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for the great Source of all order; correct, nay stern in his taste; hard to please, and easily offended; impetuous and irritable in his temper, but of a most humane and benevolent heart, which showed itself not only in a most liberal charity, as far as his circumstances would allow, but in many instances of active benevolence.
"He loved praise when it was brought him; but was too proud to seek for it. He was somewhat susceptible of flattery. As he was general and unconfined in his studies, he cannot be considered as a master of any one particular science; but he had accumulated a vast and various collection of learning and knowledge, which was so arranged in his mind, as to be ever in readiness to be brought forth. But his su periority over other learned men, consisted chiefly in what may be called the art of thinking, the art of using his mind; a certain continual power of seizing the useful substance of all that he knew, and exhibiting it in a clear and forcible manner; so that knowledge, which we often see to be no better than lumber in men of dull understanding, was in him, true, evident, and actual wisdom.
"His moral precepts are practical; for they are drawn from an intimate acquaintance with human nature. His mind was so full of imagery that he might have been perpetually a poet; yet it is remarkable, that however rich his prose is in that respect, the poetical pieces which he wrote were in general not so, but rather strong sentiment and acute observation, conveyed in good. verse particularly in heroick couplets.
Though usually grave, and even aweful in his deportment, he possessed uncommon and peculiar powers of wit and humour: He frequently indulged himself in colloquial pleasantry; and the heartiest merriment was often enjoyed in his company, with this great advantage, that as it was entirely free from any poisonous tincture of vice or impiety, it was salutary to those who shared in it.
He accustomed himself to such accuracy in his common conversation, that he at all times delivered himself with an elegant choice of expression, and a slow, deliberate utterance. He united a most logical head with a fertile imagination, which gave him an extraordinary advantage in arguing, "for he could reason close or wide, as he saw best for the moment. Exulting in his intellectual strength and dexterity, he could, when he pleased, be the greatest sophist that ever contended in the lists of declamation; and, from a spirit of contradiction, and a delight in showing his. powers, he would often maintain the wrong side with equal warmth and ingenuity; so that, when there was. an audience, his real opinions could seldom be gathered from his talk; though when he was in company with a single friend, he would discuss a subject with genuine fairness. But he was too conscientious to make error permanent and pernicious by deliberately writing it; and in all his numerous works he earnestly inculcated what appeared to him to be the truth. His piety was constant, and was the ruling principle of all his conduct."
In answer to some insinuations of Sir John Hawkins,, that the mind of Johnson was oppressed with a sense of guilt, Mr. Boswell is candid enough to own: "That his conduct after he came to London, and had associated with Savage and others, was not so strictly virtuous in one respect, as when he was a younger man. It was well known that his amorous inclinations, were uncommonly strong and impetuous. He owned to many of his friends that he used to take women of the town to taverns, and hear them relate their history. In short, it must not be concealed, that, like many other good and pious men, amongst whom we may place the Apostle Paul, upon his own authority, Johnson was not free from propensities which were ever, warring against the law of his mind,' and that in his combats with them, he was sometimes, though rarely, overcome."
Some years since, the Doctor coming up Fleet-. street, at about two o'clock in the morning, was alarmed E 6 with
with the cries of a person seemingly in great distress. He followed the voice for some time, when, by the glimmer of an expiring lamp, he perceived an unhappy female, almost naked, and perishing on a truss of straw, who had just strength enough to tell him, "she was turned out by an inhuman landlord, in that condition, and to beg his charitable assistance not to let her die the street." The Doctor melted at her story, desired her to place her confidence in God, for that under him he would be her protector. He accordingly looked about for a coach to put her into; but there was none to be had: "His charity however worked too strong" to be cooled by such an accident. He kneeled down by her side, raised her in his arms, wrapped his great coat about her, placed her on his back, and in this condition carried her home to his house.
Next day, her disorder appearing to be venereal, he was advised to abandon her, but he replied," that may be as much her misfortune as her fault; I am determined to give her the chance of a reformation; he accordingly kept her in his house above thirteen weeks, where she was regularly attended by a physician, who restored her to her usual health.
