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tion, the editor will agree for an edition on the following terms, which I think liberal enough. "That you shall print the book at your own charge.
"That the sale shall be wholly for your benefit till your expenses are repaid; except that at the time of publication you shall put into the hands of the editor, without price,. . . copies for his friends.
"That, when you have been repaid, the profits arising from the sale of the remaining copies shall be divided equally between you and the editor. "That the edition shall not comprise fewer than five hundred. I am, sir, your most humble "SAM. JOHNSON."
DR. JOHNSON TO MR. SASTRES.
"Ashbourne, 21st August, 1784. "DEAR SIR,-I am glad that a letter has at last reached you; what became of the two former, which were directed to Mortimer instead of Margaret-street, I have no means of knowing, nor is it worth the while to inquire; they neither enclosed bills, nor contained secrets.
Piozzi Letters, vol. ii. p. 405.
My health was for some time quite at a stand, if it did not rather go backwards; but for a week past it flatters me with appearances of amendment, which I dare yet hardly credit. My breath has been certainly less obstructed for eight days; and yesterday the water seemed to be disposed to a fuller flow. But I get very little sleep; and my legs do not like to carry me.
"You were kind in paying my forfeits at the club; it cannot be expected that many should meet in the summer; however, they that continue in town should keep up appearances as well as they can. I hope to be again among you.
"I wish you had told me distinctly the mistakes in the French words. The French is but a secondary and subordinate part of your design; exactness, however, in all parts is necessary, though complete exactness cannot be attained; and the French are so well stocked with dictionaries, that a little attention may easily keep you safe from gross faults; and as you work on, your vigilance will be quickened, and your observation regulated; you will better know your own wants, and learn better whence they may be supplied. Let me know minutely the whole state of your negotiations. Dictionaries are like watches, the worst is better than none, and the best cannot be expected to go quite true.
66 The weather here is very strange summer weather; and we are here two degrees nearer the north than you. I was, I think, loath to think a fire necessary in July, till I found one in the servants' hall, and thought myself entitled to as much warmth as them.
"I wish you would make it a task to yourself to write to me twice a week; a letter is a great relief to, dear sir, your, &c."
better luck with your next specimen; though if such slips as these are to condemn a dictionary, I know not when a dictionary will be made. I cannot yet think that gourmander is wrong; but I have here no means of verifying my opinion. "My health, by the mercy of God, still improves; and I have hope of standing the English winter, and of seeing you, and reading Petrarch at Bolt-court; but let me not flatter myself too much. I am yet weak, but stronger than I was.
"I suppose the Club is now almost forsaken; but we shall I hope meet again. We have lost poor Allen; a very worthy man, and to me a very kind and officious neighbour.
"TO THE SAME.
"Ashbourne, 2d September, 1784. "DEAR SIR,-Your critick seems to be an exquisite Frenchman; his remarks are nice; they would at least have escaped me. I wish you
"Of the pieces ascribed by Bembo to Virgil, the Dirce (ascribed, I think, to Valerius Cato), the Copa and the Moretum are, together with the Culex and Ceiris, in Scaliger's Appendix ad Virgilium. The rest I never heard the name of before.
"I am highly pleased with your account of the gentleman and lady with whom you lodge; such characters have sufficient attractions to draw me towards them; you are lucky to light upon them in the casual commerce of life.
"Continue, dear sir, to write to me; and let me hear any thing or nothing, as the chance of the day may be. I am, sir, your, &c,"
"TO THE SAME.
"Ashbourne, 16th September, 1784. "DEAR SIR,-What you have told me of your landlord and his lady at Brompton has made them such favourites, that I am not sorry to hear how you are turned out of your lodgings, because the good is greater to them than the evil is to you.
The death of dear Mr. Allen gave me pain. When after some time of absence I visit a town, I find my friends dead; when I leave a place, I am followed with intelligence, that the friend whom I hope to meet at my return is swallowed in the grave. This is a gloomy scene; but let us learn from it to prepare for our own removal. Allen is gone; Sastres and Johnson are hasting after him; may we be both as well prepared!
"I again wish your next specimen success. Paymistress can hardly be said without a preface (it may be expressed by a word perhaps not in use, pay mistress).
"The club is, it seems, totally deserted; but as the forfeits go on, the house does not suffer; and all clubs, I suppose, are unattended in the summer. We shall, I hope, meet in winter, and be cheerful.
