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calculated to amend the heart, and inform the understanding of the multitude, than by Addison in his Saturday papers. These admirable essays, while they excited and kept alive attention by their beauty of diction and felicity of illustration, and by the benevolent and tender enthusiasm which animated their pages, at the same time very powerfully elevated and expanded the mind, by the dignity of their theme and the purity of their sentiments; an union of qualities which strongly recommended them to readers of all classes; for by appealing to the general feelings of our nature, they alike fascinated the simple and the devout, the learned and the refined, who to an extent hitherto perhaps unequalled, agreed in applauding their execution, and profiting by their subject.
The result, indeed, of the publication of the Tatler, Spectator, and Guardian, has been of the first national importance. The diffusion of private virtue and wisdom must necessarily tend to purify and enlighten the general mass; and experience in every age has proved, that the strength, the weight, and prosperity of a nation, are better founded on knowledge, morality, and sound literature, than on the unstable effects of conquest or commerce. Rational liberty, indeed, can only be supported by integrity and
ability; and it is of little consequence to the man who feels for the honour of his species, and who knows properly to value the character of a freeman, that his country has stretched her arms over half the globe, if, at the same time, she be immersed in vice, in luxury, and sensuality, and subjected to the debasing caprices and controul of tyranny.
It is but just, therefore, to infer, that the periodical writings of Addison and of Steele have contributed more essentially to the national good, to the political influence even, and stability of the British empire, than all the efforts of her warriors, however great or glorious *. By expanding the intellect, and improving the morals of the people, by promoting liberal education. and free enquiry, they have enabled the public
I wish here to observe with David Williams, that "it is not intended to insinuate, that military fame and power are not fully purchased by the talents and dangers of their acquisition, as well as by the temporary benefits arising from them. But the effects of all military events participate the nature of all violence; they require a perpetual recurrence to violence at short intervals; whereas the inventions and measures of genius are as extensive as the world, and never require the commission of evil that good may come. Warriors and writers should be associated as Seneca associates Scipio and Cato;-Alter enim cum hostibus nostris bellum, alter cum moribus gessit.—The difference between men of genius and heroes is generally that of wis
to understand, and to appreciate duly, the principles of genuine liberty; and consequently to value highly, and to defend strenuously, the constitution under which they live. They have, by directing and invigorating the energies of society, given a manly tone to the national character; an effect which can never be elicited beneath the clouds of ignorance and immorality, and which depends not upon the abilities of a few solitary statesmen, or the fleeting consequences of military prowess, but upon the majority of the people thinking and acting justly for themselves, from that knowledge of political good, and that rational love of their country, from those pure principles and virtuous motives, which could only have been disseminated through the medium of writers, who, like the authors of the Spectator, have permanently and extensively
DOM and COURAGE. Wisdom prevents evil, courage removes it.
"The ascendance, or power of genius, in the formation of opinions and manners, is, only in some situations, inferior to that of government and law. In free governments it takes the lead, and always forms the spirit of the nation.
"In England, what a contrast before and after the REVOLUTION! Before that event BACON stood nearly alone, literature being occupied by theological controversy. Who can describe the effects of its subsequent emancipation, or the principles, the morals, the taste, and the prosperity of the country." Claims of Literature, p. 20, 21, 33, 34.
exerted their moral and intellectual influence over the general mind.
In short, if we compare the state of society, private and public, as it existed previous and subsequent to the appearance of Addison and Steele, we shall not for a moment hesitate to assert, not only that Great Britain is indebted to these illustrious writers, for a most salutary revolution in the realms of literature and taste, for a mode of composition which in a mere literary view has been of great and progressive utility; but that a very large portion of the moral and political good which she now enjoys, is to be ascribed to their exertions-to efforts which entitle them to the glorious appellations of genuine patriots and universal benefactors.