The History of Mr. Fantom by Hannah More
Mr. Fantom took up studying popular philosophy as a way to “draw public notice and distinguish himself” in society. His mind was filled with vain imaginations and grandiose plans that he espoused at his hangout called the Cat and Bagpipes. However, Mr. Trueman asked him to do good and challenged him to offer simple help to someone nearby. This idea was simply too mundane for such a high minded fellow who was solving the world’s problems, so he did nothing about it. This story unfolds in a tense debate between these two different outlooks.
This chapbook was written to counteract the influences of people such as Thomas Paine, who wrote “Rights of Man” and “Age of Reason” that were widely circulated during this period, in cheap editions, and were regarded as a negative influence.
Paperback 4X6; 92 pages; ISBN 9781941281802, Vintage Chapbook Series
HANNAH MORE (1745-1833) was born in Stapleton, Bristol, England. Early in her life she was interested in the theater and wrote plays. For six years her fashionable social life grew to include many important people, but when it lost its appeal she turned to religion. Dr. James Stonhouse is credited with Hannah More’s spiritual awakening, but it was John Newton’s influence that gave energy and devotion to her spiritual walk, and she became a strong Evangelical Christian. Education was a strong theme in her life and William Wilberforce encouraged her to start schools for the education and moral advancement of poor village children. To counteract immoral forces in society, Hannah More, her sister Sarah, and others wrote a series of successful chapbooks called the “Cheap Repository Tracts.” She was also active with a group called the “Clapham Sect” that met at Henry Thornton’s house in Clapham. She had a vast social circle and wrote a multitude of letters. Her talent for writing also produced many books of drama, poetry, hymns, fiction and religious instruction.