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vol. ii. p. 300.
“ I am going next week into Kent, and [Mr. Murphy states that in the Murph. purpose to change the air frequently this month of August he set out for Essay, summer : whether I shall wander so far as Lichfield on a visit to Miss Lucy p. 121. Staffordshire I cannot tell. I should be Porter ; and in his way back paid his reglad to come. Return my thanks to Mrs. spects to Dr. Adams, at Oxford. If the Cobb, and Mr. Pearson, and all that have dates of the letters published by Mrs. shown attention to me.
Thrale be correct, it is hardly possible “Let us, my dear, pray for one another, that he could have gone to Lichfield, and and consider our sufferings as notices there is barely time for a short excursion to mercifully given us to prepare ourselves for Oxford, where, however, it seems from the another state.
following letters, he certainly was about this “I live now but in a melancholy way. period.] My old friend Mr. Levett is dead, who lived with me in the house, and was useful
[“ TO MRS. THRALE. and companionable ; Mrs. Desmoulins is
" London, 13th August, 1783. gone away; and Mrs. Williams is so much
« Of this world, in which you
Letters decayed, that she can add little to another's represent me as delighting to live, I gratifications. The world passes away,
can say little. Since I came home and we are passing with it; but there is, I have only been to church, once to Burdoubtless, another world, which will endure ney's, once to Paradise's, and once to Rey. for ever. Let us all fit ourselves for it. I nolds's. With Burney I saw Dr. Rose, * SAM. JOHNSON." his new relation, with whom I have been
many years acquainted. If I discovered Murph.
(During his illness Mr. Murphy no reliques of disease, I am glad ; but FanEssay, visited him, and found him reading ny's trade is fiction 2. p. 121. Dr. Watson's Chemistry : articula
“I have since partaken of an epidemical ting with difficulty, he said, « From this
disorder; but common evils produce no debook he who knows nothing may learn a
jection. great deal, and he who knows will be
« Paradise's company, I fancy, disappointpleased to find his knowledge recalled to his
ed him; I remember nobody. With Reymind in a manner highly pleasing.").
nolds was the Archbishop of Tuam, a man Such was the general vigour of his con
coarse of voice and inelegant of language 3. stitution, that he resovered from this alarm
“I am now broken with disease, without ing and severe attack with wonderful quick- the alleviation of familiar friendship or doness ; so that in July he was able to make mestick society: I have no middle state a visit to Mr. Langton at Rochester, where between clamour and silence, between genhe passed about a fortnight, and made little eral conversation and self-tormenting soliexcursions as easily as at any time of his tude. Levett is dead, and poor Williams is life.
making haste to die : I know not if she will
ever come out of her chamber. [“ TO MRS. THRALE.
“ I am now quite alone; but let me turn " London, 8th July, 1783. my thoughts another way.” “ Langton and I have talked of passing a little time at Rochester together, till
“ TO MISS REYNOLDS. neither knows well how to refuse; though
“ 18th August, 1783. I think he is not eager to take me, and I “ MY DEAREST DEAR,—I wish all am not desirous to be taken. His family is that you have heard of my health Reyn. numerous, and his house little. I have let were true ; but be it as it may, if him know, for his relief, that I do not mean you will be pleased to name the day and to burden him more than a week. He is, hour when you would see me, I will be however, among those who wish me well, as punctual as I can. I am, madam, your and would exert what power he has to do most humble servant, me good."
“SAM. JOHNSON." “ London, 232 July, 1783.
“ TO MRS. THRALE. “ I have been thirteen days at Rochester,
“ London, 20th August, 1783. and am now just returned. 'I came back by
« This has been a day of great water in a common boat twenty miles for a
emotion; the office of the commushilling, and when I landed at Billingsgate
nion for the sick has been performI carried my budget myself to Cornhill before I could get a coach, and was not much
ed in poor Mrs. Williams's chamber. At incommoded."]
2 (Miss Fanny Burney, the celebrated novel
ist, had, it seems, given what Johnson feared i The Reverend Mr. Pearson, to whom Mrs. was too favourable an account of him.-ED.) Lucy Porter bequeathed the greater part of her 3 [Hon. Jos. Deane Bourke, afterwards Earl property.-MALONE.
of Mayo.--Ed.] VOL. II.
home I see alınost all my companions dead Toward the end of August he went as far
U TO DR. BROCKLESBY.
