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religious and political notions so congenial with those in which Langton had been educated, that he conceived for him that veneration and attachment which he ever preserved.” *
Mr. Langton finished his education at Trinity College, Oxford, and was, in 1778, a Captain in the Lincolnshire Militia. During his encampment at Warley, in this year, he was visited by Johnson, who spent a week with him much to his satisfaction, and highly amused by the novelty of
To the moral and religious character of Mr. Langton, which was in every respect great and unexceptionable, Johnson has borne the noblest and the warmest testimony. Speaking of him to Mr. Boswell in 1777, he thus expresses himself: " The earth does not bear a worthier man than Bennet Langton;" + and in 1784, after conversing on death, and its awful consequences, he exclaimed, “ I know not who will go to Heaven if Langton does not. Sir, I could almost say, Sit anima mea cum Langtono.”I The Doctor's affection for Mr. Langton was strongly exhibited on his death-bed; when, turning to him, he tenderly said, Te teneam moriens deficiente manu.
* Boswell's Life of Johnson, vol. 1. p. 211. † Boswell's Life of Johnson, vol. 3. p. 175.
# Vol. 4. p. 294. Vol. 4. p. 435.
This good man died on December the 18th, 1801. He was the contributor of one essay to the IDLER, No 67, containing a Scholar's Journal. The object of this paper, which is written with a considerable portion of spirit and humour, is, to shew how impracticable it frequently proves, to adhere to a prescribed plan of study, independent of circumstances and inclination; and that it would be often better to pursue the literary attraction of the hour, provided it be not trifling or vicious, than to toil reluctantly, at a fixed period, over what presents to the imagination nothing but the image of compulsory labour. This advice, though it may occasionally be followed with advantage, is rather too favourable to indolence to be inculcated on a broad scale. Desultory study was one of the failings of Johnson; and I rather imagine, that Mr. Langton intended his paper to convey some indirect and ironical stric. tures on the practice of his friend.
OBSERVATIONS ON THE PERIODICAL PAPERS
WHICH WERE WRITTEN DURING AND BETWEEN THE PUBLICATION OF THE RAMBLER, ADVENTURER, AND IDLER.
It will be the business of this Essay to enumerate the various Periodical Papers which were commenced between the first number of the Rambler and the last of the Idler; that is, between March the 20th, 1750, and April the 5th, 1760; a period in which, though embracing little more than ten years, not less than twenty papers, independent of the Johnsonian essays, had been candidates for public favour.
Among these will be found the World and the Connoisseur; the authors of which have had the honour, and perhaps justly, of ranking with the few who have obtained the appellation of British Classical Essayists. The World therefore, and the Connoisseur, will very properly demand a greater share of attention than can be allotted to less successful attempts. The notices, however, both biographical and critical will be, as much as possible, in proportion to the merits and reputation of each work; and, as usual, it is intended that the papers of a political stamp shall, as less permanently interesting, oceupy the smallest portion of our time.
1. THE INSPECTOR. This work was written by Sir John Hill, one of the most extraordinary characters of the eighteenth century. He was the son of a clergyman, and born, either at Peterborough or Spalding, about the year 1716. He was educated for the profession of medicine, and at first practised as an Apothecary in St. Martin's Lane, London; but, marrying imprudently in a pecuniary light, he found pharmacy alone not sufficiently lucrative, and possessing some botanical knowledge, he endeavoured to render it a source of emolument. He was fortunate enough to obtain, in this line, the patronage of the Duke of Richmond, and Lord Petre, who not only employed him in the care and arrangement of their own botanical gardens, but assisted him in the execution of a plan which he had formed, for collecting rare and valuable plants in various districts of the kingdom, of which he afterwards printed a catalogue by subscription. In a short
time, however, although industry was not wanting on his part, this occupation turned out as unproductive as the former, and, in an evil hour, he directed his attention to the stage, in the double capacity of actor and author. The attempts which he made in the first of these departments, at the Haymarket and Covent Garden, subjected him to much ridicule; nor were his literary efforts for the Theatre more successful; his farces, for he attempted nothing higher, were perfectly contemptible, and drew from Garrick the following poignant epigram :
For physic and farces his equal there scarce is;
His farces are physic, his physic a farce is: and Churchill in his Rosciad has not spared him:
With sleek appearance and with ambling pace, And, type of vacant head, with vacant face, The Proteus Hill put in his modest plea,-• Let Favour speak for others, Worth for me.'For who, like him, his various powers could call Into so many shapes and shine in all? Who could so nobly grace the motley list, Actor, Inspector, Doctor, Botanist? Knows any one so well-sure no one knows At once to play, prescribe, compound, compose? Driven with disgrace from his assumption of the sock and buskin, he re-applied with undiminished ardour to pharmacy and natural hiss