<< . .

. 31
( : 44)



. . >>

“victory” of these Americans.72
Dickinson™s and Quakers™ worst fears came to pass as the basic rights they
had had under the Charter vanished and were replaced with a degree of per-
secution they had not known since the seventeenth century, then also at the
hands of reformed Calvinists in Massachusetts. Many of the most important
civil liberties that Dickinson outlined in his Essay of a Frame and elsewhere
were repeatedly violated “ religious liberty, no tests or oaths, trial by jury,
habeas corpus, no capital punishment except for murder and military crimes.73
As in Restoration England under the Anglicans, the persecution took place both
formally and informally, by thugs and government of¬cials alike, often indis-
tinguishable in Revolutionary Pennsylvania. It ranged from petty name calling,
to libel, slander, and false charges, to destruction of property, deprivation of
personal liberty without due process, and ultimately, for some, loss of life.
Dickinson, being the most public and outspoken of the radicals™ adversaries
and the most visible of the Quakers™ leaders, was the ¬rst target.
The majority of Dickinson™s troubles occurred during the eight-month period
when there was no constitution ¬rmly in place in either Pennsylvania or the
United States. An indication of growing problems came after he refused to
sign the Declaration. “I had not been ten days in camp at Elizabethtown [New
Jersey],” he said, “when I was by my persecutors turned out of Congress.”74
When he returned to ¬ght for historic constitutional liberties, he presented such
a problem for his opponents, speaking and acting against the unconstitution-
ality of their laws and proceedings, that he made more enemies than he ever

71 Dickinson, Letters, 19.
72 John Jones to John Dickinson, March 20, 1775. Incoming Correspondence, Sept. 22, 1759“June
23, 1782, JDP/LCP.
73 While Bouton acknowledges many of these violations took places, he elides their import by
referring to them in passing as mere “limits” that did minimize the “transformation” that had
taken place in the government (Taming Democracy, 55“57). But indeed, the transformation
was in important ways from a freer system to a more tyrannical one.
74 Still´ and Ford, Life and Writings, 1: 206.
e
Critical Period in Pennsylvania 263

had before. Samuel Adams, who could be as vitriolic as his cousin, articulated
a sentiment that must have been prevalent among the struggling radicals. On
December 12, he decried Dickinson™s power in that state, claiming that he “has
poisond the Minds of the People, the Effect of which is a total Stagnation of
the Power of Resentment, the utter Loss of every manly Sentiment of Liberty
& Virtue. I give up [Philadelphia] & [Pennsylvania] for lost until recover[˜d]
by other Americans.”75
What happened next was the radicals™ attempt to “recover” their state “
retribution against Dickinson for interfering with their revolution. On Decem-
ber 15, Dickinson unwittingly provided the acting government, the Council of
Safety, the excuse it needed to pursue him as an enemy to the cause. He sent a
letter to his brother, the commanding of¬cer of the Delaware militia, advising
him not to accept Continental currency.76 Without reasonable suspicion as to
the contents of the letter, the Council apprehended Dickinson™s servant, con-
¬scated the letter, and opened it. They also seized his house in Philadelphia for
a hospital. Within days, on the twenty-¬rst, Benjamin Rush wrote to Richard
Henry Lee, “Gen Putnam sent a guard to apprehend Mr Dick-n yesterday; you
will soon hear of the cause of it. He has escaped.”77
At this time, there was so much in¬‚ammatory gossip about Dickinson
swirling around Philadelphia that it is hard to know how accurate Rush™s
statement was. Congressman William Hooper complained that “Dickinsons
Apostatization” was so complete in that city that little said of him was to
be believed, including the rumor that he had defected to the British.78 Even if
arrested, it is unlikely that he would have ¬‚ed. On the contrary, Dickinson, who,
like other gentlemen, had moved his family out of the city to safety, returned for
the express purpose of facing the Council and refuting the accusations levied
against him.79 With a verdict of treason as the clear goal, the charges were, in
addition to advising his brother against accepting Continental currency, that
he had refused to sign the Declaration of Independence; he opposed the Con-
vention and constitution; he deserted his military post; and he had not taken a
seat in the Delaware assembly, as the people there had requested.
Dickinson put a good amount of effort into responding to these charges
and would be required to continue his defense over the next several years. In
addition to writing lengthy addresses to the public and the Council, in January,
he appeared daily at its meeting place for almost a week seeking a satisfactory
explanation for the interception of his mail, seizure and retention of £10,000
worth of his property, and slanderous remarks against his character.80 In each

