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Williams, Mrs. Anna, her death, ü. 463, 7,
Y Miss Helen Maria, ii. 495. Wilson, Reverend Mr. letter of Johnson to, YOUNG, Dr. his · Night Thoughts,' i, 322;
ii. 362. Windham, Right Hon. William, letters of John
Johnson's life of, i. 361. son to, ii. 458, 545, 6;--and see ii. 540.
anecdotes of, ii. 400, 2. 576.
his fine image of delicate satire, ii. Wine, the use of, i. 378, 380; ii. 20, 64, 154 505. 199, 202, 248, 254, 286, 290, 371, 6,
Mr. (Greek Professor at Glasgow, 383.
his Criticism on Gray's Elegy,' in imi. Wirtemberg, Prince of, anecdote of, i. 373. tation of Johnson, ii. 565. Wit, ii.
391, Witches, 1. 372 ; ii. 286. Wraxall, Mr. ii. 316. • The World,' (periodical essays,) i. 228.
ZECK, Luke, anecdote of, i. 275.
Which the Reader is requested to make with his Pen, before perusing the following Life.
P. 32, 1. 3 from the foot, for cotemporaries, read contemporaries.
1. dele out. Page 133, line 24, for a warren, read free warren. P. 136, 1. 6, for is certainly the performance of Dr. Charles Bathurst, read has been erroneously
ascribed io Dr. Bathurst, whose christian name was Richard, P. 173, l. 16, 17, 24, 26, for Jennings, read Jennyns. P. 16c, I. 8, for Pancoek, read Panckoucke.
1. 4, upon the word name put the following note :- I have had inquiry made in Ireland as to this story, but do not find it recollected there. I give it on the authority of Dr. Johnson, to which may be added, that of “ The Biographical Dictionary," in which it
has stood many years. Ibid. 1. 4, for a book on the authenticity of the Gospel History, read “ An Enquiry into the
Origin of Moral Virtue.”
P. 191, 1. 8, for Johnston read Johnson.
Dedication of his Juvenal.
To Mr. EDMUND ALLEN. “ DEAR SIR,
“ IT has pleased Gop this morning to deprive me of the powers of speech; and as I do not know but that it may be his farther good pleasure to deprive me soon of my senses, I request you will, on the receipt of this note, come to me, and act for me, as the exigencies of my case may require. I am fincerely yours,
“ SAM. JOHNSO N." P. 562, 1. 3, from the foot, after tongue insert a and prefix inverted commas to the
following word. P. 582, 1. 10, after respectable contribution, add-But the Dean and Chapter of St. Paul's
having come to a resolution of admitting monuments there, upon a liberal and magnificent plan, that cathedral was afterwards fixed on as the place.
o write the life of him who excelled all mankind in writing the lives of others, and who, whether we consider his extraordinary endow
ments, or his various works, has been equalled by few in any age, is an arduous, and may be reckoned in me a presumptuous task.
Had Dr. Johnson written his own life, in conformity with the opinion which he has given', that every man's life may be best written by himself; had he employed in the preservation of his own history, that clearness of narration and elegance of language in which he has embalmed so
persons, the world would probably have had the most perfect example of biography that was ever exhibited. But although he at different times, in a desultory manner, committed to writing many particulars of the progress of his mind and fortunes, he never had persevering diligence enough to form them into a regular composition. Of these memorials a few have been preserved; but the greater part was consigned by him to the flames, a few days before his death.
As I had the honour and happiness of enjoying his friendship for upwards of twenty years ; as I had the scheme of writing his life constantly in view; as he was well apprised of this circumstance, and from time to time obligingly satisfied my inquiries, by communicating to me the incidents of his early, years; as I acquired a facility in recollecting, and was very afsiduous in
recording his conversation, of which the extraordinary vigour and vivacity constituted one of the first features of his character; and as I have spared no pains in obtaining materials concerning him, from every quarter where I could discover that they were to be found, and have been favoured with the most liberal communications by his friends; I flatter myself that few biographers have entered upon such a work as this, with more advantages, independent of literary abilities, in which I am not vain enough to compare myself with some great names who have gone before me in this kind of writing.
