragansett 
Friends. This at first sight seems singu- 
lar, for Narragansett, and southern Narra- 
gansett, had been the place of Fox's visit, 
and was occupied by some influential con- 
verts. 

But there were good reasons why the 
King's Province could not establish a meet- 
ing in those early days. The country was 
claimed by charter right by both Connecti- 
cut and Rhode Island, and endless contro- 
versies ensued as to the government. But 
in addition to this, the land was claimed by 
two rival purchasers ; the Pettaquamscut 
purchasers, who bought Boston Neck and 
lands adjacent of the Indians in 1657, and 



SOUTH KINGSTON MEETING SI 

the Humphrey Atherton Company, who 
bought " two parsels of lande," called the 
Northern and Southern tract, in 1659. This 
land covered the land of the earlier pur- 
chase, including Point Juda and Sugar 
Loaf Hill.^ Both these companies had the 
Indian " sagamores " put their marks to the 
deeds of purchase, which they naturally had 
little conception of. This is not the place 
for a study of the interesting and extended 
controversy which ensued. But a glance 
at the men who were engaged in it, and who 
claimed the right of proprietors in the land, 
will explain why Friends for some years 
did not set up a meeting in Narragansett. 
Among the Pettaquamscut purchasers, Sam- 
uel Sewall soon became a leading spirit 
He was an example of the best Puritans of 
his time, but his action in the trial of the 
Salem witches shows the bigotry to which 
the best men were liable. Of the other 
company, the man who gave it its name. 
Major Humphrey Atherton, or Adderton, 
as some records spell it, was active in his 
persecution of Quakers. Simon Bradstreet 
was another zealous bigot. The younger 
Winthrop, governor of Connecticut, was 

^ The Town Records^ edited by James N. Arnold. 



52 NARRAGANSETT FRIENDS* MEETING 

far more liberal, and his name, as the high- 
est in rank, comes first in the deeds, but 
his influence in the affairs of the company 
was second to Atherton's. It is hardly prob- 
able that zealous persecutors at home 
would have tolerated Quaker organizations 
in the new purchase, which they hoped to 
develop into a prosperous colony. It was 
Atherton who scoflFed at the death of Mary 
Dyer, saying she hung as a flag for others 
to take warning by. Long after her death, 
in passing the place where Quakers suf- 
fered, as he rode proudly by, having re- 
viewed his troops, his horse took fright and 
threw him violently, dashing his head in 
pieces. There were not lacking those who 
said the animal saw the ghost of one of the 
martyrs, and that their death was avenged. 
But even after Atherton's tragic end, Simon 
Bradstreet's name would have held in check 
the open organization of a meeting. 

That the meeting was held, however, would 
seem to be indicated from several facts. It 
was in 1699 that the Rhode Island quar- 
terly meeting was established, consisting of 
three monthly meetings, Rhode Island, 
Dartmouth, and Narragansett. This last 
meeting was at first called Kingstown meet- 



SOUTH KINGSTON MEETING 53 

ing, but very soon changed to Greenwich, 
and included all the Friends on the west 
side of the Bay, from Narragansett to Prov- 
idence. A little meeting-house was built 
in East Greenwich in 1699, the first one 
on the west of the Bay, meetings having 
been held before at private houses. The 
records of the Greenwich monthly meeting 
begin in 5*^ month, 1699 (the day is obliter- 
ated), at the house of John Briggs, when it 
was agreed that he " write for these meet- 
ings." A month later the meeting was held 
at Jabez Greene's house, and on the 5th of 
sixth month of the same year the " next 
meeting is appointed to be held at the new 
meeting house in East Greenwich." 

This little meeting-house was built to 
the west of the village, and had a burial- 
ground adjoining. It was the first meeting- 
house west of Narragansett Bay ; and here 
the meetings were held, not only the first- 
day meeting for worship, but the monthly 
meetings, to which representatives came 
from South Kingstown, Providence, and 
Warwick. In 1707 the meetings began to 
beheld in rotation, three yearly at Providence 
and, three at Kingstown. This arrange- 
ment continued till 1718, when Providence 



54 NARRAGANSETT FRIENDS* MEETING 

became a distinct monthly meeting. South 
Kingstown Friends still came to Greenwich 
for monthly meeting. Rowland Robinson, 
John Briggs, Peter Greene, the Knowleses 
and Rodmans were among the representa- 
tives of the southern part of the State. It 
was a time of great prosperity for Narra- 
gansett. The farms yielded bountifully; 
the ferry to Newport was crowded with 
droves of sheep and cattle going to market, 
and produce of all kinds. The tide of travel 
was all set across the Bay rather than to the 
head of the Bay, and before many years 
Narragansett Friends petitioned for a sepa- 
rate meeting. It was at the third month 
monthly meeting, 1743, when Thomas Rod- 
man and Matthew AUin {sic) were repre- 
sentatives from South Kingstown, that an 
epistle from the quarterly meeting was read 
at Greenwich, which allowed the meeting to 
be divided into two monthly meetings. The 
record continues : — 

This meeting concludes that the 
monthly meeting is divided into two 
monthly meetings as the Preparative 
meetings were before this divifion, and 
that South Kingftown monthly meeting 
be held on the 2°** day after the laft i** 



SOUTH KINGSTON MEETING 55 

day in this month to do the proper bufi- 
ness of that meeting in the meeting house 
of Friends in South Kingstown. 
There is no indication as to when the 
" meeting house of Friends in South Kings- 
town " was built. For many years it was 
called " the old meeting house," and in 1 743 
it became the centre of influence and seat 
of government of Friends in Narragansett. 



Ill 

THE MEETING-HOUSES 



Ill 



It was the third month, 1743, that the 
South Kingstown monthly meeting began 
its existence by the consent of the quarterly 
meeting and the Greenwich meeting, to 
which the South Kingstown preparative 
meeting had belonged. The first monthly 
meeting was appointed the following month, 
but the records do not begin till the fifth 
month, 1743. There are eight folio vol- 
umes belonging to the men's meeting, which 
contain the records of the business of the 
meeting from month to month, the list of 
births, marriages, and deaths, and a beau- 
tiful manuscript of the English book of 
discipline, which was made between 1761 
and 1763. Thomas Hazard and Joseph 
Congdon were the committee appointed to 
see to this work, for which fifty pounds 
old tenor was paid. It is entitled " Chris- 
tian & Brotherly Advices Given forth from 
time to time By the yearly Meeting in 
London. Alphabetically Digefted under 
Proper Heads. Tranfcribed by Jos : Cong- 



60 NARRAGANSETT FRIENDS' MEETING 

don." Beside the records of the men's 
meeting, there are three volumes of wo- 
men's records, — the earliest a small quarto, 
the others large folios. There is also a 
mass of papers belonging to the meeting, 
deeds of the meeting-house lands, epistles 
from quarterly meetings, beginning as early 
as 1747, yearly meeting epistles, and the 
originals of various papers copied in the 
records. They are a set of time-stained 
books and documents, the paper discolored 
and brittle, cracking in the folds, exhaling 
the peculiar breath of long-kept mustiness. 
The handwriting is often crabbed, the spell- 
ing eccentric, the records themselves curt 
and scanty. Yet here is preserved all 
that is left of the best life of many good 
men and women. The voice of their 
preaching has died upon the air, the savor 
of their virtues exists only in tradition ; but 
the record of their actual work is preserved 
The houses of worship which they built 
have crumbled, but the account of their 
labors in building remains. 

It is often said we lack glamour in Amer- 
ica, that our perspective is limited, that we 
have no picturesque past. But all these 
things lie more in the eye of the beholder 



THE MEETING-HOUSES 6l 

than in external objects. Natural beauty 
is as beautiful in New England as in Old. 
We have no Tintern Abbey, it is true, but 
our greater lack is a Wordsworth to cele- 
brate it 

" Art was given for that ; 
God uses us to help each other so, 
Lending our minds out." 

It is the mind, the love, the life of man 
which must reveal beauty to us who have 
our turn at living now. Looked at in this 
spirit, what can be more fascinating, what 
can claim our interest and reverent affec- 
tion, more than such a mass of records and 
papers as those of the Narragansett meet- 
ing? For this was life: this meant not only 
daily affairs, of which there is abundant 
evidence, but it meant the care of good 
men for the soul's welfare. We may have 
outgrown the methods; humanity cannot 
outgrow the aim. 

Whatever those worthies truly wrought 
has gone into the fabric of later time. 
Their Narragansett lies before us, un- 
changed as to physical features, but more 
thickly peopled, with villages dotting the 
pleasant dales. Let us try to turn back the 
years to that summer day in 1743 when 



62 NARRAGANSETT FRIENDS' MEETING 

the first recorded meeting was held. Rid- 
ing through the narrow lanes, from beyond 
Little Rest and up from Westerly, came the 
representatives to that meeting. The old 
meeting-house — old in 1 743 — stood upon 
the southern spur of Tower Hill, a mile or 
more from the village. The first mention 
of this building occurs in Judge Se wall's 
diary, under an entry of Friday, September 
20, 1 706, when he went " into the Quaker 
Meeting Houfe, about thirty-five feet long, 
thirty feet wide, on Hazard's ground, which 
was mine."^ The sale of this land to 
Thomas Hazard was made in 1698, so that 
it must have been a comparatively new 
building at the time of Se wall's visit The 
South Kingstown Records have something 
further to say of this land. August 4, 17 10, 
Thomas Hazard sold one acre to Ebenezer 
Slocum, of Jamestown, for forty shillings ; 
and the next day it was conveyed by Slocum 
to Rowland Robinson, Samuel Perry, Henry 
Knowles, Jr., Thomas Rodman, and Jacob 
Mott, for the same consideration. The 
bounds are given, easterly and southerly by 
the road, the rest by Hazard's land, " being 
that parcel of land on which Stands a cer- 

* Sewall Papers f vol. ii. p. 168. 



THE meeting-houses 63 

tain Meeting House in which the people 
called Quakers usually meet."^ It com- 
manded a wide prospect of land and water. 
At the foot of the hill the chain of Point 
Judith ponds begins, which separate the 
Point from the mainland ; and the perilous 
Point itself, called in the old deeds Point 
Juda, or Point Jude, stretches a warning 
finger far out into the white breakers. 
Block Island, the land of Manassees, lies in 
the distance to the southwest ; while to the 
east the unbroken ocean stretches to the 
coast of Africa. Close at hand, the Petta- 
quamscut winds through its marshes; the 
crescent of Little Neck beach is white with 
foam ; and but a little farther the windows 
of Newport gleam in the sunshine. A 
lovely prospect those " weighty " Friends had 
to look upon. Some of the women doubt- 
less enjoyed it, but the appeal of natural 
beauty was not generally felt, and the com- 
manding situation was doubtless chosen 
more in reference to the onslaught of In- 
dians than for picturesqueness. 

In this " olde meeting house " the meet- 
ing was organized. Peter Davis was chosen 
" to write for the meeting," — to become its 

^ South Kingstown Records^ vol. ii. 



64 NARRAGANSETT FRIENDS' MEETING 

clerk, in other words. He does not record 
the fact himself; it is only from a subse- 
quent entry, when he was superseded, that 
it is learned. He had an interesting career, 
which is briefly outlined by the records, 
in which he constantly appears. Thomas 
Rodman was chosen the meeting's trea- 
surer, and served long and well. He was 
called Dr. Rodman, and practised the heal- 
ing art This was perhaps the only title 
that the strictness of Friends admitted of ; 
but the life of a country physician, who 
literally went about doing good, earned 
this most peaceful and honorable of titles. 
Books for record were bought, for which 
£2 14^. were paid, and the meeting entered 
on the difficult question of fixing its bound- 
aries. In a new country this is always a 
serious task, and in no part of New Eng- 
land was there more difficulty than in Nar^ 
ragansett. As already detailed, rival gov- 
ernments claimed the whole country; and 
the inhabitants must have become accus- 
tomed to an unsettled state of affairs of this 
nature, for it took the sober and orderly 
Friends of Narragansett seventeen years to 
decide what was their proper jurisdiction. 
It was not till 1760 that a joint committee 



THE MEETING-HOUSES 6$ 

from the East Greenwich meeting and the 
South Kingstown meeting finally made the 
report " that each may know which are their 
proper members." The South Kingstown 
meeting bounds were to begin at Bissell's 
Mills on the north. This is now called 
Hamilton Mills, and lies on the shore near 
Wickford. From thence the boundary ran 
" to the Highway that leads westward to 
the house where Robert Eldrish formerly 
lived, thence by Said Highway to the Cross 
Highway by Nicholas Gardner's, thence a 
strait line to Boon's house, upon black 
plain, thence to the Highway in narrow 
Laine by James Reynolds & by said High- 
way to the Colony Line."^ Black Plain 
and Narrow Lane have passed from remem- 
brance, and the houses of these worthy 
men know them no more; but in a gen- 
eral way it is safe to say that the South 
Kingstown meeting included the whole 
of Washington County, and a portion of 
what is now Connecticut, since Stoning- 
ton was evidently included within its lim- 
its. 

Almost the first business which came 
before the meeting in the first year of its 

1 Vol. i. p. 104. 



66 NARRAGANSETT FRIENDS* MEETING 

existence was the " matter of building a 
meeting house in the north west part of 
Westerly." The "Lower part of West- 
erly" also desired a meeting-house, one 
meeting-house to be ten miles distant from 
the other. At a meeting held in Charles- 
town, the 29th of 6th month, 1 743, a com- 
mittee report on the size of the lower meet- 
ing-house. They recommend a " Houfe of 
Eighteen feet one way and 26 feet another 
way and about 9 or ten feet Stud and about 
;^200 money they think will accomplifli 
s* Houfe." ^ A few months later Peter 
Davis, his sons William, and Peter Davis, 
Jr., were appointed " to fe to the Carrying 
on of Said Building." 

At first sight this seems a great sum to 
pay for a little building of eighteen by 
twenty-six feet. But the currency was enor- 
mously depreciated. In 1740 it required 
twenty-seven shillings in bills to equal an 
ounce of silver, whose normal rate of ex- 
change in the same year was six shillings 
ninepence.^ So that the inflation was ex- 
actly four hundred per cent., and to get an 

* Vol. i. p. 2. 

* Weeden, Economic and Social History of New Eng- 
land^ chap. xiii. ; R. /. Historical Tracts^ No. 8, p. 55. 



THE MEETING-HOUSES 6/ 

idea of true value the two hundred pounds 
must become fifty. All the prices men- 
tioned must be reduced as much or more, 
for the currency went on depreciating, until 
at last, in 1781, one Spanish milled dollar 
was equal to sixteen hundred dollars in 
paper ! 

The independent existence of the meet- 
ing seems to have acted as a stimulus in 
building houses of worship.* It was soon 
under consideration to build a meeting- 
house in the southwest part of South 
Kingstown. A committee was appointed 
in 1748 to conclude "where to fet the 
meeting houfe they are about to build." 
Two Perrys, James and Benjamin, with 
three other Friends, were appointed, but 
the next month the proposal was "Dropt 
for the prefent." Friends doubtless had 
enough on hand at the moment, for the 
upper meeting-house at Westerly was re- 
ported " not yet fit to meet in in cold 
weather, and all the money spent." It was 
recommended to quarterly meeting for as- 
sistance. But the need of a house of wor- 
ship was evidently great, for a Friend is 
dealt with for " suffering Friends to be dis- 
orderly Impofed upon in their public meet- 



68 NARRAGANSETT FRIENDS* MEETING 

ing at his houfe, and he not forbid the 
diforder." ^ 

So the heart of James Perry was evi- 
dently moved, for in 1750 he conveyed a 
piece of land by deed to the meeting " to 
and for the ufe of ffriends to fet a Meeting 
houfe on, and for a burying Ground." The 
meeting agreed to fence the ground, and a 
committee was appointed to place the house 
and fix the size. The house was to be some- 
what larger than the Westerly lower meet- 
ing-house built a few years ago. This was 
thirty-two by twenty-four feet, " and 9 foot 
and a half poft," but the " coft they fuppofe 
will be about ;^75o!" So in seven years 
the cost for a building only one third larger 
increased three and one half times. This 
little meeting-house stood long in the " hill 
country " in Matunuck, back from the high- 
way to the west of the road. Of late years 
it was surrounded by huckleberry pastures, 
whose rich russet red in the early autumn 
made a fitting setting for the venerable 
structure. To it a little company of wor- 
shipers gathered each year on a summer 
First Day. Here again was heard the sound 
of prayer and exhortation ; and if the melody 

* Vol. i. p. 30. 



THE MEETING-HOUSES 69 

of hymns floated from its trembling win- 
dows, it shocked no listening Friends, for 
the preacher who held the service was that 
friend of humanity who has banded his 
brethren together " in His Name." By the 
pious care of several of these summer pil- 
grims, the little building was preserved 
until a very few years ago. One summer 
when they returned from a winter's absence 
they found it a heap of rubbish ! 

In spite of the disordered state of the 
currency, Friends kept on building ; and in 
1753 Richmond wished a meeting-house, 
to be built on the highway which leads 
from John Knowles's to Mumford's Mills. 
The dimensions were of what appears to 
have been the usual size, thirty-two by 
twenty-four feet, " and of a height for a con- 
venient Galarie" the record adds. Four 
hundred and eighty-eight pounds were im- 
mediately subscribed, and the matter was 
referred to quarterly meeting. This house 
finally cost ^824 5^. 5^., as the completed 
account shows. Only £^2^ 18^. (>d. were 
received when the account was rendered, 
"fo that there remains due to the under- 
takers £^(> (>s. 11^., — and there is ;^i6 i^. 
td. of the fubfcriptions unpaid." It stood 



70 NARRAGANSETT FRIENDS* MEETING 

within the limits of the town of Richmond, 
from which it took its name, to the west of 
Kingston, somewhat south of the present 
village of Usquepaug. The highway still 
exists as a quiet country road, and, driv- 
ing westward from Kingston Depot, to the 
right lies a little knoll, now bare and de- 
serted, save for a few moss-grown stones 
which guard the resting-places of the dead. 
Here the meeting-house was built. The 
quiet country stretches in soft undulations 
about it. The farms are now almost de- 
serted ; here and there a column of smoke 
rising from a group of old apple-trees marks 
a household. A few stately avenues of old 
trees between moss-grown walls lead to 
dilapidated buildings which once were fine 
mansions. A feeling of autumn creeps into 
even spring-time air, as of a land that has 
passed its vigorous youth, and lies basking 
tranquilly after days of achievement. Or is 
it waiting the coming of some hero of ro- 
mance to wake this sleeping beauty, and 
once again fill the fields, now so desolate, 
with activity and life ? 

