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in Cork-street, Burlington-gardens, with whom he and Mrs. Williams generally dined every Sunday. There was a talk of his going to Iceland with him, which would probably have happened, had he lived. There were also Mr. Cave, Dr. Hawkesworth, Mr. Ryland, merchant on Towerhill, Mrs. Masters, the poetess, who lived with Mr. Cave, Mrs. Carter, and sometimes Mrs. Macaulay; also, Mrs. Gardiner, wife of a tallow-chandler on Snow-hill, not in the learned

way, but a worthy good woman; Mr. (now Joshua) Reynolds; Mr, Miller, Mr. Dodsley, Mr. Bouquet, Mr. Payne, of Paternoster-row, booksellers; Mr. Strahan, the printer; the Earl of Orrery, Lord Southwell, Mr. Garrick."

particular person, if it could be done, would be a task, of which the labour would not be repaid by the advantage. But exceptions are to be inade; one of which must be a friend so eminent as Sir Joshua Reynolds, who was truly his dulce decus, and with whom he maintained an uninterrupted intimacy to the last hour of

his life.


His con

was lucky enough at their very first meeting to make a remark, which was so much above the commonplace style of conversation, that Johnson at once perceived that Reynolds had the habit of thinking for

When Johnson lived in Castlestreet, Cavendish-square, he used frequently to visit two ladies who lived opposite to him, Miss Cotterells, daughters Many are, no doubt, omitted in this of Admiral Cotterell. Reynolds used also to visit there, and thus they met. catalogue of his friends, and, in particular, his humble friend Mr. Robert Reynolds, as I have observed above, had, Levet, an obscure practiser in physic from the first reading of his "Life of amongst the lower people, his fees being Savage," conceived a very high admiration 's powers of writing. sometimes very small sums, sometimes of Johnson's whatever provisions his patients could versation no less delighted him; and he afford him; but of such extensive practice cultivated his acquaintance with the in that way, that Mrs. Williams has told me, laudable zeal of one who was ambitious of his walk was from Houndsditch to Mary-general improvement. Sir Joshua, indeed, lebone. It appears from Johnson's diary, that their acquaintance commenced about the year 1746; and such was Johnson's predilection for him, and fanciful estimation of his moderate abilities, that I have heard him say he should not be satisfied, though attended by all the College of Physicians, unless he had Mr. Levet with him. Ever since I was acquainted with Dr. Johnson, and many years before, as I have been assured by those who knew him earlier, Mr. Levet had an apartment in his house, or his chambers, and waited upon him every morning, through the whole course of his late and tedious breakfast. He was of a strange grotesque appearance, stiff and formal in his manner, and seldom said a word while any company was present.2

The circle of his friends, indeed, at this time, was extensive and various, far beyond what has been generally imagined. To trace his acquaintance with each

1 Catherine Sawbridge (1733-1791) married Dr. George Macaulay, a physician in London, in 1760. She wrote a History of England, from James I. to the Revolution, in eight vols.

2 Robert Levet, according to Malone, had at one time been waiter in a coffee-house in Paris much

frequented by surgeons. They took notice of him, made up a purse for him, and procured him admission to the best medical lectures of the time. Johnson's verses on his death are among the best he wrote.


The ladies were regretting the death of a friend, to whom they owed great obligations; upon which Reynolds "You have, however, the observed comfort of being relieved from a burden of gratitude." They were shocked a little this alleviating suggestion, as selfish; but Johnson defended it in his clear and forcible manner, and was much pleased with the mind, the fair view of human nature, which it exhibited, like some of the reflections of Rochefoucault.




consequence was, that he went home with Reynolds, and supped with him.3

Sir Joshua told me a pleasant characteristical anecdote of Johnson about the time of their first acquaintance. When they were one evening together at the Miss Cotterells', the then Duchess of Argyle and another lady of high rank

3 Reynolds's acquaintance with Johnson could not have begun so early as Boswell says. He did not return from Italy till the end of 1752, and Boswell has assigned 1738 as the year of Johnson's residence in Castle-street when Reynolds was only fifteen years old. In 1753 he took a house in Great Newport-street, where the Cotterells I then lived.


came in. Johnson thinking that the Miss Cotterells were too much engrossed by them, and that he and his friend were neglected, as low company of whom they were somewhat ashamed, grew angry; and resolving to shock their supposed pride, by making their great visitors imagine that his friend and he were low indeed, he addressed himself in a loud tone to Mr. Reynolds, saying, "How much do you think you and I could get in a week, if we were to work as hard as we could?"-as if they had been common mechanics.

