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had vanity fufficient to prevent him from borrowing his materials froin another.
But whatever inducement Dr. Dodd might have to folicit Dr. Johnson's aid on such an occasion, it is hardly possible to divine what could be Dr. Johnson's motive for accepting the office. A man to express the precise state of mind of another about to be destined to an ignominious death for a capital crime, should, one would imagine, have some consciousness, that he himself had incurred some guilt of the same kind; in which case his own apprehensions would furnish him with topics of deprecation, suited to the purpose of his obtaining mercy. But this, we trust, was not the case.
Was it then the vanity of shewing how far he was superior in abilities to an eminent master in his own craft of artificial compofition, that Brevailed with Dr. Johnson to lend his talent on so critical an occafion? Such, one might fear, was the motive, from the early and general intelligence imparted to the public, by whom this admired piece of oratory was fabricated.
Was it, lastly, the prefumption that a speech composed by Dr. Johnson, and delivered by Dr. Dodd, could not fail of interesting all the world in favour of the prisoner, and of procuring the most powerful intercession for the unhappy criminal's life?
Authors in the pleasing contemplation of their own powers, and in the exertion of them upon paper, may imagine ftrange (hings in their closets concerning their efficiency when they come abroad. But here, alas ! all the propriecy of diction, and the beauty of colouring, were absolutely wasted upon the good sense and native integrity of the late worthy Recorder of London. He saw through the artifice. He faw no circumstance from one end of the transaction to the other to make it probable that no fraud was intended, nor found any weight in the counterbalance proposed in the pompous strains of Dr. Samuel Johnson.
But there is no end of conjectures in a case where fome absurdity or other arises to disgrace every account that can be suggested of the origin of a maneuvre - of which no precedent can be found, except among the works of the chapláin of Newgate.
We should indeed be inclined to call ir a mere jeu d'esprit, in the nature of an essay of what could be faid in a fictitious cafe, were it not utterly incredible that any one with the coolest feelings of humanity (of which we by no means fuppose. Dr. Johnson to be deftitute) could bring himself to sport with the calamity of the unhappy criminal, without hope or prospect, or intention of re
lief; a sort of prostitution for which hardly any censure can be too fevere.
A D D E N D U M.
Mr. Boerhadem's Letter in the Gentleman's Magazine for: October, 1779, concerning Dr. Johnson's narrative of Milton's omitting all acts of religious worship both in public and private, came not to our hands till it was too late to insert, in the printed Remarks on Dr. Johnson's Life of Milton, the thanks we think he well deserves, as an able cooperator with us in the defence of Milton. The friends of Milton are particularly obliged to him, for remarking Dr. Newton's improvement upon To