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forget her tenderness for her mistress. Whatever you can do, continue to do. My heart is very full.

"I hope you received twelve guineas on Monday. I found a way of sending them by means of the Postmaster, after I had written my letter, and hope they came safe. I will send 5 you more in a few days. God bless you all. SAM. JOHNSON."



"NEITHER your condition nor your character make it fit for me to say much. You have been the best mother, and I 10 believe the best woman in the world. I thank you for your indulgence to me, and beg forgiveness of all that I have done ill, and all that I have omitted to do well. GOD grant you his Holy Spirit, and receive you to everlasting happiness, for Jesus Christ's sake. Amen. Lord Jesus receive your spirit. 15 Amen.

"I am, dear, dear Mother,

"Your dutiful Son,

Soon after this event, he wrote his "RASSELAS, PRINCE OF 20 ABYSSINIA." Mr. Strahan the printer told me, that Johnson wrote it, that with the profits he might defray the expence of his mother's funeral, and pay some little debts which she had left. He told Sir Joshua Reynolds, that he composed it in the evenings of one week, sent it to the press in portions as it 25 was written, and had never since read it over. Mr. Strahan, Mr. Johnston, and Mr. Dodsley purchased it for a hundred pounds, but afterwards paid him twenty-five pounds more, when it came to a second edition. Rasselas, as was observed to me by a very accomplished lady, may be considered as a 30 more enlarged and more deeply philosophical discourse in prose, upon "Vanity of Human Wishes."


Notwithstanding my high admiration of Rasselas, I will not maintain that the "morbid melancholy in Johnson's constitution may not, perhaps, have made life appear to him 35


more insipid and unhappy than it generally is." I always remember a remark made to me by a Turkish lady, educated in France, "Ma foi, Monsieur, notre bonheur depend de la façon que notre sang circule."

He refreshed himself by an excursion to Oxford, of which the following short characteristical notice, in his own words, is preserved: is now making tea for me. have been in my gown ever since I came here. It was, at my first coming, quite new and handsome. I have swum thrice, 10 which I had disused for many years. I have proposed to Vansittart climbing over the wall, but he has refused me. And I have clapped my hands till they are sore, at Dr. King's speech."

He said, "No man will be a sailor who has contrivance 15 enough to get himself into a jail; for being in a ship is being in a jail, with the chance of being drowned." And at another time, "A man in a jail has more room, better food, and commonly better company."


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"I AM again your petitioner in behalf of that great CHAM of literature, Samuel Johnson. His black servant, whose name is Francis Barber, has been pressed on board the Stag Frigate, Captain Angel, and our lexicographer is in great 25 distress. You know what matter of animosity the said Johnson has against you and I dare say you desire no other opportunity of resenting it, than that of laying him under an obligation.


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"Your affectionate obliged humble servant,

There are (said he) inexcusable lies, and consecrated lies. For instance, we are told that on the arrival of the news of the unfortunate battle of Fontenoy, every heart beat, and every eye was in tears. Now we know that no man eat his dinner 35 the worse, but there should have been all this concern; and to say there was, (smiling) may be reckoned a consecrated lie."

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THE only change in my way of life is, that I have frequented the theatre more than in former seasons. But I have gone thither only to escape from myself. SAM. JOHNSON."

A lady having at this time solicited him to obtain the 5 Archbishop of Canterbury's patronage to have her son sent to the University, he wrote to her the following answer.


"My delay in answering your letter could proceed only from my unwillingness to destroy any hope that you had formed. 10 Hope is itself a species of happiness, and, perhaps, the chief happiness which this world affords: but, like all other pleasures immoderately enjoyed, the excesses of hope must be expiated by pain; and expectations improperly indulged, must end in disappointment. If it be asked, what is the 15 improper expectation which it is dangerous to indulge, experience will quickly answer, that it is such expectation as is dictated not by reason, but by desire.

