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N 1764 and 1765 it should seem that Dr. Johnson was so busily employed with his edition of Shakspeare, as to have had little leisure for any other literary exertion, or, indeed, even for private correspondence'. He did not favour me with a single letter for more than two years, for which it will appear that he afterwards apologised.

He was, however, at all times ready to give assistance to his friends, and others, in revising their works, and in writing for them, or greatly improving their Dedications. In that courtly species of composition no man excelled Dr. Johnson. Though the loftiness of his mind prevented him from ever dedicating in his own person', he wrote a very great number

'Had he been 'busily employed' he would, no doubt, have finished the edition in a few months. He himself had recorded at Easter, 1765: 'My time has been unprofitably spent, and seems as a dream that has left nothing behind.' Pr. and Med., p.


* Dedications had been commonly used as a means of getting money by flattery. I. D'Israeli in his Calamities of Authors, i. 64, says :-' Fuller's Church History is disgraced by twelve particular dedications. It was an expedient to procure dedication fees; for publishing books by subscription was an art not yet discovered.' The price of the dedication of a play was, he adds, in the time of George I, twenty guineas. So much then, at least, Johnson lost by not dedicating Irene. However, when he addressed the Plan of his Dictionary to Lord Chesterfield (ante, i. 212) he certainly came very near a dedication. Boswell, in the Hypochondriack, writes :-' For my own part, I own I am proud enough. But I do not relish the stateliness of not dedicating at all. I prefer pleasure to pride, and it appears to me that there is much pleasure in honestly expressing one's admiration, esteem, or affection in a public manner, and in thus contributing to the happiness of another by making him better pleased with himself.' London Mag. for II. I of



[A.D. 1765.

of Dedications for others. Some of these, the persons who were favoured with them are unwilling should be mentioned, from a too anxious apprehension, as I think, that they might be suspected of having received larger assistance'; and some, after all the diligence I have bestowed, have escaped my enquiries. He told me, a great many years ago, 'he believed he had dedicated to all the Royal Family round';' and it was indifferent to him what was the subject of the work dedicated, provided it were innocent. He once dedicated some Musick for the German Flute to Edward, Duke of York. In writing Dedications for others, he considered himself as by no means speaking his own sentiments.

Notwithstanding his long silence, I never omitted to write to him when I had any thing worthy of communicating. I generally kept copies of my letters to him, that I might have 1782, p. 454. His dedications were dedications of friendship, not of flattery or servility. He dedicated his Tour to Corsica to Paoli, his Tour to the Hebrides to Malone, and his Life of Johnson to Sir Joshua Reynolds. Goldsmith, in like manner, distrest though he so often was, dedicated his Traveller to his brother, the Deserted Village to Sir Joshua, and She Stoops to Conquer to Johnson.

1 A passage in Boswell's letter to Malone of Jan. 29, 1791 (Croker's Boswell, p. 829), shows that it is Reynolds of whom he is writing. 'I am,' he writes, 'to cancel a leaf of the first volume, having found that though Sir Joshua certainly assured me he had no objection to my mentioning that Johnson wrote a dedication for him, he now thinks otherwise. In that leaf occurs the mention of Johnson having written to Dr. Leland, thanking the University of Dublin for their diploma.' In the first edition, this mention of the letter is followed by the passage above about dedications. It was no doubt Reynolds's Dedication of his Discourses to the King in the year 1778 that Johnson wrote. The first sentence is in a high degree Johnsonian. The regular progress of cultivated life is from necessaries to accommodations, from accommodations to ornaments.'

That is to say,' he added, 'to the last generation of the Royal Family.' See post, April 15, 1773. We may hope that the Royal Family were not all like the Duke of Gloucester, who, when Gibbon brought him the second volume of the Decline and Fall, 'received him with much good nature and affability, saying to him, as he laid the quarto on the table," Another d-d thick, square book! Always scribble, scribble, scribble! Eh! Mr. Gibbon ?" Best's Memorials, p. 68.

a full

Aetat. 60.]

Boswell in Corsica.


a full view of our correspondence, and never be at a loss to understand any reference in his letters'. He kept the greater part of mine very carefully; and a short time before his death was attentive enough to seal them up in bundles, and order them to be delivered to me, which was accordingly done. Amongst them I found one, of which I had not made a copy, and which I own I read with pleasure at the distance of almost twenty years. It is dated November, 1765, at the palace of Pascal Paoli, in Corte, the capital of Corsica, and is full of generous enthusiasm'. After giving a sketch of what I had seen and heard in that island, it proceeded thus: 'I dare to call this a spirited tour. I dare to challenge your approbation.'

This letter produced the following answer, which I found on my arrival at Paris:

A Mr. Mr. BosWELL, chez Mr. WATERS, Banquier, à Paris. 'DEAR SIR,

'Apologies are seldom of any use. We will delay till your arrival the reasons, good or bad, which have made me such a

Such care was needless. Boswell complained (post, June 24, 1774), that Johnson did not answer his letters, but only sent him returns.

2 'On one of the days that my ague disturbed me least, I walked from the convent to Corte, purposely to write a letter to Mr. Samuel Johnson. I told my revered friend, that from a kind of superstition agreeable in a certain degree to him as well as to myself, I had, during my travels, written to him from Loca Solennia, places in some measure sacred. That, as I had written to him from the tomb of Melancthon (see post, June 28, 1777), sacred to learning and piety, I now wrote to him from the palace of Pascal Paoli, sacred to wisdom and liberty.' Boswell's Tour to Corsica, p. 218. How delighted would Boswell have been had he lived to see the way in which he is spoken of by the biographer of Paoli: 'En traversant la Méditerranée sur de frêles navires pour venir s'asseoir au foyer de la nationalité Corse, des hommes graves tels que Boswel et Volney obéissaient sans doute à un sentiment bien plus élevé qu' au besoin vulgaire d'une puérile curiosité.' Histoire de Pascal Paoli, par A. Arrighi, i. 231. By every Corsican of any education the name of Boswell is known and honoured. One of them told me that it was in Boswell's pages that Paoli still lived for them. He informed me also of a family which still preserved by tradition the remembrance of Boswell's visit to their ancestral home.


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