Round Table Movement, by Wikipedia

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Re: Round Table Movement, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Thu Dec 12, 2019 4:10 am

Archibald Primrose, 5th Earl of Rosebery
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 12/11/19

The Milner Group could never have been built up by Milner's own efforts. He had no political power or even influence. All that he had was ability and ideas. The same thing is true about many of the other members of the Milner Group, at least at the time that they joined the Group. The power that was utilized by Milner and his Group was really the power of the Cecil family and its allied families such as the Lyttelton (Viscounts Cobham), Wyndham (Barons Leconfield), Grosvenor (Dukes of Westminster), Balfour, Wemyss, Palmer (Earls of Selborne and Viscounts Wolmer), Cavendish (Dukes of Devonshire and Marquesses of Hartington), and Gathorne-Hardy (Earls of Cranbrook). The Milner Group was originally a major fief within the great nexus of power, influence, and privilege controlled by the Cecil family. It is not possible to describe here the ramifications of the Cecil influence. It has been all-pervasive in British life since 1886. This Cecil Bloc was built up by Robert Arthur Talbot Gascoyne-Cecil, Viscount Cranborne and third Marquess of Salisbury (1830-1903). The methods used by this man were merely copied by the Milner Group. These methods can be summed up under three headings: (a) a triple-front penetration in politics, education, and journalism; (b) the recruitment of men of ability (chiefly from All Souls) and the linking of these men to the Cecil Bloc by matrimonial alliances and by gratitude for titles and positions of power; and (c) the influencing of public policy by placing members of the Cecil Bloc in positions of power shielded as much as possible from public attention.

The triple-front penetration can be seen in Lord Salisbury's own life. He was not only Prime Minister for a longer period than anyone else in recent history (fourteen years between 1885 and 1902) but also a Fellow of All Souls (from 1853) and Chancellor of Oxford University (1869-1903), and had a paramount influence on The Quarterly Review for many years. He practiced a shameless nepotism, concealed to some extent by the shifting of names because of acquisition of titles and female marital connections, and redeemed by the fact that ability as well as family connection was required from appointees...

The Cecil Bloc did not disappear with the death of Lord Salisbury in 1903 but was continued for a considerable period by Balfour. It did not, however, continue to grow but, on the contrary, became looser and less disciplined, for Balfour lacked the qualities of ambition and determination necessary to control or develop such a group. Accordingly, the Cecil Bloc, while still in existence as a political and social power, has largely been replaced by the Milner Croup. This Group, which began as a dependent fief of the Cecil Bloc, has since 1916 become increasingly the active portion of the Bloc and in fact its real center. Milner possessed those qualities of determination and ambition which Balfour lacked, and was willing to sacrifice all personal happiness and social life to his political goals, something which was quite unacceptable to the pleasure-loving Balfour. Moreover, Milner was intelligent enough to see that it was not possible to continue a political group organized in the casual and familiar way in which it had been done by Lord Salisbury. Milner shifted the emphasis from family connection to ideological agreement. The former had become less useful with the rise of a class society based on economic conflicts and with the extension of democracy. Salisbury was fundamentally a conservative, while Milner was not. Where Salisbury sought to build up a bloc of friends and relatives to exercise the game of politics and to maintain the Old England that they all loved, Milner was not really a conservative at all. Milner had an idea — the idea he had obtained from Toynbee and that he found also in Rhodes and in all the members of his Group. This idea had two parts: that the extension and integration of the Empire and the development of social welfare were essential to the continued existence of the British way of life; and that this British way of life was an instrument which unfolded all the best and highest capabilities of mankind. Working with this ideology derived from Toynbee and Balliol, Milner used the power and the general strategic methods of the Cecil Bloc to build up his own Group. But, realizing that conditions had changed, he put much greater emphasis on propaganda activities and on ideological unity within the Group. These were both made necessary by the extension of political democracy and the rise of economic democracy as a practical political issue. These new developments had made it impossible to be satisfied with a group held together by no more than family and social connections and animated by no more far-sighted goal than the preservation of the existing social structure.

The Cecil Bloc did not resist this change by Milner of the aims and tactics of their older leader. The times made it clear to all that methods must be changed. However, it is possible that the split which appeared within the Conservative Party in England after 1923 followed roughly the lines between the Milner Group and the Cecil Bloc.

It should perhaps be pointed out that the Cecil Bloc was a social rather than a partisan group — at first, at least. Until 1890 or so it contained members of both political parties, including the leaders, Salisbury and Gladstone. The relationship between the two parties on the topmost level could be symbolized by the tragic romance between Salisbury's nephew and Gladstone's niece, ending in the death of the latter in 1875. After the split in the Liberal Party in 1886, it was the members of the Cecil Bloc who became Unionists — that is, the Lytteltons, the Wyndhams, the Cavendishes. As a result, the Cecil Bloc became increasingly a political force. Gladstone remained socially a member of it, and so did his protege, John Morley, but almost all the other members of the Bloc were Unionists or Conservatives. The chief exceptions were the four leaders of the Liberal Party after Gladstone, who were strong imperialists: Rosebery, Asquith, Edward Grey, and Haldane. These four supported the Boer War, grew increasingly anti-German, supported the World War in 1914, and were close to the Milner Group politically, intellectually, and socially...

Socially, the Cecil Bloc could be divided into three generations. The first (including Salisbury, Gladstone, the seventh Duke of Devonshire, the eighth Viscount Midleton, Goschen, the fourth Baron Lyttelton, the first Earl of Cranbrook, the first Duke of Westminster, the first Baron Leconfield, the tenth Earl of Wemyss, etc.) was not as "social" (in the frivolous sense) as the second. This first generation was born in the first third of the nineteenth century, went to both Oxford and Cambridge in the period 1830-1855, and died in the period 1890-1915. The second generation was born in the second third of the nineteenth century, went almost exclusively to Oxford (chiefly Balliol) in the period 1860-1880, and died in the period 1920-1930. This second generation was much more social in a spectacularly frivolous sense, much more intellectual (in the sense that they read books and talked philosophy or social problems) and centered on a social group known at the time as "The Souls." The third generation of the Cecil Bloc, consisting of persons born in the last third of the nineteenth century, went to Oxford almost exclusively (New College or Balliol) in the period 1890-1905 and began to die off about 1940. This third generation of the Cecil Bloc was dominated and organized about the Milner Group. It was very serious-minded, very political, and very secretive.

The first two generations did not regard themselves as an organized group but rather as "Society." The Bloc was symbolized in the first two generations in two exclusive dining clubs called "The Club" and "Grillion's." The membership of the two was very similar, with about forty persons in each and a total of not over sixty in both together. Both organizations had illustrious pasts. The Club, founded in 1764, had as past members Joshua Reynolds (founder), Samuel Johnson, Edmund Burke, Oliver Goldsmith, James Boswell, Edward Gibbon, Charles Fox, David Garrick, Adam Smith, Richard B. Sheridan, George Canning, Humphry Davy, Walter Scott, Lord Liverpool, Henry Hallam, Lord Brougham, T. B. Macauley, Lord John Russell, George Grote, Dean Stanley, W. E. H. Lecky, Lord Kelvin, Matthew Arnold, T. H. Huxley, Bishop Wilberforce, Bishop Stubbs, Bishop Creighton, Gladstone, Lord Salisbury, Balfour, John Morley, Richard Jebb, Lord Goschen, Lord Acton, Lord Rosebery, Archbishop Lang, F. W. Pember (Warden of All Souls), Lord Asquith, Edward Grey, Lord Haldane, Hugh Cecil, John Simon, Charles Oman, Lord Tennyson, Rudyard Kipling, Gilbert Murray, H. A. L. Fisher, John Buchan, Maurice Hankey, the fourth Marquess of Salisbury, Lord Lansdowne, Bishop Henson, Halifax, Stanley Baldwin, Austen Chamberlain, Lord Carnock, and Lord Hew art. This list includes only members up to 1925. There were, as we have said, only forty members at any one time, and at meetings (dinner every fortnight while Parliament was in session) usually only about a dozen were present.

Grillion's was very similar to The Club. Founded in 1812, it had the same members and met under the same conditions, except weekly (dinner when Parliament was in session). The following list includes the names I can find of those who were members up to 1925: Gladstone, Salisbury, Lecky, Balfour, Asquith, Edward Grey, Haldane, Lord Bryce, Hugh Cecil, Robert Cecil, Curzon, Neville Lyttelton, Eustace Percy, John Simon, Geoffrey Dawson, Walter Raleigh, Balfour of Burleigh, and. Gilbert Murray.(8)

The second generation of the Cecil Bloc was famous at the time that it was growing up (and political power was still in the hands of the first generation) as "The Souls," a term applied to them partly in derision and partly in envy but used by themselves later. This group, flitting about from one great country house to another or from one spectacular social event to another in the town houses of their elders, has been preserved for posterity in the autobiographical volumes of Margot Tennant Asquith and has been caricatured in the writings of Oscar Wilde. The frivolity of this group can be seen in Margot Tennant's statement that she obtained for Milner his appointment to the chairmanship of the Board of Inland Revenue in 1892 merely by writing to Balfour and asking for it after she had a too brief romantic interlude with Milner in Egypt. As a respected scholar of my acquaintance has said, this group did everything in a frivolous fashion, including entering the Boer War and the First World War.

One of the enduring creations of the Cecil Bloc is the Society for Psychical Research, which holds a position in the history of the Cecil Bloc similar to that held by the Royal Institute of International Affairs in the Milner Group. The Society was founded in 1882 by the Balfour family and their in-laws, Lord Rayleigh and Professor Sidgwick. In the twentieth century it was dominated by those members of the Cecil Bloc who became most readily members of the Milner Group. Among these we might mention Gilbert Murray, who performed a notable series of experiments with his daughter, Mrs. Arnold J. Toynbee, in the years before 1914, and Dame Edith Lyttelton, herself a Balfour and widow of Arthur Balfour's closest friend, who was president of the Society in 1933-1934.

The third generation was quite different, partly because it was dominated by Milner, one of the few completely serious members of the second generation. This third generation was serious if not profound, studious if not broadly educated, and haunted consistently by the need to act quickly to avoid impending disaster. This fear of disaster they shared with Rhodes and Milner, but they still had the basic weakness of the second generation (except Milner and a few other adopted members of that Group), namely that they got everything too easily. Political power, wealth, and social position came to this third generation as a gift from the second, without the need to struggle for what they got or to analyze the foundations of their beliefs. As a result, while awake to the impending disaster, they were not able to avoid it, but instead tinkered and tampered until the whole system blew up in their faces.

This third generation, especially the Milner Group, which formed its core, differed from its two predecessors in its realization that it formed a group. The first generation had regarded itself as "England," the second regarded itself as "Society," but the third realized it was a secret group — or at least its inner circles did. From Milner and Rhodes they got this idea of a secret group of able and determined men, but they never found a name for it, contenting themselves with calling it "the Group," or "the Band," or even "Us."...

In each of his seven wills, Rhodes entrusted his bequest to a group of men to carry out his purpose. In the first will, as we have seen, the trustees were Lord Carnarvon and Sidney Shippard. In the second will (1882), the sole trustee was his friend N. E. Pickering. In the third will (1888), Pickering having died, the sole trustee was Lord Rothschild. In the fourth will (1891), W. T. Stead was added, while in the fifth (1892), Rhodes's solicitor, B. F. Hawksley, was added to the previous two. In the sixth (1893) and seventh (1899) wills, the personnel of the trustees shifted considerably, ending up, at Rhodes's death in 1902, with a board of seven trustees: Lord Milner, Lord Rosebery, Lord Grey, Alfred Beit, L. L. Michell, B. F. Hawksley, and Dr. Starr Jameson. This is the board to which the world looked to set up the Rhodes Scholarships...

Another prominent political figure who may have been an initiate in the period before 1902 is Lord Rosebery. Like his father-in-law, Lord Rothschild, who was an initiate, Rosebery was probably not a very active member of The Society of the Elect, although for quite different reasons. Lord Rothschild held aloof because to him the whole project was incomprehensible and unbusinesslike; Lord Rosebery held aloof because of his own diffident personality and his bad physical health. However, he cooperated with the members of the society and was on such close personal relationships with them that he probably knew of the secret society. Brett was one of his most intimate associates and introduced him to Milner in 1885. As for Rhodes, Rosebery's official biographer, the Marquess of Crewe, says that he "both liked and admired Cecil Rhodes who was often his guest." He made Rhodes a Privy Councillor, and Rhodes made him a trustee of his will. These things, and the fact that the initiates generally assumed that Rosebery would grant their requests, give certain grounds for believing that he was a member of their society. If he was, he played little role in it after 1900.

-- The Anglo-American Establishment: From Rhodes to Cliveden, by Carroll Quigley

The Right Honourable, The Earl of Rosebery, KG KT PC FRS FBA
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
In office: 5 March 1894 – 22 June 1895
Monarch: Victoria
Preceded by: William Ewart Gladstone
Succeeded by: The Marquess of Salisbury
Leader of the Opposition
In office: 22 June 1895 – 6 October 1896
Monarch: Victoria
Prime Minister: The Marquess of Salisbury
Preceded by: The Marquess of Salisbury
Succeeded by: Sir William Harcourt
Lord President of the Council
In office: 10 March 1894 – 21 June 1895
Monarch: Victoria
Prime Minister: Himself
Preceded by: The Earl of Kimberley
Succeeded by: The Duke of Devonshire
Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs
In office: 18 August 1892 – 10 March 1894
Monarch: Victoria
Prime Minister: William Ewart Gladstone
Preceded by: The Marquess of Salisbury
Succeeded by: The Earl of Kimberley
In office
6 February 1886 – 3 August 1886
Monarch: Victoria
Prime Minister: William Ewart Gladstone
Preceded by: The Marquess of Salisbury
Succeeded by: The Earl of Iddesleigh
Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal
In office: 5 March 1885 – 9 June 1885
Monarch: Victoria
Prime Minister: William Ewart Gladstone
Preceded by: The Lord Carlingford
Succeeded by: The Earl of Harrowby
First Commissioner of Works
In office: 13 February 1885 – 9 June 1885
Monarch: Victoria
Prime Minister: William Ewart Gladstone
Preceded by: George Shaw-Lefevre
Succeeded by: David Plunket
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department
In office: August 1881 – June 1883
Monarch: Victoria
Prime Minister: William Ewart Gladstone
Preceded by: Leonard Courtney
Succeeded by: J. T. Hibbert
Member of the House of Lords, Lord Temporal
In office: 7 May 1868 – 21 May 1929
Hereditary peerage
Preceded by: The 4th Earl of Rosebery
Succeeded by: The 6th Earl of Rosebery
Personal details
Born: Archibald Philip Primrose, 7 May 1847, Mayfair, Middlesex, England
Died: 21 May 1929 (aged 82), Epsom, Surrey, England
Resting place: Dalmeny Parish Church, Edinburgh, Scotland
Political party: Liberal
Spouse(s): Hannah de Rothschild (m. 1878; died 1890)
Children: 4, including Sybil, Harry, and Neil
Parents: Archibald Primrose, Lord Dalmeny
Wilhelmina Powlett, Duchess of Cleveland
Alma mater: Christ Church, Oxford

Garter encircled shield of arms of Archibald Primrose, 5th Earl of Rosebery, KG, as displayed on his Order of the Garter stall plate in St. George's Chapel, viz. Quarterly, 1st and 4th, vert three primroses within a double tressure flory counterflory or, for PRIMROSE; 2nd and 3rd, argent a lion rampant double-queued sable, for CRESSY.

Archibald Philip Primrose, 5th Earl of Rosebery, 1st Earl of Midlothian, KG, KT, PC, FRS, FBA (7 May 1847 – 21 May 1929), was a British Liberal politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from March 1894 to June 1895. Between the death of his father, in 1851, and the death of his grandfather, the 4th Earl of Rosebery, in 1868 he was known by the courtesy title of Lord Dalmeny.

Rosebery first came to national attention in 1879 by sponsoring the successful Midlothian campaign of William Ewart Gladstone. He briefly was in charge of Scottish affairs. His most successful performance in office came as chairman of the London County Council in 1889. He entered the cabinet in 1885 and served twice as foreign minister, paying special attention to French and German affairs. He succeeded Gladstone as prime minister and leader of the Liberal Party in 1894; the Liberals lost the 1895 election. He resigned the party leadership in 1896 and never again held political office.

Rosebery was widely known as a brilliant orator, an outstanding sportsman and marksman, a writer and historian, connoisseur and collector. All of these activities attracted him more than politics, which grew boring and unattractive. Furthermore, he drifted to the right of the Liberal party and became a bitter critic of its policies. Winston Churchill, observing that he never adapted to democratic electoral competition, quipped: "He would not stoop; he did not conquer."[1]

Rosebery was a Liberal Imperialist who favoured strong national defence and imperialism abroad and social reform at home, while being solidly anti-socialist. Historians judge him a failure as foreign minister[2] and as prime minister.[3][4]

Origins and early life

Archibald Philip Primrose was born on 7 May 1847 in his parents' house in Charles Street, Mayfair, London.[5] His father was Archibald Primrose, Lord Dalmeny (1809–1851), son and heir apparent to Archibald Primrose, 4th Earl of Rosebery (1783–1868), whom he predeceased. Lord Dalmeny was a courtesy title used by the Earl's eldest son and heir apparent, during the Earl's lifetime, and was one of the Earl's lesser Scottish titles. Lord Dalmeny (died 1851) was MP for Stirling from 1832 to 1847 and served as First Lord of the Admiralty under Lord Melbourne.[6]

Rosebery's mother was Lady (Catherine Lucy) Wilhelmina Stanhope (1819–1901), a historian who later wrote under her second married name "the Duchess of Cleveland", a daughter of Philip Stanhope, 4th Earl Stanhope. Lord Dalmeny died on 23 January 1851, having predeceased his father, when the courtesy title passed to his son, the future Rosebery, as the new heir to the earldom.[7] In 1854 his mother remarried to Lord Harry Vane (later after 1864 known as Harry Powlett, 4th Duke of Cleveland).[8] The relationship between mother and son was very poor. His elder and favourite sister Lady Leconfield was the wife of Henry Wyndham, 2nd Baron Leconfield.[9]

Education and youth

Dalmeny attended preparatory schools in Hertfordshire and Brighton, and then Eton College (1860–65[10]). At Eton, he formed a close attachment to his tutor William Johnson Cory: they visited Rome together in 1864, and maintained correspondence for years afterwards.[11] Dalmeny proceeded to Christ Church, Oxford, matriculating in January 1866.[12] He left Oxford in 1868:[13] Dalmeny bought a horse named Ladas, although a rule banned undergraduates from owning horses. When he was found out, he was offered a choice: to sell the horse or to give up his studies. He chose the latter, and subsequently was a prominent figure in British horseracing for 40 years.

The three Prime Ministers from 1880 to 1902, namely Gladstone, Salisbury and Rosebery, all attended both Eton and Christ Church.

Rosebery toured the United States in 1873, 1874 and 1876. He was pressed to marry Marie Fox, the sixteen-year-old adopted daughter of Henry Fox, 4th Baron Holland. She declined him and later married Prince Louis of Liechtenstein.

Succession to earldom

When his grandfather died in 1868, Dalmeny became 5th Earl of Rosebery. The earldom did not however entitle Archibald Primrose to sit in the House of Lords, nor disqualify him from sitting in the House of Commons, as the title is part of the old Peerage of Scotland, from which 16 members (representative peers) were elected to sit in the Lords for each session of Parliament. However, in 1828, Rosebery's grandfather had been created 1st Baron Rosebery in the Peerage of the United Kingdom, which did entitle Rosebery to sit in the Lords like all peers of the United Kingdom, and barred him from a career in the House of Commons.[citation needed]


Rosebery is reputed to have said that he had three aims in life: to win the Derby, to marry an heiress, and to become Prime Minister.[14] He managed all three.

Early political career

At Eton, Rosebery notably attacked Charles I of England for his despotism, and went on to praise his Whig forebears – his ancestor, James Stanhope, 1st Earl Stanhope, was a minister to George I of Great Britain. Benjamin Disraeli often met with Rosebery in the 1870s to try to recruit him for his party, but this proved futile. Disraeli's major rival, William Ewart Gladstone, also pursued Rosebery, with considerable success.

As part of the Liberal plan to get Gladstone to be MP for Midlothian, Rosebery sponsored and largely ran the Midlothian Campaign of 1879. He based this on what he had observed in elections in the United States. Gladstone spoke from open-deck trains, and gathered mass support. In 1880, he was duly elected Member for Midlothian and returned to the premiership.[15][16]

Rosebery served as Foreign Secretary in Gladstone's brief third ministry in 1886. He served as the first chairman of the London County Council, set up by the Conservatives in 1889. Rosebery Avenue in Clerkenwell is named after him.[17][18]

He served as President of the first day of the 1890 Co-operative Congress.[19]

Rosebery's second period as Foreign Secretary, 1892–1894, predominantly involved quarrels with France over Uganda. To quote his hero Napoleon, Rosebery thought that "the Master of Egypt is the Master of India"; thus he pursued the policy of expansion in Africa.[citation needed]

Rosebery helped Gladstone's Second Home Rule Bill in the House of Lords; nevertheless it was defeated overwhelmingly in the autumn of 1893.[20] The first bill had been defeated in the House of Commons in 1886.[21]

Prime Minister

Further information: Rosebery ministry

Rosebery became a leader of the Liberal Imperialist faction of the Liberal Party and when Gladstone retired, in 1894, Rosebery succeeded him as Prime Minister, much to the disgust of Sir William Harcourt, the Chancellor of the Exchequer and leader of the more left-wing Liberals. Rosebery's selection was largely because Queen Victoria disliked most of the other leading Liberals. Rosebery was in the Lords, but Harcourt controlled the Commons, where he often undercut the prime minister. Rosebery was the only one of the ten Prime Ministers to serve during Queen Victoria's reign who was born after her accession to the throne in 1837.

