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it would not be rapidis ludibria ventis. Foote has been exhibit. ing a farce called the Mayor of Garret. I laughed very heartily at it. It was well castigated by the Lord Chamberlain. But it has still many political jokes of the day.
I ever am,
JAMES BOSWELL. London, 25 June, 1763.
III. DEAR SIR,
I send you Churchill's Epistle to Hogarth, which, after much solemn announcing, has at last appeared. I think it is replete with that vigour of thought, bitterness of satire, and force of expression, for which the author is in such high repute. Contrary to his usual custom, he has marked some people only with initials, which are R., the Bishop of Rochester; C., Cal. craft, the Agent; F., Mr. Fox, or rather Lord Holland : D., Sir Francis Dashwood. I must observe how very little matter is contained in a quarto poem at the price of two shillings and sixpence.
I am now upon a very good footing with Mr. Johnson. His conversation is instructive and entertaining. He has a most extensive fund of knowledge, a very clear expression, and much strong humour. I am often with him.
Some nights ago we supped (supt) by ourselves at the Mitre Tavern,' and sat over a sober bottle till between one and two in the morning. We talked a good deal of you.
your health, and he desired me to tell you so.
When I am in his company, I am rationally happy. I am attentive, and eager to learn, and I would hope that I may receive advantage from such society. You will smile to think of the association of so mous a genius with one so slender. Your old acquaintance, Ogilvie, is in town.
He is going to publish an allegorical poem, entitled Providence. I have just looked into it. The plan is new and ingenious; and you know his imagination is rich, and his numbers melodious.
He is also a very good sort of man.
Doctor Robertson is here. But I imagine he will not be ready for the press for some time. Amidst the many ingenious works
See Life, vol i., p. 354.—Editor.
which are published, one must observe that book-making is now at a prodigious height. It is now allmost reduced to the sole trade of selling paper blackened with certain characters, so much dearer than when it is in original whiteness. I sent you some time ago the Satires of Juvenal paraphrastically imitated. Did you receive them ? If you did, how do you like them ?
I ever am,
JAMES BOSWELL. London, 2 July, 1763.
As to the spelling of my name—it was originally the French Boisville. It was altered in England to Bosville, and in Scotland has been written either Boswell or Boswall. My father, alone, has made an innovation in throwing away an 1, which is, to be sure, a supernumerary, as monosyllables only require a double final letter. But, on account of the original orthography and long custom, I think myself best authorised to use two l's. This is a most curious discussion. I long to have another letter from you."
MY DEAR SIR,
When I sit down to write to you, I never think of making any apology, either of haste or any other impediment whatever. I consider you as a friend, who will take me just as I am, good, or bad, or indifferent; or (as Sir Francis Dashwood said of the Cyder. Bill) rough as I run. I am glad that the English Juvenal came safe. However, I cannot help thinking that he now and then shows some fire. But you may answer, that Elkanah Settle and Welsted have done the same. He must
1 The above seems a postcript to the preceding letter; it is written on a separate leaf of the same size and character as those of the preceding letter, and the handwriting does not vary. .-Editor.
2 Elkanah Settle wrote political poems, first for the Whigs, then for the Tories, apparently for the highest bidder. He had a pension from the City, for an annual panegyric on the Lord Mayor, the last of which appeared in 1708.—Editor.
3 Leonard Welsted, a great writer of complimentary verses. He also wrote some satirical pieces against Pope, who rewarded him by a verse in the Dunciad :
“ Flow, Welsted, flow! like thine inspirer beer,
be miraculously stupid who cannot produce one good line in two hundred. I own that the authour now under consideration frequently pleased my ear with a tunefull jingle; which, in many places, I imagine, even his greatest enemy may perceive. I remembered you, according to your desire, to Mr. Johnson: and I read him a part of your letter, which diffused a complacency over his face. I have had the honour of his company at supper with
After a winter of rigid parsimony, I have reaped the rewards of economy in being able to entertain some of my literary friends. On Wednesday evening Mr. Johnson and I had another tête-à-tête at the Mitre. Would you believe that we sat from half an hour after eight till between two and three. He took me cordially by the hand; and said, “My dear Boswell! I love you very much.” Can I help being somewhat vain ? But I assure you real solid satisfaction fills my mind more than vanity. I look upon my obtaining the friendship of this great and good man as one of the most important events in my life. I think better of myself when in his company than at any other time. His conversation rouses every generous principle, and kindles every laudable desire.
I own to you, Sir David, that I shall regret very much my leaving Mr. Johnson. Let me go where I will, I shall meet with no man from whom I can receive more real improvement. He advises me to combat idleness as a distemper; to read five hours every day : but to let inclination direct me what to read. He is a great enemy to a stated plan of study.