In the days of the Friends' meeting, 
it was a busy centre. Around the place 
of gathering stretched the fields of the 



THE MEETING-HOUSES 71 

Hoxsies, Solomon and Stephen, both men of 
mark and influence in the meeting. Here 
the business of the Friends' meetings was 
transacted, alternating with those on Tower 
Hill and in the Westerly meeting-house. It 
happens that much of the important busi- 
ness we shall review occurred here. Here 
the first protest against slavery was made, 
and here some of the most influential of 
the members were brought to account for 
delinquencies. 

Beside building its own meeting-houses, 
the South Kingstown meeting contributed 
to others, as it in turn also received contri- 
bution. Warwick, Dartmouth, and Provi- 
dence each had contributions in the early 
days of the meeting. South Kingstown 
was the richest town in the colony about 
the middle of the century, and it is natural 
to find Friends contributing considerable 
sums. But, while Friends were generous, 
they were thrifty. After having contributed 
seventy-two pounds fifteen shillings toward 
various meeting-houses, especially the meet- 
ing-house at Providence, comes the entry : 

" This meeting do not find freedom to 
contribute any more till they are Satisfied 
the augmenting of the firft fum which was 



^2 NARRAGANSETT FRIENDS' MEETING 

Requefted is not by unneceffary coft."^ 
And at another time, when the epistle from 
quarterly meeting was " read and kindly 
excepted," as the good clerk wrote it, it was 
quite literally true ; for " as to the requeft 
in the Epiftle from the Laft Quarterly 
Meeting for Afliftance in Difcharging the 
Coll ffriends have been at about their 
meeting houfe in Smithfield we at pre- 
fent Defire to be excufed for we are about 
Repairing our Meeting houfe in S° Kings- 
town." 2 

The meeting-houses needed continual re- 
pairs, and committees are appointed to " Hop 
ye leak in ye old meeting houfe," or to see 
to the windows and small repairs, frequently. 
It was before the days of stoves, and in the 
long intervals of silent meditation the cold 
must have been intense. 

New England Friends were mindful of 
the sufferings of Friends in England, and 
in 1752 the meeting sent £^0 14^. by its 
treasurer, to be taken to the next quar- 
terly meeting to forward to London. The 
treasurer had a difficult task with his ac- 
counts in the variable currency, of which 
the following entry is an example : — 

1 Vol. I. p. 97. « Ibid, p. 35. 



THE MEETING-HOUSES 73 

It appears by the Records of our 
Monthly Meeting the 27 of ye Fifth 
Month, 1747, that there is of the meet- 
ing's money in the hands of Peter Davis 
the sum of ;^ 16. 16.6 that after the Dis- 
count of jC^ 3*7 there remains a Balance 
yet due to the meeting of ;^3.9.6/ 
Beside the meetings in the meeting- 
houses, youths' meetings were appointed : 
one at Westerly lower meeting-house was 
to be held in the seventh month, " a second 
day, after the first day." Another was held 
at William Gifford's, in Charlestown, in the 
2d month; a third, in the old meeting- 
house, on a fifth day in the seventh month 
following the second-day meeting at Wes- 
terly; and at Westerly upper meeting-house 
in the second month again.^ 

So the meeting was fully established with 
its five houses of worship. First in impor- 
tance was the old meeting-house on Tower 
Hill, built on Thomas Hazard's land, which 
for a nominal consideration he sold to 
Ebenezer Slocum in 17 10, who in his turn 
transferred it to certain trustees the next 
day for the same consideration. Then came 
the two Westerly houses, the meeting-house 

* Vol. i. p. 1 1 1. ^ Idtd, p. 40. 



74 NARRAGANSETT FRIENDS* MEETING 

on James Perry's land in Matunuck and 
the Richmond meeting-house. What the 
work of the meeting was, and what manner 
of men did it, the following pages will en- 
deavor to show. 



IV 



THE CLERKS OF THE MEETING 



IV 



The records of the South Kingstown 
Friends begin in a small, square hand, with 
Friends spelled with a double f, and words 
written as the South County speech pro- 
nounced them, and our interest is naturally 
excited to know something of the man who 
wrote them. It does not appear from the 
first record who he was, but a subsequent 
entry shows him to have been " our ancient 
friend, Peter Davis." He was a South 
County man, living near Westerly, who 
had been prominent in the East Greenwich 
meeting. Among the first duties that he 
performed for the new meeting was to " fe 
to the carrying on " of Westerly lower meet- 
ing-house, in which his two sons were ap- 
pointed to assist him. In 1747, on the 27th 
of the 2d month, he " Laid before this meet- 
ing that there hath been a concern on his 
Mind for some time to Vifit ffriends in the 
Weftern parts, and allfo in Europe if the 
way fhould open for him. And defired a 
few Lines of ffriends Unity therein." This 



78 NARRAGANSETT FRIENDS' MEETING 

proposal was considered by the meeting, 
and two months later action was taken 
upon it, and the minute is entered by Peter 
Davis himself : — 

Whereas our ffriend Peter Davis is 
Likely to move from us for fome time this 
Meeting confidered to Choofe and ap- 
point our ffriend, Stephen Hoxfie to fill 
his Room in the Service of Clerk to this 
Meeting. Two certificates for our An- 
tiant Friend, Peter Davis, one for Long 
Ifland, penfalvenia And ye Jerfes and 
Verginia &ct Maryland &ct, one for the 
Ifland of Great Brittian was both writ 
and Signed in this meeting. 
What a journey for a country Friend to 
set out upon I He calls himself an "An- 
tiant Friend " already in 1 747, when he was 
about to undertake it, though this must have 
been an honorary title if the record is cor- 
rect, which places his birth in 1 7 1 2, which 
would make him only thirty-five years old. 
It is possible there is some mistake in this 
entry, as he lived to a great age, though 
the record is explicit. He performed his 
duties to the last, filling twenty-five of the 
large folio pages with closely written re- 



THE CLERKS OF THE MEETING 79 

cords, and on the 29th of 4th month, 1747, 
comes his last entry, " This Meeting 
Ended." One reads it with something of 
what must have been his own feeling of 
solemnity at quitting home and kindred. 
His rule as a clerk was evidently not a 
very rigid one, for on an occasion " the 
minits of the Laft Monthly Meeting not 
happining to be at hand it was Retnem- 
bredr 

In the spring of 1747, Peter Davis set 
out on his travels, and certificates as to his 
preaching were received by the home meet- 
ing. The first one is dated from Nine 
Partners, or, as it was often called, The Ob- 
long, in the Province of New York. This 
is back of Poughkeepsie, on the Hudson, 
and for many years was the seat of a famous 
school under the government of Friends. 
Peter Davis preached there in May, 1747. 
The next month found him in the "pur- 
chase of Westchester." Woodbridge, in 
New Jersey, Maryland, Flushing, Long Is- 
land, and Philadelphia were visited in turn, 
and the certificates received, " Which was 
all Read in this meeting to Good satisfac- 
tion." * One wonders what his special gift 

» VoL L p. 36. 



8o NARRAGANSETT FRIENDS' MEETING 

was, and what aspect of truth he loved to 
preach. The way opened before him, for 
after a sojourn in Philadelphia in the au- 
tumn of 1747, he sends a certificate from 
London, dated 22d of 3d month, 1748. No 
comment is made upon this in the orderly 
records. There is an interval of six months 
between the Philadelphia certificate and the 
one from London. How long a time was 
he upon the water, one wonders ? and what 
reception did a Rhode Island Friend meet 
with in London ? The records give no 
indication, but the meeting must have been 
stirred and stimulated by the fact of its 
own approved minister carrying his testi- 
mony and his gifts so far. In 1 75 1 he was 
evidently back again, for certificates from 
The Oblong, Westbury on Long Island, 
and from the Purchase in the Province of 
New York, were received. Again, in 1759, 
it is recorded that "our Ancient Friend, 
Peter Davis & John Collins hath a concern 
on their minds to vifit Friends in the West- 
ern parts." He was evidently a man of 
influence in the society, especially where 
any question of doctrine was involved, and 
was constantly on committees to deal with 
offenders against the simplicity of Friends. 



THE CLERKS OF THE MEETING 8 1 

He lived to a great age, and was twice mar- 
ried. Content Davis was his first wife, a 
woman of much influence in the women's 
meeting. She died in 1781, and he mar- 
ried his second wife, Martha. She "de- 
parted this Life the 12 th day of the 4th 
Mo 1809 ^i^d was buried the 14th in 
Friends burying ground in Richmond, 
aged eighty-eight years." A year before 
her death the meeting took charge of its 
aged minister, and a paper exists specifying 
the food and clothing the aged couple were 
to have.^ He lived three years longer, and 
died in 181 2, "aged one hundred years, 
eleven months and five days," and was 
buried in the Richmond burying-ground. 

A story is told of Peter Davis by the 
present clerk of the meeting, who in his 
youth knew an aged man who was his 
friend. He was vigorous in mind and body, 
enjoying life to the last. Upon one occa- 
sion he was riding along the Matunuck 
road, erect as usual, and a party of younger 
friends followed. Thinking him out of 
hearing, they discussed his great age, say- 
ing they would not like to live so long. 
The old man turned in his saddle and said 

^ Appendix, p. 190. 



82 NARRAGANSETT FRIENDS' MEETING 

gently, " Boys, it is sweet to live; I love life." 
And surely he had had great experience 
of life. Not only had he more years than 
any other Friend who is mentioned, but his 
travels and his preaching had made them 
full years. He enforced the discipline of 
the meeting, and the meeting was stringent 
with him. On the occasion of one of his 
religious journeys, a committee was ap- 
pointed to inquire into his conversation and 
report upon it. They "find things clear 
concerning Peter Davis. All accept his 
Setting out on his Jorney before he had 
a Certificate." Thus even so influential a 
Friend was kept to the letter of the law. 

Stephen Hoxsie, as already noticed, was 
chosen to succeed Peter Davis when the 
latter set out on his travels. His first en- 
try, the record of the meeting held the 27th 
of 5th month, 1747, is a great contrast to 
Peter Davis's crabbed hand. Peter Davis 
evidently had modeled his writing after the 
engrossing hand of the scribe of the day. 
It was small and square, and lacked the 
evenness and finish which gave the clerkly 
hand of the period its character. Stephen 
Hoxsie begins in a good, flowing hand, and 
with more modern ideas of spelling, though 



THE CLERKS OF THE MEETING 83 

that retains its " freedom from inforce- 
ment " as boldly as the consciences of the 
founders. South County speech, to this 
day, speaks of a convenant place of meeting, 
and so the books record it. " Accept " was 
always an occasion of stumbling, the quar- 
terly meeting epistles being generally ex- 
cepted^ while genuine " exception " is often 
" accepted." But the improvement is great 
in the fullness and accuracy with which the 
record was kept. It is a neat-looking re- 
cord, and for twenty-seven years was written 
by the same hand. Stephen Hoxsie, and 
Elizabeth his wife, lived not far from the 
Richmond meeting-house. They had eleven 
children, and it was not till a few months 
after her death, in the autumn of 1773, that 
he resigned his clerkship. It is his hand 
that records dealing with debtors, with " dis- 
orderly walkers," and notes the proposals of 
marriage between young Friends. He was 
often on committees himself to inquire into 
difficult cases, and was evidently a man of 
weight and influence in the meeting. He 
" Departed this life," the record says, " the 
24"" Day of the lo"' Month 1793," within one 
day of twenty years from the day of his 
w^e's death, " and Was buiyed in friends 



84 NARRAGANSETT FRIENDS' MEETING 

burying Ground at Richmond the 27 of 
the Same, after a Solid Meeting of friends 
and others aged 80 years & 26 Days." 

This faithful clerk of the meeting was 
succeeded in 1774 by Peleg Peckham.^ If 
Stephen Hoxsie was an improvement on 
the first clerk, this third clerk was an ad- 
vance on Stephen Hoxsie. The handwrit- 
ing has the same general character, but is 
clearer and firmer, an excellent hand, very 
legible and distinct. The page has a schol- 
arly air, and the spelling conforms to mod- 
em requirements. The use of capitals 
continues in unexpected places, but the 
whole record bespeaks a man of better edu- 
cation. The period of the work of this 
clerk covered the final dealings on the ques- 
tion of slavery, and the whole period of the 
Revolution. With Peleg Peckham Thomas 
Hazard was closely associated. In 1775 
Thomas Hazard and Peleg Peckham were 
appointed " to Collect the Several Rules or 
Minutes of the yearly meeting Tranfmitted 
to us by Epiftles or other ways & to record 
them in the Book of Difcipline under their 
Proper Heads." ^ This was in the first year 
of Peleg Peckham's service, and all through 

^Vol. ii. p. 16. ^ Ibid. ^. SI' 



THE CLERKS OF THE MEETING 85 

this period, frequently at the end of a meet- 
ing, comes the signature, " Tho" Hazard 
Clerk this Time." I have been in much 
doubt as to whether Thomas Hazard, who 
was " College Tom," made these entries 
himself. Careful comparison with manu- 
script known to be his would lead to the 
conclusion that it was. He had an odd 
way of writing the " s," in the abbreviation 
of Thomas, high up, close to the beginning 
of the " H " in Hazard. Either these are 
his signatures, or his friend Peleg Peckham 
closely imitated his method. Another cir- 
cumstance which would seem to indicate 
that the entries are in Thomas Hazard's 
hand is the fact that very frequently, in a list 
of names of a committee, his own name 
appears last. The first hundred and fifty 
pages of the second volume of records, cov- 
ering only seven years, appears to be in the 
same hand ; if by both Peleg Peckham and 
Thomas Hazard, the resemblance is very 
remarkable. Nailor Tom Hazard records 
in 178 1, " Cousin Hazard had a fit coming 
from the mill," and it is in that year that 
this handwriting stops in the middle of a 
sentence. 
Thomas Hazard was the eldest son of 



86 NARRAGANSETT FRIENDS' MEETING 

« 

Robert • Hazard and Sarah Borden his wife. 
His mother belonged to the meeting, but I 
have found no evidence that his father did. 
He received a good education, and from the 
fact of his attending the college at New 
Haven he derived his nickname of College 
Tom. He was early exercised on behalf of 
the slaves, and refused to work his farm 
with slave labor. He related the occasion 
of his first turning his thoughts to the sub- 
ject. In one of the hot summer days be- 
tween his college terms, his father sent him 
into the field to oversee the haying. Find- 
ing the sun intolerable, he lay down under 
a tree and took a book from his pocket. 
But it was too hot to read, and he lay 
watching the negroes at work. The situa- 
tion suddenly struck him. If it was too 
hot even to read in the shade, what right 
had he to keep men at work in the sun ? 
From that moment his thoughts were 
turned toward the evils of slavery, and when 
a little later he heard the stern denuncia- 
tion of the Connecticut deacon his con- 
science was fully aroused. " Quakers ! " said 
the deacon, " they are not Chriftian people ; 
they hold their fellow-men in flavery." 
Thomas Hazard was a young fellow just 



THE CLERKS OF THE MEETING 8/ 

of age, and on the point of being married, 
when these words were said to him. He 
gave up his worldly prospects, worked his 
farm with free labor, and became a zealous 
advocate of emancipation. His long and 
useful life has been detailed elsewhere,^ but 
in any mention of Narragansett Friends of 
the eighteenth century he must hold a con- 
spicuous place. 

Solomon Hoxsie, a brother of Stephen 
Hoxsie the clerk, was also a man of mark, 
often intrusted with business for the meet- 
ing. He is called of Richmond, and when 
he died, in 1781, "was decently interred in 
his own Burying ground near his houfe." 

John Collins was a traveling Friend who 
belonged to the meeting. He sometimes 
accompanied Peter Davis on his shorter 
journeys, and several times the record 
comes that he " hath it on his mind to 
vifit ffriends at Oblong." Robarts Knowles 
was the Friend who traveled with Peter 
Davis on his extended journey before he 
sailed for England. A Robert Knowles 
was under dealing for debt not long after, 
and one wonders if it was the same Friend, 

* Thomas Hazard^ son of Robert^ called College Tom, 
By Caroline Hazard. Houghton^ MiMn & Co. 



88 NARRAGANSETT FRIENDS* MEETING 

and if, in his concern for the good of 
the meeting, he neglected his " outward 
affairs." 

Friends were truly watchful over each 
other for good. The most prominent men 
in the meeting were chosen visitors, and 
overseers of the meeting. The Queries were 
sent to each meeting from the quarterly 
meeting, and were not only read in public 
meetings but in the houses of Friends. They 
were a list of questions as to the life and 
conduct of the members. Friends were ad- 
vised " againft running into employment 
they have no knowledge or experience of, 
but to employ themfelves in that bufmess 
they were acquainted with." Their apparel, 
furniture, table, and way of living was under 
the observation of the overseers. Nor were 
the ministers and elders exempt from such 
supervision, but they were exhorted to have 
a watchful care for each other. 

