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and the great actions and events of next year particularly related as they will come to pass. Written to prevent the public from being further imposed upon by vulgar almanack makers, by Isaac Bickerstaff, Esq.

“My first prediction," says the writer, “is but a trifle, yet I will mention it, to show how ignorant these sottish pretenders to astrology are in their own concerns: it relates to Partridge, the almanack maker. I have consulted the star of his nativity by my own rules, and find he will infallibly die upon the 29th of March next, about eleven at night, of a raging fever; therefore I advise him to consider of it, and settle his affairs in time."

The prediction respecting the Cardinal de Noalles caused the pamphlet to be burned by order of the Inquisition in Portugal, and its author and readers to be anathematized. Swift followed it up by “ An Answer to Bickerstaff,” and another tract narrating “The Accomplishment of the first of Mr. Bickerstaff's predictions, being an account of the death of Mr. Partridge, the almanack maker, upon the 29th instant."

The wits of the time joined Swift in the jeu d'esprit, which created an extraordinary sensation, and we are told that numbers actually put faith in the predictions so gravely announced. An exceedingly humorous account of their supposed results appeared, purporting to come from Partridge, entitled “Squire Bickerstaff Detected,” which is attributed both to Rowe, the poet laureate, and the Rev. Dr. Yalden, but is too long for insertion. Partridge himself was driven beyond all bounds, and in his rage had the folly to insert an advertisement in his next year's almanack, which is copied by the “Tatler :"

“Whereas it has been industriously given out by Isaac Bickerstaff, Esq., and others, to prevent the sale of this year’s almanack, that John Partridge is dead: this may inform all his loving countrymen that he is still living, in health, and they are knaves that reported it otherwise."

Steele returned to the subject in the very first number of the “Tatler," where, in reply to the foregoing, he says, “I have in another place, and in a paper by itself, sufficiently convinced this man that he is dead; and, if he has any shame, I do not doubt but that by this time he owns it to all his acquaintance; for, though the legs, and arms, and whole body of that man may still appear, and perform their animal functions, yet since, as I have elsewhere observed, his art is gone, the man is gone." Among numerous other references to the subject, he says in another paper :

6 Whereas a commission of interment has been awarded against Dr. John Partridge, philomath,

professor of physic and astrology; and whereas the said Partridge hath not surrendered himself, nor shown cause to the contrary, these are to certify that the company of upholders will proceed to bury him from Cordwainer's Hall, on Tuesday, the 29th inst., where any six of his surviving friends, who still believe him to be alive, are desired to come prepared to hold up the pall.

Note-We shall light away at six in the evening, there being to be a sermon.'

To these remarks may be appropriately added some passages from Mr. Hazlitt's admirable lecture on the essayists, the whole of which is well worthy of perusal:

“The writers I speak of are, if not moral philosophers, moral historians, and that's better; or, if they are both, they found the one character upon the other. ...

The first of these papers that was attempted in this country was set up by Steele in the beginning of the last century; and, of all our periodical essayists, the “Tatler” (for that was the name he assumed) has always appeared to me the most accomplished and agreeable. He (Bickerstaff, the assumed author) is well acquainted with the celebrated beauties of the preceding age, at the court of Charles II. ; and the old gentleman (as he feigns himself) often grows romantic in recounting the disastrous strokes which his youth suffered from the glances of their bright eyes and their unaccountable caprices. In particular, he dwells with secret satisfaction on the recollection

"Tatler,"

." No. 99.

of one of his mistresses, who left him for a richer rival, and whose constant reproach to her husband, on occasion of any quarrel between them, was, ‘I, that might have married the famous Mr. Bickerstaff, to be treated in this manner!' The club at the Trumpet consists of a set of persons almost as well worth knowing as himself. The cavalcade of the justice of the peace, the knight of the shire, the country squire, and the young gentleman, his nephew, who came to wait on him at his chambers in such form and ceremony, seem not to have settled the order of their precedence to this hour. .... Mr. Bickerstaff himself is a gentleman and a scholar, a humourist and a man of the world, with a great deal of nice easy naivete about him. .... In reading the pages of the Tatler,' we seem as if suddenly carried back to the age of Queen Anne, of toupees and full-bottomed periwigs. .. We are surprised with the rustling of hoops, and the glittering of paste buckles. The beaux and belles are of a quite different species from what they are at present; we distinguish the dappers, the smarts, and the pretty fellows as they pass by Mr. Lilly's shop-windows in the Strand; we are introduced to Betterton or Mrs. Oldfield behind the scenes .... We listen to a dispute at a tavern on the merits of the Duke of Marlborough or Marshal Turenne; or are present at the first rehearsal of a play by Vanbrugh, or the reading of a new poem by Mr. Pope. The privilege of thus virtually transporting ourselves to past times is even greater than that of visiting distant places in reality. London a hundred

years ago would be much better worth seeing than Paris at the present moment.

