Boswell's Life of Johnson (1904)/Volume 1/Preface

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Fielding, it is said, drank confusion to the man who invented the fifth act of a play. He who has edited an extensive work, and has concluded his labours by the preparation of a copious index, might well be pardoned, if he omitted to include the inventor of the Preface among the benefactors of mankind. The long and arduous task that years before he had set himself to do is done, and the last thing that he desires is to talk about it. Liberty is what he asks for, liberty to range for a time wherever he pleases in the wide and fair fields of literature. Yet with this longing for freedom comes a touch of regret and a doubt lest the 'fresh woods and pastures new' may never wear the friendly and familiar face of the plot of ground within whose narrower confines he has so long been labouring, and whose every corner he knows so well. May-be he finds hope in the thought that should his new world seem strange to him and uncomfortable, ere long he may be called back to his old task, and in the preparation of a second edition find the quiet and the peace of mind that are often found alone in 'old use and wont.'

With me the preparation of these volumes has, indeed, been the work of many years. Boswell's Life of Johnson I read for the first time in my boyhood, when I was too young for it to lay any hold on me. When I entered Pembroke College, Oxford, though I loved to think that Johnson had been there before me, yet I cannot call to mind that I ever opened the pages of Boswell. By a happy chance I was turned to the study of the literature of the eighteenth century. Every week we were required by the rules of the College to turn into Latin, or what we called Latin, a passage from The Spectator. Many a happy minute slipped by while, in forgetfulness of my task, I read on and on in its enchanting pages. It was always with a sigh that at last I tore myself away, and sat resolutely down to write bad Latin instead of reading good English. From Addison in the course of time I passed on to the other great writers of his and the succeeding age, finding in their exquisitely clear style, their admirable common sense and their freedom from all the tricks of affectation, a delightful contrast to so many of the eminent authors of our own time. Those troublesome doubts, doubts of all kinds, which since the great upheaval of the French Revolution have harassed mankind, had scarcely begun to ruffle the waters of their life. Even Johnson's troubled mind enjoyed vast levels of repose. The unknown world alone was wrapped in stormy gloom; of this world 'all the complaints which were made were unjust[1].' Though I was now familiar with many of the great writers, yet Boswell I had scarcely opened since my boyhood. A happy day came just eighteen years ago when in an old book-shop, almost under the shadow of a great cathedral, I bought a second-hand copy of a somewhat early edition of the Life in five well-bound volumes. Of all my books none I cherish more than these. In looking at them I have known what it is to feel Bishop Percy's 'uneasiness at the thoughts of leaving his books in death[2].' They became my almost inseparable companions. Before long I began to note the parallel passages and allusions not only in their pages, but in the various authors whom I studied. Yet in these early days I never dreamt of preparing a new edition. It fell to my lot as time went on to criticise in some of our leading publications works that bore both on Boswell and Johnson. Such was my love for the subject that on one occasion, when I was called upon to write a review that should fill two columns of a weekly newspaper, I read a new edition of the Life from beginning to end without, I believe, missing a single line of the text or a single note. At length, 'towering in the confidence'[3] of one who as yet has but set his foot on the threshold of some stately mansion in which he hopes to find for himself a home, I was rash enough more than twelve years ago to offer myself as editor of a new edition of Boswell's Life of Johnson. Fortunately for me another writer had been already engaged by the publisher to whom I applied, and my offer was civilly declined. From that time on I never lost sight of my purpose but when in the troubles of life I well-nigh lost sight of every kind of hope. Everything in my reading that bore on my favourite author was carefully noted, till at length I felt that the materials which I had gathered from all sides were sufficient to shield me from a charge of rashness if I now began to raise the building. Much of the work of preparation had been done at a grievous disadvantage. My health more than once seemed almost hopelessly broken down. Nevertheless even then the time was not wholly lost. In the sleepless hours of many a winter night I almost forgot my miseries in the delightful pages of Horace Walpole's Letters, and with pencil in hand and some little hope still in heart, managed to get a few notes taken. Three winters I had to spend on the shores of the Mediterranean. During two of them my malady and my distress allowed of no rival, and my work made scarcely any advance. The third my strength was returning, and in the six months that I spent three years ago in San Remo I wrote out very many of the notes which I am now submitting to my readers.

