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for war, if war should be unfortunately necessary, every month of peace that has since passed, has but made us so much the more capable of exertion. The resources created by peace are means of war. In cherishing those resources, we but accumulate those means. Our present repose is no more a proof of inability to act, than the state of inertness and inactivity in which I have seen those mighty masses that float in the waters above your town, is a proof they are devoid of strength, and incapable of being fitted out for action. You well know, gentlemen, how soon one of those stupendous masses, now reposing on their shadows in perfect stillness,-how soon, upon any call of patriotism or of necessity, it would assume the likeness of an animated thing, instinct with life and motion-how soon it would ruffle, as it were, its swelling plumage-how quickly it would put forth all its beauty and its bravery, collect its scattered elements of strength, and awaken its dormant thunder. Such as is one of these magnificent machines when springing from inaction into a display of its might-such is England herself, while apparently passive and motionless she silently concentrates the power to be put forth on an adequate occasion. But God forbid that that occasion should arise. After a war sustained for nearly a quarter of a century—sometimes single-handed, and with all Europe arranged at times against her or at her side, England needs a period of tranquillity, and may enjoy it without fear of misconstruction. Long may we be enabled, gentlemen, to improve the blessings of our present situation, to cultivate the arts of peace, to give to commerce, pow reviving, greater extension and new spheres of employment, and to confirm the prosperity now generally diffused throughout this island. Of the blessings of peace, gentlemen, I trust that this borough, with which I have now the honour and happiness of being associated, will receive an ample share. I trust the time is not far distant, when that noble structure of which, as I learn from your Recorder, the box with which you have honoured me, through his hands, formed a part, that gigantic barrier against the fury of the waves that roll into your harbour, will protect a commercial marine not less considerable in its kind, than the warlike marine of which your port has been long so distinguished an asylum, when the town of Plymouth will participate in the commercial prosperity as largely as it has hitherto done in the naval glories of England.
13.-SIR ROGER DE COVERLEY.-I.
ADDISON. TJOSEPH ADDISON was born on the 1st of May, 1672, at Milston, Wilts, of which parish his father was rector. His early education was at the Charter-house, from which celebrated school he proceeded to Oxford, and obtained a scholarship of Magdalen College. In 1694, he published his first English poem. Men of letters at that period were sought out for public employments. Addison filled several official appointments, for which he seems to have been peculiarly unfitted. With his contemporaries his fame was that of a poet. With us, Cato is forgotten; the Spectator and Guardian are the best monuments of Addison's genius. He died in 1719.]
[Cowley is a pretty village about two miles from Oxford ; and here some one lived in the days of the Tudors who was famous enough to have his name linked with the pretty dance-tune that has once again become fashionable. But he had a higher honour. The popularity of the dance in the days of Queen Anne gave a name to the most famous character in The Spectator ;' and ever afterwards the dance itself gathered an accession of dignity even in its name; and plain Roger of Cowley became Sir Roger de Coverley. Some of the most delightful papers of Addison, in which Steele occasionally assisted, are devoted to the fictitious character of Sir Roger. Few people now read “The Spectator' as a whole. One or two of the more celebrated essays, such as · The Vision of Mirza,' find their place in books of extract. The delicate humour of the delineation of Sir Roger de Coverley is always referred to as the highest effort of Addison's peculiar genius; but not many will take the pains to select these sixteen or seventeen papers from the six hundred and thirty which form the entire work. These papers have a completeness about them which show how thoroughly they were written upon a settled plan. Steele appears to have first conceived the character in the second number of The Spectator;' but Addison very soon took it out of his friend's hands, who was scarcely able to carry on the portraiture with that refinement which belonged to Addison's conception of the character. Addison, it is said, killed Sir Roger in the fear that another hand would spoil him.
As a representation of manners a century and a half ago, the picture of Sir Roger de Coverley has a remarkable value. The good knight is thoroughly English ; and in him we see a beautiful specimen of the old-fashioned gentleman, with a high soul of honour, real bepevolence, acute sense, mixed up with the eccentricities which belong
to a nation of humourists. The readers of The Spectator' are fast diminishing. No one now gives “his days and nights to the volumes of Addison;” but his gentle graceful humour has never been excelled, and nowhere is it more conspicuous than in the papers of which Sir Roger de Coverley is the hero.]
The plan of · The Spectator' is founded upon the fiction of a club that assembles every Tuesday and Thursday to carry on the publication. Sir Roger does not appear highly qualified for a literary colleague-a collaborateur, as the French style it, but he nevertheless is the foremost in • The Spectator's' “account of those gentlemen who are concerned with me in the work.”
