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stand in the front, those who have a mind to correspond with me, may direct their letters to the SPECTATOR, at Mr. Buckley's, in Little Britain.' For I must further acquaint the reader, too carefully chosen. Persons, therefore, whose political opinions and private tastes coincided, made a practice of meeting in clubs. This principle of congeniality took all manner of odd social turns; but the political clubs of the time played an important part in history.
The idea of uniting the authors of a periodical in a club—though an obvious one-was calculated to bring out sparkling contrasts of character. But it was not successfully elaborated. Each personage was greatly dissociated from the club in future papers. Hence the faults some critics have found with the character of Sir Roger; for, taken in connection with the society, it is not so coherent as if the club scheme had been efficiently developed. But viewed separately, what-as the reader of the previous pages will own-can be more harmonious or natural ?
The eccentric clubs were fruitful sources of satire to the "Spectator." He is merry on the “Mummers,” the “Two-penny,” the “Ugly,” the “ Fighting,” the “Fringe-Glove,” the “ Hum-drum,” the “Doldrum,” the “ Everlasting,” and the “Lovers'” clubs ; on clubs of fat men, of tall men, of one-eyed men, and of men who lived in the same street. This last was a social arrangement almost necessary at a time when distant visits were impossible at night, not only from the bad condition of the streets, but froin the ravages of the dastardly “Mohock Club;” of which hereafter. -*
? "This day is published, A Paper entitled The SPECTATOR, which will be continued every day. Printed for Sam. Buckley at the Dolphin, in Little Britain, and sold by A. Baldwin, in Warwick Lane.”—Daily Courant, March 1st, 1711.
The above names form the imprint to the “Spectator's” early papers. From No. 18 appears, in addition, “Charles Lillie [perfumer, bookseller, and Secretary to the Tatler's 'Court of Honour ') at the corner of Beaufort Buildings, in the Strand.” From the date, August 5th, 1712, (No. 449) Jacob Tonson's imprint is appended. About that time he removed from Gray's Inn Gate to "the Strand, over against Catherine Street."
Samuel Buckley had eventually an innocent hand in the discontinuance of the “Spectator.” He was the “writer and printer” of the first daily newspaper-the “Daily Courant;” and having published on the 7th of April, 1712, a memorial of the States-General reflecting on the English Government, he was brought in custody to the bar of the House of Com
The upshot was some strong resolutions respecting the licentiousness of the press (which had indeed been commented on in the Queen's Speech at the opening of Parliament) and the imposition of the halfpenny stamp on periodicals. To this addition to the price of the “Spectator” is attributed its downfall._*
that though our club meets only on Tuesdays and Thursdays, we have appointed a Conimittee to sit every night, for the inspection of all such papers as may contribute to the advancement of the public weal.
No. 2. FRIDAY, MARCH 2.
Ast alii sex
Juv. Sat. vii. 167.
? The first of our society is a gentleman of Worcestershire, of ancient descent, a baronet, his name Sir Roger de Coverly. His great grandfather was inventor of that famous country-dance
I V. Introductory remarks.-G.
2 Whenever any striking individuality appears in print, the public love to suppose that, instead of being the embodied representative of a class, it is an actual portrait. A thousand conjectures were afloat as to the original of Sir Roger de Coverly, at the time and long after the “Spectator's " papers were in current circulation. These were revived by a passage in the preface to Budgell's “Theophrastus,” in which he asserted in general terms that most of the characters in the “Spectator” were conspicuously known. It was not, however, till 1783, when Tyers named Sir John Packington of Westwood, Worcestershire, that any prototype to Sir Roger was definitively pointed out.
Tyers's assertion is not tenable. Except that Sir Roger and Sir John were both baronets and lived in Worcestershire, each presents few points of similitude to the other :—Sir Roger was a disappointed bachelor; Sir John was twice married: Sir Roger, although more than once returned knight of the shire, was not an ardent politician ; Sir Johu was, and sat for his native county in every parliament, save one, froin his majority till his death. Westwood House-“ in the middle of a wood that is cut into twelve large ridings; the whole encompassed with a park of six or seven iniles," * --bears no greater resemblance to the description of Coverly Hall than the scores of country-houses which have wood about them. Sir Roger is neither litigant nor lawyer, despite the universal applause bestowed by the Quarter Session on his expositions of “a passage in the Game Act." Sir John was a barrister, and besides having been Recorder of the
* Nash's Worcestershire.
which is called after him.' / All who know that shire, are very well acquainted with the parts and merits of Sir Roger. He is a gentleman that is very singular in his behaviour, but his singula
city of Worcester, proved himself so powerful a plaintiff that he ousted the then Bishop of Worcester from his place of Royal Almoner for interfering in the county election.
