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PREFACE That all Defoe's novels, with the exception of "Robinson Crusoe," should have been covered with the dust of neglect for many generations, is a plain proof of how much fashions in taste affect the popularity of the British classics. It is true that three generations or so ago, Defoe's works were edited by both Sir Walter Scott and Hazlitt, and that this masterly piece of realism, "Captain Singleton," was reprinted a few years back in "The... more...

THE LIFE OF DANIEL DE FOE. Daniel De Foe was descended from a respectable family in the county of Northampton, and born in London, about the year 1663. His father, James Foe, was a butcher, in the parish of St. Giles's, Cripplegate, and a protestant dissenter. Why the subject of this memoir prefixed the De to his family name cannot now be ascertained, nor did he at any period of his life think it necessary to give his reasons to the public.... more...

CHAPTER I—REVISITS ISLAND That homely proverb, used on so many occasions in England, viz. “That what is bred in the bone will not go out of the flesh,” was never more verified than in the story of my Life.  Any one would think that after thirty-five years’ affliction, and a variety of unhappy circumstances, which few men, if any, ever went through before, and after near seven years of peace and enjoyment in the... more...

The world is so taken up of late with novels and romances, that it will be hard for a private history to be taken for genuine, where the names and other circumstances of the person are concealed, and on this account we must be content to leave the reader to pass his own opinion upon the ensuing sheet, and take it just as he pleases. The author is here supposed to be writing her own history, and in the very beginning of her account she gives the... more...

CHAPTER I—START IN LIFE I was born in the year 1632, in the city of York, of a good family, though not of that country, my father being a foreigner of Bremen, who settled first at Hull.  He got a good estate by merchandise, and leaving off his trade, lived afterwards at York, from whence he had married my mother, whose relations were named Robinson, a very good family in that country, and from whom I was called Robinson Kreutznaer;... more...


MEMOIRS OF A CAVALIER. PART I. It may suffice the reader, without being very inquisitive after my name, that I was born in the county of Salop, in the year 1608, under the government of what star I was never astrologer enough to examine; but the consequences of my life may allow me to suppose some extraordinary influence affected my birth. My father was a gentleman of a very plentiful fortune, having an estate of above £5000 per annum,... more...

PREFACE The formality of a preface to this little book might have been very well omitted, if it were not to gratify the curiosity of some inquisitive people, who, I foresee, will be apt to make objections against the reality of the narrative. Indeed the public has too often been imposed upon by fictitious stories, and some of a very late date, so that I think myself obliged by the usual respect which is paid to candid and impartial readers, to... more...

It is not that I see any reason to alter my opinion in any thing I have writ, which occasions this epistle; but I find it necessary for the satisfaction of some persons of honour, as well as wit, to pass a short explication upon it; and tell the world what I mean, or rather, what I do not mean, in some things wherein I find I am liable to be misunderstood. I confess myself something surpris'd to hear that I am taxed with bewraying my own nest,... more...

TO THE CITIZENSOFLondon and Westminster. GENTLEMEN, Experience has confirm'd you in that everlasting Maxim, that there is no other way to protect the Innocent, but by Punishing the Guilty. Crimes ever were, and ever must be unavoidably frequent in such populous Cities as yours are, being the necessary Consequences, either of the Wants, or the Depravity, of the lowest part of the humane Species. At this time the most flagrant Offences, as... more...

Chap. I. Being an Introduction to the whole Work. I doubt not but the title of this book will amuse some of my reading friends a little at first; they will make a pause, perhaps, as they do at a witch’s prayer, and be some time resolving whether they had best look into it or no, lest they should really raise the Devil by reading his story. Children and old women have told themselves so many frightful things of the Devil, and have... more...