Rosebery's government was largely unsuccessful, as in the Armenian crisis of 1895–96. He spoke out for a strongly pro-Armenian and anti-Turkish policy.[22] Gladstone, a prime minister in retirement, called on Britain to intervene alone. The added pressure weakened Rosebery.[23]

His designs in foreign policy, such as expansion of the fleet, were defeated by disagreements within the Liberal Party. He angered all the European powers.[24]

The Unionist-dominated House of Lords stopped the whole of the Liberals' domestic legislation. The strongest figure in the cabinet was Rosebery's rival, Harcourt.[citation needed] He and his son Lewis were perennial critics of Rosebery's policies. There were two future prime ministers in the Cabinet, Home Secretary H. H. Asquith, and Secretary of State for War Henry Campbell-Bannerman. Rosebery rapidly lost interest in running the government. In the last year of his premiership, he was increasingly haggard: he suffered insomnia due to the continual dissension in his Cabinet.[citation needed]

On 21 June 1895, the government lost a vote in committee on army supply by just seven votes. While this might have been treated merely as a vote of no confidence in Secretary for War Campbell-Bannerman, Rosebery chose to treat it as a vote of censure on his government. On 22 June, he and his ministers tendered their resignations to the Queen, who invited the Unionist leader, Lord Salisbury, to form a government. The following month, the Unionists won a crushing victory in the 1895 general election, and held power for ten years (1895–1905) under Salisbury and Arthur Balfour. Rosebery remained the Liberal leader for another year, then permanently retired from politics.

Lord Rosebery's government, March 1894 – June 1895

• Lord Rosebery – First Lord of the Treasury, Lord President of the Council, and Leader of the House of Lords
• Lord Herschell – Lord Chancellor
• Lord Tweedmouth – Lord Privy Seal
• H. H. Asquith – Secretary of State for the Home Department
• Lord Kimberley – Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs
• Lord Ripon – Secretary of State for the Colonies
• Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman – Secretary of State for War
• Sir Henry Hartley Fowler – Secretary of State for India
• Sir William Harcourt – Chancellor of the Exchequer and Leader of the House of Commons
• Lord Spencer – First Lord of the Admiralty
• Anthony John Mundella – President of the Board of Trade
• Arnold Morley – Postmaster-General
• George John Shaw-Lefevre – President of the Local Government Board
• James Bryce – Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
• John Morley – Chief Secretary for Ireland
• Sir George Otto Trevelyan – Secretary for Scotland
• Sir Arthur Herbert Dyke Acland – Vice-President of the Council


• May 1894: James Bryce succeeds A. J. Mundella at the Board of Trade. Lord Tweedmouth succeeds Bryce at the Duchy of Lancaster, remaining also Lord Privy Seal.

Later life

Rosebery caricatured by Spy for Vanity Fair, 1901

Liberal Imperialists

Rosebery resigned as leader of the Liberal Party on 6 October 1896, to be succeeded by Harcourt and gradually moved further and further from the mainstream of the party. With the Liberals in opposition divided over the Boer War which started in 1899, Rosebery, although officially politically inactive, emerged as the head of the “Liberal Imperialists” faction of the party, opposed to Irish Home rule. He supported the war, and brought along many nonconformists likewise.[25][26] However the war was opposed by a younger faction of Liberals, including David Lloyd George and the party leader Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman.[27] Rosebery's acolytes, including H. H. Asquith and Edward Grey, regularly implored him to return as party leader and even Campbell-Bannerman said he would serve under Rosebery, if he accepted fundamental Liberal party doctrine.[28] In a much trailed speech to the Chesterfield Liberal Association in December 1901, Rosebery was widely expected to announce his return but instead delivered what Harcourt's son and private secretary Loulou described as "an insult to the whole past of the Liberal party", by telling the party to, "clean its slate".[29][30] In 1902 Rosebery was installed as president of the newly formed “Liberal League” which superseded the Liberal Imperialist League and counted amongst its vice presidents Asquith and Grey.[31]

1905 onwards

Rosebery's positions made it impossible to join the Liberal government that returned to power in 1905. Rosebery turned to writing, including biographies of Lord Chatham, Pitt the Younger, Napoleon, and Lord Randolph Churchill. Another one of his passionate interests was the collecting of rare books.

The last years of his political life saw Rosebery become a purely negative critic of the Liberal governments of Campbell-Bannerman and Asquith. His crusade "for freedom as against bureaucracy, for freedom as against democratic tyranny, for freedom as against class legislation, and ... for freedom as against Socialism"[32] was a lonely one, conducted from the crossbenches in the Lords. He joined the die-hard unionist peers in attacking Lloyd George's redistributive People's Budget in 1909 but stopped short of voting against the measure for fear of bringing retribution upon the Lords. The crisis provoked by the Lords' rejection of the budget encouraged him to reintroduce his resolutions for Lords reform, but they were lost with the dissolution of parliament in December 1910.

After assaulting the "ill-judged, revolutionary and partisan" terms of the 1911 Parliament Bill,[33] which proposed to curb the Lords' veto, he voted with the government in what proved to be his last appearance in the House of Lords. This was effectively the end of his public life, though he made several public appearances to support the war effort after 1914 and sponsored a "bantam battalion" in 1915. Though Lloyd George offered him "a high post not involving departmental labour" to augment his 1916 coalition, Rosebery declined to serve.[34]

Death and burial

Durdans, Woodcote End, Epsom, Surrey, England was the place of Rosebery's demise in 1929, shown in 2011. Its gardens are smaller than when engraved by John Hassell in 1816.

The last year of the war was clouded by two personal tragedies: his son Neil's death in Palestine in November 1917 and Rosebery's own stroke a few days before the armistice. He regained his mental powers, but his movement, hearing, and sight remained impaired for the rest of his life. His sister Constance described his last years as a "life of weariness, of total inactivity, and at the last of almost blindness". John Buchan remembered him in his last month of life, "crushed by bodily weakness" and "sunk in sad and silent meditations".[35]

Rosebery died at The Durdans, Epsom, Surrey, on 21 May 1929, to the accompaniment, as he had requested, of a gramophone recording of the "Eton Boating Song". Survived by three of his four children, he was buried in the small church at Dalmeny. By the time of his death, he was the last Victorian-era British Prime Minister alive.

His estate was probated at £1,500,122 3s. 6d.; (equivalent to £89,573,000 in 2018) and he was thus the richest prime minister ever, followed by Salisbury, then by Palmerston.[citation needed]


Hannah de Rothschild, portrait by Frederic Leighton, 1st Baron Leighton

On 20 March 1878 in the Board of Guardians in Mount Street, London, at the age of 31 Rosebery married the 27-year-old Hannah de Rothschild (1851–1890), only child and sole heiress of the Jewish banker Mayer Amschel de Rothschild, and the wealthiest British heiress of her day. Her father had died four years previously in 1874, and bequeathed to her the bulk of his estate. Later on the same day the marriage was blessed in a Christian ceremony in Christ Church, Down Street, Piccadilly.

In January 1878 Rosebery had told a friend that he found Hannah "very simple, very unspoilt, very clever, very warm-hearted and very shy ... I never knew such a beautiful character." Both Queen Victoria's son the Prince of Wales and her cousin, the army commander George, Duke of Cambridge attended the ceremony. Hannah's death in 1890 from typhoid, compounded by Bright's disease, left him distraught.

Following his wife's death it was speculated that Rosebery intended to marry the widowed Princess Helena, Duchess of Albany, widow of Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany, 4th son of Queen Victoria.[36]

It was also speculated that Rosebery was homosexual or bisexual. Like Oscar Wilde, he was hounded by John Douglas, 9th Marquess of Queensberry, for his association with Francis Douglas, Viscount Drumlanrig, one of Queensberry's sons[37] – who was his private secretary.

On 18 October 1894, sixteen months after his ennoblement, Drumlanrig died from injuries received during a shooting party. The inquest returned a verdict of "accidental death", but his death was rumoured potentially to be suicide or murder.[38] It was speculated at the time, and indeed evidence suggests,[39] that Drumlanrig may have had a romantic or sexual relationship with Rosebery. The suggestion was that Queensberry had threatened to expose the Prime Minister if his government did not vigorously prosecute Wilde for Wilde's relationship with Drumlanrig's younger brother, Lord Alfred Douglas. Queensberry believed, as he put it in a letter, that "Snob Queers like Rosebery" had corrupted his sons, and he held Rosebery indirectly responsible for Drumlanrig's death.[40]


By his wife Hannah de Rothschild, Rosebery had two sons and two daughters, with whom, according to Margot Asquith, he loved to play:

• Albert Edward Harry Meyer Archibald Primrose, 6th Earl of Rosebery known as Harry (8 January 1882 – 30 May 1974) he married Lady Dorothy Grosvenor (granddaughter of Hugh Lupus Grosvenor, 1st Duke of Westminster through his third son Lord Henry Grosvenor) on 15 April 1909 and was divorced from her in 1919. They had two children. He married Hon. Eva Isabel Bruce (daughter of Henry Campbell Bruce, 2nd Baron Aberdare) on 24 June 1924. They had two children.
• Neil James Archibald Primrose (14 December 1882 – 18 November 1917) he married Lady Victoria Stanley (daughter Edward Stanley, 17th Earl of Derby) on 7 April 1915. They had one daughter: Ruth Wood, Countess of Halifax.
• Lady Sybil Primrose (1879–25 February 1955) she married General Sir Charles Grant on 28 March 1903. They had one son.
• Lady Margaret "Peggy" ,[41] Etrenne Hannah Primrose (1881–13 March 1967) she married Robert Crewe-Milnes, 1st Marquess of Crewe on 20 April 1899. They had two children.

Sporting interests

Horse racing

As a result of his marriage to Hannah de Rothschild, Rosebery acquired the Mentmore Towers estate and Mentmore stud near Leighton Buzzard which had been built by Mayer Amschel de Rothschild. Rosebery built another stable and stud near Mentmore Towers at Crafton, Buckinghamshire, called Crafton Stud.

Rosebery won several of the five English Classic Races. His most famous horses were Ladas who won the 1894 Derby, Sir Visto who did it again in 1895 (Rosebery was Prime Minister on both occasions), and Cicero in 1905.


Rosebery became the first president of the London Scottish Rugby Football Club in 1878, also developed a keen interest in association football and was an early patron of the sport in Scotland. In 1882 he donated a trophy, the Rosebery Charity Cup, to be competed for by clubs under the jurisdiction of the East of Scotland Football Association. The competition lasted over 60 years and raised thousands of pounds for charities in the Edinburgh area.

Rosebery also became Honorary President of the national Scottish Football Association, with the representative Scotland national team and Honorary President of Heart of Midlothian FC. The national team occasionally forsook their traditional dark blue shirts for his traditional racing colours of primrose and pink. This occurred 9 times during Rosebery's lifetime, most notably for the 1900 British Home Championship match against England, which the Scots won 4–1. These colours were used for the away kit of the Scotland national team in 2014[42][43] and were Heart of Midlothian's away colours for season 2016/17.

Literary interests

He was a keen collector of fine books and amassed an excellent library. It was sold on 29 October 2009 at Sothebys, New Bond Street. Rosebery unveiled the statue of Robert Burns in Dumfries on 6 April 1882.[44]


Dalmeny House was the ancestral seat of the Earls of Rosebery and the setting for Lord and Lady Rosebery's political houseparties.

Mentmore Towers

Villa Delahente now Villa Rosebery

Rosebery was the owner of twelve houses. By marriage, he acquired:

• Mentmore Towers in Buckinghamshire, a huge neo-Renaissance stately home, sold in the 1970s
• Number 40, Piccadilly, in London.

With his fortune, he bought:

• a shooting lodge at Carrington in Midlothian
• a Georgian villa at Postwick in Norfolk
• In 1897, he bought Villa Delahente in Posillipo, overlooking the Bay of Naples, currently an official residence of the President of the Italian Republic, still known as Villa Rosebery
• 38 Berkeley Square, London
• The Durdans, Epsom, where he died in 1929.

As Earl of Rosebery, he was laird of:

• Dalmeny House on the banks of the Firth of Forth (pictured)
• Barnbougle Castle in the grounds of Dalmeny Estate, used by Rosebery (an insomniac) for privacy.

He rented:

• a home in Randolph Crescent, Edinburgh, during World War I
• Lansdowne House, in London, from the Marquess of Lansdowne.

Place-name tributes

The Oatlands area in the South Side of Glasgow was laid out in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, contemporary with Rosebery's most prominent period. Several of the street names have an association with him or areas around his estate to the northwest of Edinburgh: Rosebery Street, Dalmeny Street, Queensferry Street, Granton Street and Cramond Street.[45]

In London, Rosebery avenue passing through Clerkenwell was named after him, in recognition of his service as the London County Council's first chairman.[46]

Rosebery, New South Wales, a suburb of Sydney, is named after him. A major street, Dalmeny Avenue, runs through the area. Rosebery, Tasmania is also named after him, via the name of a mining company. Dalmeny, New South Wales, a suburb on the New South Wales South Coast, is named after him. Roseberry Avenue in the suburb of South Perth, Western Australia, is also named after him. The former township of Rosebery in South Australia (now part of Collinswood) was named for him, as was modern-day Rosebery Lane in Collinswood.[47] Rosebery in the north west of Victoria, some 15 km south of Hopetoun is also named after him.

Rosebery House, Epsom College, in Epsom, is named after him. Rosebery School sits on an area of land given to the borough by Lord Rosebery.

In October 1895 Lord Rosebery opened the new Liberal Club on Westborough, in Scarborough, only months after being Prime Minister. The building now houses a Wetherspoons, which is named in his honour.

See also

• Lady Stair's House
• In his fraudulent memoirs, Sir Edmund Backhouse, 2nd Baronet claimed to be Rosebery's lover.



1. Lawrence, Jon (2009). Electing Our Masters : The Hustings in British Politics from Hogarth to Blair. Oxford UP. p. 1. ISBN 9780191567766.
2. Martel, Gordon (1986). Imperial Diplomacy: Rosebery and the Failure of Foreign Policy. McGill-Queen's UP. ISBN 9780773504424.
3. Peter Stansky, Ambitions and Strategies: The Struggle for the Leadership of the Liberal Party in the 1890s (1964).
4. Robert Rhodes James, Rosebery: a biography of Archibald Philip, fifth earl of Rosebery (1963).
5. James, Robert Rhodes (1963). Rosebery (paperback 1995 ed.). London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson. p. 9. ISBN 978-1857992199.
6. Rhodes James (paperback), p. 4.
7. Rhodes James (paperback), pp. 10–11.
8. Rhodes James (paperback), pp. 11–12.
9. Footprints in Time. John Colville. 1976. Chapter 2, Lord Roseberys lamb.
10. "Primrose, Rt. Hon. Archibald Philip (5th Earl of Rosebery)". The Eton Register. Part III: 1862–1868.
11. Jeyes, Samuel Henry (1906). The Earl of Rosebery. p. 5. Retrieved 30 June 2019.
12. Foster, Joseph. Alumni Oxonienses: Primrose, Archibald Philip, Baron Dalmeny. p. 1153 – via Wikisource. [scan ]
13. Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Rosebery, Archibald Philip Primrose, 5th Earl of" . Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
14. "Papers Past – Observer – 5 May 1894 – CAP AND JACKET". Retrieved 1 April 2016.
15. David Brooks, "Gladstone and Midlothian: The Background to the First Campaign," Scottish Historical Review (1985) 64#1 pp. 42–67.
16. Robert Kelley, "Midlothian: A Study in Politics and Ideas," Victorian Studies (1960) 4#2, pp. 119–40.
17. Dick, David (1998). Who Was Who in Durban Street Names. Clerkington Pub. Co. pp. 150–151. ISBN 978-0620200349. ROSEBERY Avenue, off High Ridge Road, is named after Archibald Philip Primrose, 5"1 Earl of Rosebery who (...)
18. Turcotte, Bobbi (26 August 1982). "Former English PM's name, title still in use". Ottawa Citizen: 2. Retrieved 30 May 2016. But Primrose Avenue is named after Archibald Philip Primrose, fifth Earl of Roserbery (1847–1929), who was primse minister of England in 1894–95.
19. "Congress Presidents 1869–2002" (PDF). February 2002. Archived from the original (PDF) on 28 May 2008. Retrieved 10 May 2008.
20. McKinstry, Leo (2006). Rosebery – Statesman in turmoil(paperback ed.). Great Britain: John Murray. pp. 265–6. ISBN 978-0719565861.
21. McKinstry (paperback), p. 159.
22. Haniamp, M. Sukru (1995). The Young Turks in Opposition. Oxford UP. pp. 61–62. ISBN 9780195358025.
23. R. C. K. Ensor. England: 1870 – 1914 (1936), pp. 238–39.
24. Gordon Martel (1986). Imperial Diplomacy: Rosebery and the Failure of Foreign Policy. McGill-Queen's UP. ISBN 9780773504424.
25. Élie Halévy, Imperialism and the Rise of Labour, 1895–1905(1951) pp. 99–110.
26. John S. Galbraith, "The pamphlet campaign on the Boer war." Journal of Modern History (1952): 111–126.
27. Wilson, John (1973). CB – A life of Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman (1st ed.). London: Constable and Company Limited. pp. 301–2. ISBN 978-0094589506.
28. Wilson, p. 381.
29. Rhodes James (paperback), p. 433.
30. Jenkins, Roy (1964). Asquith (1994 paperback ed.). London: Pan Macmillan Publishers Limited. p. 130. ISBN 978-0333618196.
31. Wilson, p. 387.
32. The Times, 16 February 1910.
33. R. R. James, Rosebery: a biography of Archibald Philip, fifth earl of Rosebery (1963), p. 469.
34. R. O. A. Crewe-Milnes, Lord Rosebery, (1931), vol. 2. p. 51.
35. Rhodes James, p. 485.
36. Lord Rosebery to marry a Princess?, New York Times, 11 July 1901.
37. Murray, Douglas Bosie: A Biography of Lord Alfred DouglasISBN 0-340-76770-7
38. The Complete Peerage, Volume XIII – Peerage Creations 1901–1938. St Catherine's Press. 1949. p. 187.
39. McKenna, Neil: "The Secret Life of Oscar Wilde" (2003).
40. Lord Queensberry to Alfred Montgomery, 1 November 1894. Quoted in Murray, Douglas (2000). Bosie: A Biography of Lord Alfred Douglas. Hodder & Stoughton. ISBN 978-0-340-76770-2.
41. Englefield, Dermot; Seaton, Janet; White, Isobel: Facts about the British prime ministers. A compilation of biographical and historical information. London: Mansell, 1995.
42. Brocklehurst, Steven (27 February 2014). "The beauty/horror of the garish new Scotland away strip". BBC News. BBC. Retrieved 27 February 2014.
43. Ashdown, John; Freeman, Hadley (26 February 2014). "Scotland's away kit: 'A rare occasion, unknown since Beckham's glory days'". The Guardian. Guardian News and Media Limited. Retrieved 27 February 2014.
44. "National Burns Collection – Burns Statue, Dumfries with Tam O'Shanter…".
45. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 6 April 2013. Retrieved 28 February 2014.
46. "British History Online". Retrieved 28 April 2019.
47. Rodney Cockburn, What's in Name? Nomenclature of South Australia,Ferguson, 1984.
48. J. Davis, "Primrose, Archibald Philip, fifth earl of Rosebery and first earl of Midlothian (1847–1929)", Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, 2004.
49. Venn and Venn, "Dalmeny, Lord Archibald", Alumni Cantabrigenses; J. Davis, "Primrose, Archibald Philip, fifth earl of Rosebery and first earl of Midlothian (1847–1929)", Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, 2004.
50. "Dalmeny, Lord Archibald", Alumni Cantabrigenses.
51. Venn and Venn, "Primrose, Archibald John (Lord Dalmeny)", Alumni Cantabrigenses; she was the first wife; Archibald Primrose, Lord Dalmeny, was born in 1809, during this marriage (see Venn and Venn, "Dalmeny, Lord Archibald", Alumni Cantabrigenses).
52. Venn and Venn, "Dalmeny, Lord Archibald", Alumni Cantabrigenses.
53. Cokayne, Complete Peerage, vol. 6, 1895, p. 415.
54. Venn and Venn, "Primrose, Archibald John (Lord Dalmeny)", Alumni Cantabrigenses.
55. Cokayne, Complete Peerage, vol. 6, 1895, p. 416; Venn and Venn, "Primrose, Archibald John (Lord Dalmeny)", Alumni Cantabrigenses.
56. Cokayne, Complete Peerage, vol. 6, 1895, p. 416.
57. Lodge, British Peerage, 1832, p. 353.
58. W. P. Courtney, "Stanhope, Charles", Dictionary of National Biography, vol. 54.
59. Cokayne and Gibbs, Complete Peerage, 2nd ed., vol. 3, 1913, p. 63.
60. Cokayne, Complete Peerage, vol. 6, 1895, p. 415; she was sister of the fourth Duke of Argyll and daughter of Hon. John Campbell and Elizabeth, daughter of John Elphinstone, eighth Lord Elphinstone.
61. Cokayne, Complete Peerage, vol. 6, p. 415.
62. Cokayne, Complete Peerage, vol. 6, 1895, p. 415; she was the daughter of Lt-Gen. Thomas Howard.
63. Complete Peerage, p. 416.
64. S. Farrell, "Bouverie, Hon. Bartholomew (1753–1835), of 21 Edward Street, Portman Square, Mdx.", History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1820–1832; she was the daughter of John Alleyne of Four Hills, Barbados.
65. Cokayne, Complete Peerage, vol. 6, 1895, p. 416; Lodge, British Peerage, 1832, p. 24; he was the third son of Henry Arundell, sixth Lord Arundell.
66. Lodge, British Peerage, 1832, p. 24; she was the daughter of John Wyndham of Ashcombe, Wiltshire.
67. W. P. Courtney, "Stanhope, Charles", Dictionary of National Biography, vol. 54; she was a daughter of Charles Hamilton, Lord Binning, and sister to Thomas Hamilton, seventh Earl of Haddington.
68. W. P. Courtney, "Stanhope, Charles", Dictionary of National Biography, vol. 54; he was a younger brother of the Earl Temple.
69. Burke and Burke, A Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Extinct and Dormant Baronetcies, 1841, pp. 34–35; M. M. Drummond, "Grenville, Henry (1717–84), of Shrub Hill, Dorking, Surr.", The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1754–1790, ed. L. Namier, J. Brooke., 1964; Daughter of Sir Joseph Banks of Revesby Abbey, Lincolnshire.
70. A. F. Pollard, "Smith, Robert (1752–1838)", Dictionary of National Biography, vol. 53.
71. A. F. Pollard, "Smith, Robert (1752–1838)", Dictionary of National Biography, vol. 53; daughter of Thomas Bird of Barton, Warwickshire.
72. Cokayne and Gibbs, Complete Peerage, 2nd ed., vol. 3, 1913, p. 63; of Cave Castle, Yorkshire.
73. Cokayne and Gibbs, Complete Peerage, 2nd ed., vol. 3, 1913, p. 63; she was the daughter of William Popplewell of Monk Hill, near Pontefract.


