“American Quaker War Tax Resistance”

My new book, American Quaker War Tax Resistance, is now available (you can order it either directly from the publisher at CreateSpace or from Amazon.com). I get a bigger cut if you order from CreateSpace, but I think it’s probably a better deal for you if you order from Amazon, since that way the shipping is free.

The book gathers together in one place documents from dozens of sources that show how war tax resistance developed in the Society of Friends in America. These documents illuminate the Quaker positions on war tax resistance from many angles — highlighting the search for truth within the Society of Friends as well as the interest, concern, or aggravation of those outside of the Society who, in one way or another, found themselves trying to understand or navigate the Quaker point of view.

This 500-page collection draws on a variety of sources, including:

  • histories of the Society of Friends, or of particular Meetings or regions
  • contemporary records of sufferings and minutes kept by Meetings
  • rules of discipline published by Meetings
  • commentaries published in Quaker-oriented periodicals
  • a novelization of the experiences of Quaker conscientious objectors
  • government records, and transcripts of legislative debates
  • published journals by individual Quakers
  • writings about pacifism and conscientious objection
  • writings by non-Quakers that relate episodes of Quaker war tax resistance
  • writings by people trying to refute or denounce Quakerism or Quaker war tax resistance
  • letters in which Quaker war tax resistance was discussed
  • pamphlets published by people taking one side or another in the debate over Quaker war tax resistance
  • petitions sent by individuals or Meetings to people in government
  • writings from non-Quaker peace movement groups that discussed Quaker conscientious objection

The collection is indexed, so that it’s easy to find all mentions of, for example, the “Render unto Caesar…” Bible verse, William Penn, “tax collectors: encounters with,” excise taxes, “social contract theory,” Mennonites, “offensive vs. defensive war,” or particular Meetings.

Some of the highlights of the collection include:

  • Philalethes’ “Tribute to Cæsar, How paid by the Best Christians, And to what Purpose; With Some Remarks on the late vigorous Expedition against Canada.…” — a hard-to-find pamphlet and one of the earliest and most strongly-worded arguments for war tax resistance.
  • Samuel Allinson’s “Reasons Against War, and Paying Taxes for Its Support” — This was only circulated in manuscript form during Allinson’s life, and is difficult to find, but was praised by such readers as Moses Brown and Anthony Benezet.
  • James Logan’s “Letter to the Society of Friends” — Logan was a Quaker who disapproved of pacifism and war tax resistance, and he put forth his reasons methodically and clearly in this letter.
  • A number of excerpts from the journal and writings of John Woolman on the subject of war tax resistance.
  • Timothy Davis’s “Letter from a Friend” in which he puts forward the “Free Quaker” case for paying taxes to the Continental Congress. Also Isaac Grey’s and Joseph Taber’s pamphlets of protest against the disowning of Davis for his pro-tax stance.
  • Excerpts from Joshua Maule’s journal and “A Testimony for the Truth” in which he tries to convince Quakers to return to a more firm war tax resistance.