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Re: Revolutionary War
Posted by: sandra ferguson (ID *****4312) Date: November 12, 2010 at 14:47:56
In Reply to: Re: Revolutionary War by Evelyn Rowland of 4759

I would appreciate it if you post the information you found in Hinshaw on George Washington "pressing" Quakers into service. I have Hinshaw on CD, including part VI, on Va, and I don't see anything like what you describe. I've been a student of the American Revolution and Quakerism for many years and I have NEVER heard that Gen. Washington 'pressed' Quakers or anyone else into the military. In fact, I'm including exerpts from a letter from the Gen, on his feelings about religious freedom, etc: As background -
when the American colonies declared war against England, most Quakers remained Pacifists (although there were a few "fighting" Quakers who tookpart in the Revolutionary War.) Still, many Quakers were on the side ofthe British during the American War of Independence--because they remembered
that it was the King of England who had halted persecutions against them in Massachusetts.
Many of the early American Fathers--including George Washington and Thomas Jefferson--were very respectful of the Quakers. After George Washington became president, Quakers (along with other religious groups) petitioned him to protect their hard won religious freedoms. George Washington wrote back the a letter, assuring them that he was committed towards protecting the religious rights of ALL minorities. Excerpts are included below:

"Government being, among other purposes, instituted to protect the persons and consciences of men from oppression, it certainly is the duty of rulers, not only to abstain from it themselves, but according to their stations,
to prevent it in others.

The liberty enjoyed by the people of these States, of worshipping Almighty God agreeable to their consciences is not only among the choices of their BLESSINGS, but also of their RIGHTS. While men perform their social duties faithfully, they do all that society or the state can with propriety demand or respect; and remain responsible only to their Maker for the religion, or modes of faith, which they may prefer or profess.

Your principles and conduct are well known to me; and it is doing the people called Quakers no more than justice to say, that (except their declining to share with others the burthen of the common defense) there is no denomination among us, who are more exemplary and useful citizens.

I assure you very explicitly, that in my opinion the conscientious scruples of all men should be treated with great delicacy and tenderness; and it is my wish and desire, that the laws may always be as extensively
accomodated to them, as a due regard to the protection and essential interest of the nation may justify and permit."

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