An interval of some years of comparative health that I enjoyed between my two severest illnesses allowed me to try my strength as a critic and an editor. In Dr. Johnson: His Friends and his Critics, which I published in the year 1878, I reviewed the judgments passed on Johnson and Boswell by Lord Macaulay and Mr. Carlyle, I described Oxford as it was known to Johnson, and I threw light on more than one important passage in the Life. The following year I edited Boswell's Journal of a Tour to Corsica and his curious correspondence with the Hon. Andrew Erskine. The somewhat rare little volume in which are contained the lively but impudent letters that passed between these two friends I had found one happy day in an old book-stall underneath the town hall of Keswick. I hoped that among the almost countless readers of Boswell there would be many who would care to study in one of the earliest attempts of his joyous youth the man whose ripened genius was to place him at the very head of all the biographers of whom the world can boast. My hopes were increased by the elegance and the accuracy of the typography with which my publishers, Messrs. De La Rue & Co., adorned this reprint. I was disappointed in my expectations. These curious Letters met with a neglect which they did not deserve. Twice, moreover, I was drawn away from the task that I had set before me by other works. By the death of my uncle, Sir Rowland Hill, I was called upon to edit his History of the Penny Postage, and to write his Life. Later on General Gordon's correspondence during the first six years of his government of the Soudan was entrusted to me to prepare for the press. In my Colonel Gordon in Central Africa I attempted to do justice to the rare genius, to the wise and pure enthusiasm, and to the exalted beneficence of that great man. The labour that I gave to these works was, as regards my main purpose, by no means wholly thrown away. I was trained by it in the duties of an editor, and by studying the character of two such men, who, though wide as the poles asunder in many things, were as devoted to truth and accuracy as they were patient in their pursuit, I was strengthened in my hatred of carelessness and error.

With all these interruptions the summer of 1885 was upon me before I was ready for the compositors to make a beginning with my work. In revising my proofs very rarely indeed have I contented myself in verifying my quotations with comparing them merely with my own manuscript. In almost all instances I have once more examined the originals. ' Diligence and accuracy,' writes Gibbon, ' are the only merits which an historical writer may ascribe to himself; if any merit indeed can be assumed from the performance of an indispensable duty[4].' By diligence and accuracy I have striven to win for myself a place in Johnson's school—' a school distinguished,' as Sir Joshua Reynolds said, ' for a love of truth and accuracy[5] I have steadily set before myself Boswell's example where he says:—' Let me only observe, as a specimen of my trouble, that I have sometimes been obliged to run half over London, in order to fix a date correctly; which, when I had accomplished, I well knew would obtain me no praise, though a failure would have been to my discredit[6] When the variety and the number of my notes are considered, when it is known that a great many of the authors I do not myself possess, but that they could only be examined in the Bodleian or the British Museum, it will be seen that the labour of revising the proofs was, indeed, unusually severe. In the course of the eighteen months during which they have been passing through the press, fresh reading has given fresh information, and caused many an addition, and not a few corrections moreover to be made, in passages which I had previously presumed to think already complete. Had it been merely the biography of a great man of letters that I was illustrating, such anxious care would scarcely have been needful. But Boswell's Life of Johnson, as its author with just pride boasts on its title-page, 'exhibits a view of literature and literary men in Great Britain, for near half a century' during which Johnson flourished.' Wide, indeed, is the gulf by which this half-century is separated from us. The reaction against the thought and style of the age over which Pope ruled in its prime, and Johnson in its decline,—this reaction, wise as it was in many ways and extravagant as it was perhaps in more, is very far from having spent its force. Young men arc still far too often found in our Universities who think that one proof of their originality is a contempt of authors whose writings they have never read. Books which were in the hands of almost every reader of the Life when it first appeared are now read only by the curious. Allusions and quotations which once fell upon a familiar and a friendly ear now fall dead. Men whose names were known to every one, now often have not even a line in a Dictionary of Biography. Over manners too a change has come, and as Johnson justly observes, 'all works which describe manners require notes in sixty or seventy years, or less[7].' But it is not only Boswell's narrative that needs illustration. Johnson in his talk ranges over a vast number of subjects. In his capacious memory were stored up the fruits of an almost boundless curiosity, and a wide and varied reading. I have sought to follow him wherever a remark of his required illustration, and have read through many a book that I might trace to its source a reference or an allusion. I have examined, moreover, all the minor writings which are attributed to him by Boswell, but which are not for the most part included in his collected works. In some cases I have ventured to set my judgment against Boswell's, and have refused to admit that Johnson was the author of the feeble pieces which were fathered on him. Once or twice in the course of my reading I have come upon essays which had escaped the notice of his biographer, but which bear the marks of his workmanship. To these I have given a reference. While the minute examination that I have so often had to make of Boswell's narrative has done nothing but strengthen my trust in his statements and my admiration of his laborious truthfulness, yet in one respect I have not found him so accurate as I had expected. 'I have,' he says, 'been extremely careful as to the exactness of my quotations [8].' Though in preparing his manuscript he referred in each case 'to the originals,' yet he did not, I conjecture, examine them once more in revising his proof-sheets. At all events he has allowed errors to slip in. These I have pointed out in my notes, for in every case where I could I have, I believe, verified his quotations.

