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with crimes of which they never intended to be called to the proof, and oppressed him by methods equally irresistible by guilt and innocence. Let the man thus driven into exile, for having been the friend of his country, be received in every other place as a confessor of liberty ; and let the tools of power be taught in time, that they may rob, but cannot impoverish.”
Some of his reviews in this Magazine are very short accounts of the pieces noticed, and I mention them only that Dr. Johnson's opinion of the works may be known; but many of them are examples of elaborate criticism, in the most masterly style. In his review of the “Memoirs of the Court of Augustus, he has the resolution to think and speak from his own mind, regardless of the cant nsmitted from age to age, in praise of the ancient Romans. Thus: “I know not why any one but a schoolboy in his declamation should whine over the Commonwealth of Rome, which grew great only by the misery of the rest of mankind. The Romans, like others, as soon as they grew rich, grew corrupt; and in their corruption sold the lives and freedoms of themselves, and of one another." . Again: “A people, who while they were poor robbed mankind; and as soon as they became rich robbed one another.” — In his review of the Miscellanies in prose and verse, published by Elizabeth Harrison, but written by many hands, he gives an eminent proof at once of his orthodoxy and candour.
The authors of the essays in prose seem generally to have imitated, or tried to imitate, the copiousness and luxuriance of Mrs. Rowe. This, however, is not all their praise ; they have laboured to add to her brightness of imagery, her purity of sentiments. The poets have had Dr. Watts before their eyes ; a writer, who, if he stood not in the first class of genius, compensated that defect by a ready application of his powers to the promotion of piety. The attempt to employ the ornaments of romance in the decoration of religion, was, I think, first made by Mr. Boyle's ‘Martyrdom of Theodora ;' but Boyle's philosophical studies did not allow him time for the cultivation of style : and the comple. tion of the great design was reserved for Mrs. Rowe. Dr. Watts was one of the first who taught the Dissenters to write and speak like other men, by shewing them that elegance might consist with piety. They would have both done honour to a better society, for they had that charity which might well make their failings be forgotten, and with which the whole Christian world wish for communion. They were pure from all the heresies of an age, to which every opinion is become a favourite that the universal church has hitherto detested! This praise the general interest of mankind requires to be given to writers who please and do not corrupt, who instruct and do not weary. But to them all human eulogies are vain, whom I believe applauded by angels, and numbered with the just."
His defence of tea against Mr. Jonas Hanway's violent attack upon that elegant and popular beverage (1), shews how very well a man of genius can
(1) (Hanway's Essay on Tea and its pernicious Consequences” was appended to his “ Journal of Eight Days' Journey from Portsmouth to Kingston upon Thames. In his review of this production, Johnson candidly describes himself as “ a hardened and shameless tea-drinker, who has, for many years, diluted his meals with only the infusion of this fascinating plant; whose kettle has scarcely time to cool; who, with tea amuses the evening, with tea solaces the midnights, and with tea welcomes the morning."]
write upon the slightest subject, when he writes, as the Italians say, con amore : I suppose no person ever enjoyed with more relish the infusion of that fragrant leaf than Johnson. The quantities which he drank of it at all hours were so great, that his nerves must have been uncommonly strong, not to have been extremely relaxed by such an intemperate use of it. (') He assured me, that he never felt the least inconvenience from it; which is a proof that the fault of his constitution was rather a too great tension of fibres, than the contrary, Mr. Hanway wrote an angry answer to Johnson's review of his Essay on Tea, and Johnson, after a full and deliberate pause, made a reply to it; the only instance, I believe in the whole course of his life, when he condescended to oppose any thing that was written against him. I suppose, when he thought of any of his little antagonists, he was ever justly aware of the high sentiment of Ajax in Ovid :
* Iste tulit pretium jam nunc certaminis hujus,
Qui, cùm victus erit, mecum certasse ferctur." (2)
But, indeed, the good Mr. Hanway laid himself so open to ridicule, that Johnson's animadversions upon his attack were chiefly to make sport.
(1) Sir John Hawkins calls his addiction to it unmanty, and almost gives it the colour of a crime. The Rev. Mr. Parker, of Henley, is in possession of a tea-pot which belonged to Dr. Johnson, and which contains above two quarts. - C. (2) [" Losing, he wins, because his name will be Ennobled by defeat, who durst contend with me."
The generosity with which he pleads the cause of Admiral Byng is highly to the honour of his heart and spirit. Though Voltaire affects to be witty upon the fate of that unfortunate officer, observing that he was shot 66
pour encourager les autres,” the nation has long been satisfied that his life was sacrificed to the political fervour of the times. (1) In the vault belonging to the Torrington family, in the church of Southill, in Bedfordshire, there is the following epitaph upon his monument, which I have transcribed:
Johnson's most exquisite critical essay in the Literary Magazine, and indeed any where, is his review of Soame Jenyns's “ Inquiry into the Origin of Evil.” Jenyns was possessed of lively talents, and a style eminently pure
and could very happily play with a light subject, either in prose or verse; but when he speculated on that most difficult
(1) Nothing can be more unfounded than the assertion that Byng fell a martyr to political party. See this subject treated w large in the Quarterly Review for April, 1832. C.
and excruciating question, the Origin of Evil, he “ ventured far beyond his depth,” and, accordingly, was exposed by Johnson, both with acute argument and brilliant wit. I remember when the late Mr. Bicknell's humorous performance, entitled “ The Musical Travels of Joel Collyer," in which a slight attempt is made to ridicule Johnson, was ascribed to Soame Jenyns, “Ha! (said Johnson) I thought I had given him enough of it."
His triumph over Jenyns is thus described by my friend Mr. Courtenay, in his “ Poetical Review of the literary and moral character of Dr. Johnson;" a performance of such merit, that had I not been honoured with a very kind and partial notice in it, I should echo the sentiments of men of the first taste loudly in its praise :
• When specious sophists with presumption scan
The source of evil hidden still from man;
(1) Some time after Dr. Johnson's death, there appeared in the newspapers and magazines [the following] illiberal and petulant attack upon him, in the form of an Epitaph, under the name of Mr. Soame Jenyns, very unworthy of that gentleman, who had quietly submitted to the critical lash while Johnson lived. It assumed, as characteristics of him, all the