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of regular and correct composition are not unfavourable to that quick unpremeditated elocution, which is so much admired, and so useful in animated debate. This at least is certain, that of the many persons éminent for literary abilities, who have had seats in parliament, none have gained a reputation for eloquence commensurate with their talents and information ; and of Johnson, in particular, it is reported upon the authority of Sir William Scott, that he had several times tried to speak in the Society of Arts, &c. but“ had found that he could not get on.” It was observed by the late Henry Flood, Esq. who was himself an eminent orator, that “ Johnson having been long used to sententious brevity, and the short flights of conversation, might have failed in that continued and expanded kind of argument, which is requisite in stating complicated matters in public speaking:”
In 1772, he produced no literary performance. His only publication in 1773, was a new edition of his Dictionary, with additions and corrections. In the autumn of 1773, he gratified a “ wish which he had so long entertained, that he scarcely remembered how it was formed, of visiting the Hebrides, or Western Ilands of Scotland.” He was accompanied by Mr. Bofwell, “ whose acuteness,” he afterwards observed, “would help his inquiry, and whose gaiety of conversation, and civility of manners, were sufficient to counteract the inconveniencies of travel in countries less hofpitable than those they were to pass.”
His stay in Scotland was from the 18th of August, till the 22d of November, when he set out on his return to London. His
various adventures, and the force and viva- city of his mind, as exercised during his
tour, have been described by Mr. Bofwell, in his “ Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides,” 8vo, 1786, in a style that shows he possessed, in an eminent degree, the skill to give connection to miscellaneous matter, and vivacity to the whole of his narrative.. .
At the approach of the general election, in 1774, he published a short political pamphlet, intituled, The Patriot ; addressed to the Electors of Great Britain, 8vo, not with any visible application to Mr. Wilkes, but to teach the people to reject the leaders of opposition, who called themselves patriots. It was called for, he tells us, by his politis cal friends, on Friday, and was written on Saturday.
The first effort of his pen, in 1775, was “ Proposals for publishing by subscription, the works of Mrs. Charlotte Lennox, in 3 vols. 4to.” which was soon succeeded by a pamphlet, intituled, Taxation no Tyranny,
An Answer to the Resolutions and Address of the American Congress, 8vo. The scope of. the argument was, thạt distant colonies
which had in their aflemblies a legislature of their own, were, notwithstanding, liable to be taxed in a British Parliament, where they had neither peers in one house, nor representatives in the other. The principle has been long abandoned; but Johnson was of opinion, that this country was strong enough to enforce obedience; “ When,” says he “ an Englishman is told that the Americans shoot up like a hydra, he naturally confiders how the hydra was destroyed.” The event has shown how much he was mistaken. This pamphlet was written at the desire of the ministry, and in some places corrected by them. It conțained the same positive assertions, sarcastical severity, extravagant ridicule, and arbitrary principles, with his former political pieces, and the grossest and most virulent abuse of the Americans.
These pamphlets were published on his own account, and were afterwards collect
ed by him into a volume, under the title of Political Tracts, by the author of the Rambler, 8vo, 1775.
In the month of March this year, he was gratified by the title of Doctor of Laws, conferred on him by the University of Oxford, at the solicitation of Lord North. In September he visited France, for the first time, with Mr. and Mrs. Thrale, and Mr. Baretti; and returned to England in about two months after he quitted it. Foote, who happened to be in Paris at the same time, faid, that the French were perfectly astonished at his figure and manner, and at his dress; which was exactly the same with what he was accustomed to in London : his brown clothes, black stockings, and plain shirt. Of the occurrences of this tour, he kept a journal, in all probability with a design of writing an account of it. The world has to regret, that from