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HISTORICAL AND“ BIOGRAPHICAL
AND EXPLANATORY NOTES.
A NEW EDITION, IN EIGHT VOLUMES,
PRINTED FOR J. RICHARDSON AND CO.; G. OFFOR ; T. TEGG;
J. SHARPE AND SON; ROBINSON AND CO.; G. WALKER;
AND R, GRIFFIN AND CO. GLASGOW
No 555. SATURDAY, DEC. 6, 1712.
Respue quod non es
Pers. Sat. iv.51. Lay the fictitious character aside. ALL the members of the imaginary society, which were described in my first papers, having disappeared one after another, it is high time for the Spectator himself to go off the stage. But now I am to take my leave, I am under much greater anxiety than I have known for the work of any day since I undertook this province. It is much more difficult to converse with the world in a real than a personated character. That might pass for humour in the Spectator, which would look like arrogance in a writer who sets his name to his work. The fictitious person might condemn those who disapproved him, and extol his own performances without giving offence. He might assume a mock authority, without being looked upon as vain and conceited. The praises or censures of himself fall only upon the creature of his imagination; and, if any one finds fault with him, the author may reply with the philo
sopher of old, 'thou dost but beat the case of Anaxarchus. When I speak in my own private sentiments, I cannot but address myself to my readers in a more submissive manner, and with a just gratitude for the kind reception which they have given to these daily papers, which have been published for almost the space of two years
last past. I hope the apology. I have made, as to the license allowable to a feigned character, may excuse any thing which has been said in these discourses of the Spectator and his works; but the imputation of the grossest vanity would still dwell upon me if I did not give some account by what means I was enabled to keep up the spirit of so long and approved a performance. All the papers marked with a C, an L, an I, or an O, that is to say, all the papers
which I have distinguished by any letter in the name of the muse Clio, were given me by the gentleman of whose assistance I formerly boasted in the preface and coneluding leaf of my Tatlers.* I am indeed much more proud of his long-continued friendship, than I should be of the fame of being thought the author of any writings which he himself is capable of producing. I remember, when I finished The Tender Husband, I told him there was nothing I so ardently wished, as that we might some time or other publish a work, written by us both, which should bear the name of The Monument, in memory of our friendship. I heartily wish what I have done here was as honorary to that sacred name, as learning, wit, and humanity, render those pieces which I have taught the reader how to distinguish for his. When the play above mentioned was last acted, there were so many applauded strokes in it which I had from the same hand, that I thought very meanly of myself that I have never publicly acknowledged them. After I have put other friends upon impor
tuning him to publish dramatic as well as other writings he has by him, I shall end what I think I am obliged to say on this head, by giving my reader this hint for the better judging of my productionsthat the best comment upon them would be an account when the patron to The Tender Husband was in England or abroad.
The reader will also find some papers which are marked with the letter X, for which he is obliged to the ingenious gentleman who diverted the town with the epilogue to The Distressed Mother. I might bave owned these several papers with the free consent of these gentlemen, who did not write them with a design of being known for the authors. But, as a candid and sincere behaviour ought to be preferred to all other considerations, I would not let my heart reproach me with a consciousness of having acquired a praise which is not my right.
The other assistances which I have had have been conveyed by letter, sometimes by whole papers, and other times by short hints from unknown hands. I have not been able to trace favours of this kind with any certainty, but the following names, which I place in the order wherein I received the obligation, though the first I am going to name can hardly be mentioned in a list wherein he would not deserve the precedence. The persons to whom I am to make these acknowledgements are, Mr. Henry Martyn, Mr. Pope, Mr. Hughes, Mr. Carey of New-College in Oxford, Mr. Tickell of Queen's in the same university, Mr. Parnelle, and Mr. Eusden, of Trinity in Cainbridge. Thus, to speak in the language of my late friend, Sir Andrew Freeport, I have balanced my accounts with all my creditors for wit and learning. But as these excellent perforniances would not have seen the light without the means of this paper, I may still arrogate to myself the merit of their being communicated to the public.