Зображення сторінки
PDF
ePub

cited number, Swift writes impatiently in his Journal, I will not meddle with the Spectator: let him fair-ser it to the world's end.'

CHAP. XIV. THE COVERLEY Ducks.

Nos. 120 and 121. Wednesday, July 18th, and Thursday, 19th, 1711. By Addison.

CHAP. XV. Sir Roger ON THE Bench.

Spectator, No. 122. Friday, July 20th, 1711. By Addison.

Page 101. He is just within the Game Act. The 3rd of James the First, chap. 14, clause v., provides that if any person who has not real property producing forty pounds per Ann., or who has not two hundred pounds worth of goods and chattels, shall presume to shoot game; • Then any person having lands, tenements, or hereditaments, of the clear yearly value of one hundred pounds a year, may take from the person or possession of such malefactor or malefactors, and to his own use forever keep, such guns, bows, crossbows, buckstalls, engine-hays, nets, ferrets, and coney dogs, &c.' This amiable enactment which permitted a one hundred pound freeholder to become in his single person, accuser, witness, judge, jury, and executioner; and which made an equally respectable but poorer man who shot a hare

malefactor was the law of the land even so lately as 827, for it was only repealed the 7th and 8th Geo. IV. chap. 27.

a

Chap. XVI. THE STORY OF AN Heir.

No. 123. Saturday, July 21, 1711. By Addison.

Page 107. Eudorus and Leontine began the world with small estates.

• Being very well pleased with this day's Spectator, (writes Mr. Addison to Mr. Wortley, under date “ July 21, 1711,") I cannot forbear sending you one of them, and desiring your opinion of the story in it. When you have a son I shall be glad to be his Leontine, as my circumstances will probably be like his. I have within this twelve-month lost a place of 2000l. per annum, an estate in the Indies of 14,0001., and what is worse than all the rest, my mistress. Hear this and wonder at my philosophy. I find they are going to take away my Irish place from me too : to which I must add, that I have just resigned my fellowship, and that the stocks sink every day. If you have any hints or subjects, pray send me up a paper full. I long to talk an evening with you. I believe I shall not go to Ireland this summer, and perhaps would pass a month with you, if I knew where. Lady Bellasis is very much your humble servant. Dick Steele and I often remember you.'

Of the estate in · The Indies' — referred to also by Swift - no intelligible notice has been found. The mistress was probably the perverse widow, the Countess; who, at that date, had perhaps cast him off for ever' - after the manner of capricious ladies several times during a single courtship.

- Chap. XVII. Sir Roger AND PARTY SPIRIT.

Nos. 125 and 126. Wednesday, July 25th, and Thursday, 26, 1711. Both by Addison.

Page 114. This worthy Knight had occasion to enquire which was the way to St. Anne's Lane. There were two St. Anne's lanes which might have cost Sir Roger trouble to find ; one

on the north side of St. Martin's-le-Grand just within Aldersgate Street' (Stow); and the other – which it requires sharp eyes to find in Strype's map — turning out of Great Peter Street, Westminster. Mr. Peter Cunningham, in his admirable Hand Book for London, prefers supposing Sir Roger enquiring his way in Westminster.

Page 115. Sir Roger generally closes his narrative with reflections on the Mischief that Parties do in the Country. There is scarcely a period when party spirit raged so fiercely as at the date of these numbers of the Spectator; for, although faction had long sheathed the sword, the tongue in coffeehouses and the pen in pamphlets were never more bitterly or rancorously employed. Only a few months previously, the trial of Dr. Sachevrel and the bed-chamber cabal’ - of which Mrs. Masham was chief — had overturned the Godolphin ministry; and had brought in the Tories with Harley at their head, backed by a new and eminently Tory House of Commons, with Whiggery enough in the Upper House and in the camarilla, to keep the flames of party in full glow. So nearly were sides balanced in the House of Lords, that to carry

the peace project, which ended in the treaty of Utrecht, Anne was afterwards obliged to make twelve new

ear.

Tory Peers a jury' of such well packed Tories, that a Whig wit asked one of them if they intended to vote by their • foreman.' The Duchess of Somerset was still retained about the person of the Queen ; and counteracted, in part, the subtle Tory whisperings of Mrs. Masham into Anne's

The lucrative employments of the Duchess of Marlborough were divided between these two favourites. The Duke was on the eve of being impeached for peculation, and his regiment had actually been transferred to Hill, Mrs. Masham's brother. The Whigs violently advocated the continuance of a war which Marlborough's victories had made at once so profitable to his private fortune and so glorious to the nation. The Tories and the Queen strove equally for peace: nor did this contest suspend the Church controversy which Sachevrel's trial had brought to issue without deciding.

These questions ranged the British Public into two ranks, under Whig and Tory banners; and carried the battle into private life in the manner not less truthfully than humorously described in the text, and in various other chapters of the Spectator. Families were estranged and friendships broken up, especially amongst those who played prominent parts in the struggle — such as Swift on the Tory, and Addison and Steele on the Whig side. Yet it is gratifying to observe, that the softening influences of literature afforded a lingering link of union to these men even after they were in political opposition. Swift, the foremost party pamphleteer of his day, did not scruple to use his influence with Harley, in favour of · Pastoral’ Philips, Congreve, and on one occa

sion for Steele. On the day of publication of the paper which forms part of our present chapter, (Thursday, July 26th, 1711), Swift, Addison, and Steele, dined together at young Jacob Tonson's, • Mr. Addison and I talked as usual, and as if we had seen one another yesterday; and Steele and I were very easy, though I wrote him a biting letter in answer to one of his, where he desired me to recommend a friend of his to the Lord Treasurer.' Again, under a later date, Swift writes to Stella, ' I met Pastoral Philips and Mr. Addison on the Mall to-day, and took a turn with them; but they looked terribly dry and cold. A curse on party!'

The bonds of other classes of society were more forcibly riven. The lower the grade the more inveterate the contention : for, as Pope said about that time, · There never was any party, faction, sect, or cabal whatsoever, in which the most ignorant were not the most violent; for a bee is not a busier animal than a blockhead.' Even trade was tainted by the poison of party. The buying, in its dealings with the selling public, more generally enquired into the political principles of tradesmen, than into the excellence or defects of their wares. Inn-keepers as we find in the text were especially subjected to this rule, and their politics were known by the signs at their doors. Addison's 'Freeholder's' introduction to the Tory fox hunter was commenced by the recommendation of a host — A lusty fellow, that lives well, is at least three yards in the girt, and is the best Church of England man upon the road.'

Not the least conspicuous partizans were, alas, of the gentler sex; for the chiefs of each faction were women, and

« НазадПродовжити »