Category Archives: 1700’s

Item of the Day: Philosophical Works of Francis Bacon (1733)

Full Title: The Philosophical Works of Francis Bacon, Baron of Verulam, Viscount St. Albans, and Lord High-Chancellor of England; Methodized, and made English, from the Originals. With Occasional Notes, To explain what is obscure; and shew how far the several Plans of the Author, for the Advancement of all the Parts of Knowledge, have been executes to the Present Time. Vol. I. By Peter Shaw, M.D. London: Printed for J. J. and P. Knapton; D. Midwinter and A. Ward; A. Bettesworth and C. Hitch; J. Pemberton; J. Osborn and T. Longman; C. Rivington; F. Clay; J. Batley; R. Hett; and T. Hatchett, M.DCC.XXXIII. [1733].




Delivered in the Way of Fiction.


THE present Piece has, perhaps, been esteemed a greater Fiction than it is: The Form fo the History is purely imaginary; but the Things mentioned in it seem purely Philosophical; and, if Men would exert themselves, probably practical. But whilst our Minds labour under a kind of Despondency and Dejection, with regard to operative Philosophy; and refuse to put forth their strength; the Wings of Hope are clipped. And, in this situation, the mind seems scarce accessible but by Fiction. For plain Reason will here prove dull and languid; and even Works themselves rather stupefy than rouze and inform. Whence the prudent and seasonable use of Invention and Imagery, is a great Secret for winning over the Affections to Philosophy. We have here, as in miniature, a Summary of Universal Knowledge; Examples, Precepts and Models for improving the Mind in History, Geography, Chronology, Military Discipline, Civil Conversation, Morality, Policy, Physicks, &c whence it appears like a kind of Epitome, and farther Improvement of the Scheme of the Augmentis Scientiarum. The dignity and utility of the Design may appear from hence; that not only Mr. Cowley endeavoured to imitate it, in his Plan of a Philosophical Society; but even the Royal Society of London, and the Royal Academy of Paris, have, from their first Institution, employed themselves, and still continue employed, in its execution.


1.  After a twelvemonth’s stay at Peru, we sailed from thence for China and Japan, by the South-Sea; and had fair Winds from the East, tho’ soft and gentle, for above five Months: then the Wind changed and settled in the West, for several days; so that we made little way, and sometimes purposed to sail back. But now there arose strong Winds from the South, one point to the East, which carried us to the North: by which time our Provisions failed us. And being thus amidst the greatest wilderness of Waters in the World, we gave ourselves for lost. Yet lifting up our hearts to God, who sheweth his wonders in the Deep; we besought him that as in the beginning he disclosed the face of the Deep, and made dry Land appear; so we might now discover Land, and not perish. The next day about Evening, we saw before us, towards the North, the appearance of thick Clouds, which gave us some hopes for as that part of the South-Sea was utterly unkown; we judged it migh have Islands or Continents, hitherto undiscovered. We, therefore, shaped our Course towards them, and in the dawn of the next day plainly discerned Land.

2.  After sailing an hour longer, we entered the Port of a fair city; not large, but well built, and affording an agreeable Prospect from the Sea. Upon offering to go on shore, we saw People with Wands in their hands, as it were forbidding us; yet without any Cry or Fierceness; but only warning us off by Signs. Whereupon we advised among ourselves what to do: when a small Boat presently made out to us, with about eight Persons in it; one whereof held in his hand a short, yellow Cane, tipped at both ends with blue; who made on board our Ship, without any shew of distrust. And seeing one of our number present himself somewhat at the head of the rest, he drew out, and delivered to him, a little Scroll of yellow polish’d Parchment, wherein were written in ancient Hebrew, ancient Greek, Latin of the School, and in Spanish, these Words: Land ye not, and provide to be gone within sixteen days; except ye have farther time given you: but if ye want fresh Water, Provision, Help for your Sick, or Repair for your Ship, write down your Wants, and ye shall have what belongs to Mercy. The Scroll was sealed with Cherubims Wings, and a Cross.

