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always bore us away from one another, and now the Atlantic is be- Gent. tween us.
Mag. • Whether you carried
away an impression of me as pleasing as that
my mind, I would be glad to tell you something which you do not know; but all public affairs are printed ; and as you and I have no common friend, I can tell you no private history.
“ The government, I think, grow stronger, but I am afraid the next general election will be a time of uncommon turbulence, violence, and outrage.
“Of literature no great product has appeared, or is expected; the attention of the people has for some years been otherwise employed.
“I was told a day or two ago of a design which must excite some curiosity. Two ships are in preparation which are under the command of Captain Constantine Phipps, to explore the northern ocean; not to seek the north-east or the north-west passage, but to sail directly north, as near the pole as they can go. They hope to find an open ocean, but I suspect it is one mass of perpetual congelation. I do not much wish well to discoveries, for I am always afraid they will end in conquest and robbery.
“I have been out of order this winter, but am grown better. Can I never hope to see you again, or must I be always content to tell you that in another hemisphere I am, sir, your most humble servant,
“ Sam. JOHNSON.”
66 TO DR. GOLDSMITH.
" 23d April, 1773. “Sir,—I beg that you
will excuse my
absence to the club; I am going this evening to Oxford.
“I have another favour to beg. It is that I may be considered as proposing Mr. Boswell for a candidate of our society, and that he may be considered as regularly nominated. I am, sir, your most humble servant,
“ SAM. JOHNSON.” 66 TO FRANCIS FOWKE, ESQ.
"11th July, 1776. Gent. “Sir,—I received some weeks ago! a collection of papers, which Mag. contain the trial of my dear friend, Joseph Fowke, of whom I cannot yol.
lxxxvii. 1 [This circumstance enables us to state that the East Indian friend, mentioned in p. 526. vol. lii. p. 384, was Mr. Joseph Fowke, and to guess that he (and not one of the Vansittarts, as Mr. Tyers thought) was alluded to in vol. i. p. 302. The arrival of this “collection of papers” is no doubt the curious incident mentioned in vol. iii. p. 387.-—ED.) Mr. J. Fowke, who died about 1794, was born about the year 1715, and entered into VOL. V.
Gent. easily be induced to think otherwise than well, and who seems to Mag. vol. have been injured by the prosecution and the sentence.
His first Ixxxvii
. desire is, that I should prepare his narrative for the press; his second, p. 528. that if I cannot gratify him by publication, I would transmit the
papers to you. To a compliance with his first request I have this
directions: if a messenger is to call for them, give me notice by the post, that they may be ready for delivery.
“ To do my dear Mr. Fowke any good would give me pleasure; I hope for some opportunity of performing the duties of friendship to him, without violating them with regard to another. I am, sir, your most humble servant,
56 TO RICHARD BEATNIFFE, ESQ.
“ Bolt-court, Fleet-street, 14th Feb. 1782. “SIR,_Robert Levet, with whom I have been connected by a friendship of many years, died lately at my house. His death was
the service of the East India Company at the age of 17. He remained at Fort St. George till 1748, and when he returned to England was offered the government either of Bengal or Madras. This offer was by no means so advantageous as it would be at present; Mr. Fowke therefore declined it, and remained in England until 1771. At this period he returned to India, where some differences of opinion unfortunately occurred between him and the Provisional Government, which ended in his being tried in June, 1775, in the Supreme Court of Bengal, under two indictments. In the first of these trials the verdict was, not guilty. In the second, in which Mr. Fowke was implicated with Nundocomar and Rada Churn, the verdict was, “ Joseph Fowke and Nundocomar, guilty ; Rada Churn, not guilty.” In the year 1788 Mr. Fowke finally quitted Bengal, with a recommendation from Lord Cornwallis to the Court of Directors, as a person entitled to receive the pension which was promised to their servants returning from Bengal out of employment. This recommendation was, however, rejected. After a lapse of some time, the claim was brought forward by Mr. Burke (with the readers of whose works the case of Nundocomar must be familiar) in the House of Commons, when the following resolution was made in his favour :
“Resolved, That it appears to this House, that the said Joseph Fowke is entitled to the pension or allowance engaged to be paid by the East Company to their servants, under certain descriptions, and under certain conditions, expressed in their letter from the Court of Directors of the 21st of September, 1785, to the Governor-General and Council of Bengal, from the time in which, by the said letter of the 21st of September, 1785, persons described in the said letter were to receive the same.”—Gent. Mag,
sudden, and no will has yet been found; I therefore gave notice of Gent. his death in the papers, that an heir, if he has any, may appear. He Mag. has left very little ; but of that little his brother is doubtless heir, and
lxxxix. your friend
may be perhaps his brother. I have had another appli- p. 383. cation from one who calls himself his brother; and I suppose it is fit that the claimant should give some proofs of his relation. I would gladly know, from the gentleman that thinks himself R. Levet's brother,
“ In what year, and in what parish, R. Levet was born?
“What were the marks of his person; his stature; the colour of his eyes ?
« Was he marked by the small-pox?
“ His answer to these questions will show whether he knew him ; and he
then proceed to show that he is his brother. may
be sure, that nothing shall be hastily wasted or removed. I have not looked into his boxes, but transferred that business to a gentleman in the neighbourhood, of character above suspicion.
" SAM. JOHNSON.”
" TO MR. NICHOLS.
