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of these the reader will find one or two specimens in the present selection.
“The plan of the Spectator, so far as it regards the feigned person of the author, and of the several characters that compose his club, was concerted [by Addison] in concert with Sir Richard Steele.' So Tickell, Addison's college friend and protégé, tells us in the preface to the collected works.
Of both the Tatler and the Spectator Johnson writes in his life of Addison, that they were 'published at a time when two parties, loud, restless, and violent, each with plausible declarations, and each perhaps without any distinct termination of its views, were agitating the nation; to minds heated with political contest they supplied cooler and more inoffensive reflections : and it is said by Addison, in a subsequent work, that they had a perceptible influence upon the conversation of that time, and taught the frolic and the gay to unite merriment with decency; an effect which they can never wholly lose while they continue to be among the first books by which both sexes are initiated in the elegances of knowledge.' Political topics were to be, as a rule, excluded. But this exclusion, even in the case of the Spectator, was not entire (see infra, p. 111), and it seems to have been suggested by special circumstances as much as by any settled principle. In one of the later numbers of the Tatler, Steele had introduced an attack upon Harley, who had then recently succeeded Lord Godolphin at the Treasury; the attack had cost him his place as conductor of the Gazette; and, if Swift may be believed, it was only through his intercession that Steele's other post in the Stamp Office was not taken from him. In October, 1710, the result of the general election had been to return what Addison calls “a glut of Tories' to Parliament?. Against the stolid voting-power of an excited majority, eagerly looking out for the spoils of office, Addison knew that for the moment wit and raillery, sarcasm and argument, were all alike ineffectual. While the issue was doubtful, he combated stoutly in the political arena; witness his Whig Examiner, published in September and October, 1710; when the triumph of Toryism was assured, he wisely held his peace; waiting till the new men in power should have made the usual blunders, and been estranged by the usual
· Letter to Marquis of Wharton, Oct. 17th, 1710.
misunderstandings, before again taking up the pen of a pamphleteer. Meantime, since his mind was teeming with the stores which his keen observation and rich fancy had been accumulating for years, he gladly accepted the outlet for its expression afforded by this new daily paper, the Spectator: from which he persuaded Steele also to withhold all those party missiles, which, under existing circumstances, could but recoil on their own heads. As soon as a fit occasion offered, Addison again became a political writer, and in the pages of the Freeholder (1715-16), attacked both the principles and the practices of the Jacobite party. Reviewing these circumstances, we have just cause to be thankful that, in what Steele called the four last inglorious years' of the queen's reign, Toryism was so completely in the ascendant; had it been otherwise, the ‘Spectator' would have been a politician, not a censor morum, and indefinitely less interesting in consequence.
Addison and Steele were the chief contributors, and in nearly equal proportions, to the Spectator. Including the eighty numbers of the eighth volume of the resuscitated Spectator, the publication consisted of 635 papers. Of these, according to the computation of Dr. Drake, 274 were from the pen of Addison, and 240 from that of Steele. Eustace Budgell wrote 37, John Hughes it, and Henry Grove four papers. Two or three, or even four, papers are supposed to be by Pope, but they cannot all be identified with certainty. More than a score of other writers are credited with the composition of one or two papers, or parts of papers. Fifty-three papers remain, for which all the researches of the last century editors were unable to find authors. On all these matters full information may be found in Dr. Drake's Essays, from which, and from other sources, we extract some account of the ascertained contributors, which those who do not care for biographical details may skip.
1. Addison. The chief dates and facts of the principal, author of the Spectator are given at a later page.
2. Sir Richard Steele, born in Dublin in 1675, after passing through the Charter-house and Merton College—(at school he was Addison's fag, at college his admiring, but not imitating, friend)-entered the army as a private, had a commission given him, wrote The Christian Hero to recommend to the mess those virtues which he knew he did not possess, yet had the grace to
admire, and, returning to civil life about the end of King William's reign, embarked in the hazards of a literary life in London. His chief plays have been already mentioned. Thackeray has kindly and humorously sketched poor 'little Dicky,' immersed in all the follies of the town, 'deep in debt and in drink,' continually sinning and repenting. He commenced the Tatler, as we have seen, in 1709; the Spectator was begun in March 1711, and terminated, as to the first continuous issue, with No. 555 (December 6, 1712), in which Steele announces the retirement of the Spectator, his club being dispersed, and states various particulars as to the authorship of the papers. In the renewed issue of 1714 Steele bore no part; but in the interim he had been writing busily in the Englishman and the Guardian. His vehement Whiggism and activity on behalf of the house of Hanover gave deep offence to the Tory majority of the House of Commons in the last year of Queen Anne, and he was expelled from the house in 1714 for having written a pamphlet called The Crisis. On this occasion Addison sat near him and helped him in his defence. But some years later a difference of opinion on the Peerage Bill caused an estrangement between them. Steele in the Plebeian attacked the measure, and was somewhat scornfully answered by Addison in the Old Whig, the last number of which was written but three months before his death. It is sad to think that the latest known relations between the two friends were of this nature; however we know that on Steele's mind the impression of the quarrel was but transitory; for in the preface to The Drummer, written after Addison's death, he speaks of him as his dear and honoured friend,' and vindicates himself warmly from the imagined imputation of injustice to his memory or fame. Never rising to sufficient self-command to free himself from debt, Steele, soon after Addison's death, left London, and retired to an estate in Wales belonging to his second wife, where he died in 1729.
