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or a general murmur of dislike, I know not: whether I shall find upon the coast a Calypso that will court, or a Polypheme that will resist. But if Polypheme comes, have at his eye. I hope, however, the critics will let me be at peace ; for though I do not much fear their skill and strength, I am a little afraid of myself, and would not willingly feel so much ill-will in my bosom as literary quarrels are apt to excite.
or Mr. Baretti is about a work for which he is in great want of Crescimbeni, which you may have again when you please.
- There is nothing considerable done or doing among us here. We are not, perhaps, as innocent as villagers, but most of us seem to be as idle. I hope, however, you are busy; and should be glad to know what you are doing. I am, dearest Sir, your humble servant,
“ SAM. Johnson."
LETTER 32. TO THE SAME.
“ (London,] Feb. 4. 1755. “ DEAR SIR,- I received your letter this day, with great sense of the favour that has been done me (1); for which I return my most sincere thanks : and entreat you to pay to Mr. Wise such returns as I ought to make for so much kindness so little deserved.
“I sent Mr. Wise the Lexicon, and afterwards wrote to him; but know not whether he had either
“ A burst of joy, like thunder to my ear,
Rumbles along the sea and rends the sky:
And I so long a course have safely rún.” — Rose.] (1) His degree had now past the suffrages of the heads of colleges; but was not yet finally granted by the university. WARTON.
the book or letter. Be so good as to contrive to inquire.
“ But why does my dear Mr. Warton tell me nothing of himself ? Where hangs the new volume ? (1) Can I help ? Let not the past labour be lost, for want of a little more : but snatch what time you can from the Hall, and the pupils, and the coffee-house, and the parks (2), and complete your design. I am, dear Sir, &c.,
LETTER 33. TO THE SAME.
• [London,] Feb. 13. 1755. “ DEAR SIR, -I had a letter last week from Mr. Wise, but have yet heard nothing from you, nor know in what state my affair stands ; of which I beg you to inform me, if you can, to-morrow, by the return of the post.
“ Mr. Wise sends me word, that he has not had the Finnick Lexicon yet, which I sent some time ago ; and if he has it not, you must inquire after it. However, do not let your letter stay for that.
“ Your brother, who is a better correspondent than you, and not much better, sends me word, that your pupils keep you in College: but do they keep you from writing too ? Let them, at least give you time to write to, dear Sir, your most affectionate, &c.,
“ SAM. JOHNSON.”
LETTER 34. TO THE SAME.
[London,] Feb. 1755. “DEAR SIR,—Dr. King (3) was with me a few minutes before your letter ; this, however, is the first instance in which your
kind intentions to me have ever been frus.
(1) On Spenser.
WARTON. (2) The walks near Oxford so called. — C. (3) Principal of Saint Mary Hall at Oxford. He brought
trated. (1) I have now the full effect of your care and benevolence; and am far from thinking it a slight honour or a small advantage ; since it will put the enjoyment of your conversation more frequently in the power of, dear Sir, your most obliged and affectionate,
SAM. JOHNSON. " P.S. I have enclosed a letter to the Vice-Chancellor, which you will read ; and, if you like it, seal and give him."
As the public will doubtless be pleased to see the whole progress of this well-earned academical honour, I shall insert the Chancellor of Oxford's letter to the University, the diploma, and Johnson's letter of thanks to the Vice-Chancellor.
LETTER 35. TO THE REV. DR. HUDDESFORD,
[President of Trinity College,] Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford; to be communicated to the Heads of Houses, and proposed in Convocation.
“ Grosvenor Street, Feb. 4. 1755. “ MR. VICE-CHANCELLOR, AND GENTLEMEN ;
“ Mr. Samuel Johnson, who was formerly of Pembroke College, having very eminently distinguished with him the diploma from Oxford. - WARTON. Dr. William King was born in 1685. In 1722, he was a candidate for the representation of the university in parliament, on the Tory interest; but was defeated. He was a wit and a scholar, and, in particular, celebrated for his latinity; highly obnoxious to the Hanoverian party, and the idol of the Jacobites. It appears from his Anecdotes of his Own Times, published in 1819, that he was one of those intrusted with the knowledge of the Pretender's being in London in the latter end of the reign of George the Second, where Dr. King was introduced to him. He died in 1763. — C.
