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ke will not live; it makes me very unhappy, but I must bear it. Let me always have your friendship. I am, most sincerely, dear Sir,
66 Your faithful servant, " Bath, Friday, April 28.
H. L. T.”
Dr. JOHNSON to Mrs. THRALE. “ DEAREST MADAM,
« MR. THRALE never will live abstinently, till he can persuade himself to live by rules.
Encourage, as you can, the musical girl.
“ Nothing is more common than mutual dislike where mutual approbation is particularly expected. There is often on both sides a vigilance not over benevolent; and as attention is strongly excited, so that nothing drops unheeded, any difference in taste or opinion, and some difference where there is no restraint, will commonly appear, it immediately generates dislike.
“ Never let criticisins operate upon your face or your mind; it is very rarely that an authour is hurt by his criticks. The blaze of reputation cannoe be blown out, but it often dies in the socket; a very few names may bo considered as perpetual lamps that shine unconsumed. From the authour of * Fitzosborne's Letters' I cannot think myself in much danger. I met him only once about thirty years ago, and in some small dispute reduced him to whistle; having not seen him since, that is the last impression. Poor Moore, the fabulist, was one of the company.
“ Mrs. Montagu's long stay, against her own inclination, is very convenient. You would, by your own confession, want a companion, and she is
; par pluribus ; conversing with her you may find variety in one.”
- London, May 1, 1780,"
On the 2d of May I wrote to him, and requested that we might have another meeting fomewhere in the North of England, in the autumn of this year.
From Mr. Langton I received soon after this time a letter, of which I extract a passage, relative at once to Mr. Beauclerk and Dr. Johnson.
“ The melancholy information you have received concerning Mr. Beauclerk's death is true. Had his talents been directed in any sufficient degree as they ought, I have always been strongly of opinion that they were calculated to make an illustrious figure; and that opinion, as it had been in
s I have taken the liberty to leave out a few lines.
part formed upon Dr. Johnson's judgement, receives more and more confirmation by hearing, that since his death, Dr. Johnson has said concerning them; a few evenings ago, he was at Mr. Vesey's, where Lord Althorpe, who was one of a numerous company there, addressed Dr. Johnson on the subject of Mr. Beauclerk's death, saying, 'Our Club has had a great loss since we met last. He replied, “A loss, that perhaps the whole nation could not repair!' The Doctor then went on to speak of his endowments, and particularly extolled the wonderful ease with which he uttered what was highly excellent. He said, that no man ever was fo free when he was going to say a good thing, from a look that expressed that it was coming; or, when he had said it, from a look that expressed that it had come. At Mr. Thrale's, fome days before, when we were talking on the fame subject, he said, referring to the same idea of his wonderful facility, "That Beauclerk’s talents were those which he had felt bimself more disposed to envy, than those of any whom he had known.'
“ At the evening I have spoken of above, at Mr. Vesey's, you would have been much gratified, as it exhibited an instance of the high importance in which Dr. Johnson's character is held, I think even beyond any I ever before was witness to. The company consisted chiefly of ladies, among whom were the Duchess Dowager of Portland, the Duchess of Beaucort, whom I suppose from her rank, I must name before her mother Mrs. Boscawen, and her elder fifter Mrs. Lewson, who was likewise there; Lady Lucan, Lady Clermont, and others of note both for their station and understandings. Among the gentlemen were, Lord Althorpe, whom I have before named, Lord Macartney, Sir Joshua Reynolds, Lord Lucan, Mr. Wraxal, whose book you have probably seen, “ The Tour to the Northern Parts of Europe;' a very agreeable ingenious man; Dr. Warren, Mr. Pepys, the Master in Chancery, whom I believe you know, and Dr. Barnard, the Provost of Eton. As soon as Dr. Johnson was come in and had taken a chair, the company began to collect round him till they became not less than four if not five deep; those behind standing, and listening over the heads of those that were sitting near him. The conversation for some time was chiefly between Dr. Johnson and the Provost of Eton, while the others contributed occasionally their remarks. Without attempting to detail the particulars of the conversation, which perhaps if I did, I should spin my account out to a tedious length, I thought, my dear Sir, this general account of the respect with which our valued friend was attended to, might be acceptable.”
To the Reverend Dr. FARMER.
May 28, 1780. “ I KNOW your disposition to second any literary attempt, and therefore venture upon the liberty of entreating you to procure from College or University registers, all the dates, or other informations which they can supply relating to Ambrose Philips, Broon, and Gray, who were all of Cambridge, and of whose lives I am to give such accounts as I can gather. Be pleased to forgive this trouble from, Sir,
« Your most humble servant,
“ SAM. JOHNSON.”
