Life Of Johnson, Vol. 1
by Boswell
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The son, though in affluent circumstances, had good sense enough to carry on his father's trade, which was of such extent, that I remember he once told me, he would not quit it for an annuity of ten thousand a year; 'Not (said he,) that I get ten thousand a year by it, but it is an estate to a family.' Having left daughters only, the property was sold for the immense sum of one hundred and thirty-five thousand pounds[1437]; a magnificent proof of what may be done by fair trade in no long period of time.

[Page 492: A new system of gentility. A.D. 1765.]

There may be some who think that a new system of gentility[1438] might be established, upon principles totally different from what have hitherto prevailed. Our present heraldry, it may be said, is suited to the barbarous times in which it had its origin. It is chiefly founded upon ferocious merit, upon military excellence. Why, in civilised times, we may be asked, should there not be rank and honours, upon principles, which, independent of long custom, are certainly not less worthy, and which, when once allowed to be connected with elevation and precedency, would obtain the same dignity in our imagination? Why should not the knowledge, the skill, the expertness, the assiduity, and the spirited hazards of trade and commerce, when crowned with success, be entitled to give those flattering distinctions by which mankind are so universally captivated?

Such are the specious, but false arguments for a proposition which always will find numerous advocates, in a nation where men are every day starting up from obscurity to wealth. To refute them is needless. The general sense of mankind cries out, with irresistible force, 'Un gentilhomme est toujours gentilhomme'[1439].

[Page 493: A new home for Johnson. tat 56.]

Mr. Thrale had married Miss Hesther Lynch Salusbury, of good Welsh extraction[1440], a lady of lively talents, improved by education. That Johnson's introduction into Mr. Thrale's family, which contributed so much to the happiness of his life, was owing to her desire for his conversation, is very probable and a general supposition: but it is not the truth. Mr. Murphy, who was intimate with Mr. Thrale[1441], having spoken very highly of Dr. Johnson, he was requested to make them acquainted[1442]. This being mentioned to Johnson, he accepted of an invitation to dinner at Thrale's, and was so much pleased with his reception, both by Mr. and Mrs. Thrale, and they so much pleased with him, that his invitations to their house were more and more frequent, till at last he became one of the family, and an apartment was appropriated to him, both in their house in Southwark, and in their villa at Streatham[1443].

[Page 494: Mr. Thrale. A.D. 1765.]

Johnson had a very sincere esteem for Mr. Thrale, as a man of excellent principles, a good scholar, well skilled in trade, of a sound understanding, and of manners such as presented the character of a plain independent English 'Squire[1444]. As this family will frequently be mentioned in the course of the following pages, and as a false notion has prevailed that Mr. Thrale was inferiour, and in some degree insignificant, compared with Mrs. Thrale, it may be proper to give a true state of the case from the authority of Johnson himself in his own words.

[Page 495: Mrs. Thrale. tat 56.]

'I know no man, (said he,) who is more master of his wife and family than Thrale. If he but holds up a finger, he is obeyed. It is a great mistake to suppose that she is above him in literary attainments[1445]. She is more flippant; but he has ten times her learning: he is a regular scholar; but her learning is that of a school-boy in one of the lower forms.' My readers may naturally wish for some representation of the figures of this couple. Mr. Thrale was tall, well proportioned, and stately. As for Madam, or my Mistress[1446], by which epithets Johnson used to mention Mrs. Thrale, she was short, plump, and brisk[1447]. She has herself given us a lively view of the idea which Johnson had of her person, on her appearing before him in a dark-coloured gown; 'You little creatures should never wear those sort of clothes, however; they are unsuitable in every way. What! have not all insects gay colours[1448]?' Mr. Thrale gave his wife a liberal indulgence, both in the choice of their company, and in the mode of entertaining them. He understood and valued Johnson, without remission, from their first acquaintance to the day of his death. Mrs. Thrale was enchanted with Johnson's conversation, for its own sake, and had also a very allowable vanity in appearing to be honoured with the attention of so celebrated a man.

[Page 496: Johnson's SHAKSPEARE published. A.D. 1765.]

Nothing could be more fortunate for Johnson than this connection[1449]. He had at Mr. Thrale's all the comforts and even luxuries of life; his melancholy was diverted, and his irregular habits lessened[1450] by association with an agreeable and well-ordered family. He was treated with the utmost respect, and even affection. The vivacity of Mrs. Thrale's literary talk roused him to cheerfulness and exertion, even when they were alone. But this was not often the case; for he found here a constant succession of what gave him the highest enjoyment: the society of the learned, the witty, and the eminent in every way, who were assembled in numerous companies[1451], called forth his wonderful powers, and gratified him with admiration, to which no man could be insensible.

[Page 497: Dr. Kenrick. tat 56.]

In the October of this year[1452] he at length gave to the world his edition of Shakspeare[1453], which, if it had no other merit but that of producing his Preface[1454], in which the excellencies and defects of that immortal bard are displayed with a masterly hand, the nation would have had no reason to complain. A blind indiscriminate admiration of Shakspeare had exposed the British nation to the ridicule of foreigners[1455]. Johnson, by candidly admitting the faults of his poet, had the more credit in bestowing on him deserved and indisputable praise; and doubtless none of all his panegyrists have done him half so much honour. Their praise was, like that of a counsel, upon his own side of the cause: Johnson's was like the grave, well-considered, and impartial opinion of the judge, which falls from his lips with weight, and is received with reverence. What he did as a commentator has no small share of merit, though his researches were not so ample, and his investigations so acute as they might have been, which we now certainly know from the labours of other able and ingenious criticks who have followed him[1456]. He has enriched his edition with a concise account of each play, and of its characteristick excellence. Many of his notes have illustrated obscurities in the text, and placed passages eminent for beauty in a more conspicuous light; and he has in general exhibited such a mode of annotation, as may be beneficial to all subsequent editors[1457].

[Page 498: Johnson's attack on Voltaire. A.D. 1785.]

His Shakespeare was virulently attacked by Mr. William Kenrick, who obtained the degree of LL.D. from a Scotch University, and wrote for the booksellers in a great variety of branches. Though he certainly was not without considerable merit, he wrote with so little regard to decency and principles, and decorum[1458], and in so hasty a manner, that his reputation was neither extensive nor lasting. I remember one evening, when some of his works were mentioned, Dr. Goldsmith said, he had never heard of them; upon which Dr. Johnson observed, 'Sir, he is one of the many who have made themselves publick, without making themselves known[1459].'

A young student of Oxford, of the name of Barclay, wrote an answer to Kenrick's review of Johnson's Shakspeare. Johnson was at first angry that Kenrick's attack should have the credit of an answer. But afterwards, considering the young man's good intention, he kindly noticed him, and probably would have done more, had not the young man died[1460].

[Page 499: Voltaire's reply. tat 56.]

In his Preface to Shakspeare, Johnson treated Voltaire very contemptuously, observing, upon some of his remarks, 'These are the petty criticisms of petty wits[1461].' Voltaire, in revenge, made an attack upon Johnson, in one of his numerous literary sallies, which I remember to have read; but there being no general index to his voluminous works, have searched in vain, and therefore cannot quote it[1462].

Voltaire was an antagonist with whom I thought Johnson should not disdain to contend. I pressed him to answer. He said, he perhaps might; but he never did.

Mr. Burney having occasion to write to Johnson for some receipts for subscriptions to his Shakspeare, which Johnson had omitted to deliver when the money was paid[1463], he availed himself of that opportunity of thanking Johnson for the great pleasure which he had received from the perusal of his Preface to Shakspeare; which, although it excited much clamour against him at first, is now justly ranked among the most excellent of his writings. To this letter Johnson returned the following answer:—

[Page 500: Resolutions at church.]



'I am sorry that your kindness to me has brought upon you so much trouble, though you have taken care to abate that sorrow, by the pleasure which I receive from your approbation. I defend my criticism in the same manner with you. We must confess the faults of our favourite, to gain credit to our praise of his excellencies. He that claims, either in himself or for another, the honours of perfection, will surely injure the reputation which he designs to assist.

'Be pleased to make my compliments to your family.

'I am, Sir,

'Your most obliged

'And most humble servant,

'Sam. Johnson.'

'Oct. 16, 1765.[1464]'

From one of his journals I transcribed what follows:

'At church, Oct. —65.

'To avoid all singularity; Bonaventura[1465].

'To come in before service, and compose my mind by meditation, or by reading some portions of scriptures. Tetty.

'If I can hear the sermon, to attend it, unless attention be more troublesome than useful.

'To consider the act of prayer as a reposal of myself upon God, and a resignation of 'all into his holy hand.'



(Pages 118 and 150.)

The publication of the 'Debates' in the Gentleman's Magazine began in July 1732. The names of the speakers were not printed in full; Sir Robert Walpole was disguised—if a disguise it can be called—as Sir R——t W——le, and Mr. Pelham as Mr. P—lh—m. Otherwise the report was open and avowed. During the first few years, however, it often happened that no attempt was made to preserve the individuality of the members. Thus in a debate on the number of seamen (Gent. Mag. v. 507), the speeches of the 'eight chief speakers' were so combined as to form but three. First come 'the arguments made use of for 30,000 men;' next, 'an answer to the following effect;' and lastly, 'a reply that was in substance as follows.' Each of these three speeches is in the first person, though each is formed of the arguments of two members at least, perhaps of many. In the report of a two days' debate in 1737, in which there were fourteen chief speakers, the substance of thirteen of the speeches was given in three (ib. vii. 746, 775). In July 1736 (ib. vi. 363) we find the beginning of a great change. 'To satisfy the impatience of his readers,' the publisher promises 'to give them occasionally some entire speeches.' He prints one which likely enough had been sent to him by the member who had spoken it, and adds that he shall be 'grateful for any authentic intelligence in matters of such importance and tenderness as the speeches in Parliament' (ib. p. 365). Cave, in his examination before the House of Lords on April 30, 1747, on a charge of having printed in the Gentleman's Magazine an account of the trial of Lord Lovat, owned that 'he had had speeches sent him by the members themselves, and had had assistance from some members who have taken notes of other members' speeches' (Parl. Hist. xiv. 60).

