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taught by custom to watch the propriety of the expressions that are used in the wording of their minutes, that these may accurately represent the sense of the persons present, And this habit of caution about the use of words, in the affairs of their own Society, naturally begets a caution concerning it also in their intercourse with the world.
The peculiarities of their language produce also a similar circumspection. For, where people are restrained from the use of ex, pressions, which are generally adopted by others; and this on the belief, that, as a highly professing people, they ought to be watchful over their words as well as their actions, a sort of hesitation will accompany them, or a pause will be perceptible, while they are choosing as it were the for a reply to any of the questions that may be asked them,
Another trait is that of Slyness-this is an appear
ance only, arising from the former trait--and from that of coldness of manners and from the
great sobriety of the Quaker-character. ANOTHER bad quality, which the world has attached to the Quakers, is that of being a Sly People. This character has been long given them. We find it noticed by Pope :
“ The Quaker sly, the Preshyterian sour.” This charge is grounded on appearances. It arises in
from the last-mentioned feature in their character; for, if men are thought cautious in the use of their words, and evasive in their answers, whether they be so or not, they will be marked as sly.
It arises again from the supposed trait of want of animation, or of coldness of manners : for, if men of good understanding, in consequence of a proper subjugation of their passions, appear always to be cool, they will have an appearance of wariness.
It arises, again, from the great sobriety of the Quakers. For, where men are always sober, they appear to be always on their guard; and men, who are always on their guard, are reputed cunning.
These circumstances of coolness and sobriety, when called into action, will only confirm the world in the opinion of the existence of the trait in question." For it will not be easy to deceive a man of but moderate understanding, who never loses his senses either by intoxication or by passion. And what man, in such habits, will not make a better bargain than one, who is hot in his temper, or who is accustomed to be intoxicated ?
Hence the trait arises from appearances, which are the result of circumstances favourable to the morality of the Quaker-character.
CHAP CHAPTER XVII.
Last bad trait is a Disregard of Truth-apparent
rise of this trait-falsehood of it probable from considerations on the language of the Quakers from their prohibition of detraction-their rejection of romantic looks—their punctuality to words and engagements—and their ideas with respect
to the unlawfulness of civil oaths. The last charge against the members of this community will be seen in a vulgar expression, which should have had no place in this book if it had not been a saying in almost everybody's mouth. The expression is, “Though they will not swear, they will
This trait has arisen in part from those different circumstances, which have produced the appearance of evasiveness. For, if people are thought evasive, they will always be thought liars. Evasiveness and lying are almost synonymous terms.
It is not impossible also, if Quakers should appear to give a doubtful answer, that persons may draw false conclusions from thence,
and therefore may suppose them to have spoken falsely. These two circumstances, of an apparent'evasiveness, and probably of a deduction of conclusions from doubtful or imaginary premises, have, I apprehend, produced an appearance, which the world has interpreted into evil.
No trait, however, can be more false than this. I know of no people, who regard truth more than the Quakers. Their whole sys, tem bends and directs to truth. One of the peculiarities of their language, or their rejection of many of the words which other people use, because they consider them as not religiously appropriate to the objects, of which they are the symbols, serves as a constant admonition to them to speak the truth.
Their prohibition of all slanderous res ports, as mentioned in a former volume, has a tendency to produce the same effect; for detraction is forbidden, partly on the idea that all such rumours on character may be false.
They reject also the reading of plays and novels, partly under a notion that the subjects and circumstances in these are fictitious, and that a taste therefore for the read