Saturday, January 7, 2012

A Walk Around London in 1712

 Addison’s Spectator

Joseph Addison (ca. 1703-1712)
Painting by Godfrey Kneller

A 300-year-old Blog….
What a life!  Open up a volume of this set of eight little calf-bound books and enter a different world.  Imagine yourself as a “Gentleman”, whose main duty each day was to get up and have yourself dressed by your faithful manservant, partake of a leisurely breakfast, then decide how to occupy yourself?

“I know!  I’ll take a nice walk.  Into the fields. Lovely day, light wind blowing from south southeast.

“Then, sit down and smoke my pipe, and have a pot of tea.  Darn—that servant, Ralph, has misplaced my tobacco box.  The quality of servants these days is abysmal.

“It’s 2 p.m., and time for my dinner.  Today, I’m having a knuckle of teal and bacon, and sprouts.  (I must remember to talk to cook—the sprouts aren’t quite up to it.)

“3 p.m.  Time for my nap.  *Yawn* I am absolutely exhausted!

“4 p.m. Off to the Coffee House. Reading the news from abroad. Zounds!  The Grand Vizier has been strangled!  Mr. Nisby has an opinion on the whole thing in Instanbul.  Charles XII of Sweden has been imprisoned after Peter beat him at Poltava, and the Turks are up in arms.  They are raising an army of 250,000.  Interesting.  Those Turks!

“6 p.m. Time for a visit to my club.  Mr. Nisby is holding forth about the Turks, and the Grand Vizier.” 

London in the days of Addison

Addison, however, is not the lightweight fop you might imagine.  These eight little volumes of The Spectator are filled with bright and lively thoughts of a well educated man. 
            For instance, on Friday, January 4, 1712 he begins with a quote in Latin, then its translation: “I look upon it as my Master-piece, that I have found out how a young Fellow may know the Disposition and Behaviour of Harlots, and by early knowing come to detest them.”
            He launches into a tale of a recent evening when he was walking near Covent Garden when he was touched on the elbow by a slim young girl of about 17 “who with a pert air asked if I was for a pint of wine.”  Then he stands there and beholds her comely beauty…. finest neck and bosom, most agreeable shape... a woman exquisitely beautiful.   But then, before he can fall to her charms, he switches to tell the reader about a scene from Fletcher’s Plays, in which a character admirably describes the whole economy of Whoredom.
     “Her Maiden-head will yield me, let me see now;
She is not fifteen they say: for her complexion---Cloe, Cloe, Cloe, here I have her,……
The body neatly built; she strikes a lute well,
Sings most enticingly…
Her Maiden-head will amount to some three hundred, or three hundred and fifty crowns, ‘twill bear it handsomely.
Her Father’s poor, some little share deducted,
To buy him a hunting nag----”
In one entry, Addison describes the plight of a woman who had many lovers but then had small pox and lost her beauty.
            Next he turns to a discussion of the nature of John Milton’s poem, Paradise Lost, and in another bloviates about the elevated intellectual value of English plays as opposed to Italian operas.
            He decides to conduct an experiment by staying awake for 24 hours and roaming all over London, observing the different people and what they do at different times of the day.  There are the stocks-men going to the Stocks-Market, the gardeners on their way to work, the melon-seller at her booth in Covent Garden, the hackney-coachmen, the chimney-sweepers, the fruit wenches, and much more.

            Addison introduces himself to his reader in Volume 1, relating that he was born to a small hereditary estate in England which had not changed its boundaries since William the Conqueror’s time. (Over 600 years).
            Addison left university when he became impatient with a thirst for knowledge, and traveled all over Europe, and to Cairo to measure a pyramid.
            He then reports that his life style is one of a SPECTATOR,  as in latter years he is everywhere, in most public places.  He’s been seen sticking his head into a Round of Politicians at Will’s. He smokes a pipe at Child’s, and overhears the conversation at every table in the room.
            He appears on Sunday nights at St. James Coffee-house.  His face is likewise well known at The Grecian, the Cocoa-Tree and in the theatres both at Drury Lane and the Hay Market, and he’s sometimes taken for a Jew among the stock jobbers at Jonathan’s.
            He has made himself a speculative statesman, soldier, merchant, artisan without ever meddling with any practical part in life. 
            So, Addison is the quintessential Spectator, and these little volumes bear that out.

