Jacob, Joshua (DNB00)
JACOB, JOSHUA (1805?–1877), leader of the ‘White Quakers,’ born at Clonmel, co. Tipperary, about 1805, prospered as a grocer in Dublin. A birthright member of the Society of Friends, he was disowned by that body in 1838. He then formed a society of his own, which gained adherents at Dublin, Clonmel, Waterford, and Mountmellick, Queen's County. His principal coadjutor was Abigail, daughter of William Beale of Irishtown, near Mountmellick. The society held a yearly meeting of Friends, commonly called ‘White Quakers,’ in Dublin, on 1 May 1843. Its nickname was suggested by the practice of wearing undyed garments, a costume previously adopted, in 1762, by John Woolman (1720–1772) [q. v.] Jacob protested also against the use of newspapers, bells, clocks, and watches. Funds employed by him in his religious experiment were said to be derived from the property of some orphans, whose guardian he was. A chancery suit to recover the funds went against him, and he was imprisoned for two years for contempt of court. From his prison he issued anathemas against the chancellor (Sugden) and Master Litton. About 1849 he established a community at Newlands, Clondalkin, co. Dublin, formerly the residence of Arthur Wolfe, viscount Kilwarden [q. v.] The members of this establishment lived in common, abstaining from flesh-food, and making bruised corn the staple of their diet, flour being rejected. On the breaking up of the Newlands community, Jacob went into business again at Celbridge, co. Kildare. He had lived apart from his wife, who did not share his peculiar views. On her death he married a person in humble life who was a Roman catholic, and at Celbridge Jacob brought up a numerous family in that faith. He died in Wales on 15 Feb. 1877, and was buried at Glasnevin cemetery, Dublin, in a plot of ground purchased long previously in conjunction with Abigail Beale, on which an obelisk had been erected.
A list of his printed writings, undated (except the last), but all (except the first) issued in 1843, is given in Smith's ‘Catalogue,’ along with other publications emanating from the society: 1. ‘On the 18th of the 3rd month, 1842 … the word of the Lord came,’ &c., fol. 2. ‘The Beast, False Prophet,’ &c., fol. 3. ‘To the Police of Dublin,’ &c., 8vo. 4. ‘Newspapers, Mountebanks,’ &c., fol. 5. ‘To those calling themselves Roman Catholics,’ &c., fol. 6. ‘The Sandy Foundation,’ &c., fol. 7. ‘Some Account of the Progress of the Truth,’ &c., Mountmellick, 1843, 8vo, 3 vols. issued in parts. Other tracts, later than the above, are known to have been printed; but they were not published, and their circulation was wholly restricted to adherents.
[Smith's Catalogue of Friends' Books, 1867, ii. 4; Webb's Compendium of Irish Biography, 1878, p. 260; private information.]