The Storm, by Daniel Defoe

The Conclusion.

The editor of this book has laboured under some difficulties in this account; and one of the chief has been how to avoid too many particulars, the crowds of relations which he has been obliged to lay by to bring the story into a compass tolerable to the reader.

And though some of the letters inserted are written in a homely style, and expressed after the country fashion from whence they came, the author chose to make them speak their own language, rather than by dressing them in other words make the authors forget they were their own.

We received a letter, very particular, relating to the Bishop of Bath and Wells, and reflecting upon his lordship for some words he spoke, “That he had rather have his brains knocked out, than,” &c., relating to his inferior clergy. The gentleman takes the disaster for a judgment of God on him; but as in his letter, the person owns himself the bishop’s enemy, fills his letter with some reflections indecent, at least for us: and at last, tho’ he dates from Somerton, yet baulks setting his name to his letter: for these reasons, we could not satisfy to record the matter, and leave a charge on the name of that unfortunate gentleman, which, he being dead, could not answer, and we alive could not prove. And on these accounts hope the reverend gentleman who sent the letter will excuse us.

Also we have omitted, though our list of particulars promised such a thing, an account of some unthinking wretches, who passed over this judgment with banter, scoffing, and contempt. It is a subject ungrateful to recite, and full of horror to read; and we had much rather cover such actions with a general blank, in charity to the offenders, and in hopes of their amendment.

One unhappy accident I cannot omit, and which is brought us from good hands, and happened in a ship homeward bound from the West Indies. The ship was in the utmost danger of foundring; and when the master saw all, as he thought, lost, his masts gone, the ship leaky, and expecting her every moment to sink under him, filled with despair, he calls to him the surgeon of the ship, and by a fatal contract, as soon made as hastily executed, they resolved to prevent the death they feared, by one more certain: and going into the cabin, they both shot themselves with their pistols. It pleased God the ship recovered the distress, was driven safe into ----, and the captain just lived to see the desperate course he took might have been spared; the surgeon died immediately.

There are several very remarkable cases come to our hands since the finishing this book, and several have been promised which are not come in; and the book having been so long promised, and so earnestly desired by several gentlemen that have already assisted that way, the undertakers could not prevail with themselves to delay it any longer.

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Last updated Saturday, March 1, 2014 at 20:37