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There are three considerable biographies of Defoe — 
^^ the fiirst, by George Chalmers, published in 1786; 
the second by Walter Wilson, published in 1830 ; the 
third, by William Lee, published in 1869. All three 
are thorough and painstaking works, justified by 
independent research and discovery. The labour of 
research in the case of an author supposed to have 
written some two hundred and fifty separate books 
and pamphlets, very few of them under his own 
name, is naturally enormous; and when it is done, 
the results are open to endless dispute. Probably 
two men could not be found who would read through 
the vast mass of contemporary anonymous and pseu- 
donymous print, and agree upon a complete list of 
Defoe's writings. Fortunately, however, for those who 
wish to get a clear idea of his life and character, the 
identification is not pure guess-work on internal 
evidence. He put his own name or initials to some 
of his productions, and treated the authorship of 

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others as open secrets. Enough is ascertained as his, 
to provide us with the means for a complete under- 
standing of his opinions and his conduct. It is Defoe's 
misfortune that his biographers on the large scale have 
occupied themselves too much with subordinate details, 
and have been misled from a true appreciation of 
his main lines of thought and action by religious, 
political, and hero-worshipping bias. For the following 
sketch, taking Mr. Lee's elaborate work as my chrono- 
logical guide, I have read such of Defoe's undoubted 
writings as are accessible in the Library of the British 
Museum — there is no complete collection, I believe, 
in existence — and endeavoured to connect them and 
him with the history of the time. 

W. M. 
Jcmuary 1879. 

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defob's youth and early pursuits. 

The life of a man of letters is not as a rale eventful. 
It may be rich in spintual experiences, but it seldom is 
rich in active adventure. We ask his biographer to tell 
us what were his habits of composition, how he talked, 
how he bore himself in the discharge of his duties to 
his family, his neighbours, and himself j what were his 
beliefs on the great questions that concern humanity. 
We desire to know what he said and wrote, not what 
he did beyond the study and the domestic or the social 
circle. The chief external facts in his career are the 
dates of the publication of his successive books. 

Daniel Defoe is an exception to this rule. He was 
a man of action as well as a man of letters. The 
writing of the books which have given him immortality 
was little more than an accident in his career, a com- 
paratively trifling and casual item in the total expendi- 
ture of his many-sided energy. He was nearly sixty 
when he wrote Eobinson Crusoe, Before that event he 

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2 DANIEL DEFOE. [chap. 

had been a rebel, a merchant, a manufacturer, a writer 
of popular satires in verse, a bankrupt ; had acted as 
secretary to a public commission, been employed in 
secret services by five successive Administrations, writ- 
ten innumerable pamphlets, and edited more than one 
newspaper. He had led in fact as adventurous a life 
as any of his own heroes, and had met quickly succeed- 
ing difficulties with equally ready and fertile ingenuity. 

For many of the incidents in Defoe's life we are 
indebted to himself. He had all the vaingloriousness 
of exuberant vitality, and was animated in the re- 
cital of his own adventures. Scattered throughout 
his various works are the materials for a tolerably 
complete autobiography. This is in one respect an 
advantage for any one who attempts to give an account 
of his life. But it has a counterbalancing disadvantage 
in the circumstance that there is grave reason to doubt 
his veracity. Defoe was a great story-teller in more 
senses than one. We can hardly believe a word that he 
says about himself without independent confirmation. 

Defoe was bom in London, in 1661. It is a charac- 
teristic circumstance that his name is not his own, except 
in the sense that it was assiuned by himself. The 
name of his father, who was a butcher in the parish 
of St. Giles, Cripplegate, was Foe. His grandfather 
was a Northamptonshire yeoman. In his Ttva Bom 
ETigliahnum, Defoe spoke very contemptuously of families 
that professed to have come over with " the Norman 
bastard," defying them to prove whether their ancestors 
were drummers or colonels ; but apparently he was not 
above the vanity of making the world believe that he 
himself was of Norman-French origin. Yet such was 
the restless energy of the man that he could not leave 

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even his adopted name alone ; he seems to have been 
about forty when he first changed his signature ** D. 
Foe " into the surname of " Defoe ; " but his patient 
biographer, Mr. Lee, has found several later instances 
of his subscribing himself "D. Foe," "D. F.," and 
"DeFoe" in alternation with the "Daniel De Foe," 
or " Daniel Defoe,'' which has become his accepted name 
in literature. 

In middle age, when Defoe was taunted with his want 
of learning, he retorted that if he was a blockhead it 
was not the fault of his father, who had " spared nothing 
in his education that might qualify him to match the 
accurate Dr. Browne, or the learned Observator." 
His father was a Nonconformist, a member of the con- 
gregation of Dr. Annesley, and the son was originally 
intended for the Dissenting ministry. "It was his 
disaster,*' he said afterwards, " first to be set apart for, 
and then to be set apart from, that sacred employ." He 
was placed at an academy for the training of ministers 
at the age, it is supposed, of about fourteen, and probably 
remained there for the full course of five years. He has 
himself explained why, when his training was completed, 
he did not proceed to the ofiice of the pulpit, but changed 
his views and resolved to engage in business as a hose- 
merchant. The sum of the explanation is that the 
ministry seemed to him at that time to be neither 
honourable, agreeable, nor profitable. It was degraded, 
he thought, by the entrance of men who had neither 
physical nor intellectual qualification for it, who had 
received out of a denominational fund only such an 
education as made them pedants rather than Christian 
gentlemen of high learning, and who had consequently 
to submit to shameful and degrading practices in their 

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4 DANIEL DEFOE. [chap. 

efforts to obtain congregations and sabsistence. Be- 
sides, the behayiour of congregations to their ministers, 
who were dependent, was often objectionable and un- 
christian. And finally, far-flown birds having fine 
feathers, the prizes of the ministry in London were 
generally given to strangers, '^ eminent ministers called 
from all parts of England," some even from Scotland, 
finding acceptance in the metropolis before having 
received any formal ordination. 

Though the education of his '^ fund-bred ** companions, 
as he calls them, at Mr. Morton's Academy in Newing- 
ton Green, was such as to excite Defoe's contempt, he 
bears testimony to Mr. Morton's excellence as a teacher, 
and instances the names of several pupils who did credit 
to his labours. In one respect Mr. Morton's system 
was better than that which then prevailed at the 
Universities ; all dissertations were written and all dis- 
putations held in English ; and hence it resulted, Defoe 
says, that his pupils, though they were '^ not destitute 
in the languages," were *' made masters of the English 
tongue, and more of them excelled in that particular 
than of any school at that time." Whether Defoe ob- 
tained at Newington the rudiments of all the learning 
which he afterwards claimed to be possessed of, we do 
not know ; but the taunt frequently levelled at him by 
University men of being an " illiterate fellow " and no 
scholar, was one that he bitterly resented, and that 
drew from him many protestations and retorts. In 
1705, he angrily challenged John Tutchin *'to translate 
with him any Latin, French, or Italian author, and 
after that to retranslate them crosswise for twenty 
pounds each book ; " and he replied to Swift, who had 
spoken of him scornfully as '' an illiterate fellow, whose 

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name I forget," that " he had been in his time pretty 
well master of five languages, and had not lost them 
yet, though he wrote no bill at his door, nor set Latin 
quotations on the front of the Review J^ To the end of 
his days Defoe could not forget this taimt of want of 
learning. In one of the papers in Applehee^s Journal 
identified by Mr. Lee (below, Chapter VIIL), he dis- 
cussed what is to be understood by " learning," and 
drew the following sketch of his own attainments : — 

" I remember an Author in the World some years ago, who 
was generally upbraided with Ignorance, and called an 
* Illiterate Fellow,' by some of* the Beau-Monde of the last 
Age. . . . 

"I happened to come into this Person's Study once, and I 
found him busy translating a Description of the Course of 
the River Boristhenes, out of Bleau's Geography, written in 
Spanish, Another Time I found him translating some Latin 
Paragraphs out of Leuhinitz Theatri Cometiciy being a learned 
Discourse upon Comets ; and that I might see whether it was 
genuine, I looked on some part of it that he had finished, and 
found by it that he understood the Latin very well, and 
had perfectly taken the sense of that difficult Author. In 
short, I found he understood the LaUn^ the Spanish, the 
Italian, and could read the Greeky and I knew before that he 
spoke French fluently — yet this Man was no Scholar, 

" As to Science, on another Occasion, I heard him dispute 
(in such a manner as surprized me) upon the motions of the 
Heavenly Bodies, the Distance, Magnitude, Revolutions, and 
especially the Influences of the Planets, the Nature and 
probable Revolutions of Comets, the excellency of the New 
Philosophy, and the like ; hut this Man was no Scholar. 

"In Geography and History he had all the World at his 
Finger's ends. He talked of the most distant Countries with 
an inimitable Exactness; and changing from one Place to 
another, the Company thought, of every Place or Country he 
named, that certainly he must have been born there. He 

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6 DANIEL DEFOE. [ohap. 

knew not only where every Thing was^ but what eveiybody 
did in every Part of the World ; I mean, what Businesses^ 
what Trade, what Manufacture, was carrying on in every Part 
of the World ; and had the History of almost all the Nations 
of the World in his Head, — yet this Man wcls no Scholar. 

" This put me upon wondering, ever so long ago, what this 
ttrange Thing called a Man of Learning tMu^ and what is it 
that constitutes a Scholar f For, said /, here's a man speaks 
five Languages and reads the Sixth, is a master of Astro- 
nomy, Geography, History, and abundance of other useful 
Knowledge, (which I do not mention, that you may not guess 
at the Man, who is too Modest to desire it,) and yet, they say 
this Man is no Scholar.'^ 

How much of this learning Defoe acquired at school, 
and how much he picked up afterwards under the 
pressure of the necessities of his business, it is im- 
possible to determine, but at any rate it was at least at 
good a qualification for writing on public affairs as the 
more limited and accurate scholarship of his academic 
rivals. Whatever may have been the extent of his 
knowledge when he passed from Mr. Morton's tuition, 
qualified but no longer willing to become a Dissenting 
preacher, he did not allow it to rust unused ; he at once 
mobilised his forces for active service. They were keen 
politicians, naturally, at the Newington Academy, and 
the times furnished ample materials for their discus- 
sions. As Nonconformists they were very closely 
affected by the struggle between Charles II. and the 
defenders of Protestantism and popular liberties. What 
part Defoe took in the excitement of the closing years 
of the reign of Charles must be matter of conjecture, 
but there can be little doubt that he was active on the 
popular side. He had but one difference then, he after- 
wards said in one of his tracts, with his party. He 

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would not join them in wishing for the saccess of 
the Tarks in besieging Vienna, because, though the 
Austrians were Papists and though the Turks were 
ostensibly on the side of the Hungarian reformers 
whom the Austrian Government had persecuted, he 
had read the history of the Turks and could not pray 
for their victory over Christians of any denomination. 
'^ Though then but a young man, and a younger author ** 
(this was in 1683), "he opposed it and wrote against it, 
which was taken very unkindly indeed/' From these 
words it would seem that Defoe had thus early begun 
to write pamphlets on questions of the hour. As he 
was on the weaker side, and any writing might have 
cost him his life, it is probable that he did not put his 
name to any of these tracts ; none of them have been 
identified ; but his youth was strangely unlike his 
mature manhood if he was not justified in speaking of 
himself as having been then an "author." Nor was 
he content merely with writing. It would have been 
little short of a miracle if his restless energy had 
allowed him to lie quiet while the air was thick with 
political intrigue. We may be sure that he had a voice 
in some of the secret associations in which plans were 
discussed of armed resistance to the tyranny of the 
King. We have his own word for it that he took part 
in the Duke of Monmouth's rising, when the whips of 
Charles were exchanged for the scorpions of James. 
He boasted of this when it became safe to do so, and 
the truth of the boast derives incidental confirmation 
from the fact that the names of three of his fellow- 
students at Newington appear in the list of the victims 
of Jeffreys and Kirke. 

Escaping the keen himt that was made for all 

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8 DANIEL DEFOE. [ohap. 

pftrtidpators in the rebellion, Defoe towards the close 
of 1685 began business as a hosier or hose-factor in 
Freeman's Court, Oomhill. The precise nature of his 
trade has been disputed ; and it does not particularly 
concern us here. When taunted afterwards with having 
been apprentice to a hosier, he indignantly denied the 
fact, and explained that though he had been a trader in 
hosiery he had never been a shopkeeper. A passing 
illustration in his Esaa^ en Frcjeets, drawn from his own 
experience, shows that he imported goods in the course 
of his business from abroad; he speaks of sometimes 
having paid more in insurance premios than he had 
cleared by a voyage. From a story which he tells in 
his Complete English TradesTnaUy recalling the cleverness 
with which he defeated an attempt to outwit him about 
a consignment of brandy, we learn that his business 
sometimes took him to Spain. This is nearly all that 
we know about his first adventure in trade, except that 
after seven years, in 1692, he had to flee from his 
creditors. He hints in one of his Reviews that this mis- 
fortune was brought about by the frauds of swindlers, 
and it deserves to be recorded that he made the honour- 
able boast that he afterwards paid off his obligations. 
The truth of the boast is independently confirmed 
by the admission of a controversial enemy, that very 
Tutchin whom he challenged to translate Latin with 
him. That Defoe should have referred so little to his 
own experience in the Complete English Tradesmcm, a 
series of Familiar Letters which he published late in life 
"for the instruction of our Inland Tradesmen, and 
especially of Young Beginners," is accounted for when 
we observe the class of persons to whom the letters 
were addressed. He distinguishes with his usual clear- 

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nes8 between the different ranks of those employed in 
the production and exchange of goods, and intimates 
that his advice is not intended for the highest grade 
of traders, the merchants, whom he defines by what he 
calls the vulgar expression, as being " such as trade 
beyond sea." Although he was eloquent in many books 
and pamphlets in upholding the dignity of trade, and 
lost no opportunity of scoffing at pretentious gentility 
he never allows us to forget that this was the grade to 
which he himself belonged, and addresses the petty 
trader from a certain altitude. He speaks in the 
preface to the Complete Tradesman of unfortunate 
creatures who have blown themselves up in trade, 
whether " for want of wit or from too much wit ; " but 
lest he should be supposed to allude to his own mis- 
fortunes, he does not say that he miscarried himself 
but that he *' had seen in a few years experience many 
young tradesmen miscarry." At the same time it is 
fair to conjecture that when Defoe warns the young 
tradesman against fancying himself a politician or a 
man of letters, running off to the coffee-house when he 
ought to be behind the counter, and reading Yirgil and 
Horace when he should be busy over his journal and his 
ledger, he was glancing at some of the causes which 
conduced to his own failure as a merchant. And when 
he cautions the beginner against going too fast, and 
holds up to him as a type and exemplar the carrier's 
waggon, which " keeps wagging and always goes on," 
and " as softly as it goes " can yet in time go far, we 
may be sure that he was thinking of the over-rashness 
with which he had himself embarked in speculation. 

There can be no doubt that eager and active as Defoe 
was in his trading enterprises, he was not so wrapt up 

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10 DANIEL DEFOE. [chap. 

in them as to be an unconcerned spectator of the intense 
political life of the time. When King James aimed a 
blow at the Church of England by removing the religious 
disabilities of all dissenters, Protestant and Catholic, 
in his Declaration of Indulgence, some of Defoe's co- 
religionists were ready to catch at the boon without 
thinking of its consequences. He differed from them, 
he afterwards stated, and ''as he used to say that 
he had rather the Popish House of Austria should 
ruin the Protestants in Hungaria, than the infidel 
House of Ottoman should ruin both Protestants and 
Papists by overrunning Germany,*' so now "he told 
the Dissenters he had rather the Church of England 
should pull our clothes off by fines and forfeitures, than 
the Papists should fall both upon the Church and the 
Dissenters, and pull our skins off by fire and faggot." 
He probably embodied these conclusions of his vigorous 
common sense in a pamphlet, though no pamphlet on 
the subject known for certain to be his has been pre- 
served. Mr. Lee is over-rash in identifying as Defoe's 
a quarto sheet of that date entitled '' A Letter contain- 
ing some Beflections on His Majesty's declaration for 
Liberty of Conscience." Defoe may have written many 
pamphlets on the stirring events of the time, which have 
not come down to us. It may have been then that he 
acquired, or made a valuable possession by practice, that 
marvellous facility with his pen which stood him in 
such stead in after life. It would be no wonder if he 
wrote dozens of pamphlets, every one of which dis- 
appeared. The pamphlet then occupied the place of the 
newspaper leading article. The newspapers of the time 
were veritable chronicles of news, and not organs of 
opinion. The expression of opinion was not then asso- 

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ciated with the dissemination of facts and rumours. A 
man who wished to influence puhlic opinion wrote a 
pamphlet, small or large, a single leaf or a tract of a 
few pages, and had it hawked about the streets and sold 
in the bookshops. These pamphlets issued from the 
press in swarms, were thrown aside when read, and 
hardly preserved except by accident. That Defoe, if he 
wrote any or many, should not have reprinted them 
when fifteen years afterwards he published a collection 
oft his works, is intelligible ; he republished only such 
of his tracts as had not lost their practical interest. If, 
however, we indulge in the fancy, warranted so far by 
his describing himself as having been a young '' author " 
in 1683, that Defoe took an active part in polemical 
literature under Charles and James, we must remember 
that the censorship of the press was then active, and 
that Defoe must have published under greater disadvan- 
tages than those who wrote on the side of the Court 

At the Revolution, in 1688, Defoe lost no time in 
making his adhesion to the new monarch conspicuous. 
He was, according to Oldmixon, one of "a royal 
regiment of volunteer horse, made up of the chief 
citizens, who, being gallantly mounted and richly ac- 
coutred, were led by the Earl of Monmouth, now Earl 
of Peterborough, and attended their Majesties from 
Whitehall," to a banquet given by the Lord Mayor and 
Corporation of the City. Three years afterwards, on 
the occasion of the Jacobite plot in which Lord Preston 
was the leading figure, he published the first pamphlet 
that is known for certain to be his. It is in verse, 
and is entitled A New Discovery of an Old Intrigue^ 
a ScUire levelled cU Treachery and Ambition. In the 
preface, the author said that '' he had never drawn his 

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12 DANIEL DEFOE. [oh. i. 

pen before/' and that he would never write again unless 
this efEort produced a visible ref ormaticm. If we take 
this literally^ we must suppose that his claim to have 
been an author eighteen years before had its origin in his 
fitful vanity. The literary merits of the satire, when we 
compare it with the powerful verse of Dryden's Abacdom 
and Aehiiaphely to which he refers in the exordium, are 
not great. Defoe prided himself upon his verse, and in 
a catalogue of the Poets in one of his later pieces assigned 
himself the special province of '' lampoon." He possibly 
believed that his clever doggerel was a better title to 
immortality than RoUnstm Crusoe, The immediate 
popular effect of his satires gave some encouragement 
to this belief, but they are comparatively dull reading 
for posterity. The clever hits at living City function- 
aries, radicated by their initials and nicknames, the 
rough ridicule and the biting innuendo, were telHng in 
their day, but the lampoons have perished with their 
objects. The local celebrity of Sir Ealph and Sir Peter, 
Silly Will and Captain Tom the Tailor, has vanished, 
and Defoe's hurried and formless lines, incisive as their 
vivid force must have been, lure not redeemed from dul- 
ness for modem readers by the few bright epigrams 
with which they are besprinkled. 

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Defob's first business catastrophe happened about 1692. 
He is said to have temporarily absconded^ and to have 
parleyed with his creditors from a distance till they 
agreed to accept a composition. Bristol is named as 
having been his place of refuge, and there is a story 
that he was known there as the Sunday Gentle- 
man, because he appeared on that day and that day only 
in fashionable attire, being kept indoors during the rest 
of the week by fear of the bailiffs. But he was of too 
buoyant a temperament to sink under his misfortune 
from the sense of having brought it on himself, and the 
cloud soon passed away. A man so fertile in expedients, 
and ready, according to his own ideal of a thorough- 
bred trader, to turn himself to anything, could not long 
remain unemployed. He had various business ofEers, 
and among others an invitation from some merchants to 
settle at Cadiz as a commission agent, ^' with ofEers of 
very good commissions.** But Providence, he tells us, 
and, we may add, a shrewd confidence in his own powers, 
"placed a secret aversion in his mind to quitting 
England upon any account, and made him refuse the 
best offers of that kind." He stayed at home, "to be 

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14 DANIEL DEFOE. [ohap. 

concerned with some eminent persons in proposing ways 
and means to the Government for raising money to 
supply the occasions of the war then newly begun." 
He also wrote a vigorous and loyal pamphlet, entitled, 
The EnglishTrujm'a Choice <md True Interest: in the 
vigorove prosecution of the war agcdnet France^ amd 
serving K, William amd Q, Mary^ amd acknowUdgimg 
their right. As a reward for his literary or his finan- 
cial services or for both, he was appointed "without 
the least application " of his own, Accountant to the 
Commissioners of the Glass Duty, and held this post 
till the duty was abolished in 1699. 

From 1694 to the end of William's reign was the 
most prosperous and honourable period in Defoe's life. 
His services to the Government did not absorb the 
whole of his restless energy. He still had time for 
private enterprise, and started a manufactory of bricks 
and pantiles at Tilbury, where, Mr. Lee says, judging 
from fragments recently dug up, he made good sound 
sonorous bricks, although according to another authority 
such a thing was impossible out of any material existing 
in the neighbourhood. Anyhow, Defoe prospered, and 
set up a coach and a pleasure-boat. Nor must we forget 
what is so much to his honour, that he set himself to pay 
his creditors in full, voluntarily disregarding the com- 
position which they had accepted. In 1705 he was able 
to boast that he had reduced his debts in spite of many 
difficulties from 17,000^. to 5,000^., but these sums 
included liabilities resulting from the failure of his 
pantile factory. 

Defoe's first conspicuous literary service to King 
William, after he obtained Government employment, 
was a pamphlet on the question of a Standing Army 

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raised after the Peace of Hyswick in 1697. This Fen 
and Ink War^ as he calls it, which followed close on 
the heels of the great European straggle, had been 
raging for some time before Defoe took the field. Hosts 
of writers had appeared to endanger the permanence of 
the triumph of William's arms and diplomacy by de- 
manding the disbandment of his tried troops, as being 
a menace to domestic liberties. Their arguments had 
been encountered by no less zealous champions of the 
King's cause. The battle, in fact, had been won when 
Defoe issued his Argvment skowvng that a Standing 
Army, with consent of PaHiarniont, ia not inconsiatent 
with a Free Government He was able to boast in his 
preface that '' if books and writings would not, God be 
thanked the Parliament would confute " his adversaries. 
Nevertheless, though coming late in the day, Defoe's 
pamphlet was widely read, and must have helped to 
consolidate the victory. 

Thus late in life did Defoe lay the first stone of his 
literary reputation. He was now in the thirty-eighth 
year of his age, his controversial genius in full vigour, 
and his mastery of language complete. None of his sub- 
sequent tracts surpass this as a piece of trenchant and 
persuasive reasoning. It shows at their very highest his 
marvellous powers of combining constructive with de- 
structive criticism. He dashes into the lists with good- 
humoured confidence, bearing the banner of clear common 
sense, and disclaiming sympathy with extreme persons of 
either side. He puts his case with direct and plausible 
force, addressing his readers vivaciously as plain people 
like himself, among whom as reasonable men there cannot 
be two opinions. He cuts rival arguments to pieces 
with dexterous strokes, representing them as the 

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16 DANIEL DEFOE. [ohap. 

oonfaaed reasoning of well-meaning but dull intellects, 
and dances with lively mockery on the fragments. If the 
authors of such arguments knew their own minds, they 
would be entirely on his side. He echoes the pet pre- 
judices of his readers as the props and mainstays of his 
thesis, and boldly laughs away misgivings of which they 
are likely to be half ashamed. He makes no parade of 
logic ; he is only a plain freeholder like the mass whom 
he addresses, though he knows twenty times as much as 
many writers of more pretension. He never appeals to 
passion or imagination ; what he strives to enlist on his 
side is homely self-interest, and the ordinary sense of 
what is right and reasonable. There is little regularity 
of method in the development of his argument; that 
he leaves to more anxious and elaborate masters of 
style. For himself he is content to start from a bold 
and clear statement of his own opinion, and proceeds 
buoyantly and discursively to engage and scatter his 
enemies as they turn up, without the least fear of being 
able to fight his way back to his original base. He 
wrote for a class to whom a prolonged intellectual 
operation, however comprehensive and complete, was 
distasteful. To persuade the mass of the freeholders 
was his object, and for such an object there are no 
political tracts in the language at all comparable to 
Defoe's. He bears some resemblance to Cobbett, but 
he had none of Cobbett's brutality ; his faculties were 
more adroit, and his range of vision infinitely wider. 
Cobbett was a demagogue, Defoe a popular statesman. 
The one was qualified to lead the people, the other to 
guide them. Cobbett is contained in Defoe as the less 
is contained in the greater. 

King William obtained a standing army from Farlia- 

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ment^ but not so large an army as he wished, and it was 
soon afterwards still further reduced. Meantime, Defoe 
employed his pen in promoting objects which were dear 
to the King's heart. His Essay on Projects — which 
" relate to Civil Polity as well as matters of negoce " — 
was calculated, in so far as it advocated joint-stock 
enterprise, to advance one of the objects of the states- 
men of the E.evolution, the committal of the moneyed 
classes to the established Government, and against a 
dynasty which might plausibly be mistrusted of respect 
for visible accumulations of private wealth. Defoe's 
projects were of an extremely varied kind. The classifi- 
cation was not strict. His spirited definition of the word 
''projects" included Noah's Ark and the Tower of 
Babel, as well as Captain Fhipps's scheme for raising 
the wreck of a Spanish ship laden with silver. He is 
sometimes credited with remarkable shrewdness in 
having anticipated in this Essay some of the greatest 
public improvements of modem times — ^the protection of 
seamen, the higher education of women, the establish- 
ment of banks and benefit societies, the construction of 
highways. But it is not historically accurate to give 
him the whole credit of these conceptions. Most of 
them were floating about at the time, so much so that 
he had to defend himself against a charge of plagiarism, 
and few of them have been carried out in accordance 
with the essential features of his plans. One remarkable 
circumstance in Defoe's projects, which we may attri- 
bute either to his own natural bent or to his compliance 
with the King's humour is the extent to which he 
advocated Government interference. He proposed, for 
example, an income-tax, and the appointment of a 
commission who should travel through the country and 


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18 DANIEL DEFOE. [chap. 

ascertain by inquiry that the tax was not evaded. In 
making this proposal he shows an acquaintance with 
private incomes in the City, which raises some suspicion 
as to the capacity in which he was ''associated with 
certain eminent persons in proposing ways and means 
to the Government." In his article on Banks, he ex- 
presses himself dissatisfied that the Government did not 
fix a maximum rate of interest for the loans made by 
chartered banks ; they were otherwise, he complained, 
of no assistance to the poor trader, who might as well 
go to the goldsmiths as before. His Highways project 
was a scheme for making national highways on a scale 
worthy of Baron Haussmann. There is more fervid 
imagination and daring ingenuity than business talent 
in Defoe's essay ; if his trading speculations were con- 
ducted with equal rashness, it is not difficult to under- 
stand their failure. The most notable of them are the 
schemes of a dictator, rather than of the adviser of a 
, free €k)vemment. The essay is chiefly interesting as a 
monument of Defoe's marvellous force of mind, and 
strange mixture of steady sense with incontinent flighti- 
ness. There are ebullient sallies in it which we gene- 
j rally find only in the productions of madmen and 
charlatans, and yet it abounds in suggestions which 
statesmen might profitably have set themselves with 
due adaptations to carry into effect. The Essay on 
Projects might alone be adduced in proof of Defoe's 
title to genius. 

One of the first projects to which the Government of 
the Bevolution addressed itself was the reformation of 
manners — a purpose at once commendable in itself and 
politically useful as distinguishing the new Government 
from the old. Even whilo the King was absent in 

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Ireland at the beginning of his reign, the Queen issued 
a letter calling upon all justices of the peace and other 
servants of the Crown to exert themselves in suppress- 
ing the luxuriant growth of vice, which had been fos- 
tered by the example of the Court of Charles. On the 
conclusion of the war in 1697, William issued a most 
elaborate proclamation to the same effect, and an address 
was voted by Parliament, asking his Majesty to see that 
wickedness was discouragad in high places. The lively 
pamphlet in which Defoe lent his assistance to the good 
work, entitled IJhe Poor Mamis Flea, was written in the 
spirit of the parliamentary address. It was of no use 
to pass laws and make declarations and proclamations 
for the reform of the common plebeii, the poor man 
pleaded, so long as the mentors of the laws were them- 
selves corrupt. His argument was spiced with amusing 
anecdotes to show the prevalence of swearing and 

, drunkenness among members of the judicial bench. 

; Defoe appeared several times afterwards in the character 
of a reformer of manners, sometimes in verse, sometimes 
in prose. When the retort was made that his own man- 
ners w^re not perfect, he denied that this invalidated 
the worth of his appeal, but at the same time challenged 
his accusers to prove him guilty of any of the vices that 
he had satirised. 

It is impossible now to ascertain what induced Defoe 
to break with the Dissenters, among whom he had been 
brought up, but break with them he did in his pamphlet 
against the practice of Occasioned Conformity. This 
practice of occasionally taking communion with the 
Established Church, as a qualification for public office, 
had grown up after the devolution, and had attracted 
very liitle notice till a Dissenting lord maivar. after 

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20 DANIEL DEFOE. [chap. 

attending church one Sunday forenoon, went in the 
afternoon with all the insignia of his office to a Con- 
ventiole. Defoe's objection to this is indicated in his 
quotation, "If the Lord be God, follow Him, but if 
Baai, then follow him." A man, he contended, who 
oould reconcile it with his conscience to attend the 
worship of the Church, had no business to be a Dis- 
senter. Occasional conformity was ^' either a sinful act 
in itself, or else Ms dissenting before was sinful." The 
Dissenters naturally did not like this intolerant logical 
dUemma, and resented its being forced upon them by 
one of their own number against a practical compromise 
to which the good sense of the majority of them 
assented. No reply was made to the pamphlet when 
first issued in 1698, and two or three years afterwards 
Defoe, exulting in the unanswerable logic of his posi- 
tion, reprinted it with a prefatory challenge to Mr. 
Howe, an eminent dissenting minister. During the 
next reign, however, when a bill was introduced to 
prohibit the practice of occasional conformity, Defoe 
strenuously wrote against it as a breach of the Toleration 
Act and a measure of persecution. In strict logic it is 
possible to make out a case for his consistency, but the 
reasoning must be fine, and he cannot be acquitted of 
having in the first instance practically justified a perse- 
cution which he afterwards condemned. In neither case 
does he point at the repeal of the Test Act as his 
object, and it is impossible to explain his attitude in 
both cases on the ground of principle. However much 
he objected to see the sacrament taken as a matter of 
form, it was hardly his province, in the circumstances 
in which Dissenters then stood, to lead an outcry against 
the practice; and if he considered it scandalous and 

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sinful, he could not with much consistency protest againsi 
the prohibition of it as an act of persecution. Of this no 
person was better aware than Defoe himself, and it is 
a curious circumstance that, in his first pamphlet on the 
bill for putting down occasional conformity, he ridiculed 
the idea of its being persecution to suppress politic or 
state Dissenters, and maintained that the bill did not 
concern true Dissenters at all. To this, however, we 
must refer again in connexion with his celebrated tract. 
The Shortest Way wUh Dieeentere. 

The troubles into which the European system was 
plunged by the death of the childless King of Spain, 
and that most dramatic of historical surprises, the 
bequest of his throne by a death-bed will to the Duke 
of Anjou, the second grandson of Louis XIY., furnished 
Defoe with a great opportunity for his controversial 
genius. In Charles II.'s will, if the legacy was accepted, 
'William saw the ruin of a life-long policy. Louis, 
though he was doubly pledged against acknowledging 
the will, having renounced all pretensions to the throne 
of Spain for hunself and his heirs in the Treaty of the 
Pyrenees, and consented in two successive treaties of 
partition to a difEerent plan of succession, did not long 
hesitate ; the news that he had saluted his grandson as 
King of Spain followed dose upon the news of Charles's 
death. The balance of the great Catholic Powers which 
WHliam had established by years of anxious diplomacy 
and costly war, was toppled over by a stroke of the pen. 
With Spain and Italy virtually added to his dominions, 
the French King would now be supreme upon the Con- 
tinent. Louis soon showed that this was his view of 
what had happened, by saying that the Pyrenees had 
ceased to exist. He gave a practical illustration of the 

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22 DANIEL DEFOE. [chap. 

same view by seizing, with the authority of his grandson, 
the frontier towns of the Spanish Netherlands, which 
were garrisoned under a special treaty by Dutch troops. 
Though deeply enraged at the bad faith of the most 
Christian King, William was not dismayed. The stone 
which he had rolled up the hill with such effort had 
suddenly rolled down again, but he was eager to renew 
his labours. Before, however, he could act, he found 
himself, to his utter astonishment and mortification, 
paralysed by the attitude of the English Parliament. 
His alarm at the accession of a Bourbon to the Spanish 
throne was not shared by the ruling classes in England. 
They declared that they liked the Spanish King's will 
better than William's partition. France, they argued, 
would gain much less by a dynastic alliance with Spain, 
which would exist no longer than their common interests 
dictated, than by the complete acquisition of the Spanish 
provinces in Italy. 

William lost no time in summoning a new Parliament. 
An overwhelming majority opposed the idea of vindicat- 
ing the Partition Treaty by arms. They pressed him 
to send a message of recognition to Philip Y. Even the 
occupation of the Flemish fortresses did not change their 
temper. That, they said, was the affair of the Dutch ; 
it did not concern England. In vain William tried to 
convince them that the interests of the two Protestant 
States were identical. In the numerous pamphlets that 
were hatched by the ferment, it was broadly insinu- 
ated that the English people might pay too much for 
the privilege of having a Dutch King, who had done 
nothing for them that they could not have done for 
themselves, and who was perpetually sacrificing the 
interests of his adopted country to the necessities of his 

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beloved Holland. What had England gained by the 
Peace of Kyswick f Was England to be dragged into 
another exhausting war, merely to secure a strong 
frontier for the Dutch 9 The appeal found ready 
listeners among a people in whose minds the reoollec- 
tiotiSs of the last war were still fresh, and who still felt 
the burdens it had left behind. William did not venture 
to take any steps to form an alliance against France, 
till a new incident emerged to shake the country from 
its mood of surly calculation. When James II. died 
and Louis recognised the Pretender as King of England, 
all thoughts of isolation from a Continental confederacy 
were thrown to the winds. William dissolved his Long 
Parliament, and found the new House as warlike as the 
former had been peaceful. '' Of all the nations in the 
world,'' cried Defoe, in commenting on this sudden 
change of mood, *' there is none that I know of so entirely 
governed by their humour as the English." 

