« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
often destroy brotherly love in the individuals, while they continue. They excite also, during this time, not unfrequently, a vindictive spirit, and lead to family-feuds and quarrels. They agitate the mind also, hurt the temper, and disqualify a man for the proper exercise of his devotion. Add to this, that the expenses of law are frequently so great, that burthens are imposed upon men for maiters of little consequence, which they feel as evils and incumbrances for a considerable portion of their lives; burthens, which guilt alone, and which no indiscretion could have merited. Hence the members of this Society experience advantages in the settlement of their differences, which are known but to few others.
The Quakers, when any difference arises about things that are not of serious moment, generally settle it amicably between themselves; but in matters, that are intricate and of weighty concern, they have recourse to arbitration. If it should happen that they are slow in proceeding to arbitration, overseers, or any others of the Society, who may come to the knowledge of the circumstance, are to step in and to offer
their advice. If their advice is rejected, complaint is to be made to their own monthly meeting concerning them, after which they will come under the discipline of the Society; and if they still persist in refusing to settle their differences, or to proceed to arbitration, they may be disowned. I.
may mention here, that any member going to law with another, without having previously tried to accommodate matters between them, according to the rules of the Society, comes under the discipline in the like manner. When arbitration is determined
the individuals concerned are enjoined to apply to persons of their own Society to decide the
It is considered, however, desirable, that they should not trouble their ministers if they can help it on these occasions, as the minds of these ought to be drawn out as little as possible into worldly concerns.
The following is a concise statement of the rules recommended by the Society in the case of arbitrations.
Each party is to choose one or two friends as arbitrators, and all the persons so chosen
are to agree upon a third or fifth.—The are bitrators are not to consider themselves as advocates for the party, by whom they were chosen, but as men, whose duty it is to judge righteously, fearing the Lord. The parties are to enter into engagements to abide by the award of the arbitrators. Every meeting of the arbitrators is to be made known to the parties concerned, till they have been fully heard. No private meetings are allowed between some of the arbitrators, or with one party separate from the other, on the business referred to them. No representation of the case of one party, either by writing or otherwise, is to be admitted without its being made fully known to the other, and, if required, a copy of such representation is to be delivered to the other party. The arbitrators are to hear both parties fully in the presence of each other, whilst either has any fresh matter to offer, for a time mutually limited. In the case of any doubtful point of law, the arbitrators are jointly to agree upon a case, and to consult counsel. It is recommended to arbitrators to propose to the parties that they
should give an acknowledgment in writing, before the award is made, that they have been candidly and fully heard.
In the same manner as a member proceeds with a member in the case of any difference, he is led by his education and habits to proceed with others, who are not of the same Society. A Quaker seldom goes to law with a person of another denomination, till he has proposed arbitration. If the proposal be not accepted, he has then no remedy but the law. For a person,
, who is out of the Society, cannot be obliged upon pain of disownment, as one who is in it may, to submit to such a mode of decision, being out of the reach of the Quaker-discipline. I shall close
this 'subject by giving an account of an institution for the accommodation of differences, which took place in the year 1793, upon the principles of this Society.
In the town of Newcastle-upon-Tyné, a number of dsiputes were continually arising on the subject of shipping-concerns, which were referred to the decision of the laws. These decisions were often grievously expensive. They were, besides, frequently
different from what seafaring persons conceived to be just. The latter circumstance was attributed to the ignorance of lawyers in maritime affairs. Much money was therefore often expended, and no one satisfied. Some Quakers in the neighbourhood, in conjunction with others, came forward with a view of obviating these evils. They proposed arbitration as a remedy. They met with some opposition at first, but principally from gentlemen of the law. After having, however, shown the impropriety of many of the legal verdicts that had been given, they had the pleasure of seeing their plan publicly introduced and sanctioned. For in the month of June 1793, a number of gentlemen, respectable for their knowledge in mercantile and maritime affairs, met at the Trinity-hall in Newcastle, and associated themselves for these and other purposes, calling themselves “ The Newcastle-upon-Tyne association for general arbitration.”
This association was to have four general meetings in the year, one in each quarter, at which they were to receive cases. For any urgent matter, however, which might