Life Of Johnson, Vol. 1
by Boswell
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[124] Johnson's Works, vi. 406.

[125] Mr. Croker disbelieves the story altogether. 'Sacheverel,' he says, 'by his sentence pronounced in Feb. 1710, was interdicted for three years from preaching; so that he could not have preached at Lichfield while Johnson was under three years of age. Sacheverel, indeed, made a triumphal progress through the midland counties in 1710; and it appears by the books of the corporation of Lichfield that he was received in that town, and complimented by the attendance of the corporation, "and a present of three dozen of wine," on June 16, 1710; but then "the infant Hercules of Toryism" was just nine months old.' It is quite possible that the story is in the main correct. Sacheverel was received in Lichfield in 1710 on his way down to Shropshire to take possession of a living. At the end of the suspension in March 1713 he preached a sermon in London, for which, as he told Swift, 'a book-seller gave him 100, intending to print 30,000' (Swift's Journal to Stella, April 2, 1713). It is likely enough that either on his way up to town or on his return journey he preached at Lichfield. In the spring of 1713 Johnson was three years old.

[126] See post, p. 48, and April 25,1778 note; and Boswell's Hebrides, Oct. 28, 1773.

[127] _Anecdotes of Dr. Johnson_, by Hester Lynch Piozzi, p. 11. Life of Dr. Johnson_, by Sir John Hawkins, p. 6. BOSWELL.

[128] 'My father had much vanity which his adversity hindered from being fully exerted.' Annals, p. 14.

[129] This anecdote of the duck, though disproved by internal and external evidence, has nevertheless, upon supposition of its truth, been made the foundation of the following ingenious and fanciful reflections of Miss Seward, amongst the communications concerning Dr. Johnson with which she has been pleased to favour me: 'These infant numbers contain the seeds of those propensities which through his life so strongly marked his character, of that poetick talent which afterwards bore such rich and plentiful fruits; for, excepting his orthographick works, every thing which Dr. Johnson wrote was Poetry, whose essence consists not in numbers, or in jingle, but in the strength and glow of a fancy, to which all the stores of nature and of art stand in prompt administration; and in an eloquence which conveys their blended illustrations in a language "more tuneable than needs or rhyme or verse to add more harmony."

'The above little verses also shew that superstitious bias which "grew with his growth, and strengthened with his strength," and, of late years particularly, injured his happiness, by presenting to him the gloomy side of religion, rather than that bright and cheering one which gilds the period of closing life with the light of pious hope.'

This is so beautifully imagined, that I would not suppress it. But like many other theories, it is deduced from a supposed fact, which is, indeed, a fiction. BOSWELL.

[130] Prayers and Meditations, p. 27. BOSWELL.

[131] Speaking himself of the imperfection of one of his eyes, he said to Dr. Burney, 'the dog was never good for much.' MALONE.

[132] Boswell's Hebrides, Sept. 1, 1773.

[133] 'No accidental position of a riband,' wrote Mrs. Piozzi, 'escaped him, so nice was his observation, and so rigorous his demands of propriety.' Piozzi's Anec. p. 287. Miss Burney says:— 'Notwithstanding Johnson is sometimes so absent and always so near-sighted, he scrutinizes into every part of almost everybody's appearance [at Streatham].' And again she writes:—'his blindness is as much the effect of absence [of mind] as of infirmity, for he sees wonderfully at times. He can see the colour of a lady's top-knot, for he very often finds fault with it.' Mme. D'Arblays Diary, i. 85, ii. 174. 'He could, when well, distinguish the hour on Lichfield town-clock.' Post, p. 64.

[134] See post, Sept. 22, 1777.

[135] This was Dr. Swinfen's opinion, who seems also to have attributed Johnson's short-sightedness to the same cause. 'My mother,' he says, 'thought my diseases derived from her family.' Annals, p. 12. When he was put out at nurse, 'She visited me,' he says, 'every day, and used to go different ways, that her assiduity might not expose her to ridicule.'

[136] In 1738 Carte published a masterly 'Account of Materials, etc., for a History of England with the method of his undertaking.' (Gent. Mag. viii. 227.) He proposed to do much of what has been since done under the direction of the Master of the Rolls. He asked for subscriptions to carry on his great undertaking, for in its researches it was to be very great. In 1744 the City of London resolved to subscribe 50 for seven years (ib. xiv: 393). In vol. i. of his history, which only came down to the reign of John (published in 1748), he went out of his way to assert that the cure by the king's touch was not due to the 'regal unction'; for he had known a man cured who had gone over to France, and had been there 'touched by the eldest lineal descendant of a race of kings who had not at that time been crowned or anointed.' (ib. xviii. 13.) Thereupon the Court of Common Council by a unanimous vote withdrew its subscription, (ib. 185.) The old Jacobites maintained that the power did not descend to Mary, William, or Anne. It was for this reason that Boswell said that Johnson should have been taken to Rome; though indeed it was not till some years after he was 'touched' by Queen Anne that the Pretender dwelt there. The Hanoverian kings never 'touched.' The service for the ceremony was printed in the Book of Common Prayer as late as 1719. (Penny Cyclo. xxi. 113.) 'It appears by the newspapers of the time,' says Mr. Wright, quoted by Croker, 'that on March 30, 1712, two hundred persons were touched by Queen Anne.' Macaulay says that 'Charles the Second, in the course of his reign, touched near a hundred thousand persons.... The expense of the ceremony was little less than ten thousand pounds a year.' Macaulay's England, ch. xiv.

[137] See post, p. 91, note.

[138] Anecdotes, p. 10. BOSWELL.

[139] Johnson, writing of Addison's schoolmasters, says:—'Not to name the school or the masters of men illustrious for literature is a kind of historical fraud, by which honest fame is injuriously diminished. I would therefore trace him through the whole process of his education.' Johnson's Works, vii. 418.

[140] Neither the British Museum nor the Bodleian Library has a copy.

[141] 'When we learned Propria qua maribus, we were examined in the Accidence; particularly we formed verbs, that is, went through the same person in all the moods and tenses. This was very difficult to me, and I was once very anxious about the next day, when this exercise was to be performed in which I had failed till I was discouraged. My mother encouraged me, and I proceeded better. When I told her of my good escape, "We often," said she, dear mother! "come off best when we are most afraid." She told me that, once when she asked me about forming verbs I said, "I did not form them in an ugly shape." "You could not," said she "speak plain; and I was proud that I had a boy who was forming verbs" These little memorials soothe my mind.' Annals, p. 22.

[142] 'This was the course of the school which I remember with pleasure; for I was indulged and caressed by my master; and, I think, really excelled the rest.' Annals, p. 23.

[143] Johnson said of Hunter:—'Abating his brutality, he was a very good master;' post. March 21, 1772. Steele in the Spectator, No. 157, two years after Johnson's birth, describes these savage tyrants of the grammar-schools. 'The boasted liberty we talk of,' he writes, 'is but a mean reward for the long servitude, the many heartaches and terrors to which our childhood is exposed in going through a grammar school.... No one who has gone through what they call a great school but must remember to have seen children of excellent and ingenuous natures (as has afterwards appeared in their manhood); I say no man has passed through this way of education but must have seen an ingenuous creature expiring with shame, with pale looks, beseeching sorrow and silent tears, throw up its honest eyes and kneel or its tender kneeds to an inexorable blockhead to be forgiven the false quantity of a word in making a Latin verse.' Likely enough Johnson's roughness was in part due to this brutal treatment; for Steele goes on to say:—'It is wholly to this dreadful practise that we may attribute a certain hardiness and ferocity which some men, though liberally educated, carry about them in all their behaviour. To be bred like a gentleman, and punished like a malefactor, must, as we see it does, produce that illiberal sauciness which we see sometimes in men of letters.'

[144] Johnson described him as 'a peevish and ill-tempered man,' and not so good a scholar or teacher as Taylor made out. Once the boys perceived that he did not understand a part of the Latin lesson; another time, when sent up to the upper-master to be punished, they had to complain that when they 'could not get the passage,' the assistant would not help them. Annals, pp. 26, 32.

[145] One of the contributors to the Athenian Letters. See Gent. Mag. liv. 276.

[146] Johnson, post, March 22, 1776, describes him as one 'who does not get drunk, for he is a very pious man, but he is always muddy.'

[147] A tradition had reached Johnson through his school-fellow Andrew Corbet that Addison had been at the school and had been the leader in a barring out. (Johnson's Works, vii. 419.) Garrick entered the school about two years after Johnson left. According to Garrick's biographer, Tom Davies (p. 3), 'Hunter was an odd mixture of the pedant and the sportsman. Happy was the boy who could slily inform his offended master where a covey of partridges was to be found; this notice was a certain pledge of his pardon.' Lord Campbell in his Lives of the Chief Justices, ii. 279, says:—'Hunter is celebrated for having flogged seven boys who afterwards sat as judges in the superior courts at Westminster at the same time. Among these were Chief Justice Wilmot, Lord Chancellor Northington, Sir T. Clarke, Master of the Rolls, Chief Justice Willes, and Chief Baron Parker. It is remarkable that, although Johnson and Wilmot were several years class-fellows at Lichfield, there never seems to have been the slightest intercourse between them in after life; but the Chief Justice used frequently to mention the Lexicographer as "a long, lank, lounging boy, whom he distinctly remembered to have been punished by Hunter for idleness." Lord Campbell blunders here. Northington and Clarke were from Westminster School (Campbell's Chancellors, v. 176). The schoolhouse, famous though it was, was allowed to fall into decay. A writer in the Gent. Mag. in 1794 (p. 413) says that 'it is now in a state of dilapidation, and unfit for the use of either the master or boys.'

