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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

§ 3. Roger L’Estrange

L’Estrange was born, of good Norfolk stock, on 17 December, 1616. He received an education befitting his station and, on reaching his majority, became a zealous supporter of the king. Betrayed in a plot for the recapture of Lynn, he was seized, unfairly condemned to death, reprieved, left languishing for a few years in Newgate and, finally, suffered to escape. During his imprisonment, he made a small beginning as a pamphleteer, and it is to the exasperating treatment accorded him that we may partly attribute the dogmatic partisanship which is the most striking characteristic of his political and ecclesiastical writings. His adventures on the continent and his experiences in England from his return in 1653 to the death of Cromwell may be passed over. Late in 1659, he came forward as a writer of pamphlets and broadsides designed to promote the restoration of Charles II. Many of them may be read in the tract entitled L’Estrange his Apology, but his only production of the period that possesses any general interest is his scurrilous attack on Milton bearing the inhuman title No Blinde Guides. After the restoration, L’Estrange felt that his services were not duly recognised; but he did not, on that account, neglect his assumed duties as castigator of all persons whom he deemed factious—particularly presbyterians. His tracts of this period often contain important information about their author and throw light on the times; but, save for occasional passages of quaint homeliness, they make dismal reading.