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Woolman, John

WOOLMAN, JOHN (1720-1772), American Quaker preacher, was born in Northampton, Burlington county, New Jersey, in August 1720. When he was twenty-one he went to Mount Holly, where he was a clerk in a store, opened a school for poor children and became a tailor. After 1743 he spent most of his time as an itinerant preacher, visiting meetings of the Friends 'in various parts of the colonies. In 1 7 7 2 he sailed for London to visit Friends in the north of England, especially Yorkshire, and died in York of smallpox on the 7th of October. He spoke and wrote against slavery, refused to draw up wills transferring slaves, induced many of the Friends to set their negroes free, and in 1760 at Newport, Rhode Island, memorialized the Legislature to forbid the slave trade. In 1763 at Wehaloosing (now Wyalusing), on the Susquehanna, he preached to the Indians; and he always urged the whites to pay the Indians for their lands and to forbid the sale of liquor to them.

Woolman wrote Some Considerations on the Keeping of Negroes (1754; part ii., 1762); Considerations on Pure Wisdom and Human Policy, on Labor, on Schools, and on the Right Use of the Lord's Outward Gifts (1768) ; Considerations on the True Harmony of Mankind, and How it is to be Maintained (1770); and A Word of Remembrance and Caution to the Rich (1793) ; and the most important of his writings, The Journal of John Woolman 's Life and Travels in the Service of the Gospel (1775), which was begun in his thirty-sixth year and was continued until the year of his death. The best-known edition is that prepared, with an introduction, by John G. Whittier in 1871. The Works of John Woolman appeared in two pans at Philadelphia, in 1774-1775, and have often been republished; a German version was printed in 1852.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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