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LETTER 169. Mr. Locke to Mr. Molyneux, on the advantages of Friendship. DEAR SIR,
You look with the eyes, and speak the language of friendship, when you make my life of so much more concern to the world than your own I take it, as it is, for an effect of your kindness, and so shall not accuse you of compliment; the mistakes and over valuings of good will being always sincere, even when they exceed what common truth allows. Thus on my side I must beg you to believe that my life would be much more pleasant and useful to me if you were within my reach, that I might sometimes enjoy your conversation, and, upon twenty occasions, lay my thoughts before you, and have the advangage of your judgment. I cannot complain that I have not my share of friends of all ranks, and such whose interest, assistance, affection, and opinions too, in fit cases, I can rely on. But methinks, for all this, there is one place vacant, that I know nobody that would fill so well as yourself ; I want one near me to talk freely with, de quolibet ente ; to propose to the extravagan. ces that rise in iny mind; one with whom I would debate several doubts and questions, to see what was in them. Meditating by one's self is like digging in the mine; it often, perhaps, brings up maiden earth which never came near the light before; but whether it contain any me tal in it, is never so well tried as in conversation with a knowing, juda cious friend, who carries about him the true louchstone, which is love of truth in a clear thinking head. Men of parts and judgment the worlo usually gets hold of, and by a great mistake, that their abilities of minc are lost, if not employed in the pursuit of wealth and power, engage them in the ways of fortune and interest, which usually leave but little freedom or leisure of thought for pure disinterested truth. And suci who give themselves up frankly, and in earnest, to the full latitude li real knowledge, are not every where to be met with. Wonder not therefore, that I wish so much for you in my neighborhood. I shoula be too happy in a friend of your make, were you within my reach. Bu yet I cannot but wish that business would once bring you within distance, and it is pain to me to think of leaving the world, without the happines of seeing you.
I do not wonder that a kinsman of yours should magnify civilities that scarce deserve that name ; I know not wherein they consisted, bu in being glad to see one who was related to you, and was himself very ingenious ; either of those was a title to more than I did, or could do. am sorry I have not yet had an opportunity to wait on him in London and I fear that he should be gone before I am able to get thither. This long winter and cold spring has hung very heavy upon my lungs, ang they are not yet in a case to be ventured in London air, which must be my excuse for not waiting upon him and Dr. Ashe yet. Yours, &C.
The Tower, April 10, 1729. DEAR SIR,
I thank you for all the iustances of your friendship, both before and
since my misfortunes. A little time will complete thein, and separate
Some nat'ral tears he dropt, but wip'd them soon;
Dr. Arbuthnot to Mr. Pope. DEAR SIR,
I little doubt of your kind concern for me, nor of that of the lady you mention. I have nothing to repay my friends with at present, but prayers and good wishes. I have the satisfaction to find ihat I am as Officiously served by my friends as he that has thousands to leave in legacies, besides the assurance of their sincerity. God Almighty has made my bodily distress as easy as a thing of that nature can be. I have found some relief, at least sometimes, from the air of this place. My nights are bad, but many poor creatures are worse.
As for you, my good friend, I think, since our first acquaintance, there have not been any of these little suspicions or jealousies that often affect the sincerest friendships; I am sure not on my side. I must be so sincere as to own, that though I could not help valuing you for those talents which the world prizes, yet they were not the foundation of my friendship; they were quite of another sort ; nor shall I at present of fend you by enumerating them! And I make it my last request, that you will continue that noble disdain and abhorrence of vice which you seem naturally endued with, but still with a due regard to your own safety and study more 'o inform than to chastise, though the one cannot be effected without the other. Lord Bathurst I have always henored, for every good quality that a person of his rank ought to have; pray give my respects and kindest wishes to the family: My venison stomach is gone, but I have those about me, and often with me, who will be very glad as his present; if it is left at my house it will be transmitted safe to me.
A recovery in my case, and at my age, is impossible ; the kindest wish of my friends is euthanasia ; living or dying I shall always be your
LETTER 172. Letter from Mr. West to Mr. Gray, soliciting his correspondence. SIR,
You use me very cruelly ; you have sent me but one letter since I have been at Oxford, and that too agreeable not to make me sensible how great my loss is in not having more. Next to seeing you is the pleasure of seeing your hand writing ; next to hearing you is the pleasure of hear. ing from you. Really and sincerely I wonder at you, that you thouglu it not worth while to answer my letter. I hope that this will have beto ler success in behalf of your quondam school fellow ; in behalf of one who has walked hand in hand with you, like the two children in the wood,
Thro' many a flow'ry path and shelly grot,
Where learning lulld us in lier prirate maze. The very thought, you see tips my pen with poetry, and brings Eton to my view. Consider me very seriously here in a strange country, inhabited by things that call themselves doctors and masters of arts; a country flowing with syllogisms and ale, and where Horace and Virgil are equally unknown; consider me, I say, in this melancholy light, and then think if something be not due to
Yours, &c. LETTER 173. Dr. Johnson to Mrs. Thrale, on the death of her Husband. DEAREST MADAM,
of your injunctions to pray for you and write to you, I hope to leave : neither unobserved; and I hope to find you willing, in a short time, to alleviate your trouble, by some other exercise of mind. I am not with. dut my part of the calamity. No death since that of my wife has ever oppressed me like this. But let us remember that we are in the hands of Him who knows when to give and when to take away; who will look upon us with mercy, through all our variations of existence, and who in. sites us to call on him in the day of trouble. Call upon him in this great revolution of life, and call with confidence. You ihen find comfort for the past, and support for the future. He that has given you happiness in marriage to a degree of which, without personal knowledge I should have thought the description fabulous, can give you another mode of happiness as a mother ; and at last the happiness of losing all temporal cares in thoughts of an eternity in Heaven.
