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with respect to FLEETWOOD, he has possibly given us a maximum for an average. They might, also, be the calculations of different periods ; for, on the imposition of the stamp-duty, the SpecTATOR experienced a momentary check in its circulation, which was reduced one half : but it soon recovered.
The greatest number of the SPECTATORS, however, were published anterior to the tax, and could not be retrospectively affected : Johnson's calculation was probably made in this moment of depression.
Addison informs us that the SPECTATOR, its commencement, sold three thousand daily; and we know that the increase was rapid. It is likely, however, that the sale often fluctuated.
When the SPECTATOR was first bound in volumes, an edition of nine thousand copies was disposed of immediately. An octado edition, like the TATLER, was afterwards printed, at one guinea per volume; and inferior editions were multiplied at lower prices.
A spurious continuation of the SPECTATOR was begun on the 3d of January, 1715, and closed on the 3d of August following. It reached to fifty-nine numbers, and was republished in duodecimo, as the SPECTATOR, volume ninth, and last. Printed for W. Mears, at the Lamb, without Temple-bar, 1726. It is a miserable farrago, and cannot dare any comparison with the sham TATLER.
The character of Sir Roger de Coverley, alluded to in the outset of this essay, is one of the most exquisite pieces of comic painting which English literature possesses. It has continued without a rival
for upwards of one hundred years; and it is not the least circumstance in its praise, that it can bear even now to rank unflinchingly with those masterly delineations of life and manners, which, since SHAKSPEARE, only the Author of WAVERLEY has been able to achieve. For the first outline, or skeleton of this character, we are indebted certainly to STEELE ; but ADDISON, after availing himself of this elementary suggestion, departs materially from the original draft, as he brings out his picture into relief. This has occasioned many critics to charge the character with_inconsistency; and without question the Sir Roger de Coverley of STEELE is a very altered personage
in the hands of ADDISON. Let it, however, always be remembered, that we are primarily indebted to STEELE for Sir Roger de Coverley, even as we have him: ADDISON finished, but STEELE invented him. This important fact is unaccountably overlooked by JOHN80N, in the following critique upon this imaginary personage.
It is recorded by BUDGEĻL, that of the characters feigned or exhibited in the SPECTATOR, the favourite of ADDISON was Sir Roger de Coverley, of whom he had formed a very delicate and discriminate idea, which he would not suffer to be violated; and therefore, when Steele had shewn him innocently picking up a girl in the Temple, and taking her to a tavern, he drew upon himself so much of his friend's indignation, that he was
forced to appease him by a promise of forbearing - Sir Roger for the time to come.
The reason which induced CERVANTES to
bring his hero to the grave, para mi sola naciozisco Don Quixote, y yo para el, made ADDISON declare, with undue vehemence of expression, that do he would kill Sir Roger; being of opinion that in they were born for one another, and that any other hand would do him wrong.
• It may be doubted whether ADDISON ever filled up his original delineation. He describes his Knight as having his imagination somewhat warped; but of this perversion he has made very
The irregularities in Sir Roger's conduct seem not so much the effects of a mind deviating from the beaten track of life, by the per- da petual pressure of some overwhelming idea, as of habitual rusticity, and that negligence which solitary grandeur naturally generates.
• The variable weather of the mind, the flying vapours of incipient madness, which from time to time cloud reason, without eclipsing it; it requires so much nicety to exhibit, that ADDISON seems to have been deterred from prosecuting his own design.'
Dr. Beattie, who still assumes with JohnSON, that the origination of Sir Roger de Coverley is with Addison, attributes. Nevertheless -much of this opinion upon the character to oversight in the learned biographer.
• He seems to think that ADDISON had formed an idea of Sir Roger, which he never exhibited complete; that he has given a small degree composure to the Knight's mind, but made very little use of it; that Sir Roger's irregularities are the effects of habitual rusticity, and of negligence created by solitary grandeur; and, in short, that
ADDISON was deterred from prosecuting his own design with respect to Sir Roger.
• Now I beg leave to observe, in the first place, that it never was, or could be, Addison's
purpose to represent Sir Roger as a person of disordered understanding. This would have made his story either not humorous at all, or humorous in that degree of extravagance, which ADDISON always avoided, and for avoiding which Dr. Johnson justly commends him. Sir Roger has peculiarities; that was necessary to make him a comic character; but they are all amiable, and tend to good: and there is not one of them that would give offence, or raise contempt or concern,
any rational society. At Sir Roger we never laugh, though we generally smile ; but it is a smile, always of affection, and frequently of esteem.
Secondly, I cannot admit that there is in this character any thing of rusticity (as that word is generally understood), or any of those habits or ways of thinking that solitary grandeur creates. No man on earth affects grandeur less, or thinks less of it, than Sir Roger; and no man is less solitary. His affability, good humour, benevolence, and love of society, his affection to his friends, respect to his superiors, and gentleness and attention to his dependants, make him a very different being from a rustic, as well as from an imperious landlord, who lives retired among flatterers and vassals. Solitary grandeur is apt to engender pride, a passion from which our worthy baronet is entirely free; and rusticity, as far as it is connected with the mind, implies awkwardness and ignorance, which, if one does not despise, one may pity and pardon, but cannot love with that fondness with which every heart is attached to Sir Roger.
• How could our author be deterred from prosecuting his design with respect to this personage? What could deter him? It could only be the consciousness of his own inability; and that this was not the case he had given sufficient proof, by exeinplifying the character so fully, that every reader finds himself intimately acquainted with it. Considering what is done, one cannot doubt the author's ability to have supported the character through a much greater variety of conversations and adventures. But the SPECTATOR, according to the first plan of it, was now drawing to a conclusion; the seventh volume being finished about six weeks after the Knight's death; and perhaps the tradition may be true, that ADDISON, dissatisfied with Steele's idle story of Sir Roger at a tavern, swore (which he is said never to have done but on this one occasion) that he would himself kill Sir Roger, lest somebody else should murder him.'
This is alike lucid and satisfactory. It is only remarkable that all writers upon this subject*, among whom is Lord ORPORD, appear to bave equally neglected the fact, that without STEELE we could never have been delighted with Sir Roger.. Such a general reticence is altogether inexplicable, since at no period it has been dis
• Dr. AIKIN excepted, who in the 55th number of the Monthly Magazine, has nicely discriminated the respective sbares of Steele and Addison, and has admirably harmonized the whole. But see, most particularly, Drake, vol. ii. on the Comic Painting of Addison.