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who has exempted you from any strong who addressed me with one of his goodtemptation to faction, treachery, plunder, humoured smiles :—“Well, you have reand disloyalty.
membered our dispute about Prince Henry, “As your neighbours distinguish you by and have cited me too. You have done your such honours as they can bestow, content part very well indeed: you have made the yourself with your station, without neglecting best of your argument; but I am not conyour profession. Your estate and the courts
vinced yet.' will find you full employment, and your mind “ Before publishing the Lusiad, I sent Mr. well occupied will be quiet.
Hoole a proof of that part of the introduction “ The usurpation of the nobility, for they in which I make mention of Dr. Johnson, apparently usurp all the influence they gain yourself, and other well-wishers to the work, by fraud and misrepresentation, I think it begging it might be shown to Dr. Johnson. certainly lawful, perhaps your duty, to resist. This was accordingly done; and in place of What is not their own, they have only by the simple mention of him which I had made, robbery.
he dictated to Mr. Hoole the sentence as it “ Your question about the horses gives me now stands. more perplexity. I know not well what ad- “ Dr. Johnson told me in 1772, that, about vice to give you. I can only recommend a twenty years before that time, he himself rule which you do not want: give as little had a design to translate the Lusiad, of the pain as you can. I suppose that we have a merit of which he spoke highly, but had been right to their service while their strength prevented by a number of other engagelasts; what we can do with them afterwards, ments." I cannot so easily determine. But let us Mr. Mickle reminds me in this letter of a consider. Nobody denies that man has a conversation at dinner one day at Mr. Hoole's right first to milk the cow, and to shear the with Dr. Johnson, when Mr. Nicol, the king's sheep, and then to kill them for his table. bookseller, and I, attempted to controvert the May he not, by parity of reason, first work a maxim, “ Better that ten guilty should escape, horse, and then kill him the easiest
that than one innocent person suffer," and were he may have the means of another horse, or answered by Dr. Johnson with great power food for cows and sheep? Man is influenced of reasoning and eloquence. I am very sorin both cases by different motives of self- ry that I have no record of that day : but I interest. He that rejects the one must re- well recollect my illustrious friend's having ject the other. I am, &c.
ably shown, that unless civil institutions en“Sam. JOHNSON. sure protection to the innocent, all the con“ A happy and pious Christmas ; and ma- fidence which mankind should have in them ny happy years to you, your lady, and chil would be lost. dren.'
I shall here mention what, in strict chro
nological arrangement, should have appeared The late ingenious Mr. Mickle, some time in my account of last year; but may more before his death, wrote me a letter concern- properly be introduced here, the controversy ing Dr. Johnson, in which he mentions, “I having not been closed till this. The Revewas upwards of twelve years acquainted rend Mr. Shawl, a native of one of the Hewith him, was frequently in his company, al- brides, having entertained doubts of the auways talked with ease to him, and can truly thenticity of the poems ascribed to Ossian, say, that I never received from him one divested himself of national bigotry; and havrough word.”
ing travelled in the Highlands and Islands of In this letter he relates his having, while Scotland, and also in Ireland, in order to furengaged in translating the Lusiad, had a nish himself with materials for a Gaëlick Dicdispute of considerable length with John- tionary, which he afterwards compiled, was son, who, as usual, declaimed upon the mise- so fully satisfied that Dr. Johnson was in the ry and corruption of a sea life, and used right upon the question, that he candidly this expression :-“ It had been happy, for published a pamphlet, stating his conviction, the world, sir, if your hero Gama, Prince and the proofs and reasons on which it was Henry of Portugal, and Columbus, had never founded. A person at Edinburgh, of the been born, or that their schemes had never name of Clark, answered this pamphlet gone farther than their own imaginations." with much zeal, and much abuse of its au• This sentiment,” says Mr. Mickle, “ which thour. Johnson took Mr. Shaw under his is to be found in his • Introduction to the protection, and gave him his assistance in wriWorld Displayed,' I, in my Dissertation ting a reply, which has been admired by the prefixed to the Lusiad, have controverted; best judges, and by many been considered as and though authours are said to be bad conclusive. A few paragraphs, which sufjudges of their own works, I am not ashamed ficiently mark their great authour, shall be seto own to a friend, that that dissertation is lected. my favourite above all that I ever attempt- “ My assertions are, for the most part, ed in prose. Next year, when the Lusiad was published, I waited on Dr. Johnson,
[See ante, p. 315.-Ed.]
purely negative: I deny the existence of the Club should meet and dine at the house Fingal, because in a long and curious pere- which once was Horseman's, in Ivy-lane. grination through the Gaélick regions I have I have undertaken to solicit you, and therenever been able to find it. What I could fore desire you to tell me on what day next not see myself, I suspect to be equally invisi- week you can conveniently meet your old ble to others; and I suspect with the more friends. I am, sir, your most humble servant, reason, as among all those who have seen it
“SAM. JOHNSON." no man can show it.
