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Sixth Day.—Morning Session. The Thirty-ninth Yearly Meeting of Progressive Friends convened at Longwood, Chester County, Pennsylvania, near ten o'clock, on June 5, 1891.
The weather was rather unfavorable on both days of the meeting. The threatening rain kept many away, no doubt, who otherwise would have been in attendance, but there were quite as large a number present as is usual at the opening session.
The Clerks, FREDERIC A. HINCKLEY and Mary M. BAILEY, were both present.
The exercises opened with the audience joining the SWAYNE FAMILY in singing a hymn. The following Call was then read by the Recording Clerk, M. M. BAILEY:
CALL. The Thirty-ninth Yearly Meeting of Progressive Friends will be held at Longwood, near Rosedale, on the Philadelphia and Baltimore Central Railroad, on Sixth and Seventh days, 5th and 6th of Sixth month, 1891.
Once again the youthful summer summons us to the sacred shades of Longwood. Years ago our fathers and mothers made that spot holy ground by consecrating it to free thought and free speech for human brotherhood and the rights of man.
What we have received as a privilege it is our duty to transmit unimpaired as an opportunity.
Let us, then, come together in the fellowship of the Spirit for the serious and thorough consideration of the great problems of life which are to-day knocking at our doors. FREDERIC A. HINCKLEY, Florence, Mass.,
Clerks. MARY M. BAILEY, Marlborough, Pa.,
MR. HINCKLEY then extended a word of welcome, substantially as follows:
It is again my privilege, friends, to give a word of welcome. Year after year, as we come together to contemplate the deep themes of life, we think again of what has been said and done here, and of what this meeting is yet capable. A brave stand was taken here years ago. I confess that, deeply impressed with the history of this meeting, I turn to it from the cares and sorrows of life, thinking there is here to be found the sweetness and serenity which we all so much need. However earnest the questions discussed here, in times past, this sweetness and serenity lingers around Longwood. This quality has always characterized it. I found here for the first time that composing influence of the Friends to whom we all owe so much. Ours is a rare opportunity to cultivate in public discussion the qualities of strength and sweetness, and to combine the two. · There is no reason why we should not be patient in the work of reform. All processes go on slowly and we should learn to expect slow changes. The greatest things mankind accomplish come slowly, almost tardily, it seems to some of us. If we can carry with us a sweet, patient philosophy of life, then we shall as a meeting do the best thing possible for the world. Let us strive for such a spirit as shall cause posterity to feel that the world is better for our having lived and held these meetings.
The business session was then declared in order.
On motion of H. S. KENT, a Business Committee was formed by nominations from the floor, as follows:
Henry S. KENT, ELIZABETH B. PASSMORE, ISABELLA BEECHER HOOKER, ELIZABETH C. HINCKLEY, GILES B. STEBBINS, GERTRUDE MAGill, and the Clerks.
This committee was given the power to add to its number.
On motion from SAMUEL PENNOCK the following committee was appointed by the chair to bring forward the names of Clerks and a Treasurer for the ensuing year :
SAMUEL PENNOCK, ANNA R. Cox, and William W. KENT.
The ten-minute rule was adopted for all not invited guests. It was decided to hold the sessions from ten to twelve in the morning, and from two to four in the afternoon.
When the Nominating Committee returned it reported the names of FREDERIC A. HINCKLEY and MARY M. BAILEY for Clerks, and AARON MENDENHALL for Treasurer. The report was adopted. This ended the business portion of the session.
MR. HINCKLEY then said, “I, as well as many others, have often been asked, “For what does Longwood stand ?' With a view to answering this question the Business Committee has procured a person acquainted with the matter to give us its earlier history. It gives me great pleasure to introduce to you Miss Edith PENNOCK as the first historian of Longwood.”
Miss PENNOCK then read the following SKETCH OF LONGWOOD's EARLY HISTORY:
EARLY HISTORY OF THE PENNSYLVANIA YEARLY MEET
ING OF PROGRESSIVE FRIENDS.
The Pennsylvania Yearly Meeting of Progressive Friends met and organized on the 22d of Fifth month, 1853. With one exception it has met every year since then. The exception was in 1861. The recent breaking out of the civil war, so new and so absorbing an experience as it was to Northern people, so stirred the community to the unusual demands of the hour that it was deemed better not to attempt the holding of such a convention at that feverish period, and so it passed over till another year.
The Association of Progressive Friends was an outgrowth from the Society of Friends, of the “ Hicksite" or Unitarian division within the limits of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting, and of that branch of it known among the Friends as the “Western Quarter.” The ferment from which it evolved was centred in Kennett Monthly Meeting, a tributary to the Western Quarterly Meeting.
The same influences operating throughout the Society of Friends, resulted in the formation of similar associations elsewhere, as that of the Congregational Friends at Waterloo, New York, the Friends of Human Progress in Salem, Ohio, one or more in Michigan, and some others. Green Plain Quarterly Meeting, in Clarke County, Ohio, became so wholly leavened with the aggressive reform spirit that it was bodily disowned-excommunicated-by Indiana Yearly Meeting, to which it was tributary.
The agitation through which these associations grew into form began with the organization of the American AntiSlavery Society in 1833 in Philadelphia. The ripple of discussion created around that centre, widening as auxiliaries were formed in other cities or in country places, swelled into mighty surges sometimes, as persons not yet very aged can remember. Conflicting opinions in regard to methods for the abolition of American slavery generated dissensions culminating in these local divisions among Friends, as they were causes of disturbance and division in many churches and other organizations.
The Society of Friends had been in the front of the antislavery work long ago, had emancipated their own slaves, and made it a disownable offence to either own or hire a slave. With some of them it was still a matter of conscience to refrain from the use or sale of the products of slave labor. But, as a society, they now rested from that work, unmindful that slavery still existed in more hideous forms than it had ever assumed among themselves. They had become respectable and wealthy as a class. Their business relations with the South were close and often precarious. Southern patrons must be conciliated. Slavery, though driven from the North, was entangled in all the interests of the whole country. The South was morbidly sensitive to any tampering with its "peculiar institution;" the North, from the delicacy of its commercial and social relations, almost equally so. With both sections the claims of the African race to justice and humanity were lost sight of or denied, so that the absolute duty of