« السابقةمتابعة »
coDstant. Mr. Lye is printing his Saxon and Gothic Dictionary: all THE Club subscribes.
"You will pay my respects to all my Lincolnshire friends. "I am, dear Sir,
"Most affectionately your's, "9th March, 1766. "Sam. Johnson."
"To Bennet Langton, Esq. At Langton, Near Spilsby, LinColnshire. "Dear Sir,
"In supposing that I should be more than commonly affected by the death of Peregrine Langton,J you were not mistaken; he was one of those whom I loved at once by instinct and by reason. I have seldom indulged more hope of any thing than of being able to improve our acquaintance to friendship. Many a time have I placed myself again at Langton, and imagined the pleasure with which I should walk to Partney|| in H summer morning; but this is no longer possible. We must now endeavour to preserve what is left us,—his example of piety and ceconoiny. 1 hope you make what enqniries you can, and write down what is told you. The little things which distingnish domestic characters are soon forgotten: if you delay to enqnire, you will have no information; if you neglect to write, information will be vain.§
X Mr. Langton's uncle.
§ Mr. Langton did not disregard this counsel, but wrote the following account, which he has been pleased to communicate to ine:
"The circumstances of Mr. Peregrine Langton were these. He had an annnity for life of two hundred pounds per annum. He resided in a village in Lincolnshire: the rent of his house, with two or three small fields, was twentyeight pounds; the country he lived in was not more than moderately cheap; his family consisted of a sister, who paid him eighteen pounds annually for her board, and a niece. The servants were two maids, and two men in livery. His common way of living, at his table, was three or four dishes ; the appurten Nkps to his table were neat and handsome; he frequently entertained company at dinner, and then his table was well served with as many dishes as were usual at the tables of the other gentlemen in the neighbourhood. His own appearance, as to clothes, was genteely neat and plain. He had always a post-chaise, and kept three horses.
"Such, with the resources I have mentioned, was his way of living, which be did not sutler to employ his whole income: for he had always a sum of money lying by him for any extraordinary expenccs that might arise. Some money he put into the stocks; at his death, the sum he had there amounted to one hundred and fifty pounds. He purchased out of his income his household-furniture and linen, of which latter be had a very ample store ; and, as I am assured by those that had very good means of knowing, not less than the tenth part of his income was set apart for charity: at the time of his death, the sam of twenty-five pounds was found, with a direction to be employed iu such uses.
"His art of life certainly deserves to be known and studied. He lired in plenty and elegance upon an income which, to many would appear indigent, and to most, scanty. How he lived, therefore, every man has an interest in knowing. His death, I hope, was peaceful ; it was surely happy.
"I wish I had written sooner, lest, writing now, 1 should renew your grief; but I would not forbear saying what 1 have now said.
"This loss is, I hope, the only misfortune of a family to whom no misfortune at all should happen, if my wishes could avert it. Let me
"He had laid down a plan of living proportioned to his income, and did not practise any extraordinary degree of parsimony, hut endeavoured that in his family there should be plenty without waste. As an instance that this was his endeavour, it may be worth while to mention a method he took in regulating a proper allowance of malt liquor to be drank in his family, that there might not be a deficiency, or any intemperate profusion; On a complaint made that his allowance of a hogshead in a month, was not enough for his own family, he ordered the quantity of a hogshead to be put into bottles, had it locked up from the servants, and distributed out, every day, eight quarts, which is the quantity each day at one hogshead in a month; and told his servants, that if that did not suffice, he would allow them more; but, by this method, it appeared at once that the allowance was much more than sufficient for his small family; and this proved a clear conviction, that could not be answered, and saved all future dispute. He was, in general, very diligently and punctually attended and obeyed by his servants; he was very considerate as to the injunctions he gave, and explained them distinctly; and, at their first coming to his service, steadily exacted a close compliance with them, without any remission; and the servants finding this to be the case, soon grew habitually accustomed to the practice of their business, and then very little further attention was necessary. On extraordinary instances of good behaviour, or diligent service, he was not wanting in particular encouragements and presents above their wages : it is remarkable that he would permit their relations to visit them, and stay at his house two or three days at a time
"The wonder, with most that hear an account of his aconomy, will be, how he was able, with such an income, to do so much, especially when it is considered that lie paid for every thing he had. He had no land, except the two or three small fields, which I have said he rented; and, instead of gaining any thing by their produce, I have reason to think he lost by them; however, they furnished him with no further assistance towards his housekeeping, than grass for his horses, (not hay, for that I know he bought,) and for two cows.
