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vanquished tories. His kindness was soothing to the proud and cruelly wounded spirit of Swift; and the two great satirists resumed their habits of friendly intercourse.
Those associates of Addison, whose political opinions agreed with his, shared his good fortune. He took Tickell with him to Ireland. He procured for Budgell a lucrative place in the same kingdom. Ambrose Phillipps was provided for in England. Steele had injured himself so much by his eccentricity and perverseness, that he obtained but a very small part of what he thought his due. He was, however, knighted. He had a place in the household; and he subsequently received other marks of favour from the court.
and though he acknowledged that the Freeholder was excellently written, complained that the ministry played on a lute when it was ne cessary to blow the trumpet. He accordingly determined to execute a flourish after his own fashion; and tried to rouse the public spirit of the nation by means of a paper called the Town Talk, which is now as utterly forgotten as his Englishman, as his Crisis, as his Letter to the Bailiff of Stockbridge, as his Reader-in short, as every thing that he wrote without the help of Addison.
In the same year in which the Drummer was acted, and in which the first numbers of the Freeholder appeared, the estrangement of Pope and Addison became complete. Addison had from the first seen that Pope was false and malevolent. Pope had discovered that Addison was jealous. The discovery was made in a strange manner. Pope had written the Rape of the Lock, in two cantos, without supernatu ral machinery. These two cantos had been loudly applauded, and by none more loudly than by Addison. Then Pope thought of the Sylphs and Gnomes, Ariel, Momentilla, Crispissa, and Umbriel; and resolved to interweave the Rosicrucian mythology with the original fabric. He asked Addison's advice. Addison said that the poem as it stood was a delicious little thing, and entreated Pope not to run the risk of marring what was so excellent in trying to mend it. Pope afterwards declared that this insidious counsel first opened his eyes to the baseness of him who gave it.
Addison did not remain long in Ireland. In 1715 he quitted his secretaryship for a seat at the Board of Trade. In the same year his comedy of the Drummer was brought on the stage. The name of the author was not announced; the piece was coldly received; and some critics have expressed a doubt whether it were really Addison's. To us the evidence, both external and internal, seems decisive. It is not in Addison's best manner; but it contains numerous passages which no other writer known to us could have produced. It was again performed after Addison's death, and, being known to be his, was loudly applauded. Towards the close of the year 1715, while the Rebellion was still raging in Scotland,* | Addison published the first number of a paper called the "Freeholder." Among his political works the Freeholder is entitled to the first place. Even in the Spectator there are few serious papers nobler than the character of his friend Lord Somers; and certainly no satirical papers superior to those in which the tory fox-hunter is introduced. This character is the original of Squire Western, and is drawn with all Fielding's force, and with a delicacy of which Fielding was altogether destitute. As none of Addison's works exhibits stronger marks of his genius than the Freeholder, so none does more honour to his moral character. It is difficult to extol too highly the candour and humanity of a political writer, whom even the excitement of civil war cannot hurry into unseemly violence. Oxford, it is well known, was then the stronghold of toryism. The High street had been repeatedly lined with bayonets in order to keep down the disaffected gownsmen; and traitors pursued by the messengers of the government had been concealed in the garrets of several colleges. Yet the admoni-be recast. We cannot at this moment call to tion which, even under such circumstances, mind a single instance in which this rule has Addison addressed to the university, is singu- been transgressed with happy effect, except the larly gentle, respectful, and even affectionate. instance of the Rape of the Lock. Tasso reIndeed, he could not find it in his heart to deal cast his Jerusalem. Akenside recast his Plea harshly even with imaginary persons. His sures of the Imagination, and his Epistle to fox-hunter, though ignorant, stupid, and vio- Curio. Pope himself, emboldened no doubt by lent, is at heart a good fellow, and is at last the success with which he had expanded and reclaimed by the clemency of the king. Steele remodelled the Rape of the Lock, made the was dissatisfied with his friend's moderation, same experiment on the Dunciad. All these attempts failed. Who was to foresee that Pepo would, once in his life, be able to do what he could not himself do twice, and what nobody else has ever done?
