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A man who has the public good in view, ought not in the least to be alarmed at the tribute of ridicule which scoffers constantly pay to projecting heads. It is the business of a writer, who means well, to go directly forward, without regard to criticism, but to offer his thoughts as they occur; and if in twenty schemes he hits but on one to the purpose, he ought to be excused failing in the nineteen for the twentieth sake. It is a kind of good... more...

INTRODUCTION Atalantis Major is a thinly veiled allegory describing the November 1710 election of the representative Scottish peers. The circumstances which surrounded this election were produced by the outcome of the previous month's General Election—a landslide for the Tories—and, to understand these circumstances, the impact of that Tory victory must be seen within the context of the political events of 1710. By early in 1710 it... more...

It deserves some notice, that just at, or soon after writing these sheets, we have an old dispute warmly revived among us, upon the question of our trade being declined, or not declined. I have nothing to do with the parties, nor with the reason of their strife upon that subject; I think they are wrong on both sides, and yet it is hardly worth while to set them to rights, their quarrel being quite of another nature, and the good of our trade... more...

APPEAL, &c. I hope the time is come at last when the voice of moderate principles may be heard. Hitherto the noise has been so great, and the prejudices and passions of men so strong, that it had been but in vain to offer at any argument, or for any man to talk of giving a reason for his actions; and this alone has been the cause why, when other men, who, I think, have less to say in their own defence, are appealing to the public, and... more...

INTRODUCTION A Vindication of the Press is one of Defoe's most characteristic pamphlets and for this reason as well as for its rarity deserves reprinting. Besides the New York Public Library copy, here reproduced, I know of but one copy, which is in the Indiana University Library. Neither the Bodleian nor the British Museum has a copy. Like many items in the Defoe canon, this tract must be assigned to him on the basis of internal evidence; but... more...

It was about the beginning of September, 1664, that I, among the rest of my neighbours, heard in ordinary discourse that the plague was returned again in Holland; for it had been very violent there, and particularly at Amsterdam and Rotterdam, in the year 1663, whither, they say, it was brought, some said from Italy, others from the Levant, among some goods which were brought home by their Turkey fleet; others said it was brought from Candia;... more...