WHEN it pleased the Lord to manifest the glorious dispensation of his blessed Son our Saviour, apostles were called and sent forth in his service; and many believed in his name.

And in the early times of Christianity, it was found ne­cessary for the apostles and believers to meet often together, for the comfort, consolation and help, one of another; where, pursuant to the glorious design of the Gospel, which breathes Peace on Earth, and Good Will towards men, love and charity greatly abounded; and a care arose for the establishment and preservation of the church, that all might be of one mind, and walk by the same rule, as became the followers of their holy Lord and Law-giver. And as this love and charity, the essence of pure and undefiled religion, was abode in, those meetings were owned, and witnessed to be times of refresh­ment from the holy Head of the Church.

But in succession of time, the simplicity and good purposes of those meetings were greatly lost, by reason of the declen­sion and falling away of the professed Christian Churches; and a particular denomination of men, for worldly and car­nal ends, assuming an authority and exercising lordship over the flock. Yet after a long and dark night of apostacy, it pleased the Lord to bring many from under that darkness which had overspread the professors of the Christian religion; and of latter days to gather a people more fully into a state of Gospel freedom, whereby our predecessors witnessed the prevalence of that primitive Love and Good Will, and were led by Holy direction, to the establishment of meetings for the like good purposes as in primitive times; and for the [Page iv] more regular and orderly proceeding in those so established for the discipline of the Church, they are subordinate one to another, as preparative, consisting of friends belonging to one or more meetings for worship; monthly, consisting of so many preparatives as may conveniently compose the same; quarterly, consisting of so many monthly meetings as may be judged most suitable; yearly, consisting of so many quarterly meetings as may most usefully meet together once a year, for the superintending care and health of the body.

And in order that these purposes may be more fully an­swered, the following rules and regulations are, on due con­sideration, recommended to the observance of friends, over­seers and meetings. And in the exercise of which, care, per­suasion and gentle dealing, ought to be our practice, labour­ing in love and meekness, to bring such as transgress to a sense of their error. But if any, by our Christian endea­vours, cannot be reclaimed, the extent of our judgment and procedure is, the disowning such to be of our communion. And as this authority and practice is Christian, so is it laud­able and reasonable in society: and as it is attended to, in uprightness and singleness of heart, will tend to promote the good and welfare of the Church, and to unite in a care and concern for the oversight one of another, that all may en­deavour to walk decently, humbly, and honestly, and be of one mind, as becomes the servants and followers of our Holy Lord and Law-giver, and to practise that commendable or­der, ever necessary in the Christian Church, agreeable to that injunction of our blessed Lord, Matt. xviii. 15, 16, 17. ‘Moreover, if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone; if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother; but if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the [Page v] mouth of two or three witnesses, every word may be esta­blished; and if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church; but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man, and a publican.’

Also the expressions of that eminent apostle Paul, in his epistle to the Philippians, iv. 8. ‘Finally, brethren, whatso­ever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatso­ever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report, if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.’ Now, whatsoever appears in any contrary to these, may in general be said to come under the notice of friends, overseers, and meetings.

And as it hath been experienced, that in those meetings great comfort and satisfaction have been received and en­joyed, when the members have attended them in awe, humi­lity and love, with no other view than the honour of God, and the help and assistance one of another, this meeting doth, in brotherly love, exhort all friends carefully to gather in uprightness and singleness of heart, suitable to our calling, and the dignity of that Power which will preside and govern in all our meetings, as we meekly abide under its holy influ­ence. This will divest us of partiality and stiffness of opi­nion, and all high thoughts of ourselves, and lead into pa­tience, and condescension, according to that declaration of our blessed Lord, ‘He that is greatest among you, shall be your servant.’

[Page]IT is to be observed, that the dates at the end of some of the minutes and advices denote the years in which they were issued by the yearly meeting.

The book is printed with blank pages for the purpose of making future additions, which are to be inserted in the manner and in the page in which they will be directed to be placed by the yearly meeting. No other additions are to be made.

And in order to avoid the frequent repetition of the words he, she, or they, in the following work, the word he, only is sometimes made use of, which is meant to apply to either men or women, as the case may be.



  • ACKNOWLEDGMENTS and testifications, Page 39
  • Appeals, Page 43
  • Apprentices, Page 81
  • Books, Page 87
  • Burials, Page 117
  • Certificates, Page 55
  • Civil government, Page 91
  • Children, Page 81
  • Dealing with offenders, Page 25
  • Differences and arbitrations, Page 31
  • Diversions, Page 101
  • Defamation and detraction, Page 37
  • Days and times, Page 73
  • Distilled spirits, &c. Page 105
  • Donations, Page 113
  • Elders, Page 19
  • Gaming, Page 101
  • Meetings for worship, Page 1
  • —for discipline, Page 5
  • —of ministers and elders, Page 131
  • —for sufferings, Page 137
  • Ministry Page 12
  • Meeting-houses and ground, Page 141
  • Marriages, Page 45
  • Memorials, Page 119
  • Overseers, Page 22
  • Oaths, Page 95
  • Poor, Page 77
  • Plainness, Page 69
  • Priests wages or hireling ministry, Page 97
  • Queries, Page 121
  • Requests to be received into membership, Page 65
  • Removals, Page 55
  • Scandal (publick) Page 89
  • Slavery, Page 111
  • Schools, Page 83
  • Sufferings, Page 99
  • Subscriptions, Page 113
  • Scriptures of the Old and New Testament, Page 85
  • Taverns, Page 103
  • Trade and commerce, Page 59
  • Women's meetings, Page 127
  • War, Page 93
  • Wills, Page 115
[Page 1]


THAT all friends duly and seasonably attend their meetings established for the solemn purpose of pub­lickly performing true and acceptable worship to the Father of Spirits; and carefully avoid suffering any slight pretence or worldly business to occasion our absence from those on the middle of the week; or on trivial occasions leave our children and dependants behind, engaged in our domestic concerns; awfully keeping in remembrance, that the solemn enquiry will be made, ‘What hast thou done with those lambs committed to thy care.’ Happy then for those who feel the supporting evidence, that they have endeavoured in preference to all other concerns for their children, and those placed under their care, to train them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

And when assembled, let us be diligent in waiting upon the Lord with fervent desires, that we may be favoured with the enjoyment of his life-giving presence; that so we may be preserved from wandering thoughts, and from a drowsy and lukewarm spirit; and may demonstrate that we do indeed worship the Father in spirit. Thus, by our pious example, tender-hearted enquirers may be encouraged, to come and partake in our solemn assemblies of that inward and spiritual refreshment, which is at times graciously imparted to the souls of the humbly devoted: some of whom have to acknowledge, that faithfulness in thus devoting time, in the attendance of meetings, tends greatly to strengthen in coming up with [Page 2] more propriety in the duties we owe to God, to our families, and to mankind.

And let those who frequently neglect, or do not season­ably attend our religious meetings, or go out and in unne­cessarily, or otherwise disturb the meeting, be seasonably cautioned and admonished: And parents, masters, and mis­tresses, are exhorted to have a godly care over their children and families in those respects.

And when any so manifest their want of love to God, and the unity of the brethren, as to continue in the apparent neglect of attending our religious meetings, and disregard the repeated advice and endeavours of friends to stir them up to this incumbent duty, they are to be dealt with, by the monthly meeting to which they belong, even to disownment, if after continued tender labour, the case may appear to the meeting to require it.

[Page 5]


AND as to the establishment and order of meetings—That no quarterly meeting be set up or discontinued, but by the yearly meeting▪ no monthly meeting, but by the quarterly; no preparative or meeting for worship, but by the monthly meeting, having the approbation of the quarter.

The preparative meeting to keep a record, but not have authority to receive or disown any member, that authority being only in the monthly, quarterly and yearly meetings.

These meetings are subordinate and accountable thus: The preparative to the monthly; the monthly to the quar­terly; and the quarterly to the yearly meeting: So that if at any time the yearly meeting be dissatisfied with the proceed­ings of any of the said meetings, or the quarterly with the proceedings of any of the monthly meetings, or the monthly with the proceedings of any of its preparative meetings, such meetings are directed to render a satisfactory account when required.

And if any quarterly meeting have occasion for, and re­quest the records or minutes of another quarterly meeting, or one monthly meeting those of another, it is directed, that copies of such minutes or records be accordingly communi­cated to the meeting so requesting.

That there be at least two, or a sufficient number of friends appointed by each monthly meeting to attend the service of the quarterly meeting to which they belong, and to present, on behalf and by order of the respective month­ly meeting, what shall by the said meeting be given in charge, [Page 6] which should be in writing; and that there be for the like service, at least four friends appointed by each quarterly meeting, to attend the yearly meeting, in manner as above mentioned; and the names of the friends thus appointed, are to be entered on the records of the meeting they are ap­pointed to attend, and the same method to be observed by the quarterly and yearly meeting of ministers and elders.

That full endeavours be used in every monthly meeting, to end all business that arises therein, or is brought thereto, with care and dispatch; but if they find any business, or matter, too weighty or difficult for them to determine, they may move the same to the next quarterly meeting, and in like manner, after due care and endeavours are used to end any matter, the quarterly meeting may remove the same to the next yearly meeting, except in such cases where an indi­vidual member may be concerned, or whose right to an ap­peal may be affected, in such instances if a monthly meeting finds a difficulty too great for them to determine, they may inform the quarterly meeting, that a subject is before them in which they desire assistance, and the quarter is then to appoint some Friends to set with and assist the monthly meet­ing in the case, and report their attendance only, the merits of the case not to be hinted at, either in the report, or in the application of the monthly meeting. Thus will the right of appeal to the quarter be preserved, and the like steps may be taken in such other cases as the monthly meeting may judge proper and necessary.

And as inconveniences have happened, where friends whose duty it is, or who have been appointed to attend monthly, quarterly, or yearly meetings, or to other servi­ces, in, or on behalf of any of said meetings, have delayed, or neglected seasonably attending thereto, it is earnestly de­sired [Page 7] and advised, that all friends do carefully attend such meetings and services. And when any friends attend any of said meetings of business, that they do not withdraw or leave the same, until the business is finished, unless they first give the meeting a satisfactory reason for so doing. And when any, being appointed to services as above, are prevented at­tending thereto, by sickness, or other extraordinary occasi­ons, that they render an account thereof to the meeting.

That committees of meetings, enter seasonably and uni­tedly on the business of their appointment, and agree on a re­port, to be made by one of their number, the others likewise standing to shew their concurrence, which nevertheless may be in writing, where the case appears to the meeting to re­quire it; and when they report the business not accomplish­ed, that they offer reasons therefor, that the meeting may be satisfied there has been no unprofitable delay.

That the business from preparative to monthly, and from monthly to quarterly meetings, be read in the respective meet­ings to which they are forwarded, together with the minutes of the preceding monthly or quarterly, and the extracts from superior meetings, at the opening of each meeting.

