Lydia Mott

 

¶ "Chapter XIV." by Elizabeth Cady Stanton (1815-1902) From: Eighty Years And More: Reminiscences 1815-1897 (1898) by Elizabeth Cady Stanton. CHAPTER XIV. VIEWS ON MARRIAGE AND DIVORCE. THE widespread discussion we are having, just now, on the subject of marriage and divorce, reminds me of an equally exciting one in 1860. A very liberal bill, introduced into the Indiana legislature by Robert Dale Owen, and which passed by a large majority, roused much public thought on the question, and made that State free soil for unhappy wives and husbands. A similar bill was introduced into the legislature of New York by Mr. Ramsey, which was defeated by four votes, owing, mainly, to the intense opposition of Horace Greeley. He and Mr. Owen had a prolonged discussion, in the New York Tribune, in which Mr. Owen got decidedly the better of the argument. There had been several aggravated cases of cruelty to wives among the Dutch aristocracy, so that strong influences in favor of the bill had been brought to bear on the legislature, but the Tribune thundered every morning in its editorial column its loudest peals, which reverberated through the State. So bitter was the opposition to divorce, for any cause, that but few dared to take part in the discussion. I was the only woman, for many years, who wrote and spoke on the question. Articles on divorce, by a number of women, recently published in the North American Review, are a sign of progress, showing that women dare speak out now more freely on the relations that most deeply concern them. My feelings had been stirred to their depths very early in life by the sufferings of a dear friend of mine, at whose wedding I was one of the bridesmaids. In listening to the facts in her case, my mind was fully made up as to the wisdom of a liberal divorce law. We read Milton's essays on divorce, together, and were thoroughly convinced as to the right and duty not only of separation, but of absolute divorce. While the New York bill was pending, I was requested, by Lewis Benedict, one of the committee who had the bill in charge, to address the legislature. I gladly accepted, feeling that here was an opportunity not only to support my friend in the step she had taken, but to make the path clear for other unhappy wives who might desire to follow her example. I had no thought of the persecution I was drawing down on myself for thus attacking so venerable an institution. I was always courageous in saying what I saw to be true, for the simple reason that I never dreamed of opposition. What seemed to me to be right I thought must be equally plain to all other rational beings. Hence I had no dread of denunciation. I was only surprised when I encountered it, and no number of experiences have, as yet, taught me to fear public opinion. What I said on divorce thirty-seven years ago seems quite in line with what many say now. The trouble was not in what I said, but that I said it too soon, and before the people were ready to hear it. It may be, however, that I helped them to get ready; who knows? As we were holding a woman suffrage convention in Albany, at the time appointed for the hearing, Ernestine L. Rose and Lucretia Mott briefly added their views on the question. Although Mrs. Mott had urged Mrs. Rose and myself to be as moderate as possible in our demands, she quite unconsciously made the most radical utterance of all, in saying that marriage was a question beyond the realm of legislation, that must be left to the parties themselves. We rallied Lucretia on her radicalism, and some of the journals criticised us severely; but the following letter shows that she had no thought of receding from her position: "ROADSIDE, near Philadelphia, "4th Mo., 30th, '61. "MY DEAR LYDIA MOTT: "I have wished, ever since parting with thee and our other dear friends in Albany, to send thee a line, and have only waited in the hope of contributing a little 'substantial aid' toward your neat and valuable 'depository.' The twenty dollars inclosed is from our Female Anti-slavery Society. "I see the annual meeting, in New York, is not to be held this spring. Sister Martha is here, and was expecting to attend both anniversaries. But we now think the woman's rights meeting had better not be attempted, and she has written Elizabeth C. Stanton to this effect. "I was well satisfied with being at the Albany meeting. I have since met with the following, from a speech of Lord Brougham's, which pleased me, as being as radical as mine in your stately Hall of Representatives: "'Before women can have any justice by the laws of England, there must be a total reconstruction of the whole marriage system; for any attempt to amend it would prove useless. The great charter, in establishing the supremacy of law over prerogative, provides only for justice between man and man; for woman nothing is left but common law, accumulations and modifications of original Gothic and Roman heathenism, which no amount of filtration through ecclesiastical courts could change into Christian laws. They are