Over 3,000 copies were published daily, and the 555 numbers were then collected into seven volumes. Two years later (from June 18 to December 20, 1714) Addison published 80 additional numbers, with the help of two assistants, and these were later reprinted as volume eight.
Addison’s other notable literary production, while in the political wilderness during the years of Tory dominance, was his tragedy Cato. Performed at Drury Lane of April 14, 1713, the play was a resounding success—largely, no doubt, because of the political overtones that both parties read into the play. To the Whigs Cato seemed the resolute defender of liberty against French tyranny; Caesar the Tories were able to interpret the domineering Caesar as a kind of Roman Marlborough whose military victories were a threat to English liberties. The play enjoyed an unusual run of 20 performances in April and May 1713, eight editions were sold within the year, and it continued to be performed, read, and quoted throughout the century.
Later years. With the death of Queen Anne of August 1, 1714, and the accession of George I, Addison’s political fortunes rose. He was appointed secretary to the regents (who governed until the arrival of the new monarch from Hanover) and in April 1717 was made secretary of state. III health, however, prevented his taking a very active part in government affairs, and he resigned the office the following year. Meanwhile, he had married the dowager Countless of Warwick and spent the remaining years of his life in comparative affluence at Holland House in Kensington.
A series of political essays, The Free-Holder, or Political Essays, was published from December 23, 1715, to June 29, 1716, and his comedy The Drummer was produced at Drury Lane on March 10, 1716. The dispute over Lord Sunderland’s bill for restricting the peerage, in which Addison and Steele took opposing sides, unfortunately estranged the two friends during the last year of Addison’s life. He died on June 17, 1719, and was buried in Westminister Abbey, near the grave of his old patron and friend Lord Halifax. (D.F.B)