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his interest in the subject is not got up for the occasion, like the Catskill cascade, playing when they let on the water; it comes like a clear stream, flowing from a deep well-spring in his heart. With all his earnestness against the Free-thinkers, who, it must be remembered, were unthinking scoffers, ridiculing what they did not understand, he is entirely exempt from narrowness, and maintains that kind and cheerful bearing which religion should always wear.
The style of these celebrated papers is, as every one knows, as near perfection as any thing ever has been, - artless, unaffected, transparent, but always manly and strong. Like Dryden, he followed the example of Tillotson, whose discourses, though as sermons they are no great things, were excellent in their unpretending English style, illustrating the truth, that simplicity is the best of graces, and retains its attraction when ornament, high finish, and cumbrous decoration lose their interest and pass away. As we intimated, the Spectator is not so much read at present as it deserves. The present age abounds, more than it is aware of, in various literary affectations. The Muse in fashion screws her countenance into various contortions, and “ looks delightfully with all her might,” so that it is almost impossible to tell what her natural expression, if she ever had any, may have been. Possibly a return to these writings might do something to restore the modesty of nature. The experiment is worth trying, at least so far as to know for ourselves whether our taste is depraved or not ; if we can take pleasure in these quiet and unexciting works, we may have reason for confidence, that, both in literature and morals, it is still in harmony with that which is good, and which, though neglected at times, will never lose the veneration of those fortunate individuals who are equipped with a mind and a heart.
The Spectator was suddenly brought to a close without consulting with Addison, and the Guardian established in like manner, without the concurrence of the person on whom their character depended. But he was not the man to be offended by such want of attention, though, under the circumstances, a little more deference to his judgment would have done no harm. The Guardian, though not, according to Swift's wicked expression, “ cruel dry,” was of a graver cast than its predecessors ; and in the earlier parts, where we cannot trace the hand of the master, it is less interesting than the others. Still, it stands high in comparison with other writings of the kind, with the exception of its own ancestry; and Addison's part in it, though less humorous than his former efforts, is in every way worthy of his fame. Johnson complains of its occasional liveliness as inconsistent with its professed character of Guardian; we do not see why. There is no reason why, even in one who guards the public morals, an attempt to make others smile should be a sin ; and even if it were not quite in keeping with the profession, still, as punishment is intended for the prevention of crime, and there are so few human writings which offend by reason of being sprightly overmuch, there is no crying necessity at present for exacting dulness as a religious virtue, or scouting pleasantry as at war with the best interests of mankind.
The work did not extend beyond two volumes, not from want of favor or circulation, but because Steele, with his usual restlessness, longed to be engaged in those politics from which Addison withheld him, and in which he was sure to injure himself, without doing service to any party. Later in life, be involved himself in a world of embarrassment, by a wild speculation for carrying live fish to market; at this time, he was engaged in carrying his fish to the political market, where he succeeded only so far as to bring himself into near acquaintance with the frying-pan and the fire. Shortly after, he met with an unusual measure of success, not, however, in consequence of any happy arrangements of his own, but because the act of Providence unexpectedly removed the queen from her subjects, who were quite ready to spare her to the skies. It is matter of surprise to us that historians do not set down the fact, which to our minds seems clear, though the politicians of her day had no means of knowing it, that the ascendency of Bolingbroke and Oxford, and the fall of Marlborough, were owing, not, to use Burnet's elegant expression, to his “brimstone of a wife,” nor to spilling a cup
a of coffee on the royal gown, but to the attachment of the queen to her exiled brother, and the concurrence of the Tory ministry in her wish and purpose to restore him to the throne. The communication of that administration with the Pretender can now be fully proved ; the living actions and the dying words of the queen leave no doubt of her accession to their conspiracies; and this fact, once established,
explains many things at which the world then wondered, and which, on any other theory, it is hardly possible to understand.
It was the agitation of these political factions that brought forward the celebrated Cato, a drama which Addison had commenced many years before, which he had labored upon during his travels, and which he was induced to finish at last, not from his own interest in it, but from the solicitations of his friends, who believed it might have an effect favorable to the Whigs in those doubtful times of party. The Tory house was divided against itself ; the Whigs, who saw in this another pleasing instance of Satan against Satan, took courage from the prospect of their fall. The queen, too, was not immortal, and her habits of life were of the kind not favorable to strength of purpose or length of days. If, as Lucan says, Cato, unlike the gods, was more inclined to sympathize with the weaker party, the great Roman in England at the time might have been sorely puzzled to know which way to lean. In fact, the moment the play was published and acted, both parties claimed Cato, not so much because they cared for Addison as the author, as from their determination to appear to the nation as the champions of the free.
