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observe the forms of visiting the guards, for the seeing that they and their sentries are ready in their duty on their several posts. He took occasion to converse at times on military topicks, one in particular, that I see the mention of, in your • Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides,' which lies open before me,' as to gunpowder; which he spoke of to the same effect, in
relate. “On one occasion, when the regiment were going through their exercise, he went quite close to the men at one of the extremities of it, and watched all their practices attentively; and, when he came away, his remark was, “The men indeed do load their musquets and fire with wonderful celerity. He was likewise particular in requiring to know what was the weight of the musket balls in use, and within what distance they might be expected to take effect when fired off.
“In walking among the tents, and observing the difference between those of the officers and private men, he said, that the superiority of accommodation of the better conditions of life, to that of the inferiour ones, was never exhibited to him in so distinct a view.
The civilities paid to him in the camp were, from the gentlemen of the Lincolnshire regiment, one of the officers of which accommodated him with a tent in which he slept; and from General Hall, who
very courteously invited him to dine with him, where he appeared to be very well pleased with his entertainment, and the civilities he received on the part of the General ; ? the attention likewise of the General's aid-de-camp, Captain Smith, seemed to be very welcome to him, as appeared by their engaging
1 Third Edition, p. 111.
2 When I one day at. Court expressed to General Hall my sense of the Honour he had done my friend, he politely answered, “Sir, I did myself honour.”
in a great deal of discourse together. The gentlemen of the East York regiment likewise, on being informed of his coming, solicited his company at dinner, but by that time he had fixed his departure, so that he could not comply with the invitation.”
TO JAMES BOSWELL, ESQ.
“I have received two letters from you, of which the second complains of the neglect shewn to the first. You must not tie your friends to such punctual correspondence. You have all possible assurances of
my affection and esteem; and there ought to be no need of reiterated professions. When it may happen that I can give you either counsel or comfort, I hope it will never happen to me that I should neglect you; but you must not think me criminal or cold, if I say nothing when I have nothing to say.
ou are now happy enough. Mrs. Boswell is recovered; and I congratulate you upon the probability of her long life. If general approbation will add any thing to your enjoyment, I can tell you that I have heard you mentioned as a man whon every body likes. I think life has little more to give.
has gone to his regiment. He has laid down his coach, and talks of making more contractions of his expense: how he will succeed, I know not. It is difficult to reform a household gradually; it may
be better done by a system totally new. afraid he has always something to hide. When we pressed him to go to he objected the necessity of attending his navigation ; yet he could talk of going to Aberdeen, a place not much nearer his navigation. I beliere he cannot bear the thought of living
at in a state of diminution, and of appearing among the gentlemen of the neighbourhood shorn of his beams. This is natural, but it is cowardly. What I told him of the increasing expense of a growing family, seems to have struck him. He certainly had gone on with very confused views, and we have, I think, shewn him that he is wrong; though, with the common deficience of advisers, we have not shewn him how to do right.
“I wish you would a little correct or restrain your imagination, and imagine that happiness, such as life admits, may be had at other places as well as London. Without asserting Stoicism, it may be said, that it is our business to exempt ourselves as much as we can from the power of external things. There is but one solid basis of happiness: and that is, the reasonable hope of a happy futurity. This may be had every where.
“ I do not blame your preference of London to other places, for it is really to be preferred, if the choice is free; but few have the choice of their place, or their manner of life; and mere pleasure ought not to be the prime motive of action.
“ Mrs. Thrale, poor thing, has a daughter. Mr. Thrale dislikes the times, like the rest of us. Mrs. Williams is sick ; Mrs. Desmoulins is poor.
I have miserable nights. Nobody is well but Mr. Levett.
“I am, dear sir,
“ Your most, &c. “ London, July 3, 1778.”
" SAM. JOHNSON."
In the course of this year there was a difference be
1 [I suspect that this is a misprint, and that Johnson wrote “s without affecting Stoicism;"_but the original letter being burned in a mass of papers in Scotland, I have not been able to ascertain whether my conjecture is well founded or not. The expression in the text, however, may be justified. M.]
tween him and his friend Mr. Strahan; the particulars of which it is unnecessary to relate. Their reconciliation was communicated to me in a letter from Mr. Strahan in the following words:
“ The notes I shewed you that passed between him and me were dated in March last. The matter lay dormant till July 27, when he wrote to me as follows:
TO WILLIAM STRAHAN, ESQ.
• It would be very foolish for us to continue strangers any longer. You can never by persistency make wrong right. If I resented too acrimoniously, I resented only to yourself. Nobody ever saw or heard what I wrote. You saw that my anger was over, for in a day or two I came to your house. I have given you a longer time; and I hope you have made so good use of it, as to be no longer on evil terms with, sir,
“On this I called upon him: and he has since dined with me.”
After this time, the same friendship as formerly continued between Dr. Johnson and Mr. Strahan. My friend mentioned to me a little circumstance of his attention, which, though we may smile at it, must be allowed to have its foundation in a nice and true knowledge of human life. - When I write to Scotland (said he), I employ Strahan to frank my letters, that he may have the consequence of appearing a Parliament-man among
“ TO CAPTAIN LANGTON,' WARLEY-CAMP. 56 DEAR SIR, “ When I recollect how long ago I was
received with so much kindness at Warley Common, I am ashamed that I have not made some inquiries after my
Pray how many sheep-stealers did you convict ? and how did you punish them? When are you to be cantoned in better habitations ? The air grows cold, and the ground damp. Longer stay in the camp cannot be without much danger to the health of the common men, if even the officers can escape.
“ You see that Dr. Percy is now Dean of Carlisle ; about five hundred a year, with a power of presenting himself to some good living. He is provided for.
« The session of the Club is to commence with that of the parliament. Mr. Banks desires to be admitted; he will be a very honourable accession.
“ Did the King please you? The Coxheath men, I think, have some reason to complain: Reynolds says your camp is better than theirs.
“ I hope you find yourself able to encounter this weather.* Take care of your own health ; and, as you can of your men. Be pleased to make my compliments to all the gentlemen whose notice I have had, and whose kindness I have experienced.
“ I am, dear sir,
- Your most humble servant, “ October 31, 1778."
“ SAM. JOHNSON."
1 Dr. Johnson here addresses his worthy friend, Bennet Langton, Esq. by his title as Captain of the Lincolnshire militia, in which he has since been most deservedly raised to the rank of Major.