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by Johnson. Oldham had also imitated it, and applied it to London ; but there is scarcely any coincidence between the two performances, though upon the very same subject.
In the course of his engagement with Mr. Cave, he composed the Debates in the Senate of Magna Lilliputia, the first number of which appeared in the “ Gentleman's Magazine” for June 1738, sometimes with feigned names of the several speeches, sometimes with denominations formed of the letters of their real names, so that they might be easily decyphered. Parliament then kept the press in a kind of mysterious awe, which made it necessary to have recourse to such devices. The debates for some time were brought home and digested by Guthrie, and afterwards fent by Mr, Cave to Johnson for his revision. When Guthrie had attained to a greater variety of employment, and the speeches were
more and more enriched by the accession of Johnson's genius, it was resolved that he should do the whole himself, from notes furnished by persons' employed to attend in both houses of Parliament. His sole composition of them began November 19. 1740, and ended February 23. 1742-3. From that time they were written by Hawkesworth to the year 1760. Johnson acknowledged the debates to be spurious, long after the world had considered them as genuine; and fome days previous to his death, declared, that of all his writings they gave him the most uneasiness. The deceit, however, could not be very pernicious, in the effects of which so many persons were involved.
Neither are they so completely his own composition as is generally supposed. That notes of the speeches were taken in the Houses of Parliament, and given to him, is evident from his own declarations. And it does not
appear probable that Mr. Cave, who was ever attentive to the improvement of his. Magazine, should be more negligent in procuring notes as accurate as he could, during the time when Johnson executed this department, than when it was in the hands of Guthrie. It seems at least most likely, therefore, that the language and illustrations are Johnson's own, but that the arguments and general arrangements were taken from the several speeches spoken in either House.
The trade of writing was, however, so little profitable, that notwithstanding the success of his London, he wished to accept an offer made to him, of becoming master of the free school at Appleby in Leicestershire (Pope says in Shropshire), the salary of which was fixty pounds a-year. But the statutes of the school required that he should be a Master of Arts, and it was then thought too great a favour to be asked of the University of Oxford. Pope, without any knowledge of him, but from his London, recommended him to Lord Gower, who, by a letter which has been often printed, to a friend of Swift, dated Trentham, August 1. 1738, endeavoured to procure him a degree from TrinityCollege, Dublin. This expedient failed. There is reason to think that Swift declined to meddle in the business; and to this circumstance Johnson's known dislike of Swift has been often imputed.
He made one other effort to emancipate himself from the drudgery of authorship, by endeavouring to be introduced to the bar at Doctor's Commons; but here the want of a Doctor's degree in Civil Law, was also an unsurmountable impediment.
He was, therefore, under the necessity of persevering in that course into which he was forced ; and we find him prosecuting his design of translating Father Paul's
History of the Council of Trent,” in 2 vols. Ato, which was announced in the “ Weekly Miscellany,” October 21, 1738. Twelve sheets of this translation were printed off ; but the design was dropped ; for it happened, that another Samuel Johnson, Librarian of St. Martin's in the Fields, and Curate of that parish, had engaged in the same undertaking, under the patronage of Dr. Pearce ; the consequence of which was, an opposition, which mutually destroyed each others hopes of success.
In the “ Gentleman's Magazine” of this year, besides the pieces already mentioned, he gave a Life of Father Paul in the November Magazine, and wrote the “ Preface" to the volume. The 46 Apotheofis of Milton, a vision," printed in the Magazine for 1738 and 1739, given to him by Sir John Hawkins, was the production of Guthrie. The translation of Cronsaz's
Examination of Pope's Essay on Man,"