[148] Johnson's observation to Dr. Rose, on this subject, deserves to be recorded. Rose was praising the mild treatment of children at school, at a time when flogging began to be less practised than formerly: 'But then, (said Johnson,) they get nothing else: and what they gain at one end, they lose at the other.' BURNEY. See post, under Dec. 17, 1775.

[149] This passage is quoted from Boswell's Hebrides, Aug. 24, 1773. Mr. Boyd had told Johnson that Lady Errol did not use force or fear in educating her children; whereupon he replied, 'Sir, she is wrong,' and continued in the words of the text.

Gibbon in his Autobiography says:—'The domestic discipline of our ancestors has been relaxed by the philosophy and softness of the age: and if my father remembered that he had trembled before a stern parent, it was only to adopt with his son an opposite mode of behaviour.' Gibbon's Works, i. 112. Lord Chesterfield writing to a friend on Oct. 18, 1752, says:—'Pray let my godson never know what a blow or a whipping is, unless for those things for which, were he a man, he would deserve them; such as lying, cheating, making mischief, and meditated malice.' Chesterfield's Misc. Works, iv. 130.

[150] Johnson, however, hated anything that came near to tyranny in the management of children. Writing to Mrs. Thrale, who had told him that she had on one occasion gone against the wish of her nurses, he said:—'That the nurses fretted will supply me during life with an additional motive to keep every child, as far as is possible, out of a nurse's power. A nurse made of common mould will have a pride in overcoming a child's reluctance. There are few minds to which tyranny is not delightful; power is nothing but as it is felt, and the delight of superiority is proportionate to the resistance overcome.' Piozzi Letters, ii. 67.

[151] 'Sword, I will hallow thee for this thy deed.' 2 Henry VI, act iv. sc. 10. John Wesley's mother, writing of the way she had brought up her children, boys and girls alike, says:—'When turned a year old (and some before) they were taught to fear the rod, and to cry softly; by which means they escaped abundance of correction they might otherwise have had.' Wesley's Journal, i. 370.

[152] 'There dwelt at Lichfield a gentleman of the name of Butt, to whose house on holidays he was ever welcome. The children in the family, perhaps offended with the rudeness of his behaviour, would frequently call him the great boy, which the father once overhearing said:—'You call him the great boy, but take my word for it, he will one day prove a great man.' Hawkins's Johnson, p. 6.

[153] See post, March 22, 1776 and Johnson's visit to Birmingham in Nov. 1784.

[154] 'You should never suffer your son to be idle one minute. I do not call play, of which he ought to have a good share, idleness; but I mean sitting still in a chair in total inaction; it makes boys lazy and indolent.' Chesterfield's Misc. Works, iv. 248.

[155] The author of the Reliques.

[156] The summer of 1764.

[157] Johnson, writing of Paradise Lost, book ii. l. 879, says:—'In the history of Don Bellianis, when one of the knights approaches, as I remember, the castle of Brandezar, the gates are said to open, grating harsh thunder upon their brazen hinges.' Johnson's Works, v. 76. See post, March 27, 1776, where 'he had with him upon a jaunt Il Palmerino d'Inghilterra.' Prior says of Burke that 'a very favourite study, as he once confessed in the House of Commons, was the old romances, Palmerin of England and Don Belianis of Greece, upon which he had wasted much valuable time.' Prior's Burke, p. 9.

[158] Hawkins (Life, p. 2) says that the uncle was Dr. Joseph Ford 'a physician of great eminence.' The son, Parson Ford, was Cornelius. In Boswell's Hebrides, Oct. 15, 1773, Johnson mentions an uncle who very likely was Dr. Ford. In Notes and Queries, 5th S. v. 13, it is shown that by the will of the widow of Dr. Ford the Johnsons received 200 in 1722. On the same page the Ford pedigree is given, where it is seen that Johnson had an uncle Cornelius. It has been stated that 'Johnson was brought up by his uncle till his fifteenth year.' I understand Boswell to say that Johnson, after leaving Lichfield School, resided for some time with his uncle before going to Stourbridge.

[159] He is said to be the original of the parson in Hogarth's Modern Midnight Conversation. BOSWELL.

In the Life of Fenton Johnson describes Ford as 'a clergyman at that time too well known, whose abilities, instead of furnishing convivial merriment to the voluptuous and dissolute, might have enabled him to excel among the virtuous and the wise.' Johnson's Works, viii. 57. Writing to Mrs. Thrale on July 8, 1771, he says, 'I would have been glad to go to Hagley [close to Stourbridge] for I should have had the opportunity of recollecting past times, and wandering per montes notos et flumina nota, of recalling the images of sixteen, and reviewing my conversations with poor Ford.' Piozzi Letters, i. 42. See also post, May 12, 1778.

[160] See post, April 20, 1781.

[161] As was likewise the Bishop of Dromore many years afterwards. BOSWELL.

[162] Mr. Hector informs me, that this was made almost impromptu, in his presence. BOSWELL.

[163] This he inserted, with many alterations, in the Gentleman's Magazine, 1743 [p. 378]. BOSWELL. The alterations are not always for the better. Thus he alters

'And the long honours of a lasting name'


'And fir'd with pleasing hope of endless fame.'

[164] Settle was the last of the city-poets; post, May 15, 1776.

[165] 'Here swells the shelf with Ogilby the great.' Dunciad, i. 141.

[166] Some young ladies at Lichfield having proposed to act The Distressed Mother, Johnson wrote this, and gave it to Mr. Hector to convey it privately to them. BOSWELL. See post, 1747, for The Distressed Mother.

[167] Yet he said to Boswell:—'Sir, in my early years I read very hard. It is a sad reflection, but a true one, that I knew almost as much at eighteen as I do now' (post, July 21, 1763). He told Mr. Langton, that 'his great period of study was from the age of twelve to that of eighteen' (Ib. note). He told the King that his reading had later on been hindered by ill-health (post, Feb. 1767).

[168] Hawkins (Life, p. 9) says that his father took him home, probably with a view to bring him up to his own trade; for I have heard Johnson say that he himself was able to bind a book. 'It were better bind books again,' wrote Mrs. Thrale to him on Sept. 18, 1777, 'as you did one year in our thatched summer-house.' Piozzi Letters, i. 375. It was most likely at this time that he refused to attend his father to Uttoxeter market, for which fault he made atonement in his old age (post, November, 1784).

[169] Perhaps Johnson had his own early reading in mind when he thus describes Pope's reading at about the same age. 'During this period of his life he was indefatigably diligent and insatiably curious; wanting health for violent, and money for expensive pleasures, and having excited in himself very strong desires of intellectual eminence, he spent much of his time over his books; but he read only to store his mind with facts and images, seizing all that his authors presented with undistinguishing voracity, and with an appetite for knowledge too eager to be nice.' Johnson's Works, viii. 239.

[170] Andrew Corbet, according to Hawkins. Corbet had entered Pembroke College in 1727. Dr. Swinfen, Johnson's god-father, was a member of the College. I find the name of a Swinfen on the books in 1728.

[171] In the Caution Book of Pembroke College are found the two following entries:—

'Oct. 31, 1728. Recd. then of Mr. Samuel Johnson Commr. of Pem. Coll. ye summ of seven Pounds for his Caution, which is to remain in ye Hands of ye Bursars till ye said Mr. Johnson shall depart ye said College leaving ye same fully discharg'd.

Recd. by me, John Ratcliff, Bursar.'

'March 26, 1740. At a convention of the Master and Fellows to settle the accounts of the Caution it appear'd that the Persons Accounts underwritten stood thus at their leaving the College:

Caution not Repay'd Mr. Johnson 7 0 0 Battells not discharg'd Mr. Johnson 7 0 0

Mr. Carlyle is in error in describing Johnson as a servitor. He was a commoner as the above entry shows. Though he entered on Oct. 31, he did not matriculate till Dec. 16. It was on Palm Sunday of this same year that Rousseau left Geneva, and so entered upon his eventful career. Goldsmith was born eleven days after Johnson entered (Nov. 10, 1728). Reynolds was five years old. Burke was born before Johnson left Oxford.

[172] He was in his twentieth year. He was born on Sept. 18, 1709, and was therefore nineteen. He was somewhat late in entering. In his Life of Ascham he says, 'Ascham took his bachelor's degree in 1534, in the eighteenth year of his age; a time of life at which it is more common now to enter the universities than to take degrees.' Johnson's Works, vi. 505. It was just after Johnson's entrance that the two Wesleys began to hold small devotional meetings at Oxford.

[173] Builders were at work in the college during all his residence. 'July 16, 1728. About a quarter of a year since they began to build a new chapel for Pembroke Coll. next to Slaughter Lane.' Hearne's Remains, iii. 9.

[174] Athen. Oxon. edit. 1721, i. 627. BOSWELL.

[175] Johnson would oftener risk the payment of a small fine than attend his lectures.... Upon occasion of one such imposition he said to Jorden:—"Sir, you have sconced [fined] me two pence for non-attendance at a lecture not worth a penny." Hawkins's Johnson, p. 9. A passage in Whitefield's Diary shows that the sconce was often greater. He once neglected to give in the weekly theme which every Saturday had to be given to the tutor in the Hall 'when the bell rang.' He was fined half-a-crown. Tyerman's Whitefield, i. 22. In my time (1855-8) at Pembroke College every Saturday when the bell rang we gave in our piece of Latin prose—themes were things of the past.

