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The Review of English Studies Prize Essay: The Worcester Affair
by James Kelly
The Review of English Studies Prize Essay: The Worcester Affair
The Review of English Studies
Updated: January 10th, 2013
THE REVIEW OF ENGLISH STUDIES PRIZE ESSAY
THE WORCESTER AFFAIR
BY JAMES KELLY
Readers of RES will be familiar with the ground-breaking work of P. N. Furbank and W. R. Owens in reassessing the Defoe canon, an initiative described by Tom Keymer as 'the most important and salutary development in Defoe studies of the last two decades'. With the publication of A Critical Bibliography of Daniel Defoe (1998), Furbank and Owens have dropped nearly half the titles in J. R. Moore's Checklist (1960 & 1971). However, in seeking to reduce the canon by ejecting items which lack adequate justification, Defoe's latest bibliographers deny any intention to stifle new attributions. On the contrary, they simply call for more rigorous standards to be met before new ascriptions are admitted. This essay offers itself as a test case by attempting the first new attribution to Defoe since the publication of the Critical Bibliography. The text in question is a brief pamphlet written in the wake of the Worcester affair.
In August 1704 the Worcester, an English trading vessel, was seized in the Firth of Forth by officials of the Darien Company. Allegations by two of the Worcester's crew led the Scottish authorities to convene an Admiralty Court in Edinburgh to try the captain, Thomas Green, and seventeen others for an act of piracy committed on the coast of Malabar. The subsequent execution of Green and two of his officers in Leith on 11 April 1705, amid scenes of wild jubilation, ignited furious opposition against the projected Act of Union on both sides of the border. In the Review on 26 April 1705, and in an anonymous pamphlet attributed here, Defoe wrote a critique of the Worcester affair which contributed to its peaceful outcome, and to renewed efforts to pursue the Union of Great Britain.
In charting the course of The History of the Union of Great Britain (1709), Daniel Defoe identified a sequence of six crises which, in his estimation, had jeopardized the treaty negotiations1 between England and Scotland:
The editors are delighted to publish the first RES Prize Essay. This competition will be held annually; details of this year's competition are announced in this issue and on the Home Page of the journal at: http://www.res.oupjournals.org
I should like to express my sincere gratitude to my supervisor Dr Tom Keymer for giving freely of his wisdom and his time, at all times. I should also like to express my thanks to the British Academy for its continued support in funding my doctoral studies.
1 In May 1707 an Act of Union between England and Scotland established the unitary state of Great Britain, and guaranteed succession in the house of Hanover. Scotland's independent parliament was abolished, but her established church remained Presbyterian and her judicial system was retained.
The Re~rernof En~ltshSrudtex, New Series, Vol. 51, No. 201 (2000) O Oxford University Press ZOO0
The settling an African or Indian Company in Scotland, and the several Clashings of
Interest between the two Nations on that Head.
The Affairs of Glenco.
The Difficulties about the Succession and Limitations.
The Act of Security there.
The Act in England Intituled, An Act for presenting Dangers arising from the Act of
Security in Scotland.
The Seizing the Ship the Worcester, and Execution of Captain Green, and several
The aim of this essay is to study the IVorcester affair through contemporary printed sources in order to ground the case for a new attribution to Defoe. Overall, Defoe's observations on the Worcester affair have received very little scholarly attention, despite the fact they span a period of no less than four years (1705-9)."is interest in the affair, which seems to have begun at about the time of Green's trial, coincides with the commencement of his active role in promoting the Union on behalf of Robert Harley.
The attribution attempted here is an anonymous pamphlet which bears striking resemblance to Defoe's treatment of the affair in the Review and elsewhere. External evidence for the ascription rests chiefly on the closing couplet of an anonymous broadside ballad. The couplet links Defoe with an unidentified text whose qualities appear to match those of the pamphlet. Internal evidence consists of similarities of argument, specific verbal corres- pondences, and matching rhetorical strategies observable both in the Review and in the pamphlet. In order to understand the case for attribution, it is necessary to begin with a preliminary account of the Worcester affair based on information contained in contemporary printed sources.
The Annandale and the Worcester, 1704
On 1 February 1704 the Annandale, a vessel chartered by The Company of Scotland trading to Africa and the Indies, the 'Darien Company', was impounded near the Downs. Her captain was accused of recruiting English sailors in London, in breach of the East India Company's monopoly. The Annundale's seizure, with all her trade goods, and the subsequent impressment of her crew into the English navy incensed the merchants of Scotland. Six months later, when an independent English merchant vessel, the Worcester, put in at the Firth of Forth on her return from the East Indies, she was seized as a reprisal and her crew turned ashore (see Figs. 1 and 2).4
2 Daniel Defoe, The History of the Crrriorr of Great Britain (Edinburgh, 1709), p. 33/sig. 11.
3 In 1931 Sir Richard Temple published details of his important discovery of correspondence between Defoe and Thomas Boarey, joint owner of the Worcesrer's cargo, Notes arrd Queries, clx (1931), 39.
4 The secretary of the Darien Company, Roderick Mackenzie, organized the Worcester's seizure. Directors of the company had previously petitioned the Privy Council unsuccessfully for the restitution of the Armandale and her cargo. Edinburgh: National &kchives of Scotland, AC9/150.
Fig. 1. A merchant vessel similar to the fi'orcester alongside the Custom House c.1714. Science Museum, London; reprinted with permission
Fig. 2. The scene of the Worcester's seizure
While these events were unfolding, the Speedj~ Return, a Darien Company vessel crewed by Leith men, was daily expected home after her own voyage to the East Indies. She was long overdue, however, and there were fears that she had met with some misfortune. Somehow a rumour started that in a routine search of the Worcester coded letters had been found, and, ominously, a Darien Company seal. Amid a ferment of suspicion, two Indian crew members from the Worcester presented themselves to the authorities, claiming that on the coast of Malabar their captain had overhauled a vessel, and murdered her English-speaking crew. The citizens of Leith readily concluded that the Worcester had hijacked the Speedy Return.
In March 1705 the Worcester's commanding officer, Captain Thomas Green, and the majority of his men were tried by an Admiralty Court in Edinburgh on charges of piracy, robbery, and murder committed on the coast of Malabar between February and May 1703 (see Fig. 3).' The authorized report into the trial proceedings did not appear until May 1705, a month after the hangings. Published as The Tryal Of Captain Thomas Green and his Crew by the '4nderson printing house in Edinburgh, the report was carefully biased by the incorporation of full transcripts of prosecution evidence. By comparison, the case for the defence was inade- quately covered. The following abstracts of evidence outlining the prosecu- tion case are based on The Tyal.
