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After my return to Scotland, I wrote three letters to hiin, from which I extract the following passages:
“I have seen Lord Hailes since I came down. He thinks it wonderful that you are pleased to take so much pains in revising his . Annals. 1 told him that you said you were well rewarded by the entertainment which you bad io reading them,
There has been a numerous flight of Hebrideans in Edinburgh this summer, wbom I have been happy to entertain at my house. Mr. Do, nald Macqueen and Lord Monboddo supped with me one evening. They joined in controverting your proposition, that the Gaelick of the Highlands and Isles of Scotland was not written till of late.
My mind has been somewhat dark this summer. I have need of your warming and vivifying rays; and I hope I shall have them frequently, I am going to pass some time with my father at Auchinleck,"
TO JAMES BOSWELL, ESQ.
I am returned from the annual ramble into the middle counties, Having seen nothing I had not seen before, I have nothing to relate. Time has left that part of the island few antiquities : and commerce has left the people no singularities. I was glad to go abroad, and, perhaps, glad to come home; which is, in other words, I was, I am afraid, weary of being at home, and weary of being abroad. Is not this the state of life? But, if we confess this wearioess, let us not lament it; for all the wise and all the good say, that we may cure it.
For the black fomes which rise in your mind, I cao prescribe nothing but that you disperse them by honest business or innocent pleasure, and by reading, sometimes easy and sometimes serious. Change of place is useful; and I hope that your residence at Auchinleck will have many good effects,
That I should have given pain to Rasay, I am sincerely sorry; and am therefore very much pleased that he is no longer uneasy. He still thinks that I have represented him as personally giving up the Chieftajnship, I meant only that it was no longer contested between the two houses, and supposed it settled, perhaps, by the cession of some remote generation, in the house of Dunvegan. I am sorry the advertise, ment was not continued for three or four times in the paper.
That Lord Monboddo and Mr. Macqueeo should controvert a position coutrary to the imaginary interest of literary or national prejudice, might be easily imagined: but of a standing fact there ought to be no coutroversy; if there are men with tails, catch an homo caudatus; if there was writing of old in the Highlands or Hebrides, in the Erse language, produce the manuscripts. Where men write they will write to one another, and some of their letters, in families studious of their ancestry, will be kept. In Wales there are many manuscripts.
I have now three parcels of Lord Hailes's history, which I purpose to return all the next week : that his respect for my little observations should keep his work in suspense, makes one of the evils of my journey. It is, in our language, I think, a new mode of history which tells all that is wanted, and, I suppose, all that is known, without laboured splendour of language, or affected subtility of conjecture. The exactness of his dates raises my wonder. He seems to have the closeness of Henault without his constraiut.
Mrs. Thrale was so entertained with your Journal that she almost read herself blivd. She has a great regard for you.
Of Mrs. Boswell, though she knows in her heart that she does not love me, I am always glad to hear any good, and hope that she and the little dear ladies will have neither sickness vor any other affliction. But she knows that she does not care what becomes of me, and for that she may be sure that I think her very much to blame.
Never, my dear Sir, do you take it into your head to think that I do not love you; you may settle yourselfin full confidence both of my love and my esteem. I love you as a kind man, I value you as a worthy man, and hope in time to reverence you as a man of exemplary piety. I hold you, as Hamlet has it in my heart of hearts,' and therefore, it is little to
I am, Sir,
SAM, JOHNSON. London, August 27, 1775.
TO THE SAME.
If in these papers there is little alteration attempted, do not suppose me negligent. I have read them perhaps more closely than the rest; but I find nothing worthy of an objection.
Write to me soon, and write often, and tell me all your honest heart. I am, Sir,
SAM, JOHNSON. August 30, 1775.
TO THE SAME.
MY DEAR $18,
I now write to you, lest in some of your freaks and humours you should fancy yourself neglected. Such fancies I must entreat you never to admit, at least never to indulge; for my'regard for you is so radicated and fixed, that it is become part of my mind, and cannot be effaced bat by some cause uncommonly violent; therefore, whether I write or not, set your thoughts at rest. I now write to tell you that I shall not very soon write again, for I am to set out to-morrow on another journey.
Your friends are all well at Streatham, and in Leicester-fields. Make my compliments to Mrs. Boswell, if she is io good humour with
I am, Sir, &c.
SAM. JOHNSON, September 14, 1775.
What he mentions in such light terins as, • I am to set out to-morrow on another journey,' I soon afterwards discovered was no less than a tour to France with Mr. and Mrs. Thrale. This was the only time in his life that he went upon the Continent.
TO MR, ROBERT LEVET.
