English essayist, poet, and dramatist Joseph Addison.

Joseph Addison

(1672 - 1719)

In 1704 Joseph Addison became commissioner of appeals in excise—a sinecure previously held by John Locke—and published a commemorative poem of the Duke of Marlborough’s victory over the French at Blenheim. When the satirical journal The Tatler shut down in 1711, its proprietors, Addison and his childhood friend Richard Steele, promptly began publishing The Spectator, which regularly sold four thousand copies of its Whig-leaning criticism. In 1713 Addison’s play Cato, a Tragedy debuted; the drama became so popular among American colonists that several famous quotes—including “I regret that I have but one life to lose for my country” and “Give me liberty or give me death”—were paraphrased from its pages.

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1711 | London

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