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1773] THOMAS DAVIES TAKES A LIBERTY 527
being forced to resign her crown, which Mr. Hamilton at Rome has painted for me. The two following have been
sent to me :
"Maria Scotorum Regina meliori seculo digna, jus regium civibus seditiosis invita resignat."
"Cives seditiosi Mariam Scotorum Reginam sese muneri abdicare invitam cogunt."
'Be so good as to read the passage Robertson, and see if you cannot give me a better inscription. I must have it both in Latin and English; so if you should not give me another Latin one, you will at least choose the best of these two, and send a translation of it.' . . .
His humane forgiving disposition was put to a pretty strong test on his return to London, by a liberty which Mr. Thomas Davies had taken with him in his absence, which was, to publish two volumes, entitled, Miscellaneous and fugitive Pieces, which he advertised in the news-papers, ' By the Authour of the Rambler.' In this collection, several of Dr. Johnson's acknowledged writings, several of his anonymous performances, and some which he had written for others, were inserted; but there were also some in which he had no concern whatever. He was at first very angry, as he had good reason to be. But, upon consideration of his poor friend's narrow circumstances, and that he had only a little profit in view, and meant no harm, he soon relented, and continued his kindness to him as formerly.
In the course of his self-examination with retrospect to this year, he seems to have been much dejected; for he says, January 1, 1774, This year has passed with so little improvement, that I doubt whether I have not rather impaired than increased my learning'; 1 and yet we have seen how he read, and we know how he talked during that period.
He was now seriously engaged in writing an account of our travels in the Hebrides, in consequence of which I had the pleasure of a more frequent correspondence with him.
'TO JAMES BOSWELL, ESQ.
'DEAR SIR,-My operations have been hindered by a cough; at least I flatter myself, that if my cough had not 1 Pr. and Med. p. 129.
INFORMATION FOR HIS NEW WORK [1774
come, I should have been further advanced. But I have had no intelligence from Dr. W, [Webster,] nor from the Excise-office, nor from you. No account of the little borough'. Nothing of the Erse language. I have yet heard nothing of my box.
You must make haste and gather me all you can, and do it quickly, or I will and shall do without it.
Make my compliments to Mrs. Boswell, and tell her that I do not love her the less for wishing me away. I gave her trouble enough, and shall be glad, in recompense, to give her any pleasure.
'I would send some porter into the Hebrides, if I knew which way it could be got to my kind friends there. Enquire, and let me know.
'Make my compliments to all the Doctors of Edinburgh, and to all my friends, from one end of Scotland to the other. Write to me, and send me what intelligence you can: and if any thing is too bulky for the post, let me have it by the carrier. I do not like trusting winds and waves. I am, dear Sir, your most, &c. 'Jan. 29, 1774.'
TO THE SAME.
'DEAR SIR,-In a day or two after I had written the last discontented letter, I received my box, which was very welBut still I must entreat you to hasten Dr. Webster, and continue to pick up what you can that may be useful. 'Mr. Oglethorpe was with me this morning, you know his errand. He was not unwelcome.
'Tell Mrs. Boswell that my good intentions towards her still continue. I should be glad to do any thing that would either benefit or please her.
Chambers is not yet gone, but so hurried, or so negligent, or so proud, that I rarely see him. I have, indeed, for some weeks past, been very ill of a cold and cough, and have been at Mrs. Thrale's, that I might be taken care of. I am much better: novæ redeunt in prælia vires; but I am yet tender, and easily disordered. How happy it was that neither of us were ill in the Hebrides.
'The question of Literary Property is this day before the 1 The ancient Burgh of Prestick, in Ayrshire.
1774] STEEVEN'S ELECTION TO THE CLUB
Lords. Murphy drew up the Appellants' case, that is, the plea against the perpetual right. I have not seen it, nor heard the decision. I would not have the right perpetual.
'I will write to you as any thing occurs, and do you send me something about my Scottish friends. I have very great kindness for them. Let me know likewise how fees come in, and when we are to see you. I am, Sir, yours affectionately,
London, Feb. 7, 1774.'
He at this time wrote the following letters to Mr. Steevens, his able associate in editing Shakspeare :—
'TO GEORGE STEEVENS, ESQ., IN HAMPSTEAD.
SIR,-If I am asked when I have seen Mr. Steevens, you know what answer I must give; if I am asked when I shall see him, I wish you would tell me what to say.
'If you have Lesley's History of Scotland, or any other book about Scotland, except Boetius and Buchanan, it will be a kindness if you send them to, Sir, your humble servant, Feb. 7, 1774.' SAM. JOHNSON.'