• Leonard, Dick. Nineteenth-Century British Premiers: Pitt to Rosebery (Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan, 2008)
• McKinstry, Leo. Rosebery: Statesman in Turmoil (2005) ISBN 0-7195-5879-4.
• Raymond, E. T. The Life of Lord Rosebery (1923) online

External links

• Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by the Earl of Rosebery
• Earl Of Rosebery 1847–1929 biography from the Liberal Democrat History Group
• More about The Earl of Roseberry on the Downing street website.
• Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Rosebery, Archibald Philip Primrose, 5th Earl of" . Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
• "Archival material relating to Archibald Primrose, 5th Earl of Rosebery". UK National Archives.
• Works by Archibald Primrose, 5th Earl of Rosebery at LibriVox (public domain audiobooks)
• Portraits of Archibald Philip Primrose, 5th Earl of Rosebery at the National Portrait Gallery, London
• Newspaper clippings about Archibald Primrose, 5th Earl of Rosebery in the 20th Century Press Archives of the ZBW
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Re: Round Table Movement, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Wed Mar 04, 2020 7:58 am

Albert Grey, 4th Earl Grey
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 3/4/20

Continuing their discussion of the membership of "The Society of the Elect," Stead asked permission to bring in Milner and Brett. Rhodes agreed, so they telegraphed at once to Brett, who arrived in two hours. They then drew up the following "ideal arrangement' for the society:

1. General of the Society: Rhodes
2. Junta of Three: (1) Stead, (2) Brett, (3) Milner
3. Circle of Initiates: (1) Cardinal Manning, (2) General Booth, (3) Bramwell Booth, (4) "Little" [Harry] Johnston, (5) Albert Grey, (6) Arthur Balfour
4. The Association of Helpers
5. A College, under Professor Seeley, to be established to train people in the English-speaking idea."

Within the next few weeks Stead had another talk with Rhodes and a talk with Milner, who was "filled with admiration" for the scheme, according to Stead's notes as published by Sir Frederick Whyte.

-- The Anglo-American Establishment: From Rhodes to Cliveden, by Carroll Quigley

Captain the Right Honourable, The Earl Grey, GCB GCMG GCVO PC
9th Governor General of Canada
In office: 10 December 1904 – 13 October 1911
Monarch: Edward VII; George V
Prime Minister
• Wilfrid Laurier
• Robert Borden
• Arthur Balfour
• Henry Campbell-Bannerman
• H. H. Asquith
Preceded by: The Earl of Minto
Succeeded by: Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn
Personal details
Born: 28 November 1851, London, England, United Kingdom
Died: 29 August 1917 (aged 65), Howick Hall, England, United Kingdom
Spouse(s): Alice Holford
Children: 5, including Charles Grey, 5th Earl Grey and Lady Sybil Grey
Parents: General Sir Charles Grey; Caroline Eliza Farquhar
Alma mater: Trinity College, Cambridge

Albert Henry George Grey, 4th Earl Grey GCB GCMG GCVO PC (28 November 1851 – 29 August 1917) was a British nobleman and politician who served as Governor General of Canada, the ninth since Canadian Confederation. He was a radical Liberal aristocrat, founder of the Society of Apostles[clarification needed], and Aricles Club[clarification needed] and a member of a string of liberal high society clubs in London. An active and articulate campaigner in late Victorian England he was associated with many of the leading Imperialists seeking change.

Albert Grey was born into a noble and political family, though at birth not in direct line to inherit the earldom. His father General Charles Grey was a younger brother of the 3rd earl, who died without issue. As General Grey was deceased, the titles descended to his eldest living son Albert, then in his forties. Albert was educated at Harrow School before going up to Trinity College, Cambridge, where he graduated MA and LLM.[1]

In 1878, he entered into politics as a member of the Liberal Party and, after relinquishing a tied vote to his opponent, eventually won a place in the British House of Commons in 1880. In 1894 Grey inherited the Earldom Grey from his uncle, the third Earl, and thereafter took his place in the House of Lords, while simultaneously undertaking business ventures around the British Empire as Director of the British South Africa Company from 1898, he experienced a steep learning curve during high tension with the Boers. As administrator in Rhodesia he was directly responsible to Cecil Rhodes for conduct of the colony's business from 1894 to 1897. On his return in 1899 he was appointed Lord Lieutenant of his native Northumberland.[2]

The 4th Earl was in 1904 appointed as Governor General of Canada by King Edward VII, on the recommendation of Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Arthur Balfour, to replace the Earl of Minto as viceroy and occupied that post until succeeded by Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn, in 1911. Grey travelled extensively in Canada and was active in Canadian political affairs, including national unity, leaving behind him a number of legacies, the most prominent being the Grey Cup.

Youth, education, and early career

At Harrow

Grey in 1873 (front row, second from right), Shakespeare Society, Trinity College, Cambridge

Grey was the younger and only surviving son of General Sir Charles Grey—a younger son of former British prime minister the second Earl Grey and later the private secretary to Prince Albert and later still to Queen Victoria—and his wife, Caroline Eliza Farquhar, eldest daughter of Sir Thomas Harvie Farquhar, Bt, at Cadogan House, Middlesex. Many members of the family had enjoyed successful political careers based on reform, including to colonial policies; Grey's grandfather, while prime minister, championed the Reform Act 1832 and in 1846, Grey's uncle, the third Earl Grey, as Secretary of State for War and the Colonies during the first ministry of Lord John Russell, was the first to suggest that colonies should be self-sustaining and governed for the benefit of their inhabitants, instead of for the benefit of the United Kingdom.[3]

Grey was educated at Harrow School and then Trinity College, Cambridge, where he studied history and law.[3][4] After graduating in 1873, Grey became private secretary to Sir Henry Bartle Frere and, as Frere was a member of the Council of India, Grey accompanied Prince Albert Edward, Prince of Wales, on his tour of India. In 1877, Grey married Alice Holford, daughter of Robert Stayner Holford, the Member of Parliament for East Gloucestershire. Together, they had five children, one of whom died in early childhood.[3]


Earl and Countess Grey

Grey married Alice Holford (d. 22 September 1944), daughter of Robert Stayner Holford, of Westonbirt House (Gloucestershire) and Dorchester House (London) on 9 June 1877 and had five children, one of whom died in early childhood:

1. Lady Victoria Mary Sybil Grey (9 June 1878 – 3 February 1907) married Lt-Col. Arthur Morton Grenfell, of Wilton Park in 1901, and had children.
2. Charles Robert Grey, 5th Earl Grey (15 December 1879 – 2 April 1963), who had two daughters by his wife Lady Mabel Laura Georgiana Palmer, daughter of William Palmer, 2nd Earl of Selborne. The elder daughter Mary (1907–2002) married the 1st Baron Howick of Glendale.
3. Lady Sybil Grey (15 July 1882 – 4 June 1966) O.B.E. married Lambert William Middleton (1877–1941) of Lowood House, Melrose, Scotland, nephew of Sir Arthur Middleton, 7th Baronet and Frederick Edmund Meredith. She was invested as an Officer, Order of the British Empire in 1918, having served as the Commandant of the Dorchester House Hospital for Officers. She was well known for her work with the Red Cross in Russia during WWI, and for her work with tuberculosis sufferers (founding the Lady Grey Society). She was an amateur photographer and filmmaker of note, and recorded village life at Darnick and St. Boswells.[5] After her husband died she sold Lowood House and moved to Burley, Hampshire. They had a son and a daughter.
4. Lady Evelyn Alice Grey (14 Mar 1886–15 Apr 1971) married Sir Lawrence Evelyn Jones, 5th Bt. M.C., grandson of Sir Willoughby Jones.
5. Lady Lillian Winifred Grey (11 June 1891 – 7 April 1895)

Parliamentary and administrative career

Grey stood for parliament at South Northumberland in 1878 and polled in the election the same number of votes as his opponent Edward Ridley, but Grey declined a scrutiny and was not returned.[6] It was not until the general election of 1880 that Grey, the Liberal Party candidate, was elected as a Member of Parliament (MP) for South Northumberland, a seat he held until it was replaced under the Redistribution of Seats Act 1885 and he moved to be the MP for Tyneside, following that year's election. In 1884 he wrote to the Manchester-based Women's Suffrage Journal declaring his support for women's suffrage, writing that "[t]here are no questions which receive so little attention, or which, in my opinion, so urgently call for the close and serious consideration of social reformers, as those affecting the condition of women. The possession of a vote by women who are heads of households will lead to the formation of associations and unions for the protection and advancement of the interests of their sex."[7]

Inspired by the theories of Giuseppe Mazzini, Grey became an advocate of imperialism and was one of the founders of the Imperial Federation League, which sought to transform the British Empire into an Imperial Federation. Grey thus split with Prime Minister William Gladstone in 1886 over Irish home rule and became a Liberal Unionist, but the shift was short-lived as Grey failed to win his constituency again in the 1886 general election.[8]

Eight years later,[3] Grey succeeded his uncle, Henry George Grey, as the 4th Earl Grey and returned to parliament when taking his seat in the House of Lords. As a friend of Cecil Rhodes, Grey became one of the first four trustees responsible for the administration of the scholarship funds which established the Rhodes Scholarship and he was invited by Rhodes to be a member of the board of directors and director of the British South Africa Company, coming to serve as the main liaison between Rhodes and Secretary of State for the Colonies Joseph Chamberlain in the periods immediately before and after the Jameson Raid on the Transvaal. As the Administrator of Southern Rhodesia, Sir Leander Starr Jameson, was disgraced by the Jameson Raid, the British government, then headed by the Marquess of Salisbury, in 1896 asked Grey to serve as Jameson's immediate replacement, staying in that role until 1897.[3] Two years later, Grey was also appointed as Lord Lieutenant of Northumberland and published a brief biography of a young relative,[9] Hubert Hervey, who was killed in the Second Matabele War.[10]

Governor General of Canada

Grey in the governor general's office at Rideau Hall, Ottawa

In office

It was on 4 October 1904 announced that King Edward VII had,[11] by commission under the royal sign-manual and signet, approved the recommendation of his British prime minister, Arthur Balfour, to appoint Grey as his representative, replacing Grey's brother-in-law, the Earl of Minto. (Minto was married to Grey's sister, Mary Caroline Grey.) The appointment came at a good time for Grey, as a series of failed investments in South Africa had left him penniless; a gift from his wife's aunt, Lady Wantage (widow of the Lord Wantage), was used to supplement his salary as governor general.

The time during which Grey occupied the viceregal office was one of increasing immigration, industrialisation, and economic development in Canada.[3] A sign of Canada's increasing independence from Britain, Grey was on 16 June 1905 designated as "Governor General of Canada and Commander-in-Chief of the Dominion of Canada," which followed on the passing of the Militia Act in 1904. At the request of Sir Robert Baden-Powell, Grey also undertook the role of Chief Scout of Canada. Further, it was with Grey's granting of Royal Assent to the appropriate Acts of Parliament that Alberta and Saskatchewan joined Canadian Confederation, also in 1905—the Governor General writing to the King at the time: "[each one] a new leaf in Your Majesty's Maple Crown"[12]—and he travelled extensively around the ever-growing country. He also journeyed abroad to the Dominion of Newfoundland (then not yet a part of Canada) and several times to the United States to visit President Theodore Roosevelt, with whom Grey developed a strong bond.[3]

Grey with Prince George, Prince of Wales, at the celebrations of the tercentenary of Quebec in Quebec City, 24 July 1908

Grey often exercised his right, as representative of a constitutional monarch, to advise, encourage, and warn. He desired social reform and cohesion, putting his support behind prison reforms in Canada to provide greater social justice. He also encouraged his prime minister, Sir Wilfrid Laurier, to support the Imperial Federation he had long championed, but Laurier was uninterested. However, Grey's years of urging Laurier to get the Cabinet and parliament to agree to the idea of a Canadian navy proved themselves to be more fruitful. At the Governor General's urging, the Canadian and British governments agreed to have Canada assume control of the former British garrisons at Halifax, Nova Scotia, and Esquimalt, British Columbia, after which the Royal Canadian Navy was created by the Naval Service Act. The Act was so identified with Grey that, in Quebec, it was referred to as Grey's Bill and opposed by Henri Bourassa and his Ligue nationaliste canadienne. Another of Grey's suggestions was a railway hotel for the federal capital, which eventuated in the Château Laurier, completed in 1912.[3]

Though Grey strongly promoted national unity among French and English Canadians, as well as advocating unity within the entire British Empire, his causes frequently raised the ire of Bourassa and the Quebec nationalists. Grey was involved in the planning for the tercentennial of Quebec in 1908, marking the 300th anniversary of the landing of Samuel de Champlain at what later became Quebec City. At Grey's suggestion, the Cabinet agreed to Grey's plan to have the Plains of Abraham designated as a national park; this would be done to coincide with the Quebec celebrations and Grey saw the official ceremony as being an event that would promote Franco-Anglo-American friendship. The government arranged for the attendance of the Prince of Wales (later King George V), American and French warships, and a host of visiting dignitaries. Still, the Ligue saw this as solely a tribute to the Empire; Bourassa and other nationalists complained that Grey had transformed a day intended to celebrate Samuel de Champlain into a celebration of James Wolfe.

At other times, and unlike future viceroys, the Governor General's influence expanded more blatantly into government policy: Grey opposed the head tax imposed by the Chinese Immigration Act of 1885 on Chinese immigrants to Canada and, at one point, was invited to visit the province of British Columbia, but declined in protest of what he thought to be exclusionary measures implemented by the provincial cabinet under premier Richard McBride. Grey also initially supported Asian immigration to Canada, though, following the Japanese victory in the Russo-Japanese War, he became concerned about the so-called Yellow Peril and worked with the federal Cabinet to explore alternatives to the head tax as a restriction on Asian immigration. He was nevertheless appalled by the 1907 anti-Asian riots in Vancouver, organised by the Asiatic Exclusion League, and, later in the same year, arranged a visit to Canada by Prince Fushimi Sadanaru of the Empire of Japan.[13]


From 1911 the Earl Grey was President of Armstrong College. He acquired a number of honorary degrees, a Hon DCL Oxford, Hon LLD Camb, Hon LLD McGill and Queen's University, Ontario, and Grand Knight of the Order of St John (KGStJ).


The Grey Cup

Throughout his tenure as governor general, Grey supported the arts and, when he departed Canada in 1911, he left behind him the Grey Competition for Music and Drama, first held in 1907. He was also a patron of sport, his feelings on health and fitness a part of his broader desire for a reform movement.[13] He gave his support to Canadian football and established the Grey Cup, to be awarded to the winner of the Senior Amateur Football Championship of Canada; it is today presented to the champions of the Canadian Football League and, in 1963, Grey was elected to the Canadian Football Hall of Fame for his contributions to the game. Grey further donated trophies to the Montreal Horse Show and for figure skating.[13] As well, he gave to the Crown a horse-drawn carriage he purchased from the Governor-General of Australia, which is still today used as the state landau,[14] and added a study and conservatory to Rideau Hall, the sovereign's and governor general's Ottawa residence; the latter was torn down in 1924.[3] Grey and his wife were commended for their work in Canada and for their championing social reforms. Laurier said Lord Grey gave "his whole heart, his whole soul, and his whole life to Canada."[3]

Final years

On leaving office in 1911 Earl Grey and his family returned to the United Kingdom, where he became president of the Royal Colonial Institute (now the Royal Commonwealth Society). On 28 March 1916, he was appointed by King George V as Chancellor of the Order of St. Michael and St. George.[15] However, Grey died the following year at his family residence.

Titles, styles, honours, and arms


• 9 October 1894 – 2 April 1896: The Right Honourable the Earl Grey
• 2 April 1896 – 5 December 1898: The Right Honourable the Earl Grey, Administrator of Southern Rhodesia
• 5 December 1898 – 1 March 1899: The Right Honourable the Earl Grey
• 13 March 1899 – 10 December 1904: The Right Honourable the Earl Grey, Lord Lieutenant of Northumberland
• 10 December 1904 – 13 December 1904: His Excellency the Right Honourable the Earl Grey, Governor General of Canada and Lord Lieutenant of Northumberland
• 13 December 1904 – 31 July 1905: His Excellency the Right Honourable the Earl Grey, Governor General of Canada
• 31 July 1905 – 4 May 1910: His Excellency the Right Honourable the Earl Grey, Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of Canada[16]
• 4 May 1910 – 13 October 1911: His Excellency the Right Honourable the Earl Grey, Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of the Militia and Naval Forces of Canada
• 13 October 1911 – 29 August 1917: The Right Honourable the Earl Grey


Albert Grey, 4th Earl Grey
Born: 28 November 1851
London, UK
Died: 29 August 1917 (aged 65)
London, United Kingdom
Career highlights and awards
Honors KGStJ, Hon DCL Oxford, Hon LLD Cantab, Hon LLD McGill, Hon LLD Queen's, Chancellor of Order of St Michael and St George, Hon Col 6th bn Northumberland Fusiliers.
Career stats
Canadian Football Hall of Fame, 1963


• 13 March 1899 – 22 January 1901: Her Majesty's Lieutenant and Custos Rotulorum of the County of Northumberland
o 22 January 1901 – 13 December 1904: His Majesty's Lieutenant and Custos Rotulorum of the County of Northumberland[9]
• 7 October 1904 – 28 March 1916: Knight Commander of the Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George (KCMG)[17]
o 28 March 1916 – 29 August 1917: Chancellor of the Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George (KCMG)[15]
• 1907 – 13 October 1911: Chief Scout for Canada
• 23 July 1908 – 29 August 1917: Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order (GCVO)[18]
• 29 June 1909 – 29 August 1917: Member of His Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council (PC)[19]
• 3 March 1910 – 29 August 1917: Knight of Grace of the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem (KStJ)[20]
• 18 March 1910 – 29 August 1917: Honorary Colonel of the Northumberland Fusiliers 6th Battalion[21]
• 23 October 1911 – 29 August 1917: Knight Grand Cross of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath (GCB)[22]


• 1902: King Edward VII Coronation Medal
• 1911: King George V Coronation Medal

Honorary military appointments

• 10 December 1904 – 13 October 1911: Colonel of the Governor General's Horse Guards
• 10 December 1904 – 13 October 1911: Colonel of the Governor General's Foot Guards
• 10 December 1904 – 13 October 1911: Colonel of the Canadian Grenadier Guards

Honorific eponyms

Statue of the Earl Grey at Parc des Champs de Bataille, Quebec City

Geographic locations

• Saskatchewan: Earl Grey
• British Columbia: Mount Earl Grey
• British Columbia: Earl Grey Pass


• Manitoba: Earl Grey Public School, Winnipeg
• Saskatchewan: Earl Grey School, Earl Grey
• Ontario: Earl Grey Senior Public School, Toronto


1. Master of Arts, Master of Law - Burke's Peerage and Baronetage (1999), p.1225
2. Burke's Peerage and Baronetage (1999), p.1225
3. Office of the Governor General of Canada. "The Governor General > Former Governors General > Earl Grey". Queen's Printer for Canada. Retrieved 13 December 2010.
4. "Grey, Albert Henry George (GRY870AH)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
5. ... story.html[permanent dead link]
6. Debrett's House of Commons and the Judicial Bench. London: London Dean. 1886. p. 65.
7. Grey, Albert (2 June 1884). "Letters from Members of Parliament: Hon. Albert Grey, M.P." Women's Suffrage Journal. XV: 124 – via Nineteenth Century Collections Online.
8. Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by Albert Grey
9. "No. 27062". The London Gazette. 14 March 1899. p. 1756.
10. The Earl Grey (1899), Hubert Hervey, Student and Imperialist, London: Edward Arnold
11. "No. 27719". The London Gazette. 4 October 1904. p. 6363.
12. Grey, Albert (1 September 1905). "Grey to Edward VII". In Doig, Ronald P. (ed.). Earl Grey's papers: An introductory survey (1 ed.). London: Private Libraries Association.
13. Miller, Carman. "Biography > Governors General of Canada > Grey, Albert Henry George, 4th Early Grey". In Marsh, James H. (ed.). The Canadian Encyclopedia. Toronto: Historica Foundation of Canada. Retrieved 28 December 2010.
14. Bousfield, Arthur; Toffoli, Gary (2002). Fifty Years the Queen. Toronto: Dundurn Press. p. 13. ISBN 1-55002-360-8.
15. "No. 29529". The London Gazette. 28 March 1916. p. 3458.
16. "No. 27823". The London Gazette. 1 August 1905. p. 5297.
17. "No. 27720". The London Gazette. 7 October 1904. p. 6439.
18. "No. 28166". The London Gazette. 11 August 1908. p. 5894.
19. "No. 28265". The London Gazette. 29 June 1909. p. 4953.
20. "No. 28345". The London Gazette. 4 March 1910. p. 1593.
21. "No. 28349". The London Gazette. 18 March 1910. p. 1958.
22. "No. 28544". The London Gazette. 24 October 1911. p. 7700.