Every Monday morning he settled his family accounts, and so kept up a constant attention to the confining his expences within his income; and to do it more exactly, compared those expences with a computation he had made, how much that income would afford him every week and day of the year. One of his cccononiical practices was, as soon as any repair was wauling in or about his house, to have it immediately performed. When he had money to spare, he chose to la- in a provision of linen or clothes, or any other necessaries; as then, he said, he could afford it, which he might not be so well able to do when the actual want came; in consequence of which method, he bad a considerable supply of necessary articles lying by him, beside what was ia use.
know how you all go on. Has Mr. Langton got him the little horse that I recommended? It would do him good to ride about his estate in fine weather.
"Be pleased to make my compliments to Mrs. Langton, and to dear Miss Langton, and Miss Di, and Miss Juliet, and to every body else.
The Club holds very well together. Monday is my night. I continne to rise tolerably well, and read more than I did. I hope something will yet come on it. I am, Sir,
"Your most affectionate servant, "May 10, 1766, Sam. Johnson."
After I had been some time in Scotland, I mentioned to him in a letter, that "On my first return to my native country, after some years of absence, I was told of a vast number of my acquaintance who were all gone to the land of forgetfulness, and 1 found myself like a mau stalking over a field of battle, who every moment perceives some one lying dead." I complained of irresolution, and mentioned my having made a vow as a security for good conduct. I wrote to him again without being able to move his indolence; nor did I hear from him till he had received a copy of my inaugural Exercise, or Thesis in Civil Law, which I published at my admission as an Advocate, as is the custom in Scotland. He then wrote to me as follows:
"To James Bos Well, Esq. "Dear Sir,
"Tiik reception of your Thesis put me in mind of my debt to you. Why did you *************** *. I will punish you for it, by telling you that your Latin wants correction. In the beginning, Spei altera, not to urge that it should be prima, is not grammatical: altera; should be alteri. In the next line you seem to use genus abso
"But the main particular that seems to have enabled him to do so much with his income, was, that he paid for every thing, as soon as lie had it, except, alone, what were current accounts, such as rent for his house and servants %vages; and these he paid at the stated times with the utmost exactness. He gave notice to the tradesmen of the neighbouring market-towns, that they should no longer have his custom, if they let any of his servants have any thing without their paying for it. Thus he put it out of his power to commit those improdences lo which those are liable that defer their payments by using their money some other way than where it ought to go. And whatever money he had by him, he knew that it was not demanded elsewhere, but that he might safely employ it as he pleased.
"His example was confined, by the seqnestered place of his abode, to the observation of few, though his prodence and virtne would have made it valuable to all who could have known it.—These few particulars, which I knew myself, or have obtained from those who lived with him, may afford instruction, and be an incentive to that wise art of living, which he so successfully practised."
No. 4. Si
hitely, for what we ca\\ family, that is, for illustrious extraction, I doubt without authority. Homines nullius originis, for Nullis orti majoribus, or, Nullo loco nati, is, I am afraid, barbarous. J—Ruddiman is dead.
"I have now vexed you enough, and will try to please you. Your resolution to obey your father I sincerely approve; but do not accustom yourself to enchain your volatility by vows; they will sometime leave a thorn in your mind, which you will, perhaps, never he able to extract or eject. Take this warning; it is of great importance.
"The study of the law is what you very justly term it, copious and generous; and in adding your name to its professors, you have done exactly what I always wished, when I wished you best. 1 hope that you will continue to pursue it vigorously and constantly. You gain, at least, what is no small advantage, security from those troublesome and wearisome discontents, which are always obtruding themselves upon a mind vacant, unemployed, and undetermined.
