I certainly agree:
I don't think you should really talk about the history of English
dictionaries without mentioning Samuel Johnson. Although not the first,
his is the most famous or early English Dictionaries, published in 1755.
But the point of David's remark was the literary qualities of
dictionaries in the 20th c. I quoted the blog that David cited
and commented on some of the points it mentioned.
He even used wit and humour, defining a lexicographer as "..a harmless
drudge, that busies himself in tracing the original, and detailing the
significations of words".
That's an example of literary qualities that would never be allowed
by today's publishers. There are many other examples, such as his
definition of 'oats': "A grain, which in England is generally given
to horses, but in Scotland supports the people."
I don't think the English have ever considered Webster's as anything
other than a dictionary of American English
That's true. But by the late 19th c, Webster's had grown larger
than Johnson's, and it was being used in England.