“ Mr. Clark compares the obstinacy of The intended meeting was prevented by a those who disbelieve the genuineness of circumstance, which the following note will Ossian to a blind man, who should dispute explain : the reality of colours, and deny that the
"3d Dec. 1783. British troops are clothed in red. The · DEAR SIR,—In perambulating Ivy-lane, blind man's doubt would be rational, if he Mr. Ryland found neither our landlord did not know by experience that others Horseman nor his successor. The old house have a power which he himself wants : but is shut up, and he liked not the appearance what perspicacity has Mr. Clark which
he therefore bespoke our Nature has withheld from me or the rest of dinner at the Queen's Arms, in St. Paul's mankind ?
Churchyard, where, at half an hour after “ The true state of the parallel must be three, your company will be desired to-day this :-Suppose a man, with eyes like his by those who remain of our former society. neighbours, was told by a boasting corporal, Your humble servant, that the troops, indeed, wore red clothes for
“ SAM. JOHNSON." their ordinary dress, but that every soldier had likewise a suit of black velvet, which With this invitation,” says Sir John he puts on when the king reviews them. Hawkins, “ I cheerfully complied, and met, at This he thinks strange, and desires to see the the time and place appointed, all who could fine clothes, but finds nobody in forty thou- be mustered of our society, namely, Johnson, sand men that can produce either coat or Mr. Ryland, and Mr. Payne of the bank. waistcoat. One, indeed, has left them in his When we were collected, the thought that chest at Port Mahon; another has always we were so few occasioned some melancholy heard that he ought to have velvet clothes reflections, and I could not but compare our somewhere; and a third has heard some- meeting, at such an advanced period of life as body say that soldiers ought to wear velvet. it was to us all, to that of the four old men in Can the inquirer be blamed if he goes away the Senile Colloquium' of Erasmus. We believing that a soldier's red coat is all that dined, and in the evening regaled with coffee. he has ?
At ten we broke up, much to the But the most obdurate incredulity may regret of Johnson, who proposed
Hawk. be shamed or silenced by facts. To over- staying; but finding us inclined to power contradictions, let the soldier show his
separate, he left us, with a sigh that seemed velvet coat, and the Fingalist the original of to come from his heart, lamenting that he Ossian.
was retiring to solitude and cheerless medi“The difference between us and the blind tation. man is this : the blind man is unconvinced, « Johnson had proposed a meeting like this because he cannot see ; and we because, once a month, and we had one more ; but the though we can see, we find nothing that can time approaching for a third, he began to feel be shown.”
a return of some of his complaints, and signiNotwithstanding the complication of dis- fied a wish that we would dine with him at orders under which Johnson now laboured, his own house; and accordingly we met he did not resign himself to despondency and there, and were very cheerfully entertained discontent, but with wisdom and spirit en- by him.") deavoured to console and amuse his mind [Of this meeting he gave the following acwith as many innocent enjoyments as he could count to Mrs. Thrale : procure. Sir John Hawkins has mentioned
" DR. JOHNSON TO MRS. THRALE. the cordiality with which he insisted that such of the members of the old club in Ivy-lane as
“ London, 13th December, 1783. survived should meet again and dine together,
. I dined about a fortnight ago Letters, which they did twice at a tavern, and once
with three old friends. We had at his house.
not met together for thirty years,
and one of us thought the other grown very [“ DR. JOHNSON TO SIR JOHN HAWKINS. old. In the thirty years two of our set have
“ Bolt-court, 220 Nov. 1783. died. Our meeting may be supposed to be
“ DEAR SIR,-As Mr. Ryland somewhat tender.”] Hawk.
was talking with me of old friends
and past times, we warmed our- In order to ensure himself society in the selves into a wish, that all who remained of evening for three days in the week, he in
like his namesake Old Ben, composed the rules of his Club.
stituted a club at the Essex Head, in Essex. street, then kept by Samuel Greaves, an old servant of Mr. Thrale's. " TO SIR JOSHUA REYNOLDS.
