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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 fifty-pounds, which her Majesty has ordered immediately to be paid upon such discovery.”
In the further prosecution of the resentment he had excited, a formal complaint was made of his publication in the House of Commons, the 25th of February, 1702-3, when some of the obnoxious passages being read, it was 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, to-morrow, in New Palace yard.” This pitiful vengeance upon a work, which was offensive only for its wit, was unworthy the dignity of a grave assembly, and conferred no reproach upon the victim it sought to dishonour. The printer and bookseller being now taken into custody, De Foe nobly issued forth from his retirement, to brave the storm, resolving, as he expresses it, “ to throw himself upon the favour of government rather than that others should be ruined by his mistake."
In order to remove the veil from the eyes of those who were too blind to perceive the drift of his argument, De Foe employed his retirement in composing A Brief Explanation of a late Pamphlet, entitled the “ Shortest Way, &c.".
De Foe was particularly hurt with the Dissenters : of them he says, “ All the fault I can find in myself as to these people is, that when I had drawn the picture, I did not, like the Dutchman with his man and bear, write under them, “ This is the man, and this is the bear,' lest the people should mistake me : and having in a compliment to their judgment, shunned so sharp a reflection upon their senses, I have left them at liberty to treat me like one that put a value upon their penetration at the expense of my own."
But De Foe's political sins were manifold ; he had been the favourite and panegyrist of William ; he had fought for Monmouth ; he had opposed James; he had vindicated the Revolution, and defended the rights of the people; he had bantered, insulted, and offended the whole of the Tory leaders of the House of Commons; and neither his submission to the ruling powers, nor his generosity towards his printer and publisher, sufficed to shield him from the resentment of his enemies. He was indicted for libel at the Old Bailey Sessions, 24th February, 1703, and proceeded to trial in the following July. The Attorney-General, Sir Simon Harcourt, appears to have attacked our author with the utmost severity, which drew from De Foe, at a subsequent period, these remarks :-"To hear of a gentleman telling me 'The Shortest Way' was paying the way over the skulls of Churchmen, that it is a crime to justify it, should have been said by no man but him who could first answer this question : Whether all that was ironically said in that book was not seriously, as well as with a malicious earnest, published in print with impunity a hundred times before and since ? To say, then, that this was a crime, flies so much in the face of the Churchmen, that it upbraids them with blowing up their own cause, and ruining their friends by a method they at themsame time condemn in others. Upon this foot I again say, the book was just, its design fair, and all the facts charged upon them very true.*"
dungeon. Be this as it may, De Foe never recovered from the slur thus cast upon his political integrity, and was under a cloud, and discountenanced during the following reign; though the establishment of the Protestant succession had been the object of the labours of his whole life, and was the wish that lay nearest his heart to his latest breath." _Hazlitt.
• Review, ii, 367.
Some years afterwards, when Sacheverell excited so much attention by his sermon at St Paul's, De Foe thus recals his treatment by the Attorney-General. “Where were the brains of the wise Sir Simon Harcourt, when, according to his custom, bullying the author then at the bar, he cried, “Oh but he would insinuate that the Churchmen were for these barbarous ways with the Dissenters," and therefore it was a mighty crime ! And now, good Sir Simon, whose honesty and modesty were born together,-you see, sir, the wrong done them ; for this very man, whom you so impudently said was then abused, has doomed them all to the devil and his angels, declares they ought to be prosecuted for high treason, and tells us that every Dissenter from the Church is a traitor to the state."*
In another place, he observes, in reference to the same time, “ When Sir Simon Harcourt aggravated it against the author, that he designed the book to have the world believe the Church of England would have the Dissenters thus used, 'tis presumed, without reflection upon that gentleman's penetration, that he had not heard how eagerly they granted the suggestion, by espousing the proposal, and by acknowledging it was the way they desired. Now, here is another test put upon the world of this true high-church principle. Destruction of Dissenters is proved to be no more persecution than hanging of highwaymen, This is saying in earnest what the author of "The Shortest Way said in jest ; this is owning that to the sun, which Sir Simon Harcourt said before, was a crime to suggest. Now the blessed days are come that the great truth is owned barefaced ; and the party that ruined and abused the author for telling the truth out of season, makes no scruple of taking this as a proper season to tell the same truth in their own way. From this the author observes, every man ought to have the telling of his own story himself; and that book deserved a censure, not that it was untrue, but because it was not spoke by the right person." +
It may be gathered from his own account of the prosecution, that when his enemies had him in their power, they were at a loss to know what to do with him. Doubtful of the consequences of a trial should he enter upon his defence, they were desirous of avoiding the exposure that would result from a conflict with so powerful an adversary. He was therefore advised to throw himself upon the mercy of the queen, with a promise of protection ; which induced him to quit his defence, and to acknowledge himself as the author of the accused work. The jury, upon this, found him guilty of composing and publishing a seditious libel ; but the Court, having obtained its object, failed him when he stood in need of assistance.
