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RIGHT HONOURABLE JOHN LORD SOMERS,
BARON OF EVESHAM.
services which you have effected. Do what you
I SHOULD not act the part of an impartial Spec-will, the present age will be talking of your virtues,
tator, if I dedicated the following papers to one who is not of the most consummate and most acknowledged merit.
None but a person of a finished character can be a proper patron of a work which endeavours
though posterity alone will do them justice.
Other men pass through oppositions and contending interests in the ways of ambition; but your great abilities have been invited to power, and importuned to accept of advancement. Nor is it to cultivate and polish human life, by promoting strange that this should happen to your lordship, irtue and knowledge, and by recommending what- who could bring into the service of your sovereign ever may be either useful or ornamental to so- the arts and policies of ancient Greece and Rome; cery. as well as the most exact knowledge of our own constitution in particular, and of the interests of Europe in general; to which I must also add, a certain dignity in yourself, that (to say the least of it) has been always equal to those great honours which have been conferred upon you.
I know that the homage I now pay you, is offering a kind of violence to one who is as solicitous to shun applause, as he is assiduous to deserve it. But, my lord, this is perhaps the only particular in which your prudence will be always disappointed. While justice, candour, equanimity, a zeal for It is very well known how much the church the good of your country, and the most persuasive owed to you, in the most dangerous day it ever eloquence in bringing over others to it, are valu- saw, that of the arraignment of its prelates;† and able distinctions; you are not to expect that the how far the civil power, in the late and present phic will so far comply with your inclinations, reign, has been indebted to your counsels and as to forbear celebrating such extraordinary quali- wisdom.
es. It is in vain that you have endeavoured to But to enumerate the great advantages which receal your share of merit in the many national the public has received from your administration,
This lustrious patriot, who has been justly said to have dis-lord high chancellor of England. In the beginning of 1700 he yed blessings by his life, and planned them for posterity,' was was removed from his post of lord chancellor; and the year after bra at Worcester, 1652. He was educated at Oxford, and after was impeached of high crimes and misdemeanors by the house of entered himself of the Middle Temple, where he studied commons, of which he was acquitted upon trial by the house of haw with great vigour, judiciously blending it with polite lite- lords. He then retired to a studious course of life, and was chosen 1. He soon distinguished himself at the bar; and in 1681 president of the Royal Society. In 1706 he proposed a bill for the and a colerable share in a piece intituled, “ A just and modest regulation of the law; and the same year was one of the princiin of the two last Parliaments. In 1688 he was of counsel pal managers for the union between England and Scotland. In arte seren bishops at their trial, and argued with great learning 1708 he was made lord president of the council, from which post and eloquence against the dispensing power. In the convention he was removed in 1710, upon the change of the ministry. In the which met by the Prince of Orange's summons, Jan. 22, 1688-9, he latter end of Queen Anne's reign, his lordship grew very infirm "presented Worcester; and was one of the managers for the in his health; which indisposition is supposed to have been the of commons, at a conference with the house of lords, upon reason that he held no other post than a seat at the council table, word abdicated. Soon after the accession of King William after the accession of George L. He died of an apoplectic fit, Geen Mary to the throne, he was appointed solicitor-gene. April 26, 1716. Lord Somers, besides being a most incorrupt law. received the honour of knighthood. In 1692 he was made yer, and honest statesman, was a master-orator, a genius of the Wary-general, and in 1693 advanced to the post of lord keeper finest taste, a great patron of men of parts and learning, and was at the great seal of England. In 1695 he proposed an expedient the person who redeemed Milton's Paradise Lost' from that obprevent the practice of clipping the coin; and the same year scurity in which party-prejudice and hatred had suffered it long constituted one of the lords justices of England during his to lie neglected. He wrote several pieces on the subject of poli yay's absence, as he was likewise in the two following years. tics, and translated certain parts of Plutarch and Ovid. at he was created Lord Somers, Baron of Evesham, and made + Trial of the seven bishops, June 29, 1089.
would be a more proper work for an history, than himself, without thinking the less* meanly of 1
of the pleasure you afford all who are admitted to
Your lordship's most devoted,
• This must certainly be an error; and for less we should re
f all that uld have Tacter of
No 1. THURSDAY, MARCH 1, 1710-11.
Nem fumum ex fulgore, sed ex fumo dare lucem
HOR. Ars Poet. ver. 143.
One with a flash begins, and ends in smoke;
HAVE observed, that a reader seldom peruses
books, either in the learned or the modern tongues, which I am not acquainted with.
