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54 BULLETIN OF FRIENDS' HISTORICAL ASSOCIATION BOOK REVIEWS Friend Anthony Benezet, by George S. Brookes. Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania Press, 1937. xiv+516 pp.; illustrated. $5.00. A Bibliography of John Greenleaf Whittier, by Thomas Franklin Currier. Cambridge, Harvard University Press, 1937. xviii+693 pp. ; illustrated. $8.00. "T1HESE two impressive volumes from two great University Presses give renewed evidence of the interest felt by serious people in matters of Quaker history and Quaker personalities. In the preceding issue we reviewed Janet Whitney's life of Elizabeth Fry, which placed a great Quaker heroine before us in a refreshing light ; Friend Anthony Benezet performs a comparable service for a less known Friend of our own country. It is noteworthy, as Mr. Brookes points out in his Foreword, that a personage as remarkable as Anthony Benezet should not have had an adequate biography long ago. Noah Worcester, of Massachusetts, expressed an interest in the subject in 1816 (Benezet died in 1784) ; Roberts Vaux published a memoir of 156 pages in 1817, which was slightly revised by Wilson Armistead and published in England in 1859 ; and Joseph Elkinton published an essay on Anthony Benezet and His Times in 1898. These represent about all that there is for the searcher to consult ; and these are not easily available. Mr. Brookes has reviewed most surviving records, letters, and other original sources, and given us for the first time a biography after the modern technique. The 516 pages following the introductory part are divided into three parts—a biography of 178 pages, a bibliography of 28 pages, and a collection of letters from, to, and concerning Benezet, comprising some 198 pages—a mine of source information. The biography is charmingly done, and all too brief—the style is attractive, the narrative closely documented but not overloaded. The life begins in 1713 in France, whence the family fled in 1715 to escape religious persecution that had followed the revocation of the Edict of Nantes thirty years earlier ; a few months were spent in Rotterdam, some sixteen years in and around London, till the family of father, mother, and seven children, including Anthony, landed in Philadelphia in 1731, where Anthony Benezet gradually found and carried on his life work. The chapter headings indicate the special interests that Anthony Benezet cherished, referring to his activities as schoolmaster—teaching was his dominant passion— ; his devotion to his fellow countrymen the Acadians, whose plight is portrayed in Longfellow's Evangeline, and 454 of whom were landed as homeless exiles in Philadelphia; his crusades against Negro slavery and in behalf of the American Indians; his interest in the cause of peace; his daily walk as a modest member of the Society of BOOK REVIEWS55 Friends, retiring yet devotedly loved by hundreds. It is truly an amazing tale that is unfolded, with grace fortified by painstaking scholarship. The bibliography of books consulted, though full, is not so interesting as the list of writings of Anthony Benezet, classified under education, Indians, religion, war, temperance, slavery, Acadians, closing with a list of writings at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania—in all some 214 titles, including however many cases in which a given title is listed in successive editions. (Additional Benezet writings are referred to in Henry J. Cadbury *s article, on pages 39 and following of this issue.) The historian will be especially grateful for the long section containing the letters, for there he finds source material of the most authentic kind, from which if need be he can draw his own conclusions or of which he can make his own interpretation. From the standpoint of the general reader it is a pity that the charming section comprising the biography cannot be issued as a separate work, for it is fine enough to stand alone. The mere technical matters of the other parts could be published in a separate volume, for libraries and historians. The price of the book as it stands will discourage wide circulation ; and the life, and the book, are so significant that one is loath to have them hidden under a bushel. ' I ' HE SECOND of these University Press monuments, Currier's bibliography of Whittier, is one of those tremendous...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1934-1504
Print ISSN
0033-5053
Pages
pp. 54-56
Launched on MUSE
2012-04-04
Open Access
No
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