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of the following Essays, the reader will permit me to express the most sensible regret, that the friends of Mr. Scott are disappointed in the hope of seeing justice done to his memory, by the same masterly pen, that has lately enriched our Bational stock of criticism and biography.
After Mr. Scott's decease, the present volume being nearly ready for publication, it was thought advisable to prefix fome narrative of the author, which, as it would be highly acceptable to his friends in particular, might not be altogether unwelcome to the public in general, who, it has been often observed, will always take an interest in those persons, from whose labours they have derived profit or delight.
Mr. David Barclay, * from his acquaintance with the late Dr. Johnson, thinking with equal truth and kindness, that he might be able to pay a most effential mark of attention to the name of Mr. Scott, resolved to apply to the Doctor to become his biographer. Dr. Johnson was then at Ashbourn, in Derbyshire, to which place he was gone for the benefit of his health, which had been, for some time, in a very declining state. , Esq. iii Mr. Barclay, by letter, signified to him, that knowing he respected our late friend, and judging that some anecdotes of so deserving a character ought to be handed down to posterity, he wished that an account, after the manner of the lives of the poets, might be prefixed to a posthumous volume then in the press, entitled Critical Essays; and that if the Doctor would undertake the arrangement, he would endeavour to furnish materials. To this application the Doctor, ever ready to pay attention to the calls of friendship, returned the following answer.
* Grandson of the great Apologist.
66 As I have made some advances to* wards recovery, and loved Mr. Scott, ** I am willing to do justice to his me
mory. You will be pleased to get “ what account you can of his life, with " dates, where they can be had, and
" when I return, we will contrive how
our materials can be best employed."
66 I am,
". Your most humble servant,
“SAMUEL JOHNson.” Ashbourn, Sept. 16th, 1784.
In November following the Doctor came to town, when Mr. Barclay waited on him with the Critical Effays, and fome anecdotes. He found that excel. lent man in his chamber, much indifposed ; and indeed, by this time, the fears of his friends began to be very general, and their distress to increase almost daily, at the nearer prospect of such an irreparable loss. Mr. Barclay entered into a conversation with the Doctor, on the subject of the account to be given of Mr. Scott, and produced some materials which had been collected by several of his friends. He then spoke of the volume of Essays, to which it was designed to prefix the account, but expressed some doubts respecting the propriety and delicacy of his application to Dr. Johnson to write a life and criticism to be placed before the Essays of an author, who had, he observed, in those
Ersays, controverted the Doctor's opinion in several instances; and he went so far as to say, that had he before perused his friend's work, he believed he should not have ventured to folicit the Doctor on the occasion : he added, that he thought it might be as well to relinquish the design of publishing the book, as the writer was not living to defend his own criticisms. Upon this the Doctor desired that some of the passages alluded to might be pointed out to him, which desire Mr. Barclay immediately complied with, and read a few pages, chusing those parts wherein Mr. Scott had dif