The Address of the Religious Society Called Quakers, from Their Yearly Meeting for Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, and the Western Parts of Maryland and Virginia

September 28, 1789

To the President of the United States.

Being met in this our annual assembly, for the well ordering the affairs of our Religious Society, and the promotion of universal righteousness, our minds have been drawn to consider that the Almighty, who ruleth in Heaven and in the kingdoms of men, having permitted a great revolution to take place in the government of this country, we are fervently concerned that the rulers of the people may be favoured with the council of God; the only sure means of enabling them to fulfill the important trusts committed to their charge, and in an especial manner, that Divine wisdom and grace vouchsafed from above, may qualify thee to fill up the duties of the exalted station to which thou art appointed.

We are sensible thou hast obtained a great place in the esteem and affection of people of all denominations, over whom thou presidest, and many eminent talents being committed to thy trust, we much desire they may be fully devoted to the Lord’s honour and service, that thus thou mayest be an happy instrument in his hands, for the suppression of vice, infidelity, and irreligion, and every species of oppression on the persons or concerns of men, so that righteousness and peace, which truly exalt a nation, may prevail throughout the land, as the only solid foundation that can be laid for prosperity and happiness.

The free toleration which the citizens of these States enjoy, in the public worship of the Almighty agreeably to the dictates of their consciences, we esteem among the choicest of blessings, and we desire to be filled with fervent charity for those who differ from us in matters of faith and practice; believing that the general assembly of saints is composed of the sincere and upright-hearted of all nations, kingdoms, and people, so we trust we may justly claim it from others;—a full persuasion that the divine principle we profess, leads into harmony and concord, we can take no part in warlike measures on any occasion or under any power, but we are bound in conscience to lead quiet and peaceable lives, in godliness and honesty among men, contributing freely our proportion to the indigencies of the poor, and to the necessary support of civil government; acknowledging those that rule well to be worthy of double honour,—having never been chargeable from our first establishment as a religious Society, with fomenting or countenancing tumult or conspiracies, or disrespect to those who are placed in authority over us.

We wish not improperly to intrude on thy time or patience, nor is it our practice to offer adulation to any. But as we are a people whose principles and conduct have been misrepresented and traduced, we take the liberty to assure thee, that we feel our hearts affectionately drawn towards thee, and those in authority over us, with prayers that thy presidency may, under the blessing of Heaven, be happy to thyself and to the people, that through the increase of morality and true religion, Divine Providence may condescend to look down upon our land with a propitious eye, and bless the inhabitants with the continuance of peace, the dew of heaven, and the fatness of the earth, and enable us gratefully to acknowledge His manifold mercies.

And it is our earnest concern that He may be pleased to grant thee every necessary qualification to fill thy weighty and important station to his glory, and that finally, when all terrestrial honours shall pass away, thou and thy respectable consort may be found worthy to receive a crown of unfading righteousness, in the mansions of peace and joy for ever.

Signed in and on behalf of the said meeting, held at Philadelphia, by adjournment, form the 28th of the 9th month to the 3rd of the 10th month inclusive, 1789.

(Signed) Nicholas Waln, Clerk.

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