Title Page
 Table of Contents
 Biographical sketch of Daniel...

Group Title: Robinson Crusoe
Title: The Life and strange surprising adventures of Robinson Crusoe of York, mariner
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00073600/00001
 Material Information
Title: The Life and strange surprising adventures of Robinson Crusoe of York, mariner with an introduction giving a new history of Defoe's masterpiece
Uniform Title: Robinson Crusoe
Physical Description: xx, 612 p., 6 leaves of plates : ill. ; 19 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Defoe, Daniel, 1661?-1731
Griset, Ernest Henry, 1844-1907 ( Illustrator )
Worthington, R ( Publisher )
Defoe, Daniel, 1661?-1731
Publisher: R. Worthington
Place of Publication: New York
Publication Date: between 1880 and 1885?
Edition: Correctly repr. from the original ed.
Subject: Castaways -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Shipwrecks -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Survival after airplane accidents, shipwrecks, etc -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Imaginary voyages -- 1882   ( rbgenr )
Genre: Imaginary voyages   ( rbgenr )
fiction   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: United States -- New York -- New York
Citation/Reference: Smith, R.D.H. Crusoe 250,
General Note: Spine title: Robinson Crusoe.
General Note: A review of Worthington's available imprints indicates that he operated at 770 Broadway after about 1880. The name of the firm changed to Worthington Co. in 1885.
General Note: The "new history of Defoe's masterpiece" may be the biographical sketch of Defoe, p. ix-xx.
General Note: Parts I and II of Robinson Crusoe, divided into numbered sections. Part II originally published under title: The farther adventures of Robinson Crusoe.
Statement of Responsibility: with original illustrations by Ernest Griset.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00073600
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 28315635

Table of Contents
    Title Page
        Page i
        Page ii
    Table of Contents
        Page iii
        Page iv
        Page v
        Page vi
        Page vii
        Page viii
    Biographical sketch of Daniel Defoe
        Page ix
        Page x
        Page xi
        Page xii
        Page xiii
        Page xiv
        Page xv
        Page xvi
        Page xvii
        Page xviii
        Page xix
        Page xx
Full Text


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Biographical Sketch of Daniel Defoe, 9

Robinson's Family, etc. His Elopement from his Parents, 21

First*Adventures at Sea, and Experience of a Maritime Life -
Voyage to Guinea, .

Robinson's Captivity at Sallee Escape with Xury Arrival at
the Brazils, 87

de settles in the Brazils as a Planter- Makes another voyage,
and is shipwrecked, .68

Robinson finds himself in a desolate island--Procures a stock
of articles from the wreck- Constructs his Habitation, 68

Carries all his Riches, Provisions, etc., into his Habitation-
Dreariness of Solitude- Consolatory Reflections, 80

Robinson's Mode of Reckoning Time -Difficulties arising from
want of Tools He arranges his Habitation, 85


Robinson's Journal Details of his Domestic Economy and Con-
trivances--Shock of an Earthquake, 91

Robinson obtains more articles from the wreck--His Illness
and Affliction, 105

His Recovery His Comfort in Reading the Scriptures Makes
an Excursion into the Interior of the Island -Forms his
'Bower," 114

Robinson makes a Tour to Explore his Island-Employed in
Basket-Making, .28

He returns to his Cave- His Agricultural Labors and Success* 134

His Manufacture of Pottery, and contrivance for Baking Bread, 142

Meditates his Escape from the Island-Builds a Canoe-Fail-
ure of his Scheme- Resignation to his condition Makes
himself a new Dress, 147

He makes a smaller Canoe, in which he attempts to cruise round
the Island His Perilous Situation at Sea He returns
Home, 1659

He Rears a Flock of Goats His Dairy His Domestic Habits
and Style of Living Increasing Prosperity, 169

Unexpected Alarm and Cause for Apprehension -He Fortifies
his Abode, 178


Precautions against Surprise- Robinson Discovers that his Isl-
and has been Visited by Cannibals, .

Robinson Discovers a Cave, which serves him as a Retreat
against the Savages, .

Another Visit of the Savages Robinson Sees them Dancing-
Perceives the Wreck of a Vessel, . .

He Visits the Wreck and obtains many Stores from it-Again
thinks of Quitting the Island Has a Remarkable Dream,

Robinson Rescues one of their Captives from the Savages, whom
he names Friday, and makes his Servant,

Robinson Instructs and Civilizes his Man Friday -Endeavors
to give him an Idea of Christianity, .

Robinson and Friday build a Canoe to carry them to Friday's
Country -Their Scheme prevented by the arrival of a Party
of Savages, .


Robinson Releases a Spaniard Friday Discovers his Father-
Accommodation provided for these New Guests-Who are
afterwards sent to Liberate the other Spaniards-Arrival of
an English Vessel, .