declared unworthy a Christian people by great jurists; still they remain unchanged.' "So Elizabeth Stanton will see that I have authority for going to the root of the evil. "Thine, "LUCRETIA MOTT." Those of us who met in Albany talked the matter over in regard to a free discussion of the divorce question at the coming convention in New York. It was the opinion of those present that, as the laws on marriage and divorce were very unequal for man and woman, this was a legitimate subject for discussion on our platform; accordingly I presented a series of resolutions, at the annual convention, in New York city, to which I spoke for over an hour. I was followed by Antoinette L. Brown, who also presented a series of resolutions in opposition to mine. She was, in turn, answered by Ernestine L. Rose. Wendell Phillips then arose, and, in an impressive manner pronounced the whole discussion irrelevant to our platform, and moved that neither the speeches nor resolutions go on the records of the convention. As I greatly admired Wendell Phillips, and appreciated his good opinion, I was surprised and humiliated to find myself under the ban of his disapprobation. My face was scarlet, and I trembled with mingled feelings of doubt and fear<ETH>doubt as to the wisdom of my position and fear lest the convention should repudiate the whole discussion. My emotion was so apparent that Rev. Samuel Longfellow, a brother of the poet, who sat beside me, whispered in my ear, "Nevertheless you are right, and the convention will sustain you." Mr. Phillips said that as marriage concerned man and woman alike, and the laws bore equally on them, women had no special ground for complaint, although, in my speech, I had quoted many laws to show the reverse. Mr. Garrison and Rev. Antoinette L. Brown were alike opposed to Mr. Phillips' motion, and claimed that marriage and divorce were legitimate subjects for discussion on our platform. Miss Anthony closed the debate. She said: "I hope Mr. Phillips will withdraw his motion that these resolutions shall not appear on the records of the convention. I am very sure that it would be contrary to all parliamentary usage to say that, when the speeches which enforced and advocated the resolutions are reported and published in the proceedings, the resolutions shall not be placed there. And as to the point that this question does not belong to this platform<ETH>from that I totally dissent. Marriage has ever been a one-sided matter, resting most unequally upon the sexes. By it man gains all; woman loses all; tyrant law and lust reign supreme with him; meek submission and ready obedience alone befit her. Woman has never been consulted; her wish has never been taken into consideration as regards the terms of the marriage compact. By law, public sentiment, and religion,<ETH>from the time of Moses down to the present day,<ETH>woman has never been thought of other than as a piece of property, to be disposed of at the will and pleasure of man. And at this very hour, by our statute books, by our (so-called) enlightened Christian civilization, she has no voice whatever in saying what shall be the basis of the relation. She must accept marriage as man proffers it, or not at all. "And then, again, on Mr. Phillips' own ground, the discussion is perfectly in order, since nearly all the wrongs of which we complain grow out of the inequality of the marriage laws, that rob the wife of the right to herself and her children; that make her the slave of the man she marries. I hope, therefore, the resolutions will be allowed to go out to the public; that there may be a fair report of the ideas which have actually been presented here; that they may not be left to the mercy of the secular press. I trust the convention will not vote to forbid the publication of those resolutions with the proceedings." Rev. William Hoisington (the blind preacher) followed Miss Anthony, and said: "Publish all that you have done here, and let the public know it." The question was then put, on the motion of Mr. Phillips, and it was lost. As Mr. Greeley, in commenting on the convention, took the same ground with Mr. Phillips, that the laws on marriage and divorce were equal for man and woman, I answered them in the following letter to the New York Tribune. "To the Editor of the New York Tribune: "SIR: At our recent National Woman's Rights Convention many were surprised to hear Wendell Phillips object to the question of marriage and divorce as irrelevant to our platform. He said: 'We had no right to discuss here any laws or customs but those where inequality existed for the sexes; that the laws on marriage and divorce rested equally on man and woman; that he suffers, as much as she possibly could, the wrongs and abuses of an ill-assorted marriage.' "Now it must strike every careful thinker that an immense difference rests in the fact that man has made the laws cunningly and selfishly for his own purpose. From Coke down to Kent, who can cite one clause of the marriage contract where woman has the advantage? When man suffers