« PreviousContinue »
negligent lines written, and whatever is amiss, he knows very well how to rectify.
“Be pleased to let me know, from time to time, how this excellent design
“Make my compliments to young Mr. Drummond, whom I hope you will live to see such as you desire him.
“I have not lately seen Mr. Elphinston, but believe him to be prosperous. I shall be glad to hear the same of you, for I am, Sir, “ Your affectionate humble servant,
TO THE SAME.
London, Johnson's-court, Fleet-street, Oct. 24, 1767. “I returned this week from the country, after an absence of near six months, and found your letter with many others, which I should have answered sooner, if I had sooner seen them.
“Dr. Robertson's opinion was surely right. Men should not be told of the faults which they have mended. I am glad the old language is taught, and honour the translator as a man whom God has distinguished by the high office of propagating his word.
“I must take the liberty of engaging you in an office of charity. Mrs. Heely, the wife of Mr. Heely, who had lately some office in your theatre, is my near relation, and now in great distress. They wrote me word of their situation some time ago, to which I returned them an answer which raised hopes of more than it is proper for me to give them. Their representation of their affairs I have discovered to be such as cannot be trusted ; and at this distance, though their case requires haste, I know not how to act. She, or her daughters, may be heard of at Canongate Head. I must beg, Sir, that you will inquire after them, and let me know what is to be done. I am willing to go to ten pounds, and will transmit you such a sum, if, upon examination, you find it likely to be of use. If they are in immediate want, advance them what you
think proper. What I could do I would do for the woman, having no. great reason to pay much regard to Heely himself.?
“I believe you may receive some intelligence from Mrs. Baker, of the theatre, whose letter I received at the same time with yours; and to whom, if you see her, you will make my excuse for the seeming neglect of answering her. 6 Whatever
you advance within ten pounds shall be immediately returned to you, or paid as you shall order. I trust wholly to your judgment.
“I am; Sir, &c., SAM. JOHNSON.'
Mr. Cuthbert Shaw, alike distinguished by his genius, misfortunes, and misconduct, published this year a poem, called “ The Race, by Mercurius Spur, Esq.,” in which he whimsically made the living poets of England contend for pre-eminence of fame by running :
· This paragraph shows Johnson's real estimation of the character and abilities of the celebrated Scottish historian, however lightly, in a moment of caprice, he may have spoken of his works.--BOSWELL.
2. This is the person concerning whom Sir John Hawkins has thrown out very unwarrantable reflections both against Dr. Johnson and Mr. Francis Barber.-BOSWELL. 3 See an account of him in “The European Magazine," Jan. 1786.-BOSWELL.
“ Prove by their heels the prowess of the head.”
“Here Johnson comes,-unblest with outward grace,
Ere Johnson stay, when Virtue bids retire.” The Honourable Thomas Hervey' and his lady, having unhappily disagreed, and being about to separate, Johnson interfered as their friend, and wrote him a letter of expostulation, which I have not been able to tind; but the substance of it is ascertained by a letter to Johnson in answer to it, which Jr. Hervey printed. The occasion of this correspondence between Dr. Johnson and Mr. Herrey, was thus related to me by Mr. Beanclerk.
* Tom Herrer had a great liking for Johnson, and in his will had left him a laser of any pounds One day he said to me, Johnson may want this money now, more than afierwanis I have a mind to give it him directis. Will you des guies to carry a fity pound note from me to him?' This I postirely rasti to do a he mi perbans bare daveted me down for insa mag him. and here arewaris per the pote in his portes. But I said if Herrey would write to a iester, ni encios agir pound note, I she'd take care to derer i He knir siad write bien a lemer. Det tai le s only parin a ley a estar To his leiter be stai P. I am gring to pars vs
my wife. Johnson then wrote to him, saying nothing of the note, but remonstrating with him against parting with his wife.”
