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rum, and that fuch unlimited indulgence of his palate would precipitate his end. Little did he think his intemperance would have proved an introduction to his wife's difgrace, by eventually raising an obfcure and pennilefs finger into fudden wealth and aukward notoriety.
On finishing the Lives of our Poets "the bookfellers prefented him with a gratuity of a hundred pounds."] This hundred pounds, before a living witness, he received from his employers as a demand, and not as a prefent. He faid he had agreed with them for 300l. of which the fum in queftion was a third. He therefore took it only as his due.-Let the moft penurious among us tell our own ftory, and meet with fuch a degree of credulity as fuits our purpose in telling it, and Timon of Athens will appear a niggard in comparison with our liberality and magnificence.-Let it not, however, be concealed, that on a republication of the aforefaid Lives, &c. in four vols. 8vo. with a Preface, the bookfellers paid the Doctor the additional fum of one hundred pounds.
"His intimacy with Dr. Dodd, &c."] Dr. Johnfon declared, repeatedly declared to the perfon who now (however unworthily) holds the pen in his behalf, that he never once had been in company with that unfortunate divine. A knowledge of this circumftance cannot fail to increase every reader's belief in the philanthropy of Johnfon.
"That he would not be obliged to any perfon's liberality but his King's."] This fentiment may have been uttered by Dr. Johnson, but where is the evidence that it was fo? It would come with better grace from any one than the gentleman who, by making the offer mentioned, might have provoked fuch a reply.
"Who builds a church to God, and not to fame,
"Will feldom mark the marble with his name."
Was the above circumftance ever spoken of by Dr. Johnson? Was it known during his life? Or has it been divulged only fince his death?
His laft employers wanted him to undertake the life of Spenfer."] The King, indeed, is faid to have wished
for fuch an additional piece of biography, but Dr. Johnfon himself thought the bookfellers were unwilling it fhould be written, left they fhould be expected to reprint an author whofe works have, comparatively, very few readers. The Doctor professed a readiness to perform his part in the undertaking, on the flightest intimation that his labours would be accepted. Some collection for them was actually made. He would not have fhrunk from a comparifon with Mr. Warton's criticisms on this or any other bard. It was particularly requifite. that the authenticity of our biographer's infor mation on this fubject should be dif puted, that it may be known how lit. tle difpofed the Doctor was to have neglected the fligheft hint from ONE whofe zeal for literature is among the brighteft ornaments of his exalted fituation.
"His funeral was fplendidly and numerously attended."] How fplendidly, and how numeroufly, is no fecret from the public, who have already paid all due compliments to the Dean and Chapter of Weftminster, on account of fuch matchlefs gratitude and generofity as they difplayed at the complete and folemn inhumination of their great voluntier in the cause of the establifhed Church of England.
But this addrefs to you, Mr. Editor, must not conclude without proper mention of the biographer to a few parts of whofe performance the foregoing objections have been made. He defigned honour to his departed friend, and in many inftances has conferred it.-Where he has failed, his failure must be imputed to hafte, or dubious intelligence-or, in fhort, to any circumftance rather than a voluntary aberration from truth, or the leaft wish to exhibit the deceafed in an unfavourable point of view. He is likewife requefted to believe, that though fome of his anecdotes and opinions may have been freely examined, they have neither been wilfully misunderstood, or wantonly misrepresented.
I am, Sir,
Your most humble fervant, &c. I beg leave to add, that no falfe reports
reports reflecting on Dr. Johnfon's mefhall long remain uncontradicted in this paper*, even though the malicious tale, or groundlefs anecdote,
fhould occur in publications almoft too obfcure for notice, and too mean for reprehenfion.
"PRAY (faid Garrick's mother to Johnfon) what is your opinion of my fon David?"" Why, madam, replied the Doctor, David will either be hanged, or become a great man."
asked to what misfortune the foregoing words referred. Being told that the critic had loft his wife, Johnson added, "I believe that the lofs of teeth may deprave the voice of a finger, and that lamenefs will impede the motions of a When Bolingbroke died, and be- dancing-mafter, but I have not yet queathed the publication of his works been taught to regard the death of a wife as the to Mallet, Johnfon obferved" His grave of literary exertions. lordship has loaded a blunderbufs against When my dear Mrs. Johnfon expired, religion, and has left a fcoundrel to I fought relief in my ftudies, and ftrove pull the trigger."Being reminded of to lofe the recollection of her in the this a few years ago, the Doctor extoils of literature.-Perhaps, however, claimed" Did I really fay fo?""Yes, wrong the feelings of this poor fellow. Sir." He replied, "I am heartily his name. Hinc ille lachryme. Nay, His wife might have held the pen in glad of it." I think I obferve, throughout his two woman's impotence of revenge."-Yet pieces, a woman's irritability with a fuch were Johnfon's tender remembrances of his own wife, that after her death, though he had a whole houfe but in a garret. Being asked the reaat command, he would ftudy no where fon why he chofe a fituation fo incommodious, he answered, "Because in that room only I never faw Mrs. Johnfon."
