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TO SIR JOSHUA REYNOLDS. probation, therefore, must insure it credit MY DRAR SIR,
and success, the Life of Dr. Johnson is, with
the greatest propriety, dedicated to Sir JoEVERY liberal motive that can actuate an shua Reynolds, who was the intimate and Author in the dedication of his labours, con beloved friend of that great man ; the friend curs in directing me to you, as the person whom he declared to be “the most invul. to whom the following Work should be in- nerable man he knew ; whom, if he should scribed.
quarrel with him, he should find the most If there be a pleasure in celebrating the difficulty how to abuse.” You, my dear distinguished merit of a contemporary, mix. Sir, studied him, and knew him well : you ed with a certain degree of vanity not alto-venerated and admired him. Yet, lumigether inexcusable, in appearing fully sen- nous as he was upon the whole, you perceiv. sible of it, where can I find one, in compli- ed all the shades which mingled in the grand menting whom I can with more general ap- composition ; all the little peculiarities and probation gratify those feelings? Your slight blemishes which marked the literary excellence not only in the Art over which Colossus. Your very warm commendation you have long presided with unrivalled fame, of the specimen which I gave in my “Jourbut also in Philosophy and elegant Litera- nal of a Tour to the Hebrides," of my being ture, is well known to the present, and will able to preserve his conversation in an aucontinue to be the admiration of future ages. thentic and lively manner, which opinion Your equal and placid temper, your variety the Public has confirmed, was the best enof conversation, your true politeness, by couragement for me to persevere in my purwhich you are so amiable in private society, pose of producing the whole of my stores. and that enlarged hospitality which has long In one respect, this Work, will, in some made your house a common centre of union passages, be different from the former. In for the great, the accomplished, the learned, my * Tour,” I was almost unboundedly and the ingenious; all these qualities I can, open in my communications, and from my in perfect confidence of not being accused of eagerness to display the wonderful fertility flattery, ascribe to you.
and readiness of Johnson's wit, freely shewIf a man may indulge an honest pride, in ed to the world its dexterity, even when I having it known to the world, that he has was myself the object of it. I trusted that been thought worthy of particular attention I should be liberally understood, as knowby a person of the first eminence in the age ing very well what I was about, and by no in which he lived, whose company has been means as simply unconscious of the pointed universally courted, I am justified in avail effects of the satire. I own, indeed, that I ing myself of the usual privilege of a Dedi. was arrogant enough to suppose that the tecation, when I mention that there has been nour of the rest of the book would sufficient. a long and uninterrupted friendship between ly guard me against such a strange imputa
tion. But it seems I judged too well of the If gratitude should be acknowledged for world; for, though I could scarcely believe favours received, I have this opportunity, it, I have been undoubtedly informed, that my dear Sir, most sincerely to thank you many persons, especially in distant quarters, for the many happy hours which I owe to not penetrating enough into Johnson's chayour kindness, for the cordiality with racter, so as to understand his mode of treatwhich you have at all times been pleased to ing his friends, have arraigned my judgewelcome me,-for the number of valuable ment, instead of seeing that I was sensible acquaintance to whom you have introduced of all that they could observe. me,-for the noctes cænæque Deûm, which I It is related of the great Dr. Clarke, that have enjoyed under your roof.
when in one of his leisure hours he was unIf a work should be inscribed to one who bending himself with a few friends in the is master of the subject of it, and whose ap- I most playful and frolicksome manner, he
observed Beau Nash approaching; upon | be exposed. This, however, I have managed which he suddenly stoppeå ;-“ My boys, so as to occasion no diminution of the plea. (said he,) let us be grave: here comes a sure which my book should afford ; though fool.” The world, my friend, I have found malignity may sometimes be disappointed to be a great fool, as to that particular on of its gratifications. which it has become necessary to speak very
I am, my dear Sir, plainly. I have, therefore, in this Work Your much obliged friend, been more reserved ; and though I tell no
And faithful humble servant, thing but the truth, I have still kept in my
JAMES BOSWELL. mind that the whole truth is not always to
London, April 20, 1791.
