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ments, her feelings, and her affections. The general reception they may meet with is more dubious, since collections of occasional and detached poems have rarely been honoured with a large share of public favour. Should Miss Seward's poetry be admitted as an exception, it will add much to the satisfaction which I feel in the faithful discharge of the task intrusted to me by the bequest of the amiable and highly accomplished author.
DANIEL DE FOE.
[This biographical sketch was not written by the author of these volumes, but by the late Mr John Ballantyne, bookseller in Edinburgh; whose wit, lively talents, and kindness of disposition, will make him long regretted and remembered by his friends.]
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 among 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 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 inquirer, who supposes, that Daniel did so, being ashamed of the lowness of his origin, and conceived
the prefixed De had a sound of Norman dignity with it. 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 gallies 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."
De Foe's education was rather circumscribed, which is the more to be lamented, as, in so many instances, he has exhibited proofs of rare natural genius. He was sent by his father, at twelve years old, to the Newington Green Dissenting Academy, then kept by Mr Morton, where he remained about four years; and this appears to have been all the education he ever received. When he was remanded from school, it would seem, that, his genius not lying towards the marrow-bone and cleaver, his father had put him to some other trade; of what nature we are unable to learn, De Foe himself being very reserved on the subject. When charged by Tutchin* with having his breeding as an appren
Tutchin, the publisher of the Observator, and a steady opponent of De Foe's both in politics and literature.
tice to a hosier, he asserts (May 1705,) "that he never was a hosier,* or an apprentice, but admits that he had been a trader."
This, however, had occupied but a short period of his youth; for in 1685, when he was in his twenty-second year, he took up arms in the cause of the Duke of Monmouth. On the destruction of Monmouth's party, Daniel had the good fortune to escape unpunished amidst the herd of greater delinquents; but, in his latter years, when the avowal was no longer dangerous, he boasts himself much of his exploits, in His Appeal to Honour and Justice, being a true Account of his Conduct in Public Affairs.
Three years afterwards, (1688,) De Foe was admitted a Liveryman of London. As he had been throughout a steady advocate for the Revolution, he had now the satisfaction of witnessing that great event. Oldmixon says, (Works, vol. II. p. 276,) that at a feast, given by the Lord Mayor of London to King William, on the 29th October, 1689, De Foe appeared gallantly mounted, and richly accoutred, among the troopers commanded by Lord
* Perhaps the salvo he laid to his conscience for this apparently false assertion, was, that though he dealt in hose, he did not make them.