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parties, I find it will less incommode you to spend 1769. your night here, than me to come town. I wish
Ætat.60. to see you, and am ordered by the lady of this house to invite you hither. Whether you can come or not, I shall not have any occasion of writing to you again before your marriage, and therefore tell you now, that with great sincerity I wish you happiness. I am, dear Sir,
“ Your most affectionate humble servant, « Noy. 9, 1769.
“ SAM. JOHNSON."
I was detained in town till it was too late on the ninth, so went to him early in the morning of the tenth of November. “ Now (said he,) that you are going to marry, do not expect more from life, than life will afford. You may often find yourself out of humour, and you may often think your wife not studious enough to please you; and yet you may have reason to consider yourself as upon the whole very happily married.”
Talking of marriage in general, he observed, « Our marriage service is too refined. It is calculated only for the best kind of marriages; whereas, we should have a form for matches of convenience, of which there are inany." He agreed with me that there was no absolute necessity for having the marriage ceremony performed by a regular clergyman, for this was not commanded in scripture.
I was volatile enough to repeat to him a little epi. grammatick song of mine, on matrimony, which Mr. Garrick had a few days before procured to be set to musick by the very ingenious Mr. Dibden,
A MATRIMONIAL THOUGHT.
6 With Kate's allurements smitten,
66 And call'd her dearest kitten.
“ But now my kitten's grown a cat,
“ And cross like other wives,
" I fear she has nine lives.”
My illustrious friend said, “ It is very well, Sir; but you should not swear.” Upon which I altered “ O! by my soul,” to “alas, alas !"
He was so good as to accompany me to London, and see me into the post-chaise which was to carry me on my road to Scotland. And sure I am, that however inconsiderable many of the particulars recorded at this time may appear to some, they will be esteemed by the best part of my readers as genuine traits of his character, contributing together to give a full, fair, and distinct view of it.
In 1770, he published a political pamphlet, entiÆtat. 61.tled “ The False Alarm,” intended to justify the
conduct of ministry and their majority in the House of Commons, for having virtually assumed it as an axiom, that the expulsion of a Member of Parliament was equivalent to exclusion, and thus having declared Colonel Lutterel to be duly elected for the county of Middlesex, notwithstanding Mr. Wilkes had a great majority of votes. This being justly considered as a gross violation of the right of elec- 1770. tion, an alarm for the constitution extended itself all
Ætat, 61. over the kingdom. To prove this alarm to be false, was the purpose of Johnson's pamphlet ; but even his vast powers were inadequate to cope with constitutional truth and reason, and his argument failed of effect; and the House of Commons haved since expunged the offensive resolution from their journals. That the House of Commons might have expelled Mr. Wilkes repeatedly, and as often as he should be re-chosen, was not denied; but incapacitation cannot be but by an act of the whole legislature. It was wonderful to see how a prejudice in favour of government in general, and an aversion to popular clamour, could blind and contract such an understanding as Johnson's, in this particular case; yet the wit, the sarcasm, the eloquent vivacity which this pamphlet displayed, made it be read with great avidity at the time, and it will ever be read with pleasure, for the sake of its composition. That it endeavoured to infuse a narcotick indifference, as to publick concerns, into the minds of the people, and that it broke out sometimes into an extreme coarseness of contemptuous abuse, is but too evident.
It must not, however, be omitted, that when the storm of his violence subsides, he takes a fair opportunity to pay a grateful compliment to the King, who had rewarded his merit: “ These low-born rulers have endeavoured, surely without effect, to alienate the affections of the people from the only King who for almost a century has much appeared to desire, or much endeavoured to deserve them." And " Every honest inan must lament, that the faction has been regarded with frigid neutrality by the Tories,
1770. who being long accustomed to signalise their prinÆtat. 61. ciples by opposition to the Court, do not yet consider,
that they have at last a King who knows not the name of party, and who wishes to be the common father of all his people.”
To this pamphlet, which was at once discovered to be Johnson's, several answers came out, in which, care was taken to remind the publick of his former attacks upon government, and of his now being a pensioner, without allowing for the honourable terms upon which Johnson's pension was granted and accepted, or the change of system which the British court had undergone upon the accession of his
present Majesty. He was, however, soothed in the highest strain of panegyrick, in a poem call “ The Remonstrance," by the Reverend Mr. Stockdale, to whom he was, upon many occasions, a kind protector.
The following admirable minute made by him, describes so well his own state, and that of numbers to whom self-examination is habitual, that I cannot omit it:
“ June 1, 1770. Every man naturally persuades himself that he can keep his resolutions, nor is he convinced of his imbecility but by length of time and frequency of experiment. This opinion of our own constancy is so prevalent, that we always despise him who suffers his general and settled
purpose to be overpowered by an occasional desire. · They, therefore, whom frequent failures have made desperate, cease to form resolutions; and they who are become cunning, do not tell them. Those who do not make them are very few, but of their effect little is perceived; for scarcely any man persists in a course
of life planned by choice, but as he is restrained from deviation by some external power.
He who may live as he will, seldom lives long in the observation of his own rules."; Of this
I have obtained the following letters:
TO THE REVEREND DR. FARMER, CAMBRIDGE.
“ As no man ought to keep wholly to himself any possession that may be useful to the publick, I hope you will not think me unreasonably intrusive, if I have recourse to you for such information as you are more able to give me than any other man. ·
“ In support of an opinion which you have already placed above the need of any more support, Mr. Steevens, a very ingenious gentleman, lately of King's College, has collected an account of all the translations which Shakspeare might have seen and used. He wishes his catalogue to be perfect, and therefore intreats that you will favour him by the insertion of such additions as the
your enquiries has enabled you to make. To this request, I take the liberty of adding my own solicitation.
“ We have no immediate use for this catalogue, and therefore do not desire that it should interrupt or hinder your more important einployments. But it will be kind to let us know that you receive it.
" I am, Sir, &c. " Johnson's-court, Fleet-street,
6 SAM. JOHNSON." March 21, 1770.
TO THE REVEREND MR. THOMAS WARTON.
3 Prayers and Meditations, p. 05.