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the intervention of a friend, some intercourse with him, and I am suro I shall lose nothing in your opinion by tenderness or commisseration Whatever be the criine, it is not easy to have any knowledge of the de. linquent without a wish that his life may be spared, at least when no life has been taken away by him. I will, therefore take the liberty of suggesting some reasons for which I wish this unhappy being to escape the utmost rigor of his sentence.
He is, so far as I can recollect, the first clergyman of our church who has-suffered public execution for immorality; and I know not whether at would not be more for the interest of religion to bury such an offender in the obscurity of perpetual exile, than to expose him a in cart, and on the gallows, to all who, for any reason, are enemies to the clergy.
The supreme power has, in all ages, paid some attention to the voice of the people; and that voice does not least deserve to be heard when it calls out for mercy. There is now a very general desire that Dodd's lise should be spared. More is not wished; and, perhaps, this is not too much to be granted.
If you, sir, have any opportunity of enforcing these reasons, you may, perhaps, think them woriliy of consideration ; but, whatever you determine, I most respectfully entreat tlnt you will be pleased to pardon this intrusion. Sir, your most obedient and most humble servant.
June 25th, midnight. DEAR SIR,
Accept, thou great and good heart, my carnest and fervent thanks ad prayers for all thy benevolent and kind efforts in my behalf. O! Dr. Johnson, as I sought your knowledge at an early hour in life, would to heaven I had cultivated the love and acquaintance of so excellent a man!
pray God, si sincerely, to bless you with the highest transports, the infelt satisfaction of humane and benevolent exertion ! And admitted, as I trust I shall be, to the realıns of bliss before you, I shall hail your arrival there with transports, and rejoice to acknowledge that you were my comforter, my advocate, and my friend! God be with you!
LETTER 179. Dr. Johnson to Dr. Dodd, the evening previous to his Execution. DEAR SIR,
That which is appointed to all men is now eoming upon you. Outward circumstances, the eyes and the thoughts of men, are below the notice of an immortal being, about to stand the trial for eternity before the Supreme Judge of heaven and earth. Be comforted; your crime, morally or religiously considered, has no very deep dye of turpitude ; it corrupted no man's principles; it attacked no man's life ; it involved only a temporary and reparable injury. Of this, and all other sins, you are earnestly to repent; and may God, who knoweth our frailty, and desireth not our death, accept your repentance for the sake of his Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord.
In requital of those wel intended offices which you are pleased so emphatically to acknowledge, let me beg that you will nake in your
de votions one petition for my eternal welfare.
dear sir, your affectionate servant.
LETTER 180. From James Howell to Mr. R. S. on his neglecting to answer ha
I sent you a letter on the 3d current, but it was not answered; I sent another of the 13th, like a second arrow, to find out the first, but I know not what's become of either. I send this to find the other two, and if this fail there shall go no more out of my quiver. If you forget me I have cause to complain, and more if you remember me; to forget, may proceed from the frailty of memory; not to answer me, when me, is pure neglect, and no less than a piacle. So I rest yours easily to be recovered.
LETTER 181. From a Gentleman who had long neglected the correspondence of
a Friend. DEAR SIR,
When I look back to the date of your two last, and reflect on the length of time they have remained unanswered, I feel the most poignant sensations of shame and regret. I will not aggravate the impropriety of my omission by amusing you with childish excuses of illness and business, but confess that an unaccountable negligence, and foolish habit of procrastination, have made me so inattentive. I throw myself on your kindness, to excuse my fault, to renew our interrupted correspon dence, and must intreat you not to consider me as deficient in friendship for you, though appearance goes so far towards my condemnation in that particular.
I beg it with an ill grace, but as my ease of mind depends on it, must request you to favor me with an answer to this as soon as possible ; let me know every thing which may have interested you since you wrote last ; I have many things to communicate, but am resolved to devote this letter to apology alone, and to the purpose of assuring you how sin vere.y I am, dear sir,
LETTER 182. Nom Dr. Johnson to Mr. Boswell, in answer to repeated requests
that he would write. DEAR SIR,
Why should you importune me so earnestly to write? Or what importance can it be o liear ol Istant friends, to a man who finds him vell welcome wherever he goes, and makes new friends faster than he man want them? If to the delight of such universal kindness of 'reception, any Uring can be added by knowing that you retain my good will, you may indulge yourself in the full enjoyment of that small addition.
I am glad that you have made the round of Litchfield with so much sticcess; the oftener you are seen the more you will be liked. It was pleasing to me to read that Mrs. Aston was so well, and that Lury Porter was so glad to see you.
In the place where you now are there is much to be observed ; and you will easily procure skilful directors. But what will you do to keep away the black dog that worries you at home? If you would, in com pliance with your father's advice, inquire into the old tenure and old charters of Scotland, you would certainly open to yourself many striking scenes of the manners of the middle ages. The feudal system in a coun try half barbarous, is naturally productive of great anomalies in civil life. The knowledge of past times is naturally growing less in all cases not of public record and the past time of Scotland is so unlike the pres ent that it is always difficult for a Scotchman to imagine the economny of his grandfather. Do not be tardy nor negligent, but gather up eagerly what can yet be found.
We have, I think, once talked of another prospect, a history of the late insurrection in Scotland, with all its incidents. Many falsehoods tre passing into uncontradicted history. Voltaire, who loved a striking gory, has told what he could not find to be true.
