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“away, but I think he was a very good man. “I have made very little progress in reco“very. I am very weak, and very sleepless ; “but I live on and hope.”
In that languid condition he arrived, on the 16th of November, at his house in Bolt-court, there to end his days. He laboured with the dropsy and an asthma. He was attended by Dr. Heberden, Dr. Warren, Dr. Brocklesby, Dr. Butter, and Mr. Cruikshank, the eminent surgeon. Eternity presented to his mind an awful prospect, and, with as much virtue as perhaps ever is the lot of man, he shuddered at the thought of his dissolution. His friends awakened the comfortable reflection of a well-spent life ; and, as his end drew near, they had the satisfaction of seeing him composed, and even cheerful, insomuch that he was able, in the course of his restless mights, to make translations of Greek epigrams from the Anthologia; and to compose a Latin epitaph for his father, his mother, and his brother Nathaniel. He meditated, at the same time, a Latin inscription to the memory of Garrick; but his vigour was exhausted.
K 2 His
His love of Literature was a passion that stuck to his last sand. Seven days before his death he wrote the following letter to his
friend Mr. Nichols :
“S I R,
“The late learned Mr. Swinton of Oxford having one day remarked that one man, meaning, I suppose, no man but himself, could assign all the parts of the Ancient Universal History to their proper authors, at the request of Sir Robert Chambers, or myself, gave the account which I now transmit to you in his own hand, being willing that of so great a work the history should be known, and that each writer should receive his due proportion of praise from posterity.
“I recommend to you to preserve this scrap of literary intelligence in Mr. Swinton's own hand, or to deposit it in the Museum *, that the veracity of this account may never be doubted.
“I am, SIR,
“ Dec. 6, 1784. “SAM. Jo HNso N.”
* It is there deposited. J. N.
us- — Gaetulians.
Turks,Tartars, and Moguls.
somomo Dissertation on the peopling
of America. The History of the Dissertation on the Independency of the Arabs. The Cosmogony, and a small part of the history immediately following. By M. Sale. To the Birth of Abraham. Chiefly by Mr. Shelvock. History of the Jews, Gauls, and Spaniards. By Mr. Psalmanazar. Xenophon's Retreat. By the same.
K 3 History
History of the Persians, and the Constantinopolitan Empire. By Dr. Campbell. History of the Romans. By Mr. Bower”.
On the morning of Dec. 7, Dr. Johnson requested to see Mr. Nichols. A few days before, he had borrowed some of the early volumes of the Magazine, with a professed intention to point out the pieces which he had written in that collection. The books lay on the table, with many leaves doubled down, and in particular those which contained his share in the Parliamentary Debates. bates. Such was the goodness of Johnson's heart, that he then declared, that “ those
* Before this authentic communication, Mr. Nichols had given in the volume of the Gentleman's Magazine for 1781, p. 370, the following account of the Universal History. The proposals were published October 6, 1729; and the authors of the first seven volumes were, Vol. I. Mr. Sale, translator of the Koran. II. George Psalmanazar. III. George Psalmanazar. Archibald Bower. Captain Shelvock. Dr. Campbell. IV. The same as Vol. III. V. Mr. Bower. VI. Mr. Bower. Rev. John Swinton. VII. Mr. Swinton. Mr. Bower.
debates were the only parts of his writings which gave him any compunction : but that at the time he wrote them he had no conception that he was imposing upon the world, though they were frequently written from very slender materials, and often from none at all, the mere coinage of his own imagination.” He added, “ that he never wrote any part of his work with equal velocity. Three columns of the Magazine in an hour,” he said, “ was no uncommon effort ; which was faster than most persons could have transcribed that Quantity. In one day in particular, and that not a very long one, he wrote twelve pages, more in quantity than ever he wrote at any other time, except in the Life of Savage, of which forty-eight pages in octavo were the production of one long day, including a part of the night.”
In the course of the conversation he asked,