Robinson Discovers Himself to the English Captain -Asaist
him in Reducing his Mutinous Crew, who submit to him,









v1 4


Atkins entreats the Captain to spare his Life-- The latter Re-
covers his Vessel from the Mutineers And Robinson leaves
the Island, 289


Robinson goes to Lisbon, where he finds the Portuguese Captain,
who renders him an Account of his Property in the Brazils-
Sets out on his Return to England by Land, 300

Friday's Encounter with a Bear-Robinson and his Fellow
Travelers attacked by a Flock of Wolves--His Arrangement
of his Affairs, and Marriage after his Return to England, 814


lie is seized with a Desire to Revisit his Island -Loses his
Wife Is Tempted to go to Sea again Takes out a Cargo
for his Colony, 828


Robinson's Ship Relieves the Crew of a French Vessel that had
caught fire, . 338


Relieves the Crew of a Bristol Ship, who are starving Arrives
at his Island, 347


Robinson and Friday go Ashore- The Latter meets with his
Father Account of what passed on the Island after Robin-
son's quitting it, . 856


The Account continued -Quarrels between the Englishmen--
A Battle between two Parties of Savages who Visit the Isl-
and- Fresh Mutiny among the Settlers, 866



The Mutinous Englishmen are Dismissed from the Island-Re-
turn with Several Captive Savages-Take the Females as
Wives- Arrival of Savages, 889


Several Savages Killed; the remainder leave the Island--A
Fleet of them afterwards arrive--A General Battle-The
Savages are overcome, and tranquillity restored, . 404


Robinson learns from the Spaniards the Difficulties they had to
Encounter He furnishes the People with Tools, etc. The
French Ecclesiastic, 126 .25


Robinson's Discourse with the Ecclesiastic as to introducing
Marriages among the People- Marriages performed-At-
kins Converts his Wife, 488


Atkins Relates his Conversation with his wife The latter bap-
tized by the Priest--Account of the starving state of those
on board the rescued vessel Robinson's departure from the
Island, .. 461


Encounter with Savages at Sea-Friday's Death -Robinson
finds h:s former Partner in the Brazils- Sails for the East
Indies, .485


The Vessel touches at Madagascar--Affray with the Natives,
who are Massacred by the Crew-The Sailors afterwards
refuse to sail with Robinson, who is left by his Nephew, the
Captain, in Bengal, 497




Meets with an English Merchant with whom he makes some
Trading Voyages They are Mistaken for Pirates -Vanquish
their Pursuers Voyage to China Rencounter with the Co-
chin Chinese Island of Formosa Gulf of Nanquin Ap-
prehensions of falling into the hands of the Dutch, . 517

Journey to Peking -Robinson joins a Caravan proceeding to
Moscow- Rencounters with the Tartars, 657

Route through Muscovy Robinson and a Scots Merchant de-
stroy an Idol The whole Caravan in great peril from the
pursuit of the Pagans- Tobolski-Muscovite Exiles-De-
parture from Tobolski Encounter with a Troop of Robbers
in the Desert Robinson reaches Archangel, and finally ar-
rives in England, ..



i.t Crusoe, would be entitled to a
prominent place in the history
l- of our literature, even had he
never given to the world that
truly admirable production;
Sand yet we may reasonably
Question whether the name of
Defoe would not long ago have
sunk into oblivion, or at least
have been known, like those
of most of his contemporaries,
Only to the curious student,
were it not attached to a work
whose popularity has been
rarely equaled never, perhaps, ex-
celled. Even as it is, the reputation due
to the writer has been nearly altogether
absorbed in that of his hero, and in the
all-engrossing interest of his adventures:
thousands who have read Robinson Cru-
soe with delight, and derived from it a satisfaction
in no wise diminished by repeated perusal, have
never bestowed a thought on its author, or, indeed,
regarded it in the light of a literary perfoinance.
While its fascination has been universally felt, the
genius that conceived it, the talent that perfcted it,
have been generally overlooked, merly because it is so
full of nature and reality as to exhibit no invention or
exertion on the part of the author, inasmuch as he ap-
p pears simply to have recorded what actually happened
and consequently only to have committed to paper plain
matter of fact, without study or embellishment. We wonder at and
are struck with admiration by the powers of Shakspeare or Cervantes:
with regard to Defoe we experience no similar feelings; it is not the
skill of the artist that enchants us, but the perfect naturalness of the
picture, which is such that we mistake it for a mirror; so that every
reader persuades himself that he could write as well, perhaps better