“Heale, near Salisbury, 29th August, 1783. “I read your last kind letter with great
DEAR SIR,— Without appearing to delight; but when I came to love and hon- want a just sense of vour kind attention, 1 our, what sprung in
my mind ?-How cannot omit to give an account of the day loved, how honoured once, avails thee
which seemed to appear in some sort perilnot.
I rose at five, and went out at six; “I sat to Mrs. Reynolds yesterday for and having reached Salisbury about nine, my picture, perhaps the tenth time; and I went forward a few miles in my friend's sat for three hours with the patience of mor
chariot. I was no more wearied with the tal born to bear."
journey, though it was a high-hung, rough
coach, than I should have been forty years “ TO MISS REYNOLDS.
ago. We shall now see what air will do. * 24th August, 1783. The country is all a plain; and the house in « DEAR MADAM,—When your let which I am, so far as I can judge from my
ter came I was so engaged that I window, for I write before I have left my MSS.
could not conveniently write. Wheth- chamber, is sufficiently pleasant. er 1 shall go to Salisbury I know not, “ Be so kind as to continue your attention for I have had no answer to my last letter; to Mrs. Williams. It is great consolation but I would not have you put off your jour to the well, and still greater to the sick, that ney, for all my motions are uncertain. I they find themselves not neglected; and I wish you a happy journey. I am, madam, know that you will be desirous of giving comyour most humble servant,
fort, even where you have no great hope of “ SAM. JOHNSON."
“ Since I wrote the former part of the " TO MRS. THRALE.
letter, I find that by the course of the post I “ London, 26th August, 1783.
cannot send it before the thirty-first. I am, Letters, “ Things stand with me much as
“ SAM. JOHNSON." vol. ii. they have done for some time. Mrs. p. 303. Williams fancies now and then that While he was here, he had a letter from she grows better, but her vital powers ap- Dr. Brocklesby, acquainting him of the death pear to be slowly burning out. Nobody of Mrs. Williams, which affected him a goud thinks, however, that she will very soon be deal. Though for several years her temper quite wasted; and as she suffers me to be
had not been complacent, she had valuable of very little use to her, I have determined qualities, and her departure left a blank in to pass some time with Mr. Bowles, near
his house. Upon this occasion he, accordSalisbury, and have taken a place for Thurs- ing to his habitual course of piety, composed day.
a prayer 2 • Some benefit may be perhaps received from change of air, some from change of [“ DR. BROCKLESBY TO DR. JOHNSON. company, and some from mere change of
"6th September, 1783. place. It is not easy to grow well in a “ Mrs. Williams, from mere inanition, chamber where one has long been sick, and has at length paid the great debt to nature where every thing seen, and every person about three o'clock this morning. She died speaking, revives and impresses images of without a struggle, retaining her faculties pain. Though it be true that no man can entire to the very last; and, as she expressrun away from himself
, yet he may escape ed it, having set her house in order, was from many causes of useless uneasiness. prepared to leave it at the last summons of That the mind is its own place is the boast nature.” of a fallen angel that had learned to lie 1. External locality has great effects, at least
" TO MRS. THRALE. upon all embodied beings. I hope this little
“ London, 220 Sept. 1733. journey will afford me at least some suspense “ Poor Williams has, I hope, seen the end of melancholy.")
of her afflictions. She acted with prudence, il“ Paradise Lost,” book i. line 254.-Ed.) Prayers and Meditations, p. Bos WELL.
and she bore with fortitude. She has left him. I believe I said I was very glad to have me.
met with it. O, then he did not know that it
signified any thing. So you see, when the Thou thy weary task hast done, Home art gone, and ta'en thy wages 1.
letter was lost it was worth a thousand
pounds, and when it was found it was not Had she had good humour and prompt elo
worth a farthing.' cution, her universal curiosity and compre
“ The style and character of his converhensive knowledge would have made her the sation is pretty generally known: it was delight of all that knew her. She left her certainly conducted in conformity with a little to your charity school.”]
precept of Lord Bacon, but it is not clear, 1
apprehend, that this conformity was either I shall here insert a few particulars con- perceived or intended by Johnson. The cerning him, with which I have been favoured precept alluded to is as follows: • In all kinds by one of his friends.