Drury Lane, however thronged in later times, certainly never witnessed more excitement than on this occasion ; the performance was then in the afternoon, and, dinner to the contrary notwithstanding, the theatre was besieged before the hour of noon. Steele, who had undertaken to pack an audience, found that he could pack the whole city of London without any sort of trouble. Booth established his fame in the part of Cato. Bolingbroke made him a present of fifty guineas, as he said, “for defending the cause of liberty so well against a Perpetual Dictator”; in which that versatile personage made it clear to the player, that there were actors, not trained to the boards, who were infinitely better than he. The Whigs were not to be outdone in that way; they, too, came with their gifts and laurels, so that, according to Garth's expression, and no man ever said any thing better, -" It was extremely probable that Cato would have something to live upon aster he died.”
But there is one thing which in this connection should be faithfully remembered. Johnson has thrown the shadow of avarice over the name of Addisou, by the saying, which we have before referred to, respecting his avidity for profits and praise. Colley Cibber, who at that time was a joint patentee and manager of Drury Lane, says that the author made a present to him and his brethren of the profits, which were neither few nor small. This was not like a miser ; it certainly does not look like eager avidity for money, to give up so freely that which nothing but generosity called him to surrender. And this is a remarkable illustration, showing how a thoughtless phrase of a biographer may fix in the public mind for ages a false impression, though many striking actions, and the whole tenor of the life, show to those who examine the subject that it must be the reverse of true.
Addison does not seem to have anticipated much success, if any, not thinking the drama suitable for the stage. Dr. Young says, that Dryden, to whom it was submitted, predicted that it would not meet with the reception which it deserved. But this must refer to some earlier attempt, or to the part which was written early, certainly not to the finished play, inasmuch as Dryden had left the stage of this world at least a dozen years before. Pope, however, did express the same opinion. When Addison told him that the Rape of the Lock was a delicious piece as it stood, and advised him not to alter it, Pope ascribed the counsel to jealousy on the elder poet's part. How easy would it be to attribute this advice to Addison to unworthy dread of Cato's anticipated renown! Addison, so far from resenting it, only said that he was of the same opinion, but that he had submitted to the judgment of his friends, who were importunate to have it appear. He certainly hated the labor of completing it ; he said that he should be glad to have some one do it for him ; but when Hughes rather valiantly made the attempt, he saw that it might be brought to an end in good earnest, if left to an inferior hand. Hughes consoled himself for his failure by writing some laudatory lines, which, according to the usual fashion, were afterwards published with the play.
There were several others who took the same opportunity of shining out to the world. Young, Tickell, and Philips are familiar names ; but there were others more questionable ; among the rest were some lines left with the printer, which, Johnson says, are the best, but which “ will lose somewhat of their praise when the author is known to be Jeffreys " ! There has been a question who this individual could be. Some have supposed that it was the judge of that name ; if so, he was more just in letters than in law. But he had been for about twenty years in the other world, where there is reason to suppose that he was less pleasantly engaged than in writing poetry. The person in question was a much more harmless gentleman, who did execution on literary, not human, subjects, and has escaped the doom of everlasting fame.
These flourishes of adulation were not to the taste of the author, and he did his best to decline them. In a letter still preserved, be endeavours to put aside the compliment without wounding the feelings of the person who sent the lines ; but as it was not so easy to avoid the honor without inflicting pain on the writers, he submitted to the necessity, and let their little wherries sail by his side. But there was one point, where his honor was concerned, on which he took open and manly ground. He intended to dedicate the play to the Duchess of Marlborough, who was then fallen from her height, and unable to serve his interests if she would. It was not pledged or promised, but his purpose was known. Meantime, the queen, who, without any passion for literature, · desired the honor of patronizing Cato, sent himn an intimation that a dedication to herself would give her pleasure. He did not choose to take the hint, and, neither to compromise his own independence, nor to offer a needless affront to his sovereign, he sent it forth without a dedication, which was uncommon at that day. But the manliness of the proceeding was more unusual still, when, had he been so disposed, he could have gained favor by the attention, and silenced all objection by pleading the royal command.
This tragedy has been a subject of great admiration, not unmingled with bitter censure, censure which falls harmless, because it only charges him with not doing what he never wished nor intended to do. In the desperate feuds between the partisans of the classical and romantic schools, every writer connected with the one must needs be ridiculed and disowned by the other. But those who can break through this narrowness of creeds can easily see that these are matters of taste. There is no reason why every thing should be conformed to a single standard ; Addison never pretended to be Shakspeare ; ihe last thing in his mind was