The history of Quakerism in England may be divided into three periods: - (1) from the first preaching of George Fox in 1647 to the Toleration Act 1689; (2) from 1689 to the evangelical movement in 18 35; (3) from 1835 to the present time.
Although many " General " and other meetings were held in different Period of parts of the country for the purpose of setting P Y P P g forth Quakerism, the notion that the whole Christian church would be absorbed in it, and that the Quakers were, in fact, the church, gave place to the conception that they were " a peculiar people " to whom, more than to others, had been given an understanding of the will of God.
The Quakerism of this period was largely of a traditional kind; it dwelt with increasing emphasis on the peculiarities of its dress and language; it rested much upon discipline, which developed and hardened into rigorous forms; and the correction or exclusion of its members occupied more attention than did the winning of converts.
During this period Quakerism was sketched from the outside by two very different men.
Thomas Clarkson (Portraiture of Quakerism) has given an elaborate and sympathetic account of the Quakers as he knew them when he travelled amongst them from house to house on his crusade against the slave trade.
Apart from points of doctrine which can be more or less definitely stated (not always with unanimity) Quakerism is an atmosphere, a manner of life, a method of approaching questions, a habit and; attitude of mind.
Quakerism was preached in Scotland; very soon after its rise in England; but in the north and south of Scotland there existed, independently of and before this, preaching, groups of persons who were dissatisfied with the national form of worship and who met together in silence fordevotion.
The father of Quakerism in Ireland was William Edmondson; his preaching began in 1653-1654.
On the attitude of Friends in America to slavery, see the section " Quakerism in America " (above).
An excellent portraiture of early Quakerism is given in William Tanner's Lectures on Friends in Bristol and Somersetshire.
For an exposition of Quakerism on its spiritual side many of the poems by Whittier may be referred to, also Quaker Strongholds and Light Arising by Caroline E.
Other works which may usefully be consulted are the Journals of John Woolman, Stephen Grellet and Elizabeth Fry; also The First Publishers of Truth, a reprint of contemporary accounts of the rise of Quakerism in various districts.
See also works mentioned at the close of sections on Adult Schools and on Quakerism in America, Scotland and Ireland, and elsewhere in this article; also Fox, George.
Even Quakerism he could scarcely endure.