THE way Johnson and Murphy got acquainted was an odd one. Mr. Murphy was engaged in a periodical paper called, I think, the Gray's Inn journal, but he was in the country with his friend Foote, and said he must go to Town to publish his sheet for the day. `Hang it,' says Foote, `can't you do it here, and I'll send a man and horse—'tis but ten miles —up to the printer?' This was settled; and Murphy, impatient to join the company and unwilling to pump his own brains, just then snatched up a French journal that he saw laying about, translated a story which he liked in it, and sent it to the press. When he came to Town two days after, he soon found what he had done—that the story was a `Rambler' written by Johnson and translated into French, and that he had been doing it back again. He flew to Johnson's lodging, caught him making ether, told him the truth, and commenced an acquaintance which has lasted with mutual esteem, I suppose near twenty years.
Thraliana, i. 153.
Murphy and Burke were of different sides in the great question concerning literary property, settled as I remember in the year 1775.
`But,' says Burke, `you must remember the booksellers deal in commodities they are not supposed to understand.'-'True,' replies Murphy, `some of 'em do deal in morality.'
Thraliana, i. 27.
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