Alexander Cruden

Alexander Cruden

Overview
Alexander Cruden was the author of an early concordance
Concordance (publishing)
A concordance is an alphabetical list of the principal words used in a book or body of work, with their immediate contexts. Because of the time and difficulty and expense involved in creating a concordance in the pre-computer era, only works of special importance, such as the Vedas, Bible, Qur'an...

 to the Bible
Bible
The Bible refers to any one of the collections of the primary religious texts of Judaism and Christianity. There is no common version of the Bible, as the individual books , their contents and their order vary among denominations...

, and also served as Alexander the Corrector, a self-styled national corrector of signs, books and morals.

Alexander Cruden was born in Aberdeen
Aberdeen
Aberdeen is Scotland's third most populous city, one of Scotland's 32 local government council areas and the United Kingdom's 25th most populous city, with an official population estimate of ....

 in Scotland
Scotland
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...

 (baptised on June 8, 1699, St. Nicholas Kirk, Aberdeen, according to recent research) and was educated at Aberdeen Grammar School
Aberdeen Grammar School
Aberdeen Grammar School, known to students as The Grammar is a state secondary school in the City of Aberdeen, Scotland. It is one of twelve secondary schools run by the Aberdeen City Council educational department...

 and Marischal College
Marischal College
Marischal College is a building and former university in the centre of the city of Aberdeen in north-east Scotland. The building is owned by the University of Aberdeen and used for ceremonial events...

, University of Aberdeen
University of Aberdeen
The University of Aberdeen, an ancient university founded in 1495, in Aberdeen, Scotland, is a British university. It is the third oldest university in Scotland, and the fifth oldest in the United Kingdom and wider English-speaking world...

, and became an excellent Latin, Greek
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

 and Biblical scholar.

Cruden's Bible Concordance
Cruden's Concordance
A Complete Concordance to the Holy Scriptures, generally known as Cruden's Concordance, is a concordance of the King James Bible that was singlehandedly created by Alexander Cruden...

 became well-known, and further editions were published after his death.
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Encyclopedia
Alexander Cruden was the author of an early concordance
Concordance (publishing)
A concordance is an alphabetical list of the principal words used in a book or body of work, with their immediate contexts. Because of the time and difficulty and expense involved in creating a concordance in the pre-computer era, only works of special importance, such as the Vedas, Bible, Qur'an...

 to the Bible
Bible
The Bible refers to any one of the collections of the primary religious texts of Judaism and Christianity. There is no common version of the Bible, as the individual books , their contents and their order vary among denominations...

, and also served as Alexander the Corrector, a self-styled national corrector of signs, books and morals.

Early life


Alexander Cruden was born in Aberdeen
Aberdeen
Aberdeen is Scotland's third most populous city, one of Scotland's 32 local government council areas and the United Kingdom's 25th most populous city, with an official population estimate of ....

 in Scotland
Scotland
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...

 (baptised on June 8, 1699, St. Nicholas Kirk, Aberdeen, according to recent research) and was educated at Aberdeen Grammar School
Aberdeen Grammar School
Aberdeen Grammar School, known to students as The Grammar is a state secondary school in the City of Aberdeen, Scotland. It is one of twelve secondary schools run by the Aberdeen City Council educational department...

 and Marischal College
Marischal College
Marischal College is a building and former university in the centre of the city of Aberdeen in north-east Scotland. The building is owned by the University of Aberdeen and used for ceremonial events...

, University of Aberdeen
University of Aberdeen
The University of Aberdeen, an ancient university founded in 1495, in Aberdeen, Scotland, is a British university. It is the third oldest university in Scotland, and the fifth oldest in the United Kingdom and wider English-speaking world...

, and became an excellent Latin, Greek
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

 and Biblical scholar.

Concordance


Cruden's Bible Concordance
Cruden's Concordance
A Complete Concordance to the Holy Scriptures, generally known as Cruden's Concordance, is a concordance of the King James Bible that was singlehandedly created by Alexander Cruden...

 became well-known, and further editions were published after his death. It has not been out of print since 1737 and is still encountered today on the shelves of priests and biblical scholars.

