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following curious parallel to Johnson's suppressed wish about the molten lead.

* The chappell of our Lady (at Wells), late repayred by Stillington, a place of great reverence and antiquitie, was likewise defaced, and such was their thirst after lead (I would they had drunke it scalding) that they tooke the dead bodies of bishops out of their leaden coffins, and cast abroad the carkases skarce throughly putrified.'--Harington's Nugie Antique, ii. 147 (ed. 1804).

In the postscript Johnson says. Please to direct to the borough.' He was staying in Mr. Thrale's town-house in the Borough of Southwark. (See ante, i. 570.)



A letter about apprenticing a lad to Mr. Strahan, and about a presen

tation to the Blue Coat School, dated December 22, 1774'. 'Sir,

*When we meet we talk, and I know not whether I always recollect what I thought I had to say.

*You will please to remember that I once asked you to receive an apprentice, who is a scholar, and has always lived in a clergyman's house, but who is mishapen, though I think not so as to hinder him at the case. It will be expected that I should answer his Friend who has hitherto maintained him, whether I can help him to a place. He can give no money, but will be kept in cloaths.

* I have another request which it is perhaps not immediately in your power to gratify. I have a presentation to beg for the blue coat hospital. The boy is a non-freeman, and has both his parents living. We have a presentation for a freeman which we can give in exchange. If in your extensive acquaintance you can procure such an exchange, it will be an act of great kindness. Do not let the matter slip out of your mind, for though I try others I know not any body of so much power to do it. 'I am, Sir, Your most humble Servant,

*Sam. JOHNSON. * Dec. 22, 1774.'




' In the possession of Messrs. Robson and Kerslake, 25, Coventry Street, Haymarket.


The apprentice was young William Davenport, the orphan son of a clergyman. His friend was the Rev. W. Langley, the master of Ashbourne School. Strahan received him as an apprentice (ante, ii. 370, n. 3). See also Nichols' Literary Anecdotes, vol. iii. P. 387.

The case' is the frame containing boxes for holding type.

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A letter about suppressions in 'Taxation no Tyranny,' dated March

1, 1775' "Sir,

“I am sorry to see that all the alterations proposed are evidences of timidity. You may be sure that I do [? not] wish to publish, what those for whom I write do not like to have published. But print me half a dozen copies in the original state, and lay them up for me. It concludes well enough as it is.

'When you print it, if you print it, please to frank one to me here, and frank another to Mrs. Aston at Stow Hill, Lichfield.

• The changes are not for the better, except where facts were mistaken. The last paragraph was indeed rather contemptuous, there was once more of it which I put out myself.

'I am Sir, Your humble Servant,

SAM. JOHNSON.' - March 1, 1775.'

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This letter refers to Taxation no Tyranny, which was published before March 21, 1775, the date of Boswell's arrival in London (ante, ii. 355). Boswell says that he had in his possession a few proof leaves of it marked with corrections in Johnson's own handwriting' (ib. p. 338). Johnson, he says, 'owned to me that it had been revised and curtailed by some of those who were then in power.' When Johnson writes when you print it, if you print it,' he uses, doubtless, print in the sense of striking off copies. The pamphlet was, we may assume, in type before it was revised by 'those in power.' The corrections had been made in the proofsheets. Johnson asks to have six copies laid by for him in the

· In the possession of Mr. Frank T. Sabin, 10 & 12, Garrick Street, Covent Garden.'


state in which he had wished to publish it. It seems that the last paragraph had been struck out by the reviser, for Johnson says “it was rather contemptuous.' He does not think it needful to supply anything in its place, for he says it concludes well enough as it is.'

Mr. Strahan had the right, as a member of Parliament, to frank all letters and packets. That is to say, by merely writing his signature on the cover he could pass them through the post free of charge. Johnson, when he wrote to Scotland, used to employ him to frank his letters, that he might have the consequence of appearing a parliament-man among his countrymen' (ante, iii. 415). It was to Oxford that a copy of the pamphlet was to be franked to Johnson. That he was there at the time is shown by a letter from him in Mrs. Piozzi's Collection (vol. i. p. 212), dated ‘University College, Oxford, March 3, 1775. Writing to her, evidently from Bolt Court, on February 3, he had said : “My pamphlet has not gone on at all’ (ib. i. 211). Mrs. Aston (or rather Miss Aston) is mentioned ante, ii. 534.

XI. A letter about'copy' and a book by Professor Watson, dated Oct. 14,



'I wrote to you about ten days ago, and sent you some copy. You have not written again, that is a sorry trick.

