PHILADELPHIA YEARLY MEETING OF THE RELIGIOUS SOCIETY
Rules of discipline : handwritten, ca. 1806-1809.
MANUSCRIPT NUMBER 127
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CITATION: Philadelphia Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends
Rules of discipline, MSS 127, Archives and Manuscripts Dept., Pitts Theology
Library, Emory University.
The Religious Society of Friends, also known as Quakers, was founded in England in 1652 by George Fox. Fox preached throughout England, emphasizing the need for complete and true obedience to Christ. The Quaker doctrine, which included pacifism and rejection of oaths, created conflict between Quakers and political and religious leaders in England and America. In 1656, barred from landing in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, Quakers settled in Rhode Island. William Penn, a Quaker, founded the Pennsylvania Colony in1681 and provided refuge for English Quakers and other persecuted religous groups.
Quakers in the United States held their first General Meeting in 1681
in Burlington, New Jersey. This group merged with the Philadelphia
meeting in 1685 and became the General Yearly Meeting for Friends of Pennsylvania,
East Jersey, and of the Adjacent Provinces. Now known as the
Philadephia Yearly Meeting, it is the oldest Quaker group in the U.S.
This small collection consists of a single handwritten volume, 113 pages
with an index, of the Rules of Discipline of the yearly meeting of
Friends held in Philadelphia, ca. 1806-1809. The book illuminates Quaker
social and religious thought on such subjects as the African slave trade,
Negroes, women, war, marriage, schools, and taverns. A copy of this book
was kept at various meeting houses of the society by overseers and clerks,
but access was restricted. Then, in 1825, a printed edition of the Rules
of Discipline was published in a move to dispel the mystery surrounding