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he should hate more than Desmoulins is not to be found.' Piozzi Letters, ii. 80. Mrs. Piozzi (Anec. p. 213) says:—'He really was oftentimes afraid of going home, because he was so sure to be met at the door with numberless complaints; and he used to lament pathetically to me that they made his life miserable from the impossibility he found of making theirs happy, when every favour he bestowed on one was wormwood to the rest. If, however, I ventured to blame their ingratitude, and condemn their conduct, he would instantly set about softening the one and justifying the other; and finished commonly by telling me, that I knew not how to make allowances for situations I never experienced.' Hawkins (Life, p. 404) says:—'Almost throughout Johnson's life poverty and distressed circumstances seemed to be the strongest of all recommendations to his favour. When asked by one of his most intimate friends, how he could bear to be surrounded by such necessitous and undeserving people as he had about him, his answer was, "If I did not assist them, no one else would, and they must be lost for want."' 'His humanity and generosity, in proportion to his slender income, were,' writes Murphy (Life, p. 146), 'unbounded. It has been truly said that the lame, the blind, and the sorrowful found in his house a sure retreat.' See also ante, iii. 222. At the same time it must be remembered that while Mrs. Desmoulins and Miss Carmichael only brought trouble into the house, in the society of Mrs. Williams and Levett he had real pleasure. See ante, i. 232, note 1, and 243, note 3.
BOSWELL'S LETTERS OF ACCEPTANCE OF THE OFFICE OF
(Page 370, note 1.)
'Agli Illustrissimi Signori Il Presidente e Consiglieri dell' Academia Reale
delle arti in Londra.
'Avreste forse illustrissimi Signori potuto scegliere molte persone piu degne dell' ufficcio di Segretario per la corrispondenza straniera; ma non sarebbe, son certo, stato possibile di trovar alcuno dal quale questa distinzione sarebbe stata piu stimata. Sento con un animo molto riconoscente la parzialitá che l'Academia a ben voluto mostrar per me; e mi conto felicissimo che la mia elezione sia stata graziosamente confirmata dalla sua
Maestá lo stesso Sovrano che a fondato l'Academia, e che si é sempre mostrato il suo beneficente Protettore.
'Vi prego, Signori, di credere que porro ogni mio studio a contribuire tanto che potro alla prosperita della nostra instituzione ch' é gia arrivata ad un punto si rispettevole.
'Ho l'onore d'essere,
'31 d'Ottobre, 1791.’
'A Messieurs Le President et les autres Membres du Conseil de l'Academie Royale des Arts à Londres.
'C'est avec la plus vive reconnoissance que J'accepte la charge de Secretaire pour la Correspondence etrangêre de votre Academie á laquelle J'ai eu l'honneur d'etre choisi par vos suffrages unanimes gracieusement confirmés par sa Majesté.
'Ce choix spontané Messieurs me flatte beaucoup; et m'inspire des desirs les plus ardens de m'en montrer digne, au moins par la promptitude avec laquelle Je saisirai toute occasion de faire ce que Je pourrai pour contribuer à l'avantage des Arts et la celebrité de l'Academie.
'J'ai l'honneur d'etre avec toute la consideration possible,
'e divotissimo servo,
'Votre serviteur tres obligé tres humble et tres fidel,
ce 31 d'Octobre, 1791 '.'
'To the President and Council of The Royal Academy of Arts in London.
'Your unsolicited and unanimous election of me to be Secretary for Foreign Correspondence to your Academy, and the gracious confirmation of my election by his Majesty, I acknowledge with the warmest sentiments of gratitude and respect.
'I have always loved the Arts, and during my travels on the Continent I did not neglect the opportunities which I had of cultivating a taste for them". That taste I trust will now be much improved, when I shall be so happy as
In this letter I have made no attempt to correct Boswell's errors.
2 Boswell, when in the year 1764 he was starting from Berlin for Geneva, wrote to Mr. Mitchell, the English Minister at
Berlin: 'I shall see Voltaire; I shall also see Switzerland and Rousseau. These two men are to me greater objects than most statues or pictures.' Nichols's Lit. Hist. ed. 1848, vii. 319.
to share in the advantages which the Royal Academy affords; and I fondly embrace this very pleasing distinction as giving me the means of providing additional solace for the future years of my life.
'Be assured, Gentlemen, that as I am proud to be a member of an Academy which has the peculiar felicity of not being at all dependant on a Minister, but under the immediate patronage and superintendence of the Sovereign himself, I shall be zealous to do every thing in my power that can be of any service to our excellent Institution.
'I have the honour to be,
'31 October, 1791.'
'Your much obliged
'And faithful humble servant,
'I am much obliged to you for the very polite terms in which you have been pleased to communicate to me my election to be Secretary for Foreign Correspondence to the Royal Academy of Arts in London; and I request that you will lay before the President and Council the enclosed letters signifying my acceptance of that office.
'I am with great regard,
'31 October, 1791.
'To John Richards, Esq., R.A. &c.'
'Your most obedient humble servant,
Bennet Langton's letter of acceptance of the Professorship of Ancient Literature in the place of Johnson is dated April 2, 1788.
I must express my acknowledgments to the President and Council of the Royal Academy for their kindness in allowing me to copy the above letters from the originals that are in their possession.
See post, iv. 261, note 3 for Boswell's grievance against Pitt.
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