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was in him an animated and lofty spirit;? and however complicated diseases might depress ordinary mortals, all who saw him beheld and acknowledged the invictum animum Catonis. Such was his intellectual ardour even at this time, that he said to one friend, “Sir, I look upon every day to be lost in which I do not make a new acquaintance;" and to another, when talking of his illness, “I will be conquered; I will not capitulate.” And such was his love of London, so high a relish had he of its magnificent extent and variety of intellectual entertainment, that he languished when absent from it, his mind having become quite luxurious from the long habit of enjoying the metropolis; and, therefore, although at Lichfield, surrounded with friends who loved and revered him, and for whom he had a very sincere affection, he still found that such conversation as London' affords could be found nowhere else. These feelings, joined probably to some flattering hopes of aid from the eminent physicians and surgeons in London, who kindly and generously attended him without accepting fees, made him resolve to return to the capital.
From Lichfield he came to Birmingham, where he passed a few days with his worthy old school-fellow, Mr. Hector, who thus writes to me:
“He was very solicitous with me to recollect some of our most early transactions, and transmit them to him, for I perceived nothing gave him greater pleasure than calling to mind those days of our innocence. I complied with his request, and he only received them a few days before his death. I have transcribed for your inspection exactly the minutes I wrote to him.”
This paper having been found in his repositories after his death, Sir John Hawkins has inserted it entire, and I
1 Mr. Burke suggested to me, as applicable to Johnson, what Cicero, in his Cato Major (cap. xi.), says of Appius : “Intentum enim animum, tanquam arcum, habebat, nec languescens succumbebat senectuti ;” re: peating at the same time the following noble words in the same passage: “ Ita enim senectus honesta est, si se ipsa defendit, si jus suum retinet, si nemini emancipata est, si usque ad extremum spiritum vindicet jus suum.”
If Boswell be correct, Burke's quotation, made from memory, is inaccurate ; instead of " vindicet jus suum,” read “ dominatur in suos."Editor.
BOSWELL'S LIFE OF JOHNSON.
have made occasional use of it and other communications from Mr. Hector in the course of this work. I have both visited and corresponded with him since Dr. Johnson's death, and by my inquiries concerning a great variety of particulars, have obtained additional information. I followed the same mode with the Reverend Dr. Taylor, in whose presence I wrote down a good deal of what he could tell; and he, at my request, signed his name, to give it authenticity. It is very rare to find any person who is able to give a distinct account of the life even of one whom he has known intimately, without questions being put to them. My friend Dr. Kippis has told me, that on this account it is a practice with him to draw out a biographical catechism.
Johnson then proceeded to Oxford, where he was again kindly received by Dr. Adams, who was pleased to give me the following account in one of his letters (Feb. 17th, 1785):
“ His last visit was, I believe, to my house, which he left after a stay of four or five days. We had much serious talk together, for which I ought to be the better as long as I live. You will remember some discourse which we had in the summer upon the subject of prayer, and the difficulty of this sort of composition. He reminded me of this, and of my having wished him to try his hand, and to give us a specimen of the style and manner that he approved. He added that he was now in a right frame of mind; and as he could not possibly employ his time better, he would in
1 It is a most agreeable circumstance attending the publication of this work, that Mr. Hector has survived his illustrious schoolfellow so many years; that he still retains his health and spirits; and has gratified me with the following acknowledgement: “I thank you, most sincerely thank you, for the great and long-continued entertainment your Life of Dr. Johnson has afforded me, and others of my particular friends.". Mr. Hector, besides setting me right as to the verses on a Sprig of Myrtle, has favoured me with two English odes, written by Dr. Johnson at an early period of his life, which will appear in my edition of his
This early and worthy friend of Johnson died at Birmingham, 2nd of September, 1794.—Malone.
This amiable and excellent man survived Dr. Johnson about four years, having died in January, 1789, at Gloucester, aged eighty-two. A very just character of Dr. Adams may be found in the Gent. Mag. for 1789, vol. lix., p. 214.—Malone.
BOSWELL'S LIFE OF JOHNSOX.
earnest set about it. But I find upon inquiry that no papers of this sort were left behind him, except a few short ejaculatory forms suitable to his present situation."