3.  This being deliver’d, the Officer return’d, and left only a Servant to receive our Answer. Our Answer was, in Spanish, That our Ship wanted no Repair; for we had rather met with Calms and contrary Winds, than Tempests: but our Sick were many; so that if not permitted to land, their Lives were in danger. Our other Wants we set down in particualr; adding, that we had some little store of Merchandize; which, if they pleased to traffick for, might supply our Wants, without being burdensome to them. We offered Money to the Servant; and a Piece of Crimson Velvet to be presented the Officer: but the Servant took them not; and would scarce look upon them: so left us, and retun’d in another little Boat that was went for him.

4.  About three Hours after our Answer was dispatch’d, there came to us a Person of Figure. He had on a Gown with wide Sleeves, a kind of Water-Camblet, of an excellent and bright Azure; his under Garment was green, so was his Hat, being in the form of a Turban, curiously made; his Hair hanging below the Brims of it. He came in a boat, some part of it gilt, along with four other Persons; and was follow’d by another Boat, wherein were twenty. When he was come within bow-shot of our Ship, Signals were made to us, that we should send out our boat to meet him; which we presently did, manned with the principal Person amongst us but one, and four of our number with him. When we came within six Yards of their Boat, they bid us approach no farther: we obeyed; and thereupon the Person of Figure, before described, stood up and, with a loud Voice, in Spanish, asked, Are ye Christians? We answered, yes; fearing the less, because of the Cross we had seen in the Signet. At which Answer, the said Person lift up his right Hand towards Heaven, and drew it softly to his Mouth; a Gesture they use when they thank God, and then said; If ye will swear by the Merits of the Saviour, that ye are no Pirates; nor have shed Blood, lawfully or unlawfully, within forty Days past; ye have Licence to come on shore. We said, we were all ready to take the Oath. Whereupon, one of those that were with him, being, as it appear’d, a Notary, made an entry of this Act. Which done, another of the Attendants in the same Boat, after his Lord had spoke to him, said aloud; My Lord would have ye know, that it is not out of Pride, or Greatness, that he does not come on board your Ship; but as in your Answer, you declare you have many sick among you, he was warned by the City-Conservator of Health to keep at a distance. We bowed ourselves, and answered, we accounted what was already done a great Honour, and singular Humanity; but hoped, that the Sickness of our Men was not infectious. Then he returned. . . .


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Filed under 1600's, 1700's, Culture, Eighteenth century, Enlightenment, Fiction, Modern Language Translations, Philosophy, Posted by Caroline Fuchs, Reason

Item of the Day: Letters from the English Kings and Queens (1836)

Full Title: Letters from the English Kings and Queens Charles II, James II, William and Mary, Anne, George II, &c. To the governors of the Colony of Connecticut, together with the Answers thereto, from 1635 to 1749; and Other Original, Ancient, Literary and Curious Documents, Compiled from Files and Records in the Office of the Secretary of the State of Connecticut. By R. R. Hinman, A. M. Secretary of the State of Connecticut. Hartford: John D. Eldredge, Printer, 1836.



THE Author, or rather Compiler of the following work, publishes it as an act due the State, for the purpose of transmitting to posterity, a correct history of facts and events, which transpired in the early settlement of Connecticut–commencing, even before the falling of the first tree in the forest, by any white man in the Colony.

