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RUN TO EARTH., Issue 8020, 24 September 1889
RUN TO EARTH.
CLAMPETT, NOT SULLIVAN.
[Special to the Stab.]
CHRISTCHURCH, Skptkmbbb 23.
The Melbourne correspondent of the Christchurch ‘Evening Telegraph * wires, by way of the Bluff, the following particulars concerning Sullivan:—
THE ALLEGED “REFORMED ATHLETE.”
The inquiries I have made in Melbourne convincingly dispose of the pretensions of Arthur Clampett to be considered a brother of the renowned pugilist, Sullivan. Seeking a gentleman whom 1 fully expected would have known Clampett when he was a companion of the American wrestler Whistler in this city, and who, I was aware, would at any rate be acquainted with the complete family history of Sullivan, 1 was lucky enough to find him in his office, and with him also another gentleman especially well known in athletic circles here. I first addressed the gentleman of whom I had gone in quest. 1 asked him first about prize-fighters. He knew that Sullivan had one brother, whose name was Michael, and who was a blacksmith.
“Did you ever hear of his having any other brothers ?” I asked. He had not, and neither had the friend who was with him. They were as certain as men with the whole literature of pugilism at their fingers* ends could be that the Sullivan family number only two. I then explained that some individual was passing himself off in New Zealand as a brother of the great John L.; that this individual pretended to have been “converted,” and that he was conducting an evangelistic crusade in Christchurch. “What does he call himself?” they asked. “MrG. T. Sullivan,” I said, and I added that possibly they might know him, as he had been in Melbourne,
“ Why,” cried one of them, “I’ll wager it’s Arthur Clampett, ” I explained that the so-called Sullivan admitted that while in Melbourne he had been known by that name. Had they been acquainted with him in Melbourne ? By this time my two friends were thoroughly interested, and as I told the story, how they did laugh ! “ Enow Arthur ?” as they both familiarly called him. Of course they knew him; why, they both knew him in San Francisco before he set foot in Australia,
“ Don’t you remember,” said one to the other, “how he gave an exhibition in a patent swimming dress at the Seal Rocks ? ” How they did enjoy the reminiscence; and the air got into the dress, and poor Arthur was swimming about head downwards, and had to be fished out half drowned.
Then 1 produced a newspaper cutting giving an account of an interview with a gentleman who had known Clampett at Her Majesty’s Hotel in Melbourne. They vouched for every syllable of the statement. The one read the whole account to the other, and both laughed heartily over it. Besides the interview the paper contained some further statements concerning Sullivan, such as that he had had his portrait taken in buff, that he had so far forgotten himself as to wish he might be struck dead, and so forth. All this amused them immensely, but the fun reached its height when one of yonr local clergymen declared that the versatile Arthur was winning souls to Jesus. They begged the cutting from me, and by this time 1 am sure the whole athletic world of Melbourne is laughing with my two friends over Arthur’s adventures in Hew Zealand.
“ Then,” 1 said, “ this Arthur Clampett is not a brother of Sullivan ?” How they did laugh once more. “No,” said one. “But he once told me he was Charley Mitchell’s trainer,” and, said the other, “ now I remember, he told me he was Pete Nolan's brother; and he may be for all I know, but he is no more Sullivan’s brother than I am. How I would like to walk in some night when he is orating in the pulpit, and catch his eye. I don’t think he’d come the Sullivan dodge withme.”
“Yes, he would,” declared the other. “He’d brazen it out. He’d swear he did not know you, and declare it was a put-up job,” “ I’d give a fiver to be able to do it tonight, any way, if he is in the pulpit.” “You doubt his conversion?” I asked. Their answer was another hearty burst of laughter. They did indeed doubt it. They entertained me with various stories about him. He had been at the evangelistic game in Sydney, where he posed as a member of the Y.M.C. A.; he had been at one time a Roman Catholic and next a Protestant; he had been a teacher in a school at Geelong at one time, an organist in a Melbourne suburban church, and he had been on the stage with Johnny Hall, of evergreen memory, in Newcastle; but all this time he was Arthur Clampett. Professor Miller, the well-known athlete and wrestler, was able to further convince me of Clampett’s hypocrisy. The professor knows J. L. Sullivan well, having travelled with him on tour in the United States. He knows his brother Michael also. He knows that Michael Sullivan, the blacksmith, is the pugilist’s only brother, and be further knows Arthur Clampett well. He knew him in America and knew him in Melbourne. He simply laughs to scorn Clampett’s claim to the name of G. T. Sullivan. He tells me that the thing is so impossible as not to be worth talking about. “ You yourself,” he said to me, “have just as much right to go to New Zealand and call yourself my brother. It is simply ridiculous.”
In Christchurch Sullivan orClampett still draws audiences of a kind. This is due to the great hold he had on the community before his bona fides was challenged. At his after meeting on Friday night about 500 remained. Of this number about 470 were women. Sullivan said that if he wanted consolation he would go to some of the priests, for be had always found them a good-hearted lot in America and elsewhere. He still continues his mission, but is getting little money. His audience consists mainly of women. He was to close on Tuesday night, but intends to continue this week. It is not supposed that he will try any other part of New Zealand.
RUN TO EARTH., Issue 8020, 24 September 1889
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