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imitation and admiration, as to detect his faults and expose them for censure. Indeed, both as an author and as a man, Dr. Drake was kindness, courtesy, and candor personified; and no one can read his eminently instructive writings without feeling that they are the productions of a mind pure, benevolent, and wellstored, and distinguished for its refined and delicate taste.


The great object which Addison ever steadily held in view, and to which his style, his criticism, his humor and imagination are alike subservient, was the increase of religious, moral, and social virtue. Perhaps to the writings of no individual, of any age or nation, if we except the result of inspiration, have morality and rational piety been more indebted than to those which form the periodical labors of our author.

That he was enabled to effect so much improvement, and to acquire a kind of moral dominion over his countrymen, must be ascribed, in a great measure, to that suavity of disposition and goodness of heart so visible throughout all his compositions, and which give to his reproof and censure, his precepts and admonitions, the air of parental affection and monitory kindness.

Upon this principle are all the moral and critical essays of our author conducted, whether they assume the severer features of preceptive wisdom, or beam with the smiles of gayety and humor. He has consequently reprobated in strong terms that spirit of defamation and revenge, of recrimination and abuse, which sullies and destroys all the beneficial effect of satire, and converts the man who has recourse to such weapons into little better than an assassin.

With equal consistency and propriety he exposes that false zeal which, whether in the cause of religion or politics, hesitates not to employ the basest means for the supposed sanctity or importance. of the end in view. The two papers that he has written on these subjects exhibit his knowledge of mankind, his good sense and purity of principle, in a full and very striking light. Without a certain species of enthusiasm or zeal, indeed, it is probable nothing great or good can be effected in society; but when this passes beyond due bounds, owing either to vicious motives or a mistaken sense of virtue, it is productive of great and incalculable mischief. "I love to see a man zealous in a good matter," says our amiable author, "and especially when his zeal shows itself for advancing morality, and promoting the happiness of mankind. But when I find the instruments he works with are racks and gibbets, galleys and dungeons; when he imprisons men's persons, confiscates their estates, ruins their families, and burns the body to save the soul, I

1 "Spectator," vol. iii. No. 185, and vol. vii. No. 507.

cannot stick to pronounce of such a one that (whatever he may think of his faith and religion) his faith is vain, and his religion unprofitable."1

On education and the domestic virtues, and on the duties incumbent on father, husband, wife, and child, the precepts of our author are numerous, just, and cogent, and delivered in that sweet, insinuating style and manner which have rendered him beyond comparison the most useful moralist this country ever possessed. The imagery by which he indicates the effect and force of education is singularly happy and appropriate; the hint is taken from Aristotle, who affirms, that in a block of marble, the statue which the sculptor ultimately produces is merely concealed, and that the effect of his art is only to remove the surrounding matter which hides the beauteous figure from the view. "What sculpture is to a block of marble," says Addison, "education is to a human soul. We see it sometimes only begun to be chipped; sometimes rough-hewn, and but just sketched into a human figure; sometimes we see the man appearing distinctly in all his limbs and features; sometimes we find the figure wrought up to a great elegancy; but seldom meet with any to which the hand of a Phidias or Praxiteles could not give several nice touches and finishings." 2 The sweetness and placidity of Addison's disposition happily led him to expatiate on topics intimately connected with, and productive of, the temper and frame of mind of which he himself exhibited so delightful an example. Hence his essays on "Contentment," on "Cheerfulness," and on "Hope," are some of the most interesting and pleasing of his productions.




He well knew that the best ingredients in the cup of human life were regulated desires and subdued expectations; and that he would be little liable to disappointment, and most able to bear up under affliction, who looked forward not to this, but to a future life for what is usually called happiness. "The utmost we can hope for in this world," he observes, "is contentment; if we aim at any thing higher, we shall meet with nothing but grief and disappointment. A man should direct all his studies and endeavors at making himself easy now and happy hereafter:" a truth which cannot be too strongly or frequently impressed upon the mind; and to which, in addition to what I have already said upon the same subject, in my observations on Steele, I am now willing to add the authority and experience of Addison.

"For, trust me, one protecting shed,

And nightly peace, and daily bread,
Is all that life can give."-LANGHORNE.

Another very consolatory resource under adversity, and which might often reconcile us to apparent evils, has been very properly

"Spectator," No. 185.

2 Ibid., No. 215.

Ibid., No. 163.

brought forward by our author as a powerful motive to contentment. "Possibly," says he, "what we now look upon as the greatest misfortune, is not really such in itself. For my own part, I question not but our souls in a separate state will look back on their lives in quite another view than what they had of them in the body; and that what they now consider as misfortunes and disappointments, will very often appear to have been escapes and blessings."


The essays on "Cheerfulness" present us with a most pleasing view of the author's habitual temper of mind, and are written with great perspicuity of argument, and in a strain of the most persuasive eloquence. The definitions of mirth and cheerfulness, with which the first essay opens, are uncommonly just and beautiful. "Mirth," says he, "is short and transient, cheerfulness fixed and permanent. Mirth is like a flash of lightning, that breaks through a gloom of clouds, and glitters for a moment; cheerfulness keeps up a kind of daylight in the mind, and fills it with a steady and perpetual serenity." He considers cheerfulness in three points of view-as it regards ourselves, or those we converse with, or the Author of our being; and affirms that nothing but guilt or infidelity ought reasonably to deprive us of its blessings. He details its salutary effects both upon the health of the body and mind, delivers observations on the goodness of the Deity in rendering creation in all its parts subservient to the promotion of this desirable state, and concludes by recommending a taste for natural history, and by inculcating a religious sense of obligation to the Creator of all that is good and beautiful. "The cheerfulness of heart," he observes, "which springs up in us from the survey of nature's works is an admirable preparation for gratitude. The mind has gone a great way toward praise and thanksgiving that is filled with such secret gladness. A grateful reflection on the Supreme Cause who produces it sanctifies it in the soul, and gives it its proper value. Such an habitual disposition of mind consecrates every field and wood, turns an ordinary walk into a morning or evening sacrifice, and will improve those transient gleams of joy which naturally brighten up and refresh the soul on such occasions, into an inviolable and perpetual state of bliss and happiness."