Now there can be no doubt that Pope's plan was most ingenious, and that he afterwards executed it with great skill and success. But does it necessarily follow that Addison's advice was bad? And if Addison's advice was bad, does it necessarily follow that it was given from bad motives? If a friend were to ask us whether we would advise him to risk a small competence in a lottery of which the chances were ten to one against him, we should do our best to dissuade him from running such a risk. Even if he were so lucky as to get the thirty thousand pound prize, we should not admit that we had counselled him ill; and we should certainly think it the height of injustice in him to accuse us of having been actuated by malice. We think Addison's advice good advice. It rested on a sound principle, the result of long and wide experience. The general rule undoubtedly is, that, when a successful work of imagination has been produced, it should not
Miss Aikin has been most unfortunate in her account of this Rebellion. We will notice only two errors which occur in one page. She says that the Rebellion was undertaken in favour of James II., who had been fourteen years dead, and that it was headed by Charles Edward, who was not born. (ii. 172.)
Addison's advice was good. But had it been bad, why should we pronounce it dishonest 3 F.
Scott tells us that one of his best friends predicted the failure of Waverley. Herder adjured Göthe not to take so unpromising a subject as Faust. Hume tried to dissuade Robertson from writing the History of Charles V. Nay, Pope himself was one of those who prophesied that Cato would never succeed on the stage; and advised Addison to print it without risking a representation. But Scott, Göthe, Robertson, Addison, had the good sense and generosity to give their advisers credit for the best intentions. Pope's heart was not of the same kind with theirs.
In 1715, while he was engaged in translating the Iliad, he met Addison at a coffee-house. Phillipps and Budgell were there. But their Sovereign got rid of them, and asked Pope to dine with him alone. After dinner, Addison said that he lay under a difficulty which he had for some time wished to explain. “Tickell,” he said, "translated some time ago the first book of the Iliad. I have promised to look it over and correct it. I cannot, therefore, ask to see yours; for that would be double-dealing." Pope made a civil reply, and begged that his second book might have the advantage of Addison's revision. Addison readily agreed, looked over the second book, and sent it back with warm commendations.
Tickell's version of the first book appeared soon after this conversation. In the preface all rivalry was earnestly disclaimed. Tickell declared that he should not go on with the Iliad. That enterprise he should leave to powers which he admitted to be superior to his own. His only view, he said, in publishing this specimen was to bespeak the favour of the public to a translation of the Odyssey, in which he had made some progress.
Addison, and Addison's devoted followers, pronounced both the versions good, but maintained that Tickell's had more of the original. The town gave a decided preference to Pope's. We do not think it worth while to settle such a question of precedence. Neither of the rivals can be said to have translated the Iliad, unless, indeed, the word translation be used in the sense which it bears in the Midsummer Night's Dream. When Bottom makes his appearance with an ass's head instead of his own, Peter Quince exclaims, "Bless thee! Bottom, bless thee! thou art translated." In this sense, undoubtedly, the readers of either Pope or Tickeli may very properly exclaim, "Bless thee! Homer; thou art translated indeed."
Is there any external evidence to support this grave accusation? The answer is short. There is absolutely none.
Was there any internal evidence which proved Addison to be the author of this ver sion? Was it a work which Tickell was incapable of producing? Surely not. Tickell was a fellow of a college at Oxford, and must be supposed to have been able to construe the Iliad; and he was a better versifier than his friend. We are not aware that Pope pretended to have discovered any turns of expression peculiar to Addison. Had such turns of expression been discovered, they would be sufficiently accounted for by supposing Addison to have corrected his friend's lines, as he owned that he had done.
Is there any thing in the character of the ac cused persons which makes the accusation probable? We answer confidently—nothing. Tickell was long after this time described by Pope himself as a very fair and worthy man. Addison had been, during many years, before the public. Literary rivals, political opponents, had kept their eyes on him. But neither envy nor faction, in their utmost rage, had ever im puted to him a single deviation from the laws of honour and of social morality. Had he been indeed a man meanly jealous of fame, and capable of stooping to base and wicked arts for the purpose of injuring his competi tors, would his vices have remained latent so long? He was a writer of tragedy; had he ever injured Rowe? He was a writer of comedy: had he not done ample justice to Congreve, and given valuable help to Steele? He was a pamphleteer: have not his good-nature and generosity been acknowledged by Swift, his rival in fame and his adversary in poli tics?
