"THAT HE MIGHT BE THE MEANS OF EXCITING AMONG HIS COUNTRYMEN AN ENERGETIC BENEVOLENCE TOWARD THIS DESPISED PEOPLE": THE GIPSIES' ADVOCATE, 1831 FIRST EDITION
CRABB, James. The Gipsies' Advocate; Or, Observations On The Origin, Character, Manners, And Habits Of The English Gipsies: To Which Are Added, Many Interesting Anecdotes, On The Success That Has Attended The Plans Of Several Benevolent Individuals, Who Anxiously Desire Their Conversion To God. London: Seeley et al., 1831. Tall 12mo, contemporary full brown cloth respined. $850.
First edition of this first-hand account of the lives and welfare of English Gypsies.
Crabb (1774-1851), a Methodist preacher, "championed the more vulnerable groups in society… His own interest in Gypsies was awakened in the spring of 1827, in a courtroom where two horse thieves were sentenced to the death penalty. The judge had added that for one of the pair, a Gypsy, there was no hope for clemency, since by his very origin he was destined for the gallows. Once outside Crabb engaged in conversation with the Gypsy's wife, soon to be a widow. She and her small child had made a deep impression on him… In November of that same year he founded the Southampton Committee, but he had also assumed custody of one of the children of the hanged Gypsy, soon to be followed by a second one… He envisioned a network of philanthropic societies with a Christian foundation… but he had [little] success… Crabb set out each summer to visit Gypsies in the districts of Kent, Sussex, and Surrey where they found work picking hops. For days at a time he kept them company and in the evenings he talked to them at length about the Gospels… To all Christians… who were not of Gypsy descent he pointed out their duty to concern themselves with the fate of these wretched of the earth… but with [his] death… his initiative died as well… In practice it turned out that most clergymen were not really prepared to perform missionary work in their own back yard" (Willems, In Search of the True Gypsy, 145-149). With printed notice on front pastedown (as issued): "The profits of The Gipsies' Advocate will be appropriated to the funds of the 'Southampton Committee for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Gipsies'…" Bibliography and errata at end.
Interior clean. Contemporary polished cloth boards with light expert restoration.