University of Virginia Library


——. You observe very truly,
that both the late and the present administration
conducted the government on principles
professed by the Friends. Our efforts to preserve
peace, our measures as to the Indians, as
to slavery, as to religious freedom, were all in
consonance with their profession. Yet I never
expected we should get a vote from them, and
in this I was neither deceived nor disappointed.
There is no riddle in this to those who do not
suffer themselves to be duped by the professions of religious sectaries. The theory of American
Quakerism is a very obvious one. The
mother Society is in England. Its members are
English by birth and residence, devoted to their
own country, as good citizens ought to be. The
Quakers of these States are colonies or filiations
from the mother Society, to whom that Society
sends its yearly lessons. On these, the filiated
Societies model their opinions, their conduct,
their passions and attachments. A Quaker is
essentially an Englishman, in every part of the
earth he is born or lives. The outrages of
Great Britain on our navigation and commerce
have kept us in perpetual bickerings with her.
The Quakers have taken side against their own
government, not on their profession of peace,
for they saw that peace was our object also;
but from devotion to the views of the mother
Society. In 1797-'98, when an administration
sought war with France, the Quakers were the
most clamorous for war. Their principle of
peace, as a secondary one, yielded to the primary
one of adherence to the Friends in England,
and what was patriotism in the original,
became treason in the copy. On that occasion,
they obliged their good old leader, Mr. Pemberton,
to erase his name from a petition to Congress
against war, which had been delivered to a
representative of Pennsylvania, a member of
the late and present administration; he accordingly
permitted the old gentleman to erase his
name. * * * I apply this to the Friends in
general, not universally. I know individuals
among them as good patriots as we have.—
To Samuel Kerchival. Washington ed. v, 492.
(M. 1810)