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Johnson, Samuel (b. 1709)

First Name: 
Samuel
Last Name: 
Johnson
Sex: 
Male
Birth: 
1709
Baptism: 
1709
Death: 
1784
Nationality: 
English
Education: 
taught to read by his mother
dame-school kept by a widow, Ann Oliver
studied under schoolmaster Thomas Browne age 6/7
became a day boy at the ancient grammar school of Lichfield, to embark on Latin under the usher Humphry Hawkins 1717
entered the upper school, where he was placed at first under the Revd Edward Holbrooke then under the headmaster, John Hunter 1719
his cousin Revd Cornelius Ford arranged for him to enter King Edward VI School at Stourbridge as a boarder (he may have taught the younger boys in exchange for his own advanced tuition) 1726
Pembroke College, Oxford 1728-9 (father unable to provide funds; partially funded perhaps by small legacy which his mother received from her cousin; financial difficulties plagued his short college career, which he left without taking a degree)
MA 1755 in recognition of the forthcoming Dictionary
received the degree of doctor of laws from Dublin University 1765
Profession or Occupation: 
unemployed 1729-1731
failed to obtain a job as usher at his old school in Stourbridge
worked at a job at Market Bosworth grammar school, lasted only from March to July 1732 because he hated it
received a paltry inheritance of £19, which was all he could expect from his father's estate during the lifetime of his mother
failed to obtain a job as usher at Ashbourne School
wrote for Thomas Warren's newspaper the Birmingham Journal 1733
married widow Elizabeth Porter, née Jervis July 1735; she had a fortune of about £600 but the couple had little by way of a regular income
tried and failed to interest Edward Cave in accepting writing for GM
just before his marriage he served for two months as private tutor to the family of Thomas Whitby
failed to obtain mastership of Solihull School
opened a boarding school, no doubt funded by his wife's small fortune, but low enrollment forced the school to close little more than a year after its opening in late 1735
moved to London to seek his fortune as a writer 1737
Cave accepted some verse and then printed a short life of Father Paolo Sarpi in GM 1738
became Cave's right-hand man in running the Gentleman's Magazine from its office at St John's Gate, Clerkenwell
planned a translation of Sarpi's history of the Council of Trent (1619) under Cave; Johnson was paid almost £50 for the work in progress, but it had to be abandoned in 1739 owing to a rival version.
left london for the midlands to seek employment at Appleby grammar school, failed even with the help of Pope and Swift 1739-40
wrote pamphlets, short biographies, catalogues 1740-5
compiled a new English dictionary, an effort funded by a group of booksellers headed by Robert Dodsley; signed a contract on 18 June 1746, to be paid 1500 guineas
20 March 1750, Johnson instituted his series of 208 essays entitled The Rambler, which came out twice a week until 14 March 1752; he received 2 guineas for each issue.
appointed editor of a new journal called the Literary Magazine 1756
In July 1762 relief of financial pressures came when he was awarded a pension of £300 a year by the first lord of the Treasury, the earl of Bute, perhaps less for services rendered than as an encouragement to support the new administration.
supported his scholar friends late 1760s
became an honorary professor in ancient literature at the Royal Academy
part of the Literary Club, formed at the instigation of Reynolds in 1764
William Strahan recommended SJ as a member of Parliament to no avail 1771
resumed his career as a political writer 1770
Politics: 
Tory
Milieux: 
Writing for London Booksellers; Tory/Jacobite satire and political commentary
Coteries: 
David Garrick, traveled with him to London 1737
Richard Savage
Alexander Pope
Jonathan Swift
Samuel Richardson
Elizabeth Carter
Charlotte Lennox
Anna Williams
Thomas Warton
Giuseppe Baretti
Frances Burney
Edward Cave
Robert Dodsley
Andrew Millar
Thomas Longman
William Strahan
Periodicals & Misc Contributed To: 
GM 1730s
The Harleian Miscellany (1744–6), on which Johnson collaborated with the noted antiquarian William Oldys
contributed to a large Medicinal Dictionary (1743–5) by his schoolfriend Robert James
Between April 1758 and April 1760 he provided over 100 essays to a weekly journal called the Universal Chronicle.
"In 1773 he [Thomas Davies] audaciously published ’Miscellaneous and fugitive pieces’ in two volumes, and advertised them as ’by the author of the Rambler.’ Johnson’s writings, which he had appropriated without authority, formed the bulk of this collection." - DNB.
Summing Up: 

While learning Latin and studying literature under his cousin Ford around 1726, he also wrote a number of English poems. At Pembroke, some of his work helped to promote his reputation in the academic community, notably a translation of Pope's already Latinate Messiah into Latin verse, prepared as a college exercise at Christmas 1729. This became Johnson's first published piece when it appeared in a miscellany two years later, and it allegedly impressed Pope himself.

