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A NEW EDITION.
COMPLETE IN ONE VOLUME.
PUBLISHED BY APPLEGATE & CO.
NO. 43 MAIN STREET.
"To correct the vices, ridicule the follies, and dissipate the ignorance, which too generally prevailed at the commencement of the Eighteenth Century," were, it has been truly observed, "the great and noble objects the Spectator ever holds in view;" and, "by enlivening morality with wit, and tempering wit with morality," not only were those objects attained in an eminent degree, but the authors conferred a lasting benefit on their country, by establishing and rendering popular a species of writing, which has materially tended to cultivate the understanding, refine the taste, and augment and purify the moral feeling of successive generations.
The high and universal reputation of this celebrated work, as an inexhaustible fund of amusement and instruction, at once precludes the necessity of discussing its various excellencies, and of offering an apology for submitting the present Edition to the notice of the Public. We give, by way of Preface, short biographical notices of the Contributors.
JOSEPH ADDISON, the eldest son of the Rev. Launcelot Addison, Dean of Lichfield, was born in 1672, at Milston, in Wiltshire, of which place his father was then Rector. Shortly after he had reached his twelfth year, he was placed in the Charter-house, where his progress was so rapid that, at the early age of fifteen, he was declared qualified for the University. He was entered of Queen's College, Oxford, in 1687; but a copy of Latin verses having recommended him to the notice of Dr. Laurence (afterward Provost), he was by his introduction admitted into Magdalen College, where he took the degree of Master of Arts, in 1693. Here he distinguished himself by his Latin Poems, published in the Musæ Anglicana; and it is said, that Boileau, to whom he sent them as a present, first conceived from them a high opinion of the English Genius for Poetry.
In his twenty-second year Addison first appeared before the Public as an English Poet, in a short copy of Verses addressed to Dryden; this was followed by a Version of the Fourth Georgic of Virgil, and various Poems published in the Miscellanies; the chief of which are one addressed to King William, and an Account of the English Poets, in an Epistle to Henry Sacheverell.
His original intention appears to have been to enter the Church, but Charles Montague, the Chancellor of the Exchequer (to whom he was introduced by Congreve), advised him to abandon it; and, through the friendship of Lord Somers, he obtained a pension from the Crown, of £300 per annum, which enabled him to indulge his inclination to travel.
During his tour in Italy, he wrote his celebrated "Epistle to Lord Halifax," his "Dialogues on Medals," and the greater part of his "Cato." The death of King William, however, annulling his pension, caused his return to England in 1702. The publication of his Travels, and more especially his "Campaign," speedily introduced him into public employment. In 1705 he accompanied Lord Halifax to Hanover, and was shortly after appointed Under Secretary of State. He now produced his "Rosamond," a very pleasing composition, intended to unite Nature, Sense, and Harmony, in opposition to the absurdities of the Italian Opera; but, owing to the very inferior character of the accompanying music, it failed to triumph over the infatuation of the Public, and was neglected, if not actually condemned.
In 1709 Addison went to Ireland, as Secretary to the Marquis of Wharton (Lord Lieutenant), and was made Keeper of the Records of the Kingdom, with an augmented salary, through the interest of the Duchess of Marlborough; and gained a high reputation for unweared assiduity and unblemished integrity in his official capacity.
It was during his residence in Ireland that Steele (with whom he had contracted a friendship while in the Charter-house), commenced publishing the "Tatler." Addison ( iii )
quickly discovered the anonymous writer, by a scrap of criticism which he had imparted to Steele, and the consequence was, he soon became a participator in the work. His contributions were at first only occasional, but after Lord Wharton's return to England they became more frequent.
To the "Tatler" succeeded the "Spectator," which was at the outset so popular that often 20,000 copies of a number were sold in one day; and it was not called for extensively in London and its vicinity merely, but, at a time when readers were comparatively few, and intercourse difficult, it was sought for with avidity in the remotest parts of the Kingdom.
The papers of Addison are designated by the letters C. L. I. O., which some have supposed he adopted as composing the name of the muse Clio; but Mr. Nichols thinks, rather as being the initials of the places where the papers were written, Chelsea, London, Islington, and the Office. The publication of the "Spectator" began March 1, 1711, and continued regularly to the close of the seventh volume: after an interval of about eighteen months, the eighth volume commenced, and terminated December 20, 1714.
In a letter to Edward Wortley Montague, dated July, 1711, Addison says, "I have, within this twelvemonth, lost a place of £2000 per annum, and an estate in the Indies of £14,000." Nevertheless, he this year found the means to purchase a pretty large house and estate at Bilton, in Warwickshire.
In 1713 he produced on the stage his tragedy of "Cato," on which his pretensions as a poet are principally founded. Its reception was enthusiastic; the Whigs applauded what they esteemed a satire on the Tories, and the Tories reiterated the applause, to show the satire was unfelt. It was acted thirty-five successive nights; and Cibber says, "On our first days of acting it, our house was in a manner invested, and entrance demanded at twelve o'clock at noon; the same continued for three days together."
During the run of "Cato," the "Guardian” made its appearance, and Addison enriched it with several very excellent papers.
On the death of Queen Anne, in 1714, he was appointed Secretary to the Regency; and his first duty in that office (to announce the vacancy of the throne to the Court of Hanover), is said to have seriously perplexed him he was so long in selecting phrases, and arranging sentences, that the Lords Justices became impatient, and ordered one of the clerks to state the event who, resorting to the usual official common-place, accomplished the task without hesitation or difficulty.
By George I, Addison was appointed a Lord of Trade; and, upon the breaking out of the Rebellion in 1715, he seized the opportunity of evincing his attachment to the Hanoverian Succession by publishing the Freeholder."
In 1716 he married the Countess Dowager of Warwick, to whom, it would seem, he had been long attached, but who slighted his addresses until he had risen to consequence in the State; there is every reason to believe that this union was far from contributing to his happiness; and it is also probable that the vexations he experienced in his domestic circle, from the caprice and ill-temper of an ignorant and supercilious woman, led to those habits of occasional intemperance which are said to have hastened his dissolution.
The year succeeding his marriage he was appointed one of the principal Secretaries of State; but a consciousness of his inaptitude for affording the administration the necessary support as a Speaker in the House of Commons, together with a declining state of health, soon induced him to retire with a pension of £1500 a year.
After his secession from public life, he returned to a "Treatise on the Evidences of the Christian Religion" (begun many years previously), which he continued, but did not live to complete; and about this time the comedy of the "Drummer" was performed at Drury Lane Theater; which, although Addison himself never acknowledged it, is well known by internal evidence, and also by the testimony of Steele, to have been his composition. It is likely that the ill-success it met with on the stage prevented him from avowing himself the author.
An asthmatic disorder, to which he had been subject, terminated in dropsy. On the 17th June, 1719, he expired at Holland House, Kensington; and on the 26th of the same month was buried in Westminster Abbey.
He left one daughter; to whom, on the death of her mother, the estate at Bilton devolved, and who died there unmarried in 1797.
We refrain from dilating on the virtues and failings of this great man: they are suffi