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The works of Dr. Johnson have so long stood the test of public opinion, that an apo logy for offering a new edition is hardly necessary. While a part of his works are advantageously known to the general reader, there are many of them, from various causes, which have not been so extensively read. Among these causes, may be stated the fact that some of them have never been published in this country at all; while Jthers have never been contained in any uniform edition of his works. It may also ne added, that so far as the works of Dr. Johnson have been published, the price iemanded for them has prevented their coming within the reach of the great mass of eaders.

The present is the only complete edition of Dr. Johnson's works which has been published in this country. It will be found to contain much that is valuable in itself, beside many papers of much curiosity, including every variety of subject which a mind 80 comprehensive as his might naturally embrace. The American reader will also here find a surer test by which the intellectual powers Dr. ohnson



appreciated ;- for although these have been acknowledged to be of the highest cast, yet it has been a general impression that they were more particularly confined to one species of literature—that of purifying and elevating the standard of the English language.


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The Political tracts of Dr. Johnson are but little known to the great mass of readers in this country. The author, with his usual vigour, entered fully into the political feelings of the times in which he lived. The relations between this country and Great Britain at that period, are, as a matter of history, interesting to all Ameri

Dr. Johnson defended with much tenacity the original rights of the Indians, and denounced the wrongs imposed upon them by the English and French. In allusion to the war between the French and English, about the year 1756, which began in this country, he says, “The American war between the French and us is therefore only a quarrel between two robbers for the spoils of a passenger.” And yet when we had become colonies to Great Britain he equally defended the most odious features of government toward the colonies.

A specimen of this may be found in a paper entitled “ Taxation no tyranny-an answer to the resolutions and address of the American Congress 1775," (vol. ii. p. 425.) Could he have foreseen the progress and termination of the struggle which was then commencing, he might have uttered as a truth, what he then indited as a bitter sarcasm. “ The heroes of Boston, if the Stamp Act had not been repealed, would have left their town, their port, and their trade, have resigned the splendour of opulence, and quitted the delight of neighbourhood, to disperse themselves over the country, where they would till the ground, and fish in the rivers, and

range the mountains, and be free.”

As an essayist, Dr. Johnson may be placed upon a par with the writers of the Spectator. Although, in this species of his writing, there may not be found that sprightliness and lively manner which at once wins the attention, yet there is solidity and beauty which will bear thorough and close examination, and stand the severest test of scrutiny and time.


Although not exactly within the compass of the present volumes, we may say a word in relation to the great Dictionary of Dr. Johnson. This is undoubtedly at the head of all similar works in the English language, and will stand as a monument of the author's genius, and unparalleled research and industry, so long as the lan guage shall be spoken and read.

Previous to the completion of this work, no general standard for the English lan guage was acknowledged. The intention of the author was to supply this deficiency -in his own words “ the chief intent of it is to preserve the purity, and ascertain the meaning of our English idiom.” In fulfilling this task, Dr. Johnson accomplished what falls to the lot of few men in any undertaking. He made that work which was the first standard of the English language so perfect, that not one of all who followed him, has been able to improve it. Some few indeed have enjoyed an ephemeral celebrity; but while they are gradually sinking into oblivion, the value and beauty of this great work is becoming more and more appreciated. We cannot but admire the deiermination of Dr. Johnson to undertake this work, which he knew would add iittle or nothing to his literary fame during his lifetime. “I knew,” says he, “ that the work in which I engaged is generally considered as a drudgery for the blind, as the proper toil for artless industry; a task that requires neither the light of learning, nor the activity of genius, but may be successfully performed without any higher quality than that of bearing burdens with dull patience, and beating the tract of the alphabet with sluggish resolution."

There is one consideration alone which should entitle the works of Dr. Johnson to an attentive, and often repeated perusal. It is the perfection of style and elegance of diction with which they are written. In this they may be set down as models.

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26 The mischief of extravagance,



of dependence


Essay on the Life and Genius of Dr. John 27 An author's treatment from six patrons 53

i 28 The various arts of self-delusion


29 The folly of anticipating misfortunes


30 The observance of Sunday recommended;


an allegory


31 The defence of a known 'mistake highly

1 Difficulty of the first address. Practice of



the epic poets. Convenience of periodi 32 The vanity of stoicism. 'The necessity of

cal performances

13 patience


2 The necessity and danger of looking into 33 An allegorical history of rest and labour 62

futurity. Writers naturally sanguine. 34 The uneasiness and disgust of female cow-

Their hopes liable to disappointment. 14



3 An allegory on criticism

15 35 A marriage of prudence without affection 65

4 The modern form of romances preferable to 36 The reasons why pastorals delight


the ancient. The necessity of characters 37 The true principles of pastoral poetry 68

morally good.

