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Copy of a letter from JOANNA SOUTHCOTT to J.'
First Leiter, sent January 1, 1807. Sir,
I take the liberty of writing to you, in answer to the words that you said to Mr. Sharp, that you could not believe that the God of the universe, whom we all ought to adore, would converse upon such things as bankers' bills.
As to the bankers' bills I do not understand; all I can understand of the matter, from what I have lately heard from my friends, is this: that you advertise to the world at large, money lent immediately on bills, or notes of land.
For which reason they applied to you, and gave you their bills, according to your advertisement, to, borrow the money upon the bills. This is all I know respecting the bills; and they tell me, they gave the bills into your hands, to a large amount, for you to raise money upon, for them ; but instead of raising the money for them, for they to pay their just debts, they wanted it for, you have circulated their, bills, which has brought them under arrests to pay bills they have never had any money or value for. Now, as I do not understand the law, and never heard be. fore in my life, that any man could advertise to lend money on bills, or bonds, and circulate them in the world in any man's name, before they had received the money; this I did not know, that any man dared to du; but I shall leave the law and come to reason, justice, equity, and truth, between man and man. If a man apply to you for inoney, because he wants : to pay a debt at that time, ought you not to lend the money, or return him his bill, and furtlifully:cil him you cannot supply hin with the sum he wanted, or get friends to raise it for him? This, in justice, you
ought to do; but I now ask you, how a man that wants to apply to you to borrow money, to pay a just debt, is enabled to pay an unjust demand ? and if he pay an unjust demand that he doth not owe, I ask you, who is to pay the just debts that he doth owe? who is to pay the debts these honest, upright men applied to you for money for? Now, if those to whom they owed the money would bear with patience, till their money came round, in the course of trade, to pay them without your assistance, to lend the money, at that time they wished to borrow it, will you say that a just God will allow them to injure theirselves, and their neighbours, to pay an unjust demand, which hath been brought round by circulating their bills? --Can you prove their debts were paid with those bills ? Did they theirselves, who gave the bills, receive the money from you? or were these bills circulated to pay the debts they owed? My friends tell me, no; but they are in danger of being arrested for money they have never had any value for ; and bills are brought back to them for payment, that they have not had one penny of; and the amount of the bills, they tell me, that you had from them to lend money upon, is near two thousand pounds, which they have never received one shilling for *; then can you be so void of reason, as to believe that a just God will suffer these honest men to be brought to destruction and ruin, to pay these unjust demands? I ask you, who is to pay the just demands to those people they wanted to borrow the money for ? are they to be cheated out of their right, for others 10 have what is not their right? and ruin and destruction brought upon honest people, by these practices? The injuries you have done 10 these men, Messrs. Sharp, Wilson, and Eyre, is more than you can repay, or ever will be in your power, by the dis
* The whole amount of the bills entrusted in the hands of Mr. Jolin King exceeded two thousand pounds; and two sums of noiey were received on two of such bills, to the amount of about vit half of their value together.