It was chiefly in the numbers of the Magazine for the latter half of each year that the publication took place. The parliamentary recess was the busy time for reporters and printers. It was commonly believed that the resolution on the Journals of the House of Commons against publishing any of its proceedings was only in force while parliament was sitting. But on April 13, 1738, it was unanimously resolved 'that it is an high indignity to, and a notorious breach of the privilege of this House to give any account of the debates, as well during the recess as the sitting of parliament' (Parl. Hist. x. 812). It was admitted that this privilege expired at the end of every parliament. When the dissolution had come every one might publish what he pleased. With the House of Lords it was far otherwise, for 'it is a Court of Record, and as such its rights and privileges never die. It may punish a printer for printing any part of its proceedings for thirty or forty years back' (ib. p. 807). Mr. Winnington, when speaking to this resolution of April 13, said that if they did not put a speedy stop to this practice of reporting 'they will have every word that is spoken here by gentlemen misrepresented by fellows who thrust themselves into our gallery' (ib. p. 806). Walpole complained 'that he had been made to speak the very reverse of what he meant. He had read debates wherein all the wit, the learning, and the argument had been thrown into one side, and on the other nothing but what was low, mean, and ridiculous' (ib. p. 809). Later on, Johnson in his reports 'saved appearances tolerably well; but took care that the WHIG DOGS should not have the best of it' (Murphy's Johnson, p. 45).

It was but a few days after he became a contributor to the Magazine that this resolution was passed. Parliament rose on May 20, and in the June number the reports of the debates of the Senate of Lilliput began. To his fertile mind was very likely due this humorous expedient by which the resolution of the House was mocked. That he wrote the introduction in which is narrated the voyage of Captain Gulliver's grandson to Lilliputia can scarcely be doubted. It bears all the marks of his early style. The Lords become Hurgoes, and the Commons Clinabs, Walpole becomes Walelop, Pulteney Pulnub, and Pitt Ptit; otherwise the report is much as it had been. At the end of the volume for 1739 was given a key to all the names. The London Magazine had boldly taken the lead. In the May number, which was published at the close of the month, and therefore after parliament had risen, began the report of the proceedings and debates of a political and learned club of young noblemen and gentlemen, who hoped one day to enter parliament, and who therefore, the better to qualify themselves for their high position, only debated questions that were there discussed. To the speakers were given the names of the ancient Greeks and Romans. Thus we find the Hon. Marcus Cato and the Right Hon. M. Tullius Cicero. By the key that was published in 1742 Cicero was seen to be Walpole, and Cato, Pulteney. What risks the publishers and writers ran was very soon shown. In December 1740 the ministers proposed to lay an embargo on various articles of food. As the members entered the House a printed paper was handed to each, entitled Considerations upon the Embargo. Adam Smith had just gone up as a young student to the University of Oxford. There are 'considerations' suggested in this paper which the great authority of the author of the Wealth of Nations has not yet made pass current as truths. The paper contained, moreover, charges of jobbery against 'great men,' though no one was named. It was at once voted a malicious and scandalous libel, and the author, William Cooley, a scrivener, was committed to Newgate. With him was sent the printer of the Daily Post, in which part of the Considerations had been published. After seven weeks' imprisonment in the depth of winter in that miserable den, 'without sufficient sustenance to support life,' Cooley was discharged on paying his fees. He was in knowledge more than a hundred years before his time, and had been made to suffer accordingly. The printer would have been discharged also, but the fees were more than he could pay. Two months later he petitioned for mercy. The fees by that time were 121. His petition was not received, and he was kept in prison till the close of the session (Parl. Hist. xi. 867-894).

Such were the risks run by Cave and Johnson and their fellow-workers. That no prosecution followed was due perhaps to that dread of ridicule which has often tempered the severity of the law. 'The Hurgolen Branard, who in the former session was Pretor of Mildendo,' might well have been unwilling to prove that he was Sir John Barnard, late Lord Mayor of London.

Johnson, it should seem, revised some of the earliest Debates. In a letter to Cave which cannot have been written later than September 1738, he mentions the alterations that he had made (ante, p. 136). The more they were written by him, the less authentic did they become, for he was not one of those 'fellows who thrust themselves into the gallery of the House.' His employer, Cave, if we can trust his own evidence, had been in the habit of going there and taking notes with a pencil (Parl. Hist. xiv. 60). But Johnson, Hawkins says (Life, p. 122), 'never was within the walls of either House.' According to Murphy (Life, p. 44), he had been inside the House of Commons once. Be this as it may, in the end the Debates were composed by him alone (ante, p. 118). From that time they must no longer be looked upon as authentic records, in spite of the assertions of the Editor of the Parl. Hist. (xi. Preface). Johnson told Boswell (ante, p. 118) 'that sometimes he had nothing more communicated to him than the names of the several speakers, and the part which they had taken in the debate;' sometimes 'he had scanty notes furnished by persons employed to attend in both Houses of Parliament.' Often, his Debates were written 'from no materials at all—the mere coinage of his own imagination' (post, under Dec. 9, 1784).

'He never wrote any part of his works with equal velocity. Three columns of the Magazine in an hour was no uncommon effort, which was faster than most persons could have transcribed that quantity' (ib.). According to Hawkins (Life, p. 99), 'His practice was to shut himself up in a room assigned to him at St. John's Gate, to which he would not suffer any one to approach, except the compositor or Cave's boy for matter, which, as fast as he composed it, he tumbled out at the door.'

From Murphy we get the following curious story:—

'That Johnson was the author of the debates during that period [Nov, 1740 to Feb. 1743] was not generally known; but the secret transpired several years afterwards, and was avowed by himself on the following occasion:—Mr. Wedderburne (now Lord Loughborough), Dr. Johnson, Dr. Francis (the translator of Horace), the present writer, and others dined with the late Mr. Foote. An important debate towards the end of Sir Robert Walpole's administration being mentioned, Dr. Francis observed, "that Mr. Pitt's speech on that occasion was the best he had ever read." He added, "that he had employed eight years of his life in the study of Demosthenes, and finished a translation of that celebrated orator, with all the decorations of style and language within the reach of his capacity; but he had met with nothing equal to the speech above mentioned." Many of the company remembered the debate; and some passages were cited with the approbation and applause of all present. During the ardour of conversation, Johnson remained silent. As soon as the warmth of praise subsided, he opened with these words:—"That speech I wrote in a garret in Exeter Street." The company was struck with astonishment. After staring at each other in silent amaze, Dr. Francis asked how that speech could be written by him? "Sir," said Johnson, "I wrote it in Exeter Street. I never had been in the gallery of the House of Commons but once. Cave had interest with the door-keepers. He, and the persons employed under him, gained admittance: they brought away the subject of discussion, the names of the speakers, the side they took, and the order in which they rose, together with notes of the arguments advanced in the course of the debate. The whole was afterwards communicated to me, and I composed the speeches in the form which they now have in the Parliamentary Debates." To this discovery Dr. Francis made answer:—"Then, sir, you have exceeded Demosthenes himself, for to say that you have exceeded Francis's Demosthenes, would be saying nothing." The rest of the company bestowed lavish encomiums on Johnson: one, in particular, praised his impartiality; observing, that he dealt out reason and eloquence with an equal hand to both parties. "That is not quite true," said Johnson; "I saved appearances tolerably well, but I took care that the WHIG DOGS should not have the best of it."' Murphy's Life of Johnson, p. 343.

Murphy, we must not forget, wrote from memory, for there is no reason to think that he kept notes. That his memory cannot altogether be trusted has been shown by Boswell (ante, p. 391, note 4). This dinner with Foote must have taken place at least nineteen years before this account was published, for so many years had Dr. Francis been dead. At the time when Johnson was living in Exeter-street he was not engaged on the magazine. Nevertheless the main facts may be true enough. Johnson himself told Boswell (post, May 13, 1778) that in Lord Chesterfield's Miscellaneous Works (ii. 319) there were two speeches ascribed to Chesterfield which he had himself entirely written. Horace Walpole (Letters, i. 147) complained that the published report of his own first speech 'did not contain one sentence of the true one.' Johnson, in his preface to the Literary Magazine of 1756, seems to confess what he had done, unless, indeed, he was altogether making himself the mere mouth-piece of the publisher. He says:—'We shall not attempt to give any regular series of debates, or to amuse our readers with senatorial rhetorick. The speeches inserted in other papers have been long known to be fictitious, and produced sometimes by men who never heard the debate, nor had any authentick information. We have no design to impose thus grossly on our readers.' (Works, v. 363.)

The secret that Johnson wrote these Debates was indeed well kept. He seems to be aimed at in a question that was put to Cave in his examination before the House of Lords in 1747. 'Being asked "if he ever had any person whom he kept in pay to make speeches for him," he said, "he never had."' (Parl. Hist. xiv. 60.) Herein he lied in order, no doubt, to screen Johnson. Forty-four years later Horace Walpole wrote (Letters, ix. 319), 'I never knew Johnson wrote the speeches in the Gentleman's Magazine till he died.' Johnson told Boswell 'that as soon as he found that they were thought genuine he determined that he would write no more of them, "for he would not be accessory to the propagation of falsehood."' (Ante, p. 152.) One of his Debates was translated into French, German, and Spanish (Gent. Mag. xiii. 59), and, no doubt, was accepted abroad as authentic. When he learnt this his conscience might well have received a shock. That it did receive a shock seems almost capable of proof. It was in the number of the Magazine for February, 1743—at the beginning of March, that is to say—that the fact of these foreign translations was made known. The last Debate that Johnson wrote was for the 22nd day of February in that year. In 1740, 1741, and 1742, he had worked steadily at his Debates. The beginning of 1743 found him no less busy. His task suddenly came to an end. Among foreign nations his speeches were read as the very words of English statesmen. To the propagation of such a falsehood as this he would no longer be accessory. Fifteen years later Smollett quoted them as if they were genuine (History of England, iii. 73). Here, however, Johnson's conscience was void of offence; for 'he had cautioned him not to rely on them, for that they were not authentic.' (Hawkins, Life, p. 129.)

