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« Mr. Samuel Johnson (author of Lon“don, a fatire, and some other poetical

pieces,) is a native of this county, and “ much respected by some worthy gentle

men in the neighbourhood, who are truf“ tees of a charity-school, now vacant; the “ certain falary of which is sixty pounds per year, of which they are desirous to make “ him master ; but unfortunately he is not

capable of receiving their bounty, which " would make him happy for life, by not

being a master of arts, which, by the sta" tutes of the school, the master of it must be.

“ Now these gentlemen do me the honour " to think, that I have interest enough “ in you, to prevail upon you to write to " Dean Swift, to persuade the University of “ Dublin to send a diploma to me, consti

tuting this poor man master of arts in " their University. They highly extol the “ man's learning and probity; and will not “ be persuaded, that the University will - make any difficulty of conferring such a “ favour upon a stranger, if he is recom“mended by the Dean. They say, he is

• not

6 not afraid of the strictest examination,

though he is of so long a journey ; and

yet he will venture it, if the Dean thinks “it necessary, chusing rather to die upon " the road, than to be starved to death in

translating for booksellers, which has been “ his only subsistence for some time past.

“ I fear there is more difficulty in this af. “ fair than these good-natured gentlemen “ apprehend, especially as their election

cannot be delayed longer than the 11th “ of next month. If you see this matter in “ the same light that it appears to me, I

hope you will burn this, and pardon me “ for giving you so much trouble about an “ impracticable thing ; but, if you think " there is a probability of obtaining the “ favour asked, I am sure your humanity “ and propensity to relieve merit in distress “ will incline you to serve the poor man, “ without my adding any more to the trou“ ble I have already given you, than afsuring you, that I am, with great truth, Sir, “ Your faithful humble servant,

" GOWER." “ Trentham, Aug. Ift."


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This scheme iniscarried. There is reason to think, that Swift declined to meddle in the business ; and to that circumstance Johnson's known dislike of Swift has been often imputed.

It is mortifying to pursue a man of merit through all his difficulties; and yet this narrative must be, through many following years, the history of Genius and Virtue struggling with Adversity. Having lost the school at Appleby, Johnson was thrown back on the metropolis. Bred to no profession, without relations, friends, or interest, he was condemned to drudgery in the service of Cave, his only patron. In November 1738 was published a translation of Crousaz's Examen of Pope's Essay on Man;'“ con“ taining a succinct View of the System of “ the Fataļists, and a Confutation of their “ Opinions; with an Illustration of the “ Doctrine of Free Will ; and an Enquiry, “ what view Mr. Pope might have in touch

ing upon the Leibnitzian Philosophy, and “ Fatalisın. By Mr. Crousaz, Professor of “ Philosophy and Mathematics at Lausanne.” This translation has been generally thought

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a production of Johnson's pen; but it is now known, that Mrs. Elizabeth Carter has acknowledged it to be one of her early performances. It is certain, however, that Johnson was eager to promote the publication. He considered the foreign philosopher as a man zealous in the cause of religion ; and with him he was willing to join against the system of the Fatalists, and the doctrine of Leibnitz. It is well known that Warburton wrote a vindication of Mr. Pope; but there is reason to think, that Johnson conceived an early prejudice against the Essay on Man ; and what once took root in a mind like his, was not easily eradicated. His letter to Cave on this subject is still extant, and may well justify Sir John Hawkins, who inferred that Johnson was the translator of Croufaz. The conclusion of the letter is remarkable. " I am yours, IMPRANSUS." If by that Latin word was meant that he had not dined, because he wanted the means, who can read it, even at this hour, without an aching heart?

With a mind naturally vigorous, and quickened by necessity, Johnson formed a multiplicity of projects; but most of them proved abortive. A number of small tracts issued



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from his

pen with wonderful rapidity ; fuch as “ MARMOR NORFOLCIENSE ; or an Essay “ on an ancient prophetical Inscription, in “ Monkish Rhyme, discovered at Lynn in “ Norfolk, By Probus Britannicus.” This was a pamphlet against Sir Robert Walpole, According to Sir John Hawkins, a warrant was issued to apprehend the Author, who retired with his wife to an obscure lodging near Lambeth Marth, and there eluded the search of the messengers. But this story has no foundation in truth. Johnson was never known to mention such an incident in his life ; and Mr. Steele (late of the Treasury) caused diligent search to be made at the proper offices, and no trace of such a proceeding could be found. In the same (1739) the Lord Chamberlain prohibited the representation of a tragedy, called GusTAVUS VASA, by Henry Brooke. Under the mask of irony Johnson published, “ A Vin

dication of the Licenser from the mali$ cious and scandalous Aspersions of Mr. “ Brooke.” Of these two pieces Sir John Hawkins says, “ they have neither learning “ nor wit; nor a single ray of that genius " which has since blazed forth ;" but, as they have been lately re-printed, the reader,



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