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PREFACE. As a full and impartial account of the people called Shakers, has never yet been prefented to the publick, although the attention and inquiry of a large portion of the community, has been excited to an unufual degree, by their novel appear- ance and unexpec1ed increafe, the author of the following work, has been prevailed upon to give the world the refult of his ex- perience and inveffigation among them. He is confident, that their rife, tenets, and praitices are more fizigular (the prefent Rate of the world, and gencral information of mankind being taken into confideration) than thofe of any religious felt which has taken its rife in the chriftian world fince the firft promulga- tion of the gofpel. The following correfpondence which took, place between the author and the church, when the enfuing publication was near- ly finiffied, will, I doubt not, be accepted as being properly adapted for a prefatory introduction. To the Ckurcb called Stakers. FRIENDS, I think proper to give you the following information, viz. fince I withdrew from your fociety, I have written for pu-b. lication, and have now nearly finifhed, an account of my life and experience among you.; in which I have given a ftatement of the many converfations we have had refpefing your faith. dotrines, and practices, Nith the moft authentick account of the rife of the church that can be obtained. I feel not, and therefore write not as an enemy; but merely give an impartial flatement according to the beft of my ability and knowledge; which knowledge, I have fpared no pains nor expence to obtain from every credible fourcc of information. I wifli to publifli nothing but what is firiatly the truth; and I have fludioufly avoided ufing one word that would have a ten- dency to mifreprefent, or convey a wrong idea. Notwithftanding, that there may be no room left for undue animadverfions, I hereby make you the offer, if you pleafe to axckt it.t of cxawining the work, in manufcript, prcvious to-