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informed by my bookseller he must raise the price of every single paper to twopence, or that he shall not be able to pay the duty of it. Now, as I am very desirous my readers should have their learning as cheap .as possible, it is with great difficulty that I comply with him in this particular.
However, upon laying my reasons together in the balance, I find that those which plead for the continuance of this work have much the greater weight. For, in the first place, in recompence
for the expence to which this will put my readers, it is to be 10 hoped they may receive from every paper so much instruction
as will be a very good equivalent. And, in order to this, I would not advise any one to take it in, who, after the perusal of it, does not find himself twopence the wiser or the better man for it; or who, upon examination, does not believe that he has had two penny worth of mirth or instruction for his money.
But I must confess there is another motive which prevails with me more than the former. I consider that the tax on paper was given for the support of the government; and as I have enemies,
who are apt to pervert every thing I do or say, I fear they would 20 ascribe the laying down my paper, on such an occasion, to a
spirit of malecontentedness, which I am resolved none shall ever justly upbraid me with. No! I shall glory in contributing my utmost to the weal public; and if my country receives five or six pounds a day by my labours, I shall be very well pleased to find myself so useful a member. It is a received maxim, that no honest man should enrich himself by methods that are prejudicial to the community in which he lives : and by the same rule I think we may pronounce the person to deserve very well of his countrymen,
whose labours bring more into the public coffers than into his 30 own pocket.
Since I have mentioned the word enemies, I must explain myself so far as to acquaint my reader, that I mean only the insignificant party-zealots on both sides; men of such poor narrow souls, that they are not capable of thinking on any thing but with an eye to Whig or Tory. During the course of this paper, I have been accused by these despicable wretches of trimming, time serving, personal reflection, secret satire, and the like. Now though, in these my compositions, it is visible to any reader of
common sense that I consider nothing but my subject, which is lo always of an indifferent nature; how is it possible for me to
write so clear of party, as not to lie open to the censure of those who will be applying every sentence, and finding out persons and things in it, which it has no regard to ?
Several paltry scribblers and declaimers have done me the honour to be dull upon me in reflexions of this nature; but notwithstanding my name has been sometimes traduced by this contemptible tribe of nien, I have hitherto avoided all animadversions upon 'em. The truth of it is, I am afraid of making
them appear considerable by taking notice of them, for they are 10 like those imperceptible insects which are discovered by the mi
croscope, and cannot be made the subject of observation without being magnified.
Having mentioned those few who have shown themselves the enemies of this paper, I should be very ungrateful to the public, did not I at the same time testify my gratitude to those who are its friends, in which number I may reckon many of the most distinguished persons of all conditions, parties, and professions in the isle of Great Britain. I am not so vain as to think this ap
probation is so much due to the performance as to the design. 20 There is, and ever will be, justice enough in the world, to afford
patronage and protection for those who endeavour to advance truth and virtue, without regard to the passions and prejudices of any particular cause or faction. If I have any other merit in me, it is that I have new-pointed all the batteries of ridicule. They have been generally planted against persons, who have appeared serious rather than absurd, or at best have aimed rather at what is unfashionable than what is vicious. For my own part, I have endeavoured to make nothing ridiculous that is not in
some measure criminal. I have set up the immoral man as the 30 object of derision : in short, if I have not formed a new weapon
against vice and irreligion, I have at least shewn how that weapon may be put to a right use, which has so often fought the battles of impiety and profaneness.
No. 488. The Spectator has been remonstrated with on account of
the raised price: his humorous representations in reply. Epigram.
Hor. Sat. ii. 3. 156.
Three pence.—Alas! I find, by several letters which I receive daily, that many of my readers would be better pleased to pay three halfpence for my paper, than twopence. The ingenious T. W. tells me, that I have deprived him of the best part of his breakfast, for that since the rise of my paper, he is forced every morning to drink his dish of coffee by itself, without the addition of the Spectator, that used to be better than lace to it. Eugenius informs me very obligingly that he never thought he should have disliked any
passage in my paper, but that of late there have been two words 10 in every one of them, which he could heartily wish left out, viz.
