Pearl Street Meeting, New York City, 1782
Cox, John. Quakerism in the City of New York. New York: Privately Printed, 1930, pages 79-81.
This Document is on The Quaker Writings Home Page.
We acknowledge with Thankfullness, the Protection we, as a People have receiv'd from the
Brittish Government, and the Indulgence we have experienc'd from the Rulers here in Matters
relative to our peaceable and religious Profession; and we are desirous that Government shou'd
believe that we are dispos'd to perform the Common offices of Civil Society, and bear its
proportionate Burdens, so far as the same may be consistent with our Religious Principles, and
the peaceable Testimony we have ever borne. We are led to believe the inclos'd Direction was not
consider'd in its Nature and Tendency to affect our religious Testimony, or it wou'd not have been
issued. With all due Respect to the Commandant we shall mention the ground of our objections to
it. In charging our Society With the whole Duties of the City Watch, at this peculiar Time, when
military works and Labour are carried on by the Rest of our fellow Citizens who at other Times
share with us in Common the Business of the Watch, appears to us if accepted to be in substance
a "Composition in Lieu of Military service" we cannot in Conscience support or contribute
directly or indirectly to the Practice or Business of War. Our peaceable Principles also render the
Business of a Watch kept altogether by ourselves, attended with Inconveniences, and perhaps so
many that its End might be frustrated. Riotous and ill-dispos'd People wou'd be under small
Restraint from Persons who cannot submit even to Bodily Defense, and who wou'd therefore
more likely meet with Injustice and abuse themselves than be able to controul Boisterous and
unruly men. The Fewness of our Number also wou'd render this undertaking greatly inadequate to
the Purpose intended. The whole Number of Males who are members of our Society, and arriv'd
at a suitable age do not exceed Fifty Eight. We cannot but think therefore that the Commandant
must have misapprehended the Number of Males who compose the Society in this City.
We therefore confide in the Justice and Tenderness of our Rulers for that indulgence which we only ask for Conscience sake.
We are willing and desirous when caiI'd to the Watch as a Civil Duty in common with our Fellow
Citizens to comply with so reasonable a Requisition, and those of us who have hitherto been
exempted from performing that service will Cheerfully send substitutes if required.
We are with respect Thy Friends
New York 3d mo. 19th 1782.
John Burling John Lawrence Sam'l Bowne William Cooper Thos. Dobson Thos. Pearsall Joseph Delaplaine Jacob Watson Rob't. Murray Charles Brooke Henry Haydock James Parsons Daniel Bowne Ebenezer Haviland Oliver Hull Lindley Murray Iassc Underhill