A LETTER, FROM Batista Angeloni, Who resided many Years in LONDON, To his Friend MANZONI. Wherein the QUAKERS are politically and religiously considered. To which is added, The Cloven-Foot discovered.


EPHRATA: Re-printed, and sold by several Store-Keepers in the County of LANCASTER.


A LETTER, FROM Batista Angeloni to Manzoni.

Dear Sir,

NOTHING has less truth in it than what Voltaire and abbé le Bland have said relating to the Quakers in this kingdom: it is plain from what the first has writ­ten, that he either was never in their company, or did not attend to their customs. He describes one of these gentry, with whom he dined, as taking off his hat, and asking a benediction on his repast; in which he must be absolutely mistaken: it being the established maxim of this sect, never to perform that ceremony. A Quaker asks no blessing from heaven before he eats, and has not gratitude enough to re­turn thanks after he is fill'd. To say the truth, those of the church of England do both in a becoming manner.

If it was the spirit of religious enthusiasm that actuated the first Quakers; it is a spirit of another kind, which reigns amongst them at present. If simplicity of dress, and sim­plicity of speech, arose from the humble consideration of hu­man nature, in the beginning; it is love of singularity, pride, and personal advantage, which has taken possession of their hearts, and which continues their dress and man­ners in this age.

No creature on this globe has half the arrogance of a Quaker; he accosts the king with Friend George, the mi­nister with Neighbour William, and this without the least reluctance, distrust of himself, or mark of confusion. What can argue greater insolence than this of meeting those per­sons, upon equal terms, and treating them with the utmost [Page 3] familiarity, whose characters all the world agree to revere? the son of a Quaker has more confident assurance at ten years old, than the wildest officer of the king's guards at twenty-five.

They call themselves Christians, but I know not what title they have to that appellation; there is no sacrament in use in their religion: in fact, they seem to be a set of fatalists, who agree to call that cause which moves them to action, a something proceeding from the spirit. I have heard it affirmed in their company, that the resurrection of the body is not an article of their faith, if they have any at all.

As their number is but small, they draw advantage from that circumstance, being all united in the general interest of the sect. They are almost all in trade, and therefore once in the year they meet in several towns in England, to know the state of those parts of the country: to those places of rendezvous one or more of the Quakers of the towns within two hundred miles always come. At this time their real design of meeting is concealed, by praying and preaching; it is a religious act to the eye, but a political one at the heart; every Quaker who assembles brings the state of the Trade of that town from whence he comes along with him; the parti­cular business of every grocer, mercer, and other tradesman; his industry, manner of living, and expences: by this means the wholesale dealers of London, Bristol, and other great towns, are acquainted with the characters and commerce of all the tradesmen in the kingdom: they know whether their business is such as that they may be safely trusted with goods, if industry, and all other requisites for thriving in trade, are observed in their affairs.

Thus the Quakers in the lesser towns and cities of En­gland are spies on the actions of the inhabitants, and pre­serve their sect from losses in trade. And for this reason they endeavour to establish one of that persuasion in every town, if there are none already, who may bring annual intelligence.

[Page 4]Singularity to most people's apprehension stands in the place of merit; a gimcrack in shell-philosophy will lay out twenty guineas for a shell that is singular, and without a fellow, though ugly and ill shapen; at the same time he will not give a farthing for that which has the most elegant shape and greatest diversity of colours, if the species is nu­merous. Thus it is not beauty, but singularity which makes it esteemed.

It is the same thing amongst men; a Quaker with his singularity of dress, self-sufficient behaviour, laconic style, and air of riches, the last of which he never fails to insinu­ate to all his customers, catches the eyes of tradesmen in the country; the apparent probity and power of selling cheap because wealthy, create him business; men in the country are desirous of talking with such a man, and thus deal with him from that singularity in him, and that whimsical dis­position in themselves.

The Quakers are extremely punctual and honest in trifles, conscious that men wear out their characters before they make their fortune, who proceed otherwise in trades where riches are gotten by degrees.

But, in matters of consequence, the right of the thing is not the question; the power of obtaining it by artifice is the only object to be considered; and, if a fortune can be made at once, there is little hesitation about the manner how.

Is it not a little surprising, that a set of men of such prin­ciples as the Quakers profess, could be suffered to take root in any nation? notwithstanding they have covered all the political maxims which they adopt, by the veil of religion. In the last rebellion which happened in England, they openly avowed that their principles would not allow them to oppose it. This was nothing to be remarked in a Quaker, and drew no sarcasm on the sect: yet a man of the established church would have been stigmatized for a Jacobite, that had declared any thing like this.

[Page 5]Their religion, it seems, will not suffer them to bear arms, What can be more ridiculous than this principle, to a man who knows human nature, except the people who indulge them in this humour?

What right have any set of men to the protection of a government in times of peace, who will not assist with every power they possess to defend their country in times of war? their taxes are not greater than other peoples.

Are the catholics more ridiculous in indulging monks amongst them without contributing to save their country by arms, than the Britons in permitting a sect amongst them­selves, who openly avow that their religion will not suffer them to defend their country?

