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recriminate, and to charge me with forgetfulness of the absent. I will there-
fore delay no longer to give an account of myself, and wish I could relate
what would please either myself or my friend. --On July 13, I left London,
partly in hope of help from new air and change of place, and partly excited
-by the sick man's impatience of the present. I got to Lichfield in a stage
vehicle, with very little fatigue, in two days, and had the consolation to find,
that since

last visit


three old acquaintance are all dead.—July 20, I went to Ashbourne, where I have been till now; the house in which we live is repairing. I live in too much folitude, and am often deeply dejected: I wish we were nearer, and rejoice in your removal to London. A friend, at once cheerful and serious, is a great acquisition. Let us not neglect one another for the little time which Providence allows us to hope. Of my health I cannot tell you, what my wishes persuaded me to expect, that it is much improved by the season or by remedies, I am Neepless ; my legs grow weary with a very few steps, and the water breaks its boundaries in some degree. The asthma, however, has remitted ; my breath is still much obstructed, but is more free than it was. Nights of watchfulness produce torpid days; I read very little, though I am alone ; for I am tempted to supply in the day what I lost in bed.—This is my history, like all other histories, a narrative of misery. Yet am I so much better than in the beginning of the year, that I ought to be ashamed of complaining. I now sit and write with very little sensibility of pain or weakness; but when I rise, I shall find my legs betraying me. Of the money which you mentioned I have no immediate need; keep it, however for me, unless fome exigence requires it. Your papers I will shew you certainly when you would see them, but I am a little angry at you for not keeping minutes of your own acceptum et expensum, and think a little time might be spared from Aristophanes, for the res familiares. Forgive me, for I mean well.-I hope, dear Sir, that you and Lady Rothes, and all the young people, too many to enumerate, are well and happy. God bless

you all.”

To Mr. Windham, August. “ The tenderness with which you have been

WINDHAM pleased to treat me, through my long illness, neither health nor sickness can I hope make me forget; and you are not to suppose, that after we parted you were no longer in my mind. But what can a sick man say, but that he is fick ? His thoughts are necessarily concentred in himself; he neither receives nor can give delight; his enquiries are after alleviations of pain, and his. efforts are to catch some momentary comfort.-Though I am now in the Vol. II.

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Ætat. 75.


1784. neighbourhood of the Peak, you must expect no account of its wonders, of

its hills, its waters, 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 past my asthma has been lefs afictive.”

October 2. “I believe you have been long enough acquainted with the pbænomena of fickness, not to be surprized that a sick man wishes to be where he is not, and where it appears to every body but himself that he might easily be, without having the resolution to remove. I thought Ashbourne a solitary place, but did not come hither till last Monday.- I have here more company, but my health has for this last week not advanced ; and in the languor of disease how little can be done? Whither or when I shall make my next remove, I cannot tell; but I entreat you, dear Sir, to let me know, from time to time, where you may be found, for your residence is a very powerful attractive to, Sir, your most humble servant.”


“ CONSIDERING what reason you gave me in the spring to conclude that you took part in whatever good or evil might befal me, I ought not to have omitted so long the account which I am now about to give you.--My diseases are an asthma and a dropsy, and, what is less curable, seventy-five. Of the dropsy, in the beginning of the summer, or in the spring, I recovered to a degree which struck with wonder both me and my physicians: the asthma now is likewise, for a time, very much relieved. I went to Oxford, where the asthma was very tyrannical, and the dropsy began again to threaten me, but seasonable physick stopped the inundation : I then returned to London, and in July took a resolution to visit Staffordshire and Derbyshire, where I am yet struggling with my diseases. The dropsy made another attack, and was not easily ejected, but at last gave way. The asthma fuddenly remitted in bed, on the 13th of August, and, though now very oppressive, is, I think, still something gentler than it was before the remission. My limbs are miserably debilitated, and my nights are sleepless and tedious.When

you read this, dear Sir, you are not sorry that I wrote no fooner. I will not prolong my complaints. I hope still to see you in a happier bour, to talk over what we have often talked, and perhaps to find new topicks of merriment, or new incitements to curiosity. I am, dear Sir, &c. • Lichfield, Oft. 20, 1784.



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Æta. 75.


« THOUGH in all my summer's excursion I have given you no
account of myself, I hope you think better of me than to imagine it possible
for me to forget you, whose kindness to me has been too great and too con-
stant not to have made its impression on a harder breast than mine.—Silence
is not very culpable when nothing pleasing is suppressed. It would have
alleviated none of your complaints to have read my vicissitudes of evil. I
have struggled hard with very formidable and obstinate maladies; and though
I cannot talk of health, think all praise due to my Creator and Preserver for
the continuance of my life. The dropsy has made two attacks, and has
given way to medicine; the asthma is very oppressive, but that has likewise
once remitted. I am very weak, and very Neepless; but it is time to con-
clude the tale of misery.—I hope, dear Sir, that you grow better, for you
have likewise your share of human evil, and that your lady and the young
charmers are well. I am, dear Sir, &c.
“ Lichfield, Oct. 20, 1784.

Sam. Johnson."

