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wards Bishop of Rochester. Several light skirmishes passed between the rival translators, in the newspapers of the day; and the consequence was, that they destroyed each other, for neither of them went on with the work. It is much to be regretted, that the able performance of that celebrated genius FRA PAolo, lost the advantage of being incorporated into British literature by the masterly hand of Johnson. I have in my possession, by the favour of Mr. John Nichols, a paper in Johnson's hand-writing, entitled “Account between Mr. Edward Cave and Sam. Johnson, in relation to a version of Father Paul, &c. begun August the 2d, 1738;” by which it appears, that from that day to the 21st of April, Johnson received for this work 491. 7s. in sums of one, two, three, and sometimes four guineas at a time, most frequently two. And it is curious to observe the minute and scrupulous accuracy with which Johnson has pasted upon it a slip of paper, which he has entitled “Small Account,” and which contains one article, “Sept. 9th, Mr. Cave laid down 2s. 6d.” There is subjoined to this account, a list of some subscribers to the work, partly in Johnson's hand-writing, partly in that of another person; and there follows a leaf or two on which are written a number of characters which have the appearance of a short hand, which, perhaps, Johnson was then trying to
To Mr. CAve.
“SIR,--I did not care to detail, your servant while I wrote an answer to your letter, in which you seem to insinuate that I had promised more than I am ready to perform. If I have raised your expectations by any thing that may have escaped my memory, I am sorry; and if you remind me of it, shall thank you for the favour. If I made fewer alterations than usual in the Debates, it was only because there appeared, and still appears to be, less need of alteration. The verses to Lady Firebrace" may be had when you please, for you know that such a subject neither deserves much thought, nor requires it. “The Chinese Stories" may be had folded down when you please to send, in which I do not recollect that you desired any alterations to be made. “An answer to another query I am very willing to write, and had consulted with you about it last night if there had been time; for I think it the most proper way of inviting such a correspondence as may be an advantage to the paper, not a load upon it. “As to the Prize Verses, a backwardness to determine their degrees of merit is not peculiar to me. You may, if you please, still have what I can say; but I shall engage with little spirit in an affair, which I shall hardly end to my own satisfaction, and certainly not to the satisfaction of the parties concerned." “As to Father Paul, I have not yet been just to my proposal, but have met with impediments, which, I hope, are now at an end; and if you find the progress hereafter not such as you have a right to expect, you can easily stimulate a negligent translator. “If any or all of these have contributed to your discontent, I will endeavour to remove it; and desire you to propose the question to which you wish for an answer. I am, Sir, “Your humble servant, “SAM. Johnson.”
pool on good paper and letter. 2. The o will be 18s. each volume, to be paid, alf a guinea at the time of subscribing, half a guinea at the delivery of the first volume, and the rest at the delivery of the second volume in sheets. 3. Two-pence to be abated for every sheet less than two hundred. It may be had on a large paper, in three volumes, at the price of three guineas; one to be paid at the time of subscribing, another at the delivery of the first, and the rest at the delivery of the other volumes. The work is now in the press, and will be diligently prosecuted. Subscriptions are taken in by Mr. Dodsley in Pall-Mall, Mr. Rivington in St. Paul's Church-yard, by E. Cave at St. John's Gate, and the Translator, at No. 6 in Castlestreet, by Cavendish-square.”
* They afterwards appeared in the Gentleman's Magazine with this title, “Verses to Lady Firebrace, at Bury Assizes.”
' These weak lines have been thought merely to editorial duties, and pieces sent to be Johnson's, but his letter refers for revision. What makes the matter * Du Halde's Description of China was then publishing by Mr. Cave in weekly numbers, whence Johnson was to select pieces for the embellishment of the magazine. N.
To Mr. CAVE, [No date.] “SIR,--I am pretty much of your opinion, that the Commentary cannot be prosecuted with any appearance of success; for as the names of the authours concerned are of more weight in the performance than its own intrinsick merit, the public will be soon satisfied with it. And I think the Examen should be pushed forward with the utmost expedition. Thus, ‘This day, &c., An Examen of Mr. Pope's Essay, &c., containing a succinct Account
* The premium of forty pounds proposed for the best poem on the Divine Attributes is here alluded to. N.
tlear is, that in preceding numbers had is complimented in the Firebrace lines, appeared long poems on nearly the same which show that the whole was an intersubject, “The Ladies at Bury Fair,” change of local praises, in which John&c., which are full of names and allu- son could have had no interest. sions. Their author, a “Count Bryan "
of the Philosophy of Mr. Leibnitz on the system of the Fatalists, with a Confutation of their Opinions, and an Illustration of the Doctrine of Free-will;' (with what else you think proper].
“ It will, above all, be necessary to take notice, that it is a thing distinct from the Commentary.
“ I was so far from imagining they stood still, that I conceived them to have a good deal beforehand, and therefore was less anxious in providing them more. But if ever they stand still on my account, it must doubtless be charged to me; and whatever else shall be reasonable, I shall not oppose; but beg a suspense of judgement till morning, when I must entreat you to send me a dozen proposals, and you shall then have copy to spare. I am, Sir,
“ Your's, impransus,
“Sam. JOHNSON. Pray muster up the Proposals if you can, or let the boy recall them from the bookseller."