Since my work was announced, several Lives and Memoirs of Dr. Johnson have been published, the most voluminous of which is one compiled for the Booksellers of London, by Sir John Hawkins, Knight”, a man, whom, during my long intimacy with Dr. Johnson, I never saw in his company, I think but once, and I am sure not above twice. Johnson might have esteemed him for his decent, religious demeanour, and his knowledge of books and literary history; but from the rigid formality of his manners, it is evident that they never could have lived together with companionable ease and familiarity; nor had Sir John Hawkins that nice perception which was necessary to mark the finer and less obvious parts of Johnson's character. His being appointed one of his executors, gave him an opportunity of taking poffeßlion of such fragments of a diary and other papers as were left, of which, before delivering them up to the residuary legatee, whose property they were, he endeavoured to extract the substance. In this he has not been very successful, as I have found upon a perusal of those papers, which have been since transferred
Sir John Hawkins's ponderous labours, I must acknowledge, exhibit a farrago, of which a considerable portion is not devoid of entertainment to the lovers of literary gossiping; but besides its being swelled out with long unnecessary extracts from various works, (even one of several leaves from Osborne's Harleian Catalogue, and those not compiled by Johnson, but by Oldys) a very small part of it relates to the person who is the subject of the book; and, in that, there is such an inaccuracy in the statement of facts, as in so solemn an authour is hardly excusable, and certainly makes his narrative very unsatisfactory. But what is still worse, there is. throughout the whole of it a dark uncharitable cast, by which the most unfavourable construction is put upon almost every circumstance in the character and conduct of my illustrious friend; who, I trust, will, by a true and fair delineation, be vindicated both from the injurious misrepresentations of this authour, and from the Nighter aspersions of a lady who once lived in great intimacy with him.
? The greatest part of this book was written while Sir John Hawkins was alive; and I avow, that one object of my strictures was to make him feel fome compunction for his illiberal treatment of Dr. Johnson. Since his decease, I have suppressed several of my remarks upon his work. But though I would not “ war with the dead" offenfively, I think it necessary to be ftrenuous in defence of my illuftrious friend, which I cannot be, without strong animadverfion upon a writer who has greatly injured him, Let me add, that though I doubt I should not have been very prompt to gratify Sir John Hawkins with any compliment in his life-time, I do noy frankly acknowledge, that, in my opinion, his volume, however inadequate and improper as a life of Dr. Johnson, and however discredited by unpardonable inaccuracies in other respects, contains a collection of curious anecdotes and observations, which few men but its authour could have brought together,
There is, in the British Museum, a letter from Bishop Warburton to Dr. Birch, on the subject of biography; which, though I am aware it may expose me to a charge of artfully raising the value of my own work, by contrasting it with that of which I have spoken, is so well conceived and expressed, that I cannot refrain from here inserting it:
« I SHALL endeavour (says Dr. Warburton) to give you what satisfaction I can in any thing you want to be satisfied in any subject of Milton, and am extremely glad you intend to write his life. Almost all the life-writers we have had before Toland and Desmaiseaux, are indeed strange insipid creatures ; and yet I had rather read the worst of them, than be obliged to go through with this of Milton's, or the other's life of Boileau, where there is such a dull, heavy fucceffion of long quotations of disinteresting passages, that it makes their method quite nauseous. But the verbose, tasteless Frenchman seems to lay it down as a principle, that every life must be a book, and what's worse, it proves a book without a life; for what do we know of Boileau, after all his tedious stuff ?. You are the only one, (and I speak it without a compliment) that by the vigour of your stile and sentiments, and the real importance of your materials, have the art (which one would imagine no one could have missed) of adding agreements to the most agreeable subject in the world, which is literary history?."
« Nov. 24, 1737.”
Instead of melting down my materials into one mass, and constantly speak. ing in my own person, by which I might have appeared to have more merit
3 Brit. Muf. 4320. Afcough's Catal, Sloane MSS,