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not invite persecution. A pretty woman, if she has a mind to be wicked, can find a readier way than another; and that is all.”
I accompanied him in Mr. Dilly's chaise to Shefford, where talking of Lord Bute's never going to Scotland, he said, “ As an Eng. lishman, I should wish all the Scotch gentlemen to be educated in England; Scotland would become a province; they would spend all their rents in England.” This is a subject of much consequence, and much delicacy. The advantage of an English education is unquestionably very great to Scotch gentlemen of talents and ambi. tion; and regular visits, and I should think other means, might be effectually used to prevent them from being totally estranged from their native country, any more than a Cumberland or Northumberland gentleman, who has been educated in the South of England. I own, indeed, that it is no small misfortune for Scotch gentlemen, who have neither talents nor ambition, to be educated in England, where they may be perhaps distinguished only by a nick-name, lavish their fortune in giving expensive entertainments to those who laugh at them, and saunter about as mere idle insignificant hangers on even upon the foolish great ; when if they had been judiciously brought up at home, they might have been comfortable and creditable members of society.
At Shefford, I had another affectionate parting from my revered friend, who was taken up by the Bedford coach, and carried to the metropolis. I went with Messieurs Dilly, to see some friends at Bedford ; dined with the officers of the militia of the county, and next day proceeded on my journey.
To BENNET LANGTON, Esq.
“ Dear SIR,-How welcome your account of yourself and your invitation to your new house was to me, I need not tell you, who consider our friendship not only as formed by choice, but as matured by time. We have been now long enough acquainted to have many images in common; and, therefore, to have a source of conversation which neither the learning nor the wit of a new companion can supply.
“ My Lives are now published; and if you will tell me whither I shall send them that they may come to you, I will take care that you shall not be without them.
Cor. et Ad.-Line 10: After “visits” read “to Scotland." Dele "I should think,” and read “perhaps.”
? This was one of the last of the The sage's health now began to fail, and pleasant jaunts that Johnson and his his ailments took away all relish for such faithful friend were to cnjoy together. agreeable junkettings.
“ You will, perhaps, be glad to hear,1 that Mrs. Thrale is disincumbred of her brewhouse; and that it seemed to the purchaser so far from an evil, that he was content to give for it an hundred and thirty-five thousand pounds. Is the nation ruined ?
“ Please to make my respectful compliments to Lady Rothes, and keep me in the memory of all the little dear family, particularly pretty Mrs. Jane. I am, Sir, " Your affectionate humble servant,
“ Sam. JOHNSON. “ Bolt-court, June 16, 1781."
To THOMAS ASTLE, Esq. “SIR,—I am ashamed that you have been forced to call so often for your books, but it has been by no fault on either side. They have never been out of my hands, nor have I ever been at home
Cor, et Ad.-After the letter to Mr. Langton read~" Johnson's charity to the poor was uniform and extensive, both from inclination and principle. He not only bestowed liberally out of his own purse, but what is more difficult as well as rare, would beg from others, when he had proper objects in view. This he did judi. ciously as well as humanely. Mr. Philip Metcalfe tells me, that when he has asked him for some money for persons in distress, and Mr. Metcalfe has offered what Johnson thought too much, he insisted on taking less, saying, “No, no, Sir; we must not pamper them.'
• I am indebted to Mr. Malone, one of Sir Joshua Reynolds's executors, for the following note, which was found among his papers after his death, and which, we may presume, his unaffected modesty prevented him from communicating to me with the other letters from Dr. Johnson with which he was pleased to furnish me. How. ever slight in itself, as it does honour to that illustrious painter, and most amiable man, I am happy to introduce it :
“ TO SIR JOSHUA REYNOLDS. “DEAR SIR.-It was not before yesterday that I received your splendid benefaction. To a hand so liberal in distributing, I hope nobody will envy the power of acquiring. I am, dear Sir, “ Your obliged and most humble servant,
“Sam. JOHNSON. “June 23, 1781."