from false legislation he has his remedy in his own hands. Shall woman be denied the right of protest against laws in which she had no voice; laws which outrage the holiest affections of her nature; laws which transcend the limits of human legislation, in a convention called for the express purpose of considering her wrongs? He might as well object to a protest against the injustice of hanging a woman, because capital punishment bears equally on man and woman. "The contract of marriage is by no means equal. The law permits the girl to marry at twelve years of age, while it requires several years more of experience on the part of the boy. In entering this compact, the man gives up nothing that he before possessed, he is a man still; while the legal existence of the woman is suspended during marriage, and henceforth, she is known but in and through the husband. She is nameless, purseless, childless<ETH>though a woman, an heiress, and a mother. "Blackstone says: 'The husband and wife are one, and that one is the husband.' Chancellor Kent, in his 'Commentaries,' says: 'The legal effects of marriage are generally deducible from the principle of the common law, by which the husband and wife are regarded as one person, and her legal existence and authority lost or suspended during the continuance of the matrimonial union.' "The wife is regarded by all legal authorities as a feme covert, placed wholly sub potestate viri. Her moral responsibility, even, is merged in her husband. The law takes it for granted that the wife lives in fear of her husband; that his command is her highest law; hence a wife is not punishable for the theft committed in the presence of her husband. An unmarried woman can make contracts, sue and be sued, enjoy the rights of property, to her inheritance<ETH>to her wages<ETH>to her person<ETH>to her children; but, in marriage, she is robbed by law of all and every natural and civil right. Kent further says: 'The disability of the wife to contract, so as to bind herself, arises not from want of discretion, but because she has entered into an indissoluble connection by which she is placed under the power and protection of her husband.' She is possessed of certain rights until she is married; then all are suspended, to revive, again, the moment the breath goes out of the husband's body. (See 'Cowen's Treatise,' vol. 2, p. 709.) "If the contract be equal, whence come the terms 'martial power,' 'marital rights,' 'obedience and restraint,' 'dominion and control,' 'power and protection,' etc., etc.? Many cases are stated, showing the exercise of a most questionable power over the wife, sustained by the courts. (See 'Bishop on Divorce,' p. 489.) "The laws on divorce are quite as unequal as those on marriage; yea, far more so. The advantages seem to be all on one side and the penalties on the other. In the case of divorce, if the husband be not the guilty party, the wife goes out of the partnership penniless. (Kent, vol. 2, p. 33; 'Bishop on Divorce,' p. 492.) "In New York, and some other States, the wife of the guilty husband can now sue for a divorce in her own name, and the costs come out of the husband's estate; but, in the majority of the States, she is still compelled to sue in the name of another, as she has no means for paying costs, even though she may have brought her thousands into the partnership. 'The allowance to the innocent wife of ad interim alimony and money to sustain the suit, is not regarded as a strict right in her, but of sound discretion in the court.' ('Bishop on Divorce,' p. 581) "'Many jurists,' says Kent, 'are of opinion that the adultery of the husband ought not to be noticed or made subject to the same animadversions as that of the wife, because it is not evidence of such entire depravity nor equally injurious in its effects upon the morals, good order, and happiness of the domestic life. Montesquieu, Pothier, and Dr. Taylor all insist that the cases of husband and wife ought to be distinguished, and that the violation of the marriage vow, on the part of the wife, is the most mischievous, and the prosecution ought to be confined to the offense on her part. ("Esprit des Lois," tom.3, 186; "TraitZ˙ du Contrat de Mariage," No. 516; "Elements of Civil Law," p. 254).' "Say you, 'These are but the opinions of men'? On what else, I ask, are the hundreds of women depending, who, this hour, demand in our courts a release from burdensome contracts? Are not these delicate matters left wholly to the discretion of courts? Are not young women from the first families dragged into our courts,<ETH>into assemblies of men exclusively,<ETH>the judges all men, the jurors all men? No true woman there to shield them, by her presence, from gross and impertinent questionings, to pity their misfortunes, or to protest against their wrongs? "The administration of justice depends far more on the opinions of eminent jurists than on law alone, for law is powerless when at variance with public sentiment. "Do not the above citations clearly prove inequality? Are not the