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given me anxiety and uneasiness; for although I am conscious that my veneration and love for Mr. Johnson have never in the least abated, yet I have deferred for almost a year and a half to write to him."

In the subsequent part of this letter, I gave him an account of my comfortable life as a married man', and a lawyer in practice at the Scotch bar; invited him to Scotland, and promised to attend him to the Highlands and Hebrides.


"London, 20th June, 1771. “Dear sir,—If you are now able to comprehend that I might neglect to write without diminution of affection, you have taught me, likewise, how that neglect may be uneasily felt without resentment. I wished for your letter a long time, and when it came, it amply recompensed the delay. I never was so much pleased as now with your account of yourself; and sincerely hope, that between publick business, improving studies, and domestick pleasures, neither melancholy nor caprice will find any place for entrance. Whatever philosophy may determine of material nature, it is certainly true of intellectual nature, that it abhors a vacuum: our minds cannot be empty; and evil will break in upon them, if they are not pre-occupied by good. My dear sir, mind your studies, mind your business, make your lady happy, and be a good Christian. After this,

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"If we perform our duty, we shall be safe and steady, ' Sive per,' &c. whether we climb the Highlands, or are tossed 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.

1 [Mr. Boswell had married in November, 1769, Miss Margaret Montgomerie, of the family of the Montgomeries of Lainshawe, who were baronets, and claimed the peerage of Lyle. Dr. Johnson says of this lady to Mrs. Thrale, in a letter from Auchinleck, 23d August, 1773, "Mrs. B[oswell] has the mien and manner of a gentlewoman, and such a person and mind as would not in any place either be admired or condemned. She is in a proper degree inferior to her husband: she cannot rival him, nor can he ever be ashamed of her."-ED.]

2 [Patrick Murray, fifth Lord Elibank. He had been in the army, and served as a colonel in the expedition against Carthagena in 1740. He was a man of wit and talents, and wrote some tracts relative to the statistics and history of Scotland. He died in 1778.ED.]

I am this day going into Staffordshire and Derbyshire for six
weeks. I am, dear sir, your most affectionate, and most hum-
ble servant,


"Lichfield, 22d June, 1771.

Letters. vol. i.

"Last night I came safe to Lichfield; this day I was visited p. 57. by Mrs. Cobb. This afternoon I went to Mrs. Aston, where I found Miss Turton], and waited on her home. Miss T[urton] wears spectacles, and can hardly climb the stiles. I was not tired at all, either last night or to-day. Miss Porter is very kind to me. Her dog and cats are all well.”

"Ashbourne, 3d July, 1771. "Last Saturday I came to Ashbourne-Ashbourne in the Peak. Let not the barren name of the Peak terrify you; I have never wanted strawberries and cream. The great bull has no disease but age. I hope in time to be like the great bull; and hope you will be like him too a hundred years hence."

"Ashbourne, 7th July, 1771.

"Poor Dr. Taylor is ill, and under my government; you know that the act of government is learned by obedience; I hope I can govern very tolerably.

"The old rheumatism is come again into my face and mouth, but nothing yet to the lumbago; however, having so long thought it gone, I do not like its return.

"Miss Porter was much pleased to be mentioned in your letter, and is sure that I have spoken better of her than she deserved. She holds that both Frank and his master are much improved. The master, she says, is not half so lounging and untidy as he was; there was no such thing last year as getting him off his chair."

"Ashbourne, 8th July, 1771.

"Dr. Taylor is better, and is gone out in the chaise. My rheumatism is better too.

"I would have been glad to go to Hagley, in compliance with Mr. Lyttelton's kind invitation, for, beside the pleasure of his company, I should have had the opportunity of recollecting past times, and wandering per montes notos2 et flumina nota, of recalling the images of sixteen, and reviewing my conversa

1 [The uncle of Lord Lyttelton, who lived at Little Hagley.-ED.]


[Thus in Mrs. Thrale's book.-ED.]

P. 39.

P. 40.

P. 42.

vol. i. p. 43.

Letters, tions with poor Ford 1. But this year will not bring this gratification within my power. I promised Taylor a month. Every thing is done here to please me; and his health is a strong reason against desertion."]

Letters, vol. i. p. 5.


"TO SIR JOSHUA REYNOLDS, IN LEICESTER-FIELDS. "Ashbourne in Derbyshire, 17th July, 1771. "DEAR SIR,-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, "SAM. JOHNSON. "Compliments to Miss Reynolds."


"Edinburgh, 27th July, 1771. "MY DEAR SIR,-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."

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"Lichfield, Sat. 3d Aug. 1771.

Having stayed my month with Taylor, I came away on Wednesday, leaving him, I think, in a disposition of mind not very uncommon, at once weary of my stay, and grieved at my departure.


My purpose was to have made haste to you and Streatham; and who would have expected that I should have been stopped by Lucy? Hearing me give Francis orders to take in places, she told me that I should not go till after next week. I thought it proper to comply; for I was pleased to find that I could please, and proud of showing you that I do not come an universal outcast. Lucy is likewise a very peremptory maiden; and if I had gone without permission, I am not very sure that I might have been welcome at another time."]

1 Cornelius Ford, his mother's nephew.-PIOZZI.

2 The second portrait of Johnson, painted by Sir Joshua Reynolds; with his arms raised, and his hands bent. It was at this time, it is believed, in the possession of Miss Lucy Porter, and is still probably at Lichfield.-MALONE. [It is now the property of the Marquis of Stafford.-ED.]

"29th August, 1771.

“DEAR SIR,—I am lately returned from Staffordshire and Derbyshire. The last letter mentions two others which you have written to me since you received my pamphlet. Of these two I never had but one, in which you mentioned a design of visiting Scotland, and, by consequence, put my journey to Langton out of my thoughts. My summer wanderings are now over, and I am engaging in a very great work, the revision of my Dictionary; from which I know not, at present, how to get loose.

"If you have observed, or been told, any errors or omissions, you will do me a great favour by letting me know them.


Lady Rothes, I find, has disappointed you and herself. Ladies will have these tricks. The queen and Mrs. Thrale, both ladies of experience, yet both missed their reckoning this summer. I hope, a few months will recompense your uneasi


"Please to tell Lady Rothes how highly I value the honour of her invitation, which it is my purpose to obey as soon as I have disengaged myself. In the mean time I shall hope to hear often of her ladyship, and every day better news and better, till I hear that you have both the happiness, which to both is very sincerely wished by, sir, your most affectionate and most humble servant, "SAM. JOHNSON."

In October I 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 October, 1771, John Bell, Esq. of Hertfordshire, Hawk. a gentleman with whom he had maintained a long p. 471. and strict friendship, had the misfortune to lose his wife, and wished Johnson, from the outlines of her character, which he should give him, and his own knowledge of her worth, to compose a monumental inscription for her: he returned the husband thanks for the confidence he placed in him, and acquitted himself of the task in a fine eulogium, now to be seen in the parish church of Watford in Hertfordshire.]

Prayers & Med. p. 104.

P. 109.

In his religious record of this year we observe that he was better than usual, both in body and mind, and better satisfied with the regularity of his conduct. But he is still "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 hinderance 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. 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 sorrow, 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 impossible 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 1."

I think he had fair ground enough to have quieted his mind on the 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;

[And "for the Rambler," it could hardly have been "by mere choice."-ED.]

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