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"Those motions or tricks of Dr. Johnson are improperly called convulsions. He could sit motionless, when he was told so to do, as well as any other man. My opinion is, that it proceeded from a habit which he had indulged himself in, of accompanying his thoughts with certain untoward actions, and those actions always appeared to me as if they were meant to reprobate some part of his past conduct. Whenever he was not engaged in conversation, such thoughts were sure to rush into his mind; and, for this reason, any company, any employment whatever, he preferred to being alone. The great business of his life, he said, was to escape from himself; this disposition he considered as the disease of his mind, which nothing cured but company.

"One instance of his absence and particularity, as it is characteristic of the man, may be worth relating. When he and I took a journey together into the West, we visited the late Mr. Banks, of Dorsetshire; the conversation turning upon pictures, which Johnson could not well see, he retired to a corner of the room, stretching out his right leg as far as he could reach before him, then bringing up his left leg, and, stretching his right still further on. The old gentleman observing him, went up to him, and in a very courteous manner assured him, though it was not a new house, the flooring was perfectly safe. The Doctor started from his reverie, like a person waked out of his sleep, but spoke not a word.”

While we are on this subject, my readers may not be displeased with another anecdote, communicated to me by the same friend, from the relation of Mr. Hogarth.

Johnson used to be a pretty frequent visitor at the house of Mr. Richardson, author of "Clarissa," and other novels of extensive reputation. Mr. Hogarth came one day to see Richardson, soon after the execution of Dr. Cameron, for having taken arms for the House of Stuart in 1745-6; and being a warm partisan of George the Second, he observed to Richardson, that certainly there must have been some very unfavourable circumstances lately discovered in this particular case, which had induced the King to approve of an execution for rebellion so long after the time when it was committed, as this had the appearance of putting a man to death in cold blood,1 and

1 Impartial posterity may, perhaps, be as little inclined as Dr. Johnson was, to justify the uncommon rigour exercised in the case of Dr. Archibald Cameron. He was an amiable and truly honest



was very unlike his Majesty's usual clemency. While he was talking, he perceived a person standing at a window in the room, shaking his head, and rolling himself about in a strange ridiculous manner. He concluded that he was an idiot, whom his relations had put under the care of Mr. Richardson, as a very good man. To his great surprise, however, this figure stalked forwards to where he and Mr. Richardson were sitting, and all at once took up the argument, and burst out into an invective against George the Second, as one, who, upon all occasions, was unrelenting and barbarous; mentioning many instances, particularly, that when an officer of high rank had been acquitted by a Court Martial, George the Second had with his own hand struck his name off the list. In short, he displayed such a power of eloquence, that Hogarth looked at him with astonishment, and actually imagined that this idiot had been at the moment inspired. Neither Hogarth nor Johnson were made known to each other at this interview.



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In 1740 he wrote for the "Gentleman's Magazine the Preface,t"The Life of Admiral Blake," and the first parts of those of "Sir Francis Drake," and "Philip Barretier," both which he finished the following year. He also wrote an "Essay on Epitaphs," and an "Epitaph on Phillips, a Musician," which was afterwards published, with some other pieces of his, in Mrs. Williams's Miscellanies. This Epitaph is so exquisitely man; and his offence was owing to a generous, though mistaken principle of duty. Being obliged, after 1746, to give up his profession as a physician, and to go into foreign parts, he was honoured with the rank of Colonel, both in the French and Spanish service. He was a son of the ancient and respectable family of Cameron of Lochiel; and his brother, who was the Chief of that brave clan, distinguished himself by moderation and humanity, while the Highland army marched victorious through Scotland. It is remarkable of this Chief, that though he had earnestly remonstrated against the attempt as hopeless, he was of too heroic a spirit not to venture his life and fortune in the cause, when personally asked by him whom he thought his Prince. B. See the Introduction to Redgauntlet. Cameron was executed June 7, 1753.

beautiful, that I remember even Lord Kames, strangely prejudiced as he was against Dr. Johnson, was compelled to allow it very high praise. It has been ascribed to Mr. Garrick, from its appearing at first with the signature G; but I have heard Mr. Garrick declare, that it was written by Dr. Johnson, and give the following account of the manner in which it was composed. Johnson and he were sitting together; when, amongst other things, Garrick repeated an Epitaph upon this Phillips by a Dr. Wilkes, in these words:

"Exalted soul! whose harmony could please
The love-sick virgin, and the gouty ease;
Could jarring discord, like Amphion, move
To beauteous order and harmonious love;
Rest here in peace, till angels bid thee rise,
And meet thy blessed Saviour in the skies."

Johnson shook his head at these common-place funereal lines, and 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


The epitaph of Phillips is in the porch of Wolverhampton Church. The prose part of it is curious :-" Near this place lies CHARLES CLAUDIUS PHILLIPS, 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:

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"Exalted soul, thy various sounds could please
The love-sick virgin, and the gouty ease;



At the same time that Mr. Garrick favoured me with this anecdote, he repeated a very pointed epigram by Johnson on George the Second and Colley Cibber, which has never yet appeared, and of which I know not the exact date. Dr. Johnson afterwards gave it to me himself:

"Augustus still survives in Maro's strain,
And Spenser's verse prolongs Eliza's reign;
Great George's acts let tuneful Cibber sing;
For Nature form'd the Poet for the King.'

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In 1741 he wrote for the "Gentleman's Magazine' the Preface, "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 Abbé Guyon's Dissertation on the Amazons; "†"Translation of Fontenelle's Panegyrick 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, 1742-3.

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.

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."

From a note contributed to the 3rd edition by the Rev. J. B. Blakeway, of Shrewsbury. Consort would now be spelled concert.

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 add 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's 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 shew, 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 shew 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

1 I suppose in another compilation of the same kind. B.

2 Doubtless, Lord Hardwicke.


Birch's MSS. in the British Museum, 4302. B.

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