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at the University before I distinguished myself by a most profound silence; for during the space of eight years, excepting in the public exercises of the college, I scarce uttered the quantity of a hundred words; and, indeed, do not remember that I ever spoke three sentences together in my whole life. Whilst I was in this learned body I applied myself with so much diligence to my studies, that there are very few celebrated books, either in the learned or the modern tongues, which I am not acquainted with.

Upon the death of my father I was resolved to travel into foreign countries, and therefore left the University with the character of an odd, unaccountable fellow that had a great deal of learning, if I would but show it. An insatiable thirst after knowledge carried me into all the countries of Europe in which there was anything new or strange to be seen; nay, to such a degree was my curiosity raised, that having read the controversies of some great men concerning the antiquities of Egypt, I made a voyage to Grand Cairo on purpose to take the measure of a pyramid; and as soon as I had set myself right in that particular, returned to my native country with great satisfaction.1

I have passed my latter years in this city, where I am frequently seen in most public places, though

1 It is supposed that Addison here alludes to John Greaves (1602-1652), mathematician and Oriental scholar, who visited Egypt in 1638, and measured the Pyramids with mathematical instruments. In 1646 he published Pyramidographia; or, a Discourse of the Pyramids in Egypt.' Sixty years afterwards, in Addison's own day (1706), a posthumous pamphlet appeared with the title, The Origin and Antiquity of our English Weights and Measures discovered by their near agreement with such standards that are now found in one of the Egyptian Pyramids.'

there are not above half-a-dozen of my select friends that know me; of whom my next paper shall give a more particular account. There is no place of general resort wherein I do not often make my appearance; sometimes I am seen thrusting my head. into a round of politicians at Will's,' and listening with great attention to the narratives that are made in those little circular audiences. Sometimes I smoke a pipe at Child's, and whilst I seem attentive to nothing but the Postman, overhear the conversation of every table in the room. I appear on Sunday nights at St. James's Coffee-House, and sometimes join the little committee of politics in the inner room, as one who comes there to hear and improve.


1 Will's Coffee-House stood at the corner of Russell Street and Bow Street, on the west side. It was named from its proprietor, William Urwin; and the room where the wits met was on the first floor, over a shop. The Wits' Coffee-House,' as it was called by Prior and others, was the resort of Dryden until his death in 1700; Addison made Button's, on the other side of the street, his headquarters. In the first number of the Tatler, Steele said that articles on poetry would be under the heading of Will's Coffee-House,' but in the same number he wrote, "This place is very much altered since Mr. Dryden frequented it; where you used to see songs, epigrams, and satires in the hands of every man you met, you have now only a pack of cards.'

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2 Child's Coffee-House was in St. Paul's Churchyard, and was the resort of clergymen and doctors, owing to its nearness to St. Paul's, Doctors' Commons, the College of Physicians in Warwick Lane, and the Royal Society at Gresham College.

3 The Postman, which John Dunton described as 'the best for everything,' was edited by Fontive, a French Protestant.

4 The St. James's Coffee-House was the last house but one on the south-west corner of St. James's Street. It was used by Whig politicians and officers of the Guards until late in the century, and Swift had letters addressed there at the date of the Spectator. This house, which was closed about 1806, was the origin of Goldsmith's Retaliation.' Swift and Steele were both present at the christening of a child of Elliot, the coffee-man, in 1710.


My face is likewise very well known at the Grecian,1 the Cocoa-Tree,2 and in the theatres, both of Drury Lane and the Haymarket. I have been taken for a merchant upon the Exchange for above these ten years, and sometimes pass for a Jew in the assembly of stock-jobbers at Jonathan's. In short, wherever I see a cluster of people I always mix with them, though I never open my lips but in my own club.


