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[339]

In 1769, at the suggestion of the Rhode Island Quarterly Meeting, the Yearly Meeting expressed its sense of the wrongfulness of holding slaves, and appointed a large committee to visit those members who were implicated in the practice. The next year this committee reported that they had completed their service, ‘and that their visits mostly seemed to be kindly accepted. Some Friends manifested a disposition to set such at liberty as were suitable; some others, not having so clear a sight of such an unreasonable servitude as could be desired, were unwilling to comply with the advice given them at present, yet seemed willing to take it into consideration; a few others manifested a disposition to keep them in continued bondage.’

It was stated in the Epistle to London Yearly Meeting of the year 1772, that a few Friends had freed their slaves from bondage, but that others ‘have been so reluctant thereto that they have been disowned for not complying with the advice of this meeting.’

In 1773 the following minute was made: ‘It is our sense and judgment that truth not only requires the young of capacity and ability, but likewise the aged and impotent, and also all in a state of infancy and nonage, among Friends, to be discharged and set free from a state of slavery, that we do no more claim property in the human race, as we do in the brutes that perish.’

In 1782 no slaves were known to be held in the New England Yearly Meeting. The next year it was recommended to the subordinate meetings to appoint committees to effect a proper and just set-

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