5 The Tyal Of Captain Thomas Green and hts Crew Pursued before theJudge of the High Court of Admtralty of Scotland. . . For Piracy, Robbery, 6Murder (Edinburgh, 1705), 3.
Fig. 3. The coast of Maiabar
Key Document 1
The Tryal Of Captain Thomas Green and has Crew
The conviction of Green and the others was secured solely on the evidence of the Worcester's Christian Malabari cook, Antonio Ferdinando. After joining the ship on the Malabar coast, Ferdinando said he witnessed an engagement between the Worcester and another ship crewed by English-speaking white men which lasted three days. He claimed that, when the stricken vessel was boarded,
those in the Sloop, who then came Aboard, did take up those of the Crew of the said Ship from under Deck, Killed them with Hatchetts, and threw them over Board . . . Captain Green, Captain Madder, and James Simpson the Gunner were three of these who went Aboard and killed the Men."
Ferdinando said he believed about ten men were killed, and that after the struggle was over a few goods were transferred into the Worcester. The prize vessel was disposed of afterwards in Caliquilon. Ferdinando claimed he received a wound to his arm during the action and that the coat he was wearing in court was taken out of the prize.
The prosecution used the evidence of Charles May, the Worcester's surgeon, to corroborate Ferdinando's story. After disembarking on the coast of Malabar in charge of a party of sick men, May had been ashore for some days when heard guns fired at sea. The sounds worried him, and he decided to walk to the coast to enquire about the ship. On his arrival, May saw the Worcester lying at anchor with another vessel riding at her stern. He also saw the Worcester's launch approaching the shore, whose crew told him that they had come for water on account of having spent the night 'busking', a sea-term taken by the prosecution to mean the preparation of a ship for battle. May embarked in the launch for her return trip to the Worcester. As he stepped aboard the ship, the surgeon asked why her decks were so jammed with stores. At this, John Madder, first mate, rounded on him saying: 'Damn jlou, what have you to Inquzre, meddle with your Plazster-Box." Stunned by this reaction, May went below, where he was requested to treat Ferdinando and another crew member for wounds. May saw to the men, but, although he pressed them for information, neither would tell him how their wounds had been inflicted.
James Wilkie, an Edinburgh tailor, had a brother who was the surgeon on board the Speed]! Return. Wilkie met Green's steward, George Haines, in Leith and asked him if he had any news of his brother's ship. Haines replied that a Dutch ship had warned the Worcester that Captain Drummond and all those on board the Speedjl Return had turned pirate.8
About the time The Ttyal was published in Edinburgh, a rival document
6 Ibid. 39. 7 Ibid. 4. 8 Ibid. 43
entitled The Case Of Capt. Tho. Green appeared in London. The latter not only contested Ferdinando's story but also offered an innocent explanation for May's evidence. Furthermore, the author, who was anonymous, supplemented the inadequate abstract of defence evidence given in The Tryal with a summary of new evidence gathered outside the courtr~om.~
The following version of events is based on The Case Of Capt. Tho. Green.
Key Document 2
The Case Of Capt. Tho. Green
Ferdinando's evidence was flawed, the author pointed out, by his claim that the seizure took place off Calicut, on the coast of Malabar. The Worcester's movements being well known to the factories along the coast, it could be proved that her final visit to Calicut took place in January 1704. Ferdinando did not join the Worcester until May, over four months later, so he could not possibly have witnessed an act of piracy off Calicut. Within days of Ferdinando's arrival on board, the Worcester left the coast of Malabar in a perilous state of disrepair. Weathering Cape Comorin in an easterly direction, Green proceeded to Bengal to refit.
In a written testimony, Captain Blewett, master of the East India Company vessel Aureng Zeb, said he saw the Worcester signal her distress during a storm at Quilon on 26 March 1703. Blewett sent an officer in a launch to see what assistance the Worcester required. When the launch returned, Blewett was informed that the Worcester was so leaky she was almost unfit for sea. Three days later, more foul weather caused Green to shift his anchorage. As Green manceuvred past the Aureng Zeb he honoured Captain Blewett with a five-gun salute. These, the author of the pamphlet suggested, were the shots heard by May, about a fortnight after he was put ashore. Green positioned the Worcester just ahead of the Aureng Zeb and the two ships rode together for a period of three days. This, the author insisted, was also what the surgeon had witnessed. While they were together, Green supplied the Aureng Zeb with water, which was the occasion for sending a boat ashore for more. By 'busking', the author affirmed, the crew of the launch meant they had been 'bearing closs [sic]upon the Wind by a press Sail'. This, the author argued, the Worcester was forced to do in repositioning her anchorage. As for Ferdinando's wound, he had it when he first came on board. At the time May was still on shore, so he did not see Ferdinando's wound until afterwards when he was asked to treat it. In the meantime, Ferdinando had told everybody his injury was a snake bite.
The Case Of Capt. Tho. Green incorporates the statements of two former
9 The copy of The Case Of Capt. Tho. Green preserved in the library of Worcester College, Oxford is attributed to Daniel Defoe in the manuscript library catalogue compiled in the early
crew members of the Speedy Return concerning the fate of their ship. In the presence of the mayor of Portsmouth and an independent notary, both Israel Phippany and Peter Freeland testified that they had sailed under Captain Drummond from Glasgow to Madagascar on the first leg of his intended voyage. Drummond had apparently anchored off Madagascar, where he went ashore to negotiate a cargo of slaves. During his absence, the Speedy Return was overrun by a gang of pirates under the leadership of Captain John Bowen. The pirates then sailed their prize to Rajapore where they burned her. A letter forwarded by the governor of an East India factory at Calicut gave information which confirmed their story.'' Phippany's and Freeland's statements were signed on 31 March 1705, eleven days before Green was hanged, but in the absence of specific charges relating to the Speedy Return their evidence was not considered in court.
