William Ray and Samuel Bownas Debate Tithe Resistance

Samuel Bownas’s autobiographical Life includes an interesting debate about tithe and war tax resistance in the form of a series of letters between Bownas and William Ray, a local establishment parson to whom Bownas, a Quaker, was refusing to pay legally-mandatory tithes.

I’ve reproduced the section from the Life below, but first I’ll summarize the arguments.

William Ray:

  • The tithe due on your land is a part of my property. When you bought your property, you knew that your purchase came with certain legal rights and certain legal obligations attached. You could have chosen to purchase property to which no tithing obligations were attached, or to purchase the tithing rights along with the property, but you did not do so, perhaps because this would have been more expensive: the tithing obligation is one of the considerations that go in to the pricing of property on the market. If you felt conscientiously opposed to paying a tithe, the time to assert your conscience would have been when you decided which property to buy, not once you have already purchased a property to which tithes are attached.
  • It is no more justifiable to refuse to pay tithes because you object to the government having granted the establishment church such a property right, than it would be to trespass on church property on the grounds that the government shouldn’t have granted the church land.
  • Currently, we are at war with France, and although Quakers preach against war as energetically as they preach against hireling ministries, I don’t see you resisting your war taxes, although I understand Quakers have refused to pay militia taxes in the past even in peacetime. If you can pay war taxes with a clean conscience, why not also my tithes?
  • You claim that it is your conscience that is being violated by religious oppression, but indeed I am the victim here: because you disagree with my religious beliefs, you are withholding from me a proper, lawful debt.

Samuel Bownas:

  • Though lawful, the mandatory tithes are not a legitimate claim and do not actually put me in your debt. Genuine debts are a result of some exchange in which both parties receive something of value, but I have received nothing in exchange for the tithes I am said to owe you. My title to my land is complete, and you have done nothing to earn a right to some percentage off of it. If I had signed some explicit condition when I bought title to my land that entitled you to some rent, as I understand is the case for tithes in other places, your argument might hold water. But just pointing to the fact that the market price of my land was influenced by your unjust claim on it is no argument for the justice of your claim.
  • Jesus instructed us to render to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s. The taxes the government takes for war are clearly Caesar’s department, but tithes are explicitly meant for God, and so if I mean to follow Jesus’s instructions, I can only pay tithes for what I believe to be God’s work, and your ministry I don’t believe to be in that category. To pay tithes meant for God to you instead would be, for me, a matter of superstition and idolatry. (For that matter, I don’t think tithing is required at all. Christ came to put an end to the law that required tithes, as well as to the priesthood supported by them. So to pay tithes is in effect to deny Christ.)
  • Furthermore, it is unchristian to live off of money forced from people in this way. You should live off of the proceeds of your own labor, or, if you are unable to do this, you should forthrightly plead for alms.
  • The legal basis of the establishment church’s title to tithes is ridiculous. King Ethelwolf, in the 9th century, fearful for his soul and those of his ancestors, awarded tithe rights to the church in exchange for some superstitious rites from the clergy. And because of this, now you think you can take 10% of the proceeds of my property.

And now, the full excerpt from The Life of Samuel Bownas:

In a little time a storm arose: the parson of the parish having had nothing from our family for thirteen years and upwards, for his small tithes, and other church dues, as he styled them, got a summons for me to meet him before the justice; but before the time came I wrote him a few lines to know his demand, and he wrote me a long letter in answer, to which I replied. All which are annexed. The time came, and some other Friends were convened by other priests from other parishes at the same time. When I was called, there were two justices, Edward Phillips, Esq., of Montague, and Harben, Esq., of Newton. Phillips was very rough and boisterous in words, and Harben altogether as mild, using many arguments to persuade me to pay the demand myself, or suffer some other person to pay it, being very earnest that I should suffer him to pay it for me, and he would not desire to have it all together; supposing I might not so well spare what the parson demanded at once. I told him I was very much obliged to him for his kind offer, believing his intention was to serve me, but I could by no means accept it, without injury to my own mind, it being a matter that concerned my conscience, which I desired to keep void of offence towards God. He took me into another room, and was very earnest to have it made up; urging, “it was so much in arrears, that it was beyond their power to end it, and it must be put into the exchequer, and that would be very chargeable, which,” says he, “must fall upon you at last.” I told him that I could do nothing to make it up; and having conferred some time, we went in again, and he spoke to the effect following, “That he was very sorry he could not serve us, as we were both his neighbours and friends,” meaning the parson and me, and told the parson it would be uneasy to us both; and would have us end it between ourselves. I said, if it were a matter of just debt that I was satisfied was my neighbour’s due, I should soon end it with neighbour Ray, and be as willing to pay as he was to receive it; but as it was not of that nature, I could by no means do it. So I was dismissed, and in a little time served with an exchequer process; and in a few months after, in the next term, I was taken up in my way for Bristol, where I was going about my business, and put into jail. But when the parson had got me there he was very uneasy indeed, so that he could not take his rest, and told his attorney, “If he lost all his claim, he could by no means keep me there, for he had no rest or quietness of mind night nor day.” Accordingly the attorney came to the keeper in less than ten days time, desiring him to let me go home to look after my business; which I did, and in a few days went my journey to Bristol; and when I had done my business there, took a little turn into Wiltshire, and spent about two weeks in visiting meetings, and so returned home.