The Doctor during this time learned more of her story; and finding her to be one of those unhappy women who are impelled to this miserable life more from necessity than inclination, he set on foot a subscription, and established her in a milliner's shop in the country, where she was living some years ago in very considerable repute.
Dr. Johnson was buried in a public manner, in Westminster-abbey, on Monday Dec. 20, 1784, at the foot. of Shakspeare's monument, in the Poet's Corner, near the grave of his old and intimate friend David Garrick. His pall was supported by the Right Honourable Edmund Burke, Right Honourable William Wyndham, Sir Joseph Banks, Sir Charles Bunbury, George Colman, and Bennet Langton, Esqrs. His executors likewise attended, as did a considerable number of his. friends and acquaintances, who sincerely paid this last tribute of affection to his memory.
Sir Joshua Reynolds, immediately after the Doctor's death, ordered Mr. Hoskins, in St. Martin's Lane, caster of figures to the Royal Academy, to make a plaster of Paris cast from his face.
The Doctor was so much pleased with these Beauties that he purchased several copies to present to his friends, and when the second edition was printing, he sat twice, at Mr. Kearsley's request, to Mr. Trotter. The etching from that drawing, forms the frontispicce to this volume.
AN AUTHENTIC COPY OF
DOCTOR JOHNSON's WILL,
EXTRACTED FROM THE PREROGATIVE COURT
IN the name of God, Amen. I SAMUEL JOHNSON, being in full possession of my faculties, but fcaring this night may put an end to my life, do ordain this my last will and testament. I bequeath to God a soul polluted with many sins, but I hope, purified by repentance, and I trust redeemed by Jesus Christ. I leave seven hundred and fifty pounds in the hands of Bennet Langton, Esq.. three hundred pounds in the hands of Mr. Barclay and Mr. Perkins, brewers; one hundred and fifty pounds. in the hands of Dr. Percy, Bishop of Dromore, one thousand pounds three per cent. annuities in the public funds; and one hundred pounds now lying by me in ready. money; all these before-mentioned sums and property I leave, I say, to Sir Joshua Reynolds, Sir John Hawkins. and Dr. William Scott, of Doctors Commons; in trust, for the following uses: That is to say, to pay to the representatives of the late William Innys, bookseller, in St. Paul's Church Yard, the sum of two hundred pounds; ' to Mrs. White, my female servant, one hundred pounds stock in the three per cent. annuities aforesaid. The rest
of the aforesaid sums of money and property, together with my books, plate, and household-furniture, I leave to the before-mentioned Sir Joshua Reynolds, Sir John Hawkins, and Doctor William Scott, alsò in trust, to be applied, after paying my debts, to the use of Francis Barber, my man servant, a negro, in such manner as they shall judge most fit and available to his benefit. And I appoint the aforesaid Sir Joshua Reynolds, Sir John ·Hawkins, and Doctor William Scott, sole executors of this my last will and testament, hereby revoking all former wills and testaments whatsoever. In witness whereof I hereunto subscribe my name, and affix my seal, this eighth day of December, 1784.
SAM. JOHNSON, (L. S.)
Signed, sealed, published, declared, and delivered by the said testator, as his last will and testament, in the presence of us, the word 'two being inserted in the opposite page.
By way of codicil to my last will and testament, I, SAMUEL JOHNSON, give, devise, and bequeath, my messuage, or tenement, situated at Litchfield, in the county of Stafford, with the appurtenances, in the tenure or occupation of Mrs. Bond, of Litchfield, aforesaid, or of Mr. Hinchman, her under-tenant, to my executors in trust, to sell and dispose of the same; and the money arising from such sale I give and bequeath as follows: to Thomas and Benjamin, the sons of Fisher Johnson, late of Leicester, and Whiting, daughter of Thomas Johnson, late of Coventry, and the grand-daughter of the said Thomas Johnson, one full and equal fourth part each; but in case there shall be more grand-daughters than one of the said Thomas Johnson, living at the time of my decease, I give and bequeath the part or share of that one to, and equally between, such grand-daughter. I give and bequeath to the Rev. Mr. Rogers, of Berkley, near Froome, in the county of Somerset, the sum of one hundred pounds, requesting him to apply the same