The Review ran three times a week without interruption until 1713.Defoe was amazed that a man as gifted as Harley left vital state papers lying in the open, and warned that he was almost inviting an unscrupulous clerk to commit treason; his warnings were fully justified by the William Gregg affair. It is clear from this piece and other writings that the political portion of Defoe's life was by no means his only focus.
In 1667, when he was probably about seven, a Dutch fleet sailed up the Medway via the River Thames and attacked the town of Chatham in the raid on the Medway.
His mother Annie had died by the time he was about ten.
In 1684, Defoe married Mary Tuffley, the daughter of a London merchant, receiving a dowry of £3,700 – a huge amount by the standards of the day.
With his debts and political difficulties, the marriage may have been troubled, but it lasted 50 years and produced eight children.
He was a prolific and versatile writer, producing more than five hundred books, pamphlets, and journals on various topics, including politics, crime, religion, marriage, psychology, and the supernatural. Defoe later added the aristocratic-sounding "De" to his name, and on occasion claimed descent from the family of De Beau Faux.
His birthdate and birthplace are uncertain, and sources offer dates from 1659–1662, with 1660 considered the most likely.Defoe entered the world of business as a general merchant, dealing at different times in hosiery, general woollen goods, and wine.His ambitions were great and he was able to buy a country estate and a ship (as well as civets to make perfume), though he was rarely out of debt.It demanded the release of the Kentish petitioners, who had asked Parliament to support the king in an imminent war against France.The death of William III in 1702 once again created a political upheaval, as the king was replaced by Queen Anne who immediately began her offensive against Nonconformists.Robert Harley, 1st Earl of Oxford and Earl Mortimer, brokered his release in exchange for Defoe's co-operation as an intelligence agent for the Tories.