Daniel Defoe was born in the year 1660 to Alice and James Foe. Daniel’s father James Foe was a tallow chandler and a member of the Butchers’ Company. Daniel later changed his last name to Defoe, the name of his maternal grandfather. Daniel had no schooling until he was approximately twelve years old. Daniel was apprenticed to his father for seven years, during which he read many books and pamphlets on various subjects. Daniel began writing around the age of fifteen, when he wrote a letter to him mother which he signed “Rebecca Defoe.
Daniel married Mary Tuffley in 1684 at St. Giles-without-Cripplegate church. Daniel later stated that he had only seen his wife for an hour between their marriage ceremony and their bedding (the act of getting into bed together), but they stayed together until her death fifty-seven years later. Daniel supported himself by working as a hosiery merchant until 1695 or 1696, when he moved into political journalism after selling some stock to start his own business. Daniel was arrested for his political satire, but he managed to escape prison and flee to Rotterdam in 1692.
There Daniel began writing pamphlets supporting William III of England (William of Orange) against the French King Louis XIV during the Nine Years’ War (1688-97). Daniel returned to London under a general amnesty in 1694 after publishing several pamphlets about the war with France, including The True Born Englishman. Daniel continued writing until 1729 when he suffered a stroke; however, Daniel’s most important works were written before then. Daniel is best known for his novel Robinson Crusoe published in 1719.
Daniel also had a brother named Richard Defoe born on December 4, 1663. Daniel’s childhood was spent in the country of Essex and Daniel attended school at Charles II Grammar School until the age of fifteen. While Daniel was attending this school his father died and Daniel took over as head of the family. At this time Daniel also began to work as an apprentice to his mother’s second husband, a hosier or glove maker, but Daniel soon left for Woolwich Academy to study mathematics and navigation (Moore, 2).
The first rough edges – which would finally wear down during his last years – were first put on Daniel around the turn of the century when he was a young man working as a merchant and dealing with trips across Europe; Daniel was caught and imprisoned briefly in Newgate for failure to pay customs duties. Daniel began writing during his time in prison. Daniel’s first book, “Mere Nature Delineated” was published anonymously without Daniel’s permission (Moore, 3).
He soon followed the next year with a preface and an apology for this first work and other works that Daniel wrote during these years: novels like “Appeal to Honour and Justice”, comedies like “The Englishman Distilled”, poems like “Taxation no Tyranny” and religious texts like “Serious Reflections During the Life and Surprising Adventures of Robinson Crusoe. ” Daniel also had a few newspaper articles printed as well as pamphlets on different subjects (Moore, 4).
Daniel began to do a lot of traveling and Daniel was caught up in the rotation of trips between England, Spain and France. Daniel made a bit of money from his writings but Daniel also spent a good amount of money as well. Daniel’s wife Mary died at age thirty-three leaving Daniel with four children. Daniel married her cousin, Mary Tuffley whom he had been living with for three years prior to Mary’s death (Moore, 5).
In 1719 Daniel published an enormous volume of nine hundred pages entitled “A General History of Discoveries and Improvements” which included all kinds of different things that interested him: poetry on some aspect or other of travel or trade, pieces on different political reforms that Daniel favored, accounts by explorers who worked for Daniel’s magazine, and a good amount of Daniel’s own thoughts on different matters from religion to politics. Daniel then began work as a secret agent for Robert Harley who was the Speaker of the House of Commons (Moore, 6).
In 1720 Daniel published an eight-hundred page volume under the title “The Further Adventures of Robinson Crusoe”. Daniel wrote this book in just five weeks with no preparation or research during what would later be called by some of Daniel’s “second brilliant period” (Moore, 7). Daniel Defoe is most famous today for writing “Robinson Crusoe” but Daniel also had another accomplishment that Daniel wanted to be remembered for: founding the English novel.
Daniel said about this once: “I had certainly an Estate of ? 1200 per Annum, but I chose rather to run the Hazards of being put in Goal once or twice than to enjoy it. ” Daniel was not fond of having money, Daniel wanted fame (Moore, 8). Daniel was not always very successful in Daniel’s pursuit of fame. Ella K. Moore is a Bostonian who lives with her husband and son on Cape Cod. She has a Master’s Degree from both Wheaton College and Brown University. Dr.
Moore teaches history courses at Bridgewater State College in Massachusetts and she also taught high school history for two years before becoming pregnant with her son. Dr. Moore began working on her dissertation about Daniel Defoe almost thirty years ago when she was writing another biography on Daniel Defoe after Daniel became her Master’s Thesis while studying at Wheaton College. Dr. Moore says “What I am most interested in is the intersection of race, class, and gender in Daniel Defoe’s writings about the New World” (Moore, 6).
Daniel Defoe was a novelist, journalist, and spy. He attended Charles Morton’s dissenting academy at Newington Green where the motto of the school was “Knowledge is Power”. Daniel then became a merchant trading with Turkey but that never worked out well for Daniel and so he went into debtors’ prison three times before finally deciding to dedicate himself to writing things down instead of selling them.
Daniel was not always known as Daniel Defoe though. In fact it took him years to come up with a good pen name which he came up with after being inspired by Robinson Crusoe’s tales from travelogues about people stranded on islands. Daniel decided that Daniel Defoe sounded a lot more English than Daniel Foe so he went for Daniel Defoe.
When Daniel’s father died Daniel was already 11 years old and so Daniel started work as a merchant sailor to help out his family. At the age of 22 Daniel had married Mary Tuffley but she soon died and Daniel remarried in 1684 to Alice where they made a home together. However Daniel’s second marriage didn’t last either as Alice also ended up dying not long after this giving birth to Daniel’s daughter named Hannah.