"You knew Mr. Capel, Dr. Johnfon?" Yes, Sir; I have feen him at Garrick's."—" And what think you of his abilities?"- They are juft fufficient, Sir, to enable him to felect the black hairs from the white ones, for the ufe of the perriwig-makers. Were he and I to count the grains in a bufhel of wheat for a wager, he would certainly prove the winner."
When one Collins, a fleep-compelling divine of Herefordshire, with the affiftance of Counsellor Hardinge, publifhed a heavy half-crown pamphlet against Mr. Steevens, Garrick asked the Doctor what he thought of this attack on his coadjutor." I regard Collins's performance (replied Johnfon) as a great gun without powder or thot.". When the fame Collins afterwards appeared as editor of Capel's pofthumous notes on Shakspeare, with a preface of his own, containing the following words" A fudden and moft fevere ftroke of affliction has left my mind too much diftracted to be capable of engaging in fuch a talk [that of a further attack on Mr. Steevens] though I am prompted to it by inclination as well as duty," the Doctor LOND. MAG. April 1785.
"Were you ever, Sir, in company with Dr. Warburton?”- "I never faw him till one evening, about a week ago, at the Bishop of St.
first he looked furlily at me; but after we had been jostled into converfation, he took me to a window, afked me fome queftions, and before we parted was fo well pleased with me, that he patted me."" You always, Sir, preferved a respect for him?"- "Yes, and juftly. When as yet I was in no favour with the world, he spoke well of me*, and I hope I never forgot the obligation."
Though you brought a tragedy, Sir, to Drury-lane, and at one time were fo intimate with Garrick, you never appeared to have much theatrical acquaintance."" Sir, while I had, in 'common with other dramatic authors, the liberty of the fcenes, without confidering my admiffion behind them as a favour, I was frequently at the theaAt that period all the wenches knew me, and dropped me a curtfy as they paffed on to the ftage. But fince 'poor Goldfmith's laft comedy, I fcarce recollect having feen the infide of a play-houfe. To fpeak the truth, there is fmall encouragement there for a man whofe fight and hearing are become fo imperfect as mine.-I may add, that, Garrick and Henderfon excepted, I never met with a performer who had ftudied his art, or could give an intelligible reason for what he did."
mental calm which otherwife would fucceed to prayer. I am apt to whifper to myself on fuch occafions-How can this illiterate fellow dream of fixing attention, after we have been liftening to the fublimeft truths, conveyed in the most chafte and exalted language, throughout a Liturgy which must be regarded as the genuine offfpring of piety impregnated by wif dom. Take notice, however, though I make this confeffion refpecting myfelf, I do not mean to recommend the faftidioufnefs that led me to exchange congregational for folitary worship."Dr. Johnfon, notwithstanding, was at Streatham-church, when the unfortunate Dodd's firft application to him was made. The Doctor went out of his pew immediately, wrote a fuitable reply to the letter he had received, and afterwards, when he related this circumftance, added, "I hope I fhall be pardoned, if for once I deferted the fervice of God for that of man.”
On the night before the publication of the first edition of his Shakspeare, he fupped with fome friends in the Temple, who kept him up, "nothing loth," till paft five the next morning. Much pleafantry was paffing on the fubject of commentatorship; when, all on a fudden, the Doctor, looking at his watch, cried out, "This is fport to you, gentlemen; but you do not confider there are at most only four hours between me and criticism.”
Previous to this convivial meeting, Mr. Tonfon had defired a gentleman to ask our author if he could afcertain the number of his fubfcribers." No (replied the Doctor); two material reafons forbid even a guefs of mine on the fubject.-I have loft all the names, and fpent all the money. It came in in fmall portions, and departed in the
fame manner.". There were afterwards receipts for near a thousand copies carried in to Tonfon.
"I have feldom met with a man whofe colloquial ability exceeded that of Mallet.-I was but once in Sterne's
In his Preface to Shakspeare,
company, and then his only attempt at merriment confifted in his difplay of a drawing too indecently grofs to have delighted even in a brothel.-Colman never produced a luckier thing than his firft ode in ridicule of Gray. A confiderable part of it may be numbered among thofe felicities which no man has twice attained. -Gray was the very Torré of poetry. He played his corufcations fo fpecioufly, that his fteel-duft is mistaken by many for a fhower of gold."
At one period of the Doctor's life, he was reconciled to the bottle. Sweet wines, however, were his chief favourites. When none of thefe were before him, he would fometimes drink Port, with a lump of fugar in every glafs. The ftrongest liquors, and in very large quantities, produced no other effect on him than moderate exhiliration. Once, and but once, he is known to have had his dofe; a circumftance which he himself difcovered, on finding one of his fefquipedalian words hang fire. He then ftarted up, and gravely obferved, "I think it time we fhould go to bed."-After a ten years forbearance of every fluid, except tea and fherbet, "I drank (faid he) one glass of wine to the health of Sir Joshua Reynolds, on the evening of the day on which he was knighted. I never swallowed another drop till old Madeira was prefcribed to me as a cordial during my present indifpofition; but this liquor did not relish as formerly, and I therefore difcontinued it." Every change, however, in his habits, had invariable reference to that infanity which, from his two-andtwentieth year, he had taught himself to apprehend. Whether he had once suffered from a temporary alienation of mind, or expected it only in confequence of fome obfcure warning he fuppofed himself to have received, will always remain a fecret. To difpel the gloom that fo conftantly oppreffed him, he had originally recourfe to wine.
