existing; and whether we have enjoyed the superior pri-
viliges of which your petitioners so loudly complain; as it
is manifest that the Society has not been any expense to
the town for more than forty years.
Secondly; They state that " husbands are taught by
Shaker doctrines to hate their wives," c.
As this charge stands in a religious point of view, we
have no other appeal than to the doctrine of Jesus Christ as
recorded in the sacred scriptures of the new testament;
which is considered the test for all christians. There we
find that Christ inculcated the principles of humanity, love,
and good will to all mankind; to this we strictly adhere,
as before stated, with regard to married people, who are
required to treat each other with christian kindness. But
as Christ said "s a man's foes should be those of his own
household ;" should this be the case, and unkind and cruel
treatment arise in consequence of any receiving the faith of
said United Society, as complained of in the aforesaid peti-
tion, it is always on the side of the unbeliever; for there
have been several instances that husbands have disinherited
their wives, and parents their children, in consequence of
their religious faith, leaving them wholly dependent upon
the charity of said Society, for their support. But it was
never known that husbands or parents belonging to said
Society, ever disinherited their wives or children, on ac-
count of their religious faith.
Thirdly; They think it capable of proof, " that the Sha-
kers labor to instil into the minds of the children under
their care, that many people out of their Society, live in
criminal practices at pleasure," c.
Answer; By this they would insinuate that it disqualified
young minds from making a sober and rational choice whe-
ther to continue with or to leave our Society. This we po-
sitively deny; for we consider there could be nothing that
would have a more direct tendency to prepare them to leave
our Society, than to instil into their minds, that they, or
any others, could live in promiscuous lewdness or criminal
pleasure without prohibition or rebuke.
For it is evident that the minds of children are naturally
enough inclined to evil, without any additional persuasion
being instilled into them, or the idea that they can live in
it with impunity.
We have too much regard for the present and future hap-
piness of our youth and childroii, to fill their minds with