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[An account of the life of DR. SAMUEL JOHNSON, from his birth to his eleventh year, written by himself. From the MSS. preserved by the Doctor; and now in Possession of RICHARD WRIGHT, Surgeon; Proprietor of the Museum of Antiquities, Natural and Artificial Curiosities, &c. Lichfield. LONDON: printed for RICHARD PHILLIPS, No. 6, BridgeStreet, Blackfriars; by NICHOLS and SON, Red Lion Passage, Fleet Street. 1805.]

PREFACE TO FIRST EDITION.

It will be expected, that the Editor of the following curious and interesting pages should give an account of the manner in which the original MSS. came into his possession.

Mr. Boswell, in his admirable Life of Dr. Johnson', thus observes:

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The consideration of numerous papers of which he was possessed seems to have struck Johnson's mind with a sudden anxiety; and, as they were in great confusion, it is much to be lamented that he had not intrusted some faithful and discreet person with the care and selection of them; instead of which, he, in a precipitate manner, burnt large masses of them, with little regard, as I apprehend, to discrimination. .... Two very valuable articles, I am sure, we have lost; which were two quarto volumes, containing a full, fair, and most particular account of his own life, from his earliest recollection.'

It does not appear, that the MS. from which the following short account of Dr. Johnson's early life is copied, was one of the two volumes to which Boswell alludes; although it is evident, from his enumeration of particular dates in the blank pages of the book, that he intended to have finished these Annals, according to this plan, with the same minuteness of description, in every circumstance and event.

This Volume was among that mass of papers which were ordered to be committed to the flames a few days before his death, thirty-two pages of which were torn out by himself, and destroyed; the contents of those which remain are here given with fidelity and exactness. Francis Barber, his black servant, unwilling that all the MSS. of his illustrious master should

I iv. 403.

be

be utterly lost, preserved these relicks from the flames. By purchase from Barber's widow they came into the possession of the Editor.

The original MSS. are deposited in the Museum of Antiquities and Natural Curiosities, belonging to the Editor; which is open to the inspection of the publick.

LICHFIELD,

March 2, 1805.

ANNALS

1.

1709-10.

Sept. 71, 1709, I was born at Lichfield. My mother had a very difficult and dangerous labour, and was assisted by George Hector, a man-midwife of great reputation. I was born almost dead, and could not cry for some time. When he had me in his arms, he said, ' Here is a brave boy 3.

In a few weeks an inflammation was discovered on my buttock, which was at first, I think, taken for a burn; but soon appeared to be a natural disorder. It swelled, broke, and healed. My Father, being that year Sheriff of Lichfield, and to ride the

1 18 of the present style. Note by please, quoth Dr. Slop.' Dr. Johnson.

Dr. Franklin wrote to his wife on Jan. 6, 1773 :—'I feel some regard for this 6th of January as my old nominal birthday, though the change of style has carried the real day forward to the 17th.' Franklin's Works, ed. 1889, v. 86.

1709 was a year of great dearth. According to the table of the prices of wheat in the Wealth of Nations, ed. 1811, i. 357, there were only two dearer years-1648, 1649-between 1595 and 1764.

2 Probably the father of Johnson's old schoolfellow Edmund Hector, the Birmingham surgeon. Life, ii. 456.

Accoucheur is not in Johnson's Dictionary. The earliest instance in the New Eng. Dict. is from Tristram Shandy in 1759:-'Nothing will serve you but to carry off the man-midwife.-Accoucheur, if you

VOL. I.

3 This was written in January, 1765. Note by Wright.

I have copied the following entry from a document in the possession of my cousin, Mr. Horatio Symonds, of Beaumont Street, Oxford :

""Michaell the Sonne of William Johnson and Catherine his Wife was baptized Aprill the 20."

6

Copied from the Register belonging to the parish of Cubley in Derbyshire.

'This part of the Register is so much injured by Time that it is uncertain whether the Date is Aprill the 20 or the 2. I think it is the 20.'

This extract is endorsed in Johnson's handwriting :-'Father's register.'

Michael Johnson was born in 1656. Life, iv. 393, n. 2.

The Rev. Cave Humfrey, Rector of Cubley, informs me that the Registers begin in 1566, but that several K circuit

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