of the people, which Ariosto talks of in his last canto, or a general murmur of dislike, I know not: whether I shall find upon the coast a Calypso that will court, or a Polypheme that will resist. But if Polypheme comes, have at his eye! I hope, however, the criticks will let me be at peace; for though I do not much fear their skill and strength, I am a little afraid of myself, and would not willingly feel so much ill-will in my bosom as literary quarrels are apt to excite.

“ Mr. Baretti is about a work for which he is in great want of Crescimbeni, which you may have again when you please.

“ There is nothing considerable done or doing among us here. We are not perhaps as innocent as villagers, but most of us seem to be as idle. I hope, however, you are busy; and should be glad to know what you are doing. I am, dearest sir, your humble servant,

« Sam. JOHNSON.”


(London), 4 Feb. 1755. “Dear Sir,- I received your letter this day, with great sense of the favour that has been done me l; for which I return my most sincere thanks; and entreat you to pay to Mr. Wise such returns as I ought to make for so much kindness so little deserved.

“I sent Mr. Wise the Lexicon, and afterwards wrote to him; but know not whether he had either the book or letter. Be so good as to contrive to inquire.

“But why does my dear Mr. Warton tell me nothing of himself? Where hangs the new volume?? Can I help? Let not the past labour be lost, for want of a little more; but snatch what time you can from the hall, and the pupils, and the coffee-house, and the parks", and complete your design. I am, dear sir, &c.



(London), 13 Feb. 1755. “ DEAR SIR,~ I had a letter last week from Mr. Wise, but have yet heard nothing from you, nor know in what state my affair* stands; of which I beg you to inform me, if you can tomorrow, by the return of the post.

“ Mr. Wise sends me word, that he has not had the Finnick

1 His degree had now past, according to the usual form, the suffrages of the heads of colleges; but was not yet finally granted by the university. It was carried without a single dissentient voice.-WARTON.

2 On Spenser._WARTON.
3 [The walks near Oxford so called.—ED]
1 Of the degree.-WARTON.

Lexicon yet, which I sent some time ago; and if he has it not, you must inquire after it. However, do not let your letter stay for that.

“ Your brother, who is a better correspondent than you, and not much better, sends me word that your pupils keep you in college: but do they keep you from writing too? Let them, at least, give you time to write to, dear sir, your most affectionate, &c.



“ (London), Feb. 1755. “ DEAR SIR,-Dr. King' was with me a few minutes before your letter; this, however, is the first instance in which your kind intentions to me have ever been frustrated. I have now the full effect of your care and benevolence; and am far from thinking it a slight honour, or a small advantage; since it will put the enjoyment of your conversation more frequently in the power of, dear sir, your most obliged and affectionate

" Sam. JOHNSON. “P.S. I have enclosed a letter to the vice-chancellor", which you will read; and, if you like it, seal and give him."

As the publick will doubtless be pleased to see the whole progress of this well-earned academical honour, , I shall insert the Chancellor of Oxford's letter to the university", the diploma, and Johnson's letter of thanks to the vice-chancellor.

· Principal of Saint Mary Hall at Oxford. He brought with him the diploma from Oxford. WARTON. (Born in 1685. Entered of Baliol in 1701. D.C.L. 1715, and Principal of St. Mary Hall in 1718. In 1722 he was a candidate for the representation of the university in parliament, on the tory interest; but was defeated. He died in 1763. He was a wit and a scholar, and, in particular, celebrated for his latinity; highly obnoxious to the Hanoverian party, and the idol of the Jacobites. It appears from his Memoirs, lately published, that he was one of those who was intrusted with the knowledge of the Pretender's being in London in the latter end of the reign of George the Second, where Dr. King was introduced to him. In the memoirs, the year is stated to have been 1756, but there is reason to suspect that this is an error of the transcriber or the press, for the Pretender's visit is elsewhere said to have been in 1750.-En.]

? I suppose Johnson means that my kind intention of being the first to give him the good news of the degree being granted was frustrated, ause Dr. King brought it before my intelligence arrived.-WARTON.

3 Dr. Huddesford, President of Trinity College.-WARTON.
4 Extracted from the Convocation Register, Oxford.-BOSWELL.

TO THE REV. DR. HUDDESFORD, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford; to be communicated to the heads of houses, and proposed in convocation.

“ Grosvenor-street, 4 Feb. 1755. “ MR. VICE-CHANCELLOR, AND GENTLEMEN, Mr. Samuel Johnson, who was formerly of Pembroke College, having very eminently distinguished himself by the publication of a series of essays, excellently calculated to form the manners of the people, and in which the cause of religion and morality is every where maintained by the strongest powers of argument and language; and who shortly intends to publish a Dictionary of the English Tongue, formed on a new plan, and executed with the greatest labour and judgement; I persuade myself that I shall act agreeable to the sentiments of the whole university, in desiring that it may be proposed in convocation to confer on him the degree of master of arts by diploma, to which I readily give my consent; and am, Mr. Vice-chancellor, and gentlemen, your affectionate friend and servant, « ARRAN."




1755. “ CANCELLARIUS, Magistri et Scholares Universitatis Oxoniensis omnibus ad quos

hoc presens scriptum pervenerit, salutem in Domino sempiternam.