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“ SINCE we parted I have been much oppressed by my asthma,
but it has lately been less laborious. When I fit I am almost at ease, and
I can walk, though yet very little, with less difficulty for this week past than
before. I hope I shall again enjoy my friends, and that you and I shall have
a little more literary conversation.-Where I now am, every thing is very
liberally provided for me but conversation. My friend is fick himself, and
the reciprocation of complaints and groans affords not much of either pleasure
or instruction. What we have not at home this town does not supply, and
I shall be glad of a little imported intelligence, and hope that you will bestow
now and then a little time on the relief and entertainment of, Sir, yours, &c.
“ Ashbourne, August 19, 1784.

SAM. Johnson."

“ DO not suppose that I forget you; I hope I shall never be accused
of forgetting my benefactors. I had, till lately, nothing to write but
complaints upon complaints, of miseries upon miseries, but within this



4 Bookseller to his Majesty,

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Atat. 75

1784. fortnight I have received great relief.-Have your Lectures any vacation?

If you are released from the necessity of daily study, you may find time for a
letter to me.—[In this letter he states the particulars of his case.]—In return
for this account of my health, let me have a good account of yours, and of
your prosperity in all your undertakings. I am, dear Sir, your, &c.
" Afhboume, Sept. 4, 1784.

SAM. Johnson."

To Mr. Thomas Davies, August 14. “ 'The tenderness with which you always treat me, makes me culpable in my own eyes for having omitted to write in so long a separation; I had, indeed, nothing to say that you

could wish to hear. All has been hitherto misery accumulated upon misery, disease corroborating disease, till yesterday my asthma was perceptibly and unexpectedly mitigated. I am much comforted with this short relief, and am willing to flatter myself that it may continue and improve. I have at present, such a degree of ease, as not only may admit the comforts, but the duties of life. Make my compliments to Mrs. Davies.-Poor dear Allen, he was a

good man.”

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To Sir Joshua ReynOLDS, August 19. Having had since our separation, little to say that could please you or myself by saying, I have not been Javish of useless letters; but I Aatter myself that you will partake of the pleasure with which I can now tell you, that about a week ago, I felt suddenly a fensible remission of my asthma, and consequently a greater lightness of action and motion.--Of this grateful alleviation I know not the cause, nor dare depend upon its continuance, but while it lasts I endeavour to enjoy it, and am desirous of communicating, while it lasts, my pleasure to my friends.Hitherto, dear Sir, I had written before the post, which stays in this town but a little while, brought me your letter. Mr. Davies seems to have represented my little tendency to recovery in terms too splendid. I am still restless, still weak, still watry, but the asthma is less oppressive. Poor Ramsays! On which fide foever I turn, mortality presents its formidable frown. I left three old friends at Lichfield, when I was last there, and now found them all dead. I no sooner lose sight of dear Allen, than I am told that I shall see him no

That we must all die, we always knew; I wish I had sooner remembered it. Do not think me intrusive or importunate, if I now call, dear Sir, on you to remember it.”

Sept. 2. “ I still continue, by God's mercy, to mend. My breath is easier, my nights are quieter, and my legs are lefs in bulk, and stronger in

s Allan Ramsay, Esq. painter to his Majesty, who died about this time, much regretted by his friends,



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use. I have, however, yet a great deal to overcome, before I can yet attain 1784.
even an old man's health.-Write, do write to me now and then ; we are Ætat. 75.
now old acquaintance, and perhaps few people have lived so much and so
long together, with less cause of complaint on either side. The retrospection
of this is very pleasant, and I hope we shall never think on each other with
less kindness."
Sept. 18.

“ I Aattered myself that this week would have given me a
letter from you, but none has come. Write to me now and then, but direct
your next to Lichfield.—I think, and I hope, am sure, that I still grow better;

I have sometimes good nights; but am still in my legs weak, but so much
mended, that I go to Lichfield in hope of being able to pay my visits on foot,
for there are no coaches.—I have three letters this day, all about the balloon,
I could have been content with one. Do not write about the balloon, what-
ever else you may think proper to fay.”

To Mr. John Nichols. Lichfield, Oct. 20. “ When you were here, you
were pleased, as I am told, to think my absence an inconvenience. I should
certainly have been very glad to give so skilful a lover of antiquities any
information about my native place, of which, however, I know not much,
and have reason to believe that not much is known.-_Though I have not
given you any amusement, I have received amusement from you. At
Ashbourne, where I had very little company, I had the luck to borrow
• Mr. Bowyer's Life;' a book so full of contemporary history, that a literary man
must find some of his old friends. I thought that I could now and then have
told you some hints worth your notice; and perhaps we may talk a life over.
I hope we shall be much together ; you must now be to me what you were
before, and what dear Mr. Allen was, besides. He was taken unexpectedly
away, but I think he was a very good man._I have made little progress in
recovery. I am very weak, and very neepless; but I live on and hope.”

This various mass of correspondence, which I have thus brought together, is valuable both as an addition to the store which the publick already has of Johnson's writings, and as exhibiting a genuine and noble specimen of vigour and vivacity of mind, which neither age nor fickness could impair or diminish.

It may be observed, that his writing in every way, whether for the publick,
or privately to his friends, was by fits and starts ; for we fee frequently, that
a number of letters are written on the same day. When he had once over-
come his aversion to begin, he was, I suppose, desirous to go on in order to

relieve his mind from the uneasy reflection of delaying what he ought to do.


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