The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume IX. From Steele and Addison to Pope and Swift.

I. Defoe—The Newspaper and the Novel

§ 10. John Tutchin

On 1 April, 1702, the most important strictly political organ of the whigs was begun by John Tutchin, a small poet and pamphleteer, who had suffered under Jeffreys and was still to endure persecution for his advanced liberal opinions. He took L’Estrange’s old title, The Observator, and continued the dialogue form. Two years later, Tutchin’s form and his extreme partisanship were imitated by the famous non-juror and opponent of the deists, Charles Leslie, whose short-lived Rehearsal became the chief organ of the high churchmen. Meanwhile, a few months before Leslie’s paper appeared, Defoe, not without Harley’s connivance, had begun his Review as an organ of moderation, ecclesiastical and political, and of broad commercial interests. Although his satirical discussions of current topics may have given useful hints to Steele and Addison, it seems clear that Defoe’s chief contribution to journalism at this period is to be found in his abandonment of the dialogue form and of the partisan tone of his predecessors and immediate contemporaries. He adopted a straightforward style, cultivated moderation and aimed at accuracy, because, more completely than any other contemporary journalist, he made it his purpose to secure acquiescence rather than to strengthen prejudice. But, in what follows, we must confine ourselves to his own varied career.