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supposition, that we know at least in some degree what will be future. Of 1776. the future we certainly know nothing; but we may form conjectures from Ærat. o. the past; and the power of forming conjectures, includes, in my opinion, the duty of acting in conformity to that probability which we discover.. Providence gives the power of which reason teaches the use. I am, dear Sir,
“ Your most faithful servant, “ February 9, 1776.
SAM. JOHNSON, “ I hope I shall get some ground now with Mrs. Boswell; make my compliments to her, and to the little people.
“ Don't burn papers; they may be safe enough in your own box,--you will wish to see them hereafter."
To the fame. “ DEAR SIR,
“ TO the letters which I have written about your great question I have nothing to add. If your conscience is satisfied, you have now only your prudence to consult. I long for a letter, that I may know how this troublesome and vexatious question is at last decided'. I hope that it will at lait end well. Lord Hailes's letter was very friendly, and very seasonable, but I think his aversion from entails has something in it like superstition. Providence is not counteracted by any means which Providence puts into our power. The continuance and propagation of families makes a great part of the Jewish law, and is by no means prohibited in the Christian institution, though the necessity of it continues no longer. Hereditary tenures are established in all civilised countries, and are accompanied in most with hereditary authority. Sir William Temple considers our constitution as defective, that there is not an unalienable estate in land connected with a peerage: and Lord Bacon mentions as a proof that the Turks are Barbarians, their want of Stirpes, as he calls them, or hereditary rank. Do not let your mind, when it
s The entail framed by my father with various judicious clauses, was executed by him and me, settling the estate upon the heirs male of his grandfather, which I found had been already done by my grandfather, imperfectly, but so as to be defeated only by selling the lands. I was freed by Dr. Johnson from scruples of conscientious obligation, and could, therefore, gratify my father. But my opinion and partiality for male succession, in its full extent, remained unshaken. Yet let me not be thought harsh or unkind to daughters; for my notion is, that they should be treated with great affection and tenderness, and always participate of the prosperity of the family.
is freed from the supposed necessity of a rigorous entail, be entangled with contrary objections, and think all entails unlawful, till you have cogent arguments, which I believe you will never find; I am afraid of scruples.
“ I have now fent all Lord Hailes's papers, part I found hidden in a drawer in which I had laid them for security, and had forgotten them. Part of these are written twice, I have returned both the copies. Part I had read before.
« Be so kind as to return Lord Hailes my most respectful thanks for his first volume; his accuracy strikes me with wonder; his narrative is far superiour to that of Henault, as I have formerly mentioned.
“ I am afraid that the trouble, which my irregularity and delay has cost him, is greater, far greater, than any good that I can do him will ever recompense, but if I have any more copy, I will try to do better.
« Pray let me know if Mrs. Boswell is friends with me, and pay my respects to Veronica, and Euphemia, and Alexander. I am, Sir,
r Your most humble servant, “ Feb. 15, 1775
Mr. Boswell to Dr. JOHNSON.
Edinburgh, Feb. 20, 1776.
“ YOU have illuminated my mind and relieved me from imaginary shackles of conscientious obligation. Were it necessary, I could immediately join in an entail upon the series of heirs approved by my father, but it is better not to act too suddenly.”
Dr. JOHNSON to Mr. BOSWELL. “Dear Sir,
« I AM glad that what I could think or fay has at all contributed to quiet your thoughts. Your resolution not to act, till your opinion is confirmed by more deliberation, is very juft. If you have been scrupulous, do not now be rash. I hope that as you think more, and take opportunities of talking with men intelligent in questions of property, you will be able to free yourself from every difficulty.
« When I wrote last, I sent, I think, ten packets. Did you receive them all ?
" You must tell Mrs. Boswell that I suspected her to have written without your knowledge, and therefore did not return any answer, left a clandestine correspondence should have been perniciously discovered. I will write to her foon. * * * * * * I am, dear Sir,
“ Most affectionately yours, « Feb, 24, 1776.
Having communicated to Lord Hailes what Dr. Johnson wrote concerning the question which perplexed me so much, his Lordship wrote to me, “ Your scruples have produced more fruit than I ever expected from them; an excellent differtation on general principles of morals and law.”
I wrote to Dr. Johnson on the 20th of February, complaining of melancholy, and expressing a strong desire to be with him ; informing him that the ten packets came all fafe; that Lord Hailes was much obliged to him, and faid he had almost wholly removed his scruples against entails.
To James Boswell, Esq. « DEAR SIR,
“I HAVE not had your letter half an hour; as you lay so much weight upon my notions, I should think it not just to delay my answer.