His acquaintance with Bennet Langton, Esq. of Langton, in Lincolnshire, another much valued friend, commenced soon after the conclusion of his "Rambler"; which that gentleman, then a youth, had read with so much admiration, that he came to London chiefly with a view of endeavouring to be introduced to its author. By a fortunate chance he happened to take lodgings in a house where Mr. Levet frequently visited; and having mentioned his wish to his landlady, she introduced him to Mr. Levet, who readily obtained Johnson's permission to bring Mr. Langton to him; as, indeed, Johnson, during the whole course of his life, had no shyness, real or affected, but was easy of access to all who were properly recommended, and even wished to see numbers at his levée, as his morning circle of company might, with strict propriety, be called. Mr. Langton was exceedingly surprised when the sage first appeared. He had not received the smallest intimation of his figure, dress, or manner. From perusing his writings, he fancied he should see a decent, well-drest, in short, a remarkably decorous philosopher. Instead of which, down from his bed-chamber, about noon, came, as newly risen, a huge uncouth figure, with a little dark wig which scarcely covered his head, and his clothes hanging loose about him. But his conversation was so rich, so animated, and so forcible, and his religious and political notions so congenial with those in which Langton had been educated, that he conceived for him that veneration and attachment which he ever preserved. Johnson was not the less ready to love



Mr. Langton, for his being of a very ancient family; for I have heard him say, with pleasure, Langton, Sir, has a grant of free warren from Henry the Second; and Cardinal Stephen Langton, in King John's reign, was of this family.

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Mr. Langton afterwards went to pursue his studies at Trinity College, Oxford, where he formed an acquaintance with his fellow-student, Mr. Topham Beauclerk; who, though their opinions and modes of life were so different, that it seemed utterly improbable that they should at all agree, had so ardent a love of literature, so acute an understanding, such elegance of manners, and so well discerned the excellent qualities of Mr. Langton, a gentleman eminent not only for worth and learning, but for an inexhaustible fund of entertaining conversation, that they became intimate friends."


Johnson, soon after this acquaintance began, passed a considerable time at Oxford. He at first thought it strange that Langton should associate so much with one who had the character of being loose, both in his principles and practice: but, by degrees, he himself was cinated. Mr. Beauclerk's being of the St. Alban's family, and having, in some particulars, a resemblance to Charles the Second, contributed, in Johnson's imagination, to throw a lustre upon his other qualities; and in a short time, the moral, pious Johnson, and the gay, dissipated Beauclerk, were companions. "What a coalition!" said Garrick, when he heard of this: "I shall have my old friend to bail out of the Round-house.' But I can bear testimony that it was a very agreeable association. Beauclerk was too polite, and valued learning and wit too much, to offend Johnson by sallies of infidelity or licentiousness; and Johnson delighted in the good qualities of Beauclerk, and hoped to correct the evil. Innumerable were the scenes in which Johnson was amused by these young men.

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1 Langton was a good Greek scholar, and succeeded Johnson as Professor of Ancient Litera

ture to the Royal Academy.

2 Topham Beauclerk was the only son of Lord Sidney Beauclerk, third son of the first Duke of St. Alban's, and was therefore great-grandson of Charles the Second, and Nell Gwynne.


Beauclerk could take more liberty with him, than any body with whom I ever saw him; but, on the other hand, Beauclerk was not spared by his respectable companion, when reproof was proper. Beauclerk had such a propensity to satire, that at one time Johnson said to him, "You never open your mouth but with intention to give pain; and you have often given me pain, not from the power of what you said, but from seeing your intention." At another time applying to him, with a slight alteration, a line of Pope, he said,


"Thy love of folly, and thy scorn of fools-1 Every thing thou dost shews the one, and every thing thou say'st the other." At another time he said to him, "Thy body is all vice, and thy mind all virtue." Beauclerk not seeming to relish the compliment, Johnson said, "Nay, Sir, Alexander the Great, marching in triumph into Babylon, could not have desired to have had more said to him."

Johnson was some time with Beauclerk at his house at Windsor, where he was entertained with experiments in natural philosophy. One Sunday, when the weather was very fine, Beauclerk enticed him, insensibly to saunter about all the morning. They went into a churchyard, in the time of divine service, and Johnson laid himself down at his ease upon one of the tomb-stones. 'Now, Sir," said Beauclerk, you are like Hogarth's Idle Apprentice. When Johnson got his pension, Beauclerk said to him in the humourous phrase of Falstaff, "I hope you'll now purge and live cleanly like a gentleman.


