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Ætat. 43

upon his other qualities; and, in a short time, the moral, pious Johnson, and the gay, disipated Beauclerk, were companions. “What a coalition ! (said Garrick, when he heard of this ;) I shall have my old friend to bail out of the Round-house.” But I can bear testimony that it was a very agreeable association. Beauclerk was too polite, and valued learning and wit too much, to offend Johnson by fallies of infidelity or licentiousness; and Johnson delighted in the good qualities of Beauclerk, and hoped to correct the evil. Innumerable were the scenes in which Johnson was amused by these young men. Beauclerk could take more liberty with him, than any body with whom I ever saw him; but, on the other hand, Beauclerk was not spared by his respectable companion, when reproof was proper. Beauclerk had such a propensity to satire, that at one time Johnson said to him, “ You never open your mouth but with intention to give pain; and you have often given me pain, not from the power of what you said, but from seeing your intention.” At another time applying to him, with a Night alteration, a line of Pope, he said, “ Thy love of folly, and thy scorn of fools—Every thing thou dost shews the one, and every thing thou say'st the other.” At another time he said to him, “ Thy body is all vice, and thy mind all virtue.” Beauclerk not seeming to relish the compliment, Johnson said, “ Nay, Sir, Alexander the Great, marching in triumph into Babylon, could not have desired to have had more faid to him.”

Johnson was some time with Beauclerk at his house at Windsor, where he was entertained with experiments in natural philosophy. One Sunday, when the weather was very fine, Beauclerk enticed him, insensibly, to faunter about all the morning. They went into a church-yard, in the time of divine service, and Johnson laid himself down at his ease upon one of the tomb-stones. “Now, Sir, (said Beauclerk) you are like Hogarth’s Idle Apprentice." When Johnson got his pension, Beauclerk said to him, in the humorous phrase of Falstaff, “ I hope you'll now purge, and live cleanly like a gentleman.”

One night when Beauclerk and Langton had supped at a tavern in London, and fat till about three in the morning, it came into their heads to go and knock up Johnson, and see if they could prevail on him to join them in a ramble. They rapped violently at the door of his chambers in the Temple, till at last he appeared in his thirt, with his little black wig on the top of his head, instead of a nightcap, and a poker in his hand, imagining, probably, that some ruffians were coming to attack him. When he discovered who they were, and was told their errand, he siniled, and with great good humour agreed to their proposal: “ What, is it you, you dogs! I'll have a frisk with you.” He was soon drest, and they fallied forth together into Covent-Garden,


1752. where the green-grocers and fruiterers were beginning to arrange their hampers, Ærat. 43. just come in from the country. Johnson made some attempts to help them; but the honest gardeners stared so at his figure and manner, and odd interference, that he foon saw his services were not relished. They then repaired to one of the neighbouring taverns, and made a bowl of that liquor called Bishop, which Johnson had always liked ; while in joyous contempt of Neep, from which he had been roused, he repeated the festive lines;

Short, O short then be thy reign, “ And gve us to the world again!”


They did not stay long, but walked down to the Thames, took a boat, and rowed to Billingsgate. Beauclerk and Johnson were so well pleased with their amusement, that they resolved to persevere in dislipation for the rest of the day: but Langton deserted them, being engaged to breakfast with some young ladies. Johnson scolded him for “ leaving his social friends, to go and sit with a set of wretched un-idea'd girls.” Garrick being told of this ramble, said to him smartly, “ I heard of your frolick t'other night. You'll be in the Chronicle.” Upon which Johnson afterwards observed, “ He durft not do such a thing. His wife would not let him!”

He entered upon the year 1753 with his usual piety, as appears from the following prayer transcribed from that part of his diary which he burnt a few days before his death :

Jan. I, 1753, N. S. which I shall use for the future.

Almighty God, who hast continued my life to this day, grant that, by the assistance of thy Holy Spirit, I may improve the time which thou shalt grant me, to my eternal salvation. Make me to remember, to thy glory, thy judgements and thy mercies. Make me fo to consider the loss of

my wife, whom thou hast taken from me, that it may dispose me, by thy grace, to lead the residue of my life in thy fear. Grant this, O LORD, for Jesus Christ's sake. Amen.”

He now relieved the drudgery of his Dictionary, and the melancholy of his grief, by taking an active part in the composition of “The Adventurer,” in which he began to write April 10, marking his essays with the signature T, by which most of his papers in that collection are distinguished : those, however, which have that signature and also that of Mysargyrus, were not written by him, but, as I suppose, by Dr. Bathurst. Indeed Johnson's energ of


Ætat. 44•

1753. thought and richness of language, are still more decisive marks than any signa

ture. As a proof of this, my readers, I imagine, will not doubt that No. 39, on seep, is his; for it not only has the general texture and colour of his style, but the authours with whom he was peculiarly conversant are readily introduced in it in cursory allusion. The transation of a passage in Statius quoted in that paper, and marked C. B. is certainly the performance of Dr. Charles Bathurst. How much this amiable man actually contributed to “ The Adventurer,” cannot be known. Let me add, that Hawkesworth's imitations of Johnson are sometimes so happy, that it is extremely difficult to distinguish them, with certainty, from the compositions of his great archetype. Hawkesworth was his closest imitator, a circumstance of which that writer would once have been proud to be told; though, when he had become elated by having risen into some degree of consequence, he, in a conversation with me, had the provoking effrontery to say he was not sensible of it.