For ten months Defoe had been vehemently but 
vainly striving to accomplish by argument what had 
been wrought in an instant by the French King's in- 
sufferable insult. It is one of the most brilliant periods 
of his political activity. Comparatively undistinguished 
before, he now, at the age of forty, stepped into the 
foremost rank of publicists. He lost not a moment 
in throwing himself into the fray as the champion 
of the King's policy. Charles of Spain died on the 
22nd of October, 1701 ; by the middle of November, a 
few days after the news had reached England, and 
before the French King's resolve to acknowledge the 
legacy was known, Defoe was rtody with a pamphlet to 
the clear and stirring title of — The Two Great guea- 
Uons considered. I. What the French King mil do 

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24 DANIEL DEFOE. [chap. 

wi^ respect to the Spameh Momurchy. II. What 
meantree the English ought to take. If the French 
King were wise, he argued, he would reject the daji- 
gerons gift for his grandson. But if he accepted it, 
England had no choice but to combine with her late 
allies the Emperor and the States, and compel the Duke 
of Anjou to withdraw his claims. This pamphlet being 
virulently attacked, and its author accused of bidding 
for a place at Court, Defoe made a spirited rejoinder, 
and seized the occasion to place his arguments in still 
clearer light. Between them the two pamphlets are a 
masterly exposition, from the point of view of English 
interests, of the danger of permitting the Will to be 
fulfilled. He tears the arguments of his opponents to 
pieces with supreme scorn. What matters it to us 
who is "King of Spain ? asks one adversary. As well 
ask, retorts Defoe, what it matters to us who is King 
of Ireland. All this talk about the Balance of Power, 
says another, is only ''a shoeing-hom to draw on a 
standing army." We do not want an army ; only let 
us make our fleet strong enough and we may defy the 
world ; our militia is perfectly able to defend us against 
invasion. If our militia is so strong, is Defoe's reply, 
why should a standing-army make us fear for our 
domestic liberties ) But if you object to a standing- 
army in England, avert the danger by subsidising allies 
and raising and paying troops in Germany and the Low 
Countries. Even if we are capable of beating off 
invasion, it is always wise policy to keep the war out 
of our own country, and not trust to such miracles as 
the dispersion of the Armada. In war, Defoe says, 
repeating a favourite axiom of his, '^it is not the 
longest sword but the longest purse that conquers,'' and 

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if the French get the Spanish crown, they get the 
richest trade in the world into their hands. The French 
wotdd prove better husbands of the wealth of Mexico 
and Fern than the Spaniards. They would build fleets 
with it, which would place our American plantations at 
their mercy. Our own trade with Spadn, one of the 
most profitable fields for our enterprise, would at once 
be ruined. Our Mediterranean trade would be burdened 
with the impost of a toll at Gibraltar. In short Defoe 
contended, if the French acquired the upper hand in 
Spain, nothing but a miracle could save England from 
becoming practically a French province. 

Defoe's appeal to the sense of self-interest fell, how- 
ever, upon deaf ears. No eloquence or ingenuity of 
argument could have availed to stem the strong current 
of growling prepossession. He was equally unsuccessful 
in his attempt to touch deeper feelings by exhibiting 
in a pamphlet, which is perhaps the ablest of the series. 
The domger qf the Protestcmt Religion^ from the present 
prospect qf a Rdigious Wwr in Ev/rope, " Surely you 
cannot object to a standing army for the defence of 
your religion?" he argued; "for if you do, then you 
stand convicted of valuing your liberties more than 
your religion, which ought to be your first and highest 
concern.'" Such scraps of rhetorical logic were but as 
straws in the storm of anti-warlike passion that was 
then raging. Nor did Defoe succeed in turning the 
elections by addressing "to the good people of Eng- 
land " his Six Distinguishing Cha/racters qf a Parlia- 
ment Mom, or by protesting as a freeholder against 
the levity of making the strife between the new and the 
old East India Companies a testing question, when the 
very existence of the kingdom was at stake. His 

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28 DANIEL DEFOE. [chap. 

pamphlets were widely distributed, but he might as 
soon have tried to check a tempest by throwing handf uls 
of leaves into it. One great success, however, he had, 
and that, strangely enough, in a direction in which it 
was least to be anticipated. No better proof could be 
given that the good-humoured magnanimity and sense 
of fair-play on which English people pride themselves 
is more than an empty] boast than the reception 
accorded to Defoe's Trus-Bom Englishmfum, King 
William's unpopularity was at its height. A party 
writer of the time had sought to inflame the general 
dislike to his Dutch favourites by '^ a vile pamphlet in 
abhorred verse," entitled The Foreigners^ in which they are 
loaded with scurrilous insinuations. It required no ordi- 
nary courage in the state of the national temper at that 
moment to venture upon the line of retort that Defoe 
adopted. What were the English, he demanded, that they 
should make a mock of f oi*eigners ? They were the most 
mongrel race that ever lived upon the face of the earth ; 
there was no such thing as a true-bom Englishman ; 
they were all the of^ring of foreigners; what was 
more, of the scum of foreigners. 

" For EngUshmen to boast of generation 
Cancels their knowledge, and lampoons the nation. 
A true-bom Englishman 's a contradiction. 
In speech an irony, in fact a fiction. 
* ♦ ♦ * 

And here begins the ancient pedigree 
That so exalts our poor nobility. 
*Tis that from some French trooper they derive, 
Who with the Norman bastard did arrive ; 
The trophies of the families appear. 
Some show the sword, the bow, and some the spear 

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Which their great ancestor^ forsooth, did wear. 
These in the herald's register remain, 
Their noble mean extraction to explain. 
Yet who the hero was no man can tell. 
Whether a drummer or a colonel ; 
The silent record blushes to reveal 
Their undescended dark originaL 
« « « « 

*' These are the heroes that despise the Dutch 
And rail at new-come foreigners so much; 
Forgetting that themselves are all derived 
From the most scoundrel race that ever lived ; 
A horrid crowd of rambling thieves and drones, 
Who ransacked kingdoms and dispeopled towns ; 
The Pict and painted Briton, treacherous Scot, 
By hunger, theft, and rapine hither brought ; 
Norwegian pirates, buccaneering Danes, 
Whose red-haired ofEspring eveiywhere remains ; 
Who joined with Norman French compound the breed 
From whence your true-bom Englishmen proceed. 

''And lest, by length of time, it be pretended, 
The climate may this modem breed have mended. 
Wise Providence, to keep us where we are, 
Mix^s us daily with exceeding care ; 
We have been Europe's sink, the jakes where she 
Voids all her offal outcast progeny ; 
From our fifth Henry's time the strolling bands 
Of banished fugitives from neighbouring lands 
Have here a certain sanctuary found : 
The eternal refuge of the vagabond, 
Wherein but half a common age of time, 
Borrowing new blood and manners from the clime. 
Proudly they learn all mankind to contenm. 
And all their race are trae-bom Englishmen." 

As may be judged from this specimen, there is little 
delicacy in Defoe's satire. The lines run on from 

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28 DANIEL DEFOE. [ohap. 

beginning to end in the same strain of bold, broad, hearty 
banter, as if the whole piece had been written off at a 
heat. The mob did not lynch the audacious humourist. 
In the very height of their fury against foreigners, they 
stopped short to laugh at themselves. They were tickled 
by the hard blows as we may suppose a rhinoceros to be 
tickled by the strokes of an oaken cudgel. Defoe sud- 
denly woke to find himself the hero of the hour, at least 
with the London populace. The pamphlet was pirated, 
and eighty thousand copies, according to his own calcu- 
lation, were sold in the streets. Henceforth he described 
himself in his title-pages as the author of the True-Bom 
Engliahnumf and frequently did himself the honour of 
quoting from the work as from a well-established classic. 
It was also, he has told us, the means of his becoming 
personally known to the King, whom he had hitherto 
served from a distance. 

Defoe was not the man to be abashed by his own 
popularity. He gloried in it, and added to his reputa- 
tion by taking a prominent part in the proceedings 
connected with the famous Kentish Petition, which 
marked the turn of the tide in favour of the King's 
foreign policy. Defoe was said to be the author of 
"Legion's Memorial" to the House of Commons, 
sternly warning the representatives of the freeholders 
that they had exceeded their powers in imprisoning the 
men who had prayed them to " turn their loyal ad- 
dresses into Bills of Supply." When the Kentish 
Petitioners were liberated from the custody of the 
Sergeant-at-Arms, and feasted by the citizens at Mer- 
cers' Hall, Defoe was seated next to them as an 
honoured guest. 

Unfortunately for Defoe, William did not live long 

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after he had been honoured with his Majesty's confi- 
dence. He declared afterwards that he had often been 
privately consulted by the King. The pamphlets which 
he wrote during the close of the reign are all such as 
might have been directly inspired. That on the Suc- 
cession is chiefly memorable as containing a suggestion 
that the heirs of the Duke of Monmouth should be 
heard as to King Charles's alleged marriage with Lucy 
Walters. It is possible that this idea may have been 
sanctioned by the King, who had had painful experience 
of the disadvantages attending a ruler of foreign ex- 
traction, and besides had reason to doubt the attach- 
ment of the Princess Sophia to the Protestant faith. 
When the passionate aversion to war in the popular 
mind was suddenly changed by the recognition of the 
Pretender into an equally passionate thirst for it, and 
the King seized the opportunity to dissolve Parliament 
and get a new House in accord with the altered temper 
of the people, Defoe justified the appeal to the free- 
holders by an examination and assertion of ''the 
Original Power of the Collective Body of the People 
of England." His last service to the King was a pam- 
phlet bearing the paradoxical title, Reasons (tgmnst a 
W<vr vMk Fr<mce, As Defoe had for nearly a year been 
zealously working the public mind to a warlike pitch, 
this title is at first surprising, but the surprise dis- 
appears when we find that the pamphlet is an ingenious 
plea for beginning with a declaration of war against 
Spain, showing that not only was there just cause for 
such a war, but that it would be extremely profitable, 
inasmuch as it would aSord' occasion for plundering the 
Spaniards in the West Indies, and thereby making up 
for whatever losses our trade might suffer from the 

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30 DANIEL DEFOE. [oh. n. 

French privateers. And it was more than a mere 
plundering descent that Defoe had in view ; his object 
was that England should take actual possession of the 
Spanish Indies, and so rob Spain of its chief source of 
wealth. There was a most powerful buccaneering spirit 
concealed under the peaceful title of this pamphlet. 
The trick of arresting attention by an unexpected 
thesis, such as this promise of reasons for peace whes 
everybody was dreaming of war, is an art in which 
Defoe has never been surpassed. As we shall have 
occasion to see, he practised it more than once too often 
for his comfort. 

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From the death of the King in March, 1702, we must 
date a change in Defoe's relations with the ruling 
powers. Under William, his position as a political 
writer had been distinct and honourable. He supported 
William's policy warmly arid straightforwardly, whether 
he divined it by his own judgment, or learned it by 
direct or indirect instructions or hints. When charged 
with writing for a place, he indignantly denied that he 
held either place or pension at Court, but at another 
time he admitted that he had been employed by the 
King and rewarded by him beyond his deserts. Any 
reward that he received for his literary services was 
well earned, and there was nothing dishonourable in 
accepting it. For concealing the connexion while the 
King was alive, he might plead the custom of the time. 
But in the confusion of parties and the uncertainty of 
government that followed William's death, Defoe slid 
into practices which cannot be justified by any standard 
of morality. 

It was by accident that Defoe drifted into this equi- 
vocal position. His first writings under the new reign 
were in staunch consistency with what he had written 

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92 DANI1EL DEFOIL [chap. 

before. He did not try to flatter the Queen as many 
others did by slighting her predecessors ; on the con- 
trary, he wrote a poem called The Mock MowmerSy in 
which he extolled " the glorious memory " — a phrase 
which he did much to bring into use^and charged 
those who spoke disrespectfully of William with the 
vilest insolence and ingratitude. He sang the praises 
of the Queen also, but as he based his joy at her acces- 
sion on an assurance that she would follow in William's 
footsteps, the compliment might be construed as an 
exhortation. Shortly afterwards, in another poem, Tha 
Spomish Descent, he took his revenge upon the fleet for 
not carrying out his West Indian scheme by ridiculing 
unmercifully their first fruitless cruise on the Spanish 
coast, taking care at the same time to exult in the cap- 
ture of the galleons at Yigo. In yet another poem — 
the success of the Trtie Bom Englishman seems to have 
misguided him into the belief that he had a genius for 
verse — he reverted to the Beformation of Manners, and 
angered the Dissenters by belabouring certain magis- 
trates of their denomination. A pamphlet entitled 
A New Test of the Chwrck of EngUm^B Loyalty — ^in which 
he twitted the High Church party with being neither 
more nor less loyal than the Dissenters, inasmuch as they 
consented to the deposition of James and acquiesced 
in the accession of Anne — ^was better received by his 

But when the Bill to prevent occasional conformity 
was introduced by some hot-headed partisans of the 
High Church, towards the close of 1702, with the 
Queen's warm approval, Defoe took a course which 
made the Dissenters threaten to cast him altogether 
out of the synagogue. We have already seen how 

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Defoe had taken the lead in attacking the practice of 
occasional conformity. While his co-religionists were 
imprecating him as the man who had brought this per- 
secution upon them, Defoe added to their ill-feeling by 
issuing a jaunty pamphlet in which he proved with 
provoking unanswerableness that all honest Dissenters 
were noways concerned in the Bill. Nobody, he 
said, with his usual bright audacity, but himself ^' who 
was altogether bom in sin," saw the true scope of the 
measure. *' All those people who designed the Act as 
a blow to the Dissenting interests in England are mis- 
taken. All those who take it as a prelude or introduc- 
tion to the further suppressing of the Dissenters, and 
a step to repealing the Toleration, or intend it as such, 

are mistaken All those phlegmatic Dissenters 

who fancy themselves undone, and that persecution and 
desolation is at the door again, are mistaJken. All those 
Dissenters who are really at all disturbed at it^ either 
as an advantage gained by their enemies or as a real 
disaster upon themselves, are mistaken. All those 
Dissenters who deprecate it as a judgment, or would 
vote against it as such if it were in their power, are 
mistaken." In short, though he did not suppose that 
the movers of the Bill '^ did it in mere kindness to the 
Dissenters, in order to refine and purge them from the 
scandals which some people had brought upon them," 
nevertheless it was calculated to efEect this object. The 
Dissenter being a man that was '' something desirous 
of going to Heaven," ventured the displeasure of the 
civil magistrate at the command of his conscience, 
which warned him that there were things in the Esta- 
blished form of worship not agreeable to the Will of 
God as revealed in Scripture. There is nothing in 


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S4 DANIEL DEFOE. [chap. 

the Act to the prejudice of this Dissenter; it affects 
only the Politic Dissenter, or State Dissenter, who if he 
can attend the Established worship without offending 
his conscience, has no cause to be a Dissenter. An Act 
against occasional 'conformity would rid the Dissenting 
body of these lukewarm members, and the riddance 
would be a good thing for all parties. 

It may have been that this cheerful argument, the 
legitimate development of Defoe's former writings on 
the subject, was intended to comfort his co-religionists 
at a moment when the passing of the Act seemed cer- 
tain. They did not view it in that light ; they resented 
it bitterly, as«an insult in fde hour of their misfortune 
from the man who had shown their enemies where to 
strike. When, however, the Bill, after passing the 
Commons, was opposed and modified by the Lords, 
Defoe suddenly appeared on a new tack, publishing the 
most famous of his political pamphlets, Tha Shortest 
Way toith the Dissenters, which has, by a strange freak 
of circumstances, gained him the honour of being en- 
shrined as one of the martyrs of Dissent. In the 
"brief explanation" of the pamphlet which he gave 
afterwards, he declared that it had no bearing whatever 
upon the Occasional Conformity Bill, pointing to his 
former writings on the subject, in which he had de- 
nounced the practice, and welcomed the Bill as a useful 
instrument for purging the Dissenting bodies of half- 
and-half professors. It was intended, he said, as a 
banter upon the High-flying Tory Churchmen, put- 
ting into plain English the drift of their furious invec- 
tives against the Dissenters, and so, " by an irony not 
unusual/' answering them out of their own mouths. 

l^e Shortest Way is sometimes spoken of as a piece 

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of exquisite irony, and on the other hand Mr. Saints- 
bury ^ has raised the question whether the representa- 
tion of an extreme case, in which the veil is never lifted 
from the writer's own opinions, can properly be called 
irony at all. This last is, perhaps, a question belong- 
ing to the strict definition of the figures of speech ; but, 
however that might be settled, it is a mistake to de- 
scribe Defoe's art in this pamphlet as delicate. There 
are no subtle strokes of wit in it such as we find in 
some of Swift's ironical pieces. Incomparably more 
effective as an engine of controversy, it is not entitled 
to the same rank as a literary exercise. Its whole merit 
and its rousing political force lay in the dramatic genius 
with which Defoe personated the temper of a thorough- 
going High-flier, putting into plain and spirited English 
sach sentiments as a violent partisan would not dare to 
utter except in the unguarde^ heat of familiar discourse, 
or the half-humorous ferocity of intoxication. Have 
done, he said, addressing the Dissenters, with this cackle 
about Peace and Union, and the Christian duties of 
moderation, which you raise now that you find '' your 
day is over, your power gone, and the throne of this 
nation possessed by a Boyal, English, true, and ever- 
constant member of and friend to the Church of Eng- 
land. . . We have heard none of this lesson for fourteen 
years past. We have been huffed and bullied with your 
Act of Toleration ; you have told us that you are the 
Church established by law as well as others ; have set 
up your canting synagogues at our Church doors, and 
the Church and members have been loaded with re- 
proaches, with oaths, associations, abjurations, and what 
^ In an admirable article on Defoe in the EncydopcBdia 

J> 2 

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86 DANIEL DEFOE. [ohap. 

not. Where has been the mercy, the forbearance, the 
charity, you have shown to tender consciences of the 
Church of England, that could not take oaths as fast 
as you made them; that having sworn allegiance to 
their lawful and rightful King, could not dispense with 
that oath, their King being still alive, and swear to your 
new hodge-podge of a Dutch constitution) • • . Now 
that the tables are turned upon you, you must not be 
persecuted ; 'tis not a Christian spirit." You talk of 
persecution ; what persecution have you to complain of f 
*' The first execution of the laws against Dissenters in 
England was in the days of King James I. And what 
did it amount to 1 Truly the worst they suffered was 
at their own request to let them go to New England and 
erect a new colony, and give them great privileges, 
grants, and suitable powers, keep them under protec- 
tion, and defend them against all invaders, and receive 
no taxes or revenue from them. This was the cruelty 
of the Church of England, fatal lenity ! 'Twas the ruin 
of that excellent prince. King Charles I. Had King 
James sent all the Puritans in England away to the 
West Indies, we had been a national, unmixed Church ; 
the Church of England had been kept undivided and 
entire. To requite the lenity of the father, they take up 
arms against the son ; conquer, pursu4^ take, imprison, 
and at last put to death the Anointed of Cod, and de- 
stroy the very being and nature of government, setting up 
a sordid impostor, who had neither title to govern, nor 
understanding to manage, but supplied that want with 
power, bloody and desperate councils, and craft, without 
conscience." How leniently had King Charles treated 
these barbarous regicides, coming in all mercy and love, 
cherishing them, preferring them, giving them employ- 

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ment in his service. As for King James, " as if mercy 
was the inherent quality of the family, he began his 
reign with unusual favour to them, nor coiild their 
joining with the Duke of Monmouth against him move 
him to do himself justice upon them, but that mistaken 
prince thought to win them by gentleness and love, pro- 
claimed a universal liberty to them, and rather discoun- 
tenanced the Church of England than them. How they 
requited him all the world knows." Under King 
William, *' a king of their own," they " crope into all 
places of trust and profit,'' engrossed the ministry, and 
insulted the Church. But they must not expect this 
kind of thing to continue. '^ No, gentlemen, the time 
of mercy is past ; your day of grace is over ; you should 
have practised peace, and moderation, and charity, if you 
expected any yourselves." 

In this heroic strain the pamphlet proceeds, reaching 
at length the suggestion that '^ if one severe law were 
made, and punctually executed, that whoever was found 
at a conventicle should be banished the nation, and the 
preacher be hanged, we should soon see an end of the 
tale — they would all come to church, and one age would 
make us all one again." That was the mock church- 
man*s shortest way for the suppression of Dissent. 
He supported his argument by referring to the success 
with which Louis XIV. had put down the Huguenots. 
There was no good in half -measures, fines of five shil- 
lings a month for not coming to the Sacrament, and one 
shilling a week for not coming to church. It was vain 
to expect compliance from such trifling. "The light 
foolish handling of them by mulcts, fines, etc., 'tis their 
glory and their advantage. If the gallows instead of 
the counter, and the galleys instead of the fines, were 

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88 DANIEL DEFOE. [ohap. 

the reward of going to a conventicley to preach or hear, 
there would not be so many sufferers — ^the spirit of 
martyrdom is over. They that will go to church to be 
chosen sheriffs and mayors, would go to forty churches 
rather than be hanged." ''Now let us crucify the 
thieves/' said the author of this truculent advice in 
conclusion. " And may (^od Almighty put it into the 
hearts of all friends of truth to lift up a standard 
against pride and Antichrist, that the posterity of the 
sons of error may be rooted out froni the face of this 
land for ever." 

Defoe's disguise was so complete, his caricature of the 
ferocious High-flier so near to life, that at first people 
doubted whether the Shortest Way was the work of a sa- 
tirist or a fanatic. When the truth leaked out, as it soon 
did, the Dissenters were hardly better pleased than while 
they feared that the proposal was serious. With the 
natural timidity of precariously situated minorities, 
they could not enter into the humour of it. The very 
title was enough to make them shrink and tremble. 
The only people who were really in a position to enjoy 
the jest were the Whigs. The High Churchmen, some 
of whom, it is said, were at first so far taken in as to 
express their warm approval, were furious when they 
discovered the trick that had been played upon them. 
The Tory ministers of the Queen felt themselves bound 
to take proceedings against the author, whose identity 
seems to have soon become an open secret. Learning 
this, Defoe went into concealment. A proclama- 
tion offering a reward for his discovery was adver- 
tised in the Gazette, The description of the fugitive 
is interesting ; it is the only extant record of 
Defoe's personal appearance, except the portrait pre- 

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fixed to his collected works, in which the mole la faith- 
fully reproduced: — 

'' He is a middle-aged, spare man, about forty years old, of 
a brown complexion, and dark-brown coloured hair, but wears 
a wig ; a hooked nose, a sharp chin, grey eyes, and a large 
mole near his mouth: was bom in London, and for many 
years was a hose-factor in Freeman's Yard in Gomhill, and 
now is the owner of the brick and pantile works near Tilbury 
Fort in Essex." 

This advertisement was issued on the 10th of January, 
1703. Meantime the printer and the publisher were 
seized. From his safe hiding, Defoe put forth an ex- 
planation, protesting, as we have seen, that his pamphlet 
had not the least retrospect to or concern in the public 
bills in Parliament now depending, or any other pro- 
ceeding of either House or of the Government relating 
to the Dissenters, whose occasional conformity the author 
has constantly opposed. It was merely, he pleaded, 
the cant of the Non-juring party exposed; and he 
mentioned several printed books in which the same 
objects were expressed, though not in words so plain, 
and at length. But the Government would not take 
this view; he had represented virulent partisans as 
being supreme in the Queen's counsels, and his design 
was manifest ^^ to blacken the Church party as men of 
a persecuting spirit, and to prepare the mob for what 
further service he had for them to do." Finding that 
they would not listen to him, Defoe surrendered himself, 
in order that others might not suffer for his offence. 
He was indicted on the 24th of February. On the 25th, 
the Shortest Way was brought under the notice of the 
House of Commons, and ordered to be burnt by the 
common hangman. His trial came on in July. He 

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40 DANIEL DEFOE. [ohav. 

was found guilty of a seditious libel, and sentenced 
to pay a fine of 200 marks to tlie Queen, stand three 
times in the pillory, be imprisoned during the Queen's 
pleasure, and find sureties for his good behaviour 
for seven years. 

Defoe complained that three Dissenting ministers, 
whose poor he had fed in the days of his prosperity, 
had refused to visit him during his confinement in 
Newgate. There was, doubtless, a want of charity in 
their action, but there was also a want of honesty in 
his complaint. If he applied for their spiritual minis- 
trations, they had considerable reason for treating his 
application as a piece of provoking effrontery. Though 
Defoe was in prison for this banter upon the High- 
fliers, it is a mistake to regard him as a martyr, except 
by accident, to the cause of Toleration as we understand 
it now, and as the Dissenters bore the brunt of the 
battle for it then. Before his trial and conviction, 
while he lay in prison, he issued an exposition of his 
views of a fair Toleration in a tract entitled The Shortest 
Way to Peace and Union. The toleration which he 
advised, and which commended itself to the moderate 
Whigs with whom he had acted under King William 
and was probably acting now, was a purely spiritual 
Toleration. His proposal, in fact, was identical with 
that of Charles Leslie's in the New Aasooiation, one of 
the pamphlets which he professed to take off in his 
famous squib. Leslie had proposed that the Dissenters 
should be excluded from all civil employments, and 
should be forced to remain content with liberty of 
worship. Addressing the Dissenters, Defoe, in effect, 
urged them to anticipate forcible exclusion by voluntary 
withdrawal. Extremes on both sides should be in- 

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dnstriouslj crashed and discouraged, and the extremes 
on the Dissenting side were those who not being content 
to worship after their own fashion, had also a hankering 
after the public service. It is the true interest of the 
Dissenters in England, Defoe argued, to be governed 
by a Church of England magistracy ; and with his usual 
paradoxical hardihood, he told his co-religionists bluntly 
that " the first reason of his proposition was that they 
were not qualified to be trusted with the government of 
themselves." When we consider the active part Defoe 
himself took in public affairs, we shall not be surprised 
that offence was given by his countenancing the civil 
disabilities of Dissenters, and that the Dissenting 
preachers declined to recognise him as properly belong- 
ing to their body. It was not, indeed, as a Dissenter 
that Defoe was prosecuted by the violent Tories then in 
power, but as the suspected literary instrument of the 
great Whig leaders. 

This, of course, in no way diminishes the harsh and 
spiteful impolicy of the sentence passed on Defoe. 
Its terms were duly put in execution. The offending 
satirist stood in the pillory on the three last days of 
July, 1703, before the Boyal Exchange in Comhill, near 
the Conduit in Cheapside, and at Temple Bar. It is 
incorrect, however, to say with Pope that 

"Earless on high stood unabashed Defoe.'* 

His ears were not cropped, as the barbarous phrase 
went, and he had no reason to be abashed. His recep- 
tion by the mob was very different from that accorded 
to the anti-Jacobite Fuller, a scurrilous rogue who had 
tried to make a few pounds by a Plain Proof that 

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42 DANIEL DEFOB. [ohay. 

the Chevalier was a supposititious child. The author of 
the True-Barn Engliahmom was a popular favourite, and 
his exhibition in the pillory was an occasion of triumph 
and not of ignominy to him. A ring of admirers was 
formed round the place of punishment, and bunches of 
flowers instead of handf uls of garbage were thrown at 
the criminal. Tankards of ale and stoups of wine were 
drunk in his honour by the multitude whom he had 
delighted with his racy verse and charmed by his bold 
defiance of the authorities. 

The enthusiasm was increased by the timely publica- 
tion of a Hymn to the Pillory, in which Defoe boldly 
declared the iniquity of his sentence, and pointed out to 
the Government more proper objects of their severity. 
Atheists ought to stand there, he said, profligate beaux, 
swindling stock-jobbers, fanatic Jacobites, and the com- 
manders who had brought the English fleet into disgrace. 
As for him, his only fault lay in his not being under- 
stood; but he was perhaps justly punished for being 
such a fool as to trust his meaning to irony. It would 
seem that though the Government had committed Defoe 
to Newgate, they did not dare, even before the manifes- 
tation of popular feeling in his favour, to treat him as 
a common prisoner. He not only had liberty to write, 
but he found means to convey his manuscripts to the 
printer. Of these privileges he had availed himself with 
that indomitable energy and fertility of resource which 
we find reason to admire at every stage in his career, 
and most of all now that he was in straits. In the 
short interval between his arrest and his conviction he 
carried on a vigorous warfare with both hands, — with 
one hand seeking to propitiate the Government, with the 
other attracting support outside among the people. He 

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provefl to the Ctoyemment incontestably by a collection 
of his writings that he was a man of moderate views, 
who had no aversion in principle even to the proposals 
of the Ntw Association. He proved the same thing to 
the people at large by publishing this Collection qf the 
writings qf the cmthor qf the Trv/e-Bom Englishmomy but 
he accompanied the proof by a lively appeal to their 
sympathy under the title of More R^ormation^ a Satire 
on himsdff a lament over his own folly which was 
calculated to bring pressure on the Government against 
prosecuting a man so innocent of public wrong. When, 
in spite of his efforts, a conviction was recorded against 
him, he adopted a more defiant tone towards the Govern- 
ment. He wrote the Hymn to the Pillory, This daring 
effusion was hawked in the streets among the crowd that 
had assembled to witness his penance in the 

"hieroglyphic State-machine, 
Contrived to punish Fancy in.'' 

'' Come,'' he cried, in the concluding lines — 

" Tell 'em the M that placed him here 

Are Sc Is to the times. 

Are at a loss to find his guilty 
And can't conunit his crimes.'' 

"M '' stands for Men, and "Sc Is" for Scandals. 

Defoe delighted in this odd use of methods of reserve, 
more common in his time than in ours. 

The dauntless courage of Defoe's Hymn to the Pillory 
can only be properly appreciated, when we remember 
with what savage outrage it was the custom of the mob 
to treat those who were thus exposed to make a London 
holiday. From the pillory he was taken back to 

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44 DANIEL DEFOE. [ohap. 

Newgate, there to be imprisoned during her Majesty's 
pleasure. His confinement must have been much less 
disagreeable to him than it would have been to one 
of less hardy temperament. Defoe was not the man to 
shrink with loathing from the companionship of thieves, 
highwaymen, forgers, coiners, and pirates. Curiosity 
was a much stronger power with him than disgust. 
Newgate had something of the charm for Defoe that a 
hospital full of hideous diseases has for an enthusiastic 
surgeon. He spent many pleasant hours in listening to 
the tales of his adventurous fellow-prisoners. Besides, 
the (rovemment did not dare to deprive him of the 
liberty of writing and publishing. This privilege en- 
abled him to appeal to the public, whose ear he had 
gained in the character of an undismayed martyr, an 
enjoyment which to so buoyant a man must have 
compensated for a great deal of irksome suffering. He 
attributed the failure of his pantile works at Tilbury to 
his removal from the management of them ; but bearing 
in mind the amount of success that had attended his 
efforts when he was free, it is fair to suppose that he 
was not altogether sorry for the excuse. It was by no 
means the intention of his High Church persecutors that 
Defoe should enjoy himself in Newgate, and he himself 
lamented loudly the strange reverse by which he had 
passed within a few months from the closet of a king 
to a prisoner's cell ; but on the whole he was probably 
as happy in Newgate as he had been at Whitehall. 
His wife and six children were most to be commiserated, 
and their distress was his heaviest trial. 

The first use which Defoe made of his pen after his 
exhibition in the pillory was to reply to a Dissenting 
minister who had justified the practice of occasional 

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conformity. He thereby marked once more his separa- 
tion from the extreme Dissenters, who were struggling 
against having their religion made a disqualification for 
offices of public trust. But in the changes of parties at 
Court he soon found a reason for marking his separation 
from the opposite extreme, and facing the other way. 
Under the influence of the moderate Tories, Marlborough, 
Qodolphin, and their invaluable ally, the Duchess, the 
Queen was gradually losing faith in the violent Tories. 
According to Swift, she began to dislike her bosom 
friend, Mrs. Freeman, from the moment of her acces- 
sion, but though she may have chafed under the yoke 
of her favourite, she could not at once shake off the 
domination of that imperious will. The Duchess, finding 
the extreme Tories unfavourable to the war in which 
her husband's honour and interests were deeply engaged, 
became a hot partisan against them, and used all their 
blunders to break down their power at Court. Day by 
day she impressed upon the Queen the necessity of peace 
and union at home in the face of the troubles abroad. 
The moderate men of both parties must be rallied round 
the throne. Extremes on both sides must be discouraged. 
Spies were set to work to take note of such rash expres- 
sions among 'Hhe hot and angry men'' as would be 
likely to damage them in the Queen's favour. Queen 
Anne had not a little of the quiet tenacity and spiteful- 
ness of enfeebled constitutions, but in the end reason 
prevailed, resentment at importunity was overcome, 
and the hold of the High Churchmen on her affections 
gave way. 

Nobody, Swift has told us, could better disguise her 
feelings than the Queen. The first intimation which 
the High Church party had of her change of views was 

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her opening speech to Parliament on the 9th November, 
1703, in which she earnestly desired parties in both 
Hooses to avoid heats and divisions. Dofoe at once 
threw himself in front of the rising tide. Whether he 
divined for himself that the influence of the Earl of 
Nottingham, the Secretary of State, to whom he owed 
his prosecution and imprisonment, was waning, or ob- 
tained a hint to that effect from his Whig friends, we 
do not know, but he lost no time in issuing from his 
prison a bold attack upon the High Churchmen. In his 
Challenge of Peace^ addressed to the whole Natim, he 
denounced them as Church Vultures and Ecclesiastical 
Harpies. It was they and not the Dissenters that were 
the prime movers of strife and dissension. How are 
peace and union to be obtained, he asks. He will show 
people first how peace and union cannot be obtained. 

