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´╗┐Title: Dickory Cronke
Author: Defoe, Daniel, 1661-1731
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Dickory Cronke" ***

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Transcribed form the 1889 George Bell and Sons edition by David Price,



I.  A faithful and very surprising Account how Dickory Cronke, a Tinner's
son, in the County of Cornwall, was born Dumb, and continued so for Fifty-
eight years; and how, some days before he died, he came to his Speech;
with Memoirs of his Life, and the Manner of his Death.

II.  A Declaration of his Faith and Principles in Religion; with a
Collection of Select Meditations, composed in his Retirement.

III.  His Prophetical Observations upon the Affairs of Europe, more
particularly of Great Britain, from 1720 to 1729.  The whole extracted
from his Original Papers, and confirmed by unquestionable Authority.




   "Non quis, sed quid."

Printed for and Sold by THOMAS BICKERTON, at
the Crown, in Paternoster Row.  1719.


The formality of a preface to this little book might have been very well
omitted, if it were not to gratify the curiosity of some inquisitive
people, who, I foresee, will be apt to make objections against the
reality of the narrative.

Indeed the public has too often been imposed upon by fictitious stories,
and some of a very late date, so that I think myself obliged by the usual
respect which is paid to candid and impartial readers, to acquaint them,
by way of introduction, with what they are to expect, and what they may
depend upon, and yet with this caution too, that it is an indication of
ill nature or ill manners, if not both, to pry into a secret that is
industriously concealed.

However, that there may be nothing wanting on my part, I do hereby assure
the reader, that the papers from whence the following sheets were
extracted, are now in town, in the custody of a person of unquestionable
reputation, who, I will be bold to say, will not only be ready, but
proud, to produce them upon a good occasion, and that I think is as much
satisfaction as the nature of this case requires.

As to the performance, it can signify little now to make an apology upon
that account, any farther than this, that if the reader pleases he may
take notice that what he has now before him was collected from a large
bundle of papers, most of which were writ in shorthand, and very
ill-digested.  However, this may be relied upon, that though the language
is something altered, and now and then a word thrown in to help the
expression, yet strict care has been taken to speak the author's mind,
and keep as close as possible to the meaning of the original.  For the
design, I think there is nothing need be said in vindication of that.
Here is a dumb philosopher introduced to a wicked and degenerate
generation, as a proper emblem of virtue and morality; and if the world
could be persuaded to look upon him with candour and impartiality, and
then to copy after him, the editor has gained his end, and would think
himself sufficiently recompensed for his present trouble.


Among the many strange and surprising events that help to fill the
accounts of this last century, I know none that merit more an entire
credit, or are more fit to be preserved and handed to posterity than
those I am now going to lay before the public.

Dickory Cronke, the subject of the following narrative, was born at a
little hamlet, near St. Columb, in Cornwall, on the 29th of May, 1660,
being the day and year in which King Charles the Second was restored.  His
parents were of mean extraction, but honest, industrious people, and well
beloved in their neighbourhood.  His father's chief business was to work
at the tin mines; his mother stayed at home to look after the children,
of which they had several living at the same time.  Our Dickory was the
youngest, and being but a sickly child, had always a double portion of
her care and tenderness.

It was upwards of three years before it was discovered that he was born
dumb, the knowledge of which at first gave his mother great uneasiness,
but finding soon after that he had his hearing, and all his other senses
to the greatest perfection, her grief began to abate, and she resolved to
have him brought up as well as their circumstances and his capacity would

As he grew, notwithstanding his want of speech, he every day gave some
instance of a ready genius, and a genius much superior to the country
children, insomuch that several gentlemen in the neighbourhood took
particular notice of him, and would often call him Restoration Dick, and
give him money, &c.

When he came to be eight years of age, his mother agreed with a person in
the next village, to teach him to read and write, both which, in a very
short time, he acquired to such perfection, especially the latter, that
he not only taught his own brothers and sisters, but likewise several
young men and women in the neighbourhood, which often brought him in
small sums, which he always laid out in such necessaries as he stood most
in need of.

In this state he continued till he was about twenty, and then he began to
reflect how scandalous it was for a young man of his age and
circumstances to live idle at home, and so resolves to go with his father
to the mines, to try if he could get something towards the support of
himself and the family; but being of a tender constitution, and often
sick, he soon perceived that sort of business was too hard for him, so
was forced to return home and continue in his former station; upon which
he grew exceeding melancholy, which his mother observing, she comforted
him in the best manner she could, telling him that if it should please
God to take her away, she had something left in store for him, which
would preserve him against public want.

This kind assurance from a mother whom he so dearly loved gave him some,
though not an entire satisfaction; however, he resolves to acquiesce
under it till Providence should order something for him more to his
content and advantage, which, in a short time happened according to his
wish.  The manner was thus:--

One Mr. Owen Parry, a Welsh gentleman of good repute, coming from Bristol
to Padstow, a little seaport in the county of Cornwall, near the place
where Dickory dwelt, and hearing much of this dumb man's perfections,
would needs have him sent for; and finding, by his significant gestures
and all outward appearances that he much exceeded the character that the
country gave of him, took a mighty liking to him, insomuch that he told
him, if he would go with him into Pembrokeshire, he would be kind to him,
and take care of him as long as he lived.

This kind and unexpected offer was so welcome to poor Dickory, that
without any farther consideration, he got a pen and ink and writ a note,
and in a very handsome and submissive manner returned him thanks for his
favour, assuring him he would do his best to continue and improve it; and
that he would be ready to wait upon him whenever he should be pleased to

To shorten the account as much as possible, all things were concluded to
their mutual satisfaction, and in about a fortnight's time they set
forward for Wales, where Dickory, notwithstanding his dumbness, behaved
himself with so much diligence and affability, that he not only gained
the love of the family where he lived, but of everybody round him.