There were some primitive concordances before Cruden, however these were unsystematic, more popular aids rather than scholarly tools. Cruden worked alone and produced the most consistent and complete concordance produced before the introduction of computerised indexing.

As well as the more scientific defensible method of compiling occurrences, he also invented a new method of presentation, which showed the surrounding sentence rather than just the verse reference, this provided the literary context and so made the concordance significantly easier to handle, as the reader did not have to constantly flip back to the Bible only to find the reference was an irrelevant match.

Cruden presented the first edition on November 3, 1737 to Queen Caroline
Caroline of Ansbach
Caroline of Brandenburg-Ansbach was the queen consort of King George II of Great Britain.Her father, John Frederick, Margrave of Brandenburg-Ansbach, was the ruler of a small German state...

 (wife of George II). However, she died some days later without awarding Cruden any reward for his work, so Cruden had to go into personal debt to finance the printing.

The second edition of the Concordance was dedicated to King George III
George III of the United Kingdom
George III was King of Great Britain and King of Ireland from 25 October 1760 until the union of these two countries on 1 January 1801, after which he was King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland until his death...

 and presented to him in person on 21 December 1761. The King awarded Cruden £100 for his efforts. The third edition was published in 1769. After the slow success of the first edition, the second and third made Cruden considerable profit.

Corrector


As well as producing the concordance, Cruden worked as a proofreader and bookseller, several editions of Greek and Latin classics are said to have owed their accuracy to his care.

Cruden opened a booksellers shop in the Royal Exchange
Royal Exchange
Royal Exchange may refer to:*Royal Exchange, Belfast a major mixed-use regeneration scheme in the North East Quarter of Belfast City Centre*Royal Exchange, Manchester, a 19th century classical building, home of the Royal Exchange Theatre...

. In April 1735 he obtained the title of bookseller to the Queen by recommendation of the Lord Mayor
Lord Mayor
The Lord Mayor is the title of the Mayor of a major city, with special recognition.-Commonwealth of Nations:* In Australia it is a political position. Australian cities with Lord Mayors: Adelaide, Brisbane, Darwin, Hobart, Melbourne, Newcastle, Parramatta, Perth, Sydney, and Wollongong...

 and most of the Whig
British Whig Party
The Whigs were a party in the Parliament of England, Parliament of Great Britain, and Parliament of the United Kingdom, who contested power with the rival Tories from the 1680s to the 1850s. The Whigs' origin lay in constitutional monarchism and opposition to absolute rule...

 aldermen. The post was an unremunerative sinecure
Sinecure
A sinecure means an office that requires or involves little or no responsibility, labour, or active service...

.

After failing to obtain the honour of knighthood, he was nominated as Parliamentary candidate for the City of London in 1754, but he decided to withdraw. Some point after this, Cruden adopted the title of Corrector. Cruden saw it as his personal mission to safeguard the nation's spelling and grammar, and through that, the nation's moral
Morality
Morality is the differentiation among intentions, decisions, and actions between those that are good and bad . A moral code is a system of morality and a moral is any one practice or teaching within a moral code...

 health. He was particularly concerned with misspelt signs, graffiti, swearing and the keeping of the Sabbath.

He was in the habit of carrying a sponge, with which he effaced all inscriptions and signs which he thought incorrect or contrary to good morals.

He was treated with the respect due to his learning by officials and residents in both (Oxford and Cambridge) universities, but experienced some boisterous fooling at the hands of the undergraduates. At Cambridge he was knighted with mock ceremonies. There he appointed deputy correctors to represent him in the university.

He also visited Eton
Eton College
Eton College, often referred to simply as Eton, is a British independent school for boys aged 13 to 18. It was founded in 1440 by King Henry VI as "The King's College of Our Lady of Eton besides Wyndsor"....

, Windsor
Windsor, Berkshire
Windsor is an affluent suburban town and unparished area in the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead in Berkshire, England. It is widely known as the site of Windsor Castle, one of the official residences of the British Royal Family....

