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US History - John Woolman
Transcript of US History - John Woolman
Keeping of the Negros Clothing Benjamin Franklin on
Quakers As a young man, Woolman served as an apprentice to a
local tailor who was a member of the Society as
well. This is the Bill of Sale written
by John Woolman while working under a fellow member of the
Society. Although he did not want
to write the bill, he gave way. In his journal he states that he believes "slave-keeping to be a practice
inconsistent with the Christian religion". Later in his life he would dedicate his ministry to the abolition of slavery. "...acting contrary to present outward interest, from a motive of divine love and in regard to truth and righteousness, and thereby incurring the resentments of people, opens the way to a treasure better than silver, and to a friendship exceeding the friendship of men." Virtual Museum John Woolman John Woolman House Who was John Woolman? John Woolman was born ina Northampton, in Burlington County, West Jersey, in the year 1720. He was a prominent member of the Society of Friends (Quakers). Woolman was known as a humble man who urged his fellow Quakers to live simply and do no harm. As he became older, after having grown up around the cruel realities of slavery, struggling with the inconsistencies of his faith and the allowance of slavery within the Society, he would increasingly focus his ministries and attention on the abolition of slavery. Between the years 1749-1756 John Woolman writes of his observations of the keeping of slaves. Having grown up in an environment that did not address the inconsistencies of the core belief of the Quakers and cruelties of enslavement, Woolman stressed the importance of the abolition of slavery. Later in his life, John Woolman
renounced the things he considered commodities such as sugar and dyed clothing since these were products produced by slave labor. This undyed colonial style undershirt is similar to the kinds of shirts Woolman could be seen in daily. Bill of Sale In a famous description from his biography, Benjamin Franklin came from Boston to Philadelphia and described the Quaker belief system. "I joined them, and thereby was led into the great meeting-house of the Quakers near the market. I sat down among them, and. after looking round awhile and hearing nothing said, being very drowsy thro'labor and want of rest the preceding night, I fell fast asleep, and continued so till the meeting broke up when one was kind enough to rouse me." This quoted encompasses the Quaker way of life. Earnest Quakers believed and expected that through that silence, they could experience an inner enlightenment from God. Constructed one year before his death, John Woolman commission the construction of this house for his family, Sara Ellis (wife) and their young daughter Mary before he set sail for London in 1772 where he would contract smallpox - this proved to be fatal. Woolman died on October 7, 1772. Citations Pic of the John Woolman Workshop – Colonial Sense: Regional History: Journals: John Woolman’s Journal, Colonial Sense 2009 – 2012, http://www.colonialsense.com/Regional_History/Journals/John_Woolman's_Journal.php
Pic of the John Woolman House – Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Oct. 18, 2009, http://188.8.131.52/node/3154
Journal Entry on the treatment of slaves – The Journal of John Woolman: Chapter Three, Street Corner Society, http://www.strecorsoc.org/jwoolman/w03.html
First Bill of Sale he wrote in his youth – American Passages – Unit 3. Utopian Promise: John Woolman (1720-1772), Annenberg Foundation 2011, http://www.learner.org/amerpass/unit03/authors-10.html
Benjamin Franklin quote on Woolman – Youngs, J. William T.. American Realities, Historical Episodes from First Settlements to the Civil War. 1 Lake Street, Upper Saddle River, New Jersey : Pearson Education, Inc., publishing as Longman, 2007.