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One of his friends had a daughter about fourteen years old," fat and clumsy and though the father adored, and desired others to adore her, yet being aware perhaps that she was not what the French call pétrie des graces, and thinking, I suppose, that the old maxim, of beginning to laugh at yourself first where you have any thing ridiculous about you, was a good one, he comically enough called his girl Trundle when he spoke of her; and many who bore neither of them any ill-will felt disposed to laugh at the happiness of the appellation. See now,' said Dr. Johnson, 'what haste people are in to be hooted. Nobody ever thought of this fellow nor of his daughter, could he but have been quiet himself, and forborne to call the eyes of the world on his dowdy and her deformity. But it teaches one to see at least, that if nobody else will nickname one's children, the parents will e'en do it themselves.'
mixed with green. 'Well, well,' replied he, changing his voice, you little creatures should never wear those sort of clothes, however; they are unsuitable in every way. What! bave not all insects gay colours?'
"He was no enemy to splendour of apparel, or pomp of equipage: Life,' he would say, 'B barren enough surely with all her trappings; let us therefore be cautious how we strip her.' In matters of still higher moment he once observed, when speaking on the subject of sudden innovation, He who plants a forest may doubtless cut down a hedge yet I could wish methinks that even he would wait till he sees his young plants grow.'
"He had for many years a cat which he called Hodge, that kept always in his room at Fleetstreet; but so exact was he not to offend the human species by superfluous attention to brutes, that when the creature was grown sick and old, and could eat nothing but oysters, Dr. Johnson always went out himself to buy Hodge's dinner, that Francis the black's delicacy might not be hurt, at seeing himself employed for the convenience of a quadruped."
He was very fond of travelling, and would have gone "all over the world; for the very act of going forward was delightful to him, and he gave himself no concern about accidents, which he said never happened: nor did the running away of the horses on the edge of a precipice between Vernon and St. Denys in France convince him to the contrary; for nothing came of it,' he said, except that Mr. Thrale leaped out of the carriage into a chalk-pit, and then came up again, looking as white! When the truth was, all our lives were saved by the greatest providence ever exerted in favour of three human creatures; and the part Mr. Thrale took from desperation was the likeliest thing in the world to produce broken limbs and death.
"Yet danger in sickness he did not contemplate so steadily. One day, when he thought himself neglected by the non-attendance of Sir Richard Jebb, he conjured me to tell him what I thought of him, and I made him a steady, but as I thought a very gentle harangue, in which I confirmed all that the Doctor had been saying, how no present danger could be expected; but that his age and continued ill health must naturally accelerate the arrival of that hour which can be escaped by none. And this,' said Johnson, rising in great anger, is the voice of female friendship, I suppose, when the hand of the hangman would be softer.'
"His equity in giving the character of living acquaintance ought not undoubtedly to be omitted in his own, whence partiality and prejudice were totally excluded, and truth alone presided in his tongue: a steadiness of conduct the more to be commended, as no man had stronger likings or aversions.
"When Mr. Thrale built the new library at Streatham, and hung up over the books the pertraits of his favourite friends, that of Dr. Johnson was last finished, and closed the number." Upon this occasion Mrs. Thrale summed up Dr. Johnson's character in the following verses :"Gigantic in knowledge, in virtue, in strength,
Our company closes with Johnson at length;
His piety pure, his morality nice-
MISCELLANEOUS LETTERS. "DR. JOHNSON TO MR. C. HICKMAN', "This letter, on the occasion of the writer's being rejected on his application for the situation of usher to the grammar school at Stourbridge 2, has recently bees print
1 [Probably the brother of the lady mentioned ante, v. p. 33.-ED.]
2 Dr. Johnson was at Stourbridge school, half scholar, half-usher, in 1726; but it has not been stated that after his return from Oxford he attempted to become a assistant there. This letter, however, proves that he met in the summer of 1731 some disappointment at Sour bridge, and it was probably of the kind above stated. Yet that seems to be a strange subject for Mr. Hickman to have asked to see celebrated in a copy of verses. The Editor can only repeat, that the years 1750 and 1731, de ring which Mr. Boswell erroneously imagined that John son was at Oxford, are an obscure and portion of his life. See ante, vol. i. p. 27.—ED.]