That Tickell should have been guilty of a villany seems to us highly improbable. That Addison should have been guilty of a villany seems to us highly improbable. But that these two men should have conspired together to commit a villany seems to us improbable in a tenfold degree. All that is known to us of their intercourse tends to prove that it was not the intercourse of two accomplices in crime. These are some of the lines in which Tickell poured forth his sorrow over the coffin of Addison:
"Or dost thou warn poor mortals left behind,
Our readers will, we hope, agree with us in thinking that no man in Addison's situation could have acted more fairly and kindly, both towards Pope and towards Tickell, than he appears to have done. But an odious suspicion had sprung up in the mind of Pope. He fancied, and he soon firmly believed that there was a deep conspiracy against his fame and his fortunes. The work on which he had staked his reputation was to be depreciated. The subscription, on which rested his hopes | Age? of a competence, was to be defeated. With this view Addison had made a rival translation; Tickell had consented to father it; and the wits of Button's had united to puff it.
In what words, we should like to know, did this guardian genins invite his pupil to join in a plan such as the editor of the Satirist would hardly dare to propose to the editor of the
We do not accuse Pope of bringing an ac cusation which he knew to be false. We have not the smallest doubt that he believed it to be true; and the evidence on which he believed
it he found in his own bad heart. His own | know by heart, and sent them to Addison. One life was one long series of tricks, as mean charge which Pope has enforced with great and as malicious as that of which he suspect-skill is probably not without foundation. Aded Addison and Tickell. He was all stiletto dison was, we are inclined to believe, too fond and mask. To injure, to insult, to save him- of presiding over a circle of humble friends. self from the consequence of injury and insult Of the other imputations which these famous by lying and equivocating, was the habit of lines are intended to convey, scarcely one has his life. He published a lampoon on the Duke ever been proved to be just, and some are cer of Chandos; he was taxed with it; and he lied tainly false. That Addison was not in the and equivocated. He published a lampoon on habit of "damning with faint praise," appears Aaron Hill; he was taxed with it; and he lied from innumerable passages in his writings; and equivocated. He published a still fouler and from none more than from those in which lampoon on Lady Mary Wortley Montagu; he he mentions Pope. And it is not merely unwas taxed with it; and he lied with more than just, but ridiculous, to describe a man who usual effrontery and vehemence. He puffed made the fortune of almost every one of his himself and abused his enemies under feigned intimate friends, as "so obliging that he ne'er names. He robbed himself of his own letters, obliged." and then raised the hue and cry after them. Besides his frauds of malignity, of fear, of interest, and of vanity, there were frauds which he seems to have committed from love of fraud alone. He had a habit of stratagem-a pleasure in outwitting all who came near him. Whatever his object might be, the indirect road to it was that which he preferred. For Bolingbroke Pope undoubtedly felt as much love and veneration as it was in his nature to feel for any human being. Yet Pope was scarcely dead when it was discovered that, from no motive except the mere love of artifice, he had been guilty of an act of gross perfidy to Bolingbroke.
Nothing was more natural than that such a man as this should attribute to others that which he felt within himself. A plain, probable, coherent explanation is frankly given to him. He is certain that it is all a romance. A line of conduct scrupulously fair, and even friendly, is pursued towards him. He is convinced that it is merely a cover for a vile intrigue by which he is to be disgraced and ruined. It is vain to ask him for proofs. He has none, and wants none, except those which he carries in his own bosom.
