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1774. “ The question of Literary Property is this day
before the Lords. Murphy drew up the Appellants' Ætat. 65.,
case, that is, the plea against the perpetual right. I have not seen it, nor heard the decision. I would not have the right perpetual.
“ I will write to you as any thing occurs, and do you send me something about my Scottish friends. I have very great kindness for them. Let me know likewise how fees come in, and when we are to see you. I am, Sir,
- Yours affectionately, “ London, Feb. 7, 1774.
He at this time wrote the following letters to Mr. Steevens, his able associate in editing Shakspeare:
“ IF I am asked when I have seen Mr. Steevens, you know what answer I must give; if I am asked when I shall see him, I wish you would tell me what
“ If you have · Lesley's History of Scotland,' or any other book about Scotland, except Boetius and Buchanan, it will be a kindness if you send them to, Sir,
" Your humble servant, “ Feb. 7, 1774.
TO THE SAME.
“ We are thinking to augment our club, and I am desirous of nominating you, if you care to stand the ballot, and can attend on Friday nights at least
twice in five weeks: less than this is too little, and rather more will be expected. Be pleased to let me know before Friday. I am, Sir,
“ Your most, &c. “Feb. 21, 1774.
“ SAM. JOHNSON.".
TO THE SAME.
.“ Last night you became a member of the club; if you call on me on Friday, I will introduce yon. A gentleman, proposed after you, was rejected.
“I thank you for Neander, but wish he were not so fine. I will take care of him. I am, Sir,
“ Your humble servant, “ March 5, 1774.
" SAM. JOHNSON."
" TO JAMES BOSWELL, ESQ.
66 DEAR SIR, .“ Dr. WEBSTER's informations were much less exact and much less determinate than I expected : they are, indeed, much less positive than, if he can trust his own book' which he laid before me, he is able to give. But I believe it will always be found, that he who calls much for information will advance his work but slowly.
“ I am, however, obliged to you, dear Sir, for your endeavours to help me, and hope, that between
9 A manuscript account drawn by Dr. Webster of all the parishes in Scotland, ascertaining their length, breadth, number of inhabitants, and distinguishing Protestants and Roman Catholicks. This book had been transmitted to government, and Dr. Johnson saw a copy of it in Dr. Webster's possession.
1774. us something will some time be done, if not on this Ætat. 65.
on some occasion.
“ Chambers is either married, or almost married, to Miss Wilton, a girl sixteen, exquisitely beautiful, whom he has with his lawyer's tongue, persuaded to take her chance with him in the East.
“ We have added to the club, Charles Fox, Sir Charles Bunbury, Dr. Fordyce, and Mr. Steevens.
“ Return my thanks to Dr. Webster. T'ell Dr. Robertson I have not much to reply to his censure of my negligence; and tell Dr. Blair, that since he has written hither what I said to him, we must now consider ourselves as even, forgive one another, and begin again. I care not how soon, for he is a very pleasing man. Pay my compliments to all
my friends, and remind Lord Elibank of his promise to give me all his works.
“ I hope Mrs. Boswell and little Miss are well. When shall I see them again? She is a sweet lady, only she was so glad to see me go, that I have almost a mind to come again, that she may again have the same pleasure.
Enquire if it be practicable to send a small present of a cask of porter to Dunvegan, Rasay, and Col. I would not wish to be thought forgetful of civilities. I am, Sir,
“ Your humble servant, “ March 5, 1774.
“ SAM. JOHNSON."
On the 5th of March I wrote to him, requesting his counsel whether I should this spring come to London. I stated to him on the one hand some pecuniary embarrassments, which, together with my wife's situation at that time, made me hesitate ; and,
on the other, the pleasure and improvement which 1774. my annual visit to the metropolis always afforded
Ætat. 65, me; and particularly mentioned a peculiar satisfaction which I experienced in celebrating the festival of Easter in St. Paul's cathedral; that to my fancy it appeared like going up to Jerusalem at the feast of the Passover; and that the strong devotion which I felt on that occasion diffused its influence on my mind through the rest of the year.
TO JAMES BOSWELL, ESQ.
[Not dated, but written about
the 15th of March.] " I am ashamed to think that since I received your letter I have passed so many days without answering it.
“ I think there is no great difficulty in resolving your doubts. The reasons for which you are inclined to visit London, are, I think, not of sufficient strength to answer the objections. That you should delight to come once a year to the fountain of intelligence and pleasure, is very natural; but both information and pleasure must be regulated by propriety. Pleasure, which cannot be obtained but by unseasonable or unsuitable expence, must always end in pain; and pleasure, which must be enjoyed at the expence of another's pain, can never be such as a worthy mind can fully delight in.
“ What improvement you might gain by coming to London, you may easily supply or easily compensate, by enjoining yourself some particular study at home, or opening some new avenue to information. Edinburgh is not yet exhausted; and I am sure you will find no pleasure here which can deserve either that you should'anticipate any part of your future fortune, or that you should condemn yourself and
; 1774. your lady to penurious frugality for the rest of
“ I need not tell you what regard you owe to Mrs. Boswell's entreaties; or how much you ought to study the happiness of her who studies yours with so much diligence, and of whose kindness you enjoy such good effects. Life cannot subsist in society but by reciprocal concessions. She permitted you to ramble last year, you must permit her now to keep
you at home.
“ Your last reason is so serious, that I am unwilling to oppose it. Yet you must remember, that your image of worshipping once a year in a certain place, in imitation of the Jews, is but a comparison; and simile non est idem; if the annual resort to Jerusalem was a duty to the Jews, it was a duty because it was commanded; and you have no such command, therefore no such duty. It may be dangerous to receive too readily, and indulge too fondly, opinions, from which, perhaps, no pious mind is wholly disengaged, of local sanctity and local devotion. You know what strange effects they have produced over a great part of the Christian world. I am now writing, and
you read this, are reading under the Eye of Omnipresence.
“ To what degree fancy is to be admitted into religious offices, it would require much deliberation to determine. I am far from intending totally to exclude it. Fancy is a faculty bestowed by our Creator, and it is reasonable that all his gifts should be used to his glory, that all our faculties should co-operate in his worship; but they are to co-operate, according to the will of him that gave them, according to the order which his wisdom has established. As ceremonies nrudential or convenient are less obliga.