The Kingdom of Matthias
In 1835, Gilbert Vale, a highly respected British nineteenth century religious freethinker and publisher with abolitionist and women’s rights sympathies, decided to write an article about the scandal that had lately engulfed several prominent members of society. Vale was deeply sympathetic to Isabella, and condemned the “fanaticism” of the wealthy white couple who had tried to obscure their role in the scandal by accusing Isabella and Matthias, the working class leader of the cult. The scandal broke in the papers when an initial article was published by William Lete Stone, a known racist and unethical reporter. Vale mistrusted Stone’s version of the scandal, which had been commissioned by society leaders in order to restore their reputation. Gilbert Vale sought out Sojourner in order to make his own assessment of the story. This excerpt is from his extensive report exculpating Sojourner, and laying out the salacious story of sex, greed, and sin.