Slike strani
[blocks in formation]

for we shall never use it; and if a jack is seen, a spit will be presumed.” Mrs. T. “But pray, Sir, who is the Poll you talk of? She that you used to abet in her quarrels with Mrs. Williams, and call out, At her again, Poll! Never flinch, Poll." DR. J. “Why, I took to Poll very well at first, but she won't do upon a nearer examination.” Mrs. T. “How came she among you, Sir?” DR. J. "Why, I don't rightly remember, but we could spare her very well from us. Poll is a stupid slut. I had some hopes of her at first; but when I talked to her tightly and closely, I could make nothing of her ; she was wiggle waggle, and I could never persuade her to be categorical." Mme. D'Arblay's Diary, i. 114.

More than a year later Johnson wrote to Mrs. Thrale :- Discord keeps her residence in this habitation, but she has for some time been silent. We have much malice, but no mischief. Levett is rather a friend to Williams, because he hates Desmoulins more. A thing that he should hate more than Desmoulins is not to be found.' Piozzi Letters, ii. 80. Mrs. Piozzi (Anec. p. 213) says :—He really was oftentimes afraid of going home, because he was so sure to be met at the door with numberless complaints ; and he used to lament pathetically to me that they made his life miserable from the impossibility he found of making theirs happy, when every favour he bestowed on one was wormwood to the rest. If, however, I ventured to blame their ingratitude, and condemn their conduct, he would instantly set about softening the one and justifying the other; and finished commonly by telling me, that I knew not how to make allowances for situations I never experienced.' Hawkins (Life, p. 404) says :- Almost throughout Johnson's life poverty and distressed circumstances seemed to be the strongest of all recommendations to his favour. When asked by one of his most intimate friends, how he could bear to be surrounded by such necessitous and undeserving people as he had about him, his answer was, “If I did not assist them, no one else would, and they must be lost for want.” “His humanity and generosity, in proportion to his slender income, were,' writes Murphy (Life, p. 146), ‘unbounded. It has been truly said that the lame, the blind, and the sorrowful found in his house a sure retreat.' See also ante, iii. 252. At the same time it must be remembered that while Mrs. Desmoulins and Miss Carmichael only brought trouble into the house, in the society of Mrs. Williams and Levett he had real pleasure. See ante, i. 269, note 1, and 282, note 1.


Appendix E:





(Page 420, note 3.)


LETTER I. * Agli Illustrissimi Signori Il Presidente e Consiglieri dell' Academia

Reale delle arti in Londra.

• Avreste forse illustrissimi Signori potuto scegliere molte persone piu degne dell'ufficcio di Segretario per la corrispondenza straniera ; ma non sarebbe, son certo, stato possibile di trovar alcuno dal quale questa distinzione sarebbe stata piu stimata. Sento con un animo molto riconoscente la parzialità che l'Academia a ben voluto mostrar per me; e mi conto selicissimo che la mia elezione sia stata graziosamente confirmata dalla sua Maestá lo stesso Sovrano che a fondato l'Academia, e che si é sempre mostrato il suo beneficente Protettore.

*Vi prego, Signori, di credere que porro ogni mio studio a contribuire tanto che potro alla prosperita della nostra instituzione ch' é gia arrivata ad un punto si rispettevole.

Ho l'onore d'essere,
• Illustrissimi Signori,
· Vostro umilissimo,
'e divotissimo servo,

GIACOMO Boswell.' Londra, 31 d'Ottobre, 1791.'

LETTER II. *A Messieurs Le President et es autres Membres du Conseil de

l'Academie Royale des Arts à Londres. • MESSIEURS,

"C'est avec la plus vive reconnoissance que J'accepte la charge de Secretaire pour la Correspondence etrangêre de votre Academie á laquelle J'ai eu l'honneur d'etre choisi par vos suffrages unanimes gracieusement confirmés par sa Majesté.

*Ce choix spontané Messieurs me flatte beaucoup; et m'inspire des desirs les plus ardens de m'en montrer digne, au moins par la promptitude avec laquelle Je saisirai toute occasion de faire ce que


[blocks in formation]

Je pourrai pour contribuer à l'avantage des Arts et la celebrité de
* J'ai l'honneur d'etre avec toute la consideration possible,

• Messieurs,
· Votre serviteur tres obligé tres humble et tres fidel,

• BOSWELL.' • A Londres, 'ce 31 d'Octobre, 1791'.'

LETTER III. • To the President and Council of the Royal Academy of Arts in


Your unsolicited and unanimous election of me to be Secretary for Foreign Correspondence to your Academy, and the gracious confirmation of my election by his Majesty, I acknowledge with the warmest sentiments of gratitude and respect.

• I have always loved the Arts, and during my travels on the Continent I did not neglect the opportunities which I had of cultivating a taste for them. That taste I trust will now be much improved, when I shall be so happy as to share in the advantages which the Royal Academy affords; and I fondly embrace this very pleasing distinction as giving me the means of providing additional solace for the future years of

“Be assured, Gentlemen, that as I am proud to be a member of an Academy which has the peculiar felicity of not being at all dependant on a Minister', but under the immediate patronage and superintendence of the Sovereign himself, I shall be zealous to do every thing in my power that can be of any service to our excellent Institution.

my life.

• I have the honour to be,

• Your much obliged
And faithful humble servant,

'JAMES BOSWELL.' London, ‘31 October, 1791.'


* I am much obliged to you for the very polite terms in which you

1 In this letter I have made no attempt to correct Boswell's errors.

· Boswell, when in the year 1764 he was starting from Berlin for Geneva, wrote to Mr. Mitchell, the English Minister at Berlin :- I shall see Voltaire ; I shall also see Switzerland and Rousseau. These two men are to me greater objects than most statues or pictures.' Nichols's Lit. Hist. ed. 1848, vii. 319. • See post, ir. 302, note i for Boswell's grievance against Pitt.

[blocks in formation]

have been pleased to communicate to me my election to be Secretary
for Foreign Correspondence to the Royal Academy of Arts in Lon-
don; and I request that you will lay before the President and Coun-
cil the enclosed letters signifying my acceptance of that office.
• I am with great regard,

• Sir,
• Your most obedient humble servant,

JAMES BOSWELL.' • London, '31 October, 1791. • To John Richards, Esq., R.A. &c.'

Bennet Langton's letter of acceptance of the Professorship of Ancient Literature in the place of Johnson is dated April 2, 1788.

I must express my acknowledgments to the President and Council of the Royal Academy for their kindness in allowing me to copy the above letters from the originals that are in their possession.

[blocks in formation]


« PrejšnjaNaprej »