That minutes or due entries be made, in every month­ly and quarterly meeting, of all such matters as come before them and are determined, or that are or may be removed to the quarterly or yearly meeting;

And that the minutes and reports which go from inferior to superior meetings, be signed by their respective clerks.

Where any are under dealing, they are not to be permitted to sit in any of our meetings for discipline, except desired by such meeting.

That each monthly meeting appoint a Treasurer, and have [Page 8] a collection quarterly, to provide for the relief of the necessi­tous, and other purposes of the meeting.

Every particular meeting for worship should be a prepara­tive meeting, where there is a probability of their being re­putably supported.

And in cases where it may appear to be not quite safe for a preparative meeting to be held, and yet a meeting for wor­ship is allowed, it is the sense of this meeting, that in such cases, it will generally be advisable, and tend to the help and strength of the members constituting the same, that a prepa­rative meeting be also allowed, under the particular superin­tendance of a suitable committee of men and women friends, to sit with them in conducting the business thereof (as often as well may be) and which ought to be at least once in three months.

That such business as comes from persons not of our socie­ty, be brought to the preparative meeting by the overseers.

And it is the earnest desire of this meeting, that our quar­terly meetings, in their collective capacity, wait for the ari­sing of the Spirit of Truth, whereby they may be enabled to administer such advice and assistance to the monthly meetings as circumstances may from time to time call for, in order that our Christian Discipline may be supported agreeably to the design of its institution: That the necessity of a more close attention to the tenor and spirit thereof, may be impres­sed on our monthly meetings, on whose care and concern for the support and maintenance of the wholesome regulations therein recommended, for general use and practice, much depends. It is therefore earnestly desired, that this watchful care may be maintained, lest a gradual sliding therefrom take place, and weakness ensue.—Y. M. 1789.

[Page 9]Our quarterly, monthly and preparative meetings are ad­vised to be careful how they employ, in the service of society, such as give way to sleeping in meetings.

It is further earnestly desired, that representatives weighti­ly consider the importance of their appointment, and endea­vour to keep under a lively sense of the interesting concerns which have exercised the yearly meeting, and thereby be enabled to accompany them to our subordinate meetings, with such remarks as truth may authorize. Y. M. 1790.

With solicitude of heart we desire to impress the minds of all concerned and active members in their several meetings, to consider the need there is of faithfulness on their parts, in discharging the trust committed to them, with great dili­gence and circumspection; for our minds have been seized with jealousy, lest those who should stand as watchmen on the walls, are too much concerned to seek their own things, and not the things that are Jesus Christ's; hence weakness ensues, and, instead of watching and caring for the flock, we fear some of those may become as stumbling-blocks in the way of others.

An exercising concern has also been witnessed, lest the pro­gress of truth in our religious society be hindered, through unsavoury and injudicious appointments to services in the church; it is therefore earnestly requested, that friends be weighty in their nomination, as the right maintaining our Christian Discipline, in its various branches, very much de­pends on a solemn attention to the pointings of best wisdom therein. Y. M. 1792.

[Page 12]

MINISTRY, And travelling in that Service.

WHEN any friend comes forth in the ministry, and the preparative meeting of ministers and elders, are unit­ed in believing it right to propose to the monthly meeting the consideration of admitting such friend a member of their meeting, they are to inform the quarterly meeting of mi­nisters and elders thereof, and if that meeting concur in prospect, they are to return information to the select prepa­rative meeting, who are then to propose to the monthly meeting the consideration of the subject; and if the month­ly meeting, after due and weighty consideration, and the necessary and particular attention of a committee appointed thereto, do unite in recommending such friend to the meet­ing of ministers and elders as a minister, they are to inform the said preparative meeting of ministers and elders thereof; and such friend is then to be considered a member of such meeting, and information thereof is to be forwarded to the quarterly meeting of ministers and elders; previous to which recommendation of the monthly meeting, no friend is to travel abroad in the ministry, or appoint meetings.

But it is not hereby intended to debar a friend not thus recommended, who has the unity and concurrence of the concerned part of the meeting to which he belongs, from accompanying, in a small prospect, a recommended minister, when travelling in the ministry, or in an exten­sive [Page 13] prospect, where a monthly meeting is easy with such young minister's proceeding therein, carefully avoiding in a minute given to such, mentioning any thing relative to their publick appearance.

And when any approved minister finds his or her mind engaged to travel in truth's service, they are to acquaint the monthly meeting to which they belong thereof, for their ad­vice and approbation, which may be sufficient when such prospect is only to meetings within the quarter to which such minister belongs; unless such meetings are remote, and in such cases a minute of such concurrence ought to be ob­tained; and in some cases where only a few meetings in the quarter is intended, and not far from home, the advice and concurrence of some of the elders collectively may be suf­ficient; but if to other parts of the yearly meeting, a certi­ficate or minute of the monthly meeting is to be obtained, unless the intended visit be only to a few meetings in ano­ther quarter, in which case a discretionary care is to be exer­cised by monthly meetings, when such cases come before them.

But if the prospect extends to a pretty general visit of the meetings, either in the compass of Rhode-Island year­ly meeting, or southward or westward further than the Jer­sies, or to any extensive visit amongst those not of our soci­ety, it is expedient▪ and it is believed will tend to the en­couragement and preservation of the individuals who go forth in this weighty service, to lay the concern before the quarterly meeting, with the certificate of the monthly, for their sympathy and concurrence, and that if obtained, to be expressed by an endorsement on the certificate, and signed by the clerk; unless some peculiar circumstances should in­duce the monthly meeting to judge that manifest inconveni­ency [Page 14] would result from waiting the meeting of the quarter.

And in cases where the intended visit is to parts beyond sea—As the most weighty, clear, and deliberate evidence should be obtained in the undertaking, it is concluded that such concern, with the certificate of the monthly and en­dorsement of the quarterly meeting, should be laid before the yearly meeting of ministers and elders, for their approba­tion, and if obtained, a certificate thereof be signed by the clerk.

And with respect to visiting families—although it is a ser­vice, that, when performed under right direction, frequent­ly proves usefully instructive and beneficial, yet it requires deliberate and weighty consideration; therefore, for the en­couragement and strengthening ministers in right movements therein, it is advised, that those who feel it a duty to make a pretty general visit of this kind, even in the monthly meet­ing to which they belong, that they have the concurrence thereof, and if the prospect extends to the families in ano­ther monthly meeting, the concurrence to be expressed by minute.

And when any woman friend in the ministry hath a con­cern to travel in that service, she is to open the same in the women's meeting; and when that meeting is so far united therewith as to approve its being laid before the men's meet­ing, the friend is then to be encouraged to open the same before said meeting for their sympathy and concurrence; and when approved, a certificate expressive thereof is to be pre­pared and signed by both meetings. And it is believed that it will afford strength and encouragement to men friends who travel in truth's service, to have the unity and concur­rence of the women's meeting therein, and that manifested [Page 15] by their certificate, being signed by their clerk, or by the members more at large, as the case may require.

It is also desired, that friends be careful not to re­ceive friends travelling in the ministry without certificates, or other necessary recommendation. And that monthly meetings take care, that certificates or minutes given to any friend be, upon the return of such friend, seasonably re­turned.

None are to take upon them publickly to oppose any mi­nistering friend, whether recommended or not, whilst in the unity of the body; or in time of prayer keep on the hat, or shew any remarkable dislike: but if any think they have ought against what was delivered, they are to speak to them privately, and in doing which, it is advised as a safe step, where it can consistently be done, that the dissatisfaction be previously opened to one or more of the elders, in order for their advice and assistance. But as it is possible, that ca­ses may occur, in which such an improper use may be made of this tender care towards those of the ministry, that by some unauthorized publick appearance, the solemnity of the meeting may materially suffer; it is therefore judged advisable that a discretionary care be vested in ministers and elders, in cases where it appears there is a necessity for it, tenderly to intimate a desire for the preservation of quiet, and that a suitable opportunity be taken by the elders with such person who hath thus given occasion of con­cern, and advice and counsel be given, as may appear ne­cessary. And in this and other cases where ministers give cause of uneasiness or dissatisfaction to friends, it is desir­ed that elders take due care to admonish and advise such seasonably, and if their advice has not the desired effect, that they lay the case before the preparative meeting of minis­ters [Page 16] and elders, in order that further care, advice and cau­tion may, in the wisdom of truth, be extended; but if the friend should continue in publick appearance to dissatisfac­tion, such friend, who so disturbs the solemnity of meet­ings for worship, should be dealt with, and if not brought to regard the advice of his or her friends, the monthly meeting is to proceed to disown such, if the state of the case appears to require it.

As friends, and the meetings belonging to this yearly meeting, are widely extended, and occasions offer for com­mittees of the yearly meeting to visit the meetings in the different quarters, and that some friend of the ministry on such appointments, may, when remote from home, have a prospect of religious duty to appoint some meetings in par­ticular places, it is therefore concluded that in such cases, such friend have liberty to disclose the concern to friends of the committee who are in company, and such ministers and elders, or other concerned friends as are in the neigh­bourhood where they are, and with their concurrence, pro­ceed in appointing a few meetings agreeable to such pros­pect.

[Page 19]


IT is desired that the subject of appointing elders engage the weighty care and attention of the preparative meeting of ministers and elders; and when they apprehend a friend so far advanced in religious experience, and qualified for the weighty trust of an elder in the church, that it may be safe and useful for such friend to be appointed to that station, that they propose the same to the consideration of the monthly meeting, and, if approved by said meeting, such friend to be considered a member of the meeting of ministers and elders, and the quarterly meeting of ministers and elders is to be informed of such appointment through the said preparative meeting.

A renewed consideration of the subject respecting elders removing, and retaining their station as elders in the month­ly meeting to which they remove, again engaged the solid attention of the meeting, and, after a deliberate review of the subject, it is the judgment of this meeting, that the right of appointing in that case should not in future conti­nue a friend in that station on his removing into the com­pass of another monthly meeting. Y. M. 1789.

And it is the desire of this meeting, that preparative meet­ings of ministers and elders have a watchful care over the members of their meeting. And if it should so fall out that any one of them should give cause to believe it advisable for such to be released from their stations, they are, after dis­charging a brotherly care therein, to put the case in a way to come before the monthly meeting, in order that he or she may be released from being members of the meeting of mi­nisters and elders, if the monthly meeting should see it right.

[Page 22]


THAT each monthly meeting choose two or more con­cerned and judicious men, and two or more women friends, to be overseers in each preparative meeting; which overseers are to render an account of their service to the monthly meeting whensoever thereunto required. This choice to be made from time to time as monthly meetings may think best.

