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Here we have it affumed as an incontrovertible principle, that in this country the people are the superintendants of the conduct and measures of those by whom government is administered, of the beneficial effect of which the present reign afforded an illustrious example, when addresses from all parts of the kingdom controuled an audacious attempt to introduce a new power fubverfive of the crown.

A still stronger proof of his patriotick spirit appears in his review of an Essay on Waters, by Dr. Lucas;" of whom, after describing him as a man well known to the world for his daring defiance of power, when he thought it exerted on the side of wrong, he thus fpeaks: "The Irish ministers drove him from his native country by a proclamation, in which they charged him with crimes of which they never intended to be called to the proof, and oppressed him by methods equally irresistible by guilt and innocence.

"Let the man thus driven into exile for having been the friend of his country, be received in every other place as a confeffor of liberty; and let the tools of power be taught in time, that they may rob, but cannot impoverish."

Some of his reviews in this magazine are very short accounts of the pieces noticed, and I mention them only that Dr. Johnson's opinion of the works may be known; but many of them are examples of elaborate criticism, in the most mifterly style. In his review of the "Memoirs of the Court of Auguftus," he has the resolution to think and speak from his own mind, regardless of the cant tranfmitted from age to age, in praise of the ancient Romans. Thus: "I know not why any one but a school-boy in his declamation should whine over the Common-wealth of Rome, which grew great only by the misery of the rest of mankind. The Romans, like others, as foon as they grew rich, grew corrupt; and in their corruption fold the lives and freedoms of themselves, and of one another." Again, "A people, who while they were poor robbed mankind; and as foon as they became rich, robbed one another." In his review of the Miscellanies in profe and verfe, published by Elizabeth Harrison, but written by many hands, he gives an eminent proof at once of his orthodoxy and candour. "The authours of the effays in profe feem generally to have imitated, or tried to imitate, the copiousness and luxuriance of Mrs. Rowe. This, however, is not all their praise; they have laboured to add to her brightness of imagery, her purity of fentiments. The poets have had Dr. Watts before their eyes; a writer, who, if he stood not in the first clafs of genius, compenfated that defect by a ready application of his powers to the promotion of piety. The attempt to employ the ornaments of romance in the decoration of religion, was, I think, first made by Mr. Boyle's Martyrdom of Theodora; but Boyle's philofophical ftudies

Z 2


Etat. 47.


Ætat. 47.

ftudies did not allow him time for the cultivation of ftyle; and the completion of the great design was reserved for Mrs. Rowe. Dr. Watts was one of the first who taught the Diffenters to write and speak like other men, by fhewing them that elegance might confift with piety. They would have both done honour to a better fociety, for they had that charity which might well make their failings be forgotten, and with which the whole Christian world might wish for communion. They were pure from all the herefies of an age, to which every opinion is become a favourite that the univerfal church has hitherto detefted!

"This praise, the general intereft of mankind requires to be given to writers who please and do not corrupt, who instruct and do not weary. But to them all human eulogies are vain, whom I believe applauded by angels, and numbered with the just.”

His defence of tea against Mr. Jonas Hanway's violent attack upon that elegant and popular beverage, shews how very well a man of genius can write upon the flighteft fubject, when he writes, as the Italians fay, con amore: I fuppofe no perfon ever enjoyed with more relish the infufion of that fragrant leaf than Johnson. The quantities which he drank of it at all hours were fo great, that his nerves must have been uncommonly strong, not to have been extremely relaxed by fuch an intemperate use of it. He affured me, that he never felt the least inconvenience from it; which is a proof that the fault of his conftitution was rather a too great tenfion of fibres, than the contrary. Mr. Hanway wrote an angry answer to Johnson's review of his Effay on Tea, and Johnson, after a full and deliberate pause, made a reply to it; the only instance, I believe, in the whole courfe of his life, when he condefcended to oppose any thing that was written against him. I suppose when he thought of any of his little antagonists, he was ever juftly aware of the high fentiment of Ajax in Ovid:

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Ifte tulit pretium jam nunc certaminis bujus,
Qui, cùm victus erit, mecum certaffe feretur."

But, indeed, the good Mr. Hanway laid himself so open to ridicule, that、
Johnson's animadverfions upon his attack were chiefly to make sport.

The generosity with which he pleads the cause of Admiral Byng is highly to the honour of his heart and fpirit. Though Voltaire affects to be witty upon the fate of that unfortunate officer, obferving that he was fhot " pour encourager les autres," the nation has long been fatisfied that his life was facrificed

to the political fervour of the times. In the vault belonging to the Torrington


family, in the church of Southill, in Bedfordshire, there is the following Atat. 47Epitaph upon his monument, which I have transcribed:







" MARCH 14, IN THE YEAR, 1757;

Johnson's most exquifite critical effay in the Literary Magazine, and indeed any where, is his review of Soame Jennings's " Inquiry into the Origin of Evil." Jennings was poffeffed of lively talents, and a style eminently pure and eafy, and could very happily play with a light fubject, either in profe or verfe; but when he speculated on that most difficult and excruciating question, the Origin of Evil, he ventured far beyond his depth," and, accordingly, was exposed by Johnson, both with acute argument and brilliant wit. I remember when the late Mr. Bicknell's humourous performance, entitled "The Musical Travels of Joel Collyer," in which a flight attempt is made to ridicule Johnson, was ascribed to Soame Jennings, "Ha! (faid Johnson) I thought I had given him enough of it."

