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In presenting to the American public this new edition of the writings of Joseph Addison, the publishers hold it altogether superfluous and unnecessary to say anything in commendation of the works themselves, or make any reference to the established and increasing celebrity of the author. That celebrity has been deliberately conferred by a succession of generations, and the name of Addison is permanently enrolled among the brightest that adorned the Augustan age of English literature. A few words, however, of comment upon the peculiar advantages of this edition may be permitted, it is hoped, if on no other ground, at least as showing the anxiety of the publishers to provide the community with the best which they can obtain, and the most suited to gratify the wants and wishes of every reader.
The superiority of this edition over any heretofore published in this country, or, indeed, in England, consists in its convenience of form, its low price, its accuracy, its neatness of mechanical execution, and, above all, its completeness. It comprises not only all the essays, letters, poems, criticisms, tales, descriptions, and dramatic works of Addison, but also the whole of the Spectator; this last being a new and very useful arrangement, inasmuch as many of the finest essays, narratives, and characters in that admirable series were contributed jointly by Addison and others. The delightful character of Sir Roger de Coverley, for instance, was frequently taken up by Steele ; and the pens of Steele, Budgell, and several others of the contributors, were quite as often employed in the beautiful papers relating to “The Club” as was that of Addison. It is evident that, by separating those of the latter from the others, as has been done in former editions of his works, the continuity of the story is destroyed and the pleasure of the reader materially diminished. In this point of view alone the edition now offered must be considered vastly preferable.
Care has been taken, nevertheless, to designate not only the papers contributed by Addison, but also those furnished by each of the other writers; and in all other respects the edition of the Spectator comprised within these volumes is as complete and perfect as any ever published. The publishers have only to add the expression of their hope, that the favour of the public to this undertaking may be such as shall encourage them to the production of other English classics, in a corresponding style of excellence, literary and mechanical.
No. 1.] Thursday, March 1, 1710-11. it over in silence. I find, that during my
nonage, I had the reputation of a very sulNon fumum ex fulgore, sed ex fumo dare lucem Cogitat, ut speciosa dehinc miracula promat.
len youth, but was always a favourite with Hor. Ars Poct. ver. 143. my schoolmaster, who used to say, 'that One with a flash begins, and ends in smoke;
my parts were solid, and would wear well. Another out of smoke brings glorious light,
I had not been long at the university, beAnd, (without raising expectation high)
fore I distinguished myself by a most proSurprises us with dazzling iniracles. Roscommon.
found silence; for during the space of I Have observed that a reader seldom eight years, excepting in the public exerperuses a book with pleasure, till he knows cises of the college, I scarce uttered the whether the writer of it be a black or a fair quantity of an hundred words; and indeed man, of a mild or choleric disposition, mar- do not remember that I ever spoke three ried or a bachelor, with other particulars sentences together in my whole life. of the like nature, that conduce very much Whilst I was in this learned body, I apto the right understanding of an author. plied myself with so much diligence to my To gratify this curiosity, which is so na- studies, that there are very few celebrated tural to a reader, I design this paper and books, either in the learned or the modern my next, as prefatory discourses to my fol- tongues, which I am not acquainted with. lowing writings, and shall give some ac Upon the death of my father, I was recount in them of the several persons that are solved to travel into foreign countries, and engaged in this work. As the chief trouble therefore left the university, with the chaof compiling, digesting and correcting will racter of an odd, unaccountable fellow, that fall to my share, I must do myself the jus- had a great deal of learning, if I would but tice to open the work with my own history. show it. An insatiable thirst after know
I was born to a small hereditary estate, ledge carried me into all the countries of which according to the tradition of the vil- Europe, in which there was any thing new lage where it lies, was bounded by the or strange to be seen; nay, to such a desame hedges and ditches in William the gree was my curiosity raised, that having Conqueror's time that it is at present, and read the controversies of some great men has been delivered down from father to concerning the antiquities of Egypt, I son, whole and entire, without the loss or made a voyage to Grand Cairo, on puracquisition of a single field or meadow, pose to take the measure of a pyramid: during the space of six hundred years. and as soon as I had set myself right in that There runs a story in the family, that particular, returned to my native country when my mother was gone with child of with great satisfaction.* me about three months, she dreamt that I have passed my latter years in this city, she was brought to bed of a judge. Whe- where I am frequently seen in most public ther this might proceed from a lawsuit places, though there are not above half a which was then depending in the family, dozen of my select friends that know me; or my father's being a justice of the peace, of whom my next paper shall give a more I cannot determine; for I am not so vain particular account. There is no place of as to think it presaged any dignity that I general resort wherein I do not often should arrive at in my future life, though make my appearance; sometimes I am seen that was the interpretation which the thrusting my head into a round of politineighbourhood put upon it. The gravity cians at Wil's, and listening with great atof my behaviour at my very first appear- tention to the narratives that are made in ance in the world, and all the time that I those little circular audiences. Sometimes sucked, seemed to favour my mother's I smoke a pipe at Child's, f and whilst I 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 astronomical professor at Oxford, who in 1646 publish
* This is, probably, an allusion to Mr. John Greaves. coral until they had taken away the bells ed a work entitled Pyramidographia.' from it.