And although it is a duty incumbent on every faithful member in society, where any disorder or unbecoming prac­tice comes to their knowledge, to advise, admonish or deal with such as are guilty thereof; yet that the same be not overlooked or neglected, it ought to be more particularly the business of overseers.

The subject relative to the appointment of overseers en­gaged the attention of this meeting, and the solid conside­ration thereof resulted, in earnestly recommending to our monthly meetings, a weighty and due attention to the point­ings of wisdom, in the choice of friends to this important service in the church, that it may be placed on those whose careful concern for the support of our christian testimony, in its various branches, may tend to the preservation of good order. 1790.

[Page 25]


IT is the advice of this meeting, that in speaking to, or dealing with any, it be done in a christian spirit, in the persuasive language of love and tenderness; labouring in meekness to lay the evil before the offenders, to bring them to a sense of it in themselves, and to promote their right re­storation. And although such as transgress, or lose their hold of truth, are apt to oppose or be testy, while they are in that condition, yet we ought patiently and meekly to in­struct and advise them, so that we may not only have the reward of peace in ourselves, but that it may so affect the spirits of those spoken to, as that they may be sensible we have only performed a christian duty, and an office of bro­therly love towards them. After which tender dealing, if any reject the admonition, counsel and advice given them, the overseers are to acquaint the preparative meeting thereof in order, if needful, that the same may be laid before the monthly meeting, that further care may be taken with such according to our established rules; of which notice should be previously given to the persons so dealt with, when that can reasonably be done.

And in all cases where it appears to a monthly meeting, that the necessary labour hath been bestowed on an offend­ing member, and it appears right to disown such member, they are first to be informed hereof by an appointment of some friends who are to take a suitable opportunity solidly to state the grounds of such conclusion, and thereby open the way for such friend to review his situation, the steps that [Page 26] have been taken in the case, and of communicating any ob­servations that he may be desirous to offer; and if any such observations should appear to the committee sufficiently in­teresting to obtain the attention and care of the meeting, they are to state them in their report, and further proceed­ings are to be at the discretion of the monthly meeting.

And when any member is disowned, such are to be in­formed thereof, and of their privilege of appealing, and a copy of the testification or minute of denial, as the case may be, offered to the person disowned. And let the friends ap­pointed in this service also take a suitable opportunity for a solid interview, that may evidence that the meeting's move­ments have been induced by a desire for the religious wel­fare of the individual, and the support of our christian testi­mony.

For the maintaining of our testimony against the nature and spirit of war, as well as matters which are publickly known to be inconsistent or scandalous—That when any, be­ing guilty of such things, abscond or depart from amongst us, so as to deprive friends of opportunity to discharge the care they might otherwise do, that testimonies against such per­sons, and their reproachful or inconsistent conduct be issued, declaring that they manifest by their deeds they are gone out from us, and therefore nor proper to be owned, until they condemn their deviations to satisfaction.

Where any person or persons commit any offence within a monthly meeting wherein they reside, but are not pro­perly members by the rules of settlement, such persons shall, by the monthly meeting where the offence is committed, be dealt with, if said meeting is satisfied the individual is a member; and if it be of such a nature as requires a denial, unless satisfaction is given, the said meeting shall disown [Page 27] such person or persons, and on repentance receive such into unity again, which shall not entitle to membership in the monthly meeting so having dealt with them — but the meeting of which they were members before such dealing, and the monthly meeting which hath disowned such friend or friends, shall immediately give notice of the denial or ac­ceptance to the meeting where such person doth belong.

[Page 31]


WHERE any differences arise between any friends about their interest, claims, or properties in worldly af­fairs, it is the sense and judgment of this meeting, that ac­cording to the ancient, comely, and christian practice, that at no time brother go to law with brother, except upon ap­parent and urgent necessity, as is hereafter limited and ex­pressed; but, that all friends proceed in the following man­ner, viz. the party thinking he hath reason of complaint, is himself calmly and friendly to speak, or, if he live at a distance too great to do it in person, write to the party, by whom he thinks himself injured, or to be in danger of suf­fering in his just right, and endeavour, by gentle means in a brotherly manner, to obtain his right, but if that doth not prevail, then let him, or, if they live at a distance as afore­said, some friend whom he may write to, and empower on his behalf, take one or more of the overseers, or other ju­dicious friends, and in like manner make his claim or de­mand; which friends so accompanying the complainant, are to use their endeavours, and give their utmost assistance, to have the matter justly and expeditiously ended, either by the parties, or the immediate assistance of those friends, who, if the matter appear plain and easy, or to be an uncontested debt, against which no reasonable objection is made by the debtor, are to advise the party complained of to make satis­faction, without carrying the matter further, either to arbi­trators or the meeting: but if there do appear to be either unsettled differences in accounts, or reason of debate, then if [Page 32] they cannot persuade the determination thereof by the par­ties themselves, or procure the same by their advice and as­sistance, they are to advise the parties to choose arbitrators for the settlement thereof; but if they cannot be so prevailed on, such refusal ought to be represented to the preparative meeting by the overseers, or the complainant, if neglected, of which the other party is to have notice; and if the parties cannot by the meeting's care, be brought to an agreement, or to refer the subject to arbitration, the complaint shall be car­ried from the preparative to the monthly meeting, with pre­vious notice thereof to the party complained of, where the first enquiry should be, whether the above gospel order hath been duly observed; if not, the complainant is to be referred back thereto, and no notice thereof taken on minute: but if it hath, the monthly meeting is to appoint some friends to have a conference with the parties, and consider whether the subject is attended with such circumstances as to justify the monthly meeting in advising it to be left to arbitration, and if the friends report that it so appears to them, and the monthly meeting concur therewith,—let the parties be ad­vised to submit the subject to arbitration: and if either of the parties refuse to comply therewith, or decline nominating or choosing arbitrators, the meeting, after labouring with the party so neglecting, should testify their disunion with such offender. And where a subject of difference has been sub­mitted to arbitration, either by consent of parties, or been prevailed on by a monthly meeting so to do, the award ought to be final, unless where it appears notoriously evident they have materially erred in their judgment or proceedings, or have not given sufficient opportunity of producing such evi­dence as was necessary in the case; and where this appears clear to the monthly meeting, they are to inform the quarter [Page 33] that they have a case before them in which they desire assist­ance, and the quarter is then to appoint some friends to sit with and assist the monthly meeting in the case; and if it should appear on consideration, that there is cause for dis­satisfaction, a rehearing is to be granted by the same or other arbitrators, and their award to be final.

And where arbitrators are chosen in any case, they ought as speedily as may be, to appoint time and place, and duly attend the business, by giving the parties and their witnesses a full and fair hearing, in the presence of each other, using all caution and care to avoid unnecessary delay, and to make the determination within the time appointed.

And whereas there may be some circumstances, even in disputed matters, wherein the foregoing wholesome method of proceeding cannot consistently be complied with; such as, first, the party absconding or leaving the country, with de­sign to defraud his or her creditors; or, secondly, when the time it might take up in going through the meeting might be a manifest damage to the creditor or claimant, as in cases of apparent danger of bankruptcy, and the party being over­loaded with debts, and other creditors generally coming on; or, third, that there may be danger of future damage to such as submit thereto, as in the case of executors, administrators, trustees, or friends who stand as security for those who are not members in society with us; it may therefore be necessa­ry, and it is advised that the monthly meeting in these cases do hold excused such as shall appear to them to be really ne­cessitated to proceed at law, with this caution, that the parties on both sides behave towards each other, in brotherly love, decency and moderation, without anger or animosity, which will be as a becoming testimony, even in courts, and shew that nothing but the nature of the case and our common sta­tion [Page 34] with our neighbours, under the laws of the land, bring any of us there.

If any person in membership with us shall arrest or sue at law any other friend, without proceeding in the manner herein before prescribed, such person doth therein deviate from the profession we make, and ought to be dealt with for the same, and, unless he give satisfaction, be disowned.

It is advised, that persons differing about worldly affairs do as little as may be choose ministering friends as arbi­trators.

And as it is our duty to seek peace with all men, and to avoid giving provocation or just offence to any—It is advised that friends do not go to law with others not of our pro­fession, without due consideration or good grounds, having first, in a friendly way, shewed his opponent the justness of his cause, and having offered, if it can be done with safety, if the other make any reasonable objection to his claim, to put the matter to a neighbourly reference.

So also that friends give no just occasion to such to go to law with them, but carefully comply with their promises and contracts; and where they have any reason for objecting to the demand, that they shew a readiness to settle it peacea­bly between themselves, or to submit to reference where it can be done with safety.

[Page 37]


WHERE any are guilty of tattling, tale-bearing, re­proaching, backbiting, or speaking evil of their neigh­bours, or busily meddling where not concerned, with the af­fairs of others, the tendency of which being to raise strife and discord, or cause disesteem among brethren or neighbours, they are to be suitably dealt with, even to disownment, if the nature of the case should require it.

And it is the desire and advice of this meeting, that in all cases friends be careful in their conduct and converse among men, to act with due circumspection, that neither in word nor deed they do any thing to the hurt or reproach one of ano­ther. And if any friend hear of any scandalous words or actions of another, that he as much as in him lies stop such report by discountenancing or dealing with the reporters, shewing the evil and injustice thereof, and then without fur­ther spreading of it, go to the friend whom it concerns, or advise him thereof, to the end such may clear themselves if innocent, or condemn the same if guilty; and if one or the other is not done, that friend ought to advise the overseers of the meeting to which the party belongs thereof, that he or she may be dealt with consistent with our discipline.

[Page 39]


IT is concluded, that acknowledgments in all cases be of­fered to the meeting by whom the person was disowned, and where the records thereof are kept; and if the person so acknowledging, resides in the compass of another monthly meeting, and so far remote as to render it difficult for the meeting, by whom disowned, to visit the acknowledger by their own appointment, that they by writing request such monthly meeting to visit the person on their behalf, and when prepared, inform the requesting monthly meeting their sense of the situation of such acknowledger, who are then to attend to the subject, and proceed in resulting the case, as truth may point out; and when such person is restored to membership, that the monthly meeting receiving, place him or her under the care of the monthly meeting where their residence is, either by their certificate, or minute of recom­mendation.

That all testifications and acknowledgments be entered on the minutes of the monthly meeting; which minutes should in all cases contain a clear explicit narrative, so as to keep the merits of the case on record.

It is concluded, that monthly meetings do not read pub­lickly acknowledgments from persons who have been pub­lickly disowned, unless in cases of publick scandal, and in [Page 40] these cases the publick reading to take place only in in­stances where a monthly meeting may judge that our testi­mony or the individual may sustain an injury by the omission. 1794.

Resulted as the sense and judgment of this meeting, that testifications against persons disowned for offences against the church only, be not in future publickly read. 1799.