were he but furnished with the materials for an equally interesting
There are many circumstances in Defoe's own history that would
recommend it to the notice of the biographer, independently of his
claims as the author of Robinson : among which are the variety and
extraordinary number of his literary performances, amounting to no
fewer than two hundred and nine different publications; and the nc
less singular fact that the masterpiece of his genius was not only his
first essay in that species of composition, but was not produced till
he was far advanced in years, he having then arrived at a period of
life when the generality of authors close their literary career, and
when the powers of imagination either lose much of their vigor,
or become altogether torpid. Nor will our surprise at Defoe's indus-
try, and the almost unprecedented fertility of his pen, be at all di-
minished by considering that he was not a recluse student or professed
scholar, but was engaged in trade and various other speculations. In
one respect, however, his mercantile occupations contributed to lay
the foundation to his excellence as a novel-writer, since there can be
little doubt that it is to his actual experience of the sea, and his ac-
quaintance with other countries, we are indebted for that truth and
spirit which animate thie more interesting parts of Iobinson Crusoe;
while the manly gcod sense, unaffected earnestness, and fund of native
intelligence, have placed him far above those who presume to under-
value his literary acquirements.
According to the latest and most copious of all his biographers,
Daniel Defoe was born in 1661, two years earlier than the generally
assigned date of his birth. His father was a butcher in the parish of
St. Giles, Cripplegate; and appears to have been a citizen in easy
circumstances, although his trade was one that confers no particular
lustre on a pedigree. It is usual to effect some degree of astonish-
ment when we read of men whose after fame presents a striking con-
trast to the humility of their origin: yet we must recollect that it is
not ancestry and splendid descent, but education and circumstances
which form the man ; and in this respect the middling classes possess
a decided advantage over those either below or above them: for if
the former are precluded from cultivating their talents and abilities,
the latter generally consider themselves exempt from the necessity of
doing so, and accordingly content themselves with cultivating nmere
external accomplishments, in preference to exercising their mental
energies. Those on the contrary who are placed in a middle station,
while they are not debarred from the means of application, feel that
stimulus to exertion which arises from the desire of acquiring fortune
or fame. The history of such men as Ximenes, Wolsey, Alberoni,
and Napoleon, may. indeed, justly excite our wonder, when, too,
we behold unlettered genius emerging, in spite of every obstacle, from
the obscurity to which it seemed condemned, as in a Fergusson, a
Dural, a Burns, and an Opie, we may be permitted to express our as-
tonishment; but as regards his origin, the history of Defoe is that of
thousands who have afterwards raised themselves into comparative
elevation by the display of their powers. The solicitude, therefore, sc
generally displayed by biographers, on similar occasions, to trace


some consanguinity with a more dignified branch of their families,
for those whose native obscurity seems to demand some apology, be-
trays a rather mistaken policy. However this may be, it is certain
that it is quite as honorable for Defoe to have ascended from a butcher
as it would have been to have descended from the Conqueror himself.
One undoubted and very great advantage, for which Defoe was in
debted to his parents, who were Nonconformists, was an education
superior to what it was then usual for persons in their station to be-
stow upon their children; and they were careful also to implant in
his youthful mind that regard for religion, and that strict moral integ-
rity, which afterwards displayed themselves not only in his writings,
but his conduct through life. And this rectitude of principle he most
unequivocally evinced when his misfortunes put it so severely to the
proof. At about the age of fourteen, he was placed under the tuition
of the Rev. Charles Morton, of Newington Green, who was afterwards
vice-president of Harvard College, New England; and from various
incidental remarks in his own works, it appears that young Defoe now
entered upon an extensive course of studies, and made considerable
proficiency in languages, mathematics, philosophy, history, and the-
ology ; although the natural liveliness of his disposition unfitted him
for that severe application which is necessary to form a profound
scholar in any one of those pursuits.
It was the intention of his parents that he should embrace the
clerical profession, which.their religious feelings, and probably a very
pardonable ambition, induced them to select for him: yet, notwith-
standing his regard for the sacred office, he was unwilling to embrace
it himself; or events, at least, diverted his talents into another chan-
nel. The political and religious excitements of that period were
contagious for one of Defoe's temper; he assumed the character of
the patriot as soon as he cast off that of the boy, and espoused the
side of the popular party with all the ardor of youth; nor was it long
before he had opportunities of distinguishing himself. He was a
warm advocate for the Bill of Exclusion, passed by the Commons to
prevent the succession of the Duke of York to the throne; and re-
garded with abhorrence that spirit of despotism which sentenced
Sydney and so many others to the scaffold. At the age of twenty-one
he commenced author, which employment he continued for nearly
half a century, and that, too, almost uninterruptedly, notwithstand-
ing his various speculations of a different nature. It cannot be ex-
pected that in a sketch of this nature we should attempt to give
anything like a connected account of Defoe's various literary perform-
ances, they being too numerous and multifarious for us to advert to them
separately, even if we conceived that by so doing we should greatly
interest the readers of this-the most distinguished of them all.
But the truth is, the majority of them are of that class which it is
rather the province of the bibliographer than the critic to describe. We
may, however, here mention the first production of his pen, which,
under the singular title of Speculum Crape-gownorum," was a reply
to a publication of Roger L'Estrange's, a noted party writer of that
day. In this work Defoe indulged in rather intemperate language,
and while vindicating the dissenters, reflected in too hostile and in lie"


