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the vulgar and ignorant, which he held to be an essential duty in a clergyman; and partly because his love of a London life was so strong, that he would have thought himself an exile in any
other place, particularly if residing in the country. Whoever would wish to see his thoughts upon that subject displayed in their full force, may peruse the Adventurer, Number 126.
In 1757 it does not appear that he published any thing, except some of those articles in the Literary Magazine, which have been mentioned. That magazine, after Johnson ceased to write in it, gradually declined, though the popular epithet of Antigallican was added to it; and in July, 1758, it expired. He probably prepared a part of his Shakspeare this year, and he dictated a speech on the subject of an address to the Throne, after the expedition to Rochfort, which was delivered by one of his friends, I know not in what public meeting. It is printed in the Gentleman's Magazine for October, 1785, as his, and bears sufficient marks of authenticity.
By the favour of Mr. Joseph Cooper Walker (1), of the Treasury, Dublin, I have obtained a copy of the following letter from Johnson to the venerable author of “ Dissertations on the History of Ireland.”
LETTER 52. TO CHARLES O'CONNOR, ESQ.(2)
“ London, April 9. 1757. “SIR,ỚI have lately, by the favour of Mr. Faulkner, (1) [Member of the Royal Jrish Academy, author of the Historical Memoirs of the Irish Bards," an “ Historical Memoir on Italian Tragedy," &c. He died in 1810.)
(2) Of this gentleman, who died at his seat at Ballinegare,
seen your account of Ireland, and cannot forbear to solicit a prosecution of your design. Sir William Tem. ple complains that Ireland is less known than any other country, as to its ancient state. The natives have had little leisure, and little encouragement for inquiry; and strangers, not knowing the language, have had no ability.
I have long wished that the Irish literature were cultivated. (1) Ireland is known by tradition to have been once the seat of piety and learning ; and surely it would be very acceptable to all those who are curious either in the original of nations, or the affinities of languages, to be further informed of the revolution of a people so ancient, and once so illustrious.
" What relation there is between the Welsh and Irish language, or between the language of Ireland and that of Biscay, deserves inquiry. Of these provincial and unextended tongues, it seldom happens that more than one are understood by any one man; and, therefore, it seldom happens that à fair comparison can be made. I
in the county of Roscommon, July, 1791, in his eighty-second year, some account may be found in the Gentleman's Magazine of that date. Of the “'Dissertations on the History of Ireland a second and much improved edition was published in 1766. Malone.
(1) The celebrated orator, Mr. Flood, [who died, December, 1791,] has shewn himself to be of Dr. Johnson's opinion; having by his will bequeathed his estate, after the death of his wife, Lady Frances, to the University of Dublin; “ desiring that immediately after the said estate shall come into their possession, they shall appoint two professors, one for the study of the native Erse or Irish Language, and the other for the study of Irish antiquities and Irish history, and for the study of any other European language illustrative of, or auxiliary to, the study of Irish antiquities or Irish history; and that they shall give yearly two liberal premiums for two compositions, one in verse, and the other in prose, in the Irish language.”—B.—Since the above was written (May, 1793), Mr. Flood's will has been set aside, after a trial at bar, in the Court of Exchequer in Ireland - M.
hope you will continue to cultivate this kind of learning, which has too long lain neglected, and which, if it be suffered to remain in oblivion for another century, may, perhaps, never be retrieved. As I wish well to all useful undertakings, I would not forbear to let you
ow how much you deserve, in my opinion, from all lovers of study, and how much pleasure your work has given to, Sir, your most obliged, and most humble servant,
“ SAM. JOHNSON."
Letter 53. TO THE REV. THOMAS WARTON.
“[London,] June 21. 1757. “ DEAR SIR,_Dr. Marsili, of Padua, a learned gentleman, and good Latin poet, has a mind to see Oxford. I have given him a letter to Dr. Huddesford, and shall be glad if you will introduce him, and shew him any thing in Oxford.
