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performed by the knife of Churchill, whose upbraiding satire, I dare say, made Johnson's friends urge him to despatch.

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About this period he was offered a living of considerable value in Lincolnshire, if he were inclined to enter into holy orders. It was a rectory in the gift of Mr. Langton, the father of his much valued friend. But he did not accept it; partly I believe from a conscientious motive, being persuaded that his temper and habits rendered him unfit for that assiduous and familiar instruction of the vulgar and ignorant, which he held to be an essential duty in a clergyman; and partly because his love of a London life was so strong, that he would have thought himself an exile in any other place, particularly if residing in the country. Whoever would wish to see his thoughts upon that subject displayed in their full force, may peruse the " Adventurer," No. 126.

In 1757 it does not appear that he published anything, except some of those articles in the "Literary Magazine," which have been mentioned. That magazine, after Johnson ceased to write in it, gradually declined, though the popular epithet of Antigallican was added to it; and in July, 1758, it expired. He probably prepared a part of his Shakspeare this year, and he dictated a speech on the subject of an address to the Throne, after the expedition to Rochfort, which was delivered by one of his friends, I know not in what public meeting. It is printed in the "Gentleman's Magazine" for October, 1785, as his, and bears sufficient marks of authenticity.

By the favour of Mr. Joseph Cooper Walker, of the Treasury, Dublin, I have obtained a copy of the following letter, from Johnson to the venerable author of "Dissertations on the History of Ireland :"



London, April 9, 1757.

"I have lately by the favour of Mr. Faulkner, seen your account of Ireland, and cannot forbear to solicit a prosecution of your design. Sir William Temple complains that Ireland is less known than any other country, as to its ancient

1 of this gentleman, who died at his seat at Ballinegare, in the county of Roscommon, in Ireland, July 1, 1791, in his 82nd year, some account may be found in the "Gentleman's Magazine" of that date. Of the work here alluded to by Dr. Johnson-" Dissertations on the History of Ireland "-a second and much improved edition was published by the author in 1766.-MALONE.

state. The natives have had little leisure and little encouragement for inquiry; and strangers, not knowing the language, have had no ability.

"I have long wished that the Irish literature were cultivated.1 Ireland is known by tradition to have been once the seat of piety and learning; and surely it would be very acceptable to all those who are curious either in the original of nations, or the affinities of languages, to be further informed of the revolution of a people so ancient, and once so illustrious.

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What relation there is between the Welsh and Irish language, or between the language of Ireland and that of Biscay, deserves inquiry. Of these provincial and unextended tongues, it seldom happens that more than one are understood by any one man; and therefore it seldom happens that a fair comparison can be made. I hope you will continue to cultivate this kind of learning, which has too long lain neglected, and which, if it be suffered to remain in oblivion for another century, may, perhaps, never be retrieved. As I wish well to all useful undertakings, I would not forbear to let you know how much you deserve in my opinion, from all lovers of study, and how much pleasure your work has given to, Sir,

"Your most obliged, and most humble servant,



London, June 21, 1757.

"Dr. Marsili, of Padua, a learned gentleman and good Latin poet, has a mind to see Oxford. I have given him a letter to Dr. Huddesford,2 and shall be glad if you will introduce him, and show him any thing in Oxford.

"I am printing my new edition of Shakspeare.


I long to see you all, but cannot conveniently come yet. You might write to me now and then, if you were good for any thing. But honores mutant mores.3 Professors forget their friends. I shall certainly complain to Miss Jones.4 I am, yours, &c., SAM. JOHNSON.

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1 The celebrated orator, Mr. Flood, has shown himself to be of Dr. Johnson's opinion; having by his will bequeathed his estate, after the death of his wife, Lady Frances, to the University of Dublin: "desiring that immediately after the said estate shall come into their possession, they shall appoint two professors, one for the study of the native Erse or Irish language, and the other for the study of Irish antiquities and Irish history, and for the study of any other European language illustrative of, or auxiliary to, the study of Irish antiquities or Irish history; and that they shall give yearly two liberal premiums for two compositions, one in verse, and the other in prose, in the Irish language."-BOSWELL.

