Page:Notes and Queries - Series 11 - Volume 11.djvu/286

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276


NOTES AND QUERIES, [us. XL APRIL 10,1915.


site of his martyrdom. It was placed on the front of the portico of Marlborough Chapel, Old Kent Road, and unveiled by Alderman Evan Spicer, J.P., L.C.C., in 1894. An inaugural address was delivered by Mr. Mot-tram prior to the unveiling. The cost of the tablet was defrayed by the subscriptions of a few Nonconformists in South London. It bears the following inscription :

This Tablet commemorates the Martyrdom at

St. Thomas-a- Watering, Old Kent Road, of

John Penry, M.A.

on May 29th, 1593.

He died for liberty of conscience.

Erected 1894.

JOHN T. PAGE. Long Itchington, Warwickshire.

(To be continued.)


THE


BLAKE AND SWEDENBORGIANS."


THE review recently published in ' N. & Q.' of a book upon ' Flaxman, Blake, Cole- ridge, and other Men of Genius influ- enced by Swederiborg' (ante, p. 179) men- tions the fact that the birthplace of Blake's poem ' The Divine Image ' was " the New Jerusalem Church, Cross Street, Hatton Garden," which w r as opened for public worship on Sunday, 30 July, 1797. This is the most definite point of external contact known to his biographers between the poet and his fellow-receivers of Swedenborg's teachings. There is, however, another, much less widely known, which may imply an earlier and more intimate union.

The friends who had been since 5 Dec., 1783, assembling at " Chambers in the Inner Temple " to read and discuss the writ- ings of Emanuel Swedenborg or, strictly speaking, a large proportion of those friends decided, on 7 May, 1787, to commence organized public worship in accordance with the doctrines thus acquired. Having with due solemnity, on 31 July, 1787, inaugurated the New Church, they contented themselves with meeting for worship in private houses until Sunday, 27 Jan., 1788, when they con- secrated and opened their newly acquired chapel in Maidenhead Court, Great East Cheap, a building which was swept away upwards of one hundred years ago. Mean- while their colleagues in Manchester, led by the Rev. John Clowes, M.A., Rector of St. John's Church, had on several occasions earnestly advised the London brethren not


to secede from the Established Church or other former religious connexions. To one of these protests, dated 14 Nov., 1787, an elaborate reply said to have been drafted by Robert Hindmarsh was dispatched, but not hurriedly, for it bore the date 7 Dec., 1788. It was printed in pamphlet form, and is reproduced at length in Hindmarsh 's posthumous ' Rise and Progress of the New Church,' pp. 75-8, having appended to the text, in each case, seventy-seven signatures. A noteworthy peculiarity of these names is that married couples .sign together, the husband preceding.

The Minute Book of the Society still exists in manuscript. It was exhibited at the International Swedenborg Congress in 1910, and is described as No. 136 in the cata- logue appended to the printed -Transactions of the Congress. From this Minute Book it appears that at a meeting of the Society on 1 Dec., 1788 whereat possibly the above- named roll of signatories to the Manchester Reply was completed it was resolved to defer the meeting of the General Conference, arranged on 3 Nov., 1788, " till Easter Monday, the 3rd of April next." It was then " resolved to issue 500 copies of the circular " furnishing the programme pro- posed for the Conference. This circular, also dated 7 Dec., 1788, was printed " in folio." was eventually embodied in the Minutes of the Conference, pp. 19-42, and was thus reproduced in the volume of ' Reprints of Early Minutes of New Church Conference,' issued in 1885. It also ap- peared in Hindmarsh's ' Rise and Progress,' pp. 101-4. At the opening of the proceed- ings of the General Conference as chro- nicled in the Great East Cheap Society's manuscript Minute Book aforesaid, and printed upon pp. xix and xx of the ' His- toric Notice ' prefixed to the Reprint volume of 1885 an affirmation approving the estab- lishment of the New Jerusalem Church was " subscribed " by eighteen men and women. " besides the seventy-seven who signed the circular Letter." The thirteenth and four- teenth of these names are, " W. Blake, C. Blake." Remembering the Society's prac- tice noted above, may we rewrite these signatures at length as " William Blake, Catherine Blake " ? This would, obviously, be the " Society " in Blake's mind when he wrote against paragraph 414 in his copy of Swedenborg's ' Divine Love and Wisdom,' 1788 now in the British Museum "Is it not false, then, that love receives influx thro' the understanding, as was asserted in the Society ? "