“I am printing my new edition of Shakspeare.
“I long to see you all, but cannot conveniently come yet. You might write to me now and then, if you were good for any thing. But (1) honores mutant mores. Professors forget their friends. I shall certainly com. plain to Miss Jones. (2) I am, your, &c.
“ SAM. JOHNSON." “ Please to make my compliments to Mr. Wise.”.
(1) Mr. Warton was elected Professor of Poetry at Oxford in the preceding year.
- WARTON. (2) Miss Jones lived at Oxford, and was often of our parties. She was a very ingenious poetess, and published a volume of poems; and, on the whole, was a most sensible, agreeable, and amiable woman. She was sister to the Rev. River Jones, Chanter of Christ Church Cathedral at Oxford, and Johnson used to call her the Chantress. I have heard him often address her in this passage from “Il Penseroso : ”.
“ Thee, Chantress, oft the woods among
I woo,” &c.
Mr. Burney having enclosed to him an extract from the review of his Dictionary in the Bibliothèque des Savans [t. iii. p. 482.] and a list of subscribers to his Shakspeare, which Mr. Burney had procured in Norfolk, he wrote the following answer :
LETTER 54. TO MR. BURNEY,
In Lynne, Norfolk.
“ Gough Square, Dec. 24. 1757. “SIR,—That I may shew myself sensible of your favours, and not commit the same fault a second time, I make haste to answer the letter which I received this morning. The truth is, the other likewise was received, and I wrote an answer; but being desirous to transmit you some proposals and receipts, I waited till I could find a convenient conveyance, and day was passed after day, till other things drove it from my thoughts; yet not so, but that I remember with great pleasure your commendation of my Dictionary. Your praise was welcome, not only because I believe it was sincere, but because praise has been very scarce. A man of your candour will be surprised when I tell you, that among all my acquaintance there were only two, who' upon the publication of my book did not endeavour to depress me with threats of censure from the public, or with objections learned from those who had learned them from my own preface. Yours is the only letter of good-will that I have received; though, indeed, I am promised something of that sort from Sweden.
“How my new edition (1) will be received I know not; the subscription has not been very successful. I shall publish about March.
“If you can direct me how to send proposals, I should wish that they were in such hands. “I remember, Sir, in some of the first letters with
(1) Of Shakspeare.
which you favoured me, you mentioned your lady. May I inquire after her ? In return for the favours which
you have shewn me, it is not much to tell you, that I wish you and her all that can conduce to your happiness. I am, Sir, your most obliged, and most humble servant,
“ SAM. JOHNSON." In 1758 we find him, it should seem, in as easy and pleasant a state of existence, as constitutional unhappiness ever permitted him to enjoy.
LETTER 55, TO BENNET LANGTON, ESQ.
At Langton. ( )
6 Jan. 9. 1758. “ DEAREST Sır, “I must have indeed slept very fast, not to have been awakened by your letter. None of your suspicions are true ; I am not much richer than when
and what is worse, my omission of an answer to your first letter will prove that I am not much wiser. But I go on as I formerly did, designing to be some time or other both rich and wise; and yet cultivate neither mind nor fortune. Do you take notice of my example, and learn the danger of delay. When I was as you are now, towering in [the] confidence of twenty-one, little did I suspect that I should. be, at forty-nine, what I now am.
you do not seem to need my admonition. You are busy in acquiring and in communicating knowledge, and while you are studying, enjoy the end of study, by
(1) [Mr. Croker is of opinion, that this letter must have been written in January, 1759.]
(2) If the reader will look back to Johnson's deplorable situation when he was about the age of twenty-one, he will be inclined to think that he might rather have prided himself at having attained to the station which he now held in society.CROKER. - Was not Johnson alluding, not to his comparative "station in society," but to his not being “much richer?” for in this letter he says, “I have left off housekeeping."- MARK