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Commons, and, after he had eloquently but unsuccessfully defended himself in the Lords, the bill was passed, and Atterbury was put on board a man of war and landed in France. At Paris he threw himself into the cause of the Pretender, but met with such disgusts and ill treatment that he withdrew to Montpellier. He returned to Paris in 1730, and died there in his 90th year, in 1731–2. His body was brought to England, and buried in Westminster Abbey.
Atterbury was an eloquent preacher, an ingenious and acute controversialist, and his ability and energy were admitted even by his opponents, Burnet and Hoadly. His style has great rhetorical vigour, it is always clear and intelligible, and in his letters especially distinguished by elegance.
MANY kings there have been, as happy as all worldly felicity could make them; and some of these have distinguished themselves as much by their virtues, as their happiness. But the possessors of those virtues, being seated on a throne, displayed them from thence with all manner of advantage; their good actions appeared in the best light, by reason of the high orb, in which they moved, while performing them: whereas, the royal virtues, which we this day celebrate, shone brightest in affliction, and when all external marks of royal state and dignity were wanting to recommend them. Others, perhaps, may have been as just, as beneficent, as merciful, in the exercise of their royal power, as this good king was: but none surely did ever maintain such a majestic evenness and serenity of mind, when despoiled of that power; when stript of everything but a good cause, and a good conscience; when
destitute of all hopes of succour from his friends, or of mercy from his enemies : then, even then, did he possess his soul in peace, and patiently expect the event, without the least outward sign of dejection or discomposure. He remembered himself to be a king, when all the world beside seemed to have forgotten it; when his inferiors treated him with insolence, and his equals with indifference; when he was brought before that infamous tribunal, where his own subjects sat as his judges; and even when he came to die by their sentence. In all these sad circumstances, on all these trying occasions, he spake, he did nothing, which misbecame the high character he bore, and will always bear, of a great king, and one of the best of Christians. And this mixture of unaffected greatness and goodness, in the extremity of misery, was, I say, his peculiar and distinguishing excellence: other royal qualities, that adorn prosperity, he shared in common with others of his rank: but in the decent and kingly exercise of these passive graces, he had, among the list of princes, no superior, no equal, no rival.
Indeed, the last scene of his sufferings was very dismal; and such, from which mere human nature, unsupported by extraordinary degrees of grace, musts need have shrunk back a little affrighted, and seemed desirous of declining. But those succours were not wanting to him; for he went even through this last trial, unshaken; and submitted his royal head to the stroke of the executioner, with as much tranquillity and meekness, as he had borne lesser barbarities. The passage through this Red Sea was bloody, but short; a divine hand strengthened him in it, and conducted him through it; and he soon reached the shore of bliss and immortality
2. From the Speech before the House of Lords. LET me speak, my Lords, (always, I hope, with that modesty which becomes an accused person, but yet) with the freedom of an Englishman. Had nothing been opened to you concerning this man's character and secret transactions, could you possibly have believed the romantic tales he has told? Could this pretender to secrets have had, or shall he still have, any weight with you? who threw away his life, rather than venture to stand to the truth of what he had said ? Shall this man do more mischief by his death, than he could have done, if living ? For then he would have been confronted, puzzled, confounded. Shame and consciousness might have made him unsay what he had said: but a dead man can retract nothing. What he has written, he has written: the accusation must stand just as it is; and we are deprived of the advantages of those confessions, which truth and remorse had once extorted, and would again have extorted from him. However, I could have been glad to have had all that even this witness said; and would have hoped, that, by a comparison of the several parts of the story he at several times told, some light might have been gained that now is wanting.
But he is gone to his place, and has answered for what he said at another Tribunal. I desire not to blemish his character, any farther than is absolutely necessary to my own just defence.
3. Letter to Pope. I RETURN your Preface, which I have read twice with pleasure. The modesty and good sense there is in it must please every one who reads it; and since there is nothing that can offend, I see not why you should balance a moment about printing it—always provided, that there is nothing said there which you may have occasion to unsay hereafter : of which you yourself are the best and the only judge. This is my sincere opinion, which I give because you ask it: and which I would not give, though asked, but to a man I value as much as I do you; being sensible how improper it is, on many accounts, for me to interpose in things of this nature; which I never understood well, and now understand somewhat less than ever I did. But I can deny you nothing; especially since you have had the goodness often and patiently to hear what I have said against rhyme, and in behalf of blank verse; with little discretion perhaps, but I am sure without the least prejudice : being myself equally incapable of writing well in either of those ways, and leaning therefore to neither side of the question but as the appearance of reason inclines me. Forgive me this error, if it be one; an error of above thirty years' standing, and which therefore I shall be very loth to part with. In other matters which relate to polite writing, I shall seldom differ from you; or, if I do, shall, I hope, have the prudence to conceal my opinion.
DANIEL DEFOE was born in London about 1663. His father, James Foe, was a citizen and butcher of the parish of St. Giles, Cripplegate.
Little is known of his early life except that his family were Protestant Dissenters, and that he was educated at a dissenting academy at Newington. He became an author before he was twenty-one, and is said to have devoted to literature and politics time which was necessary for the conduct of his business, which was that of a hosier. In 1692 he became a bankrupt, and was obliged to abscond from his creditors. A composition was entered into, and by unwearied diligence he succeeded in making the payments with punctuality.
In 1683 he took arms as a follower of the Duke of Monmouth, and in 1688 he zealously favoured the Revolution. He was more than once the object of prosecution for his political writings, and in 1703 was sentenced to the pillory and to be fined and imprisoned, but he did not lose heart, and his time in Newgate was fruitful of literary projects. After the accession of the House of Hanover he seems to have abandoned politics and to have devoted his time entirely to literature. It was in 1719 that Robinson Crusoe first appeared, and was followed by several other less successful works of fiction. He died in the parish in which he was born in 1731.
Defoe was a man of simple, straightforward, earnest character, and his character is reflected in his language, which, though often careless and hasty, is always that of a clear thinker, and of one who writes only because he has something to say. He is an