Item #8286 The Claims of Whalemen on Christian Benevolence, A Discourse Delivered in the Baptist Church, William Street, at the Request of the New Bedford Port Society, on the evening of November 20th, 1842. Francis Wayland.
The Claims of Whalemen on Christian Benevolence, A Discourse Delivered in the Baptist Church, William Street, at the Request of the New Bedford Port Society, on the evening of November 20th, 1842.

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Wayland, Francis.

The Claims of Whalemen on Christian Benevolence, A Discourse Delivered in the Baptist Church, William Street, at the Request of the New Bedford Port Society, on the evening of November 20th, 1842.

New Bedford: Benjamin Lindsey, 1843. 8vo pamphlet (8.875” x 5.375”), original printed brown wrappers. 26 pp. CONDITION: Very good, wrapper splitting somewhat along spine, with some toning, creases, and soiling at verso; two punched holes by spine; occasional light foxing throughout.

An interesting pamphlet on the global importance and possible means of uplifting the New Bedford sailors both morally and physically by “the first citizen of Rhode Island.”

This lecture was delivered by Baptist Minister and Brown University president Francis Wayland to the New Bedford Port Society for the Moral Improvement of Seamen. Wayland opens by discussing the nature of benevolence before stressing the importance of improving the condition of the New Bedford sailors. As “the third sea port on the American coast,” New Bedford contains “seven thousand five hundred” sailors who, besides suffering by turns from vice, overwork, and idleness, spread their disgrace and disease

as they go abroad…Their intercourse with the unevangelized portion of our race is more universal than that of all other classes of our fellow citizens put together. And what has been the result of that intercourse? Do I exaggerate when I reply, in one word, unmixed, unmitigated evil?…When you have adequately grasped this sad conception, then and not till then will you be prepared to estimate the claims of this charity upon every one of you who now hears me.

After drawing a direct connection between New Bedford’s prosperity and “the very occupation which has involved so mournful a moral desolation,” Wayland closes by offering eight charitable means of improving the condition of the town’s sailors.

The New Bedford Port Society for the Moral Improvement of Seamen was founded in 1830, and the Seamen’s Bethel—a non-denominational Church built two years later—became an important landmark. The young Herman Melville attended service the Sunday before he set sail on the Acushnet, and it features prominently in the early chapters of Moby Dick.

Francis Wayland (1796–1865), in addition to serving as the fourth president of Brown University, was a Baptist clergyman, an economist, and an advocate for prison reform, temperance, and anti-slavery measures. A reformer rather than a revolutionary, Wayland played an leading role on the “law and order” side during Rhode Island’s “Dorr Rebellion” in 1842, and was an elected a member of both the American Philosophical Society and the American Antiquarian Society.

A lecture on increasing the moral and material well being of whalemen, delivered shortly before the peak of New Bedford’s whaling industry.

REFERENCES: Checklist of American imprints, 43-5155; “Wayland, Francis.” Encyclopædia Britannica, vol. 28 (1911). 

Item #8286

Price: $475.00

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