Very Popular Quaker Tract Written by
S[ophia] H[ume]. An Exhortation to the Inhabitants Of
the Province of South-Carolina, To bring their Deeds to the Light
of Christ, in their own Consciences. By S. H. In
which is inserted, Some Account of the Author's Experience in the
Important Business of Religion. Philadelphia: Printed by William
Bradford, [1747 or 1748].
a Woman and Printed by William Bradford
First edition. Octavo in fours (7.125 x 4.625 inches; 181 x 118 mm.). 158 pages. Signature collation: A-T4 V4(-V4). Contemporary sheep. Covers with blind double fillet border; spine ruled in blind in compartments with five slightly raised bands and early paper label lettered in black ink. Binding rubbed and darkened in places; boards exposed at corners and in places on board edges; the upper portion of the joints have been repaired with cloth, but the spine is cracking, and there is some loss at spine ends; hinges cracked. Lacking front and rear free endpapers. The final gathering (V) is separating with the rear cover, where the spine has cracked. Some browning and foxing, as is to be expected; first and last few leaves with heavier browning in the margins from the turn-ins; pages 6 and 7 with additional browning from newspaper clipping laid in. Small (damp?) stain in the upper gutter from gathering L to the end (pages 81-158), causing slight discoloration, becoming larger at the end; a few additional small stains. Title leaf with two short repaired tears from the gutter into the text, but with no loss; small piece torn from lower edge of E1 (pages 33/34), just touching last line of footnote (no loss); lower blank corner of last leaf of text cut away; a few tiny nicks and tears to lower edge. Lower corner of G1 (pages 49/50), creased before printing, just affecting a few letters. A very good copy, despite the flaws, of this very popular Quaker tract. Housed in a black paper over board clamshell case. With early ink signatures on title-page: "Mary Hill's / book" and "Mary Hepburn;" additional early ink inscription on rear pastedown: "Mary Hill's book / Given her by H Hill;" faint initials "M H" at foot of final text page. A few marginal pencil marks.
One of two editions apparently published the same year in Philadelphia-one by William Bradford and one by B. Franklin and D. Hall (see Miller 445). It was several times reprinted in Great Britain: Bristol, 1750, and 1751; London, 1752; Leeds, 1752; Dublin, 1754; etc.
Signed in type at the end of the text (page 155): "Sophia Hume. Charles-Town, in South-Carolina, the 30th, of the Tenth Month, 1747." Pages 156-158 contain "Divine Love Commemorated. The Author unknown to me," fourteen four-line stanzas of verse.
"Two states noted. In the first, p. 134-135 are misnumbered 135-136. In the second, the error is corrected" (ESTC). In this copy, pages 134 and 135 are correctly numbered.
ESTC W32203. Evans 5974 (with date ) and 6166 (with date ). Hildeburn 1076 ("Dated 30th of Month [December], 1747, and therefore not printed till 1748, although this edition has generally catalogued as printed in 1747"). Sabin 33780.
Religious writer and Quaker minister Sophia Wigington Hume (1702-1774) "was born in Charleston, South Carolina, the daughter of Henry Wigington, a colonial official, and Susanna Bayley. The family was wealthy, and Hume received a genteel education. Though her maternal grandmother was the Quaker minister Mary Fisher and her mother followed the Quaker faith, Hume was raised in the Anglican tradition of her father. She embraced the luxuries of Charleston society, taking delight in clothes, jewelry, and 'attendance on balls, assemblies, masquerades, operas, musick-gardens, and vain recreations of all kinds.' In 1721 she married the prominent Charleston lawyer Robert Hume, with whom she had two children. Sophia Hume's life changed radically around 1740. Her husband had died a few years earlier, and Hume suffered two serious illnesses. Faced with these crises, she experienced a profound religious conversion. She began to examine critically Anglican teachings and to contemplate her hopes for salvation. Convinced that her vanity and worldliness were keeping her from grace, she disposed of her finer possessions and committed herself to a life of simplicity. In 1741 she moved to London and joined the Society of Friends. Near the end of 1747 Hume returned to Charleston. She felt a divine call to warn her former neighbors of the dangers of luxury and vanity. Her message of repentance was not welcomed by most. She found herself 'despised by my Acquaintances, Friends and Children' and wrote that 'the Novelty of my religious Sentiments, and Meanness of my Appearance, has, I find, render'd me despicable in your Eyes' (Exhortation). Nonetheless, Hume began speaking at public meetings and renewed the efforts of the small group of Charleston Quakers. She articulated and defended her views in An Exhortation to the Inhabitants of the Province of South-Carolina (1748 [i.e., 1747]). To get the treatise printed, she traveled to Philadelphia, where for several months she worshiped with the Quaker community and enjoyed the company of leading Friends. The first of five editions of the book was published in 1748 , and Hume sailed back to London. In the Exhortation, Hume displayed the theological views and stylistic techniques that would characterize the rest of her writing career. She emphasized the sinfulness of pride and luxury and urged her readers to discover the finer rewards of faith and simplicity. She grounded her theology in basic Quaker tenets, particularly in the belief that all people possessed inner grace. Yet Hume was careful to address all Christians; she broadened her appeal by quoting extensively from the Bible and from non-Quaker as well as Quaker scholars. While the essay suffered from a lack of clear organization, it gained force from Hume's broad background knowledge and impassioned writing style. She repeatedly used her own conversion experience to demonstrate her arguments, as when she explained, 'Having seen and lamented the divers and hurtful Lusts I was obnoxious to, when I was in Possession of a plentiful Estate...my Business is to warn and caution you that are rich'" (Nancy Neims Parks, in American National Biography Online, at http://www.anb.org/articles/08/08-01785.html?a=1&n=hume&d=10&ss=7&q=8).
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