other book, than you construe to Mr. Bright. The more books you look into for your entertainment, with the greater variety of style you will make yourself acquainted. Turner I do not know; "Lichfield, 30th Oct. 1731. but think that if Clark be better, you should change "SIR,-I have so long neglected to it, for I shall never be willing that you should Mag. v. return you thanks for the favours and as- trouble yourself with more than one book to sistance I received from you at Stour- learn the government of words. What book bridge, that I am afraid you have now that one shall be, Mr. Bright must determine. Be done expecting it. I can indeed make no apology, but diligent in reading and writing, and doubt but by assuring you, that this delay, whatever not of the success. Be pleased to make my comwas the cause of it, proceeded neither from for-pliments to Miss Page and the gentlemen. I am,
lxxxiii. p. 18.
dear sir, yours affectionately,
getfulness, disrespect, nor ingratitude. Time has not made the sense of obligation less warm, nor the thanks I return less sincere. But while I am acknowledging one favour, I must beg another-that you would excuse the composition of the verses you desired. Be pleased to consider that versifying against one's inclination is the most disagreeable thing in the world; and that one's own disappointment is no inviting subject; and that though the desire of gratifying you might have prevailed over my dislike of it, yet it proves upon reflection so barren, that to attempt to write upon it, is to undertake to build without materials.
ed, for the first time, from the original, by the editor of the Manchester Herald."-Gentleman's Magazine.
"As I am yet unemployed, I hope you will, if any thing should offer, remember and recommend, sir, your humble servant,
"TO MR. ELPHINSTON'. "20th April, 1749. "SIR,-I have for a long time intended to answer the letter which you were pleased to send me, and know not why I have delayed it so long, but that I had nothing particular either of inquiry or information to send you; and the same reason might still have the same consequence, but I find in my recluse kind of life, that I am not likely to have much more to say at one time than at another, and that therefore I may endanger by an appearance of neglect long continued, the loss of such an acquaintance as I know not where to supply. I therefore write now to assure you how sensible I am of the kindness you have always expressed to me, and how much I desire the cultivation of that benevolence which perhaps nothing but the distance between us has hindered from ripening before this time into friendship. Of myself I have very little to say, and of any body else less; let me however be allowed one thing, and that in my own favour-that I am, dear sir, your most humble servant,
"TO MR. GEORGE STRAHAN, AT SCHOOL.
1 See ante, vol. i. p. 85.-ED.]
"TO THE SAME. "26th March, 1763. "DEAR SIR,-You did not very soon answer my letter, and therefore cannot complain that I make no great haste to answer yours. I am well enough satisfied with the proficiency that you make, and hope that you will not relax the vigour of your diligence. I hope you begin now to see that all is possible which was professed. Learning is a wide field, but six years spent in close application are a long time; and I am still of opinion, that if you continue to consider knowledge as the most pleasing and desirable of all acquisitions, and do not suffer your course to be interrupted, you may take your degree not only without deficiency, but with great distinction.
"You must still continue to write Latin. This is the most difficult part, indeed the only part that is very difficult of your undertaking. If you can exemplify the rules of syntax, I know not whether it will be worth while to trouble yourself with any more translations. You will more increase your number of words, and advance your skill in phraseology, by making a short theme or two every day; and when you have construed properly a stated number of verses, it will be pleasing to go from reading to composition, and from composition to reading. But do not be very particular about method; any method will do if there be but diligence. Let me know, if you please, once a week what you are doing. I am, dear George, your humble servant,
"TO THE SAME. "16th April, 1763. "DEAR SIR,-Your account of your proficience is more nearly equal, I find, to my expectations than your own. You are angry that a theme on which you took so much pains was at last a kind of English Latin; what could you expect more? If at the end of seven years you write good Latin, you will excel most of your contemporaries: Scribendo disces, scribere. It is only by writing ill that you can attain to write well. Be but diligent and constant, and make no doubt of success.
"I will allow you but six weeks for Tully's Offices. Walker's Particles I would not have you trouble yourself to learn at all by heart, but look in it from time to time and observe his notes and remarks, and see how they are exemplified. The translation from Clark's history will improve you, and I would have you continue it to the end of the book.
"I hope you read by the way at loose hours other books, though you do not mention them; for no time is to be lost; and what can be done with a master is but a small part of the whole. I would have you now and then try at some English verses. When you find that you have mistaken any thing, review the passage carefully and settle it in your mind.
"Be pleased to make my compliments, and those of Miss Williams, to all our friends. I am, dear sir, yours most affectionately,
"TO THE SAME.
"20th Sept. 1763. "DEAR SIR, I should have answered your last letter sooner if I could have given you any valuable or useful directions; but I knew not any way by which the composition of Latin verses can be much facilitated. Of the grammatical part which comprises the knowledge of the measure of the foot, and quantity of the syllables, your grammar will teach you all that can be taught, and even of that you can hardly know any thing by rule but the measure of the foot. The quantity of syllables even of those for which rules are given is commonly learned by practice and retained by observation. For the poetical part, which comprises variety of expression, propriety of terms, dexterity in selecting commodious words, and readiness in changing their order, it will all be produced by frequent essays and resolute perseverance. The less help you have the sooner you will be able to go forward without help.
