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ORIGINAL

which will appear, either entire or MEMORIALS OF DR. JOHNSON'S in part, in the sequel; I seem to RELIGIOUS FRIENDS.

have discovered, with clearer evi

dence than has hitherto beamed To the Editor of the Christian Observer. upon the subject, some of the hu

man sources whence Dr. Johnson ALTHOUGH the life and genius of derived his spiritual knowledge. Dr. Johnson have been illustrated The manuscripts in question now by a greater variety of biographical lie on my table; but, before I offer disquisition than has distinguished any extracts from them, it will be any other name in our national expedient to give some preliminary literature, little is yet known, information respecting the parties comparatively, of this eminent to whom they refer. To those who man's character as a Christian. are not familiar with the life and An effort was made, in a work times of Dr. Johnson, it is necesentitled “ Christian Essays,” first sary to state, that among his most published in 1817, to disentangle intimate friends, during the period the account of Johnson's death, from about 1737 to 1756, were from the confusion in which it Mrs. Fitzherbert and Miss Hill had been left by Hawkins and Boothby; both of them resident Boswell ; neither of whom was in Derbyshire; and with whom competent to the task they seve- Dr. Johnson probably became acrally undertook; and each of them quainted from their vicinity to his was evidently anxious to rescue friend Dr. Taylor, of Ashbourne. Johnson's memory from all sus- The former of these ladies was picion of what they considered Mary, eldest daughter of Lyttelton enthusiasm. The report from Poyntz Meynell, Esq. of Bradley, “ Christian Essays” is reprinted and wife of William Fitzherbert, in the October and November Esq. of Tissington. Her fourth Numbers of your work for 1827; son, Alleyne, was created Lord St. and the truth of the account con- Helens, and is yet alive; and her tained in it was forcibly attested grandson, Sir Henry Fitzherbert, by the Rev. C. I. La Trobe, in the Bart. is the present representative Christian Observer for January of the family. Of Mrs. Fitzherbert 1828 ; where, nearly half a cen- herself Dr. Johnson said, tury after Johnson's death, ap- she had the best understanding peared the first satisfactory record he ever met with in any human of his last days.

being*.” “That woman,” he reBy the kindness of a friend, who

• Boswell's Life of Johnson. Fourth has lent me some original letters, edition. Vol. i. p. 55, CHRIST. OBSERV. No. 349.

B

« that

marked, “ loved her husband as was handsome? 'She would have
we hope and desire to be loved by been handsome for a queen,' re-
our guardian angel." “ Fitzher- plied the panegyrist; 'her beauty
bert,” he adds, was a gay, good- had more in it of majesty than of
humoured fellow, generous of his attraction, more of the dignity of
money and his meat, and desirous virtue than the vivacity of wit*.'
of nothing but cheerful society Mrs. Fitzherbert died in 1753 ;
among people distinguished in and was succeeded in the manage-
some way—in any way, I think ; ment of the family at Tissington
for Rousseau and St. Austin would by Miss Hill Boothby, who was
have been equally welcome to his the only daughter of Brook Booth-
table and to his kindness*. The by, Esq. and his wife Elizabeth
lady, however, was of another way Fitzherbert. Of 'this lady Mrs.
of thinking: her first care was to Thrale relates : “Dr. Johnson told
preserve her husband's soul from me she pushed her piety to bigotry,
corruption ; her second, to keep her devotion to enthusiasm ; that
his estate entire for their children: she somewhat disqualified herself
and I owed my good reception in for the duties of this life, by her
the family to the idea she had en- perpetual aspirations after the nert.
tertained, that I was fit company Such was, however, the purity of
for Fitzherbert, whom I loved ex- her mind, he said, and such the
tremely. “They dare not,' said graces of her manner, that Lord
she, swear, and take other con- Lyttelton and he used to strive for
versation-liberties, before you.' her preference with an emulation
“I asked,” says Mrs. Thrale, who that occasioned hourly disgust, and
gives this account, “if her husband ended in lasting animosity. You
retained her regard ? He felt her may see,' said he to me, when the
influence too powerfully,' replied Poets' Lives were printed, that
Dr. Johnson : ‘no man will be dear Boothby is at my heart still.
fond of what forces him daily to She would delight in that fellow
feel himself inferior. She stood Lyttelton's company though, all
at the door of her paradise in that I could do ; and I cannot
Derbyshire, like an angel with the forgive even his memory the pre-
flaming sword, to keep the devil at ference given by a mind like hers.'
a distance. But she was not im- I have heard Baretti say, that when
mortal, poor dear! She died, and this lady died Dr. Johnson was
her husband felt at once afflicted almost distracted with his grief,
and releasedt. I inquired if she and that the friends about him

