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him; to read the Bible; and never to use his pencil on a Sunday. Sir Joshua readily acquiesced.-806.
JOHNSON, with that native fortitude which, amidst all his bodily distress and mental sufferings, never forsook him, asked Dr. Brocklesby, as a man in whom he had confidence, to tell bim plainly whether he could recover. “Give me,” said he, ** a direct answer.” The doctor, having first asked him if he could bear the whole truth, which way soever it might lead, and being answered that he could, declared that in his opinion he could not recover without a miracle. “Then,” said Johnson, “ I will take no more physic, not even my opiates ; for I have prayed that I may render up my soul to God unclouded." Mr. Straban has given me the agreeable assurance, that after being in mich agitation, Johnson became quite composed, and continued so until his death. Dr. Brocklesby, who will not be suspected of fanaticism, obliged me with the following account:-“ For some time before his death all his fears were calmed and absorbed by the prevalence of his faith, and his trust in the merits and propitiation of Jesus Christ. He talked often to me about the necessity of faith in the sacrifice of Jesus as necessary beyond all good works whatever for the salvation of mankind.” Of his last moments, my brother, Thomas David, has furnished me with the following parti. culars :—“ The doctor, from the time that he was certain his death was near, appeared to be perfectly resigned, was seldom or never fretful or out of temper, and often said to his faithful servant, who gave me this account, ‘Attend, Francis, to the salvation of your soul, which is the object of greatest importance. He also explained to him passages in the Scripture, and seemed to have pleasure in talking upon religious subjects. On Monday, the 13th of December, the day on wbich he died, a Miss Morris, daughter to a particular friend of his, called, and said to Francis, that she begged to be permitted to see the doctor, that she might earnestly request him to give her his blessing. Francis went into the room, followed by the young lady, and delivered the message. The doctor turned himself in the bed, and said, 'God bless you, my dear!' These were the last words he spoke. His difficulty of breathing increased till about seven o'clock in the evening, when Mr. Barber and Mrs. Desmoulins, who were sitting in the room, observing that the noise he had made in breathing had ceased, went to the bed, and found he was dead.”
A Few daye before his death Johnson had asked Sir John Hawkins, as one of his executors, where he should be buried;
and on being answered, “ Doubtless in Westminster Abbey," seemed to feel a satisfaction very natural to a poet; and, indeed, in my opinion, very natural to every man of any imagi. nation who has no family sepulchre in which he can be laid with his fathers. Accordingly, upon Monday, December 20th, his remains (enclosed in a leaden coffin) were deposited in that noble and renowned edifice (in the south transept, near the foot of Shakspeare's monument, and close to the coffin of his friend Garrick); and over his grave was placed a large blue flag-stone, with this inscription :-“ Samuel Johnson, LL.D., obiit xiii. die Decembris, Anno Domini MDCCLXXXIV. Ætatis suæ Lxxv.” His funeral was attended by a respectable number of bis friends, particularly such of the members of the Literary Club as were in town; and was also honoured with the presence of several of the reverend Chapter of Westminster. Mr. Burke, Sir Joseph Banks, Mr. Windham, Mr. Langton, Sir Charles Bunbury, and Mr. Colman bore his pall. His schoolfellow, Dr. Taylor, performed the mournful office of reading the burial service.-807.
As Johnson had abundant homage paid to him during his life, so no writer in this nation ever had such an accumulation of literary honours after his death. A sermon upon that event was preached in St. Mary's Church, Oxford, before the University, by the Rev. Mr. Agutter, of Magdalen College. The Lives, the Memoirs, the Essays, both in prose and verse, which have been published concerning him, would make many volumes. The numerous attacks too upon him I consider as part of his consequence, upon the principal which he himself so well knew and asserted. Many who trembled at his presence were forward in assault when they no longer apprehended danger. When one of his little pragmatical foes was invidiously snarling at his fame at Sir Joshua Reynolds' table, the Rev. Dr. Parr exclaimed, with his usual bold animation, “Ay, now that the old lion is dead, every ass thinks he may kick at him." A monument for him, in Westminster Abbey, was resolved upon soon after his death, and was supported by a most respectable contribution; but the Dean and Chapter of St. Paul's having come to a resolution of admitting monuments there upon a liberal and magnificent plan, that cathedral was afterwards fixed on, as a place in which a cenotaph should be erected to his memory : [Dr. Johnson's monument, consisting of a colossal figure leaning against a column (but not very strongly resembling him), has, since the death of Mr. Boswell, been placed in St. Paul's Cathedral, having been first opened
to public view February 23rd, 1796. The epitaph was written by the Rev. Dr. Parr. The subscription for this monument, which cost eleven hundred guineas, was begun by the Literary Club, and completed by the aid of Johnson's other friends and admirers.-- Malone.) and in the cathedral of his native city of Lichfield a smaller one is to be erected. [This monument has been since erected. It consists of a medallion, with a tablet beneath, on which is this inscription :-“ The friends of Samuel Johnson, LL.D., a native of Lichfield, erected this monument, as a tribute of respect to the memory of a man of extensive learning, a distinguished moral writer, and a sincere Christian. He died Dec. 13, 1784, aged 75.”—Malone.] 808.
