Description[Eighteenth Century Prophets]. Richard Brothers and Joanna Southcott. Letters, Books, and Seal. [England], 1794 - 1812.
Richard Brothers Collection. Two Signed manuscript letters by Brothers, "Prince of the Hebrews". Five books on the testimony and prophecies of Brothers.
A "Society Ticket" seal signed by Joanna Southcott, "The Prophetess of Exeter." And Various Related Ephemera.
[England]. 1794 - 1812. Very good. From the Krown & Spellman Collection.
1. William Bryan. A Testimony of the Spirit of Truth, Concerning Richard Brothers. London: Avignon Society, 1794. , 464-520 pages. Portrait of William Bryan. Modern blue cloth. Light dampstaining.
2. Nathaniel Brassey Halhed. Testimony of the Authenticity of the Prophecies of Richard Brothers and of His Mission to Recall the Jews. London: H.D. Symonds, 1795. iv, 40 pages. Modern blue cloth. Small hole in upper right corner of title page, holograph ink note on lower margin of page 23, edge wear, corner bends, and light soiling.
3. [Richard Brothers]. A Revealed Knowledge of the Prophecies and Times [in two parts]. The Restoration of the Hebrews to Jerusalem by the year 1798; Under the Revealed Prince and Prophet. London: [n.p.], 1794. 68; 108 pages. [bound with:] A Letter of Richard Brothers, Prince of the Hebrews to Philip Stephens, Esq.. London: G. Riebau, 1795, 22 pages. [bound with:] William Bryan. A Testimony to the Spirit of Truth, Concerning Richard Brothers. London: Avignon Society, 1795. ii, 39 pages. [bound with:] Thomas Taylor. An Additional Testimony Given to Vindicate the Truth of the Prophecies of Richard Brothers. London: G. Riebau, 1795. 30 pages. Full calf with gilt edges, gilt lettered leather title label and gilt rules on spine. Board lightly rubbed, endpapers with bleedthrough and offset from leather turn-ins, occasional minor soiling and page browning.
4. [Thomas William]. The Age of Credulity: A Letter to Nathaniel Brassey Halhed in Answer to his Tetsimony in Favour of Richard Brothers. Philadelphia: Printed by Lang & Ustick, 1796. 45,  pages. Disbound, half title loose, small holograph pencil notes on half title and title pages, some foxing and light browning.
5. Nathaniel Brassey Halhed. Testimony of the Authenticity of the Prophecies of Richard Brothers. Second edition. London: H.D. Symonds, 1795. Modern antique calf, title in gilt to spine, gilt crest at center of front board. Boards lightly rubbed, title page coming loose, small repair at inner margin, ex-library stamp and small holograph notes to title and last leaf, old binding holes in textblock in inner margin not affecting text, some browning and wear around edges.
6. Autographed manuscript, signed by Richard Brothers. Letter to Queen Charlotte, dated May 21, 1812. Two pages in Brother's hand on one sheet of paper, folded, with a note at top from another hand stating this is a letter to the Queen from Richard Brothers, prophet. 185 x 230mm - 360 x 230mm, overall). Brothers writes the Queen in regards to sending her a copy of his book and in part: "Catholic unity were deluded by their Bishops, and I thought it but fair to expose their deceit and vindicate the conduct of the Prince and his ministry. For, I never will believe any other than trust the Bishops intent on carrying out the scheme of separating Ireland from England.... Seeing able these things, and the unwarranted means taken to render His Royal Highness and his Ministry unpopular by misrepresentation, I am determined to oppose them, to make plain facts as they were, and to give his Royal Highness the public praise that was justly his due. I never saw him any other than the polite gentleman and the wisely condescending Prince. I never took off my hat to him, as a proper compliment does to Royalty, ....[etc]"
7. Autograph manuscript, signed by Richard Brothers. Letter to The Chancellor of Great Britain, dated 5 March, 1795. One page manuscript in Brothers hand. 315 x 230mm - 315 x 460mm, overall size. A newspaper article and biography of Brothers, tipped in. Repair to blank part of manuscript (verso of manuscript) address, no affect to actual letter, lightly age toned around margins. Brothers writes of sending the Chancellor a copy of his book, in part: "I send to the Chancellor as Speaker of the House of Peers a book containing the Judgements of God, that by him it may be communicated to all the Peers; that all may candidly examine the book and judge for themselves that all may see that the things which are announced to the world in this book are recorded in the Scripture of Truth to the fulfilled ...." BROTHERS SIGNS THIS LETTER AS A PROPHET: "Richard Brothers. The man that will be Revelead to the Hebrews as their Prince; to all Nations as the Governor, according to the Covenant to King David, immediately under God".
8. Richard Brothers ephemera.
. The Royal Banner or Ensign of the Hebrews. Single leaf, hand colored illustration of the "God's Kingdom" flag, in green, blue and yellow. Fourteen lines of printed text on the meaning of the royal banner.