criminate a manner upon the established clergy. This was succeeded
by a Treatise against the Turks," occasioned by the war between
them and the imperialists; and was penned by Defoe for the purpose
of showing his countrymen that, if it was the interest of Protes-
tantism not to increase the influence of a Catholic power, it was
infinitely more so to oppose a lMahominmdan one ; which, however
debateable it might appear to politicians, was almost too obvious a
truism to be entitled to any merit for its sagacity. It is the fate of
political publications quickly to fall into oblivion after the (vents
which call them forth have passed away: the reputation derived from
them is as transitory as the events themselves, or if the fame of the
writer occasionally descends to posterity, it is more than can be affirm-
ed of his writings.
Shortly after this, Defoe proved that lie was as ready to support the
doctrines he advocated by the sword as by the pen: he accordii.gly
joined the standard of the Duke of Monmouth, when the latter landed
in England with a view of expelling a Catholic prince from the throne,
and seating himself upon it as the defender of Protestantism. Tihe
issue of that adventure, and the subsequent fate of the unfortunate,
if not perfectly ilmocent, Monmouth are well known. Happier than
the leader of the enterprise, it was Defoe's better luck to escape: he
returned to the metropolis in safety: and, abandoning polities and
warfare, was content for a while to turn his attention to tile more
humble but less stormy pursuits of trade.
lie now became a hosier, or rather a hose-factor, that is, a kind of
agent between the manufacturer and retailer; and, according to Mr.
Chalmers. lie continued to carry on this concern from 1(685 to 1695.
It was about two years after he had thus established himself, that he
was admitted a liveryman of London, on the 2(itl of Janu:ay, 1687-8.
Business, however, did not so entirely absorb his attention but that
he found time to engage in the various controversies that agitated the
public mind. an1d which were occasioned by the arbitrary measures of
James, who, feeling himself secure after the removal of so dangerous
an enemy as Moninouth, began more openly to favor the Catholics, and
to dispense with the tests intended to prevent their accepting commis-
sions in the army. This of course excited both the alarmn and indigna-
tion of the Protestants, which were by no means allayed by the tem-
porizing servility of their own clergy, who exerted their eloquence in
favor of the king's prerogative. Among those who attacked the doctrine
of the dispensing power was Iefoe : nor, as may well be imagined, was
he afterwards an unconcerned spectator of tile Revolution, whose pro-
gress he had minutely watched, and whose anniversary lie continued
yearly to celebrate as a day marked by the deliverance of his country
from political and religious tyranny. His attachment to the new sov-
ireign was confirmed 1)b tlie personal notice shown him both by that
prince and his consort for the butcher's son had the honor of in
early introduction to the royal presence.
At this period Defoe resided at Tooting in Surrey, and lie had now
launched out into more extensive commercial speculations, having
embarked in the Spanish ani Portuguese trade, so that he might t fairly
claim the title of merchant. The precise time of his going to Spain,


whether before or after the Revolution, cannot be ascertained; but he
aot only made a voyage thither, but stayed some time in the country
and acquired a knowledge of the language. Sincere as was his at-
tachment to the purer tenets of Protestantism, it did not degenerate
into blind prejudice, nor prevent him from doing justice to Catholics:
he has accordingly, in his Robinson Crusoe, represented the Spanish
character under its nmot amiable traits, and in a tone that may al-
most pass for panegyric. This voyage as we have already remarked,
doubtlessly contributed to store his observant mind with many materials
for those descriptions of tie perils and adventures common to a sea-
faring life, that so strongly excite the sympathy of those who follow
his hero across tihe trackless deep. Nor was he without some experi-
ence of shipwreck, if not actually in his own person, by the loss of a
vessel in which lie was a shareholder, and which was wrecked in a
violent storm off the coast of Biscay. It was about this period also
that he traded with Holland; probably for civet, as one of his enemies
has sneeringly styled him a civet-cat merchant." Besides this he
visited some other parts of the continent, particularly Germany ; he
did not, however, relinquish his hose-agency business in consequence
of his other engagements. But commercial enterprise did not prove
for him the road to wealth; on the contrary, his speculations involved
him in such embarrassments, that, in 1692, he was obliged to abscond
from his creditors. A commission of bankruptcy was taken out
against him, yet it was afterwards superseded, those to whom he was
most in debt agreeing to accept a composition on his own bond; and
he not only punctually discharged these claims, but, after he had
somewhat retrieved his circumstances, voluntarily repaid the remain-
der. This is so much the more to his honor, since so far from having
met with many precedents of similar probity in others, his misfortunes
had been in some degree occasioned by tihe knavery of unprincipled
men, who, availing themselves of the impunity held out to them by
the supineness or the impotency of the law, were then accustomed to
set their creditors at defiance in the most barefaced manner.
It was Defoe himself who first called the attention of the legisla-
ture to the intolerable abuses which arose from those sanctuaries, as
they were termed, for criminals and debtors, which then existed in
the metropolis; and to him, consequently, may we be said to be in-
debted for the abatement of a nuisance as disgraceful to the national
character, as it was injurious to the industrious and honest portion of
the community.
With a view of assisting him in his distress, some of his friends
now came forward and offered to settle him as a factor at Cadiz: yet,
advantageous as the proposal was, he declined it, prefering to endeav-
or to retrieve his finances by his pen. The country being then en-
gaged in an expensive war with France, Defoe proposed a scheme
to assist the government in raising the ways and means; and some
time afterwards he received the appointment of accountant to the
commissioners of the glass duty; but it proved only a temporary one,
as the duty was repealed in August, 1699. Probably it was also
about the same period that he became secretary to the tile-works at
tibury, in which concern he embarked some money, and was again a



