The scholarly introduction does an admirable job of placing this pamphlet in its historical context, providing a 'key' to its obfuscations, and demonstrating Defoe's (likely) authorship.
"Atalantis" is, of course, Great Britain, and Defoe has created an imaginary country in order to tell some truths about his own. Or at least, to put across the Whig view of things:
Another Lord expostulated with him a little to admit such and such with the Men he proposed; he answers, My Lord, I am no Hypocrite, I am above-board; this is the List we will have; the Q....n approves of it, and I will have no other; and swearing again, By-G—d, says he, 'Tis indifferent to me, keep out but the Men we are against; but I will have no Go....phin Men, no Ma....bro' Men, no Squadron Men, in short, no Whigs of any Denomination; as for the rest, it is indifferent, any but them. How, my Lord, says this Nobleman, What will you take Tartarians, (that is, as our Jacobites) rather than the honest Gentlemen that have been so true to the Atalantic Interest: I care not what they are, says the Prince, so they be none of these.
One could call the Defoe (the Whig) Swift's opposite number. Swift wrote Tory pamphlets in the same swinging language which makes early 18th Century prose so refreshing, even when the subject seems a little remote. I cannot award it more than three, because to me, it is partisan beyond belief:
There was a short Dispute between the Prince and the Earl of Stairdale; but the Earl had so much more Honesty than the Party, and so much more Sense and Wit than the Prince, that indeed he cared not much to talk to him, but left him to Mareskine.
He was too hard for them both, and having baffled them in Discourse, he was no more to be Bullied by them, than he was to be Wheedled; he told 'em plainly, They were betraying their Country, selling and sacrificing the Priviledges of the Nobility, making themselves Tools to a Party, and giving themselves up in a base Manner to the Pleasure of a few Men, who, when they had got their Will would contemn them, would love the Folly, but P....s upon the Fools; and as to their List, he scorn'd to come into it, or into any of their menacing Measures.
This put a short end to their Attempts upon him; and indeed, had the other Lords been advised by this gallant Gentleman, they had broke all their Schemes; but they were not all united in their Resolutions, or equally determined in their Measures.
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