75 Samuel Adams to James Warren, Dec. 12, 1776, Delegates, 5: 601.
76 Flower, John Dickinson, Conservative Revolutionary, 213.
77 Benjamin Rush to Richard Henry Lee, Dec. 21, 1776, Delegates, 5: 628.
78 William Hooper to Robert Morris, Dec. 28, 1776, Delegates, 5: 689.
79 His own departure from the city does not appear to have been entirely voluntary. Flower explains
that his wife refused to leave without him (John Dickinson, Conservative Revolutionary, 181).
80 Flower, John Dickinson, Conservative Revolutionary, 284; John Dickinson, “Defense of Actions
Before the Council of Safety,” 1777, Ser. 1. b. Political, 1774“1807, n.d., RRL/HSP.
264 The Political Quakerism of John Dickinson

instance, the explanation he offered the Council demonstrated the vacuity of
the charges. Regarding the currency, the advice to his brother meant that he
should not accept it in the ¬eld, having no safe place to keep it. He then provided
af¬davits from tenants that he himself had accepted American money.81 As for
refusing to sign the Declaration and support the Pennsylvania government,
that was certainly no secret, and he reiterated that he was only doing what his
conscience told him was best for the country. “The Council of Safety knows,”
he wrote, “that I might have reign™d with them, if I had been so false to my
Countrymen, as to have concealed my real Sentiments for fear of displeasing
them.” Proof of his patriotism was that “there was not one Man at that Time in
Philadelphia, who had acted as publicly in the Common Cause as I had done.”
But precisely because of this, “[f]or some time past I have been incessantly
attacked on every side.”82 The great irony of Dickinson™s situation, of course,
was that he was seen by the British, according to John Adams, as “the ruler of
America”83 and one of the primary leaders of the Revolution, the “Penman.”
Thus, as his countrymen were harrying him, the British and American Tories
were burning and looting his homes.84 Aware that “the part I had taken from
the very Beginning of the present Controversy, and my having born Arms, might
have drawn peculiar Insults and Injuries on those who were connected with
me,” he of¬cially resigned his commission in the militia to protect his family.
Unapologetic, he announced, “I owe it to my Country, to involve [my family]
in such a Danger, I also owe it to them, to make a reasonable provision for
their Safety.” Finally, as to the charge he had not sat in the Delaware assembly,
a post he had declined for health reasons, he said, simply, that was “a matter in
which they have no business.”85 He ended his defense with steadfast opposition
to the bullying: “[C]on¬ding in my Innocence, I defy your power, and if any of
you bear me Malice, I would have you assuredly know, I equally defy that.”86
Dickinson received no satisfaction from the confrontation. There was no
apology or withdrawal of the accusations; yet neither were the charges pur-
sued. There was no restitution for his stolen and damaged property; in short,
there was no sign that the Council had been serious or had intended to do
anything more than harass an adversary and ruin his reputation.87 That spring

81 Alexander Douglas, af¬davit that Dickinson did not refuse to take Continental money in pay-
ment for rent, March 6, 1777, Ser. 1. b. Political, 1774“1807, n.d., RRL/HSP.
82 John Dickinson, untitled ms, January 21, 1777, Ser. 1. b. Political, 1774“1807, n.d., RRL/HSP.
83 John Adams, Twenty-Six Letters, upon Interesting Subjects, Respecting the Revolution of Amer-
ica (New York, 1780), 32.
84 John Adams™s Diary, Sept. 20, 1777, Delegates, 8: 5.
85 Dickinson, “Defense of Actions Before the Council of Safety,” 1777, Ser. 1. b. Political, 1774“
1807, n.d. RRL/HSP. He explained his reasons “ ill health and the care of his family “ in a letter
to George Read, Jan. 20, 1777, Small Manuscript Collection, John Dickinson Letters, DPA.
86 John Dickinson, untitled document, Jan. 21, 1777, Ser. 1. b. Political, 1774“1807, n.d.,
RRL/HSP.
87 On the seminal importance of reputation in this period, see Joanne Freeman, Affairs of Honor:
National Politics in the New Republic (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2002) Andrew
Trees, The Founding Fathers and the Politics of Character (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University
Press, 2004).
Critical Period in Pennsylvania 265

