صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

"I shall send a parcel into Scotland for presents, and intended to give to many of my frends. In yonr 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. 1 wish you could have seen the sheets. My compliments io Mrs. Boswell, and to Veronica, and to all my friends. I am, Sir,

"Your roost humble servant,

"January 14,1775. "Sam. Johnson."

"Mr. Boswell To Dr. Johnson.

Edinburgh, Jun. 19, 1/75. "Be pleased to accept of my best thanks for your ' Journey to the Hebrides,' which came to me by last night's po*t. I did really ask the favour twice; but you have been even with me by granting it so speedily. Bis dat qui eito dat. Though ill of a bad cold, you kept me up the greatest part of last night: for I did not stop till I had read every word of your book. I looked back to our first talkingof a visit to the Hebrides, which was many years ago, when sitting by ourselves in the Mitre tavern, in London, I think about watching time o1 night; and then exulted in contemplating our scheme fulfilled, and a monumentum perenne of it erected by your superiour abilities. 1 shall only say, that your book has afforded me a high gratification. 1 shall afterwards give you my thoughts on paaticular passages. In the mean time, I hasten to tell you of your having mistaken two names, which you will correct in in London, as 1 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 Provoat, who delivered to you your freedom, is 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 nnder the authority of the munagers, the same phrase in the orgioal 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 am inferiour one' tending to make it be supposed he is not a Pkyrician, and consequently to hurt his parctice. My father has dismissed the a as groundless, and now he has appealed to the whole Court."J

"To James Boswell, Esq.

"dear Sir,

'- I Long to hear how you like the book; it is, 1 think, much liked here. But Maephersou is very furious: can you give tqe 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, thatl 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 suggest 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 1 wish. However, you find every thing mentioned in the book which you recommended.

"Langtou is here; we are all that ever we were. He is a worthy fellew, without malice, though not without resentment.

"Poor Bfrtuclt-rk is so ill, that his life is thought to be in danger. Lady Di nurses him with very great assiduity.

"Reynolds has taken too much to strong liquor,* and seems to delight in his new character.

"This is all the news that I have; but as you love verses, I will send you a few which I made upon Inehkenneth ;|| but remember the condition, you shall not shew them, except to Lord Huiles, whom I love better than any man whom I know so little. If he asks you to transcribe them for him, you may do it, but I think he must promise not to let them be copied again, nor to show them as mine.

"I have at last sent back Lord Hailes's sheets, I never thiuk about returning them, because I alter nothing. You will see that I might as -well have kept them. However, I am ashamed of my delay; and if I have the honour of receiving any more, promise punctually to return them by the next post. Make my compliments to dear Mrs. Boswell, and to Miss Veronica. I am dear Sir,

"Your most faithful,

"Jan. I, 1775. "Sam. Johnson.

X In the Court of Session of Scotland an action is first tried by one of the Judges, who is called the Lord Ordinary; and if either party is dissatisfied, he may appeal to the whole Court, consisting of fifteen, the Lord President and fourteen other Judges, who have both in and out of Court the title of Lords» from the name of their estates; as, Lord Auchinleck, Lord Monboddo, &c.

|| It should he recollected, that this fanciful description of hisfiiend was given by Johnson after he himself had become a water-drinker.

§See them in "Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides," 3d edit. p. 33d.

U He now sent me a Latin inscription for my historical picture Mary Queen of Scots, and afterwards favoured me with an Lnglish translation. Mr. Alderman Boydell, that eminent Patron of the Arts, subjoined them to the engraving from my picture.


"Mr. Boswell To Dr. Johnson.

Edinburgh Jutt. 37, 177S.

"You rate our lawyers here too high, when you call them masters,

of the law of nations.

• •••••

"As for myself, I am ashamed to say I have read little, and thought little on the subject of America. I will be much obliged to you, if you will direct me where I shall find the best information of what is to be said on both sides. It is a subject vast in its present extent and future consequences. The imperfect hints, which now float in my mind, tend rather to the formation of an opinion that our government has been precipitant and severe in the resolutions taken against the Bostonians. Well do you know that I have no kindness for that race. But nations, or bodies of men, should, as well as individuals, have a fair trial, and not be condemned on character alone. Have we not express contracts with our colonies, which afford a more certain foundation of judgement, than general political speculations on the mutual rights of States and their provinces or colonies; Pray let me know immediately what to read, and I shall diligently endeavour to gather for you any thing 1 can find. Is Burke's speech on American taxation published by himself? la it authentick? I remember to have heard you say, that you had never considered East-Indian affairs: though, surely, they are of much importance to Great-Britain. Under the recollection of this, 1 shelter myself from the reproach of ignoratnce about the Americans. If you write upon the subject, I shall certainly understand it. But since you seem to expect that I should know something of it, without your instruction, and that my own mind should suggest something, I trust you will put me in the way.

"What does Becket mean by the Originals of Fingal and other poems o{ Ossiau, which he advertises to have lain in his shop?

