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IN PARLIAMENT. HOUSE OF COMMONS, DECEMBER 8, 1741. DEBATE ON THE ADDRESS. The commons who attended in the house of lords, having heard his majesty's speech to both houses, returned to their own house, where a copy of it being this day read to them by the speaker, Mr. H.A. HERBERT moved for an address, in words to this effect: Sir, to address the throne on the present occasion, is a custom which, as it is founded on reason and decency, has... more...

PREFATORY OBSERVATIONS TO THE PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES. The government of this country has long and justly been considered the best among the nations of Europe; and the English people have ever evinced a proportionate desire for information in its proceedings. But in the earlier days of our constitution, we shall find that much jealousy on the part of our rulers debarred the people from access to the national deliberations. Queen Elizabeth, with a... more...

REVIEWS.   LETTER ON DU HALDE'S HISTORY OF CHINA, 1738. There are few nations in the world more talked of, or less known, than the Chinese. The confused and imperfect account which travellers have given of their grandeur, their sciences, and their policy, have, hitherto, excited admiration, but have not been sufficient to satisfy even a superficial curiosity. I, therefore, return you my thanks for having undertaken, at so great an... more...

MY LORD, When first I undertook to write an English Dictionary, I had no expectation of any higher patronage than that of the proprietors of the copy, nor prospect of any other advantage than the price of my labour. I knew that the work in which I engaged is generally considered as drudgery for the blind, as the proper toil of artless industry; a task that requires neither the light of learning, nor the activity of genius, but maybe successfully... more...

THE ADVENTURER. No. 34. SATURDAY, MARCH 3, 1753. Has toties optata exegit gloria pænas. Juv. Sat. x. 187. Such fate pursues the votaries of praise. TO THE ADVENTURER. SIR, Fleet Prison, Feb. 24. To a benevolent disposition, every state of life will afford some opportunities of contributing to the welfare of mankind. Opulence and splendour are enabled to dispel the cloud of adversity, to dry up the tears of the widow and the orphan,... more...


THE RAMBLER. No. 106. SATURDAY, MARCH 23, 1751.   Opinionum commenta delet dies, naturæ judicia Confirmat.  CICERO, vi. Att. 1.   Time obliterates the fictions of opinion, and confirms the decisions  of nature. It is necessary to the success of flattery, that it be accommodated to particular circumstances or characters, and enter the heart on that side where the passions stand ready to receive... more...

PRIOR. Matthew Prior is one of those that have burst out from an obscure original to great eminence. He was born July 21, 1664, according to some, at Winburn, in Dorsetshire, of I know not what parents; others say, that he was the son of a joiner of London: he was, perhaps, willing enough to leave his birth unsettled, in hope, like Don Quixote, that the historian of his actions might find him some illustrious alliance. He is supposed to have... more...

INTRODUCTION The pieces reproduced in this little volume are now beginning to bid for notice from their third century of readers. At the time they were written, although Johnson had already done enough miscellaneous literary work to fill several substantial volumes, his name, far from identifying an "Age", was virtually unknown to the general public. The Vanity of Human Wishes was the first of his writings to bear his name on its face. There... more...

PREFACE TO SHAKESPEARE That praises are without reason lavished on the dead, and that the honours due only to excellence are paid to antiquity, is a complaint likely to be always continued by those, who, being able to add nothing to truth, hope for eminence from the heresies of paradox; or those, who, being forced by disappointment upon consolatory expedients, are willing to hope from posterity what the present age refuses, and flatter... more...

It is the fate of those who toil at the lower employments of life, to be rather driven by the fear of evil, than attracted by the prospect of good; to be exposed to censure, without hope of praise; to be disgraced by miscarriage, or punished for neglect, where success would have been without applause, and diligence without reward. Among these unhappy mortals is the writer of dictionaries; whom mankind have considered, not as the pupil, but the... more...