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her, living with her younger sister, aged 72, the only other remnant of the family, in a house they have long occupied No. 5, Minerva Place, New Cross, Deptford—with numerous memorials of Johnson in their possession, which vividly bring home to us and present us a still living fact, their connection with that great man. They have lived there for many years in rigorous though not undignified poverty, which now, by some unforeseen occurrences, threatens to become absolute indigence in these their final years. .
“ They are gentlewomen in manners; by all evidence, persons of uniformly unexceptionable conduct; veracity, sense, ingenious propriety, noticeable in them both, to a superior degree. The elder, especially, must have been a graceful lively little woman, something of a beauty in her younger days, and by no means wanting for talent. She still recollects in a dim but ineffaccable manner the big, awful figure of Samuel Johnson, to whom she was carried shortly before his death, that he might lay bis hand on her head and give her his blessing; her awe and terror very great on the occasion. Both sisters are in perfect possession of their faculties—the younger only is slightly hard of hearing; the elder (on whose head lay Johnson's hand) has still a light step, perfectly erect carriage, and vivacious memory and intellect. The younger, who is of very honest and somewhat sterner features, appears to be the practical intellect of the house, and probably the practical hand. They are very poor, but have taken their poverty in a quiet, unaffectedly handsome manner, and have still hope that, in some way or other, intolerable want will not be permitted to overtake them. They have an altogether respectable, or, we might say (bringing the past and the present into contact), a touching and venerable air. There, in their little parlour at Deptford, is the fir desk (capable of being rigorously authenticated as such) upon which Samuel Johnson wrote the · English Dictionary ;' the best dictionary ever written, say some.
“ It is in behalf of these two women, of Johnson's goddaughter fallen old and indigent, that we venture to solicit from the Government some small public subvention, to screen their last years from the worst misery. It may be urged that there is no public fund appropriated for such precise objects, and that their case cannot, except in a reflex way, be brought under the bead of literary pensions ; ' but, in a reflex way, it surely can; and we
humbly submit withal, that this case of theirs is, in some measure, a peculiar and unique one.
“ Samuel Johnson is such a literary man as probably will not appear again in England for a very great length of time. His works and his life, looked at well, have something in them of heroic, which is of value beyond most literature, and much beyond all money and money's worth to the nation which produced him. That same · English Dictionary,' written on the poor fir desk above spoken of, under sternly memorable circumstances, is itseli a proud possession to the English nation, and not in the philological point of view alone. Such a dictionary has an architectonic quality in it; and for massive solidity of plan, manful correctness and fidelity of execution, luminous intelligence, rugged honesty and greatness of mind pervading every part of it, is like no other. This, too, is a Cathedral of St. Paul's, after its sort; and stands there for long periods, silently reminding every English soul of much that is very necessary to remember.
“ Samuel Johnson himself is far beyond the reach of our gratitude. He left no child or representative of any kind to claim pensions or distinctions from us; and here, by accident, thrown upon the waste seabeach, is something venerably human with Johnson's mark still legible upon it; Johnson, as it were, mutely bequeathing it to us, and to what humanity and loyalty we have, for the few years that may still be left. Our humble request, in the name of literature withal is, that the English nation will, in some small adequate way, respond to this demand of Johnson's.
“HENRY HALLAM, Wilton-crescent.
“ CHARLES DICKENS, Tavistock-house.
To this memorial his Lordship made answer, with great courtesy and without undue delay, that the fund set apart for encouragement of literature could not be meddled with for a pension to the goddaughter of Johnson ; but that, in consideration of the circumstances, his Lordship, from some other fund, had made her a donation of £100. Which sum of £100 was accordingly paid to Miss Lowe in June last-a very welcome gift and help—all that the Prime Minister could do in this matter, and, unfortunately, only about the fifth part of what it was, and is, indispensable to get done.