That Addison felt the sting of Pope's satire keenly, we cannot doubt. That he was con scious of one of the weaknesses with which he was reproached, is highly probable. But his heart, we firmly believe, acquitted him of the gravest part of the accusation. He acted like himself. As a satirist he was, at his own weapons, more than Pope's match; and he would have been at no loss for topics. A distorted and diseased body, tenanted by a yet more distorted and diseased mind-spite and envy thinly disguised by sentiments as benevolent and noble as those which Sir Peter Teazle admired in Mr. Joseph Surface-a feeble, sickly licentiousness-an odious love of filthy and noisome images-these were things which a genius less powerful than that to which we owe the Spectator could easily have held up to the mirth and hatred of mankind. Addison had, moreover, at his command other means of vengeance which a bad man would not have scrupled to use. He was powerful in the state. Pope was a Catholic; and, in those times, a minister would have found it easy to harass the most innocent Catholic by innumerable petty vexations. Pope, near twenty years later, said, that "through the lenity of the govern ment alone he could live with comfort." Consider," he exclaimed, "the injury that a man high rank and credit may do to a private person, under penal laws and many other disadvantages." It is pleasing to reflect that the only revenge which Addison took was to insert in the Freeholder a warm encomium on the translation of the Iliad; and to exhort all lovers of learning to put down their names as subscribers. There could be no doubt, he said, from the specimens already published that the masterly hand of Pope would do ar much for Homer as Dryden had done for Vir gil. From that time to the end of his life, he always treated Pope, by Pope's own acknow ledgment, with justice. Friendship, was, of course, at an end.
Whether Pope's malignity at length provoked Addison to retaliate for the first and last time, cannot now be known with certain-of ty. We have only Pope's story, which runs thus. A pamphlet appeared containing some reflections which stung Pope to the quick. What those reflections were, and whether they were reflections of which he had a right to complain, we have now no means of deciding. The Earl of Warwick, a foolish and vicious lad, who regarded Addison with the feelings with which such lads generally regard their best friends, told Pope, truly or falsely, that this pamphlet had been written by Addison's direction. When we consider what a tendency stories have to grow, in passing even from one honest man to another honest man, and when we consider tha: to the name of honest man neither Pope nor the Earl of Warwick had a claim, we are not disposed to attach much importance to this anecdote.
It is certain, however, that Pope was furious. He had already sketched the character of Atticus in prose. In his anger he turned this prose into the brilliant and energetic lines which everybody knows by heart, or ought to
One reason which induced the Earl of War wick to play the ignominious part of the talebearer on this occasion, may have been his dislike of the marriage which was about to take place between his mother and Addison The countess-dowager, a daughter of the old and honourable family of the Myddletons of Chirk, a family which, in any country but ours, would be called noble, resided at Holland
House. Addison had, during some years, oc-clined by him. Men equally versed in fficial business might easily have been found; and his collegues knew that they could not expect assistance from him in debate. He owed his elevation to his popularity; to his stainless probity, and to his literary fame.
cupied at Chelsea a small dwelling, once the abode of Nell Gwyn. Chelsea is now a district of London, and Holland House may be called a town residence. But, in the days of Anne and George I., milkmaids and sportsmen wandered, between green hedges and over But scarcely had Addison entered the cabi fields bright with daisies, from Kensingtou net when his health began to fail. From one almost to the shore of the Thames. Addison serious attack he recovered in the autuma; and Lady Warwick were country neighbours, and his recovery was celebrated in Latin verses, and became intimate friends. The great wit worthy of his own pen, by Vincent Bourne, and scholar tried to allure the young lord from who was then at Trinity College, Cambridge. the fashionable amusements of beating watch- A relapse soon took place; and, in the followmen, breaking windows, and rolling women in ing spring, Addison was prevented by a severe hogsheads down Holborn Hill, to the study of asthma from discharging the duties of his post. letters and the practice of virtue. These well He resigned it, and was succeeded by his meant exertions did little good, however, either friend Craggs; a young man whose natural to the disciple or to the master. Lord War-parts, though little improved by cultivation, were quick and showy, whose graceful person and winning manners had made him generally acceptable in society, and who, if he had lived, would probably have been the most formidable of all the rivals of Walpole.
As yet there was no Joseph Hume. The ministers therefore, were able to bestow on Addison a retiring pension of £1500 a year. In what form this pension was given we are not told by his biographers, and have not time to inquire. But it is certain that Addison did not vacate his seat in the House of Commons.
wick grew up a rake, and Addison fell in love. The mature beauty of the countess has been celebrated by poets in language which, after a very large allowance has been made for flattery, would lead us to believe that she was a fine woman; and her rank doubtless heightened her attractions. The courtship was long. The hopes of the lover appear to have risen and fallen with the fortunes of his party. His attachment was at length matter of such notoriety that, when he visited Ireland for the last tine, Rowe addressed some consolatory verses to the Chloe of Holland House. It strikes us as a little strange that, in these verses, Addison should be called Lycidas; a name of singularly ev omen for a swain just about to cross St. George's Channel.