External links

• Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by the Earl Grey
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Re: Round Table Movement, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Wed Aug 05, 2020 7:11 am

Alfred Beit
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 8/5/20

The original members of the Milner Group came from well-to-do, upper-class, frequently titled families. At Oxford they demonstrated intellectual ability and laid the basis for the Group. In later years they added to their titles and financial resources, obtaining these partly by inheritance and partly by ability to tap new sources of titles and money. At first their family fortunes may have been adequate to their ambitions, but in time these were supplemented by access to the funds in the foundation of All Souls, the Rhodes Trust and the Beit Trust, the fortune of Sir Abe Bailey, the Astor fortune, certain powerful British banks (of which the chief was Lazard Brothers and Company), and, in recent years, the Nuffield money.

-- The Anglo-American Establishment: From Rhodes to Cliveden, by Carroll Quigley

Alfred Beit
Alfred Beit, by Giovanni Boldini
Born: 15 February 1853, Hamburg, German Confederation
Died: 16 July 1906 (aged 53), Tewin, Hertfordshire
Nationality: British
Net worth £8,050,000[1]

Alfred Beit (15 February 1853 – 16 July 1906) was a British gold and diamond magnate in South Africa, and a major donor and profiteer of infrastructure development on the African continent. He also donated much money to university education and research in several countries, and was the "silent partner" who structured the capital flight from post-Boer War South Africa to Rhodesia, and the Rhodes Scholarship, named after his employee, Cecil Rhodes. Beit's assets were structured around the so called Corner House Group, which through its holdings in various companies controlled 37 per cent of the gold produced at the Witwatersrand's goldfields in Johannesburg in 1913.[2]

Life and career

Mrs Laura Beit (Alfred and Otto Beit's mother), by Leopold von Kalckreuth

Born and brought up in Hamburg, Germany, he was the eldest son and second of six children of an affluent Jewish-German citizen of Hamburg. His younger siblings included Otto Beit. Alfred Beit was an unpromising scholar and was apprenticed to Jules Porgès & Cie, the Amsterdam diamond firm where he developed a talent for examining stones.[3]

Beit made his first fortune in property speculation. Responding to a demand for business premises, he bought a piece of land and built twelve corrugated iron sheds for offices and rented eleven out monthly and kept one for himself. Twelve years later he sold the land for a considerable profit.[3]

Beit was sent to Kimberley, South Africa in 1875 by his firm to buy diamonds—following the diamond strike at Kimberley. He became a business friend of Cecil Rhodes through his role in the Kimberley Central Company. Beit was captivated by Rhodes' talk of 'big schemes'.[3] Together, they proceeded to buy out digging ventures and to eliminate opposition such as Barney Barnato. He rapidly became one of a group of financiers who gained control of the diamond-mining claims in the Central, Dutoitspan, and De Beers mines. Rhodes was the active politician and Beit provided a lot of the planning and financial backing.

Beit's diamond interests were mainly concentrated on Kimberley mine. He focused his main attention on the Kimberley Central Company aiming to expand its interests. He had a major role in the rise of Kimberley Central Company.[3]

In 1886 Beit extended his interests to the newly discovered goldfields of the Witwatersrand and met with great success. In his business ventures there he made use of financiers Hermann Eckstein and Sir Joseph Robinson. He founded the Robertson Syndicate and the firm of Wernher, Beit & Co. He imported mining engineers from the USA and was among the first to adopt deep-level mining. Rhodes purportedly was granted concessions by Lobengula, as a result of which Beit founded the British South Africa Company in 1888.

Beit became life-governor of De Beers and also a director of numerous other companies such as Rand Mines, Rhodesia Railways and the Beira Railway Company. His South-African assets formed the basis for the Corner House Group, which both controlled holding-companies like the Rand Mines and acted as an important network for several of the leading Randlords of the time.[2]

In 1888 Beit moved to London when he felt he was better able to manage his financial empire and support Rhodes in his Southern African ambitions. Beit moved into Tewin Water, Tewin, near Welwyn, a large Regency house with Victorian additions and 7,000 acres (28 km²), and a few miles away Julius Wernher bought Luton Hoo, with 5,218 acres (21.1 km²). In the 1890s, he had a mansion built in Park Lane – Aldford House.

Inspired by Rhodes' imperialist vision, he took part in the planning and financing of the unsuccessful Jameson Raid of late 1895 which was intended to trigger a coup in the South African Republic in the Transvaal. As a result of this debacle, Rhodes resigned as Prime Minister, and both he and Beit were found guilty by the House of Commons inquiry. Beit was obliged to resign as director of the British South Africa Company,[4] but was elected vice-president a few years later. With the death of Rhodes in 1902, Beit, as one of the trustees, helped control the enormous estate, currently being helped by the Oppenheimer family of De Beers and Anglo-American.

Beit never married and had no children. He died at Tewin Water on 16 July 1906 after seeing a rapid deterioration in his health. He left an estate of £8,049,886 (equivalent to £0.81 billion in 2016[5]).[1]

The Beit Trust and other donations

Imperial College, London

During his lifetime, Beit made generous donations for scientific work and education. In 1905 he founded a chair of colonial history at the University of Oxford, which is now the Beit Professor of History of the British Commonwealth.[6] In 1906 he made the donation of two million mark to the stock capital of the Hamburgische Wissenschaftliche Stiftung, a charity dedicated to spend its interest for the benefit of a precursor of the University of Hamburg.

In his will he set up the Beit Trust through which he bequeathed large sums of money (£1,200,000) for infrastructure development in the former Northern and Southern Rhodesia, later modified to university education and research in Zimbabwe, Zambia and Malawi.[7]

Significant infrastructure projects financed by the Trust include the Birchenough Bridge in the former Southern Rhodesia, named after Sir Henry Birchenough, chairman of the Beit Trust from 1931 until 1937 and whose ashes are buried beneath the structure of the bridge.[8] Ralph Freeman, the bridge's designer, was also the structural designer on the Sydney Harbour Bridge and consequently the two bridges bear a close resemblance, although Birchenough is only two-thirds as long as the Australian bridge. It was built by Dorman Long and completed in 1935.[8] At a length of 1,080 feet (329 m) it was the third longest single-arch suspension bridge in the world at the time.

In recognition of his bequests the Royal School of Mines, a faculty of Imperial College London, erected a large memorial to Beit flanking the entrance to its building. The Imperial College residential halls on Prince Consort Road was named Beit Hall after him.

See also

• Sir Otto Beit, 1st Bt (1865–1930), his brother
• Sir Alfred Lane Beit, 2nd Bt (1903–1994), his nephew


1. Rubinstein, William (2001). "Jewish top wealth-holders in Britain, 1809–1909". Jewish Historical Studies. 37: 135. JSTOR 29780032.
2. See chapter 12 in Rönnbäck & Broberg (2019) Capital and Colonialism. The Return on British Investments in Africa 1869-1969 (Palgrave Studies in Economic History)</
3. Meredith, Martin (2007). Diamonds, Gold, and War: The British, the Boers, and the Making of South Africa. New York: PublicAffairs. ISBN 9781586484736.
4. Robert I. Rotberg, 1988, The Founder: Cecil Rhodes and the Pursuit of Power, Oxford University Press, p. 547.
5. United Kingdom Gross Domestic Product deflator figures follow the Measuring Worth "consistent series" supplied in Thomas, Ryland; Williamson, Samuel H. (2018). "What Was the U.K. GDP Then?". MeasuringWorth. Retrieved 2 February 2020.
6. University of Oxford, Faculty of History. URL ... own_jm.htm
7. "HOME". Retrieved 19 October 2018.
8. "Our Rhodesian Heritage: Birchenough Bridge". Retrieved 19 October 2018.

Further reading

• Albrecht, Henning (2012). Alfred Beit: The Hamburg Diamond King. Hamburg: Hamburg University Press. ISBN 978-3-943423-01-3.
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Re: Round Table Movement, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Wed Aug 05, 2020 7:39 am

Sir Abraham Bailey, 1st Baronet KCMG
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 8/5/20

The original members of the Milner Group came from well-to-do, upper-class, frequently titled families. At Oxford they demonstrated intellectual ability and laid the basis for the Group. In later years they added to their titles and financial resources, obtaining these partly by inheritance and partly by ability to tap new sources of titles and money. At first their family fortunes may have been adequate to their ambitions, but in time these were supplemented by access to the funds in the foundation of All Souls, the Rhodes Trust and the Beit Trust, the fortune of Sir Abe Bailey, the Astor fortune, certain powerful British banks (of which the chief was Lazard Brothers and Company), and, in recent years, the Nuffield money.

-- The Anglo-American Establishment: From Rhodes to Cliveden, by Carroll Quigley

Sir Abraham Bailey, Bt
Vanity Fair caricature by Spy (1908)

Returning from the Boer War on the RMS Dunottar Castle, July 1900.[1] Standing L-R: Sir Byron Leighton, Claud Grenfel, Major Frederick Russell Burnham, Captain Gordon Forbes, Abe Bailey (his son John would marry Diana Churchill in 1932), next two unidentified, John Weston Brooke. Seated L-R: Major Bobby White, Lord Downe, General Sir Henry Edward Colville (a year later Churchill as MP would demand an inquiry over his dismissal from South Africa), Major Harry White, Major Joe Laycock, Winston Churchill, Sir Charles Bentinck. Sitting L-R: unidentified, Col. Maurice Gifford (who had lost his arm in the Second Matabele War).

Sir Abraham Bailey, 1st Baronet KCMG (6 November 1864, Cradock, Eastern Cape, South Africa – 10 August 1940, Muizenberg, South Africa) was a South African diamond tycoon, politician, financier and cricketer.

Early years

Married in 1860 in South Africa, Thomas and Ann Bailey had four children, Mary, Abraham, Susannah and Alice, before Ann Bailey's premature death in 1872, when young Abe was only seven years old.[2] Bailey's mother, Ann Drummond McEwan, was Scottish by birth while his father, Thomas Bailey, was from Yorkshire. Abe Bailey was sent to England to be educated, first at Keighley and later at Clewer House.

After the outbreak of the Second Boer War in October 1899, a corps of imperial volunteers from London was formed in late December 1899. The corps included infantry, mounted infantry and artillery divisions and was authorized with the name City of London Imperial Volunteers. It proceeded to South Africa in January 1900, returned in October the same year, and was disbanded in December 1900. Bailey was appointed a lieutenant of the mounted infantry division on 3 January 1900, with the temporary rank of Lieutenant in the Army,[3] but the appointment was later cancelled.[4]


In October 1902, Bailey stood unopposed as a Progressive Party candidate for the Barkly West constituency of the Cape Colony Legislative Assembly.[5] The constituency had been represented by Cecil Rhodes until his death earlier the same year.


Via his business interests and his ties to Cecil Rhodes, Abe Bailey acquired substantial mining and land properties in the former Rhodesia. By the 1930s he was one of the world's wealthiest men.[2] Appointed a Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George (KCMG) in 1911,[6] he was created Baronet in 1919,[7] one of a number of "Randlords" knighted for their services to the British Empire.


Bailey played three first-class matches for Transvaal.[8] He played an important role in 1912 Triangular Tournament. He first proposed the idea on a trip to England in 1907, stating: "Inter-rivalry within the Empire cannot fail to draw together in closer friendly interest all those many thousands of our kinsmen who regard cricket as our national sport, while secondly it would probably give a direct stimulus to amateurism."

It was immediately embraced by MCC, who were then lords of all they surveyed, and 1909 was the first year designated for it. But the administrators could not agree and by the time 1912 was alighted on, world cricket was in conflict. But infighting and a poor performance from the South African team ensured that the idea of a tri-nation tournament remained a one-off occurrence.[9]

Art collection

These interests, as much as his aspirations to the titles and the lifestyle of the English landed gentry were influential in the formation of his personal art collection. This collection was mostly displayed in his London home and moved for safe-keeping to the north of England during the Second World War (1939–1945). On his death in 1940 the terms of his will placed his collection under the protection of a special trust established in his name and bequeathed it to the South African nation. Bailey was one of the very few South African Randlords to leave a bequest of this nature to South Africa.

At his specific recommendation, this collection was placed under the curatorship of the South African National Gallery in Cape Town, where it first went on display in 1947. Numbering over 400 items, including paintings, prints and drawings, the "Sir Abe Bailey Bequest" is the largest bequest held at the South African National Gallery to this day. It also constitutes one of the largest collections of British sporting art held by any public art museum in the world. The "Sir Abe Bailey Trust" is actively involved in its maintenance, and conservation work on the collection.

Abe Bailey Travel Bursary

Under the terms of his will annual travel bursaries are awarded to outstanding university students and young academics (less than 25 years old) to travel to the UK to widen their experience.[citation needed]


Abe Bailey
Crest A demi-female figure with arms extended Proper habited Azure trimmed at the collar cuffs and shoulders Argent holding in each hand a sprig of mimosa as in the arms.
Blazon Argent on a fess between three martlets Gules a bezant between two sprigs of mimosa Proper.
Motto Virtus Castellum Meum [10]

First wife/children by first marriage

• Hon. Caroline Mary Paddon (d. 23 March 1902)
1. Cecil Marguerite Bailey (8 June 1895 – 29 June 1962); married Dr William F Christie.
2. Sir John Milner Bailey, 2nd Bt. (15 June 1900 East Grinstead – 13 February 1946 Cape Town, South Africa); married, firstly, Diana Churchill (1909–1963) (eldest daughter of Sir Winston Churchill and Clementine Ogilvy Hozier) on 12 December 1932 (divorced in 1935); married, secondly, Muriel Mullins on 18 October 1939 (divorced in 1945); married, lastly, Stella Mary Chiappini on 4 May 1945.

Second wife/children by second marriage

• Hon. Mary Westenra (1 December 1890 – 29 July 1960), daughter of Derrick Warner William Westenra, 5th Lord Rossmore, of Rossmore Castle, County Monaghan. Mary Westenra Bailey was the greatest British female aviator of her time, who "personally guided a plane from England to the nether tip of South Africa and back" (Time, 28 January 1930). In January 1930 she was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) and was styled as Dame Mary Bailey.
1. Mittie Mary Starr Bailey (1 August 1913 – 10 April 1961); married Robin Grant Lawson, son of Sir John Grant Lawson, 1st Bt. on 23 May 1934 (divorced in 1935); married, secondly, to William Frederick Lloyd on December 1935 (divorced in 1947); married, lastly, George Edward Frederick Rogers in 1947 (divorced in 1958).
2. Sir Derrick Thomas Louis Bailey, 3rd Bt. (b. 15 August 1918 – 19 June 2009); married, firstly, Katharine Nancy Darling on 18 July 1946 (divorced before 1980); married, secondly, Mrs Jean Roscoe (maiden name unknown) in 1980 (divorced in 1990).
3. Ann Hester Zia Bailey (15 August 1918 – 3 October 1979); married, firstly, Pierce Nicholas Netterville Synnott (divorced).
4. James Richard Abe Bailey (23 October 1919 – 29 February 2000); married, firstly, Gillian Mary Parker in 1958 (divorced in 1963); married, secondly, Barbara Louise Epstein on 16 April 1964.
5. Noreen Helen Rosemary Bailey (b. 27 July 1921); married, firstly, W/Cmdr. Peter Anker Simmons on 27 January 1941; married, secondly, Count Peter Christian Raben-Levetzau, son of Count Siegfried Raben-Levetzau on 8 August 1947 (divorced in 1951).


1. "FinestHour" (PDF). Journal of the Churchill Center and Societies, Summer 2005. Archived from the original (pdf) on 8 August 2007. Retrieved 2 August 2007.
2. "Abe Bailey biography". Archived from the original on 2 February 2009. Retrieved 24 June 2009.
3. "No. 27157". The London Gazette. 26 January 1900. p. 516.
4. "No. 27175". The London Gazette. 20 March 1900. p. 1879.
5. "Latest intelligence - The Cape elections". The Times (36907). London. 24 October 1902. p. 3.
6. "No. 28452". The London Gazette (Supplement). 2 January 1911. p. 3.
7. "No. 31255". The London Gazette. 28 March 1919. p. 4008.
8. "Abe Bailey"..
9. Brenkley, Stephen (27 May 2012). "Experiment fails to stand the test of time". The Independent. London, UK.
10. Burke's Peerage. 1949.


• "Royal Honors". Time Magazine. 13 January 1930. Retrieved 10 August 2008.
• "Sir Abe Bailey Bequest". Archived from the original on 28 September 2007. Retrieved 15 May 2007.

External links

• Portraits of Abe Bailey at the National Portrait Gallery, London
• The Sir Abe Bailey Collection
• Lady Mary Bailey
• Newspaper clippings about Abe Bailey in the 20th Century Press Archives of the ZBW
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Re: Round Table Movement, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Thu Aug 06, 2020 1:22 am

The Club (dining club)
Accessed: 8/5/20

Plaque marking the foundation of the Club

The Club or Literary Club[1] is a London dining club founded in February 1764 by the artist Joshua Reynolds and essayist Samuel Johnson, with Edmund Burke, the Irish philosopher-politician.[2][3]


Initially, the Club would meet one evening per week at seven, at the Turk's Head Inn in Gerrard Street, Soho. Later, meetings were reduced to once per fortnight whilst Parliament was in session, and were held at rooms in St James's Street. Though the initial formation was proposed by Sir Joshua Reynolds, Dr. Samuel Johnson became the person most closely associated with the Club.

John Timbs, in his Club Life in London, gives an account of the Club's centennial dinner in 1864, which was celebrated at the Clarendon hotel. Henry Hart Milman, the English historian, was treasurer. The Club's toast, no doubt employing a bit of wishful thinking, was "Esto perpetua", Latin for "Let it be perpetual". This Latin phrase traces its origin to the last dying declaration of Paolo Sarpi (1552–1623) the Venetian theologian, philosopher and canon law expert who uttered these words towards the Venetian Republic, whose independence he devoutly espoused. The introduction of the phrase to Britain was probably through Sir Joshua Reynolds who went to Italy for his higher training in Renaissance art and painting with the contemporary Italian masters.


A literary party at Sir Joshua Reynolds's. The 1851 engraving after Doyle shows the friends of Reynolds—many of whom were members of "The Club"—(L to R: Boswell (biographer); Samuel Johnson (Dictionary writer); Sir Joshua Reynolds (host); David Garrick (actor); Edmund Burke (statesman); Pasqual Paoli (Corsican patriot); Charles Burney (music historian); Thomas Warton (poet laureate); Oliver Goldsmith (writer))

The nine original members were:

• Joshua Reynolds: artist
Samuel Johnson: essayist, lexicographer
• Edmund Burke: writer, later M.P.
• Christopher Nugent
• Topham Beauclerk
• Bennet Langton
• Oliver Goldsmith: author, playwright, poet
• Anthony Chamier
• John Hawkins: author

Hereafter membership was by unanimous election only. Existing members would submit a black ball if a nominee was disfavored. Shortly following the establishment of the original nine, Samuel Dyer became the first elected member. Hawkins left in 1768, suffering ostracism for his verbal abuse of Burke. Membership was then increased to 12; the new seats were filled by barrister Robert Chambers, and writers Thomas Percy and George Colman. A membership of 12 was deemed optimal to retain a qualitative exclusivity. Of Johnson's goal, Percy claimed:

It was intended the Club should consist of Such men, as that if only Two of them chanced to meet, they should be able to entertain each other without wanting the addition of more Company to pass the Evening agreeably.

Later member Charles Burney wrote that Johnson wanted a group "composed of the heads of every liberal and literary profession" and "have somebody to refer to in our doubts and discussions, by whose Science we might be enlightened."