sufferer. His "Essay on Projects," published in January, 1696-7,
shows him to have been, if not a very successful speculator himself, at
least a very ingenious and fertile deviser of theoretical plans, most of
which must be allowed to have the welfare of society in view: nor
have they been without influence in leading to many improvements of
later times: among those which have been practically adopted, we
may mention his scheme for Friendly Societies and Saving Banks.
Were any testimony required in favor of this work, it would be suffi-
cient to quote that of the celebrated Franklin, who confesses that the
impressions he received from it gave a strong bias to his own pursuits.
If net invariably employed in the active defense of public morals,
Defoe's pen was too honest to betray their interests on any occasion:
it was not always that his topics called for, or even admitted, any
direct inculcations of virtue, but whenever they did, he displayed his
earnestness in its behalf. His publication entitled "The Poor Man's
Plea" is a very keen piece of satire, with a considerable touch of
humor, leveled against the vices of the upper classes of society, in
which lie urges them to discountenance by their own conduct the im-
morality they deem so reprehensible in the vulgar. The stage too
did not escape his castigation: and really its transgressions were at
that period so barefaced and audacious, so offensive even to common
decency, that, whatever infamy there may have been in either toler-
ating or in attempting to defend such a system of ludeness, there
could be no great triumph in exposing that which did not even attempt
to conceal itself.
We have now to notice our author in a somewhat different charac-
ter-namely, as a candidate for poetical fame. His satire, entitled
the "True-born Englishman," which was written for the purpose of
averting from the king the abusive reflections cast upon him as a
foreigner, had indeed a very great run at the time-more, however,
on account of the matter than of the manner-since both that and
all Defoe's other attempts of the kind convince us, that, like the great
Roman orator, he was an intolerably bad poet, and not even a decent
versifier. Yet could gratitude and enthusiastic devotion to his prince
have supplied tie inspiration which tlie muses denied him, Defoe's
poetry would have been of first-rate excellence, so sincere was his
admiration of, so zealous was his devotion to, William III. The va-
rious effusions in rhyme, and the numerous political pamphlets and
tracts which lie published at this interval, we must pass by, and
come directly to an event that obtained for our author a rather unen-
viable species of distinction. The reign of Anne commenced with
much violence and with cabals between the respective church parties,
leading to controversies that rather fanned than allayed the public
ferment. On such an occasion, it was not to be expected that Defoe
would remain passive: assuming the furious tone of the high-
churchmen of the dtiy against the dissenters, he published a small
pamphlet, which was in reality a satire upon the writings which that
party had issued from the press; but the irony was so fine, and the
imitation so exact, that while it was supposed by them to utter the
real sentiments of the writer, it was also interpreted by those whom
it was intended to serve as coming from a violent enemy. Thb


"Shortest way with the Dissenters "-such was its title-created an
amazing sensation: and on its real object being exposed, the high-
church party became as fierce in their indignation, as they had before
been warm in their applause. The author was detected, a reward
offered for his apprehension, and he himself sentenced to be imprison-
ed in Newgate, and to stand in the pillory; but the attendance of his
friends, and the enthusiasm of the populace in favor of the champion
of religious liberty, converted an ignominious punishment into a
triumph, so that his enemies had as little reason to exalt in their vic-
tory, as to be proud of the sagacity they had displayed. If, however,
this event rather increased than diminished Defoe's reputation, it had
a different effect upon his pecuniary affairs: his confinement in New-
gate prevented his attending any longer to his concern at Tilbury, the
consequence of which was that it was obliged to be given up; and
thus Defoe saw himself deprived at once of what had been the source
of a handsome income, for before this affair he was in such thriving
circumstances as to be able to keep his coach. According to his own
statement, he lost three thousand five hundred pounds, a far more
considerable sum at that period than it would be now. There was
indeed one way of both speedily and safely repairing his finances,
namely, by accepting the overtures made him by the ministry, who
would gladly have enlisted in their own cause that pen which had
proved so powerful against them: but Defoe was too independent of
soul, and too high principled, to purchase his release upon terms
that would inflict upon him the disgrace the pillory had failed to
Although a prison is not the most congenial place for literary pur-
suits, our author availed himself of the time which the loss of his
liberty afforded him, of occupying his unwelcome leisure from all
other business in writing both in verse and prose. It was here that
he published his poem on the Reformation of Manners," a sufficient-
ly copious theme in every age, and aftewards continued the subject in
another, entitled More Reformation; in which he alludes to his
own situation in the following nervous lines, describing himself as

"A modern tool,
To wit, to parties and himself a fool;
Embroil'd with states to do himself no good,
And by his friends themselves misunderstood:
Misconstrued first in every word he said,-
By these unpitied, and by those unpaid."

