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“ Fifty will cost 41. 10s., and five and twenty will cost 41. 5s. It seems therefore scarcely worth while to print fewer than a hundred.
Suppose you printed two hundred and fifty at 61. 10s., and, without any name, tried the sale, which may be secretly done. You would then see the opinion of the publick without hazard, if nobody knows but I. If any body else is in the secret, you shall not have my consent to venture. I am, dear madam, your most affectionate and most humble servant,
“Sam. JOHNSON.”] What follows is a beautiful specimen of his gentleness and complacency to a young lady, his godchild, one of the daughters of his friend Mr. Langton, then, I think, in her seventh year. He took the trouble to write it in a large round hand, nearly resembling printed characters, that she might have the satisfaction of reading it herself. The original lies before me, but shall be faithfully restored to her; and I dare say will be preserved by her as a jewel, as long as she lives. “ TO MISS JANE LANGTON, IN ROCHESTER, KENT.
• May 10, 1784. “ MY DEAREST MISS JENNY,-I am sorry that your pretty letter has been so long without being answered; but, when I am not pretty well, I do not always write plain enough for young ladies. I am glad, my dear, to see that you write so well, and hope that you mind your pen, your book, and your needle, for they are all necessary. Your books will give you knowledge, and make you respected ; and your needle will find you useful employment when
you do not care to read. When you are a little older, I hope you will be very diligent in learning arithmetick; and, above all, that through your whole life you will carefully say your prayers and read your Bible. I am, my dear, your most humble servant, “ SAM. JOHNSON."
On Wednesday, May 5, I arrived in London, and next morning had the pleasure to find Dr. Johnson greatly recovered. I but just saw him; for a coach was waiting to carry him to Islington, to the house of his friend the Reverend Mr. Strahan, where he
went sometimes for the benefit of good air, which, notwithstanding his having formerly laughed at the general opinion upon the subject, he now acknowledged was conducive to health.
One morning afterwards, when I found him alone, he communicated to me, with solemn earnestness, the very remarkable circumstance [alluded to so often in the preceding letters] which had happened in the course of his illness, when he was much distressed by the dropsy. He had shut himself up, and employed a day in particular exercises of religion, fasting, humiliation, and prayer. On a sudden he obtained extraordinary relief, for which he looked up to Heaven with grateful devotion. He made no direct inference from this fact; but from his manner of telling it, I could perceive that it appeared to him as something more than an incident in the common course of events.
For my own part, I have no difficulty to avow that cast of thinking, which, by many modern pretenders to wisdom, is called superstitious. But here I think even men of dry rationality may believe, that there was an intermediate interposition of Divine Providence, and that “the fervent prayer of this righteous man" availed”. On Sunday, May 9, I found Colonel Vallancy's
, *(So in all the editions, though the meaning of the term intermediate does not seem quite clear. Perhaps Mr.
Boswell may have meant immediate. Ed.] ? Upon this subject there is a very fair and judicious remark in the Life of Dr. Abernethy, in the first edition of the Biographia Britannica, which I should have been glad to see in his Life, which has been written for the second edition of that valuable work. " To deny the exercise of a particular Providence in the Deity's government of the world is certainly impious, yet nothing serves the cause of the scorner more than an incautious forward zeal in determining the particular instances of it.” In confirmation of my sentiments, I am also happy to quote that sensible and elegant writer, Mr. Melmoth, in Letter viii of his collection, published under the name of Fitzosborne. “We may safely assert, that the belief of a particular Providence is founded upon such probable reasons as may well justify our assent. It would scarce, therefore, be wise to renounce an opinion which affords so firm a support to the soul in those seasons wherein she stands in most need assistance, merely because it is not possible, in questions of this kind, to solve every difficulty which attends them."-BOSWELL.
3 [Afterwards Gencral Vallancy; an ingenious man, but somewhat of a visionary on Irish antiquities. He died in 1812, æt. 92. -ED.
the celebrated antiquary and engineer of Ireland, with him. On Monday, the 10th, I dined with him at Mr. Paradise's, where was a large company; Mr. Bryant, Mr. Joddrel', Mr. Hawkins Browne®, &c. On Thursday, the 13th, I dined with him at Mr. Joddrel's, with another large company; the Bishop of Exeter, Lord Monboddo, Mr. Murphy, &c. I was sorry to observe Lord Monboddo avoid any communication with Dr. Johnson. I flattered myself that I had made them very good friends; but unhappily his lordship had resumed and cherished a violent prejudice against my illustrious friend, to whom I must do the justice to say, there was on his part not the least anger, but a good-humoured sportiveness. Nay, though he knew of his lordship's indisposition towards him, he was even kindly; as appeared from his inquiring of me, after him, by an abbreviation of his name, “Well, how does Monny?”