of speech, either pleasant, grave, severe, or • He had once conceived the design of ordinary, it is convenient to speak leisurely, writing the Life of Oliver Cromwell, say- and rather drawlingly than hastily : because ing, that he thought it must be highly curi- hasty speech confounds the memory, and ous to trace his extraordinary rise to the oftentimes, besides the unseemliness, drives supreme power from so obscure a beginning. a man either to stammering, a nonplus, or He at length laid aside his scheme, on dis- harping on that which should follow ; covering that all that can be told of him is whereas a slow speech confirmeth the memalready in print ; and that it is impracticable ory, addeth a conceit of wisdom to the hearto procure any authentick information in ers, besides a seemliness of speech and addition to what the world is already in pos- countenance 3.' Dr. Johnson's method of session of 2.
conversation was certainly calculated to ex“ He had likewise projected, but at what cite attention, and to amuse and instruct (as part of his life is not known, a work to show it happened), without wearying or confushow small a quantity of REAL FICTION there ing his company. He was always most is in the world; and that the same images, perfectly clear and conspicuous ; and his lanwith very little variation, have served all the guage was so accurate, and his sentences so authours who have ever written."
neatly constructed, that his conversation “ His thoughts in the latter part of his might have been all printed without any life were frequently employed on his de
correction. At the same time, it was easy ceased friends. He often muttered these or and natural ; the accuracy of it had no apsuch like sentences : Poor man! and then pearance of labour, constraint, or stiffness : he died.'”
he seemed more correct than others by the « Speaking of a certain literary friend, force of habit, and the customary exercises • He is a very pompous puzzling fellow,' said of his powerful mind.” he: he lent me a letter once that somebody “ He spoke often in praise of French litehad written to him, no matter what it was
rature. · The French are excellent in this,' about; but he wanted to have the letter he would say, they have a book on every back, and expressed a mighty value for it: he subject.' From what he had seen of them hoped it was to be met with again; he would he denied them the praise of superior politenot lose it for a thousand pounds. 1 laid my
ness, and mentioned, with very visible dishand upon it soon afterwards, and gave it gust, the custom they have of spitting on
the floors of their apartments. This,' said
the Doctor, “is as gross a thing as can well 1 [Dirge in Cymbeline.-Ed.)
be done; and one wonders how any man, 2 Mr. Malone observes, “ This, however, was
or set of men, can persist in so offensive a entirely a mistake, as appears from the Memoirs published by Mr. Noble. Had Johnson been practice for a whole day together: one furnished with the materials which the industry should expect that the first effort towards
civilization would remove it even among of that gentleman has procured, and with others which it is believed are yet preserved in manu- savages.' script, he would, without doubt, have produced a
“ Baxter's Reasons of the Christian Remost valuable and curious history of Cromwell's ligion' he thought contained the best collife”-BOSWELL. I may add, that, had John- lection of the evidences of the divinity of the son given us a Life of Cromwell, we should not
Christian system.” have been disgusted in numberless instances
“ Chymistry was always an interesting with—“My Lord Protector” and “My Lady pursuit with Dr. Johnson. Whilst he was PROTECTRÉSs ;” and certainly the brutal ruffian
in Wiltshire, he attended some experiments who presided in the bloody assembly that mur
that were made by a physician at Salisbury dered their sovereign would have been charac
on the new kinds of air. In the course of terised by very different epithets than those which are applied to him in this work, where we find him described as “the BOLD and DETER- 3 Hints for Civil Conversation.-Bacon's MINED Bradshaw."-MALONE.
Works, 4to. vol. i. p. 571.-MALONE.
the experiments frequent mention being “I came home on the 18th of September, made of Dr. Priestley, Dr. Johnson knit his at noon, to a very disconsolate house. You brows, and in a stern manner inquired, and I have lost our friends ; but you have • Why do we hear so much of Dr. Priestley !!! more friends at home. My domestick comHe was very properly answered, “Sir, be panion is taken from me. She is much misscause we are indebted to him for these im- ed, for her acquisitions were many, and her portant discoveries.' On this Dr. Johnson curiosity universal; so that she partook of appeared well content; and replied, “Well, every conversation. I am not well enough well, I believe we are; and let every man to go much out ; and to sit, and eat, or fast have the honour he has merited.''
