Imatges de pÓgina

same, the lieutenant in that voice cried, · Knock him down.' The merry man, wondering, angry, and looking round, was the diversion of the table. When he offered to recover, and say • To the bride's best thoughts,' • Knock him down,' says the lieutenant, and so on.

This silly humour diverted, and saved us from the fulsome entertainment of an ill-bred coxcomb; and the bride drank the lieutenant's health. We returned to my lodging, and Tranquillus led his wife to her apartment, without the ceremony of throwing the stocking.

No. 80. THURSDAY, OCTOBER 13, 1709.*

Juv. Sat. i. 85, 86.

Quicquid agunt homines

nostri est farrago libelli. Whatever good is done, whatever illBy human kind, shall this collection fill.


This learned board has complained to me of the exorbitant price of late years put upon books, and consequently on learning, which has raised the reward demanded by learned men for their advice and labourb. In order to regulate and fix a standard in these matters, divines, physicians, and lawyers, have sent in large proposals, which are of great light and instruction. From the perusal of these memorials, I am come to this immediate resolution, till I have leisure to treat the matter at large ; viz. in divinity, fathers shall be valued according to their antiquity; schoolmen, by the pound weight; and sermons by their goodness. In my own profession, which is mostly physic, authors shall be rated according to their language. The Greek is so rarely understood, and the English so well, I judge them of no value; so that only Latin shall bear a price, and that too according to its purity, and as it serves best for prescription. In law, the value must be set according to the intricacy and obscurity of the author, and blackness of the letter ; provided always, that the binding be of calves'-skin. This method I shall settle also with relation to all other writings; insomuch that even these our lucubrations, though hereafter printed by Aldus, Elzevir, or Stephanus, shall not advance above one single penny'.

* STEELE's. b The first paragraph of this paper seems to refer to a literary affair then in agitation, and probably a frequent topic of discussion in the Grecian and Will's coffee-houses, and in other places to which the wits and men of letters of that time were wont to resort for conversation.

About two months after the date of this paper, December 12, 1709, in the 8th year of the reign of queen Anne, on the petition of several booksellers, a bill was ordered to be brought in, for securing to them the properties of books bought and obtained by them.' In order to give this bill an easier passage through both houses, the title of it was thus altered: "A Bill for the encouragement of learning, by, vesting the copies of printed books in the authors or purchasers of such copies. '—- Annals of Queen Anne,' year the 8th, p. 212.

The statute of queen Anne, in consequence of the bill here mentioned, came under the revisal and re-consideration of parliament in the same year, 1709; and a new law respecting literary property was established by the act of 8 Anne, c. 19, whereby the authors of books already printed, who had not transferred their rights, and the booksellers, who had purchased them, were vested with the sole right of printing them for 21 years; and the authors of books not printed, and their assigns, for 14 years, with a farther eventual term of 14 years, in case such authors should be living at the expiration of the first term.

c The advance of one penny on each number of the Lucubrations, which seems to be meant here, just doubled the original price of the paper, as appears from a passage in Tatler, No. 1. introduction; and from an advertisement at the end of Tatler, No. 4. The whole-sheet Tatlers, having a double quantity of paper, with one half-sheet blank, 'to write business on, and for the convenience of the post,' were sold, perhaps, for three halfpence each. See Tatler, No. 26. adv. About seventeen months after the first publication of the Spectator, on the 1st of August, 1712, a stamp-duty took place, and every single half-sheet paid one halfpenny to the queen. The red stamp produced a mortality among weekly authors, which is faceVOL. II.


WHITE'S CHOCOLATE-HOUSE, oct. 12. It will be allowed me, that I have all along showed great respect in matters which concern the fair sex ;

tiously called, “ The Fall of the Leaf. Spectator, No. 445. On the seventh day after the tax began to operate, Swift says, “ The Observator is fallen; the Medleys are jumbled together with the Flying-post; the Examiner is deadly sick; the Spectator keeps up, and doubles its price, &c. Swift's Works, vol. xix. p. 173. The Guardian having appeared daily, during the interval between the publication of Spectator No. 555. Dec. 6, 1712, and No. 556. June 18, 1714, was subjected to the same stamp-duty, and was sold originally at the doubled price of those papers, that is, at two-pence each number. See Spectator, Nos. 445. and 461. If what is said in the text is seriously considered in the light of a promise, it can only be applied to the two first volumes of the Lucubrations; and even with respect to them it was soon forgotten or disregarded. On the re-publication of the Tatler and Spa tator in octavo, the first edition of both was sold, as this writer conceives, at the very extraordinary price of one guinea each volume. He does not affirm this so confidently with respect to the first edition of the Guardian, in octavo; but, having often observed an uniformity in the print and binding of them all, he is inclined to think that they were all sold at the same very singular rate. Now, it can hardly be thought that either Steele or his bookseller would have offered them for sale at a price, of which, all things considered,



very difficult to find a preceding instance, or an afterexample. This is not the place for the explanation; it is sufficient here to observe, that as Steele had many friends, and the papers many more, there could be no want of the most proper people imaginable to open and forward these extraordinary subscriptions. Their singularity and success did great honour to Steele and his coadjutors;, testify the gratitude and good taste of his contemporaries; and argue the utility of the writings of which he was for years, and almost daily, the author or publisher. The original advertisements relative to these uncommon subscriptions shall be reprinted for the first time, in the order of their appearance. But as the facts advanced here are not commonly known, and may seem incredible, the writer is unwilling they should rest on his assertion, and, therefore, thinks it necessary to support them with authorities.

