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but a dictator among the Tory politicians, who had raised him to the Deanery of St. Patrick's, Dublin, but did not dare to make him a bishop-continued to pour forth controversial and other tracts in verse and in prose, and to be regarded, even with such men as Pope and Addison among his contemporaries, as "the greatest genius of the age." Among his slighter tracts were several in the same vein of satiric fiction as the two early productions that have been named; but his only other work of any considerable length in that vein, was his Gulliver's Travels, published in 1727, when he was in his sixty-first year. By that time, Defoe, occupying a much humbler position among his contemporaries than belonged to the imperious Dean of St. Patrick's, was also known as a writer of prose fiction.
An eager Whig and Dissenter, the son of a London butcher, and six years older than Swift, Defoe had begun his career as a writer of political pamphlets as early as the reign of Charles II.; for about thirtyseven years he had gone on writing such pamphlets on the questions and occurrences of the time, sometimes getting thanks for them, or even a commissionership or other post from the Whigs, but more frequently getting nothing but persecution, or coming within the clutches of the law for libel; and, if
we except his True Relation of the Apparition of one Mrs. Veal, which he wrote for a publisher, to be prefixed to "Drelincourt on Death," and carry off that otherwise unvendible work, it was not till near the close of his life, when other means of livelihood, commercial and literary, had failed him, that he betook himself to fictitious story-writing. His Robinson Crusoe appeared in 1719, when he was in his fifty-ninth year; and, during the twelve remaining years of his life, he published, in rapid succession, his Adventures of Captain Singleton, his Duncan Campbell, his Fortunes of Moll Flanders, his History of Colonel Jack, his Journal of the Plague, his Memoirs of a Cavalier, his Roxana, or the Fortunate Mistress, &c. Besides these, there were some twenty other publications of different kinds from his busy pen during the same twelve years. Altogether, the list of Defoe's known writings includes 210 books or pamphlets; but posterity has agreed to forget most of these, and to remember chiefly some of his works of prose fiction.
At the close of my last lecture, I called attention to the fact that, from the Restoration of 1660 (perhaps, to clear myself from such exceptions as I then indicated, I should have been more safe in saying, from the Revolution of 1688), British society, and, with it, British intellectual activity, is seen passing
into an era of strikingly new conditions. According to the common feeling, I said, Britain then passed into a period in which, to all appearance, it had "done with the sublimities." Do we not recognize this every day in our common historical talk? Is it not one of our commonplaces that "the Eighteenth Century "-and "the Eighteenth Century" must, in this calculation, be reckoned from about the year 1688, the year of our English Revolution, to about 1789, the year of the French Revolution-was, both in Britain, and over the rest of the civilized world, a century bereft of certain high qualities of heroism, poetry, faith, or whatever else we may choose to call it, which we do discern in the mind of previous periods, and distinguished chiefly by a critical and mocking spirit in literature, a superficial and wide-ranging levity in speculation, and a perseverance reaching to greatness only in certain tracks of art and of physical science? Do we not observe that it is in this century that there arises and is established, as the paramount influence in British thought and British action, that distinction of Whiggism and Toryism by which we still find ourselves polarized into two factions, and which, however necessary it may have been, and whatever may have been its services in the past, is certainly so far from
being the most profound distinction possible to the human reason, or even visible in human history, that there is not nowadays any noble or really powerful soul in these islands but, in his inner heart, spurns it, despises it, and throws it off? Do we not observe, further, that our historical writers divide themselves, as by the operation of a constitutional difference, into two sects or schools-the one seeking its subjects in the older ages of British History, back in the Puritan, or in the Tudor, or even in the feudal and Norman times, as if there were little of the highest order of interest in the period which has elapsed since the Revolution; the other, with Lord Macaulay at their head, actually commencing their researches and their studies from the time when the modern distinction of Whiggism and Toryism makes its appearance, as if all before that were but chaos and barbarism, and only then our nation ceased to keep reckoning savagely by the stars, and began to voyage regularly by the loadstone?
Here, as in most other such cases, a deeper study of the facts might, I believe, provide a reconciliation. Whether this systematic depreciation of the Eighteenth Century is just, is a question involving perhaps larger speculative considerations than have yet been brought into it. If it is supposed that those
changes of moods which we observe in nations and even in Humanity in the aggregate, as well as in individuals, are caused by additions and subductions of the general vital energy with which Humanity is charged; if it is supposed that now somehow, as if out of celestial extra-planetary space, there is shot into the general nerve of the race an accession of force, raising its tone and its intensity, and that again this accession may be withdrawn, leaving the race comparatively languid; then the undervaluing of one age as compared with another in our historical retrospections is not unscientific. It is but as saying of an individual man that, at one time, what with the excitement of some great emergency, he is splendid and transcends himself, and that, at another, what with the absence of stimulating occasion or with temporary ill health (caused, it may be, by obvious physical or atmospheric influences), he sinks beneath his usual level. As, in the case of an individual, a temporary malevolence of atmospheric conditions, or of other conditions of nature out of himself, may depress his mental energy and actually lessen the worth of all that he thinks and says while the adverse conjunction lasts, so may there not be cosmical conditions, conditions of total nature outside of Humanity, tremors telluric and even blasts sidereal