This early Quaker minister’s essay relates poverty to wasteful consumption, brings the rich and powerful to account, and calls for simplicity as a style of life.
About the Author(s)
John Woolman (1720-1772) was born in Northampton, New Jersey. He worked as a tailor, merchant and lawyer, but left these professions because they obscured his view of Truth. Woolman was one of the first Quakers whose religious conviction led him to devote his life to the eradication of slavery and oppression. His essays and journal recounting that work are among the classics of English prose as well as Quaker literature.
John Woolman felt the weight of the world’s evil and sought to clear his whole life of it, casting out self-will and pride as well as luxury goods that were products of oppression. He visited the impoverished and went to the homes of the well-off, pleading truth and denouncing the plight of the poor and the enslaved. He traveled throughout the South, ministered in New England and visited among Native Americans in the midst of their removal during the colonization of North America. He went to England and labored against the traffic of slaves in the British Empire. During these travels in the ministry, he died of smallpox in 1772.
Pendle Hill Pamphlet #357