The followers of Joanna Southcot, well known at this time in the south of England as a prophetess. The book in which Joanna published her prophecies, is dated London, April 25, 1804; and she begins by declaring she herself did not understand the communications given her by the Spirit, till they were afterwards explained to her. In November 1803, she was told to mark the weather during the twenty-four first days of the succeeding year, and then the Spirit informs her that the weather each day was typical of the events of each succeeding month: New year's day to correspond with January, January 2 with February, &c. After this she relates a dream she had in 1792, and declares she foretold the death of Bishop Buller, and appeals to a letter put into the hands of a clergyman whom she names. One night she heard a noise as if a ball of iron was rolling down the stairs three steps; and the Spirit afterwards, she says, told her this was a sign of three great evils which were to fall upon this land, the sword, the plague, and the famine. She affirms that the late war, and the extraordinary harvest of 1797 and 1800, happened agreeably to the predictions which she had previously made known; and particularly appeals to the people of Exeter, where it seems she was brought up from her infancy.
In November 1803, she says she was ordered to open her Bible, which she did at Eccles. ch. 1: 9; and then follows a long explanation of that chapter. When she was at Stockton upon Tees in the next month, she informs us three methodist preachers had the confidence to tell her she uttered lies; and she then refers them to four clergymen who could prove she and her friends were not liars. After this she gives us a long communication on Genesis 49:1-33
: wherein Jacob warns his sons of what should befall them in the last days, and which she applies to our present times. She then favours her readers with a long ESSAY on the marriage of the Lamb, and as variety is always pleasing, it commences in sober prose, but ends in jingling rhyme. The following is the conclusion of a communication which she had at Stockfort: "As wrong as they are, saying thou hast children brought up by the parish, and that thou art Bonaparte's brother, and that thou hast been in prison; so false is their sayings, thy writings came from the devil or any spirit but the SPITIT OF THE LIVING GOD; and that every soul in this nation shall know before the FIVE YEARS I mentioned to thee in 1802 are expired; and then I will turn as a DIADEM of beauty to the residence of my people, and they shall praise the GOD OF THEIR SALVATION."
In March 1805, we find Joanna published a pamphlet in London, endeavouring to confute "FIVE CHARGES" against her, which had appeared in the Leeds Mercury, and four of which she says were absolutely false. The first charge was respecting the sealing of her disciples. The second on the invasion. The third on the famine. The fourth on her mission. The fifth on her death. Sealing is the grand peculiarity and ordinance of these people. Joanna gives those who profess belief in her mission, and will subscribe to the things revealed in her "WARNING, " a sealed written paper with her signature, and by which they are led to think they are sealed against the day of redemption, and that all those who are possessed of these seals will be signally honoured by the Messiah when he comes this spring. It is said they looked upon Joanna to be the bride, the Lamb's wife; and that as man fell by a woman, he will be restored by a woman. Some of her followers pretended also to have visions and revelations. At present, it seems, both warning and sealing have subsided; they are waiting, probably in awful suspense, for the commencement of the thousand years' reign on the earth, when peace will universally prevail. Yet it is said they do not mean that Christ will come in person, but in spirit, and that the sealed who are dead before this time, will be raised from their graves to partake in this happy state.