Rose Street Meeting, New York City, September 29, 1841
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14 Rose Street Meeting, 1841 Further we need not too curiously inquire, but be content with the evidence of God’s peace in our souls, after having done His will. PD “Lucretia Mott at the Marlboro Chapel, Boston, September 23, 1841,” Liberator, October 15, 1841 1. Erected by the “Free Church” of Boston, the Marlboro Chapel was the frequent site of antislavery, temperance, and peace meetings (Pennsylvania Freeman, June 7, 1838). 2. The quotation is adapted from “Honour Due to All Men” by William Ellery Channing (1780–1842), Unitarian minister: “All mysteries of science and theology fade away before the grandeur of the simple perception of duty, which dawns on the mind of the little child.” Rose Street Meeting, New York City, September 29, 1841 On Wednesday last, this beloved sister addressed the Friends meeting in Rose Street1 . . . With much earnestness of feeling, she alluded to the early testimonies of Friends, and besought them to examine well whether the present proceedings of Quakers were in unison with those testimonies. She appealed to those in trade, whether they did not conform to many practices sanctioned by custom, but condemned by the inner voice. Of what avail was the repetition of their hereditary testimony against slavery, so long as they dealt without scruple in southern cotton, produced by unpaid labor? Was their testimony against war consistent and effective, so long as they took an [active?] interest in political parties and partisans, who were ready at any moment to become the agents and actors in a war? She warned them against a sectarian attachment to forms, to the neglect of vital principles; and strongly urged the impossibility of receiving opinions as a birthright. But above all, she pleaded for the sacredness of individual freedom,— the necessity of leaving others to judge for themselves concerning their line of duty; and here she alluded to existing divisions in the society, with great feeling and tenderness. She feared that many were now manifesting the same spirit of persecution of which they had complained during the controversy which divided Friends into two branches. There was the same unwillingness to allow a brother to think and act freely, according to the dictates of his own conscience. She feared, too, there was something of the same spirit of proscription and persecution. Where the waters were so bitter, there must be some impurity in the fountain. All these considerations she urged them to lay to heart; acknowledging her own need of the same humble, self-examination. She glanced with hearty approval at the more prominent reforms of the day, not naming them, but evidently referring to Temperance, Anti-Slavery, and Non-resistance. She earnestly deprecated the tendency to disparage all good works, not done within the enclosure of our own particular sect. “Master, we found men casting out devils in thy name, and we forbade them. But Jesus answered, forbid them not; for whosoever is not against me is with me.” PD L[ydia]. M[aria]. C[hild]., “Lucretia Mott,” National Anti-Slavery Standard, October 7, 1841 Manhattan Society, 1841 15 1. Rose Street Meeting was part of the Hicksite New York Yearly Meeting (Hugh Barbour , Christopher Densmore, et al., eds., Quaker Crosscurrents: 300 Years of Friends in the New York Yearly Meetings [Syracuse, N.Y.: Syracuse University Press, 1995], 125, 128–29). Manhattan Society, Asbury Church, New York City, September 29, 1841 In the evening, our friend addressed a meeting of the Manhattan Society, called mainly with reference to the continuance of a school for colored people, established by “The New-York Association of Friends.”1 Lucretia spoke very encouragingly of the state of colored schools in Philadelphia; and among other good indications, told with warm approval, of a society, formed by intelligent colored persons,2 to visit the lowest haunts of dissipation, and seek to obtain a good influence upon the young, who were growing up in the midst of ignorance and vice, almost unconscious of a better teacher. These self-elected missionaries drew together an audience in any yard or court where they could collect them; and as the means they used consisted altogether of kindness and encouragement, they had been wonderfully blessed. The wise and gentle speaker urged upon the colored people of New-York, the duty and policy of following this and other similar examples. She said, truly, that they could in no way so effectually assist their own race, and thereby aid the abolitionists, as by earnestly seeking moral and intellectual improvement for themselves...