It was still hoped that the last resource of an appeal to the public migbt be avoided ; that there might be other Government helps, minute charitable funds, adequate to this small emergency. And new endeavours were accordingly made in that direction, and new expectations entertained; but these like. wise have all proved ineffectual: and the resulting fact now is, that there is still needed something like an annuity of £30 for the joint lives of these two aged persons; that, strictly computing what pittances certain and precarious they already have, and what they still want, their case cannot be satisfactorily left on lower terms—that is to say, about £400, to purchase such an annuity, is still needed for them.
If the thing is half as English as we suppose it to be, a small pecuniary result of that kind is not doubtful, now when the application is once made. At all events, as the English Government is not able to do this thing, we are now bound to apprise the English nation of it, and to ask the English nation in its miscellaneous capacity-Are you willing to do it?
Messrs. Coutts, bankers, will receive subscriptions from such as feel that this is a valid call upon English beneficence; and we have too much reverence for Samuel Johnson, and for the present generation of his countrymen, to use any soliciting or ignoble pressure on the occasion. So soon as the requisite amount has
come in, the subscriptions will cease; of which due notice will
This appeal was not fruitless. The list of contributors included the names of some of the most illustrious in literature, in science, and in political life. Enough was raised to purchase an annuity of £38 on the joint lives of these ladies. The annuity ceased at the death of the younger of the two, Frances Meliora, February 6, 1866. The elder was Ann Elizabeth, the goddaughter of Johnson: she died January 15, 1860. The annual payment of £38 was also supplemented by a grant of £5 yearly from a renowned admirer of Turner, who, learning that it was Mauritius Lowe who first recognized, encouraged, and befriended the genius of Turner, lying hid from the eye of the world under the obscure guise of a barber's apprentice, desired thus to show respect for the insight he had displayed and the charity he had exercised. Let the memory of this good deed of Lowe's fall like a gleam of glory from the immortal fame of Turner on the obscure, forgotten name of the poor painter.
The fir table, so pathetically mentioned in the memorial, the treasured ornament of the little parlour of the inodest house, 5, Minerva Place, New Cross, Deptford, was bequeathed by the elder of these ladies to the Reverend Augustus Kerr Bozzi Granville, now Vicar of St. Edmund's, Durham. Mr. Granyille from 1845 to 1868 was the Vicar of St. James', Hatcham, intimately knew the Misses Lowe, attended their deathbeds, and finally read the service of the Church of England successively over the remains of these sisters deposited in the cemetery of Nunhead. The visitor to the Library of Pembroke College, Oxford, will see the venerable tir table on which Johnson wrote his Dictionary, placed in that befitting home by the pious care of Mr. Granville. - Editor.
WEEKS BEFORE HIS DEATH.
Saturday, Nov. 20, 1784.—This evening, about eight o'clock, I paid a visit to my dear friend Dr. Johnson, whom I found very ill and in great dejection of spirits. We had a most affecting conversation on the subject of religion, in which he exhorted me, with the greatest warmth of kindness, to attend closely to every religious duty, and particularly enforced the obligation of private prayer and receiving the sacrament. He desired me to stay that night and join in prayer with him; adding, that he always went to prayer every night with his man Francis. He conjured me to read and meditate upon the Bible, and not to throw it aside for a play or a novel. He said he had himself lived in great negligence of religion and worship for forty years; that he had neglected to read his Bible, and had often reflected what he could hereafter say when he should be asked why he had not read it. He begged me repeatedly to let his present situation have due effect upon me; and advised me, when I got home, to note down in writing what had passed between us, adding, that what a man writes in that manner dwells upon his mind. He said many things that I cannot now recollect, but all delivered with the utmost fervour of religious zeal and personal affection. Between nine and ten o'clock his servant Francis came up stairs : he then said we would all go to prayers, and, desiring me to kneel down by his bed-side, he repeated several prayers with great devotion. I then took my leave. He then pressed me to think of all he had said, and to comilit it to writing. I assured him I would. He seized my hand with much warmth, and repeated, “ Promise me you will do it:" on which we parted, and I engaged to see him next day.
Sunday, Nov. 21.—About noon I again visited him ; found him