On Saturday, May 15, I dined with him at Dr. Brocklesby's, where were Colonel Vallancy, Mr. Murphy, and that ever-cheerful companion, Mr. Devaynes, apothecary to his majesty. [Indeed his friends seem
[Asthis sheet was passing through the press, the following paragraph appeared in the daily papers : “ Died, on Wednesday, 26th January, 1831, at his house in Portland-place, in the eighty-sixth year of his age, Richard Paul Jodrell, Esq., F.R. S., F.A.S., D.C.L., formerly M.P. for the borough of Seaford, deputy lieutenant, and one of his majesty's justices of the peace for the counties of Oxford, Derby, Norfolk, and Middlesex. It may be recorded as an almost unprecedented instance, that Mr. Jodrell had lived to be in possession of his paternal estates eighty years, his father having died at an early age in 1751. He was educated at Eton and Oxford, and distinguished as a scholar as author of the
Illustrations of Euripides' and other literary works, and was the last surviving menuber of Dr. Johnson's (Essex-street] club. Having outlived all his contemporaries, he, melancholy to relate, of late years had outlived his own mental facul. ties, and it had become necessary, from insidious attempts made on his impaired understanding, to throw legal protection around his person and property. He is succeeded in his estates by his eldest son, Sir Richard Paul Jodrell, of Sall-park, in the county of Norfolk, bart.”—ED.]
? (Bishop Newton (after giving some amusing anecdotes of Isaac Hawkins Browne, the father,) says, “He left only one son behind him, of the same name with himself, a very worthy good young man, possessed of many of his father's excellencies without his failings.”—Life, 8vo. 110.-J. H. MARKLAND.]
3 Dr. John Ross.- BOSWELL.
to have, as it were, celebrated his recovery by a round of dinners, for he wrote on the 13th to Mrs. Thrale,
“ Now I am broken loose, my friends seem willing enough Letters, to see me. On Monday I dined with Paradise ; Tuesday, Hoole; Wednesday, Dr. Taylor ; to-day with Joddrel ; Friday, Mrs. Garrick; Saturday, Dr. Brocklesby; next Monday, Dilly."]
Of these days, and others on which I saw him, I have no memorials, except the general recollection of his being able and animated in conversation, and appearing to relish society as much as the youngest
I find only these three small particulars : When a person was mentioned, who said, “ I have lived fifty-one years in this world without having had ten minutes of uneasiness ;" he exclaimed, “The man who says so lies: he attempts to impose on human credulity.” The Bishop of Exeter in vain observed, that men were very different. His lordship's manner was not impressive; and I learnt afterwards, that Johnson did not find out that the person who talked to him was a prelate; if he had, I doubt not that he would have treated him with more respect; for once talking of George Psalmanazar, whom he reverenced for his piety, he said, “I should as soon think of contradicting a bishop.” One of the company provoked him greatly by doing what he could least of all bear, which was quoting something of his own writing, against what he then maintained.
What, sir,” cried the gentleman,“ do
you say to
“The busy day, the peaceful night,
Unfelt, uncounted, glided by??!” Johnson finding himself thus presented as giving an instance of a man who had lived without uneasiness, was much offended, for he looked upon such a quotation as unfair, his anger burst out in an unjustifiable
· [Most probably Mr. Boswell himself, who has more than once applied the same quotation from Cibber to Johnson's retorts' on him. Ante, vol. ii. p. 101. -Ed.]
? Verses on the death of Mr. Levett.BoswELL.
retort, insinuating that the gentleman's remark was a sally of ebriety; “Sir, there is one passion I would advise you to command; when you have drunk out that glass, don't drink another.” Here was exemplified what Goldsmith said of him, with the aid of a very witty image from one of Cibber's comedies: “ There is no arguing with Johnson: for if his pistol misses fire, he knocks you down with the but end of it.”
Another was this: when a gentlemanof eminence in the literary world was violently censured for attacking people by anonymous paragraphs in newspapers, he, from the spirit of contradiction, as I thought, took up his defence and said, “ Come, come, this is not so terrible a crime; he means only to vex them a little. I do not say that I should do it; but there is a great difference between him and me: what is fit for Hephæstion is not fit for Alexander.” Another, when I told him that a young and handsome countess had said to me, “ I should think that to be praised by Dr. Johnson would make one a fool all one's life;" and that I answered, “ Madam, I shall make him a fool to-day, by repeating this to him;" he said, “I am too old to be made a fool; but if
you say I am made a fool, I shall not deny it. much pleased with a compliment, especially from a pretty woman.”
On the evening of Saturday, May 15, he was in fine spirits at our Essex Head Club. He told us, “I dined yesterday at Mrs. Garrick's with Mrs. Carter”, Miss Hannah More, and Fanny Burney. Three such women are not to be found : I know not where I could find a fourth, except Mrs. Lennox, who is superiour to them all.” BOSWELL. “What!
[Mr. George Steevens. See ante, vol. ii. p. 111, and vol. iii. p.
248.-ED.] . This learned and excellent lady, who has been often mentioned in these volumes, died at her house in Clarges-street, Feb. 19, 1806, in her eighty-ninth year.-MALONE.