'December 19, 1774.'
1775: AETAT. 66.--The first effort of his pen in 1775 was, 'Proposals for publishing the Works of Mrs. Charlotte Lennox,'[Dagger] in three volumes quarto. In his diary, January 2, I find this entry: 'Wrote Charlotte's Proposals.' But, indeed, the internal evidence would have been quite sufficient. Her claim to the favour of the public was thus enforced:--
'Most of the pieces, as they appeared singly, have been read with approbation, perhaps above their merits, but of no great advantage to the writer. She hopes, therefore, that she shall not be considered as too indulgent to vanity, or too studious of interest, if, from that labour which has hitherto been chiefly gainful to others, she endeavours to obtain at last some profit for herself and her children. She cannot decently enforce her claim by the praise of her own performances; nor can she suppose, that, by the most artful and laboured address, any additional notice could be procured to a publication, of which Her MAJESTY has condescended to be the PATRONESS.'
He this year also wrote the Preface to Baretti's Easy Lessons in Italian and English.
'To JAMES BOSWELL, ESQ.
'You never did ask for a book by the post till now, and I did not think on it. You see now it is done. I sent one to the King, and I hear he likes it.
'I shall send a parcel into Scotland for presents, and intend to give to many of my friends. In your catalogue you left out Lord Auchinleck.
'Let me know, as fast as you read it, how you like it; and let me know if any mistake is committed, or any thing important left out. I wish you could have seen the sheets. My compliments to Mrs. Boswell, and to Veronica, and to all my friends.
'I am, Sir,
'Your most humble servant,
'January 14, 1775.
'MR. BOSWELL TO DR. JOHNSON.
'Edinburgh, Jan. 19, 1775.
'Be pleased to accept of my best thanks for your Journey to the Hebrides, which came to me by last night's post. I did really ask the favour twice; but you have been even with me by granting it so speedily. Bis dat qui cito dat. Though ill of a bad cold, you kept me up the greatest part of the last night; for I did not stop till I had read every word of your book. I looked back to our first talking of a visit a visit to the Hebrides, which was many years ago, when sitting by ourselves in the Mitre tavern, in London, I think about witching time o' night; and then exulted in contemplating our scheme fulfilled, and a monumentum perenne of it erected by your superiour abilities. I shall only say, that your book has afforded me a high gratification. I shall afterwards give you my thoughts on particular passages. In the mean time, I hasten to tell you of your having mistaken two names, which you will correct in London, as I shall do here, that the gentlemen who deserve the valuable compliments which you have paid them, may enjoy their honours. In page 106, for Gordon read Murchison; and in page 357, for Maclean read Macleod.
* * * * *
'But I am now to apply to you for immediate aid in my profession, which you have never refused to grant when I requested it. I enclose you a petition for Dr. Memis, a physician at Aberdeen, in which Sir John Dalrymple has exerted his talents, and which I am to answer as Counsel for the managers of the Royal Infirmary in that city. Mr. Jopp, the Provost, who delivered to you your freedom, is one of my clients, and, as a citizen of Aberdeen, you will support him.
'The fact is shortly this. In a translation of the charter of the Infirmary from Latin into English, made under the authority of the managers, the same phrase in the original is in one place rendered Physician, but when applied to Dr. Memis is rendered Doctor of Medicine. Dr. Memis complained of this before the translation was printed, but was not indulged with having it altered; and he has brought an action for damages, on account of a supposed injury, as if the designation given to him was an inferiour one, tending to make it be supposed he is not a Physician, and, consequently, to hurt his practice. My father has dismissed the action as groundless, and now he has appealed to the whole Court.'
'TO JAMES BOSWELL, ESQ.
'I long to hear how you like the book; it is, I think, much liked here. But Macpherson is very furious; can you give me any more intelligence about him, or his Fingal? Do what you can and do it quickly. Is Lord Hailes on our side?
'Pray let me know what I owed you when I left you, that I may send it to you.
'I am going to write about the Americans. If you have picked up any hints among your lawyers, who are great masters of the law of nations, or if your own mind suggests any thing, let me know. But mum, it is a secret.
'I will send your parcel of books as soon as I can; but I cannot do as I wish. However, you find every thing mentioned in the book which you recommended.
'Langton is here; we are all that ever we were.