It is a compilation of a correspondence of the Kings and Qeens [sic] of England, with the different Governors of the Colony–from the first settlement in Windsor, Hartford and Wethersfield, in 1635, for the term of more than one hundred years–embracing letters from the Lords of the Council of trade and foreign plantations; a correct copy of the old patent of Connecticut; letters from the Hon. the Commissioners of his Majesties customs in England; and answeres by the Governors, &c. Also letters to apprehend Capt. Kidd, as a pirate, and many other interesting, curious literary communications–among which are twenty-seven questions sent to this Colony by the Lords of the Council of trade in 1679, with the answers of Gov. Leet–which answers are probably as correct early history of this Colony as is extant, and will be highly interesting to all readers. Indeed they are a succinct history of the Colony at that period, as to its navigations, productions, shipping, populations, state of society, Indian wars, religion, title of lands, trade and manufactures, &c. And when we contemplate that these answeres were written by a Governor of this State, when a Colony, nearly two hundred years since, upon this ground, then occupied by the sturdy trees of the forest, but now covered with stores, banks, public buildings and the splendid private dwellings of the refined population of the City of Hartford–and this, the first publication of most of them, they cannot fail to be interesting to the most inattentive observer of past events.

The orthography of the original letters and documents is strictly and carefully preserved.

The signatures of the Kings and Queens are uniformly placed at the commencement of the communications, and not at the close as is usual for other persons; the large, elegant and expensive seals attached to each letter, are yet in a perfect state of preservation. The idea tha the delicate hands of Queen Mary and Queen Anne of England have been upon the same sheets, which I have copied for this book, and nearly two centuries since, satisfies the mind that these events are indeed ancient, and appears rather as a dream, than a reality. The reader will occasionally observe, that answers to letters from England, are some few of them missing, not having been preserved by the writers as they should have been, not only for the benefit of the Colony at the time, but also for the advantage of future historians and the honor of the country.

This work is not published by the compiler expecting even a compensation for his labor, but solely to transmit to posterity, the important historical events which it contains, emanating from the pens of the Kings and Queens of England, and the Governors of this Colony, verified by their own signatutes and Seals, the last of whom have been gathered to their fathers nearly a century ago. . . .


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Filed under 1700's, Colonial America, Connecticut, Eighteenth century, Great Britain, History, New England, Posted by Caroline Fuchs

Item of the Day: Memoirs of the Life of Count de Grammont (1714)

Full Title: Memoirs of the Life of Count De Grammont: containing, in Particular, the Amorous Intrigues of the Court of England in the Reign of King Charles II. Translated from the French by Mr. Boyer. London: Printed, and are to be Sold by J. Round in Exchange-Alley, W. Taylor, at the Ship in Pateronster-row, J. Brown near Temple-Bar, W. Lewis in Rassel-Street, Covent-Garden, and J. Greaves next White’s Chocolate-House in St. James-Street, 1714.


As they who read only for Diversion appear to me more reasonable, than those who open a Book with no other Design than to find Faults in it, I declare, that without being in the least concern’d at the severe Eruditions of the latter, I write only for the Amusement of the other.

I shall not take upon me to draw his Picture: As to his Person, Bussi and St. Evremond, two Writers rather entertaining than faithful, have said something of it. The first has represented the Chevalier De Grammont as artful, fickle, and even somewhat treacherous in Love; indefatigable, and cruel in Point of Jealousie; St. Evremond has used other Colours to express his Genius, and give a general Prospect of his Manners: But, both the one and the other have got more Credit by their different Draughts, than they have done Justice to their Hero.

‘Tis therefore to the Count De Grammont himself we must listen, while he give us an agreeable Relation of the Sieges and Battles, wherein he distinguished himself in Company with another Hero. And ’tis him we must believe in less glorious Passages of his Life, when the Sincerity, with which he displays his Address, Vivacity, Tricks, and divers Strategems, he has made use of, either in Love or at Play, expresses his Character to the Life.

‘Tis to him, I say, we must attend the following Papers; since I do but hold the Pen, while he dictates to me, the most singular and most secret Particulars of his Life.