• At Ashbourne, in 1776, Dr. Johnson had much ado to calm the vio-
thus characterized his friend :--" There lence of his emotiont." A Hebrew
was no sparkle, no brilliancy in Fitzher- grammar, or the sketch of one,
bert; but I never knew a man who was
so generally acceptable. He made every written in a character eminently

composed for her own use, and
body quite easy, overpowered nobody by
the superiority of his talents, made no beautiful, has been preserved by
man think worse of himself by being his her family, as a specimen of her
rival, seemed always to listen, did not

literature. Mrs. Piozzi was peroblige you to hear much from him, and mitted to publish six letters addid not oppose what you said. Every body liked him ; but he had no friend, as dressed by Johnson to Miss BoothI understand the word-nobody with whom he exchanged intimate thoughts. London - by his own hand! nineteen He was an instance of the truth of the years after the departure of one, to whom observation, that a man will please more others might have said, upon the whole by negative qualities than Cara Maria vale! at veniet felicius #yum, by positive.” Boswell, vol. iii. p. 163. Quandoiterum tecum,simmododignus,ero!

† Mr. Fitzherbert, who was member * Anecdotes of the late Samuel Johnfor the Borough of Derby in several Par- son, LL.D; by Hester Lynch Piozzi. liaments, and one of the Lords of Trade Fourth edition. p. 159. and Plantations, died at his house in # Ibid. p. 160.

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by, which appeared in 1788, in a I died to-day; which I mention collection now very scarce, and lest you should hear it and be never reprinted. Neither, with alarmed. You see that I think the exception of the first, have my death may alarm you ; which, they been copied by any of John- for me, is to think very highly of son's biographers; nor are they earthly friendship. I believe it inserted in his Works. They are arose from the death of one of consequently, comparatively, un- my neighbours. You know Des known; and the following extracts Cartes's argument, I think, there. from them will illustrate the pre

fore I am.' It is as good a con: sent memorials.

sequence, ‘I write, therefore I am Jan. 1,1755.-Dearest Madam, alive.' I might give another, ‘I -Though I am afraid your illness am alive, therefore I love Miss leaves you little leisure for the Boothby,' but that I hope our reception of airy civilities, yet I friendship may be of far longer cannot forbear to pay you my duration than life. I am, dearest congratulations on the new year; Madam, with sincere affection, and to declare my wishes that your," &c. your years to come may be many Dec. 31, 1755.—My sweet and happy. In this wish, indeed, Angel,—I have read your book, I I include myself, who have none am afraid you will think without but you on whom my heart re- any great improvement; whether poses; yet surely I wish you good, you can read my notes I know even though your situation were not. You ought not to be ofsuch as should permit you to fended: I am, perhaps, as sincere communicate no gratification to, as the writer. In all things that Dearest, dearest, Madam, your,' terminate here I shall be much &c.