[176] This was on Nov. 6, O.S., or Nov. 17, N.S.—a very early time for ice to bear. The first mention of frost that I find in the newspapers of that winter is in the Weekly Journal for Nov. 30, O.S.; where it is stated that 'the passage by land and water [i.e. the Thames] is now become very dangerous by the snow, frost, and ice.' The record of meteorological observations began a few years later.

[177] Oxford, 20th March, 1776. BOSWELL.

[178] Mr. Croker discovers a great difference between this account and that which Johnson gave to Mr. Warton (post, under July 16, 1754). There is no need to have recourse, with Mr. Croker, 'to an ear spoiled by flattery.' A very simple explanation may be found. The accounts refer to different hours of the same day. Johnson's 'stark insensibility' belonged to the morning, and his 'beating heart' to the afternoon. He had been impertinent before dinner, and when he was sent for after dinner 'he expected a sharp rebuke.'

[179] It ought to be remembered that Dr. Johnson was apt, in his literary as well as moral exercises, to overcharge his defects. Dr. Adams informed me, that he attended his tutors lectures, and also the lectures in the College Hall, very regularly. BOSWELL.

[180] Early in every November was kept 'a great gaudy [feast] in the college, when the Master dined in publick, and the juniors (by an ancient custom they were obliged to comply with) went round the fire in the hall.' Philipps's Diary, Notes and Queries, 2nd S., x. 443. We can picture to ourselves among the juniors in November 1728, Samuel Johnson, going round the fire with the others. Here he heard day after day the Latin grace which Camden had composed for the society. 'I believe I can repeat it,' Johnson said at St. Andrew's, 'which he did.' Boswell's Hebrides, Aug. 19, 1773.

[181] Seven years before Johnson's time, on Nov. 5, 'Mr. Peyne, Bachelor of Arts, made an oration in the hall suitable to the day.' Philipps's Diary.

[182] Boswell forgot Johnson's criticism on Milton's exercises on this day. 'Some of the exercises on Gunpowder Treason might have been spared.' Johnson's Works, vii. 119.

[183] It has not been preserved. There are in the college library four of his compositions, two of verse and two of prose. One of the copies of verse I give post, under July 16, 1754. Both have been often printed. As his prose compositions have never been published I will give one:—

'Mea nec Falernae Temperant Vites, neque Formiani Pocula Colles.'

'Quaedam minus attente spectata absurda videntur, quae tamen penitus perspecta rationi sunt consentanea. Non enim semper facta per se, verum ratio occasioque faciendi sunt cogitanda. Deteriora ei offerre cui meliorum ingens copia est, cui non ridiculum videtur? Quis sanus hirtam agrestemque vestem Lucullo obtulisset, cujus omnia fere Serum opificia, omnia Parmae vellera, omnes Tyri colores latuerunt? Hoc tamen fecisse Horatium non puduit, quo nullus urbanior, nullus procerum convictui magis assuetus. Maecenatem scilicet nrat non quaesiturum an meliora vina domi posset bibere, verum an inter domesticos quenquam propensiori in se animo posset invenire. Amorem, non lucrum, optavit patronus ille munifentissimus (sic). Pocula licet vino minus puro implerentur, satis habuit, si hospitis vultus laetitia perfusus sinceram puramque amicitiam testaretur. Ut ubi poetam carmine celebramus, non fastidit, quod ipse melius posset scribere, verum poema licet non magni facit (sic), amorem scriptoris libenter amplectitur, sic amici munuscula animum gratum testantia licet parvi sint, non nisi a superbo et moroso contemnentur. Deos thuris fumis indigere nemo cert unquam credidit, quos tamen iis gratos putarunt, quia homines se non beneficiorum immemores his testimoniis ostenderunt.'


[184] 'The accidental perusal of some Latin verses gained Addison the patronage of Dr. Lancaster, afterwards Provost of Queen's College, by whose recommendation he was elected into Magdalen College as a Demy' [a scholar]. Johnson's Works, vii. 420. Johnson's verses gained him nothing but 'estimation.'

[185] He is reported to have said:—'The writer of this poem will leave it a question for posterity, whether his or mine be the original.' Hawkins, p. 13.

[186] 'A Miscellany of Poems by several hands. Published by J. Husbands, A.M., Fellow of Pembroke College, Oxon., Oxford. Printed by Leon. Lichfield, near the East-Gate, In the year MDCCXXXI.' Among the subscribers I notice the name of Richard Savage, Esq., for twenty copies. It is very doubtful whether he paid for one. Pope did not subscribe. Johnson's poem is thus mentioned in the preface:—'The translation of Mr. Pope's Messiah was deliver'd to his Tutor as a College Exercise by Mr. Johnson, a commoner of Pembroke College in Oxford, and 'tis hoped will be no discredit to the excellent original.'

[187] See post, under July 16, 1754.

[188] See Boswell's Hebrides, Sept. 6, 1773.

[189] Poetical Review of the Literary and Moral Character of Dr. Johnson, by John Courtenay, Esq., M.P. BOSWELL.

[190] Hector, in his account of Johnson's early life, says:—'After a long absence from Lichfield, when he returned, I was apprehensive of something wrong in his constitution which might either impair his intellect or endanger his life; but, thanks to Almighty God, my fears have proved false.' Hawkins, p. 8. The college books show that Johnson was absent but one week in the Long Vacation of 1729. It is by no means unlikely that he went to Lichfield in that week to consult Dr. Swinfen about his health. In that case his first attack, when he tried to overcome the malady by frequently walking to Birmingham, must have been at an earlier date. In his time students often passed the vacation at the University. The following table shows the number of graduates and undergraduates in residence in Pembroke College at the end of each fourth week, from June to December 1729:—

Members in residence. June 20, 1729 . . . 54 July 18, " . . . 34 Aug. 15, " . . . 25 Sept. 12, " . . . 16 Oct. 10, " . . . 30 Nov. 7, " . . . 52 Dec. 5, " . . . 49

At Christmas there were still sixteen men left in the college. That under a zealous tutor the vacation was by no means a time of idleness is shown by a passage in Wesley's Journal, in which he compares the Scotch Universities with the English. 'In Scotland,' he writes, 'the students all come to their several colleges in November, and return home in May. So they may study five months in the year, and lounge all the rest! O where was the common sense of those who instituted such colleges? In the English colleges everyone may reside all the year, as all my pupils did; and I should have thought myself little better than a highwayman if I had not lectured them every day in the year but Sundays.' Wesley's Journal, iv. 75. Johnson lived to see Oxford empty in the Long Vacation. Writing on Aug. 1, 1775, he said:—'The place is now a sullen solitude.' Piozzi Letters, i. 294.

[191] Johnson, perhaps, was thinking of himself when he thus criticised the character of Sir Roger de Coverley. 'The variable weather of the mind, the flying vapours of incipient madness, which from time to time cloud reason without eclipsing it, it requires so much nicety to exhibit that Addison seems to have been deterred from prosecuting his own design.' Johnson's Works, vii. 431.

[192] Writing in his old age to Hector, he said,—'My health has been from my twentieth year such as has seldom afforded me a single day of ease' (post, under March 21, 1782). Hawkins writes, that he once told him 'that he knew not what it was to be totally free from pain.' Hawkins, p. 396.

[193] See post, Oct. 27, 1784, note.

[194] In the Rambler, No. 85, he pointed out 'how much happiness is gained, and how much misery escaped, by frequent and violent agitation of the body.' See post, July 21, 1763, for his remedies against melancholy.

[195] Thirty-two miles in all. Southey mentions that in 1728, the Wesleys, to save the more money for the poor, began to perform their journeys on foot. He adds,—'It was so little the custom in that age for men in their rank of life to walk any distance, as to make them think it a discovery that four or five-and-twenty miles are an easy and safe day's journey.' Southey's Wesley, i. 52.

[196] Boswell himself suffered from hypochondria. He seems at times to boast of it, as Dogberry boasted of his losses; so that Johnson had some reason for writing to him with seventy, as if he were 'affecting it from a desire of distinction.' Post, July 2, 1776.

[197] Johnson on April 7, 1776, recommended Boswell to read this book, and again on July 2 of the same year.

[198] On Dec. 24, 1754, writing of the poet Collins, who was either mad or close upon it, he said,—'Poor dear Collins! I have often been near his state.' Wooll's Warton, p. 229. 'I inherited,' Johnson said, 'a vile melancholy from my father, which has made me mad all my life, at least not sober.' Boswell's Hebrides, Sept. 16, 1773. 'When I survey my past life,' he wrote in 1777, 'I discover nothing but a barren waste of time, with some disorders of body and disturbances of the mind very near to madness.' Pr. and Med. p. 155. Reynolds recorded that 'what Dr. Johnson said a few days before his death of his disposition to insanity was no new discovery to those who were intimate with him.' Taylor's Reynolds, ii. 455. See also post Sept. 20, 1777.

[199] Ch. 44.

[200] 'Of the uncertainties of our present state, the most dreadful and alarming is the uncertain continuance of reason.' Rasselas, ch. 43.

[201] Boswell refers to Mrs. Piozzi (Anec., pp. 77, 127), and Hawkins (Life, pp. 287-8).

[202] 'Quick in these seeds is might of fire and birth of heavenly place.' Morris, Aeneids, vi. 730.

[203] On Easter Sunday 1716 during service some pieces of stone from the spire of St. Mary's fell on the roof of the church. The congregation, thinking that the steeple was coming down, in their alarm broke through the windows. Johnson, we may well believe, witnessed the scene. The church was pulled down, and the new one was opened in Dec. 1721. Harwood's Lichfield, p. 460.