Rest of mind and body seemed to have re established his health; and he thanked God, with cheerful piety, for having set him free both from his office and from his asthma. Many years seemed to be before him, and he meditated many works-a tragedy on the death of Socrates, a translation of the Psalms, a treatise on the evidences of Christianity. Of this last performance a part, which we could well spare, has come down to us.
At length Chloe capitulated. Addison was indeed able to treat with her on equal terms. He had reason to expect preferment even higher than that which he had attained. He had inherited the fortune of a brother who died governor of Madras. He had purchased an estate in Warwickshire, and had been welcomed to his domain in very tolerable verse by one of the neighbouring squires, the poetical fox-hunter, William Somervile. In August, 1716, the newspapers announced that Joseph Addison, Esquire, famous for many excellent works both in verse and prose, had espoused the countess-dowager of Warwick.
But the fatal complaint soon returned, and gradually prevailed against all the resources of medicine. It is melancholy that the last months of such a life should have been overclouded both by domestic and by political vexations. A tradition which began early, which has been generally received, and t which we have nothing to oppose, has repre
He now fixed his abode at Holland House-sented his wife as an arrogant and imperious a house which can boast of a greater number woman. It is said that till his health failed of inmates distinguished in political and literary him he was glad to escape from the countess history than any other private dwelling in dowager and her magnificent dining-room, England. His portrait now hangs there. The blazing with the gilded devices of the house of features are pleasing; the complexion is re- Rich, to some tavern where he could enjoy a markably fair; but, in the expression, we trace laugh, to talk about Virgil and Boileau, and a rather the gentleness of his disposition than bottle of claret, with the friends of his happier the force and keenness of his intellect. days. All those friends, however, were not left Not long after his marriage he reached the to him. Sir Richard Steele had been gradually height of civil greatness. The whig govern estranged by various causes. He considered ment had, during some time, been torn by in- himself as one who, in evil times, had braved ternal dissensions. Lord Townshend led one martyrdom for his political principles, and desection of the cabinet; Lord Sunderland themanded, when the whig party was triumphant, other. At length, in the spring of 1717, Sun- a large compensation for what he had suffered derland triumphed. Townshend retired from when it was militant. The whig leaders took office, and was accompanied by Walpole and a very different view of his claims. They Cowper. Sunderland proceeded to reconstruct thought that he had, by his own petulance and the ministry; and Addison was appointed se- folly, brought them as well as himself intc cretary of state. It is certain that the seals trouble; and though they did not absolutely were pressed upon him, and were at first de- neglect him, doled out favours to him with a
sparing hand It was natural that he should | Addison reasoned well and Steele ill; and that be angry with them, and especially angry with consequently Addison brought out a false conAddison. But what above all seems to have clusion, while Steele blundered upon the truth. disturbed Sir Richard was the elevation of In style, in wit, and in politeness, Addison Tickell, who, at thirty, was made by Addison maintained his superiority, though the Old under-secretary of state; while the editor of Whig is by no means one of his happiest per the Tatler and Spectator, the author of the formances.* Crisis, the member for Stockbridge who had At first, both the anonymous opponents ob been persecuted for firm adherence to the served the laws of propriety. But at length Steele house of Hanover, was, at near fifty, forced, so far forgot himself as to throw an odious impuafter many solicitations and complaints, to tation on the morals of the chiefs of the adminis content himself with a share in the patent of tration. Addison replied with severity; but, in Drury-lane theatre. Steele himself says, in our opinion, with less severity than was due to his celebrated letter to Congreve, that Addison, so grave an offence against morality and decoby his preference of Tickell, "incurred the rum; nor did he, in his just anger, forget for a warmest resentment of other gentlemen;" and moment the laws of good taste and good breedevery thing seems to indicate that, of those re-ing. One calumny which has been often resentful gentlemen Steele was himself one. peated, and never yet contradicted, it is our duty to expose. It is asserted