Primitive Christianity Revived, Again
Today, I expanded the text which is on the book page at Amazon as follows:
Benjamin Ferris was truly a “Renaissance Man.” He was an ambitious self educated man, well versed in the classics, who blossomed from watchmaker to surveyor and conveyancer to architect and finally into a noted historian in Wilmington, DE. It was an historian who labeled him “Father of Delaware History.”
While his Quaker “Inward Light” predominated over the Bible as the “fountain,” he was extremely well versed on the passages of the Bible and effectively debated a Presbyterian minister weekly for nearly two years on theological issues in a religious publication.
In the Foreword of the book, Thomas D. Hamm, Professor of History at Earlham College, stated, “Benjamin Ferris emerged as one of the most articulate and spirited proponents of Hicksite Quakerism in the 1820s. A spirited writer, he did not shy away from public controversy, most notably in a long-running debate with the Presbyterian minister Eliphalet W. Gilbert. Their collected exchanges, collected in 1823 as Letters of Paul and Amicus, ran to over 500 pages. When The Philadelphia Yearly Meeting of Friends split in 1827, Benjamin Ferris was acknowledged as one of the most influential, or in Quaker parlance, weightiest, of the Hicksite party, serving as the first clerk, or presiding office, of the Hicksite Philadelphia Yearly Meeting.”
(Author’s note: The book contains abstracts of the book in the Appendix).
To add to this talented man’ s reputation, Barbara E. Benson, the Executive Director of the Delaware Historical Society, mentioned to the author in 2002, “For many of us here, Benjamin Ferris continues to rank at the top of Delaware historians, particularly for his early preservation efforts, and his artwork has taken on ionic proportions.”
He partnered with Elias Hicks in the 1820s, which resulted in a major split in the Quakers between the Hicksites and the Orthodox, establishing the author’s Ferris Hicksite line. As a respected first clerk of the Hicksite Philadelphia Yearly Meeting, he was instrumental in partially resolving a territorial issue involving the Seneca Indians in upstate western New York.
A man with a remarkable memory, Benjamin learned French, became acquainted with the DuPonts in Wilmington, DE, and could converse with them fluently in their own language. They had a very pleasant exchange over the years.