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reputation, there is a general massacre of learning designed in these realms; and through my sides there is a wound given to all the protestant almanack makers in the universe."*

. Having with singular felicity chosen a name and character, Steele had next to determine upon the plan he should pursue in the prosecution of his work. Conscious that variety was necessary to attract attention, that miscellaneous information would be most welcome to the idle and the busy, and that the love for political news was, unfortunately, the prevailing fascination of the day, he divided his papers into different heads, and dated these from different parts of the town. This arrangement included, 1. Gallantry, pleasure, and entertainment. 2. Poetry. 3. Learning. 4. Foreign and domestic news, and 5. Miscellaneous subjects. The places chosen for the discussion of these topics were, as respectively adapted to the above enumeration, White's Chocolate-house. Will's Coffee-house.' The Grecian Coffee-house. St. James's Coffee-house,

and Bickerstaff's own Apartment.

Each paper contained three or four, and sometimes the whole of these branches. By this mean,

Swift's Works by Nichols, Vol. 5. p. 31. et seq.

variety was indeed obtained; but unity, simplicity, and the necessary room for due discussion on important subjects, were lost. This motley and familiar manner was, however, not ill-adapted to the general purpose of the paper, as originally laid down by Steele, which was merely to expose the false arts of life; to pull off the disguises of cunning, vanity, and affectation; and to recommend a general simplicity in our dress, our discourse, and our behaviour.* But as this intention was soon broken in upon, and subjects of a more weighty and serious nature intermingled, more especially after the junction of Addison, it became necessary to deviate from the first design, and to restrict each paper to fewer topics, until at length, especially in the third and fourth volumes, the numbers usually assumed an uniform garb.

The Tatler was commenced, unknown to Addison, on April 12, 1709, and was published thrice a week, on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. It had proceeded, however, no farther than the sixth number, when the author unveiled himself to Addison, by inserting a criticism on a passage in Virgil, which that elegant scholar had formerly communicated to him. In consequence

* Vide Dedication to the first volume of the Tatler.

of this discovery, the assistance of Addison was requested, and his first communication is in N° 18, dated May the twenty-first.*

That Addison proved a most important auxiliary, and contributed in a very essential manner toward the popularity and utility of the work, is confessed by Steele in terms which do him the highest honour, and evince a heart free from the degrading passions of jealousy and envy. "I have only one gentleman," he observes in his Preface," who will be nameless, to thank for any frequent assistance to me, which indeed it would have been barbarous in him to have denied to one with whom he has lived in an intimacy from childhood, considering the great ease with which he is able to dispatch the most entertaining pieces of this nature. This good office he performed with such force of genius, humour, wit and learning, that I fared like a distressed prince, who calls in a powerful neighbour to his aid; I was undone by my auxiliary; when I had once called him in, I could not subsist without dependance on him." It should not be forgotten, however, that it is to

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* Dr. Johnson has dated the first communication of Addison, May 26, 1709, being No. 20; but Steele, in his Preface, has declared that the description of the distress of the News-writers, in No. 18, May 21, was the production of his friend.

Steele alone we are indebted for Addison, and the various other writers in the Tatler, Spectator, and Guardian, He it was who formed them into a society, who, at his own expense and risque, brought forward their productions, and with indefatigable patience and perseverance, and in opposition to calumny and reproach, carried on to ultimate success one of the most important series of papers ever offered to the public, and which forms an era in our national literature. It may be said, therefore, with truth, that had not Steele projected the plan, and supported it with so much zeal and address, the exquisite essays of Addison had never been written; and that, consequently, the benefits resulting from these compositions, and those of his other coadjutors, may primarily be referred to his happy genius and ever active philanthropy.

If we consider the invention of Steele, as discoverable in the scheme and conduct of the Tatler; if we reflect upon the finely drawn and highly finished character of Bickerstaff, in his varied offices of philosopher, humourist, astrologer, and censor, the vast number of his own elegant and useful papers, and the beauty and value of those which, through his means, saw the light, we cannot hesitate in honouring him with the appellation of THE FATHER OF PERIODICAL WRITIng.

The Tatler was regularly continued until January 2, 1710-11, Addison affording his assistance to December 23; when it was dropped, without the concurrence of the latter, and because, as Steele says, the purpose of it was wholly lost by his being so long understood as the author and conductor. It had nevertheless been very popular, and had obtained a rapid sale; and though the expense of carrying it on must have been considerable, the profits accruing to Steele could not be small. For, independent of what was produced by its sale in separate numbers, when these, were collected into volumes they sold, printed on fine paper in octavo, at the very extraordinary price, considering the value of money at that time, of a guinea per volume in boards. The first volume made its appearance, July 10, 1713, the second on the first of September following, and the third and fourth the succeeding year.

Two months after the discontinuance of the Tatler, the world was agreeably surprized by the publication of a new periodical paper, under the title of the SPECTATOR, the first number of which appeared on March the first, 1711.

The plan of this paper, which is, without question, the best model for a periodical work yet offered to the public, was arranged, in the interim abovementioned, between Steele and Addison.

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