He advises when I go abroad, to go to places where there is most to be seen and learnt. He is not very fond of the notion of spending a whole winter in a Dutch town. He thinks I may do much more by private study, than by attending lectures. He would have me to perambulate (a word quite in his own stile) Spain. He says a man might see a good deal by visiting their inland towns and universitys. He also advises me to visit the northern kingdoms, where more that is new is to be seen than in France and Italy. But he is not against my seeing these warmer regions. He advises me in general to move about a good deal; and not to remain in a place when I find it disagreeable. When I am abroad I can determine better as to my proceedings.
I ever am,
Yours sincerely, Inner Temple, 16 July, 1763.
Your last agreeable letter has set my mind at ease as to Utrecht. I shall go thither with satisfaction, and, I hope, shall leave it with improvement. I am determined to study the Civil Law and the Law of Nature and nations, I shall also have Erskine's Institutes with me, and by degrees acquire the Scots Law. I shall follow a plan which you once suggested to me, of making a copy of the whole book, which will fix my attention to the subject, and help to imprint it on my memory. The acquiring French is a matter of great moment, and I am determined to be very assiduous in doing so. I shall look about here for a good French servant of undoubted character, and, at any rate, shall have such a one at Utrecht. I shall dine at the old castle of Antwerp. I am told by the same gentleman, who told me many other things, that the new one is the best. But, as he likewise told me that they generally spoke English, and as I have now no great respect for his accounts, I shall be with your old friend, or his successor. I imagine, too, that my living in a French house may be of service. I shall be at great loss for some weeks for want of language. But necessity will be a keen spur to my industry.
Mr. Johnson did me the honour to sup with me at my chambers some nights ago. Entre nous, he said that Dempster, who was also with me, gave him more general displeasure than any man he has met with for a long time. He was a pupil of Hume and of Rousseau, totally unsettled as to principles, and endeavouring to puzzle and to shake other people with childish sophistry. I had infinite satisfaction in hearing solid truth confuting vain subtilty. I must own to you that I have for some time past been in a miserable unsettled way, and been connected with people of shallow parts, altho' agreeably vivacious. But I find a flash of merriment a poor equivalent for internal comfort. I thank God that I have got acquainted with Mr. Johnson. He has done me infinite service. He has assisted me to obtain peace of mind. He has assisted me to become a rational Christian. I hope I shall ever remain so. I shall leave England upon an infinitely happier footing now, than when I was tost by every wind, full of
When I am abroad, I shall studiously preserve
my good principles, and I hope I shall be supported by them in my dark hours of life, and in that darkest hour of all, the hour of death. My dear sir ! 'tis with the unreserved confidence of a friend that I write this to you. When I return from abroad I hope I may easily drop loose acquaintance. Company has a great effect on us. One mind can hardly support itself against many.
But when we are with good men, whose opinions agree with ours, we are then more firmly fixed. Mr. Johnson and I supped (supt) again by ourselves last night. He bid me re. member that objections ought not to shake a system of which we have strong evidence. So narrow is the mind of man, that everything almost may be objected to. There are objections against a Plenum, and objections against a Vacuum, and yet one of 'em must certainly be true. He said, too, that accustoming one's self to view things always in a ludicrous light was of most dangerous consequence. It destroys serious thinking, and unhinges the mind. I could give you pages of strong sense and humour which I have heard from that great man, and which are treasured
in my journal. And here I must inform you, that he desired me to keep just the journal that I do; and when I told him that it was already my practice, he said he was glad I was upon so good a plan. He said it is an excellent exercise, and will yield me vast pleasure when the ideas are fading from my mind. Last night he and I supped (supt) in a room at the Turk's Head coffee-house. He was happy that I had such a friend as you, and he said, “ An hour's conversation with such a man may be of use to you thro' the whole of life ? ” much pleased with your account of the Sçavans of Berlin. He said the King of Prussia writes just as you would suppose Vol. taire's foot-boy would do, who has copied out his master's works. He shows such a degree of parts as you would expect from the valet, and about as much of the colouring of his style as might be attained by a transcriber. He considers you as a scholar, as a man of worth, and a man of wit. He drank your health again in a bumper, and he wished that I would inform you of his opinion of you (whom he wishes to see), as you do not show yourself much in the world, and so must be content with the praise of a few. He says he will probably go to Scotland with me when I return from abroad, and in the mean time he is to correspond with me. He told me, with an affection that almost made me cry, “My dear Boswell! it would give me great pain to part