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of no guile, is not afraid to be remembered by posterity.'
I think I ought not to conclude, without interesting all my readers in the subject of this discourse : I shall therefore lay it down as a maxim, that though all are not capable of shining in learning or the politer arts ; yet every one is capable of excelling in something. The soul has in this respect a certain vegetative power which cannot lie wholly idle. If it is not laid out and cultivated into a regular and beautiful garden, it will of itself shoot up in weeds or flowers of a wilder growth.
No. DLV. SATURDAY, DECEMBER 6.
Lay the fictitious character aside.
ALL the members of the imaginary society which were described in my first papers, having dis. appeared one after another, it is high time for the Spectator himself to go off the stage. But, now I am to take my leave, I am under much greater anxiety than I have known for the work of any day since I undertook this province. It is much more difficult to converse with the world in a real than a personated character. That might pass for humour in the Spectator, which would look like arrogance in a writer who sets his name to his work. The fictitious person might contemn those who disapproved him, and extol his own performances, without giving offence. He might assume a mock-authority, without being looked upon as vain and con
ceited. The praises or censures of himself fall only upon the creature of his imagination ; and if any one finds fault with him, the author may reply with the philosopher of old, · Thou dost but beat the case of Anaxarchus. When I speak in my own private sentiments, I cannot but address myself to my readers in a more submissive manner, and with a just gratitude, for the kind reception which they have given to these daily papers, that have been published for almost the space of two years last past.
I hope the apology I have made as to the licence allowable to a feigned character, may excuse any thing which has been said in these discourses of the Spectator and his works; but the imputation of the grossest vanity would still dwell upon me, if I did not give some account by what means I was enabled to keep up the spirit of so long and approved a performance. All the papers marked with a C, an L, an I, or an O, that is to say, all the papers which I have distinguished by any letter in the name of the muse CLIO, were given me by the gentleman of whose assistance I formerly boasted in the preface and concluding leaf of my Tatlers. I am indeed much more proud of his long-continued friendship, than I should be of the fame of being thought the author of any writings which he himself is capable of producing. I remember when I finished The Tender Husband, I told him there was nothing I so ardently wished, as that we might some time or other publish a work written by us both, which should bear the name of The Monument, in memory of our friendship. I heartily wish what I have done here, was as honorary to that sacred name, as learning, wit, and humanity render those pieces which I have taught the reader how to distinguish for his. When the play above mentioned was last acted, there were so many applauded strokes in it
which I had from the same hand, that I thought very meanly of myself that I have never publicly acknowledged them. After I have put other friends upon importuning him to publish dramatic, as well as other writings he has by him, I shall end what I think I am obliged to say on this head, by giving my reader this Hint for the better judging of my productions, that the best comment upon them would be an account when the patron to The Tender Husband was in England, or abroad.
The reader will also find some papers which are marked with the letter X, for which he is obliged to the ingenious gentleman who diverted the town with the epilogue to The Distressed Mother. I might have owned these several papers with the free consent of these gentlemen, who did not write them with a design of being known for the authors. But as a candid and sincere behaviour ought to be preferred to all other considerations, I would not let my heart reproach me with a consciousness of hav. ing acquired a praise which is not my right. Ali
The other assistances which I have had, have been conveyed by letter, sometimes by whole papers, and other times by short hints from unknown hands. I have not been able to trace favours of this kind, with any certainty, but to the following names, which I place in the order wherein I received the obligation, though the first I am going to name can' hardly be mentioned in a list wherein he would not deserve the precedence. The persons to whom I am to make these acknowledgments are Mr. Hen. ry Martin, Mr. Pope, Mr. Hughes, Mr. Carey of New-College in Oxford, Mr. Tickell of Queen's in the same university, Mr. Parnelle, and Mr. Eusden, of Trinity in Cambridge. Thus, to speak in the language of my late friend Sir Andrew Freeport, I have balanced my accounts with all my creditors for wit and learning. But as these excellent VOL. VII.
performances would not have seen the light without the means of this paper, I may still arrogate to myself the merit of their being communicated to the public.
I have nothing more to add, but having swelled this work to five hundred and fifty-five papers, they will be disposed into seven volumes, four of which are already published, and the three others in the press. It will not be demanded of me why I nov leave off, though I must own myself 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 Spectators of above nine thousand each book is already sold off, and the tax on each half sheet has brought into the stamp-office one week with another above 201. a week arising from this single paper, notwithstanding it at first reduced it to less than half the number that was usually printed before this tax was laid.
humbly beseech the continuance of this inclination to favour what I may hereafter produce, and hope I have in my occurrences of life tasted so deeply of pain and sorrow, that I am proof against much more prosperous circumstances than any advantages to which my own industry can possibly exalt me.
my good natured reader,
your most obedient,
Vos valete & plaudite.
The following letter regards an ingenious set of gentlemen, who have done me the honour to make me one of their society.
• Dec, 4, 1712, (MR. SPECTATOR, . • THE Academy of Painting, lately established in London, having done you and themselves the honour to choose you one of their directors ; that noble and lively art, which before was entitled to your regard as a Spectator, has an additional claim to you, and you seem to be under a double obligation to take some care of her interests.
• The honour of our country is also concerned in the matter I am going to lay before you : we (and perhaps other nations as well as we have a national false humility as well as a national vain glory; and though we boast ourselves to excel all the world in thing'wherein we are outdone abroad, in other things we attribute to others a superiority which we ourselves possess. This is what is done, particu. larly in the art of Portrait or Face-Painting.
Painting is an art of a vast extent, too great by much for any mortal man to be in full possession of, in all its parts ; it is enough if any one succeed in painting faces, history, battles, landskips, seapieces, fruit, flowers, or drolls, &c. Nay, no man ever was excellent in all the branches (though ma. ny in number) of these several arts, for a distinct art I take upon me to call every one of those several kinds of painting.
And as one man may be a good landskip painter, but unable to paint a face or a history tolerably well, and so of the rest ; one nation may excel in some kinds of painting, and other kinds may thrive better in other climates.
• Italy may have the preference of all other nations for history-painting ; Holland for drolls, and a neat finished manner of working ; France for gay, janty, fluttering pictures; and England for pors traits : but to give the honour of every one of these kinds of painting to any one of those nations on ac