In this station he continued till the death of his master, which happened
about twenty years afterwards; in all which time, as has been confirmed
by several of the family, he was never observed to be any ways disguised
by drinking, or to be guilty of any of the follies and irregularities
incident to servants in gentlemen's houses.  On the contrary, when he had
any spare time, his constant custom was to retire with some good book
into a private place within call, and there employ himself in reading,
and then writing down his observations upon what he read.

After the death of his master, whose loss afflicted him to the last
degree, one Mrs. Mary Mordant, a gentlewoman of great virtue and piety,
and a very good fortune, took him into her service, and carried him with
her, first to Bath, and then to Bristol, where, after a lingering
distemper, which continued for about four years, she died likewise.

Upon the loss of his mistress, Dickory grew again exceeding melancholy
and disconsolate; at length, reflecting that death is but a common debt
which all mortals owe to nature, and must be paid sooner or later, he
became a little better satisfied, and so determines to get together what
he had saved in his service, and then to return to his native country,
and there finish his life in privacy and retirement.

Having been, as has been mentioned, about twenty-four years a servant,
and having, in the interim, received two legacies, viz., one of thirty
pounds, left him by his master, and another of fifteen pounds by his
mistress, and being always very frugal, he had got by him in the whole
upwards of sixty pounds.  This, thinks he, with prudent management, will
be enough to support me as long as I live, and so I'll e'en lay aside all
thoughts of future business, and make the best of my way to Cornwall, and
there find out some safe and solitary retreat, where I may have liberty
to meditate and make my melancholy observations upon the several
occurrences of human life.

This resolution prevailed so far, that no time was let slip to get
everything in readiness to go with the first ship.  As to his money, he
always kept that locked up by him, unless he sometimes lent it to a
friend without interest, for he had a mortal hatred to all sorts of usury
or extortion.  His books, of which he had a considerable quantity, and
some of them very good ones, together with his other equipage, he got
packed up, that nothing might be wanting against the first opportunity.

In a few days he heard of a vessel bound to Padstow, the very port he
wished to go to, being within four or five miles of the place where he
was born.  When he came thither, which was in less than a week, his first
business was to inquire after the state of his family.  It was some time
before he could get any information of them, until an old man that knew
his father and mother, and remembered they had a son was born dumb,
recollected him, and after a great deal of difficulty, made him
understand that all his family except his youngest sister were dead, and
that she was a widow, and lived at a little town called St. Helen's,
about ten miles farther in the country.

This doleful news, we must imagine, must be extremely shocking, and add a
new sting to his former affliction; and here it was that he began to
exercise the philosopher, and to demonstrate himself both a wise and a
good man.  All these things, thinks he, are the will of Providence, and
must not be disputed; and so he bore up under them with an entire
resignation, resolving that, as soon as he could find a place where he
might deposit his trunk and boxes with safety, he would go to St. Helen's
in quest of his sister.

How his sister and he met, and how transported they were to see each
other after so long an interval, I think is not very material.  It is
enough for the present purpose that Dickory soon recollected his sister,
and she him; and after a great many endearing tokens of love and
tenderness, he wrote to her, telling her that he believed Providence had
bestowed on him as much as would support him as long as he lived, and
that if she thought proper he would come and spend the remainder of his
days with her.

The good woman no sooner read his proposal than she accepted it, adding,
withal, that she could wish her entertainment was better; but if he would
accept of it as it was, she would do her best to make everything easy,
and that he should be welcome upon his own terms, to stay with her as
long as he pleased.

This affair being so happily settled to his full satisfaction, he returns
to Padstow to fetch the things he had left behind him, and the next day
came back to St. Helen's, where, according to his own proposal, he
continued to the day of his death, which happened upon the 29th of May,
1718, about the same hour in which he was born.

Having thus given a short detail of the several periods of his life,
extracted chiefly from the papers which he left behind him, I come in the
next place to make a few observations how he managed himself and spent
his time toward the latter part of it.

His constant practice, both winter and summer, was to rise and set with
the sun; and if the weather would permit, he never failed to walk in some
unfrequented place, for three hours, both morning and evening, and there
it is supposed he composed the following meditations.  The chief part of
his sustenance was milk, with a little bread boiled in it, of which in
the morning, after his walk, he would eat the quantity of a pint, and
sometimes more.  Dinners he never eat any; and at night he would only
have a pretty large piece of bread, and drink a draught of good spring
water; and after this method he lived during the whole time he was at St.
Helen's.  It is observed of him that he never slept out of a bed, nor
never lay awake in one; which I take to be an argument, not only of a
strong and healthful constitution, but of a mind composed and calm, and
entirely free from the ordinary disturbances of human life.  He never
gave the least signs of complaint or dissatisfaction at anything, unless
it was when he heard the tinners swear, or saw them drunk; and then, too,
he would get out of the way as soon as he had let them see, by some
significant signs, how scandalous and ridiculous they made themselves;
and against the next time he met them, would be sure to have a paper
ready written, wherein he would represent the folly of drunkenness, and
the dangerous consequences that generally attended it.

Idleness was his utter aversion, and if at any time he had finished the
business of the day, and was grown weary of reading and writing, in which
he daily spent six hours at least, he would certainly find something
either within doors or without, to employ himself.

Much might be said both with regard to the wise and regular management,
and the prudent methods he took to spend his time well towards the
declension of his life; but, as his history may perhaps be shortly
published at large by a better hand, I shall only observe in the general,
that he was a person of great wisdom and sagacity.  He understood nature
beyond the ordinary capacity, and, if he had had a competency of learning
suitable to his genius, neither this nor the former ages would have
produced a better philosopher or a greater man.