Seventeen of the eighteen defendants were convicted. The verdicts were secured on the evidence of Ferdinand0 alone. Green, Madder, Simpson, and two others were sentenced to hang on 4 April, and two further group executions were scheduled for 11 and 18 April. News of the impending executions was received with dismay in England. Queen Anne intervened personally to secure a stay of execution to allow her ministers time to consider matters. But, on 11 April, the final day of the postponement, events in Edinburgh got out of hand. In a pamphlet formerly attributed to Defoe, one correspondent wrote to a friend in London describing the scenes he witnessed:
The Streets fill'd with Incredible Numbers of Men, Women and Children, calling for Justice upon those ENGLISH Murtherers. The Lord Chancellor Seafield's Coach happening to pass by, they stop'd it, broke the Sashes, haul'd him out, and oblig'd him to promise Execution should speedily be done before he could get from 'em. . . . According to the Chancellors promise, soon after, on the same Day, being Wednesday, Captain Green, Madder, and Sympson were brought out, and convey'd to Execution, which was at Leith Road upon the Sands, and all the way was Huzza'd in Triumph as it were, and insulted with the sharpest and most bitter Invectives. Being come to the place of Execution, Good God! what a moving sight was it to see those Men stand upon the very Varge of Life, just launching into Eternity, and at the same time see the whole Multitude transported with Joy!"
10 'A LETTER from Captain George Weoley to Mr. Pennyng, Chief of the English East-India Company's Factory at Callicut'. This was a report to the Procurator Fiscal concerning pirate activity in the area of Calicut. The letter, dated 7 Nov. 1703, was also published in The Case Of Capt. Tho. Green.
11 Anon., A Letter From Scotland To a Friend m London (London, 1705), 25. Attributed to Defoe in J. R. Moore, A Checklist Of The Writings Of Daniel Defoe (Bloomington, Ind., 1960), 41 (Moore,*lOl). De-attributed in P. N. Furbank and W. R. Owens, Defoe De-attributions; A Critique of3. R. Moore's Checklist (London, 1994), 55 (F&O 229b).
But, as the rope went taut around Green's neck, the mob underwent an apparent change of heart. 'No sooner was the Sacrifice made, and the Men dead', reported Defoe, 'but even the same Rabble, so sickly is the Multitude, exclaim'd at their own Madness, and openly regrated [sic]what they had done, and were ready to tear one another to pieces for the Excess.'12 Although the mob was appeased, Green's execution now became a focal point for anti- Unionist propaganda. In Scotland, opponents of the Union celebrated the outcome as a symbol of national autonomy. In England, Green and his men were hailed as martyrs.
The First Broadsides
The Edinburgh printer John Reid probably published Green's Last Speeches and Dying Words within a day of the hangings.lkWhat the Custom of Pirates is, I thank God I know not', was Green's denial; 'I went not a Roving out of the Road of our Trade and Commerce.' George Jaffray reacted against Reid's sympathetic stance towards Green. His simultaneous publication of A vindication Of the false Aspersions laid against theJudges ofAdmiralty in Scotland
in London and Edinburgh appears to have been a deliberate attempt to provoke confrontation between opponents of the Union on either side. The author expresses outrage that Scotland should be 'so much revil'd, the Justice of the Scots Nation so much insulted, and all Scots men so much run down' in the Worcesteraffair. Soon the presses of London and Edinburgh were engaged in a blistering exchange of propaganda.
The Pamphlet War
An unaccountable delay in producing the official trial report in Edinburgh sparked off a vicious pamphlet war. English pens sought to discredit the Scottish judiciary, while the Scots tried any means to deflect criticism until the report could be published. The result was a barrage of obloquy, in prose and verse, from both sides. The author of a pamphlet entitled An English Ointment For The Scots Mange strummed on English nerve-strings with insinuations of a Tory-backed Jacobite plot. His parting shots typify the more abusive propa- ganda circulating in London at the time: 'Pray God keep [the Scots] at their proper distance, that they may never Infect us with their Itch or their Principles, neither Bastardise our Breed with Poison'd Pates and Freckly
12 The History of the Union, 50,
13 Last Speeches and Dying Words Of Captain Thomas Green, Commander of the Ship the Worcester, and of Captain John Madder, chief Mate of the said Ship. As contained in Papers Delivered by themselves upon the Scaffold before their Execution, and Subscrib'd with their own Hands at Edinburgh the 1Iih day ofApril 1705 (Edinburgh, 1705).
Faces, but always live within the Starving Limits of their own Barren Country.''"
In Edinburgh the temperature was just as high. One author can be glimpsed sniping at high-flyers in the Anglican Church through his depiction of English sailors as celebrants in a diabolical Eucharist:
The Captain and John Madder required an Oath of the Crew, that they should never reveal to Man, what was done by them at Sea; and to confirm the same, a Diabolick Sacrament and Sacrifice was superadded, dipping Bread in the Blood drawn from themselves, and from Thomas Clises one of the Crew whom they bled till he almost expired and then stab'd with Bagonets and threw him over Board, as a sacrifice to the Oath, which was Administrat in these Words, while they eat the Bread dipp'd in Blood,
That Minute ever they should reveal to man what was done at sea, let the Devzl take their Souls to the hottest place of Hell! '"
Defoe's Response to the Worcester Affair
THEReview, 26 APRIL1705
On 26 April 1705 a letter purportedly written by an anonymous correspondent appeared in the Review which attempted to goad Defoe into print:
I Sent you a Letter last Week, to Desire your Opinion of the Affairs of Capt. Green, the pretended Pyracy in Scotland, and the scandalous Contradictions which are publzshed on that Account; it must be supposed, you cannot Answer to those things by your Silence, which will be farther ConJirm'd by your Silence to this.
Defoe's reluctance to be drawn into debate may reflect his discomfiture at finding himself in an unusually delicate position." One of the condemned men in Edinburgh, John Reynolds, was a near relative of Defoe's employer, Robert Harley. One contemporary correspondent reported that 'Secretary Harley . . . mightily espouses Reynolds interests' and it may be that Defoe felt himself under some obligation to do the same." On one hand, Defoe could not afford to disappoint Harley, but, on the other, alienating the Scots might have serious consequences for the long-term interests of the Review.
Defoe seems to have settled on a compromise. He set out to defend the
14 Anon., An English Ointment For The Scots .Mange (published in London by B. Bragg, Avemary-Lane, n.d.).
15 A True and Impartial Account Of The Proceedings Against Capr Green and His Crew, Together with the Confessions of several of them under sentence of Death (author's and publisher's details not recorded).
16 It is possible that Defoe planted this letter himself, to emphasize his reluctance (real or counterfeit) to comment on the affair.
