Hamilton at Rome has painted for me. The two following have been sent to me:
"Maria Scotorum Regina meliori seculo digna, jus regiitm civibus seditiosis invita resignat."
"Cives seditiosi Mariam Scotorum Reginam sese muneri abdicare invitam cogunt."
'Be so good as to read the passage in 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'; 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.
'My operations have been hindered by a cough; at least I flatter myself, that if my cough had not 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. 'SAM. JOHNSON.'
'Jan. 29, 1774.'
To THE SAME.
'In a day or two after I had written the last discontented letter, I received my box, which was very welcome. But 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: novae redeunt in praelia 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 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, SAM. JOHNSON. 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.
'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, 'SAM. JOHNSON. 'Feb. 7, 1774.'
To the same.
'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.