alone, is very wearisome. I always mean “ A friend was one day, about two years to send my compliments to all the ladies." before his death, struck with some instance of Dr. Johnson's great candour. • Well, [As Mrs. Williams enjoyed a pensir,' said he, • I will always say that you are
sion from Mrs. Montagu, Johnson a very candid man.' • Will you?' replied thought himself bound to acquaint her with the Doctor ; •I doubt then you will be very the death of the object of her charity. singular. But, indeed, sir,' continued he, "I look upon myself to be a man very much
* DR. JOHNSON TO MRS. MONTAGU. misunderstood. I am not an uncandid, nor
" 20 September, 1783. am I a severe man. I sometimes say more
* MADAM,—That respect which than I mean,
jest; and people are apt to believe me serious : however, I am more
is always due to beneficence makes it Mont. candid than I was when I was younger.
fit that you should be informed, othAs I know more of mankind, I expect less erwise than by the papers, that
, on the 6th
of this month, died your pensioner, Anna of them, and am ready now to call a man
Williams, of whom it may be truly said, that a good man upon easier terms than I was
she received your bounty with gratitude, formerly.""
and enjoyed it with propriety. You perhaps On his return from Heale he wrote to Dr.
have still her prayers. Burney:
“ You have, madam, the satisfaction of
having alleviated the sufferings of a woman 1 I do not wonder at Johnson's displeasure when the name of Dr. Priestley was mentioned ; Ilustrations of Philosophical Necessity, p. 111. for I know no writer who has been suffered to The Reverend Dr. Parr, in a late tract, appears publish more pernicious doctrines. I shall in- to suppose that Dr. Johnson not only endured, stance only three. First, Materialism ; by which but almost solicited, an interview with Dr. mind is denied to human nature; which, if be- Priestley. In justice to Dr. Johnson, I declare lieved, must deprive us of every elevated princi- my firm belief that he never did. My illustrious ple. Secondly, Necessity; or the doctrine that friend was particularly resolute in not giving every action, whether good or bad, is included in countenance to men whose writings he consian unchangeable and unavoidable system ; a no
dered as pernicious to society. I was present at tion utterly subversive of moral government.
Oxford when Dr. Price, even before he had renThirdly, that we have no reason to think that the dered himself so generally obnoxious by his zeal future world (which, as he is pleased to inform us, for the French Revolution, came into a company will be adapted to our merely improved nature) where Johnson was, who instantly left the room. will be materially different from this ; which, if Much more would he have reprobated Dr. believed, would sink wretched mortals into des. Priestley. Whoever wishes to see a perfect depair, as they could no longer hope for the "rest
lineation of this Literary Jack of all Trades may that remaineth for the people of God," or for that find it in an ingenious tract, entitled “ A Small happiness which is revealed to us as something Whole-Length of Dr. Priestley,” printed for beyond our present conceptions, but would fee? | Rivingtons, in St. Paul's Churchyard -Bosthemselves doomed to a continuation of the un- WELL. (The foregoing note produced a reply easy state under which they now groan. I say from Dr. Parr (Gent. Mag. March, 1795), in nothing of the petulant intemperance with which which he endeavoured to support his assertion he dares to insult the venerable establishments of by evidence, which, however, really contradicted his country. As a specimen of his writings, I him. For instead of Johnson's having sashall quote the following passage, which appears licited an interview (which was the point in dis. to me equally absurd and impious, and which pute), Dr. Parr is obliged to admit that the might have been retorted upon him by the men meeting was at Mr. Paradise's dinner table, that who were prosecuted for burning his house. “I Dr. Johnson did not solicit the interview, but cannot,” says he, “as a necessarian (meaning was aware that Dr. Priestley was invited, and necessitarian), hate any man ; because I consider that he behaved to him with civility : and then him as being, in all respects, just what God has Dr. Parr concludes, in a way that does little credit made him to be ; and also as doing, with respect either to his accuracy or his candour, “Should to me, nothing but what he was expressly de- Mr. Boswell be pleased to maintain that Dr. signed and appointed to do: God being the only Johnson rather consented to the interview, than cause, and men nothing more than the instrui- almost solicited it, I shall not object to the change ments in his hands to execute all his pleasures."- of expression.”-Ed.]
of great merit, both intellectual and moral.
