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He returned to England in the autumn of 1703, and, after long waiting, his opportunity came with a request from the Government for a poem in celebration of the battle of Blenheim. The success of this piece, 'The Campaign,' brought for him an under-secretaryship in 1706, and before then, of course, he had renewed or gained many friendships. Steele had introduced him to that brilliant gathering of wits and noblemen, the Kit-Cat Club; and Jonathan Swift, who had printed in 1704 the 'Tale of the Tub' and the Battle of the Books,' was in frequent intercourse with Addison.
Steele's third play, 'The Tender Husband,' was acted in April 1705, and besides the prologue, Addison contributed to the comedy 'many applauded Steele dedicated the piece to his friend, though he knew that Addison would be surprised, in the midst of a daily and familiar conversation, with an address which bears so distant an air as a public dedication;' but his purpose was 'to show the esteem I have for you, and that I look upon my intimacy with you as one of the most valuable enjoyments of my life.' The play furnished useful hints to both Goldsmith and Sheridan; it would be pleasanter to modern readers if the scenes relating to the trial of his wife by Clerimont, senior, the 'tender husband,' were omitted.
Immediately after the production of his play Steele married a widow from Barbados, Margaret Stretch, who brought him an estate in that island; but she died at the close of 1706. In April or May 1707, Steele, who had already been made gentleman
waiter to Prince George of Denmark, was appointed Gazetteer, with a salary of £300, less a tax of £45 a year; and in the summer he was courting a Welsh lady, Mary Scurlock, whom he married in September. This is the 'Dear Prue,' who has been immortalised by the charming letters and notes which Steele constantly sent to her, letters which were intended for her eye only, but which she carefully preserved, and so placed it in the power of the antiquary Nichols to print. The fierce light thus thrown on the intimate correspondence of husband and wife has emphasised, to an undue extent, the weakness of Steele's impulsive nature; but it has proved also how real was his affection for his wife and children, though his reckless habits caused many anxieties, and sometimes not unnatural reproaches. It is only fair to add that Lady Steele, a cried-up beauty,' was something of a prude, and was herself sometimes inclined to extravagance. What we know of her suggests that there might have been difficulties even with a husband much more prudent than Steele. As it was, Steele retained to the end 'the tenderest love' for his dear and honoured wife.'
Addison had in the meantime been increasing his reputation in public life. He was elected member of parliament for Lostwithiel in 1708, and when that election was set aside he became member for Malmesbury, a seat which he kept throughout his life without contest. He wrote pamphlets on behalf of the Government, and in December 1708 his services were rewarded by the appointment of secretary to Lord Wharton, the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland, together
with the post of keeper for life of the records in the Birmingham Tower, Dublin. Steele hoped to receive the under-secretaryship vacated by Addison, but was disappointed. In April 1709, at the christening of his eldest daughter, the godfathers were Edward Wortley Montague and Addison; and a week later the Tatler was commenced.
Little need be said of the various periodicals that preceded the Tatler, for none of them had much influence upon that paper, and only one of them is of importance in itself.1 The early seventeenthcentury news-sheets led to the issue of the official London Gazette (1666), and to daily newspapers, of which the Daily Courant (1702) was the first. Controversial periodicals like John Tutchin's Observator and Charles Leslie's Rehearsal were really series of political pamphlets. John Dunton's Athenian Mercury, which was begun in 1690, contained questions to the editor on every variety of subject, with suitable answers; it was, in fact, the forerunner of our Notes and Queries. The British Apollo, which appeared between February 1708 and May 1711, was conducted on similar lines, but there was a larger element of verse and other occasional contributions. The second title of this paper was 'Curious Amusements for the Ingenious. To which are added the most Material Occurrences, Foreign and Domestic. Performed by a
1 In speaking of this matter, and elsewhere in this Introduction, I have occasionally repeated a sentence from the Life of Richard Steele,' published in 1889, where I dealt fully with the whole subject.
Society of Gentlemen.' There had also been several monthly papers of poems and other miscellaneous matter. The Gentleman's Journal of 1692-4 was succeeded by Oldmixon's Muses' Mercury; or, the Monthly Miscellany, in 1707, a periodical which contained also notices of new plays and books, and numbered among its contributors 'Captain Steel.'
More important than all these, however, in the history of the periodical press is Defoe's Review. The full title of the first number was, 'A Weekly Review of the Affairs of France. Purg'd from the Errors and Partiality of News-Writers and PettyStatesmen, of all Sides.' Defoe says that his object
was to set the affairs of Europe in a clearer light; to form a complete history of France; and to pursue Truth, regardless of party. And then he proceeds: After our serious matters are over, we shall at the end of every paper present you with a little diversion, as anything occurs to make the world merry; and whether friend or foe, one party or another, if anything happens so scandalous as to require an open reproof, the world will meet with it there.' Accordingly, of the eight pages in the first number, one and a half pages consist of 'Mercure Scandale; or, Advice from the Scandalous Club, Translated out of French.' The censure was to be of the actions of men, not of parties; and the design was to expose not persons but things. The expression Translated out of French' was not repeated; and in the eighteenth number the 'Mercure Scandale' was dropped, and there was left simplyAdvice from the Scandalous Club.' But
the title was still criticised, and in the forty-sixth number Defoe changed it to Advice from the Scandal. Club,' maintaining the sign of contraction after 'Scandal' to show that he himself regarded it only as an abbreviation. After the fourth number the paper was reduced to four pages, with smaller type; with the ninth number it began to appear twice a week instead of once only, and eventually it was published three times a week-on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. A monthly supplement of twenty-eight pages was commenced in September, with the title, 'A Supplementary Journal, to the Advice from the Scandal. Club; for the month of September 1704. To be continued monthly.' Its object was to entice readers to the more solid portion of the Review by an entertainment at the end, 'upon the immediate subject then on the tongues of the town'; but in May 1705 Defoe said that pressure on his space prevented him finding room in future for the Scandal Club; their 'Advice' would, however, be published separately.
On March 2, 1710, Defoe remarked, ‘When first this paper appeared in the World, I erected a Court of Justice, for the censuring and exposing Vice but tired with the mass of filth, the stench of which was hardly to be endured, I laid aside the Herculean labour for a while, and am glad to see the Society honoured by the succession (in those just endeavours) of the Venerable Isaac Bickerstaff, Esq.;' but having by long experience found that reformation is a work of time, he proposed a scheme for a Faculty Office or a Licence Book for the modern crimes of the