When I mentioned to Johnson this story, in as delicate terms as I could, he told me that the fifty pound note was given to him by Mr. Hervey in consideration of his having written for him a pamphlet against Sir Charles Hanbury Williams, who, Mr. Hervey imagined, was the author of an attack upon him ; but that it was afterwards discovered to be the work of a garreteer, who wrote “The Fool;” the pamphlet therefore against Sir Charles was not printed.
JOHNSON INTRODUCED TO GEORGE III. AT BUCKINGHAM HOUSE-VISITS LICHFIELD_DEATH
OF CATHERINE CHAMBERS—WRITES PROLOGUE TO GOLDSMITH'S “GOOD-NATURED MAN" -BOSWELL'S ACCOUNT OF CORSICA PUBLISHED COMPARISON OF THE WORKS OF FIELDING AND RICHARDSON—THE GREAT DOUGLAS CAUSE-ST. KILDA-JOHNSON'S VIEWS OF CONJUGAL INFIDELITY-CHASTITY AND THE CHOICE OF A WIFE-BARETTI'S ITALYJOHNSON VISITS OXFORD-RETURNS TO LONDON–His CONTEMPT FOR POPULAR LIBERTY - DR. KENRICK'S PAMPHLET-JOHNSON PLACES FRANCIS BARBER AT SCHOOL-CONVERSATIONAL STRICTURES ON THOMSON THE POET AND DR. MOUXSEY-ORIGIN OF THE BEAR EPITHET.
IN February, 1767, there happened one of the most remarkable inci
dents of Johnson's life, which gratified his monarchical enthusiasm, and which he loved to relate with all its circumstances, when requested by his friends. This was his being honoured by a private conversation with his Majesty, in the library at the Queen's house. He had frequently visited those splendid rooms, and noble collection of books, which he used to say was more numerous and curious than he supposed any person could have made in the time which the king had employed. Mr. Barnard, the librarian, took care that he should have every accom
i Dr. Johnson had the honour of contributing his assistance towards the formation of this library; for I have read a long letter from him to Mr. Barnard, giving the most masterly instruction on the subject. I wished much to have gratified my readers with the perusal of this letter, and have reason to think that his Majesty would have been graciously pleased to permit its publication; but Mr. Barnard, to whom I applied, declined it" on his own account. -BOSWELL.
modation that could contribute to his ease and convenience, while indulging his literary taste in that place so that he had here a very agreeable resource at leisure hours.
His Majesty having been informed of his occasional visits, was pleased to signify a desire that he should be told when Dr. Johnson came next to the library. Accordingly, the next time that Johnson did come, as soon as he was fairly engaged with a book, on which, while he sat by the fire, he seemed quite intent, Mr. Barnard stole round to the apartment where the king was, and, in obedience to his Majesty's commands, mentioned that Dr. Johnson was then in the library. His Majesty said he was at leisure, and would go to him : upon which Mr. Barnard took one of the candles that stood on the king's table, and lighted his Majesty through a suite of rooms, till they came to a private door into the library, of which his Majesty had the key. Being entered, Mr. Barnard stepped forward hastily to Dr. Johnson, who was still in a profound study, and whispered him,“ Sir, here is the king.” Johnson started up, and stood still. His Majesty approached him, and at once was courteously easy.?
The particulars of this conversation I have been at great pains to collect with the utmost authenticity, from Dr. Johnson's own detail to myself; from Mr. Langton, who was present when he gave an account of it to Dr. Joseph Warton, and several other friends, at Sir Joshua Reynolds's; from Mr. Barnard; from the copy of a letter written by the late Mr. Strahan, the printer, to Bishop Warburton; and from a minute, the original of which is among the papers of the late Sir James Caldwell, and a copy of which was most obligingly obtained for me from his son Sir John Caldwell, by Sir Francis Lumm. To all these gentlemen I beg leave to make my grateful acknowledgments, and particularly to Sir Francis Lumm, who was pleased to take a great deal of trouble, and even had the minute laid before the king by Lord Caermarthen now Duke of Leeds, then one of his Majesty's principal secretaries of state, who announced to Sir Francis the Royal pleasure concerning it by a letter, in these