TO THE SAME.
'SIR,-We are thinking to augment our club and I am desirous of nominating you, if you care to stand the ballot, and can attend on Friday nights at least twice in five weeks: less than this is too little, and rather more will be expected. Be pleased to let me know before Friday. I am, Sir, your most, &c.,
Feb. 21, 1774.'
TO THE SAME.
'SIR,-Last night you became a member of the club; if you call on me on Friday, I will introduce you. A gentleman, proposed after you, was rejected.
'I thank you for Neander, but wish he were not so fine. I will take care of him. I am, Sir, your humble servant, 'SAM. JOHNSON.'
March 5, 1774.'
"To JAMES BOSWELL, ESQ.
'DEAR SIR,--Dr. Webster's informations were much less exact and much less determinate than I expected: they are,
NEW MEMBERS OF THE CLUB [1774
indeed, much less positive than, if he can trust his own book' which he laid before me, he is able to give. But I believe it will always be found, that he who calls much for information will advance his work but slowly.
'I am, however, obliged to you, dear Sir, for your endeavours to help me, and hope, that between us something will some time be done, if not on this, on some occasion.
'Chambers is either married, or almost married, to Miss Wilton, a girl of sixteen, exquisitely beautiful, whom he has, with his lawyer's tongue, persuaded to take her chance with him in the East.
'We have added to the club, Charles Fox, Sir Charles Bunbury, Dr. Fordyce, and Mr. Steevens.
'Return my thanks to Dr. Webster. Tell Dr. Robertson I have not much to reply to his censure of my negligence; and tell Dr. Blair, that since he has written hither what I said to him, we must now consider ourselves as even, forgive one another, and begin again. I care not how soon, for he is a very pleasing man. Pay my compliments to all my friends, and remind Lord Elibank of his promise to give me all his works..
'I hope Mrs. Boswell and little Miss are well.-When shall I see them again? She is a sweet lady, only she was so glad to see me go, that I have almost a mind to come again, that she may again have the same pleasure.
'Enquire if it be practicable to send a small present of a cask of porter to Dunvegan, Rasay, and Col. I would not wish to be thought forgetful of civilities. I am, Sir, your humble servant,
'March 5, 1774.”
On the 5th of March I wrote to him, requesting his counsel whether I should this spring come to London. I stated to him on the one hand some pecuniary embarrassments, which, together with my wife's situation at that time, made me hesitate; and, on the other, the pleasure and improvement which
1A manuscript account drawn by Dr. Webster of all the parishes in Scotland, ascertaining their length, breadth, number of inhabitants, and distinguishing Protestants and Roman Catholicks. This book had been transmitted to government, and Dr. Johnson saw a copy of it in Dr. Webster's possession.
1774] BOSWELL'S VISITS TO LONDON
my annual visit to the metropolis always afforded me; and particularly mentioned a peculiar satisfaction which I experienced in celebrating the festival of Easter in St. Paul's cathedral; that to my fancy it appeared like going up to Jerusalem at the feast of the Passover; and that the strong devotion which I felt on that occasion diffused its influence on my mind through the rest of the year.
'To JAMES BOSWELL, ESQ.
[Not dated, but written about the 15th of March.]
'I am ashamed to think that since I received your letter I have passed so many days without answering it.
'I think there is no great difficulty in resolving your doubts. The reasons for which you are inclined to visit London, are, I think, not of sufficient strength to answer the objections. That you should delight to come once a year to the fountain of intelligence and pleasure, is very natural; but both information and pleasure must be regulated by propriety. Pleasure, which cannot be obtained but by unseasonable or unsuitable expence, must always end in pain; and pleasure, which must be enjoyed at the expence of another's pain, can never be such as a worthy mind can fully delight in.
'What improvement you might gain by coming to London, you may easily supply, or easily compensate, by enjoining yourself some particular study at home, or opening some new avenue to information. Edinburgh is not yet exhausted; and I am sure you will find no pleasure here which can deserve either that you should anticipate any part of your future fortune, or that you should condemn yourself and your lady to penurious frugality for the rest of the year.
'I need not tell you what regard you owe to Mrs. Boswell's entreaties; or how much you ought to study the happiness of her who studies yours with so much diligence, and of whose kindness you enjoy such good effects. Life cannot subsist in society but by reciprocal concessions. She permitted you to ramble last year, you must permit her now to keep you at home.
Your last reason is so serious, that I am unwilling to oppose it. Yet you must remember, that your image of wor