in the Biogra phia Britannica, that Addison designated Steele as "little Dicky." This assertion was repeated by Johnson, who had never seen the Old Whig, and was therefore excusable. It has also been repeated by Miss Aikin, who has seen the Old Whig, and for whom, therefore, there is less excuse. Now, it is true that the words "little Dicky" occur in the Old Whig, and that Steele's name was Richard. It is equally true that the words "little Isaac" occur in the Duenna, and that Newton's name was Isaac. But we confidently affirm that Addison's little Dicky had no more to do with Steele, than Sheridan's little Isaac with Newton. If we apply the words "ittle Dicky" to Steele, we deprive a very lively and ingenious passage, not only of all its wit, but of all its meaning. Little Dicky was evidently the nickname of some comic actor who played the usurer Gomez, then a most popular part, in Dryden's Spa...isn Friar.†
The merited reproof which Steele had received, though softened by some kind and courteous expressions, galled him bitterly. He replied with little force and great acrimony; but no rejoinder appeared. Addison was fast hastening to his grave; and had, as we may we'l suppose, little disposition to prosecute a quarrel with an old friend. His complaint had terminated in dropsy. He bore up long and manfully. But at length he abandoned all hope,
While poor Sir Richard was brooding over what he considered as Addison's unkindness, a new cause of quarrel arose. The whig party, already divided against itself, was rent by a new schism. The celebrated bill for limiting the number of peers had been brought in. The proud Duke of Somerset, first in rank of all nobles whose religion permitted them to sit in Parliament, was the ostensible author of the measure. But it was supported, and, in truth, devised by the prime minister.
We are satisfied that the bill was most pernicious; and we fear that the motives which induced Sunderland to frame it were not honourable to him. But we cannot deny that it was supported by many of the best and wisest men of that age. Nor was this strange. The royal prerogative had, within the memory of the generation then in the vigour cf life, been so grossly abused, that it was still regarded with a jealousy which, when the peculiar situation of the house of Brunswick is considered, may perhaps be called immoderate. The prerogative of creating peers had, in the opinion of the whigs, been grossly abused by Queen Anne's last ministry; and even the tories admitted that her majesty, in swamping, as it has since been called, the Upper House, had done what only an extreme case could justify. The theory of the English constitution, according to many high authorities, was, that three independent powers, the monarchy, the nobility, and the commons, ought constantly to act as checks on each other. If this theory were sound, it seemed to follow that to put one of these powers under the absolute control of the other two, was absurd. But if the number of peers were unlimited, it could not be denied that the Upper House was under the absolute control of the crown and the commons, and was indebted only to their moderation for any power which it might be suffered to retain.
Steele took part with the opposition; Addison with the ministers. Steele, in a paper called the "Plebeian," vehemently attacked the bill. Sunderland called for help on Addison, and Addison obeyed the call. In a paper called the "Old Whig," he answered, and indeed refuted, Steele's arguments. It seems to us, that the premises of both the controversialists were unsound; that, on those premises,
Miss Aikin says that these pieces, never having been
reprinted, are now of extreme rarity. This is a mistake. They have been reprinted, and may be obtained without the smallest difficulty. The copy now lying before us
bears the date of 1789.
We will transcribe the whole paragraph How it can ever have been misunderstood is unintelligible
“But our author's chief concern is for the poor House of Commons, whom he represents as naked and defenceless, when the crown, by losing this prer gative, would be less able to protect them against the power of a House of Lords. Who forbears laughing when the Spanish Friag represents little Dicky, under the person of Gomez, insultwith a single frown? ing the Colonel that was able to fright him out of his wits This Gomez, says he, flew upon him like a dragon, got him down, the Devil being strong in him. and gave him bastinado on bastinado, and buffet on buffet, which the poor Colonel, being prostrate, suffered with a most Christian patience. The improbability of the fact never fails to raise mirth in the audience; and one may venture to answer for a British House that it will scarce be either so tame or so weak as our of Commons, if we may guess from its conduct hitherto, author supposes."