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Title: Religion & Morality Vindicated, Against Hypocrisy and Pollution

Author: Robert Bell

Release date: December 27, 2018 [eBook #58555]

Language: English


Transcribed from the [1813] R. Bell second edition by David Price, email  Many thanks to the Bodleian and British Library for allowing their copies to be consulted.

Public domain book cover

Second Edition.


Hypocrisy and Pollution;


John Church




A Fac-simile of a Letter,


Printed by and for R. Bell, Proprietor of the Sunday Dispatch,
Bride Lane, Fleet Street.
Sold by all the Booksellers and Newsvenders in Town and Country



THE following statements will fully explain the motives which induced the Editor to expose the crimes of the individual who is the subject of them.  The demand for those numbers of the WEEKLY DISPATCH in which they appeared, was so great, that many hundreds of persons were unable to procure the papers, as no more could be printed than those which were called for on the days of publication.  The Editor, therefore, wishing to extend his efforts in defence of religion and morality as widely as possible, by holding up to all mankind a true picture of a blasphemous hypocrite who is a contemner of the one and a violator of the other, has thought it advisable to publish the whole of his narratives and remarks in a separate pamphlet; to which are subjoined many additional facts that could not appear in a Sunday Paper.  The reason this publication has been so long delayed was, in expectation that John Church would have been brought to trial in the beginning of June, p. 4for an abominable offence with which he stands charged and committed, but as there is some reason to suspect that this trial will be put off even at the ensuing Sessions for the County of Middlesex, the public curiosity cannot be kept any longer unsatisfied.

June 30, 1813.


Extract from the Weekly Dispatch of April 18.

Among the various duties of a newspaper editor, one of the most arduous is, that of determining what sort of domestic events it may be useful to cover over with a veil of silence, and what sort are they, of which the concealment would operate as an injury to the public.  Occurrences will often take place in private life, which, on every principle of moral expediency and justice, ought never to be born beyond the threshold of the place where the parties reside.  And, on the other hand, there are certain acts, which, if passed over without notice by civil authority, or animadversion on the part of the press, may produce evils destructive to society.  Another laborious task imposed on a journalist is the dilemma in which his duty to the public and his fear of offending the delicacy of individuals, frequently places him, when he is about to record events which cannot be suppressed without doing a serious injury to public morals. [5]  I am well aware that things p. 6must not be related in all that naked grossness of truth, which a legal tribunal requires for promoting the ends of justice; and that as much 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 in the conduct of this paper.  But to suppress in a newspaper the publication of a fact which meets the eyes and ears of all people would be at once absurd and mischievous.  For instance, in the month of October, 1810, 6 or 7 miscreants were placed in the pillory in the presence of many thousand spectators; they were then conveyed through the most public streets in an open cart, during which time they were pelted with mud and dirt by an indignant populace: all the inhabitants of the streets viewed this disgusting exhibition from their windows; and could it have been possible—nay, must it not have been mischievous to conceal from any body the crime for which these culprits were then punished?  How foolish then would it have been for any reader of a newspaper to be offended at seeing it mentioned in print?

I have thought it necessary to preface with these remarks, the narrative of facts which I am now about to relate; and which I should at present abstain from noticing were it possible to give them publicity through the medium of any court of justice.  But as two eminent counsellors [6] have given an opinion against the legal practicability of such a procedure, for reasons which I shall presently state; and as in the mean time the public morals may suffer;—the press must on this occasion interpose as their guardian.

The readers will recollect having seen in last Sunday’s Dispatch, a report of the proceedings before the magistrates at Union Hall, when a conventicle preacher of the name of Church complained of a riotous mob having assembly near the entrance of his Chapel at the Obelisk in St. George’s fields, and attempted to commit violence upon him and his congregation.  That report was copied from a p. 7daily paper, and was very imperfectly stated.  I have since then, made a full enquiry into all the circumstances of this case; and I shall now briefly state them from authentic documents, that are ready to be produced if necessary.  For a considerable time past, the person just named has been getting a living by preaching as a Minister of the Gospel in an obscure conventicle close to the Surrey Theatre.  In the mean time, reports had gone abroad that he was addicted to certain abominable propensities, and certain gentlemen in the neighbourhood, not actuated by any jealousy towards a successful “rival in the vineyard,” as the Union-hall report falsely stated, but dreading the disgrace and pollution which Christianity might suffer from the immoral character of any of its teachers, investigated these rumours; and the facts I shall now relate came to light.  James Cook, who kept the infamous house in Vere Street, was released from his two years imprisonment in Newgate, on the 21st of September last.  In the course of a few days after, I understand, he accidentally met John Church, and recognized him as the gay parson, whom he had formerly seen at a certain house in the London Road, and at his own house in Vere Street.  A friendly correspondence then took place between these two old acquaintances.  About the 13th of October, Cook received a letter, of which a fac simile has been published in St. George’s fields, [7] and of which I have seen the original in Church’s own handwriting, (having compared it with other writings of his).  In this the Minister of the Gospel offers his assistance to the “Vere Street Culprit,” to enable him to set up another public house, as the reader will perceive from perusing the letter itself:—

Dear Sir,

Lest I should not have time to call on you or converse with you as I shall not be alone to Day I thought it But Right to Drop you a Line I wish you all the success you can desire in p. 8getting a house fit for the Business in the public Line and as you had a great many acquaintance, they ought not to fail you if evey one acted right according to there ability I am sure you would soon accomplish it.  As I am By no means Rich, But rather em barrassed I hope you will acept my mite towards it 1l. 1s. and you 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 the 20th of October, which I have also seen.—It is as follows:—

Dear Sir,

I received your note this morning in Bed, as I have contracted such a Dreadful cold Being wet on tuesday I am very much grievd i have not been able to comply with the request concerning Mr. C—  But I shall certainly keep my eye upon him and Do him all the Good it lays in my power where ever he is he knows my Disposition too well to impute any remissness to my conduct But I cannot Do impossibilities as I have Lately had and have now Got so many Distressing cases in hand Beside, I will Be sure to call on 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 a person at Banbury named Hall, who says that there was a report there against Church of a very scandalous nature.  And that the managers of the chapel, after making enquiries into it, sent him positive orders never to return to Banbury again.

Then follows a letter from Wm. Clarke of Ipswich, a p. 9young man between 19 and 20 years of age, which contains an account of attempts too horrid to be published in this paper.  I have within the last four days seen the written confession (frightful indeed it is) of this poor simple young man, whose mind was bewildered by the canting exhortations of Church; and I have heard the whole of his statements corroborated by the oral testimony of a Mr. Wire who resides at Colchester, and knows Clarke very well.  The circumstances related by Clarke, would have furnished an ample ground for a criminal prosecution had he made his complaint immediately after the assault was committed:—but suffering under the influence of ignorance and fear, he kept it a secret too long, and afterwards accepted of a pound note from Church.  A case was laid before two eminent barristers, to have their opinion whether such a prosecution could be carried on with any prospect of conviction.  Their opinion, which I now have before me in their own hand writing, is, that after the long concealment of a Charge, a Jury would pay no attention to his evidence, unless he was confirmed in his story by other evidence.

