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
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
, 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 London 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
which had not changed its boundaries since William the Conqueror’s time. (Over
600 years). England
Addison left university when he became impatient with a thirst for knowledge, and traveled all over Europe, and to
to measure a pyramid. Cairo
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
and the Hay Market, and he’s sometimes taken for a Jew among the stock jobbers
He has made himself a speculative statesman, soldier, merchant, artisan without ever meddling with any practical part in life.
is the quintessential Spectator, and these little volumes bear that out.
The Spectator: Eight little volumes by
Addison’s Spectator—Daily Life in
1711-14, 8 vols. England
Spectator; Daily entries 1711-1714, in Eight Volumes by Joseph Addison 1744
J. & R. Tonson in the Strand. Addison 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.
There were some 600,000 souls in
and most did not live like The Spectator. London
If you walked the streets of
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
A fire in 1666 had burned much of
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. London
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,
was not a nice place to visit. London
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
. Read the Supplement and Daily
Courant. Things go ill in the North. Mr. Nisby's opinion thereupon. Virginia
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
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
Two front covers are loose.
We offer these books and papers about
Great Britain: This is Britain, Published by the British Council by Longmans, Green and Co. Ltd. ca. 1945
British Council Code Name: THISBRIT. Black-and-white photos show towns,
villages and countryside of London, England , 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, Great
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/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 , 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, UK Dublin,
Sheffield, Glasgow, Edinburgh,
Brighton, more. Plan of .
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 Crystal Palace
Contact me at email@example.com