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scarcely suppose, could be much elevated by the panegyrical strains or addresses of his supplicatory adulators; so doubtless he would have treated the base scurrility of his envious detractors with equal disregard or contempt, but for the officious kindness of one of those good friends, who are so obliging as to take care that nothing disagreeable shall escape the notice of the aggrieved party. The offensive publication was very eagerly brought to him by a friend of this stamp, who is believed to have been one of his own countrymen, an officer in the army, who thought he could not confer on him a greater favour, than by engaging him in a quarrel.

Among his papers has been found the following unfinished relation of the adventure, dictated to an amanuensis; for the poor doctor's hand was too much bruised to hold a pen.

« As I find the public have been informed by the "newspapers of a slight fray which happened be

a flimsy poem, built upon false principles; principles diame. trically opposite to liberty. What is the Good-natured Man, but a poor, water-gruel, dramatic dose? What is the Desert ed Village, but a pretty poem, of easy numbers, without fancy, dignity, genius, or fire ? And pray what may be the last speaking pantomime, so praised by the doctor himself, but an incoherent piece of stuff, the figure of a woman, with a fish's tail, without plot, incident, or intrigue? We are made to laugh at stale, dull jokes, wherein we mistake pleasantry for wit, and grimace for humour ; wherein every scene is unna. tural, and inconsistent with the rules, the laws of nature, and of drama, viz. Two gentlemen come to a man of fortune's house, eat, drink, sleep, &c. and take it for an inn. The one is intended as a lover to the daughter ; he talks with her for some hours, and when he sees her again in a different dress, he treats her as a bar.girl, and swears she squinted. He abuses the master of the house, and threatens to kick him out of his own doors. The Squire, whom we are told is to be a fool, proves the most sensible being of the piece; and

« tween me and the editor of an evening paper; to “prevent their being imposed upon, the account is “shortly this.

“ A friend of mine came on Friday to inform me " that a paragraph was inserted against me in the « London Packet, which I was in honour bound to re. 6 sent. I read the paper, and considered it in the 66 same light as he did. I went to the editor, and “ struck him with my cane on the back. A scuffle " ensued." ***

The editor alleged, that Dr. Goldsmith came into his shop, and thus accosted him. “ You have publish" ed a thing in your paper, (my name is Goldsmith,) " reflecting upon a young lady. As for myself I do 4 not mind it." The publisher, who was probably as unconscious of the mischief to which he was instrumental, as the horse, that draws the artillery, is of the

He makes out a whole act, by bidding his mother lie close behind a busb, persuading ber that his father, her own husband, is a highwayman, and that he is come to cut their throats; and to give his cousin an opportunity to go off, he drives his mother over hedges, ditches, and through ponds. There is not, sweet sucking Johnson, a natural stroke in the whole play, but the young fellow's giving the stolen jewels to the mother, sup. posing her to be the landlady. That Mr. Colman did no justice to this piece, I honestly allow ; that he told all his friends it would be damned, I positively aver ; and from such ungenerous insinuations, without a dramatic merit, it rose to pub. lic notice: and it is now the ton to go to see it; though I never saw a person that either liked it or approved it, any more than the absurd plot of the Home's tragedy of Alonzo. Mr. Goldsmith, correct your arrogance! reduce your vanity : and endeavour to believe, as a man, you are of the plainest sort; and as an author, but a mortal piece of mediocrity.

Brise le miroir infidele
Qui vous cache la vérité.


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havoc it makes ; stooped down to look behind his counter for the paper complained of. When our poet's friend pointed to the man's back, as presenting a fair mark for his cane, which he exercised upon it without mercy ; and, as he says,

a scuffie ensued," wherein the Doctor himself got his share of blows, while his military friend, with great sang froid, stood looking on. Nor is it easy to guess how it might have ended, when Dr. Kenrick, a noted libeller, who was believed to be the author of the scurrilous letter, and was all the while in the publisher's counting-house, at length thought proper to interpose, parted the combatants, and sent the Doctor severely bruised home in a coach.

The subject of this dispute was long discussed ia the public papers, which discanted on the impropriety of attacking a man in his own house; and an action was threatened for the assault; which was at length compromised, after our bard had published in the Daily Advertiser of March 31, 1773, the following address :

TO THE PUBLIC. LEST it should be supposed that I have been wil. ling to correct in others an abuse of which I have been guilty myself, I beg leare to declare, that in all my life I never wrote, or dictated, a single paragraph, letter, or essay, in a newspaper, except a few moral essays, under the character of a Chinese, about ten years ago, in the Ledger; and a letter, to which I signed my name, in the St. James's Chronicle. If the liberty of the press, therefore, has been abused, I have had no hand in it.

I have always considered the press as the protector of our freedom, as a watchful guardian, capable of uniting the weak against the encroachments of power.

What concerns the public most properly admits of a public discussion. But of late the press has turned from defending public interest, to making inroads upon private life; from combating the strong, to overwhelming the feeble. No condition is now too ob scure for its abuse, and the protector is become the tyrant of the people. In this manner the freedom of the press is beginning to sow the seeds of its own dissolution; the great must oppose it from principle, and the weak from fear; till at last every rank of mankind shall be found to give up its benefits, content with security from its insults.

How to put a stop to this licentiousness, by which all are indiscriminately abused, and by which vice consequently escapes in the general censure, I am unabl to tell ; all I could wish is, that as the law gives us no protection against the injury, so it should give calumniators no shelter after having provoked correction. The insults, which we receive before the public, by being more open, are, the more distressing ; by treating them with silent contempt, we do not pay a sufficient deference to the opinion of the world. By recurring to legal redress, we too often expose the weakness of the law, which only serves to increase our mortification by failing to relieve us.

In short, every man should singly consider himself as a guardian of the liberty of the press, and, as far as his influence can extend, should endeavour to prevent its licentiousness becoming at last the grave of its freedom.


On the subject of this adventure, we find the following curious and amusing conversation in Boswell.

On Saturday, April 3,' says the biographer, the day after my arrival in London this year, I went to his (Dr. Johnson's) house late in the evening, and sat with

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Mrs. Williams till he came home. I found in the London Chronicle Dr. Goldsmith's apology to the public for beating Evans, a bookselier, on account of a paragraph in a newspaper published by him, which Goldsmith thought impertinent to him and to a lady of his acquaintance. The apology was written so much in Dr. Johnson's manner, that both Mrs. Williams and I supposed it to be his; but when he came home he soon undeceived us. When he said to Mrs. Williams, “ Well, Dr. Goldsmith's manifesto has got into your

paper;" I asked him if Dr. Goldsmith had written it, with an air that made him see I suspected it was his, though subscribed by Goldsmith.

JOHNSON. “ Sir, Dr. Goldsmith would no more have asked me to have wrote such a thing as that for him, than he would have asked me to feed him with a spoon, or to do any thing else that denoted his imbecility. I as much believe that he wrote it, as if I had seen him do it. Sir, had he shown it to any one friend, he would not have been allowed to publish it. He has, indeed, done it very well, but it is a foolish thing well done. I suppose he has been so much elated with the success of his new comedy, that he has thought every thing that concerned hiñ must be of importance to the public.”

BOSWELL. “ I fancy, Sir, this is the first time that he has been engaged in such an adventure.

Johnson. “ Why, Sir, I believe it is the first time he has beat ; he may have been beaten before. This, Sir, is a new pleasure to him.”

Dr. Johnson took every opportunity that presented itself of praising the talents and genius of our author. Goldsmith's medical friend, by whose valuable and interesting communications we have been much obliged, has furnished us with the following anecdote :

I was dining at Sir Joshua Reynolds's, August 7,

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