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I suppose, from her rank, I must name before her mother, Mrs. Boscawen, and her eldest sister, Mrs. Lewson who was likewise there ; Lady Lucan, Lady Clermont, and others of note both for their station and understandings. Among other 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 the 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, per. haps, 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."



“ Bolt Court, Fleet Street, May 9, 1780. “SIR,—I have your pardon to ask for an involuntary fault. In a parcel sent from Mr. Boswell I found the enclosed letter, which, without looking on the direction, I broke open; but, finding I did not understand it, soon saw it belonged to you. I am sorry for this appearance of a fault, but believe me it

1 Mrs. Boscawen and her daughters, Mrs. Leveson (spelled in the text, as it is pronounced, Leroson) Gower and the Duchess of Beaufort, are celebrated in Miss Hannah More's poem entitled “Sensibility,” who, speaking of Mrs. Boscawen, says that the

views, enamoured, in her beauteous race,

All Leveson's sweetness and all Beaufort's grace.”—C. 2 Margaret Smith; married in 1760 the first Lord Lucan.-C. 3 Frances Murray; married in 1752 to the first Lord Clermont.-C.

4 See Johnson's own account of this evening. The gentle and good-natured Langton does not hint at his having driven away “the very agreeable and ingenious Mr. Wraxal."

5 The formal style of this letter, compared with that of his former correspondence with Mr. Thomas Warton, plainly proves that a coolness or misunderstanding had taken place between them. In Dr. Wooll's Memoirs of Dr. Warton we find the following statement : “ The disagreement which took place after a long and warm friendship between Johnson and [Joseph] Warton is much to be lamented: it occurred at the house of Sir Joshua Reynolds as I am told by one of the company, who only overheard the following conclusion of the dispute : Johnson. "Sir, I am not used to be contradicted.' Warton. “Better for yourself and friends, Sir, if you were: our admiration could not be increased, but our love might.' The party interfered, and the conversation was stopped. A coolness, however, from that time took place, and was increased by many trifling circumstances, which, before this dispute, would, perhaps, have not been attended to.” The style, however, of the second letter to Dr. Warton, written so late in Dr. Johnson's life, leads us to hope that the difference recorded by Dr. Wooll was only transient.-C.

is only the appearance. I did not read enough of the letter to know its purport. I am, Sir, your most humble servant,

" SAM. Johnson."


“May 23, 1780. “Dear Sir,- It is unnecessary to tell you how much I was obliged by your useful memorials. The shares of Fenton and Broome in the Odyssey I had before from Mr. Spence. Dr. Warburton did not know them. I wish to be told, as the question is of great importance in the poetical world, whence you had your intelligence: if from Spence, it shows at least his consistency; if from any other, it confers corroboration. If anything useful to me should occur, I depend upon your friendship. Be pleased to make my compliments to the ladies of your house, and to the gentlemen that honoured me with the Greek Epigrams, when I had, what I hope sometime to have again, the pleasure of spending a little time with you at Winchester. I am, dear Sir, your most obliged and most humble servant,

“Sam. Jounson." LETTER 375. TO MRS. THRALE.

“May 23, 1780. “But [Mrs. Montagu] and you have had, with all your adulation, nothing finer said of you than was said last Saturday night of Burke and me. We were at the Bishop of - (a bishop little better than your bishop , and towards twelve we fell into talk, to which the ladies listened, just as they do to you; and said, as I heard, There is no rising unless somebody will cry Fire ! I was last night at Miss Monkton's; and there were Lady Craven and Lady Cranburne, and many ladies and few men. Next Saturday I am to be at Mr. Pepys's, and in the intermediate time am to provide for myself as I can."

“May 25.—Congreve, whom I despatched at the Borough while I was attending the election, is one of the best of the little Lives ; but then I had your conversation.



May 25, 1780. “SIR, I know your disposition to second any literary attempt, and therefore venture upon the liberty of intreating you to procure from college or university registers all the dates or other informations which they can supply relating to Ambrose Philips, Broome, 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."

1 The Bishop of St. Asaph's, of whose too constant appearance in general society Dr. John son disapproved.-C.

While Johnson was thus engaged in preparing a delightful literary entertainment for the world, the tranquillity of the metropolis of Great Britain 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 Catholic 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 island. But a dark and malignant spirit of persecution soon showed 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 :

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“ June 9, 1780.-On Friday, the good protestants met in Saint George's Fields, at the summons of Lord George Gordon; and marching to Westminster, 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 slight irregularity. On Tuesday night they pulled down Fielding's house and burnt his goods in the street. They had 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 ask : 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 Caenwood, 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 ii ip ruins, with the fire yet glowing. As I went by, the protestants were plun

1 I have selected passages from several letters, without mentioning dates.-B. I have restored the dates and a remarkable omission.-C.

dering 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 sentinels, without trepidation, as men lawfully employed in full day. Such is the cowardice of a commercial 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 sight was dreadful. Some people were threatened : Mr. Strahan advised me to take care of myself. Such a time of terror 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.

“What has happened at your house you will know; the harm is only a few butts of beer; and, I think, you may be sure that the danger is over. There is a body of soldiers at St. Margaret's Hill.”

“ June 10,—The soldiers are stationed so as to be everywhere within call. There is no longer any body of rioters, and the individuals are hunted 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 publisher 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 retaken; 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 under the protection of the king and the law. I thought that it would be agreeable to you and my master to have my testimony to the public security; and that you would sleep more quietly when I told you that you are safe.”

“ June 12.—The public 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 panic, 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

1 At this ironical allusion to Mr. Wilkes's own proceedings in former times, he would have been the first to smile. To a gentleman who, at a still later period, was alluding to the turbulent days of Wilkes and Liberty, and appealed for confirmation of some opinion to

power, he will not leave a rioter alive. There is, however, now no longer any need for heroism or bloodshed; no blue riband' is any longer worn.

“All danger here is apparently over: but a little agitation still continues. We frighten one another with 70,000 Scots ? to come hither with the Dukes of Gordon and Argyll, and eat us, and hang us, or drown us; but we are all at quiet.”

“June 14.—There has, indeed, been an universal panic, from which the king was the first that recovered. Without the concurrence of his ministers, or the assistance of the civil magistrates, he put the soldiers in motion, and saved the town from calamities, such as a rabble's government must naturally produce.”

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 satisfied that there was no combination or plan, either domestic or foreign ; but that the mischief spread by a gradual contagion of frenzy, augumented 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 New gate, wbo long discharged a very important trust with an uniform and 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 honse was burnt, would have prevented all this, had proper aid been sent him in due time, there can be no doubt.

Many years ago, a fire broke out in the brick part which was

Mr. Wilkes, the latter, with a serious pleasantry, replied, “My dear Sir, I never was a Wilkite."-C.

Lord George Gordon and his followers, during these outrages, wore blue ribands in their hats.-M.

2 Mr. Boswell seems not to have relished this allusion to a Scottish invasion, and instead of laughing, as Johnson appears to have done, at this absurd rumour, chose to omit the passage altogether.-C.

3 Why Mr. Boswell should call the keeper of Newgate his “ esteemed friendhas puzzled many readers; but besides his natural desire to make the acquaintance of everybody who wag eminent or remarkable, or even notorious, his strange propensity for witnessing execution probably brought him into more immediate intercourse with the ke per of Newgate.-0.

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