Wednesday, 7 May 2014

7th May 1814: The Hydrographer, James Horsburgh, warns the Home Office about Joanna Southcott

East India house
7th May 1814

My Lord

Feeling and lamenting the deluded and degraded state of many of the lower orders of society in this Country, and observing that the author of these evils, Joanna Southcott, is daily gaining converts, (having already it is said about Sixty Thousand followers) I have ventured to present before your Lordship, some of her dogmas, which are correctly transcribed from her late publications.

My Lord, I should not have taken the liberty to address you, were it not, that I lament the pernicious effect this woman's doctrines have among many of the lower Classes of society, who firmly believe her to be divinely inspired.

She has declared, before the harvest is finished this year, she will produce to the World a Son, who is the Third Person of the Trinity; (pardon me my Lord for being obliged to write thus) I am therefore of opinion, that a plan has been laid to bring forward a Child at the appointed time; and if it be adored as a God, by many ignorant but well meaning persons, you will easily judge My Lord, how disgraceful to the age in which we live, and to this Country?

My Lord
I am with great respect
Your Lordships most Obdt & most Humble Sert
Jas Horsburgh

This letter can be found at HO 42/139.

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