But although he corresponded with Mr. Cave concerning a translation of Crousaz's Examen of Pope's Essay on Man, and gave advice as one anxious for its success, I was long ago convinced by a perusal of the Preface, that this translation was erroneously ascribed to him;1 and I have found this point ascertained, beyond all doubt, by the following article in Dr. Birch's Manuscripts in the British Museum :
“ ELISIÆ CARTERÆ. S. P. D. THOMAS BIRCH. “ Versionem tuam Examinis Crousasiani jam perlegi. Summan styli et elegantiam, et in re difficillimâ proprietatem, admiratus.
“ Dabam Novemb. 27° 1738." Indeed Mrs. Carter has lately acknowledged to Mr. Seward, that she was the translator of the Examen.”
It is remarkable, that Johnson's last quoted letter to Mr. Cave concludes with a fair confession that he had not a dinner, and it is no less remarkable, that, though in this state of want himself,
• The compositors in Mr. Cave's printing-office, who appear by this letter to have then waited for copy. N.
b Birch MSS. Brit. Mus. 4320.
? By Sir J. Hawkins, among others.
According to Mr. Richard Gough, he used to meet Miss Carter and Miss Mulso, afterwards Mrs. Chapone, at St. John, and astonished these ladies by his strange criticism of Martial : “That
Martial has a congloberation of sense."
Impransus hardly conveys that Johnson was in want of a dinner, as Mr. Boswell would imply, but rather that he had not found time to dine.
his benevolent heart was not insensible to the necessities of an humble labourer in literature, as appears from the very next letter:
To Mr. CAve.
“DEAR SIR,-You may remember I have formerly talked with you about a Military Dictionary. The eldest Mr. Macbean, who was with Mr. Chambers, has very good materials for such a work, which I have seen, and will do it at a very low rate. I think the terms of War and Navigation might be comprised, with good explanations, in one 8vo. Pica, which he is willing to do for twelve shillings a sheet, to be made up a guinea at the second impression. lf you think on it, I will wait on you with him. I am, Sir,
“Your humble servant,
“SAM. Johnson. “Pray lend me Topsel on Animals.”
I must not omit to mention, that this Mr. Macbean was a native of Scotland.
In the Gentleman's Magazine of this year, Johnson gave a Life of Father Paul; * and he wrote the Preface to the Volume, f which, though prefixed to it when bound, is always published with the Appendix, and is therefore the last composition belonging to it. The ability and nice adaptation with which he could draw up a prefatory address, was one of his peculiar excellencies.
It appears too, that he paid a friendly attention to Mrs. Elizabeth Carter; for, in a letter from Mr. Cave to Dr. Birch, November 28, this year, I find “Mr. Johnson advises Miss C. to undertake a translation of Boethius de Cons. because there is prose and verse, and to put her name to it when published.” This advice was not followed, probably from an apprehension that the work was not sufficiently popular for an extensive sale. How well Johnson himself could have executed a translation of this philosophical poet, we may judge from a specimen which he has given in the Rambler:*
“O qui perpetuá mundum ratione gubernas,
* Motto to No. 7. Cor. et Ad.—Line 9: on rate put the following note: This book was published.
“ O THOU whose power o'er moving worlds presides,
Whose voice created, and whose wisdom guides,
In 1739, beside the assistance which he gave to the Parliamentary Debates, his writings in the Gentleman's Magazine were, “The Life of Boerhaave,”* in which it is to be observed, that he discovers that love of chymistry which never forsook him; “ An Appeal to the Publick in behalf of the Editor ;"p" An Address to the Reader;"|"An Epigram both in Greek and Latin to Eliza," * and also English verses to her;* and, “A Greek Epigram to Dr. Birch." * It has been erroneously supposed, that an Essay published in that Magazine this year, entitled “The Apotheosis of Milton," was written by Johnson; and on that supposition it has been improperly inserted in the edition of his works by the booksellers, after his decease. Were there no positive testimony as to this point, the style of the performance, and the name of Shakspeare not being mentioned in an Essay professedly reviewing the principal English poets, would ascertain it not to be the production of Johnson. But there is here no occasion to resort to internal evidence; for my Lord Bishop of Carlisle has assured me, that it was written by Guthrie. His separate publications were, “A Complete Vindication of the Licensers of the Stage, from the malicious and scandalous Aspersions of Mr. Brooke, Authour of Gustavus Vasa," * being an ironical Attack upon them for their Suppression of that Tragedy; and “ Marmor Norfolciense; or an Essay on an ancient prophetical Inscription in monkish Rhym lately discovered near Lynne in Norfolk, by PROBUS BRITANNICUS."* In this performance, he, in a feigned inscription, supposed to have been found in Norfolk, the county of Sir Robert Walpole, then the obnoxious prime minister of this country, inveighs against the Brunswick succession, and the measures of Government consequent upon it. To this supposed prophecy he added a Commentary, making each expression apply to the times, with warm AntiHanoverian zeal.
This anonymous pamphlet, I believe, did not make so much noise as was expected, and, therefore, had not a very extensive circulation. Sir John Hawkins relates, that “warrants were issued,