I come next to speak of the manner of his death and the consequences
thereof, which are, indeed, very surprising, and, perhaps, not altogether
unworthy a general observation.  I shall relate them as briefly as I can,
and leave every one to believe or disbelieve as he thinks proper.

Upon the 26th of May, 1718, according to his usual method, about four in
the afternoon, he went out to take his evening walk; but before he could
reach the place he intended, he was siezed with an apoplectic fit, which
only gave him liberty to sit down under a tree, where, in an instant, he
was deprived of all manner of sense and motion, and so he continued, as
appears by his own confession afterwards, for more than fourteen hours.

His sister, who knew how exact he was in all his methods, finding him
stay a considerable time beyond the usual hour, concludes that some
misfortune must needs have happened to him, or he would certainly have
been at home before.  In short, she went immediately to all the places he
was wont to frequent, but nothing could be heard or seen of him till the
next morning, when a young man, as he was going to work, discovered him,
and went home and told his sister that her brother lay in such a place,
under a tree, and, as he believed had been robbed and murdered.

The poor woman, who had all night been under the most dreadful
apprehensions, was now frightened and confounded to the last degree.
However, recollecting herself, and finding there was no remedy, she got
two or three of her neighbours to bear her company, and so hastened with
the young man to the tree, where she found her brother lying in the same
posture that he had described.

The dismal object at first view startled and surprised everybody present,
and filled them full of different notions and conjectures.  But some of
the company going nearer to him, and finding that he had lost nothing,
and that there were no marks of any violence to be discovered about him,
they conclude that it must be an apoplectic or some other sudden fit that
had surprised him in his walk, upon which his sister and the rest began
to feel his hands and face, and observing that he was still warm, and
that there were some symptoms of life yet remaining, they conclude that
the best way was to carry him home to bed, which was accordingly done
with the utmost expedition.

When they had got him into the bed, nothing was omitted that they could
think of to bring him to himself, but still he continued utterly
insensible for about six hours.  At the sixth hour's end he began to move
a little, and in a very short time was so far recovered, to the great
astonishment of everybody about him, that he was able to look up, and to
make a sign to his sister to bring him a cup of water.

After he had drunk the water he soon perceived that all his faculties
were returned to their former stations, and though his strength was very
much abated by the length and rigour of the fit, yet his intellects were
as strong and vigorous as ever.

His sister observing him to look earnestly upon the company, as if he had
something extraordinary to communicate to them, fetched him a pen and ink
and a sheet of paper, which, after a short pause, he took, and wrote as

   "Dear sister,

   "I have now no need of pen, ink, and paper, to tell you my meaning.  I
   find the strings that bound up my tongue, and hindered me from
   speaking, are unloosed, and I have words to express myself as freely
   and distinctly as any other person.  From whence this strange and
   unexpected event should proceed, I must not pretend to say, any
   farther than this, that it is doubtless the hand of Providence that
   has done it, and in that I ought to acquiesce.  Pray let me be alone
   for two or three hours, that I may be at liberty to compose myself,
   and put my thoughts in the best order I can before I leave them behind

The poor woman, though extremely startled at what her brother had
written, yet took care to conceal it from the neighbours, who, she knew,
as well as she, must be mightily surprised at a thing so utterly
unexpected.  Says she, my brother desires to be alone; I believe he may
have something in his mind that disturbs him.  Upon which the neighbours
took their leave and returned home, and his sister shut the door, and
left him alone to his private contemplations.

After the company were withdrawn he fell into a sound sleep, which lasted
from two till six, and his sister, being apprehensive of the return of
his fit, came to the bedside, and, asking softly if he wanted anything,
he turned about to her and spoke to this effect: Dear sister, you see me
not only recovered out of a terrible fit, but likewise that I have the
liberty of speech, a blessing that I have been deprived of almost sixty
years, and I am satisfied you are sincerely joyful to find me in the
state I now am in; but, alas! it is but a mistaken kindness.  These are
things but of short duration, and if they were to continue for a hundred
years longer, I can't see how I should be anyways the better.

I know the world too well to be fond of it, and am fully satisfied that
the difference between a long and a short life is insignificant,
especially when I consider the accidents and company I am to encounter.
Do but look seriously and impartially upon the astonishing notion of time
and eternity, what an immense deal has run out already, and how infinite
it is still in the future; do but seriously and deliberately consider
this, and you will find, upon the whole, that three days and three ages
of life come much to the same measure and reckoning.

As soon as he had ended his discourse upon the vanity and uncertainty of
human life, he looked steadfastly upon her.  Sister, says he, I conjure
you not to be disturbed at what I am going to tell you, which you will
undoubtedly find to be true in every particular.  I perceive my glass is
run, and I have now no more to do in this world but to take my leave of
it; for to-morrow about this time my speech will be again taken from me,
and, in a short time, my fit will return; and the next day, which I
understand is the day on which I came into this troublesome world, I
shall exchange it for another, where, for the future, I shall for ever be
free from all manner of sin and sufferings.

The good woman would have made him a reply, but he prevented her by
telling her he had no time to hearken to unnecessary complaints or
animadversions.  I have a great many things in my mind, says he, that
require a speedy and serious consideration.  The time I have to stay is
but short, and I have a great deal of important business to do in it.
Time and death are both in my view, and seem both to call aloud to me to
make no delay.  I beg of you, therefore, not to disquiet yourself or me.
What must be, must be.  The decrees of Providence are eternal and
unalterable; why, then, should we torment ourselves about that which we
cannot remedy?

I must confess, my dear sister, I owe you many obligations for your
exemplary fondness to me, and do solemnly assure you I shall retain the
sense of them to the last moment.  All that I have to request of you is,
that I may be alone for this night.  I have it in my thoughts to leave
some short observations behind me, and likewise to discover some things
of great weight which have been revealed to me, which may perhaps be of
some use hereafter to you and your friends.  What credit they may meet
with I cannot say, but depend the consequence, according to their
respective periods, will account for them, and vindicate them against the
supposition of falsity and mere suggestion.