That acknowledgments from persons disowned be read in the preparative meeting, and if no evident impropriety ap­pears to their going forward to the monthly meeting, that they be sent with the minutes of the preparative; and that persons offering acknowledgments to monthly meetings, at­tend such meeting at the reading thereof, where they rea­sonably can, in order that friends may be the better quali­fied to judge of the offering, and then, at the meeting's re­quest, withdraw before the matter is spoken to; and the reading acknowledgments to be in the early part of the meeting.

That no preparative meeting or overseers judge of any such acknowledgment, so as to prevent its going to the monthly meeting, though either may be at liberty to observe to the person any manifest obstruction: but if such person still remains desirous that the acknowledgment should be laid before the monthly meeting, that it be admitted to go in the manner before directed.

[Page 43]


IF any are dissatisfied with, or think themselves aggrieved by the testimony or judgment of a monthly meeting against them, they have liberty at the same, or the next, or the third monthly meeting, but not after, to notify their in­tentions of making application to the next quarterly meeting; which notification the said monthly meeting should enter on their minutes, and appoint four or more friends to take a copy of the meeting's records, signed by the clerk, in the case, and therewith attend the said quarterly meeting, and there, on the monthly meeting's behalf, shew their reasons for what is done, as the case may require, submitting the same to the said quarterly meeting; and then the quarterly meeting is to determine the same as they, in the wisdom of truth, may see most just: and if the appellant should be dissatisfied with the determination of the quarterly meeting, and do notify at the same or the next quarterly meeting, but not after, an intention of making application for a hear­ing at the next yearly meeting, then the quarterly meeting in like manner to make entry thereof, and appoint four or six friends to attend the yearly meeting with the records of both the quarterly and monthly meeting in the case, signed as aforesaid, where the same is to be finally determined.



CONCERNING the manner of proceeding in marriage, it is advised, that no young persons, who have parents or guardians, make proposals of marriage with each other, until the consent of such parents or guardians be obtained.

That all, according to our usual custom, do offer or pro­pose their marriage to two monthly meetings, and that the second time be to the next successive meeting, unless sickness or other material cause prevent. At the first meeting, if no reason appear to the contrary, the appearance would be mi­nuted, and inquiry made concerning consent of parents or guardians, if either have any, which consent ought always to be signified by such parents or guardians to the monthly meeting, either personally or in writing; and if the man be­long to the same meeting, two friends are to be then ap­pointed to inquire into his clearness for proceeding in such marriage; and if there is issue by a former husband, to see that the children's rights are duly attended to, and make re­port to the next meeting. And the proper care is previously to be taken by women friends concerning the woman. And if either of the parties be from another country, or belong to another monthly meeting, let inquiry be then made, for a certificate from such meeting, and where none is produced, let the parties be informed, that the marriage cannot pass, or be allowed without one, which shall certify their clearness from all others in respect of marriage, or any other engage­ment that way. But if the meeting he belongs to be within such distance as that it may probably be obtained, so as to [Page 46] be produced at the next meeting, and there appears no ob­jection, nor any thing else to obstruct, it may then pass for the first time.—At the second meeting, if what is above ex­pressed be done, and all appear clear, let an entry be made of their second appearance, and what more is usual and ne­cessary, and the couple left at their liberty to accomplish their marriage according to the order used among friends, but not on the monthly meeting day, or the first day of the week.

It it further pressed and advised, that the said marriage be accomplished decently, gravely and weightily; and that the parties themselves, their parents, and others concerned, do take care, at the houses, or places where they go or are after the meeting is over, that no reproach arise, or occasion of offence be given, by any intemperance, or immoderate feast­ing or drinking, or by any unseemly or wanton discourse or actions; but that all behave with such modesty and sobriety as becomes a people fearing God: and in order thereto, and for the assistance of those immediately concerned, let there be two men and two women friends appointed by the monthly meeting, to attend the marriage both at the meeting and place of entertainment after, who are to take care, as much as in them lies, that all be done, and all behave, as is above advised; and that the company retire in seasonable time. And if by them, or any other friend, any thing to the con­trary is observed, they ought, as speedily as they convenient­ly can, to take such aside, who make any breach upon good order, and, in brotherly love, tenderly admonish them to a better behaviour. And that the said friends do make report to the next monthly meeting, whether this advice, concern­ing decency and order, hath been observed; and take care that the marriage certificate be handed for recording.

[Page 47]And when any shall or do marry out of the unity of friends, by any other method than the before directed and orderly way used amongst; us, they are to be dealt with, and, unless they give satisfaction, be disowned.

When overseers, or other friends, know that any intend to offer proposals of marriage to the monthly meeting, which is manifest to them cannot pass, either for want of a certifi­cate, or any other apparent cause, they ought to advise them not to give themselves or the meeting unnecessary trouble, yet not so as to prevent or forbid them, if the parties conti­nue desirous notwithstanding to lay their proposals before the meeting.

And it is advised, that such men and women friends as do make suit, or concern themselves in proposals of marriage to one another, do not dwell together in the same house and family, from the time of making such proposals, or offers to­wards it, until their marriage is accomplished. And if they persist in so doing, after being advised against it by the over­seers, that they be dealt with as disorderly persons.

And it is concluded, that no friend in future attend the marriages of those that go out from us, as it is a strengthen­ing them in that disorder; nor any marriage accomplished by a priest or magistrate, or any other person; and if any should transgress herein, that they be dealt with accordingly.

And when it is discovered, that any keep company on ac­count of marriage with one not a member of our society, or where conduct gives reason to apprehend, that a connection of that kind is forming, it is earnestly desired, and should be considered the duty of overseers and other concerned friends, as soon as may be, in a gentle tender manner, to en­deavour to dissuade such therefrom, by pointing out the in­consistency, danger and disadvantage of such connection; [Page 48] and when any do so far disregard the tender labour and care of their friends, as to go out in marriage with such, and the monthly meeting is satisfactorily informed, that the necessary care hath been seasonably taken, such ought to be disowned without further labour,—unless it should appear by the re­port of the committee to inform such of the conclusion of the meeting to disown them, that there is a disposition of mind that appears to them deserving of further care and at­tention, in which case the same care is to be observed as is directed respecting disowning members under the head Dealing with Offenders. But in cases where it may appear, that this necessary, seasonable and tender care hath not been extended, monthly meetings ought to labour with such as with offenders in other cases.

And when any who have married out, do, from a religious sensibility, witness an exercise of mind, that induces a desire for reconciliation with the body, let no discouragements be given, by the requisition of unnecessary expressions in an ac­knowledgment, that would not accord with that tender re­gard for the preservation of harmony, so precious and neces­sary to be preserved between husband and wife.

And it is concluded, if any first cousins join in marriage, they are to be disowned without dealing; yet overseers and other concerned friends ought to consider it their duty, when they hear of any such keeping company on that account, or of a conduct likely to lead thereto, timely to treat with them, and endeavour to convince them of the inconsistency of such marriages, and the danger there is in going counter to the solid sense and judgment of the body.

And when overseers, and other concerned friends, know or hear of any keeping company on account of marriage, that are of a degree of kindred nearer than second cousins, but [Page 49] not so near as first cousins, usually termed first and second cousins, it ought to be considered their duty to caution and advise against it, in the manner directed respecting such who keep company with those who are not members of our so­ciety, and they are to be dealt with in like manner if they proceed to marry.

This meeting, being tender in respect to marriages, advises that no misconduct be brought forward against any person at the time of their proposing their marriage, or till the mar­riage is accomplished, as it is out of order, and ought to be discouraged; but this is not to affect the report respecting the clearness from others on account of marriage.

It is advised, that no widower or widow make or admit proposals of marriage within one year after the decease of husband or wife; an earlier procedure therein being thought over hasty and unbecoming. And no monthly meeting ought to permit any marriage to be proposed in said meeting sooner than a year after the death of husband or wife.

Form of Marriage Certificate.

Whereas A. B. son of C. D. and E. his wife, of [...] and county [...] in the state of New-York, and F. G. daughter of H. I. and J. his wife, of, &c. in the state afore­said, having declared their intentions of marriage with each other before two monthly meetings of the people called Qua­kers, held at [...] in the state aforesaid, they having consent of parents and parties concerned, and nothing ap­pearing to obstruct, their said proposals were allowed of the meeting: Now these are to certify all whom it may concern, that, for the full accomplishment of their said in­tentions [Page 50] this [...] day of [...] month, in the year [...] they the said A. B. and F. G. appeared in a publick meeting of said people at [...] aforesaid, and he the said A. B. taking the said F. G. by the hand, did, in a solemn manner, openly declare, that he took her to be his wife, pro­mising, through divine assistance, to be unto her a faithful and loving husband until death separates them, or words to that effect; and then the said F. G. did, in like manner, de­clare, that she took the said A. B. to be her husband, promis­ing, through divine assistance, to be unto him a faithful and loving wife until death separates them, or words to that im­port; and moreover they the said A. B. and F. G. she accord­ing to the custom of marriage assuming the name of her husband, as a further confirmation thereof, did then to these presents set their hands; and we whose names are hereunto subscribed, being present at the solemnization of said mar­riage and subscription, have, as witnesses thereunto, set our hands the day and year above written.

[Page 55]


FOR the preservation of friends from wounding them­selves and families, or the body, by injudicious remov­als, we do advise, that, when any friends have thoughts of removing, they be careful not to let wrong motives influence their conclusions; but in a timely manner, (that is, before such steps are taken as may close the way to their taking the advice of their friends) acquaint the monthly meeting where­to they belong, or at least the overseers of the preparative meeting, and such other friends as the overseers may ask to unite with them in counsel in the case, in order for their brotherly advice on the propriety of such their proposed re­moval; for want of which, some have suffered loss, both in their temporal and spiritual concerns, and we believe there­by hurt the youth of their families. And if no material objection appear against it, they ought to have a certificate of their life, conversation and circumstances, according to truth and justice, to be produced to the monthly meeting where they are going to reside. And the inquiry respecting outward affairs being settled, ought not to be confined to the monthly meeting in which the person proposing to remove resides, if there is reason to believe they are not settled in other places. And elders, overseers, and other concerned friends, when they hear of any friend inclining to remove, are to consider it as their duty, in brotherly love, to advise such to observe the foregoing directions.

And when a certificate of removal, from one monthly meeting to another, is received by the meeting to which it [Page 56] is directed, the friend or friends recommended thereby, shall be deemed members of the meeting removed to.

And when apprentices, or persons under age, are placed in the compass of another monthly meeting, that removal certificates be forwarded for such.

No friend is to gain a settlement by marriage certificate or other recommendation, unless their removal be expressed therein.

And that all certificates of removal brought by any friend, intending to reside amongst us, be lodged in the monthly meeting where the same is accepted. And that every meet­ing keep records of all certificates which they give out.

