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What passed between me and poor Dr. Dodd, you shail know more fully when we meet.
Of law-suits there is no end; poor Sir Allan must have another trial, for which, however, bis antagonist cannot be much blamed, having two Judyes on his side. I am more afraid of the debts than of the House of Lords. It is scarcely to be imagined to what debis will swell, that are daily increasing by small additions, and how carelessly in a state of desperation debts are contracted. Poor Macquarry was far from thinking that when he sold his islands he should receive nothing.
For what were they sold ? And what was their yearly value? The admission of money into the Highlands will soon put an end to the feudal modes of life, by making those men landlords who were not chiefs. I do not know that the people will suffer by the change: but there was in the patriarchal authority something venerable and pleasing. Every eye must look with pain on a Campbell turning the Macquarries at will out of their sedes aritæ, their hereditary island.
Sir Alexander Dick is the only Scotsman liberal enough not to be angry that I could not find trees, where trees were not. I was much delighted by his kind letter.
I remember Rasay with too much pleasure not to partake of the happiness of any part of that amiable family. Our ramble in the islands hangs upon my imagination, I can hardly help imagining that we shall go again. Pennant seems to have seen a grest deal which we did not see: When we travel again, let us look better about us.
You have done right in taking your uncle's house. Some change in the form of life, gives from time to time a new epocha of existance. In a new place there is something new to be done, and a different system of thoughts arises in the mind. I wish I could gather currants in your garden. Now fit up a little study, and have your books ready at band; do not spare a little money, to make your habitation pleasing to yourself.
I have dived lately with poor dear I do not think he goes on well. His table is rather coarse, and he has his children too much about bim. But he is a very good man.
Mrs. Williams is in the country, to try if she can improve her health ; she is very ill. Matters have come so about, that she is in the country with very good accommodation ; but age, and sickness, and pride, have made her so peevish, that I was forced to bribe the maid to stay with her, by a secret stipulation of half a crown a week over her wages.
Our Club ended its session about six weeks ago. We now only meet to dine once a fortnight. Mr. Duvning, the great lawyer, is one of our members. The Thrales are well.
I long to know how the Negro's cause will be decided. What is the opiuion of Lord Auchinleck, or Lord Hailes, or Lord Monboddo?
I am, dear Sir,
Your most affectionate, &c. July 27, 1777.
DR. JOHNSON TO MRS. BOSWELL. MADAM,
Though I am well enough pleased with the taste of sweetmeats, very little of the pleasure which I received at the arrival of your jar of marmalade arose from eating it. I received it as a token of friendship, as proof of reconciliation, things much’sweeter than sweetmeats, and upon this consideration I return you, dear Madam, my sincerest thanks. By having your kindness I think I have a double security for the continuance of Mr. Boswell's, which it is not to be expected that any man can long keep, when the influence of a lady so highly and so justly valued operates against him. Mr. Boswell will tell you that I was always faithful to your interest, and always endeavoured to exalt you in bis estimation. You must now do the same for me. We must all help one another, and you must now consider me as, dear Madam,
Your most obliged,
And most humble servant, July 22, 1777.
MR. BOSWELL TO DR, JOHNSON.
MY DEAR SIR,
Edinburgh, July 28, 1777. This is the day on which you were to leave London, and I have been amusing myself in the intervals of my law-drudgery, with figuring you in the Oxford post coach. I doubt, however, if you have had so merry a journey as you and I had in that vehicle last year, when you made so much sport with Gwyn the architect. Incidents upon a journey are recollected with peculiar pleasure; they are preserved in brisk spirits, and come up again in our minds, tinctured with that gaiety, or at least that animation with which we first perceived them.”
[I udded, that something had occurred, which I was afraid might prevent me from meeting hin; and that my wife had been affected with complaints which threatened a consumption, but was now better.]
TO JAMES BOSI ELL ESQ.
Do not disturb yourself about our interviews; I hope we shall have many : nor think it any thing hard or unusual, that your design of meeting me is interrupted. We have both endured greater evils, and have greater evils to expect.
Mrs. Boswell's illness makes a more serious distress. Does the blood rise from her lungs or from her stomach ? From little vessels broken in
stopach there is no danger. Blood from the lungs is, I believe, always frothy, as mixed with wind. Your physicians kuow very well what is to be done. The loss of such a lady would, indeed, be very afflictive, and I hope she is in no danger. Take care to keep her mind as easy as is possible.
I have lest Langton in London. He has been down with the militia, and is again quiet at home, talking to his little people, as I suppose you do sometimes. Make my compliments to Miss Veronica. The rest are too young for ceremony.
I cannot but hope that you have taken your country house at a very seasonable time, and that it may conduce to restore or establish Mrs. Boswell's health, as well as provide room and exercise for the
young ones. That you and your lady may both be happy, and long enjoy your happiness, is the sincere and earnest wish of,
Sam. JOHNSON. Oxford, August 4, 1777.
MR, BOSWELL TO DR. JOHNSON,
[Informing him that my wife had continued to grow better, so that my alarming apprehensions were relieved; and that I ho led to disengage myself from the other embarrassment which had oc: irred, and therefore requesting to know particularly when he intended to be at Ashbourne.]