I have not thought that it was my duty as an editor to attempt to refute or even to criticise Johnson's arguments. The story is told that when Peter the Great was on his travels and far from his country, some members of the Russian Council of State in St. Petersburgh ventured to withstand what was known to be his wish. His walking-stick was laid upon the table, and silence at once fell upon all. In like manner, before that editor who should trouble himself and his readers with attempting to refute Johnson's arguments, paradoxical as they often were, should be placed Reynold's portrait of that 'labouring working mind[9]' It might make him reflect that if the mighty reasoner could rise up and meet him face to face, he would be sure, on which ever side the right might be. even if at first his pistol missed fire to knock him down with the butt-end of it[10]. I have attempted therefore not to criticise but to illustrate Johnson's statements. I have compared them with the opinions of the more eminent men among his contemporaries, and with his own as they are contained in other parts of his Life, and in his writings. It is in his written works that his real opinion can be most surely found. 'He owned he sometimes talked for victory; he was too conscientious to make error permanent and pernicious by deliberately writing it[11].' My numerous extracts from the eleven volumes of his collected works will, I trust, not only give a truer insight into the nature of the man, but also will show the greatness of the author to a generation of readers who have wandered into widely different paths.

In my attempts to trace the quotations of which both Johnson and Boswell were somewhat lavish, I have not in every case been successful, though I have received liberal assistance from more than one friend. In one case my long search was rewarded by the discovery that Boswell was quoting himself. That I have lighted upon the beautiful lines which Johnson quoted when he saw the Highland girl singing at her wheel[12], and have found out who was 'one Giffard,' or rather Gifford, 'a parson,' is to me a source of just triumph. I have not known many happier hours than the one in which in the Library of the British Museum my patient investigation was rewarded and I perused Contemplation.

Fifteen hitherto unpublished letters of Johnson[13]; his college composition in Latin prose[14]; a long extract from his manuscript diary[15]; a suppressed passage in his Journey to the Western Islands[16]; Boswell's letters of acceptance of the office of Secretary for Foreign Correspondence to the Royal Academy[17]; the proposal for the publication of a Geographical Dictionary issued by Johnson's beloved friend, Dr. Bathurst[18]; and Mr. Recorder Longley's record of his conversation with Johnson on Greek metres[19], will, I trust, throw some lustre on this edition.

In many notes I have been able to clear up statements in the text which were not fully understood even by the author, or were left intentionally dark by him, or have become obscure through lapse of time. I would particularly refer to the light that I have thrown on Johnson's engaging in politics with William Gerard Hamilton[20], and on Burke's 'talk of retiring[21].' In many other notes I have established Boswell's accuracy against attacks which had been made on it apparently with success. It was with much pleasure that I discovered that the story told of Johnson's listening to Dr. Sacheverel's sermon is not in any way improbable[22], and that Johnson's 'censure' of Lord Kames was quite just[23]. The ardent advocates of total abstinence will not, I fear, be pleased at finding at the end of my long note on Johnson's wine-drinking that I have been obliged to show that he thought that the gout from which he suffered was due to his temperance. 'I hope you persevere in drinking,' he wrote to his friend, Dr. Taylor. 'My opinion is that I have drunk too little[24].'

