THE ABODE OF LOVE.
BISHOS"e MOVE AGAINST SMITH-; . ...'. .:. PIGOPTT. .V,, j," .'«i;4'.. , (From On Special CprrMpendetJ;.j. JiONDON, January 2& . . The flnti.Jttcp In tte Jpne-delajred.ft-tempt to put au end to the lmmpxal career of the bUsphemoui humbng, Smyth-PlKott, of "Abode of I*Te" potortety, ha» been taken by Dr. Kennlom , eratwhUe; Bhhpp of AdcUide, but- now. clerical bead of the B«e of Bath and Wellt, The Meet value of the Bltbop'a moT* is not apparent at aret eight. At hia Instance. Piggott was dud to appear before m ConiJiitory Court to aoßwer certala charge* of immoraUtr In connection with Wβ headnhip of the Bpaston Agapemone. Th* citation waei duly eerred, but Piggott paid bo mor* attention to it than a rhloocero* .would do a fly alighting ou its back. The cpurt was held In a sort of alcove in Welle Catheflral lut Wedμe■iday. Three timee Plgeott was aummoned by name to appear, but he anewered nerer a word, for the Tery good and aufflcleut reason that he was some hundreds of miles away. Be was, however, informally represented ,by Mr Btokes Read, Wβ second In command at the Agapembne, and that worth's eon and daughter, who also reside In the Bputon "Abode of Love," were alao present.
Notwithstanding Plggott'e absence, the Court proceeded to try the recalcitrant cleric, with the result that the Chancellor declared (hat John Hugh. Sniyth-Flg-gott had been ebown to he Incapable of holding preferment in the Church, of England. He condemned Piggott to pay the costs of the cage, and intimated that be would report to Bishop Kennlon the finding of the Court;, adding that what sentence would be pronounced, and wjiat steps would be taken afterwards, were matters with which the Court had nothing to do.
The trial wae a mere farce in more ways than one. The court had no power to compel the defendant to appeal, nor to make him open hie mouth if he had done co. It hag apparently no power to enforce payment of costs, nor in any way to Interfere with Flggott's Spaxton pranke. The Bishop |s, apparently, also poweries.s to touch Piggott in person or pocket. He, may curse him by bell, book, and candle, and do a variety of things that might cause I sad inconvenience to an elderly clergyman, liut "Brother Prince's" cuccessor eeemu to be effectually armed, at all points against I any Episcopal darte that may be aimed at him. And, strange as It may seem, the civil powers appear to be equally incapable of suppressing Piggott, under existing laws.
The etory of Plggotfs life, as outlined by the prosecution, makes Interesting residing. Prior to 1882, lie appears $0 .have followed the sea as c profession,. ; b.nt. in December of that year he was ordjained in London a deacon of the Church of England, and was later ordained ns.a priest
In 1883 he joined the Salvation -Army,: remaining with that organisation for abqu't two years* during which be attained the rank of maior.
He was married in 1886, and In the mmc year he was licensed to a curacy In Dublin. Whilst there he got into touch with Brother Prince or some of his follower*, and was found to be.expounding doctrines entirely contrary to those accepted by hta clerical overlord. . > ■'
Beturning to London In 1887, BmythPlggott began to conduct aerrlces In the interest of Brother Prince, lint at his own house, and later at a conventicle which was built at Stamford Hill, and called the "Ark of the Covenant."
In September, 1902, came the declaration that he was the Messiah. *
That resulted in something like riots at 1 Clapton, but the proclamation had the de[elred effect of having Urn installed as'successor to Brother Prince.
While the services proceeded at the Ark of the Covenant, one of the lady members of the congregation became so Infatuated with Smyth - Piggott that ehe accompanied him to the Agapemone as bis "spiritual' wKe." 7 '
On June 23, 1905, this woman, Ruth Annie Preece, gare birth to a male child which was duly registered, Sinyth-Plggott signing the registration form as father.
Again in 1906, this same woman gave birth to another child, of which SmythPiggott acknowledged himself the father.
At Spaxton, In Eomereet, whither Ptggott removed the Clapton "Abode of Love,"'the Agnpemoqltes, under the guise of «o-caUed religion, live a life of blasphemy and immorality.
"Smyth-PiSKOtt" cWms to be the Messiah, the sent of God, and ateo claim* that the. members of his commenlty, baring received the spirit of God, are lifted above the ordinary code of morality, and that misconduct, so far at ther are concerned. Is not sinful.
Plgott's glpwful wife appears to be quite content to play second flddle to his mistress Bnth Preece, and none of his deluded flock seem to have any doubts as to- the propriety of the domestic arrangements :of their aaenhtrd. Tfcsy keip hlot well 1 supplied with money, and these who know the epaxtos retreat beet say that It should, be called "The Abode of Love and Luxury."
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