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some small interchange of regard between us. If you say that I ought to have written, I now write; and I write to tell you, that I have much kindness for you and Mrs. Beattie; and that I wish your health better, and your life long. Try change of air, and come a few degrees southwards. A softer climate may do you both good. Winter is coming in; and London will be warmer, and gayer, and busier, and more fertile of amusement than Aberdeen.

"My health is better, but that will be little in the balance when I tell you that Mrs. Montagu has been very ill, and is, I doubt, now but weakly. Mr. Thrale has been very dangerously disordered; but is much better, and I hope will totally recover. He has withdrawn himself from business the whole summer. Sir Joshua and his sister are well; and Mr. Davies has got great success as an author,' generated by the corruption of a bookseller." More news I have not to tell you, and therefore you must be contented with hearing, what I know not whether you much wish to hear, that I am, Sir, &c.

LETTER 383.

3

TO JAMES BOSWELL, ESQ.

"SAM. JOHNSON."

"London, Aug. 21, 1780.

"DEAR SIR,-I find you have taken one of your fits of taciturnity, and have resolved not to write till you are written to; it is but a peevish humour, but you shall have your way.

"I have sat at home in Bolt Court all the summer, thinking to write the Lives, and a great part of the time only thinking. Several of them, however, are done, and I still think to do the rest.

"Mr. Thrale and his family have, since his illness, passed their time first at Bath, and then at Brighthelmstone; but I have been at neither place. I would have gone to Lichfield if I could have had time, and I might have had time if I had been active; but I have missed much and done little.

1 Meaning his entertaining "Memoirs of David Garrick, Esq." of which Johnson as Davies informed me) wrote the first sentence; thus giving, as it were, the key-note to the performance. It is, indeed, very characteristical of its author; beginning with a maxim, and proceeding to illustrate. "All excellence has a right to be recorded. I shall, therefore, think it superfluous to apologise for writing the life of a man, who, by an uncommon assemblage . of private virtues, adorned the highest eminence in a public profession "

2 What the expression "generated by the corruption of a bookseller " means, seems not quite clear; perhaps it is an allusion to the generation of a class of insects, as if Davies, from his adversity as a bookseller, had burst into new and gaudier life as an author.-C. The service which this figure has performed is multifarious. It alludes evidently to the dogma of the physiologists, "Corruptio unius est generatio alterius " Dryden makes use of it in his letters; and in Congreve's Remarks on Collier, I find, "The corruption of a rotten divine is the generation of a sour critic." But the allusion is to be found still earlier in the first of Quevedo's Visions-" The corruption of mankind is the generation of a catchpole;" -where the word "corruption " has an appropriate application (figuratively at least), which I pre sume is what Mr. Croker sought in vain in Johnson's use of it.-FONNEReau.

I wish he had omitted the suspicion expressed here, though I believe he meant nothing but jocularity; for, though he and I differed sometimes in opinion, he well knew how much I loved and revered him.-BEATTIE.

"In the late disturbances, Mr. Thrale's house and stock were in great danger. The man was pacified at their first invasion with about fifty pounds in drink and meat; and at their second were driven away by the soldiers.. Mr. Strahan got a garrison into his house, and maintained them a fortnight; he was so frighted, that he removed part of his goods. Mrs. Williams took shelter in the country.

"I know not whether I shall get a ramble this autumn. It is now about the time when we were travelling. I have, however, better health than I had then, and hope you and I may yet show ourselves on some part of Europe, Asia, or Africa.1 In the meantime let us play no trick, but keep each other's kindness by all means in our power.

"The bearer of this is Dr. Dunbar of Aberdeen, who has written and published a very ingenious book, and who I think has a kindness for me, and will, when he knows you, have a kindness for you.

"I suppose your little ladies are grown tall; and your son has become a learned young man. I love them all, and I love your naughty lady, whom I never shall persuade to love me. When the Lives are done, I shall send them to complete her collection, but must send them in paper, as, for want of a pattern, I cannot bind them to fit the rest. I am, Sir, yours most affectionately,

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SAM. JOHNSON."

"London, Aug. 25, 1780.