The following advertisement is frequently inserted in the original Spectator, in folio, and is faithfully transcribed from No. 227. at the end of which it occurs for the first time, Nov. 20, 1711. There is now printing, by subscription, two volumes of the Spectators, on a large character in octavo; the price of the two volumes, well bound and gilt, two guineas.The third and fourth volumes of the Lucubrations of Isaac Bickerstaff, esq. are ready to be delivered,' &c. Spectator, No. 227. This is decisive, with regard at least to the price of the two first volumes of the Spectator, in octavo. The following quotation contains a proof no less satisfactory with respect to the two first volumes of the Tatler, in octavo: “After all, Isaac, though I have used this freedom with you, I would not have you

but the inhumanity with which the author of the following letter has been used is not to be suffered.

take me for your enemy; I am one of your two guinea subscribers, and consequently [if I may take your word for it in your dedication), am a person eminent for wit, beauty, valour, or wisdom, some one or more of them. And if you in your turn will take my word, I assure you I have been very well entertained with several of your papers, and have given them their just commendation, &c.—Nobody desires more than I do, that you should

go on to expose vice and folly, and recommend morality and virtue as agreeably as you can, and as often as you please.' Examiner, vol. i. No. 5. Aug. 31, 1710. O. F.

The Examiner alludes to the dedication of the first volume of the Tatler, to Mr. Maynwaring, which was published in folio, July 22, 1710. See Tatler, No. 201. advertisement. On the 31st of August, 1710, the Examiner says, that he was one of Isaac's two guinea subscribers; now, the only subscriptions that were open at this date, were subscriptions for the two first volumes of the Tatler in octavo, which, therefore, must have cost one guinea each volume. See Tatler, No. 126. advertisement. The second volume of the Tatler in octavo,‘on fine royal and medium papers,' was not ready to be delivered to the subscribers till a day or two after the 31st of August, 1710. See Tatler, Nos. 218. and 219. advertisement. Of the third volume of the Tatler in octavo, there was no intimation given, nor any invitation to subscribe for it, until almost a month after the date of this paper in the Examiner. See Tatler, No. 229. advertisement. The first advertisement of an intention to reprint the Lucubrations is subjoined to Tatler, No. 126. and dated January 28th, 1709. It barely mentions proposals for printing them by subscription, and refers for the particulars to Charles Lillie and John Morphew. The case seems to have been, that, at the time here mentioned, there was more than one, or even two, subscriptions opened, for reprinting the Lucubrations in differents ways, and at different prices. There was unquestionably, of this date, both a spurious and a genuine small edition, at half-a-crown each volume, of which it would be wandering from the purpose of this note to say any thing more here. See Tatler, Nos. 127. and 193. advertisements. It is equally certain, that the first edition of the Tatler in octavo was printed both on a royal and on a medium paper. The difference of the paper must have made a difference in the price, which must not be stated here at the modern rate, as it may be ascertained with precision in the course of the work, and on the authority of Tonson's accompt-book of copy-rights. When this comes to be truly known, it will probably prove more than is contended for here, and substitute a certainty, instead of an opinion, that the first Tatler in octavo, on royal paper, was subscribed for by the particular friends of Steele, and the opulent admirers of the Lucubrations, at even a higher price still than one guinea each volume.

What is here said of the Tatler, the writer would apply without hesitation to the Spectator, if he could see a copy of that book, in the octayo form, of a correspondent date, and on a royal paper. Of the existence of

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• YESTERDAY I had the misfortune to drop in at my lady Haughty's upon her visiting-day. When I entered the room where she receives company, they all stood up indeed; but they stood as if they were to stare at rather than to receive me. After a long pause, a servant brought a round stool, on which I sat down at the lower end of the room, in the presence of no less than twelve persons, gentlemen and ladies, lolling in elbow-chairs. And, to complete my disgrace, my mistress was of the society. I tried to compose myself in vain, not knowing how to dispose of either my legs or arms, nor how to shape my countenance; the eyes of the whole room being still upon me in a profound silence. My confusion at last was so great, that, without speaking, or being spoken to, I fled for it, and left the assembly to treat me at their discretion. A lecture from you upon these inhuman distinctions in a free nation, will, I

such a Spectator he has not much doubt; but of having seen one he has no recollection.

It deserves particular notice, that, in the advertisement transcribed from the original Spectator in folio, there is no mention of royal paper; nevertheless, the price of the two volumes is stated expressly at two guineas. I might be blamed for laying too great a stress on so slight a circumstance, if I positively inferred from this, that it was the Spectator in octavo, on a medium paper, and that copy only, which was sold at the rate of a guinea a volume. Yet this must be true, if it cannot be proved that, at the time here spoken of, the Spectator was reprinted in the octavo form, and on a royal paper. But, be this as it may, the chief points in question have been supported sufficiently.

It would be unfair to close the note, without observing, that the booksellers have been at great extra expense in this present publication; and have considerably enlarged the quantity of the work. This increase will be found conducive, they presume, to the beauty and value of the edition; and the enlargement of the quantity, to the illustration and good purposes of the papers. Having engaged in the tedious and expensive undertaking, not merely as booksellers, but also with views of rendering valuable writings more intelligible and entertaining, they seem peculiarly entitled, on this occasion, to the favours of the friends to literature, and the general encouragement of their countrymen. C.

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