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of Sir Roger to his disdainful widow; and who, it is feared, diverted herself often by playing with his passion. He is said to have been firit known to her by becoming .utor to her son. His advances at "first were certainly timorous, but grew bolder as his reputation and infuence increased; till at last the lady was persuaded to marry him, on terms much like those on which a Turkite princess is espoused, to whom the Sultan is reported to pronounce, “ Daughter, I give thee this man for thy slave.” The mar. riage, if uncontradicted report can be credited, made no addition to his happiness; it neither found them nor made them equal. She always remembered her own rank, and thought herself entitled to treat with
the. tutor of her fon.
In the year 1717 he rose to his highest ele. vation, being made secretary of state. For this employment he might be justly supposed qua. Jified by long practice of business, and by his regular ascent through other offices; but expecu tation is often disappointed; it is universally confefsed that he was unequal to the duties of his place. In the house of commons he could not Ipeak, and therefore was useless to the defence of the government. In the office he could not issue an order without losing his time in quest of fine expressions. What he gained in rank he loft in credit; and, finding by experience his own inability, was forced to folicit his dismission with a pension of 1500l. a year.
He now returned to his vocation, and engaged in a defence of the Christian Religion, of which part was published after his death, and He defigned to have made a new poetisal version
of the Psalms. It is related that he once had a design to make an English Dictionary, and that he considered Dr. Tillotson as the writer of highest authority.
Addison however did not conclude his life in peaceful studies; but relapsed, when he was near his end, to'a political question.
It so happened that (1718-19) a controversy was agitated, with great vehemence, between those friends of long continuance Addison and Steele. The earl of Sunderland proposed an act called the Peerage Bill, by which the number of peers should be fixed, and the king restrained from any new creation of nobility, unless when an old family should be extinct. To prevent this fubversion of the ancient establishment, Steele, whose pen readily seconded his political paffions, endeavoured to alarm the națion by a pamphlet called the Plebeian; to this an an, swer was published by Addison, under the title of the Old Thig, in which it is not discovered that Steele was then known to be thé advocate of the commons. Steele replied by a second Plebeian; and whether by ignorance or by courtesy, confined himself to his question, without any personal notice of his opponent. The Old Whig answered the Plebeian, and could not forbear fome contempt of little Dicky, whose trade it was to write pamphlets. Dicky, however did not lofe his settled veneration for his friend; but contented himself with quoting some lines of Catò, which were at once detection and reproof. The bill 'was laid afide during that seffion, and Addison died before the next.
Every reader fürely muft regret that these two illustrious friends, after so many years past in
confidence and endearment, in unity of interest, conformity of opinion, and fellowship of study, fhould finally part in acrimonious oppofition. Such a controverfy was bellum plusquam civile, as Lucan expresses it. Why could not faction find other advocates ? But, among the uncertainties of the human state, we are doomed to number the instability of friendship.
The end of this useful life was now approaching: Addison had for some time been oppressed by shortness of breath, which was now aggravated by a dropsy; and, finding his danger pressing, he prepared to die conformably to his own precepts and professions.
During this lingering decay he sent a message by the earl of Warwick to Mr. Gay, defiring to see him: Gay, who had not visited him for some time before, obeyed the summons, and found himself received with great kindness. Addison then told him that he had injured him, but that, if he recovered, he would recompense him. What the injury was he did not explain, nor did Gay ever know; but fupposed that some preferment designed for him, had by Addison's intervention been withheld. Lord Warwick was a young man
irregular life, and perhaps of loofe opinions. Addison, for whom he did not want respect, had very diligently endeavoured to reclaim him; but his arguments and expostulations had no effect: One experiinent however remained to be tried. When he found his life near it's end, he directed the young lord to be called; and when he desired, with great tenderness to hear his last injunctions, told him, I have sent for you that you may see how a
CHRISTIAN CAN DIE.
Having given directions to Mr. Tickel for the publication of his works, and dedicated them on his death-bed to his friend Mr. Craggs, he died June 17, 1719, at Holland-house, leaving no child but a daughter.
Of his virtue it is a fufficient testimony, that the resentment of party has tranimitted no charge of any crime. He was not one of those who are praised only after death; for his merit was so generally acknowledged, that Swift, having observed that his election passed without a contest, added, that if he had proposed himself for king he would hardly have been refused.
His zeal for his party did not extinguish his kindness for the merit of his opponents: When he was secretary in Ireland, he refused to intermit his acquaintance with Swift.
Of his habits, or external manners, nothing is so often mentioned as that timorous or fullen ta. citurnity, which his friends called modesty by too mild a name. Steele mentions with great tenderness, “ that remarkable bashfulness, which 66 is a cloak that hides and muffles merit;" Chefterfield affirms that 6 Addison was the most ti66 morous and awkward man that he ever saw:" And Addison, speaking of his own deficience in conversation, used to say of himself, that with respect to intellectual wealth, “ he could draw 6 bills for a thousand pounds, though he had not . a guinea in his pocket."
That he wanted current coin for ready payment, and by that want was often obstructed and distressed; that he was oppressed by an improper and ungraceful timidity, every testimony concurs to prove, but Chesterfield's representation is doubtless hyperbolical. That man cannot be fup.
posed very unexpert in the arts of conversation and practice of life, who, without fortune or alliance, by his usefulness and dexterity, became secretary of state; and who died at forty-seven, after having not only stood long in the highest rank of wit and literature, but filled one of the most important offices of state.
The time in which he lived had reason to la. ment his obstinacy of filence; “ for he was, (says. “ Steele) above all men in that talent called hu" mour, and enjoyed it in such perfection, that 6 I have often reflected after a night spent with 6 him apart from all the world, that I had the “ pleasure of converfing with an intimate acquaint. « ance of Terence and Catullus, who had all their 6 wit and nature, heightened with humour more << exquisite and deliglitful than any other man ever 66 possessed.” This is the fondness of a friend; let us hear what is told us by a rival. 66 Addison's conversation, says Pope) had something in it more charming than I have found in any other
But this was only when familiar: Before strangers, or perhaps a single stranger, he preserved his dignity by a stiff Glence."
This modesty was by no means inconsistent with a very high opinion of his own merit. There is no reason to doubt that he suffered too much pain from the prevalence of Pope's poetical reputation; nor is it without strong reason suspected that by some disingenuous acts he endeavoured to obstruct it. Pope was not the only man whom he insidously injured, though the only man of whom he could be afraid.
Of very extensive learning he has indeed given no proofs. He seems to have had small acquaintance with the sciences, and to have read little except Latin and French. The abundance of his