No. 442. Monday, July 28, 1712. Steele.

--Scribimus Indocti Doctique--'

I do not know whether I enough explained my self to the World, when I invited all Men to be assistant to me in this my Work of Speculation; for I have not yet acquainted my Readers, that besides the Letters and valuable Hints I have from Time to Time received from my Correspondents, I have by me several curious and extraordinary Papers sent with a Design (as no one will doubt when they are published) that they might be printed entire, and without any Alteration, by way of 'Spectator'. I must acknowledge also, that I my self being the first Projector of the Paper, thought I had a Right to make them my own, by dressing them in my own Style, by leaving out what would not appear like mine, and by adding whatever might be proper to adapt them to the Character and Genius of my Paper, with which it was almost impossible these could exactly correspond, it being certain that hardly two Men think alike, and therefore so many Men so many 'Spectators'. Besides, I must own my Weakness for Glory is such, that if I consulted that only, I might be so far sway'd by it, as almost to wish that no one could write a 'Spectator' besides myself; nor can I deny, but upon the first Perusal of those Papers, I felt some secret Inclinations of Ill-will towards the Persons who wrote them. This was the Impression I had upon the first reading them; but upon a late Review (more for the Sake of Entertainment than Use) regarding them with another Eye than I had done at first, (for by converting them as well as I could to my own Use, I thought I had utterly disabled them from ever offending me again as 'Spectators') I found my self moved by a Passion very different from that of Envy; sensibly touched with Pity, the softest and most generous of all Passions, when I reflected what a cruel Disapointment the Neglect of those Papers must needs have been to the Writers who impatiently longed to see them appear in Print, and who, no doubt, triumphed to themselves in the Hopes of having a Share with me in the Applause of the Publick; a Pleasure so great, that none but those who have experienced it can have a Sense of it. In this Manner of viewing these Papers, I really found I had not done them Justice, there being something so extremely natural and peculiarly good in some of them, that I will appeal to the World whether it was possible to alter a Word in them without doing them a manifest Hurt and Violence; and whether they can ever appear rightly, and, as they ought, but in their own native Dress and Colours: And therefore I think I should not only wrong them, but deprive the World of a considerable Satisfaction, should I any longer delay the making them publick.

After I have published a few of these 'Spectators', I doubt not but I shall find the Success of them to equal, if not surpass, that of the best of my own. An Author should take all Methods to humble himself in the Opinion he has of his own Performances. When these Papers appear to the World, I doubt not but they will be followed by many others; and I shall not repine, though I my self shall have left me but very few Days to appear in Publick: But preferring the general Weal and Advantage to any Consideration of my self, I am resolved for the Future to publish any 'Spectator' that deserves it, entire, and without any Alteration; assuring the World (if there can be Need of it) that it is none of mine and if the Authors think fit to subscribe their Names, I will add them.

I think the best way of promoting this generous and useful Design, will be by giving out Subjects or Themes of all Kinds whatsoever, on which (with a Preamble of the extraordinary Benefit and Advantage that may accrue thereby to the Publick) I will invite all manner of Persons, whether Scholars, Citizens, Courtiers, Gentlemen of the Town or Country, and all Beaux, Rakes, Smarts, Prudes, Coquets, Housewives, and all Sorts of Wits, whether Male or Female, and however distinguished, whether they be True-Wits, Whole, or Half-Wits, or whether Arch, Dry, Natural, Acquired, Genuine, or Deprav'd Wits; and Persons of all sorts of Tempers and Complexions, whether the Severe, the Delightful, the Impertinent, the Agreeable, the Thoughtful, Busie, or Careless; the Serene or Cloudy, Jovial or Melancholy, Untowardly or Easie; the Cold, Temperate, or Sanguine; and of what Manners or Dispositions soever, whether the Ambitious or Humble-minded, the Proud or Pitiful, Ingenious or Base-minded, Good or Ill-natur'd, Publick-spirited or Selfish; and under what Fortune or Circumstance soever, whether the Contented or Miserable, Happy or Unfortunate, High or Low, Rich or Poor (whether so through Want of Money, or Desire of more) Healthy or Sickly, Married or Single; nay, whether Tall or Short, Fat or Lean; and of what Trade, Occupation, Profession, Station, Country, Faction, Party, Persuasion, Quality, Age or Condition soever, who have ever made Thinking a Part of their Business or Diversion, and have any thing worthy to impart on these Subjects to the World, according to their several and respective Talents or Genius's, and as the Subject given out hits their Tempers, Humours, or Circumstances, or may be made profitable to the Publick by their particular Knowledge or Experience in the Matter proposed, to do their utmost on them by such a Time; to the End they may receive the inexpressible and irresistible Pleasure of seeing their Essay allowed of and relished by the rest of Mankind.

I will not prepossess the Reader with too great Expectation of the extraordinary Advantages which must redound to the Publick by these Essays, when the different Thoughts and Observations of all Sorts of Persons, according to their Quality, Age, Sex, Education, Professions, Humours, Manners and Conditions, &c. shall be set out by themselves in the clearest and most genuine Light, and as they themselves would wish to have them appear to the World.

The Thesis propos'd for the present Exercise of the Adventurers to write Spectators, is MONEY, on which Subject all Persons are desired to send their Thoughts within Ten Days after the Date hereof.


Translation of motto:
HOR. 2 Ep. i. 117.
'--Those who cannot write, and those who can,
All rhyme, and scrawl, and scribble to a man.'