ADVERTISEMENT TO THE FIRST EDITION.
I at last deliver to the world a Work with,—“I think I have read;"—or “If I which I have long promised, and of which, remember right;" when the originals may I am afraid, too high expectations have been be examined. raised. The delay of its publication must I beg leave to express my warinest thanks be imputed, in a considerable degree, to the to those who have been pleased to favour extraordinary zeal which has been shewn by me with communications and advice in the distinguished persons in all quarters to sup- conduct of my Work. But I cannot suffiply me with additional information concern. ciently acknowledge my obligations to my ing its illustrious subject; resembling in friend Mr. Malone, who was so good as to this the grateful tribes of ancient nations, of allow me to read to him almost the whole which every individual was eager to throw of my manuscript, and make such remarks a stone upon the grave of a departed Hero, as were greatly for the advantage of the and thus to share in the pious office of erect-Work ; though it is but fair to him to mening an honourable monument to his memory. tion, that upon many occasions I differed
The labour and anxious attention with from him, and followed my own judgement. which I have collected and arranged the I regret exceedingly that I was deprived materials of which these volumes are com- of the benefit of his revision, when not more posed, will hardly be conceived by those than one half of the book had passed through who read them with careless facility. The the press ; but after having completed his stretch of mind and prompt assiduity by very laborious and admirable edition of which so many conversations were preserved, SNÁKSPEARE, for which hegenerously would I myself, at some distance of time, contem- accept of no other reward but that fame plate with wonder; and I must be allowed which he has so deservedly obtained, he ful. to suggest, that the nature of the Work in filled his promise of a long wished-for visit other respects, as it consists of innumerable to his relations in Ireland; from whence his detached particulars, all which, even the safe return finibis Atticis is desired by his most minute, I have spared no pains to as- friends here, with all the classical ardour of certain with a scrupulous authenticity, has Sic te Diva potens Cypri ; for there is no occasioned a degree of trouble far beyond man in whom more elegant and worthy quathat of any other species of composition. lities are united ; and whose society, thereWere I to detail the books which I have fore, is more valued by those who know him. consulted, and the inquiries which I have It is painful to me to think, that while found it necessary to make by various chan. I was carrying on this Work, several of nels, I should probably be thought ridicu. those to whom it would have been most inlously ostentatious. Let me only observe, teresting have died. Such melancholy disas a specimen of my trouble, that I have appointments we know to be incident to husometimes been obliged to run half over manity; but we do not feel them the less. London, in order to fix a date correctly; Let me particularly lament the Reverend which, when I had accomplished, I well Thomas Warton, and the Reverend Dr. knew would obtain me no praise, though a ADAMs. Mr. WARTON, amidst his variety failure would have been to my discredit. of genius and learning, was an excellent Bi. And after all, perhaps, hard as it may be, i ographer. His contributions to my Colshall not be surprised if omissions or mis lection are highly estimable; and as he had takes be pointed out with invidious severity. a true relish of my “Tour to the Hebrides," I have also been extremely careful as to the I trust I should now have been gratified exactness of my quotations ; holding that with a larger share of his kind approbation. there is a respect due to the public, which Dr. Adams, eminent as the head of a Col. should oblige every Author to attend to this, lege, as a writer, and as a most amiable man, and never to presume to introduce them I had known Johnson from his early years, and was his friend through life. What rea- In the strangely mixed scenes of human son I had to hope for the countenance of existence, our feelings are often at once that venerable Gentleman to this Work, pleasing and painful. Of this truth, the will appear from what he wrote to me upon