"I suppose you are now ready for another authour. I would not have you dwell longer upon one book than till your familiarity with its style makes it easy to you. Every new book will for a time be difficult. Make it a rule to write something in Latin every day; and let me know what you are now doing, and what your scheme is to do next. Be pleased to give my compliments to Mr. Bright, Mr. Stevenson, and Miss Page. I am, dear sir, your affectionate servant,
and hope to love you long. You have hitherto done nothing to diminish my good will, and though you had done much more than you have supposed imputed to you, my good will would not have been diminished.
"I write thus largely on this suspicion, which you have suffered to enter into your mind, because in youth we are apt to be too rigorous in our expectations, and to suppose that the duties of life are to be performed with unfailing exactness and regularity; but in our progress through life we are forced to abate much of our demands, and to take friends such as we can find them, not as we would make them.
"These concessions every wise man is more ready to make to others, as he knows that he shall often want them for himself; and when he remembers how often he fails in the observance of a cultivation of his best friends, is willing to sup. pose that his friends may in their turn neglect him, without any intention to offend him.
"When therefore it shall happen, as happen it will, that you or I have disappointed the expectation of the other, you are not to suppose that you have lost me, or that I intended to lose you; nothing will remain but to repair the fault, and to go on as if it never had been committed. I am, sir, your affectionate servant,
TO MISS REYNOLDS. “Oxford, 27th Oct. [1758.] "Your letter has scarcely come time enough to make an answer possible. I MSS. wish we could talk over the affair. I cannot go now. I must finish my book. I do not know Mr. Collier'. I have not money beforehand sufficient. How long have you known Collier, that you should put yourself into his hands? I once told you that ladies were timorous and yet not cautious.
"TO THE SAME.
"If I might tell my thoughts to one with whom they never had any weight, I should think it best to go through France. The expense is not great; I do not much like obligation, nor think the grossness of a ship very suitable to a lady. Do not go till I see you. I will see you as soon as I can. "14th July, 1763. I am, my dearest, most sincerely yours, "DEAR GEORGE,-To give pain ought al"SAM. JOHNSON." ways to be painful, and I am sorry that I have been the occasion of any uneasiness to you, to whom I hope never to [do] any thing but for your benefit or your pleasure. Your uneasiness was without any reason on your part, as you had written with sufficient frequency to me, and I had only neglected to answer them, because as nothing new had been proposed to your study, no new direction or incitement could be offered you. But if it had happened that you had omitted what you did not omit, and that I had for an hour, or a week, or a much longer time, thought myself put out of your mind by something to which presence gave that prevalence, which presence will sometimes give even where there is the most prudence and experience, you are not to imagine that my friendship is light enough to be blown away by the first cross blast, or that my regard or kindness hangs by so slender a hair as to be broken off by the unfelt weight of a petty offence. I love you,
"TO W. S. JOHNSON 2, LL. D. STRATFORD,
1 Captain Collier, since Sir George, proposed at that time to sail to the Mediterranean with his lady-Miss
REYNOLDS. (And it would seem offered Miss Reynolds that Johnson might be of the party. Sir Joshus had a passage; and Miss Reynolds appears to have wished gone to the Mediterranean in a similar way with Captain Keppel.-ED.]
2 The late William Samuel Johnson of Connecticut.
This gentleman spent several years in England about the middle of the last century. He received the degree of doctor of civil law from the university of Oxford; and this circumstance, together with the accidents! similari ty of name, recommended him to the acquaintance of Dr. Samuel Johnson. Several letters passed between
you with neglecting me, yet our mutual inclina- | tion could never gratify itself with opportunities. The current of the day always bore us away from one another, and now the Atlantic is between us. "Whether you carried away an impression of me as pleasing as that which you left me of yourself, I know not; if you did you have not forgotten me, and will be glad that I do not forget you. Merely to be remembered is indeed a barren pleasure, but it is one of the pleasures which is more sensibly felt as human nature is more exalted. "To make you wish that I should have you in my mind, I would be glad to tell you something which you do not know; but all public affairs are printed; and as you and I have no common friend, I can tell you no private history.
"The government, I think, grow stronger, but I am afraid the next general election will be a time of uncommon turbulence, violence, and outrage.
"Of literature no great product has appeared, or is expected; the attention of the people has for some years been otherwise employed.