In those Days, things were not managed in France, as at the present time. Lewis XIII. reigned still, and Cardinal De Richlieu governed the Kingdom. Great Men commanded little Armies, and yet those Armies perform’d great Things. The Fortune of the great Men at Court depended on the Favour of the Prime Minister; nor was there any solid Settlement in any Post, unless by being entirely devoted to him. Vast Designs laid in the very Heart of Neighbouring States, the Foundation of that formidable Greatness, to which France is now arrived. The Reins of the Civil Government were, however, somewhat slacken’d: The Roads were pester’d with Robbers by Day, and the Streets by Night; but Robberies were committed elsewhere with greater Impunity. Young Men, upon their first Entrance into the World, took what Course they thought best. Whoever pleased, was a Chevalier; and whoever could, an Abbé. I mean an Abbé with a Benefice. The Chevalier and the Abbé were not distinguished’d by their Habits: And I think that the Chevalier De Grammont was both the one and the other at the Siege of Trino. This was, it seems his first Campaign, whrein he shew’d those happy Dispositions that bespeak and command a favourable Prepossession; so that whoever is Master of them, needs neither Friends to be introduc’d, nor Reommendations to be agreeably entertain’d wherever he comes.

The Siege was form’d upon his Arrival, which spar’d him some Temerities; for, a Volunteer cannot rest unless he receives the first Shot. He therefore went to reconnoitre the Generals, there being nothing to be done of that Kind, as to the Place. Prince Thomas commanded the Army, and the Post of Lieutenant-General being unknown, in those Days, Du Plessis-Praslin, and the famous Viscount Turenne were Majors-General under him. . . .


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Filed under 1700's, Biography, Culture, Posted by Caroline Fuchs

Item of the Day: Congreve’s Way of the World (1761)

Full Title: The Works of Mr. William Congreve. Volume the Second. Containing Love for Love, a Comedy. The Way of the World, a Comedy. Birmingham, Printed by John Baskerville; for J. and R. Tonson, in the Strand, London. MDCCLXI. [First performed in 1700 Lincoln’s-Inns-Fields, London.]

The Way of the World. Act I. Scene I.

A Chocolate-House. Mirabell and Fainall, rising from Cards. Betty waiting.

MIRABELL. You are a fortunate Man, Mr. Fainall.

FAINALL. Have we done?

MIRABELL. What you please. I’ll play on to entertain you.

FAINALL. No, I’ll give you your Revenge another Time, when you are not so indifferent; you are thinking of Something else now, and play too negligently; the Coldness of a losing Gamester lessens the Pleasure of a Winner. I’d no play with a Man that slighted his ill Fortune, than I’d make Love to a Woman who undervalued the Loss of her Reputation.

MIRABELL. You have a Taste extremely delicate, and are for refining your Pleasures.

FAINALL. Prithee, why so reserv’d? Something has put you out of Humor.

MIRABELL. Not at all: I happen to be grave to Day; and you are gay; that’s all.

FAINALL. Confess, Millamant and you quarrell’d last Night, after I left you; my fair Cousin has some Humors that wou’d tempt the Patience of a Stoic. What, some Coxcomb came in, and was well receiv’d by her, while you were by?

MIRABELL. Witwoud and Petulant; and, what was worse, her Aunt, your Wife’s Mother, my evil Genius; or to sum up all in her own Name, my old Lady Wishfort came in.– 

FAINALL. O there it is then–She has a lasting Passion for you, and with Reason.–What, then my Wife was there?

MIRABELL. Yes, and Mrs. Marwood, and there or four more, whom I never saw before; seeing me, they all put on their grave Faces, whisper’d one another; then complain’d aloud of the Vapors, and after fell into a profound Silence.

FAINALL. They had a mind to be rid of you.

MIRABELL. For which Reason I resolv’d not to stir. At last the good old Lady broke thro’ her painful Taciturnity, with an Invective against long Visits. I would not have understood her, but Milamant joining in the Argument, I rose, and with a constrain’d Smile told her, I thought Nothing was so easy as to know when a Visit began to be troublesome; she redden’d, and I withdrew, without expecting her reply.

FAINALL. You were to blame to resent what she spoke only in Compliance with her Aunt.

MIRABELL. She is more Mistress of herself, than to be under the Necessity of such a Resignation.

FAINALL. What, tho’ half her Fortune depends upon her marrying with my Lady’s Approbation?

