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He was a man of literature. Johnson loved to enter with him into a discussion of metaphysical, moral, and critical subjects; in those conflicts, exercising his talents, and, according to his custom, always contending for victory. Dr. Bathurst was the person on whom Johnson fixed his affection. He hardly ever spoke of him without tears in his eyes. It was from him, who was a native of Jamaica, that Johnson received into his service Frank *, the black servant, whom, on account of his master, he valued to the end of his life. At the time of instituting the club in Ivy-lane, Johnson had projected the Rambler. The title was most probably suggested by the Wanderer ; a poem which he mentions, with the warmest praise, in the Life of Savage. With the same spirit of independence with which he wished to live, it was pow his pride to write. He communi. cated his plan to none of his friends; he defired no assistance, relying entirely on his own fund, and the prote-tion of the Divine Being, which he implored in a solemn form of prayer, composed by himself for the occasion. Having formed a resolution to undertake a work that might be of use and ho


* See Gent. Mag. vol. LXXI. p. 190.


nour to his country, he thought, with Milton, that this was not to be obtained - but “ by devout prayer to that Eternal Spirit " that can enrich with all utterance and

knowledge, and send out his seraphim “ with the hallowed fire of his altar, to “ touch and purify the lips of whom he


Having invoked the special protection of Heaven, and by that act of piety fortified his mind, he began the great work of the Rama bler. The first number was published on Tuesday, March the 20th, 1750 ; and from that time was continued regularly every Tuesday and Saturday for the space of two years, when it finally closed on Saturday, March 14, 1752. As it began with motives of piety, so it appears that the same religious spirit glowed with unabating ardour to the last. His conclusion is : “ The Essays professedly

serious, if I have been able to execute my “ own intentions, will be found exactly con“ formable to the precepts of Christianity, “ without any accommodation to the licen“ tiousness and levity of the present age. I - therefore look back on this part of my

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“ work with pleasure, which no man shall “ diminish or augment. I shall never envy “ the honours which wit and learning obtain “ in any other cause, if I can be numbered

among the writers who have given ardour " to virtue, and confidence to truth.” The whole number of Essays amounted to two hundred and eight. Addison's, in the Spectator, are more in number, but not half in point of quantity: Addison was not bound to publish on stated days; he could watch the ebb and flow of his genius, and send his paper to the press when his own taste was fatisfied. Johnson's case was very different. He wrote singly and alone. In the whole progress of the work he did not receive more than ten essays. This was a scanty contribution. For the rest, the author has described his situation. “ He that condemns himself “ to compose on a stated day, will often

bring to his task an attention dissipated, a

memory embarrassed, an imagination over“ whelmed, a mind distracted with anxieties, “ a body languishing with disease: he will “ labour on a barren topic, till it is too late " to change it; or, in the ardour of invention, “ diffuse his thoughts into wild exuberance,

“ which the pressing hour of publication

cannot suffer judgment to examine or re• duce.” Of this excellent production the number fold on each day did not amount to five hundred : of course the bookseller, who paid the author four guineas a week, did not carry on a successful trade. His generosity and perseverance deserve to be commended ; and happily, when the collection appeared in volumes, were amply rewarded. Johnson lived to see his labours flourish in a tenth edition. His posterity, as an ingenious French writer has said on a similar occasion, began ini his life-time.

In the beginning of 1750, soon after the Rambler was set on foot, Johnson was induced by the arts of a vile impostor to lend his assistance, during a temporary delusion, to a fraud not to be paralleled in the annals of literature. One LAUDER, a native of Scotland, who had been a teacher in the University of EDINBURGH, had conceived a mortal antipathy to the name and character of Milton. His reason His reason was, becaufe the

of Pamela, in Sir Philip Sidney's Arcadia, was, as. he supposed, maliciously inserted by the







great poet in an edition of the Eikon Basilike, in order to fix an imputation of impiety on the memory of the murdered king: . Fired with resentment, and willing to reap the profits of a gross imposition, this man collected from several Latin poets, such as Masenius the Jesuit, Staphorstius a Dutch divine, Beza, and others, all such passages as bore any

kind of resemblance to different places in the Paradise Lost; and these he published, from time to time, in the Gentleman's Magazine, with occasional interpolations of lines, which he himself translated from Milton. The public credulity swallowed all with eagerness; and Milton was fupposed to be guilty of plagiarism from inferior modern writers. The fraud succeeded so well, that Lauder collected the whole into a volume, and advertised it under the title of An Esay on Milton's Use and Imitation of the Moderns, in his Paradise Lost ; dedicated to the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge.While the book was in the press, the proofsheets were shewn to Johnson at the Ivy-lane Club, by Payne, the bookseller, who was one of the members. No man in that fociety was in possession of the authors from whom


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