“ I am very sorry that your melancholy should return, and should be sorry likewise if it could have no relief but from my company. My counsel you may have when you are pleased to require it; but of my company you cannot in the next month have much, for Mr. Thrale will take me to Italy, he says, on the first of April.
« Let me warn you very earnestly against scruples. I am glad that you are reconciled to your settlement, and think it a great honour to have shaken Lord Hailes's opinion of entails. Do not, however, hope wholly to reason away your troubles; do not feed them with attention, and they will die imperceptibly away. Fix your thoughts upon your business, fill your intervals with company, and sunshine will again break in upon your mind. If you will come to me, you must come very quickly, and even then I know not but we may scour the country together, for I have a mind to see Oxford and Lichfield before I set out on this long journey. To this I can only add, that I am, dear Sir,
- Your most affectionate humble servant, “ March 5, 1776.
• A letter to him on the interesting subject of the family settlement, which I had read.
To the fame. 6 DEAR SIR, si
" VERY early in April we leave England, and in the beginning of the next week I shall leave London for a short time; of this I think it necessary to inform you, that you may not be disappointed in any of your enterprises. I had not fully resolved to go into the country before this day.
« Please to make my compliments to Lord Hailes; and mention very particularly to Mrs. Boswell my hope that she is reconciled to, Sir,
" Your faithful servant, - March 12, 1776.
Above thirty years ago, the heirs of Lord Chancellor Clarendon presented the University of Oxford with the continuation of his History, and such other of his Lordship’s manuscripts as had not been published, on condition that the profits arising from their publication should be applied to the establishment of a Manege in the University. The gift was accepted in full convocation. A person being now recommended to Dr. Johnson, as fit to superintend this proposed riding-school, he exerted himself with that zeal for which he was remarkable upon every similar occasion. But, on enquiry into the matter, he found that the scheme was not likely to be foon carried into execution; the profits arising from the Clarendon press being, from some mismanagement, very scanty. This having been explained to him by a respectable dignitary. of the church, who had good means of knowing it, he wrote a letter upon the subject, which at once exhibits his extraordinary precision and acuteness, and his warm attachment to his Alma MATER.
• To the Reverend Dr. WETHERELL, Master of University-College, Oxford. " Dear Sir,
“ FEW things are more unpleasant than the transaction of business with men who are above knowing or caring what they have to do; such as the trustees for Lord Cornbury's inftitution will, perhaps, appear, when you have read Dr. *******'s letter.
« The last part of the Doctor's letter is of great importance. The complaint? which he makes I have heard long ago, and did not know but it was
? I suppose the complaint was, that the trustees of the Oxford press did not allow the London booksellers a sufficient profit upon vending their publications.
redressed. It is unhappy that a practice so erroneous has not yet been altered; for altered it must be, or our press will be useless with all its privileges. The booksellers, who, like all other men, have strong prejudices in their own favour, are enough inclined to think the practice of printing and selling books by any but themselves, an encroachment on the rights of their fraternity, and have need of stronger inducements to circulate academical publications than those of one another; for, of that mutual co-operation by which the general trade is carried on, the University can bear no part. Of those whom he neither loves nor fears, and from whom he expects no reciprocation of good, offices, why should any man promote the interest but for profit? I suppose, with all our scholastick ignorance of mankind, we are still too knowing to expect that the booksellers will erect themselves into patrons, and buy and fell under the influence of a disinterested zeal for the promotion of learning.
“ To the booksellers, if we look for either honour or profit from our press, not only their common profit, but something more must be allowed; and if books, printed at Oxford, are expected to be rated at a high price, that price must be levied on the publick, and paid by the ultimate purchaser, not by the intermediate agents. What price shall be set upon the book, is, to the booksellers, wholly indifferent, provided that they gain a proportionate profit by negociating the sale.
• Why books printed at Oxford should be particularly dear, I am, however, unable to find. We pay no rent; we inherit many of our instruments and materials; lodging and victuals are cheaper than at London ; and, therefore, workmanship ought, at least, not to be dearer. Our expences are naturally less than those of booksellers; and, in most cases, communities are content with less profit than individuals.
" It is, perhaps, not considered through how many hands a book often passes, before it comes into those of the reader; or what part of the profit each hand must retain, as a motive for transmitting it to the next.
« We will call our primary agent in London, Mr. Cadell, who receives our books from us, gives them room in his warehouse, and issues them on demand; by him they are sold to Mr. Dilly, a wholesale bookseller, who sends them into the country; and the last seller is the country bookseller. Here are three profits to be paid between the printer and the reader, or in the Ityle of commerce, between the manufacturer and the consumer; and if any of these profits is too penuriously distributed, the process of commerce is interrupted