Tuesday, 30 December 2014

30th December 1814: Joanna Southcott's followers remain convinced she will rise from the dead

Dr. Richard Reece, though not a believer that Joanna Southcott was any kind of prophet, had medically attended upon her for several weeks prior to her death. He quickly published a pamphlet about his whole encounter very soon after her death, and extracts from it were published in many newspapers. This extract was published in the Manchester Mercury of 17th January 1815: 

In the course of [Friday] I called again, for the purpose of informing the attendants I would decline opening the body if they would not consent to it on the following day. I saw on this occasion Mr. Sharpe and Col. Harwood, who considered the time would not be expired till the following morning at four o'clock, according to her dying injunctions, making four days from her death: after that time I was at liberty, they said, to open the body. On this I appointed two o'clock next day, when the Colonel informed me he would himself acquaint the Medical Gentleman who were appointed to attend by Mrs. Southcott. He requested to know the names of the Medical Gentleman I intended to introduce, when I gave the names of Messrs. Clarke, Want, Caton, and Maccloud. The disciples in attendance were equally sanguine in the idea of her rising again. She is not dead but sleepeth, seemed to be the opinion of the whole. In performing the dissection, it was requested by Mr. Tozer, that I would conduct it in the same manner as the Cesarian operation, that all hopes of resuscitation might not be destroyed!! To this request I replied, that certainly the same power that could raise a putrid body, could raise one that had been opened. His next request was, that I would take care of the child, for he and all the disciples were fully confident, if Joanna was not raised before opening the body, the child would be found on dissection.

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