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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 James; 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
“ Tell Mr. Johnson I love him exceed. ingly;" 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 his friend Dr. Burney, appears from the following letters:
said to me,
TO THE REVEREND DR. WHEELER, OXFORD.
“ Dr. Burney, who brings this paper, is engaged in a History of Musick; and having been told by Dr. Markham of some MSS. relating to his subject, which are in the library of your College, is desirous to examine them. He is
and therefore I take the liberty of entreating your favour and assistance in his inquiry: 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.
“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 shew you, by the frequency of my visits, how eagerly I love it, when you talk it. I am, dear sir,
6 Your most humble servant, " London, Nov. 2, 1778.”
" SAM. Johnson.”'. of females,
TO THE REVEREND DR. EDWARDS, OXFORD).
“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 shewn, and every benefit that can be conferred.
“ But we must not let Welsh drive us from Greek. What comes of Xenophon ? 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.
“ Your humble servant, “ London, November 2, 1778.”
“ Sam. JOHNSON."
6 I am,
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.
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 group
and call them his Seraglio. He thus mentions them, together with honest Levett, in one of his letters to Mrs. Thrale:' “ Williams hates every body; Levett hates Desmouslins, and does not love Williams; Desmoulins hates them both; Poll2 loves none of them.”
TO JAMES BOSWELL, ESQ.
“ It is indeed a long time since I wrote, and I think
have some reason to complain; however, you must not let small things disturb you,
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 signalised 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 quar
* * * * * *
i Vol. ii. page 38. VOL. IV.
2 Miss Carmichael.
tered in Hertfordshire ; his lady and little ones are in Scotland. Paoli came to the camp, and commended the soldiers.
« 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.
“ I am, dear sir,
“ Your most affectionate, 6 November 21, 1778.”
“ SAM. JOHNSON.”
About this time the Rev. Mr. John Hussey, who had been some time in trade, and was then 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.
“ I have sent you the “Grannar,' and have left you two books more, by whichope 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. .
am, “ Your affectionate humble servant, “ December 29, 1778."
“ SAM. JOHNSON." 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 authour 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 temoignage 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 memóry, 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 re maining volumes came out in the year 1780. The Poets were selected by the several booksellers who had the honorary copy-right, 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 topicks, 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.
1 Life of Watts.