"After this week, do not write to me till you hear again from me, for I know not well where I shall be; I have grown weary of the solitude of this place, and think of removal. I am, sir, your, &c."
cal. The asthma has remitted for a time, but is now very troublesome; the weakness still continues, but the dropsy has disappeared; and has twice, in the summer, yielded to medicine. I hope to return with a body somewhat, however little, relieved, and with a mind less dejected.
"I hope your dear lady and dear little ones are all well, and all happy; I love them all. I am, dear sir, your most humble servant,
vol. ii. p. 410.
"DR. JOHNSON TO MR. SASTRES. "Lichfield, 20th October, 1784. "SIR,-You have abundance of Letters, naughty tricks; is this your way of writing to a poor sick friend twice a week? Post comes after post, and brings no letter from Mr. Sastres. If you know any thing, write and tell it; if you know nothing, write and say that you know nothing.
"What comes of the specimen? If the booksellers want a specimen, in which a keen critick can spy no faults, they must wait for another generation. Had not the Crusca faults? Did not the academicians of France commit many faults? It is enough that a dictionary is better than others of the same kind. A perfect performance of any kind is not to be expected, and certainly not a perfect dictionary.
"Mrs. Desmoulins never writes, and I know not how things go on at home; tell me, dear sir, what you can.
"If Mr. Seward be in town, tell me his direction, for I ought to write to him.
"I am very weak, and have had bad nights. I am, dear sir, your, &c."
sc TO THE SAME.
"Lichfield, 1st November, 1784. "DEAR SIR,-i beg you to continue the frequency of your letters; every letter is a cordial; but you must not wonder that I do not answer with exact punctuality. You may always have something to tell you live among the various orders of mankind, and may make a letter from the exploits, sometimes of the philosopher, and sometimes of the pickpocket. You see some balloons succeed and some miscarry, and a thousand strange and a thousand foolish things. But I see nothing; I must make my letter from what I feel, and what I feel with so little delight, that I cannot love to talk of it.
2 The first life that was begun at the press was that of Cowley, in December, 1777. The progress made in Ja ly, 1778, appears above. Butler was the Life in which the Doctor at that time more particularly prided himself. Milton was begun in January, 1779, and finished in six weeks.-NICHOLS.
3 This refers to a hint given him in consequence of what is said in the Life of Prior, that of his "Tales there are only four."-NICHOLS.
4 It is now said to be "near Newcastle." Shelton (near Newcastle-under-Line) is to be found in Staffordshire in the Index Villaris of 1700.-NICHOLS.
he was living. Lord Orrery told me that Fenton was his tutor; but never thought he was his father's secretary'. Pray let me see the Oxford and Cambridge [Verses], &c. . If you are sure it was published by Fenton, I shall take notice of it."
"Mr. Johnson desires Mr. Nichols to send him Ruff head's Life of Pope, Pope's works, Swift's works with Dr. Hawkesworth's Life, Lyttelton's works; and with these he hopes to have done. The first to be got is Lyttelton."
"Mr. Johnson, being now at home, desires the last leaves of the criticism on Pope's epitaphs, and he will correct them. Mr. N. is entreated to save the proof sheets of Pope, because they are promised to a lady 3, who desires to have them."
"In reading Rowe in your edition, which is very impudently called mine, I observed a little piece unnaturally and odiously obscene. I was offended, but was still more offended when I could not find it in Rowe's genuine volumes. To admit it, had been wrong; to interpolate it, is surely worse. If I had known of such a piece in the whole collection, I should have been angry. What can be done?"
"24th May, 1780. "Mr. Johnson is obliged to Mr. Nichols for his communication 5, and must have Hammond again. Mr. Johnson would be glad of Blackmore's Essays for a few days."
"16th June, 1780.
"I have been out of order, but by bleeding and physick think I am better, and can go again to work. Your note on Broome will do me much good. Can you give me a few dates for A. Phillips? I wrote to Cambridge about them, but have had no answer."
"Dr. Warton tells me that Collins's first piece is in the Gent. Mag. for August, 1739. In August there is no such thing. Amasius was at that time the poetical name of Dr. Swan, who translated Sydenham. Where to find Collins I know not. I think I must make some short addition to Thomson's sheet, but will send it to-day."
"This Life of Dr. Young was written by a friend of his son [Mr. Croft]. What is crossed with black is expunged by the authour; what is
1 Dr. Johnson retracted this opinion, as Fenton in his Life is styled "secretary." Fenton was secretary to Lord Orrery when he commanded a regiment in Flanders, and was dismissed in 1705, four years before Dr. Johnson was born.-NICHOLS. [There is some mistake in the statement of Dr. Johnson. The first mention of Lord Orrery was probably a slip of the pen for Oxford,
whose secretary Lewis was.-ED.]
