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Ir was my wish, when entering upon

the execution of the following work, to adopt a plan which, in its arrangement, should be productive of novelty, and in its various branches, fertile in literary discussion; which should, in fact, though occasionally digressive in its parts, preserve a perspicuous unity of design, and a mutual subserviency in all its departments.

I have therefore, urged by the hope of succeeding, in some degree, in this

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arduous attempt, divided my volumes into five parts, and again subdivided these into Essays.

The first part, embracing but one and which may be considered as introductory to the whole, contains,


General observations on periodical writing, its merit and utility, and on the state of literature and manners in this island at the commencement of the Tatler, in 1709.

The second part, including every thing relative to Sir Richard Steele, is branched into six essays.

1. A Biographical Sketch of Steele.
2. Observations on his Style.

3. On his Taste and Critical Abilities.

4. On his Invention, Imagery, and Pathos. 5. On his Delineation of Character and on his Humour.

6. On his Ethics and Morality.

The third part also, which is employed on the character and writings of Addison, receives a similar arrangement, viz.

1. A Biographical Sketch of Addison.
2. Observations on, and Specimens of, the
Progress of English Style, and on the
Style of Addison in particular.

3. On the Origin and Progress of English
Criticism, and on the Critical Abilities
and Taste of Addison.

4. On his Humour and Comic Painting.
5. On the Introduction of Oriental Imagery
into Europe, and on the Fable, Imagery,
and Allegory of Addison.

6. On the Moral Tendency of his Periodical

The fourth part, consisting of three essays, is occupied by,

Biographical and Critical Sketches of the Occasional Correspondents of Steele and Addison;

And the fifth and last part delivers

Observations on the Effects of the Tatler, Spectator, and Guardian, on the Taste, Literature, and Morals of the Age.

To preserve the requisite unity in a plan of this kind, I have thought it necessary to place Steele and- Addison very conspicuously on the fore-ground. They were the fathers and founders of

Periodical Writing; and round them, as round two mighty orbs, must be arranged in just order, and with a subserviency due from inferior luminaries, the numerous literati who, however slightly in degree, have contributed to heighten the lustre of the system to which they were attached.

In pursuance of this idea, I have given the Lives of Steele and Addison upon a scale more extended and diffuse than has hitherto been attempted, collecting from every quarter, and from a multitude of books, a considerable mass of scattered information, much of which had not been previously combined in any single narrative. With this collection of facts, I have endeavoured to unite such reflections and inferences

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