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afraid of too indulgent parents, instigated by the 1772. complaints of their children, restored him. His
Ætat, 63. 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.
“ 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,
1772. appears very cruel, unreasonable, and oppressive. I
should think there could not be much doubt of Ætat. 63.
“ My health grows better, yet I am not fully recovered. I believe it is held, that men do not recover very fast after threescore. 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. « March 15, 1772.
“ SAM. JOHNSON."
TO BENNET LANGTON, ESQ. NEAR SPILSBY,
“I CONGRATULATE you and Lady Rothes on your
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
[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. M.)
surely need not mention again that she wishes to see 1772. her mother. I am, Sir,
Ætat. 62. Your most humble servant, « March 14, 1772.
“ 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 : should seem this school-mater 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
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.
1772. Sir, is it true that Lord North paid you a visit, and
that you got two hundred a year in addition to Ætat. 63.
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 Elibank ? and how does Lord Monboddo?" Boswell. “ Very well, Sir. Lord Monboddo still maintains the superiority of the savage life.” 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.” Johnson. “ Yes, Sir, but a common prejudice should not be found in one whose trade it is to rectify errour.”
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 Ralegh, but now they were to be called the Resolution and the Adventure. John
“ Much better ; for had the Ralegh returned without going round the world, it would have been ridiculous. To give them the names of the Drake and the Ralegh 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 hay. 1772. ing left the room for some time, a debate arose be
Ætat. 63. tween 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 ever she has another husband, she'll have Beattie. He sunk upon us
TO JAMES BOSWELL, ESQ.
MY DEAR SIR,
“ Edinburgh, May 3, 1792. “As I suppose your great work will soon be 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 sanie sense,) studiously concealed from us his being married. Now, Sir, this was by no means the
I could have no niotive to conceal a circumstance, of which I never was nor can be ashamed ; and of which Dr. Johnson seemed to think, when he afterwards became 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 London as I had myself; and was, not very long after, kindly invited and elegantly entertained at Streatham by Mr. and Mrs. Thrale.
My request, therefore is, that you would rectify this matter in your new edition. You are at liberty to make what use you please of this letter.