very letter and spirit of the marriage contract based on the idea of the supremacy of man as the keeper of woman's virtue<ETH>her sole protector and support? Out of marriage, woman asks nothing, at this hour, but the elective franchise. It is only in marriage that she must demand her right to person, children, property, wages, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. How can we discuss all the laws and conditions of marriage, without perceiving its essential essence, end, and aim? Now, whether the institution of marriage be human or divine, whether regarded as indissoluble by ecclesiastical courts or dissoluble by civil courts, woman, finding herself equally degraded in each and every phase of it, always the victim of the institution, it is her right and her duty to sift the relation and the compact through and through, until she finds out the true cause of her false position. How can we go before the legislatures of our respective States and demand new laws, or no laws, on divorce, until we have some idea of what the true relation is? "We decide the whole question of slavery by settling the sacred rights of the individual. We assert that man cannot hold property in man, and reject the whole code of laws that conflicts with the self-evident truth of the assertion. "Again, I ask, is it possible to discuss all the laws of a relation, and not touch the relation itself? "Yours respectfully, "ELIZABETH CADY STANTON." The discussion on the question of marriage and divorce occupied one entire session of the convention, and called down on us severe criticisms from the metropolitan and State press. So alarming were the comments on what had been said that I began to feel that I had inadvertently taken out the underpinning from the social system. Enemies were unsparing in their denunciations, and friends ridiculed the whole proceeding. I was constantly called on for a definition of marriage and asked to describe home life as it would be when men changed their wives every Christmas. Letters and newspapers poured in upon me, asking all manner of absurd questions, until I often wept with vexation. So many things, that I had neither thought nor said, were attributed to me that, at times, I really doubted my own identity. However, in the progress of events the excitement died away, the earth seemed to turn on its axis as usual, women were given in marriage, children were born, fires burned as brightly as ever at the domestic altars, and family life, to all appearances, was as stable as usual. Public attention was again roused to this subject by the McFarland-Richardson trial, in which the former shot the latter, being jealous of his attentions to his wife. McFarland was a brutal, improvident husband, who had completely alienated his wife's affections, while Mr. Richardson, who had long been a cherished acquaintance of the family, befriended the wife in the darkest days of her misery. She was a very refined, attractive woman, and a large circle of warm friends stood by her through the fierce ordeal of her husband's trial. Though McFarland did not deny that he killed Richardson, yet he was acquitted on the plea of insanity, and was, at the same time, made the legal guardian of his child, a boy, then, twelve years of age, and walked out of the court with him, hand in hand. What a travesty on justice and common sense that, while a man is declared too insane to be held responsible for taking the life of another, he might still be capable of directing the life and education of a child! And what an insult to that intelligent mother, who had devoted twelve years of her life to his care, while his worthless father had not provided for them the necessaries of life! She married Mr. Richardson on his deathbed. The ceremony was performed by Henry Ward Beecher and Rev. O. B. Frothingham, while such men as Horace Greeley and Joshua Leavitt witnessed the solemn service. Though no shadow had ever dimmed Mrs. Richardson's fair fame, yet she was rudely treated in the court and robbed of her child, though by far the most fitting parent to be intrusted with his care. As the indignation among women was general and at white heat with regard to her treatment, Miss Anthony suggested to me, one day, that it would be a golden opportunity to give women a lesson on their helplessness under the law<ETH>wholly in the power of man as to their domestic relations, as well as to their civil and political rights. Accordingly we decided to hold some meetings, for women alone, to protest against the decision of this trial, the general conduct of the case, the tone of the press, and the laws that made it possible to rob a mother of her child. Many ladies readily enlisted in the movement. I was invited to make the speech on the occasion, and Miss Anthony arranged for two great meetings, one in Apollo Hall, New York city, and one in the Academy of Music, in Brooklyn. The result was all that we could desire. Miss Anthony, with wonderful executive ability, made all the arrangements, taking on her own shoulders the