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TO SIR JOSHUA REYNOLDS.
EVERY liberal motive that can actuate an Author in the dedication of his labours, concurs in directing me to you, as the person to whom the following Work should be inscribed.
If there be a pleasure in celebrating the distinguished merit of a contemporary, mixed with a certain degree of vanity not altogether inexcusable, in appearing fully sensible of it, where can I find one, in complimenting whom I can with more general approbation gratify those feelings? Your excellence not only in the Art over which you have long presided with unrivalled fame, but also in Philosophy and elegant Literature, is well known to the present, and will continue to be the admiration of future ages. Your equal and placid temper, your variety of conversation, your true politeness, by which you are so amiable in private society, and that enlarged hospitality which has long made your house a common centre of union for the great, the accomplished, the learned, and the ingenious; all these qualities I can, in perfect confidence of not being accused of flattery, ascribe to you.
probation, therefore, must insure it credit and success, the Life of Dr. Johnson is, with the greatest propriety, dedicated to Sir Joshua Reynolds, who was the intimate and beloved friend of that great man; the friend whom he declared to be "the most invulnerable man he knew; whom, if he should quarrel with him, he should find the most difficulty how to abuse." You, my dear Sir, studied him, and knew him well: you venerated and admired him. Yet, luminous as he was upon the whole, you perceiv ed all the shades which mingled in the grand composition; all the little peculiarities and slight blemishes which marked the literary Colossus. Your very warm commendation of the specimen which I gave in my "Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides," of my being able to preserve his conversation in an authentic and lively manner, which opinion the Public has confirmed, was the best encouragement for me to persevere in my purpose of producing the whole of my stores.
In one respect, this Work, will, in some passages, be different from the former. In my Tour," I was almost unboundedly open in my communications, and from my eagerness to display the wonderful fertility and readiness of Johnson's wit, freely shewIf a man may indulge an honest pride, in ed to the world its dexterity, even when I having it known to the world, that he has was myself the object of it. I trusted that been thought worthy of particular attention I should be liberally understood, as knowby a person of the first eminence in the ageing very well what I was about, and by no in which he lived, whose company has been universally courted, I am justified in availing myself of the usual privilege of a Dedication, when I mention that there has been a long and uninterrupted friendship between
If gratitude should be acknowledged for favours received, I have this opportunity, my dear Sir, most sincerely to thank you for the many happy hours which I owe to your kindness, for the cordiality with which you have at all times been pleased to welcome me, for the number of valuable acquaintance to whom you have introduced me, for the noctes cœnæque Deûm, which I have enjoyed under your roof.
If a work should be inscribed to one who is master of the subject of it, and whose ap
means as simply unconscious of the pointed effects of the satire. I own, indeed, that I was arrogant enough to suppose that the tenour of the rest of the book would sufficiently guard me against such a strange imputation. But it seems I judged too well of the world; for, though I could scarcely believe it, I have been undoubtedly informed, that many persons, especially in distant quarters, not penetrating enough into Johnson's character, so as to understand his mode of treating his friends, have arraigned my judgement, instead of seeing that I was sensible of all that they could observe.
It is related of the great Dr. Clarke, that when in one of his leisure hours he was unbending himself with a few friends in the most playful and frolicksome manner, he
observed Beau Nash approaching; upon which he suddenly stopped ;—“ My boys, (said he,) let us be grave: here comes a fool" The world, my friend, I have found to be a great fool, as to that particular on which it has become necessary to speak very plainly. I have, therefore, in this Work been more reserved; and though I tell nothing but the truth, I have still kept in my mind that the whole truth is not always to
be exposed. This, however, I have managed
I am, my dear Sir,
London, April 20, 1791.
ADVERTISEMENT TO THE FIRST EDITION.
I AT last deliver to the world a Work which I have long promised, and of which, I am afraid, too high expectations have been raised. The delay of its publication must be imputed, in a considerable degree, to the extraordinary zeal which has been shewn by distinguished persons in all quarters to supply me with additional information concerning its illustrious subject; resembling in this the grateful tribes of ancient nations, of which every individual was eager to throw a stone upon the grave of a departed Hero, and thus to share in the pious office of erecting an honourable monument to his memory. The labour and anxious attention with which I have collected and arranged the materials of which these volumes are composed, will hardly be conceived by those who read them with careless facility. The stretch of mind and prompt assiduity by which so many conversations were preserved, I myself, at some distance of time, contemplate with wonder; and I must be allowed to suggest, that the nature of the Work in other respects, as it consists of innumerable detached particulars, all which, even the most minute, I have spared no pains to ascertain with a scrupulous authenticity, has occasioned a degree of trouble far beyond that of any other species of composition. Were I to detail the books which I have consulted, and the inquiries which I have found it necessary to make by various channels, I should probably be thought ridiculously ostentatious. Let me only observe, as a specimen of my trouble, that I have sometimes been obliged to run half over London, in order to fix a date correctly; which, when I had accomplished, I well knew would obtain me no praise, though a failure would have been to my discredit. And after all, perhaps, hard as it may be, I shall not be surprised if omissions or nistakes be pointed out with invidious severity. I have also been extremely careful as to the exactness of my quotations; holding that there is a respect due to the public, which should oblige every Author to attend to this, and never to presume to introduce them
-or "If I with,-"I think I have read;"remember right;" when the originals may be examined.