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One night when Beauclerk and Langton had supped at a tavern in London, and sat till about three in the morning, it came into their heads to go and knock up Johnson, and see if they could prevail on him to join them in a ramble. They rapped violently at the doors of his chambers in the Temple, till at last he appeared in his shirt, with his little black wig on the top of his head instead of a nightcap, and a poker in his hand,

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imagining, probably, that some ruffians were coming to attack him. When he discovered who they were, and was told their errand, he smiled, and with great good humour agreed to their proposal : "What, is it you, you dogs! I'll have a frisk with you.' He was soon drest, and they sallied forth together into CoventGarden, where the green-grocers and fruiterers were beginning to arrange their hampers, just come in from the country. Johnson made some attempts to help them ; but the honest gardeners stared so at his figure and manner, and odd interference, that he soon saw his services were not relished. They then repaired to one of the neighbouring taverns, and made a bowl of that liquor called Bishop, which Johnson had always liked :2 while in joyous contempt of sleep, from which he had been roused, he repeated the festive lines,

"Short, O short then be thy reign,

And give us to the world again!" 3

They did not stay long, but walked down to the Thames, took a boat, and rowed to Billingsgate. Beauclerk and Johnson were so well pleased with their amusement, that they resolved to persevere in dissipation for the rest of the day but Langton deserted them, being ladies. Johnson scolded him for "leaving engaged to breakfast with some young his social friends, to go and sit with a set of wretched un-idea'd girls.' being told of this ramble, said to him smartly, "I heard of your frolic t'other night. You'll be in the 'Chronicle."" Upon which Johnson afterwards observed, He durst not do such a thing. His wife would not let him!"

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his usual piety, as appears from He entered upon this year 1753 with following prayer, which I transcribed

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from that part of his diary which he sation with me, had the provoking burnt a few days before his death: effrontery to say he was not sensible of it.

"Jan. 1, 1753, N.S. which I shall use for the future.

Almighty GoD, who hast continued my life to this day, grant that, by the assistance of thy Holy Spirit, I may improve the time which thou shalt grant me, to my eternal salvation. Make me to remember, to thy glory, thy judgments and thy mercies. Make me to consider the loss of my wife, whom thou hast taken from me, that it may dispose me, by thy grace, to lead the residue of my life in thy fear. Grant this, O Lord, for JESUS CHRIST's sake. Amen."

He now relieved the drudgery of his Dictionary, and the melancholy of his grief, by taking an active part in the composition of the "Adventurer," in which he began to write April 10, marking his essays with the signature T, by which most of his papers in that collection are distinguished: those, however, which have that signature and also that of Mysargyrus, were not written by him, but, as I suppose, by Dr. Bathurst. Indeed Johnson's energy of thought and richness of language are still more decisive marks than any signature. As a proof of this, my readers, I imagine, will not doubt that Number 39, on sleep, is his; for it not only has the general texture and colour of his style, but the authors with whom he was peculiarly conversant are readily introduced in it in cursory allusion. The translation of a passage in Statius quoted in that paper, and marked C. B. has been erroneously ascribed to Dr. Bathurst, whose Christian name was Richard.1 How much this amiable man contributed to the "Adventurer," cannot be known. Let me add that Hawkesworth's imitations of Johnson are sometimes so happy, that it is extremely difficult to distinguish them with certainty from the compositions of his great archetype. Hawkesworth was his closest imitator, a circumstance of which that writer would once have been proud to be told; though, when he had become elated by having risen into some degree of consequence, he, in a conver

1 This is wrong. The Latin Sapphics translated by C. B. are said in the paper to have been written by Cowley, and are in his fourth book on Plants.

Johnson was truly zealous for the success of the "Adventurer"; and very soon after his engaging in it, he wrote the following letter:


"I OUGHT to have written to you before now, but I ought to do many things which I do not; nor can I, indeed, claim any merit from this

letter; for being desired by the authors and proprietor of the "Adventurer "to look out for another hand, my thoughts necessarily fixed upon you, whose fund of literature will enable you to assist them, with very little interruption of your


"They desire you to engage to furnish one paper a month, at two guineas a paper, which you may very readily perform. We have considered that a paper should consist of pieces of imagination, pictures of life, and disquisitions of literature. The part which depends on the inagination is very well supplied, as you will find when you read the paper; for descriptions of life, and an authoress; and the province of criticism there is now a treaty almost made with an author and literature they are very desirous to assign to the commentator on Virgil.

that the next post will bring us your compliance. "I hope this proposal will not be rejected, and I speak as one of the fraternity, though I have no part in the paper, beyond now and then a motto; but two of the writers are my particular friends, to them, will not be denied to, dear Sir, your and I hope the pleasure of seeing a third united most obedient, and most humble servant,

"March 8, 1753."


