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struct, the author has endeavoured to adapt it as much as possible to both those uses, from whence some have called it A religious play.

It would more have anwered that title, had the author's first design been pursued, which was to have made it a dramatic poem: but the subject was too solemn, and the text too copious, to suffer the restraint on one hand, or the excursions on the other, which the decoration of a poem would have made necessary.

As to its being called a play, be it called so if they please ; it must be confessed, some parts of it are too much acted in many families among us: the author wishes, that either all our Plays were as useful for the improvement and entertainment of the world, or that they were less encouraged.





DANIEL de Foe was born in London about the year 1663. His family were protestants, among whom he received no unlettered education ; at least it is plain, from his various writings, that he was a zealous defender of their principles and a strenuous supporter if their politics. He merits the praise due to sincerity, in manner of thinking, and to uniformity in babits of acting, whatever obloquy may have been cast on his name, by attributing writings to him, which, as they belonged to others, he was studious to disavow.

Our Author was educated at an Academy, on Newington Green, kept by Charles Morton. He delights to praise that Gentleman, as a master, who taught nothing either in politics or science, which was dangerous to monarchial government, or which was improper for a diligent scholar to know. De Foe was born a writer, as other men are born generals or statesmen ; and when he was not quite one and twenty, be published a pamphlet against a very prevailing sentiment in favour of the Turks,


as opposed to the Austrians, very justly thinking, that it was better the popish house of Austria should ruin the protestants in Hungary, than that the infidel house of Ottoman should ruiu both protestants and papists by overrunning Germany. De Foe was a man that would fight as well as write for his principles ; and before he was twenty-three, he appeared in arms for the duke of Monmouth, in June, 1685. Of this exploit he boasts in his latter years, when it was no longer dangerous to avow his participation in that imprudent enterprise, with greater men of similar principles.

Having escaped the dangers of battle and from the fangs of Jefferies, De Foe found complete security in the more gainful pursuits of peace. He was admitted liveryman of London, on the 26th of January, 1687, when being allowed his freedom by birth, he was received a member of that eminent corporation.

As he bad endeavoured to promote the revolution by his pen and his sword, he had the pleasure of partaking, ere long, in the pleasures and advantages of that great event. During this time our author is said to have acted as a hosier in Freeman's Yard, Cornhill : but the hosier and the poet were very irreconcileable characters. With the usual imprudence of superior genius, he was carried by bis vivacity into companies who were gratified by his wit. He spent those hours with a small society for the cultiva. tion of polite learning which he ought to bave employed in the calculations of the counting house ; and being obliged to abscond from his creditors in 1692, he naturally attributed those misfortunes to war, which were probably owing to his own misconduct. An angry creditor took out a commission of bankruptcy, which was soon superceded by those to whom he was most indebted, who accepted a composition on his single bond. This be punctually paid by the efforts of unwearied industry. But some of those creditors, who had been thus satisfied, falling into distress themselves, De Foe voluntarily paid them their whole

claims, being then in rising circumstances from king William's favour. This is such an example of honesty, which would be injustice to the world and to De Foe, to conceal.

During the next twenty years of bis life he was busy in unconsciously charging a mine which was now to blow up himself and family. He had fought for Monmouth; he had opposed king James ; he had defended the rights of the collective body of the people ; he had displeased the treasurer and General, by objecting to the war in Flanders ; he had satyrised Sir Edward Seymour and sir Christopher Musgrave, the Tory leaders of the house of Commons; and ridiculed all the high-flyers in the kingdom ; till at length lie was obliged to seek for shelter from the indignation of persons and parties, to whom he had thus rendered himself obnoxious.

A proclamation was issued in January, 1702, offering a reward of fifty pounds for discovering his retreat ; He is described in the Gazette, as a middle-sized spare man, about forty years old, of a brown complexion, and dark brown hair, having a hook nose, sharp chin, grey eyes, and a large mole near his mouth.

He soon published an Explanation to his pamphlet of The shortest Way, which had given such offence to the high party, and in which though there is the most exquisite irony, there are certainly passages which might have shewn considerate men how much the Author had been in jest ; and he justly complains how hard it is that this should not have been perceived by all the town. “ But since ignorance,” says he, " has led most men to censure the book ; and some people are like to come under the displeasure of Government for it ; in justice to those who are in danger to suffer by it; in submission to the parliament and council who may be offended at it ; and courtesy to all mistaken people, who, it seems, bave not penetrated into the real design, the author presents the world with

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