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deem encouraging, considering the comparatively short time that has yet elapsed since its origin, and comparing it with the slow progress made for many years by the Gospel itself when first preached to the Gentiles. The following is the summary of their statistics on this head :

In the beginning of the year 1780 the society consisted of but about 10 or 12 persons, all of whom came from England. From this time there was a gradual and extensive increase in their numbers until the year 1787, when they began to collect at New-Lebanon. Here the Church was established, as a common centre of union for all who belonged to the society in various parts of the country. This still remains as the mother-church, being the first that was established; all the societies in various parts of the country are considered branches of this ; and there are now 20 separate communities, numbering about 4000 members.

All these communities were formed previous to the year 1805. . In that year a very remarkable excitement or agitation of the public mind on the subject of religion took place in Kentucky, and is known by the name of the “ Kentucky Revival.” The enthusiasm of the people seemed to be at its height, and the excitement was occasioned by the preaching of some Presbyterian missionaries who had been sent into the Western States from New England. The Shakers hearing of this, and remembering a prophecy of Mother Ann, that the Western country would soon be opened to them, they sent forth, on the 1st of January, 1805, three chosen messengers to that distant region. They continued there for some time, enduring great opposition from all quarters, until the resistance to their farther progress seemed to have reached its height in 1810, when the following scene occurred, according to their own account:

“On the 27th of August, 1810, a body of 500 armed men, led on by officers in military array, appeared before the principal dwelling of the society in Union village. This formidable force was preceded and fol. lowed by a large concourse of spectators, of all descriptions of people, estimated at nearly 2000 in number, whose object was to witness the mighty conflict expected to take place between a body of 500 armed men and a few harmless and defenceless Shakers. Among this great concourse were many who were friendly to the society, and whose only wish was to prevent mischief and preserve peace; but the far greater majority were either entire strangers or decided enemies, who came to support the military in case of necessity. Many of these were armed in mob array, some with guns and swords, some with bayonets fixed on poles or sticks of various lengths, and others with staves, hatchets, knives, and clubs. These formed a motley multitude of every description, from ragged boys to hoary-headed men, exhibiting altogether a hideous and grotesque appearance.

“But, notwithstanding all these threatening and warlike appearances, no confusion appeared among the believers throughout the day; but they remained calm, peaceable, and undismayed, and attended to their usual occupations with as much regularity as the confused circumstances of the day would permit.

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NUMBER OF SHAKER SOCIETIES.

69

" This motley multitude having collected, and the troops having taken their station near the meeting-house, a deputation of twelve men came forward, headed by a Presbyterian preacher; and, after making a number of unreasonable and inconsistent demands (demands with which the leaders of the society had neither power nor authority to comply), they proceeded to state, as the principal requisition of this extraordinary concourse of armed men, that the society should relinquish their principles and practice, their public testimony, mode of worship, and manner of living, or quit the country. These extraordinary demands were accompanied with threats of violence in case of refusal.

" The answer of the society was calm and mild, but plain and positive: That they esteemed their faith in the Gospel dearer than their lives, and were therefore determined to maintain it, whatever they might suffer as the consequence; and as to quitting the country, they were upon their own possessions, which they had purchased with their own money, and for which they were indebted to no man; that they held no man's property, and therefore had a just right to the peaceable enjoyment of their own possessions in a free country, and were entitled to those liberties granted by the laws of their country, including the liberty of conscience."

The result of this mildness and firmness combined was exactly what it has always been in every instance in which it has been tried, among the Quakers especially, whose history is so full of instances in which the most violent hostile enemies have been disarmed and defeated by a pacific course: so true is the saying of Solomon," A soft answer turneth away wrath.” The consequences, too, of this religious persecution were like those of almost every other, with proofs of which the early annals of this country abound, namely, to strengthen the very cause it was intended to crush, and increase the number of those whom it was designed to annihilate, as will be seen by the following additions made to the communities of the Shakers in the Western States subsequent to 1810.

