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sign, a gentleman' had written predictions, and two or three other pieces in my name, which rendered it famous through all parts of Europe; and, by an inimitable spirit and humour, raised it to as high a pitch of reputation as it could possibly arrive at.
By this good fortune the name of Isaac Bickerstaff gained an audience of all who had any taste of wit; and the addition of the ordinary occurrences of common journals of news brought in a multitude of other readers. I could not, I confess, long keep up the opinion of the town, that these Lucubrations were written by the same hand with the first works which were published under my name; but before I lost the participation of that author's fame, I had already found the advantage of his authority, to which I owe the sudden acceptance which my labours met with in the world.
The general purpose of this Paper is to expose the false arts of life, to pull off the disguises of cunning, vanity, and affectation, and to recommend a general simplicity in our dress, our discourse, and our behaviour. No man hath a better judgment for the discovery, or a nobler spirit for the contempt of all imposture, than yourself; which qualities, render you the most proper pa
2 Dean Swift. See Preface to the fourth volume of the Tatler; and also Swift's Works, vol. v. p. 10, et seqq.; xviii. p. 210, 11. 8vo edit. 1801.
tron for the author of these Essays. In the general, the design, however executed, has met with so great success, that there is hardly a name now eminent among us for power, wit, beauty, valour, or wisdom, which is not subscribed for the encouragement of these volumes. This is, indeed, an honour, for which it is impossible to express a suitable gratitude; and there is nothing could be an addition to the pleasure I take in it but the reflection, that it gives me the most conspicuous occasion I can ever have of subscribing myself,
"Your most obliged, most obedient,
N° 1. TUESDAY, APRIL 12, 1709.
Quicquid agunt homines
nostri est farrago libelli.
JUV. Sat. i. 85. 86.
Whatever good is done, whatever ill-
THOUGH the other papers, which are published
for the use of the good people of England, have certainly very wholesome effects, and are laudable in their particular kinds, they do not seem to come up to the main design of such narrations, which, I humbly presume, should be principally intended for the use of politic persons, who are so public-spirited as to neg
The Title is said in this paper to have been invented in honour of the fair sex. The well-imagined character of the conductor of the paper was the creature of Steele's fancy for the equal benefit of both sexes; and is conceived and supported throughout in a manner highly conducive to the intellectual improvement and moral refinement of his countrymen.
lect their own affairs to look into transactions of state. Now these gentlemen, for the most part, being persons of strong zeal, and weak intellects, it is both a charitable and necessary work to offer something, whereby such worthy and well-affected members of the commonwealth may be instructed after their reading, what to think; which shall be the end and purpose of this my paper, wherein I shall, from time to time, report and consider all matters of what kind soever that shall occur to me, and publish such my advices and reflections every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, in the week, for the convenience of the post. I resolve to have something which may be of entertainment to the fair sex, in honour of whom I have invented the title of this paper. I therefore earnestly desire all persons, without distinction, to take it in for the present gratis, and hereafter at the price of one penny, forbidding all hawkers to take more for it at their peril. And I desire all persons to consider, that I am at a very great charge for proper materials for this work, as well as that before I resolved upon it, I had settled a correspondence in all parts of the known and knowing world. And forasmuch as this globe is not trodden upon by mere drudges of business only, but that men of spirit and genius are justly to be esteemed as considerable agents in it, we shall not, upon a dearth of news, present you with musty foreign edicts, or dull proclamations, but shall divide our relation of the passages which occur in action or discourse throughout this town, as well as elsewhere, under such dates of places as may prepare you for the matter you are to expect in the following manner.
• All accounts of gallantry, pleasure, and enter
tainment, shall be under the article of White's Chocolate-house; poetry, under that of Will's Coffeehouse3; learning, under the title of Grecian1; foreign and domestic news, you will have from St. James's Coffee-house; and what else I have to offer on any other subject shall be dated from my own Apart
⚫ I once more desire my reader to consider, that as I cannot keep an ingenious man to go daily to Will's under two-pence each day, merely for his charges; to White's under six-pence; nor to the Grecian, without allowing him some plain Spanish, to be as able as others at the learned table; and that a good observer cannot speak with even Kidney at St. James's without clean linen; I say, these considerations will, I hope, make all persons willing to comply with my humble request (when my gratis stock is exhausted) of a penny a-piece; especially since they are sure of some proper amusement, and that it is impossible for me to want means to entertain them, having, besides the force of my own parts, the power of divination, and that I can, by casting a figure, tell you all that will happen before it comes to pass.
But this last faculty I shall use very sparingly, and speak but of few things until they are passed, for fear of divulging matters which may offend our superiors.'
2 This was then lower down in St. James's-street than it is at present, and on the other side of the way.
3 Then on the north side of Russel-street, in Covent Garden.
4 This was then, as it still is, in Devereux-court, Strand, leading to the Temple.
5 Then one of the waiters at St. James's Coffee-house. See N° 10, 26, &c.