Geneva, NY: S. P. Hull, 1821. First Edition. First printing. 12mo (18cm). Half-bound in later blue leather, red marbled paper over boards, all edges lightly sprinkled brown; blue and cream floral endpapers; [i]-x -208, [i]-xx pp. Ex-library stamps to title page and final leaf. Rebound, leather rubbed and peeling in places, front joint cracked but holding, rear hinge cracked, text browning but clean: Good or better.
"This remarkable preacheress, born in R. I., 1760, was the first religious charlatan of her sex in America" (Howes). "During the American Revolution Wilkinson preached in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Connecticut. She attracted large crowds," and "developed a personal following." Eventually, she established a settlement of "Universal Friends" in Yates County, New York. Accounts of her preaching and her community differ widely; some contemporaries "accused her of messianic pretensions," but others say her teachings were simple. Scholars can not say for certain "whether she was a deliberate charlatan who duped gullible disciples or a kindly paster who genuinely cared for her followers" (ANB). She died in 1819, two years before the publication of this scurrilous biography, and the community she had founded dissolved a few years later. AMERICAN IMPRINTS 5650. HOWES H 761.