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rect may be punished ad modum recipientis, as the law gives no fatisfaction. His account of the collection, and the tracts that are printed in quarto volumes, were well received by the public. Of his folio labours in his English Dictionary a word must be faid; but there is not room for much. The delineation of his plan, which was esteemed a beautiful compofition, was infcribed to Lord Chesterfield, no doubt with permiffion, whilft he was fecretary of ftate. It was at this time, he faid, he aimed at elegance of writing, and fet for his emulation the Preface of Chambers to his Cyclopedia. Johnfon undoubtedly expected beneficial patronage. It should feem that he was in the acquaintance of his lordship, and that he had dined at his table, by an allufion to him in a letter to his fon, printed by Mrs. Stanhope, and which he himself would have been afraid to publish. Whilft he was ineffectually hallooing the Graces in the ear of his fon, he fet before him the flovenly behaviour of our author at his table, whom he acknowledges as a great genius, but points him out as a rock to avoid, and confiders him only as refpectable Hottentot." When the book came out, Johnson took his revenge, by faying of it, "that the inftructions to his fon inculcated the manners of a dancing mafter, and the morals of a proftitute." Within this year or two he obferved (for anger is a fhort-lived paffion) that, bating fome improprieties, it contained good directions, and was not a bad fyftem of education. But Johnson probably did not think fo highly of his own appearance as of his morals. For, on being asked if Mr. Spence had not paid. him a vifit? "Yes (fays he) and he probably may think he vifited a bear." Johnfon (fays the author of the Life of Socrates) is a literary favage.".

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Very likely (replied Johnfon;) and Cooper (who is as thick as long) is a fiterary Punchinello."

It does not appear that Lord Chefterfield fhewed any fubftantial proofs of approbation to our philologer, for that was the profeffional title he chofe. A fmall present he would have difdained.

Johnfon was not of a temper to put up with the affront of disappointment, He revenged himself in a letter to his lordship, written with great acrimony, and renouncing all acceptance of favour. It was handed about, and probably will be published, for litera fcripta manet. He used to fay, " he was mistaken in his choice of a patron, for he had fimply been endeavouring to gild a rotten poft."

The

Lord Chesterfield indeed commends and recommends Mr. Johnson's Dictionary in two or three numbers of the World. "Not words alone pleased him."- "When I had undergone (fays the compiler) a long and fatiguing voyage, and was juft getting into port, this lord fent out a fmall cock-boat to pilot me in." agreement for this great work was for fifteen hundred pounds. This was a large book feller's venture at that time: and it is in many fhares. Robertfon, Gibbon, and a few more, have raifed the price of manufcript copies. In the courfe of fifteen years, two and twenty thoufand pounds have been paid to four authors. four authors. Johnfon's world of words demands frequent editions. His titles of Doctor of Laws from Dublin and from Oxford (both of which came to him unafked and unknown, and only not unmerited); his penfion from the King, which is to be confidered as a reward for his pioneering fervices in the English language, and by no means as a bribe; gave him confequence, and made the Dictionary and its author more extenfively known. It is a royal fatisfaction to have made the life of a learned man more comfortable to him.

"Thefe are imperial works, and worthy kings."

Lord Corke, who would have been kinder to him than Stanhope (if he could) as foon as it came out, prefented the Dictionary to the Academy della Crufca at Florence, in 1755. Even for the abridgement in octavo, which puts it into every body's hands, he was paid to his fatisfaction, by the liberality of his book fellers. His reputation is as great for compiling, digefting, and afcertaining the English language, as if he had invented it.

His Grammar in the beginning of the work was the beft in our language, in the opinion of Goldfmith. During the printing of his Dictionary, the Ramblers came out periodically; for he could do more than one thing at a time. He declared that he wrote them by way of relief from his application to his Dictionary, and for the reward. He has told this writer, that he had no expectation they would have met with fo much fuccefs, and been fo much read and admired. What was amufement to him, is inftruction to others. Goldfmith declared, that a fyftem of morals might be drawn from thefe effays this idea is taken up and executed by a publication in an alphabetical feries of moral maxims.

