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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 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 had been collected with the same attention, the whole tenour 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 author for the best advantage of his readers:

-Quid virtus et quid sapientia possit,

Utile proposuit nobis exemplar Ulyssen.

Should there be any cold-blooded and morose mortals who really dislike this book, I will give them a story to apply. When the great duke of Marlborough, accompanied by lord Cadogan, was one day reconnoitring the army in Flanders, a heavy rain came on, and they both

called for their cloaks. Lord Cadogan's servant, a goodhumoured alert lad, brought his lordship's in a minute. The duke's servant, a lazy sulky dog, was so sluggish, that his grace being wet to the skin, reproved him, and had for answer with a grunt, "I came as fast as I could," upon which the duke calmly said," Cadogan, I would not for a thousand pounds have that fellow's temper."

There are some men, I believe, who have, or think they have, a very small share of vanity. Such may speak of their literary fame in a decorous style of diffidence. But I confess, that I am so formed by nature and by habit, that to restrain the effusion of delight, on having obtained such fame, to me would be truly painful. Why then should I suppress it? Why "out of the abundance of the heart" should I not speak? Let me then mention with a warm, but no insolent exultation, that I have been regaled with spontaneous praise of my work by many and various persons eminent for their rank, learning, talents, and accomplishments; much of which praise I have under their hands to be reposited in my archives at Auchinleck. An honourable and reverend friend, speaking of the favourable reception of my volumes, even in the circles of fashion and elegance, said to me, "you have made them all talk Johnson."-Yes, I may add, I have Johnsonised the land; and I trust they will not only talk, but think Johnson.


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To enumerate those to whom I have been thus indebted, would be tediously ostentatious. I cannot, however, but name one, whose praise is truly valuable, not only on account of his knowledge and abilities, but on account of the magnificent, yet dangerous embassy, in which he is now employed, which makes every thing that relates to him peculiarly interesting. Lord Macartney favoured me with his own copy of my book, with a number of notes, of which I have availed myself. On the first leaf I found in his lordship's hand-writing, an inscription of such high commendation, that even I, vain as I am, cannot prevail on myself to publish it.

July 1, 1793.






N. B. To those which he himself acknowledged is added ‘acknowl.' To those which may be fully believed to be his from internal evidence, is added intern. evid.'

1735. Abridgement and translation of Lobo's Voyage to Abyssinia; acknowl. 1738. Part of a translation of Father Paul Sarpi's History of the Council of Trent; acknowl.

N. B. As this work, after some sheets were printed, suddenly stopped, I know not whether any part of it is now to be found.


Preface; intern. evid.

Life of Father Paul; acknowl.

1739. A complete vindication of the Licenser of the Stage from the malicious and scandalous aspersions of Mr. Brooke, author of Gustavus Vasa; acknowl.

Marmor Norfolsciense: or, an Essay on an ancient prophetical inscription in monkish rhyme, lately discovered near Lynne in Norfolk: by Probus Britannicus; acknowl.


Life of Boerhaave; acknowl.

Address to the reader; intern. evid.

Appeal to the publick in behalf of the editor; intern. evid.

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Considerations on the case of Dr. Trapp's Sermons; a plausible at-
tempt to prove
that an author's work may be abridged without injur-
ing his property; acknowl.


1740. Preface; intern. evid.

Life of admiral Drake; acknowl.

*I do not here include his poetical works; for, excepting his Latin translation of Pope's Messiah, his London, and his Vanity of Human Wishes, imitated from Juvenal; his Prologue on the opening of Drury-lane Theatre, by Mr. Garrick, and his Irene, a tragedy, they are very numerous, and in general short; and I have promised a complete edition of them, in which I shall with the utmost care ascertain their authenticity, and illustrate them with notes and various readings.

Life of admiral Blake; acknowl.

Life of Philip Barretier; acknowl.

Essay on Epitaphs; acknowl.


1741. Preface; intern. evid.

A free translation of the Jests of Hierocles, with an introduction; intern. evid.

Debate on the Humble Petition and Advice of the Rump Parliament to
Cromwell in 1657, to assume the title of king; abridged, methodised,
and digested; intern. evid.

Translation of Abbe Guyon's Dissertation on the Amazons; intern. evid.
Translation of Fontenelle's Panegyrick on Dr. Morin; intern. evid.


1742. Preface; intern. evid.

Essay on the Account of the Conduct of the Duchess of Marlborough ; acknowl.

An Account of the Life of Peter Burman; acknowl.

The Life of Sydenham, afterwards prefixed to Dr. Swan's edition of his works; acknowl.

Proposals for printing Bibliotheca Harleiana, or a Catalogue of the Library of the Earl of Oxford, afterwards prefixed to the first volume of that catalogue, in which the Latin accounts of the books were written by him; acknowl.

Abridgement, entitled Foreign History; intern. evid.

Essay on the Description of China from the French of Du Halde; intern. evid.

1743. Dedication to Dr. Mead of Dr. James's Medicinal Dictionary; intern. evid.


Preface; intern. evid.

Parliamentary Debates, under the name of Debates in the Senate of Lil-
liput, from Nov. 19, 1740, to Feb. 23, 1742-3, inclusive; acknowl.
Considerations on the Dispute between Crousaz and Warburton on
Pope's Essay on Man; intern. evid.

A Letter, announcing that the Life of Mr. Savage was speedily to be
published by a person who was favoured with his confidence; intern.

Advertisement for Osborne concerning the Harleian Catalogue; intern. evid.

1744. Life of Richard Savage; acknowl.

Preface to the Harleian Miscellany; acknowl.

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