Daniel Defoe

Daniel Defoe (1660[?]-1731) was an English journalist, poet, novelist, spy and merchant. He was bankrupt four times, placed in the pillory for sedition, and is often credited with inventing the modern novel. The son of a Puritan tallow chandler named James Foe, Defoe was a prolific author. He spent many years writing in support of King William III and Tory ministries led by Robert Harley, though he was for the most part a supporter of the Whigs. Much of the writing in the Review furthers causes and ideas dear to Harley and his ministry, including the union between England in Scotland brought about in 1707.

Defoe took part in Monmouth’s Rebellion (1685) as a young man, and would be interested and involved in politics his entire life. Growing up in the City as the son of a merchant, trade and economics also occupied him. These two topics, and possibly most importantly, religious freedom, were Defoe’s major preoccupations whether he was working for the government, as a pamphleteer, journalist, or even in his later career as a novelist.

Defoe’s career as a novelist did not begin until the publication of Robinson Crusoe in 1719. Throughout his career he focused attention on trade, the expanding empire, foreign relations, religious toleration and economic development, among many other things.