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1789. hardly thank a lover of literary history for telling you,
that he has been much informed and gratified. I Ætat. 73.
wish you would add your own discoveries and intelligence to those of Dr. Rawlinson, and undertake the Supplement to Wood. Think of it.” In the other, “ I wish Sir, you could obtain some fuller information of Jortin, Markland, and Thirlby. They were three contemporaries of great eminence."
“ TO SIR JOSHUA REYNODLS.
66 DEAR SIR,
“I HEARD yesterday of your late disorder, and should think ill of myself if I had heard of it without alarm. I heard likewise of your recovery, which I sincerely wish to be complete and permanent. Your country has been in danger of losing one of its brightest ornaments, and I of losing one of my oldest and kindest friends; but I hope you will still live long, for the honour of the nation : and that more enjoyment of your elegance, your intelligence, and your benevolence, is still reserved for, dear Sir, your most affectionate, &c. “ Brighthelmstone,
“ SAM. Johnson.” · Nov. 14, 1782.
The Reverend Mr. Wilson having dedicated to him his “ Archäological Dictionary,” that mark of respect was thus acknowledged :
“ TO THE REVEREND MR. WILSON, CLITHEROE,
" REVEREND SIR,
“ That I have long omitted to return you thanks for the honour conferred upon me by your
Dedication, I entreat you with great earnestness not 1782. to consider ag more faulty than it is. A very impor- . 73. tunate and oppressive disorder has for some time debarred me from the pleasures, and obstructed me in the duties of life. The esteem and kindness of wise and good men is one of the last pleasures which I can be content to lose; and gratitude to those from whom this pleasure is received, is a duty of which I hope never to be reproached with the final neglect. I therefore now return you thanks for the notice which I have received from you, and which I consider as giving to my name not only more bulk, but more weight ; not only as extending its superficies, but as increasing its value. Your book was evidently wanted, and will, I hope, find its way into the school, to which, however, I do not mean to confine it ; for no man has so much skill in antient rites and practices as not to want it. As I suppose myself to owe part of your kindness to my excellent friend, Dr. Patten, he has likewise a just claim to my acknowledgement, which I hope you, Sir, will transmit. There will soon appear a new edition of my Poetical Biography; if you will accept of a copy to keep me in your mind, be pleased to let me know how it may be conveniently conveyed to you. This present is small, but it is given with good will by, Reverend Sir,
" Your most, &c. “ December 31, 1782.
“ SAM. JOHNSON."!
In 1783, he was inore severely afflicted than ever, 1783. as will appear in the course of his correspondence; San but still the same ardour for literature, the same constant piety, the same kindness for his friends, and the
re, the same con. Ætat.74.
1783. same vivacity, both in conversation and writing, disÆtat. 74 tinguished him.
Having given Dr. Johnson a full account of what I was doing at Auchinleck, and particularly men. tioned what I knew would please him,- my having brought an old man of eighty-eight from a lonely cottage to a comfortable habitation within my en.. closures, where he had good neighbours near to him,
I received an answer in February, of which I extract what follows:
“ I am delighted with your account of your activity at Auchinleck, and wish the old gentleman, whom you have so kindly removed, may live long to promote your prosperity by his prayers. You have now a new character and new duties; think on them and practise them.
“ Make an impartial estimate of your revenue, and whatever it is, live upon less. Resolve never to be poor. Frugality is not only the basis of quiet, but of beneficence. No man can help others that wants help himself; we must have enough before we have to spare. ? “ I am glad to find that Mrs. Boswell grows well; and hope that to keep her well, nó care nor caution will be omitted. May you long live happily together.
When you come hither, pray bring with you Baxter's Anacreon. I cannot get that edition in London."
On Friday, March 21, having arrived in London the night before, I was glad to find him at Mrs. Thrale's house, in Argyll-street, appearances of friend
- [Dr. Johnson should seem not to have sought diligently for Baxter's Anacreon, for there are two editions of that book, and they are frequently found in the London Sale-Catalogues. M.)
ship between them being still kept up. I was shewn 1783. into his room, and after the first salutation he said,
Etat. 74. " I am glad you are come: I ain very ill." He looked pale, and was distressed with a difficulty of breathing : but after the common enquiries he assumed his usual strong animated style of conversation. Seeing me now for the first time as a Laird, or proprietor of land, he began thus : “ Sir, the superiority of a country-gentleman over the people upon his estate is very agreeable : and he who says he does not feel it to be agreeable, lies; for it must be, agreeable to have a casual superiority over those who are by nature equal with us.” BosweLL. “ Yet, Sir, we see great proprietors of land who prefer living in London.” JOHNSON. “Why, Sir, the pleasure of living in London, the intellectual superiority that is enjoyed there, may counterbalance the other. Besides, Sir, a man may prefer the state of the countrygentleman upon the whole, and yet there may never be a moment when he is willing to make the change, to quit London for it.” He said, “ It is better to have five per cent out of land, than out of money, because it is more secure ; but the readiness of transfer, and promptness of interest, make many people rather choose the funds. Nay, there is another disadvantage belonging to land, compared with money. man is not so much afraid of being a hard creditor, as of being a hard landlord.” BOSWELL. « Because there is a sort of kindly connection between a landa lord and his tenants.” Johnson. “ No, Sir; many landlords with us never see their tenants. It is because if a landlord drives away his tenants, he may not get others; whereas the demand for money is so great, it may always be lent.”
1753: He talked with regret and indignation of the fac. v tious opposition to Government at this time, and Ætat. 74.
imputed it in a great measure to the Revolution. “ Sir, (said he, in a low voice, having come nearer to me, while his old prejudices seemed to be fomenting in his mind,) this Hanoverian family is isolée here. They have no friends. Now the Stuarts had friends who stuck by them so late as 1745. When the right of the King is not reverenced, there will not be reverence for those appointed by the King."
His observation that the present royal family has no friends, has been too much justified by the very ungrateful behaviour of many who were under great obligations to his Majesty ; at the same time there are honourable exceptions; and the very next year after this conversation, and ever since, the King has had as extensive and generous support as ever was given to any monarch, and has had the satisfaction of knowing that he was more and more endeared to his people.
He repeated to me his verses on Mr. Levett, with an emotion which gave them full effect; and then he was pleased to say, “ You must be as much with me as you can. You have done me good. You cannot think how much better I am, since you came in.”
He sent a message to acquaint Mrs. Thrale that I was arrived. I had not seen ber since her husband's death. She soon appeared, and favoured me with an invitation to stay to dinner, which I accepted. There was no other company but herself and three of her daughters, Dr. Johnson, and I. She too said, she was very glad I was come, for she was going to Bath, and should have been sorry to leave Dr. Johnson before I came. This seemed to be attentive and