Page images

• A great book, in this way (fays Dr. Horne), is indeed a great evil, if the point can be settled in a small one. The superfluity of naughtiness should be cut off ; all Aourish and declamation, self-adulation and personal altercation, rhetorical amplification and digrefion, every sentence not immediately ad rem, as useless and noxious excrescences, pared away; that point discovered on which the dispute turns, and the opponent closely confined to it. Terms should be defined, to prevent ambiguity and evafion; arguments and obje&ions carefully colle&ted, and mechodically arranged; stated and answered with all possible conciseness and perspicuity; leaving as little room, as may be, for replies and rejoinders; the fad consequence of which is, not only loss of time and temper to the writers, but disgust to the readers, who grow weary, and, despairing of being able to fix their opinions, resolve to give themselves no farther trouble about religion.' 右. III. Delivered, July 9, 1986, in the Surry Chapel, Blackfriars

Bridge, by the Rev. Mr. Venn, and published, with some Variations and Additions. By an attentive Auditor, and humble Ad. mirer, in hopes it may please and edify many others, as it edified and pleased the Editor. 8vo. Is. Bew.

From the title of this sermon, The good and righteous King, the reader might conclude it was somewhat of a merely civil and political nature : but he will find it very different. The text is Isaiah, xxxii. 1-4. It bears some marks of Methodism; without being deftitute of learning. It also manifests an earnest zeal for morality and good works, together with some reflections on ministers, on the service of the church of England, and on those who diffent from it. But, we find that Mr. Venn has disclaimed this Discourse by a public advertisement.-We have therefore nothing farther to add, -except the just and severe cenfure which falls on those who have temesity and presumption enough to publish, under the name of anotber person, without permiffion or authority, a composition furreptitiously obtained : and given to the world, as hath sometimes been the case, in such a form, and with such imperfections, as may serve only to render it disgraceful to the reputed author.-But we do not think that these lait mentioned, disreputable circumstances, are chargeable on the present publication.


To the MONTHLY REVIEWERS. GENTLEMEN, AUDI alteram partem, -is a motto you would ever wish to support,

in the little unavoidable controversies of your page of Correspondence. When you have indulged me with a hearing, the subject will of course be dismissed, as it ought. Your Correspondent, G. B. has not kept ftri&tly within the bounds of truth, in saying that my Explanatory Appeal, which you reviewed, was written in consequence of my being disowned; when in faét my disown ment, idle as it was, was rather in consequence of my having written the Appeal; that publication, which contained a disownment of church authority in some points, being one principal charge of offence against me. When G. B. hall have learned more caution, and added more knowledge to his zeal, he may know that a person born


and educated in the community of Quakers, and professing and practising the worship peculiar to that Society, is both legally and virtually a Quaker, however he may be treated, or however unfolicitous he may be to avail himself of any Society sanction, for pubfications which have no connection with it.

Yours very sincerely, Bath, March 22, 1787.


*.* We are obliged to An old Friend, for pointing out to us a mistake in page 351 of ous Review for November last, respecting the capacity of the Swedish kanne, or the English measure corresponding to 100 Swedish cubic inches.

Prof. Celsius, in the Stockholm Ads for 1739, has given an accurate comparison of the itandard Swedish foot with those of several other nations, and, among the rest, with the English foot copied by Graham from the Royal Society's standard. He finds the Swedish foot to be less than the English, in the proportion of 1000 to 1027 ; and the Reviewer of the Article alluded to, calculating on a supposition that the inch was less in the same proportion, made 100 Swedish cubic inches equal to 92 and a fraction of ours; not aware, that the Swedish foot is divided and subdivided decimally ; for though he had often met with the expresiion decimal, or geometric inches in the Swedish writers, he imagined, from this very circumstance of its being mentioned only in particalar cases, that this division was used in those cases only, for facility of computation. The fact however is, that the Swedish foot is conftantly fo divided; and therefore though the foot itself be less, the inch, or tenth part of that foot, is greater than the twelfth part of ours : according to the proportions above stated, the Swedih'inch is equal to 1,168 English, and the kanne contains nearly 159; English cubic inches. Our ingenious Correspondent bas deduced from a different source (the weight of a kanne of water given by Bergman) almost the same conclufion, that the kanne is equal to nearly 160 of our cubic inches. We must therefore request to readers to correct the error in page 351, and read i kanne equals 5 wine pints English nearly.

