“AMONG QUAKER WOMEN OF HER DAY, HUME HAD AN EXTRAORDINARY KNOWLEDGE OF THE ARTS, LITERATURE AND THEOLOGY”: RARE FIRST EDITION OF HUME’S EXHORTATION, PHILADELPHIA, 1747, IN CONTEMPORARY CALF
(QUAKERS) H[UME], S[ophia]. An Exhortation to the Inhabitants Of the Province of South-Carolina… Philadelphia: Printed by William Bradford, . Octavo, contemporary brown calf rebacked with original spine laid down, raised bands. Housed in a custom chemise and clamshell box. $12,500.
Very rare first edition of this pioneering and electrifying work by Quaker minister Sophia Hume, famed across England and America for her eloquence, printed with the aid of Philadelphia Quakers and issued by the publishing house of William Bradford, who arrived in America with William Penn in 1682 and whose firm published Paine’s Common Sense, scarce in contemporary calf.
Sophia Hume, born in South Carolina, was the granddaughter of Mary Fisher, one of the first Quakers to preach in New England. Raised Anglican, Hume moved to England where she converted and joined the Society of Friends. "Like many other women converted during the Great Awakening around 1740, she was accused of 'Delusion' and 'religious Madness.' But despite the disapproval of her children and former friends, she traveled extensively for more than 30 years, writing and preaching both in England and the colonies" (Moynihan et al, Second to None: I). At that time Quaker "women's participation in the ministry, traditionally a masculine prerogative, sprang from Quaker belief in both genders' capacity to be guided by the Holy Spirit in inspired preaching… Long before 19th-century women reformers pioneered in the secular realm, challenging social convention as females delivering public lectures, Quaker women ministers in colonial America were routinely speaking in public before 'mixed audiences' (composed of both men and women)" (Larson, Daughters of Light, 4, 10). Hume had returned to Charleston in the late 1740s where, "to spread her message further, she wrote The Exhortation… and, to get it printed quickly, took the manuscript to Philadelphia," arriving there in June 1747 (Boyer, Notable American Women, 234). She "preached at a number of Friends' Meetings during the summer months and left for London in late October. In the interim the Meeting of the Society of Friends in Philadelphia promoted a subscription 'for defraying the charges of printing our frd Sophia Hume's book" (Miller 445). "Among Quaker women of her day, Hume had an extraordinary knowledge of the arts, literature and theology… [The Exhortation] conveyed a fairly simple appeal for repentance and reformation, its strength derived from Hume's lifelong gift for strong phrases and intense, incantational prose" (Boyer, 234-5). With 14-stanza "Divine Love Commemorated" at rear. Sabin 33780. See Evans 5974; 6166. Early owner ink signatures to front free endpaper.
Some foxing and minor embrowning to text. Contemporary calf covers nicely restored. An extremely good copy.