[Page 59]


IT is evident, that the spirit of truth, where it is received, and given way to, brings into such a liberty and freedom of spirit, that those who keep under the influence of it, are not in bondage to the spirit of this world; an attention to the precious influence thereof, occasioned our primitive friends to be remarkable for their uprightness and honesty in their commerce and converse, and very exact in performing their promises, without evasive excuses.

And a concern is witnessed, that friends be earnestly en­gaged to seek after divine counsel in all their movements; their temporal concerns will thereby be circumscribed within the bounds of safety; a want of a due and watchful care therein, has been the cause of many being drawn from the limits of truth, into a worldly spirit and disposition, which hath tended to disqualify them for those services in society they were graciously designed for, and they have gradually become barren, and unfruitful of good, and pierced them­selves through with many sorrows.

It is therefore advised, that friends be very cautious and guarded, how they go from such honest and lawful employ­ments as they well understand, and are able to manage. And that they endeavour to content themselves with such a plain way of living, as is most agreeable to the self-denying principle of truth which we profess, and which is most con­ducive to that tranquillity of mind requisite to a religious conduct through this world.

It is, therefore, earnestly recommended to those who en­gage [Page 60] in commerce particularly, and in all other concerns, closely to attend to the guidance of the precious principle of light and truth in the heart, that they may witness their views, and movements, circumscribed, and their minds guarded against an inordinate pursuit after the accumulation of wealth; against unduly entering into concerns, that de­pend much upon the uncertain probabilities of hazardous enterprises; and more especially against launching into busi­ness upon such credit, as their profession of the truth may have given them, and more at the hazard of others property than their own. And that all friends be careful of entering into hasty engagements; but when they give their words, that they as carefully abide by and perform them, to the utmost of their power, the reputation truth gives them be­ing otherwise wounded.

And let all amongst us be cautioned, to consider well the ground on which they become endorsers, or joint-securities, lest, for want of due consideration, any involve themselves and families into ruinous circumstances, and risk their own peace of mind. And if any amongst us find themselves em­barrassed, and not likely to be able to comply with their con­tracts, it is advised, that such disclose their circumstances to some judicious friends, and, if it appears necessary, call their creditors together, and seasonably state their situation, and then be particular in such situations, to take the counsel of the overseers, and such other judicious friends as they may think proper to call in, relative to a settlement of their affairs, agreeable to the principles of justice and equity.

It is also advised, that overseers counsel such as give occa­sion to suspect, that they are so declining in their worldly circumstances, as to be likely to bring reproach on our chris­tian profession, by falling short of honestly discharging their [Page 61] contracts, to the injury of their just creditors. And that all concerned in trade, keep their accounts in such a clear and accurate manner, that, in cases of failure, their creditors may see how the deficiency has happened. Those friends who may be appointed by monthly meetings to visit those who have failed, should always make due inquiry how they have acted in the above respects, and report to the monthly meeting.

And it is also advised, that friends be cautious how they receive collections or bequests, for the use of the poor or other purposes of society, of persons who have fallen short of the payment of their just debts, though legally discharged by the voluntary act of their creditors; for until such per­sons have satisfied their creditors, their possessions cannot in equity be called their own. And when any failures of this kind do occur, and such decline making farther payments towards the remaining balances of their just debts, when of ability so to do, monthly meetings should be informed there­of, and inquire into the cause, and if after a tender and brotherly examination, it should appear, that their circum­stances are such as to render it clearly advisable, that a farther payment should be offered to the creditors; or that a state of the debtor's affairs should be laid before the creditors, and submitted to them, whether a farther payment should be made at that time, or referred to a farther day, let advice to the individual be given accordingly. And where monthly meetings discover, in any who have fallen short of the pay­ment of their just debts, a conduct, attended with circum­stances, that bring a reproach on our religious society, such offenders should, after due labour extended, be testified against, unless they condemn their misconduct in a satisfac­tory manner. And it is advised, that where friends accept [Page 62] the office of trustee or assignee, they be active in collect­ing the effects of the estate, and punctual in making speedy distribution

The danger and inconveniences which have frequently arose from partnerships in trade between friends and others who are not members of our society, having in divers in­stances been very apparent, and apprehending some have sustained a loss in their religious progress by a connection of that kind, we feel desirous, that, when any in profession with us are about forming connections in business, they may duly consider the subject, and keep in view the propriety and greater safety of confining their prospects to those who are in membership with us. And when any do engage, and become a partner in commercial concerns with those not of our soci­ety, and it should so happen, through a failure of engage­ments, or payment of just debts in season, on the part of the said partnership, as to give reasonable occasion for a legal procedure at law, that, in that case, a creditor, who may be a member of our society, may be at liberty to proceed ac­cordingly—it appearing to us very improper that the due course of justice should be obstructed by any of our mem­bers connecting themselves with those not in profession with us.

[Page 65]

REQUESTS To be received into Membership.

UNITEDLY resulted, that requests from such as desire to be received into membership be introduced by the overseers, and read in the preparative meeting; and if no evident impropriety appears to their going forward to the monthly meeting, that they be sent with the minutes of the preparative. That no preparative meeting or overseers judge of any such request, so as to prevent its going to the month­ly meeting; though either may be at liberty to observe to the person any manifest obstruction; but if such person still remains desirous that the request should be laid before the monthly meeting, that it be admitted to go in the manner before directed. 1789. And when a monthly meeting is sa­tisfied that the motives to such request are sincere, and also of the fitness of such requester to become a member of our society, a minute should then be made of the acceptance of such into membership, and two friends appointed to acquaint the person thereof, in a suitable manner.

It is concluded to be the duty of monthly meetings, to receive children that are young, whose parents are members and they not, on the application of their parents, unless some obstacle sufficient to justify a refusal should appear to the meeting. And as children who are descended from parents, the one a member and the other not, are not considered members of our society, monthly meetings are in this case [Page 66] also, with the restrictions mentioned above, to receive such children, on the request of the parent that is a member, in which case our monthly meetings are to pay a due respect to the other parent, and to that parent's willingness that the child should be educated conformable to our religious pro­fession.

[Page 69]


ADVISED, that all friends keep themselves, and those under their tuition, out of the world's corrupt lan­guage, manners, vain and needless things and fashions, in apparel, buildings, and furniture of houses, some of which are indecent and unbecoming. And that they avoid the im­moderate or vain use of lawful things, which, though inno­cent in themselves, may thereby become hurtful: avoid also such kind of stuffs, colours and dress, as are calculated more to please a vain and wanton, or proud mind, than for their real usefulness. And let tradesmen and others, members of our religious society, be admonished accordingly, that they may not make themselves accessary to these evils; for we ought in all things to take up the daily cross of Christ, mind­ing the grace of God which brings salvation, and teaches to deny all ungodliness, and worldly lusts, and to live soberly, righteously and godly in this present world, that we may adorn the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ; so shall we feel his blessing, and may be instrumental in his hand for the good of others.

And whereas we have with deep concern observed, that there is a great declension from that simplicity in speech, be­haviour, and apparel, which our worthy predecessors were led into; and as we find by experience, that the same spirit of truth, which led our ancients to lay aside every thing unbe­coming the followers of Christ, will still lead in the same path all who submit to its guidance, we earnestly intreat all friends to watch over themselves in these respects.

[Page 70]Let not any such as degenerate in these respects excuse their own weakness, under a pretence of the misconduct of some who have appeared outwardly plain—an objection of very little weight; for did they rightly consider, they would clearly see, that the very reasons why deceivers sometimes put on plain apparel, is because true men have been accus­tomed to wear it. We also tenderly advise, that friends take heed, that they use plainness of speech without respect of per­sons, in all their converse among men; and not balk their testimony by a cowardly compliance, varying their language according to their company, a practice of very ill example to our observing youth, and rendering those who use it con­temptible, and looked upon as a kind of hypocrites, even by those with whom they so comply.

When any so far depart from that simplicity and plainness which truth leads into, as to copy after, and run into the vain and extravagant fashions of the world, either in speech, behaviour, apparel, or furniture of their houses, or in other respects, it is desired and advised, that friends, from time to time, as such things appear, be stirred up in the wisdom of truth, to take due and prudent care therein; and if any, by continuing in such practices, reject the advice and labour of their friends,—let such cases be brought forward to the monthly meeting for further care and proceeding, as may appear necessary for the support of our Christian testimony.

[Page 73]


ADVISED, that friends keep to their wonted example and testimony against the superstitious observation of days, and to the simplicity of truth, and our ancient testimo­ny, in calling the days and months by scripture names and not by heathen. E. D.

And that the importance of that christian testimony, borne by our predecessors in this case, may be the more clearly dis­cerned, the following is recommended to serious considera­tion:

A brief account of the origin of the names of some months of the year, and of all the days of the week, now customa­rily and commonly used.

I. January was so called from Janus, an ancient king of Italy, whom heathenish superstition had deified, to whom a temple was built and this month dedicated.

II. February was so called from Februa, a word denoting purgation by sacrifices; it being usual in this month for the priests of the heathen god Pan to offer sacrifices, and perform certain rites, conducing, as was supposed, to the cleansing or purgation of the people.

III. March was so denominated from Mars, feigned to be the god of war, whom Romulus, founder of the Roman em­pire, pretended to be his father.

IV. April is generally supposed to derive its name from the Greek appellation of Venus, an imaginary goddess, wor­shipped by the Romans.

[Page 74]V. May is said to have been so called from Maia, the mo­ther of Mercury, another of their pretended ethnic deities, to whom in this month they paid their devotions.

VI. June is said to take its name from Juno, one of the supposed goddesses of the heathen.

VII. July, so called from Julius Caesar, one of the Roman emperors, who gave his name to this month, which before was called Quintilis or the fifth.

VIII. August, so named in honour of Augustus Caesar, another of the Roman emperors; this month before was cal­led Sextilis or the sixth.

The other four months, namely, September, October, No­vember and December, still retain their numerical Latin names, which, according to the late regulation of the calen­dar, will for the future be improperly applied. However, from the continued use of them hitherto, as well as from the practice of the Jews before the Babylonish captivity, it seemeth highly probable that the method of distinguishing the months by their numerical order only, was the most ancient, as it is the most plain, simple and rational.

As the idolatrous Romans thus gave names to several of the months, in honour of their pretended deities: so the like idolatry prevailing among our Saxon ancestors, induced them to call the days of the week by the name of the idol which on that day they peculiarly worshipped.—Hence,

The first day of the week they called Sunday, from their accustomary adoration of the sun on that day.

The second day of the week they called Monday, from their usual custom of worshipping the moon on that day.

The third day of the week they named Tuesday, in ho­nour of one of their idols called Tuisco.

[Page 75]The fourth day of the week was called Wednesday, from the appellation of Woden, another of their idols.

The fifth day of the week was called Thursday, from the name of an idol called Thor, to whom they paid their de­votion on that day.

The sixth day of the week was termed Friday, from the name of Friga, an imaginary goddess, by them worshipped.

