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your prudence to consult. I long for a letter, that I may know how this troublesome and vexatious question is at last decided. I hope that it will at last end well. Lord Hailes's letter was very friendly, and very seasonable, but I think his aversion from entails has something in it like superstition. Providence is not counteracted by any means which Providence puts into our power. The continuance and propagation of families makes a great part of the Jewish law, and is by no means prohibited in the Christian institution, though the necessity of it continues no longer. Hereditary tenures are established in all civilized countries, and are accompanied in most with hereditary authority. Sir William Templeconsiders our constitution as defective, that there is not an unalienable estate io land connected with a peerage : and Lord Bacon mentions, as a proof that the Turks are barbarians, their want of Stirpes, as he calls them, or hereditary, rank. Do not let your mind, when it is freed from the supposed necessity of a rigorous entail, be entangled with contrary objections, and think all entails unlawful, till you have cogent arguments, which I believe you will never find. I am afraid of scruples.

I have now sent all Lord Hailes's papers ; part I found hidden in a drawer in which I had laid them for security, and had forgotten thein. Part of these are written twice; I have returned both the copies. Part I had read before.

Be so kind as to return Lord Hailes my most respectful thanks for his first volume; his accuracy strikes me with wonder; his narrative is far superior to that of Henault, as I have formerly mentioned.

I am afraid that the trouble, which my irregularity and delay has cost him, is greater, far greater than any good I can do him will ever recompense: but if I have any more copy, I will try to do better.

Pray let me know if Mrs. Boswell is friends with me, and pay my respects to Veronica, and Euphemia, and Alexander. I am, Sir,

Your most humble servant,

SAM. JOHNSON. February 15, 1776.


Edinburgh, February 20, 1776.

You have illumined my mind, and relieved me from imagioary shackles of conscientious obligation. Were it necessary, I could immediately join in an entail upon the series of heirs approved by my father; but it is better not to act too suddeniy.



I am glad that what I could think, or say, has at all contributed to quiet your thoughts. Your resolution not to act, till your opinion is confirmed by more deliberation, is very just. If you have been scrupulous, do not be rash. I hope that as you think more, and take opportunities of talking with men intelligent in questions of property, you will be able to free yourself from every difficulty.

When I wrote last, I sent, I think, ten packets. Did you receive them all?

You must tell Mrs. Boswell that I suspected her to have written without your knowledge, and therefore did not return any answer, lestą clandestine correspondence should have been perciciously discovered. I will write to her soon.

I am, dear Sir,
Most affectionately yours,


February 24, 1975:

Having communicated to Lord Hailes what Dr. Johnsop wrote con cerning the question which perplexed me so inuch, his Lordship wrote to me: “Your scruples have produced more fruit than I ever expected from them; an excellent dissertation on general principles of morals aod law."

I wrote to Dr. Johnson on the 20th of February, complaining of melane choly, and expressing a strong desire to be with him; informing him that the ten packets came all safe; that Lord Hailes was much obliged 19 him, and said he had almost wholly removed his scruples agaiust entails,



I have not had your letter half an hour; as you lay so much weight upon my notions, I should think it not just to delay my answer.

I am very sorry that your melancholy should retorn, and should be sorry, likewise, if it could have no relief but from my company. My counsel you inay have when you are pleased 10 require it; but of my company you cannot in the next month have much, for Mr, Thrale will take me to Italy, he says, on the first of April. Let me warn you very earnestly against scruples. I am glad that

you are reconciled to your settlement, and think it a great honour to bave shaken Lord Hatles's opinion of entails. Do not, however, hope wholly to reyson a way your troubles; do not feed them with attention, and they will die jinpriceptibly away.' Fix your thoughts upon your business, fill your intervals with company, and sunshine will again break in upon your mind. If you will come to me, you must come very quickly; and even then I know not but we may scour the country together, for I have a mind to see Oxford and Lichfield, before I set out on this long journey. To this I can only add that I am, dear Sir.

Your most affectionate humble servant,

Sam. JOHNSON, Harcb 5, 1776.



Very early in April we leave England, and in the beginning of the next week I shall leave London for a short time; of this I think it necessary to inform you, that you may not be disappointed in any of your enterprises. I had not fully resolved to go into the country before this day.

Please to inake my compliments to Lord Hailes; and mention very particularly to Mrs. Boswell my hope that she is reconciled to, Sir,

Your faithful servant,

SAM, JOHNSON. March 12, 1776,

Above thirty years ago, the heirs of Lord Chancellor Clarendon presented the University of Oxford with the continuation of his History, and such other of his Lordship's manuscripts as had not been published, on condition that the profits arising from their publication, should be applied to the establishment of a Manège in the University. The gift was accepled in full convocation. A person being now recommended to Dr. Johnson, as fit to superintend this proposed riding school, he exerted himself with that zeal for wbich he was remarkable upon every similar occasion. But, on enquiry into the ipatter, he found that the scheme was not likely to be soon carried into execution; the profits arising from the Clarendon press being, from some mismanagement, very scanty, This having been explained to him by a respectable dignitary of the church, who bad good means of knowing it, he wrote a letter upon the subject, which at once exbibits his extraordinary precision and acuteness, and his warm attachment to his ALMA Mater.




