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which will appear, either entire or MEMORIALS OF DR. JOHNSON'S in part, in the sequel; I seem to RELIGIOUS FRIENDS.
have discovered, with clearer evi
dence than has hitherto beamed To the Editor of the Christian Observer. upon the subject, some of the hu
man sources whence Dr. Johnson ALTHOUGH the life and genius of derived his spiritual knowledge. Dr. Johnson have been illustrated The manuscripts in question now by a greater variety of biographical lie on my table; but, before I offer disquisition than has distinguished any extracts from them, it will be any other name in our national expedient to give some preliminary literature, little is yet known, information respecting the parties comparatively, of this eminent to whom they refer. To those who man's character as a Christian. are not familiar with the life and An effort was made, in a work times of Dr. Johnson, it is necesentitled “ Christian Essays,” first sary to state, that among his most published in 1817, to disentangle intimate friends, during the period the account of Johnson's death, from about 1737 to 1756, were from the confusion in which it Mrs. Fitzherbert and Miss Hill had been left by Hawkins and Boothby; both of them resident Boswell ; neither of whom was in Derbyshire; and with whom competent to the task they seve- Dr. Johnson probably became acrally undertook; and each of them quainted from their vicinity to his was evidently anxious to rescue friend Dr. Taylor, of Ashbourne. Johnson's memory from all sus- The former of these ladies was picion of what they considered Mary, eldest daughter of Lyttelton enthusiasm. The report from Poyntz Meynell, Esq. of Bradley, “ Christian Essays” is reprinted and wife of William Fitzherbert, in the October and November Esq. of Tissington. Her fourth Numbers of your work for 1827; son, Alleyne, was created Lord St. and the truth of the account con- Helens, and is yet alive; and her tained in it was forcibly attested grandson, Sir Henry Fitzherbert, by the Rev. C. I. La Trobe, in the Bart. is the present representative Christian Observer for January of the family. Of Mrs. Fitzherbert 1828 ; where, nearly half a cen- herself Dr. Johnson said, tury after Johnson's death, ap- she had the best understanding peared the first satisfactory record he ever met with in any human of his last days.
being*.” “That woman,” he reBy the kindness of a friend, who
• Boswell's Life of Johnson. Fourth has lent me some original letters, edition. Vol. i. p. 55, CHRIST. OBSERV. No. 349.
marked, “ loved her husband as was handsome? 'She would have
• At Ashbourne, in 1776, Dr. Johnson had much ado to calm the vio-
composed for her own use, and
literature. Mrs. Piozzi was peroblige you to hear much from him, and mitted to publish six letters addid not oppose what you said. Every body liked him ; but he had no friend, as dressed by Johnson to Miss BoothI understand the word-nobody with whom he exchanged intimate thoughts. London - by his own hand! nineteen He was an instance of the truth of the years after the departure of one, to whom observation, that a man will please more others might have said, upon the whole by negative qualities than Cara Maria vale! at veniet felicius #yum, by positive.” Boswell, vol. iii. p. 163. Quandoiterum tecum,simmododignus,ero!
† Mr. Fitzherbert, who was member * Anecdotes of the late Samuel Johnfor the Borough of Derby in several Par- son, LL.D; by Hester Lynch Piozzi. liaments, and one of the Lords of Trade Fourth edition. p. 159. and Plantations, died at his house in # Ibid. p. 160.
by, which appeared in 1788, in a I died to-day; which I mention collection now very scarce, and lest you should hear it and be never reprinted. Neither, with alarmed. You see that I think the exception of the first, have my death may alarm you ; which, they been copied by any of John- for me, is to think very highly of son's biographers; nor are they earthly friendship. I believe it inserted in his Works. They are arose from the death of one of consequently, comparatively, un- my neighbours. You know Des known; and the following extracts Cartes's argument, I think, there. from them will illustrate the pre
fore I am.' It is as good a con: sent memorials.
sequence, ‘I write, therefore I am “Jan. 1,1755.-Dearest Madam, alive.' I might give another, ‘I -Though I am afraid your illness am alive, therefore I love Miss leaves you little leisure for the Boothby,' but that I hope our reception of airy civilities, yet I friendship may be of far longer cannot forbear to pay you my duration than life. I am, dearest congratulations on the new year; Madam, with sincere affection, and to declare my wishes that your," &c. your years to come may be many “ Dec. 31, 1755.—My sweet and happy. In this wish, indeed, Angel,—I have read your book, I I include myself, who have none am afraid you will think without but you on whom my heart re- any great improvement; whether poses; yet surely I wish you good, you can read my notes I know even though your situation were not. You ought not to be ofsuch as should permit you to fended: I am, perhaps, as sincere communicate no gratification to, as the writer. In all things that Dearest, dearest, Madam, your,' terminate here I shall be much &c.
