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esteemed a man of much professional learning, or a liberal patron of it ;-yet, it is well, where a man pos- Ætat. 61. sesses any strong positive excellence. Few have all kinds of merit belonging to their character. We must not examine matters too deeply--No, Sir, a fallible being will fail some-where.' “ Talking of the Irish clergy, he said, Swift was a
great parts, and the instrument of much good to his country.—Berkeley was a profound scholar, as well as a man of fine imagination ; but Usher, he said, was the great luminary of the Irish church; and a greater, he added, no church could boast of; at least in modern times.
“ We dined tête-à-tête at the Mitre, as I was preparing to return to Ireland, after an absence of many years. I regretted much leaving London, where I had formed many agreeable connexions: “Sir, (said he,) I don't wonder at it; no man, fond of letters, leaves London without regret. But remember, Sir, you have seen and enjoyed a great deal ;---you have seen life in its highest decorations, and the world has nothing new to exhibit.--No man is so well qualified to leave publick life as he who has long tried it and known it well. We are always hankering after untried situations, and imagining greater felicity from them than they can afford. • No, Sir, knowledge and virtue may be acquired in all countries, and your local consequence will make you some amends for the intellectual gratifications you relinquish. Then he quoted the following lines with great pathos: "He who has early known the pomps *(For things unknown, 'tis ignorance to condemn ;) * And after having viewed the gaudy bait, Can boldly say, the trifle I contemn;
(With such a one contended could I live,
- Contented could I die;'— Ætat. 61.
“ He then took a most affecting leave of me; said, he knew, it was a point of duty that called me away.
- We shall all be sorry to lose you, said he : laudo
In 1771 he published another political pamphlet,
entitled “ Thoughts on the late Transactions respectÆtat. 62..
'ing Falkland's Islands,” in which, upon materials furnislied to him by ministry, and upon general topicks expanded in his rich style, he successfully endeavoured to persuade the nation that it was wise and laudable to suffer the question of right to remain undecided, rather than involve our country in another war. It has been suggested by some, with what truth I shall not take upon me to decide, that lie rated the consequence of those islands to GreatBritain too low. But however this may be, every humane mind must surely applaud the earnestness with which he averted the calamity of war; a calamity so dreadful, that it is astonishing how civilised, nay, Christian nations, can deliberately continue to renew it. His description of its miseries in this pamphlet, is one of the finest pieces of eloquence in the English language. . Upon this occasion, too, we find Johnson lashing the party in opposition with unbounded severity, and making the fullest use of what he ever reckoned a most effectual argumentative instrument,-contempt. His character of their very able mysterious champion, Junius, is executed with all the force of his genius, and finished with the highest care. He seems to have exulted in sallying forth to single combat against the boasted and formidable
bero, who bade defiance to“ principalities and pow. 1771. ers, and the rulers of this world.”
Ætat. 62 This pamphlet, it is observable, was softened in one particular, after the first edition ; for the conclusion of Mr. George Grenville's character stood thus : “ Let him not, however, be depreciated in his grave. He had powers not universally possessed : could he have enforced payment of the Manilla ransom, he could have counted it.” Which, instead of retaining its sly sharp point, was reduced to a mere flat, unmeaning expression, or, if I may use the word, truism: “ He had powers not universally possessed : and if he sometimes erred, he was likewise sometimes right.”
TO BENNET LANGTON, ESQ, 66 DEAR SIR,
“ After much lingering of my own, and much of the ministry, I have, at length got out my paper. But delay is not yet at an end; Not many had been dispersed, before Lord North ordered the sale to stop. His reasons I do not distinctly know, You may try to find them in the perusal.? Before his order, a sufficient number were dispersed to do all the mischief, though, perhaps, not to make all the sport that might be expected from it.
“Soon after your departure, I had the pleasure of finding all the danger past with which your navigation was threatened. I hope nothing happens at home to abate your satisfaction; but that Lady
6 « Thoughts on the late Transactions respecting Falkland's Islands."
7 By comparing the first with the subsequent editions, this curie eus circumstance of ministerial authorship may be discovered,
1771. Rothes, and Mrs. Langton, and the young ladies,
are all well. Ætat. 62.
“ I was last night at THE CLUB. Dr. Percy has written a long ballad in many fits; it is pretty enough. He has printed, and will soon publish it. Goldsmith is at Bath, with Lord Clare. At Mr. Thrale's, where I am now writing, all are well. I am, dear Sir;
Your most humble servant, “ March 20, 1771,
Mr. Strahan, the printer, who had been long in intimacy with Johnson, in the course of his literary labours, who was at once his friendly agent in receiving his pension for him, and his banker in supplying him with money when he wanted it; who was himself now a Member of Parliament, and who loved much to be employed in political negociation; thought he should do eminent service, both to government and Johnson, if he could be the means of his getting a seat in the House of Commons. With this view, he wrote a letter to one of the Secretaries of the Treasury, of which he gave nie a copy in his own hand-writing, which is as follows:
“ You will easily recollect, when I had the honour of waiting upon you some time ago, I took the liberty to observe to you, that Dr. Johnson would make an excellent figure in the House of Commons, and heartily wished he had a seat there. My reasons are briefly these :
" I know his perfect good affection to his Majesty, and his government, which I am certain he wishes to support by every means in his power,
“ He possesses a great share of manly, nervous, 1771. and ready eloquence; is quick in discerning the
Ætat. 62. strength and weakness of an argument; can express himself with clearness and precision, and fears the face of no man alive.
“ His known character, as a man of extraordinary sense and unimpeached virtue, would secure him the attention of the House, and could not fail to give him a proper weight there.
“ He is capable of the greatest application, and can undergo any degree of labour, where he sees it nécessary, and where his heart and affections are strongly engaged. His Majesty's ministers might therefore securely depend on his doing, upon every proper occasion, the utmost that could be expected from him. They would find him ready to vindicate such measures as tended to promote the stability of government, and resolute and steady in carrying them into execution. Nor is any thing to be apprehended from the supposed impetuosity of his temper. To the friends of the King you will find him a lamb, to his enemies a lion.
" For these reasons, I humbly apprehend that he would be a very able and useful member. And I will venture to say, the employment would not be disagreeable to him; and knowing; as I do, his strong affection to the King, his ability to serve him in that capacity, and the extreme ardour with which I am convinced he would engage in that service, I must repeat, that I wish most heartily to see him in the House.
you think this worthy of attention, you will be pleased to take a convenient opportunity of mentioning it to Lord North. If his Lordship should