Johnson, Samuel (b. 1691)

First Name: 
Samuel
Last Name: 
Johnson
Sex: 
Male
Birth: 
1691
Death: 
1773
Nationality: 
English
Profession or Occupation: 
dancing-master 1737
playwright
actor
Milieux: 
Playwriting
Summing Up: 

Some of Johnson's satirical plays were popular but ridiculed (e.g. by Fielding). In addition to being a playwright, he acted in his plays and was highly regarded in Cheshire as a wit, comedian, and dancing-master. He was best known for his performance of Lord Flame, which persisted as his nickname. The DNB says he may be the SJ who was imprisoned for debt in the Fleet prison in 1728. Much of his life esp. early on remains unknown.

Johnson, Charles

First Name: 
Charles
Last Name: 
Johnson
Sex: 
Male
Birth: 
1679
Death: 
1748
Nationality: 
English
Education: 
claimed to have been trained in law
Profession or Occupation: 
married Mary Bradbury 1708
Playwright until he abandoned the career after his last play, a disaster, called Caelia, or, The Perjur'd Lover 1732
ran a tavern in Bow Street, Covent Garden after abandoning his career as a playwright
Milieux: 
Playwriting
Coteries: 
Robert Wilks, actor and theatrical manager
Summing Up: 

Johnson was a playwright who made his first success with his comedy The Wife's Relief, or, The Husband's Cure, featuring Colly Cibber. Johnson's best and most successful comedy was The Country Lasses which held the stage for nearly a century. Most of his plays were performed at Drury Lane. He had somewhat of a rivalry with Pope and was denounced in The Dunciad. He was responsive to shifts in theatrical taste and realized that his success depended much on the approval of female theatregoers.

Jenyns, Soame

First Name: 
Soame
Last Name: 
Jenyns
Sex: 
Male
Birth: 
1704
Death: 
1787
Nationality: 
English
Education: 
privately tutored until age 17
entered St John's College, Cambridge, as a fellow commoner in 1722 and matriculated in 1724, left 1725 w/o a degree
Profession or Occupation: 
married heiress Mary Soame 1726 until she left him in 1742
succeeded his father as the squire of Bottisham in 1740
remarried to his cousin, Elizabeth Gray 1754
Whig politician -- elected to represent Cambridgeshire in 1741 as the preferred candidate of Lord Chancellor Hardwicke
returned in 1747, removed 1753
compensated with £600 (until 1755) and provided with a safe seat purchased for him in the rotten borough of Dunwich
appointed one of the lords commissioners of trade and plantations
re-elected to parliament 5 more times
Politics: 
Whig
Milieux: 
Libertine wit, Whig satire/political writing
Periodicals & Misc Contributed To: 
Robert Dodsley's Collection of Poems. By Several Hands (1748)
published five essays in the World in 1755
‘Epitaph on Johnson’ published in GM 1783
Summing Up: 

While at university, Jenyns excelled at writing amatory and satiric verse in the post-Restoration style. In 1730 he produced a manuscript volume of songs and love poems dedicated to Lady Margaret Cavendish Harley, a large portion of which was published in Dodsleys' collection. This led to his recognition as a wit and satirist. He published a few collections and continued to write occasional verse and  jeux d'esprit, though he shifted his focus to essays on social, political, religious, and economic subjects. His Free Inquiry was ridiculed by Samuel Johnson.

Jeffreys, George

First Name: 
George
Last Name: 
Jeffreys
Sex: 
Male
Birth: 
1678
Death: 
1755
Nationality: 
English
Education: 
Westminster School
Trinity College, Cambridge, pensioner 1694
scholar 1697, minor then a major fellow of the college until 1709
served as lector linguae Latinae (1704), as sub-orator, and as senior taxor of the university (1707)
Profession or Occupation: 
called to the bar in London, although he seems never to have practised
secretary to Dr Hartstonge, bishop of Derry, 1714-1717
held a post in the custom house at London
Milieux: 
Playwriting
Coteries: 
Alexander Pope
John Duncombe
Periodicals & Misc Contributed To: 
GM 1752 and 1753
Summing Up: 

Jeffreys seems to be a pretty eclectic writer, publishing plays (of varying success), verse (some of which published in GM), an oratorio, extempore epigrams, and translations from Latin and French. He was a close friend of Duncombe's, contributed versions of several of Horace's odes to Duncombe's translation of Horace, and was the dedicatee of at least one of Duncombe's translated versions. According to his obituarist, Jeffreys passed most of his life at leisure in the houses of his relations, the dukes of Chandos.

