Transmigration of Dexter to Dragonfly
Dexter's Contexture ~ The Array of Threads that Weave
the Fabric of this Vision ~ Homespun by the Darning Need


or Plain Truths in a Homespun Dress”


Lord Dexter announces the Demise of the Infernal Monarch and the Pope; proposes himself for Emperor.

I say the grate mister Divel, that has so many Nick Names, a frind to the preasts, Now is dead, all, and the pope Likewise,29 and the founders of mesonic, a Cheat foull of gratness of hell, Dead --- preasts Dead and lawyers Damede Dead --- A braham b Dead, and all the frinds of mankind sing prasses that wee are the grat familey of mankind, Now out of hell Delevered from fire and smoak, mourning for Ever. Now all in heaven, uppon Earth, Now all frinds, Now for a Day of Regoising all over the world, as the grate family, all Nasions, to be younited --- No more wars, for fifty years and Longer. I Recommend pease --- A Congress in france30 --- and when wee are Ripe for a Emper in this Contrey Call for me to take the helm, or a Consler in the afare of trouth. Amen and Amen.

Lord Dexter divulges his anticipations of an Empire, with himself at its head --- he as a Quaker Monarch, to give Peace to the World; his views founded on remarkable Prognostics at his Birth.

TROUTH, I afirme I am so much of A fule the Rougs want to git my Jouels & Loaves & littel fishes, without my leave. thay all Caled me a foull, forty years; Now I will Call all foulls but onnes men; Now to prove me a foull, I Never Could sing, Nor play Cards, Nor Dance, Nor tell a Long storey, Nor play on any mouskel, Nor pray, Nor make a pen; when I was young, I Could play on a Jous harp --- it would make my mouth warter. A good laff is beter than Crying; a Clam will Cry and warter wen thay are out of there Ellement --- so wee the same. if I had not the gost in my hous, I would give Lite to my brothers & sisters, and have a pease all over the world, and beat the trouthe into my frinds. houe gud it is --- houe onnest it would be --- and houe mankind has bin in posed and houe thay have bin blinded by untrouths, gosts and mister Divels, thare is Now None of that order, all Lye, the mesonik; if thay will make a book of trouth I will give the Creaters --- but I will take the Chare, and put my frind bonn partey on my Rite hand, And the grat ginral meroue31 on my Left hand; a Nuf to give the sword is in the banks --- A Emper --- only be still --- I will take the helm in Love --- I am a quaker --- No blod spiled --- all in the Love of a father; a Emper you will have in fortey years. I may Com back and see houe you all goue on, and what you ware when the gost is gone, and mister Divel --- peace on Earth --- be fore I will have a war in my Day, I will be your frind, the Emper, and if I want help, I will Call my frind boneypartey, and gorge the third and Dewide the Lofe. Now take Care --- peas, I say --- Except of what is Rewealed to me --- for it will Com to pass. I was born when grat powers Rouled --- I was borne in 1747, Janeuarey 22; on this day, in the morning, A grat snow storme --- the sines in the seventh house wives; mars Came fored --- Joupeter stud by holding the Candel --- I was to be one grat man; mars got the beth to be onnest man, to Doue good to my felow mortels. I can swep my hous and git all a Noue, and goue out of hell. Law and trouth and Reason on my side; it must be done --- when I git my worthy widdow it is Dun. Not one word of anger as Long as I Live to a good woman, I am firme.

Lord Dexter, like other men of the world, was a constant and enthusiastic writer for the press. Though some of his letters have been collected and many have been quoted in this life there are several gems of composition that seem peculiarly worthy of a modern reader’s attention. Several of them here follow, which show, as well as the “Pickle,” his sterling character and unparalleld point of view.


Dexter’s Humor.

I’me Now Come fored to speak of mi selfe of Infermeties of bodey I have more then one I say the gout never head Ake and the gravel for many years and I Cant help it and a very Colding wife is pison to me and I wish to be still and be master of my Cash and therefore it is Rite for my Littel familey to Leave the hous foulley and I wish fore one very good housekeeper very good and them that know me will know the kind of woman will Doue Now I will say what kind of a passon one from thirtey to fortey year old a good gade that will trott pase and gallop not to heave one of (off) but Rather of the two heave on I meane right well now stop I goaks I got out of the parth now I am onest I wish for a middling woman for size with a nose like mine Not black Eyes a good seamster and know houe to Cook I meane so as to order to have a good made to tend on you and me as for money the hous keeper and made will have A nouf if the Rite sort they must be sens Abel & onest & Comly & know when to speak & when to be silent then I shall please my Littel familey and the peopel at Large and to have the best of health to have good Rekamendason and if one or both Lives with me to my Decease thay will have a serting sum for Every year I Live Not Less then the wages upon the strickest honner.

  August 14   I a firme by the honer

of Newburyport Now at balton springs Balton spring waters I pronounce Adam Ale for all that Drinks of it Lovs the waters.


