"Prisoner of war, sea captain, moral reformer, and itinerant preacher, Joseph Bates led a varied and fascinating life and, as recognized by several scholars, achieved historical significance by co-founding the Seventh-day Adventist Church." So begins Gary Land in his Introduction to this facsimile reprint of the autobiography of Joseph Bates (1792-1872). The story first appeared as a series of fifty-one articles in The Youth's Instructor, a Seventh-day Adventist publication, between November 1858 and May 1863.
In 1868 the articles were combined in a volume titled The Autobiography of Elder Joseph Bates; Embracing a Long Life on Shipboard, with Sketches of Voyages on the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, the Baltic and Mediterranean Seas; Also Impressment and Service on Board British War Ships, Long Confinement in Dartmoor Prison, Early Experience in Reformatory Movements; Travels in Various Parts of the World; and a Brief Account of the Great Advent Movement of 1840-44. The autobiography was again released in 1877 as The Early Life and Later Experience and Labors of Elder Joseph Bates, edited by James White, and in 1927 as Life of Joseph Bates: An Autobiography, abridged and edited by C. C. Crisler.
This volume, part of the Adventist Classic Library, will "continue to attract readers in the twenty-first century, whether they simply want to vicariously relive the ages of sail, revival, and reform; are seeking to better understand nineteenth-century American society [e.g., the War of 1812, American maritime trade, and the Second Great Awakening]; or want to encounter directly the self-understanding of the 'real founder' of the Seventh-day Adventist Church."
Gary Land, former professor of history at Andrews University and chair of the department, had earned a Ph.D. in history from the University of California at Santa Barbara.
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