. Hand drawn and colored Ensign of the Hebrews flag in green, brown, black and gilt inks. With manuscript (contemporary) dated 26 July, 1798. ''This is done as a token of my Testimony and firm belief of Mr. Richd Brothers Mission, as being a true prophet of God, and as his being designed of God to be a Prince and King of the Hebrews." [Signed by] "Geo(rge) Welldon."
: Portrait plate of Richard Brothers by William Sharp. London: 1795. Plate reads in print: "Richard Brothers Prince of the Hebrews. Fully believing this to be the Man whom God has appointed. I engrave his likeness, William Sharp". Some light browning, outer margin with chipping, no affect to portrait.
9. Joanna Southcott [Johanna Southcote]. SIGNED "Society Ticket (aka Passport to Heaven seal)". Autographed manuscript, "The Sealed of the Lord, the Elect precious Mans Redemption to inherit the Tree of Life to be made heirs of God and Joint heirs of Jesus Christ. January 19th, 1803 [? script of year is illegible] Joanna Southcott." Ticket sold to "Judith Robertshaw". Inked circle on back (the sealed circle), with Robertshaw's name in center, also with Southcott's two red wax seals. Seals lightly chipped around edges, foxing and light soiling, some paper loss and wear to outer margins of leaf, not affecting the manuscript text and signature. Ticket is 21O x 150mm, overall leaf is 335 x 21Omm. Comes with envelope.
Also includes seven typed pages of information on the life of Southcote and her works, as well as the purchase of this ticket, written by previous owner in 1993.
Both the Brothers' letters and Southcott's "Ticket" have some light edge and fold wear.
Richard Brothers (1757-1824) was a self-styled prophet of the Jews of England. He was the founder of British lsraelism, believing that the English were the descendants of the Lost Ten Tribes of Israel. Brothers self-proclaimed to be the "Nephew of the Almighty" and considered himself descended from one of the brothers of Jesus and that he would be revealed as the "Prince of the Jews" and rule over Israel until the return of Jesus Christ, all this declared in his work A Revealed Knowledge of the Prophecies and Times (1794).
Brothers had a large following but could not produce the social movement he had intended with his writings. After prophesying the King's death and the end of the monarchy, he was arrested for treason in 1795, and imprisoned for being criminally insane. Nathaniel Brassey Haldhed, a follower presented his case before Parliament and had Brothers moved to a private asylum rather than prison. In the asylum Brothers wrote prophetic pamphlets, which gained more followers, among them was William Sharp, the engraver. Brothers predicted his revealing as Prince of the Jews to occur on November 19, 1975, when the date passed, Sharp deserted him to become a religious follower of Joanna Southcott.
Joanna Southcott (1750-1814), prophet and writer. Southcott's millenarian visions first began in 1792 when she was forty-two years old. Day and night, she was spoken to by a "voice" predicting what would happen on earth, from the coming war in France to food shortages in the west country. To prove her authenticity, Southcott would send sealed prophecies to clergymen or other dignitaries, so that her predictions could be tested against future events. She accused the religious leaders she approached of returning or burning her letters. Southcott saw herself as appointed to speak for the poor and working classes during a time of war and crisis. Finally in 1801, weary of admonishing the local clergy to no avail, Southcott used up her life savings, supplemented by loans, to print 1000 copies of the first part of her book The Strange Effect of Faith with Remarkable Prophecies (1792), five more parts were printed before 1802.
The first work attracted followers of the prophet Richard Brothers. By 1803 the nucleus of Brothers' followers had declared their convincement. Southcott had been careful not to attack Brothers and seemed to advocate his release, but once she had secured his main followers, she declared the superiority of her mission.
Between 1801 and 1814, Southcott published some sixty-five pamphlets, totaling almost 5000 pages; moreover, her unpublished manuscripts amount to twice the number of pages in print. One reason for the immediate appeal of her texts is their unique mix of apocalyptic optimism with down-to-earth narratives about everyday life, which she converts to spiritual account. Early on, Southcott developed the practice of "sealing" as a way to bind her scattered followers into one community of believers. The practice entailed drawing a circle on a piece of paper, within which was written a simple message of acceptance, the believer signed at top, Southcott signed below, then the paper was folded and sealed with Southcott's special seal, which contained two stars and the initials IC (lesu Christi). Within a year she had issued several thousand of these "seals". Unfortunately she was accused of selling them and making a handsome profit. She claimed the seals were freely issued without any charge. It is possible that middlemen asked for money, since many people regarded them as lucky charms or "passports to heaven". In 1814 Southcott carried her claims to a new level when she announced she was about to become the Mother of Shiloh, the name given to her in a fit of divine incarnation by her "voices". The revelation was made explicit in her third book (1814). Her believers awaited the miraculous potential as Southcott claimed to be a virgin at sixty-four years old. Though it was rumored she showed signs of a pregnancy, Southcott died in December of 1814, long overdue.
- (see Oxford DNB for more, including information on the "Southcott box").
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