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by whose providence I am sustained, look down upon me with tenderness and mercy; grant that I may not have been created to be finally destroyed ; that I may not be preserved to add wickedness to wickedness.”—(Prayers and Med. p. 47.)
“O LORD, let me not sink into total depravity; look down upon me, and rescue me at last from the captivity of sin," (p. 68.)
“Almighty and most merciful Father, who hast continued my life from year to year, grant that hy longer life I may become less desirous of sinful pleasures, and more careful of eternal happiness,” (p. 84.)
“Let not my years be multiplied to increase my guilt; but as my age advances, let me become more pure in my thoughts, more regular in my desires, and more obedient to thy laws,” (p. 120.)
“Forgive, O merciful LORD, whatever I have done contrary to thy laws. Give me such a sense of my wickedness as may produce true contrition and effectual repentance; so that when I shall be called into another state, I may be received among the sinners to whom sorrow and reformation have obtained pardon, for JESUS CHRIST's sake. Amen,” (p. 130.)
Such was the distress of mind, such the penitence of Johnson, in his hours of privacy, and in his devout approaches to his Maker. His sincerity, therefore, must appear to every candid mind unquestionable.
It is of essential consequence to keep in view, that there was in this excellent man's conduct no false principle of commutation, no deliberate indulgence in sin, in consideration of a counterbalance of duty. His offending, and his repenting, were distinct and separate, and when we consider his almost unexampled attention to truth, his inflexible integrity, his constant piety, who will dare to “cast a stone at him?” Besides, let it never be forgotten, that he cannot be charged with any offence indicating badness of heart, anything dishonest, base, or malignant ; but that, on the contrary, he was charitable in an extraordinary degree; so that even in one of his own rigid judgments of himself (Easter-eve, 1781), while he
says, “I have corrected no external habits,” he is obliged to own, " I hope that since my last communion I have advanced by pious reflections, in my submission to God, and my benevolence to man.
I am conscious that this is the most difficult and dangerous part of my biographical work, and I cannot but be very anxious concerning it. I trust that I have got through it, preserving at once my regard to truth, -to my friend,—and to the interests of virtue and religion. Nor can I apprehend that more harm can ensue from the knowledge of the irregu. larities of Johnson, guarded as I have stated it, than from knowing that Addison and Parnell were intemperate in the use of wine ; which he himself, in his Lives of those celebrated writers and pious men, has not. forborne to record.
* Dr. Johnson related, with very earnest approbation, a story of a gentleman, who, in an impulse of passion, overcame the virtue of a young woman.
When she said to him, “I am afraid we have done wrong!" he answered, “ Yes, we have done wrong; for I would pot debauch her mind." -BosWELL.
8“Prayers and Meditations," p. 192.-Boswell.
Johnson'S LAST ILLNESS-HIS LIBERALITY TO HIS BLACK SERVANT-HIS WILL
T is not my intention to give a very minute detail of the particulars of
was fast approaching, when he must “die like men, and fall like one of the princes." Yet it will be instructive, as well as gratifying to the curiosity of my readers, to record a few circumstances, on the authenticity of which they may perfectly rely, as I have been at the utmost pains to obtain an accurate account of his last illness, from the best authority.
Dr. Heberden, Dr. Brocklesby, Dr. Warren, and Dr. Butter, physicians, generously attended him, without accepting any fees, as did Mr. Cruikshank, surgeon ; and all that could be done from professional skill and ability was tried, to prolong a life so truly valuable. He himself, indeed, having, on account of his very bad constitution, been perpetually applying himself to medical inquiries, united his own efforts with those of the gentleinen who attended him; and imagining that the dropsical collection of water which oppressed him might be drawn off by making incisions in his body, he, with his usual resolute defiance of pain, cut deep when he thought that his surgeon had done it too tenderly."
About eight or ten days before his death, when Dr. Brocklesby paid him his morning visit, he seemed very low and desponding, and said, “I have been as a dying man all night.” He then emphatically broke out in the words of Shakspeare, —
“ Canst thou not minister to a mind diseased;
Pluck from the memory a rooted sorrow;
Which weighs upon the heart?”
-therein the patient
Must minister to himself.”
On another day, after this, when talking on the subject of prayer, Dr. Brocklesby repeated from Juvenal,
“Orandum est, ut sit mens sana in corpore sano," and so on to the end of the tenth satire ; but in running it quickly over, he happened, in the line,
Qui spatium vitæ extremum inter munera ponat," to pronounce supremum for extremum; at which Johnson's critical ear instantly took offence, and discoursing vehemently on the unmetrical effect of such a lapse, he showed himself as full as ever of the spirit of the grammarian.
