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Miss Burney's account of Johnson's last days is interesting, but her dates are confused more even than is common with her. I have corrected them as well as I can.
•Dec. 9. He will not, it seems, be talked to—at least very rarely. At times indeed he re-animates; but it is soon over and he says of himself :-“I am now like Macbeth-question enrages me.”' • Dec. 1o.
At night my father brought us the most dismal tidings of dear Dr. Johnson. He had thanked and taken leave of all his physicians. Alas! I shall lose him, and he will take no leave of me. My father was deeply depressed. I hear from everyone he is now perfectly resigned to his approaching fate, and no longer in terror of death.'
• Dec. 11. My father in the morning saw this first of men. He was up and very composed. He took his hand very kindly, asked after all his family, and then in particular how Fanny did. "I hope,” he said, “Fanny did not take it amiss that I did not see her. I was very bad. Tell Fanny to pray for me.” After which, still grasping his hand, he made a prayer for himself, the most fervent, pious, humble, eloquent, and touching, my father says, that ever was composed. Oh! would I had heard it! He ended it with Amen! in which my father joined, and was echoed by all present; and again, when my father was leaving him, he brightened up, something of his arch look returned, and he said: “I think I shall throw the ball at Fanny yet."
· Dec. 12. (Miss Burney called at Bolt-court.] All the rest went away but a Mrs. Davis, a good sort of woman, whom this truly charitable soul had sent for to take a dinner at his house. (See ante, iv. 276, note 2.) Mr. Langton then came. He could not look at me, and I turned away from him. Mrs. Davis asked how the Doctor was. “Going on to death very fast,” was his mournful answer. “Has he taken,” said she, “ anything?” “Nothing at all. We carried him some bread and milk-he refused it, and said :- The less the better.'”
• Dec. 20. This day was the ever-honoured, ever-lamented Dr. Johnson committed to the earth. Oh, how sad a day to me! My father attended. I could not keep my eyes dry all day; nor can I now in the recollecting it; but let me pass over what to mourn is now so vain. Mme. D'Arblay's Diary, ii. 333-339.
(Notes on Boswell's note on pages 463-467.) In a letter quoted in Mr. Croker's Boswell, p. 427, Dr. Johnson calls Thomas Johnson 'cousin,' and says that in the last sixteen months he had given him £40. He mentions his death in 1779. Piozzi Letters, ii. 45.
* Hawkins (Life, p. 603) says that Elizabeth Herne was Johnson's first-cousin, and that he had constantly—how long he does not say-contributed £15 towards her maintenance.
3 For Mauritius Lowe, see ante, iii. 368, 369, and iv. 232.
* To Mr. Windham, two days earlier, he had given a copy of the New Testament, saying :-Extremum hoc munus morientis habeto.' Windham's Diary, p. 28.
- For Mrs. Gardiner see ante, i. 281.
* Mr. John Desmoulins was the son of Mrs. Desmoulins (ante, iii. 252, 418), and the grandson of Johnson's god-father, Dr. Swinfen (ante, i. 40, note 1). Johnson mentions him in a letter to Mrs. Thrale in 1778. “Young Desmoulins is taken in an under-something of Drury Lane; he knows not, I believe, his own denomination.' Piozzi Letters, ii. 25.
* The reference is to The Rambler, No.41 (not 42 as Boswell says), where Johnson mentions those vexations and anxieties with which all human enjoyments are polluted.'
Bishop Sanderson described his soul as 'infinitely polluted with sin.' Walton's Lives, ed. 1838, p. 396.
Hume, writing in 1742 about his Essays Moral and Politicai, says :
• Innys, the great bookseiler in Paul's Churchyard, wonders there is not a new edition, for that he cannot find copies for his customers.' J. H. Burton's Hume, i. 143.
10 Nichols (Lit. Anec. ii. 554) says that, on Dec. 7,
• Johnson asked him whether any of the family of Faden the printer were living. Being told that the geographer near Charing Cross was Faden's son, he said, after a short pause :—" I borrowed a guinea of his father near thirty years ago; be so good as to take this, and pay it for me."
Nowhere does Hawkins more shew the malignancy of his character than in his attacks on Johnson's black servant, and through him on Johnson. With the passage in which this offensive caveat is found he brings his work to a close. At the first mention of Frank (Life, p. 328) he says >
His first master had in great humanity made him a Christian, and ‘his last for no assignable reason, nay rather in despite of nature, and to unfit him for being useful according to his capacity, determined to make him a scholar.'