Pilkington, Laetitia

First Name: 
Laetitia
Last Name: 
Pilkington
Sex: 
Female
Birth: 
1709
Death: 
1750
Nationality: 
Irish
Religion: 
Anglican
Education: 
NULL
Politics: 
NULL
Milieux: 
playwriting; writing for London booksellers; domestic/coterie MS circulation
Patrons: 
Jonathan Swift; Colley Cibber; Samuel Richardson
Coteries: 
Jonathan Swift; Colley Cibber; Samuel Richardson; Matthew Pilkington
Periodicals & Misc Contributed To: 
NULL
Summing Up: 

NULL

Pilkington, Matthew

First Name: 
Matthew
Last Name: 
Pilkington
Sex: 
Male
Birth: 
1701
Death: 
1774
Nationality: 
Irish
Religion: 
Anglican
Education: 
Trinity College, Dublin (entered 1718); elected scholar, 1721; BA 1722; MA 1725
Politics: 
cultivated pro-Walpole whig archbishops in Dublin in 1730s
Milieux: 
clerical religious writing; whig panegyric
Patrons: 
Jonathan Swift; Patrick Delaney; Charles Cobbe
Coteries: 
Jonathan Swift; Patrick Delaney; John Barber; Mary Barber; Laetitia Pilkington
Periodicals & Misc Contributed To: 
NULL
Summing Up: 

My main impression of Pilkington is one of personal animus for his treatment of his wife, but abstracted from this his early career is that of a conventional Walpolian-careerist priest-poet, writing amatory verse to his future wife and birthday odes for George II. It is interesting that his publishing career has a very long hiatus from 1734 to 1770, when Pilkington moves into a completely different realm by writing an extensive biographical dictionary of painters.

Hinchliffe, William

First Name: 
William
Last Name: 
Hinchliffe
Sex: 
Male
Birth: 
1691
Death: 
1742
Nationality: 
English
Religion: 
NULL
Education: 
private grammar school in Reigate, Surrey
Politics: 
NULL
Milieux: 
NULL
Patrons: 
NULL
Coteries: 
NULL
Periodicals & Misc Contributed To: 
NULL
Summing Up: 

Hinchliffe was a (minor?) bookseller who also published some of his own verse. In 1718 he published his collection of imitations and translations from Latin, pastorals, complimentary poems, etc. When he died, he left a translation of the first nine books of Fénelon's Télémaque in MS form.

Hill, Thomas

First Name: 
Thomas
Last Name: 
Hill
Sex: 
Male
Birth: 
1682
Death: 
1758
Nationality: 
English
Religion: 
NULL
Education: 
Westminster School; pensioner at Trinity College, Cambridge 1701; awarded a scholarship 1702; BA 1705; fellow in 1707; MA 1708; elected a fellow of the Royal Society 1725
Politics: 
NULL
Milieux: 
University wit and latinity
Patrons: 
NULL
Coteries: 
NULL
Periodicals & Misc Contributed To: 
Nundinae and two other poems opening Musae Britannicae, ed. Curll (1711); An English poem ‘On the Death of Vulcan, of Sordid Memory, an Old Servant at Trinity-College, Cambridge’ in Original Poems and Translations by Mr Hill, Mr Eusden, Mr Broome, Dr King etc., ed. Curll (1714)
Summing Up: 

In addition to his job as a public servant, Hill was a popular Latin poet, thanks to a single Latin poem, Nundinae Sturbrigienses, which secured his reputation. He published this and other verses in collections by Curll.

Hill, Aaron

First Name: 
Aaron
Last Name: 
Hill
Sex: 
Male
Birth: 
1685
Death: 
1750
Nationality: 
English
Religion: 
NULL
Education: 
free grammar school at Barnstaple; Westminster School (c.1696–1699)
Politics: 
NULL
Milieux: 
Playwriting
Patrons: 
Hill himself was an important patron of other writers in the 1720s: the ‘Hillarian’ circle -- Eliza Haywood, Edward Young, Richard Savage, John Dyer, Benjamin Victor, the Scottish poets Joseph Mitchell, David Mallet, James Thomson, and the poet Martha Fowke Sansom;
Coteries: 
John Gay; Joseph Mitchell; Samuel Richardson; made an enemy of Pope and was named a dunce in the Dunciad
Periodicals & Misc Contributed To: 
one of the writers for The British Apollo, or, Curious amusements for the ingenious 1708-11 (P1789); principal editor of the Plain Dealer 1724-25, 2d., co-edited with William Bond (P1712); published Miscellaneous Poems and Translations (1726) on Richard Savage's behalf, included over a third of its ninety-two poems by Hill, in addition to others by the Hillarian circle; edited The Prompter with William Popple, 2d, 1734-6 (P1444)
Summing Up: 

The DNB cites on critic who describes Hill as ‘the cultural glue that holds this literary period together’. Hill was a man of letters and entrepreneur with numerous business schemes, some of which proved costly. In the 1720s, he was an important patron and promoter of other writers. In some of his works, he petitioned the government and members of the royal family for public support of the arts. He wrote plays, poems, essays, and periodicals himself. He constantly tried to be involved in the theatre.

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