tress you have brought upon their minds and hearts, and the injury you have done their characters. How far the law will support you, when it is brought into a court of justice I must leave, as being ignorant of the law; but you must be void of reason, to believe crimes of so black a dye can pass unnoticed by a nierciful and just God. What did the Lord say to Cain?" The voice of thy brother's blood crieth unto me from the ground.” Then will not these injuries, where the innocent are thus oppressed, and where the spirits are sunk down, through such artful and deceitful dealings—will not their injuries cry for vengeance unto the Lord of the universe, if the sins of Achan, in stealing the golden wedge, brought the curse so greatly upon the children of Israel, that their enemies prevailed against them, because the Lord said they had stolen and dissembled also, and they had.put it even amongst their own stuff, therefore the children of Israel could not stand before their enemies? Now, if the Lord concerned himself to discern the unjust deeds of one man, and would not permit the children of Israel to prosper in battle, before that unjust deed was brought to light, and the man was punished for his crime; then how can you suppose the Lord will not concern himself, to have these unjust deeds brought to light, that are a destruction to honest and upright men ? What did the Lord say unto Moses ? — have seen the affliction of my people, and am come dowri to deliver them :" and is there not an affliction brought on these men, by such unjust dealings, as the afflictions wese upon the children of Israel ? --because it is artfully and wickedly done for their destruction; then how can you be so void of reason, who profess to read your bible, as to think the Lord will not concern himself, when he seeth upriglit men thus bowed down by the artful and deceitful dealings of wicked men ?-What doth the Lord say by the prophets?— As a den of thieves wait for a man, so do they murder in the way by con( 0 ) sent; by laying snares for their neighbours.". If we trace the prophets through, we shall find the Lord condescended to reprove these abominable deeds, to be a terror to evil doers, and a praise to them that do well. With the merciful man the Lord will shew himself merciful, and with the upright man he will shew_himself uprightly; but to the cruel man the Lord will shew cruelty ; for he is angry with the wicked every day, who conceiveth iniquity and bringeth forth falsehood. What saith the Psalmist?
The wicked man hath said in his heart, God hath forgotten; he hideth his face; he will never see it; therefore doth the wicked contemn God; he hath said in his heart, Thou wilt not require it to judge the oppressed, that the man of the earth may no more oppress.' And perfectly so are your words, thinking the Lord will never call you to a strict account, to answer for these unjust deeds; and thus have all the workers of iniquity no knowledge of God, that his all-searching eye is every where present; and though he suffer these black deeds to go on for a while, yet the Lord knoweth their day is coming. What saith the prophet. Isaiah, concerning the unjust ? - None call for justice, nor any plead for truth; they trust in vanity and speak lies; they conceive mischief, and bring forth iniquity; as a cage is full of birds, so are their houses full of deceit--therefore they become great and was rich.” But what doth the Lord say, in answer to all these unjust dealings? -“Shall I not visit for these things ? saith tie Lord ; shall not my soul be averged of such a people ? they will deceive every one his neighbour, and weary themselves to commit iniquity : shall í not visit for these things ? saith the Lord.” If you search the Scriptures through, you will find the Lord hath threatened to visit, and punish, for these crimes. What saitla the prophet Mirah ?" Woe to them that devise iniquity and work evil upon
their beds; when the morning is light they practise it, because it is in their hands; they covet fields and take them by violence, and houses and take them away. So they oppress a man and his house ; cven a man and his heritage ; therefore thus saith the Lord, beholdagainst this family do I devise an evil, from which ye shall not remove your necks, neither shall ye go haughtily, for this time is evil.” ThereFore boast no more of your knowledge of God, or of his ways, or your knowledge of the Scriptures, if you do not know the Lord concerned himself about his people, when these anjust dealings were practised by inankind. And now reflect with your own conscience, whether the crimes that you have been joined in, to injure honest and upright men, are not as sinful against the laws of God, as the crimes I have mentioned in the Scriptures. See the curse pronounced on those that go on wilfully and designedly to injure their neighbours. What saith the prophet Zachariah ?" Thus speakęth the Lord of hosts, saying, Execute true judgment, every man to his brother; and let none of you imagine evil against his brother." What saith the prophet Micah ?" Are there yet the treasures of wickedness in the house of the wicked? Shall I count them pure, with the wicked baJance, and with the bag of deceitful weight? Their tongues are deceitful in their mouths: therefore will I make thee sick in siniting thee, and make thee desolate because of thy sins. Here you may discern how the Lord always concerned himself about these unjust practices, Can you clear yourself, that you hare not acted with the bag of deceitful weight? When these scenes of iniquity are laid open to the public, and every truth is brought to light, then see if
you do not come under the crimes of unjust dealings, which the Lord concerned himself about in ages past. And now consider, the Lord is the same today, as yesterday, and for ever ; there is no variables Dess, nor the shadow of turning in him; therefore