I informed my friends at the Meeting for Sufferings in London, how it stood; who advised me, that the parson could not proceed further, as he had taken me up and put me into jail: so I heard no more of it all that winter; but in the spring a distant relation of our family came to my wife when I was from home, and desired her to lend him ten pounds, for he was going to a fair, being a considerable grazier. She had no thoughts about the parson’s demands, that being a much larger sum, and he being a dissenter, and having done me the like favour, she lent it him, and he gave her his note accordingly. My wife, when I came home, told me what she had done, and I said it was very well, mistrusting nothing of any trick in the matter; but as he came in my absence to borrow it, so in like manner he came in pretense to pay it, addressing himself to my wife to this effect; “Dear cousin, if you can help me to that note, I had best pay it; you know I borrowed it of you, and shall pay it to you.” So she very innocently brought his note, and he tore it immediately; and putting his hand into his pocket, took out and threw down to her, the parson’s receipt for the ten pounds, in full of all demands for tithes to that time. My poor wife was under a very great surprise, urging, it would be a very great uneasiness to me. “Your husband,” said he, “is we allow, a man of sense, but in this he is a stubborn fool; and I would have paid it out of my own pocket, rather than he should have ruined you and himself, which this exchequer suit would soon have done, if it had gone on; for his original demand is fourteen pounds and upwards, and he hath been at forty or fifty shillings charge already, and you must have paid that and ten times more if it had gone on, which now I have cleared for ten pounds; I think you are exceedingly well off.” “Ay but,” said she, “we look at inward peace more than all that, and I shall be blamed for being privy to the contrivance, and beget a jealousy in my husband about other affairs.” “Oh! my dear cousin, trouble not yourself about that,” said he, “for I can clear you, that you are as innocent of it as a new born babe: and I know I could not have brought it about with your husband, for he would have started so many questions, that I could not possibly have brought it about any other way, than by ploughing with his heifer.” When my wife told me of it, which was not presently, it troubled me, to have my testimony thus evaded by this undermining trick, which was, in the man who did it, designed for our good no doubt, and the note that he gave for the money being destroyed, I had nothing to show under his hand for the money, and what to do in it I was at a loss. I thought it best to convene the elders, and let them know how it stood, and to be advised how I might clear my testimony, and my dear wife and self, from having any hand in this deceitful trick; which I accordingly did, and they were satisfied we were clear of the contrivance, but did not know what to do to satisfy others about it; one Friend was for suing him who had thus tricked me for the ten pounds. But others thought such an act would do more hurt than good, and thought it by no means advisable to act any further, than to go to my kinsman and let him know, that what he had done in the case, though by him intended for a kindness, yet it had the contrary effect on our minds, so that although he intended to serve us, it proved a disservice, and to request that he would never serve us so again. In due time my wife and I took an opportunity, and discoursed the matter over with him; and he to excuse it, said, he little thought we would take it so much amiss as we had, having, as he thought, no reason for it, and wondered our friends should be so stubborn as to contend against law; and he could not bear to think we should be served as Mr. Bantom and Mr. Tilley were; and indeed, if it were again to do, I should do the same, said he. — Robert Bantom and William Tilley were two very great sufferers by exchequer process, both very honest sincere Friends. Thus was this affair ended. The first letter I wrote the parson, with the parson’s answer, and my reply, are annexed, viz:


