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Series 78: Correspondence concerning a monument to Dr Samuel Johnson, 1791

Provenance note 

The documents in this series, previously located at ML A 80-2, were purchased in 1884 from Lord Brabourne by Sir Saul Samuel, the Agent-General for New South Wales. They were transferred to the Mitchell Library in 1910 and were part of the accession which became known as the Brabourne collection. 

Background note 

Dr Samuel Johnson died on 13 December 1784 and was buried at Poet's Corner in Westminster Abbey. A committee had been formed to establish a subscription fund for a monument to the memory of Johnson, headed by Dr Edmund Malone. 

Debate about whether the monument should be in St Paul's Cathedral or at Johnson's burial site in Westminster Abbey was eventually resolved by a special committee which had been formed in January 1790 and included Sir Joshua Reynolds, President of the Academy of Arts, and Sir Joseph Banks. On 5 April 1791 resolution in favour of St Paul's was reached by a majority vote, supported by Reynolds but opposed by Banks. 

The statue of Dr Samuel Johnson was eventually placed in St Paul's in 1796.