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will do us no good. perhaps not fo foon.
"London, June 23, 1770.
We fhall not begin to print before the end of fix weeks,
"I am, &c.
To the Reverend Dr. JOSEPH WARTON.
"I AM revising my edition of Shakspeare, and remember that I formerly misrepresented your opinion of Lear. Be pleased to write the paragraph as you would have it, and fend it. If you have any remarks of your own upon that or any other play, I fhall gladly receive them.
"Make my compliments to Mrs. Warton. I sometimes think of wandering for a few days to Winchester, but am apt to delay. I am, Sir, "Your most humble fervant,
To Mr. FRANCIS BARBER, at Mrs. CLAPP's, Bishop-Stortford, Hertfordshire. "DEAR FRANCIS,
"I AM at last sat down to write to you, and should very much blame myself for having neglected you fo long, if I did not impute that and many other failings to want of health. I hope not to be fo long filent again. I am very well fatisfied with your progrefs, if you can really perform the exercises which you are fet; and I hope Mr. Ellis does not fuffer you to impofe on him, or on yourself.
"Make my compliments to Mr. Ellis, and to Mrs. Clapp, and Mr. Smith.
"Let me know what English books you read for your entertainment. You can never be wife unless you love reading.
"Do not imagine that I fhall forget or forfake you; for if, when I examine you, I find that you have not loft your time, you shall want no encouragement from
Sept. 27, 1770.
"London, Sept 25, 1770.
To the fame.
"I HOPE you mind your business. I defign you shall stay with Mrs. Clapp these holidays. If you are invited out you may go, if Mr. Ellis gives leave. I have ordered you fome cloaths, which you will receive, I believe, next week. My compliments to Mrs. Clapp and to Mr. Ellis, and Mr. Smith, &c. I am
"December 7, 1770.
During this year there was a total ceffation of all correfpondence between Dr. Johnson and me, without any coldness on either fide, but merely from procrastination, continued from day to day; and as I was not in London, I had no opportunity of enjoying his company and recording his converfation. To supply this blank, I shall present my readers with fome Collectanea, obligingly furnished to me by the Reverend Dr. Maxwell, of Falkland, in Ireland, fome time affiftant preacher at the Temple, and for many years the focial friend of Johnfon, who spoke of him with a very kind regard.
"My acquaintance with that great and venerable character commenced in the year 1754. I was introduced to him by Mr. Grierson, his Majesty's printer at Dublin, a gentleman of uncommon learning, and great wit and vivacity. Mr. Grierfon died in Germany, at the age of twenty-feven. Dr. Johnson highly respected his abilities, and often obferved, that he poffeffed more extensive knowledge than any man of his years he had ever known. His industry was equal to his talents; and he particularly excelled in every fpecies of philological learning, and was, perhaps, the beft critick of the age he lived in.
must always remember with gratitude my obligation to Mr. Grierfon, for the honour and happiness of Dr. Johnson's acquaintance and friendship, which continued uninterrupted and undiminished to his death: a connection, that was at once the pride and happiness of my life.
"What pity it is, that fo much wit and good fenfe as he continually exhibited in converfation, fhould perifh unrecorded! Few perfons quitted his
7 Son of the learned Mrs. Grierfon, who was patronifed by the late Lord Granville, and was the editor of feveral of the clafficks.
company without perceiving themselves wifer and better than they were before. On ferious fubjects he flashed the most interesting conviction upon tat. 61. his auditors; and upon lighter topicks, you might have fuppofed-Albano mufas de monte locutas.
Though I can hope to add but little to the celebrity of so exalted a character, by any communications I can furnish, yet out of pure respect to his memory, I will venture to tranfmit to you fome anecdotes concerning him, which fell under my own obfervation. The very minutie of fuch a character must be interesting, and may be compared to the filings of diamonds.
"In politicks he was deemed a Tory, but certainly was not fo in the obnoxious or party sense of the term; for while he afferted the legal and falutary prerogatives of the crown, he no less refpected the conftitutional liberties of the people. Whiggism, at the time of the Revolution, he faid, was accompanied with certain principles; but latterly, as a mere party diftinction under Walpole and the Pelhams, was no better than the politicks of stock-jobbers, and the religion of infidels.
"He detefted the idea of governing by parliamentary corruption, and afferted moft ftrenuously, that a prince fteadily and confpicuously pursuing the interests of his people, could not fail of parliamentary concurrence. prince of ability, he contended, might and should be the directing foul and spirit of his own administration; in fhort, his own minifter, and not the mere head of a party: and then, and not till then, would the royal dignity befincerely refpected.
Johnson seemed to think, that a certain degree of crown influence over the Houses of Parliament, (not meaning a corrupt and fhameful, dependence,) was very falutary, nay even neceffary, in our mixed government. For, (said he,) if the members were under no crown influence, and difqualified from receiving any gratification from Court, and resembled, as they poffibly might, Pym and Haflerig, and other stubborn and sturdy members of the long Parliament, the wheels of government would be totally obstructed. Such men would oppose, merely to fhew their power, from envy, jealousy, and perversity of difpofition; and not gaining themselves, would hate and oppose all who did not loving the perfon of the prince, and conceiving they owed him little gratitude, from the mere spirit of infolence and contradiction, they would oppose and thwart him upon all occasions.'