"I have not dined out for some time but with Renny or Sir Joshua; and next week Sir Joshua goes to Devonshire, and Renny to Richmond, and I am left by myself. I wish I could say nunquam minus,3 &c., but I am not dili gent. I am afraid that I shall not see Lichfield this year, yet it would please me to show my friends how much better I am grown; but I am not grown, I am afraid, less idle; and of idleness I am now paying the fine by having no leisure."

This year he wrote to a young clergyman' in the country the

1 It will no doubt be remarked how he avoids the rebellious land of America. This puts me in mind of an anecdote, for which I am obliged to my worthy, social friend, Governor Richard Penn. "At one of Miss E. Hervey's assemblies, Dr. Johnson was following her up and down the room; upon which Lord Abington observed to her, 'Your great friend is very fond of you; you can go nowhere without him.' 'Ay,' said she,' he would follow me to any part of the world.' 'Then,' said the Earl, ask him to go with you to America.'"-B. This lady was Miss Elizabeth Hervey, daughter of William, brother of Johnson's two friends, Tho mas and Henry Hervey. She was born in 1780, and died at a very advanced age, unmar ritá.--C.

"Essays on the History of Mankind." See some account of this proiessor, in the first volume of the Memoirs of his pupil, Sir James Mackintosh, 1885.

"Never less alone than when alone."-C.

* Probably ais friend, the Reverend George Strahan, who published his Prayers and Medi tations.-C.

following very excellent letter, which contains valuable advice to divines in general :—

LETTER 385.

TO A YOUNG CLERGYMAN.

"Bolt Court, Aug. 30, 1780.

"DEAR SIR,-Not many days ago Dr. Lawrence showed me a letter, in which you make mention of me: I hope, therefore, you will not be displeased that I endeavour to preserve your goodwill by some observations which your letter suggested to me.

"You are afraid of falling into some improprieties in the daily service by reading to an audience that requires no exactness. Your fear, I hope, secures you from danger. They who contract absurd habits are such as have no fear. It is impossible to do the same thing very often without some peculiarity of manner; but that manner may be good or bad, and a little care will at least preserve it from being bad; to make it good, there must, I think, be something of natural or casual felicity, which cannot be taught.

"Your present method of making your sermons seems very judicious. Few frequent preachers can be supposed to have sermons more their own than yours will be. Take care to register, somewhere or other, the authors from whom your several discourses are borrowed; and do not imagine that you shall always remember, even what, perhaps, you now think it impossible to forget.

"My advice, however, is, that you attempt, from time to time, an original sermon; and, in the labour of composition, do not burden your mind with too much at once; do not exact from yourself at one effort of excogitation, propriety of thought and elegance of expression. Invent first, and then embellish. The production of something, where nothing was before, is an act of greater energy than the expansion or decoration of the thing produced. Set down diligently your thoughts as they rise in the first words that occur; and when you have matter you will easily give it form; nor, perhaps, will this method be always necessary; for, by habit, your thoughts and diction will flow together.

"The composition of sermons is not very difficult: the divisions not only help the memory of the hearer, but direct the judgment of the writer: they supply sources of invention, and keep every part in its proper place.

"What I like least in your letter is your account of the manrers of your parish; from which I gather, that it has been long neglected by the parson. The Dean of Carlisle (Dr. Percy), who was then a little rector in Northamptonshire, told me, that it might be discerned whether or no there was a clergyman resident in a parish, by the civil or savage manner of the people. Such a congregation as yours stands in need of much reformation: and I would not have you think it impossible to reform them. A very savage parish was civilised by a decayed gentlewoman, who came among them to teach a petty

school. My learned friend, Dr. Wheeler, of Oxford, when he was a young man, had the care of a neighbouring parish for fifteen pounds a year, which he was never paid; but he counted it a convenience, that it compelled him to make a sermon weekly. One woman he could not bring to the communion; and when he reproved or exhorted her, she only answered, that she was no scholar. He was advised to set some good woman or man of the parish, a little wiser than herself, to talk to her in a language level to her mind. Such honest, I may call them holy, artifices must be practised by every clergyman; for all means must be tried by which souls may be saved. Talk to your people, however, as much as you can; and you will find, that the more frequently you converse with them upon religious subjects, the more willingly they will attend, and the more submissively they will learn. A clergyman's diligence always makes him venerable. I think I have now only to say, that, in the momentous work you have undertaken, I pray God to bless you. I am, Sir, &c. "SAM. JOHNSON."