Having no other relations, it had been for some time Johnson's in
* This bold experiment Sir John Hawkins has related in such a manner as to suggest a charge against Johnson of intentionaily hastening his end; a charge so very inconsistent with his character in every respect, that it is injurious even to refute it, as Sir John has thought it necessary to do. It is evident that what Johnson did in hopes of relief, indicated an extraordinary eagerness to retard his dissolution.-Boswell.
2 The author in a former page has shown the injustice of Sir John Hawkins's charge against Johnson, with respect to a person of the name of Heely, whom he has inaccu. rately represented as a relation of Johnson's. See p. 249.—That Johnson was anxious to discover whether any of his relations were living, is evinced by the following letter, written not long before he made his will :
TO THE REV. DR. VYSE, IN LAMBETH. “SIR,
Bolt-court, Fleet-street, Nov. 29, 1784. “ I am desirous to know whether Charles Scrimshaw, of Woodsease (I think), in your father's neighbourhood, be now living; what is his condition, and where he may be found. If you can conveniently make an inquiry about him, and can do it without delay, it will be an act of great kindness to me, he being very nearly related to me. I beg Lyou; to pardon this trouble. I am, Sir, your most humble servant,
“ SAM, JOHNSON. In conformity to the wish expressed in the preceding letter, an inquiry was made, but
tention to make a liberal provision for his faithful servant, Mr. Francis Barber, whom he looked upon as particularly under his protection, and whom he had all along treated truly as an humble friend. Having asked Dr. Brocklesby what would be a proper annuity to a favourite servant, and being answered that it must depend on the circumstances of the master ; and, that in the case of a nobleman, fifty pounds a year was considered as an adequate reward for many years' faithful service :-“Then,” said Johnson, “ shall I be nobilissimus, for I mean to leave Frank seventy pounds a year, and I desire you to tell him so." It is strange, however, to think, that Johnson was not free from that general weakness of being averse to execute a will, so that he delayed it from time to time; and had it not been for Sir John Hawkins's repeatedly urging it I think it is probable that his kind resolution would not have been fulfilled. After making one, which, as Sir John Hawkins informs us, extended no farther. than the promised annuity, Johnson's final disposition of his property was established by a Will and Codicil, of which copies are subjoined.
no descendants of Charles Scrimshaw or of his sisters were discovered to be living. Dr. Vyse informs me that Dr. Johnson told him," he was disappointed in the inquiries he had made after his relations." There is therefore no ground whatsoever for supposing that he Wis unmindful of them, or neglected them.-MALONE.
1. IN THE NAME OF GOD. AMEN. I, SAMUEL Johnson, being in full possession of my faculties, but fearing this night may put an end to my life, do ordain tbis my last Will and Testament. I bequeath to God a soul polluted by many sins, but I hope puri. sed by Jesus Christ. I leave seven hundred and fifty pounds in the hands of Bennet Langton, Esq.; three hundred pounds in the hands of Mr. Barclay and Mr. Perkins, brewers; one hundred and fifty pounds in the hands of Dr. Percy, Bishop of Dromore; one thousand pounds, Three per cent. Annuities in the public funds; and one hundred pounds now lying by me in ready money : all these before-mentioned sums and property I leave, I say, to Sir Joshua Reynolds, Sir John Hawkins, and Dr. William Scot, of Doctors' Commons, in trust, for the following uses :—That is to say, to pay to the representatives of the late William Innys, bookseller, in St. Paul's Churchyard, the sum of two hundred pounds; to Mrs. White, my female servant, one hundred pounds stock in the Three per cent. Annuities aforesaid. The rest of the aforesaid sums of money and property, together with my books, plate, and household furniture, I leave to the before. mentioned Sir Joshua Reynolds, Sir John Hawkins, and Dr. William Scott, also in trust, to be applied, after paying my debts, to the use of Francis Barber, my man-servant, a negro, in such manner as they shall judge most fit and available to his benefit. And I appoint the aforesaid Sir Joshua Reynolds, Sir John Hawkins, and Dr. William Scoli, sole executors of this my last will and testament, hereby revoking all former wills and testaments whatever. In witness whereof, I hereunto subscribe iny name, and affix my seal, this eighth day of December, 1784.
“Sam. JOHNSON (L.S.) Signed, sealed, published, declared, and delivered, by the said testator, as his last will and testament, in the presence of us, the word two being first inserted in the opposite page.
