Providence [R. I.]: Printed for the Author, by Brown & Danforth, 1822. First edition. Unbound pamphlet, 8.75 x 5.5 inches, 8 pages. Some light staining, foxing, and wear; a good, sound copy. Item #19333
“When I first was solicited to publish the following, I had not the most distant thought that I should comply with the request: but after mature deliberation, I concluded that it was a duty I owed to God, to myself, and to man.—To God, by adding to his declarative glory on earth in my conversion.—To myself, in a temporal sense; as probably the sale of it might aid me in maintaining myself more agreeably to my rank and station in life—which I have been able to do but with great difficulty, in consequence of my father’s and my own losses, and the misfortune of being a cripple.” Joshua Comstock was born in 1790 in Hartford, New York; an illness in infancy left him without the use of his legs, and he only began to make his way around on crutches at the age of nine, and eventually supported himself as an itinerant schoolmaster and tutor, whose travels took him from Virginia to Vermont—though he concludes his account noting, “being afflicted with a pain in my breast, I now dismiss my school, with a view of travelling for my health, and obtaining subscribers for publishing a small work.” The conversion narrative follows the usual contours (revival service, a season in the wilderness, eventual personal salvation) and seems here included primarily as the small garden patch into which Comstock sows the seeds of praise for any number of patrons from his past—all no doubt being here curried for favor. Given the physical disability, the planned travel, and the intention to support himself on subscriptions and the sale of this pamphlet, Comstock’s pamphlet would seem a candidate for proto-mendicant literature. Sabin 15077; American Imprints 8416.