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BOOK REVIEWS AND NOTES Edited by Edwin B. Bronner Quakers in Boston, 1656-1964. By George A. Selleck. Cambridge, Mass.: Cambridge Friends Meeting. 1976. xii, 349 pages. Bibliography, index. $15.00, paper, $4.00. Though early Friends rejected traditional religious symbols, they were human enough to develop some symbols of their own. One was the city of Boston—symbol of the cruelest persecution and martyrdom Friends endured anywhere—and the Friends Meeting there, whose vitality and strength must seem a measure of the victory of Truth over tyranny. This interesting perception is one of a number of illuminating insights provided by George A. Selleck in Quakers in Boston, 1656-1964, Three Centuries of Friends in Boston and Cambridge. For more than twenty-five years Executive Secretary of Friends Meeting at Cambridge, George Selleck has had a direct role in much of the recent history he writes about and, with the possible exception of Henry J. Cadbury, who contributed the Foreword to this book, is the most appropriate person to have undertaken die present work. The history is divided into three parts. The first covers the period from 1656 to 1870, the period of assault on Puritan Boston, of martyrs in the Lamb's War, of non-violent victory and grudging acceptance. It is also the period of the first Boston Meeting, which endured for over a century with little growth in numbers or depth before expiring in 1808. Yet so convinced were New England Friends that a Quaker presence must exist in Boston that in 1831 a new Meeting House was built, even though there were no resident Friends to meet in it. The second part covers the period from 1870 to 1926 and the rise of a new Boston Monthly Meeting, vigorously involved in the "new Quakerism" and struggling with the question of pastoral leadership, with the theological disputes arising from the evangelical movement of the period, and with the challenge to its ministry of a racially changing neighborhood. The final part traces the period from 1926 through 1964 and the development of the Friends Meeting at Cambridge, its unifying role among the divided Friends of New England, its dramatic growth and active social witness, and its generation of other Meetings in the Boston area. Though this section depicts a dynamic period in the history of Boston Friends, it is, perhaps , the least satisfying of the three parts simply because there has not yet been sufficient distancing of events by the passage of time to separate clearly the significant from the less significant. Inevitably the book discusses major developments in the Society of Friends beyond Boston. One of its most interesting analyses is of the processes which pushed American Friends in the 19th century toward a programmed worship and pastoral meetings. Though George Selleck's sympathies are clearly with traditional Friends practices, his understanding and objectivity are such that he can make comprehensible, even sympathetic, the movements of Bos116 BOOK REVIEWS AND NOTES117 ton Friends both toward the pastoral system and, ultimately, away from it. George Selleck's research has been thorough and his documentation careful . Where his sources leave gaps which can be filled only by thoughtful inference, he takes pains to use such phrases as "it is likely. . ." to mark diem clearly. Despite the thoroughness of his scholarship, however, his style is never pedantic or inaccessible to the general Quaker reader. Finally, the publishers, Friends Meeting at Cambridge, have produced a handsomely printed and illustrated volume, wordiy of an excellent history of a fascinating area and its Meetings. New York CityGordon Browne The Statutes at Large of Pennsylvania, in the time of William Penn, Volume I, 1680-1700. Compiled by Gail McKnight Beckman. New York: Vantage Press, 1976. 250 pages. $17.50. It is a pleasure to welcome Volume I of the Statutes at Large, nearly a century after the Commonwealth approved the compilation and publication of the statutes of colonial Pennsylvania. The General Assembly authorized the project in 1887, and Volume II and subsequent volumes appeared, beginning in 1896, but scholars were never sure that all of the laws enacted in the first two decades had been discovered, and publication of Volume I was postponed repeatedly...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1934-1504
Print ISSN
0033-5053
Pages
pp. 116-117
Launched on MUSE
2012-04-04
Open Access
No
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