"The infeparable imperfection annexed to all human governments, consisted, he said, in not being able to create a sufficient fund of virtue and principle to carry the laws into due and effectual execution. Wifdom might plan, but virtue
virtue alone could execute. And where could fufficient virtue be found? A variety of delegated, and often discretionary powers must be entrusted fomewhere; which, if not governed by integrity and confcience, would neceffarily be abused, till at last the constable would fell his for a fhilling.
"This excellent perfon was fometimes charged with abetting flavish and arbitrary principles of government. Nothing in my opinion could be a groffer calumny and mifreprefentation; for how can it be rationally fuppofed, that he fhould adopt fuch pernicious and abfurd opinions, who fupported his philofophical character with fo much dignity, was extremely jealous of his perfonal liberty and independence, and could not brook the finalleft appearance of neglect or infult, even from the highest perfonages?
"But let us view him in fome inftances of more familiar life..
"His general mode of life, during my acquaintance, feemed to be pretty uniform. About twelve o'clock I commonly vifited him, and frequently found him in bed, or declaiming over his tea, which he drank very plentifully. He generally had a levee of morning visitors, chiefly men of letters; Hawkfworth, Goldsmith, Murphy, Langton, Steevens, Beauclerk, &c. &c. and fometimes learned ladies, particularly I remember a French lady of wit and fashion doing him the honour of a vifit. He feemed to me to be confidered as a kind of publick oracle, whom every body thought they had a right to vifit and confult; and doubtless they were well rewarded. I never could difcover how he found time for his compofitions. He declaimed all the morning, then went to dinner at a tavern, where he commonly staid late, and then drank his tea at fome friend's house, over which he loitered a great while, but feldom took fupper. I fancy he must have read and wrote chiefly in the night, for I can scarely recollect that he ever refused going with me to a tavern, and he often went to Ranelagh, which he deemed a place of innocent recreation.
"He frequently gave all the filver in his pocket to the poor, who watched him, between his house and the tavern where he dined. He walked the streets at all hours, and faid he was never robbed, for the rogues knew he had little money, nor had the appearance of having much.
"Though the moft acceffible and communicative man alive, yet when he fufpected he was invited to be exhibited, he conftantly spurned the invitation.
"Two young women from Staffordshire vifited him when I was present, to confult him on the fubject of Methodifm, to which they were inclined. • Come, (faid he,) you pretty fools, dine with Maxwell and me at the Mitre, and we will talk over that fubject;' which they did, and after dinner he took one of them upon his knee, and fondled her for half an hour together.
"Upon a visit to me at a country lodging near Twickenham, he asked what fort of fociety I had there. I told him, but indifferent; as they chiefly tat. 61. confifted of opulent traders, retired from bufinefs. He faid, he never much
liked that class of people; For, Sir, (faid he,) they have loft the civility of tradesmen, without acquiring the manners of gentlemen.'
"Johnson was much attached to London: he obferved, that a man stored his mind better there, than any where elfe; and that in remote fituations a man's body might be feasted, but his mind was starved, and his faculties apt to degenerate, from want of exercise and competition. No place, he said, cured a man's vanity or arrogance, fo well as London; for as no man was either great or good per fe, but as compared with others not fo good or great, he was fure to find in the metropolis many his equals, and fome his fuperiours. He obferved, that a man in London was in lefs danger of falling in love indifcreetly, than any where else; for there the difficulty of deciding between the conflicting pretenfions of a vast variety of objects, kept him fafe. He told me, that he had frequently been offered country preferment, if he would confent to take orders; but he could not leave the improved fociety of the capital, or confent to exchange the exhilarating joys and fplendid decorations of publick life, for the obfcurity, infipidity, and uniformity of remote fituations.
Speaking of Mr. Harte, Canon of Windfor, and writer of The Hiftory of Guftavus Adolphus,' he much commended him as a scholar, and a man of the most companionable talents he had ever known. He faid, the defects in his hiftory proceeded not from imbecillity, but from foppery.
"He loved, he faid, the old black letter books; they were rich in matter, though their style was inelegant; wonderfully fo, confidering how converfant the writers were with the best models of antiquity.
"Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy,' he faid, was the only book that ever took him out of bed two hours fooner than he wished to rife.
"He frequently exhorted me to fet about writing a History of Ireland, and archly remarked, there had been some good Irish writers, and that one Irishman might at least afpire to be equal to another. He had great compaffion for the miseries and distresses of the Irish nation, particularly the Papists; and feverely reprobated the barbarous debilitating policy of the British government, which he said was the most deteftable mode of perfecution. To a gentleman, who hinted fuch policy might be neceffary to fupport the authority of the English government, he replied by faying, 'Let the authority of the English government perish, rather than be maintained by iniquity. Better