Later Johnson


Receipt for pension. December 13, 1784. Printed form with manuscript additions. MS Hyde 50 (50)

In 1762, Johnson was awarded a royal pension of £300 a year by the Prime Minister, the Earl of Bute. It was an uncomfortable position for a man who had defined pension as "pay given to a state hireling for treason to his country" and Johnson rightly surmised that he would be charged with hypocrisy for accepting it. Upon assurances that it was offered without the expectation of political services, Johnson accepted the pension, and it provided him with real financial security for the first time in his life. Johnson signed his name to this receipt as one of his last acts. He died just after seven on the evening of December 13, 1784.