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family. Nota bene, there will be a new prologue on the occasion, written by the author of Irene, and spoken by Mr. Garrick.” The man, who had thus exerted himself to serve the granddaughter, cannot be supposed to have entertained personal malice to the grandfather. It is true, that the malevolence of Lauder, as well as the impostures of Archibald Bower, were fully detected by the labours, in the cause of truth, of the reverend Dr. Douglas, the late lord bishop of Salisbury,

-"Diram qui contudit Hydram,

Notaque fatali portenta labore subegit."

But the pamphlet, entitled, Milton vindicated from the Charge of Plagiarism brought against him by Mr. Lauder, and Lauder himself convicted of several forgeries, and gross impositions on the public, by John Douglas, M. A. rector of Eaton Constantine, Salop, was not published till the year 1751. In that work, p. 77, Dr. Douglas says, " It is to be hoped, nay, it is expected, that the elegant and nervous writer, whose judicious sentiments, and inimitable style, point out the author of Lauder's preface and postcript, will no longer allow a man to plume himself with his feathers, who appears so little to have deserved his assistance; an assistance which, I am persuaded, would never have been communicated, had there been the least suspicion of those facts, which I have been the instrument of conveying to the world." We have here a contemporary testimony to the integrity of Dr. Johnson, throughout the whole of that vile transaction. What was the consequence of the requisition made by Dr. Douglas? Johnson, whose ruling passion may be said to be the love of truth, convinced Lauder, that it would be more for his interest to make a full confession of his guilt, than to stand forth the convicted champion of a lie; and, for this purpose, he drew up, in the strongest terms, a recantation, in a letter to the reverend Mr. Douglas, which Lauder signed, and published in the year 1751. That piece will remain a lasting memorial of the abhorrence, with which Johnson beheld a violation of truth. Mr. Nichols, whose attachment to his illustrious friend was unwearied, showed him, in 1780, a book, called Remarks on Johnson's Life of Milton; in which the affair of Lauder was renewed with virulence; and a poetical scale in the Literary Magazine, 1758, (when Johnson had ceased to write in that collection,) was urged as an additional proof of deliberate malice. He read the libellous passage with

attention, and instantly wrote on the margin: "In the business of Lauder I was deceived, partly by thinking the man too frantick to be fraudulent. Of the poetical scale, quoted from the magazine, I am not the author. I fancy it was put in after I had quitted that work; for I not only did not write it, but I do not remember it." As a critic and a scholar, Johnson was willing to receive what numbers, at the time, believed to be true information: when he found that the whole was a forgery, he renounced all connexion with the author.

In March, 1752, he felt a severe stroke of affliction in the death of his wife. The last number of the Rambler, as already mentioned, was on the 14th of that month. The loss of Mrs. Johnson was then approaching, and, probably, was the cause that put an end to those admirable periodical essays. It appears that she died on the 28th of March, in a memorandum, at the foot of the Prayers and Meditations, that is called her Dying Day. She was buried at Bromley, under the care of Dr. Hawkesworth. Johnson placed a Latin inscription on her tomb, in which he celebrated her beauty. With the singularity of his prayers for his deceased wife, from that time to the end of his days, the world is sufficiently acquainted. On Easter day, 22nd April, 1764, his memorandum says: "Thought on Tetty, poor dear Tetty! with my eyes full. Went to church. After sermon I recommended Tetty in a prayer by herself; and my father, mother, brother, and Bathurst, in another. I did it only once, so far as it might be lawful for me." In a prayer, January 23, 1759, the day on which his mother was buried, he commends, as far as may be lawful, her soul to God, imploring for her whatever is most beneficial to her in her present state. In this habit he persevered to the end of his days. The reverend Mr. Strahan, the editor of the Prayers and Meditations, observes, "that Johnson, on some occasions, prays that the Almighty may have had mercy on his wife and Mr. Thrale; evidently supposing their sentence to have been already passed in the divine mind; and, by consequence, proving, that he had no belief in a state of purgatory, and no reason for praying for the dead that could impeach the sincerity of his profession as a protestant." Mr. Strahan adds, "that, in praying for the regretted tenants of the grave, Johnson conformed to a practice which has been retained by many learned members of the established church, though the liturgy no longer admits it, if where the tree falleth, there it shall be; if our state,

at the close of life, is to be the measure of our final sentence, then prayers for the dead, being visibly fruitless, can be regarded only as the vain oblations of superstition. But of all superstitions this, perhaps, is one of the least unamiable, and most incident to a good mind. If our sensations of kindness be intense, those, whom we have revered and loved, death cannot wholly seclude from our concern. It is true, for the reason just mentioned, such evidences of our surviving affection may be thought ill judged; but surely they are generous, and some natural tenderness is due even to a superstition, which thus originates in piety and benevolence." These sentences, extracted from the reverend Mr. Strahan's preface, if they are not a full justification, are, at least, a beautiful apology. It will not be improper to add what Johnson himself has said on the subject. Being asked by Mr. Boswell, what he thought of purgatory, as believed by the Roman catholicks? his answer was, "It is a very harmless doctrine. They are of opinion, that the generality of mankind are neither so obstinately wicked, as to deserve everlasting punishment; nor so good as to merit being admitted into the society of blessed spirits; and, therefore, that God is graciously pleased to allow a middle state, where they may be purified by certain degrees of suffering. You see there is nothing unreasonable in this; and if it be once established, that there are souls in purgatory, it is as proper to pray for them, as for our brethren of mankind, who are yet in this life." This was Dr. Johnson's guess into futurity; and to guess is the utmost that man can do: "Shadows, clouds, and darkness, rest upon it."