17 38 The advantages of mediocrity. An eastern

5 A meditation on the Spring




6 Happiness not local

20 39 The unhappiness of women whether single

7 Retirement natural to a great mind. Its

or married


religious use .

22 40 The difficulty of giving advice without of-

8 The thoughts to be brought under regulation;



as they respect the past, present, and 41 The advantages of memory



23 42 The misery of a modish lady in solitude 75

9 The fondness of every man for his profes 43 The inconveniences of precipitation and con-

sion. The gradual improvement of manu-




25 44 Religion and superstition; a vision


.0 Four billets, with their answers. Remarks 45 The causes of disagreement in marriage 80

on masquerades.

26 46 The mischiefs of rural faction


11 The folly of anger. The misery of a peevish 47 The proper means of regulating sorrow 82

28 48 The miseries of an infirm constitution 84

12 The history of a young woman that came to 49 A disquisition upon the value of fame


London for a service

29 50 A virtuous old age always reverenced 87

13 The duty of secrecy. The invalidity of all 51 The employments of a housewife in the

excuses for betraying secrets




14 The difference between an author's writings 52 The contemplation of the calamities of others,

and his conversation

33 a remedy for grief


15 The folly of cards. A letter from a lady 53 The folly and misery of a spendthrift 91

that has lost her money :

35 54 A death-bed the true school of wisdom. The

16 The dangers and miseries of a literary emi-

effects of death upon the survivors 92

36 55 The gay widow's impatience of the growth

17 The frequent contemplation of death neces-

of her daughter.' The history of Miss

sary to moderate the passions

38 May-pole


18 The unhappiness of marriage caused by ir 56 The necessity of complaisance. The Ram-

regular motives of choice

39 bler's grief for offending his correspondents 95

19 The danger of ranging from one study to 57 Sententious rules of frugality


another. The importance of the early

58 The desire of wealth moderated by philosophy 98

choice of a profession

41 59 An account of Suspirius, the human screech

20 The folly and inconvenience of affectation , 43 owl.


21 The anxieties of literature not less than 60 The dignity and usefulness of biography 101

those of public stations. The inequality

61 A Londoner's visit to the country


of authors' writings

44 62 A young lady's impatience to see London


22 An allegory on wit and learning,

46 63 Inconstancy not always a weakness

23 The contrariety of criticism. The vanity of 64 The requisites to true friendship


objection. An author obliged to depend

65 Obidah and the hermit, an eastern story


upon his own judgment

47 66 Passion not to be eradicated. The views of

24 The necessity of attending to the duties of

women ill directed


common life. The natural character 67 The garden of hope, a dream


not to be forsaken

48 68 Every man chiefly happy or miserable at

25 Rashness preferable to cowardice. Enter-

home. The opinion of servants not to be

prise not to be repressed .




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69 The miseries and prejudice of old age 113 | 121 The dangers of imitation. The impropriety

70 Different men virtuous in different degrees.

of imitating Spenser


The vicious not always abandoned 114 122 A criticism on the English historians

71 No man believes that his own life will be 123 The young trader turned gentleman 193


116 124 The lady's misery in a summer retirement 194

72 The necessity of good humour

117 125 The difficulty of defining comedy. Tragic

73 The lingering expectation of an heir 118

and comic sentiments confounded. 195

74 Peevishness equally wretched and offensive. 126 The universality of cowardice. The impro-

The character of Tetrica

120 priety of extorting praise. The imper-

75 The world never known but by a change of

tinence of an astronomer


fortune. The history of Melissa 121 127 Diligence too soon relaxed. Necessity of

76 The arts by which bad men are reconciled



to themselves

123 128 Anxiety universal. The unhappiness of a

77 The learned seldom despised but when they

wit and a fine lady .


deserve contempt

124 129 The folly of cowardice and inactivity

. 201

78 The power of novelty. Mortality too fami 130 The history of a beauty ·

liar to raise apprehensions

125 131 Desire of gain the general passion


79 A suspicious man justly suspected 127 | 132 The difficulty of educating a young noble-

80 Variety necessary to happiness. A Winter


128 133 The miseries of a beauty defaced


81 The great rule of action. Debts of justice 134 Idleness an anxious and miserable state

to be distinguished from debts of charity 129 135 The folly of annual retreats into the country 209

