Boston: Published by Samuel T. Armstrong, and Crocker & Brewster, No. 50, Cornhill, 1823. First edition. Original pictorial wrappers, 5.5 x 3.5 inches, 36 pages (with the frontispiece first leaf mounted to the inside front wrapper, as published). Some light foxing and soiling and wear; a very good copy. Item #19968
“Thus died an amiable and excellent youth. His parents lost a beloved son, and the Sunday-school a valuable teacher, and society a useful member. There was much energy in his character, which promised to be very beneficial to mankind. He was a very active member of the committee of the Bible Association. He regularly collected from several of its districts, and from the workmen of the manufactory where he was employed as clerk; he obtained upwards of forty subscribers to the Bible Society since April last.” The supposedly factual account of the deathbed conduct and conversations of a pious 17-year-old, confident in his new birth in Jesus and full of parting counsel for his younger siblings, etc., with a remarkable coda as narrated by the departed young man from beyond: “You remember me when I wore an earthly form, and spoke to you in human language. Many of you followed my body to the grave, and wept as you saw my coffin committed to the ground. My spirit dwells not there. Through the riches of the Savior’s love, and the power of his grace, I have reached the skies.” The anticipation here of the trance medium messages from later Spritualist accounts is not far to seek, suggesting that the language of spirit communication awaited only the scientific explanations of mesmerism, trance clairvoyance, etc. to become empirical truths rather that simply theological allegories. OCLC suggests two locations (AAS, Free Library of Philadelphia) plus the OCLC FAST Project—a location one half-suspects is as insubstantial as the nature of spiritual communication itself.