[204] 'Sept. 23, 1771. I have gone voluntarily to church on the week day but few times in my life. I think to mend. April 9, 1773. I hope in time to take pleasure in public worship. April 6, 1777. I have this year omitted church on most Sundays, intending to supply the deficience in the week. So that I owe twelve attendances on worship. I will make no more such superstitious stipulations, which entangle the mind with unbidden obligations.' Pr. and Med. pp. 108, 121, 161. In the following passage in the Life of Milton, Johnson, no doubt, is thinking of himself:—'In the distribution of his hours there was no hour of prayer, either solitary or with his household; omitting public prayers he omitted all.... That he lived without prayer can hardly be affirmed; his studies and meditations were an habitual prayer. The neglect of it in his family was probably a fault for which he condemned himself, and which he intended to correct, but that death as too often happens, intercepted his reformation.' Johnson's Works, vii. 115. See post, Oct. 10, 1779.

[205] We may compare with this a passage in Verecundulus's letter in The Rambler, No. 157:—'Though many among my fellow students [at the university] took the opportunity of a more remiss discipline to gratify their passions, yet virtue preserved her natural superiority, and those who ventured to neglect were not suffered to insult her.' Oxford at this date was somewhat wayward in her love for religion. Whitefield records:—'I had no sooner received the sacrament publicly on a week-day at St. Mary's, but I was set up as a mark for all the polite students that knew me to shoot at. By this they knew that I was commenced Methodist, for though there is a sacrament at the beginning of every term, at which all, especially the seniors, are by statute obliged to be present, yet so dreadfully has that once faithful city played the harlot, that very few masters, and no undergraduates but the Methodists attended upon it. I daily underwent some contempt at college. Some have thrown dirt at me; others by degrees took away their pay from me.' Tyerman's Whitefield, i. 19. Story, the Quaker, visiting Oxford in 1731, says, 'Of all places wherever I have been the scholars of Oxford were the rudest, most giddy, and unruly rabble, and most mischievous.' Story's Journal, p. 675.

[206] John Wesley, who was also at Oxford, writing of about this same year, says:—'Meeting now with Mr. Law's Christian Perfection and Serious Call the light flowed in so mightily upon my soul that everything appeared in a new view.' Wesley's Journal, i. 94. Whitefield writes:—'Before I went to the University, I met with Mr. Law's Serious Call, but had not then money to purchase it. Soon after my coming up to the University, seeing a small edition of it in a friend's hand I soon procured it. God worked powerfully upon my soul by that and his other excellent treatise upon Christian perfection.' Tyerman's Whitefield, i. 16. Johnson called the Serious Call 'the finest piece of hortatory theology in any language;' post, 1770. A few months before his death he said:—'William Law wrote the best piece of parenetic divinity; but William Law was no reasoner;' post, June 9, 1784. Law was the tutor of Gibbon's father, and he died in the house of the historian's aunt. In describing the Serious Call Gibbon says:—'His precepts are rigid, but they are founded on the gospel; his satire is sharp, but it is drawn from the knowledge of human life; and many of his portraits are not unworthy of the pen of La Bruyre. If he finds a spark of piety in his reader's mind he will soon kindle it to a flame.' Gibbon's Misc. Works, i. 21.

[207] Mrs. Piozzi has given a strange fantastical account of the original of Dr. Johnson's belief in our most holy religion. 'At the age of ten years his mind was disturbed by scruples of infidelity, which preyed upon his spirits, and made him very uneasy, the more so, as he revealed his uneasiness to none, being naturally (as he said) of a sullen temper, and reserved disposition. He searched, however, diligently, but fruitlessly, for evidences of the truth of revelation; and, at length, recollecting a book he had once seen [I suppose at five years old] in his father's shop, intitled De veritate Religionis, etc., he began to think himself highly culpable for neglecting such a means of information, and took himself severely to task for this sin, adding many acts of voluntary, and, to others, unknown penance. The first opportunity which offered, of course, he seized the book with avidity; but, on examination, not finding himself scholar enough to peruse its contents, set his heart at rest; and not thinking to enquire whether there were any English books written on the subject, followed his usual amusements and considered his conscience as lightened of a crime. He redoubled his diligence to learn the language that contained the information he most wished for; but from the pain which guilt [namely having omitted to read what he did not understand,] had given him, he now began to deduce the soul's immortality [a sensation of pain in this world being an unquestionable proof of existence in another], which was the point that belief first stopped at; and from that moment resolving to be a Christian, became one of the most zealous and pious ones our nation ever produced.' Anecdotes, p. 17.

This is one of the numerous misrepresentations of this lively lady, which it is worth while to correct; for if credit should be given to such a childish, irrational, and ridiculous statement of the foundation of Dr. Johnson's faith in Christianity, how little credit would be due to it. Mrs. Piozzi seems to wish, that the world should think Dr. Johnson also under the influence of that easy logick, Stet pro ratione voluntas. BOSWELL. On April 28, 1783, Johnson said:—'Religion had dropped out of my mind. It was at an early part of my life. Sickness brought it back, and I hope I have never lost it since.' Most likely it was the sickness in the long vacation of 1729 mentioned ante, p. 63.

[208] In his Life of Milton, writing of Paradise Lost, he says:—'But these truths are too important to be new; they have been taught to our infancy; they have mingled with our solitary thoughts and familiar conversations, and are habitually interwoven with the whole texture of life.' Johnson's Works, vii. 134.

[209] Acts xvi. 30.

[210] Sept. 7, Old Style, or Sept. 18, New Style.

[211] 'He that peruses Shakespeare looks round alarmed, and starts to find himself alone.' Johnson's Works, v. 71. 'I was many years ago so shocked by Cordelia's death, that I know not whether I ever endured to read again the last scenes of the play till I undertook to revise them as an editor.' Ib. p. 175.

[212] He told Mr. Windham that he had never read through the Odyssey completely. Windham's Diary, p. 17. At college, he said, he had been 'very idle and neglectful of his studies.' Ib.

[213] 'It may be questioned whether, except his Bible, he ever read a book entirely through. Late in life, if any man praised a book in his presence, he was sure to ask, 'Did you read it through?' If the answer was in the affirmative, he did not seem willing to believe it.' Murphy's Johnson, p. 12. It would be easy to show that Johnson read many books right through, though, according to Mrs. Piozzi, he asked, 'was there ever yet anything written by mere man that was wished longer by its readers excepting Don Quixote, Robinson Crusoe, and the Pilgrim's Progress?' Piozzi's Anec., p. 281. Nevertheless in Murphy's statement there is some truth. See what has been just stated by Boswell, that 'he hardly ever read any poem to an end,' and post, April 19, 1773 and June 15, 1784. To him might be applied his own description of Barretier:—'He had a quickness of apprehension and firmness of memory which enabled him to read with incredible rapidity, and at the same time to retain what he read, so as to be able to recollect and apply it. He turned over volumes in an instant, and selected what was useful for his purpose.' Johnson's Works, vi. 390.

[214] See post, June 15, 1784. Mr. Windham (Diary, p. 17) records the following 'anecdote of Johnson's first declamation at college; having neglected to write it till the morning of his being (sic) to repeat it, and having only one copy, he got part of it by heart while he was walking into the hall, and the rest he supplied as well as he could extempore.' Mrs. Piozzi, recording the same ancedote, says that 'having given the copy into the hand of the tutor who stood to receive it as he passed, he was obliged to begin by chance, and continue on how he could.... "A prodigious risk, however," said some one. "Not at all," exclaims Johnson, "no man, I suppose, leaps at once into deep water who does not know how to swim."' Piozzi's Anec. p. 30.

[215] He told Dr. Burney that he never wrote any of his works that were printed, twice over. Dr. Burney's wonder at seeing several pages of his Lives of the Poets, in Manuscript, with scarce a blot or erasure, drew this observation from him. MALONE. 'He wrote forty-eight of the printed octavo pages of the Life of Savage at a sitting' (post, Feb. 1744), and a hundred lines of the Vanity of Human Wishes in a day (post, under Feb. 15, 1766). The Ramblers were written in haste as the moment pressed, without even being read over by him before they were printed (post, beginning of 1750). In the second edition, however, he made corrections. 'He composed Rasselas in the evenings of one week' (post, under January, 1759). 'The False Alarm was written between eight o'clock on Wednesday night and twelve o'clock on Thursday night.' Piozzi's Anec., p. 41. 'The Patriot' he says, 'was called for on Friday, was written on Saturday' (post, Nov. 26, 1774).

[216] 'When Mr. Johnson felt his fancy, or fancied he felt it, disordered, his constant recurrence was to the study of arithmetic.' Piozzi's Anec. p. 77. 'Ethics, or figures, or metaphysical reasoning, was the sort of talk he most delighted in;' ib. p. 80. See post, Sept. 24, 1777.

[217] 'Sept. 18, 1764, I resolve to study the Scriptures; I hope in the original languages. 640 verses every Sunday will nearly comprise the Scriptures in a year.' Pr. and Med. p. 58. '1770, 1st Sunday after Easter. The plan which I formed for reading the Scriptures was to read 600 verses in the Old Testament, and 200 in the New, every week;' ib. p. 100.

[218] 'August 1, 1715. This being the day on which the late Queen Anne died, and on which George, Duke and Elector of Brunswick, usurped the English throne, there was very little rejoicing in Oxford.... There was a sermon at St. Marie's by Dr. Panting, Master of Pembroke.... He is an honest gent. His sermon took no notice, at most very little, of the Duke of Brunswick.' Hearne's Remains, ii. 6.

[219] The outside wall of the gateway-tower forms an angle with the wall of the Master's house, so that any one sitting by the open window and speaking in a strong emphatic voice might have easily been overheard.