Thus I live in the world rather as a spectator of mankind than as one of the species, by which means I have made myself a speculative statesman, soldier, merchant, and artisan, without ever meddling with any practical part in life. I am very well versed in the theory of a husband, or a father, and can discern the errors in the economy, business, and diversion of others, better than those who are engaged in them, as standers-by discover blots which are apt to escape those who are in the game. I never espoused any party with violence, and am re

1 The Grecian Coffee-House, in Devereux Court, Strand, was used for that purpose until 1843. Accounts of learning in the Tatler appeared under the title of Grecian,' and Steele said that the members inquired into antiquity, while the rest of the town discussed Marlborough's actions. This coffee-house was visited by Sir Isaac Newton and other members of the Royal Society, and afterwards by Goldsmith and his brother templars. The house was called Grecian because it was kept by Constantine, a Greek.

The Cocoa-Tree, in Pall Mall, was the Tory chocolate-house. As Macky wrote in 1722, A Whig will no more go to the CocoaTree or Ozinda's, than a Tory will be seen at the coffee-house of St. James's.'

3 The Drury Lane Theatre of Addison's day was built by Wren, and had been opened in 1674. It was rebuilt in 1741. The Haymarket Theatre, built by Vanbrugh, was opened in 1706, and it soon became the headquarters of the new Italian Opera.

4 Jonathan's Coffee-House, in Change Alley, was, as the Tatler says, the general resort for stock-jobbers' (No. 38). Merchants of substance preferred Garraway's, also in Change Alley.

solved to observe an exact neutrality between the Whigs and Tories, unless I shall be forced to declare myself by the hostilities of either side. In short, I have acted in all the parts of my life as a lookeron, 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 I am not altogether unqualified for the business I have undertaken. As for other particulars in my life and adventures, I shall insert them in following papers as I shall see occasion. In the meantime, when I consider how much I have seen, read, and heard, I begin to blame my own taciturnity; and since I have neither time nor inclination to communicate the fulness of my heart in speech, I am resolved to do it in writing, and to print myself out, if possible, before I die. I have been often told by my friends that it is pity so many useful discoveries which I have made should be in the possession of a silent man. For this reason, therefore, I shall publish a sheet-full of thoughts every morning, for the benefit of my contemporaries; and if I can any way contribute to the diversion or improvement of the country in which I live, I shall leave it, when I am summoned out of it, with the secret satisfaction of thinking that I have not lived

in vain.

There are three very material points which I have not spoken to in this paper, and which, for several important reasons, I must keep to myself, at least for some time: I mean an account of my name, my age, and my lodgings. I must confess I would gratify my reader in anything that is reasonable; but as for these three particulars, though I am sensible they might tend very much to the embellishment of

my paper, I cannot yet come to a resolution of communicating them to the public. They would indeed draw me out of that obscurity which I have enjoyed for many years, and expose me in public places to several salutes and civilities, which have been always very disagreeable to me; for the greatest pain I can suffer is the being talked to and being stared at. It is for this reason likewise that I keep my complexion and dress as very great secrets, though it is not impossible but I may make discoveries of both in the progress of the work I have undertaken.

After having been thus particular upon myself, I shall in to-morrow's paper give an account of those gentlemen who are concerned with me in this work. For, as I have before intimated, a plan of it is laid and concerted (as all other matters of importance are) in a club. However, as my friends have engaged me to stand in the front, those who have a mind to correspond with me may direct their letters to the Spectator, at Mr. Buckley's in Little Britain. For I must further acquaint the reader, that though our club meets only on Tuesdays and Thursdays, we have appointed a committee to sit every night, for the inspection of all such papers as may contribute to the advancement of the public weal. C.

1 Pains I can suffer are' (folio).

The original numbers of the Spectator were printed for Sam. Buckley, at the Dolphin, in Little Britain.' In November 1712 Addison and Steele assigned to Buckley a half-share in the four volumes of the Spectator already published, and in their forthcoming volumes. Buckley paid them £575, and two years later reassigned his half-share to Jacob Tonson, jun., for £500. In 1714 Buckley published Steele's Englishman, and in 1724, when he was printer of the London Gazette and the Daily Courant, he was classed among the printers friendly to George I. Buckley died, much esteemed, in 1741, at the age of sixty-seven.

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