"You ought to think it no small inducement to diligence and perseverance, that they will please your father. We all live upon the hope of pleasing somebody; and the pleasure of pleasing ought to be greatest,
X This censure of my Latin relates to the Dedication, which was as follows:
, VIRO NOBILISSIMO, ORNATISSIMO,
ATAVIS EDITO REGIBUS
tXCKI.S.K FAMILUE DE BUTE sPBI ALTERJEJ
O.UUM HOMINES NULLIUS ORIGINIS
GENUS .SQUARE OPIBUS AGGREDIUKTUR,
SANGUINIS ANTIO.UI ET ILLUSTRIs
NATALIUM SPLENDOREM VIRTUTIBUS AUGENTI: 1
AD PUBLICA POPULI COMITIA
IN OPTIMATIUM VERA MAGNJE BRITANNLE SENATE,
OLIM CONSESsURO '.
VIM INSITAM VARIA DOCTRINA PROMOVENTE,
NEC TAMEN sE VENDITANTE,
PRISCA TIDE, ANIMO LIBERRIMO,
ET MORUM ELEGANTIA
IN ITALIC VHITAND* ITINERE,
SOCIO 8UO HONORATISSIMO,
I1ASCE JURISPRUDENTS PRIMITIAS
DF.V1NCTISSIM.E AMICITI.F. ET OBSERVANT!»,
D. D. C. Q.
and at last always will be greatest, when our endeavours are exerted in consequence of our duty.
"Life is not long, and too much of it must not pass in idle deliberation how it shall be spent: deliberation, which those who begin it by prudence, and continue it with subtilty, must, after long expeoce of thought, conclude by chance. To prefer one future mode of life to another, upon just reason, requires faculties which it has not pleased our Creator to give us.
"If therefore the profession you have chosen has some unexpected inconveniencies, console yourself by reflecting that no profession is without them: and that all the importunities and perplexities of business are softness and luxury, compared with the incessant cravings of Vacancy, and the unsatisfactory expedients of idleness.
'Hac runt qua nostrii potui te voce monere;
"As to your History of Corsica, you have no material which others have not, or may not have. You have somehow or other, warmed your imagination. I wish there were some cure, like the lover's leap, for all heads of which some single idea has obtained an unreasonable and irregular possession. Mind your own affairs, and leave the Corsicans to theirs. "1 am, Dear Sir,
"Your most humble servant, * London Aug. 21, 1766. « Sam. Johnson."
It appears from Johnson's diary, that he was this year at Mr. Thrale's, from before Midsummer till after Michaelmas, and that he afterwards passed a month at Oxford. He had then contracted a great intimacy with Mr. Chambers of that University, afterwards Sir Robert Chambers, one of the Judges in India.
He published nothing this year in his owu name; but the noble dedication to the King, of Gwyn's "London and Westminster Improved," was written by him: and he furnished the Preface, and several of the pieces, which composed a volume of Miscellanies by Mrs. Anna Williams, the blind lady who had an asylum in his house. Of these, there are his "Epitaph on Philips ;*" " Translation of a Latin Epitaph on Sir Thomas Hanmerjf" "Friendship, an ode;*" and, "The Ant,*" a paraphrase from the Proverbs, of which I have a copy in his own hand-writing; and, from internal evidence, I ascribe to him, "To Miss on
her giving the Author a gold and silk net Purse of her own weaving;" and "The happy Life.f"—Most of the pieces in this volume have evidently received additions from his superior pen, particularly " Verses to Mr. Richardson, on his Sir Charles Grandison;" "The Excursion;" "Reflections on a Grave digging in Westminster Abbey." There is in this collection a poem, "On the death of Stephen Grey, the Electrician ;*" which, on reading it, appeared to me to be undoubtedly Johnson's. I asked Mrs. Williams whether it was not his. "Sir, (suid she with some warmth,) I wrote that poem before 1 had the honour of Dr.