No. 550. Monday, December 1, 1712. Addison.

Quid dignum tanto feret hic promissor HIATU?'

Since the late Dissolution of the Club whereof I have often declared my self a Member, there are very many Persons who by Letters, Petitions, and Recommendations, put up for the next Election. At the same time I must complain, that several indirect and underhand Practices have been made use of upon this Occasion. A certain Country Gentleman begun to tapp upon the first Information he received of Sir ROGER'S Death; when he sent me up word, that if I would get him chosen in the Place of the Deceased, he would present me with a Barrel of the best October I had ever drank in my Life. The Ladies are in great Pain to know whom I intend to elect in the Room of WILL. HONEYCOMBE. Some of them indeed are of Opinion that Mr. HONEYCOMBE did not take sufficient care of their Interests in the Club, and are therefore desirous of having in it hereafter a Representative of their own Sex. A Citizen who subscribes himself Y. Z. tells me that he has one and twenty Shares in the African Company, and offers to bribe me with the odd one in case he may succeed Sir ANDREW FREEPORT, which he thinks would raise the Credit of that Fund. I have several Letters, dated from Fenny Man's, by Gentlemen who are Candidates for Capt. SENTRY'S Place, and as many from a Coffee-House in Paul's Church-yard of such who would fill up the Vacancy occasioned by the Death of my worthy Friend the Clergyman, whom I can never mention but with a particular Respect.

Having maturely weighed these several Particulars, with the many Remonstrances that have been made to me on this Subject, and considering how invidious an Office I shall take upon me, if I make the whole Election depend upon my single Voice, and being unwilling to expose my self to those Clamours, which, on such an Occasion, will not fail to be raised against me for Partiality, Injustice, Corruption, and other Qualities which my Nature abhors, I have formed to my self the Project of a Club as follows.

I have thoughts of issuing out Writs to all and every of the Clubs that are established in the Cities of London and Westminster, requiring them to chuse out of their respective Bodies a Person of the greatest Merit, and to return his name to me before Lady-day, at which time I intend to sit upon Business.

By this means I may have Reason to hope, that the Club over which I shall preside will be the very Flower and Quintescence of all other Clubs. I have communicated this my Project to none but a particular Friend of mine, whom I have celebrated twice or thrice for his Happiness in that kind of Wit which is commonly known by the Name of a Punn. The only Objection he makes to it is, that I shall raise up Enemies to my self if I act with so regal an Air; and that my Detractors, instead of giving me the usual Title of SPECTATOR, will be apt to call me the King of Clubs.

But to proceed on my intended Project: It is very well known that I at first set forth in this Work with the Character of a silent Man; and I think I have so well preserved my Taciturnity, that I do not remember to have violated it with three Sentences in the space of almost two Years. As a Monosyllable is my Delight, I have made very few Excursions in the Conversations which I have related beyond a Yes or a No. By this Means my Readers have lost many good things which I have had in my Heart, though I did not care for uttering them.

Now in order to diversify my Character, and to shew the World how well I can talk if I have a Mind, I have Thoughts of being very loquacious in the Club which I have now under Consideration. But that I may proceed the more regularly in this Affair, I design, upon the first Meeting of the said Club, to have my Mouth opened in form; intending to regulate my self in this Particular by a certain Ritual which I have by me, that contains all the Ceremonies which are practised at the opening of the Mouth of a Cardinal. I have likewise examined the forms which were used of old by Pythagoras, when any of his Scholars, after an Apprenticeship of Silence, was made free of his Speech. In the mean time, as I have of late found my Name in foreign Gazettes upon less Occasions, I question not but in their next Articles from Great Britain, they will inform the World that the SPECTATOR'S Mouth is to be opened on the twenty-fifth of March next. [1] I may perhaps publish a very useful Paper at that Time of the Proceedings in that Solemnity, and of the Persons who shall assist at it. But of this more hereafter.


[Footnote 1: On the twelfth of the following March appeared the first number of Steele's Guardian. Addison's attempt to revive the Spectator was not made until June, 1714.]

Translation of motto:
HOR. Ars Poet. ver. 138.
'In what will all this ostentation end?'