"First, SacheverelPs Bloody Flag of Defiance is not the 
way to Peace and Union. The shortest way to destroy is not 
the shortest way to unite. Persecution, Laws to Compel, 
Restrain, or force the Conscience of one another, is not the 
way to this Union, which her Majesty has so earnestly recom- 

" Secondly, to repeal or contract the late Act of Toleration 
is not the way for this so much wished-for happiness; to 
have laws revived that should set one party a plundering, ex- 
communicating and unchurching another, that should renew 
the oppressions and devastations of late reigns, this will not 
by any means contribute to this Peace, which all good men 

" New Associations and proposals to divest men of their 
freehold right for differences in opinion, and take away the 
right of Dissenters voting in elections of Members ; this is 
not the way to Peace and Union. 

" Railing pamphlets, buffooning our brethren as a party to 
be suppressed, and dressing them up in the Bear's skin for all 

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the dogs in {he street to bait them, is not the way to Peace 
and Union. 

** Railing sermonSi exciting people to hatred and contempt 
of their brethren, because they differ in opinions, is not the 
way to Peace and Union. 

'' Shotting a]] people out of employment and the service 
of their Prince and Country, onless they can comply with 
indifferent ceremonies of religion, is far from the way to 
Peace and Union. 

''Reproaching the Saccession settled by Parliament, and 
reviving the abdicated title of the late King James, and 
his supposed family, cannot tend to this Peace and Union. 

''Laws against Occasional Conformity, and compelling 
people who bear ofSces to a total conformity, and yet force 
them to take and serve in those public employments, cannot 
contribute to this Peace and Union.'' 

Jxk this passage Defoe seems to ally himself more 
closely with his Dissenting brethren than he had done 
before. It was difficult for him, with his published views 
on the objectionableness of occasional conformity, and 
the propriety of Dissenters leaving the magistracy in 
the hands of the Church, to maintain his new position 
without incurring the charge of inconsistency. The 
charge was freely made, and his own writings were 
collected as a testimony against him, but he met the 
charge boldly. The Dissenters ought not to practise 
occasional conformity, but if they could reconcile it 
with their consciences, they ought not to receive tem- 
poral punishment for practising it. The Dissenters 
ought to withdraw from the magistracy, but it was 
persecution to exclude them. In tract after tract of 
brilliant and trenchant argument, he upheld these views, 
with his usual courage attacking most fiercely those 
antagonists who went most nearly on the lines of his 
own previoua writings. Iffnorin^r what he had said 

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48 DANIEL DEFOE. [ohap. 

before, he now proved clearly that the Oocasional Con- 
formity Bill was a breach of the Act of Toleration. 
There was little difference between his own Shortest Way 
to Peace and Union and Sir Humphrey Mackworth's 
Peace at Some, but he assailed the latter pamphlet 
vigorously, and showed that it had been the practice in 
all countries for Dissenters from the established religion 
to have a share in the business of the State. At the 
same time he never departed so far from the " moderate '' 
point of view, as to insist that Dissenters ought to be 
admitted to a share in the business of the State. Let 
the High Church ministers be dismissed, and moderate 
men summoned to the Queen's councils, and the Dis- 
senters would have every reason to be content. They 
would acquiesce with pleasure in a ministry and magis- 
tracy of Low Churchmen. 

Defoe's assaults upon the High Church Tories were 
neither interdicted nor resented by the Government, 
though he lay in prison at their mercy. Throughout 
the winter of 1703-4 the extreme members of the 
Ministry, though they had still a majority in the House 
of Commons, felt the Queen's coldness increase. Their 
former high place in her regard and their continued 
hold upon Parliament tempted them to assume airs 
of independence which gave deeper offence than her 
unruffled courtesy led either them or their rivals to 
suspect. At last the crisis came. The Earl of Notting- 
ham took the rash step of threatening to resign unless 
the Whig Dukes of Somerset and Devonshire were 
dismissed from the Cabinet. To his surprise and chagrin, 
his resignation was accepted (1704), and two more of his 
party were dismissed from office at the same time. 

The successor of Nottingham was Robert Harley, after- 

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wards created Earl of Oxford and Mortimer. He gave 
evidence late in life of his love for literature by f oiming 
the collection of manuscripts known as the Harleian, and 
we know from Swift that he was deeply impressed with 
the importance of having allies in the Press. He entered 
upon ofBoe in May, 1704, and one of his first acts was to 
convey to Defoe the message, '* Pray, ask that gentleman 
what I can do for him.'' Defoe replied by likening him- 
self to the blind man in the parable, and paraphrasing 
his prayer, " Lord, that I may receive my sight ! " He 
would not seem to have obtained his liberty immediately, 
but, through Harle/s influence, he was set free towards 
the end of July or the beginning of August. The Queen 
also, he afterwards said, ''was pleased particularly to 
inquire into his circumstances and family, and by Lord 
Treasurer Godolphin to send a considerable supply to his 
wife and family, and to send him to the prison money 
to pay his fine and the expenses of his dischaige/' 

On what condition was Defoe released f On condition, 
according to the Elegy on the Author of the True-Bom 
EnglisJmum, which he published immediately after his 
discharge, that he should keep silence for seven years, 
or at least " not write what some people might not like." 
To the public he represented himself as a martyr 
grudgingly released by the Government, and restrained 
from attacking them only by his own bond and the fear 
of legal penalties. 

'' Memento Mori here I stand, 
With silent lips but speaking hand ; 

A walking shadow of a Poet, 
But bound to hold my tongue and never show it 

A monument of injury, 

A sacrifice to legal t(yrann)y.'* 

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60 DAKISL DEFOE. [ohap. 

''For shame, gentlemen," he humorously cries to his 
enemies, " do not strike a dead man ; beware, scribblers, 
of fathering your pasquinades against authority upon 
me ; for seven yeiftrs the True-Bom Englishman is tied 
under sureties and penalties not to write. 

'' To seven long years of silence I betake, 
Perhaps by then I may forget to speak.'* 

This elegy he has been permitted te publish as his last 
speech and dying confession — 

" When malefactors come to die 
They claim uncommon liberty : 
Freedom of speech gives no distaste, 
They let them talk at large, because they talk their lasf* 

The public could hardly have supposed from this what 
Defoe afterwards admitted to have been the true state 
of the case, namely, that on leaving prison he was 
taken into the service of the Government. He obtained 
an appointment, that is to say a pension, from the 
Queen, and was employed on secret services. When 
charged afterwards with having written by Harley's 
instructions, he denied this, but admitted the existence 
of certain ''capitulations," in which he stipulated for 
liberty to write according to his own judgment, guided 
only by a sense of gratitude to his benefactor. There is 
reason to believe that even this is not the whole truth. 
Documents which Mr. Lee recently brought to light 
make one suspect that Defoe was all the time in private 
relations with the leaders of the Whig party. Of this 
more falls to be said in another place. The True^ 
Bom Englishman was^ indeed, dead. Defoe was no 
longer the straightforward advocate of Eling William's 

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policy. He was engaged henceforward in serving two 
masters, persuading each that he served him alone, and 
persuading the public, in spite of numberless insinua- 
tions, that he served nobody but them and himself, 
and wrote simply as a free lance under the jealous 
sufferance of the Government of the day. 

I must reserve for a separate chapter some account 
of Defoe's greatest political work, which he began 
while he still lay in Newgate, the Eevieto, Another 
work which he wrote and published at the same period 
deserves attention on different grounds. His history of 
the great storm of November 1703, A Collection qf 
the most renuvrkahU Ckuualtiei and Discutera which 
happened in the la/te DTeadf%d Tempest^ both by Sea and 
Zand, may be set down as the first of his works of 
invention. It is a most minute and circumstantial 
reoord, containing many letters from eye-witnesses of 
what happened in their immediate neighbourhood. 
Defoe could have seen little of the storm himself from 
the interior of Newgate, but it is possible that the 
letters are genuine, and that he compiled other details 
from published accounts. Still, we are justified in 
suspecting that his annals of the storm are no more 
authentic history than his Jowmai of ike Plague^ or 
his Memoire of a Camali&r^ and that for many of the 
incidents he is equally indebted to his imagination* 

1 2 

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It was a bold undertaking for a prisoner in Newgate to 
engage to famish a newspaper written wholly by him- 
self, ** purged from the errors and partiality of news- 
writers and petty statesmen of all sides/' It wonld, of 
course, have been an impossible undertaking if the 
Review had been, either in size or in contents, like a 
newspaper of the present time. The Review was, in its 
first stage, a sheet of eight small quarto pages. After 
the first two numbers, it was reduced in size to four 
pages, but a smaller type was used, so that the amount 
of matter remained nearly the same --about equal in 
bulk to two modem leading articles. At first the issue 
was weekly ; after four numbers it became bi-weekly, 
and so remained for a year. 

For the character of the Review it is difficult to find 
a parallel. There was nothing like it at the time, and 
nothing exactly like it has been attempted since. The 
nearest approach to it among its predecessors was the 
Ohservator, a small weekly journal written by the erratic 
John Tutchin, in which passing topics, political and 
social, were discussed in dialogues. Personal scandals 
were a prominent feature in the ObeervcUor. Defoe was 

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not insensible to the value of this element to a popular 
journal. He knew, he said, that people liked to be 
amused ; and he supplied this want in a section of his 
paper entitled *' Mercure Sqandale ; or Advice from the 
Scandalous Club, being a weekly history of Nonsense, 
Impertinence, Yice, and Debauchery." Under this at- 
tractive heading, Defoe noticed current scandals, his 
club being represented as a tribunal before which 
offenders were brought, their cases heard, and sentence 
passed upon them. Slanderers of the True-£om 
Englishman frequently figure in its proceedings. It 
was in this section also that Defoe exposed the errors 
of contemporary news-writers, the Fostmany the Fost- 
Bayy the London Feat, the Flying Fast, and the Dadly 
Cawnmt, He could not in his prison pretend to supe- 
rior information regarding the events of the day ; the 
errors which he exposed were chiefly blunders in 
geography and history. The Mercure Scandale was 
avowedly intended to amuse the frivolous. The lapse 
of time has made its artificial sprightliness dreary. It 
was in the serious portion of the Eeview, the Beview 
proper, that Defoe showed most of his genius. The 
design of this was nothing less than to give a true 
picture, drawn with '^ an impartial and exact historical 
pen,'' of the domestic and foreign affairs of aU the 
States of Europe. It was essential, he thought, that at 
such a time of commotion Englishmen should be 
thoroughly informed of the strength and the political 
interests and proclivities of the various European 
Powers. He could not undertake to teU his readers 
what was passing from day to day, but he could explain 
to them the policy of the Continental Courts ; he could 
show how that policy was affected by their past history 

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54 DANIEL DEFOE. [chap. 

and jnesent interests ; he could calculate the forces at 
their disposal, set forth the grounds of their alliances, 
and generally put people in a position to follow the 
great game that was being played on the European 
chess-board. In the Review, in fact, as he himself 
described his task, he was writing a history sheet by 
sheet, and letting the world see it as it went on. 

This excellent plan of instruction was carried out 
with incomparable brilliancy of method, and Tivacity 
of style. Defoe was thoroughly master of his subject ; 
he had read every history that he could lay his hands 
on, aad his connexion with King William had guided 
him to the mainsprings of political action, and fixed in 
his mind clear principles for England's foreign policy. 
Such a mass of facts and such a maze of interests would 
have encumbered and perplexed a more commonplace 
intellect, but Defoe handled them with experienced and 
buoyant ease. He had many arts for exciting atten- 
tion. His conjGinement in Newgate, from which the first 
number of the Review was issued on the 19th February, 
1704, had in no way impaired his clear-sighted daring 
and self-confident skiU. There was a sparkle of paradox 
and a significant lesson in the very title of his journal 
— A Review qf the Affadre qf France. When, by 
and by, he digressed to the a&irs of Sweden and 
Poland, and filled number after number with the 
history of Hungary, people kept asking, "What has 
this to do with France 1 " " How little you understand 
my design," was Defoe's retort. "Patience till my 
work is completed, and then you will see that, however 
much I may seem to have been digressing, I have 
always kept strictly to the point. Do not judge me as 
you judged St. Paul's before the roof was put on. It 

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is not a&irs in France that I have undertaken to 
explain, but the a&rs of France, and the a&drs of 
France are the affairs of Europe. So great is the 
power of the French money, the artifice of their con- 
duct, the terror of their arms, that they can bring the 
greatest kings in Europe to promote their interest and 
grandeur at the expense of their own." 

Defoe delighted to brave common prejudice by throw- 
ing full in its face paradoxes expressed in the most 
unqualified language. While we were at war with 
France, and commonplace hunters after popularity were 
doing their utmost to flatter the national vanity, Defoe 
boldly announced his intention of setting forth the 
wonderful greatness of the French nation, the enormous 
numbers of their armies, the immense wealth of their 
treasury, the marvellous vigour of their administration. 
He ridiculed loudly those writers who pretended that 
we should have no difficulty in beating them, and filled 
their papers with dismal stories about the poverty and 
depopulation of the country. ''Consider the armies 
that the French Eling has raised," cried Defoe, *' and 
the reinforcements and subsidies he has sent to the 
King of Spain; does that look like a depopulated 
country and an impoverished exchequer 1" It was 
perhaps a melancholy fact, but what need to apologise 
for telling the truth Y At once, of course, a shout was 
raised against him for want of patriotism; he was 
a French pensioner, a Jacobite, a hireling of the Peace- 
party. This was the opportunity on which the chuckling 
paradox-monger had counted. He protested that he 
was not drawing a map of the French power to terrify 
the English. But, he said, ''there are two cheats 
equally hurtful to is ; the firsfc to terrify us, the last to 

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66 DAKIEL DEFOE. [chap. 

make us too easy and consequently too secure; 'tis 
equally dangeious for us to be terrified into despair and 
bullied into more terror of our enemies than we need, 
or to be so exalted in conceit of our own force as to 
undervalue and contemn the power which we cannot 
reduce." To blame him for making clear the greatness 
of the French power, was to act as if the Romans had 
killed the geese in the Capitol for frightening them out 
of their sleep. '^ If I, like an honest Protestant goose, 
have gaggled too loud of the French power, and raised 
the country, the French indeed may have reason to cut 
my throat if they could ; but 'tis hard my own country- 
men, to whom I have shown their danger, and whom I 
have endeavoured to wake out of their sleep, should 
take offence at the timely discovery." 

If we open the first volume, or indeed any volume of 
the Review, at random, we are almost certain to meet 
with some electric shock of paradox designed to arouse 
the attention of the torpid. In one number we find 
the writer, ever daring and alert, setting out with an 
eulogium on " the wonderful benefit of arbitrary power " 
in France. He runs on in this vein for some time, accu- 
mulating examples of the wonderful benefit, till the pa- 
tience of his liberty-loving readers is sufficiently exaspe- 
rated, and then he turns round with a grin of mockery 
and explains that he means benefit to the monarch, not to 
the subject. " If any man ask me what are the benefits 
of arbitrary power to the subject, I answer these two, 
poverty and sn^ection" But to an ambitious monarch 
unlimited power is a necessity; unless he can count 
upon instant obedience to his will, he only courts defeat 
if he embarks in schemes of aggression and conquest. 

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^ When a Prince must court his subjects to give him leave 
to raise an army, and when that's done, tell him when he 
must disband them ; that if he wants money, he must assemble 
the States of his country, and not only give them good words 
to get it, and tell them what *tis for, but give them an 
account how it is expended before he asks for more. The 
subjects in such a government are certainly happy in having 
their property and privileges secured, but if I were of his 
Privy Ck>uncil, I would advise such a Prince to content him- 
self within the compass of his own government, and never 
think of invading his neighbours or increasing his dominions^ 
for subjects who stipulate with their Princes, and make con- 
ditions of government, who claim to be governed by laws and 
make those laws themselves, who need not pay their money 
but when they see cause, and may refuse to pay it when 
demanded without their consent ; such subjects' will never 
empty their purses upon foreign wars for enlarging the glory 
of their sovereign.*' 

This glory he describes aa ''the leaf -gold which the 
devil has laid over the backside of ambition, to make it 
glitter to the world/' 

Defoe's knowledge of the irritation caused among the 
Dissenters by his Shorteat Way, did not prevent him 
from shocking them and annoying the high Tories by 
similar jeux d'esprU. He had no tenderness for the 
feelings of such of his brethren as had not his own 
robust sense of humour and boyish glee in the free 
handling of dangerous weapons. Thus we find him, 
among his eulogies of the Grand Monarque, particularly 
extolling him for the revocation of the Edict of Nantes. 
By the expulsion of the Protestants, Louis impoverished 
and unpeopled part of his country, but it was '' the 
most politic action the French King ever did." "I 
don't think fit to engage here in a dispute about the 
honesty of it," says Defoe ; " but till he had first 

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n DAKIEL DEFOE. [ohap. 

cleftred the coantry of that numerous injured people, 
he could never have ventured to carry an ofEensive war 
into all the borders of Europe." And Defoe was not 
content with shocking the feelings of his nominal co- 
religionists by a light treatment of matters in which he 
agreed with them. He upheld with all his might the 
opposite view from theirs on two important questions of 
foreign policy. While the Confederates were doing battle 
on all sides against France, the King of Sweden was 
making war on his own account against Poland for the 
avowed purpose of placing a Protestant prince on the 
throne. Extreme Protestants in England were disposed 
to think that Charles XII. was fighting the Lord's 
battle in Poland. But Defoe was strongly of opinion 
that the work in which all Protestants ought at that 
moment to be engaged was breaking down the power of 
France, and as Charles refused to join the Confederacy, 
and the Catholic prince against whom he was fighting 
was a possible adherent, the ardent preacher of union 
among the Protestant powers insisted upon regarding 
him as a practical ally of France^ and urged that the 
English fleet should be sent into the Baltic to inter- 
rupt his communications. Disunion among Protestants, 
argued Defoe, was the main cause of French greatness ; 
if the Swedish King would not join the Confederacy of 
his own free will, he should be compelled to join it, or 
at least to refrain from weakening it. 

Defoe treated the revolt of the Hungarians against the 
Emperor with the same regard to the interests of the 
Protestant cause. Some uneasiness was felt in England 
at co-operating with an ally who so cruelly oppressed 
his Protestant subjects, and some scruple of conscience 
at seeming to countenance the oppression. Defoe fully 

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admitted the wrongs of the Hungarians, bat argued 
that this was not the time for them to press their 
claims for redress. He would not allow that they were 
justified at such a moment in calling in the aid of the 
Turks against the Emperor. '^ It is not enough that a 
nation be Protestant and the people our friends; if 
they will join with our enemies, they are Papists, Turks, 
and Heathens, to us." ^' If the Protestants in Hungary 
will make the Protestant religion in Hungary clash with 
the Protestant religion in all the rest of Europe, we 
must prefer the major interest to the minor." Defoe 
treats every foreign question from the cool high- 
political point of view, generally taking up a position 
from which he can expose the unreasonableness of both 
sides. In the case of the Cevennois insurgents, one 
party had used the argument that it was unlawful to 
encourage rebellion even among the subjects of a prince 
with whom we were at war. With this Defoe dealt in one 
article, proving with quite a superfluity of illustration 
that we were justified by all the precedents of recent 
history in sending support to the rebellious subjects of 
Louis XrV. It was the general custom of Europe to 
** assist the malcontents of our neighbours." Then in 
another article he oonsidwed whether, being lawful, 
it was also expedient, and he answered this in the 
negative, treating with scorn a passionate appeal for the 
Cevennois entitled ''Europe enslaved if the Camisars 
are not relieved." " What nonsense is this," he cried, 
''about a poor despicable handful of men who have 
only made a little diversion in the great war." " The 
haste these men are in to have that done which they 
cannot show us the way to do," he cried ; and proceeded 
to prove in a minute discussion of conceivable strategic 

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60 DANIEL DEFOE. [chap. 

movements that it waa impossible for ns in the circum- 
stances to send the Camisards the least relief. 

There is no reference in the Review to Defoe's release 
from prison. Two numbers a week were issued with the 
same punctuality before and after, and there is no per- 
ceptible difference either in tone or in plan. Before he 
left prison, and before the fall of the high Tory Ministers, 
he had thrown in his lot boldly with the moderate men, 
and he did not identify himself more closely with any 
political section after Harley and Godolphin recognised 
the value of his support and gave him liberty and 
pecuniary help. In the first number of the Review he 
had declared his freedom from party ties, and his un- 
reserved adherence to truth and the public interest, and 
he made frequent protestation of this independence. 
*' I am not a party man," he kept saying ; '^ at least, I 
resolve this shall not be a party paper." In discussing 
the a&drs of France, he took more than one side-glance 
homewards, but always with the protest jthat he had no 
interest to serve but that of his country. The absolute 
power of Louis, for example, furnished him with an 
occasion lot lamenting the disunited counsels of Her 
Majesty's Cabinet. Without imitating the despotic 
form of the French Government, he said, there are ways 
by which we might secure under our own forms greater 
decision and promptitude on the part of the Executive. 
When Nottingham was dismissed, he rejoiced openly, 
not because the ex- Secretary had been his persecutor, 
but because at last there was unity of views among the 
Queen's Ministers. He joined naturally in the exulta- 
tion over Marlborough's successes, but in the Review^ 
and in his Hynm to Victory^ separately published, he 
courteously diverted some part of the credit to the new 

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Minifltiy. "Her Majesty's measures, moved by new 
and polished councils, have been pointed more direoUy 
at the root of the French power than ever we have seen 
before. I hope no man will suppose I reflect on the 
memory of King William ; I know 'tis impossible the 
Queen should more sincerely wish the reduction of 
France than his late Majesty ; but if it is expected I 
should say he was not worse served, oftener betrayed, 
and consequently hurried into more mistakes and dis- 
asters, than Her Majesty now is, this must be by some- 
body who believes I know much less of the public matters 
of those days than I had the honour to be informed of." 
But this praise, he represented, was not the praise of a 
partisan ; it was an honest compliment wrung from a 
man whose only connexion with the (Government was a 
bond for his good behaviour, an undertaking ''not to 
write what some people might not like." 

Defoe's hand being against every member of the 
writing brotherhood, it was natural that his reviews 
should not pass without severe criticisms. He often 
complained of the insults, ribaldry. Billingsgate, and 
Bear-garden language to which he was exposed; and 
some of his biographers have taken these lamentations 
seriously, and expressed their regret that so good a man 
should have been so much persecuted. But as he deli- 
berately provoked these assaults, and never missed a 
chance of effective retort, it is difficult to sympathise 
with him on any ground but his manifest delight in 
the strife of tongues. Infinitely the superior of his 
antagonists in power, he could affect to treat them with 
good humour, but this good humour was not easy to re* 
ciprocate when combined with an imperturbable assump- 
tion that they were all fools or knaves. When we find 

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e2 DAKIEL DEFOS. [oh. it. 

him, after humbly asking pardon for all his errors of the 
press, errors of the pen, or errors of opinion, expressing 
a wish that ''all gentlemen on the other side would 
give him equal occasion to honour them for their charity, 
temper, and gentlemanlike dealing, as for their learning 
and virtue," and offering to "capitulate with them, and 
enter into a treaty or cartel for exchange of good lan- 
guage,'' we may, if we like, admire his superior mastery 
of the weapons of irritation, but pity is out of place. 

The number of February 17, 1705, was announced by 
Defoe as being ''the last Beview of this volume, and 
designed to be so of this work." But on the following 
Tuesday, the regular day for the appearance of the 
EevieWy he issued another number, declaring that he 
could not quit the volume without some remarks on 
"charity and poverty." On Saturday yet another last 
number appeared, dealing with some social subjects 
which he had been urged by correspondents to discuss. 
Then on Tuesday, February 27, apologising for the fre- 
quent turning of his design, he issued the Preface to a 
new volume of the Review with a slight change of title. 
He would overtake socmer or later all the particulars of 
French greatness which he had promised to survey, but 
as the course of his narrative had brought him to 
England, and he mi^t stay there for some time, it was 
as well that this should be indicated in the title, which 
was henceforth to be A Beview of the A&irs of 
France, with Observations on Affairs at Home. He 
had intended, he said, to abandon the work altogether, 
but some gentlemen had prevailed with him to go on, 
and had promised that he should not be at a loss by it. 
It was now to be issued three times a week. 

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In pnttiiig forth fhe prospeotuB of the second volume of 
his Review, Defoe intimated that its pievailing topic 
wonld be' the Trade of EngLmd — a vast subject, with 
many branches, all closely interwoven with one another 
and with the genend well-being of the kingdom. It 
grieved him, he said, to see the nation involved in snch 
evils while remedies lay at hand which blind guides 
could not, and wicked guides would not, see— trade de- 
caying, yet within reach of the greatest improvements, 
the navy flourishing yet fearfully mismanaged, rival 
factions brawling and fighting when they ought to com- 
bine for the common good. ^'Nothing could have 
induced him to underti^ the ungrateful office of ex- 
posing these things, but the full persuasion that he was 
capable of convincing anything of an Englishman that 
had the least angle of his soul untainted with partiality, 
and that had the least concern left for the good of his 
country, that even the worst of these evils were easy to 
be cured ; that if ever this nation were shipwrecked and 
undone, it must be at the very entrance of her port of 
deliverance, in the sight of her safety that Providence 
held out to her, in the sight of her safe establishment. 

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64 DAKIEL DEFOE. [chap. 

a prosperous trade, a regular, easily-supplied navy, and a 
general reformation both in manners and methods in 
Church and State." 

Defoe began as usual by laying down various clear 
heads, under which he promised to deal with the whole 
field of trade. But as usual he did not adhere to this 
systematic plan. He discussed some topics of the day 
with brilliant force, and then he suddenly digressed to 
a subject only collaterally connected with trade. The 
Queen, in opening the session of 1704-5, had exhorted her 
Parliament to peace and union; but the High Church- 
men were too hot to listen to advice even from her. 
The Occasional Conformity Bill was again introduced 
and carried in the Commons. The Lords rejected it. 
The Commons persisted, and to secure the passing of 
the measure, tacked it to a Bill of Supply. The 
Lords refused to pass the Money Bill till the tack 
was withdrawn. Soon afterwards-the Parliament — Par- 
liaments were then triennial — was dissolved, and the 
canvass for a general election set in amidst unusual 
excitement. Defoe abandoned the quiet topic of trade, 
and devoted the Review to electioneering ai-tides. 

But he did not take a side, at least not a party side. 
He took the side of peace and his country. '^ I saw 
with concern,'' he said, in afterwards explaining his 
position, 'Hhe weighty juncture of a new election for 
m^nbers approach, the variety of wheels and engines 
set to work in the nation, and the furious methods to 
form interests on either hand and put the tempers of 
men on all sides into an unusual motion ; and things 
seemed acted with so much animosity and party fury 
that I confess it gave me terrible apprehensions of the 
consequences." On both sides '' the methods seemed to 

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him Tery scandalous." ''In many places most horrid 
and vlllainoiis practices were set on foot to supplant one 
another. The parties stooped to vile and unbecoming 
meannesses ; iniinite briberies, forgeries, perjuries, and 
all manner of debauchings of the principles and manners 
of the electors were attempted. All sorts of violences, 
tumults, riots, breaches of the peace, neighbourhood, 
and good manners were made use of to support interests 
and carry elections." In short, Defoe saw the nation 
*'runidng directly on the steep precipice of confusion." 
In these circumstances, he seriously reflected what he 
should do. He came to the conclusion that he must 
''immediately set himself in the Review to exhort, 
persuade, entreat, and in the most moving terms he 
was capable of prevail on all people in general to study 

Under cover of this profession of impartiality, Defoe 
issued most effective attacks upon the High Church 
party. In order to promote peace, he said, it was 
necessary to ascertain first of all who were the enemies 
of peace. On the surface, the questions at stake in the 
elections were the privileges of the Dissenters and the 
respective rights of the Lords and the Commons in the 
matter of Money Bills. But people must look beneath 
the surface. " King James, French power, and a general 
turn of affairs was at the bottom, and the quarrels 
between Church and Dissenters only a politic noose they 
had hooked the parties on both sides into." Defoe 
lashed the Tackers into fury by his exhortations to 
the study of peace. He professed the utmost good- will 
to them personally, though he had not words strong 
enough to condemn their conduct in tacking the Occa- 
sional Bill to a Money Bill when they knew that the 

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Lords wotdd reject it, and so in a moment of grave 
national peril leave the army without supplies. The 
Queen, in dissolving Parliament, had described this 
tacking as a dangerous experiment, and Defoe ex- 
plained the experiment as being " whether losing the 
Money Bill, breaking up the Houses, disbanding the 
Confederacy, and opening the door to the French, might 
not have been for the interest of the High Church." 
Far be it from him to use Billingsgate language to the 
Tackers, but '' the effect of their action, which, and not 
their motive, he had to consider, would undoubtedly be 
to let in the French, depose the Queen, bring in the 
Prince of Wales, abdicate the Protestant religion, 
restore Popery, repeal the Toleration, and persecute the 
Dissenters." Still it was probable that the Tackers 
meant no harm, ffumcmum est errare. He was certain 
that if he showed them their error, they would repent 
and be converted. All the same, he could not recom- 
mend them to the electors. ''A Tacker is a man of 
passion, a man of heat, a man that is for ruining the 
nation upon any hazards to obtain his ends. (Gentlemen 
freeholders, you must not choose a Tacker, unless you 
will destroy our peace, divide our strength, pull down 
the Church, let in the French, and depose the Queen." 

From the dissolution of Parliament in April till the 
end of the year Defoe preached from this text with in- 
finite variety and vigour. It is the chief subject of the 
second volume of the Review, The elections, powerfully 
influenced by Marlborough's successes as well as by the 
eloquent championship of Defoe, resulted in the entire 
defeat of the High Tories, and a further weeding of 
them out of high places in the Administration. Defoe 
was able to close this volume of the Review with 

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expressions of delight at the attainment of the peao« 
for which he had lahoured, and, the victory being gained 
and the battle over, to promise a return to the inter- 
mitted subject of Trade. He returned to this subject 
in the beginning of his third volume. But he had not 
pursued it long when he was again called away. The 
second diversion, as he pointed out, was strictly analo- 
gous to the first. It was a summons to him to do his 
utmost to promote the union of the two kingdoms of 
England and Scotland. '' From the same zeal," Defoe 
said, ''with which I first pursued this blessed subject 
of peace, I found myself embarked in the further extent 
of it, I mean the Union. If I thought myself obliged 
in duty to the public interest to use my utmost endea- 
vour to quiet the minds of enraged parties, I found 
myself under a stronger necessity to embark in the 
same design between two most enraged nations.'' 

The union of the two kingdoms had become an object 
of pressing and paramount importance towards the close 
of William's reign. He had found little difficulty in 
getting the English Parliament to agree to settle the 
succession of the House of Hanover, but the proposal 
that the succession to the throne of Scotland should be 
settled on the same head was coldly received by the 
Scottish Parliament. It was not so much that the 
politicians of Edinburgh were averse to a common set- 
tlement, or positively eager f oi a King and Court of 
their own, but they were resolved to hold back till they 
were assured of commercial privileges which would go 
to compensate them for the drain. of wealth that was 
supposed to have followed the King southwards. This 
was the policy of the wiser heads, not to accept the 
Union without as advantageous terms as they could 

F 3 

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08 DANIEL DEFOE. [ohap. 

■eoore. They had lost an opportunity at the Eevolution, 
and were determined 'not to lose another. But among 
the mass of the population the feeling was all in favour 
of a separate kingdom. National animosity had been 
inflamed to a passionate pitch by the Darien disaster 
and the Massacre of Glencoe. The people* listened readily 
to the insinuations of hot-headed men that the English 
wished to have everything their own way. The counter- 
charge about the Scotch found equally willing hearers 
among the mass in England. Never had cool-headed 
statesmen a harder task in preventing two nations from 
coming to blows. All the time that the Treaty of 
Union was being negotiated which King William had 
earnestly urged from his deathbed, throughout the first 
half of Queen Anne's reign they worked under a con- 
tinual apprehension lest the negotiations should end in 
a violent and irreconcilable rupture. 

Defoe might well say that he was pursuing the same 
blessed subject of Peace in trying to reconcile these 
two most enraged nations, and writing with all his 
might for the Union. An Act enabling the Queen to 
appoint Conmiissioners on the English side to arrange 
the terms of the Treaty had been passed in the first 
year of her reign, but difficulties had arisen about the 
appointment of the Scottish Commissioners, and it was 
not till the Spring of 1706 that the two Commissions 
came together. When they did at last meet, they 
found each other much more reasonable and practical 
in spirit than had appeared possible during the battle 
over the preliminaries. But while the statesmen sat 
concocting the terms of the Treaty most amicably, from 
April to July, the excitement raged fiercely out of 
doors. Amidst the blaze of recriminations and counter- 

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recriminations, Defoe moved energetically as the Apostle 
of Peace, making his Review play like a fireman's hose 
upon the flames. He did not try to persuade the Scotch 
to peace by the same methods which he had used in the 
case of the Highfliers and Tackers. His Beviews on 
this subject, full of spirit as ever, are models of the art 
of conciliation. He wrestled ardently with national 
prejudices on both sides, vindicating the Scotch Presby- 
terians from the charge of religious intolerance, labouring 
to prove that the English were not at all to blame for 
the collapse of the Darien expedition and the Glencoe 
tragedy, expounding what was fair to both nations in 
matters concerning trade. Abuse was heaped upon him 
plentifully by hot partisans ; he was charged with want 
of patriotism from the one side, and with too much of 
it from the other; but he held on his way manfully, 
allowing no blow from his aspersers to pass unretumed. 
Seldom has so bold and skilful a soldier been enlisted in 
the cause of peace. 