The seventh day they stiled Saturday, as is supposed from Saturn, or Seater, by them then worshipped.

Seeing, therefore, that these appellations and names of days, months and times, are of an idolatrous or superstitious original, contrary to the divine command, ‘make no men­tion of the names of other gods, neither let it be heard out of thy mouth,’ Exod. xxiii. 13,—the practice of good and holy men in former ages, and repugnant to the christian tes­timony, borne by our faithful friends and predecessors in the truth, for the sake of which they patiently endured many revilings; let neither the reproach of singularity, nor the specious reasonings of such as would evade the cross of Christ, turn any aside from the simplicity of the gospel, nor discou­rage from keeping to the language of truth, in denominating the months and days according to the plain and scriptural way of expression, thereby following the example of our worthy elders, and coming up in a noble and honourable testimony against those and all other remains of idolatry and superstition. E. D.

Neither can we conform to the custom of illuminating our houses, or doing any act as a mark of rejoicing for victory in war—or in other respects comply with the ordinances of man relative to fast-days, or those appointed for publick thanksgiving or rejoicing.

[Page 77]


AS one of the first great causes, which engaged our an­cient friends to the orderly establishing our Christian discipline, was the care of the poor, it is the advice and di­rection of this meeting, that all poor friends amongst us be taken due care of, according to friends ancient practice; that their cases, and the cases of such as may be likely to require assistance, be, from time to time, duly inspected, and they advised, relieved, and assisted in such business as they are ca­pable of; and that two or more suitable men friends, and the like number of women friends in each monthly meeting, be appointed to have the care of the poor, whose business and duty it should be to visit, inspect, and relieve them.

And it is desired, that friends and meetings extend due care in affording the necessary school learning to the children of the poor, and others alluded to in the foregoing paragraph.

Yearly Meeting, 1796. The following report is received from the friends thereto appointed.

In attending to the subject of our appointment, our minds are sensibly affected with sympathy, and with a full persua­sion that an increase of care is greatly necessary; and that there is occasion, not only to renew the recommendation of this meeting some years since respecting quarterly collections, [Page 78] but that it be earnestly enjoined on each monthly meeting, to attend closely to those collections, with a liberality that will keep it in a situation suitable to the necessary expenses that may arise, and thereby avoid the painful necessity of resorting to a particular personal subscription, either for the relief of the poor or otherwise:—that each monthly meeting be desired to appoint a few judicious friends, a standing committee, to have the direction and disposing of the mo­ney so raised; and that the treasurer of each monthly meet­ing be directed to pay to them, or their order, such monies as they shall judge right to call for. This, we apprehend, will remove one cause of concern. And the committee are united in believing, that the situation and peculiar circumstances of some of our monthly meetings are such, as do occasion the necessary expenses of Society to fall so disproportionately heavy as to claim a brotherly sympathy, and therefore sug­gest the propriety of the yearly meeting recommending this subject to the superintendance of our meeting for sufferings; and that it be recommended to their care, to extend advice and assistance in such cases as may appear to them advisable, and agreeable to the present prospect that opens on this af­fecting occasion—Not only a brotherly care, but a safety will appear herein, when it is recollected that the committee annually appointed to settle the treasurer's accounts will have an opportunity to point out any injudicious appropriations.

The report received the solid deliberation of the meeting, and a free communication of sentiments evidenced a full united concurrence with the report of the committee—and it is earnestly recommended to the care and attention of our monthly meetings, and our meeting for sufferings is desired [Page 79] to keep the subject under their care and superintendance, and to call on the treasurer of this meeting, from time to time, for such sums as may appear to them necessary to carry the brotherly views of this meeting into effect.

The above minute is not to be understood as contemplat­ing the ordinary relief of the poor, but only the dispropor­tionate expenses that some, more especially remote monthly meetings, may be put to by extra services in lengthy journies or otherwise.

[Page 81]

CHILDREN, Placing them out, and taking Apprentices.

WHEN any parents or guardians are disposed to put out a child, it ought to be placed with a member in society with us unless, after due inquiry, no suitable place can be found; that then application be made to the monthly meeting to which they belong for advice, who are to appoint a committee to consider the same; and if, after due attention thereto, they should find a place where the tuition of the child may be reserved to such parent or guardian, that they may be educated agreeable to our discipline, that then the monthly meeting act in such case as may appear to them best; and when any parents or guardians do act contrary hereto, that they be dealt with as those who refuse the ad­vice, and disregard the unity of the body.

Advised that all friends, who take apprentices, or other children under their care, seek for and give a preference to our own members, and be moderate in their terms, that so the children of the poorer sort, in an especial manner, may be brought up to such trades and business as may, with a bles­sing on their prudence and industry, procure them a com­fortable livelihood. 1788.

And that friends take due care to instruct all children placed under their care in school-learning, to fit them for business.

[Page 83]


THE establishment of suitable schools, for the right edu­cation of our youth, being a subject considered so im­portant, that a weighty and close attention thereto has been from time to time pressingly recommended to all our subor­dinate meetings, that the rising generation may be placed under the tuition of those, not only qualified to instruct them in school-learning, but such as will co-operate with friends in their religious endeavours to excite a love of vir­tue, and example them in a conduct consistent with our holy profession; and in order thereto, particular directions were given in the year 1791, that preparative meetings should open subscriptions for permanent school [...], to be placed under the care of committees of each meeting, with the form of a plan for the more orderly conducting of the school: and being now renewedly impressed with the importance of the subject, it is pressingly recommended to our preparative meetings, to pay close attention thereto, agreeable to the ad­vices that have been from time to time communicated by this meeting—and that our members do not place their children under the tuition of irreligious tutors. And it is advised, that friends do not place them with such tutors as are not members of our society, without previously consulting the preparative meeting, or its committee thereon.

[Page 85]

SCRIPTURES Of the Old and New Testament.

WE earnestly recommend to all friends, especially elders in the church, and heads of families, that they would, both by example and advice, endeavour to impress on the minds of the younger rank, a due regard and esteem for those excellent writings, the scriptures of the Old and New Testament, and advise them to a frequent reading and medi­tating therein, and, at proper seasons, give the youth to un­derstand, that the same good experience of the work of sanc­tification, through the operation of the spirit of truth, which they clearly bear testimony to, is to be witnessed by believers in all generations, as well as by those in the first ages of christianity, on which occasions some account of our experi­ence may be helpful to them; and this may be the means, under the divine blessing, of leading their minds into a firm belief of the Christian doctrine in general, and in particular the necessity of the aid and help of the holy spirit in the hearts of men, abundantly testified of in that most excellent book the Bible.

[Page 87]


THIS meeting doth earnestly exhort all parents, heads of families, and guardians of minors, that they be exem­plary themselves, and prevent, as much as in them lies, their children, and others in their service, and under their care and tuition, from having or reading books and papers tend­ing to prejudice the profession of the Christian religion; lest their infant and feeble minds should be vitiated thereby, and a foundation laid for the greatest evils. And being sor­rowfully affected, under a consideration of the hurtful ten­dency of reading plays, romances, novels, and other perni­cious books, it is earnestly recommended, to every member of our religious society, to discourage and suppress the same; and particularly to caution printers and booksellers, under our name, against printing, selling, or lending such books; entreating them to avoid a practice, for the sake of gain, so inconsistent with the purity of the Christian religion. And friends are desired to be careful in the choice of books, in which their children and families read, seeing there are ma­ny, under the specious titles of promoting religion and mo­rality, containing sentiments repugnant to the truth in Christ Jesus.

Where any print or publish any books or writings, tend­ing to raise contention, or occasion breach of unity, among brethren or neighbours, or that have not first had the appro­bation of the meeting for sufferings, advice to such should be speedily given, and, after being suitably dealt with, unless they give satisfaction, should be disowned.

[Page 89]


WHERE any in profession with us are guilty of any gross or notorious crimes, or such other disorderly and indecent practices, as shall occasion publick scandal, such should be speedily dealt with; and if not brought to such a sense of their misconduct as to condemn the same to satis­faction, that they be publickly testified against. And in all cases where an acknowledgment is accepted for an offence of publick scandal, from a member who has not been disowned therefor, that it be publickly read.

[Page 91]


ADVISED, to walk wisely and circumspectly towards all men, in the peaceable spirit of the gospel, avoiding all just occasion of offence to those in government, or giving way to any controversies or heats relative thereto, bearing in mind the spirituality of our profession, that, by living near the divine principle of truth, our testimony thereto may be preferred to every temporal consideration; and that the of­fices of profit and honour in government may neither be sought after nor accepted by any of us.

But if any should so far disregard the unity of the body, as to accept any post of profit and honour in government, that such should not be employed in any service of the church, or their collections received.

Advised, that friends be careful not to be in any respect concerned in illegal trade; and that in our dealings or con­versation, we do not in any way encourage the practice in others.

[Page 93]


AS the spirit of the gospel breathes peace on earth, and good-will to men; and as we have uniformly believ­ed it our indispensible duty to bear a faithful testimony, for the Prince of Peace, we affectionately desire, that all friends be watchfully careful to keep to the peaceable prin­ciple professed by us as a people, and, upon all occassions, de­mean ourselves in a Christian and peaceable manner, thereby demonstrating to the world, that we are uniform in practice and principle. And it is desired, that friends be careful not to unite with any who make warlike preparations, offensive or defensive, in any way tending to strengthen them, or en­courage them therein, or of engaging in any trade or busi­ness, tending to promote war, or suffering motives of worldly advantage, to induce them to ship, or order their goods ship­ped in armed vessels, or as underwriters, to take a risk, at a reduced premium, in consequence of a vessel being armed in a warlike manner, which will lead to consider the difficulties in which a concern in this branch of business may involve such as may be engaged therein, with respect to supporting our testimony against war.

But if any are so unmindful of our Christian testimony against war, as to bear arms, or actively comply with any military service, or are concerned in warlike preparations, either offensive or defensive, by sea or land, or pay any fine, penalty, or tax▪ in lieu of personal service, for carrying on war, or deal in prize goods, either directly or indirectly, ad­vice to such ought to be speedily given, and after being suit­ably laboured with, unless they are reclaimed, and give satis­faction should be disowned.

[Page 95]


ADVISED, that our Christian testimony against oaths be faithfully maintained; and where any shall so far dis­regard our testimony herein, as in any case to take or admi­nister an oath, let such be dealt with; and unless they give suitable satisfaction, that they be disowned.

[Page 97]


LET us keep in remembrance, that it is under the imme­diate teaching and influence of the holy spirit, that all acceptable worship is performed, and all true gospel ministry supplied; that this powerful influence, in vessels prepared by the divine hand, is the essential qualification to that work; that as the gift is divine, the service is freely and faithfully to be discharged, without any view to reward from man.

