Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Defoe, Daniel (1661-1731), of world-wide renown as the author of the immortal Robinson Crusoe. His father, who called himself simply Foe, was of Northamptonshire origin, and was a butcher at St. Giles's, Cripplegate. The son was originally intended for the ministry, but eventually became a horse-factor, was concerned in Monmouth's rebellion, and in 1688 was in William III's army. He then travelled in France and Spain, and was later secretary in a pantile factory at Tilbury. He made his literary debut as a pamphleteer, and in 1701 he published a poem - The Trueborn Englishman - in which he apologised for William III.'s Dutch extraction. A satire in 1703 - The Shortest Way with Dissenters - cost him a trial at the Old Bailey, a fine of 200 marks, three exposures in the pillory, and imprisonment. The mob cheered him as he stood in the pillory, and his Hymn to the Pillory made a great sensation. While in prison he started his Review, which lasted from 1704 to 1713, and was a monument of industry. Released in the summer of 1704, he was patronised and employed by Harley, who recommended him as a useful man to Godolphin, who sent him on a mission to the West of England and to Scotland. In 1709 he wrote a History of the Union, and on the return of Harley to power in 1710 did much service as a political writer. He seems to have had little political principle, and to have been a sort of "Vicar of Bray," editing Jacobite papers, with, however, the intention and effect of making them harmless to the Government. His inconsistency became more conspicuous after the Hanoverian succession, and he speaks of himself as having "bowed in the house of Rimmon." In 1719 he issued the first two volumes of Robinson Crusoe, which he founded upon the story of Alexander Selkirk, transmuting, however, the leaden facts into pure and valuable gold. The same year saw the appearance of Duncan Campbell, Memoirs of a Cavalier, and Captain Singleton. In 1722 Defoe published Moll Flaiulers, History of the Plague of London, and The History of Colonel Jack. He wrote also many other works. In the latter part of his life he lived at Stoke Newington, and seems to have had some family troubles. He was buried at Bunhill Fields.