« AnteriorContinuar »
variance at all is uncomfortable; and variance with a father is still more uncomfortable. Besides that, in the whole dispute you have the wrong side ; at least you gave the first provocations, and some of them very offensive. Let it now be all over. As you have no reason to think that your new mother has shown you any foul play, treat her with respect, and with some degree of confidence; this will secure your father. When once a discordant family has felt the pleasure of peace, they will not willingly lose it. If Mrs. Bofwell would but be friends with me, we might now shut the temple of Janus.
“ What came of Dr. Memis's cause? Is the question about the negro determined ? Has Sir Allan any reasonable hopes ? What is become of poos Macquarry? Let me know the event of all these litigations. I wish particularly well to the negro and Sir Allan.
“ Mrs. Williams has been much out of order ; and though she is fomething better, is likely, in her physician's opinion, to endure her malady for life, though she may, perhaps, die of some other. Mrs. Thrale is big, and fancies that she carries a boy; if it were very reasonable to wish much about it, I should wish her not to be disappointed. · The desire of male heirs is not appendant only to feudal tenures. A son is almost necessary to the continuance of Thrale's fortune ; for what can miffes do with a brewhouse? Lands are fitter for daughters than trades.
“ Baretti went away from Thrale's in some whimsical fit of disguft, or ill-nature, without taking any leave. It is well if he finds in any other place as good an habitation, and as many conveniences. He has got five-andtwenty guineas by tranNating Sir Joshua's Discourses into Italian, and Mr. Thrale gave him an hundred in the spring ; so that he is yet in no difficulties.
« Colman has bought Foote's patent, and is to allow Foote for life fixteen hundred pounds a year, as Reynolds told me, and to allow him to play fo often on such terms that he may gain four hundred pounds more. What Colman can get by this bargain, but trouble and hazard, I do not see. I am, dear Sir,
Your humble servant, “ Dec. 21, 1776.
The Reverend Dr. Hugh Blair, who had long been admired as a preacher at Edinburgh, thought now of diffusing his excellent sermons more extenfively, and encreasing his reputation, by publishing a collection of them. He transmitted the manuscript to Mr. Strahan, the printer, who after keeping it for fome time, wrote a letter to him, discouraging the publication. Such at
first was the unpropitious state of one of the most successful theological books 1776.
“I have read over Dr. Blair's first sermon with more than approbation;
I believe Mr. Strahan had very soon after this time a conversation with Dr. Johnson concerning them, and then he very candidly wrote again to Dr.. Blair, enclosing Johnson's note, and agreeing to purchase the volume, for which he and Mr. Cadell gave one hundred pounds. The fale was so rapid and extensive,, and the approbation of the publick fo high, that to their honour be it recorded, the proprietors made Dr.. Blair a present first of one sum, and afterwards of another, of fifty pounds, thus voluntarily doubling the stipulated price; and when he prepared another volume they gave him at once three hundred pounds, being in all five hundred pounds, by an agreement to which I am a subfcribing witness; and now for a third octavo volume he has received no less than six hundred pounds.
In 1777, it appears from his “ Prayers and Meditations,” that Johnson 1777. suffered much from a state of mind “ unsettled and perplexed,” and from that constitutional gloom, which, together with his extreme humility and anxiety with regard to his religious state, made him contemplate himself through too dark and unfavourable a medium. It may be said of him, that he “ saw. God in clouds." Certain we may be of his injustice to himself in the following lamentable paragraph, which it is painful to think came from the contrite heart of this great man, to whose labours the world is so much indebted: “When I furvey my past life, I discover nothing but a barren waste of time, with some disorders of body, and disturbances of the mind. very near to madness, which I hope He that made me will fuffer to extenuate many faults, and excuse many deficiencies.” But we find his devotions in
: this year eminently fervent, and we are comforted by observing intervals of quiet, compofure, and gladness.
On Easter-day we find the following emphatick prayer: “ Almighty and most merciful Father, who seeft all our miseries, and knowest all our necessities, look down upon me, and pity me.
