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lar, he fays, upon receipt of the last sheets of the copy of the Dictionary, sent Johnson his money, with a note, informing the author, that he thanked God he had done-with him. This polite card drew an answer from Johnson in the following terms: "Samuel Johnson sends his compliments to Mr. Andrew Millar, and is glad to find, as he does by his note, that he has the grace to thank God for any thing." He who reads this, will naturally conclude that the two notes lay befor the Biographer. What will the reader fay, when he is told, that no Jucb notes were ever -written? Mr. Millar was not capable of such deliberate and brutal rudeness. It is true, he sent the money, and said at the same time to the bearer, "Thank God, I have done with Mr. Johnson." That Johnson should be told this, he did not desire: the person, however, who went on the errand, being asked what Millar said, repeated the words, and Johnson answered as above stated. No writing pasted between them, nor ought it now to be stated, that Mr. Millar sent an ungrateful and insolent note to an author, who had finished so capital a. work. After this, we think, the story of Lord Chesterfield's gross and vulgar behaviour to a lady, for which that accomplished nobleman narrowly escaped being kicked down stairs, will be marked, by every judicious reader, as another instance of the historian's integrity.
In the character of a book-maker, the Knight appears to be a more laborious drudge than any of the tribe. He undertook to write the Life of Dr. Johnson, and for this purpose his whole common-place book is disembogued, to (hew at once the Author's comprehension, and raise the price of the copy. Hence we have the history of Lobo's Voyage to Abyssinia, the origin of taverns, the rife and progress of Cave's Magazine, to edity the readers thereof, who may be curious about a work, the fame whereof has spread far and wide. The portion of history, on which the tragedy of Irene was founded, may be a proper insertion, but we should have liked it better in the words of Knolles the historian, than in the rumbling style of the modern Biographer. It is to the artifice of book-making that we are inc ■ jted for a long digression on the administration of Sir Robert Walpole. No less than four speeches at full length are inserted from the Parliamentary Debates. This is followed by another farrago: the Catalogue of the Harleian printed volumes, with an account of the Harleian Manuscripts, which have been printed in eight quarto volumes, was a lucky expedient to him, who was determined to have no mercy upon paper. What had Johnson to do with Goodman's Fields, or the theatre there? This, however, is added to the rest of the lumber. The history of Covent Garden playhouse is as little to the purpose, but it serves to put the Knight in mind of the Licensing Ait, and when once he is
upon the scent, lead where it will, he is sure never to be drawn off, till he has hunted down the game. Havard's play of Charles the First, fays Sir John, was acted at Goodman's Fields, and gave occasion to the Licensing Act. In this there are two mistakes. In the first place, Havard's play was acted at Lincoln's Inn Fields theatre, on the ist of March 1737. 2dly, There was nothing in the play to provoke the interposition of Government. Sir John should have known, that so far from being obnoxious, it has been twice revived of late years, once for Mr. Reddifh's benefit at Drury-lane, and afterwards for that of Mr. Lewis, at Covent Garden, on the 2d of April J781. Fielding's Pafquin, which was produced at the little theatre in the Haymarket, might provoke the resentment of the minister ; but it was a play, called the GoiDEN Rump, that gave the finishing blow to licentiousness. By the Debates in Parliament it appears, that on the 5th March 1734-5, Sir John Barnard moved to bring a bill to restrain the number of playhouses, there being then in constant use, the Opera House, the French Playhouse in the Haymarket, the Theatres of Govent Garden, and Drury-lane, Lincoln's Inn Fields, and Goodman's Fields. A project was, at the fame time, on foot for erecting a new playhouse in the very heart of the city, somewhere in St. Martin's Le Grand. To prevent this last, was the object of Sir John Barnard's motion: a bill was brought in, but for some reason it was soon dropped. Afterwards, in the beginning of the year 1737, the Golden Rump was offered to Mr. Gtffard, the conductor, at that time, of Lincoln's Inn Fields, and proprietor of Goodman's Fields. The play of the Golden Rump was found to be a scurrilous libel on Government: Giffard was resolved to shew a due regard for decency and the good order of society. He gave up the play to Sir Robert Walpole, or some other person high in office. The Minister, on the 20th May 1737, brought in the bill, which palled into a law, and has continued ever since. In the course of the Debate, to shew how far the licentiousness of the times was to be carried, Sir Robert produced the Golden Rump *, and read to the House some of the most offensive passages. The bill was carried through with the utmost dispatch, and (notwithstanding Lctd Chesterfield's memorable speech against licensing the stage) received the royal assent June 21, 1737. Such is the history of the Licensing Act: Sir John seems unacquainted with it. A regulation was certainly necessary; but Sir Robert, in his wrath, laid the axe to the root of the tree.
