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because I am sensible that the state of your health was but too good an excuse, but because you write in a strain which shows that you have agreeable views of the scheme which we have so long proposed,


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"I communicated to Beattie what you said of his book in your last letter to

He writes to me thus : 'You judge very rightly in supposing that Dr. Johnson's favourable opinion of my book must 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. Meantime, 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.

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IN 1773, his only publication was an edition of his folio Dictionary

with additions and corrections ; nor did he, so far as is known, furnish any productions of his fertile pen to any of his numerous friends or dependents, except the preface ? to his old amanuensis Macbean's

Dictionary of Ancient Geography." His Shakspeare, indeed, which had been received with high approbation by the public, 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."

i 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.-BOSWELL. i Given by a lady at Edinburgh.-BOSWELL. 2 There had been masquerades in Scotland; but not for a very long time.-BOSWELL.


London, Feb. 22, 1773. “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 thought it reasonable to expect.

“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.?

“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 fabric of the work remains as it was. I have looked very 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, irreconcilable. 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, that you gained reputation even by your defeat; and reputation you will daily gain, if you keep Lord Auchinleck’s precept in your mind, and endeavour to consolidate in your mind a firm and regular system of law, instead of picking up occasional fragments.

“My health seems in general to improve ; but I have been troubled for many weeks with a vexatious catarrh, which is sometimes sufficiently distressful. I have not found any great effects from bleeding and physic; and am afraid, that I must expect help from brighter days and softer air.

“Write to me now and then; and whenever any good befals you, make haste to let me know it, for no one will rejoice at it more than, dear Sir,

“Your most humble servant,

“ SAM. JOHNSON.” "You continue to stand very high in the favour of Mrs. Thrale.”

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While a former edition of my work was passing through the press, I was unexpectedly favoured with a packet from Philadelphia, from Mr. James Abercrombie, a gentleman of that country, who is pleased to honour me with very high praise of my “ Life of Dr. Johnson.” To have the fame of my illustrious friend, and his faithful biographer, echoed from the New World, is extremely flattering; and my grateful acknowledgments shall be wafted across the Atlantic. Mr. Abercrombie has politely conferred on me a considerable additional obliga tion, by transmitting to me copies of two letters from Dr. Johnson to American gentlemen. Gladly, Sir,” says he, “ would I have sent you the originals ; but being the only relics of the kind in America, they are considered by the possessors of such inestimable value, that no possible consideration would induce them to part with them. In some future publication of yours relative to that great and good man, they may perhaps be thought worthy of insertion.”



London, Johnson's-court, Fleet-street, March 4, 1773. “ That in the hurry of a sudden departure you should yet find leisure to consult my convenience, is a degree of kindness, and an instance of regard, not only beyond my claims, but above my expectation. You are not mistaken in supposing that I set a high value on my American friends, and that you should confer a very valuable favour upon me by giving me an opportunity of keeping myself in their memory.

I have taken the liberty of troubling you with a packet, to which I wish a safe and speedy conveyance, because I wish a safe and speedy voyage to him that conveys it. I am, Sir, your most humble servant,



“DEAR SIR, Johnson's-court, Fleet-street, London, March 4, 1773. “Your kindness for your friends accompanies you across the Atlantic. It was long since observed by Horace, that no ship could leave care behind: you have been attended in your voyage by other powers,—by benevolence and constancy : and I hope care did not often show her face in their company.

“I received the copy of Rasselas. The impression is not magnificent, but it flatters an author, because the printer seems to have expected that it would be scattered among the people. The little book has been well received, and is translated into Italian, French, German and Dutch. It has now one honour more by an American edition.

“I know not that much has happened since your departure that can engage your curiosity. Of all public transactions the whole world is now informed by the newspapers. Opposition seems to despond; and the dissenters, though they have taken advantage of unsettled times, and a government much enfeebled, seem not likely to gain any immunities.

1 This gentleman, who now resides in America in a public character of considerable dignity, desired that his name might not be transcribed at full length.-BOSWELL.

2 Now Doctor White, and Bishop of the Episcopal Church in Pennsylvania. During his first visit to England in 1771, as a candidate for holy orders, he was several times in company with Dr. Johnson, who expressed a wish to see the edition of Rasselas, which Dr. White told him had been printed in America. Dr. White, on his return, immediately sent him a copy.-BOSWELL.

“Dr. Goldsmith has a new comedy in rehearsal at Covent-garden, to which the manager predicts ill success. I hope he will be mistaken. I think it deserves a very kind reception.

“I shall soon publish a new edition of my large Dictionary: I have been persuaded to revise it, and have mended some faults, but added little to its usefulness.

“No book has been published since your departure, of which much notice is taken. Faction only fills the town with pamphlets, and greater subjects are forgotten in the noise of discord.

“ Thus have I written, only to tell you how little I have to tell. Of myself I can only add, that having been afflicted many weeks with a very troublsome cough, I am now recovered.

“I take the liberty which you give me of troubling you with a letter, of which you will be pleased to fill up the direction, I am, Sir,

“ Your most humble servant,


On Saturday, April 3, the day after my arrival in London this year, I went to his house late in the evening, and sat with Mrs. Williams till he came home. I found in “ The London Chronicle,” Dr. Goldsmith's apology to the public for beating Evans, a bookseller, on account of a paragraph ? in a newspaper published by him, which Goldsmith thought impertinent to him and to a lady of his acquaintance. The apology was written so much in Dr. Johnson's manner, that both Mrs. Williams and I supposed it to be his ; but when he came home he soon undeceived us. When he said to Mrs. Williams, “ Well, Dr. Goldsmith's manifesto has got into your paper ; ” I asked him if Dr. Goldsmith had written it, with an air that made him see I suspected it was his, though subscribed by Goldsmith. JOHNSON : “Sir, Dr. Goldsmith would no more have asked me to write such a thing as that for him than he would have asked me to feed him with a spoon, or to do anything else that denoted his imbecility. I as much believe that he wrote it as if I had seen him do it. Sir, had he shown it to any one friend, he would not have been allowed to publish it. He has, indeed, done it very well; but it is a foolish thing well done. I suppose he has been so much elated with the success of his new comedy that he has thought everything that concerned him must be of importance to the public.” BOSWELL : “I fancy, Sir, this is the first time that he has been engaged in such an adventure.” JOHNSON: “ Why, Sir, I believe it is the first time he has beat ; he may have been beaten before. This, Sir, is a new plume to him.”

I mentioned Sir John Dalrymple's “ Memoirs of Great Britain and

| The offence given, was a long abusive letter in “The London Packet.” A particular account of this transaction, and Goldsmith's Vindication (for such it was, rather than an apology), may be found in the new Life of that Poet, prefixed to his Miscellaneous Works in 4 vols. 8vo. pp. 105—108.-MALONE.

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