A committee reported “that having met, and entered into a solemn consideration of the subject, they were of the mind that a useful alteration might be made in the query referred to; yet apprehending some further Christian endeavors in labouring with such who continue in possession of slaves should be first promoted, by which means the eyes of Friends may be more clearly opened to behold the iniquity of the practice of detaining our fellow creatures in bondage, and a disposition to set such free who are arrived to mature age; and when the labour is performed and report made to the meeting, the meeting may be better capable of determining what further step to take in this affair, which hath given so much concern to faithful Friends, and that in the meantime it should be enforced upon Friends that have them in possession, to treat them with tenderness; impress God’s fear on their minds; promote their attending places of religious worship; and give such as are young, so much learning, that they may be capable of reading.
“Are Friends clear of importing, buying, or any ways disposing of negroes or slaves; and do they use those well who are under their care, and not in circumstances, through nonage or incapacity, to be set at liberty? And do they give those that are young such an education as becomes Christians; and are the others encouraged in a religious and virtuous life? Are all set at liberty that are of age, capacity, and ability suitable for freedom?”—Ibid., pp. 45,46.
“Are Friends clear of importing or buying negroes to trade on; and do they use those well which they are possessed of by inheritance or otherwise, endeavoring to train them in the principles of the Christian religion?”
The meeting of 1773 recommended to Friends, “seriously to consider the circumstances of these poor people, and the obligation we are under to discharge our religious duties to them, which being disinterestedly pursued, will lead the professor to Truth, to advise and assist them on all occasions, particularly in promoting their instruction in the principles of the Christian religion, and the pious education of their children; also to advise them in their worldly concerns, as occasions offer; and it advised that Friends of judgment and experience may be nominated for this necessary service, it being the solid sense of this meeting, that we, of the present generation, are under strong obligations to express our love and concern for the offspring of those people, who, by their labours, have greatly contributed toward the cultivation of these colonies, under the afflictive disadvantage of enduring a hard bondage; and many amongst us are enjoying the benefit of their toil.”—Ibid., pp. 51, 52, and 54.