Nor couldst thou, Chesterfield, a tear refuse,
• Many suspected that the Golden Rump was purposely written to pave the way for the Licensing Act:—a mere political manœuvre of Walpole's.
Sir John seems to be a more bitter enemy to the stage than even Jeremy Collier: he fays, when we are told that the Drama teaches morality, it is mere declamation. A playhouse, and the regions about it, are the hotbeds of vice: his reason is, a Quaker woman was tried before him, that is at Hiclcs's Hall, for keeping a bawdy-house. How the courteous Knight will apologize to his Majesty, who grants a patent for the theatre in Drury-lane, and a licence for that in the Haymarket, we cannot conjecture.
After these digressions, it might be expected, that the Biographer would return to Dr. Johnson : but no such thing. Lord Chesterfield must feel the lash of his pen, and hence we have the sweepings of the news-papers to eke out a threadbare, dull invective. Still, to swell out the volume, it is not enough that Johnson's admired Prologue, for the opening of Drury-lane theatre, under the auspices of Mr. Garrick, is printed in his works: it must be inserted in his life, and for fear the English reader should not understand an English poem, it must be first translated into dull prose by Sir John Hawkins. The account of Savage, like the rest, is a superfluous excrescence: the reader might have been referred to the Life written by Johnson; but the art of swelling a volume required that it should be otherwise. The late Dr. Birch supplies a world of materials: we are told bow he made a perambulation round London, and we have a careful lift of the places he called at: of this we shall only fay, that we had rather walk with Birch, than fleep over the pages of Sir John. In the course of the work, authors by profession are often mentioned: this affords a lucky opportunity to recollect a number of that class, and this again opens the way to more rambling. Dr. Birch, Dr. Campbell, Dr. Hill, Mr. Richardson, Dr. Smollet, Henry Fielding, Sterne, Amherst, and several others, have left behind them names, which will not soon be forgotten. The abuse of so many eminent writers might help to work off a great deal of gall, and to fill up a number of pages. They are almost every one traduced with the bitterest rancour. It is lucky for the reader that Archibald Bower did not present himself to our Biographer's memory. Thirty or forty pages might have been filled up with extracts from the famous controversy between Dr. Douglas and that subtle impostor. To compensate for this loss, a list is given of the members who formed the Ivy-lane club, and « subsequent one in Gerard-street, Soho: with a root of bitterness at the heart, it was easy to rail at almost every one of them. The Knight, accordingly, goes to work. Dr. Salter is the first sacrifice: what friend he has left to defend him, we do net know. The late Dr. Nugent seems to be spared: as there are persons still living, of ability to vindicate his memory, the Knight, perhaps, thought that an attack upon that good man would be attended with danger. Poor Dr. Gold3 smith!
