Page images
PDF
EPUB

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 his friend Dr. Burney appears from the following letters :

“ TO THE REVEREND DR. WHEELER, OXFORD. “DEAR SIR,

London, November 2, 1778. “Dr. Burney, who brings this paper, is engaged in a History of Music; 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 my friend, and therefore I take the liberty of entreating your favour and assistance in his inquiry; and can assure you, with gre 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 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."

TO THE REVEREND DR. EDWARDS, OXFORD. “SIR,

London, November 2, 1778. “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 Music; 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 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. “I am, Sir, your humble servant,

“SAM. JOHNSON."

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 younger 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 of females, and call them his Seraglio. He thus mentions them, together with honest Levett, in one of his letters to Mrs. Thrale :“Williams hates everybody ; Levett hates Desmoulins, and does not love Williams; Desmoulins hates them both ; Polli loves none of them."

“TO JAMES BOSWELL, ESQ. “ DEAR SIR,

November 21, 1778. "It is indeed a long time since I wrote, and think you must have some reason to complain ; however, you must not let small things disturb you when you have such a fine addition to your happiness as a new boy, and I hope your lady's health is retored 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.

*

*

*

66

“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 Warleycommon; 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 thero 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.

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,

“SAM. JOHNSON."

About this time the Rev. Mr. John Hussey, who had been some time

Miss Carmichael.-BOSWELL.

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. “ DEAR SIR,

December, 29, 1778. “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,
“ Your affectionate, humble servant,

“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 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 temoignage du contentement que j'ai ressentie à la lecture de ses excellens discours sur la Peinture."

[ocr errors][graphic][merged small][merged small]

PUBLICATION OF JOHNSON'S " LIVES OF THE POETS"-DEATH OF GARRICK_REV. MR.

FALCONER-PHILIDOR-TASKER'S ODE-A MAN OF THE WORLD-GOLDSMITH'S “VICAR OF WAKEFIELD"-LETTERS OF JUNIUS-SHERIDAN-ADVANTAGES OF LONDON-GOOD FRIDAY-EASTER-DAY-SKINNING AN EEL-CLARET, PORT, AND BRANDY-SHAKSPEARE'S WITCHES—BEAUTY OF LOCH-LOMOND-DR. DRUMMOND-LOVE OF LIBERTY-EXECUTION OF HACKMAN-ALTERCATION BETWEEN JOHNSON AND BEAUCLERK-MALLET-MR. FITZHERBERT—FRIENDSHIP-GARRICK-CHESTERFIELD-JOHNSON'S IDEAS OF DRINKING -DR. TAYLOR-PARENTAL AFFECTION-JOHNSON'S INTERVIEW WITH LORD MARCHMONT -POPE-PARNELL'S “HERMIT" - BOSWELL'S DEPARTURE FOR SCOTLAND-CORRESPONDENCE-BOSWELL'S INTRODUCTION TO JOIN WESLEY-DEATH OF EDWARD DILLY.

THIS yeer Johnson gave the world a luminous proof that the vigour

of his mind, in all its faculties, whether memory, judgn nt, 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 per

petuity 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 22nd of January I wrote to him on several topics, 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.

MR. BOSWELL TO DR. JOHNSON.

“MY DEAR SIR,

Edinburgh, Feb. 2, 1779. Garrick’s death is a striking event; not that we should be surprised with the death of any man who has lived sixty-two years, but because there was a vivacity in our late celebrated friend, which drove away the thoughts of death from any association with him. I am sure you will be tenderly affected with his departure; and I would wish to hear from you upon the subject. I was obliged to him in my days of effervescence in London, when poor Derrick was my governor; and since that time I received many civilities from him. Do you remember how pleasing it was, when I received a letter from him at Inverary, upon our first return to civilised living, after our Hebridean journey. I shall always remember him with affection as well as admiration.

On Saturday last, being the 30th of January, I drank coffee and old port, and had solemn conversation with the Reverend Mr. Falconer, a nonjuring bishop, a very learned and worthy man. He gave two toasts, which you will believe I drank with cordiality-Dr. Samuel Johnson, and Flora Macdonald. I sat about four hours with him, and it was really as if I had been living in the last century. The Episcopal Church of Scotland, though faithful to the royal house of Stuart has never accepted of any congé d'élire, since the Revolution; it is the only true Episcopal Church in Scotland, as it has its own succession of bishops. For as to the episcopal clergy, who take the oaths to the present government, they indeed follow the rites of the Church of England; but, as Bishop Falconer observed, they are not Episcopals ; for they are under no bishop, as a bishop cannot have authority beyond his diocese.' This venerable gentleman did me the honour to dine with me yesterday, and he laid his hands

1 Life of Watts.-BOSWELL. 2 On Mr. Garrick's monument, in Lichfield Cathedral, he is said to have died, “aged 64 years.” But it is a mistake, and Mr. Boswell is perfectly correct. Garrick was baptised at Hereford, Feb. 28, 1716-17, and died at his house in London, Jan. 20, 1779. The inaccuracy of lapidary inscriptions is well known.-MALONE.

The following is a copy of the inscription on Garrick's monument,—the figures 64, referred to by Malone, having been altered to 63.

Eva Maria, relict of DAVID GARRICK, Esq.,
raised this monument to the memory of her beloved husband,

who died the 20th of January, 1779, aged 63 years.
He had not only the amiable qualities of private life,

but such astonishing dramatic talents,
as to well verify the observation of his friend,

“ His death eclipsed the gaiety of nations,
and impoverished the public stock of harmless pleasure."

« PreviousContinue »