Upon this, his sister left him till about four in the morning, when
coming to his bedside to know if he wanted anything, and how he had
rested, he made her this answer; I have been taking a cursory view of my
life, and though I find myself exceedingly deficient in several
particulars, yet I bless God I cannot find I have any just grounds to
suspect my pardon.  In short, says he, I have spent this night with more
inward pleasure and true satisfaction than ever I spent a night through
the whole course of my life.

After he had concluded what he had to say upon the satisfaction that
attended an innocent and well-spent life, and observed what a mighty
consolation it was to persons, not only under the apprehension, but even
in the very agonies of death itself, he desired her to bring him his
usual cup of water, and then to help him on with his clothes, that he
might sit up, and so be in a better posture to take his leave of her and
her friends.

When she had taken him up, and placed him at a table where he usually
sat, he desired her to bring him his box of papers, and after he had
collected those he intended should be preserved, he ordered her to bring
a candle, that he might see the rest burnt.  The good woman seemed at
first to oppose the burning of his papers, till he told her they were
only useless trifles, some unfinished observations which he had made in
his youthful days, and were not fit to be seen by her, or anybody that
should come after him.

After he had seen his papers burnt, and placed the rest in their proper
order, and had likewise settled all his other affairs, which was only fit
to be done between himself and his sister, he desired her to call two or
three of the most reputable neighbours, not only to be witnesses of his
will, but likewise to hear what he had farther to communicate before the
return of his fit, which he expected very speedily.

His sister, who had beforehand acquainted two or three of her confidants
with all that had happened, was very much rejoiced to hear her brother
make so unexpected a concession; and accordingly, without any delay or
hesitation, went directly into the neighbourhood, and brought home her
two select friends, upon whose secrecy and sincerity she knew she might
depend upon all accounts.

In her absence he felt several symptoms of the approach of his fit, which
made him a little uneasy, lest it should entirely seize him before he had
perfected his will, but that apprehension was quickly removed by her
speedy return.  After she had introduced her friends into his chamber, he
proceeded to express himself in the following manner; Dear sister, you
now see your brother upon the brink of eternity; and as the words of
dying persons are commonly the most regarded, and make deepest
impressions, I cannot suspect but you will suffer the few I am about to
say to have always some place in your thoughts, that they may be ready
for you to make use of upon any occasion.

Do not be fond of anything on this side of eternity, or suffer your
interest to incline you to break your word, quit your modesty, or to do
anything that will not bear the light, and look the world in the face.
For be assured of this; the person that values the virtue of his mind and
the dignity of his reason, is always easy and well fortified both against
death and misfortune, and is perfectly indifferent about the length or
shortness of his life.  Such a one is solicitous about nothing but his
own conduct, and for fear he should be deficient in the duties of
religion, and the respective functions of reason and prudence.

Always go the nearest way to work.  Now, the nearest way through all the
business of human life, are the paths of religion and honesty, and
keeping those as directly as you can, you avoid all the dangerous
precipices that often lie in the road, and sometimes block up the passage

Remember that life was but lent at first, and that the remainder is more
than you have reason to expect, and consequently ought to be managed with
more than ordinary diligence.  A wise man spends every day as if it were
his last; his hourglass is always in his hand, and he is never guilty of
sluggishness or insincerity.

He was about to proceed, when a sudden symptom of the return of his fit
put him in mind that it was time to get his will witnessed, which was no
sooner done but he took it up and gave it to his sister, telling her that
though all he had was hers of right, yet he thought it proper, to prevent
even a possibility of a dispute, to write down his mind in the nature of
a will, wherein I have given you, says he, the little that I have left,
except my books and papers, which, as soon as I am dead, I desire may be
delivered to Mr. Anthony Barlow, a near relation of my worthy master, Mr.
Owen Parry.

This Mr. Anthony Barlow was an old contemplative Welsh gentleman, who,
being under some difficulties in his own country, was forced to come into
Cornwall and take sanctuary among the tinners.  Dickory, though he kept
himself as retired as possible, happened to meet him one day upon his
walks, and presently remembered that he was the very person that used
frequently to come to visit his master while he lived in Pembrokeshire,
and so went to him, and by signs made him understand who he was.

The old gentleman, though at first surprised at this unexpected
interview, soon recollected that he had formerly seen at Mr. Parry's a
dumb man, whom they used to call the dumb philosopher, so concludes
immediately that consequently this must be he.  In short, they soon made
themselves known to each other; and from that time contracted a strict
friendship and a correspondence by letters, which for the future they
mutually managed with the greatest exactness and familiarity.

But to leave this as a matter not much material, and to return to our
narrative.  By this time Dickory's speech began to falter, which his
sister observing, put him in mind that he would do well to make some
declaration of his faith and principles of religion, because some
reflections had been made upon him upon the account of his neglect, or
rather his refusal, to appear at any place of public worship.

   "Dear sister," says he, "you observe very well, and I wish the
   continuance of my speech for a few moments, that I might make an ample
   declaration upon that account.  But I find that cannot be; my speech
   is leaving me so fast that I can only tell you that I have always
   lived, and now die, an unworthy member of the ancient catholic and
   apostolic church; and as to my faith and principles, I refer you to my
   papers, which, I hope, will in some measure vindicate me against the
   reflections you mention."

He had hardly finished his discourse to his sister and her two friends,
and given some short directions relating to his burial, but his speech
left him; and what makes the thing the more remarkable, it went away, in
all appearance, without giving him any sort of pain or uneasiness.