2 See Lives of the Poets, vol. ii. p. 111.-NICHOLS. 3 Probably to Miss Burney.-NICHOLS. The epigram on a lady at the tragedy of Cato, which fas not only appeared in the works of Rowe, but has been transplanted by Pope into the "Miscellanies" he published in his own name and that of Dean Swift. NICHOLS. [This would have been a sufficient excuse (if one were needed) for the Editor's omission of two or three indelicate expressions which escaped from Mr. Boswell in the course of his work.-ED.]
Lives of the Poets, vol. iii. p. 185.-NICHOLS.
crossed with red is expunged by me. If you find any thing more that can be well omitted, I shall not be sorry to see it yet shorter."
"16th August, 1780.
I expected to have found a Life of Lord Lyttelton prefixed to his works. Is there not one before the quarto edition? I think there is; if not, I am, with respect to him, quite aground."
"Brighthelmstone, 26th Oct. 1780.
"I think you never need send back the revises unless something important occurs. Little things, if I omit them, you will do me the favour of setting right yourself. Our post is awkward, as you will find, and I fancy you will find it best to send two sheets at once."
"16th April, 1781. "Mr. Johnson desires Mr. Nichols to send him a set of the last Lives, and would be glad to know how the octavo edition goes forward."
"10th June, 1781. "My desire being to complete the sets of Lives which I have formerly presented to my friends, I have occasion for a few of the first volumes; of which, by some misapprehension, I have received a great number, which I desire to exchange for the latter volumes. I wish success to the new edition. Please to deliver to Mr. Steevens a complete set of the Lives in 12mo."
"26th December, 1781. "Mr. Johnson, being much out of order, sent in search of the book, but it is not found. He will, if he is better, look himself diligently tomorrow. He thanks Mr. Nichols for all his favours."
"28th October, 1782. "What will the booksellers give me for this new edition? I know not what to ask. I would have twenty-four sets bound in plain calf, and figured with the number of the volumes. For the rest, they may please themselves."
UNPUBLISHED Prayers by Dr. Johnson. "Easter day, 15th April, 1759. "ALMIGHTY and most merciful Father, look down with pity upon my MSS. sins. I am a sinner, good Lord; but let not my sins burthen me for ever. Give me thy grace to break the chain of evil custom. Enable me to shake off idleness and sloth: to will and to do what thou hast commanded, grant me chaste in thoughts, words and actions; to love and frequent thy worship, to study and understand thy word; to be diligent in my calling, that I may support myself and relieve others.
"Forgive me, O Lord, whatever my mother has suffered by my fault, whatever I have done amiss, and whatever duty I have neglected. Let me not sink into useless dejection; but so sanctify my affliction, O Lord, that I may be converted and healed; and that, by the help of thy holy Spirit, I may obtain everlasting life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
"And O Lord, so far as it may be lawful, I commend unto thy fatherly goodness my father, brother, wife and mother, beseeching thee to make them happy for Jesus Christ's sake. Amen."
"O Lord, who wouldst that all men should be saved, and who knowest that without thy grace we can do nothing acceptable to thee, have mercy upon me. Enable me to break the chain of my sins, to reject sensuality in thought, and to overcome and suppress vain scruples; and to use such diligence in lawful employment as may enable me to support myself and do good to others. O Lord, forgive me the time lost in idleness; pardon the sins which I have committed, and grant that I may redeem the time mispent, and be reconciled to thee by true repentance, that I may live and die in peace, and be received to everlasting happiness. Take not from me, O Lord, thy holy Spirit, but let me have support and comfort for Jesus Christ's sake. Amen.
Transc. June 26th, 1768. Of this prayer there is no date, nor can I conjecture when it was composed."
ACCOUNT of Dr. Johnson's last Dinner 1 at Streatham.
"Oct. 6, Die Dominica, 1782. "Pransus sum Streathamiæ agninum crus Rose coctum cum herbis (spinach) comminutis, farcimen farinaceum cum uvis passis, lumbos bovillos, et pullum gallina Turcicæ; et post carnes missas, ficus, uvas, non admodum maturas, ita voluit anni intemperies, cum malis Persicis, is tamen duris. Non lætus accubui, cibum modice sumpsi, ne intemperantià ad extremum peccaretur. Si recte memini, mentem venerunt epulæ in exequiis Hadoni celebratæ. Streathamiam quando revisan?"