In a work published by him soon afterwards, he expresses his regret that he did not make a vigorous defence at his trial, instead of listening to the advice of the lawyers ; his ready acknowledgment of the work being considered tantamount to his pleading guilty. De Foe seems to have been as badly used by his own counsel, as by those of the opposite side ; which afforded him just matter of complaint. Indeed, it is impossible not to acquiesce in the justice of his displeasure against those who had undertaken his defenco. Nothing but the ntmost weakness, or wickedness, on the part of the bar, bench, and jury, can account for the issue of the trial. Such was the animosity that pervaded the rulers of the state, that it is probable nothing would have availed in his defence ; for party-feeling pervaded even the seat of justice. This was apparent in the severity of bis sentence, which was to the following purpose : That he should pay a fine of 200 marks to the queen; stand three times in the pillory; be imprisoned during the queen's pleagure : and find sureties for his good behaviour for seven years. I
• Review,' vi, 454.
+ Review,' ii, 277-8. Tutchin has the following remarks upon his sentence, in his Observator' for Saturday, the 10th of July, 1703. Countryman. Truly, Master Observator, I have no very good news for you :
This very infamous sentence reflected much more dishonour upon the Court by which it was pronounced, than upon De Foe upon whom it was inflicted. And so it was considered by many persons at the time ; for he was guarded to the pillory by the populace, as if he was about to be enthroned in a chair of state, and descended from it with the triumphant acclamations of the surrounding multitude. In allusion to this, one of his adversaries has the following couplet :
“ The shouting crowds their advocate proclaim,
And varnish over infamy with fame." De Fue has himself told us, “ That the people, who were expected to treat him very ill, on the contrary pitied him, and wished those who set him there were placed in his room, and expressed their affections by loud shouts and acclamations when he was taken down.” It is more important to observe, that during his exhibition he was protected by the same friends from the missiles of his enemies; and that the mob, instead of pelting him, resorted to the unmannerly act of drinking his health.
“ As round him Philistines adoring stand,
And keep their Dagon safe from Israel's hand.
And for the faction's money drank his health. Tradition reports, that the machine, which was graced with one of the keenest wits of the day, was adorned with garlands, it being in the midst of summer. The same authority states, that refreshments were provided for him after his exhibition. It was indeed as great a triumph to him as could possibly happen in his existing circumstances, all the odium of his situation being transferred to those who placed him there. As the High Churchmen were in power, he had no lenity to look for, so that the whole sentence was executed upon him with great exactness, and the particulars published in the London Gazette.t
In the midst of his sufferings, De Foc armed himself with a resolution of mind that enabled him to meet them, and to triumph over his enemies. To the fortitude he displayed upon this occasion, Pope has the following allusion in his Dunciad,' as ungenerous as it is false :
“Earless on high stood unabashed De Foe."