[220] Goldsmith did go to Padua, and stayed there some months. Forster's Goldsmith, i. 71.

[221] I had this anecdote from Dr. Adams, and Dr. Johnson confirmed it. Bramston, in his Man of Taste, has the same thought: 'Sure, of all blockheads, scholars are the worst.' BOSWELL. Johnson's meaning, however, is, that a scholar who is a blockhead must be the worst of all blockheads, because he is without excuse. But Bramston, in the assumed character of an ignorant coxcomb, maintains that all scholars are blockheads on account of their scholarship. J. BOSWELL, JUN. There is, I believe, a Spanish proverb to the effect that, 'to be an utter fool a man must know Latin.' A writer in Notes and Queries (5th S. xii. 285) suggests that Johnson had in mind Acts xvii. 21.

[222] It was the practice in his time for a servitor, by order of the Master, to go round to the rooms of the young men, and knocking at the door to enquire if they were within; and if no answer was returned to report them absent. Johnson could not endure this intrusion, and would frequently be silent, when the utterance of a word would have ensured him from censure, and would join with others of the young men in the college in hunting, as they called it, the servitor who was thus diligent in his duty, and this they did with the noise of pots and candlesticks, singing to the tune of Chevy Chase the words in the old ballad,—

'To drive the deer with hound and horn!' Hawkins, p. 12. Whitefield, writing of a few years later, says:—'At this time Satan used to terrify me much, and threatened to punish me if I discovered his wiles. It being my duty, as servitor, in my turn to knock at the gentlemen's rooms by ten at night, to see who were in their rooms, I thought the devil would appear to me every stair I went up.' Tyerman's Whitefield, i. 20.

[223] See post, June 12, 1784.

[224] Perhaps his disregard of all authority was in part due to his genius, still in its youth. In his Life of Lyttelton he says:—'The letters [Lyttelton's Persian Letters] have something of that indistinct and headstrong ardour for liberty which a man of genius always catches when he enters the world, and always suffers to cool as he passes forward.' Johnson's Works, viii. 488.

[225] Dr. Hall [formerly Master of the College] says, 'Certainly not all.' CROKER.

[226] 'I would leave the interest of the fortune I bequeathed to a college to my relations or my friends for their lives. It is the same thing to a college, which is a permanent society, whether it gets the money now or twenty years hence; and I would wish to make my relations or friends feel the benefit of it;' post, April 17, 1778. Hawkins (Life, p. 582,) says that 'he meditated a devise of his house to the corporation of that city for a charitable use, but, it being freehold he said, "I cannot live a twelvemonth, and the last statute of Mortmain stands in my way."' The same statute, no doubt, would have hindered the bequest to the College.

[227] Garrick refused to act one of Hawkins's plays. The poet towards the end of a long letter which he signed,—'Your much dissatisfied humble servant,' said:—'After all, Sir, I do not desire to come to an open rupture with you. I wish not to exasperate, but to convince; and I tender you once more my friendship and my play.' Garrick Corres. ii. 8. See post, April 9, 1778.

[228] See Nash's History of Worcestershire, vol. i. p. 529. BOSWELL. To the list should be added, Francis Beaumont, the dramatic writer; Sir Thomas Browne, whose life Johnson wrote; Sir James Dyer, Chief Justice of the King's Bench, Lord Chancellor Harcourt, John Pym, Francis Rous, the Speaker of Cromwell's parliament, and Bishop Bonner. WRIGHT. Some of these men belonged to the ancient foundation of Broadgates Hall, which in 1624 was converted into Pembroke College. It is strange that Boswell should have passed over Sir Thomas Browne's name. Johnson in his life of Browne says that he was 'the first man of eminence graduated from the new college, to which the zeal or gratitude of those that love it most can wish little better than that it may long proceed as it began.' Johnson's Works, vi. 476. To this list Nash adds the name of the Revd. Richard Graves, author of The Spiritual Quixote, who took his degree of B.A. on the same day as Whitefield, whom he ridiculed in that romance.

[229] See post, Oct. 6, 1769, and Boswell's Hebrides, Aug. 15, 1773.

[230] In his Life of Shenstone he writes:—'From school Shenstone was sent to Pembroke College in Oxford, a society which for half a century has been eminent for English poetry and elegant literature. Here it appears that he found delight and advantage; for he continued his name in the book ten years, though he took no degree.' Johnson's Works, viii. 408. Johnson's name would seem to have been in like manner continued for more than eleven years, and perhaps for the same reasons. (Ante, p. 58 note.) Hannah More was at Oxford in June 1782, during one of Johnson's visits to Dr. Adams. 'You cannot imagine,' she writes, 'with what delight Dr. Johnson showed me every part of his own college.... After dinner he begged to conduct me to see the college; he would let no one show it me but himself. "This was my room; this Shenstone's." Then, after pointing out all the rooms of the poets who had been of his college, "In short," said he, "we were a nest of singing-birds. Here we walked, there we played at cricket." [It may be doubted whether he ever played.] He ran over with pleasure the history of the juvenile days he passed there. When we came into the Common Room, we spied a fine large print of Johnson, framed and hung up that very morning, with this motto: "And is not Johnson ours, himself a host;" under which stared you in the face, "From Miss More's Sensibility"' Hannah More's Memoirs, i. 261. At the end of 'the ludicrous analysis of Pocockius' quoted by Johnson in the Life of Edmund Smith are the following lines:—'Subito ad Batavos proficiscor, lauro ab illis donandus. Prius vero Pembrochienses voco ad certamen poeticum.' Smith was at Christ Church. He seems to be mocking the neighbouring 'nest of singing-birds.' Johnson's Works, vii. 381.

[231] Taylor matriculated on Feb. 24, 1729. Mr. Croker in his note has confounded him with another John Taylor who matriculated more than a year later. Richard West, writing of Christ Church in 1735, says:—'Consider me very seriously here in a strange country, inhabited by things that call themselves Doctors and Masters of Arts; a country flowing with syllogisms and ale, where Horace and Virgil are equally unknown.' Gray's Letters, ii. I.


'Si toga sordidula est et rupta calceus alter Pelle patet.' 'Or if the shoe be ript, or patches put.'

Dryden, Juvenal, iii. 149.

Johnson in his London, in describing 'the blockhead's insults,' while he mentions 'the tattered cloak,' passes over the ript shoe. Perhaps the wound had gone too deep to his generous heart for him to bear even to think on it.

[233] 'Yet some have refused my bounties, more offended with my quickness to detect their wants than pleased with my readiness to succour them.' Rasselas, ch. 25. 'His [Savage's] distresses, however afflictive, never dejected him; in his lowest state he wanted not spirit to assert the natural dignity of wit, and was always ready to repress that insolence which the superiority of fortune incited; ... he never admitted any gross familiarities, or submitted to be treated otherwise than as an equal.... His clothes were worn out; and he received notice that at a coffee-house some clothes and linen were left for him.... But though the offer was so far generous, it was made with some neglect of ceremonies, which Mr. Savage so much resented that he refused the present, and declined to enter the house till the clothes that had been designed for him were taken away.' Johnson's Works, viii. 161 and 169.


'Haud facile emergunt quorum virtutibus obstat Res angusta domi.'

Juvenal, Sat. iii. 164.

Paraphrased by Johnson in his London, 'Slow rises worth by poverty depressed.'

[235] Cambridge thirty-six years later neglected Parr as Oxford neglected Johnson. Both these men had to leave the University through poverty. There were no open scholarships in those days.

[236] Yet his college bills came to only some eight shillings a week. As this was about the average amount of an undergraduate's bill it is clear that, so far as food went, he lived, in spite of Mr. Carlyle's assertion, as well as his fellow-students.

[237] Mr. Croker states that 'an examination of the college books proves that Johnson, who entered on the 31st October, 1728, remained there, even during the vacations, to the 12th December, 1729, when he personally left the college, and never returned—though his name remained on the books till 8th October, 1731.' I have gone into this question at great length in my Dr. Johnson: His Friends and His Critics, p. 329. I am of opinion that Mr. Croker's general conclusion is right. The proof of residence is established, and alone established, by the entries in the buttery books. Now these entries show that Johnson, with the exception of the week in October 1729 ending on the 24th, was in residence till December 12, 1729. He seems to have returned for a week in March 1730, and again for a week in the following September. On three other weeks there is a charge against him of fivepence in the books. Mr. Croker has made that darker which was already dark enough by confounding, as I have shewn, two John Taylors who both matriculated at Christ Church. Boswell's statement no doubt is precise, but in this he followed perhaps the account given by Hawkins. He would have been less likely to discover Hawkins's error from the fact that, as Johnson's name was for about three years on the College books, he was so long, in name at least, a member of the College. Had Boswell seen Johnson's letter to Mr. Hickman, quoted by Mr. Croker (Croker's Boswell, p. 20), he would at once have seen that Johnson could not have remained at college for a little more than three years. For within three years all but a day of his entrance at Pembroke, he writes to Mr. Hickman from Lichfield, 'As I am yet unemployed, I hope you will, if anything should offer, remember and recommend, Sir, your humble servant, Sam. Johnson.'

In Boswell's Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides (Aug. 15, 1773) there is a very perplexing passage bearing on Johnson's residence at College. 'We talked of Whitefield. He said he was at the same college with him, and knew him before he began to be better than other people.' Now Johnson, as Boswell tells us, read this journal in manuscript. The statement therefore seems to be well-established indeed. Yet Whitefield did not matriculate till Nov. 7, 1732, a full year after Johnson, according to Boswell, had left Oxford. We are told that, when Johnson was living at Birmingham, he borrowed Lobo's Abyssinia from the library of Pembroke College. It is probable enough that a man who frequently walked from Lichfield to Birmingham and back would have trudged all the way to Oxford to fetch the book. In that case he might have seen Whitefield. But Thomas Warton says that 'the first time of his being at Oxford after quitting the University was in 1754' (post, under July 16, 1754).

