restricted access Hicksite Meetinghouse, Rochester, New York, July 21, 1844
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Hicksite Meetinghouse, 1844 27 Hicksite Meetinghouse, Rochester, New York, July 21, 1844 July 21, 1844 TodayheardthecelebratedLucretiaMottpreachattheHicksiteMeetinghouse.1 She opened her discourse in the following beautiful manner. “How simple is the religion of Jesus! How plain is the Christian religion when divested of the appendages of man! When stripped of the forms & ceremonies which are its accompaniments & too often its substitute.” She then proceeded to denounce the manners & customs of churches of the present day & seemed to think that all conformity to their doctrines & creeds was the result of servile fear & a want of independence on the part of the conformist. “Sabbath Day Observances” were classed among other “dogmas” of the “churches.” In short, the first part of her discourse was as much opposed to the received doctrines of the Christian religion as any thing Elias Hicks himself could wish to hear.2 She is a fine speaker, but her discourse so far was more like a lecture than a sermon. She insisted upon morality as the great thing to be attained , but not a word had she to say about faith & repentance. But after this came the truly admirable part of her discourse. Her views in relation to the “mental & spiritual degradation of women,” Peace, Temperance, & Anti Slavery were given in a very happy manner. She hails with delight those symptoms of the unpopularity of war which governments have lately manifested in various instances. The Temperance cause she considers as the great, the glorious reform of the day. Its unparalleled success should be the beacon star to encourage us in the promotionoftheothergreatreformsoftheday.Abolitionists,especiallyshouldtake courage from its success & let it cheer them onward. She cannot conceive how any benevolent persons can hesitate to act in these causes, but that they do so refuse she well knows, and that her own society are as deficient as any other in this respect she is also well aware. She spoke very plainly to them & probably to the dissatisfaction of many members who have hitherto been much opposed to acting in any way for the promotion of these causes. She accused them of being guilty of joining in the hue & cry of “going forward without being sent,” of “disturbing the quiet,” etc. The effect[s] of this preaching were very apparent, some being very much disturbed, others,wereevidentlyhighlydelightedattheapprobationoftheirownproceedings, for this society has some members who are very active in these reforms.3 AD Julia Wilbur Diaries, Special Collections, Haverford College, Haverford, Pennsylvania, Box 3, 1844–1865 1. Orthodox Quaker and abolitionist Julia Wilbur (1815–95) began keeping a diary in 1844. She was then living in Rochester, where she worked as a teacher. 2. Elias Hicks (1748–1830), divisive Quaker minister from Hempstead, New York. 3. The Rochester Hicksite Meetinghouse, built in 1817, was retained by the Hicksites in the 1828 division. Its Monthly Meeting, Farmington Quarterly Meeting, and Genesee Yearly Meeting had been embroiled in discussions about “worldly activism” and participation in mixed-faith organizations since at least the late 1830s. Several local Hicksites, including Amy Post (1802–1889), were especially active in abolitionism (Nancy Hewitt, “The Spiritual Journeys of an Abolitionist: Amy Kirby Post, 1802–1889,” in Brycchan Carey and Geoffrey Plank, eds., Quakers and Abolition [Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2014], 75–76). ...