Cum eum in finem gradus academici d majoribus nostris instituti fuerint, ut viri ingenio et doctrinâ præstantes titulis quoque præter cæteros insignirentur; cumque vir doctissimus Samuel Johnson è Collegio Pembrochiensi, scriptis suis popularium mores informantibus dudum literato orbi innotuerit; quin et linguæ patriæ tum ornanda tum stabilienda (Lexicon scilicet Anglicanum summo studio, summo à se judicio congestum propediem editurusj etiam nunc utilissimam impendat operam; nos igitur Cancellarius, Magistri, et Scholares antedicti, virum de literis humanioribus optimè meritum diutius inhonoratum prætereamus, in solenni convocatione Doctorum, Magistrorum, Regentium, et non Regentium, decimo die mensis Februarii Anno Domini Millesimo Septingentesimo Quinquagesimo quinto habitá, præfatum virum Samuelem Johnson (conspirantibus omnium suffragiis) Magistrum in Artibus renunciavimus et constituimus ; eumque, virtute præsentis diplomatis, singulis juribus privilegiis et honoribus ad istum gradum quaquà pertinentibus frui et gaudere jussimus.

In cujus rei testimonium sigillum Universitatis Oxoniensis præsentibus apponi fecimus.

" Datum in Domo nostræ Convocationis die 200 mensis Feb. Anno

Dom. prædicto.

Diploma supra scriptum per Registrarium lectum erat, et er decreto venerabilis Domús communi Universitatis sigillo munitum'.

Londini. 4to Cal. Mart. 1755. « VIRO REVERENDO [GEORGIO) HUDDESFORD, S. T. P. UNI.


“ SAM. JOHNSON INGRATUS planè et tibi et mihi videar, nisi quanto me gaudio affecerint, quos nuper mihi honores (te credo, auctore), decrevit Senatus Academicus, literarum, quo tamen nihil levius, officio, significem; ingratus etiam, nisi comitatem, quá vir eximiuss mihi vestri testimonium amoris in manus tradidit, agnoscam et laudem. Si quid est, undè rei tam grate accedat gratia, hoc ipso magis mihi placet, quod eo tempore in ordines Academicos denuò cooptatus sim, quo tuam imminuere auctoritatem, famamque Oxonii lædere, omnibus modis conantur homines vafri, nec tamen acuti: quibus ego, prout viro umbratico licuit, semper restiti, semper restiturus. Qui enim, inter has rerum procellas, vel tibi vel Academia defuerit, illum virtuti et literis, sibique et posteris, defuturum existimo. Vale."


“ (London), 20th March, 1755. “ DEAR SIR,-After I received my diploma, I wrote you a letter of thanks, with a letter to the Vice-chancellor, and sent another to Mr. Wise; but have heard from nobody since, and begin to think myself forgotten. It is true, I sent you a double letter, and you may fear an expensive correspondent; but I would have taken it kindly, if you had returned it treble: and what is a double letter to a petty king, that having fellowship and fines, can sleep without a modus in his head* ?

“Dear Mr. Warton, let me hear from you, and tell me something, I care not what, so I hear it but from you. Something I will tell you:- I hope to see my Dictionary bound and lettered next week;-- vastå mole superbus. And I have a great mind to come to Oxford at Easter; but you will not invite me. Shall I come uninvited, or stay here where nobody perhaps would miss me if I went? A hard choice! But such is the world to, dear sir, yours, &c.

The original is in my possession.-Boswell. 3 The superscription of this letter was not quite correct in the early editions of this work. It is here given from Dr. Johnson's original letter, now before me.—MALONE.

3 We may conceive what a high gratification it must have been to Johnson to receive his diploma from the hands of the great Dr. King, whose principles were so congenial with his own.-BOSWELL. [The reader will see in the preceding note, p. 266, why Mr. Boswell calls this gentleman the great Dr. King. -Ed.)

4 The words in Italicks are allusions to passages in Mr. Warton's poem, called “ The Progress of Discontent,now lately published. – Warior.


p. 230.

[The following extract of a letter from Mr. Warton Ed. to his brother will show his first sentiments on this great work:

“ 19th April, 1755.

Mem. of “The Dictionary is arrived; the preface is noble. There is Dr.W. a grammar prefixed, and the history of the language is pretty full; but you may plainly perceive strokes of laxity and indolence. They are two most unwieldy volumes.

I have written him an invitation. I fear his preface will disgust, by the expression of his consciousness of superiority, and of his contempt of patronage. The Rawlinson benefaction won't do for Johnson, which is this-a professorship of 801. per annum, which is not to take place these forty years; a fellowship to Hertford College, which is too ample for them to receive agreeably to Newton's statutes; and a fellowship to St. John's College. Neither of the last are to take place these forty years."]

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* (London), 25th March, 1755. DEAR SIR,—Though not to write, when a man can write so well, is an offence sufficiently heinous, yet I shall pass it by. I am very glad that the Vice-Chancellor was pleased with my note. I shall impatiently expect you at London, that we may consider what to do next. I intend in the winter to open a Bibliotheque, and remember, that you are to subscribe a sheet a year: let us try, likewise, if we can persuade your brother to subscribe another. My book is now coming in luminis oras. What will be its fate I know not, nor think much, because thinking is to no purpose. It must stand the censure of the great vulgar and the small; of those that understand it, and that understand it not. But in all this, I suffer not alone; every writer has the same difficulties, and, perhaps, every writer talks of them more than he thinks.

? (By this, I suppose, is meant the Anglo-Saxon professorship which was founded in 1750, but did not take effect before 1795, exactly forty years from the date of this letter.-HALL.]

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