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estimable Edmond Malone, who brought out the third edition in 1799 ; and superintended, likewise the fourth in 1804 ; a fifth, in 1807 ; and a sixth, in 1811. In these editions, Mr. Malone gave many valuable notes of his own ; and was also furnished with important assistance by Dr. Charles Burney, author of the “ History of Music,” and father of the authoress of “ Evelina ;" by the Rev J. Blakeway, of Shrewsbury ; James Bindley, Esq., First Commissioner of Stamps ; the Rev. Dr. Vyse, Rector of Lambeth ; the Rev. Dr Kearney, Archdeacon of Raphoe, in Ireland ; and James Boswell, Esq. jun., the second son of the Biographer. The contributions of Malone, and his various friends, are distinguished in the present collection by their respective signatures.
Mr. Chalmers further enriched the Annotations on Boswell, in the ninth edition, which he published in 1822; and he liberally allowed Mr. Croker to make whatever use he pleased of that edition, when preparing the eleventh, that of 1831. The tenth was an anonymous one, published at Oxford in 1826; but this was hardly more than a handsome reprint of the earlier copies.
Besides the materials accumulated by Boswell himself, bis intelligent son, Malone, Chalmers, and their various literary allies, Mr. Croker's character and station opened to him, when preparing the edition of 1831, many new and most interesting sources of information, both manuscript and oral. He acknowledges, more especially, in his preface, the copious communications of the Rev. Dr. Hall, Master of Pembroke College, Oxford, from which he was enabled to throw unexpected light on some of the earlier chapters of Dr. Johnson's personal career; those of the Rev. Dr. Harwood, the historian of Lichfield, who procured for him, through Mrs. Pearson, the widow of the legatee of Miss Lucy Porter, many letters addressed to that lady by Dr. Johnson, but for which Boswell had inquired in vain; of Lord Rokeby, the nephew and heir of Mrs. Montagu, who placed Johnson's correspondence with her at his disposal; of Mr. Langton, the grandson of Bennet Langton, who, in like manner, opened his family repositories; of Mr. Palmer, grand-nephew of Sir Joshua Reynolds, who contributed, besides various autograph letters and notes of Johnson to his great-aunt, Miss Reynolds, a MS. of seventy pages, written by that lady, and entitled, “Recollections of Dr. Johnson;" of Mr. Markland, whom be thanks (as the present Editors must again do) for “ a great deal of zealous assistance and valuable information,"—including “a copy of Mrs. Piozzi's Anecdotes, copiously annotated, propriâ manu, by Mr. Malone :” of Mr. J. L. Anderdon, for some of the original letters, memoranda, and note-books used by Boswell when composing the LIFE ; of the present MACLEOD, son of the chief who received Johnson at Dunvegan in 1773, for a curious autobiographical fragment, written by his father; of Sir Walter Scott, for a series of very interesting notes on the “ Tour to the Hebrides :” of the venerable Lord Stowell, the friend and executor of Johnson, for dictating some recollections of the Doctor, of which, although the notes, by an unfortunate accident, were lost, the substance had not escaped Mr. Croker's own memory; of Dr. Elrington, the Lord Bishop of Ferns; and, finally, of Mr. D'Israeli, the Marquess Wellesley,—the Marquess of Lansdowne,—Lord Bexley, Lord St. Helens,—the late Earl Spencer; and various other distinguished persons.
From the Preface to Mr. Croker's edition we shall now extract those passages of a more general interest, which ought to be in the bands of all those who are to profit by that gentleman's ingebrity and research :
“It were superfluous to expatiate on the merits, at least as a source of amuse : ment, of Boswell's LIFE OF Johnson. Whatever doubts may have existed as to the prudence or the propriety of the original publication-however natilraliy private confidence was alarmed, or individual vanity offended, the voices of criticism and complaini were soon-drowned in the general applause. And
no wonder: the work combines within itself the four most entertaining classes of writing--biography, memoirs, familiar letters, and that assemblage of lite rary anecdotes which the French have taught us to distinguish by the termination Ana.
“Having no domestic ties or duties, the latter portion of Dr. Johnson's life was, as Mrs. Piozzi observes, nothing but conversation, and that conversation was watched and recorded from night to night and from hour to hour with zealous attention and unceasing diligence. No man, the most staid or the most guarded, is always the same in health, in spirits, in opinions. Human life is a series of inconsistencies; and when Johnson's early misfortunes, his protracted poverty, his strong passions, his violent prejudices, and, above all, his mental infirmities are considered, it is only wonderful that a portrait so laboriously minute and so painfully faithful does not exhibit more of blemish, incongruity, and error.
“ The life of Dr. Johnson is indeed a most curious chapter in the history of man; for certainly there is no instance of the life of any other human being having been exhibited in so much detail, or with so much fidelity. There are, perhaps, not many men who have practised so much self-examination as to know themselves as well as every reader knows Dr. Johnson.
