a period of ill-health, d. at Holland House, June 17, 1719, in his 48th year. Besides the works above mentioned, he wrote a Dialogue on Medals, and left unfinished a work on the Evidences of Christianity. The character of A., if somewhat cool and unimpassioned, was pure, magnanimous, and kind. The charm of his manners and conversation made him one of the most popular and admired men of his day; and while he laid his friends under obligations for substantial favours, he showed the greatest forbearance towards his few enemies. His style in his essays is remarkable for its ease, clearness, and grace, and for an inimitable and sunny humour which never soils and never hurts. The motive power of these writings has been called "an enthusiasm for conduct." Their effect was to raise the whole standard of manners and expression both in life and in literature. The only flaw in his character was a tendency to convivial excess, which must be judged in view of the laxer manners of his time. When allowance has been made for this, he remains one of the most admirable characters and writers in English literature.
Summary.—B. Amesbury, ed. Charterhouse and Oxford; received travelling pension, 1699; Campaign (1704) leads to political office; goes to Ireland, 1708; assists Steele in Tatler, 1709; Spectator, started, 1711; marries Lady Warwick, 1716; Secretary of State, 1716–18; d. 1719.
Lives in Biographica Britannica, Dict. of Nat. Biog., Johnson's Lives of Poets, and by , Macaulay's Essay, Drake's Essays Illustrative of Tatler, Guardian, and Spectator; Pope's and Swift's Correspondence, etc.
The best edition of the books is that in Bohn's British Classics (6 vols., 1856); others are Tickell's (4 vols., 1721); Baskerville edit. (4 vols., 1761); Hurd's (6 vols., 1811); Greene's (1856); Dent's Spectator (1907).
(1768–1845).—Historian, studied law and was called to the Bar in 1807. He wrote Biographical Memoirs of the French Revolution (1799) and History of England from 1760-1783 (1802), and other historical and biographical works.
(849–901).—King of the West Saxons, and writer and translator, s. of Ethelwulf, b. at Wantage. Besides being the deliverer of his country from the ravages of the Danes, and the restorer of order and civil government, Æ. has earned the title of the father of English prose writing. The earlier part of his life was filled with war and action, most of the details regarding which are more or less legendary. But no sooner had he become King of Wessex, in 871, than he began to prepare for the work of re-introducing learning into his country. Gathering round him the few scholars whom the Danes had left, and sending for others from abroad, he endeavoured to form a literary class. His chief helper in his great enterprise was Asser of St. David's, who taught him Latin, and became his biographer in a "life" which remains the best original authority for the period. Though not a literary artist, Æ. had the best qualities of the scholar, including an insatiable love alike for the acquisition and the communication of knowledge. He translated several of the best books then existing, not, however,