This chapter gives a brief sketch of Defoe as a figure in the very various culture of the early-eighteenth century. With his interests in trade and politics, his life looks diverse and full. The earliest responses to Defoe’s writing came long before Crusoe, and were provoked by his poems and pamphlets. In the Scriblerian attacks on Defoe, the most frequent accusation was that he lacked learning. If learning was defined as a knowledge of the classics, then the accusation was justified, but Defoe strongly countered the taunt by seeking to prove the greater merit of his own skills. Defoe was regularly accused of unscrupulous behaviour, and even the most sympathetic biographer cannot fully cleanse his business dealings. In 1703, the Bill again passed through the Commons and was again blocked by the Lords. It is obvious that the irony here is a lot less hidden than in the originally offending pamphlet, and that Defoe was seeking to avoid indirectness.