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Religion and Morality Vindicated against Hypocrisy and Pollution or, an account of the Life and Character of John Church

Religion and Morality Vindicated against Hypocrisy and Pollution
or, an account of the Life and Character of John Church
Category:
Author: Bell Robert
Title: Religion and Morality Vindicated against Hypocrisy and Pollution or, an account of the Life and Character of John Church
Release Date: 2018-12-27
Type book: Text
Copyright Status: Public domain in the USA.
Date added: 27 March 2019
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The Project Gutenberg eBook, Religion and Morality Vindicated againstHypocrisy and Pollution, by Robert BellThis 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: Religion and Morality Vindicated against Hypocrisy and Pollution       or, an account of the Life and Character of John ChurchAuthor: Robert BellRelease Date: December 27, 2018  [eBook #58555]Language: EnglishCharacter set encoding: ISO-646-US (US-ASCII)***START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK RELIGION AND MORALITY VINDICATEDAGAINST HYPOCRISY AND POLLUTION***

Transcribed from the [1813] R. Bell second edition by DavidPrice, email [email protected]  Many thanks to the Bodleianand British Library for allowing their copies to beconsulted.

Public domain book cover

Second Edition.

 

RELIGION & MORALITY
VINDICATED,
AGAINST
Hypocrisy and Pollution;

OR,

AN ACCOUNTOF THE
LIFE AND CHARACTER
OF
John Church

THE
OBELISK PREACHER,
WHO WAS FORMERLY A FREQUENTER OF
VERE-STREET,
AND WHO HAS BEEN CHARGED WITH
UNNATURAL PRACTICES
IN VARIOUS PLACES.

 

TO WHICH ISANNEXED,

A Fac-simile of aLetter,
WRITTEN BY HIM TO JAMES COOK, WHO KEPTTHE
INFAMOUS HOUSE IN VERE-STREET.

 

LONDON:
Printed by and for R. Bell, Proprietor of the SundayDispatch,
Bride Lane, Fleet Street.
Sold by all the Booksellers andNewsvenders in Town and Country

 

p. 3TO THEPUBLIC.

THE following statements will fully explain the motives whichinduced the Editor to expose the crimes of the individual who isthe subject of them.  The demand for those numbers of theWEEKLY DISPATCH in which they appeared, was so great, that manyhundreds of persons were unable to procure the papers, as no morecould be printed than those which were called for on the days ofpublication.  The Editor, therefore, wishing to extend hisefforts in defence of religion and morality as widely aspossible, by holding up to all mankind a true picture of ablasphemous hypocrite who is a contemner of the one and aviolator of the other, has thought it advisable to publish thewhole of his narratives and remarks in a separate pamphlet; towhich are subjoined many additional facts that could not appearin a Sunday Paper.  The reason this publication has been solong delayed was, in expectation that JohnChurch would have been brought to trial in the beginningof June, p. 4foran abominable offence with which he stands charged and committed,but as there is some reason to suspect that this trial will beput off even at the ensuing Sessions for the County of Middlesex,the public curiosity cannot be kept any longer unsatisfied.

June 30, 1813.

p. 5JOHNCHURCH,
THE OBELISK PREACHER.

Extract from the Weekly Dispatch of April 18.

Among the various duties of anewspaper editor, one of the most arduous is, that of determiningwhat sort of domestic events it may be useful to cover over witha veil of silence, and what sort are they, of which theconcealment would operate as an injury to the public. Occurrences will often take place in private life, which, onevery principle of moral expediency and justice, ought never tobe born beyond the threshold of the place where the partiesreside.  And, on the other hand, there are certain acts,which, if passed over without notice by civil authority, oranimadversion on the part of the press, may produce evilsdestructive to society.  Another laborious task imposed on ajournalist is the dilemma in which his duty to the public and hisfear of offending the delicacy of individuals, frequently placeshim, when he is about to record events which cannot be suppressedwithout doing a serious injury to public morals. [5]  I am well aware that things p. 6must not berelated in all that naked grossness of truth, which a legaltribunal requires for promoting the ends of justice; and that asmuch delicacy as is consistent with correctness of information,is necessary in narrations of the sort to which I allude. This has been the principle on which I have uniformly acted inthe conduct of this paper.  But to suppress in a newspaperthe publication of a fact which meets the eyes and ears of allpeople would be at once absurd and mischievous.  Forinstance, in the month of October, 1810, 6 or 7 miscreants wereplaced in the pillory in the presence of many thousandspectators; they were then conveyed through the most publicstreets in an open cart, during which time they were pelted withmud and dirt by an indignant populace: all the inhabitants of thestreets viewed this disgusting exhibition from their windows; andcould it have been possible—nay, must it not have beenmischievous to conceal from any body the crime for which theseculprits were then punished?  How foolish then would it havebeen for any reader of a newspaper to be offended at seeing itmentioned in print?

I have thought it necessary to preface with these remarks, thenarrative of facts which I am now about to relate; and which Ishould at present abstain from noticing were it possible to givethem publicity through the medium of any court of justice. But as two eminent counsellors [6] have given an opinionagainst the legal practicability of such a procedure, forreasons which I shall presently state; and as in the mean timethe public morals may suffer;—the press must on thisoccasion interpose as their guardian.