"Maria Scotorum Regina,

"Hominum seditiosomm

"Contameliis lassata,

"Minis territa, clamoribus victa,

"Libello, per qnem

"Regno cedit,

"Laetimans trepidansque

"Nomen appoint.

"Mary Queen of Scots,

Harassed, terrified, and overpowered

By the insults, menaces,

And clamours
Of her rebellious subjects,

Sets her hand,

With tears aud confusion,

To a resignation of the kingdom."

"To James Boswell, Esq. "Dear Sir,

"You sent me a cue to consider, in which I have no facts bat what are against us, nor any principles on which to reason. It is vain to try to write thus without materials. The fact seems to be asainst you; at least I cannot know nor say any thing to the contrary. 1 am glad that you like the bonk so well. 1 hear no more of Macpherson. I shall long to know what Lord Hales says of it. Lend it him privately. 1 shall send the parcel as soon as lean. Make my compliment" to Mrs. Boswell.

"I am, Sir, &c. "January 28. 1775. "Sah. Johnson."

"Mr. Boswell To Dr. Johnson.

"Edinburgh, Feb. 2, 1775.

"As to Macpherson, I anxious to have from yourself a full and pointed account of what has passed between you and him. It is confidently told here, that before your book came out, he sent to you to let you know that he understood yon meant to deny the authenticity of Ossian's poems; that the originals were in his possession; that you might have inspection of them, and might take the evidence of people skilled in the Erse language; and that he hoped, after this fair offer, you would not be so uncandid as to assert that he had refused reasonable proof. That you paid no regard to his message, but published your strong attack upon him; and then he wrote a letter to you, in such terms as he thongh suited**) one who had not acted as a mau of veracity. You may believe it gives me pain to hear your conduct represented as unfavourable, while 1 can only deny what is said, on the ground that your character refutes it, without having any information to oppose. Let me, I beg it of you, be furnished with a sufficient answer to any calumny upon this occasion.

"Lord Hailes writes to me, (for we correspond more than we talk together,) ' As to Fingal, I see a controversy arising, and purpose to keep out of its way. There is no doubt that I might mention some circumstances; but I do not chuse to commit them to paper. What his opinion is, I do not know. He says, t I am singularly obliged to Dr. Johuson for accurate and useful criticisms. Had he given some strictures on the general plan of the work, it would have added much to his favours. He is charmed with your verses on Inchkennetb, says they are rery elegant, but bids me tell you he doubts whether • Legitinuu faciunt pectora pura precet, be according to the ru brick; but that is your concern; for, you know, he is a Presbyterian."

"To Dr. Lawrence. "Sir, "Feb. 7, !77i

"One of the Scotch physicians is now prosecuting a corporation that in some public instrument have stiled him Doctor of Medicine in

[ocr errors]

stead of Physician. Boswell desires, being advocate for the corporation, to know whether Doctor of Medicine is not a legitimate title, and whether it may be considered as a disadvantageous distinction. I am to write to-night; be pleased to tell me. I am, Sir, your most, &c.

"Sam. Johnson." "To James Boswell, Esq.

"My Dear Boswell,

"1 am surprised that, knowing as you do the disposition of your countrymen to tell lies in favour of each other, you can be at all affected by any reports that circulate among them. Macpherson never in his life offered nie a sight of any original or of any evidence of any kind; but thought only of intimidating me by noise and threats, till my last answer—thai 1 would not be deterred from detecting what I thought a cheat, by the menaces of a ruffian—put an end to our correspondence.

"The state of the question is this. He, and Dr. Blair, whom I consider as deceived, say, that he copied the poem from old manuscripts? His copies, if he had them, and 1 believe him to have none, are nothing. Where are the manuscripts? They can be shown if they exist, but they were never shown. De non sxistentibus et non appparentibus, says our law, eadem est ratio. No man has a claim to credit upon bis own word, when better evidence, if he had it, may be easily produced. But, so far as we can find, the Erse language was never written till very lately for the purposes of religion. A nation that cannot write, or a language that was never written, has no manuscripts.

"But whatever he has, he never offered to show. If old manuscripts should now be mentioned, I should, unless there were more evidence than can be easily had, suppose them another proof of Scotch conspiracy in national falsehood.

"Do not censure the expression; you know it to be true.

"Dr. Memis'a question is so narrow as to allow no speculation ; and I have no facts before me but those which his advocate his produced against you. .

"I consulted this morning the President of the London College of Physicians who says, that with ns, Doctor of Phi!sick (we do not say Doctor of Medicine) is the highest title that a practiser of physick can have; that Doctor implies not only Phijsican, but teacher of physick; that every Doctor is legally a Physician; but no man, not a Doctor, can practise physick but by licence particularly granted. The Doctorate is a licence of itself. It seems to us a very slender cause of prosecution.

"I am now engaged, but in a little time I hope to do all you would have. My compliments to Madam uod Veronica. 1 am, Sir,

*' Your most humble servant, "February 7, 1775. "Sam. Johnson."

What words were used by Mr. Macpherson in his letter to the venerable Sage, 1 huve never heard; but they are generally said to have been of a nature very different from the language of literary contest. Dr.

« السابقةمتابعة »