whole financial responsibility. My latest thought on this question I gave in The Arena of April, 1894, from which I quote the following: "There is a demand just now for an amendment to the United States Constitution that shall make the laws of marriage and divorce the same in all the States of the Union. As the suggestion comes unilaterally from those who consider the present divorce laws too liberal, we may infer that the proposed national law is to place the whole question on a narrower basis, rendering null and void the laws that have been passed in a broader spirit, according to the needs and experiences, in certain sections, of the sovereign people. And here let us bear in mind that the widest possible law would not make divorce obligatory on anyone, while a restricted law, on the contrary, would compel many, marrying, perhaps, under more liberal laws, to remain in uncongenial relations. "As we are still in the experimental stage on this question, we are not qualified to make a perfect law that would work satisfactorily over so vast an area as our boundaries now embrace. I see no evidence in what has been published on this question, of late, by statesmen, ecclesiastics, lawyers, and judges, that any of them have thought sufficiently on the subject to prepare a well-digested code, or a comprehensive amendment to the national Constitution. Some view it as a civil contract, though not governed by the laws of other contracts; some view it as a religious ordinance<ETH>a sacrament; some think it a relation to be regulated by the State, others by the Church, and still others think it should be left wholly to the individual. With this wide divergence of opinion among our leading minds, it is quite evident that we are not prepared for a national law. "Moreover, as woman is the most important factor in the marriage relation, her enfranchisement is the primal step in deciding the basis of family life. Before public opinion on this question crystallizes into an amendment to the national Constitution, the wife and mother must have a voice in the governing power and must be heard, on this great problem, in the halls of legislation. "There are many advantages in leaving all these questions, as now, to the States. Local self-government more readily permits of experiments on mooted questions, which are the outcome of the needs and convictions of the community. The smaller the area over which legislation extends, the more pliable are the laws. By leaving the States free to experiment in their local affairs, we can judge of the working of different laws under varying circumstances, and thus learn their comparative merits. The progress education has achieved in America is due to the fact that we have left our system of public instruction in the hands of local authorities. How different would be the solution of the great educational question of manual labor in the schools, if the matter had to be settled at Washington! "The whole nation might find itself pledged to a scheme that a few years would prove wholly impracticable. Not only is the town meeting, as Emerson says, 'the cradle of American liberties,' but it is the nursery of Yankee experiment and wisdom. England, with its clumsy national code of education, making one inflexible standard of scholarship for the bright children of the manufacturing districts and the dull brains of the agricultural counties, should teach us a lesson as to the wisdom of keeping apart state and national government. "Before we can decide the just grounds for divorce, we must get a clear idea of what constitutes marriage. In a true relation the chief object is the loving companionship of man and woman, their capacity for mutual help and happiness and for the development of all that is noblest in each other. The second object is the building up a home and family, a place of rest, peace, security, in which child-life can bud and blossom like flowers in the sunshine. "The first step toward making the ideal the real, is to educate our sons and daughters into the most exalted ideas of the sacredness of married life and the responsibilities of parenthood. I would have them give, at least, as much thought to the creation of an immortal being as the artist gives to his landscape or statue. Watch him in his hours of solitude, communing with great Nature for days and weeks in all her changing moods, and when at last his dream of beauty is realized and takes a clearly defined form, behold how patiently he works through long months and years on sky and lake, on tree and flower; and when complete, it represents to him more love and life, more hope and ambition, than the living child at his side, to whose conception and antenatal development not one soulful thought was ever given. To this impressible period of human life, few parents give any thought; yet here we must begin to cultivate virtues that can alone redeem the world. "The contradictory views in which woman is represented are as pitiful as varied. While the Magnificat to the Virgin is chanted in all our cathedrals