Sunday, 8 February 2015

The King Against Robert Taylor and Others

As detailed in other posts in this blog we know that a Harriet Robinson who witnessed the marriage of John Brooks and Elizabeth Stagoll in 1808 went on to marry the Rev. Robert Taylor (poss. Jan 17th 1834). We also knew that John Brooks had published Taylor's Diegesis; Being a Discovery of the Origin, Evidences, and Early History of Christianity' in 1829. We have recently rediscovered details of events from the previous year;

The initial charges date from 1827 but the case did to get heard until Jan/Feb 1828. 

1st count.
"Robert Taylor...John Roome...Thomas Brushfield...William Devonshire Saull...John Hanger...John Brooks...William Freeman...being persons of wicked, profane, and irreligious minds and dispositions...on the 1st day of January, in the 7th year of the reign of our sovereign Lord George the Fourth [1827]...did wickedly and impiously conspire, combine, confederate and agree together, to blaspheme our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, and to bring into ridicule and contempt the Christian Religion and the Holy Scriptures."

The indictment continues;

They "open[ed] a certain room, for the purpose, amongst other things, of delivering therein blasphemous and impious discourses,..."

"and did pursuance of the said conspiracy...print and published, and cause to be printed and published, a certain impious and blasphemous libel, in the form of an advertisement...

The ninety-third discussion will be held in the Areopagus, on Tuesday, the 13th inst, at seven precisely.
Subject-"The Character of Christ," as published by the Society for promoting Christian Knowledge. The Reverend Orator will deliver a Philippic in expose of the atrocious villains that characterise the Jewish Vampire, (meaning our said Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ) and in respectful challenge of his Ministers, to come forward and shew, if they themselves are not ashamed of him. 
The Holy Liturgy, as performed every Sunday, and in the ninetieth Oration delivered by the Rev.Orator, in irrefutable demonstration of the forgery and imposture of the four Gospels, are to be had of the printer, J. Brooks, 421, Oxford Street, and at the Areopagus, every Tuesday evening, 86 Cannon Street.

2nd count. blasphemous and impious speeches and discourses, and by other unlawful means, to bring into hatred and contempt and ridicule  the Christian Religion and the Holy Scriptures; to the high displeasure of Almighty God...and against the the peace of our said Lord the King, his crown and dignity. 

3rd count.
...such persons aforesaid...disregarding the laws and religion of this realm...[brought] into contempt the Christian Religion. [And did] deliver and cause to be delivered divers wicked, impious and blasphemous wit, 500 persons, then and there, on these dates and times, assembled to the great scandal the Christian Religion..."    

According to Richard Carlile writing in 'The Lion' (No.3 vol 1. Friday, January 18, 1828) Robert Taylor stood alone charged of the second indictment. At the time of writing we can not discover what happened to John Brooks and the other five accused. At one point they are offered no further action if they just plead guilty but they are talked out of this by Taylor as a matter of principle.
Whatever happen to them we know that on the 7th Feb Taylor was sentenced to a year in Oakham Goal.

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