The Rambler is a great task for one perfon to accomplish, fingle-handed. For he was affifted only in two effays by Richardfon, two by Mrs. Carter, and one by Mifs Talbot. His Idlers had more hands. The World, the Connoiffeur (the Gray's Inn Journal an exception) the Mirror, the Adventurer, the Old Maid, all had help-mates. The toilet as well as the shelf and table have these volumes, lately republifhed with decorations. Shenftone, his fellow collegian, calls his ftyle a learned ene. There is indeed too much Latin in his English. He feems to have caught the infectious language of Sir Thomas Brown, whofe works he read, in order to write his life. Though it cannot be faid, as Campbell did of his own laft work, that there is not a hard word in it, yet he does not rattle through hard words and ftalk through polyfyllables, to ufe an expreffion of Addifon, as in his earlier productions. His ftyle, as he fays of Pope, became fmoothed by the fcythe, and levelled by the roller. It pleafed him to be told by Dr. Robertfon, that he had read his Dictionary twice over. If he had fome enemies beyond and even on this fide of the Tweed, he had more friends. Only he preferred England to Scotland. As it is cowardly to infult a dead lion, it is hoped, that as death extinguishes envy, it alfo does LOND. MAG. May 1785.

ill-will:" for British vengeance wars not with the dead."

It were to be wifhed, he had not pronounced, in his Hebridian Tour, whatever particular provocation was before him, that " a Scotchman must be a sturdy moralist, who does not prefer Scotland to truth." An inadvertent expreffion, in the Houfe of Lords, on the imputed cowardice of the Americans, accelerated them into enemies and heroes. If Johnfon's accufation had been more confined, a Caledonian, like Wotton's ambassador, might have been permitted to exaggerate for the honour of his country. But it was taken for a national reflection, never to be forgiven nor forgotten: and it is confidered as a breach of the union at leaft between Johnfon and Scotland: the dead cannot fend a negociator in their cause. To fay the truth, Johnfon confeffed at laft, that the Scotch would never forgive him for publishing that book. But he never wished he had not written it.

The well-known fhort epigram of Cleiveland*, againft our fifter kingdom, is more malignant than all that Johnfon has faid or written.

He gave himself very much to companionable friends for the laft years of his life (for he was delivered from the daily labour of the pen, and he wanted relaxation) and they were eager for the advantage and reputation of his converfation. Therefore he frequently left his own home (for his household gods were not numerous or splendid enough for the reception of his great acquaintance) and vifited them both in town and country. This was particularly the cafe with Mr. and Mrs. Thrale (ex uno difce omnes) who were the moft obliging and obliged of all within his intimacy, and to whom he was introduced by his friend Murphy. He lived with them a great part of every year. He formed at Streatham a room for a library, and increafed by his recommendation the number of books. Here he was to be found (himfelf a library) when a friend called upon him; and by him the friend was fure

X x
"Had Cain been Scot, God would have chang'd his doom,
"Not forc'd him wander, but confin'd him home."

to be introduced to the dinner-table, which Mrs. Thrale knew how to fpread with the utmost plenty and elegance; and which was often adorned with fuch guefts, that to dine there was epulis accumbere divum. Of Mrs. Thrale, if mentioned at all, lefs cannot be faid, than that in one of the latest opinions of Johnson, "if she was not the wifeft woman in the world, she was undoubt. edly one of the wittieft." She took or caufed fuch care to be taken of him, during an illness of continuance, that Goldfmith told her, " he owed his recovery to her attention." She taught him to lay up fomething of his income every year. Befides a natural vivacity in converfation, fhe had reading enough, and the gods had made her poetical. The Three Warnings" (the fubject fhe owned not to be original) are highly interesting and ferious, and literally come home to every body's breaft and bofom. The writer of this would not be forry if this mention could follow the lady to Venice. At Streatham, where our philologer was alfo guide, philofopher, and friend, he paffed much time. His inclinations here were confulted, and his will was a law. With this family he made excurfions into Wales and to Brighthelmfton. Change of air and of place were grateful to him, for he loved viciffitude. But he could not long endure the illiteracy and rufticity of the country, for woods and groves, and hill and dale, were not his scenes:

"Tower'd cities pleafe us then, "And the bufy hum of men." On hearing that this literary lady (one of the joys of his own life) was likely to be courted into matrimony a fecond time, Johnfon fet himself to prevent it, and wrote her a letter, as full of friendship as her heart was of affection; to which, or to a fecond letter of the objurgatory kind, it is faid, he made a fpirited reply. He offered, ill as he was, to travel to her to Bath, with all poffible expedition, to expoftulate with her, and to obtain only an hour's converfation, with the hope of diffuading her from her inclinations. "Can love be controll'd by advice?" Hardly ever. Then, "Let

Cupid and Hymen agree!" Johnfon was afked about the letter in print, that is addreffed to her and figned with his name: which occafions the prefent extravagance of this pen. He said, it exhibited his opinion, but had not two fentences together as he wrote them. He faid, it was an adumbration of his letter."

