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504. Prejudice and passion, one duty towards.
7. Providence, trust in.
2. Spectator Club, its members described.
12. Solitude, pleasures of.
. Steele. 5
. Steele. 150
IN offering to the public a series of selections from noted collections of English Essays, the editor is but doing a work which many abler men have agreed should be done by some one, but which each one of them has made haste to decline when his own competence for the task was suggested. In the absence of special selections, many of the gentlemen referred to have earnestly urged the reading of the original collections; but neither the enthusiasm nor the logic which was embodied in these special pleas has sufficed to perceptibly increase the demand for full sets of the Spectator, Tatler, Rambler, etc., or to seriously disturb the dust under which the sets in public and private libraries repose. True, there is a tolerably well-authenticated story that a certain inmate of a penitentiary (under life sentence) has read the entire set, and a vague tradition exists that a light-house keeper once enjoyed the same experience ; but rotation in office is not a fact well enough established to justify us in hoping that many men will enjoy the advantages of the library of the light-house referred to, while the legal obstacles which conspire to keep men of intellect outside of penitentiary walls, make it extremely improbable that the example of the cultured convict can be frequently followed. Aside from all other excuses, that of the great volume of the entire collection is everywhere offered and accepted. Intelligent men who find no time to read the magazines, and see the inside of the Bible and Shakespeare so seldom that they are likely to attribute Job's sayings to Hamlet, and to give King Lear credit for some of the sorrowful passages in Ecclesiastes, can hardly be expected to attack many-volumed collections of the wisdom of an age which enjoyed neither the advantages of railroads, universal suffrage, nor the Associated Press. Yet many men and women have been found who would read and enjoy single papers by Addison, Steele, or Johnson, if their attention were specially called to them; the present editor therefore ventures to invite general attention to certain papers which have in this manner reached appreciative readers, and to other papers which seem to him to be equally attractive.
Heeding the adage that “in a multitude of counsellors there is safety," the editor consulted sundry readers of the Spectator as to what portions he should offer the public as fair representatives of the entire collection. The persons whose advice was asked were selected with what the editor flatters himself was great skill, for among them were men of almost every cast of mind.
The result, however, was not encouraging : were this volume to contain all that each of these advisers suggested, it would be an entire reproduction of the Spectator :-were omissions made according to the collective advice rendered, only the title-page, dedications, table of contents, and index would reach the reader's eye.
The editor has therefore been obliged to select such papers as seemed to him most likely to interest the greatest number of readers. Far from desiring that the reader shall be perfectly satisfied with the papers presented herein, the editor confesses to a secret hope that many persons, to whom the complete Spectator has heretofore been like the Bible,-a book whose volume and antiquity demanded a respect which should never degenerate into familiarity,-may be driven, by the incompleteness of this collection, to explore at will the pages of the entire work.
In dropping several hundred papers, but few of which were destitute of grace and wisdom, the editor has held to heart the spirit of the saying, “You may lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink.” Of the six hundred papers published under the title of the Spectator,