Between 1709 and 1729 the literature which raged about Steele often made no distinction between the man and the polemicist. Even his association with the Drury Lane Theatre as governor was centred in controversy and tinged by factional loyalties. But several years before then - indeed by the spring of 1709 - he came within range of Tory consciousness as a potential menace. Consequently, every piece of writing signed by or attributed to him was interpreted as a possible handle for party use. And the Steele-Watchers, synonymous with those Tories working for Harley and St John, were very nearly right.