* 4th December, 1783. · DEAR SIR,—It is inconvenient to me to come out ; I should else have waited on you with an account of a littie evening club which we are establishing in Essex-street in the Strand, and of which you are desired to be one. It will be held at the Essex Head, now kept by an old servant of Thrale's. The company is numerous, and, as you will see by the list, miscellaneous. The terms are lax, and the expenses light. Mr. Barry was adopted by Dr. Brocklesby, who joined with me in forming the plan. We meet thrice a week, and he who misses forfeits two-pence.
If you are willing to become a member, draw a line under your name. Return the list. We meet for the first time on Monday at eight. I am, &c.
“SAM. Johnson." It did not suit 1 Sir Joshua to be one of this club. But when I mention only Mr. Daines Barrington, Dr. Brocklesby, Mr. Murphy, Mr. John Nichols, Mr. Cooke 2, Mr. Joddrel, Mr. Paradise, Dr. Horseley, Mr. Windham 3, I shall sufficiently obviate the misrepresentation of it by Sir John Hawkins, as if it had been a low alehouse association 4, by which Johnson was degraded. Johnson himself,
1 (Johnson himself, by the mention of Barry the painter, seems to have anticipated some reluctance on the part of Sir Joshua. Indeed, the violence of Barry's temper, and the absurdity of his conduct, rendered him no very agreeable companion ; but towards Sir Joshua his behaviour had been particularly offensive.-Ep.)
? (A biographical notice of Mr. Cooke, who died April 3, 1824, will be found in the Gentleman's Magazine for that month ; and some account of Mr. Joddrel is given in Nichols's Lit. Anec, vol. vüi.-Ep.)
3 I was in Scotland when this club was founded, and during all the winter. Johnson, however, declared I should be a member, and invented a word upon the occasion : “Boswell,” said he," is a very clubable man.” When I came to town I was proposed by Mr. Barrington, and chosen. I believe there are few societies where there is better conversation or more decorum. Several of us resolved to continue it after our great founder was removed by death. Other members were added; and now, about eight years since that loss, we go on happily. Johnson's definition of a club, in this sense, in his Dictionary, is “An assembly of good fellows, meeting under certain conditions." —Boswell.
4 [Miss Hawkins candidly says, “Boswell was well justified in his resentment of my father's designation of this as a sixpenny club at an alehouse. I am sorry my father permitted himself to be so pettish on the subject. Honestly speaking, I dare say he did not like being passed over.”Mem. vol. ii. p. 104.-Ep.)
“RULES. “Today deep thoughts with me resolve to drench In mirth, which after no repenting draws.
MILTON. · The club shall consist of four and twen. ty.
“The meetings shall be on the Monday, Thursday, and Saturday of every week; but in the week before Easter there shall be no meeting.
Every member is at liberty to introduce a friend once a week, but not oftener.
“ Two members shall oblige themselves to attend in their turn every night from eight to ten, or to procure two to attend in their
Every member present at the club shall spend at least sixpence; and every member who stays away shall forfeit threepence.
« The master of the house shall keep an account of the absent members; and deliver to the president of the night a list of the forfeits incurred.
When any member returns after absence, he shall immediately lay down his forfeits; which if he omits to do, the president shall require.
« There shall be no general reckoning, but every man shall adjust his own expenses.
"The night of indispensable attendance will come to every member once a month. Whoever shall for three months together omit to attend himself, or by substitution, nor shall make any apology in the fourth month, shall be considered as having abdicated the club.
“ When a vacancy is to be filled, the name of the candidate, and of the member recommending him, shall stand in the club room three nights. On the fourth he may be chosen by ballot; six members at least being present, and two-thirds of the ballot being in his favour; or the majority, should the numbers not be divisible by three.
i. The master of the house shall give notice, six days before, to each of those mem bers whose turn of necessary attendance is
The notice may be in these words :•Sir, On
wil be your turn of presiding at the Essex Head. Your company is therefore earnestly requested.
“ One penny shall be left by each member for the waiter.”