This gentleman thinks we are mistaken also with regard to Mr. Scheele's weights, and indeed it appears likely, considering his profession, that he used most commonly the medicul weights; which, in Sweden, are divided exactly in the same manner as with us, though there is a little difference in their absolute weights; the Swedish being less than the corresponding denominations of ours, in the proportion of 23 to 24. Wherever grains are mentioned, they belong unquestionably to this species of weight, for the Swedes have no such denominacion in any other.

Be the case as it may with Scheele, it is plain that Bergman used very frequently, and, we believe, in every initánce where grains are not specified, the common or civil weight; in which the pound is divided into 32 half-ounces, called lods or loths (semunciæ, lorbones) ; the lod into 4 quintlins or drams; and the dram into 276į aces. In bis original differtation on mineral waters, published in the Stockholm Ăs, he gives the contents of each of the waters he examines, in lods and decimals of the lod, and mentions no other weight



throughout the whole. As this denomination of half ounce appears
to be appropriated to the common weight, we imagine that, where-
ever ounces : ccur, the medical weight is meant. We believe, how-
ever, that our translators have in good measure deprived us of the
benefit of this criterion ; for any one, who has not that particular
object in view, will naturally translate two half-ounces into one ounce :
we suspect too that they have sometimes metamorphosed aces into
grains, though the former is considerably less than the latter : and
when Scheele is represented as having burnt nine ounces of phosphorus
at once in a glass matras, and is censured by his annotator for having
drawn a falfe conclusion from the experiment, by not making any
allowance for the space necessarily occupied by such a quantity of the
material *, we cannot persuade ourselves that he really did use any
more than nine aces.

The weight of a kanne of distilled snow water is given by Bergman,
in one of his dissertations, 42250 Swedish grains, and, in another,
190 lods: whence the proportion of the two species of weights
with another, and with our weights, in all their denominations, may
be easily known.

* In Scheele's treatise on fre. We quote from memory, not having the book at hand.

We are favoured with W. N's friendly communication. Had
he carefully attended to our remarks, he could not have supposed
that we charged the Astronomer Royal with a neglect of his duty,
or that we even insinuated it. We are thoroughly convinced that
he executes his office with the utmost attention ; nor do we believe
that any of his predecessors have been more diligent. What we ad-
vanced, relative to the prediction of the comet, in our Review for
February ialt, was not a reflection on Dr. Makelyne, but a general
remark, lamenting, that England, the native country of those aftro-
nomers who first determined the theory of comets, fould see an
article in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of
LONDON, referring its readers to the determination of the Academy
of Sciences at Paris.


$*$ The two pamphlets, concerning which, inquiry is made, in a Jetter bearing the post-mark of the Isle of Wight, will doubtless be noticed ; but they must wait their turn, with a multitude of other publications, which, though neceffarily delayed, are not overlooked. We should be happy if the limits of our Journal were more adequate to the extent of our plan : the patience of authors, and the friends of authors,' would not, then, be so frequently exercised.

+++ In answer to Ignotus, who enquires concerning the character of a book entitled, “ The Rational Dame,"-we have no such article in our list.

Ist We are sorry that it is not in our power to aflift L. E. in procuring foreign books mentioned in our Appendixes, &c. We always recommend enquirers to Mr. Elmsley in the Strand.

Mr. Woodhouse must excuse our not publishing the intelligence his letter conveys. We are obliged to him for it, but

De mortuis nil nisi bonum.

p. 292. for 'rnjection, 'n

r. injections 293. kar 37.2, puk a čemma after just, 29h 1.20. read, where the whole system was in a properties

1.17. read, who says he was on the Tjust.

[ocr errors]


For M A Y, 1787.