The account of the “Spectator" himself and of each member of his club was most likely fictitious; for the “Tatler” having been betrayed into personalities gave such grave offence, that Steele determined not to fall again into a like error. Had indeed the originals of Sir Roger and his clubcompanions existed among, as Budgell asserts, the “conspicuous characters of the day,” literary history would assuredly have revealed them. But a better witness than Budgell testifies to the reverse. The “Spectator” emphatically disclaims personality in various passages. In No. 262 he says: “When I place an imaginary name at the head of a character, I examine every syllable, every letter of it, that it may not bear any resemblance to one that is real.” In another place : “I would not make myself merry with a piece of pasteboard that is invested with a public character."_*
| The real sponsor to the joyous conclusion of every ball has only been recently revealed after a vigilant search. An autograph account by Ralph Thoresby, of the family of Calverley of Calverley in Yorkshire, dated 1717, and which is now in the possession of Sir W. Cal. verley Trevelyan, states that the tune of “Roger a Calverley” was named after Sir Roger of Calverley, who lived in the time of Richard the First. This knight, according to the custom of that period, kept minstrels, who took the name, from their office, of " Harper. Their descendants possessed lands in the neighbourhood of Calverley, called Harperfroids and Harper's Spring. “The seal of this Sir Roger, appended to one of his charters, is large, with a chevalier on horseback.”
The earliest printed copy of the tune which has yet been traced is in " a choice collection to a ground for a treble violin," by J. Playford, 1685. It appears again in 1695 in H. Playford’s “Dancing Master.” Mr. Chappell, author of the elaborate work on English Melodies, believes it to have been a hornpipe. That it was popular about the “Spectator's” time is shown from a passage in a satirical history of Powel the puppet-man (1715): -"Upon the preludes being ended each party fell to bawling and calling for particular tunes. The hobnailed fellows, whose breeches and lungs seemed to be of the same leather, cried out for · Cheshire Round,' 'Roger of Coverley,' 'Joan's Placket,' and 'Northern Nancy.'”
Steele owned that the notion of adapting the name to the good genial old knight, originated with Swift. — *
rities proceed from his good sense, and are contradictions to the manners of the world, only as he thinks the world is in the wrong. However, this humour creates him no enemies, for he does nothing with sourness or obstinacy; and his being unconfined to modes and forms, makes him but the readier and more capable to please and oblige all who know him. When he is in town, he lives in Soho-square. It is said, he keeps himself a bachelor by reason he was crossed in love by a perverse beautiful widow of the next county to him. Before this disappointment, Sir Roger was what you call a fine gentleman, had often supped with my Lord Ro. chester and Sir George Etherege, fought a duel upon his first coming to town, and kicked Bully Dawson' in a public coffeehouse for calling him youngster. But being ill used by the abovementioned widow, he was very serious for a year and a half; and though, his temper being naturally jovial, he at last got over it,
1 Sir Roger had doubtless chosen this fashionable locality in the fine gentleman” era of his career. We shall presently see, that on his subsequent visits to town, he changed his lodgings to humbler neighbourhoods. The splendour of Soho Square was only dawning, when foreign princes were taken to see Bloomsbury Square as one of the wonders of England. In 1681, the former had no more than eight residences in it, and the palace of the unfortunate Duke of Monmouth filled up the entire south side. During Sir Roger's supposed residence in Soho (then also called King's) Square, he had for a neighbour Bishop Burnet. Only a few years later it lost caste; for by 1717 we find from Walpole's “Anecdotes of Painting" that Monmouth House had been converted into auction-rooms.
Sir Roger changed his residence at each subsequent visit to London. The “Spectator” in his 335th number lodges him in Norfolk Street, Strand, and in No. 410, in Bow Street, Covent Garden.-—*
2 Dawson was a swaggering gentleman at large, when Etheridge and Rochester were in full vogue. One of the manu
anuscript notes, by Oldys, upon the margins of the copy of Langbaine's account of the English Dramatic Poets in the British Museum, p. 450, mentions him thus:
“The character of Captain Hackman in this comedy [Shadwell's “Squire of Alsatia') was drawn, as I have been told, by old John Bowman the player, to expose Bully Dawson, a noted sharper, swaggerer and debauchee about town, especially in Blackfriars and its infamous purlieus.”
careless of himself, and never dressed afterwards. He continues to wear a coat and doublet of the same cut that were in fashion at the time of his repulse, which, in his merry humours, he tells us, has been in and out twelve times since he first wore it. 'Tis said Sir Roger grew humble in his desires after he had forgot this cruel beauty, insomuch that it is reported he has frequently offended in point of chastity with beggars and gypsies : but this is looked upon by his friends rather as matter of raillery than truth. He is now in his fifty-sixth year, cheerful, gay, and hearty; keeps a good house both in town and country; a great lover of mankind; but there is such a mirthful cast in his behav. iour, that he is rather beloved than esteemed : his tenants grow rich, his servants look satisfied; all the young women profess love to him, and the young men are glad of his company : when he comes into a house, he calls the servants by their names, and talks all the way up stairs to a visit. I must not omit, that Sir Roger is a justice of the quorum; that he fills the chair at a quarter-session with great abilities, and three months ago gained universal applause by explaining a passage in the game act.
The gentleman next in esteem and authority among us, is another bachelor, who is a member of the Inner Temple; a man of great probity, wit, and understanding; but he has chosen his place of residence rather to obey the direction of an old humoursome father, than in pursuit of his own inclinations. placed there to study the laws of the land, and is the most learned
of the house in those of the stage. Aristotle and Longinus are much better understood by him that Littleton or Coke. The father sends up every post questions relating to marriage-artieles, leases, and tenures, in the neighbourhood; all which questions he agrees with an attorney to answer and take care of in the lump. He is studying the passions themselves, when he should be inquiring into the debates among men which arise from them. He