, Tonbridge
Tonbridge School
Tonbridge School is a British boys' independent school for both boarding and day pupils in Tonbridge, Kent, founded in 1553 by Sir Andrew Judd . It is a member of the Eton Group, and has close links with the Worshipful Company of Skinners, one of the oldest London livery companies...

, and Westminster
Westminster School
The Royal College of St. Peter in Westminster, almost always known as Westminster School, is one of Britain's leading independent schools, with the highest Oxford and Cambridge acceptance rate of any secondary school or college in Britain...

 schools, where he appointed four boys to be his deputies. (An Admonition to Cambridge is preserved among letters from J. Neville of Emmanuel to Dr. Cos Macro, in the British Museum
British Museum
The British Museum is a museum of human history and culture in London. Its collections, which number more than seven million objects, are amongst the largest and most comprehensive in the world and originate from all continents, illustrating and documenting the story of human culture from its...

.)

Against the Northern republican John Wilkes, whom he hated, he wrote a small pamphlet, and used to delete with his sponge the number 45 wherever he found it, this being the offensive symbol of Wilkes.

The Correctors Earnest Address to the Inhabitants of Great Britain, published in 1756, was occasioned by the earthquake at Lisbon
1755 Lisbon earthquake
The 1755 Lisbon earthquake, also known as the Great Lisbon Earthquake, was a megathrust earthquake that took place on Saturday 1 November 1755, at around 9:40 in the morning. The earthquake was followed by fires and a tsunami, which almost totally destroyed Lisbon in the Kingdom of Portugal, and...

. In 1762 he saved an ignorant seaman, Richard Potter, from the gallows, and in 1763 published a pamphlet recording the history of the case.

In 1769 he lectured in Aberdeen as Corrector, and distributed copies of the fourth commandment and various religious tracts. The wit that made his eccentricities palatable is illustrated by the story of how he gave to a conceited young minister whose appearance displeased him A Mother's Catechism dedicated to the young and ignorant.

Other works


Cruden published a pamphlet dedicated to Lord H. (probably Harrington, a Secretary of State) entitled The London Citizen exceedingly injured, or a British Inquisition Displayed. He also published an account of his legal problems, dedicated to the King. It is said that in 1761 Cruden compiled "A Complete Concordance to the Apocrypha". (Ref.: Wikipedia entry on "Cruden's Concordance").

He superintended the printing of one of Matthew Henry
Matthew Henry
Matthew Henry was an English commentator on the Bible and Presbyterian minister.-Life:He was born at Broad Oak, a farmhouse on the borders of Flintshire and Shropshire. His father, Philip Henry, had just been ejected under the Act of Uniformity 1662...

's Commentaries, and in 1750 printed a small Compendium of the Holy Bible (an abstract of the contents of each chapter).

The Scripture Dictionary, compiled during Cruden's later years, was printed in Aberdeen in two volumes shortly after his death.

Mental Health


After his University education, Cruden was set to enter the church until his mental health
Mental health
Mental health describes either a level of cognitive or emotional well-being or an absence of a mental disorder. From perspectives of the discipline of positive psychology or holism mental health may include an individual's ability to enjoy life and procure a balance between life activities and...

 was called into question and he was institutionalised
Psychiatric hospital
Psychiatric hospitals, also known as mental hospitals, are hospitals specializing in the treatment of serious mental disorders. Psychiatric hospitals vary widely in their size and grading. Some hospitals may specialise only in short-term or outpatient therapy for low-risk patients...

. This was the first of several stays in psychiatric hospitals throughout his life.

Cruden's frequent institutionalisation is a matter of academic debate. Traditionally, Cruden's apparent madness has been interpreted as the other side of his focused brilliance. However Julia Keay argued that he was not mad, but he was initially put away in order to silence his criticisms of incestuous marriages among the nobility, and later by women who rejected his unwanted affections.

He paid unwelcome addresses to a widow which resulted in an enforced stay in Matthew Wright's Private Madhouse in Bethnal Green
Bethnal Green
Bethnal Green is a district of the East End of London, England and part of the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, with the far northern parts falling within the London Borough of Hackney. Located northeast of Charing Cross, it was historically an agrarian hamlet in the ancient parish of Stepney,...

