A secret anti-Puritan polemic—a rarity of printed Americana
Samuel Groom, 1676
G[ROOM], S[amuel]. A Glass for the People of New-England, in which They may See Themselves. [London,] 1676.
The uncut Brinley copy of a rarity of printed Americana. “This rare tract contains one of the best accounts which have come down to us of the famous prosecutions by the ruling class of Massachusetts of John Wheelwright, Anne Hutchinson, Mary Dyer, Midwife Hawkins, and Obadiah Holmes for opinions regarded as subversive to church or state” (Streeter). The Quaker Samuel Groom secretly published this excoriating tract against the intolerance and injustice of the New England Puritans. He seems to have had manuscript copies of Wheelwright’s fast-day sermon, which ignited the Antinomian controversy—“the single most important event in 17th-century American colonial history” (Winship)—as well as transcripts of his trial before the General Court. This printed work is the only surviving report of the trial, and also contains a wealth of information on the women involved in the conflicts with the Boston Church, including the prophetess Anne Hutchinson, her follower the martyr Mary Dyer, and midwife Jane Hawkins, detailing their cruel treatment by the Puritans following their troubled pregnancies and supposed “monstrous births.” Extremely rare in institutional collections; the last copy to appear at auction was the Streeter copy in 1967. Absent from Murphy, Barlow, Ives, Church, Hoe, Huth, and Christie-Miller. Sabin 28926; Streeter sale 636. See Michael Winship, "'The Most Glorious Church in the World:' The Unity of the Godly in Boston, Massachusetts, in the 1630s," in Journal of British Studies, January 2000 , pp. 71-98.
Quarto (210 x 140mm). 22 leaves (spotting to first gathering, some toning, closed tears to C1, occasional wormtracks at gutter). 19th-century green half morocco over marbled boards (light scuffing at joints and corners). Provenance: George Brinley (1817-1875; one of the most important Americana collectors of the 19th-century; book label; his sale, G.A. Leavitt & Co., New York, 22-25 March, 1880, lot 3526).