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Ætat. 62.


“ If we perform our duty, we shall be safe and steady, Sive per,' &c. whether we climb the Highlands, or are tost among the Hebrides; and I hope the time will come when we may try our powers both with cliffs and water. I see but little of Lord Elibank, I know not why ; perhaps by my own fault. I am this day going into Staffordshire and Derbyshire for six weeks. I am, dear Sir,

« Your most affectionate

" And most humble servant, ss London, June 20, 1771.

SAM. Johnson.”

To Sir Joshua REYNOLDS, in Leicester-fields.


“ WHEN I came to Lichfield, I found that my portrait had been much visited, and much admired. Every man has a lurking wish to appear considerable in his native place; and I was pleased with the dignity conferred by such a testimony of your regard. “ Be pleased, therefore, to accept the thanks of, Sir,

“ Your most obliged

• And most humble servant, « Ashbourn in Derbyshire,

SAM. JOHNSON. July 17, 1771. « Compliments to Miss Reynolds."


Edinburgh, July 27, 1771. “ THE bearer of this, Mr. Beattie, Professor of Moral Philosophy at Aberdeen, is desirous of being introduced to your acquaintance. His genius and learning, and labours in the service of virtue and religion, render him very worthy of it; and as he has a high esteem of your character, I hope you will give him a favourable reception. I ever am, &c.

“ JAMES Boswell."

In October 1 again wrote to him, thanking him for his last letter, and his obliging reception of Mr. Beattie; informing him that I had been at Alnwick lately, and had good accounts of him from Dr. Percy.

In his religious record of this year, we observe that he was better than usual, both in body and mind, and better fatisfied with the regularity of his




Ætat. 62.

conduct. But he is still a trying his ways” too rigorously. He charges himself with not rising early enough ; yet he mentions what was surely a sufficient excuse for this, supposing it to be a duty seriously required, as he all his life appears to have thought it.

“ One great hindrance is want of rest; my nocturnal complaints grow less troublesome towards morning; and I am tempted to repair the deficiencies of the night $.” Alas! how hard would it be if this indulgence were to be imputed to a sick man as a crime. In his retrospect on the following Easter Eve, he says, “When I review the last year, I am able to recollect so little done, that shame and forrow, though perhaps too weakly, come upon me.” Had he been judging of any one else in the same circumstances, how clear would he have been on the favourable side. How very difficult, and in my opinion almost constitutionally imposible it was for him to be raised early, even by the strongest resolutions, appears from a note in one of his little paper books, (containing words arranged for his Dictionary,) written, I suppose, about 1753: “ I do not remember that since I left Oxford, I ever rose early by mere choice, but once or twice at Edial, and two or three times for the Rambler.” I think he had fair ground enough to have quieted his mind on this subject, by concluding that he was physically incapable of what is at best but a commodious regulation.

In 1772 he was altogether quiescent as an authour; but it will be found, from the various evidences which I shall bring together, that his mind was acute, lively, and vigorous,




“ BE pleased to send to Mr. Banks, whose place of residence I do
not know, this note, which I have fent open, that, if you please, you may
read it.
“ When you send it, do not use your own seal.

" I am, Sir,
« Your most humble servant,


« Feb. 27, 1772

· Prayers and Meditations, p. 101.



To Joseph BANKS, Esq.
« Perpetua ambitá bis terrâ præmia lactis
Hæc habet altrici Capra fecunda Jovis !.

Ætat. 63.

« SIR,

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“ I RETURN thanks to you and to Dr. Solander for the pleasure which I received in yesterday's conversation. I could not recollect a motto for your Goat, but have given her one. You, Sir, may perhaps have an epick poem from some happier pen than, Sir,

" Your most humble servant, “ Johnson's-court, Fleet

SAM. JOHnson." street, Feb. 27, 1772.

To Dr. Johnson.

Edinburgh, March 3, 1772.
“ IT is hard that I cannot prevail on you to write to me oftener.
But I am convinced that it is in vain to expect from you a private cor-
respondence with any regularity. I must, therefore, look upon you as a foun-
tain of wisdom, from whence few rills are communicated to a distance, and
which must be approached at its source, to partake fully of its virtues.

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“ I am coming to London soon, and am to appear in an appeal from the Court of Session in the House of Lords. A schoolmaster in Scotland was, by a court of inferiour jurisdiction, deprived of his office for being somewhat severe in the chastisement of his scholars. The Court of Session considering it to be dangerous to the interest of learning and education to lessen the dignity of teachers, and make them afraid of too indulgent parents, inftigated by the complaints of their children, restored him. His enemies have appealed to the House of Lords, though the salary is only twenty pounds a year. I was Counsel for him here. I hope there will be little fear of a reversal ; but I must beg to have your aid in my plan of supporting the decree. It is a general question, and not a point of particular law.

