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people; he had displeased the Treasurer and the General, by objecting to the Flanders war; he had bantered Sir Edward Seymour, and Sir Christopher Musgrave, the Tory-leaders of the Commons; he had just ridiculed all the high-flyers in the kindom: and he was at length obliged to seek for shelter from the indignation of persons and parties, thus overpowering and resistless.
A proclamation was issued in January, 1702–3*, offering a reward of fifty pounds for discovering his retreat. De Foe was described by the Gazette
as a middle-sized spare man, about forty years old, of a brown complexion, and dark-brown hair, though he wears a wig, having a hook nose, a sharp chin, grey eyes, and a large mole near his mouth."
He soon published An Explanation ; though he “ wonders to find there should be any occasion for
“ But since ignorance,” says he, “ has led
* He who is desirous of reading the proclamation, may be gratified by the following copy from the London Gazette, No. 3879.
St. James's, Jan. 10, 1702-3. Whereas Daniel De Foe, alias De Fooe, is charged with writing a scandalous and feditious pamphlets entitled “ The Shortest Way with the Dissenters :” he is a middle-fized spare man, about 40 years old, of a brown complexion, and dark-brown 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. VOL. II. Сс
most men to a censure of the book, and some peo's ple are like to come under the displeasure of the Go. vernment 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, have not penetrated into the real defign; the Author presents the world with the genuine meaning of the paper, which he hopes may allay the anger of Government, or at least satisfy the minds of such as imagine a design to inflame and divide us.” Neither his submissiveness to the ruling powers, nor his generosity to his printers, was a fufficient shield from the resentment of his enemies. He was found guilty of a libel, sentenced to the pillory, and adjudged to be fined and imprisoned. Thus, as he acknowledges, was he a second time ruined; and by this affair, as he afferts, he lost above £3,500 sterling, which consisted probably in his brick works and in the more abundant product of his pen.
When, by these means, immured in Newgate, our Author consoled himself with the animating reflection, that having meant well he unjustly suffered. He had a mind too active to be idle in the solitude of a prison which is seldom invaded by visitors. And he wrote a hymn to the pillory, that
Hieroglyphick state machin,
In this ode the reader will find satire, pointed by his fufferings ; generous sentiments, arising from his situation; and an unexpected flow of easy verse. For example :
The first intent of laws
And all the ends of punishment
But justice is inverted, when Those engines of the law,
Instead of pinching vicious men, Keep honest ones in awe.
He employed this involuntary leisure in correcting for the press a collection of his writings, which, with several things he had no hand in, had been already published by a piratical printer. He thought it a most unaccountable boldness in him to print that particular book called The Shertet iVay with the Dilsenters, while he lay under the public resentment for the same fact. In this collection of 1703,
there are one-and-twenty treatises in poetry and prose, beginning with The True-born Englishman, and ending with The Shortest Way to Peace and I'nion. To this volume there was prefixed the first print of De Foe; to which was afterwards added, the apt
ina scription: Laudatur et alget.
In the folitariness of a goal, the energy of De Foe projected The Review. This is a periodical paper in quarto, which was first published on the 19th of February, 1703 --4; and which was intended to treat of news, foreign and domestic; of politics, British and European ; of trade, particular and univerfal. But our Author foresaw, from the natural averfion of the age to any tedious affair, that however profitable, the world would never read, if it were not diverting. With this defign, both instructive and amusing, he skilfully institutes a Scandal Club, Cc 2
which discusses questions in divinity, morals, war, trade, language, poetry, love, marriage, drunkenness, and gaming. Thus, it is easy to see, that The Review pointed the way to the Tatlers, Spectators, and Guardians, which may be allowed however to have treated those interesting topics with more delicacy of humour, more terseness of style, and greater depth of learning : yet, has De Foe many passages, both of prose and poetry, which, for refinement of wit, neatness of expression, and efficacy of moral, would do honour to Steele or to Addison. Of all this was Johnson unconscious, when he speaks of the Tatlers and Spectators as the first English writers who had undertaken to reform either the savageness of neglect, or the impertinence of civility; to shew when to speak, or to be filent; how to refuse, or how to comply.
In the midst of these labours our Author published, in July 1704, The Stom; or, a collection of the most remarkable casualties, which happened in the tempest, on the 23d of November, 1703. In explaining the natural causes of winds De Foe shews more science, and in delivering the opinions of the ancients that this island was more subject to storms than other parts of the world, he displays more literature, than he has been generally supposed to possess. Our Author is moreover entitled to yet higher praise. He seized that awful occasion to inculcate the fundamental truths of religion ; the being of a God, the superintendency of Providence, the certainty of heaven and hell, the one to reward, the other to punish.
While, as he tells himself, he lay friendless in the prison of Newgate, his family ruined, and
himself without hopes of deliverance, a message was brought him from a person of honour, whom till that time he had not the least knowledge of. This was no less a person than Sir Robert Harley, the Speaker of the House of Commons. Harley approved probably of the principles and conduct of De Foe, and doubtless foresaw, that, during a factious age,
such a genius could be converted to many uses. And he sent a verbal message to the prisoner, defiring to know what he could do for him. Our Author readily wrote the story of the blind man in the Gospel ; concluding-Lord, that I may reccive my fight.
When the high-flyers were driven from the station which enabled them to inflame rather than conciliate, Harley became Secretary of State, in April 1704. He had now frequent opportunities of representing the unmerited sufferings of De Foe to the Queen and to the Trecfurer ; yet, our Author continued four months longer in goal. The Queen, however, in. quired into his circumstances; and Lord Godolphin sent, as he thankfully acknowledges, a confiderable fum to his wife, and to him money to pay his fine and the expence of his discharge. Here is the foundation, says he, on which he built his first sense of duty to the Queen, and the indelible bond of gratitude to his first benefactor. “Let any one say, then,” he asks, “ what I could have done, less or more than I have done for such a Queen and such a benefactor ?” All this he manfully avowed to the world *, when Queen Anne lay lifeless and cold as King William, his first patron ; and when Oxford,
* By his Appeal in 1715.