In 1755 the scope of the overseers was 
defined when it was 
agreed by this meeting that for the future 
the vifitors of each meeting Do vifit the 
families of such who were married among 
Friends that have not cut themfelves off 
by Transgreffion, those who are the chil- 



THE CLERKS OF THE MEETING 89 

dren of ffriends, and read the Queries to 
them. And fuch who are willing to be 
in the obfervation of fuch Queries, and 
have a Defire to be under the care of 
friends in order that the monthly meet- 
ing may have a Right Sence of the con- 
duct of all Such : and take proper meth- 
ods to Deal timely with fuch who walk 
Diforderly/ 

A little later, in 1761, Thomas Wilbour, 
Thomas Hazard, and Stephen Hoxsie re- 
port still further on the duties of over- 
seers : — 

It is our Judgement that every par- 
ticular contained in the Queries now in 
ufe in faid Monthly Meetings may with 
propriety be committed to the charge 
and care of faid overfeers together with 
all other Rules of Moral and Religious 
Conduct that are or fhall be hereafter 
thought neceffary by faid Monthly Meet- 
ing and recommended to their overfight 
fo far as they do or may relate to the 
Week Day and Firfl Day Meetings and 
their Members.^ 

Still later the overseers were to take no- 
tice of "diforders committed by members, 

* Vol. 1. p. 69. * IHd. p. 122. 



go NARRAGANSETT FRIENDS* MEETING 

viz.: Sleping and all other indecencies," 
and the omission of members to attend all 
meetings. 

The Queries were reported upon from 
month to month. In 1 754 the visitors re- 
port " in fome places Indifferent well, but 
many places according to our Underftand- 
ing too much Indifferency in Regarding 
the good order which ought to be kept up 
amongft us for which they Laboured in the 
ability they Received for Amendment." ^ 

A little later, " where there was a De- 
ficiency they generally gave Incouragement 
of a Regulation." The Queries were also 
read in meeting, " and friends gave anfwers 
thereto as proper as they were Capable of 
at prefent." 

The meeting was not afraid to take up 
grave questions. The question of slavery 
stirred it deeply; temperance was already 
a question of the day ; education received 
attention. One question, which was a ques- 
tion in England until very recently, came 
up in 1 77 1, — the question of marrying 
a deceased wife's sister.^ A minute was 
framed to ask advice upon it in 1772 : — 
Query to be able to marry a deceafed 

1 Vol. i. p. 63. 2 Ibid, p. 245. 



THE CLERKS OF THE MEETING 91 

wife's fifter or deceafed Hufband's Bro- 
ther and what is neceffary to be done in 
fuch cafes ? ^ 

The system of overseers kept the meet- 
ing closely bound together, where " too 
much indifferency " did not prevail. The 
most solid men of the meeting were ap- 
pointed for this service. The Hoxsies, 
Stephen and Solomon, Peter Davis, and 
his companion John Collins, and Thomas 
Hazard, all went from house to house visit- 
ing Friends under the care of the meeting. 
A touch of human nature doubtless crept 
in on some of these occasions, and the 
formal reports in the records must some- 
times have had their origin in neighbor- 
hood gossip. But life was taken seriously, 
and the daily wg-lk and conversation of 
Friends was under close observation. In 
a time of general laxity, and in a new and 
partly settled country, the orderly rule of 
Friends made for that righteousness which 
" exalteth the nation." It may be that the 
overseers were at times actuated by very 
human motives, that the quiet country life 
fostered curiosity. A sense of spiritual 
pride in those so honored may have crept 

* Vol. i. p. 267. 



92 NARRAGANSETT FRIENDS' MEETING 

in, yet these Friends recognized that their 
own will was naught ; they depended upon 
the Light of Truth, which they earnestly 
sought, and, in the beautiful phrase of their 
clerk, they " labored with the ability they 
have received." 



V 



THE WORK OF THE MEETING 



V 



The meeting in South Kingstown, though 
probably the oldest association for worship, 
was by no means the only one. As early 
as 1668, the Pettaquamscut purchasers set 
aside three hundred acres of land, " to be 
laid out and forever fet apart as an en- 
couragement, the income or . improvement 
thereof wholly for an Orthodox perfon that 
fliall be obtained to preach God's word to 
the Inhabitants." The church which was 
supported from this foundation had teach- 
ers at the end of the century, but it was 
not till 1732 that the Rev. Samuel Niles 
came, who is called the "firft incumbent 
of ordination." 

These ministerial lands were the cause 
of a long lawsuit, for the "orthodox per- 
son," for whose benefit the deed was made, 
was held by Dr. McSparran, the missionary 
of the Church of England, to be no other 
than himself. Dn McSparran arrived in 
1 7 1 9, and was active and zealous for many 
years. His Church of St. Paul's stood in 



96 NARRAGANSETT FRIENDS' MEETING 

the village of Tower Hill, on the highway 
leading to the ferry. Dr. Torrey's church, 
which finally obtained the title to the min- 
isterial lands, stood on the corner of the 
Queen's high road and the ferry road. The 
court-house was almost opposite it; and 
from this centre, in the early part of the 
eighteenth century, the life of the country- 
side spread. These two churches are con- 
tinued in Narragansett. The court-house 
was moved to Kingstown in 1754. Dr. 
Torrey's church followed, and has become 
the First Congregational Church at Kings- 
ton. Dr. McSparren's St. Paul's Church 
was moved to a site a few miles north of 
the village, and later to Wickford, where 
the building in which he preached is still 
preserved. The Church of the Ascension 
in Wakefield is its South Kingstown de- 
scendant. Beside these two established 
churches at the time of the establishment 
of the meeting, there were all sorts of minor 
sects. Beside Quakers and Baptists, Mr. 
Fayerweather says, " Fanatics, Ranters, 
Deifts, and Infidels fwarm in that part of 
the world," and Dr. McSparran bewails the 
" hetrodox and different opinions in re- 
ligion that were found in this little comer." 



THE WORK OF THE MEETING 97. 

At the same time the good doctor laments 
this diversity, he speaks of " the power 
and number of Quakers in this colony." 
Dr. McSparran does not mention the sect 
which the Friends had most to fear, if the 
mention in their records is a true indica- 
tion, — the New Lights, or New Lites, as 
Stephen Hoxsie often spelled it As early 
as 1 748 a Friend was denied his member- 
ship because he suffered Friends' meeting 
" to be difturbed and broken up by the 
aforef^ Wild & Ranting people, which 
meeting was in his own houfe." Peter 
Davis and John Collins, the two preachers, 
who were presumably strong in points of 
doctrine, were appointed to labor with 
Henry Mulkins, as " there appears but Lit- 
tle hopes of his Return," and in 1753 he 
was denied as a " Newlite." 

They were also called Separates, or Sep- 
arators, and the outward sign of a Friend's 
removing the hat seems to have been taken 
as a token of falling from grace. A little 
later two Friends dealt with a man who "has 
lately joyned with ye People called Sepa- 
rates in their Worfhip fo far as to Stand 
up with his Hatt off in the Time of their 
praying." A second Friend was under the 



98 NARRAGANSETT FRIENDS* MEETING 

same charge, as he had " attended a meet- 
ing of the people called feparators and 
joined with them in worihip by taking off 
his Hatt, etc.," the record says. This re- 
minds one of the early days when the hat 
played such an important part, and the 
Boston martyr, William Robinson, ex- 
claimed, " it is for not putting off the hat 
we are put to death ! " One of these Friends 
confessed his fault as follows : — 

I did fometime past Inconfiderately at- 
tend a meeting of the people called New 
Lights, and fo far joined with them in 
their worfliip as to pull off my hatt 
which inconfiderate conduct of mine I 
freely condemn. 

In 1767 a young man was under dealing 
as he " has juftified his union and commun- 
ion with the Newlights so-called, and Friends 
being willing that he fliould maturely con- 
fider the matter, do conclude to refer it to 
the next monthly meeting." Two months 
later his case was again referred, " that his 
mother may have an opportunity to confer 
with him." But her arguments did not pre- 
vail, and he soon was denied his member- 
ship because he "pretended to juftifie 
himfelf in being Dipp*^ in outward water." 



THE WORK OF THE MEETING 99 

As late as 1787 the New Lights gave 
trouble. A member confessed that he had 
been to a funeral " and Joined with them in 
their praying and fo forth, but have confid- 
ered my Conduct therein fmce and find 
that I mift it in fo doing," which seems a 
very modern mode of confession. 

The Baptist Church in Wakefield claims 
descent from these enthusiasts. The shores 
of Kit's Pond for many years have witnessed 
converts " dipp*^ in outward water ; " and 
what the good Friends called " Wild and 
Ranting " was doubtless the fever of exhor- 
tation and song into which the neighbor- 
hood gatherings wrought themselves. Many 
of the hymns were a sort of recitation by 
the leader, with a refrain taken up by the 
congregation, and punctuated with sighs 
and groans. A wild religious fervor marked 
these meetings, wonderful experiences were 
related, and constant backsliding occurred. 
To the minds of Friends, they were a peo- 
ple of " dark and erroneous principles." 
As might be expected, the women's meet- 
ing had difficulty with women who were 
carried away by this enthusiasm. Con- 
tent Davis, the wife of our ancient friend 
Peter Davis, was in charge of a case in 



100 NARRAGANSETT FRIENDS* MEETINC^ 

1 762 where a woman went to the " Sepa- 
arates or New Light " meeting, and with 
an unconscious arrogance is accused of 
" joining with them in what they call wor- 
fhip." She refused to make satisfaction, 
and four months after was denied for her 
"Sade outgoings," as she was "too far 
joyned into the Religious Sentiments and 
practices of ye people called New light or 
Saparates." The following year another 
woman was " put from under friends care 
until fhe makes Satisfaction " on the same 
charge. 

The New Light doctrines seem to have 
been the only religious difficulty Friends 
had to contend with in Narragansett. It 
is natural that any revolt from the orderly 
ways of Friends should go to the furthest 
extreme possible at the time. Episcopacy 
and Presbyterianism do not appear to have 
troubled the meeting. But there were al- 
ways sins of conduct to contend with, and 
the meeting kept a watchful eye upon its 
members. A man was reported as he " had 
of late tarried at the Tavern unfeafonable 
and drinked to Excefs his Behaviour and 
Converfation being diforderly therein,*' and 
was duly dealt with. Another man is re- 



THE WORK OF THE MEETING lOI 

ported to the South Kingstown Prepara- 
tive Meeting, as he " had Conducted Difor- 
derly in Selling Spirituous Liquors By 
Small Quantities without Licenfe." ^ Two 
Friends were appointed to treat with him. 

The young men were dealt with for fight- 
ing, which they " openly condemn " as being 
against " the Peacable principles we Pro- 
fefs," and also for using " unbecoming and 
prophain language for which reproachful 
act I am very forry and do freely condemn," 
the repentant young man declares. Young 
Caleb Hazard confesses that he " has of late 
fo far given way to the paflion of anger as 
to ftrike and fight with Coon Williams," 
which he freely condemns. A paper was 
read at the Richmond meeting-house in 
August, 1767, which must have caused a 
good deal of talk before and after the read- 
ing. " A man," the writer says, 
come to me in my field and tho I Defired 
him to Keep off yet made an attempt 
to beat or abufe me to prevent which 
I Suddenly and with too much warmth 
puflied him from me with the Rake I 
was leaning on, which act of mine as it 
did not manifeft to that Christian patience 

1 Vol. i. p. 226. 



102 NARRAGANSETT FRIENDS' MEETING 

and Example in SufEering Tryals of every 
Kind becoming my profeffion I therefore 
Freely Condemn it and Defire that I may 
be enabled for the future to Suffer pa- 
tiently any abufe or whatever elfe I may 
be Tried with and alfo Defire Friends to 
Continue their watchful care over me. 
Solomon Hoxsie made a complaint of 
a man *' Giving him an occafion of uneafi- 
nefs by Charging him with Vfing Deciet 
with him at feveral times." Thomas Haz- 
ard and other Friends were appointed to 
inquire into the case and make report: 
" We adjudge that John Knowles condemn 
his charge of Deceit againft Solomon Hox- 
fie at fome meeting of friends which the 
meeting fhall think Confident with good 
order." Another man is charged with using 
an " Unfavory expreflion, What if you 
Should Try it out with your guns," which 
he is advised to condemn. 

All cases of dispute were to be adjusted 
by the meeting, and both parties sometimes 
gave a binding obligation to abide by the 
decision rendered. One of the Congdons 
of Charlestown was complained of by a 
Friend " for ufing of him hardly in bargain- 
ing," and a committee was appointed "to 



THE WORK OF THE MEETING I03 

inquire into the Viracity" of the com- 
plaint. 

Nathan Tucker, who appeared for his 
father in this case, had to give 

his obligation to ftand and abide the De- 
termination of fuch Friends as Shall or 
may be chosen and agreed to and fully 
authorized by faid Joseph and Nathan 
to Hear Judge and final Determination 
make of the whole Controversy. . . . But 
notwithftanding the parties are firft to be 
Urged to an amicable and equitable fet- 
tlement amongft themfelves and make re- 
turn of their fuccefs to our next Monthly 
Meeting.^ 

Friends could sometimes appeal from the 
judgment of the committee, and a new com- 
mittee could reconsider the case, as in the 
following instance : — 

The friends appointed to Treat with 
Dan Bowing Concerning his not comply- 
ing with the judgement of flfriends in a 
cafe between him and one of his neigh- 
bors Made Report that their Judgment 
is that friend Bowing ought not to pay 
anything on that Judgment them friends 
gave.^ 

1 Vol. i. p. 230. « Ibid, p. (Z. 



104 NARRAGANSETT FRIENDS' MEETING 

In another case there was a difference 
between two Friends about settling their 
accounts. The meeting appointed three 
Friends to assist in settling, and, if they 
could not do it with the advice of the com- 
mittee, to " Deliver each of their acco'ts 
into the hands of the Said Committee and 
they to fettle them & make Report." They 
"Completed that affair according to Ap- 
pointment" ist nth month, 1755. 

If Friends ventured to appeal to the law 
instead of to the meeting they were severely 
dealt with, for St. Paul's maxim was closely 
followed. A member who had sued his 
son-in-law, contrary to the good order of 
Friends, is mentioned. The " Meeting Re- 
quefts of him to Defift fuch Diforderly 
proceedings, and Defires him to attend our 
next Monthly Meeting to make friends Sat- 
isfaction." * 

In another case, " South Kingftown in- 
formed that John Barber has fo far difre- 
garded the Rules of Friends Discipline as 
to fue a Friend at Common Law." Thomas 
Hazard and William Robinson were ap- 
pointed to treat with him, and to inform 
him " unlefs he makes faid Friend Satis- 

* Vol. i. p. 92. 



THE WORK OF THE MEETING 105 

faction for the unneceffary coft and trouble 
he has put him to, and alfo condemn his 
faid difregard to Friends Difcipline that 
he will be denied Memberfhip." ^ 

Even giving advice as to an appeal to the 
law was a breach of discipline. A man and 
his wife are mentioned who " conducted 
Diforderly in that they advifed and encour- 
aged their fon " to prosecute a friend at 
common law, and " they are advifed to 
condemn it." 

The meeting was very jealous of the 
credit of its members. Men were dealt 
with for not paying their debts, and dis- 
owned if they proved dishonorable about it. 
An example may be taken as a typical case. 

In 1766 South Kingstown Preparative 
Meeting informed the monthly meeting 
" that it was neceffary a Committee be ap- 
pointed to infpect the circumftances " of a 
Friend. John Collins, Thomas Wilbon, and 
Thomas Hazard were immediately appointed 
*' to go out and treat with faid Robert he 
being prefent in regard to his circumftances 
and make Report to this Meeting." This 
committee reported " that by his Account 
his Debts and his Eflate are near: about 

1 VoL i. p. 167. 



I06 NARRAGANSETT FRIENDS' MEETING 

equivalent exclufive of his Houfehold 
Goods and a few Cooper's Tools the Farm 
he bought of the Heirs of James Bowdoen 
and the purchafe money not included." 
This would seem a large exception, and the 
committee was instructed " to make further 
infpection of the Said Robert's circum- 
ftances and make Report thereof." 

The next month the committee reported, 
" from his information," the records carefully- 
state, " that he hath bought a tract of land 
of the Heirs of Bowdoin of Bofton lying 
in Richmondtown, the confideration three 
hundred feventy five Dollars to be paid on 
ye lo of ye i mo 1767. The faid land 
being vewed by us the Said Confideration 
in our Eftimation is too much, and further 
that he hath an Opportunity to enter into 
the improvement of his brother Samuel's 
houfe and farm and to have the ufe of one 
yoke of Oxen therewith at the Rent per 
annum of 1 10 yards of Common Shirting 
flanning and the keep of one Yearling 
Horfe." 

(Signed) John Collins. 

Thomas Wilbore. 

Thomas Hazard. 



THE WORK OF THE MEETING 10/ 

This year and the year following, 1 766- 
67, were the years in which College Tom 
made some of his most curious bargains. 
He bought a horse, a " Dark Coloured 
Natural pacing Horse " he calls it, in 1 766, 
for fifty-five silver dollars, but the value of 
the money was to be taken in molasses, in- 
digo, and tea. In the case of this Friend 
whom College Tom was endeavoring to as- 
sist, the bargain for the land was made in 
dollars also, but the rent to be paid in 
" Common Shirting flanning," and the keep 
of a colt, shows how scarce actual money 
was. 

The committee appointed to assist in this 
case wrote a letter to Boston to endeavor 
to get Friend Robert released from his pur- 
chase, and he reported that he had signed 
and forwarded the letter, a copy of which 
was presented to the meeting. As he also 
proposed " to fell fo much of his perfonal 
Eftate as would difcharge his contracts, and 
provide a fuitable place for his family and 
put himfelf to Labour this meeting advife 
him to purfue it." ^ 

At the 6th month meeting. Friends re- 
ported that little had been done toward set- 

* VoL i. p. 174. 



