Page:Cousins's Short Biographical Dictionary of English Literature.djvu/15

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Dictionary of English Literature

Adams, Francis, W.L (1862–1893).—Novelist, was b. at Malta, and ed. at schools at Shrewsbury and in Paris. In 1882 he went to Australia, and was on the staff of The Sydney Bulletin. In 1884 he publ. his autobiographical novel, Leicester, and in 1888, Songs of the Army of the Night, which created a sensation in Sydney. His remaining important work is Tiberius (1894), a striking drama in which a new view of the character of the Emperor is presented. He d. by his own hand at Alexandria in a fit of depression caused by hopeless illness.

Addison, Joseph (1672–1719).—Poet, essayist and statesman, was the s. of Lancelot Addison, Dean of Lichfield. B. near Amesbury, Wilts., A. went to the Charterhouse where he made the acquaintance of Steele (q.v.), and then at the age of fifteen to Oxford, where he had a distinguished career, being specially noted for his Latin verse. Intended at first for the Church, various circumstances combined to lead him towards literature and politics. His first attempts in English verse took the form of complimentary addresses, and were so successful as to obtain for him the friendship and interest of Dryden, and of Lord Somers, by whose means he received, in 1699, a pension of £300 to enable him to travel on the continent with a view to diplomatic employment. He visited Italy, whence he addressed his Epistle to his friend Halifax. Hearing of the death of William III., an event which lost him his pension, he returned to England in the end of 1703. For a short time his circumstances were somewhat straitened, but the battle of Blenheim in 1704 gave him a fresh opportunity of distinguishing himself. The government wished the event commemorated by a poem; A. was commissioned to write this, and produced The Campaign, which gave such satisfaction that he was forthwith appointed a Commissioner of Appeals. His next literary venture was an account of his travels in Italy, which was followed by the opera of Rosamund. In 1705, the Whigs having obtained the ascendency, A. was made Under-Secretary of State and accompanied Halifax on a mission to Hanover, and in 1708 was appointed Chief Secretary for Ireland and Keeper of the Records of that country. It was at this period that A. found his true vocation, and laid the foundations of his real fame. In 1709 Steele began to bring out the Tatler, to which A. became almost immediately a contributor: thereafter he (with Steele) started the Spectator, the first number of which appeared on March 1, 1711. This paper, which at first appeared daily, was kept up (with a break of about a year and a half when the Guardian took its place) until Dec. 20, 1714. In 1713 the drama of Cato appeared, and was received with acclamation by both Whigs and Tories, and was followed by the comedy of the Drummer. His last undertaking was The Freeholder, a party paper (1715–16). The later events in the life of A., viz., his marriage in 1716 to the Dowager Countess of Warwick, to whose son he had been tutor, and his promotion to be Secretary of State did not contribute to his happiness. His wife appears to have been arrogant and imperious; his step-son the Earl was a rake and unfriendly to him; while in his public capacity his invincible shyness made him of little use in Parliament. He resigned his office in 1718, and, after