My next letters to him were dated 24th August, 6th September, and 1st October, and from them I extract the following passages:

"My brother David and I find the long-indulged fancy of our comfortable meeting again at Auchinleck so well realised, that it in some degree confirms the pleasing hope of O! preclarum diem ! in a future state.

"I beg that you may never again harbour a suspicion of my indulging a peevish humour, or playing tricks; you will recollect that when I confessed to you that I had once been intentionally silent to try your regard, I gave you my word and honour that I would not do so again.

"I rejoice to hear of your good state of health; I pray God to continue it long. I have often said that I would willingly have ten years added to my life, to have ten taken from yours; I mean, that I would be ten years older to have you ten years younger. But let me be thankful for the years during which I have enjoyed your friendship, and please myself with the hopes of enjoying it many years to come in this state of being, trusting always, that in another state, we shall meet never to be separated. Of this we can form no notion; but the thought, though indistinct, is delightful, when the mind is calm and clear.

"The riots in London were certainly horrible; but you give me no account of your own situation during the barbarous anarchy. A description of it by Dr. Johnson would be a great painting; you might write another 'London, a Poem.'

"I am charmed with your condescending affectionate expression, 'let us keep each other's kindness by all the means in our power:' my revered friend!

'I had not seen his letters to Mrs. Thrale.

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how elevating is it to my mind, that I am found worthy to be a companion to Dr. Samuel Johnson! All that you have said in grateful praise of Mr. Walmsley, I have long thought of you; but we are both Tories, which has a very general influence upon our sentiments. I hope that you will agree to meet me at York, about the end of this month; or if you will come to Carlisle, that would be better still, in case the dean be there. Please to consider, that to keep each other's kindness, we should every year have that free and intimate communication of mind which can be had only when we are together. We should have both our solemn and our pleasant talk.

"I write now for the third time, to tell you that my desire for our meeting this autumn is much increased. I wrote to Squire Godfrey Bosville, my Yorkshire chief, that I should, perhaps, pay him a visit, as I was to hold a conference with Dr. Johnson at York. I give you my word and honour that I said not a word of his inviting you; but he wrote to me as follows:

"I need not tell you I shall be happy to see you here the latter end of this month, as you propose; and I shall likewise be in hopes that you will persuade Dr. Johnson to finish the conference here. It will add to the favour of your own company, if you prevail upon such an associate to assist your observations. I have often been entertained with his writings, and I once belonged to a club of which he was a member, and I never spent an evening there, but I heard something from him well worth remembering.'

"We have thus, my dear Sir, good comfortable quarters in the neighbourhood of York, where you may be assured we shall be heartily welcome. I pray you then resolve to set out; and let not the year 1780 be a blank in our vocial calendar, and in that record of wisdom and wit, which I keep with so auch diligence, to your honour, and the instruction and delight of others."

Mr. Thrale had now another contest for the representation in parliament of the borough of Southwark, and Johnson kindly lent him his assistance, by writing advertisements and letters for him. I shall insert one as a specimen ':

:

1 Mrs. Piozzi exhibits Dr. Johnson in a new and unexpected character, as taking a per sonal part in one of Mr. Thrale's contests for the borough. "Dr. Johnson," she says, "knew how to be merry with mean people, as well as to be sad with them; he loved the lower ranks of humanity with a real affection: and though his talents and learning kept him always in the sphere of upper life, yet he never lost sight of the time when he and they shared pain and pleasure in common. A Borough election once showed me his toleration of boisterous mirth, and his content in the company of people whom one would have thought at first sight little calculated for his society. A rough fellow one day on such an occasion, a hatter by trade, seeing Dr. Johnson's beaver in a state of decay, seized it suddenly with one hand, and clap ping him on the back with the other: 'Ah, Master Johnson,' says he, 'this is no time to be thinking about hats.' 'No, no, Sir,' replies our Doctor in a cheerful tone, 'hats are of no use now, as you say, except to throw up in the air and huzza with;' accompanying his words with the true election halloo."-C.

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