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literary characters, she had the good fortune to become acquainted, at Mr. Strahan's, with the late Right Hon. George Rose, who liberally assisted her in the latter years of her life - particularly in her last illness, and was at the expense of her burial in the beginning of January, 1804. For most of the foregoing details, I am indebted to my friend the Right Hon. Sir George Rose, whose venerable mother still remembers Mrs. Lenox.-CROKER.


No. I.


(See antè, p. 29.)

Extract from Mrs. Piozzi.

MICHAEL JOHNSON, the father of Samuel, was a bookseller at Lichfield; a very pious and worthy man, but wrong-headed, positive, and afflicted with melancholy, as his son, from whom alone I had the information, once told me: his business, however, leading him to be much on horseback, contributed to the preservation of his bodily health, and mental sanity; which, when he stayed long at home, would sometimes be about to give way; and Mr. Johnson said, that when his workshop, a detached building, had fallen half down for want of money to repair it, his father was not less diligent to lock the door every night, though he saw that any body might walk in at the back part, and knew that there was no security obtained by barring the front door. "This (said his son) was madness, you may see, and would have been discoverable in other instances of the prevalence of imagination, but that poverty prevented it from playing such tricks as riches and leisure encourage." Michael was a man of still larger size and greater strength than his son, who was reckoned very like him, but did not delight in talking much of his family - "One has (says he) so little pleasure in reciting the anecdotes of beggary!" One day, however, hear

ing me praise a favourite friend with partial tenderness and true esteem: "Why do you like that man's acquaintance so?” said he: "Because,” replied I, "he is open and confiding, and tells me stories of his uncles and cousins; I love the light parts of a solid character."—"6 Nay, if you are for family history (says Mr. Johnson, good-humouredly), I can fit you: I had an uncle, Cornelius Ford, who, upon a journey, stopped and read an inscription written on a stone he saw standing by the wayside, set up, as it proved, in honour of a man who had leaped a certain leap thereabouts, the extent of which was specified upon the stone: Why now, says my uncle, I could leap it in my boots; and he did leap it in his boots. I had likewise another uncle, Andrew (continued he), my father's brother, who kept the ring in Smithfield (where they wrestled and boxed), for a whole year, and never was thrown or conquered. Here now are uncles for you, mistress, if that's the way to your heart."

Michael Johnson was past fifty years old when he married his wife, who was upwards of forty; yet, I think her son told me she remained three years childless before he was born into the world, who so greatly contributed to improve it. In three years more she brought another son, Nathaniel, who lived to be twenty-seven or twenty-eight years old (1), and of whose manly spirit I have heard his brother speak with pride and pleasure, mentioning one circumstance, particular enough, that when the company were one day lamenting the badness of the roads, he inquired where they could be, as he travelled the country more than most people, and had never seen a bad road in his life. The two brothers did not, however, much delight in each other's company, being always rivals for the mother's fondness; and many of the severe reflections on domestic life in Rasselas, took their source from its author's keen recollec

(1) Nathaniel was born in 1712, and died in 1737. Their father, Michael Johnson, was born at Cubley in Derbyshire, in 1656, and died at Lichfield, in 1731, at the age of seventy six. Sarah Ford, his wife, was born at King's Norton, in the county of Worcester, in 1669, and died at Lichfield, in January, 1759, in her ninetieth year. King's Norton Dr. Johnson sup. posed to be in Warwickshire (see his inscription for his mother's tomb), but it is in Worcestershire, probably on the confines of the county of Warwick.- MALONE.

tions of the time passed in his early years. Their father Michael died of an inflammatory fever, at the age of seventysix, as Mr. Johnson told me: their mother at eighty-nine, of a gradual decay. She was slight in her person, he said, and rather below than above the common size. So excellent was her character, and so blameless her life, that when an oppressive neighbour once endeavoured to take from her a little field she possessed, he could persuade no attorney to undertake the cause against a woman so beloved in her narrow circle; and it is this incident he alludes to in the line of his "Vanity of Human Wishes," calling her

"The general favourite as the general friend."

Note by Mr. Croker.

There seems some difficulty in arriving at a satisfactory opinion as to Michael Johnson's real condition and circumstances. That in the latter years of his life he was poor, is certain; and Doctor Johnson (in the "Account of his early Life") not only admits the general fact of poverty, but gives several instances of what may be called indigence: yet, on the other hand, there is evidence that for near fifty years he occupied a respectable rank amongst his fellow-citizens, and appears in the annals of Lichfield on occasions not bespeaking poverty. In 1687, a subscription for recasting the cathedral bells was set on foot, headed by the bishop, dean, &c. aided by the neighbouring gentry: Michael Johnson's name stands the twelfth in the list; and his contribution, though only 10s., was not comparatively contemptible; for no one, except the bishop and dean, gave so much as 10%. Baronets and knights gave a guinea or two, and the great body of the contributors gave less than Johnson. (Harwood's Lichfield, p. 69.) In 1694, we find him burying in the cathedral, and placing a marble stone over a young woman in whose fate he was interested. His house, a handsome one, and in one of the best situations in the town, was his own freehold; and he appears to have added to it, for we find in the

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