Daniel Defoe eBook

William Minto
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 150 pages of information about Daniel Defoe.

“I must confess,” he said, “I have sometimes thought it very hard, that having voluntarily, without the least direction, assistance, or encouragement, in spite of all that has been suggested, taken upon me the most necessary work of removing national prejudices against the two most capital blessings of the world, Peace and Union, I should have the disaster to have the nations receive the doctrine and damn the teacher.”

“Should I descend to particulars, it would hardly appear credible that in a Christian, a Protestant, and a Reformed nation, any man should receive such treatment as I have done, even from those very people whose consciences and judgments have stooped to the venerable truth, owned it has been useful, serviceable, and seasonable....”

“I am charged with partiality, bribery, pensions, and payments—­a thing the circumstances, family, and fortunes of a man devoted to his country’s peace clears me of.  If paid, gentlemen, for writing, if hired, if employed, why still harassed with merciless and malicious men, why pursued to all extremities by law for old accounts, which you clear other men of every day?  Why oppressed, distressed, and driven from his family and from all his prospects of delivering them or himself?  Is this the fate of men employed and hired?  Is this the figure the agents of Courts and Princes make?  Certainly had I been hired or employed, those people who own the service would by this time have set their servant free from the little and implacable malice of litigious persecutions, murthering warrants, and men whose mouths are to be stopt by trifles.  Let this suffice to clear me of all the little and scandalous charges of being hired and employed.”

But then, people ask, if he was not officially employed, what had he to do with these affairs?  Why should he meddle with them?  To this he answers:—­

“Truly, gentlemen, this is just the case.  I saw a parcel of people caballing together to ruin property, corrupt the laws, invade the Government, debauch the people, and in short, enslave and embroil the nation, and I cried ‘Fire!’ or rather I cried ‘Water!’ for the fire was begun already.  I see all the nation running into confusions and directly flying in the face of one another, and cried out ‘Peace!’ I called upon all sorts of people that had any senses to collect them together and judge for themselves what they were going to do, and excited them to lay hold of the madmen and take from them the wicked weapon, the knife with which they were going to destroy their mother, rip up the bowels of their country, and at last effectually ruin themselves.

“And what had I to do with this?  Why, yes, gentlemen, I had the same right as every man that has a footing in his country, or that has a posterity to possess liberty and claim right, must have, to preserve the laws, liberty, and government of that country to which he belongs, and he that charges me with meddling in what does not concern me, meddles himself with what ’tis plain he does not understand.”

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Daniel Defoe from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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