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Western Islands'; Boswell's letters of acceptance of the office of Secretary for Foreign Correspondence to the Royal Academy'; the proposal for the publication of a Geographical Dictionary issued by Johnson's beloved friend, Dr. Bathurst'; and Mr. Recorder Longley's record of his conversation with Johnson on Greek metres“, will, I trust, throw some lustre on this edition.
In many notes I have been able to clear up statements in the text which were not fully understood even by the author, or were left intentionally dark by him, or have become obscure through lapse of time. I would particularly refer to the light that I have thrown on Johnson's engaging in politics with William Gerard Hamilton', and on Burke's 'talk of retiringo.' In many other notes I have established Boswell's accuracy against attacks which had been made on it apparently with success. It was with much pleasure that I discovered that the story told of Johnson's listening to Dr. Sacheverel's sermon is not in any way improbable', and that Johnson's 'censure' of Lord Kames was quite just'. The ardent advocates of total abstinence will not, I fear, be pleased at finding at the end of my long note on Johnson's wine-drinking that I have been obliged to show that he thought that the gout from which he suffered was due to his temperance. “I hope you persevere in drinking,' he wrote to his friend, Dr. Taylor. “My opinion is that I have drunk too little.'
In the Appendices I have generally treated of subjects which demanded more space than could be given them in the narrow limits of a foot-note. In the twelve pages of the essay on Johnson's Debates in Parliament" I have com
· Post, vi. xxxij.
• Post, iv. 9, n. 5.
Post, i. 45, n. 2.
• Post, iii. 387, n. 1.
pressed the result of the reading of many weeks. In examining the character of George Psalmanazar' I have complied with the request of an unknown correspondent who was naturally interested in the history of that strange man, • after whom Johnson sought the most?.' In my essay on Johnson's Travels and Love of Travelling' I have, in opposition to Lord Macaulay's wild and wanton rhetoric, shown how ardent and how elevated was the curiosity with which Johnson's mind was possessed. In another essay I have explained, I do not say justified, his strong feelings towards the founders of the United States; and in a fifth I have examined the election of the Lord Mayors of London, at a time when the City was torn by political strife'. To the other Appendices it is not needful particularly to refer.
In my Index, which has cost me many months' heavy work,' while I bore burdens with dull patience and beat the track of the alphabet with sluggish resolutiono,' I have, I hope, shown that I am not unmindful of all that I owe to men of letters. To the dead we cannot pay the debt of gratitude that is their due. Some relief is obtained from its burthen, if we in our turn make the men of our own generation debtors to us. The plan on which my Index is made will, I trust, be found convenient. By the alphabetical arrangement in the separate entries of each article the reader, I venture to think, will be greatly facilitated in his research
Certain subjects I have thought it best to form into groups. Under America, France, Ireland, London, Oxford, Paris, and Scotland, are gathered together almost all the references to those subjects. The provincial towns of France, however, by some mistake I did not include in the general article. One important but'intentional omission I must justify. In the case of the quotations in which my notes
1 Post, iii. 503.
Post, iii. 357
Post, iii. 510.
5 Post, iii. 521. Post, i. 219, n. 1.
abound I have not thought it needful in the Index to refer to the book unless the eminence of the author required a separate and a second entry. My labour would have been increased beyond all endurance and my Index have been swollen almost into a monstrosity had I always referred to the book as well as to the matter which was contained in the passage that I extracted. Though in such a variety of subjects there must be many omissions, yet I shall be greatly disappointed if actual errors are discovered. Every entry I have made myself, and every entry I have verified in the proof-sheets, not by comparing it with my manuscript, but by turning to the reference in the printed volumes. Some indulgence nevertheless may well be claimed and granted. If Homer at times nods, an index-maker may be pardoned, should he in the fourth or fifth month of his task at the end of a day of eight hours' work grow drowsy. May I fondly hope that to the maker of so large an Index will be extended the gratitude which Lord Bolingbroke says was once shown to lexicographers? 'I approve,' writes his Lordship,
the devotion of a studious man at Christ Church, who was overheard in his oratory entering into a detail with God, and acknowledging the divine goodness in furnishing the world with makers of dictionaries':'
In the list that I give in the beginning of the sixth volume of the books which I quote, the reader will find stated in full the titles which in the notes, through regard to space, I was forced to compress.
The Concordance of Johnson's sayings which follows the Index' will be found convenient by the literary man who desires to make use of his strong and pointed utterances. Next to Shakespeare he is, I believe, quoted and misquoted the most frequently of all our writers. It is not every man that can carry a bon-mot'.' Bons-mots that are miscarried * Post, i. 343, n. 3.
? Post, vi.
: Post, ii. 401.
of all kinds of good things suffer the most. In this concordance the general reader, moreover, may find much to delight him. Johnson's trade was wit and wisdom', and some of his best wares are here set out in a small space. It was, I must confess, with no little pleasure that in revising my proof-sheets I found that the last line in my Concordance and the last line in my six long volumes is Johnson's quotation of Goldsmith's fine saying: 'I do not love a man who is zealous for nothing.'
In the "forward' references in the notes to other passages in the book, the reader may be surprised at finding that while often I only give the date under which the reference will be found, frequently I am able to quote the page and volume. The explanation is a simple one: two sets of compositors were generally at work, and two volumes were pass ing through the press simultaneously.
In the selection of the text which I should adopt I hesitated for some time. In ordinary cases the edition which received the author's final revision is the one which all future editors should follow. The second edition, which was the last that was brought out in Boswell's lifetime, could not, I became convinced, be conveniently reproduced. As it was passing through the press he obtained many additional anecdotes and letters. These he somewhat awkwardly inserted in an Introduction and an Appendix. He was engaged on his third edition when he died. “He had pointed out where some of these materials should be inserted,' and 'in the margin of the copy which he had in part revised he had written notes'.' His interrupted labours were completed by Edmond Malone, to whom he had read aloud almost the whole of his original manuscript, and who had helped him in the revision of the first half of the book when it was in type'. *These notes,' says Malone, are faithfully preserved. He * Post, iii. 155, n. 2, 442.
· Post, i. 17, 18.
: Post, i. 8.
adds that every new remark, not written by the author, for the sake of distinction has been enclosed within crotchets'.' In the third edition therefore we have the work in the condition in which it would have most approved itself to Boswell's own judgment. In one point only, and that a trilling one, had Malone to exercise his judgment. But so skilful an editor was very unlikely to go wrong in those few cases in which he was called upon to insert in their proper places the additional material which the author had already published in his second edition. Malone did not, however, correct the proof - sheets. I thought it my duty, therefore, in revising my work to have the text of Boswell's second edition read aloud to me throughout Some typographical errors might, I feared, have crept in. In a few unimportant cases early in the book I adopted the reading of the second edition, but as I read on I became convinced that almost all the verbal alterations were Boswell's own. Slight errors, often of the nature of Scotticisms, had been corrected, and greater accuracy often given. Some of the corrections and additions in the third edition that were undoubtedly from his hand were of considerable importance.
I have retained Boswell's spelling in accordance with the wish that he expressed in the preface to his Account of Cor. sica. “If this work,' he writes, “should at any future period be reprinted, I hope that care will be taken of my orthography. The punctuation too has been preserved.
I should be wanting in justice were I not to acknowledge that I owe much to the labors of Mr. Croker. No one can know better than I do his great failings as an editor. His remarks and criticisms far too often deserve the contempt that Macaulay so liberally poured on them. Without being deeply versed in books, he was shallow in himself. Johnson's strong character was never known to him. Its breadth and Post, i. 17, 18.
? Post, iv. 37, n. 1.