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A Portraiture of Quakerism, Volume 1 by Clarkson

By a previous agreement upon a monied stake


CHAP. II ...SECT. I.

_Games of chance--Quakers forbid cards, dice, and other similar amusements--also, concerns in lotteries--and certain transactions in the stocks--they forbid also all wagers, and speculations by a monied stake--the peculiar wisdom of the latter prohibition, as collected from the history of the origin of some of the amusements of the times_.

When we consider the depravity of heart, and the misery and ruin, that are frequently connected with gaming, it would be strange indeed, if the Quakers, as highly professing Christians, had not endeavoured to extirpate it from their own body.

No people, in fact, have taken more or more effectual measures for its suppression. They have proscribed the use of all games of chance, and of all games of skill, that are connected with chance in any manner. Hence _cards_, _dice_, _horse-racing_, _cock-fighting_, and all the amusements, which come under this definition, are forbidden.

But as there are certain transactions, independently of these amusements, which are equally connected with hazard, and which individuals might convert into the means of moral depravity and temporal ruin, they have forbidden these also, by including them under the appellation of gaming.

Of this description are concerns in the lottery, from which all Quakers are advised to refrain. These include the purchase of tickets, and all insurance upon the same.

In transactions of this kind there is always a monied stake, and the issue is dependent upon chance. There is of course the same fascinating stimulus as in cards, or dice, arising from the hope of gain. The mind also must be equally agitated between hope and fear; and the same state of desperation may be produced, with other fatal consequences, in the event of loss.

Buying and selling in the public stocks of the kingdom is, under particular circumstances, discouraged also. Where any of the members of the society buy into the stocks, under the idea, that they are likely to obtain better security, or more permanent advantages, such a transfer of their property is allowable. But if any were to make a practice of buying or selling, week after week, upon speculation only, such a practice would come under the denomination of gaming. In this case, like the preceding, it is evident, that money would be the object in view; that the issue would be hazardous; and, if the stake or deposit were of great importance, the tranquillity of the mind might be equally disturbed, and many temporal sufferings might follow.

The Quakers have thought it right, upon the same principle, to forbid the custom of laying wagers upon any occasion whatever, or of reaping advantage from any doubtful event, by a previous agreement upon a monied stake. This prohibition, however, is not on record, like the former, but is observed as a traditional law. No Quaker-parent would suffer his child, nor Quaker-schoolmaster the children entrusted to his care, nor any member another, to be concerned in amusements of this kind, without a suitable reproof.


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