[ocr errors]

Art. I. The Life of Dr. S. Johnson, concluded: See our last

Month's Review, Art. I. N March 1752, Dr. Johnson felt a severe stroke of affli&ion,

in the death of his wife. Under the care of Mr. Hawkelworth, she was buried at Bromley, and her disconsolate husband wrote a Latin inscription for her tomb, in which he celebrated her beauty. With the fingularity of his prayers for Tetty, from that time to the end of his life, the world is sufficiently acquainted. By her first husband, Mrs. Johnson left a daughter, near as old as Johnson. Of her second marriage, there was no issue. With Mrs. Ann Williams, a person of extraordinary endowments, and, though blind, of an active and cheerful disposition, Mrs. Johnson had contracted a close intimacy. This friend the recommended to her husband's protection. Mrs. Williams was the daughter of Zachariab Williams, a physician in South Wales. To relieve himself from solitude and melancholy reflections, Johnson took her home to his house in Gough-square. In 1755, Mr. Garrick gave her a benefit, which produced 200l. ; in 1766, the published a quarto volume of miscellanies *, and thereby increased her little stock to 300l. This and Johnson's protection supported her through the rest of her life.

We are told that Kitty Fisher left her card at Johnson's house. Those who knew him, will hardly believe this story: for what purpose Tould he see a woman, whose person was venal? His Biographer, however, acquits him of all amorous passions. He says that Johnson was myops, or near-sighted, and doubts whether he ever had a perception of beauty. If he ever felt the impression, it was from Molly Afton, who is represented as a republican, and a declaimer for public liberty. Upon this lady, Johnson made the two following verses :

Liber ut effe velim fuafifti, pulchra Maria :

Ut maneam liber, pulchra Maria, vale.
Which may be thus tranflated :

Man's born for freedom, Tyrant, we agree :
To gain my freedom, I muit fly from thee.

See Rev., vol. xxxiv. p. 355.


In 1750, one Lauder, of infamous memory, published an “ Essay on Milton's Use and Imitation of the Moderns.” The Biographer tells us, that Johnson affitted this man, from motives of enmity to the memory of Milton : but it appears, that while Lauder's work was in the press, the proof sheets were submitted to the inspection of the Ivy-lane club. If Johnson approved of the design, it was no longer than while he believed it founded in fact. With the rest of the club he was in one common error. As soon as Dr. Douglas espoused the cause of truth, and with ability that will ever do him honour, dragged the impostor into open day-light, Johnson made ample reparation to the genius of Milton. He convinced Lauder that it would be more for his intereit to make a full confession of his guilt, than to fand forth the convicted champion of a lie; and, for this purpole, drew up in the strongest terms, a recantation, which Lauder ligned, and published in quarto, addressed to Dr. Douglas, 1751. It is painful to be thus obliged to vindicate Johnson against the insinuations of the man, who has undertaken to be his Editor, and the guardian of his fame.

During the two years in which Johnson entertained the Pube lic with his Rambler, the great work of the Dictionary was ft.! carried on, sometimes by flow degrees, and occasionally with vigour. The morbid inelancholy, of which he complained early in life, and which was probably caused by that disorder thac brought him to the presence of Queen Anne, returned upon him at intervals, and clouded his understanding. In a short time after the Rambler ceased, Mr. Hawkesworth projected the Ado venturer. The fi: A Number was published November 7, 1752, and the Paper continued twice a week, till the gth of March 1754 To this undertaking, Johnson contribuied his affift

All the eflays marked T are of his writing. His price was two guineas for each paper. Dr. Joseph Warton's essays are well known. From another quarter, Hawkesworth had some supplies, but that source soon failed. Sir John Hawkins ima. gines that the person here intended was Dr. Bathurst, one of the Ivy-lane club; but if he will take the trouble to enquire, he will find that the late Bonnell Thornton was, in the beginning of that undertaking, embarked with Dr. Hawkesworth. The connection did not last long, and Thornton set up a new Paper, called the Connoisseur. The proposal for forming the Labours of Hercules into a pantomime, was of Thornton's writing.

When it is considered that Johnson, about the age of 20, drew up the state of his case for an eminent physician in Staffordshire, and received for answer, that the symptoms tended to insanity, who can wonder that he was troubled with melancholy and dejection ? And yet the lion was often roused. He wrote by fiss and starts, but always with vigour, and the power of genius.



[merged small][ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »