RECKITT, William. Some Account of the Life and Gospel Labours of William Reckitt. London, James Phillips, 1776.
Small 8vo. Contemporary sheep, spine with raised bands; pp. 204; rebacked, retaining the original spine, new morocco lettering-piece, light wear to extremities, apart from light spotting to title a rather clean and fresh copy.
First edition. William Reckitt (1706-1769), member of a Quaker family based in Lincolnshire and Yorkshire 'was apprenticed by a Friend for a while and then set up as a weaver in the Wainfleet district and married Ellen Maw in 1731. They went on to have nine children though several of them did not survive childhood. In 1744 William Reckitt began a travelling ministry and in 1756 he embarked on a long journey across France and out to visit Friends in America and the West Indies before returning in 1760. From his experiences he wrote Some Account of the Life and Gospel Labours of William Reckitt and editions of this contain printed copies of his letters home. The text contains detailed descriptions of the American colonies and is interesting for its anti-slavery content. In the West Indies he saw such cruelty that "it raised such a just indignation in my heart, that I used great freedom of speech sometimes in conversation. Any contrition he encountered he took as a sign that `the Lord is rising ... in judgement in the hearts of those negro keepers, shewing them the practice is evil" (Reckitt, William Reckitt, pp.9-49; Reckitt, Some account of the Life...of William Reckitt, pp. 176-7). William Reckitt made a second trip in 1764 during which his wife died. He returned to Lincolnshire and died himself in 1769' (Records of Isaac Reckitt kept at Hull University, online).