I08 NARRAGANSETT FRIENDS* MEETING 

tling Robert's debts, and at the 9th month 
meeting the same was true ; " therefor as it 
is not reputable any longer to delay this 
meeting advifes him to notify his Creditors 
as foon as conveniently may be and deliver 
up his Eftate or fo much of it as will fatisfy 
all his Creditors." 

At the next meeting, Friends reported that 
"faid Robert has concluded to perfue the 
advice of the Monthly Meeting by notifying 
his Creditors and deliver up his Eftate to 
them which is referred to wait for his per- 
formance thereof." 

It was six months that this Friend had 
been advised by the meeting, and the case 
continued much longer. The account of 
his debts was brought in, which amounted 
" to fifty eight and three quarters of a dol- 
lar, and also Perfonal Eftate Amounting 
to the Same Sum," which he was desired to 
" offer up " to satisfy his creditors. The 
sum seems ridiculously small to modern 
ears, but the scarcity of money must be re- 
membered. Corn in 1767 was ninety shil- 
lings a bushel, and one ewe lamb sold for 
six pounds in bills. Turned into old tenor. 
Friend Robert's debts would amount to over 
;^46o, which seems a more considerable 



THE WORK OF THE MEETING 109 

sum to be advised about After several 
months' delay he reported he had only one 
creditor left, and finally he appeared in 
meeting and " informed that he had fettled 
with his one creditor." 

But misfortune pursued him, and in 6th 
month, 1772, he had some very urgent ad- 
vice. He was first to deliver up the pos- 
session of the farm which he had improved 
for several years to his brother, who had 
bought it. He is advised : — 

2°*^ that he difpofe of his flock farming 
Utenfils etc Sufficient to pay all his 
Debts. That he accept of the privilege 
that his Father and Brother offers him 
(that is the Room in the houfe that he 
lives in untill next Spring and milk of one 
Cow this seafon and an acre and a half 
of land already planted for such a confid- 
eration as they have agreed on), 

4**" [sic] that he put himfelf at labour 
for the Support of his family what time 
he hath. 

5*^ that he Endeavour to find Suitable 
places to put out his Children to trades 
and learning to fitt them for bufiness, and 
take friends Advice therein.^ 

1 VoL i. p. 262. 



no NARRAGANSETT FRIENDS' MEETING 

Thus closely were the outward affairs of 
the members under tlie care of the meeting. 
Two or three debtors are mentioned who 
left town without paying their debts, and 
very plain language is used of them. One 
man, who was denied for this reason, is in- 
formed that " this was a piece of Conduct 
not only againft the Rules of the Society 
but fcandalous in its Nature and injurious 
to thofe to whom he was indebted " in the 
paper that was publicly read denouncing 
him. The power of public opinion was 
thus used for honesty and uprightness. 

In another case, Thomas Hazard and 
Joseph Congdon were appointed to inform 
a debtor "What friends require of him.*' 
This man desired time to settle, "as the 
weather has been Difficult and he lame," a 
mode of expression which appeals to one's 
S3rmpathies. But the meeting was just, 
and, though they gave time in abundance, 
finally insisted on satisfaction. 

Thomas Hazard was again on a commit- 
tee which dealt very plainly with another 
delinquent It was proposed to Job Irish, 
"by way of Advice," that he "provide 
proper place amongfl Friends for his wife 
and children, deliver up to his Creditors 



THE WORK OF THE MEETING HI 

all of his worldly Eftate to be equitably 
divided amongft them, hire himfelf out by 
the year by Huf bandry or otherwife for as 
much as he can juftly get, live frugally and 
make payment ftill with what he fhall have 
to fpare of his Earnings," This was at the 
2d month meeting, 1767, and the vigorous 
English is doubtless College Tom's. Five 
months later, " Stephen Hoxfie informed 
that he had not yet fent the Writing to Job 
Irilh which Friends ordered him to write 
and fend." At the next meeting " Stephen 
Hoxfie is defired to take care to fend to 
Job Irilh as foon as he conveniently can." 
But at the loth month meeting he has " yet 
omitted fending to Job Irilh as he was ap- 
pointed to do." Nine months after the let- 
ter was directed to be sent, " Stephen Hoxfie 
informed that he has fent forward the letter 
that he was to write to Job Irilh, but Friends 
not having any account whether he has re- 
ceived it or not, therefore that matter con- 
cerning him is referred." Early in the next 
year it was again referred, " as Friends have 
no account from him, and as it is uncer- 
tain whether he received what was wrote to 
him by the Clerk refpecting his creditors." 
Finally, fourteen months after the first ac- 



112 NARRAGANSETT FRIENDS* MEETIJSTG 

tion, " This Meeting is informed that Job 
Irifli has received the writing that the 
Clerk wrote to him and that he is defirous 
Friends would yet wait fome longer time 
with him therefore Friends Condefcends 
to wait with him until the next Monthly 
Meeting." 

This incident shows clearly the difEcul- 
ties of communication over the country 
roads. Matthew Allen, who was a South 
Kingstown representative when the meet- 
ing was set apart at East Greenwich, was 
once summoned to appear at monthly meet- 
ing, but sent excuse, '' he being an ancient 
Man and the Diftance fo far to ride." 
From Stephen Hoxsie's, near the Rich- 
mond meeting-house, to Tower Hill, was 
indeed a good morning's ride, and Job Irish 
evidently lived in a remote part of the 
town. All travel was tedious, even with 
the good Narragansett pacers, and the con- 
sent of the meeting had to be obtained for a 
journey. On one occasion Robert Knowles 
''laid before this meeting his intention of 
going with his wife to Bofton to vifit their 
Parents and Relatives and defired a few 
lines of Friends Unity with him." A man 
and his wife acknowledge " their shortnefs 



THE WORK OF THE MEETING II3 

in not advifing with Friends timely " as to 
their removal, and many certificates are 
recorded where Friends went on a visit to 
Long Island or the Oblong. 

Indeed, the meeting was kept busy regu- 
lating the smaller as well as the larger 
affairs of life, and keeping closely to the 
"good order of Friends therein." 



VI 

THE WOMEN'S MEETING 



\ 



\ 



VI 



It is to the honor of George Fox that 
he early recognized the value of women's 
work in the church. There had been Sis- 
ters of Charity for hundreds of years before 
his time, but the cloistered nun had special 
work, and was shut oflE from the usual life 
of women. It was George Fox, who owed 
so much to Margaret Fell, who first estab- 
lished women's meetings in the church he 
founded, and made them of equal impor- 
tance with men's. Among the Friends, 
trained in habits of independent thought, 
and early taught individual responsibility, 
arose women of singular purity and beauty 
of life, — women of exalted character, and 
often of great spiritual gifts. 

At the establishment of the South Kings- 
town monthly meeting, the women's meet- 
ing, as well as the men's, was set in order 
and the records regularly kept. These 
form an interesting comment on the fuller 
records of the men's meeting, and begin in 
1744, a few months later than the men's 



lis NARRAGANSETT FRIENDS* MEETIJVG 

records. They are preserved in a small 
quarto volume, which cost fourteen shil- 
lings, as the first entry duly records. Anna 
Perry was the first clerk, and served for 
fifteen years. Her vagaries of spelling are 
delighthiUy individual. The meetings were 
always called "a Pon," and she was fre- 
quently appointed " to Draw an a Piflel to 
the Quarterly Meeting." It must have been 
difiicult for the women to meet regularly, 
riding, as they had to, from Richmond or 
Westerly to Tower Hill, or from Tower 
Hill to the other meetings. Often, when 
the meetingis were called " a Pon,** the 
entry comes, "So Kingstown now a Pear- 
rence. Westerly now a Pearrence Notwith- 
ftanding the Vi'fitors has Maid Some Pro- 
grefs in Vifiting the familys of friends and 
are in Some Degree Satisfied theirwith," 
and the " a Piffel " was drawn and signed. 
In 1758 a new clerk succeeded, as the 
women were "under a Weighty fence of 
the Loss it is to the Meeting not having a 
Clerk Abilitated to Attend the Service." 
The present clerk informed that she could 
not, and " the Meeting thinks Proper To 
be Looking out for one " that may attend. 
At the next meeting, Mary Hull was ap- 



THE WOMEN'S MEETING II9 

pointed, much to the benefit of the spelling. 
Content Davis, Peter Davis's wife, Abigail 
Rodman, and Anne Hoxsie were prominent 
among the women as visitors, and on com- 
mittees to see to the orderly conduct of 
marriages. Five shillings were paid for 
sweeping out one of the meeting-houses ; 
as already noticed, New Lights were dealt 
with, and the regular and orderly routine of 
Friends was carefully attended to. In what 
estimation the women's meeting was held 
in South Kingstown is well shown by the 
minute which Thomas Hazard was in- 
structed to draw up in 1771. The Nine 
Partners' Monthly Meeting had sent " lines " 
to the South Kingstown meeting, to in- 
timate that it was not according to their 
practice to receive women Friends unless 
their certificate was signed by the clerk of 
the men's meeting : — 

Therefore in Condefention to our 
friends of the monthly meeting at Nine 
partner's we do hereby direct the Clerk 
of this meeting to fignifie to s^ monthly 
meeting that we have neither precedent 
nor Difcipline amongfl us for fuch a 
practice, neither do we think it Convn- 
ant [convenient] So far to Degrade our 



120 NARRAGANSETT FRIENDS* MEETING 

women's meeting. But to Let them have 
the Ufe and Exerfife of our Difcipline as 
occafion may call for it in Conducting 
the affairs of their meeting not Defiring 
the Preheminence when Truth admits 
of none But believing that both male 
& female are all one in Chrift Jefus. 
(Signed) Thomas Hazard Clerk this 
time, ist day of ye 4 mo. 1771. 

The respect with which the women's 
meeting of South Kingstown was spoken 
of, though doubtless due to the character 
of all the women in it, must have been in- 
creased by the career of two preaching 
Friends, Patience Greene, and later Alice 
Rathbone. As early as 1755, Patience 
Greene is called a " public friend," and a 
member of the Society gave Friends " an 
occafion of uneafiness by his not joining 
in prayer" with her in a public meeting. 
The days of open disturbance in meeting 
were not yet passed ; and, after being dealt 
with, the refractory member appeared in 
meeting and '^ faid that he hoped he fhould 
never give friends the Like occafion for 
Uneafiness which this meeting takes up 
with for Satisfaction." The case must have 



THE WOMEN'S MEETING 121 

caused a good deal of commotion, for it is 
several times referred to, and Friends are 
"cautioned to fhow no Public Marks of 
Difunion except they have certain Intelli- 
gence that fuch a Friend is under Deal- 
mg. 

Patience Greene had a remarkable career. 
She was the daughter of David and Mary 
Greene, called of North Kingstown, both 
members of the meeting, and, at the time 
of this public mark of disunity, was only 
twenty-two years old. An account of her 
life and services was published shortly after 
her death. The copy I have studied be- 
longed to Andrew Nichols, also a member 
of the meeting. She is said to have " Early 
found in herfelf a propenfity to folly dis- 
fipation and vanity." About the age of 
twenty-one, however, she appeared in " pub- 
lic teftimony," and, until her death forty 
years later, continued an ardent and valued 
preacher. After her marriage with Pre- 
served Brayton in 1758, they "were exer- 
cifed on account of the Slavery of the Afri- 
cans," and freed their own slaves. In 1771 
she traveled on a religious visit as far 
south as Georgia, leaving her " infant family 
feeming to require her nurfing attention," 



122 NARRAGANSETT FRIENDS^ AtEJSTII^G 

the old Testimony phrases it, and also had 
the "exercife of parting \dth a beloved 
weakly husband/' But, smile as ive may at 
the old phrases, it was a noble work she 
was called to, a work to which she felt her- 
self divinely led. Once they were lost in 
the woods, where they expected to spend 
the night, but she says, " I enjoyed vaore^ 
peace of mind upon tiiat reflection than I 
fhould in fome houfes that were filled with 
flaves, for that wounds me more than many 
other evils." She returned home after this 
long journey, most of it upon horseback, 
thirteen months from the time she left to 
find one child dead and another dying I 
Later she spent four years in England, 
from 1783 to 1787, traveling in England, 
Scotland, and Wales. In the latter coun- 
try she was much oppressed, as she could 
^ot speak the language, and there was no 
interpreter. As she sat in sorrow think- 
ing this over, and longing to speak to the 
people, a knock came at the door, and she 
knew an interpreter had been sent her I 
And so it proved, for " thus again the Al- 
mighty made way for me to my humbling 
admiration." 

Almost all the meetings in England, 



THE WOMEN'S MEETING 1 23 

small and great, were visited. She went 
to "our kind friend Lindley Murray's to 
lodge " at York. ** His converfation was 
reviving to my fpirits," she writes. The 
prisons were visited. It was still the time 
when capital punishment was inflicted for 
robbery, and debtors languished for years 
in jail. Finally she had a concern of mind 
to visit the King ! The way not opening, 
however, she sent him an admirable address 
on the subject of " promoting the freedom 
of the enflaved Negroes in thy dominions." 

It was a woman of this ardent and de- 
voted spirit who preached in the South 
Kingstown meeting in the freshness of her 
youth. 

Women Friends occasionally came from 
England, as in 1759, when "our Well es- 
teemed Friend Mary Kirby " brought cer- 
tificates from London, and her own meeting 
of Norfolk, England. Her traveling com- 
panion was Elizabeth Smith, a member of 
the Burlington meeting in " West Jerfeys." 
These certificates were read in the monthly 
meeting to "good Satisfaction," and the 
Friends were at liberty to preach in all the 
meetings. 

The women were strict in requiring at- 



124 NARRAGANSETT FRIENDS* MEETING 

tendance at meeting. In 1770 a commit- 
tee was appointed to deal with six Friends 
for not attending, and for not using plain 
language. Among the ladies visited Col- 
lege Tom's wife was mentioned. The next 
meeting, the committee reports " that they 
find fome making their excufes which they 
think is fome what reafonable." Elizabeth 
Hazard and three other Friends report 
"that they are willing but Difficulties at- 
tend their getting out to Meeting." So 
closely were Friends watched over. The 
system had its reverse side, as when the 
young women were dealt with for "keep- 
ing company" with one out of meeting. 
One cannot blame a high-spirited girl for 
saying, as Hannah Robinson did say, in 
1 768, when dealt with, " that she has as live 
Friends would deny her as not" Hezekiah 
CoUins's daughters condemned their being 
at a marriage "where there was frolick- 
ing;" but in spite of that, some Friends 
were "not fatisfied about what was done 
about Hezekiah Collins is Daughters," and 
the acceptance of their apology was recon- 
sidered, with the result of their being de- 
nied at the expiration of nine months. 
The records of quiet and peaceful doings 



THE WOMEN'S MEETING 125 

among the women are suddenly broken in 
1 763 by the mention of a woman who was 
complained of " for offering to Murder her 
Husband" I Several months afterward she 
had given no satisfaction, and in 2d mo., 
1 764, she was denied, as she has of " Late 
been charged with offering to Murder her 
Husband, for Which Reproachful Trans- 
greffion fhe Hath been Treated with Sev- 
eral Times." Her first name was Patience: 
perhaps that was all she had! She lived 
in Stonington, and one can imagine the 
excitement of Friends over such an oc- 
currence. In the marriage certificate of 
this woman she makes her mark only, as 
her sister does in hers, a rare thing in the 
case of Friends. 

But the great care of the women's meet- 
ing was to see that the young women of 
the Society married in " Younety," as the 
good clerk Anna Perry spells it in 1745, 
when a Friend presented a paper which 
condemned " her out Goings in taking a 
husband contrary to the minds of friends 
and is Received into Younety Again." A 
mother, a few years later, "condemns her 
forredness in Concenting to her fons mar- 
rag And going to the Wedding it being 



126 NARRAGANSETT FRIENDS' MEJSTIJVG 

out of the younety of f riends.'[> At this day 
it is difficult to imagine such ccmstant i&* 
terference with family a£Fairs. But at tbat 
time, in the neighboring colonies, the min* 
ister was the autocrat of the town. Here 
in Narragansett, Friends only advised, and 
the men's records as well as the women's 
are filled with cases where it was needed. 

It was reported to the meeting that Wil- 
liam Robinson had given his consent ta 
the marriage of his daughter with a yaung 
man not of the Society, "therefore our 
friends Solomon Hoxfie and Peleg Peckr 
ham are appointed to infpect into the ilate 
of that cafe, and to advife and caution as 
they find occafion and give us an accotmt 
thereof at our next Monthly Meeting," ^ 

This marriage proceeded, however, and 
took place in the house, after which there 
was "vain mirth," and William Robinson 
was duly dealt with. He acknowledged 
his ofEense, and said he had rather " it had 
been otherways," which the meeting did 
not accept as satisfaction, and he presented 
a more humble paper of acknowledgment, 
which was received. One of the good 
friends who dealt with William Robinson 

^ Vol. i. p. 202. 



THE WOMEN'S MEETING 



127 



on this occasion found a little later that 
girls are difficult to manage. He did not 
wait to be complained of, but in 1769 Solo- 
mon Hoxfie presented a paper to the meet- 
ing in which he gave an account that he 
" fufFered one of another Society to keep 
company with and alfo to marry his Bro- 
ther John Hoxfie's Daughter whom he 
brought up, which conduct he freely con- 
demned and defired Friends to pafs it by 
which paper he is defired to read at the end 
of the Firfl Day Meeting where he attends 
and return it to our next Monthly Meet- 
ing." * 

It makes a curious picture I — a man 
universally respected and honored, often 
charged with the grave concerns of the 
meeting, standing up at the end of wor- 
ship, and reading his own condemnation 
for allowing his niece to marry as she 
wished. If the girl had any affection for 
her uncle, it must have troubled her sorely 
to have brought such humiliation upon him. 

When marriages were made " in the good 
order of Friends," the young man and wo- 
man appeared in monthly meeting of men 
and women Friends on a fifth day, and laid 

• Vol. I p. 212. 