The peace of this poor lad’s mind however is completely destroyed, so fatally has the event preyed upon him:—so far so as to fill the bosom of his aged father with such a spirit of indignation and revenge, that he actually came up to London with a full determination to be the death of him who had thus ruined the peace of his beloved son, while the mother’s mind was not less distracted than that of the father.  In consequence of this, the father entered J. Church’s meeting house, with two loaded pistols, one in each pocket, but under the excess of agitation, he fainted away, and was carried out of the place.

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

The printer is a respectable and responsible house-holder residing in the neighbourhood.  He has sent forth from his press many hundred sheets of paper filled with direct allegations of criminality against Church: and I again ask, why does not Church take that step which an honest innocent man would take in vindication of his character, namely—that of bringing an action for damages, wherein evidence to their truth or falsehood may be legally admitted?  Why has he gone to Union Hall with a counsel at his elbow, and called on the magistrates to do no more than require the printer to suppress the publication of these printed papers, which request the magistrates have complied with, on the ground that such publications tended to a breach of the peace?  I hope that no person—and I am confident that no reader of the Weekly Dispatch will be so foolish as to join in any riotous proceedings.  But is Christianity, in the mean time, to continue suffering under such a slander as that of being promulgated by a man who is even suspected?  A Clergyman of the Church of England, under similar circumstances, would be immediately suspended by the Bishop of his diocese.  And is there no power in the state that can impose a temporary silence on a dissenting minister, until an investigation shall take place respecting accusation publicly exhibited against him?  Is not the ruling power of the state as interested in preserving the morals of dissenters as of any other class of subjects?

The reader may probably have some curiosity to know what sort of a preacher this person is.  I have gone to hear him; and I pity his poor deluded followers.  He does indeed deliver himself in a full, clear, articulate tone of voice; but to criticise style, or analyse the substance of his discourse, would be a fruitless labour: it would be like dissecting a cobweb.  Unmeaning rhapsodies, and unconnected sentences, through which the faintest gleam of morality is not to be traced, must, from their evanescent p. 11nature, set the powers of recollection at defiance: they even escape from the lash of one’s contempt. [11]  In his p. 12countenance there is none of that dignified mildness, none of that subdued expression of piety which one often observes in Christian preachers whose habits of life are conformable to their precepts.  His manner is forward and imposing; and his eyes are continually employed in staring at some person among his auditors.  But these being people of the very lowest description, and, to all appearance, wrapt in a cloud of superstitious stupor, scarcely ever examine the physiognomy of their idol.

I have a word or two, to add on the subject of riotous proceedings.  On Sunday evening last there was a large crowd of people assembled near the entrance of the Obelisk Chapel.  There were several groupes of persons holding arguments on the merits of the preacher, but not the slightest indication of riot.  And the only noise or disturbance that I observed, was created by a gang of fellows who rushed through the crowd in the character of peace officers with drawn cutlasses in their hands.

Extract from the Weekly Dispatch of April 25, 1813.

When the late Lord Chief Justice Mansfield promulgated his doctrine “that truth was a libel,” he went upon this principle,—that no man could be justified in publishing any thing respecting the character or conduct of another, which should appear, whether true or false, to be of so p. 13abusive and defamatory a nature as to provoke him to commit a breach of the peace;—that if the person so defamed had committed any offence against the law, he should be dealt with according to law; and that no unauthorized individual had a right to become his judge.  But Lord Mansfield little thought at that time, that about thirty or forty years afterwards, a case would occur, wherein, although the “offence was rank and smelt to heaven,” the arm of the law was powerless; and wherein an appeal to public opinion became indispensible towards arresting the havoc which the most destructive of all vices that can exist in society was making upon the public morals.  We have now before us a case precisely of this nature.  Here is a man of the most infamous character—a man notoriously addicted to the most horrible of all vices—a man who has been in the constant habit of corrupting youth, by the instrumentality and under the mask of religion—this man is exercising all the functions of a Christian minister of the Gospel—such as reading prayers, preaching sermons, baptizing, and administering the holy sacrament;—a man at the very idea of whose guilt, every body, except his deluded or sympathetic auditors, shrinks back with feelings of disgust and agony;—and yet there exists no power either ecclesiastical or civil to arrest his career of blasphemy and guilt!  Under such afflicting circumstances, is the press to continue silent, because the law tells me that I am not to speak reproachfully of another, although I should speak the truth?  If I see my neighbour’s house on fire, am I to look on with cold-blooded indifference, without trying to save the whole street from being involved in flames, because a law may have declared it a crime for any man to stir, until the beat of a drum or the ringing of a bell shall have called the people together?  If I see that sort of moral contagion that has been the ruin of Empires, spreading around me while all the engines that were intended for its suppression, remain motionless, am I to refrain from raising my feeble voice against it, because I run a risk of offending against the letter of the law?  The law in this case is, in some manner at a stand, as will appear from the report I give of the recent proceedings p. 14before the Surry magistrates.  It is supposed be unable to act here, because it was not called into action when the crime, that has been sworn to, was perpetrated.  Yet the enormity of the crime not only remains undiminished and unatoned for, but the criminal is going forward in the same career, and is in possession of the same influence, that gave scope to his criminality: and what is still worse, the Christian religion is suffering under disgrace and pollution!  In such a case then, the press is the only power that can act: and is that power to be suspended by cold calculating timidity?  The chief duty of a Journalist is to check the progress of any public evil, by giving activity and force to the LAW OF OPINION, when the municipal law cannot reach the same.  This duty I am now exercising; and I do it without fear, because I feel conscious that I am serving the public; and because I may be instrumental in saving a large portion of the rising generation from ignominy and ruin.

That the public feel an uncommon share of interest in this question is evident, from the great increase of sale which this paper experienced on Sunday last; and their continued demand for it ever since.  I therefore conceive that my readers would not be satisfied without some more information respecting the person to whom I allude; and I now present then, with the chief incidents of his life, as well as some additional traits of his character, most of which have come to my knowledge since last Sunday.  The sketch of his life has been furnished me by a respectable Gentleman on whose veracity I can rely.  It is as follows:—

Dr. Jortin, in his Adversaria, very justly remarks, that “a sudden rise from a low station, as it sometimes shews to advantage the virtuous and amiable qualities, which could not exert themselves before, so it more frequently calls forth and exposes to view, those spots of the soul which lay lurking in secret, cramped by penury, and veiled with dissimulation.”

