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No. 2.


Friday, March 2, 1711

-Ast alii sex

Et plures uno conclamant ore.


—Juv., Sat. vii. 167. HE first of our society is a gentleman of Worcestershire, of ancient descent, a baronet, his name Sir Roger de Coverley.1 His greatgrandfather was inventor of that famous countrydance which is called after him. All who know that shire are very well acquainted with the parts and merits of Sir Roger. He is a gentleman that is very singular in his behaviour, but his singularities



1 Tyers, writing in 1783, said that it was understood that the original of Sir Roger de Coverley was Sir John Pakington, or Packington (1671-1727), a Tory not without sense, but abounding in absurdities. This tradition is certainly baseless. Tickell expressly said, in editing Addison's papers, that all the characters in the Spectator were feigned; and it is difficult to find likeness between Sir Roger and Sir John Pakington, beyond the fact that both were baronets of Worcestershire. As I have pointed out in the Dictionary of National Biography,' Pakington married twice, while Sir Roger was a bachelor; in 1711, the date of these papers, Pakington was an energetic politician of the age of thirty-nine, whereas Sir Roger was fifty-five, had no enemies, and rarely visited London. Sir Roger was not given to lawsuits, though he sat on the bench at Assizes; but Pakington was a lawyer, and was made Recorder of Worcester in 1726. Sir Roger, unlike Pakington, was a much stronger Tory in the country than in town. Pakington opposed the Union with Scotland in 1706, and in 1715 was suspected of taking part in Jacobite intrigues; he was a typical high Tory and Churchman. Sir Roger's name is usually spelt 'Coverly in the original edition.

2 The dance is believed to have been named after a knight of the time of Richard I. Ashton (Social Life in the Reign of Queen Anne,' ii. 268-9) quotes from a pamphlet of 1648 a reference to 'a tune called Roger of Caulverley.'

proceed from his good sense, and are contradictions to the manners of the world only as he thinks the world is in the wrong. However, this humour creates him no enemies, for he does nothing with sourness or obstinacy, and his being unconfined to modes and forms makes him but the readier and more capable to please and oblige all who know him. When he is in town he lives in Soho Square: it is said he keeps himself a bachelor by reason he was crossed in love by a perverse beautiful widow 2 of the next county to him. Before this disappointment, Sir Roger was what you call a fine gentleman, had often supped with my Lord Rochester and Sir George Etherege, fought a duel upon his first coming to town, and kicked Bully Dawson in a




1 Soho Square was built in 1681, and among its fashionable inhabitants in Queen Anne's time were Lord Berkeley, Lord Carlisle, Lord George Howard, Sir Thomas Mansel, Lord Nottingham, Lord Leicester, the Bishop of Salisbury, and Sir Cloudesley Shovel. The Spectator gives other addresses for Sir Roger de Coverley in later Nos. (335, 410).

2 Some have identified the widow with Mrs. Catherine Bovey, to whom the second volume of Steele's 'Ladies' Library' was dedicated in 1714. See No. 113.


3 John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester (1648-1680), author of a poem on Nothing,' and other verses, died, after a life of dissipation, at the age of thirty-one. Bishop Burnet wrote an account of his repentance.

4 Sir George Etherege (1635-1691), wit and dramatist, was a friend of Rochester's, and the two were obliged to abscond for a time after a fatal brawl with watchmen in 1676. Etherege wrote three amusing comedies, The Comical Revenge,' 1664; 'She would if she could,' 1667; and The Man of Mode; or, Sir Foppling Flutter,' 1676; but the indecency which he shared with other dramatists of the time exposed him to a severe attack by Steele in Nos. 51 and 65 of the Spectator.

