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TO THE REVEREND DR. VYSE, AT LAMBETH.
“SIR,—I doubt not but you will readily forgive me for taking the liberty of requesting your assistance in recommending an old friend to his grace the archbishop, as governour of the Charter-house.
“ His name is De Groot; he was born at Gloucester; I have known him many years. He has all the common claims to charity, being old, poor, and infirm to a great degree. He has likewise another claim, to which no scholar can refuse attention; he is by several descents the nephew of Hugo Grotius; of him, from whom perhaps every man of learning has learnt something. Let it not be said that, in any lettered country, a nephew of Grotius asked a charity and was refused.
“I am, reverend sir,
- Your most humble servant, July 9, 1777.
TO THE REVEREND DR. VYSE, AT LAMBETH.
“If any notice should be taken of the recommendation which I took the liberty of sending you, it will be necessary to know that Mr. De Groot is to be found at No. 8, in Pye-street, Westminster. This information, when I wrote, I could not give you; and being going soon to Lichfield, think it necessary to be left behind me.
“ More I will not say. You will want no persuasion to succour the nephew of Grotius. I am, sir,
• Your most humble servant, “ July 22, 1777.
THE REVEREND DR. VYSE TO MR. BOSWELL.
Lambeth, June 9, 1787. “Sir, I have searched in vain for the letter which I spoke of, and which I wished, at your desire, to communicate to you.
It was from Dr. Johnson, to return me
thanks for my application to archbishop Cornwallis in favour of poor De Groot. He rejoices at the success it met with, and is lavish in the praise he bestows upon his favourite, Hugo Grotius. I am really sorry that I cannot find this letter, as it is worthy of the writer. That which I send you enclosed' is at your service. It is very short, and will not perhaps be thought of any consequence, unless you should judge proper to consider it as a proof of the very humane part which Dr. Johnson took in behalf of a distressed and deserving person. I am, sir, , “ Your most obedient humble servant,
“ W. VYSE."
DR. JOHNSON TO MR. EDWARD DILLY.
“SIR,—To the collection of English poets, I have recommended the volume of Dr. Watts to be added : his name has long been held by me in veneration, and I would not willingly be reduced to tell of him only that he was born and died. Yet of his life I know very little, and therefore must pass him in a manner very unworthy of his character, unless some of his friends will favour me with the necessary information : many of them must be known to you; and by your influence, perhaps I may obtain some instruction: my plan does not exact much; but I wish to distinguish Watts, a man who never wrote but for a good purpose. Be pleased to do for me what you can.
“I am, sir,
“SAM. JOHNSON. “Bolt-court, Fleet-street,
July 7, 1777.”
f The preceding letter.
& Dr. Vyse, at my request, was so obliging as once more to endeavour to recover the letter of Johnson to which he alludes, but without success; for, April 23, 1800, he wrote to me thus: “I have again searched, but in vain, for one of his letters in which he speaks in his own nervous style of Hugo Grotius. -De Groot was clearly a descendant of the family of Grotius, and archbishop Cornwallis willingly complied with Dr. Johnson's request.”—MALONE.
TO DR. SAMUEL JOHNSON.
• Edinburgh, July 15, 1777
“MY DEAR SIR,—The fate of poor Dr. Dodd made a dismal impression upon my mind.
“I had sagacity enough to divine that you wrote his speech to the recorder before sentence was pronounced. I am glad you have written so much for him ; and I hope to be favoured with an exact list of the several pieces when we meet.
“I received Mr. Seward as the friend of Mr. and Mrs. Thrale, and as a gentleman recommended by Dr. Johnson to my attention. I have introduced him to lord Kames, lord Monboddo, and Mr. Nairne. He is gone to the highlands with Dr. Gregory: when he returns I shall do more for him.
“ Sir Allan Maclean has carried that branch of his cause of which we had good hopes: the president and one other judge only were against him. I wish the house of lords may do as well as the court of session has done. But sir Allan has not the lands of Brolos quite cleared by this judgement, till a long account is made up of debts and interests on the one side, and rents on the other. I am, however, not much afraid of the balance.
“Macquarry's estates, Staffa and all, were sold yesterday, and bought by a Campbell. I fear he will have little or nothing left out of the purchase money.
"I send you the case against the negro, by Mr. Cullen, son to Dr. Cullen, in opposition to Maclaurin's for liberty, of which you have approved. Pray read this, and tell me what you think as a politician, as well as a poet, upon the subject.
“ Be so kind as to let me know how your time is to be distributed next autumn. I will meet you at Manchester, or where you please; but I wish you would complete your tour of the cathedrals, and come to Carlisle,
and I will accompany you a part of the way homewards. I am ever
“ Most faithfully yours,
" JAMES BOSWELL."
TO JAMES BOSWELL, ESQ.
“DEAR SIR,-Your notion of the necessity of an yearly interview is very pleasing to both my vanity and tenderness. I shall, perhaps, come to Carlisle another year;
my money has not held out so well as it used to do. I shall go to Ashbourne, and I purpose to make Dr. Taylor invite you. If you live a while with me at his house, we shall have much time to ourselves, and our stay will be no expense to us or him. I shall leave London the 28th ; and, after some stay at Oxford and Lichfield, shall probably come to Ashbourne about the end of your session; but of all this you shall have notice. Be satisfied we will meet somewhere.
“What passed between me and poor Dr. Dodd, you shall know more fully when we meet.
“ Of lawsuits there is no end : poor sir Allan must have another trial, for which, however, his antagonist cannot be much blamed, having two judges on his side. I am more afraid of the debts than of the house of lords. It is scarcely to be imagined to what debts will swell that are daily increasing by small additions, and how carelessly in a state of desperation debts are contracted. Poor Macquarry was far from thinking that when he sold his islands he should receive nothing. For what were they sold ? and what was their yearly value? The admission of money into the highlands will soon put an end to the feudal modes of life, by making those men landlords who were not chiefs. I do not know that the people will suffer by the change ; but there was in the patriarchal authority something venerable and pleasing. Every eye must look with pain on a Campbell turning the Macquar
ries at will out of their sedes avitæ,' their hereditary island.
“ Sir Alexander Dick is the only Scotsman liberal enough not to be angry that I could not find trees where trees were not. I was much delighted by his kind letterh.
“I remember Rasay with too much pleasure not to partake of the happiness of any part of that amiable family. Our ramble in the highlands hangs upon my imagination: I can hardly help imagining that we shall go again. Pennant seems to have seen a great deal which we did not see: when we travel again let us look better about us.
“You have done right in taking your uncle's house. Some change in the form of life gives, from time to time, a new epocha of existence. In a new place there is something new to be done, and a different system of thoughts rises in the mind. I wish I could gather currants in your garden. Now fit up a little study, and have your books ready at hand; do not spare a little money to make your habitation pleasing to yourself. “I have dined lately with poor dear
I do not think he goes on well. His table is rather coarse, and he has his children too much about him. But he is a very good man.
“Mrs. Williams is in the country to try if she can improve her health ; she is very ill. Matters have come so about, that she is in the country with very good accommodation ; but age, and sickness, and pride - have made her so peevish, that I was forced to bribe the maid to stay with her, by a secret stipulation of half-a-crown a week over her
" See page 68 of this volume.—Ep.
i This very just remark I hope will be constantly held in remembrance by parents, who are in general too apt to indulge their own fond feelings for their children at the expense of their friends. The common custom of introducing them after dinner is highly injudicious. It is agreeable enough that they should appear at any other time; but they should not be suffered to poison the moments of festivity by attracting the attention of the company, and, in a manner, compelling them, from politeness, to say what they do not think.--BOSWELL.