A POETICAL REVIEW of the Literary and Moral Character of the late SAMUEL JOHNSON, LL. D. with Notes by JOHN COURTENAY, Esq.
Man is thy theme; his virtue, or his rage,
London Printed for Charles Dilly, in the Poultry, 1786.
The following poem was never very popular, and is now so scarce that it was not without difficulty that a copy was procur
1 [He seems to have taken leave of the kitchen as well
As of the church at Streatham in Latin. See ante, p. 322. The phrase "ne intemperantii ad extremum peccaretur" is remarkable, and proves that this, which at first sight looks like burlesque, was written when in sober
2 [These two mottos would suit Mr. Boswell's work better than Mr. Courtenay's. The reader will observe in the latter quotation the original of Pope's celebrated and beautiful compliment to St. John.-Essay on Man, Epist. iv. 1. 385.-ED.]
ed on this occasion to print from. The subject, "sermoni proprior," is not favourable to poetry; the criticism is sometimes superficial and erroneous; and the raillery frequently offends good feeling and good taste. It is, however, with all its defects, and, indeed, on account of these defects, deserving a place in this collection of Johnsoniana, not only as a tribute to the general excellence of Dr. Johnson's character, but in order that some of the errors it contains may be corrected.
The authour, once a considerable person in the political and literary world, is fading so fast from public memory, that the Editor is glad to be able to present his readers with the following biographical notice of Mr. Courtenay, from the pen of their common friend, Sir James Mackintosh.-ED.]
BIOGRAPHICAL NOTICE OF MR. COURTENAY. JOHN COURTENAY was so intimate a friend of Boswell, and so long a mem ber of the club, founded by Johnson, that a short account of him may not be misplaced in this work.
He was born at Carlingford, in August, 1738. The first of his family in Ireland settled there in the reign of Elizabeth, and married a sister of the Deputy Chichester, as appears from a monument at Carrickfergus. His grandfather served under King William at the Boyne. His father, a younger obtained a situation in the revenue. He was himself educated at the school of Dundalk, where he read and relished the best writers of Greece and Rome; but he became so much infected with a passion for the army, or rather, for its show and dissipation, that he would not gratify his father by pursuing his studies at the university.
In 1756 he purchased an ensigncy, and seems to have combined the conviviality of the time with desultory reading and careless composition. In 1765, when on the eve of purchasing a conrelinquished the army in a fit of ill humour, and pany, he was disappointed by an accident: be applied the purchase-money to buy the place of a commissary of musters, thus unfortunately reneancing all regular advancement in a profession. He married, obtained leave to sell his place, and, after paying his debts, found himself possessed of st hundred pounds.
About that time, Dr. Lucas, a man then popalar at Dublin, had published a severe pamphlet sist the sentence of a court-martial. Courtenay, prompted by old military feelings, employed his very idle hours in an answer, which obtained some commendation, and earned for him the patHe soon after became one of the writers of the ronage of Lord Townshend, then lord-lieutenant.
Bachelor," a government paper, conducted by Simcox, a clergyman, but chiefly written by Courtenay, Marlay, afterward a bishop, and Jephson, a dramatic poet of note. It was a main part of the task of these advocates of the
3 [Ante, p. 283.-ED.]
Ante, vol. i. p. 260, and p. 337 of this vol.-E.D. `
Castle to counteract the "Baratarian Letters," an Irish imitation of Junius, which, attacking the lord-lieutenant's government, received contributions from Flood, and first published Grattan's character of Chatham. Previous to the recall of the lord-lieutenant he gave Courtenay the place of barrack-master of Kinsale, and soon after his return to England appointed him secretary to the master-general of the ordnance. Though in that confidential relation to a minister, Courtenay agreed more in opinion, and was more connected with the Opposition, as may be pretty certainly inferred from his intimacy with Mr. Windham, than an oppositionist of more than common violence, who used to meet him often at the Thatched-house, as Courtenay said, to drink a glass to the health of General Washington.
political opponents in times of much heat. Mr. Windham and Lord Stowell, Mr. Malone, and even Mr. Burke, continued to show kindness to him. He was frequently a guest of Sir Joshua Reynolds, of whose table he gave an amusing description [which is inserted ante, p. 78.]
