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L I F E
SAMUEL JOHNSON, Ll.d.
Sir JOHN HAWKINS, Knt,
THE SECOND EDITION,
Printed for J. Buekland, J. Rivington and Sons, T. Payne and Soni, L. Davit,
L I F E
Dr. SAMUEL JOHNSON.
THE general sense os mankind and the practice of the learned in all ages, have given a sanction to biographical history, and concurred to recommend that precept os the wise son of Sirach, in which we are exhorted to ' praise famous men, such as by their counsels and by their knov.ledgeof learningwere meet for the people,—and were wife and eloquent in their instructions,—andsuch as recited verses in writing*.' In each of these faculties did the person, whose history I am about towrite, so greatly excel, that, exceptsormy presumption in the attempt to display his worth,.the undertakingmay be thought to need no apology; efpe* cially if we contemplate, together with hismental endowments, those moral qualities which distinguished him, and reflect that, in an age when literary acqui
* sitions and scientific improvements are rated at their utmost value, he rested not in the applause which these procured him; but adorned the character of a scholar and a philosopher with that of a christian.
Justified, as I trust, thus far in the opinion of the reader, I may, nevertheless, stand in need of his excuse; for that, in the narration os facts that respect: others, 1 have oftener spoke of myself, and in my own perfon, than the practice of some writers will warrant. To this objection, if any shall please to make it, I answer, that the reverse of wrong is not always right. By the office I have undertaken I stand engaged to relate facts to which I was a witness, conversations in which I was a party, and to record memorable sayings uttered only to myself. Whoever attends to these circumstances, must, besides the disgust which such an affectation of humility would excite, be convinced, that in some instances, the avoiding of egotisms had been extremely difficult, and in many impossible.
Samuel Johnson, the subject os the following memoirs, was the elder of the two sons of Michael Johnson, of the city of Lichfield, bookseller, and of Sarah his wife, a sister of Dr. Joseph Ford, a phyfician of great eminence, and fatherof the famous Cornelius otherwise called Parson Ford.* He was born,. as I
, * Of this person, who yet lives in the remembrance of a few of his associates, little can be related but from oral tradition. He. .was, as I have heard Johnson say, a man of great wit and stupendous parts, but of very profligate manners. He was chaplain to Lord Chesterfield during his residence at the Hague; but, as his lordship was used to tell him, precluded all hope of pre