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HE original numbers of the Tatler were re
issued in two forms in 1710-11; one edition,
in octavo, being published by subscription, while the other, in duodecimo, was for the general public. The present edition has been printed from a copy of the latter issue, which, as recorded on the title-page, was “ revised and corrected by the Author”; but I have had by my side, for constant reference, a complete set of the folio sheets, containing the “Lucubrations of Isaac Bickerstaf” in the form in which they were first presented to the world. Scrupulous accuracy in the text has been aimed at, but the eccentricities of spellingwhich were the printer's, not the author's—have not been preserved, and the punctuation has occasionally been corrected.
The first and the most valuable of the annotated editions of the Tatler was published by John Nichols and others in 1786, with notes by Dr. Percy, Bishop of Dromore, Dr. John Calder, and Dr. Pearce, Bishop
of Rochester ; and though these notes are often irrelevant and out of date, they contain an immense amount of information, and have been freely made use of by subsequent editors. I have endeavoured to preserve what is of value in the older editions, and to supplement it, as concisely as possible, by such further information as appeared desirable. The eighteenth-century diaries and letters published of late years have in many cases enabled me to throw light on passages which have hitherto been obscure, and sometimes useful illustrations have been found in the contemporary newspapers and periodicals.
The portraits of Steele, Addison, and Swift, the writers most associated with the Tatler, have been taken from contemporary engravings in the British Museum ; and the imaginary portrait of Isaac Bickerstaf in the last volume is from a rare picture drawn by Lens in 1710 as a frontispiece to collections of the original folio numbers.
G. A. A. August 1898.