Afterwards, he fufpected danger from it: "For (faid he) what ferments the fpirits may alfo derange the intellects, and the means employed to counteract dejection may haften the approach of madnefs. Even fixed, fubftantial melancholy is preferable to a state in which we can neither amend the future, nor follicit mercy for the past.", Impreffed as he was with fuch ideas, each precaution he could adopt appeared hazardous in its turn. Even his favourite, tea, had been gradually drank by him in reduced quantities, and at last was totally laid afide. Milk became its fubftitute, and he looked forward to the fpring, when he expected his new beverage would prove yet more falutary. "Perhaps (fays he) I fhall conclude with what I ought to have begun. Milk was defigned for our nutriment. Tea, and fimilar potations, are all adfcititious."
At laft perhaps his death was accelerated by his own imprudence. If "a little learning is a dangerous thing" on any fpeculative fubject, it is eminently more fo in the practical science. of phyfic. Johnfon was too frequently his own patient. In October, juft before he came to London, he had taken an unusual dofe of fquills, but without effect. He fwallowed the fame quantity on his arrival here, and it produced a most violent operation. He did not, as he afterwards confeffed, reflect on the difference between the perifhed and inefficacious vegetable he found in the country, and the fresh and potent one of the fame kind he was fure to meet with in town, find me at prefent (fays he) fuffering from a prefcription of my own. When I am recovered from its confequences, and not till then, I fhall know the true ftate of my natural malady." From this period, he took no medicine without the approbation of Heberden.What follows is known by all, and by all lamented-ere now, perhaps-even by the prebends of Westminster.
MR. TYERS, author of the Biographical Sketch of Johnfon's Life, in
eye than the other," but forbears to account for this unequal ability in his organs of fight. I beg leave, therefore, at once to fupply our rhapfodift's deficience, and confirm his valuable anecdote, by affuring him his late friend Dr. Johnfon had, for many years, loft one of his eyes, and confequently could only fee with its companion. He himself did not recollect the exact period when he became acquainted with this vifual defect, which (as it happened through no external
violence) might, for fome time, 'have escaped even his own obfervation.
When one eye, however, is extinguifhed, the other may be regarded as its heir at law, inheriting the powers of a departed relation-unus fefe armat utroque. This fcrap from Strada is not much to the purpose, but Mr. Tyers loves a quotation, and therefore, till I had introduced one, I could not prevail on myself to affure you, Mr. Editor, that I am
Your most humble fervant, &c.
HE Chevalier Landriani has difcovered a new and useful method of fettling the fixed points of thermometers. The freezing point is not fubject to any variation; because water which is in the act of freezing or of thawing remains at 32 deg. of Fahrenheit's thermometer during the whole time employed to reduce it either to a folid or fluid ftate. This is not the cafe with the boiling water point or 212 deg. of Fahrenheit's thermometer. The preffure of the atmosphere occafions a confiderable variation in the heat of water in a state of ebullition; the ebullition and the maximum of heat taking place at a lower temperature when the weight of the atmofpere is lighter than when it is heavier. M. Landriani's propofal is to make ufe of fubjects which congeal at much higher degrees of heat than water, in order to afcertain another point of congelation, that fhall be at a confiderable or fufficient distance from the point of congelation in water: fulphur may probably anfwer this purpofe if the flowers be ufed; and no more heat applied than is fufficient merely to bring it into a ftate of fluidity.
The following extract from the Italian of M, Landriani may ferve to explain his ideas: By repeatedly renewing my obfervations on metallic compofitions fufible in boiling water, I was led to the idea of making ufe of them for the purpose of fixing the degree of heat of boiling water on thermometers. For it is not always pof
fible even on the fame fpot or place to fix the boiling point on thermometers, without making ufe of a tedious calculation, becaufe the heat of the water, as is well known, varies according to the weight of air that compreffes it. Now there can be no doubt but a fmall crucible, or any other veffel filled with any metallic compofition, fusible at the 80th degree of Reaumur's fcale, might ferve to determine the heat or the point of boiling water on all kinds of thermometers. Let a thermometer, for example, be immerged in a metallic compofition, whofe degree of heat exceeds that requifite to render it fluid, it will ceafe to defcend at the inftant the metal becomes folid, and will remain ftationary at that point for fome time. All that is required, therefore, is to procure a metallic compofition that will lofe its folidity at the 80th degree, and to immerge the thermome ter therein that we propose to graduate: for as foon as we perceive that the mercury is in fome measure ftationary, and that the compofition takes a folid form, it will be a certain criterion that the mercury in the thermometer is heated to 80 degrees; that is to fay, a heat equal to what it would have acquired if immerged in boiling water."
On this occafion, though M. Landriani is intitled to all the merit of originality for his ufeful proposition; yet a refpect for truth obliges us to obferve, that the upper fixed point of Sir Ifaac Newton's linfeed oil thermometer was fettled by detaining the bulb