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The publisher of the present edition of the SPECTATOR has been desirous of adapting it to the convenience of all readers. The objection to a small type for a book so generally read, it will be perceived is completely obviated, and the size of the volumes renders it portable as a travelling companion. By referring to the Index in the last volume, which is arranged alphabetically for the original eight volumes, the reader may at once turn to any particular subject contained in the work.
The Spectator not only contains a vast fund of entertainment for the general reader, but it abounds with maxims and principles which may be rendered useful to every generation, and is, perhaps, the best history that can be referred to for a knowledge of the manners and peculiarities of the people of England in the days of Steele and Addison. It has an undiminished sale in England, and its popularity must increase with the extension of education and literature in this country.
In stereotyping this work, every care and attention has been bestowed upon it, to render it worthy the patronage of the public.
PERHAPS there is no book in the English language that has been so generally read and admired as the Spectator. It was so popular at the time of its publication, that twenty thousand papers were sometimes sold in a day. Nor has its reputation ever been on the decline. Notwithstanding the number of similar works, it still retains its place at the head of periodical writings, like the moon among the stars. Few years have passed without producing one or two editions of it; and so extensive has been the sale, that it forms one of the books of every person who has any pretensions to a library. Nor is the excellence of the Spectator inferior to its reputation. It was the joint production of several of the most distinguished genuises of the age; of men who possessed at once taste, learning, and religion, and who were influenced by an honourable desire of correcting the errors and improving the manners of society.
The plan of the Spectator was original, ingenious, and well executed. It enabled the authors to convey instruction in a form which could never give offence; but which, on the contrary, was fitted to attract the giddy, to charm the man of pleasure, as well as to edify the serious and thoughtful. The variety of its subjects is astonishing; the fopperies of dress are elegantly ridiculed; the improprieties in the manners of common life are humorously exposed; the principles of criticism are taught and beautifully illustrated; the most sublime truths and important duties are explained and enforced in a language which the vulgar must understand, and the man of taste admire.
As we must all acknowledge the great pleasure and instruction which we have received from the Spectator, we must also be gratified with some account of the lives of the authors, and such anecdotes concerning the publication of the work as have been preserved to our times. The Spectator commenced on the 1st of March, 1711, under the direction of Steele, who was the editor. The principal contributors, besides Steele, were Addison, Budgell, and Hughes; but they were also occasionally assisted by Parnell, Tickell, Grove, Ince, Martyn, Byrom, Parker, Henley, and others. To enhance the value of this edition, such particulars as are known and appear interesting respecting the principal writers, are here subjoined, and the names of the authors themselves are placed hefore their respective papers.
LIVES OF THE AUTHORS.
SIR RICHARD STEELE.
As a writer of periodical essays, the name of Steele is entitled to the first place. Papers on a plan somewhat similar to the Spectator, had indeed been attempted with considerable success in Italy, by Casa, in his Book of Manners; by Castiglione, in his Courtier;and in France by La Bruyere, in his Manners of the Age: "but before the Tatler and Spectator, if the writers for the theatre are excepted (says Johnson,) England had no masters of common life, no writers had yet undertaken to reform either the savageness of neglect, or the impertinence of civility; to teach when to speak, or to be silent; how to refuse, or how to comply. The Tatler and Spectator reduced, like Casa, the unsettled practice of daily intercourse to propriety and politeness; and, like La Bruyere, exhibited the characters and manners of the age.
It is allowed by all, that Steele had the merit of beginning and carrying on the Tatler, the first periodical work in England of which the subjects were literature, morality, and familiar life. 'Before his time we had many periodical publications on political and religious controversy;
but he must undoubtedly be considered as the father of such