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In the Life of SWIFT, it appears to me that Johnson had a certain degree of prejudice against that extraordinary man, of which I have elsewhere had occasion to speak. Mr. Thomas Sheridan imputed it to a supposed apprehension in Johnson, that Swift had not been sufficiently active in obtaining for him an Irish degree when it was - solicited; but of this there was not sufficient evidence; and let me not presume to charge Johnson with injustice, because he did not think so highly of the writings of this author, as I have done from my youth upwards. Yet that he had an unfavourable bias is evident, were it only from that passage in which he speaks of Swift's practice of saving, as "first ridiculous, and at last detestable ;" and yet, after some examination of circumstances, finds himself obliged to own, that "it will perhaps appear that he only liked one mode of expense better than another, and saved merely that he might have something to give."

One observation which Johnson makes in Swift's life should be often inculcated: "It may be justly supposed, that there was in his conversation what appears so frequently in his letters, an affectation of familiarity with the great, and ambition of momentary equality, sought and enjoyed by the neglect of those ceremonies which custom has established as the barriers between one order of society and another. This transgression of regularity was by himself and his admirers termed greatness of soul; but a great mind disdains to hold anything by courtesy, and therefore never usurps what a lawful claimant may take away. He that encroaches on another's dignity, puts himself in his power; he is either repelled with helpless indignity, or endured by clemency and condescension"

Various Readings in the Life of SWIFT.

"Charity may be persuaded to think that it might be written by a man of a peculiar [opinions] character, without ill intention.

"He did not [disown] deny it.

'[To] by whose kindness it is not unlikely that he was [indebted for] ad. vanced to his benefices.

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[With] for this purpose he had recourse to Mr. Harley.

Sharpe, whom he [represents] describes as the harmless tool of others

Harley was slow because he was [irresolute] doubtful.

"When [readers were not many] we were not yet a nation of readers. "Every man who] he that could say he knew him.

Every man of known influence has so many [more] petitions [than] which he [can] cannot grant, that he must necessarily offend more than he [can gratify] gratifies.

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Ecclesiastical [preferments] benefices.

"Swift [procured] contrived an interview.

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‘[As a writer] In his works he has given very different specimens.

"On all common occasions he habitually [assumes] affects a style of [supe

riority] arrogance.

"By the [omission] neglect of those ceremonies.

"That their merits filled the world [and] or that there was no [room for] hope of more."

I have not confined myself to the order of the "Lives," in making my few remarks. Indeed. a different order is observed in the original publication, and in the collection of Johnson's works. And should it be objected, that many of my various readings are inconsiderable, those who make an objection will be pleased to consider, that such small particulars are intended for those who are nicely critical in composition, to whom they will be an acceptable selection.'

"Spence's Anecdotes," which are frequently quoted and referred to in Johnson's "Lives of the Poets," are in a manuscript collection, made by the Reverend Mr. Joseph Spence,' containing a number of particulars concerning eminent men. To each anecdote is marked the name of the person on whose authority it is mentioned. This valuable collection is the property of the Duke of Newcastle, who, upon the application of Sir Lucas Pepys, was pleased to permit it to be put into the hands of Dr. Johnson, who I am sorry to think made but an awkward return. "Great assistance," says he, " has been given me by Mr. Spence's Collection, of which I consider the com

1 Mr. Chalmers here records a curious literary anecdote-that when a new and enlarged edition of the "Lives of the Poets" was published in 1788, Mr. Nichols, in justice to the purchasers of the preceding editions, printed the additions in a separate pamphlet, and advertised that it might be had gratis. Not ten copies were called for. It may be presuried that the owners of the former editions had bound their sets; but it must also be observed, that the alterations were not considerable.-C.

2 The Rev. Joseph Spence, A M. Rector of Great Harwood in Buckinghamshire, and Prebendary of Durham, died at Byfleet in Surrey, August 20, 1768. He was a Fellow of New College in Oxford, and held the office of Pro'essor of Poetry in that University from 1728 to 1788.-M.

munication as a favour worthy of public acknowledgment:" but he has not owned to whom he was obliged; so that the acknowledgment is unappropriated to his grace.'

While the world in general was filled with admiration of Johnson's "Lives of the Poets," there were narrow circles in which prejudice and resentment were fostered, and from which attacks of different sorts issued against him. By some violent Whigs, he was arraigned of injustice to Milton; by some Cambridge men, of depreciating Gray; and his expressing with a dignified freedom what he really thought of George, Lord Lyttelton, gave offence to some of the friends of that nobleman, and particularly produced a declaration of war against him from Mrs. Montagu, the ingenious essayist on Shakspeare, between whom and his lordship a commerce of reciprocal compliments had long been carried on. In this war the smaller powers in alliance with him were of course led to engage, at least on the defensive, and thus I for one was excluded from the enjoyment of "A Feast of Reason," such as Mr. Cumberland has described, with a keen yet just and delicate pen, in his "Observer." These minute inconveniences gave not the least disturbance to Johnson. He nobly said, when I talked to him of the feeble though shrill outery which had been raised, "Sir, I considered myself as intrusted with a certain portion of truth. I have given my opinion sincerely; let them show where they think me wrong."

