Like "Freston Tower", Rev. Cobbold includes a preface before launching into The
History of Margaret Catchpole.
Independently of this simple history being a relation of acts, well known to
many persons of the highest respectability still living in the county of
Suffolk, it is hoped that an instructive lesson may be conveyed by it to many,
who may not yet have the necessity of early and religious instruction.
These pages will prove, in a remarkable manner, that, however great may be the
natural endowments of the human mind, yet, without the culture of religious
principles, and the constant discipline of the Holy Spirit, they will never
enable their possessor to resist the temptations of passion, but will be as
likely to lead to great crimes as to great virtues.
It will be seen that, from the want alone of the early impressions of religion,
the heroine of these pages fell into errors of temper and passion, which led to
the violation of the laws of God and man; but that, after the inculcation of
Christian faith and virtue, she became conspicuous for the sincerity of her
reformation and for an exemplary lie: that, although it pleased God to grant
her "a place of repentance," yet it was through such bitter sorrows and
sufferings of mind and body as she most devoutly desired others might be
The public may depend upon the truth of the main features of this narrative:
indeed, most of the facts recorded were matters of public notoriety at the time
of their occurence. The author who here details them is a son of the lady with
whom this extraordinary female lived, and from whose hands he received the
letters and the facts here given. He is persuaded that much will be found in
the history of Margaret Catchpole highly worthy of praise and imitation; and,
if that which is unworthy shall only be taken as a warning example, he humbly
hopes that the public will be both gratified and benefited by the publication.