I do not exhort you to reason yourself into tranquility. We must first pray, and then labor; first implore the blessing of God, and those means which he puts into our hands. Cultivated ground has few weeds; a mind occupied by lawful business, has little room for useless regret.
We read the will to-day; but I will not till my first letter with ang rther account than that with all my zeal for your advantage, I am satis fied; and that the other executors, more used to consider property than I, commend it for wisdom and equity. Yet why should I not tell you, that you have five hundred pounds for your immediate expenses, and two thousand pounds a year, with both the houses, and all the goods ?
Let us pray for one another, that the time, whether long or short, that shall yet be granted us, may be well spent; and that when this life, which at the longoat is very short, shall come to an end, a better may begin which shall never end.
I am dearest madain, yours, &c.
LETTER 174. Mrs. Whiteway to Lord Orrery, describing the melancholy situo
tion of Dean Swift. MY LORD,
The easy manner in which you reproach me, for not acquainting you with the poor dean's situation, lays a fresh obligation upon me; yet, mean as an excuse is for a fault I shall attempt one to your lordship, and only for this reason, that you may not think me capable of neglecting any thing you should command me. I told you in my last letter the dean's understanding was quite gone, and I feared the further particulars would only shock the tenderness of your nature, and the melancholy scene make your heart ache, as it has often done mine. I was the last person whom he knew, and when that part of his memory failed, he was so outrageous at seeing any body, that I was forced to leave him, nor could he rest for a night or two after seeing any person ; so that all the attende ance which I could pay him, was calling twice a week to inquire atier his health, and to observe that proper care was taken of him, and durst only look at him while his back was towards me, fearing to discompose bim. He walked ten hours a day, and would not eat or drink if his servant stayed in the room. His meat was served up ready cut, and sometimes it would lie an hour on the table before he would touch it, and then eat it walking. About six weeks ago, in one night's time, his left eyeswelled as large as an egg, and the lid, Mr. Nicholls, his surgeon, thought would mortify, and many large biles appeared upon his arms and body. The torture he was in is not to be described. Fire persons could scarce hold him for a week from tearing out his own eyes; and, for near a month, he did not sleep two hours in twenty-four; yet a moderate appetite continued, and what is more to be wondered at, the last days of his illness he knew me perfectly well, took me by the hand, called my name, and showed the same pleasure as usual in seeing me. I asked him if he would give me a dinner ? He said, to be sure, my old frieni. Thus he continued that day, aud he knew the doctor and surgeon, and all his family so well, that Mr. Nicholls thought it possible to call for what he wanted, and bear some of his old friends to amuse him. But alas this pleasure to me was but of short duration ; for the next day or two it was all over, and proved to be only pain that had roused him. He is now free from torture ; his eye almost well, very quiet, and begins to sleep, but her nnnt without great difficulty, be prevailed on to walk a, turn about liis roum; and yet, in this way, the phy ycians chmk bo nas hold out for some time. I am, my lord, your lordsl ip's most obedidien
LETTER 175. nr. Johnson to the Honorablc Mr. Wyndham, n his (Dr. John.
son's) recovery from illness. The tenderness with which you have been pleased to treat me, through ny long illness, neither health nor sickness can, I hope, make me forget; and you are not to suppose, after we parted you were no longer in my mind. But what can a sick man say, but that he is sick ? His thoughts are necessarily concentrated in himself; he neither receives nor can give lelight; his inquiries are after alleviations of pain, and his efforts are to ratch some momentary comfort. Though I am now in the neighborhood of the Peak, you must expect no account of its wonders, of its hills, its walers, its caverns, or its mines; but I will tell you, dear sir, what I hope you will not hear with less satisfaction, that, for about a week sast, my asthma has been less afflictive.
LETTER 176. ur. Dodd to the King; written by Dr. Johnson SIR,
May it not offend your majesty, that the most miserable of men applies himself to your clemency, as his last hope, and his last refuge; that your mercy is most earnestly and humbly implored by a clergyman, whom your laws and judges have condemned to the horror and ignominy of a public execution.
I confess the crime, and own the enormity of its consequences, and the danger of its examaple. Nor have I the confidence to petition for impunity; but humbly hope, that public security may be established, without the spectacle of a clergyman dragged through the streets to a death of infamy, amidst the derision of the profligate and profane; and that justice may be satisfied with irrevocable exile, perpetual disgrace, and hopeless penury.
My life, sir, has not been useless to mankind; I have benefitted many. But
my offences against God are numberless, and I have but little time for repentance. Preserve me, sir, by your prerogative of mercy, from the necessity of appearing unprepared at that tribunal before which kings and subjects must stand at last together. Permit me to hide my guilt in some obscure corner of a foreign country, where, if I can ever altain confidence to hope that my prayers will be heard, they shall be soured with all the fervor of gratitude for the life and happiness of your majesty.
I am, sir, your majesty's &c.
LETTER 177. Dr. Johnson to the Right Honorable Charles Jenkinson, now Earl
of Liverpool. SIR,
Since the conviction and condemnation of Dr Dodd, I have had, bs