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life, and the variety of situations in which I may have been, cannot be gratified within the compass of a letter; besides, there are some particulars of my life which it would ill become me to relate. The only similitude between the circumstances of my own fortune, and those I have attributed to Roderick Random, consists in my being born of a respectable family in Scotland ; in my being bred a surgeon, and having served as a surgeon's mate on board a man of war during the expedition to Carthagena. The low situations in which I have exhibited Roderic I never experienced in my own person. I married, very young, a native of Jamaica, a young lady well known and universally respected under the name of Miss Nancy Lascelles, and by her I enjoy a comfortable, though moderate estate in that island. I practised surgery in London, after having improved myself by travelling in France and other foreign countries, till the year 1749, when I took my degree of doctor in medicine, and have lived ever since in Chelsea (I hope) with credit and reputation. No man knows better than Mr. what time I employed in writing the four first volumes of the History of England ; and, indeed, the short period in which that work was finished appears almost incredible to myself, when I recollect that I turned over and consulted above three hundred volumes in the course of my labour. Mr. — likewise knows that I spent the greatest part of a year in revising, correcting, and improving the quarto edition which is now going to the press, and will be continued in the same
size to the last peace. Whatever reputation I may have got by this work, has been dearly bought by the loss of health, which I am of opinion I shall never retrieve. I am going to the south of France, in order to try the effects of that climate, and very probably I shall never return. I am much obliged to you for the hope you express that I have obtained some provision from his majesty ; but the truth is, I have neither pension nor place, nor am I of that disposition which can stoop to solicit either. I have always piqued myself upon my independency, and I trust in God I shall preserve it till my dying day. Ex. clusive of some small detached performances that have been published occasionally in papers and magazines, the following is a genuine list of my productions :-Roderick Random ; the Regicide, a tragedy; a translation of Gil Blas; a translation of Don Quixote ; an Essay upon the external Use of Water; Peregrine Pickle ; Ferdinand Count Fathom ; a great part of the Critical Review ; a small part of the Compendium of Voyages ; the Complete History of England, and Continuation ; a small part of the Modern Universal History ; some pieces of the British Magazine, comprehending the whole of Sir Launcelot Greaves; a small part of the translation of Voltaire's Works, including all the Notes, Historical and Critical, to be found in that translation. I am much mortified to find it is believed in America that I have lent my name to booksellers; that is a species of prostitution of which I am altogether incapable. I had engaged with Mr. — , and had made some progress in a work exhibiting the present state of the world, which work I shall finish if I recover my health. If you should see Mr. , please give my kindest compliments to him ; tell him I wish him all manner of happiness, though I have little to expect for my own share, having lost my only child, a fine girl of fifteen, whose death has overwhelmed myself and my wife with unutterable sorrow. English winter, at least an English summer; meantime, if you won't come to us, I'll come to you; and shall, with the help of small punch and your company, laugh at the Tuscan dog. days.
I have now complied with your request, and beg, in my turn, you will commend me to all my friends in America. I have endeavoured, more than once, to do the colonies some service. I am, sir, &c.
DR. ARMSTRONG TO DR. SMOLLETT, AT PISA.
London, March 28, 1769. 0, my dear doctor, I should severely reproach myself, for having so long delayed answering your letter, which gave much pleasure and entertainment, not only to me, but to all our common friends, if it was not that I waited for some news that might please you. I have none to send you at last, except you are, as I am, upon the Douglas side; but this is treating you with state intelligence.
It is needless to say how much I rejoice in your recovery ; but I have all along had great confidence in the vigorous stamina with which nature has blessed you. I hope you may, within a year or two, be able to weather out, if not an
I enjoy, with a pleasing sympathy, the agree. able society you find amongst the professors at Pisa.' All countries, and all religions, are the same to men of liberal minds. And the most contemptible, sometimes even the most dangerous, of all animals, is an ill natured blockhead, who affects to despise his neighbours because he secretly envies their superior abilities, and re. gards them with a jealous eye.
The daily, industrious, indefatigable operations of the most pernicious lies—the most impudent, audacious doctrines that were ever practised upon a blind, stupid, ignorant, profane populace still continue to prosper. The London mob have long, every hour of the day, damned their eyesight; and they happen to have good reason for it. I will not at once disgust and shock you with the recital of such seditious and treasonable insolencies, as never durst, before Wednesday last, browbeat a throne—at least, never with impunity. Your friends at Pisa envy our constitution: I am afraid we may, in a short time, be induced to sigh after theirs ; for the view, at present, all around us is an object of the most extreme indignation, contempt, and horror.
Meantime, the infernal spirit of the most absurd discord, Erynnis, blind and blundering in her dotage, has not yet so universally poisoned the noble mind of the public as to engross it entirely VOL. V.
to the clumsy, dirty, blackguard amusement and exercises. For history still makes a shift to waddle on, though it grows rather a lame duck; and there are still jackdaws enough to swallow the green cheese of tragedy, and the no less insipid curd of new comedy. So much the better; all trades would live, they say.
But talking of some recent publications puts me in mind of something that I had almost forgot to tell you : that several people, who have a particular regard and esteem for the reputed author of The Present State of all Nations, are sorry to find that he has too much exposed the posteriors of our brothers in the north ; and made some undeserved compliments to their brothers in the south, who have already a comfortable enough share of self-conceit; and that, amongst other perfections, he allows them to be the hand. somest people in Europe, which they think to be a very disputable opinion.
All the friends you have mentioned are well, and desire to be kindly remembered to you. Your health is never forgot in our compotations, I am sorry to tell you that our society has lost one worthy member, in Dr. Russell, who died some months ago of a malignant fever. I beg you'll let me hear from you soon ; and with my best compliments to Mrs. Smollett, at the same time never forgetting Miss and Miss Currie. My dear sir, your affectionate friend, and faithful humble servant,