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breathing had ceased, went to the bed, and found he was dead.
About two days after his death, the following very agreeable account was communicated to Mr. Malone, in a letter by the honourable John Byng, to whom I am much obliged for granting me permission to introduce it in my work.
6 DEAR SIR,
“ SINCE I saw you, I have had a long conversation with Cawston, who sat up with Dr. Johnson, from nine o'clock on Sunday evening, till ten o'clock on Monday morning. And, from what I can gather from him, it should seem, that Dr. Johnson was perfectly composed, steady in hope, and resigned to death. At the interval of each hour, they assisted him to sit up in his bed, and move his legs, which were in much pain; when he regularly addressed himself to fervent prayer ; and though, sometimes, his voice failed him, his sense never did, during that time. The only sustenance he received was cyder and water. He said his mind was prepared, and the time to his dissolution seemed long. At six in the morning, he enquired the hour, and, on being informed, said that all went on regularly, and he felt he had but a few hours to live.
“At ten o'clock in the morning, he parted from Cawston, saying, “You should not detain Mr. Windham's servant:- I thank you; bear my remembrance to your master. Cawston says, that no man could appear more collected, more devout, or less terrified at the thoughts of the approaching minute.
“ This account, which is so much more agreeable
than, and somewhat different from, yours, has given us the satisfaction of thinking that that great man died as he lived, full of resignation, strengthened in faith, and joyful in hope.”
A few days before his death, he had asked Sir John Hawkins, as one of his executors, where he should be buried; and on being answered, “ Doubtless, in Westminster-Abbey," seemed to feel a satisfaction, very natural to a Poet; and indeed in my opinion very natural to every man of any imagination, who has no family sepulchre in which he can be laid with his fathers. Accordingly, upon Monday, December 20, his remains were deposited in that noble and renowned edifice; and over his grave was placed a large blue flag-stone, with this inscription :
“ SAMUEL Johnson, LL.D.
Ætatis suæ Lxxv." His funeral was attended by a respectable number of his friends, particularly such of the members of THE LITERARY CLUB as were then in town; and was also honoured with the presence of several of the Reverend Chapter of Westminster. Mr. Burke, Sir Joseph Banks, Mr. Windham, Mr. Langton, Sir Charles Bunbury, and Mr. Colman, bore his pall. His school-fellow, Dr. Taylor, performed the mournful office of reading the burial service.
I trust I shall not be accused of affectation, when I declare, that I find myself unable to express all that I felt upon the loss of such a “ Guide, Philosopher, and Friend.” 6 I shall, therefore, not say one word of my
• On the subject of Johnson I may adopt the words of Sir John Harrington, concerning his venerable Tutor and Diocesan, Dr. John own, but adopt those of an eminent friend;" which he uttered with an abrupt felicity, superiour to all studied compositions :—“ He has made a chasm, which not only nothing can fill up, but which nothing has a tendency to fill up.-Johnson is dead.—Let us go to the next best:there is nobody; no man can be said to put you in mind of Johnson.”
As Johnson had abundant homage paid to him during his life, so no writer in this nation ever had such
Still, Bishop of Bath and Wells; "who hath given me some helps, more hopes, all encouragements in my best studies : to whom i never came but I grew more religious ; from whom I never went, but I parted better instructed. Of him, therefore, my acquaintance, my friend, my instructor, if I speak much, it were not to be marvelled; if I speak frankly, it is not to be blamed; and though I speak partially, it were to be pardoned.” Nugæ Antiqua, Vol. I. p. 136. There is one circumstance in Sir John's character of Bishop Still, which is peculiarly applicable to Johnson: “He became so famous a disputer, that the learnedest were even afraid to dispute with him: and he finding his own strength, could not stick to warn them in their arguments to take heed to their answers, like a perfect fencer that will tell aforehand in which button he will give the venew, or like a cunning chess-player that will appoint aforehand with which pawn and in what place he will give the mate." Ibid.
7 [The late Right Hon. William Gerrard Hamilton, who had been intimately acquainted with Dr. Johnson near thirty years. He died in London, July 16, 1796, in his sixty-eighth year. Malone.)
8 Beside the Dedications to him by Dr. Goldsmith, the Reverend Dr. Franklin, and the Reverend Mr. Wilson, which I have mentioned according to their dates, there was one by a lady, of a versification of “Aningait and Ajut," and one by the ingenious Mr. Walker, of his "Rhetorical Grammar." I have introduced into this work several compliments paid to him in the writings of his contemporaries; but the number of them is so great, that we may fairly say that there was almost a general tribute.
