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STORY OF ADDISON WHEN A BOY.
In the town where Addison was born is the following tradition of a curious excursion made by him when a boy: Being at a country school, he committed some slight fault; for which his fear of being corrected was so great, that he ran away from his father's house, and fled into the fields, where he lived upon fruits, and took up his lodging in a hollow tree, till, upon the publication of a reward to whoever should find him, he was discovered and restored to his parents.
"If these stories be true," says Macaulay, "it would be curious to know by what moral discipline so mutinous and enterprising a lad was transformed into the gentlest and most modest of men,'
ADDISON'S SCHOOL FROLIC.
DR. Johnson tells the following story of Addison, when a boy at school. "The practice of barring-out was a savage licence, practised in many schools to the end of the last century, by which the boys, when the periodical vacation drew near, growing petulant at the approach of liberty, some days before the time of regular recess took possession of the school, of which they barred the doors, and bade their master defiance from the windows. It is not easy to suppose that on such occasions the master would do more than laugh; yet, if tradition may be credited, he often struggled hard to force or surprise the garrison. The master, when Pigot was a school-boy, was barred-out at Lichfield, and the whole operation, as he said, was planned and conducted by Addison.”
ADDISON'S EARLY MERIT.
MR. Addison became a demy of Magdalen College in Oxford, by merit, at the age of seventeen (July, 1689). He took the degree of Master of Arts, Feb. 14th, 1693, and obtained his fellowship in 1698. In the following year1 he set
'Addison set out from London in the autumn of 1699, and from Marseilles for Italy in December, 1700, as his letters show. But his own account has "On the 12th of December, 1699, I set out from Marseilles to Genoa," a slip of the pen which has escaped all Addison's editors and biographers, till pointed out by Mr. Macaulay.
out on his travels. Those who remember him at college affirm that his temper was the same it appeared ever afterwards; that is to say, his abilities were exceeded by nothing but his modesty.
A walk with rows of trees along the side of the collegemeadow, is still pointed out as his favourite haunt; it continues to bear his name, and some of the trees are supposed to have been planted by him. [It is said that he obtained his election into Magdalen College by the merit of his Inauguratio Regis Gulielmi, 1689; which see, ante, p. 546.]
THE following paragraph occurs in a letter from Mr. (afterwards Bp.) Smalridge to Mr. Gough, preserved in Bp. Atterbury's Correspondence: "Sir John Harper is under Mr. Addison's care at Magdalene." The letter is undated, but was most probably written about the year 1690.-It appears also, from documents communicated to Miss Aikin by Lord Northwick, that Sir James Rushout (born 1676, died 1705) was for some time under the tuition of Addison, no doubt at Oxford. Philip Frowde (as is stated at page 324) was another of Addison's Oxford pupils.
ADDISON ORIGINALLY INTENDED FOR THE CHURCH.
"MR. ADDISON (says Mr. Whiston) was brought up at Oxford with intention to take holy orders; and I have heard it said that the Saturday papers in his famous Spectator, which are generally on religious subjects, were intended originally for sermons when he should be in holy orders. However his parts appeared so promising to the Lord Halifax, and Lord Chancellor Somers, that they diverted him from his purpose, and procured him £400 a year' of King William, to enable him to improve himself by travelling,— yet he retained such a great regard for the Christian religion, that before he died he began to read the ancient fa
1 The amount of this pension has been variously stated, and Addison, in his Memorial, says, it was only paid for half a year. We have not been able to find any official papers respecting it, but have met with a grant of King William's, dated June 1, 1699, to Addison, Esq., of the sum of £200, not as a pension, but as 'free gift and royal bounty; payable out of " any treasure or revenue remaining in our exchequer applicable to the uses of the civil government." It is signed Montague, Tankerville, Fox, Smith, Boyle.
thers of the three first centuries; and the last of them that I know of his reading, was Justin Martyr, the first of the heathen philosophers that became a Christian and a martyr."
THE KIT-CAT CLUB.
THIS Society is said to have first met (about 1700) at an obscure house in Shire Lane, and consisted of thirty-nine noblemen and gentlemen, zealously attached to the Hanoverian (or Protestant) succession, amongst whom were the Dukes of Somerset, Richmond, Grafton, Devonshire, and Marlborough, and (after the accession of George I.) the Duke of Newcastle; the Earls of Dorset,' Sunderland, Manchester, Wharton, and Kingston; Lords Halifax and Somers; Sir Robert Walpole, Vanbrugh, Congreve, Granville, Addison, Steel, Garth, Maynwaring, Stepney, and Walsh. The club is supposed to have derived its name from Christopher Cat, a pastry-cook, who kept the house where they dined, and excelled in making mutton-pies, which always formed a part of their bill of fare. In the Spectator, No. IX., they are said to have had their title, not from the maker of the pie, but the pie itself. The fact is that, on account of its excellence, it was called a Kit-cat, as we now say a Sandwich. So in the Prologue to the Reformed Wife, a comedy, 1700: "Often for change the meanest things are good: Thus, though the town all delicacies afford, A Kit-cat is a supper for a lord."
