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CHAPTER V.

Settlement of differencesQuakers, when they differ, alstain from violence-No instance of a duel-George Fox protested against going to law, and recommended arbitration Laws relative to arlitration, Account of an arbitra ion-society at Newcastle-upon-Tyne on Quaker-principlesIts dissolution-Such societies might be usefully

promoted. Men are so constituted by nature, and the mutual intercourse between them is such, that circumstances must unavoidably arise which will occasion differences. These differences will occasionally rouse the passions, and after all they will still be to be settled. The Quakers, like other men, have their differences. But you rarely see any disturbance of the temper on this account. You rarely hear intemperate invectives. You are witness to no blows. If in the courts of law you have never seen their characters stained by convictions for a breach of the marriage-contract, or for the crime of adul

tery,

tery, so neither have you seen them disgraced by convictions of brutal violence, or that most barbarous of all Gothic customs, the duel.

It is a lamentable fact, when we consider that we live in an age removed above eighteen hundred years from the first promulgation of Christianity, one of the great objects of which was to insist upon the subjugation of the passions, that our children should not have been better instructed, than that we should now have to behold men of apparently good education settling their disputes by an appeal to arms. It is difficult to conceive what preposterous principles can actuate men to induce them to such a mode of decision. Justice is the ultimate wish of every reasonable man in the termination of his casual differences with others. But in the determination of cases by the sword the injured man not unfrequently falls, while the

aggressor sometimes adds to his offence, by making a widow, or an orphan, and by the murder of a fellow-creature.

But it is possible the duellist may conceive that he adds to his reputation by decisions of this sanguinary nature. But surely he has no

other

!

is

other reputation with good men than that of a weak, or a savage, or an infatuated creature; and if he fall, he is pitied by these on no other motive than that of his folly and of his crime. What philosopher can excol his courage, who, knowing the bondage of the mind while under the dominion of fashion, believes that more courage. necessary in refusing a challenge than in going into the field? What legislator can applaud his patriotism, when he sees him violate the laws of his country? What Christian his religion, when he reflects on the relative duties of man, on the law of love and benevolence that should have guided him, on the principle that it is more noble to suffer than resist, and on the circumstance, that he may put himself into the doubly criminal situation of a murderer and a suicide by the same act ?

George Fox, in his doctrine of the influence of the spirit as a divine teacher, and in that of the necessity of the subjugation of the passions, in order that the inward man might be in a fit state to receive its admonitions, left to the Society a system of education, which, if acted upon, could not fail

of

of producing peaceable and quiet characters; but, foreseeing that among the best men differences would unavoidably arise from their intercourse in business and other causes, it was his desire, that these should be settled in a Christian manner. He advised therefore that no member should appeal to law; but that he should refer his difference to arbitration by persons of exemplary character in the Society. This mode of decision appeared to him to be consistent with the spirit of Christianity, and with the advice of the apostle Paul, who recommended that all the differences among the Christians of his own time should be referred to the decision of the saints, or of such other Christians as were eminent for their lives and conversation.

This mode of decision, which began to take place among the Quakers in the time of George Fox, has been continued by them to the present day. Cases where property is concerned to the amount of

thousands, are determined in no other manner. By this process the Quakers obtain their verdicts in a way peculiarly satisfactory. For law-suits are at best tedious. They often destroy brotherly love in the individuals while they continue. They excite also, during this time, not unfrequently, a vindictive spirit, and lead to family-feuds and quarrels. They agitate the mind also, hurt the temper, and disqualify a man for the proper

many

often

exercise of his devotion. Add to this, that the expenses of law are frequently 80 great, that burthens are imposed upon men for matters of little consequence, which they feel as evils and incumbrances for a portion of their lives; burthens, which guilt alone, and which no indiscretion could have merited. Hence the Quakers experie ence advantages in the settlement of their clifferences which are known but to few others.

The Quakers, when any difference arises about things that are not of serious moment, generally settle it amicably between themselves; but in matters that are intricate and of weighty concern, they have recourse to arbitration. If it should happen that they are slow in proceeding to arbitration, overseers, or any others of the Society, who may come to the knowledge of the circumstance, are to step in and to offer

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