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yet I cannot but hope that a good life might end at last in a contented death.
“ You see to what a train of thought I am drawn by the mention of myself. Let me now turn my attention upon you. I hope you take care to keep an exact journal, and to register all occurrences and observations; for your friends here expect such a book of travels as has not been often seen. You have given us good specimens in your letters from Lisbon. I wish you had staid longer in Spain, for no country is less known to the rest of Europe ; but the quickness of your discernment must make amends for the celerity of your motions. He that knows which way to direct his view, sees much in a little time.
“Write to me very often, and I will not neglect to write to you ; and I may, perhaps, in time, get something to write : at least, you will know by my letters, whatever else they may have or want, that I continue to be, your most affectionate friend,
« SAM. JOHNSON."
In 1762 he wrote for the Rev. Dr. Kennedy, rector of Bradley in Derbyshire, in a strain of very courtly elegance, a Dedication to the King* of that gentleman's work, entitled “ A complete System of Astronomical Chronology, unfolding the Scriptures." He had certainly looked at this work before it was printed; for the concluding paragraph is undoubtedly of his composition, of which let my readers judge:
“ Thus have I endeavoured to free religion and history from the darkness of a disputed and uncertain chronology ; from difficulties which have hitherto appeared insuperable, and darkness which no luminary or learning has hitherto been able to dissipate. I have estab ished the truth of the Mosaical account, by evi. dence which no transcription can corrupt, no negligence can lose, and no interest can pervert. I have shewn that the universe bears witness to the inspiration of its historian, by the revolution of its orbs and the succession of its seasons; that the stars in their courses fight against incredulity, that the works of God give hourly confirmation to the law, the prophets, and the gospel, of which one day telleth another, and one night certifieth another ; and that the validity of the sacred writings never can be denied, while the moon shall increase and wane, and the sun shall know his going down.”
He this year wrote also the Dedicationt to the Earl of Middlesex of Mrs. Lennox's “ Female Quixote,” and the Preface to the “ Catalogue of the Artists' Exhibition.”+
The following letter, which, on account of its intrinsic merit, it would have been unjust both to Johnson and the public to have withheld, was obtained for me by the solicitation of my friend Mr. Seward :
LETTER 78. TO DR. (NOW SIR GEORGE)
« June 1. 1762. “ DEAR SIR, — I make haste to answer your kind letter, in hope of hearing again from you before you
(1) George Leonard Staunton was born in Galway, in Ireland, in 1737, and having adopted the profession of medicine, which he studied in France, he came to London in 1760, where he wrote for the periodical publications of the day, and formed an acquaintance with Dr. Johnson. In 1762 he went to the West Indies, where he practised as a physician for a short time, and by that and some civil offices, accumulated a competent fortune, which he invested in estates in the island of Granada. He leave us. I cannot but regret that a man of your qualifications should find it necessary to seek an establishment in Guadaloupe, which if a peace should restore to the French, I shall think it some alleviation of the loss, that it must restore likewise Dr. Staunton to the English.
“ It is a melancholy consideration, that so much of our time is necessarily to be spent upon the care of living, and that we can seldom obtain ease in one respect but by resigning it in another ; yet I suppose we are by this dispensation not less happy in the whole, than if the spontaneous bounty of Nature poured all that we want into our hands. A few, if they were left thus to themselves, would, perhaps, spend their time in laudable pursuits ; but the greater part would prey upon the quiet of each other, or, in the want of other objects, would prey upon themselves.
“ This, however, is our condition, which we must improve and solace as we can : and though we cannot choose always our place of residence, we may in every place find rational amusements, and possess in every place the comforts of piety and a pure conscience.
“ In America there is little to he observed except
returned to England in 1770 ; but, in 1772, again went to Granada, where he was appointed attorney-general, and made the valuable acquaintance of Lord Macartney, who became governor of that island in 1774. By the capture of Granada by the French, in 1779, Lord Macartney lost his government, and Staunton his property. He returned to England with, it is supposed, little of the wreck of his fortune. Xe, however, had acquired Lord Macartney's friendship, and he accompanied his lordship to Madras in 1781 ; and for his distinguished services during his official residence there had a pension of 5001. per annum settled on him, in 1784, by the East India Company, and was created a baronet. When Lord Macartney was selected for the celebrated embassy to China, Sir George was named to accompany him as secretary and minister plenipotentiary. His splendid account of that embassy is well known. He died in London, January 14. 1801, and was buried in Westminster Abbey.-C.
natural curiosities. The new world must have man vegetables and animals with which philosophers are but little acquainted. I hope you will furnish yourself with some books of natural history, and some glasses and other instruments of observation. Trust as little as you can to report ; examine all you can by your own senses. I do not doubt but you will be able to add much to knowledge, and, perhaps, to medicine. Wild nations trust to simples ; and, perhaps, the Peruvian bark is not the only specific which those extensive regions may afford us.
“Wherever you are, and whatever be your fortune, be certain, dear Sir, that you carry with you my kind wishes ; and that whether you return hither, or stay in the other hemisphere, to hear that you are happy will give pleasure to, Sir, your most affectionate humble servant,
“ SAM. JOHNSON.”
A lady having at this time solicited him to obtain the Archbishop of Canterbury's patronage to have her son sent to the University,-one of those solicitations which are too frequent, where people, anxious for a particular object, do not consider propriety, or the opportunity which the
persons whom they solicit have to assist them, - he wrote to her the following answer; with a copy of which I am favoured by the Rev. Dr. Farmer (1), Master of Emanuel College, Cambridge.
(1) [Dr. Richard Farmer was born at Leicester, in 1735, and educated at Emanuel College, Cambridge, of which he became Master in 1775. In 1766 he published his celebrated “Essay on the Learning of Shakspeare;" a work by which, as Dr. Warton emphatically expresses it, “ an end is put for ever to the dispute concerning the Learning of Shakspeare.” He died Sept. 6. 1797.]
" June 8. 1762. “MADAM, — I hope you will believe that my delay in answering your letter could proceed only from my unwillingness to destroy any hope that you had formed. Hope is itself a species of happiness, and, perhaps, the chief happiness which this world affords: but, like all other pleasures immoderately enjoyed, the excesses of hope must be expiated by pain ; and expectations improperly indulged, must end in disappointment. If it be asked, what is the improper expectation which it is dangerous to indulge, experience will quickly answer, that it is such expectation as is dictated, not by reason, but by desire; expectation raised, not by the common occurrences of life, but by the wants of the expectant; an expectation that requires the common course of things to be changed, and the general rules of action to be broken.
“When you made your request to me, you should have considered, Madam, what you were asking. You ask me to solicit a great man, to whom I never spoke, for a young person whom I had never seen, upon a supposition which I had no means of knowing to be true. There is no reason why, amongst all the great, I should choose to supplicate the Archbishop, nor why, among all the possible objects of his bounty, the Archbishop should choose your son. I know, Madam, how unwillingly conviction is admitted, when interest opposes it; but surely, Madam, you must allow, that there is no reason why that should be done by me, which every other man may do with equal reason, and which, indeed, no man can do properly, without some very particular relation both to the Archbishop and to you. If I could help you in this exigence by any proper means, it would give me pleasure; but this proposal is so very remote from usual methods, that I can