Neighbour Ray,

Since thou art pleased to proceed against me by justice’s warrant, I desire thou wouldst be pleased to let me know what thou demandest; else, how shall I be able to make my defence? I think thy people this year and last were very unreasonable in their taking, having both years, modestly computed, taken above one eighth part of my hay: and Brook’s never, as I am informed, paid any in kind till thou came into the parish; but now for nine pence the three acres, thou hast taken every year hay worth eight or nine shillings per annum at least. As for arguments between us, for or against, I suppose them needless, but I take it very hard to be so treated from a man of thy pretensions. I believe thou wouldst not, if in my case, like such treatment. Not that I murmur or repine because my goods are taken away on this account, being persuaded that it is my duty actively to refuse a compliance with the laws that command tithes; and if I must, as I have already done, suffer the spoiling of my goods, I hope passively to submit and bear it. This I conclude with desires of good for thee and thine every way.

Samuel Bownas.

At the Parsonage-house,


I have been above thirteen years in the parish, and have not given the family any disturbance, though the arrears which are due to me are considerable; so that you have no reason to complain of hard usage from me, but rather to thank me for my kindness, in bearing this injustice so long.

You do not think, when you go to law with one another, or with some of those who differ from you, that you spoil their goods, when you put them to charges, that you may force them to do you justice. And why, pray you, should it be thought a spoiling of your goods, when we do nothing more than you do yourselves, when you think you are wronged; that is, endeavour to recover our own? For I demand nothing of you but what I know to be mine before I receive it.

You might as well make an entry upon our glebe lands, or upon anything else we possess, as to seize upon the tithes, to which you have no more title than to the other, unless you have bought them, as I am sure you have not.

For every body who understands these things will tell you, that when such lands as are tithe free, are sold or let, they are for that reason valued at an higher price, and the lord or seller makes the tenant or purchaser pay for the tithe, as well as for the rest of the estate: and that on the other hand, there is a proportionable abatement made to the purchasers and tenants of such lands as are liable to the payment of tithes. And there is very good reason for it, because in that case the tithes being no part of the landlord’s property, he cannot make them over to another, or demand a price for that which he has not sold; and those who rent or purchase his estate, can claim no title by virtue of any conveyance or grant of his, but only to what he had a right to dispose of himself; so that if you will needs, in this matter, pretend conscience, you ought not to occupy any land but what is tithe-free.

But if you think that this would be very grievous and inconvenient, you ought, when you occupy tithe-land, to permit us quietly to enjoy our tithes, which are a part of our freehold; and to which we have the same title as we have to our glebe, wherein you claim no propriety, as indeed you have no manner of title to the tithe. If you have, be pleased to show it, and let us know from whom you had it. And if you have none, as I know you have not, do not go to pretend conscience for invading your neighbour’s property.

For my part I do not see any reason why you should not actively comply with the law for payment of tithes, as well as with that for taxes, as your friends have done over all the kingdom ever since the revolution; and some of them have been collectors, though the title of the act of parliament did plainly show, that the tax was for carrying on a war against France with vigour: and yet your friends, even those who have been of greatest reputation among you, and the champions of your cause, have declared as much against the lawfulness of all war, as they have done against the payment of tithes, and sometimes have carried the matter so high, as to refuse the payment of money demanded of them for that purpose; as Robert Barclay in his Apology tells us, “they suffered because they would not pay for drums and colours, and other military furniture.” And this they did in the time of peace, when the militia met only to make a raree-show, and had at the place of rendezvous no other enemies to skirmish with but butterflies. Nevertheless, since the war against France began, your friends have given the same active obedience to the laws for payment of taxes, as their fellow subjects have done; and I hope you, for the future, will do for the payment of tithes, which, according to your avowed principles, is as lawful as the payment of taxes for carrying on a war with vigour.

It is a vain thing to pretend conscience to excuse oppression or covetousness, for it must be one or other of these which makes any man take possession of what is not his own, but his neighbour’s.