Let me not be forgetful of the honour done to him by Colonel Myddleton, of Gwaynynog, near Denbigh; who, on the banks of a rivalet in his park, where Johnson delighted to stand and repeat verses, erected an urn with the following inscription :
an accumulation of literary honours after his death. Á sermon upon that event was preached in St. Mary's church, Oxford, before the University, by the Rev. “ This spot was often dignified by the presence of
SAMUEL JOHNSON, LL.D. Whose moral writings, exactly conformable to the precepts of
Christianity, Gave ardour to Virtue and confidence to Truth.” As no inconsiderable circumstance of his fame, we must reckon the extraordinary zeal of the artists to extend and perpetuate his image. I can enumerate a bust by Mr. Nollekens, and the many casts which are made from it; several pictures by Sir Joshua Reynolds ; from one of which, in the possession of the Duke of Dorset, Mr. Humphry executed a beautiful miniature in enamel : one by Mrs. Frances Reynolds, Sir Joshua's sister: one by Mr. Zoffanij; and one by Mr. Opie; and the following engravings of his portrait : 1. One by Cooke, from Sir Joshua, for the Proprietors' edition of his folio Dictionary.-2. One from ditto, by ditto, for their quarto edition.-3. One from Opie, by Heath, for Harrison's edition of his Dictionary.-4. One from Nolleken's bust of him, by Bartolozzi, for Fielding's quarto edition of his Dictionary.-5. One small, from Sir Joshua, by Trotter, for his “ Beauties."-6. One small, from Sir Joshua, by Trotter, for his “ Lives of the Poets."—7. One small, from Sir Joshua, by Hall, for “ The Rambler."-8. One small, from an original drawing, in the possession of Mr. John Simco, etched by Trotter, for another edition of his “Lives of the Poets."—9. One small, no painter's name, etched by Taylor, for his “Johnsoniana."-10. One folio whole-length, with his oak-stick, as described in Boswell's “ Tour," drawn and etched by Trotter.-11. One large mezzotinto, from Sir Joshua, by Doughty.-12. One large Roman Head, from Sir Joshua, hy Marchi.—13. One octavo, holding a book to his eye, from Sir Joshua, by Hall, for his works.-14.One small, from a drawing from the life, and engraved by Trotter, for his Life published by Kearsley.-15. One large, from Opie, by Mr. Townley, (brother of Mr. Townley, of the Commons,) an ingenious artist, who resided some time at Berlin, and has the honour of being engraver to his Majesty the King of Prussia. This is one of the finest mezzotintos that ever was executed; and what renders it of extraordinary value, the plate was destroyed after four or five impressions only were taken off. One of them is in the possession of Sir William Scott. Mr. Townley has lately been prevailed with to execute and publish another of the same, that it may be more generally circulated among the admirers of Dr. VOL. IV.
Mr. Agutter, of Magdalen College.' The Lives, the Memoirs, the Essays, both in prose and verse, which have been published concerning him, would make many volumes. The numerous attacks too upon him, I consider as part of his consequence, upon the principle which he himself so well knew and asserted. Many who trembled at his presence were forward in assault, when they no longer apprehended danger. When one of his little pragmatical foes was invidiously snarling at his fame, at Sir Joshua Reynolds's table, the Reverend Dr. Parr exclaimed, with his usual bold animation,
Ay, now that the old lion is dead, every ass thinks he may kick at him.”
A monument for him, in Westminster-Abbey, was resolved upon soon after his death, and was supported by a most respectable contribution ; but the Dean and Chapter of St. Paul's having come to a resolution of admitting monuments there, upon a liberal and magnifi. cent plan, that Cathedral was afterwards fixed on, as
Johnson.–16. One large, from Sir Joshua's first picture of him, by Heath, for this work, in quarto.–17. One octavo, by Baker, for the octavo edition.—18. And one for “ Lavater's Essays on Physiognomy," in which Johnson's countenance is analysed upon the principles of that fanciful writer. There are also several seals with his head cut on them, particularly a very fine one by that eminent artist, Edward Burch, Esq. R. A. in the possession of the younger Dr. Charles Burney.
Let me add, as a proof of the popularity of his character, that there are copper pieces struck at Birmingham, with his head impressed on them, which pass current as half-pence there, and in the neighbouring parts of the country.
9 It is not yet published.—In a letter to me, Mr. Agutter says,
My sermon before the University was more engaged with Dr. Johnson's moral than his intellectual character. It particularly examined his fear of death, and suggested several reasons for the apprehensions of the good, and the indifference of the infidel, in their last hours; this was illustrated by contrasting the death of Dr. Johnson and Mr. Hume: the text was Job xxi. 22-26."