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A Portraiture of Quakerism, Volume 1 by Clarkson

Habitual gamesters regard neither their own health


if the Quakers believe that this pure principle, when attended to, is an infallible guide to them in their religious or spiritual concerns; if they believe that its influences are best discovered in the quietness and silence of their senses; if, moreover, they educate with a view of producing such a calm and tranquil state; it must be obvious, that they can never allow either to their children, or to those of maturer years, the use of any of the games of chance, because these, on account of their peculiar nature, are so productive of sudden fluctuations of hope, and fear, and joy, and disappointment, that they are calculated, more than any other, to promote a turbulence of the human passions.


_Another cause of their prohibition is, that, if indulged in, they may produce habits of gaming--these habits after the moral character-they occasion men to become avaricious--dishonest--cruel--and disturbers of the order of nature--observations by Hartley from his essay on man._

Another reason, why the Quakers do not allow their members the use of cards, and of similar amusements, is, that, if indulged in, they may produce habits of gaming, which, if once formed, generally ruin the moral character.

It is in the nature of cards, that chance should have the greatest share in the production of victory, and there is, as I have observed before,

usually a monied stake. But where chance is concerned, neither victory nor defeat can be equally distributed among the combatants. If a person wins, he feels himself urged to proceed. The amusement also points out to him the possibility of a sudden acquisition of fortune without the application of industry. If he loses, he does not despair. He still perseveres in the contest, for the amusement points out to him the possibility of repairing his loss. In short, there is no end of hope upon these occasions. It is always hovering about during the contest. Cards, therefore, and amusements of the same nature, by holding up prospects of pecuniary acquisitions on the one hand, and of repairing losses, that may arise on any occasion, on the other, have a direct tendency to produce habits of gaming.

Now the Quakers consider these habits as, of all others, the most pernicious; for they usually change the disposition of a man, and ruin his moral character.

From generous-hearted they make him avaricious. The covetousness too, which they introduce as it were into his nature, is of a kind, that is more than ordinarily injurious. It brings disease upon the body, as it brings corruption upon the mind. Habitual gamesters regard neither their own health, nor their own personal convenience, but will sit up night after night, though under bodily indisposition, at play, if they can only grasp the object of their pursuit.

From a just and equitable they often render him a dishonest person. Professed gamesters, it is well known, lie in wait for the young, the ignorant, and the unwary: and they do not hesitate to adopt fraudulent practices to secure them as their prey. In toxication has been also frequently resorted to for the same purpose.

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