The Spectator: Eight little volumes by Addison

Addison’s SpectatorDaily Life in England, 1711-14, 8 vols.

Spectator; Daily entries 1711-1714,  in Eight Volumes by Joseph Addison 1744 London, England: J. & R. Tonson in the StrandAddison uses his marvelous education to provide daily doses of wisdom and humor to his readers over the years 1711 to 1714, in 635 entries. Originally published daily, this 1744 version includes all 635.  Entries start with an apt quotation in Latin or Greek, followed by its translation into English, and then a refreshing discourse that is delightful after four centuries.  It gives the modern reader an interesting and entertaining picture of what Englishmen were doing and thinking in the early 18th century. The daily diary of an Englishman reproduced in Vol. IV shows how Addison uses the mundane entries of a gentleman to teach readers a lesson. 2612 pp. 10 x 17.4 cm. Eight duodecimo volumes in calf with five-ribbed spines with gilt design. Boards are worn, and three of eight have detached front or back boards, or nearly so. (V.1 front board detached, pencil notes on front pastedown; V.2  front hinge cracked; V. 4 front hinge cracked, back cover nearly detached; V. 7 front board detached, back board cracked.)  Text blocks on all are excellent. Thus overall, poor. (5277) $160.00 Printed matter.

LONDON in 1712.  It’s easy to read the words of a Gentleman and take away the idea that London in 1712 was a colorful and genteel place.  Certainly in the confines of the homes of the well-to-do, it may have been.
            There were some 600,000 souls in London, and most did not live like The Spectator.
            If you walked the streets of London in 1712 you might have to step over the carcass of a dead horse, or even a dead human.  People dumped their chamber pots right out of their windows, so you would surely step in that, or at least smell it.
            A fire in 1666 had burned much of London, so now, a little over 40 years later, houses had been thrown up, helter skelter, with no building codes.  Often a building would collapse and kill the occupants, and then there was always the occasion of another fire.
            Besides the smell of excrement and dead bodies, people wore the same clothes month in and month out, and so there was plenty of body odor.  Coal was used to heat every house and there was thick smoke that made most days smoggy, and there was soot everywhere.  Many people were coughing and hacking with much tuberculosis. Of a thousand babies born, half would never live to be two years old.
            Down in the neighborhood near the Tower were many butchers’ stalls and there they threw out the intestines and other refuse of the animals they butchered, and all that mess just rotted in the streets. People got their drinking water from the Thames, which was also dark with excrement and every other sort of pollution. 
            Crime was everywhere, cheap gin was the drink of choice, and many stayed drunk on it as long as they could find a penny to buy a pot of it.
            Except for The Spectator, London was not a nice place to visit.

An English Gentleman’s Journal, 1712:

MONDAY, eight o 'clock.--I put on my clothes and walked into the parlour.

Nine o 'clock, ditto--Tied my knee-strings and washed my hands.

Hours ten, eleven, and twelve.--Smoked three pipes of Virginia. Read the Supplement and Daily Courant. Things go ill in the North. Mr. Nisby's opinion thereupon.

One o 'clock in the afternoon.--Chid Ralph for mislaying my tobacco-box.

Two o 'clock.--Sat down to dinner. Mem: Too many plums and no sewet.

From three to four.--Took my afternoon's nap.

From four to six.--Walked into the fields. Wind S.S.E.

From six to ten.--At the club, Mr. Nisby's opinion about the peace.

Ten o 'clock.--Went to bed, slept sound.

TUESDAY (being holiday), eight o 'clock.--Rose as usual.

Nine o 'clock.--Washed hands and face, shaved, put on my double-soled shoes.

Ten, eleven, twelve.--Took a walk to Islington.

One.--Took a pot of Mother Cob's mild.

Between two and three.--Returned: dined on a knuckle of teal and bacon. Mem.: Sprouts wanting.

Three--Nap as usual.

