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The Infamous Life of John Church

The Infamous Life of John Church
Author: Anonymous
Title: The Infamous Life of John Church
Release Date: 2018-10-03
Type book: Text
Copyright Status: Public domain in the USA.
Date added: 27 March 2019
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The Project Gutenberg eBook, The Infamous Life of John Church, by AnonymousThis eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere in the United States and mostother parts of the world at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever.  You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms ofthe Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.org.  If you are not located in the United States, you'll haveto check the laws of the country where you are located before using this ebook.Title: The Infamous Life of John ChurchAuthor: AnonymousRelease Date: October 3, 2018  [eBook #58019]Language: EnglishCharacter set encoding: ISO-646-US (US-ASCII)***START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK THE INFAMOUS LIFE OF JOHN CHURCH***

Transcribed from the 1817 Hay and Turner edition by DavidPrice, email [email protected]

Public domain book cover

Entered at Stationers’ Hall.


St. George’s Fields Preacher,

Sent in a Letter to the Rev. Mr.L—, two days after his Attack on
Adam Foreman, at Vauxhall, with Clerical Remarks by the
same Gentleman; to which is added, his

Love Epistles to E****B****.


Together with various otherLetters, particularly one to Cook, of Vere-
Street Notoriety.






&c. &c.

It has been justly remarked, by acelebrated writer, that “a sudden rise from a low station,as it sometimes shews to advantage the virtuous and amiablequalities, which could not exert themselves before, so it morefrequently calls forth and exposes to view those spots of thesoul which lay lurking in secret, cramped by penury, and veiledwith dissimulation.”

John Church, the subject of thefollowing pages, was found, when an infant, on the steps, or nearthe porch of a church (some say that of St. Andrew, in Holborn;)and the overseers of the parish not being able to discover whowere his parents, or by whom he was thus abandoned, had him sentto the Foundling Hospital, where he received that name, whichbears the nearest analogy to the place where he was found. Here he remained until he was nine years old, when a complaint tothe Governors having been made against him by the nurses, that hewas addicted to improper and disgusting practices, it was thoughtprudent to apprentice him out at that early age, to obviate thepossibility of the contagion spreading amongst the rest of theboys who partook of the bounties of that charity.  From hisevident illiteracy, and from the badness of his writing, it iscertain that he must have quitted the Hospital at an earlier agethan usual, because, in general, none leave it who are not goodscholars.  He was accordingly placed out as an apprentice toa Gilder, in Blackfriars Road.  Before the expiration of hisindenture, he married and quitted the service of hismaster.  Shortly afterwards, he worked for a compositionornament maker, in Tottenham Court Road.  This immaculateMinister of the Gospel here commenced his religious career, and,under the assumed garb of sanctity, took upon him the office of ateacher to the Sunday School, at that time established atTottenham Court Chapel.  Thinking that preaching was abetter trade than that which he was employed in, thisprecious teacher, together with two other young men, hireda garret in the neighbourhood of Soho, where they used to learnthe method of addressing themselves to a congregation.  Anold chair was the substitute for a pulpit.  p. 4He now began(to use his own expression) “to gammon the oldwomen.”—Good fortune happened at length toprocure him the notice of Old Mother Barr, of Orange-street, who,being interested in his behalf, allowed him the use of a room ofhers, in which he treated her and a few other choice labourers inthe field of piety with his rapturous discourses..  Fromthis he used to hold forth more publicly.  His virtues andacquirements now recommended him to one Garrett, of notoriousmemory, who obtained him a living at Banbury.  It wasat this place that he became obnoxious.  Having made severalviolent attempts upon some young men while at that place, he wasdriven out from thence, by the trustees of the chapel in which hepreached, and ordered never to show his face there again. He hastily decamped, leaving behind him his wife and children;and the police officers having been sent in pursuit, theirsearches proved fruitless, and it was a long time before he washeard of.  He once more retired into the country, but wascalled from his solitude, to use his influence in town, by a manof his own disgraceful kind, named Kitty Cambric, and wellknow at the Swan, in Vere Street.  It is proper toobserve here that some of these wretches assume the names ofwomen, and that they are absolutely married together, as will beshown presently, from Church’s having been the parson whoperformed the blasphemous mock ceremony of joining them in theties of “Holy Matrimony.”  He now settledhimself at Chapel Court, in the Borough, when his old friendGarrett, publicly charged him with a wicked and diabolicaloffence, as the law says, “not to be named amongstChristians,” and he was obliged to run away from thisaccusation.  By some fortuitous event he at length gotpossession of the Obelisk Chapel, where he began to deliver hisdoctrines to those who were foolish and ignorant enough to attendto his fulsome and incoherent exclamations.  Several youngmen, whose names are known to the writer, who were accustomed tohear him, were obliged to leave him in consequence of his havingused them in a manner too indecent to be mentioned or hintedat.  E. B. a respectable tradesman, residing in the Boroughof Southwark, has informed the writer of the present article,that this parson, or rather this monster, when be was about topreach, would frequently say—“Well, I am going to tip’em a gammoning story; my old women would believe the moonto be made of green cheese if I was to tell them so; and I musttell them something.”  The writer has also beeninformed, from credible authority, that Church was a constantattendant in Vere-street, and that the gang of miscreants who metat the public-house there, some of whom stood in the pilloryabout seven or eight years ago, had nominated him to be theirChaplain, and that he officiated in that capacity. By virtue of his functions in this situation, he was oftenemployed in joining these monsters in the “indissoluble tieof matrimony!!!”  They were absolutely weddedtogether.  One evening, when Church visited this infamousplace of resort, one of the gang observed, “Here’sParson Church.  Aye, Parson, how d’ye do?  Haveyou come to see our Chapel?”—Church replied,“Yes, and to preach too.”

