Page:English Caricaturists and Graphic Humourists of the nineteenth century.djvu/96
her calling and pretensions: we set it out in all the original baldness of its composition:—
"I, Joanna Southcott, am clearly convinced that my calling is of God, and my writings are indited by His Spirit, as it is impossible for any spirit but an all-wise God, that is wondrous in working, wondrous in wisdom, wondrous in power, wondrous in truth, could have brought round such mysteries, so full of truth, as is in my writings; so I am clear in whom I have believed, that all my writings came from the spirit of the most high God."
Joanna was clear in whom she believed, and her followers were equally "clear" in their belief in Joanna. This incoherent nonsense was signed in the presence of fifty-eight simpletons, all of whom expressed their confidence in the inspired mission of their precious prophetess.
Her disciples rapidly increased, and she visited in her apostolic character, Bristol, Leeds, Stockport, and other large centres, obtaining numerous converts everywhere. Among them was the celebrated engraver, William Sharp; and to the last this man, who out of his calling was the veriest simpleton living, and who had swallowed successively the doctrines of Richard Brothers, Wright, Bryan, and Joanna, believed in the divine mission of this unincarcerated lunatic.
Although Joanna did not (like Joseph Smith) discover a book, she discovered a seal, which one of her disciples is said to have picked up in a dust-heap at Clerkenwell. With this miraculously acquired talisman the spirit ordered her to "seal up the people," and as "the people" were limited to one hundred and forty-four thousand, and each of the elect had to pay a sum varying at different times from a guinea to twelve shillings, or even lower, for the privilege of being "sealed up," the scheme promised at first to turn out a comfortably profitable one. Into the details of the "sealing" it is unnecessary for us to enter. Suffice it to say that the numbers of the "sealed," up to 1808, when for some unexplained reason the process appears to have been discontinued, exceeded six thousand simpletons; the numbers of