« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »
LIFE AND ADVENTURES
WITH A BIOGRAPHICAL MEMOIR OF
IN TWO VOLUMES.
PRINTED BY D. A. TALBOYS,
PERHAPS there exists no work, either of instruction or entertainment, in the English language, which has been more generally read, and more universally admired, than the Life and Adventures of Robinson Crusoe. It is difficult to say in what the charm consists, by which persons of all classes and denominations are thus fascinated : yet the majority of readers will recollect it as amongst the first works which awakened and interested their youthful attention; and feel, even in advanced life, and in the maturity of their understanding, that there are still associated with Robinson Crusoe, the sentiments peculiar to that period, when all is new, all glittering in prospect, and when those visions are most bright, which the experience of after life tends only to darken and destroy.
This work was first published in April 1719; its reception, as may be supposed, was universal. It is a singular circumstance, that the Author, (the subject of our present Memoir,) after a life spent in
a [This biographical sketch, which is found prefixed to the Edinburgh edition of De Foe's Novels, was written by Mr. John Ballantyne, bookseller of that city,“ whose wit, lively talents, and kindness of disposition, will make him long remembered by his friends.” See Miscellaneous Prose Works of Sir Walter Scott, vol. iv. p. 258, edit. 1827.]
political turmoil, danger, and imprisonment, should have occupied himself, in its decline, in the production of a work like the present; unless it may
be supposed, that his wearied heart turned with disgust from society and its institutions, and found solace in picturing the happiness of a state, such as he has assigned to his hero. Be this as it may, 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.
DANIEL DE FOE was born in London in the year 1663. His father was James Foe, of the parish of St Giles', butcher. Much curious speculation, with which we shall not trouble our readers, has arisen from the circumstance of Daniel's having, in his own instance, prefixed the De to the family name. We are inclined to adopt the opinion of that critical enquirer, who supposes, that Daniel did so, being ashamed of the lowness of his origin. His family, as well as himself, were Dissenters; but it does not appear that his tenets were so strict as his sect required; for he complains, in the Preface to his More Reformation, “ that some Dissenters had reproached him as if he had said, that the gallows and the galleys ought to be the penalty of going to the conventicle; forgetting, that I must design to have my father, my wife, six innocent children, and myself, put into the same condition."