[238] 'March 16, 1728-9. Yesterday in a Convocation Mr. Wm. Jorden of Pembroke Coll. was elected the Univ. of Oxford rector of Astocke in com. Wilts (which belongs to a Roman Catholic family).' Hearne's Remains, iii. 17. His fellowship was filled up on Dec. 23, 1730. Boswell's statement therefore is inaccurate. If Johnson remained at college till Nov. 1731, he would have really been for at least ten months Adams's pupil. We may assume that as his name remained on the books after Jorden left so he was nominally transferred to Adams. It is worthy of notice that Thomas Warton, in the account that he gives of Johnson's visit to Oxford in 1754, says:—'He much regretted that his first tutor was dead.'

[239] According to Hawkins (Life, pp. 17, 582 and post, Dec. 9, 1784) Johnson's father was at one time a bankrupt. Johnson, in the epitaph that he wrote for him (post, Dec. 2, 1784) describes him as 'bibliopola admodum peritus,' but 'rebus adversis diu conflictatus.' He certainly did not die a bankrupt, as is shown by his leaving property to his widow and son, and also by the following MS. letter, that is preserved with two others of the same kind in Pembroke College.

Ashby, April 19, 1736.

Good Sr.,

I must truble you again, my sister who desiurs her survis to you, & begs you will be so good if you can to pravale with Mr. Wumsley to paye you the little money due to her you may have an opertunity to speak to him & it will be a great truble for me to have a jerney for it when if he pleasd he might paye it you, it is a poore case she had but little left by Mr. Johnson but his books (not but he left her all he had) & those sold at a poore reat, and be kept out of so small a sume by a gentleman so well able to paye, if you will doe yr best for the widow will be varey good in you, which will oblige yr reall freund JAMES BATE.

To Mr. John Newton

a Sider Seller at Litchfield.

Pd. 5 to Mr. Newton.

In another hand is written,

To Gilbert Walmesley Esq.

at Lichfield.

And in a third hand,

Pd. 5 to Mr. Newton.

The exact amount claimed, as is Shewn by the letter, dated Jan. 31, 1735, was 5 6s. 4d. There is a yet earlier letter demanding payment of 5 6s. 4d. as 'due to me' for books, signed D. Johnson, dated Swarkstone, Aug. 21, 1733. It must be the same account. Perhaps D. Johnson was the executor. He writes from Ashby, where Michael Johnson had a branch business. But I know of no other mention of him or of James Bate. John Newton was the father of the Bishop of Bristol. Post, June 3,1784, and Bishop Newton's Works, i. I.

[240] Johnson, in a letter to Dr. Taylor, dated Aug. 18, 1763, advised him, in some trouble that he had with his wife, 'to consult our old friend Mr. Howard. His profession has acquainted him with matrimonial law, and he is in himself a cool and wise man.' Notes and Queries, 6th S. v. 342. See post, March 20, 1778, for mention of his son.

[241] See post, Dec. 1, 1743, note. Robert Levett, made famous by Johnson's lines (post, Jan. 20, 1782), was not of this family.

[242] Mr. Warton informs me, 'that this early friend of Johnson was entered a Commoner of Trinity College, Oxford, aged seventeen, in 1698; and is the authour of many Latin verse translations in the Gent. Mag. (vol. xv. 102). One of them is a translation of:

'My time, O ye Muses, was happily spent.' &c.

He died Aug, 3, 1751, and a monument to his memory has been erected in the Cathedral of Lichfield, with an inscription written by Mr. Seward, one of the Prebendaries. BOSWELL.

[243] Johnson's Works, vii. 380.

[244] See post, 1780, note at end of Mr. Langton's 'Collection.'

[245] See post, 1743.

[246] See post April 24, 1779.

[247] Hawkins (Life, p. 61) says that in August, 1738 (? 1739), Johnson went to Appleby, in Leicestershire, to apply for the mastership of Appleby School. This was after he and his wife had removed to London. It is likely that he visited Ashbourne.

[248] 'Old Meynell' is mentioned, post, 1780, in Mr. Langton's 'Collection,' as the author of 'the observation, "For anything I see, foreigners are fools;"' and 'Mr. Meynell,' post, April 1, 1779, as saying that 'The chief advantage of London is, that a man is always so near his burrow.'

[249] See post, under March 16, 1759, note, and April 21, 1773. Mr. Alleyne Fitzherbert was created Lord St. Helens.

[250] See post, 1780, end of Mr. Langton's 'Collection.'

[251] Johnson, writing to Dr. Taylor on July 31, 1756, said, 'I find myself very unwilling to take up a pen, only to tell my friends that I am well, and indeed I never did exchange letters regularly but with dear Miss Boothby.' Notes and Queries, 6th S. v. 304. At the end of the Piozzi Letters are given some of his letters to her. They were republished together with her letters to him in An Account of the Life of Dr. Samuel Johnson, 1805.

[252] The words of Sir John Hawkins, P. 316. BOSWELL. 'When Mr. Thrale once asked Johnson which had been the happiest period of his past life, he replied, "it was that year in which he spent one whole evening with Molly Aston. That, indeed," said he, "was not happiness, it was rapture; but the thoughts of it sweetened the whole year." I must add that the evening alluded to was not passed tte—tte, but in a select company of which the present Lord Kilmorey was one. "Molly," says Dr. Johnson, "was a beauty and a scholar, and a wit and a whig; and she talked all in praise of liberty; and so I made this epigram upon her—She was the loveliest creature I ever saw—

'Liber ut esse velim suasisti pulchra Maria; Ut maneam liber—pulchra Maria vale.'

'Will it do this way in English, Sir,' said I:—

'Persuasions to freedom fall oddly from you; If freedom we seek—fair Maria, adieu!'

'It will do well enough,' replied he; 'but it is translated by a lady, and the ladies never loved Molly Aston.'" Piozzi's Anec., p. 157. See post, May 8, 1778.

[253] Sir Thomas Aston, Bart., who died in January, 1724-5, left one son, named Thomas also, and eight daughters. Of the daughters, Catherine married Johnson's friend, the Hon. Henry Hervey [_post, 1737]; Margaret, Gilbert Walmsley. Another of these ladies married the Rev. Mr. Gastrell [the man who cut down Shakspeare's mulberry tree, _post_, March 25, 1776]; Mary, or _Molly_ Aston, as she was usually called, became the wife of Captain Brodie of the navy. MALONE.

[254] Luke vi. 35.

[255] If this was in 1732 it was on the morrow of the day on which he received his share of his father's property, ante, p. 80. A letter published in Notes and Queries, 6th S. x. 421, shews that for a short time he was tutor to the son of Mr. Whitby of Heywood.

[256] Bishop Hurd does not praise Blackwall, but the Rev. Mr. Budworth, headmaster of the grammar school at Brewood, who had himself been bred under Blackwall. MALONE. Mr. Nichols relates (post, Dec. 1784) that Johnson applied for the post of assistant to Mr. Budworth.

[257] See Gent. Mag. Dec. 1784, p. 957. BOSWELL.

[258] See ante, p. 78.

[259] The patron's manners were those of the neighbourhood. Hutton, writing of this town in 1770, says,—'The inhabitants set their dogs at me merely because I was a stranger. Surrounded with impassable roads, no intercourse with man to humanize the mind, no commerce to smooth their rugged manners, they continue the boors of nature.' Life, of W. Hutton, p. 45.

[260] It appears from a letter of Johnson's to a friend, dated Lichfield, July 27, 1732, that he had left Sir Wolstan Dixie's house recently, before that letter was written. MALONE.

[261] 'The despicable wretchedness of teaching,' wrote Carlyle, in his twenty-fourth year, when he was himself a teacher, 'can be known only to those who have tried it, and to Him who made the heart and knows it all. One meets with few spectacles more afflicting than that of a young man with a free spirit, with impetuous though honourable feelings, condemned to waste the flower of his life in such a calling; to fade in it by slow and sure corrosion of discontent; and at last obscurely and unprofitably to leave, with an indignant joy, the miseries of a world which his talents might have illustrated and his virtues adorned. Such things have been and will be. But surely in that better life which good men dream of, the spirit of a Kepler or a Milton will find a more propitious destiny.' Conway's Carlyle, p. 176.

[262] This newspaper was the Birmingham Journal. In the office of the Birmingham Daily Post is preserved the number (No. 28) for May 21, 1733. It is believed to be the only copy in existence. Warren is described by W. Hutton (Life, p. 77) as one of the 'three eminent booksellers' in Birmingham in 1750. 'His house was "over against the Swan Tavern," in High Street; doubtless in one of the old half-timbered houses pulled down in 1838 [1850].' Timmins's Dr. Johnson in Birmingham, p. 4.

[263] 'In the month of June 1733, I find him resident in the house of a person named Jarvis, at Birmingham.' Hawkins, p. 21. His wife's maiden name was Jarvis or Jervis.

