A Portraiture of Quakerism

Taken from a View of the Education and Discipline, Social Manners, Civil and Political Economy,
Religious Principles and Character, of the Society of Friends

Thomas Clarkson, M.A.








Amusements distinguishable into useful and hurtful — the latter specified and forbidden.


SECT. I.-- Games of chance forbidden — history of the origin of some of these.

SECT. II.-- Forbidden as below the dignity of the intellect of man, and of his Christian character.

SECT. III.-- As producing an excitement of the passions, unfavorable to religious impressions — historical anecdotes of this excitement.

SECT. IV.-- As tending to produce, by the introduction of habits of gaming, an alteration in the moral character.


CHAPTER III - Quaker View of Music

SECT. I.-- Music forbidden — instrumental innocent in itself, but greatly abused — the use of it almost inseparable from its abuse at the present day.

SECT. II.-- Quakers cannot learn instrumental on the usual motives of the world — nor consider it as a source of moral improvement, or of solid comfort to the mind—but are fearful that, if indulged in, it would interfere with the Christian duty of religious retirement.

SECT III.-- Quakers cannot learn vocal, because, on account of its articulative powers, it is capable of becoming detrimental to morals — its tendency to this, as discoverable by an analysis of different classes of songs.

SECT IV.-- The preceding the arguments of the early Quaker — but the new state of music has produced others — these explained.

SECT V.-- An objection stated to the different arguments of the Quakers on this subject — their reply.



SECT I.-- The Theatre forbidden — short history of its origin — and of its state and progress.

SECT II.-- Manner of the drama objected to by the Quakers — as it personates the characters of others — and it professes to reform vice.

SECT III.-- Contents of the drama objected to — as they hold our false sentiments — and weaken the sinews of morality.

SECT IV.-- Theater considered by the Quakers to be injurious to the happiness of man, as it disqualifies him for the pleasure of religion.

SECT V.-- To be injurious to the happiness of man, as it disqualifies him for domestic enjoyments.

SECT VI.--Opinions of the early Christians on this subject.


CHAPTER V - Quaker View of Dancing

SECT. I.-- Dancing forbidden — light in which this subject has been viewed both by the ancients and the moderns — Quakers principally object to it, where it is connected with public assemblies — they conceive it productive, in this case, of a frivolous levity, and of an excitement of many of the evil passions.

SECT. II-- These arguments of the Quakers, on dancing, examined in three supposed cases put to a moral philosopher.

SECT. III.-- These arguments further elucidated by a display of the Ballroom.



Novels forbidden — considered by the Quakers as producing an affectation of knowledge — a romantic spirit — and a perverted morality.


CHAPTER VII - Quaker View of Hunting

SECT. I-- Diversions of the field forbidden — general thoughtlessness upon this subject — sentiments of some of our best poets — law of the Quakers concerning it.

SECT. II.-- Consistency of this law examined by the morality, which is inculcated by the Old Testament.

SECT. III.-- Examined by the morality of the New — these employments, if resorted to as diversions, pronounced, in both cases, to be a breach of a moral law.



Objections to the preceding system, which includes these different prohibitions, as a system of moral education.



SECT. I.-- Reply of the Quakers to these objections.

SECT. II.-- Further reply of the Quakers on the same subject.


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SECT. I.-- Outlines of the discipline of the Quakers.

SECT. II.-- Manner of the administration of this discipline.

SECT. III.-- Charges usually brought against the administration of it — observations in answer in these charges.

SECT. IV.-- The principles of this discipline applicable to the discipline of larger societies, or to the criminal codes of states — beautiful example in Pennsylvania.



Monthly court or meeting of the Quakers for the purposes of their discipline — nature and manner of the business transacted there.



Quarterly court or meeting for the same purposes — nature and manner of the business there.



Annual court or meeting for the same purposes — nature and manner of the business there — striking peculiarities in this manner — character of this discipline or government.



Excommunication or disowning — nature of disowning as a punishment.





SECT. I.--Dress — extravagance of the dress of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries — plain manner in which the grave and religious were then habited — the Quakers sprang out of these.

SECT. II.-- Quakers carried with them their plain dresses into their new society — extravagance of the world continuing, they defined the objects of dress as a Christian people — at length incorporated it into their discipline — hence their present dress is only a less deviation from that of their ancestors, than that of other people.

SECT. III.-- Objections of the world to the Quaker dress — those examined — a comparison between the language of Quakerism and of Christianity on this subject — opinion of the early Christians upon it.



Furniture—the Quakers use plain furniture — reasons for their singularities in this respect.



SECT. I.-- Language — Quakers have altered the common language — substitution of Thou for You — reasons for this change — opinions of many learned men concerning it.

SECT. II.-- Various other alterations made — as in titled of address — and of honor — reasons for these changes.

SECT. III.-- Another alteration—as in the names of the days and the months — reasons for this change — various new phrases also introduced.

SECT. IV.-- Objections by the world against the alteration of Thou for You.

SECT. V.-- Against that of titles of address and honor.

SECT. VI.-- Against that of the names of the days and months.

SECT. VIII.-- Advantages and disadvantages of these alterations by the Quaker language.



Address — common personal gestures or worldly ceremonies of address forbidden — no exception in favor of royalty — reasons against the disuse of these.



Manners and conversation — hospitality and freedom in Quakers’ houses — their conversation more limited than that of others — subjects of conversation examined in our towns — and in the metropolis — extraordinary circumstance that takes place occasionally in the company of the Quakers.



Customs before meals — ancients made an oblation to Vesta — moderns have substituted grace — account of a Quaker-grace.



Customs at and after meals — Quakers never drink healths or toasts — various reasons for their disuse of these customs — and seldom allow women to retire  after dinner and leave the men drinking — Quakers a sober people.



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