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said to Garrick, "I think, Davy, I can make a better.” Then, stirring about his tea for a little while, in a state of meditation, he almost extempore produced the following verses :

"Phillips, whose touch harmonious could remove

The pangs of guilty power or hapless love;
Rest here, distress'd by poverty no more,
Here find that calm thou gav'st so oft before;
Sleep, undisturb'd, within this peaceful shrine,
Till angels wake thee with a note like thine !"1

In 1741 he wrote for the Gentleman's Magazine the "Preface,"t "Conclusion of his Lives of Drake and Barretier," "*"A free Translation of the Jests of Hierocles, with an Introduction ;" and, I think, the following pieces:-"Debate on the Proposal of Parliament to Cromwell, to assume the Title of King, abridged, modified, and digested;" + "Translation of Abbe Guyon's Dissertation on the Amazons;" + "Translation of Fontenelle's Panegyric on Dr. Morin."+ Two notes upon this appear to me undoubtedly his. He this year, and the two following, wrote the "Parliamentary Debates." He told me himself that he was the sole composer of them for those three years only. He was not, however, precisely exact in his statement, which he mentioned from hasty recollection; for it is sufficiently evident, that his composition of them began November 19, 1740, and ended February 23, 1742-43. It appears from some of Cave's letters to Dr. Birch, that Cave had better assistance for that branch of his Magazine, than has been generally supposed; and that he was indefatigable in getting it made as perfect as he could.

1 The epitaph of Phillips is in the porch of Wolverhampton Church. The prose part of it is curious:

"Near this place lies


Whose absolute contempt of riches

and inimitable performances upon the violin

made him the admiration of all that knew him.

He was born in Wales,

made the tour of Europe,

And, after the experience of both kinds of fortune,

Died in 1732."

Mr. Garrick appears not to have recited the verses correctly, the original being as follows. One of the various readings is remarkable, as it is the germ of Johnson's concluding line :—

"Exalted soul, thy various sounds could please

The love-sick virgin, and the gouty ease;
Could jarring crowds, like old Amphion, move
To beauteous order and harmonious love;
Rest here in peace, till angels bid thee rise,
And meet thy SAVIOUR'S consort in the skies."

Dr. Wilkes, the author of these lines, was a Fellow of Trinity College in Oxford, and Rector of Pitchford, in Shropshire. He collected materials for a history of that county, and is spoken of by Brown Willis, in his "History of Mitred Abbies," vol. ii. p. 189. But he was a native of Staffordshire; and to the antiquities of that county was his attention chiefly confined. Mr. Shaw has had the use of his papers.-J. BLAKEWAY.

Thus, 21st July, 1735,

"I trouble you with the enclosed, because you said you could easily correct what is here given for Lord Chesterfield's speech. I beg you will do so as soon as you can for me, because the month is far advanced."

And 15th July, 1737,

"As you remember the debates so far as to perceive the speeches already printed are not exact, I beg the favour that you will peruse the enclosed, and, in the best manner your memory will serve, correct the mistaken passages, or any thing that is omitted. I should be very glad to have something of the Duke of Newcastle's speech, which would be particularly of service.

"A gentleman has Lord Bathurst's speech to add something to."

And July 3, 1744,

"You will see what stupid, low, abominable stuff is put upon your noble and learned friend's2 character, such as I should quite reject, and endeavour to do something better towards doing justice to the character. But as I cannot expect to attain my desire in that respect, it would be a great satisfaction, as well as an honour to our work, to have the favour of the genuine speech. It is a method that several have been pleased to take, as I could show, but I think myself under a restraint. I shall say so far, that I have had some by a third hand, which I understood well enough to come from the first; others by penny-post, and others by the speakers themselves, who have been pleased to visit St. John's Gate, and show particular marks of their being pleased." "3

There is no reason, I believe, to doubt the veracity of Cave. It is, however, remarkable that none of these letters are in the years during which Johnson alone furnished the debates, and one of them is in the very year after he ceased from that labour. Johnson told me, that as soon as he found that the speeches were thought genuine, he determined that he would write no more of them; "for he would not be accessory to the propagation of falsehood." And such was the tenderness of his conscience, that a short time before his death he expressed his regret for his having been the author of fictions which had passed for realities.

