Hello Friends–In case you do not already have this 1845 letter from Friends of Genesee Yearly Meeting, I pass it on. Charles Lenhart discovered and transcribed this from the National Anti-Slavery Standard. It gives a sense of the developing rift within this meeting between the quietists, who valued peace and right order (including respect for ministers and elders) and those committed to abolitionism and working “with the world’s people.” Thank you, Charles!
National Anti-Slavery Standard Aug 21, 1845
Friends of Genesee Yearly Meeting
“From a called meeting of Friends of Genesee Yearly Meeting, convened in the meeting-house at Farmington, in the State of New-York – Epistle to Green Plain Quarterly Meeting and such other branches of Indiana Yearly Meeting, as are under proscription on account of faithfulness in the maintenance of our testimony on the subject of slavery.
DEAR FRIENDS, – Being together on occasion of attending our Yearly Meeting, and having the company of our beloved friends, Joseph A. Dugdale and wife, and having had also presented to the meeting an epistle from you, our minds have been introduced into near sympathy with you in the circumstance of trial which attend you. And as sufficient unity has not been prevalent in this Yearly Meeting, to hear and respond to your epistle in a meeting capacity, we feel our minds engaged to address you in this way, if haply the mutual love of you and us may minister to each other’s consolation and encouragement.
We have noticed with concern, within several years past, the progress of a spirit in our religious society calculated to sever the bonds of unity and brotherly affection. And in its results, unless by the interpositions of Divine favor, arrested, to bring about a renewal of the painful scenes of 1827 and ’28, which rent into incongruous fragments those social organizations by which before we were formally recognized as one people. The former difficulty had reference to conflicting views on doctrinal subjects; the present regards, as the ground of its complaint and dissatisfaction, the action of brethren and sisters in works of benevolence – their conscientious efforts, by the power of truth and love, peacefully to break the fetters of slavery from the bodies and minds of fellow-beings who are the victims of wrong and cruelty. Thus a curb is attempted to be put to the very springs of those beneficent offices by which a common Father has designed his children should minister to each other’s joy, and this, too, astonishing as is the fact, by those who professionally acknowledge that our testimony against slavery is among the most important that have been given the society to bear. Continue reading