Although the Toleration Act (1689) eased the position of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) in many ways, the path towards full tolerance and acceptance remained rough. Their refusal to take oaths of allegiance meant that another expedient to demonstrate loyalty had to be found. Likewise, the refusal to pay tithes or to serve in the militia were also areas of contention. In an attempt to distance themselves from radical seventeenth-century associations, they sought to develop frameworks to provide for the internal regulation of the behaviour of their members. A number of popular customs, such as drinking and gambling, were regarded as inappropriate and there was a growing emphasis on the importance of marrying within the community. Although the enforcement of this code had an impact on the size of the membership, from the middle of the eighteenth century, Friends were increasingly involved in ‘respectable’ business and often did well within this context.
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