Defoe was not content with the Review as a literary 
instrument of padflcation. He carried on the war in 
both capitals, answering the pamphlets of the Scotch 
patriots with counter-pamphlets from the Edinburgh 
press. He published also a poem, '' in honour of Scot- 
land,'' entitled Caledoma, with an artfully flattering 
preface, in which he declared the poem to be a simple 
tribute to the greatness of the people and the country 
without any reference whatever to the Union. Presently 
he found it expedient to make Edinburgh his head- 
quarters, though he continued sending the Review three 
times a week to his London printer. When the Treaty 
of Union had been elaborated by the Commissioners 
and had passed the English Parliament^ its difficulties 

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70 DANIEL DEFOS* [chap. 

were not at an end. It had still to pass the Scotch 
Parliament, and a strong faction there, riding on the 
storm of popakr excitement^ insisted on discussing it 
claose by clause. MoTed partly by curiosity, partly by 
earnest desire for the public good, according to his own 
account in the Eeview and in his History of the Unions 
Defoe resolyed to undertake the ''long, tedious, and 
hazardous journey " to Edinburgh, and use all his influ- 
ence to push the Treaty through. It was a task of no 
small danger, for the prejudice against the Union went 
so high in the Scottish capital that he ran the risk of 
being torn to pieces by the populace. In one riot of 
which he gives an account^ his lodging was beset, and 
for a time he was in as much peril '' as a grenadier on a 
counter-scarp.'' Still he went on writing pamphlets, 
and lobbying members of Parliament. Owing to his 
intimate knowledge of all matters relating to trade, he 
also " had the honour to be frequently sent for into the 
seyeral Committees of Parliament which were appointed 
to state some difficult points relating to equalities, 
taxes, prohibitions, &c.'' Even when the Union was 
agreed to by the Parliaments of both kingdoms, and took 
effect formally in May 1707, difficulties arose in putting 
the details in operation, and Defoe prolonged his stay 
in Scotland through the whole of that year. 

In thb visit to Scotland Defoe protested to the world 
at the time that he had gone as a diplomatist on his 
own account, purely in the interests of peace. But a 
suspicion arose and was very freely expressed, that both 
in this journey and in previous journeys to the West and 
the North of England during the elections, he was 
serving as the agent, if not as the spy, of the Govern- 
ment. These reproaches he denied with indignation, 

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declaring it particularly hard that he should he suhjected 
to such despiteful and injurious treatment even hy 
writers *^ emharked in the same cause, and pretending 
to write for the same public good." " I contemn," he 
said in his History ^ ''as not worth mentioning, the 
suggestions of some people, of my being employed 
thither to carry on the interest of a party. I have 
never loved any parties, but with my utmost zeal have 
sincerely espoused the great and original interest of this 
nation, and of all nations — I mean truth and liberty, — 
and whoever are of that party, I desire to be with 
them." He took up the same charges more passionately 
in the Preface to the third volume of the RevieWy and 
dealt with them in some brilliant passages of apologetic 

" I must confess,'' he said, " I have sometimes thought it 
very hard, that having voluntarily, without the least direction, 
assistance, or encouragement, in spite of all that has been 
suggested, taken upon me the most necessary work of re- 
moving national prejudices against the two most capital 
blessings of the world, Peace and Union, I should have the 
disaster to have the nations receive the doctrine and damn 
the teacher. 

'' Should I descend to particulars, it would hardly appear 
credible that in a Christian, a Protestant, and a Heformed 
nation, any man should receive such treatment as I have 
done, even from those very people whose consciences and 
judgments have stooped to the venerable truth, owned it has 
been useful, serviceable, and seasonable. . . . 

'* I am charged with partiality, bribery, pensions, and pay- 
ments — a thing the circumstances, family, and fortunes of a 
man devoted to his country's peace clears me of. If paid, 
gentlemen, for writing, if hired, if employed, why still 
harassed with merciless and malicious men, why pursued to all 
extremities by law for old accounts, which you clear other m^Q 

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72 DANIEL DEFOE. [chap. 

of every day ? Why oppressed, distressed, and driyen from his 
family and from all his prospects of deHvering them or him- 
self ? Is this the fate of men employed and hired ? Is this 
the figure the agents of Courts and I^inces make ? CSertainly 
had I heen hired or employed, those people who own the 
service would by this time have set their servant free from 
the little and implacable malice of litigious persecutions, mur- 
thering warrants, and men whose mouths are to be stopt by 
trifles. Let this suffice to clear me of all the little and scan- 
dalous charges of being hired and employed.'' 

But then, people ask, if he was not officially em- 
ployed, what had he to do with these afEairs? Why 
should he meddle with them ? To this he answers : — 

<< Truly, gentlemen, this is just the case. I saw a parcel of 
people caballing together to ruin property, corrupt the laws, 
invade the Government, debauch the people, and in short, 
enslave and embroil the nation, and I cried ' Fire ! ' or rather I 
cried * Water ! ' for the fire was begun already. I see all the 
nation running into confusions and directly flying in the 
face of one another, and cried out ' Peace ! ' I called upon 
all sorts of people that had any senses to collect them together 
and judge for themselves what they were going to do, and 
excited them to lay hold of the madmen and take from them 
the wicked weapon, the knife with which they were going to 
destroy their mother, rip up the bowels of their country, and 
at last effectually ruin themselves. 

" And what had I to do with this ? Why, yes, gentlemen, 
I had the same right as every man that has a footing in his 
country, or that has a posterity to possess liberty and claim 
right, must have, to preserve the laws, liberty, and government 
of that country to which he belongs, and he that charges me 
with meddling in what does not concern me, meddles himself 
with what 'tis plain he does not understand." 

^'lam not the first," Defoe said in another place, 
<' that has been stoned for saying the truth. I cannot 
but think that as time and the conviction of their senses 

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will restore men to love the peace now established in this 
nation, so they will gradually see I have acted no part 
but that of a lover of my country, and an honest man/' 
Time has undeniably shown that in these efforts 
to promote party peace and national union Defoe acted 
like a lover of his country, and that his aims were the 
aims of a statesmanlike as well as an honest man. And 
yet his protestations of independence and spontaneity 
of action, with all their ring of truth and all their 
solemnity of asseveration, were merely diplomatic 
blinds. He was all the time, as he afterwards admitted, 
when the admission could do no harm except to his own 
passing veracity, acting as the agent of Harley, and in 
enjoyment of an " appointment " from the Queen. What 
exactly the nature of his secret services in Scotland 
and elsewhere were, he very properly refused to reveal. 
His business probably was to ascertain and report the 
opinions of influential persons, and keep the Government 
informed as far as he could of the general state of 
feeling. At any rate it was not as he alleged, mere 
curiosity, or the fear of his creditors, or private enterprise, 
or pure and simple patriotic zeal that took Defoe to 
Scotland. The use he made of his debts as diplomatic 
instruments is curious. He not merely practised his 
faculties in the management of his creditors, which one 
of Lord Beaoonsfield's characters commends as an incom- 
parable means to a sound knowledge of human nature ; 
but he made his debts actual pieces in his political 
game. His poverty, apparent, if not real, served as a 
screen for his employment under Crovemment. When 
he was despatched on secret missions, he could depart 
wiping his eyes at the hardship of having to flee from 
his creditors. 

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SoHE of Defoe's biographers have claimed for him thai 
he anticipated the doctrines of Free Trade. This is an 
error. It is true that Defoe was never tired of insisting, 
in pamphlets, books, and number after number of the 
Review, on the all-importance of trade to the nation. 
Trade was the foundation of England's greatness ; suc- 
cess in trade was the most honourable patent of nobility; 
next to the maintenance of the Protestant religion, the 
encouragement of trade should be the chief care of Eng- 
lish statesmen. On these heads Defoe's enthusiasm was 
boundless, and his eloquence inexhaustible. It is true 
also that he supported with all his might the commercial 
clauses of the Treaty of Utrecht, which sought to abolish 
the prohibitory duties on our trade with France. It is 
this last circumstance which has earned for him the 
repute of being a pioneer of Free -Trade. But his title 
to that repute does not bear examination. He was not 
so far in advance of his age as to detect the fallacy of 
the mercantile system. On the contrary, he avowed his 
adherence to it against those of his contemporaries who 
were inclined to call it in question. How Defoe came 
jp^ to support the new commercial treaty with France^ 

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and the grounds on which he supported it, can only 
be understood by looking at his relations with the 

While Defoe was living in Scotland in 1707, and fill- 
ing the Beview so exclusively with Scotch ttS&irs that 
his readers, according to his own account, began to say 
that the fellow could talk of nothing but the Union, 
and had grown mighty dull of late, Harley's position 
in the Ministry was gradually becoming very insecure. 
He was suspected of cooling in his zeal for the war, and 
of keeping up clandestine relations with the Tories ; and 
when Marlborough returned from his campaign at the 
close of the year he insisted upon the Secretary's dismissal 
The Queen, who secretly resented the Marlborough yoke, 
at first refused her consent. Presently an incident oc- 
curred which gave them an excuse for more urgent pres- 
sure. One Gregg, a clerk in Harley's office, was discovered 
to be in secret correspondence with the French Court, 
furnishing Louis with the contents of important State 
papers. Harley was charged with complicity. This 
charge was groundless, but he could not acquit himself 
of gross negligence in the custody of his papers. Godol- 
phin and Marlborough threatened to resign unless he 
was dismissed. Then the Queen yielded. 

When Harley fell, Defoe, according to his own account 
in the Appeal to Hovwwr arid Justicey looked upon him- 
self as lost, taking it for granted that " when a great 
officer fell, all who came in by his interest fall with 
him." But when his benefactor heard of this, and of 
Defoe's " resolution never to abandon the fortunes of 
the man to whom he owed so much," he kindly urged 
the devoted follower to think rather of his own interest 
than of any romantic obligation. " My lord Treasurer," 

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7« DANIEL DEPOE. [ohap. 

he said, '' will employ you in nothing but what is for 
the public service, and agreeably to your own sentiments 
of things ; and besides, it is the Queen you are serving, 
who has been very good to you. Pray apply yourself 
as you used to do ; I shall not take it ill from you in 
the least.'' To Godolphin accordingly Defoe applied 
himself, was by him introduced a second time to Her 
Majesty and to the honour of kissing her hand, and 
obtained ^^ the continuance of an appointment which 
Her Majesty had been pleased to make him in con- 
sideration of a former special service he had done." 
This was the appointment which he held while he was 
challenging his enemies to say whether his outward 
circumstances looked like the figure the agents of 
Courts and Princes make. 

The services on which Defoe was employed were, as 
before, of two kinds, active and literary. Shortly after 
the change in the Ministry early in 1708, news came of 
the gathenng of the French expedition at Dunkirk, with 
a view, it was suspected, of trying to effect a landing in 
Scotland. Defoe was at once despatched to Edinburgh 
on an errand which, he says, was '' far from being unfit 
for a sovereign .to direct or an honest man to perform." 
If his duties were to mix with the people and ascer- 
tain the state of public feeling, and more specifically to 
sound suspected characters, to act, in short, as a political 
detective or spy, the service was one which it was essen- 
tial that the Government should get some trustworthy 
person to undertake, and which any man at such a crisis 
might perform, if he could, without any discredit to his 
honesty or his patriotism. The independence of the sea- 
girt realm was never in greater peril. The French 
expedition was a well-conceived diversion, and it was 

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imperative that the Govermnent should know on what 
amount of support the invaders might rely in the bitter- 
ness prevailing in Scotland after the Union. Fortunately 
the loyalty of the Scotch Jacobites was not put to the 
test. As in the case of the Spanish Armada, accident 
fought on our side. The French fleet succeeded in reach- 
ing the coast of Scotland before the ships of the defenders; 
but it overshot its arranged landing-point, and had no 
hope but to sail back ingloriously to Dunkirk. Mean- 
time, Defoe had satisfactorily discharged himself of 
his mission. Cbdolphin showed his appreciation of his 
services by recalling him as soon as Parliament was 
dissolved, to travel through the counties and serve the 
cause of the Government in the general elections. He 
was frequently sent to Scotland again on similarly secret 
errands, and seems to have established a printing busi- 
ness there, made arrangements for the simultaneous 
issue of the Eeview in Edinburgh and London, besides 
organizing Edinburgh newspapers, executing commis- 
sions for English merchants, and setting on foot a linen 

But we are more concerned with the literary labours 
of this versatile and indefatigable genius. These, in 
the midst of his multifarious commercial and diplomatic 
concerns, he never intermitted. All the time the Eeview 
continued to give a brilliant support to the Ministry. 
The French expedition had lent a new interest to the 
affairs of Scotland, and Defoe advertised, that though he 
never intended to make the Review a newspaper, circum- 
stances enabled him to furnish exceptionally correct 
intelligence from Scotland as well as sound impartial 
opinions. The intelligence which he communicated was 
all with a purpose, and a good purpose — the promotion 

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78 DANIEL DEFOE. [ohav. 

of a better understanding between the united nations. 
He never had a better opportunity for preaching from 
his favourite text of Peace and Union, and he used it 
characteristically, championing the cause of the Scotch 
Presbyterians, asserting the firmness of their loyalty, 
smoothing over trading grievances by showing elabo- 
rately how both sides benefited from the arrangements 
of the Union, launching shafts in every direction at his 
favourite butts, and never missing a chance of exulting 
in his own superior wisdom. In what a posture would 
England have been now, he cried, if those wiseacres had 
been listened to, who were for trusting the defence of 
England solely to the militia and the fleet ! Would our 
fleet have kept the French from la,nding if Providence 
had not interposed ; and if they had landed, would a 
militia, undermined by disaffection, have been able to 
beat them back f The French king deserved a vote of 
thanks for opening the eyes of the nation against foolish 
advisers, and for helping it to heal internal divisions. 
Louis, poor gentleman, was much to be pitied, for his 
informers had evidently served him badly, and had led 
him to expect a greater amount of support from disloyal 
factions than they had the will or the courage to give 

During the electoral canvass, Defoe surpassed himself 
in the lively vigour of his advocacy of the "Whig cause. 
** And now, gentlemen of England," he began in the 
Eevtew — as it went on he became more and more direct 
and familiar in his manner of addressing his readers — 
'* now we are a-going to choose Parliament men, I will 
tell you a story." And he proceeded to tell how in a 
certain borough a great patron procured the election of 
a "shock dog" as its parliamentary representative. 

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Money and ale, Defoe says, ooold do anything. 
** God knows I speak it with regret for you all and for 
yoor posterity, it is not an impossible thing to debauch 
this nation into a choice of thieves, knaves, devils, shock 
dogs, or anything comparatively speaking, by the power 
of various intoxications." He spent several numbers 
of the Review in an ironical advice to the electors to 
choose Tories, showing with all his skill '' the mighty 
and prevailing reason why we should have a Tory Par- 
liament." '' O gentlemen," he cried, <' if we have any 
mind to buy some more experience, be sure and choose 
Tories." "We want a little instruction, we want to 
go to school to knaves and fools." Afterwards, drop- 
ping this thin mask, he declared that among the electors 
only "the drunken, the debauched, the swearing, the 
persecuting" would vote for the Highfliers. "The 
grave, the sober, the thinking, the prudent," would 
vote for the Whigs. " A House of Tories is a House 
of Devils." " If ever we have a Tory Parliament, the 
nation is undone." In his Appeal to Honowr and Jvstioe 
Defoe explained, that while he was serving Grodolphin, 
" being resolved to remove all possible ground of sus- 
picion that he kept any secret correspondence, he never 
visited, or wrote to, or any way corresponded with his 
principal benefactor for above three years.'' Seeing that 
Harley was at that time the leader of the party which 
Defoe was denouncing with such spirit, it would have 
been strange indeed if there had been much intercourse 
between them. 

Though regarded after his fall from office as the 
natural leader of the Tory party, Harley was a very 
reserved politician, who kept his own counsel, used 
instruments of many shapes and sizes, steered clear of 

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80 DANIEL DEFOE. [ohap. 

entaiigling engagements, and left himself free to take 
advantage of various opportunities. To wage war against 
the Ministry was the work of more ardent partisans. 
He stood by and waited while Bolingbroke and Rochester 
and their allies in the press cried out that the Govern- 
ment was now in the hands of the enemies of the Church, 
accused the Whigs of protracting the war to fill their 
own pockets with the plunder of the Supplies, and called 
upon the nation to put an end to their jobbery and mis- 
management. The victory of Oudenarde in the summer 
of 1708 gave them a new handle. ^' What is the good" 
they cried, " of these glorious victories, if they do not 
bring peace 1 What do we gain by beating the French 
in campaign after campaign, if we never bring them 
nearer to submission 1 It is incredible that the French 
King is not willing to make peace, if the Whigs did not 
profit too much by the war to give peace any encourage, 
ment." To these arguments for peace, Defoe opposed 
himself steadily in the Review, " Well, gentlemen," he 
began, when the news came of the battle of Oudenarde, 
"have the French noosed themselves again 1 Let us 
pray the Duke of Marlborough that a speedy peace may 
not follow, for what would become of us ) " He was as 
willing for a peace on honourable terms as any man, but 
a peace till the Protestant Succession was secured and 
the balance of power firmly settled, " would be fatal to 
peace at home." " If that fatal thing called Peace abroad 
should happen, we shall certainly be undone." Presently, 
however, the French king began to make promising 
overtures for peace; the Ministry in hopes of satisfac- 
tory terms encouraged them; the talk through the 
nation was all of peace, and the Whigs contented them- 
selves with passing an address to the Crown through 

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Farliament urging the Queen to make no peace till 
the Pretender should be disowned by the French Court, 
and the Succession guaranteed by a compact with the 
Allies. Throughout the winter the Eeview expounded 
with brilliant clearness the only conditions on which 
an honourable peace could be founded, and pi*epared the 
nation to doubt the sincerity with which Louis had 
entered into negotiations. Much dissatisfaction was 
felt, and that dissatisfaction was eagerly fanned by 
the Tories when the negotiations fell through, in con- 
sequence of the distrust with which the allies regarded 
Louis, and their imposing upon him too hard a test 
of his honesty, Defoe fought vigorously against the 
popular discontent. The charges against Marlborough 
were idle rhodomontade. We had no reason to be dis- 
couraged with the progress of the war unless we had 
formed extravagant expectations. Though the French 
king's resources had been enfeebled, and he might rea- 
sonably have been expected to desire peace, he did not 
care for the welfare of France so much as for his own 
glory; he would fight to gain his purpose while there 
was a pistole in his treasury, and we must not expect 
Paris to be taken in a week. Kothing could be more 
admirable than Godolphin's management of our own 
Treasury; he deserved almost more credit than the 
Duke himself. << Tour Treasurer has been your general 
of generals ; without his exquisite management of the 
cash the Duke of Marlborough must have been beaten.'' 
The Sacheverell incident, which ultimately led to the 
overthrow of the Ministry, gave Defoe a delightful 
opening for writing in their defence. A collection of 
his articles on this subject would show his controversial 
style at its best and brightest. Sacheverell and ho 

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82 DANIEL DEFOS. [ohap. 

were old antagonists. Sacheverell's *' bloody flag and 
banner of defiance," and otber Higbflying tmcolencies, 
had fumisbed bim witb tbe main basis of bis Shortest 
Wwy with the Dissenters. Tbe laugb of tbe populace 
was tben on Defoe's side, partly, perbaps, because tbe 
{government bad prosecuted bim. But in tbe cbanges 
of tbe troubled times, tbe Oxford Doctor, nurtured in 
'' tbe scolding of tbe ancients,'' bad found a more favour- 
able opportunity. His literary skill was of tbe most 
mecbanical kind, but at tbe close of 1709, wben bopes 
of peace bad been raised only to be disappointed, and 
tbe country was suffering from tbe distress of a pro- 
longed war, people were more in a mood to listen to a 
preacber wbo disdained to cbeck tbe sweep of bis rbetorio 
by qualifications or abatements, and luxuriated in de- 
nouncing tbe Queen's Ministers from tbe pulpit under 
scriptural allegories. He delivered a tremendous pbi- 
lippic about tbe Perils of False Bretbren, as a ser- 
mon before tbe Lord Mayor in November. It would 
bave been a wise tbing for tbe Ministry to bave left 
Sacbeverell to be dealt witb by tbeir supporters in 
tbe press and in tbe pulpit. But in &n evil bour 
Godolpbin, stung by a nickname tbrown at bim by 
tbe rbetorical priest — a singularly comfortable-look- 
ing man to bave so virulent a tongue, one of tbose 
orators wbo tbrive on ill-conditioned language — re- 
solved, contrary to tbe advice of more judicious col- 
leagues, to bave bim impeacbed by tbe House of 
Commons. Tbe Commons readily voted tbe sermon 
seditious, scandalous, and malicious, and agreed to a 
resolution for bis impeacbment; tbe Lords ordered 
tbat tbe case sbould be beard at tbeir bar ; and West- 
minster Hall was prepared to be tbe scene of a great 

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public trial. At first Defoe, in heaping oontemptaons 
ridicnle upon the Highflying Doctor, had spoken as if 
he would consider prosecution a blunder. The man 
ought rather to be encouraged to go on exposing himself 
and his party. ^* Let him go on/' he said, ** to bully 
Moderation, explode Toleration, and damn the Union ; 
the gain will be ours." 

** You should use him as we do a hot horse. When he first 
frets and pulls, keep a stiff rein and hold him in if you can ; 
but if he grows mad and furious, slack your hand, clap your 
heels to him, and let him go. Give him his belly full of it. 
Away goes the beast like a fury over hedge and ditch, till he 
runs himself o£E his mettle ; perhaps bogs himself, and then 
he grows quiet of course. . . . Besides, good people, do you 
not know the nature of the barking creatures ? If you pass 
but by, and take no notice, they will yelp and make a noise, 
and perhaps run a httle after you ; but turn back, offer to 
strike them or throw stones at them, and you'll never have 
done — nay, youTl raise all the dogs of the parish upon 

This last was precisely what the Government did, and 
they found reason to regret that they did not take Defoe's 
advice and let Sacheverell alone. When, however, they 
did resolve to prosecute him, Defoe immediately turned 
rotmd, and exulted in the prosecution as the very thing 
which he had foreseen. "Was not the Review right 
when he said you ought to let such people run on till 
they were out of breath ? Did I not note to you that 
precipitations have always ruined them and served us 1 
.... Kot a hound in the pack opened like him. He 
has done the work effectually. . . . He has raised the 
house and waked the landlady. . . . Thank him, good 
people, thank him and clap him on the back ; let all his 
party do but this, and the day is our own." Nor did 

o 2 

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84 DA19IEL DEFOE. [osaf. 

^ Defoe omit to remind the good people that he had been 
put in the pillory for satirically hinting that the High 
Church favoured such doctrines as Sacheverell was now 
prosecuted for. In his Hynrn to the Pillory he had 
declared that Sacheverell ought to stand there in his 
place. His wish was now gratified; ''the bar of the 
House of Commons is the worst pillory in the nation." 
In the two months which elapsed before the trial, 
during which the excitement was steadily growing, 
Sacheverell and his doctrines were the main topic of the 
Review. If a popular tempest could have been allayed 
by brilliant argument, Defoe's papers ought to have 
done it. He was a manly antagonist, and did not 
imitate coarser pamphleteers in raking up scandals 
about the Doctor's private life — ^at least no% under his 
own name. There was, indeed, a pamphlet issued by 
''a Gentleman of Oxford,'' which bears many marks of 
Defoe's authorship, and contains an account of some 
passages in Sacheverell's life not at all to the clergy- 
man's credit. But the only pamphlet outside the Review 
which the biographers have ascribed to Defoe's activity, 
is a humorous Letter from the Pope to Don Sacheverellio, 
giving him instructions how to advance the interest of 
the Pretender. In the Review Defoe, treating Sache- 
verell with riotously mirthful contempt, calls for the 
punishment of the doctrines rather than the man. During 
the trial, which lasted more than a fortnight, a mob 
attended the Doctor s carriage every day from his lodgings 
in the Temple to Westminster Hall, huzzaing, and press- 
ing to kiss his hand, and spent the evenings in rabbling 
the Dissenters' meeting-houses, aiid hooting before the 
residences of prominent Whigs. Defoe had always said 
that the Highfliers would use violence to their opponents 

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if they had the power, and here was a confirmation of 
his opinion on which he did not fail to insist. The 
sentence on Sacheverell, that his sermon and vindication 
should be burnt by the common hangman and himself 
suspended from preaching for three years, was hailed by 
the mob as an acquittal, and celebrated by tumultuous 
gatherings and bonfires. Defoe reasoned hard and joy- 
fully to prove that the penalty was everything that 
could be wished, and exactly what he had aU along 
advised and contemplated, but he did not succeed in 
persuading the masses that the Government had not 
Buffered a defeat. 

The impeachment of Sachevei*ell turned popular feeling 
violently against the Whigs. The break up of the 
Gertruydenberg Conference without peace gave a strong 
push in the same direction. It was all due, the Tories 
shouted, and the people were now willing to believe, to 
the folly of our Government in insisting upon impossible 
conditions from the French king, and their shameless 
want of patriotism in consulting the interests of the 
Allies rather than of England. The Queen, who for 
some time had been longing to get rid of her Whig 
Ministers, did not at once set sail with this breeze. She 
dismissed the Earl of Sunderland in June, and sent 
word to her allies that she meant to make no further 
changes. Their ambassadors, with what was even then 
resented as an impertinence, congratulated her on this 
resolution, and then in August she took the momentous 
step of dismissing Godolphin, and putting the Treasury 
nominally in commission, but really under the manage- 
ment of Harley. For a few weeks it seems to have been 
Barley's wish to conduct the administration in concert 
with ^ the remaining Whig members, but the extreme 

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86 DAITIEL DEFOE. [ohap. 

Tories, with whom he had been acting, overbore his 
moderate intentions. They threatened to desert him 
unless he broke clearly and definitely with the Whigs. 
In October accordingly the Whigs were all tnmed out 
of the Administration, Tories put in their places, Parlia- 
ment dissolved, and writs issued for new elections. 
"So sudden and entire a change of the Ministry," 
Bishop Burnet remarks, " is scarce to be found in our 
history, especially where men of great abilities had 
served both with zeal and success." That the Queen 
should dismiss one or al^ of her Ministers in the face of 
a Parliamentary majority excited no surprise ; but that 
the whole Administration should be changed at a stroke 
from one party to the other was a new and strange thing. 
The old Earl of Sunderland's suggestion to William III. 
had not taken root in constitutional practice ; this was 
the fulfilment of it under the gradual pressure of 

Defoe's conduct while the political balance was rock- 
ing, and after the Whig side had decisively kicked the 
beam, is a curious study. One hardly knows which to 
admire most, the loyalty with which he stuck to the 
falling house till the moment of its collapse, or the 
adroitness with which he escaped from the ruins. Cen- 
sure of his shiftiness is partly disarmed by the fact that 
there were so many in that troubled and uncertain time 
who would have acted like him if they had had the skilL 
Besides, he acted so steadily and with such sleepless 
vigilance and energy on the principle that the appear- 
ance of honesty is the best policy, that at this distance 
of time it is not easy to catch him tripping, and if we 
refuse to be guided by the opinion of his contemporaries, 
we almost inevitably fall victims to his incomparable 

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plansibility. Deviations in his political writings from 
the course of the honest patriot are almost as difficult to 
detect as flaws in the verisimilitade of Eobinsan Crtuoe 
or the Journal qf the Plague, 

During the two months' interval between the substi- 
tation of Dartmouth for Sunderland and the fall of 
Godolphin, Defoe used all his powers of eloquence and 
argument to avert the threatened changes in the 
Ministry, and keep the Tories out. He had a personal 
motive for this, he confessed. " My own share in the 
ravages they shall make upon our liberties is like to be 
as severe as any man's, from the rage and fury of a 
party who are in themselves implacable, and whom God 
has not been pleased to bless me with a talent to flatter 
and submit to." Of the dismissed minister Sunderland, 
with whom Defoe had been in personal relations duxing 
the negotiations for the Union, he spoke in terms of the 
warmest praise, always with a formal profession of not 
challenging the Queen's judgment in discharging her 
servant. " My Lord Sunderland," he said, " leaves the 
Ministry with the most unblemished character that ever 
I read of any statesman in the world." '* I am makii^ 
no court to my Lord Sunderland. The unpolished author 
of this paper never had the talent of making his court 
to the great men of the age." But where is the objec- 
tion against his conduct f Not a dog of the party 
caa bark against him. ^* They cannot show me a man 
of their party that ever did act like him, or of whom 
they can say we should believe he would if he had the 
opportunity." The Tories were clamouring for the dis-^ 
missal of all the other Whigs. High Church addresses 
to the Queen were pouring in, claiming to represent the 
sense of the nation, and hinting an absolute want of 

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88 DANIEL DEFOE. [oejlp. 

confidence in the Administration. Defoe examined the 
conduct of the Ministers severally and oollectively, and 
demanded where was the charge against them, where 
the complaint, where the treasure misapplied 1 

As for the sense of the nation, there was one sure 
way of testing this better than any got-up addresses, 
namely, the rise or fall of the public credit. The public 
stocks fell immediately on the news of Sunderland's 
dismissal, and were only partially revived upon Her 
Majesty's assurance to the Directors of the Bank that 
she meant to keOp the Ministry otherwise unchanged. 
A rumour that Parliament was to be dissolved had sent 
them down again. If the public credit is thus affected 
by the mere apprehension of a turn of affairs in 
England, Defoe said, the thing itself will be a fatal 
blow to it. The coy Lady Credit had been wavering 
in her attachment to England; any sudden change 
would fright her away altogether. As for the pooh-pooh 
cry of the Tories that the national credit was of no con- 
sequence, that a nation could not be in debt to itself, 
and that their moneyed men would come forward with 
nineteen shillings in the pound for the support of the 
war, Defoe treated this claptrap with proper ridicule. 

But in spite of all Defoe's efforts, the crash cama 
On the 10th of August the Queen sent to Godolphin for 
the Treasurer's staff, and Harley became her Prime 
Minister. How did Defoe behave then 1 The first two 
numbers of the Review after the Lord Treasurer's fall 
are among the most masterly of his writings. He was 
not a small, mean, timid time-server and turncoat. He 
faced about with bold and steady caution, on the alert 
to give the lie to anybody who dared to accuse him of 
facing about at all. He frankly admitted that he was 

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in a quandaiy what to say about the change that had 
taken place. " If a man could be found that could sail 
north and south, that could speak truth and falsehood, 
that could turn to the right hand and the left, aU at 
the same time, he would be the man, he would be the 
only proper person that should now speak." Of one 
thing only he was certain. '' We are sure honest men 
go out." As for their successors, " it is our business to 
hope, and time must answer for those that come in. If 
Tories, if Jacobites, if Highfliers, if madmen of any 
kind are to come in, I am against them ; I ask them no 
favour, I make no court to them, nor am I going about 
to please them." But the question was, what was to be 
done in the circumstances ? Defoe stated plainly two 
courses, with their respective dangers. To cry out 
about the new Ministry was to ruin public credit. To 
profess cheerfulness was to encourage the change and 
strengthen the hands of those that desired to push it 
farther. On the whole, for himself he considered the 
first danger the most to be dreaded of the two. There- 
fore he announced his intention of devoting his whole 
energy to maintaining the public credit, and advised all 
true Whigs to do likewise. " Though I don't like the 
crew, I won't sink the ship. I'll do my best to save the 
ship. I'll pump and heave and haul, and do anything I 
can, though he that pulls with me were my enemy. The 
reason is plain. We are all in the ship, and must sink 
or swim together." 

What could be more plausible ? What conduct more 
truly patriotic? Indeed, it would be difficult to find 
fault with Defoe's behaviour, were it not for the rogue's 
protestations of inability to court the favour of great 
men, and his own subsequent confessions in his Appeal 

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00 DAinSL DEFOE. [cwkt. 

to ffanour and Justice, as to what took place behind the 
scenes. Immediately on the turn of afEairs he took 
steps to secure that connexion with the Grovemment, the 
existence of which he was always denying. The day 
after Godolphin's displacement, he tells us, he waited 
on him, and ** humbly asked his lordship's direction what 
course he should take." Godolphin at once assured him, 
in very much the same words that Harley had used 
before, that the change need make no difference to him ; 
he was the Queen's servant, and all that had been done 
for him was by Her Majesty's special and particular 
direction ; his business was to wait till he saw things 
settled, and then apply himself to the Ministers of 
State, to receive Her Majesty's commands from them. 
Thereupon Defoe resolved to guide himself by the 
following principle : — 

" It occurred to me immediately, as a principle for my con- 
dact, that it was not material to me what ministers Her 
Majesty was pleased to employ ; my duty was to go along 
with every Ministry, so far as they did not break in upon 
the Constitution, and the laws and liberties of my countiy ; 
my part being only the doty of a subject, viz. to submit to 
all lawful commands, and to enter into no service which was 
not justifiable by the laws; to all which I have exactly 
obliged myself." 

Defoe was thus, as he says, providentially cast back 
upon his original benefactor. That he received any 
consideration, pension, gratification, or reward for his 
services to Harley, " except that old appointment which 
Her Majesty was pleased to make him," he strenuously 
denied. The denial is possibly true, and it is extremely 
probable that he was within the truth when he pro- 
tested in the most solemn manner that he had never 

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'' received any instractions, directions, orders, or let 
them call it what they will, of that kind, for the 
writing of any part of what he had written, or any 
materials for the patting together, for the forming any 
book or pamphlet whatsoever, from the said Earl of 
Oxford, late Lord Treasurer, or from any person by his 
order or direction, since the time that the late Earl of 
€k)dolphin was Lord Treasnrer.'' Defoe declared that 
'< in all his writing, he ever capitulated for his liberty 
to speak according to his own judgment of things," and 
we may easily believe him. He was much too dever a 
servant to need instructions. 

His secret services to Harley in the new elections are 
probably buried in oblivion. Li the Review he pursued 
a strain which to the reader who does not take his 
articles in connexion with the politics of the time, 
might appear to be thoroughly consistent with his 
advice to the electors on previous occasions. He meant 
to confine himself, he said at starting, rather to the 
manner of choosing than to the persons to be chosen, 
and he never denounced bribery, intimidation, rioting, 
rabbling, and every form of interference with the 
electors' freedom of choice, in more eneigetic language. 
As regarded the persons to be chosen, his advice was as 
before, to choose moderate men — men of sense and 
temper, not men of fire and fury. But he no longer 
asserted, as he had done before, the exclusive possession 
of good qualities by the Whigs. He now recognised 
that there were hot Whigs as well as moderate Whigs, 
moderate Tories as well as hot Tories. It was for the 
nation to avoid both extremes and rally round the men 
of moderation, whether Whig or Tory. " If we have a 
Tory Highflying Parliament, we Tories are undone. 

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92 DAITIEL DEFOE. [oeap. 

