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There was news of the plague in Marseilles in 1721; therefore, as fiction rooted in truth, the Journal could potentially a text that could help Londoners prepare for a potential outbreak. Its advice and factual information could allay the widespread panic that would most likely ensue. Defoe also wrote a smaller nonfiction work on this same topic: Due Preparations for the Plague, as well for Souls as Body (1722). One scholar speculated that the Journal was published to support the government's unpopular trade embargo with plague-stricken countries, while another believed it to be supportive of the policies of Robert Walpole. It also stands as a positive assertion of the fortitude and endurance of the people of London in the face of tragedy and chaos; literary critic Manuel Schonhorn wrote that the Journal "stands as a quiet yet authentic testimony of a city's victory in the face of disaster of frightful proportions. Throughout the experience Defoe's London has triumphantly asserted its illustrious qualities."