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quence with an equal hand to both parties. “ That is not quite true,” said Johnson; “I “ saved appearances tolerably well; but I “ took care that the w HIG Dogs should not “ have the best of it.” The sale of the Magazine was greatly increased by the Parliamentary debates, which were continued by Johnson till the month March, 1742-3. From that time the Magazine was conducted

by Dr. Haw koworth.

In 1743-4, Osborne, the bookseller, who kept a shop in Gray’s-Inn, purchased the Earl of Oxford's library, at the price of thirteen thousand pounds. He projected a catalogue in five octavo volumes, at five shillings each. Johnson was employed in that painful . drudgery. He was likewise to collect all such small tracts as were in any degree worth preserving, in order to reprint and publish the whole in a collection, called “The Harleian “Miscellany.” The catalogue was completed; and the Miscellany in 1749 was published in eight quarto volumes. In this business John§ {} so W38 & day-labourer for immediate subsistence, not unlike Gustavus Vasa working TIM

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in the mines of Dalicarlia. What Wilcox, a bookseller of eminence in the Strand, said to Johnson, on his first arrival in town, was now almost confirmed. He lent our author five guineas, and then asked him, “How do “you mean to earn your Hivelihood in this “town?” “By my literary labours,” was the answer. Wilcox, staring at him, shook his head : “By your literary labours!—You “ had better buy a porter's knot.” Johnson used to tell this anecdote to Mr. Nichols; but he said, “Wilcox was one of my best “friends, and he meant, well.” In fact, Johnson, while employed in Gray’s-Inn, may be said to have carried a porter's knot. He paused occasionally to peruse the book that came to his hand. Osborne thought that such curiosity tended to nothing but delay, and objected to it with all the pride and insolence of a man, who knew that he paid daily wages. In the dispute that of course ensued, Osborne, with that roughness which was natural to him, enforced his argument by giving the lie. Johnson seized a folio, and knocked the bookseller down. This story has been related as an instance of Johnson's ferocity; but merit cannot always take

the spurns of the unworthy with a patient spirit”.

That the history of an author must be found in his works is, in general, a true observation; and was never more apparent than . . in the present narrative. Every ara of Johnson's life is fixed by his writings. In 1744, he published the life of Savage ; and then projected a new edition of Shakspeare. As a prelude to this design, he published, in 1745, Miscellaneous Observations on the Tragedy of Macbeth, with Remarks on Sir Thomas Hammer's Edition; to which were prefixed, Proposals for a new Edition of Shakspeare, with a Specimen. Of this pamphlet Warburton, in the Preface to Shakspeare, has given his opinion: “As to all those things, “ which have been published under the title “ of Essays, Remarks, Observations, &c. on “Shakspeare, if you except some critical notes “ on Macbeth, given as a specimen of a pro“jected edition, and written, as appears, by “ a man

• Mr. Boswell says, “The simple truth I had fion

Johnson himself. “Sir, he was impertinent to me, and ! I beat him. But it was not in his shop : it was in my

3 2 9.

own chamber'.

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“a man of parts and genius, the rest are ab“solutely below a serious notice.” But the attention of the public was not excited; there was no friend to promote a subscription; and the project died to revive at a future day. A new undertaking, however, was soon after proposed ; namely, an English Dictionary upon an enlarged plan. Several of the most opulent booksellers had meditated a work of this kind; and the agreement was soon adjusted between the parties. Emboldened by this connection, Johnson thought of a better habitation than he had hitherto known. He had lodged with his wife in courts and alleys about the Strand; but now, for the purpose of carrying on his arduous undertaking, and to be near his printer and friend Mr. Strahan, he ventured to take a house in Gough-square, Fleet-street. He was told that the Earl of Chesterfield was a friend to his undertaking; and in consequence of that intelligence, he published, in 1747, The Plan of a Dictionary of the English Language, addressed to the Right Honourable Philip Dormer, Earl of Chesterfield, one of his Majesty's principal Secretaries of State. Mr. Whitehead, afterwards Poet Laureat, undertook to convey the Vol. I. E. manuscript

manuscript to his Lordship : the consequence was an invitation from Lord Chesterfield to the Author. A stronger contrast of characters could not be brought together; the Nobleman celebrated for his wit, and all the graces of polite behaviour; the Author, conscious of his own merit, towering in idea above all competition, versed in scholastic logic, but a stranger to the arts of polite conversation, uncouth, vehement, and vociferous. The coalition was too unnatural. Johnson expected a Maecenas, and was disappointed. No patronage, no assistance followed. Visits were repeated; but the reception was not cordial. Johnson one day was left a full hour, waiting in an anti-chamber, till a gentleman should retire, and leave his lordship at leisure. This was the famous Colley Cibber. Johnson saw him go, and fired with indignation, rushed out of the house *. What Lord Chesterfield thought of his visitor may be seen in a passage in one of that Nobleman's letters to his son +. “There is a man, whose moral character, “deep learning, and superior parts, I ac- ** “knowledge, * Dr. Johnson denies the whole of this story. See.

Boswell's Life, vol. i. p. 128. Oct. Edit. 1804. C. + Letter CCXII.

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