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and mercy in Divinity, with the improvement of human nature, previous to receiving the Holy Sacrament in his apartment, composed and fervently uttered this prayer:
“ Almighty and most merciful Father, I am now as to human eyes it seems, about to commemorate for the last time, the death of Thy Son Jesus Christ, our Saviour and Redeemer. Grant, O Lord, that my whole hope and confidence, may be in His merits, and Thy mercy; enforce and accept my imperfect repentance; make this commemoration available to the confirmation of my faith, the establishment of my hope, and the enlargement of my charity; and make the death of Thy Son Jesus Christ effectual to my redemption. Have mercy upon me, and pardon the multitude of my offences. Bless my friends; have mercy upon all men. Support me by Thy Holy Spirit, in the days of weakness, and at the hour of death; and receive me, at my death, to everlasting happiness, for the sake of Jesus Christ. Amen."
Having, as has been already mentioned, made his will on the 8th and 9th of December, and settled all his worldly affairs, he languished till Monday, the 13th of that month, when he expired, about seven o'clock in the evening, with so little apparent pain, that his attendants hardly perceived when his dissolution took place.
Of his last moments, my brother, Thomas David, has furnished me with the following particulars :
“The Doctor, from the time that he was certain his death was near, appeared to be perfectly resigned, was seldom or never fretful or out of temper, and often said to his faithful servant, who gave me this account, “ Attend, Francis, to the salvation of your soul, which is the object of greatest importance :' he also explained to him passages in the Scripture, and seemed to have pleasure in talking upon religious subjects.
“On Monday, the 13th of December, the day on which he died, a Miss Morris, daughter to a particular friend of his,
1 The Reverend Mr. Strahan took care to have it preserved, and has inserted it in his “ Prayers and Meditation," p. 216.
< Sister of a lady whose sad history is recorded in Leslie and Taylor's Life of Reynolds, vol. i., p. : 23 (noce), and wbo was the subject of one
BOSWELL'S LIFE OF JOHNSON.
called, and said to Francis, that she begged to be permitted to see the Doctor, that she might earnestly request him to give her his blessing. Francis went into the room, followed by the young lady, and delivered the message. The Doctor turned himself in the bed, and said, 'God bless you, my dear!' These were the last words he spoke. His difficulty of breathing increased till about seven o'clock in the evening, when Mr. Barber and Mrs. Desmoulins, who were sitting in the room, observing that the noise he had made in breathing had ceased, went to the bed, and found he was dead.” 1
About two days after his death, the following very agreeable account was communicated to Mr. Malone, in a letter by the Honourable John Byng, to whom I am much obliged for granting me permission to introduce it in my work:
“Since I saw you, I have had a long conversation with Cawston, who sat up with Dr. Johnson, from nine o'clock on Sunday evening, till ten o'clock on Monday morning. And, from what I can gather from hin, it should seem that Dr. John
of Reynolds's loveliest portraits, sent to the first exhibition of the Royal
“After many conflicting hopes and fears respecting the event of
son was perfectly composed, steady in hope, and resigned to death. At the interval of each hour, they assisted him to sit up in his bed, and move his legs, which were in much pain ; when he regularly addressed himself to fervent prayer; and though, sometimes, his voice failed him, his sense never did, during that time. The only sustenance he received was cider and water. He said his mind was prepared, and the time to his dissolution seemed long. At six in the morning he inquired the hour, and, on being informed, said, that all went on regu. larly, and he felt that he had but a few hours to live.
" At ten o'clock in the morning he parted from Cawston, saying, “You should not detain Mr. Windham's servant:-I thank you; bear my remembrance to your master. Cawston says, that no man could appear more collected, more devout, or less terrified at the thoughts of the approaching minute.
“This account, which is so much more agreeable than, and somewhat different from, yours, has given us the power of thinking that this great man died as he had lived, full of resignation, strengthened in faith, and joyful in hope."
A few days before his death, he had asked Sir John Hawkins, as one of his executors, where he should be buried, and on being answered, “Doubtless, in Westminster Abbey,” seemed to feel a satisfaction, very natural to a poet; and indeed in my opinion very natural to every man of any imagination, who has no family sepulchre in which he can be laid with his fathers. Accordingly, upon Monday, December 20, his remains were deposited in that noble and renowned edifice; and over his grave was placed a large blue flag-stone, with this inscription :
“SAMUEL Johnson, LL.D.
His funeral was attended by a respectable number of his friends, particularly such of the members of The Literary Club as were in town; and was also honoured with the presence of several of the Reverend Chapter of Westminster. Mr. Burke, Sir Joseph Banks, Mr. Windham, Mr. Langton, Sir Charles Bunbury, and Mr. Colman bore his pall. His schoolfellow, Dr. Taylor, performed the mournful office of reading the burial service.
