Collections relating to Joseph Addison
Joseph Addison (1672–1719), the politician and man of letters, matriculated from Queen’s in 1687; became a Demy of Magdalen, 1689–97; was elected Probationary-Fellow in 1696; and then became a Fellow, 1697–1711. Copies of some of his writings are held in Magdalen Library.
Addison married in 1716, and had one child, a daughter called Charlotte (1719–1797). On his death in 1719, he was buried in Westminster Abbey. [More detail can be found in Bloxam, vi, pp. 76–97 and P. Smithers, The Life of Joseph Addison (1968).]
No single large collection of Addison papers exists at Magdalen, but some small collections have been given to the College, as follows:
MC:P125 ADDISON’S FUNERAL EXPENSES
This document was purchased at auction held at Christopher Edwards in November 1999, and transferred to the archives in March 2000 as Accession No. 00/63. The earlier provenance of this document is not known.
Catalogued in March 2000.
MC:P125/MS1/1 Jun 1719
Bill for the fees for the funeral expenses of Joseph Addison in King Henry VII’s Chapel at Westminster Abbey. The receipt is signed by John Battely (the receiver at Westminster Abbey) on 22 Jun 1719, to record payment from the Countess of Warwick, Addison’s widow.
Enclosed with this is a copy of the auction house catalogue.
MC:P276 A GUARDBOOK OF MISCELLANEOUS ADDISON PAPERS
These papers were given in 1924 by George Henry Cameron (1861–1940), who was Archdeacon of Johannesburg 1914–24.
Catalogued by Jennie de Protani in February 2006.
MC:P276/MS1/1 13 February 1712/3–9 October 1924
The papers relating to Joseph Addison are mounted in a guardbook. The book contains the following items.
Opening page: A note concerning the donation of the Addison papers by Archdeacon Cameron, and a list of the book’s contents. The writing in the guardbook is in Robert W. T. Gunther’s hand, and he had received the papers in his capacity as Fellow Librarian (Fellow 1897–1928, Fellow Librarian 1920–23). This catalogue adheres to Gunther’s page numbers.
Page 2: A letter (one sheet) dated 9 October 1924 from the donor, Archdeacon G. H. Cameron of London and Johannesburg, to R. T. Gunter (sic) at Magdalen College. In the letter, Archdeacon Cameron gifts to Magdalen his collection of papers relating to Joseph Addison and which he had already deposited at Magdalen in 1923. The papers had been given to Archdeacon Cameron by his cousin, who was the daughter of J. H. C. Moore (sic). (James Hoare Christopher Moor matriculated from Magdalen in 1796; was a Demy 1796–1810; and a Fellow 1810–15.) The notes by Gunther on the first page of the guardbook clarify the provenance by explaining that the papers had been passed from Joseph Addison’s daughter to J. H. C. Moor, who had been her near neighbour in Rugby.
Pages 3 to 7 are blank.
Page 8: A cheque for twelve pounds, dated 13 February 1712/3, addressed ‘To Messrs. Turner and Marke at the Black moors head Exch. [Exchequer] Alley’, and made out to a ‘Mrs. Calvert’. On the reverse is written: … ‘mary Calvart’ in a different hand. The part of the cheque containing the signature, presumably Addison’s, has been removed.
Page 9: A cheque for twenty pounds, dated 13 February 1712/3, addressed ‘To Messrs. Turner and Marke at the Black moors Head Exch. [Exchequer] Alley’, and made out to a ‘Mrs. White’. The part of the cheque containing the signature, presumably Addison’s, has been removed.
Pages 10 to 21 are blank.
Pages 22 and 23: A letter (one folded sheet) dated 6 September 1714, from the Archbishop of Canterbury (address: Lambeth) and addressed: ‘For Joseph Addison, Esq at the Council Chamber at St. James’s fro [from] Lambeth’. The address is written in a different hand from the main body of the letter and the Archbishop’s seal remains intact on the address side of the letter. The letter refers to the Archbishop’s indisposal and asks advice from the ‘Lords Regents’ concerning the arrangements for the Archbishop’s attendance on the King during his coronation tour of London. In 1714, Addison was appointed secretary to the lords justice, a body of regents set up to handle the change of regime following the death of Queen Anne. Among his first duties was the supervision of arrangements for George I’s triumphal entry to London and coronation.
Page 24 is blank.
Page 25 and 26: A letter (one folded sheet) dated 7 November 1714, from E. Addison (address: Bilton). The letter describes matters relating to Joseph Addison’s country seat: the state of progress regarding the improvements to the grounds; the state of progress regarding the purchase of property and land; and the problems caused by neighbours trespassing on the estate in his absence. The letter is intended for Joseph Addison. ‘Captain Addison’ has been written on back in another hand. Joseph Addison is not known to have received a commission in the army. Gunther notes on the first page of the guardbook that this is a ‘Letter from Captain E. Addison to his brother’. However, although Joseph Addison did have two brothers, they were called Gulston and Lancelot. Addison did purchase an estate called Bilton Hall for £8,000 in 1713, just outside the small town of Rugby. It consisted of a Tudor House with 1,000 acres, and was purchased to enable Addison to launch himself as a country gentleman. According to DNB, ‘a relative named Edward Addison’ looked after the preparation of the estate in his absence.
Unnumbered blank page.
Page 27 and 28: An undated bill (one folded sheet) listing the charges for proving Joseph Addison’s will. (Addison died in 1719.)
Pages 29 to 32 are blank.
Page 33: A small greetings card (attached to a sheet numbered 9) made from a piece of a document relating to an unknown lawsuit with a cut paperwork decoration attached to the front. Gunther notes on the first page of the guardbook that the card belonged to Miss Addison and was found in her escritoire.
Page 34: A sheet (numbered 10) containing anonymous poetry entitled: ‘Verses in the Hermitage in Miss Addison. (sic) Garden’, and continuing: ‘Sequestered from the World Oh let me dwell’ … (in total 14 lines).
Pages 35 and 36: Seven visiting cards of uniform size, mostly addressed to Miss Addison and Mrs Crew, who appears to have been Miss Addison’s housekeeper. On the cards are written polite enquiries; invitations to tea or dinner; and notes concerning domestic arrangements. One card, which is addressed to Miss Addison (‘the Poet’s daughter’ has been added by a different hand in pencil) from Mr Graves at Rugby, is dated 5 September 1762. One of the cards has been turned into a playing card by the addition of a red diamond. Gunther suggests on the first page of the guardbook that the cards may have been used in a parlour game.
Page 37: An undated slip of paper (numbered 13) containing a note which commences: ‘Miss Addison’s compliments to Lady Chomondleys’ …; and a small piece of paper (also numbered 13) containing verses of anonymous poetry, with nine lines on one side commencing: ‘Since fate divides us then, since I must lose thee,’ …; and with nine lines on the other side commencing: ‘In tears dissolved she mourns her Consort’s fate’ ….
Unnumbered blank page.
Page 38: Photograph of a letter (one sheet, numbered 38 on the reverse) dated 5 August 1717, from Addison (address: Whitehall) to Mr Dayrolle. The letter gives the King’s approval for Mr Dayrolle to continue to send him reports on the political state of those affairs in Italy that would affect the British Crown, particularly any designs or actions by the King of Sicily. (The original letter is in Victoria and Albert Museum.)
Pages 39 and 40 are blank, as are the last two unnumbered pages.