That they should generally have passed current shews how unacquainted people at that time were with real debating. Even if we had not Johnson's own statement, both from external and internal evidence we could have known that they were for the most part 'the mere coinage of his imagination.' They do not read like speeches that had ever been spoken. 'None of them,' Mr. Flood said, 'were at all like real debates' (post, under March 30, 1771). They are commonly formed of general statements which suit any one speaker just as well as any other. The scantier were the notes that were given him by those who had heard the debate, the more he had to draw on his imagination. But his was an imagination which supplied him with what was general much more readily than with what was particular. Had De Foe been the composer he would have scattered over each speech the most ingenious and probable matters of detail, but De Foe and Johnson were wide as the poles asunder. Neither had Johnson any dramatic power. His parliamentary speakers have scarcely more variety than the characters in Irene. Unless he had been a constant frequenter of the galleries of the two Houses, he could not have acquired any knowledge of the style and the peculiarities of the different members. Nay, even of their modes of thinking and their sentiments he could have gained but the most general notions. Of debating he knew nothing. It was the set speeches in Livy and the old historians that he took as his models. In his orations there is very little of 'the tart reply;' there is, indeed, scarcely any examination of an adversary's arguments. So general are the speeches that the order in which they are given might very often without inconvenience be changed. They are like a series of leading articles on both sides of the question, but all written by one man. Johnson is constantly shifting his character, and, like Falstaff and the Prince, playing first his own part and then his opponent's. It is wonderful how well he preserves his impartiality, though he does 'take care that the Whig dogs should not have the best of it.'

He not only took the greatest liberties in his reports, but he often took them openly. Thus an army bill was debated in committee on Dec. 10, 1740, and again the following day on the report in the full House. 'As in these two debates,' he writes, 'the arguments were the same, Mr. Gulliver has thrown them into one to prevent unnecessary repetitions.' (Gent. Mag. Dec. 1742, p. 676.) In each House during the winter of 1742-3 there was a debate on taking the Hanoverian troops into pay. The debate in the Lords was spread over five numbers of the Magazine in the following summer and autumn. It was not till the spring of 1744 that the turn of the Commons came, and then they were treated somewhat scurvily. 'This debate,' says the reporter, who was Johnson, 'we thought it necessary to contract by the omission of those arguments which were fully discussed in the House of Hurgoes, and of those speakers who produced them, lest we should disgust our readers by tedious repetitions.' (Ib. xiv. 125.) Many of these debates have been reported somewhat briefly by Bishop (afterwards Archbishop) Seeker. To follow his account requires an accurate knowledge of the times, whereas Johnson's rhetorick for the most part is easily understood even by one very ignorant of the history of the first two Georges. Much of it might have been spoken on almost any occasion, for or against almost any minister. It is true that we here and there find such a correspondence between the two reports as shews that Johnson, as he has himself told us, was at times furnished with some information. But, on the other hand, we can no less clearly see that he was often drawing solely on his imagination. Frequently there is but the slightest agreement between the reports given by the two men of the same speeches. Of this a good instance is afforded by Lord Carteret's speech of Feb. 13, 1741. According to Johnson 'the Hurgo Quadrert began in this manner':—

'As the motion which I am about to make is of the highest importance and of the most extensive consequences; as it cannot but meet with all the opposition which the prejudices of some and the interest of others can raise against it; as it must have the whole force of ministerial influence to encounter without any assistance but from justice and reason, I hope to be excused by your Lordships for spending some time in endeavouring to shew that it wants no other support; that it is not founded upon doubtful suspicions but upon uncontestable facts,' and so on for eight more lines. (Gent. Mag. xi. 339).

The Bishop's note begins as follows:—

'CARTERET. I am glad to see the House so full. The honour of the nation is at stake. And the oldest man hath not known such circumstances as we are in. When storms rise you must see what pilots you have, and take methods to make the nation easy. I shall (1) go through the foreign transactions of several years; (2) The domestic; (3) Prove that what I am about to propose is a parliamentary method.' (Parl. Hist. xi. 1047.)

Still more striking is the difference in the two reports of a speech by Lord Talbot on May 25, 1742. According to the Gent. Mag. xii. 519, 'the Hurgo Toblat spoke to this effect':—

'So high is my veneration for this great assembly that it is never without the utmost efforts of resolution that I can prevail upon myself to give my sentiments upon any question that is the subject of debate, however strong may be my conviction, or however ardent my zeal.'

The Bishop makes him say:—

'I rise up only to give time to others to consider how they will carry on the debate.' (Parl. Hist. xii. 646.)

On Feb. 13, 1741, the same Lord, being called to order for saying that there were Lords who were influenced by a place, exclaimed, according to the Bishop, '"By the eternal G—d, I will defend my cause everywhere." But Lords calling to order, he recollected himself and made an excuse.' (Parl. Hist. xi. 1063). In the Gent. Mag. xi. 4l9, 'the Hurgo Toblat resumed:—"My Lords, whether anything has escaped from me that deserves such severe animadversions your Lordships must decide."'

Once at least in Johnson's reports a speech is given to the wrong member. In the debate on the Gin Bill on Feb. 22, 1743 (Gent. Mag. xiii. 696), though the Bishop's notes show that he did not speak, yet a long speech is put into his mouth. It was the Earl of Sandwich who had spoken at this turn of the debate. The editor of the Parl. Hist. (xii. 1398), without even notifying the change, coolly transfers the speech from the 'decent' Seeker[1466], who was afterwards Primate, to the grossly licentious Earl. A transference such as this is, however, but of little moment. For the most part the speeches would be scarcely less lifelike, if all on one side were assigned to some nameless Whig, and all on the other side to some nameless Tory. It is nevertheless true that here and there are to be found passages which no doubt really fell from the speaker in whose mouth they are put. They mention some fact or contain some allusion which could not otherwise have been known by Johnson. Even if we had not Cave's word for it, we might have inferred that now and then a member was himself his own reporter. Thus in the Gent. Mag. for February 1744 (p. 68) we find a speech by Sir John St. Aubyn that had appeared eight months earlier in the very same words in the London Magazine. That Johnson copied a rival publication is most unlikely—impossible, I might say. St. Aubyn, I conjecture, sent a copy of his speech to both editors. In the Gent. Mag. for April 1743 (p. 184), a speech by Lord Percival on Dec. 10, 1742, is reported apparently at full length. The debate itself was not published till the spring of 1744, when the reader is referred for this speech to the back number in which it had already been inserted. (Ib. xiv. 123).

The London Magazine generally gave the earlier report; it was, however, twitted by its rival with its inaccuracy. In one debate, it was said, 'it had introduced instead of twenty speakers but six, and those in a very confused manner. It had attributed to Caecilius words remembered by the whole audience to be spoken by M. Agrippa.' (Gent. Mag. xii. 512). The report of the debate of Feb. 13, 1741, in the London Magazine fills more than twenty-two columns of the Parl. Hist. (xi. 1130) with a speech by Lord Bathurst. That he did speak is shewn by Secker (ib. p. 1062). No mention of him is made, however, in the report in the Gent. Mag. (xi. 339). But, on the other hand, it reports eleven speakers, while the London Magazine gives but five. Secker shows that there were nineteen. Though the London Magazine was generally earlier in publishing the debates, it does not therefore follow that Johnson had seen their reports when he wrote his. His may have been kept back by Cave's timidity for some months even after they had been set up in type. In the staleness of the debate there was some safeguard against a parliamentary prosecution.

Mr. Croker maintains (Croker's Boswell, p. 44) that Johnson wrote the Debates from the time (June 1738) that they assumed the Lilliputian title till 1744. In this he is certainly wrong. Even if we had not Johnson's own statement, from the style of the earlier Debates we could have seen that they were not written by him. No doubt we come across numerous traces of his work; but this we should have expected. Boswell tells us that Guthrie's reports were sent to Johnson for revision (ante, p. 118). Nay, even a whole speech now and then may be from his hand. It is very likely that he wrote, for instance, the Debate on buttons and button-holes (Gent. Mag. viii. 627), and the Debate on the registration of seamen (ib. xi.). But it is absurd to attribute to him passages such as the following, which in certain numbers are plentiful enough long after June 1738. 'There never was any measure pursued more consistent with, and more consequential of, the sense of this House' (ib. ix. 340). 'It gave us a handle of making such reprisals upon the Iberians as this Crown found the sweets of' (ib. x. 281). 'That was the only expression that the least shadow of fault was found with' (ib. xi. 292).

'Johnson told me himself,' says Boswell (ante, p. 150), 'that he was the sole composer of the Debates for those three years only (1741-2-3). He was not, however, precisely exact in his statement, which he mentioned from hasty recollection; for it is sufficiently evident that his composition of them began November 19, 1740, and ended February 23 [22], 1742-3.' Some difficulty is caused in following Boswell's statement by the length of time that often elapsed between the debate itself and its publication. The speeches that were spoken between Nov. 19, or, more strictly speaking, Nov. 25, 1740, and Feb. 22, 1743, were in their publication spread through the Magazine from July 1741 to March, 1744. On Feb. 13, 1741, Lord Carteret in the House of 'Lords, and Mr. Sandys, 'the Motion-maker[1467],' in the House of Commons, moved an address to the King for the removal of Sir Robert Walpole. Johnson's report of the debate in the Lords was published in the Magazine for the next July and August. The year went round. Walpole's ministry was overthrown, and Walpole himself was banished to the House of Lords. A second year went by. At length, in three of the spring numbers of 1743, the debate on Sandys's motion was reported. It had been published in the London Magazine eleven months earlier.

Cave, if he was tardy, nevertheless was careful that his columns should not want variety. Thus in the number for July 1743, we have the middle part of the debate in the Lords on Feb. 1, 1743, the end of the debate in the Commons on March 9, 1742, and the beginning of another in the Commons on the following March 23. From the number for July 1741 to the number for March 1744 Johnson, as I have already said, was the sole composer of the Debates. The irregularity with which they were given at first sight seems strange; but in it a certain method can be discovered. The proceedings of a House of Commons that had come to an end might, as I have shown, be freely published. There had been a dissolution after the session which closed in April 1741. The publication of the Debates of the old parliament could at once begin, and could go on freely from month to month all the year round. But they would not last for ever. In 1742, in the autumn recess, the time when experience had shewn that the resolution of the House could be broken with the least danger, the Debates of the new parliament were published. They were continued even in the short session before Christmas. But the spring of 1743 saw a cautious return to the reports of the old parliament. The session closed on April 21, and in the May number the comparatively fresh Debates began again. In one case the report was not six months after date. In the beginning of 1744 this publication went on even in the session, but it was confined to the proceedings of the previous winter.

