Reference > Cambridge History > The Age of Johnson > Oliver Goldsmith > Goldsmith in Wine Office Court; his friendship with Johnson
  Contributions to The British Magazine and The Public Ledger, the Chinese Letters (reprinted as The Citizen of the World) The History of England in Letters  

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The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume X. The Age of Johnson.

IX. Oliver Goldsmith.

§ 14. Goldsmith in Wine Office Court; his friendship with Johnson.


The last Chinese letter appeared on 14 August, 1761, and, in May of the following year, the collection was issued in two volumes as The Citizen of the World, a phrase first used in Letter XX, and, perhaps, suggested by Bacon’s Essays (no. XIII). At this date, Goldsmith had moved from the Little Old Bailey to 6 Wine Office court, Fleet street, where, on 31 May, he had been visited by Johnson. He had been editing The Lady’s Magazine, in which appeared the Memoirs of Voltaire composed by him for Griffiths. He wrote a pamphlet on the popular imposture, the Cock lane ghost, and he compiled or revised A History of Mecklenburgh, the native country of king George III’s consort. He published an anecdotical Life of Richard Nash, the fantastic old king of Bath, and seven volumes of Plutarch’s Lives. More important than these activities, however, was the preparation of The Vicar of Wakefield, on which, according to Miss Gaussen, 3  he was engaged as early as June, 1761. Internal evidence shows that the book must have been written in 1761–2; and it is certain that a third share of it was purchased in October, 1762 by Benjamin Collins of Salisbury, who afterwards printed it for Newbery. 4  It is to this date that must probably be referred the sale of the MS. familiar to Boswell’s readers, which, in that case, took place at Wine Office court, where the author would be close to Johnson’s chambers in Inner Temple lane, on the opposite side of Fleet street. But, for obscure reasons, The Vicar was not issued until four years later, at which date it will be convenient to return to it.   17

Note 3Percy: Prelate and Poet, 1908, p. 144. [ back ]
Note 4. This matter it discussed more fully in the bibliography. [ back ]

CONTENTS · VOLUME CONTENTS · INDEX OF ALL CHAPTERS · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD
  Contributions to The British Magazine and The Public Ledger, the Chinese Letters (reprinted as The Citizen of the World) The History of England in Letters  
 
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