guided by your influence, and Dec. 30, 1755.—It is again should take or leave by your dimidnight, and I am again alone. rection ; but I cannot receive my With what meditation shall I religion from any human hand. I amuse this waste hour of dark- desire, however, to be instructed, ness and vacuity? If I turn my and am far from thinking myself thoughts upon myself, what do I perfect ...... It affords me a new perceive, but a poor helpless being, conviction, that in these books reduced by a blast of wind to there is little new, except new weakness and misery ....... This forms of expression; which may illness, in which I have suffered be sometimes taken, even by the something, and feared much more, writer, for new doctrines. I sinhas depressed my confidence and cerely hope that God, whom you elation; and made me consider so much desire to serve aright, all that I have promised myself, will bless you, and restore you to as less certain to be attained or health, if he sees best. Surely no enjoyed. I have endeavoured to human understanding can pray form resolutions of a better life; for any thing temporal otherwise but I form them weakly, under than conditionally. Dear Angel, the consciousness of an external do not forget me. My heart is motive...... Continue, my dearest, full of tenderness." your prayers for me, that no good Jan. 8, 1756.— I beg of you to resolution may be in vain. You endeavour to live. I have returned think, I believe, better of me than your Law, which, however, I earI deserve. I hope to be, in time, nestly entreat you to give me. I what I wish to be, and what I am in great trouble; if you can have hitherto satisfied myself too write three words to me, be pleased readily with only wishing .......... to do it. I am afraid to say much, There has gone about a report that and cannot say nothing when my

dearest is in danger. The all- Having furnished these reminismerciful God have mercy on you." cences from sources already open

Miss Boothby died on the six- to public examination, I shall proteenth of January, eight days after ceed to draw from the private the date of this letter ! She was treasury in my temporary posburied in Ashbourne church*; and session some illustrations of the the following lines, inscribed on character of the two ladies who her tomb, were written by a gen. honoured Dr. Johnson with their tleman of her family, the late Sir intimacy. The first of these is a Brooke Boothby.

letter from Miss Boothby to Mrs. Could beauty, learning, talents, virtue, save Fitzherbert, dated Holly Bush*, From the dark confines of the insatiate October 8, 1746.

grave, This frail memorial had not asked a tear “My dearest, best friend on O'er Hill's cold relics, sadly mouldering earth,—The trial which our Lord, here.

in his wise disposal of events, has Her soul, too heavenly for a house of clay, at this time ordered for us, has Soon wore its earth-built fabric to decay; In the last struggles of departing breath

given me a new and surprising She saw her Saviour gild the bed of death; proof of your affection and tenHeard his mild accents, tun'd to peace derness for met; founded on such and love,

motives as I think I may say, withGive glorious welcome to the realms above, In those bright regions that celestial shore, out presumption, Heaven approves, Where friends long lost shall meet to part from the great success your most no more;

kind endeavours for me have met • Blest Lord, 1 come; my hopes have not with. The heart may be too full

been vain!' Upon her lifeless cheek ecstatic smiles re

to disclose its thoughts; and, in main.

some cases, the tongue is an inDr. Johnson composed the fol- strument which fails us in expresslowing prayer on occasion of her ing them: out of the abundance of death :-“O Lord God, almighty the heart it may be silent, as well Disposer of all things, in whose as speak. This is my case; from hands are life and death; who the abundance of my heart I cangivest comforts, and takest them not speak; but I must w[onder 1]. away; I return Thee thanks for the That nothing may be wanting to good example of Hill Boothby, encourage perseverance in offices whom Thou hast now taken away; of charity, our gracious Master and implore thy grace, that I may [has] added a temporal reward, improve the opportunity of in- by putting into the [minds] of struction which Thou hast afforded those on whom it is exercised the me, by the knowledge of her life, sincerest gratitude and acknowand by the sense of her death ; ledgment. 'Tis this I would give that I may consider the uncer- • The house thus designated is close on tainty of my present state, and the border of Needwood Forest, and beapply myself earnestly to the du- longed at that time to the Fitzherbert ties which Thou hast set before the property and residence of John Gis

family. It became, many years afterwards, me; that, living in thy fear, I may borne, Esq. now of Darby Dale, Derbydie in thy favour, through Jesus shire; and is situated within a few miles Christ our Lord. Ament.”

of Yoxall Lodge, the mansion of his re

vered brother, the Rev. Thomas Gisborne. • Or rather in a chantry, or chapel, at- All the extracts in the text are faithful to tached to this fine building, containing their originals, except with regard to a the cemetery of the Boothby family. Among few corrections in orthography and puncits sepulchral monuments is the celebrated tuation. The parts within brackets, as figure of Penelope Boothby, by Flaxman; being supplied, where the manuscript was which has been since eclipsed by Chantry's torn or illegible, by conjecture, are lest to Two Children, in the south choral isle of the reader's judgment. Lichfield cathedral.