The consequence of this letter was, Dr. Warton's enriching the collection with several admirable essays.

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Johnson's saying "I have no part in the paper beyond now and then a motto, may seem inconsistent with his being the author of the papers marked T. But he had, at this time, written only one number; and besides, even at any after

2 Joseph Warton (1722-1800), son of Thomas, Professor of Poetry at Oxford, and elder brother of another Thomas who filled the same chair in his turn. Educated at Winchester, of which he was afterwards head-master, and Oriel College, Oxford. Was appointed a prebendary of St. Paul's and of Winchester. His chief works are an edition of Virgil with a translation of the Eclogues and Georgics, an edition of Pope, and an Essay on the life and genius of that poet, which is his best title to fame.

period, he might have used the same expression, considering it as a point of honour not to own them; for Mrs. Williams told me that, "As he had given those essays to Dr. Bathurst, who sold them at two guineas each, he never would own them; nay, he used to say he did not write them: but the fact was, that he dictated them, while Bathurst wrote. I read to him Mrs. Williams's account; he smiled, and said nothing.

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I am not quite satisfied with the casuistry by which the productions of one person are thus passed upon the world for the productions of another. I allow that not only knowledge, but powers and qualities of mind may be communicated; but the actual effect of individual exertion never can be transferred, with truth, to any other than its own original cause. One person's child may be made the child of another person by adoption, as among the Romans, or by the ancient Jewish mode of a wife having children borne to her upon her knees, by her handmaid. But these were children in a different sense from that of nature. It was clearly understood that they were not of the blood of their nominal parents. So in literary children, an author may give the profits and fame of his composition to another man, but cannot make that other the real author. A Highland gentleman, a younger branch of a family, once consulted me if he could not validly purchase the Chieftainship of his family, from the Chief who was willing to sell it. I told him it was impossible for him to acquire, by purchase, a right to be a different person from what he really was; for that the right of Chieftainship attached to the blood of primogeniture, and, therefore, was incapable of being transferred. I added, that though Esau sold his birthright, or the advantages belonging to it, he still remained the first-born of his parents; and that whatever agreement a Chief might make with any of the clan, the Heralds' Office could not admit of the metamorphosis, or with any decency attest that the younger was the elder; but I did not convince the worthy gentleman.

Johnson's papers in the "Adventurer' are very similar to those of the "Rambler " ; but being rather more varied in their subjects, and being mixed with essays by other writers, upon topics more generally attractive than even the most elegant ethical discourses, the sale of the work, at first, was more extensive. Without meaning, however, to depreciate the " Adventurer," I must observe, that as the value of the "Rambler " came, in the progress of time, to be better known, it grew upon the public estimation, and that its sale has far exceeded that of any other periodical papers since the reign of Queen Anne.

In one of the books of his diary I find the following entry :

"Apr. 3, 1753. I began the second vol. of my Dictionary, room being left in the first for Preface, Grammar, and History, none of them yet begun.

enable me to proceed in this labour, and in the "O GOD, who hast hitherto supported me, whole task of my present state; that when I shall render up, at the last day, an account of the talent committed to me, I may receive pardon, for the sake of JESUS CHRIST. Amen.'

a Dedication* to the Earl of Orrery, of He this year favoured Mrs. Lenox with her "Shakespeare Illustrated."1

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literary world, had written a novel entitled The 1 "Mrs. Lenox, a lady now well known to the Life of Harriet Stuart [supposed to be her own history], which in the spring of 1751 was ready for publication. One evening at the [Ivy Lane] Club, Johnson proposed to us the celebrating the birth of Mrs. Lenox's first literary child, as he called her book, by a whole night spent in festivity The place appointed was the Mrs. Lenox and her husband, and a lady of her Devil Tavern, and there, about the hour of eight, acquaintance, as also the club and friends to the number of near twenty assembled. The supper was elegant, and Johnson had directed that a and this he would have stuck with bay-leaves, magnificent hot apple-pie should make part of it, because, forsooth, Mrs. Lenox was an authoress, and had written verses; and further he had prepared for her a crown of laurel with which—but not till he had invoked the Muses with some ceremonies of his own invention--he encircled her brows. The night passed, as must be imagined, in pleasant conversation and harmless mirth, freshments of coffee and tea. About five, Johnintermingled at different periods with the reson's face shone with meridian splendour, though his drink had been only lemonade; but the far colours of Bacchus and were with difficulty rallied greater part of the company had deserted the to partake of a second refreshment of coffee,

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