“ The first of our society is a gentleman of Worcestershire, of an ancient descent, a baronet, his name Sir Roger de Coverley. His great-grandfather was inventor of that famous country-dance which is called after him. All who know that shire are very well acquainted with the parts and merits of Sir Roger. He is a gentleman that is very singular in his behaviour, but his singularities proceed from his good sense, and are contradictions to the manners of the world, only as he thinks the world is in the wrong. However, this humour creates him no enemies, for he does nothing with sourness or obstinacy, and his being unconfined to modes and forms makes him but the readier and more capable to please and oblige all who know him. When he is in town he lives in Soho Square. It is said he keeps himself a bachelor by reason he was crossed in love by a perverse beautiful widow of the next county to him. Before this disappointment, Sir Roger was what you call a fine gentleman, had often supped with my Lord Rochester and Sir George Etherege, fought a duel upon his first coming to town, and kicked bully Dawson in a public coffee-house for calling him youngster: but being ill used by the above-mentioned widow, he was very serious for a year and a half; and though, his temper being naturally jovial, he at last got over it, he grew careless of himself, and never dressed afterward. He continues to wear a coat and doublet of the same cut that were in fashion at the time of his repulse, which, in his merry humours, he tells us has been in and out twelve times since he first wore it. He is now in his fifty-sixth year, cheerful, gay, and hearty; keeps a good house both in town and country; a great lover of mankind; but there is such a mirthful cast in his behaviour, that he is rather beloved than esteemed.
“His tenants grow rich, his servants look satisfied, all the young women profess love to him, and the young men are glad of his company. When he comes into a house he calls the servants by their names, and talks all the way up stairs to a visit. I must not omit that Sir Roger is a justice of the quorum, that he fills the chair at a quarter-session with great abilities, and three months ago gained universal applause by explaining a passage in the Game Act.”
We hear little of Sir Roger, except an occasional opinion, till we reach the 106th number, when Addison takes up the man of whom he said “we are born for each other.”
“Having often received an invitation from my friend Sir Roger de Coverley to pass away a month with him in the country, I last week accompanied him thither, and am settled with him for some time at his country-house, where I intend to form several of my ensuing speculations. Sir Roger, who is very well acquainted with my humour, lets me rise and go to bed when I please, dine at his own table or in my chamber, as I think fit, sit still and say nothing without bidding me be merry. When the gentlemen of the country come to see him, he shows me at a distance. As I have been walking in his fields I have observed them stealing a sight of me over a hedge, and have heard the knight desiring them not to let me see them, for that I hated to be stared at.
“ I am the more at ease in Sir Roger's family, because it consists of sober, staid persons ; for as the knight is the best master in the world, he seldom changes his servants; and as he is beloved by all about him, his servants never care for leaving him: by this means his domestics are all in years, and grown old with their master. You would take his valet-de-chambre for his brother; his butler is grey-headed, his groom is one of the gravest men that I have ever seen, and his coachman has the looks of a privy-councillor. You see the goodness of the master even in his old house-dog, and in a grey pad that is kept in the stable with great care and tenderness, out of regard to his past services, though he has been useless for several years.
“I could not but observe with a great deal of pleasure the joy that appeared in the countenances of these ancient domestics upon my friend's arrival at his country-seat. Some of them could not refrain from tears at the sight of their old master ; every one of them pressed forward to do something for him, and seemed discouraged if they were
not employed. At the same time the good old knight, with a mixture of the father and the master of the family, tempered the inquiries after his own affairs with several kind questions relating to themselves. This humanity and goodnature engages everybody to him, so that when he is pleasant upon any of them, all his family are in good humour, and none so much as the person whom he diverts himself with: on the contrary, if he coughs, or betrays any infirmity of old age, it is easy for a stander-by to observe a secret concern in the looks of all his servants.
“My worthy friend has put me under the particular care of his butler, who is a very prudent man, and, as well as the rest of his fellow-servants, wonderfully desirous of pleasing me, because they have often heard their master talk of me as of his particular friend."
Such is the general outline of the character and position of Sir Roger de Coverley.
The humour of Addison is manifest in his delineation of Sir Roger's chaplain; and that personage is a pleasing specimen of the unambitious, quiet, placable clergyman of the days of Anne, when there was not a vast amount of zeal in the Church, and perhaps not quite so much piety as an earnest Christian would desire.
“My chief companion, when Sir Roger is diverting himself in the woods or the fields, is a very venerable man who is ever with Sir Roger, and has lived at his house in the nature of a chaplain above thirty years. This gentleman is a person of good sense and some learning, of a very regular life and obliging conversation : he heartily loves Sir Roger, and knows that he is very much in the old knight's esteem, so that he lives in the family rather as a relation than a dependant.
“I have observed in several of my papers that my friend Sir Roger, amidst all his good qualities, is something of a humourist; and that his virtues as well as imperfections are, as it were, tinged by a certain extravagance which makes them particularly his, and distinguishes them from those of other men. This cast of mind, as it is generally very innocent in itself, so it renders his conversation highly agreeable and more delightful than the same degree of sense and virtue would appear in their common and ordinary colours. As I was walking with him last night, he asked me how I liked the good man whom I have just now mentioned : and without staying for my answer, told me that he was afraid of being insulted with Latin and Greek at his own table;