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Atat, 75


“ I have just advanced so far towards recovery as to read a pamphlet ; and you may reasonably suppose that the first pamphlet which I read was yours. I am very much of your opinion, and, like you, feel great

, indignation at the indecency with which the King is every day treated. Your paper

contains very considerable knowledge of the history and of the constitution, very properly produced and applied. It will certainly raise your character”, though perhaps it may not make you a Minister of State,

“ I desire you to see Mrs. Stewart once again, and tell her, that in the letter-case was a letter relating to me, for which I will give her, if she is willing to give it me, another guinea. The letter is of consequence only to me. I am, dear Sir, &c. « London, Feb. 27, 1784.


In consequence of Johnson's request that I should ask our physicians about his case, and desire Sir Alexander Dick to send his opinion, I transmitted him a letter from that very amiable Baronet, then in' his eighty-first year, with his faculties as entire as ever; and mentioned his expressions to me in the note accompanying it: “ With my most affectionate wishes for Dr. Johnson's recovery, in which his friends, his country, and all mankind have so deep a stake:” and at the same time a full opinion upon his case by Dr. Gillespie, who, like Dr. Cullen, had the advantage of having paffed through the gradations of surgery and pharmacy, and by study and practice had attained to such skill, that my father settled on him two hundred pounds a year for five years, and fifty pounds a year during his life, as an bonorarium to secure his particular attendance. The opinion was conveyed in a letter to me, beginning, “I am sincerely sorry for the bad state of health

2 I sent it to Mr. Pitt, with a letter, in which I thus expressed myself : “My principles may appear to you too monarchical; but I know and am persuaded, they are not inconsistent with the true principles of liberty. Be this as it may, you, Sir, are now the Prime Minister, called by the Sovereign to maintain the rights of the Crown, as well as those of the people, against a violent faction. As such, you are entitled to the warmest fupport of every good subject in every department." He answered, “ I am extremely obliged to you for the sentiments you do me the honour to express, and have observed with great pleasure the zealous and able support given to the CAUSE OF THE PUBLICK in the work you were so good to transmit to me."

your very learned and illustrious friend, Dr. Johnson, labours under at present.”


Ætat. 75.

To James Boswell, Esq. « DEAR SIR,

“ PRESENTLY after I had sent away my last letter, I received your kind medical packet. I am very much obliged both to you and your physicians for your kind attention to my disease. Dr. Gillespie has sent an excellent confilium medicum, all solid practical experimental knowledge. I am at present, in the opinion of my physicians (Dr. Heberden and Dr. Brocklesby) as well as my own, going on very hopefully. I have just begun to take vinegar of squills. The powder hurt my stomach so much, that it could not be continued.

“ Return Sir Alexander Dick my sincere thanks for his kind letter; and bring with you the rhubarb 3 which he so tenderly offers me.

“ I hope dear Mrs. Boswell is now quite well, and that no evil, either real or imaginary, now disturbs you. I am, &c.

London, March 2, 1784.


I also applied to three of the eminent physicians who had chairs in our celebrated school of medicine at Edinburgh, Doctors Cullen, Hope, and Monro, to each of whom I sent the following letter:

« Dear Sir,

“ DR. JOHNSON has been very ill for some time; and in a letter of anxious apprehension he writes to me, “Alk your physicians about my case.'

“ This, you see, is not authority for a regular consultation : but I have no doubt of your readiness to give your advice to a man so eminent, and who, in his Life of Garth, has paid your profession a just and elegant compliment: 'I believe every man has found in physicians great liberality and dignity of sentiment, very prompt effusions of beneficence, and willingness to exert a lucrative art, where there is no hope of lucre.'

“ Dr. Johnson is aged seventy-four. Last summer he had a stroke of the palsy, from which he recovered almost entirely. He had, before that, been .


From his garden at Prestonfield, where he cultivated that plant with such success, that he
was presented with a gold medal by the Society of London for the Encouragement of Arts and
Vol. II.
Q. 94



Etat. 75.

troubled with a catarrhous cough. This winter he was seized with a spal-
modick asthma, by which he has been confined to his house for about three
months. Dr. Brocklesby writes to me, that upon the least admission of cold,
there is such a constriction upon his breast, that he cannot lye down in his
bed, but is obliged to sit up all night, and gets rest, and sometimes Neep,
Only by means of laudanum and fyrup of poppies; and that there are
ædematous tumours on his legs and thighs. Dr. Brocklesby trusts a good
deal to the return of mild weather. Dr. Johnson says, that a dropsy gains
ground upon him ; and he seems to think that a warmer climate would do
him good. I understand he is now rather better, and is using vinegar of
squills. I am, with
. I am, with great esteem, dear Sir,

" Your most obedient humble servant,
«6. March 7, 1784.

JAMES Boswell."

