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does a benefit to the whole species. Nothing can be a more common good, or a more diffus: five blessing, than freedom, which is the great foundation-stone of happiness. It is, therefore, that we pay distinguished honours to our late departed friend, and pronounce Sir Richard Steele a benefactor to the human species.
This excellent man was born to a fortune much 'inferior to his merits : his early life was formed in camps, and seasoned to the toils of war; yet, greatly brave, and of unquestioned honour, his was a lettered genius, nor fond of military glory. He shone distinguished, even whilst in humble privacy; obscured not more by his low rank in life than by his native modesty. Here he was selected by the brave Lord Cutts *, whose discernment knew the noble
genius even in the private soldier. That gallant man was his generous, disinterested patron; raised him to a better fate, and placed him in the light that he deserved. And this alone was a glorious virtue; all the services Sir Richard Steele did afterwards render to his country, all the honour and reputation he acquired by his actions or writings; all these were owing to Lord Cutts, who, when he raised a deserving man, did the world a benefit. Fair example, to men of power, whose influence on the happiness of mankind is very great and important, * See above, p. 279.
if only considered in those whom they draw up after them. Here they have ample opportunities to bless the future generations, fince, by judiciously discerning and promoting merit, however humble or obscure, they leave the most valuable legacies to the people and times which succeed them.
: Such a legacy was Sir Richard Steele, who wanted nothing more to make him useful than to be known. He had great vivacity and ready address; was diffident of his own judgement, and yielding to other men: he had fine wit and true humour; a wit which was candid and goodnatured: he was always willing to do good of. fices, and far from being envious of merit in other men.
Hence he was loved and honoured by all men. None was more happy or extensive in his acquaintance : none was a more agreeable companion, or useful friend. This was his priváte life, and this might well recommend him to public esteem.
To him we owe that invaluable work which he commenced in “The Tatler," and, affifted by the immortal labours of his ingenious friend Mr. Addison, carried into numerous volumes *. Here
he * The very commeridable and spirited svriter of this sentimental essay, evidently includes, under the general name of TATLER, ali the valuable periodical papers which STEELE began under this firft title, and continued to publish for the entertainment and instruction of his countrymen, daily, or occasionally, for many years, under the diversified titles of “ The Spectator,” “ The
he began a work which at once refined our language and improved our morals. None ever attempted with more success to form the mind to virtue, or polish the manners of common life; none ever touched the passions in that pleasing, prevailing method, or so well inculcated the most useful and instructive leffons. I say, none did ever thus happily perform so important a work as these illustrious colleagues, who, by adapting themselves to the pleasures, promoted the best virtues of human nature; infinuated themselves by all the arts of fine perfuafion; employed the most delicate wit and humour in the cause of truth and good sense ; nor gave offence to the niost rigid devotees, or looseft debauchees, but soon grew popular, though advo. cates of virtue.
* Guardian," “ The Englishman,” “ The Lover," "The Spinster,"
," " The Reader,” “ The Town.talk," “ The Tea“ table,” “ The Plebeian," &c. 'They make in all very many volumes ;
66 The Spinster,” “ The Tea-table," “ The e Town-talk," and " The Plebeian,” were never re-published, the Editor of this work would be glad to be furnished with complete sets of all, or of any of them, in their original folio or octavo form. They are wanted, not only for the purpose of re-publike ing them in volumes with notes and illustrations, but also for the fake of a work in preparation, which, if it can be brought to ana fwer in any tolerable manner the idea of its projector, may be intituled, “ A Critical Review of the Life and Writings of Sir " RICHARD STEELE.”-N. B. The Editor has got a very perfect fet of “ The Theatre,” which likewise can only be procured s at present (and that not without difficulty) in its half-Sheet ftete; and which therefore he will speedily re-printa
This was laying the axe to the root of vice and iminorality. All the pulpit discourses of a year scarce produced half the good as flowed from the Spectator of a day*. They who were tired and lulled to sleep by a long and laboured harangue, or terrified at the appearance of large and weighty volumes, could chearfully attend to a single half-theet, where they found the images of Virtue fo lively and amiable, where Vice was so agreeably ridiculed that it grew painful to no man to part with his beloved fol. lies; nor was he easy tili he had practised those qualities which charmed so much in fpecula. tion. Thus good nature and good sense became habitual to their readers. Every morning they were instructed in some new principle of duty, which was endeared to them by the beauties of description, and thereby impressed on their minds in the most indelible characters.
Such a work as this, in a Roman age, would have been more glorious than a public triumph; statues would have been raised, and medals have been struck, in honour of the authors. Antiquity had so high a sense of gratitude for the communication of kuowledge, that they worthiped their lawgivers, and deified the fathers of
* For instruction in common life, “ nothing is so proper as “ frequent publication of thort papers, which we read not as a “ ftudy but amusement. If the subject be flight, the treatise “ likewise is short. The busy may find time, and the idle may find patience.” Dr. JOHNSON.
science. How then must they have acknowa ledged services like these, where every man grew wiser and better by the fine instruction!
Yet we must not leave Sir Richard Steele on this point, nor reft his merits on the glory of a plan which was so well performed by him and his immortal friend; which was never interlarded with scandal or faction, and which was a fatire on vices, not nien* No, we must conduct him
* Mr, Newcomb, in a satire published in 1712, under the title of “ Bibliotheca; a Poem, occasioned by the sight of a Modern “ Library,” after describing the progress of OBLIVION in a manner to which the GODDESS OF THE DUNCIAD bears a more than accidental resemblance, thus animatedly describes our Author:
“ Still to proceed the Goddess try'd,
Hail, mighty name! of all thy pen