But Hawkins was a brutal fellow. See ante, i. 31, note 3, and 33, note 1.
Johnson had written to Taylor on Oct. 23 of this year :
Coming down from a very restless night I found your letter, which made me a little angry. You tell me that recovery is in my power. This indeed I should be glad to hear if I could once believe it. But you mean to charge me with neglecting or opposing my own health. Tell me, therefore, what I do that hurts me, and what I neglect that would help me.” This letter is endorsed by Taylor : “This is the last letter. My answer, which were (sic) the words of advice he gave to Mr. Thrale the day he dyed, he resented extremely from me." Mr. Alfred Morrison's Collection of Autographs, &c., ii. 343.
“The words of advice' which were given to Mr. Thrale the day before the fatal fit seized him, were that he should abstain from full meals. See ante, iv. 97, note 4. Johnson's resentment of Taylor's advice may account for the absence of his name in his will.
They were sold in 650 Lots, in a four days' sale. Besides the books there were 146 portraits, of which 61 were framed and glazed. These prints in their frames were sold in lots of 4, 8, and even 10 together, though certainly some of them - and perhaps many
were engravings from Reynolds. The Catalogue of the sale is in the Bodleian Library.
(Notes on Boswell's note on Pages 470, 471.)
Mrs. Piozzi records (Anecdotes, p. 120) that Johnson told her,• When Boyse was almost perishing with hunger, and some money was produced to purchase him a dinner, he got a bit of roast beef, but could not eat it without ketch-up; and laid out the last halfguinea he possessed in truffles and mushrooms, eating them in bed too, for want of clothes, or even a shirt to sit up in.'
Hawkins (Life, p. 159) gives 1740 as the year of Boyse's destitution.
• He was,' he says, “confined to a bed which had no sheets; here, to procure food, he wrote; his posture sitting up in bed, his only covering a blanket, in which a hole was made to admit of the employment of his arm.'
Two years later Boyse wrote the following verses to Cave from a spunging-house :
• Hodie, teste coelo summo,
Pro a te favore dato,
He adds that he hopes to have his O.le on the British Nation done that day. This Ode, which is given in the Gent. Mag. 1742, p. 383, contains the following verse, which contrasts sadly with the poor poet's case :
'Thou, sacred isle, amidst thy ambient main, Enjoyst the sweets of freedom all thy own.'
It is not likely that Johnson called a sixpence 'a serious consideration.' He who in his youth would not let his comrades say prodigious (ante, iii. 345) was not likely in his old age so to misuse a word.
Hugh Kelly is mentioned ante, ii. 54, note 2, and iii. 129. * It was not on the return from Sky, but on the voyage
from Sky to Rasay, that the spurs were lost. See post, v. 186.
• Dr. White's Bampton Lectures of 1784 'became part of the triumphant literature of the University of Oxford,' and got the preacher a Christ Church Canonry. Of these Lectures Dr. Parr had written about one-fifth part. White, writing to Parr about a passage in the manuscript of the last Lecture, said :-'I fear I did not clearly explain myself; I humbly beg the favour of you to make my meaning more intelligible.' On the death of Mr. Badcock in 1788, a note for £500 from White was found in his pocket-book. White pretended that this was remuneration for some other work; but it was believed on good grounds that Badcock had begun.what Parr had completed, and that these famous Lectures were mainly their work. Badcock was one of the writers in the Monthly Review. Johnstone's Life of Dr. Parr, i. 218-278. For Badcock's correspondence with the editor of the Monthly Review, see Bodleian MS. Add. C. 9o.
“Virgilium vidi tantum.' Ovid, Tristio, iv. 10. 51.
Mackintosh says of Priestley :-'Frankness and disinterestedness in the avowal of his opinion were his point of honour. He goes on to point out that there was 'great mental power in him wasted and scattered.' Life of Mackintosh, i. 349.
See ante, ii. 142, and iv. 274, 275 for Johnson's opinion of Priestley.
• Badcock, in using the term 'index-scholar,' was referring no doubt to Pope's lines :
“How Index-learning turns no student pale,
The Dunciad, i. 279.