82 The virtuoso's account of his rarities · 131 136 The meanness and mischief of indiscrimi-

83 The virtuoso's curiosity justified . . 132

nate dedication


84 A young lady's impatience of control 134 137 The necessity of literary courage


85 The mischiefs of total idleness

135 138 Original characters to be found in the coun-

86 The danger of succeeding a great author:

try. The character of Mrs. Busy 213

An introduction to a criticism on Milton's 139 A critical examination of Samson Agonistes 215


137 140 The criticism continued


87 The reasons why advice is generally inef 141 The danger of attempting wit in conversa-



tion. The character of Papilius


88 A criticism on Milton's versification. Eli 142 An account of squire Bluster


sions dangerous in English poetry

140 143 The criterions of plagiarism


89 The luxury of vain imagination

. 141 144 The difficulty of raising reputation. The

90 The pauses in English poetry adjusted 143

various species of detractors


91 The conduct of patronage, an allegory 144 145 Petty writers not to be despised


92 The accommodation of sound to sense, often 146 An account of an author travelling in quest



of his own character. The uncertainty

93 The prejudices and caprices of criticism 148

of fame

94 An inquiry how far Milton has accommo 147 The courtier's esteem of assurance


dated the sound to the sense

149 148 The cruelty of parental tyranny


95 The history of Pertinax, the sceptic

151 149 Benefits not always entitled 10 gratitude 230

96 Truth, falsehood, and fiction, an allegory · 152 150 Adversity useful to the acquisition of know-

97 Advice to unmarried ladies




98 The necessity of cultivating politeness 156 151 The Climacterics of the mind


99 The pleasures of private friendship. The 152 Criticism on epistolary writings

necessity of similar dispositions 157 153 The treatment incurred by loss of fortune 235

100 Modish pleasures

158 154 The inefficacy of genius without learning • 237

101 A proper audience necessary to a wit 159 155 The usefulness of advice. The danger of

102 The voyage of life.

161 habits. The necessity of reviewing life 238

103 The prevalence of curiosity. The charac 156 The laws of writing not always indisputable.

ter of Nugaculus

162 Reflections on tragi-comedy


104 The original of flattery. The meanness of 157 The scholar's complaint of his own bashful-

venal praise



105 The universal register, a dream

165 158 Rules of writing drawn from examples

106 The vanity of an author's expectations.

Those examples often mistaken


Reasons wiiy good authors are sometimes 159 The nature and remedies of bashfulness 244

neglected .

167 160 Rules for the choice of associates


107 Properantia's hopes of a year of confusion. 161 The revolutions of a garret


The misery of prostituies

168 162 Old men in danger of falling into pupilage.

108 Life sufficient to all purposes if well em-

The conduct of Thrasybulus



170 163 The mischiefs of following a patron


109 The education of a fop

171 164 Praise universally desired. The failings of

110 Repentance stated and explained. Retire-

eminent men often imitated


ment and abstinence useful to repentance 173 165 The impotence of wealth.

The visit of

111 Youth made unfortunate by its haste and

Serotinus to the place of his nativity 252


174 166 Favours not easily gained by the


112 Too much nicety not to be indulged. The 167 The marriage of Hymenæus and Tranquilla 254

character of Eriphile

176 168 Poetry debased by mean expressions. An

113 The history of Hymenæus's courtship

177 example from Shakspeare


114 The necessity of proportioning punishments 169 Labour necessary to excellence


to crimes

179 170 The history of Miscella debauched by her

115 The sequel of Hymenæus's courtship




116 The young trader's attempt at politeness

182 171 Miscella's description of the life of a pros-

117 The advantages of living in a garret .




118 The narrowness of fame

185 172 The effect of sudden riches upon the man-

119 Tranquillo's account of her lovers opposed

to Hymenæus

187| 173 Unreasonable fears of pedantry


120 'The history of Almamoulin, the son of 174 The mischiefs of unbounded raillery. His-



tory of Dicaculus


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175 Che majority are wicked

265 107 Why is the world divided by such difference

176 Directions to authors attacked by critics.

of opinion


The various degrees of critical perspi 108 Some images and sentiments of which the

cacity . .