17 In a letter to Lord Chancellor Seafield dated 19 June 1705, David Nairn confirmed that Reynolds was the only defendant to be acquitted by the jury. See the Seafield Correspondence from 168; to 1708, ed. by James Grant (Edinburgh, 1912), 413.
premise that Scotland would not condemn and execute men without sufficient evidence of fact and, at the same time, he registered with equal conviction concerns in England that the verdicts had been unsafe. The result was a finely balanced piece in which two arguments are expressed with such equal force that neither one nor the other holds sway. On one hand, 'Affidavits taken in one Nation to Examine the Justice of another, Conclusions drawn from suggested Premises, Printing Scraps, and gather'd Pieces of Stories, either in our own, or in the Scots Papers, are not sufficient Grounds to Censure the Justice of a Nation.' But, on the other, 'If Innocent Blood has been shed, the Lord have Mercy upon the Scots . . . if the Matter of Fact is Justifiable, our Censures stand in need of the same Charity.'
Green and Madder's last speeches should be accorded the respect they deserve, argues Defoe, but at the same time they should not be taken as 'Unquestion'd Proofs of their Innocence'.lY Whatever the rights and wrongs of the affair, England had hanged too many men protesting their innocence to censure Scotland for hanging three more: 'Nothing could be more horrid, than that the Scots should Execute these Men on a meer Pique at the English Nation. Nothing can be more like it, than to conclude rashly, that it is so, and improve it on purpose to Exasperate our People against the Scots.'
Defoe rounds off his commentary with an appeal for an end to the crisis, reminding his readers that: 'Public Peace is the best Barrier of both Nations Prosperity'. The launching of this weighty principle has the effect of instantly overshadowing the Worcester affair and, for the first time in print, reducing it to realistic proportions.
Defoe referred to the affair again in the Review on 7 December 1708. In the article he expresses irritation that there should remain bad feeling between England and Scotland after eighteen months of Union:
I remember, when Green and his Crew were condemn'd in Scotland, the Intollerable Ferment that there was in this Nation about it . . . let them be innocent, and let that Case have been as it would, while they were put to Death by the Forms of the I.aws in that Country, tho' it might be a Atischance, it could not have been any Ground of a National Resentment or a National Quarrel, as some People at that time would have had it.
In this second Review article Defoe is less guarded than he had been in 1705. There is far less equipoise, and Defoe shows far less tolerance of the factions in England which had tried to incite division.
18 For further evidence of Defoe's interest in such matters see M. Novak, 'Defoe's Authorship of ii Collection of Dying Speeches (1718)', Modern Philologj, 84 (1986-7), 92-7.
The History of the Union of Great Britain (1709)
In The History, Defoe equates the Worcester affair with the events triggered by the Act of Settlement (1701) as a serious threat to the projected Union.I9 Difficulties over the Act had led the Edinburgh parliament to pass its own Act of Security (1704), whereby the successor in England would not be named without London's agreement to an economic rescue package for Scotland. The English responded to this ultimatum with the Alien Act (1705), by which virtually all Scottish nationals were to be classed as aliens in England, and a comprehensive trade embargo would be applied to Scottish exports unless the Act of Settlement was acknowledged. What seems clear from Defoe's analysis is that Scotland's parlous economic state was the basis of the demands and threats issued by both sides.
Scotland had, in fact, made her own serious attempt at economic rehabilita- tion with the establishment of the Darien Company in 1695. Inspired by William Paterson, a founder of the Bank of England, the company had been formed to oversee the establishment of a Scots colony in Panama, and to manage an overland trade between the Atlantic and the Pacific oceans which would make Scotland's fortune.20 But, weakened by its pestiferous location, and assailed by hostile Indians, the precarious settlement was abruptly dislodged by a Spanish task force from Cartagena in 1699. With the company's ruin, Scotland's hopes of resuscitating her economy virtually collapsed.21 The Annandale's projected voyage represented the company's last chance to sustain itself. She was bound for hlalacca to bring off a valuable cargo salvaged from the Speedwell, a company vessel that had been wrecked in a storm just after the collapse at Darien. The Annandale's seizure paralysed Scotland's ability to effect a recovery.
The passage of time seems to have enabled Defoe to to express his views far more freely in The Histo y22 than he had done in the Review. For example, he now makes it clear that while he never believed that Green had had anything to do with the Speedy Return, he had always suspected that the Worcester had been up to mischief on the coast of Malabar.23 Moreover, he detects the work
19 The Act of Settlement ensured succession in the House of Hanover after the death of Queen Anne. The Scots' rejection of the Act was seen as a serious threat to England's national security. Widespread support for the Pretender in Scotland, especially among the Highland clans, caused fears in England that a Jacobite invasion might be timed to coincide with Marlborough's commitment on the Continent.
20 The raising of capital to fund the venture was a patriotic issue in Scotland. Noblemen, gentry, tradesmen, artisans, widows, and spinsters all contributed funds, often beyond their means, to try to raise working capital of &400,000. See G.P. Insh, Papers Relatrng To The Ships and Voyages of The Company of Scotland Trading To Africa and The Indies, 1696-1707 (Edinburgh, 1924).
21 See T. C. Smout, A History of The Scottish People, 1560-1830 (London, 1998).
22 Temple applauded this account as 'the most appreciative of all that have appeared'. The Tragedy Of The Worcester (London, 1930), 434.
23 'For some of them, however innocent of this Matter, had been, it seems, Guilty of Wickednesses of other sorts, black enough.' The History of the Union, 47.
of Providence in the way the court had reached its verdict; it 'seem'd to Jump together so visibly, that all People seem'd to acknowledge a wonderful and invisible Hand in it, directing and pointing out the Detecting some Horrible Crime, which Vengeance suffered not to go Unpunished'.
The History leaves no doubt that the Worcester affair's real significance had nothing to do with the question of Green's innocence or guilt. Its importance lay, simply, in its implications for the projected Union of Great Britain. In Defoe's estimate, the affair ranked alongside the Darien disaster and the massacre at Glencoe, as an example to 'those that had the least Knowledge of affairs in both Kingdoms, that nothing but an Union could prevent the Nations falling to pieces'. But it took Green's hanging to force both governments to their senses with the recognition that only Union could save England and Scotland from all-out war. As a consequence of the affair, Union 'was immediately and heartily to be set about, as the only way to preserve the publick Tranquillity, and prevent the certain Mischiefs that threatened the whole Body'.24
A General History of the Pyrates
The second volume of Captain Charles Johnson's A General History of the Pyrates, sometimes attributed to Defoe, contains an account of the Worcester affair in the form of a 2,200-word digression in the chapter on Captain John B~wen.~'Contrary to the Review articles and The History of the Union, where Defoe virtually directs his readers to an open verdict on the question of Green's guilt, Johnson champions Green's innocence, claiming that he had fallen 'a well-pleasing Sacrifice to the Malice of wicked Men'. Comparative analysis of Defoe's texts with the account of the Worcester given in A General History of the Pyrates reveals no c~rres~ondences.~~
In short, there appears to be a total absence of evidence for Defoe's authorship of the chapter on Bowen.