MIRABELL. I was then in such a Humor, that I shou’d have been better pleas’f if she had been less discreet.

FAINALL. Now I remember, I wonder not they were weary of you; last Night was one of their Cabal-Nights; they have ’em three Times a Week, and meet by Turns, at one another’s Apartments, where they come together like the Coroner’s Inquest, to sit upon the murder’d Reputations of the Week. You and I are excluded; and it was propos’d that all the Male Sex should be excepted; but some Body mov’d, that to avoid Scandal there might be one Man of the Community; upon which Motion Witwoud and Petulant were enroll’d Members.

MIRABELL. And who may have been the Foundress of this Sect? My Lady Wishfort, I warrant, who publishes her Detestation of Mankind; and full of the Vigor of Fifty five, declares for a Friend and Ratafia; and let Posterity shift for itself, she’ll breed no more.

FAINALL. The Discovery of your sham Addresses to her, to conceal your Love to her Niece, has provok’d this Separation: Had you dissembled better, Things might have continu’d in the State of Nature.

MIRABELL. I did as much as Man cou’d with any reasonable Conscience; I proceeded to the very last Act of Flattery with her, and was guilty of a Song in her Commendation. Nay, I got a Friend to put her in to a Lampoon, and compliment her with the Imputation of an Affair with a young Fellow, which I carry’d so far, that I told her the malicious Town took Notice that she was grown fat of a sudden; and when she lay in of a Dropsy, persuaded her she was reported to be in Labor. The Devil’s in’t, if an old Woman is to be flatter’d further, unless a Man shou’d endeavour downright personally to Debauch her; and that my Virtue forbad me. But for the Discovery of this Armour, I am indebted to your Friend, or your Wife’s Friend, Mrs. Marwood.

FAINALL.  What shou’d provoke her to be your Enemy, unless she has made you Advances, which you have slighted? Women do not easily forgive Omissions of that Nature.

MIRABELL. She was always civil to me, ’till of late: I confess I am not one of those Coxcombs who are apt to interpret a Woman’s good Manners to her Prejudice; and think that she who does not refuse ’em every Thing, can refuse ’em Nothing.

FAINALL. You are a gallant Man, Mirabell; and tho’ you may have Cruelty enough, not to satisfy a Lady’s Longing; you have too much Generosity, not to be tender of her Honor. Yet you speak with an Indifference which seems to be affected; and confesses you are conscious of a Negligence.

MIRABELL. You pursue the argument with a Distrust that seems to be unaffected, and confesses that you are conscious of a Concern, for which the Lady is more indebted to you, than is your Wife. 

FAINALL. Fy, fy, Friend, if you grow censorious I must leave you;–I’ll look upon the Gamesters in the next Room.

MIRABELL. Who are they?

FAINALL. Petulant and Witwoud–Bring me some Chocolate.

MIRABELL. Betty, what says your Clock?

BETTY. Turn’d of the last Canonical Hour, Sir.

MIRABELL. How pertinently the Jade answers me! Ha! almost one o’Clock! [Looking on his Watch.] O, y’are come.–

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Filed under 1700's, 1760's, Drama, Literature, Posted by Matthew Williams

Item of the Day: Paine’s Age of Reason, Part I. (1796)

Full Title: The Age of Reason. Part the First. Being an Investigation of True and Fabulous Theology. By Thomas Paine. London: Printed for and sold by Daniel Isaac Eaton, Printer and Bookseller to the Supreme Majesty of the People, at the Cock and Swine, No. 74, Newgate-Street, 1796.







It has been my intention, for several years past, to publish my thoughts upon religion. I am well aware of the difficulties that attend the subject; and from that consideration, had reserved it to a more advanced period of life. I intended it to be the last offering I should make to my fellow-citizens of all nations: and that at a time when the purity of the motive that induced me to it, could not admit of a question, even by those who might disapprove the work.