5 Bully Dawson, a swaggering sharper of Whitefriars, is said by Oldys to have been sketched by Shadwell in the Captain Hackum of his comedy called 'The Squire of Alsatia.'

public coffee-house for calling him youngster. But being ill-used by the above-mentioned widow, he was very serious for a year and a half; and though, his temper being naturally jovial, he at last got over it, he grew careless of himself, and never dressed afterwards; he continues to wear a coat and doublet of the same cut that were in fashion at the time of his repulse, which, in his merry humours, he tells us has been in and out twelve times since he first wore it. 'Tis said Sir Roger grew humble in his desires after he had forgot this cruel beauty, insomuch that it is reported he has frequently offended in point of chastity with beggars and gipsies: but this is looked upon by his friends rather as matter of raillery than truth. He is now in his fifty-sixth year, cheerful, gay, and hearty; keeps a good house both in town and country; a great lover of mankind; but there is such a mirthful cast in his behaviour that he is rather beloved than esteemed: his tenants grow rich, his servants look satisfied, all the young women profess love to him, and the young men are glad of his company. When he comes into a house he calls the servants by their names, and talks all the way upstairs to a visit. I must not omit that Sir Roger is a Justice of the Quorum; that he fills the chair at a Quarter Session with great abilities, and three months ago gained universal applause by explaining a passage in the

Game Act.

The gentleman next in esteem and authority among us is another bachelor, who is a member of the Inner Temple; a man of great probity, wit, and understanding; but he has chosen his place of residence rather to obey the direction of an old humorsome father than in pursuit of his own


inclinations. He was placed there to study the laws of the land, and is the most learned of any of the House in those of the stage. Aristotle and Longinus1 are much better understood by him than Littleton or Coke. The father sends up every post questions relating to marriage-articles, leases, and tenures in the neighbourhood; all which questions he agrees with an attorney to answer and take care of in the lump. He is studying the passions themselves when he should be inquiring into the debates among men which arise from them. He knows the argument of each of the orations of Demosthenes and Tully, but not one case in the reports of our own courts. No one ever took him for a fool, but none, except his intimate friends, know he has a great deal of wit. This turn makes him at once both disinterested and agreeable. As few of his thoughts are drawn from business, they are most of them fit for conversation. His taste of books is a little too just for the age he lives in; he has read all, but approves of very few. His familiarity with the customs, manners, actions, and writings of the ancients makes him a very delicate observer of what occurs to him in the present world. He is an excellent critic, and the time of the play is his hour of business; exactly at five he passes through New Inn, crosses through Russell Court, and takes a turn at Will's until the play begins. He has his shoes rubbed and his periwig powdered at the barber's as you go into the Rose. It is for the good of the

1 Longinus wrote a treatise On the Sublime,' which was much quoted by seventeenth-century critics.

2 Lord Chief-Justice Coke wrote a commentary on Judge Littleton's treatise on Tenures, which is commonly known as 'Coke upon Littleton.'

3 The Rose Tavern, in Russell Street, Covent Garden, adjoined Drury Lane Theatre, and was partially demolished in 1776, when

audience when he is at a play, for the actors have an ambition to please him.

The person of next consideration is Sir Andrew Freeport, a merchant of great eminence in the city of London a person of indefatigable industry, strong reason, and great experience. His notions of trade are noble and generous, and, as every rich man has usually some sly way of jesting which would make no great figure were he not a rich man, he calls the sea the British Common. He is acquainted with commerce in all its parts, and will tell you that it is a stupid and barbarous way to extend dominion by arms; for true power is to be got by arts and industry. He will often argue, that if this part of our trade were well cultivated we should gain from one nation; and if another, from another. I have heard him prove that diligence makes more lasting acquisitions than valour, and that sloth has ruined more nations than the sword. He abounds in several frugal maxims, among which the greatest favourite is 'A penny saved is a penny got.' A general trader of good sense is pleasanter company than a general scholar; and Sir Andrew having a natural unaffected eloquence, the perspicuity of his discourse gives the same pleasure that wit would in another man. He has made his fortunes himself, and says that England may be richer than other kingdoms by as plain methods as he himself is richer than other men; though at the same time I can say this of him, that

a new front was built to the theatre for Garrick. This tavern is frequently mentioned in Restoration plays, and it was here that Prior and Montagu laid the opening scene of The Hind and the Panther Transversed.' Pepys speaks of slipping out from the theatre during the first performance of Sedley's Mulberry Garden,' to obtain some dinner at the Rose.

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