If we haT6 a hot Whig Parliament, we Whigs are 

The terms of Defoe's advice were unexceptionable, 
but the Whigs perceived a change from the time when 
he declared that if ever we have a Tory Parliament, 
the nation is undone. It was as if a Republican writer 
after the coup cTetat of the 16th May, 1877, had warned 
the French against electing extreme Bepublicans, and 
had echoed the Marshal-President's advice to give their 
votes to moderate men of all parties. Defoe did 
not increase the conviction of his party loyalty when a 
Tory Parliament was returned, by trying to prove that 
whatever the new members might call themselves they 
must inevitably be Whigs. He admitted in the most 
unqualified way that the elections had been disgracefully 
riotous and disorderly, and lectured the constituencies 
freely on their conduct. " It is not," he said, " a Free 
Parliament that you have chosen. You have met, 
mobbed, rabbled, and thrown dirt at one another, but 
election by mob is no more free election than Oliver's 
election by a standing army. Parliaments and rabbles 
are contrary things." Yet he had hopes of the gentle- 
men who had been thus chosen. 

*' I have it upon many good grounds, as I think I told you, 
that there are some people who are shortly to come together, 
of whose character, let the people that send them up think 
what they will, when they come thither, they will not run the 
mad length that is expected of them ; they will act upon the 
Bevolution principle, keep within the circle of the law, pro- 
ceed with temper, moderation, and justice, to support the 
same interest we have all carried on — and this I call being 
Whiggish, or acting as Whigs. 

** I shall not trouble you with further examining why they 
will be so, or why they will act thus ; I think it is so plain 

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from the necessity of the Constitution and the. circumstances 
of things before itiem, that it needs no further demonstration 
— ^they will be Whigs, they must be Whigs ; there is no 
remedy, for the Constitution is a Whig.*' 

The new members of Parliament must either be 
Whigs or traitors, for everybody who favours the 
Protestant succession is a Whig, and everybody who 
does not is a traitor. Defoe used the same ingenuity in 
playing upon words in his arguments in support of the 
public credit. Every true Whig, he argued, in the 
Review and in separate essays, was bound to uphold 
the public credit, for to permit it to be impaired was 
the surest way to let in the Pretender. The Whigs 
were accused of withdrawing their money from the 
public stocks, to mark their distrust of the Govern- 
ment. "Nonsense," Defoe said, "in that case they 
would not be Whigs.'' Naturally enough, as the Review 
now practically supported a Ministry in which extreme 
Tories had the predominance, he was upbraided for 
having gone over to that party. "Why, gentlemen," 
he retorted, " it would be more natural for you to think 
I am turned Turk than High-flier ; and to make me a 
Mahometan would not be half so ridiculous as to make 
me say the Whigs are running down credit, when on 
the contrary I am still satisfied if there were no Wliigs 
at this time, there would hardly be any such thing as 
credit left among us." " If the credit of the nation is 
to be maintained, we must all act as Whigs, because 
credit can be maintained upon no other foot. Had the 
doctrine of non-resistance of tyranny been voted, had 
the Prerogative been exalted above the Law, and 
property subjected to absolute will, would Parliament 
have voted the funds 1 Credit supposes Whigs lending 

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94 DANIISL DEFOE. [ohap. 

and a Whig Qovenmiant borrowing. It is nonsense to 
talk of credit and passive submission.'' 

Had Defoe confined himself to lecturing those hot 
Whigs who were so afraid of the secret Jacobitism of 
Harle/s colleagues that they were tempted to with- 
draw their money from the public stocks, posterity, 
unable to judge how far these fears were justified, and 
how far it was due to a happy accident that they were 
not realized, might have given him credit for sacrificing 
partisanship to patriotism. This plea could hardly be 
used for another matter in which, with every show of 
reasonable fairness, he gave a virtual support to the 
Ministry. We have seen how he spoke of Marlborough, 
and Godolphin's management of the army and the 
finances when the Whigs were in office. When the 
Tories came in, they at once set about redeeming their 
pledges to inquire into the malversation of their pre- 
decessors. Concerning this proceeding, Defoe spoke 
with an approval which, though necessarily guarded in 
view of his former professions of extreme satisfaction, 
was none the less calculated to recommend. 

"Inquiry into miscarriages in things so famous and bo 
fatal as war and battle is a thing so popular that no man 
can argue against it ; and had we paid well, and hanged well, 
much sooner, as some men had not been less in a condition 
to mistake, so some others might not have been here to find 
fault. But it is better late than never ; when the inquiry is set 
about heartily, it may be useful on several accounts, both to 
unravel past errors and to prevent new. For my part, as we 
have for many years past groaned for want of justice upon 
wilful mistakes, yet, in hopes some of the careful and mis- 
chievous designing gentlemen may come in for a share, I am 
glad the work is begun." 

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With equal good humour and skill in leaving open 
a double interpretation, he commented on the fact that 
the new Parliament did not, as had been customary, give 
a formal vote of thanks to Marlborough for his conduct 
of his last campaign. 

** We have had a mighty pother here in print about reward- 
ing of generals. Some think great men too much rewarded, 
and some think them too little rewarded. The case is so nice, 
neither side will bear me to speak my mind ; but I am per- 
suaded of this, that there is no general has or ever will 
merit great things of us, but he has received and will receive 
all the grateful acknowledgments he ought to expect." 

But his readers would complain that he had not de- 
fined the word '^ ought." That, he said, with audacious 
pleasantry, he left to them. And while they were on 
the subject of mismanagement^ he would give them a 
word of advice which he had often given them before. 
<< While you bite and devour one another, you are all 
mismanagers. Put an end to your factions, your 
tumults, your rabbles, or you will not be able to make 
war upon anybody." Previously, however, his way of 
making peace at home was to denounce the High-fliers. 
He was still pursuing the same object, though by a 
different course, now that the leaders of the High-fliers 
were in office, when he declared that <' those Whigs who 
say that the new Ministry is entirely composed of Tories 
and High-fliers are fool-Whigs.*' The remark was no 
doubt perfectly true, but yet if Defoe had been thoroughly 
consistent he ought at least, instead of supporting the 
Ministry on account of the small moderate element it 
contained, to have urged its purification from dangerous 

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96 DANIEL DEFOE. [ohap. 

This, however, it must be admitted, he also did, though 
indirectly and at a somewhat later stage, when Harley's 
tenure of the Premiership was menaced by Highfliers 
who thought him much too lukewarm a leader. A 
''cave," the famous October Club, was formed in the 
autumn of 1711, to uige more extreme measures upon 
the ministry against Whig officials, and to organize a 
High Church agitation throughout the country. It con- 
sisted chiefly of country squires, who wished to see 
members of the late Ministry impeached, and the Duke 
of Marlborough dismissed from the command of the 
army. At Harley's instigation Swift wrote an " advice " 
to these hot partisans, beseeching them to have patience 
and trust the Ministry, and everything that they wished 
would happen in due time. Defoe sought to break their 
ranks by a direct onslaught in his most vigorous style, 
denouncing them in the Review as Jacobites in disguise 
and an illicit impoi*tation from France, and writing 
their " secret history," " with some friendly characters 
of the illustrious members of that honourable society " 
in two separate tracts. This skirmish served the double 
purpose of strengthening Harley against the reckless 
zealots of his party, and keeping up Defoe's appearance 
of impartiality. Throughout the fierce struggle of 
parties, never so intense in any period of our history as 
during those years when the Constitution itself hung in 
the balance, it was as a True-bom Englishman first and 
a Whig and Dissenter afterwards, that Defoe gave his 
support to the Tory Ministry. It may not have been 
his fault ; he may have been most unjustly suspected ; 
but nobody at the time would believe his protestations of 
independence. When his former High-flying persecutor, 
the Earl of Nottingham, went over to the Whigs and 

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with their acquiescence, or at least mthout their active 
opposition, introduced another Bill to put down Occa- 
sional Conformity, Defoe wrote trenchantly against it. 
But even then the Dissenters, as he loudly lamented, 
repudiated his alliance. The Whigs were not so much 
pleased on this occasion with his denunciations of the 
persecuting spirit of the High Churchmen, as they were 
enraged by his stinging taunts levelled at themselves 
for abandoning the Dissenters to their persecutors. The 
Dissenters must now see, Defoe said, that they would 
not be any better off under a Low Church ministry 
than under a High Church ministry. But the Dissenters, 
considering that the Whigs were too much in a minority 
to prevent the passing of the Bill, however willing to 
do so, would only see in their professed champion an 
artful supporter of the men in power. 

A curious instance has been preserved of the estimate of 
Defoe's character at this time.^ M. Mesnager, an agent 
sent by the French King to sound the Ministry and the 
country as to terms of peace, wanted an able pamphleteer 
to promote the French interest. The Swedish Resident 
recommended Defoe, who had just issued a tract entitled, 
Reasons why this Nation ought to put an end to this 
expensive War, Mesnager was delighted with the 
tract, at once had it translated into French and circu- 
lated through the Netherlands, employed the Swede to 
treat with Defoe, and sent him a hundred pistoles by 
way of earnest. Defoe kept the pistoles, but told the 
Queen, M. Mesnager recording that though '^ he missed 
his aim in this person, the money perhaps was not 

^ I doabt whether it adds to the credibility of the story in all 
points that the minutes of M. Mesnagers Negotiations were 
"translated," and probably composed by Defoe hunself. See p. 189, 


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98 DANIEL DEFOE. [chap. 

wholly lost ; for I afterwards understood that the man 
was in the service of the state, and that he had let the 
Queen know of the hundred pistoles he had reoeiyed ; 
so I was obliged to sit still, and be very well satisfied 
that I had not discovered myself to him, for it was not 
our season yet." The anecdote at once shows the 
general opinion entertained of Defoe, and the fact that 
he was less corruptible than was supposed. There can 
be little doubt that our astute intriguer would have 
outwitted the French emissary if he had not been 
warned in time, pocketed his bribes, and wormed 
his secrets out of him for the information of the 

During Godolphin*s Ministry, Defoe's cue had been 
to reason with the nation against too impatient a 
longing for peace. Let us have peace by all means, 
had been his text, but not till honourable terms have 
been secured, and meantime the war is going on as 
prosperously as any but madmen can desire. He re- 
peatedly challenged adversaries who compared what 
he wrote then with what he wrote under the new 
Ministry, to prove him guilty of inconsistency. He 
stood on safe ground when he made this challenge, 
for circumstances had changed sufficiently to justify 
any change of opinion. The plans of the Confederates 
were disarranged by the death of the Emperor, and 
the accession of his brother, the Archduke Charles, 
to the vacant crown. To give the crown of Spain in 
these new circumstances to the Archduke, as had been 
the object of the Allies when they began the war, 
would have been as dangerous to the balanoe of power 
as to let Spain pass to Louis's grandson, Philip of 
Anjou. It would be more dangerous, Defoe argued -, 

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and by far the safest course would be to give Spain 
toiFhilip and his posterity, who ''would be as much 
Spaniards in a very short time, as ever Philip 11. was 
or any of his other predecessors." This was the main 
argument which had been used in the latter days of 
King William against going to war at all, and Defoe 
had then refuted it scornfully ; but circumstances had 
changed, and he not only adopted it, but also issued an 
essay ''proving that it was always the sense both of 
"King William and of all the Confederates, and even of 
the Grand Alliance itself, that the Spanish monarchy 
should never be united in the person of the Emperor." 
Partition the Spanish dominions in Europe between 
France and Germany, and the West Indies between 
England and Holland — such was Defoe's idea of a 
proper basis of peace. 

But while Defoe expounded in various forms the 
conditions of a good peace, he devoted his main 
energy to proving that peace under some conditions was 
a necessity. He dilated on the enormous expense of 
the war, and showed by convincing examples that it 
was ruining the trade of the country. Much that he 
said was perfectly true, but if he had taken M. 
Mesnager*s bribes and loyally can*ied out his instruc- 
tions, he could not more effectually have served the 
French King's interests than by writing as he did at 
that juncture. The proclaimed necessity under which 
England lay to make peace, offered Louis an advantage 
which he was not slow to take. The proposals which 
he made at the Congress of Utrecht, and which he had 
ascertained would be accepted by the English Ministry 
and the Queen, were not unjustly characterised by the 
indignant Whigs as being such as he might have made 

H 2 

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100 DANIEL DEFOE. [chap. 

at the close of a successful war. The territorial con- 
cessions to England and Holland were insignificant; 
the States were to have the right of garrisoning certain 
baiTier-towns in Flanders, and England was to have 
some portions of Canada. But there was no mention 
of dividing the West Indies between them — the West 
Indies were to remain attached to Spain. It was the 
restoration of their trade that was their main desire in 
these great commercial countries, and even that object 
Louis agreed to promote in a manner that seemed, 
according to the ideas of the time, to be more to his 
own advantage than to theirs. In the case of England, 
he was to remove prohibitions against our imports, and 
in return we engaged to give the French imports the 
privileges of the most favoured nations. In short, 
we were to have free trade with France, which the 
commercial classes of the time looked upon as a very 
doubtful blessing. 

It is because Defoe wrote in favour of this free trade 
that he is supposed to have been superior to the com* 
mercial fallacies of the time. But a glance at his argu- 
ments shows that this is a very hasty inference. It was no 
part of Defoe's art as a controversialist to seek to correct 
popular prejudices ; on the contrary, it was his habit to 
take them for granted as the bases of his arguments, to 
work from them as premisses towards his conclusion. 
He expressly avowed himself a prohibitionist in prin- 
ciple : — 

** I am far from being of their mind who say that all pro- 
hibitions are destructive to trade, and that wise nations, the 
Dutch, make no prohibitions at all. 

"Where any nation has, by the singular blessing of 
God, a produce given to their country from which such a 

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manufacture can be made as other nations cannot be with- 
out, and none can make that produce but themselves, it 
would be distraction in that nation not to prohibit the 
exportation of that original produce till it is manuf actured.** 

He had been taunted with flying in the face of what 
he had himself said in King William's time in favour 
of prohibition. But he boldly undertakes to prove that 
prohibition was absolutely necessary in King William's 
time, and not only so, but that *^ the advantages we 
may make of taking off a prohibition now, are all founded 
upon the advantages we did make of laying on a prohibi- 
tion then ; that the same reason which made a prohibi- 
tion then the best thing, makes it now the maddest 
thing a nation could do or ever did in the matter of trade." 
In King William's time, the balance of trade was against 
us to the extent of 850,000^., in consequence of the 
French King's laying extravagant duties upon the impoi*t 
of all our woollen manufactures. 

" Whoever thinks that by opening the French trade I should 
mean . . . that we should come to trade with them 850,000Z. 
per annum to our loss, must think me as mad as I think 
him for suggesting it; but if, on the contrary, I prove 
that as we traded then 850,000Z. a year to our loss, we can 
trade now with them 600,000^. to our gain, then I will 
venture to draw this consequence, that we are distracted, 
speaking of our trading wits, if we do not trade with 

In a preface to the Eighth Volume of the Review 
(July 29, 1712), Defoe announced his intention of dis- 
continuing the publication, in consequence of the tax 
then imposed on newspapers. We can hardly suppose 
that this was his real motive, and as a matter of fact the 
Review, whose death had been announced, reappeared in 

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102 DANIEL DEFO£. [chap. 

due course in the form of a single leaf, and was published 
in that form till the 11th of June, 1713. By that time 
a new project was on foot which Defoe had frequently 
declared his intention of starting, a paper devoted ex- 
clusively to the discussion of the affairs of trade. The 
lUview at one time had declared its main subject to be 
trade, but had claimed a liberty of digression under 
which the main subject had all but disappeared. At 
last, however, in May, 1713, when popular excitement 
and hot Parliamentary debates were expected on the 
Commercial Treaty with France, an exclusively trading 
paper was established, entitled Mercator, Defoe denied 
being the author — ^that is, conductor or editor of 
this paper — and said that he had not power to put 
what he would into it ; which may have been literally 
true. Every number, however, bears traces of his 
hand or guidance; Mercator is identical in opinions, 
style, and spirit with the Review, differing only in the 
greater openness of its attacks upon the opposition of 
the Whigs to the Treaty of Commerce. Party spirit was 
so violent that summer, after the publication of the 
terms of the Treaty of Utrecht, that Defoe was probably 
glad to shelter himself under the responsibility of 
another name ; he had flaunted the cloak of impartial 
advice till it had become a thing of shreds and 

To prove that the balance of trade, in spite of a pre- 
vailing impression to the contrary, not only might be, but 
had been, on the side of England, was the chief purpose 
of Mercator, The Whig Flying Post chaffed Mercator 
for trying to reconcile impossibilities, but MerccUor 
held stoutly on with an elaborate apparatus of com- 
parative tables of exports and imports, and ingenious 

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schemes for the development of various branches of the 
trade with France. Defoe was too fond of carrying the 
war into the enemy's country, to attack prohibitions or the 
received doctrine as to the balance of trade in principle ; 
he fought the enemy spiritedly on their own ground. 
" Take a me<Iium of three years for above forty years 
past, and calculate the exports and imports to and from 
France, and it shall appear the balance of trade was 
always on the English side, to the loss and disadvantage 
of the French." It followed, upon the received com- 
mercial doctrines, that the French King was making a 
great concession in consenting to take ofE high duties 
upon English goods. This was precisely what Defoe 
was labouring to prove, " The French King in taking 
ofE the said high duties ruins all his own ^lanufac- 
tures.*' The common belief was that the terms of peace 
would ruin English manufacturing industry; full in 
the teeth of this, Defoe, as was his daring custom, flung 
the parodox of the extreme opposite. On this occasion 
he acted purely as a party writer. That he was never 
a free-trader, at least in principle, will appear from the 
following extract from his Plwn of the English Commerce, 
published in 1728 :— 

'^ Seeing trade then is the fund of wealth and power, we 
cannot wonder that we see the wisest Princes and States 
anxious and concerned for the increase of the commerce and 
trade of their subjects, and of the growth of the country ; 
anxious to propagate the sale of such goods as are the manu- 
facture of their own subjects, and that employs their own 
people; especially of such as keep the money of their 
dominions at home ; and on the contrary, for prohibiting the 
importation from abroad of such things as are the product of 
other countries, and of the labour of other people, or which 
carry money back in return^ and not merchandise in exchange. 

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104 DANIEL DEFOE. [chap. vi. 

" Nor can we wonder that we see such Princes and States 
endeavouring to set up such manufactures in their own coun- 
tries, which they see successfully and profitably carried on by 
their neighbours, and to endeavour to procure the materials 
proper for setting up those manufactures by all just and 
possible methods from other countries. 

*' Hence we cannot blame the French or Germans for en- 
deavouring to get over the British wool into their hands, by 
the help of which they may bring their people to imitate our 
manufactures, which are so esteemed in the world, as well as 
so gainful at home. 

" Nor can we blame any foreign nation for prohibiting the 
use and wearing of our manufactures, if they can either make 
them at home, or make any which they can shift with in their 

** The reason is plain. Tis the interest of every nation to 
encourage their own trade, to encourage those manufactures 
that will employ their own subjects, consume their own 
growth of provisions, as well as materials of commerce, and 
such as will keep their money or species at home. 

Tis from this just principle that the French prohibit the 
English woollen manufacture, and the English again prohibit, 
or impose a tax equal to a prohibition, on the French silks, 
paper, linen, and several other of their manufactures. 'Tis 
from the same just reason in trade that we prohibit the wear- 
ing of East India wrought silks, printed calicoes, &c.; that 
we prohibit the importation of French brandy, Brazil sugars, 
and Spanish tobacco ; and so of several other things.'* 

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Defoe's unwearied zeal in the service of Harley had 
excited the bitterest resentment among his old allies, 
the Whigs. He often complained of it, more in sorrow 
than in anger. He had no right to look for any other 
treatment ; it was a just punishment upon him for 
seeking the good of his country without respect of 
parties. An author that wrote from principle had a 
very hard task in those dangerous times. If he ven- 
tured on the dangerous precipice of telling unbiassed 
truth, he must expect martyi*dom from both sides. 
This resignation of the simple single-minded patriot to 
the pains and penalties of honesty, naturally added to 
the rage of the party with whose factious proceedings he 
would have nothing to do ; and yet it has always been 
thought an extraordinary instance of party spite that 
the Whigs should have instituted a prosecution against 
him, on the alleged ground that a certain remarkable 
series of Tracts were written in favour of the Pretender. 
Towards the end of 1712 Defoe had issued A Seasonable 
Warning a/nd Caution against the Insinuattona qf Papists 
and Jacobites in/avouo' of ike Pretender, No charge of 

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10« DAKIEL DEFOE. [chap. 

Jaoobitism oonld be made against a pamphlet oontaining 
such a sentence as this : — 

" Think, then, dear Britons I what a King this Pretender 
must be ! a papist by inclination ; a tyrant by education ; a 
Frenchman by honour and obligation ;~and' how long will 
your liberties last you in this condition ? And when your 
liberties are gone, how long will your religion remain? 
When your hands are tied ; when armies bind you ; when 
power oppresses you ; when a tyrant disarms you ; when a 
Popish French tyrant reigns over you; by what means or 
methods can you pretend to maintain your Protestant re- 
ligion ? ** 

A second pamphlet, HammXbai. at the Gates, strongly 
urging party imion and the banishment of factions 
spirit, was equally unmistakable in tone. The titles of 
the following three of the series were more startling : — 
Reasone against the Succession of the House of HaffMver — 
And what \f the Pretender should come ? or Some eon- 
sideratums of the advoffUages and real consequsnees qf the 
Pretendet^s possessing the Crown of Great Britain — An 
Answer to a Question that nobody thinks of viz. But what 
if the Queen should die ? The contents, however, were 
plainly ironical. The main reason against the Succes- 
sion of the Prince of Hanover was that it might be 
¥dse for the nation to take a short turn of a French, 
Popsh, hereditary-right regime in the first place as an 
emetic. Emetics were good for the health of individuals, 
and there could be no better preparative for a healthy 
constitutional government than another experience of 
arbitrary power. Defoe had used the same ironical argu- 
ment for putting Tories in oflSce in 1708. The advan- 
tages of the Pretender's possessing the Crown were 
that we should. be saved from all further danger of 

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a war with France, and should no longer hold the 
exposed position of a Pfotestant State among the 
great Catholic Powers of Europe. The point of the last 
pamphlet of the series was less distinct ; it suggested 
the possibility of the English people losing their pro- 
perties, their estates, inheritance, lands, goods, lives, 
and liberties, unless they were clear in their own minds 
what course to take in the event of the Queen's death. 
But none of the three Tracts contain anything that 
could possibly be interpreted as a serious argument in 
favour of the Pretender. They were all calculated to 
support the Succession of the Elector of Hanover. Why, 
then, should the Whigs have prosecuted the author t It 
was a strange thing, as Defoe did not fail to complain, 
that they should try to punish a man for writing in their 
own interest. 

The truth, however, is that although Defoe afterwards 
tried to convince the Whig leaders that he had written 
these pamphlets in their interest, they were written in the 
interest of Harley. They were calculated to recommend 
that Minister to Prince George, in the event of his 
accession to the English throne. We see this at once 
when we examine their contents by the light of the 
personal intrigues of the time. Harley was playing a 
double game. It was doubtful who the Queen's suc- 
cessor would be, and he aimed at making himself safe 
in either of the two possible contingencies. Very soon 
after his accession to power in 1710, he madq vague over- 
tures for the restoration of the Stuarts under guarantees 
for dvil and religious liberty. When pressed to take 
definite steps in pursuance of this plan, he deprecated 
haste, and put off and put off, till the Pretender's 
adherents lost patience. All the time he was making 

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108 DANIEL DEFOE. [chap. 

protestations of fidelity to the Court of Hanover. The 
increasing vagueness of his promises to the Jacobites 
seems to show that, as time went on, he became convinced 
that the Hanoverian was the winning cause. No man 
could better advise him as to the feeling of the English 
people than Defoe, who was constantly perambulating 
the country on secret services, in all probability for 
the direct purpose of sounding the general opinion. It 
was towards the end of 1712, by which time Harley's 
shilly-shallying had effectually disgusted the Jacobites, 
that the first of Defoe's series of Anti-Jacobite tracts 
appeared. It professed to be written by An English- 
man at the Court of Hanover, which affords some ground, 
though it must be confessed slight, for supposing that 
Defoe had visited Hanover, presumably as the bearer of 
some of Harley's assurances of loyalty. The Seasonable 
Warning amd Caution was circulated, Defoe himself tells 
us, in thousands among the poor people by several 
of his friends. Here was a fact to which Harley could 
appeal as a circimistantial proof of his zeal in the 
Hanovenan cause. Whether Defoe's Anti-Jacobite tracts 
really served his benefactor in this way, can only be matter 
of conjecture. However that may be, they were upon 
the surface written in Harley's interest. The warning and 
caution was expressly directed against the insinuations 
that the Ministry were in favour of the Pretender. 
All who made these insinuations were assumed by the 
writer to be Papists, Jacobites, and enemies of Britain. 
As these insinuations were the chief war-cry of the 
Whigs, and we now know that they were not without 
foundation, it is easy to understand why Defoe's pam- 
phlets, though Anti-Jacobite, were resented by the party 
in whose interest he had formerly written. He excused 

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himself afterwards by saying that he was not aware of the 
Jacobite leanings of the Ministry ; that none of them ever 
said one word in favour of the Pretender to him ; that 
he saw no reason to believe that they did favour the 
Pretender. As for himself, he said, they certainly never 
employed him in any Jacobite intrigue. He defied his 
enemies to *' prove that he ever kept company or had 
any society, friendship, or conversation with any Jaco- 
bite. So averse had he been to the interest and the 
people, that he had studiously avoided their company on 
all occasions." Within a few months of his making 
these protestations, Defoe was editing a Jacobite news- 
paper under secret instructions from a Whig Govern- 
ment. But this is anticipating. 

That an influential Whig should have set on foot a 
prosecution of Defoe as the author of " treasonable libels 
against the House of Hanover,* ' although the charge had 
no foundation in the language of the incriminated 
pamphlets, is intelligible enough. The Whig party 
writers were delighted with the prosecution, one of them 
triumphing over Defoe as being caught at last, and 
put "in Lob*s pound," and speaking of him as "the 
vilest of all the writers that have prostituted their pens 
either to encourage faction, oblige a party, or serve their 
own mercenary ends." But that the Court of Queen's 
Bench, before whom Defoe was brought — with some 
difGlculty, it would appear, for he had fortified his house 
at Newington like Robinson Crusoe's castle— should 
have unanimously declared his pamphlets to be treason- 
able, and that one of them, on his pleading that they were 
ironical, should have told him it was a kind of irony for 
which he might come to be hanged, drawn, and quar- 
tered, is not so easy to understand, unless we suppose 

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110 DANIEL DEFOE. [chap. 

that in these tempestuous times, judges like other men 
were powerfully swayed by party feeling. It is possible, 
however, that they deemed the mere titles of the 
pamphlets ofiEenoes in themselves, disturbing cries raised 
while the people were not yet clear of the forest of 
anarchy, and still subject to dangerous panics — oiGEences 
of the same nature as if a man should shout fire in 
sport in a crowded theatre. Possibly, also, the severity 
of the Court was increased by Defoe's indiscretion in 
commenting upon the case in the Review, while it was 
still tub judiee. At any rate he escaped punishment. 
The Attorney-General was ordered to prosecute him, but 
before the trial came oS Defoe obtained a pardon under 
the royal seal. 

The Whigs were thus baulked of revenge upon their 
renegade. Their loyal writers attributed Defoe's par- 
don to the secret Jacobitism of the Ministry — quite 
wrongly—as we have just seen he was acting for Harley 
as a Hanoverian and not as a Jacobite. Curiously 
enough, when Defoe next came before the Queen's 
Bench, the instigator of the prosecution was a Tory, 
and the Government was Whig, and he again escaped 
from the clutches of the law by the favour of the 
Government. Till Mr. William Lee's remarkable dis- 
covery fourteen years ago of certain letters in Defoe's 
handwriting in the State Paper Office, it was generally 
believed that on the death of Queen Anne, the fall of 
the Tory Administration, and the complete discomfiture 
of Barley's trimming policy, the veteran pamphleteer 
and journalist, now fifty-three years of age, withdrew 
from political warfare, and spent the evening of his 
life in the composition of those works of fiction which 
have made his name immortal. His biographers had 

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misjudged his character and imderrated his energy. 
When Harlej fell from power, Defoe sought service 
under the Whigs. He had some difficulty in regaining 
their favour, and when he did obtain employment from 
them, it was of a kind little to his honour. 

In his Appeal to HoTiour and Justice, published early 
in 1715, in which he defended himself against the 
charges copiously and virulently urged of being a party- 
writer, a hireling, and a turncoat^ and explained every- 
thing that was doubtful in his conduct by alleging the 
obligations of gratitude to his first benefactor Harley, 
Defoe declared that since the Queen's death he had 
taken refuge in absolute silence. He found, he said, 
that if he offered to say a word in favour of the 
Hanoverian settlement, it was called fawning and turn- 
ing round again, and therefore he resolved to meddle 
neither one way nor the other. He complained sorrow- 
fully that in spite of this resolution, and though he 
had not written one book since the Queen's death, a 
great many things were called by his name. In that 
case, he had no resource but to practise a Christian 
spirit and pray for the forgiveness of his enemies. 
This was Defoe's own account, and it was accepted 
as the whole truth, till Mr. Lee's careful research 
and good fortune gave a different colour to his personal 
history from the time of Harley's displacement.^ 

During the dissensions in the last days of the Queen 
which broke up the Tory Ministry, Mercator was dropped. 

1 In making mention of Mr. Lee's valuable researches and dis- 
coveries, I ought to add that his manner of connecting the fiicts 
for which I am indebted to him, and the constmction he puts upon 
them, is entirely different from mine. For the view here implied 
of Defoe's character and rootiyes, Mr. Lee is in no way responsible. 

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112 DANIEL DEFOE. [chap. 

Defoe seems immediately to have entered into communi- 
cation with the printer of the Whig Flying Post, one 
William Hurt. The owner of the Post was abroad at 
the time, but his managers, whether actuated by per- 
sonal spite or reasonable suspicion, learning that Hurt 
was in communication with one whom they looked upon 
as their enemy, decided at once to change their printer. 
There being no copyidght in newspaper titles in those 
days, Hurt retaliated by engaging Defoe to write another 
paper under the same title, advertising that, from the 
arrangements he had made, readers would find the new 
Flying Post better than the old. It was in his labours 
on this sham Flying Post, as the original indignantly 
called it in an appeal to Hurt's sense of honour and 
justice against the piracy, that Defoe came into collision 
with the law. His new organ was warmly loyal. On 
the 14th of August it contained a highly-coloured 
panegyric of George L, which alone would refute Defoe's 
assertion that he knew nothing of the arts of the 
courtier. His Majesty was described as a combination 
of more graces, virtues, and capacities than the world 
had ever seen united in one individual, a man '' bom 
for council and fitted to command the world." Another 
number of the Flying Post, a few days afterwards, con- 
tained an attack on one of the few Tories among the 
Lords of the Eegency, nominated for the management 
of afEairs till the King's arrival. During Bolingbroke's 
brief term of ascendency, he had despatched the Earl 
of Anglesey on a mission to Ireland. The Earl had 
hardly landed at Dublin when news followed him of 
the Queen's death, and he returned to act as one of the 
Lords Eegent. In the Flying Post Defoe asserted that 
the object of his journey to Ireland was "to new model 

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the Forces there, and particularly to break no less than 
seventy of the honest officers of the army, and to fQl up 
their places with the tools and creatures of Con. Fhipps, 
and such a rabble of cut-throats as were fit for 
the work that they had for them to do." That there 
was some truth in the allegation is likely enough ; Sir 
Constantino Phipps was, at least, shortly afterwards 
dismissed from his offices. But Lord Anglesey at 
once took action against it as a scandalous libel. Defoe 
was brought before the Lords Justices, and committed 
for trial. 

He was liberated, however, on bail, and in spite of 
what he says about his resolution not to meddle on 
either side, made an energetic use of his liberty. He 
wrote The Secret History of One Tecur — ^the year after 
William's accession — vindicating the King's clemency 
towards the abettors of the arbitrary government of 
James, and explaining that he was compelled to employ 
many of them by the rapacious scrambling of his own 
adherents for places and pensions. The indirect bearing 
of this tract is obvious. In October three pamphlets 
came from Defoe's fertile pen ; an Advice to the People of 
Englomd to lay aside feuds and faction, and live together 
under the new King like good Christians ; and two parts, 
in quick succession, of a Secret History of the White Staff. 
This last work was an account of the circumstances 
under which the Treasurer's White Staff was taken 
from the Earl of Oxford, and put his conduct in a 
favourable light, exonerating him fi*om the suspicion of 
Jacobitism, and affirming — not quite accurately, as other 
accounts of the transaction seem to imply — that it was 
by Harley's advice that the Staff was committed to the 
Earl of Shrewsbury. One would be glad to accept this 

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114 DANIEL DEFOE. [chap. 

as proof of Defoe's attachment to the cause of his dis- 
graced benefactor ; yet Harley, as he lay in the Tower 
awaiting his trial on an impeachment of high treason, 
issued a disclaimer concerning the Secret History and 
another pamphlet, entitled, An Account of the Conduct of 
Robert, Ea/rl of Oxford, These pamphlets, he said, were 
not written with his knowledge or by his direction or 
encouragement; "on the contrary, he had reason to 
believe from several passages therein contained that it 
was the intention of the author, or authors, to do him a 
prejudice." This disclaimer may have been dictated by 
a wish not to appear wanting in respect to his judges ; at 
any rate Defoe's Secret History bears no trace on the 
surface of a design to prejudice him by its recital of 
facts. An Appeal to Honowr cmd Justice was Defoe's 
next production. While writing it, he was seized with 
a violent apoplectic fit, and it was issued with a Con- 
clusion by the Publisher, mentioning this circumstance, 
explaining that the pamphlet was consequently incom- 
plete, and adding : " If he recovers, he may be able to 
finish what he began ; if not, it is the opinion of most 
that know him that the treatment which he here com- 
plains of, and some others that he would have spoken of, 
have been the apparent cause of his disaster." There is 
no sign of incompleteness in the Appeal ; and the Con- 
clusion by the Publisher, while the author lay "in a 
weak and languishing condition, neither able to go on nor 
likely to recover, at least in any short time," gives a most 
artistic finishing stroke to it. Defoe never interfered 
with the perfection of it after his recovery, which took 
place very shortly. The Appeal was issued in the first 
week of January ; before the end of the month the 
indomitable wi-iter was ready with a Third Part of the 

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Secret History^ and a reply to Atterburj's Advice to the 
Freeholders of Eruflomd in view of the approaching 
elections. A series of tracts written in the character 
of a Quaker quickly followed, one rebuking a Dissenting 
preacher for inciting the new Government to vindictive 
severities, another rebuking Sacheverell for hypocrisy 
and perjury in taking the oath of abjui*ation, a third 
rebuking the Duke of Qrmond for encouraging Jacobite 
and High Church mobs. In March Defoe published his 
Family Instructor, a book of 450 pages ; in July, his 
History, by a Scots Gentleman in the Sivedish Service, 
qf <Aa Wars of Chan-les XI L 

Formidable as the list of these works seems, it does 
not represent more than Defoe's average rate of pro- 
duction for thirty years of his life. With grave anxie- 
ties added to the strain of such incessant toil, it is 
no wonder that nature should have raised its protest 
in an apoplectic fit. Even nature must have owned her- 
self vanquished, when she saw this very protest pressed 
into the service of the irresistible and triumphant 
worker. All the time he was at large upon bail, await- 
ing his trial. The trial took place in July, 1715, and he 
was found guilty. But sentence was deferred till next 
term. October came round, but Defoe did not appear 
to receive his sentence. He had made his peace with 
the Qovemment, upon '' capitulations '* of which chance 
has preserved the record in his own handwriting. He 
represented privately to Lord Chief Justice Parker that 
he had always been devoted to the Whig interest, and 
that any seeming departure from it had been due to 
errors of judgment, not to want of attachment. Whether 
the Whig leaders believed this representation we do not 
know, but they agreed to pardon '^ all former mistakes " 

I 2 

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116 DAiriEL DEF02. [chap. Vn. 

if he would now enter faithfallj into their service. 
Though the Hanoverian snccession had been cordially 
welcomed bj the steady masses of the nation, the Mar 
Eebellion in Scotland and the sympathy shown with this 
movement in the south, warned them that their enemies 
were not to be despised. There was a large turbulent 
element in the population, upon which agitators might 
work with fatal effect. The Jacobites had still a hold 
upon the Press, and the past years had been fruitful of 
examples of the danger of trying to crush sedition with 
the arm of the law. Prosecution had been proved to be 
the surest road to popularity. It occurred therefore 
that Defoe might be useful if he still passed as an 
opponent of the Government, insinuated himself as such 
into the confidence of Jacobites, obtained control of 
their publications, and nipped mischief in the bud. It 
was a dangerous and delicate service, exposing the 
emissary to dire revenge if he were detected, and to 
suspicion and misconstruction from his employers in his 
efforts to escape detection. But Defoe, delighting in 
his superior wits, and happy in the midst of dangerous 
intrigues, boldly undertook the task. 

