Samuel Johnson

The Letters of Samuel Johnson, with Mrs. Thrale's genuine letters to him, Vol. 2: 1775-1782; Letters 370-821.1

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820. Tu. 31 Dec. '82. Thomas Wilson (Clitheroe).Address (Boswell): To the Reverend Mr Wilson, Clitheroe, Lancashire.Not traced; copy by Wilson, Isham.—Boswell 1791, ii. 430 (Hill iv. 162); Wilson, Archaeological Dictionary ed. 2, 1793.

Reverend Sir

That I have so long omitted to return you thanks for the honour conferred upon me by your Dedication, I intreat you with great earnestness not to consider as more faulty than it is. A very importunate and oppressive disorder has for some time debarred me from the pleasures, and obstructed me in the duties of life. The esteem and kindness of wise and good men is one of the last pleasures which I can be content to lose; and gratitude to those from whom this pleasure is received, is a duty of which I hope never to reproach myself with the final neglect. I therefore now return you thanks for the notice which I have received from you; and which I consider as giving to my name not only more bulk, but more weight; not only as extending its superficies, but as increasing its value. Your book was evidently wanted, and will, I hope, find its way into the schools, to which, however, I do not mean to confine it; for no man has so much skill in ancient rites and practices as not to want it. As I suppose myself to owe part of your kindness to my excellent friend Dr. Patten,1 he has likewise a just claim to my acknowledgements, which I hope you, Sir, will transmit. There will soon appear a new edition of my Poetical Biography;2 if you will accept of a copy to keep me in your mind, be pleased to let me know how it may be conveniently conveyed to you. The present is small, but it is given with good will by, Reverend Sir,

  • Your most obliged and humble servant
  • Sam. Johnson.

Dec. 31, 1782. Bolt Court Fleet Street London

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Notes

Editor’s Note
820.—JB does not tell us when he got this letter; his copy, no doubt by Wilson, was found at Malahide. W retained the original; I have therefore preferred his readings where they differ from JB's: 'so long' for 'long', 'reproach myself' for 'be reproached'; 'schools' for 'school'.
Editor’s Note
2. This copy was sold in 1921 (L v. 508).
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