[264] In 1741, Hutton, a runaway apprentice, arrived at Birmingham. He says,—'I had never seen more than five towns, Nottingham, Derby, Burton, Lichfield and Walsall. The outskirts of these were composed of wretched dwellings, visibly stamped with dirt and poverty. But the buildings in the exterior of Birmingham rose in a style of elegance. Thatch, so plentiful in other places, was not to be met with in this. The people possessed a vivacity I had never beheld. I had been among dreamers, but now I saw men awake. Their very step along the street showed alacrity. Every man seemed to know what he was about. The faces of other men seemed tinctured with an idle gloom; but here with a pleasing alertness. Their appearance was strongly marked with the modes of civil life.' Life of W. Hutton, p. 41.

[265] Hutton, in his account of the Birmingham riots of 1791, describing the destruction of a Mr. Taylor's house, says,—'The sons of plunder forgot that the prosperity of Birmingham was owing to a Dissenter, father to the man whose property they were destroying;' ib. p. 181.

[266] Johnson, it should seem, did not think himself ill-used by Warren; for writing to Hector on April 15, 1755, he says,—'What news of poor Warren? I have not lost all my kindness for him.' Notes and Queries, 6th S. iii. 301.

[267] That it is by no means an exact translation Johnson's Preface shows. He says that in the dissertations alone an exact translation has been attempted. The rest of the work he describes as an epitome.

[268] In the original, Segued.

[269] In the original, Zeila.

[270] Lobo, in describing a waterfall on the Nile, had said:—'The fall of this mighty stream from so great a height makes a noise that may be heard to a considerable distance; but I could not observe that the neighbouring inhabitants were at all deaf. I conversed with several, and was as easily heard by them as I heard them,' p. 101.

[271] In the original, without religion, polity, or articulate language.

[272] See Rambler, No. 103. BOSWELL. Johnson in other passages insisted on the high value of curiosity. In this same Rambler he says:—'Curiosity is one of the permanent and certain characteristics of a vigorous intellect.' In the allegory in Rambler, No. 105, he calls curiosity his 'long-loved protectress,' who is known by truth 'among the most faithful of her followers.' In No. 150 he writes:—'Curiosity is in great and generous minds the first passion and the last; and perhaps always predominates in proportion to the strength of the contemplative faculties.' In No. 5 he assert that 'he that enlarges his curiosity after the works of nature demonstrably multiplies the inlets to happiness.'

[273] Rasselas, post, 1759.

[274] Hawkins (p. 163) gives the following extract from Johnson's Annales:—'Friday, August 27 (1734), 10 at night. This day I have trifled away, except that I have attended the school in the morning, I read to-night in Roger's sermoms. To-night I began the breakfast law (sic) anew.'

[275] May we not trace a fanciful similarity between Politian and Johnson? Huetius, speaking of Paulus Pelissonius Fontanerius, says, '... in quo Natura, ut olim in Angelo Politiano, deformitarem oris excellentis ingenii prstantia compensavit.' Comment, de reb. ad eum pertin. Edit. Amstel. 1718, p. 200. BOSWELL. In Paulus Pelissonius Fontanerius we have difficulty in detecting Mme. de Svign's friend, Pelisson, of whom M. de Guilleragues used the phrase, 'qu'il abusait de la permission qu'ont les hommes d'tre laids.' See Mme. de Svign's Letter, 5 Jan., 1674. CROKER.

[276] The book was to contain more than thirty sheets, the price to be two shillings and sixpence at the time of subscribing, and two shillings and sixpence at the delivery of a perfect book in quires. BOSWELL. 'Among the books in his library, at the time of his decease, I found a very old and curious edition of the works of Politian, which appeared to belong to Pembroke College, Oxford.' HAWKINS, p. 445. See post, Nov., 1784. In his last work he shews his fondness for modern Latin poetry. He says:—'Pope had sought for images and sentiments in a region not known to have been explored by many other of the English writers; he had consulted the modern writers of Latin poetry, a class of authors whom Boileau endeavoured to bring into contempt, and who are too generally neglected.' Johnson's Works, viii. 299.

[277] A writer in Notes and Queries, 1st S. xii. 266, says 'that he has a letter written by Nathanael, in which he makes mention of his brother "scarcely using him with common civility," and says, "I believe I shall go to Georgia in about a fortnight!"' Nathanael died in Lichfield in 1737; see post, Dec. 2, 1784, for his epitaph. Among the MSS. in Pembroke College Library are bills for books receipted by Nath. Johnson and by Sarah Johnson (his mother). She writes like a person of little education.

[278] Miss Cave, the grand-niece of Mr. Edward Cave, has obligingly shewn me the originals of this and the other letters of Dr. Johnson, to him, which were first published in the Gent. Mag. [lv. 3], with notes by Mr. John Nichols, the worthy and indefatigable editor of that valuable miscellany, signed N.; some of which I shall occasionally transcribe in the course of this work. BOSWELL. I was able to examine some of these letters while they were still in the possession of one of Cave's collateral descendants, and I have in one or two places corrected errors of transcription.

[279] Sir John Floyer's Treatise on Cold Baths. Gent. Mag. 1734, p. 197. BOSWELL. This letter shews how uncommon a thing a cold bath was. Floyer, after recommending 'a general method of bleeding and purging' before the patient uses cold bathing, continues, 'I have commonly cured the rickets by dipping children of a year old in the bath every morning; and this wonderful effect has encouraged me to dip four boys at Lichfield in the font at their baptism, and none have suffered any inconvenience by it.' (For mention of Floyer, see ante, p. 42, and post, March 27 and July 20, 1784.) Locke, in his Treatise on Education, had recommended cold bathing for children. Johnson, in his review of Lucas's Essay on Waters (post, 1756), thus attacks cold bathing:—'It is incident to physicians, I am afraid, beyond all other men, to mistake subsequence for consequence. "The old gentleman," says Dr. Lucas, "that uses the cold bath, enjoys in return an uninterrupted state of health." This instance does not prove that the cold bath produces health, but only that it will not always destroy it. He is well with the bath, he would have been well without it.' Literary Magazine, p. 229.

[280] A prize of fifty pounds for the best poem on 'Life, Death, Judgement, Heaven, and Hell.' See Gent. Mag. vol. iv. p. 560. N. BOSWELL. 'Cave sometimes offered subjects for poems, and proposed prizes for the best performers. The first prize was fifty pounds, for which, being but newly acquainted with wealth, and thinking the influence of fifty pounds extremely great, he expected the first authors of the kingdom to appear as competitors; and offered the allotment of the prize to the universities. But when the time came, no name was seen among the writers that had ever been seen before; the universities and several private men rejected the province of assigning the prize.' Johnson's Works, vi. 432.

[281] I suspect that Johnson wrote 'the Castle Inn, Birmingham.'

[282] Mrs. Piozzi gives the following account of this little composition from Dr. Johnson's own relation to her, on her inquiring whether it was rightly attributed to him:—'I think it is now just forty years ago, that a young fellow had a sprig of myrtle given him by a girl he courted, and asked me to write him some verses that he might present her in return. I promised, but forgot; and when he called for his lines at the time agreed on—Sit still a moment, (says I) dear Mund' [see post, May 7, 1773, for Johnson's 'way of contracting the names of his friends'], 'and I'll fetch them thee—So stepped aside for five minutes, and wrote the nonsense you now keep such a stir about.' Anec. p. 34.

In my first edition I was induced to doubt the authenticity of this account, by the following circumstantial statement in a letter to me from Miss Seward, of Lichfield:—'I know those verses were addressed to Lucy Porter, when he was enamoured of her in his boyish days, two or three years before he had seen her mother, his future wife. He wrote them at my grandfather's, and gave them to Lucy in the presence of my mother, to whom he showed them on the instant. She used to repeat them to me, when I asked her for the Verses Dr. Johnson gave her on a Sprig of Myrtle, which he had stolen or begged from her bosom. We all know honest Lucy Porter to have been incapable of the mean vanity of applying to herself a compliment not intended for her.' Such was this lady's statement, which I make no doubt she supposed to be correct; but it shews how dangerous it is to trust too implicitly to traditional testimony and ingenious inference; for Mr. Hector has lately assured me that Mrs. Piozzi's account is in this instance accurate, and that he was the person for whom Johnson wrote those verses, which have been erroneously ascribed to Mr. Hammond.

I am obliged in so many instances to notice Mrs. Piozzi's incorrectness of relation, that I gladly seize this opportunity of acknowledging, that however often, she is not always inaccurate.

The author having been drawn into a controversy with Miss Anna Seward, in consequence of the preceding statement, (which may be found in the Gent. Mag. vol. liii. and liv.) received the following letter from Mr. Edmund Hector, on the subject:


'I am sorry to see you are engaged in altercation with a Lady, who seems unwilling to be convinced of her errors. Surely it would be more ingenuous to acknowledge, than to persevere.

'Lately, in looking over some papers I meant to burn, I found the original manuscript of the Myrtle, with the date on it, 1731, which I have inclosed.

'The true history (which I could swear to) is as follows: Mr. Morgan Graves, the elder brother of a worthy Clergyman near Bath, with whom I was acquainted, waited upon a lady in this neighbourhood, who at parting presented him the branch. He shewed it me, and wished much to return the compliment in verse. I applied to Johnson, who was with me, and in about half an hour dictated the verses which I sent to my friend.

'I most solemnly declare, at that time Johnson was an entire stranger to the Porter family; and it was almost two years after that I introduced him to the acquaintance of Porter, whom I bought my cloaths of.

'If you intend to convince this obstinate woman, and to exhibit to the publick the truth of your narrative, you are at liberty to make what use you please of this statement.

'I hope you will pardon me for taking up so much of your time. Wishing you multos et felices annos, I shall subscribe myself,

'Your obliged humble servant,


Birmingham, Jan. 9th, 1794.

BOSWELL. For a further account of Boswell's controversy with Miss Seward, see post, June 25, 1784.