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Fob the discovery of this ''stiange and surprising'' 
chapter in Defoe's life, which clears up much that might 
otherwise have been disputable in his character, the 
world is indebted solely to Mr. William Lee. Accident 
put Mr. Lee on the right scent, from which previous 
biographers had been diverted by too literal and implicit 
a faith in the arch-deceiver's statements, and too com- 
prehensive an application of his complaint that his 
name was made the hackney title of the times, upon 
which all sorts of low scribblers fathered their vile 
productions. Defoe's secret services on Tory papers 
exposed him, as we have seen, to misconstruction. 
Nobody knew this better than himself, and nobody 
could have guarded against it with more sleepless care. 
In the fourth year of King George's reign a change 
took place in the Ministry. Lord Townshend was suc- 
ceeded in the Home Secretary's office by Lord Stanhope. 
Thereupon Defoe judged it expedient to write to a 
private secretary, Mr. de la Faye, explaining at length 
his position. This letter along with five others, also 
designed to prevent misconstruction by his employers, 
lay in the State Paper Office till the year 1864, wheu 

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118 DANIEL DEFOE. [ohap. 

the whole packet fell into the hands of Mr. Lee. The 
following saodnct fragment of autobiography is dated 
April 26, 1718. 

'' Though I doubt not but you have acquainted my Lord 
Stanhope with what humble sense of his lordship's goodness I 
received the account you were pleased to give me, that my little 
services are accepted, and that his lordship is satisfied to go 
upon the foot of former capitulations, &c.; yet I confess. Sir, 
I have been anxious upon many accounts, with respect as 
well to the service itself as my own safety, lest my lord 
may think himself ill-served by me, even when I have best 
peif ormed my duty. 

^* I thought it therefore not only a debt to myself, but a 
duty to his lordship, that I should give his lordship a short 
account, as clear as I can, how far my former instructions 
empowered me to act, and in a word what this little piece of 
service is, for which I am so much a subject of his lordship's 
present favour and bounty. 

" It was in the Ministry of my Lord Townshend, when my 
Lord Chief Justice Parker, to whom I stand obliged for the 
favour, was pleased so far to state my case, that notwithstand- 
ing the misrepresentations under which I had suffered, and 
notwithstanding some mistakes which I was the first to 
acknowledge, I was so happy as to be believed in the pro- 
fessions I made of a sincere attachment to the interest of 
the present Government, and, speaking with all possible 
humility, 1 hope I have not dishonoured my Lord Parker's 

** In considering, after this, which way I might be rendered 
most useful to the Government, it was proposed by my Lord 
Townshend that 1 should still appear as if 1 were, as before, 
under the displeasure of the Government, and separated from 
the Whigs ; and that I might be more serviceable in a kind 
of disguise than if I appeared openly ; and upon this foot a 
weekly paper, which 1 was at first directed to write, in oppo- 
sition to a scandalous paper called the Shyf^t Shifted, was laid 
aside, and the first thing 1 engaged in was a monthly book 

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called Mercurius PoUHcuSj of which presently. In the 
interval of this, Dyer, the News-Letter writer, having been 
dead, and Dormer, his successor, being unable by his troubles 
to carry on that work, I had an offer of a share in the 
property, as well as in the management of that work. 

**I immediately acquainted my Lord Townshend of it, 
who, by Mr. Buckley, let me know it would be a very accept- 
able piece of service ; for that letter was really very pre- 
judicial to the public, and the most difficult to come at in a 
judicial way in case of offence given. My lord was pleased 
to add, by Mr. Buckley, that he would consider my service in 
that case, as he afterwards did. 

''Upon this I engaged in it ; and that so far, that though 
the property was not wholly my own, yet the conduct and 
government of the style and news was so entirely in me, that 
I ventured to assure his lordship the sting of that mischievous 
paper should be entirely taken out, though it was granted that 
the style should continue Tory as it was, that the party 
might be amused and not set up another, which would have 
destroyed the design, and this part I therefore take entirely 
on myself still. 

"This went on for a year, before my Lord Townshend 
went out of the office ; and his lordship, in consideration of 
this service, made me the appointment which Mr. Buckley 
knows of, with promise of a further allowance as service 

" My Lord Sunderland, to whose goodness I had many years 
ago been obliged, when I was in a secret commission sent to 
Scotland, was pleased to approve and continue this service, 
and the appointment annexed ; and with his lordship's appro- 
bation, I introduced myself, in the disguise of a translator of 
the foreign news, to be so far concerned in this weekly paper 
of Mist's as to be able to keep it within the circle of a secret 
management, also prevent the mischievous part of it ; and yet 
neither Mist, or any of those concerned ^ with him, have the 
least guess or suspicion by whose direction I do it. 

" But here it becomes necessary to acquaint my lord (as I 
hinted to you. Sir), that this paper, called the Journal, is not 

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120 DANIEL DEFOE. [chap. 

in myself in property, as the other, only in management ; 
with this express difEerence, that if anything happens to be 
put in without my knowledge, which may give offence, or if 
anything slips my observation which may be ill-taken, his 
lordship shall be sure always to know whether he has a 
servant to reprove or a stranger to correct. 

^* Upon the whole, however, this is the consequence, that 
by this management, the weekly Joumalj and Dormer^i 
Letter, as also the Mercurius Politkus, which is in the same 
nature of management as the Jowmal, will be always kept 
(mistakes excepted) to pass as Tory papers, and yet be dis- 
abled and enervated, so as to do no mischief or give any 
ofEence to the Government." 

Others of the tell-tale letters show us in detail how 
Defoe acquitted himself of his engagements to the 
Government — ^bowing, as he said, in the house of 
Bimmon. In one he speaks of a traitorous pamphlet 
which he has stopped at the press, and begs the Secre- 
tary to assure his superiors that he has the original in 
safe keeping, and that no eye but his own has seen it. 
In another he apologizes for an obnoxious paragraph 
which had crept into Mist's Joy/mal, avowiag that 
'^ Mr. Mist did it, after I had looked over what he had 
gotten together," that he [Defoe] had no concern in it, 
directly or indirectly, and that he thought himself 
obliged to notice this, to make good what he said in his 
last, viz. that if any mistake happened. Lord Stanhope 
should always know whether he had a servant to re- 
prove or a stranger to punish. In another he expresses 
his alarm at hearing of a private suit against Morphew, 
the printer of the Mercwrius Folitums, for a passage 
in that paper, and explains, first, that the obnoxious 
passage appeared two years before, and was consequently 
covered by a capitulation giving him indemnity for 

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all former mistakes; secondly, that the thing itself 
was not his, neither could any one pretend to charge it 
on him, and consequently it could not be adduced as 
proof of any failure in his duty. In another letter he 
gives an account of a new treaty with Mist. '' I need 
not trouble you,'' he says, '^ with the particulars, but in 
a word he professes himself convinced that he has been 
wrong, that the Government has treated him with lenity 
and forbearance, and he solemnly engages to me to give 
no more ofience. The liberties Mr. Buckley mentioned, 
viz. to seem on the same side as before, to rally the 
Flying Fost, the Whig writers, and even the word 
'Whig,' &c., and to admit foolifih and trifling things 
in favour of the Tories. This, as I represented it to 
him, he agrees is liberty enough, and resolves his paper 
shall, for the future, amuse the Tories, but not affront 
the Government." If Mist should break through this 
understanding, Defoe hopes it will be understood that 
it is not his fault ; he can only say that the printer's 
resolutions of amendment seem to be sincere. 

*' In pursuance also of this reformation, he brought me this 
morning the enclosed letter, which^ indeed, I was glad to see, 
because, though it seems couched in terms which might have 
been made public, yet has a secret gall in it, and a manifest 
tendency to reproach the Government with partiality and 
injustice, and (as it acknowledges expressly) was written to 
serve a present turn. As this is an earnest of his just inten- 
tion, I hope he will go on to your satisfaction. 

''Give me leave, Sir^ to mention here a circumstance 
which concerns myself, and which, indeed, is a little hardship 
upon me, viz. that I seem to merit less, when I intercept a 
piece of barefaced treason at the Press, than when I stop 
such a letter as the enclosed ; because one seems to be of a 
kind which no man would dare to meddle with. But I would 

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122 DANIEL DEFOE. [chap. 

persuade myself, Sir, that stopping such notorious things is not 
without its good efEect, particularly hecause, as it is true that 
some people are generally found who do venture to print any- 
thing that offers, so stopping them here is some discourage- 
ment and disappointment to them, and they often die in our 

" I speak this, Sir, as well on occasion of what you were 
pleased to say upon that letter which I sent you formerly 
about Killing no Murder, as upon another with verses in it, 
which Mr. Mist gave me yesterday ; which, upon my word, 
is so villainous and scandalous that I scarce dare to send it 
without your order, and an assurance that my doing so shall 
be taken well, for I confess it has a peculiar insolence in it 
against His Majesty* s person which (as blasphemous words 
against God) are scarce fit to be repeated." 

In the last of the series (of date June 13, 1718), 
Defoe is able to assure his employers that '' he believes 
the time is come when the journal, instead of affronting 
and offending the Government, may many ways be made 
serviceable to the Government ; and he has Mr. M. so 
absolutely resigned to proper measures for it, that he 
is persuaded he may answer for it.'' 

Following up the clue afforded by these letters, Mr. 
Lee has traced the history of Misfa Jotimal under 
Defoe's surveillance. Mist did not prove so absolutely 
resigned to proper measures as his supervisor had 
begun to hope. On the contrary, he had frequent fits of 
refractory obstinacy, and gave a good deal of trouble 
both to Defoe and to the Government. Between them, 
however, they had the poor man completely in their 
power. When he yielded to the importunity of his 
Jacobite correspondents, or kicked against the taunts 
of the Whig organs about his wings being dipped, — 
they, no more than he, knew how — his secret controllers 

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had two ways of bringing bim to reason. Sometimes the 
Government prosecuted him, wisely choosing occasions 
for their displeasure on which they were likely to have 
popular feeling on thdr side. At other times Defoe 
threatened to withdraw and have nothing more to do 
with the Jowmal. Once or twice he carried this threat 
into execution. His absence soon told on the circula- 
tion, and Mist entreated him to return, making promises 
of good behaviour for the future. Further, Defoe 
commended himself to the gratitude of his unconscious 
dupe by sympathizing with him in his troubles, under- 
taking the conduct of the paper while he lay in prison, 
and editing two volumes of a selection of Miscellcmy 
Letters from its columns. At last, however, after eight 
years of this partnership, during which Mist had no 
suspicion of Defoe's connexion with the Government, 
the secret somehow seems to have leaked out. Such 
at least is Mr. Lee's highly probable explanation of a 
murderous attack made by Mist upon his partner. 

Defoe, of course, stoutly denied Mist's accusations, and 
published a touching account of the circumstances, 
describing his assailant as a lamentable instance of 
ingratitude. Here was a man whom he had saved from 
the gallows, and befriended at his own risk in the 
utmost distress, turning round upon him, " basely using, 
insulting, and provoking him, and at last drawing his 
sword upon his benefactor." Defoe disarmed him, gave 
him his life, and sent for a surgeon to dress his wounds. 
But even this was not enough. Mist would give him 
nothing but abuse of the worst and grossest nature. 
It almost shook Defoe's faith in human nature. Was 
there ever such ingratitude known before ^ The most 
curious thing is that Mr. Lee, who has brought all 

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194 DANIEL DEFOE. [cha?. 

these facts to light, seems to share Defoe*s ingennoiis 
astonishment at this ''strange instance of ungrateful 
violence/' and conjectures that it must have proceeded 
from imaginary wrong of a very grievous nature, such 
as a suspicion that Defoe had instigated the Government 
to prosecute him. It is perhaps as well that it should 
have fallen to so loyal an admirer to exhume Defoe's 
secret services and public protestations; the record 
might otherwise have been rejected as incredible. 

Mr. Lee*s researches were not confined to Defoe's 
relations with Mist and his journal, and the other pub- 
lications mentioned in the precious letter to Mr. de la 
Faye. Once assured that Defoe did not withdraw from 
newspaper-writing in 1715, he ransacked the journals 
of the period for traces of his hand and contemporary 
allusions to his labours. A rich harvest rewarded Mr. 
Lee's zeal. Defoe's individuality is so marked that it 
thrusts itself through every disguise. A careful student 
of the Review, who had compared it with the literature 
of the time, and learnt his peculiar tricks of style and 
vivid ranges of interest, could not easily be at fault in 
identifying a composition of any length. Defoe's incom- 
parable clearness of statement would alone betray him ; 
that was a gift of nature which no art could successfully 
imitate. Contemporaries also were quick at recognising 
their Proteus in his many shapes, and their gossip gives 
a strong support to internal evidence, resting as it pro- 
bably did on evidences which were not altogether in- 
ternal. Though Mr. Lee may have been rash sometimes 
in quoting little scraps of news as Defoe*s, he must be 
admitted to have established that, prodigious as was the 
number and extent of the veteran's separate publications 
during the reign of the First George, it was also the 

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most active period of his career as a journalist. Man- 
aging Mist and writing for his journal would have been 
work enough for an ordinary man, but Defoe founded, 
conducted, and wrote for a host of other newspapers — 
the monthly Mercwrivs PoUticua, an octavo of sixty- 
four pages (1716 — 1720); the weekly Dormer' a News- 
Zc^fer (written, not printed, 1716 — 1718) ; the Whitehall 
Evening Post (a tri-weekly quarto-sheet, established 
1718) ; the DaMy Post (a daily single leaf, folio, esta- 
blished 1719) ; and Applehee's Journal (with which his 
connexion began in 1720 and ended in 1726). 

The contributions to these newspapers which Mr. Lee 
has assigned, with great judgment it seems to me, to 
Defoe, range over a wide field of topics, from piracy and 
highway robberies to suicide and the Divinity of Christ. 
Defoe's own test of a good writer was that he should at 
once please and serve his readers, and he kept this 
double object in view in his newspaper writings, as much 
as in Robinson Crusoe, Moll Flanders, and the Family 
Instructor. Great as is the variety of subjects in the 
selections which Mr. Lee has made upon internal evi- 
dence, they are all of them subjects in which Defoe 
showed a keen interest in his acknowledged works. In 
providing amusement for his readers he did not soar 
above his age in point of refinement ; and in providing 
instruction, he did not fall below his age in point of 
morality and religion. It is a notable circumstance 
that one of the marks by which contemporaries traced 
his hand was '* the little art he is truly master of, of 
forging a story and imposing it on the world for truth." 
Of this he gave a conspicuous instance in Misfs Jowmal 
in an account of the marvellous blowing up of the island 
of St. Yincent* which in circumstantial invention and 

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126 DAJSrUEL DEFOE. [cha». 

force of description must be ranked among his master- 
pieces. But Defoe did more tlian embellish stories of 
strange events for his newspapers. He was a master 
of journalistic art in all its branches, and a fertile in- 
ventor and organizer of new devices. It is to him, Mr» 
Lee says, and his researches entitle him to authority, 
that we owe the prototype of the leading article, a 
Letter Introductory, as it became the fashion to call 
it, written on some subject of general interest and 
placed at the commencement of each number. The 
writer of this Letter Introductory was known as the 
" author " of the paper. 

Another feature in journalism which Defoe greatly 
helped to develop, if he did not actually invent, was 
the Journal of Society. In the Review he had pro- 
vided for the amusement of his readers by the device 
of a Scandal Club, whose transactions he professed to 
report. But political excitement was intense through- 
out the whole of Queen Anne's reign ; Defoe could 
afford but small space for scandal, and his Club was 
often occupied with fighting his minor political battles. 
When, however, the Hanoverian succession was secured, 
and the land had rest from the hot strife of parties, 
light gossip was more in request. Newspapers became 
less political, and their circulation extended from the 
coSee-houses, inns, and ale-houses to a new class of 
readers. "They have of late," a writer in Applehee's 
Jowmal says in 1725, ^'been taken in much by thd 
women, especially the political ladies, to assist at 
the tea-table." Defoe seems to have taken an active 
part in making Miat^a Jowmal and Applehee'a JommaXy 
both Tory organs, suitable for this more frivolous sec- 
tion of the public This fell in with his purpose of 

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diminishing the political weight of these journals, and 
at the same time increased their sale. He converted 
them from rahid party agencies into registers of domestic 
news and vehicles of social disquisitions, sometimes 
grave, sometimes gay in subject, but uniformly bright 
and spirited in tone. 

The raw materials of several of Defoe's elaborate 
tales, such as Moll Flanders and Colond Jack^ are to 
be found in the columns of Mist's and Applebee^a. In 
connexion with Applehee'a more particularly, Defoe went 
some way towards anticipating the work of the modem 
Special Correspondent, He apparently interviewed 
distinguished criminals in Newgate, and extracted from 
them the stories of their lives. Fart of what he thus 
gathered he communicated to Applehee; sometimes, when 
the notoriety of the case justified it, he drew up longer 
narratives and published them separately as pamphlets. 
He was an adept in the art of puffing his own produc- 
tions, whether books or journals. It may be doubted 
whether any American editor ever mastered this art 
more thoroughly than Defoe. Nothing, for instance, 
could surpass the boldness of Defoe's plan for directing 
public attention to his narrative of the robberies and 
escapes of Jack Sheppard. He seems to have taken a 
particular interest in this daring gaol-breaker. Mr. 
Lee, in fact, finds evidence that he had gained Shep- 
pard's affectionate esteem. He certainly turned his 
acquaintance to admirable account. He procured a 
letter for Applebee's Jowmal from Jack, with "kind 
love," and a copy of verses of his own composition. 
Both letter and verses probably came from a more prac- 
tised pen, but, to avert suspicion, the original of the 
letter was declared to be on view at Applebee's, and 

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128 DANIEL DEFOE. [char 

" well known to be in the handwriting of John Shep- 
pard." Next Defoe prepared a thrilling narrative of 
Jack's adventures, which was of course described as 
written by the prisoner himself, and printed at his 
particular desire. But this was not all. The artful 
author further arranged that when Sheppard reached 
his place of execution, he should send for a friend to 
the cart as he stood under the gibbet, and deliver a 
copy of the pamphlet as his last speech and dying con> 
fession. A paragraph recording this incident was duly 
inserted in the newspapers. It is a crowning illustration 
of the inventive daring with which Defoe practised the 
tricks of his trade. 

One of Defoe's last works in connection with journal- 
ism was to write a prospectus for a new weekly peri- 
odical, the Universal Spectator^ which was started by his 
son-in-law, Henry Baker, in October 1728. There is 
more than internal and circumstantial evidence that 
this prospectus was Defoe's composition. When Baker 
retired from the paper five years afterwards, he drew 
up a list of the articles which had appeared under his 
editorship, with the names of the writers attached. 
This list has been preserved, and from it we learn that 
the first number, containing a prospectus and an intro- 
ductory essay on the qualifications of a good writer, 
was written by Defoe. That experienced journalist natu- 
rally tried to give an air of novelty to the enterprise. 
"If this paper," the first sentence runs, "was not 
intended to be what no paper at present is, we should 
never attempt to crowd in among such a throng of 
public writers as at this time oppress the town." In 
effect the scheme of the Universal Spectator was to 
revive the higher kind of periodical essays which made 

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tke reputation of the earlier Speetator. Attempts to 
follow in the wake of Addison and Steele had for so 
long ceased to be features in journalism ; their manner 
had been so effectually superseded by less refined pur- 
veyors of light literature — ^Defoe himself going heartily 
with the stream — ^that the revival was opportune, and 
in point of fact proved successful, the Umveraal Spectator 
continuing to exist for nearly twenty years. It shows 
how quickly the SpeeUUor took its place among the 
classics, that the writer of the prospectus considered it 
necessary to deprecate a charge of presumption in 
seeming to challenge comparison. 

" Let no man envy us the celebrated title we have assumed, 
or charge us with arrogance^ as if we bid the world expect 
great things from us. Must we have no power to please, un- 
less we come up to the full height of those inimitable per- 
formances ? Is there no wit or humour left because they are 
gone? Is the spirit of the Spectators all lost, and their 
mantle fallen upon nobody ? Have they said all that can be 
said ? Has the world offered no variety, and presented no 
new scenes, since they retired from us ? Or did they leave 
off, because they were quite exhausted^ and had no more to 

Defoe did not always speak so respectfully of the 
authors of the SpecUOor. If he had been asked why 
they left off, he would probably have given the reason 
contained in the last sentence, and backed his opinion 
by contemptuous remarks about the want of fertility in 
the scholarly brain. He himself could have gone on 
producing for ever ; he was never gravelled for lack of 
matter, had no nice ideas about manner, and was some- 
times sore about the superior respectability of those who 
had. But here he was on business, addressing people 


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who looked back regretfully from the vulgarity of Mis^a 
and Applebee*8 to the refinement of earlier periodicals, 
and making a bid for their custom. A few more sen- 
tences from his advertisement will show how well he 
understood their prejudices : — 

" The main design of this work is, to turn your thonghts a 
little off from the clamour of contending parties, which has 
60 long surfeited you with their ill-timed politics, and restore 
your taste to things truly superior and subUme. 

*' In order to this, we shall endeavour to present you with 
such subjects as are capable, if well handled, both to 
divert and to instruct you ; such as shall render conversation 
pleasant, and help to make mankind agreeable to one another. 

** As for our management of them, not to promise too much 
for ourselves, we shall only say we hope, at least, to make our 
work acceptable to everybody, because we resolve, if possible 
to displease nobody. 

" We assure the world, by way of negative, that we shall 
engage in no quarrels, meddle with no parties, deal in no 
scandal, nor endeavour to make any men merry at the expense 
of their neighbours. In a word, we shall set nobody to- 
gether by the ears. And though' we have encouraged the 
ingenious world to correspond with us by letters, we hope 
they will not take it ill, that we say beforehand, no letters 
will be taken notice of by us which contain any personal 
reproaches, intermeddle with family breaches, or tend to 
scandal or indecency of any kind. 

" The current papers are more than sufficient to carry on aU 
the dirty work the town can have for them to do ; and what 
with party strife, politics, poetic quarrels, and all the other 
consequences of a wrangling age ; they are in no danger of 
wanting employment ; and those readers who delight in such 
things, may divert themselves there. But our views, as is 
said above, lie another way " 

Good writing is what Defoe promises the readers 
of the Umversal Spectator, and this leads him to 

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consider what particnlar qualificatiens go to the com- 
position, or in a word, " what is required to denominate 
a man a good writer,^* His definition is worth quoting 
as a statement of his principles of composition. 

'' One says this is a polite author ; another says^ that is an 
excellent good-writer; and generally we find some oblique 
strokes pointed sideways at themselves ; intimating that 
whether we think fit to allow it or not, they take themselves 
to be YBTj good writers. And, indeed, I must excuse them 
their vanity ; for if a poor author had not some good opinion 
of himself, especially when under the discouragement of 
having nobody else to be of his mind, he would never write 
at all ; nay, he could not ; it would take off all the little dull 
edge that his pen might have on it before, and he would not 
be able to say one word to the purpose. 

" Now whatever may be the lot of this paper, be that as 
common fame shall direct, yet without entering into the 
enquiry who writes better, or who writes worse, I shall lay 
down one specific, by which you that read shall impartially 
determine who are, or are not, to be called good toriters. In a 
word, the character of a good writer, wherever he is to be 
found, is this, viz., that he writes so as to please and serve 
at the same time. 

" If he writes to plectae, and not to serve, he is a flatterer and 
a hypocrite ; if to serve and not to please^ he turns cynic and 
satirist. The first deals in smooth falsehood, the last in 
rough scandal ; the last may do some good, though little ; the 
first does no good, and may do mischief, not a little ; the last 
provokes your rage, the first provokes your pride ; and in a 
word either of them is hurtful rather than useful. But the 
writer that strives to be useful, writes to serve you, and at 
the same time, by an imperceptible art, draws you on to be 
pleased also. He represents truth with plainness, virtue with 
praise ; he even reprehends with a softness that carries tlie 
force of a satire without the salt of it ; and he insensibly 
screws himself into your good opinion, that as his writings 
merit your regard, so they fail not to obtain it. 

K 2 

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182 DANIEL DEFOE. [cuap.yiii. 

''This is part of the character by which I define a good 
writer ; I say 'tis but part of it, for it is not a half sheet that 
would contain the full description ; a large yolume would 
hardly suffice it. His fame requires, indeed, a very good 
writer to give it due praise ; and for tiiat reason (and a good 
reason too) I go no farther with if 

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Those of my readers who have thought of Defoe only as 
a writer of stories which young and old still love to 
read, must not be surprised that so few pages of this 
little book should be left for an account of his work in 
that field. No doubt Defoe's chief claim to the world's 
interest is that he is the author of Rohinacn Crusoe. 
But there is little to be said about this or any other of 
Defoe's tales in themselves. Their art is simple, unique, 
incommunicable, and they are too well known to need 
description. On the other hand, there is much that is 
worth knowing and not generally known about the 
relation of these works to his life, and the place that 
they occupy in the sum total of his literary activity. 
Hundreds of thousands since Defoe's death, and mil- 
lions in ages to come, would never have heard his 
name but for Hobinaon Crusoe. To his contemporaries 
the publication of that work was but a small incident in 
a career which for twenty years had claimed and held 
their interest. People in these days are apt to imagine, 
because Defoe wrote the most fascinating of books for 
children, that he was himself simple, child-like, frank, 
open, and unsuspecting. He has been so described by 

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184 DANIBL DEFOE. [chap. 

more than one historian of literature. It was not so 
that he appeared to his contemporaries, and it is not so 
that he can appear to us when we know his lif e, unless 
we recognise that he took a child's delight in beating 
with their own weapons the most astute intriguers in 
the most intriguing period of English history. 

Defoe was essentially a journalist; He wrote for 
the day, and for the greatest interest of the greatest 
number of the day. He always had some ship sailing 
with the passing breeze, and laden with a useful cargo 
for the coast upon which the wind chanced to be blow- 
ing. If the Tichbome trial had happened in his time, 
we should certainly have had from him an exact history 
of the boyhood and surprising adventures of Thomas 
Castro, commonly known as Sir Boger, which would 
have come down to us as a true record, taken, perhaps, 
by the chaplain of Portland prison from the convict's 
own lips. It would have had such an air of authenticity, 
and would have been corroborated by such an array of 
trustworthy witnesses, that nobody in later times could 
have doubted its truth. Defoe always wrote what a 
large number of people were in a mood to read. All 
his writings, with so few exceptions that they may 
reasonably be supposed to fall within the category, were 
pUcee de circonstance. Whenever any distinguished 
person died or otherwise engaged public attention, no 
matter how distinguished, whether as a politician, a 
criminal, or a divine, Defoe lost no time in bringing 
out a biography. It was in such emergencies that he 
produced his memoirs of Charles XII., Peter the Great, 
Count Patkul, the Duke of Shrewsbury, Baron deGoertz, 
the Rev. Daniel Williams, Captain Avery the King of 
the Pirates, Dominique Cartouche, Bob Boy, Jonathan 

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Wild, Jack Sheppard, Duncan Campbell. When the 
day had been fixed for the Earl of Oxford's trial for 
high treason, Defoe issued the fictitious Minutes of the 
Secret Negotiations of Mons, Memager at the Englisli 
Court during his ministry. We owe the Journal qf the 
Plague in 1666 to a visitation which fell upon France 
in 1721, and caused much apprehension in England. 
The germ which in his fertile mind grew into Robinson 
Crusoe fell from the real adventures of Alexander Sel- 
kirk, whose solitary residence of four years on the 
island of Juan Fernandez was a nine days' wonder in 
the reign of Queen Anne. Defoe was too busy with 
his politics at the moment to turn it to account ; It was 
recalled to him later on, in the year 1719, when the 
exploits of famous pirates had given a vivid interest to 
the chances of adventurers in far-away islands on the 
American and African coasts. The X{/e, AdverUvres, 
amd Piracies of the fomwus Ca/ptain Singleton, who was 
set on shore in Madagascar, traversed the continent of 
Africa from east to west past the sources of the Nile, 
and went roving again in the company of the famous 
Captain Avery, was produced to satisfy the same de- 
mand. Such biographies as those of Moll Flamders and 
the Lady Roxoflfia were of a kind, as he himself illustrated 
by an amusing anecdote, that interested all times and 
all professions and degrees ; but we have seen to what 
accident he owed their suggestion and probably part of 
their materials. He had tested the market for such 
wares in his Journals of Society. 

In following Defoe's career, we are constantly re- 
minded that he was a man of business, and practised the 
profession of letters with a shrewd eye to the main chance. 
He scofied at the idea of practising it with any other 

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196 DAKIEL DEFOE. [ohap. 

object, though he had aepiiatioiiB after immortal fame, 
as much as any of his more decorous contemporaries, 
like Thomas Fuller, he frankly avowed that he wrote 
'^ for some honest profit to himself." Did any man, he 
asked, do anything without some regard to his own 
advantage f Whenever he hit upon a profitable vein, 
he worked it to exhaustion, putting the ore into various 
shapes to attract different purchasers. Robinson Crusoe 
made a sensation; he immediately followed up the 
original story with a Second Fart, and the Second Fart 
with a volume of Serums Eefledume. He had discovered 
the keenness of the public appetite for stories of the 
supernatural, in 1706, by means of his True RdaHon qf 
the Apparitian qf one Mrs. Veal} When, in 1720, he 
undertook to write the life of the popular f or&une-teller, 
Duncan Campbell — ^a puff which illustrates almost better 
than anything else Defoe's extraordinary ingenuity in 
putting a respectable face upon the most disreputable 
materials— he had another proof of the avidity with 
which people run to hear marvels. He followed up 
this clue with A System qf Magic, or a History qf the 
Black Art; The Secrets of the Invisible World disclosed, 
or a Universal History qf Apparitions ; and a humorous 
History qf the DevU, in which last work he subjected 
Paradise Lost, to which Addison had drawn attention 

^ ICr. Lee has disposed conclusively of the myth that this tale 
was written to promote the sale of a dull book by one Drelinoourt 
on the Fear of Death, which Mrs. Veal's ghost earnestly recom- 
mended her friend to read. It was first published separately as a 
pamphlet without any reference to Drelincourt It was not printed 
with Drelincourt's Fear of Death till the fourth edition of that 
work, which was already popular. Further, the sale of Drelinoourt 
does not appear to have been increased by the addition of Defoe's 
pamphlet to the book, and of Mrs. Teal's recommendation to the 

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by his papers in the SpeetcOar, to very sharp criticism. 
In his books and pamphlets on the Behaviour of Servants, 
and his works of more formal instruction, the Family 
Instructor y the PUim qf English Comm/ereej the Complete 
English Tradesnumy the Complete English GenUemom (his 
last work, left unfinished and unpublished), he wrote with 
a similar regard to what was for the moment in demand. 
Defoe's novel- writing thus grew naturally out of his 
general literary trade, and had not a little in common 
with the rest of his abundant stock. All his produc- 
tions in this line, his masterpiece, Rchinson Crusoe, sia 
well aA what Charles Lamb calls his '^ secondary novels," 
Captcmr Singleton, Colonel Jacky Moll Flcmders, and 
J^oxanay were manufactured from material for which he 
had ascertained that there was a market; the only novelty 
lay in the mode of preparation. From writing bio- 
graphies with real names attached to them, it was but 
a short step to writiog biographies with fictitious names. 
Defoe is sometimes spoken of as the inventor of the 
realistio novel ; realistic biography would, perhaps, be a 
more strictly accurate description. Looking at the 
character of his professed records of fact, it seems 
strange that he should ever have thought of writing the 
lives of imaginary heroes, and should not have remained 
content with '* forging stories and imposing them on the 
world for truth " about famous and notorious persons in 
real lif a The purveyors of news in those days could use 
without fear of detection a licence which would not be 
tolerated now. They could not, indeed, satisfy the public 
appetite for news without taking liberties with the 
truth. They had not special correspondents in all parts 
of the world, to fill their pages with reports from the 
spot of things seen and heard. The public had acquired 

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188 DANIEL DEFOE. [chap. 

the habit of looking to the press, to periodical papers 
and casual books and pamphlets, for information about 
passing events and prominent men before sufficient 
means had been organized for procuring information 
which should approximate to correctness. In such cir- 
cumstances, the temptation to invent and embellish was 
irresistible. "Why," a paragraph-maker of the time is 
made to say, " If we will write nothing but truth, we 
must bring you no news ; we are bound to bring you such 
as we can find.'' Tet it was not lies but truth that the 
public wanted as much as they do now. Hence arose 
the necessity of fortifying reports with circumstantial 
evidence of their authenticity. Nobody rebuked un- 
principled news-writers more strongly than Defoe, and 
no news-writer was half as copious in his guarantees for 
the accuracy of his information. When a report reached 
England that the island of St. Vincent had been blown 
into the air, Defoe wrote a description of the calamity, 
the most astonishing thing that had happened in the 
world '^ since the Creation, or at least since the destruc- 
tion of the earth by water in the general Deluge,'' and 
prefaced his description by saying : — 

" Our accounts of this come from so many several hands and 
several places that it would be impossible to bring the letters 
all separately into this journal ; and when we had done so, or at- 
tempted to do so, would leave the story confused, and the world 
not perfectly informed. We have therefore thought it better 
to give the substance of this amazing accident in one collection; 
making together as full and as distinct an account of the whole 
as we beUeve it possible to come at by any intelligence whatso- 
ever, and at the close of this account we shall give some pro- 
bable guesses at the natural cause of so terrible an operation.*' 

Defoe carried the same system of vouching for the 
truth of his narratives by referring them to likely 

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sources, into pamphlets and books which really served 
the purpose of newspapers, being written for the grati- 
fication of passing interests. The History of the Wars 
of Charles XII., which Mr. Lee ascribes to him, was 
written ^* by a Scots gentleman, in the Swedish service." 
The short narrative of the life and death of Count 
Patkul was '^ written by the Lutheran Minister who 
assisted him in his last hours, and faithfully translated 
out of a High Dutch manuscript/' M. Mesnager's minutes 
of his negotiations were " written by himself," and " done 
out of French." Defoe knew that the public would 
read such narratives more eagerly if they believed them 
to be true, and ascribed them to authors whose position 
entitled them to confidence. There can be little doubt 
that he drew upon his imagination for more than the 
title-pages. But why when he had so many eminent 
and notorious persons to serve as his subjects, with all 
the advantage of bearing names about which the public 
were already curious, did he turn to the adventures of 
new and fictitious heroes and heroines) One can 
only suppose that he was attracted by the greater free 
dom of movement in pure invention; he made the 
venture with Jiobinson Crusoe, it was successful, and he 
repeated it. But after the success of Robirison Crusoe, 
he by no means abandoned his old fields. It was after 
this that he produced autobiographies and other primA 
/ckde authentic lives of notorious thieves and piratea 
With all his records of heroes, real or fictitious, he 
practised the same devices for ensuring credibility. In 
all alike he took for granted that the first question 
neople would ask about a story was whether it was true. 
Jbhe novel, it must be remembered, was then in its 
infancy, and Defoe, as we shall presently see, imagined, 

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140 DANIEL DEFOE. [chap. 

probably not without good reason, that his readers wonld 
^ disapprove of story-telling for the mere pleasure of the 
thing, as an immorality. 