The following table shews the order in which Johnson's Debates were published:—

Gentleman's Debate or part Magazine. of debate of

July, 1741 {Parliament was dissolved } Feb. 13, 1741 { on April 25, 1741. } Aug. " Feb. 13, "

Sept. " {Jan. 27, " {Mar. 2, " Oct. " Mar. 2, "

Nov. " Mar. 2, "

Dec. " { The new Parliament met} Dec. 9, 1740 { on Dec. 1. }

Gentleman's Debate or part Magazine. of debate of

Supplement to 1741 Dec. 2, " Dec. 12," Jan. 1742 Feb. 3, 1741 Feb. 27, " Feb. " Jan. 26, " April 13, " Mar. " Feb. 24, " April 13, " April " Jan. 27, " Feb. 24, " May " Nov. 25, 1740 June " Nov. 25, " April 8, 1741 July " The session ended on July April 8, " 15. Dec. 1, " Dec. 4, " Aug. " Dec. 4, " Sept. " Dec. 4, " Dec. 8, " Oct. " Dec. 8, " May 25, 1742 Nov. " The Session opened on May 25, " Nov. 16. Dec. " May 25, " June 1, " Supplement to 1742 Dec. 10, 1740 June 1, 1742 Jan. 1743 Dec. 10, 1740 Feb. " Feb. 13, 1741 Mar. " Feb. 13, " April " The Session ended on April 21 Feb. 13, " May " Mar. 9, 1742 Nov. 16, " June " Mar. 9, " Feb. 1, 1743 July " Mar. 9, 1742 Mar. 23, " Feb. 1, 1743 Aug. " Feb. 1, " Sept. " Feb. 1, " Oct. " Feb. 1, " Nov. " Feb. 22, " Dec. " The Session opened on Dec. 1 Feb. 22, " Supplement to 1743 Feb. 22, " Jan. 1744 Feb. 22, " Feb. " Dec. 10, 1742 Feb. 22, 1743 Mar. " Dec. 10, 1742

During the rest of 1744 the debates were given in the old form, and in a style that is a close imitation of Johnson's. Most likely they were composed by Hawkesworth (ante, p. 252). In 1745 they were fewer in number, and in 1746 the reports of the Senate of Lilliputia with its Hurgoes and Clinabs passed away for ever. They had begun, to quote the words of the Preface to the Magazine for 1747, at a time when 'a determined spirit of opposition in the national assemblies communicated itself to almost every individual, multiplied and invigorated periodical papers, and rendered politics the chief, if not the only object, of curiosity.' They are a monument to the greatness of Walpole, and to the genius of Johnson. Had that statesman not been overthrown, the people would have called for these reports even though Johnson had refused to write them. Had Johnson still remained the reporter, even though Walpole no longer swayed the Senate of the Lilliputians, the speeches of that tumultuous body would still have been read. For though they are not debates, yet they have a vast vigour and a great fund of wisdom of their own.

* * * * *



Malone published seven of the following letters in the fourth edition, and Mr. Croker the rest.



'The account which Miss [Porter] gives me of your health pierces my heart. God comfort and preserve you and save you, for the sake of Jesus Christ.

'I would have Miss read to you from time to time the Passion of our Saviour, and sometimes the sentences in the Communion Service, beginning "Come unto me, all ye that travail and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."

'I have just now read a physical book, which inclines me to think that a strong infusion of the bark would do you good. Do, dear mother, try it.

'Pray, send me your blessing, and forgive all that I have done amiss to you. And whatever you would have done, and what debts you would have paid first, or any thing else that you would direct, let Miss put it down; I shall endeavour to obey you.

'I have got twelve guineas[1468] to send you, but unhappily am at a loss how to send it to-night. If I cannot send it to-night, it will come by the next post.

'Pray, do not omit any thing mentioned in this letter: God bless you for ever and ever.

'I am your dutiful son,


'Jan. 13, 1758[1469].'


'MY DEAR Miss,

'I think myself obliged to you beyond all expression of gratitude for your care of my dear mother. God grant it may not be without success. Tell Kitty[1470] that I shall never forget her tenderness for her mistress. Whatever you can do, continue to do. My heart is very full.

'I hope you received twelve guineas on Monday. I found a way of sending them by means of the postmaster, after I had written my letter, and hope they came safe. I will send you more in a few days. God bless you all.

'I am, my dear,

'Your most obliged

'And most humble servant,


'Jan. 16, 1759. 'Over the leaf is a letter to my mother.'


'Your weakness afflicts me beyond what I am willing to communicate to you. I do not think you unfit to face death, but I know not how to bear the thought of losing you. Endeavour to do all you [can] for yourself. Eat as much as you can.

'I pray often for you; do you pray for me. I have nothing to add to my last letter.

'I am, dear, dear mother

'Your dutiful son,


'Jan. 16, 1759.'



'I fear you are too ill for long letters; therefore I will only tell you, you have from me all the regard that can possibly subsist in the heart. I pray God to bless you for evermore, for Jesus Christ's sake. Amen.

'Let Miss write to me every post, however short.

'I am, dear mother,

'Your dutiful son,


'Jan. 18, 1759.'


'DEAR Miss,

'I will, if it be possible, come down to you. God grant I may yet [find] my dear mother breathing and sensible. Do not tell her, lest I disappoint her. If I miss to write next post, I am on the road.

'I am, my dearest Miss, 'Your most humble servant, 'SAM. JOHNSON.' 'Jan. 20, 1759.'

On the other side.


'Neither your condition nor your character make it fit for me to say much. You have been the best mother, and I believe the best woman in the world. I thank you for your indulgence to me, and beg forgiveness of all that I have done ill, and all that I have omitted to do well. God grant you his Holy Spirit, and receive you to everlasting happiness, for Jesus Christ's sake. Amen. Lord Jesus receive your spirit. Amen.

'I am, dear, dear mother, 'Your dutiful son, 'SAM. JOHNSON.' 'Jan. 20, 1759.'


'You will conceive my sorrow for the loss of my mother, of the best mother. If she were to live again surely I should behave better to her. But she is happy, and what is past is nothing to her; and for me, since I cannot repair my faults to her, I hope repentance will efface them. I return you and all those that have been good to her my sincerest thanks, and pray God to repay you all with infinite advantage. Write to me, and comfort me, dear child. I shall be glad likewise, if Kitty will write to me. I shall send a bill of twenty pounds in a few days, which I thought to have brought to my mother; but God suffered it not. I have not power or composure to say much more. God bless you, and bless us all.

'I am, dear Miss, 'Your affectionate humble servant, 'SAM. JOHNSON.' 'Jan. 23, 1759[1472].'

'To Miss PORTER.

(The beginning is torn and lost.)

* * * * *

'You will forgive me if I am not yet so composed as to give any directions about any thing. But you are wiser and better than I, and I shall be pleased with all that you shall do. It is not of any use for me now to come down; nor can I bear the place. If you want any directions, Mr. Howard[1473] will advise you. The twenty pounds I could not get a bill for to-night, but will send it on Saturday.

'I am, my dear, your affectionate servant,


'Jan. 25, 1759.'

* * * * *

'To Miss PORTER.

'DEAR Miss,

'I have no reason to forbear writing, but that it makes my heart heavy, and I had nothing particular to say which might not be delayed to the next post; but had no thoughts of ceasing to correspond with my dear Lucy, the only person now left in the world with whom I think myself connected. There needed not my dear mother's desire, for every heart must lean to somebody, and I have nobody but you; in whom I put all my little affairs with too much confidence to desire you to keep receipts, as you prudently proposed.

'If you and Kitty will keep the house, I think I shall like it best. Kitty may carry on the trade for herself, keeping her own stock apart, and laying aside any money that she receives for any of the goods which her good mistress has left behind her. I do not see, if this scheme be followed, any need of appraising the books. My mother's debts, dear mother, I suppose I may pay with little difficulty; and the little trade may go silently forward. I fancy Kitty can do nothing better; and I shall not want to put her out of a house, where she has lived so long, and with so much virtue. I am very sorry that she is ill, and earnestly hope that she will soon recover; let her know that I have the highest value for her, and would do any thing for her advantage. Let her think of this proposal. I do not see any likelier method by which she may pass the remaining part of her life in quietness and competence.

'You must have what part of the house you please, while you are inclined to stay in it; but I flatter myself with the hope that you and I shall some time pass our days together. I am very solitary and comfortless, but will not invite you to come hither till I can have hope of making you live here so as not to dislike your situation. Pray, my dearest, write to me as often as you can.

'I am, dear Madam,

'Your affectionate humble servant,


'Feb. 6, 1759'

'To Miss PORTER.


'I thought your last letter long in coming; and did not require or expect such an inventory of little things as you have sent me. I could have taken your word for a matter of much greater value. I am glad that Kitty is better; let her be paid first, as my dear, dear mother ordered, and then let me know at once the sum necessary to discharge her other debts, and I will find it you very soon.

'I beg, my dear, that you would act for me without the least scruple, for I can repose myself very confidently upon your prudence, and hope we shall never have reason to love each other less. I shall take it very kindly if you make it a rule to write to me once at least every week, for I am now very desolate, and am loth to be universally forgotten.

'I am, dear sweet, 'Your affectionate servant, 'SAM. JOHNSON.' 'March 1, 1759.'



'I beg your pardon for having so long omitted to write. One thing or other has put me off. I have this day moved my things and you are now to direct to me at Staple Inn, London. I hope, my dear, you are well, and Kitty mends. I wish her success in her trade. I am going to publish a little story book [Rasselas], which I will send you when it is out. Write to me, my dearest girl, for I am always glad to hear from you.

'I am, my dear, your humble servant, 'SAM. JOHNSON.' 'March 23, 1759.'



'I am almost ashamed to tell you that all your letters came safe, and that I have been always very well, but hindered, I hardly know how, from writing. I sent, last week, some of my works, one for you, one for your aunt Hunter, who was with my poor dear mother when she died, one for Mr. Howard, and one for Kitty.

'I beg you, my dear, to write often to me, and tell me how you like my little book.

'I am, dear love, your affectionate humble servant, 'SAM. JOHNSON.' 'May 10, 1759.'


(Page 487.)

The following is the full extract of Dr. Sharp's letter giving an account of Johnson's visit to Cambridge in 1765:—

'Camb. Mar. 1, 1765.

