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• No fiction in any language was ever better supported than the ADVENTURES of Robinson Crusoe.'-Dr. Blair.
Robinson Crusoe is the first book I ever read with pleasure; and I believe every boy in Europe might say the same.'—
· Was there ever anything written by mere man, that was wished longer by its readers, excepting Don Quixote, Robinson Crusoe, and the Pilgrim's PROGRESS.'--Dr. Johnson.
• De Foe's style is every where beautiful, but plain and homely. Robinson Crusoe is delightful to all ranks and classes, and worthy to find a shelf in the libraries of the wealthiest and the most learned.'-CHARLES LAMB.
• If it be inquired by what charm it is that these SURPRISING ADVENTURES should have instantly pleased, and always pleased, it will be found that few books have ever so naturally mingled amusement with instruction.'-CHALMERS.
• Society is for ever indebted to the memory of De Foe, for his production of a work, in which the ways of Providence are simply and pleasingly vindicated, and a lasting and useful moral is conveyed through the channel of an interesting and delightful story.'--Sir Walter Scott.
• Robinson CRUSOE must be allowed, by the most rigid moralist, to be one of those novels which one may read, not only with pleasure, but also with profit. It breathes throughout a spirit of piety and benevolence; it sets in a very striking light the importance of the mechanic arts, which they, who know not what it is to be without them, are so apt to undervalue ; and it fixes in the mind a lively idea of the horrors of solitude, and, consequently, of the sweets of social life, and of the blessings we derive from conversation and mutual aid.'-Dr. BEATTIE.
DE FO E.
To literary reputation may be applied the same remark that the Grecian Sage made on human happinėss, when the prosperous career of an individual was commented on,— Wait till the end :' and certainly it is only when a writer is removed from the possibility of increasing his works, that the real merits of those he leaves behind him are impartially ascertained. Time is the test of excellence : all that is remembered independent of the passions and interests of the period in which it was brought forth, must be remembered solely for its intrinsic worth, and for its accordance with those principles of truth, which, being inherent in the nature of man, awaken his sympathies with the same irresistible power, age after age, in all conditions of society. Hence he who could be assured that his name should be wafted by the breath of
popularity, even with only one of his works, steadily down the stream of time, might be well contented though all his other productions should be
gradually swallowed up in its oblivious gulf. The author of “ Robinson Crusoe” may be. deemed one of the most remarkable instances of this concentration of interest and renown in a single performance, that ever appeared in the annals of literature. More than two hundred publications flowed from his ever-ready pen; all of them powerful and appropriate at the time of their appearance; yet their interest has gradually died away with the subjects which gave them birth, and the greater proportion of them, till lately, have been only to be found resting undisturbed in the libraries of the curious, or chance-preserved, on the humbler book-stall. 6. Robinson Crusoe,” however, still forms the delight of all readers; the young and old, the rich and poor : the celebrity of his adventures has been extended not only through Germany, France, Spain, Italy, and, indeed, the whole of polished Europe, but even to the sandy plains of Arabia, where, under the delicious title of “ Dur El Bakur," “ the pearl of the sea,” in the translation of the ingenious Burkhardt, it rivalled the long-cherished traditions of Sinbad the Sailor, which form so interesting a portion of the stories that constitute the “ Arabian Nights' Entertainments.'
It is then, principally in considering him as the author of " Robinson Crusoe,” that we wish to inquire into the history of Daniel de Foe, and to present such a faithful portraiture of him as may increase the interest of that work with its numerous readers, by showing them the materials of mind out of which it was formed, and the circumstances by which those materials were shapen and brought into active use.
Daniel de Foe was born in the parish of St. Giles, Cripplegate, in the city of London, in 1661. His parents were nonconformists, and the religious persecution under which they at that time consequently laboured, was perhaps more than compensated to them by the blessed effect it brought with it of early imbuing the mind of their son with firmness, independence, and a profound reverence for that religion, in the cause of which he saw those whom he most respected and loved willing to “ count all loss gain.” Whilst yet a boy he employed himself in copying the Bible in short hand, in obedience to the wishes of his parents, who dreaded lest they might be suddenly deprived of its consolations, by some arbitrary decree of power, at a time when they might be most wanted : he proceeded with great zeal in his task as far as the Pentateuch, when his patience and his fears alike subsided, and he was willing to believe that further precaution was at that period unnecessary
It appears that De Foe was originally intended for the ministry, to which he might have received an early bias from the respect his parents bore towards their favorite pastor, the Reverend Samuel Annesley, LL.D., a distinguished presbyterian divine, who, having been ejected from the living of Cripplegate, afterwards preached, as a nonconformist, at a meeting-house in Little St. Helen's, Bishopsgate Street. Of Dr. Annesley's worth, both as a minister and a Christian, De Foe long entertained an affectionate remembrance; and he has drawn his character at length in the form of an elegy, which may be found in the collection of his writings. In the following lines he identifies himself with the Doctor's congregation.
“ His native candor, his familiar style,
At fourteen years of age Daniel De Foe was placed under the charge of the Reverend Charles Morton, the head of a respectable seminary at Newington Green ; a gentleman distinguished as a polite and profound scholar, and in whom his pupils found the advantages of good society combined with those of sound learning. De Foe always retained a grateful remembrance of this worthy man, whose name he has mentioned on various occasions with the respect it deserves, and whose voluntary exile from his native land to America, in consequence of the persecutions to which he was exposed on account of his religious principles, must have been a subject of equal indignation and regret to the ingenuous mind of his pupil. It is probable that the frequent occurrence of similar acts of oppression might be one of the causes that operated to divert De Foe from his original intention of entering the ministry; and another might be found in that strong predilection for politics, which early led him to express his opinions on the popular side with an ardour