The Obelisk Parson, John Church, was found, when an infant, on the steps, or near the porch, of a church, (some say that of St. Andrew, in Holborn): and the overseers p. 15of the parish not being able to discover who were his parents, or by whom he was thus abandoned, had him sent to the Foundling Hospital, where he received that name, which bears the nearest analogy to the place near which he was found.  Here he remained until he was nine years old, when a complaint to the Governors having been made against him by the nurses, that he was addicted to improper and disgusting practices, it was thought prudent to apprentice him out at that early age, to obviate the possibility of the contagion spreading among the rest of the boys who partook of the bounties of that charity.  From his evident illiteracy, and from the badness of his writing, it is certain that he must have quitted the Hospital at an earlier age than usual, because, in general, none leave it who are not good scholars.  He was accordingly placed out as an apprentice to a gilder, in Black friars’ Road.  Before the expiration of his indenture, he was married to his present wife, and he quitted the service of his master.  Shortly afterwards, he worked for a composition ornament maker, in Tottenham Court Road.  This immaculate Minister of the Gospel here commenced his religious career, and, under the assumed garb of sanctity, took upon him the office of a teacher to the Sunday School, at that time established at Tottenham-Court Chapel.  It was here too, that he first became acquainted with Mr. William Webster, who has been under the necessity of holding him to bail, to appear at the next Middlesex Sessions, where an indictment will be preferred against him for attempts too shocking to be related in print.  Thinking that preaching was a better trade than that which he was employed in, this precious teacher, together with two other young men, who were candidates for the gown also, hired a garret in Soho, where they used to learn the method of addressing themselves to a congregation.  An old chair was the substitute for a pulpit.  He now began (to use his own expression,) “to gammon the old women.”—Good fortune happened at length to procure him the notice of Old Mother Barr, of Orange-street, who, being interested in his behalf, allowed him the use of a room of her’s, in which he treated her and a few other choice labourers in the field p. 16of piety, with his rapturous discourses.  From this he used to hold forth more publicly.  His virtues and acquirements now recommended him to one Garrett of notorious memory, who obtained him a living at Banbury.  It was at this place that he first became obnoxious.  Having made several violent attempts upon some young men while at that place, he was driven out from thence, by the trustees of the chapel, in which he preached, and ordered never to shew his face there again.  He hastily decamped, leaving behind him his wife and children, and the police officers having been sent in pursuit of him, their searches proved fruitless, and it was a long time before he was heard of.  He once more retired into the country, but was called from his solitude to use his influence in town, by a man of his own disgraceful kind named Kitty Cambric, and well known in Vere-street.  It is proper to observe here, that some of these wretches assume the names of women, and that they are absolutely married together, as will be shewn presently from Church’s having been the parson who performed the blasphemous mock ceremony of joining them in the ties of “Holy Matrimony.”  He now settled himself at Chapel Court in the Borough, when his old Garrett publicly charged him with a wicked and diabolical offence as the law says, “not to be named amongst Christians,” and he was obliged to run away from this accusation.  By some fortuitous event he at length got possession of the Obelisk Chapel, where he began to deliver his doctrines to those who were foolish and ignorant enough to attend to his fulsome and incoherent exclamations.  Several young men, whose names we are in possession of, and who were accustomed to hear him, were obliged to leave him in consequence of his having used them in a manner too indecent to be mentioned or hinted at.  Mr. E— B— has informed the writer of the present article, that this parson—or rather this monster—when he was about to preach, would frequently say,—“Well, I am going to tip ’em a gammoning story, my old women would believe the moon to be made of green cheese, if I was to tell them so; and I must tell them something.”—The writer has also been informed, from credible authority, p. 17that Church was a constant attendant in Vere-street, and that the gang of miscreants who met at the public-house there, some of whom stood in the pillory about two years and a half since, had nominated him to be their Chaplain; and that he officiated in that capacity.  By virtue of his functions, in this situation he was often employed in joining these monsters in the “indissoluble tie of matrimony!!!”  They were absolutely wedded together.  One evening, when Church visited this infamous place of resort, one of the gang observed, “Here is Parson Church.  Aye, Parson, how d’ye do?  Have you come to see our chapel?”—Church replied, “Yes, and to preach too.”

In addition to the above account, I have next to mention some circumstances that have been communicated to me by Mr. E— B—, who is a respectable young man, and a tradesman, residing in the Borough of Southwark.  Mr. B— happened, unfortunately, to be an attendant at Church’s meeting house, when the latter took notice of and formed an acquaintance with him, commencing as usual with pious exhortations, and then followed up by disgusting freedoms.  Mr. B—, however, struck with horror at such conduct, abandoned the place, and then he received two letters from Church, of which the following are copies.  Had this wretch received a classical education, one might suppose he had been writing a paraphrase on Virgil’s eclogue, beginning with the line—Formosum Pastor Corydon Ardebat Alexin.

The thoughts, however, originated in his own polluted mind.  The letters will serve to gratify curiosity, and give a further illustration of his stile and character.


Copy of a Letter, written by the Rev. John Church, Minister of Obelisk Chapel, Blackfriars’-road, to Mr. E— B—, Rodney-street, Kent-street, Borough, dated 3d March, 1809:—

Dear Ned,

May the best of blessings be yours in life and in death, p. 18while the sweet sensations of real genuine disinterested friendship rules every power of your mind body and soul I can only say I wish you was as much captivated with sincere friendship as I am but we all know our own feelings best  Friendship those best of names, affection those sweetest power like some powerful charm that overcomes the mind—I could write much on this subject but I dare not trust you with what I could say much as I esteem you—You would consider it as unmanly and quite effeminate, and having already proved what human nature is I must conceal even those emotions of love which I feel I wish I had the honor of being loved by you as much and in as great a degree as I do you.  Sometimes the painful thought of a separation overpowers me, many are now trying at it but last night I told persons that called on me that let them insinuate what they would I would never sacrifice my dear Ned to the shrine of any other friend upon earth—and that them who did not like him should have none of my company at all  I find dear Ned many are using all their power to part us but I hope it will prove in vain on your side, the effect that all this has upon me is to make me love you ten times more than ever, I wish opposition may have the 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 my heart will ever be upon you nor can I ever forget you till death.  Your leaving of me will break my heart, bring down my poor mind with sorrow to the Grave and wring from my eyes the briny tears, while my busy meddling memory will call to remembrance the few pleasant hours we spent together.  I picture to my imagination the affecting scene the painful thought, I must close the affecting subject ’tis more than my feelings are able to bear—My hearths full, my mind is sunk, 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 to me or no, and may we be pardoned, justified, and brought more to the 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.

p. 19I 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 two more, as they are expressions of mind fears sensations and desires—I must close, I long to see your dear face again, I long for Sunday morning till then God bless you.

I remain unalterably thy dear thy loving friend,
J. Church.