In the Appendices I have generally treated of subjects which demanded more space than could be given them in the narrow limits of a foot-note. In the twelve pages of the essay on Johnson's Debates in Parliament[25] I have pressed the result of the reading of many weeks. In examining the character of George Psalmanazar[26] I have complied with the request of an unknown correspondent who was naturally interested in the history of that strange man, 'after whom Johnson sought the most[27].' In my essay on Johnson's Travels and Love of Travelling[28] I have, in opposition to Lord Macaulay's wild and wanton rhetoric, shown how ardent and how elevated was the curiosity with which Johnson's mind was possessed. In another essay I have explained, I do not say justified, his strong feelings towards the founders of the United States[29]; and in a fifth I have examined the election of the Lord Mayors of London, at a time when the City was torn by political strife[30]. To the other Appendices it is not needful particularly to refer.

In my Index, which has cost me many months' heavy work, 'while I bore burdens with dull patience and beat the track of the alphabet with sluggish resolution[31],' I have, I hope, shown that I am not unmindful of all that I owe to men of letters. To the dead we cannot pay the debt of gratitude that is their due. Some relief is obtained from its burthen, if we in our turn make the men of our own generation debtors to us. The plan on which my Index is made will, I trust, be found convenient. By the alphabetical arrangement in the separate entries of each article the reader, I venture to think, will be greatly facilitated in his researches. Certain subjects I have thought it best to form into groups. Under America, France, Ireland, London, Oxford, Paris, and Scotland, are gathered together almost all the references to those subjects. The provincial towns of France, however, by some mistake I did not include in the general article. One important but intentional omission I must justify. In the case of the quotations in which my notes abound I have not thought it needful in the Index to refer to the book unless the eminence of the author required a separate and a second entry. My labour would have been increased beyond all endurance and my Index have been swollen almost into a monstrosity had I always referred to the book as well as to the matter which was contained in the passage that I extracted. Though in such a variety of subjects there must be many omissions, yet I shall be greatly disappointed if actual errors are discovered. Every entry I have made myself, and every entry I have verified in the proof-sheets, not by comparing it with my manuscript, but by turning to the reference in the printed volumes. Some indulgence nevertheless may well be claimed and granted. If Homer at times nods, an index-maker may be pardoned, should he in the fourth or fifth month of his task at the end of a day of eight hours' work grow drowsy. May I fondly hope that to the maker of so large an Index will be extended the gratitude which Lord Bolingbroke says was once shown to lexicographers? 'I approve,' writes his Lordship, 'the devotion of a studious man at Christ Church, who was overheard in his oratory entering into a detail with God, and acknowledging the divine goodness in furnishing the world with makers of dictionaries[32].'

In the list that I give in the beginning of the sixth volume of the books which I quote, the reader will find stated in full the titles which in the notes, through regard to space, I was forced to compress.

The Concordance of Johnson's sayings which follows the Index[33] will be found convenient by the literary man who desires to make use of his strong and pointed utterances. Next to Shakespeare he is, I believe, quoted and misquoted the most frequently of all our writers. 'It is not every man that can carry a Bon-mots[34].' Bons-mots that are miscarried of all kinds of good things suffer the most. In this Concordance the general reader, moreover, may find much to delight him. Johnson's trade was wit and wisdom[35], and some of his best wares are here set out in a small space. It was, I must confess, with no little pleasure that in revising my proof-sheets I found that the last line in my Concordance and the last line in my six long volumes is Johnson's quotation of Goldsmith's fine saying: 'I do not love a man who is zealous for nothing.'

In the 'forward' references in the notes to other passages in the book, the reader may be surprised at finding that while often I only give the date under which the reference will be found, frequently I am able to quote the page and volume. The explanation is a simple one: two sets of compositors were generally at work, and two volumes were passing through the press simultaneously.

