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In his religious record of this year we observe that he was better than usual, both in body and mind, and better satisfied with the regularity of his conduct. But he is still trying his ways" too rigorously. He charges himself with not rising early enough ; yet he mentions what was surely a sufficient excuse for this, supposing it to be a duty seriously required, as he all his life appears to have thought it. “One great hindrance is want of rest ; my noctural complaints grew less troublesome towards morning : and I am tempted to repair the deficiencies of the night."' Alas! how hard would it be, if this indulgence were to be imputed to a sick man as a crime. In his retrospect on the following Easter-eve, he says, “When I review the last year, I am able to recollect so little done, that shame and sorrow, though perhaps too weakly, come upon me. Had he been judging of any one else in the same circumstances, how clear would he have been on the favourable side. How very difficult, and, in my opinion, almost constitutionally impossible it was for him to be raised early, even by the strongest resolutions, appears from a note in one of his little paper-books (containing words arranged for his Dictionary), written, I suppose, about 1753 : “I do not remember that since I left Oxford, I ever rose early by mere choice, but once or twice at Edial, and two or three times for • The Rambler.' I think he had fair ground enough to have quieted his mind on the subject, by concluding that he was physically incapable of what is at best but a commodious regulation.
1 Prayers and Meditations, p. 101.-Boswell.
DR. BEATTIE-BosweLL RETURNS TO LONDON LORD MONBODDO-SCOTCH CHURCH - Second SIGHT — THIRTY-NINE ARTICLES — ROYAL MARRIAGE BILL-Foork's MIMICRY - Fourth EDITION OF THE DICTIONARY PREPARED-MR. PEYTON ORIGIN OF LANGUAGES-FLOGGING-SCOTTISH ACCENT-Ghost STORIES—RaneLAGH-Hon. THOMAS ERSKINE-GENERAL OGLETHORPE-GOLDSMITH'S NATURAL HISTORY-JOHNSON'S ADVICE TO AUTHORS—His ORINION ON A POINT OF Scotch Law.
N 1772 he was altogether quiescent as an author ; but it will be found,
mind was acute, lively, and vigorous.
"TO SIR JOSHUA REYNOLDS. “DEAR SIR,
Feb. 27, 1772. “Be pleased to send to Mr. Banks, whose place of residence I do not know, this note, which I have sent open, that, if you please, you may read it.
“When you send it, do not use your own seal. I am, Sir, your most humble servant,
SAM. JOHNSON." "TO JOSEPH BANKS, ESQ. "Perpetua ambitâ bis terrâ præmia lactis
Hæc habet altrici Capra secunda Jovis."1 “SIR,
Johnson's-court, Fleet-street, February 27, 1772. “I return thanks to you and to Dr. Solander for the pleasure which I received in yesterday's conversation. I could not recollect a motto for your Goat,' but had given her one. You, Sir, may perhaps have an epic poem from some happier pen than, Sir, your most humble servant,
“SAM. JOHNSON." 1 Thus translated by a friend :
“ In fame scarce second to the nurse of Jove,
“ TO DR. JOHNSON. “MY DEAR SIR, "It is hard that I cannot prevail on you to write to me oftener. But I am convinced that it is in vain to expect from you a private correspondence with any regularity. I must, therefore, look upon you as a fountain of wisdom, from whence few rills are communicated to a distance, and which must be approached at its source, to partake fully of its virtues.
"I am coming to London soon, and am to appear in an appeal from the Court of Session in the House of Lords. A schoolmaster in Scotland was, by a court of inferior jurisdiction, deprived of his office, for being somewhat severe in the chastisement of his scholars. The Court of Session considering it to be dangerous to the interest of learning and education, to lessen the dignity of teachers, and make them afraid of too indulgent parents, instigated by the complaints of their children, restored him. His enemies have appealed to the House of Lords, though the salary is only twenty pounds a year. I was counsel for him here. I hope there will be little fear of a reversal; but I must beg to have your aid in my plan of supporting the decree. It is a general question, and not a point of particular law.
“I am, &c.,
“ JAMES BOSWELL."
"TO JAMES BOSWELL, ESQ. “ DEAR SIR,
March 15, 1772. “That you are coming so soon to town I am very glad; and still more glad that you are coming as an advocate. I think nothing more likely to make your life pass happily away, than that consciousness of your own value, which eminence in your profession will certainly confer. If I can give you any collateral help, I hope you do not suspect that it will be wanting. My kindness for you has neither the merit of singular virtue, nor the reproach of singular prejudice. Whether to love you be right or wrong, I have many on my side: Mrs. Thrale loves you, and Mrs. Williams loves you, and what would have inclined me to love you, if I had been neutral before, you are a great favourite of Dr. Beattie.
“Of Dr. Beattie I should have thought much, but that his lady puts him out of my head; she is a very lovely woman.
"The ejection which you come hither to oppose, appears very cruel, unreasonable, and oppressive. I should think there could not be much doubt of your
My health grows better, yet I am not fully recovered. I believe it is held that men do not recover very fast after three score. I hope yet to see Beattie's College; and have not given up the western voyage. But however all this may be or not, let us try to make each other happy when we meet, and not refer our pleasure to distant times or distant places.
“How comes it that you tell me nothing of your lady? I hope to see her some time, and till then shall be glad to hear of her.
“I am, dear Sir, &c
6. SAM. JOHNSON."
TO BENNET LANGTON, ESQ., NEAR SPILSBY, LINCOLNSHIRE.
“ DEAR SIR,
March 14, 1772. “1 congratulate you and Lady Rothes 1 on your little man, and hope you will all be many years happy together.