Few things are more unpleasant than the transaction of business with men who are above kuowing, or caring what they have to do; such as the trustees for Lord Corubury's institution will, perhaps, appear, when you have read Dr. *******', leiter.

The last part of the Doctor's leier is of great importance. The complaint which he makes I have heard long ago, and did not know but it was redressed. It is unhappy that a practice so erroneous has not been altered; for altered it must be, or our press will be useless, with all its privileges. The booksellers, who, like all other men, have strong prejudices in their own favour, are exongh inclined to think the practise of printing and selling books, by any but themselves, an encroachment on the rights of their fraternity; and have need of stronger inducenenis to circulate academical publications than those of another; for, of that mutual co-operatio by which the general trade is carried ou, the University can bear no part. Of those whom he neither loves nor fears, and from whom he expects no reciprocation of good offices, why should any man promote the interest but for profit? I suppose, with all our scholastic ignorance of mankind, we are still too knowing to expect that the booksellers will erect themselves into patrons, and buy and sell under the influence of a disinterested zeal for the promotion of learning.

To the booksellers, if we look for either honour or profit from our press, vot only their common profit, but something more must be allowed; and if books, printed at Oxford, are expected to be rated at a high price, that price must be levied on the public, and paid by the ultimate purchaser, not by the interniediate agents. What price shall be set upon the book, is, to the booksellers, wholly indifferent, provided that they gain a proportionate profit by negociating the sale.

Why books printed at Oxford should be particularly dear, I am, however, unable to find. We pay no rent; we inherit many of our instruments and materials; lodging and victuale are cheaper than at London; and, therefore, workmansbip ought, at least, not to be dearer. Our expences are naturally less than those of booksellers ; and in most cases, communities are content with less profit than individuals.

It is, perhaps, not considered through how many hands a book often passes, before it comes into those of the reader; or what part of the profit each hand must retain, as a motive for transmitting it to the next.

We will call our primary agent in London, Mr. Cadell, who receives our books from us, gives them room in his warehouse, and issues them on demand; by, him they are sold to Mr. Dilly, a wholesale bookseller, who sends them into the country; and the last seller is the country bookseller. Here are three profits to be paid between the printer and the reader, or in the style of commerce, between the manufacturer and the consumer; and if any of these profits is too pevuriously distributed, the process of commerce is interrupted.

We are now come to the practical question, What is to be done? You will tell me, with reason, that I have said nothing, till I declare how much, according to my opinion, of the ultimate price ought to be distributed through the whole succession of sale.

The deduction, I am afraid, will appear very great: but let it be considered before it is refused. We must allow, for profit, between thirty and thirty-five per cent. between six and seven shillings in the pound; that is, for every book which costs the last buyer twenty shillings, we must charge Mr. Cadell with something less than fourteen.

We must set the copies at fourteen shillings each, and superadd wbat is called the quarterly book, or for every hundred books, so charged, we must deliver an hundred and four.

The profits will then stand thus:

Mr. Cadell, who runs no hazard, and gives no credit, will be paid for warehouse room and attendance, by a shilling profit on each book, aud his chance of the quarterly buok.

Mr. Dilly, who buys the book for fifteen shillings, and who will expect the quarterly book if he tukes five and twenty, will send it to his country-customer at sixteen and sixpence, by which, at the hazard of loss, and the certainty of long credit, he gains the regular profit of ten per cent, which is expected in the wholesale trade.

The country bookseller, buying ut sixteen and sixpence, and commonly trusting a considerable time, gains but three and sixpence, and if be trusts a year, not much more than two and sixpence; otherwise than as he inay, perhaps, take as long credit as he gives.

With less profit than this, and more you see he cannot have, the country bookseller cannot live; for his receipts are small, and his debts sometimes bad,

Thus, dear Sir, I have been incited by Dr. *******'s letter to give you a detail of the circulation of books, which, perhaps, every man has not had opportunity of knowing; and which those who know it, do not, perhaps, always distinctly consider. I am, &c.

SAM. Johnson, March 18, 1776.

Having arrived in London late on Friday, the 15th of March, I hastened next morning to wait on Dr. Johnson, at his house, but found he was removed from Johnson's-court, No. 7, to Bolt-court, No. 8, still keeping to his favourite Fleet-street. My reflection at the time upon this change, as marked in my Journal, is as follows: “I felt a foolish regret that he had left a court which bore his wame; but it was not foolish to be affected with some tenderness of regard for a place in which I had seen bim a great deal, from whence l had often issued a better and happier man than when I wentin, and which had often appeared to my imagination while I trod its pavement, in the solemn darkness of the night, to be sacred to wisdom and piety. Being informed that he was at Mr. Thrale's in the Borough, I hastened thither, and found Mrs. Thrale and him at breakfast. I was kindly welcomed. In a moment he was in a full glow of conversation, and I felt myself elevated as if brought into another state of being. Mrs. Thrale and I looked to each other while he talked, and our looks expressed our congenial admiration and affection for him.

I shall ever recollect this scene with great pleasure. 1 exclaimed to her, I am now, intellectually, Hermippus redivivus, I am quite restored by bim, by transfusion of miud. There are many (she replied) who admire and respect Mr. Johnson ; but you and I love him.

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