progress of the present Work furnishes a a former occasion from Oxford, November striking instance. It was highly gratifying 17, 1785 :—“Dear Sir, I hazard this letter, to me that my friend, Sir Joshua Key. not knowing where it will find you, to thank nolds, to whom it is inscribed, lived to peyou for your very agreeable • Tour,' which ruse it, and to give the strongest testimony Í found here on my return from the coun- to its fidelity ; but before a second edition, try, and in which you have depicted our which he contributed to improve, could be friend so perfectly to my fancy, in every at finished, the world has been deprived of that titude, every scene and situation, that I most valuable man; a loss of which the rehave thought myself in the company, and of gret will be deep, and lasting, and extenthe party almost throughout. It has given sive, proportionate to the felicity which he very general satisfaction, and those who diffused through a wide circle of admirers have found most fault with a passage here and friends. and there, have agreed that they could not In reflecting that the illustrious subject help going through,
and being entertained of this Workby being more extensively with the whole. "I wish, indeed, some few and intimately known, however elevated gross expressions had been softened, and a before, has risen in the veneration and love few of our hero's foibles had heen a little of mankind, I feel a satisfaction beyond what more shaded; but it is useful to see the fame can afford. We cannot, indeed, too much weaknesses incident to great minds; and
or too often admire his wonderful powers of you have given us Dr. Johnson's authority, mind, when we consider that the principal that in history all ought to be told.”
store of wit and wisdom which this Work Such a sanction to my faculty of giving a contains was not a particular selection just representation of Dr. Johnson I could from his general conversation, but was not conceal. Nor will I suppress my satis. merely his occasional talk at such times as faction in the consciousness, that, by record. I had the good fortune to be in his coming so considerable a portion of the wisdompany ; and, without doubt, if his discourse and wit of the brightest ornament of the at other periods had been collected with the eighteenth century, "* I have largely provi. same attention, the whole tenor of what he ded for the instruction and entertainment uttered would have been found equally exof mankind.
cellent. London, April 20, 1791.
His strong, clear, and animated enforcement of religion, morality, loyalty, and sub
ordination, while it delights and improves ADVERTISEMENT TO THE
the wise and the good, will, I trust, prove
an effectual antidote to that detestable so. SECOND EDITION.
phistry which has been lately imported from That I was anxious for the success of a France, under the false name of Philosophy, Work which had employed much of my and with a malignant industry has been emtime and labour, I do not wish to conceal: ployed against the peace, good order, and but whatever doubts I at any time enter- happiness of society, in our free and pros. tained, have been entirely removed by the perous country; but, thanks be to God, very favourable reception with which it has without producing the pernicious effects been honoured. That reception has exci- which were hoped for by its propagators. ted my best exertions to render my Book It seems to me, in my moments of selfmore perfect; and in this endeavour I have complacency, that this extensive biographihad the assistance not only of some of my
cal Work, however inferior in its nature, particular friends, but of many other learned may, in one respect, be assimilated to the and ingenious men, by which I have been ODYSSEY. Amidst a thousand entertainenabled to rectify some mistakes, and to ing and instructive episodes the HERO is enrich the Work with many valuable addi. never long out of sight ; for they are all tions. These I have ordered to be printed in some degree connected with him ; and separately in quarto, for the accommodation He, in the whole course of the History, is of the purchasers of the first edition. May exhibited by the Author for the best advanI be permitted to say that the typography tage of his readers : of both editions does honour to the press of
-Quid virtus et quid sapientia possit,
Should there be any cold blooded and moobliging friend.