The Club grew to 16 members in 1773, then to 21 in late 1775. Newly elected were: David Garrick, Adam Smith (economist, philosopher), Sir William Jones (philologist), George Steevens, (Shakespearean commentator), James Boswell (diarist, author), Charles James Fox (M.P.), George Fordyce (physician/chemist), James Caulfeild, 1st Earl of Charlemont, Agmondesham Vesey, Sir Thomas Charles Bunbury, Edward Gibbon (author), and Thomas Barnard.[4]

By 1783 the number had risen again to 35, including several Whig politicians, so that Johnson and other older members began to attend dinners less frequently. Johnson even founded another club, the Essex Head Club.[5] A fact often neglected was that when the Club was founded, Edmund Burke had already founded a successful political and debating society, Edmund Burke's Club (in 1747), whilst still a student at Trinity college, Dublin. It has been suggested that the Club was initially no more than a kind of friendship club, initiated by Joshua Reynolds to help the lonely Dr Samuel Johnson. But it was no doubt Burke who pushed for the idea of a Club rather than just a circle of friends, and it was his personality that had the greater influence; hence the increasingly political nature of the Club in the next century.

By 1791, eight years after the death of Johnson, the membership recorded by James Boswell included:

• Lord Charlemont
• Bishop Thomas Percy
• Charles Fox
• George Fordyce
• Joseph Banks
• Edward Gibbon
• Joseph Warton
• Lord Spencer
• Lord Palmerston

19th century

The historian Henry Reeve recorded details of Club membership in his diaries.

Members in the 1800s included:

• George Hamilton-Gordon, 4th Earl of Aberdeen
• Henry Petty-FitzMaurice, 3rd Marquess of Lansdowne
• Charles Eastlake
• Henry Brougham, 1st Baron Brougham and Vaux (9 March 1830)
• Philip Stanhope, 5th Earl Stanhope (14 May 1833)
• Henry Hart Milman (23 February 1836)
• Sir Henry Holland (18 February 1840)
• William Whewell
• Charles Austin (7 March 1843)
• Thomas Pemberton Leigh, 1st Baron Kingsdown (25 February 1845)
• George Villiers, 4th Earl of Clarendon (20 May 1845)
• Richard Owen (20 May 1845)
• Sylvain Van de Weyer (9 February 1847)
• Sir David Dundas (23 February 1847)
• Harry Powlett, 4th Duke of Cleveland (5 June 1849)
• Samuel Wilberforce (5 June 1849)
• Samuel Jones-Loyd, 1st Baron Overstone (25 June 1850)
• George Campbell, 8th Duke of Argyll (17 June 1851)
• Robert Rolfe, 1st Baron Cranworth (17 June 1851)
• Sir William Stirling-Maxwell (21 February 1854)
• William Gladstone (10 March 1857)
• John Russell, 1st Earl Russell (21 April 1857)
• George Grote, (9 March 1858)
• Edward Stanley, Lord Stanley (14 February 1860)
• William Wood, 1st Baron Hatherley (14 February 1860)
• George Richmond (14 February 1860)
• Archibald Campbell Tait (9 April 1861)
• Henry Reeve (9 April 1861)
• Roderick Murchison (18 June 1861)
• Edmund Walker Head (25 February 1862)
• Robert Lowe, 1st Viscount Sherbrooke (12 May 1863)
• Spencer Walpole (8 March 1864)
• Arthur Penrhyn Stanley (28 February 1865)
• James Anthony Froude (28 February 1865)
• Henri d'Orléans, duc d'Aumale (14 March 1865)
• Alfred Tennyson, 1st Baron Tennyson (14 March 1865)
• Hugh Cairns, 1st Earl Cairns (27 February 1866)
• Edward Twisleton (24 April 1866)
• Charles Thomas Newton (4 March 1879)
• Joseph Dalton Hooker (4 March 1879)
• Matthew Arnold (28 February 1882)
• Joseph Boehm (27 November 1888)
• Edward Maunde Thompson (27 November 1888)
• William Thomson, 1st Baron Kelvin (26 April 1892)[6]

By 1881, the members of the club included John Tyndall, Sir Frederic Leighton, and Lord Houghton, with Henry Reeve serving as treasurer. Other prominent 19th century members included Lord Macaulay, Thomas Huxley, Lord Acton, Lord Dufferin, W. H. E. Lecky, and Prime Minister Lord Salisbury.

20th century

Winston Churchill and F. E. Smith had both desired to join The Club but were considered too controversial. In response, in 1911, they founded The Other Club, which continues to maintain itself as a political dining society. Meanwhile, the Club is known to have survived at least as late as 1969.[7]


1. James Sambrook, ‘Club (act. 1764–1784)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press
2. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 8 October 2017. Retrieved 7 October 2017.
3. Gordon, Lyndall (5 April 2019). "The Friday Night Gab Sessions That Fueled 18th-Century British Culture". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on 13 April 2019. Retrieved 13 April 2019.
4. Sambrook, ODNB.
5. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 13 January 2017. Retrieved 7 October 2017.
6. Mountstuart Elphinstone, Grant Duff (1904). Notes from a diary, 1892–1895. Dutton. p. i 41.
7. Day, Leanne (2003). "'Those Ungodly Pressmen': The Early Years of the Brisbane Johnsonian Club". Australian Literary Studies. 21: 92. Retrieved 9 January 2017.


• Life of Johnson, James Boswell, 1791
• The life and selections from the correspondence of William Whewell, Janet Mary Douglas, 1881
• Inns and Taverns of Old London, Henry C. Shelley
• Memoirs of the Life and Correspondence of Henry Reeve, John Knox Laughton
• "The Clubs of London", National Review, Article III, April 1857
• James Sambrook, "Club (act. 1764–1784)," Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, online edition, Oxford Univ. Press, Jan. 2007. cited as 'Sambrook, ODNB'

Further reading

• Uglow, Jenny, "Big Talkers" (review of Leo Damrosch, The Club: Johnson, Boswell, and the Friends Who Shaped an Age, Yale University Press, 473 pp.), The New York Review of Books, vol. LXVI, no. 9 (23 May 2019), pp. 26–28.

External links

• Old and New London: Volume 3 at British History Online
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Re: Round Table Movement, by Wikipedia

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Samuel Johnson
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 8/5/20

Samuel Johnson
Portrait of Samuel Johnson in 1772 painted by Sir Joshua Reynolds
Samuel Johnson c. 1772, painted by Sir Joshua Reynolds
Born: 18 September 1709 (OS 7 September), Lichfield, Staffordshire, England
Died: 13 December 1784 (aged 75), London, England
Resting place: Westminster Abbey
Pen name: Dr Johnson
Occupation: Literary critic biographer essayist lexicographer poet playwright
Language: English
Alma mater: Pembroke College, Oxford (no degree)
Notable works: A Dictionary of the English Language; A Journey to the Western Isles of Scotland
Spouse: Elizabeth Porter (née Jervis) (m. 1735; died 1752)

Samuel Johnson (18 September 1709 [OS 7 September] – 13 December 1784), often referred to as Dr Johnson, was an English writer who made lasting contributions to English literature as a poet, playwright, essayist, moralist, literary critic, biographer, editor, and lexicographer. Religiously, he was a devout Anglican,[1] and politically a committed Tory. The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography describes Johnson as "arguably the most distinguished man of letters in English history".[2] He is the subject of James Boswell's The Life of Samuel Johnson, described by Walter Jackson Bate as "the most famous single work of biographical art in the whole of literature".[3]

Born in Lichfield, Staffordshire, Johnson attended Pembroke College, Oxford, for just over a year, but a lack of funds forced him to leave. After working as a teacher, he moved to London, where he began to write for The Gentleman's Magazine. His early works include the biography Life of Mr Richard Savage, the poems London and The Vanity of Human Wishes, and the play Irene.

After nine years of work, Johnson's A Dictionary of the English Language was published in 1755. It had a far-reaching effect on Modern English and has been acclaimed as "one of the greatest single achievements of scholarship".[4] This work brought Johnson popularity and success. Until the completion of the Oxford English Dictionary 150 years later, Johnson's was the pre-eminent British dictionary.[5] His later works included essays, an influential annotated edition of The Plays of William Shakespeare, and the widely read tale The History of Rasselas, Prince of Abissinia. In 1763, he befriended James Boswell, with whom he later travelled to Scotland; Johnson described their travels in A Journey to the Western Islands of Scotland. Towards the end of his life, he produced the massive and influential Lives of the Most Eminent English Poets, a collection of biographies and evaluations of 17th- and 18th-century poets.

Johnson was a tall[a] and robust man. His odd gestures and tics were disconcerting to some on first meeting him. Boswell's Life, along with other biographies, documented Johnson's behaviour and mannerisms in such detail that they have informed the posthumous diagnosis of Tourette syndrome,[6] a condition not defined or diagnosed in the 18th century. After a series of illnesses, he died on the evening of 13 December 1784, and was buried in Westminster Abbey. In the years following his death, Johnson began to be recognised as having had a lasting effect on literary criticism, and he was claimed by some to be the only truly great critic of English literature.[7]

Life and career

Early life and education

Main article: Early life of Samuel Johnson

Johnson's birthplace in Market Square, Lichfield

Samuel Johnson was born on 18 September 1709, to Sarah (née Ford) and Michael Johnson, a bookseller.[8] The birth took place in the family home above his father's bookshop in Lichfield, Staffordshire. His mother was 40 when she gave birth to Johnson. This was considered an unusually late pregnancy, so precautions were taken, and a "man-midwife" and surgeon of "great reputation" named George Hector was brought in to assist.[9] The infant Johnson did not cry, and there were concerns for his health. His aunt exclaimed that "she would not have picked such a poor creature up in the street".[10] The family feared that Johnson would not survive, and summoned the vicar of St Mary's to perform a baptism.[11] Two godfathers were chosen, Samuel Swynfen, a physician and graduate of Pembroke College, Oxford, and Richard Wakefield, a lawyer, coroner, and Lichfield town clerk.[12]

Johnson's health improved and he was put to wet-nurse with Joan Marklew. Some time later he contracted scrofula,[13] known at the time as the "King's Evil" because it was thought royalty could cure it. Sir John Floyer, former physician to King Charles II, recommended that the young Johnson should receive the "royal touch",[14] and he did so from Queen Anne on 30 March 1712. However, the ritual proved ineffective, and an operation was performed that left him with permanent scars across his face and body.[15] With the birth of Johnson's brother, Nathaniel, a few months later, their father was unable to pay the debts he had accrued over the years, and the family was no longer able to maintain its standard of living.[16]

When he was a child in petticoats, and had learnt to read, Mrs. Johnson one morning put the common prayer-book into his hands, pointed to the collect for the day, and said, 'Sam, you must get this by heart.' She went up stairs, leaving him to study it: But by the time she had reached the second floor, she heard him following her. 'What's the matter?' said she. 'I can say it,' he replied; and repeated it distinctly, though he could not have read it more than twice.[17]

-- Boswell's Life of Samuel Johnson

Johnson displayed signs of great intelligence as a child, and his parents, to his later disgust, would show off his "newly acquired accomplishments".[18] His education began at the age of three, and was provided by his mother, who had him memorise and recite passages from the Book of Common Prayer.[19] When Samuel turned four, he was sent to a nearby school, and, at the age of six he was sent to a retired shoemaker to continue his education.[20] A year later Johnson went to Lichfield Grammar School, where he excelled in Latin.[21] During this time, Johnson started to exhibit the tics that would influence how people viewed him in his later years, and which formed the basis for a posthumous diagnosis of Tourette syndrome.[22] He excelled at his studies and was promoted to the upper school at the age of nine.[21] During this time, he befriended Edmund Hector, nephew of his "man-midwife" George Hector, and John Taylor, with whom he remained in contact for the rest of his life.[23]

At the age of 16, Johnson stayed with his cousins, the Fords, at Pedmore, Worcestershire.[24] There he became a close friend of Cornelius Ford, who employed his knowledge of the classics to tutor Johnson while he was not attending school.[25] Ford was a successful, well-connected academic, and notorious alcoholic whose excesses contributed to his death six years later.[26] After spending six months with his cousins, Johnson returned to Lichfield, but Mr Hunter, the headmaster, "angered by the impertinence of this long absence", refused to allow Johnson to continue at the school.[27] Unable to return to Lichfield Grammar School, Johnson enrolled at the King Edward VI grammar school at Stourbridge.[25] As the school was located near Pedmore, Johnson was able to spend more time with the Fords, and he began to write poems and verse translations.[27] However, he spent only six months at Stourbridge before returning once again to his parents' home in Lichfield.[28]

Entrance of Pembroke College, Oxford

During this time, Johnson's future remained uncertain because his father was deeply in debt.[29] To earn money, Johnson began to stitch books for his father, and it is likely that Johnson spent much time in his father's bookshop reading and building his literary knowledge. The family remained in poverty until his mother's cousin Elizabeth Harriotts died in February 1728 and left enough money to send Johnson to university.[30] On 31 October 1728, a few weeks after he turned 19, Johnson entered Pembroke College, Oxford.[31] The inheritance did not cover all of his expenses at Pembroke, and Andrew Corbet, a friend and fellow student at the College, offered to make up the deficit.[32]

Johnson made friends at Pembroke and read much. In later life, he told stories of his idleness.[ b] His tutor asked him to produce a Latin translation of Alexander Pope's Messiah as a Christmas exercise.[34] Johnson completed half of the translation in one afternoon and the rest the following morning. Although the poem brought him praise, it did not bring the material benefit he had hoped for.[35] The poem later appeared in Miscellany of Poems (1731), edited by John Husbands, a Pembroke tutor, and is the earliest surviving publication of any of Johnson's writings. Johnson spent the rest of his time studying, even during the Christmas holiday. He drafted a "plan of study" called "Adversaria", which he left unfinished, and used his time to learn French while working on his Greek.[36]

After thirteen months, a lack of funds forced Johnson to leave Oxford without a degree, and he returned to Lichfield.[30] Towards the end of Johnson's stay at Oxford, his tutor, Jorden, left Pembroke and was replaced by William Adams. Johnson enjoyed Adams' tutoring, but by December, Johnson was already a quarter behind in his student fees, and was forced to return home. He left behind many books that he had borrowed from his father because he could not afford to transport them, and also because he hoped to return to Oxford.[37]

He eventually did receive a degree. Just before the publication of his Dictionary in 1755, the University of Oxford awarded Johnson the degree of Master of Arts.[38] He was awarded an honorary doctorate in 1765 by Trinity College Dublin and in 1775 by the University of Oxford.[39] In 1776 he returned to Pembroke with Boswell and toured the college with his former tutor Adams, who by then was the Master of the college. During that visit he recalled his time at the college and his early career, and expressed his later fondness for Jorden.[40]

Early career

Little is known about Johnson's life between the end of 1729 and 1731. It is likely that he lived with his parents. He experienced bouts of mental anguish and physical pain during years of illness;[41] his tics and gesticulations associated with Tourette syndrome became more noticeable and were often commented upon.[42] By 1731 Johnson's father was deeply in debt and had lost much of his standing in Lichfield. Johnson hoped to get an usher's position, which became available at Stourbridge Grammar School, but since he did not have a degree, his application was passed over on 6 September 1731.[41] At about this time, Johnson's father became ill and developed an "inflammatory fever" which led to his death in December 1731.[43] Johnson eventually found employment as undermaster at a school in Market Bosworth, run by Sir Wolstan Dixie, who allowed Johnson to teach without a degree.[44] Although Johnson was treated as a servant,[45] he found pleasure in teaching even though he considered it boring. After an argument with Dixie he left the school, and by June 1732 he had returned home.[46]

Elizabeth "Tetty" Porter, Johnson's wife

Johnson continued to look for a position at a Lichfield school. After being turned down for a job at Ashbourne, he spent time with his friend Edmund Hector, who was living in the home of the publisher Thomas Warren. At the time, Warren was starting his Birmingham Journal, and he enlisted Johnson's help.[47] This connection with Warren grew, and Johnson proposed a translation of Jerónimo Lobo's account of the Abyssinians.[48] Johnson read Abbé Joachim Le Grand's French translations, and thought that a shorter version might be "useful and profitable".[49] Instead of writing the work himself, he dictated to Hector, who then took the copy to the printer and made any corrections. Johnson's A Voyage to Abyssinia was published a year later.[49] He returned to Lichfield in February 1734, and began an annotated edition of Poliziano's Latin poems, along with a history of Latin poetry from Petrarch to Poliziano; a Proposal was soon printed, but a lack of funds halted the project.[50]

Johnson remained with his close friend Harry Porter during a terminal illness,[51] which ended in Porter's death on 3 September 1734. Porter's wife Elizabeth (née Jervis) (otherwise known as "Tetty") was now a widow at the age of 45, with three children.[52] Some months later, Johnson began to court her. The Reverend William Shaw claims that "the first advances probably proceeded from her, as her attachment to Johnson was in opposition to the advice and desire of all her relations,"[53] Johnson was inexperienced in such relationships, but the well-to-do widow encouraged him and promised to provide for him with her substantial savings.[54] They married on 9 July 1735, at St Werburgh's Church in Derby.[55] The Porter family did not approve of the match, partly because of the difference in their ages, Johnson was 25 and Elizabeth was 46. Elizabeth's marriage to Johnson so disgusted her son Jervis that he severed all relations with her.[56] However, her daughter Lucy accepted Johnson from the start, and her other son, Joseph, later came to accept the marriage.[57]

Edial Hall School

In June 1735, while working as a tutor for the children of Thomas Whitby, a local Staffordshire gentleman, Johnson had applied for the position of headmaster at Solihull School.[58] Although Johnson's friend Gilbert Walmisley gave his support, Johnson was passed over because the school's directors thought he was "a very haughty, ill-natured gent, and that he has such a way of distorting his face (which though he can't help) the gents think it may affect some lads".[59] With Walmisley's encouragement, Johnson decided that he could be a successful teacher if he ran his own school.[60] In the autumn of 1735, Johnson opened Edial Hall School as a private academy at Edial, near Lichfield. He had only three pupils: Lawrence Offley, George Garrick, and the 18-year-old David Garrick, who later became one of the most famous actors of his day.[59] The venture was unsuccessful and cost Tetty a substantial portion of her fortune. Instead of trying to keep the failing school going, Johnson began to write his first major work, the historical tragedy Irene.[61] Biographer Robert DeMaria believed that Tourette syndrome likely made public occupations like schoolmaster or tutor almost impossible for Johnson. This may have led Johnson to "the invisible occupation of authorship".[22]

Johnson left for London with his former pupil David Garrick on 2 March 1737, the day Johnson's brother died. He was penniless and pessimistic about their travel, but fortunately for them, Garrick had connections in London, and the two were able to stay with his distant relative, Richard Norris.[62] Johnson soon moved to Greenwich near the Golden Hart Tavern to finish Irene.[63] On 12 July 1737 he wrote to Edward Cave with a proposal for a translation of Paolo Sarpi's The History of the Council of Trent (1619), which Cave did not accept until months later.[64] In October 1737 Johnson brought his wife to London, and he found employment with Cave as a writer for The Gentleman's Magazine.[65] His assignments for the magazine and other publishers during this time were "almost unparalleled in range and variety," and "so numerous, so varied and scattered" that "Johnson himself could not make a complete list".[66] The name Columbia, a poetic name for America coined by Johnson, first appears in a 1738 weekly publication of the debates of the British Parliament in The Gentleman's Magazine.

