[blocks in formation]

No. 488. The Spectator has been remonstrated with on account of

the raised price : bis humorous representations in reply. Epigram.
Quanti emptæ ? Parvo. Quanti ergo ? Octussibus. Eheu!

Hor. Sat. ii. 3. 156.
What will it cost ? Nay, hold.
A very trifle. Sir, I will be told.-

Three pence.-Alas ! I find, by several letters which I receive daily, that many of my readers would be better pleased to pay three halfpence for my paper, than twopence. The ingenious T. W. tells me, that I have deprived him of the best part of his breakfast, for that since the rise of my paper, he is forced every morning to drink his dish of coffee by itself, without the addition of the Spectator, that used to be better than lace to it. Eugenius informs me very obligingly that he never thought he should have disliked any

passage in my paper, but that of late there have been two words 10 in every one of them, which he could heartily wish left out, viz.

'Price Twopence. I have a letter from a soap-boiler, who condoles with me very affectionately upon the necessity we both lie under of setting an higher price on our commodities, since the late tax has been laid upon them, and desiring me, when I write next on that subject, to speak a word or two upon the duties upon Castle soap. But there is none of these my correspondents, who writes with a greater turn of good sense and elegance of expression, than the generous Philomedes, who advises me to

value every Spectator at sixpence, and promises that he himself 20 will engage for above a hundred of his acquaintance, who shall take it in at that price.

Letters from the female world are likewise come to me, in great quantities, upon the same occasion; and as I naturally bear a great deference to this part of our species, I am very glad to find that those who approve my conduct in this particular, are much more numerous than those who condemn it. A large family of daughters have drawn me up a very handsome remonstrance, in which they set forth that their father having refused

to take in the Spectator, since the additional price was set upon it, 30 they offered him unanimously to bate him the article of bread

and butter in the tea-table account, provided the Spectator might be served up to them every morning as usual. Upon this the old



gentleman, being pleased it seems with their desire of improving themselves, has granted them the continuance both of the Spectator and their bread and butter, having given particular orders that the tea-table shall be set forth every morning with its customary bill of fare, and without any manner of defalcation. I thought myself obliged to mention this particular, as it does honour to this worthy gentleman; and if the young lady Lætitia, who sent me this account, will acquaint me with his name, I will insert it at length in one of my papers, if he desires it.

I should be very glad to find out any expedient that might alleviate the expense which this my paper brings to any of my readers; and, in order to it, must propose two points to their consideration. First, that if they retrench any the smallest particular in their ordinary expense, it will easily make up the halfpenny a day, which we have now under consideration. Let a lady sacrifice but a single ribbon to her morning studies, and it will be sufficient : let a family burn but a candle a-night less than their usual number, and they may take in the Spectator without detriment to their private affairs.

In the next place, if my readers will not go to the price of buying my papers by retail, let them have patience, and they may buy them in the lump, without the burden of a tax upon them. My speculations, when they are sold single like cherries


the stick, are delights for the rich and wealthy; after some time they come to market in greater quantities, and are every ordinary man's money. The truth of it is, they have a certain flavour at their first appearance, from several accidental circumstances of time, place, and person, which they may lose if they are not taken

early; but in this case every reader is to consider, whether it is 30 not better for him to be half a year behindhand with the fashion

able and polite part of the world, than to strain himself beyond his circumstances. My bookseller has now about ten thousand of the third and fourth volumes, which he has ready to publish, having already disposed of as large an edition both of the first and second volumes. As he is a person whose head is very well turned for his business, he thinks they would be a very proper present to be made to persons at christenings, marriages, visitingdays, and the like joyful solemnities, as several other books are

frequently given at funerals. He has printed them in such a 40 little portable volume, that many of them may be ranged together

[blocks in formation]

upon a single plate; and is of opinion that a salver of Spectators would be as acceptable an entertainment to the ladies, as a salver of sweetmeats.

I shall conclude this paper with an epigram lately sent to the writer of the Spectator, after having returned my thanks to the ingenious author of it.

“SIR, Having heard the following epigram very much commended, I wonder that it has not yet had a place in any


your papers. I 10 think the suffrage of our poet laureat n should not be overlooked,

which shows the opinion he entertains of your paper, whether the notion he proceeds upon be true or false. I make bold to convey it to you, not knowing if it has yet come to your hands.'



Aliusque et idem

Hor. Carm. Sæc. 10.
You rise another and the same.