+ There is no clue in the manuscript to + Prayers and Meditations, composed the cause of this aftliction. by Samuel Johnson, LL.D. Published To the copyist this is an unsatisfactory by the Rev. George Strahan, in 1785. conjecture. Query, “write."

*

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you. I thank] my God, and your helped to procure it, so I am sure
God (the Father of all mercies, the your thankfulness for my preser-
God of all comforts) for making vation would be full and sincere.
you the great instrument of his I cannot yet learn any thing of
wonderful and persevering (love) dear Lady Huntingdon. Nobody
to me. That you have been re. I have seen were such as could
markably so at [this] time, you be supposed to know any thing of
must see, and I do, and ever shall her, alas ! ...... I was at the chapel
f[eel]. My dearest creature, you yesterday, but so placed as not to
have exactly followed (your] be able to get out, before Mr. C.
Lord's example! gone about doing was gone.......He preached a ser-
good; visited the fatherless and mon I heard, and mentioned to
widow in their affliction ; sup- you last year, on 2 Cor. iv. 6: For
ported the sick and weak, and God, who commanded the light to shine
helped to raise up them who were out of darkness, &c. in which he
falling. All this, if possible, still first remarked the allusion in the
more endears you to me, and text to the chaos, and the speaking
makes me earnest to be light into it at the creation; then
every thing you would have me. shewed us what was the darkness
Let us, my dearest, go hand in of every unconverted soul, fully and
hand together in the great work strongly in all its parts, and what
of our salvation; and in our way the light which could alone, by
through this vale of tears be each shining in our hearts, create them
other's best human assistant in

For this light all must go
obtaining the one thing needful. My to Jesus Christ; and in him, and
prayers shall be instant at the from him, by the influence of his
Throne of Grace, that I may be Holy Spirit, be brought to the
enabled to assist you effectually knowledge of the glory of God. He
in all your (progress). From this displayed largely the folly of those
inexhaustible fountain only can I who imagined they were to bring
(hope to] have my weaknesses any thing of their own, and treat
supplied, and be made to you in the way of purchase for the
[what you) are to me, the greatest blessings of the Gospel ; [for]
of earthly blessings...... Your ten- which no claim could avail but the
derly affect. and warmly grateful merits of Christ, and faith in him

Hill Boothby." who gave himself freely for us. He
The next letter has no address concluded with an affecting exhor-
or envelope, but was evidently tation, drawn from several weighty
written at Bath, and is dated June and striking observations he had
17, 1751,-“When you regarded made, on the different conse-
a poor weak helpless creature, quences of his doctrine, as imme-
undertaking what I was about diately and sincerely embraced,
to do when I left you, my dearest or neglected; and hinted as if
friend, you might figure to your many of his hearers had sat long
self infinite hazards; but I bless under moving and persuasive or-
God I always trust in him for dinances, without faith. 'Tis a vast
strength, and lean not either to my blessing to have an opportunity of
own understanding or power in any hearing the Gospel preached, so
thing, as well knowing they must clearly, plainly, and, as I verily
both fail me. I firmly trusted the believe, so experimentally: and I
end of my journey would, as, thank pray God I may profit by it, as
God, it has, pay my friends for any
anxiety they might too kindly suf- * Not that erected by Lady Hunting-
fer with regard to the means and don, which was not opened till 1765; but

one attached to the Established Church,
way. And as I doubt not your near the Cross, Bath, superintended by
prayers for my success much Mr. Chapman.

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