1 “I suppose he was neither glad nor to find themselves secured, and the brew. sorry," writes Mrs. Piozzi in the margin house deceniiy, though not very advanof her copy. In her autobiography she tageously disposed of, except dear Doctor says, “ Will it surprise you now to hear Johnson, who found some odd delight in that, among all my fellow executors, none signing drafts for hundreds and for thou. but Johnson opposed selling the concern? sands, to him a new, and as it appeared Catör, a rich timber merchant, was afraid delightful, occupation. When all was of implicating his own credit as a com. nearly over, however, I cured his honest mercial man. Crutchley hated Perkins, heart of its incipient passion for trade, and lived upon the verge of a quarrel by letting him into some, and only some, with him every day while they acted of its mysteries. The plant, as it is together. Smith cursed the whole busi called, was sold, and I gave God thanks ness, and wondered what his relation, upon Whit Sunday, 1781, for sparing me Mr. Thrale, could mean by leaving him farther perplexity, though at the cost of 2001, he said, and such a burden on his a good house," &c. back to bear for it. All were well pleased
without seeing you; for to see a man so skilful in the antiquities of my country, is an opportunity of improvement not willingly to be missed.
“ Your notes on Alfred appear to me very judicious and accurate, but they are too few. Many things familiar to you are unknown to me, and to most others; and you must not think too favourably of your readers : by supposing them knowing, you will leave them ignorant. Measure of land, and value of money, it is of great importance to state with care. Had the Saxons any gold coin ?
“ I have much curiosity after the manners and transactions of the middle ages, but have wanted either diligence or opportunity in both. You, Sir, have great opportunities, and I wish you both diligence and success.
“I am, Sir, &c.
“ Sam. JOHNSON. “July 17, 1781."
The following curious anecdote I insert in Dr. Burney's own words. “ Dr. Burney related to Dr. Johnson the partiality which his writings had excited in a friend of Dr. Burney's, the late Mr. Bewley, well known in Norfolk by the name of the Philosopher of Massingham ; who, from the Ramblers and plan of his Dictionary, and long before the authour's fame was established by the Dictionary itself, or any other work, had conceived such a reverence for him, that he urgently begged Dr. Burney to give him the cover of the first letter he had received from him, as a relick of so estimable a writer. This was in 1755. In 1760, when Dr. Burney visited Dr. Johnson at the Temple in London, where he had then Chambers, he happened to arrive there before he was up; and being shewn into the room where he was to breakfast, finding him. self alone, he examined the contents of the apartment, to try whether he could undiscovered steal any thing to send to his friend Bewley, as another relick of the admirable Dr. Johnson. But finding nothing better to his purpose, he cut some bristles off his hearth-broom, and inclosed them in a letter to his country enthusiast, who received them with due reverence.
The Doctor was so sensible of the honour done him by a man of genius and science, to whom he was an utter stranger, that he said to Dr. Burney, “Sir, there is no man possessed of the smallest portion of modesty, but must be flattered with the admiration of such a man. I'll give him
* The Will of King Alfred, alluded to in this letter, is now printing from the original Saxon, in the library of Mr. Astle, at the expence of the University of Oxford. It is not to be sold, but is to be distributed in presents.
Cor. et Ad.-Line 11: For “in” read " or."
a set of my Lives if he will do me the honour to accept of them.' In this he kept his word ; and Dr. Burney had not only the pleasure of gratifying his friend with a present more worthy of his acceptance than the segment from the hearth-broom, but soon after of introducing him to Dr. Johnson himself in Bolt-court, with whom he had the satisfaction of conversing a considerable time, not a fortnight before his death; which happened in St. Martin's-street, during his visit to Dr. Burney, in the house where the great Sir Isaac Newton had lived and died before.
In one of his little memorandum-books is the following minute : “ August 9, 3 p.m. ætat. 72, in the summer-house at Streatham.
