"the ingenious author of the Spectator was principally induced to prefix Greek and Latin mottos"

The Spectator, 7 June 1711
Public DomainThe Spectator, 7 June 1711 - Credit: Addison and Steele
The Spectator was a daily publication of 1711–12, founded by Joseph Addison and Richard Steele.  Each 'paper' was approximately 2,500 words long.  The original run consisted of 555 editions.  The stated goal of The Spectator was "to enliven morality with wit, and to temper wit with morality... to bring philosophy out of the closets and libraries, schools and colleges, to dwell in clubs and assemblies, at tea-tables and coffeehouses."  It recommended that its readers "consider it part of the tea-equipage" and not leave the house without reading it in the morning. One of its functions was to provide readers with educated, topical talking points, and advice in how to carry on conversations and social interactions in a polite manner. While The Spectator declared political neutrality, it was widely recognised as promoting Whig values and interests.

The paper catered principally to the interests of England's emerging middle class, the merchants and traders.  Despite a modest daily circulation of approximately 3,000 copies, The Spectator was widely read.  Joseph Addison estimated that each edition was read by 60,000 Londoners, about a tenth of the city’s population at the time. The main subscribers were coffeehouses, where a great many readers would peruse the paper each day.