Farringdon Without History of the Most Interesting Places, Leading Events; and Some Account of the Eminent Men connected therewith, since the year 1600

Francis, Adolphus Decimus

1870

Bolt Court

At No. 8 lived Dr. Johnson for the last twenty years of his life. Johnson, who wrote " Rasselas," one of the most charming tales in the English language, " The Lives of the Poets," containing a critical analysis of the leading poetical minds ; Johnson, of whom Garrick said, and truly so

"Talk of war with a Briton, he'll boldly advance,

That one English soldier can beat ten of France;

If you alter the fame from the sword to the pen,

Our odds are still greater, still greater our men.

In the deep mines of science though Frenchmen may toil,

Can their strength be compared to Locke, Newton, or Boyle?

Let them rally their heroes, bring forth all their powers,

Their verse-men and prose-men, then match them with ours.

First Shakspeare and Milton, like gods in the fight,

Have put their whole Drama and Epic to flight.

In satires, epistles, and odes would they cope,

Their numbers retreat before Dryden and Pope.

And Johnson, well armed, like a hero of yore,

Has beat forty French, and can beat forty more."

This eulogium places in sufficient prominence the fact, that Johnson produced a Dictionary of the English lan guage--for it is to this dictionary Garrick specially alluded --so complete that it out-distances and out-perfections the French Dictionary that occupied the thoughts and intel lects of the whole Academie Francaise, consisting of forty

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members. Johnson, who was born at Lichfield in , and died , had many peculiarities which have come to us minutely photographed. He is in his private life better known to us than any other celebrity: through the instrumentality of Boswell, we know everything anent him; "his hat, coat, wig, figure, face, scrofula--his St. Vitus's dance, his rolling walk, blinking eye, and the too outward signs on his visage of his gluttonous propensities, his voracity for fishsauce, craving for tea; his trick of touching the posts, his hoarding orange peel; his contortions, his mutterings, gruntings, puffings, his sarcastic wit, his insolence, his rage "-all are stereotyped by Boswell, the spy, the tattler, and the sycophant.

In Bolt Court lived , where he wrote and printed his " Political Register," and sold Indian Corn. The Register was subsequently published at 83, Fleet Street ; and the famous Gridiron, which was his emblem or trade mark, was exhibited here. Cobbett was one of the most remarkable men of his time; born in , his birth, station, employment, ignorance, temper, and character, in early life, were all against him; he overcame them all, and produced a French and English Grammar, and several political works, exhibiting a very high order of genius. Most of his studies were carried on under the arduous duties and midst the great privations which fall to the lot of a common soldier on active service. As a main self

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educated, he is a memorable example of what can be achieved by self-reliance and indomitable perseverance. He died in .