The readers will recollect having seen in last Sunday’sDispatch, a report of the proceedings before the magistrates atUnion Hall, when a conventicle preacher of the name of Churchcomplained of a riotous mob having assembly near the entrance ofhis Chapel at the Obelisk in St. George’s fields, andattempted to commit violence upon him and his congregation. That report was copied from a p. 7daily paper, and was very imperfectlystated.  I have since then, made a full enquiry into all thecircumstances of this case; and I shall now briefly state themfrom authentic documents, that are ready to be producedif necessary.  For a considerable time past, the personjust named has been getting a living by preaching as a Ministerof the Gospel in an obscure conventicle close to the SurreyTheatre.  In the mean time, reports had gone abroad that hewas addicted to certain abominable propensities, and certaingentlemen in the neighbourhood, not actuated by any jealousytowards a successful “rival in the vineyard,” as theUnion-hall report falsely stated, but dreading the disgrace andpollution which Christianity might suffer from the immoralcharacter of any of its teachers, investigated these rumours; andthe facts I shall now relate came to light.  James Cook, whokept the infamous house in Vere Street, was released from his twoyears imprisonment in Newgate, on the 21st of Septemberlast.  In the course of a few days after, I understand, heaccidentally met John Church, and recognized him as the gayparson, whom he had formerly seen at a certain house in theLondon Road, and at his own house in Vere Street.  Afriendly correspondence then took place between these two oldacquaintances.  About the 13th of October, Cook received aletter, of which a fac simile has been published in St.George’s fields, [7] and of which I haveseen the original in Church’s own handwriting,(having compared it with other writings of his).  In thisthe Minister of the Gospel offers his assistance to the“Vere Street Culprit,” to enable him to set upanother public house, as the reader will perceive from perusingthe letter itself:—

Dear Sir,

Lest I should not have time to call on you or converse withyou as I shall not be alone to Day I thought it But Right to Dropyou a Line I wish you all the success you can desire in p. 8getting a housefit for the Business in the public Line and as you had a greatmany acquaintance, they ought not to fail you if evey one actedright according to there ability I am sure you would soonaccomplish it.  As I am By no means Rich, But rather embarrassed I hope you will acept my mite towards it 1l. 1s. andyou shall have another as convenient wishing all prosperity,

I Remain Your’s, sincerely,
J. Church.

for Mr. Cook, at mr. halladays Richmond Budgs Dean St.

There is another letter bearing the two-penny post mark of the20th of October, which I have also seen.—It is asfollows:—

Dear Sir,

I received your note this morning in Bed, as I have contractedsuch a Dreadful cold Being wet on tuesday I am very much grievd ihave not been able to comply with the request concerning Mr.C—  But I shall certainly keep my eye upon him and Dohim all the Good it lays in my power where ever he is he knows myDisposition too well to impute any remissness to my conduct But Icannot Do impossibilities as I have Lately had and have now Gotso many Distressing cases in hand Beside, I will Be sure to callon you as soon as I can— But am not able to day

I remain Yours J CHURCH

32 hercules Buildings

Badly directed to Mr. Oliver, or (Holloway) No. 6,Richmond’s buildings, Dean Street, Soho.

The next document is a letter dated March 7, 1810, from aperson at Banbury named Hall, who says that there was a reportthere against Church of a very scandalous nature.  And thatthe managers of the chapel, after making enquiries into it, senthim positive orders never to return to Banbury again.

Then follows a letter from Wm. Clarke of Ipswich, a p. 9young manbetween 19 and 20 years of age, which contains an account ofattempts too horrid to be published in this paper.  I havewithin the last four days seen the written confession (frightfulindeed it is) of this poor simple young man, whose mind wasbewildered by the canting exhortations of Church; and I haveheard the whole of his statements corroborated by the oraltestimony of a Mr. Wire who resides at Colchester, and knowsClarke very well.  The circumstances related by Clarke,would have furnished an ample ground for a criminal prosecutionhad he made his complaint immediately after theassault was committed:—but suffering under theinfluence of ignorance and fear, he kept it a secret too long,and afterwards accepted of a pound note from Church.  A casewas laid before two eminent barristers, to have their opinionwhether such a prosecution could be carried on with any prospectof conviction.  Their opinion, which I now have before me intheir own hand writing, is, that after the long concealment of aCharge, a Jury would pay no attention to his evidence, unless hewas confirmed in his story by other evidence.

The peace of this poor lad’s mind however is completelydestroyed, so fatally has the event preyed upon him:—so farso as to fill the bosom of his aged father with such a spirit ofindignation and revenge, that he actually came up to London witha full determination to be the death of him who had thus ruinedthe peace of his beloved son, while the mother’s mind wasnot less distracted than that of the father.  In consequenceof this, the father entered J. Church’s meeting house, withtwo loaded pistols, one in each pocket, but under the excess ofagitation, he fainted away, and was carried out of the place.

There are various other documents which are too voluminous tonotice at present.  The point to which I now wish to directthe attention of the public is, the extraordinary circumstance ofa man continuing to exercise the functions of a christian pastorwith such heavy imputations as these hanging over his head. He knows that the whole neighbourhood rings with accusations; heknows that some hundreds of publications containing charges so p. 10severe, thatmy statements compared to then, are “lenity andcompassion,” have been sold in St. George’s-fields;and why has he not brought his action against the printer inorder to let the world see that they are false.

The printer is a respectable and responsiblehouse-holder residing in the neighbourhood.  He has sentforth from his press many hundred sheets of paper filled withdirect allegations of criminality against

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