TO JAMES BOSWELL, ESQ,
I am this day come to Ashbourne, and have only to tell you, that Dr. Taylor says you shall be welcome to him, and you know how welcome you will be to me. Make haste to let me know when
Make my compliments to Mrs. Boswell, and tell her, I hope we shall be at variance no more.
I am, dear Sir,
Sam. Johnson. August 30, 1777.
TO JAMES BOSWELL, ESQ.
On Saturday I wrote a very short letter, immediately upon my arrival hither, to shew you that I am not less desirous of the interview than self. Life admits yot of deluys; when pleasure can be had, it is fit to
catch it: every hour takes away part of the things that please us, and perhaps part of our disposition to be pleased. When I came to Lichfield, I found my old friend Harry Jackson dead. It was a loss, and a loss not to be repaired, as he was one of the companions of my childhood. I hope we may long continue to gain friends; but the friends which merit or usefulness can procure us, are not able to supply the place of old acquaintance, with whom the days of youth may be traced, and those images revived which gave the earliest delight. If you and I live to be much older, we shall take great delight in talking over the Hebridean Journey
Jo the mean time it may not be amiss to contrive some other little ad. venture, bot what it can be I know not; leave it, as Sidney says,
"To virtue, fortune, time, and woman's breast;'
for I believe Mrs. Boswell must have some part in the consultation.
One thing you will like. The Doctor, so far as I can judge, is likely to leave us enough to ourselves. He was out to-day before I came down, and, I fancy, will stay out to dinner. I have brought the papers about poor Dodd, to show you, but you will soon bave dispatched them.
Before I came away, I sent poor Mrs. Williams into the country, very ill of a pituitous defluction, which wastes her gradually away, and which her physician declares himself unable to stop. I supplied her as far as could be desired, with all conveniences to make her excursion and abode pleasant and useful. But I am afraid she can only linger a short time in a morbid state of weakness and pain.
"The Thrales, little and great, are all well, and purpose to go to Brightheimstone at Michaelmas. They will invite me to go with them, and perhaps I may go, but I hardly think I shall like to stay the whole time; but of futurity we know but little.
Mrs. Porter is well; but Mrs. Aston, one of the ladies at Stowhill, has been struck with a palsy, from which she is not likely ever to recover. How soon may such a stroke fall upon us !
Write to me, and let us know when we may expect you. 1 am, dear Sir,
Your most humble servant,
SAM. JOHNSON. Ashbourne, September 1, 1777.
MR, BOSITELL TO DR. JOHNSON,
Edinborgli, September 9, 1777. [After ivforining him that I was to set out next day, in order to meet bim at Ashbourne ;-)
I have a present for you from Lord Clailes; the fifth book of “ Lac. tantius,” which he has published with Latin notes, lle is also to give you a few anecdotes for your “Life of Thomsou," who I find was prie vate tutor to the present Larl of Hadington, Lord Huiles's cousin, a cir.
cumstance not mentioned by Dr. Murdoch. I have keen expectations
Mrs. Williams's situation. You will, however, have the comfort of reflecting on your kindness to her. Mr. Jackson's death, and Mrs. Aston's palsy, are gloomy circumstances. Yet surely we should be habituated to the uncertainty of life and health. When my mind is unclouded by meluncholy, I consider the temporary distresses of this state of being as “light afflictions,” by stretching my mental view into that glorious after-existence, when they will appear to be as nothing. But present pains and present pleasures must be felt. I lately read “ Rasselas' over agair with great satisfaction.
Since you are desirous to hear about Macquarry's sale, I shall inform you particularly. The gentleman who purchased Ulva, is Mr. Campbell, of Auchnaba : our friend Macquarry was proprietor of two-thirds of it, of which the rent was 1561. 5s. 1 d. This parcel was set up at 4,0691. 5s. 1d. but it sold for no less than 5,5401. The other third of Ulva, with the island of Stafta, belonged to Macquarry of Ormaig. including that of Staffa, 831. 128. 24d.-set up at 2,178), 16s. 4d.-sold for no less than 3,5401. The Laird of Col wished to purchase Ulva, but he thought the price too high. There may, indeed, be great improvements made there, both in fishing and agriculture; but the interest of the purchase-money exceeds the rent so very much, that I doubt if the bargain will be profitable. There is an island called Little Colonsay, of 101. yearly rent, which I am informed has belonged to the Macquarrys of Ulva for many ages, but which was lately claimed by the Presbyterian Synod of Argyll, in consequence of a grant made to them by Queen Anne. It is believed that their claim will be dismissed, and. that Little Colonsay will also be sold for the advantage of Macquarry's creditors. What think you of purchasiug this island, and endowing a school or college there, the master to be a clergyman of the Church of England ? How venerable would such an institution make the name of Dr. SAMUEL JOANson, in the Hebrides ! I have, like yourself, a wonderful pleasure in recollecting our travels in those islands, The pleasure is, I think, greater than it reasonably should be, considering that we had not much either of beauty or elegance to charm our imaginatious, or of rude novelty to astonish. Let us, by all means, have another expedition. I shrink a little from our scheme of going up the Baltic. I am sorry you have already been in Wales ; for I wish to see it. Shall we go to Ireland, of which I have seen but little? We shall try to strike out a plan when we are at Ashbouroe, I am ever,
Your most faithful humble servant,