I beg leave to express my warnest thanks to those who have been pleased to favour me with communications and advice in the conduct of my Work. But I cannot sufficiently acknowledge my obligations to my friend Mr. MALONE, who was so good as to allow me to read to him almost the whole of my manuscript, and make such remarks as were greatly for the advantage of the Work; though it is but fair to him to mention, that upon many occasions I differed from him, and followed my own judgement. I regret exceedingly that I was deprived of the benefit of his revision, when not more than one half of the book had passed through the press; but after having completed his very laborious and admirable edition of SHAKSPEARE, for which he generously would accept of no other reward but that fame which he has so deservedly obtained, he fulfilled his promise of a long wished-for visit to his relations in Ireland; from whence his safe return finibis Atticis is desired by his friends here, with all the classical ardour of Sic te Diva potens Cypri; for there is no man in whom more elegant and worthy qualities are united; and whose society, therefore, is more valued by those who know him.
It is painful to me to think, that while I was carrying on this Work, several of those to whom it would have been most inSuch melancholy disteresting have died. appointments we know to be incident to humanity; but we do not feel them the less. Let me particularly lament the Reverend THOMAS WARTON, and the Reverend Dr. ADAMS. Mr. WARTON, amidst his variety of genius and learning, was an excellent Biographer. His contributions to my Collection are highly estimable; and as he had a true relish of my "Tour to the Hebrides," I trust I should now have been gratified with a larger share of his kind approbation. Dr. ADAMS, eminent as the head of a College, as a writer, and as a most amiable man, had known JOHNSON from his early years,
ADVERTISEMENT TO THE SECOND EDITION.
and was his friend through life. What reason I had to hope for the countenance of that venerable Gentleman to this Work, will appear from what he wrote to me upon a former occasion from Oxford, November 17, 1785 :-" Dear Sir, I hazard this letter, not knowing where it will find you, to thank you for your very agreeable Tour,' which I found here on my return from the country, and in which you have depicted our friend so perfectly to my fancy, in every attitude, every scene and situation, that I have thought myself in the company, and of the party almost throughout. It has given very general satisfaction; and those who have found most fault with a passage here and there, have agreed that they could not help going through, and being entertained with the whole. I wish, indeed, some few gross expressions had been softened, and a few of our hero's foibles had been a little more shaded; but it is useful to see the weaknesses incident to great minds; and you have given us Dr. Johnson's authority, that in history all ought to be told."
Such a sanction to my faculty of giving a just representation of Dr. JOHNSON I could not conceal. Nor will I suppress my satis. faction in the consciousness, that, by record. ing so considerable a portion of the wisdom and wit of “the brightest ornament of the eighteenth century," I have largely provided for the instruction and entertainment of mankind.
London, April 20, 1791.
ADVERTISEMENT TO THE
THAT I was anxious for the success of a Work which had employed much of my time and labour, I do not wish to conceal: but whatever doubts I at any time entertained, have been entirely removed by the very favourable reception with which it has been honoured. That reception has excited my best exertions to render my Book more perfect; and in this endeavour I have had the assistance not only of some of my particular friends, but of many other learned and ingenious men, by which I have been enabled to rectify some mistakes, and to enrich the Work with many valuable additions. These I have ordered to be printed separately in quarto, for the accommodation of the purchasers of the first edition. May I be permitted to say that the typography of both editions does honour to the press of Mr. HENRY BALDWIN, now Master of the Worshipful Company of Stationers, whom I have long known a worthy man and an obliging friend.
See Mr. Malone's Preface to his edition of Shakspeare.
In the strangely mixed scenes of human existence, our feelings are often at once pleasing and painful. Of this truth, the progress of the present Work furnishes a striking instance. It was highly gratifying to me that my friend, Sir JOSHUA KEYNOLDS, to whom it is inscribed, lived to peruse it, and to give the strongest testimony to its fidelity; but before a second edition, which he contributed to improve, could be finished, the world has been deprived of that most valuable man: a loss of which the regret will be deep, and lasting, and extensive, proportionate to the felicity which he diffused through a wide circle of admirers and friends.
In reflecting that the illustrious subject of this Work, by being more extensively and intimately known, however elevated before, has risen in the veneration and love of mankind, I feel a satisfaction beyond what fame can afford. We cannot, indeed, too much or too often admire his wonderful powers of mind, when we consider that the principal store of wit and wisdom which this Work contains was not a particular selection from his general conversation, but was merely his occasional talk at such times as I had the good fortune to be in his company; and, without doubt, if his discourse at other periods had been collected with the same attention, the whole tenor of what he uttered would have been found equally excellent.
