In his work “A Concise History of the United Society of Believers called Shakers”, Elder Charles Edson Robinson describes the nine cardinal virtues of Shakerism:
1. Purity in mind and body-a virgin life.
2. Honesty and integrity of purpose in all words and transactions.
3. Humanity and kindness to both friend and foe.
4. Diligence in business, thus serving the Lord. Labor for all, according to strength and ability, genius and circumstances. Industrious, but not slavish; that all may be busy, peaceable and happy.
5. Prudence and economy, temperance and frugality, without parsimony (unwilling to use resources).
6. Absolute freedom from debt, owing no man anything but love and good-will.
7. Education of children in scriptural, secular, and scientific knowledge.
8. A united interest in all things-more comprehensive than the selfish relations of husband, wife, and children-the mutual love and unity of kindred spirits, the greatest and best demonstration of practical love.
9. Ample provision for all in health, sickness and old age; a perfect equality-one household, one faith, practicing every virtue, shunning all vice.
Elder Charles declares in his description of these virtues; “…indeed, if it were not for the religious element, the communistic feature would prove a failure, as have all other attempts in this direction which have neglected to eliminate selfishness…” (Edson, 32).
These virtues and beliefs were fundamental to the formation and survival of Shaker Communal life, physical evidence of the resulting longevity of these principles can be found in the remaining buildings and artifacts at the Hancock Shaker Village.