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The Trial and Conviction of John Church

The Trial and Conviction of John Church
Author: Barrister A
Title: The Trial and Conviction of John Church
Release Date: 2018-10-04
Type book: Text
Copyright Status: Public domain in the USA.
Date added: 27 March 2019
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The Project Gutenberg eBook, The Trial and Conviction of John Church, by ABarristerThis 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 Trial and Conviction of John ChurchAuthor: A BarristerRelease Date: October 4, 2018  [eBook #58020]Language: EnglishCharacter set encoding: ISO-646-US (US-ASCII)***START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK THE TRIAL AND CONVICTION OF JOHNCHURCH***

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

Public domain book cover


Surrey Assizes, at Croydon, on Saturday,the 16th of August, 1817,


Unnatural Crime.




The profits arising from thisPublication will be given to the Prosecutor
to assist in defraying the expenses of the Prosecution.






Price Two Shillings.



In presenting to you the followingaccount of the Trial of John Church,for an attempt to commit one of the foulest crimes recognized bythe law of nature, the Publishers have no wish to echo thetriumphs of a party—they are actuated only with a desire tohold up the abominable wretch to general observation, thatinnocent youths may not unguardedly become the victims of hisbrutal passion—the occasion calls for sorrow rather thanjoy; and the Christian Philanthropist will feel more inclined toshed the silent tear, than indulge in exultation, while heperuses this record of human degradation.

In some cases, it appears desirable not to suffer trials of acriminal nature to appear in print, particularly when the factsare too indecent, lest the tender feelings of any should beinjured, or that information given which had better be withheld;but when the subject of conviction is a creature, who pretends tobe the guide of hundreds in the paths of our Holy Religion, andunder its sacred name, is not only ruining the bodies, but thesouls of many of his hearers, p. ivthan silence becomes a crime, and afull exposure an imperative duty.

We regret, that among the followers of this wretch are to befound many young men, who not only countenance his cause by theirpresence, but advocate it with their talents;—that charity,which covereth a multitude of sins, leads us to indulge the hope,that hitherto they have acted conscientiously and fromprinciple—that they have believed their leader was theobject of cruel persecution—that he suffered forrighteousness sake—and under this impression, we pityrather than condemn them; but can they be of the same opinionnow?  We request their attentive perusal of the followingpages; we beg of them to notice the evidence produced for theprosecution, particularly the copy of a letter to Mrs. Hunter,the original of which was artfully suppressed, and the admissionof Church himself, and then say, whether this convictiondoes not “confirm ancient reports?”  Letthem read the contradictory evidence of Thomas, and theobservations made thereon by the learned Judge who tried theprisoner; let those who were present remember his agitatedappearance in Court, and the manner in which he unwillinglyconfirmed the evidence of the prosecutor’s master, and thensay on which side the truth appears to preponderate. If the hearers of Church do not wilfully close their eyes, andpervert p.vtheir judgments, they can have but one opinion, viz. thatthe verdict of the jury is the verdict of every one who valuesthe cause of religion, morality, and virtue.

If however, the hearers of this creature still continue tofrequent this “Tabernacle of Iniquity,” every personwill naturally believe, that other motives, and not a desire tobe edified by the ministrations of their convicted pastor,actuate them—they will ever be looked upon with asuspicious eye, and their character, and every thing that is dearto them in this life, will be sacrificed for ever, in the opinionof every good man.

It may be expected that something should be said of theconduct of those females who have so long patronized thisdeceiver of their souls.  How can they longer listen to awretch who must detest them in his heart, and nothing buthis love of gain makes him court their friendship?  Can theynow, in the presence of a disgusted public, enter the doors ofhis “den of thieves?”—If they can, friends mustblush for the inconsistency of their conduct: most sincerely dowe hope that all who respect their reputation will never approach“the Surrey Tabernacle” until the present occupierand all his associates have left the place.

Much praise is due to those who have at last brought John Church to justice: every thing that p. vicould be doneby bribery and persuasion were resorted to by his friends; butthey found the Prosecutor, in this respect, invulnerable. The youth has acted nobly; and the praises of the Public are dueto him for his resistance to the wishes of that wretch, who wouldhave gloried in being the murderer of his peace for ever!

One fact however, as it reflects considerable credit onthe respectability of the Defendant and his legal friend,must not be omitted—the person employed to defendthe Prisoner was a Jew Attorney, very well known to many. He applied to the Prosecutor’s father several times, andtendered his services to conduct the prosecution, assuring him heshould not expect any pecuniary remuneration for his exertions inbringing such a character to justice.  He advised theFather, as he was a poor man, to accept a sum of money, if itwere offered, and compromise the business: this proposal wasindignantly rejected, and the man treated as he deserved tobe—with merited contempt.  We regret also that a man,whose duty is the apprehension of transgressors against our laws,should have interfered most unjustly to hush up the matter.

Some, perhaps, may think that too much severity appears in ourobservations against the Prisoner—but, can this be thecase?  Can any man feel too indignant at the conduct of suchmiscreants?—We cordially p. viiagree with the learned Counsel forthe Prisoner, that if a wish would sweep such characters from thecreation, that wish would be immediately expressed by every trueBritish heart.—Are we too severe?  Remember theconduct of the Almighty, who sent fire and brimstone fromHeaven, and consumed the Guilty Inhabitants of Sodom andGomorrah, lest their filthy bodies should pollute thegrave.

