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in particular to deserve enumeration : Addison's letters to the Earl of Halifax, p. 423-429; the various letters concerning the Royal Disputes, p. 506–522 ; the original form of Addison's celebrated 'Letter from Italy,' p. 537-542; the official documents and memorials relating to Addison's public appointments and salaries, p. 632 — 645; and the Reports on Public Affairs, p. 646—672, especially the feeling paragraph respecting the Duke of Ormond at p. 671.
The dates of Addison's letters, and of many others of the period, are a generally acknowledged source of perplexity. As the civil or legal year formerly began on the 25th of March (the Annunciation), the first three months of our present year were then counted as the last three of the old, and conventionally written thus : January 1, 1699-1700, or March 24, 1717-18. The historical year commenced, as at present, on the 1st of January (the Circumcision), and was written with only one set of figures; but as it frequently happened that the civil year was written carelessly without the second date, a doubt would arise as to the exact year in. tended; so that any month from January to March, 1717, might mean 1718. From April to December no such uncer. tainty arises, as both modes of denoting these months were uniform ; but there would still exist considerable uncertainty as to the day, of which there were two modes of reckoning, the old style and the new. The former was generally adhered to by the Protestants, the latter (introduced by Pope Gregory XIII.) was universally adopted by the Catholics. Sometimes O.S. or N. S. would be adjoined to the dates, but this was much oftener omitted. Before 1700, the difference between the styles was 10 days, and in the next century 11 days. Thus the battle of Blenheim, which Haydn (quoting by some mistake Hume as his authority) places at August 2nd, 1704, is placed by Smollett, Cox, Heeren, and other historians, and by Marlborough himself, (writing from a Catholic country,) at August 13th. In collecting for the
present volumes, it has happened, in more than one instance, that duplicate copies of official papers were found to vary 11 days in their respective dates, according as the writer adopted the old or new style. In such cases the later date has here been preferred. All this confusion of dates ceases after 1752, in which year an Act of Parliament came into operation, ordering that the 3rd of September should be accounted the 14th, and the civil year commence like the historical year on the 1st of January.
The various materials for these volumes having been col. lected by degrees, and some of them after there seemed little prospect of finding any more, it became necessary to give a second Appendix; but this has been so arranged as to produce no confusion. The addition of the ADDISONIANA was an after-thought, suggested by the space afforded when it was determined to increase the number of volumes. This portion is founded on the old 'Addisoniana,' published in 1803 by Sir Richard Phillips, but with material alterations and corrections.
The foot-notes, as well as the observations between brackets, are for the most part by the publisher himself, whether so signed or not, but he has not hesitated to adopt the substance of anything he found to his hand. All the literature of the period, and he believes himself to be bibliographically familiar with it, has been ransacked for his purposes. Indeed redundancy is not unlikely to be deemed his fault; for in his anxiety to omit nothing, and relying more on memory than a constant recurrence to foregone pages, he finds he has committed two or three unnecessary repetitions. For this surplusage he has to crave indulgence, but hopes and believes he has none to ask for omissions. In respect to what may appear to be other oversights, such as the misspelling of names, they are not his own, but are found in the manuscripts, and unless in very palpable instances he has not ventured to alter them.
The previous editions of Addison's Works, one and all, strange to say, have no lists of contents; and as the present was originally intended as a mere reprint, the same deficiency had well nigh occurred: but the publisher has the satisfac. tion of remedying this omission, by giving them at the end of the work, with directions to the binder for placing them. New titles for the first four volumes are also given.
The Index is extremely ample, the most complete ever given to Addison ; nevertheless several omissions have occurred, the principal of which are supplied on the last page.
The Life of Addison has been written so often, and is before the public in so many forms,—especially in the Biographical Dictionaries of Kippis, Lockman and Birch, Chalmers, and Rose; the Essays of Dr. Drake; Johnson's Lives of the Poets; and Miss Aikin's Memoir,--that it seemed to the publisher unnecessary to add any to that given by Tickell in the original edition of his Works, and adopted by Hurd. The present volumes comprehend all the materials for a Life which are as yet known to exist; and if the reader wishes to have a biographical induction to them he cannot do better than procure Mr. Macaulay's masterly and entertaining • Essay on the Life and Writings of Addison,' originally published as a Review of Miss Aikin's Memoir (Ed. Rev., July, 1843), and lately republished (though without the notes) for one shilling.
The publisher discharges a pleasurable duty in returning his sincere thanks to the gentlemen who have throughout the course of his inquiries so readily accorded him their assistance. For the use of original letters and papers he has particularly to thank Wm. R. Baker, Esq., (a lineal descendant of Tonson by the female branch,) Dawson Turner, Esq., John Scott, Esq., John Young, Esq., Monckton Milnes, Esq., M.P., Dr. O'Callaghan, John Bullock, Esq., and Dr. Bandinel, of the Bodleian Library, Oxford; for the loan of scarce tracts and volumes, and for useful suggestions, Jas. Crossley, Esq., and Bolton Corney, Esq., gentlemen well versed in the arcana of literature, and always bountiful of their time and knowledge; and for general civilities in the promotion of his object and responding to his inquiries, the Right Honourable Lord Palmerston, (for access to the State Papers,) the Right Honourable the Earl of Ashburnbam, the Right Honourable Lord Holland, Sir Francis Palgrave, Sir Thomas Phillips, Bart., and the Rev. Wm. James, of Bilton Rectory.
The publisher has bestowed very considerable labour and expense in examining, collecting, and transcribing materials for these volumes, and in annotating them; not from any desire to become an editor in the place of his literary staff, but simply because the duties grew on him by degrees, and he did not meet with any willing and competent substitute. His own extensive collection of books and MSS., which no one else was likely to use so well, his knowledge of the depositories of literary stores, and his general acquaintance with the writings of Addison, from early years his favourite author, gave him facilities which he did not happen to find elsewhere, or he would gladly have ceded the task. He bas for the second time given “his days and nights to the volumen of Addison,” and he hopes not unprofitably to the public.