In writing for the entertainment of his own time, 
Defoe took the surest way of writing for the entertain- 
ment of all tune. Tet if he had never chanced to write 
Rchinaon Crusoe, he would now haye a very obscure 
place in English literature. His " natural infirmity of 
homely plain writing," as he humorously described it^ 
might have drawn students to his works, but they ran 
considerable risk of lying in utter oblivion. He was 
at war with the whole guild of respectable writers who 
have become classics ; they despised him as an illiter- 
ate fellow, a vulgar huckster, and never alluded to him 
except in terms of contempt. He was not slow to retort 
their civilities ; but the retorts might very easily have 
sunk beneath the waters, while the assaults were 
preserved by their mutual support. The vast mass of 
Defoe's writings received no kindly aid from distin- 
guished contemporaries to float them down the stream ; 
everything was done that bitter dislike and supercilious 
indifference could do to submerge them. Rohinaon Crusoe 
was their sole life-buoy. 

It would be a mistake to suppose that the vitality of 
Eohinson Crusoe is a happy accident, and that others of 
Defoe's tales have as much claim in point of merit to per- 
manence. Robinson Crusoe has lived longest, because it 
lives most, because it was detached as it were from its own 
time and organized for separate existence. It is the only 
one of Defoe's tales that shows what he could do as an 
artist. We might have seen from the others that he had 
the genius of a great artist ; here we have the possibility 
realized, the convincing proof of accomplished work. 

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Moll Fkmdera is in some respects superior as a novel 
Moll is a much more complicated character than the 
simple, open-minded, manlymariner of York; a strangely 
mixed compound of craft and impulse, selfishness and 
generosity — in short, a thoroughly bad woman, made bad 
by circumstances. In tracing the vigilant resolution 
with which she plays upon human weakness, the spasms 
of compunction which shoot across her wily designs, the 
selfish afterthoughts which paralyse her generous im- 
pulses, her fits of dare-devil courage and uncontrollable 
panic, and the steady current of good-humoured satisfac- 
tion with herself which makes her chuckle equally over 
mishaps and successes, Defoe has gone much more deeply 
into the springs of action, and sketched a much richer 
page in the natural history of his species than in 
Robinson Crusoe. True, it is a more repulsive page, but 
that is not the only reason why it has fallen into com- 
parative oblivion, and exists now only as a parasite upon 
the more popular work. It is not equally well constructed 
for the struggle of existence among books. Ko book 
can live for ever which is not firmly organized round 
some central principle of life, and that principle in itself 
imperishable. It must have a heart and members; 
the members must be soundly compacted and the heart 
superior to decay. Compared with Robinson Crusoe^ 
MoLl Flcmders is only a string of diverting incidents, 
the lowest type of book organism, very brilliant while it 
is fresh and new, but not qualified to survive competitors 
for the world's interest. There is no unique creative 
purpose in it to bind the whole together ; it might be 
cut into pieces, each capable of wriggling amusingly by 
itself. The gradual corruption of the heroine's virtue, 
which is the encompassing scheme of the tale, is too thin 

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142 DANIEL DEFOE. [chap. 

as well as too common an artistic envelope ; the incidents 
burst tbrongh it at so many points that it becomes a 
shapeless mass. But in Bobineon Crusoe we have real 
growth from a vigorous germ. The central idea round 
which the tale is organized, the position of a man cast 
ashore on a desert island, abandoned to his own re- 
sources, suddenly shot beyond help or counsel from his 
fellow-creatures, is one that must live as long as the 
uncertainty of human life. 

The germ of Bobinaon Crusoe, the actual experience 
of Alexander Selkirk, went floating about for several 
years, and more than one artist dallied with it, till it 
finally settled and took root in the mind of the one man 
of his generation most capable of giving it a home and 
working out its artistic possibilities. Defoe was the only 
man of letters in his time who might have been thrown 
on a desert island without finding himself at a loss what 
to do. The art required for developing the position in 
imagination was not of a complicated kind, and yet it is 
one of the rarest of gifts. Something more was wanted 
than simply conceiving what a man in such a situation 
would probably feel and probably do. Above all, it was 
necessary that his perplexities should be unexpected, and 
his expedients for meeting them unexpected ; yet both 
perplexities and expedients so real and life-like that, when 
we were told them, we should wonder we had not thought 
of them before. One gift was indispensable for this, how- 
ever many might be accessory, the genius of circumstantial 
invention — not a very exalted order of genius, perhaps, 
but quite as rare as any other intellectual prodigy.* 

^ Mr. Leslie Stephen seems to me to underrate the rarity of this 
peculiar gift in his brilliant essay on Defoe's Novels in Sovrs in a 

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Defoe was fifty-eight years old when he wrote Robinson 
Crusoe, If the invention of plausible circumstances is 
the great secret in the art of that tale, it would have 
been a marvellous thing if this had been the first in- 
stance of its exercise^ and it had broken out suddenly 
in a man of so advanced an age. When we find an 
artist of supreme excellence in any craft, we generally 
find that he has been practising it all his life. To say 
that he has a genius for it, means that he has practised 
it, and concentrated his main force upon it, and that he 
has been driven irresistibly to do so by sheer bent of 
nature. It was so with Defoe and his power of circum- 
stantial invention, his unrivalled genius for '^ lying like 
truth." For years upon years of his life it had been 
his chief occupation. From the time of his first con- 
nexion with Harley, at least, he had addressed his 
countrymen through the press, and had perambulated 
the length and breadth of the land in assumed characters 
and on factitious pretexts. His first essay in that way 
in 1704, when he left prison in the service of the 
Government, appealing to the general compassion because 
he was under government displeasure, was skilful enough 
to suggest great native genius if not extensive previous 
practice. There are passages of circumstantial invention 
in the Review^ as ingenious as anything in Robinson 
Crusoe ; and the mere fact that at the end of ten years 
of secret service under successive Governments, and in 
spite of a widespread opinion of his untrustworthiness, 
he was able to pass»himself off for ten years^more as a 
Tory with Tories and with the Whig Government as 
a loyal servant, is a proof of sustained ingenuity of 
invention greater than many volumes of fiction. 

Looking at Defoe's private life, it is not difficult to 

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144 DAmEL DEFOE. [ohap. 

undentand the peculiar fascination which such a pro- 
blem as he solved in EoUnson Crusoe must have had for 
him. It was not merely that he had passed a life of 
nncertainty, often on the verge of precipices, and often 
saved from ruin by a buoyant energy which seems almost 
miraculous ; not merely that, as he said of himself in 
one of his diplomatic appeals for commiseration, 

''No man hath tasted differing fortunes more. 
For thirteen times have I been rich and poor." 

But when he wrote Robinson Crusoe^ it was one of the 
actual chances of his life, and by no means a remote 
one, that he might be cast all alone on an uninhabited 
island. We see from his letters to De la Faye how 
fearful he was of having '' mistakes '' laid to his charge 
by the Government in the course of his secret services. 
His former changes of party had exposed him, as he 
well knew, to suspicion. A false step, a misunderstood 
paragraph, might have had ruinous consequences for him. 
If the Government had prosecuted him for writing any- 
thing offensive to them, refusing to believe that it was 
put in to amuse the Tories, transportation might very 
easily have been the penalty. He had made so many 
enemies in the Press that he might have been transported 
without a voice being raised in his favour, and the mob 
would not have interfered to save a Government spy 
from the Plantations. Shipwreck among the islands of 
the West Indies was a possibility that stood not far from 
his own door, as he looked forward into the unknown, 
and prepared his mind as men in dangerous situations 
do for the worst. When he drew up for Moll Flanders 
and her husband a list of the things necessary for start- 
ing life in a new country, or when he described Colonel 

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Jack's management of his plantation in Virginia, the 
subject was one of more than general cariosity to him ; 
and when he exercised his imagination upon the fate of 
Bobinson Crusoe, he was contemplating a fate which a 
few movements of the wheel of Fortune might make 
his own. 

But whatever it was that made the germ idea of 
Robinson Crusoe take root in Defoe's mind, he worked it 
out as an artist. Artists of a more emotional type 
might have drawn much more elaborate and affecting 
word-pictures of the mariner's feelings in various trying 
situations, gone much deeper into his changing moods, 
and shaken our souls with pity and terror over the soli- 
tary castaway's alarms and £ts of despair. Defoe's aims 
lay another way. His Crusoe is not a man given to the 
luxury of grieving. If he had begun to pity himself, 
he would have been undone. Perhaps Defoe's imagi- 
native force was not of a kind that could have done 
justice to the agonies of a shipwrecked sentimentalist ; 
he has left no proof that it was ; but if he had repre- 
sented Crusoe bemoaning his misfortunes, brooding over 
his fears, or sighing with Ossianic sorrow over his lost 
companions and friends, he would have spoiled the con- 
sistency of the character. The lonely man had his 
moments of panic and his days of dejection, but they 
did not dwell in his memory. Defoe no doubt followed 
his own natural bent, but he also showed true art in 
confining Crusoe's recollections as closely as he does to 
his efforts to extricate himself from difficulties that 
would have overwhelmed a man of softer temperament. 
The subject had fascinated him, and he found enough 
in it to engross his powers without travelling beyond 
its limits for diverting episodes, as he does more 


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146 DAKIEL DEFOE. [chap. 

or less in all the lest of his tales. The diverting 
episodes in BMnaan Crusoe all help the yerisiniilitude 
of the story. 

When, however, the ingenious inventor had com- 
pleted the story artistically, carried ns through all the 
outcast's anxieties and efforts, and shown him triumphant 
over all difficulties, prosperous, and again in communica- 
tion with the outer world, the spirit of the literary 
trader would not let the finished work alone. The 
story, as a work of art, ends with Crusoe's departure 
from the island, or at any rate with his return to 
England. Its unity is then complete. But Bohinson 
Crusoe at once became a popular hero, and Defoe was 
too keen a man of business to miss the chance of further 
profit from so lucrative a vein. He did not mind the 
sneers of hostile critics. They made merry over the 
trifling inconsistencies in the tale. How, for example, 
they asked, could Crusoe have stuffed his pockets with 
biscuits when he had taken off all his clothes before 
swimming to the wreck 9 How could he have been at 
such a loss for clothes after those he had put off were 
washed away by the rising tide, when he had the ship's 
stores to choose fromt How could he have seen the 
goat's eyes in the cave when it was pitch dark 9 How 
could the Spaniards give Friday's father an agreement 
in writing, when they had neither paper nor ink 9 How 
did Friday come to know so intimately the habits of 
bearSy the bear not being a denizen of the West Indian 
islands 9 On the ground of these and such-like trifles, 
one critic declared that the book seems calculated for 
the mob, and wQl not bear the eye of a rational reader, 
and that ''all but the very canaille are satisfied of the 
worthlessness of the performance." Defoe, we may 

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sappose, was not much moved by these strictures, as 
edition after edition of the work was demanded. He 
corrected one or two little inaccuracies, and at once set 
about writing a Second Fart, and a volume of Seriou$ 
Reflectiona which had occurred to Crusoe amidst his 
adventures. These were purely commercial excrescences 
upon the original work. They were popular enough at 
the time, but those who are tempted now to accompany 
Crusoe in his second visit to his island and his enter- 
prising travels in the East, agree that the Second Part 
is of inferior interest to the first, and very few now read 
the Serious Reflections. 

The Serious Reflections^ however, are well worth 
reading in connexion with the author's personal history. 
In the preface we are told that Robinson Crusoe is an 
allegory, and in one of the chapters we are told why it 
is an allegory. The explanation is given in a homily 
against the vice of talking falsely. By talking falsely 
the moralist explains that he does not mean telling 
lies, that is, falsehoods concocted with an evil object ; 
these he puts aside as sins altogether beyond the pale 
of discussion. But there is a minor vice of falsehood 
which he considers it his duty to reprove, namely, telling 
stories, as too many people do, merely to amusa *^ This 
supplying a story by invention," he says, ''is certainly 
a most scandalous crime, and yet very little regarded in 
that part. It is a sort of lying that makes a great hole 
in the heart, in which by degrees a habit of lying enters 
in. Such a man comes quickly up to a total disregarding 
the truth of what he says, looking upon it as a trifle, 
a thing of no import, whether any story he tells be true 
or not." How empty a satisfaction is this '' purchased 
at so great an expense as that of conscience, and of a 

L 2 

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118 DANIEL DEFOE. [crap. 

dishonour done to truth ! " And the crime is so entirely 
objectless. A man who tells a lie, properly so called, 
has some hope of reward by it. But to lie for sport is 
to play at shuttlecock with your soul, and load your 
conscience for the mere sake of being a fool. '' With 
what temper should I speak of those people? What 
words can express the meanness and baseness of the 
mind that can do this ? " In making this protest against 
frivolous story-telling, the humour of which must have 
been greatly enjoyed by his journalistic colleagues, 
Defoe anticipated that his readers would ask why, if he 
so disapproved of the supplying a story by invention, 
he had written Bobinson Crusoe, Bis answer was that 
Robinson Crusoe was an allegory, and that the telling 
or writing a parable or an allusive all^oricaJ history is 
quite a different case. '^ I, Robinson Crusoe, do affirm 
that the story, though allegorical, is also historical, and 
that it is the beautiful representation of a life of 
unexampled misfortunes, and of a variety not to be met 
with in this world.'' This life was his own. He explains 
at some length the particulars of the allegory : — 

" Thus the fright and fancies which succeeded the story of 
the print of a man's foot, and surprise of the old goat, and 
the thing rolling on my bed, and my jumping up in a fright, 
are all histories and real stories ; as are likewise the dream of 
being taken by messengers, being arrested by officers, the 
manner of being driven on shore by the surge of the sea, the 
ship on fire, the description of starving, the story of my man 
Friday, and many more most natural passages observed here, 
and on whicn any religious reflections are made, are all his- 
torical and true in fact. It is most real that I had a parrot, 
and taught it to call me by my name, such a servant a savage 
and afterwards a Christian, and that his name was called 
Friday, and that ho was ravished from mo by force, and died 

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in the hands that took him, which I represent by being killed; 
this is all literally true, and should I enter into discoveries 
many alive can testify them. His other conduct and assist- 
ance to me also have just references in all their parts to the 
helps I had from that faitliful savage in my real solitudes 
and disasters. 

" The story of the bear in the tree, and the fight with the 
wolves in the snow, is likewise matter of real history ; and 
in a word, the adventures of Eobinson Crusoe are a whole 
scheme of a life of twenty-eight years spent in the most 
wandering, desolate, and afflicting circumstances that ever 
man went through, and in which I have lived so long in a life 
of wonders, in continued storms, fought with the worst kind 
of savages and man-eaters, by unaccountable surprising 
incidents ; fed by miracles greater than that of the ravens, 
sufEered all manner of violences and oppressions, injurious 
reproaches, contempt of men, attacks of devils, corrections 
from Heaven, and oppositions on earth ; and had innumerable 
ups and downs in matters of fortune, been in slavery worse 
than Turkish, escaped by an exquisite management, as that in 
the story of Xury and the boat of Sallee, been taken up at 
«ea in distress, raised again and depressed again, and that 
oftener perhaps in one man's life than ever was known 
before; shipwrecked often, though more by land than by 
sea ; in a word, there's not a circumstance in the imaginary 
story but has its just allusion to a real story, and chimes part 
for part, and step for step, with the inimitable life of Robinson 

But if Defoe had such a regard for the strict andV^ 
literal truth, why did he not tell his history in his own 
person 1 Why convey the facts allusively in an allegory 1 
To this question also he had an answer. He wrote for 
the instruction of mankind, for the purpose of recom- 
mending *^ iuTincible patience under the worst of misery ; 
indefatigable application and undaunted resolution under 
the greatest and most discouraging circumstances.'' X 

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160 DANIEL DEFOE. [ohaf. 

^' Had the common way of writing a man's private historj 
been taken, and I had given yon the conduct or life of a man 
yon knew, and whoee misfortunes and infirmities perhaps yon 
had sometimes unjustly triumphed over, all I could have 
said would have yielded no diversion, and perhaps scarce 
have obtained a reading, or at best no attention ; the teacher, 
like a greater, having no honour in his own country.'' 

For all Defoe's profession that Robinson Crusoe is an 
allegory of his own life, it would be rash to take what 
he says too literally. The reader who goes to the tale 
in search of a close allegory, in minute chronological 
correspondence with the facts of the alleged original, 
will find, I expect, like myself, that he has gone on a 
wild-goose chase. There is a certain general correspon- 
dence. Defoe's own life is certainly as instructive as 
Crusoe's in the lesson of invincible patience and un- 
daunted resolution. The shipwreck perhaps corresponds 
with his first bankruptcy, with which it coincides in 
point of time, having happened just twenty-eight years 
before. If Defoe had a real man Friday, who had 
learnt all his arts till he could practise them as well as 
himself, the fact might go to explain his enormous pro- 
ductiveness ds an author. But I doubt whether the 
allegory can be pushed into such details. Defoe's fancy 
was quick enough to give an allegorical meaning to any 
tale. He might have found in Moll Flanders, with her 
five marriages and ultimate prostitution, corresponding 
to his own five political marriages and the dubious con- 
duct of his later years, a closer allegory in some respects 
than in the life of the shipwrecked sailor. The idea of 
calling Rohmaon Crusoe an allegory was in all proba- 
bility an afterthought, perhaps suggested by a derisive 
parody which had appeared, entitled The life and strcmge 

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surprising adverUwrea qf Dcmiel de Foe, of London, Hosiery 
vfho lived all alone in the uninhalnted island qf Great 
BrUair^ and so forth. 

If we study any writing of Defoe's in connexion with 
the ciroumstanoes of its production, we find that it is 
manysided in its purposes, as full of side aims as a nave 
is full of spokes. These supplementary moral chapters 
to Bobinson Crusoe, admirable as the reflections are in 
themselvee, and naturally as they are made to arise out 
of the incidents of the hero's life, contain more than 
meets the eye till we connect them with the author's 
position. Galling the tale an allegory served him in 
two ways. In the first place, it added to the interest of 
the tale itself by presenting it in the light of a riddle, 
which was left but half-revealed, though he declared 
after such explanation as he gave that 'Hhe riddle was 
now e3q)ounded, and the intelligent reader might see 
clearly the end and design of the whole work." In 
the second place, the allegory was such an image of his 
life as he wished for good reasons to impress on the 
public mind. He had all along, as we have seen, while 
in the secret service of successive governments, vehe- 
mently protested his independence, and called Heaven 
and Earth to witness that he was a poor struggling, 
unfortunate, calumniated man. It was more than ever 
necessary now when people believed him to be under the 
insuperable displeasure of the Whigs, and he was really 
rendering them such dangerous service in connexion 
with the Tory journals, that he should convince the 
world of his misfortunes and his honesty. The Serums 
Reflections consist mainly of meditations on Divine 
Providence in times of trouble, and discourses on the 
supreme importance of honest dealing. They are put 

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152 DANIEL DEFOE. [chap. 

into the mouth of Bobinson Crusoe, but the reader is 
warned that they occurred to the author himself in the 
midst of real incidents in his own life. Knowing what 
public repute said of him, he does not profess never to have 
strayed from the paths of virtue, but he implies that he 
is sincerely repentant, and is now a reformed character. 
''Wild wicked Bobinson Crusoe does not pretend to 
honesty himself." He acknowledges his early errors. 
Not to do so would be a mistaken piece of false 
bravery. '' All shame is cowardice. The bravest spirit 
is the best qualified for a penitent. He, then, that 
will be honest, must dare to confess that he has been a 
knave.'' But the man that has been sick is half a 
physician, and therefore he is both well fitted to counsel 
others, and being convinced of the sin and folly of his 
former errors, is of all men the least likely to repeat 
them. Want of courage was not a feature in Defoe's 
diplomacy. He thus boldly described the particular form 
of dishonesty with which, when he wrote the description, 
he was practising upon the imconscious Mr. Mist. 

** There is an ugly word called cunning, which is very per- 
nicious to it pionesty], and which particularly injures it by 
hiding it from our discovery and making it hard to find. 
This is so like honesty that many a man has been deceived 
with it, and have taken one for t'other in the markets : nay, 
I have heard of some who have planted this wild Jionesty, as 
we may call it, in their own ground,, have made use of it in 
their friendship and dealings, and thought it had been the 
true plant. But they always lost credit by it, and that was not 
the worst neither, for they had the loss who dealt with them, 
and who chaffered for a counterfeit commodity ; and we find 
many deceived so still, which is the occasion there is such an 
outcry about false friends, and about sharping and tricking in 
men* 8 ordinary dealings with the world." 

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A master-mind in the art of working a man, as 
Bacon calls it, is surely apparent here. Who could 
have suspected the moralist of concealing the sins he 
was inclined to, by exposing and lamenting those very 
sins 9 There are other passages in the Serums Reflections 
which seem to have been particularly intended for 
Mist's edification. In reflecting what a fine thing 
honesty is, Crusoe expresses an opinion that it is much 
more common than is generally supposed, and gratefully 
recalls how often he has met with it in his own 
experience. He asks the reader to note how faithfully 
he was served by the English sailos's widow, the 
Portuguese captain, the boy Xury, and his man Friday. 
From these allegoric-types, Mist might select a model 
for his own behaviour. When we consider the tone of 
these Serious Reflections, so eminently pious, moral, and 
unpretending, so obviously the outcome of a wise, simple, 
ingenuous nature, we can better understand the fury 
with which Mist turned upon Defoe when at last he 
discovered his treachery. They are of use also in throw- 
ing light upon the prodigious versatility which could dash 
off a masterpiece in fiction, and, before the printer's ink 
was dry, be already at work making it a subordinate 
instrument in a much wider and more wonderful scheme 
of activity, his own restless life. 

It is curious to find among the Serums Reflections, a 
passage which may be taken as an apology for the prac- 
tices into which Defoe, gradually, we may reasonably 
believe, allowed himself to fall. The substance of the 
apology has been crystallized into an aphorism by the 
, author of Becky Sharp, but it has been, no doubt, the 
consoling philosophy of dishonest persons not altogether 
devoid of conscience in all ages. 

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154 DANIEL DEFOE. [chap. 

'' Necessity makes an honest m&n a knave ; and if the 
world was to be the jndge^ according to the common received 
notion, there would not be an honest poor man alive. 

'^ A rich man is an honest man, no thanks to him, for he 
would be a double knave to cheat mankind when he had no 
need of it He has no occasion to prey upon his integrity^ 
nor so much as to touch upon the borders of dishonesty. 
Tell me of a man that is a very honest man ; for he pays 
eveiybody punctually, runs into nobody's debt, does no man 
any wrong ; very well, what circumstances is he in? Why, 
he has a good estate, a fine yearly income, and no business to 
do. The Devil must have full possession of this man, if he 
should be a knave ; for no man commits evil for the sake of 
it ; even the Devil himself has some farther design in sinning, 
than barely the wicked part of it No man is so hardened in 
crimes as to commit them for the mere pleasure of the &ct ; 
there is always some vice gratified; ambition, pride, or 
avarice makes rich men knaves, and necessity the poor." 

This is Defoe's ezcase for his backslidings put into 
the mouth of Bobmson Crusoe, It might be inscribed also 
on the threshold of each of his fictitious biographies. 
Colonel Jack, Moll Flanders, Boxana are not oii- 
minals from malice ; they do not commit crimes for 
the mere pleasure of the fact They all believe that 
but for the force of circumstances they might have 
been orderly, contented, virtuous members of society. 
The Colonel, a London Arab, a child of the criminal 
regiment, began to steal before he knew that it was 
not the approved way of making a livelihood. Moll 
and Boxana were overreached by acts against which 
they were too weak to cope. Even after they were 
tempted into taking the wrong turning, they did not 
pursue the downward road without compunction. Many 
good people might say of them, ''There, but for the 
grace of God, goes myself.*' But it was not from the 

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point of view of a Baxter or a Banyan that Defoe 
regarded them, though he credited them with many 
edifying reflections. He was careful to say that he 
would never have written the stories of their lives, if 
he had not thought that they would be useful as 
awful examples of the effects of bad education and 
the indulgence of restlessness and vanity; but he 
enters into their ingenious shifts and successes with a 
joyous sympathy that would have been impossible if 
their reckless adventurous living by their wits had 
not had a strong charm for ^iuL We often find 
peeping out in Defoe's writings that roguish cynicism 
which we should expect in a man whose own life was 
so far from being straightforward. He was too much 
dependent upon the public acceptance of honest pro- 
fessions to be eager in depreciating the value of the 
article, but when he found other people protesting 
disinterested motives, he could not always resist 
reminding them that they were no more disinterested 
than the Jack-pudding who avowed that he cured 
diseases from mere love of his kind. Having yielded 
to circumstances himself, and finding life enjoyable in 
dubious paths, he had a certain animosity against 
those who had maintained their integrity and kept to 
the highroad, and a corresponding pleasure in showing 
that the motives of the sinner were not after all so 
very different from the motives of the saint. 

The aims in life of Defoe's thieves and pirates are 
at bottom very little different from the ambition 
which he undertakes to direct in the Complete English 
Tradesman, and their maxims of conduct have much in 
common with this ideal. Self-interest is on the look- 
out, and Self-reliance at the helm. 

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^' A tradesman behind his counter must have no flesh and 
blood about him, no passions, no resentment ; he must never 
be angry — no, not so much as seem to be so, if a customer 
tumbles him five hundred pounds worth of goods, and scarce 
bids money for anything ; nay, though they really come to 
his shop with no intent to buy, as many do, only to see what 
is to be sold, and though he knows they cannot be better 
pleased than they are at some other shop where they intend 
to buy, 'tis all one ; the tradesman must take it, he must 
place it to the account of his calling, that 'tis his business to 
be ill-used, and resent nothing; and so must answer as 
obligingly to those who give him an hour or two*s trouble, 
and buy nothing, as he does to thpse who, in half the time, 
lay out ten or twenty pounds. The case is plain; and if 
some do give him trouble, and do not buy, otliers make 
amends, and do buy ; and as for the trouble, *tis the business 
of the shop." 

All Defoe's heroes and heroines are animated by this 
practical spirit, this thoroughgoing subordination of 
means to ends. When .they have an end in view, the 
plunder of a house, the capture of a ship, the ensnar- 
ing of a dupe, they allow neither passion, nor resent- 
ment, nor sentiment in any shape or form to stand in 
their way. Every other consideration is put on one 
side when the business of the shop has to be at- 
tended to. They are all tradesmen who have strayed 
into unlawful courses. They have nothing about them 
of the heroism of sin ; their crimes are not the result 
of ungovernable passion, or even of antipathy to con- 
ventional restraints; circumstances and not any law- 
defying bias of disposition have made them criminals. 
How is it that the novelist contrives to make them so 
interesting) Is it because we are a nation of shop- 
keepers, and enjoy following lines of business which ai-e 

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a little out of our ordinary routine 1 Or is it simply 
that he makes us enjoy their courage and cleverness 
without thinking of the purposes with which these 
qualities are displayed f Defoe takes such delight in 
tracing their bold expedients, their dexterous intriguing 
and manoeuvring, that he seldom allows us to think of 
anything but the success or failure of their enterprises. 
Our attention is concentrated on the game, and we pay 
no heed for the moment to the players or the stakes. 
Charles Lamb says of The Complete English Tradesman 
that " such is the bent of the book to narrow and to 
degrade the heart, that if such maxims were as catching 
and infectious as those of a licentious cast, which hap- 
pily is not the case, had I been living at that time, I 
certainly should have recommended to the grand jury 
of Middlesex, who presented The Fable of the Bees, 
to have presented this book of Defoe's in preference, as 
of a far more vile and debasing tendency." Yet if 
Defoe had thrown the substance of this book into the 
form of a novel, and shown us a ti'adesman rising by 
the sedulous practice of its maxims from errand-boy 
to gigantic capitalist, it would have been hardly less 
interesting than his lives of successful thieves and 
tolerably successful harlots, and its interest would have 
been very much of the same kind, the interest of 
dexterous adaptation of means to ends. 

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*' The best step/' Defoe says after describiiig the charac- 
ter of a deceitful talker, " sabh a man can take is to lie 
on, and this shows the singularity of the crime ; it is 
a strange expression, but I shall make it out; their 
way is, I say, to lie on till their character is completely 
known, and then they can lie no longer, for he whom 
nobody deceives can deceive nobody, and the essence of 
lying is removed ; for the description of a lie is that it 
is spoken to deceive, or the design is to deceiva Now 
he that nobody believes can never lie any more, because 
nobody can be deceived by him/' 

Something like this seems to have happened to Defoe 
himself. He touched the summit of his worldly pro- 
sperity about the time of the publication of Eohineon 
Crusoe (1719). He was probably richer then than he had 
been when he enjoyed the confidence of King William, 
and was busy with projects of manufacture and trade. He 
was no longer solitary in journalism. like his hero he 
had several plantations, and companions to help him in 
working them. He was connected with four journals, 
and from this source alone his income must have been 
considerable. Besides this he was producing separate 

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works at the rate> on an avera^, of six a year, some of 
them pamphlets, some of them considerable volumes, all 
of them calculated to the wants of the time» and several 
of them extremely popular, running through three or 
four editions in as many months. Then he had his salary 
from the govenmient, which he delicately hints at in one 
of his extant letters as being overdua Further, the 
advertisement of a lost pocket-book in 1726, containing 
a list of Notes and Bills in which Defoe's name twice 
appears, seems to show that he still found time for com- 
mercial transactions outside literatura^ Altogether 
Defoe was exceedingly prosperous, dropped all pretence 
of poverty, built a large house at Stoke Kewington, 
with stables and pleasure-grounds, and kept a coach. 

We get a pleasant glimpse of Defoe's life at this 
period from the notes of Henry Baker, the naturalist, 
who married one of his daughters and received his 
assistance, as we have seen, in starting Th& Umveriol 
Spectator, Bak^, originally a bookseller, in 1724 set 
up a school for the deaf and dumb at Newington. There, 
according to the notes which he left of his courtship, he 
made the acquaintance of ** Mr. Defoe, a gentleman well 
known by his writings, who had newly built there a very 
handsome house, as a retirement from London, and 
amused his time either in the cultivation of a laige and 
pleasant garden, or in the pursuit of his studies, which 
he found means of making veiy profitable." Defoe '* was 
now at least sixty years of age, afflicted with the gout 
and stone, but retained all his mental faculties entire." 
The diarist goes on to say that he '' met usually at the 
tea-table his three lovely daughters, who were admired 
for their beauty, their education, and their prudent 
I Xm'« J^4, toL i. pp. 406-7. 

