It must be acknowledged, however, that both in this and his two former pamphlets, there was, amidst many powerful arguments, not only a considerable portion of sophistry, but a contemptuous ridicule of his opponents, which was very provoking.

'To MR. PERKINS[840].

'SIR,

'You may do me a very great favour. Mrs. Williams, a gentlewoman whom you may have seen at Mr. Thrale's, is a petitioner for Mr. Hetherington's charity: petitions are this day issued at Christ's Hospital.

'I am a bad manager of business in a crowd; and if I should send a mean man, he may be put away without his errand. I must therefore intreat that you will go, and ask for a petition for Anna Williams, whose paper of enquiries was delivered with answers at the counting-house of the hospital on Thursday the 20th. My servant will attend you thither, and bring the petition home when you have it.

'The petition, which they are to give us, is a form which they deliver to every petitioner, and which the petitioner is afterwards to fill up, and return to them again. This we must have, or we cannot proceed according to their directions. You need, I believe, only ask for a petition; if they enquire for whom you ask, you can tell them.

'I beg pardon for giving you this trouble; but it is a matter of great importance.

'I am, Sir,

'Your most humble servant,

'SAM JOHNSON.'

'October 25, 1774.'

'To JAMES BOSWELL, ESQ.

'DEAR SIR,

'There has appeared lately in the papers an account of a boat overset between Mull and Ulva, in which many passengers were lost, and among them Maclean of Col. We, you know, were once drowned[841]; I hope, therefore, that the story is either wantonly or erroneously told. Pray satisfy me by the next post.

'I have printed two hundred and forty pages. I am able to do nothing much worth doing to dear Lord Hailes's book. I will, however, send back the sheets; and hope, by degrees, to answer all your reasonable expectations.

'Mr. Thrale has happily surmounted a very violent and acrimonious opposition[842]; but all joys have their abatement: Mrs. Thrale has fallen from her horse, and hurt herself very much. The rest of our friends, I believe, are well. My compliments to Mrs. Boswell.

'I am, Sir,

Your most affectionate servant,

'SAM. JOHNSON.'

'London, October. 27, 1774.'

This letter, which shows his tender concern for an amiable young gentleman to whom he had been very much obliged in the Hebrides, I have inserted according to its date, though before receiving it I had informed him of the melancholy event that the young Laird of Col was unfortunately drowned[843].

'To JAMES BOSWELL, ESQ.

'DEAR SIR,

'Last night I corrected the last page of our Journey to the Hebrides. The printer has detained it all this time, for I had, before I went into Wales, written all except two sheets. The Patriot was called for by my political friends on Friday, was written on Saturday, and I have heard little of it. So vague are conjectures at a distance[844]. As soon as I can, I will take care that copies be sent to you, for I would wish that they might be given before they are bought; but I am afraid that Mr. Strahan will send to you and to the booksellers at the same time. Trade is as diligent as courtesy. I have mentioned all that you recommended. Pray make my compliments to Mrs. Boswell and the younglings. The club has, I think, not yet met.

'Tell me, and tell me honestly, what you think and what others say of our travels. Shall we touch the continent[845]?

'I am, dear Sir,

'Your most humble servant,

'SAM. JOHNSON.'

'Nov. 26, 1774.'

In his manuscript diary of this year, there is the following entry:--

'Nov. 27. Advent Sunday. I considered that this day, being the beginning of the ecclesiastical year, was a proper time for a new course of life. I began to read the Greek Testament regularly at 160 verses every Sunday. This day I began the Acts.

'In this week I read Virgil's Pastorals. I learned to repeat the Pollio and Gallus. I read carelessly the first Georgick.'

Such evidences of his unceasing ardour, both for 'divine and human lore,' when advanced into his sixty-fifth year, and notwithstanding his many disturbances from disease, must make us at once honour his spirit, and lament that it should be so grievously clogged by its material tegument. It is remarkable, that he was very fond of the precision which calculation produces[846]. Thus we find in one of his manuscript diaries, '12 pages in 4to. Gr. Test, and 30 pages in Beza's folio, comprize the whole in 40 days.'

'DR. JOHNSON TO JOHN HOOLE, Esq.[847]

'DEAR SIR,

'I have returned your play[848], which you will find underscored with red, where there was a word which I did not like. The red will be washed off with a little water.

'The plot is so well framed, the intricacy so artful, and the disentanglement so easy, the suspense so affecting, and the passionate parts so properly interposed, that I have no doubt of its success.

'I am, Sir,

'Your most humble servant,

'SAM.

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