When first the Tatler to a mute was turn'd
Great Britain for her censor's silence mourn'd;
Robb’d of his sprightly beams, she wept the night,
'Till the Spectator rose, and blaz'd as bright.
So the first man the sun's first setting view'd,
And sigh’d, till circling day his joys renew'd;
Yet doubtful how that second sun to name,
Whether a bright successor, or the same.
So we: but now from this suspense are freed,
Since all agree, who both with judgment read,
"Tis the same sun, and doth himself succeed.



No. 542. Various criticisms and objections, with the replies of the
Spectator. Letter from an admirer.
Et sibi præferri se gaudet.

Oyld. Met. ii. 430.

He heard,
Well-pleased, himself before himself preferr’d.

ADDISON. When I have been present in assemblies where my paper has been talked of, I have been very well pleased to hear those who would detract from the author of it observe, that the letters which are sent to the Spectator are as good, if not better than any of his works. Upon this occasion many letters of mirth are usually mentioned, which some think the Spectator writ to himself, and which others commend because they fancy he received them from his correspondents. Such are these from the Valetudinarian?; the inspector of the sign-posts?; the master of the fan exercises; with that of the hooped petticoat *; that of

Nicholas Hart the annual sleeper); that from Sir John Enville ; 10 that upon London cries, with multitudes of the same nature.

As I love nothing more than to mortify the ill-natured, that I may do it effectually, I must acquaint them, they have very often praised me when they did not design it, and that they have approved my writings when they thought they had derogated from them. I have heard several of these unhappy gentlemen proving, by undeniable arguments, that I was not able to pen a letter which I had written the day before. Nay, I have heard some of them throwing out ambiguous expressions, and giving

the company reason to suspect that they themselves did me the 20 honour to send me such and such a particular epistle, which

happened to be talked of with the esteem or approbation of those who were present. Those rigid critics are so afraid of allowing me anything which does not belong to me, that they will not be positive whether the lion, the wild boar, and the flower-pots in the play-house, did not actually write those letters which came to me in their names. I must therefore inform these gentlemen, that I often choose this way of casting my thoughts into a letter for the following reasons. First, out of the policy of

those who try their jest upon another, before they own it them30 selves. Secondly, because I would extort a little praise from

such who will never applaud anything whose author is known and certain. Thirdly, because it gave me an opportunity of introducing a great variety of characters into my work, which could not have been done, had I always written in the person of the Spectator. Fourthly, because the dignity Spectatorial would have suffered, had I published as from myself those several ludicrous compositions which I have ascribed to fictitious names and

1 No. 25, p. 238.

2 No. 28, p. 242. (omitted from this selection).

5 No. 184 (ditto). 7 No. 251, p. 274.

34 Nos. 102 and 127 6 No. 299, p. 282.



characters. And lastly, because they often serve to bring in more naturally such additional reflexions as have been placed at the end of them.

There are others who have likewise done me a very particular honour, though undesignedly. These are such who will needs have it, that I have translated or borrowed many

of my thoughts out of books which are written in other languages. I have heard of a person who is more famous for his library than his learning,

that has affected this more than once in his private conversation. 10 Were it true, I am sure he could not speak it from his own

knowledge ; but had he read the books which he has collected, he would find this accusation to be wholly groundless. Those who are truly learned will acquit me in this point, in which I have been so far from offending, that I have been scrupulous perhaps to a fault in quoting the authors of several passages which I might have made my own. But as this assertion is in reality an encomium on what I have published, I ought rather to glory in it, than endeavour to confute it.

Some are so very willing to alienate from me that small repu20 tation which might accrue to me from any of these my specula

tions, that they attribute some of the best of them to those imaginary manuscripts with which I have introduced them. There are others, I must confess, whose objections have given me a greater concern, as they seem to reflect, under this head, rather on my morality than on my invention. These are they who say an author is guilty of falsehood, when he talks to the public of manuscripts which he never saw, or describes scenes of action or discourse in which he was never engaged. But these

gentlemen would do well to consider, there is not a fable or a 30 parable which ever was made use of, that is not liable to this

exception ; since nothing, according to this notion, can be related innocently, which was not once matter of fact. Besides, I think the most ordinary reader may be able to discover by my way of writing, what I deliver in these occurrences as truth, and what as fiction.

Since I am unawares engaged in answering the several objections which have been made against these my works, I must take notice that there are some who affirm a paper of this nature

should always turn upon diverting subjects, and others who find 40 fault with every one of them that hath not an immediate ten

« ForrigeFortsett »