From four to six.-Coffee-house. Read the news. A dish of twist. Grand Vizier strangled.

[NOTE:  Grand Vizier, answers only to the Sultan in Ottoman Empire.  Gürcü Ağa Yusuf Pasha (1711–1712) was GV in this case.]

From six to ten.--At the club. Mr. Nisby's account of the great Turk.

Ten--Dream of the Grand Vizier. Broken sleep.

WEDNESDAY, eight o 'clock. --Tongue of my shoe-buckle broke. Hands, but not face.

Nine.--Paid off the butcher's bill. Mem.: To be allowed for the last leg of mutton.

Ten, eleven.--At the Coffee-house. More work in the North. Stranger in a black wig asked me how
stocks went.

From twelve to one.--Walked in the fields. Wind to the south.

From one to two.--Smoked a pipe and a half.

Two.--Dined as usual. Stomach good.

Three.--Nap broke by the falling of a pewter dish.
Mem.: Cookmaid in love, and grown careless.

From four to six.--At the coffee-house. Advice from Smyma, that the Grand Vizier was first of all strangled arid afterwards beheaded.

Six o 'clock in the evening.--Was half-an-hour in the club before anybody else came. Mr. Nisby of opinion, that the Grand Vizier was not strangled the sixth instant.

Ten at night. --Went to bed. Slept without waking till nine next morning.

THURSDAY, nine o 'clock. --Stayed within till two o'clock for Sir Timothy; who did not bring me my annuity according to his promise.

Two in the afternoon .--Sat down to dinner. Loss of appetite. Small-beer sour. Beef overcorned.

Three.--Could not take my nap.

Four and five--Gave Ralph a box on the ear. Turned off my cookmaid. Sent a message to Sir Timothy. Mem.: did not go to the club to-night. Went to bed at nine o'clock.

FRIDAY.--Passed the morning in meditation upon Sir Timothy, who was with me a quarter before twelve.

Twelve o 'clock.--Bought a new head to my cane and tongue to my buckle. Drank a glass of purl to recover appetite.

Purl - drink

An old-fashioned winter drink of warm ale flavoured with bitters and spiked with whisky or brandy or mixed with sweetened milk and a measure of gin, whisky or brandy.
   This view shows eight well-worn little duodecimo volumes of
The Spectator by Addison. Two front covers are loose.

We offer these books and papers about England, as well:

London: The Canadian's Guide Book to London 1937 1937 London, England: High Commissioner, Canada House. Guide book for the Coronation, May 12 and all other events in 1937. Includes colored folding map of Central London, showing the Coronation Parade route. 65 pp. 12.2 x 15.1 cm. Paper booklet, owner name written on inside front cover. Inside front hinge slightly loose. Good. (8201) $24.00. Travel

Great Britain: Our Own Country. Descriptive, Historical, Pictorial [6 volumes bound as 3] 1882 London, England: Cassell, Petter, Galpin & Co.  Magnificent set of three elegantly bound volumes, each containing two volumes of history and descriptions of cities, towns, castles, ports, rivers in England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales, with many, many engravings and line drawings. Vol. I: Frontis. "Port of Liverpool", Salisbury Plain and Stonehenge, Leeds, Cinque Ports, Dunfermline, The Plym, Crowland, Ludlow, The Clyde, The Dee, Dublin City. Vol. II: Frontis. "Lichfield Cathedral"; Lichfield, Coventry, Island of Skye, Exeter, The Wye, Londonderry, Cambridge, Gloucester, Birmingham, Exmoor, Cork. Vol. III: Frontis. "New Town Hall, Manchester”; Norwich, Newark and Southwell, Aberdeen, The New Forest, Coast of North Devon, Lakes of Killarney, Oxford, Manchester, The Severn, Guildford, York, Audley, Lizard District, The Boyne, Sheffield.  Vo. IV: Frontis. "Fountains Abbey"; Nottingham, Wells and the Mendips, Balmoral and Braemar, Shrewsbury, Ely, The Conway, Hull, Belfast, Isle of Wight, Blenheim, Dorking, Dundee, Limerick, Eton, Swansea, Marlborough, Poole to Portland. Vol. V: Frontis. "Hawarden Castle"; Bradford, Cardiff, Llandaff, Harrow-on-the-Hill, South Devon, Lincoln, Great Glen of Scotland, Leicester, Wicklow, Isle of Man, Rochester, Chatham, Warwick, Highland Railway, Antrim, Flintshire, Winchester, Bury St. Edmonds, Southampton and Dorchester. Vol. VI: Frontis. "Canterbury from Harbledown".  Canterbury, Rugby, Iona, Staffa, Arran, Donegal, Richmond on the Swale, Bath, The Trent, The Tweed, Southern Pembrokeshire, Connaught, Chichester, West Sussex, Carlisle, Great Yarmouth, The Thames, and East Sussex Coast.1944 pp. 19 x 26.5 cm. Quarto quarter leather with marbled paper on boards, elegantly gilt-decorated, ribbed spines, very slight wear, slight scuffing at edges, 2 cm tear in lower outer front hinge of spine on second volume. Very good to excellent condition. Weight about 15 lbs. (7 kg.) Shipping outside U.S. will require additional cost.  (7695) $450.00. Travel/History

