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being fearful of disturbing him, and never conversed with him again. Europ. I came away about half past eleven with Mr. Windham.
v. xxxvi. Monday, Dec. 13.—Went to Bolt-court at eleven o'clock in the morning; met a young lady coming down stairs from the doctor, whom, upon inquiry, I found to be Miss Morris (a sister to Miss Morris', formerly on the stage). Mrs. Desmoulins told me that she had seen the doctor; that by her desire he had been told she came to ask his blessing, and that he said, 'God bless you! I then went up into his chamber, and found him lying very composed in a kind of doze: he spoke to nobody. Sir John Hawkins, Mr. Langton, Mrs. Gardiner, Rev. Mr. Strahan and Mrs. Strahan, Doctors Brocklesby and Butter, Mr. Steevens, and Mr. Nichols the printer, came; but no one chose to disturb him by speaking to him, and he seemed to take no notice of any person. While Mrs. Gardiner and I were there, before the rest came, he took a little warm milk in a cup, when he said something upon its not being properly given into his hand : he breathed very regular, though short, and appeared to be mostly in a calm sleep or dozing.
I left him in this state, and never more saw him alive. In the evening I supped with Mrs. Hoole and my son at Mr. Braithwaite's, and at night my servant brought me word that my
dearest friend died that evening about seven o'clock; and next morning I went to the house, where I met Mr. Seward: we went together into the chamber, and there saw the most awful sight of Dr. Johnson laid out in his bed, without life!
« John HOOLE.”
[SOME account of FRANCIS STUART,—referred to in vol. i. p. 161; vol. iv. p. 295. 302; and vol. v. p. 154. 159.
In that amusing scrap-book called " Grose's Olio," there is an imputa- Ed. tion against Dr. Johnson of having obtained an advance of money from the publishers of the Dictionary, by the trick of substituting old sheets instead of new copy, which he had neglected to prepare. The following extract from the Gentleman's Magazine contradicts this imputation ; but for that sole purpose the editor would not have thought it necessary to quote it, but he is induced to do so because it also affords some curious particulars as to the practical compilation of the Dictionary, and gives some account of Francis Stuart, whose connexion with Johnson seems to the editor to have
1 As there have been several Miss Morris's on the stage, it may be proper to mention that the young lady was sister to Miss Morris, who appeared in Juliet at Covent Garden, Nov. 26, 1768, and died May 1, 1769. She was related to Corbyn Morris, Esq. com. missioner of the customs.-J. HOOLE.
been more important than Mr. Boswell supposed.
Indeed Mr. Boswell's account of the little negotiation in which Dr. Johnson employed him with Stuart's sister is very confused. In December, 1779, he states that he had, as desired by Johnson, “ discovered the sister of Stuart, and given her a guinea for an old pocket-book of her brother's which Dr. Johnson had retained ; that the woman wondered at his scrupulous honesty, and received the guinea as if sent by Providence:" ante, vol. iv. p. 295. But this must have been a total mistake on the part of Boswell ; for it
appears that the sister had the pocket-book or letter-case, and that it ·was for obtaining it that Johnson offered the guinea. This matter was probably explained in some letters not now extant ; for in April, 1780 (vol. iv. p. 302), Johnson expresses ( satisfaction at the success of Boswell's transaction with Mrs. Stuart,” by which it may be inferred that Boswell had obtained the letter-case from her; but the negotiation was not terminated; for four years after, in 1784 (vol. v. p. 154), Johnson writes to Boswell, “I desire you to see Mrs. Stewart once again, and say
that in the letter-case was a letter relating to me, for which I will give her, if she is willing to give it to me, another guinea : the letter is of consequence only to me:"—and again, 18th March, 1784, “ If you come hither through Edinburgh, send for Mrs. Stewart, and give another guinea for the letter in the old case, to which I shall not be satisfied with my
claim till she gives it me.” (Vol. v. p. 159.) The reader now sees that the retention by Johnson of Stewart's old pocket-book, and the scrupulous honesty of paying a guinea for it, was a misapprehension ; and that Johnson really wanted to obtain the pocket-book, which he did get, for the sake of a letter it contained which he seems not to have gotten; but what letter could this be of consequence to Dr. Johnson, when on the verge of the grave, yet so long neglected by him ; for Stewart had been dead many years ? Mr. Boswell's original error and his subsequent silence on the subject is very strange. The editor is satisfied either that Mr. Boswell did not obtain the letter, or that it related to some circumstance of Johnson's life which he did not choose to divulge ; and what could it have been that he would not have told ?—Ed.]
“ This Steward was Francis Stuart. He was the son of a shopMag. keeper in Edinburgh, and was brought up to the law. For several vol. lxix.
years he was employed as a writer in some of the principal offices of p. 1171.
Edinburgh; and being a man of good natural parts, and given to literature, he frequently assisted in digesting and arranging MSS. for the press; and, among other employments of this sort, he used to boast of assisting or copying some of the juvenile productions of the afterwards celebrated Lord Kaimes when he was very young and a correspondent with the Edinburgh Magazine. When he came to London, he stuck more closely to the press; and in this walk of
copying or arranging for the press, he got recommended to Dr. Johnson, who then lived in Gough-square. Frank was a great admirer of the
doctor, and upon all occasions consulted him; and the doctor had Gent. also a very respectable opinion of his amanuensis Frank Stuart, as he Mag.