6 TO BENNET LANGTON, ESQ. Her curiosity was universal, her knowledge
“ London, 29th Sept. 1783. was very extensive, and she sustained forty « DEAR SIR,– You may very reasonably years of misery with steady fortitude. Thir
charge me with insensibility of your kindness ty years and more she had been my com- and that of Lady Rothes, since I have sufpanion, and her death has left me very des- fered so much time to pass without paying olate.
any acknowledgment. I now, at last, reThat I have not written sooner, you turn my thanks; and why I did it not soonmay impute to absence, to ill health, to any er I ought to tell you. I went into Wiltthing rather than want of regard to the be- shire as soon as I well could, and was there nefactress of my departed friend. I am,
much employed in palliating my own malmadam, your most humble servant,
ady. Disease produces much selfishness. “SAM. Johnson."] A man in pain is looking after ease, and His fortitude and patience met with se- lets most other things go as chance shall vere trials during this year. The stroke of dispose of them. In the mean time I have the palsy has been related circumstantially; lost a companion', to whom I have had rebut he was also afflicted with the gout, and course for domestick amusement for thirty was besides troubled with a complaint which years, and whose variety of knowledge not only was attended with immediate in- never was exhausted; and now return to convenience, but threatened him with a a habitation vacant and desolate. I carry chirurgical operation, from which most men about a very troublesome and dangerwould shrink. The complaint was a sar- ous complaint, which admits no cure but cocele, which Johnson bore with uncommon by the chirurgical knife. Let me have firmness, and was not at all frightened while your prayers. I am, &c. he looked forward to amputation. He was
“SAM. JOHNSON.” attended by Mr. Pott and Mr. Cruikshank. I have before me a letter of the 30th of Happily the complaint abated without his July, this year, to Mr. Cruikshank, in which being put to the torture of amputation.
“I am going to put myself into But we must surely admire the manly resoyour hands :". and another, accompany
lution which he discovered while it hung ing a set of his 6 Lives of the Poets,” in
over him. which he says, “I beg your acceptance of
In a letter to the same gentleman he writes, these volumes, as an acknowledgment of
“ The gout has within these four days come the great favours which you have bestowed upon me with a violence which I never exon, sir, your most obliged and most humble perienced before. It made me helpless as servant.” I have in my possession several
an infant.” And in another, having menmore letters from him to Mr. Cruikshank, tioned Mrs. Williams, he says,_" whose and also to Dr. Mudge at Plymouth, which death following that of Levett has now made it would be improper to insert, as they are
my house a solitude. She left her little filled with unpleasing technical details. I substance to a charity-school. She is, I shall, however, extract from his letters to hope, where there is neither darkness », nor Dr. Mudge such passages as show either a want, nor sorrow." felicity of expression, or the undaunted state I wrote to him, begging to know the of his mind.
state of his health, and mentioned that “ My conviction of your skill, and my be
“ Baxter's Anacreon, which is in the libralief of your friendship, determine me to en- ry at Auchinleck, was, I find, collated by treat your opinion and advice.”
my father in 1727 with the MS. belonging “ In this state I with great earnestness
to the University of Leyden, and he has desire you to tell me what is to be done. made a number of notes upon it. Would Excision is doubtless 'necessary to the cure, you advise me to publish a new edition of and I know not any means of palliation. it ?”. The operation is doubtless painful; but is it His answer was dated September 30. dangerous ? The pain I hope to endure with
“ You should not make your letters such decency; but I am loath to put life into much hazard."
rarities, when you know, or might know,
the uniform state of my health. It is very By representing the gout as an antagonist to the palsy, you have said enough to make long since I heard from you; and that I
have not answered is a very insufficient reait welcome. This is not strictly the first fit,
son for the silence of a friend. Your Anabut I hope it is as good as the first; for it is the second that ever confined me; and the
creon is a very uncommon book : neither
London nor Cambridge can supply a copy first was ten years ago, much less fierce and
of that edition. Whether it should be refiery than this."
“Write, dear sir, what you can to inform printed, you cannot do better than consult or encourage me. The operation is not de- i Mrs. Williams.-Boswell. layed by any fears or objections of mine." 2 [An allusion to her blindness. -ED.)