“We must recollect that it is not bis table-talk or his literary conversations only that have been published; all his most private and most trilling correspondence—all his most common as well as his most confidential intercourses-all his most secret communion with his own conscience-and even the solemn and contrite exercises of his piety, have been divulged and exhibited to the 'garish eye' of the world without reserve- I had almost said, without delicacy. Young, with gloomy candour, has said
'Heaven's Sovereign saves all beings but himself
What a man must Johnson have been, whose heart, having been laid moro dare than that of any other mortal ever was, has passed almost unblemished through so terrible an ordeal!
“But while we contemplate with such interest this admirable and perfect portrait, let us not forget the painter : pupils and imitators have added drape. ries and backgrounds, but the head and figure are by Mr. Boswell.
"Mr. Burke told Sir James Mackintosh, that he thought Johnson showed
more powers of mind in company than in his writings, and on another occasion said, that he thought Johnson appeared greater in Mr. Boswell's volumes than even in nis own.
“ It was a strange and fortunate concurrence, that one so prone to talk and who talked so well, should be brought into such close contact and confidence with one so zealous and so able to record. Dr. Johnson was a man of extraordinary powers, but Mr. Boswell had qualities, in their own way, almost as
He united lively manners with indefatigable diligence, and the volatilo curiosity of a man about town with the drudging patience of a chronicler. With a very good opinion of himself, he was quick in discerning, and frank in applaud ing, the excellencies of others. Though proud of his own name and lineage, And amoitious of the countenance of the great, he was yet so cordial an admirer of merit, wherever found, that much public ridicule, and something like con. tempt, were excited by the modest assurance with which he pressed his acquaintance on all the notorieties of his time, and by the ostentatious (but, in the main, laudable) assiduity with which he attended the exile Paoli and the low-born Johnson! These were amiable, and, for us, fortunate inconsistencies. His contemporaries, indeed, not without some colour of reason, occasionally compiained of him as vain, inquisitive, troublesome, and giddy; but his vanity was inoffensive-his curiosity was commonly directed towards laudable objects -when he meddled, he did so, generally, from good-natured motives—and his giddiness was only an exuberant gaiety, which never failed in the respect and reverence due to literature, morals, and religion; and posterity gratefully acknowledges the taste, temper, and talents with which he selected, enjoyed, and described that polished and intellectual society which still lives in his work, and without his work had perished !
• Vixere fortes ante Agamemnona
Nocte, carent quia vate sacro,'ı
Suco imperfect though interesting sketches as Ben Jonson's visit to Drum mond, Selden's Table Talk, Swift's Journal, and Spence's Anecdotes, only tna. talize our curiosity and excite our regret that there was no Boswell to preserve the conversation and illustrate the life and times of Addison, of Swift himself, of Milton, and, above all, of Shakspeare! We can hardly refrain from indulg. ing ourselves with the imagination of works so instructive and delightful; but that were idle ; except as it may tend to increase our obligation to the faithfui and fortunate biographer of Dr. Johnson.
1 “Before great Agamemnon reign'd
Reign'd kings as great as he, and brave,
In the small compass of a grave;
“Mr. Boswell's birth and education familiarized him with the highest of his acquaintance, and his good-nature and conviviality with the lowest. He describes society all classes with the happiest discrimination. Even his foibles assisted his curiosity; he was sometimes laughed at, but alwayɛ well received; he excited no envy, he imposed no restraint. It was well known that he made notes of every conversation, yet no timidity was alarmed, no delicacy demurred; and we are perhaps indebted to the lighter parts of his character for the patient indulgence with which everybody submitted to sit for their pictures.
“Nor were his talents inconsiderable. He had looked a good deal imto books, and more into the world. The narrative portion of his work is written with good sense, in an easy and perspicuous style, and without (which seems odd enough) any palpable imitation of Johnson. But in recording conversations he is unrivalled : that he was eminently accurate in substance, we have the evidence of all his contemporaries; but he is also in a high degree characteristic-dramatic. The incidental observations with which he explains or enlivens the dialogue, are terse, appropriate, and picturesque-we not merely hear his company, we see them!
“ Yet his father was, we are told, by no means satisfied with the life he led, por his eldest son with the kind of reputation he attained : neither liked to hear of his connexion even with Paoli or Johnson; and both would have been better pleased if he had contented himself with a domestic life of sober respectability.
“The public, however, the dispenser of fame, has judged differently, and considers the biographer of Johnson as the most eminent part of the family pedigree. With less activity, less indiscretion, less curiosity, less enthusiasm, he might, perhaps, have been what the old lord would, no doubt, have thought more respectable ; and have been pictured on the walls of Auchinleck (the very name of which we never should have heard) by some stiff, provincial painter, in a lawyer's wig or a squire's hunting cap; but his portrait by Rey.