Lord Dexter --- Again!

1755 in may 9 Day my father put me with a farmer in malden in which I stated six years and six months then went to Chalston I stayed Seven months at Dresin of skins for briches & glovs --- than went to boston, there stayed till I was free --- in fourteene days I went to Newbury Port with A bondel in my hand to A plase all Noue to me --- I had sold my free Dom Sout at the vandour --- five shillings A yard starting in Roum of a guinea Clorth --- I was angry --- this money I began with Eight Dolors & 20 sents32 --- I had faith by Reading A book --- I was to have this world’s goods and be Come grate and be Amonkest grat men in the East and to give lite to the blind where in my fellow mortels have bin Douped for many thousand years with untrouth --- Now turn the systom of knollege and Lite into good morrels of onnesty and good Axions --- parents and masters begin skoul master begin at Cadde mys and Collegeys --- begin minnisters --- Leave of Carcrows in Coreg brave good Eyplits --- then we will have the best sogers in the world --- om Courage skouls All skouls --- the skolars to Larne by giving once a year some presents to three scolars --- the gratest to Larne After this way 3 Dolors for the first, sekend two, the third one Dolor33 --- I will be one half of this town --- one thing --- those masters are wanting --- masters must teach thare skolars to have good manners to there parents and to peoppel in the streets un Cover and not to be toue Nosey --- Every sattaday give this Lession to the skolars.

fourder --- I Recommend A skoul for to fix skolers to Larne Difrent Langeges --- to goue to Difrent parts of the world to trade --- goue souper Cargoue and when Lant Navagasion and Caricters good --- there will in time take toue hundred brave men for the bisness to the advantage of those young men that would be in want of bisness and grat Advantage to the marchents --- one million Dolors Annely to this Contrey --- wise men pos-pos on this --- you may make A mendments --- all parents ort to studey the geaness of there Children --- but the Coulmaster is offen the best judger of scolar --- goodbye



I want the Larned to Let me know if there is Any proufe of Angels haveing wings --- or men or horses or Divels --- it is all stuff --- A Lye --- I being A man without Larning please to give me Lite and prove it & I will give a soute of Clous with strips Downwards or Crossways --- I will leave it to grate bonnepart the grate and ginrel merow the grate and the grate Tomas pane Amen & Amen

T Dr


“Among all other newspaper correspondents Dexter is not the least to be read --- if he is not the most perspicuous in his observations and prefound in his remarks, he most certainly ‘makes most fun’ although it is some times difficult to determine what he would be at; however, one thing generally prepossesses the printer in favor of his contributions, --- they are accompanied with substantial reason why they should appear, much like our advertisements.”
Note from the editor of The Impartial Herald

Mister printer Sir it is adviseable that no one man in the you Nited Stats that is a bancrup should hold Any offiss, becos they are mostly Not men of good founting to Com from A Rock the mind is not good the sole the thinking part --- the hiow lands is bonnteful Rich manne I meane Rich men out & site your brothers Ingous it will make neu Rich frute Lands Not one man ort to have Any offes under govement but thoses of sum snug state A ccording to the offes he is Introusted with Not praying men yet just oneest men and no Coleag Larnt. Let thous work in the vinyards or now good by


Nomatter what Dexter Rits It Dus to make the Laydes Laf at the tea tabel.

“We have often amused the public with the comical ebullitions of Lord Dexter’s genius --- the spirit and elegance of his productions are various and the following is not a whit behind his former ones, save that, like the beauties of the French language, it suffers by translation.”
--- Note from the editor of the Impartial Herald

To mankind at large once more to Cast Pearls before swine, men beasts and devils because the truth set before them, they run away quick with long faces and very ghostly gallouses in their faces worse than bad but have mercy on those dogs of hell that cant bear the truth. Deception, they desire, so long in habit to worship the Devil. Now throw by some few deceptions of use and habit and whims six or eight in number; the savings of four millions of dollars in 15 moons, 365 days34 --- What is the way to make those savings? Now I will tell the O fools! Open your eyes: throw off the blindness and see O fools; blind to truth. First: Shoes and boots to be as good as they were thirty years back, for all men and children of the whole United States and have the gouns as they ought to be, and wear quilted petticoats and less gauzes, and less mourning; and but one third of the people to attend funerals; so many to attend many catch cold, and we want to settle Ohio soon, we cant spare those beauties to die so soon; we want the number to increase to make us a great nation. The rich must set good patterns, let there be more private marriages.  It would be more honor to our women to wear clothes like the Dutch People, than to wear them as they have done.   If one woman in a town draw up a writing that they will wear so and so, and sign it, it will become general throughout the states; then all great and good men will pick out their wives; I will be looking out myself one, but wont be to a foolish Cost of making a wedding. If I had ten dollars where I have one dollar I would be married on Sunday morning out of the town and have a good sermon to settle the very great importance very serious matter. I beg of you all to use more milk for your healths and less tea and coffee. If we lose 400,000 dollars in one year and gain four millions of dollars look at it. How much we gain in 15 years. Pay the whole debt and it will make all nations tremble to see our good economy. They will shudder and be afraid of the great, wise, noble people --- and keep up to what we set out to be, honest Republicans --- No King, but you won’t go it long without being honest. If you get out of the path, you will be brought to order. If dishonest, you must have a king.   It depends upon good morals. Keep Judas’s out of your councils.   Watch day and night for mankind is mankind. Pray likewise O peace and plenty, and brotherly love continue.



