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est value, or most scarce,” under the title of the Harleian Miscellany. This useful design met with liberal encouragement from the collectors and lovers of books; and many valuable tracts and scarce pamphlets, scattered through this vast library, “ too small to preserve themselves," were united into volumes, and “ secured by their combination with others in a certain residence."
The same year he wrote for his school-fellow, Dr James's “ Medicinal Dictionary,” in 3 vols. folio, the Dedication to Dr Mead, which is conceived with great address to conciliate the patronage of that very eminent man. He had also written, or assisted in writing, the propo- . sals for this work; and being very fond of the study of physic, in which Dr James was his master, he furnished some of the articles.
At this time his circumstances were much embarrassed; yet such was his liberal affection for his mother, that he took upon himself a debt of her's, to Mr Levett of Lichfield, which, though only twelve pounds, was then considerable to him.
In 1744 he wrote the Preface for the Gentleman's Magazine, and An Essay on the origin and importance of Small Tracts and Fugitive Pieces, as the Introduction to the Harleian Miscellany, which was completed, with great diligence and perseverance, and published in 8 vols. 4to, in 1749 * The selection of the pamphlets of which it was composed was made by Mr Oldụs, a man of active and liberal curiosity, accurate knowledge, and indefatigable diligence, to whom English literature owes many obligations.
Being disengaged from Osborne, he published a new work of biography; a branch of literature that he delighted to cultivate, as it employed his powers of reflection, and correct knowledge of human life and manners. This was the Life of Savage, which he had announced his intention of writing in the “ Gentleman's Magazine” for August 1743.
* An enlarged edition of this curious and valuable collection is passing the press, superintended by Mr Park, whose bibliographical acumen and skill are the least of his many amiable and elegant accomplishments.
In a note to Mr Urban, without a signature, he intreats him “ to inform the public, that the life of the unfortunate and ingenious Mr Savage will speedily be published, by a person who was favoured with his confidence, and received from himself an account of most of the transactions which he proposes to mention, to the time of his retirement to Swansea in Wales. From that period to his death, in the prison of Bristol, the account will be continued from materials still less liable to objection; his own letters, and those of his friends, &c.” It is said by Sir John Hawkins, that he composed the whole of this beautiful and instructive piece of biography in thirty-six hours. But Mr Boswell states, upon Johnson's own authority, that he composed forty-eight of the present octavo pages at a sitting, but that he sat up all night. It came out in Fe bruary 1744, from the shop of Roberts in Warwick-Lane, who, in April following, republished his Life of Barretier in a separate pamphlet. It was no sooner published, than the following liberal praise was given to it in
“ The Champion," which was copied into the “ Gentleman's Magazine” for April, and confirmed by the approbation of the public.
“This pamphlet is, without flattery to its author, as just and well-written a piece of its kind as I ever saw. It is certainly penned with equal accuracy and spirit; of which I am so much the better judge, as I knew many of the facts to be strictly true, and very fairly related. It is a very amusing, and withal a very instructive and valuable performance. The author's observations are short, significant, and just, as his narrative is remarkably smooth and well disposed. His reflections open to all the recesses of the human heart; and, in a word, a more just or pleasant, a more engaging, or a more instructive treatise on all the excellencies and defects of human nature, is scarce to be found in our own, or perhaps any other, language *".
* This eulogium has been supposed to be written by l'ielding; but most probably by Ralph, who succeeded Fielding in his share of the “Champion” before the date of the paper.
The strongest proof of the powerful interest with which the style of Johnson had surrounded the singular misfortunes and truly eccentric character of Savage, was given by Sir Joshua Reynolds, who told Mr Boswell, that, upon his return from Italy, he met with the book in Devonshire, knowing nothing of its author, and began to read it while he was standing with his arm leaning against a chimney-piece. It seized his attention so strongly, that, not being able to lay down the book till he had finished it, when he attempted to move, he found his arm totally benumbed *.
Johnson had now lived nearly half his days, without friends or lucrative profession; he bad toiled and laboured, yet still, as he himself expresses it, was “ to provide for the day that was passing over him.” Of the profession of an unfriended author he saw the danger and the difficulties. Amhurst t, Savage,
+ The able assistant of Bolingbroke and Pulteney, in writing the celebrated weekly paper called “ The Craftsman." Upon the famous compromise of 1742,