the friend online
23 March 2007

Quakers and the path to abolition in Britain and the colonies - preview
Friends' opposition to slavery and the slave trade can be traced back to the late 1600s, at a time when very few questioned the rightness of slavery
  • Quakers saw it as a violation of a fundamental belief that everyone is equal in the sight of God, and as early as 1657, George Fox reminded Quaker slave owners of this
  • The first Quaker to speak out against slavery was William Edmundson in 1676, and during the late 1600s and early 1700s several others did likewise

  • The origins of the British anti-slavery movement lie in Friends' connections with North America
  • The first public protest by Quakers against slavery took place in 1688 in Germantown, Pennsylvania, when a group there drew up the so-called 'Germantown Protest'
  • In 1696 Philadelphia Yearly Meeting (PYM) cautioned Friends not to participate in the slave trade

  • Heather Rowland, Librarian, Library of the Society of Friends

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