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TO THE REVEREND MR. POMEROY,
No. 50, Titchfield Street, London, Sept. 28, 1804.
will attend to the subject of this letter, which is purely intended to save your character from that disgrace and ruin, which must inevitably happen, if you any longer persevere in treating with contempt the applications made to you, to restore to Joanna those papers and letters, that were placed in your hands, for some years past, as a sacred deposit, that the truth should be made known of her most extraordinary visitation, without any possibility of deception, and which yourself believed at that time to be of the most aweful and serious nature; and you certainly urged her then to have an immediate examination, to prevent the rod of affliction from falling upon this land. This conduct of your's to Joanna arose from those honest dictates placed in your heart, and did you so much honour as a real minister of Christ, for
you, as a clergyman, at this day to attend to the humble request of an honest, simple woman, when, according to the pride of human society, they are so neglected and despised as scarcely to be considered human beings. Now, Sir, by what I know of Joanna’s grateful and feeling heart, she could not but place entire confidence in you; and she would have parted with her life rather than have deceived you; and believing, as she did, that her visitation was from her blessed Lord and Saviour, you appeared to be the man after her own mind, that would
prevent her from being deceived, if there was any possibility. And in that case you would have done honour to yourself as a man to have stopped her in her progress; and would have preyented thou
THE RÉV. MR. POMEROY.
65 šands at this day from being deluded into error, whose numbers are daily increasing, believing with her, that her calling is from the Most High ; and is also a powerful motive for her to be faithful to the truth, neither to deceive either her God or yourself, that she has placed confidence in. Now,
, Sir, I cannot, from these circumstances, but believe that the contents of the writings placed in your hands, of future events taking place, must, by your silence, have come to pass ; but on the other hand as you have thought proper to treat her and her friends with the most silent contempt, you are departing from your duty to the world in suffering deception to go on ; you are departing from your allegiance to your king, by bringing his church, which forms a part of his government, and the bishops, into contempt, at a time when we are threatened with every calamity from a powerful and ambitious enemy. But, Sir, if her calling is from Heaven, why deprive your king and country of the light of divine wisdom, at a time when we stand most in need of divine protection ? If the cause is the cause of God, which your silence proves it to be, what line of conduct has Joanna to take, but to be obedient to divine command in all things, and follow the directions of the Spirit? Therefore, Sir, the laws of your king and country are commandech to be appealed to, according to human order ; for her God is the God of order; and it is commanded for you to be compelled to be just, and the truth to be brought forth according to the English laws; and the advice of a gentleman of the law has already been obtained, and I am thus far permitted to inform you, that you will be compelled by a precept from the Court of King's Bench, or some oiher court of justice, to produce all papers and letters deposited with you in trust, and under your own promise, as a judge of the truth for her, in the hour of confidence; and if you do not, you will be obliged to declare the whole truth upon oath, why you have refused ; and give satisfactory answers to all questions that shall be demanded of you; and inform the court of what the papers contained. Happy shall I feel if I am an instrument to prevent you from disgrace and ruin; and I hope you will consider this letter as the letter of a friend ; for I know it is said to Joanna, that the Lord will not permit you longer to contend against his will; for you once believed it to be of divine authority, and encouraged her to proceed, adding these words,
you will wait until you bring the sword, the plague, and the famine upon us. Now, Sir, these words are your own words to Joanna, and are published to the world at large; which words you would not have used, neither would you have had any interview with her at all, if you had not had some belief, at that time, of the truth of her visitation. You also added, you would meet with twelve persons; and advised her not to wait until the sword come upon us. Why, Rev. Sir, do you continue silent? Why will you suffer people to have the least cause to suspect you to be a traitor to your king and country? Why not invite the church to come forth, and vindicate the cause of God and man?
I have already told you the church forms a part of our government, and you are one of its ministers ; your opinion, as a minister, ought to be of consequence, and those gentlemen, whom you used to ineet at the coffee-house at Exeter, ought to liave some decency towards you. It was not for them to teach you what to believe, or whom you chose to converse with upon the subject of prophecy. They treated you with impertinence and disrespect; and, mark my words, these very men may be the first to condemn you, when they read in the public papers a true statement of what has
THE REV. MR. POMEROY. passed in a court of law. These very micn will exclaim against you for being guilty of a breach of trust. These supercilious coffee-house politicians will be the first to cry out against you ; so that your character will be trampled on by those, whose opinion, or rather ridicule, you have been such a slare to, as to make you betray the confidence of an innocent woman, who treated you with every respect, and placed in you the most implicit faith. You believed her to be a good woman, and an innocent woman ; now you are trying to make her appear an impostor. But every one's character in a court of justice is of some value ; and your conduct has forced her to take this step. The publicity of the proceedings in a court of justice must justify her conduct; and her duty to her God is of too sacred a nature to make her disobedient to his commands. Had you, Sir, the fortitude to treat with contempt the mockery and ridicule of ignorant people, whether in a coffee house or at any other place, and considered your dignity, as a minister, in its proper point of view, you would not have suspected Joanna to have been led by the Devil, after having encouraged her to proceed.
You must remember, when myself and six other gentlemen first came to Exeter, that the three clergymen waited on you with Joanna : the Rev. Mess. Bruce, Foley, and Wester. As soon as you heard that the letter you had written to the printer in London, in
forbid him to print, or icke public your name in Joanna's Book of Letters, was ar kixeter, you particularly desired that very letter to be returned to you again. Now, Sir, as soon as your wish was made known to be, I gave it up; and it was conveyed safely into your hands. I would ask you, Sir, in the name of justice or honour, by what right can you with hold the letters and papers that Joanna placed in your hands, which she had copied at a great expence to herself, by your request, when she could
ill afford the money, even if you were under no ex. press condition to return them to her when you was called upon ?
As a gentleman you ought to comply, as I did, when your request was made known to me. I was not bound to return you that letter. It could be no breach of trust on my part, if I had refused your request ; my conscience would not have been wounded by such refusal : I was not in the situation you have been placed in, with an innocent woman. Your breach of trust with Joanna, no one can justify; and all persons who have read the account of this transaction condemn you; whether they believe in her visitation or not, all alike condemn you. And when the proceedings of a court of justice are laid before the public, what can the world say of your character as a man, your duty as a clergyman of the church of England ? Your being afraid of the slander and mockery of fools, in order to have the praise of fools, must sink you very low indeed! You ought to be their spiritual teacher, and to have resisted their impertinent mockery. The character of a minister of the gospel they ought to have held in respect. Now view the conduct of Joanna towards you and the clergy on the one hand, and view the conduct of these men, whose praise you fear to lose on the other; then examine your own heart and mind to find out who is your true and faithful friend. I need say no more. The different pictures are before your view. Joanna has a duty to perform to herself ; she has a sacred duty to perform to her God, and the truth she cannot give up ; and when her trial comes there must be nothing withheld. I am, Rev. Sir, Your sincere friend and wellwisher,
WILLIAM SHARP. P. S. It is not too late for you to withdraw yourself from your present unfortunate dilemma ; you