Lord Timothy Dexter - 'Consler of Trouth'
November 14, 2002 12:10 PM   Subscribe

Lord Timothy Dexter (1747-1806) was one of the most colorful characters of early American history, described here as, among other things, an "Eccentric 18th Century Merchant - Investor with a Midas Touch - Impresario - Patron of the Arts, founding the 'World Mouserum of Grate Wonder and Gret Caricters' - progressive 'Libperel' - Self Appointed 'Consler of Trouth.'" This site includes a complete transcription of Dexter's punctuation-free magnum opus, A Pickle for the Knowing Ones featuring his famous Addenda.
posted by Joey Michaels (12 comments total)
That's all MeFi needs -- another "Self-Appointed 'Consler of Trouth.' " This guy definitely would be a blogger.

p.s. (about the Addenda): !!!?!!!!
posted by LeLiLo at 12:21 PM on November 14, 2002

This smells of a hoax, but it's incredibly amusing anyway, legit or not. (Can anyone really be that bad at spelling?) this is good.

Addenda: []
posted by wanderingmind at 12:22 PM on November 14, 2002

Perhaps this is the great great grandpappy of walter_miller
posted by soplerfo at 12:40 PM on November 14, 2002

An entire page in Curlz MT? Puh friggin' lease.

In any case, no hoax. Facisimiles are available of the book, purchasable online, and you can visit his gravesite (after availing oneself of local establishments of commerce, of course).
posted by dhartung at 12:47 PM on November 14, 2002

Wow. All the more impressive to know, Dhartung... Skeptic that I am, it's extremely refreshing to know that someone so odd was actually real. (Same goes for the Hensler twins, too.)
posted by wanderingmind at 12:52 PM on November 14, 2002

If it's a hoax, it's an old one. His biography was published in 1848, and he was mentioned in Thoreau's journal in 1852, in none too complimentary a fashion:
To ramble round the world to see that pile of stones which ambitious Mr. Cheops, an Egyptian booby, like some Lord Timothy Dexter, caused a hundred thousand poor devils to pile up for low wages, which contained for all treasure the thigh-bone of a cow.</blockquote
posted by SealWyf at 12:54 PM on November 14, 2002

Actually, I ran into this link while researching Lord Dexter for a play. He is a real figure, though this site doesn't mention a couple of the more colorful details of his life. For example, according to at least one source, Dexter actually made a good chunk of money by actually selling coals to Newcastle. No kidding.
posted by Joey Michaels at 1:18 PM on November 14, 2002

(Can anyone really be that bad at spelling?)

Spelling was a much more creative prospect back then. See Shakespeare (or Shakspeare, Shakspear, Shakespear, etc.) for other examples.
posted by me3dia at 1:21 PM on November 14, 2002

Wow. The Addenda reminds me for some reason of T.E. Lawrence's famous note on inconsistency in his preface to Seven Pillars of Wisdom: "I spell my names anyhow, to show what rot the systems are."

me3dia: "Back then" covers a multitude of sins. This guy lived 200 years after Shakespeare, and spelling was pretty much standardized. It's clear that his contemporaries found him about as weird as we do.
posted by languagehat at 1:38 PM on November 14, 2002

World Mouserum of Grate Wonder and Gret Caricters

I don't mind spelling being creative so long as it's (a) consistent (grate? gret? ... The Shakespeare thing doesn't count, I think, because AFAIK it was never spelled two different ways in the same piece, let alone the same phrase) and (b) can be pronounced sorta the same ("mouserum"? How does he get an R into "museum"?)
posted by wanderingmind at 1:40 PM on November 14, 2002

wanderingmind: Shakespeare's name may not have been spelled differently in the same place, but Shakespeare's sonnets occasionally do have the same word spelled different ways in the same sonnet. Sonnet 18 in the 1609 edition has both "Sommer" and "Summer". Spelling in Shakespeare's time and even Dexter's time isn't so much up to the author as it is up to the compositor--the person (usually uneducated, sometimes illiterate) setting the type.
posted by josephtate at 8:44 PM on November 14, 2002

Huh. Okay. Didn't know that, Joseph - thanks.
posted by wanderingmind at 10:05 AM on November 15, 2002

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