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of St. Martin's in the Fields, and curate of that parish, engaged in the same undertaking, and was patronised by the clergy, particularly by Dr. Pearce, afterwards bishop of Rochester. Several light skirmishes passed between the rival translators, in the newspapers of the day; and the consequence was that they destroyed each other, for neither of them went on with the work. It is much to be regretted, that the able performance of that celebrated genius FRA PAOLO, lost the advantage of being incorporated into British literature by the masterly hand of Johnson.

I have in my possession, by the favour of Mr. John Nichols, a paper in Johnson's handwriting, entitled, Account between Mr. Edward Cave and Sam. Johnson, in relation to a version of Father Paul, etc. begun August the 2d, 1738; by which it appears, that from that day to the 21st of April, 1739, Johnson received for this work 491. 7s. in sums of one, two, three, and sometimes four guineas at a time, most frequently two. And it is curious to observe the minute and scrupulous accuracy with which Johnson had pasted upon it a slip of paper, which he has entitled Small Account, and which contains one article, "Sept. 9th, Mr. Cave laid down 2s. 6d." There is subjoined to this account, a list of some subscribers to the work, partly in Johnson's handwriting, partly in that of another person; and there follows a leaf or two on which are written a number of characters which have the appearance of a short hand, which, perhaps, Johnson was then trying to learn.



"SIR,-I did not care to detain your servant while I wrote an answer to your letter, in which you seem to insinuate that I had promised more than I am ready to perform. If I have raised your expectations by any thing that may have escaped my memory, I am sorry; and if you remind me

of it, shall thank you for the favour. If I made fewer alterations than usual in the Debates, it was only because there appeared, and still appears to be, less need of alteration. The verses to lady Firebrace" may be had when you please, for you know that such a subject neither deserves much thought, nor requires it.

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The Chinese Stories may be had folded down when you please to send, in which I do not recollect that you desire any alterations to be made.

"An answer to another query I am very willing to write, and had consulted with you about it last night, if there had been time; for I think it the most proper way of inviting such a correspondence as may be an advantage to the paper, not a load upon it.

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As to the Prize Verses, a backwardness to determine their degrees of merit is not peculiar to me. You may, if you please, still have what I can say; but I shall engage with little spirit in an affair, which I shall hardly end to my own satisfaction, and certainly not to the satisfaction of the parties concerned.

"As to Father Paul, I have not yet been just to my proposal, but have met with impediments, which, I hope, are now at an end; and if you find the progress hereafter not such as you have a right to expect, you can easily stimulate a negligent translator.

"If any or all of these have contributed to your discontent, I will endeavour to remove it; and desire you to propose the question to which you wish for an answer.

66 I am, sir,

"Your humble servant,

n They afterwards appeared in the Gentleman's Magazine with this title-Verses to Lady Firebrace, at Bury Assizes.

• Du Halde's Description of China was then publishing by Mr. Cave in weekly numbers, whence Johnson was to select pieces for the embellishment of the magazine-NICHOLS.

P The premium of forty pounds proposed for the best poem on the Divine Attributes is here alluded to.-NICHOLS.


[No date.]

"SIR, I am pretty much of your opinion, that the Commentary cannot be prosecuted with any appearance of success; for as the names of the authors concerned are of more weight in the performance than its own intrinsick merit, the publick will be soon satisfied with it. And I think the Examen should be pushed forward with the utmost expedition. Thus, 'This day, etc. An Examen of Mr. Pope's Essay, etc. containing a succinct Account of the Philosophy of Mr. Leibnitz on the System of the Fatalists, with a Confutation of their Opinions, and an Illustration of the Doctrine of Free-will;' with what else you think proper.

"It will, above all, be necessary to take notice, that it is a thing distinct from the Commentary.

"I was so far from imagining they stood still, that I conceived them to have a good deal before-hand, and therefore was less anxious in providing them more. But if ever they stand still on my account, it must doubtless be charged to me; and whatever else shall be reasonable, I shall not oppose; but beg a suspense of judgment till morning, when I must entreat you to send me a dozen proposals, and you shall then have copy to spare.

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Pray muster up the proposals if you can, or let the boy recall them from the booksellers."

But although he corresponded with Mr. Cave concerning a translation of Crousaz's Examen of Pope's Essay on Man, and gave advice as one anxious for its success, I was long ago convinced by a perusal of the preface, that this translation was erroneously ascribed to him; and I have found this point ascertained beyond all doubt, by the

The compositors in Mr. Cave's printing-office, who appear by this letter to have then waited for copy.-NICHOLS.

following article in Dr. Birch's manuscripts in the British Museum.


Versionem tuam Examinis Crousaziani jam perlegi, summam styli et elegantiam, et in re difficillima proprietatem, admiratus.

Dabam Novemb. 27°, 1738".

Indeed Mrs. Carter has lately acknowledged to Mr. Seward, that she was the translator of the Examen.

It is remarkable, that Johnson's last quoted letter to Mr. Cave concludes with a fair confession that he had not a dinner; and it is no less remarkable, that though in this state of want himself, his benevolent heart was not insensible to the necessities of an humble labourer in literature, as appears from the very next letter.


[No date.]

"DEAR SIR,-You may remember I have formerly talked with you about a military dictionary. The eldest Mr. Macbean, who was with Mr. Chambers, has very good materials for such a work, which I have seen, and will do it at a very low rates. I think the terms of war and navigation might be comprised, with good explanations, in one 8vo. pica, which he is willing to do for twelve shillings a sheet, to be made up a guinea at the second impression. If you think on it, I will wait on you with him.

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I must not omit to mention, that this Mr. Macbean was a native of Scotland.

In the Gentleman's Magazine of this year, Johnson gave

Birch MSS. Brit. Mus. 4323. See Mrs. Carter's Life by the rev. Montague Pennington, 8vo. edit. pp. 42--46.

This book was published.

a Life of Father Paul; and he wrote the preface to the volume,† which, though prefixed to it when bound, is always published with the appendix, and is therefore the last composition belonging to it. The ability and nice adaptation with which he could draw up a prefatory address, was one of his peculiar excellencies.

It appears too, that he paid a friendly attention to Mrs. Elizabeth Carter; for in a letter from Mr. Cave to Dr. Birch, November 28, this year, I find " Mr. Johnson advises Miss C. to undertake a translation of Boethius de Cons. because there is prose and verse, and to put her name to it when published." This advice was not followed; probably from an apprehension that the work was not sufficiently popular for an extensive sale. How well Johnson himself could have executed a translation of this philosophic poet, we may judge from the following specimen which he has given in the Rambler (Motto to No. 7.)

O qui perpetua mundum ratione gubernas,
Terrarum cœlique sator!·

Disjice terrenæ nebulas et pondera molis,
Atque tuo splendore mica! Tu namque serenum,
Tu requies tranquilla piis. Te cernere finis,
Principium, vector, dux, semita, terminus, idem.

O thou whose power o'er moving worlds presides,
Whose voice created, and whose wisdom guides,
On darkling man in pure effulgence shine,
And cheer the clouded mind with light divine.
'Tis thine alone to calm the pious breast,

With silent confidence and holy rest;

From thee, great God! we spring, to thee we tend,
Path, motive, guide, original, and end!

In 1739, beside the assistance which he gave to the Parliamentary Debates, his writings in the Gentleman's Magazine were, The Life of Boerhaave,* in which it is to be observed, that he discovers that love of chymistry which never forsook him; An Appeal to the Publick in behalf of

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