This letter, without a date, was written by the Rev. J. Church, Minister of Obelisk Chapel, Blackfriar’s-road, to Mr. E— B—, at 3, Rodney-street, Lenox-Street, Borough; and received by him on or about the 15th day March, 1809:—

Dear Sir,

Is this thy kindness to thy once professed much loved friend, surely I never, never did deserve such cruel treatment at you hands; why not speak to me last night in James-street when you heard me call, Stop! stop! Ned! do, pray do; but cruel, cruel Ned, deaf to all intreaties—O why was I permitted to pass the door of Mr. Gibbons when you and West were coming out.  Why was I permuted to tramp up and down the New Cut after you; I only wanted to speak one bitter heart breaking painful distressing word, farewell; I only wanted to pour my sorrows into your bosom, to shake hands with you once more, but I was denied this indulgence.  I never, never thought you would deceive me—O what an unhappy man am I; the thing that I most feared is come upon me, no excuse can justify such apparent duplicity; O my distress is great indeed.  O my God! what shall I do?  O Christ!  O God! support me in this trying hour, what a night am I passing through, I cannot sleep, tis near three o’clock; alas! sleep is departed, how great my grief, how p. 20bitter my sorrows, the loss of my character [20] is nothing to the loss of one dearer to me than my thing else.  O let me give vent to tears, but I am too, too much distressed to cry, O that I could.  I feel this like a dagger; never, never can I forgive the unhappy instrument of my distress in Charlotte-street.  Why did my dear friend Edward deceive me?  O how my mind was eased on Wednesday night; alas, how distressed on Thursday.  I have lost my only bosom friend, nearest dearest friend, bosom from bosom torn, how horrid.  Ah, dear Suffolk-court, never surely can I see you again.  How the Philistines will triumph; there, so would we have it; how Ebeir, Calvin, Thompson, Edwards, Bridgman, all will rejoice, and I have lost my friend, my all in this world, except the other part of myself, my wife and poor babes; never did I expect this from my dear E— B—.  O for a calm mind, that I might sleep till day light; but no, this I fear will be denied me.  How can I bear the piercing thought, parted; a dreadful word, worst of sensations, the only indulgence, the only confident, the only faithful, the only kind and indulgent sympathising friend, to lose you.  O what a stroke, O what a cut, what shall I do for matter for Sunday; O that I could get some one to preach for me; how can I lift up my head.  O Sir, if you have a grain of affection left for me, do, do intreat of God to support me; this is a worse affliction than the loss of my character nine months ago.  A man cannot lose his character twice.  O I did think you knew better; I did think I had found one in you that I could not find elsewhere; but no, the first object presented to you seen suddenly gained your mind, gained your affections; and I, poor unhappy distressed I, am left to deplore your loss.  O for submission, but I am distressed; woe is me.  O that I had never, never known you, then I should never feel what I do; but I thank you for your company hitherto, I have enjoyed it four months exactly, but this is over for ever; miserable as I am, I wish you well for ever, for ever.  I write in the bitterness of my soul which I feel.  May you never be cursed with the feelings I possess as long as you live.  What a day I have before me; I cannot go out of my house till Sunday morning.  How can I conceal my grief from my dear wife? how shall I hide it? what shall I say?  I am miserable, nor can I surmount p. 21the shock at all.  I have no friend to pour out my sorrows to now, I wish I had; I am sorry you are so easily duped by any to answer their purposes; my paper is full, my heart is worse; God help me; Lord God Support me! what shall I do, dear God!  O Lord! have mercy on me, I must close; this comes from your ever loving, but distressed



Another Fact.—It appears from the testimony of George Turner, and James Russell, of Redcross-street, of Richard Jessop, of Cattle-street, and William Williams of the Mint; that the Revd. John Church, on the 16th of November, 1809, attended at the funeral of Richard Oakden, a clerk in the Bank, who was executed before Newgate on the 15th for a certain horrible crime.  The hearse and coach set out from the Hat and Feathers public-house, kept by a Mr. Richardson in Gravel-lane, to which place Church and his company returned to partake of a jovial dinner.  In the course of the evening the latter behaved with great indecency.

The following bad character has also been given of Church, by Mr. George Gee and his wife, who keep a cake shop in the New Cut.  I have heard them both declare it to be true:

“Mr. Church the Minister lodged at our house a year and a half, and left last year at Lady-day.”

“We were in hopes that we were about to have a godly praying minister in our house, and to be sure, the first night he had somewhat like prayer, [21] and that and once afterwards, p. 22were the only times he ever went to family prayer in our house.  Nor could they have any prayer as he would be frequently out almost all hours of the night, and would lie in bed till ten o’clock in the morning.  Several times he and his wife would have skirmishings and fightings between themselves, while their children would be left to run about the streets out of school hours, and allowed to keep company with children, that would swear in our hearing most shockingly.  His children were always left to be very dirty, and would be sent sometimes three or four times in the morning for spirituous liquors of all sorts, as for reading good books or even the Bible, he scarce ever thought of it, but would spend a deal of his time in loose and vain talk, in walking about, and in fawning on young men, that was his chief delight.”

“Sundays and working days were all alike to them, for they would send out to buy liquors and whatever else they wanted, on Sundays as well as other days.”

“The house would be frequently more like a play-house, (I might say a bawdy house) than a minister’s house, where a set of young people would come, and behave more indecently than ought to be mentioned.  Even one Sunday morning they made such an uproar, as that they broke one of the windows, and after that, they would go with him to his Chapel, and after that he would give the sacrament to such disorderly people, let their characters be ever so loose.”

“He was always ready to go fast enough out to dinner or supper, where he could get good eating and drinking; but poor people might send to him from their sick bed, times and times before he would come to them.  Seeing so much of his inconsistencies and shocking filthiness in their rooms, (though they always paid the rent,) we were determined to give them warning to quit our house, and we do think that a worse man or woman ever came into any man’s house before; especially as Mr. Church pretended to preach the gospel; such hypocrites are much worse than others, and besides this, we never heard any man tell lies [22] so fast in all our lives.  It is a great grief to us, that ever we went to hear him preach, or suffered him to stop so long in our house.”


p. 23I now proceed to relate and comment upon some remarkable circumstances that have occurred since my last publication.  During the greater part of Sunday, my office was beset by gangs of fellows who came in successively and threatened prosecutions for what appeared in the paper about Church.  In the morning a constable named Holmes (hired no doubt for the purpose) was employed with a ladder, in tearing down the bills that had been posted up, announcing the publication of that morning respecting Mr. Church.  About noon, a man of the name of Shawe, who, I understand is a sort of an attorney, residing in St. George’s fields, and who, it appears has also been employed by Church, was standing in the midst of some persons outside the door of the chapel, with the newspaper in his hand, and was commenting on the infamous libels, as he called them, that were published against that most virtuous character, Mr. Church.  He seemed as if he wanted to provoke somebody to speak: and he soon had his wish; for a Gentleman of the name of Webster, with whom I am well acquainted, and whom I know to be as peaceable and correct a young man as any in the world, came up, and feeling indignant at the recollection of certain transactions which I shall state presently, declared that every thing stated in that paper (The Weekly Dispatch) was true.  This was the tremendous riot which this most dangerous gentleman committed.  The peace-restoring Mr. Shawe went immediately for a peace-officer—the same fellow of the name of Holmes who for three hours before had mobs of people collected around him while he was tearing down my bills, gave charge of Mr. Webster as a breaker of the peace, had him dragged like a felon to the watch-house, and afterwards conveyed him to a filthy lock-up-house in the Borough, where he was kept in a state of imprisonment, from his comfortable house and family all that day and night, until 12 o’clock on Monday, when he was brought before the magistrates at Union Hall.  Of the proceedings that then took place, the following account appeared in the Morning Chronicle of Tuesday:—