| Child's coffee-house was in St. Paul's church-yard, As for the rest of my infancy, there be- and much frequented by the clergy; St. James's is in ing nothing in it remarkable, I shall pass alley, and the Rose was on the west side of Temple-bar.
weeñ·actentite do •nothing but the Post- | is reasonable; but as for these three parti-. man, overhear the conversation of every culars, though I am sensible they might table in the room. I appear on Sunday tend very much to the embellishment of nights at St. James's coffee-house, and my paper, I cannot yet come to a resolusometimes join the little committee of po- tion of communicating them to the public. litics in the inner-room, as one who comes They would indeed draw me out of that obthere to hear and improve. My face is scurity which I have enjoyed for many likewise very well known at the Grecian, years, and expose me in public places to the Cocoa-tree, and in the theatres both of several salutes and civilities, which have Drury-lane and the Hay-market. I have been always very disagreeable to me; for been taken for a merchant upon the Ex- the greatest pain I can suffer, is the being change for above these ten years, and talked to, and being stared at. It is for sometimes pass for a Jew in the assembly this reason likewise, that I keep my comof stock-jobbers at Jonathan's. In short, plexion and dress as very great secrets; wherever I see a cluster of people, I al- though it is not impossible but I may make ways mix with them, though I never open | discoveries of both in the progress of the my lips but in my own club.
work I have undertaken. Thus I live in the world rather as a After having been thus particular upon Spectator of mankind, than as one of the myself, I shall in to-morrow's paper give species, by which means I have made my- an account of those gentlemen who are conself a speculative statesman, soldier, mer- cerned with me in this work; for, as I have chant, and artisan, without ever meddling before intimated, a plan of it is laid and with any practical part in life. I am very concerted (as all other matters of importwell versed in the theory of a husband, or ance are) in a club. However, as my a father, and can discern the errors in the friends have engaged me to stand in the economy, business, and diversion of others, front, those who have a mind to correbetter than those who are engaged in them; spond with me, may direct their letters to as standers-by discover blots, which are the Spectator, at Mr. Buckley's, in Little apt to escape those who are in the game. Britain. For I must further acquaint the I never espoused any party with violence, reader, that though our club meet only on and am resolved to observe an exact neu- Tuesdays and Thursdays, we have aptrality between the Whigs and Tories, un- pointed a committee to sit every night for less I shall be forced to declare myself by the inspection of all such papers as may the hostilities of either side. In short, I contribute to the advancement of the pubhave acted in all the parts of my life as a lic weal.
C. looker-on, which is the character I intend to preserve in this paper.
I have given the reader just so much of my history and character, as to let him see No. 2.] Friday, March 2, 1710-11. I am not altogether unqualified for the business I have undertaken. As for other par
Et plures, uno conclamant ore.— Juv. Sat. vii. 167. ticulars in my life and adventures, I shall insert them in following papers, as I shall
Six more at least join their consenting voice. see occasion. In the mean time, when I The first of our society is a gentleman of consider how much I have seen, read, and Worcestershire, of an ancient descent, a heard, I begin to blame my own tacitur- baronet, his name is sir Roger de Coverly, nity; and since I have neither time nor in- His great grandfather was inventor of that clination, to communicate the fulness of my famous country-dance which is called after heart in speech, I am resolved to do it in
him. All who know that shire are very writing, and to print myself out, if possi- well acquainted with the parts and the ble, before I die. I have been often told merits of sir Roger. He is a gentleman by my friends, that it is a pity so many that is very singular in his behaviour, but useful discoveries which I have made his singularities proceed from his good should be in the possession of a silent man. sense, and are contradictions to the manFor this reason, therefore, I shall publish ners of the world, only as he thinks the a sheet full of thoughts every morning, for world is in the wrong. However, this huthe benefit of my contemporaries; and if I can any way contribute to the diversion, or nothing with sourness or obstinacy; and his
mour creates him no enemies, for he does improvement of the country in which being unconfined to modes and forms, live, I shall leave it when I am summoned makes him but the readier and more capaout of it, with the secret satisfaction of ble to please and oblige all who know him. thinking that I have not lived in vain.
When he is in town, he lives in SohoThere are three very material points which I have not spoken to in this paper;
It is said, he keeps himself a and which, for several important reasons, I must keep to myself, at least for some * Soho-square was at that time the genteelest part time: I mean an account of my name, my of the town. 'The handsome house, built by the unfor. age, and my lodgings. I must confess, I tunate Duke of Monmouth, occupied, until the year
1773, the whole of the ground on which Bateman's woud gratify my reader in any thing that I buildings now stand.
Ast alii sex