Samuel Bettle, Jr., a Quaker minister from Philadelphia, spent several weeks during the summer of 1841 traveling between the isolated Quaker meetings scattered through the counties of central Pennsylvania. An Orthodox Quaker and probably the son of the clerk of the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting of the same name, Bettle's mission involved visiting with the families of Friends, inquiring into the state of their meetings, and distributing tracts such as the journals of John Woolman and George Fox. In the wake of the disruptions affecting the Society following the Hicksite schism, Bettle was firm in opposing the "unchristian doctrines of Elias Hicks" and carefully noted those meetings in which separations had occurred or where he found Friends "a little wavering" (vol. 1: 1841 July 27). In one instance, he noted the case of a woman who had broken her arm on the way to attend a Hicksite meeting, and two others there who appeared with their arms in splints (1841 July 28 and August 4). Unfortunately, his sparse commentary makes his opinions on the matter somewhat difficult to interpret.
In 1860, Bettle represented the Society in a mission to Wisconsin to meet with Christianized Indians near Green Bay. The Oneidas, along with a small number of Stockbridge and Menominee Indians, had contacted the Society following a season of crop failure and disease because of the "good will felt by our ancestors to them", and Bettle appears to have been empowered to deliver food and seed and to act as an intermediary between the Indians and the government. Bettle was greeted warmly by the Oneidas, including Jacob Cornelius, head of the Orchard Party, though Daniel Bread, a chief of the First Christians, appears to have remained somewhat reserved (Vol. 3: 1860 June 5). Cornelius and Bread, along with another Christian, Adam Swamp, had been signatories on the Treaty of 1838 that settled the Oneidas near Green Bay and provided them with annuities.
After a general meeting which also included Episcopalian missionaries and David Lewis, a Methodist who ran a school for the Oneidas, Bettle agreed to provide the Oneidas with relief, there followed a careful exchange of sentiments between the Indians and Quakers. As Bettle described it:
"The Interpreter announced that all were desired to settle into silence for religious retirement & When a few stood up with the language God is a spirit & with the assurance the God is no respecter of persons but has made of one blood all families & nations of men there was profound silence & earnest attention those from outside having been gathered in. The govt interpreter gave way to a slender young man of much gravity, who in an appropriate manner delivered to the people by [illeg.] what was [illeg.]. The people were reminded that God so loved the world the [sic] He gave his only begotten son &c & all were invited & [illeg.] to repent & obey the gospel we were reminded, that however complexions may differ we & all men were of one blood & that Christ died for all men & that his free grace visited all men for Christ is not only the Atonement for the sins of the whole world but the light of the world & reproves the evil in our hearts & approves & justify [sic] & sanctifies by his Good Spirit..." (3: 1860 June 5)
As much as anything, the obvious Orthodox/Gurneyite influence in this passage -- the emphasis upon the importance of the conversion experience, the doctrine of Atonement, and of the divinity of Christ -- may be a reflection of Bettle's spiritual optimism or the influence of the Methodist clergy, but as Bettle was preparing to depart, one Oneida man expressed his sincere, religiously motivated gratitude, saying that the Quakers "had furnished them not only with bread for their bodies but had taken amongst them the bread of life whereby both souls & body had been refreshed & would be benefitted" (3: 1860 June 6).