Riots at the Obelisk.—Tuesday, a Mr. Webster, p. 24who is employed in the house of Messrs. Evans and Co. eminent hop-merchants in the Borough, was charged by a person of the name of Shaw, with committing a riot and breach of the peace, on Sunday morning, at the Obelisk, in St. George’s-fields, near the entrance of a chapel belonging to a preacher, named John Church.  The Magistrates said, that as Mr. Birnie, who had, on a former day, heard another case similar to this, was absent, they wished the case might be deferred until next day, and desired Mr. Webster to attend accordingly.  The prosecutor observed, that it would be dangerous to allow Mr. Webster to be at large, and desired that he might either be kept in custody or held to bail.  The Magistrate asked if there was any person present ready to be bail for his appearance.  Mr. Robert Bell, the Editor of the Weekly Dispatch, who accompanied Mr. Webster as his friend, a housekeeper in Lambeth, said he was ready to bail him.  The prosecutor then said, he had also a very serious complaint to make against Mr. Bell, for the article which he published in his last Sunday’s newspaper, respecting Church, and he had one of the papers in his hand.  Mr. Bell told the Magistrates that he was ready to meet any complaint of this kind; that he conceived it to be his duty as one of the guardians of public liberty, and public morals, to send forth the statement in question; that he could prove the truth of every thing he had written and published.  The worthy Magistrate then asked Mr. Webster if he would promise on his honour to attend next day, which Mr. Webster assured him he would do, and he retired.  It is necessary to mention that Mr. Webster had been in a state of imprisonment during the greater part of Sunday, and all Sunday night.—Morning Chronicle, April 20, 1813.

This report is very correct, so far as it goes; but the reporter might have added, that I told the Magistrates I had a volume of documents in my possession to prove Church to be a most infamous culprit, and that it was a disgrace to the moral character of the nation, to suffer such a man to be a minister of the Gospel.  I have now a short comment to make on this occasion.  I am still at a loss p. 25to know what complaint it was that Shawe intended to prefer against me.  I had committed no riot, nor did I ever mix in any crowd, (in fact there was no crowd or noise, except what the associates of Church had created).  Did he mean to complain to the Magistrates of the publication in my paper?  If so, he must be grossly ignorant of law, not to know, that the magistrates for the county of Surrey could take no cognizance of that which I published in the city of London.  And if they had, did he imagine that I would enter into any such recognizance as Mr. Theodore Page, the printer, in Blackfriars road, was obliged to do?  No, Sir; so long as I continue to live in a free country, I will suffer no Justice of peace to lay an illegal imprimatur on my press.  Mr. Page, as quiet and discreet a man as ever existed, who was not seen in any crowd, and who would be the first to get away from any place where there happened to be the slightest disturbance, is now bound in the penalty of 100l. to preserve the peace! and for what, because he printed some hand-bills, giving an account of Church’s infamous practices.  And now, reader, mark again the conduct of this immaculate preacher.  He adopts no course of proceeding, by which he may be enabled to falsify the accusations made against him.  No,—he wants to crush and smother everything by violence; and still continue to levy contributions on some poor fools who go to hear him; or, perhaps, occasionally to convert his conventicle into an accommodating shop for the use of others.

On Tuesday last Mr. Webster again appeared at Union Hall, accompanied by his father, his brother, and some friends.  In support of the charge of riot, an old man and an old woman, of the meanest appearance, declared, that Mr. Webster expressed a wish to set the chapel on fire; but their evidence was not believed, and they were turned out of the office.  Goff, the officer, had seen no act of riot.  Mr. Webster being called on for his statement, said, he had not uttered a word that could provoke any disturbance.  When he made the reply to Shawe’s comments on the Newspapers, he did assert, that he could prove Church to be the character therein described, p. 26because, about ten or eleven year, ago he had been guilty of most abominable conduct toward, his (Webster’s) brother, then a lad of 16.  The moment the Magistrates heard this, they appeared struck with amazement.  They stopt all proceedings against Mr. Webster, and desired his brother to be brought forward.  The office was cleared of all persons, except the parties immediately concerned; the brother’s deposition was then taken, and a warrant was issued for Church to appear there the next day.

On Wednesday J. Church appeared in consequence of the warrant issued the day before for his apprehension on a charge of abominable practices, attended by a number of his deluded followers.  Mr. W. Webster having deposed as to his attempts on him, Church was ordered to find bail for his appearance at the next Middlesex Sessions and Mr. Webster bound over to prosecute.  The magistrate observed that from the length of time which had elapsed since the offence had been committed, he thought a jury would not feel justified in finding him guilty.  Mr. Johnston, a young Gentleman of the law, who attended for Mr. Webster, replied, that it was not the time for them to discuss what was likely to be the verdict of a jury; that he had recommended Mr. Webster to prefer an indictment against Church, and Mr. W. had come to that resolution; and that whatever might be the result of the trial, the evidence relating to the conduct of Church would be of that disgusting nature as to stamp his name with eternal infamy and disgrace.  Church’s attorney observed that it was a conspiracy amongst another sect to ruin Mr. Church’s character.  This Mr. Johnston denied, and said that it was only a desire to bring him to merited punishment.  Mr. Johnston also said that if Mr. Church acted like a man of prudence, and consulted his own interest, he would desist from preaching until the indictment had been tried, as it would be the means of preventing a breach of the peace, but this he declined; and Shawe his attorney said they should follow their own advice.  Mr. Johnston informed Church’s attorney that it was Mr. Webster’s intention to indict, or bring an action against him for assault and false imprisonment.

p. 27On that very evening (incredible as it may appear) this very man, held to bail for trial on the most horrid charges given on oath, had the impudence to go into his chapel and preach to a crowded audience.  But his is a very convenient conscience-healing system of faith, [27] and perhaps his followers do not like him the worse for his system of practical morality.



Extract from the Weekly Dispatch of May 2, 1813.

The statements published in the two last numbers of the Dispatch respecting this person have excited a degree of public attention unexampled in the history of newspapers.  I am rejoiced at the circumstance; because it p. 28serves to shew how large a mass of virtuous feeling prevails among the people of England, and how much alive they are to any transactions that appear to violate the morals, or profane the religion of their country.  It is impossible for any one who knows me, or is acquainted with my character, to suppose, that I could have felt any thing like personal hostility against this man.  My sole motive for sending forth these publications, has been to defend and preserve the public morals.  In doing so, I have disregarded all risks, and set all threats at defiance.  The reader may naturally ask whether I have not said enough on this subject already.  I thought so this day week.  Since last Sunday’s publication, however, a volume of new matter, respecting this prophaner of religion and violator of morality has been communicated to me.