In the selection of the text which I should adopt I hesitated for some time. In ordinary cases the edition which received the author's final revision is the one which all future editors should follow. The second edition, which was the last that was brought out in Boswell's lifetime, could not, I became convinced, be conveniently reproduced. As it was passing through the press he obtained many additional anecdotes and letters. These he somewhat awkwardly inserted in an Introduction and an Appendix. He was engaged on his third edition when he died. 'He had pointed out where some of these materials should be inserted,' and 'in the margin of the copy which he had in part revised he had written notes[36].' His interrupted labours were completed by Edmond Malone, to whom he had read aloud almost the whole of his original manuscript, and who had helped him in the revision of the first half of the book when it was in type[37]. 'These notes,' says Malone, 'are faithfully preserved.' He adds that 'every new remark, not written by the author, for the sake of distinction has been enclosed within crotchets[38].' In the third edition therefore we have the work in the condition in which it would have most approved itself to Boswell's own judgment. In one point only, and that a trifling one, had Malone to exercise his judgment. But so skilful an editor was very unlikely to go wrong in those few cases in which he was called upon to insert in their proper places the additional material which the author had already published in his second edition. Malone did not, however, correct the proof-sheets. I thought it my duty, therefore, in revising my work to have the text of Boswell's second edition read aloud to me throughout Some typographical errors might, I feared, have crept in. In a few unimportant cases early in the book I adopted the reading of the second edition, but as I read on I became convinced that almost all the verbal alterations were Boswell's own. Slight errors, often of the nature of Scotticisms, had been corrected, and greater accuracy often given. Some of the corrections and additions in the third edition that were undoubtedly from his hand were of considerable importance.

I have retained Boswell's spelling in accordance with the wish that he expressed in the preface to his Account of Corsica. 'If this work,' he writes, 'should at any future period be reprinted, I hope that care will be taken of my orthography[39].' The punctuation too has been preserved. I should be wanting in justice were I not to acknowledge that I owe much to the labors of Mr. Croker. No one can know better than I do his great failings as an editor. His remarks and criticisms far too often deserve the contempt that Macaulay so liberally poured on them. Without being deeply versed in books, he was shallow in himself. Johnson's strong character was never known to him. Its breadth and length, and depth and height were far beyond his measure. With his writings even he shows few signs of being familiar. Boswell's genius, a genius which even to Lord Macaulay was foolishness, was altogether hidden from his dull eye. No one surely but a 'blockhead,' a 'barren rascal[40],' could with scissors and paste-pot have mangled the biography which of all others is the delight and the boast of the English-speaking world. He is careless in small matters, and his blunders are numerous. These I have only noticed in the more important cases, remembering what Johnson somewhere points out, that the triumphs of one critic over another only fatigue and disgust the reader. Yet he has added considerably to our knowledge of Johnson. He knew men who had intimately known both the hero and his biographer, and he gathered much that but for his care would have been lost for ever. He was diligent and successful in his search after Johnson's letters, of so many of which Boswell with all his persevering and pushing diligence had not been able to get a sight. The editor of Mr. Croker's Correspondence and Diaries[41] goes, however, much too far when, in writing of Macaulay's criticism, he says: 'The attack defeated itself by its very violence, and therefore it did the book no harm whatever. Between forty and fifty thousand copies have been sold, although Macaulay boasted with great glee that he had smashed it.' The book that Macaulay attacked was withdrawn. That monstrous medley reached no second edition. In its new form all the worst excrescences had been cleared away, and though what was left was not Boswell, still less was it unchastened Croker. His repentance, however, was not thorough. He never restored the text to its old state; wanton transpositions of passages still remain, and numerous insertions break the narrative. It was my good fortune to become a sound Boswellian before I even looked at his edition. It was not indeed till I came to write out my notes for the press that I examined his with any thoroughness.

'Notes,' says Johnson, 'are often necessary, but they are necessary evils[42].' To the young reader who for the first time turns over Boswell's delightful pages I would venture to give the advice Johnson gives about Shakespeare:—

'Let him that is yet unacquainted with the powers of Shakespeare, and who desires to feel the highest pleasure that the drama can give, read every play from the first scene to the last with utter negligence of all his commentators. When his fancy is once on the wing, let it not stoop at correction or explanation. When his attention is strongly engaged let it disdain alike to turn aside to the name of Theobald and of Pope. Let him read on through brightness and obscurity, through integrity and corruption; let him preserve his comprehension of the dialogue and his interest in the fable. And when the pleasures of novelty have ceased let him attempt exactness and read the commentators[43].'

