Petition of John Whitbey and others to the Legislature.

  WE, the undersigned petitioners, feeling ourselves much
aggrieved by the fraudulent conduct of those who hold the
reins of government in a society of people called Shakers,
residing at Pleasant Hill, Mercer county, do respectfully
implore your honorable body to take our case into consid-
eration, and if it is not inconsistent with the powers con-
fided to you by the Constitution, we humbly pray that you
may devise, in your wisdom, some plan whereby our dis-
tresses may be alleviated.
   Your petitioners do solemnly declare, that some years
previous to this, from honest and conscientious views, they
were induced to unite themselves to that Society on certain
principles which they considered were best calculated to
promote their happiness. We were told by them that as
the work of their institution was progressive in conse-
quence of its members increasing in knowledge and virtue,
they had no creed or articles of faith, neither aily written
laws by which their Society was governed. That no
coercive or arbitrary measures were ever taken in the
government of this Society-that conscience was entirely
free, that all required of each individual was always to
act honestly according to that degree of faith which be
or she should at any time possess. And that usurpation
of authority over the conscience, anmong them was never
known.   That each individual had an indefeasible and
equal right to all property belonging to the Society, and
.that no member was ever expelled from the Society for
any cause whatever. The above stated conditions, with
others of the same import, we considered to be sufficiently
liberal, and when we compared them with their written