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This publication is ascribed jointly to Addison and Steele. Disparagers of one are prone to give undue credit to the other concerning its inception. Addison, doubtless, drew the character of the Spectator himself, while Steele sketched the club, including Sir Roger.
The first number appeared March 1, 1711, following, with a two months' interval, the end of The Tatler. At first it was a daily, and came out in the morning. By some it was considered an indispensable accompaniment of breakfast. Said Dr. Thomas Walker, an old instructor of Steele, when the publication ceased, “I am deprived of the best part of my Breakfast, for since the Rise of my Paper, I am forced every Morning to drink my Dish of Coffee by itself, without the Addition of the Spectator that used to be better than Lace to it.”
Its circulation grew to fourteen thousand daily copies, rising occasionally to twenty thousand. As a daily, it continued till December 6, 1712. After a rest of a year and a half, it reappeared June 18, 1714. It then appeared three times a week, till its final appearance December 20 of the same year. There were six hundred and thirty-five papers, of which Addison contributed two hundred and seventy-four. He signed his articles by one of the letters of Clio, Steele says; accounting therefor by his old fondness for Herodotus, whose Muse this goddess was. Another version is that the letters were the first of the following names, whence he may have written, thus : Chelsea, London, Islington, Office; but Drake does not encourage the supposition.
Sir Richard Steele contributed two hundred and forty papers, usually signing them by a leading letter of his name, as R. or T.
Eustace Budgell wrote thirty-seven papers, and his signature is generally X. His letters, especially the three in the de Coverley series, are thought to have had much of Addison's refining touch. This leaves eighty-four papers, of which John Hughes wrote eleven, and Henry Grove, four. Some of the remaining are ascribed to Alexander Pope, but by far the greater number remain unknown to this day. Dr. Nathan Drake, in his Essays, sets forth most entertainingly the search for the writers.
It was published at first by Samuel Buckley at the Dolphin in Little Britain, and sold by A. Baldwin in Warwick Lane. No. 18 of The Spectator had also the name of Charles Lillie, bookseller, etc., at the corner of Beaufort Street in the Strand. From August 5, 1712, No. 449, the imprint of Jacob Tonson is appended. It was the first publisher, Buckley, who was the cause of the end of The Spectator. He was the “ writer and printer” of the first daily newspaper, The Daily Courant ; and, on account of some publication in it, he was brought before the bar of the House of Commons. As a result, resolutions of censure against the press were issued, and a tax of a halfpenny was laid on all periodicals. The Spectator could not stand the imposition, and so died. The form of the paper was that of a folio sheet, having at the end a few advertisements. Afterwards these papers were collected into volumes, and in this shape are a valuable part of all well-chosen libraries. A complete set of the papers, as published, would fairly transport the true bibliophile.
The character of Sir Roger, though drawn by Steele, is universally considered as Addison's special property, and he it was who ended the career of the Tory Knight. Distressed
at the liberty taken with him in No. 410, and apprehensive that he might be still further distorted, the essayist is said to have exclaimed to an intimate friend, “I'll kill Sir Roger, that nobody else may murder him.” Accordingly, in No. 517, the good old man is brought to his end in a thoroughly decent and proper manner. “Ore his cold ashes ” there could be no upbraiding, and Addison felt that his character was forever safe. After all, we can't help wondering why there was so much delay from the letter 410 to that numbered 517.
SOURCES OF INFORMATION CONCERNING THE SPECTATOR AND ITS CONTRIBUTORS.
ADDISON, Life of, by Miss Lucy Aikin.
ists of the Eighteenth Century.” ADDISON, Sketch of, in “Stephens's Dictionary of National Biog
raphy.” ADDISON, Bohn's Addison's Works, in “ British Classics.” DRAKE, DR. NATHAN, contributes, in his “Essays on Periodical
Literature,” 1805, a very full account of all the Spectator writers,
and a very fair estimate of their work. GREENE, GEORGE WASHINGTON, presents an excellently annotated
edition of Addison's writings for The Spectator, 2 vols. PHILLIPS, MAUDE G., in her “Popular Manual of English Litera
ture,” 2 vols., gives very just estimates of the leading Spectator
writers. MINTO, WILLIAM. His “Manual of English Prose Literature" has
excellent criticisms on the style of Addison, Steele, etc. STEELE, SIR RICHARD, Life of, by Austin Dobson in “English
Worthies," D. Appleton, New York. STEELE. “Special Comment on Steele’s Contributions to The Spec
tator," by Austin Dobson, Oxford, 1885. STEELE and ADDISON. Leigh Hunt's “ A Book for a Corner" con
tains much of interest concerning these writers. ADAMS, W. H. D. In “Good Queen Anne; Men and Manners; Life
and Letters," may be found an exhaustive treatise on subjects touched in The Spectator.
CHRONOLOGY OF ADDISON'S LIFE.
BY THOMAS ARNOLD, M. A.
1672, May 1. Birth of Joseph Addison, eldest son of Lancelot
Addison and Jane Gulston Addison, at Milston parsonage, Wilts. 1683. Addison removed to Lichfield, on his father becoming dean
of the cathedral; placed at Lichfield Grammar School. 1684 or 5. Entered at the Charter House. 1687. Entered at Queen's College, Oxford; his Latin verses soon
after gained for him admission into Magdalen College as a demy.
(vid. Webster). 1693. Took his M.A. degree: wrote “ Verses to Mr. Dryden.”
Dryden introduced him to Congreve, through whom he became acquainted with Lord Somers and Charles Montague, then Whig
leader in the House of Commons. 169 8. Elected full Fellow at Magdalen. 1699. He leaves England with a travelling pension of three hun.
dred pounds a year, obtained through Somers and Montague. Resides at Blois, then at Paris; travels in Italy; makes a long
stay at Geneva. 1703. Returns to England; elected member of the Kit-cat Club. 1704. He writes “The Campaign;" is appointed by Lord Godol
phin a commissioner of appeals; publishes his “Remarks on Sey.
eral parts of Italy." 1706. Appointed under-secretary of state under Sir Charles
Hedges. 1707. Publishes his opera of “Rosamond;" accompanies Lord
Halifax to Hanover on the mission of presenting the Act for the Naturalization of the Princess Sophia, and investing the electoral prince with the Order of the Garter.