You may make collections for each of these projects, or for both, as opportunities occur, and digest them at your leisure. The great direction which Burton has left to melancholy men like you, is this--be not solitary ; be not idle ; which I would thus modify; if you are idle be not solitary; if you are solitary be not idle. There is a letter for you, Gom
Your huinble servant.
LETTER 183. The Countess of Hertford to Dr. Burnett, occasioned by some medo
itations which he had sent her on the death of her Son. SIR,
I am very sensibly obliged by the kind compassion you express for me ander my heavy affliction. The meditations you have furnished me with afford the strongest motives for consolation that can be offered to a per. son under my unhappy circumstances. The dearly lamented son I have lont was the pride and joy of my heart; but I hope I may be the more easily excused for looking on him in this light, since he was not so from the outward advantages he possessed, but from the virtues ard rectitude of his mind. That which flattered me, in regard to him, was not drawn from his distinguished rank, nor the beauty of his person, but from the hopes that his example would have been serviceable to the cause of virtue, and would have shown the younger part of the world that it was possible to be cheerful without being foolish or vicious, and to be relige jous without severity or melancholy. His whole life was one uninterrupted course of duty and affection to his parents ; and, when he found the hand of death upon him, his only regret was to think on the agonies which must rend their hearts ; for he was perfectly contented to leave the world, as his conscience did not reproach him with any présumptu. ous sins, and he hoped his errors would be forgiven. Thus he resigned bis innocent soul into the hands of a merciful Creator, on the evening of his birth day, which completed his nineteenth year. You will not! ) surprised, sir, that the death of such a son should occasion the deepe i sorrow; yet, at the same time, it leaves us the most comfortable assu ance, that he is happier than our fondest wishes and care could ha'.: made him, which niust enable us to support the remainder of the year which it shall please God to allot to us here, without murmuring or dis content, and quicken our endeavors to prepare ourselves to follow to ta. happy place, where our dear, valuable child is gone before us. I beg the continuance of your prayers, and am
Your grateful humble servant.
LETTER 184. Mr. Gray (author of the Elegy in a country Churchyard) to his
Uncle, on the death of his Aunt. DEAR SIR,
The unhappy news I have just received from you equally surprises and afflicts me. I have lost a person I lored very much, and have been used to from my ipfancy; but am much more concerned for your loss, the circumstances of which I forbear to dwell upon, as you must be too sensible of them yourself; and will, I fear, more and more need a conBulation that no one can give, except He who has preserved her to you 80 many years, and at last, when it was his pleasure, has taken her from us to himself; and perhaps if we reflect on what she left in this liso, we may look on this as an instance of his goodness both to her and to those who loved her. She might have languished many years before your eyes in a continual increase of pain and totally helpless ; she might have long wished to end her inisery without being able to attain it; or perhaps even lost all sense, and yet continued to breathe ; a sad spectacle to such as must have felt more for her than she could have done for herself. However you may deplore your own loss, yet think that she is at last easy and happy; and has now more occasion to pity us than we her. I hope, and beg you will support yourself with that resignation which we owe to Him, who, we have reason to believe, gave us our being for our good, and who deprives us of it with the same intention.
It will be a source of melancholy but pleasing consolation to you to reflect on the many virtues which your deceased partner possessed, the benevolent actions in which she was engaged, and the many pleasant lours which you have passed together.
I would come to you directly, but you do not say whether you desire ! should or not; if you do, I beg I may know it, for there is nothing to binder me, and I am in very good health.
LETTER 185. , m J J. Rousseau, to a Friend who had asked his opinion of
Duelling D R SIR,
fb not confound the sacred name of honor with this brutal prejudice. wh places all the virtues in the point of the sword, and is proper onl to make brave villains.
1 what does this prejudice consist? In the most extravagant and bar arous opinion that ever entered into the human mind; namely, that all je duties of society are supplied by bravery; that a man is no longer ak ave, a villain, or a slanderer ; is humane, polite, and has every zoc. quality, when he will fight; that a lie becomes truth, robbery be. son s lawful, perfidy becomes honesty, and infidelity laudable, when sup; urted sword in hand ; that an affront is always repaired by a lunge, and obat a man is never injured provided he is killed. There is, I ac kno ledge, another kind, in which, gentility is mixed with cruelty, and who e persons are killed by chance only, I mean fighting till blood is dra a only. Till blood is drawn! Good God! and what wouldst thou do nith this blood ? Cruel brute ! wouldst thou drink it ?
Te most valiant heroes of antiquity never dreamed of revenging their gers val injuries by single combat: did Cesar ever send a challenge to Cath, or Poinpey to Cesar, for so many reciprocal affronts ? or was the grea est captairi of Greece dishonored by suffering himself to be threat eneil with a cane? Different times, different customs : I know it ; bu! are: ere now none but good ones; and may we not inquire, whether these customs are such as real honor requires ? No; honor is invaria. ble; it does not depend on prejudices, it can neither decay nor be revive.'; it has an eternal source in the heart of the just man, and in the anal cable rule of his duties. If the most enlightened, bravest, and most irtuous people in the world, had no knowledge of it
, I insist it is Dot : , institution of honor; but a detestable, barbarius fashion, worthy of its savage original. It remains to inquire, whether, when his own or anotlı r’s life is at stake, an honest man follows the fashion; and whell ur there is not more true courage in braving, than in complying with 1. What woula a man do, who is willing to comply with it, ip place where a contrary custom prevails? Ai Messina or Naples, he woul wait for a man at the corner of the street, and stab him behind ; in be countries this is called bravery, and honour doas not consist in being «illed yourself by your enemy, but in killing him