Upon the death of my father I was resolved to travel into foreign countries, and therefore left the university, with the character of an odd unaccountable fellow, that had a great deal of learning, if £ would but show it. An insatiable thirst after knowledge carried me into all the countries of Europe, in which there was any thing new or strange to be seen; nay, to such a degree was my curiosity raised, that, having read the controversies of some great men concerning the antiquities of Egypt, I a Grand
writer of it be a black or a fair man, of a mild or take the measure of a pyramid; and, as soon as I choleric disposition, married or a bachelor, with had set myself right in that particular, returned to other particulars of the like nature, that conduce my native country with great satisfaction.* very much to the right understanding of an auther. I have passed my latter years in this city, where To gratify this curiosity, which is so natural to a I am frequently seen in most public places, though reader, I design this paper and my next as prefa- there are not above half a dozen of my select tory discourses to my following writings, and shall friends that know me; of whom my next paper give some account in them of the several persons shall give a more particular account. There is no that are engaged in this work. As the chief trou- place of general resort wherein I do not often ble of compiling, digesting, and correcting, will make my appearance: sometimes I am seen fall to my share, I must do myself the justice to thrusting my head into a round of politicians at open the work with my own history. Will's, and listening with great attention to the I was born to a small hereditary estate, which, narratives that are made in those little circular auaccording to the tradition of the village where it diences; sometimes I smoke a pipe at Child's,t lies, was bounded by the same hedges and ditches in and, while I seem attentive to nothing but the PostWilliam the Conqueror's time that it is at present, man, overhear the conversation of every table in and has been delivered down from father to son, the room. I appear on Sunday night at St. whole and entire, without the loss or acquisition James's coffee-house, and sometimes join the litof a single field or meadow, during the space of six tle committee of politics in the inner room, as one hundred years. There runs a story in the family, who comes there to hear and improve. My face is that when my mother was gone with child of me likewise very well known at the Grecian, the about three months, she dreamt that she was Cocoa-Tree, and in the theatres both of Drury brought to bed of a judge. Whether this might Lane and the Haymarket. I have been taken for proceed from a law-suit which was then depending a merchant upon the Exchange for above these ten in the family, or my father's being a justice of the years, and sometimes pass for a Jew in the assempeace, I cannot determine; for I am not so vain bly of stock-jobbers at Jonathan's. In short, as to think it presaged any dignity that I should wherever I see a cluster of people, I always mix arrive at in my future life, though that was the in- with them, though I never open my lips but in my terpretation which the neighbourhood put upon it. own club. The gravity of my behaviour at my very first appearance in the world, and at the time that sucked, seemed to favour my mother's dream: for, as she has often told me, I threw away my rattle be fore I was two months old, and would not make tise of my coral until they had taken away the As for the rest of my infancy; there being no-ness, and diversion of others, better than those who thing in it remarkable, I shall pass it over in si-are engaged in them; as standers-by discover blots, lence. I find that, during my nonage, I had the which are apt to escape those who are in the reputation of a very sullen youth, but was always game. I never espoused any part with violence, a favourite of my schoolmaster, who used to say, and am resolved to observe an exact neutrality be that my parts were solid, and would wear well tween the whigs and tories, unless I shall be forced I had not been long at the university before I dis- to declare myself by the hostilities of either side. tinguished myself by a most profound silence; for, In short, I have acted in all the parts of my life as curing the space of eight years, excepting in the a looker-on, which is the character I intend to prepublic exercises of the college, I scarce uttered the serve in this paper. quantity of a hundred words; and indeed do not remember that I ever spoke three sentences toge- tician and antiquary, who, after visiting Egypt, published a book ther in my whole life. Whilst I was in this learn entitled Pyramidographia." ed body, I applied myself with so much diligence This coffee house, in St. Paul's Church-yard, was the resort my studies, that there are very few celebrated In Change Alley.
bells from it.
Thus I live in the world rather as a Spectator of mankind than as one of the species; by which means I have made myself a speculative statesman, soldier, merchant, and artizan, without ever meddling with any practical part in life. I am very well versed in the theory of a husband or a father, and can discern the errors in the economy, busi
An allusion, no doubt, to Mr. John Greaves, a mathema.
of the clergy.
