Quakers in the British Atlantic World, c.1660-1800
Title Details

218 Pages

23.4 x 15.6 cm

22 line illus.

Series: People, Markets, Goods: Economies and Societies in History

Series Vol. Number: 18

Imprint: Boydell Press

Quakers in the British Atlantic World, c.1660-1800

by Esther Sahle

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  • Contents
  • Author
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Examines the two largest Quaker communities in the early modern British Atlantic World, and scrutinizes the role of Quaker merchants and the business ethics they followed.

The book studies the two largest Quaker communities in the early modern British Atlantic World, London and Philadelphia. It looks at the origins of the Society of Friends in mid seventeenth century England and follows its development into a well organised sect with a sophisticated organisational structure spreading across the Atlantic world. The book zooms in on the Quaker communities in these two important port cities, as well as their relationships with non-Quaker inhabitants. It scrutinizes the role of Quaker merchants and the business ethics they followed.

Drawing on many unpublished sources, the study is able to portray a mid-eighteenth-century crisis for the Quaker communities when sanctions for offences against the prevailing disciplines in business (fraud, debt, bankruptcy) and marriage increased dramatically. And yet these Quaker communities got likewise caught up in wider political developments across the British Empire. In the course of a series of conflicts affecting colonial Pennsylvania in the mid eighteenth century, the Society of Friends suffered grave reputational damage. The public in England and Pennsylvania began to perceive Quakers as a sect that put its own agenda and interest over the welfare of the colonial population and the Empire. In turn, these developments led to a "Quaker reformation" and Quaker identity became guided by new principles: honesty in business and religious marital endogamy. The book will be of interest to scholars and students of economic and Atlantic history, as well as Eighteenth-Century studies and religious history.
The Institutional Foundations of Pre-Modern Trade
The Society of Friends
The Quaker Communities of London and Philadelphia
Quaker Business Ethics
Quaker Discipline in Practice
The Quaker Reformation
London Friends and Honesty in Business
Trade and Debt in Philadelphia
Marital Endogamy
War and Political Crisis
Reformation and Reputation
Appendix I: Queries of the London Yearly Meeting
Appendix II: Philadelphia Meetings' Self-Condemnations
Bibliography
ESTHER SAHLE is a research associate at the Freie Universität Berlin. She holds an MSc in Global History and a PhD in Economic History from the London School of Economics.
"Esther Sahle's book is an insightful analysis of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Quaker communities in London and Philadelphia, especially Quaker merchants within those communities." H-NET REVIEWS
"Sahle takes up an old question: Why did Quakers in England and America prosper, in some cases amassing great wealth? . . . [Sahle] finds that . . . [Quakers] refused to tolerate anything that smacked of questionable business practices and whose moral standing was restored. Recommended." CHOICE

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Title Details

218 Pages

2.34 x 1.56 cm

22 line illus.

Series: People, Markets, Goods: Economies and Societies in History

Series Vol. Number: 18

Imprint: Boydell Press