But the greatest honour of his life was from a vifit that he received from a great perfonage in the library of the Queen's palace-only it was not from a King of his own making. Johnfor on his return repeated the converfation, which was much to the honour of the great perfon, and was as well fupported as Lewis the XIVth could have continued with Voltaire. He faid, he only wanted to be more known, to be more loved. They parted, much pleased with each other. If it is not an impertinent ftroke of this pen, it were to be wished that one more perfon had conveyed an enquiry about him during his laft illness. "Every body has left their names, or wanted to know how I do (fays he) but." In his younger days he had a great many ene mies, of whom he was not afraid.

"Afk you what provocation I have had ?
"The ftrong antipathy of good or bad."

Churchill, the puiffant fatirist, challenged Johnson to combat: fatire the weapon. Johnfon never took up the gauntlet or replied, for he thought it unbecoming him to defend himself against an author who might be refolved to have the laft word. He was content to let his enemies feed upon him as long as they could. This writer has heard Churchill declare, "that he thought the poems of London,' and The Vanity of Human Wishes,' full of admirable verses, and that all his compofitions were diamonds of the firft water." But he wanted a subject for his pen and for raillery, and fo introduced Pompofo into his defcriptions. "For, with other wife folks, he fat up with the ghoft." Our author, who had too implicit a confidence in human teftimony, followed the newfpaper invitation to Cock-lane, în order to detect the impoftor, or, if it proved a being of an higher order, and

appeared

appeared in a queftionable fhape, to talk with it. Pofterity must be permitted to fmile at the credulity of that period. Johnfon had otherwife a vulnerable fide; for he was one of the few Nonjurors that were left, and it was fuppofed he would never bow the knee to the Baal of Whiggifm. This reign, which difdained profcription, began with granting penfions (without requiring their pens) to learned men. Johnson was unconditionally offered one; but fuch a turn was given to it by the last mentioned fatirical poet, that it might have made him angry or odious, or both. Says Churchill, amongst other paffages very entertaining to a neutral reader,

He damns the penfion that he takes,
And loves the Stuart he forfakes."

Not so fast, great fatirist-for he had now no friends at Rome. In the fport of converfation, he would fometimes take the wrong fide of a question, to try his hearers, or for his own exertions. But this may do mischief fometimes. For, without aiming at ludierous quotation," he could difpute on both fides, and confute." Among thofe he could truft himself with, he would enter into imaginary combat with the whigs, and has now and then fhook the principles of a sturdy revolutionist. All ingenious men can find arguments for and against every thing: and if their hearts are not good, they may do mischief with their heads. On all occafions he preffed his antagonist with fo ftrong a front of argument, that he generally prevented his retreat,

56

Every body (faid an eminent detetor of impoftors) must be cautious how they enter the lifts with Dr. Johnfon." He wrote many political tracts fince his penfion. Perhaps he would not have written at all, unless impelled by gratitude. But he wrote his genuine thoughts, and imagined himfelf contending on the right fide. A great parliamentary character feems to refolve all his American notions into the vain expectation of rocking a man in the cradle of a child. Johnfon recounted the number of his opponents with indifference. He wrote for that government which had been generous

to him. He was too proud to call upon Lord Bute, or leave his name at his houfe, though he was told it would be agreeable to his lordship, for he faid he had performed the greater difficulty, for he had taken the penfion.

The laft popular work, to him an eafy and a pleafing one, was the writing the lives of our poets, now reprinted in four octavo volumes. He finished this bufinefs fo much to the fatisfaction of the bookfellers that they prefented him a gratuity of one hun dred pounds, having paid him three hundred pounds as his price. The Knaptons made Tindal a large present on the fuccefs of his translation of Rapin's hiftory. But an unwritten fpace must be found for what Johnson did refpecting Shakspeare. For the writer and reader obferve a diforder of time in this page. He took fo many years to publifh his edition, that his fubfcribers grew difpleafed and clamorous for their books, which he might have prevented. For he was able to do a great deal in a little time. Though for collation he was not fit. He could not pore long on a text. It was Columbus at the oar. It was on moft literary points difficult to get himself into a willingness to work. He was idle, or unwell, or loth to act upon compulfion. But at laft he tried to awake his faculties, and, like the le thargic porter of the caftle of Indolence, "to roufe himself as much, as roufe himself he can." He confeffed that the publication of his Shakspeare anfwered to him in every refpect. He had a very large fubfcription.