Dickinson was abused in the papers, as he was called the “compromising
farmer,” “piddling politician,” “summer soldier,” and a “procrastinating dele-
gate, whose chilling breath b[l]ackened all measures of Congress.” Addressing
his diatribe to “Phocion,” the author claimed that “[y]ou ransacked the Con-
stitution through every page and paragraph, to ¬nd some real ¬‚aw in it that
might expose it to contempt, but drove to the shameful shift of irritating reli-
gious spleen, your low art persuaded people that the church, and indeed our
land was in danger.”88 Now that Dickinson had left for Delaware, in Congress,
William Whipple seemed gleeful that “Dickinsonian Politics are Banish™d.”89


The Virginia Exiles
At roughly the same time the radicals began with Dickinson, they also turned
their attention toward the Society of Friends.90 The October Resolutions
against the constitution began rather cryptically with the point that “the Chris-
tian religion is not treated with the proper respect.”91 There was no further
elaboration. The Constitutionalists, however, found the speeches of the “velvet
mouthed gentlemen” worthy of satire. “Some of these men were lawyers,” they
said, “but they talked just like ministers, so devoutly and piously, there was
no standing it.” The simple cooper John Trusshoop was thoroughly duped. He
explained in the Pennsylvania Gazette that “I am sure lawyer ----- made it so
clear, and was so distressed about it, that I was ready to cry.”92 Although the
resolution was, perhaps, more of a prognostication than a reality at that point,
the tone of the response was indicative of its accuracy.
After the punishment Quakers received in Common Sense, they had
restrained themselves from addressing the general public. Now they addressed
only their meetings, but this enraged the radicals as well. In November 1776,

88 “Demophilus,” in Pennsylvania Gazette, March 19, 1777. Phocion was a Greek statesman who,
according to Plutarch™s Lives, tried to save the people from their own foolishness and was thus
slandered for his virtue rather than revered.
89 William Whipple to Josiah Bartlett, February 7, 1777, Delegates, 6: 236.
90 There is surprisingly little written on this episode in the Revolution. See Isaac Sharpless, The
Quakers in the Revolution, 145“206; Mekeel, Relation of the Quakers to the American Revo-
lution, 173“88; Calhoon, The Loyalists in the American Revolution, 387“90; Robert F. Oaks,
“Philadelphians in Exile: The Problem of Loyalty during the American Revolution.” PMHB
vol. 96 (1972), 298.
91 Resolutions, 1149. John K. Wilson acknowledges that many state constitutions had provisions
for religious liberty, but that they were often not enforced. He contends, however, that the
Pennsylvania constitution contained strong protections for religious freedom. “Religion under
the State Constitutions, 1776“1800,” Journal of Church and State vol. 32, no. 4 (1990), 753“
774, 762.
92 John Trusshoop, Nov. 13, 1776, Pennsylvania Gazette. In this and Demophilus, cited earlier,
the Constitutionalists make dubious claims about the Republicans™ demands. Here Trusshoop
claims the unnamed lawyer was advocating that adherence to the belief in the Trinity needed to
be enforced, and Demophilus claims that Dickinson wanted the “Athanasian Creed, Heidelberg
Catechism, Westminster Confession of Faith, or some other such esteemed form of sound
words” written into the constitution and an oath to it sworn before anyone “could enjoy the
rights of a citizen.”
266 The Political Quakerism of John Dickinson

Congressman Oliver Wolcott warned that “[t]he Quakers may not be expected
to take any open Active part in any political matter in these Times, but their
secret In¬‚uence I fear is to Embarrass our measures. They dread to lose that
Predominancy which they have heretofore held.”93 One epistle in particular
instigated a new phase of persecution. As Philadelphia devolved into chaos
in early December, the Meeting for Sufferings urged Friends to “with Chris-
tian ¬rmness and fortitude withstand and refuse to submit to the arbitrary
injunctions and ordinances of men, who assume to themselves the power of
compelling others, either in person or by assistance, to join in carrying on war,
and of prescribing modes of determining concerning our religious principles.”
What they were most concerned about was that the radicals were “impos-
ing tests not warranted by the precepts of Christ.” Like Dickinson, they were
distressed that the new government refused to observe “the laws of the happy
constitution, under which we and others long enjoyed tranquility and peace.”94
In their admiration of what they think is the democratization of Pennsylva-
nia, some scholars forget “ or dismiss as unimportant “ the motives behind the
radical movement and the simultaneous restrictions they put on the rights of a
signi¬cant segment of society. Their motives were not civil liberty for all, but
only for some. Their aim was to secure the overthrow of the Quaker govern-
ment and block any dissent to the new rule. And in order to do this, they would
not only have to broaden the franchise to include the propertyless lower sorts
but also restrict the voting and other civic activities of their opponents. They
did so in the only way they could “ to stop a religious opponent, they imposed
tests and oaths to the revolutionary government that they knew Quakers could
not take. They proclaimed that anyone “refusing or neglecting to take and
subscribe the said oath or af¬rmation, shall, during the time of such neglect or
refusal, be incapable of holding any of¬ce in this State, serving on juries, suing
for any debts, electing or being elected, buying, selling, or transferring any
lands, tenements, or hereditaments.”95 They insisted that Quakers renounce
their allegiance to the crown. The irony was, of course, that Quakers had never
sworn an oath of allegiance to the crown. And neither could they swear to
the Convention, even had they been inclined to support it. In this way the
Constitutionalists barred Friends from civic participation exactly as they had
been barred in seventeenth-century England. Justi¬cations for the oaths from
radical supporters rang hollow. One asked, “Is an oath that bars an inveterate
enemy who would enter a garrison on purpose to throw open its gates to the
besiegers of tyrannie, [a] cruel and unreasonable thing?” He rationalized the
oath by claiming that “these wonderful sticklers for free election” had them-
selves restricted the franchise by, among other things, property requirements.
Then, in a perplexing statement grossly ignorant of republican political theory,