“It may be said, that all this is to be found in the same or a greater degree in the Spectator.' For myself, I do not think so; or at least there is in the last work a much greater proportion of common-place matter. I have on this account always preferred the “Tatler' to the Spectator.' Whether it is owing to my having been earlier or better acquainted with the one than the other, my pleasure in reading these two admirable books is not at all in proportion to their comparative reputation. The Tatler' contains only half the number of volumes, and, I will venture to say, at least an equal quantity of sterling wit and sense. The first sprightly runnings are there; it has more of the original spirit, more of the freshness and stamp of nature. The indications of character and strokes of humour are more true and frequent; the reflections that suggest themselves arise more from the occasion, and are less spun out into regular dissertations. They are more like the remarks that occur in sensible conversation, and are less like a lecture. Something is left to the understanding of the reader. Steele seems to have gone into his closet chiefly to set down what he observed out of doors. Addison seems to have spent most of his time in his study, and to have spun out and wire-drawn the hints which he borrowed from Steele, or took from nature, to the utmost. far from wishing to depreciate Addison's talents, but I am anxious to do justice to Steele, who was, I think, upon the whole, a less artificial and more original writer. The humorous descriptions of Steele resemble loose sketches of à comedy; those of Addison are rather comments or ingenious paraphrases on the genuine text. The characters of the club, not only in the Tatler,' but in the 'Spectator, were drawn by Steele. That of Sir Roger de Coverley is among the number. Addison, has, however, gained himself immortal honour by his manner of filling up this last character.

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“Many of the most exquisite pieces in the Tatler, it is to be observed, are Addison's. ... I do not know whe. ther the picture of an old college acquaintance, in the

Tatler,' where the children run to let Mr. Bickerstaff in at the door, and where the one that loses the race that way turns back to tell the father that he is come, with the nice gradation of incredulity in the little boy who is got into Guy of Warwick' and the Seven Champions,' and who shakes his head at the improbability of Æsop's Fables,' is Steele's or Addison's, though, I believe, it belongs to the former.* The account of the two sisters, one of whom holds her head higher than ordinary, from having on a pair of flowered garters, and that of the married lady who complained to the "Tatler' of the neglect of her husband, with her answers to some home questions that were put to her, are unquestionably Steele's. If the Tatler' is not inferior to the Spectator' as a record of manners and character, it is very superior to it in the interest of many of the stories. Several of the incidents related there by Steele have never been surpassed in the heart-rending pathos of private distress. ... What has given its superior reputation to the Spectator' is, the greater gravity of its pretensions, its moral dissertations and critical reasonings, by which I confess myself much less edified than by other things which are thought more lightly of. Systems and opinions change, but nature is always true. . : : . I prefer Steele’s occasional selection of beautiful poetical passages, without any affectation of analyzing their beauties, to Addison's fine-spun theories. The best criticism in the Spectator,' that on the Cartoons of Raphael, of which Mr. Fuseli has availed himself with great spirit in his lectures, is by Steele.

"I owed this acknowledgment to a writer who has often put me in good humour with myself, and everything about me, when few things else could, and when the tomes of casuistry and ecclesiastical history, with which the little volumes of the Tatler' were overwhelmed and surrounded, had tried their tranquillising effect upon me in vain.”+

In conclusion, it has been the aim of the editor to include in these pages as many of the best papers of the "Tatler' as would fall in with the plan of the work, though it by no

* “ It is Steele's; and the whole paper (No. 95),” observes Mr. Leigh Hunt, “is in his most delightful manner. The dream about his mistress, however, (No. 117), is given to Addison by the editor . . . though from the story being related personally of Bickerstaff, who is also represented as having been at that time in the army, we conclude it to have originally come from Steele, perhaps in the course of conversation. The particular incident is much more like a story of his than of Addison's.”

+ Hazlitt's “ Lectures on the English Comic Writers.”

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