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PREFACE.

PERHAPS there is no book in the English language that has been so generally read and admired as the Spectator. It was so popular at the time of its publication, that twenty thousand papers were sometimes sold in a day. Nor has its reputation ever been on the decline. Notwithstanding the number of similar works, it still retains its place at the head of periodical writings, like the moon among the stars. Few years have passed without producing one or two editions of it; and so extensive has been the sale, that it forms one of the books of every person who has any pretensions to a library. Nor is the excellence of the Spectator inferior to its reputation. It was the joint production of several of the most distinguished geniuses of the age;

of men who possessed at once taste, learning, and religion, and who were influenced by an honorable desire of correcting the errors and improving the manners of society.

The plan of the Spectator was original, ingenious, and well executed. It enabled the authors to convey instruction in a form which could never give offence ; but which, on the contrary, was fitted to attract the giddy, to charm the man of pleasure, as well as to edify the serious and thoughtful. The variety of its subjects is astonishing; the fopperies of dress are elegantly ridiculed; the improprieties in the manners of common life are humorously exposed; the princi.

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