Here will lie in this box the first Lord in Americake the first Lord Dexter made by the voice of hamsher state my brave fellows Affirmed it they gave the titel & so let it goue for as much as it will fetch it wonte give me Any breade but take from me the contrary fourder I have A grand toume in my garding at one of the gras sees and the tempel of Reason over the toume and my coffen made and all Readey In my hous panted with whit Lead in side and out side tuched with greane with brass trimmings Eight handels & a good Lock I have had one mock founrel it was so solmon and there was very much criing about three thousand spectators I say my hous is Eaquel to any mansion hous in twelve hundred miles and now for Sale for seven hundred pounds weight of dollars by me

                                                                                      TIMOTHY DEXTER

the A bove mock founel the grand pall holders or barers Nams Lord East Lord West Lord North Lord South Lord megul Lord Shambow35 the minister made the prayer was Doctor Strong, thos saxtons --- flimsee ones are (unavoidably omitted).36



While this correspondence was not included in Dexter's anthology, "Pickle for the Knowing Ones" ~ the following letters to the editor were printed (in tandem) in the "Essex Journal & New Hampshire Packet," issue dated July 10, 1793. The introductory letter describes a celebratory event held the recent Independence Day which was mentioned in another journal, and is followed by (the interpolation of) the toast which Dexter purportedly delivered (or gestured) on that occasion.

Obviously crafted by a ghostwriter, the texts are devoid of the “Dexterity” found in Dexter’s more original "works of heart." But the contexture offers a rich accounting of an apparently extemporaneous experience during an Independence Day celebration held in the Deer Island toll house tavern (at the newly constructed Essex-Merrimack bridge, in which Dexter was the primary investor). As you read the words on the page, open your "thinking part" and imagine the scene where Timothy Dexter takes the stage ... then relates (or rather, translates) and informs (or perhaps transforms) the event to page. With flourish.

[Along with other period documents and publications, this 18th Century publicaton has been preserved on the microfilm available at the Newburyport Public Library's technology room --- situated on the second floor of the Library’s Tracy House Annex, which coincidentally was Dexter’s abode from 1791 to 1796). The following is an accurate transcription from that source.]



Mr. MyCall, Messrs. Blunt and Robinson took notice in their last Herald that I delivered on the fourth instant on Deer Island a speech in French. This speech I now send you in English, and should you think it worth of a place in your useful paper, you may insert. I did not deliver all that I intended on account of the ill-breeding of a blue puppy, who impertinently endeavored to upset my pulpit, or rather the table on which I stood. The public, considering the small chance I have had to learn French, are a little surprised to hear of my having endeavored to speak it; but, if Gentlemen and Ladies will give themselves the liberty to reflect that Frenchmen express themselves very much by gestures, and that Englishmen have made such a proficiency in the art that a whole play can now be acted without speaking a word, they will cease to wonder. 

                                                                                                          Timothy Dexter

Ladies & Gentlemen, this day the 18th year of our glorious independence commences --- Justice, order, commerce, agriculture, the sciences and tranquility reign triumphant in these United and happy States --- America is the asylum for the afflicted, persecuted, tormented sons & daughters of Europe. Our progress towards the glorious point of perfection is unparalleled in the annals of mankind.

Permit me, then, my wife and jolly souls, to congratulate you on this joyful occasion --- Let our deportment be suitable for the joyful purpose for which we are assembled --- Let good nature, breeding, concord, benevolence, piety, understanding, wit, humor, Punch and wine grace, bless adorn and crown us henceforth and forever. Amen.

Timothy Dexter


One might only add to this heartfelt toast, “Prosit!” And then note an earlier contribution to The Fourth Estate that finds our correspondent an imminent if not eminent Man of Letters, with an exculpatory explanation of his missives and mission:

Mr. Printers, I hope my weak brother won’t be disturbed about my scratching a little in the newspaper. I do it to learn myself to write and spell which I never knew how; I am now at leisure and a man of pleasure. I mean no hurt - I let you know what I know without reading - what I know only by experience - clear nature has been my school master - nothing borrowed by reading or very little - nature is my great study.

Indeed, in the words of this “grat felosofer” --- “the sole is the thinking part.”

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