266 mind of man may be said to be enamoured 340

177 An account of a club of antiquaries 267 111 Examination of the pretensions that are

178 Many advantages not to be enjoyed together. 269 made to happiness .


179 The awkward merriment of a student 270 115 Every age has its peculiar character 343

180. The study of life not to be neglected for the 119 The great extremes in which happiness is
sake of books
271 sought ·


181 The history of an adventurer in lotteries 272 120 Misery the lot of man, and our present state

182 The history of Leviculus the fortune-hunter 274 one of danger and infelicity


183 The influence of envy and interest com 126 Retirement



275 138 The employment of mankind


184 The subject of essays often suggested by 131 The neglect of little things


chance. Chance equally prevalent in 137 Retrospect of the papers of the Adventurer 352

other affairs

276 138 The condition of authors with regard to

185 The prohibition of revenge justifiable by



The meanness of regulating our
conduct by the opinions of men


186 Anningait and Ajut, a Greenland history 279


187 The history of Anningait and Ajut con-


280 1 Idler's character


188 Favour often gained with little assistance 2 Invitation to correspondents


from understanding

281 3 Idler's reason for writing


189 The mischiefs of falsehood. The character 4 Charities and hospitals


of Turpicula

283 5 Proposal for a female army


190 The history of Abouzaid, the son of Morad 284 6 Lady's performance on horseback .


191 The busy life of a young lady,

285 7 Scheme for news writers


192 Love unsuccessful without riches.

286 8 Plan of military discipline


193 The author's art of praising himself. 288 9 Progress of idleness


194 A young nobleman's progress in politeness 289 10 Political credulity


195 A young nobleman's introduction to the 11 Discourses on the weather


knowledge of the town
290 12 Marriages why advertised


196 Human opinions mutable. The hopes of 13 The imaginary housewife


youth fallacious

292 14 Robbery of time .


197 The history of a legacy hunter

293 15 Treacle's complaint of his wife


198 The legacy hunter's history concluded 294 16 Drugget's retirement


199 The virtues of Rabbi Abraham's magnet 296 17 Expedients of Idlers



18 Drugget vindicated.

200 Asper's complaint of the insolence of Pros-

19 Whirler's character

. 374

pero... Unpoliteness not always the effect

297 20 Louisbourg's history


201 The importance of punctuality

299 21 Linger's history of listlessness


202 The different acceptations of poverty. Cyn | 22 Imprisonment of debtors


ics and monks not poor

300 23 Uncertainty of friendship


203 The pleasures of life to be sought in pros-

24 Man does not always think


pects of futurity. Future fame uncertain 301 25 New actors on the theatre


204 The history of ten days of Seged, emperor 26 Betty Broom's history.


of Ethiopia

30227 Power of habits


205 The history of Seged concluded

304 28 Wedding day-Grocer's wife-Chairman 382

206 The art of living at the cost of others 305 29 Betty Broom's history


207 The folly of continuing too long upon the 30 Corruption of news writers


. 306 31 Disguises of idleness-Sober's character 385

208 The Rambler's reception. His design : : 308 32 Sleep

. 386

33 Journal of a fellow of a college


34 Punch and conversation



35 Auction hunter


36 The terrific diction


34 Story of Mysargyras

310 37 Iron and gold

39 Sleep

311 38 Debtors in Prison


41 Story of Mysargyras concluded

313 39 The bracelet


45 Want of strength and unity in confederated

40 Art of advertising



314 41 On the death of a friend


50 The causes of falsehood

316 42 Perdita's complaint of her father


53 Letter of Mysargyras

317 43 Monitions on the flight of time


58 Criticism

318 44 Use of memory.


62 Letter of Mysargyras

320 45 Portraits defended


67 The useful arts as applied to the wants, ne 46 Molly Quick's complaint of her mistress 400

cessities and superfluities of life 322 47 Deborah Ginger's account of city wits 401

59 Men willingly believe what they wish to be

48 The bustles of Idleness


324 49 Marvel's journey


74 Advice useful and salutary.

325 50 Marvel paralleled


81 Whether a man should think too highly, or 51 Domestic greatness unattainable

too meanly of himself .

327 52 Self denial necessary


84 On the diversity of the English character

329 53 Mischiefs of good company,

85 The necessity of reading and consulting

54 Mrs. Savecharges' complaint


other understandings than our own 330 55 Author's mortifications


92 Observations on Virg Pastorals

332 56 Virtuosos whimsical

95 Resemblance between authors

334 57 Character of Sophron the prudent


99 The fate of projectors

335 58 Expectations of pleasure frustrated


102 Life of Mercator

337 | 59 Books fall into neglect.

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