1754 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

David Mallet

Samuel Johnson, 1754; Boswell, Life of Johnson (1791); ed. G. B. Hill (1891) 1:311-12.



On the 6th of March came out Lord Bolingbroke's works, published by Mr. David Mallet. The wild and pernicious ravings, under the name of Philosophy, which were thus ushered into the world, gave great offence to all well-principled men. Johnson, hearing of their tendency, which nobody disputed, was roused with a just indignation, and pronounced this memorable sentence upon the noble author and his editor. "Sir, he was a scoundrel and a coward: a scoundrel, for charging a blunderbuss against religion and morality; a coward, because he had not resolution to fire it off himself, but left half a crown to a beggarly Scotchman, to draw the trigger after his death!"