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Addison, he assumed a tone more natural to a polished and elegant mind, and dispersed his coarser familiarity among his characteristic correspondents. If he did not introduce, he was the first who successfully employed the harmless fiction of writing letters to himself, and by that gave a variety of amusement and information to his paper, which would have been impracticable had he always appeared in his own character. All succeeding Essayists have endeavoured to avail themselves of a privilege so essential to this. species of composition, but it requires a mimickry of style and sentiment which few have been able to combine.

Addison is said to have first discovered STEELE to be the author of the TATLER by a criticism of his own introduced in No. 6. The criticism isnot of great importance unless to those commentators who make a favourite author the source of all excellence, and are determined to find a beauty in every particle. ADDISON was at this time in Ireland, secretary to Lord WHARTON, Lord Lieutenant, and gave STEELE an early proof of his regard by sending contributions to his work. In No. 18, the • Distress of News-writers' is certainly his, and the first part of the paper, on sign-posts, has very much of his manner. No. 20, is likewise assigned to him, although the first article has more of Swift's indelicacy of manner. His other papers are assigned on indubitable authority.

Such an assistant was of incalculable value to appeared in his writings, were not so much to my purpose, as in any intelligible manner I could, to rally all those singulari. ties of human life, through the different professions and characters in it, which obstruct any thing that was truly good and great.' Dedication to the Comedy of the Drummer.

SCEELE, who began to sacrifice his original plan by degrees, and, as his views became cnlarged and public attention more generally drawn to the paper, soon rose to the dignity of a teacher of wisdom and morals. His improvement, if I mistake not, is visible from about No. 82 or 83; No. '92, 95, 109, and 132, may be referred to for their superior excellence. The latter is much in the Addisonian manner. STEELE's admirable papers on duelling were among the first successful attacks on that remnant of barbarism. They are supposed to have been originally written in consequence of his being involved in a duel with a brother officer of the Coldstream regiment, about the year 1706.

It may be necessary, however, to mention that, in assigning the papers of the Tatlar to their respective authors, we have better authority to follow în almost every case than in that of STEELE himself, because it has been the custom to prefix his name to every paper of which no other writer is known. In this arrangement, he is the ostensible author of upwards of one hundred and seventy of these papers ; but it must be observed! that although as editor of the papers he was responsible for their contents, he composed many of them from the contributions or hints of his correspondents, principally short letters written by the wits of the age, in which they sometimes imitated his manner with a considerable degree of success; and not unfrequently he borrowed from his library short extracts, which he reprinted with an introduction or cominent. On one occasion of very pinching distress, he began a Journal of the Iliad, of which he seems afterwards ashamed'; and on another occasion he published some prie, vate letters he had sent to his second wife. These

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shifts, however, occur chiefly among the earlier papers : his matter soon became proportioned to his wants, and he acquired by constant efforts a happier and easier mode of communicating his observations on life and manners.

It appears that some part of the popularity of the TATLERS, during their first publication, was owing to a very prevalent opinion, that the charracters described in an unfavourable light, and held up to ridicule or contempt, weré real. Of this many hints are given; and the question is very artfully obscured in every attempt to decide it. That some of the characters, both good and bad, were real, has been ascertained beyond all doubt: allusions to the events of the times are so frequent as to render it necessary to introduce the actors. We may instance the Bangorian contro, versy, which in itself however was perhaps too serious for the kind of ridicule employed. Religious controversy, when conducted with asperity and calumny, might often afford a proper subject of ridicule; but the attempt is dangerous, and we must never forget that the matter or object of all religious controversy, however misrepresented, is of eternal importance. The peevishness of Bishop BLACKALL, it must notwithstanding be confessed, is parodied with great humour in the letters of the Puppet-show man, which have been admired by many readers, who looked no farther than to the affected consequence of a vagrant of that mean employment. In No. 51, STEELE has apologized for his interference in this controversy with considerable shrewdness,

Besides the gamblers, many of whom were. certainly real characters, a few of a more harmless cast are introduced, as RATCLIFF and ARNE; but in general, the allusions to living characters, not of the depraved kind, are free from asperity or malevolence. One exception indeed occurs in the case of MADONELLA

(Mrs. MARY ASTELL) and of Mrs. ELIZABETH ELSTOB, two ladies of unblemished character, and great literary accomplishments; but let it be remembered that these calumnies are both from the pen of SWIFT.

The general opinion, however, that all the characters delineated or alluded to, were real, certainly kept up the public attention to these papers; and the authors, being aware that nothing can render a work more popular than the supposition that it contains a proportion of scan. dal or personal history, were not very anxious to deprive themselves of a hold on the public mind which they could, and had the virtue to turn to the best of purposes. In writings of this kind, it is essential that vice and folly should be illustrated by characters; it is this which distinguishes them from dissertations of the more serious cast: and to readers of a certain description, it is a delightful employment to reduce fictitious to real names, conjecture wisely on place and person, and find resemblances where none were meant. Our authors cannot therefore be very severely blamed if they occasionally played with this species of self-deception, and, knowing the perverted taste of some of their customers, sold them lawful goods as contraband.

The chief design of all these papers is briefly expressed by Hughes, in No. 64, to be • wholesome project of making wit useful,' a project the more to be commended as of all talents wit is the most liable to be abused; and as for many years preceding the date of the TATLER, the most celebrated wits had prostituted their pens in the service of the grosser vices. Few men could be better qualified than STEELE to employ this endowment in useful designs. Notwithstanding his personal failings, he appears to have uniformly entertained the purest principles of religion and morals: a strong sense of propriety in words as well as in action : and an abhorrence of gross vices, as offensive to the deity, and dangerous to the eternal welfare of man. When betrayed by liveliness of temper into an expression inconsistent with piety or decency, he was ever ready to apologize and to revoke : if he committed errors, he certainly defended none. In manners he had a quick sense of what was ridiculous, and exposed it with easy playfulness, or humorous gravity. Availing himself of the many shapes an Essayist may assume, he expo. sed levity of conduct, absurd fashions, improprieties of dress and discourse, in every various light; and laid the foundation for a change in the public mind, which has contributed beyond all calculation to the refinement of society.

It has already been noticed that he is not to be accounted the writer of every paper to which his name has been prefixed or appended. Those which

appear in the regular form of Essay are certainly his; those consisting of letters, &c. were sometimes the contributions of correspondents. With respect to his able coadjutor, we are less liable to mistake. Addison's papers have been correctly ascertained, yet the frequent resemblance between these two writers in style and manner is a circumstance which deserves particular notice. We have seen that STEELE was the original author of the TATLER, that he was the first who prescribed a mode of periodi. cal writing, new to the world from the nature of its subjects, and that he had made some prox

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