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were continued uninterruptedly every Tuesday and Saturday, till Tuesday, March 14, 1752; a period of two years from the comAnd when we reflect that the entire of these lucubrations, with exceptions almost too trifling to calculate, emanated from the pen of JOHNSON, single and unaided, who, at the mercy of adventitious interruption, and often fighting against great bodily indisposition, nevertheless came true to his time in sickness and in health, the undertaking will appear prodigious.
The plan of the RAMBLER is more limited than that of its predecessors, and its style throughout is more elaborate and sustained. The familiar portraits of life and manners which enchant us in the TATLER and SPECTATOR, are not so rife in the pages of JOHNSON; but the higher duties of morality and religion are inculcated with awful powers of argument, and an eloquence that persuades and impresses. STEELE and ADDISON were men of the world, gifted with great exterior accomplishments, and moving perpetually in those fashionable circles, from which they derived an inexhaustible aliment for their publications. JOHNSON was a man of study and seclusion, unfit by his habits and appearance for general society, and averse from it in his temper and inclinations; a colossus of human learning, an oracle of recondite truths; well calculated to teach wisdom with authority, but of a mien and manner too repulsive for popular attraction. Yet there are interspersed
throughout the volumes of the RAMBLER many essays of a livelier and more imaginative character, and papers that shew him to be more at home upon subjects of common life, than the general gravity of his demeanour would induce us to anticipate.
After his Dictionary,' the RAMBLER is certainly the greatest work of JOHNSON; and he seems to have been early aware, that on it his consideration with posterity would mainly depend. Accordingly, he spared no time nor trouble of emendation, when the demand for these papers increased, and in the second and third editions alone, between six and seven thousand alterations testified the importance which he attached to the lima labor. It has been affirmed, from the remarkable paucity of his occasional contributors, that JOHNSON disdained to make use of external assistance; but it is more probable that he exercised a fastidious rejection of communications, which in most instances would have appeared like deformities by the side of his splendid writings. Yet it is worthy of notice, that the only paper in the RAMBLER which exceeded its ordinary circulation, and attracted a particular popularity, was not written by JOHNSON. This is No. 97, on the progress of a Virtuous Courtship, by RICHARDSON, the celebrated author of Clarissa, and Sir Charles Grandison. Besides this essay by RICHARDSON, there remains to mention the accepted contributions of three ladies, who were all not less ornaments to their sex than to literature.
Miss MULSO, afterwards Mrs. CHAPONE, communicated the four cards or billets, in No. 10; but the frame-work in which they are set, belongs to JOHNSON.
No. 30, The Complaint of Sunday, is from the pen of Miss CATHARINE TALBOT, only daughter of the Rev. EDWARD TALBOT, archdeacon of Berks, and preacher at the Rolls.-Miss TALBOT resided many years in the family of Archbishop SECKER, who owed his splendid ecclesiastical fortunes to the patronage of her father and grandfather; the latter of whom, when he was Bishop of Durham, conferred ordination upon young SECKER, and presented him with his first valuable preferments in the church. Miss TALBOT died on the 9th of January, 1770, aged forty-eight, leaving behind her a most exalted character for piety and Christian virtue. Many interesting particulars concerning the life of Miss TALBOT, may be seen in BUTLER'S Memoirs of MARK HILDESLEY, D.D. bishop of Sodor and Man, in the Gentleman's Magazine for March, 1781.
Nos. 44 and 100, were contributed by Mrs. ELIZABETH CARTER, a name that will long rank with distinguished pre-eminence among the female writers of her country. An ample biographical notice of Mrs. CARTER has been published by her nephew and executor, the Rev. M. PENNINGTON: she died at a great age in 1806, on the 19th of February, one of the last of the Johnsonians.-Of the second letter, in No. 107, the author is unknown. Such was
the sum of assistance derived to the RAMBLER from its correspondents; in truth, it is not much beholden to its foreign auxiliaries. It will be interesting now to take a survey of its great editor's life in the outline.
SAMUEL JOHNSON, LL.D. was born at Lichfield, on the 7th of September, 1709. His father, MICHAEL JOHNSON, was at this time. a petty bookseller, but afterwards rose to some consideration in the city, and served the office of superior bailiff. His mother was sister to a physician of the name of FORD. They were neither of them endowed with a happy temperament of mind, or a healthy constitution of body; and these infirmities, as well mental as physical, were too palpably inherited by the son. With the strong athletic make of his father, he derived also from him a scrofulous habit which impaired his sight and hearing, and a disposition to morbid melancholy which rendered him indifferent to worldly pleasures. But a worse heritage than all these, the most rooted civil and religious intolerance, was transmitted to young JOHNSON by his father. At eight years of age, he was placed under the tuition of Mr. HAWKINS, at the free-school in his native city, where he acquired the rudiments of his education; but he was subsequently removed to an academy at Stourbridge, in Worcestershire, which was conducted by a Mr. WENTWORTH. His progress in literature was slow, but by a surprising tenacity of memory, what he had once mastered, became his own for ever. After quitting Stour
bridge, he resided two years under the paternal roof, and acquired an insight into the details of his father's business, which it is probable he was destined to follow. He has been heard to say, that he could bind a book.
A proposal, however, from Mr. CORBET, a gentleman of fortune in the neighbourhood, to maintain young JOHNSON at Oxford, in the capacity of companion to his son, was too eligible to be rejected; and on the 31st of October, 1728, when our author was nineteen years of age, both were admitted at Pembroke College: CORBET as a gentleman-commoner, and JOHNSON as a commoner. Mr. JORDEN, the college tutor, was a man of confined ideas and indifferent abilities; and JOHNSON, whose giant powers were now fast expanding, is said to have treated him with little respect, and on one or two occasions, even with a contemptuous insolence. During his residence at the university, he was a lax observer of its discipline, and inattentive and irregular in his studies; yet he distinguished himself by the occasional vigour of his compositions, particularly by a Latin translation of Pope's Messiah, which is a good specimen of his power, though without much pretension to classical purity and taste. After a residence of two years, young CORBET quitted the university; and the departure of his pupil materially affected the finances of JOHNSON, who remained to complete his third year. He quitted Oxford at last, without a degree; it is to be feared, because he was too poor to pay the university fees: for in the interval between CORBET'S