Since the above was written, Mr. Flood's will has been set aside, after a trial at bar, in the Court of Exchequer in Ireland.-MALONE.

2 Now, or late, Vice-Chancellor.-WARTON.

3 Mr. Warton was elected Professor of Poetry at Oxford in the preceding year.-WARTON. 4 Miss Jones lived at Oxford, and was often of our parties. She was a very ingenious poetess, and published a volume of poems; and, on the whole, was a most sensible, agreeable, and amiable woman. She was sister to the Rev. River Jones, Chanter of Christchurch Cathedral, Oxford, and Johnson used to call her the Chantress. I have heard him often address her in this passage from "II Penseroso:"

"Thee, Chantress, oft the woods among
I woo," &c.

She died unmarried.-WARTON.

Mr. Burney having enclosed to him an extract from the review of his Dictionary in the Bibliothèque des Suvans, and a list of subscribers to his Shakspeare, which Mr. Burney had procured in Norfolk, he wrote the following answer :


Gough-square, Dec. 24, 1757.

"SIR, "That I may show myself sensible of your favours, and not commit the same fault a second time, I make haste to answer the letter which I received this morning. The truth is, the other likewise was received, and I wrote an answer; but being desirous to transmit you some proposals and receipts, I waited till I could find a convenient conveyance, and day was passed after day, till other things drove it from my thoughts; yet not so, but that I remember with great pleasure your commendation of my Dictionary. Your praise was welcome, not only because I believe it was sincere, but because praise has been very scarce. A man of your candour will be surprised when I tell you, that among all my acquaintance there were only two, who upon the publication of my book did not endeavour to depress me with threats of censure from the public, or with objections learned from those who had learned them from my own preface. Yours is the only letter of good-will that I have received; though, indeed, I am promised something of that sort from Sweden.

"How my new edition [of Shakspeare] will be 'received I know not; the subscription has not been very successful. I shall publish about March. 'If you can direct me how to send proposals, I should wish that they were in such hands.


"I remember, Sir, in some of the first letters with which you favoured me, you mentioned your lady. May I inquire after her? In return for the favours which you have shown me, it is not much to tell you, that I wish you and her all that can conduce to your happiness. I am, Sir,

"Your most obliged and most humble servant,


In 1758 we find him, it should seem, in as easy and pleasant a state of existence as constitutional unhappiness ever permitted him to enjoy.



Jan. 9, 1758.

"I must have indeed slept very fast not to have been awakened by your letter. None of your suspicions are true; I am not much richer than when you left me; and, what is worse, my omission of an answer to your first letter, will prove that I am not much wiser. But I go on as I formerly did, designing to be some time or other both rich and wise; and yet cultivate neither mind nor fortune. Do you take notice of my example, and learn the danger of delay. When I was as you are now, towering in confidence of twenty-one, little did I suspect that I should be at forty-nine, what I now am.

1 Tom. iii. p. 482.-BOSWELL.

"But you do not seem to need my admonition. You are busy in acquiring and in communicating knowledge, and while you are studying, enjoy the end of study, by making others wiser and happier. I was much pleased with the tale that you told me of being tutor to your sisters. I, who have no sisters nor brothers, look with some degree of innocent envy on those who may be said to be born to friends; and cannot see, without wonder, how rarely that rative union is afterwards regarded. It sometimes, indeed, happens, that some supervenient cause of discord may overpower this original amity; but it seems to me more frequently thrown away with levity, or lost by neligence, than destroyed by injury or violence. We tell the ladies that good wives make good husbands; I believe it is a more certain position that good brothers make good sisters.

"I am satisfied with your stay at home, as Juvenal with his friend's retirement to Cuma: I know that your absence is best, though it be not best for me.

