Thomas Scattergood Bemoans Decline of Quaker War Tax Resistance

From the Journal of the Life and Religious Labors of Thomas Scattergood comes this account from Great Britain on :

Set off pretty early, and rode nine miles to Grange meeting; five men and four women made up the meeting, when it separated for the transaction of business; the queries were read, and it was a very low time. The gallery where we sat appeared tumbling down, and a damp earthen floor. When the query respecting bearing arms and paying fines for war, &c., was read, an old woman openly acknowledged, after her husband said he had not paid such a fine, that she did; and made light of it, concluding it would not stand in her way.

Scattergood was one of those mentioned as having visited Samme Hunt during his imprisonment for tax resistance, in the journal of John Hunt.

He is remembered today as a mental health reformer. A Scattergood Foundation working to improve behavioral health is named after him, as is The Scattergood Program for the Applied Ethics of Behavioral Healthcare.

In an earlier journal entry, from , Scattergood showed how he considered the official plunderers in uniform to be common criminals — sinners in need of repentance:

…went to S.M.’s, where we had a religious opportunity, which I hope will not soon be forgotten by either parents or children. This family, amongst many others in these parts, were robbed and spoiled in the time of the late war. Their house was burnt, and one of the children told us, that a man who was instrumental in spoiling their goods, was at meeting last Fourth-day week, in which I had to speak to murderers, thieves, &c., and pointed out to them the necessity of endeavouring to do all in their power to make restitution. The child observed that he seemed much brought down, and his lips quivered.

This would have been somewhere in America — Georgia, I think. Scattergood didn’t leave for Great Britain until the following year.

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