128 NARRAGANSETT FRIENDS' MEJSTIJSTG 

their intentions of marriage before the meet- 
ing. They were asked to wait till the next 
monthly meeting for their consent In the 
mean time a committee of men Friends was 
appointed to inquire into the young man's 
^' converfation and cleamefs as to mar- 
riage," and the women's meeting visited 
the young woman. If these inquiries were 
satisfactory, when the young people ap- 
peared at the next meeting, and 'Tignifi^ 
they were of the fame mind," the meeting 
gave consent and appointed two Friends to 
attend the wedding, to report how it was 
carried on. One late autumn day, we find, 
**The weather being Difficult the Young 
woman Could not be prefent," and the 
man appeared alone for his answer. The 
women's record puts it very simply, as 
when it states that '' Sylvefter Robinfon and 
Alice Perry appeared for their anfwer and 
had it." 

If the lady belonged to a different meet- 
ing, the man, '* having the Intention of al- 
tering his Condition by way of Marriage," 
desired "a few lines from ffriends of his 
Cleamefs therein in thefe parts." New- 
port damsels in this way were often brought 
to Narragansett 



THE WOMEN'S MEETING 129 

Consent to marriage was sometimes re- 
fused, as with the young man College Tom 
and Peleg Peckham dealt with. They re- 
port that they find "nothing but that he 
is clear as to marriage, but fome other 
Branches of his Converfation not fo pure 
as they Defire." A committee was ap- 
pointed to treat further with him, but he 
gave them "No encouragement of Com- 
plying with the good order of Truth, there- 
fore this meeting Do not permit him to 
marry among Friends." ^ 

The weddings took place at the meeting- 
houses at a week-day meeting, when the 
pair stood, before all their relations and 
friends, and solemnly plighted each other 
their troth. " I take this My friend Alice 
Perry," Sylvester Robinson said, " to be my 
wife, promifing through divine affiftance to 
be unto her a faithful and a£Fectionate hus- 
band until Death fhall feparate us." The 
damsel Alice repeated words "of the like 
import," as the old form phrases it, and the 
religious part of the ceremony was over. 
Then the great certificate was signed by 
the bride and groom, their parents and 
friends and neighbors, after which came 

» Vol. i. p. 85. 



130 NARRAGANSETT FRIENDS UEETING 

the festiviti^ of which the overs6@m doine- 
times complained. ''Some of the ^<mtif^ 
people were not To orderly as could bei de- 
fired/' a Friend reports. S<Me wedcfiiigb 
^ were pretty orderly caitied o^n," and olhen 
^ orderiy as far as my obfervation," ti^e 
Friend says. Did the kindly did gend#- 
man turn away from beholding vanityi and, 
shutting himself in the dinittg-roc^ wii& 
the roasts synd the sweets, pay no att^tiooi 
to the " Concouife of Young pec^le *' I Fi» 
the young people liked to dance theft ttft 
now, and, if they could not dance at Frietids* 
wteddings, there were others in NartagSii. 
sett where they could. Two Perry broth^rt 
are dealt with On this account, smd defeinl 
themselves in the modem spirit Our 
friends Thomas Hazard and Peleg Peck- 
ham sign the report, which reads : — 

Purfuant to our appointment we havi6 
treated with Jonathan Perry and Samuel 
Perry for their being at an Entertain*^ 
ment fubfequent to a Marriage at which 
there was vain Recreation. Now here 
follows the fubilance of Jonathan's fenti- 
ment on the affair (viz) that he did no 
harm nor received any there and that he 
had rather be in the Meeting. SamueFs 



THE WOMEN'S MEETING 131 

fentiments as we underftood from what 
he faid amount to this (viz) that he 
thought there was no harm in keeping 
the company neither received any at the 
faid Entertainment and that he was will- 
ing to send in a paper to the Meeting 
but neglected to do it although urged 
thereto/ 

Jonathan Perry afterwards presented a 
paper condemning his misconduct, but a 
year or so later he is again reported as at- 
tending a wedding and apparently dancing 
himself, whereupon he is again called to 
account. Samuel Perry makes explicit ac- 
knowledgment : — 

Through my too great inattention to 
the dictates of Truth in my own Mind 
and attachment to light and vain Com- 
pany I have been to an Entertainment 
of late where there was vain Recreation 
which I too much countenanced and 
joined with all of which is Contrary to 
the Good Order of Truth as well as the 
Difcipline of our Society which I look 
upon to be neceffary to reftrain Youth 
from fuch undue Liberties. 
Therefore he condemns his conduct.^ 

1 Vol. i. p. 179, ^ • Ibid* p. 184. 



132 NARRAGANSETT FRIENDS* MEETII^G 

When young Friends . actually married 
out of meeting, they often presented a pa- 
per of acktrowledgment, and were received 
again. It must have been rather a bitter 
thing for a man to present " some lines " 
even '4n some Meafure condemning his 
mifconduct in marrying out of Unity of 
Friends," and to have it referred for further 
consideration.^ This last paper was still 
" referred that Friends may have a Sight 
and Senfe of his Sincerity in condemning 
his mifconduct." After all, the man was 
married, and how could he sincerely con- 
demn it if he loved his bride? 

One man appeared in meeting and ^ in- 
formed Friends that he had unadvifedly 
and inconfiderately married out of the 
Rules of the Society," which he "freely 
and heartily " condemned.^ 

Another, who had made a marriage con- 
trary to Friends' rules, declared that if they 
would " pass it by " he would endeavor to 
be more steady ! 

A third man presents the following pa- 
per, which makes one wonder what kind of 
woman his wife was : — 

I do hereby acknowledge that I have 

1 Vol. i. p. 212. * Ibid, p. 156. 



THE WOMEN'S MEETING 133 

wilfully and knowingly transgreffed the 
good Order and Rules of the Society 
in proceeding in Marriage with a woman 
not of the Society nor according to the 
Method allowed of amongft Friends for 
which Transgreffion I am heartily forry 
and do defire Friends to forgive and pafs 
by and hope that I fliall by the Lord's 
affiftance be preferved not only from 
Transgreffions of fo wilful a kind but 
alfo from all others.* 

In 1758 all marriages not among Friends 
were forbidden by the Society, and Friends 
adhered to their rules.^ 

This great care for the proper solemniza- 
tion of marriage is seen to be necessary 
when we remember that the day of marry- 
ing in shifts was not long past Two cases, 
among others, are on record in the South 
Kingstown Records, one in 1719, when the 
man took the woman in marriage " After 
fhe had gone Four times a cros the High- 
way In Only her Shift and hairlace and no 
other Clothing " I ' The other woman, in 
1724, had her " Shift and hair Lace and no 

1 Vol. i. p. 112. 

3 Ibid. p. 85. 

» S. K. Council Records^ No. i, 1 704-1 723. 



134 NARMm^KTT FRIENDS MEETIJ^G 

other clpthiog oil tlial; I fe/^f ibe ^stioe 
who marries them declares. These irere 
both w|^fcer weddings, one in Fetpinaiy 
aijid one in Deeonberi so tiiat humanity, 
as well as de^eiK^ and honesty, were out- 
raged. For the object erf the curious cere- 
mony wai3 the evasion of debt If the wdfe 
brought ber husband notUng, she could 
not even bring her debts, and he ix^us fir^ 
from paying them, which he would c^er- 
wise have to do. 

When such ei^treme care was msu^iifested 
by thje mie^ting in regard to ixuurriage, it 
may well be imagined how severe the d^d* 
ings of Friends were with immoraUty. 
Some young members are on record for 
^'diforderly and fcandalous conduct," and 
requested to clear themselves of the charges 
brought against them. Their offenses are 
described in very plain Englbh, and, no 
matter what position their fathers had in 
meeting, they were expelled if the charge 
was proved true. With Roman fortitude 
the father in one case signed the document 
with the other Friends, setting forth his 
son's misdoing, which was publicly read, 

* Town Meeting Records^ Births ^ Marriages^ etc., 1723- 
1726, p. 69 (from the back of the volume). 



THE WOMEN'S MEETING 135 

denouncing him. In one case, after five 
years of disfellowship, the young man was 
received into the Society again, and a cer- 
tificate given him allowing him to marry. 
Only one woman in a period of thirty years 
was dealt with on a similar charge. 

'^We may smile at the quaint phraseology 
of the records, but it was a good service 
those women did. Patience Greene, with 
her gifts of exhortation; Content Davis, 
visiting the families of Friends ; good Anna 
Perry, with her oddities of spelling, — all 
did an important work. 

In a new country, and in a time of lax 
morality, the service rendered by the high 
standard of Friends can hardly be over- 
estimated.j 



I 



II 



VII 
SLAVERY 



VII 

The Friends in Narragansett seem to 
have united, in no common degree, spiritual 
virtues with temporal prosperity. If they 
had a David Greene, whose daughter spoke 
of heavenly things, and left all to preach 
the gospel, they also had substantial and 
well-to-do farmers, the Rodmans and Haz- 
ards, and others, who, like their neighbors, 
worked their farms with slaves. South 
Kingstown was richer in slaves than any 
other part of Rhode Island, and any effort 
for the abolition of slavery would be sure 
to arouse opposition. 

It is difficult to determine the exact num- 
ber of slaves in South Kingstown. The 
probate records for 1743 mention only 
nineteen bequeathed by will in that year. 
The will of George Hazard shows that he 
possessed fifteen of this number. We have 
the tradition of the negro election day, 
when, in imitation of their masters, one of 
their own number was elected governor; 
and the laws for the regulation of slaves 



140 NARRAGANSETT FRIENDS' MEETING 

show that the number was very consider- 
able. As early as 1729 there was a law 
passed to allow a master to manumit his 
slave on deposit of ;^ 100 security. In 1750 
a law was passed forbidding the selling of 
" strong beer, ale, cider, wine, rum, brandy, 
or other strong liquor, to any Indian, Mu- 
latto or Negro servant" To guard against 
evasion, it was specified that no person was 
to "presume to sell, give, truck, barter or 
exchange " this liquor with a slave. Slaves 
were to be within doors at nine o'clock at 
night, or to be " publickly whipped by the 
conftable ten stripes" for each offense. 
They were not allowed to keep " creaters '' 
in South Kingstown.^ So it is quite evident 
that slave-holding formed an integral part 
of the social order of Friends in Narra- 
gansett 

To them came John Woolman in 1 748 
and 1 760, stirring the meeting with his 
preaching, and his private as well as public 
testimony against slavery. He and his 
companions held five meetings in the latter 
year, when he says he went " through deep 
exercifes that were mortifying to the crea- 
turely will. In feveral families where we 
lodged I felt an engagement on my mind 



SLAVERY 141 

to have a conference with them in private 
concerning their flaves."^ John Pember- 
ton also came during this period probably, 
as his letter indicates.^ These were saintly 
men, well tried, and full of faith. These 
doubtless did not need the caution given 
by the Discipline of 1775, "to be careful 
how and what they offer in prayer, avoid- 
ing many words and repetitions ; and not 
turning from Supplication into declaration, 
as though the Lord wanted information." 
I have elsewhere given the history of the 
movement against slavery in part,^ but 
fuller study of the Records has made fresh 
disclosures. The first recorded testimony 
against slavery is that of Richard Smith, 
who presented a paper as " his testimony 
againfl: keeping Slaves, and his Intention 
to free his negro Girl," dated the 28*^ 11"^ 
1757. This paper " he hath a mind to lay 
before the quarterly meeting, all which is re- 
ferred for further Confideration." * Month 
after month passed and no action was 
taken upon it, but the paper remains on 
record " to fhow the reafon and make it 
manifeft to mankind why that I difcharge 

1 WoolmsLTi^s /oumal, p. 161. • College Toniy p. 182. 
« College Tom, pp. 169-1 78. * S, K, M. M, R. vol. i. p. 82. 



142 NARRAGANSETT FRIENDS' MEETTJ^G 

sAd fet free my Nc^pro garl named J^ne." 
Then follows an aigoment agaiMt skirer^ , 
based upon the Golden Rnle, at thie c^ofi* 
elusion of which comes diis fiafsdnal eksStt- 
ment : — 

Sometime after I had written tliis EMb- 
charge I had it in Confideration n^fak^h 
way wie proper to make it Slan^eft ^. 
Secure and it appeared to me veify pitl* 
per to lay before Friends at the prepari- 
tive meeting, as btiifinefs to the MoniMy 
Meeting, to fee if the Monthly Meetii^ 
would think proper diat it might be put 
on Record or would forward Untill I 
might Know what might be done hy 
Friends on this acct for this thing hath 
had weight on my mind ever Sinc^ tiiis 
Girl was put into my hands to prove 
me in this part of Self Denial whetiier 
I would be faithfull or not Now my 
Friends to tell you plainly Some Years 
before this my Intent was to have bought 
Some Negrows flaves for to have done 
my work to have Saved hireing of help. 
But when I was about buying them I 
was forbidden by the fame power that 
now caufes me to fet this Girl at Liberty 
for the matter was fet before me in a 



SLA VERY 143 

Clear manner more Clear than what 
Mortal Man could have done, and There- 
fore I believe it is not write for' me to 
Shrink or hide in a thing of fo great 
Concernment as to give my Confent to 
do to others Contrary to what we Our 
Selves would be willing to be done unto 
Our Selves if we were in Slavery as 
many of them are at this Day & under 
Such Mailers and Miflreffes too as would 
be willing to be called Chrifts true fol- 
lowersand make a Profeffion of fome of 
his Truths but if we truly Confider God 
will have no part kept back for he calls 
for Juftice and mercy and his Soul Loaths 
the Oppreffing of the Inocent and poor 
& helplefs and Such as have none to 
help and will affuredly avenge their caufe 
in Righteousnefs. Thefe things I have 
found on my mind to lay before Friends 
as a matter worth due Confideration and 
fo lay it before this Meeting as Bufinefs. 

(Signed) Richard Smith. 

So the principle involved in slavery was 
very clearly stated as early as 1757.^ 

In 1 762 the " Quarterly and Yearly Meet- 

^ Additional Testimony, Appendix, p. 186. 



144 NARRAGANSETT FRIENDS' MEETING 

ing Confirmed the Judgement of our Mo^ 
Meeting given againft Samuel Rodman on 
account of his buying a negro Slave. And 
it is the mind of friends that there ought 
to go out a publick Tefiimony and Daoial 
of Samuel Rodman," which was referred to 
the next monthly meeting. At the next 
meeting, Stephen Hoxsie was appomt^ to 
draw up a "paper of f rds Teftimony of' 
Difowning," as it was the ^^Sence and 
Judgement" of the meeting. Notwith- 
standing this, in 1765 came the RsUlibun 
case, which was before the meeting eight 
years. Having bought a negro girl, Joshua 
Rathbun "appeared tender" when dealt 
with for jpat disorder, and was brought to 
confess hts error, as follows : — 

Westerly: 27*: i2**'m** 1765. 

To the monthly Meeting of Friends to 
be held at Richmond next 

Dear Friends. I hereby Acknowledge 
that I have Acted diforderly in purchas- 
ing a Negro Slave, which diforder I was 
Ignorant of, at the time of the Pur- 
chafe but having converfed with Several 
Friends upon the Subject of Slavery 
have gained a knowledge that heretofore 



SLAVERY I4S 

I was ignorant of, both as to the Rules 
of our Society, as well as the nature & 
inconfiftancy of making Slaves of our 
Fellow Creatures am therefore free, & 
do condemn that inconfiderate Act & 
defire Friends to pafs it by, hoping that 
I may be preferr**, from all conduct that 
may bring Uneafinefs upon Friends for 
the future, am Willing likewife to take 
the Advice of Friends both as to the 
bringing up & difcharging of the afores* 
Negro.^ 

Joshua Rathbun. 

This evidently sincere paper was accepted 
by the meeting, and for some time the mat- 
ter dropped. 

In 1 769 occurs this significant entry : — 
This Meeting moves the Quarterly 

Meeting to confider the propriety of the 

latter part of the loth Query which is 

fent up thereto in the Account from this 

Meeting.^ 

The tenth Query was the query as to 
slave-holding among members. In this 
very year the Quarterly Meeting proposed 
to the Yearly Meeting "fuch an amend- 

» VoL i. p. 171. * Ibid. p. 212. 



I4S NARRAGANSETT famimS' MEMT£R^ 

ment d the Qwxyti, 1760 as lliottM ftc^ 
imi^y tliat the holditig <rf flavds wais al- 
lowed/' ^ li seems as if thb dia&ge may 
have come directly from the SoiHh Kbg^ 
town meeting. Thomas Hasaid had long 
bdore freed his slaves, early ia the iortfes, 
having refused to hoM any^ Richard Smilh 
in 1757 had borne his testimony agatest 
slavery. Samuel Rodman in 1762, mid 
Joshua Rathbun in 1765, had been dolt 
with, so that the time was coming wliQii a 
decisive movement could be made. 

Such were tl^ conditions when in 1771 
Joshua Rathbun made over his negro girl 
to his son for the consideration of fifty 4o1t 
hurs. The money was ^ made up anotber 
way/' the record says, the old man evidenti^ 
trying this to salve his conscience, as h^ 
had promised to set the girl at liberty at a 
suitable age. The son was first dedt ii^th, 
and denied membership, because he 
Encouraged the Detefiible practice of 
enflaving Mankind by his takeing a bill 
of sale of a negro girl of his Father and 
afterward Sold her fo that She was car- 
ried out of the Country notwithftanding 

^ Publications of the R. L Historical Society^ Slavery in 
R. L 1755-1776, W. D. Johnston, p. 148. 



his promife to his sd father to Sett her 

at Liberty at a Suitable age.^ 

The father was desired to try to recover 
the girl, and even advised to " Commince 
and profecute " his son " for the Recovery 
of Damages upon a promis " naade by the 
son, which he failed to do. 