When he perceived that his speech was entirely vanished, and that he was
again in his original state of dumbness, he took his pen as formerly and
wrote to his sister, signifying that whereas the sudden loss of his
speech had deprived him of the opportunity to speak to her and her
friends what he intended, he would leave it for them in writing, and so
desired he might not be disturbed till the return of his fit, which he
expected in six hours at farthest.  According to his desire they all left
him, and then, with the greatest resignation imaginable, he wrote down
the meditations following:


An Abstract of his Faith, and the Principles of his Religion &c., which
begins thus:

Dear Sister; I thank you for putting me in mind to make a declaration of
my faith, and the principles of my religion.  I find, as you very well
observe, I have been under some reflections upon that account, and
therefore I think it highly requisite that I set that matter right in the
first place.  To begin, therefore, with my faith, in which I intend to be
as short and as comprehensive as I can:

1.  I most firmly believe that it was the eternal will of God, and the
result of his infinite wisdom, to create a world, and for the glory of
his majesty to make several sorts of creatures in order and degree one
after another; that is to say, angels, or pure immortal spirits; men,
consisting of immortal spirits and matter, having rational and sensitive
souls; brutes, having mortal and sensitive souls; and mere vegetatives,
such as trees, plants, &c.; and these creatures so made do, as it were,
clasp the higher and lower world together.

2.  I believe the holy Scriptures, and everything therein contained, to
be the pure and essential word of God; and that, according to these
sacred writings, man, the lord and prince of the creation, by his
disobedience in Paradise, forfeited his innocence and the dignity of his
nature, and subjected himself and all his posterity to sin and misery.

3.  I believe and am fully and entirely satisfied, that God the Father,
out of his infinite goodness and compassion to mankind, was pleased to
send his only Son, the second person in the holy and undivided Trinity,
to meditate for him, and to procure his redemption and eternal salvation.

4.  I believe that God the Son, out of his infinite love, and for the
glory of the Deity, was pleased voluntarily and freely to descend from
heaven, and to take our nature upon him, and to lead an exemplary life of
purity, holiness, and perfect obedience, and at last to suffer an
ignominious death upon the cross, for the sins of the whole world, and to
rise again the third day for our justification.

5.  I believe that the Holy Ghost out of his infinite goodness was
pleased to undertake the office of sanctifying us with his divine grace,
and thereby assisting us with faith to believe, will to desire, and power
to do all those things that are required of us in this world, in order to
entitle us to the blessings of just men made perfect in the world to

6.  I believe that these three persons are of equal power, majesty, and
duration, and that the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy
Ghost is all one, and that they are equally uncreate, incomprehensible,
eternal, and almighty; and that none is greater or less than the other,
but that every one hath one and the same divine nature and perfections.

These, sister, are the doctrines which have been received and practised
by the best men of every age, from the beginning of the Christian
religion to this day, and it is upon this I ground my faith and hopes of
salvation, not doubting but, if my life and practice have been answerable
to them, that I shall be quickly translated out of this kingdom of
darkness, out of this world of sorrow, vexation and confusion, into that
blessed kingdom, where I shall cease to grieve and to suffer, and shall
be happy to all eternity.

As to my principles in religion, to be as brief as I can, I declare
myself to be a member of Christ's church, which I take to be a universal
society of all Christian people, distributed under lawful governors and
pastors into particular churches, holding communion with each other in
all the essentials of the Christian faith, worship, and discipline; and
among these I look upon the Church of England to be the chief and best

The Church of England is doubtless the great bulwark of the ancient
Catholic or Apostolic faith all over the world; a church that has all the
spiritual advantages that the nature of a church is capable of.  From the
doctrine and principles of the Church of England, we are taught loyalty
to our prince, fidelity to our country, and justice to all mankind; and
therefore, as I look upon this to be one of the most excellent branches
of the Church Universal, and stands, as it were, between superstition and
hypocrisy, I therefore declare, for the satisfaction of you and your
friends, as I have always lived so I now die, a true and sincere, though
a most unworthy member of it.  And as to my discontinuance of my
attendance at the public worship, I refer you to my papers, which I have
left with my worthy friend, Mr. Barlow.  And thus, my dear sister, I have
given you a short account of my faith, and the principles of my religion.
I come, in the next place, to lay before you a few meditations and
observations I have at several times collected together, more
particularly those since my retirement to St. Helen's.

Meditations and Observations relating to the Conduct of Human Life in

1.  Remember how often you have neglected the great duties of religion
and virtue, and slighted the opportunities that Providence has put into
your hands; and, withal, that you have a set period assigned you for the
management of the affairs of human life; and then reflect seriously that,
unless you resolve immediately to improve the little remains, the whole
must necessarily slip away insensibly, and then you are lost beyond

2.  Let an unaffected gravity, freedom, justice, and sincerity shine
through all your actions, and let no fancies and chimeras give the least
check to those excellent qualities.  This is an easy task, if you will
but suppose everything you do to be your last, and if you can keep your
passions and appetites from crossing your reason.  Stand clear of
rashness, and have nothing of insincerity or self-love to infect you.

3.  Manage all your thoughts and actions with such prudence and
circumspection as if you were sensible you were just going to step into
the grave.  A little thinking will show a man the vanity and uncertainty
of all sublunary things, and enable him to examine maturely the manner of
dying; which, if duly abstracted from the terror of the idea, will appear
nothing more than an unavoidable appendix of life itself, and a pure
natural action.

4.  Consider that ill-usage from some sort of people is in a manner
necessary, and therefore do not be disquieted about it, but rather
conclude that you and your enemy are both marching off the stage
together, and that in a little time your very memories will be

5.  Among your principal observations upon human life, let it be always
one to take notice what a great deal both of time and ease that man gains
who is not troubled with the spirit of curiosity, who lets his
neighbours' affairs alone, and confines his inspections to himself, and
only takes care of honesty and a good conscience.

