Letter addressed by Benjamin Bates (bearer of the memorial) to a Member of the Legislature, ca. 1812.
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A 14-page manuscript with the caption title “The following Letter was addressed by Benjamin Bates (bearer of the memorial) to a Member of the Legislature”. The letter is a personal appeal made to a specific member of the Virginia Legislature, asking that the Quakers be excluded from serving in the military or paying a penalty. The letter often accompanied a Memorial and Petition of the Religious Society of Friends (commonly called Quakers) submitted to the Virginia Legislature, asking that they be exempted from military service or from paying a penalty for refusal to serve in the military, on the grounds that it conflicted with their pacifist religious beliefs. This was during the outset of the War of 1812 in the United States, where the failure of a national military draft prompted several states to recruit independently. Both documents were published in the Georgetown newspaper the Federal Republican on May 31, 1813.