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embellished, of that sort which gives to prose the dignified cadence and all the ornaments of poetry, without the fetters of measured lines. It instantly gave rise to a multitude of imitators, among whom the distinguished historians Gibbon and Robertson have been numbered. It is said, that the good taste of Johnson led him to disapprove of the application to history of an artificial and splendid form of diction, which he himself had adopted for the purpose pf inculcating, in a pleasing form, the truths of morality upon the minds of men. That elaborate style probably attained its highest perfection in the political writings afterwards published anonymously under the name of the Letters of Junius. 'It had the effect of diffusing very generally a more careful mode of writing than was formerly adopted, while, on the other hand, the general fondness for physical studies which has been introduced of late years, has tended to correct its redundancies, and to restore to the public ear a taste for simplicity.
While Johnson was engaged in publishing the Rambler, and preparing his Dictionary, one Lauder, who had been a Scottish schoolmaster, contrived to impose a singular forgery upon him and his friends of the Ivy Club, which afterwards made some noise. Lauder was a zealous Jacobite, and hated the memory of Milton, as an enemy to royalty. To injure the memory of that great poet, Lauder collected from several Latin poets, such as Masenius the Jesuit, Staphorstius a Dutch divine, Beza, and others, all such passages as bore any kind of resemblance to different places in the Paradise Lost; and these he published from time to time in the Gentleman's Magazine, with occasional interpolations of lines which he himself translated from Milton. The public credulity swallowed all with eagerness; and Milton was supposed to have been guilty of plagiarism from inferior modern writers, The fraud succeeded so well, that Lauder collected the whole into a yo. lume, and advertised it under the title of “ An
Essay on Milton's Use, and Imitation of the “ Moderns in his Paradise Lost, dedicated to the “ Universities of Oxford and Cambridge." The proof sheets of the book were read at the Ivy Club; and as the members did not possess the books from which Lauder pretended to make extracts, they swallowed the accusation as others. had done. Johnson's political sentiments probably led him to be pleased with the supposed discovery, which degraded a notorious enemy of monarchy, and he wrote the preface to Lauder's work. The end of the whole was, that the Rev. Dr Douglas, afterwards bishop of Salisbury, prompted by cu. riosity, compared the parallel passages in Paradise Lost and in the books quoted by Lauder. He, immediately discovered, that in a pretended quos tation from Staphorstius, Lauder had interpolated eight lines taken from a Latin translation of the Paradise Lost by one Hogeus or Hog, and opposed them to the passage in the original, as evi, dence of Milton's plagiarism from Staphorstius. Having made this discovery, Dr Douglas was led to examine the rest of Lauder's quotations, and found them equally false. Having made these discoveries, he communicated them to the public in a pamphlet, entitled, “ Milton Vindicated from “ the Charge of Plagiarism brought against him
by Mr Lauder, 8vo, 1750.” Lauder being thus convicted of gross falsehood, Johnson drew up in 1757 a letter of recantation, addressed to Dr Douglas, which he prevailed with Lauder to subscribe ; but the latter afterwards thought fit to recant his recantation.
In 1752 Johnson's wife died. The disparity between the age of the parties has been already mentioned, and her person is said to have been abundantly homely. She has also been accused of a disposition to thoughtless extravagance amidst the embarrassments under which her hus. band laboured, and the appearance of his clothes and linen at all times demonstrated that her do. mestic management was of the worst sort. Yet Johnson appears to have lamented her loss deeply: and such was the affectionate tendency of his character, and the firm manner in which he retained every impression, that during life he cherished her memory.
As the Dictionary drew towards a close, Lord Chesterfield becảme anxious to obtain the honour of its being dedicated to himself. This was known to have been originally the intention of the author and of the proprietors of the work ; but his Lordship began to be apprehensive least his own neglect of Johnson might have occasioned a change of purpose. He therefore solicited a reconciliation, and wrote two essays in “ The World” in praise of the work. The booksellers also wished the Dictionary to be addressed to his Lordship : but Johnson resisted every proposal of reconcilia
tion, and, to put an end to the matter, wrote to' Lord Chesterfield the following letter:
“ To the Right Hon. the EARL of CHESTERFIELD.
“ MY LORD, “I have been lately informed by the Proprietors of The World, that two papers, in which my Dictionary is recommended to the public, were written by your Lordship. To be so distinguished is an honour, which, being very little acc
accus. tomed to favours from the Great, I know not well how to receive, or in what terms to acknowledge. When upon some slight encouragement I first vi. sited your Lordship, I was overpowered, like the rest of mankind, by the enchantment of your ad.' dress, and could not forbear to wish that I might boast myself le vainqueur au vainqueur de le la terre, that I might obtain that regard for which I saw the world contending ; but I found my attendance so little encouraged, that neither pride nor modesty would suffer me to continue it. When I had once addressed your Lordship in public, I had exhausted all the art of pleasing which a retired and uncourtly scholar can possess I had done all that I could ; and no man is well pleased to hear his all neglected, be it ever so lit. tie.-Seven years, my Lord, have now passed, since I waited in your outward room, or was repulsed from your door, during which time I have been pushing on my work through difficulties, of which it is useless to complain, and have brought it at last to the verge of publication, without one
act of assistance, one word of encouragement, or one smile of favour. Such treatment I did not expect, for I never had a patron before. The Shepherd in Virgil grew acquainted with love, and found him a native of the rocks : Is not a patron, my Lord, one who looks with unconcern on a man struggling for life in the water, and, when he has reached ground, encumbers him with help? The notice which you have been pleased to take of my labours, had it been early, had been kind; but it has been delayed till I am indifferent, and cannot enjoy it-till I am solitary, and can. not impart it-till I am known, and do not want it. I hope it is no very cynical asperity, not to confess obligations, where no benefit has been received, or to be unwilling that the public should consider me as owing that to a patron which Providence has enabled me to do for myself.--Having carried on my work thus far, with so little obliga, tion to any favourer of learning, I shall not be disappointed though I should conclude it, if less be possible, with less; for I have been long wakened from that dream of hope, in which I once boasted myself, with so much exultation,
-« My Lord,
6 SAMUEL JOHNSON.'
Concerning Lord Chesterfield's two papers in The World, recommending his Dictionary, Johnson said to Garrick, “ I have sailed a long and “ painful voyage round the world of the English « language ; and does he now send out his two