Bang’s History of the Methodist Episcopal Church – Matched set of the 1845 Third Edition

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Bangs, Nathan. A History of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Third. ed., rev. and corr. 4 Vols. New York: Published by G. Lane & C.B. Tippet for the Methodist Episcopal Church, 1845.

Binding: Hardcover (Full Leather). Book Condition: Very Good Condition. 4-volume set (complete). Item Type: Book.

Pagination: Vol. 1: 371 p., Vol. 2: 430 p., Vol. 3: 447 p., Vol. 4: 461 p. + 44 p. Appendix. Size: 6"-7" - Sextodecimo (16mo).

Scarce matched set of Bang’s history, which chronicles Methodism from its introduction in New York City in 1766 up through the General Conference of 1840. Banks provides a tremendous amount of detail, including regular updates on membership. Each of the volumes has a frontispiece. Vol. 1, From the year 1776 to the year 1792: “View of the Old Methodist Church, John St., N.Y. The first erected in American. Founded A.D. 1768.” Vol. 2, From the year 1793 to the year 1816: “Captain Tho. Webb of the British Army.” Vol. 3, From the year 1816 to the year 1828: “Rev. Nathan Bangs DD.” Vol. 4, From the year 1829 to the year 1840: “Methodist Book Concern. 200 Mulberry Street, N.Y.”

There were several points at which the church’s conferences addressed the question of slavery. In 1780 the conference voted to cut off union with “our Virginia brethren” because of their stance on slavery (Vol. 1, pp. 134-35). Although the conference subsequently relaxed their measures against slaveholders, the 1824 conference declared “we are as much as ever convinced of the great evil of slavery” and took steps to prohibit slaveholders (at least in states that allowed emancipation) to hold any office or serve as a traveling preacher. Preachers who ministered in slaveholding states were asked to “enforce upon our members the necessity of teaching their slaves to read the word of God, and to allow them time to attend upon the public worship of God on our regular days of divine service.” In addition, “colored preachers and official members shall have all the privileges which are usual to others in the district and quarterly conferences, where the usages of the country do not forbid it (Vol. 3, p. 275).  

Appended to Volume 4 is an alphabetical list of “all the preachers who have been received into full connection in the Methodist Episcopal Church to the year 1840, including those who came from Europe and returned, as well as those who remained in this country.”

This set went through several editions by various publishers from Mason and Lane’s First Edition in 1838 on. However, a complete set from the same printing is difficult to find. Although a WorldCat search found multiple holdings, most of them turned out to be only one or two volumes. Only two libraries (under two OCLC numbers) reported a complete set of the 1845 printing: William Clements Library at the University of Michigan (244673815) and the Claremont School of Theology Library (874344217).

Bound in matching sheepskin with double gilt lines to separate the spine into six compartments, the title in gilt on black morocco labels and the volume number stamped in gilt in the fourth compartment. The sheepskin is heavily worn around the edges with some surface loss, particularly on Vol. 4. There is a 1 1/2" crack at the head of the front hinge of Vol. 3 and a 3/4" crack at the head of the front hinge of Vol. 4. There is also a 3/8" horizontal hole under the label on the spine of Vol. 3 and a 3/4" area of biopredation on the rear hinge of the spine. The inside hinges of all four volumes are in strong with no breaks in the endpapers or cords. The boards are generally straight, but the rear board of Vol. 3 is bowed in and the front board of Vol. 4 is bowed out.

The text blocks are tight. The pages are slightly tanned from age with the printed area of the pages darker than the margins. There is heavy foxing to the pages at the beginning and end of the text blocks and moderate foxing throughout the rest of the pages. The frontispiece plate of Vol. 1 is heavily foxed, as is the facing tissue. Even with the tissue, the foxing has carried through to the title page. The frontispiece plate of Vol. 2 is only lightly foxed with a shadow on the facing tissue, which has largely protected the title page. The frontispiece page of Vol. 3 is darkened with a shadow of the plate on the facing tissue, which has protected the title page (though there is a darker band where the tissue has not covered the page). The frontispiece page of Vol. 4 has light foxing also affecting the tissue and the facing title page. The top page edges are darkened from exposure. The side and bottom page edges have been decorated with a brown speckle. 

Shipped Weight: 3 lbs 3 oz.

Inventory No: 1258.