'As to Johnson, you will be surprised to hear that I have had him in the chair in which I am now writing. He has ascended my arial citadel. He came down on a Saturday evening, with a Mr. Beauclerk, who has a friend at Trinity. Caliban, you may be sure, was not roused from his lair before next day noon, and his breakfast probably kept him till night. I saw nothing of him, nor was he heard of by any one, till Monday afternoon, when I was sent for home to two gentlemen unknown. In conversation I made a strange faux pas about Burnaby Greene's poem, in which Johnson is drawn at full length[1474]. He drank his large potations of tea with me, interrupted by many an indignant contradiction, and many a noble sentiment. He had on a better wig than usual, but, one whose curls were not, like Sir Cloudesly's[1475], formed for 'eternal buckle.' [1476] Our conversation was chiefly on books, you may be sure. He was much pleased with a small Milton of mine, published in the author's lifetime, and with the Greek epigram on his own effigy, of its being the picture, not of him, but of a bad painter[1477]. There are many manuscript stanzas, for aught I know, in Milton's own handwriting, and several interlined hints and fragments. We were puzzled about one of the sonnets, which we thought was not to be found in Newton's edition[1478], and differed from all the printed ones. But Johnson cried, "No, no!" repeated the whole sonnet instantly, memoriter, and shewed it us in Newton's book. After which he learnedly harangued on sonnet-writing, and its different numbers. He tells me he will come hither again quickly, and is promised "an habitation in Emanuel College[1479]." He went back to town next morning; but as it began to be known that he was in the university, several persons got into his company the last evening at Trinity, where, about twelve, he began to be very great; stripped poor Mrs. Macaulay to the very skin, then gave her for his toast, and drank her in two bumpers.' (Gent. Mag. for 1785, p. 173.)

* * * * *



(Page 489.)



'Among the names subscribed to the degree which I have had the honour of receiving from the university of Dublin, I find none of which I have any personal knowledge but those of Dr. Andrews and yourself.

'Men can be estimated by those who know them not, only as they are represented by those who know them; and therefore I flatter myself that I owe much of the pleasure which this distinction gives me to your concurrence with Dr. Andrews in recommending me to the learned society.

'Having desired the Provost to return my general thanks to the University, I beg that you, sir, will accept my particular and immediate acknowledgements.

'I am, Sir,

'Your most obedient and most humble servant,


'Johnson's-court, Fleet-street,

London, Oct. 17, 1765.'

* * * * *



(Page 490.)

In a little volume entitled Parliamentary Logick, by the Right Hon. W.G. Hamilton, published in 1808, twelve years after the author's death, is included Considerations on Corn, by Dr. Johnson (Works, v. 321). It was written, says Hamilton's editor, in November 1766. A dearth had caused riots. 'Those who want the supports of life,' Johnson wrote, 'will seize them wherever they can be found.' (Ib. p. 322.) He supported in this tract the bounty for exporting corn. If more than a year after he had engaged in politics with Mr. Hamilton nothing had been produced but this short tract, the engagement was not of much importance. But there was, I suspect, much more in it. Indeed, the editor says (Preface, p. ix.) that 'Johnson had entered into some engagement with Mr. Hamilton, occasionally to furnish him with his sentiments on the great political topicks that should be considered in Parliament.' Mr. Croker draws attention to a passage in Johnson's letter to Miss Porter of Jan. 14, 1766 (Croker's Boswell, p. 173) in which he says: 'I cannot well come [to Lichfield] during the session of parliament.' In the spring of this same year Burke had broken with Hamilton, in whose service he had been. 'The occasion of our difference,' he wrote, 'was not any act whatsoever on my part; it was entirely upon his, by a voluntary but most insolent and intolerable demand, amounting to no less than a claim of servitude during the whole course of my life, without leaving to me at any time a power either of getting forward with honour, or of retiring with tranquillity' (Burke's Corres. i. 77). It seems to me highly probable that Hamilton, in consequence of his having just lost, as I have shewn, Burke's services, sought Johnson's aid. He had taken Burke 'as a companion in his studies.' (Ib. p. 48.) 'Six of the best years of my life,' wrote Burke, 'he took me from every pursuit of literary reputation or of improvement of my fortune. In that time he made his own fortune (a very great one).' (Ib. p. 67.) Burke had been recommended to Hamilton by Dr. Warton. On losing him Hamilton, on Feb. 12, 1765, wrote to Warton, giving a false account of his separation with Burke, and asking him to recommend some one to fill his place—some one 'who, in addition to a taste and an understanding of ancient authors, and what generally passes under the name of scholarship, has likewise a share of modern knowledge, and has applied himself in some degree to the study of the law.' By way of payment he offers at once 'an income, which would neither be insufficient for him as a man of letters, or disreputable to him as a gentleman,' and hereafter 'a situation'—a post, that is to say, under government. (Wooll's Warton, i. 299.) Warton recommended Chambers. Chambers does not seem to have accepted the post, for we find him staying on at Oxford (post, ii. 25, 46). Johnson had all the knowledge that Hamilton required, except that of law. It is this very study that we find him at this very time entering upon. All this shows that for some time and to some extent an engagement was formed between him and Hamilton. Boswell, writing to Malone on Feb. 25, 1791, while The Life of Johnson was going through the press, says:—

'I shall have more cancels. That nervous mortal W. G. H. is not satisfied with my report of some particulars which I wrote down from his own mouth, and is so much agitated that Courtenay has persuaded me to allow a new edition of them by H. himself to be made at H.'s expense.'

(Croker's Boswell, p. 829). This would seem to show that there was something that Hamilton wished to conceal. Horace Walpole (Memoirs of the Reign of George III, iii. 402) does not give him a character for truthfulness. He writes on one occasion:—'Hamilton denied it, but his truth was not renowned.' Miss Burney, who met Hamilton fourteen years after this, thus describes him:—'This Mr. Hamilton is extremely tall and handsome; has an air of haughty and fashionable superiority; is intelligent, dry, sarcastic, and clever. I should have received much pleasure from his conversational powers, had I not previously been prejudiced against him, by hearing that he is infinitely artful, double, and crafty.' (Mme. D'Arblay's Diary, i. 293).

* * * * *



(Page 490.)

Johnson (Pr. and Med. p. 191) writes:—'My first knowledge of Thrale was in 1765.' In a letter to Mrs. Thrale, he says:—'You were but five-and-twenty when I knew you first.' (Piozzi Letters, i. 284). As she was born on Jan. 16/27, 1741, this would place their introduction in 1766. In another letter, written on July 8, 1784, he talks of her 'kindness which soothed twenty years of a life radically wretched.' (Ib. ii. 376). Perhaps, however, he here spoke in round numbers. Mrs. Piozzi (Anec. p. 125) says they first met in 1764. Mr. Thrale, she writes, sought an excuse for inviting him. 'The celebrity of Mr. Woodhouse (post, ii. 127), a shoemaker, whose verses were at that time the subject of common discourse, soon afforded a 'pretence.' There is a notice of Woodhouse in the Gent. Mag. for June, 1764 (p. 289). Johnson, she says, dined with them every Thursday through the winter of 1764-5, and in the autumn of 1765 followed them to Brighton. In the Piozzi Letters (i. 1) there is a letter of his, dated Aug. 13, 1765, in which he speaks of his intention to join them there.

'From that time,' she writes, 'his visits grew more frequent till, in the year 1766, his health, which he had always complained of, grew so exceedingly bad, that he could not stir out of his room in the court he inhabited for many weeks together, I think months. Mr. Thrale's attentions and my own now became so acceptable to him, that he often lamented to us the horrible condition of his mind, which, he said, was nearly distracted: and though he charged us to make him odd solemn promises of secrecy on so strange a subject, yet when we waited on him one morning, and heard him, in the most pathetic terms, beg the prayers of Dr. Delap [the Rector of Lewes] who had left him as we came in, I felt excessively affected with grief, and well remember my husband involuntarily lifted up one hand to shut his mouth, from provocation at hearing a man so widely proclaim what he could at last persuade no one to believe; and what, if true, would have been so unfit to reveal. Mr. Thrale went away soon after, leaving me with him, and bidding me prevail on him to quit his close habitation in the court, and come with us to Streatham, where I undertook the care of his health, and had the honour and happiness of contributing to its restoration.'

It is not possible to reconcile the contradiction in dates between Johnson and Mrs. Piozzi, nor is it easy to fix the time of this illness. That before February, 1766, he had had an illness so serious as to lead him altogether to abstain from wine is beyond a doubt. Boswell, on his return to England in that month, heard it from his own lips (post, ii. 8). That this illness must have attacked him after March 1, 1765, when he visited Cambridge, is also clear; for at that time he was still drinking wine (ante, Appendix C). That he was unusually depressed in the spring of this year is shewn by his entry at Easter (ante, p. 487). From his visit to Dr. Percy in the summer of 1764 (ante, p. 486) to the autumn of 1765, we have very little information about him. For more than two years he did not write to Boswell (post, ii. 1). Dr. Adams (ante, p. 483) describes the same kind of attack as Mrs. Piozzi. Its date is not given. Boswell, after quoting an entry made on Johnson's birthday, Sept. 18, 1764, says 'about this time he was afflicted' with the illness Dr. Adams describes. From Mrs. Piozzi, from Johnson's account to Boswell, and from Dr. Adams we learn of a serious illness. Was there more than one? If there was only one, then Boswell is wrong in placing it before March 1, 1765, when Johnson was still a wine-drinker, and Mrs. Piozzi is wrong in placing it after February, 1766, when he had become an abstainer. Johnson certainly stayed at Streatham from before Midsummer to October in 1766 (post, ii. 25, and Pr. and Med. p. 71), and this fact lends support to Mrs. Piozzi's statement. But, on the other hand, his meetings with Boswell in February of that year, and his letters to Langton of March 9 and May 10 (post, ii. 16, 17), shew a not unhappy frame of mind. Boswell, in his Hebrides (Oct. 16, 1773), speaks of Johnson's illness in 1766. If it was in 1766 that he was ill, it must have been after May 10 and before Midsummer-day, and this period is almost too brief for Mrs. Piozzi's account. It is a curious coincidence that Cowper was introduced to the Unwins in the same year in which Johnson, according to his own account, had his first knowledge of the Thrales. (Southey's Cowper, i, 171.)

* * * * *


[1] Post, iv. 172.

[2] Post, iii. 312.

[3] Post, i. 324.

[4] History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, ed. 1807, vol. i. p. xi.

[5] Post, iii. 230.

[6] Post, i. 7.

[7] Post, ii. 212.

[8] Post, i. 7.

[9] Post, iv. 444.

[10] Post, ii. 100.