“Poor Miss Langton can have little part in the joy of her family. She this day called her aunt Langton to receive the sacrament with her; and made me talk yesterday on such subjects as suit her condition. It will probably be her viaticum. I surely need not mention again that she wishes to see her mother. “ I am, Sir, your most humble servant,
“ SAM, JOHNSON." On the 21st of March, I was happy to find myself again in my friend's study, and was glad to see my old acquaintance, Mr. Francis Barber, who was now returned home. Dr. Johnson received me with a hearty welcome ; saying, “ I am glad you are come, and glad you are come upon such an errand :"(alluding to the cause of the schoolmaster.) BOSWELL: I hope, Sir, he will be in no danger. It is a very delicate matter to interfere between a master and his scholars : nor do I see how you can fix the degree of severity that a master may use. JOHNSON:
Why, Sir, till you can fix the degree of obstinacy and negligence of the scholars, you cannot fix the degree of severity of the master. Severity must be continued until obstinacy be subdued, and negligence be cured.”
He mentioned the severity of Hunter, his own master. Sir,” said I, “ Hunter is a Scotch name: so it should seem this schoolmaster who beat you so severely was a Scotchman. I can now account for your prejudice against the Scotch.” JOHNSON :
Sir, he was not Scotch ; and, abating his brutality, he was a very good master.
We talked of his two political pamphlets, “The False alarm," and Thoughts concerning Falkland's Islands.” Johnson : Well, Sir, which of them did you think the best ?'' BOSWELL: “I liked the second best.” Johnson : Why, Sir, I liked the first best ; and Beattie liked the first best. Sir, there is a subtlety of disquisition in the first, that is worth all the fire of the second.” BOSWELL: “ Pray, Sir, is it true that Lord North paid you a visit, and that you got two hundred a year in addition to your pension ?” JOHNSON : “ No, Sir. Except what I had from the bookseller, I did not get a farthing by them. And, between you and me, I believe Lord North is no friend to me.” Boswell: “How so, Sir?” JOHNSON: “ Why, Sir, you cannot account for the fancies of men. Well, how does Lord Elibauk ? and how does Lord Monboddo ?” BOSWELL: “ Very well, Sir. Lord Monboddo still
1 Mr. Langton married May 24, 1770, Jane, the daughter of Lloyd, Esq., and widow of John Earl of Rothes, many years Commander-in-Chief of the Forces in Ireland, who died in 1767.—Malone.
maintains the superiority of the savage life.
"1 Johnson :“ What strange narrowness of mind now is that, to think the things we have not known are better than the things which we have known.' BOSWELL : Why, Sir, that is a common prejudice.” Jounson : “ Yes, Sir, but a common prejudice should not be found in one whose trade it is to rectify error.”
A gentleman having come in who was to go as a mate in the ship along with Mr. Banks and Dr. Solander, Dr. Johnson asked what were the names of the ships destined for the expedition. The gentleman answered, they were once to be called The Drake” and “ The Raleigh, but now they were to be called “ The Resolution” and “ The Adventure.” JOHNSON : “ Much better ; for had “The Raleigh' returned without going round the world, it would have been ridiculous. To give them the names of “The Drake' and. The Raleigh' was laying a trap for satire.' BOSWELL : Had not you some desire to go upon this expedition, Sir ?" Johnson: Why, yes, but I soon laid it aside. Sir, there is very little of intellectual, in the course. Besides, I see but at a small distance. So it was not worth my while to go to see birds fly, which I should not have seen fly; and fishes swim, which I should not have seen swim.”
The gentleman being gone, and Dr. Johnson having left the room for some time, a debate arose between the Reverend Mr. Stockdale and Mrs. Desmoulins, whether Mr. Banks and Dr. Solander were entitled to any share of glory from their expedition. When Dr. Johnson returned to us, I told him the subject of their dispute. JOHNSON : “ Why, Sir, it was properly for botany that they went out ; I believe they thought only of culling of simples.”
I thanked him for showing civilities to Beattie.“ Sir,” said he, “ I should thank you. We all love Beattie. Mrs. Thrale says,
if has another husband, she'll have Beattie. He sunk upon uso that he
1 James Burnett, Lord Monboddo, a distinguished Scotch judge, born 1714, died 1770. Though both learned and acute, he exposed himself to much deserved ridicule by asserting the existence of mermaids and satyrs, but more particularly by his whimsical speculations relative to a supposed affinity between the liuman race and the monkey tribe.-ED.
“ TO JAMES BOSWELL, ESQ. “ MY DEAR SIR,
Edinburghi, May 3, 1792. “As I suppose your great work will soon he reprinted, I beg leave to trouble you with a remark on a passage of it, in which I am a little misrepresented. Be not alarmed ; the misrepresentation is not imputable to you. Not having the book at hand, I cannot specify the page, but I suppose you will easily find it. Dr. Johnson says, speaking of Mrs. Thrale's family, · Dr. Beattie sunk upon us that he was married, or words to that purpose. I am not sure that I understand sunk upon us, which is a very uncommon phrase ; but it seems to me to imply, (and others I find have understood it in the same sense,) studiously concealed from us his being married. Now, Sir, this was by no means
I could have no motive to conceal a circumstance, of which I never was nor can be ashamed; and of which Dr. Johnson seemed to think, when he afterwards be. came acquainted with Mrs. Beattie, that I had, as was true, reason to be proud. So far was I from concealing
her, that my wife had at that time almost as numerous an acquaintance in Lonılon as I had myself; and was, not very long after, kindly invited and elegantly entertained at Streatham by Mr. and Mrs. Thrale.