“Joun DesMOULINS." By way of Codicil to my last will and testament, I, SAMUEL JOHNSON, give, devise, and bequeath my messuage or tenement situate at Lichfield, in the county of Stafford, with the appurtenances in the tenure and occupation of Mrs. Bond, of Lichfield aforesaid, or of Mr. Hinchman, her under-tenant, to my executors in trust, to sell and dispose of the same; and the money arising from such sale I give and bequeath as fol. lows viz., to Thomas and Benjamin, the sons of Fisher Johnson, late of Leicester, and
The consideration of numerous papers of which he was possessed, seems to have struck Johnson's mind with a sudden anxiety, and as
Whiting, daughter of Thomas Johnson, late of Coventry, and the grand. daughter of the said Thomas Johnson, one full and eqnal fourth part each ; but in case there shall be more grand-daughters than one of the said Thomas Johnson, living at the time of my decease, I give and bequeath the part or share of that one to and equally between such grand-daughters. I give and bequeath to the Rev. Mr. Rogers, of Berkley, near Froom, in the county of Somerset, the sum of oue hundred pounds, requesting him to apply the same towards the maintenance of Elizabeth Herne, a lunatic. I also give and bequeath to my god-children, the son and daughter of Mauritius Lowe, painter, each of them one hundred pounds of my stock in the Three per cent. Consolidated Annuities, to be applied and disposed of by and at the discretion of my executors, in the education or settlement in the world of them my said legatees. Also I give and bequeath to Sir John Hawkins, one of my executors, the Annales Ecclesiastici of Baronius, and Holinshed's and Stowe's Chronicles, and also an octavo Common Prayer Book. To Bennet Langton, Esq., I give and bequeath my Polyglot Bible. To Sir Joshua Reynolds, my great French Dictionary, by Martiniere, and my own copy of my folio English Diction. ary of the last revision. To Dr. William Scott, one of my executors, the Dictionnaire de Commerce, and Lectius's edition of the Greek Poets. To Mr. Windham, Poetæ Græci Heroici per Henricum Stephanum. To the Rev. Mr. Strahan, Vicar of Islington, in Middlesex, Mill's Greek Testament, Beza's Greek Testament, by Stephens, all my Latin Bibles, and my Greek Bible, by Wechelius. To Dr. Heberden, Dr. Brocklesby, Dr. Butter, and Mr. Cruikshank, the surgeon who attended me, Mr. Holder, my apothe. cary, Gerard Hamilton, Esq., Mrs. Gardiner, of Snow-hill, Mrs. Frances Reynolds, Mr. Hoole, and the Reverend Mr. Hoole, his son, each a book at their election, to keep as a token of remembrance. I also give and bequeath to Mr. John Desmoulins, two hundred pounds Consolidated Three per cent. Annuities; and to Mr. Sastres, the Italian master, The sum of five pounds, to be laid out in books of piety for his own use. And whereas the said Bennet Langton hath agreed, in consideration of the sum of seven bundred and fifty pounds, mentioned in my will to be in bis hands, to grant and secure an annuity of seventy pounds, payable during the life of me and my servant, Francis Barber, and the life of the survivor of us, to Mr. George Stubbs, in trust for us; my mind and will is, that in case of my decease before the said agreement shall be perfected, the said sum of seven hundred and fifty pounds, and the bond for securing the said sum, shall go to the said Francis Barber; and I hereby give and bequeath to him the same, in lieu of the bequest in his favour, contained in my said will. And I hereby empower my executors to deduct and retain all expenses that shall or may be incurred in the execution of my said will, or of this codicil thereto, out of such estate and effects as I shall die possessed of. All the rest, residue, and remainder of my estate and effects I give and bequeath to my said executors, in trust for the said Francis Barber, his executors and administrators. Witness my hand and scal, this ninth day of December, 1784.
“SAM. JOHNSON (L.S.) Signed, sealed, published, declared, and delivered, by the said Samuel Johnson, as and for a codicil to his last will and testament, in the presence of us, who, in his
presence, and at his request, and also in the presence of each other, hare hereto subscribed our names as witnesses.
“ John Copely,
“HENRY Cole." Upon these testamentary deeds it is proper to make a few observations.
His express declaration with his dying breath as a Christian, as it had been often practised in such solemn writings, was of real consequence from this great man, for the conviction of a mind equally acute and strong, might well over balance the doubts of others, who were his contemporaries. The expression polluted may, to some, convey an impression of more than ordinary contamination; but that is not warranted by its genuine meaning, as appears from “ The Rambler," No. 42. The same word is used in the will of Dr. Sanderson, Bishop of Lincoln, who was piety itself.
His legacy of two hundred pounds to the representatives of Mr. Innys, bookseller, in