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IN 1709 Steele started a serial in London on a new plan. It was called the T'atler, and consisted of a number of essays similar to those found in the Spectator. The Tatler commenced in April of that year, and was published three times a week. Its price was one penny, and it ceased to appear in the first week in 1711. Addison contributed largely to it, but the editorship and sole management rested with Steele.
The Spectator (which grew out of the Tatler) first made its appearance on Thursday, March 1st, 1711. It was projected and edited by Steele. It was published daily, price one penny, and its first continuous issue ended with No. 555 on December 6th, 1712. In the renewed issue, which commenced in 1714, Steele bore no part; the whole management was in the hands of Addison.
The total number of papers in the Spectator is 635. More than 500 of these were contributed by Addison and Steele in about equal proportions. As a rule, the light and humorous sketches are by Steele, while those of a more grave and even religious character are by Addison. Other contributors were Budgell, Tickell, Hughes, Parnell, &c. The Spectator was published with the deliberate aim of reforming society, and its success was unprecedented. Its essays were read not only in London but throughout England, and even in distant Perthshire it was said that “the gentlemen met after church on Sunday to discuss the news of the week; the Spectators were read as regularly as the Journal.”
* In the present work all the essays are by Addison, with the exception of No. 2, which is by Steele.
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH OF ADDISON.
JOSEPH Addison, the most exquisite of English essayists, was born on May 1st, 1672, in the parsonage house of Milston, in Wiltshire. His father, Lancelot Addison, was the respected incumbent of the parish, and his mother was sister to the Bishop of Bristol. In 1683 his father was made Dean of Lichfield Cathedral, and Addison, then eleven years of age, attended the Lichfield Grammar School. In 1685 he entered the Charterhouse School, London, as a boarder. Here he met with Richard Steele, one of the foundation boys. Though of opposite dispositions, a friendship sprang up between them which lasted through life. Addison was of a calm, sedate, serious turn of mind; while Steele was of a sanguine temperament, and full of animal spirits. In 1687 Addison entered Queen's College, Oxford; and he was soon after elected a demy of Magdalen College. Steele followed him to the same university, matriculating at Christ Church in 1689. Addison spent ten years at Oxford, and his ambition at that time was to become a dignitary of the church. Both Addison and Steele wrote verses when at Oxford. Addison's poem was written in 1694. By this means he made the acquaintance of Dryden, who introduced him to Congreve the comedian; and through the latter Addison became known to the Whig leaders of the time. In 1699 Addison left England for the Continent. He had a pension (or grant) of £300 a year for his support, while studying modern languages, and for diplomatic services. He travelled through France, Italy, and Switzerland, and returned to England in 1703. In 1704 the battle of Blenheim was fought, and the ministry of the day wished the victory to be commemorated in verse. Through the good offices of Charles Montagu, Earl of Halifax, the Lord Treasurer Godolphin