It is therefore earnestly recommended to friends in their several meetings, where there are any that balk the testimony of truth, by paying the hireling priests, to labour in true love and tenderness, to convince them of their error; and if their endeavours prove ineffectual, it is the sense of this meeting, that such persons, persisting in their unfaithfulness, and op­position to the sense of the body, the monthly meeting should proceed to testify against their conduct.

[Page 99]


AS it sometimes falls to our lot to suffer in support of our Christian testimony, we tenderly advise and ex­hort all friends, that when any requisitions or demands are made which appear repugnant thereto, they do not, through any contrivance or indirect means, seek to evade the [...], but that they cheerfully suffer for the support and exaltation of this noble testimony, not doubting but he who judgeth righteously will reward those who faithfully suffer for his cause; and when any are thus called to suffer, that they en­deavour to demonstrate a spirit of meekness and patience therein, agreeable to the excellent example of our blessed Sa­viour, it being by such a temper and conduct only, that we can contribute to the advancement of truth, or find true peace in ourselves. That friends keep a true account of their sufferings, both as to the sum, the time when, for what, and by whom, that they may be brought forward, but that they first be carefully inspected by a committee of the monthly meeting, and afterwards that the amount, and on what occa­sion, come through the monthly and quarterly to the yearly meeting; and that the monthly meeting keep a record there­of in a book for that purpose.

[Page 101]


ADVISED, that a watchful care be taken, to prevent any of our members from going to, or being any way concerned in stage-plays, lotteries, musick, and dancing, fre­quenting taverns unnecessarily, or attending places of diver­sion; and that such also be dealt with as run races on horse­back or on foot, lay wagers, or use any kind of gaming, or vain sports, or pastimes: for our time swiftly passeth away, and our pleasure and delight ought to be in the law of the Lord.

And if any who are concerned in, or indulge themselves in any of these evils, cannot, after a time of waiting and kind treatment in the spirit of restoring love, be brought to a due sense of their misconduct therein, monthly meetings should testify their disunion with them. And it is advised, that none practise smoking tobacco indecently, or too pub­lickly, as in streets, high roads, or other places of publick and promiscuous resort.

[Page 103]


WE entreat our young friends with readiness to receive and observe the loving, wholesome admonition of their parents and friends, and carefully to avoid all evil com­pany and communication which corrupt good manners, and that these, as well as those of riper age, avoid resorting to ta­verns and places of entertainment when necessary business does not call them there, lest they should not only be sub­jected to the temptation of drinking to excess, the dismal effects of which in many we see and lament, but thereby an opportunity is offered for men of corrupt minds to sow the evil seeds of loose principles, to the calling in question the great truths of religion set forth in the scriptures of truth, and striking at the foundation of godliness and holy living, the ensnaring consequences whereof we desire all may lay to heart in time; and in order that those who are unhappily taken in these snares may be induced to break off before it is too late, it is our desire that the elders and other concerned friends may show a disposition to engage them in their com­pany, and treat them with freedom and kindness, which will very much make way for such advice as they may have to communicate to them. But if after all this labour no fruits of amendment appear, then proceed to a regular discharge of duty by dealing with them according to gospel order. Ex­tract from P. D.

[Page 105]


IN attending to the state of things as brought up from the several quarters, it was cause of close exercise to find, that any among us should yet give way to the excessive use of spirituous liquors; and the meeting being led to consider the importation and sale of that article as contributing to the en­couragement and increase of this mighty evil, we therefore earnestly recommend to the quarterly and monthly meetings, to give serious and close attention to this important subject; that concerned friends be exemplary in this respect, and re­quested to advise our members against being concerned in importing or selling of distilled spirituous liquors, or the dis­tillation of them; and that they be watchfully cautious how they encourage in others a traffick so pernicious to our fel­low men. Y. M. 1785.

And although we have comfortable cause to believe the advice issued some time since by this meeting concerning a commerce in, and the unnecessary use of, distilled spirituous liquors, hath had place in the minds of many, evidenced by a decline of the commerce and use of that article among us; yet, from the reports, there is ground to fear some have been and others are in danger of going back again; and it being an article so exceedingly destructive to the essential welfare of mankind, it is painfully affecting that any in profession with [Page 106] us should, for the sake of gain, contribute to so great an evil; we therefore think it best to signify that it is contrary to the advice and judgment of this meeting, that any of our mem­bers should continue to traffick therein; and we request our quarterly and monthly meetings carefully to watch over their respective members, and see how far this, and the ad­vice in 1785 on this subject, is observed; and that an account thereof come up to next yearly meeting. 1788.

Although it appears by the accounts, that our advice and counsel, respecting the use of and commerce in distilled spi­rits, have obtained considerable attention in each quarter; yet we find there still remains a number in the practice of trafficking in that article, but that divers of them give en­couragement to hope they will decline the business; and that no friend is in the practice of distilling those liquors: and the subject coming weightily under a renewed consideration, it is the earnest desire of this meeting, that our advice and judgment expressed last year may be renewedly adverted to, and that our monthly meetings appoint committees to assist the overseers in labouring with such amongst us, who still continue to traffick in the pernicious article of distilled spi­rits, and that a report thereon be brought forward next year. 1789.

By reports from our quarters it appears, that our members are clear of trafficking in distilled spirits, except four, and one of those under dealing for other misconduct. The con­tinued attention of our monthly meetings is desired to this subject, that those who still disregard the labour bestowed, from a concern attending this yearly meeting, may be ten­derly dealt with by the monthly meetings to which they be­long; and if not brought to such a sense of their misconduct as to refrain from that traffick, they are to be disowned. 1792.

[Page 107]It is earnestly advised, that none accustom themselves to vain and idle company, sipping and tippling of drams and strong drink; for though such who use that evil practice may not suddenly beome drunken to the greatest degree, yet they often thereby become like ground fitted for the seeds of the greatest transgressions, and some who have had the good example of virtuous parents, have, from small be­ginnings in corners, arrived to a shameful excess, to the ruin of themselves, the great injury of their families, and the scan­dal of our holy profession.

And it having been observed, that a pernicious custom hath prevailed of giving rum and other strong liquors to excite people to bid at vendues to advance the price, which, besides the injustice of the artifice, leads to intemperance and disorder; it is therefore the sense of this meeting to caution friends against the same. And if any under our profession do fall into this evil practice, by giving or taking drams or other strong liquors at vendues, or any noisy revelling ga­thering, they should be speedily dealt with as disorderly persons.

And it is advised, that all be guarded against the unneces­sary use of distilled spirits at all times, and exemplary in avoiding the use of them in harvests or other places of la­bour; and that none who are in trade make a practice of handing it, or suffer it to be handed, to their customers or others who may come to their shops.

[Page 111]


NO friend is to import, buy, or sell negroes or other slaves; or hire any that are held in bondage; or take any that are young, or others, by indenture or otherwise, unless they are first set free. Any friend, disregarding the advice above expressed, after deliberate dealing with, except satisfaction be given, is to be disowned.

And where friends have any who are young under their care, that they treat them in a Christian manner, endeavour to inculcate morality in them, and to make them ac­quainted with the principles of truth, and give them useful and necessary learning to fit them for business. Also friends are desired to be careful to avoid, as much as may be, the doing any act, whereby the right of slavery is acknowledg­ed; but this is not meant to extend to acts of benevolence towards that people.

[Page 113]


EXECUTORS and trustees concerned in wills and settle­ments, are advised to take especial care, that they faith­fully discharge their respective trusts according to the intent of the donors or testators, and that meetings take due care that charitable gifts, legacies or bequests, intended and given for the use of the poor, or other purposes of the society, be not appropriated or converted to any other uses than such as the donors or testators have directed, and enjoined by legal settlement, will or testament.

[Page 115]


WE think it proper to recommend, that friends make their wills in time of health, and that they be careful to renew them as often as occasion requires, and therein to direct their substance so as in justice and wisdom may be to their satisfaction and peace, and to the promotion of harmo­ny in their families. Making such wills in due time may prevent the subject claiming attention and care on a sick bed, when the mind should not be diverted from a solemn consi­deration of the approaching awful period of life.

And let all be careful in whom they place the confidential trust of executorship, as much may depend thereon, not only respecting a due care of the property they leave, but also respecting that deeply interesting point, the education and welfare of such of their children as may be left in their minority.

And it is recommended, that in draughting wills, persons be employed that have knowledge relative thereto, and are of good repute; and that those who become executors or admi­nistrators take especial care, that they faithfully and seasona­bly discharge their respective trusts relative thereto.

[Page 117]


WHEREAS at some burials, when people come from far, there may be occasion for some refreshment; yet it is advised, that it be done with moderation, avoiding that indecent and unbecoming practice of using spirituous li­quors; and that the behaviour of all friends be with such gravity and sobriety as becomes the occasion; and if any ap­pear otherwise, let such be reproved and dealt with as is ad­vised in case of misbehaviour at marriages.

And it is advised, that friends carefully keep to the time appointed for burials, and not wait for such as may come unseasonably; and that none erect grave or tomb stones.

And in order that burials be orderly and decently accom­plished, agreeably to the above directions, as well as for the assistance of those immediately concerned, monthly meetings are directed to appoint some solid friends to attend thereat.

[Page 119]


ON consideration of the mode for examining of memori­als or testimonies, forwarded by monthly meetings, re­specting deceased friends, previous to their being read in the yearly meeting, it is concluded that quarterly meetings for­ward them timely to the meeting for sufferings for inspection and consideration, before they are forwarded to the yearly meeting, that the necessity of appointing a committee thereon, during the sitting of the yearly meeting, may be avoided.

[Page 121]


AGREED, that the twelve following queries be distinct­ly read, and deliberately considered, in each preparative and monthly meeting preceding each quarterly meeting; at which time friends may have the opportunity of making such observations as may tend to excite to vigilance and care in the diligent exercise of our Christian discipline; and pro­mote an united labour for the good of the church. And in order to convey a general account of the state of friends in such cases as may be most immediately necessary to the quar­terly meetings, full and explicit answers be given by the preparative meeting, preceding the monthly meeting that precedes the quarter, to the first, second, eighth, tenth and twelfth, three times in the year: and those answers sent from the preparative to the monthly meeting, are to be digested in the monthly meeting and sent to the quarter. And once in the year, that is to say, at the preparative and monthly meet­ings, before the quarterly meetings, next preceding the year­ly meeting, that the said twelve queries be in like manner read and considered, and each of them particularly and dis­tinctly answered, and forwarded as above directed, in order to convey to the yearly meeting a clear account of the state of said meetings.

Query I. Are friends careful to attend all our meetings for religious worship and discipline; is the hour observed; and are they clear of sleeping, and all other unbecoming be­haviour therein?

II. Are love and unity maintained as becomes brethren; [Page 122] are friends clear of tale-bearing, backbiting and spread­ing evil reports; and when differences arise, are endeavours used speedily to end them?

