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Roger Crab

mind, bran, english, lie and grass

CRAB, ROGER, a singular secretary of the English revolution, had served for seven years in the parliamentary army, and though he had his " skull cloven" by a royalist trooper, yet', for some breach of discipline, Cromwell sentenced him to death, a punish ment subsequently commuted to two years' imprisonment. After his release from jail. C. set up in business as "a haberdasher of hats" at Chesham, in Buckinghamshire. His Wandering mind, probably not improved by the skull-cleaving operation, then imbibed the idea that it was sinful to eat any kind of animal food, or to drink anything stronger than water. Determined to follow, literally, the injunctions given to the young man in the gospel, lie sold'off his stock in trade, distributing the proceeds among the poor, and took up his residence in a hut, situated on a rood of ground near Ichenham, where for some time he lived on the small sum of three farthings a week. His food consisted of bran, dock-leaves, mallows, and grass: and how it agreed with him we learn from a rare pamphlet, principally written by himself, entitled The English hermit, or the Bran der of the Age. "Instead of strong drinks and wines," says the eccentric Roger, " 1 give the old man a cup of water; and instead of roast mutton and rabbit, and other dainty dishes, I ,give him broth thickened with bran, and pudding made with bran and turnip-leaves chopped together, at which the old Man (meaning my body) being moved, would know what he had done, that I used him so hardly. Then I showed

him his transgressions, and so the wars began. The law of the old man in my fleshly members rebelled against the law of my mind, and had a shrewd skirmish; but the mind, being well enlightened, held it so that the old man grew sick and weak with the flux, likely to fall to the dust. But the wonderful love of God, well pleased with the battle, raised him up again, and filled him full of love, peace, and content of mind, and lie is now become more humble, for now he will eat dock-leaves, mallows, or grass." The persecutions the poor man _inflicted on himself, caused him to be persecuted by others. Though he states that he was neither a Quaker, a Shaker,•nor a Ranter, he was cudgeled and put in the stocks; the wretched sackcloth frock he wore was torn from his back, and he was mercilessly whipped. He was four times arrested on suspicion of being a wizard, and lie was sent from prison to prison; yet still he would persist in his course of life, not hesitating to term all those whose opinion differed from his by the most opprobrious names. He published another pamphlet, entitled Dagim's _Downfall, or the Great Idol, digged up Root and Branch; the English Hermit's Spade at the Ground and Root of Idolatry. This work shows that the man was simply insane. We last hear of him residing in Bethnal Green. He died on the 11th of Sept., 1680, and was buried in Stepney church-yard.—Chambers's Book of Days, vol ii. p. 334.