The meeting held at Joshua Rathbun's 
house was ordered discontinued in 1771, as 
he " did not (land Clear in his Teflimony 
for the Caufe of Truth as he ought to have 
done " against Slavery. But he replied two 
years later, during which time he apparently 
continued the meetings, that " he Ihould 
be glad to take friends' Advice but hath 
peace in holding faid Meetings apprehend- 
ing it as he faid as his duty."^ His wife 
was dealt with by the Women's Meeting, 
and acknowledged her offense in sitting in 
a meeting out of unity, though it was in 
her own house, and finally the old man 
was denied his membership. 

Ten Friends are mentioned in 1771 who 
were under dealing about their slaves. Old 
Dr. Rodman, who lived by the dam on the 
Saugatucket where Peace Dale now is, 
" appeared in this meeting, and Saith that 

' S. K. M. if. H. vol. L p. 260. » Ibid. p. 276. 



148 NARRAGANSETT FRIENDS* MEBTIATG 

he ihall not comply with the Rules of the 
Society Refpecting his Slaves to Liberate 
them." ^ Some members '' appears of a dis- 
pofition to comply with friends rules ' in 
liberating their flaves," but five Friends, 
among them two women, one of whom 
was College Tom's mother, Sarah Hazard, 
widow, " did fhew the Contrary Difpofi- 
tion." Three were denied membership. 
Sarah Hazard must have been converted 
by her son, for only one woman proved 
obdurate, and was " noticed " to the Wo- 
men's Meeting.^ 

In the women's records, the first mention 
of " the bufinefs concerning flaves " occurs 
at the 1 2th month Women's Meeting, 1771. 
It was continued and reported upon for a 
year, when the paper of denial was drawnr 
up. The disowning of this woman is dated 
23d day of the tenth month, 1772, and is 
a noble testimony from the Women's Meet- 
ing. She is denied her membership, as — 
of late it doth appear that She bath Re- 
fufed to comply with that part of our 
Difcipline which is againft the enflavingr 
Mankind a Practice very repugnant to 
Truth and Equity an invation of the 

* S. K, M, M. R, vol. i. p. 245. « Bid, p. 245. 



SLAVERY 149 

Natural Rights of Mankind fubjecting 
them to a ftate of Bondage and oppres- 
fion woUy Inconfiftent with the Spirit 
of the Gofple now having dealt with her 
According to the order of the Gofple 
in much Labour and forbearence that 
the oppreffed might go Free. But fhe 
Conueth to Difobey the Truth and re- 
luctant to our advice on its behalf We 
have Denied her Memberfhip in our 
Society until She return To the Truth 
and make Satiffaction for her Tranfgres- 
fion which is our Sincear Defire This 
teftimony Given forth in behalf of the 
Truth and againft Tyranny & Oppreffion 
from our Monthly Meeting of Women 
Friends held at Richmond the 23 day of 
Tenth month 1772. 

Signed by ten women. 
At the 4th monthly meeting, 1771, a com- 
mittee was appointed to treat with all who 
" poffes flaves." They were kept busy for 
two years, and in 1773 report that "they 
dont find there is any held As Slaves by 
Frds." ^ 

Notwithstanding this encouraging entry 
in the records, the committee to visit slave- 

^ S, K. M. M. R. vol. iL p. i. 



ISO NARRAGANSETT FRIENDS* MEETING 

keepers was i»tiU coatiiiued» and fouml a 
little more to do, A list of emancipaled 
slav^ gives (lie names of five Uberated in 
*i773»* and eight more who were fteed at 
intervals till 1 786, which was two years after 
tiie Emancipation Act had been passed 
by the Rhode Island legislature. But the 
meeting had clearly declared its principles, 
and stood boldly for libarty^ 

. It is interesting to follow the course of 
the men denied Among them, Jo^ua 
Rathbun claims our sympathy most ol all ; 
and the following touching letter, written 
two years after his denial, is in conicmnity 
with all we can g^ean of his chwacter :-^ 

ye 12*^ Day of the 5 month 1775. 
Deare friends have had a mind Ever 
fence my Denial toock Place uppon me 
to be under the Care of friends yea with 
great Defire at times: But Sea no way 
for it as my mind Stood : I deare Do no 
other way But to be Honeft to what 
Sence I had : it was a great Crois to me 
to be Denied by friends it was all moft 
two much for me to beare : How Ever I 
was Boom up under it all : and have not 

* Appendix, p. 190. 



SLAVERY 151 

as yet fainted: blefled be God for his 
Preferving Power that he might in his 
own time give me Sight and Sence : and 
at Lenth : the Lord has Shewed me by 
the Inftance of Eli: that I Should not 
only have advifed : my Son : but Should 
have Conftrained him to have Done Jus- 
tis to the black garl : and I Sea now I 
Should have taken up with the advife of 
friends: in Proficuting my Son, if he 
would not have Done Juftis with out: 
and I am Sorey that I Could not at that 
time have taken up with the advife of 
the Laft Committey to me Sent By 
the monthly meating Namely : John Col- 
lins Solomon Hoxesey thomas Wilber & 
Joseph Congdon advifing me to Defift 
and not hold no more meattings for 
friends had no Eunity with it I Say 
I am Sorrey Seeing it was a Crofs to 
the Difcepline of friends and as to the 
manner of my holding of meattings out 
of Eunity I freely Condem: and as to 
the matter Leave me to Stand or fall 
to my own mafter: and I Defire that 
friends may Pafs it by and take me 
under there Chriftion Ceare: I Never 
Saw as I now Sea till ye 7^ of this In- 



152 NARRAGANSETT FRIENDS' MEETING 

ftant : from one that Defiers to travel no 
f ailer . then the Light Difcovers . and to 
Comply with Every manyf eft of it : . Who 
allfo Defires to be admitted a member of 
your Sofiatry. 

Joshua Rathbun 



It is a comfort to find the following 
port, which was duly recorded, and to 
know that the old man was doubtless rein- 
stated: — 

According to appointment We have 
had an oppetumity With Joshua Rath- 
bun Refpecting his Requeft to be Re- 
ftored again to Memberfliip With friends 
and he appears to be. in a Good Degree 
Sincere in his Requeft Which We think 
Well of Granting him all Which We 
Submit to the M* Meeting Next to be 
held at Richmond. 

Peter Hoxsie 
Thomas Wilbur 
WiLUAM J. Knowles 
Joseph Congdon 

He died, aged 77 years, the 14th of 7th 
month, 1 801, " of a very diftrefling Diforder 



SLAVERY 153 

in his Stomach, which he endured with 
much Fortitude and Refignation and which 
terminated his Life the Evening of the 
fame day." ^ 

As late as 1800, Joshua Rathbun the son 
desired to be restored, and was favorably 
reported to the meeting, as he " appears to 
be in a Good Degree Sincere in Condemn- 
ing his Mis-Conduct" He also "faid he 
Was Willing to do all he Could to Relieve 
the Negro Girl from Slavery that he was 
Denyed for Selling." And in 1807 comes 
a letter from Benjamin Rodman, who was 
denied in 1772.^ He was Dr. Thomas 
Rodman's son, and writes to the meet- 
ing:— 

South Kingstown the 26*^ of 2^ Mo 

1807. 

In confequence of Friends dealling (as 
I then thought, too hardly with my fa- 
ther) many years ago, refpecting his 
keeping of Slaves, which I was so un- 
guarded as to refent, and to refufe to Set 
at liberty thofe in my pofTeflion, which 
have fince all been liberated by me, 

^ Births^ Marriages^ and Deaths., p. 146. 
' Ibid. p. 265. 



1 54 NARRAGANS&TT FRIENDS* MEETTIim 

which conduct <tf mine (in refufing to 
free them at that time) I am ferry for 
and de^re friends to pals it by and agpain 
admit me as a member of Society. 

Benj. Rodican 
To the Mo. Meeting of friends 
next to be Holden at 
Richmond. 

These papers reaUy show the poirer of 
the meeting. To Joshua Rathbun it came 
as a bitter trial to be denied; to the otAiar 
men, in their way, either as a discredit 
or a misfortune, which yesus after was re- 
mend)ered, and repaired if possible* It was 
the power of public opinion about them 
— ^the consensus of opinion of the best 
and most honorable men they knew--^ that 
tiiey valued, as well as the doctrine of the 
church they loved. So, in a formative 
period of American history, these little self- 
governing bodies of men, scattered in re- 
mote rural districts, bound together by ties 
of love and belief, and a common purpose 
of daily life, — these little meetings had vast 
influence in training men to public af]^rs, 
in shaping the true democratic policy to- 
ward which the country was tending. The 



SLAVEJ^y 1$$ 

meeting might seem isolated; but while 
such men as John Woolman and John 
Pemberton came to it, while Mary Kirby 
from England crossed the water to visit it, 
it was not out of communication with the 
great world. Out to that world it sent its 
own ministers, Peter Davis, Thomas Robin- 
son, and Patience Greene, who, under her 
married name of Patience Brayton, could 
not have forgotten the meeting of her 
youth. The very fact of the beautifully 
printed London Epistles coming yearly 
was an education, and the books which the 
meeting subscribed for made many a good 
Friend's library. It was the existence of 
many such well-governed and self-sustain- 
ing bodies as the South Kingstown monthly 
meeting which made possible our Revolu- 
tion, paradoxical as this may seem, since 
any resort to arms was so severely dis- 
countenanced. Here, in small, a truly re- 
presentative government was in operation. 



VIII 
THE REVOLUTION 



VIII 

The middle of the eighteenth century 
certainly marked the height of the greatest 
power and usefulness of the South Kings- 
town meeting. The long agitation over 
the question of slavery, which began as 
early as 1 742, at the time of Thomas Haz- 
ard's (son of Robert) marriage ; which was 
discussed in John Woolman's powerful ser- 
mons, and personal pleadings with masters 
and mistresses in 1 748 ; to which Patience 
Brayton and Richard Smith bore testimony 
in the fifties, — was finally settled in meet- 
ing in 1773. This was a formative period. 
A question affecting the lives of so many 
persons, masters as well as servants, natu- 
rally stimulated thought ; and, though the 
meeting was in a little corner of the world, 
it was not left without leaders from abroad, 
as well as those developed within its own 
borders. 

Two Friends in especial throw light upon 
this period, — the diary of Jeflfrey Watson, 
beginning in 1640 and ending 1783; and 



l60 NARRAGANSETT FRIEimS" MJSJSTIJ^G 

that of " Nailor Tom ** Hazard, from i yyS 
to 1840, the two covering a period of one 
hundred years of observation by men of 
unusual capacity and intelligence. Both 
these men were Quakers by birth and train- 
ing. Jeffrey Watson was the son of John 
Watson, Esq., the first child bora in Nar- 
ragansett after the Indian War,^ his obitu- 
ary notice declares, that is, in 1676. ^ He 
was bleft with more than a common (hare 
of good fenfe, and was early employed in 
many important affairs." At his deatih, at 
the age of ninety-seven jrears, he left one 
hundred and thirty*eight descendants, a 
great part of whom followed him to die 
grave. ''He was a Loving Husbainlt a 
Tender father, a juft Magiflrate, a good 
neighbor, a mild Mailer, and an Hon^ 
Man." Our ancient friend, Peter Davis^ 
preached at his funeral, also Stephen Rich- 
mond and Robert Knowles. His son, Jef- 
frey Watson, inherited many of his father's 
good qualities, and seems to have had a 
special relish for preaching. In 1 743 he 
records having heard at Friends' meeting 
" the ableft man that I had ever heard in 

^ I am indebted to Mrs. C. £. Robinson for a copy of 
this valuable diary. 



THE REVOLUTION l6l 

my life." He mentions all the special meet- 
ings of Friends, as in 1755 : — 

I was at the Quaker Meeting and there 

was two Old England and one Filly- 

delphia man fpoke exceedingly able. 

Again in the same year : — 

I was at the Quaker Meeting to hear 

Sam^ Fothergill. There was a boundance 

of people the minifter Exceedingly Able 

and a great fcolar Difcourced in a very 

High Stile. 

Watson also went to the Baptist meeting. 
Once it was held in the woods, on a rainy 
day, but Gardner Thurston preached a very 
able sermon from Joshua, 24th chapter and 
1 6th verse. Again, at the Baptist meet- 
ing, Samuel Albro is recorded as exceed- 
ingly able, preaching from the text, " Pre- 
pare to meet thy God o Ifreal." 

Thomas Hazard is mentioned as a 
preacher; in 1791 the text of his funeral 
sermon for John Watson, senior, is given : 
"The Grace of God has appeared to all 
Mankind." 

All the prominent Friends' funerals are 
spoken of. They departed this life with 
" Much Lamentation " he often adds. Of 
the other preachers, Hoxsie is often men- 



l62 NARRAGANSETT FRIENDS MEETIJVG 

tioned, the good clerk oE tibe ineeting. 
Whitman preached from the ever comfort- 
ing text, ^ BleiTed are the dead who die 
in the Lord," Patience Greene preached 
often in 1756 and 1757, and Stephen Ricrh- 
mond later. So the meeting was well sup- 
jdied with its own ministers. 

Some hint of the state of the catwxy is 

given in Jmie, 1757, when, at Tower Hill, 

'' they was a letting bank money/' After a 

few days' consideration, on the 9th of June 

Watson went to Tower Hill ** to Take of 

the Bank money." This was one of the 

issues of paper money ^ich Rhode Island 

had made at intervals from 171a Tlie 

premium was enormous ; the issue dt 1757 

is quoted at £$ i$s. for one Spanish milled 

dollar, while the next year the value of the 

silver dollar rose to £6 in old tencH: bills.^ 

In 1 76 1 comes an interesting record :^ — 

Jan. 19. This Day the Prince erf 

Wales was proclaimed King of England 

by the name of George the Third by the 

Grace of God King over Great Bril;ain 

France and Ireland, Defender of the 

Faith &c. 

There were still some years when the 

^ R. I. Colonial Records^ vol. vi. p. 361. 



THE REVOLUTION 1 63 

orderly proceedings of the meeting were 
quietly carried on, but there were signs 
of the coming storm. The debased cur- 
rency was in itself a source of danger. In 
many instances barter was resorted to again, 
and contracts had to provide in what sort 
of money they should be paid, since every 
year saw increased inflation. Corn, which 
in 1 75 1 sold at twenty-five shillings a bushel, 
gradually rose till in the early sixties it 
reached its maximum of one hundred shil- 
lings. Careful men of business kept their 
accounts in old tenor and lawful money, 
with endless trouble and confusion. No 
wonder Jeffrey Watson often records try- 
ing to settle accounts, "but could not do 
it," and his joy when he has finally agreed 
with a certain creditor, and makes the re- 
cord, "fettled accounts for ever and ever 
amen " ! Then came the stirring days of the 
Revolution. In Narragansett the echoes of 
the shot that rung around the world were 
also heard. It is interesting to find some 
of the earliest advice to Friends was in re- 
gard " to receiving and pafling the late pa- 
per Currency that is made and paffed in 
thefe Colonies Iffued Expreflly for the 
purpofe of Carrying on War it is recom- 



164 NARRAGANSETT FRIENDS' MEETING 

mended to friends Serious Confideration 
and Obfervation/' * This was given ixoxxa 
Newport in ist month, 1776. Friends in 
the summer of that same year were advised 
to *' enter deeply into themfelves and not 
implicitely follow the fentiments of others, 
but fee that their proceedings therein are 
in the liberty of the Truth." ^ So powerful 
were the Quakers in the Colony that the 
General Assembly passed an act in June 
of the same year entitled ^ An Act for the 
relief of perfons of tender confciences, and 
for preventing their being burthened with 
millitary duty." • 

The meeting therefore drew up a minute 
instructing Friends how to act under the 
circumstances : — 

This meeting is informed that through 
late Laws Friends are fubjected to feme 
penalties on certain Requefitions which 
they may be releafed and excufed from 
by Producing a certificate to the chief 
Officers from our Clerk Setting forth that 
they are members of the Religious So- 
ciety called Quakers, therefore the derk 

* S, K. M, M. R. vol. ii. p. 55. 

* R. /. Meeting Records^ 1776. 

* J?. /. C. R. voL vii. p. 568. 



THE REVOLUTION 16$ 

is directed to make and fign Certificates 
to our members applying for the fame 
wtfen no diforder or irregularty doth ap- 
pear and every fuch applying member is 
earnestly defired to Examine and fee that 
nothing be done out of the truth that our 
Teftimony may be preferved pure and 
no reproach brought upon friends.^ 
A meeting for Sufferings was early ar- 
ranged, and members who had suffered on 
account of military service were instructed 
to send " the account and prices there of in 
Value of s"^ Sufferings to the clerk of this 
meeting and for the Clerk to Tranfmit An 
ace to the meeting for Sufferings." ^ 

But the war began to press home. 
Thomas B. Hazard, called " Nailor Tom," 
in his diary begins to note the movement 
of vessels with an anxious eye. From the 
ridge of Tower Hill the bay lay in plain 
sight, and Newport was always an impor- 
tant point. He writes : — 

Jan. 30, 1779. The Regulars landed 
and took two boats out of the river. 4 
sail went upland from Newport. Some 
snow. One ship went into Newport. 