round the globe on each returning Sabbath day, and her motherhood extolled by her worshipers, maternity for the rest of womankind is referred to as a weakness, a disability, a curse, an evidence of woman's divinely ordained subjection. Yet surely the real woman should have some points of resemblance in character and position with the ideal one, whom poets, novelists, and artists portray. "It is folly to talk of the sacredness of marriage and maternity, while the wife is practically regarded as an inferior, a subject, a slave. Having decided that companionship and conscientious parenthood are the only true grounds for marriage, if the relation brings out the worst characteristics of each party, or if the home atmosphere is unwholesome for children, is not the very raison d'?tre of the union wanting, and the marriage practically annulled? It cannot be called a holy relation,<ETH>no, not a desirable one,<ETH>when love and mutual respect are wanting. And let us bear in mind one other important fact: the lack of sympathy and content in the parents indicates radical physical unsuitability, which results in badly organized offspring. If, then, the real object of marriage is defeated, it is for the interest of the State, as well as the individual concerned, to see that all such pernicious unions be legally dissolved. Inasmuch, then, as incompatibility of temper defeats the two great objects of marriage, it should be the primal cause for divorce. "The true standpoint from which to view this question is individual sovereignty, individual happiness. It is often said that the interests of society are paramount, and first to be considered. This was the Roman idea, the Pagan idea, that the individual was made for the State. The central idea of barbarism has ever been the family, the tribe, the nation<ETH>never the individual. But the great doctrine of Christianity is the right of individual conscience and judgment. The reason it took such a hold on the hearts of the people was because it taught that the individual was primary; the State, the Church, society, the family, secondary. However, a comprehensive view of any question of human interest, shows that the highest good and happiness of the individual and society lie in the same direction. "The question of divorce, like marriage, should be settled, as to its most sacred relations, by the parties themselves; neither the State nor the Church having any right to intermeddle therein. As to property and children, it must be viewed and regulated as a civil contract. Then the union should be dissolved with at least as much deliberation and publicity as it was formed. There might be some ceremony and witnesses to add to the dignity and solemnity of the occasion. Like the Quaker marriage, which the parties conduct themselves, so, in this case, without any statement of their disagreements, the parties might simply declare that, after living together for several years, they found themselves unsuited to each other, and incapable of making a happy home. "If divorce were made respectable, and recognized by society as a duty, as well as a right, reasonable men and women could arrange all the preliminaries, often, even, the division of property and guardianship of children, quite as satisfactorily as it could be done in the courts. Where the mother is capable of training the children, a sensible father would leave them to her care rather than place them in the hands of a stranger. "But, where divorce is not respectable, men who have no paternal feeling will often hold the child, not so much for its own good or his own affection, as to punish the wife for disgracing him. The love of children is not strong in most men, and they feel but little responsibility in regard to them. See how readily they turn off young sons to shift for themselves, and, unless the law compelled them to support their illegitimate children, they would never give them a second thought. But on the mother-soul rest forever the care and responsibility of human life. Her love for the child born out of wedlock is often intensified by the infinite pity she feels through its disgrace. Even among the lower animals we find the female ever brooding over the young and helpless. "Limiting the causes of divorce to physical defects or delinquencies; making the proceedings public; prying into all the personal affairs of unhappy men and women; regarding the step as quasi criminal; punishing the guilty party in the suit; all this will not strengthen frail human nature, will not insure happy homes, will not banish scandals and purge society of prostitution. "No, no; the enemy of marriage, of the State, of society is not liberal divorce laws, but the unhealthy atmosphere that exists in the home itself. A legislative act cannot make a unit of a divided family." [Next] This chapter has been put on-line as part of the BUILD-A-BOOK Initiative at the Celebration of Women Writers. Initial text entry and proof-reading of this chapter were the work of volunteers Teresa McEachern and Mary Mark Ockerbloom.

