Monday, 29 December 2014

29th December 1814: Dr. Richard Recce is concerned about the remains of Joanna Southcott

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:

On Thursday I paid another visit to the remains of Joanna. The body was beginning to be offensive, her lips and fingers had assumed a black appearance, but even this change did not shake the faithful of her followers, and I was obliged seriously to address Mr. Sharpe, stating that putrefaction had actually begun to take place, that the warmth employed would accelerate the process, and, if continued, it would be to no purpose to open the body. To this he replied, rather sharply, "do not be uneasy, you will not suffer by it, for depend upon it she will return to the body. My answer was, that if they thought so, they should endeavour to keep it sweet for her reception; for should the ceremony for her marriage in Heaven continue two days longer, the tenement would not be habitable on her return. Well then, said he, the greater will be the miracle. The God that raised up Lazarus will raise her up, and that he would do so, he had not the smallest doubt. The evil, I replied, will in this case find its own remedy, for in two or three days she will stink you all out of the house. Colonel Harwood informed me, that several medical men had called and inspected the body, who agreed in opinion of her being dead, except Dr. Sims, who would not speak decisively, from her warmth, so that even on the question of death we could not agree.

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