6.  If you would live at your ease, and as much as possible be free from
the incumbrances of life, manage but a few things at once, and let those,
too, be such as are absolutely necessary.  By this rule you will draw the
bulk of your business into a narrow compass, and have the double pleasure
of making your actions good, and few into the bargain.

7.  He that torments himself because things do not happen just as he
would have them, is but a sort of ulcer in the world; and he that is
selfish, narrow-souled, and sets up for a separate interest, is a kind of
voluntary outlaw, and disincorporates himself from mankind.

8.  Never think anything below you which reason and your own
circumstances require, and never suffer yourself to be deterred by the
ill-grounded notions of censure and reproach; but when honesty and
conscience prompt you to say or do anything, do it boldly; never balk
your resolution or start at the consequence.

9.  If a man does me an injury, what is that to me?  It is his own
action, and let him account for it.  As for me, I am in my proper
station, and only doing the business that Providence has allotted; and
withal, I ought to consider that the best way to revenge, is not to
imitate the injury.

10.  When you happen to be ruffled and put out of humour by any cross
accident, retire immediately into your reason, and do not suffer your
passion to overrule you a moment; for the sooner you recover yourself
now, the better you will be able to guard yourself for the future.

11.  Do not be like those ill-natured people that, though they do not
love to give a good word to their contemporaries, yet are mighty fond of
their own commendations.  This argues a perverse and unjust temper, and
often exposes the authors to scorn and contempt.

12.  If any one convinces you of an error, change your opinion and thank
him for it: truth and information are your business, and can never hurt
anybody.  On the contrary, he that is proud and stubborn, and wilfully
continues in a mistake, it is he that receives the mischief.

13.  Because you see a thing difficult, do not instantly conclude it to
be impossible to master it.  Diligence and industry are seldom defeated.
Look, therefore, narrowly into the thing itself, and what you observe
proper and practicable in another, conclude likewise within your own

14.  The principal business of human life is run through within the short
compass of twenty-four hours; and when you have taken a deliberate view
of the present age, you have seen as much as if you had begun with the
world, the rest being nothing else but an endless round of the same thing
over and over again.

15.  Bring your will to your fate, and suit your mind to your
circumstances.  Love your friends and forgive your enemies, and do
justice to all mankind, and you will be secure to make your passage easy,
and enjoy most of the comforts human life is capable to afford you.

16.  When you have a mind to entertain yourself in your retirements, let
it be with the good qualifications of your friends and acquaintance.
Think with pleasure and satisfaction upon the honour and bravery of one,
the modesty of another, the generosity of a third, and so on; there being
nothing more pleasant and diverting than the lively images and the
advantages of those we love and converse with.

17.  As nothing can deprive you of the privileges of your nature, or
compel you to act counter to your reason, so nothing can happen to you
but what comes from Providence, and consists with the interest of the

18.  Let people's tongues and actions be what they will, your business is
to have honour and honesty in your view.  Let them rail, revile, censure,
and condemn, or make you the subject of their scorn and ridicule, what
does it all signify?  You have one certain remedy against all their
malice and folly, and that is, to live so that nobody shall believe them.

19.  Alas, poor mortals! did we rightly consider our own state and
condition, we should find it would not be long before we have forgot all
the world, and to be even, that all the world will have forgot us

20.  He that would recommend himself to the public, let him do it by the
candour and modesty of his behaviour, and by a generous indifference to
external advantages.  Let him love mankind, and resign to Providence, and
then his works will follow him, and his good actions will praise him in
the gate.

21.  When you hear a discourse, let your understanding, as far as
possible, keep pace with it, and lead you forward to those things which
fall most within the compass of your own observations.

22.  When vice and treachery shall be rewarded, and virtue and ability
slighted and discountenanced; when ministers of state shall rather fear
man than God, and to screen themselves run into parties and factions;
when noise and clamour, and scandalous reports shall carry everything
before them, it is natural to conclude that a nation in such a state of
infatuation stands upon the brink of destruction, and without the
intervention of some unforeseen accident, must be inevitably ruined.

23.  When a prince is guarded by wise and honest men, and when all public
officers are sure to be rewarded if they do well, and punished if they do
evil, the consequence is plain; justice and honesty will flourish, and
men will be always contriving, not for themselves, but for the honour and
interest of their king and country.

24.  Wicked men may sometimes go unpunished in this world, but wicked
nations never do; because this world is the only place of punishment of
wicked nations, though not for private and particular persons.

25.  An administration that is merely founded upon human policy must be
always subject to human chance; but that which is founded on the divine
wisdom can no more miscarry than the government of heaven.  To govern by
parties and factions is the advice of an atheist, and sets up a
government by the spirit of Satan.  In such a government the prince can
never be secure under the greatest promises, since, as men's interest
changes, so will their duty and affections likewise.

26.  It is a very ancient observation, and a very true one, that people
generally despise where they flatter, and cringe to those they design to
betray; so that truth and ceremony are, and always will be, two distinct

27.  When you find your friend in an error, undeceive him with secrecy
and civility, and let him see his oversight first by hints and glances;
and if you cannot convince him, leave him with respect, and lay the fault
upon your own management.

28.  When you are under the greatest vexations, then consider that human
life lasts but for a moment; and do not forget but that you are like the
rest of the world, and faulty yourself in many instances; and withal,
remember that anger and impatience often prove more mischievous than the

29.  Gentleness and good humour are invincible, provided they are without
hypocrisy and design; they disarm the most barbarous and savage tempers,
and make even malice ashamed of itself.

30.  In all the actions of life let it be your first and principal care
to guard against anger on the one hand, and flattery on the other, for
they are both unserviceable qualities, and do a great deal of mischief in
the government of human life.

