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THE GREAT CRYPTOGRAM:
BY IGNATIUS DONNELLY, Author
"And now Iwill vnclaspe a Secret booke
HE question may be asked by some, Why divide your book into two parts, an argument and a demonstration? If the Cipher is conclusive, why is any discussion of probabilities necessary?
In answer to this I would state that, for a long time before I conceived the idea of the possibility of there being a Cipher in the Shakespeare Plays, I had been at work collecting proofs, from many sources, to establish the fact that FRANCIS BACON was the real author of those great works. Much of the material so amassed is new and curious, and well worthy of preservation. While the Cipher will be able to stand alone, these facts will throw many valuable side-lights upon the story told
Moreover, that part of the book called "PARALLELISMS" will, I hope, be interesting to scholars, even after BACON's authorship of the Plays is universally acknowledged, as showing how the same great mind unconsciously cast itself forth in parallel lines, in prose and poetry, in the two greatest sets of writings in the world.
And I trust the essays on the geography, the politics, the religion and the purposes of the Plays will possess an interest apart from the question of authorship.
I have tried to establish every statement I have made by abundant testimony, and to give due credit to each author from whom I have borrowed.
For the shortcomings of the work I shall have to ask the indulgence of the reader. It was written in the midst of many interruptions and distractions; and it lacks that perfection which ampler leisure might possibly have given it.
As to the actuality of the Cipher there can be but one conclusion. A long, continuous narrative, running through many pages, detailing historical events in a perfectly symmetrical,
rhetorical, grammatical manner, and always growing out of the same numbers, employed in the same way, and counting from the same, or similar, starting-points, cannot be otherwise than a prearranged arithmetical cipher.
Let those who would deny this proposition produce a single page of a connected story, eliminated, by an arithmetical rule, from any other work; in fact, let them find five words that will cohere, by accident, in due order, in any publication, where they were not first placed with intent and aforethought. have never yet been able to find even three such. Regularity does not grow out of chaos. There can be no intellectual order without preëxisting intellectual purpose. The fruits of mind can only be found where mind is or has been.
It may be thought, by some, that I speak with too much. severity of Shakspere and his family; but it must be remembered that I am battling against the great high walls of public prejudice and intrenched error. "Fate," it is said, "obeys the downright striker." I trust my earnestness will not be mistaken for maliciousness.
In the concluding chapters I have tried to do justice to the memory of FRANCIS BACON, and to the great minds that first announced to the world his claim to the authorship of the Plays. I feel that it is a noble privilege to thus assist in lifting the burden of injustice from the shoulders of long-suffering merit.
The key here turned, for the first time, in the secret wards of the Cipher, will yet unlock a vast history, nearly as great in bulk as the Plays themselves, and tell a mighty story of one of the greatest and most momentous eras of human history, illuminated by the most gifted human being that ever dwelt upon the earth.
I conclude by invoking, in behalf of my book, the kindly judgment and good-will of all men. I. D.