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for having virtually assumed it as an axiom, that the expulsion of a member of parliament was equivalent to an exclusion ; and their having declared Colonel Lutrell to be duly elected for the county of Middle. sex, notwithstanding Mr Wilkes had a great majority of votes. This being considered as a gross violation of the right of election, an alarm for the constitution extended itself all over the kingdom. To prove this alarm to be false, was the purpose of Johnson's pamphlet; but his arguments failed of effect, and the House of Commons has since erased the offensive resolution from the Journals. This pamphlet has great merit in point of langnage, but it contains much misrepresentation, and abounds with arbitrary principles, totally inconsistent with a free, constitution.
As Johnson now shone in the plenitude of his political glory, from the number and celebrity of his njinisterial pamphlets, an attempt was made to bring him into the House of Commons by Mr Strahan the king's printer, who was himself in parliament, and wrote to the secretary of the treasury upon the subject; but the application was not successful.
In 1773 he published a new edition of his Dictionary, with additions and corrections, and in the autumn of the same year he gratified a desire which he had long entertained, of visiting the Hebrides or western isles of Scotland. He was accompanied by Mr Boswell ; whose acuteness he afterwards observed would help his inquiry, and whose gaiety of conversation and civility of manners were sufficient to counteract
the inconveniencies of travel in countries less hospi. table than those they were to pass.
In the course of the year 1773 and 1774, be published a number of pamphlets in vindication of the conduct of ministry, to whom as a pensioner he had become wholly devoted. These he collected into a volume, and published under the title of “ Political Tracts by the author of the Rambler, octavo.” In March he was gratified by the title of Doctor of Laws, conferred ou him by the University of Oxford, at the solicitation of Lord North. In September he visited France for the first time with Mr and Mrs "Thrale and Mr Baretti, and returned to England in about two months after he quitted it. Foote, who happened to be in Paris at the same time, said that the French were perfectly astonished at his figure and manner, and at his dress; which was exactly the same with what he was accustomed to in London; his brown clothes, black stockings, and plain shirt. Of the occurrences of this tour, he kept a journal, in all probability with a design of writing an account of it, but for want of leisure and inclination he never carried it into execution.
This year he published an account of his tour to the Hebrides, under the title of “ a Journey to the Western Isles of Scotland, octavo.” The narrative, it must be admitted, is written with an undue prejudice against both the country and people of Scotland, which is highly reprehensible, though it abounds in extensive philosophical views of society, ingenious sentiments, and lively descriptions,
In 1777 the fate of Dr Dodd excited Johnson's compassion, and called forth the strenuous exertion of his vast comprehensive mind. He thonght his sentence just, yet perhaps fearing that religion might suffer from the errors of one of its ministers, he endeavoured to prevent the last ignominious spectacle, by writing several petitions, as well as observations, in the newspapers in his favour. He likewise wrote a prologue to Kelly's comedy of a Word to the Wise, which was acted at Covent Garden Theatre for the benefit of the author's widow and children.
This year he engaged to write a concise account of the Lives of the English Poets ; as a recompense for an undertaking as he thought not very tedious or difficult, he bargained for two hundred guineas ; and was afterwards presented by the proprietors with one hundred pounds. In the selection of the poets he had no responsible concern ; but Blackmore, Watts, Pomfret, and Yalden were inserted by his recommendation. This was the last of Johnson's literary labours, and though completed when he was in his seventy-first year, shews that his faculties were in as vigorous a state as ever. His judgment and his taste, his quickness in the discrimination of motives, and facility of moral reflections, shine as strongly in these narratives, as in any of his more early performances; and his style, if not so energetic, is at least more smoothed down to the generality of readers.
From the close of this work, the malady that persecuted him through life came upon him with redoubled force. His constitution rapidly declined,
and the fabric of his mind seemed to be tottering. The contemplation of his approaching end dwelt constantly upon his mind, and the prospect of death he declared was terrible.
In 1781 he lost his valuable friend Thrale, who appointed him executor with a legacy of L. 200. “I felt,” he said, “ almost the last flatter of his pulse, and looked for the last time upon that face, that for fifteen years liad never been turned upon me, but with respect and benignity.” Of his departed friend he has given a true character in a Latin epitaph, to be seen in the church-yard of Streatham.
After the death of Mr Thrale, his visits to Strea. tham, where he no longer looked upon himself as a welcome guest, became less and less frequent; and on the 5th of April 1783, he took his final leave of Mrs Thrale, to whom for near twenty years he had been under the highest obligations; a friendly correspondence continued however between Johnson and Mrs Thrale without interruption, till the summer following, when she retired to Bath, and informed him that she was going to dispose of herself in marriage to Signior Piozzi, an Italian music master. Johnson endeavoured to dissauile her from the match, but without effect; for her answer to his letter on the subject, contained a vindication of her conduct and her fame, and an inhibition of Johnson from following her to Bath, and a farewell, concluding, have changed your opinion of
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From this time the narrative of his life is little more than a recital of the pressures of melancholy and disease, and of numberless excursions taken to calm his anxiety, and sooth his apprehensions of the terrors of death, by flying as it were from himself. In the beginning of 1784, he was seized with a spasmodic asthma, which was soon accompanied with some degree of dropsy. From the latter of these complaints, however, he was greatly relieved by a course of medicine.
Having expressed a desire of going to Italy for the recovery of his health, and his friends not deeming his pension adequate to the support of the expences incidental to the journey, application was made to the minister by Mr Boswell and Sir Joshua Reynolds, unknown to Johnson, through Lord Chancellor Thurlow, for an augmentation of it by L. 200. The application was unsuccessful; but the Lord Chancellor offered to let him lave L. 500, out of his own purse, under the appellation of a loan, but with the intention of conferring it as a present. It is also recorded to the honour of Dr Brocklesby, that he offered to contribute L. 100 per annum, during his residence abroad; but Johnson declined the offer with becoming gratitude ; indeed he was now approaching fast to a state in which money could be of no avail. . During his illness he experienced the steady and kind attachment of his numerous friends. Dr Heber. den, Dr Brocklesby, Dr Warren, and Mr Cruikshank generously attended him without accepling any fees ; but his constitution was decayed beyond the restora