to have courted, nor to have met with much affiftance, the number of papers contributed by others amounting only to five in number, four billets in No. 10, by Mrs. Chapone, No. 30, by Mrs. Talbot, No. 97, by Richardson, and Nos. 44. and 100, by Mifs Carter. These admirable effays, we are told by Mr. Bofwell, were written in haste, just as they were wanted for the prefs, without even being read over by him before they were printed.

Making every allowance for powers far exceeding the ufual lot of man, ftill there are bounds which we muft fet to our belief upon this head. It is not at every feafon that the mind can concentrate its faculties to a particular fubject with equal strength, or that the fancy can create imagery fpontaneously to adorn and enforce its reafonings. That Johnson sometimes felected his fubject, culled his images, and arranged his arguments for these papers,


is evident from the notes of his commonplace book, preferved by Sir John Hawkins and Mr. Bofwell. When he planned fome effays with fuch minute carefulness, it is not likely that he trufted wholly to the fudden effufions of his mind for the remainder. Thofe which are taken from the notes of his common-place book, do not manifeft by an excellence fuperior to the reft, peculiar labours of mind in the conception, or pains in the composition; and we cannot fuppofe a man fo happy in his genius, that the new-born offspring of his brain should invariably appear as strong and perfect as those which have been matured, fashioned, and polished by fedulous reflection. This, therefore, appears to be most probable, with refpect to the wonderful faculty which he is faid to have manifefted in this and other of his works; that during his fleepless nights and frequent abstractions from company, he

he con

ceived and sketched much of an impending work; that though he had in fome degree preconceived his materials, he committed nothing to paper, juft as he is known to have done in compofing his Vanity of Human Wishes. If this fuppofition ftrips the account of wonder, it invests it with probability, fince a man of his powers of mind and habits of compofition, might well write an effay at a fitting, and without a blot, when he had little more to attend to, than to clothe his conceptions in vigorous language, modulated into fonorous periods.

The Rambler was not fuccefsful as a periodical work, not more than five hundred copies of any one number having been ever printed. Of course, the bookfeller, who paid Johnson four guineas a-week, did not carry on a very fuccefsful trade; his generofity and perfeverance are to be commended. While it was coming out

in fingle papers at London, Mr. James Elphinstone fuggefted, and took the charge of an edition at Edinburgh, which followed progreffively the London publication, printed by Sands, Murray and Cochrane, with uncommon elegance, upon writing paper, of a duodecimo fize, and was completed in eight volumes. Soon after the first folio edition was concluded, it was published in four octavo volumes; and Johnfon lived to see a juft tribute of approbation paid to its merit in the extenfiveness of its fale, ten numerous editions of it having been printed in London, before his death, befides those of Ireland and Scotland.

This year he wrote a Prologue, which was spoken by Garrick, before the acting of "Comus," at Drury-Lane theatre, April 5, for the benefit of Mrs. Elizabeth Fofter, Milton's grand-daughter, and the only furviving branch of his family, and

took a very zealous intereft in the fuccefs of the charity. Tonfon, the bookfeller, gave 20l. and Dr. Newton brought a large contribution; yet all their efforts, joined to the allurements of Johnfon's pen, and Garrick's performance, procured only 1301.

In 1751, while he was employed both on the Rambler and his Dictionary, he wrote the Life of Cheynell, in "The Student, or the Oxford and Cambridge Mifcellany," a periodical work, in which Smart, Colman, Thornton, and other wits of both the universities, diftinguifhed their talents.

Sir John Hawkins relates, that in the fpring of this year, he indulged himself in a frolic of midnight revelry. This was to celebrate the birth of Mrs. Lennox's firft literary child, the novel of "Harriet Stuart." He drew the members of the Ivy-Lane Club, and others, to the number of twenty, to the Devil Tavern, where

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