CHAPTER 14
LITERATURE AND DOCTRINE

THE writings of Friends during the post-restoration period were marked by greater intellectual ability and wider outlook, but the intense struggle for existence made practically all Quaker writing during the final Stuart period primarily controversial and apologetic. Attacks on current abuses, accounts of Friends' sufferings, replies to literary attacks, and doctrinal writings alike were intended to justify Friends' customs, commend their beliefs and defend them from misrepresentation, no less than the formal apologies, which were explicitly addressed to king or Parliament. Toward the end of this period (and in the early part of the next) there grew up a copious literature of biographies (with their accounts of conversions and religious experiences) and histories, which were also part of the Quaker propaganda.

The apologists were in the main men and women of education and culture, belonging themselves to the ruling class, who had the ability as well as the necessity to expound Friends' principles to the rulers of church and state, who were their principal antagonists. Penington, Penn and Barclay were able and prolific exponents and defenders of Quakerism in terms that appealed to the theologian and statesman. As the leaders began to succumb to the hardships of their imprisonments and itinerant ministry (as most of them did rather than to old age, for the majority of them died before middle life) their writings were collected, edited and published under the care of the

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