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1784. as an event very uncertain; for if I grew much bete
ter, I should not be willing, if much worse, not able, Etat. 75
to migrate.-Your Lordship was first solicited with-
I am, my Lord,
“ Most humble servant,
“ SAM. JOHNSON."
Upon this unexpected failure I abstain from presuming to make any remarks, or to offer any conjectures,
Having, after repeated reasonings, brought Dr. Johnson to agree to my removing to London, and even to furnish me with arguments in favour of what he had opposed ; I wrote to him requesting he would write them for me; he was so good as to comply, and I shall extract that part of his letter to me of June 11, as a proof how well he could exhibit a cautious yet encouraging view of it:
“ I remember, and intreat you to remember, that virtus est vitium fugere; the first approach to riches is security from poverty. The condition upon which you have my consent to settle in London is, that your expence never exceeds your annual income,
Fixing this basis of security, you cannot be hurt, and 1784. you may be very much advanced. The loss of your Æ:at.75. Scottish business, which is all that you can lose, is not to be reckoned as any equivalent to the hopes and possibilities that open here upon you. If you succeed, the question of prudence is at an end; every body will think that done right which ends happily ; and though your expectations, of which I would not advise you to talk too much, should not be totally answered, you can hardly fail to get friends who will, da for
you all that your present situation allows you to hope ; and if, after a few
years, you should return to Scotland, you will return with a mind supplied by various conversation, and many opportunities of enquiry, with much knowledge, and materials for reflection and instruction."
Let us now contemplate Johnson thirty years after the death of his wife, still retaining for her all the tenderness of affection,
TO THE REVEREND MR. BAGSHAW, AT BROMLEY.'
you may remember, that in the year 1753, you committed to the ground my dear wife. I now entreat your permission to lay a stone upon her ; and have sent the inscription, that, if you find it proper, you may signify your allowance.
“ You will do me a great favour by showing the place where she lies, that the stone may protect her reinains.
“ Mr. Ryland will wait on you for the inscription,
See Vol. II. p. 266.
2 Printed in his Works,
and procure it to be engraved. You will easily be
lieve that I shrink froin tliis mournful office. When Ætat. 75.
'it is done, if I have strength remaining, I will visit
- Your most humble seryant,
66 SAM. JOHNSON."
On the same day he wrote to Mr. Langton: “I cannot but think that in my languid and anxious state, I have some reason to complain that I receive from you neither enquiry nor consolation. You know how much I value your friendship, and with what confidence I expect your kindness, if I wanted any act of tenderness that you could perform ; at least, if you do not know it, I think your ignorance is your own fault. Yet how long is it that I have lived almost in your neighbourhood without the least notice. I do not, however, consider this neglect as particularly shown to me; I hear two of your most valuable friends make the same complaint. But why are all thus overlooked? You are not oppressed by sickness, you are not distracted by business; if you are sick, you are sick of leisure :- And allow yourself to be told, that no disease is more to be dreaded or avoided. Rather to do nothing than to do good, is the lowest state of a degraded mind, Boileau says to his pupil,
· Que les vers ne soient pas votre eternel emploi,
• Cultivem. vos amis.? That voluntary debility, which modern language is content to term indolence, will, if it is not counteracted by resolution, render in time the strongest fa- 1781. culties lifeless, and turn the flame to the smoke of
Ætat. 75. virtue.--I do not expect nor desire to see you, because I am much pleased to find that your mother stays so long with you, and I should think you neither elegant nor grateful, if you did not study her gratification. You will pay my respects to both the ladies, and to all the young people. I am going Northward for a while, to try what help the country can give me; but, if you will write, the letter will come after me.
Next day ke set out on a jaunt to Staffordshire and Derbyshire, flattering himself that he might be in some degree relieved.
During his absence from London he kept up a correspondence with several of his friends, from which I shall select what appears to me proper for publication, without attending nicely to chronological order.
To Dr. BROCKLESBY, he writes, Ashbourne, July 20. “ The kind attention which you have so long shewn to my health and happiness, makes it as much a debt of gratitude as a call of interest, to give you an account of what befalls me, when accident recovers me from your immediate care.—The journey of the first day was performed with very little sense of fatigue; the second day brought me to Lichfield, without much lassitude ; but I am afraid that I could not have bore such violent agitation for many days together. Tell Dr. Heberden, that in the coach I read, « Ciceronianus' which I concluded as I entered Lich
* [This is probably an errour either of the transcript or the press. Removes seems to be the word intended. M.]
1784. field. My affection and understanding went along
with Erasmus, ex rept that once or twice he someEtat, 75.
what unskilfully eniangles Cicero's civilor moral, with
“ Not recollecting that Dr. Heberden might be at Windsor, I thought your letter long in coming. But, you know, nocitura petuntur, the let, ter which I so much desired, tells me that I have lost one of my best and tenderest friends.' My comfort
At the Essex Head, Essex-street.