I have given the reader just so much of my his- was inventor of that famous country-dance which tory and character, as to let him see I am not al- is called after him. All who know that shire are together unqualified for the business I have under- very well acquainted with the parts and merits of taken. As for other particulars in my life and ad- Sir Roger. He is a gentleman that is very singular in ventures, I shall insert them in following papers, his behaviour, but his singularities proceed from his as I shall see occasion. In the mean time, when good sense, and are contradictions to the manners I consider how much I have seen, read, and heard, of the world, only as he thinks the world is in the I begin to blame my own taciturnity; and since I wrong. However, this humour creates him no enehave neither time nor inclination to communicate mies, for he does nothing with sourness or obstinathe fulness of my heart in speech, I am resolved to cy; and his being unconfined to modes and forms, do it in writing, and to print myself out, if possi- makes him but the readier and more capable to ble, before I die. I have been often told by my please and oblige all who know him. When he is friends, that it is pity, so many useful discoveries in town, he lives in Soho Square.* It is said, he which I have made should be in the possession of a keeps himself a bachelor by reason he was crossed silent man. For this reason, therefore, I shall in love by a perverse beautiful widow of the next publish a sheet-full of thoughts every morning for county to him. Before this disappointment Sir the benefit of my contemporaries; and if I can Roger was what you call a fine gentleman, had any way contribute to the diversion or improve- often supped with my Lord Rochester and Sir ment of the country in which I live, I shall leave George Etheridge, fought a duel upon his first it, when I am summoned out of it, with the secret coming to town, and kicked bully Dawson in a satisfaction of thinking that I have not lived in public coffee-house, for calling him youngster. But being ill used by the above-mentioned widow, he There are three very material points which I was very serious for a year and a half: and though, have not spoken to in this paper; and which, for his temper being naturally jovial, he at last got several important reasons, I must keep to myself, over it, he grew careless of himself, and never at least for some time; I mean, an account of my dressed afterwards. He continues to wear a coat name, my age, and my lodgings. I must confess, and doublet of the same cut that were in fashion I would gratify my reader in any thing that is rea- at the time of his repulse, which, in his merry hu sonable; but as for these three particulars, though mours, he tells us, has been in and out twelve times I am sensible they might tend very much to the em- since he first wore it. It is said Sir Roger grew hom bellishment of my paper, I cannot yet come to a ble in his desires after he had forgot his cruel beau resolution of communicating them to the public. ty, insomuch that it is reported he has frequently They would indeed draw me out of that obscurity offended in point of chastity with beggars and gip. which I have enjoyed for many years, and expose sies; but this is looked upon, by his friends, rather me in public places to several salutes and civilities, as matter of raillery than truth. He is now in his which have been always very disagreeable to me; fifty-sixth year, cheerful, gay and hearty; keeps a for the greatest pain I can suffer, is the being good house both in town and country; a great talked to, and being stared at. It is for this rea- lover of mankind; but there is such a mirthful cast son, likewise, that I keep my complexion and in his behaviour, that he is rather beloved than dress as very great secrets; though it is not impossi- esteemed. () ble but I may make discoveries of both in the progress of the work I have undertaken.
His tenants grow rich, his servants look satisfied, all the young women profess love to him, and the young men are glad of his company. When he comes into a house he calls the servants by their names, and talks all the way up stairs to a visit. must not omit, that Sir Roger is a justice of the quorum; that he fills the chair at a quarter-session with great abilities: and three months ago gained universal applause by explaining a passage in the game-act.
After having been thus particular upon myself, I shall in to-morrow's paper give an account of those gentlemen who are concerned with me in this work; for, as I have before intimated, a plan I of it is laid and concerted (as all other matters of importance are) in a club. However, as my friends have engaged me to stand in the front, those who have a mind to correspond with me may direct their letters to the Spectator, at Mr. Buckley's, in The gentleman next in esteem and authority Little Britain; for I must further acquaint the rea- among us is another bachelor, who is a member of der, that though our club meets only on Tuesdays the Inner-Temple; a man of great probity, wit, and Thursdays, we have appointed a committee, to and understanding; but he has chosen his place of sit every night for the inspection of all such papers residence rather to obey the direction of an old as may contribute to the advancement of the pub-humorsome father, than in pursuit of his own inlic weal.
N° 2. FRIDAY, MARCH 2, 1710-11.
-Ast alii sex
Et plures, uno conclamant ore—
clinations. He was placed there to study the laws of the land, and is the most learned of any of the house in those of the stage. Aristotle and Longinus are much better understood by him than Littleton or Coke. The father sends up every post questions relating to marriage-articles, leases, and tenures, in the neighbourhood; all which questions he agrees with an attorney to answer and take care of in
probably, have been only a vague report. Mr. Tickell seems have been of opinion, that the account of the Spectator and the club are altogether fictitious.
JUV. Sat. vii. 167.
His papers in the Spectator are all marked by some one of the letters composing the word CLIO. See No. 555.
This character is said by Mr. Tyers to have been drawn for Sir John Packington of Worcestershire; a tory, not with out good sense, but abounding in absurdities. But this may,
* Then the most fashionable part of the town.
Dr. Johnson said it appeared to him, that the story of the widow was intended to have something superinduced upon it; but the superstructure did not come.' Boswell's Life of Johnson, vol. ii. p. 376, 3d edit.
A noted sharper, swaggerer, and debauchee, well known in Black Friars and its then infamous purlieus; and to expose whom, it has been said, the character of Captain Hackum, în Shadwell's comedy called The Squire of Alsatia, was drawn,