Boston: Printed at the Investigator Office, 1832. First edition. Removed pamphlet (no wrappers), 7 x 4 inches, 8 pages. Title leaf a trifle loose along the gutter; some light foxing and soiling; in very good condition. Item #20500
“I doubt if Mordecai the Jew, ever gave Haman half the uneasiness while sitting in the king’s gate, that my short residence on a small farm in an obscure corner of the town of Leicester, has given to some, who make merchandise of superstition, in that neighborhood. They allow that I have a right to think for myself, (generous souls!) but ought not to be allowed to propagate my belief among others:—’for then, (say they) he becomes a dangerous man in society. . . . Those who have been crying ‘STEW-BOY,’ to others, have now an opportunity to vindicate their own superstition (which they call religion,) against one who thinks it is no less pernicious than Paganism.” A fugitive and fairly early publication from the press of Abner Kneeland’s pioneering free thought paper, two sharp free thought and anti-Biblical letters from a farmer in Leicester, Mass., in response to a local Baptist neighbor who has, among other observations here noted, suggest that Very burn his library. The 1830 census records of Leicester offer up three names fitting the correspondent’s initials—Ephraim Copeland, Evi Chilson, and Ebenezer Cogswell—when, taken with mention of Copeland in an 1889 booklet celebrating the sesquicentennial of the Greenville Baptist Church in Leicester, suggest Copeland as the likely target for these arguments. Very had also earlier written an account of his break with the Freemasons, suggesting a certain independence of thought. American Imprints 16905 (MWA only); Sabin 99318 (MWA only). NUC notes only the copy at the American Antiquarian Society; the plethora of Electronic Resource copies on OCLC (digitized from the AAS copy) may well obscure another physical holding somewhere but the prospect of parsing those records fills the reasonable cataloger with despair.