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NOTES ^DOCUMENTS GLIMPSES OF QUAKERISM IN AMERICA IN 1697 Edited by Henry J. Cadbury Dr. Benjamin Bullivant of Boston is not a famous figure in colonial history or literature. In his own time he deserved well of his countrymen as a physician, as a patriot, and as a churchman . In the year 1686 he was made Attorney General of Massachusetts , and became in the same year the first Senior Warden of King's Chapel. But he deserves well of posterity for an unusually objective and detailed diary that he wrote in 1697 of a journey he took from Boston to Newport, New York, Burlington, Philadelphia, and New Castle, and return. This manuscript, recently published for the first time,1 is all of it worth reading. It gives a picture of life, travel, men, and manners at the time and places covered. It shows an interest in the local government, the military posture, the religious groups, the public buildings, etc., of a series of cities in the colonies. Its references to the Quakers are of sufficient value to be separately extracted for the readers of Quaker History. On June 7, 1697, Dr. Bullivant took horse from Boston. Next day, after crossing the ferry from Bristol to Rhode Island, he rode on "about four miles to a Quaker's farm where I was exceedingly well accommodated gratis, with meat, drink, lodging, and horsemeat." Seven miles further on, he entered the chief town of the island, named Newport, where he remained from the 9th to the 14th of June. This was the time of what is now called New England Yearly Meeting. The following are parts of his description: 1 Entitled "A Glance at New York in 1697," it was published in full in the New-York Historical Society Quarterly, XL (1956), 55-73, edited by Wayne Andrews , Curator of Manuscripts. It was acquired by the Society in 1954. It is quoted here with permission, the spelling, capitalization, and punctuation modernized . There are other travel journals of this period, partly parallel. See items mentioned in notes 6 and 8. 37 38Quaker History The present Governor is Walter Clarke, Esq.,2 a Quaker in profession and practice as to his religion; but a comely and courteous gentleman. He is chosen annually and sometimes holds three or four years successively. There is a small battery of ten guns at Newport, which command the harbor and entrance, but somewhat too much decayed for this time of war. Religion is tolerated here, the Island from the beginning being a sanctuary for persecuted persons of all sorts. The Quakers and Antisabbatarian Anabaptists are the more numerous. There is of late a new meetinghouse for the Orthodox of all kinds, where a young man is the preacher, but no full Church government for want of ordination. The preacher is a good man and pious, and supposed to be no enemy to the Church of England, but bred up in Cambridge, N.E.ยป Could the inhabitants obtain a Church of England minister duly qualified, they would soon grow into a good ordered Church. The ground of this meetinghouse was given by Captain Coddington,4 and is used in the weekdays for a Grammar School. The inhabitants of this Island (which is about 13 miles long, and 4 broad) are near onethird Quakers, who live in great plenty. Their Annual Meeting was at this time, where I heard both men and women teach in their public Meetinghouse' for five or six days successively, and near six hours each day, having many speakers to carry on the work, and sometimes one person speaks twice or thrice in the same meeting time. They come two or three hundred miles to this Annual Meeting and meet with some disturbance from an ancient sort of Quakers called Singing Quakers,6 whom they keep out of their Meetinghouse, for by the sudden raptures of singing they fall into, and by their contradictive humor, they give public disturbance to the speaker. Howbeit they are kept out of the house by persons who sit at the door for that purpose , yet they fail not to crowd to the door and under the windows, and every * "Walter Clarke (c...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1934-1504
Print ISSN
0033-5053
Pages
pp. 37-44
Launched on MUSE
2012-04-04
Open Access
No
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