Bath: S. Hazard for T. Mills, 1775. 8vo. xvii, , 445,  pp. Modern full calf, red morocco spine label. Displeasing glue residue in gutter margin of first blank and title-page, both of which are a little browned, age-toning throughout (not objectionable); top edge of textblock with stain near the head-cap which did not permeate through the text itself. Provenance: Mary Knowles (contemporary signature on title - see below). A good copy, with faults, and priced accordingly. Item #3220
Was the "Mary Knowles" who first owned this 18th-century English translation of Boehme's first work the same as the well known English Quaker, mystic, poet, feminist, and abolitionist, namely Mary (Morris) Knowles (1733-1807). While we have been unable to procure an autograph of Mary Morris Knowles with which to compare the two signatures, if she did not own this particular copy of Boehme, it is almost certain that she had in her library at least one of Boehme's texts.
This edition was published by Thomas Mills (ca. 1735-1820), formerly a clerk in the one of the Countess of Huntington's chapels where he preached "in the Methodist way." It is not without interest that in 1778 Mills became a Quaker (sic).
A German shoemaker turned mystic, Boehme's writings found renewed interest in England during the late 18th century, influencing Quakers, Methodists, and mystics alike (William Blake in particular). Indeed, Blake "inherited from Boehme the ideas which formed the foundation of his philosophy and his myth" (Gerald Bentley, "William Blake and the Alchemical Philosophers," B.Litt. Thesis, Oxon., 1954, p. 233)
Our copy is COMPLETE. The only other copy of this edition on the market is both ugly and seriously defective, lacking everything after p. 390.
ESTC T216620. On Mary Knowles, see: J. Jennings, Gender, Religion, and Radicalism in the Long Eighteenth Century: The "Ingenious Quaker" and Her Connections (Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing, 2006). J. Jennings, "Mary Morris Knowles: Devout, Worldly and 'Gay'?" (in: Quaker Studies, Mar. 2010, vol. 14, No. 2, pp. 195-211).