Here we may truly say fact indignatio versus for the caustic tone and
antithesis are not unworthy of Pope himself. The political contro-
versial pieces which he sent forth to the world from his "place of
durance vile" were too numerous for us to specify them; we there-
fore prefer speaking of a work of more permanent interest, one in
whicl he may be regarded as the immediate predecessor of two of the
most popular and admired of our classic writers in the days of Anne
-namely, Steele and Addison. Defoe's "Review," which commenced
Feb. 19, 1704, deserves to be considered as the prototype of our Tat,

< ...-


lers and Spectators; and may earn for its author the appellation of
the Father of English Essayists: since notwithstanding that political
intelligence and discussion constituted a great portion of its contents,
it touched upon a, variety of other topics bearing upon literature,
manners, and morals; while it was itself hardly in any degree in-
debted for this part of its plan to proceeding or contemporary publi-
cations. Uniformly assailing vice, or exposing to just ridicule tile
follies and foibles of society, Defoe varied his mode of attack, at one
rime employing grave reasoning and serious remonstrance ; at another,
substituting sarcasm, humor, wit, and pleasantry, for monitor re-
proof. To a modern reader, indeed, many of the topics might seem
to lack invention, and to be rather common-place, merely because they
have been so repeatedly handled by later writers, that both the wit and
argument displayed in them have lost their freshness. This circum-
stance, however, does not detract from Defoe's intrinsic merit, or from
the praise due to him as an originator: on the contrary, he, in this
respect, only shares the fate common to all those who open a new path
in literature or art, inviting imitators whose number oppress, if they
do not overwhelm them: that Defoe has not since been surpassed in
this species of writing is far more than we can venture to assert; yet
it should be recollected that it is the first navigator of the Atlantic,
not those who cross it in a modern steamboat, who claims the homage
of our admiration.
Those who are unacquainted with Defoe the essayist, as well as
Defoe the novelist, will not be able to appreciate the extent of our
author's powers, and the variety of his information. But we have
already dwelt upon the Review at greater length than is consistent
with the brevity we must perforce observe: it is time, therefore, to
proceed with our narrative. Mr. Harley, afterwards earl of Oxford,
happened, by a change in the ministry, to come into power, after
Defoe had been about two years in confinement, and being able to
appreciate his abilities perhaps anxious to secure them in his own
support, he represented his case to the queen, who generously sent
a sum of money to his wife and family, and another to discharge his
fine and prison expenses. Immediately upon his liberation, Defoe re-
tired to Bury St. Edmund's. It was there that he wrote his masterly
treatise, entitled Giving Alms no Charity," in which lie displays great
practical knowledge, with enlarged and sound views on the causes of
poverty, and on the employment of the poor. In the intervals of
these and other occupations, for it should be observed that lie had
been sent in 1705 by Harley on a secret miission to the continent, the
express object of which has not transpired,- lie found leisure to em-
ploy his pen on other subjects, and anticipating his future character
of a romance writer, he injrented the "true narrative of Mrs. Veal's
apparition, which was prefixed to a translation of Drelincourt on
Death. The supposed strajiger from the other world is made to ree-
anmmend that performance: and, as such supernatural testimony was
irresistible, the whole impression, which had before lain on the book-
seller's shelves, was quickly sold, and was succeeded by many others,
the work having since passed through forty different editions. This
stratagem certainly does honor to Defoe's ingenuity and penetration