Title page of London second edition

In May 1738 his first major work, the poem London, was published anonymously.[67] Based on Juvenal's Satire III, it describes the character Thales leaving for Wales to escape the problems of London,[68] which is portrayed as a place of crime, corruption, and poverty. Johnson could not bring himself to regard the poem as earning him any merit as a poet.[69] Alexander Pope said that the author "will soon be déterré" (unearthed, dug up), but this would not happen until 15 years later.[67]

In August, Johnson's lack of an MA degree from Oxford or Cambridge led to his being denied a position as master of the Appleby Grammar School. In an effort to end such rejections, Pope asked Lord Gower to use his influence to have a degree awarded to Johnson.[10] Gower petitioned Oxford for an honorary degree to be awarded to Johnson, but was told that it was "too much to be asked".[70] Gower then asked a friend of Jonathan Swift to plead with Swift to use his influence at the University of Dublin to have a master's degree awarded to Johnson, in the hope that this could then be used to justify an MA from Oxford,[70] but Swift refused to act on Johnson's behalf.[71]

Between 1737 and 1739, Johnson befriended poet Richard Savage.[72] Feeling guilty about living on Tetty's money, Johnson stopped living with her and spent his time with Savage. They were poor and would stay in taverns or sleep in "night-cellars". Some nights they would roam the streets until dawn because they had no money.[73] Savage's friends tried to help him by attempting to persuade him to move to Wales, but Savage ended up in Bristol and again fell into debt. He was committed to debtors' prison and died in 1743. A year later, Johnson wrote Life of Mr Richard Savage (1744), a "moving" work which, in the words of the biographer and critic Walter Jackson Bate, "remains one of the innovative works in the history of biography".[74]

A Dictionary of the English Language

See also: A Dictionary of the English Language, The Rambler, The Vanity of Human Wishes, and Irene (play)

Johnson's Dictionary Vol. 1 (1755) title page

In 1746, a group of publishers approached Johnson with an idea about creating an authoritative dictionary of the English language.[67] A contract with William Strahan and associates, worth 1,500 guineas, was signed on the morning of 18 June 1746.[75] Johnson claimed that he could finish the project in three years. In comparison, the Académie Française had 40 scholars spending 40 years to complete their dictionary, which prompted Johnson to claim, "This is the proportion. Let me see; forty times forty is sixteen hundred. As three to sixteen hundred, so is the proportion of an Englishman to a Frenchman."[67] Although he did not succeed in completing the work in three years, he did manage to finish it in eight.[67] Some criticised the dictionary, including Thomas Babington Macaulay, who described Johnson as "a wretched etymologist,"[76] but according to Bate, the Dictionary "easily ranks as one of the greatest single achievements of scholarship, and probably the greatest ever performed by one individual who laboured under anything like the disadvantages in a comparable length of time."[4]

Johnson's dictionary was not the first, nor was it unique. It was, however, the most commonly used and imitated for the 150 years between its first publication and the completion of the Oxford English Dictionary in 1928. Other dictionaries, such as Nathan Bailey's Dictionarium Britannicum, included more words,[5] and in the 150 years preceding Johnson's dictionary about twenty other general-purpose monolingual "English" dictionaries had been produced.[77] However, there was open dissatisfaction with the dictionaries of the period. In 1741, David Hume claimed: "The Elegance and Propriety of Stile have been very much neglected among us. We have no Dictionary of our Language, and scarce a tolerable Grammar."[78] Johnson's Dictionary offers insights into the 18th century and "a faithful record of the language people used".[5] It is more than a reference book; it is a work of literature.[77]

For a decade, Johnson's constant work on the Dictionary disrupted his and Tetty's living conditions. He had to employ a number of assistants for the copying and mechanical work, which filled the house with incessant noise and clutter. He was always busy, and kept hundreds of books around him.[79] John Hawkins described the scene: "The books he used for this purpose were what he had in his own collection, a copious but a miserably ragged one, and all such as he could borrow; which latter, if ever they came back to those that lent them, were so defaced as to be scarce worth owning."[80] Johnson was also distracted by Tetty's poor health as she began to show signs of a terminal illness.[79] To accommodate both his wife and his work, he moved to 17 Gough Square near his printer, William Strahan.[81]

Johnson's Dictionary Vol. 2 (1755) title page

In preparation, Johnson wrote a Plan for the Dictionary. Philip Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield, was the patron of the Plan, to Johnson's displeasure.[82] Seven years after first meeting Johnson to go over the work, Chesterfield wrote two anonymous essays in The World recommending the Dictionary.[83] He complained that the English language lacked structure and argued in support of the dictionary. Johnson did not like the tone of the essays, and he felt that Chesterfield had not fulfilled his obligations as the work's patron.[84] In a letter to Chesterfield, Johnson expressed this view and harshly criticised Chesterfield, saying "Is not a patron, my lord, one who looks with unconcern on a man struggling for life in the water, and when he has reached ground, encumbers him with help? The notice which you have been pleased to take of my labours, had it been early, had been kind: but it has been delayed till I am indifferent and cannot enjoy it; till I am solitary and cannot impart it; till I am known and do not want it."[85] Chesterfield, impressed by the language, kept the letter displayed on a table for anyone to read.[85]

Dr. Johnson in the ante-room of Lord Chesterfield. Coloured engraving by E.M. Ward.

The Dictionary was finally published in April 1755, with the title page acknowledging that the University of Oxford had awarded Johnson a Master of Arts degree in anticipation of the work.[86] The dictionary as published was a large book. Its pages were nearly 18 inches (46 cm) tall, and the book was 20 inches (51 cm) wide when opened; it contained 42,773 entries, to which only a few more were added in subsequent editions, and it sold for the extravagant price of £4 10s, perhaps the rough equivalent of £350 today.[87] An important innovation in English lexicography was to illustrate the meanings of his words by literary quotation, of which there were approximately 114,000. The authors most frequently cited include William Shakespeare, John Milton and John Dryden.[88] It was years before Johnson's Dictionary, as it came to be known, turned a profit. Authors' royalties were unknown at the time, and Johnson, once his contract to deliver the book was fulfilled, received no further money from its sale. Years later, many of its quotations would be repeated by various editions of the Webster's Dictionary and the New English Dictionary.[89]

Besides working on the Dictionary, Johnson also wrote numerous essays, sermons, and poems during these nine years.[90] In 1750, he decided to produce a series of essays under the title The Rambler that were to be published every Tuesday and Saturday and sell for twopence each. Explaining the title years later, he told his friend, the painter Joshua Reynolds: "I was at a loss how to name it. I sat down at night upon my bedside, and resolved that I would not go to sleep till I had fixed its title. The Rambler seemed the best that occurred, and I took it."[91] These essays, often on moral and religious topics, tended to be more grave than the title of the series would suggest; his first comments in The Rambler were to ask "that in this undertaking thy Holy Spirit may not be withheld from me, but that I may promote thy glory, and the salvation of myself and others."[91] The popularity of The Rambler took off once the issues were collected in a volume; they were reprinted nine times during Johnson's life. Writer and printer Samuel Richardson, enjoying the essays greatly, questioned the publisher as to who wrote the works; only he and a few of Johnson's friends were told of Johnson's authorship.[92] One friend, the novelist Charlotte Lennox, includes a defence of The Rambler in her novel The Female Quixote (1752). In particular, the character Mr. Glanville says, "you may sit in Judgment upon the Productions of a Young, a Richardson, or a Johnson. Rail with premeditated Malice at the Rambler; and for the want of Faults, turn even its inimitable Beauties into Ridicule." (Book VI, Chapter XI) Later, she claims Johnson as "the greatest Genius in the present Age."[93]

His necessary attendance while his play was in rehearsal, and during its performance, brought him acquainted with many of the performers of both sexes, which produced a more favourable opinion of their profession than he had harshly expressed in his Life of Savage. With some of them he kept up an acquaintance as long as he and they lived, and was ever ready to shew them acts of kindness. He for a considerable time used to frequent the Green Room, and seemed to take delight in dissipating his gloom, by mixing in the sprightly chit-chat of the motley circle then to be found there. Mr. David Hume related to me from Mr. Garrick, that Johnson at last denied himself this amusement, from considerations of rigid virtue; saying, 'I'll come no more behind your scenes, David; for the silk stockings and white bosoms of your actresses excite my amorous propensities.[94]

-- Boswell's Life of Samuel Johnson

However, not all of his work was confined to The Rambler. His most highly regarded poem, The Vanity of Human Wishes, was written with such "extraordinary speed" that Boswell claimed Johnson "might have been perpetually a poet".[95] The poem is an imitation of Juvenal's Satire X and claims that "the antidote to vain human wishes is non-vain spiritual wishes".[96] In particular, Johnson emphasises "the helpless vulnerability of the individual before the social context" and the "inevitable self-deception by which human beings are led astray".[97] The poem was critically celebrated but it failed to become popular, and sold fewer copies than London.[98] In 1749, Garrick made good on his promise that he would produce Irene, but its title was altered to Mahomet and Irene to make it "fit for the stage."[99] The show eventually ran for nine nights.[100]

Tetty Johnson was ill during most of her time in London, and in 1752 she decided to return to the countryside while Johnson was busy working on his Dictionary. She died on 17 March 1752, and, at word of her death, Johnson wrote a letter to his old friend Taylor, which according to Taylor "expressed grief in the strongest manner he had ever read".[101] He wrote a sermon in her honour, to be read at her funeral, but Taylor refused to read it, for reasons which are unknown. This only exacerbated Johnson's feelings of loss and despair after the death of his wife. Consequently, John Hawkesworth had to organise the funeral. Johnson felt guilty about the poverty in which he believed he had forced Tetty to live, and blamed himself for neglecting her. He became outwardly discontented, and his diary was filled with prayers and laments over her death which continued until his own. She was his primary motivation, and her death hindered his ability to complete his work.[102]

Later career

See also: The Plays of William Shakespeare; The Idler (1758–1760); and The History of Rasselas, Prince of Abissinia

On 16 March 1756, Johnson was arrested for an outstanding debt of £5 18s. Unable to contact anyone else, he wrote to the writer and publisher Samuel Richardson. Richardson, who had previously lent Johnson money, sent him six guineas to show his good will, and the two became friends.[103] Soon after, Johnson met and befriended the painter Joshua Reynolds, who so impressed Johnson that he declared him "almost the only man whom I call a friend".[104] Reynolds' younger sister Frances observed during their time together "that men, women and children gathered around him [Johnson]", laughing at his gestures and gesticulations.[105] In addition to Reynolds, Johnson was close to Bennet Langton and Arthur Murphy. Langton was a scholar and an admirer of Johnson who persuaded his way into a meeting with Johnson which led to a long friendship. Johnson met Murphy during the summer of 1754 after Murphy came to Johnson about the accidental republishing of the Rambler No. 190, and the two became friends.[106] Around this time, Anna Williams began boarding with Johnson. She was a minor poet who was poor and becoming blind, two conditions that Johnson attempted to change by providing room for her and paying for a failed cataract surgery. Williams, in turn, became Johnson's housekeeper.[107]

A literary party, 1781, of Johnson (second from left) and other members of "The Club".

To occupy himself, Johnson began to work on The Literary Magazine, or Universal Review, the first issue of which was printed on 19 March 1756. Philosophical disagreements erupted over the purpose of the publication when the Seven Years' War began and Johnson started to write polemical essays attacking the war. After the war began, the Magazine included many reviews, at least 34 of which were written by Johnson.[108] When not working on the Magazine, Johnson wrote a series of prefaces for other writers, such as Giuseppe Baretti, William Payne and Charlotte Lennox.[109] Johnson's relationship with Lennox and her works was particularly close during these years, and she in turn relied so heavily upon Johnson that he was "the most important single fact in Mrs Lennox's literary life".[110] He later attempted to produce a new edition of her works, but even with his support they were unable to find enough interest to follow through with its publication.[111] To help with domestic duties while Johnson was busy with his various projects, Richard Bathurst, a physician and a member of Johnson's Club, pressured him to take on a freed slave, Francis Barber, as his servant.[112]

Johnson, by John Opie

Johnson's work on The Plays of William Shakespeare took up most of his time. On 8 June 1756, Johnson published his Proposals for Printing, by Subscription, the Dramatick Works of William Shakespeare, which argued that previous editions of Shakespeare were edited incorrectly and needed to be corrected.[113] Johnson's progress on the work slowed as the months passed, and he told music historian Charles Burney in December 1757 that it would take him until the following March to complete it. Before that could happen, he was arrested again, for a debt of £40, in February 1758. The debt was soon repaid by Jacob Tonson, who had contracted Johnson to publish Shakespeare, and this encouraged Johnson to finish his edition to repay the favour. Although it took him another seven years to finish, Johnson completed a few volumes of his Shakespeare to prove his commitment to the project.[114]

In 1758, Johnson began to write a weekly series, The Idler, which ran from 15 April 1758 to 5 April 1760, as a way to avoid finishing his Shakespeare. This series was shorter and lacked many features of The Rambler. Unlike his independent publication of The Rambler, The Idler was published in a weekly news journal The Universal Chronicle, a publication supported by John Payne, John Newbery, Robert Stevens and William Faden.[115]

Since The Idler did not occupy all Johnson's time, he was able to publish his philosophical novella Rasselas on 19 April 1759. The "little story book", as Johnson described it, describes the life of Prince Rasselas and Nekayah, his sister, who are kept in a place called the Happy Valley in the land of Abyssinia. The Valley is a place free of problems, where any desire is quickly satisfied. The constant pleasure does not, however, lead to satisfaction; and, with the help of a philosopher named Imlac, Rasselas escapes and explores the world to witness how all aspects of society and life in the outside world are filled with suffering. They return to Abyssinia, but do not wish to return to the state of constantly fulfilled pleasures found in the Happy Valley.[116] Rasselas was written in one week to pay for his mother's funeral and settle her debts; it became so popular that there was a new English edition of the work almost every year. References to it appear in many later works of fiction, including Jane Eyre, Cranford and The House of the Seven Gables. Its fame was not limited to English-speaking nations: Rasselas was immediately translated into five languages (French, Dutch, German, Russian and Italian), and later into nine others.[117]

James Boswell at 25

By 1762, however, Johnson had gained notoriety for his dilatoriness in writing; the contemporary poet Churchill teased Johnson for the delay in producing his long-promised edition of Shakespeare: "He for subscribers baits his hook / and takes your cash, but where's the book?"[118] The comments soon motivated Johnson to finish his Shakespeare, and, after receiving the first payment from a government pension on 20 July 1762, he was able to dedicate most of his time towards this goal.[118] Earlier that July, the 24-year-old King George III granted Johnson an annual pension of £300 in appreciation for the Dictionary.[39] While the pension did not make Johnson wealthy, it did allow him a modest yet comfortable independence for the remaining 22 years of his life.[119] The award came largely through the efforts of Sheridan and the Earl of Bute. When Johnson questioned if the pension would force him to promote a political agenda or support various officials, he was told by Bute that the pension "is not given you for anything you are to do, but for what you have done".[120]

On 16 May 1763, Johnson first met 22-year-old James Boswell—who would later become Johnson's first major biographer—in the bookshop of Johnson's friend, Tom Davies. They quickly became friends, although Boswell would return to his home in Scotland or travel abroad for months at a time.[121] Around the spring of 1763, Johnson formed "The Club", a social group that included his friends Reynolds, Burke, Garrick, Goldsmith and others (the membership later expanded to include Adam Smith and Edward Gibbon). They decided to meet every Monday at 7:00 pm at the Turk's Head in Gerrard Street, Soho, and these meetings continued until long after the deaths of the original members.[122]

During the whole of the interview, Johnson talked to his Majesty with profound respect, but still in his firm manly manner, with a sonorous voice, and never in that subdued tone which is commonly used at the levee and in the drawing-room. After the King withdrew, Johnson shewed himself highly pleased with his Majesty's conversation and gracious behaviour. He said to Mr Barnard, 'Sir, they may talk of the King as they will; but he is the finest gentleman I have ever seen.'[123]

-- Boswell's Life of Samuel Johnson

On 9 January 1765, Murphy introduced Johnson to Henry Thrale, a wealthy brewer and MP, and his wife Hester. They struck up an instant friendship; Johnson was treated as a member of the family, and was once more motivated to continue working on his Shakespeare.[124] Afterwards, Johnson stayed with the Thrales for 17 years until Henry's death in 1781, sometimes staying in rooms at Thrale's Anchor Brewery in Southwark.[125] Hester Thrale's documentation of Johnson's life during this time, in her correspondence and her diary (Thraliana), became an important source of biographical information on Johnson after his death.[126]

Johnson's edition of Shakespeare was finally published on 10 October 1765 as The Plays of William Shakespeare, in Eight Volumes ... To which are added Notes by Sam. Johnson in a printing of one thousand copies. The first edition quickly sold out, and a second was soon printed.[127] The plays themselves were in a version that Johnson felt was closest to the original, based on his analysis of the manuscript editions. Johnson's revolutionary innovation was to create a set of corresponding notes that allowed readers to clarify the meaning behind many of Shakespeare's more complicated passages, and to examine those which had been transcribed incorrectly in previous editions.[128] Included within the notes are occasional attacks upon rival editors of Shakespeare's works.[129] Years later, Edmond Malone, an important Shakespearean scholar and friend of Johnson's, stated that Johnson's "vigorous and comprehensive understanding threw more light on his authour than all his predecessors had done".[130]

In February 1767, Johnson was granted a special audience with King George III. This took place at the library of the Queen's house, and it was organised by Barnard, the King's librarian.[131] The King, upon hearing that Johnson would visit the library, commanded that Barnard introduce him to Johnson.[132] After a short meeting, Johnson was impressed both with the King himself and with their conversation.[123]

Final works

See also: A Journey to the Western Islands of Scotland and Lives of the Most Eminent English Poets

Johnson (1775) showing his intense concentration and the weakness of his eyes; he did not want to be depicted as "Blinking Sam." This unique portrait showing his nearsightedness is in the Huntington Library in San Marino, California.[133]

On 6 August 1773, eleven years after first meeting Boswell, Johnson set out to visit his friend in Scotland, and to begin "a journey to the western islands of Scotland", as Johnson's 1775 account of their travels would put it.[134] The work was intended to discuss the social problems and struggles that affected the Scottish people, but it also praised many of the unique facets of Scottish society, such as a school in Edinburgh for the deaf and mute.[135] Also, Johnson used the work to enter into the dispute over the authenticity of James Macpherson's Ossian poems, claiming they could not have been translations of ancient Scottish literature on the grounds that "in those times nothing had been written in the Earse [i.e. Scots Gaelic] language".[136] There were heated exchanges between the two, and according to one of Johnson's letters, MacPherson threatened physical violence.[137] Boswell's account of their journey, The Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides (1786), was a preliminary step toward his later biography, The Life of Samuel Johnson. Included were various quotations and descriptions of events, including anecdotes such as Johnson swinging a broadsword while wearing Scottish garb, or dancing a Highland jig.[138]

In the 1770s, Johnson, who had tended to be an opponent of the government early in life, published a series of pamphlets in favour of various government policies. In 1770 he produced The False Alarm, a political pamphlet attacking John Wilkes. In 1771, his Thoughts on the Late Transactions Respecting Falkland's Islands cautioned against war with Spain.[139] In 1774 he printed The Patriot, a critique of what he viewed as false patriotism. On the evening of 7 April 1775, he made the famous statement, "Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel."[140] This line was not, as widely believed, about patriotism in general, but what Johnson considered to be the false use of the term "patriotism" by John Wilkes and his supporters. Johnson opposed "self-professed Patriots" in general, but valued what he considered "true" patriotism.[141]

The last of these pamphlets, Taxation No Tyranny (1775), was a defence of the Coercive Acts and a response to the Declaration of Rights of the First Continental Congress of America, which protested against taxation without representation.[142] Johnson argued that in emigrating to America, colonists had "voluntarily resigned the power of voting", but they still had "virtual representation" in Parliament. In a parody of the Declaration of Rights, Johnson suggested that the Americans had no more right to govern themselves than the Cornish people, and asked "How is it that we hear the loudest yelps for liberty among the drivers of negroes?"[143] If the Americans wanted to participate in Parliament, said Johnson, they could move to England and purchase an estate.[144] Johnson denounced English supporters of American separatists as "traitors to this country", and hoped that the matter would be settled without bloodshed, but he felt confident that it would end with "English superiority and American obedience".[145] Years before, Johnson had stated that the English and the French were just "two robbers" who were stealing land from the natives, and that neither deserved to live there.[108] After the signing of the 1783 Peace of Paris treaty, marking the colonists' defeat of the British, Johnson was "deeply disturbed" with the "state of this kingdom".[146]

Mr Thrale's death was a very essential loss to Johnson, who, although he did not foresee all that afterwards happened, was sufficiently convinced that the comforts which Mr Thrale's family afforded him, would now in great measure cease.[147]

-- Boswell's Life of Samuel Johnson

On 3 May 1777, while Johnson was trying to save Reverend William Dodd from execution, he wrote to Boswell that he was busy preparing a "little Lives" and "little Prefaces, to a little edition of the English Poets".[148] Tom Davies, William Strahan and Thomas Cadell had asked Johnson to create this final major work, the Lives of the English Poets, for which he asked 200 guineas, an amount significantly less than the price he could have demanded.[149] The Lives, which were critical as well as biographical studies, appeared as prefaces to selections of each poet's work, and they were longer and more detailed than originally expected.[150] The work was finished in March 1781 and the whole collection was published in six volumes. As Johnson justified in the advertisement for the work, "my purpose was only to have allotted to every Poet an Advertisement, like those which we find in the French Miscellanies, containing a few dates and a general character."[151]

Johnson was unable to enjoy this success because Henry Thrale, the dear friend with whom he lived, died on 4 April 1781.[152] Life changed quickly for Johnson when Hester Thrale became romantically involved with the Italian singing teacher Gabriel Mario Piozzi, which forced Johnson to change his previous lifestyle.[153] After returning home and then travelling for a short period, Johnson received word that his friend and tenant Robert Levet, had died on 17 January 1782.[154] Johnson was shocked by the death of Levet, who had resided at Johnson's London home since 1762.[155] Shortly afterwards Johnson caught a cold that developed into bronchitis and lasted for several months. His health was further complicated by "feeling forlorn and lonely" over Levet's death, and by the deaths of his friend Thomas Lawrence and his housekeeper Williams.[156]

Final years

Portrait of Samuel Johnson c.1770

Hester Thrale and her daughter Queeney

Although he had recovered his health by August, he experienced emotional trauma when he was given word that Hester Thrale would sell the residence that Johnson shared with the family. What hurt Johnson most was the possibility that he would be left without her constant company.[157] Months later, on 6 October 1782, Johnson attended church for the final time in his life, to say goodbye to his former residence and life. The walk to the church strained him, but he managed the journey unaccompanied.[158] While there, he wrote a prayer for the Thrale family:

To thy fatherly protection, O Lord, I commend this family. Bless, guide, and defend them, that they may pass through this world, as finally to enjoy in thy presence everlasting happiness, for Jesus Christ's sake. Amen.[159]

Hester Thrale did not completely abandon Johnson, and asked him to accompany the family on a trip to Brighton.[158] He agreed, and was with them from 7 October to 20 November 1782.[160] On his return, his health began to fail, and he was left alone after Boswell's visit on 29 May 1783.[161]

On 17 June 1783, Johnson's poor circulation resulted in a stroke[162] and he wrote to his neighbour, Edmund Allen, that he had lost the ability to speak.[163] Two doctors were brought in to aid Johnson; he regained his ability to speak two days later.[164] Johnson feared that he was dying, and wrote:

