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The SPECTATOR (Continued),
-Absent Lovers—from a Trojan,
The first number of the Spectator was published on the 1st of March, 1711, about two months after the last of the Tatler. It immediately took its place as the most interesting publication of the day, and the sale, which has been estimated at 14,000 daily copies, rose on some occasions to 20,000. At first it was a daily, came out every morning, and was considered as an indispensable accompaniment of breakfast. In this form it continued till December 6, 1712, when it was dropped for a year and a half to reappear on the 18th of June, 1714. The continuation, though equal in merit to the original work, came out three times a week, and was dropped before the end of the year, Dec. 20. The original publication was on a folio sheet, containing at the end, a few advertisements, but no reference as in the Tatler, to the political occurrences of the day. It was afterwards collected into volumes, and in this form became a permanent ornament of every bookshelf.
The whole number of papers is six hundred and thirty-five, of which Addison wrote two hundred and seventy-four. Much speculation has been wasted upon the reasons of his choice of a signature. Steele speaks of him as using the letters which form the name of Clio—which, if we take into account his early fondness for Herodotus, will not be thought improbable. Nichols, who can see no ground for such a choice, supposes him to have used them as initials of the place where he wrote-C. for ChelseaL. London—I. Islington-0. Office—"a supposition,” which, as Drake gravely observes, “wants confirmation.”
A more important question has been started as to the original conception of the whole work, which is evidently planned with greater care than its predecessor. If we were to take the circumstances into consideration, we should say that it was planned in concert with Steele, that the charac. ter of the Spectator was drawn by Addison, and the club, including Sir Roger, sketched, and why not conceived, by Steele? Such would be the natural reasoning from the facts, which nothing but enmity towards Steele could have perplexed with so many idle and groundless conjectures.
Of the numerous eulogiums which this admirable work has called forth, the following is perhaps the most judicious and comprehensive:
“While the circle of mental cultivation was thus rapidly widening in France, a similar progress was taking place, upon a larger scale, and under still more favorable circumstances, in England. To this progress nothing contributed more powerfully than the periodical papers published under various titles by Addison and his associates. The effect of these in reclaiming the public taste from the licentiousness and grossness introduced into England at the period of the Restoration ; in recommending the most serious and important truths by the united attractions of wit, humor, imagination, and eloquence; and, above all, in counteracting those superstitious terrors which the weak and ignorant are so apt to mistake for religious and moral impressions—has been remarked by numberless critics, and is acknowledged even by those who felt no undue partiality in favor of the authors. Some of the papers of Addison, however, are of an order still higher, and bear marks of a mind which, if early and steadily turned to philosophical pursuits, might have accomplished much more than it ventured to undertake. His frequent references to the Essay on Human Understanding, and the high encomiums with which they are always accompanied, show how successfully he had entered into the spirit of that work; and how completely he was aware of the importance of its object. The popular nature of his publications, indeed, which rendered it necessary for him to avoid every thing that might savour of scholastic or of metaphysical discussion, has left us no means of estimating his philosophical depth, but what are afforded by the results of his thoughts on the particular topics which he has occasion to allude to, and by some of his incidental comments on the scientific merits of preceding authors. But these means are sufficiently ample to justify a very high opinion of his sound and unprejudiced judgment, as well as of the extent and correctness of his literary information. Of his powers as a logical reasoner he has not enabled us to form an estimate; but none of his contemporaries seem to have been more completely tinctured with all that is most valuable in the metaphysical and ethical systems of his time."
a I quote the following passage from Addison, not as a specimen of his metaphysical acumen, but as a proof of his good sense in divining and obviating a difficulty which I believe most persons will acknowledge occurred to themselves when they first entered on metaphysical studies:
“ Although we divide the soul into several powers and faculties, there is no such division in the sonl itself; since it is the whole soul that remembers, understands, wills, or imagines. Our manner of considering the memory, understanding, will, imagination, and the like fac