The Quakerism Movement

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Quakerism began as a loose movement of radical dissenters in the mid-17th Century. They were undoubtedly a revolutionary and unsettling movement when they first started. They rejected scripture, the sacraments, hierarchy and the Church of England. Many Acts were passed to ensure that they were ostracised from society and making their worship illegal and punishable with fines and imprisonment. Early on in their development they were a nebulous and individualistic movement but several high profile schisms within the movement led to an effort to regain control of Quakerism through various measures; yearly epistles full of advice for Friends and the adoption of a loose hierarchy in the form of Elders, Clerks and Overseers. This attempt to gain control of the movement gained pace in the eighteenth century despite a concerted movement towards the laws against Quakers and other nonconformists being repealed and relaxed. Some historians argue that by the 18th Century, when Wild Oats was written, the Quakers had become almost sect-like: ‘By mid eighteenth century, the term ‘sect’ could rightly be applied to the Society of Friends [Quakers]. The organisation showed many of the hallmarks: supervision of ministry, censorship, limitation of individual activity, strict marriage discipline, endogamy,…show more content…
He trained as an artist, but at the age of twenty-seven his sight began to deteriorate (he traced the source of the problem to falling into the River Liffey and catching a chill in his youth). After a two year trip to London, where he became an admirer of playwright and director David Garrick, he turned instead to acting and writing plays for the Dublin and London stages. As he said, ‘a man can compose with his pen in the hand of an amanuensis [typist]; but the pencil he must hold in his own hand’. O'Keeffe wrote his first play The She Gallant when he was twenty, and it was performed in Dublin at the Smock Alley
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