Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

to have been but in a small way of business as a publisher. I do not find in the Gentleman's Magazine for 1758 any advertisement of books published by him, and only one in 1759 (p. 339). Cowper's publisher in 1778 was Joseph Johnson of St. Paul's Church- . yard. (Cowper's Works by Southey, i. 285; see also Nichols' Literary Anecdotes, iii. 461-464.)

By little Pompadour' Johnson, no doubt, means the second and cheaper edition of The History of the Marchioness de Pompadour. The first edition was published by Hooper in one volume, price five shillings (Gent. Mag. for October 1758, p. 493), and the second in two volumes for three shillings and sixpence (Gent. Mag. for November 1758, p. 543). Johnson did not generally 'print his name.' He published anon

' ymously his translation of Lobo's Voyage to Abyssinia; London; The Life of Savage ; The Rambler and The Idler, both in separate numbers and when collected in volumes; Rasselas ; The False Alarm; Falkland's Islands; The Patriot; and Taxation no Tyranny; (when these four pamphlets were collected in a volume he published them with the title of Political Tracts, by the Authour of the Rambler). He gave his name in The Vanity of Human Wishes, Irene, the Dictionary, his edition of Shakespeare, the Fourney to the Western Islands, and the Lives of the Poets.

VII.

a

A letter about George Strahan's clection to a scholarship at University

College, Oxford, and about William Strahan's 'affair with the

University,' dated October 24, 1764'. 'Sir,

'I think I have pretty well disposed of my young friend George, who, if you approve of it, will be entered next Monday a Commoner of University College, and will be chosen next day a Scholar of the House. The Scholarship is a trifle, but it gives him a right, upon a vacancy, to a Fellowship of more than sixty pounds a year if he resides, and I suppose of more than forty if he takes a Curacy or small living. The College is almost filled with my friends, and he will be well treated. The Master is

* In the possession of Mr. Frederick Barker.

informed

informed of the particular state of his education, and thinks, what I think too, that for Greek he must get some private assistance, which a servitour of the College is very well qualified and will be very willing to afford him on very easy terms.

'I must desire your opinion of this scheme by the next post, for the opportunity will be lost if we do not now seize it, the Scholarships being necessarily filled up on Tuesday.

'I depend on your proposed allowance of a hundred a year, which must the first year be a little enlarged because there are some extraordinary expenses, as

Caution (which is allowed in his last quarter). . 7 0 0
Thirds. (He that enters upon a room pays two

thirds of the furniture that he finds, and receives
from his successor two thirds of what he pays;
so that if he pays £20 he receives £13 6s. 8d.,

this perhaps may be).
Fees at entrance, matriculation, &c., perhaps
His gown (I think).

£23 10

12

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

.

.

2

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

2 10

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

'If you send us a Bill for about thirty pounds we shall set out commodiously enough. You should fit him out with cloaths and linen, and let him start fair, and it is the opinion of those whom I consult, that with your hundred a year and the petty scholarship he may live with great ease to himself, and credit to you.

* Let me hear as soon as is possible.

* In your affair with the university, I shall not be consulted, but I hear nothing urged against your proposal.

'I am, Sir,

• Your humble servant, Oct. 24, 1764.

SAM. JOHNSON.' My compliments to Mrs. Strahan. • To Mr. Strahan, Printer, in New Street, Shoe-lane, London.'

My friend, Mr. C. J. Faulkner, Fellow and Tutor of University

College, has given me the following extracts from the College

records :Oct. 30-31, 1764. Candidatis examinatis electi sunt Gulielmus Jones et Georgius Strahan in vacuas Exhibitiones Dni Simonis Benet Baronetti.'

Gulielmus

[ocr errors]

Gulielmus Jones is the famous oriental scholar, Sir William Jones, whose portrait adorns the Hall of his ancient College (ante, ii. 28, n. 2).

On April 16, 1767, is found the election of *Georgium Strahan, sophistam in perpetuum hujus Collegii Socium.' He vacated his fellowship in 1773.

The value of a Bennet scholarship in 1764 was ten pounds a year, with rooms added, the rent of which was reckoned as equal to two pounds more. A fellowship on the same foundation was worth about twenty pounds, with a yearly dividend added to it that amounted to about thirty pounds. “Fines' (ante, iii. 368) and other extra payments might easily raise the value to more than sixty pounds.

The 'caution' is the sum deposited by an undergraduate with the College Bursar or Steward as a security for the payment of his ‘battells' or account. Johnson in 1728 had to pay at Pembroke College the same sum (seven pounds) that George Strahan in 1764 had to pay at University College. Ante, i. 67, n. 2.