“ I am, &c.

" JAMES Boswell.» Thus translated by a friend :

• In fame scarce second to the nurse of Jove,

“ This Goat, who twice the world had travers'd round,
“ Deserving both her master's care and love,
“ Ease and perpetual pasture now has found."



Ætat. 63


“ THAT you are coming so soon to town I am very glad; and still more glad that you are coming as an advocate. I think nothing more likely to make your life pass happily away, than that consciousness of your own value which eminence in your profession will certainly confer. If I can give you any collateral help, I hope you do not suspect that it will be wanting. My kindness for you has neither the merit of singular virtue, nor the reproach of singular prejudice. Whether to love you be right or wrong, I have many on my side: Mrs. Thrale loves you, and Mrs. Williams loves you, and what would have inclined me to love you, if I had been neutral before, you are a great favourite of Dr. Beattie. “ Of Dr. Beattie I should have thought much, but that his lady puts him my

head: she is a very lovely woman.
“ The ejection which you come hither to oppose, appears very cruel, un-
reasonable, and oppressive. I should think there could not be much doubt of

My health grows better, yet I am not fully recovered.

. I believe it is held, that men do not recover very fast after threescore. I hope yet to see Beattie's College: and have not given up the western voyage. But however all this may be or not, let us try to make each other happy when we meet, and not refer our pleasure to distant times or distant places.

“ How comes it that you tell me nothing of your lady? I hope to see her some time, and till then shall be glad to hear of her.

I am, dear Sir, &c.


out of

your success.

« March 15, 1772.

To Bennet LANGTON, Esq. near Spilsby, Lincolnshire.


“ I CONGRATULATE you and Lady Rothes' on your little man, and hope you will all be many years happy together.

“ Poor Miss Langton can have little part in the joy of her family. She this day called her aunt Langton to receive the sacrament with her; and made

* Mr. Langton married the Countess Dowager of Rothes.

me 1772.

me talk yesterday on such subjects as suit her condition. It will probably be
her viaticum. I surely need not mention again that she wishes to see her Ætat. 73.
mother. I am, Sir,

Your most humble servant,
- March 14, 1772.


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On the 21st of March, I was happy to find myself again in my

friend's study, and was glad to see my old acquaintance Mr. Francis Barber, who was now returned home. Dr. Johnson received me with a hearty welcome, saying, “ I am glad you are come, and glad you are come upon such an errand,” (alluding to the cause of the schoolmaster.) Boswell. “ I hope, Sir, he will be in no danger. It is a very delicate matter to interfere between a master and his scholars: nor do I see how you can fix the degree of severity that a master may use.” Johnson. “Why, Sir, till you fix the degree of obstinacy and negligence of the scholars, you cannot fix the degree of severity of the master. Severity must be continued until obstinacy be subdued, and negligence be cured.” He mentioned the severity of Hunter, his own master. “ Sir, (faid I,) Hunter is a Scotch name : so it should seem this schoolmaster who beat you so severely was a Scotchman. I can now account for your prejudice against the Scotch.” Johnson. “ Sir, he was not Scotch ; and, abating his brutality, he was a very good master.”

We talked of his two political pamphlets, “ The False Alarm,” and “ Thoughts concerning Falkland's Isands.” Johnson. “Well, Sir, which of them did you think the best?” Boswell. “I liked the second best.” Johnson. “ Why, Sir, I liked the first best; and Beattie liked the first best. Sir, there is a subtlety of disquisition in the first, that is worth all the fire of the second.” Boswell. “Pray, Sir, is it true that Lord North paid you a visit, and that you got two hundred a year in addition to your pension?” Johnson. “ No, Sir. Except what I had from the bookseller, I did not get a farthing by them. And, between you and me, I believe Lord North is no friend to me.” Boswell. “How so, Sir?” JOHNSON. “ Why, Sir, you cannot account for the fancies of men.Well, how does Lord Elibank ? and how does Lord Monboddo ?BOSWELL. “ Very well, Sir. Lord Monboddo still maintains the superiority of the favage life.” Johnson. “ What strange narrowness of mind now is that, to think the things we have not known are better than the things which we have known.” Boswell. Why, Sir, that is a common prejudice.” JOHNSON. “ Yes, Sir ; but a Zz


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