Johnson was truly zealous for the success of “ The Adventurer;" and very soon after his engaging in it, he wrote the following letter

To the Reverend Dr. JOSEPH WARTON.


I ought to have written to you before now, but I ought to do many things which I do not; nor can I, indeed, claim any merit from this letter; for being desired by the authours and proprietor of the Adventurer to look out for another hand, my thoughts necessarily fix'd upon you, whose fund of literature will enable you to assist them, with very little interruption of

your studies.

They desire you to engage to furnish one paper a month, at two guineas a paper, which you may very readily perform. We have considered that a paper should consist of pieces of imagination, pictures of life, and disquisitions of literature. The part which depends on the imagination is very well supplied, as you will find when you read the paper ; for descriptions of life, there is now a treaty almost made with an authour and an authoress; and the province of criticisin and literature they are very desirous to aflign to the commentator on Virgil.

“ I hope this proposal will not be rejected, and that the next post will bring us your compliance. I speak as one of the fraternity, though I have no part in the paper, beyond now and then a motto ; but two of the writers


are my particular friends, and I hope the pleasure of seeing a third united to
them, will not be denied to, dear Sir,

Your most obedient
• And most humble servant,


Ætat, 44.

« March 8, 1753.

The consequence of this letter was, Dr. Warton's enriching the collection with several admirable essays.

Johnson's saying “I have no part in the paper beyond now and then a motto,” may seem inconsistent with his being the authour of the papers marked T. But he had, at this time, written only one number; and besides, even at any after period, he might have used the fame expression, considering it as a point of honour not to own them; for Mrs. Williams told me, that « as he had given those essays to Dr. Bathurst, who fold them at two guineas each, he never would own them; nay, he used to say he did not write them: but the fact was, that he dietated them, while Bathurst wrote.” I read to him Mrs. Williams's account; he smiled, and said nothing.

I am not quite satisfied with the casuistry by which the productions of one person are thus passed upon the world for the productions of another. I allow that not only knowledge, but powers and qualities of mind may be communicated; but the actual effect of individual exertion never can be transferred, with truth, to any other than its own original cause. One person's child may be made the child of another person by adoption, as among the Romans, or by the ancient Jewish mode of a wife having children borne to her upon her knees, by her handmaid. But these were children in a different sense from that of nature. It was clearly understood that they were not of the blood of their nominal parents. So in literary children, an authour may give the profits and fame of his composition to another man, but cannot make that other the real authour. A Highland gentleman, a younger branch of a family, consulted me if he could not validly purchase the Chieftainship of his family, from the Chief who was willing to sell it. I told him it was impossible for him to acquire, by purchase, a right to be a different person from what he really was; for that the right of Chieftainship attached to the blood of primogeniture, and, therefore, was incapable of being transferred. I added, that though Efau sold his birth-right, or the advantages belonging to it, he still remained the first-born of his parents ; and that whatever agreement a Chief might make with any of the clan, the Herald's Office could not admit of the metamorphosis, or with any decency attest that the younger was the elder; buc I did not convince the worthy gentleman.





Ætat. 44•


Johnson's papers in the Adventurer are very similar to those of the Rambler; but being rather more varied in their subjects, and being mixed with essays by other writers, upon topicks more generally attractive than even the most elegant ethical discourses, the sale of the work, at first, was more extensive. Without meaning, however, to depreciate the Adventurer, I must observe, that as the value of the Rambler came, in the progress of time, to be better known, it grew upon the publick estimation, and that its sale has far exceeded that of any other periodical papers since the reign of Queen Anne. In one of the books of his diary I find the following entry:

Apr. 3, 1753. I began the second vol. of my Dictionary, room being left in the first for Preface, Grammar, and History, none of them yet begun.

“ O God, who hast hitherto supported me, enable me to proceed in this labour, and in the whole talk of my present state; that when I shall render up, at the last day, an account of the talent committed to me, I may receive pardon, for the sake of Jesus Christ. Amen."

He this year favoured Mrs. Lennox with a Dedication to the Earl of Orrery, of her “ Shakspeare Illustrated.”

In 1754 I can trace nothing published by him, except his numbers of the -Adventurer, and “ The Life of Edward Cave,” in the Gentleman's Magazine for February. In biography there can be no question that he excelled, beyond all who have attempted that species of composition; upon which, indeed, he set the highest value. To the minute selection of characteristical circumstances, for which the ancients were remarkable, he added a philosophical research, and the most perspicuous and energetick language. Cave was certainly a man of estimable qualities, and was eminently diligent and successful in his own business, which, doubtless, entitled him to respect. But he was peculiarly fortunate in being recorded by Johnson, who, of the narrow life of a printer and publisher, without any digressions or adventitious circumstances, has made an interesting and agreeable narrative.

The Dictionary, we may believe, afforded Johnson full occupation this year. As it approached to its conclusion, he probably worked with redoubled vigour, aş feamen increase their exertion and alacrity when they have a near prospect of their haven.

Lord Chesterfield, to whom Johnson had paid the high compliment of addressing to his Lordship the Plan of his Dictionary, had behaved to him in such a manner as to excite his contempt and indignation. The world has been for many years amused with a story confidently told, and as confidently repeated with additional circumstances, that a sudden disgust was taken by Johnson upon occasion of his having been one day kept long in waiting in his Lord



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