'Price Twopence. I have a letter from a soap-boiler, who condoles with me very affectionately upon the necessity we both lie under of setting an higher price on our commodities, since the late tax has been laid upon them, and desiring me, when I write next on that subject, to speak a word or two upon the duties upon Castle soap. But there is none of these my correspondents, who writes with a greater turn of good sense and elegance of expression, than the generous Philomedes, who advises me to
value every Spectator at sixpence, and promises that he himself 20 will engage for above a hundred of his acquaintance, who shall take it in at that price.
Letters from the female world are likewise come to me, in great quantities, upon the same occasion; and as I naturally bear a great deference to this part of our species, I am very glad to find that those who approve my conduct in this particular, are much more numerous than those who condemn it. A large family of daughters have drawn me up a very handsome remonstrance, in which they set forth that their father having refused
to take in the Spectator, since the additional price was set upon it, 39 they offered him unanimously to bate him the article of bread
and butter in the tea-table account, provided the Spectator might be served up to them every morning as usual. Upon this the old
gentleman, being pleased it seems with their desire of improving themselves, has granted them the continuance both of the Spectator and their bread and butter, having given particular orders that the tea-table shall be set forth every morning with its customary bill of fare, and without any manner of defalcation. I thought myself obliged to mention this particular, as it does honour to this worthy gentleman; and if the young lady Lætitia, who sent me this account, will acquaint me with his name, I will insert it at length in one of my papers, if he desires it.
I should be very glad to find out any expedient that might alleviate the expense which this my paper brings to any of my readers; and, in order to it, must propose two points to their consideration. First, that if they retrench any the smallest particular in their ordinary expense, it will easily make up the halfpenny a day, which we have now under consideration. Let a lady sacrifice but a single ribbon to her morning studies, and it will be sufficient; let a family burn but a candle a-night less than their usual number, and they may take in the Spectator without detriment to their private affairs.
In the next place, if my readers will not go to the price of buying my papers by retail, let them have patience, and they may buy them in the lump, without the burden of a tax upon them. My speculations, when they are sold single like cherries upon the stick, are delights for the rich and wealthy; after some time they come to market in greater quantities, and are every ordinary man's money. The truth of it is, they have a certain flavour at their first appearance, from several accidental circumstances of time, place, and person, which they may lose if they are not taken
early; but in this case every reader is to consider, whether it is 30 not better for him to be half a year behindhand with the fashion
able and polite part of the world, than to strain himself beyond his circumstances. My bookseller has now about ten thousand of the third and fourth volumes, which he has ready to publish, having already disposed of as large an edition both of the first and second volumes. As he is a person whose head is very well turned for his business, he thinks they would be a very proper present to be made to persons at christenings, marriages, visitingdays, and the like joyful solemnities, as several other books are frequently given at funerals. He has printed them in such a little portable volume, that many of them may be ranged together
THE POET LAUREATE.
upon a single plate; and is of opinion that a salver of Spectators would be as acceptable an entertainment to the ladies, as a salver of sweetmeats.
I shall conclude this paper with an epigram lately sent to the writer of the Spectator, after having returned my thanks to the ingenious author of it.
Having heard the following epigram very much commended, I wonder that it has not yet had a place in any of your papers. I 10 think the suffrage of our poet laureat should not be overlooked,
which shows the opinion he entertains of your paper, whether the notion he proceeds upon be true or false. I make bold to convey it to you, not knowing if it has yet come to your hands.'
ON THE SPECTATOR.
BY MR. TATE,
Aliusque et idem
Hor. Carm. Sæc. 10.
No. 542. Various criticisms and objections, with the replies of the
Ovid. Met. ii. 430.
ADDISON. When I have been present in assemblies where my paper has been talked of, I have been very well pleased to hear those who