So too let him who reads the Life of Johnson for the first time read it in one of the Pre-Crokerian editions. They are numerous and good. With his attention undiverted by notes he will rapidly pass through one of the most charming narratives that the world has ever seen, and if his taste is uncorrupted by modern extravagances, will recognise the genius of an author who, in addition to other great qualities, has an admirable eye for the just proportions of an extensive work, and who is the master of a style that is as easy as it is inimitable.

Johnson, I fondly believe, would have been pleased, perhaps would even have been proud, could he have foreseen this edition. Few distinctions he valued more highly than those which he received from his own great University. The honorary degrees that it conferred on him, the gown that it entitled him to wear, by him were highly esteemed. In the Clarendon Press he took a great interest[44]. The efforts which that famous establishment has made in the excellence of the typography, the quality of the paper, and the admirably-executed illustrations and facsimiles to do honor to his memory and to the genius of his biographer would have highly delighted him. To his own college he was so deeply attached that he would not have been displeased to learn that his editor had been nursed in that once famous 'nest of singing birds.' Of Boswell's pleasure I cannot doubt. How much he valued any tribute of respect from Oxford is shown by the absurd importance that he gave to a sermon which was preached before the University by an insignificant clergyman more than a year and a half after Johnson's death[45]. When Edmund Burke witnessed the long and solemn procession entering the Cathedral of St. Paul's, as it followed Sir Joshua Reynolds to his grave, he wrote: 'Everything, I think, was just as our deceased friend would, if living, have wished it to be; for he was, as you know, not altogether indifferent to this kind of observances[46].' It would, indeed, be presumptuous in me to flatter myself that in this edition everything is as Johnson and Boswell would, if living, have wished it. Yet to this kind of observances, the observances that can be shown by patient and long labour, and by the famous press of a great University, neither man was altogether indifferent.

Should my work find favour with the world of readers, I hope again to labour in the same fields. I had indeed at one time intended to enlarge this edition by essays on Boswell, Johnson, Mrs. Thrale, and perhaps on other subjects. Their composition, would, however, have delayed publication more than seemed advisable, and their length might have rendered the volumes bulky beyond all reason, A more favourable opportunity may come. I have in hand a Selection of the Wit and Wisdom of Dr. Johnson. I purpose, moreover, to collect and edit all of his letters that are not in the Life. Some hundreds of these were published by Mrs. Piozzi; many more are contained in Mr. Croker's edition; while others have already appeared in Notes and Queries[47], Not a few, doubtless, are still lurking in the desks of the collectors of autographs. As a letter-writer Johnson stands very high. While the correspondence of David Garrick has been given to the world in two large volumes, it is not right that the letters of his far greater friend should be left scattered and almost neglected. 'He that sees before him to his third dinner,' says Johnson, 'has a long prospect[48].' My prospect is still longer; for, if health be spared, and a fair degree of public favour shown, I see before me to my third book. When I have published my Letters, I hope to enter upon a still more arduous task in editing the Lives of the Poets.

In my work I have received much kind assistance, not only from friends, but also from strangers to whom I had applied in cases where special knowledge could alone throw light on some obscure point. My acknowledgments I have in most instances made in my notes. In some cases, either through want of opportunity or forgetfulness, this has not been done. I gladly avail myself of the present opportunity to remedy this deficiency. The Earl of Crawford and Balcarres I have to thank for so liberally allowing the original of the famous Round Robin, which is in his Lordship's possession, to be reproduced by a photographic process for this edition. It is by the kindness of Mr. J. L. G. Mowat, M.A., Fellow and Bursar of Pembroke College, Oxford, that I have been able to make a careful examination of the Johnsonian manuscripts in which our college is so rich. If the vigilance with which he keeps guard over these treasures while they are being inspected is continued by his successors in office, the college will never have to mourn over the loss of a single leaf. To the Rev. W.D. Macray, M.A., of the manuscript department of the Bodleian, to Mr. Falconer Madan, M.A., Sub-Librarian of the same Library, and to Mr. George Parker. one of the Assistants, I am indebted for the kindness with which they have helped me in my inquiries. To Mr. W.H. Allnutt, another of the Assistants. I owe still more. When I was abroad. I too frequently, I fear, troubled him with questions which no one could have answered who was not well versed in bibliographical lore. It was not often that his acuteness was baffled, while his kindness was never exhausted. My old friend Mr. E. J. Payne, M.A., Fellow of University College, Oxford, the learned editor of the Select Works of Burke published by the Clarendon Prcss. has allowed me, whenever I pleased, to draw on his extensive knowledge of the history and the literature of the eighteenth century. Mr. C. G. Crump. B.A., of Balliol College, Oxford, has traced for me not a few of the quotations which had baffled my search. To Mr. G. K. Fortescue, Superintendent of the Reading Room of the British Museum, my most grateful acknowledgments are due. His accurate and extensive knowledge of books and his unfailing courtesy and kindness have lightened many a day's heavy work in the spacious room over which he so worthily presides. But most of all am I indebted to Mr. C. E. Doble, M.A., of the Clarendon Press. He has read all my proof-sheets, and by his almost unrivalled knowledge of the men of letters of the close of the seventeenth and of the beginning of the eighteenth centuries, he has saved my notes from some blunders and has enriched them with much valuable information. In my absence abroad he has in more instances than I care to think of consulted for me the Bodleian Library. It is some relief to my conscience to know that the task was rendered lighter to him by his intimate familiarity with its treasures, and by the deep love for literature with which he is inspired.

