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EFORE I enter upon an account
of the worthy and ingenious author 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 malterly pen, that has bately: enriched our national stock of criticism and biography.
After Mr. Scott's decease, the present volume being nearly ready for publication, it was thought advisable to prefix some 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 efsential 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 DerbyThire, to which:placed he was gone for the benefit of his health,; which had been, for some time; in: a very declining state.
* Graridion of the great Apologist.
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.
" As I have made some advances to* wards recovery, and loved Mr. Scott, “ I am willing to do justice to his memory.
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.”
6 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 Essays, and fome anecdotes. He found that excellent 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 mate