guided by your influence, and “ Dec. 30, 1755.—It is again should take or leave by your dimidnight, and I am again alone. rection ; but I cannot receive my With what meditation shall I religion from any human hand. I amuse this waste hour of dark- desire, however, to be instructed, ness and vacuity? If I turn my and am far from thinking myself thoughts upon myself, what do I perfect ...... It affords me a new perceive, but a poor helpless being, conviction, that in these books reduced by a blast of wind to there is little new, except new weakness and misery ....... This forms of expression; which may illness, in which I have suffered be sometimes taken, even by the something, and feared much more, writer, for new doctrines. I sinhas depressed my confidence and cerely hope that God, whom you elation; and made me consider so much desire to serve aright, all that I have promised myself, will bless you, and restore you to as less certain to be attained or health, if he sees best. Surely no enjoyed. I have endeavoured to human understanding can pray form resolutions of a better life; for any thing temporal otherwise but I form them weakly, under than conditionally. Dear Angel, the consciousness of an external do not forget me. My heart is motive...... Continue, my dearest, full of tenderness." your prayers for me, that no good “ Jan. 8, 1756.— I beg of you to resolution may be in vain. You endeavour to live. I have returned think, I believe, better of me than your Law, which, however, I earI deserve. I hope to be, in time, nestly entreat you to give me. I what I wish to be, and what I am in great trouble; if you can have hitherto satisfied myself too write three words to me, be pleased readily with only wishing .......... to do it. I am afraid to say much, There has gone about a report that and cannot say nothing when my
dearest is in danger. The all- Having furnished these reminismerciful God have mercy on you." cences from sources already open
Miss Boothby died on the six- to public examination, I shall proteenth of January, eight days after ceed to draw from the private the date of this letter ! She was treasury in my temporary posburied in Ashbourne church*; and session some illustrations of the the following lines, inscribed on character of the two ladies who her tomb, were written by a gen. honoured Dr. Johnson with their tleman of her family, the late Sir intimacy. The first of these is a Brooke Boothby.
letter from Miss Boothby to Mrs. Could beauty, learning, talents, virtue, save Fitzherbert, dated Holly Bush*, From the dark confines of the insatiate October 8, 1746.
grave, This frail memorial had not asked a tear “My dearest, best friend on O'er Hill's cold relics, sadly mouldering earth,—The trial which our Lord, here.
in his wise disposal of events, has Her soul, too heavenly for a house of clay, at this time ordered for us, has Soon wore its earth-built fabric to decay; In the last struggles of departing breath
given me a new and surprising She saw her Saviour gild the bed of death; proof of your affection and tenHeard his mild accents, tun'd to peace derness for met; founded on such and love,
motives as I think I may say, withGive glorious welcome to the realms above, In those bright regions that celestial shore, out presumption, Heaven approves, Where friends long lost shall meet to part from the great success your most no more;
kind endeavours for me have met • Blest Lord, 1 come; my hopes have not with. The heart may be too full
been vain!' Upon her lifeless cheek ecstatic smiles re
to disclose its thoughts; and, in main.
some cases, the tongue is an inDr. Johnson composed the fol- strument which fails us in expresslowing prayer on occasion of her ing them: out of the abundance of death :-“O Lord God, almighty the heart it may be silent, as well Disposer of all things, in whose as speak. This is my case; from hands are life and death; who the abundance of my heart I cangivest comforts, and takest them not speak; but I must w[onder 1]. away; I return Thee thanks for the That nothing may be wanting to good example of Hill Boothby, encourage perseverance in offices whom Thou hast now taken away; of charity, our gracious Master and implore thy grace, that I may [has] added a temporal reward, improve the opportunity of in- by putting into the [minds] of struction which Thou hast afforded those on whom it is exercised the me, by the knowledge of her life, sincerest gratitude and acknowand by the sense of her death ; ledgment. 'Tis this I would give that I may consider the uncer- • The house thus designated is close on tainty of my present state, and the border of Needwood Forest, and beapply myself earnestly to the du- longed at that time to the Fitzherbert ties which Thou hast set before the property and residence of John Gis
family. It became, many years afterwards, me; that, living in thy fear, I may borne, Esq. now of Darby Dale, Derbydie in thy favour, through Jesus shire; and is situated within a few miles Christ our Lord. Ament.”
of Yoxall Lodge, the mansion of his re
vered brother, the Rev. Thomas Gisborne. • Or rather in a chantry, or chapel, at- All the extracts in the text are faithful to tached to this fine building, containing their originals, except with regard to a the cemetery of the Boothby family. Among few corrections in orthography and puncits sepulchral monuments is the celebrated tuation. The parts within brackets, as figure of Penelope Boothby, by Flaxman; being supplied, where the manuscript was which has been since eclipsed by Chantry's torn or illegible, by conjecture, are lest to Two Children, in the south choral isle of the reader's judgment. Lichfield cathedral.
+ There is no clue in the manuscript to + Prayers and Meditations, composed the cause of this aftliction. by Samuel Johnson, LL.D. Published To the copyist this is an unsatisfactory by the Rev. George Strahan, in 1785. conjecture. Query, “write."
you. I thank] my God, and your helped to procure it, so I am sure
For this light all must go
“ Hill Boothby." who gave himself freely for us. He
one attached to the Established Church,