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supposed was the work of Signor Baretti (1), an Italian of considerable literature, who having come to England a few years before, had been employed in the capacity both of a language master and aur author, and formed an intimacy with Dr. Johnson. This pamphlet Johnson presented to the Bodleian Library. On a blank leaf of it is pasted a paragraph cut out of a newspaper, containing an account of the death and character of Williams, plainly written by Johnson. ()
In July this year he had formed some scheme of mental improvement, the particular purpose of which does not appear. But we find in his “ Prayers and Meditations,” p. 25., a prayer entitled, “ On the Study of Philosophy, as an instrument of living ;" and after it follows a note, “ This study was not pursued.”
On the 13th of the same month he wrote in his Journal the following scheme of life, for Sunday: “Having lived” (as he with tenderness of conscience
(1) This ingenious foreigner, who was a native of Piedmont, came to England about the year 1753, and died in London, May 5. 1789. A very candid and judicious account of him and his works, written, it is believed, by a distinguished dignitary in the church, (Dr. Vincent, Dean of Westminster,] may be found in the Gentleman's Magazine for that year. -M.
(2) “On Saturday the 12th, (July, 1755] about twelve at night, died Mr. Zachariah Williams, in his eighty-third year, after an illness of eight months, in full possession of his mental faculties. He has been long known to philosophers and seamen for his skill in magnetism, and his proposal to ascertain the longitude by a peculiar system of the variation of the compass. He was a man of industry indefatigable, of conversation inoffensive, patient of adversity and disease, eminently sober, temperate, and pious; and worthy to have ended life with better fortune."
expresses himself) “ not without an habitual reverence for the Sabbath, yet without that attention to its religious duties which Christianity requires ;"
“ ]. To rise early, and in order to it, to go to sleep early on Saturday.
“ 2. To use some extraordinary devotion in the morning
“ 3. To examine the tenor of my life, and particularly the last week; and to mark my advances in religion, or recession from it.
“4. To read the Scripture methodically with such helps as are at hand.
“ 5. To go to church twice.
“6. To read books of divinity, either speculative or practical
“7. To instruct my family.
“8. To wear off by meditation any worldly soil contracted in the week."
In 1756 Johnson found that the great fame of his Dictionary had not set him above the necessity of “making provision for the day that was passing over
” () No royal or noble patron extended a
(1) He was so far from being “set above the necessity of making provision for the day that was passing over him," that he appears to have been in this year in great pecuniary distress, having been arrested for debt; on which occasion his friend Samuel Richardson became his surety. - See Richardson's Correspondence, vol. v. p. 285.
LETTER 48. Dr. Johnson to Mr. Richardson.
“ Tuesday, 19th Feb. 1756. “ DEAR SIR, — I return you my sincerest thanks for the favour which you were pleased to do me two nights ago. Be pleased to accept of this little book, which is all that I have published this winter. The inflammation is come again into my eye, so that I can write very little. I am, Sir, your most obliged and most humble servant, “ SAM. JOHNSON."
munificent hand to give independence to the man who had conferred stability on the language of his country. We
may feel indignant that there should have been such unworthy neglect; but we must, at the same time, congratulate ourselves, when we con sider, that to this very neglect, operating to rouse the natural indolence of his constitution, we owe many
valuable productions, which otherwise, perhaps, might never have appeared.
He had spent, during the progress of the work, the money for which he had contracted to write his Dictionary. We have seen that the reward of his labour was only fifteen hundred and seventy-five pounds; and when the expense of amanuenses and paper, and other articles, are deducted, his clear profit was very inconsiderable. I once said to him, “I am sorry, Sir, you did not get more for your Dictionary.” His answer was, “I am sorry too But it was very well. The booksellers are generous, liberal-minded men." He, upon all occasions, did ample justice to their character in this respect. He considered them as the patrons of literature; and, indeed, although they have eventually been considerable gainers by his Dictionary, it is to them that we owe its having been undertaken and carried through at the risk of great expense, for they were not absolutely sure of being indemnified.
To Mr. Richardson.
“ Gough Square, 16th March, 1756. 6 SIR, -I am obliged to entreat your assistance; I am now under an arrest for five pounds eighteen shillings. Mr. Strahan, from whom I should have received the necessary help in this case, is not at home, and I am afraid of not finding Mr. Millar. If you will be so good as to send me this sum, I will very gratefully repay you, and add it to all former obligations. I am, Sir, your most obedient and most humble servant,
66 SAM. JOHNSON." “ Sent six guineas. Witness, WILLIAM RICHARDSON."
LETTER 50. TO MISS CARTER.
Gough-Square, 14th Jan. 1756. “MADAM,-From the liberty of writing to you, if I have hitherto been deterred from the fear of your understanding, I am now encouraged to it from the confi. dence of your goodness.
“I am soliciting a benefit for Miss Williams (1), and beg that if you can by letters influence any in her favour (and who is there whom you cannot influence ?) you will be pleased to patronise her on this occasion. Yet, for the time is short, and as you were not in town, I did not till this day remember that you might help us, and recollect how widely and how rapidly light is diffused.
“ To every joy is appended a sorrow. The name of Miss Carter introduces the memory of Cave. Poor dear Cave ! I owed him much ; for to him I owe that I have known you. He died, I am afraid, unexpectedly to himself, yet surely unburthened with any great crime, and for the positive duties of religion I have yet no right to condemn him for neglect.
“I am, with respect, which I neither owe nor pay to any other, madam, your most obedient and most humble servant,
On the first day of this year we find, from his private devotions, that he had then recovered from sickness, and in February that his eye was restored to its use. The pious gratitude with which he
(1) In 1756, Mr. Garrick, ever disposed to help the afflicted, indulged Miss Williams with a benefit-play, that produced her two hundred pounds. - HAWKINS.