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rule of Courts, Suum cuique tribuito, I must add, that 1772. their Lordships in general, though they were pleased Ætat. 63. to call this “ a well-drawn paper,” preferred, the former very inferiour petition which I had written ; thus confirming the truth of an observation made to me by one of their number, in a merry
mood : “My dear Sir, give yourself no trouble in the composition of the papers you present to us; for, indeed, it is casting pearls before swine.” I renewed
solicitations that Dr. Johnson would this year accomplish his long-intended visit to Scotland.
TO JAMES BOSWELL, ESQ.
“ The regret has not been little with which I have missed a journey so pregnant with pleasing expectations, as that in which I could promise myself not only the gratification of curiosity, both rational and fanciful, but the delight of seeing those whom I love and esteem. **
But such has been the course of things, that I could not come; and such has been, I am afraid, the state of my body, that it would not well have seconded my inclination. My body, I think, grows better, and I refer my hopes to another year; for I am very sincere in my design to pay the visit, and take the ramble. In the mean time, do not omit any opportunity of keeping up a favourable opinion of me in the minds of any of my friends. Beattie's book is, I believe, every day more liked ; at least, I like it more, as I look more upon it.
“ I am glad if you got credit by your cause, and
1772. am yet of opinion, that our cause was good, and
that the determination ought to have been in your faÆtat. 63.
vour. Poor Hastie, I think, had but his deserts.
“ You promised to get me a little Pindar, you may add to it a little Anacreon.
“ The leisure which I cannot enjoy, it will be a pleasure to hear that you employ upon the antiquities of the feudal establishment. The whole system of ancient tenures is gradually passing away ; and I wish to have the knowledge of it preserved adequate and complete. For such an institution makes a very important part of the history of mankind. Do not forget a design so worthy of a scholar who studies the law of his country, and of a gentleman who may naturally be curious to know the condition of his own ancestors. I am, dear Sir,
6 Your's with great affection, “ August 31, 1772.
“ SAM. JOHNSON."
TO DR. JOHNSON.
MY DEAR SIR,
Edinburgh, Dec. 25, 1772.
“ I was much disappointed that you did not come to Scotland last autumn. However, I must own that your letter prevents me from complaining ; not only because I am sensible that the state of your health was but too good an excuse, but because you write in a strain which shews that you have agreeable views of the scheme which we have so long proposed.
“ I communicated to Beattie what you said of his book in your last letter to me. He writes to me
thus : 'You judge very rightly in supposing that 1772. Dr. Johnson's favourable opinion of my book inust
Ætat, 63. give me great delight. Indeed it is impossible for me to say how much I am gratified by it; for there is not a man upon earth whose good opinion I would be more ambitious to cultivate. His talents and his virtues I reverence more than any words can express. The extraordinary civilities (the paternal attentions I should rather say,) and the many
instructions I have had the honour to receive from him, will to me be a perpetual source of pleasure in the recollection,
' Dum memor ipse mei, dum spiritus hos reget artus.'
I had still some thoughts, while the summer lasted, of being obliged to go to London on some little business ; otherwise I should certainly have troubled him with a letter several months ago, and given some vent to my gratitude and admiration. This I intend to do, as soon as I am left a little at leisure. Mean time, if you have occasion to write to him, I beg you will offer him my most respectful compliments, and assure him of the sincerity of my attachment and the warmth of my gratitude.'
“ I am, &c.
" JAMES Boswell."
In 1773, his only publication was an edition of 1773. his folio Dictionary, with additions, and corrections ;
Ætat. 64. nor did he, so far as is known, furnish any productions of his fertile pen to any of his numerous friends
1773. or dependants, except the Preface*l to his old amaÆtat. 61.nuensis Macbean's “ Dictionary of ancient Geogra
phy." His Shakspeare, indeed, which had been received with high approbation by the publick, and gone through several editions, was this year re-published by George Steevens, Esq. a gentleman not only deeply skilled in ancient learning, and of very extensive reading in English literature, especially the early writers, but at the same time of acute discernment and elegant taste. It is almost unnecessary to say, that by his great and valuable additions to Dr. Johnson's work, he justly obtained considerable reputation :
“ Divisum imperium cum Jove Cæsar habet.”
TO JAMES BOSWELL, ESQ..
“ I have read your kind letter much more than the elegant Pindar which it accompanied. I am always glad to find myself not forgotten ; and to be forgotten by you would give me great uneasiness. My northern friends have never been unkind to me: I have from you, dear Sir, testimonies of affection, which I have not often been able to excite; and Dr. Beattie rates the testimony which I was desirous of paying to his merit, much higher than I should have 1773. thought it reasonable to expect.
| He, however, wrote, or partly wrote, an Epitaph on Mrs. Bell, wife of his friend John Bell, Esq. brother of the Rev. Dr. Bell, Prebendary of Westminster, which is printed in his Works, It is in English prose, and has so little of his manner, that I did not believe he had any hand in it, till I was satisfied of the fact by the authority of Mr. Bell.
Ætat. 64. “ I have heard of your masquerade, What says your synod to such innovations ? I am not studiously scrupulous, nor do I think a masquerade either evil in itself, or very likely to be the occasion of evil; yet as the world thinks it a very licentious relaxation of manners, I would not have been one of the first masquers in a country where no masquerade had ever been before. 3
“ A new edition of my great Dictionary is printed, from a copy which I was persuaded to revise; but having made no preparation, I was able to do very little. Some superfluities I have expunged, and some faults I have corrected, and here and there have scattered a remark; but the main fabrick of the work remains as it was. I had looked
little into it since I wrote it, and, I think, I found it full as often better, as worse, than I expected.
“ Baretti and Davies have had a furious quarrel ; a quarrel, I think, irreconcileable. Dr. Goldsmith has a new comedy, which is expected in the spring. No name is yet given it. The chief diversion arises from a stratagem by which a lover is made to mistake his future father-in-law's house for an inn. This, you see, borders upon farce. The dialogue is quick and gay,
and the incidents are so prepared as not to seem improbable.
“ I am sorry that you lost your cause of Intromission, because I yet think the arguments on your side unanswerable. But you seem, I think, to say
2 Given by a lady at Edinburgh.
3 There had been masquerades in Scotland; but not for a very long time.