yet whether it be entirely justifiable, considering the tendency of the
deception, may be doubted.
Leaving for a while the account of his literary career, we must now
briefly notice r very important national subject, namely, the Union
with Scotland in which, besides warmly advocating the measure with
hlis pen, Deifo was personally employed. At the recommendation of
Harley and Lord Godolphin, by whom lie had been recommended to
the queen, he was sent on a mission to Edinburgh, in which city he
arrivedd in October, 1706. lere, it should seem, he was chiefly em-
ployed in making calculations relating to trade and taxes, for the
infot'uratioii of the committees of parliament; he also occupied him-
-elf in collecting those documents relative to the Union which he
afterwards published. Besides this, he proposed several plans for en-
couraging the manufactures, and for promoting the trade, wealth, and
maritime resources of Scotland. After an absence of about sixteen
months, he returned to England in 1708, when his services obtained
for him, from the ministry, an appointment with a fixed salary; and
as it does not appear what was the nature of the office he held, we
niay conclude it to have been merely a sinecure. Almost immediately
afterwards, his patron Ilarley was dismissed from office, through the
persevering intrigues of the duchess of Malborough, whom he had sup-
planted in the queen's favor, an event that suddenly overclouded De-
toc's political prospects. Without compromising his principles, how-
ever, lie espoused the interest of the succeeding ministry ; but although
Godolphin treated himi with consideration, lie suffered his pension to fall
into arrears, perhaps in consequence of Defoe's long absence in Scot-
land, whither lie was again despatched a few months afterwards, upon
some secret business. In the following year, 1709, Defoe published a
work which, to use the words of an eminent living critic, "places
him amongst the soundest historians of the day; and which, accord-
ing to the testimony of another, would have handed down his name to
posterity, even had he not immortalized himself by Robinson Crusoe.
This was his '* History of the Union," which is as interesting for the
minute descriptions it gives of the actors and incidents in that impor-
tant event, as for the documents it furnishes.
Still engaged in politics, Defoe's continued and severe attacks
against tile Tories and high-church party so exasperated them, that
they attempted to suppress his writings, and even threatened him
with prosecutions: their animosity, however, did not procure for him,
from the whose cause he defended, a degree of favor and support at
all comiu.ensurate with his long and able services. He had also to
contend with fresh pecuniary losses in some concern in which he was
engaged (1712) with Mr. Wood, a mercer of Coleshill in Warwickshire,
and with the personal abuse with which his character was assailed by
writers who reflected upon him as being a knavish bankrupt. But
his political career was now drawing to its close: having carried on his
" Review for more than nine years, he finally relinquished it in May,
1713, when he was again a prisoner in Newgate upon an indictment
preferred against him by his friends the Whigs, as the author of three
treasonable Jacobitical pamphlets; whereas the publications in ques-
tion were of a directly opposite tendency. The queen once more


bestowed a free pardon on him, and the malice of his numerous
enemies was defeated. From this time he employed his pen only
occasionally on political subjects. By the accession of George I. to
the throne, Defoe gained nothing, although his writings had strenu-
ously pleaded the cause of the House of Hanover during the late
reign; and although he had superior claims upon public gratitude for
the zeal with which, during nearly thirty years, he had not only advo-
cated religious and political independence, but endeavored to call.
attention to subjects of paramount importance to the national pros-
perity. That this neglect should, in spite of all his philosophy, have
occasioned him considerable mortification, is not much to be won-
dered at; and to the effect it had upon his health was attributed an
apoplectic attack in the year 1715, from which he continued to suffer
for six months.
After so serious a blow to his constitution, and at his advanced
period of life, it might have been expected that he would now lay aside
his pen, at least remit his exertions. Yet it was subsequently to
this apparently cloudy epoch of his career that the brightest and most
durable of his literary wreaths was won. Great versatility of talent
is not often accompanied by an equal degree of vigor and raciness of
intellect: when, however, such does happen to be the case, it should
seem that the former is rather beneficial than otherwise to its posses-
sor, and that change of subject serves to recruit the mental energies.
Defoe at least may be quoted as an extraordinary instance of rejuvenes-
cency of mind in the decline of years. We do not here allude to his
" Family Instructor," although that performance is one of the most
valuable and useful systems of practical morality in our language,
and has, doubtless, been far more beneficial to society than many works
of even splendid celebrity. It is the series of novels which now appear
in quick succession from his pen, that have won for him an imperishable
reputation anmlng the worthies of English literature; nor will his
claims upon our admiration be diminished by considering the extrava-
gant, unnatural system of romance-writing which had till then pre-
vailed, where everything was either so artificial or so shadowy, that not
a glimpse of real life was to be discerned. In Defoe's narratives, on
the contrary, there is such an air of downright matter-of-fact and un-
adorned truth, as to amount to actual deception : thereby prevent-
ing us from crediting the author with any merit on the score of
imagination, contrivance, or invention. Of this the reader will be
amply convinced by the perusal of the present work, on which it is
not necessary that we should expatiate, and we shall therefore merely
advert to the circumstances connected with its origin and publication.
The history of Robinson Crusoe was first published in the year 1719.
and its popularity may he said to have been established immediately,
since four editions were called for in about as many months, a circum-
stance at that time almost unprecedented in the annals of literature.
1t rarely happens that an author's expectations are surpassed by the
success of his work, however astonishing it may seem to others: yet
perhaps even Defoe himself did not venture to look forward to such a
welcome on the part of the public, after the repulses he had experi-
mnced on that of the booksellers; for incredible as it now appears, the

