« ZurückWeiter »
I hope to meet you somewhere towards the north, bat am loath to come quite to Carlisle. Can we not meet at Manchester ? But we will settle it in some other letters.
Mr. Seward, a great favourite at Streatham, has been, I think, enkindled by our travels, with a curiosity to see the Highlands. I have given him letters to you and Beattie. He desires that a lodging may be taken for him at Edinburgh, against his arrival. He is just setting out.
Langton has been exercising the militia. Mrs. Williams is, I fear, declining. Dr. Lawrence says, he can do no more. She is gone to summer in the country, with as many conveniences about her as she can espect; but I have no great hope. We must all die; may we all be prepared!
I suppose Miss Boswell reads her book, and young Alexander takes to his learniog. Let me hear about them; for every thing that belongs to you, belongs in a more remote degree, and not, I hope, very remote, to dear Sir,
Sam, Johnson. June 28, 1777
TO MR. SAMUEL JOHNSON, MT EVER DEAR AND MUCH-RESPECTED SIB,
You know my solemn enthusiasm of mind. You love me for it, and I respect myself for it, because in so far resemble Mr. Johnson. You will be agreeably surprised, when you learn the reason of my writing this letter. I am at Wittemberg in Saxony. I am in the old church where the Reformation was first preached, and where some of the reformers lie interred. I cannot resist the serious pleasure of writing to Mr. Johnson from the tomb of Melancthon. My paper rests upon the gravestone of that great and good man, who was uodoubtedly the worthiest of all the reformers. He wished to reform all abuses which had been introduced into the church; but had no private resentment to gratify. So mild was he, that when his aged mother consulted him with anxiety on the perplexing disputes of the times, be advised her to keep to the old religion. At this tomb, then, my ever dear and respected friend! I vow to thee an eternal attachment. It shall be my study to do what I can to render your life happy: and if you die before me, I shall endeavour to do honour to your memory; and, elevated by the remembrance of you, persist in noble puty. May God, the father of all beings, ever bless you! and may you continue to love
Your most affectionate friend,
Aud devoted servant,
JAMES Bos WELL. Hunday, Sept. 30, 1764.
TO DR, SAMUEL JOHNSON,
Wilton-house, April 22, 1775. MY DEAR SIR,
Every scene of my life confirms the truth of what you have told me, there is no certain happiness in this state of being,'-I am here, amidst all that you know is at Lord Pembroke's; and yet I am weary and gloomy. I am just setting out for the house of an old friend in Devonshire, and shall not get back to London for a week yet. You said to me last Good Friday, with a cordiality that warmed my heart, that if I came to settle in London we should have a day fixed every week, to meet by ourselves and talk freely. To be thought worthy of such a privilege cannot but exalt me. During my present absence from you, while, notwithstanding the gaiety which you allow me to possess, I am darkened by temporary clouds, I beg to have a few lines from you; a few lines merely of kindness, as a viaticum till I see you again. In your Vanity of Human wishes,' and in Parnell's contentment,' I find the only sure means of enjoying happiness; or, at least, the hopes of happiness. I ever am, with reverence and affection,
Most faithfully your's,
DR. JOHNSON TO MR. BOSWELL.
This gentleman is a great favourite at Streatham, and therefore you will easily believe that he has very valuable qualities. Our narrative has kindled him with a desire of visiting the Highlands, after having already seen a great part of Europe. You must receive him as a friend, and when you have directed him to the curiosities of Edinburgh, give hins instructions and recommendations for the rest of his journey.
I am, dear Sir,
SAM, JOHNson. June 24, 1777.
Johnson's benevolence to the unfortunate was, I am confident, as steady and active as that of any of those who have been most eminently distinguished for that virtue. Innumerable proofs of it I have no doubt will be for ever concealed from inortal eyes. We may, however, form some judgment of it, from the many and very various instances which have been discovered. One, which happened in the course of this sum. mer, is remarkable from the name and connection of the person who was the object of it. The circumstance to wbichl allude is ascertained by two letters, one to Mr. Langton, and another to the Reverend Dr. Vyse, rector of Lambeth, son of the respectable clergyman at Lichfield, who was contemporary with Johnson, and in whose father's family Johuson had the happiness of being kindly received in his early years.
DR. JOHNSON TO BENNET LANGTON, ESQ.
I have lately been much disordered by a difficulty of breathing, but an now better. I hope your house is well.
You know we have been talking lately of St. Cross, at Winchester ; I have an old acquaintance whose distress makes him very desirons of an hospital, and I am afraid I have not strength enough to get him into the Chartreux. He is a painter, who never rose higher than to get his immediate living, and from that, at eighty-three, he is disabled by a slight stroke of the palsy, such as does not make him at all helpless on common occasions, though his hand is not steady enough for his art.
My request is, that you will try to obtain a promise of the next vacancy, from the Bishop of Chester. It is not a great thing to ask, and I hope we shall obtain it. Dr. Warton has promised to favour him with his notice, and I hope he may end his days in peace.
