A ‘True Spy’ in Scotland
Daniel Defoe left for Scotland on September 13, 1706. If his letters to Robert Harley are any indication of his state of mind, he had spent much of the summer trying to pacify his creditors and to get the new bankruptcy Act to work for him. Defoe engaged in a number of controversies during these months, particularly with the High Church. He maintained that 8,000 Dissenters died in prison during ‘the Days of that Merciful Prince King Charles the Second’. He also engaged in a running discussion of political theory with Charles Leslie, answering the Tory challenge to the ideas expressed in Jure Divino. He was now in a country where his religion did not make him a Dissenter from the beliefs of the majority, and where his work for the Union of England and Scotland would bring him into contact with some of the most distinguished members of the Scottish nobility. In addition to his pamphlets and his work as a ‘true spy’, Defoe broke into poetry over Scotland and the prospect of the Union.
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