 

 

THE QUAKER HOMILETICS ONLINE ANTHOLOGY EDITED BY PETER SIPPEL SECTION 3.1: THE 19TH CENTURY (HICKSITES) ------------------------------------------------------------------------ JOHN COMLY: The Gospel Dispensation. Comly, then the Assistant Clerk, was, according to his own Journal, was the one who conceived of the idea of a separation in Philadelphia Yearly Meeting and traveled about the Yearly Meeting promoting the idea. As such he was one of the most important of the 19th century figures. SUNDERLAND P. GARDNER: The Woman Clothed With the Sun. A funeral sermon, taken largely from John and Revelation and like most addressed to the living. Gardner, from Farmington, N.Y. was from the Hicksite Genesse Yearly Meeting (later laid down with the Meetings divided between New York and Canada.) This message includes a brief section on war near the end. A brief reference in his Journal reads "Eight month 11th.--The funeral of Demaris Hoag, widow of Jacob Hoag. She was about ninety years of age, a worthy and exemplary woman. The meeting on the occasion was largely attended by various classes of people. It was thought a favored meeting." (Pages 85-86.) LUCRETIA MOTT: Righteousness Exalteth A Nation. Probably the best known of the 19th century liberal and activist Friends; this message was delivered in 1860 at the Bristol, PA Meeting. This is included for historical reasons, not because the editor thinks much of her. TOWNSEND HAWKSHURST: There Is a River. A speaker otherwise unknown to me; largely an exhortation to humility and self abasement, following the pattern of our great example, to be enabled to know the light of Christ within. ELIAS HICKS AND OTHERS: Let Brotherly Love Continue/Strengthening the Hand of the Oppressor/Fallen Angels. A lengthy message, dealing with three different themes, delivered at Byberry Friends Meeting, (Philadelphia Yearly Meeting) 4th day morning, 8th of 12th month, 1824. Selected as an example of his anti-slavery preaching. Great is The Sin of Unbelief. At the Rose Street Meeting in New York City, June 1st, 1826; sermon by Elizabeth Robson followed by a prayer by Anna Braithwaite; followed by a sermon in response by Thomas Wetherald and remarks by Elias Hicks. A good example of the contrasts in theology, with each accusing the people on the other side of unbelief. The Blood of Jesus. Sermon and Prayer, Delivered at Darby Meeting (Philadelphia Yearly Meeting) November 15th, 1826. This demonstrates how he made a very sharp (and, the editor think, fundamentally false) distinction between the "animal nature" and the "immortal soul," which appears to be the root cause of at least some of the controversy. Peace, Be Still. Sermon by Elias Hicks; responses by Jerusha Curtis and Philadelphia Pemberton; response to them by Elias Hicks; Sermon by Othneil Alsop; Sermon in response by Elias Hicks (he spoke three times in one Meeting.) Delivered at Key's Alley Meeting, Philadelphia, December 12th, 1826. Let Love Be Without Dissimulation. Sermon delivered by Elias Hicks; Responses to Hicks by Jonathan Evans and Isaac Lloyd; and Responses to them by Elias Hicks and Willet Hicks. Delivered at Pine Street Meeting in Philadelphia, December 10, 1826. The Foundation Principle Jesus Laid. Delivered at Ohio Yearly Meeting, September 7th, 1828; with response by Elisha Bates. JOHN JACKSON: No New Doctrine/War. Dealing with Divine Revelation and War. Jackson was a second generation Hicksite, son of Halliday Jackson, one of the instigators of the Hicksite separation in Philadelphia; the editor believes a close examination of the sections dealing with revelation shows that the "Hicksite" tendencies of taking one part of the truth and neglecting the rest entered very early. JESSE KERSEY: And Shall Our Stubborn Hearts Refuse/the Grateful Song to Raise? An early sermon, paraphrased and put in poetic form by a listener; a look at how nature praises its creator and points us to the same. "Then let us praise Him and adore / In early youth's fresh bloom, /Nor cease till life's pulse beats no more / And the last summons comes. Ironically, Kersey once stayed at the home of George and Ann Jones prior to his becoming a Hicksite and their becoming vehement critics of Hicks. This Is The Temperament That He Enjoins. Touching upon the parable of the good Samaritan, and saying that this temperament is one that enables the Christian to identify with the suffering, the poor, etc. The Green Street Sermon. This was the message he delivered at the Green Street Meeting during the Green Street Meeting during the Yearly