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NOTE ON THE EARLY ISSUES OF ' THE SPECTATOR.'
Mar. 1. It is a foolscap folio, printed in two columns on each of its ' two pages; advertisements occupying the greater part of the fourt column. The serial continues or ninety-three weeks.
[ 1711. No. 1 of The Spectator appears 'To be Continued every Day.' 0
June 1. N 0. 80 appears.
sSept. 14. No. x7o appears. Nov. 20. No. .227 as the following announcement. "There is now Printing by Subscription two Volumes of the SPECTATORS
: Bound and Gilt two Guineas. Those who are inclined to Subscribe,
will be ready for the Subscribers ator before Christmas next." rDec. I8. No. 25! appears.
I 19. No. 252 appears. rnzzr- No. 262. ' he papers on Milton are announced. Jan. .5. No. 267. The first paper on Paradise Lost appears. 8. No. 269 has this announcement. "The First and Second Volumes of the SPECTATOR in 8vo are now ready to be de
5 znd Ell. livered to the Subscribers, by J. Tonson at Shakespear's Head P-4
over-against Catherine-street in the Strand." . Jan. 12. No. 273. The second Milton paper ap ears. 18. No. 278 advertises " This Day is Published, A very neat
Pocket Edition of the SPECTATOR, in 2 Vols. 120. Printed for 3rd Ell. Sam. Buckley at the Dolphin in Little-Britain, and J. Tonson at Shakespear's Head over-against Catherine-street in the Strand." kjan. 19-Mar. 8. Eight more papers on Paradise Lost appear.
( There is no announcement in the Original issue, when Vols. III and IV were ready for delivery to the subscribers of the first gnd Ld. two, of which they were issued, with an Index, as a completion. Vol. III contains a List of the subscribers to the second edition of these earlier numbers of The Spectator. The list contains 4o2 names, including a large proportion of aristocratic titles; and amongsother the names ol:'Sir Isaac Newton, SirRichard April? Blackmore, 8tc. The probability is that as the subscribers would naturally com lete their sets, the reprinting would go ona little in arrear of the (liiginal issue, and that these volumes were delivered some time in A pril. The 4 volumes apparently rcalized ,Ci,6o8. Aug, 1, io. Annoe, c. 18 comes into force. It imposes a Stamp duty of an Halfpenny upon ever Pamphlet or Paper contained in Half a Sheet, and One Shilling upon every printed advertisement.-Statutesix. 617. This stamp is still seen on many copies. - Nov. 11. No. 533 advertises " This Day is Publish'd, A very neat i3rd Ell. Pocket edition of the 3d and 4th olumes of the Spectator in 120To which is added a compleat Index to the whole4 Volumes. Scc." Dec. 6. No 555, Steele announcing, in his own name, the conclusion of the series, states, "I have nothin more to add, but having swelled this Work to 555 Papers, tiey will be disposed into 2nU Ld. seven Volumes, four of which are already publish'd, and the
Spectators of above Nine thousand each Book is already sold ofi',
laid." He is evidently referring to the original daily issues. Two years later, The Spectator was revived for about six months.
.-7 2nd Ell. on a large character in Octavo; the Price ot' the two Vols. well are desired to make their first Payments to Jacob Tonson, Bookseller in the Strand ; the Books being so near finished, that they
three others in the Press. It will not be demanded of me why I now leave off, tho' I must own my self obliged to give an Account to the Town of my Time hereafter. since I retire when their Partiality to me is so great, that an Edition of the former Volumes of
and the Tax on each half Sheet has brought into the StampOfiice one Week with another above 201. a Week arising from this single Paper, notwithstanding it at first reduced it to less than L half the number that was usually Printed before this Tax was
A Think my self highly obli ged to the Publick for
their kindAcceptance of a Paper which vifits
them every Morning, and has in it none of
' "X" thoseSeafimz"zgs thatrecommend so many of the Writings which are in vogue among us.
As, on the one Side, my Paper has not in it a fingle Wbrd of News, a Reflection in Politicks, nor a Stroke of Party; so, on the other, there are no fashionable Touches of Infidelity, no obscene Ideas, no Satyrs upon Priesthood, Marriage, and the like popular Topicks of Ridicule ; no private Scandal, nor any thing that may tend to the Defamation of particular Persons, Families, or Societies.