I am, Sir,
SAM. JOHNSON, June 29, 1777
TO THE REVEREND DR, VYSE, AT LAMBETH.
I doubt not but you will readily forgive me for taking the liberty of requesting your assistance in recommending an old friend to his Grace the Archbishop as Governor of the Charter-house.
His name is De Groot; he was born at Gloucester; I have known him many years.
He has all the common claims to charity, being old, poor, and infirm io a great degree. He has likewise another claim, to which no scholar can refuse attention; he is by several descents the nephew of Hugo Grotius; of him, from whom perhaps every man of learning has learnt something. Let it not be said that in any lettered country a nephew of Grotius asked a charity and was refused. I I am, reverend Sir,
Your most humble servant,
Sam. JOHNSON. July 9, 1777
TO THE REVEREND DR. VYSE, AT LAMBETH, If any notice should be taken of the recommendation which I took the liberty of sending you, it will be necessary to know that Mr. De Groot is to be found at No. 8, in Pye-street, Westminster. This information, when I wrote, I could not give you; and being going soon to Lichfield, think it necessary to be left behind me.
More I will not say. You will want no persuasion to succour the nephew of Grotius,
I am, Sir,
SAM. JOANSON. July 22, 1777.
THE REVEREND DR. VYSE TO MR. BOSWELL.
Lambeth, June 9, 1787. SIR,
I have searched iu vain for the letter which I spoke of, and which I wished, at your desire, to communicate to you. It was from Dr. Johnson, to returu me thanks for my application to Archbishop Cornwallis in favour of poor De Groot. He rejoices at the success it met with, and is layish in the praise he bestows upon his favourite, Hugo Grotius. I am really sorry that I cannot find this letter, as it is worthy of the writer. That which I send you enclosed, is at your service. It is very short and will not perhaps be thought of any consequence, unless you should judge proper to consider it as a proof of the very humane part which Dr. Johnon took in behalf of a distressed and deserving person.
I am, Sir,
DR, JOHNSON TO MR, EDWARD DILLY,
To the collection of English Poets I have recommended the volume of Dr. Watts to be added ; his name has long been held by me in veneration, and I would not willingly be reduced to tell of him only that he was born and died. Yet of his life I know very little, and therefore must pass in a manner very unworthy of his character, unless some of his friends will favour me with he necessary information ; many of them must be known to you; and by your influence perhaps I may obtain some instruction : my plan does not exact much; but I wish to distinguish Watts, a man who never wrote but for a good purpose. Be pleased to do for ine what you can.
I am, Sir,
Sam, Johnson, Bolt-Court, Fleet-Street,
July 7, 1777
TO DR, SAMUEL JOHNSON
Edinburgh, July 15, 1777, MY DEAR SIR,
The fate of poor Dr. Dodd made a dismal impression upon my mind.
I had sagacity enough to divine that you wrote his speech to the Recorder, before sentence was pronounced, I am glad you have written so much for him; and I hope to be favoured with an exact list of the several pieces, when we meet.
I received Mr. Seward as the friend of Mr. and Mrs. Thrale, and as a gentleman recommended by Dr. Johnson to my attention. I have iotroduced him to Lord Kamies, Lord Monboddo, and Mr. Nairne. He is gone to the Highlands with Dr. Gregory; when he returns, I shall do more for him.
Sir Allan Maclean has carried that branch of his cause, of which we had good hopes; the President and one other Jodge only were against bim. I wish the House of Lords may do as well as the Court of Session has done. But Sir Allan has not the lands of Brolos quite cleared by this judgment, till a long account is made up of debts and interests on the one side, and rents on the other. I am, however, not much afraid of the balance.
Macquarry's estates, Staffa and all, were sold yesterday, and bought by a Campbell. I fear he will have little or nothing left out of the pure chase money.
I send you the case against the negro, by Mr. Cullen, son to Dr. Culo leo, in opposition to Macluurin's for liberty, of which you have approved. Pray read this, and tell me what you think as a Politician, as well as a Poet, upon the subject.
Be so kind as to let me know how your time is to be distributed next autumn. I will meet you at Manchester, or where you please: but I wish you would complete your tour of the cathedrals, and come to Carlisle, and I will accompany you a part of the way homewards.
I am ever,
TO JAMES BOSWELL, ESQ, DEAR SIR,
Your notion of the necessity of an y early interview is very pleasing to both my vanity and tenderness. I shall, perhaps, come to Carlisle another year; but my money has not held out so well as it used to do. I shall go to Ashbourne, and I purpose to make Dr. Taylor invite you. If you live awbile with me at his house, we shall have much time to ouro selves, and our stay will be no expence to us or him. I shall leave London the 28th; and after some stay at Oxford and Lichfield, shall probably come to Ashbourne about the end of your Session ; but of all this you shall have notice. Be satisfied we will meet somewhere.