Mrs. Johnson left a daughter, Lucy Porter, by her first husband. She had contracted a friendship with Mrs. Anne Williams, the daughter of Zachary Williams, a physician of eminence in South Wales, who had devoted more than thirty years of a long life to the study of the longitude, and was thought to have made great advances towards that important discovery. His letters to lord Halifax, and the lords of the admiralty, partly corrected and partly written by Dr. Johnson, are still extant in the hands of Mr Nichols. We there find Dr. Williams, in the eighty-third year of his age, stating, that he had prepared an instrument, which might be called an epitome or miniature of

P Life of Johnson, vol. i. p. 328. 4to. edit.

See Gentleman's Magazine for Nov. and Dec. 1787.

the terraqueous globe, showing, with the assistance of tables, constructed by himself, the variations of the magnetic needle, and ascertaining the longitude, for the safety of navigation. It appears that this scheme had been referred to sir Isaac Newton; but that great philosopher excusing himself on account of his advanced age, all applications were useless, till 1751, when the subject was referred, by order of lord Anson, to Dr. Bradley, the celebrated professor of astronomy. His report was unfavourable', though it allows that a considerable progress had been made. Dr. Williams, after all his labour and expense, died in a short time after, a melancholy instance of unrewarded merit. His daughter possessed uncommon talents, and, though blind, had an alacrity of mind that made her conversation agreeable, and even desirable. To relieve and appease melancholy reflexions, Johnson took her home to his house in Gough square. In 1755, Garrick gave her a benefit play, which produced two hundred pounds. In 1766, she published, by subscription, a quarto volume of miscellanies, and increased her little stock to three hundred pounds. That fund, with Johnson's protection, supported her, through the remainder of her life.

During the two years in which the Rambler was carried on, the Dictionary proceeded by slow degrees. In May, 1752, having composed a prayer, preparatory to his return from tears and sorrow to the duties of life, he resumed his grand design, and went on with vigour, giving, however, óccasional assistance to his friend, Dr. Hawkesworth, in the Adventurer, which began soon after the Rambler was laid aside. Some of the most valuable essays in that collection were from the pen of Johnson. The Dictionary was completed towards the end of 1754; and, Cave being then no more, it was a mortification to the author of that noble addition to our language, that his old friend did not live to see the triumph of his labours. In May, 1755, that great work was published. Johnson was desirous that it should come from one who had obtained academical honours; and for that purpose his friend, the rev. Thos. Warton, obtained for him, in the preceding month of February, a diploma for a master's degree, from the university of Oxford.-Garrick, on the publication of the Dictionary, wrote the following lines:

"Talk of war with a Briton, he'll boldly advance,
That one English soldier can beat ten of France.

VOL. 1.

See Gentleman's Magazine for Dec. 1787, p. 1042.


Would we alter the boast, from the sword to the pen,
Our odds are still greater, still greater our men.
In the deep mines of science, though Frenchmen may toil,
Can their strength be compar'd to Locke, Newton, or Boyle?
Let them rally their heroes, send forth all their powers,
Their versemen and prosemen, then match them with ours.
First Shakespeare and Milton, like gods in the fight,
Have put their whole drama and epic to flight.
In satires, epistles, and odes would they cope?
Their numbers retreat before Dryden and Pope.
And Johnson, well arm'd, like a hero of yore,

Has beat forty French, and will beat forty more."

It is, perhaps, needless to mention, that forty was the number of the French academy, at the time when their dictionary was published to settle their language.

In the course of the winter, preceding this grand publication, the late earl of Chesterfield gave two essays in the periodical paper, called The World, dated November 28, and December 5, 1754, to prepare the public for so important a work. The original plan, addressed to his lordship in the year 1747, is there mentioned, in terms of the highest praise; and this was understood, at the time, to be a courtly way of soliciting a dedication of the Dictionary to himself. Johnson treated this civility with disdain. He said to Garrick and others: "I have sailed a long and painful voyage round the world of the English language; and does he now send out two cockboats to tow me into harbour?" He had said, in the last number of the Rambler," that, having laboured to maintain the dignity of virtue, I will not now degrade it by the meanness of dedication." Such a man, when he had finished his Dictionary, " not," as he says himself, "in the soft obscurities of retirement, or under the shelter of academick bowers, but amidst inconvenience and distraction, in sickness and in sorrow, and without the patronage of the great," was not likely to be caught by the lure, thrown out by lord Chesterfield. He had, in vain, sought the patronage of that nobleman; and his pride, exasperated by disappointment, drew from him the following letter, dated in the month of February, 1755.

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