93 Oliver Wolcott to Matthew Griswold, November 18, 1776, Delegates, 5: 514.
94 Religious Society of Friends, An Epistle . . . To Our Friends and Brethren in Religious Profession,
in These and the Adjacent Provinces (Philadelphia, 1776).
95 Statutes, 5: 9, 75“94.
Critical Period in Pennsylvania 267

the author concluded that “I care not how free our future elections may be,
provided the persons we elect be not impowered to subvert our legal freedom
when elected.”96
Like Dickinson, the Quakers™ troubles began during the constitutional hia-
tus when there was neither a state nor a national structure to protect them.
Although in 1775 Congress issued a resolution to protect conscientious objec-
tors, it seems to have been forgotten by 1776.97 There is no doubt that some
Quakers considered themselves Tories and actively supported the British cause.
But even those Friends who were Patriots were restrained by conscience from
expressing themselves. They could not light their windows, aid troops, or join
in any patriotic celebrations. Their refusal to participate in these things was
both civil and social disobedience. The oaths soon became the least of their
troubles as the harassment turned to persecution, and Quakers went from sim-
ply having their civic voice silenced to enduring the overt violations of their
most basic civil rights “ the precise rights for which Americans claimed to be
¬ghting.
Because of Dickinson™s agitations against the constitution and the immediate
threat from the British, the new year opened as badly for Friends as for him.
In late January the Council of Safety issued a resolve that ordered soldiers to
be quartered in the homes of Non-Associators. Quaker Sarah Fisher knew that
“[t]his wicked resolve is particularly levied against Friends, as the violent peo-
ple were much enraged at the last publication of the Meeting of Sufferings.” In
this and other ways, the Convention turned the table on the Quakers. Radicals
believed that, under the Quaker government, Non-Associators had received
preferential treatment to the detriment of the colony.98 Now they exacted ret-
ribution by compelling Quakers to do their part for the cause. Fisher considered
the new resolve “an act of violence almost too great to bear.”99
The treatment of Quakers evolved in proportion to the problems in Penn-
sylvania. It was relatively mild when the dif¬culties were internal and political;
it turned most severe when the war was going badly. In August of 1777 as the
British were approaching the state, Associators were not reporting for duty;

96 Consideration, “In the Day of Adversity consider,” Pennsylvania Gazette, Oct. 30, 1776. This
article was a response to the Resolutions.
97 JCC, 2: 220; See also Derek H. Davis, Religion and the Continental Congress, 1774“1789: Con-
tributions to Original Intent (New York: Oxford University Press, 2000), 164“66; John Witte,
Jr., Religion and the American Constitutional Experiment, 2nd ed. (Boulder, CO: Westview
Press, 2005), 73.
98 Under Quaker rule, Non-Associators had exemptions for “Pretenders” (7406) that the Associ-
ators believed unfair and detrimental to the country. PA 8th ser., 8: 7399“7400, 7402“07.
99 Nicholas B. Wainwright, “˜A Diary of Tri¬‚ing Occurrences™: Philadelphia, 1776“1778,” PMHB
vol. 82, no. 4 (1958), 411“65, 425“26. See Judy Van Buskirk, who also focuses on Quaker
women, one of whom is Fisher, in “They Didn™t Join the Band: Disaffected Woman in Revolu-
tionary Philadelphia,” Pennsylvania History vol. 62, no. 3 (1995), 306“29. For other women™s
accounts, see Elaine Forman Craine, The Diary of Elizabeth Drinker: The Life Cycle of an
Eighteenth-Century Woman (Boston: Northeastern University Press, 1994); Kenneth A. Rad-
bill, “The Ordeal of Elizabeth Drinker,” Pennsylvania History vol. 47, no. 2 (1980), 146“72.
268 The Political Quakerism of John Dickinson

