An Authentic Account of the Conversion and Experience of a Negro

London: T. Wilkins, [1795].

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Positing the spiritual equality of men of all races

(Item #6068) An Authentic Account of the Conversion and Experience of a Negro. Anonymous.

An Authentic Account of the Conversion and Experience of a Negro

London: T. Wilkins, [1795]. First U.K. edition. First separate edition. Measuring 205 x 120mm and complete in 4 pages. A Fine example, with a small pinhole to the center of the final leaf not affecting any text. Upper edge a bit jagged. Scarce in all formats, it was first printed in Vermont in 1793 and contained an additional eight pages documenting a "faithful narrative...towards Polly Davis" (one copy survives at AAS); soon after, an edition was released from Maine containing a poem on Christian Experience (only two copies survive, both at NYPL). The present first British edition is also the first separately printed edition, recorded by ESTC at only 9 libraries. It has come to auction on only five occasions, with the present being the only example currently in trade.

An Authentic Account records a brief encounter between a white Englishman and an enslaved Black man on a plantation in New York. Focusing their dialogue on the word of God and on salvation, the white narrator asserts that the two men could find common ground as "children of God...equally effectual with him" despite their diametrically opposed positions within the wider social power structure. "Neither the color of his body, nor the condition of his present life, could prevent him from being my dear brother in our dear saviour." Despite this argument for the spiritual equality of men of all races, the white narrator in An Authentic Account never questions nor seeks to subvert a power structure that would empower him while violently debasing his Black brother in Christ. Rather, he passively participates in the Evangelical attitude so common of the era, which considered enslavement an opportunity for saving the souls of uncivilized peoples who might not otherwise access the word of God. It was a position which abolitionist Evangelicals including William Wilberforce and Hannah More would decry as the height of hypocrisy in their own work during the period, calling upon Christians not only to see Black peoples as spiritual equals but also as humans deserving equal liberty and dignity.

ESTC T224026.
(Item #6068)

Price: $2,250 save 20% $1,800

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An Authentic Account of the Conversion and Experience of a Negro
An Authentic Account of the Conversion and Experience of a Negro