Quaker Heritage Press > Online Texts > The Old Discipline > Meeting for Sufferings


In order that this yearly meeting with its several branches, might be properly represented in the intervals thereof, on emergent occasions, a meeting was instituted anno 1756, by the name of the "Meeting for Sufferings;" which it was agreed should consist of twelve Friends appointed by the yearly meeting (living in or near Philadelphia, for the convenience of getting soon together) and also of four Friends chosen out of each of the quarterly meetings; who were directed to meet together in Philadelphia forthwith, for the regulation of its future meetings, which are subject to the following rules:

First. The said meeting shall keep fair minutes of all its proceedings, and annually lay them before the yearly meeting.

Second. No less number than twelve of the members attending shall constitute a meeting capable of transacting any business.

Third. On all occasions of uncommon importance, previous notice thereof shall be given or sent to all the members.

Fourth. In case of the decease of any Friend or Friends, nominated either by the yearly meeting or quarterly meetings, or of their declining or neglecting their attendance for the space of twelve months, the meeting for sufferings (if it be thought expedient) may choose others in his or their stead, to serve to the time of the next yearly meeting, or till the places of those who have represented the quarterly meetings shall be supplied by new appointments.

Fifth. The said meeting may sit on its own adjournments, and order these, as well as the times of its stated meetings (if these do not exceed three months) according to the business before them.

Sixth. The said meeting is not to meddle with any matter of faith or discipline, which has not been determined by the yearly meeting.

The further services confided to the said meeting for sufferings, are:

First. In general to represent this yearly meeting, and to appear on its behalf in any cases where the interest or reputation of our religious society may render it needful.

Second. To take the oversight and inspection of all writings proposed to be printed relative to our religious principles or testimonies; and to promote or suppress the same at their discretion; also to print and distribute any writings already published by the society, or which may be offered for inspection as aforesaid, and approved.

Third. To inspect and explain titles to land, or other estate, belonging to any of our meetings; also charitable legacies and donations; and to give such advice respecting the same as may appear to be necessary.

Fourth. To receive from the several quarterly meetings their annual accounts of sufferings, and also such memorials concerning deceased Friends as those meetings may have concurred with: that when examined and approved they may be laid before the yearly meeting.

Fifth. To extend such advice and assistance to any individuals under sufferings for our testimonies, as their cases may require; and, if necessary, to apply to the government, or persons in authority, on their behalf.

Sixth. To correspond with the meeting for sufferings in London or elsewhere, on the common concerns of the society.

On solid consideration it is agreed that though none are properly members of the meeting for sufferings, but such who are appointed by this yearly meeting, or by the several quarterly meetings; yet, that approved ministers, and members of any other meeting for sufferings corresponding with this, be permitted to attend when they be inclined so to do.

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