The Works of the Right Honourable Joseph Addison, Vol. 5 Of 6: With the Exception of His Numbers of the Spectator (Classic Reprint)

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Excerpt from The Works of the Right Honourable Joseph Addison, Vol. 5 of 6: With the Exception of His Numbers of the Spectator

IT is very pleasant to see how the small territories of this little republic are cultivated to the best advan tage, so that one cannot find the least spot of ground, that is not made to contribute its utmost to the owner. In all the inhabitants there appears an air of cheer fulness and plenty, not often to be met with in those of the countries which lie about them. There is but one gate for strangers to enter at, that it may be known what numbers of them are in the town. Over it is written, in letters of gold, Libertaa.

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Addison, son of the Dean of Litchfield, took high honors at Oxford University and then joined the British army. He first came to literary fame by writing a poem, "The Campaign" (1704), to celebrate the Battle of Blenheim. When Richard Steele, whom he had known in his public school Charterhouse, started The Tatler in 1709, Addison became a regular contributor. But his contributions to a later venture The Spectator (generally considered the zenith of the periodical essay), were fundamental. While Steele can be credited with the editorial direction of the journal, Addison's essays, ranging from gently satiric to genuinely funny, secured the journal's success. In The Spectator, No. 10, Addison declared that the journal aimed "to enliven morality with wit, and to temper wit with morality." His brilliant character of Sir Roger de Coverley (followed from rake to reformation) distinguishes the most popular essays. Addison died in 1719. He is buried in Westminster Abbey.

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