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less. Let me particularly lament the Reverend Thomas Warton, and the Reverend Dr. Adams. Mr. Warton, amidst his variety of genius and learning, was an excellent Biographer. His contributions to my Collection are highly estimable; and as he had a true relish of my Tour to the Hebrides, I trust I should now have been gratified with a larger share of his kind approbation. Dr. Adams, eminent as the Head of a College, as a writer', and as a most amiable man, had known Johnson from his early years, and was his friend through life. What reason I had to hope for the countenance of that venerable Gentleman to this Work, will appear from what he wrote to me upon a former occasion from Oxford, November 17, 1785: -'Dear Sir, I hazard this letter, not knowing where it will find you, to thank you for your very agreeable Tour, which I found here on my return from the country, and in which you have depicted our friend so perfectly to my fancy, in every attitude, every scene and situation, that I have thought myself in the company, and of the party almost throughout. It has given very general satisfaction; and those who have found most fault with a passage here and there, have agreed that they could not help going through, and being entertained with the whole. I wish, indeed, some few gross expressions had been softened, and a few of our hero's foibles had been a little more shaded; but it is useful to see the weaknesses incident to great minds; and you have given us Dr. Johnson's authority that in history all ought to be told'.'
Such a sanction to my faculty of giving a just representation of Dr. Johnson I could not conceal. Nor will I suppress my satisfaction in the consciousness, that by recording so considerable a portion of the wisdom and wit of 'the brightest
'He had published an answer to Hume's Essay on Miracles. See post, March 20, 1776.
"Macleod asked if it was not wrong in Orrery to expose the defects of a man [Swift] with whom he lived in intimacy. Johnson, "Why no, Sir, after the man is dead; for then it is done historically." Boswell's Hebrides, Sept. 22, 1773. See also post, Sept. 17, 1777.
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ornament of the eighteenth century',' I have largely provided for the instruction and entertainment of mankind.
London, April 20, 1791'.
'See Mr. Malone's Preface to his edition of Shakspeare. Boswell. 'April 6, 1791.
'My Life of Johnson is at last drawing to a close. . . I really hope to publish it on the 25th current . . . I am at present in such bad spirits that I have every fear concerning it—that I may get no profit, nay, may lose that the Public may be disappointed, and think that I have done it poorly-that I may make many enemies, and even have quarrels. Yet perhaps the very reverse of all this may happen.' Letters of Boswell, p. 335.
'August 22, 1791.
'My magnum opus sells wonderfully; twelve hundred are now gone, and we hope the whole seventeen hundred may be gone before Christmas.' Ib. p. 342.
Malone in his Preface to the fourth edition, dated June 20, 1804, says that near four thousand copies have been dispersed.' The first edition was in 2 vols., quarto; the second (1793) in 3 vols., octavo; the third (1799), the fourth (1804), the fifth (1807), and the sixth (1811), were each in 4 vols., octavo. The last four were edited by Malone, Boswell having died while he was preparing notes for the third edition.
THAT I was anxious for the success of a Work which had employed much of my time and labour, I do not wish to conceal: but whatever doubts I at any time entertained, have been entirely removed by the very favourable reception with which it has been honoured'. That reception has excited my best exertions to render my Book more perfect; and in this endeavour I have had the assistance not only of some of my particular friends, but of many other learned and ingenious men, by which I have been enabled to rectify some mistakes, and to enrich the Work with many valuable additions. These I have ordered to be printed separately in quarto, for the accommodation of the purchasers of the first edition'. May I be permitted to say that the typography of both editions does honour to the press of Mr. Henry Baldwin, now Master of the Worshipful Company of Stationers, whom I have long known as a worthy man and an obliging friend.
In the strangely mixed scenes of human existence, our feelings are often at once pleasing and painful. Of this truth, the progress of the present Work furnishes a striking instance. It was highly gratifying to me that my friend, Sir Joshua
''Burke affirmed that Boswell's Life was a greater monument to Johnson's fame than all his writings put together.' Life of Mackintosh, i. 92.
It is a pamphlet of forty-two pages, under the title of The Principal Corrections and Additions to the First Edition of Mr. Boswell's Life of Dr. Johnson. Price two shillings and sixpence.
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Reynolds, to whom it is inscribed, lived to peruse it, and to give the strongest testimony to its fidelity; but before a second edition, which he contributed to improve, could be finished, the world has been deprived of that most valuable man'; a loss of which the regret will be deep, and lasting, and extensive, proportionate to the felicity which he diffused through a wide circle of admirers and friends'.
In reflecting that the illustrious subject of this Work, by being more extensively and intimately known, however elevated before, has risen in the veneration and love of mankind, I feel a satisfaction beyond what fame can afford. We cannot, indeed, too much or too often admire his wonderful powers of mind, when we consider that the principal store of wit and wisdom which this Work contains, was not a particular selection from his general conversation, but was merely his occasional talk at such times as I had the good fortune to be in his company; and, without doubt, if his discourse at other periods
1 Reynolds died on Feb. 23, 1792.
? Sir Joshua in his will left £200 to Mr. Boswell 'to be expended, if he thought proper, in the purchase of a picture at the sale of his paintings, to be kept for his sake.' Taylor's Reynolds, ii. 636.
Of the seventy-five years that Johnson lived, he and Boswell did not spend two years and two months in the same neighbourhood. Excluding the time they were together on their tour to the Hebrides, they were dwelling within reach of each other a few weeks less than two years. Moreover, when they were apart, there were great gaps in their correspondence. Between Dec. 8, 1763, and Jan. 14, 1766, and again between Nov. 10, 1769, and June 20, 1771, during which periods they did not meet, Boswell did not receive a single letter from Johnson. The following table shows the times they were in the same neighbourhood.
1763, May 16 to Aug. 6,
1772, March 21 to about May 10,
1773, April 3 to May 10,
Aug. 14 to Nov. 22,.
1775, March 21 to April 18, May 2 to May 23, London.
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had been collected with the same attention, the whole tenor of what he uttered would have been found equally excellent.
His strong, clear, and animated enforcement of religion, morality, loyalty, and subordination, while it delights and improves the wise and the good, will, I trust, prove an effectual antidote to that detestable sophistry which has been lately imported from France, under the false name of Philosophy, and with a malignant industry has been employed against the peace, good order, and happiness of society, in our free and prosperous country; but thanks be to GOD, without producing the pernicious effects which were hoped for by its propagators.
It seems to me, in my moments of self-complacency, that this extensive biographical work, however inferior in its nature, may in one respect be assimilated to the ODYSSEY. Amidst a thousand entertaining and instructive episodes the HERO is never long out of sight; for they are all in some degree connected with him; and HE, in the whole course of the History, is exhibited by the Authour for the best advantage of his readers.
'-Quid virtus et quid sapientia possit,
Should there be any cold-blooded and morose mortals who really dislike this Book, I will give them a story to apply.
val of about a fortnight, when John-Birmingham,
1776, March 15 to May 16, with an inter
1777, Sept. 14 to Sept. 24,
1778, March 18 to May 19,
1779, March 15 to May 3,
. London and Southill. . . London. . London and Oxford. 'To shew what wisdom and what sense can do, The poet sets Ulysses in our view.'
Francis. Horace, Ep. i. 2. 17.