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speech for himfelf. His effusions both in prose and poetry, during the most trying moments of his confinement, prove that he did not. The naked unadorned feelings of his own mind on that awful occafion (which he could hardly convey to Dr. Johnson) would have been the most expressive of his fincerity and selfhumiliation; and the most
proper and effectual recommendation of his case to the commiseration of his audience, and the merciful interposition of his judges.
An ambition to go out of the world with the applause of having made a florid speech, we cannot, with any degree of charity, impute to the unfortunate criininal. He must, in that case, have
had vanity sufficient to prevent him from borrowing his materials from another.
But whatever inducement Dr. Dodd might have to folicit Dr. Johnson's aid on such an occasion, it is hardly possible to divine what could be Dr. Johnson's motive for accepting the office. A man to express the precise state of mind of another about to be deftined to an ignominious death for a capital crime, should, one would imagine, have some consciousness, that he himself had incurred some guilt of the same kind; in which case his own apprehensions would furnish him with topics of deprecation, suited to the purpose of his obtaining mercy. But this, we trust, was not the cafe.
Was it then the vanity of shewing how far he was superior in abilities to an eminent master in his own craft of artificial compofition, that prevailed with Dr. Johnson to lend his talent on Yo critical an occasion ? Such, one might: fear; was the motive, from the early and general intelligence imparted to the public, by whom this admired piece of oratory was fabricated.
Was it; lastly, the presumption that a fpeech composed by Dr. Johnson, and delivered by Dr. Dodd, could not fail of interesting all the world in favour of the prisoner, and of procuring the moft powerful intercession for the unhappy criminal's life?
Authors in the pleasing contemplation of their own powers, and in the exertion of them upon paper, may imagine strange things in their clofets concerning their efficiency when they come abroad. But here, alas! all the propriety of diction, and the beauty of colouring, were absolutely wasted upon the good sense and native integrity of the late worthy Recorder of London. He saw through the artifice. He saw no circumstance from one end of the transaction to the other to make it probable that no fraud was intended, nor found any weight in the counterbalance proposed in the pompous Atrains of Dr. Samuel Johnson.
But there is no end of conjectures in a case where some absurdity or other arises to disgrace every account that can be suggested of the origin of a manæuvre of which no precedent can be found, except among the works of the chaplain of Newgate.
We should indeed be inclined to call it a mere jeu d'esprit, in the nature of an essay of what could be said in a fi&titious case, were it not utterly incredible that any one with the coolest feelings of humanity (of which we by no means fuppofe Dr. Johnson to be destitute) could bring himself to sport with the calamity of the unhappy criminal, without hope or prospect, or intention of re