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12 > Page 12 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

12 If however the committee should think it advisable now to take any step towards an investigation, he suggested the expediency of appointing a committee to meet at Enfield, and there have a full hearing of the petitioners and remon- strants. He thought such a committee by a personal ex- amination on the ground would more probably ascertain the facts and obtain a correct view of the case than could reasonably be expected here. To this measure he believed the Shakers themselves ought not to object, and if they were indeed desirous of an investigation, they would not object. Such a course would be satisfactory to the petition- ers and to thbepublic, and he hoped the committee would be induced to recommend its adoption to the House. Mr. Parker, in behalf of the remonstrants, said it certain- ly was not their wish to shun any investigation of their con- cerns, their character or their conduct either towards each other, or towards the world; but they do not think that they should be kept from day to day and from year to year in attendance upon the legislature, or any other tribunal, to answer and disprove the unfounded charges of those who knew nothing about them, and nothing of the matters of which they complain. The committee has been told, with an emphasis, that the petitioners are numerous and respectable, and that there are fifty-six names attached to one of the petitions. I care not said he, whether there are fifty-six or fifty-six hundred.- Nothing in this case, is proved by numbers. As many might be procured to sign a petition that the devil should be appointed the keeper of men's consciences, or for any other purpose equally absurd. These petitions are often got up without cause, and signed without consideration. It is well known that this is not the first time of exhibit-. ing complaints to the legislature against the Shakers. A few years ago Mary Dyer called them here to answer to the charges of high crimes and misdemeanors, which she brought against them. It was then thought proper that a full investigation of their internal police should be made; and it was made. A Committee was appointed, and Mary was heard. The result was the acquittal of the Society, and their triumph over the slanderer. But the slanders are re- vived, and are the ground work of the petitions which are referred to you. These petitions contain nothing new. It is complained that the Shakers are exempted from mi- litary duty. This exemption is not of recent origin. His