Dr. Campbell, then alive in Queenfquare, who had a volume in his hand, pronounced, that the preface and notes were worth the whole fubfcription money. You would think the text not approved or adjusted by the past or prefent editions, and requiring to be fettled by the future. It is hoped that the next editors will have read all the books that Shakspeare read: a promife our Johnfon gave, but was not able to perform.

The reader is apprized, that this memoir is only a sketch of life, manner, and writings

X x 2

In

"In every work regard the writer's end;
"For none can compaís more than they intend."
It looks forwards and backwards almoft
at the fame time. Like the nightin-
gale in Strada," it hits imperfect ac-
cents here and there." Hawkefworth,
one of the Johnfonian fchool, upon
being afked, whether Johnfon was an
happy man, by a gentleman who had
been juft introduced to him, and
wanted to know every thing about
him, confeffed, that he looked upon
him as a moft miferable being. The
moment of enquiry was probably about
the time he loft his wife, and fent for
Hawkefworth, in the most earneft
manner, to come and give him confo-
lation and his company.- And fkreen

me from the ills of life!" is the con-
clufion of his fombrous poem on No-
vember. In happier moments (for
who is not fubject to every skyey in-
fluence, and the evil of the hour?) he
would
and
argue, prove it in a fort of
differtation, that there was, generally
and individually, more of natural and
moral good, than of the contrary. He
afferted, that no man could pronounce
he did not feel more pleafure than mi-
fery. Every body would not anfwer
in the affirmative; for an ounce of
pain outweighs a pound of pleafure.
There are people who wish they had
never been born to whom life is a
difeafe-and whofe apprehenfions of
dying pains and of futurity embitter
every thing. The reader muft not
think it impertinent to remark, that
Johnfon did not choose to pafs his
whole life in celibacy. Perhaps the
raifing up a pofterity may be à debt
and duty all men owe to thofe who
have lived before them. The fuppofi-
tion of his having had a daughter was
groundlefs. Mrs. Johnfon never had
a child after her marriage with the
Doctor, nor, from her advanced age,
was such an event probable. When
fhe was gone, he loft his hold on life,
for he never married again. He has
expreffed a furprise that Sir Ifaac New-
ton continued totally unacquainted
with the female fex, which is afferted
by Voltaire, from the information of
Chefelden, and is admitted to be true.
For curiofity, the first and most durable

of the paffions, might have fed him to overcome that inexperience. This pen may as well finish this laft point in the words of Fontenelle, that Sir Ifaac never was married, and perhaps never had time to think of it. Whether the fun-fhine of the world upon our author raifed his drooping fpirits, or that the lenient hand of time removed fomething from him, or that his health meliorated by mingling more with the crowd of mankind, or not, he however apparently acquired more chearfulnefs, and became more fit for the labours of life and his literary function. But he certainly did not communicate to every intruder every uneafy fenfation of mind and body. Who, it may be asked, can determine of the pleasure and the pain of others? True and folemn are the lines of Prior, in his Solomon:

"Who breathes muft fuffer, and who thinks must mourn;

"And he alone is bleft, who ne'er was born."

Johnfon thought he had no right to complain of his lot in life, or of having been difappointed: the world had not ufed him ill; it had not broke its word with him: it had promised him nothing: he afpired to no elevation he had fallen from no height. Lord Gower endeavoured to obtain for him, by the intereft of Swift, the mastership of a grammar fchool of fmail income, for which Johnfon was not qualified by the ftatutes to become a candidate. His lordship's letter, published fome years ago, is to the honour of the fubject, in praise of his abilities and integrity, and in commiferation of his diftreffed fituation. The younger Warton, by his influence, procured for him the honorary degree of Mafter of Arts at Oxford, on the conclufion of his Dictionary,

Johnson wished, for a moment, to fill the chair of a profeffor, at Oxford, then become vacant, but he never applied for it. He was offered a good living, by Mr. Langton, if he would accept it, and take orders: but he chofe not to put off his lay habit. He would have made an admirable library-keeper: like Cafaubon, Magliabechi, or Bent ley. But he belonged to the world a

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