Изображения страниц

rebellion in 1745, and the irruptions of the enemy beyond the borders of the north, verified this prediction.

As I shall have but little occasion to say more of the debates in parliament as they appear in the Magazine, I shall close the account above given of them with saying, that Johnson continued to write them till the passing the bill for restraining the sale of spirituous liquors, which was about the end of the year 1743. After that, they were written by Dr. Hawkesworth, and by him continued to about 1760, within which period the plan of the Magazine was enlarged by a review of new publications. In this, Mr. Owen Ruffhead was first employed, but he being, in about two years, invited to superintend a re-publication of the Statutes at large, the office of reviewer dropped into the hands of Dr. Hawkesworth, who, though he was thought to exercise it with some asperity, continued in it till about the year 1772, when he was employed to digest the papers of sundry late navigators, and to become the editor of that collection of voyages, which in the catalogues of booksellers is distinguished by his name.

About this time Johnson was folicited to undertake an employment of a kind very different from any he had ever been accustomed to: it was to compile a catalogue of books; a task, which at first view, seems to be not above the capacity of almost the lowest of literary artificers, but on a nearer was found to require the abilities of one of the highest. Osborne the bookseller, had ventured on the purchase of the earl of Oxford's library of printed books, at the price of 13000l. and meaning to dispose of them by fale


at his shop in the ordinary way, projected a catalogue thereof distributed into common-places, in five octavo volumes, which being sold for five shillings each, would pay itself, and circulate throughout the kingdom and also abroad.

It is probable that Olborne had consulted Maita taire, then one of the masters of Westminster school, and who had formerly aslifted in making out the Catalogus librorum manuscriptorum Angliæ & Hiberniæ, on the subject of his intended catalogue, and that Maittaire might have furnished the general heads or classes under which the several books are arranged, a work of some labour, and that required no small stock of erudition, This at least is certain, that he drew up a Latin dedication of the whole to Lord Carteret, then secretary of state, and subscribed it with his name ; but the under-workmen were, as I conjecture, first Oldys, and afterwards Johnson, who while he was engaged in so fervile an employment resembled a lion in harness. The former of these persons was a natural son of Dr. Oldys, a civilian of some eminence, and subfifted by writing for the booksellers. Having a general knowledge of books, he had been long retained in the service of Edward earl of Oxford, and was therefore by Olborne thought a fit person for his purpose; but whether they disagreed, or that Oldys was hindered by the restraint of his person in the Fleet, a misfortune that he laboured under some time about that period, he defifted, after having proceeded to the end of the second volume. The third and fourth I conceive to be the work of Johnson *; the fifth is nothing more than a çatalogue of Osborne's old stock.

The At what part of the catalogue Oldys's labours ended and John,

K 3


The catalogue of the Harleian printed books, for of the manuscripts there is another in being, drawn up by an able hand, is of that kind which philologists call Bibliotheque Raisonée, in which besides the title, and the colophon containing the place and year of publication, a description of each article is given, serving to shew both its intrinsic and extrinsic worth, the hands through which it has passed, and various other particulars that tend to recommend it. I will select a few examples of this kind from the third volume, and leave the reader to applaud the judgment of Osborne in appointing fo able a man as Johnson to this laborious talk, and the industry and perfeverance of the latter in the performance of it.

The Antiquities of Stone-Henge on Salisbury plain restored by Inigo Jones, architectgeneral to the King, published by J. Webb, 1655.

· This book has its margins (sides, tops and

bottoms, in many leaves) almost written throughout, with some of the strangest

notes, perhaps, to be met with, no ways relating to the subject-matter, nor to one ano

(No. 412.

fon's begin I have no express authority for faying : It is related of Johnson, by a person who was very likely to know the fact, that he was employed by Oiborne to make a catalogue of the Harleian * Library,' and if not to make such remarks on the books as áre above inserted, an ordinary hand would have done as well ; but it required the learning of a scholar to furnish such intelligence as the catalogue contains. This is one of the facts on which I ground my affertion that Johnson worked on the catalogue : to discriminate be. tween his notes and those of Oldys, is not easy; as literary curiofities, and as a specimen of a great work, they nevertheless deferve attention.



[ocr errors]


[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

ther, except in one or two places. The book

is inscribed by 7. Webb to Philip earl of
Pembroke and Montgomery, some time lord-

chamberlain to King Charles I. and chancellor
of Oxford. And it had been his own copy :
for the said earl has, in the next leaf, writ his
own name, which is apparently the same
hand with that in which all those marginal
eruptions of his memory and imagination
were written. Some following poffeffor, or

reader of this book, discovering the said
* writing to be his lordship's, has written in
• the margin against his name “ This Philip
« earl of Pembroke and Montgomery was the
a writer of these wild notes. A. Wood would
« have less belied him in calling him a mad.

man, than in saying he was illiterate and « could not write his name."

are written in Latin, French and English, in prose and verse, containing truth, fiction,

trifles, matters of useful intelligence, some ' enough to make you merry, others melan

choly. He seems to have been under the

displeasure of Cromwell and his daughters.
« Of the former he says “ Ravilliac Cromuell
" is to be pulled a pieces with wild horses,

upon London streets, and then to be hanged,
“ drawn, &c. not decapited in jest.” p. 31.
• In the same page where he has writ his name,
he has these words : « If he be mad, as

my lady Harwood fais, (whose tongue is no
“ Naunder,) it is rather for wanting the 10000
“ pounds a year his father promised to give

The notes

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


K 4

« hiin,

« him, than that he thinks 6000 pounds 2

year too much for him to manage, with “ Wilton and Ramsbury ; for he is very “ learnedly proud, and proudly learned.” In • several places he has mentioned Inigo Jones, ! the King's surveyor, affirming in one place, He had, for 20 years together, fixteen thouso fand pounds a year, for keeping the King's « houses in repair, and yet they lay worse « than any house in Turnball street.” p. 3,

But in one place he augments his salary { very much, when he says, " Hinnico Jones, << alias Iniquity Jones, a justice of peace, and « of the Quorum, i and Cuftos Rotulorum, “ hath for keeping the King's houses in reo pair, deux cens mil escu per an. threescore “ thousand pounds sterling a year, i and well “ paid : He is fourscore

p. 34, &c. &c. No. 1168. Glosarium Archaiologicum, Authore Henrico Spelmanno, Equite--1664,

Because it had been intimated as if the latter part of this famous work, now first published with the former, and makes it

complete, was not that learned author's own ľ to whom it is ascribed, Dr, Robert Brady « has satisfied the world of this particular in

the following curious anecdote : “ first part of the Glossary, to the letter N, ực was published in the year 1626, the whole " being then finished and offered by Sir Henry Spelman to Mr. Bill, the King's printer, for Ill the value of five pounds in books only; but

years ould.”

« The

" he

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »