Page images

in consequence of their extraordinary contents were submitted to our consideration; therefore it is presumed that you will not be greatly surprised at receiving this address upon the subject; and as we are plain men, aspiring to no other pretensions than a zeal for honesty and truth, we trust that the simplicity and openness with which our animadversions may be made will have some effect with you.

It appears to us that the general tenor of your two letters is, in the first place, to avoid what might have the semblance of a candid answer to the appeal made by those gentlemen to you, as well as to withhold every information; then to make your letters serve as vehicles of abuse against Joanna Southcott; and ultimately to obtain the applause of the world, by charging her friends with wilful dishonesty, and with folly, in supporting her cause.

From the style in which you have written, we feel no kind of disappointment, by seeing that you designedly avoid to disclose truths that must be well known to you; but that you should have recourse to a quibbling evasion, in order to put on the appearance of candor and openness, we conceive to be very unsuitable to your sacred character. We need not point out to you what is alluded to; but to the public, who cannot be supposed to be acquainted with your conduct to Joanna, we shall explain wherein you amused yourself in trying to find the depth of our folly. Knowing that Joanna had evidence of your saying in 1802, that you had burnt her papers, you now come to assure us, that you "have no letters, or writings whatsoever of, or belonging to, that deluded, ungrateful woman. She herself," you also say, "knew this near two years since; so that to charge you with having any of her papers now, is


[ocr errors]

to deceive the public." Thus it is intended it should be understood, by the ambiguity of your expressions, that you never had any of her papers in your possession. And, you also insinuate that you know nothing of her, but from the insulting letters you have received; yet you contradict this where you charge her with misrepresenting "the confidential conversation, which at the earnest request of her friends, and out of compassion to the disordered state of her mind, you were induced to permit her to hold with you." You then proceed by calling it virulent abuse on her part for claiming her property; and which you artfully say is impossible for you to do; but you refrain, probably out of tenderness of conscience, from saying that it never was possible, or how that possibility has been put out of your power.

What gratification it may have been to you, Sir, we know not, but your calumny against Joanna seems most cordially studied to wound her feelings. You intended, no doubt, that it should operate several ways, when you insinuate that she is deranged in mind; but your principal aim, by such an imputation, is to ridicule her friends for want of discernment, in not having made a similar discovery with yourself; and then to implicate them in a criminal collusion, for the purpose of deceiving others more ignorant than themselves.

Now, Sir, we think it highly incumbent upon you to reconsider the charges, which you have made; and also your conduct in various ways towards Joanna; for, be assured, they are of too serious a nature to be passed over by us in silence.

In the first place, what must you judge our principles to be, to support a cause as of divine origin, that we should abandon it, because you


think it convenient to assert that Joanna has uttered falsehoods, and that she is an impostor; and in the same breath, with very little consistency, that she is deranged in mind? Then we must be the most arrant fools indeed, to believe your malicious report, before you come forward to prove your assertions. For thus we should do violence to our own understanding, by condemning the innocent, or clearing the guilty, without evidence. And again, how are we to know whether any falsehood can be attributed to Joanna, if we follow your advice? and, should we either acquit our consciences, or have any pretensions to honesty, by so doing? No, Sir; our reason must inform us, that for our own honour we can in no wise give up the cause in such a manner; neither will we relinquish you, Sir, until we have cleared our honour from the injurious aspersions contained in your letters. And we shall further observe to you, that if we did not believe Joanna's calling to be from the Supreme Being, we must certainly be guilty of the most atrocious crime, and your slanderous charges must then be well-founded; but, as this is our firm belief, we are compelled to act as we are commanded; whether it be to print any thing concerning your most deceitful conduct to her; or to be under the necessity of noticing your malicious, though impotent, insinuations against her friends.

To come more immediately to the purpose of our addressing you, we say, that your accusations, if they are false, must reflect great dishonour upon your sacred character; but, if true, they throw disgrace upon Joanna, and upon her friends. We therefore solemnly call upon you, sir, to clear up your honour, if it be in your power, by proving the assertions and insinuations, which you have made. For we are now determined to investigate


the matter thoroughly; and to find out whether the fault is to be attributed to Joanna, or to yourself; because that one or the other must clearly be guilty of falsehood. We have characters to support, Sir, as well as you, and hitherto unimpeached; therefore we will not dishonour our pretensions, by supporting falsehood. We have done nothing artfully, nor deceitfully; neither will we consent thereto, nor conceal it where we find it done. This cause, in which we are engaged, we consider as a cause of honour; and in it we know of neither fraud nor collusion. The object of our pursuit is truth; and the truth we are determined to stand by; and to expose whoever makes lies his refuge. We contend for the honour of Joanna, and of ourselves; and that no folly may be laid to our charge, through any base. and interested motives, or through prejudice; we, contend for justice and for truth; we contend for the glory of God, and for the good of mankind.. You are a christian minister, and to our astonishment, you contend that on your bare word, and without examination, we should desert a much injured woman, who is prepared with evidence to prove that you withhold her just right from her; and to prove that you have villified her good name: and what is still more awful, you contend that the verity of her mission should not be examined into, so that it may not be refuted if unfounded, nor established if it be true. Thus, on the one hand, you uphold a continuance of delusion among thousands of simple and well-meaning people; or on the other, that the author of sin may triumph in his fall, in the ruin and misery of millions of human beings.

Again: we call upon you, reverend Sir, to take a retrospect of your conduct. We have what we judge to be indubitable evidence of your having

[ocr errors]

expressed very different sentiments respecting the mission of Joanna, compared with the artful, opprobrious, and insulting tenor of your late letters. You may imagine, Sir, that they may be well suited to screen you from the ridicule of the world, by appearing to do away the imputation of your having been formerly more attentive to the pretensions of one whom you now call a poor, deluded woman. But it may be worthy of your consideration, that the cause at issue between you and Joanna claims a different mode of conduct; for the only way remaining for you to act honourably is to bring your charges forward; and we are ready to meet you to examine them, and to exhibit our evidence upon the subject.

To conclude: you must be sufficiently aware, reverend sir, that at all times, when any great good has been designed for mankind, the evil power has never failed to gain over human agents to counteract it; and now that universal blessings are promised, and the destruction of that power threatened, that he will make inore than usual exertions to avert his destiny; let us all therefore watch and pray, that he may not be able to uphold his reign by means of any respectable name and sacred character!


And others.

I hereby subjoin an Extract of a Letter from the Rev. T. P. Foley, to shew that my Friends in the Country agree in the Sentiments expressed in the foregoing Letters.

[ocr errors]


I must confess that Mr. Pomeroy's letters voked my indignation in a great degree. Can he

« PreviousContinue »