AS THE great end of government is to give every man his own, no inconvenience is greater than that of making right uncertain. Nor is any man more an enemy to public peace than he who fills weak heads with imaginary claims, and breaks the series of civil subordination, by inciting the lower classes of mankind to encroach upon the higher.-Johnson, 816.
That ignorance and perverseness should always obtain what they like was never considered as the end of government; of which it is the great and standing benefit, that the wise see for the simple, and the regular act for the capricious.
ANGER is excited principally by pride.
TITLES and diguities play strongly on the fancy. As a mad. man is apt to think himself grown suddenly great, so he that grows suddenly great is apt to borrow a little from the madman. -818.
Mr. Jonas Hanway having written an angry answer to the review of his “ Essay on Tea,” Johnson in the Literary Magazine) made a reply to it. This is the only instance, it is believed, when he condescended to take notice of anything that had been written against him ; and bere his chief intention seems to have been to make sport.—Boswell, 822.
JOHNSON was a great admirer of Richardson's works in general, but of “ Clarissa ” he always spoke with the highest enthusiastic praise. He used to say, that it was the first book in the world for the knowledge it displays of the human heart. -Miss Reynolds, 830.
Dr. Johnson had an uncommonly retentive memory for everything that appeared to him worthy of observation. Whatever he met with in reading, particularly poetry, I believe he seldom required a revisal to be able to repeat verbatim. If not literally so, his deviations were generally improvements. He always read amazingly quick, glancing his eye from the top to
the bottom of the page in an instant. If he made any pause it was a compliment to the work; and, after see-sawing over it a few minutes, generally repeated the passage, especially if it was poetry.
DR. Goldsmith's cast of countenance, and indeed his whole figure from head to foot, impressed every one at fint sight with an idea of his being a low mechanic; particularly, I believe, a journeyman tailor. Dr. Johnson seemed to have more kindness for Goldsmith than Goldsmith had for him. He always appeared to be overawed by Johnson, particularly when in company with people of any consequence, always as if impressed with some fear of disgrace; and, indeed, well be imight.-831.
BEFORE he had the pension, be literally dressed like a beggar; and from what I have been told, he as literally lived as such ; at least as to common conveniences in his apartments, wanting even a chair to sit on, particularly in his study, where a gentleman who frequently visited him whilst writing his “ Idlers" constantly found him at his desk, sitting on one with three legs; and on rising from it, he remarked that Dr. Johnson never forgot its defect, but would either hold it in his hand, or place it with great composure against some support. taking no notice of its imperfection to his visitor. Whether the visitor sat on a chair, or on a pile of folios, or how he sat, I never remember to have been told. It was remarkable in Dr. Johnson, that no external circumstances ever prompted him to make any apology, or to seem even sensible of their existence. Strange as it may appear, be scrupled not to boast, that “no man knew the rules of true politeness better than himself;" and, stranger still, " that no man more attentivels practised them.” He particularly piqued himself upon his nice observance of ceremonious punctilios towards ladies. A remarkable instance of this was his never suffering any lady to walk from his house to her carriage, through Bolt-court, unattended by himself to hand her into it; and if any obstacle prevented it from driving off, there he would stand by the door of it, and gather a mob around him : indeed they would begin to gather the moment he appeared handing the lady down the steps into Fleet-street. But to describe his appearance-his important air-that indeed cannot he described, and his morn. ing habiliments would excite the utmost astonishinent in my reader, that a man in his senses could think of stepping outside his door in them, or even to be seen at home. Sometimes he exhibited himself at the distance of eight or ten doors from
Bolt-court, to get at the carriage, to the no small diversion of the populace.-832.
His best dress was, in his early times, so very mean, that one afternoon as he was following some ladies upstairs, on a visit to a lady of fashion, the servant, not knowing him, suddenly seized him by the slioulder, and exclaimed, “ Where are you going ?” striving at the same time to drag him back ; but Sir Joshua (then Mr.) Reynolds, who was a few steps behind, prevented her from doing or saying more, and Mr. Johnson growled all the way upstairs, as well he might. He seemed much chagrined and discomposed.
I SHALL never forget with what regret he spoke of the rude reply he made to Dr. Barnard on his saying that men never improved after the age of forty-five.“ That's not true, sir,” said Johnson ; “ you, who are perhaps forty-eight, may still improve if you will try. I wish you would set about it: and I am afraid,” he added, “there is great room for it;"--and this was said in rather a large party of ladies and gentlemen at dinner. Soon after the ladies withdrew from the table, Dr. Johnson followed them, and sitting down by the lady of the house, be said, “I am very sorry for having spoken so rudely to the dean.” “You very well may, sir.” “ Yes," he said, “it was highly improper to speak in that style to a min. ister of the Gospel, and I am the more hurt on reflecting with what mild dignity he received it.” When the dean came up into the drawing-room, Dr. Johnson immediately rose from his seat, and made him sit on the sofa by him, and with such a beseeching look for pardon, and with such fond gesturesliterally smoothing down his arms and his knees-tokens of penitence which were so graciously received by the dean as to make Dr. Johnson very happy, and not a little added to the esteem and respect he had previously entertained for his character. The next morning the dean called on Sir Joshua Reynolds with the following verses :
I lately thought no man alive
And ventured to assert it.
That none could controvert it.