A crucial piece of evidence concerning Defoe's attitude to the affair is revealed by the anonymous author of a little-known contemporary ballad broadside. Published in London by the combined booksellers of London and Westmin- ster, An Elegie On the much Lamented Death of Captain Thomas Green2' opens
24 Ibid., 33/sig. M2.
25 Capt. Charles Johnson, -4General Histoy ofthe Pjvates, 2 vols (London, 1724 & 1728), II,49-
64. (Moore, 458).
26 Research shows that Johnson relied on three identifiable texts as his sources for the affair: A Letter from Scotland, Last speeches, and The Case Of Capt. Thos. Green. His reliance upon the first is considerable; to the second and third his debt is more modest.
27 An Elegie On the much Lamented Death of Captain Thomas Green; Who mas Executed with others of his Crew, under the Pretence of being a Pirate, Sc. in Scotland, April the Ilth1705 (Eng STC 32540). See also D. F. Foxon, English Verse 1701-1750 (Cambridge, 1975), 221 (Foxon, E134).
with the spirit of London in the immediate aftermath of Green's hanging. The opening verses incorporate the very passions Defoe was trying to appease:
Presumptuous Arrogance! Inhumane Rage!
Unworthy of a Christian I.and or Age!
Thus to traduce depretiate, and destain
With Guiltless Blood mild Anna's gentle Reign
0 Scotland still recorded for thy wrongs
Bane of all English Hearts and English Tongues!
Like so many of the broadsides published at the time, the Elegy degenerates into a shrill curse. But, what sets this malison in doggerel apart from the others is its final couplet, which contains a specific reference to Defoe which has remained entirely undetected by Defoe scholars:
May the Succession take up thy Debate Till no'ne accepts the Present of thy State; Or thinks it worth his Journey to receive What thou ar't now so very loath to give And from a Kingdom Ruin'd and Decay'd Thou beg'st to be a British Province made, Unable to cajole the ministry Into more Acts for thy Securrty, Though Tutchin sounds t'your Tents, 0Israel go, And thou hast found an Advocate in Foe.28
Both John Tutchin and Daniel Defoe were Whigs, and dissenters. They were also long-standing professional rivals.29 What appears to unite them on this occasion is their attitude towards the Scots, as perceived by those in the book trade.
The reference to Tutchin seems to spring from the attitudes he expressed in the wake the Scottish Act of Security. As relations between the two nations worsened, the Scots began martial exercises in accordance with a provision contained in the Act. Local militia met twice a week, and in Ayrshire alone 7,000 men were said to be drilling" In England these exercises were widely interpreted to be signs of a general mobilization, and the Lords reacted by advising the queen to garrison the English border towns. Amid an atmosphere of general alarm, Tutchin wrote several flagrant commentaries in the Observator, on one occasion even turning Scotland's martial preparations
28 Defoe ceased signing his name Foe in about 1695.
29 Tutchin's poem The Foretgners (1700) inspired Defoe's ant~thetical response, The True-Born Englrshman (1701). Tutchin and Defoe sniped at one another remorselessly in their respective periodicals, the Obsetvator and the Realera, but they also enjoyed each other's grudging respect. Defoe was particularly gracious in the pages of the Reotew (20 Nov. 1707) when Tutchin died.
30 'And while Southern Scotland sprang to arms, the Highlanders sharpened their claymores and awaited the word in the glens. Presbyterian and Jacobite would march shoulder to shoulder.'
G.M. Trevelyan, Ramillies and The Unron With Scotland (London, 1948), 247.
into a pretext for disparaging England's militia." Tutchin was most heavily censured in The Rehearsal, a periodical set up in opposition to the Ob~ervator.~~ Significantly, the printers and publishers of The Rehearsal were none other than the publishers of the Elegy, the booksellers of London and Westminster. The battle-cry 'Tutchin sounds tjlour Tents, 0 Israel go' seems to refer to Tutchin's insistence, in the Observator, that the defence of Newcastle should be undertaken by the citizens themselves. Tutchin held that the residents of the town would have a greater incentive to preserve it from the Scots because, unlike troops drafted in, they would be fighting for 'the immediate Preserva- tion of themselves, their Families, their Habitations and Effects'." However, the verse also seems to carry the freight of its biblical reference. In the book of Samuel, Sheba, son of Belial, denies King David and rallies his tribe in a revolt against Israel." Sheba is eventually hunted down and killed, as Tutchin would be killed, at the hands of those he had alienated.35
The booksellers' reference to Defoe as an 'Advocate' of the Scots is more oblique. The first Review article (Defoe's only reference to the affair which might conceivably predate the Elegy), is so painfully impartial that some commentators have dubbed it 'excessively cautious'." This leaves only two possibilities. Either the booksellers are alluding to some specific oral utter- ance(~) made by Defoe (in which case the source is almost certainly irretrievably lost) or alternatively they are referring to some unidentified textual source, which may, or may not have survived.
Observations Made in England, on the Trial of Captain Green
Among the entire collection of contemporary printed sources concerning the Worcester affair, one unattributed text stands out for its resonance with texts unquestionably by Defoe, and by going further than the Review in presenting the Scots in a favourable light. It is an octavo pamphlet entitled Observations Made in England, on the Trial of Captain Green, and the Speech at his Death printed in London, and reprinted in Edinburgh, by 'J. W.' in 1705. It is anonymous, very rare, and it has received no critical attention. What follows is an investigation of the evidence suggesting Defoe's authorship.
31 Obsemator, 30 Dec. 1704-3 Jan. 1705.
32 Within three weeks of its first appearance on 5 Aug. 1704, The Rehearsal had become The Rehearsal of Obsen'aror, 6c. (26 Aug.) and, later, The Obsemator Reformed (20 Sept. 1704).
33 Obsemator, 30 Dec. 1704-3 Jan. 1705.
34 't'your Tents, 0 Israelgo' is a reference to Sheba of Belial, son of Bichri, who forsakes King David. Sheba says: 'We have no part in David, neither have we inheritance in the son of Jesse: every man to his tents, 0Israel.' David appoints Joab to hunt Sheba down. When Sheba is cornered in Bethmaachah, the townsfolk sever his head and deliver it to Joab (2 Sam. 20: 1-26).