In Ohio there are two societies, one at Union Village, in the county of Warren, 30 miles northeast from Cincinnati, which contains nearly 600 members; and one at Beaver Creek, in the county of Montgomery, six miles southeast from Dayton, which contains 100 members. In Kentucky there are also two societies, one at Pleasant Hill, in Mercer county, 21 miles southwest of Lexington, containing nearly 500 members; the other at South Union, Jasper Springs, in Logan county, 15 miles northeast from Russellville, which contains nearly 400 members. In Indiana there is one society, at West Union, Knox county, 16 miles above Vincennes, which contains more than 200 members.

The following is the summing up or conclusion of the writer, in the chapter from which the preceding abridged account of the progress and present state of the society is derived, with his notes upon the text:

"The number of believers contained in all the societies, both in the Eastern and Western States, exceeds 4000. Two thirds, at least, of this

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number have been added since the commencement of the present century; and the number is gradually increasing.*

« Most of the societies contain a number of large families, and each family is accommodated with one or more large and convenient dwelling-houses, and with shops and outhouses, for the convenience of carrying on the various branches of business pursued by the family. There is also in each society a house for public worship, and an office or offices for the transaction of public business.

“ The principal employments of the people are agriculture, horticulture, and the various branches of domestic manufacture; of course, the principal articles of consumption among them are mostly of their own produce and manufacture ; and their various mechanical branches furnish a variety of articles for market.

“ Temperance and chastity, plainness and simplicity, neatness, industry, and good economy, are among those virtuous principles which actuate the people of the United Society in all their temporal concerns, and which tend greatly to promote the health and prosperity of the society, and ensure the blessings of Divine Providence upon all their labours. And it is found by many years' experience that this manner of life is more conducive to the general health of the body than any other with which we are acquainted ; and this experience has also proved, that sewer deaths have occurred in the society since its establishment, in proportion to the number of people, than is usual among those who live after the common course of the world.”+

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“ We are far from feeling a disposition to proclaim our numbers to the world; but the inquiries which are continually made by strangers to ascertain our numbers, and the local situation of the different societies in our communion, have induced us to give a statement of these particulars. We are as yet but a small people, and few in number compared with the vast multitudes enrolled in the catalogues of other denominations ; but when we consider the testimony of Jesus Christ, that'strait is the gate and narrow is the way that leadeth unto lise, and few there be that find it,' we cannot but feel a sense of thankfulness for that mercy of God which has called us to be numbered with the chosen few; and to us it is a matter of more importance to increase in the principles of peace and righteousness than to increase in numbers. Yet we feel a firm reliance upon the promises of God, by the mouth of his prophets : 'I will multiply them, and they shall not be few ; I will also glorify them, and they shall not be small. A little one shall become a thousand, and a small one a strong nation : I the Lord will hasten it in his time.'-See Isa., lx., 22, and Jer., XXX., 19"-Note of the original volume.

The ancients reckoned a generation to last 30 years, and the moderns have generally agreed that the life of man has not increased. From the commencement of the United Society in the year 1780 up to 1800, the average ages of those who deceased at New Lebanon and Watervliet exceeded 50 years. Since that period to the present time, the average ages of all that have deceased in these two societies amount to about 60 years. Though there was, in the beginning, at least an ordinary proportion of young children, and though many children have since been gathered into the society, yet only 5 have deceased under 10 years, and but 27 under 21 years of age.

GOVERNMENT OF THE SHAKERS.

71

CHAPTER VII.

Leading Peculiarities of the Sect of Shakers.-Community of Property in all the Fam.

ilies.-Celibacy of the entire Body, in both Sexes.-Non-existence of any Priesthood. - Use of the Dance in Religious Worship.--Rules for the Admission of new Menbers.--Order and Arrangement of the Society's Affairs.--Scriptural Authorities for Community of Property.