they were deserting. Pennsylvania, the state that should have been the coun-
try™s biggest asset, had, as Charles Caroll put it, “become rather a burthen than
strength to the Union.”100 Rather than look to the Associators as the problem,
Congress and the Pennsylvania Executive Council identi¬ed the Quakers as the
main cause, to the exclusion of most others. “There is not such a Collection of
disaffected people on the Continent, as of the quakers inhabiting [eastern] Penn-
sylvania,” wrote Elbridge Gerry. “The Disputes about the Constitution of this
State,” he continued, “have produced such a Division & Torpor thro out the
same, as renders it at present an inactive, lifeless, unwieldy, Mass.”101 Accord-
ingly, on August 26, a congressional committee composed of John Adams and
Richard Henry Lee, among others, recommended to the Council “to cause
a diligent search to be made in the houses of the inhabitants . . . who have
not manifested their attachment to the American cause, for ¬rearms, swords,
bayonets, &c.”102
The absurdity and fruitlessness of searching paci¬sts™ homes for weapons
must have occurred to someone because, before the Council carried out the
recommendation, new “evidence” surfaced to justify “ in the minds of the
radicals if not by any law “ more than a mere search for weapons they knew did
not exist. Some papers appeared from an alleged Friends meeting at Spanktown,
New Jersey, indicating that Friends knew of British movements and were aiding
them. These papers from a ¬ctitious meeting, whose dates did not correspond
with the events to which they were supposed to relate, were the excuse for a
citywide round-up of forty-one Philadelphians, twenty of whom were Friends,
the unwarranted search of their homes, and the con¬scation of their papers.
The most prominent Quaker in Pennsylvania, John Pemberton, Dickinson™s
cousin, recalled his arrest. “I told them, that as they had nothing justly to lay to
my Charge, & my House was my Own & I a freeman, I could not consent to
Comply with their Unreasonable demand.” In a scene that cannot but remind
us of the civil disobedience of the 1960s, he informed the men, “I could not
leave my house without being forced.” One of them then “took me by the arm
& said he would force me to go, but I would not move from my seat . . . So I
was lifted by two of them off my seat & led to the Door.”103 Pemberton and
others were conveyed to the Free Masons™ Lodge.
Over the next few days, from September 2 through 5, the de¬ciencies of
both the state and national constitutions became strikingly apparent as Friends
tested them. The Quaker community and those arrested began what would be a
seven-month long appeals process to two governments, neither of which would

100 Charles Carroll to Charles Carroll, Sr. September 29, 1777, Delegates, 8: 26.
101 Elbridge Gerry to James Warren, October 6, 1777, Delegates, 8: 66.
102 Thomas Gilpin, Exiles in Virginia: With Observations on the Conduct of the Society of Friends
During the Revolutionary War Comprising the Of¬cial Papers of the Government Relating
to that Period. 1777“1778 [1848] (facsimile rpt. Bowie, MD: Heritage Books, Inc. 2002), 35.
Gilpin™s collection of documents pertaining to the Exiles is the best source on the episode and
the one from which much of this discussion is drawn.
103 Diaries of John Pemberton, 1777“1781, 2nd of the 9th mo. 1777, 3, HSP.
Critical Period in Pennsylvania 269

