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.

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, vair as I am, cannot prevail on myself to publish it.

[July 1, 1793.]



SEVERAL valuable letters, and other curious matter, having been communicated to the Author too late to be arranged in that chronological order which he had endeavoured uniformly to observe in his work, he was obliged to introduce them in his Second Edition, by way of ADDENDA, as commodiously as he could. In the present edition they have been distributed in their proper places. In revising his volumes for a new edition, he had pointed out where some of these materials should be inserted; but unfortunately, in the midst of his labours, he was seized with a fever, of which, to the great regret of all his friends, he died on the 10th of May, 1795. All the Notes that he had written in the margin of the copy which he had in part revised, are here faithfully preserved; and a few new Notes have been added, principally by some of those friends to whom the Author in the former editions acknowledged his obligations. Those subscribed with the letter B, were communicated by Dr. BURNEY; those to which the letters J. B. are annexed, by the Rev. J. B. BLAKEWAY, of Shrewsbury, to whom Mr. BOSWELL acknowledged himself indebted for some judicious remarks on the first edition of his work: and the letters J. B-.O. are annexed to some remarks furnished by the Author's second son, a Student of Brazen-Nose College in Oxford. Some valuable observations were communicated by JAMES BINDLEY, Esq. First Commissioner in the Stamp-Office, which have been acknowledged in their proper places. For all those without any signature, Mr. MALONE is answerable.

I have only to add, that the proof-sheets of the present edition not having passed through my hands, I am not answerable for any typographical errors that may


be found in it. Having, however, been printed at the accurate press of Mr. Baldwin, I make no doubt it will be found not less perfect than the former edition; the greatest care having been taken, by correctness and elegance to do justice to one of the most instructive and entertaining works in the English language.

April 8, 1799.




IN this edition are inserted some new letters, of which the greater part has been obligingly communicated by the Reverend Dr. VYSE, Rector of Lambeth. Those written by Dr. JOHNSON concerning his mother in her last illness, furnish a new proof of his great piety and tenderness of heart, and therefore cannot but be acceptable to the readers of this very popular work. Some new notes also have been added, which, as well as the observations inserted in the third edition, and the letters now introduced, are carefully included within crotchets, that the author may not be answerable for any thing which had not the sanction of his approbation. The remarks of his friends are distinguished as formerly, except those of Mr. MALONE, to which the letter M is now subjoined. Those to which the letter K is affixed, were communicated by my learned friend, the Reverend Doctor KEARNEY, formerly Senior Fellow of Trinity College, Dublin, and now beneficed in the diocese of Raphoe in Ircland of which he is Archdeacon.

Of a work which has been before the publick for thirteen years with increasing approbation, and of which near four thousand copics have been dispersed, it is not necessary to say more; yet I cannot refrain from adding, that, highly as it is now estimated, it will, I am confident, be still more valued by posterity a century hence, when all the actors in the scene shall be numbered with the dead; when the excellent and extraordinary man whose wit and wisdom are here recorded, shall be viewed at a still greater distance; and the instruction and entertainment they afford, will at once produce reverential gratitude, admiration, and delight.

June 20, 1804.

E. M.



IN this fifth edition some errors of the press, which had crept into the text and notes, in consequence of repeated impressions, have been corrected. Two letters written by Dr. JOHNSON, and several new notes, have been added; by which, it is hoped, this valuable work is still further improved.

January 1, 1807.

E. M.

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