Anarchy of the Ranters. WITH: Epistle to... Quakers

Benjamin FRANKLIN   |   Robert BARCLAY

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Item#: 100063 price:$4,800.00

PRINTED IN 1757 BY BENJAMIN FRANKLIN AND DAVID HALL, EXCEPTIONALLY SCARCE FIRST AMERICAN EDITION OF TWO MAJOR QUAKER WORKS IN ONE VOLUME, BARCLAY’S ANARCHY OF THE RANTERS (1676)—“THE MOST IMPORTANT AND IMPRESSIVE OF QUAKER MANIFESTOS”—WITH PIKE’S EPISTLE (1726), RARE IN CONTEMPORARY SHEEP BOARDS

(FRANKLIN PRINTING) BARCLAY, Robert. The Anarchy of the Ranters. BOUND WITH: PIKE, Joseph. An Epistle to the National Meeting of Friends in Dublin. Philadelphia: Reprinted, and Sold by B. Franklin, and D. Hall, 1757. Small octavo (4-1/2 by 7 inches), contemporary full brown speckled sheep rebacked, red morocco spine label; pp. viii, 111, (1); (2), 23, (1). $4800.

First American edition of this collection of two key Quaker works, published by the printing firm of Benjamin Franklin and David Hall “on behalf of the Society of Friends” (Miller 655), featuring Scottish-born Barclay’s influential Treatise on Christian Discipline, issued under its original title of Anarchy of the Ranters (1676)—“one of the most impressive theological writings of the century”—with An Epistle (1726) by Irish-born Quaker Pike, rare in contemporary sheep boards.

By the mid 1750s Benjamin Franklin had become a member of the Pennsylvania Assembly, effectively beginning his career in revolutionary politics and furthering his position, with David Hall, as a preeminent printer in the colony. The Assembly was then “dominated by Quakers, who… were often at odds with the family of the Proprietors”— thereby sharing much of Franklin’s growing dispute with the Penns over the Assembly’s powers (Isaacson, 154). This scarce publication of two major Quaker works, printed by Franklin and Hall “on behalf of the Society of Friends,” speaks to the political ties between Franklin and the Quakers, as well as the signal importance of these writings (Miller 655). Authored by Scottish-born Robert Barclay, Anarchy was first published in Latin in 1676 and in English in 1678 (as A Treatise on Christian Discipline). It remains “one of the earliest formal statements of the position of the Society of Friends, and in many ways it remains the most important and impressive of Quaker manifestos. It stands in its own right, however, as one of the major theological works of an age much given to theological writing” (Magill, Masterpieces, 527).

Barclay, who served from 1682-88 as governor of East Jersey, a colony within present-day New Jersey, here refutes attacks on Quaker practices by contrasting “the internal government of the Quakers with the anarchy of the Ranters [radicals during the English Civil War], and the hierarchy of the Romanists.” Initially controversial, Barclay’s Anarchy soon “rose into such favor among the Society of Friends, that its title was changed, at one of its yearly meetings, to A Treatise on Christian Discipline (1678) and it became the standard authority” (Penny Cyclopaedia of the Society III:442). To critic Leslie Stephen, this work is “one of the most impressive theological writings of the century.” Accompanying Barclay’s Anarchy is Irish Quaker Joseph Pike’s Epistle to the National Meeting of Friends in Dublin. Pike, like Barclay, had accompanied William Penn on a European trip and was well known to Quaker founder George Fox, who described Pike as “zealous for truth, and sharp against apostates” (Leadbeater, Biographical Notices, 174). The year this work was published, Franklin would depart Philadelphia for London in early April, after a meeting with Hall in which he “drew a red line over all such accounts in this book, as are either settled or not like to be recovered” (Hawke, 158). Pike’s Epistle, also known as Dress and Worldly Compliance, first appeared in Dublin in 1726: in an edition similarly collected with Barclay’s Anarchy. Franklin and Hall also published each work in separate editions the same year, no priority established. As issued with separate title pages showing the same imprint, separate pagination and continuous signatures. Miller 655. Campbell 591. Evans 8008. Allibone I:117-20. Lowndes, 113. See Evans 7840, 11661; Sabin 3363, 62825; Hildeburn 1516; Wing B718, B720. OCLC lists 38 copies. Faint early owner signatures, dated 1790, of William Hargraves: on Anarchy title page and final text leaf of Epistle.

Text generally fresh with light expert cleaning to first dozen leaves, expertly repaired closed tear to A2 minimally affecting text, expert restoration to contemporary sheep boards.

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