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furpassed him. He who could display eloquence and wit in defence of the 1738. decision of the House of Commons upon Mr. Wilkes's election for Middle

Ætat. 29. sex, and of the unconstitutional taxation of our fellow subjects in America, must have been a powerful advocate in any cause. But here, also, the want of a degree was an insurmountable bar,

He was, therefore, under the necessity of perfevering in that course, into which he had been forced ; and we find, that his proposal from Greenwich to Mr. Cave, for a transation of Father Paul Sarpi’s History, was accepted.

Some sheets of this translation were printed off, but the design was dropt; for it happened, oddly enough, that another person of the name of Samuel Johnson, Librarian 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 Bilhop 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 hand-writing, entitled “ Account between Mr. Edward Cave and . Sam. Johnson, in relation to a version of Father Paul, &c. begun August the 2d, 1738 ;” by which it appears, that from that day to the 21st of April,

7 In the Weekly Miscellany, October 21, 1738, there appeared the following advertisement :

Just published, Proposals for printing the History of the Council of Trent, translated from the Italian of Father Paul Sarpi ; with the Authour's Life, and Notes theological, historical, and critical, from the French edition of Dr. Le Courayer. To which are added, Observations on the History, and Notes and Illustrations from various Authours, both printed and manuscript. By S. Johnfon. 1. The work will consist of two hundred sheets, and be ewo volumes in quarto, printed on good paper and letter. 2. The price will be 18s. each volume, to be paid, half a guinea at the time of subscribing, half a guinea at the delivery of the first volume, and the rest at the delivery of the second volume in sheets. 3. Two-pence to be abated for every sheet less than two hundred. It may be had on a large paper, in three volumes, at the price of three guineas ; one. to be paid at the time of subscribing, another at the delivery of the first, and the rest at the delivery of the other volumes. The work is now in the press, and will be diligently profecuted. Sub. scriptions are taken in by Mr. Dodsley in Pall-Mall, Mr. Rivington in St. Paul's Church-yard, by E. Cave at St. John's Gate, and the Translator, at No. 6 in Calle-ftreet, by Cavendish. Square."


Ætat. 29.


LIFE OF DR. JOHNSON. 1738. Johnson received for this work 491. 75. in sums of one, two, three, and some

times four guineas at a time, most frequently two. And it is curious to observe the minute and scrupulous accuracy with which Johnson has pasted upon it a Nip of paper, which he has entitled “ Small Account,” and which contains one article, “ Sept. gth, Mr. Cave laid down 25. 6d.There is subjoined to this account, a list of fome subscribers to the work, partly in Johnson's hand-writing, 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,

To Mr. CAVE,

Wednesday. "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 8 may be had when you please, for you know that such a subject neither deserves much thought, nor requires it.

“ The Chinese Stories' may be had folded down when you please to send, in which I do not recollect that



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.

“ 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

* They afterwards appeared in the Gentleman's Magazine with this title, “ Verses to I.ady Firebrace, at Bury Alizes."

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. N.

· The premium of forty pounds proposed for the best poem on the Divine Attributes is here alluded to. N.

the 1738.

Ætat, 29:

the progress hereafter not such as you have a right to expect, you can easily stimulate a negligent transator,

“ 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. I am, Sir,

« Your humble servant,


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[No date.] “ I am pretty much of your opinion, that the Commentary cannot be prosecuted with any appearance of success; for as the names of the authours concerned are of more weight in the performance than its own intrinsick merit, the publick will be foon satisfied with it. And I think the Examen should be pushed forward with the utmost expedition.. Thus, “This day, &c. An Examen of Mr. Pope's Effay, &c. 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 neceffary 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 beforehand, and therefore was less anxious in providing them

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 judgement till morning, when I must intreat you to send me a dozen proposals, and you shall then have copy to spare.. I am, Sir,

« Your's, impransus,

“ SAM. JOHNSON.” “ 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 transation of Crousaz’s Examen of Pope's Essay on Man, and gave advice as one anxious for its success, I was long ago coniynced by a perusal of the Preface,

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


1738. that this translation was erroneously ascribed to him; and I have found this Ætat. 29. point ascertained, beyond all doubt, by the following article in Dr. Birch's

Manuscripts in the British Museum :

" ELISIÆ CARTERÆ. S. P. D. THOMAS BIRCH. Versionem tuam Examinis Croufaziani jam perlegi. Summam styli et elegantian, et ir re difficillime 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 insenfible to the necessities of an humble labourer in literature, as appears from the

very next letter:

To Mr. Cave. " DEAR SIR,

[No date. ) “ 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 rate.

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. I am, Sir,

« Your humble servant,

“ SAM. JOHNSON." Pray lend me Topsel on Animals.”

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 a Life of Father Paul ;* and he wrote the Preface to the Volume,t 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.

3 Birch MSS. Brit. Muf. 4320.


Ætat. 30

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 fale. How well Johnson himself could have executed a translation of this philosophical poet, we may judge from a specimen which he has given in the Rambler :

O qui perpetuâ mundum ratione gubernas,
- Terrarum cælique fator !
Disjice terrenæ nubulas et pondera molis,
Atque tuo fplendore mica! Tu namque ferenum,
Tu requies tranquilla piis. Te cernere finis,
Principium, vector, dux, femita, 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 the Editor ;ť”
“ An Address to the Reader ;t” “ An Epigram both in Greek and Latin to
Eliza, *” and also English verses to her ;* and, “A Greek Epigram to Dr.
Birch.*" It has been erroneously supposed, that an Essay published in that
Magazine this year, entitled “ The Apotheosis of Milton,” was written by
Johnson; and on that supposition it has been improperly inserted in the edition
of his works by the booksellers, after his decease. Were there no positive
testimony as to this point, the style of the performance, and the name of
Shakspeare not being mentioned in an Effay professedly reviewing the principal
English poets, would ascertain it not to be the production of Johnson. But

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