1783 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Bp. Richard Hurd

Samuel Johnson, 1783; Boswell, Life of Johnson (1791); ed. G. B. Hill (1891) 4:219.



Of Dr. Hurd, Bishop of Worcester, Johnson said to a friend, "Hurd, sir, is one of a set of men who account for everything systematically; for instance, it has been a fashion to wear scarlet breeches; these men would tell you, that according to causes and effects, no other wear could have been at that time chosen." He, however, said of him at another time to the same gentleman, "Hurd, Sir, is a man whose acquaintance is a valuable acquisition."

That learned and ingenious Prelate it is well known published at one period of his life Moral and Political Dialogues, with a woefully Whiggish cast. Afterwards, his Lordship having thought better, came to see his errour, and republished the work with a more constitutional spirit. Johnson, however, was unwilling to allow him full credit for his political conversion. I remember when his Lordship declined the honour of being Archbishop of Canterbury, Johnson said, "I am glad he did not go to Lambeth; for, after all, I fear he is a Whig in his heart."