The circumstance that has now taken place in France, of the total abolition of the whole national order of priesthood, and of every thing appertaining to compulsive systems of religion, and compulsive articles of faith, has not only precipitated my intention, but rendered a work of this kind exceedingly necessary; lest, in the general wreck of superstition, of false systems of government, and false theology, we lose sight of morality, of humanity, and of the theology that is true.

As several of my colleagues, and others of my fellow-citizens of France, have given me the example of making their voluntary and individual profession of faith, I also will make mine; and I do this with all the sincerity and frankness with which the mind of man communicates with itself.

I believe in one God, and no more; and I hope for happiness beyond this life.

I believe the equality of man, and I believe that religious duties consist in doing justice, loving mercy, and endeavouring to make our fellow-creatures happy.

But lest it should be supposed that I believe many other things in addition to these, I shall in the progress of this work, declare the things I do not believe, and my reasons for not believing them.

I do not believe in the creed professed by the Jewish church, by the Roman church, by the Greek church, by the Turkish church, by the Protestant church, nor by any church that I know of. My own mind is my own church.

All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit.

I do not meant by this declaration to condemn those who believe otherwise. They have the same right to their belief as I have to mine. But it is necessary to the happiness of man, that he be mentally faithful to himself. Infidelity does not consist in believing, or disbelieving: it consists in professing to believe what he does not believe.

It is impossible to calculate the moral mischief, if I may so express it, that mental lying has produced in society. When a man has so far corrupted and prostituted the chastity of his mind, as to subscribe his professional belief to things he does not believe, he has prepared himself for the commission of every other crime. He takes up the trade of a priest for the sake of gain, and in order to qualify himself for that trade, he begins with a perjury, Can we conceive any thing more destructive to morality than this!

Soon after I had published the pamphlet, COMMON SENSE, in America, I saw with exceeding probability that a revolution in the System of Government would be followed by a revolution in the System of Religion. The adulterous connection of church and state, wherever it had taken place, whether Jewish, Christian, or Turkish, had so effectually prohibited, by pains and penalties, every discussion upon established creeds, and upon first principles of religion, until the system of government should be changed, those subjects could not be brought fairly and openly before the world: but that whenever this should be done, a revolution in the system of religion would follow. Human inventions and preistcraft would be detect: and man wold return to the pure, unmixed and unadulterated belief of one God, and no more.


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Filed under 1700's, Eighteenth century, Posted by Caroline Fuchs, Reason, Religion

Item of the Day: History of Pennsylvania Vol. I. (1797)

Full Title: The History of Pennsylvania, in North America, from the Original Institution and Settlement of that Province, under the first Proprietor and governor William Penn, in 1681, till after the Year 1742; with an Introduction, Respecting, the Life of W. Penn, prior to the grant of the Province, and the religious Society of the People called Quakers:; —with the first rise of the neighbouring Colonies, more particularly of West-New-Jersey, and the Settlement of the Dutch and Swedes in Delaware. To which is added, A brief Description of the said Province, and of the General State, in which it flourished, principally between the Years 1760 and 1770. The whole including a Variety of Things, Useful and interesting to be known, respecting that Country in early Time, &c. With an Appendix. Written principally between the Years 1776 and 1780, By Robert Proud. Vol. I. Philadelphia: Printed and sold by Zachariah Poulson, Junior, Number Eighty, Chesnut-Street, 1797.








Prior to his founding the Province of Pennsylvania;

and including

A general and comprehensive view of the rise, principles, religious system and practice, or manners, of the people called QUAKERS, who first settled the province, under his government.