, London.

He attempted to prosecute
Law
Law is a system of rules and guidelines which are enforced through social institutions to govern behavior, wherever possible. It shapes politics, economics and society in numerous ways and serves as a social mediator of relations between people. Contract law regulates everything from buying a bus...

 those responsible for his confinement, and made a similar attempt when his sister had him institutionalised again in 1753, this time only for a few days. In April 1755 he printed a letter to The Speaker and other Members of the House of Commons
British House of Commons
The House of Commons is the lower house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, which also comprises the Sovereign and the House of Lords . Both Commons and Lords meet in the Palace of Westminster. The Commons is a democratically elected body, consisting of 650 members , who are known as Members...

, and about the same time an Address to the King and Parliament
Parliament of the United Kingdom
The Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is the supreme legislative body in the United Kingdom, British Crown dependencies and British overseas territories, located in London...

.

In September 1753, through being involved in a street brawl, he was confined in an asylum in Chelsea
Chelsea, London
Chelsea is an area of West London, England, bounded to the south by the River Thames, where its frontage runs from Chelsea Bridge along the Chelsea Embankment, Cheyne Walk, Lots Road and Chelsea Harbour. Its eastern boundary was once defined by the River Westbourne, which is now in a pipe above...

 for seventeen days at the instance of his sister (Mrs. Isobella Wild of Middle Green Langley). He brought an unsuccessful action against his friends, and seriously proposed that they should go into confinement as an atonement.

In 1755 he paid unwelcome addresses to the daughter of Sir Thomas Abney
Thomas Abney
Sir Thomas Abney was Lord Mayor of London.Abney was born in Willesley, which at the time was in Derbyshire but is now in Leicestershire. He was educated at Loughborough Grammar School, where a house is named after him....

, of Newington
Newington
Newington is the name of several places, districts, a school, and a house.* England:**Greater London*** Newington, London *** Stoke Newington, a district in London*** Newington Green, a district in London**Kent*** Newington, Swale, Kent...

 (1640–1722).

Death


Cruden died suddenly while praying in his lodgings in Camden Passage, Islington
Islington
Islington is a neighbourhood in Greater London, England and forms the central district of the London Borough of Islington. It is a district of Inner London, spanning from Islington High Street to Highbury Fields, encompassing the area around the busy Upper Street...

, on 1 November 1770. He was buried in the ground of a Protestant dissenting congregation in Dead Man's Place, Southwark
Southwark
Southwark is a district of south London, England, and the administrative headquarters of the London Borough of Southwark. Situated east of Charing Cross, it forms one of the oldest parts of London and fronts the River Thames to the north...

. He bequeathed a portion of his savings for a bursary
Bursary
A bursary is strictly an office for a bursar and his or her staff in a school or college.In modern English usage, the term has become synonymous with "bursary award", a monetary award made by an institution to an individual or a group to assist the development of their education.According to The...

at Aberdeen, which preserves his name on the list of benefactors of the university.

Cruden was never married.

Biography

  • Andrews, Jonathan. Undertaker of the mind: John Monro and mad-doctoring in eighteenth century England. University of California Press, 2001.
  • Farrow, John F. "Alexander Cruden and his concordance". Indexer. 20, Apr. 1996, p. 55-6.
  • Ingram, Allan. Voices of madness: four pamphlets 1683-1796. Sutton, 1997.
  • Keay, Julia. Alexander the Corrector: the tormented genius whose Cruden's concordance unwrote the bible. Overlook Press, 2005. ISBN 0-00-713195-X
  • Olivier, Edith. Alexander the Corrector: the eccentric life of Alexander Cruden. Viking Press, 1934.
  • Pearsall, Ronald. Cruden of the concordance. New Blackfriars, 53, Feb. 1971, p. 88-90.
  • Unattributed. 'The Life and Character of Alexander Cruden' in Cruden's Unabridged Concordance. Baker Books, Grand Rapids, Michigan, May 1953.

External links