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An unrecorded visit by Samuel Johnson

[JOHNSON, Samuel (1709-1784). Lexicographer.]
Autograph Letter Signed to Johnson's friend and physician, Thomas Lawrence (1711-1783) from his son Soulden Lawrence, 1 page folio (no address-leaf), [Cambridge], 18 May 1768. Recording a recent visit to Cambridge by Samuel Johnson.

Lawrence informs his father that he had called on the masters of two colleges, who had received him with civility, that he was working hard for his forthcoming examination, and that he had dined with Samuel Johnson.
'...The other day I received a message from Dr Johnson who was come to Cambridge by way of amusement, with him I supped that night, in Company with a gentleman who came down with him & a Mr [Richard] Farmer a fellow of Emanuel [sic], who has lately published an Essay on the learning of Shakespear[e]. [H]e left Cambridge the next day to see Ely Cathedral, & on the third returned to London. ...'

This visit to Cambridge and Ely by Samuel Johnson is not mentioned by Boswell and is nowhere alluded to in Johnsons' Letters (Hyde Edition ed. Bruce Redford, 5 vols, Oxford 1994). He had made a previous visit to Cambridge in 1765 to see Richard Farmer (1735-1797 fellow, and latter master, of Emmanuel College) who was working on his Essay on the learning of Shakespeare (1767). Oxford DNB records that 'prior to 1767 Samuel Johnson had unsuccessfully solicited Farmer's help in the revised edition of his 1765 Shakespeare on the occasion of his first and only visit to Cambridge.' The identity of his companion on this later visit is not disclosed in the letter. In 1765 it had, according to Boswell, been the book collector Topham Beauclerk (1739-1780) and in view of Boswell's silence on the matter is is unlikely to have been his biographer.
[No: 26561]

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