THE wisdom of former ages, when transmitted, in writing, to posterity, is an inestimable treasure; but the actions of illustrious and viruous persons, in the same manner exhibited, is still more beneficial: by the former our judgments are rightly informed, and our minds brought into a proper way of thinking; by the latter we are animated to an imitation; and while the excellency of noble examples is displayed before our understandings, our minds are inspired with a love of virtue. This appears to be the office of history; by which every succeeding age may avail itself of the wisdom, and, even, of the folly, of the preceding, and become wiser and happier by a proper application. Through this medium when we view the conduct of those great men of antiquity, who have benefited mankind, in their most essential interests, they appear frequently to have been actuated by motives, the most disinterested, and attended with a satisfaction more than human! —Adversity, which refines men, and renders them more fit to benefit the human race, is a frequent concomitant of worthy minds; and apparent success doth not always immediately attend noble and just designs: —When a Socrates is put to death, wisdom and truth seem to suffer; and when an Aristides is exiled, justice appears to be in disgrace. But virtue is its own reward, and depends not on the fluctuating opinions of mortals, nor on the breath of popular applause; which is often on the side of error, and entirely opposite to the real interests of its votaries.

An example of true wisdom and fortitude, is no less conspicuous in the venerable founder of the province of Pennsylvania, the truly great and worthy William Penn, than in many of the celebrated sages and legislators of former ages; who, in opposition to the vulgar notions of the times in which they lived, have seemingly suffered in their own particular, in order to benefit mankind: this will appear in the following sketch of his life, both with respect to his religion in joining the people called Quakers, and likewise in settling the province itself. In both of which his engagement for the happiness of men was not unattended with a large share of that difficulty and opposition, to which the most excellent undertakings are generally exposed: but minds of such exalted virtue are actuated by motives above mortality, and indisputably are influenced by something divine; without which, as Cicero says, “there never was a really good and great man.” . . .


Of the rise, religious principles and practices, &c. of the people called Quakers.

Before I proceed to be more particular respecting William Penn, I shall here intermit the further  account of his life; and, that the reader might have some just idea of the people, with whom he joined in religious society, and who first settled the province of Pennsylvania, under him, I shall next exhibit a short summary of the rise, religious principles, general system and practice or manners, of the people called Quakers, sufficient for the purpose, principally extracted from their own accounts, and in their own words, referring the more inquisitive enquirer to their particular writings, for further information.

Nothing can be a more signal evidence of an over-ruling Providence, superintending the works of the creation, and directing the end of things, than the rise of good out of evil; and the conversion of the wicked machinations of perverse mankind to good purposes: that out of persecution and hatred should spring charity, and mutual benevolence; that from tyranny and ignorance should flow rational liberty, and true knowledge, is as manifest a demonstration of an all preserving cause, as the creation itself is evident of its own existence: this appears, im part from the rise of the religious people called Quakers, and the settling of the flourishing province of Pennsylvania.

Near the middle of the 17th. century, during the civil war, in England, when men were tearing each other in pieces, and when confusion and bloodshed  had overspread the nation, many sober and thinking persons of the different religious societies, weighing the uncertainty of human affairs, and beholding the various vicissitudes in the political system, after having examined the many vain and futile opinions, and absurd customs, in religion, which were either imposed, practised or insisted on, by the various professors of Christianity, under the denominations, in that country, withdrew themselves from their assemblies for divine worship; and, having their minds turned to what appeared to them more rational, and consistent with a rightly informed understanding, and a life more congruous, or agreeable, to the mind of that Deity which is spiritual, and communicates his goodness and knowledge more nearly through a medium of his own nature; and places the human mind above the reach of terrestrial influence; they thence fell into the practical belief, and christian conduct, which gave rise to this religious society.

It was not till the year 1650, that the name of Quakers was imposed on them; who before had generally gone under the denomination of professors, or children, of the light; but the most common appellation, by which they distinguished themselves from others, and even to this day, is by the name of Friends . . .


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Filed under 1700's, Colonial America, Eighteenth century, History, Pennsylvania, Posted by Caroline Fuchs, Quakers

Item of the Day: Harrington’s Works (1700)

Full Title: The Oceana of James Harrington, and His Other Works; som wherof are now first publish’d from his own Manuscripts. The whole Collected, Methodiz’d, and Review’d, with An Exact Account of his Life prefix’d, By John Toland. London, Printed, and are to be sold by the Booksellers of London and Westminster. M.DCC.

The Grounds and Reasons of Monarchy.  The First Part.

