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The Yearly Meeting is the autonomous decision making body of the Quakers. The London Yearly Meeting has been held regularly from 1672 until the present; Quakers in other countries have their own autonomous Yearly Meetings. This collection contains the official correspondence sent and received by the London Yearly Meeting, along with casual correspondence to and from other Quaker groups.
The collection is divided as follows:
Part 1, General Epistles 1681-1857, contains letters of general advice to Friends’ meetings. The epistles were sent out uniformly to all Friends groups and circulated in printed form. The two volumes published in 1858 form the most complete and convenient edition of these epistles, along with a historical introduction and an index.
Part 2, Epistles Sent 1681-1872, contains specific advice to Friends in America, the West Indies, and Europe. Early volumes include a few epistles to and from meetings of Friends in England.
Part 3, Epistles Received 1683-1879, form the other half of the correspondence between the London Yearly Meeting and other Quaker Yearly Meetings and groups.
Part 4, Letters to and from Philadelphia 1757-1857, consists of copies of the official correspondence between the executive committees in London and Philadelphia. These committees, known as Meeting for Sufferings, were responsible for business between the annual meetings. These letters touch on slavery, the colonial wars, and the Revolutionary war, as well as internal Quaker matters.
Part 5, Casual Correspondence 1785-1881, contains copies of letters and epistles mainly to and from overseas meetings and Quaker groups. They come from Denmark, Norway, France, Germany, Russia, America, India, and Australia. Issues covered include slavery and African emigration, conscientious objection to military service, and the emancipation of serfs in Russia.