1 S. K, M. M. R. vol. ii. p. 51. 
^ Ibid, 



l66 NARRAGANSETT pmENDS MEJSTING 

The next month " Davis privateer went 
eastward ; " March 20th, ^^ a sloop sailed out 
of Newport about sunset" May 8, " Regu- 
lars landed in Point Judith." Nailor Tom 
was a man of great conversational power^ if 
tradition is to be trusted. He could pic- 
ture a scene most vividly, and his ccmversa- 
tion was enlivened by flashes of wit and 
humor; so that for him this last brief entry 
doubtless called up the whole scene, and he 
felt again all the commotion oE the country-- 
side. But, fortunately for us, Jeffrey Wat* 
son gives a fuller account ci this proceedings 
The entry in his diary is May 9, 1779: — 
John Gardner Jun was Taken at Point 
Judah with his 9 workmen by the Lsuid 
Pirates who Joyned the Minifiered party 
to burn plunder and Deftroy the Inhab* 
itants of North America and took ye 
faid Gardner's eflate from him nine oxen 
Twenty fix cows with their calves and 
about forty five iheep with their lambs 
and caryed to Newport the 8 Day of 
May 1779 and kept him prifoner until 
Oct 15 1779. Job Watfon had about 
feven hundred fheep with their lambs 
caryed of at the same time and some 
cattle, June 25. Land pirates Landed 



THE REVOLUTION 167 

again of Point Judah and caryed away 
from John Gardner between two and 
three hundred wait of cheefe two lambs 
and fome of his wifes wearing clofe and 
fome other fmall things and from Job 
Watfon two negro men and four white 
men that was at work for him. Gorton 
was feen this day in a Bean field near by 
where they landed. 

Nailor Tom makes two or three entries 
that same month. June 3d, " Craddock was 
taken in his fifli boat by the Privateers- 
men." The 6th, " Regulars landed and 
took Samuel Congdon." The 8th, "The 
Regulars burnt two houfes laft night" The 
12th there was an "alarm in the night." 
So the countryside had its share of dis- 
turbance and tumult. 

Jeffrey Watson makes an interesting 
entry in 1781 : — 

March 6 General Wafhington Rode by 
our Houfe with about Twenty Soldiers 
for a guard about ten o'clock. 

He was born in Virginia in the county 
of Weftmoreland the eleventh day of 
February 1732. Had a Col's commiffion 
at nineteen years of age was taken Pris- 
oner by the French and Indians and 



|68 NARRAGANSETT FRIENDS' MEJSTING 

given Liberty on a Parol was exchanged 
when Gen. Braddock was Defeated near 
Dequefhe in the year 1755. 
The meeting lecx^rds h&ve occasional 
references to dealings with members who 
acted "in the Quality of a Soldien** As 
early as the 27th of 5th month, 1776^ a 
young man is reported who had enlisted and 
gone into the Millitary service which con- 
duct being InconMant witihi the Princi- 
ples of Truth which we profds and con- 
trary to the Teftimony which we as a 
people have always bourn, Wee there- 
fore Deny him remaining any Longer a 
Member of our Society.* 
Other dealings with delinquents follow* 
One man who paid a war tax was labored 
with, as this was contrary to the ^^ General 
teftimony againil contributing toward carry- 
ing on Wan" Another member is denied 
for " hireing such eflates as are faid to be 
confifcated."' But the general conduct of 
a£Eairs was not apparently interrujpted. On 
the very same page on which this political 
offense is recorded, equal space, if not more, 
is given to the consideration of a man who 
married again within four months of his 

^ S. K, M, M, R, vol. ii. p. 63. * Ibid, p. 103. 



THE REVOLUTION 169 

Wife's death, and, further, "that the said 
John has lately joined with ye people called 
Seperators in their worfhip fo far as to 
Stand up with his Hatt off in time of their 
praying." 

Another good Friend was denied because 
he bought some books at a vendue, taken 
from a vessel which was a prize of war, al- 
though he pleaded that he thought "his 
motive being to Reflore the mofl Valuable 
Book purchafed to the Right Owner was a 
Mitigation of his Tranfgreflion." * 

The 31st of 8th month, 1778, the monthly 
meeting was informed that the old meet- 
ing-house "has been lately occupied as a 
Hofpital for the fick lately landed out of 
the French fleet and greatly Damaged and 
likewife the pale and board fences wholly 
deflroyed."^ A committee was therefore 
appointed "to apply to the Barrack Mas- 
ter, (and others whofe right and bufmefs it 
may be) requefling the reparation " of the 
house and fences. 

Young men were drafted, and others 
hired to go as substitutes ; but in general 
the " labour for their recovery " proved in- 
effectual. In 1780 comes an entry that 

1 S. K, M. M, R. vol. ii. p. 132. » Ibid, p. 109. 



I70 NARRAGANI^TT FMmiWS' MBMTING 

tlirows more lig^ A wsisti^ came up 
against a man who had leskled in NeM^porl 
for several years, and ^ the Gommunksiticms 
with the main being Obftructed Until] late 
lafl Fall by its being a Britifh Garifoh and 
iince the Evacuation tiie Severity dE the 
Seafon and other Impedim^its hath hitherto 
prevemted the Committee i^pointed frcmi 
Treating with him/' * 

During this time the agreement ixaax the 
meeting for SufiFerings in Provid^ioe, d 
which Thomas Hazard, son of Robert, was 
a member, to raise fun^ for a school by 
subscription, was received, and the matter 
duly reported upon. The temperance ques* 
tion was also coming into prominence, and 
Friends bore their testimony against per- 
sons who '' drinked to ex<^fs," and tibose 
who ^'fold Spiritous Liquor by the fmall 
quantity without a Licenfe." * 

Attending a horse-race also came within 
t^ie limits of disorderly conduct, and the 
lines of Friends were drawn even more 
strictly in this time of trial and disorganizs^ 
tion. In 1775 a committee was appointed 
" to revifit such perfons as Chofe to be con- 
fidered as members of our Society," and 

^ S, K. M. M. R, voL ii. p. 149. • Ibid. p. 170. 



THE REVOLUTION 171 

they were to be informed "that it is the 
Defire of this meeting that they duly attend 
all the meetings both of worlhip and Dis- 
cipline, and alfso Maintain Our Chriftian 
Teftimony in every Branch thereof." * 

Attending Jemima Wilkinson's meetings 
was a cause of stumbling, for which a paper 
of contrition had to be presented.^ 

South Kingstown had a " concern," in 
1 78 1, "to take under further confidera- 
tion the Neceflity of Bearing a Teftimony 
againft War & Fighting and alfo our Tes- 
timony for Plainnefs of Speech and Ap- 
parrel." ^ 

So the careful regulation of the daily life 
of Friends continued. It was an important 
influence in a formative period of our his- 
tory. The " good order of friends " had to 
be strictly observed. Each little meeting 
had its definite relation to the larger meet- 
ings. The overseers were appointed by 
the monthly meeting to take charge not 
only of " Sleping and all other indecencies " 
in the meeting itself, but of conduct ; and 
any deviation from the strict rule of Friends 
was reported to the preparative meeting, 

^ S, K. M, M. R. vol. ii. p. 42. * Ibid. p. 171. 

* Ibid, p. 172. 



ijl NARRAGANSETT FRIENDS' Af -BETING 

which made its returns to the monthly 
meeting. This meeting could refer dif- 
ficult cases to the quarterly meeting, or ad- 
vice could come from the quarterly meet- 
ing. The quarterly meeting in turn could 
appeal to the yearly ■ meeting, the final 
source of authority. This government fos- 
tered independence of thought and speech, 
for it rested upon the consent of the gov- 
erned; members were only " fuch as chofe 
to be confidered friends." The papers of 
contrition all ask to be " received again into 
the loving care of friends." It was a vol- 
untary submission to what each man con- 
isidered best and right. 

But the great service Friends rend^nd 
was a spiritual service. We, who have to 
trace the history of a single meeting in 
records which are of necessity accounts ol 
delinquencies, may be apt to forget the 
gp^at principle for which they stood, — 
"the light of Truth within me," as the old 
testimonies phrase it. It was the doctrine 
of the indwelling Spirit which gave those 
men their power. In an age of formalism, 
when true religion languished and bigotry 
still reigned, George Fox proclaimed this 
doctrine. No wonder he was misunder- 



THE REVOLUTION 173 

stood. No wonder that even such a man 
as Roger Williams, with his bold teaching 
of freedom of diflferent consciences from 
inforcement, shrank from this still bolder 
assertion of the divine light and truth 
dwelling in each soul. To him this seemed 
a blasphemous assumption. And indeed, 
in the freedom in which the early Friends 
rejoiced, they did carry their conduct to 
extremes. In protesting against outward 
forms, they sometimes offended the de- 
cencies of life. But in the eighteenth 
century these eccentricities had in large 
measure disappeared. Thomas Hazard, 
the Hoxsies, Collins, and the other promi- 
nent Friends of the meeting were grand- 
sons of the men who heard George Fox 
preach in Justice Bull's house on Tower 
Hill. The meeting was settled and in 
order. They had the tradition of piety and 
right living behind them; they knew the 
truth which had made them free. The 
churches around them were still in bondage 
to the minister. Episcopacy was struggling 
for a foothold in the New World, and here 
was an organized representative govern- 
ment fully equipped for work, and with the 
vital spark of life. 



174 NARRAGANSETT FRIENDS' MJEETING 

It had fought the battle of emancipatimi. 
For years it quietly worked with its mem- 
bers, until^ long bdore the act of abolition 
in Rhode Island, passed in 1 784, the South 
Kingstown meeting was clear in its testi- 
mony against the *' deteftable practiie of en- 
Having Mankind/* It stood for temperanoe 
in all things, — in its rebuke of intoxication, 
in its sobriety of speech and behavior, in dis- 
countenancing unseemly amusements. H 
^ dancing and vain mirth ^ at weddings were 
counted among these, we must remerasber 
the license of the times, smd how seldom 
these recreations were kept within proptt 
bounds. It stood for education. Books 
were subscribed for. Fox*s ** Journal,'* axMi 
"Barclay's Appology now printing at Plii^ 
adelphia," was sent for. Sewall's " History 
of Friends," " Piety promoted," the " reprint 
of the Holy Bible," are all mentioned ; imd 
when the school was established, in 1781, 
South Kingstown took its share. 

It stood for equal rights of men and 
women. Many a minute closes, "The 
women's Meeting being in unity there in.** 
This equality was based on a broad and 
firm foundation, the men's meeting " not 
Deliring the Preheminence where Truth ad- 



THE REVOLUTION 17$ 

mits of none But believing that both Male 
& female are all one in Chrift Jefus." ^ So 
the women had training in independent 
thought and action. To them, questions 
of conduct were often referred: they had, 
as women always must have, charge of the 
aged and the poor. They themselves 
treated with women who held slaves, and 
were thoroughly competent to take care of 
their own meeting. Elizabeth Kirby and 
Patience Greene were preachers held in 
honor by the whole meeting, who traveled, 
the first from England and the latter to 
England, speaking the message which was 
delivered to them, " according to the mea- 
sure of their ability." These meetings had 
an important share in preparing the coun- 
try for self-government. The man second 
only to Washington himself belonged to 
the Greenwich meeting, to which the Nar- 
ragansett meetings also belonged until 1743. 
Who can doubt that the training in ad- 
ministration, as well as in high principle 
and true courage, stood Nathaniel Greene 
in good stead in his eventful career ? The 
habit of plain speaking and righteous deal- 
ing gives tremendous power ; and when to 

* S, AT. Jlf, M. J?., vol. i. p. 235. 



IT^ NARRAGANSETT FRIENDS MMETING 

that is added a true recognition of Divine 
guidance, a constant turning to that Inner 
light of Truth the possession of which is 
the birthright of every child of Godt we 
should expect heroes from such a nurture. 
It was a high ideal that those just men set 
before themselves, and an ideal which led 
to practical results in ways they could not 
approve. The same freedom tibey taught 
their sons, the same liberty they claimed 
for themselves, led to the tibrowing off of 
British rule, and, through the ''war and 
carnal fightings " they so deeply deplored, 
to that larger liberty in which a new esr 
periment in civilization could begin. 



APPENDIX 



B 



V 



G> 

A 



Quakers Sea-Journal 



Being a True 

RELATION 

of a Voyage to 

NE W ENGLAND 

Performed by Robert Fowler of the Town of 

Burlington in Torkfbire in the 
Year 1658 



London Printed for Francis Cojfenet at 
the Anchor 6f Mariner in 
TowcT'Street Anno 1659 



A true RelaUon of ^ Village undertaken iyim 
Robert Fowler, with my fmall Vejffel caUed 
the WooDHOUSE but performed by the Lard 
like as he did Noah's Ark^ wherein hejkut $^ 
a few righteous perfons^ and kmded thene as 
fitfe^ even as at the Hifl Ararat 

Tfke true Dijamrje Mm osfoUmtSk: 

THIS Vejfel w€is appointed for this Jervice 
from the beginnings as I have often had 
it manifefted un^ me, that it was Jisid 
within mefeveral times. Thou hatii Jxtx 
not for nothings and alfo New EngUmd prejented 
before me; aifo when Jhe was fimflked emd 
fraughted, and made to Sea, contrafy to my tmU^- 
was brought to London, when ^Mki$$g Umeking 
this matter to Gerrard Roberts, and others, i»ke 
confirmed the matter in behalf of the Lord, that it 
mujl befo ; yet entring into reafoning and letting 
in temptations and hard/hips, and the lofs of my 
life, wife and children, with the enjoyments of all 
earthly things, it brought me as low as thegrave^ 
and laid me as one dead, as to the things of God^ 
but by his Injlrument G. R was I refrefhed and 
raifed up again, which btfore that it was muck 
contrary to myfelf, that I could as willingly have 
died, as have gone, but by the firength of God I 
was made willing to do his will; yea, the cus^ 
tarns and fajhions of the CuJlom^House could not 
flop me : JHll was I ajfaulted with the Enemy ^ 
who prejfedfrom me myfervants,fo that for this 



APPENDIX l8l 

long Voyage we had but two men and three boys^ 
bejides my/elf. Upon the firjl day of the fourth 
Moneth received I the Lords fervants aboard^ who 
came with a mighty hand and an outjlreched arm 
with them,fo that with courage wefet Soy I and 
came into the Downs the fecond day, where our 
dearly beloved W. D, with Mich. Tomfon came 
aboard, and in them we were much refrefhed, and 
after recommending us to the grace of God, we 
lanched forth : Again reafon entered upon me, 
and thoughts rofe in me to have gone to the 
Admiral^ and have made my complaint for the 
want of my fervants and a Convoy, frq^ which 
thing I was withholden by that hand which was 
my helper: Shortly after the South winde blew 
a little hard, fo that it caufed us to put in at 
Portsmouth, where Iwasfumifhed with choice of 
men, according to one of the Captains words to me. 
That I might have enough for money, but hefaid 
my Vejfel was fo fmall, he would not go the Voyage 
for her Certain days we lay there, wherein the 
Minifiers of Chrifl were not idle, but went forth 
and gathered flicks, and kindled afire, and left it 
burning; alfo feveral friends came aboard and 
vifited us, in which we were refrefhed: Again we 
lanched from thence about the Eleventh day, and 
was put back again into South Yarmouth, where 
we went afhore, and infome meafure did the like ; 
alfo we met with three pretty large fhips, which 
were for the New found Land, who did accom- 
pany us about £0 leagues, but might have done 
JOO^ if they had not feared the Men of War, but 



i82 APPEimiX 

far efcaping tkim ih^ ia^ ta tk$ Nl^rtkmmbt 
and left us wMaui kof$ rf kdp U the ^uiumn^ 
wJdck befifre mtrfarUmg Uwas^flkewfd ta H^ N. 
iorfy in the marmngf $kat tiuy vmm mg^ unta ns 
that f^ht (mr lives^ md uMM unia ma^ imd tM 
nuy hutfaid he^ thus faith tha l^rd^ym& skaU he 
carrysd aw(3^ as in a Mi/^ and frrfentfy ma as- 
pied a great Ship making up t^s^ards us^ oeedAe 
three great Ships were umeh e^ndd and taahad 
about with what fpeed thef cmdd far it ^ m tike 
very interim the Lard Gad fulfiUed his pramesfk^ 
and flruck a$ir enemies in the face witik a aan^ 
trary wipd, wonderfully ta our r^rejhmeni : than 
upon our parting from thefe three Sh^^ wa mmm 
brought ta ajk caunfel at the Lard^ and tha was^ 
was from him, Cut through and fieer jmvt 
ftreighteft courfe, and minde nathis^ but mc^ 
unto which thing he much provoked us, mtd eanfitd 
us ta meet together evety day, and he himfe^ eme$ 
with us, and manifejled himjelf largely unta us, Jo 
that byjlorms we were not prevented above thm^ 
times in all our Voyage ; The Sea was myfignra, 
for if any thing got up within, the Sea withemt 
rafe up agcdnft me, and then the Floods clapt thair 
hands, of which in time I took notice, and taid 
H. N. Again in a vijlan in the night Ifawfama 
Anchors fwimming above the water, and famu^ 
thing alfo of a Ship which croft our rvay, which 
in our meeting I faw fulfilled, for I myfelfwith 
others^ had lojl ours,fo that for a little feafon the 
vejfel ran loofe in a manner; which afterwards 
by the wifdam of God ipas recovered into a better 



APPENDIX t%l 

condition than ^efore : Alfo upon the twenty-fifth 
day of the fame Moneth in the mornings we faw 
another great Vejfel making up towards us, which 
did appear far off to have been a Frigot, and 
made herfignfor us to come to them, which unto 
me was a great crofs, we being to windward of 
them ; and it was faid. Go f peak him, the crof s 
is fiire, did I ever fail thee therein ? and unto 
others there appeared no danger in ityfo that we 
did, and it proved a Tradesman of London, by 
whom we writ back : Alfo it is very remarkable, 
when we had been five weeks at Sea in a darkfea- 
fon, wherein the powers of darknefs appeared in 
the greatefl firength againflus, having fay led but 
about 300 leagues H, N, falling into communion 
with God, told me that he had received a comfort- 
able Anfwer, and alfo that about fuch a day we 
fhouldlandin America which was even fo fulfilled; 
Alfo thus it was all the Voyage with the faithful, 
which were carried far above fiorms and tem- 
pefls, that when the Ship went either to the right 
or left hand, their lines joyned all as one, and did 
direct our way,fo that we havefeen and f aid, we 
fee the Lord lead our Veffel, even as it were a 
man leading a horfe by the head, we regarding 
neither latitude nor longitude, but kept to our 
Line, which was, and is our Leader, Guide and 
Rule, but they that did, failed. Upon the lafi day 
of the fifth Moneth we m^e land, it was apart 
of the Long Island far contrary to the expecta* 
tion of the Pylot ; Furthermore our drawing had 
been all the Voyage to keep to the Southwards, 



•.until Ikt. evening before we made land, and then 
■ the word was. There is a Lion in the way, unto 
•Vfhieh Lien we gave obedience, and /aid. Let tkem 
,/fw Northwards until tke day following, and 
foo»'t0tr the middle of tke day, there was draw- 
ings to Meet together before our ufual time, and it 
wasfaid. That we may look abroad in the evening, 
and as we fate waiting upon tke Lord, they dis- 
covered th* Umd, and our moMtMts toas 4>fim^ im 
Prayer and Tkanisgiving; as wt^ was madg, wo 
mad' towards it, tmd espying a. Crtei, omr advieo - 
.was to enter there, but tht wittof man rtj^td, 
but in thate/latewf had leamod to bo €omtomt,amd 
told him both fidos was fafe, but going that m^ 
wouldbemere trouble to hint: also ho/aw, e^iur 
he had laid by all the ni^, tho tMngfu^llod. 

