The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)/Woolman, John

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1366623The Encyclopedia Americana — Woolman, John

WOOLMAN, John, American Quaker preacher: b. Northampton, Burlington County, N. J., August 1720; d. York, England, 7 Oct. 1772. In 1741 he became a speaker in the meetings of the Society of Friends. He was at this time a bookkeeper in a mercantile house, but subsequently learned the tailor's trade. In 1746, in company with Isaac Andrews, he made his first itinerant tour in some of the back settlements of Virginia, and from that time continued at intervals to visit the societies of Friends in the different portions of the colonies. In 1763 he visited the Indians on the Susquehanna. He both spoke and wrote much against slavery. His best-known work is the posthumous ‘Journal of John Woolman's Life and Travels in the Service of the Gospel’ (1775), which Whittier edited, with an introduction in 1871. Woolman's simple and candid style has been highly praised by Charles Lamb, Crabb Robinson, and others. Among his other writings are ‘Some Considerations on the Keeping of Negroes’ (1753; Part II, 1762); ‘Considerations’ on various topics (1768), and ‘Serious Considerations’ (1773). In 1774-75 a collective edition of his works appeared. Consult Whittier's sketch in the above-mentioned edition of the ‘Journal’; also Shore, W. T., ‘John Woolman: His Life and Our Times’ (New York 1914).