Quakers West of the Alleghenies and in Ohio to 1861, and: Peace Against Justice: A Nineteenth-Century Dilemma of Quaker Conscience, and: Roberts Vaux: A Biography of a Reformer (review)
- Quaker History
- Friends Historical Association
- Volume 69, Number 2, Autumn 1980
- pp. 128-129
- Additional Information
128QUAKER HISTORY one final chapter, a chapter reflecting his increasing disenchantment with big government, big military, big America. But his growing conservatism in these years never degenerated into the wretched reaction of the red baiters, the cold warriors, and the Vietnam imperialists of the fifties and sixties. His Quakerism must have helped to keep him from such foolishness . For widi all his wide-ranging worldly interests, his enormous and combative energy, and preoccupation with the world of politics, Felix Morley's Friendly background instilled in him that respect for integrity and love of true peace which Quakerism gives to those exposed to it. For the record, I can say that I enjoyed every page of For the Record. It is a fascinating account of an intelligent man's reaction to the world which led from McKinley and the first Roosevelt through Woodrow Wilson, Herbert Hoover and Franklin Roosevelt to the rather sorry choices before us today. Thomas E. Drake James Harris Norton, Quakers West of the Alleghenies and in Ohio to 1861, Ph.D. dissertation, Western Reserve University, 1965. Odell Richardson Reuben, Peace Against Justice: A Nineteenth-Century Dilemma of Quaker Conscience, Ph.D. dissertation, Duke University, 1970. R. N. Ryan, Roberts Vaux: A Biography of a Reformer, Ph.D. dissertation , Pennsylvania State University, 1966. A considerable amount of important research on the history of the Society of Friends is published in the form of doctoral dissertations. These dissertations can be purchased as bound books or on film. So that our readers may become cognizant with the conclusions of these works, Quaker History will occasionally provide summaries of those which have related themes. The three dissertations reviewed here deal with Quakerism in the period 1800-1860. Roberts Vaux (1786-1836) at age 26, possessing a substantial inherited fortune, left business and devoted himself to a wide variety of philanthropic endeavours. Best remembered for his work in fostering private charity and free public education in Philadelphia, Vaux saw in educational institutions a method of ending illiteracy and promoting virtue. At first working primarily through private organizations, Vaux was also able to lobby effectively with the state legislature for a reformed penology, special schools for the blind and the deaf, and the Lancastrian monitorial system. Convinced that the upper classes needed to be reminded of the simple moral living of their ancestors, Vaux wrote biographies of earlier reformers like Anthony Benezet and helped found the Athenaeum and the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. He supported the Pennsylvania Abolition Society, wrote many articles on improved farming methods, served on the boards of the Pennsylvania Hospital and Friends Asylum, and helped create the Apprentice's Library. Increasingly fearful that pamphlets, voluntary organizations , and good works alone were ineffective, Vaux turned to politics and became an enthusiastic supporter of Jacksonian Democrats. Vaux, uninterested in theology and alienated from the business orientation of his native city, illustrates the continuation of an eighteenth-century Quaker BOOK REVIEWS AND NOTES129 concern widi social justice and the quality of urban life. Ryan's dissertation provides a needed corrective to the view that quietism led to inactivity and that the developing schism monopolized Quaker energies. O. R. Reuben's Peace Against Justice contains an analysis of the relationship between the peace testimony and antislavery before 1860. While some attention is given to the writings of Jonathan Dymond on peace and Benjamin Lundy and John Parrish on slavery, the central focus is on John G. Whittier. Whittier added a strong humanitarian flavor based upon a belief in the dignity and value of each person to traditional Quaker arguments drawing upon the Bible or utilitarian considerations on war and slavery. When Southerners accused abolitionists of making war inevitable, Whittier retorted that slavery would cause a war and only emancipation could end the approaching conflict. Whittier believed diat peace and abolition could be obtained through the normal workings of the political process. When the Civil War came, many Friends felt compelled to choose between pacifism and ending slavery. Believing that the carnage was a horrible way to end a social evil, Friends feared that the war would cost more and produce less good than a gradual and peaceful remedy. James H. Norton's Quakers...