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morsels cut out of books as if at random ; and
; when a large extract is made from one place, it surely may be done with very little trouble. One might, I must acknowledge however, be led from the practice of Reviewers to suppose that they take a pleasure in original writing; for we often find, that instead of giving an accurate account of what has been done by the author whose work they are reviewing, which is surely the proper business of a literary journal, they produce some plausible and ingenious conceits of their own upon the topicks which have been discussed.
Again talking of the Reviews, Johnson said, “ I think them very impartial : I do not know an instance of partiality.”—“ The Monthly Reviewers (said he) are not Deists; but they are Christians with as little christianity as may be; and are for pulling down all establishments. The Critical Reviewers are for supporting the constitution both in Church and State. The Critical Reviewers, I believe, often review without reading the books through ; but lay hold of a topick, and write chiefly from their own minds.
The Monthly Reviewers are duller men, and are glad to read the books through.” Sir Joshua Reynolds said, that he wondered to find so much good writing employed in them, when the authors were to remain unknown, and so could not have the
motive of fame.-JOHNSON. Nay, Sir,
He praised Signior Baretti. " His account
Mr. B. censured a ludicrous fantastick dialogue between two coach-horses, and other fuch stuff, which Baretti had lately published. Johnson joined and said, “ Nothing odd will do long. " Tristram Shandy' did not last" . Mr. B. expressed a desire to be acquainted with a lady who had been much talked of, and universally celebrated for extraordinary address and insinuation. Johnson said, “ Never believe extraordinary characters which
hear of people. Depend upon it, Sir, they are exaggerated. You do not see one man shoot a great deal higher than another." -Mr. Burke was mentioned. “ Yes (said Johnson) ; Burke is an extraordinary man ; his stream of mind is
perpetual.”—The Doctor's high estimation of the talents of this gentleman was uniform from their early acquaintance. When Mr. Burke was first elected a member of Parliament, and Sir D D
John Hawkins expressed a wonder at his at taining a scat, Johnson' said, “ Now we who know Mr. Burke know that he will be one of the first men in this country.”
And once when Johnson was ill, and unable to exert Nimself as much as usual without fatigue, Mr. Burke having been mentioned, he said, “ That fellow calls forth all my powers. Were I to sec Burke now it would kill me." So much was he accustomed to confider conversation as a contest, and such was 'bis notion of Burke as an opponent.
He'ufed frequently to observe, that merr might be very eminent in a profession without our perceiving any particular power of mind in them in conversation. 6. It seems strange -(faid he) that a man should see so far to the right, who sees so fhort a way to the left. Burke is the only man whofe common conversation corresponds with the general fame which he has in the world. Take up whatever topic you pleafe, he is ready to meet you."
Talking of the wonderful concealment of the -author of the letters signed Junias, he said, “I should have believed' Burke to be Junius, because I know no man but Burke who is capable of writing these letters ; but Burke spontaneously denied it to me. The case would have been different had I asked him if he was the author ; a man lo questioned, as to an
anonymous publication, may think he has a right to deny it *."
* In a work lately published, the following account is given of this writer ; who appears to have obtained much more ce. lebrity than the temporary nature of his writings and his vi. rulent acrimony entitled him to.
• The bold assertions and keen invectives with which the papers of Junius abounded throughout contributed greatly to their popularity and fame. They were occasionally attributed to Lord Sackville, to the Right Hon. W. G. Hamilton, to the Right Hon. Edmund Burke, to John Dunning, Esq. and many others; but without the least ground or foundation in truth. It is to be observed of them, that all parties are attacked in them, except the Grenvilles. During their original publica. tion, the writer lived in Norfolk-street, in the Strand, not in afluent circumstances; but he did not write for pecuniary aid. He was a native of Ireland, of an honourable family, and of Trinity College, Dublin. He was at one time in. tended for the army, and at another for the bar; but private circumstances prevented either taking place. Perhaps no man possessed a stronger memory. He frequently attended Parliament, and the Courts in Westminster Hall; and sometimes he commitred to paper the speeches he had heard. When the conteft concerning the Middlesex election had abated, he ceased to write, which was about the close of the year 1771. However, towards the end of the year 1779, he resumed his pen, and wrote a number of political essays, or letters, which he entitled The Whig. They were printed in one of the public papers of that time; they were in number 18; but they died with the other papers of the day. In the year 1791, he went to Madras with Lord Macartney, to whom he had been known in Ireland, and there he died.”
The above account, however, we have been assured from authority is not to be relied on. The person alluded to was not the author of Junius.
However Johnson may have casually talked of Young the poet, yet when he sat, as ardent judge zealous to his trust, giving fentence" upon
the excellent works of Young, he allowed them the high praise to which they are justly entitled.
“ The Universal Passion (says he) is indeed a very great performance,-his distichs have the weight of solid sentiment, and his points the sharpness of resistless truth. In his · Night Thoughts' he has exhibited a very wide display of original poetry, variegated with deep reflections and striking allusions; a wilderness of thought, in which the fertility of fancy scatters flowers of every hue and of every odour. This is one of the few which blank verse could not be changed for rhime but with disadvantage. Particular lines are not to be regarded, the power is in the whole, and in the whole there is a magnifiçence like that ascribed to Chinese plantation, the magnificence of vast extent and endless diversity.”
Mr. Boswell goes on to remark, “But there is in this Poem not only all that Johnson so well brings in view, but a power of the pathetick beyond almost any example that I have seen. He who does not feel his nerves shaken, and bis heart pierced by many passages in this extraordinary work, particularly by that most af- ,