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diligence and skill; qualifying his disparaging remark by saying, that the abundance of his own mind supplied him with whatever he wanted. Certainly, nothing can be better selected and applied than the classical knowledge which he brings to bear on the subject before him; and if he was never deficient in the information required, there seems no reason for challenging his acquaintance with other parts of the field which he was not concerned to explore. Perhaps, too, his learning may be undervalued in consequence of the playful humor in which the Dialogues abound; an article so seldom encountered among professed scholars and antiquaries, that the lively remark is thought inconsistent with severe research, and the gay, without inquiry into its merits, is at once set down as far inferior to the grave.

Swift, in a well-known allusion to Addison's circumstances at this time, speaks of him as caressed by lords and left distressed in foreign lands; which is true enough, so far as regards his circumstances, though the lords do not appear to deserve the reproach which the Dean, with his usual caustic philanthropy, endeavours to cast upon them. They faithfully served Addison, or rather meant to serve him, while they had the power; it was no fault of theirs that King William broke his neck, and the pension was left unpaid. Their ability to serve him depended on their continuance in office, and they would have been glad to retain the power, if pos sible. They had already designated him for the office of English secretary, to attend Prince Eugene, who had just commenced the war in Italy, for the purpose of transmitting home accounts of his plans and operations. These designs in his favor, of course, came to nothing, when they lost their places; and he must certainly have been hard pressed for the means of subsistence. With his usual manly reserve on matters which were personal to himself, he says nothing of his own wants or his means; neither does Tickell, who had the means of knowing, supply the deficiency; but the papers of Tonson show, that he was looking round for that support which patronage was no longer able to supply. The bookseller, who was a sort of Mæcenas in his way, had been desired by the Duke of Somerset, usually called the Proud, one of those animals whom chance sometimes appears to lift up to see how they will look in their elevation, to find a travelling tutor for his son; and it occurred to Tonson, in his

good-nature, that the place would be the one for Addison. For the service thus rendered the Duke was to pay a hundred guineas at the end of the year, which seemed to himself so munificent, that he expected the offer to be welcomed with rapture by the fortunate individual on whom the choice should fall. Addison had no objection to the place, but he had no mind to worship the golden calf that offered it. He accordingly wrote an acceptance of the proposal, saying at the same time, that the compensation was not such as would make it an object, if the place were not on other accounts such as he desired. This independence was something so new to the nobleman, that he considered it equal to a rejection of his offer; at any rate, he saw that it would not be received with the profound sense of obligation which he' expected; and thus he lost the opportunity of going down to future times in connection with one who would have taught his son the manners and feelings of a gentleman, which the young sparks of aristocracy have not always the means of learning, and whose fame was bright enough to illuminate the insignificance of his own.

The literary history of England affords many such examples of lords in rank who are commoners in spirit and feeling. It is well that the changes of time had transferred the office of patron of men of letters to publishers like Jacob Tonson and his successors. If all of them had manifested the sense and spirit of Addison, the traditional base of prejudice on which the card-house of nobility rests must long since have given way to a better system, which would estimate claims to respect, not by the court register, nor the . assessor's list, but by the elevation of manly and moral feeling and the riches of the heart.

When Addison returned to England, he was high in reputation; but as he was in his thirty-third year, without the means of subsistence, the respect which was paid him, and the honor of being a member of the Kitcat, did not quite console him for the prospect of starving. But his political party was rising; the victories of Marlborough were quite as beneficial to the Whigs as to the country; and when the battle of Blenheim had thrown all others into the shade, Godolphin, turning his attention for once from Newmarket to Parnassus, was anxious to find some poet to sing the triumph in strains of equal glory. As the gentlemen of his

acquaintance dealt in other steeds than Pegasus, he applied to Montagu, better known by his title of Halifax, who told him, with more truth than courtesy, that if he knew such a person, he would not advise him to write while fools and blockheads were in favor, and those who had a good title to distinction were neglected. The lord treasurer did not resent the insinuation, though exceeding broad, and simply promised that whoever would do the service worthily should have no reason to repent his labors. He then sent to Addison, at the suggestion of Halifax, who wisely thought that the poet would do more for himself than his friends could do for him. The work was undertaken at once, and when it had proceeded as far as the famous simile of the angel, Godolphin, on seeing it, gave him the place of commissioner of appeals, which fell vacant by the resignation of John Locke.