vol. lxix. always familiarly called him. But it was not only in collecting p. 1171. authorities that Frank was employed: he was the man who did every thing in the writing way for him, and managed all his affairs between the doctor, his bookseller, and his creditors, who were then often very troublesome, and every species of business the doctor had to do out of doors; and for this he was much better qualified than the doctor himself, as he had been more accustomed to common business, and more conversant in the
of men. “ That he was a porter-drinking man, as Captain Grose says, may be admitted; for he usually spent his evenings at the Bible, in Shirelane, a house of call for bookbinders and printers, where Frank was in good esteem among some creditable neighbours that frequented the back-room; for, except his fuddling, he was a very worthy character. But his drinking and conviviality, he used to say, he left behind him at Edinburgh, where he had connected himself with some jovial wits and great card-players, which made his journey to London very prudent and necessary, as nothing but such a measure could break off the connexion, or bring them to good hours and moderation. In one of those night rambles, Stuart and his companions met with the mob-procession when they were conducting Captain Porteous to be hanged; and Stuart and his companions were next lay examined about it before the town-council, when (as Stuart used to say) ‘we were found to be too drunk to have had any hand in the business. But he gave a most accurate and particular account of that memorable transaction in the Edinburgh Magazine of that time, which he was rather fond of relating.
“In another walk, besides collecting authorities, he was remarkably useful to Dr. Johnson; that was, in the explanation of low cant phrases, which the doctor used to get Frank to give his explanation of first; and all words relating to gambling and card-playing, such as All Fours, Catch-honours, Cribbage, &c. were, among the typos, said to be Frank Stuart's, corrected by the doctor, for which he received a second payment. At the time this happened, the Dictionary was going on printing very briskly in three departments, letter D, G, and L, being at work upon at the same time; and as the doctor was, in the printing-house phrase, out of town—that is, had received more money than he had produced MS. for-the proprietors restricted him in his payments, and would answer no more demands from him than at the rate of a guinea for every sheet of MS. copy he delivered ; which was paid him by Mr. Strahan on delivery; and the doctor readily agreed to this. The copy was written upon 4to. post, and in two columns each page. The doctor wrote, in his own hand, the words and their explanation, and generally two or three words in
Gent. each column, leaving a space between each for the authorities, which Mag. vol. Ixix.
were pasted on as they were collected by the different clerks or amap. 1172. nuenses employed: and in this mode the MS. was so regular, that
the sheets of MS. which made a sheet of print could be very exactly ascertained. Every guinea parcel came after this agreement regularly tied up, and was put upon a shelf in the corrector's room till wanted. The MS. being then in great forwardness, the doctor supplied copy faster than the printers called for it; and in one of the heaps of copy it happened that, upon giving it out to the compositors, some sheets of the old MS. that had been printed off were found among the new MS. paid for. It is more probable that this happened by the doctor's keeping the old copy, which was always returned him with the proof, in a disorderly manner. But another mode of accou
counting for this was at that time very current in the printing-house. The doctor, besides his old and constant assistant, Stuart, had several others, some of them not of the best characters; and one of this class had been lately discharged, whom the doctor had been very kind to, notwithstanding all his loose and idle tricks; and it was generally supposed that he had fallen upon this expedient of picking up the old MS. to raise a few guineas, finding the money so readily paid on the MS. as he delivered it. But every body was inclined to acquit the doctor, as he had been well known to have rather too little thoughts about money matters. And what served to complete the doctor's acquittal was, Stuart immediately on the discovery supplying the quantum of right copy (for it was ready); which set every thing to rights, and that in the course of an hour or two, as the writer of this note can truly assert, as he was employed in the business.
“How such an erroneous and injurious account of an accident so fairly and justly to be accounted for, and the doctor's character cleared from all imputation of art or guilt, came to Captain Grose's ears, is hard to be accounted for: but it appears to have been picked up among the common gossip of the press-room, or other remote parts of the printing-house, where the right state of the fact could not be minutely related nor accurately known.”
LESSON IN BIOGRAPHY;
[By A. CHALMERS, Esq.
Referred to in vol. v. p. 365. Among the numerous parodies and jeux d'esprit which Mr. Boswell's work produced, the following pleasantry from the pen of Mr. Alexander Chalmers, which appeared in the periodical publications of the day, is worth preserving; for it is not merely a good pleasantry, but a fair criticism of some of the lighter parts of the work.–Ed.]
“We dined at the chop-house. Dr. Pozz was this day very instructive. We talked of books. I mentioned the History of Tommy Trip. I said it was a great work. Pozz. “Yes, sir, it is a great work ; but, sir, it is a great work relatively; it was a great work to you when you was a little boy: but now, sir, you are a great man,
and Tommy Trip is a little boy. I felt somewhat hurt at this comparison, and I believe he perceived it; for, as he was squeezing a lemon, he said, “Never be affronted at a comparison. I have been compared to many things, but I never was affronted. No, sir, if they would call me a dog, and you a canister tied to my tail, I would not be affronted.'
“Cheered by this kind mention of me, though in such a situation, I asked him what he thought of a friend of ours, who was always making comparisons. Pozz. “Sir, that fellow has a simile for every thing but himself. I knew him when he kept a shop: he then made money, sir, and now he makes comparisons. Sir, he would say that you and I were two figs stuck together; two figs in adhesion, sir; and then he would laugh. Bozz. “But have not some great writers determined that comparisons are now and then odious ?' Pozz. ·No sir, not odious in themselves, not odious as comparisons; the fellows who make them are odious. The whigs make comparisons.'
“We supped that evening at his house. I showed him some lines I had made upon a pair of breeches. Pozz. 'Sir, the lines are good; but where could you find such a subject in your country?' Bozz. • Therefore it is a proof of invention, which is a characteristic of poetry.' Pozz. · Yes, sir, but an invention which few of your countrymen can enjoy.' I reflected afterwards on the depth of this