'I am told that you are printing a Book for Mr. Professor Watson of Saint Andrews, if upon any occasion, I can give any help, or be of any use, as formerly in Dr. Robertson's publication, I hope you will make no scruple to call upon me, for I shall be glad of an opportunity to show that my reception at Saint Andrews has not been forgotten.

'I am Sir, Your humble Servant.

Sam. JOHNSON.' Oct. 14, 1776.

The 'copy' or MS. that Johnson sent is, I conjecture, Proposals for the Rev. Mr. Shaw's Analysis of the Scotch Celtick Language (ante, iii. 122). This is the only acknowledged piece of writing of

' In the possession of Mr. H. Fawcett, of 14, King Street, Covent Garden.


his during 1776. The book printing for Professor Watson was History of the Reign of Philip II, which was published by Strahan and Cadell in 1777. This letter is of unusual interest, as showing that Johnson had been of some service as regards one of Robertson's books. It is possible that he read some of the proof-sheets, and helped to get rid of the Scotticisms. Strahan,' according to

‘ Beattie,'had corrected (as he told me himself) the phraseology of both Mr. Hume and Dr. Robertson' (ante, v. 104, n. 3). He is not unlikely, in Robertson's case, to have sought and obtained Johnson's help.

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XII. The following letter is published in Mr. Alfred Morrison's Collection

of Autographs,' vol. ii. p. 343. * To Dr. TAYLOR. Dated London, April 20, 1778.' “The quantity of blood taken from you appears to me not sufficient. Thrale was almost lost by the scrupulosity of his physicians, who never bled him copiously till they bled him in despair; he then bled till he fainted, and the stricture or obstruction immediately gave way and from that moment he


better. I can now give you no advice but to keep yourself totally quiet and amused with some gentle exercise of the mind. If a suspected letter comes, throw it aside till your health is re-established; keep easy and cheerful company about you, and never try to think but at those stated and solemn times when the thoughts are summoned to the cares of futurity, the only cares of a rational being.

“As to my own health I think it rather grows better; the convulsions which left me last year at Ashbourne have never returned, and I have by the mercy of God very comfortable nights. Let me know very often how you are till you are quite well.'

This letter, though it is dated 1778, must have been written in 1780. Thrale's first attack was in June, 1779, when he was in “extreme danger'(ante, iii. 451, n. 2, 478). Johnson had the remission of the convulsions on June 18, 1779. He recorded on June 18, 1780 :

'In the morning of this day last year I perceived the remission of those convulsions in my breast which had distressed me for more than twenty years. I returned thanks at church for the mercy granted me, which has now continued a year.'-Prayers and Meditations, p. 183.


Three days later he wrote to Mrs. Thrale :

• It was a twelvemonth last Sunday since the convulsions in my breast left me. I hope I was thankful when I recollected it; by removing that disorder a great improvement was made in the enjoyment of life.'—Piozzi Letters, ii. 163. (See ante, iii. 451, n. 1.)

He was at Ashbourne on June 18, 1779 (ante, iii. 514).

On April 20, 1778, the very day of which this letter bears the date, he recorded :· After a good night, as I am forced to reckon, I rose sea

easonably. . . In reviewing my time from Easter, 1777, I found a very melancholy and shameful blank. So little has been done that days and months are without any trace. My health has, indeed, been very much interrupted. My nights have been commonly not only restless, but painful and fatiguing. . . . Some relaxation of my breast has been procured, I think, by opium, which, though it never gives me sleep, frees my breast from spasms.'-—Prayers and Meditations, p. 169. See ante, iii. 360, n. 1.

For Johnson's advice about bleeding, see ante, iii. 172 ; and for possible occasions for 'suspected letters,' ante, i. 546, n. 4; and ii. 232, n. 2.

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Mr. Mason's 'sneering observation in his Memoirs of Mr. William


(Vol. i. p. 36.) I had long failed to find a copy of these Memoirs, though I had searched in the Bodleian, the British Museum, and the London Library, and had applied to the University Library at Cambridge, and the Advocates' Library at Edinburgh. By the kindness of Mr. R. H. Soden Smith and Mr. R. F. Sketchley, I have obtained the following extract from a copy in the Dyce and Forster Libraries, in the South Kensington Museum :

Conscious, notwithstanding, that to avoid writing what is unnecessary is, in these days, no just plea for silence in a biographer, I have some apology to make for having strewed these pages so thinly with the tittle-tattle of anecdote. I am, however, too proud to make this apology to any person but my bookseller, who will be the only real loser by the defect. Those readers, who believe that I do not write immediately under


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