There is something grotesque in this dealing in poetry as merchandise, and rewarding the bard with a post from which the great metaphysician had just departed. But what is more to the purpose, the poem was exactly what was wanted; and it does credit to the public taste, that, with so small an infusion of thunder and lightning, without any approach to extravagance or excess, it should have found its way to the proud heart of England, and been deemed an adequate celebration of the greatest triumph of her arms. The truth was, the angel rode in the whirlwind and directed the storm to very good purpose; at any rate, he contrived that they should fill the poet's sails, which were wisely and not ambitiously spread. Though it is not one of those works which readers of the present day care much for, still it is read, which is more than can be said of any other poem manufactured in the same way. They commonly die with the momentary enthusiasm which called them into existence, and the chief credit which the poet now gains is that of having kept clear of the faults and follies in which all similar writings abound. One good effect of it was to set the writer clear from debt. Slow rises talent, when poverty hangs upon it; its flight is rather that of the flying-fish than the eagle; and Marlborough did not more rejoice to see the enemy fly, than the poet to disperse his duns, and once more to stand even with the world.

We have dwelt thus at large on the manner in which Addison came forward into public life, to show that he did VOL. LXIV. - No. 135.


not ascend, as Lord Bacon says men generally go up to office, by a "winding stair." It was owing to the prevailing impression of his ability, not only in literary efforts, but for the duties of any station. Two years after the publication of the Campaign, he was appointed under-secretary of state by Sir Charles Hedges, and continued in that office by the Earl of Sunderland. The duties could not have been oppressive; at least, he was able to accompany Lord Halifax to the Continent on a complimentary mission to the Elector, officiating as secretary to the minister, and receiving from that Mæcenas no other compensation or reward than the honor and expense of the tour. It is unfortunate that we have not more of his letters, which would give us entertaining glimpses of the public events of the day, such as the union of England and Scotland, which was so bitterly opposed by many of the latter nation. He says that one of the ministers of Edinburgh lamented in his prayer, that Providence, after having exalted England to be the head of Europe, was in a fair way to make it one of the tails; this was probably a correct expression of the gratitude with which the measure of annexation was received.

One pleasant touch of the old Stuart feeling is brought to light, showing that Anne was not entirely passive, though she spent her days under the harrow of royalty without the least power to do as she pleased. Something having passed in the lower house of convocation, tending to reduce her authority as head of the church, she sent word to them that she forgave them for that time, but would make use of some other methods with them in case they did the like in future. He alludes to an odd premonition of the revolutionary spirit in France in an age when no one dreamed of any such thing; was a proposal conveyed in a memorial, through the Duke of Burgundy, to the government, advising them to get possession of the useless plate in convents and palaces, and to convert it into money; and moreover, to take the needless officers and pensionaries, the number of whom was estimated at eighty thousand, and to employ them in the foreign service of the country. The latter part of this plan might answer for other nations, even for some in which the grand consummation of republicanism is already come. The only difficulties are, that the gentlemen in question, having the management of every thing, would choose to render this

patriotic service by proxy; their part is to gather to the carcass when it is fallen, leaving others to pull it down.

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Addison was not long to retain this office, which was well suited to his capacity and taste. The queen, who was occasionally persuaded to make changes, to show the world that she had a will of her own, a fact which, notwithstanding her sex, was seriously doubted, had begun to take the Tories into favor and council, and was preparing as fast as she dared to remove Marlborough from his brilliant station. Meantime, Addison was employed in an attempt to introduce an English opera to public favor in London. It seemed to him ridiculous, for audiences to sit by the hour listening to a language which neither singer nor hearer understood. His plan was to marry the Italian music to English verse, without reflecting, that, as nature had denied him an ear, he was not the person to officiate at the bridal, and that common sense is not exactly the presiding genius by which such matters are controlled. Johnson says, that on the stage the new opera was either hissed or neglected, and growls at the author for dedicating it, when published, to the Duchess of Marlborough, a woman wholly without pretensions to literature or taste; not reflecting, that, if poets had been so fastidious in looking for patrons, they would have been at their wits' end where to find them.

The moralist is, however, compelled, by his sense of justice, to allow that the work is airy and elegant, engaging in its progress and pleasing in its close. He says that the subject is well chosen, the fiction pleasant, and the praise of Marlborough in it is the result of good-luck, improved by genius, as perhaps every work of excellence must be. Sir John Hawkins, who pretended to great connoisseurship in music, and must at least have been a perfect judge of a discord, having passed all his life in one, pronounced the music of Rosamond, which was the name of the opera, a "jargon of sounds." This, however, was the fault of the composer, or possibly might be attributed to the crabbed temper of the amateur; and when Johnson pronounced the opera one of the best of Addison's compositions, it is clear that it could not have injured his fame. One good effect of it was to bring him into acquaintance with Tickell, then at Oxford, who, according to the fashion of the time, sent him some complimentary verses. He soon became the friend and as

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