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was peculiarly conversant are readily introduced in it in cursory allusion. The translation of a passage in Statius (1) quoted in that paper, and marked C. B. has been erroneously ascribed to Dr. Bathurst, whose Christian name was Richard. How much this amiable man actually contributed to “ The Adventurer," cannot be known. Let me add, that Hawkesworth's imitations of Johnson are sometimes so happy, that it is extremely difficult to distinguish them with certainty, from the composition of his great archetype. Hawkesworth was his closest imitator, a circumstance of which that writer would once have been proud to be told ; though, when he had become elated by having risen into some degree of consequence, he, in a conversation with
me, had the provoking effrontery (2) to say he was not sensible of it.
Johnson was truly zealous for the success of “ The Adventurer;" and very soon after his engaging in it, he wrote the following letter:
(1) This is a slight inaccuracy. The Latin Sapphics translated by C. B. in that paper were written by Cowley, and are in his fourth book on Plants. -MALONE.
(2) This is not a tone in which Mr. Boswell should have allowed himself to speak of Dr. Hawkesworth on such an occasion; the improved style of Dr. Johnson in the Idler might as well be said to be borrowed from the Adventurer, as that of the Adventurer from the Rambler. Johnson and Hawkesworth may have influenced each other, and yet either might say, without effrontery, that he was not conscious of it. Boswell had the mania of imagining, that every eminent writer of the day owed his fame to being an imitator of Johnson; we shall see several instances of it in the course of the work. CROKER.
LETTER 22. TO THE REV. DR. JOSEPH WARTON.
66 8th March, 1753. “ DEAR SIR,-I ought to have written to you before now, but I ought to do many things which I do not; nor can I, indeed, claim any merit from this letter ; for being desired by the authors and proprietor of the Adventurer to look out for another hand, my thoughts necessarily fixed upon you, whose fund of literature will enable you to assist them, with very little interruption of your studies.
They desire you to engage to furnish one paper a month, at two guineas a paper, which you may very readily perform. We have considered that a paper should consist of pieces of imagination, pictures of life, and disquisitions of literature. The part which depends on the imagination is very well supplied, as you will find when you read the paper ; for descriptions of life, there is now a treaty almost made with an author and an authoress ; and the province of criticism and literature they are very desirous to assign to the com. mentator on Virgil.
" I hope this proposal will not be rejected, and that the next post will bring us your compliance. I speak as one of the fraternity, though I have no part in the paper, beyond now and then a motto; but two of the writers are my particular friends, and I hope the pleasure of seeing a third united to them, will not be denied to, dear Sir, your most obedient and most humble servant,
" SAM. JOHNSON." The consequence of this letter was, Dr. Warton's enriching the collection with several admirable essays. (1)
(1) [In this place, though rather out of date, may be given Johnson's letter to Warton on the conclusion of the Ad
Johnson's saying, “ I have no part in the
paper beyond now and then a motto," may seem inconsistent with his being the author of the papers marked T. But he had, at this time, written only one number; and besides, even at
after period, he might have used the same expression, considering it as a point of honour not to own them; for Mrs. Williams told me that, “ as he had given those Essays to Dr. Bathurst, who sold them at two guineas each, he never would own them ; nay, he used to
he did not write them: but the fact was,
LETTER 23. TO THE REV. DR. JOSEPH WARTON.
“sth March, 1754. “ DEAR SIR, — I cannot but congratulate you upon the conclusion of a work, in which you have borne so great a part with so much reputation. I immediately determined that your name should be mentioned, but the paper having been some time written, Mr. Hawkesworth, I suppose, did not care to disorder its text, and therefore put your eulogy in a note. He and every other man mentions your papers of criticism with great commendation, though not with greater than they deserve.
“ But how little can we venture to exult in any intellectual powers or literary attainments, when we consider the condition of poor Collins. I knew him a few years ago full of hopes and full of projects, versed in many languages, high in fancy, and strong in retention. This busy and forcible mind is now under the government of those who lately would not have been able to comprehend the least and most narrow of its designs. What do you hear of him?
are there hopes of his recovery? or is he to pass the remainder of his life in misery and degradation - perhaps with complete consciousness of his calamity?
“ You have flattered us, dear Sir, for some time with hopes of seeing you; when you come you will find your reputation increased, and with it the kindness of those friends who do not envy you; for success always produces either love or hatred. I enter my name among those that love, and love you more and more in proportion as by writing more you are more known; and believe, that as you continue to diffuse among us your integrity and learning, I shall be still with greater esteem and affection, dear Sir, your most obedient and most humble servant,
“ Sam. Johnson."]
that he dictated them, while Bathurst wrote.” I read to him Mrs. Williams's account; he smiled, and said nothing.
I am not quite satisfied with the casuistry by which the productions of one person are thus passed upon the world for the productions of another. I allow that not only knowledge, but powers and qualities of mind may be communicated; but the actual effect of individual exertion never can be transferred, with truth, to any other than its own original cause. One person's child
be made the child of another person by adoption, as among the Romans, or by the ancient Jewish mode of a wife having children born to her upon her knees, by her handmaid. But these were children in a different sense from that of nature. It was clearly understood that they were not of the blood of their nominal parents. So in literary children, an author may give the profits and fame of his composition to another man, but cannot make that other the real author. A Highland gentleman, a younger branch of a family, once consulted me if he could not validly purchase the Chieftainship of his family, from the Chief who was willing to sell it I told him it was impossible for him to acquire, by purchase, a right to be a different person from what he really was : for that the right of Chieftainship attached to the blood of primogeniture, and, therefore, was incapable of being transferred. I added, that though Esau sold his birthright, or the advantages belonging to it, he still remained the first-born of his parents ; and that whatever agreement a Chief might make with any of the clan, the Heralds' Office could not admit of the metamorphosis, or with any decency attest that the younger was the elder; but I did not convince the worthy gentleman.
Johnson's papers in the Adventurer are very similar to those of the Rambler ; but, being rather more varied in their subjects (1), and being mixed with essays by other writers, upon topics more generally attractive than even the most elegant ethical discourses, the sale of the work, at first, was more extensive. Without meaning, however, to depreciate the Adventurer, I must observe, that as the value of the Rambler came, in the progress of time, to be better known, it grew upon the public estimation, and that its sale has far exceeded that of any other periodical papers since the reign of Queen Anne.
In one of the books of his diary I find the following entry :
“ Apr. 3. 1753. I began the second vol. of my Dictionary, room being left in the first for Preface, Grammar, and History, none of them yet begun.
“ O God, who hast hitherto supported me, enable me to proceed in this labour, and in the whole task of my present state ; that when I shall render up, at the
(1) Dr. Johnson lowered and somewhat disguised his style, in writing the Adventurers, in order that his papers might pass for those of Dr. Bathurst, to whom he consigned the profits. This was Hawkesworth's opinion. — Burney.
This seems very improbable : it is much more likely that, observing and feeling that a lighter style was better suited to such essays, he, with his natural good sense, fell a little into the easier manner of his colleagues. CROKER.