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160 DANIEL DEFOE. [chap. 

conduct ; and if sometimes Mr. Defoe's disorders made 
company inconvenient, Mr. Baker was entertained by 
them either singly or together, and that commonly in 
the garden when the weather was favourable." Mr. 
Baker fixed his choice on Sophia, the youngest daughter, 
and, being a prudent lover, began negotiations about the 
marriage portion, Defoe's part in which is also charac- 
teristic. "He knew nothing of Mr. Defoe's circum- 
stances, only imagined, from his very genteel way of 
living, that he must be able to give his daughter a 
decent portion; he did not suppose a large one. On 
speaking to Mr. Defoe, he sanctioned his proposals, and 
said he hoped he should be able to give her a certain 
sum specified ; but when urged to the point some time 
afterwards, his answer was that formal articles he thought 
unnecessary ; that he could confide in the honour of Mr. 
Baker ; that when they talked before, he did not know 
the true state of his own affairs ; that he found he could 
not part with any money at present ; but at his death, 
his daughter's portion would be more than he had 
promised ; and he offered his own bond as security." 
The prudent Mr. Baker would not take his bond, and 
the marriage was not arranged till two years afterwards, 
when Defoe gave a bond for j£500 payable at his death, 
engaging his house at Newington as security. 

Very little more is known about Defoe's family, 
except that his eldest daughter married a person of the 
name of Langley, and that he speculated successfully in 
South Sea Stock in the name of his second daughter, 
and afterwards settled upon her an estate at Ck>lchester 
worth X1020. His second son, named Benjamin, became 
a journalist, was the editor of the London Jowmal, and 
got into temporary trouble for writing a scandalous 

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aad seditious libel in that newspaper in 1721. A writer 
in Appiehee'a Jowmal^ whom Mr. Lee identifies with Defoe 
himself, commenting upon this circumstance, denied the 
rumour of its being the well-known Daniel Defoe that 
was committed for the offence. The same writer 
declared that it was known " that the young Defoe was 
but a stalking-horse and a tool, to bear the lash and the 
pillory in their stead, for his wages ; that he was the 
author of the most scandalous part, but was only made 
sham proprietor of the whole, to screen the true 
proprietors from justice." 

This son does not appear in a favourable light in the 
troubles which soon after fell upon Defoe, when Mist 
discovered his connexion with the Government. Foiled 
in his assault upon him. Mist seems to have taken 
revenge by spreading the fact abroad, and all Defoe's 
indignant denials and outcries against Mist*s ingratitude 
do not seem to have cleared him from suspicion. Thence- 
forth the printers and editors of journals held aloof from 
him. Such is Mr. Lee's fair interpretation of the fact 
that his connexion with Applebee's JownwiL terminated 
abruptly in March, 1726, and that he is found soon 
after, in the preface to a pamphlet on SVreet Hohberies, 
complaining that none of the journals will accept his 
communications. '' Assure yourself, gentle reader," he 
says,^ "I had not published my project in this pam- 
phlet, could I have got it inserted in any of the journals 
without feeing the journalists or publishers. I cannot 
but have the vanity to think they might as well have 
inserted what I send them, gratis, as many things I 
have since seen in their papers. But I have not only 
had the mortification to find what I sent rejected, but 
1 Lee's Life, vol, i. p. 418. 

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192 BAVISL DSFOE. [ohaf. 

to lose my originalB, not having taken oopies of what I 
wrote/' In this preface Defoe makes touching allusion 
to his age and infinnitiea He b^s his roaders to 
" excuse the vanity of an over-offidons old man, if, like 
Cato, he inquires whether or no before he goes hence 
and is no more, he can yet do anything for the service 
of his country.'' " The old man cannot trouble you 
long ; take, then, in good part his best intentions, and 
impute his defects to age and weakness." 

This preface was written in 1728 ; what happened to 
Defoe in the following year is much more difficult to 
understand, and is greatly complicated by a long letter 
of his own which has been preserved. Something had 
occurred, or was imagined by him to have occuxred, which 
compelled him to fly from his home and go into hiding. 
He was at work on a book to be entitled The Complete 
EngliA OefnUeman, Fart of it was alrecbdy in type when 
he broke oS abruptly in September, 1729, and fled. In 
August, 1730, he sent from a hiding-place, cautiously 
described as being about two miles from Greenwich, 
a letter to his son in-law. Baker, which is our only clue 
to what had taken plaoa It is so incoheront as to sug- 
gest that the old man's prolonged toils and anxieties 
had at last shaken his reason, though not his indomit- 
able self-roliance. Baker apparently had written com- 
plaining that he was debarred from seeing him. '' Depend 
upon my sincerity for this," Defoe answers, ''that I am 
far from debarring you. On the contrary, it would be 
a greater comfort to me than any I now enjoy that I 
could have your agreeable visits with safety, and could 
see both you and my dear Sophia, could it be without 
giving her the grief of seeing her father in terubriSf and 
under the load of insupportable sorrows." He gives a 

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touching description of the griefs which are preying 
npon his mind. 

" It is not the blow I received from a wicked, perjured, and 
contemptible enemy that has broken in upon my spirit ; 
which, as she well knows, has carried me on through greater 
disasters than these. But it has been the injustice, unkind- 
ness, and, I must say inhuman, dealing of my own son, 
which has both rained my family, and in a word has broken 
my heart. ... I depended upon him, I trusted him, I gave 
up my two dear unprovided children into his bands ; but he 
has no compassion, but suffers them and their poor dying 
mother to beg their bread at his door, and to crave, as it 
were an alms, what he is bound under hand and seal, besides 
the most sacred promises, to supply them with, himself at the 
same time living in a profusion of plenty. It is too much for 
me. Excuse my infirmity, I can say no more ; my heart is 
too full. I only ask one thing of you as a dying request. 
Stand by them when I am gone, and let them not be wronged 
while he is able to do them right Stand by them as a 
brother; and if you have anything within you owing to 
my memory, who have bestowed on you the best gift I have 
to give, let them not be injured and trampled on by false 
pretences and unnatural reflections. I hope they will want 
no help but that of comfort and council ; but that they will 
indeed want, being too easy to be managed bywords and 

The postscript to the letter shows that Baker had 
written to him about selling the house, which, it may 
be remembered, was the security for Mrs. Baker's por- 
tion, and had inquired about a policy of assurance. 
'' I wrote you a letter some months ago, in answer to 
one from you, about selling the house ; but you never 
signified to me whether you received it. I have not the 
policy of assurance; I suppose my wife, or Hannah, 
may have it." Baker^s ignoring the previous letter 

M 2 

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164 DANIEL DEFOE. [ohap. 

about the house seems to signify that it was unsatis- 
factory. He apparently wished for a personal interview 
with Defoe. In the beginning of the present letter 
Defoe had said that, though far from debarring a 
visit from his son-in-law, circumstances, much to his 
sorrow, made it impossible that he could receive a^ visit 
from anybody. After the chaige against his son, which 
we have quoted, he goes on to explain that it is impos- 
sible for him to go to see Mr. Baker. His family ap- 
parently had been ignorant of his movements for some 
time. " I am at a distance from London in Kent ; nor 
have I a lodging in London, nor have I been at that 
place in the Old BaQey since I wrote you I was removed 
from it. At present I am weak, having had some fits 
of a fever that have left me low." He suggests, in- 
deed, a plan by which he might see his son-in-law and 
daughter. He could not bear to make them a single 
flying visit. ^* Just to come and look at you and retire 
immediately, 'tis a burden too heavy. The parting will 
be a price beyond the enjoyment." But if they could 
find a retired lodging for him at Enfield, ''where he 
might not be known, and might have the comfort of 
seeing them both now and then, upon such a circum- 
stance he could gladly give the days to solitude to have 
the comfort of half an hour now and then with them 
both for two or three weeks." Nevertheless, as if he 
considered this plan out of the question, he ends with a 
touching expression of grief that, being near his jour- 
ney's end, he may never see them again. It is impos- 
sible to avoid the conclusion that he did not wish to 
see his son-in-law, and that Baker wished to see him 
about money matters, and suspected him of evading an 

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Was this evasion the cunning of incipient madness I 
Was his concealing his hiding-place from his son-in-law 
an insane development of that self-reliant caution, which 
for so many years of his life he had been compelled to 
make a habit, in the face of the most serious risks? 
Why did he give such an exaggerated colour to the 
infamous conduct of his son ) It is easy to make out 
from the passage I have quoted, what his son's guilt 
really consisted in. Defoe had assigned certain property 
to the son to be held in trust for his wife and daughters. 
The son had not secured them in the enjoyment of this 
provision, but maintained them, and gave them words 
and promises, with which they were content, that he 
would continue to maintain them. It was this that 
Defoe called making them *' beg their bread at his door, 
and crave as if it were an alms " the provision to which 
they were legally entitled. Why did Defoe vent his 
grief at this conduct in such strong language to his 
son-in-law, at the same time enjoining him to make a 
prudent use of it ? Baker had written to his father-in 
law making inquiry about the securities for his wife's 
portion ; Defoe answers with profuse expressions of 
affection, a touching picture of his old age and feeble- 
ness, and the imminent ruin of his family through the 
possible treachery of the son to whom he has entrusted 
their means of support, and an adjuration to his son-in- 
law to stand by them with comfort and counsel when 
he ,is gone. The inquiry about the securities he dismisses 
in a postscript. He will not sell the house, and he does 
not know who has the policy of assurance. 

One thing and one thing only shines clearly out of 
the obscurity in which Defoe's closing years are wrapt 
— his earnest desire to make provision for those members 

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16« DAKIEL DEFOE. [chap. 

of his family who could not provide for themselves. 
The pursuit from which he was in hiding, was in all pro- 
bability the pursuit of creditors. We have seen that 
his income must have been large from the year 1718 or 
thereabouts, till his utter loss of credit in journalism 
about the year 1726 ; but he may have had old debts. 
It is difficult to explain otherwise why he should have 
been at such pains^ when he became prosperous, to assign 
property to his children. There is evidence as early as 
1720 of his making over property to his daughter 
Hannah, and the letter from which I have quoted shows 
that he did not hold his Newington estate in his own 
name. In this letter he speaks of a perjured con- 
temptible enemy as the cause of his misfortunes. Mr. 
Lee conjectures that this was Mist, that Mist had suc- 
ceeded in embroiling him with the Government by con- 
vincing them of treachery in his secret services, and that 
this was the hue and cry from which he fled. But it is 
hardly conceivable that the Government could have 
listened to charges brought by a man whom they had 
driven from the country for his seditious practices. It 
is much more likely that Mist and his supporters had 
sufficient interest to instigate the revival of old pecuniaiy 
claims against Defoe. 

It would have been open ta suppose that the fears 
which made the old man a homeless wanderer and fugi- 
tive for the last two years of his life, were wholly imagi- 
nary, but for the circumstances of his death. He died 
of a lethargy on the 26th of April, 1731, at a lodg- 
ing in Ropemaker's Alley, Moorfields. In September, 
1733, as the books in Doctors' Commons show, letters of 
administration on his goods and chattels were granted 
to Mary Brooks, widow, a creditriz, after summoning in 

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official form the next of kin to appear. Now, if Defoe 
had heen driven from his home hy imaginary fears, and 
had baffled with the cimning of insane suspicion the 
effects of his family to bring him back, there is no 
apparent reason why they should not have claimed his 
efEects after his death. He ooold not have died un- 
known to them, for place and time were recorded in the 
newspapers. His letter to his son-in law, expressing 
the warmest affection for all his family except his son, 
is sufficient to prevent the horrible notion that he might 
have been driven forth like Lear by his undutif ul chil- 
dren after he had parted his goods among them. If 
they had been capable of such unnatural conduct, they 
would not have failed to secure his remaining property. 
Why, then, were his goods and chattels left to a credi- 
trix ? Mr. Lee ingeniously suggests that Mary Brooks 
was the keeper of the lodging where he died, and that 
she kept his personal property to pay rent and perhaps 
funeral expenses. A much simpler explanation, which 
covers most of the known facts without casting any un- 
warranted reflections upon Defoe's children, is that when 
his last illness overtook him he was still keeping out of 
the way of his creditors, and that everything belonging 
to him in his own name was legally seized. But there 
are doubts and difficulties attending any explanation. 

Mr. Lee has given satisfactory reasons for believing 
that Defoe did not, as some of his biographers have 
supposed, die in actual distress. Bopemaker's Alley in 
Moorflelds was a highly respectable street at the be- 
ginning of last century ; a lodging there was far from 
squalid. The probability is that Defoe subsisted on his 
pension from the €k>vemment during his last two years 
of wandering; and suffering though he was from the 

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168 DANIEL DEFOE. [chap. 

infirmities of age, yet wandering was less of a hard- 
ship than it would have been to other men, to one 
who had been a wanderer for the greater part of his 
life. At the best it was a painful and dreary ending 
for so vigorous a life ; and unless we pitilessly regard 
it as a retribution for his moral defects, it is some 
comfort to think that the old man's infirmities and 
anxieties were not aggravated by the pressure of hope- 
less and helpless poverty. Nor do I think that he was 
as distressed as he represented to his son-in-law by 
apprehensions of ruin to his family after his death, and 
suspicions of the honesty of his son's intentions. There 
is a half insane tone about his letter to Mr. Baker, but 
a certain method may be discerned in its incoherences. 
My own reading of it is that it was a clever evasion of 
his son-inlaw's attempts to make sure of his share of 
the inheritance. We have seen how shifty Defoe was 
in the original bargaining about his daughter's portion, 
and we know from his novels what his views were about 
fortune-hunters, and with what delight he dwelt upon 
the arts of outwitting them. He probably considered 
that his youngest daughter was sufficiently provided for 
by her marriage, and he had set his heart upon making 
provision for her unmarried sisters. The letter seems 
to me to be evidence, not so much of fears for their 
future welfare, as of a resolution to leave thep as much 
as he could. Two little circumstances seem to shpw 
that, in spite of his professions of affection, there was a 
coolness between Defoe and his son-in-law. He wrote 
only the prospectus and the first article for Baker's 
paper, the Universal Spectator, and when he died. Baker 
contented himself with a simple intimation of the fact. 
If my rea,ding of this letter is right, it might stand as 

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a type of the most stroDgly marked characteristic in 
Defoe's political writings. It -was a masterly and utterly 
imscrupulous piece of diplomacy for the attainment of a 
just and benevolent end. This may appear strange after 
what I have said about Defoe's want of honesty, yet one 
cannot help coming to this conclusion in looking back at 
his political career before his character underwent its 
final degradation. He was agreat, a truly great liar, per- 
haps the greatest liar that ever lived. His dishonesty 
went too deep to be called superficial, yet, if we go 
deeper still in his rich and strangely mixed nature, we 
come upon stubborn foundations of conscience. Among 
contemporary comments on the occasion of his death, 
there was one which gave perfect expression to his poli- 
tical position. '' His knowledge of men, especially those 
in high life (with whom he was formerly very con- 
versant) had weakened his attachment to any political 
party ; but in the main, he was in the interest of civil 
and religious liberty, in behalf of which he appeared on 
several remarkable occasions." The men of the time 
with whom Defoe was brought into contact, were not 
good examples to him. The standard of political 
morality was probably never so low in England as 
during his lifetime. Places were dependent on the 
favour of the Sovereign, and the Sovereign's own seat 
on the throne was insecure ; there was no party cohesion 
to keep politicians consistent, and every man fought for 
his own hand. Defoe had been behind the scenes, 
witnessed many curious changes of service, and heard 
many authentic tales of jealousy, intrigue, and treachery. 
He had seen Jacobites take office under William, join 
zealously in the scramble for his favours, and enter into 
negotiations with the emissaries of James either upon 

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170 DANIBL DEFOE. [ot^*. 

some fancied slight^ or from no other motive than a 
desire to be safe, if by any chance the sceptre should 
again change hands. Under Anne he had seen Whig 
torn Tory and Tory tmn Whig, and had seen statesmen 
of the highest rank hold out one hand to Hanover and 
another to St. Germains. The most single-minded man 
he had met had been King William himself, and of his 
memory he always spoke with the most affectionate 
honour. Shifty as Defoe was, and admirably as he used 
his genius for drcnmstantial invention to cover his 
designs, there was no other statesman of his generation 
who remained more true to the principles of the Revolu- 
tion, and to the cause of dvil and religious freedom. 
No other public man saw more clearly what was for the 
good of the country, or pursued it more steadily. Even 
when he was the active servant of Harley, and turned 
round upon men who regarded him as their own, the 
part which he played was to pave the way for his 
patron's accession to office under the House of Hanover. 
Defoe did as much as any one man, partly by secret 
intrigue, partly through the public press, perhaps as 
much as any ten men outside those in the immediate 
direction of a&irs, to accomplish the two great objects 
which William bequeathed to English statesmanship 
— the union of Eogland and Scotland, and the succes- 
sion to the United Kingdom of a Protestant dynasty. 
Apart from the field of high politics, his powerful 
advocacy was enlisted in favour of almost every prac- 
ticable scheme of social improvement that came to 
the front in his time. Defoe cannot be held up as an 
exemplar of moral conduct, yet if he is judged by the 
measures that he laboured for, and not by the means 
that he employed, few Englishmen have lived more 

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deserving than he of their country's gratitude. He may 
have been self-seeking and vain-glorious, but in his 
political life self-seeking and vain-glory were elevated 
by their alliance with higher and wider aims. Defoe 
was a wonderful mixture of knave and patriot. Some- 
times pure knave seems to be uppermost, sometimes 
pure patriot, but the mixture is so complex and the 
energy of the man so restless, that it almost passes 
human skill to unravel the two elements. The author 
of Robinson Crusoe is entitled to the benefit of every 

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Digitized by VjOOQIC 


Addison, 129, 136 

Advice to the People of Eng- 

land, 113 
Alliance, the Grand, 99 
Allies, the, 58, 85, 98—9 
Anglesey, Earl of, 112<-13 
Anjou, Duke of, 21, 24, 98—9 
Anne, Queen, and her Govern- 
ment, 32, 38, 46, 48—60, 
60—1, 64, 66, 68, 73, 75—6, 
81—2, 85—8, 90, 97, 99, 
107, 110—11, 126, 136, 170 
Anne, Death of Queen, 110—12 
Annesley, Dr., 3 
Anti-Jacobite Tracts, 108 
Appeal to Honour and Jtistice, 

75, 79, 89, 111, 114 
Applehee^s JoumcU, 5, 125—7, 

130, 161 
Armada, the, 24, 77 
Atterbury, 115 
Attorney-General, 110 
Avery, Captain, 134—5 


Bacon, 153 

Baker, Henry, 128, 169-160, 

162, 164, 168 
Baker, Mrs. Sophia (Defoe's 

daughter), 160, 162—3 
Balance of Trade, 101—3 
Baltic, 68 
Bank, the, 88 

Beaconsfield, Lord, 73 
Bolingbroke, 80, 112 
Bristol, 13 

Brooks, Mary, 166—7 
Browne, Dr., 3 
Buckley, 121 
Burnet, Bishop, 86 


Cadiz, 13 

Caledonia, 69 

Camisars, 59, 60 

Campbell, Duncan, 135—6 

Canada, 100 

Cartouche, Dominique, 134 

Cavalier f Memoirs of a, 51 

Cevennois insurgents, 59 

CTiaUenge of Peo/ce, 46 

Charles, Archduke, 98 

Charles I., 36 

Charles n., 6, 7, 11, 19 

Charles Xn., 68 

Charles XII,, History of the 

Wars of 116, 134, 139 
Charles (of Spain), 21, 23 
Cheapside, 41 
Chevalier, the, 42 
Churcth of England, 10, 36—7, 

Church of England's Loyalty, 

New Test of the, 32 
City, the, 11, 12, 18 
Cobbett, 16 
Colchester, 160 
Colonel Jack, 127, 137, 146, 164 

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Commerce^ Plan of English, 

103, 137 
Commercial Treaty with 

France, 102 
Commons, House of, 82, 84 
Complete English OenUeman, 

137, 162 
Complete English Tradesman^ 

8, 9, 137, 156, 167 
Confederates, the {see Allies) 
Constitution, the, 96 
Comhill, 8, 41 
Courant, Daily, 53 
Credit, public, 88—9, 93 
Cripplegate, 2 

Darien expedition, 68—9 

Dartmouth, 87 

Declaration of Indulffence, 10 

Defoe, Benjamin (Defoe's son), 

Defoe, Daniel— 
Adventurous life, 1 ; birth, 
2; education, 3, 4 ; attain- 
ments, 5, 6 ; early writings, 
7; begins business as 
hosier, 8 ; publishes first 
pamphlet, 11 ; bankruptcy, 
13 ; appointed Accountant 
to GLe^s Duty Commis- 
sioners, 14; manufactures 
bricks, ib, ; literary services 
to Government, 14, 31, 
76 ; proceeded against for 
writing pamphlet Shortest 
Way with iHsscnters, 38; 
pilloried, 41 ; imprisoned 
m Newgate, 40, 42; re- 
leased, 49, 60 ; pensioned, 
50, 90; undertakes the 
Reviewj 52; advocate of 
Peace, 64 — 5 ; advocate of 
the Union, 67; goes to 
Edinburgh, 69; fall of 
Harley, 75; kisses the 

Dbfos, Danixl (oonttnuei)— 
Queen's hand, 76; em- 
ployed bv Godolphin in 
Edinburgh, 77; commer- 
cial concerns, ib, ; literary 
labours, ib, ; advocacy of 
Whig cause, 78 ; MenMtor 
established, 102 ; prose- 
cuted bv Whigs, 105; 
pardoned, 110; again 
prosecuted, ib. ; writes 
new Mying Po^, 112; 
committed for trial for 
libel, 113; seized with 
apoplectic fit, 114; re- 
covery and subsequent 
writings, 114—15 ; trial 
and {Mirdon, 115; enters 
service of Whig Govern- 
ment, 116; connection 
with Mia^s Journal, 
120—4; murderously at- 
tacked by Mist, 123 ; con- 
tributes to other news- 
papers, 124 — 5 ; writes 
Jack Sheppard's adven- 
tures, 128; writes pro- 
spectus of i/niverscU Spee- 
tator, ib, ; writes Robinson 
Crusoe at a^ of 58, 143; 
writings rejected by the 
journals, 161 ; goes into 
hiding, 162; conduct of 
his son, 160—1, 105; ob- 
scurity of his closing years, 
165—8 ; death, 166 
Biographer, 134, 137, 154; 
biography, sources of, 2; 
character, 133 — 4 ; contro- 
versial genius, 15, 16; 
cynicism, 155; debts, 13, 

73, 166—7 ; dishonesty, 
86, 152, 169 ; family, 44, 
159, 160, 163, 165-6; 
foreign Questions, treat- 
ment of, 69 ; Free Trader, 

74, 100, 103 ; genius, 140, 
142—3; ill-health, 159, 

Digitized by 




Defob, Daniel (continuedy- 
162 ; imagination, 51, 
139 ; incessant toil, 115 ; 
invention, 125—8, 138, 
142; irony, 34—5, 106, 
109 ; journalist, 126, 134 ; 
knowledge of trade, 70; 
letters, 110—11, 117—122; 
liar, a great, 2, 169 ; lying, 
on, 147, 148, 158 ; mastery 
of language, 15; moralist, 
151—5; morality, 31, 126, 
171 ; name, 3 ; party 
writer, 103; personal ap- 
pearance, 38 — 9; political 
career, 169—71 ; popu- 
larity, 28, 42; practical 
spirit of his heroes, 156; 
private life, 143, 159—60 ; 
profit, writes for, 135 — 7 ; 
prosperity, 158 ; satire, 
27 ; secret services, 70 — 3, 
76—7, 102, 116, 144; 
stateeonanlike aims, 73, 
170; style, 124; a turn- 
coat, 89; verse, 12, 26, 
43, 49 

Defoe, Hannah (Defoe's 
daughter), 163, 166 

DevU, HiaUny qfthe, 136 

Devonshire, Duke of, 48 

Dissenters, 3, 6, 10, 19—21, 
32—7, 40—1, 45-8, 57, 65, 

DiaaenterSf Shortest Way toith, 
21, 34r-9, 57, 82 

Doctors' Commons, 166 

Dormer^s Newsletter, 125 

Dryden, 12 

Dublin, 112 

Dunkirk, 76—7 


East India Company, 25 
Edinburgh, 69, 70, 76—7 

Megy on the Author of the True 

Bom Englishmomy 49 
Emperor, the, 58—9, 98—9 
En^nd, affairs of, 67, 78, 88 
England, Trade of, 63, 99 
England's foreign policy, 54, 

85, 99 
Englishman's Choice, 14 
Essay on Projects, 8, 17, 18 , 
Europe, 53—5, 59, 107 


Fable of the Bees, 157 
Family Instructor, 115, 125, 

Faye, De la, 117, 124, 144 
Flanders, 100 
Foe (Defoe's father), 2 
Foreignjers, The, 26 
France, 54-6, 58, 60—1, 74. 

81, 92, 96, 99, 100, 102, 103, 

107, 135 
Freeman, Mrs., 45 
Free Trade, 74, 100—103 
Friday (Crusoe's), 146, 150, 

Fuller (Anti-Jacobite), 41 


Oasxtte, 38 
George I., 112,117 
George, Mnce, 107 
Grermany, 24, 99 
Gertruydenberg Conference, 85 
Gibraltar, 25 

Glencoe, Massacre of, 68 — 9 
Godolphin, 45. 49, 60, 75—7, 

79, 81—2, 85, 87—8, 90—1, 

Goertz, Baron de, 134 
Greenwich, 162 
Gregg, 76 

Digitized by 




ffannibcU cU the Oates, 106 
Hanover, 67, 106—9, 111, 170 
Harley, Robert, «ec Oxford 
Haussmann, Baron, 18 
High Church Party, 32, 34, 38, 

40, 44-~6, 48, 64-6, 84, 87, 

Highfliers, 40, 69, 79, 84, 89, 

93, 95-6 
Holland, 23, 99, 100 
Howe, 20 
Huguenots, 37 
Hungary, 64, 58—9 
Hurt, William, 112 

Ireland, 19, 24, 112 
Irony, 34 — 5 

Jacobites, 42, 89, 96, 108—10, 

116, 169 
James I., 36 
James II., 7, 10, 11, 23, 32, 37, 

65, 113, 169 
Jeflfreys, 7 
Juan Fernandez (island), 135 

Kentish Petition, 28 
Kirke, 7 

117—8, 123, 125—7, 139, 161, 

" Legion's Memorial,'* 28 
Leslie, Charles, 40 
Letter Introductory, 126 
" Lob's pound," 109 
London, 2, 77 
London Jounvaly 160 
Louis XIV. (French king). 21, 

23, 37, 57, 59, 75, 78, 80—1, 

85, 98—9, 101, 103 
Low Church party, 49, 97 


Mack worth. Sir H., 48 
Madagascar, 135 
Magic, System of, 136 
Mar Rebellion, 116 
Marlborough, Duchess of, 45 
Marlborough, Duke of, 45, 60, 

66, 75, 80—1, 94—6 
Mercatar, 102, 111 
Mercers' Hall, 28 
Mercurius Pditicus, 120, 125 
Mesnager, M., 97, 99, 135, 139 
Mexico, 25 

Miscellany Letters, 123 
Mist, 120—5, 152-3, 161, 166 
Mist's JmimcU, 120—7, 130 
Mock Mourners, 32 
MoU Flanders, 125, 127, 135, 

137, 141, 144, 150, 154 
Money Bill, 64—6 
Monmouth, Duke of, 7, 29, 37 
More Reformation, 43 
Morphew, 120 
Morton, 4, 6 


Lamb, Charles, 137, 157 
Langley, 160 
Lear, 167 

Lee, William (Defoe's bio- 
grapher), 5, 10, 14, 50, 110, 

Nantes, 57 

Netherlands, 22, 24, 97 
New Association, 40, 43 
New Discovery cf an Old 
Intrigue, 11 

Digitized by 




Newgate, 40, 42, 44, 51—2, 54, 

Newington, 4, 6, 7, 109, 159— 

60, 166 
Nile, 136 

Nonconformists, see Dissenters 
Non-jurors, 39 
Nottingham, Earl of, 46, 48, 



Observatory 52 

Occasional Conformity, 19, 20, 

32—4, 47—8, 64—5, 97 
October Club, 96 
Oldmixon, 11 
Ormonde, Duke of, 115 
Oudenarde, 80 
Oxford, Account of the Condiict 

of Robert, Earl of 114 
Oxford, Earl of, 49, 50, 60, 73, 

76, 79, 85, 88, 90-1, 94, 96, 

106, 107-8, 110, 111, 113— 

4, 135, 170 
" Oxford, Gentlemen of," 84 

Pamphlets, 7, 10, 11, 14, 19, 
23—6, 28—9, 39, 40, 70, 84, 
ia^H-10, 113—4, 127, 161 

Papists, 108 

Paradise Lost, 136 

Paris, 81 

Parker, Lord Chief Justice, 

Parliament, 22—3, 29, 64—6, 
69, 77, 82, 86, 88, 93 

Parliament, Scotch, 67, 70 

Partition Treaty, 22 

Patkul, Count, 134, 139 

Peace, 66, 68—9, 78, 80—2, 
97—8, 103 

Peru, 25 

Peter the Great,134 

Peterborough, Earl of, 11 

Philip II., 99 
PhiUpV.,22 ^ 
Phipps, Captam, 17 
Phipps, Sir Constantine, 113 
Pillory, Hymn to the, 42—3, 

Plague, Journal of the, 51, 87, 

Poland, 54, 58 
Poor Man's Plea, 19 
Pope (poet), 41 
Pope to Don Sacheverellio, 

Letter from the, 84 
Post, Daily, 125 
Post, Flying, 53, 102, 112, 121 
Post, London, 53 
Post-Boy, 53 
Postman, 53 

Presbyterians, Scotch, 78 
Preston, Lord, 11 
Pretender, the, 23, 29, 81, 84, 

93, 105—9 
Pretender, Tracts in favour of 

the, 105-« 
Protestant Religion, Danger of 

the, 26 
Protestant succession, 80, 93 
Protestantism, 6, 74 
Protestants, 67—9 
Puritans, 36 
Pyrenees, 21 


Quaker tracts, 116 
Queen, see Anne 
Queen's Bench, Court of, 


Reasons a^inst a War with 

France, 29 
Reasons why this Nation ought 

to put an end to this expensive 

War, 97 

Digitized by 




Regency, Lords of the, 112 

Beview, 5, 8, 110, 124, 126, 143 
Defoe's greatest political 
work, 51 ; First volume, 
62, 62 ; Change of title, 62 ; 
Second volume, 63--6 ; 
Third volume, 67—71 ; 
Preface to third volume, 
71 — 2 ; to eighth volume, 
101; On Trade, 74, 102; 
Scotch afbirs, 75, 77; 
Issued simultaneouiriy in 
Edinburgh and London, 
77; Advocacy of Whig 
causcj 78 — 9; On Peace, 
80 — 1 ; Sacheverell inci- 
dent, 81—4; Fall of 
Godolphin, 88; on the 
change of Government, 

Revolution (1688) 11, 16, 18, 

Rob Roy, 134 

Bobinsan Crusoe, 1, 12, 87, 
109, 125, 133, 135—7, 139, 
153, 158, 171 ; criticism of, 
140—7; an allegory, 148; 
parody on, 151 

Rochester, 80 

Ropemaker's Alley, 166 — 7 

Boxana, 135, 137, 154 

Ryswick, Peace of, 15, 23 


Sacheverell, Dr., 81— 5, 115 

St. Paul's, 54 

St. Vincent (island), 125, 138 

Saintsbury, 35 

Scandal CJlub, 53, 126 

Scotland, 67, 69, 70, 73, 75—7, 

SeasonaJble Warning and Gau- 

turn, 105, 108 
Secret History of One Year, 


Secret History of the White 

Staff, 113—15 
Selkirk, Alexander, 135, 142 
Serious Beflections, 136, 147, 

Sheppard, Jack, 127—8, 135 
Shortest Way, see Dissenters 
Shortest Way to Peace and 

Union, 40, 48 
Shrewsbury, Duke of, 113, 134 
Singleton, Captain, 135, 137 
Six Distinguuhing Characters 

of a Parliament Man, 25 
Somerset, Duke of, 48 
Sophia, Princess, 2^ 
South Sea Stock, 160 
Spain, 8, 21—2, 24—5, 29, 30, 

65, 98, 100 
Spanish Descent, 32 
Spectator, 129, 137 
Standing Armv, 14, 15, 24 — 5 
Stanhope, Lord, 117 
State Paper Office, 110, 117 
States, the, KK) 
Steele, 129 

Stephen, Leslie, 142, note 
StoKe Newington, 159 
Storm of November, 1703, 

Great, 51 
Street Bobberies, 161 
Stuarto, 107 
Succession of House of B[an- 

over, 67, 106—8, 116, 126 
Sunday gentleman, 13 
Sunderland, Earl of, 85—8 
Sweden, 54, 68 
Swedish Resident, 97 
Swift, 4, 35, 45, 49 


Tackers, 65—6 

Tax on newspapers, 101 

Tempest, Collection of the most 

remarhahle Casualties, etc,, 

in, 61 
Temple, the, 84 

Digitized by 




Temple Bar, 41 

Test Act, 20 

Thackeray, 153 

Tichbome, 134 

Tilbury, 14, 44 

Toleration Act, 20, 33, 35, 48 

Tories, 34, 38, 41, 45, 48, 57, 
60, 66, 75, 79, 81, 85—9, 
91—6, 106, 110-12, 121, 
143, 170 

Townshend, Lord, 117 

Trade, 63, 64, 67, 70, 74, 

True-Bom Englishman, 2, 
26—8, 32, 42, 50, 63, 96 

True-Bom Englishman, Col- 
lection of the vjritings of the 
author of, 43 

Turks, 7, 10, 59 

Tutchin, John, 4, 8, 52 

Two Oreat Questions considered, 


Union, of England and Scot- 
land, 67— 9, 75, 77, 87, 170 

Union, History <f the, 70—1 

Universal Specta>tor, 128—32, 
159, 168 

Utrecht, 74,99, 102 

VeaH, Apparition of one Mrs., 

Victory, Hymn to, 60 
Vigo, 32 
Virginia, 145 


Walters, Lucy, 29 

West Indies, 29, 36, 99, 100, 

144, 146 
Westminster Hall, 82, 84 
Whigs, 38, 40—1, 46, 48, 50, 

78—9, 80, 84—97, 99, 102, 

104, 107, 109—11, 115, 121, 

143, 151, 170 
Whitehall, 44 
Whitehall Evening Post, 125 
White Staflf, Treasurer's, 113 
Wild, Jonathan, 134 
William in., 14—19, 21—3, 

26, 28—9, 31—2, 37, 40, 60, 

64, 61, 67—8, 86, 99, 101, 

113, 158, 169—70 
Williams, Rev. Daniel, 134 

Xury, 163 

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