Among the recent communications that have been made to me in the course of the week, the following are the more remarkable, and ought to be proclaimed through all parts of the kingdom.  Several persons have been at a loss to know by what authority this man presumed to take upon himself the functions of a minister of the gospel.  They have asked how could a man so profligate—so notoriously criminal, come forth to instruct others in religion.  The question was natural, and I will answer it.  The practice among Dissenters is, that when any man feels a strong desire to become a preacher, he communicates the same to several Ministers, who make strict enquiry into his qualifications as to piety, learning, morals, &c. and if they find these established on satisfactory evidence, they confer on the candidate a sort of ordination, without which he can have no authority to officiate as a minster of the gospel.  I understand that Church did receive some ordination of this kind at the town of Banbury, in Oxfordshire; from which place, as I stated in a former number, he was driven away for his mal-practices.  Since then he has not been under the control, and has acted in defiance of all the ordinances of the Dissenting Church.  He has in fact gone about as a mere isolated adventurer; and I am informed that no minister will preach in any pulpit belonging to him.  Yet he continues to preach, in defiance p. 29of Christian, as well as of moral ordinances; because he cannot be silenced by any legal authority, and because he rejects all ecclesiastical government.  This is the reason why I labour to rescue religion from the disgrace which he throws upon it.  And I again ask if it is to be tolerated in a Christian, in a moral country, that a man ordered by the magistrates to be tried for the basest of all crimes, alleged against him on oath, should be suffered to collect an assembly of English subjects around him under pretence of giving them religious instruction?  Is the government to suffer its subjects to be thus contaminated?  The magistrates of Sparta and of Rome (which were heathen nations) would have permitted no such sacrilege as this.

One character peculiar to the person I am speaking of is, that wherever he has been admitted as a preacher, he has disturbed the religious system, and upset the order of the place.  No later than Wednesday last, a gentleman from Colchester called at my office, and told me that he has done so in that town; that he turned the whole congregation against their minister, by preaching doctrines tending to encourage licentiousness, and foster the worst passions.  All persons acquainted with history will recollect, that this mode of healing the consciences of profligate men was practised by the Romish Church before the reformation, and when it flourished in its rankest state of corruption—when indulgences for sins to be committed, and pardon for sins past, were openly sold for money.  The manner in which the Obelisk Preacher conducts the affairs of his chapel bears some resemblance to this practice.  In other places of worship, the practice is, for persons, who have been appointed as trustees, to take charge of all the money collected once a mouth, and after allowing a reasonable remuneration to the minister, apply the remainder to the relief of the poor, and to the repairs of the place.  Hitherto, however, Mr. C— has been in the habit of putting into his own pocket all the money which he has raised by inflaming the passions and exciting hopes and fears.  I am informed that for the purpose of encreasing his revenue, he has even administered the sacrament to persons who were nearly introxicated p. 30with gin!!  At present my pen is unable to proceed any further on this most disgusting subject.

R. B.

Extract from the Dispatch of May 9, 1813.

The promise made in last Sunday’s Dispatch, that a description should every week be given of some conventicle preacher noted for ignorance and absurdity, was at the time rather premature, and the fulfilment of it must be suspended for two or three weeks longer; because I wish to mark out a boundary of separation, like an impassable chasm, between the character I have hitherto been developing, and those I intend hereafter to criticise.  However great may be the mass of folly, ignorance, and fanaticism, which prevail throughout most of the low conventicles of this metropolis, and however injuriously they may operate on the human mind, their effects are innocence and virtue, compared to the influence of that guilt which I have exposed, and which I am prepared to expose still more effectually in any Court of Justice.  I believe that the poor silly visionaries who deal in pictures, in miracles, and monstrous conceits, are not wilfully or practically vicious, and that they have lashed themselves into a belief, of what they preach; therefore I cannot think of dragging them forward so close upon the heels of Mr. John Church, as to hold out an appearance of their belonging to the same society.  Some interval of time, therefore, is necessary for the distinction which I wish to draw.  When I come to speak of them it shall be in a spirit of playfulness, and not with a feeling of abhorrence.  Respecting the last mentioned person I should have been silent ever since the 18th ultimo, had he preserved that silence which a sense of common decency would have pointed out to any other person, except himself.  After having been held to bail for the purpose of being tried on charges not to be named among Christians, he ought to have abstained p. 31from entering his pulpit, and shunned the very light, until his character was cleared to the satisfaction of his congregation, who ought to have deemed it a sacrilege to be present while he attempted to promulgate the doctrines of Christ in a place of divine worship.  But one would think there was a congeniality of sentiment and of sympathy between the pastor and the flock!  Indeed this latter remark is founded upon something more than conjecture: for a great number of persons who are in the habit of frequenting the obelisk chapel, have taken up the cause of their preacher with a zeal that cannot easily be accounted for in any way but one.  They will investigate no charge; they reject all evidence.  Their Temple is open, and their High Priest is in as much favour as ever he was.  They are, I am told, raising money to carry on prosecutions against those whom they call his calumniators; but it is probable that the money will be expended in some other place, besides Westminster Hall.  I have been threatened with an action as will appear by the following notice, which was left at my office last Friday se’nnight, and which for the amusement of the reader I publish verbatim and literatim.

To Mr. R. Bell the Editor and Proprietor and also—to Mr. Robt Barber—the Printer, of a Certain Weekly Publication or Newspaper Calld the Weekly Dispatch and to all others whom It doth shall or may Concern.

My name appearing In some of the Above-named Newspapers and In other Publication Issued by Some of you or by your Directions I do hereby—give you and Each of you, Notice from, henceforth to Desist from the further Printing or Circulation—of Such Papers and that In Case My Name, or any (thing) Respecting (me) or Tending, to Inflame the Public Mind against me, Shall appear In any future Publications Sanctioned or Authorisd by you or Under you Direction’s I shall Commence Such Legal measures, against you for the Same As the Law Enable Me and Counsel shall advise and I Do hereby—give you and Each of you further Notice that (as) I am about to Commence—and acxtion against you for the Publication p. 32above alluded to, that you do not Part with or alter, or In any manner mutilate the manuscripts from which Publications were Printed.

30 Day of
April 1813
John Church.

This precious composition (no attorney could write any thing like it) bears the real signature of John Church which exactly resembles that of the letter he wrote to Cook of Vere-street.  I now then call on him to put his threat into execution; I call on him to bring his action against me; and he may depend on it, I shall be prepared with my proofs and my JUSTIFICATION.  I repeat what I said in my last, that I bear this man no resentment of a personal nature, I can have none towards one I never spoke to, and never saw but once, and then in his pulpit.  My sole object is to do that which the civil power seems unable to do—to prevent one of the most horrid of vices, from being propagated through the medium of pretended sanctity.  The person of whom I am speaking, has called at my office, and expressed a wish to see me (this was very like bringing an action!) fortunately I was not there at the time; and I now desire that neither he nor any of his associates may call on me, for I will speak with none of them except in a Court of Law.


To the Editor of the Weekly Dispatch.

Banbury, May 5, 1813.

Sir,—In your Paper of the 25th ult. in an article relative to John Church, you say, “The Magistrates sent him away from Banbury.”  As some persons might, from this erroneous statement, conceive that the people to whom he preached then, heard with indifference of his vile propensities; we beg p. 33of you, in justice to them, to correct this error.  It was the Trustees of the Chapel who gave him his immediate dismission from their place, on the first intimation of his destestable practices, to which they could attach any credit.

