His first major work, An Essay upon Projectswhich introduced many topics that would reappear in his later works, proposed ways of providing better roads, insurance, and education, and even planned a house for fools to be supported by "a Tax upon Learning, to be paid by the Authors of Books.
When the Roman Catholic James II ascended the throne inDefoe—as a staunch Dissenter and with characteristic impetuosity—joined the ill-fated rebellion of the Duke of Monmouthmanaging to escape after the disastrous Battle of Sedgemoor.
Pursuing a lifelong interest in politics, Defoe published a political pamphlet inhis first literary piece. He states that through imperialism and trade expansion the British empire is able to "increase commerce at home" through job creation and increased consumption.
By any standard he was one of the most remarkable men who ever lived. He was interred two days later in in what is today Bunhill Fields Burial and Gardens alongside such Puritan worthies as John Bunyan, in the Borough of Islington, London, where a subscription list of seventeen hundred persons undoubtedly admiring readers with a Christian newspaper resulted in the erection of a plain stele to his memory in September The author may have based his narrative on the true story of the shipwreck of the Scottish sailor Alexander Selkirk.
Though Roxana moves in a more fashionable world than did Moll Flanders, she shares with Moll native cunning and an instinct for self-preservation. Giles Cripplegate, London.
In An Appeal to Honour and Justicehe gave his own, self-justifying account of these events and of other controversies in his life as a writer. He pleaded for leniency for debtors and bankrupts and defended the rights of Protestant dissenters. Like Moll Flanders, Roxana juxtaposes moral homilies with titillating narrative passages.
Robert Harley, 1st Earl of Oxford and Mortimer, brokered his release in exchange for Defoe's co-operation as an intelligence agent.