Y J-


manuscript of the work had been offered to, and rejected by, every
one in the trade, in which respect its destiny was not only similar to
that of Paradise Lost, but two of the most celebrated literary pro.
ductions of the present day, namely, Waverly and Child Harold; the
former of which remained in manuscript ten years, without any proba-
bility of ever seeing the light, although its fame has since extended
itself wherever the English language is known-nay more, has even
penetrated the wilds of Siberia.
Astonishing as was the success of Defoe's romance, it did not deter
the envious from attempting to disparage it. The materials, it was
said, were either furnished by, or surreptitiously obtained from,
Alexander Selkirk, a mariner who had resided for four years in the
desert island of Juan Fernandez, and returned to England in 1711.
Very probably, his story, which then excited considerable interest and
attention, did suggest to Defoe the idea of writing his romance; but
all the details and incidents are entirely his own. Most certainly
Defoe had obtained no papers or written documents from Selkirk, as
the latter had none to communicate. So fir, however, have others
been from taxing our author with plagiarism, that they have, on the
contrary, charged him with putting on paper a heap of chimeras, to
impose upon public credulity. Thus these two contradictory charges
reciprocally destroy each other. An attempt has also been made to
rob him entirely of the brightest jewel in his literary crown, by deny-
ing him to have been the author of Robinson Crusoe, which has been
ascribed, by some, to Arbuthnot; by others, to Defoe's patron, the
first earl of Oxford. Those who have wished to gain credit for the
latter opinion, assert that it was composed by that nobleman during
his imprisonment in the Tower, in 1715, on a charge of high treason;
and they have urged that the whole tone of the work, especially of
that part towards the conclusion where an account is given of the
exiled nobles of Muscovy, is what would naturally be suggested by
the solitude of a prison. Yet as far as internal evidence is con-
cerned, that is, indisputably, much stronger in favor of Defoe; for
he had not only been familiar with imprisonment, but was also by his
acquaintance with foreign countries, and his experience in business
and traffic, much better qualified to produce a work which displays so
much practical knowledge of things, as well as of man. Indeed,
nothing short of the most conclusive and undeniable testimony of
facts to the contrary can at all invalidate the claims to be considered
as the real author. Had Robinson Crusoe been the only production
of the kind that proceeded from his pen, there might be better reason
for doubting whether he wrote it; but the various other novels, or
rather pieces of fictitious biography, which he produced form an ad-
ditional reason for attributing it to him.
Of these latter we must here speak far more briefly than they de-
serve: the "History of Moll Flanders," which was published in
1721, is an admirably drawn picture of life, and contains an excellent
moral lesson, although many of the scenes it necessarily discloses are
coarse and revolting. The "Life of Colonel Jaque" contains almost
as much able delineation of real life ; and in that part of the narrative
which gives account of the hero's residence in Virginia, Defoe has


humanely advocated the cause of the negro slaves. His Memoirs
of a Cavalier," which work is supposed to have been written about
the same time, is rather history attired in the form of an imaginary
piece of biography, than a romance. Indeed, all the details are so
circumstantial and accurate, that it has been mistaken for a genuine
narrative of the events of the civil wars in England and Germany;
and it was actually recommended as the very best account of them by
the great Lord Chatham, with whom it was a favorite book. In like
manner our author's "History of the Plague" imposed upon Dr.
Mead, and since upon others, who have referred to it as an authentic
document, and a true recital of that great national calamity. Here
he is the rival of Thucydides and Boccacia; and depicts the horrors
of pestilence as vividly and as masterly as Poussin. It may, how-
ever, he imagined by some that this is rather suspicious praise, and
that the work of fiction which can pass as true history must be cold,
matter-of-fact, and tame -repulsive and dry. It is not, however, in
the formal gravity of style that these works resemble history; but
they imitate and reflect the features of the past in their most inter-
esting, if not their most engaging aspect.
Besides the preceding, and one or two other productions of a simi-
mar cast, Defoe produced that very excellent and popular work entitled
"Religious Courtship," which was first published in 1722, and after-
wards wentthrough numerous editions. This and his Family Instruc-
tor" are replete with lessons of the soundest practical wisdom, and place
their author among the most extensively useful of our English mor.-
Here, however, we must terminate our sketch, having barely left
ourselves room to mention a few particulars relative to the close of
his life. Although tile profits accruing from his publications had of
late been considerable, and he had been able to give a portion to his
daughter Sophia, who married Mr. Baker, the celebrated natural
philosopher, in 1729, yet he was still doomed to contend with misfor-
tune. In addition to the affliction of bodily infirmity and severe pain,
he again fell into great pecuniary difficulties, and was even arrested.
He appears, however, to have recovered his liberty within a short
time; but the unnatural conduct of his son, who refused to give up the
property that had been intrusted to him, with a view of securing a
provision to his mother and two unmarried sisters, was a heavier blow
than any he had before experienced; and the mental anguish it occa-
sioned doubtless accelerated his death, which occurred on the 24th of
April, 1731. Since that period more than a century has elapsed; and
in that interval many names of considerable eminence in their day
have sunk into irretrievable oblivion; Defoe, also, has lost some por-
tion of the celebrity he enjoyed with his contemporaries: yet, after
deduction, enough remains to entitle him to a place among the wor-
thies of English literature, for should all his other productions be
forgotten, his Robinson Crusoe must remain imperishable.

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