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lish several other treatises, which were considered libellous by the Commons: and on the 25th of February, 1702–3, a complaint being made in the House, of a book, entitled, The Shortest
with the Dissenters; and the folios 11-18 and 26 being read, “Resolved, that this book, being full of false and scandalous reflections on this Parliament, and tending to promote sedition, be burnt by the hands of the common hangman, in New Palace-Yard.”
Our unfortunate author's political sins were now all mustered in array against him, and a tremendous catalogue they made. He had been the favourite and panegyrist of William ; he had fought for Monmouth, and opposed James ; he had vindicated the Revolution, and defended the rights of the people; he had bantered, insulted, and offended, the whole Tory leaders of the Commons; and, after all, he could not be quiet, but must republish his most offensive productions.
Thus overpowered, De Foe was obliged to secrete himself; and we are indebted to a very disagreeable circumstance for the following accurate description of his person. A proclamation was issued by the secretaries of state, in January 1703, in the following terms:
“ St. James's, Jan. 10, 1702–3. 6 Whereas Daniel De Foe, alias De Fooe, is charged with writing a scandalous and seditious pamphlet, entitled, “ The Shortest Way with the
Dissenters :" he is a middle-sized spare man, about forty years old, of a brown complexion, and darkbrown coloured hair, but wears a wig, a hooked nose, a sharp chin, grey eyes, and a large mole near his mouth; was born in London, and for many years was a hose-factor, in Freeman's Yard, in Cornhill, and now is owner of the brick and pantile works near Tilbury-fort, in Essex: whoever shall discover the said Daniel De Foe to one of her majesty's principal secretaries of state, or any of her majesty's justices of peace, so as he may be apprehended, shall have a reward of £50, which her majesty has ordered immediately to be paid upon such discovery.”
He was shortly after caught, fined, pilloried, and imprisoned. “Thus," says he, “was I a second time ruined; for by this affair I lost above £3,500 sterling."
While he was confined in Newgate, he occupied his time in correcting for the press a collection of his own writings, which was published in the course of the year; and he even amused himself by writing an Ode to the Pillory; of which he had so lately been made the unwilling acquaintance. But the chief object to which he directed his mind, was the projection of The Review. The publication of this periodical work commenced in 4to, on the 19th February, 1704, and continued at the rate of two numbers a week, till March, 1705, when an additional weekly number was published, and it was con
tinued every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, till May, 1713, forming in the whole nine thick volumes. De Foe was the sole writer. This work treats of foreign and domestic intelligence, politics, and trade; but as our author foresaw that it was not likely to become popular unless amusing, he discusses various other topics, under the head of a Scandal Club; Love, Marriage, Poetry, Language, and the prevailing tastes and habits of the times. Neither did these occupations find sufficient employment for his active mind. While he was still in Newgate, (1704,) he published The Storm; or a collection of the most remarkable casualties which happened in the tempest, 26th November, 1703. Nor was this work a dry detail of disasters only, De Foe having taken the occasion, with his usual felicity, to inculcate the truths of religion, and the superintendency of Providence
e The following account of this tremendous visitation is extracted from the records of the period.
“ November 26. About midnight began the most terrible storm that had been known in England, the wind W.S.W. attended with flashes of lightning. It uncovered the roofs of many houses and churches, blew down the spires of several steeples and-chimneys, tore whole groves of trees up by the roots. The leads of some churches were rolled up like scrolls of parchment, and several vessels, boats and barges, were sunk in the river Thames; but the royal navy sustained the greatest damage, being just returned from the Straits : four third rates, one second rate, four fourth rates, and many others of less force, were cast away upon the coast of England, and above fifteen
About the end of 1704, when, as our author tells us, he lay ruined and friendless in Newgate, without hopes of deliverance, Sir Robert Harley, then secretary of state, of whom De Foe had no previous personal knowledge, sent a verbal message to him, desiring to know “what he could do for him.” Our author, no doubt, made a suitable reply; in consequence of which, Sir Robert took an opportunity to represent to the queen his present misery, and unmerited sufferings. 'Anne, however, did not immediately consent to his liberation, but she inquired into the circumstances of his family, and sent, by Lord Godolphin, a considerable sum to his wife. She afterwards, through the same medium, conveyed a sum to himself, equal to the payment of his fine and discharge, and thus bound him eternally to her interest. He was liberated from Newgate the end of 1704, and retired immediately to his family at St. Edmund's-Bury. He was not allowed, however, to enjoy the quiet he courted. Booksellers, newswriters, and wits, circulated everywhere reports,
hundred seamen lost, besides those that were cast away in merchant ships. The loss that London alone sustained was computed at one million sterling, and the city of Bristol lost to the amount of two hundred thousand pounds. Among the persons who were drowned was Rear-Admiral Beaumont.
Upon this calamity the Commons addressed her majesty, that she would give directions for rebuilding and repairing the royal navy; and that she would make some provision for the families of those seamen that perished in the storm ; with which her majesty complied.” CRUSOE I.
that he had fled from justice, and deserted his security. He despised their spite, and resumed his labours; the first fruits of which were a Hymn to Victory, and a Double Welcome to the Duke of Marlborough; the subjects for both of which were furnished by the glorious achievements of that general.
Our author now continued his Review, and his political pamphleteering, for several years ; in the course of which he was subjected to much disquiet, and frequently to danger ; but the consciousness of his situation as an English freeholder, and a liveryman of London, united to a considerable degree of resolution and personal courage, enabled him to encounter and overcome the machinations of his enemies. It will scarcely be believed, at this time of day, that, on a journey which his affairs led him to take to the western parts of England, a project was formed to kidnap and send him as a soldier to the army; that the western justices, in the ardour of their party zeal, determined to apprehend him as a vagabond ; and that suits were commenced against him in his absence for fictitious debts : yet all these circumstances De Foe has asserted in his Review; and we have not learnt that any attempt was ever made to controvert the truth of his statements.
About this time (1706) a situation occurred, for which our author's abilities were peculiarly fitted. The cabinet of Queen Anne was in want of a person of general commercial knowledge, ready talents, and insinuating manners, to go to Scotland for the pur