III. Are friends careful to keep themselves, their own, and other friends children under their care, in plainness of speech, behaviour and apparel; to the frequent reading the holy scriptures, and to guard against reading pernicious books, and the corrupt conversation of the world; and to extend a due care in these respects towards others under their tuition? —and friends are advised to be careful when they are about taking such into their families, that they be those that are likely to take their advice in these respects.

IV. Do friends avoid the unnecessary use of spirituous li­quors, frequenting of taverns, and attending places of diver­sion; and keep in moderation and temperance on account of marriages, births and burials?

V. Are the necessities of the poor, and the circumstances of such as may appear likely to require assistance, duly in­spected, is relief reasonably afforded them, are they advised and assisted in such business as they are capable of, and do their children freely partake of learning to fit them for bu­siness?

VI. Are friends children placed amongst friends; and are all children under our care instructed in school learning to fit them for business?

VII. Do any young persons make proposals of marriage without consent of parents or guardians; or do any keep company with those not of our society on that account; do parents connive at their children keeping company with such; and do any attend the marriages of those that go out from us, or marriages accomplished by priest or magistrate; or make proposals of marriage too early after the decease of hus­band [Page] or wife; and are not the rights of children by former marriages neglected?

VIII. Are friends clear of taking oaths, paying priests wages, bearing arms, and other military services; and of be­ing concerned in illegal trade, lotteries, or dealing in prize goods?

IX. Are friends careful to make their wills seasonably; and are publick gifts and legacies applied to the uses intend­ed by the givers?

X. Are there any deficient in performing their promises, or paying their just debts, or that launch into business be­yond their ability to manage as becomes our religious pro­fession; and are such as give reasonable grounds for fear, on those accounts, timely laboured with for their preservation and recovery?

XI. Are there any removed without certificates, or come amongst us, who have not produced any?

XII. Is care taken seasonably to deal with offenders in the spirit of meekness, and agreeable to our discipline?

And it is the sense of this meeting, that the following re­commendation be read once a year in the preparative, month­ly and quarterly meetings, preceding the yearly meeting.

It is recommended, that all contention and personal reflec­tions be kept out of our meetings, and that friends be careful to keep out of heats, and doubtful disputations, in the order­ing or managing the affairs of truth; but that the same be conducted in the peaceable spirit and wisdom of Jesus, with decency, forbearance and love to each other.

[Page 124]I. What ministers and elders deceased, and when and what memorials concerning any deceased friend worthy of being preserved?

II. What new meeting-houses built, or new meeting set­tled?

III. What convincement since last year, and where in each quarter?

IV. Are the queries recommended by this meeting to the quarterly, monthly and preparative meetings, read in each; and are the reports made in this meeting founded thereon?

[Page 127]


FORASMUCH as our women's meetings for discipline were set up and established in the wisdom of truth, and by long experience have been found of manifest advantage, not only to our society in general, but to the youth of their own sex in particular; it is therefore earnestly desired, that, in all their meetings, they may wait for, and feel after the arising of the pure influence of the spirit of truth, that they may be thereby qualified to come up in a faithful discharge of duty in that part of the discipline of the church, properly claiming their attention and care; and to act in all cases ne­cessary for the preservation of good order; to treat with disorderly members of their own sex, and requesters, as the case may require; yet not so as to receive or disown any without the concurrence of the men's meeting; and when they have so far proceeded in any case, that requires the con­currence of the men's meeting, as to apprehend no further ser­vice by its longer continuance amongst them, they are to lay the same in an explicit manner before the men's meeting, who are to enter it clearly on their minutes, and, if nothing ap­pears to obstruct their concurrence, that the women be in­formed thereof; but if the men should apprehend a service from farther endeavours, particularly in the case of an of­fender, either on an acknowledgment or otherwise, or request from a person to be received into membership, that they then appoint a committee to unite with an appointment from the women's meeting, to the consideration of the subject, and to give such farther attention thereto as may tend to [Page 128] bring the men and women's meetings to a united judgment, which, after being come to, the women are to inform the individual thereof, and if the case requires a publick testifi­cation, the men are to make an appointment of two friends to assist in preparing the same, and to publish it agreeable to our discipline. And when any woman friend removes from one monthly meeting to another, and a certificate becomes necessary, they are to appoint a committee to make the necessary inquiry, and prepare an essay for that purpose, and when approved, to be laid before the men's meeting for their concurrence, and if approved by them, to be signed by the clerk of both meetings. And when the certificate is to include one or more males, as may be the case in the removal of families, then the men and women are to join in the in­quiry, and in preparing the essay, and when approved by the men's meeting, they are to hand it to the women, and after being concurred with by them, to be signed as before direct­ed, by the clerk of each meeting—and that all certificates re­ceived for women friends be laid before the men's meeting before they are accepted.

[Page 131]


AS much depends on the example and conduct of mini­sters and elders, meetings have been established among them, for the purpose of inspecting into the state of that part of the body, whether all are preserved in an exemplary walking answerable to their station, and where advice, caution and en­couragement may be administered for the help and strength­ening one of another, as in the wisdom of truth may appear necessary; for the more proper and useful proceeding where­in, the following queries are recommended to be read and answered therein:

I. Are ministers and elders diligent in attending meetings for worship and discipline, and careful in bringing their fa­milies with them?

II. Are they careful to labour honestly to maintain our Christian discipline in every part, and not screen their own families from the operation thereof?

III. Are ministers careful to minister in the ability which truth gives; to avoid tones, unbecoming gestures, and en­larging their testimonies so far as to become burdensome?

IV. Are the elders careful to encourage those who are young in the ministry in the right line, and discourage a forward spirit in any who run into words without life and power?

V. Are there any who travel abroad and appoint meetings that are not recommended as ministers; or do any recom­mended ministers appoint meetings contrary to our disci­pline?

[Page 132]VI. Are ministers and elders in love and unity one with another, and with the meetings whereunto they belong?

And let ministers and elders dwell in that life which gives ability to labour successfully in the church of Christ.

Which meetings are to be held in the following manner, viz.

The ministers and elders of each monthly meeting, are to meet once in three months, and, after some time spent in solid retirement, to proceed to read and prepare answers to the queries, suitable to the state of the members thereof; from which preparative meeting a suitable number of friends are to be appointed as representatives to attend the quarterly meeting of ministers and elders with said answers, and such other business as the preparative meeting may direct. The quarterly is composed of all the preparative meetings of mi­nisters and elders within the quarter, where the queries, with the answers from the preparatives, are to be read, and the import of those answers to be entered on their minutes, and a copy thereof sent by their representatives to the yearly meeting of ministers and elders, containing a just account of the state of the meetings from which they are sent; by which an opportunity may be given for suitable advice to be ad­ministered by that meeting, which is held on the seventh day of the week preceding the yearly meeting of discipline, beginning at the tenth hour; where a suitable number of elders are to be appointed, to the oversight of the meetings for worship during the yearly meeting, to advise as they find occasion, and make such report to the adjournments of the meeting as they may see necessary; and the like appointment to be made by the quarterly meetings of ministers and elders, [Page 133] to the oversight of the publick meetings during the time of the quarterly meetings.

And said meetings of ministers and elders are not in any­wise to interfere with any part of the exercise of the disci­pline of the church belonging to the yearly, or any subordi­nate meeting for discipline.

And as the fountain of all good is, from time to time, opening among us the spring of living ministry, it is greatly desired, that ministers and elders may so dwell under the di­vine influence, as to be able to discover, what offering in come from the right spring, and what do nor, and thereby be qualified to be as nursing fathers, and nursing mothers, to such that are young in the ministry; and may with all [...]re and diligence advise, caution and encourage, with gentleness and wisdom, as occasion may require.

[Page 137]


THE meeting for sufferings was appointed by the yearly meeting in 1758, and the year following the subject more fully engaging attention, the meeting for sufferings was establishment, and the services thereof more fully stated, as ap­pears by the following minute, viz.

The meeting for sufferings are to take under their consi­deration the cases of any of our brethren who are subjected to sufferings for the testimony of truth, and represent such cases as they may think proper to those in authority, in order to obtain redress; to pay attention to any bills that may be brought forward in the legislature that may likely affect our religious testimony, and to make application when they may judge proper. The said meeting for sufferings is to be considered as representatives on behalf of the yearly meeting, and to appear in any matter where the interest and reputa­tion of truth may render it necessary; and as there may be sometimes a necessary expense attending the transaction of some part of their business, the treasurer is requested to fur­nish the said meeting with money necessary for such ser­vices. 1759.

It is concluded, that the meeting for sufferings have liberty to take into consideration the purchasing and distributing some useful books amongst friends and others, and act in matters of that nature according as to them may appear most likely to promote the principles of truth, and our Christian testimony. 1783.

This meeting constitutes the meeting for sufferings over­seers [Page 138] of the press, and enjoins it upon them to take the ne­cessary care in all matters relating thereto, which may con­cern the society; and that they annually lay their minutes and proceedings before the yearly meeting. 1784.

It appears by the minutes of the yearly meeting in 1799, that a new appointment of the meeting for sufferings took place, to be constituted in the following manner, viz. That the yearly meeting appoint twenty-four friends for that pur­pose, and that each quarter appoint four; that those appoint­ed in the quarterly meeting of Westbury and Purchase, unite with those appointed by the yearly meeting in constituting the meeting for sufferings; and that those appointed by the quarterly meetings of Nine-Partners and Easton, be consider­ed as corresponding members with the said meeting, and to attend as members thereof, as often as their distant situation may permit, and to them appears right and consistent; and that they pay particular attention to matters that may be of a suffering nature, or concern the meeting for sufferings; to give timely notice of all such cases to that meetings; and that in all matters of moment, one or more of their number attend the meeting for sufferings therewith, if reasonably in their power. And the said meeting for sufferings are re­quested to attend to the business which may come before them agreeable to former instructions, and the principles upon which that meeting was founded—To meet at the time and place the late meeting for sufferings adjourned to, and to take up and pursue the business left on the minutes of that meeting.

[Page 141]


IT is recommended to the quarterly and monthly meetings to make timely and careful inspection into the situation of the titles of meeting-houses, burial-ground, and other estates which have been vested in trustees, and by them held for the use and benefit of the society at large, or of any of those meetings, so that, if it should appear needful by the death of any such trustees or otherwise, due and seasonable care may be taken to appoint some others to the trust, that friends may avoid future difficulties, and the risk of being deprived of such estates. And it is further recommended, that quarterly and monthly meetings respectively, as the case may require, keep exact records of all such trusts and con­veyances; and also that a clear and regular account be kept by each respective meeting of the place where, and the per­sons with whom the papers, minutes and records, belonging to our religious society, are from time to time deposited, wherein due care should be taken to lodge them with suit­able friends. P. D.

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