31.  When a man turns knave or libertine, and gives way to fear,
jealousy, and fits of the spleen; when his mind complains of his fortune,
and he quits the station in which Providence has placed him, he acts
perfectly counter to humanity, deserts his own nature, and, as it were,
runs away from himself.

32.  Be not heavy in business, disturbed in conversation, nor impertinent
in your thoughts.  Let your judgment be right, your actions friendly, and
your mind contented; let them curse you, threaten you, or despise you;
let them go on; they can never injure your reason or your virtue, and
then all the rest that they can do to you signifies nothing.

33.  The only pleasure of human life is doing the business of the
creation; and which way is that to be compassed very easily?  Most
certainly by the practice of general kindness, by rejecting the
importunity of our senses, by distinguishing truth from falsehood, and by
contemplating the works of the Almighty.

34.  Be sure to mind that which lies before you, whether it be thought,
word, or action; and never postpone an opportunity, or make virtue wait
for you till to-morrow.

35.  Whatever tends neither to the improvement of your reason nor the
benefit of society, think it below you; and when you have done any
considerable service to mankind, do not lessen it by your folly in gaping
after reputation and requital.

36.  When you find yourself sleepy in a morning, rouse yourself, and
consider that you are born to business, and that in doing good in your
generation, you answer your character and act like a man; whereas sleep
and idleness do but degrade you, and sink you down to a brute.

37.  A mind that has nothing of hope, or fear, or aversion, or desire, to
weaken and disturb it, is the most impregnable security.  Hither we may
with safety retire and defy our enemies; and he that sees not this
advantage must be extremely ignorant, and he that forgets it unhappy.

38.  Do not disturb yourself about the faults of other people, but let
everybody's crimes be at their own door.  Have always this great maxim in
your remembrance, that to play the knave is to rebel against religion;
all sorts of injustice being no less than high treason against Heaven

39.  Do not contemn death, but meet it with a decent and religious
fortitude, and look upon it as one of those things which Providence has
ordered.  If you want a cordial to make the apprehensions of dying go
down a little the more easily, consider what sort of world and what sort
of company you will part with.  To conclude, do but look seriously into
the world, and there you will see multitudes of people preparing for
funerals, and mourning for their friends and acquaintances; and look out
again a little afterwards, and you will see others doing the very same
thing for them.

40.  In short, men are but poor transitory things.  To-day they are busy
and harassed with the affairs of human life; and to-morrow life itself is
taken from them, and they are returned to their original dust and ashes.


Containing prophetic observations relating to the affairs of Europe and
of Great Britain, more particularly from 1720 to 1729.

1.  In the latter end of 1720, an eminent old lady shall bring forth five
sons at a birth; the youngest shall live and grow up to maturity, but the
four eldest shall either die in the nursery, or be all carried off by one
sudden and unexpected accident.

2.  About this time a man with a double head shall arrive in Britain from
the south.  One of these heads shall deliver messages of great importance
to the governing party, and the other to the party that is opposite to
them.  The first shall believe the monster, but the last shall discover
the impostor, and so happily disengage themselves from a snare that was
laid to destroy them and their posterity.  After this the two heads shall
unite, and the monster shall appear in his proper shape.

3.  In the year 1721, a philosopher from Lower Germany shall come, first
to Amsterdam in Holland, and afterwards to London.  He will bring with
him a world of curiosities, and among them a pretended secret for the
transmutation of metals.  Under the umbrage of this mighty secret he
shall pass upon the world for some time; but at length he shall be
detected, and proved to be nothing but an empiric and a cheat, and so
forced to sneak off, and leave the people he has deluded, either to
bemoan their loss, or laugh at their own folly.  N.B.--This will be the
last of his sect that will ever venture in this part of the world upon
the same errand.

4.  In this year great endeavours will be used for procuring a general
peace, which shall be so near a conclusion that public rejoicings shall
be made at the courts of several great potentates upon that account; but
just in the critical juncture, a certain neighbouring prince shall come
to a violent death, which shall occasion new war and commotion all over
Europe; but these shall continue but for a short time, and at last
terminate in the utter destruction of the first aggressors.

5.  Towards the close of this year of mysteries, a person that was born
blind shall have his sight restored, and shall see ravens perch upon the
heads of traitors, among which the head of a notorious prelate shall
stand upon the highest pole.

6.  In the year 1722, there shall be a grand congress, and new overtures
of peace offered by most of the principal parties concerned in the war,
which shall have so good effect that a cessation of arms shall be agreed
upon for six months, which shall be kept inviolable till a certain
general, either through treachery or inadvertency, shall begin
hostilities before the expiration of the term; upon which the injured
prince shall draw his sword, and throw the scabbard into the sea, vowing
never to return it till he shall obtain satisfaction for himself, and
done justice to all that were oppressed.

7.  At the close of this year, a famous bridge shall be broken down, and
the water that runs under it shall be tinctured with the blood of two
notorious malefactors, whose unexpected death shall make mighty
alterations in the present state of affairs, and put a stop to the ruin
of a nation, which must otherwise have been unavoidable.

8.  1723 begins with plots, conspiracies, and intestine commotions in
several countries; nor shall Great Britain itself be free from the
calamity.  These shall continue till a certain young prince shall take
the reins of government into his own hands; and after that, a marriage
shall be proposed, and an alliance concluded between two great
potentates, who shall join their forces, and endeavour, in good earnest,
to set all matters upon a right foundation.

9.  This year several cardinals and prelates shall be publicly censured
for heretical principles, and shall narrowly escape from being torn to
pieces by the common people, who still look upon them as the grand
disturbers of public tranquillity, perfect incendiaries, and the chief
promoters of their former, present, and future calamities.