His triumph over Jennings is thus defcribed by my friend Mr. Courtenay in his "Poetical Review of the literary and moral Character of Dr. Johnson," a performance of fuch merit, that had I not been honoured with a very kind and partial notice in it, I fhould echo the fentiments of men of the first taste loudly in its praise:

"When specious fophifts with presumption scan
"The fource of evil hidden still from man;
"Revive Arabian tales, and vainly hope
"To rival St. John, and his fcholar Pope:
"Though metaphyficks fpread the gloom of night,
"By reason's star he guides our aching fight;


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This year Mr. William Payne, brother of the refpectable bookfeller of that name, published "An Introduction to the Game of Draughts," to which Johnson contributed a Dedication to the Earl of Rochford,* and a Preface,* both of which are admirably adapted to the treatise to which they are prefixed. Johnson, I believe, did not play at draughts after leaving College, by which he suffered, for it would have afforded him an innocent soothing relief from the melancholy which diftreffed him fo often. I have heard him regret that he had not learnt to play at cards; and the game of draughts we know is peculiarly calculated to fix the attention without ftraining it. There is a compofure and gravity in draughts which infenfibly tranquillifes the mind; and, accordingly, the Dutch are fond of it, as they are of fmoaking, of the fedative

Some time after Dr. Johnson's death there apppeared in the newspapers and magazines an illiberal and petulant attack upon him, in the form of an Epitaph, under the name of Mr. Soame Jennings, very unworthy of that gentleman, who had quietly fubmitted to the critical lafh while Johnson lived. It affumed, as characteristicks of him, all the vulgar circumftances of abuse which had circulated amongst the ignorant. It was an unbecoming indulgence of puny refentment, at a time when he himself was at a very advanced age, and had a near prospect of descending to the grave. I was truly forry for it; for he was then become an avowed, and (as my Lord Bishop of London, who had a serious conversation with him on the subject, affures me) a fincere Christian. He could not expect that Johnson's numerous friends would patiently bear to have the memory of their master ftigmatized by no mean pen, but that at least one would be found to retort, Accordingly, this unjust and sarcastick Epitaph was met in the fame publick field by an answer, in terms by no means soft, and such as wanton provocation only could justify;

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influence of which, though he himself never fmoaked, he had a high opinion. Befides, there is in draughts fome exercife of the faculties; and, accordingly, Etat. 47. Johnson wishing to dignify the fubject in his Dedication with what is most estimable in it, obferves, "Triflers may find or make any thing a trifle; but fince it is the great characteristick of a wife man to fee events in their causes, to obviate consequences, and afcertain contingencies, your Lordship will think nothing a trifle by which the mind is inured to caution, forefight, and circumfpection."

As one of the little occafional advantages which he did not difdain to take by his pen, as a man whose profeffion was literature, he this year accepted of a guinea from Mr. Robert Dodfley, for writing the introduction to "The London Chronicle," an evening newfpaper; and even in fo flight a performance exhibited peculiar talents. This Chronicle still fubfifts, and from what I obferved, when I was abroad, has a more extensive circulation upon the Continent than any of the English newspapers. It was conftantly read by Johnson himself; and it is but just to observe, that it has all along been diftinguished for good sense, accuracy, moderation, and delicacy.

Another inftance of the fame nature has been communicated to me by the Reverend Dr. Thomas Campbell, who has done himself confiderable credit by his own writings. "Sitting with Dr. Johnson one morning alone, he asked me if I had known Dr. Madden, who was authour of the premium-scheme in Ireland. On my anfwering in the affirmative, and alfo that I had for fome years lived in his neighbourhood, &c. he begged of me that when I returned to Ireland, I would endeavour to procure for him a poem of Dr. Madden's, called Boulter's Monument.' The reason (faid he) why I wish for it, is this: when Dr. Madden came to London, he fubmitted that work to my caftigation; and I remember I blotted a great many lines, and might have blotted many more, without making the poem the worse. However, the Doctor was very thankful, and very generous, for he gave me ten guineas, which was to me at that time a great fum."

He this year resumed his fcheme of giving an edition of Shakspeare with notes. He iffued Proposals of confiderable length, in which he fhewed that he perfectly well knew what a variety of research such an undertaking required; but his indolence prevented him from pursuing it with that diligence which alone can collect thofe fcattered facts that genius, however acute, penetrating, and luminous, cannot discover by its own force. It is remarkable, that at

9 Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides, 3d edit. p. 48.

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