35 John Tutchin is thought to have died a violent death at the hands of his enemies, in the Queen's Bench prison in the Mint on 23 Sept. 1707.
36 P. N. Furbank and W. R. Owens, The Canonisation of Daniel Defoe (New Haven, Conn., 1988), 104.
In the absence of established protocols laid down by the academy governing authorship attribution, the following discussion is guided by two principles. First, there is nothing wrong with an orphaned text; it is preferable that a text should remain unattributed than that it should be misattributed. Second, firm attributions depend upon the production of evidence beyond the text itself (external evidence) to suggest authorship. The internal evidence of a text- style, imagery, phraseology, verbal tics, etc.---can be dangerously misleading and, of itself, cannot form the justification for a conclusive attrib~tion.~'
I have set out to consider evidence external to the text by addressing three questions:
Is it possible that the booksellers' allusion to Defoe in the Elegy refers to a textual source?
Is there a connection between Defoe and the material production of the text?
Does the date of the text match the date of the source alluded to in the Elegy?
After the external evidence for the attribution has been studied, internal evidence will be presented in the form of a comparative intertextual analysis of Observations against contemporary texts by Defoe.
The 'booksellers of London and Westminster' published several works by Def~e.~'
After a pirated collection of his works appeared in 1703, it was the booksellers of London and Westminster who printed the authorized version which replaced it.39 As well as the Review their imprint appeared on at least six titles by Defoe during his lifetime, including The History of the Kentzsh Petition (1701), Essays upon Several Projects (1702), and Giving Alms no Charity (1704). Their professional interest in Defoe, and their intimate connections with the network of London printers, probably meant that the booksellers, whoever they were, had good intelligence of any items which he submitted to the press. On this evidence it seems possible that the booksellers' attack on Defoe, like their attack on Tutchin, did have a material basis, i.e. a text.40
37 See also Furbank and Owens's chapter, 'Principles of Author Attribution', ibid. 2947.
38 The imprint 'the booksellers of London and Westminster' was almost certainly a catch-all to preserve the publishers' anonymity. The individuals concealed by this corporate identity might well have been among the subscribers to a collection made for William Bowyer after his print works burned down in 1713, see John Nichols, Literary Anecdotes, 7 vols (London, 1812) I, 61-3.
39 Daniel Defoe, A True Collection of the Writings of the Author of the True Born English-man (London, 1703). The supposedly 'rogue' collection was published by John How as A Collection of the ~titings ofthe Author ofthe True-Born English-Man (London, 1703).
40 In his life of John Tutchin in the DNB, George Aitken remarks that Defoe and Tutchin were often coupled by those who attacked them (he cites Pope's Dunciad as a famous example). All the attacks had a specific text as the source of the grievance against them. It should be noted that both men were imprisoned for libel, not slander.
The printer of Observations in Edinburgh was James Watson, arguably the best printer in Scotland at this time.41 Within four days of Defoe's first article in the Review appearing in London, Watson reprinted it verbatim in the Edinburgh Courant, the city's finest paper. It was prefaced (rather bravely under the circumstances) 'the Opinion of an honest and worthy English Gentle- man'.42 The warmth of the introduction, its timing, and the possibility that Obseruations may have lain in the bed of one press while the Review article lay in another indicate that Defoe probably had some arrangement with James Watson and his publishing house.43
Although the month of publication is not given anywhere in the text, Observations cannot predate Green's execution because it refers back to the event in its title and throughout. The author also mentions the imminent publication of The Tyal, which seems to have been published shortly after 1 May 1705.44 On this evidence, Observations seems to have been published sometime between 11 April and about 1 May. It is therefore perfectly possible that Observations predates the Elegy, and that it might also be the source for the couplet's allusion to Defoe.
It is possible that Defoe's first Review article (26 April) and Observations (11 April-1 May) were published in the same week. They may have been written in the same week, or even on the same day. This timescale means that if Defoe was the author of both, there are likely to be textual correspondences between the two even if he tried to disguise his authorship of Observations. In what follows, the Review operates as the primary control text4' for the purpose of intertextual comparison. Thirteen examples of correspondences have been identified, and are enumerated below. They fall into four broad categories: verbal correspondences (1-3); thematic resonance (4-5, 7-11); comparable rhetorical devices (6); and miscellaneous correspondences between Observa- tions and texts by Defoe published before 1705 (12-13). Specific verbal correspondences have been underlined to highlight their effect.
1. The April 1705 Review article and Observations open with the proposal that no reasonable conclusions can be drawn from the Worcester affair without full possession of the facts; scandalous ephemera do not constitute evidence.
41 See H. R. Plomer, A Dictionary of The Printers and Booksellers Who Were At Work In England, Scotland and Ireland From 1668 to 1725 (Oxford, 1968), 303-4.
42 Edinburgh Courant, 31 (30 Apr.-2 May 1705).
43 This is the first evidence of Defoe's connection with the Edinburgh Courant. Another issue of the Review dealing with the reasons for Union (4Dec. 1705) was serialized in the Edinburgh Courant on 19 Dec. 1705 and 13 and 15 Mar. 1706. On 1 Feb. 1708 Defoe become the paper's proprietor.
44 'We have for a considerable time expected the tryal, which tis said the Council have Order'd to be Printed'. A Letter From Scotland To a Friend in London, 30. The letter is dated 1 May 1705.
45 A text whose authorship is certain and which may be used as a basis for intertextual comparison.
Review] Affidavits taken in one Nation to Examine the Justice of another, Conclusions drawn from suggested Premises, Printing Scraps, and gather'd Pieces of stories, either in our own, or in the Scots Papers, are not sufficient Grounds to Censure the Justice of a Nation.
Observations] We have yet no other Acount of [the trial] but from Partial Scraps of Letters, or the impertinent and lame Relations of shatter Brain'd News-Mongers; yet the Incendiaries that blow the Coal between the Two Nations, have been so very successful in raising a Ferment and Rage in this Nation, against all Scots-Men promiscuously. (p. 1)
Besides the Review article, Observations is the only text, from among the whole corpus of those dealing with the affair, that maintains a consistently even- handed approach.
