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DR. SAMUEL JOHNSON.
Nullius addictus jurare in verba magistri,
PRINTED BY ROBERT CARR,
FOR SAMUEL F. BRADFORD, No. 4, SOUTH THIRD STREET,
AND JOHN CONRAD, AND CO. 31, CHESNUT STREET..
DR. SAMUEL JOHNSON.
SAMUEL JOHNSON was born at Litchfield, Sept. 7, 1709, O. S. His father, Michael Johnson, was a bookseller of that city. His mother was sister to Dr. Ford, a physician, and father of Cornelius Ford, generally known by the name of Parson Ford, Johnson had a younger brother (Nathaniel), who died at the age of twenty-seven or twenty-eight. His uncle Andrew for some years kept the Ring at Smithfield, appropriated for wrestlers and boxers. Michael, the father, died in 1731. Johnson did not delight in talking of his relations : « There is little pleasure,” said he to Mrs. Piozzi, “ in relating the anecdotes of beggary."
He derived from his parents, or from an unwholesome nurse, the distemper called the King's Evil. The Jacobites at that time believed in the efficacy of the royal touch; and Mrs. Johnson presented her son, when two years old, before queen Anne, who for the first time performed that office, and communicated to her young patient all the healing virtue in her power. He was afterwards cut for that scrophulous humour; and the under part of his face was seamed and disfigured by the
operation. It is supposed that this disease deprived him of the sight of his left eye, and also impaired his hearing
At eight years old he was placed at the freeschool at Litchfield, where he was not remarkable for diligence or regular application. Whatever he read, his tenacious memory made his own. At about seventeen he was sent to another school at Stourbridge, in Worcestershire; and having gone through the rudiments of classic literature, he returned to his father's house. At the age of nineteen, he went to assist the studies of a young gentleman, of the name of Corbet, at Oxford, and on Oct. 31, 1728, both were entered of Pembroke college. At this place, ethics, theology, and classic literature, were his favourite studies. His reading, however, was by fits and starts, undirected to any particular science. He received at this time an early impression of piety, and a taste for the best authors ancient and modern. The want of pecuniary supplies, at length obliged him to quit the university. He obtained, however, the assistance of a friend, and returning in a short time, was able to complete his residence of three years.
From the university Johnson went back to Litchfield. His father died soon after, and the whole receipt out of his effects was no more than twenty pounds. In this exigence he became under-master of a grammar-school, at Market Bosworth ; but disgusted by the pride of the patron of the seminary, he left the place in discontent, and ever after spoke of it with abhorrence. In 1733, he went on a visit to Mr. Hector, who had been his school-fellow, and was then a surgeon at Birmingham. At that place Johnson performed his first literary work, a trans