bear responsibility for the arrest or detention of the men, who, not having been
charged with a crime, were not of¬cially traitors. They petitioned for a hearing
before the Council and were denied because, said the Council, it was Congress
who had ordered them arrested. They then petitioned Congress, which said that
the matter was out of their jurisdiction because these Quakers were inhabitants
of Pennsylvania. On the ¬fth of the month, the Council offered that if Quakers
would simply take the oath to the government, they would be released.
Henry Laurens, writing to John Lewis Gervais, expressed the majority opin-
ion in Congress and the Council. “If the Quakers pretend to claim protection
of the Laws of the Land,” he said, “it should be remembered they refuse to
obey those Laws & deny allegiance to the State[.]” Of course, Quakers had few
illusions that they would get the “protection” of the state and wanted the secu-
rity of their ancient constitution. Laurens continued to justify the governments™
actions not by America™s professed principles but by its enemy™s behavior dur-
ing the war. Because “the British powers Seize & con¬ne the persons of our
Subjects or friends upon Suspicion,” he said, Americans ought to do the same to
Friends. But instead, he complained, “we suffer [England™s] professed friends to
be at large & to go through all the Ceremonies & chicanery of Courts of Law in
their defense, we proceed upon very unequal terms.” He intimated that Quak-
ers were guilty of worse than some men who had already been put to death
for treason, yet they were spared. As to the unwarranted arrest and detention
of Quakers and other alleged traitors, he said: “A dangerous Rule I confess
this would be in days of tranquility,” but the “present Circumstances” made
it “absolutely necessary.” This was from a man who claimed that “[n]o Man
has more Love for the Society of Quakers than I have.” After protesting that
he did not “mean to condemn the whole Society of Quakers,” he proceeded
to mock them. “To Speak in their Style,” he said, “˜my mind being deeply
impressed with a fervent & anxious concern for . . . the true Spirit of Liberty &
Independence,” the “Crafty Men” ought to be sent “to a place where they will
be deprived of the means of doing harm.”104
On September 9, 1777, the Council resolved that the prisoners should be
sent away. In a moment of conscience, Chief Justice Thomas McKean ¬nally
issued writs of habeas corpus. But no sooner had he done that than the Council
passed an act forbidding the writs.105 Accordingly, the Quakers were sent into
exile in Virginia. In the next months, as they became ill or died and their
families suffered ¬nancial hardships, members of the Society, demonstrating
their characteristic “ and offensive “ unity, launched a vigorous petitioning,
letter writing, and publicity campaign.
Richard Henry Lee remarked to Patrick Henry in clear disgust that “[t]he
Quaker m[otto] ought to be ˜Nos turba sumus™ for if you attack one, the whole


104 Henry Laurens to John Lewis Gervais, September 5, 1777, Delegates, 7: 606“19, 13“14.
105 Gail S. Rowe, Thomas McKean: The Shaping of an American Republicanism (Boulder: Col-
orado Associated University Press, 1978), 106.
270 The Political Quakerism of John Dickinson

Society is roused.”106 But their success was not greater than before. They
continued to be foisted to and fro between Congress and Council, Congress
saying that it could not interfere because these were prisoners of Pennsylvania.
Quakers were out of everyone™s jurisdiction with no recourse to any of the
fundamental laws stated in the constitutions “ America™s, Pennsylvania™s, or, for
that matter, Virginia™s, in which rights of the accused were carefully described.
On March 15, 1778, Congress ¬nally stepped up and ordered the prisoners
released. But come April when they were still detained, Israel Pemberton wrote
to Secretary of Congress Charles Thomson to discover what was to become of
them. Thomson responded and described more deferral of responsibility. He
had asked the Board of War about the matter, which said it was waiting for an
application from the Council of Pennsylvania. Because it had not received one,
“they had not taken any steps in pursuance of the Act of Congress.” He closed
with the sentiment, “I am sorry for the Death & sickness of your friends,” he
said. “Inclination and humanity easily lead me to do you any service in my
power.”107 Thomson™s regret must have been genuine and his actions effective.
The Quakers were released later that month. In all, two had died, two had
escaped behind enemy lines, and the rest, a good deal impoverished, were
restored to their families. As in Dickinson™s case, there were never any charges
pressed, no apology or explanation issued, and no restitution for property lost,
damaged, or con¬scated.
Even after the Virginia Exiles were released, Quakers were still widely seen
as traitors to the American cause. Indeed, the perceptions of them remained as
negative as before. Congressman Josiah Bartlett believed that “[t]he majority
of the Quakers remain the same dark, hidden, designing hypocrites as for-
merly.”108 Pennsylvania president Joseph Reed was still convinced months
after their release that “[t]he Designs of a Tory, Proprietary Quaker Party are
too obvious; & if not crushed in the Bud will produce a plentiful Crop of
Mixing & Dissension thro this State.”109 Quakers continued to be maligned
and harassed, their property destroyed and stolen into the 1780s. Their shops
were forcibly closed, and other penalties were imposed “ the seizure of property,
¬nes in court for failure to appear for military duty, and the quartering of sol-
diers in their homes. Still if they did not swear the oath of allegiance they were
forbidden from “holding any public of¬ce or place of trust” including “serving
on juries, sueing for any debts, electing or being elected, buying, selling or

<< . .

. 31
( : 44)



. . >>