Johnson wrote four letters to George Strahan, when he was a boy at school, and one letter when he was at College. (See Croker's Johnson, pp. 129, 130, 161, 168.) In this last letter, dated May 25, 1765, he writes: ‘Do not tire yourself so much with Greek one day as to be afraid of looking on it the next; but give it a certain portion of time, suppose four hours, and pass the rest of the day in Latin or English. I would have you learn French, and take in a literary journal once a month, which will accustom you to various subjects, and inform you what learning is going forward in the world. Do not omit to mingle some lighter books with those. of more importance; that which is read remisso animo is often of great use, and takes great hold of the remembrance. However, take what course you will, if you be diligent you will be a scholar,

George Strahan attended Johnson on his death-bed, and published the volume called Prayers and Meditations composed by Samuel Johnson. Ante, i. 272, n. 2; iv. 434, n. 2.

William Strahan's affair with the University' was very likely connected with the lease of the University Printing House. From the ‘Orders of the Delegates of the Press, 1758, I have been

permitted

[ocr errors]

:

[ocr errors]

permitted to copy the following entry, which bears a date but six days later than that of Johnson's letter. * Tuesday, Oct. 30, 1764. At a meeting of the Delegates of the Press.

Ordered,

* That the following articles be made the foundation of the new lease to be granted of the moiety of the Printing House; that a copy of them be delivered to Mr. Baskett and Mr. Eyre, and that they be desired to give in their respective proposals at a meeting to be held on Tuesday the sixth of November.' (P. 41.)

The chief part of the lease consisted of the privilege to print Bibles and Prayer Books. I conjecture that Strahan had hoped to get a share in the lease.

VIII.

A letter about a cancel in Johnson's ' Journey to the Western Islands

of Scotland,' dated Nov. 30, 1774'. 'Sir,

‘I waited on you this morning having forgotten your new engagement; for this you must not reproach me, for if I had looked upon your present station with malignity I could not have forgotten it. I came to consult you upon a little matter that gives me some uneasiness. In one of the pages there is a severe censure of the clergy of an English Cathedral which I am afraid is just, but I have since recollected that from me it may be thought improper, for the Dean did me a kindness about forty years ago. He is now very old, and I am not young. Reproach can do him no good, and in myself I know not whether it is zeal or wanton

Can a leaf be cancelled without too much trouble? tell me what I shall do. I have no settled choice, but I would not wish to allow the charge. To cancel it seems the surer side. Determine for me.

'I am, Sir, Your most humble servant, • Nov. 30, 1774.

Sam. JOHNSON.' 'Tell me your mind : if you

will cancel it I will write something to fill up the vacuum. Please to direct to the borough.'

ness.

* In the possession of Messrs. Pearson & Co., 46, Pall Mall.

Mr. Strahan's

Mr. Strahan's 'new engagement' was in the House of Commons at Westminster, to which he had been elected for the first time as member for Malmesbury. The new Parliament had met on Nov. 29, the day before the date of Johnson's letter (Parl. Hist. xviii. 23).

The leaf that Johnson cancelled contained pages 47, 48 in the first edition of his Journey to the Western Islands. It corresponds with pages 19–20 in vol. ix. of Johnson's Works (ed. 1825), beginning with the words could not enter,' and ending 'imperfect constitution. The excision is marked by a ridge of paper,

which was left that the revised leaf might be attached to it. Johnson describes how the lead which covered the Cathedrals of Elgin and Aberdeen had been stripped off by the order of the Scottish Council, and shipped to be sold in Holland. He continues :- Let us not however make too much haste to despise our neighbours. Our own cathedrals are mouldering by unregarded dilapidation. It seems to be part of the despicable philosophy of the time to despise monuments of sacred magnificence, and we are in danger of doing that deliberately, which the Scots did not do but in the unsettled state of an imperfect constitution.'

In the copy of the first edition in the Bodleian Library, which had belonged to Gough the antiquary, there is written in his hand, as a foot-note to 'neighbours ’: “There is now, as I have heard, a body of men not less decent or virtuous than the Scottish Council, longing to melt the lead of an English Cathedral. What they shall melt, it were just that they should swallow.' It can scarcely be doubted that this is the suppressed passage. The English Cathedral to which Johnson refers was, I believe, Lichfield. “The roof,' says Harwood (History of Lichfield, p. 75), 'was formerly covered with lead, but now with slate.' Addenbroke, who had been Dean since 1745, was, we may assume, very old at the time when Johnson wrote. I had at first thought it not unlikely that it was Dr. Thomas Newton, Dean of St. Paul's and Bishop of Bristol, who was censured. He was a Lichfield man, and was known to Johnson (see ante, iv. 329, n. 3). He was, however, only seventy years old. I am informed moreover by the Rev. W. Sparrow Simpson, the learned editor of Documents illustrating the History of St. Paul's, that it is very improbable that at this time the Dean and Chapter of St. Paul's entertained such a thought. My friend Mr. C. E. Doble has kindly furnished me with the VI.-3

following

6

« ElőzőTovább »