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SAMUEL JOHNSON, LL. D.
My correspondence with Dr. Johnson during the rest of this year was, I know not why, very scanty, and all on my side. I wrote him one 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. [But his letters to Ed. other correspondents, and particularly to Mrs. Thrale, carry on the story of his life.]
["DR. JOHNSON TO MRS. LUCY PORTER.
“ London, 9th June, 1781. MSS. *DEAR MADAM, -I hope the summer makes you better. My disorders, which had come upon me again, have again given way to medicine; and I am a better sleeper than I have lately been.
“ The death of dear Mr. Thrale has made my attendance upon his home necessary ; but we have sold the trade, which we did not know how to manage, and have sold it for an hundred and thirty thousand pounds.
“ My Lives are at last published, and you will receive them this week by the carrier. I have some hopes of coming this
[The Right Honourable Sir John Sinclair of Ulbster, bart.; a voluminous writer on agriculture and statistics,-ED.)
* This passage is transposed from the date, (January, 1782,) under which it stands in the original edition, to this, its more proper place.-Ed.]
summer amongst you for a short time. I shall be loath to miss you two years together. But in the mean time let me know how you do. I am, dear madam, your affectionate servant,
“ TO BENNET LANGTON, ESQ.
"Bolt-court, 16th June, 1781. “ 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.
“ You will perhaps be glad to hear that Mrs. Thrale is disencumbered 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 Mrs. Jane. I am, sir, your affectionate humble servant,
and keep me in the Tam, sir, your affectiou. JOHNSO
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 judiciously 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!.”
[With advising others to be charitable, however,
Sec ante, vol. ii. p. 489.-ED.)
Dr. Johnson did not content himself. He gave away Piozzi, all he had, and all he ever had gotten, except the P two thousand pounds he left behind; and the very small portion of his income which he spent on him. self, with all our calculation, we never could make more than seventy or at most fourscore pounds a year, and he pretended to allow himself a hundred. He had numberless dependants out of doors as well as in, “who, as he expressed it, did not like to see him latterly unless he brought them money.” For those people he used frequently to raise contributions on his richer friends; "and this,” says he, “is one of the thousand reasons which ought to restrain a man from drony solitude and useless retirement.”]
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 prerented him from communicating to me with the other letters from Dr. Johnson with which he was pleased to furnish me. However 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.
“ 230 June, 1781. « DEAR SIR, - It was not before yesterday that I received Tour splendid benefaction. To a hand so liberal in distribating, I hope nobody will envy the power of acquiring. I mm, dear sir, your obliged and most humble servant,
The following letters were written at this time by Johnson to Miss Reynolds, the latter on receiving from her a copy of her “Essay on Taste," privately printed, but never published.
SAMUEL JOHNSON, LL. D.
A JOURNAL OF A TOUR TO THE HEBRIDES.
JAMES BOSWELL, ESQ.
A NEW EDITION.
NUMEROUS ADDITIONS AND NOTES,
- Quò fit ut OMNIS
HORAT. 1 Sat. lib. ii.
IN FIVE VOLUMES.