2. The haste with which the English move to censure the Scottish judiciary is implicitly condemned in both texts, approving Defoe's chaff that even 'the meanest English Plow-man studies Law'.46 The author's emotive use of the word 'Incendiaries' in Observations (above) is also important. From 1703, Defoe's use of the word is invested with special significance because of accusations made against him over the publication of The Shortest-way with the ~zssenters.~' His use of the word 'Incendiary' in the preface to A True Collection (1703)reveals his sensitivity in this matter:
First, with submission to a judgement of Charity, I cannot pass for an Incendiary: Of all the Writers of this Age, I have, I am satisjed, the most Industriously avoided writing with want of Temper; and I appeal to what is now Publish'd, whether there is not rather a Spirit of Healing than of Sedition runs through the whole Collection, one misunderstood Article excepted."
3. In the Review and in Observations the author appeals to the reader's sense of what is 'more agreeable', as a precursory step towards coupling two abstract virtues to deter men from rash judgements. The perfect agreement of meaning and the syntactical similarity between the two extracts is striking:
Review] Tis more agreeable to Justice and Charity to believe, that the National Justice of Scotland, would not Condemn and Execute Men without sufficient Evidence of Fact Observations] Wou'd it not be more agreeable both to Equity and Wisdom to suspend our Judgments till we see the Tryal, in all its particulars? (p. 1)
46 Daniel Defoe, The True-Born Englishman (London, 1701)
47 The word occurs a second time in Obserzations:'Have the Incendiaries a Design to make . . . so many Faithful Seamen, who have distinguished themselves in all our Victories, abandon and desert the Service?' (p. 8). On 30 Jan. 1705 Defoe had delivered a report to the Lords recommending measures to improve the retention of seamen in Her Majesty's Service. The report effectively reinforced a brief summary of the problem set out in the Reziew a few weeks earlier (13 Jan. 1705). Obsematrons seems to follow the same trend. It reinforces within a few weeks the arguments set out in the Reziem on 26 Apr. 1705.
48 A True Collection of the Writings of the Author of the True Born English-man, sig. A.4.r.
In both texts the author is open to the fact that it might transpire that the Scots have committed an injustice, and they both seem to agree that in this eventuality only God is fit to judge:
Reoiew] If Innocent Blood has been shed, the Lord have Mercy upon the Scots Observations] If the Judges have done Wrong, they are answerable; and in God's Name, let them Account for it (p. 2)
In each case the author defers to the importance of dying speeches by condemned men, while remaining undecided about their ultimate utility:
Reoiew] A due respect ought to be had to the Dying Words of Men passing out of this World, and in prospect of Eternity. But if Dying Speeches of Malefactors are Unquestion'd Proofs of their Innocence, then this Nation has no cause to reflect on the Scots for Condemning Innocent Men
Obserz,ations] I have a great Charity for Dying Persons, if they have any Sense of Religion. But then, on the other hand, since that is no general Rule, nor consider'd in the World as a Demonstration of Innocence, I must still suspend my Judgment. How many go to Tyburn daily, denying the Facts that are evidently prov'd against them?
6. The author of Observations is willing to concede a point in order to secure a greater one. This was a rhetorical device favoured by Defoe. To illustrate this, I have compared a passage in Observations against Defoe's Reasons against a War with France (1701), where thematic comparisons are also sustained. (Observations might well have borne the title Reasons against a War with Scotland):
Observations] If the Judges have done Wrong, they are answerable; and, in God's Name, let them Account for it: But why such a Violent Flame and Resentment against a whole Nation for what has been done by the Queen's Privy-Council, and her Judges in Scotland, who are made at St. James's? (p. 2)
Reasons against a War with France] If a War be necessary, it is just, and if so, why should we be afraid of it? If it be not so, we ought not to seek Occasions, and make Constructive Breaches and Personal Affronts the pretences of it;
7. Defoe, like the author of Observations, is confident in his role as arbiter, and in his ability to influence public opinion:
Review] The Sincere Desire I have to perswade all Men to Peace, and the Honest Endeavour I have made towards it, will make my Answer to these Importunities differ from what I believe most People expect.
Obserzrations] I neither condemn Capt. Green, nor the Judges and the Queen's Privy- Council. I suspend my Judgement, till I can give it with Knowledge and Impartiality . . . till at least I see the whole Trial, I suspend my Opinion. (pp. 2, 8)
8. Defoe, like the author of Observations, stresses that Drummond's fate and the charges of piracy, robbery, and murder upon which Green and his men were convicted are wholly separate matters. The only valid question is whether
or not the Scots followed established rules of procedure throughout the judicial process:
Review] It is possible these Men may be Clear, Capt. Drummond may not be Murther'd, and yet the National Justice of Scotland not to blame, if they proceeded by such Methods as the Laws of God, of Nature, and of Scotland, directed them . . . Tho' the Men were all Innocent, yet is the National Justice of Scotland not to blame.
Observations] There is One Fundamental Error in the whole Matter. It is the Vulgar Notion that if Capt. Drummond and his Crew are alive, Capt. Green is Innocent; which is the greatest Mistake imaginable. The Indictment does not so much as mention Capt. Drummond . . . all Affidavits, to prove Drummond and his Crew to be alive, yea, tho' Drummond were at Charing Cross, or at the Cross of Edinburgh, are of no weight against the Justice of the Judges, if it true that the Depositions make Captain Green Guilty of any Piracy whatsoever. (pp. 2, 4)
9. Neither Defoe nor the author of Observations tolerates the notion that the Worcester affair should be a wedge to drive the two nations apart:
Reziew] It does not appear, why this Nation should take this Matter so hainously of the Scots; or to what End some People are so willing to make it a National Quarrel; they that Design a Breach between the Kingdoms be they Scots or English, deserve the hatred of both.
Observations] I am sorry for what enflames the Misunderstanding between the two Nations. All good Men will surely do every thing that is reasonable to prevent a Division. . . . The violent Reproaches, and Threatenings of Massacring, and God knows what, that fly about against all Scots-Men promiscuously, are but very dismal Presages, if they are not wisely remedied. (p. 8)
10. Both Defoe and the author of Observations point out that the trial was not, in fact, a xenophobic witch-hunt. Green was English, but the two men hanged with him were both Scots:
Reoiew] They have proceeded by Forms of Law, they have Hang'd some of their own Nation, as well as ours, and neither are the first that have been Murther'd in Forms of Law in both Nations.