[11] Post, iv. 429; v. 17.

[12] Post, v. 117.

[13] Post, i. 472, n. 4; iv. 260, n. 2; v. 405, n. 1, 454, n. 2; vi. i-xxxvii.

[14] Post, i. 60, n. 7.

[15] Post, ii. 476.

[16] Post, vi. xxxiv.

[17] Post, iii. 462.

[18] Post, vi. xxii.

[19] Post, iv. 8, n. 3.

[20] Post, i. 489, 518.

[21] Post, iv. 223, n. 3.

[22] Post, i. 39, n. 1.

[23] Post, iii. 340, n. 2.

[24] Post, i. 103, n. 3.

[25] Post, i. 501.

[26] Post, iii. 443.

[27] Post, iii. 314.

[28] Post, iii. 449.

[29] Post, iii. 478.

[30] Post, iii. 459.

[31] Post, i. 189. n. 2.

[32] i. 296, n. 3.

[33] Post, vi. 289.

[34] Post, ii. 350.

[35] Post, iii. 137, n. 1; 389.

[36] Post, i. 14

[37] Post, i. 7-8

[38] Post, i. 14-15.

[39] Post, iv. 31, n. 3

[40] ii. 173-4.

[41] vol. ii. p. 47.

[42] Johnson's Works, ed. 1825, vol. v. p. 152.

[43] Johnson's Works, ed. 1825, vol. v. p. 152.

[44] See Post, ii. 35, 424-6, 441.

[45] See Post, iv. 422.

[46] Correspondence of Edmund Burke, ii. 425.

[47] To this interesting and accurate publication I am indebted for many valuable notes.

[48] Post, iii. 51, n. 3.

[49] Johnson's Works, ed. 1825, vol. iv. p. 446.

[50] Post, i. 331, n. 7.

[51] Johnson said of him:—'Sir Joshua Reynolds is the same all the year round;' post, March 28, 1776. Boswell elsewhere describes him as 'he who used to be looked upon as perhaps the most happy man in the world.' Letters of Boswell, p. 344.

[52] 'O noctes coenaeque Deum!' 'O joyous nights! delicious feasts! At which the gods might be my guests. Francis. Horace, Sat, ii. 6. 65.

[53] Six years before this Dedication Sir Joshua had conferred on him another favour. 'I have a proposal to make to you,' Boswell had written to him, 'I am for certain to be called to the English bar next February. Will you now do my picture? and the price shall be paid out of the first fees which I receive as a barrister in Westminster Hall. Or if that fund should fail, it shall be paid at any rate five years hence by myself or my representatives.' Boswell told him at the same time that the debts which he had contracted in his father's lifetime would not be cleared off for some years. The letter was endorsed by Sir Joshua:—'I agree to the above conditions;' and the portrait was painted. Taylor's Reynolds, ii. 477.

[54] See Boswell's Hebrides, Aug. 24, 1773.

[55] 'I surely have the art of writing agreeably. The Lord Chancellor [Thurlow] told me he had read every word of my Hebridian Journal;' he could not help it; adding, 'could you give a rule how to write a book that a man must read? I believe Longinus could not.' Letters of Boswell, p. 322.

[56] Boswell perhaps quotes from memory the following passage in Goldsmith's Life of Nash:—'The doctor was one day conversing with Locke and two or three more of his learned and intimate companions, with that freedom, gaiety, and cheerfulness, which is ever the result of innocence. In the midst of their mirth and laughter, the doctor, looking from the window, saw Nash's chariot stop at the door. "Boys, boys," cried the philosopher, "let us now be wise, for here is a fool coming."' Cunningham's Goldsmith's Works, iv. 96. Dr. Warton in his criticism on Pope's line

'Unthought of frailties cheat us in the wise,'

(Moral Essays, i. 69) says:—'For who could imagine that Dr. Clarke valued himself for his agility, and frequently amused himself in a private room of his house in leaping over the tables and chairs.' Warton's Essay on Pope, ii. 125. 'It is a good remark of Montaigne's,' wrote Goldsmith, 'that the wisest men often have friends with whom they do not care how much they play the fool.' Forster's Goldsmith, i. 166. Mr. Seward says in his Anecdotes, ii. 320, that 'in the opinion of Dr. Johnson' Dr. Clarke was the most complete literary character that England ever produced.' For Dr. Clarke's sermons see post, April 7, 1778.

[57] See post, Oct. 16, 1769, note.

[58] How much delighted would Boswell have been, had he been shewn the following passage, recorded by Miss Burney, in an account she gives of a conversation with the Queen:—

THE QUEEN:—'Miss Burney, have you heard that Boswell is going to publish a life of your friend Dr. Johnson?' 'No, ma'am!' 'I tell you as I heard, I don't know for the truth of it, and I can't tell what he will do. He is so extraordinary a man that perhaps he will devise something extraordinary.' Mme. D'Artlay's Diary, ii. 400. 'Dr. Johnson's history,' wrote Horace Walpole, on June 20, 1785, 'though he is going to have as many lives as a cat, might be reduced to four lines; but I shall wait to extract the quintessence till Sir John Hawkins, Madame Piozzi, and Mr. Boswell have produced their quartos.' Horace Walpole's Letters, viii. 557.

[59] The delay was in part due to Boswell's dissipation and place-hunting, as is shewn by the following passages in his Letters to Temple:—'Feb. 24, 1788, I have been wretchedly dissipated, so that I have not written a line for a fortnight.' p. 266. 'Nov. 28, 1789, Malone's hospitality, and my other invitations, and particularly my attendance at Lord Lonsdale's, have lost us many evenings.' Ib. p. 311. 'June 21, 1790, How unfortunate to be obliged to interrupt my work! Never was a poor ambitious projector more mortified. I am suffering without any prospect of reward, and only from my own folly.' Ib. p. 326.

[60] 'You cannot imagine what labour, what perplexity, what vexation I have endured in arranging a prodigious multiplicity of materials, in supplying omissions, in searching for papers, buried in different masses, and all this besides the exertion of composing and polishing; many a time have I thought of giving it up.' Letters of Boswell, p. 311.

[61] Boswell writing to Temple in 1775, says:—'I try to keep a journal, and shall shew you that I have done tolerably; but it is hardly credible what ground I go over, and what a variety of men and manners I contemplate in a day; and all the time I myself am pars magna, for my exuberant spirits will not let me listen enough.' Ib. p. 188. Mr. Barclay said that 'he had seen Boswell lay down his knife and fork, and take out his tablets, in order to register a good anecdote.' Croker's Boswell, p. 837. The account given by Paoli to Miss Burney, shows that very early in life Boswell took out his tablets:—'He came to my country, and he fetched me some letter of recommending him; but I was of the belief he might be an impostor, and I supposed in my minde he was an espy; for I look away from him, and in a moment I look to him again, and I behold his tablets. Oh! he was to the work of writing down all I say. Indeed I was angry. But soon I discover he was no impostor and no espy; and I only find I was myself the monster he had come to discern. Oh! he is a very good man; I love him indeed; so cheerful, so gay, so pleasant! but at the first, oh! I was indeed angry.' Mme. D'Arblay's Diary, ii. 155. Boswell not only recorded the conversations, he often stimulated them. On one occasion 'he assumed,' he said, 'an air of ignorance to incite Dr. Johnson to talk, for which it was often necessary to employ some address.' See post, April 12, 1776. 'Tom Tyers,' said Johnson, 'described me the best. He once said to me, "Sir, you are like a ghost: you never speak till you are spoken to."' Boswell's Hebrides, Aug. 20, 1773. Boswell writing of this Tour said:—'I also may be allowed to claim some merit in leading the conversation; I do not mean leading, as in an orchestra, by playing the first fiddle; but leading as one does in examining a witness—starting topics, and making him pursue them.' Ib. Sept. 28. One day he recorded:—'I did not exert myself to get Dr. Johnson to talk, that I might not have the labour of writing down his conversation.' Ib. Sept. 7. His industry grew much less towards the close of Johnson's life. Under May 8, 1781, he records:—'Of his conversation on that and other occasions during this period, I neglected to keep any regular record.' On May 15, 1783:—'I have no minute of any interview with Johnson [from May 1] till May 15. 'May 15, 1784:—'Of these days and others on which I saw him I have no memorials.'

[62] It is an interesting question how far Boswell derived his love of truth from himself, and how far from Johnson's training. He was one of Johnson's school. He himself quotes Reynolds's observation, 'that all who were of his school are distinguished for a love of truth and accuracy, which they would not have possessed in the same degree if they had not been acquainted with Johnson' (post, under March 30, 1778). Writing to Temple in 1789, he said:—'Johnson taught me to cross-question in common life.' Letters of Boswell, p. 280. His quotations, nevertheless, are not unfrequently inaccurate. Yet to him might fairly be applied the words that Gibbon used of Tillemont:—'His inimitable accuracy almost assumes the character of genius.' Gibbon's Misc. Words, i. 213.

[63] 'The revision of my Life of Johnson, by so acute and knowing a critic as Mr. Malone, is of most essential consequence, especially as he is Johnsonianissimum.' Letters of Boswell, p. 310. A few weeks earlier he had written:—'Yesterday afternoon Malone and I made ready for the press thirty pages of Johnson's Life; he is much pleased with it; but I feel a sad indifference [he had lately lost his wife], and he says, "I have not the use of my faculties."' Ib. p. 308.

[64] Horace, Odes, i. 3. 1.

[65] He had published an answer to Hume's Essay on Miracles. See post, March 20, 1776.

[66] Macleod asked if it was not wrong in Orrery to expose the defects of a man [Swift] with whom he lived in intimacy, Johnson, 'Why no, Sir, after the man is dead; for then it is done historically.' Boswell's Hebrides, Sept. 22, 1773. See also post, Sept 17, 1777.

[67] See Mr. Malone's Preface to his edition of Shakspeare. BOSWELL.

[68] 'April 6, 1791.

'My Life of Johnson is at last drawing to a close.... I really hope to publish it on the 25th current.... I am at present in such bad spirits that I have every fear concerning it—that I may get no profit, nay, may lose—that the Public may be disappointed, and think that I have done it poorly—that I may make many enemies, and even have quarrels. Yet perhaps the very reverse of all this may happen.' Letters of Boswell, p. 335.

'August 22, 1791.

'My magnum opus sells wonderfully; twelve hundred are now gone, and we hope the whole seventeen hundred may be gone before Christmas.' Ib. p. 342.