Great Britain: This is Britain, Published by the British Council by Longmans, Green and Co. Ltd. ca. 1945 London, England: British Council Code Name: THISBRIT. Black-and-white photos show towns, villages and countryside of Great Britain, including photo of House of Commons, under reconstruction after destruction by Germans in 1941. Cover shows Wells Cathedral.  People at work: Staffordshire miners, Devon farmer, Belfast shipbuilders, Herring fishermen at Yarmouth, Steel-makers at Ebbw Vale, Monmouthshire, Weavers in Lancashire cotton-mill. 48 pp. 15 x 20.7 cm. Paper booklet, owner's name written on cover, very good. (6478) $15.00. Travel/Britain

England: Authorised Guide to the Tower of London, Second Edition, Revised, with illustrations and plans by Loftie, W.J. 1888         London, England: Her Majesty's Stationery Office, Harrison and Sons, st. Martin's Lane. Guide includes engraved illustrations showing Queen's House, Bloody Tower, St. Thomas's Tower, Traitors' Gate, Cradle Tower, Lanthorn Tower, more.  Plan of Tower. Fold-out drawing of Horse Armoury. Includes biographical notices of the most eminent persons imprisoned in the Tower including Anne Askew, Anne Boleyn, two Earls of Essex, Guy Fawkes and Earl of Arundel. 152 pp. 12 x 19 cm. Paper booklet, spine frayed and torn, back wrap missing lower third. Fair. (7966) $20.00. Travel/England

England: Craven Arms Hotel, High Street, Coventry, 1880 1880 Coventry, UK: Curtis & Beamish. Guide to old established Family Commercial and Posting Hotel. Includes walks in vicinity, drives, availability of packs of hounds for hunting. Schedule for coach departing Craven Arms at 6 a.m. for London, by way of Dunchurch, Daventry (Breakfast),  Weedon (Change Horses) Towcester, Fenny Stratford (Change Horses), Dunstable (Dinner) , Redburn, St. Albans, Barnett (Change Horses) and arrive London at 8:45 p.m. at Castle and Falcon in Aldersgate Street. Ninety-six miles.  18 pp. 12 x 15 cm. Paper booklet, good. (7969) $28.00. Travel/England

England: Cathedral Pilgrimage, A by Dorr, Julia C.R. 1896 Boston, MA: Joseph Knight Company. Nostalgic tour of England to visit the great cathedrals, with excellent pictures, all protected by tissue guard. Wells Cathedral, Winchester Cathedral, Peterborough, Lincoln, Ripon and Fountains Abbey, Furness Abbey, Transept of the Martyrdom, Lichfield, Exeter, Ely. 277 pp. 10 x 14 cm. Cream cloth on board with gilt design, top of pages gilt-edged, very good. (6928) $20.00. Travel/Religious