The black dog I hope always to resist, and in time to drive, though I am deprived of almost all those that used to help me. The neighbourhood is impoverished. I had once Richardson and Lawrence in my reach. Mrs. Allen is dead. My house has lost Levet, a man who took interest in everything, and therefore ready at conversation. Mrs. Williams is so weak that she can be a companion no longer. When I rise my breakfast is solitary, the black dog waits to share it, from breakfast to dinner he continues barking, except that Dr. Brocklesby for a little keeps him at a distance. Dinner with a sick woman you may venture to suppose not much better than solitary. After dinner, what remains but to count the clock, and hope for that sleep which I can scarce expect. Night comes at last, and some hours of restlessness and confusion bring me again to a day of solitude. What shall exclude the black dog from an habitation like this?[165]

By this time he was sick and gout-ridden. He had surgery for gout, and his remaining friends, including novelist Fanny Burney (the daughter of Charles Burney), came to keep him company.[166] He was confined to his room from 14 December 1783 to 21 April 1784.[167]

His health began to improve by May 1784, and he travelled to Oxford with Boswell on 5 May 1784.[167] By July, many of Johnson's friends were either dead or gone; Boswell had left for Scotland and Hester Thrale had become engaged to Piozzi. With no one to visit, Johnson expressed a desire to die in London and arrived there on 16 November 1784. On 25 November 1784, he allowed Burney to visit him and expressed an interest to her that he should leave London; he soon left for Islington, to George Strahan's home.[168] His final moments were filled with mental anguish and delusions; when his physician, Thomas Warren, visited and asked him if he were feeling better, Johnson burst out with: "No, Sir; you cannot conceive with what acceleration I advance towards death."[169]

A few days before his death, he had asked Sir John Hawkins, one of his executors, where he should be buried; and on being answered, "Doubtless, in Westminster Abbey," seemed to feel a satisfaction, very natural to a Poet.[170]

-- Boswell's Life of Samuel Johnson

Many visitors came to see Johnson as he lay sick in bed, but he preferred only Langton's company.[169] Burney waited for word of Johnson's condition, along with Windham, Strahan, Hoole, Cruikshank, Des Moulins and Barber.[171] On 13 December 1784, Johnson met with two others: a young woman, Miss Morris, whom Johnson blessed, and Francesco Sastres, an Italian teacher, who was given some of Johnson's final words: "Iam Moriturus" ("I who am about to die").[172] Shortly afterwards he fell into a coma, and died at 7:00 p.m.[171]

Langton waited until 11:00 p.m. to tell the others, which led to John Hawkins' becoming pale and overcome with "an agony of mind", along with Seward and Hoole describing Johnson's death as "the most awful sight".[173] Boswell remarked, "My feeling was just one large expanse of Stupor ... I could not believe it. My imagination was not convinced."[172] William Gerard Hamilton joined in and stated, "He has made a chasm, which not only nothing can fill up, but which nothing has a tendency to fill up. –Johnson is dead.– Let us go to the next best: There is nobody; –no man can be said to put you in mind of Johnson."[171]

He was buried on 20 December 1784 at Westminster Abbey with an inscription that reads:

Samuel Johnson, LL.D.
Obiit XIII die Decembris,
Anno Domini
Ætatis suœ LXXV.[174]
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Literary criticism

Main article: Samuel Johnson's literary criticism

The Vanity of Human Wishes (1749) title page

Johnson's works, especially his Lives of the Poets series, describe various features of excellent writing. He believed that the best poetry relied on contemporary language, and he disliked the use of decorative or purposefully archaic language.[175] He was suspicious of the poetic language used by Milton, whose blank verse he believed would inspire many bad imitations. Also, Johnson opposed the poetic language of his contemporary Thomas Gray.[176] His greatest complaint was that obscure allusions found in works like Milton's Lycidas were overused; he preferred poetry that could be easily read and understood.[177] In addition to his views on language, Johnson believed that a good poem incorporated new and unique imagery.[178]

In his smaller poetic works, Johnson relied on short lines and filled his work with a feeling of empathy, which possibly influenced Housman's poetic style.[179] In London, his first imitation of Juvenal, Johnson uses the poetic form to express his political opinion and, as befits a young writer, approaches the topic in a playful and almost joyous manner.[180] However, his second imitation, The Vanity of Human Wishes, is completely different; the language remains simple, but the poem is more complicated and difficult to read because Johnson is trying to describe complex Christian ethics.[181] These Christian values are not unique to the poem, but contain views expressed in most of Johnson's works. In particular, Johnson emphasises God's infinite love and shows that happiness can be attained through virtuous action.[182]

A caricature of Johnson by James Gillray mocking him for his literary criticism; he is shown doing penance for Apollo and the Muses with Mount Parnassus in the background.

When it came to biography, Johnson disagreed with Plutarch's use of biography to praise and to teach morality. Instead, Johnson believed in portraying the biographical subjects accurately and including any negative aspects of their lives. Because his insistence on accuracy in biography was little short of revolutionary, Johnson had to struggle against a society that was unwilling to accept biographical details that could be viewed as tarnishing a reputation; this became the subject of Rambler 60.[183] Furthermore, Johnson believed that biography should not be limited to the most famous and that the lives of lesser individuals, too, were significant;[184] thus in his Lives of the Poets he chose both great and lesser poets. In all his biographies he insisted on including what others would have considered trivial details to fully describe the lives of his subjects.[185] Johnson considered the genre of autobiography and diaries, including his own, as one having the most significance; in Idler 84 he explains how a writer of an autobiography would be the least likely to distort his own life.[186]

Johnson's thoughts on biography and on poetry coalesced in his understanding of what would make a good critic. His works were dominated with his intent to use them for literary criticism. This was especially true of his Dictionary of which he wrote: "I lately published a Dictionary like those compiled by the academies of Italy and France, for the use of such as aspire to exactness of criticism, or elegance of style".[187] Although a smaller edition of his Dictionary became the standard household dictionary, Johnson's original Dictionary was an academic tool that examined how words were used, especially in literary works. To achieve this purpose, Johnson included quotations from Bacon, Hooker, Milton, Shakespeare, Spenser, and many others from what he considered to be the most important literary fields: natural science, philosophy, poetry, and theology. These quotations and usages were all compared and carefully studied in the Dictionary so that a reader could understand what words in literary works meant in context.[188]

Plays of William Shakespeare (1773 expanded edition) title page

Johnson did not attempt to create schools of theories to analyse the aesthetics of literature. Instead, he used his criticism for the practical purpose of helping others to better read and understand literature.[189] When it came to Shakespeare's plays, Johnson emphasised the role of the reader in understanding language: "If Shakespeare has difficulties above other writers, it is to be imputed to the nature of his work, which required the use of common colloquial language, and consequently admitted many phrases allusive, elliptical, and proverbial, such as we speak and hear every hour without observing them".[190]

His works on Shakespeare were devoted not merely to Shakespeare, but to understanding literature as a whole; in his Preface to Shakespeare, Johnson rejects the previous dogma of the classical unities and argues that drama should be faithful to life.[191] However, Johnson did not only defend Shakespeare; he discussed Shakespeare's faults, including his lack of morality, his vulgarity, his carelessness in crafting plots, and his occasional inattentiveness when choosing words or word order.[192] As well as direct literary criticism, Johnson emphasised the need to establish a text that accurately reflects what an author wrote. Shakespeare's plays, in particular, had multiple editions, each of which contained errors caused by the printing process. This problem was compounded by careless editors who deemed difficult words incorrect, and changed them in later editions. Johnson believed that an editor should not alter the text in such a way.[193]

Character sketch

Further information: Political views of Samuel Johnson and Religious views of Samuel Johnson

After we came out of the church, we stood talking for some time together of Bishop Berkeley's ingenious sophistry to prove the non-existence of matter, and that every thing in the universe is merely ideal. I observed, that though we are satisfied his doctrine is not true, it is impossible to refute it. I never shall forget the alacrity with which Johnson answered, striking his foot with mighty force against a large stone, till he rebounded from it, 'I refute it thus.'[194]

-- Boswell's Life of Samuel Johnson

Johnson's tall[a] and robust figure combined with his odd gestures were confusing to some; when William Hogarth first saw Johnson standing near a window in Samuel Richardson's house, "shaking his head and rolling himself about in a strange ridiculous manner", Hogarth thought Johnson an "ideot, whom his relations had put under the care of Mr. Richardson".[196] Hogarth was quite surprised when "this figure stalked forwards to where he and Mr. Richardson were sitting and all at once took up the argument ... [with] such a power of eloquence, that Hogarth looked at him with astonishment, and actually imagined that this ideot had been at the moment inspired".[196] Beyond appearance, Adam Smith claimed that "Johnson knew more books than any man alive",[197] while Edmund Burke thought that if Johnson were to join Parliament, he "certainly would have been the greatest speaker that ever was there".[198] Johnson relied on a unique form of rhetoric, and he is well known for his "refutation" of Bishop Berkeley's immaterialism, his claim that matter did not actually exist but only seemed to exist:[199] during a conversation with Boswell, Johnson powerfully stomped a nearby stone and proclaimed of Berkeley's theory, "I refute it thus!"[194]

Johnson was a devout, conservative Anglican and a compassionate man who supported a number of poor friends under his own roof, even when unable to fully provide for himself.[39] Johnson's Christian morality permeated his works, and he would write on moral topics with such authority and in such a trusting manner that, Walter Jackson Bate claims, "no other moralist in history excels or even begins to rival him".[200] However, Johnson's moral writings do not contain, as Donald Greene points out, "a predetermined and authorized pattern of 'good behavior'", even though Johnson does emphasise certain kinds of conduct.[201] He did not let his own faith prejudice him against others, and had respect for those of other denominations who demonstrated a commitment to Christ's teachings.[202] Although Johnson respected John Milton's poetry, he could not tolerate Milton's Puritan and Republican beliefs, feeling that they were contrary to England and Christianity.[203] He was an opponent of slavery on moral grounds, and once proposed a toast to the "next rebellion of the negroes in the West Indies".[204] Beside his beliefs concerning humanity, Johnson is also known for his love of cats,[205] especially his own two cats, Hodge and Lily.[205] Boswell wrote, "I never shall forget the indulgence with which he treated Hodge, his cat.[206]

Johnson was also known as a staunch Tory; he admitted to sympathies for the Jacobite cause during his younger years but, by the reign of George III, he came to accept the Hanoverian Succession.[203] It was Boswell who gave people the impression that Johnson was an "arch-conservative", and it was Boswell, more than anyone else, who determined how Johnson would be seen by people years later. However, Boswell was not around for two of Johnson's most politically active periods: during Walpole's control over British Parliament and during the Seven Years' War. Although Boswell was present with Johnson during the 1770s and describes four major pamphlets written by Johnson, he neglects to discuss them because he is more interested in their travels to Scotland. This is compounded by the fact that Boswell held an opinion contradictory to two of these pamphlets, The False Alarm and Taxation No Tyranny, and so attacks Johnson's views in his biography.[207]

In his Life of Samuel Johnson Boswell referred to Johnson as 'Dr. Johnson' so often that he would always be known as such, even though he hated being called such. Boswell's emphasis on Johnson's later years shows him too often as merely an old man discoursing in a tavern to a circle of admirers.[208] Although Boswell, a Scotsman, was a close companion and friend to Johnson during many important times of his life, like many of his fellow Englishmen Johnson had a reputation for despising Scotland and its people. Even during their journey together through Scotland, Johnson "exhibited prejudice and a narrow nationalism".[209] Hester Thrale, in summarising Johnson's nationalistic views and his anti-Scottish prejudice, said: "We all know how well he loved to abuse the Scotch, & indeed to be abused by them in return."[210]


Main article: Samuel Johnson's health

Johnson had several health problems, including childhood tuberculous scrofula resulting in deep facial scarring, deafness in one ear and blindness in one eye, gout, testicular cancer, and a stroke in his final year that left him unable to speak; his autopsy indicated that he had pulmonary fibrosis along with cardiac failure probably due to hypertension, a condition then unknown. Johnson displayed signs consistent with several diagnoses, including depression and Tourette syndrome.

There are many accounts of Johnson suffering from bouts of depression and what Johnson thought might be madness. As Walter Jackson Bate puts it, "one of the ironies of literary history is that its most compelling and authoritative symbol of common sense—of the strong, imaginative grasp of concrete reality—should have begun his adult life, at the age of twenty, in a state of such intense anxiety and bewildered despair that, at least from his own point of view, it seemed the onset of actual insanity".[211] To overcome these feelings, Johnson tried to constantly involve himself with various activities, but this did not seem to help. Taylor said that Johnson "at one time strongly entertained thoughts of Suicide".[212] Boswell claimed that Johnson "felt himself overwhelmed with an horrible melancholia, with perpetual irritation, fretfulness, and impatience; and with a dejection, gloom, and despair, which made existence misery".[213]

Reynolds' 1769 portrait depicting Johnson's "odd gesticulations"[214]

Early on, when Johnson was unable to pay off his debts, he began to work with professional writers and identified his own situation with theirs.[215] During this time, Johnson witnessed Christopher Smart's decline into "penury and the madhouse", and feared that he might share the same fate.[215] Hester Thrale Piozzi claimed, in a discussion on Smart's mental state, that Johnson was her "friend who feared an apple should intoxicate him".[126] To her, what separated Johnson from others who were placed in asylums for madness—like Christopher Smart—was his ability to keep his concerns and emotions to himself.[126]

Two hundred years after Johnson's death, the posthumous diagnosis of Tourette syndrome became widely accepted.[216] The condition was unknown during Johnson's lifetime, but Boswell describes Johnson displaying signs of Tourette syndrome, including tics and other involuntary movements.[217][218] According to Boswell "he commonly held his head to one side ... moving his body backwards and forwards, and rubbing his left knee in the same direction, with the palm of his hand ... [H]e made various sounds" like "a half whistle" or "as if clucking like a hen", and "... all this accompanied sometimes with a thoughtful look, but more frequently with a smile. Generally when he had concluded a period, in the course of a dispute, by which time he was a good deal exhausted by violence and vociferation, he used to blow out his breath like a Whale."[219] There are many similar accounts; in particular, Johnson was said to "perform his gesticulations" at the threshold of a house or in doorways.[220] When asked by a little girl why he made such noises and acted in that way, Johnson responded: "From bad habit."[219] The diagnosis of the syndrome was first made in a 1967 report,[221] and Tourette syndrome researcher Arthur K. Shapiro described Johnson as "the most notable example of a successful adaptation to life despite the liability of Tourette syndrome".[222] Details provided by the writings of Boswell, Hester Thrale, and others reinforce the diagnosis, with one paper concluding:

[Johnson] also displayed many of the obsessional-compulsive traits and rituals which are associated with this syndrome ... It may be thought that without this illness Dr Johnson's remarkable literary achievements, the great dictionary, his philosophical deliberations and his conversations may never have happened; and Boswell, the author of the greatest of biographies would have been unknown.[223]


Statue of Dr Johnson erected in 1838 opposite the house where he was born at Lichfield's Market Square. There are also statues of him in London and Uttoxeter.[224]

Johnson was, in the words of Steven Lynn, "more than a well-known writer and scholar";[225] he was a celebrity for the activities and the state of his health in his later years were constantly reported in various journals and newspapers, and when there was nothing to report, something was invented.[226] According to Bate, "Johnson loved biography," and he "changed the whole course of biography for the modern world. One by-product was the most famous single work of biographical art in the whole of literature, Boswell's Life of Johnson, and there were many other memoirs and biographies of a similar kind written on Johnson after his death."[3] These accounts of his life include Thomas Tyers's A Biographical Sketch of Dr Samuel Johnson (1784);[227] Boswell's The Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides (1785); Hester Thrale's Anecdotes of the Late Samuel Johnson, which drew on entries from her diary and other notes;[228] John Hawkins's Life of Samuel Johnson, the first full-length biography of Johnson;[229] and, in 1792, Arthur Murphy's An Essay on the Life and Genius of Samuel Johnson, which replaced Hawkins's biography as the introduction to a collection of Johnson's Works.[230] Another important source was Fanny Burney, who described Johnson as "the acknowledged Head of Literature in this kingdom" and kept a diary containing details missing from other biographies.[231] Above all, Boswell's portrayal of Johnson is the work best known to general readers. Although critics like Donald Greene argue about its status as a true biography, the work became successful as Boswell and his friends promoted it at the expense of the many other works on Johnson's life.[232]

In criticism, Johnson had a lasting influence, although not everyone viewed him favourably. Some, like Macaulay, regarded Johnson as an idiot savant who produced some respectable works, and others, like the Romantic poets, were completely opposed to Johnson's views on poetry and literature, especially with regard to Milton.[233] However, some of their contemporaries disagreed: Stendhal's Racine et Shakespeare is based in part on Johnson's views of Shakespeare,[191] and Johnson influenced Jane Austen's writing style and philosophy.[234] Later, Johnson's works came into favour, and Matthew Arnold, in his Six Chief Lives from Johnson's "Lives of the Poets", considered the Lives of Milton, Dryden, Pope, Addison, Swift, and Gray as "points which stand as so many natural centres, and by returning to which we can always find our way again".[235]

More than a century after his death, literary critics such as G. Birkbeck Hill and T. S. Eliot came to regard Johnson as a serious critic. They began to study Johnson's works with an increasing focus on the critical analysis found in his edition of Shakespeare and Lives of the Poets.[233] Yvor Winters claimed that "A great critic is the rarest of all literary geniuses; perhaps the only critic in English who deserves that epithet is Samuel Johnson".[7] F. R. Leavis agreed and, on Johnson's criticism, said, "When we read him we know, beyond question, that we have here a powerful and distinguished mind operating at first hand upon literature. This, we can say with emphatic conviction, really is criticism".[236] Edmund Wilson claimed that "The Lives of the Poets and the prefaces and commentary on Shakespeare are among the most brilliant and the most acute documents in the whole range of English criticism".[7]

The critic Harold Bloom placed Johnson's work firmly within the Western canon, describing him as "unmatched by any critic in any nation before or after him...Bate in the finest insight on Johnson I know, emphasised that no other writer is so obsessed by the realisation that the mind is an activity, one that will turn to destructiveness of the self or of others unless it is directed to labour."[237] It is no wonder that his philosophical insistence that the language within literature must be examined became a prevailing mode of literary theory during the mid-20th century.[238]

Bust of Johnson by Joseph Nollekens, 1777.

There are many societies formed around and dedicated to the study and enjoyment of Samuel Johnson's life and works. On the bicentennial of Johnson's death in 1984, Oxford University held a week-long conference featuring 50 papers, and the Arts Council of Great Britain held an exhibit of "Johnsonian portraits and other memorabilia". The London Times and Punch produced parodies of Johnson's style for the occasion.[239] In 1999, the BBC Four television channel started the Samuel Johnson Prize, an award for non-fiction.[240]

Half of Johnson's surviving correspondence, together with some of his manuscripts, editions of his books, paintings and other items associated with him are in the Donald and Mary Hyde Collection of Dr. Samuel Johnson, housed at Houghton Library at Harvard University since 2003. Materials in the collection may be accessed through the Houghton Reading Room. The collection includes drafts of his Plan for a Dictionary, documents associated with Hester Thrale Piozzi and James Boswell (including corrected proofs of his Life of Johnson) and a teapot owned by Johnson.[241]

A Royal Society of Arts blue plaque, unveiled in 1876, commemorates his Gough Square house.[242]

On 18 September 2017 Google commemorated Johnson's 308th birthday with a Google Doodle.[243][244]

Major works

Essays, pamphlets, periodicals, sermons

1732–33 Birmingham Journal
1747 Plan for a Dictionary of the English Language
1750–52 The Rambler
1753–54 The Adventurer
1756 Universal Visiter
1756- The Literary Magazine, or Universal Review
1758–60 The Idler
1770 The False Alarm
1771 Thoughts on the Late Transactions Respecting Falkland's Islands
1774 The Patriot
1775 A Journey to the Western Islands of Scotland
Taxation No Tyranny
1781 The Beauties of Johnson


1728 Messiah, a translation into Latin of Alexander Pope's Messiah
1738 London
1747 Prologue at the Opening of the Theatre in Drury Lane
1749 The Vanity of Human Wishes
Irene, a Tragedy

Biographies, criticism

1735 A Voyage to Abyssinia, by Jerome Lobo, translated from the French
1744 Life of Mr Richard Savage
1745 Miscellaneous Observations on the Tragedy of Macbeth
1756 "Life of Browne" in Thomas Browne's Christian Morals
Proposals for Printing, by Subscription, the Dramatick Works of William Shakespeare
1765 Preface to the Plays of William Shakespeare
The Plays of William Shakespeare
1779–81 Lives of the Poets


1755 Preface to a Dictionary of the English Language
A Dictionary of the English Language


1759 The History of Rasselas, Prince of Abissinia


1. Johnson was 180 cm (5 feet 11 inches) tall when the average height of an Englishman was 165 cm (5 feet 5 inches).[195]
2. Bate (1977) comments that Johnson's standard of effort was very high, so high that Johnson said he had never known a man to study hard.[33]