There is not one of these abovementioned Subjects that would not fell a very indifferent Paper, could I think of gratifying the Publick by such mean and base Methods: But notwithstanding I have rejected every thing that favours of Party, every thing that is loose and immoral, and every thing that might create Uneafiness in the Minds of particular Persons, I find that the Demand for my Papers has encreased every Month fince their first Appearance in the World. This does not perhaps reflect so much Honour upon my self, as on my Readers, who give a much greater Attention to Discourses of Virtue and Morality, than ever I expected, or indeed could hope.
K 12 THE SPECTATOR EXPRESSES HIS SATISFACTION
When I broke loose from that great Body of Writers who have employed their Wit and Parts in propagating Vice and Irreligion, I did not question but I should be treated as an odd kind of Fellow that had a Mind to appear fingular in my Way of Writing: But the general Reception I have sound, convinces me that the World is not so corrupt as we are apt to imagine; and that if those Men of Parts who have been employed in viciating the Age had endeavoured to rectisy and amend it, they needed not to have sacrificed their good Sense and Virtue to their Fame and Reputation. No Man is so sunk in Vice and Ignorance, but there are still some hidden Seeds of Goodness and Knowledge in him ; which give him a Relish of such Reflections and Speculations as have an Aptness inl' them' to improve the Mind and'to make the Heart better.
I have shewn in a former Paper, with how much Care I have avoided all such Thoughts as are loose, obscene, or immoral ; and I believe my Reader would still think the better of me, if he knew the Pains I am at in qualisying what I write after such a Manner, that nothing may be interpreted as aimed at private Persons. For this Reason when I draw any faulty Character, I confider all those Persons to whom the Malice of the World may possibly apply it, and take care to dash it with such particular Circumstances as may prevent all such ill-natured Applications. If I write any thing on a black Man, I run over in my Mind all the eminent Persons in the Nation who are of that Complection: When I place an imaginary Name at the Head of a Charafter, I examine every Syllable and Letter of it, that it may not bear any Resemblance to one that is real. I know very well the Value which every Man sets upon his Reputation, and how painful it is to be exposed to the Mirth and Derifion of the Publick, and should therefore scor n to divert my Reader at the Expence of any private Man.
As I have been thus tender of every particular Person's Reputation, so I have taken more than ordi
. AT THE RECEPTION OF 1-llS PAPERS. 13
nary Care not to give Offence to those who appear in the higher Figures of Life, I would not make my self merry even with a Piece of Pasteboard that is invested with a publick Character; for which Reason I have never glanced upon the late defigned Procesiion of his Holiness and his Attendants, notwithstanding it might have afforded Matter to many ludicrous Speculations. Among thosesAdvantages which the Publick may reap from this Paper, it is not the least, that it draws Mens Minds off from the Bitterness of Party, and furnishes them with Subjects of Discourse that may be treated without Warmth'or Pasfion. This is said to have been the first Defign of those Gentlemen who set on Foot the Royal Society ; and had then a very good Efiect, as it turned many of the greatest Genius's of that Age to the Disquifitions of natural Knowledge, who, if they had engaged in Politicks with the same Parts and Application, might have set their Country in a Flame. The Air-Pump, the Barometer, the Quadrant, and the like Inventions, were thrown out to those busy Spirits, as Tubs and Barrels are to a Whale, that he may let the Ship fail on without Disturbance, while he diverts himself with those innocent Amusements.
I have been so very scrupulous in this Particular of not hurting any Man's Reputation, that I have forborn mentioning even such Authors as I could not name with Honour. This I must confess to have been a Piece of very great Self-denial: For as the Publick relishes nothing better than the Ridicule which turns upon a Writer of any Eminence, so there is nothing which a Man that has but a very ordinary Talent in Ridicule may execute with greater Ease. One might raise Laughter for a Quarter of a Year together upon the Works of a Person who has published but a very few Volumes. For which Reasons I am astonished, that those who have appeared against this Paper have made so very little of it. The Criticisms which I have hitherto published, have been made with an Intention rather tc discover Beauties and Excellencies in the