In addition to the above account is the following,communicated by the before-mentioned E. B. who happened,unfortunately, p.5to be an attendant at Church’s meeting house, whenthe latter took notice of and formed an acquaintance with him,commencing as usual with pious exhortations, and then followed upby distrusting freedoms.  Mr. B. however, struck with horrorat such conduct, abandoned the place, when he received twoletters from Church, of which the following arecopies:—

Dear Ned—May thebest of blessings be yours in life and in death, while the sweetsensations of real genuine disinterested friendship rules everypower of your mind body and soul.  I can only say I wish youwas as much captivated with sincere friendship as I am but we allknow our own feelings best—Friendship those best of names,affection those sweetest power like some powerful charm thatovercomes the mind—I could write much on this subject but Idare not trust you with what I could say much as I esteemyou—You would consider it as unmanly and quite effeminate,and having already proved what human nature is I must concealeven those emotions of love which I feel.  I wish I had thehonor of being loved by you as much and in as great a degree as Ido you.  Sometimes the painful thought of a separationoverpowers me, many are now trying at it but last night I toldthe persons that called on me that let them insinuate what theywould I would never sacrifice my dear Ned to the shrine of anyother friend upon earth—and that them who did not like him,should have none of my company at all.  I find dear Ned manyare using all their power to part us but I hope it will prove invain on your side the effect that all this has upon me is to makeme love you ten times more than ever, I wish opposition may havethe same effect upon you in this particular but I fear not.however I am confident if you love me now or at any other time myheart will ever be set upon you nor can I ever forget you tilldeath.  Your leaving of me will break my heart, bring downmy poor mind with sorrow to the grave and wring from my eyes thebriny tears, while my busy meddling memory will call toremembrance the few pleasant hours we spent together.  Ipicture to my imagination the affecting scene the painfulthought, I must close the affecting subject ’tis more thanmy feelings are able to bear—My heart is full, my mind issunk, I shall be better when I have vented out my grief. Stand fast my dearest Ned to me I shall to you whether you do tome or no, and may we be pardoned, justified, and brought more tothe knowledge of Christ.  O help me to sing—

When thou my righteous Judge shall come
To fetch thy ransom’d people home,
   May I among them stand,
Let such a worthless worm as I,
That sometimes am afraid to die,
   Be found at thy right hand.
I love to meet amongst them now,
Before thy gracious feet to bow,
   Tho’ vilest of them all;
But can I bear the piercing thought,
What if my name should be left out,
   When thou for them should call.

Learn these two verses by heart and then I will write twomore, as they are expressions of mind fears sensations anddesires—I must close, I long to see your dear face again, Ilong for Sunday morning till then God bless you.

3d March, 1809.

I remain unalterably thy dear thyloving friend,

p. 6Thefollowing, without a date, was written by Church to Mr. B. whoreceived it on or about the 15th day of March, 1809:—

Dear Sir—Is thisthy kindness to thy once professed much loved friend, surely Inever, never did deserve such cruel treatment at your hands; whynot speak to me last night in James-street when you heard mecall, Stop! stop! Ned! do, pray do: but cruel, cruel Ned, deaf toall intreaties—O why was I permitted to pass the door ofMr. Gibbons when you and West were coming out.  Why was Ipermitted to tramp up and down the New Cut after you; I wanted tospeak one bitter heart breaking painful distressing word,farewell: I only wanted to pour my sorrows into your bosom, toshake hands with you once more, but I was denied thisindulgence.  I never, never thought you would deceiveme—O what an unhappy man am I; the thing that I most fearedis come upon me, no excuse can justify such apparent duplicity; Omy distress is great indeed.  O my God! what shall Ido?  O Christ!  O God! support me in this trying hour,what a night am I passing through; I cannot sleep, its near threeo’clock; alas! sleep is departed, how great my grief, howbitter my sorrows, the loss of my character is nothing to theloss of one dearer to me than any thing else.  O let me givevent to tears; but I am too, too much distressed to cry; O that Icould.  I feel this like a dagger; never, never can Iforgive the unhappy instrument of my distress inCharlotte-street.  Why did my dear friend Edward deceiveme?  O how my mind was eased on Wednesday night; alas, howdistressed on Thursday.  I have lost my only bosom friend,nearest dearest friend, bosom

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