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been a little more shaded ; but it is useful to see the weaknesses incident to great minds; and you have given us Dr. Johnson's authority that in history all ought to be told ''
Such a sanction to my faculty of giving a just representation of Dr. Johnson I could not conceal. Nor will I suppress my satisfaction in the consciousness, that by recording so considerable a portion of the wisdom and wit of the brightest ornament of the eighteenth century ?,' I have largely provided for the instruction and entertainment of mankind.
London, April 20, 1791.
: 'Macleod asked if it was not wrong in Orrery to expose the defects of a man (Swift) with whom he lived in intimacy. Johnson, “Why no, Sir, after the man is dead; for then it is done historically.") Boswell's Hebrides, Sept. 22, 1773. See also post, Sept. 17, 1777.
· See Mr. Malone's Preface to his edition of Shakspeare. BOSWELL.
' April 6, 1791. ‘My Life of Johnson is at last drawing to a close . . . I really hope to publish it on the 25th current ... I am at present in such bad spirits that I have every fear concerning it that I may get no profit, nay, may lose—that the Public 'may be disappointed, and think that I have done it poorly—that I may make many enemies, and even have quar
rels. Yet perhaps the very reverse of all this may happen. Letters of Boswell, p. 335.
August 22, 1791. ‘My magnum opus sells wonderfully ; twelve hundred are now gone, and we hope the whole seventeen hundred may
before Christmas. Ib. p. 342.
Malone in his Preface to the fourth edition, dated June 20, 1804, says that 'near four thousand copies have been dispersed. The first edition was in 2 vols., quarto; the second (1793) in 3 vols., octavo; the third (1799), the fourth (1804), the fifth (1807), and the sixth (1811), were each in 4 vols., octavo. The last four were edited by Malone, Boswell having died while he was preparing notes for the third edition.
That I was anxious for the success of a Work which had employed much of my time and labour, I do not wish to conceal : but whatever doubts I at any time entertained, have been entirely removed by the very favourable reception with which it has been honoured'. That reception has excited my best exertions to render my Book more perfect; and in this endeavour I have had the assistance not only of some of my particular friends, but of many other learned and ingenious inen, by which I have been enabled to rectify some mistakes, and to enrich thc Work with many valuable additions. These I have ordered to be printed separately in quarto, for the accommodation of the purchasers of the first edition?. May I be permitted to say that the typography of both editions does honour to the press of Mr. Henry Baldwin, now Master of the Worshipful Company of Stationers, whom I have long known as a worthy man and an obliging friend.
In the strangely mixed scenes of human existence, our feelings are often at once pleasing and painful. Of this truth, the progress of the present Work furnishes a striking instance. It was highly gratifying to me that my friend, Sir Joshua Reynolds, to whom it is inscribed, lived to peruse it, and to give the strongest testimony to its fidelity; but before a second edition, which he contributed to improve, could be finished, the world has been deprived of that most valuable man}; a loss of which the regret will be decp, and
I'Burke affirmed that Boswell's pages, under the title of The PrinLife was a greater monument cipal Corrections and Additions to Johnson's fame than all his writings the First Edition of Mr. Boswell's put together.' Life of Mackintosh, Life of Dr. Johnson.
shillings and sixpence. ? It is a pamphlet of forty-two Reynolds died on Feb. 23, 1792.
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lasting, and extensive, proportionate to the felicity which he diffused through a wide circle of admirers and friends'.
In reflecting that the illustrious subject of this Work, by being more extensively and intimately known, however elevated before, has risen in the veneration and love of mankind, I feel a satisfaction beyond what fame can afford. We cannot, indeed, too much or too often admire his wonderful powers of mind, when we consider that the principal store of wit and wisdom which this Work contains, was not a particular selection from his general conversation, but was merely his occasional talk at such times as I had the good fortune to be in his company?; and, without doubt, if his discourse at other periods had been collected with the same attention, the whole tenor of what he uttered would have been found equally excellent.
His strong, clear, and animated enforcement of religion, morality, loyalty, and subordination, while it delights and improves the wise and the good, will, I trust, prove an effectual antidote to that detestable sophistry which has been lately imported
'Sir Joshua in his will left £200 1768, a few days in May, London. to Mr. Boswell “to be expended, if 1769, end of Sept. to Nov. 10, he thought proper, in the purchase
1772, March to about of a picture at the sale of his paint
May 10, ings, to be kept for his sake. Tay 1773, April 3 to May 10, lor's Reynolds, ii. 636.
