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I owe to your kindness-for the cordiality with which you have at all times been pleased to welcome me— for the number of valuable acquaintances to whom you have introduced me-for the noctes cœnæque Deúm, which I have enjoyed. under your roof.
If a work fhould be infcribed to one who is mafter of the fubject of it, and whofe approbation, therefore, must ensure it credit and fuccefs, the Life of Dr. Johnson is, with the greatest propriety, dedicated to Sir Joshua Reynolds, who was the intimate and beloved friend of that great man; the friend, whom he declared to be "the most invulnerable man he knew; with whom, if he should quarrel, he fhould find the most difficulty how to abufe." You, my dear Sir, ftudied him, and knew him well: you venerated and admired him. Yet, luminous as he was upon the whole, you perceived all the fhades which mingled in the grand compofition, all the little peculiarities and flight blemishes which marked the literary Coloffus. Your very warm commendation of the fpecimen which I gave in my "Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides," of my being able to preferve his converfation in an authentick and lively manner, which opinion the
Publick has confirmed, was the beft encouragement for me to persevere in my purpose of producing the whole of my ftores.
In one respect this work will in fome paffages be different from the former. In my "Tour" I was almost unboundedly open in my communications; and from my eagerness to display the wonderful fertility and readiness of Johnson's wit, freely fhewed to the world its dexterity, even when I was myself the object of it. I trusted that I should be liberally understood, as knowing very well what I was about, and by no means as fimply unconscious of the pointed effects of the fatire. I own, indeed, that I was arrogant enough to suppose that the tenor of the rest of the book would fufficiently guard me against such a strange imputation. But it seems I judged too well of the world; for, though I could fcarcely believe it, I have been undoubtedly informed, that many perfons, especially in diftant quarters, not penetrating enough into Johnson's character fo as to understand his mode of treating his friends, have arraigned my judgement, instead of seeing that I was fenfible of all that they could obferve.
It is related of the great Dr. Clarke, that when in one of his leisure hours he was unbending himself with a few friends in the most playful and frolicksome manner, he observed Beau Nash approaching; upon which he fuddenly flopped:-" My boys, (faid he,) let us be grave: here comes a fool." The world, my friend, I have found to be a great fool, as to that particular, on which it has become necessary to speak very plainly. I have, therefore, in this work been more reserved; and though I tell nothing but the truth, I have still kept in my mind that the whole truth is not always to be expofed. This, howeyer, I have managed fo as to occasion no diminution of the pleasure which my book should afford; though malignity may sometimes be disappointed of its gratifications.
TABLE OF CONTENTS,
TO BOTH VOLUMES.
Adey, Mifs, ii. 37, 306.
Akerman, Mr. character and anecdotes of, ii. 319,
Allen, Mr. the printer, ii. 214, 384.
Afcham, Roger, Johnfon's life of, i. 253.
Afhbourne, fingular anecdote of the mistress of
an inn there, ii. 176.