All the persons mentioned in this paper belonged to the Religious Society of Friends, often called Quakers, I will give a few words to their place in the Colony of Rhode Island. From the time of their first appearance they were treated by Roger Williams as in no other place. He was not in sympathy with the message they brought, he was not a mystic and had no belief in personal revelations. But unlike most of his contemporaries, he was willing to allow others to try their faith undisturbed. So it happened that "this seed became a great tree, for this western shore of Narragansett Bay proved a good soil for the message of the Inward Light, and produced many powerful ministers and intellectual leaders of the Society." In Rhode Island they were for more than a hundred years continually in office, and for thirty-six terms the Governorship of the Colony was occupied by members of the Society. Amelia Mott Gommere, in The Quaker in the Forum, says: "The town [Newport] at this period was the metropolis of the country swarming with officers of the British Navy, travellers from all parts of the world, mariners who had become prosperous merchants-often in the slave trade, and sometimes by privateering-Huguenot refugees, and representatives of all faiths. The Quakers came inevitably into contact with many varieties and types of thought, and nowhere has it ever been possible to find a more delightful circle of highly educated and intelligent Quakers than at Newport before the Revolution." As every story has to have a hero, we will take for the central figure of this one, Thomas Robinson, called for distinction, by his contemporaries, "Quaker Tom."
Wood, Anna Wharton
"The Robinson Family and their Correspondence with the Vicomte and Vicomtesse de Noailles -- A Paper Read before the Society on August 21, 1922,"
Newport History: Vol. 72
, Article 4.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.salve.edu/newporthistory/vol72/iss249/4