From Job Scott’s journal:
On , I made a visit to my dear friend, Jonathan Farnum, at Uxbridge, who was very far gone in a consumption. I sat up with him during and in we had some serious conversation together, in the course of which, after mentioning that he had given up all expectation of recovery, and felt resigned in mind, and willing to leave all, even his dear children, he said considerable about the taxes and something about the paper money that he had been much exercised upon these subjects, and it appeared clear to him that Friends ought to have nothing to do with either. It also appeared to him, he said, that such as took the money helped the people to use the sword, “And oh!” said he, “that Friends may keep their hands clean, and not defile them with blood.” I suppose his meaning was that the money, being made expressly for the support of war, to give it currency was at least remotely helping forward and promoting war, and in that sense assisting people to use the sword.
Some time after he said: “Such as have tender scruples in their minds ought not to be discouraged, but otherwise. But how can those who are in the spirit of the world judge of these things? They must be redeemed before they can be judged. They must come out of the spirit and reasonings of the world; for it is not reasoning upon policy that is the thing, but waiting to feel what the Lord requires; and there is no way of safety when we have tender scruples, but in attending to them, and not reason and reason ourselves into the dark. I believe I had, when the first bill was presented to me, a sufficient check, had it been attended to, to have prevented my touching it. I believe so. We must have a care of that spirit which says, “We cannot live without taking it.” David said he had never seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread; and I believe God never will forsake the faithful, nor will their seed beg bread. This spirit of the world — oh! that Friends may be redeemed out of it.”
Having for nearly a year declined taking the paper currency, agreeably to the secret persuasion which I had of my duty therein, as before mentioned, I have now the satisfaction of comparing the different rewards of obedience and disobedience. For though, from the very first circulation of this money, I felt uneasy in taking it; yet fears and reasonings of one kind or another prevailed on me to take it for a season; and then it became harder to refuse it than it would probably have been at first; but growing more uneasy and distressed about it, at length I refused it altogether, since which I have felt great peace and satisfaction of mind therein; which has, in a very confirming manner, been increasing from time to time, the longer I have refused it: and although I get almost no money of any kind, little other being in circulation, yet I had much rather live and depend on divine Providence for a daily supply, than to increase in the mammon of this world’s goods, by any ways or means inconsistent with the holy will of my heavenly Father: and the prayer of my soul to him is, that I and all his children may be preserved faithful to him in all his requirings; and out of that love of things here below, which alienates from the true love of and communion with him.
About the latter end of , an old acquaintance of mine, being now collector of rates, came and demanded one of me. I asked him what it was for. He said, to sink the paper money. I told him, as that money was made expressly for the purpose of carrying on war, I had refused to take it; and, for the same reason, could not pay a tax to sink it, believing it my duty to bear testimony against war and fighting. I informed him, that for diverse years past, even diverse years before the war began, and when I had no expectation of ever being tried in this way, it had been a settled belief with me, that it was not right to pay such taxes; at least not right for me, nor, in my apprehension, right in itself; though many sincere brethren may not at present see its repugnancy to the pure and peaceable spirit of the gospel. I let him know I did not wish to put him to any trouble, but would be glad to pay it if I could consistently with my persuasion. He appeared moderate, thoughtful, and rather tender; and, after a time of free and pretty full conversation upon the subject, went away in a pleasant disposition of mind, I being truly glad to see him so. Diverse such demands were made of me in those troublesome times for diverse years: I ever found it best to be very calm and candid; and to open, as I was from time to time enabled, the genuine grounds of my refusal; and that, if possible, so as to reach the understandings of those who made the demand.
At our Yearly Meeting this year, , the subject of Friends paying taxes for war, came under solid consideration. Friends were unanimous, that the testimony of truth, and of our Society, was clearly against our paying such taxes as were wholly for war; and many solid Friends manifested a lively testimony against the payment of those in the mixture; which testimony appeared evidently to me to be on substantial grounds, arising and spreading in the authority of truth. It was a time of refreshment to an exercised number, whose spirits, I trust, were feelingly relieved, in a joyful sense of the light which then sprung up among us. On the whole, I am renewedly confirmed that, however the burden-bearers of the present generation among us may hold on their way, or fall short and give back, the Lord will raise up a band of faithful followers, who, preferring Jerusalem’s welfare to their chief joys, will press through the crowd of and follow the Lamb whithersoever he leads them.