Malone in his Preface to the fourth edition, dated June 20, 1804, says that 'near four thousand copies have been dispersed.' The first edition was in 2 vols., quarto; the second (1793) in 3 vols., octavo; the third (1799), the fourth (1804), the fifth (1807), and the sixth (1811), were each in 4 vols., octavo. The last four were edited by Malone, Boswell having died while he was preparing notes for the third edition.

[69] 'Burke affirmed that Boswell's Life was a greater monument to Johnson's fame than all his writings put together.' Life of Mackintosh, i. 92.

[70] It is a pamphlet of forty-two pages, under the title of The Principal Corrections and Additions to the First Edition of Mr. Boswell's Life Of Johnson. Price two shillings and sixpence.

[71] Reynolds died on Feb. 23, 1792.

[72] Sir Joshua in his will left 200 to Mr. Boswell 'to be expended, if he thought proper, in the purchase of a picture at the sale of his paintings, to be kept for his sake.' Taylor's Reynolds, ii. 636.

[73] Of the seventy-five years that Johnson lived, he and Boswell did not spend two years and two months in the same neighbourhood. Excluding the time they were together on their tour to the Hebrides, they were dwelling within reach of each other a few weeks less than two years. Moreover, when they were apart, there were great gaps in their correspondence. Between Dec. 8, 1763, and Jan. 14, 1766, and again between Nov. 10, 1769 and June 20, 1771, during which periods they did not meet, Boswell did not receive a single letter from Johnson. The following table shows the times they were in the same neighbourhood.

1763, May 16 to Aug. 6, London. 1766, a few days in February " 1768, " " March, Oxford. 1768, a few days in May, London. 1769, end of Sept. to Nov. 10, " 1772, March 21 to about May 10, " 1773, April 3 to May 10, " " Aug. 14 to Nov. 22, Scotland. 1775, March 21 to April 18, London. May 2 to May 23, " 1776, March 15 to May 16, London, Oxford, Birmingham, with an interval of Lichfield, about a fortnight, Ashbourne, when Johnson was at and Bath and Boswell at Bath. London, 1777, Sept. 14 to Sept. 24, Ashbourne. 1778, March 18 to May 19, London. 1779, March 15 to May 3, " " Oct. 4 to Oct. 18, " 1781, March 19 to June 5, London and Southill. 1783, March 21 to May 30, London. 1784, May 5 to June 30, London and Oxford.


'To shew what wisdom and what sense can do, The poet sets Ulysses in our view.'

Francis. Horace, Ep. i. 2. 17.

[75] In his _Letter to the People of Scotland, p. 92, he wrote:—'Allow me, my friends and countrymen, while I with honest zeal maintain _your_ cause—allow me to indulge a little more my _own egotism_ and _vanity_. They are the indigenous plants of my mind; they distinguish it. I may prune their luxuriancy; but I must not entirely clear it of them; for then I should be no longer "as I am;" and perhaps there might be something not so good.'

[76] See post, April 17, 1778, note.

[77] Lord Macartney was the first English ambassador to the Court of Pekin. He left England in 1792 and returned in 1794.

[78] Boswell writing to Temple ten days earlier had said:—'Behold my hand! the robbery is only of a few shillings; but the cut on my head and bruises on my arms were sad things, and confined me to bed, in pain, and fever, and helplessness, as a child, many days.... This shall be a crisis in my life: I trust I shall henceforth be a sober regular man. Indeed, my indulgence in wine has, of late years especially, been excessive.' Letters of Boswell, p. 346.

[79] On this day his brother wrote to Mr. Temple: 'I have now the painful task of informing you that my dear brother expired this morning at two o'clock; we have both lost a kind, affectionate friend, and I shall never have such another.' Letters of Boswell, p. 357. What was probably Boswell's last letter is as follows:—

'My Dear Temple,

'I would fain write to you in my own hand, but really cannot. [These words, which are hardly legible, and probably the last poor Boswell ever wrote, afford the clearest evidence of his utter physical prostration.] Alas, my friend, what a state is this! My son James is to write for me what remains of this letter, and I am to dictate. The pain which continued for so many weeks was very severe indeed, and when it went off I thought myself quite well; but I soon felt a conviction that I was by no means as I should be—so exceedingly weak, as my miserable attempt to write to you afforded a full proof. All then that can be said is, that I must wait with patience. But, O my friend! how strange is it that, at this very time of my illness, you and Miss Temple should have been in such a dangerous state. Much occasion for thankfulness is there that it has not been worse with you. Pray write, or make somebody write frequently. I feel myself a good deal stronger to-day, not withstanding the scrawl. God bless you, my dear Temple! I ever am your old and affectionate friend, here and I trust hereafter,

'JAMES BOSWELL.' Ib. p. 353.

[80] Malone died on May 25, 1812.

[81] I do not here include his Poetical Works; for, excepting his Latin Translation of Pope's Messiah, his London, and his Vanity of Human Wishes imitated from Juvenal; his Prologue on the opening of Drury-Lane Theatre by Mr. Garrick, and his Irene, a Tragedy, they are very numerous, and in general short; and I have promised a complete edition of them, in which I shall with the utmost care ascertain their authenticity, and illustrate them with notes and various readings. BOSWELL. Boswell's meaning, though not well expressed, is clear enough. Mr. Croker needlessly suggests that he wrote 'they are not very numerous.' Boswell a second time (post, under Aug. 12, 1784, note) mentions his intention to edit Johnson's poems. He died without doing it. See also post, 1750, Boswell's note on Addison's style.

[82] The Female Quixote was published in 1752. See post, 1762, note.

[83] The first four volumes of the Lives were published in 1779, the last six in 1781.

[84] See Dr. Johnson's letter to Mrs. Thrale, dated Ostick in Skie, September 30, 1773:—'Boswell writes a regular Journal of our travels, which I think contains as much of what I say and do, as of all other occurrences together; "for such a faithful chronicler is Griffith."' BOSWELL. See Piozzi Letters, i. 159, where however we read 'as Griffith.'

[85] Idler, No. 84. BOSWELL.—In this paper he says: 'Those relations are commonly of most value in which the writer tells his own story. He that recounts the life of another ... lessens the familiarity of his tale to increase its dignity ... and endeavours to hide the man that he may produce a hero.'

[86] 'It very seldom happens to man that his business is his pleasure. What is done from necessity is so often to be done when against the present inclination, and so often fills the mind with anxiety, that an habitual dislike steals upon us, and we shrink involuntarily from the remembrance of our task.... From this unwillingness to perform more than is required of that which is commonly performed with reluctance it proceeds that few authors write their own lives.' Idler, No. 102. See also post, May 1, 1783.

[87] Mrs. Piozzi records the following conversation with Johnson, which, she says, took place on July 18, 1773. 'And who will be my biographer,' said he, 'do you think?' 'Goldsmith, no doubt,' replied I; 'and he will do it the best among us.' 'The dog would write it best to be sure,' replied he; 'but his particular malice towards me, and general disregard for truth, would make the book useless to all, and injurious to my character.' 'Oh! as to that,' said I, 'we should all fasten upon him, and force him to do you justice; but the worst is, the Doctor does not know your life; nor can I tell indeed who does, except Dr. Taylor of Ashbourne.' 'Why Taylor,' said he, 'is better acquainted with my heart than any man or woman now alive; and the history of my Oxford exploits lies all between him and Adams; but Dr. James knows my very early days better than he. After my coming to London to drive the world about a little, you must all go to Jack Hawkesworth for anecdotes: I lived in great familiarity with him (though I think there was not much affection) from the year 1753 till the time Mr. Thrale and you took me up. I intend, however, to disappoint the rogues, and either make you write the life, with Taylor's intelligence; or, which is better, do it myself after outliving you all. I am now,' added he, 'keeping a diary, in hopes of using it for that purpose sometime.' Piozzi's Anec. p. 31. How much of this is true cannot be known. Boswell some time before this conversation had told Johnson that he intended to write his Life, and Johnson had given him many particulars (see post, March 31, 1772, and April 11, 1773). He read moreover in manuscript most of Boswell's Tour to the Hebrides, and from it learnt of his intention. 'It is no small satisfaction to me to reflect,' Boswell wrote, 'that Dr. Johnson, after being apprised of my intentions, communicated to me, at subsequent periods, many particulars of his life.' Boswell's Hebrides, Oct. 14, 1773.

[88] 'It may be said the death of Dr. Johnson kept the public mind in agitation beyond all former example. No literary character ever excited so much attention.' Murphy's Johnson, p. 3.

[89] The greatest part of this book was written while Sir John Hawkins was alive; and I avow, that one object of my strictures was to make him feel some compunction for his illiberal treatment of Dr. Johnson. Since his decease, I have suppressed several of my remarks upon his work. But though I would not 'war with the dead' offensively, I think it necessary to be strenuous in defence of my illustrious friend, which I cannot be without strong animadversions upon a writer who has greatly injured him. Let me add, that though I doubt I should not have been very prompt to gratify Sir John Hawkins with any compliment in his life-time, I do now frankly acknowledge, that, in my opinion, his volume, however inadequate and improper as a life of Dr. Johnson, and however discredited by unpardonable inaccuracies in other respects, contains a collection of curious anecdotes and observations, which few men but its author could have brought together. BOSWELL.

[90] 'The next name that was started was that of Sir John Hawkins; and Mrs. Thrale said, "Why now, Dr. Johnson, he is another of those whom you suffer nobody to abuse but yourself: Garrick is one too; for, if any other person speaks against him, you brow-beat him in a minute." "Why madam," answered he, "they don't know when to abuse him, and when to praise him; I will allow no man to speak ill of David that he does not deserve; and as to Sir John, why really I believe him to be an honest man at the bottom; but to be sure he is penurious, and he is mean, and it must be owned he has a degree of brutality, and a tendency to savageness, that cannot easily be defended.... He said that Sir John and he once belonged to the same club, but that as he eat no supper, after, the first night of his admission he desired to be excused paying his share." "And was he excused?" "O yes; for no man is angry at another for being inferior to himself. We all scorned him, and admitted his plea. For my part, I was such a fool as to pay my share for wine, though I never tasted any. But Sir John was a most unclubable man."' Madame D'Arblay's Diary, i. 65.