The friends of the Prisoner have publicly supported him in hisdefence by their Subscriptions.  The Prosecutor has stoodalmost alone; but, confident that the liberality of the Publicwas never appealed to in vain—that they will always assistthe injured poor in bringing their oppressors to punishment, thisPublication is submitted to them; and they may rest assured thatthe profits will be devoted towards defraying the expenses whichhave been necessarily incurred in bringing this “Monster ofIniquity” to Justice.

21st August, 1817.

p. 9THETRIAL, &c. &c.


The Indictment charged, “Thatthe Defendant, late of the parish of St. Mary, Lambeth, in thecounty of Surrey, on the 26th day of September, in thefifty-seventh year of the reign of George the Third, with forceand arms, at the parish aforesaid, in the county aforesaid, inand upon one Adam Foreman, in the peace of God and our said Lordthe King, then and there being, did make an assault, and him, thesaid Adam Foreman, then and there did beat, wound, and ill treat,so that his life was greatly despaired of, with intent, that mosthorrid, detestable, and sodomitical crime (among Christians notto be named) called Buggery, with the said Adam Foreman, againstthe order of nature, then, and there feloniously, wickedly, anddevilishly, to commit and do, to the great displeasure ofAlmighty God, to the great damage of the said Adam Foreman, andagainst the peace.” &c.

The second count charged a common assault.

The Defendant pleaded—NotGuilty.

Counsel for the Prosecution—Mr. Marryatt and Mr. Borland; Solicitor, Mr. Harmer.

Counsel for the Defendant—Mr. Gurney and the CommonSerjeant.

The Jury being sworn:—Mr. Borland opened the indictment, asfollows—

May it please your Lordship, Gentlemen of the Jury—TheDefendant, John Church, stands indicted for a misdemeanour. He has pleaded Not Guilty, and your charge is to enquire whetherhe be Guilty or Not Guilty.  Hearken to the evidence.

Mr. Marryatt then stated the caseon the part of the Prosecution, to the effectfollowing:—

May it please your Lordship, Gentlemen of the Jury—I amextremely sorry to have occasion to state to you that the offenceimputed to the Defendant (which my Learned Friend, Mr. Bolland;simply opened as a misdemeanour) is p. 10an assault, with the intent to commitan unnatural crime; and I am sure, on an occasion of this nature,it would be unnecessary for me to bespeak your serious attentionto a charge so serious in its consequences to theDefendant.  The Prosecutor in this case is a youth, abouteighteen or nineteen years of age, the apprentice of a Potter atVauxhall, whose name is Patrick.  He had been apprenticed tohim some time, and resided in his family.  The Defendant isa preacher—not of the Established Church, but of aDissenting Chapel, not far distant from Vauxhall, and Mr. Patrickand his family had been in the habit of attending that Chapel andhearing Mr. Church’s discourses.  Their apprenticeused frequently to accompany them to the Chapel, and by thatmeans he became perfectly acquainted with the person and voice ofthe Defendant, Church.  He knew him extremely well by nameand description.  In the month of September last, Mr. Churchcomplained to Mr. Patrick that he was in ill health, andattributed that circumstance to the confined situation of hisapartments near to the Chapel.  Being ill, Mr. Patrick, as amatter of civility and attention to the Preacher of the Chapelwhich he frequented, invited him to come to Vauxhall, where hehad a spare bed, much at Mr. Church’s service.  Uponthis invitation, Mr. Church came, and he slept there on Monday,the 23d of September, for the first time.  I am not quitecertain as to the precise night he came; but on the night of the26th day of September, the transaction occurred which gave riseto the present proceeding.  Mr. Patrick had left town onbusiness, but not before Mr. Church came in the first instance;but during Church’s stay he departed for the country. During the master’s absence, it became necessary forForeman, the apprentice, to sleep in the house.  The onlyspare bed was occupied by Church, the Defendant, and therefore atemporary bed was made up for the apprentice.  He had aresting place made up for him in one of the parlours of thehouse.  It happened that on the evening when thistransaction took place, the Prosecutor had been staying up toattend a kiln which was at work on Mr. Patrick’spremises.

Mr. Gurney.—I am told one ofyour witnesses is now in Court.

Mr. Marryatt.—I am not awareof that circumstance.  If he is, he must certainly go out ofCourt.

Mr. Gurney.—I am told Mr.Patrick is in Court.

Mr. Marryatt.—Then I beg hewill go out; and that all the witnesses will remain outside untilthey are severally called.

Gentlemen, I was stating to you, that on the night inquestion, Mr. Patrick went out of town on some business.  p. 11An occasionalbed was made up for the apprentice.  Mr. Church occupied theonly spare bed-room in the house.  The apprentice, Ibelieve, was not in the habit of sleeping in Mr. Patrick’sfamily, except when his master went out of town; for otherwisethere would be no occasion to make up a temporary bed for him, ifhe was in the practice of sleeping there.  Between twelveand one o’clock in the morning, the apprentice retired fromthe burning of the kiln, to take his rest in the bed thusassigned him.  He got into bed, and went to sleep almostimmediately; and at no very great distance of time, he wasawakened by the approach of Mr. Church in his bed-room.  Mr.Church was not ignorant where the young

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