10.  In 1724-5 there will be many treaties and negociations, and Great
Britain, particularly, will be crowded with foreign ministers and
ambassadors from remote princes and states.  Trade and commerce will
begin to flourish and revive, and everything will have a comfortable
prospect, until some desperadoes, assisted by a monster with many heads,
shall start new difficulties, and put the world again into a flame; but
these shall be but of short duration.

11.  Before the expiration of 1725, an eagle from the north shall fly
directly to the south, and perch upon the palace of a prince, and first
unravel the bloody projects and designs of a wicked set of people, and
then publicly discover the murder of a great king, and the intended
assassination of another greater than he.

12.  In 1726, three princes will be born that will grow up to be men, and
inherit the crowns of three of the greatest monarchies in Europe.

13.  About this time the pope will die, and after a great many intrigues
and struggles, a Spanish cardinal shall be elected, who shall decline the
dignity, and declare his marriage with a great lady, heiress of one of
the chief principalities in Italy, which may occasion new troubles in
Europe, if not timely prevented.

14.  In 1727, new troubles shall break out in the north, occasioned by
the sudden death of a certain prince, and the avarice and ambition of
another.  Poor Poland seems to be pointed at; but the princes of the
south shall enter into a confederacy to preserve her, and shall at length
restore her peace, and prevent the perpetual ruin of her constitution.

15.  Great endeavours will be used about this time for a comprehension in
religion, supported by crafty and designing men, and a party of mistaken
zealots, which they shall artfully draw in to join with them; but as the
project is ill-concerted, and will be worse managed, it will come to
nothing; and soon afterwards an effectual mode will be taken to prevent
the like attempt for the future.

16. 1728 will be a year of inquiry and retrospection.  Many exorbitant
grants will be reassumed, and several persons who thought themselves
secure will be called before the senate, and compelled to disgorge what
they have unjustly pillaged either from the crown or the public.

17.  About this time a new scaffold will be erected upon the confines of
a certain great city, where an old count of a new extraction, that has
been of all parties and true to none, will be doomed by his peers to make
his first appearance.  After this an old lady who has often been exposed
to danger and disgrace, and sometimes brought to the very brink of
destruction, will be brought to bed of three daughters at once, which
they shall call Plenty, Peace, and Union; and these three shall live and
grow up together, be the glory of their mother, and the comfort of
posterity for many generations.

* * * * *

This is the substance of what he either writ or extracted from his papers
in the interval between the loss of his speech and the return of his fit,
which happened exactly at the time he had computed.

Upon the approach of his fit, he made signs to be put to bed, which was
no sooner done but he was seized with extreme agonies, which he bore up
under with the greatest steadfastness, and after a severe conflict, that
lasted near eight hours, he expired.

Thus lived and thus died this extraordinary person; a person, though of
mean extraction and obscure life, yet when his character comes to be
fully and truly known, it will be read with pleasure, profit, and

His perfections at large would be the work of a volume, and inconsistent
with the intention of these papers.  I will, therefore, only add, for a
conclusion, that he was a man of uncommon thought and judgment, and
always kept his appetites and inclinations within their just limits.

His reason was strong and manly, his understanding sound and active, and
his temper so easy, equal, and complaisant, that he never fell out,
either with men or accidents.  He bore all things with the highest
affability, and computed justly upon their value and consequence, and
then applied them to their proper uses.



Being informed that you speedily intend to publish some memoirs relating
to our dumb countryman, Dickory Cronke, I send you herewith a few lines,
in the nature of an elegy, which I leave you to dispose of as you think
fit.  I knew and admired the man; and if I were capable, his character
should be the first thing I would attempt.

Yours. &c.


   Vitiis nemo sine nascitur; optimus ille est,
   Qui minimus urgetur.--HORACE.

If virtuous actions emulation raise,
Then this good man deserves immortal praise.
When nature such extensive wisdom lent,
She sure designed him for our precedent.
Such great endowments in a man unknown,
Declare the blessings were not all his own;
But rather granted for a time to show
What the wise hand of Providence can do.
In him we may a bright example see
Of nature, justice, and morality;
A mind not subject to the frowns of fate,
But calm and easy in a servile state.
He always kept a guard upon his will
And feared no harm because he knew no ill.
A decent posture and an humble mien,
In every action of his life were seen.
Through all the different stages that he went,
He still appeared both wise and diligent:
Firm to his word, and punctual to his trust,
Sagacious, frugal, arable, and just.
No gainful views his bounded hopes could sway,
No wanton thought led his chaste soul astray.
In short, his thoughts and actions both declare,
Nature designed him her philosopher;
That all mankind, by his example taught,
Might learn to live, and manage every thought.
Oh! could my muse the wondrous subject grace,
And, from his youth, his virtuous actions trace;
Could I in just and equal numbers tell
How well he lived, and how devoutly fell,
I boldly might your strict attention claim,
And bid you learn, and copy out the man.

J. P.

Exeter College, August 25th, 1719.


The occasion of this epitaph was briefly thus:--A gentleman, who had
heard much in commendation of this dumb man, going accidentally to the
churchyard where he was buried, and finding his grave without a
tombstone, or any manner of memorandum of his death, he pulled out his
pencil, and writ as follows:--


   Near to this lonely unfrequented place,
   Mixed with the common dust, neglected lies
   The man that every muse should strive to grace,
   And all the world should for his virtue prize.
   Stop, gentle passenger, and drop a tear,
   Truth, justice, wisdom, all lie buried here.

   What, though he wants a monumental stone,
   The common pomp of every fool or knave,
   Those virtues which through all his actions shone
   Proclaim his worth, and praise him in the grave.
   His merits will a bright example give,
   Which shall both time and envy too outlive.

   Oh, had I power but equal to my mind,
   A decent tomb should soon this place adorn,
   With this inscription: Lo, here lies confined
   A wondrous man, although obscurely born;
   A man, though dumb, yet he was nature's care,
   Who marked him out her own philosopher.

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