[283] See post, beginning of 1744, April 28, 1783, and under Dec. 2, 1784.

[284] See post, near end of 1762, note.

[285] In the registry of St. Martin's Church, Birmingham, are the following entries:—'Baptisms, Nov. 8, 1715, Lucy, daughter of Henry Porter. Jan. 29, 1717 [O. S.], Jarvis Henry, son of Henry Porter. Burials, Aug. 3, 1734, Henry Porter of Edgbaston.' There were two sons; one, Captain Porter, who died in 1763 (Croker's Boswell, p. 130), the other who died in 1783 (post, Nov. 29, 1783).

[286] According to Malone, Reynolds said that 'he had paid attention to Johnson's limbs; and far from being unsightly, he deemed them well formed.' Prior's Malone, p. 175. Mrs. Piozzi says:—'His stature was remarkably high, and his limbs exceedingly large; his features were strongly marked, and his countenance particularly rugged; though the original complexion had certainly been fair, a circumstance somewhat unusual; his sight was near, and otherwise imperfect; yet his eyes, though of a light-grey colour, were so wild, so piercing, and at times so fierce, that fear was, I believe, the first emotion in the hearts of all his beholders.' Piozzi's Anec. p. 297. See post, end of the book, and Boswell's Hebrides, near the beginning.

[287] If Johnson wore his own hair at Oxford, it must have exposed him to ridicule. Graves, the author of The Spiritual Quixote, tells us that Shenstone had the courage to wear his own hair, though 'it often exposed him to the ill-natured remarks of people who had not half his sense. After I was elected at All Souls, where there was often a party of loungers in the gateway, on my expostulating with Mr. Shenstone for not visiting me so often as usual, he said, "he was ashamed to face his enemies in the gate."'

[288] See post, 1739.

[289] Mrs. Johnson was born on Feb. 4, 1688-9. MALONE. She was married on July 9, 1735, in St. Werburgh's Church, Derby, as is shewn by the following copy of the marriage register: '1735, July 9, Mar'd Sam'll Johnson of ye parish of St Mary's in Litchfield, and Eliz'th Porter of ye parish of St Phillip in Burmingham.' Notes and Queries, 4th S. vi. 44. At the time of their marriage, therefore, she was forty-six, and Johnson only two months short of twenty-six.

[290] The author of the Memoirs of the Life and Writings of Dr. Johnson, 1785, p. 25, says:—'Mrs. Porter's husband died insolvent, but her settlement was secured. She brought her second husband about seven or eight hundred pounds, a great part of which was expended in fitting up a house for a boarding-school.' That she had some money can be almost inferred from what we are told by Boswell and Hawkins. How other-wise was Johnson able to hire and furnish a large house for his school? Boswell says that he had but three pupils. Hawkins gives him a few more. 'His number,' he writes (p. 36) 'at no time exceeded eight, and of those not all were boarders.' After nearly twenty months of married life, when he went to London, 'he had,' Boswell says, 'a little money.' It was not till a year later still that he began to write for the Gent. Mag. If Mrs. Johnson had not money, how did she and her husband live from July 1735 to the spring of 1738? It could scarcely have been on the profits made from their school. Inference, however, is no longer needful, as there is positive evidence. Mr. Timmins in his Dr. Johnson in Birmingham (p. 4) writes:—'My friend, Mr. Joseph Hill, says, A copy of an old deed which has recently come into my hands, shews that a hundred pounds of Mrs. Johnson's fortune was left in the hands of a Birmingham attorney named Thomas Perks, who died insolvent; and in 1745, a bulky deed gave his creditors 7s. 4d. in the pound. Among the creditors for 100 were "Samuel Johnson, gent., and Elizabeth his wife, executors of the last will and testament of Harry Porter, late of Birmingham aforesaid, woollen draper, deceased." Johnson and his wife were almost the only creditors who did not sign the deed, their seals being left void. It is doubtful, therefore, whether they ever obtained the amount of the composition 36 13s. 4d.'

[291] Sir Walter Scott has recorded Lord Auchinleck's 'sneer of most sovereign contempt,' while he described Johnson as 'a dominie, monan auld dominie; he keeped a schule, and cau'd it an acaadamy.' Croker's Boswell, p. 397, note.

[292] 'Edial is two miles west of Lichfield.' Harwood's Lichfield, p. 564.

[293] Johnson in more than one passage in his writings seems to have in mind his own days as a schoolmaster. Thus in the Life of Milton he says:—'This is the period of his life from which all his biographers seem inclined to shrink. They are unwilling that Milton should be degraded to a schoolmaster; but, since it cannot be denied that he taught boys, one finds out that he taught for nothing, and another that his motive was only zeal for the propagation of learning and virtue; and all tell what they do not know to be true, only to excuse an act which no wise man will consider as in itself disgraceful. His father was alive; his allowance was not ample; and he supplied its deficiencies by an honest and useful employment.' Johnson's Works, vii. 75. In the Life of Blackmore he says:—'In some part of his life, it is not known when, his indigence compelled him to teach a school, an humiliation with which, though it certainly lasted but a little while, his enemies did not forget to reproach him, when he became conspicuous enough to excite malevolence; and let it be remembered for his honour, that to have been once a school-master is the only reproach which all the perspicacity of malice, animated by wit, has ever fixed upon his private life.' Johnson's Works, viii. 36.

[294] In the original To teach. Seasons, Spring, l. 1149, Thomson is speaking, not of masters, but of parents.

[295] In the Life of Milton, Johnson records his own experience. 'Every man that has ever undertaken to instruct others can tell what slow advances he has been able to make, and how much patience it requires to recall vagrant inattention, to stimulate sluggish indifference, and to rectify absurd misapprehension.' Johnson's Works, vii. 76.


'As masters fondly soothe their boys to read With cakes and sweetmeats.'

Francis, Hor. i. Sat. I. 25.

[297] As Johnson kept Garrick much in awe when present, David, when his back was turned, repaid the restraint with ridicule of him and his dulcinea, which should be read with great abatement. PERCY. He was not consistent in his account, for 'he told Mrs. Thrale that she was a little painted puppet of no value at all.' 'He made out,' Mrs. Piozzi continues, 'some comical scenes, by mimicking her in a dialogue he pretended to have overheard. I do not know whether he meant such stuff to be believed or no, it was so comical. The picture I found of her at Lichfield was very pretty, and her daughter said it was like. Mr. Johnson has told me that her hair was eminently beautiful, quite blonde like that of a baby.' Piozzi's Anec. p. 148.

[298] Mr. Croker points out that in this paper 'there are two separate schemes, the first for a school—the second for the individual studies of some young friend.'

[299] In the Rambler, No. 122, Johnson, after stating that 'it is observed that our nation has been hitherto remarkably barren of historical genius,' praises Knolles, who, he says, 'in his History of the Turks, has displayed all the excellencies that narration can admit.'

[300] Both of them used to talk pleasantly of this their first journey to London. Garrick, evidently meaning to embellish a little, said one day in my hearing, 'we rode and tied.' And the Bishop of Killaloe informed me, that at another time, when Johnson and Garrick were dining together in a pretty large company, Johnson humorously ascertaining the chronology of something, expressed himself thus: 'that was the year when I came to London with two-pence half-penny in my pocket.' Garrick overhearing him, exclaimed, 'eh? what do you say? with two-pence half-penny in your pocket?'—JOHNSON, 'Why yes; when I came with two-pence half-penny in my pocket, and thou, Davy, with three half-pence in thine.' BOSWELL.

[301] See Gent. Mag., xxiv. 333.

[302] Mr. Colson was First Master of the Free School at Rochester. In 1739 he was appointed Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge. MALONE. Mrs. Piozzi (Anec. p. 49) says that 'by Gelidus the philosopher (Rambler, No. 24), Johnson meant to represent Colson.'

[303] This letter is printed in the Garrick Corres. i. 2. There we read I doubt not.

[304] One curious anecdote was communicated by himself to Mr. John Nichols. Mr. Wilcox, the bookseller, on being informed by him that his intention was to get his livelihood as an authour, eyed his robust frame attentively, and with a significant look, said, 'You had better buy a porter's knot.' He however added, 'Wilcox was one of my best friends.' BOSWELL. Hawkins (Life, p. 43) states that Johnson and Garrick had soon exhausted their small stock of money in London, and that on Garrick's suggestion they applied for a loan to Wilcox, of whom he had a slight knowledge. 'Representing themselves to him, as they really were, two young men, friends and travellers from the same place, and just arrived with a view to settle here, he was so moved with their artless tale, that on their joint note he advanced them all that their modesty would permit them to ask (five pounds), which was soon after punctually repaid.' Perhaps Johnson was thinking of himself when he recorded the advice given by Cibber to Fenton, 'When the tragedy of Mariamne was shewn to Cibber, it was rejected by him, with the additional insolence of advising Fenton to engage himself in some employment of honest labour, by which he might obtain that support which he could never hope from his poetry. The play was acted at the other theatre; and the brutal petulance of Cibber was confuted, though perhaps not shamed, by general applause.' Johnson's Works, viii. 56. Adam Smith in the Wealth of Nations (Book i. ch. 2) says that 'the difference between the most dissimilar characters, between a philosopher and a common street-porter, for example, seems to arise not so much from nature, as from habit, custom, and education.' Wilcox's shop was in Little Britain. Benjamin Franklin, in 1725, lodged next door to him. 'He had,' says Franklin (Memoirs, i. 64), 'an immense collection of second-hand books. Circulating libraries were not then in use; but we agreed that on certain reasonable terms I might read any of his books.'

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