3. Eustace Budgell. This man's life is melancholy history. He was Addison's first cousin, his mother being a Miss Gulston. Bred to the bar, he spurned it for what seemed a more dazzling career; associated himself as much as possible with his cousin, and was a clerk in Addison's office when the latter went as Chief Secretary to Ireland in 1710. His papers in the first seven volumes of the Spectator are marked by the letter X. Addison on many occasions lent him a helping hand; some of the papers
ascribed to him were certainly touched by his cousin; and the epilogue to the Distressed Mother of Philips, supposed to be by Budgell, which brought much applause to its author, was really written by Addison. In 1714 he published a version of the Characters of Theophrastus, in the preface to which he gives some interesting information about various contributors to the Spectator. He fixed himself in Ireland, and obtained a seat in the Irish Parliament, together with a lucrative situation. In 1717 he was a man in good repute and flourishing. Then the turn came; he quarrelled with the Duke of Bolton, then Lord Lieutenant, and was dismissed from his office; upon which he became a virulent pamphleteer against the government. Addison, ever watchful and kind, interceded for him with Lord Sunderland, who undertook to find Budgell employment; but an ill-timed pamphlet against the Peerage Bill caused him to retract his promise. Addison died, and Budgell's fortunes waned rapidly. He lost £20,000 of his fortune in the South Sea bubble, and £5000 more in vain attempts to get into Parliament;
he wrote against Walpole in the Craftsman; he took up with the Deists; the vengeance of the ministry kept him out of all public employment; and at last the unhappy man, pressed by money difficulties, forged a will purporting to be signed by Dr. Matthew Tindal, bequeathing all his property to Budgell. It was this which suggested the lines in Pope's 'Prologue to the Satires':
• Let Budgell charge low Grub Street on his quill,
And write whate'er he please, except his will.' The fraud was discovered, but not so fully brought home to the forger as to involve him in the legal consequences of the crime. Desperate and friendless, Budgell one spring morning in 1737 threw himself out of a boat into the Thames and was drowned. On the table at his lodgings he had left a paper, on which were written these words :
• What Cato did, and Addison approved,
Thus he libelled his kind and noble-minded patron with his last breath; for although considerations of dramatic fitness might well have justified Addison in making Cato carry out to the end, without one compunctious visiting,' his project of suicide, yet, exactly because he does not approve of it, he puts at the last moment words of doubt and misgiving in his hero's mouth.
4. John Hughes, to whom Dr. Drake assigns eleven entire papers, besides thirteen letters and parts of papers, was a very different sort of man. Bred a dissenter, he was deeply imbued with serious views; what Frenchmen call “the English solidity' was apparent in most of what he wrote. A tragedy, called The Siege of Damascus, brought him, on its first appearance in 1720, much reputation. He was on terms of unbroken friendship with Pope. A patient sufferer under continual ill-health, he died before he was fifty in 1720.
5. Alexander Pope. Steele, in No. 555, names Mr. Pope'as one among those to whom his editorial acknowledgments were due; but it is impossible to recognise with certainty all his contributions. No. 378 consists of the Messiah, introduced with a few words by Steele. Dr. Drake gives him Nos. 404 and 408, in which the same lines of speculation are pursued which appear in Pope's Moral Essays and Essay on Man. Some have credited him with No. 425; but it is quite unworthy of him, and much more like the hand of Budgell. The first letter in No. 527, with the translation from Ovid that follows, was written by Pope,-and also the letter in No. 532 on the strange death-bed effusion of the Emperor Hadrian.
6. Thomas Tickell, a member of Queen's College, Oxford, was befriended through life in the most effectual manner by Addison; by whom he was taken to Ireland as his private secretary, and elevated through his influence, after the accession of George I, to the post of under-secretary of state. His rivalry with Pope, as a translator of Homer, was the occasion of the well-known quarrel between Pope and Addison. Two poems, in Nos. 532 and 620, are known to be by Tickell, who is supposed to have written many
other papers under the signature T (the exact import of which has never been ascertained), which are now past recognition.
7. Jonathan Swift, Dean of St. Patrick's. The author of The Tale of a Tub contributed the fourth paragraph in No. 575, andperhaps—the hint for No. 50, the imaginary diary of the Indian chief.
8. Thomas Parnell, the author of the well-known didactic poem called The Hermit, contributed two allegoric visions in Nos. 460 and 501.