If we lived by the alms-basket and could claim nothing but what we might expect from the benevolence of those from whom we make any demand of this nature, we could not blame you so much: but the case is otherwise; for we desire none of your benevolence, and we know the tithe is no part of your estate, and that you can claim no right to it, either by donation or purchase. Therefore do not go to call that your own which is not; and being you disclaim all violence against, or oppression of, men upon the account of their conscience, we may reasonably expect so much tenderness from you, that you would not oppress us, because we differ from you, and that you would not, under a pretense of conscience, seize upon our estates, and then make an outcry against us, when we desire the assistance of the civil magistrate, for recovering any part of our properties or freeholds, as often as you unjustly invade them. Surely we might look for more equity from you, being we are members of that church, which in other respects permits you the free exercise of your religion, and has confirmed the same by the late act of indulgence, agreed upon by the bishops, lords, and commons of our communion. An instance of such moderation as was never shown to our church by any other sect who had us under their power, whether Papists, or some violent and fierce Protestant dissenters, who perhaps would handle us as roughly as our predecessors were by them, if God should again permit us to fall under their merciless hands.

You say, you take it hard to be so treated by a man of my pretensions, and if it was from some of the same cloth, you would think it was like themselves. But why should it be thought inconsistent with my pretensions, to demand what I know to be my own? And why may I not say the same to you, that I take it hard to be so treated by a man of your pretensions, who profess, that violence against those who differ from you, merely upon the account of their conscience, is unwarrantable; and yet, contrary to this your profession, you seize upon that which is mine, mine by as good a right as you have to your own estate; for you cannot say that you have purchased the tithes, or that any who had a title to dispose of them did make them over to you; and yet for all that, you pretend conscience for the disturbance you give me, for no other reason, but because I am of a different communion from you. If this was done by some who maintain that violence against men of another persuasion is meritorious, and that heretics ought not to be suffered to live, I should think it was like themselves; though from you I might expect other things. But let that be as it will, I desire nothing from you but the profits of my own estate, which you unjustly withhold from me; and I am resolved, whatever you think or say about the matter, that I will have my right. However, if you are willing to live peaceably, I shall be as moderate as you can expect, and for that reason have referred this business to Mr. Smith, whom I have authorised to do as he thinks fit; and am, sir,

Your friend and well-wisher,

William Ray.

Lymington, .

Neighbour Ray,

Since thou hast advanced some arguments for thy taking tithes, I have somewhat to offer in answer thereto, for my refusal.

1st. Thou art pleased to write, “I ought to thank thee for bearing with this injustice so long;” but I take the refusal of paying tithes to be no injustice. Therefore, &c.

2nd. Thou says, “when I go to law with another, or some that differ from me, I do not think it spoiling of their goods;” which I do not take to be a parallel case with this; for, first, if I go to law with any man, it shall be for some just debt owing to me, for which he, whom I so go to law with, shall have received some valuable consideration; but from thee I have received none for the tithe of my increase; therefore it is not a parallel case.

3d. He with whom I go to law shall have no just plea of conscience, because if I can have no plain demonstration that he had of me a valuable consideration for which I make my demands upon him, I will not go to law at all; therefore it is not a parallel case.

4th. If on such a foundation I go to law, and force my adverse party to justice by law, I conclude with thee, it is not spoiling of his goods. But to go to law, and by it take away people’s goods, without such a valuable consideration as above, is spoiling of goods in my opinion, with a witness.

Thou writes me, “I may as well seize of the glebe-lands, or upon anything else we possess, as upon the tithes.” Under favour, I am of another mind; because I have no title to show for thy glebe lands, or anything else thou enjoys: but for my land, the whole I take to be mine, without any reserve or exception whatsoever, as the writings that give me my title to it, do sufficiently set forth and declare; and I have given for it a valuable consideration, which thou never did for the tenth part thereof: therefore, I am sure I have more right to it than thou canst pretend to, in justice, equity and reason; because I have bought, without reserve, the whole, and manured the same at my own cost and charge; but thou hast bought no part thereof, nor been at any charge about improving it, that I know of.

Thou further writes, “that every body that understands these things, will tell me, when such lands as are tithe-free are sold, for that reason they are valued higher.” What argument is that for the lawfulness of tithes, according to the Gospel? I conceive none at all. The next is, that “if I occupy tithe-lands, I ought quietly to permit you to enjoy the tithes:” that is the matter in dispute, which shall in its place be spoken to.

Now I am come to thy argument about taxes, wherein thou endeavours to make us inconsistent with ourselves, in actively complying with the law for taxes, but refusing a compliance with the law for tithes, endeavouring thereby to lay tithes and taxes upon one foundation. In this also I differ from thee; for I understand taxes to be paid as a civil debt, tribute or custom, to Cæsar: but tithes are paid as a religious act to God and holy church, as in its place shall be further shown. Indeed our Saviour said, “Render unto Cæsar, the things that are Cæsar’s; and unto God, the things that are God’s.” Now if we must render to Cæsar the things that are Cæsar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s, then it remains to be proved, that tithes are Cæsar’s due, before they be demanded as his right.

