Thursday, 28 August 2014

28th August 1814: More news about Joanna Southcott's 'pregnancy'

From the Leeds Mercury of 3rd September 1814:

On Sunday [28th August 1814] a considerable multitude were assembled at Mr. Tozer’s Chapel, in the neighbourhood of the Obelisk, Westminster-road. Before ten o'clock the building was filled with auditors, a great number remaining on the outside, not being able to obtain admission. These excluded persons were continually accumulating, and when a competent congregation on the exterior of the structure was assembled, a preacher, whom we understand to be a boot-closer, ascended a temporary tribune or pulpit, and in a few moments, by his vehement language, satisfied his hearers that he was a determined opponent of the priesthood of Joanna. The Police Officers, who were on duty, at length interposed, secured him, and conveyed him to the Watch-house near the Surrey Theatre, where, for want of bail, he remained in confinement.

During these proceedings Mr. Tozer continued the service without interruption, and afterwards addressed the mob outside from one of the windows. He told them, amongst other things, that he fully expected that the birth and the pregnant Prophetess would occur before the middle of October, and that should the event not take place, he would in the situation from which he then spoke, a Christmas next, renounce his errors, abandon his holy profession, and acknowledge publicly that he and his followers had been grossly deluded.

A letter has been published by Dr. Reece, in which, after stating that on Wednesday last he visited Joanna Southcott, and ascertained by personal examination she is undoubtedly pregnant, he concludes thus:—

"Having thus satisfied my mind of the pregnancy of Joanna Southcott, I apply for a certificate of her age, which I received this morning, and of which the following is a copy:—

Joanna, daughter of William and Hannah Southcott, baptised the 6th day of June, 1750, as appears by the register of baptism of Ottery St. Mary’s parish, Devon.



I regard the pregnancy of Joanna Southcott extraordinary only in a professional point of view. Of her prophecies I am ignorant, and shall be happy to lend my aid for the purpose of detecting and exposing a species of imposture, which, of all others, I consider the most infamous.

I am, Sir, your obedient Servant,


Piccadilly, Aug. 25, 1814.

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