« 이전계속 »
with a packet from Philadelphia, from Mr. James Abercrombie, a gentleman of that country, who is pleased to honour me with very high praise of my “ Life of Dr. Johnson.” To have the fame of my illustrious friend, and his faithful biographer, echoed from the New World is extremely flattering; and my grateful acknowledgments shall be wafted across the Atlantic. Mr. Abercrombie has politely conferred on me a considerable additional obligation, by transmitting to me copies of two letters from Dr. Johnson to American gentlemen. “ Gladly, Sir,” says he, “would I have sent you the originals; but being the only relics of the kind in America, they are considered by the possessors of such inestimable value, that no possible consideration would induce them to part with them. In some future publication of yours relative to that great and good man, they may perhaps be thought worthy of insertion."
LETTER 148. TO MR. B—-D. (1)
“ Johnson's Court, March 4. 1773. “SIR,—That in the hurry of a sudden departure you should yet find leisure to consult my convenience, is a degree of kindness, and an instance of regard, not only beyond my claims, but above my expectation. You are not mistaken in supposing that I set a high value on my American friends, and that you should confer a
(1) This gentleman, who now resides in America, in a public character of considerable dignity, desired that his name might not be transcribed at full length.-B.- Probably a Mr. Richard Bland, of Virginia, whose * Inquiry into the Rights of the British Colonies” was republished in London in 1770. — C.
Ætat. 64. TRANSLATIONS OF RASSELAS.
very valuable favour upon me by giving me an oppor. tunity of keeping myself in their memory.
“I have taken the liberty of troubling you with a packet, to which I wish a safe and speedy conveyance, because I wish a safe and speedy voyage to him that conveys it. I am, Sir, your most humble servant,
" SAM. JOHNSON.”
LETTER 149. TO THE REV. MR. WHITE. (1)
“ Johnson's Court, March 4. 1773. “ DEAR SIR, — Your kindness for your friends accompanies you across the Atlantic. It was long since observed by Horace, that no ship could leave care behind: you have been attended in your voyage by other powers, — by benevolence and constancy; and I hope care did not often show her face in their company.
“ I received the copy of Rasselas. The impression is not magnificent, but it flatters an author, because the printer seems to have expected that it would be scattered among the people. The little book has been well received, and is translated into Italian, French, German, and Dutch. It has now one honour more by an American edition.
“I know not that much has happened since your departure that can engage your curiosity. Of all public transactions the whole world is now informed by the newspapers. Opposition seems to despond ; and the dissenters, though they have taken advantage of unsettled times, and a government much enfeebled, seem not likely to gain any immunities.
(1) Now Dr.'White, and Bishop of the Episcopal Church in Pennsylvania. During his first visit to England in 1771, as a candidate for holy orders, he was several times in company with Dr. Johnson, who expressed a wish to see the edition of Rasselas, which Dr. White told him had been printed in Ame. rica. Dr. White, on his return, immediately sent him a copy.
“ Dr. Goldsmith has a new comedy in rehearsal at Covent Garden, to which the manager predicts ill success. I hope he will be mistaken. I think it deserves a very kind reception.
“I shall soon publish a new edition of my large Dictionary. I have been persuaded to revise it, and have mended some faults, but added little to its usefulness.
“No book has been published since your departure, of which much notice is taken. Faction only fills the town with pamphlets, and greater subjects are forgotten in the noise of discord.
“ Thus have I written, only to tell you how little I have to tell. Of myself I can only add, that having been afflicted many weeks with a very troublesome cough, I am now recovered.
- I take the liberty which you give me of troubling you with a letter, of which you will please to fill up the direction. I am, Sir, your most humble servant,
Letter 150. TO W. S. JOHNSON LL.D. (1),
“ Johnson's Court, March 4. 1773. “SIR,_Of all those whom the various accidents of life have brought within my notice, there is scarce any man whose acquaintance I have more desired to cultivate than yours. I cannot indeed charge you with
(1) The late William Samuel Johnson of Connecticut. This gentleman spent several years in England about the middle of the last century. He received the degree of Doctor of Civil Law from the University of Oxford ; and this circumstance, together with the accidental similarity of name, recommended him to the acquaintance of Dr. Samuel Johnson. Several letters passed between them, after the American Dr. Johnson had returned to his native country; of which, however, it is feared that this is the only one remaining. - Gent. Mag.
neglecting me, yet our mutual inclination could never gratify itself with opportunities. The current of the day always bore us away from one another, and now the Atlantic is between us.
" Whether you carried away an impression of me as pleasing as that which you left me of yourself, I know not; if you did, you have not forgotten me, and will be glad that I do not forget you. Merely to be remembered is indeed a barren pleasure, but it is one of the pleasures which is more sensibly felt as human nature is more exalted.
“ To make you wish that I should have you in my mind, I would be glad to tell you something which you do not know ; but all public affairs are printed ; and as you and I have no common friend, I can tell you no private history.
“The government, I think, grow stronger; but I am afraid the next general election will be a time of uncommon turbulence, violence, and outrage.
“Of literature no great product has appeared, or is ospected ; the attention of the people has for some years been otherwise employed.
“I was told a day or two ago of a design which must excite some curiosity. Two ships are in preparation, which are under the command of Captain Con. stantine Phipps, to explore the northern ocean ; not to seek the north-east or the north-west passage, but to sail directly north, as near the pole as they can go. They hope to find an open ocean, but I suspect it is one mass of perpetual congelation. I do not much wish well to discoveries, for I am always afraid they will end in conquest and robbery.
“ I have been out of order this winter, but am grown better. Can I never hope to see you again, or must I be always content to tell you that in another hemi. sphere I am, Sir, your most humble servant ?
LETTER 151. TO MRS. THRALE.
“ March 25. 1773. “ Did not I tell you that I had written to Boswell? He has answered my letter. I am going this evening to put young Otway to school with Mr. Elphinston.
“C- () is so distressed with abuse about his play, that he has solicited Goldsmith to take him off the rack of the newspapers. M- (2) is preparing a whole pamphlet against G- (2); and GM is, I suppose, collecting materials to confute M
Jennens (3) has published Hamlet, but without a preface, and S (4) declares his intention of letting him pass the rest of his life in peace. Here is news.”
On Saturday, April 3., the day after my arrival in London this year, I went to his house late in the evening, and sat with Mrs. Williams till he came home. I found in the London Chronicle, Dr. Goldsmith's apology to the public for beating Evans, a bookseller, on account of a paragraph (5) in a newspaper published by him, which Goldsmith thought
(1) Richard Cumberland. The play in question was the “Choleric Man," which he afterwards published with a “ Dedication to Detraction.” He was very sensitive to such attacks, as Sheridan more than hints in the character of Sir Fretful Plagiary, which was intended for him. — C.
(2) These initials, no doubt, mean Mickle and Garrick (see Garrick's letter to Boswell, post, 23d Oct. 1773): the quarrel was on the subject of the “ Siege of Marseilles." See Mickle's Life in “ Anderson's British Poets." - C.
(3) Soame Jenyns.-C.
(5) The offence given was a long abusive letter in the London Packet. A particular account of this transaction, and Goldsmith's Vindication (for such it was, rather than an Apology, may be found in the Life of that poet, prefixed to his Miscellaneous Works. - M.