But here is the grand objection of inconsistency; that because we have suffered for refusing to pay towards the militia for drums, and colours, &c, and yet actively comply with the law of taxes, which is to carry on a war with vigor, &c, insisting on R. Barclay’s words to strengthen the objection. We are still of the same mind with R. Barclay, that “wars and fightings are inconsistent with Gospel principles; and when it is brought so near to us, that by law we are obliged to act both in person and estate, we in this case choose rather passively to suffer, than actively to comply, for conscience-sake.” And this is still our case, and a suffering we lie under, with respect to the militia, in many places, being careful to walk by the rule of Christ’s doctrine. Yet we do not hereby think ourselves inconsistent in actively complying with the law of taxes, in rendering to Cæsar the things that are Cæsar’s, and he may do therewith what pleaseth him, we may not direct him; therefore, to use thy own familiar simile, I take this argument of taxes to have no more weight in it, in relation to tithes, it being no parallel case, than the enemies that the militia met with in their rendezvous, at their raree-show.

Thou writest, that “it is a vain thing to pretend conscience to excuse oppression or covetousness.” I am entirely of thy mind; so that where any man pretends to refuse the payment of tithes out of covetousness, believing at the same time in his conscience they are justly due; it is a pity, if that be his only excuse, that he should not pay smartly for it: but beware of mistaking, by supposing the refusal to be from covetousness, when it is really conscience.

Thou addest, “if you lived by the almsbasket,” &c, which indeed I think you ought to do, if your own hands cannot sufficiently administer to your own wants; for a forced maintenance is not consistent with the Gospel ministry; and that thou knows right well, having often-confessed it in my house. Thou adds, “tithes is no part of my estate, either by donation or purchase.” But I say as above, I have purchased the whole, without any reserve or exception of tithes. But in thy own country, North Britain, I have been informed, tithes are excepted in deeds and conveyances, so that they have some colour to use such an argument, but I can see no foundation for such an argument in this country. Thou advises me not to call that my own, which is not; I say, it is my own, because I have, without reserve, purchased the whole, as witness my writings: besides all that, at my own charge I have manured and improved it.

Thy next paragraph is already answered.

I acknowledge thee a member of that church, or society, who have granted us the indulgence we now enjoy in the exercise of our religion; for which, I with the rest of my brethren ought to be truly thankful to God and the government. But I must tell thee, some of thy brethren, not of the meanest rank in your church, have, like battering rams, endeavoured to break that chain of indulgence, we now enjoy, but Providence has hitherto prevented them, and I hope ever will, unless God should see meet to try his church, to discover thereby the truly religious from the hypocrites.

Thou seems angry, and to resent it, that I should take it ill or hard, to be so treated by a man of thy pretensions; but the reason why I wrote so, is this; because I have more than once heard, that my neighbour Ray has said in our house, that it was a matter of conscience to him, to force a maintenance from such as for the sake of conscience could not pay him, using that text, “Whose ox have I taken, or whom have I defrauded?” Which I have sometimes spoken of to others, and it gained great credit and good thoughts concerning my neighbour Ray, and for that reason, and no other, I took such treatment hard. But however, if thy conscience be altered, it will give reason for my thoughts concerning thee also to change.

I shall give thee my reasons, why I cannot actively comply with the law for paying tithes, and answer thy last paragraph in the conclusion of this.

I was in my youth very thoughtful, touching the nature and design of religion, and conscious to myself, that an implicit faith, with a blind obedience, might not be sufficient to bring me to the end intended by it. I observed many under great sufferings for refusing to pay tithes, and that their plea for it was conscience; but many more I found did pay, and they thought they did right, at least made no scruple of conscience in doing it. This contradiction in practice made me willing to look into it myself, that what I did herein might not be for imitation’s sake on either side, but that I might act on a principle of faith, knowing, “what is not of faith is sin.” These reasons put me on examining and trying for myself.

I now assure thee, that it is not out of stubbornness, ill-humour, or covetousness, but purely on a principle of conscience, for these reasons following, that I can neither pay nor receive tithes.

