The Quakers in the American Colonies

The Quakers in the American Colonies

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The Quakers in the American Colonies

The Quakers in the American Colonies

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Excerpt

The story of the Quaker invasion of the Colonies in the New World has often been told in fragmentary fashion, but no adequate study of the entire Quaker movement in colonial times has yet been made from original sources, free from partisan or sectarian prejudice and in historical perspective. By far the most important history of American Quakerism covering our period is Bowden History of Friends in America (London, vol. i. 1850, vol, ii. 1854), but it is plainly written from the Quaker point of view and does not furnish a critical investigation of Quakerism and its work in the New World. Thomas History of the Society of Friends in America (written originally for the American Church History Series, and published separately in 1895) is an excellent piece of work, done in an impartial and historical spirit, though too brief to allow of much detail. Weeks Southern Quakers and Slavery (Baltimore, 1896) is scholarly and judicial, and is the best work in existence for the section covered.

There have been many accounts written from the anti-Quaker point of view, but they are for the most part one-sided and coloured by prejudice, and they are obviously lacking in penetration into the inner meaning of the type of religion which they undertake to present. Bancroft has given considerable space to the Quakers in his History of the United States. His account is sympathetic, but it is largely an abstract treatment of their religious principles rather than a truly historical picture.

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