We are, Sir,

Your humble Servants,
Joseph Gardner.
Thomas Gardner.


The following are the letters referred to in pages 8 & 9.

Honoured Sir,—In reply to your letter concerning Mr. C.  I can only inform you, there was a report against him of a very scandalous nature; but how far his culpability extends, it is quite out of my power to determine.  He was absent from hence when the rumour first spread.  The Managers of our Chapel took great pains to enquire into the origin of such reports, and the result was, they sent Mr. C. positive orders never, on any account, to return to Banbury again; which advice he has hitherto wisely observed.  Now, Sir, after giving you the above information, I beg leave to conclude the subject, by referring you to your own comment hereon.

(Signed) S. Hall.

Banbury, March 7,

The next extract exhibits the confession of Wm. Clarke, of Ipswich.

Having been called by providence to Colchester, I went to hear John Church preach in a barn, was invited to Mr. p. 34Abbott’s; was prevailed upon to sleep with John Church; I did sleep with him three nights; after being enticed to many imprudences, I was under the necessity to resist certain attempts, which, if I had complied with, I am fearful must have ruined both soul and body; the crime is too horrid to relate.

William Clark.

Richard Patmore
J. Ellison
C. Wire
H. T. Wire

P.S.  This took place in March last, 1812.


The third letter casts still further light on the dark business of the former.

Colchester, September 16, 1812.


Last evening I had an interview with Clark’s father, who wishes him to comply with your wishes.  I mentioned to him respecting Church’s conduct, and I find the last night to be the worst.  Likewise that he would have committed the act had not Clark prevented him.  The particulars I told was when in London, but find them worse than what I describe to you.  They are not able to be at any expence; but if the Gentlemen wish to prosecute, and to pay Clark’s expences up to London, &c. he will have no objection to come, when you please to send.  I need only say, I wish you to inform the Gentlemen, and give me a line.

I am, dear Sir,

Yours, &c.


The following is the narrative which Cook has given to his acquaintance with Parson Church; and which was taken down from his own dictation by Mr. E— B—:

In May, 1810, J. Cook was in company with Mr. Yardley and another young man by the name of Ponder.  I found after p. 35that the said Ponder was a drummer in the Guards; but Cook went to call at a house in the London Road, where I saw Mr. Church the first time in my life; there was at this house about twelve or fourteen altogether drinking gin, and Mr. Church handed me a glass of the same, which I took; Church behaved very polite to me, and said what a fine fellow I was, he pressed me very much to stop and get tea with them, for he said he would call and see me when I was settled in the house in Vere-street.  I stopped a little while and was about to leave them when Church said I should not go before I had tea, and flung down a dollar, and a man by the name of Gaiscoin took the money and went for the tea and other things but I would not stay, Church came out of the room with me, and walked with me as far as the turnpike, there he met another Gentleman which I never saw before, and I went on and left him for that time, I think it was 6 or 8 days.  I went to live at the Swan, and saw Church again, he came about 3 o’clock in the afternoon, and Mr. Yardley accosted him, ‘Parson what are you come to see the Chappel?’ he said ‘yes, and to preach too:’ Church asked me how I was, I said I was not very well, he asked me why I went away in that shy manner, I told him he was a stranger to me, and I did not like to be intruding on strange people, he said I was shy, he did not know what to make of me, he also pressed me very much to take a walk with him, but I declined it, he said I must go, but I still declined, and did not go with him, he staid some time and joined the company that was in the Back Parlour, persons by the name of Miss Fox and Miss Kitty Cambrick was among them, and the Queen of Bohemia.  As Mr. C. was going away, he came to the bar and spoke to me, and said I must take something to drink, which I did, and he paid for it, and left the house for that time.  In a few days he called again in the afternoon, and there was not many people there, he asked if Yardly was at home, I said he was not, he said he was very sorry for it, I asked him what he wanted, he said he came on purpose for me to take a walk with him, but I did not go, he said he would wait until Yardly came in, Church said I should do him a great favor if I would take a walk with him, I would not go, he still pressed me very much to go, I said I would if he would wait till I had cleaned myself, he waited more than two hours for me, I went to steep because I would not go with him, and in the mean time he waited so long that he was tired, he sent the waiter to call me, which he did, and said the Parson wanted me, and had been waiting two p. 36hours for me, I said him wait, for I should not come, he returned and said if I would but speak to him, he should go away happy.  I found I could not get rid of him, I went down stairs, he said well, Sir, I hope your nap has done you good, I said I dont know, dont bother me, he said I was very cross to him, I told him there was other men without me, if he wanted to preach, not to preach to me about crossness.  He said well if that was the case he was very sorry he had offended me, I told him he had not offended me nor pleased me, but as I was not well and the less any one talked to me the better I liked it.  He said if I was but friends with him, and shake hands with him, he should go away happy.  Mr. Yardly said, I never see such a fellow as I was, for I had affronted every body that came to the house.  I then shook hands with the Parson, for at that time I did not know his name.  He shook hands with me, and we had something to drink, and Mr. Church paid for it and went away.  I never saw him until I came out of Newgate, I was talking to Mr. and Mrs. Holloway, and telling them there was a Parson somewhere about St. George’s Fields, but his name I did not know.  He asked me if I should know him if I saw him, I said I should, by that I went to the Chapel and saw Mr. Church, and then I asked the people what was the Parson’s name, they told me his name was Church.  I said he ought to be ashamed of himself to preach there, a *** and rascal, and left the place, and went home in the greatest pains I ever felt in my life, and was resolved to see him, which I did the next day, and give him one of the hand-bills, and the manner he received me, was like a young man would his sweetheart, I begun my conversation:—Well, Sir, I suppose you do not know me.  He said he did not.  I said my name was Cook, that kept the Swan, in Vere street.  He said he thought so, but was not sure: he said, why did I not call before and shake hands with a body.  I told him I did not know where he lived, nor I did not know his name until I went to the Chapel and found him out.  He told me not to make it known that he ever came to my house, for he and Roland Hill had daggers drawn, and that he should be obliged to indite Hill to clear up his character, and for God’s sake do not expose me.

(Here the Narrative breaks off.)


In addition to the above testimonies, the Editor has received a very long narrative of atrocities committed by John Church while he resided at Banbury, which has been written by a Minister at that place; but the facts are too disgusting and shocking to be published.

On the 6th of June 1813, the Grand Jury for the County of Middlesex found a Bill of Indictment against John Church for his attempt some years ago on a lad named Webster.


Printed by and for R. Bell, Bride Lane, Fleet Street.


July 15.

