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He had, in the year 1735, married Miss Dyer, only daughter of Sir Swinnerton Dyer, of Spain's Hall in Essex, with whom he is said to have received 10,000l. She died young; and Mt. Whitehead, after his release from Fleetwood's debt, lived in a state of independence, if not afluence. He was particularly attached to Lord Le Despenser, at whose house he almost constantly resided, and by whom he was held in an equal degree of estimation. To this nobleman he bequeathed his heart, with 501. for an urn, desiring it to be placed in some corner of his lordship’s mausoleum, as a memorial of its warm attachment to the noble founder.
For some time before Mr. Whitehead's death, he lingered under a severe illness, during which he employed himself in burning his manuscripts. Though his disorder was such as no medicine would reach, he bore the excruciating pains which he suffered with great resignation, and died December 30, 1774., On the 13th of August following his heart was deposited, as he desired, with great pomp and ceremony.
JOHN ARMSTRONG was born in Castleton parish, Roxboroughshire
, , where his father and brother were both ministers. He compleated his education in the university of Cambridge ; and took his degree in physick, February 4, 1732, with much reputation. He soon after came to the metropolis, where he was more successful as an author than a physician.
In 1737 he published his celebrated, though too licentious poem, called, “ The Economy of Love;" which has passed through many editions, more, it is to be feared, to the advantage of the bookseller than to the reader.
In 1744 he produced “ The Art of preserving Health ;” a work, in which an excellent critick observes, there is a classical correctness and closeness of style that are truly admirable.
In 1745 he was appointed one of the physicians to the Hospital for lame and sick Soldiers behind Buckingham House ; and in 1760 went physician to the army in Germany. He was the author of several medical works, which do not appear to have acquired much reputation.
He died in September 1779; and to the surprize of his friends, left a considerable sum of money, saved by great parsimony out of a very moderate income arising from his half-pay.
LANGHORNE,was a native of Kirkby-Stephen in Westmoreland. His father was the Reverend Joseph Langhorne, who died when this his son was young. The place of his education is unknown; nor does it appear from what seminary he obtained the academical honour by which he was distinguished. About the year 1761 he was at Clare-Hall, Cambridge ; but his name does not appear in the list of Graduates either here or at Oxford. After entering into holy orders he became tutor to the sons of Robert Cracroft, Esq. of Hackthorne in Lincolnshire, whose daughter he after. wards married. In December 1765 he was appointed assistant at Lincoln'sInn.. His marriage took place in January, 1767; and the death of his lady soon after produced the monody which does equal honour to the taste and sensibility of the author, and to the virtues of the person celebrated. He was a very frequent and miscellaneous writer, both in verse and prose. Besides a great variety of pieces, to which he affixed his name, he was the author of many others which were anonymous. Some time before his death he was presented to the living of Blagden in Somersetshire. He died on the first of April, 1779.
SAMUEL JOHNSON was the eldest son of Michael Johnsen, a book
seller at Lichfield, in which city this great man was born on the 7th day of Sepiember, 1709. The chief part of his education he received under Mr. Hunter, master of the free-school of his native city. On the zist of October, 1728, he was admitted of Pembroke College, Oxford, where he was entered as a communer,
He remained in the University about three years in the whole, when the inability of his father to support hinı longer compelled him to quit the place without a degree. To inaintain himself, he condescended to accept the office of under-master, or usher, of a free grammar-school at Market-Bosworth in Leicestershire, which he relinquished in a very short time. He resided in 1733 at Birmingham, and there is supposed to have been first introduced to Mıs. Porier, who about the year 1736 became his wife.
With the small property he acquired with this lady, he attempted to establish a boarding-school for young gentlemen at Edial near Lichfield, but without success. On this disappointment he quitted the country in March 1737, in company with Mr. Garrick, and came to London, where he remained during the rest of his life.
