Hicksites

In 1827-28 a number of Quakers, following the preaching of Elias Hicks (1748-1830), withdrew from the orthodox Society of Friends and established their own yearly meetings. Hicks, an eloquent preacher and social crusader who had attacked such institutions as slavery, contended that man was capable of saving himself, and described the Bible and church dogma as merely functional but not authoritative. This group included those who had been influenced by Unitarianism, those who wished to resist the attempt by evangelical Quakers to unite all yearly meetings and create written doctrine, and those who believed inner experience was primary. Out of the schism, which generally included urban, progressive Quakers, came increased social activism. In 1902 the seven yearly meetings claiming Hicksite loyalties formed their own confederation, the Friends General Conference, to provide mutual help, but not coercion, for the “liberal, silent” meetings. In recent years they have cooperated with orthodox Friends.