Poughkeepsie, N.Y. Printed by C. C. Adams and Co., for the Author, 1810. First edition. 12mo, contemporary calf spine, marbled boards, 214,  pages. Boards rubbed, with loss (including nibbling from the rear lower corner and loss to a portion of the marbled paper); chipped at the foot of the spine; stained; a good, sound copy. Item #17264
An early autobiographical account of the eccentric itinerant religious figure Theophilus Gates (1787-1846), eventually known as the Battle-Axe. Gates would eventually found a small colony of adherents to his peculiar blend of rabble-rousing, Noyes-inspired free-love perfectionism and prelapsarian nudity near Pottstown, Pennsylvania. This account hints at the roots of this future radicalism, with much on his childhood and abortive career as a teacher, repeated meditation on his anxieties over the violent wrath of God (including the recurrent headaches that would nearly cripple him when he was to preach), as well as something of a itinerary of his reception, both friendly and hostile, as an itinerant preacher. According to his own later accounts, Gates would pack these volumes with him for sale on his travels. (For a fuller account of Gates’ life and erratic career, including its intersection with such figures as Lorenzo Dow and John Humphrey Noyes, see Charles Coleman Sellers’ Theophilus the Battle-Axe, Philadelphia 1930.) Sabin 26758; Kaplan 2121: “A clergyman in Georgia, Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey and New York.” Early ink gift inscription Joseph Evans to a Susan on the rear free endpaper; some pen-tests in the front endpapers.