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Be pleased to make my compliments to all the gentlemen whose notice I have had, and whose kindness I have experienced.
“ I am, dear sir,
" SAM. Johnson. “ October 31, 1778.”
I wrote to him on the 18th of August, the 18th of September, and the 6th of November; informing him of my having had another son born, whom I had called Jamesc: that I had passed some time at Auchinleck; that the countess of Loudoun, now in her ninety-ninth year, was as fresh as when he saw her, and remembered him with respect; and that his mother by adoption, the countess of Eglintoune, had said to me, “ Tell Mr. Johnson I love him exceedingly;" that I had again suffered much from bad spirits; and that as it was very long since I heard from him, I was not a little uneasy.
The continuance of his regard for bis friend Dr. Burney appears from the following letters.
TO THE REVEREND DR. WHEELER, OXFORD.
“ DEAR SIR,-Dr. Burney, who brings this paper, is engaged in a history of musick ; and having been told by Dr. Markham of some manuscripts relating to his subject, which are in the library of your college, is desirous to examine them. He is my friend; and therefore I take the liberty of entreating your favour and assistance in his enquiry; and can assure you, with great confidence, that if you knew him he would not want any intervenient solicitation to obtain the kindness of one who loves learning and virtue as you love them.
© This son was educated at Brazennose college, Oxford, and was afterwards entered of the Temple. He died in the year 1822; and, in fondness for biographical enquiries, is reported to have borne a near resemblance to his father. These memoirs are illustrated by some of his notes.-En.
“ I have been flattering myself all the summer with the hope of paying my annual visit to my friends; but something has obstructed me: I still hope not to be long without seeing you. I should be glad of a little literary talk ; and glad to show you, by the frequency of my visits, how eagerly I love it when you talk it. “I am, dear sir, Your most humble servant,
" Sam. JOHNSON. « London, November 2, 1778."
TO THE REVEREND DR. EDWARDS, OXFORD.
“Sir,--The bearer, Dr. Burney, has had some account of a Welsh manuscript in the Bodleian library, from which he hopes to gain some materials for his history of musick ; but being ignorant of the language, is at a loss where to find assistance. I make no doubt but you, sir, can help him through his difficulties, and therefore take the liberty of recommending him to your favour, as I am sure you will find him a man worthy of every civility that can be shown, and every benefit that can be conferred.
“ But we must not let Welsh drive us from Greek. What comes of Xenophond? If you do not like the trouble of publishing the book, do not let your commentaries be lost; contrive that they may be published somewhere.
“ I am, sir,
" Sam. JOHNSON. “ London, November 2, 1778."
These letters procured Dr. Burney great kindness and friendly offices from both of these gentlemen, not only on that occasion, but in future visits to the university. The same year Dr. Johnson not only wrote to Dr. Joseph Warton in favour of Dr. Burney's youngest son, who was to be placed in the college of Winchester, but accompanied him when he went thither.
d This alludes to an edition of the memoirs of Socrates, on which Dr. Edwards was then engaged—but which was not published until after his decease. It appeared in 1785, but never obtained celebrity.-ED.
We surely cannot but admire the benevolent exertions of this great and good man, especially when we consider how grievously he was afflicted with bad health, and how uncomfortable his home was made by the perpetual jarring of those whom he charitably accommodated under his roof. He has sometimes suffered me to talk jocularly of his groupe of females, and call them his seraglio. He thus mentions them, together with honest Levet, in one of his letters to Mrs. Thrale: “ Williams hates every body; Levet hates Desmoulins, and does not love Williams; Desmoulins bates them both; Polle loves none of them.”
TO JAMES BOSWELL, ESQ.
“ DEAR SIR,-It is indeed a long time since I wrote, and I think you have some reason to complain ; however, you must not let small thiugs disturb you, when you have such a fine addition to your happiness as a new boy, and I hope your lady's health restored by bringing him. It seems very probable that a little care will now restore her, if any remains of her complaints are left.
“ You seem, if I understand your letter, to be gaining ground at Auchinleck, an incident that would give me great delight.
“When any fit of anxiety, or gloominess, or perversion of mind, lays hold upon you, make it a rule not to publish it by complaints, but exert your whole care to hide it: by endeavouring to hide it, you will drive it away. Be always busy.
“ The club is to meet with the parliament: we talk of electing Banks the traveller : he will be a reputable member. “ Langton has been encamped with his company of militia on Warley-common: I spent five days amongst them; he signalized himself as a diligent officer, and has very high respect in the regiment. He presided when I was there at a court-martial: he is now quartered in Hertfordshire ; his lady and little ones are in Scotland. Paoli came to the camp, and commended the soldiers.
e Miss Carmichael.
“Of myself I have no great matters to say: my health is not restored, my nights are restless and tedious. The best night that I have had these twenty years was at Fort Augustus. “ I hope soon to send you a few lives to read.
a I am, dear sir,
“ SAM. JOHNSON. “ November 21, 1778."
About this time the rev. Mr. John Hussey, who had been some time in trade, and is now a clergyman of the church of England, being about to undertake a journey to Aleppo and other parts of the east, which he accomplished, Dr. Johnson, who had long been in habits of intimacy with him, honoured him with the following letter.
TO MR. JOHN HUSSEY.
“MY DEAR SIR, I have sent you the Grammar, and have left you two books more, by which I hope to be remembered : write my name in them; we may perhaps see each other no more: you part with my good wishes, nor do I despair of seeing you return. Let no opportunities of vice corrupt you ; let no bad example seduce you; let the blindness of mahometans confirm you in christianity.
God bless you.
“ I am, dear sir,
“ SAM. JOHNSON. “ December 29, 1778."
Johnson this year expressed great satisfaction at the publication of the first volume of Discourses to the Royal Academy, by sir Joshua Reynolds, whom he always considered as one of his literary school. Much praise, indeed, is due to those excellent discourses, which are so universally admired, and for which the author received from the empress of Russia a gold snuff box, adorned with her profile in bas-relief, set in diamonds; and containing, what is infinitely more valuable, a slip of paper on which are written, with her imperial majesty's own hand, the following words : “ Pour le chevalier Reynolds, en témoignage du contentement que j'ai ressentie à la lecture de ses excellens discours sur la peinture.”
This year Johnson gave the world a luminous proof that the vigour of his mind in all its faculties, whether memory, judgement, or imagination, was not in the least abated; for this year came out the first four volumes of his Prefaces, biographical and critical, to the most eminent of the English Poets *, published by the booksellers of London. The remaining volumes came out in the year 1780. The poets were selected by the several booksellers who had the honorary copyright, which is still preserved among them by mutual compact, notwithstanding the decision of the house of lords against the perpetuity of literary property. We have his own authority', that by his recommendation the poems of Blackmore, Watts, Pomfret, and Yalden were added to the collection. Of this work I shall speak more particularly hereafter.
On the 22d of January I wrote to him on several to. picks, and mentioned, that as he had been so good as to permit me to have the proof-sheets of his Lives of the Poets, I had written to his servant Francis to take care of them for me.
| Life of Watts.-Boswell. See also his letter to Dilly on the subject, in a former page of this volume.-Ed.