Meeting of 1827, at which the separation between the Hicksite and the Orthodox Friends took place. I wish I could say it was profound sermon that addressed the issues that were so divisive, but it is not; in this editor's humble opinion it wanders from platitude to platitude without developing good cases for any of them and never addresses the problems existing in the Yearly Meeting. Perceiving with the Spiritual Senses. Shortly after the separation the Hicksites arranged a series of Meetings held at Carpenter's Hall in Philadelphia; the spot being intentionally chosen for its association with independence. This is one of the sermons delivered in those Meetings, dealing with the need to be spiritually perceptive, an ability that comes only from the gift of God. This is the only sermon I have found by Kersey that includes a prayer. The More I Am Convinced That God Is Love. Also delivered in Carpenters' Hall. Most of the content is good, but he begins with a subtle setting up of a strawman, then going on to declare that he agrees with the Apostle John. It ends with an invitation to the youth present to take upon the yoke of Christ. The Light Is Bursting Forth. Dealing with the universality of the Inward Light. This sermon is directly connected with the I have entitled "When the Mind is Humble" by Joseph Moore, with Moore preceding Kersey at the same Meeting at Green Street, and both are in the same file. It is the most upbeat and optimistic of the sermons by Kersey I have found, frequently taking on the tone of an invitational message. Obedience to Parents Jesse Kersey was recorded as a minister in Philadelphia Yearly Meeting prior to the separation of 1827; he is best known as the author of Kersey's Treatise, or more officially, A Treatise On Fundamental Doctrines of Christianity, published in 1815. His was a difficult life with multiple business failures, severe familial losses, and even a period of alcoholism and drug addiction as the result of the medical treatment he received for Typhus (from which he did recover.) He joined the Hicksites after the separation, but was soon disappointed with them too, and once remarked that he hoped the real Quakers in both groups would reunited and let the others go their other way if need be. A Prophecy by Jesse Kersey. Delivered at New York Yearly Meeting, 1845, very late in his life. Like most such prophecies, most of this one including the most important points, did not come to pass and still seems unlikely to come about. SAMUEL J. LEVICK: Hearken Unto The Voice of The Lord. Levick was one of the most conservative members of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting (Hicksite) and an active citizen of Philadelphia; member of the Pennsylvania Bicentennial Commission, The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, an advocate of a public school system, etc. This is an exhortation, apparently given to a mixed audience. ABRAHAM LOWER: The Word is Nigh You. Lower, from the Green Street Meeting in Philadelphia, described in Ingle's Quakers in Conflict as "combative" and "a self styled illiterate cabinet maker," was perhaps the most aggressive and badly behaved person at the Yearly Meeting of 1827. This message, post separation, is taken largely, it appears, from Hebrews. JOSEPH MOORE: When the Mind is Humble. A brief exhortation to remember that while the Lord is present and willing to speak and be heart, the heart and mind must be humbled enough to be receptive. This message directly connected with the sermon by Jesse Kersey I have entitled "The Light Is Bursting Forth," with both messages given at the same meeting and Kersey's in response to Moore's. JACOB RITTER: The Good Feelings I Experienced! A brief sermon taken from a childhood reminiscence. Ritter was a fascinating individual, brought up a German speaking Lutheran yet attracted to Friends from early childhood, and given to experiencing visions, and one of the proteges of William Savery. We Must Keep Each Other Awake. A very short (two sentences) message addressed to people sleeping in Meeting. LOUISA J. ROBERTS: What Must I Do To Be Saved? An example of 19th century Hicksite liberalism. Roberts, a former Baptist, was a minister in Green Street Meeting, Philadelphia, one of the organizers of first day Bible schools, and an editor of Friends' Intelligencer. It is interesting to note how quickly the fictitious story of William Penn and his sword came to be accepted as truth.

 

Home Introduction List of Documents Part One Part Two Part Three Part Four Links

FightSpam! Click Here!