"I was told a day or two ago of a design which must excite some curiosity. Two ships are in preparation which are under the command of Captain Constantine Phipps, to explore the northern ocean; not to seek the north-east or the north-west passage, but to sail directly north, as near the pole as they can go. They hope to find an open ocean, but I suspect it is one mass of perpetual congelation. I do not much wish well to discoveries, for I am always afraid they will end in conquest and robbery.
"I have been out of order this winter, but am grown better. Can I never hope to see you again, or must I be always content to tell you that in another hemisphere I am, sir, your most humble servant, "SAM. JOHNSON."
"TO DR. GOLDSMITH. “23d April, 1773. "SIR.I beg that you will excuse my absence to the club; I am going this evening to Oxford.
"I have another favour to beg. It is that I may be considered as proposing Mr. Boswell for a candidate of our society, and that he may be considered as regularly nominated. I am, sir, your most humble servant,
"TO FRANCIS FOWKE, ESQ.
Gent. Mag. vol. lxxxvii. p. 528.
them, after the American Dr. Johnson had returned to his native country; of which, however, it is feared that this is the only one remaining.-Gent. Mag.
[This circumstance enables us to state that the East Indian friend, mentioned in p. 55, was Mr. Joseph Fowke, and to guess that he (and not one of the Vansittarts, as Mr. Tyers thought) was alluded to in vol. i. p. 136 The arrival of this “collection of papers" is no doubt the curious incident mentioned ante, p. 57.-E.] Mr. J. Fowke, who died about 1794, was born about the year 1715, and entered into the service of the East India Company at the age of 17. He remained at Fort St. George | 65
seems to have been injured by the prosecution and the sentence. His first desire is, that I should prepare his narrative for the press; his second, that if I cannot gratify him by publication, I would transmit the papers to you. To a compliance with his first request I have this objection; that I live in a reciprocation of civilities with Mr. Hastings, and therefore cannot properly diffuse a narrative, intended to bring upon him the censure of the publick. Of two adversaries, it would be rash to condemn either upon the evidence of the other; and a common friend must keep himself suspended, at least till he has heard both.
"I am therefore ready to transmit to you the papers, which have been seen only by myself; and beg to be informed how they may be conveyed to you. I see no legal objection to the publication; and of prudential reasons, Mr. Fowke and you will be allowed to be fitter judges.
"If you would have me send them, let me have proper directions: if a messenger is to call for them, give me notice by the post, that they may be ready for delivery.
"To do my dear Mr. Fowke any good would give me pleasure; I hope for some opportunity of performing the duties of friendship to him, without violating them with regard to another. I am. sir, your most humble servant,
Ixxxix. p. 533.
"TO RICHARD BEATNIFFE, ESQ. "Bolt-Court, Fleet-street, 14th Feb. 1782. "SIR,-Robert Levet, with whom I have been connected by a friendship of vol. many years, died lately at my house. His death was sudden, and no will has yet been found; I therefore gave notice of his death in the papers, that an heir, if he has any, may appear. He has left very little; but of that little his brother is doubtless heir, and your friend may be perhaps his brother. I have had another application from one who calls himself his brother :
till 1748, and when he returned to England was offered the government either of Bengal or Madras. This offer was by no means so advantageous as it would be at pres. ent; Mr. Fowke therefore declined it, and remained in
England until 1771. At this period he returned to India, where some differences of opinion unfortunately occurred between him and the Provisional Government, which ended in his being tried in June, 1775, in the Supreme Court of Bengal, under two indictments. In the first of these trials the verdict was, not guilty. In the second, in which Mr. Fowke was implicated with Nundocomar and Rads Churn, the verdict was, “Joseph Fowke and Nundocomar, guilty: Rada Churn, not guilty." In the year 1738 Mr. Fowke finally quitted Bengal, with a recommendation from Lord Cornwallis to the Court of Directors, as a person entitled to receive the pension which was promised to their servants returning from Bengal out of employment. This recommendation was, however, After a lapse of some time, the
claim was brought forward by Mr. Burke (with the read
ers of whose works the case of Nundocomar must be familiar) in the House of Commons, when the following resolution was made in his favour:—
Resolved, That it appears to this House, that the said Joseph Fowke is entitled to the pension or allowance engaged to be paid by the East India Company to their servants, under certain descriptions, and under certain conditions, expressed in their letter from the Court of Directors of the 21st of September, 1785, to the Goveri → or-General and Council of Bengsi, from the time in which, by the said letter of the 21st of September, 1795, persons described in the said letter were to receive the same."--Gent. Mag.
and I suppose it is fit that the claimant should give some proofs of his relation. I would gladly know, from the gentleman that thinks himself R. Levet's brother,
"TO JOSEPH FOWKE, ESQ. “19th April, 1783. "DEAR SIR,-To show you that neither length of time, nor distance of Gent. "In what year, and in what parish, R. Levet place, withdraws you from my memory, I was born? have sent you a little present, which will be transmitted by Sir Robert Chambers. "To your former letters I made no answer,
"Where or how was he educated?