1. Meyers 2008, p. 2
2. Rogers, Pat (2006). "Johnson, Samuel (1709–1784)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/14918. Retrieved 25 August 2008. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
3. Bate 1977, p. xix
4. Bate 1977, p. 240
5. Lynch 2003, p. 1
6. Murray 1979 and Stern, Burza & Robertson 2005
7. Winters 1943, p. 240
8. Bate 1977, p. 5
9. Lane 1975, pp. 15–16
10. Watkins 1960, p. 25
11. Lane 1975, p. 16
12. Bate 1977, pp. 5–6
13. Lane 1975, pp. 16–17
14. Lane 1975, p. 18
15. Lane 1975, pp. 19–20
16. Lane 1975, pp. 20–21
17. Boswell 1986, p. 38
18. Bate 1977, pp. 18–19
19. Bate 1977, p. 21
20. Lane 1975, pp. 25–26
21. Lane 1975, p. 26
22. DeMaria 1994, pp. 5–6
23. Bate 1977, p. 23, 31
24. Lane 1975, p. 29
25. Wain 1974, p. 32
26. Lane 1975, p. 30
27. Lane 1975, p. 33
28. Bate 1977, p. 61
29. Lane 1975, p. 34
30. Bate 1977, p. 87
31. Lane 1975, p. 39
32. Bate 1977, p. 88
33. Bate 1977, pp. 90–100.
34. Boswell 1986, pp. 91–92
35. Bate 1977, p. 92
36. Bate 1977, pp. 93–94
37. Bate 1977, pp. 106–107
38. Lane 1975, pp. 128–129
39. Bate 1955, p. 36
40. Bate 1977, p. 99
41. Bate 1977, p. 127
42. Wiltshire 1991, p. 24
43. Bate 1977, p. 129
44. Boswell 1986, pp. 130–131
45. Hopewell 1950, p. 53
46. Bate 1977, pp. 131–132
47. Bate 1977, p. 134
48. Boswell 1986, pp. 137–138
49. Bate 1977, p. 138
50. Boswell 1986, pp. 140–141
51. Bate 1977, p. 144
52. Bate 1977, p. 143
53. Boswell 1969, p. 88
54. Bate 1977, p. 145
55. Bate 1977, p. 147
56. Wain 1974, p. 65
57. Bate 1977, p. 146
58. Bate 1977, pp. 153–154
59. Bate 1977, p. 154
60. Bate 1977, p. 153
61. Bate 1977, p. 156
62. Bate 1977, pp. 164–165
63. Boswell 1986, pp. 168–169
64. Wain 1974, p. 81; Bate 1977, p. 169
65. Boswell 1986, pp. 169–170
66. Bate 1955, p. 14
67. Lynch 2003, p. 5
68. Bate 1977, p. 172
69. Bate 1955, p. 18
70. Bate 1977, p. 182
71. Watkins 1960, pp. 25–26
72. Watkins 1960, p. 51
73. Bate 1977, pp. 178–179
74. Bate 1977, pp. 180–181
75. Hitchings 2005, p. 54
76. Winchester 2003, p. 33
77. Lynch 2003, p. 2
78. Lynch 2003, p. 4
79. Lane 1975, p. 109
80. Hawkins 1787, p. 175
81. Lane 1975, p. 110
82. Lane 1975, pp. 117–118
83. Lane 1975, p. 118
84. Lane 1975, p. 121
85. Bate 1977, p. 257
86. Bate 1977, pp. 256, 318
87. "Currency Converter", The National Archives, Kew, Richmond, Surrey, retrieved 24 July 2008
88. Lynch 2003, pp. 8–11
89. Bate 1955, p. 25
90. Lane 1975, p. 113
91. Lane 1975, p. 115
92. Lane 1975, p. 116
93. Lynn 1997, p. 241
94. Boswell 1986, p. 67
95. Bate 1955, p. 22
96. Weinbrot 1997, p. 49
97. Bate 1977, p. 281
98. Lane 1975, pp. 113–114
99. Lane 1975, p. 114
100. Bate 1955, p. 17
101. Bate 1977, pp. 272–273
102. Bate 1977, pp. 273–275
103. Bate 1977, p. 321
104. Bate 1977, p. 324
105. Murray 1979, p. 1611
106. Bate 1977, pp. 322–323
107. Martin 2008, p. 319
108. Bate 1977, p. 328
109. Bate 1977, p. 329
110. Clarke 2000, pp. 221–222
111. Clarke 2000, pp. 223–224
112. Bate 1977, pp. 325–326
113. Bate 1977, p. 330
114. Bate 1977, p. 332
115. Bate 1977, p. 334
116. Bate 1977, pp. 337–338
117. Bate 1977, p. 337
118. Bate 1977, p. 391
119. Bate 1977, p. 356
120. Boswell 1986, pp. 354–356
121. Bate 1977, p. 360
122. Bate 1977, p. 366
123. Boswell 1986, p. 135
124. Bate 1977, p. 393
125. Wain 1974, p. 262
126. Keymer 1999, p. 186
127. Bate 1977, p. 395
128. Bate 1977, p. 397
129. Wain 1974, p. 194
130. Bate 1977, p. 396
131. Boswell 1986, p. 133
132. Boswell 1986, p. 134
133. Yung 1984, p. 14
134. Bate 1977, p. 463
135. Bate 1977, p. 471
136. Johnson 1970, pp. 104–105
137. Wain 1974, p. 331
138. Bate 1977, pp. 468–469
139. Bate 1977, pp. 443–445
140. Boswell 1986, p. 182
141. Griffin 2005, p. 21
142. Bate 1977, p. 446
143. Johnson, Samuel, TAXATION NO TYRANNY; An answer to the resolutions and address of the American congress (1775)
144. Ammerman 1974, p. 13
145. DeMaria 1994, pp. 252–256
146. Griffin 2005, p. 15
147. Boswell 1986, p. 273
148. Bate 1977, p. 525
149. Bate 1977, p. 526
150. Bate 1977, p. 527
151. Clingham 1997, p. 161
152. Bate 1977, pp. 546–547
153. Bate 1977, pp. 557, 561
154. Bate 1977, p. 562
155. Rogers, Pat (1996), The Samuel Johnson Encyclopedia, Westport, CT: Greenwood Publishing Group, ISBN 978-0-313-29411-2
156. Martin 2008, pp. 501–502
157. Bate 1977, p. 566
158. Bate 1977, p. 569
159. Boswell 1986, p. 284
160. Bate 1977, p. 570
161. Bate 1977, p. 575
162. Wiltshire 1991, p. 51
163. Watkins 1960, p. 71
164. Watkins 1960, pp. 71–72
165. Watkins 1960, p. 72
166. Watkins 1960, p. 73
167. Watkins 1960, p. 74
168. Watkins 1960, pp. 76–77
169. Watkins 1960, p. 78
170. Boswell 1986, p. 341
171. Watkins 1960, p. 79
172. Bate 1977, p. 599
173. Hill 1897, p. 160 (Vol. 2)
174. Boswell 1986, pp. 341–342
175. Needham 1982, pp. 95–96
176. Greene 1989, p. 27
177. Greene 1989, pp. 28–30
178. Greene 1989, p. 39
179. Greene 1989, pp. 31, 34
180. Greene 1989, p. 35
181. Greene 1989, p. 37
182. Greene 1989, p. 38
183. Greene 1989, pp. 62–64
184. Greene 1989, p. 65
185. Greene 1989, p. 67
186. Greene 1989, p. 85
187. Greene 1989, p. 134
188. Greene 1989, pp. 134–135
189. Greene 1989, p. 140
190. Greene 1989, p. 141
191. Greene 1989, p. 142
192. Needham 1982, p. 134
193. Greene 1989, p. 143
194. Boswell 1986, p. 122
195. Meyers 2008, p. 29
196. Bate 1955, p. 16 quoting from Boswell
197. Hill 1897, p. 423 (Vol. 2)
198. Bate 1955, pp. 15–16
199. Bate 1977, p. 316
200. Bate 1977, p. 297
201. Greene 1989, p. 87
202. Greene 1989, p. 88
203. Bate 1977, p. 537
204. Boswell 1986, p. 200
205. Skargon 1999
206. Boswell 1986, p. 294
207. Greene 2000, p. xxi
208. Boswell 1986, p. 365
209. Rogers 1995, p. 192
210. Piozzi 1951, p. 165
211. Bate 1955, p. 7
212. Bate 1977, p. 116
213. Bate 1977, p. 117
214. Lane 1975, p. 103
215. Pittock 2004, p. 159
216. Stern, Burza & Robertson 2005
217. Pearce 1994, p. 396
218. Murray 1979, p. 1610
219. Hibbert 1971, p. 203
220. Hibbert 1971, p. 202
221. McHenry 1967, pp. 152–168 and Wiltshire 1991, p. 29
222. Shapiro 1978, p. 361
223. Pearce 1994, p. 398
224. "Notes and Queries – Oxford Academic" (PDF). OUP Academic.
225. Lynn 1997, p. 240
226. Lynn 1997, pp. 240–241
227. Hill 1897, p. 335 (Vol. 2)
228. Bloom 1998, p. 75
229. Davis 1961, p. vii
230. Hill 1897, p. 355
231. Clarke 2000, pp. 4–5
232. Boswell 1986, p. 7
233. Lynn 1997, p. 245
234. Grundy 1997, pp. 199–200
235. Arnold 1972, p. 351
236. Wilson 1950, p. 244
237. Bloom 1995, pp. 183, 200
238. Greene 1989, p. 139
239. Greene 1989, pp. 174–175
240. Samuel Johnson Prize 2008, BBC, retrieved 25 August2008
241. The Donald and Mary Hyde Collection of Dr. Samuel Johnson and Early Modern Books and Manuscripts, Harvard College Library, archived from the original on 24 December 2009, retrieved 10 January 2010
242. "Johnson, Dr Samuel (1709–1784)". English Heritage. Retrieved 23 October 2012.
243. "Samuel Johnson's 308th Birthday". 18 September 2017. Retrieved 18 September 2017.
244. Cole, Brendan (18 September 2017). "Google marks birthday of Samuel Johnson, pioneer of the 1st 'search tool' the dictionary". International Business Times. Retrieved 18 September 2017.


• Ammerman, David (1974), In the Common Cause: American Response to the Coercive Acts of 1774, New York: Norton, ISBN 978-0-393-00787-9.
• Arnold, Matthew (1972), Ricks, Christopher (ed.), Selected Criticism of Matthew Arnold, New York: New American Library, OCLC 6338231
• Bate, Walter Jackson (1977), Samuel Johnson, New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, ISBN 978-0-15-179260-3.
• Bate, Walter Jackson (1955), The Achievement of Samuel Johnson, Oxford: Oxford University Press, OCLC 355413.
• Bloom, Harold (1998), "Hester Thrale Piozzi 1741–1821", in Bloom, Harold (ed.), Women Memoirists Vol. II, Philadelphia: Chelsea House, pp. 74–76, ISBN 978-0-7910-4655-5.
• Bloom, Harold (1995), The Western Canon, London: Macmillan, ISBN 978-0-333-64813-1.
• Boswell, James (1969), Waingrow, Marshall (ed.), Correspondence and Other Papers of James Boswell Relating to the Making of the Life of Johnson, New York: McGraw-Hill, OCLC 59269.
• Boswell, James (1986), Hibbert, Christopher (ed.), The Life of Samuel Johnson, New York: Penguin Classics, ISBN 978-0-14-043116-2.
• Clarke, Norma (2000), Dr Johnson's Women, London: Hambledon, ISBN 978-1-85285-254-2.
• Clingham, Greg (1997), "Life and literature in the Lives", in Clingham, Greg (ed.), The Cambridge companion to Samuel Johnson, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 161–191, ISBN 978-0-521-55625-5
• Davis, Bertram (1961), "Introduction", in Davis, Bertram (ed.), The Life of Samuel Johnson, LL. D, New York: Macmillan Company, pp. vii–xxx, OCLC 739445.
• DeMaria, Robert, Jr. (1994), The Life of Samuel Johnson, Oxford: Blackwell, ISBN 978-1-55786-664-6.
• Greene, Donald (1989), Samuel Johnson: Updated Edition, Boston: Twayne Publishers, ISBN 978-0-8057-6962-3.
• Greene, Donald (2000), "Introduction", in Greene, Donald (ed.), Political Writings, Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, ISBN 978-0-86597-275-9.
• Griffin, Dustin (2005), Patriotism and Poetry in Eighteenth-Century Britain, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, ISBN 978-0-521-00959-1.
• Grundy, Isobel (1997), "Jane Austen and literary traditions", in Copeland, Edward; McMaster, Juliet (eds.), The Cambridge companion to Jane Austen, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 189–210, ISBN 978-0-521-49867-8.
• Hawkins, John (1787), Life of Samuel Johnson, LL.D, London: J. Buckland, OCLC 173965.
• Hibbert, Christopher (1971), The Personal History of Samuel Johnson, New York: Harper & Row, ISBN 978-0-06-011879-2.
• Hitchings, Henry (2005), Dr Johnson's Dictionary: The Extraordinary Story of the Book that Defined the World, London: John Murray, ISBN 978-0-7195-6631-8.
• Hill, G. Birkbeck, ed. (1897), Johnsonian Miscellanies, London: Oxford Clarendon Press, OCLC 61906024.
• Hopewell, Sydney (1950), The Book of Bosworth School, 1320–1920, Leicester: W. Thornley & Son, OCLC 6808364.
• Johnson, Samuel (1970), Chapman, R. W. (ed.), Johnson's Journey to the Western Islands of Scotland and Boswell's Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides, Oxford: Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0-19-281072-4.
• Keymer, Thomas (1999), "Johnson, Madness, and Smart", in Hawes, Clement (ed.), Christopher Smart and the Enlightenment, New York, NY: St. Martin's Press, ISBN 978-0-312-21369-5.
• Lane, Margaret (1975), Samuel Johnson & his World, New York: Harper & Row Publishers, ISBN 978-0-06-012496-0.
• Lynch, Jack (2003), "Introduction to this Edition", in Lynch, Jack (ed.), Samuel Johnson's Dictionary, New York: Walker & Co, pp. 1–21, ISBN 978-0-8027-1421-3.
• Lynn, Steven (1997), "Johnson's critical reception", in Clingham, Greg (ed.), Cambridge Companion to Samuel Johnson, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, ISBN 978-0-521-55625-5
• Martin, Peter (2008), Samuel Johnson:A Biography, Cambridge, Massachusetts: Belknap Press, ISBN 978-0-674-03160-9.
• McHenry, LC Jr (April 1967), "Samuel Johnson's tics and gesticulations", Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences, 22(2): 152–168, doi:10.1093/jhmas/XXII.2.152, PMID 5341871
• Meyers, J (2008), Samuel Johnson: The Struggle, Basic Books, A Member of the Perseus Books Group, ISBN 978-0-465-04571-6
• Murray, TJ (16 June 1979), "Dr Samuel Johnson's movement disorder", British Medical Journal, 1 (6178), pp. 1610–1614, doi:10.1136/bmj.1.6178.1610, PMC 1599158, PMID 380753.
• Needham, John (1982), The Completest Mode, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, ISBN 978-0-85224-387-9.
• Pearce, JMS (July 1994), "Doctor Samuel Johnson: 'the Great Convulsionary' a victim of Gilles de la Tourette's syndrome", Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, 87 (7): 396–399, PMC 1294650, PMID 8046726.
• Piozzi, Hester (1951), Balderson, Katharine (ed.), Thraliana: The Diary of Mrs. Hester Lynch Thrale (Later Mrs. Piozzi) 1776–1809, Oxford: Clarendon, OCLC 359617.
• Pittock, Murray (2004), "Johnson, Boswell, and their circle", in Keymer, Thomas; Mee, Jon (eds.), The Cambridge companion to English literature from 1740 to 1830, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 157–172, ISBN 978-0-521-00757-3.
• Rogers, Pat (1995), Johnson and Boswell: The Transit of Caledonia, Oxford: Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0-19-818259-7.
• Shapiro, Arthur K (1978), Gilles de la Tourette syndrome, New York: Raven Press, ISBN 978-0-89004-057-7.
• Skargon, Yvonne (1999), The Importance of Being Oscar: Lily and Hodge and Dr. Johnson, London: Primrose Academy, OCLC 56542613.
• Stern, JS; Burza, S; Robertson, MM (January 2005), "Gilles de la Tourette's syndrome and its impact in the UK", Postgrad Med J, 81 (951): 12–19, doi:10.1136/pgmj.2004.023614, PMC 1743178, PMID 15640424, It is now widely accepted that Dr Samuel Johnson had Tourette's syndrome.
• Wain, John (1974), Samuel Johnson, New York: Viking Press, OCLC 40318001.
• Watkins, WBC (1960), Perilous Balance: The Tragic Genius of Swift, Johnson, and Sterne, Cambridge, MA: Walker-deBerry, Inc., OCLC 40318001.
• Weinbrot, Howard D. (1997), "Johnson's Poetry", in Clingham, Greg (ed.), Cambridge Companion to Samuel Johnson, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, ISBN 978-0-521-55625-5.
• Wilson, Edmund (1950), "Reexamining Dr. Johnson", in Wilson, Edmund (ed.), Classics and Commercials, New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, OCLC 185571431.
• Wiltshire, John (1991), Samuel Johnson in the Medical World, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, ISBN 978-0-521-38326-4.
• Winchester, Simon (2003), The Meaning of Everything, Oxford: Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0-19-517500-4.
• Winters, Yvor (1943), The Anatomy of Nonsense, Norfolk, Conn.: New Directions, OCLC 191540.
• Yung, Kai Kin (1984), Samuel Johnson, 1709–84, London: Herbert Press, ISBN 978-0-906969-45-8.
Further reading[edit]
• Broadley, A. M. (1909). Doctor Johnson and Mrs Thrale : Including Mrs Thrale's unpublished Journal of the Welsh Tour Made in 1774 and Much Hitherto Unpublished Correspondence of the Streatham Coterie. London: John Lane The Bodley Head.
• Bate, W. Jackson (1998). Samuel Johnson. A Biography. Berkeley: Conterpoint. ISBN 978-1-58243-524-4.
• Fine, LG (May–June 2006), "Samuel Johnson's illnesses", J Nephrol, 19 (Suppl 10): S110–114, PMID 16874722.
• Gopnik, Adam (8 December 2008), "The Critics: A Critic at Large: Man of Fetters: Dr. Johnson and Mrs. Thrale", The New Yorker, 84 (40): 90–96, retrieved 9 July 2011.
• Johnson, Samuel (1952), Chapman, R. W. (ed.), Letters, Oxford: Clarendon, ISBN 0-19-818538-3.
• Johnson, Samuel (1968), Bate, W. Jackson (ed.), Selected Essays from the Rambler, Adventurer, and Idler, New Haven - London: Yale University Press, ISBN 978-0-300-00016-0.
• Johnson, Samuel (2000), Greene, Donald (ed.), Major Works, Oxford: Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-284042-8.
• Johnston, Freya, "I'm Coming, My Tetsie!" (review of Samuel Johnson, edited by David Womersley, Oxford, 2018, ISBN 978 0 19 960951 2, 1,344 pp.), London Review of Books, vol. 41, no. 9 (9 May 2019), pp. 17–19. ""His attacks on [the pursuit of originality in the writing of literature] were born of the conviction that literature ought to deal in universal truths; that human nature was fundamentally the same in every time and every place; and that, accordingly (as he put it in the 'Life of Dryden'), 'whatever can happen to man has happened so often that little remains for fancy or invention.'" (p. 19.)
• Kammer, Thomas (2007), "Mozart in the Neurological Department: Who has the Tic?", in Bogousslavsky, Julien; Hennerici, M (eds.), Neurological Disorders in Famous Artists, Part 2, Frontiers of Neurology and Neuroscience, 22, Basel: Karger, pp. 184–92, doi:10.1159/000102880, ISBN 978-3-8055-8265-0, PMID 17495512.
• Leavis, FR (1944), "Johnson as Critic", Scrutiny, 12: 187–204.
• Murray, TJ (July–August 2003), "Samuel Johnson: his ills, his pills and his physician friends", Clin Med, 3 (4): 368–72, doi:10.7861/clinmedicine.3-4-368, PMC 5351955, PMID 12938754.
• Sacks, Oliver (19–26 December 1992), "Tourette's syndrome and creativity", British Medical Journal, 305 (6868): 1515–1516, doi:10.1136/bmj.305.6868.1515, PMC 1884721, PMID 1286364, ... the case for Samuel Johnson having the syndrome, though [...] circumstantial, is extremely strong and, to my mind, entirely convincing.
• Stephen, Leslie (1898), "Johnsoniana", Studies of a Biographer, 1, London: Duckworth and Co., pp. 105–146
• Uglow, Jenny, "Big Talkers" (review of Leo Damrosch, The Club: Johnson, Boswell, and the Friends Who Shaped an Age, Yale University Press, 473 pp.), The New York Review of Books, vol. LXVI, no. 9 (23 May 2019), pp. 26–28.

External links

• Samuel Johnson at the Eighteenth-Century Poetry Archive (ECPA)
• Samuel Johnson and Hodge his Cat
• Works by Samuel Johnson at Project Gutenberg
• Works by or about Samuel Johnson at Internet Archive
• Works by or about Dr Johnson at Internet Archive
• Works by Samuel Johnson at LibriVox (public domain audiobooks)
• Full text of Johnson's essays arranged chronologically
• BBC Radio 4 audio programs:In Our Time and Great Lives
• A Monument More Durable Than Brass: The Donald and Mary Hyde Collection of Dr. Samuel Johnson – online exhibition from Houghton Library, Harvard University
• The Samuel Johnson Sound Bite Page, comprehensive collection of quotations
• Samuel Johnson at the National Portrait Gallery, London
• Life of Johnson at Project Gutenberg by James Boswell, abridged by Charles Grosvenor Osgood in 1917 "... omitt[ing] most of Boswell's criticisms, comments and notes, all of Johnson's opinions in legal cases, most of the letters, ..."
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