In London he had to contend with all the inconveniencies which a stranger, poor and friendless, could encounter; and for the greater part of his life, had no other income than what arose from his writings; which, however excellent, afforded but a scanty and even precarious subsistence. In this state, often struggling with adversity, he passed twenty-four years from his arrival in the metropolis.
An uniformity of life so unbroken can only be marked by the publication of his works; the principal of which shall be enumerated. On his arrival in town he engaged to write for “ The Gentleman's Magazine;" and in 1738 published “ London, a Poem,” in imitation of Juvenal. About 1743 he was employed by Osborn, the bookseller, in compiling the “ Catalogue of “ įhe Harleian Library.” In 1744 the "Life of Savage" appeared; and in
1746 he undertook to compile the “ Dictionary of the English language," which was not compleated until the year 1755.
He did not confine himself entirely to this work. In January 1749, “ The “ Vanity of Human Wishes," his second imitation of Juvenal, was published. In February “ Irene" was acted at Drury-lane. In 1750 he be
” gan " The Rambler," which was continued until March 1752.
In that year he lost his wife, whose memory he has perpetuated by the excellent « Sermon written on her Death.” In 1755 his Dictionary was
“ published; and the next year he put forth Proposals for publishing Shakspeare, with notes. In 1758 he began “ The Idler;" and the next year produced “Rasselas, Prince of Abyssinia,"
The beginning of his present Majesty's reign was favourable to the fortune of Dr. Johnson. He was amongst the first to whom a pension was offered. His acceptance of it released him from the necessity of continual application, and gave him a respite from literary drudgery. Soon afterwards he was introduced to the family of Mr. Thrale, in which he passed much of his time, until the death of that gentleman,
In 1765 he published his edition of “Shakspeare;” and about the same time had the degree of Doctor of Laws conferred on him by the University of Dublin. He had before had the degree of Master of Arts given him, unasked by the University of Oxford. In 1773 he travelled into Scotland; and two years afterwards published the Narrative of his Tour. He several times undertook the defence of Administration against the opponents of the Minister; and it has been asserted, that it was once in contemplation to procure him a seat in parliament.
When the work, now reprinted, was undertaken, he engaged to furnish the Lives of the several Poets: These were published at two different times, in 1779 and 1781, and were his last productions. His health had been some time declining; he lingered about a year, and died on the 13th of December, 1784. He was buried in Westminster Abbey; where a monument is about to be erected to his memory.
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was born at Cambridge, in the beginning of the year 1714-15. His father was a baker in that town, who, through indolence and dissipation, left nothing behind him but some debts
, which his son very honorably discharged. His mother was a very amiable, prudent, and exemplary woman.
Mr. Whitehead received the first rudiments of his education at some com. mon school at Cambridge; but at the age of fourteen, July 6, 1728, he was removed to Winchester, having obtained a nomination into that College by means of Mr. Bromley. At school he was always of a delicate turn, and though obliged to go to the hills with the other boys, he spent his time there in reading either plays or poetry; and was also particularly fond of the “ Atalantis," and all other books of private history or character. He very early exhibited his taste for poetry; for, while other boys were contented with shewing up twelve or fourteen lines, he would fill half a sheet, but always with English verse. When he was sixteen he wrote a whole comedy.
In the year 1733, the Earl of Peterborough having Mr. Pope at his house, near Southampton, carried him to Winchester, to shew him the collegeschool. The Earigave ten guineas to be disposed of in prizes amongst the boys; and Mr. Pope set then a subject to write upon, viz. PETERBOROUGH. Prizes of a guinea each were given to six of the boys, of whom Whitehead was one. The remaining sum was laid out for other boys in subscriptions to Pine's Horace, then about to be published. He enjoyed for sonie little time a lucrative place in the college, that of prepositor of the hall
. Ar the election in September 1935, he was treated with singular injustice, for through the force of superior interest he was placed so low on the roll, that it was scarcely possible for him to succeed to New College. Being now superannuated he left Winchester of course, deriving no other advantage from the college than a good education.