There are other thanks due which I cannot here fittingly express. 'An author partakes of the common condition of humanity; he is born and married like another man; he has hopes and fears, expectations and disappointments, griefs and joys like a courtier or a statesman[49]'. In the hopes and fears, in the expectations and disappointments, in the griefs and joys—nay, in the very labours of his literary life, if his hearth is not a solitary one, he has those who largely share.

I have now come to the end of my long labours. 'There are few things not purely evil,' wrote Johnson, 'of which we can say without some emotion of uneasiness, this is the last[50].' From this emotion I cannot feign that I am free. My book has been my companion in many a sad and many a happy hour. I take leave of it with a pang of regret, but I am cheered by the hope that it may take its place, if a lowly one, among the works of men who have laboured patiently but not unsuccessfully in the great and shining fields of English literature.

G. B. H.

Clarens, Switzerland:
March 16, 1887.

  1. Post, iv. 198.
  2. Post, iii. 355.
  3. Post, i. 375.
  4. History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, ed. 1807, vol. i. p. xi.
  5. Post, iii. 260.
  6. Post, i. 7.
  7. Post, ii. 243.
  8. Post, i. 7.
  9. Post, iv. 511.
  10. Post, ii. 115.
  11. Post, iv. 495; v. 18.
  12. Post, v. 133.
  13. Post, i. 546. n. 4; iv. 300, n. 2; v. 461, n. 4, 518, n. I; vi. xxi-xxxvii.
  14. Post, i. 70. n. 3.
  15. Post, ii. 547.
  16. Post, vi. xxxii.
  17. Post, iii. 525.
  18. Post, vi. xxii.
  19. Post, iv. 9, n. 5.
  20. Post, i. 566, 601.
  21. Post, iv. 258, n. i.
  22. Post, i. 45, n. 2.
  23. Post, iii. 387, n. i.
  24. Post, i. 120, n. 2.
  25. Post, i. 581.
  26. Post, iii. 503.
  27. Post, iii. 357.
  28. Post, iii. 510.
  29. Post, ii. 549. 550.
  30. Post, iii. 521.
  31. Post, i. 219, n. 1.
  32. Post, i. 343, n. 3.
  33. Post, vi.
  34. Post, ii. 401.
  35. Post, iii. 155, n. 2, 442.
  36. Post, i. 17, 18.
  37. Post, i. 8.
  38. Post, i, 17, 18,
  39. Post, IV, 37, n, i,
  40. ii. 199.
  41. Vol. ii. p. 47.
  42. Johnson's Works, ed. 1825, vol. v. p. 152.
  43. id.
  44. See Post, ii. 39, 486-8, 504.
  45. Correspondence of Edmund Burke, ii. 425.
  46. See Post, iv. 486.
  47. To this interesting and accurate publication I am indebted for many valuable notes.
  48. Post, iii. 59, n. 3.
  49. Johnson's Works, ed. 1825. vol. iv. p. 446.
  50. Post, i. 384, n. 3.