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Following his escape, Jonathan initially returned to working as a tanner for three months at Boroughbridge. During this time, one night in September 1821, he had a premonition of his wife Martha in bed “all in a gore of blood”. A few days later he received a letter confirming she had died of breast cancer on that very night.
Early in 1822, he moved to Darlington, where he worked yet again as a tanner, joined the Methodists and began preaching in earnest.
1825 saw the printing and publishing of the first edition of Jonathan’s autobiography, ‘Life’. It was a small and very poorly printed pamphlet of fifty-six pages with an estimated five thousand copies. A much larger “Second Edition, considerably improved”, consisting of eighty double-columned pages featuring major additional text and three copperplate engravings, was printed the following year. A final third edition of five thousand copies was printed in 1828. By the end of that year, when he still had a few copies of the third edition in hand, he had sold fourteen thousand copies in total. He travelled throughout the north of England preaching and hawking his book, causing much disturbance and curiosity.
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