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1784. dences of the continuance of those wonderous powers
of mind, which raised him so high in the intellectual Etat. 75. world. His conversation and his letters of this
year were in no respect inferiour to those of former
years. The following is a remarkable proof of his being alive to the most minute curiosities of literature.
TO MR. DILLY, BOOKSELLER, IN THE POULTRY.
“ There is in the world a set of books which used to be sold by the book sellers on the bridge, and which I must entreat you to procure me. They are called, Burton's Boohs ;: the title of one is Admirable Curiosities, Rarities, and Wonders in England. I believe there are about five or six of them; they seem very proper to allure backward readers; be so kind as to get them for me, and send me them with the best printed edition of 'Baxter's Call to the Unconverted.'
" I am, &c. « Jan. 6, 1784.
- SAM. JOHNSON.”
TO MR. PERKINS.
you were 3 [The following list comprises several of these books; but probably is incomplete :
1. Historical Remarques on London and Westminster. ... 1681 2. Wars in England, Scotland, and Ireland.
1681 3. Wonderful Prodigies.. 4. English Empire in America.
1685 5. Surprising Miracles of Nature and Art.
1685 7. History of Scotland and Ireland..
1685 8. Nine Worthies of the World.....
. 1687 9. The English Hero, or Sir Francis Drake.
. 1687 10. Memorable Accidents, and unheard-of Transactions.. 1693 11. History of Oliver Cron
16-18 12. Unparalleled Varieties ...
so kind as to call on me; but to disappoint friends, 1784. and if they are not very good-natured, to disoblige Ætar.75. them, is one of the evils of sickness. If
you will please to let me know which of the afternoons in this week I shall be favoured with another visit by you and Mrs. Perkins, and the young people, I will take all the measures that I can to be pretty well at that time. I am, dear Sir,
“ Your most humble servant, “ Jan. 21, 1784.
“ SAM. JOHNSON."
His attention to the Essex-head Club appears from the following letter to Mr. Alderman Clark, a gentleinan for whom he deservedly entertained a great regard.
TO RICHARD CLARK, ESQ.
“ You will receive a requisition, according to the rules of the Club, to be at the house as President of the night. This turn comes once a month, and the member is obliged to attend, or send another in his place. You were enrolled in the Club by my invitation, and I ought to introduce you; but as I am hindered by sickness, Mr. Hoole will very properly supply my place as introductor, or yours as President. I hope in milder weather to be a very constant attendant.
“ I am, Sir, &c. " Jan. 27, 1784.
“ SAM. JOHNSON."
“ You ought to be informed that the forfeits began with the year, and that every night of non-attendance incurs the mulct of three-pence, that is, nine-pence a week.'
On the 8th of January I wrote to him, anxiously enquiring as to his health, and enclosing my." Letter
1784. to the People of Scotland, on the present state of the
nation.”—“I trust, (said I,) that you will be liberal Ætat. 75.
enough to make allowance for my differing from you on two points, [the Middlesex Election, and the American War,] when my general principles of government are according to your own heart, and when, at a crisis of doubtful event, I stand forth with honest zeal as an ancient and faithful Briton. My reason for introducing those two points was, that as my opinions with regard to them had been declared at the periods when they were least favourable, I might have the credit of a man who is not a worshipper of ministerial power.”
TO JAMES BOSWELL, ESQ.
“ I HEAR of many enquiries which your kindness has disposed you to make after me. I have long intended you a long letter, which perhaps the imagination of its length hindered me from beginning. I will, therefore, content myself with a shorter.
“ Having promoted the institution of a new Club in the neighbourhood, at the house of an old servant of Thrale's, I went thither to meet the company, and was seized with a spasmodick asthma, so violent, that with difficulty I got to my own house, in which I have been confined eight or nine weeks, and from which I know not when I shall be able to go even to church. The asthma, however, is not the worst. A dropsy gains ground upon me; my legs and thighs are very
much swollen with water, which I should be content if I could keep there, but I am afraid that it will soon be higher. My nights are very sleepless and very tedious. And yet I ain extremely afraid of dying.
My physicians try to make me hope, that much 1784. of my malady is the effect of cold, and that some de
Ætat. 75, gree at least of recovery is to be expected from vernal breezes and summer suns. If my life is prolonged to autumn, I should be glad to try a warmer climate; though how to travel with a diseased body, without a companion to conduct me, and with very little money, I do not well see. Ramsay has recovered his limbs in Italy; and Fielding was sent to Lisbon, where, indeed, he died; but he was, I believe, past hope when he went. Think for me what I can do.
“ I received your pamphlet, and when I write again may perhaps tell you some opinion about it; but you will forgive a man struggling with disease his neglect of disputes, politicks, and pamphlets. Let me have your prayers. My compliments to your lady, and young ones. Ask your physicians about my case: and desire Sir Alexander Dick to write me his opinion.
“ I am, dear Sir, &c. “ Feb. 11, 1784.
“ SAM. JOHNSON."
TO MRS. LUCY PORTER, IN LICHFIELD,
MY DEAREST LOVE,
“I have been extremely ill of an asthma and dropsy, but received by the mercy of God, sudden, and unexpected relief last Thursday, by the discharge of twenty pints of water. Whether I shall continue. free, or shall fill again, cannot be told. Pray for me.
“ Death, my dear, is very dreadful ; let us think nothing worth our care but how to prepare for it; ) what we know amiss in ourselves let us make haste to amend, and put our trust in the mercy of God,
1984. and the intercession of our SavioUR. I am, dear
Madam, Atat. 75.
“ Your most humble servant, « Feb. 23, 1784.
“ SAM. Johnson."
TO JAMES BOSWELL, ESQ.
“ I have just advanced so far towards recovery as to read a pamphlet; and you may reasonably suppose that the first pamphlet which I read was yours. I am very much of your opinion, and, like you,
feel great indignation at the indecency with which the
ing is every day treated. Your paper contains very considerable knowledge of history and of the constitution, very properly produced and applied. It will certainly raise your character, though perhaps it may not make you a Minister of State.
* * * * * *
“ I desire you to see Mrs. Stewart once again, and tell her, that in the letter-case was a letter relating to me, for which I will give her, if she is willing to give it me, another guinea. The letter is of
consequence only to me.
“ I am, dear Sir, &c. “ London, Feb. 27, 1784.
9 I sent it to Mr. Pitt, with a letter, in which I thus expressed myself: "My principles may appear to you too monarchical: but I know and am persuaded, they are not inconsistent with the true · principles of liberty. Be this as it may, you, Sir, are now the Prime Minister, called by the Sovereign to maintain the right of the Crown, as well as those of the people, against a violent faction. - As such, you are entitled to the warmest support of every good subject in every department.” He answered, “I am extremely obliged to you for the sentiments you do me the honour to express, and have observed with great pleasure the zealous and able support given to the CAUSE OF THE PUBLICK in the work you were so good to transmit to me.”