While Johnson was thus engaged in preparing a delightful literary entertainment for the world, the tranquillity of the metropolis of GreatBritain was unexpectedly disturbed, by the most horrid series of outrage that ever disgraced a civilized country. A relaxation of some of the severe penal provisions against our fellow subjects of the Catholick communion had been granted by the legislature, with an opposition so inconsiderable, that the genuine mildness of Christianity, united with liberal policy, seemed to have become general in this iNand. But a dark and malignant spirit of persecution foon shewed itself, in an unworthy petition for the repeal of the wise and humane statute. That petition was brought forward by a mob, with the evident purpose of intimidation, and was justly rejected. But the attempt was accompanied and followed by such daring violence as is unexampled in history. Of this extraordinary tumult, Dr. Johnson has given the following concise, lively, and just account in his “ Letters to Mrs. Thrale • :”
« On Friday, the good Protestants met in St. George's-Fields, at the summons of Lord George Gordon, and marching to Westminfter, insulted the Lords and Commons, who all bore it with great tameness. At night the outrages began by the demolition of the mass-house by Lincoln's-Inn.”
“ An exact journal of a week's defiance of government I cannot give you. On Monday, Mr. Strahan, who had been insulted, spoke to Lord Mansfield, who had I think been insulted too, of the licentiousness of the populace ; and his Lordship treated it as a very night irregularity. On Tuesday night they pulled down Fielding's house, and burnt his goods in the street. They had
• Vol. II. p. 143, et seq. I have selected passages from several letters, without mentioning
gutted on Monday Sir George Savile's house, but the building was saved. On Tuesday evening, leaving Fielding's ruins, they went to Newgate to demand their companions who had been seized demolishing the chapel. The keeper could not release them but by the Mayor's permission, which he went to afk; at his return he found all the prisoners released, and Newgate in a blaze. They then went to Bloomsbury, and fastened upon Lord Mansfield's house, which they pulled down; and as for his goods, they totally burnt them. They have since gone to Caen-wood, but a guard was there before them. They plundered some Papists, I think, and burnt a mass-house in Moorfields the same night.”
“ On Wednesday I walked with Dr. Scot to look at Newgate, and found it in ruins, with the fire yet glowing. As I went by, the Protestants were plundering the Sessions-house at the Old Bailey. There were not, I believe, a hundred; but they did their work at leisure, in full security, without fentinels, without trepidation, as men lawfully employed, in full day. Such is the cowardice of a cominercial place. On Wednesday they broke open the Fleet, and the King's-bench, and the Marshalsea, and Wood-street Compter, and Clerkenwell Bridewell, and released all the prisoners.”
« At night they set fire to the Fleet, and to the King's-bench, and I know not how many other places; and one might see the glare of conflagration fill the sky from many parts. The fight was dreadful. Some people were threatened : Mr. Strahan advised me to take care of myself. Such a time of terrour you have been happy in not seeing."
“ The King said in council, That the magistrates had not done their duty, but that he would do his own;' and a proclamation was published, directing us to keep our servants within doors, as the peace was now to be preserved by force. The soldiers were sent out to different parts, and the town is now at quiet.”
“ The soldiers are stationed so as to be every where within call; there is no longer any body of rioters, and the individuals are haunted to their holes, and led to prison; Lord George was last night sent to the Tower. Mr. John Wilkes was this day in my neighbourhood, to seize the publishes of a seditious paper.
“ Several chapels have been destroyed, and several inoffensive Papists have been plundered ; but the high sport was to burn the gaols. This was a good rabble trick. The debtors and the criminals were all set at liberty ; but of the criminals, as has always happened, many are already re-taken ; and two
pirates have surrendered themselves, and it is expected that they will be pardoned.”
“ Government now acts again with its proper force; and we are all again under the protection of the King and the law. I thought that it would be agreeable to you and my master to have my testiinony to the publick security ; and that you would neep more quietly when I told you that you are safe.”
« There has, indeed, been an universal panick, from which the King was the first that recovered. Without the concurrence of his ministers, or the assistance of the civil magistrate, he put the soldiers in motion, and saved the town from calamities, such as a rabble's government must naturally produce.”
“ The publick has escaped a very heavy calamity. The rioters attempted the Bank on Wednesday night, but in no great number; and like other thieves, with no great resolution. Jack Wilkes headed the party that drove them away. It is agreed, that if they had seized the Bank on Tuesday, at the height of the panick, when no resistance had been prepared, they might have carried irrecoverably away whatever they had found. Jack who was always zealous for order and decency, declares, that if he be trusted with power, he will not leave a rioter alive. There is, however, now no longer any need of heroism or bloodshed; no blue ribband is any longer worn.”
Such was the end of this miserable sedition, from which London was delivered by the magnanimity of the Sovereign himself. Whatever some may maintain, I am fatisfied that there was no combination or plan, either domestick or foreign; but that the mischief spread by a gradual contagion of frenzy, augmented by the quantities of fermented liquors, of which the deluded populace possessed themselves in the course of their depredations.
I should think myself very much to blame, did I here neglect to do justice to my esteemed friend Mr. Akerman, the keeper of Newgate, who has long discharged a very important trust with an uniform intrepid firmness, and at the same time a tenderness and a liberal charity, which entitle him to be recorded with distinguished honour.
Upon this occasion, from the timidity and negligence of magistracy on the one hand, and the almost incredible exertions of the mob on the other, the first prison of this great country was laid open, and the prisoners set free; but that Mr. Akerman, whose house was burnt, would have prevented all this, had proper aid been fent to him in due time, there can be no doubt.