Another indulgence their obstinacy has procured them is this; they are suffered to affirm before a magistrate that which all other subjects of this crown are obliged to depose upon oath on the Evangelists. In order to observe the effect of this sufferance, I have frequently attended trials where these people have been witnesses, and thro' the whole course of my observation I have never found them give an explicit answer when it could make against their friends; nay, the chicanery and search of the council could not draw an an­swer which was not filled with ambiguities.

Their cause of demanding this privilege is the most con­vincing reason for its not being allowed them; it is evident they imagine that there is something more obligatory, sa­cred and binding in an oath, than in an affirmation: there­fore since all the individuals of a nation ought to be under the same influence and apprehension in the administration of an oath, it was extremely ill understood to grant this liberty of affirmation to any set of men whatever. It is a road that leads to injustice; it is injustice itself, that one man should be subjected to the terrors of eternal punishment, for the breach of that which another only conceives as some­thing of a common nature.

[Page 6]That the legislature and the Quakers themselves conceive an affirmation to be of an inferior obligation on the person who takes it, to that of an oath, is certain: no man what­ever crime he is guilty of, can be executed on the affirma­tion of a Quaker; and no Quaker has refused taking his oath to the execution of one that has roused his righteous spi­rit, by robbing him. Thus the legislature thinks it an indul­gence, and not equally obligatory, by making this difference in cases of life and death.

The Quaker who takes the common oaths of the country, in cases of being robbed, cannot at other times plead con­science against it with justice; because either his conscience admits of doing what it knows to be wrong on these occasi­ons, or he screens himself from what he thinks to be right in others, and has no real exception against.

For these reasons if he is suffered to take his affirmation in cases of property, he should not be indulged to take his oath in those of life and death. He ought to adhere to his conscience throughout, and not change the nature of the ob­ligation as his interest and inclination permit him. In truth, it is a weakness to excuse a set of men from oaths in those instances, where all others of the kingdom are oblig­ed to take them.

Such are the Quakers: I leave you to decide if they are that simple primitive people which Voltaire and abbé le Bland have told you; have they not found means to obtain advantages which savour of refined cunning, and secure themselves in safety behind the mask of religion whilst the nation is fighting their battles?

The celebrated system of P***, which has been so much praised and for so little reason, is absolutely impracticable amongst men: indeed it is easy to preserve peace with the Indians, who are purchased by small presents to continue it; but can they buy off the French, who are preparing to in­crease their dominions in America? will the spirit of meek­ness [Page 7] serve them in that case? and what has been said with respect to their indulging all religions amongst them, is not true, the catholics are excepted: the ill effects of a general naturalization is sensibly felt amongst them, the Germans being at present so numerous that they preserve their lan­guage, laws, education, and interest seperate, which is no small inconveniency to the country; and would as probably live under a French, as an English government.

I am yours mostly affectionately.

The Cloven-Foot discovered.

Pray, worthy FNIENDS! observe the Text,
Get Money first, and Virtue next.—
Nought makes our Carolina Curs
To bark and lie, but Skins and Furs.
GO on good Christians, never spare
To give your Indians Clothes to wear;
Send 'em good Beef, and Pork, and Bread,
Guns, Powder, Flints and store of Lead,
To Shoot your Neighbours through the Head;
Devoutly then, make Affirmation,
You're Friends to George and British Nation;
Encourage ev'ry friendly Savage,
To murder, burn, destroy and ravage;
Fathers and Mothers here maintain,
Whose Sons add Numbers to the slain,
Of Scotch and Irish let them kill
As many Thousands as they will,
That you may lord it o'er the Land,
And have the whole and sole command.
Leave back Inhabitants to starve,
No Love, no Pity they deserve;
[Page 8]Let Orphan's Tears, and Widow's Cries,
Implore in vain your Ears and Eyes;
Pass ruthless by, enjoy their Groans,
And force 'em to make Bread of Stones.
What! wou'd THEE have us then to fight,
When Conscience tells us 'tis not right?
No I would not, but yet God knows,
To murder us you arm our Foes.
So he that wears his Eyes may note
The But her often binds a Goat,
And leaves his man to cut his Throat.
'Tis Sin, your Conscience too will say,
In Tongue unknown to preach or pray;
Yet, you can hear an Indian bellow,
And praise him for a pious Fellow,
Though what he means you cannot tell,
Nor if he talks of Heaven or Hell.
Thus, what you one time disavow,
You at another will allow.
In many things change but the Name,
Quakers and Indians are the same;—
I don't say all, for there are such
That honest are, e'en of the Dutch;
But those who th' Indian's Cause maintain,
Would take the Part of bloody Cain,
And sell their very Souls for Gain.
[To the Gentlemen at Pittsburg.]
But you brave Heroes! you who dare,
Against the Infidels make War,
With righteous Vengeance them pursue.
Spare none of all the hellish Crew;
Consign them to the Shades below,
Your slaughter'd Friends demand the blow.
So may kind Heav'n your Actions bless,
And crown you ALWAYS with Success.

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