The four leading peculiarities of the Shakers are: first, community of property; secondly, the celibacy of the entire body, in both sexes; thirdly, the non-existence of any priesthood; and, fourthly, the use of the dance in their religious worship. All these they defend on Scriptural authority, and quote very largely from the writings of the Old and New Testaments in confirmation of their views. Before entering on these, however, it may be well to give a brief view of the rules and principles by which they regulate the admission of members to their body, and those by which they are subsequently governed. The following are their rules for the admission of members:

“1. All persons who unite with the society must do it voluntarily and of their own free will.

" 2. No one is permitted to do so without a full and clear understanding of all its obligations.

"3. No considerations of property are ever made use of to induce persons to join or to leave the society ; because it is a principle of the sect, that no act of devotion or service that does not flow from the free and voluntary emotions of the heart can be acceptable to God as an act of true religion.

" 4. No believing husband or wife is allowed, by the principles of this society, to separate from an unbelieving partner, except by mutual agreement, unless the conduct of the unbeliever be such as to warrant a separation by the laws of God and man. Nor can any husband or wife, who has otherwise abandoned his or her partner, be received into communion with the society.

“5. Any person becoming a member must rectify all his wrongs, and, as fast and as far as it is in his power, discharge all just and legal claims, whether of creditors or filial heirs. Nor can any person, not conforming to this rule, long remain in union with the society. But the society is not responsible for the debts of any individual, except by agreement; because such responsibility would involve a principle ruinous to the institution.

“6. No difference is to be made in the distribution of parental estate among the heirs, whether they belong to the society or not; but an equal partition must be made, as far as may be practicable and consistent with reason and justice.

"7. If an unbelieving wife separate from a believing husband by agree"ment, the husband must give her a just and reasonable share of the property; and if they have children who have arrived at years of understanding sufficient to judge for themselves, and who choose to go with their mother, they are not to be disinherited on that account. Though

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the character of this institution has been much censured on this ground, yet we boldly assert that the rule above stated has never, to our knowledge, been violated by this society.

“8. Industry, temperance, and frugality are prominent features of this institution. No member who is able to labour can be permitted to live idly upon the labours of others. All are required to be employed in some manual occupation, according 10 their several abilities, when not engaged in other necessary duties.”

Of the system of government exercised by the society over those who are admitted, the following is a brief description :

"As all persons enter voluntarily, so they may voluntarily withdraw; but, while they remain members, they are required to obey the regulations of the society.

“ The leading authority of the society is vested in a ministry, generally consisting of four persons, including both sexes. These, together with the elders and trustees, constitute the general government of the society in all its branches.

“No creed can be framed to limit the progress of improvement. It is the faith of the society that the operations of Divine light are unlimited. All are at liberty to improve their talents and exercise their gifts, the younger being subject to the elder.

“ In the order and government of the society, no corporeal punishment is approved, nor any external force or violence exercised on any rational person who has come to years of understanding. Faith, conscience, and reason are deemed sufficient to influence a rational being; but where these are wanting, the necessary and proper means of restraint are not prohibited.

“ The management of temporal affairs in families holding a united interest, as far as respects the consecrated property of the society, is committed to trustees. These are appointed by the ministry and elders, and are legally invested with the fee of the real estate belonging to the society. But all the transactions of the trustees must be for the united benefit of the society, and not for any personal or private use or purpose whatever. And in all these things they are strictly responsible to the leading authority of the society for the faithful performance of their duty.”

The following is given as the order and arrangement of the society, when fully organized, according to the same authority:

The community is divided into several different branches, commonly called families. This division is generally made for the sake of convenience, and is often rendered necessary on account of local situation and other circumstances; but the proper division and arrangement of the community, without respect to local situation, is into three classes, or progressive degrees of order, as follows:

The first, or novitiate, class are those who receive faith, and come into a degree of relation with the society, but choose to live in their own families, and

manage their own temporal concerns. Any one who prefer it may live in this manner, and be owned as brethren and sisters in the Gospel, so long as they live up to its requirements. Parents are required to be kind and dutiful to each other, to shun every appearance of evil, provide for their family, bring up their

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