Now to lay before you in/hort, the la^genefs ef 
the Wifdom, WUl and Power if God^ Thus dUs 
Creek led us in between the Dutch Flantatioiis 
and Long Island, where the moving of Jbmu 
friends whereunto, which atherwife had been very 
difficult for them to have gotten too : Aljb tka 
Lord God that moved them, broi^ght them ta a 
place ttfpointed, and us into our way, according to 
the word which came to C. H. You are in'the 
road to Road Island. In that Creek came a Shal- 
lop to meet us, taking us to beftran^rs, tmikimg 
our way with our Boat, and they fpoke Engliflt 
unto us, and informed us, and alfo guided us 
along: The power of the Lord fell much upon us, 
and an unrejlable word came unto us. That the 
Seed in America fliall be as the fand of the fea. 



APPENDIX 1 85 

// was publijhed in the ears of the Brethren^ 
which caufed tears to break forth with fulnefs of 
joy^fo that prefently for thefe places they prepared 
themfelveSf which were Robert Hoggen, Richard 
Dowdney, Sarah Gibbins, Mary Witherhead, and 
Dorothy Waugh, which the next day weputfafely 
ajhore : Into the Dutch Plantation called New 
Amsterdam, we came and it being thefirjl day of 
the weekffeveral came aboard on tis^ and we began 
our work: I was caufed to go to the Governor^ 
and Robert Hoggen with me ; he was moderate 
both in words and actions, Robert and I had 
feveral days before feen in a vijion the Veffel in 
great danger; the day following this was ful- 
filled, there being a paffage between two Lands, 
which is called by the name of Hell-gate, we hap- 
pened very conveniently of a Pylot, and into that 
place we came, and into it were forced, and over 
it was carried, which I never heard of any before 
that was ; and the Scripture is fulfilled in our 
eyes, in the Figure, Hells gates cannot prevail 
againjl you: rocks many on both fides, fo that I 
believe one yards length, would have endangered 
lofs of both Veffel and Goods ; Alfo there were a 
fcull of fifhes purfued our Veffel, and followed her 
firongly, and along clofe by our Rudder; and in 
our meeting it was fhewed me, Thefe fifhes is to 
thee a Figure, Thus doth the Prayers of the 
Churches proceed to the Lord for thee and the 
reft: furely in our Meeting did the thing run 
through m£ as oyl, and did me much rejoice. 

FINIS 

Copied in the British Museum, J^fy 5t ^^97 ^ by C. H. 



l86 APPENDIX , 

RICHARD SHITH> TBSnMOKT iM3UkltM9T SUt'TUr. 

I Richard Smith of Grotcm is tbe Onmtf of 
New London and Colony tA Comiecticiit iqxm 
Confideration and Knowing it K^qpiired of mt 
I have written thb m Order to Suiw tbe weaSxm 
and make it manifeft to mankfaid wlky tba^ I 
Discharge & Sett free my Negro Girl iiamed 
Jane at Eighteen Yeam of Ag« D^nglttier of 
Sarah which is now in Slaveiy with her otiwr 
Children Among tlie kdn of Stephen Ctardaer 
of Norwich Deceafed thdr Gsil Jane was Given 
to my Vnfe Abigail by tor Fattor Stqplieii 
Gardner by will in Order to be a Skve all her 
Days According to the Common CUiftom of 
Slavery. But She falling into my hand bjr Jssf 
Wife and the Lord by his free Goodnef s hsviag 
Given me a clear Si^t of the Cruelty tA malriwg 
a Slave of one that was by Nature » Fnt at 117 
Own Children and no ways by any Evil She had 
Committed brought herfelf into Bondage aid 
Slavery and therefore can no ways be Giity 
of Slavery, and to argue becaufe her Mothn* 
was made a Slave being by force and Violence 
brought Out of her Own I^d againft her nund 
and will and Deprived of What She had there & 
made a Slave of her Should be a Sufficient Rea* 
fon that her pofterity Should be Oi»reft in bond- 
age with Slavery. I fee no Juftice for it nor 
Mercy in fo Doing but Violent Opprefsing the 
Inocent without Caufe For this thing of Ser- 
vants it hath pleafed God to fett before us in a 



APPENDIX 187 

Clear manner the cafe of Servants and Espe- 
cially the Unreafonablenefs of thefe mailers 
and miftreffes who profefs to be the followers 
of Chrift how they will buy & fell and be per- 
takers in making Marchandize in Great Babylon 
of the Slaves that is the bodys of men and 
women and of thefe Strangers as Indians & Ne- 
grows that are taken Out of there Own Country 
or taken in War one among a nother and Sent 
out which when brought here in Sed of being 
Relieved are Sold into Slavery all there Days 
and there pofterity after them they being never 
fo Innofent in Ronging of any and thefe mas- 
ters and miftreffes that buy them or Other ways 
by their parents have them, all this while pro- 
fefs them-felves to be the followers of Chrift 
or Chriftians and yet how they will plead the 
Reafonablenefs of Keeping them in Slavery and 
their pofterity after them. But when they have 
pleaded all they can and ufed the beft Argu- 
ments they have, it is only to have there work 
done with eafe & they to be great and to be 
Lord Over there fellow Creatures, Becaufe they 
have power & Authority to Opprefs the helplefs 
by a Cuftomary Law of the Nations to keep 
them in Bondage under Slavery, Quite Renoun- 
cing and rejecting and Hating to Obey the Law 
& command of there great Lord and Mafter 
Chrift as they call him who charge them faying 
Therefore all things whatfoever ye would that 
man ftiould do to you do ye even fo to them for 
this is the Law and the prophets faid Our Great 



,j88 appendix 

Lord Matt 7 & 12 Now if it (hould be afked 
of any of thefe Matters or MiftrefTes if they in 
like Maimer with there Childeren fhould be car- 

-ried'8vay unto any Strange People in the world 
and be Sold into Slavery whether they would be 
willing to Serve a itrange Nation in Slavery & 

-their Children after them and be Deprived of 
what they Injoyed in there Own Country (for this 
is the Cafe) I Suppofe there Answer would [be] 
no nor any of Our Children upon any acct. No 
not if they were in a Chriftian Land as they call 
this Well then how can any of them plead the 

' Reaibnableness of Keeping of any of them in 
Slavery with there pofterity and not to fet them 

■ free in a Reafonable Time as they themfelves 
with their Children would be willing to be done 
by According to Chrifls words above neationed 
for by Nature all Nations are free One &om tiw 
Other and the apofUe S^th God is no Re^>ecter 
of perfons, the ApofUe Likewife Saith -that God 
hath made of One Blood all Nations of men to 
Dwell on all the face of the Earth Acts 17 & 26 
So that by Nature & Blood we are no better in 
Gods Sight than they and it is plain that Chriit 
taught a Doctrine that was to releive the Op> 
prefled and to Unbind heavy Burdens and let the 
Innofent prifoners go free, and hath Commanded 
as to love Our Enemys, and to entertain Stran- 
gers, & not to Opprefs them in Bondage with 
Slavery and Said, he came not to Deftroy Mens 
Lives but to fave them Luke 9 & 56 So that the 
way that brings them into Slavery is forbidden 



APPENDIX 189 

by Chrift for by war Violence & Stealth and 
tradeing in them is the way by which they are 
firft Ordered to go into Slavery, and they that 
buy them or otherways have them and keep 
them in Slavery as they do there Beafts for to do 
there Labour & not to releive them and fet them 
free, are pertakers of the Same evil. Therefore 
I Leave this as a faithfull Teftimony in the fear 
of the liveing God againft all such wicked pro- 
ceedings, and upon true Confideration of what is 
written I hereby Declare that now at this Time 
that my Negrow Girl Jane hath arrived to Eigh- 
teen Years of Age that flie Shall now go out 
Free from Bondage and Slavery as free as if fhe 
had been free bom and that my Heirs, Execu- 
tors or Adminiftrators fhall have no power Over 
her to make a Slave of Her or her pofterity no 
more than if She had been free bom, for I freely 
give her her freedom now at the arrival of the 
aforefd age which is now fullfilled in this pre- 
fent Year 1757 as witnefs my hand 

(Signed) Richard Smith. 



igO .APPENDIX .^J 




*"« 


LIST OF PEBSOKS 


OWNING SLAVES, HAMBS OV 


SLAVES AMD 


DATE WHEN SET FKSB 


NM»Bldn< 




]«• 


RldadSaJa qg 


F«gg 


SUFloBldnd .Tttiai,,.,,,,, 


PUni«Midh«rt>o(UI(lnB 
C»q)«MdJ<>«tk . 


JohBKiwwiM irtiidinatn) 


RldMd 


j„iib™*» iTa go. _o im 


Imwl 


inilbmIUU»m S5I1, « ^ ,^ 


Dick 


IdmCovI- •gU.nlb.xiti 


1»CJ 




nUii.Co.vk. wU, 3d «, ,* 






B„d»l»E.,^ •4a,|li_>q«, 




Rol»tKi»wki 


Cn«, c«M«]HOa 


)0_,1.<I«..I> 


Knowki 


jotaCjJ.. 




ChukaCcosdoi 




HuunhSiuwtM 



FETEK DAVIS OLD A(» 

We tlie Committee a{^Ktoted to |Htwide Cor 
the Support of Fet« Ihivu and wife have zaitt 
on f Businefs and propctfe the following agree- 
ment made with Peter Hoxfie for one years 
fupport of ^ Peter Davis and wife that He win 
keep Martha Davis for the conllderation of her 
Anuity or income free & clear from any ezpence 
to friends, and that he will keep and support 
Peter Davis includeing victaalling, clothein^ 
Doctrineing, lodgeing &c for the (' term of one 
year, for the coniideration of fifty dollars, twenty 
Seven of which is due to the f* Peter Davis from 
W" Sweet Peckham, which he agrees to Collect 



APPENDIX 191 

of him, which will leave twenty three Dollars for 
the Monthly meeting to pay, — Or in that Pro- 
portion if the f* Peter should deceaf e before the 
expiration of that time. And the f* Peter Hoxfie 
agrees that they (hall be as well clothed at the 
years end as they are when he receives them — 
his year is to commence the 8*** day of the f^ Mo. 
1808. 
All which we fubmit to the Mo. Meeting. 

Peter Hoxsie 

John Congdon 

Jeremiah Browning, Jr. 

Joseph Collins, Jr. 
Hopkinton the 10^ of f^ Mo. 
A. D. 1808. 



INDEX 



I 



I 









li 



ml 



INDEX 



Advice to debtors, 109. 
Albro, Samuel, 161. 
Allen, Matthew, 112. 
Aquidneck, 5. 
Arnold, Benedict, 7. 
Atherton, Humphrey, 51 ; death 

of, 52. 
Austin, Anne, 10. 

Barber, John, 104. 
Books subscribed for, 174. 
Bounds of meeting, 65. 
Braddock, Gener^, 168. 
Bradstreet, Simon, 5-51. 
Brand, "William, 15. 
Brayton, Preserved, 121. 
Briggs, John, 54. 
British garrison, 170. 
Bull, Jireh, 48. 
Bumyeate, John, 49. 

Cartwright, John, 49. 
Clark, Mary, 13. 
Collins, Hezekiah, 124. 
Collins, John, 87. 
Congdon, Joseph, 59. 
Congdon, Samuel, 167. 
Commissioners of the United 

Colonies, 3. 
Copeland, John, 13. 
Com, price of, 163. 
Creditors, 108. 



Dancing, 130. 

Davis, Content, 99. 

Davis, Nicholas, 25. 

Davis, Peter, 63; his travels, 

78; his old age, 81. 
Deceased wife's sister, 90. 
Debts and debtors, 105. 
Diman, Professor J. L., 5. 
Dyer, Mary, 24 ; sentenced, 26 ; 

letter to the court, 27; on 

the gallows, 29; reprieved, 

30 ; executed, 35. 

Easton, Nicholas, 6. 
Endicott, John, 9, 26. 
Epistles, London, 156. 

Fayerweather, Rev. Mr., 96. 

Fisher, Mary, 10 ; in Turkey, 14. 

Fothergill, Samuel, 161. 

Fowler, Robert, 10. 

Fox, George, 12; meetings in 
Newport, 46; in Narragan- 
sett, 48; established wo- 
men's meeting, 117. 

Friends denied, 169. 

Friends' judgment in contro- 
versies, 103. 

Friends' meeting accounts, 73. 

Friends' spiritual service, 172. 

Friends' sufferings in Eng- 
land, 72. 



Geca^ IIL, prockumed, 162. 
CHbbmu, Saiah, 15. 
Gortim Samuel, 6. 
GMmA^ David, 139. 
. GtmUv Nathaniel, 175. 
GiMne, Patience, ilO; her 

traWs, 122-23. 
Greene, Peter, 54. 

Hanrd, Elizabeth, 124. 
Hanrd, Robert, 86. 
Hanrd, Saiah, 14S. 
Huvd, "Nailar Tom," 160; 

HoiBid, Thomas, 59; serves 
BS clorlt, 85 ; frees bis slaves, 
86; preadung, 161. 

Holder, Cliristopher, 13. 

Hora»i«dng, 170. 

Hoxde^ John, 117. 

Hoxiie, Solomon, 87; makes 
CttUfdaint, loz ; marriage of 



Inflated cwiency, 67. 

llfah,Job.IICKII2. 

Kirbjr, TBatj, 113. 
Kil^ Province, 50. 
KaowlM, John, loz. 
Knovlet, Robert, 87 ; vi! 
Bostoti, 113. 

Lam against Quakers, 18. 
little Rest, 63. 
liquor license, 101. 
Longfellow, 17. 

Marriages, 128. 
Marriage in a shift, 133. 



Marrying out of unity, 13*. 
McSparran, Dr., 95. 
Meetinghouse in Greenwich, 

53- 
MiniBterial lands, 95. 
Mnlldns, Henry, 97, 
Mnnay, Lindley, i2j. 

New lights, 97~ioo. 
Nichols, Andrew, 1 a i . 
Niles, Rev. Samuel, 95. 
Norton, John, 15. 



Paper money for war pa^pasa^. 
163. 

Peace Dale, 147. 

Peckham, Peleg, 84. 

Pembeiton, John, 141. 

Peny, AUce, 128. 

Perry, Anna, 118, 135. 

Peiry, Jamfss, gives land for , 

meeting-honse, 68. 
Perry, Jonathan, 130. 
Perry, Samoel, 130. 



Qaaker 



9 of law against. 



Qnakers, travelling, 23. 
Queries. S8-90. 
Query, the tenth, r46. 

Ranters. 4. 

Rathbon, Joshua, 144; sells 

his slave, 1461 denied, 147; 

restored to membership, 150; 

death, 153. 
Rathbun, Joshua, Jr., tjj. 
Rawson, Edward, 22. 
Records of meeting, 77. 



INDEX 



197 



Regulars at Point Judith, 166. 
Rhode Island, the " back door/' 

22. 
Richmond meeting-house, 69. 
Robinson, Mrs. C. £., 160. 
Robinson, Hannah, 124. 
Robinson, Rowland, 54. 
Robinson, Sylvester, 129. 
Robinson, William, 24, 126. 
Rodman, Benjamin, 153. 
Rodman, Samuel, denial of, 

144. 
Rodman, Thomas, 54. 

Separators, 97. 

Sewall, Samuel, 51; entry in 

diary, 62. 
Sewel, historian, 16. 
Slave legislation, 140. 
Slaves in South Kingstown, 

Slaves in the women's meet- 
ing, 148. 

Slocum, Ebenezer, 62. 

Smith, Elizabeth, 123. 

Smith, Richard, frees slave, 
141. 

Temperance, 170. 
Testimony against war, 16S. 
Torrey, Dr., 96. 



Tower Hill, 49 ; letting money 

at, 162. 
Tucker, Nathan, 103. 
Thurston, Gardner, 161. 

Upsal, Nicholas, 1 1 ; banished, 

21. 
Usquepaug, 70. 

Watson, Jeffrey, 159 ; accounts, 
163. 

Watson, Job, 166. 

Watson, John, 160. 

Washington, George, 167. 

Waugh, Dorothy, 15. 

Westerly meeting-house, 66. 

Whittier, "A Spiritual Mani- 
festation," 43. 

Widders, Robert, 45. 

WilUour, Thomas, 89. 

WtSinson, Jemima, 171. 

Williams, Roger, 8; charter 
procured by, 41 ; goes to 
Newport, 47. 

Winthrop, Governor, 6. 

Woman's meeting records, 
118. 

Woodhouse, voyage of, 12. 

Woolman, John, 140. 

Youths' meetings, 73. 




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