James E. Whipple Jailed for Refusing Military Tax

On a couple of occasions I have covered the interesting case of Zerah Colburn Whipple, who was imprisoned for a while in after refusing to pay a militia tax.

There seem to have been a lot of Whipples active in the peace movement in in the U.S.

There was Charles K. Whipple, who wrote an interesting pamphlet in on nonviolent defense as a plausible national defense alternative. And there was Jonathan Whipple, a conscientious objector who founded the Connecticut Peace Society (Zerah’s father, or perhaps grandfather, I’ve lost track).

There was also James E. Whipple, who was imprisoned for his refusal to pay a military tax a few years before Zerah. He is mentioned in passing in some of the accounts of Zerah’s imprisonment, but doesn’t seem to have left as much of a trace himself. I’ve found a short mention of his case in a few old papers, including the Syracuse Daily Journal:

James E. Whipple, a young man, member of the Society of Friends and of the Universal Peace Association, was arrested in Mystic, Ct., recently and lodged in the Norwich jail, for refusing to pay his military tax, it being a matter of conscience with him not to support war or forms of war.

A similar notice can be found in the Buffalo Daily Courier, the Troy Daily Whig of and in the Sabbath Reporter.

A report the following year in the Buffalo Daily Courier on the meeting of the Duchess County branch of the Universal Peace Society briefly touched on a number of resolutions considered (and passed unanimously) by the group, including this:

They also disapprove of military taxes, and commend James E. Whipple, of Ledgard, Conn., for submitting to imprisonment rather than pay them.

…a copy of that part [of the resolutions] commending Whipple was ordered to be sent to him in jail at Norwich, Conn., and a copy also to the governor of Connecticut.