acknowledges mercies upon every occasion is very edifying; as is the humble submission which he breathes, when it is the will of his heavenly Father to try him with afflictions. As such dispositions become the state of man here, and are the true effects of religious discipline, we cannot but venerate in Johnson one of the most exercised minds that our holy religion hath ever formed. If there be any thoughtless enough to suppose such exercise the weakness of a great understanding, let them look up to Johnson, and be convinced that what he so earnestly practised must have a rational foundation.

LETTER 51. TO THE REV. JOSEPH WARTON. "15th April, 1756.

"DEAR SIR,-Though, when you and your brother were in town, you did not think my humble habitation worth a visit, yet I will not so far give way to sullenness as not to tell you that I have lately seen an octavo book (1) which I suspect to be yours, though I have not yet read above ten pages. That way of publishing, without acquainting your friends, is a wicked trick. However, I will not so far depend upon a mere conjecture as to charge you with a fraud which I cannot prove you to have committed.

"I should be glad to hear that you are pleased with your new situation. (2) You have now a kind of royalty and are to be answerable for your conduct to posterity.

(1) [The first volume of the Essay on the Writings and Genius of Pope appeared anonymously in 1756.]

(2) [His appointment of second-master of Winchester School took place in 1755.]

I suppose you care not now to answer a letter, except there be a lucky concurrence of a post-day with a holiday. These restraints are troublesome for a time, but custom makes them easy, with the help of some honour, and a great deal of profit, and I doubt not but your abilities will obtain both.

"For my part, I have not lately done much. I have been ill in the winter, and my eye has been inflamed; but I please myself with the hopes of doing many things with which I have long pleased and deceived myself.

"What becomes of poor dear Collins? I wrote him a letter which he never answered. I suppose writing is very troublesome to him. That man is no common loss. The moralists all talk of the uncertainty of fortune, and the transitoriness of beauty; but it is yet more dreadful to consider that the powers of the mind are equally liable to change, that understanding may make its appearance and depart, that it may blaze and expire.

"Let me not be long without a letter, and I will forgive you the omission of the visit; and if you can tell me that you are now more happy than before, you will give great pleasure to, dear Sir, your most affectionate and most humble servant,


His works this year were, an abstract or epitome, in octavo, of his folio Dictionary, and a few essays in a monthly publication, entitled "THE UNIVERSAL VISITER." Christopher Smart, with whose unhappy vacillation of mind he sincerely sympathised, was one of the stated undertakers of this miscellany; and it was to assist him that Johnson sometimes employed his pen. All the essays marked with two asterisks have been ascribed to him; but I am confident, from

internal evidence, that of these, neither "The Life of Chaucer," "Reflections on the State of Portugal," nor an "Essay on Architecture," were written by him. I am equally confident, upon the same evidence, that he wrote "Further Thoughts on Agriculture;" being the sequel of a very inferior essay on the same subject, and which, though carried on as if by the same hand, is both in thinking and expression so far above it, and so strikingly peculiar, as to leave no doubt of its true parent; and that he also wrote "A Dissertation on the State of Literature and Authors," and "A Dissertation on the Epitaphs written by Pope."* The last of these, indeed, he afterwards added to his "Idler." the essays truly written by him are marked in the same manner with some which he did not write, I cannot explain; but, with deference to those who have ascribed to him the three essays which I have rejected, they want all the characteristical marks of Johnsonian composition.


He engaged also to superintend and contribute largely to another monthly publication, entitled "THE LITERARY MAGAZINE, OR UNIVERSAL REVIEW;"* the first number of which came out in May this year. What were his emoluments from this undertaking, and what other writers were employed in it, I have not discovered. He continued to write in it, with intermissions, till the fifteenth number; and I think that he never gave better proofs of the force, acuteness, and vivacity of his mind, than in this miscellany, whether we consider his original essays, or his reviews of the works of others. The

"Preliminary Address"+ to the public, is a proor how this great man could embellish with the graces of superior composition, even so trite a thing as the plan of a magazine.

His original essays are, "An Introduction to the Political State of Great-Britain ;"+ "Remarks on the Militia Bill;"+"Observations on his Britannic Majesty's Treaties with the Empress of Russia and the Landgrave of Hesse Cassel;"+"Observations on the Present State of Affairs ;" and, "Memoirs of Frederick III. King of Prussia." In all these he displays extensive political knowledge and sagacity, expressed with uncommon energy and perspicuity, without any of those words which he sometimes took a pleasure in adopting, in imitation of Sir Thomas Browne; of whose "Christian Morals" he this year gave an edition, with his "Life"* prefixed to it, which is one of Johnson's best biographical performances. In one instance only in these essays has he indulged his Brownism. Dr. Robertson, the historian, mentioned it to me, as having at once convinced him that Johnson was the author of the "Memoirs of the King of Prussia." Speaking of the pride which the old King, the father of his hero, took in being master of the tallest regiment in Europe, he says, "To review this towering regiment was his daily pleasure; and to perpetuate it was so much his care, that when he met a tall woman, he immediately commanded one of his Titanian retinue to marry her, that they might propagate procerity." For this Anglo-Latian word procerity, Johnson had, however, the authority of Addison.

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