In the end of this year he was seized with a spasmodic asthma of such violence, that he was confined to the house in great pain, being sometimes obliged to sit all night in his chair, a recumbent posture being so hurtful to his respiration, that he could not endure lying in bed; and there came upon him at
the same time that oppressive and fatal dis- | I believe there are about five or six of them, ease, a dropsy. It was a very severe winter, they seem very proper to allure backward which probably aggravated his complaints; readers; be so kind as to get them for ine, and the solitude in which Mr. Levett and and send me them with the best printed ediMrs. Williams had left him rendered his life tion of · Baxter's Call to the Unconverted.' very gloomy. Mrs. Desmoulins, who still I am, &c.
“SAM. JOHNSON.” lived, was herself so very ill, that she could contribute very little to his relief. He, how
" TO MR. PERKINS. ever, had none of that unsocial shyness which
“ 21st January, 1784. we commonly see in people afflicted with “ DEAR SIR,—I was very sorry not to see sickness. He did not hide his head from the you, when you were so kind as to call on me; world, in solitary abstraction ; he did not de- but to disappoint friends, and if they are not ny himself to the visits of his friends and ac- very good-natured, to disoblige them, is one of quaintances; but at all times, when he was the evils of sickness. If you will please to let not overcome by sleep, was as ready for con- me know which of the afternoons in this week versation as in his best days.
I shall be favoured with another visit by you And now I am arrived at the last year of and Mrs. Perkins, and the young people, I will the life of SAMUEL JOHNSON ; a year in take all the measures that I can to be pretty which, although passed in severe indisposi- well at that time. I am, dear sir, your most tion, he nevertheless gave many evidences of humble servant, “SAM. JOHNSON.” the continuance of those wondrous powers of mind which raised him so high in the intel
His attention to the Essex-Head Club aplectual world. His conversation and his let pears from the following letter to Mr. Alderters of this year were in no respect inferiour
man Clark, a gentleman for whom he deserto those of former years.
vedly entertained a great regard2. The following is a remarkable proof of his
“ TO RICHARD CLARK, ESQ. being alive to the most minute curiosities of
" 27th January, 1784. literature.
“ DEAR SIR,—You will receive a requisi“ TO MR. DILLY, BOOKSELLER, IN THE tion, according to the rules of the club, to be
at the house as president of the night. This “6th January, 1784. turn comes once a month, and the
member is “SIR,—There is in the world a set of obliged to attend, or send another in his books which used to be sold by the booksellers place. You were inrolled in the club by my on the bridge, and which I must entreat you invitation, and I ought to introduce you; but to procure me. They are called Burton's as I am hindered by sickness, Mr. Hoole Books': the title of one is · Admirable Curi- will very properly supply my place as inosities, Rarities, and Wonders in England.'
16. Curiosities of England
1697 1 These books are much more numerous than 17. History of Oliver Cromwell
1698 Johnson supposed. The following list compri- 18. Unparalleled Varieties
1699 ses several of them; but probably is incomplete: 19. Unfortunate Court Favourites of Eng1. Historical Rarities in London and
1681 20. History of the Lives of English Di2. Wars in England, Scotland, and Ire
1681 21. Ingenious Riddles 3. Wonderful Prodigies of Judgment 22. Unhappy Princesses, or the History and Mercy
of Anne Boleyn and Lady Jane 4. Strange and prodigious religious Cus
1722 5. English Empire in America
25. English Acquisitions in Guinea and 6. Surprising Miracles of Nature and
the East Indies
1726 Art (Admirable Curiosities of Na- 26. Female Excellency, or the Ladies' ture, &c. 1681.- Probably the
1728 same book with a different title.] 1685 27. General History of Earthquakes 1736 7. History of Scotland
1685 28. The English Heroine, or the Life and 8. History of Ireland
Adventures of Mrs. Christian Da9. Two Journies to Jerusalem
vies, commonly called Mother 10. Nine Worthies of the World
Ross 11. Winter's Evenings' Entertainments 1687 29. Youth's Divine Pastime 12. The English Hero, or the life of Sir
MALONE. Francis Drake
1687 2 (As this sheet is passing through the press, 13. Memorable Accidents and unheard- the Editor learns the death of his venerable of Transactions
1693 friend, Mr. Clark, who had kindly contributed 14. History of the House of Orange 1693 some information to the foregoing volumes. He 15. Burton's Acts of the Martyrs (or, of died at Chertsey on the 16th January, 1831, æt. Martyrs in Flames)
1695 | 93.-Ed.]
troductor, or yours as president. I hope | Elliot is with much propriety created a peer. in milder weather to be a very constant at- But why, O why did he not obtain the title of tendant. I am, sir, &c.
