Joseph Addison, 1672-1719.

Julian's account of J. Addison:

Joseph Addison, born at Milston near Amesbury, Wiltshire, on May 1st. 1672, was the son of the Rev. Lancelot Addison, sometime Dean of Lichfield, and author of Devotional Poems, etc. 1699. Addison was educated at Charterhouse, and at Magdalen College, Oxford, graduating B.A. 1691 and M.A. 1693. Although intended for the Church, he gave himself to the study of law and politics, and soon attained through powerful influences to some important posts. He was successively a Commissioner of Appeals, an Under Secretary of State, Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, and Chief Secretary for Ireland. He married in 1716 the Dowager Countess of Warwick and died at Holland House, Kensington, 17th June, 1719. Addison is most widely known through his contributions to the Spectator, Tatler, Guardian and Freeholder. To the first of these he contributed his hymns. His Cato, a tragedy, is well known and highly esteemed.

Addison's hymn in 'Spiritual Songs' is No. 297. "When all Thy mercies, O my God". This hymn is included in all the editions of the Little Flock Hymn Book from 1856-1978. There was a controversy about this hymn. Claims were made for other two men for the authorship. The main evidence is in favour of Addison. This evidence is available in Julian's Hymnology.

Addison wrote an essay on "Gratitude". In the essay he wrote the following. "If gratitude is due from man to man, how much more from man to his Maker? The Supreme Being does not only shower upon us those bounties which proceed more immediately from His hand, but even those benefits which are conveyed to us by others. Every blessing we enjoy, by what means soever it may be derived upon us is the gift of Him Who is the great Author of good, and the Father of mercies. The essay closes with:-

When all Thy mercies, O my God,
My rising soul surveys,
Transported with the view, I'm lost
In wonder, love, and praise

Hymns by Joseph Addison