InSteele entered parliament but was expelled the following year because of a pamphlet he wrote favouring the Hanoverian succession.
People knew quotes from famous writers by heart, as their words resonated with contemporary moods, and they knew how to write an essay that would work. It has been said, that, in his writing, Stevenson imitated Montaigne and William Hazlitt.
American essayists covered such topics as wars, industrialization, urbanization, alienation, individual and national strengths. Yet some of the best essays act like whispers for your ears alone: Hazlitt on the pleasure of hating is like the most entertaining kind of private pal, and the same can be said for Orwell.
Since the death of Orwell, we are used to hearing that life has become too busy and the media too congested for the quietly mind-altering essay to work its magic on the average British reader, but the times are argumentative and the essay has returned with a well-polished vengeance.
You only have to turn on the news now to see how the great essayists are eternally with us: a discussion of the credit crunch on the Today programme is using terms coined by Adam Smith; a report on population growth in the Telegraph is a living response to Thomas Malthus's famous essay of He founded one of the very first newspapers, the Tatler which ran from April to January,