He nevertheless agreed with me in thinking, that the debates which he had framed were to be valued as orations upon questions of public importance. They have accordingly been collected in volumes, properly arranged, and recommended to the notice of parliamentary speakers by a preface written by no inferior hand. I must, however, observe, that although there is in those debates a wonderful store of political information and very powerful eloquence, I cannot agree that they exhibit the manner of each particular speaker, as Sir John Hawkins seems to

1 I suppose in another compilation of the same kind.-BOSWELL.

2 Doubtless, Lord Hardwicke.-BOSWELL.

3 Birch's MSS. in the British Museum, 4302.-BOSWELL.

4 I am assured that the editor is Mr. George Chalmers, whose commercial works are well known and esteemed.-BOSWELL.

think. But, indeed, what opinion can we have of his judgment and taste in public speaking, who presumes to give as the characteristics of two celebrated orators, "the deep-mouthed rancour of Pulteney, and the yelping pertinacity of Pitt."


This year I find that his tragedy of "Irene” had been for some time ready for the stage, and that his necessities made him desirous of getting as much as he could for it without delay; for there is the following letter from Mr. Cave to Dr. Birch in the same volume of manuscripts in the British Museum, from which I copied those above quoted. They were most obligingly pointed out to me by Sir William Musgrave, one of the Curators of that noble repository.


"Sept. 9, 1741.

"I have put Mr. Johnson's play into Mr. Gray's hands, in order to sell it to him, if he is inclined to buy it; But I doubt whether he will or not. He would dispose of the copy, and whatever advantage may be made by acting it. Would your society, or any gentleman, or body of men that you know, take such a bargain? He and I are very unfit to deal with theatrical persons. Fleetwood was to have acted in it last season, but Johnson's diffidence or 4 prevented it."

I have already mentioned that "Irene," was not brought into public notice till Garrick was manager of Drury-lane Theatre.

In 17425 he wrote for the Gentleman's Magazine the "Preface," + the "Parliamentary Debates,"*"Essay on the Account of the Conduct of the Duchess of Marlborough,"* then the popular topic of conversation. This essay is a short but masterly performance. We find him in No. 13 of his "Rambler," censuring a profligate sentiment in that " Account ;” and again insisting upon it strenuously in conversation.7 "An Account of the Life of Peter Burman,"* I believe chiefly taken from a foreign publication; as, indeed, he could not himself know much about Burman;

1 Sir G. Hawkins's "Life of Johnson," pp. 94-132. 100.-BoswELL.

2 A London bookseller of the time.-BOSWELL.

3 Not the Royal Society; but the Society for the Encouragement of Learning, of which Dr. Birch was a leading member. Their object was to assist authors in printing expensive works. It existed from about 1735 to 1746, when, having incurred a considerable debt, it was dissolved.-BOSWELL.

4 There is no erasure here, but a mere blank to fill up which may be an exercise for ingenious conjecture.-Boswell.

5 From one of his letters to a friend, written in June, 1742, it should seem that he then proposed to write a play on the subject of Charles the Twelfth, of Sweden, and to have it ready for the ensuing winter. The passage alluded to, however, is somewhat ambiguous; and the work which he then had in contemplation may have been a history of that monarch.— MALONE.

6 The passage alluded to runs as follows:-"A late female minister of s te has been shameless enough to inform the world that she used, when she wanted to extract anything from her sovereign, to remind her of Montaigne's reasoning-who has determined that to tell a secret to a friend is no breach of fidelity, because the number of persons is not multiplied; a man and his friend being virtually the same.-WRIGHT.

7" Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides," 3rd. edit. p. 167.-BOSWELL.

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"Additions to his Life of Barretier;"*"The Life of Sydenham," afterwards prefixed to Dr. Swan's edition of his works; "Proposals for printing the Bibliotheca Harleiana, or a Catalogue of the Library of the Earl of Oxford."* His account of that celebrated collection of books, in which he displays the importance to literature, of what the French call a catalogue raisonné, when the subjects of it are extensive. and various, and it is executed with ability, cannot fail to impress all his readers with admiration of his philological attainments. It was afterwards prefixed to the first volume of the Catalogue, in which the Latin accounts of books were written by him. He was employed in this business by Mr. Thomas Osborne the bookseller, who purchased the library for 13,000l. a sum which Mr. Oldys says, in one of his manuscripts, was not more than the binding of the books had cost; yet, as Dr. Johnson assured me, the slowness of the sale was such, that there was not much gained by it. It has been confidently related, with many embellishments, that Johnson one day knocked Osborne down in his shop, with a folio, and put his foot upon his neck. The simple truth I had from Johnson himself. "Sir, he was impertinent to me and I beat him. But it was not in his shop; it was in my own chamber."