England: Chatsworth, An Illustrated Survey of the Historic Derbyshire Home of the Dukes of Devonshire  ca. 1935 Derby, UK: The "Come-to-Derbyshire" Association. Book features color painting of Chatsworth on cover, by Miss Joyce Platt. Inside cover maps show Chatsworth on the River Derwent, served by British Rail. Black and white photos of house and gardens of Chatsworth. 31 pp. 22 x 14 cm. Paper booklet, slight dampstain on cover, fair. (7561) $16.00. Travel

England: Highways and Byways in Shakespeare's Country by H.W.Hutton,  with illustrations by Edmund H. New; first edition. 1914 London, England Macmillan and Co.Limited, St. Martin's Street Very detailed, lovingly written study of Shakespeare's part of England, by an author who had spent 50 years studying it. With excellent fold-out map of Warwickshire. 448 pp. 13 x 20 cm. Cloth on board with gilt lettering, bright. Slight fraying of edges. Ffep has owner's stamp. Slight pencil marks occasionally in text. Very good. (1337) $29.00. Travel/Literature.

England/Angleterre: Londres Ses Environs et Les Principales Villes d'Angleterre, d'Ecosse et d'Irlande; 33 cartes et plans; Collection des Guides Joanee, Guides Diamant 1886 Paris, France: Librairie Hachette et Cie, 79 Blvd Saint-Germain, 79.  Very detailed 1886 Guide to London and UK, in French. Includes 33 plans and maps including two detailed large folding maps in pocket at back of book, one shows London and surrounding countryside, the other is a detailed map of the city of London. Also includes smaller fold-out maps of Chateau de Windsor, Jardins de Kew, De Paris a Londres, Dublin, Sheffield, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Brighton, more.  Plan of Crystal Palace. Ads in front and back of book for Hotel de France, Abbeville; Hotel de L'Univers, Arras; Grand Hotel Christol and  Bristol, Boulogne-sur-Mer; Hotel Dessin, Calais; Hotel du Chapeau-Rouge, Dunkerque; Chocolate Menier, Albert Jéanne, L'Excursionniste; Dentifrice de Botot; Buckingham Palace Hotel, London; Vichy Éstablissement Thermal-Propriété de l'État, Paris; more. 580 pp + adv. 8.5 x 14 cm. Green cloth on board, blindstamped design and gilt title on front cover. Newspaper articles in French pasted onto front pastedown and first free endpaper. Fold-out maps in pocket have numerous small tears along folds.  Good. (7939) $120.00. Travel

England: Roundabout to Canterbury, by Brooks, Charles S. with pictures by Julia McCune Flory, first edition, signed by author? ©1926 New York, NY: Harcourt, Brace & Co. 346 pp. 14 x 22 cm. Humorous account of a trip in the southeastern part of England. Paper on board with tape spine. Pasted label on spine shows wear. Inside rear hinge cracked. Author signature (or facsimile) plus owner name on ffep. Very good. Fiction (2815). $20.00. Travel.

England: This is England--Associated British Railways Booklet by Mais, S.P.B.1935 London, England: Associated British Railways. Associated British Railways booklet provides sepia toned photos and descriptions of English sights, like an English village (with thatched roofs), Anne Hathaway's Cottage, Tower of Big Ben, Tower of London, St. John's College at Cambridge, Canterbury, Street scene in York, Chester, Lakes District, Royal Ascot, The Lido at Hyde Park, Durham, Waterfall in North Wales, Caernarvon, Lynmouth, Clovelly, more. Includes fold-out map from Thurso to Penzance showing Associated British Railways routes. Includes inset for Ireland, including Ulster. 28 pp. 21 x 23 cm. Paper booklet, very good. (7414) $28.00. Travel

England: Westminster Abbey Guide, twenty-second edition; sold at the Abbey by permission of the Dean. by Mrs. A. Murray Smith and Mrs. Henry Birchenough,1918 London, England: Spottiswoode, Ballantyne & Co., Ltd. Includes drawings and photos. History and description of abbey. Includes interesting ads for organs, church bells, macassar oil for the hair and lightning conductors. 111 pp. 18 x 24 cm. Paper booklet, newsprint for text. Very good. (1773) $22.00. Travel/History/England/Religion.

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