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when their shops were found open on Christmas-day, and on Good-Friday, and on the different Fast-days, which had been appointed, they were taken up and punished by the magistrates on the one hand, and insulted and beaten by the people on the other. But, notwithstanding this ill usage, they persevered as rigidly in the non-observance of particular days and times, as in their noncompliance with oaths; and they still persevere in it. It does not appear, however, that the bearing of their testimony in this case is any longer a source of much vexation or trouble to them; for though the Government of the country still sanctions the consecration of particular days, and the great majority of the people join in it, there seems to have been a progressive knowledge or civilization in both, which has occasioned them to become tender on account of this singular deviation from their own practice.
But though they have been thus relieved by the Legislature, and by the more mild and liberal disposition of the people, from so much suffering in bearing their testimony on the two occasions, which have been mentioned ; yet there are others, where
the laws of Government are concerned, of which they find themselves involved in a struggle between the violation of their consciences and a state of suffering, and where unfortunately there is no remedy at hand, without the manifestation of greater partiality towards them than it may be supposed an equal administration of justice would warrant.
The first of these occasions is, when military service is enjoined. The Quakers, when drawn for the militia, refuse either to serve, or to furnish substitutes. For this refusal they come under the cognisance of the laws. Their property, where they have any,
is of course distrained upon, and a great part
of little substance is sometimes taken from them on this account. Where they have not distrainable property, which is occasionally the case, they never fly, but submit to the known punishment, and go patiently to prison. The Legislature, however, has not been inattentive to them even upon this occasion; for it has limited their confinement to three months. The Government also of the country afforded lately, in a case in which they were concerned, an example of attention to religious scruples upon this subject. In the late bill for arming the country en masse, both the Quakers and the Moravians were exempted from military service. This homage to religious principle did the authors of these exemptions the highest honour. And it certainly becomes the members of this Society to be grateful for this unsolicited favour; and as it was bestowed upon them in the full belief that they were the people they professed themselves, they, should be particularly careful that they do not, by any inconsistency of conduct, tarnish the high reputation, which has been attached to them by the Government, under which they live.
The second occasion is, when tithes or other dues are demanded by the Church. The Quakers refuse the payment of these upon principles, which have been already explained. They come of course, again, under the cognisance of the laws. Their property is annually distrained upon, by warrant from justices of the peace, where the demand does not exceed the value of ten pounds; and this is their usual suffering in this case. But there have not been wanting instances,
where an unusual hardness of heart has
suge gested a process, still allowable by the law, which has deprived them of all their perty, and consigned them for life to the habitation of a prison *.
But it is not only in cases, of which the laws of the land take cognisanice, that they prefer suffering, to doing that, which their consciences disapprove. There are other
* One died not a great while ago in York Castle; and others, who were confined with him, would have shared his fate but for the interference of the King.
It is surprising that the Clergy should not unite in promoting a bill in parliament to extend the authority of the justices to grant warrants of distraint for tithes to more than the value of ten pounds, and to any amount, as this is the most cheap and expeditious way for themselves. If they apply to the Ecclesiastical Courts, they can enforce no payment of their tithes there. They can put the poor Quaker into prison, but they cannot obtain their debt. If they apply to the Exchequer, they may find themselves at the conelusion of their suit, and this after a delay of three years, liable to the payment of extra costs to the amount of forty or fifty pounds; with which they cannot charge the Quaker, though they may confine him for life. Some, to my knowledge, have been glad to abandon these suits, and put up with the costs incurred in them, Father than continue them. Recourse to such courts occasions the Clergy frequently to be charged with cruelty, when, if they had only understood their own interests better, they would have avoided them.
cases, connected, as I observed before, with the opinion of the world, where they exhibit a similar example. If they believe any custom or fashion of the world to be evil in itself, or to be attended with evil, neither popular applause nor popular fury can make them follow it; but they think it right to bear their testimony against it by its disuse, and to run the hazard of all the ridicule, censure, or persecution, which them for so doing.
In these cases, as in the former, it must be observed, that the sufferings of the Quakers have been much diminished, though they still refuse a compliance, in as many instances as formerly, with the fashions of the world.
It was stated in the first volume, that they substituted the word Thou for You, in order that they might avoid by their words, as well as by their actions, any appearance of flattery to man. It was stated also, that they suffered on this account; that many magistrates, before whom they were carried in the early times of their institution, occasioned their punishment to be more severe ;
and that they were often abused and beaten by