1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Hicks, Elias

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HICKS, ELIAS (1748–1830), American Quaker, was born in Hempstead township, Long Island, on the 19th of March 1748. His parents were Friends, but he took little interest in religion until he was about twenty; soon after that time he gave up the carpenter’s trade, to which he had been apprenticed when seventeen, and became a farmer. By 1775 he had “openings leading to the ministry” and was “deeply engaged for the right administration of discipline and order in the church,” and in 1779 he first set out on his itinerant preaching tours between Vermont and Maryland. He attacked slavery, even when preaching in Maryland; wrote Observations on the Slavery of the Africans and their Descendants (1811); and was influential in procuring the passage (in 1817) of the act declaring free after 1827 all negroes born in New York and not freed by the Act of 1799. He died at Jericho, Long Island, on the 27th of February 1830. His preaching was practical rather than doctrinal and he was heartily opposed to any set creed; hence his successful opposition at the Baltimore yearly meeting of 1817 to the proposed creed which would make the Society in America approach the position of the English Friends by definite doctrinal statements. His Doctrinal Epistle (1824) stated his position, and a break ensued in 1827–1828, Hicks’s followers, who call themselves the “Liberal Branch,” being called “Hicksites” by the “Orthodox” party, which they for a time outnumbered. The village of Hicksville, in Nassau County, New York, 15 m. E. of Jamaica, lies in the centre of the Quaker district of Long Island and was named in honour of Elias Hicks.

See A Series of Extemporaneous Discourses ... by Elias Hicks (Philadelphia, 1825); The Journal of the Life and Labors of Elias Hicks (Philadelphia, 1828), and his Letters (Philadelphia, 1834).