" 10th January, 1783. 1784, “ SIR,- I am much obliged by your kind communication of your p. 893. account of Hinckley'. I know Mr. Carte is one of the prebendaries of Lichfield, and for some time surrogate of the chancellor. Now I will put you in a way of showing me more kindness. I have been confined by illness a long time; and sickness and solitude make tedious evenings. Come sometimes and see, sir, your humble servant,
- SAM. JOHNSON.”
“ DR. JOHNSON TO SIR JOSHUA REYNOLDS.
It was Sir Joshua Reynolds who introduced Mr. Crabbe's poem (see Reyn.
ante, vol. v. p. 56) to Dr. Johnson's notice, and the following is the MS. letter with which he returned it, and which was not found till it was too late to insert it in its proper place.
66 4th March, 1783. “Sir, I have sent you back Mr. Crabbe's poem, which I read with great delight. It is original, vigorous, and elegant.
1 For this work Dr. Johnson had contributed several hints towards the Life of Anthony Blackwall, to whom, when very young, he had been some time an usher at Market Bosworth school. Blackwall died in April, 1730, before Johnson was one and twenty.-Nichols.
“ The alterations which I have made I do not require him to adopt, for my
lines are, perhaps, not often better than his own; but he may take mine and his own together, and perhaps between them produce something better than either.
“He is not to think his copy wantonly defaced. A wet sp ge will wash all the red lines away, and leave the page
clear. “ His dedication will be least liked. It were better to contract it into a short sprightly address.
I do not doubt Mr. Crabbe's success. I am, sir, your most humble servant,
“ SAM. JOHNSON.”
" TO JOSEPH FOWKE, ESQ. Mag.
“ 19th April, 1783. 1817, « DEAR SIR, ,-To show
you that neither length of time, nor distance of place, withdraws you from my memory, I have sent you a little present', which will be transmitted by Sir Robert Chambers.
former letters I made no answer, because I had none to make. Of the death of the unfortunate man (meaning Nundocomar) I believe Europe thinks as you think ; but it was past prevention ; and it was not fit for me to move a question in publick which I was not qualified to discuss, as the inquiry could then do no good; and I might have been silenced by a hardy denial of facts, which, if denied, I could not prove.
"Since we parted, I have suffered much sickness of body and perturbation of mind. My mind, if I do not flatter myself, is unimpaired, except that sometimes my memory is less ready; but my body,
though by nature very strong, has given way to repeated shocks. Æn. “ Genua labant, vastos quatit æger anhelitus artus. This line might v. 432. have been written on purpose for me. You will see, however, that
I have not totally forsaken literature. I can apply better to books than I could in some more vigorous parts of my life—at least than I did; and I have one more reason for reading—that time has, by taking away my companions, left me less opportunity of conversation. I have led an inactive and careless lise ; it is time at last to be diligent: there is yet provision to be made for eternity.
“Let me know, dear sir, what you are doing. Are you accumulating gold, or picking up diamonds ? Or are you now sated with Indian wealth, and content with what you
you vigour for bustle, or tranquillity for inaction? Whatever you do, I do not suspect you of pillaging or oppressing; and shall rejoice to see you return with a body unbroken, and a mind uncorrupted.
“You and I had hardly any common friends, and therefore I have few anecdotes to relate to you. Mr. Levet, who brought us into acquaintance, died suddenly at my house last year, in his seventy-eighth
1 A collection of the Doctor's Works.--NICHOLS.
year, or about that age. Mrs. Williams, the blind lady, is still with Gent.
Mag. me, but much broken by a very wearisome and obstinate disease.
1817. She is, however, not likely to die; and it would delight me if you p. 529. would send her some petty token of your remembrance: you may send me one too.
“ Whether we shall ever meet again in this world, who can tell ? Let us, however, wish well to each other : prayers can pass the Line and the Tropics. I am, dear sir, yours sincerely,
- SAM. JOHNSON.”
"TO MR. NICHOLS.
6 12th April, 1784. “SIR,---I have sent
curious proposal from Mr. Hawkins, the son of Sir John Hawkins, who, I believe, will take care that whatever his son promises shall be performed.
“ If you are inclined to publish this compilation, the editor will agree for an edition on the following terms, which I think liberal enough.
“ That you shall print the book at your own charge.
“ That the sale shall be wholly for your benefit till your expenses are repaid ; except that at the time of publication you shall put into the hands of the editor, without price, . . . copies for his friends.
“ That, when you have been repaid, the profits arising from the sale of the remaining copies shall be divided equally between you and the editor.
“ That the edition shall not comprise fewer than five hundred. I am, sir, your most humble servant,
- SAM. JOHNSON.”
“ DR. JOHNSON TO MR. SASTRES.
“ Ashbourne, 21st August, 1784. Piozzi “ DEAR SIR,—I am glad that a letter has at last reached you; what Letters,
vol. ii. became of the two former, which were directed to Mortimer instead of Margaret-street, I have no means of knowing, nor is it worth the while to inquire; they neither enclosed bills, nor contained secrets.
My health was for some time quite at a stand, if it did not rather go backwards; but for a week past it flatters me with appearances of amendment, which I dare yet hardly credit. My breath has been certainly less obstructed for eight days; and yesterday the water seemed to be disposed to a fuller flow. But I get very little sleep; and
my legs do not like to carry me. “You were kind in paying my forfeits at the club; it cannot be expected that many should meet in the summer ; however, they that continue in town should keep up appearances as well as they can. I hope to be again among you.
“I wish you had told me distinctly the mistakes in the French