His parliamentary speeches, by which he was best known, did injustice to his powers. He was in truth a man of fine talents, and of various accomplishments, which rendered his conversation agreeable, as his good-nature and kind heart obtained for him the attachment of many excellent friends. But, from his speeches, strangers mistook him for a jester by profession. Every Irishman has wit, but Courtenay's drollery had not that polish and urbanity, of which pleasantry stands in greater need than perhaps any other endowment.
In 1780, Lord Townshend gave him a seat for Tamworth, which he long retained. He sometimes made ineffectual attempts to vindicate his consistency in voting for the minister, on the plea that he could no longer support the Americans after they had received French aid; as if those, whom he considered as exposing themselves to destruction in a righteous cause, might not lawfully seek for succour wherever they could find it. This, however, was the period of his chief success in parliament. He was then invited often to the evening convivial parties of Rigby, a man of wit and pleasure he became an intimate friend of Mr. Gerard Hamilton, a man of considerable literature and of fastidious taste in his companions, and of Boswell, a zealous but good-natured tory.
He fell into two not easily forgotten mistakes; the one was a somewhat unrefined attack on Mr. Canning, whom he mistook for a declaiming schoolboy; the other was an attack on Mr. Wilberforce, whose meekness and gentleness he unluckily regarded, before he knew him, as proofs of want of wit. The following extract from some criticism on parliamentary speakers written by him long after, is an agreeable proof that, in the case of Mr. Wilberforce, he discovered his error, and was willing to acknowledge the justice of the chastisement. “He (Mr. W.) is quick and acute in debate, and always prompt to answer and reply. When he is provoked to personality (which seldom happens) he retorts in a poignant and refined vein of satire, peculiarly his own." same criticism he makes reparation to Mr. Canning, by owning that his wit is keen," but he tries to excuse himself by adding, “that it is sometimes flippant."
He died at his humble lodging, in Duke-street, Portland-place, on the 21st of March, 1815, in the seventy-eighth year of his age.
At the coalition, in 1783, he was appointed surveyor-general of the ordnance. After the expulsion of that administration, he refused to retain the office, which was handsomely offered to him by the Duke of Richmond: the letters of both do them credit. Henceforwards he attached himself to Mr. Fox, during a long and rigid exclusion from office. On one occasion he took a step not To the early connexion of Mr. Courtenay with believed to be agreeable to that great man. At a General Fraser, in the family of Lord Townsdinner at Lord Lauderdale's, in Leicester-square, hend, the writer of this note, (who is the Generin spring 1792, he put his name, with others, of al's grand-nephew) owed the beginning of a whom the present writer was one, to the Associ- | kindness which lasted till Courtenay's death. ation of the "Friends of the People for the pro- | Fraser was Lord Townshend's aid-de-camp at motion of Parliamentary Reform," saying, as he Quebec in 1759, where by means of some French pushed the writing materials on to his next neigh-acquired when an officer in the Scotch regiments bour, "There goes Tamworth." Mr. Fox, with in the service of the states-general, he had the difficulty, saved him from the necessity of leaving good fortune to render a more important service England in 1796 and in 1802, by procuring a seat than is usually within the reach of an officer of for him. the rank which he held at that time. When rowing down the river St. Lawrence, and on the point of landing, the night before the battle, they were observed by a French sentinel, who called to him for "the word," which the British officers did not know. Fraser answered in an audible whisper in French, “Hold your tongue; they will overhear us." The sentinel believed them to be a French reinforcement, and they effected their landing without disturbance. He went with Lord Townshend to Ireland, and he was killed in Burgoyne's army at Stillwater, near Saratoga, on the 7th October, 1777. His death has been affectingly represented by the pencil and the pen.
In 1806, Mr. Fox wished to have restored him to the ordnance, but a high influence obtained that place for another, and Courtenay, after twenty-five years of opposition, had a twelvemonth's seat at the treasury.
In 1812, when aged, lonely, infirm, and nearly bed-ridden, he was rescued from cruel sufferings by the generosity of the late Lord Thanet. Even in that situation, when found at his dinner, con- | sisting of the claw of a lobster, by one of his few | visiters, he used to make his repast a subject of
The writer attended Mr. Courtenay's funeral, almost the only duty of a friend and an executor which circumstances left for him to perform ; unless he may be allowed to consider as another of
The happy marriages of two daughters were, for a short time, bright spots in his little sphere; but though his life was unprosperous, it was not, thanks to his temper, unhappy. The consolations of friendship he deserved and possessed among