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All of them paid the most polite attention to my letter, and its venerable object. Dr. Cullen's words concerning him were, “ It would give me the greatest pleasure to be of any service to a man whom the publick properly esteem, and whom I esteem and respect as much as I do Dr. Johnson." Dr. Hope's, “ Few people have a better claim on me than your friend, as hardly a day passes that I do not ask his opinion about this or that word.” Dr. Monro's, “I most fincerely join you in sympathizing with that very worthy and ingenious character, from whom his country has derived much instruction and entertainment.”

Dr. Hope corresponded with his friend Dr. Brocklesby. Doctors Cullen and Monro wrote their opinions and prescriptions to me, which I afterwards carried with me to London, and, so far as they were encouraging, communicated to Johnson. · The liberality on one hand, and grateful sense of it on the other, I have great satisfaction in recording.



“ I am too much pleased with the attention wnicn you and your dear lady - show to my welfare, not to be diligent in letting you know the progress which I make towards health. The dropsy, by God's blessing, has now run almost totally away by natural evacuation ; and the asthma, if not irritated

4 Who had written him a very kind letter,


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DR. JOHNSON. by cold, gives me little trouble. While I am writing this, I have not any fen- 1784. sation of debility or disease. But I do not yet venture out, having been Ætat. 75. confined to the houfe from the thirteenth of December, now a quarter of a year.

" When it will be fit for me to travel as far as Auchinleck, I am not able
to guess; but such a letter as Mrs. Boswell's might draw any man, not wholly
motionless, a great way. Pray tell the dear lady how much her civility and
kindness have touched and gratified me.

« Our parliamentary tumults have now begun to subside, and the King's
authority is in some measure re-established. Mr. Pitt will have great power;
but you must remember, that what he has to give must, at least for some
time, be given to those who gave, and those who preferve his
new minister can facrifice little to esteem or friendship; he must, till he is
settled, think only of extending his interest.

power. A

“ If you come hither through Edinburgh, fend for Mrs. Stewart, and give from me another guinea for the letter in the old case, to which I shall not be satisfied with my claim, till fhe gives it me.

“ Please to bring with you Baxter's Anacreoh; and if you procure heads of Hector Boece, the historian, and Arthur Johnston, the poet, I will put them in my room, or any other of the fathers of Scottish literature.

“ I wish you an easy and happy journey, and hope I need not tell you that

you will be welcome to, dear Sir, your most affectionate humble servant, • London, March 18, 1784.


I wrote to him, March 28, from York, informing him that I had a high gratification in the triumph of monarchical principles over aristocratical influence, in that great county, in an address to the King; that I was thus far on my way to him, but that news of the dissolution of Parliament having arrived, I was to hasten back to my own county, where I had carried an address to his Majesty by a great majority, and had some intention of being a candidate to represent the county in Parliament.

To James Boswelb, Esq. 6 DEAR SIR,

“ YOU could do nothing so proper as to haste back when you found the Parliament dissolved. With the influence which your address must Q992



Ætat. 75•

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have gained you, it may reasonably be expected that your presence will be of importance, and your activity of effect.

“ Your folicitude for me gives me that pleasure which every man feels from the kindness of such a friend; and it is with delight I relieve it by telling, that Dr. Brocklesby's account is true, and that I am, by the blessing of God, wonderfully relieved.

“ You are entering upon a transaction which requires much prudence. You must endeavour to oppose without exasperating; to practise temporary · hostility, without producing enemies for life. This is, perhaps, hard to be done ; yet it has been done by many, and seems most likely to be effected by opposing merely upon general principles, without descending to personal or particular censures or objections. One thing I must enjoin you, which is seldom observed in the conduct of elections ;-I must entreat you to be scrupulous in the use of strong liquors. One night's drunkenness may defeat the labours of forty days well employed. Be firm, but not clamorous; be active, but not malicious ; and you may form such an interest, as may not only exalt yourself, but dignify your family.

“ We are, as you may suppose, all busy here. Mr. Fox resolutely stands for Westminster, and his friends say will carry the election. However that be, he will certainly have a feat. Mr. Hoole has just told me, that the city leans towards the King.

“ Let me hear, from time to time, how you are employed, and what progress you make.

“ Make dear Mrs. Boswell, and all the young Boswells, the sincere compliments of, Sir, your affectionate humble servant, “ London, March 30, 1784.

SAM. Johnson.”


March 27

To Mr. Langton he wrote with that cordiality which was suitable to the long friendship which had subsisted between him and that gentleman.

« Since


left me, I have continued in my own opinion, and in Dr. Brocklesby's, to grow better with respect to all my formidable and dangerous distempers; though to a body battered and shaken as mine has lately been, it is to be feared that weak attacks may be sometimes mischievous. I have, indeed, by standing carelessly at an open window, got a very troublesome cough, which it has been necessary to appease by opium, in larger quantities than I like to take, and I have not found it give way so readily as I expected; its obstinacy, however, seems at last disposed to submit to the remedy, and I know not whether I fould then have a right to complain of any morbid sensation. My asthma is, I am afraid, constitutional


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