A very diligent observer may trace him where we should not easily suppose him to be found. I have no doubt that he wrote the little abridgment entitled "Foreign History," in the Magazine for December. To prove it, I shall quote the introduction :

"As this is that season of the year in which Nature may be said to command a suspension of hostilities, and which seems intended, by putting a short stop to violence and slaughter, to afford time for malice to relent, and animosity to subside, we can scarce expect any other account than of plans, negotiations, and treaties, of proposals for peace, and preparations for war."

As also this passage :—

"Let those who despise the capacity of the Swiss, tell us by what wonderful policy, or by what happy conciliation of interests, it is brought to pass, that in a body made up of different communities and different religions, there should be no civil commotions, though the people are so warlike, that to nominate and raise an army is the same.'

I am obliged to Mr. Astle1 for his ready permission to copy the two following letters, of which the originals are in his possession. Their contents show that they were written about this time, and that Johnson was now engaged in preparing an historical account of the British Parliament.

66 'SIR,


[No date.]

“I believe I am going to write a long letter, and have therefore taken a whole sheet of paper. The first thing to be written about is our historical design. "You mentioned the proposal of printing in numbers, as an alteration in the

1 Mr. Astle was Keeper of the Records of the Tower, and otherwise well known in the literary world.

scheme, but I believe you mistook, some way or other, my meaning; I had no other view than that you might rather print too many of five sheets, than of five-and-thirty.

"With regard to what I shall say on the manner of proceeding, I would have it understood as wholly indifferent to me, and my opinion only, not my resolution. Emptoris sit eligere.

“I think the insertion of the exact dates of the most important events in the margin, or of so many events as may enable the reader to regulate the order of facts with sufficient exactness, the proper medium between a journal, which has regard only to time, and a history which ranges facts according to their dependance on each other, and postpones or anticipates according to the convenience of narration. I think the work ought to partake of the spirit of history, which is contrary to minute exactness, and of the regularity of a journal, which is inconsistent with spirit. For this reason I neither admit numbers or dates, nor reject them.

"I am of your opinion with regard to placing most of the resolutions, &c., in the margin, and think we shall give the most complete account of parliamentary proceedings that can be contrived. The naked papers, without an historical treatise interwoven, require some other book to make them understood. I will date the succeeding facts with some exactness, but I think in the margin. You told me on Saturday that I had received mony on this work, and found set down 137. 2s. 6d., reckoning the half guinea of last Saturday. As you hinted to me that you had many calls for money, I would not press you too hard, and therefore shall desire only, as I send it in, two guineas for a sheet of copy; the rest you may pay me when it may be more convenient; and even by this sheetpayment I shall, for some time, be very expensive.

"The Life of Savage I am ready to go upon; and in great primer and pica notes, I reckon on sending in half a sheet a day; but the money for that shall likewise lie by in your hands till it is done. With the debates, shall not I have business enough? if I had but good pens.

"Towards Mr. Savage's Life, what more have you got? I would willingly have his trial, &c., and know whether his defence be at Bristol, and would have his collection of poems, on account of the Preface ;-"The Plain Dealer," 1— all the magazines that have any thing of his or relating to him.

"I thought my letter would be long, but now it is ended; and,

"I am, Sir, yours, &c.,

"SAM. JOHNSON." "The boy found me writing this almost in the dark, when I could not quite easily read yours.

"I have read the Italian :-nothing in it is well.

'I had no notion of having any thing for the inscription.2 hope you don't think I kept it to extort a price. I could think of nothing, till to-day. If you could spare me another guinea for the history, I should take it very kindly, to-night; but if you do not, I shall not think it an injury.

"I am almost well again."

1 The "Plain Dealer" was published in 1724, and contained some account of Savage.— BOSWELL.

2 Perhaps the Runic Inscription; "Gentleman's Magazine,” vol. xii. p. 132.-MALONE.

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