'Quamvis digressu veteris confusus amici,

Laudo tamen vacuis quod sedem figere Cumis
Destinet, atque unum civem donare Sibyllæ.'

"Langton is a good Cuma, but who must be Sibylla? Mrs. Langton is as wise as Sibyl, and as good; and will live, if my wishes can prolong life, till she shall in time be as old. But she differs in this, that she has not scattered her precepts in the wind, at least not those which she bestowed upon you.

"The two Wartons just looked into the town, and were taken to see 'Cleone, where David [Garrick] says, they were starved for want of company to keep them warm. David and Doddy1 have had a new quarrel, and, I think, cannot conveniently quarrel any more. 'Cleone' was well acted by all the characters, but Bellamy left nothing to be desired. I went the first night, and supported it as well as I might; for Doddy, you know, is my patron, and I would not desert him. The play was very well received. Doddy, after the danger was over, went every night to the stage-side, and cried at the distress of poor Cleone.

"I have left off housekeeping, and therefore made presents of the game which you were pleased to send me. The pheasant I gave to Mr. Richardson, the bustard to Dr. Lawrence, and the pot I placed with Miss Williams, to be eaten by myself. She desires that her compliments and good wishes may be accepted by the family; and I make the same request for myself.

"Mr. Reynolds has within these few days raised his price to twenty guineas a head, and Miss is much employed in miniatures. I know not any body [else] whose prosperity has increased since you left them.

"Murphy is to have his 'Orphan of China' acted next month; and is, therefore, I suppose, happy. I wish I could tell you of any great good to which I was approaching, but at present my prospects do not much delight me ; however, I am always pleased when I find that you, dear Sir, remember "Your affectionate, humble servant,


1 Mr. Dodsley, the author of "Cleone."-BOSWELL.

2 Mr. Samuel Richardson, author of "Clarissa."-BOSWELL.


"SIR, London, March 8, 1758. "Your kindness is so great, and my claim to any particular regard from you so little, that I am at a loss how to express my sense of your favours;1 but I am, indeed, much pleased to be thus distinguished by you.

"I am ashamed to tell you that my Shakspeare will not be out so soon as I promised my subscribers; but I did not promise them more than I promised myself. It will, however, be published before summer.

"I have sent you a bundle of proposals, which, I think, do not profess more than I have hitherto performed. I have printed many of the plays, and have hitherto left very few passages unexplained; where I am quite at loss, I confess my ignorance, which is seldom done by commentators.

"I have, likewise, enclosed receipts; not that I mean to impose upon you the trouble of pushing them with more importunity than may seem proper, but that you may rather have more than fewer than you shall want. The proposals you will disseminate as there shall be an opportunity. I once printed them at length in the Chronicle,' and some of my friends (I believe Mr. Murphy, who formerly wrote the 'Gray's-Inn Journal,') introduced them with a splendid encomium.

"Since the 'Life of Browne,' I have been a little engaged, from time to time, in the 'Literary Magazine,' but not very lately. I have not the collection by me, and therefore cannot draw out a catalogue of my own parts, but will do it, and send it. Do not buy them, for I will gather all those that have any thing of mine in them, and send them to Mrs. Burney, as a small token of gratitude for the regard which she is pleased to bestow upon me.

"I am, Sir, your most obliged and most humble servant,

Dr. Burney has kindly favoured me with the following memorandum, which I take the liberty to insert in his own genuine easy style. I love to exhibit sketches of my illustrious friend by various eminent hands.

"Soon after this, Mr. Burney, during a visit to the capital, had an interview with him in Gough-square, where he dined and drank tea with him, and was introduced to the acquaintance of Mrs. Williams. After dinner, Mr. Johnson proposed to Mr. Burney to go up with him into his garret, which being accepted, he there found about five or six Greek folios, a deal writing-desk,

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and a chair and a half. Johnson giving to his guest the entire seat,

This letter was an answer to one, in which was enclosed a draft for the payment of some subscriptions to his Shakspeare.-BOSWELL

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