Mr. Daniel De Foe has pleaded guilty to the indictment against him for writing and publishing • The Shortest Way with the Dissenters;' and he is sentenced to stand three times in the pillory, to pay a fine of two hundred marks, and to find security for his good behaviour for seven years. - Observator. The court could do no otherwise than convict him, upon his pleading guilty; habemus confitentem reum is very often the voice of courts of judicature; 'tis the case of judges and juries. If Daniel De Foe was in expectation of Coleman's Black Box, he has found a pillory instead of it. I don't trouble my head about the custom of giving the pillory to authors, which is the punishment to bakers. You talked just now of turning author; have a care of your candle. You see which is the shortest way with authors; you must all enter yourselves in the regiment of Colonel Foe. The law of England directs that no man shall be fined ultra tenementum ; and I make no question but the justice of the court has fined Mr. Foe answerable to his estate. His security for his good behaviour for seven years, no doubt, was rationally considered, as to the legality thereof. For my part, I am only acquainted with the old laws of England, the ancient birthrights and immunities of Englishmen: this I take to be the foundation of new laws." This is one of the passages for which Tutchin was afterwards prosecuted.
* True-Born Hugonot.
“ London, July 31. On the 29th instant, Daniel Foe, alias De Foe, stood in the Pillory before the Royal Exchange, in Cornhill, as he did yesterday near the Conduit, in Cheapside, and this day at Temple Bar, in pursuance of his sentence given against him at the last Sessions, at the Old Bailey, for writing and publishing a seditious libcl, intitled, “The Shortest Way with the Dis. senters.' By which sentence he is also fincd 200 marks, to find sureties for his good behaviour for seven years, and to remain in prison till all be performed."
It was a bad taste that placed so ingenious a writer as De Foe in the society of dunces; but Pope was as defective in judgment as in good feeling, and sported with the character of men, as he was led by the impulse of passion. In another part of his poem, he makes another illiberal allusion to our author and his sufferings, associating him with a name famous in the annals of his country, and a victim also to the rage of relentless churchmen.
“ She saw old Prynne in restless Daniel shine."
The author of the Notes to the Dunciad' seems to doubt the propriety of the association, as he owns him to be “a man of parts ;” and Pope himself appears to have entertained a respect for him as a writer : Spence reports him as giving the following opinion :-“ The first part of "Robinson Crusoe’ is very good. De Foe wrote a vast many things, and none bad ; though none excellent, except this. There is something good in all he has written.” In reference to this misapplication of satire, Cibber observes, “ De Foc can never, with any propriety, be ranked amongst the dunces ; for whoever reads his works with candour and impartiality, must be convinced that he was a man of the strongest natural powers, and lively imagination, and solid judgment, which, joined with an unshaken probity in his moral conduct, and an invincible integrity in his political sphere, onght not only to screen him from the petulant attacks of satire, but transmit his name with some degree of applause to posterity."
Upon the same point, Hazlitt remarks :-“De Foe's apparent indifference is easily accounted for, from a consciousness of the flagrant rectitude of his case ; but Pope's imagination had too much effeminacy to stomach, under any circumstances, this kind of petty squalid martyrdom ; nor had he strength of public principle enough to form to himself the practical antithesis of dishonour honourable ;' the amiable in private life, the exalted in rank and station, alone fixed his sympathy and engrossed his admiration. The exquisite compliments with which he has embalmed the memory of some of his illustrious friends, who stand condemned to everlasting fame,' are a discredit to his own. His apostrophe to Harley, beginning
• Oh soul supreme, in each hard instance tried,
contrasts strangely with the time-serving, vain, versatile, and unprincipled character of that minister. It was a bold step in Pope to put the author of “Robinson Crusoe' into the Dunciad at all. Swift also had a fling at him, as 'the fellow that was pilloried ; I forget his name ;' and Gay is equally sceptical and pedantic as to his possessing more than “the superficial parts of learning. We know of no excuse for the illiberality of the literary junto with regard to a man like De Foe, but that he returned the compliment to them; and in fact, if we were to take the character of men of genius from their judgment of each other, we must sometimes come to a very different conclusion from what the world has formed.”