Baron Mahoganyz? Genealogists and he“Sam. JOHNSON. ralds would have had curious work of it to “ You ought to be informed that the for- explain and illustrate that title. I ever am, feits began with the year, and that every with sincere regard, my dear sir, your affecnight of non-attendance incurs the mulct of tionate humble servant, threepence, that is, ninepence a-week.”
“ James Boswell.”] On the 8th of January I wrote to him, " DR. JOHNSON TO JAMES BOSWELL, ESQ. anxiously inquiring as to his health, and en
"11th February, 1784. closing my · Letter to the People of Scot- « Dear Sir,—I hear of many inquiries land on the Present State of the Nation." "I which your kindness has disposed you to trust," said I, “ that you will be liberal enough make after me. I have long intended you a to make allowance for my differing from you long letter, which perhaps the imagination on two points, (the Middlesex election and
of its length hindered me from beginning. the American war,] when my general princi- I will, therefore, content myself with a ples of government are according to your own shorter. heart, and when, at a crisis of doubtful event,
Having promoted the institution of a I stand forth with honest zeal as an ancient new club in the neighbourhood, at the and faithful Briton. My reason for intro- house of an old servant of Thrale's, I went ducing those two points was, that as my thither to meet the company, and was opinions with regard to them had been de- seized with a spasmodick asthma, so violent, clared at the periods when they were least that with difficulty I got to my own house, favourable, I might have the credit of a in which I have been confined eight or nine man who is not a worshipper of ministerial weeks, and from which I know not when I power.”
shall be able to go even to church. The
asthma, however, is not the worst. [“ MR. BOSWELL TO SIR JOSHUA REY
sy gains ground upon me; my legs and
thighs are very much swollen with water, “Edinburgh, 6th February, 1784.
which I should be content if I could keep “ MY DEAR SIR, I long exceedReyn.
there ; but I am afraid it will soon be highMÁS. ingly to hear from you. Sir Wil
er. My nights are very sleepless and very liam Forbes brought me good ac- tedious. And yet I am extremely afraid of counts of you, and Mr. Temple sent me very dying. pleasing intelligence concerning the fair Pal
“ My physicians try to make me hope that meria l. But a line or two from yourself is much of my malady is the effect of cold, and the next thing to seeing you.
that some degree at least of recovery is to be " My anxiety about Dr. Johnson is truly
expected from vernal breezes and summer great. I had a letter from him within these
If my life is prolonged to autumn, six weeks, written with his usual acuteness I should be glad to try a warmer climate ; and vigour of mind. But he complained sad- though how to travel with a diseased body, ly of the state of his health ; and I have been
without a companion to conduct me, and informed since that he is worse. I intend
with very little money, I do not well see. to be in London next month, chiefly to attend Ramsay has recovered his limbs in Italy; upon him with respectful affection. But, in
and Fielding was sent to Lisbon, where, inthe mean time, it will be a great favour done deed, he died; but he was, I believe, past me, if you, who know him so well, will be
hope when he went. Think for me what I kind enough to let me know particularly how he is.
“ I received your pamphlet, and when I “ I hope Mr. Dilly conveyed to you my write again may perhaps tell you some opinion Letter on the State of the Nation, from the about it ; but you will forgive a man strugAuthour. I know your political princi- gling with disease his neglect of disputes, poples, and indeed your settled system of liticks, and pamphlets. "Let me have your thinking upon civil society and subordina
prayers. My compliments to your lady, and tion, to be according to my own heart, and
young ones. Ask your physicians about my therefore I doubt not you will approve case: and desire Sir Alexander Dick to write of my honest zeal. But what monstrous
me his opinion. I am, dear sir, &c. effects of party do we now see! I am real
“ SAM. JOHNSON.” ly vexed at the conduct of some of our
[“ A few days after the remnant “ Amidst the conflict our friend of Port of the Ivy-lane Club had dined with Hawk.
him," says Sir John Hawkins, “ he 1 [No doubt Miss Palmer, afterwards Lady sent for me, and informed me, that he had Thomond, Sir Joshua's niece.-Ed.] % Messrs. Fox and Burke. -Ed.]
3 [See ante, p. 285.-Ed.]