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of seeing her again will be one of the motives that will bring me into Hampshire.
“I have taken care of your book; being so far from doubting your subscription, that I think you have subscribed twice : you once paid your guinea into my own hand in the garret in Gough Square. When you light on your receipt, throw it on the fire; if you find a second receipt, you may have a second book.
“ To tell the truth, as I felt no solicitude about this work, I receive no great comfort from its conclusion ; but yet am well enough pleased that the public has no farther claim upon me. I wish you would write more frequently to, dear sir, your affectionate humble servant,
“ SAM. JOHNSON.”
Mr. Burney having occasion to write to Johnson for some receipts for subscriptions to his Shakspeare, which Johnson had omitted to deliver when the money was paid, he availed himself of that opportunity of thanking Johnson for the great pleasure which he had received from the perusal of his Preface to Shakspeare; which, although it excited much clamour against him at first, is now justly ranked among the most excellent of his writings. To this letter Johnson returned the following answer :
LETTER 95. TO CHARES BURNEY, ESQ.
16 Oct. 16. 1765. Sir,-1 am sorry that your kindness to me has brought upon you so much trouble, though you have taken care to abate that sorrow, by the pleasure which I receive from your approbation. I defend my criticism in the same manner with you. We must confess the faults of our favourite, to gain credit to our praise of his excellencies. He that claims, either in himself or
for another, the honours of perfection, will surely injure the reputation which he designs to assist. Be pleased to make my compliments to your family. I am, Sir, your most obliged and most humble servant,
From one of his Journals I transcribed what follows:
“ At church, Oct. — 65.
“ To come in before service, and compose my mind by meditation, or by reading some portions of scripture. Tetty.
“ If I can hear the sermon, to attend it, unless attention be more troublesome than useful.
“ To consider the act of prayer as a reposal of myself upon God, and a resignation of all into his holy hand.”
In 1764 and 1765 it should seem that Dr. Johnson was so busily employed with his edition of Shakspeare, as to have had little leisure for any other literary exertion, or, indeed, even for private correspondence. He did not favour me with a single letter for more than two years, for which it will appear that he afterwards apologised.
He was, however, at all times ready to give assistance to his friends, and others, in revising their works, and in writing for them, or greatly improving, their Dedications. In that courtly species of composition no man excelled Dr.Johnson. Though
(1) He was probably proposing to himself the model of this excellent person, who for his piety was named the Seraphic Doctor.
the loftiness of his mind prevented him from ever dedicating in his own person, he wrote a very great number of Dedications for others. Some of these, the persons who were favoured with them, are unwilling should be mentioned, from a too anxious apprehension, as I think, that they might be suspected of having received larger assistance; and some, after all the diligence I have bestowed, have escaped my inquiries. He told me, a great many years ago, “ he believed he had dedicated to all the Royal Family round;" and it w s indifferent to him what was the subject of the v rk dedicated, provided it were innocent. He on è dedicated some music for the German Flutet ard, Duke of York. In writing Dedications tu. wwwls, he considered himself as by no means speaking his own sentiments.
Notwithstanding his long silence, I never omitted to write to him, when I had any thing worthy of communicating I generally kept copies of my letters to him, that I might have a full view of our correspondence, and never be at a loss to understand any reference in his letters. He kept the greater part of mine very carefully; and a short time before his death was attentive enough to seal them up in bundles, and ordered them to be delivered to me, which was accordingly done. Amongst them I found one, of which I had not made a copy, and which I own I read with pleasure at the distance of almost twenty years. It is dated November, 1765, at the palace of Pascal Paoli, in Corte, the capital of Corsica, and is full of generous enthusiasm. After giving a sketch of what I had seen and heard in that island, it proceeded thus: “I dare to call this a spirited tour. I dare to challenge your approbation."
This letter produced the following answer, which I found on my arrival at Paris.
LETTER 96. À M. M. BOSWELL,
Chez Mo Waters, Banquier, à Paris.
“ Johnson's Court, Fleet Street, Jan. 14. 1766. “ DEAR SIR, Apologies are seldom of any use. We will delay till you? arrival the reasons, good or bad, which have made me such a sparing and ungrateful correspondent assured, for the present, that nothing has lessenec, the esteem or love with which I dismissed you at Harwich. Both have been increased by all that I have been told of you by yourself or others; and when you return, you will return to an unaltered, and, I hope, unalterable friend.
.“ All that you have to fear from me is the vexation of disappointing me. No man loves to frustrate expectations which have been formed in his favour; and the pleasure which I promise myself from your journals and remarks is so great, that perhaps no degree of attention or discernment will be sufficient to afford it.
“Come home, however, and take your chance. I long to see you, and to hear you ; and hope that we shall not be so long separated again. Come home, and expect such welcome as is due to him, whom a wise and noble curiosity has led, where perhaps no native of this country ever was before.
“I have no news to tell you that can deserve your notice ; nor would I willingly lessen the pleasure that any novelty may give you at your return. I am afraid we shall find it difficult to keep among us a mind which VOI JI.
has been so long feasted with variety. But let us try what esteem and kindness can effect.
“ As your father's liberality has indulged you with so long a ramble, I doubt not but you will think his sickness, or even his desire to see you, a sufficient reason for hastening your return. The longer we live, and the more we think, the higher value we learn to put on the friendship and tenderness of parents and of friends. Parents we can have but once; and he promises himself too much, who enters life with the expectation of finding many friends. Upon some motive, I hope, that you will be here soon ; and am willing to think that it will be an inducement to your return, that it is sincerely desired by, dear Sir, your affectionate humble servant,
“ SAM. JOHNSON."
LETTER 97. TO MRS. LUCY PORTER.
• Johnson's Court, Fleet Street, Jan. 14. 1766. “ DEAR MADAM,- The reason why I did not answer your letters was that I can please myself with no answer. I was loth that Kitty should leave the house till I had seen it once more, and yet for some reasons I cannot well come during the session of parliament. I am unwilling to sell it, yet hardly know why. If it can be let, it should be repaired, and I purpose to let Kitty have part of the rent while we both live ; and wish that you would get it surveyed, and let me know how much money will be necessary to fit it for a tenant. I would not have you stay longer than is convenient, and I thank you for your care of Kitty.
“ Do not take my omission amiss. I am sorry for it, but know not what to say. You must act by your own prudence, and I shall be pleased. Write to me again ; I do not design to neglect you any more.
It is great pleasure for me to hear from you ; but this whole affair