This Pamphlet was printed and ready for publication some weeks since; but the Editor thought proper to keep it back until the trial of John Church, which came on at the Middlesex Sessions on Monday the 12th of July 1813; when he was acquitted.  Indeed the Editor never imagined that any other verdict than one of acquittal, would have been given on that particular prosecution.  If the Reader looks back to pages 25 and 26, he will find in the account there given of the proceedings at Union Hall, that this prosecution was ORDERED by the Magistrates of that Office, and did not originate with the prosecutor, William Webster, on whom the abominable attempt was alleged to have been made eleven years ago; that the very mention of the attempt was a mere incidental circumstance arising out of another proceeding then before the Magistrates; and that the latter, upon hearing it, dismissed the first complaint, and obliged Wm. Webster to become (what he never until then intended to be) a prosecutor against Church.  Let the Reader also take notice of the following sentence in the report in page 26: “The Magistrate observed, that from the length of time which had elapsed since the offence had been committed, he thought a Jury would not feel justified in finding him guilty.”  This William Webster, therefore, considered, in all respects, as an unwilling prosecutor, who was supported only by one counsel of young standing, [38a] and had to struggle against two of the most able advocates [38b] in the criminal courts.  The Editor (for he was not present at the trial) understands that Webster gave his evidence with embarrassment and trepidation, and he suffered himself to fall into some inconsistencies.  With this solitary and confused evidence, and after a lapse—after a silence of ELEVEN YEARS, was it possible to suppose that a Jury would have found any man guilty?  It must here be observed that the decision on this solitary complaint of eleven years standing, does not in the slightest degree affect any of the numerous accusation at a more recent date, which have been made against John Church.


[5]  In the Dispatch of the 21st ult. the Editor, when speaking of the publicity given to the evidence respecting the Princess of Wales, expressed the following sentiments on this question: “There are cases in which a great deal more injury both to morals and liberty, may arise from the suppression than the exposure of indecencies.”—“Complaints have often been made from very high quarters of the publicity given to certain proceedings in Courts of Justice; and it is but justice to say, that within the last twenty years, the press has been very cautious in its manner of relating them.  But it is a matter of doubt with many wise men whether the suppression of facts in such instances does not, upon the whole, do more injury to public morals than a complete disclosure of them; particularly so, if there be any suspicion that facts have been suppressed.”

[6]  Messrs. Gurney and Alley.

[7]  The Reader will find this fac simile accompanying the present pamphlet.

Facsimile of John Church’s letter to James Cook

[11]  A Correspondent, who happened to attend two or three times at Church’s Meeting-house, took down the following sentences from his Sermons.  They may gratify the curiosity of the reader.

“God is frequently going forth, and we also are often going to the window to look for him; The more vile I am made to appear to the World the more God will assist me.  Every citizen is a free-born.  Many have wondered how I could go thro’ so much trouble.  There have been a great many that have wished to see me—I can inform them I had much rather they had wished to see Christ.  People may be laughed at for being fools, but you may depend upon it the more God will like them.  All that believe not will certainly be damned.  The duties of Christianity are not to be preached to an ungodly world; John Church is very much spoken of, but they had much better speak of Jesus; the people of the established church feel no spiritual joy.  Spiritual discourse is enlivening to the senses, &c.  The bread of life is not to be given away to Dogs.  I am not going to turn auctioneer, but I am going to inform you that next Lord’s Day I am going to publish a book proving that God the Son, and the Spirit, are all one great God.  My sermon will be good news and comfort to all poor sinners; Satan and all his spirits never sleeps; the power of life and death is only in the hands of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Devils are allowed to harrass the people of God day and night—no wonder they perplex those they cant destroy.  People are mostly liable to fall in their first love into awful heresies and temptation.  All the Lord’s people do not see into the glory of my text—’tis like a jewel in a rock of Adamant.  The worst sin was the murdering of God’s saints.  When I sit in darkness the Lord will be a light unto me.  Many men laugh at the doctrine of the new birth,—are there not many learned Doctors that know nothing of it?  Let a man come under any circumstances I will receive him;—Don’t laugh at the doctrine of inspiration; he wise, it has often been preached by our church,—I am never tired of preaching, and I believe my dear brethren are never tired of hearing me.  If every one that is saved should be as bright as the sun, what a place heaven must be, where there will be so many millions!  Angels beckon me away, and Christ bids me come.  The sight of Christ, you may depend on’t, will be worth suffering for.  O that I had the voice of an archangel, I would indeed do wonders.  I doubt the superiority of one angel over another in heaven—Christ is entirely independent, of or with God.  We must have the spirit of God before we are his people.  Believe in the predestination of eternal life, but not in eternal death; people that suffer were beforehand predestined so to do, by God.  Bad or horrid is the religion of a proud Pharisee.  That religion that is preached by the people of God is God himself.  There can be no going forth until the Spirit of God has entered.  The MOB is seldom stirred up but thro’ Priests, there is now a case of the very kind; when envy bursts forth thro’ jealous and envious neighbouring Priests, and published by Deists, there can be nothing to fear; and I verily believe that any thing prayed for to Christ will certainly be granted, as has always been the case with me.  Let us for ever endeavour to turn every thing, whether good or bad, into good.  I do not not believe that God begot Jesus Christ—they say too that Joseph was an impostor at this very day;—every thing that is done against the church is done against Christ; also that which is done against Christ is done against the Church; and any thing done against the people of God is done against Christ.  It is a most blessed thing that we can throw our burthens upon Christ;—I do not care who hears me, whether God, or Man, Friends, or Foes, Devils or Angels, or any thing else, and let them call me an Antinomian again if they please.  There must be spiritual life in the soul.  The Lord Jesus Christ and the people of God are all one.  Christ has no sorrow but the people of God must sympathise with him; and the people of God have no affliction but that Christ sympathises with them.”

[20]  Alluding to his being turned out of Banbury.

[21]  Before Church got to bed to young Clark, he scoffed at secret prayer.  What abominable hypocrisy, to hear the same man pretending to pray before a public congregation, where he can get himself paid for his devotions! how he must hate and despise himself on account of his own most odious cant!!!

[22]  A full proof of this has been given, in the falsehoods he has repeatedly urged, to ward off the charges brought against him in these papers.

[27]  I am informed that Church belongs to that sect called Antinomians, which is thus described by the Rev. John Evans in his “Sketch of the Denominations of the Christian World”:—

“The Antinomian derives his name from Anti and Nomos; signifying, against, and a Law, his favourite tenet being, that the law is not a rule of life to believers.  It is not easy to ascertain what he means by this position, but he seems to carry the doctrine of imputed righteousness of Christ and salvation by faith without works to such lengths as to injure, if not wholly destroy the obligation to moral obedience.  Antinomianism may be traced to the period of the reformation, and its promulgator was John Agricola, originally a disciple of Luther.  The Papists in their disputes with the Protestants of that day, carried the merit of good works to an extravagant length; and this induced some of their opponents to run into the opposite extreme.  “This sect (say the Encyclopedia) sprung up in England during the protectorate of Oliver Cromwell, and extended the system of libertinism much farther than Agricola, the disciple of Luther.  Some of their teachers expressly maintained, that as the elect cannot fall from grace nor forfeit the divine favour, the wicked actions they commit are not really sinful, nor are they to be considered as instances of their violation of the Divine Law; consequently they have no occasion to confess their sins, or to break them off by repentance.  According to them it is one of the essential and distinctive characters of the elect that they cannot do any thing displeasing to God, or prohibited by Law.”

[38a]  Mr. Adolphus.

[38b]  Messrs. Gurney and Alley.