Defend me from the violent incursion of evil thoughts, and enable me to form and keep fuch resolutions
1777. as may conduce to the discharge of the duties which thy providence shall . Acat. 78. appoint me; and so help me, by thy Holy Spirit, that my heart may surely
there be fixed where true joys are to be found, and that I may serve Thee
affection and a cheerful mind. Have mercy upon me, O God,
Have mercy upon me, my Creator and my Judge. In all perplexities relieve and free me; and so help me by thy Holy Spirit, that I may now so commemorate the death of thy Son our Saviour Jesus Christ, as that when this short and painful life shall have an end, I may, for his fake, be received to everlasting happiness. Amen.”
While he was at church the agreeable impressions upon his mind are thus commemorated, “I was for some time much distressed, but at last obtained, I hope from the God of Peace, more quiet than I have enjoyed for a long time. I had made no resolution, but as '
my heart grew lighter, my hopes
« Vita ordinanda.
Theologiæ opera danda.
TO GEORGE STEEVENS, Esq. « DEAR SIR,
“ YOU will be glad to hear that from Mrs. Goldsmith, whom we lamented as drowned, I have received a letter full of gratitude to us all, with promise to make the enquiries which we recommended to her.
“ I would have had the honour of conveying this intelligence to Miss Caulfield, but that her letter is not at hand, and I know not the direction. You will tell the good news.
I am, Sir,
« Your most, &c. - February 25, 1777.
Mr. BoswELL to Dr. JOHNSON.
MY DEAR SIR,
Edinburgh, Feb. 14, 1777. “ MY state of epistolary accounts with you at present is extraordinary. The balance, as to number, is on your side. I am indebted to you for two letters; one dated the 16th of November, upon which very day I wrote to you, so that our letters were exactly exchanged, and one dated the 21st of December last.
My heart was warmed with gratitude by the truly kind contents of both of them; and it is amazing and vexing that I have allowed so much time to elapse without writing to you. But delay is inherent in me, by nature or by bad habit. I waited till I should have an opportunity of paying you my compliments on a new year. I have procrastinated till the year is no longer
“ Dr. Memis's cause was determined against him, with 40l. costs. The Lord President, and two other of the Judges, dissented from the majority upon this ground :—that although there may have been no intention to injure him by calling him Doctor of Medicine, instead of Physician, yet as he remonstrated against the designation before the charter was printed off, and reprefented that it was disagreeable and even hurtful to him, it was ill-natured to refuse to alter it, and let him have the designation to which he was certainly entitled. My own opinion is, that our court has judged wrong. The de
. fendants were in mala fide, to persist in naming him in a way that he disliked. You remember poor Goldsmith, when he grew important and wished to appear Doctor Major, could not bear your calling him Goldy. Would it not have been wrong to have named him so in your · Preface to Shakspeare,'
any serious permanent writing of any fort? The difficulty is, whether an action should be allowed on such petty wrongs. De minimis non curat lex:
“ The Negro cause is not yet decided. A memorial is preparing on the side of Navery. I shall send you a copy as soon as it is printed. Maclaurin is made happy by your approbation of his memorial for the black.
Macquarry was here in the winter, and we passed an evening together. The sale of his estate cannot be prevented.
“ Sir Allan Maclean's fuit against the Duke of Argyle, for recovering the ancient inheritance of his family, is now fairly before all our Judges. I spoke
1777 for him yesterday, and Maclaurin to-day; Crosbie spoke to-day against him.
mined. I send you the Informations or Cafes on each side, which I hope you
[Here followed a full state of the case, in which I endeavoured to make
“ I shall inform you how the cause is decided here. But as it may be brought under the review of our judges, and is certainly to be carried by appeal to the House of Lords, the allistance of such a mind as your's will be of consequence. Your paper on Vicious Intromision is a noble proof of what you can do even in Scotch law.
“ I have not yet distributed all your books. Lord Hailes and Lord Monboddo have each received one, and return you thanks. Monboddo dined with me lately, and having drank tea, we were a good while by ourselves, and as I knew that he had read the Journey' superficially, as he did not talk of it as I wished, I brought it to him, and read aloud several passages, and then he talked so, that I told him he was to have a copy from the authour. He begged that might be marked on it.
.« I ever am, my dear Sir,
« Your most faithful
" JAMES BOSWELL.”
dir ALEXANDER DICK to Dr. SAMUEL JOHNSON.
Prestonfield, Feb. 17, 1777.