[Footnote 1: The ‘Kit-Cat’ Club met at a famous Mutton-Pie house in Shire Lane, by Temple Bar. The house was kept by Christopher Cat, after whom his pies were called Kit-Cats. The club originated in the hospitality of Jacob Tonson, the bookseller, who, once a week, was host at the house in Shire Lane to a gathering of writers. In an occasional poem on the Kit-Cat Club, attributed to Sir Richard Blackmore, Jacob is read backwards into Bocaj, and we are told
One Night in Seven at this convenient
Indulgent Bocaj did the Muses treat;
Their Drink was gen’rous Wine and Kit-Cat’s Pyes their Meat.
Hence did th’ Assembly’s Title first arise,
And Kit-Cat Wits spring first from Kit-Cat’s Pyes.
About the year 1700 this gathering of wits produced a club in which the great Whig chiefs were associated with foremost Whig writers, Tonson being Secretary. It was as much literary as political, and its ’toasting glasses,’ each inscribed with lines to a reigning beauty, caused Arbuthnot to derive its name from ‘its pell mell pack of toasts’
‘Of old Cats and young Kits.’
Tonson built a room for the Club at Barn Elms to which each member gave his portrait by Sir Godfrey Kneller, who was himself a member. The pictures were on a new-sized canvas adapted to the height of the walls, whence the name ‘kit-cat’ came to be applied generally to three-quarter length portraits.]
[Footnote 2: The ‘Beef-Steak’ Club, founded in Queen Anne’s time, first of its name, took a gridiron for badge, and had cheery Dick Estcourt the actor for its providore. It met at a tavern in the Old Jewry that had old repute for broiled steaks and ’the true British quintessence of malt and hops.’]
[Footnote 3: The ‘October’ Club was of a hundred and fifty Tory squires, Parliament men, who met at the Bell Tavern, in King Street, Westminster, and there nourished patriotism with October ale. The portrait of Queen Anne that used to hang in its Club room is now in the Town Council-chamber at Salisbury.]
[Footnote 4: In Four and Twenty Latin sentences engraven in marble over the chimney, in the Apollo or Old Devil Tavern at Temple Bar; that being his club room.]
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No. 10. Monday, March 12, 1711. Addison.
quam qui adverso vix flumine lembum
Remigiis subigit: si brachia forte remisit,
Atque illum in praeceps prono rapit alveus amni.’