Calais. DEAR SIR,
Sept. 18, 1775, We are here in France, after a very pleasing passage of no more than six bours. I know not when I shall write again, and therefore I write vow, though you cannot suppose that I have inuch to say. You have mren France yourself. From this place we are going to Rouen, and from Rouen to Paris, where Mr. Thrale designs to stay about five or six weeks. We bave a regular recommendation to the Englislı resident, so we shall not be taken for vagabonds. We think to go one way and return another, und for as much as we can, I will try to speak a little French; I tried hitherto but little, but I spoke sometimes. If I beard better, I suppose I should learn faster.
I am, Sir,
TO THE SAME.
Paris, October 22, 1775. DEAR SIR,
We are still here, commonly very busy in looking about us. We have been to-day at Versailles. You have seen it, and I shall not describe it. We came yesterday from Fontainbleall, where the Court is pow. We went to see the King und Queen at dioner, and the Queen was so impressed by Mi-s, that she sent one of the Gentlemen to enquire uho, she was, I find all true that you have ever told me at Paris. Mr. Thrale
is very liberal, and keeps us two coaches, and a very fine table; but I think our conkery very bad. Mrs. Thrale got into a convent of English puns, and I talked with her through the grate, and I am very kindly used by the English Benedictine friars. But upon the whole I cannot make much acquaintance here; aoil though the churches, palaces, and some private houses are very magnificent, there is no very great pleasure, after having seen many, in seeing more; at least the pleasure, whatever it be, most some time have an end, and we are beginuing to think when we shall come home. Mr. Thrale calculates that as we left Streatham on the fifteenth of September, we shall see it again about the fifteenth of November.
I think I had not been on this side of the sea five days, before I found a sensible improvement in my health. I ran a race in the rain this day, and beat Baretti. Baretti is a fine fellow, and speaks French, I think, quite as well as English.
Make my compliments to Mrs. Williams; and give my love to Francis; and tell my friends that I am not lost. I ain, dear Sir,
Your affectionate bumble, &c. og In
TO DR, SAMUEL JOHNSON.
Edinburgh, October 24, 1775. MY DEAR SIR,
If I had not been informed that you were at Paris, you should have bad a letter from me by the earliest opportunity, announcing the birth of my son, on the 9th instant; I have named him Alexander, after my father. I now write, as I suppose your fellow-traveller, Mr. Thrale, will return to London this week, to attend his duty in Parliament, and that you will not stay behind him.
I send another parcel of Lord Hailes's • Annals. I have undertaken to solicit you for a favour to lim, which he thus requests in a letter to tpe: 'I intend soon to give you «The Life of Robert Bruce,' which you will be pleased to transmit to Dr. Johnson. I wish that you could assist me in a fancy which I have taken, of getting Dr. Johnson to draw a character of Robert Bruce, from the account that I give of that prince, If he finds materials for it in my work, it will be a proof that I have been fortunate in selecting the most striking incidents.
I suppose by • The Life of Robert Bruce,' his Lordship means that part of his · Annals' which relates the history of that prince, and not a se parate work.
Shall we have · A Journey to Paris' from you in the winter? Yon will, I hope, at any rate, be kind enough to give me some acı ount of your Freuch travels very soon, for I am very impatient. What a different
viewed ibis autumn, from that which you viewed in antumn 1773 ! I ever an, my dear Sir,
Your much obliged, and
TO JAMES BOSWELL, ESQ.
I am glad that the young Laird is born, and an end, as l hope, put to the only difference that you can ever have with Mrs. Buswell. I kuow that she does not love me; but lintend to persist in wishing her well till I get the better of her.
Paris is, indeed, a place very different from the Hebrides, but it is to a hasty traveller not so fertile of novelty, nor affords so many opportmoities of remark. I cannot pretend to tell the public anything of a place better known to many of my readers than to myself. We can talk of it when we meet.
I shall go next week to Streatham, from whence I purpose to send a parcel of the History' every post. Concerning the character of Bruce, I can only say, that I do not see any great reason for writing it; but I shall not easily deny what Lord Hailes and you concur in desiring:
I have been remarkably healthy all the journey, and hope you and your family have known only that trouble and danger which has so happily terminated. Among all the congratulations that you may receive, I hope you believe none more warm or sincere, than those of, dear Sir,
Your most affectionate,
SAM, Johnson. November 16, 1775,
TO MRS. LUCY PORTER, IN LICHFIELD.
This week I came home from Paris. I have brought you a little box, which I thought pretty; but I know not whether it is properly a snuff-box, or a box for some other use. I will send it when I can find an opportunity. I have been through the whole journey remarkably well. My fellow-travellers were the same whom you saw at Lichfield, only we took Baretti with us. Puris is not so fine a place as you would expect. The palaces and churches, however, are very splendid and maguiticent; and what would please you, there are inany very fine pictures: but I do not think their way of life commodious or pleasant.
Let me know how your health has been all this wbile. I hope the fine summer has given you strength sufficient to encounter the winter.