1st. The dedication of them is grossly superstitious, and I think protested against by most, unless such as love to suck the sweets of other men’s labour, being dedicated and given by king Ethelwolf, about 855, to God and St. Mary, for the redemption of his own soul, with the souls of his ancestors; in the consideration whereof, the clergy were to sing a certain number of masses for the king and his nobles.

2nd. It is already granted by me, that we must render to Cæsar the things that are Cæsar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s. And I promise thee, I shall be both ready and willing to pay the tenth of my increase unto God, when I am satisfied he requires it of me; or unto them he shall appoint, when I am satisfied he has appointed them, as he did the tribe of Levi; but for me to pay tithe to a man, claiming it as a minister of God, when I know that no such thing is required of me, tithe being no Gospel maintenance that I can understand, it might justly be said unto me, “Who has required this of thy hands?” Yet, if tithe be compelled from me by a human law, I cannot help that, nor resist the force of that demand by argument from Scripture; therefore, being persuaded that God requires of me no such thing as the payment of tithes, but that I am called to protest against all superstition and idolatry, and the law of tithes plainly appearing to me to be such, I cannot, with a safe conscience, actively comply therewith, but choose rather to please God than man, although it may be to my disadvantage in this world, yet by so doing I hope for future gain.

3d. And again, tithes are required to be paid as a religious act: viz. “to God and holy church;” and I am persuaded that God requires no such thing, therefore I cannot pay them with a safe conscience, being a Protestant against that which I call popery, not in word and tongue only, but in deed and truth also.

Lastly. Tithes are not required by the Gospel, that I can understand. If thou canst make it out, please to do it, for it is clear to me, that Christ came to finish and put an end to that law which required tithes, as well as to the priesthood supported by them; therefore to continue in the practice of tithing, is in effect, “denying that Christ is come in the flesh to put an end to them,” according to Scripture and the practice of former times; for which reason I think an active compliance with the law for tithes is sin, and in my opinion, he that payeth and he that receiveth, are equally culpable in God’s sight; for which cause we can neither receive nor pay, as this deed of settlement will prove, and more instances of the like kind might be produced from sundry parts of the nation; a plain demonstration, that as we cannot pay tithes, neither can we receive them, when they are as legal a property to us as they are to you.

I could say more, but what is said may perhaps be tedious, and thought impertinent, therefore for the present this shall suffice.

To conclude thou art pleased to give me thy resolution, viz: to have what thou calls thy right; and if I could think it was so too, we should soon reconcile this matter.

Thou adds, “If I am willing to live peaceably,” (I desire no other than a peaceable living,) “thou wilt be as moderate as I can expect.” But it seems an odd way of showing thy moderation, to employ an attorney; for thou adds, “for that purpose thou hast referred the matter to Mr. Smith, to do as he thinks fit,” and that may not perhaps be the best way to show thy moderation; however, be that as it will, I must tell thee, that what I cannot directly pay, for the reasons aforesaid, I cannot order or allow another indirectly to pay for me; for although I might bribe my conscience, as the chief priests did the soldiers, and lull it asleep in such hypocrisy, yet an awakening time will come, when every thought, with every secret thing, will be brought to light, and appear as it is.

This with due respects from him who shall always be ready and willing to serve thee and thine, in anything I can with a safe conscience, and in any office of love mayest command Thy friend and neighbour,

Samuel Bownas.

These letters were exchanged between us some weeks before I was made a prisoner, and whether they might soften him or not, I dare not say; but he was very uneasy while I was in prison, and, as I was informed, told his attorney and his wife, if he lost his debt, he could not keep me there.

This storm being blown over I enjoyed quietness, save that I was persecuted for church-rates, small tithes, &c, for the parson would not let his dues, as he called them, run on again in arrears, but would take it in kind every year, so he never had me before a justice again, but if he could not have it in one thing, would take another.…

In a year or two after [my return from a subsequent trip], my wife was taken with a lingering disorder, for recovering her out of which, I applied myself to several doctors, but all in vain, for she continued wasting more than two years and eight months, growing weaker apace a few weeks before she died, which was in the . She died in a sweet frame, often saying nothing troubled her, but that she was so easily deceived about the parson’s tithe, which being done in ignorance, not designedly, she was the more easy about it.

From: Evans, William & Evans, Thomas The Friend’s Library: Comprising Journals, Doctrinal Treatises, and Other Writings of Members of the Religious Society of Friends Volume Ⅲ, Philadelphia: Joseph Rakestraw, , pages 42–48.