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EDWARD SWINBURNE, Esq.
FROM an uninterrupted intimacy of nearly twenty years, I claim the privilege of dedicating these pages to you.
Dr. Johnson, for his moral and ethical writings, has been too long celebrated, to give his name any additional claim to your attention : but when you read his comparison of the beauties of Hawkestone and Ilam, you will perceive, perhaps for the first time, that he was equally interested in those beauties of nature which have so often delighted you, and which you have so often exquisitely represented.
This fragment, as a literary curiosity, I hope will not disappoint you; for although it may not contain any striking and important facts, or luminous passages of fine writing, it cannot be unin: teresting to know how the mind of such a man as Johnson received new impres, sions, or contemplated for the first time, scenes and occupations unknown to him before.
Accept, therefore, this gift from one who has great pleasure in subscribing himself
Your sincere friend,
Sept. 18, 1816.
To publish whatever has fallen from the pen of a celebrated author, has been reckoned among the vices of our time ; but those who admire great or extraordinary qualities, have also a desire to know the individual to whom they belong, and to have his likeness, and his portrait, as if he were one of ourselves.
This Journal of Dr. Johnson exhibits his mind when he was alone, when no one was looking on, and when no one was expected to adopt his thoughts, or to be influenced by them : in this respect, it differs from the conversations and anecdotes already pub
lished: it has also another value, highly interesting, it shews how his mind was influenced by the impression of external things, and in what way he recorded those facts, which he laid up for future reflection.
His “ Journey to the Western Islands of Scotland,” was probably composed from a diary not more ample: for of that work he says, 6 I deal more in notions than in facts :" and this is the general character of his mind; though when Boswell expressed a fear, lest his journal should be encumbered with too many minute particulars, he said, “ There is nothing, sir, too little for so little a creature as man. It is by studying little things, that we attain the great art of having as little misery, and as much , happiness, as possible.”
Dr. Johnson commenced his journey into