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THE SPECTATOR

ter of the Spectator was drawn by Addison, and the club, including Sir Roger, sketched, and why not conceived, by Steele! Such would be the natural reasoning from the facts, which nothing but enmity towards Steele could have perplexed with so many idle and groundless conjectures.

Of the numerous eulogiums which this admirable work has called forth, the following is perhaps the most judicious and comprehensive:

"While the circle of mental cultivation was thus rapidly widening in France, a similar progress was taking place, upon a larger scale, and under still more favorable circumstances, in England. To this progress nothing contributed more powerfully than the periodical papers published under various titles by Addison and his associates. The effect of these in re elaiming the public taste from the licentiousness and grossness introduced into England at the period of the Restoration; in recommending the most serious and important truths by the united attractions of wit, humor, im agination, and eloquence; and, above all, in counteracting those superstitious terrors which the weak and ignorant are so apt to mistake for relig. ious and moral impressions-has been remarked by numberless critics, and is acknowledged even by those who felt no undue partiality in favor of the authors. Some of the papers of Addison, however, are of an order still higher, and bear marks of a mind which, if early and steadily turned to philosophical pursuits, might have accomplished much more than it ventured to undertake. His frequent references to the Essay on Human Understanding, and the high encomiums with which they are always accompanied, show how successfully he had entered into the spirit of that work; and how completely he was aware of the importance of its object. The popular nature of his publications, indeed, which rendered it necessary for him to avoid every thing that might savour of scholastic or of metaphysical discussion, has left us no means of estimating his philosophical depth, but what are afforded by the results of his thoughts on the particular topics which he has occasion to allude to, and by some of his incidental comments on the scientific merits of preceding authors. But these means are sufficiently ample to justify a very high opinion of his sound and unprejudiced judgment, as well as of the extent and correctness of his literary information. Of his powers as a logical reasoner he has not enabled us to form an estimate; but none of his contemporaries seem to have been more completely tinctured with all that is most valuable in the metaphysical and ethical systems of his time.

a I quote the following passage from Addison, not as a specimen of his metaphysical acumen, but as a proof of his good sense in divining and obviating a difficulty which I believe most persons will acknowledge occurred to themselves when they first entered on metaphysical studies:

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Although we divide the soul into several powers and faculties, there is no such division in the soul itself; since it is the whole soul that remembers, understands, wills, or imagines. Our manner of considering the memory, understanding, will, imagination, and the like fac

THE SPECTATON.

No 1. THURSDAY, MARCH 1,

Non fumum ex fulgore, sed ex fumo dare
Cogitat, ut speciosa dehinc miracula pror
HOR. Ars

One with a flash begins, and ends in smok
The other out of smoke brings glorious light,

And (without raising expectations high)

Surprises us with dazzling miracles.-RoscoMMON.

I HAVE observed, that a reader seldom peruses a book with pleasure, till he knows whether the writer of it be a black or a fair man, of a mild or choleric disposition, married or a bachelor,

*

Of the three periodical papers, in which Mr. Addison was happily induced to bear a part, the only one, which was planned by himself, was the Spectator. And, how infinitely superior is the contrivance of it, to that of the other two!

The notion of a club, on which it is formed, not only gave a dramatic ail to the Spectator, but a sort of unity to the conduct of it; as it tied togher the several papers, into what may be called one work, by the reference they all have to the same common design.

This design, too, was so well digested from the first, that nothing ocers afterwards (when the characters come out and shew themselves at full

Mr. Tickell says, it was projected in concert with Sir Richard Steele, which comes the same thing.- H.

with other particulars of the like nature, that conduce very much to the right understanding of an author. To gratify this curiosity, which is so natural to a reader, I design this paper and my next as prefatory discourses to my following writings, and shall give some account in them of the several persons that are engaged in this work. As the chief trouble of compiling, digesting, and correcting, will fall to my share, I must do myself the justice to open the work with my own history.

1

I was born to a small hereditary estate, which, according to the tradition of the village where it lies, was bounded by the same hedges and ditches in William the Conqueror's time that it is at present, and has been delivered down from father to son whole and entire, without the loss or acquisition of a single field or meadow, during the space of six hundred years. There runs a story in the family, that when my mother was gone with child of me about three months, she dreamt that she was brought to bed of a judge: whether this might proceed from a law-suit which was then depending in the family, or my father's being a justice of the peace, I cannot determine; for I am not so vain as to

1 It was strange, said Charles II., on hearing a similar declaration, that there was not in all that time a wise man or a fool in the family.-C.

length, in the course of the work) for which we are not prepared, by the general outline of them, as presented to us in the introductory papers; s that, if we did not know the contrary, we might suspect that these papers like the preface to a book, had been written after the whole was printed off, and not before a syllable of it was composed. Such was the effect of the original plan, and the care of its author,

"Primo ne medium, medio ne discrepet imum!"

As for his coadjutor, Sir Richard Steele, he knew the world, or rather what is called the town, well, and had a considerable fund of wit and humour; but his wit was cften forced, and his humour ungraceful; not but his style would give this appearance to each, being at once incorrect and heavy. His graver papers are universally hard and labored, though, at the same time, superficial. Some better writers contributed, occasionally. to carry on this work; but its success was, properly, owing to the matenless pen of Mr. Addison.-H.

think it presaged any dignity that I should arrive at in my future life, though that was the interpretation which the neighbourhood put upon it. The gravity of my behaviour at my very first appearance in the world, and all the time that I sucked, seemed to favour my mother's dream; for, as she has often told me, I threw away my rattle before I was two months old, and would not make use of my coral till they had taken away the bells from it.

As for the rest of my infancy, there being nothing in it remarkable, I shall pass it over in silence. I find, that during my non-age, I had the reputation of a very sullen youth, but was always a favourite of my schoolmaster, who used to say, that my parts were solid, and would wear well. I had not been long at the university, before I distinguished myself by a most profound silence for during the space of eight years, excepting in the public exercises of the college, I scarce uttered the quantity of an hundred words; and indeed do not remember that I ever spoke three sentences together in my whole life. Whilst I was in this learned body, I applied myself with so much diligence to my studies, that there are very few celebrated books, either in the learned or modern tongues, which I am not acquainted with.

Upon the death of my father, I was resolved to travel into foreign countries, and therefore left the university with the cha racter of an odd unaccountable fellow, that had a great deal of learning, if I would but shew it. An insatiable thirst after knowledge carried me into all the countries of Europe in which there was any thing new or strange to be seen: nay, to such a degree was my curiosity raised, that having read the controversies cf some great men concerning the antiquities of Egypt, I made a voyage to Grand Cairo, on purpose to take the measure of a pyramid; and as soon as I had set myself right in that

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