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sophy, by truths in history, and even by the graces of fiction; and there is not a man of genius among foreigners who stands unconnected with our intellectual sovereignty." How far Addison contributed to the formation of this national literary character may be gathered from the commendations of Boileau, and the opened interchange of literature between England and France. The providential adaptation of eminent men to the exigencies of the times in which their lot is cast has been often remarked, but not sufficiently, we think, in the case of him to whose writings this brief memoir is prefixed. Addison wrote during one of those eventful periods of a nation's history, when its future fortunes may be said to hang trembling in the balance. Whether despotism, bigotry, sensuality, and ignorance, or liberty, toleration, knowledge, and moral power, were to have the dominion among us, was the fearful question to be decided when Addison addressed himself to the task of softening the animosities, enlightening the judgment, and refining the manners of his countrymen. The distinguishing characteristic of his writings is their moral utility. Other poets of sweeter fancy and bolder flight

have sung among us, other critics have commented with keener sagacity, and other philosophers have penetrated more deeply into the mysteries of the human soul, but no poet, nor critic, nor philosopher, ever kept more steadily in view as the grand and single object of his labours, the improvement of mankind. The moral responsibility of the author is great and proportionate to the vast effects his writings may produce; and a conviction of this serious truth seems to have influenced Addison from the commencement of his studies to the closing hour of his life. To give an enlarged account of his birth, education, and progress, from boyhood to maturity, is now an unnecessary task, were the limits of this Notice ample enough to receive the copious and instructive detail. We choose rather to confine ourselves to the single proposition with which we prefaced this essay-the one point at which, if we may so speak, the varied excellences of Addison are concentrated, but which has been less adverted to than its importance would seem to demand. "To talk in private, to think in solitude, to inquire or to answer inquiries, is the business of a scholar. He wanders about the world without pomp or

terror, and is neither known nor valued but by men like himself." Thus during his early and saddened years did Johnson describe the fate of those who labour for the good of man in retirement and silence; and thus despondingly and humbly have many felt, for whom ultimately was reserved "lasting fame and perpetuity of praise." Nor can we deny that this description of the isolated obscurity of the learned was for ages painfully true. But the days were at last arrived wherein the character of the author was to be demonstrated in all its moral and political power, when it was no longer to be considered as subordinate in society, but was destined to rear and establish that tribunal of opinion before which the general and the minister were alike to tremble. The politician could no longer affect to disbelieve that abstract principles could possess influence over society, but was constrained to turn his eyes towards the solitary author in his closet, who was stamping his own majestic character on the minds of a people, accomplishing a change in the taste and morals of a nation, and creating an epoch in the annals of the world. At such a crisis of good and evil Addison appeared, and how well he discharged

the part assigned him, the gratitude of unborn generations may declare. Those who conceive we are assigning powers to Addison which he did not possess, we would refer to an observation we have already made on the adaptation of men to the part appointed them on the great stage of life. Addison was among the first of those who addressed themselves to teaching the mass of a nation to think. Had he been animated by a loftier, fiercer spirit, his political writings would, as compositions, perhaps, have been perused in future times with more admiration, but assuredly they would have been less useful to his contemporaries. Had he possessed that physical boldness requisite for deliberative oratory, and had "senates hung on all he spoke," the mere listener for amusement would have more highly appreciated his powers, but the political animosities which he soothed would probably have raged with imbittered violence, and that calm and moral acquiescence in an established freedom, which his writings we think mainly produced, would have been deferred to a later period, for stormy, though it might be brilliant, eloquence, and ruinous, though they might be romantic and chivalrous, intrigues.

Wit has been denied to be the best test of truth, and is certainly too often used to banter, to inveigh, or to wound: it is too often the vehicle of either malice or contempt; but Addison sanctified its use by employing it against prejudices that would have withstood a ruder attack, and on the removal of which depended, in his day, the tranquillity of our country. We are aware that we here attribute a greater influence to Addison's political labours than is generally allowed them, and may be tauntingly asked, whether the composition of Latin verses and tame poetical epistles are the best productives of political efficacy. We answer, that Addison thereby disciplined his mind, and was thence enabled to give those rules of correcter taste by which the licentious poetry, still prevalent in his day, was finally rejected, and the morals of the people thereby improved. The pure and enlightened are never slaves, and his political worth is most estimable who instructs and refines. The Spectator and Tatler, and Guardian, opened a field of healthy occupation for those who might otherwise have been heating their imaginations over Wycherley's impurities, frittering away their best feelings

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