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“ faction, nor with a design that you ever “ should.” Sir John Hawkins will have it, that, after this interview, Johnson was often pressed to wait on Lord Bute, but with a sullen spirit refused to comply. However that be, Johnson was never heard to utter a disrespectful word of that nobleman. The writer of this essay remembers a circumstance which may throw some light on this subject. The late Dr. Rose, of Chiswick, whom Johnson loved and respected, contended for the pre-eminence of the Scotch writers; and Ferguson's book on Civil Society, then on the eve of publication, he said, would give the laurel to North Britain. “Alas! what can he do upon that subject 2" said Johnson: “Aristotle, Polybius, Gro“tius, Puffendorf, and Burlemaqui, have “reaped in that field before him.” “He
“will treat it,” said Dr. Rose, “ in a new
“manner.” “A new manner! Buckinger had “ no hands, and he wrote his name with “his toes at Charing-cross, for half a crown
“a-piece; that was a new manner of writ
“ing !” Dr. Rose replied, “If that will “not satisfy you, I will name a writer, “whom you must allow to be the best in \ - “ the “ the kingdom.” “Who is that?” “The “ Earl of Bute, when he wrote an order for “ your pension.” “There, Sir,” said Johnson, “you have me in the toil: to Lord Bute I “must allow whatever praise you claim for “ him.” Ingratitude was no part of Johnson's character.
Being now in the possession of a regular income, Johnson left his chambers in the Temple, and once more became master of a house in Johnson's-court, Fleet-street. Dr. Levet, his friend and physician in ordinary *, paid his daily visits with assiduity ; made tea all the morning, talked what he had to say, and did not expect an answer. Mrs. Williams had her apartment in the house, and entertained her benefactor with more enlarged conversation. Chemistry was part of Johnson's amusement. For this love of experimental philosophy, Sir John Hawkins thinks an apology necessary. He tells us, with great gravity, that curiosity was the only object in view; not an intention to grow suddenly rich by the philosopher's stone, or the transmutation of metals. To . * See Johnson's epitaph on him, in this volume, p. 342.
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enlarge his circle, Johnson once more had recourse to a literary club. This was at the Turk's Head, in Gerard-street, Soho, on every Tuesday evening through the year. The members were, besides himself, the right honourable Edmund Burke, Sir Joshua Reynolds, Dr. Nugent, Dr. Goldsmith, the late Mr. Topham Beauclerk, Mr. Langton, Mr. Chamier, Sir John Hawkins, and some others. Johnson's affection for Sir Joshua was founded on a long acquaintance, and a thorough knowledge of the virtuous and amiable qualities of that excellent artist. He delighted in the conversation of Mr. Burke. He met him for the first time at Mr. Garrick's several years ago. On the nex; day he said, “I “ suppose, Murphy, you are proud of your countryman. CUM TAL1s s1T UTINAM Nos TER Ess ET " From that time his con
stant observation was, “That a man of sense “could not meet Mr. Burke by accident, “ under a gateway to avoid a shower, with“ out being convinced that he was the first “man in England.” Johnson felt not only kindness, but zeal and ardour for his friends. He did every thing in his power to advance the reputation of Dr. Goldsmith. He loved
him, him, though he knew his failings, and particularly the leaven of envy, which corroded the mind of that elegant writer, and made him impatient, without disguise, of the praises bestowed on any person whatever. Of this infirmity, which marked Goldsmith's character, Johnson gave a remarkable instance. It happened that he went with Sir Joshua Reynolds and Goldsmith to see the Fantoccini, which were exhibited some years ago in or near the Haymarket. They admired the curious mechanism by which the puppets were made to walk the stage, draw a chair to the table, sit down, write a letter, and perform a variety of other actions, with such dexterity, that, though Nature's journeymen made the men, they imitated humanity to the astonishment of the spectator. The entertainment being over, the three friends retired to a tavern. Johnson and Sir Joshua talked with pleasure of what they had seen; and says Johnson, in a tone of admiration, “How the little “fellow brandished his spontoon!” “ There “is nothing in it,” replied Goldsmith, starting up with impatience ; “give me a spon“toon; I can do it as well myself.”
Enjoying his amusements at his weekly club, and happy in a state of independence, Johnson gained in the year 1765 another resource, which contributed more than any thing else to exempt him from the solicitudes of life. He was introduced to the late Mr. Thrale and his family. Mrs. Piozzi has related the fact, and it is therefore needless to repeat it in this place. The author of this narrative looks back to the share he had in that business with self-congratulation, since he knows the tenderness which from that time soothed Johnson's cares at Streatham, and prolonged a valuable life. The subscribers to Shakspeare began to despair of ever seeing the promised edition. To acquit himself of this obligation, he went to work unwillingly, but proceeded with vigour.— In the month of October 1765, Shakspeare was published ; and, in a short time after, the University of Dublin sent over a diploma, in honourable terms, creating him a Doctor of Laws. Oxford in eight or ten years af. terwards followed the example; and till then Johnson never assumed the title of Doctor. In 1766 his constitution seemed to