Defoe says he received no pension, but his subsequent fidelity was at all events indirectly rewarded; moreover, Harley's moderation in a time of the extremest party-insanity was no little recommendation to Defoe.
He naturally shared Harley's downfall; and, though the loss of his salary might seem a poor reward for his constant support of the Hanoverian claim, it was little more than his ambiguous, not to say trimming, position must have led him to expect.
He tells us with honest and simple pride that when his patron Harley fell out, and Godolphin came in, he for three years held no communication with the former, and seems quite incapable of comprehending the delicacy which would have obliged him to follow Harley's fallen fortunes.
In 1708 he quitted office with Harley on the failure of the latter's intrigue, and retired to the country till 1710, when he became a privy councillor and secretary of state in Harley's new ministry, representing Berkshire in parliament.
The final debates of 1706 were conducted under apprehensions of an invasion of Edinburgh by highlanders and wild western fanatics of the Covenant; but the astuteness of Harley's agent in Edinburgh, de Foe, the resolution of Argyll and the tact of Queensberry, who easily terrified the duke of Hamilton, carried the measure into haven.
Abigail, however, soon ventured to talk "business," and in the summer of 1707 the duchess discovered to her indignation that her protegee had already undermined her influence with the queen and had become the medium of Harley's intrigue.
A scarcely less important service was rendered to the ministry by his Letter to the October Club, artfully composed to soothe the impatience of Harley's extreme followers.