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sionally, too indignantly querulous, they impress the reader with a high, and, I am confident, a just, opinion of the talents and virtues of their author. Very sorry am I to perceive, that the next number of the Censura Literaria will put a final period to the labours of the Ruminator, who, with the best wishes of every disciple of the Muses, has reached his seventy-second paper. I must add, that I am acquainted with no essays which display a more exquisite taste, and excite a higher relish for the productions of genius, than many of the numbers of the Ruminator.
82. THE REASONER. The first number of this paper was published in January, 1808; and in November of the same year, the lucubrations of the Reasoner attained the dignity of a volume. They form a work of some merit; but which, in general, does not rise much above mediocrity.
83. The MODERATOR. It is only from the first two numbers of the Moderator that I am enabled to judge of its tendency and merits: these have the dates of March 15th, and March 18th, 1809, and are merely introductory; detailing an account of a Disputation on Politics, in a coffee-house, near Whitehall.
Political Moderation, an attempt to subdue
the acrimony and effervescence of party zeal, and to support the characters of public men in the eyes of the people, appear to be the objects of this production; which, as far as I can form an opinion, from the few pages before me, is written with elegance and candour.*
84. The Spy. In the title-page these essays are announced to be written“ in the Manner of the Spectator," and that they “ will be chiefly directed to the Exposure of Folly; the Satirising of Absurdity; the Detection of Duplicity; and the Chastisement of Villany; by holding them up to universal Contempt and Execration. Polemics and Politics are equally excluded.”
I have seen but six numbers of the Spy; the first dated April 4th, 1808; and the sixth, May 9th, 1808. It is, perhaps, premature to form an estimate of talent from so imperfect a specimen; but, I apprehend, at present it may be said, that the execution is not adequate to the intentions of the writer.
* A few periodical papers, the objects of which were too confined and professional for general readers, I have designedly omitted; such as the Templar of 1796, the Medical Spectator, &c. &c.
OF PERIODICAL PAPERS, FROM THE YEAR 1709, TO THE YEAR 1809; BEING THE
It has been my endeavour, that, in conformity to the motto of this concluding volume, the entire work should possess
one harmonious whole;" such a relation and mutual connexion between its various parts, as might be productive of an uniform and well-compacted result.
With this object steadily in view, have the different portions of these Essays been constructed;
I trust, to afford a clear, and distinctly arranged, retrospect of Periodical Literature for the last hundred years.
To the due execution of the plan, which was intended to blend Biography, Criticism, and Historical Enquiry, it became necessary, amid pro
ductions so numerous and varied, and occupying such a lapse of time, to distribute the work into two divisions; and, in doing this, not only to connect these divisions by a general similarity of design, and by bringing forward an uninterrupted series of periodical essays; but to select also from each division such prominent objects, as, by being placed on the fore-ground, might relieve, and form a centre of union to, thé surrounding groupes.
In the first division, therefore, of these Essays, it will be found that the biography of Steele and ADDISON has been given at full length; and, as they are the undisputed fathers of periodical composition, this biography has been accompanied with a large body of critical matter; whilst to the other numerous contributors to the Tatler, Spectator, and Guardian, attention has been given, in proportion to the bulk and importance of their assistance. Thus the keeping of the picture is, I flatter myself, sufficiently preserved.
In the second division, which continues the history, and is indissolubly connected with the first, by an unbroken chain of periodical literature, the figure of Johnson stands pre-eminently conspicuous; and imparts, by his towering superiority, and by the due disposition of his coadjutors and
followers, the requisite unity and simplicity of design. The Addisonian and Johnsonian
therefore, the Biographies of Steele, and Addison, and Johnson, have been fixed upon as the primary objects of illustration. Upon these, the fullest light, which I have been able to collect, has been thrown; while the residue of this extensive subject has been finished, and brought forward, with a stronger or a fainter outline, with a force and prominency of shade or illumination, corresponding, I hope, with the value which, in the opinion of the best judges, should be attached to its component parts.
Whatever shall be thought of the structure and arrangement of these volumes, I trust that neither industry, nor purity of motive, will be found wanting. I shall only add, that, with the exception of a few political productions, almost every paper which could be procured, has been read through; and that, in commencing, carrying on, and finishing the work, the chief inducements have been a love of literary occupation, and an ardent wish to promote the interests of useful learning and practical morality.
I close this undertaking with a Table of Periodical Papers, from the year 1709 to the year