“LAURENCE BATTY’S BOOK, 1744”
An Account of Money Received and Disbursed for the Orphan-House in Georgia.
London: William Strahan for Thomas Cooper, 1741.
Bound with three other works concerning early Methodism printed between 1740 and 1743, this 1741 description of the Methodist orphanage in Savannah, Georgia, bears the handwritten signature of the author, George Whitefield (1714–1770), at the end of the preface. It is Bridwell Library’s earliest Methodist publication that was signed by its author.
The title page and the inside of the front cover were inscribed in 1744 by the book’s first owner, Laurence Batty. One of three brothers who were among the earliest Methodist preachers in Yorkshire, Batty’s career was tragically brief. After graduating from Cambridge University in 1742, he preached with great zeal in Giggleswick and Horton in Ribblesdale, but soon his audiences noticed that he was becoming mentally erratic. He was sent to London for medical care, recovered briefly, but retired from preaching in 1745.