Dr. Adams had not then received accurate information on this subject : for it has since appeared that various prayers had been composed by him at different periods, which, intermingled with pious resolutions and some short notes of his life, were entitled by him “Prayers and Meditations,” and have, in pursuance of his earnest requisition, in the hopes of doing good, been published, with a judicious well - written preface, by the Reverend Mr. Strahan, to whom he delivered them. This admirable collection, to which I have frequently referred in the course of this work, evinces, beyond all his compositions for the public, and all the eulogies of his friends and admirers, the sincere virtue and piety of Johnson. It proves with unquestionable authenticity, that, amidst all his constitutional infirmities, his earnestness to conform his practice to the precepts of Christianity was unceasing, and that he habitually endeavoured to refer every transaction of his life to the will of the Supreme Being.
He arrived in London on the 16th of November, and next day sent to Dr. Burney the following note, which I insert as the last token of his remembrance of that ingenious and amiable man, and as another of the many proofs of the tenderness and benignity of his heart:
“Mr. Johnson, who came home last night, sends his respects to dear Dr. Burney and all the dear Burneys, little and great.”
TO MR. HECTOR.
“London, Nov. 17, 1784. “ DEAR SIR,
“I did not reach Oxford until Friday morning, and then I sent Francis to see the balloon fly, but could not go myself.
? See Appendix to this volume for a justification of Mr. Strahan's publication of the Prayers and Meditations.-Editor.
I staid at Oxford till Tuesday, and then came in the common vehicle easily to London. I am as I was, and having seen Dr. Brocklesby, am to ply the squills ; but, whatever be their efficacy, this world must soon pass away. Let us think seriously on our duty. I send my kindest respects to dear Mrs. Careless : let me have the prayers of both. We have all lived long, and must soon part. God have mercy on us for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen. I am, &c., “Sam. Johnson."
His correspondence with me, after his letter on the subject of my settling in London, shall now, so far as is proper, be produced in one series. July 26th, he wrote to me from Ashbourne:
“On the 14th, I came to Lichfield, and found every body glad enough to see me. On the 20th I came hither, and found a house half-built, of very uncomfortable appearance; but my own room has not been altered. That a man worn with diseases, in his seventy-second or third year, should condemn part of his remaining life to pass among ruins and rubbish, and that no inconsiderable part, appears to me very strange. I know that your kindness makes you impatient to know the state of my health, in which I cannot boast of much improvement. I came through the journey without much inconvenience, buý when I attempt self-motion I find my legs weak, and my breath very short: this day I have been much disordered. I have no company; the doctor [Taylor] is busy in his fields, and goes to bed at nine, and his whole system is so different from mine, that we seem formed for different elements; I have, therefore, all my amusement to seek within myself.”
Having written to him in bad spirits a letter filled with dejection and fretfulness, and at the same time expressing anxious apprehensions concerning him on account of a dream which had disturbed me; his answer was chiefly in terms of reproach, for a supposed charge of “affecting discontent, and indulging the vanity of complaint.” It, however, proceeded :
“ Write to me often, and write like a man. I consider your fidelity and tenderness as a great part of the comforts which are yet left me, and sincerely wish we could be nearer to each other. * * * My dear friend, life is very short and very uncertain ; let us spend it as well as we can. My worthy neighbour, Allen, is dead. Love me as well as you can. Pay my respects to dear Mrs. Boswell. Nothing ailed me at that time; let your superstition at last have an end."
Feeling very soon that the manner in which he had written might hurt me, he two days afterwards (July 28), wrote to me again, giving me an account of his sufferings; after which he thus proceeds :
“Before this letter you will have had one which I hope you will not take amiss; for it contains only truth, and that truth kindly intended. Spartam quam nactus es orna; make the most and best of your lot, and compare yourself not with the few that are above you, but with the multitudes which are below you. Go steadily forwards with lawful business or honest diversions. • Be,' as Temple 1 says of the Dutchman, 'well when you are not ill, and pleased when you are not angry. This may seem but an ill return for your tenderness; but I mean it well, for I love you with great ardour and sincerity. Pay my respects to dear Mrs. Boswell, and teach the young ones to love me.”
I unfortunately was so much indisposed during a considerable part of the year, that it was not, or at least I thought it was not, in my power to write to my illustrious friend as formerly, or without expressing such complaints as offended him. Having conjured him not to do me the injustice of charging me with affectation, I was with much regret long silent. His last letter to me then came, and affected me very tenderly :
TO JAMES BOSWELL, ESQ.
“Lichfield, Nov. 5, 1784. “ Dear Sir,
“I have this summer sometimes amended, and sometimes relapsed, but, upon the whole, have lost ground very much. My
? Obs. upon the United Provinces, chap. iv. Works, vol. i., p. 170, Lond. 1757 - Editor.