The piety of Addison was founded on a clear and rational view of the attributes of the Deity, and of the doctrines of Christianity; and in the "Spectator" more especially, he has seized every opportunity of supporting and illustrating the great and momentous truths of natural and revealed religion. His essays on "the Supreme Being," on the "Omnipresence of the Deity," and on the Immortality of the Soul," exhibit the power and goodness of the Creator in a manner at once sublime and philosophic. I consider,

1 "Spectator," Nos. 381, 387, 393.
a Ibid., No. 565.

2 Ibid., No. 531.
Ibid., No. 111.


indeed, the paper on "Omnipresence and Omniscience" as one of the most perfect, impressive, and instructive pieces of composition that ever flowed from the pen of an uninspired moralist.1

Of the literary character of Addison, the preceding essays have attempted to delineate the leading features, and will, it is probable, impress upon the mind of the reader a very high idea of its excellence and utility. To him, in the first place, may we ascribe the formation of a style truly classical and pure, whose simplicity and grace have not yet been surpassed, and which, presenting a model of unprecedented elegance, laid the foundation for a general and increasing attention to the beauty and harmony of composition.

His critical powers were admirably adapted to awaken and inform the public mind; to teach the general principles by which excellence may be attained; and, above all, to infuse a relish for the noblest productions of taste and genius.

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In humor, no man in this country, save Shakspeare, has excelled him; he possessed the faculty of an almost intuitive discrimination of what was ludicrous and characteristic in each individual, and, at the same time, the most happy facility in so tinting and grouping his paintings that, while he never overstepped the modesty of nature, the result was alike rich in comic effect, in warmth of coloring, and in originality of design.

Though his poetry, it must be confessed, is not remarkable for the energies of fancy, the tales, visions, and allegories dispersed through his periodical writings make abundant recompense for the defect, and very amply prove that, in the conception and execution of these exquisite pieces, no talent of the genuine bard, except that of versification, lay dormant or unemployed.

It is, however, the appropriate, the transcendent praise of Addison, that he steadily and uniformly, and in a manner peculiarly his own, exerted these great qualities in teaching and disseminating a love for morality and religion. He it was who, following the example of the divine Socrates, first stripped philosophy in this island of her scholastic garb, and bade her, clothed in the robes of elegant simplicity, allure and charm the multitude. He saw his countrymen become better as they became wiser; he saw them, through his instructions, feel and own the beauty of holiness and virtue; and for this we may affirm, posterity, however distant or refined, shall revere and bless his memory.


Let us now recapitulate the various channels into which the efforts of Dr. Johnson were directed.

As a Poet he cannot claim a station in the first rank. He is a

disciple of Pope; all that strong sentiment, in nervous language and harmonious metre can effect, he possesses in a high degree. We may further affirm that his "London," his "Vanity of Human Wishes," his "Prologue on the Opening of Drury-Lane Theatre," and his "Stanzas on the Death of Levet," will never die.

To excellence as a Bibliographer he had many pretensions; strength of memory, an insatiable love of books, and a most extraordinary facility in acquiring an intimacy with their contents. What he has produced in this department is not of much extent, but it is well performed.

His merits as a Biographer are so prominent as to be beyond all dispute. His Lives of Savage, of Cowley, of Dryden, and of Pope are masterpieces, which, in many respects, can fear no rivalry. An intimate acquaintance with the human heart, and the most skilful introduction of moral and monitory precept, combine to render many of his productions under this head unspeakably valuable to the dearest interests of mankind. It must not be concealed, however, that they are occasionally deformed by his prejudices, his aversions, and his constitutional gloom.

In his character as an Essayist, though essentially different in mode from, he ranks next in value to, Addison. He lashes the vices rather than ridicules the follies of mankind; and his wit and humor are, by no means, so delicate and finely shaded as those of his predecessor. In force, in dignity, in splendor of eloquence; in correctness of style, melody of cadence, and rotundity of period; in precision of argument and perspicuity of inference, he is much superior to the author of the "Spectator;" but, on the other hand, he must yield the palm in ease and sweetness, in simplicity and vivacity. The three great faults, indeed, of Johnson as an essayist, are, a style too uniformly labored and majestic for the purposes of a popular essay, a want of variety in the choice of subject, and, in his survey of human life, a tone too gloomy and austere, too querulous and desponding. The "Rambler" is, however, notwithstanding these defects, a work that, in vigor of execution and comprehensiveness of utility, will not easily be paralleled; it is, in fact, a vast treasury of moral precept and ethic instruction.

The reputation of Johnson as a Philologer appears to be somewhat on the decline. The attention which has been lately paid to lexicography has laid open many omissions and defects in his Dictionary; but it should be considered that a work of this kind must necessarily be defective; and that with our author rests the sole merit of having chalked out a plan, which, if not filled up by his own execution, must, there is every reason to think, be closely followed by his emulators, to attain the perfection at which he


When we consider Johnson under the appellation of a Novelist,

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