Stone, William L. Matthias and his Impostures: or, the Progress of Fanaticism. Illustrated in the extraordinary case of Robert Matthews, and some of his forerunners and disciples
Stone, William L. Matthias and his Impostures: or, the Progress of Fanaticism. Illustrated in the extraordinary case of Robert Matthews, and some of his forerunners and disciples

Stone, William L. Matthias and his Impostures: or, the Progress of Fanaticism. Illustrated in the extraordinary case of Robert Matthews, and some of his forerunners and disciples

Regular price
$350.00
Sale price
$350.00
Unit price
per 
Shipping calculated at checkout.

Stone, William L. Matthias and his Impostures: or, the Progress of Fanaticism. Illustrated in the extraordinary case of Robert Matthews, and some of his forerunners and disciples. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1835. Third Edition

Blindstamped cloth, gilt spine titles, faded to nearly brown. 4 x 6 1/4 inches, a few blotches on the binding, recent former owner's signature on ffep, 347 unmarked pp. foxed. Good. Hardcover.  [3920] 

No. 5189 in Roberts, Revival Literature: An Annotated Bibliography. "The amazing tale of an enthusiast who was excited by the ministry of Charles G. Finney in revival and proceeded to demonstrate unusual ability as a fanatical street preacher."

Robert Matthews (1788-c.1841), born at Cambridge, New York, to strict Presbyterians of the Secession Church. Orphaned in 1795, he and his siblings were raised by friends and family in the community. He is remembered for his religious eccentricities, some might say insanities; at different times he was known as Matthias the Prophet, Jesus Matthias, and Joshua the Jewish Minister. Under this last pseudonym he met with Joseph Smith of the Latter Day Saints in Ohio in 1835, a meeting which resulted in them denouncing each other as Satanic. Matthews was accused of assault and battery on a female when in Manhattan, went bankrupt, in 1835 was incarcerated briefly for obtaining money under false pretenses, and, along with his servant Isabella (later known as Sojourner Truth), was acquitted of murdering Elijah Pierson, a wealthy contributor to his religious causes. It is thought that Matthews died in Iowa Territory.

"Carpenter, joiner, merchant, minister. Born at Cambridge, Washington Co., New York. Raised in Anti-Burgher Secession Church. Married Margaret Wright, 1813, at New York City. Adopted beliefs of Methodism and then Judaism. Moved to Albany, ca. 1825. Claimed to be God the Father reincarnated in body of Matthias, the ancient apostle. Prophesied destruction of Albany, 1830. Left Albany and his family to embark on apostolic preaching tour through eastern and southern U.S. Upon returning to New York, recruited local religious figures Elijah Pierson and Benjamin Folger. Committed to hospital for the insane at Bellevue, New York City, for a time. Little is known of Matthews after his 1835 visit with Joseph Smith at Kirtland, Geauga Co., Ohio. Reported to have died in Iowa Territory." - The Joseph Smith Papers.

Contents include: Early Life of Matthews; Religious Excitement in Albany (mentions Kirk and Finney); Becomes an Ultra Temperance advocate; Disturbs Public Worship; Arrest; Street-preaching in Albany; Changes his Name; Leader of a Fanatical Sect in New York City; Organization of the Holy Club; Claims to Miraculous Gifts; Anointing and Healing the Sick; The Retrenchment Society; Characters of Mr. and Mrs. Elijah Pierson; Separation from the Church and removal to Bowery Hill; Extravagant Proceedings; A Vision; Commissioned as Elijah the Tishbite; Attempt to Raise the Dead; The Negro Woman, Katy, and her Visions; Mr. Pierson asserts the Power of Miracles; Extraordinary Fasting; Pierson becomes John the Baptist; Specimen of Matthias's Orations; Fancies his wife's Spirit inhabits another; Claims to a Divine Character; Attempt of one of Pierson's friends to rescue him from the Delusion; Arrest of the Prophet and one of his Disciples, on the grounds of Insanity; Pierson's Conversations with the Spirit; Dreams, and Visions, and Vagaries of the Prophet, in which the Reader will find more of ingenuity than he expects; Claims Divine Attributes and the Authorship of the Bible; New Theory of Sickness; Daniel's Image of Gold, and Gen. Jackson's falling from the Bridge at Castle Garden an Evil Omen; Gifts of the Holy Spirit conferred upon Pierson; Whipping of Matthias's daughter; Whips the Sickness out of Isabella [Sojourner Truth]; Matthias Driven Away; Suspicions of murder in the case of Pierson, and of an attempt on the lives of Mr. Folger and family; The imposter pursued to Albany, arrested, and brought back; Unfortunate directions of the Spirit in regard to machines and stocks; Trial of Matthews - question of his sanity - indictment for murder - assault and battery against his daughter; Traits of the Impostor's Character; A Scene in Prison; His Contempt for Women; Casting out a Devil; Parallels between Matthews and other Impostors; A Compound of Insanity, Knavery, and Self-Deception.