“ After innumerable resolutions formed and neglected, I have retired hither, to plant a life of greater diligence, in hope that I may yet be useful, and be daily better prepared to appear before my Creator and my Judge, from whose infinite mercy I humbly call for assistance and support.
“My purpose is, “ To pass eight hours every day in some serious employment.
“ Having prayed, I purpose to employ the next six weeks upon the Italian language, for my settled study."
How venerably pious does he appear in these moments of solitude, and how spirited are his resolutions for the improvement of his mind, even in elegant literature at a very advanced period of life, and when afficted with many complaints.
In autumn he went to Oxford, Birmingham, Lichfield, and Ashbourne, for which very good reasons might be given, in the conjectural yet positive manner of writers, who are proud to account for every event which they relate. He himself however says, “ The motives of my journey I hardly know; I omitted it last year, and am not willing to miss it again.". But some good considerations arise, amongst which is the kindly recollection of Mr. Hector, surgeon, at Birmingham. “ Hector is likewise an old friend, the only companion of my childhood that passed through the school with me. We have always loved one another; perhaps we may be made better by some serious conversation, of which however I have no distinct hope.”
He says too, “At Lichfield, my native place, I hope to shew a good example by frequent attendance on publick worship."
My correspondence with him during the rest of this year was I know not why very scanty, and all on my side. I wrote him one
• Prayers and Meditations, p. 201.
letter to introduce Mr. Sinclair (now Sir John) the member for Caithness, to his acquaintance; and informed him in another, that my wife had again been affected with alarming symptoms of illness.
In 1782, his complaints increased, and the history of his life for this year, is little more than a mournful recital of the variations of his illness, in the midst of which, however, it will appear from his letters, that the powers of his mind were in no degree impaired.
To James Boswell, Esq. “ DEAR SIR,-I sit down to answer your letter on the same day in which I received it, and am pleased that my first letter of the year is to you. No man ought to be at ease while he knows himself in the wrong; and I have not satisfied myself with my long silence. The letter relating to Mr. Sinclair, however was, I believe, never brought.
“My health has been tottering this last year; and I can give no very laudable account of my time. I am always hoping to do better than I have ever hitherto done.
“My journey to Ashbourne and Staffordshire was not pleasant; for what enjoyment has a sick man visiting the sick? Shall we ever have another frolick like our journey to the Hebrides?
" I hope that dear Mrs. Boswell will surmount her complaints; in losing her you would lose your anchor, and be tost, without stability, by the waves of life. I wish both her and you very many years, and very happy.
a The truth of this has been proved by sad experience.'
| Mrs. Boswell died in 1789. “ 0 my friend,” wrote her husband in July, “this is affliction indeed! My two boys and I posted from London to Auchinleck, night and day, in sixtyfour hours and a quarter ; but alas ! our haste was all in vain. The fatal stroke had taken place before we set out. It was very strange that we had no intelligence whatever upon the road, not even in our own parish, nor till my second daughter came running out from the house, and announced to us the dismal event in a burst of tears. O my Temple, what distress! what tender and painful regrets! what unavailing, earnest wishes to have but one week, one day, in which I might again hear her admirable conversation, and assure her of my fervent attachment, notwithstanding all my irre
gularities. It was some relief to me to be told, that she had, after I was set out, mentioned what I think I wrote to you, that she had pressed me to go up and show my zeal for Lord Lonsdale; but when on my return, before the Cause came on, I found that by my going away at that unlucky time I had not been with her to soothe her last moments, I cried bitterly, and upbraided myself for leaving her, for she would not have left me. This reflection, my dear friend, will, I fear, pursue me to my grave. She had suffered a great deal from her disease for some weeks before her death ; but the actual scene of dying itself was dreadful. She continued quite sensible till a few minutes before, when she began to doze calmly, and expired without any struggle. When I saw her, four days