1 It appears from a letter of Mrs. Boscawen in Hannah More's Memoirs, that she was the person who procured Johnson the loan of Spence's papers.-C.

2 From this disreputable class, I except an ingenious though not satisfactory defence of Hammond, which I did not see till lately, by the favour of its author, my amiable friend, the Reverend Mr. Bevil, who published it without his name. It is a juvenile performance, but elegantly written, with classic enthusiasm of sentiment, and yet with a becoming modesty, and great respect for Dr. Johnson.

CHAPTER VIII.

1781.

Warren Hastings-Liberty and Necessity-Picture of a Man, by Shakspeare and by Milton→ Registration of Deeds-Duty of a Member of Parliament-Deportment of a Bishop-" Merri ment of Parsons "-Zachariah Mudge-Dr. Walter Harte-Scale of Liquors-Dancing-Sir Philip Jennings Clerk-American War-Dudley Long-Exaggerated Praise-“ Learning tr Talk"-Veracity-Death of Mr. Thrale-Queen's Arms Club-Constructive Treason-Castes of Men-Passion Week-Addison-Blackstone-Steele-Educating by Lectures-The Resurrection-Apparitions.

WHILE my friend is thus contemplated in the splendour derived from his last and perhaps most admirable work, I introduce him with peculiar propriety as the correspondent of Warren Hastings! a mau whose regard reflects dignity even upon Johnson ; a man, the extent of whose abilities was equal to that of his power; and who, by those who are fortunate enough to know him in private life, is admired for his literature and taste, and beloved for the candour, moderation, and mildness of his character. Were I capable of paying a suitable tribute of admiration to him, I should certainly not withhold it at a moment' when it is not possible that I should be suspected of being an interested flatterer. But how weak would be my voice after that of the millions whom he governed! His condescending and obliging compliance with my solicitation, I with humble gratitude acknowledge; and while by publishing his letter to me, accompanying the valuable communication, I do eminent honour to my great friend, I shall entirely disregard any invidious suggestions that, as I in some degree participate in the honour, I have, at the same time, the gratification of my own vanity in view.

LETTER 392.

TO JAMES BOSWELL, ESQ.

"Park Lane, Dec. 2, 1790. "SIR,-I have been fortunately spared the troublesome suspense of a long search, to which, in performance of my promise, I had devoted this morning,

- January, 1791.-6. Mr. Hastings's impeachment was still pending.-C.

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⚫by lighting upon the objects of it among the first papers that I laid my hands on; my veneration for your great and good friend, Dr. Johnson, and the pride, or I hope something of a better sentiment, which I indulge in possessing such memorials of his good will towards me, having induced me to bind them in a parcel containing other select papers, and labelled with the titles appertaining to them. They consist but of three letters, which I believe were all that I ever received from Dr. Johnson. Of these, one, which was written in quadruplicate, under the different dates of its respective dispatches, has already been made public, but not from any communication of mine. This, however, I have joined to the rest; and have now the pleasure of sending them to you, for the use to which you informed me it was your desire to destine them.

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"My promise was pledged with the condition, that if the letters were found to contain anything which should render them improper for the public eye, you would dispense with the performance of it. You will have the goodness, I am sure, to pardon my recalling this stipulation to your recollection, as I shall be loth to appear negligent of that obligation which is always implied in an epistolary confidence. In the reservation of that right I have read them over with the most scrupulous attention, but have not seen in them the slightest cause on that ground to withhold them from you. But, though not on that, yet on another ground I own I feel a little, yet but a little, reluctance to part with them I mean on that of my own credit, which I fear will suffer by the infor mation conveyed by them, that I was early in the possession of such valuable instructions for the beneficial employment of the influence of my late station, and (as it may seem) have so little availed myself of them. Whether I could, if it were necessary, defend myself against such an imputation, it little concerns the world to know. I look only to the effect which these relics may produce, considered as evidences of the virtues of their author: and believing that they will be found to display an uncommon warmth of private friendship, and a mind ever attentive to the improvement and extension of useful knowledge, and solicitous for the interests of mankind, I can cheerfully submit to the little sacrifice of my own fame, to contribute to the illustration of so great and venerable a character. They cannot be better applied, for that end, than by being intrusted to your hands. Allow me, with this offering, to infer from it a proof of the very great esteem with which I have the honour to profess myself, Sir, your, &c. WARREN HASTINGS.

"P. S. At some future time, and when you have no further occasion for these papers, I shall be obliged to you if you will return them."

The last of the three letters thus graciously put into my hands, and which has already appeared in public, belongs to this year; but I shall previously insert the first two in the order of their dates They altogether form a grand group in my biographical picture.

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