I trust I shall not be accused of affectation when I declare that I find myself unable to express all that I felt upon the loss of such a “Guide, Philosopher, and Friend,” i I shall, therefore, not say one word of my own, but adopt those of an eminent friend, which he uttered with an abrupt felicity, superior to all studied compositions :“He has made a chasm, which not only nothing can fill up, but which nothing has a tendency to fill up. Johnson is dead. Let us go to the next best : there is nobody; no man can be said to put you in mind of Johnson.”
As Johnson had abundant homage paid to him during his life, so no writer in this nation ever had such an accu
1 On the subject of Johnson I may adopt the words of Sir John Harrington concerning his venerable tutor and diocesan, Dr. John Still, Bishop of Bath and Wells: “who hath given me some helps, more hopes, all encouragements in my best studies : to whom I never came but I grew more religious; from whom I never went, but I parted better instructed. Of him, therefore, my acquaintance, my friend, my instructor, if I speak much, it were not to be marvelled; if I speak frankly, it is not to be blamed; and though I speak partially, it were to be pardoned.”—Nuge Antique, vol. i., p. 136. There is one circumstance in Sir John's character of Bishop Still, which is peculiarly applicable to Johnson : “He became so famous a disputer, that the learnedest were even afraid to dispute with him ; and he, finding his own strength, could not stick to warn them in their arguments, to take heed to their answers, like a perfect fencer, that will tell aforehand in which button he will give the venew, or like a cunning chess-player that will appoint aforehand with which pawn and in what place he will give the mate.—Ibid. (Note in the Third Edition, vol. iv., p. 448.)
2 The late Right Hon. William Gerrard Hamilton.—Malone.
3 Beside the Dedications to him by Dr. Goldsmith, the Rev. Dr. Franklin, and the Rev. Mr. Wilson, which I have mentioned according to their dates, there was one by a lady, of a versification of “ Aningait and Ajut," and one by the ingenious Mr. Walker, of his Rhetorical Grammar. I have introduced into this work several compliments paid to him in the writings of his contemporaries; but the number of them is so great, that we may fairly say that there was almost a general tribute.
mulation of literary honours after his death. A sermon upon that event was preached in St. Mary's Church,
Let me not be forgetful of the honour done to him by Colonel Myddleton, of Gwaynynog, near Denbigh; who, on the banks of a rivulet in his park, where Johnson delighted to stand and repeat verses, erected an urn with the following inscription :
" This spot was often dignified by the presence of
Samuel Johnson, LL.D., Whose moralwritings,exactly conformable to the precepts of Christianity,
Gave ardour to Virtue and confidence to Truth.”
As no inconsiderable circumstance of his fame, we must reckon the extraordinary zeal of the artists to extend and perpetuate his image. I can enumerate a bust by Mr. Nollekens, and the many casts which were made from it; several pictures by Sir Joshua Reynolds, from one of which, in the possession of the Duke of Dorset, Mr. Humphry executed a beautiful miniature in enamel; one by Mrs. Frances Reynolds, Sir Joshua's sister ; one by Mr. Zoffany; and one by Mr. Opie; and the following engravings of his portrait :-1. By Cooke, from Sir Joshua, for the proprietor's edition of his folio Dictionary.-2. One from ditto, by ditto, for their quarto edition.-3. One from Opie, by Heath, for Harrison's edition of his Dictionary.-4. One from Nollekens' bust of him, by Bartolozzi, for Fielding's quarto edition of his Dictionary.5. One small from Sir Joshua, by Trotter, for his Beauties.-6. One small, from Sir Joshua, by Trotter, for his Lives of the Poets.—7. One small, from Sir Joshua, by Hall, for The Rambler.-8. One small, from an original drawing, in the possession of Mr. John Simco, etched by Trotter, for another edition of his Lives of the Poets.-9. One small, no painter's name, etched by Taylor, for his Johnsoniana.–10. One folio, whole length, with his oak stick, as described in Boswell's Tour, drawn and etched by Trotter.—11. One large Mezzotinto, from Sir Joshua, by Doughty.–12. One large Roman head, from Sir Joshua, by Marchi.-13. One octavo, holding a book to his eye, from Sir Joshua, by Hall, for his works.—14. One small, from a drawing from the life, and engraved by Trotter, for his life published by Kearsley. -15. One large, from Opie, by Mr. Townley, (brother of Mr. Townley of the Commons), an ingenious artist, who resided some time at Berlin, and has the honour of being engraver to His Majesty the King of Prussia. This is one of the finest mezzotintos that ever was executed ; and what renders it of extraordinary value, the plate was destroyed after four or five impressions only were taken off. One of them is in the possession of Sir William Scott. Mr. Townley has lately been prevailed with to execute and publish another of the same, that it may be more generally circulated amongst the admirers of Dr. Johnson.-16. One large, from Sir Joshua's first picture of him, by Heath, for this work, in quarto.-17. One octavo, by Baker, for the octavo edition.18. And one for Lavater's Essays on Physiognomy, in which Johnson's