“When De Foe,” says Mr Chalmers, “had arrived at sixty-five, while he was encumbered with a family, and, I fear, pinched with penury, Pope endeavoured, with repeated strokes, to bring his grey hairs with sorrow to the grave, and as far as it appears, without provocation; for our author is not in the black list of scribblers, who by attempting to lessen the poet's fame, incurred the satirist's indignation. The offence and the fate of Bentley and De Foe were nearly alike. Bentley would not allow the translation to be Homer, and De Foe had endeavoured to bring Milton into vogue seven years ere the ‘Paradise Lost'
* Prynne, it will be recollected, suffered the same punishment in the age before by reason of the relentless animosity of Laud.
and Chevy Chase' had been criticised in the Spectators and Tatlers. Our author had said, in his . More Reformation ;
· Let this describe the nation's character,
One wrote the lewd, the other the sublime.' “An enraged poet alone could have thrust into the Dunciad, Bentley, a profound scholar, Cibber, a brilliant wit, and De Foe, a happy genius. This was the consequence of exalting satire as the test of truth, while truth ought to have been enthroned as the test of satire. Yet it ought not to be forgotten, that De Foe had some sarcasm in his
System of Magic, or the Sylphs and Gnomes, which Pope may have deemed a daring invasion of his · Rosicrucian Territory.'
“Undaunted by all the malignant efforts of his enemies, De Foe's ready pen converted his own punishment into a satire upon its authors. He published on the very day of his exhibition, 'A Hymn to the Pillory,' in which the reader will find satire pointed by his sufferings, generous sentiments arising from his situation, and an unexpected flow of easy verse. In this he had ample revenge upon his enemies; as the ministry did not think proper to prosecute him for this fresh insult against them, that forbearance was construed a confession of guilt in their former proceedings.”
The nature of De Foe's punishment excited much mirth in his enemies, who sported their wit in lampoons and madrigals, in which they endeavoured to hold him up to ridicule, as well as to the hatred of the town. One of them imitated the title of his last work in some doggrel lines, called 'A Hymn to Tyburn; being a Sequel to the Hymn to the Pillory. Another lavished his abuse upon him in “The True-born Hugonot ; or Daniel De Foe, a Satyr; 1703.' The author, a Jacobite of the genuine breed, speaks of him as the idol of the mob, and the oracle of the city, where he had many friends who stood by him in his adversity. He tells us that the five Kentish Gentlemen, mentioned in a former part of the work, made an effort to intercede with the government in his behalf ; and, also, that two peers visited him in Newgate. With a brazen effrontery he says that the sect to which De Foe belonged should be made answerable for his offences; and as the party had plenty of money, so they should be heavily fined as the shortest way of reforming them. 'An Equivalent for Daniel De Foe' was the title of another poetical satire. The noted Thomas Brown produced 'A Pleasant Dialogue between the Pillory and Daniel De Foe;' but it is rather a satire upon “ the peevish secretary,” than upon De Foe. Ned Ward, in a book written against him shortly afterwards, has the following allusion to his late publication :
“ The pillory was but a hook,
To make him write another book :
A plain assault and downright battery."* The poem quickly passed through several editions, being eagerly read by the people, as well for the wit of the author, as for sympathy with his sufferings. The third edition, “ corrected, with more additions,” was printed in the same year.
This prosecution, however, had a most disastrous effect upon De Foe's fortunes. Before it occurred, it appears that his circumstances were such as to enable him to keep a coach, and maintain a considerable establishment; but in consequence of his imprisonment, he could no longer attend to his pantile works, which produced the major part of
• • Dissenting Hypocrite,' p. 3.