"When you made your request to me, you should have considered, Madam, what you were asking. You ask me to so- 20 licit a great man, to whom I never spoke, for a young person whom I had never seen, upon a supposition which I had no means of knowing to be true. There is no reason why, amongst all the great, I should chuse to supplicate the Archbishop, nor why, among all the possible objects of his bounty, 25 the Archbishop should chuse your son. If I could help you in this exigence by any proper means, it would give me pleasure: but this proposal is so very remote from usual methods, that I cannot comply with it, but at the risk of such answer and suspicions as I believe you do not wish me to undergo. SAM. JOHNSON."

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"LAST winter I went down to my native town, where I found the streets much narrower and shorter than I thought I


had left them, inhabited by a new race of people to whom I was very little known. My play-fellows were grown old, and forced me to suspect that I was no longer young. My only remaining friend has changed his principles, and was become 5 the tool of the predominant faction. My daughter-in-law, from whom I expected most, and whom I met with sincere benevolence, has lost the beauty and gaiety of youth, without having gained much of the wisdom of age. I wandered about for five days, and took the first convenient opportunity 10 of returning to a place, where, if there is not much happiness, there is, at least, such a diversity of good and evil, that slight vexations do not fix upon the heart. SAM. JOHNSON."

The accession of George the Third opened a new and brighter prospect to men of literary merit. Johnson having 15 been represented as a very learned and good man, without any certain provision, his Majesty was pleased to grant him a pension of three hundred pounds a year. The Earl of Bute, who was then Prime Minister, had the honour to announce this instance of his Sovereign's bounty.


Sir Joshua Reynolds told me, that Johnson called on him after his Majesty's intention had been notified to him, and said he wished to consult his friends as to the propriety of his accepting this mark of the royal favour, after the definitions which he had given in his Dictionary of pension and 25 pensioners. He then told Sir Joshua that Lord Bute said to him expressly, "It is not given you for any thing you are to do, but for what you have done." When I spoke to Lord Loughborough, wishing to know if he recollected the prime mover in the business, he said, "All his friends assisted:" and 30 when I told him that Mr. Sheridan strenuously asserted his claim to it, his Lordship said, "He rang the bell." Dr. Johnson replied in a fervour of gratitude, "The English language does not afford me terms adequate to my feelings on this occasion. I must have recourse to the French. I am pénétré 35 with his Majesty's goodness."

This year his friend, Sir Joshua Reynolds, paid a visit of some weeks to his native country, Devonshire, in which he

was accompanied by Johnson. He was entertained at the seats of several noblemen and gentlemen in the west of England; but the greatest part of this time was passed at Plymouth, where the magnificence of the navy, the ship-building and all its circumstances, afforded him a grand subject of 5 contemplation. Reynolds and he were at this time the guests of Dr. Mudge, the celebrated surgeon; and Johnson formed an acquaintance with Dr. Mudge's father, that very eminent divine, the Reverend Zachariah Mudge, Prebendary of Exeter, who was idolised in the west. He preached a 10 sermon purposely that Johnson might hear him; and afterwards Johnson honoured his memory by drawing his character.

Having observed, that in consequence of the Dock-yard a new town had arisen about two miles off as a rival to the old; 15 and knowing from his sagacity, and just observation of human nature, that it is certain if a man hates at all, he will hate his next neighbour, he set himself resolutely on the side of the old town, the established town. Plymouth is very plentifully supplied with water by a river brought into it from a 20 great distance, which is so abundant that it runs to waste in the town. The Dock, or New-town, being totally destitute of water, petitioned Plymouth that a small portion of the conduit might be permitted to go to them. Johnson, affecing to entertain the passions of the place, exclaimed, “No, 25 no! I am against the dockers, I am a Plymouth-man. Rogues! let them die of thirst. They shall not have a drop!"

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"THERE is, indeed, nothing that so much seduces reason from vigilance, as the thought of passing life with an amiable 30 woman; and if all would happen that a lover fancies, I know not what other terrestrial happiness would deserve pursuit. But love and marriage are different states. A woman, we are sure, will not always be fair; we are not sure she will always be virtuous: and man cannot retain through life that 35

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