An Authentic account of the conversion and experience of a negro.
£750.00 [First Edition]
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First edition printed in the U.K. 8vo., 4 pp. Disbound. London: printed by T. Wilkins,
Very rare. ESTC records the British Library and Library of the Society of Friends only in the U.K. and Huntington, McMaster, Princeton and Kansas only in America.
This edition was preceded by at least two American editions. The first surviving edition, known only by the copy residing at the American Antiquarian Society, dates 1793 and was printed in Windsor (Vermont). It numbers 12 pages and includes "a faithful narrative of the wonderful dealings of God, towards Polly Davis" that is not found in either the London edition or the Portland (Maine) edition. The Portland edition, known only by the two copies at the New York Public Library, includes a poem "Christian experience" that is also not found in either of the two known editions.
Rare account of the conversion of an American plantation slave in New York witnessed by an English traveller that concludes with a statement regarding the spiritual equality of all men in the eyes of God.
The emphasis of this work on the power of God's grace is clear from the beginning. The anonymous author states in the second paragraph what is perhaps the theme for the entire work: "Every day's observation convinces me that the children of God are made so by his own especial grace and power, and that all means, whether more or less, are equally effectual with him, whenever he is pleased to employ them for conversion" (1). Most striking is the message of spiritual equality, espoused by many Christian abolitionists, that the author express near the end of the work. He writes that "neither the colour of his body, nor the condition of his present life, could prevent him from being my dear brother in our dear saviour" (3).
Until the closing decades of the eighteenth century, the majority of Evangelicals who had an interest in slavery devoted their efforts to improving the spiritual well-being of the enslaved and did not question the institution itself. In this respect, An authentic account is typical of the Evangelical outlook. "Like many American revivalists, Anne Dutton, an English follower of Whitefield, urged slaves to accept their bondage and concentrate on the improvement of their souls. A recent biographer writes that George Whitefield's patron, Selina Hastings, countess of Huntingdon, 'considered slavery in a Christian establishment preferable to freedom without religion'" (Brown, 337).
Brown, C.L., Moral Capital: foundations of British abolitionism. Chapel Hill, 2006.
Stock Code: 59040