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ANONYMOUS. The Book of the Times or a History of the War. Understandest thou what thou readest? Philip. How can I except some men should guide me? Eunuch. A e i o u l m n r. Manuscript, one volume, 44 pages [Philadelphia area, circa 1810?] 16.8 x 19.9cm. $400.00 This is an exceedingly clever roman à clé done in the style of the Old Testament scripture. Divided into three "books" of multiple chapters, it documents the turbulent differences within a religious community, apparently in Philadelphia or the area. The volume contains first names only. When person of the same name are mentioned, the anonymous author might write "William surnamed P," "William surnamed N," and "Henry F." on occasion. The text commences with the difficulties of Henry, an elder who opposed the church leadership's plans to renovate their sanctuary and in the process sell commercial space on the cellar floors. Led by Samuel, the meeting clerk (or "Scribe" as the writer has it, Henry was forced out after being accused of adultery. To prove the accusation of his critics "bort forth an Harlot, who testified that Henry was the Father of one of her two Children." This escalates rather than calms the situation. Further disputes arise, power struggles flare, personalities clash, and a minute-book with key document is mysteriously mutilated. All seems to culminate in arguments over control of the church's "Chartered Fund," that is to say its endowment. There are references to ministering to prisoners and Africans and also to "a new sect who call themselves The Society of Hospitality." A delightful and cleverly-done manuscript. The manuscript is bound thick card cover with Pennsylvania-Dutch style tulip decorated paper on the outside. Written over the decorated paper on the back cover & upside down is "Philadelphia Pennsylvania William Book." The spine is covered with a blue piece of printed paper that reads "Controller's Copy Book. No. 3. Published by J.B. Smith & Co., Booksellers and Stationers, No. 207 Market St., above 5th, Phila." Blue paper chipped and split along lower half of spine, tulip paper rubbed through the decoration in places, contents with moderate to heavy foxing--a dark stain in top inside of most pages, several pages loose or almost loose but not lacking any pages. Written in a very legible longhand. 12cm tear in last leaf but no loss of text.
Title: The Book of the Times or a History of the War. Understandest thou what thou readest? Philip. How can I except some men should guide me? Eunuch. A e i o u l m n r.
Illustrator: Philadelphia, Pa.
Publisher: Manuscript--A Clever roman à clé in the Style of the O.T. re a Church in Philadelphia, circa 1810 [Methodist? Episcopal?]: 1810
Binding: Paper covered boards
Book Condition: Good
Type: Manuscript book
Size: 16.8 x 19.9cm.
Weight: 2.00 Item
Book Number: 17782
Keywords: roman a cle, Episcopal Church, Manuscripts, American Manuscripts, Methodism, Philadelphia PA