I have often thought it strange, that among all the Governments, either past or present, the Monarchical should so far in Extent and Number excede the Popular, as that they could never yet com [sic] into comparison.  I could never be persuaded but it was more happy for a People to be dispos’d of by a number of Persons jointly interested and concern’d with them, than to be number’d as the Herd and Inheritance of One, to whose Lust and Madness they were absolutely subject; and that any Man of the weakest Reason and Generosity would not rather chuse for his Habitation that spot of Earth where there was access to Honor by Virtue, and no Worth could be excluded, rather than that where all Advancement should procede from the Will of one scarcely hearing and seeing with his own Organs, and gain’d for the most part by means leud and indirect: and all this in the end to amount to nothing else but a more spendid and dangerous Slavery.  To clear this Point, I consider’d how inscrutably Providence carrys on the turns and stops of all Governments, so that most People rather found than made them.  The Contributions of Men, som not fit to be Masters of their Liberty, som not capable, som not willing; the Ambition of settled Tyrants, who breaking their own Bonds have brought in violent Alterations; and lastly, civil Discord, have either corrupted or alter’d better Settlements.

But these are Observations rather than Arguments, and relate to Fact rather than Reason.  That which astonish’d me most was to see those of this Heroic and Learn’d Age, not only not rising to Thoughts of Liberty, but instead therof [sic] foolishly turning their Wits and Swords against themselves in the maintenance of them whose Slaves they are: and indeed they can be no weak Causes that produce so long and settled a Distemper; tho som of those I mention’d, if not most of them, are the true ones.

He knows nothing that knows not how superstitiously the generality of Mankind is given to retain Traditions, and how pertinacious they are in the maintenance of their first Prejudices, insomuch that a Discovery of more refin’d Reason is as insupportable to them, as the Sun is to an Ey newly brought out of Darkness.  Hence Opiniativeness (which is commonly proportion’d to their Ignorance) and a generous Obstinacy sometimes to Death and Ruin.  So that it tis no wonder if we see Gentlemen, whose Education inabled them only to use their senses and first Thoughts, so dazled with the Splendor of a Court, prepossest with the Affection of a Prince, or bewitch’d with som subdolous Favor, that they chuse rather any hazard the Inchantment should be dissolv’d.  Others, perhaps a degree above these, yet in respect to som Title stuck upon the Family (which has bin as fortunat a Mystery of Kingcraft as any other) or in reverence to som glorious former Atchievments (minding not that in all these cases the People are the only effective means, and the King only imaginary) think they should degenerate from Bravery in bringing on a Change.  Others are witheld by Sloth and Timorousness, either not daring, or unwilling to be happy; some looking no further than their privat Welfare, indifferent at the multiplication of public Evils; others (and these the worst of all) out of a pravity of Nature sacrificing to their Ambition and Avarice, and in order to that, following any Power, concurring with any Machinations, and supporting their Authors: while Princes themselves (train’d up in these Arts or receiving them by Tradition) know how to wind all their humors to their own advantage, now foisting the Divinity of their Titles into Pulpits, now amuzing the People with Pomp and Shews, now diverting their hot Spirits to som unprofitable foren War (making way to their accurs’d ends of Revenge or Glory, with the effusion of that Blood which should be as dear to them as their own) now stroking the People with som feeble but enforc’d Law, for which notwithstanding they will be paid (and ’tis observ’d, the most notorious Tyrants have taken this Course) now giving up the eminentest of their Ministers (which they part with as indifferently as thier Robes) to the Rage and Fury of the People; so that they are commanded and condemn’d by the same Mouth, and the credulous and ignorant, believing their King divinely set over them, sit still, and by degrees grow into Quiet and Admiration, especially if lul’d asleep with som small continuance of Peace (be it never so injust, unsound, or dangerous) as if the Body Politic could not languish of an internal Disease, tho its Complexion be fresh and chearful. 

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Filed under 1700's, Government, Political Philosophy, Posted by Matthew Williams