"What was his early course of life?
"What were the marks of his person; his because I had none to make. Of the death of stature; the colour of his eyes? the unfortunate man (meaning Nundocomar) I believe Europe thinks as you think; but it was past prevention; and it was not fit for me to move a question in publick which I was not qualified to discuss, as the inquiry could then do no good; and I might have been silenced by a hardy denial of facts, which, if denied, I could not prove.
"Was he marked by the small-pox? "Had he any impediment in his speech? "What relations had he, and how many are now living?
"Since we parted, I have suffered much siekness of body and perturbation of mind. My mind, if I do not flatter myself, is unimpaired, except that sometimes my memory is less ready; but my body, though by nature very strong, given way to repeated shocks.
"Genua labant, vastos quatit æger En. anhelitus artus. This line might have v. 42 been written on purpose for me. You will see, however, that I have not totally forsaken literature. I can apply better to books than I could in some more vigorous parts of my life-st least than I did; and I have one more reason for reading-that time has, by taking away my companions, left me less opportunity of conversation. I have led an inactive and careless life; it is time at last to be diligent: there is yet provision to be made for eternity.
"His answer to these questions will show whether he knew him; and he may then proceed to show that he is his brother. "He may sure, that nothing shall be hastily wasted or removed. I have not looked into his boxes, but transferred that business to a gentleman in the neighbourhood, of character above suspicion. "SAM. JOHNSON."
1784, p. 893.
66 TO MR. NICHOLS.
"10th January, 1785.
SIR,-1 am much obliged by your kind communication of your account of Hinckley. I know Mr. Carte is one of the prebendaries of Lichfield, and for some time surrogate of the chancellor. Now I will put you in a way of showing me more kindness. I have been confined by illness a long time; and sickness and solitude make tedious evenings. Come sometimes and see, sir, your humble servant,
"DR. JOHNSON TO SIR JOSHUA REYNOLDS. It was Sir Joshua Reynolds who introduced Mr. Crabbe's poem (see ante, p. 329) to Dr. Johnson's notice, and the following is the letter with which he returned it, and which was not found till it was too late to insert it in its proper place.— REYN. MS.
"4th March, 1783.
"SIR,-I have sent you back Mr. Crabbe's poem, which I read with great delight. It is original, vigorous, and elegant.
You and I had hardly any common friends, and therefore I have few anecdotes to relate to you. Mr. Levet, who brought us into acquaintance, died suddenly at my house last year, in his seventy-eighth year, or about that age. Mrs. Williams, the blind lady, is still with Gent me, but much broken by a very wearisome and obstinate disease. She is, however, p.59 not likely to die; and it would delight me if you would send her some petty token of your remembrance: you may send me one too.
"Whether we shall ever meet again in this world, who can tell? Let us, however, wish well to each other: prayers can pass the Line and the Tropics. I am, dear sir, yours sincerely, "SAM. JOHNSON." "TO MR. NICHOLS. “12th April, 1784. "SIR,-I have sent you enclosed a very cun ous proposal from Mr. Hawkins, the son of Sir John Hawkins, who, I believe, will take care
1 For this work Dr. Johnson had contributed several that whatever his son promises shall be performed.
hints towards the Life of Anthony Blackwall, to whom, when very young, he had been some time an usher at Market Bosworth school. Blackwall died in April, 1730, before Johnson was one and twenty.-NICHOLS.
"If you are inclined to publish this compila
2 A collection of the Doctor's Works.-NICHOLS.
The alterations which I have made I do not require him to adopt, for my lines are, perhaps, not often better than his own; but he may take mine and his own together, and perhaps between them produce something better than either.
"He is not to think his copy wantonly defaced. A wet sponge will wash all the red lines away, and leave the page clear.
"His dedication will be least liked. It were better to contract it into a short sprightly address.
"Let me know, dear sir, what you are doing. Are you accumulating gold, or picking up diamonds? Or are you now sated with Indian wealth, and content with what you have? Have you Whatever you do, I do not suspect you of pilisvigour for bustle, or tranquillity for inaction? ging or oppressing; and shall rejoice to see you return with a body unbroken, and a mind uncor rupted.
"I do not doubt Mr. Crabbe's success. sir, your most humble servant,