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A Portraiture of Quakerism, Volume 1 by Clarkson

Footnote 37 The Indians denominated Penn


36: Turkey carpets are in use, though generally gaudy, on account of their wearing better than others.]

But if these or similar principles are adopted by the society on this subject, it must be obvious, that in walking through the rooms of the Quakers, we shall look in vain for some articles that are classed among the furniture of other people. We shall often be disappointed, for instance, if we expect to find either paintings or prints in frame. I seldom remember to have seen above three or four articles of this description in all my intercourse with the Quakers. Some families had one of these, others a second, and others a third, but none had them all. And in many families neither the one nor the other was to be seen.

One of the prints, to which I allude, contained a representation of the conclusion of the famous treaty between William Penn and the Indians of America. This transaction every body knows, afforded, in all its circumstances, a proof to the world, of the singular honour and uprightness of those ancestors of the Quakers who were concerned in it. The Indians too entertained an opinion no less favourable of their character, for they handed down the memory of the event under such [37]impressive circumstances, that their descendants have a particular love for the character, and a particular reliance on the word, of a Quaker at the present day. The print alluded to was therefore probably hung up as the

pleasing record of a transaction, so highly honourable to the principles of the society; where knowledge took no advantage of ignorance, but where she associated herself with justice, that she might preserve the balance equal. "This is the only treaty," says a celebrated writer, "between the Indians and the Christians, that was never ratified by an oath, and was never broken."

[Footnote 37: The Indians denominated Penn, brother Onas, which means in their language a pen, and respect the Quakers as his descendants.]

The second was a print of a slave-ship, published a few years ago, when the circumstances of the slave-trade became a subject of national inquiry. In this the oppressed Africans are represented, as stowed in different parts according to the number transported and to the scale of the dimensions of the vessel. This subject could not be indifferent to those, who had exerted themselves as a body for the annihilation of this inhuman traffic. The print, however, was not hung up by the Quakers, either as a monument of what they had done themselves, or as a stimulus to farther exertion on the same subject, but, I believe, from the pure motive of exciting benevolence; of exciting the attention of those, who should come into their houses, to the case of the injured Africans, and of procuring sympathy in their favour.

The third contained a plan of the building of Ackworth-school. This was hung up as a descriptive view of a public seminary, instituted and kept up by the subscription and care of the society at large.

But though all the prints, that have been mentioned, were hung up in frames on the motives severally assigned to them, no others were to be seen as their companions. It is in short not the practice[38] of the society to decorate their houses in this manner.

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