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Daniel Defoe: Master of FictionsHis Life and Works$
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Maximillian E. Novak

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780199261543

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199261543.001.0001

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These Dangerous Times

These Dangerous Times

Or Wild Doings in This World1

Chapter:
(p.386) 17 These Dangerous Times
Source:
Daniel Defoe: Master of Fictions
Author(s):

Maximillian E. Novak

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199261543.003.0046

Daniel Defoe chose to retain his identity as a Whig while accepting the policies of what was looking more like a Tory government with each passing day. A crucial moment came with the attempted assassination of Robert Harley by Antoine de Guiscard. In pursuit of his duty, the Chancellor of the Exchequer was wounded by a French spy, and all of the concern about Louis XIV’s attempts to assassinate William III, about French perfidy, and about the safety of Queen Anne created an outpouring of sympathy for Harley that restored his power, brought him the post of Lord Treasurer, which had remained vacant after Sidney Godolphin’s resignation, and raised him to the peerage as Earl of Oxford and Mortimer. Henry St John, whose behaviour during the assassination attempt was equivocal, received a setback in his pursuit of power that was to prove fatal to his career. The possibility that Guiscard had intended to poison the Queen gave a new strength to her friend Harley and to his group of court Tories and court Whigs.

Keywords:   Daniel Defoe, Robert Harley, assassination, Antoine de Guiscard, Louis XIV, William III, Queen Anne, Henry St John, Whigs, Tories

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