Observations] Such Scots-men as were with [Green], and accused of the same Crime, have been tried and punished with the same Impartiality. (pp. 5-6)
The critical point is clearly emphasized, that the Worcester affair must not lead to war:
Reziew] it cannot be reasonable to make a National Quarrel of it Obserz,ations] These Boutefeux are the Ruin of all Nations. (p. 8)
Besides the specific correspondences already described, Observations resonates with other texts by Defoe on a variety of levels. These range from the shared use of single words with a particular significance ('incendiaries'), to a rhetorical appeal with the germ of a future text embedded in it: 'Are [reproaches and threats] Consistent with the common Rules of Christianity, or with Justice and Honour' (p. 8) is, literally, An Appeal to Honour and Justice
made ten years early.4"n Observations, the author expresses interest in abstract concepts like the idea of a national temperament:
it seems to be to very little purpose to recommend Temper and Moderation: So unaccountably does the Blind Violence of Passion shew it self Deaf to all Reason, tho in a Country where Moderation is the in Vogue, and so highly talk'd of. (p. 1)
Similar ideas manifestly preoccupy Defoe elsewhere:
Of all the Nations in the World there is none that I know of so entirely govern'd by their Humour as the English. There's no more to do [than] Rouse the Fancy of the People, and away they go with it, like Hounds on a full Cry.S0
13. Defoe wrote that 'Vertue's the faint Green-sickness of the Times' in his verse satire The Reformation Of Manners." Observations also reveals an author who aimed at the reformation of manners, in the same tone of weary resignation. The author of Observations peddles Latin tags, shrill hyperbole, sententious pronouncements, didactic cameos from pagan sources (Socrates) and the New Testament (St Paul); he exhibits a genius for casuistry, granite common sense, impervious logic, all in the concentrated space of a brief pamphlet. These are the distinctive characteristics of a consummate pamph- leteer, and these had become the hallmarks of Defoe's prose style by 1705. On the evidence presented above, I suggest that Observations is the work of Daniel Defoe.
Having said much about the similarities between Observations and the first Review article, I want to touch on the key difference between the two texts. In Observations, Defoe implies Green's guilt as a pirate (although not against Drummond's ship), and the corollary to this (although not explicitly stated) is that his execution was lawful. This is entirely consistent with the implications of The History of the Union and, taken together, they probably reflect Defoe's personal conviction accurately:
If Capt. Green committed any Piracy whatsoever, he is Tryable in any Country upon the Globe where-ever he is seiz'd, by the Law of Nations. A Pirate is a declared Enemy to Mankind, who has renunc'd his Allegiance to his own Country and Government; And therefore he meets his Judges wherever he is taken . . . Every Kingdom upon Earth has the Right and Power of Admiralty within it self, and Pirates of all Nations are Try'd in all Countries whatsoever. (Observations, p. 3)
Defoe's argument is unassailable, leaving no room for incendiaries (or book- sellers) to 'blow the Coal between the two Nations'. The lengthy digression on the nature of piracy in the pamphlet draws on
49 An Appeal to Honour andJustice (London, 1715) was Defoe's defence against the reproaches and threats of his enemies after the fall of Harley.
50 Daniel Defoe, Reasons against a War with France (London, 1701).
51 The Reformation of Manners (London, 1702). The poem was reprinted in 1703 in A True Collection ofthe Writings of the Author ofthe True Born English-man, 'Printed, and are to be sold', significantly, 'by most Booksellers in London and Westminster.'
Defoe's thorough knowledge of the complexity of the crime. This expertise is turned to account in what appears to be tacit support for the evidence of Ferdinando. This is enough to explain why Defoe could not put his name to
Nor can the Depositions of Witnesses be very particular as to the persons on whom Piracies are Committed. All possible Haste is made to dispatch the Business, and to get rid of the Crew they have taken one way or another. . . . All is Fish that comes to the Net, without any Nicety about particulars. (pp. 34)
At one point, Defoe becomes almost strident about the possibility of Green's guilt:
If Capt. Green was a Pirate in any Case, he was an open Enemy to Scotland and all Nations; and if it was not he that took Drummond's Ship, it was for no other Reason, but because it did not come in his way; and it seems some other of his own Nation did: But in the Eye of the Law, it is the same thing whose Ship soever he took. (p. 4)
This is final confirmation, I suggest, that Observations was the source of the booksellers' allusion to Defoe as an advocate of the Scots.
I wish to conclude by considering two ways in which Observations might contribute towards a greater understanding of Defoe. First, the printing of Observations by an Edinburgh printer in 1705 may be evidence that Defoe had made direct contact with Scotland significantly earlier than has generally been recognized.52 When Defoe started sending copy to Mrs Agnes Anderson's printing house in 1706, he seems to have turned his back on a business relationship with Watson of at least one year's duration." The switch seems to have coincided with the start of Defoe's residence in Scotland. Watson's professional reliability may have encouraged Defoe to send up copy from England in 1705, but the printer's Catholicism, and his radical tendencies, might have made it expedient for Defoe to drop him on his arrival in Edinburgh.
Second, Observations leaves no room to doubt that Defoe had made a study of piracy by 1705. Despite his apparently conventional, proscriptive attitude towards the crime, there is still a trace of prurient fascination with the piratical act itself:
All possible Haste is made to dispatch the Business, and to get rid of the Crew they have taken one way or another. Every one sees the Colours of the Ship, and her Bulk
52 Paula Backscheider dates Defoe's earliest contact with Scotland and Scottish affairs to around May 1706 when John Scott, a merchant, introduced Defoe to David Dalrymple (Green's former prosecutor, and by then a commissioner for the Union). P. Backscheider, 'Defoe and the Clerks of Penicuik', Modern Philology, 84 (1987), 372-81: 372. Backscheider claims, on evidence revealed in a letter from Scott to his brother, that Scottish commissioners in London had prompted Defoe to write his first Essay at Removtng .hrational Prejudices agatnst a Union wtth Scotland, printed on 4 May 1706. 'Scots in London . . . not Robert Harley, pointed [Defoe] toward the work of the next three years of his life': Dantel Defoe: A Lfe (London, 1989), 208.
53 Mrs Anderson printed Caledonia in 1706, the Edinburgh Review (1709-lo), and The History of the Unton (1709).
and Figure, and Guns and may know the Language of the Crew; But they do not much trouble their Heads to enquire into their Age, or Names, or where they were Born. Such particular Enquiries would look very Suspicious to a Captain that goes on such an Expedition; and if it were possible it would be certainly his Interest, to shut both the Eyes and ears of all his Crew for fear of Discovery. (pp. 3-4)
The firmness with which Defoe propels his hypothetical boarders over the rail, the minute observation of the individual's response to a dramatic scene, the insatiable curiosity about motives for criminal action, and the constant evaluation of 'Interest' are characteristic of a narrative style which gestures towards the novels.
Worcester College Oxford