His strong, clear, and animated enforcement of religion, morality, loyalty, and subordination, while it delights and improves the wise and the good, will, I trust, prove an effectual antidote to that detestable sophistry which has been lately imported from France, under the false name of Philosophy, and with a malignant industry has been employed against the peace, good order, and happiness of society, in our free and prosperous country; but, thanks be to GoD, without producing the pernicious effects which were hoped for by its propagators.
It seems to me, in my moments of selfcomplacency, that this extensive biographical Work, however inferior in its nature, may, in one respect, be assimilated to the ODYSSEY. Amidst a thousand entertaining and instructive episodes the HERO is never long out of sight; for they are all in some degree connected with him; and HE, in the whole course of the History, is exhibited by the Author for the best advantage of his readers:
-Quid virtus et quid sapientia possit,
Should there be any cold-blooded and morose mortals who really dislike this Book, I will give them a story to apply. When the great DUKE OF MARLBOROUGH, accompanied by LoRd Cadogan, was one day re
vi ADVERTISEMENTS TO THE THIRD AND FOURTH EDITIONS.
connoitring the army in Flanders, a heavy | ously as he could. In the present edition rain came on, and they both called for their they have been distributed in their proper cloaks. LORD CADOGAN's servant, a good. places. In revising his volumes for a new humoured alert lad, brought his Lordship's edition, he had pointed out where some of in a minute. The Duke's servant, a lazy these materials should be inserted; but unsulky dog, was so sluggish, that his Grace fortunately, in the midst of his labours, he being wet to the skin, reproved him, and was seized with a fever, of which, to the had for answer with a grunt, "I came as fast great regret of all his friends, he died on the as I could;" upon which the Duke calmly 10th of May, 1795. All the Notes that he said," CADOGAN, I would not for a thou- had written in the margin of the copy which sand pounds have that fellow's temper." had he in part revised, are here faithfully preserved; and a few new Notes have been added, principally by some of those friends to whom the Author in the former editions acknowledged his obligations. Those subscribed with the letter B. were communicated by Dr. BURNEY; those to which the letters J. B. are annexed, by the Rev. J. B. BLAKEWAY, of Shrewsbury, to whom Mr. BosWELL acknowledged himself indebted for some judicious remarks on the first edition of his Work; and the letters J. B.-O. are annexed to some remarks furnished by the Author's second son, a student of Brazen-Nose College in Oxford. Some valuable observations were communicated by JAMES BINDLEY, Esq. First Commissioner in the Stamp-Office, which have been acknowledged in their proper places. For all those without any signature, Mr. MALONE is answerable. Every new remark, not written by the Author, for the sake of distinction, has been enclosed within crotchets; in one instance, however, the printer, by mistake, has affixed this mark to a note relative to the Rev. THOMAS FYSCHE PALMER, which was written by Mr. BoswELL, and therefore ought not to have been thus distinguished.
There are some men, I believe, who have, or think they have, a very small share of vanity. Such may speak of their literary fame in a decorous style of diffidence. But I confess, that I am so formed by nature and by habit, that to restrain the effusion of delight, on having obtained such fame, to me would be truly painful. Why then should I suppress it? Why "out of the abundance of the heart" should I not speak? Let me then mention with a warm, but no insolent exultation, that I have been regaled with spontaneous praise of my Work by many and various persons eminent for their rank, learning, talents, and accomplishments; much of which praise I have under their hands to be reposited in my archives at Auchinleck. An honourable and reverend friend speaking of the favourable reception of my volumes, even in the circles of fashion and elegance, said to me, "you have made them all talk Johnson."-Yes, I may add, I have Johnsonised the land; and I trust they will not only talk, but think, Johnson.
To enumerate those to whom I have been thus indebted, would be tediously ostentatious. I cannot, however, but name one, whose praise is truly valuable, not only on account of his knowledge and abilities, but on account of the magnificent, yet dangerous embassy, in which he is now employed, which makes every thing that relates to him peculiarly interesting. LORD MACARTNEY favoured me with his own copy of my book, with a number of notes, of which I have availed myself. On the first leaf I found in his Lordship's hand-writing, an inscription of such high commendation, that even I, vain as I am, cannot prevail on myself to publish it. July 1, 1793.
I have only to add, that the proof-sheets of the present edition not having passed through my hands, I am not answerable for any typographical errors that may be found in it. Having, however, been printed at the very accurate press of Mr. Baldwin, I make no doubt it will be found not less perfect than the former edition; the greatest care having been taken, by correctness and elegance to do justice to one of the most instructive and entertaining works in the English language. April 8, 1799.
ADVERTISEMENT TO THE
In this edition are inserted some new letters, of which the greater part has been obligingly communicated by the Reverend Doctor VYSE, Rector of Lambeth. Those written by Dr. JOHNSON concerning his mother in her last illness, furnish a new proof of his great piety and tenderness of heart, and therefore cannot but be accept