(1) I suppose Johnson means, that my kind intention of being the first to give him the good news of the degree being granted was frustrated, because
Dr. King brought it before my intelligence arrived. — Warton. - [Dr. King was secretary to Lord Arran, as Chancellor of Oxford. 7
himself by the publication of a series of essays, excel. lently calculated to form the manners of the people, and in which the cause of religion and morality is every where maintained by the strongest powers of argument and language ; and who shortly intends to publish a Dictionary of the English tongue, formed on a new plan, and executed with the greatest labour and judgment; I persuade myself that I shall act agreeable to the senti. ments of the whole university, in desiring that it may be proposed in convocation to confer on him the degree of Master of Arts by diploma, to which I readily give my consent; and am, Mr. Vice-Chancellor, and Gentlemen, your affectionate friend and servant, ARRAN.”
“ CANCELLARIUS, Magistri, et Scholares Universitatis O.xoniensis omnibus ad quos hoc presens scriptum pervenerit, salutem in Domino sempiternam.
“ Cùm eum in finem gradus academici à majoribus nostris instituti fuerint, ut viri ingenio et doctrinâ præstantes titulis quoque præter cæteros insignirentur; cùmque vir doctissimus Samuel Johnson è Collegio Pembrochiensi, scriptis suis popularium mores informantibus dudum literato orbi innotuerit ; quin et lingua patriæ tum ornandæ tum stabilienda (Lexicon scilicet Anglica
summo studio, summo à se judicio congestum propediem editurus) etiam nunc utilissimam impendat operam ; Nos igitur Cancellarius, Magistri, et Scholares antedicti, nè virum de literis humanioribus optimè meritum diutius inhonoratum prætereamus, in solenni Convocatione Doctorum, Magistrorum, Regentium, et non Regentium, decimo die Mensis Februarii Anno Domini Millesimo Septingentisimo Quinquagesimo quinto habitâ, præfatum virum Samuelem Johnson (conspirantibus omnium suffragiis) Magistrum in Artibus renunciavimus et constituimus ; eumque, virtute præsentis diplomatis, singulis juribus, privilegiis, et honoribus ad istum gradum quàquà pertinentibus frui et gaudere jussimus.
“ In cujus rei testimonium sigillum Universitatis Oxoniensis præsentibus apponi fecimus.
« Datum in Domo nostræ Convocationis die 20°
Mensis Feb. Anno Dom. prædicto. “ Diploma supra scriptum per Registrarium lectum erat, et ex decreto venerabilis Domús communi Universitatis sigillo munitum.”(1)
6 Londini. 4to Cal. Mart. 1755.
“ VIRO REVERENDO [GEORGIO] HUDDES
FORD, S. T. P. Universitatis Oxoniensis Vice-Cancel. lario Dignissimo, S. P. D.
" SAMUEL JOHNSON. “ INGRATUS planè et tibi et mihi videar, nisi quanto me gaudio affecerint, quos nuper mihi honores (te, credo, auctore), decrevit Senatus Academicus, literarum, quo tamen nihil levius, officio, significem : ingratus etiam, nisi comitatem, quâ vir eximius (2) mihi vestri testimonium amoris in manus tradidit, agnoscam ct laudem. Si quid est, undè rei tam gratæ accedat gratia, hoc ipso magis mihi placet, quod eo tempore in ordines Academicos denuò cooptatus sim, quo tuam imminuere auctoritatem, famamque Oxonii lædere, omnibus modis conantur homines vafri, nec tamen acuti : quibus egi, prout viro umbratico licuit, semper restiti, semper restiturus. Qui enim, inter has rerum procellas, vel tibi vel Academiæ defuerit, illum virtuti et literis, sibique et posteris, defuturum existimo. Vale."
!1) The original is in my possession. B. [It is now in the collection of Louis Pocock, Esq. 1835.]
(2) We may conceive what a high gratification it must have been to Johnson to receive his diploma from the hands of the great Dr. King, whose principles were so congenial with his own. - B.