rose mortals who really dislike this Book, I
will give them a story to apply. When the • See Mr. Malone's Preface to his edition of Shaks
great DUKE OF MARLBOROUGH, accompanied by Lord Cadogan, was one day re
connoitring the army in Flanders, a heavy | ously as he could. In the present edition rain came on, and they both called for their | they have been distributed in their proper cloaks. Lord CADOGAN's servant, a good. places. In revising his volumes for a new humoured alert lad, brought his Lordship's edition, he had pointed out where some of in a minute. The Duke's servant, a lazy these materials should be inserted; but unsulky dog, was so sluggish, that his Grace fortunately, in the midst of his labours, he being wet to the skin, reproved him, and was seized with a fever, of which, to the had for answer with a grunt, “I came as fast great regret of all his friends, he died on the as I could;" upon which the Duke calmly both of May, 1795. All the Notes that he said,—“ Cadogan, I would not for a thou had written in the margin of the copy which sand pounds have that fellow's temper." had he in part revised, are here faithfully
There are some men, I believe, who have, preserved ; and a few new Notes have been or think they have, a very small share of added, principally by some of those friends vanity. Such may speak of their literary to whom the Author in the former editions fame in a decorous style of diffidence. But acknowledged his obligations. Those subI confess, that I am so formed by nature and scribed with the letter B. were communi. by habit, that to restrain the effusion of cated by Dr. BURNEY ; those to which the delight, on having obtained such fame, to letters J. B. are annexed, by the Rev. J. B. me would be truly painful. Why then BLAKEWAY, of Shrewsbury, to whom Mr. should I suppress it? Why “out of the Boswell acknowledged himself indebted abundance of the heart" should I not speak? for some judicious remarks on the first edi. Let me then mention with a warm, but no tion of his Work; and the letters J. B.-0. insolent exultation, that I have been re- are annexed to some remarks furnished by galed with spontaneous praise of my work the Author's second son, a student of Braby many and various persons eminent for zen-Nose College in Oxford. Some valuable their rank, learning, talents, and accom- observations were communicated by JAMES plishments ; much of which praise I have BindLEY, Esq. First Commissioner in the under their hands to be reposited in my ar. Stamp-Office, which have been acknowchives at Auchinleck. An honourable and ledged in their proper places. For all those reverend friend speaking of the favourable without any signature, Mr. Malone is an. reception of my voluntes, even in the circles swerable. Every new remark, not written of fashion and elegance, said to me, “ you by the Author, for the sake of distinction, have made them all talk Johnson.”—Yes, has been enclosed within crotchets; in one I may add, I have Johnsonised the land; instance, however, the printer, by mistake, and I trust they will not only talk, but has affixed this mark to a note relative to think, Johnson.
the Rev. THOMAS FyschE PALMER, which To enumerate those to whom I have been was written by Mr. Boswell, and there. thus indebted, would be tediously ostenta- fore ought not to have been thus distintious. I cannot, however, but name one, guished. whose praise is truly valuable, not only on I have only to add, that the proof-sheets account of his knowledge and abilities, but of the present edition not having passed on account of the magnificent, yet danger. through my hands, I am not answerable for ous embassy, in which he is now employed, any typographical errors that may be found which makes every thing that relates to in it." Having, however, been printed at him peculiarly interesting: LORD MA- the very accurate press of Mr. Baldwin, I CARTNEY favoured me with his own copy make no doubt it will be found not less per. of my book, with a number of notes, offect than the former edition; the greatest which I have availed myself. On the first care having been taken, by correctness and leaf I found in his Lordship’s hand-writing, elegance to do justice to one of the most inan inscription of such high commendation, structive and entertaining works in the that even I, vain as I am, cannot prevail on English language. myself to publish it.
April 8, 1799. July 1, 1793.
ADVERTISEMENT TO THE ADVERTISEMENT TO THE
In this edition are inserted some new SEVERAL valuable letters, and other cu- letters, of which the greater part
has been rious matter, having been communicated to obligingly communicated by the Reverend the Author too late to be arranged in that | Doctor Vyse, Rector of Lambeth. Those chronological order which he had endea written by Dr. Johnson concerning his voured uniformly to observe in his work, he mother in her last illness, furnish a new was obliged to introduce them in his second proof of his great piety and tenderness of edition, by way of ADDENDA, as commodi. | heart, and therefore cannot but be accept.