Quaker Studies

‘The Quakers Tea Table Overturned’: An Eighteenth-Century Moral Satire*

Quaker Studies (2013), 17, (2), 244–264.

Abstract

‘The Quakers Tea Table Overturned’ is a long unpublished satirical poem, dated 1717, preserved in an eighteenth-century manuscript in Leeds University Library. No other copy is known. On the title-page the author is said to be ‘A Lover of the Ancient plainness & simplicity of that People’, i.e. Quakers. The article provides an introduction to the poem—which possesses literary and linguistic as well as historical interest—together with discussion of its Yorkshire-born author and of the background to its composition. The author’s overriding concern is to convey his strongly held view that tea parties, fashionable in the early eighteenth century, are something that young Quaker women should not be indulging in, for moral reasons. He is revealed to be John Sutcliffe of Clitheroe (1677–1726), a Quaker apothecary.

‘The Quakers Tea Table Overturned’: An Eighteenth-Century Moral Satire*

Abstract

‘The Quakers Tea Table Overturned’ is a long unpublished satirical poem, dated 1717, preserved in an eighteenth-century manuscript in Leeds University Library. No other copy is known. On the title-page the author is said to be ‘A Lover of the Ancient plainness & simplicity of that People’, i.e. Quakers. The article provides an introduction to the poem—which possesses literary and linguistic as well as historical interest—together with discussion of its Yorkshire-born author and of the background to its composition. The author’s overriding concern is to convey his strongly held view that tea parties, fashionable in the early eighteenth century, are something that young Quaker women should not be indulging in, for moral reasons. He is revealed to be John Sutcliffe of Clitheroe (1677–1726), a Quaker apothecary.


Details

Author details

Pickering, Oliver