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L I F E
SAMUEL JOHNSON, LL.D.
AN ACCOUNT OF HIS STUDIES
AND NUMEROUS WORKS,
A SERIES OF HIS EPISTOLARY CORRESPONDENCE
AND CONVERSATIONS WITH MANY EMINENT PERSONS;
VARIOUS ORIGINAL PIECES OF HIS COMPOSITION,
NEVER BEFORE PUBLISHED:
THE WHOLE EXHIBITING A VIEW OF LITERATURE AND
RECOLLECTED, AND RECEIVED
THE following very folemn and affecting Prayer
was found after Dr. Johnson's decease, by his faithful servant Mr. Francis Barber, who delivered it to my worthy friend the Reverend Mr. Strahan, Vicar of Islington, who at my earnest request has obligingły favoured me with a copy of it, which he and I compared with the original. I present it to the world as an undoubted proof of a circumstance in the charaEter of my illustrious friend, which though some whose bard minds I never hall envy, may attack as superstitious, will I am sure endear him more to numbers of good men. I have an additional, and that a personal motive for presenting it, because it fančtions what I myself have always maintained and am fond to indulge.
“ April 26, 1752, being after 12 at Night of the 25th. « O Lord ! Governour of heaven and earth, in " whose hands are embodied and departed Spirits, “ if thou haft ordained the Souls of the Dead to “ minister to the Living, and appointed my de“parted Wife to have care of me, grant that I “ may enjoy the good effects of her attention and « ministration, whether exercised by appearance,
impulses, dreams, or in any other manner “ agreeable to thy Government. Forgive my “ presumption, enlighten my ignorance, and how“ ever meaner agents are employed, grant me the « bleffed influences of thy holy Spirit, through
Jesus Christ our Lord.” Amen.
What a&tually followed upon this most interesting piece of devotion by Johnson, we are not informed ; but I, whom it has pleased God to affliet in a similar manner to that which occafioned it, bave certain experience of benignant communication by dreams.
Of Dr. Hurd, Bishop of Worcester, Johnson faid to a friend; “Hurd, Sir, is one of a set of men « who account for every thing systematically ; for a instance, it has been a fashion to wear scarlet « breeches; these men would tell you, that ac“cording to causes and effects, no other wear « could at that time have been chosen.” He, how. ever, faid of him at another time to the fame gentleman, “ Hurd, Sir; is a man whofe acquaintance is a valuable acquisition.”
"That learned and ingenious Prelate it is well known published at one period of his life " Moral and Political Dialogues,” with a woefully whiggish cast. Afterwards, his Lordship having thought better, came to see his errour, and republished the work with a more conftitutional spirit. Johnson, however, was unwilling to allow him full credit for his political converfion. I remember when his Lordship declined the hou nour of being Archbishop of Canterbury, Johnson Taid " I am glad he did not go to Lambeth; for, after all, I fear he is a Whig in his heart.”
Johnson's attention to precision and clearness in expression was very remarkable. He disapproved of parentheses; and I believe in all his voluminous writings, not half a dozen of them will be found. He never used the phrases the former and the latter, having observed that they often occa