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In the year
beginning of the last century. 1727, they passed a public censure upon this trade. In the year 1758, and afterwards in the year 1761, they warned and exhorted all in profession with them “ to keep their hands clear of this unrighteous gain of oppression.” In the ycarly meeting of 1763 they renewed their exhortation in the following words: “We renew our exhortation, that Friends every where be
where be especially careful to keep their hands clear of giving encouragement in any shape to the slave-trade; it being evidently destructive of the natural rights of mankind, who are all ransomed by one Saviour, and visited by one divine light, in order to salvation: a traffic, calculated to enrich and aggrandize some upon the misery of others, in its nature abhorrent to every just and tender sentiment, and contrary to the whole tenor of the Gospel.” In the same manner, from the year
1763, they have publicly manifested a tender concern for the happiness of the injured Africans; and they have not only been vigilant to see that none of their own members were concerned in this impious traffic, but they have lent their assistance with other Christians in promoting its discontinuance.
They have forbidden also the trade of privateering in war. They consider the capture of private vessels by private persons as a robbery committed on the property of others, which no human authority can make reconcileable to the consciences of honest individuals. And upon this motive they forbid it, as well as upon that of their known profession against war.
They forbid also the trade of the manu. facturing of gun-powder, and of arms, or weapons
such as swords, guns, pistols, bayonets, and the like, that they may stand clear of the charge of having made any instrument, the avowed use of which is the destruction of human life.
They have forbidden also all trade that has for its object the defrauding of the king either of his customs or his excise. They are not only not to smuggle themselves, but they are not to deal in such goods as they know, or such as they even suspect, to be smuggled, nor to buy any article of this description even for their private use. This prohibition is enjoined, becaụşe all
Christians ought “ to render to Cæsar the things that are Cæsar's;" because those, who are accessary to smuggling, give encouragement to perjury and bloodshed, these being frequently the attendants of such unlawful practices; and because they do considerable injury to the honest trader.
They discourage also concerns in hazardous enterprises in the way of trade. Such enterprises are apt to disturb the tranquillity of the mind, and to unfit it for religious exercise. They may involve also the parties concerned and their families in ruin. They may deprive them again of the means of paying their just debts, and thus render them injurious to their creditors. Members, therefore, are advised to be rather content with callings, which may produce small but certain profits, than to hazard the tranquillity of their minds, and the property of themselves and others.
In the exercise of those callings, which are deemed lawful by the Society, two things are insisted upon: first, that their members never raise and circulate “any fictitious kind of paper-credit with indorsements and acceptances, to give it an appearance of value
without an intrinsic reality.” Secondly, that they should pay particular attention to their words, and to the punctual performance of their engagements, and on no account delay their payments beyond the time they have promised. The Society have very much at heart the enforcement of the latter injunction, not only because all Christians are under an obligation to do these things, but because they wish to see the high reputation of their ancestors, in these respects, preserved among those of their own day. The primitive members were noticed for a scrupulous attention to their duty, as Christians, in their commercial concerns. One of the great clamours against them, in the infancy of their institution, was, that they would get all the trade. It was nothing but their great honour in their dealings, arising from religious principle, that gave birth to this uproar, or secured them a more than ordinary portion of the custom of the world in the line of their respective trades. 1. Among the regulations made by the Qua-kers on the subject of trade, it is advised, publicly, to the members of the Society, to
inspect the state of their affairs once a year: and, lest this advice should be disregarded, the monthly meetings are directed to make annual appointments of suitable Friends to communicate it to the members individually. But, independently of this public recommendation, they are earnestly advised by their Book of Extracts to examine their situation frequently. This is done with a view that they may see how they stand with respect to themselves, and with respect to the world at large; that they may not launch out into commercial concerns beyond their strength; nor live beyond their income; nor go on longer in their business than they can pay their debts.
If a Quaker, after this inspection of his affairs, should find himself unable to pay his just debts, he is immediately to disclose his affairs to some judicious members of the Society, or to his principal creditors, and to take their advice how he is to act, but to be particularly careful not to pay one creditor in preference of another.
When a person of the Society becomes a bankrupt, a committee is appointed by his own monthly meeting to confer with him