The Spectator "Much Might Be Said On Both Sides"

Joseph Addison, Richard Steele

"Much Might Be Said On Both Sides"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

Context: Joseph Addison, who with Richard Steele is credited by many with returning the English public of the eighteenth century to a concern for sound moral and social attitudes following the riotous living that followed the restoration of Charles II, created the figure of Sir Roger de Coverley in the pages of the famous Spectator magazine. The urbane but gossipy narrator of many of the magazine's essays, Mr. Spectator, is also an important creation of Addison and Steele; not only is he amusing, but also highly informative as to the conditions and thinking of the period in England. Sir Roger is, in the imaginative scheme of the periodical, a friend of Mr. Spectator and a member of the Spectator Club. Sir Roger, over a period of time, evolves from the position of an irresponsible rake, to that of a lovable, politically fuddled Tory squire. In this passage, Sir Roger de Coverley, en route to visit court with his acquaintances Tom Touchy and Will Wimble, refuses to participate in an exchange of snap judgments, and, the narrator advises us:

. . . after having paused some time, told them, with the air of a man who would not give his judgment rashly, that much might be said on both sides. They were neither of them dissatisfied with the knight's determination, because neither of them found him in the wrong by it. . . .