Item #17969 Benezet on Oppression of Slavery and Women Rights, Very Scarce First American Edition (1805). Anthony Benezet.

Benezet on Oppression of Slavery and Women Rights, Very Scarce First American Edition (1805)

First Edition

BENEZET, Anthony. “A Summary of the History, Doctrine, and Discipline of Friends; Written at the Desire of the Meeting for Sufferings in London. The First American edition, with a note from Benezet’s account of the People called Quakers.” New York: Collins, Perkins, & Co., 1805. Measures 4” x 7” inches. 28 pages. Very rare: only five copies held worldwide - Harvard, Princeton Theological Seminary, Bowdoin, Trinity College, NYPL. "Anthony Benezet is recognized as the founder of the antislavery movement in America in the mid-1700s. Benezet believed the British ban on slavery should have been extended to the colonies, and worked to convince his Quaker brethren that slave-owning was not consistent with Christian doctrine. ." (LOC) Benezet’s writing, which emerged from his Quaker principles, would provide the foundation for anti-slavery discourse in the early Americas. In this overview of Quaker history and doctrine, we see the backbone of both the abolitionist and woman’s rights sentiments in Quaker principles. On the subject of owning slaves, the text explains "We also are clearly of the judgment, that if the benevolence of the Gospel were generally prevalent in the minds of men, it would effectively prevent them from oppressing, much more from enslaving, their brethren (of whatever colour or complexion) for whom, as for themselves, Christ died..." This belief in inherent equality spanned gender binaries as well: "Neither dare we attempt to restrain this ministry to persons of any condiition in life, or to the male sex alone; but as male and female are one in Christ, we hold it proper that such of the female sex as we believe to be endued with a right qualification for the ministry, should exercise their gifts for the general education of the church…” The text closes with “that great, leading, and indispensable rule”: "Whatsoever ye would that men "should do to you, do ye even so to them," [...] Discipline will then promote, in an eminent degree, that love of our neighbor, which is the mark of discipleship, and without which a profession of love to God, and to his cause, is a vain pretense. "He" said the beloved disciple, "that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? And this commandment have we from him, that he who loveth God, love his brother also”-- regardless of the color of their skin or their state of enslavement or liberty. Though many Quakers in the 17th & 18th century owned slaves, a new generation of "Friends" led by Benezet and John Woolman effectively protested against slavery, and demanded that Quaker society cut ties with the slave trade. They were able to carry popular Quaker sentiment with them and the Pennsylvanian Quakers tightened their rules, making it effectively an act of misconduct to engage in slave trading. Pages foxed and toned, but text easily readable. In good condition and very rare.

Item #17969

Price: $2,800.00