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Beattie ; informing him that I had been at Alnwick 1771. lately, and had good accounts of him from Dr. Percy. Ætat. 62
In his religious record of this year we observe that he was better than usual, both in body and mind, and better satisfied with the regularity of his conduct. But he is still “ trying his ways” too rigorously. He charges himself with not rising early enough ; yet he mentions what was surely a sufficient excuse for this, supposing it to be a duty seriously required, as he all his life appears to have thought it. “ One great hindrance is want of rest; my nocturnal complaints grow less troublesome towards morning; and I am tempted to repair the deficiencies of the night.” & Alas ! how hard would it be if this indulgence were to be imputed to a sick man as a crime. In his retrospect on the following Easter-eve, he says, “ When I review the last year, I am able to recollect so little done, that shame and sorrow, though perhaps too weakly, come upon me.” Had he been judging of any one else in the same circumstances, how clear would he have been on the favourable side. How very difficult, and in my opinion almost constitutionally impossible it was for him to be raised early, even by the strongest resolutions, appears from a note in one of his little paper-books, (containing words arranged for his Dictionary,) written, I suppose, about 1753 : “ I do not remember that since I left Oxford, I ever rose' early by mere choice, but once or twice at Edial, and two or three times for the Rambler." I think he had fair ground enough to have quieted his mind on this subject, by concluding that he was physically incapable of what s at best but a commodious regulation.
Prayers and Meditations, p. 101,
1772. In 1972 he was altogether quiescent as an authour Ætat. 63. but it will be found, from the various evidences which
I shall bring together, that his mind was aeute, lively and vigorous.
" TO SIR JOSHUA REYNOLDS.
“ Be pleased to send to Mr. Banks, whose place
“ I am, Sir,
“ Sam. Johnson." « Feb. 27, 1772.
TO JOSEPH BANKS ESQ.
“ Perpetua ambitá bis terrå præmia lactis
“ Hæc habet altrici Capra secunda Jovis.",
" I Return thanks to you and to Dr. Solander for the pleasure which I received in yesterday's conversation. I could not recollect a motto for your Goat, but have given her one. You, Sir, may perhaps, have an epick poem from some happier pen than, Sir,
- Your most humble servant, " Johnson's-court, Fleet-street, “ Sam. Johnson.”
February 27, 1772.
9 Thus translated hy a friend.
“ This Goat, who twice the world had traversed round,
“ Ease and perpetual pasture now has found,”
TO DR. JOHNSON.
1772. « MY DEAR SIR,
Ætat. 63. " It is hard that I cannot prevail on you to write to me oftener. But I am convinced that it is in vain to expect from you a private correspondence with any regularity. I must, therefore, look upon you as a fountain of wisdom, from whence few rills are communicated to a distance, and which must' be approached at its source, to partake fully of its virtues.
“ I am coming to London soon; and am to appear in an appeal from the Court of Session in the House of Lords. A schoolmaster in Scotland was, by a court of inferiour jurisdiction, deprived of his office, for being somewhat severe in the chastisement of his scholars. The Court of Session considering it to be dangerous to the interest of learning and education, to lessen the dignity of teachers, and make them afraid of too indulgent parents, instigated by the complaints of their children, restored him. His enemies have appealed to the House of Lords, though the salary is only twenty pounds a year. I was Counsel for him here. I hope there will be little fear of a reversal; but I must beg to have in my plan of supporting the decree. It is a general question, and not a point of particular law.
“ I am, &c.
TO JAMES BOSWELL, ESQ.
1772. very glad; and still more glad that you are coming
as an advocate. I think nothing more likely to make your life pass- happily away, than that consciousness of your own value, which eminence in your profession will certainly confer. If I can give you any collateral help, I hope you do not suspect that it will be wanting. My kindness for you
has neither the merit of singular virtue, nor the reproach of singular prejudice. Whether to love you be right or wrong, I have many on my side: Mrs. Thrale loves you, and Mrs. Williams loves you, and what would have inclined me to love you, if I had been neutral before, you are a great favourite of Dr. Beattie.
« Of Dr. Beattie I should have thought much, but that his lady puts him out of my head : she is a very lovely woman.
“ The ejection which you come hither to oppose, appears very cruel, unreasonable, and oppressive. I should think there could not be much doubt of
My health grows better, yet I am not fully recovered. I believe it is held, that men do not recover very fast after threescore. I hope yet to see Beattie's College : and have not given up the western voyage. But however all this may be or not, let us try to make each other happy when we meet, and not refer our pleasure to distant times or distant places.
“ How comes it that you tell me nothing of your lady? I hope to see her some time, and till then shall be glad to hear of her.
“ I am, dear Sir, &c. “ March 15, 1772.
TO BENNET LANGTON, ESQ. NEAR SPILSBY,
“I CONGRATULATE you and Lady Rothes' on your little man, and hope you will all be many years happy together.
“ Poor Miss Langton can have little part in the joy of her family. She this day called her aunt Langton to receive the sacrament with ber; and made me talk yesterday on such subjects as suit her condition. It will probably be her viaticum. I surely need not mention again that she wishes to see her mother. · I am, Sir,
6. Your most humble servant, “ March 14, 1772.
“ Sam. Johnson.
On the 21st of March, I was happy to find myself again in my friend's study, and was glad to see my old acquaintance, Mr. Francis Barber, who was now returned home. Dr. Johnson received me with a hearty welcome; saying, “ I am glad you are come, and glad you are come upon such an errand :" (alluding to the cause of the schoolmaster.") BOSWELL. “ I hope, Sir, he will be in no danger. It is a very delicate matter to interfere between a master and his scholars: nor do I see how you can fix the degree of severity that a master may use." JOHNSON.“Why, Sir, till you can fix the degree of obstinacy and negligence of the scholars, you cannot fix the degree of severity of the master. Severity must be continued until obstinacy be subdued, and negligence be cured." He mentioned the severity of Hunter, his own master,
* Mr. Langton niarried the Countess Dowager of Rothes.