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15 > Page 15 of Account of some of the proceedings of the legislatures of the states of Kentucky and New Hampshire, --1828 -- in relation to the people called Shakers

15 feelings, and injurious to their interests, they -ask no favor (on that account. They will at all times and at any ex- pense yield submission to the constituted authorities, and obey their call; but theydo expect to be protetecd fromn persecution and shielded from oppression. The petitioners request if a postponement can be had on no other terms, that you would recommend the appoint- ment of a committee to visit the Shakers at Enfield, and there go into an examination and hearing of these com- plaints. What can be the object of this proposal' It is simply delay. No good could be effected by the measure proposed. A committee might view their well cultivated firms and their neat and peaceful habitations, without see- ing in either any evidence to support these complaints, or prove the guilt of the respondents. If the charges are to be proved at all, they must be proved, as has been stated to you by living and intelligent witnesses, and these wit- ivesses may as well be examined here before a committee of the Legislature, and in the presence of the members, as in any other place. The Shakers are desirous that the hearing may proceed. Although not so well prepared as they wish, to repel the accusations of their enemies, they have no doubt of being able to satisfy you that these accusations are unfqunded, and that there is nothing in their peculiar opinions, doc- trines or practices which can justify or induce the Legis- lature to become the keepers of their consciences or the SRecial guaardians of their property. Mr. Willis gave to the committee a brief history of the oriain and progress of .the petitions and of the reasons which had prevented the petitioners attending at this time to prove their complaints. He said that although there bad for many years been causes of complaint against the Shakers, they would not probably at this time have been laid before the Legislature, had not new cases recently occurred to excite the public mind and deepen the feeling upon this subject. The petitioners were inot such men as would lend their names to any applicant or any petition without cause or consideration. They expressed the senti- iilent of the public, and were entitled, as he believed, to a fair hearing. On the petition which was presented last June no order of notice had issued, and at the comnmence- ment of tlhis session it was altogether uncertain whvat direc- 6on would be given to that and the other petitions. After