APPENDIX NO. 1: AN ADDRESS TO THOSE OF THE PEOPLE CALLED QUAKERS,
WHO HAVE BEEN DISOWNED FOR MATTERS RELIGIOUS OR CIVIL
Wetherill, Charles. History of The Religious Society of Friends Called
by Some The Free Quakers, in the City of Philadelphia. Philadelphia:
Printed for the Society, 1894, Number 3 of an edition limited to 800 copies,
signed by Charles Wetherill.]
This Document is on The
Quaker Writings Home Page.
Friends and Fellaw-Sufferers.--The scattered and distressed
situation in which we have been for some time past, having occasioned great
inconvenience to most of us, a small number of men, educated among the
people called Ouakers, as you have been, have met together and seriously
considered our circumstances.
This separation has not been sought by, but forced upon, us, as the
pride and folly of former churches, vainly attempting to abridge the rights
of conscience, excommunicated their brethren from among them. And there
appears no reasonable ground of expectation that we shall ever again be
united to those who have disowned us; for they will not permit among them
that Christian liberty of sentiment and conduct which all are entitled
to enjoy, and which we cannot consent to part with. You know that many
have been disowned by that people for no other cause than a faithful discharge
of those duties which we owe to our country.
Thus situated, and acknowledging our dependence upon the Supreme Being,
and the duty of public worship which we owe to him, we have lamented the
loss of those advantages which arise from religious communion, and have
feared still greater loss in this respect, to our children and families.
And therefore, although we know that "weakness is ours," and that difficulties
and dangers surround us on every hand, confiding in the gracious promise
of the Great Shepherd of his people, that he would be with "even "two or
three," wheresoever they are met together in his name, we have agreed,
that as Friends and brethren, we will endeavor to support and maintain
public meetings for religious worship.
We have no new doctrine to teach, nor any design of promoting schisms
in religion. We wIsh only to be freed from every species of ecclesiastical
tyranny, and mean to pay a due regard to the principles of our forefathers,
and to their rules and regulations so far as they apply to our circumstances,
and hope, thereby to preserve decency and to secure equal liberty to all.
We have no design to form creeds or confessions of faith, but humbly to
confide in those sacred lessons of wisdom and benevolence, which have been
left us by Christ and His apostles, contained in the holy scriptures; and
appealing to that divine principle breathed by the breath of God into the
hearts of all, to leave every man to think and judge for himself, according
to the abilities received, and to answer for his faith and opinions to
him, who "seeth the secrets of all hearts," the sole Judge and sovereign
Lord of conscience.
And feeling for you, as fellow-sufferers, a sympathy and brotherly
affection, we think it our duty thus to communicate to you what we have
done and are about to do, that you may, if you choose, partake with us
in the blessings we seek and hope to obtain. As brethren indeed, united
in affliction, "let us" (agreeably to the counsel given by the Apostle
Paul) "consider one another, to provoke unto love and to good works; not
forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is,
but exhorting one another. And so much the more as ye see the day approaching."
Be enouraged, and let us meet together and ask bread from him in whose
hand it is, with an humble hope, that he who giveth food "to the young
ravens which cry" will provide also for us. And in this hope we salute
you with unfeigned affection.
Signed on behalf of the meeting,
Philadelphia, 24th of the 4th Month, 1781.
Samuel Wetherill, Jun., Clerk.
[Printed by Francis Bailey.]