[91] 'In censuring Mr. [sic] J. Hawkins's book I say: "There is throughout the whole of it a dark, uncharitable cast, which puts the most unfavourable construction on my illustrious friend's conduct." Malone maintains cast will not do; he will have "malignancy." Is that not too strong? How would "disposition" do?... Hawkins is no doubt very malevolent. Observe how he talks of me as quite unknown.' Letters of Boswell, p. 281. Malone wrote of Hawkins as follows: 'The bishop [Bishop Percy of Dromore] concurred with every other person I have heard speak of Hawkins, in saying that he was a most detestable fellow. He was the son of a carpenter, and set out in life in the very lowest line of the law. Dyer knew him well at one time, and the Bishop heard him give a character of Hawkins once that painted him in the blackest colours; though Dyer was by no means apt to deal in such portraits. Dyer said he was a man of the most mischievous, uncharitable, and malignant disposition. Sir Joshua Reynolds observed to me that Hawkins, though he assumed great outward sanctity, was not only mean and grovelling in dispostion, but absolutely dishonest. He never lived in any real intimacy with Dr. Johnson, who never opened his heart to him, or had in fact any accurate knowledge of his character.' Prior's Malone, pp. 425-7. See post, Feb. 1764, note.

[92] Mrs. Piozzi. See post, under June 30, 1784.

[93] Voltaire in his account of Bayle says: 'Des Maizeaux a crit sa vie en un gros volume; elle ne devait pas contenir six pages.' Voltaire's Works, edition of 1819, xvii. 47.

[94] Brit. Mus. 4320, Ayscough's Catal., Sloane MSS. BOSWELL.—Horace Walpole describes Birch as 'a worthy, good-natured soul, full of industry and activity, and running about like a young setting-dog in quest of anything, new or old, and with no parts, taste, or judgment.' Walpole's Letters, vii. 326. See post, Sept. 1743.

[95] 'You have fixed the method of biography, and whoever will write a life well must imitate you.' Horace Walpole to Mason; Walpole's Letters, vi. 211.

[96] 'I am absolutely certain that my mode of biography, which gives not only a History of Johnson's visible progress through the world, and of his publications, but a view of his mind in his letters and conversations, is the most perfect that can be conceived, and will be more of a Life than any work that has ever yet appeared.' Letters of Boswell, p. 265.

[97] Pope's Prologue to Addison's Cato, 1. 4.

[98] 'Boswell is the first of biographers. He has distanced all his competitors so decidedly that it is not worth while to place them. Eclipse is first, and the rest nowhere.' Macaulay's Essays, i. 374.

[99] See post, Sept. 17, 1777, and Malone's note of March 15, 1781, and Boswell's Hebrides, Sept. 22, 1773. Hannah More met Boswell when he was carrying through the press his Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides. 'Boswell tells me,' she writes, 'he is printing anecdotes of Johnson, not his Life, but, as he has the vanity to call it, his pyramid. I besought his tenderness for our virtuous and most revered departed friend, and begged he would mitigate some of his asperities. He said roughly: "He would not cut off his claws, nor make a tiger a cat, to please anybody." It will, I doubt not, be a very amusing book, but, I hope, not an indiscreet one; he has great enthusiasm and some fire.' H. More's Memoirs, i. 403.

[100] Rambler, No. 60. BOSWELL.

[101] In the Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides.

[102] 'Mason's Life of Gray is excellent, because it is interspersed with letters which show us the man. His Life of Whitehead is not a life at all, for there is neither a letter nor a saying from first to last.' Letters of Boswell, p. 265.

[103] The Earl and Countess of Jersey, WRIGHT.

[104] Plutarch's Life of Alexander, Langhorne's Translation. BOSWELL.

[105] In the original, revolving something.

[106] In the original, and so little regard the manners.

[107] In the original, and are rarely transmitted.

[108] Rambler, No. 60. BOSWELL.

[109] Bacon's Advancement of Learning, Book I. BOSWELL.

[110] Johnson's godfather, Dr. Samuel Swinfen, according to the author of Memoirs of the Life and Writings of Dr. Johnson, 1785, p. 10, was at the time of his birth lodging with Michael Johnson. Johnson had uncles on the mother's side, named Samuel and Nathanael (see Notes and Queries, 5th S. v. 13), after whom he and his brother may have been named. It seems more likely that it was his godfather who gave him his name.

[111] So early as 1709 The Tatler complains of this 'indiscriminate assumption.' 'I'll undertake that if you read the superscriptions to all the offices in the kingdom, you will not find three letters directed to any but Esquires.... In a word it is now Populus Armigerorum, a people of Esquires, And I don't know but by the late act of naturalisation, foreigners will assume that title as part of the immunity of being Englishmen.' The Tatler, No. 19.

[112] 'I can hardly tell who was my grandfather,' said Johnson. See post, May 9, 1773.

[113] Michael Johnson was born in 1656. He must have been engaged in the book-trade as early as 1681; for in the Life of Dryden his son says, 'The sale of Absalom and Achitophel was so large, that my father, an old bookseller, told me, he had not known it equalled but by Sacheverell's Trial.' Johnson's Works, vii. 276. In the Life of Sprat he is described by his son as 'an old man who had been no careless observer of the passages of those times.' Ib. 392.

[114] Her epitaph says that she was born at Kingsnorton. Kingsnorton is in Worcestershire, and not, as the epitaph says, 'in agro Varvicensi.' When Johnson a few days before his death burnt his papers, some fragments of his Annals escaped the flames. One of these was never seen by Boswell; it was published in 1805 under the title of An Account of the Life of Dr. Samuel Johnson, from his Birth to his Eleventh Year, written by himself. In this he says (p. 14), 'My mother had no value for my father's relations; those indeed whom we knew of were much lower than hers.' Writing to Mrs. Thrale on his way to Scotland he said: 'We changed our horses at Darlington, where Mr. Cornelius Harrison, a cousin-german of mine, was perpetual curate. He was the only one of my relations who ever rose in fortune above penury, or in character above neglect.' Piozzi Letters, i. 105. His uncle Harrison he described as 'a very mean and vulgar man, drunk every night, but drunk with little drink, very peevish, very proud, very ostentatious, but luckily not rich.' Annals, p. 28. In Notes and Queries, 6th S. x. 465, is given the following extract of the marriage of Johnson's parents from the Register of Packwood in Warwickshire:—

'1706. Mickell Johnsones of lichfield and Sara ford maried June the 9th.'

[115] Mrs. Piozzi (Anec. p. 3) records that Johnson told her that 'his father was wrong-headed, positive, and afflicted with melancholy.'

[116] Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides, 3rd edit. p. 213 [Sept. 16]. BOSWELL.

[117] Stockdale in his Memoirs, ii. 102, records an anecdote told him by Johnson of 'the generosity of one of the customers of his father. "This man was purchasing a book, and pressed my father to let him have it at a far less price than it was worth. When his other topics of persuasion failed, he had recourse to one argument which, he thought, would infallibly prevail:—You know, Mr. Johnson, that I buy an almanac of you every year."'

[118] Extract of a letter, dated 'Trentham, St. Peter's day, 1716,' written by the Rev. George Plaxton, Chaplain at that time to Lord Gower, which may serve to show the high estimation in which the Father of our great Moralist was held: 'Johnson, the Litchfield Librarian, is now here; he propagates learning all over this diocese, and advanceth knowledge to its just height; all the Clergy here are his Pupils, and suck all they have from him; Allen cannot make a warrant without his precedent, nor our quondam John Evans draw a recognizance sine directione Michaelis.' Gentleman's Magazine, October, 1791. BOSWELL.

[119] In Notes and Queries, 3rd S. v. 33, is given the following title-page of one of his books: '[Greek: Pharmako-Basauos]: or the Touchstone of Medicines, etc. By Sir John Floyer of the City of Litchfield, Kt., M.D., of Queen's College, Oxford. London: Printed for Michael Johnson, Bookseller, and are to be sold at his shops at Litchfield and Uttoxiter, in Staffordshire; and Ashby-de-la-Zouch, in Leicestershire, 1687.'

[120] Johnson writing of his birth says: 'My father being that year sheriff of Lichfield, and to ride the circuit of the county [Mr. Croker suggests city, not being aware that 'the City of Lichfield was a county in itself.' See Harwood's Lichfield, p. 1. In like manner, in the Militia Bill of 1756 (post 1756) we find entered, 'Devonshire with Exeter City and County,' 'Lincolnshire with Lincoln City and County'] next day, which was a ceremony then performed with great pomp, he was asked by my mother whom he would invite to the Riding; and answered, "all the town now." He feasted the citizens with uncommon magnificence, and was the last but one that maintained the splendour of the Riding.' Annals, p. 10. He served the office of churchwarden in 1688; of sheriff in 1709; of junior bailiff in 1718; and senior bailiff in 1725.' Harwood's Lichfield, p. 449.

[121] 'My father and mother had not much happiness from each other. They seldom conversed; for my father could not bear to talk of his affairs, and my mother being unacquainted with books cared not to talk of anything else. Had my mother been more literate, they had been better companions. She might have sometimes introduced her unwelcome topic with more success, if she could have diversified her conversation. Of business she had no distinct conception; and therefore her discourse was composed only of complaint, fear, and suspicion. Neither of them ever tried to calculate the profits of trade, or the expenses of living. My mother concluded that we were poor, because we lost by some of our trades; but the truth was, that my father, having in the early part of his life contracted debts, never had trade sufficient to enable him to pay them and maintain his family; he got something, but not enough.' Annals, p. 14. Mr. Croker noticing the violence of Johnson's language against the Excise, with great acuteness suspected 'some cause of personal animosity;' this mention of the trade in parchment (an exciseable article) afforded a clue, which has led to the confirmation of that suspicion. In the records of the Excise Board is to be found the following letter, addressed to the supervisor of excise at Lichfield: 'July 27, 1725. The Commissioners received yours of the 22nd instant, and since the justices would not give judgment against Mr. Michael Johnson, the tanner, notwithstanding the facts were fairly against him, the Board direct that the next time he offends, you do not lay an information against him, but send an affidavit of the fact, that he may be prosecuted in the Exchequer.'

[122] See post, March 27, 1775.

[123] 'I remember, that being in bed with my mother one morning, I was told by her of the two places to which the inhabitants of this world were received after death: one a fine place filled with happiness, called Heaven; the other, a sad place, called Hell. That this account much affected my imagination I do not remember.' Annals, p. 19.

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