smith! the late Duke of Northumberland asked him, what service he could do him, during his administration in Ireland. The Doctor recommended his brother, an unbeneficed clergyman in that country. For this generous sentiment, he is called an ideot! Who, that knew the late Mr. Dyer, can refrain from lamenting his fate? Sir John loved him with the affeclion of a brother, and he proves his regard, by telling us, that he became the votary of pleasure, and an epicure; insomuch that he was miserable, because he lost his taste for olives. He denied the freedom of the human will, and settled in materialism : it was his maxim, " that to live in peace with mankind, and in a temper to do good offices, was the most essential part of our duty." This is damned by Sir John Hawkins as heretical doctrine. Mr. Dyer was admired and loved through life; but Sir John assigns to him a detestable character. He was seized with a sore throat, and the disorder was of such peculiar malignity, that the physicians have hardly agreed on its name.i Dr. Nugent attended him; he examined with care the parts affected, and after searching as deep as he could, that excellent physician, as soon as he entered the adjoining room, told Mr. Dyer's friends, that the disorder would prove mortal. The patient died in a few days. His friend Sir John will not allow him to rest in peace. He fays, it is still a question, whether he did not die by his own hand. While there are still living those, who were witnesses to the last melancholy scene of their expiring friend, an insinuation of so cruel a nature should not have been hazarded. If there are others still in being, whom Sir John leves with the affection of a brother, they have only to wish, with an assertion for themselves, that he may not survive to tell their story. Our Readers (if they have not seen this curious piece of biography) may, after all this, begin to hope that there is now an end of Sir John's digressions. In this they will also again be disappointed. As good luck would have it, there were in the Ivy-lane club three physicians, namely Dr. M'Ghie, Dr. Barker, and Dr. Bathurst: they did not succeed in their profession. Here Sir John rambles again: we are ready to cry out, jj>jw nune si proripit Hie? He wanders into a long digression concerning physicians, who succeeded, or failed in their undertaking. In this list, we have Mead, Oldfield, Clark, Nejbit, Lobb, Mumkley, Hulse, Hoadley, and the two Schombergs. Concerning these, the Knight's common-place book is exhausted, and the well known dispute, between the last of the Schombergs and the College of physician?, helps to make a great deal of waste paper. Johnson's Rambler being a collection of essays, the opportunity was fair to talk of eflay-writers. A number of that description are mentioned; and two, viz. Gordon and Trenchard, are treated with great severity. On what account? Because, says Sir John, they were so intoxicated with nations of civil liberty, that they talked of the Majesty of
the the people/ It is fit Sir John should be told, that the plant, or xatber weed, of servitude will not grow in this country. Sir Robert Filmer tried his endeavour, but with so little success, that one might imagine no man would be again the advocate of slavery. Has Sir John Hawkins never read the history of the republics of antiquity, which were all founded in freedom? Has he never heard of the majesty of the Roman people? Following this writer through all his wanderings is, we censes*, a state of slavery, which we are obliged to go through even in this land of freedom. The detection of Louder, by Dr. Douglas, helps out a dull and tedious narrative, and he writes it, as he fays himself, for the use of posterity: he means, most probably, in usum pofleriorum; but, if Ib, be is a bad translator. The labours of Dr. Douglas in the cause of truth will not be easily forgotten by the lovers of literature. The talents of that able writer will transmit his name to after-times, without the feeble aid of one, who does not promise to be of long duration.
We are sorry to find that Sir John has still more stories in reserve. The person called Admirable Crichton, comes in his way, and of this man we have a large collection of wretched anecdotes. The Reader may suppose that he now has done with authors by profession; but more pages are still to be filled, without any reference to Dr. Johnson. For this purpose, Ralph the historian, Guthrie, and Paul JVhitehead, are summoned by Sir John, to be tried before him. The name of Paul Whitehead introduces that of Mr. Doddington (afterward Lord Melcombe), and the last, of course, makes room for Dr. Thompson. Another lucky incident comes in his way: it happened that Johnson wrote in the news-papers about the arches of Blackfriars bridge. This, to a rambling genius, is an inviting occasion to display his skill in architecture: he talks of proportions; in man, of the stjquiofiav* of the head, and in woman of the sesquinonal. All tins we have in a work that professes to be the Life of Dr. Johnson: but biography is not the talent of Sir John Hawkins: Praconem sad to, vel archite&um.
The next point of view, in which Sir John presents himself, is that of a politician: he praises Sir Robert Walpole's administration, and gives at full length Lord Hardwickt's speech against the motion for removing Sir Robert from his Majesty's councils. But he is not content to stop here: Lord Hardwicke's argument, he fay?, turns upon a fallacy, which the Lords had not penetration to dilcover. This was reserved for the sagacity of Sir John Hawkins, who is decidedly of opinion, that there was sufficient ground for the motion to remove the minister. Having, in this manner, condemned the administration which he admires, he proceeds to tell all England, that Mr. Pitt, whose eloquence and unequalled ardour railed this country to a pitch of glory