Lay, Benjamin

Lay, Benjamin an eccentric philanthropist, was born at Colchester, in England, in 1681, and settled in Barbadoes in 1710, but became obnoxious to the people by his abolition principles, came to the United States, and settled at Abington, Pennsylvania. He was one of the earliest and most zealous opponents of slavery in the United States, and the coadjutor of Franklin and Benezet. He was originally a member of the Society of Friends, but so decidedly opposed was he to the practice of slaveholding then prevalent among them (e.g. he resolutely refused to partake of any food or wear any clothing which was wholly or in part produced by the labor of slaves) that he was obliged to leave the society in 1717. Before his death (in 1760), however, he had the pleasure of seeing his society take a decided stand against this abominable institution. His opposition to slavery was noticeable on every public occasion where he had any opportunity to manifest his disapprobation. He always expressed himself in strong terms, and sometimes resorted to methods for enforcing his arguments that evinced great eccentricity. Says Janney (3:246): "He came into the yearly meeting with a bladder filled with blood in one hand and a sword in the other. He ran the sword through the bladder, and sprinkled the blood on several Friends, declaring that so the sword would be sheathed in the bowels of the nation if they did not leave off oppressing the negroes." In 1737 he wrote a treatise entitled All Slave-keepers that keep the Innocent in Bondage Apostates, which was published by Franklin. See Janney, Hist. of the Friends, 3:245. (J.H.W.)

Topical Outlines Nave's Bible Topics International Standard Bible Encyclopedia Online King James Bible King James Dictionary

Verse reference tagging and popups powered by VerseClick™.