A Compleat System of Magick
Occult Tome by Daniel Defoe First Edition Copy, 1722
“’Tis very strange Men should be so fond of being thought more wicked than they are.”
— Daniel Defoe, from A Compleat System of Magick
Being an historical account of mankind’s most early dealing with the Devil; and how the acquaintance on both sides first begun.
Defoe begins this volume with a humorous preface, in which he explains that if anyone was expecting, based on the title, to find a work of science, “a Book of Rules for Instruction in the Practice, or a Magical Grammar for Introduction to young Beginners, all I can say to such is, that they will be mistaken.”
The work is instead a history of the practice of magic, beginning in ancient times and traced down to the present day. He explains how the Magi first came to deal with the Devil, and how the Devil has continued to insinuate himself throughout history, appearing to and deceiving men with false signs and wonders.