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MEMOIRS OF DANIEL DE FOE.*
Every reader of the English lan- therefore some anxiety must natuguage must be more or less ac- rally be felt to know more of the quainted with the name or works man and his doings. of Daniel De Foe. We are not To those who have felt any ashamed to acknowledge, that we thing of these emotions, we have retain to the present hour the to say, that Mr. Wilson has prostrong impressions made on our vided, in the volumes before us, boyish fancy, by bis inimitable a fund of gratification and enjoystory of Robinson Crusoe and ment of the very amplest descriphis man Friday-a story full of tion. The labour, the expense, interest, yet told in the most art- the research which must have been less manner, and calculated to bestowed on this work, we appreproduce a useful moral impression hend even Mr. Wilson himself on all who read it. In the feel- would scarcely like to tell. We ing we have just adverted to, we are really surprised by the mass apprehend we shall enjoy the of curious and interesting matter, sympathy of most of our readers, which he has contrived to bring few of whom are likely to be together ;-illustrative of the hisexempted from the same impres- tory of De Foe, of his numerous sion, and the same kindly asso- writings, and of the deeply inteciation with ourselves.
resting period through which he From the story, it is natural to lived. The mass indeed is so advert to the author. The ques- great, that we scarcely know how tion as to its being fact or fiction to do any thing like justice to it does not materially alter the opi- within the scanty limits which we pion which must be formed of the can afford. Two or three circumtalents of the writer. We con stances we shall advert to in clude at once, he must have been limine. a man of considerable powers, De Foe was a Dissenter; and and that he was probably a good certainly, on moral and literary man—a man of benevolent and grounds, we have no reason to philanthropic feeling. It could be ashamed of the connexion of not be supposed, that this was his this celebrated individual with our first or his only performance, and profession. We have been repre
* Memoirs of the Life and Times of Daniel De Foe : containing a Review of his Writings, and his Opinions upon a variety of important Matters, Čivil and Ecclesiastical. By Walter Wilson, Esq. of the Inner Temple. In three Volumes. London: Hurst, Chance, and Co. £2s 2s. NO. 61. VOL. XIV.
sented as having no claims to high among the books of their
we put forth.
66 civil ever opinion may be formed of dudgeon,” civil quarrels, and party their theology, were all Dissenters; politics ran high, he took his side, beside many more whom we could and with invincible firmness and name, wbose contributions to our persevering resolution maintained national literature, to learning and it during nearly half a century. science, it would be affectation to On all these, and on many more regard as of trifling importance. grounds than we can now state,
Among this class of persons, the life and character of De Foe, De Foe occupies a high and of which, till the present moment, honourable rank, both from the no adequate account has been number, the variety, and the im- given, have more than ordinary portance of his works. Mr. Wil. claims on the attention of the readson has furnished a list of two ing public, and especially of the hundred und ten separate publica- Dissenters of Great Britain. tions, and he does not consider It is impossible for us to give that list complete. These are on any regular narrative of his long almost every subject of morals, and diversified career; but we history, politics, poetry, &c. And must make room for some examong these are works of great tracts to illustrate, though, very labour and distinguished merit. imperfectly, the life of De Foe, His History of the Union between and the merits of his biographer. the two Kingdoms, a folio volume of 700 pages, is a book of first “ Daniel Foe, or De Foe, as he chose rate authority and importance on
afterwards to call himself, was born in that interesting subject-his Me- the city of London, in the year 1661,
two years earlier than the date commoirs of the Church of Scotland monly assigned by his biographers. His
his Review of the State of Great birth-place was in the parish of St. Britain, continued through a num
Giles's, Cripplegate. For the knowber of volumes—his various works ledge of this circumstance, as well as of
his descent, we are indebted to the reof fiction, are all entitled to rank searches of the late George Chalmers,