Aug. 14 to Nov. 22, Scotland. Of the seventy-five years that 1775, March 21 to April 18, LonJohnson lived, he and Boswell did not May 2 to May 23, spend two years and two months in
London, the same neighbourhood. Excluding
Oxford, the time they were together on their 1776, March 15 to May 16, Birmtour to the Hebrides, they were dwell with an interval of ingham, ing within reach of each other a few about fortnight, Lichweeks less than two years. More when Johnson was at field, over, when they were apart, there were
Bath and Boswell at Ashgreat gaps in their correspondence. London,
bourne, Between Dec. 8, 1763, and Jan. 14,
and 1766, and again between Nov. 10,
Bath. 1769 and June 20, 1771, during which 1777, Sept. 14 to Sept. 24, Ashbourne. periods they did not meet, Boswell 1778, March 18 to May 19, London. did not receive a single letter from 1779, March 15 to May 3, Johnson. The following table shows Oct. 4 to Oct. 18, the times they were in the same neigh 1781, March 19 to June 5, London bourhood.
and Southill. 1763, May 16 to Aug. 6, London. 1783, March 21 to May 30, London. 1766, a few days in February,
1784, May 5 to June 30, London 1768, March, Oxford.
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from France, under the false name of Philosophy, and with a malignant industry has been employed against the peace, good order, and happiness of sociсty, in our free and prosperous country; but thanks be to God, without producing the pernicious effects which were hoped for by its propagators.
It seems to me, in my moments of self-complacency, that this extensive biographical work, however inferior in its nature, may in one respect be assimilated to the ODYSSEY. Amidst a thousand entertaining and instructive episodes the HERO is never long out of sight; for they are all in some degree connected with him; and He, in the whole course of the History, is exhibited by the Authour for the best advantage of his readers.
Quid virtus et quid sapientia possit,
Utile proposuit nobis exemplar Ulyssen'.' Should there be any cold blooded and morose mortals who really dislike this Book, I will give them a story to apply. When the great Duke of Marlborough, accompanied by Lord Cadogan, was one day reconnoitering the army in Flanders, a heavy rain came on, and they both called for their cloaks. Lord Cadogan's servant, a good humoured alert lad, brought his Lordship's in a minute. The Duke's servant, a lazy sulky dog, was so sluggish, that his Grace being wet to the skin, reproved him, and had for answer with a grunt, “I came as fast as I could, upon which the Duke calmly said, 'Cadogan, I would not for a thousand pounds have that fellow's temper.'
There are some men, I believe, who have, or think they have, a very small share of vanity. Such may speak of their literary fame in a decorous style of diffidence. But I confess, that I am so formed by nature and by habit, that to restrain the effusion of delight, on having obtained such fame, to me would be truly painful. Why then should I suppress it? Why 'out of the abundance of the heart' should I not speak 2 ? Let me then
I 'To shew what wisdom and what me, my friends and countrymen, while sense can do,
I with honest zeal maintain your cause The poet sets Ulysses in our -allow me to indulge a little more view.
my own egotism and vanity. They Francis. Horace, Ep. i. 2. 17. are the indigenous plants of my mind; * In his Letter to the People of they distinguish it. I may prune their Scotland, p. 92, he wrote:-Allow luxuriancy ; but I must not entirely
Advertisement to the Second Edition. 13 mention with a warm, but no insolent exultation, that I have been regaled with spontaneous praise of my work by many and various persons eminent for their rank, learning, talents and accomplishments; much of which praise I have under their hands to be reposited in my archives at Auchinleck'. An honourable and reverend friend speaking of the favourable reception of my volumes, even in the circles of fashion and elegance, said to me, 'you have made them all talk Johnson,' — Yes, I may add, I have Johnsonised the land; and I trust they will not only talk, but think, Johnson.
To enumerate those to whom I have been thus indebted, would be tediously ostentatious. I cannot however but name one whose praise is truly valuable, not only on account of his knowledge and abilities, but on account of the magnificent, yet dangerous embassy, in which he is now employed, which makes every thing that relates to him peculiarly interesting. Lord MACARTNEY favoured me with his own copy of my book, with a number of notes, of which I have availed myself. On the first leaf I found in his Lordship’s hand-writing, an inscription of such high commendation, that even I, vain as I am, cannot prevail on myself to publish it.
(July 1, 1793?:)
clear it of them ; for then I should hand! the robbery is only of a few be no longer“ as I am;" and perhaps shillings; but the cut on my head there might be something not so and bruises on my arms were sad good.
things, and confined me to bed, in " See post, April 17, 1778, note. pain, and fever, and helplessness, as a
? Lord Macartney was the first child, many days. . . . This shall be a English ambassador to the Court of crisis in my life: I trust I shall hencePekin. He left England in 1792 and forth be a sober regular man. Indeed, returned in 1794.
my indulgence in wine has, of late Boswell writing to Temple ten years especially, been excessive.' days earlier had said:
- Behold my
Letters of Boswell, p. 346.