페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub

tricks; you will recollect, that when I confessed to you, that I had once been intentionally silent to try your regard, I gave you my word and honour that I would not do so again.

“ I rejoice to hear of your good state of health ; I pray God to continue it long. I have often said, that I would willingly have ten years added my life, to have ten taken from yours ; I mean, that I would be ten years older to have you ten years younger. But let me be thankful for the

years

during which I have enjoyed your friendship, and please myself with the hopes of enjoying it many years to come in this state of being, trusting always, that in another state, we shall meet never to be separated. Of this we can form no notion ; but the thought, though indistinct, is delightful, when the mind is calm and clear.

“ The riots in London were certainly horrible; but you give me no account of your own situation during the barbarous anarchy. A description of it by Dr. Johnson would be a great painting ;' you might write another · LONDON, A POEM.'

“ I am charmed with your condescending affectionate expression, let us keep each other's kindness by all the means in our power my revered Friend ! how elevating is it to my mind, that I am found worthy to be a companion to Dr. Samuel Johnson ! All that you have said in grateful praise of Mr. Walmsley, I have long thought of you; but we are both Tories, which has a very general influence upon our sentiments. I hope that you will agree to meet me at York, about the end of this month; or if you will come to Carlisle, that would be better still, in case the Dean be there. Please to consider, that to keep each other's kindness, we should every year have that free and intimate communication of mind which can be had only when we are together. We should have both our solemn and our pleasant talk." “I write now for the third time, to tell you

| I had not then seen his Letters to Mrs. Thrale.

that my desire for our meeting this autumn is much increased. I wrote to 'Squire Godfrey Bosville, my Yorkshire chief, that I should, perhaps, pay him a visit, as I was to hold a conference with Dr. Johnson at York. I give you my word and honour that I said not a word of his inviting you; but he wrote to me as follows:

oso I need not tell you I shall be happy to see you. here the latter end of this month, as you propose; and I shall likewise be in hopes that you will persuade Dr. Johnson to finish the conference here. It will add to the favour of your own company, if you prevail upon such an associate to assist your observations. I have often been entertained with his writings, and I once belonged to a club of which he was a member, and I never spent an evening there, but I heard something from him well worth remembering.'

We have thus, my dear sir, good comfortable quarters in the neighbourhood of York, where you may be assured we shall be heartily welcome. I

pray you then resolve to set out; and let not the year 1780 be a blank in our social calendar, and in that record of wisdom and wit, which I keep with so much diligence, to your honour, and the instruction and delight of others."

Mr. Thrale had now another contest for the

representation in parliament of the borough of Southwark, and Johnson kindly lent him his assistance, by writing advertisements and letters for him. I shall insert one as a specimen :

*

TO THE WORTHY ELECTORS OF THE BOROUGH OF

SOUTHWARK.

[ocr errors]

GENTLEMEN,

“A new Parliament being now called, I again solicit the honour of being elected for one of your representatives; and solicit it with the greater confidence, as I am not conscious of having neglected my duty, or of having acted otherwise than as becomes the independent representative of independent constituents; superiour to fear, hope, and expectation, who has no private purposes to promote, and whose prosperity is involved in the prosperity of his country. As my recovery from a very severe distemper is not yet perfect, I have declined to attend the Hall, and hope an omission so necessary will not be harshly censured.

“ I can only send my respectful wishes, that all your deliberations may tend to the happiness of the kingdom, and the peace of the borough.

“I am, gentlemen,
- Your most faithful

« And obedient servant, « Southwark, Sept. 5, 1780."

“ Henry THRALE.”

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

MADAM,

“ Among the numerous addresses of condolence which your great loss must have occasioned, be pleased

1 (Margaret, the second daughter and one of the co-heiresses of Arthur Cecil Hamilton, Esq. She was married in 1741 to Thomas George, the third Baron, and first Viscount, Southwell, and lived with him in the most perfect connubial felicity till September 1780, when Lord Southwell died: a loss which she never ceased to lament VOL. IV.

в в

to receive this from one whose name perhaps you have never heard, and to whom your Ladyship is known only by the reputation of your virtue, and to whom your Lord was known only by his kindness and beneficence.

“ Your Ladyship is now again summoned to exert that piety of which you once gave, in a state of pain and danger, so illustrious an example; and your Lord's beneficence may be still continued by those, who with his fortune inherit his virtues.

“I hope to be forgiven the liberty which I shall take of informing your Ladyship, that Mr. Mauritius Lowe, a son of your late Lord's father,' had, by recommendation to your Lord, a quarterly allowance of ten pounds, the last of which, due July 26, he has not received: he was in hourly hope of his remittance,

[ocr errors]

to the hour of her own dissolution, in her eighty-first year, August 16, 1802.-The “illustrious example of piety and fortitude” to which Dr. Johnson alludes, was the submitting, when past her fiftieth year, to an extremely painful surgical operation, which she endured with extraordinary firmness and composure, not allowing herself to be tied to her chair, nor uttering a single moan.—This slight tribute of affection to the memory of these two most amiable and excellent persons, who were not less distinguished by their piety, beneficence, and unbounded charity, than by a suavity of manners which endeared them to all who knew them, it is hoped, will be forgiven from one who was honoured by their kindness

and friendship from his childhood. M.]

1 [Thomas, the second Lord Southwell, who died in London, in 1766. Johnson was well acquainted with this nobleman, and said, “he was the highest bred man, without insolence, that he was ever in company with.” His younger brother, Edmund Southwell, lived in intimacy with Johnson for many years. (See an account of him in Hawkins's Life of Johnson, p. 405). He died in London, Nov. 22, 1772.

In opposition to the Knight's unfavourable representation of this gentleman, to whom I was indebted for my first introduction to Johnson, í take this opportunity to add, that he appeared to me a pious man, and was very fond of leading the conversation to religious subjects. M.]

and flattered himself that on October 26 he should have received the whole half year's bounty, when he was struck with the dreadful news of his benefactor's death.

May I presume to hope, that his want, his relation, and his merit, which excited his Lordship's charity, will continue to have the same effect upon those whom he has left behind ; and that, though he has lost one friend, he may not yet be destitute. Your Ladyship's charity cannot easily be exerted where it is wanted more; and to a mind like yours, distress is a sufficient recommendation. “ I hope to be allowed the honour of being,

“ Madam,
“ Your Ladyship's
“ Most humble servant,

“ Sam. Johnson."] “ Bolt-court, Fleet-street, London,

Sept. 9, 1780.”

On his birth-day, Johnson has this note: “ I am now beginning the seventy-second year of my life, with more strength of body, and greater vigour of mind, than I think is common at that age. But still he complains of sleepless nights and idle days, and forgetfulness, or neglect of resolutions.

He thus pathetically expresses himself: “Surely I shall not spend my whole life with my own total disapprobation.”

Mr. Macbean, whom I have mentioned more than once, as one of Johnson's humble friends, a deserving but unfortunate man, being now oppressed by age and poverty, Johnson solicited the Lord Chancellor Thurlow, to have him admitted into the Charterhouse. I take the liberty to insert his Lordship's

1 Prayers and Meditations, p. 185.

« 이전계속 »