"AN AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL MASTERPIECE RIVALED IN 18TH-CENTURY AMERICA ONLY BY THAT OF FRANKLIN": RARE 1776 EDITION OF JOHN WOOLMAN'S JOURNAL, FEATURING KEY ABOLITIONIST WORKS, INCLUDING SOME CONSIDERATIONS ON THE KEEPING OF NEGROES
WOOLMAN, John. A Journal of the Life, Gospel Labours, and Christian Experience of That Faithful Minister of Jesus Christ, John Woolman, Late of Mount-Holly, in the Province of New Jersey, North-America, to which are added, His Works, containing his last Epistle and other Writings. Dublin: R. Jackson, 1776. Octavo, period style full brown calf, red morocco spine label; pp.(i-iii), iv-xv, (xvi), (1), 2-434 (2). $1800.
Exceptional 1776 Dublin edition, the first complete edition to be printed in full from the virtually unobtainable 1774 first American edition, of Quaker leader Woolman's posthumous Journal, a defining and highly influential volume of key writings by "the first important writer against slavery in America."
Woolman's "most memorable work," his Journal "appealed to a large circle of divergent minds" (DNB). "Charles Lamb confessed that Woolman's autobiographical Journal was the only American book he ever read twice, and Emerson declared that he found more wisdom in its pages than in 'any other book written since the days of the apostles'" (Gunn, Early American Writing, 398). An American Quaker, Woolman is widely "recognized as the first important writer against slavery in America and the exemplar of the 18-century Quaker ethic" (Scully, Good and Evil, 71). This very elusive 1776 edition of his Journal, issued posthumously, is the first complete edition following the rarely found 1774 first American edition. It is "an autobiographical masterpiece, rivaled in 18th-century America only by that of Franklin" (Howes). Notably included herein is Woolman's seminal early abolitionist work, Some Considerations of the Keeping of Negroes (1754), in which he declared: "All men by nature are equally entitled to the equity of the Golden Rule, and under indispensable obligations to it." This groundbreaking work is accompanied by its second part, the expansive Considerations on the Keeping of Negroes (1762), in which Woolman unequivocally called for the end of slavery and the slave trade, writing: "The color of a man avails nothing, in matters of right and equity."
Woolman died in 1772 in Britain from smallpox. Within four years, the Society of Friends "embraced the doctrine of abolition and made slaveholding an offence against Christianity" (Houston, John Woolman's Efforts, 137). His "role in moving the Quakers away from slave-holding was probably most notable, along with his influence on later abolitionists"—such as Anthony Benezet and Benjamin Lay. Woolman's writings "have proved to be a spiritual and moral treasure that have had a growing influence upon successive generations" (ANB). Also containing Woolman's Considerations on Pure Wisdom, and Human Policy (1768), Considerations on the True Harmony of Mankind (1770), Remarks on Sundry Subjects (1773) and An Epistle (1772), along with the prefatory Testimony of Friends in Yorkshire (1773) and Testimony of the Monthly-Meeting of Friends (1774). With rear advertisement leaf. This first Dublin edition was "reprinted in full from the Philadelphia edition… early English editions were somewhat abridged" (Sabin 105202). Howes W669. ESTC T80771. Early gift inscription above the title page from Bernard Ogden, possibly the 18th-century English Quaker of that name, who resided in Durham, England and received correspondence from Benjamin Franklin in 1765.
Text very fresh with mere trace of occasional foxing.