THE PIOUS FRAUD.
[Special to the Stab.]
AUCKLAND, Novembeu 5.
The following ia a full account of the interview between Sullivan or Clampett and the Auckland ‘Star* reporter:— Clampett, who now calls himself Santley, makes no secret of the fact that his- whole mission was a fraud, Jlo laughed heartily when ho related how, on his arrival at Auckland, ho found it necessary to be identified at the bank, and how he had to go to one old patron, fall on his knees', and confess his sins. He thinks that this was a splendid joke. The reporter having, introduced himself and explained the object of his visit, “Fire away,” said the “converted” athlete, “ What do you want to know first?”
“ Well, suppose you start from the beginning ; what is your name and where were you born ?” “ Right 1” said Clampett. “ Put this down—put it down, it’s very important. My name is Arthur Clampett, I was born in Waterford, and I am thirty years of age. Got that all down ?”
“ Yes. Now tell me what you amused yourself with before you left Odd Ireland.” Clampett: Right. Before I left the Odd Country I was champion athlete of Ireland, Put that down; it’s very important, and quite true. Then I went to New York, and I came out hero with Clarence Whistler, the wrestler, and Gerald Eyre, tlie actor, five years ago.
Reporter: You did not go in for religious work on that occasion, did you ?—No, never till I was “stone broke,” and never again, Not quite so fast let me get your biography in some kind of order. What was the next event in your career ?—I came out with Bouci, Who?— You know Boueicault. I came out with him, and lost a first-class appointment by getting on the spree in Australia, Then I went to Europe. I sang for Santley, and also for John Stainer. Then I went to Italy, and camo round the world again. You occasionally went in for athletics, did you not ?—Yea, I trained Mitchell to fight Clearly at San Francisco. Are you really any relation to the great John L. Sullivan ?—Not a bit of a relation, but I have travelled with him, and he was a great friend of mine. Well, how did you come to enter upon evangelism ? Tell me just how it came about ? You understand ? Clampett : Right, tut this down—l was about “ dead broke” when Icame to Auckland from Sydney twelve months ago. What had you been doing in Sydney ? Ob, spreeing, drinking, and gambling. And how did you get to Auckland ?—A friend of mine paid my passage over. You did not stay long here before going to the Thames, did you ?—No ;I , wont on a visit to the Thames, but did not get on well and soon found myself back in the city. Did you get in with the religious people here ?—This is how it came about: I was “dead broke.” I was standing under a verandah wheretwo men were singing hymns. Of course, being “dead broke,” I was willing to submit to anything, These two men came up to me and brought me into the church. Then I thought perhaps there was something in it, I had no home and was stone broke, you know, and 1 thought I might as well say what they said. Put what did you say?— They said to me: “ You believe.” They got me to kneel down you know, and under such circumstances a man will do anything. Then I stayed with Mr P for six weeks. You joined the Alexander street Church, did you not, and conducted evangelical meetings there?—l have already told you that I was stone broke, and I had to do something. Well, how did you get on financially ? I did nothing, but just got a start. I worked my way, and I knew what was coming. What did you intend to do when you came to Auckland du the last occasion ? I thought I would be able to make a bit of mobey by singing and so on. And you found it pay best to sing hymns ? —I suppose that is so, I kept as straight as I could for nine mouths, and I realised LI ,000 on that racket.
Do you belong to any religious body ?—I am a Catholic—a Roman Catholic mind. Put that down, it’s very important—and I believe in the Catholic Church, I'll die a Roman Catholic. It was only to take down the Dissenters—to take them in—and I now intend to terminate my existence in the church I was brought up in. When I arrive at San Francisco I am going to make confession there. I intend to confess everything to Father Ryan, and I hope to be spared till I get there; otherwise, I’ll never see Heaven.
And suppose the Roman Catholic Church declines to receive you?—Oh, well, that can’t be helped. But let us get back to your Auckland experiences. flow did you get on here ?—I worked up the epistles and took them all in from left to right—weak-minded women were taken like lambs, and I made money out of their weakness ; consequently, I felt quite free. Do you think it is an easy thing to impose upon religious people in this manner ? —A man with ordinary capabilities and fair judgment, and with an abhorrence of alcoholic stimulants, could just take them in and go ahead. What is the modus operands ?—I tried to be kind to all, respectable, and gentle ; and I felt it was all right with me. How did you get on after leaving Auckland ’—Very fairly. Did you have an Introduction from Auckland ?—Yes, from Mr Smith, of the Alexander street Church. He introduced me to the Wellington Primitive Methodists. Did you make much money in Wellington ?—I did pretty fairly. How did the money come into your hands ?—lt was all private cheques that I received from ladies interested. You understand ! I got cheques from ladies particularly. There was not a man’s cheque among them. Weak-minded ladies sent me cheques privately, and I never refused to receive them ; indeed, I was excessively thankful. Were you well received at Wellington ? Yea. I believe my capabilities as a speaker and my voice as a singer are sufficient to draw crowds, The girls were very fond of mo. I could see there was a kind of love in their hearts towards me; and I loved religion for their sakes. But I found that some of the people with whom I had to deal were exceedingly hard and tough. That was the male portion, I suppose ? Yes, I consequently succumbed. Well, you went from Wellington to Christchurch, I believe?— Yes. And you made a good deal of money there, did you not?—l made about LI,OOO there.
How?— Mostly by cheques; money sent to me privately by widows. Of course I had to do the best I could, or should never have been able to get out of the country. lam very sorry if I have offended anybody. Put that down, too.
