Joseph Addison

Walter Graham (ed.), The Letters of Joseph Addison

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343. To John Hughes2

Bilton3 [Monday] Oct. 12. 1713

Dear Sir,

I am very much obliged to you for your kind letter and the specimen, which I read over with great pleasure. I think the title of the Register would be less assuming than that of the Humanity Club; but, to tell you truly, I have been so taken up with thoughts of that nature for these two or three years last past, that I must now take some time pour me délasser, and lay pg 280in fewel for a future work.1 In the mean time, I should be glad if you would set such a project on foot, for I know nobody else capable of succeeding in it, and turning it to the good of mankind, since my friend has laid it down. I am in a thousand troubles for poor Dick, and wish that his zeal for the public may not be ruinous to himself; but he has sent me word that he is determined to go on, and that any advice I can give him in this particular, will have no weight with him.2

I beg you will present my most sincere respects to Sir Richard Blackmore, and that you will add my sister's, who is now with me, and very much his humble servant.3 I wish I could see him and yourself in these parts, where I think of staying a month or two longer. I am always with the greatest truth and esteem, sir,

  • Your most faithful and
  • Most obedient servant,
  • J. Addison.

Address: [London]—J. Duncombe.—Letters of John Hughes, &c. (1773), i. 119–20.

Notes Settings


Editor’s Note
2 For Hughes's letter to which this is an answer, see Appendix II, Letter 25.
Editor’s Note
3 Addison purchased Bilton Hall near Rugby, an estate consisting of 1,000 acres, on Feb. 27, 1713, for £8,000, from William Boughton. See N. and Q., Oct. 15, 1938 (vol. 175), pp. 272–3, for the text of conveyance. The Jacobean house, which is still standing and not much changed in general appearance, was built in 1603 and 1623, and considerably enlarged by Addison. The letters from Edward Addison, printed in Appendix II, throw some light on the improvements the new owner made in his gardens and farms. Addison's reason for going so far from London to purchase an estate may be reasonably assumed. The Countess of Warwick, for whose hand he was already an aspirant, was on her mother's side a Bridgeman of Warwickshire. After Addison's death, in 1719, she spent much of her time at Bilton, dating her will from that place in 1729, and after her death in 1731, the daughter of the marriage, Charlotte Addison, continued to reside at Bilton for the remainder of her life.
Editor’s Note
1 Hughes proposed to start a new periodical paper to take the place of the Guardian, which had ceased publication on Oct. 1. He wished Addison to go into the undertaking with him, but the other, although willing to advise, was not inclined to participate further. Sir Richard Blackmore eventually became Hughes's partner, and the periodical was called the Lay Monk (Nov. 16, 1713–Feb. 15, 1714). For Addison's earlier relations with Blackmore, see Letter No. 1.
Editor’s Note
2 Steele was at this time one of the most vigorous critics of the Government. The Englishman of Jan. 16, 1714, and the Crisis, authorship of which he acknowledged, resulted in his expulsion from the House, after a long and fierce debate. No doubt Addison foresaw some such event.
Editor’s Note
3 Addison's sister was apparently living with him at this time, her husband, James de Sartre, having died on Sept. 3, 1713. She later married Daniel Combes.
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