The particular dreadful effects of this tempest, are the subject of the ensuing part of this history; and though the reader is not to expect that all the particulars can be put into this account, and perhaps many very remarkable passages may never come to our knowledge; yet as we have endeavoured to furnish ourselves with the most authentic accounts we could from all parts of the nation, and a great many worthy gentlemen have contributed their assistance in various, and some very exact relations and curious remarks; so we pretend, not to be meanly furnished for this work.
Some gentlemen, whose accounts are but of common and trivial damages, we hope will not take it ill from the author, if they are not inserted at large; for that we are willing to put in nothing here common with other accidents of like nature; or which may not be worthy of a history and a historian to record them; nothing but what may serve to assist in convincing posterity that this was the most violent tempest the world ever saw.
From hence it will follow, that those towns who only had their houses untiled, their barns and hovels levelled with the ground, and the like, will find very little notice taken of them in this account; because if these were to be the subject of a history, I presume it must be equally voluminous with Fox, Grimston, Holinshead, or Stow.
Nor shall I often trouble the reader with the multitude or magnitude of trees blown down, whole parks ruined, fine walks defaced, and orchards laid flat, and the like: and though I had, myself, the curiosity to count the number of trees, in a circuit I rode over most part of Kent, in which, being tired with the number, I left off reckoning after I had gone on to 17000; and though I have great reason to believe! did not observe one half of the quantity, yet in some parts of England, as in Devonshire especially, and the counties of Worcester, Gloucester, and Hereford, which are full of very large orchards of fruit trees, they had much more mischief.
In the pursuit of this work, I shall divide it into the following chapters or sections, that I may put it into as good order as possible.
1. Of the Damage in the city of London, &c.
2. — in the countries.
3. On the Water in the Royal Navy.
4. — to Shipping in general.
5. by Earthquake.
6. by High Tides.
7. Remarkable providences and deliverances.
8. Hardened and blasphemous contemners both of the storm and its effects.
9. Some calculations of damage sustained.
10. The conclusion.
We had designed a chapter for the damages abroad, and have been at no small charge to procure the particulars from foreign parts: which are now doing in a very authentic manner: but as the world has been long expecting this work, and several gentlemen who were not a little contributing to the information of the author, being unwilling to stay any longer for the account, it was resolved to put it into the press without any farther delay: and if the foreign accounts can be obtained in time, they shall be a supplement to the work; if not, some other method shall be found out to make them public.