What led you to give up the preaching at Christchurch ? • I’ll tell you how it was. I had a hard fight, and it came to an issue there. I was invited by X to his house. Prior to that I had not taken a drop of strong drink for nine months. X said : “ What will you have ? ” Well, as I was very dry, I took a drink. He said : “ Have another, old fellow,” and spoke to mo about bookmaking. This reminded me of old times, and I had more drink, getting excited then. Mrs X , a lady for whom I had a great respect, retired, and X and I had some hock. That sent me off, and I did not care what I did. The moment the religious people knew of this they went back on me. Well, I am very sorry, ana I’ll never pick up religion again. They wanted you to attend a religious convention at Christchurch, did they not?— Yes ; they thought I was not a brother of John L, Sullivan. I knew well they would catch me if I went to the convention, and consequently would not go near it. I thought the parsons would floor me, and I thought I would carry on my game with the view of paralysing them. How long did you stay in Christchurch after that ?—I was four weeks there after that happened. There were still a larje MiimhiT nf people who believed in me, ami I got a parchment affair signed by 1,250 people and L2OO subscribed money. The presentation was made at a public meeting, and it took me all my time to get out of the
room in consequence of the demonstrative conduct of the ladies. Did you take to drink after that?— Yes; drink has been my arch enemy, I would become all things to all men to secure a good spree and enjoy myself. When I meet friends and 1 have no money I feel exceed: ingly grieved, and that drives me to resort to anything to have sufficient to be the gentleman. How were you so well able to keep off diink for nine months previously? screwed myself down. I knew that if I did not make some money I could not get home. Now, just put in these few words of thanks: 1 am extremely gratified to the Bank of for having taken care of my money, and to kind officers connected with that institution. Did you look up any of your old friends when you returned to Auckland ?—No. I thought you went to see Mr P ? Yea; he had to identify me at the bank, I wish the religious people here all luck, but they will have to keep their eyes open: Is it true that you are taking an Auckland girl away «ith you ?—Not a bit of it. You can put this in : I have been in correspondence with an exceedingly fine girl in New York for some years. I met her when I was professor of the Physical Training College there, and I hope to join her in marriage bonds when I return. I wish Auckland every success. What do you think of this colony?—I like this plade. I like New Zealand arid I like the people; but there is such a religions tone in t()e country that, if a man is very clever and very careful, he can just fool them all, but the moment he makes a break he is done. Were you never exposed in Auckland ? Never. Just say with regard to what appeared in one of your newspapers that I thank them very much. The editor was quite right when he spoke derogatory of myyself; he was quite right in his judgment upon me, Upon one occasion he remarked that I was no more a brother of J. L. Sullivan than Patrick O’Fiaherty was, and he was quite right. I thank the newspapers that they did not “ knock me out ” before I had time to carry my racket to success. I compliment myself upon having a few hundred pounds to bring me Home and out of this colony. 1 understand you had an odor of marriage during your evangelical tour? Yes; two or three offers. I, did, not accept them, because I did not think I could trust myself to keep the peace. My. game was not marriage, but to get money. And I suppose you had friends as long as you kept the imposition up ?—Oh, yes, and some of them were very kind to me, Mr and Mrs Z ,of Christchurch, upheld me all through, and 1 stayed with them for some weeks. During one mission I held there be informed the people that “he bad faith in my judgment and affection”; and at thp conclusion of a long speech be said to me something which ends with “ Trust in God and do the right. ” That’s Shakespeare, I know ; but I forget the rest of the quotation. Which religious body did you find most sympathy with ?—With Primitive Methodists. Until they found my game was to make money they said—and this is very fine indeed—that “ they were working for souls, and that I was working for money.” I told them they could have the souls and I would have the money. Was not that very good ? Had you any particular friends in Wellington ?—Yes; several. Now, here is a very important point in connection with this whole affair. Mr invited me to his house in Wellington, Mr told me then that it was not for money they wanted me to hold a mission in their church ; it was simply for the good of the place, he said. Well, but he collared about L4Q in two weeks’ collections, and gave me L 5. Was not that rather good ? When the Primitive Methodists found I wanted money, I suppose they thought I was going to Hell, and they turned their backs on me. You transferred yotlr favors to the Presbyterians next, did you not? —Yes; I preached at St. Paul’s Presbyterian Church in Christchurch; That is an awfully swell church. I delivered such powerful appeals and addresses that my finances commenced to look up. That was where I met with my grand success. But when the clergy wished mo to meet them I paralysed them by remaining away. I had to be very sentimental and prosy. I knew that I was striking oil when I was preaching to women, because 1 had the phraseological powers, slpd their little hearts went out to me. Whenever I took to drink, however, I knew it was all over with me, and I gave the game up, What do you propose to do now?-I am going to San Francisco by the mail steamer. I have two or three different lines in which I may embark; but I don’t intend to go into Gospel work again. I will not trifle with the Gospel any more, and hope my old friends will pray for me, because I am not converted. What do you think of doing in America ? —I am probably going on a singing tour. I intend to place myself under a very ce’ebrated artist for about six months. I have a good baritone voice, and 1 may go in for singing altogether. You have become tired of playing the religious fraud, I suppose ?—Yes, it was a fraud ; a big fraud, and I am heartily tired. Now, finally, say to the clergy who were antagonistic to me, that I would have knocked them into a cocked hat only that 1 did not want a month in gaol, so that bit of pleasure had to be postponed. I wish, also, to thank the lawyers and Judges that they did not get hold of me.
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THE PIOUS FRAUD., Evening Star, Issue 8056, 5 November 1889
THE PIOUS FRAUD. Evening Star, Issue 8056, 5 November 1889
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