In an Epigram, supposed to have been written by Arbuthnot, the club is thus ridiculed:
"Whence deathless Kit-cat took its name,
Some say from pastry-cook it came,
THE KIT-CAT AT HAMPSTEAD.
SIR Richard Steele, at one part of his life, resided occasionally at a small house on Haverstock Hill, in the road to Hampstead. At this time the Kit-cat Club held their sum
The Mæcænas of the wits of that day; he was one of the earliest members of the club.
mer meetings at the Upper Flask,' on Hampstead Heath; and Addison, Pope, or some other of his friends, used to call on Steele and take him to the place of rendezvous.
The Kit-cat Club took its name from one Christopher Cat, maker of their mutton-pies. The portraits of its members were drawn by Kneller, who was himself one of their number; and all portraits of the same dimensions and form are to this day called kit-cat pictures. This club was originally formed in Shire Lane, about the time of the Trial of the seven bishops, for a little free evening conversation, professedly on literature and the fine arts, but secretly to promote the Hanoverian succession. In Queen Anne's reign, the club comprehended upwards of forty noblemen and gentlemen of the first rank for quality, merit, and fortune, chiefly of Whig principles.
TONSON AND THE KIT-CAT.
You have heard of the Kit-cat Club. The master of the house where the club met was Christopher Cat. Tonson was secretary.
The day Lord Mohun and the Earl of Berkeley were entered of it, Jacob said he saw they were just going to be ruined. When Lord Mohun broke down the gilded emblem on the top of his chair, Jacob complained to his friends, and said that a man who would do that, would cut a man's throat. -So that he had the good and the forms of the society much at heart.
[Pope remembers having seen a paper in Lord Halifax's hand-writing, of a subscription of four hundred guineas for the encouragement of good comedies; it was dated 1709.]
Soon after that they broke up.-Steele, Addison, Congreve, Garth, Vanbrugh, Maynwaring, Stepney, Walpole, and Pultney were of it; so was Lord Dorset, and the present Duke. Manwaring, whom we hear nothing of now, was the ruling man in all conversations; indeed, what he wrote had very little merit in it.—Lord Stanhope and the Earl of Essex were also members. Jacob has his own and all their pictures, by Sir
1 There is a view of this tavern, as well as of Steele's College at Haverstock Hill, in Smith's Curiosities. 4to, Bohn.
2 Horace Walpole says, "the Kit-cat club, generally mentioned as a set of Wits, in reality THE PATRIOTS THAT SAVED Britain."
Godfrey Kneller. Each member gave him his, and he is going to build a room for them at Barn Elms.-Spence.
ADDISON became a member of the Kit-cat Club in 1703. It was the custom of the wits who composed it to celebrate the several beauties they toasted in verse, which they wrote on their drinking glasses. Among these ingenious pieces, which were so many epigrams (preserved in Dryden's Miscel lanies), is one by Addison on the Lady Manchester, which is given at our page 228.
The custom of toasting ladies after dinner, peculiar to the Kit-cat Club, and the society out of which it was originally formed, viz. "The Knights of the Toast," is thus alluded to in No. 24 of the Tatler. Though this institution had so trivial a beginning, it is now elevated into a formal order, and that happy virgin, who is received and drank to at their meetings, has no more to do in this life but to judge and accept of the first good offer. The manner of her inauguration is much like that of the choice of a Doge in Venice; it is performed by ballotting; and when she is so chosen, she reigns indisputably for that ensuing year; but she must be elected anew to prolong her empire a moment beyond it. When she is regularly chosen, her name is written with a diamond on one of the drinking-glasses. The hieroglyphic of the diamond is to show her that her value is imaginary; and that of the glass, to acquaint her that her condition is frail, and depends on the hand which holds her."
Kit-cat Memoirs, p. 5.
BUDGELL," a young Templar of some literature," author of many of the papers in the Spectator, was the first cousin to Mr. Addison, to whom he had been introduced on his coming to town. Mr. Addison, perceiving in young Budgell a love of polite learning, assisted him with his advice in the course of his study, and honoured him with his friendship.
When Mr. Addison was appointed secretary to Lord Wharton, in April, 1710, he offered his friend Budgell the place of clerk in his office, which he accepted, and this was his first introduction to public notice.