REVIEW OF HUTCHINSON S PHILOSOPHY; STUDY OF HEBREW AND PUBLICATION OF GRAMMAR; INDIAN SCHOOL; DEPARTURE OF HIS SON FOR ENGLAND; CHANDLER'S APPEAL; CORRESPONDENCE WITH HIS SON; ENGLISH ANCESTRY; AND DEATH OF ARCHBISHOP SECIKER.
THE nest of Hutchinsonians, which his younger son found at Oxford in 1756, was by this time well-nigh broken up; but he had neither relinquished their philosophy, nor ceased to read their books. [Mr. Berkeley, "the very worthy son of his great father, introduced us to a very valuable set of Fellows of several of the Colleges, Hutchinsonians, and truly primitive Christians, who yet revere the memory of King Charles and Archbishop Laud; and despise preferments and honors when the way to them is Heresy and Deism."--MS. Letter of Wm. Johnson, May 25, 1756.] He found leisure in his retirement to review the studies of former years, and reëxamine the conclusions which he had reached on philosophical and theological subjects. It gratified him that he was under no necessity of essentially changing his opinions; and while he could not approve the tendency towards extremes in some things, he still leaned to the side of Hutchinson in the controversy which arose upon his writings, and generally accepted them as teaching the truth. He thought he saw in the respectable scholars at Oxford ["I am sorry to find that the Bishop of Oxford [Dr. Lowth] is not a very good friend to Dr. Horne, but you will readily suppose that the Hutchinsonians are not out of countenance when you see Horne is head of Magdalen, and Wetherell of University College, Jones in a good living, and Berkeley with two, and in the high road to preferment by the patronage of his Grace."--MS. Letter of Wm. Sam'l Johnson, March 15, 1768] who favored that author's views, an earnest effort for the revival of Hebrew literature, and as this was a branch of study upon which he prided himself, he was glad of anything in the shape, of new light, to guide his inquiries and help to a proper understanding of the original tongue.
It was about this time, or a little earlier, that he composed a small English Grammar for use in conducting the preliminary education of his two grandsons, and having revised his Catechism hitherto issued, he published them both together, in the hope that they might serve a good purpose to others.
But the study of Hebrew was the chief delight of his quiet hours. For many years he had entertained a strong opinion that as this was "the first language taught by God himself to mankind, and was really the mother and fountain of all language and eloquence, so in teaching, it would be, on many accounts, vastly advantageous to begin a learned education with that language," which lends to all others and borrows from none. He set himself, therefore, to the preparation of a Hebrew Grammar to go side by side with his English Grammar; the structure of the two languages bearing in his view a close resemblance. While engaged in this work, a new Hebrew Lexicon, by the Rev. John Parkhurst, was sent to him, and the value which he attached to this publication is best seen by quoting the letter which he addressed to the author from
STRATFORD, CONN., N. E.
REV. SIR,--I humbly hope your candor and goodness will pardon the assurance and liberty that so obscure, remote, and unknown a person as I am, takes to address you in this manner; as it proceeds from a well-meant zeal to promote the interest of religion and learning, and especially the study of the Hebrew Scriptures in this my native country. I labored for ten years in founding a College in New York, and I hope with good success; but it growing too tedious for my years, I have lately retired hither into a delightful country parish, where I had before served the Society for Propagating the Gospel for above thirty years. And having great health and leisure (thank God), I am still pursuing the same design of promoting the study of the Hebrew Scriptures, to which but very few here are addicted, and I could think of no better project than to get the Grammar of it studied with a Grammar of our own excellent language as the best introduction to what is called a learned education.
While I was pursuing this design, I was most agreeably surprised with your admirable "Lexicon," calculated in the best manner to promote my favorite views; and I take this opportunity to offer you my most hearty thanks for that excellent work which I hope will be a very great blessing to this as well as to our mother country. And since I must send my little performance home to be printed, as we have no types here, I humbly take the liberty to beg the favor of you to take the trouble of perusing it, and if you judge it may be of any good use to the purpose I aim at, to correct whatever mistakes I have made in it, and to recommend it to your printer to print it. The bearer hereof is Mr. Giles (who has transcribed it for the press). He goes well recommended by the clergy here to my Lord of London and his Grace and the Society for Holy Orders and a mission, and is very desirous of being a factor for the sale of as many as we can get of your "Lexicon" and this Grammar, in these parts of the world.
I am, Reverend Sir, etc.,
The work was printed by W. Faden, London, in 1767, and four years afterwards a second edition of it, "corrected and much amended," was published by the same bookseller, with the title, "An English and Hebrew Grammar, being the First short Rudiments of those two Languages, taught together." Its receipt was acknowledged with approbation by Robert Lowth, then Bishop of Oxford, a scholar whose "Praelections on Hebrew Poetry" interested Johnson, and gave him a high opinion of their author as introducing a new era in sacred literature. The publication was remarkable for its simplicity, and attracted the attention of several men of letters. He had been known before as one of the best Hebrew scholars in the country, and when Dr. Kennicott undertook to collate all the Hebrew manuscripts of the Old Testament, in England and other parts of Europe, he sent an inquiry to Johnson through Franklin, who was then in London; and he, in communicating it, said, "I have but little expectation that any ancient Hebrew manuscripts of the Bible may be found in America; but if such have possibly strayed thither, I think you, who are so well skilled in that language, are most likely to know of them."
The General Assembly of Connecticut, at the May Session, 1766, "Upon the memorial of the Rev. Eleazar Wheelock," revived a brief throughout the Colony, for the support and encouragement of the Indian Charity-school under his care at Lebanon. Printed copies of the act were delivered to the several ministers of the Gospel, who were directed to read the same to their congregations and fix a time for contributions. Johnson, who had always felt a compassion for the poor Indians, and tried, on various occasions, to make God's way known among them, showed his Christian and catholic spirit when, upon publishing the brief to his people, he urged them to contribute cheerfully and generously to promote so good a work. "If any," said he, "are reluctant because Mr. Wheelock is not of our communion, we should remember St. Paul's blessed temper which he expresses on the like occasion, 'whether the Gospel be preached of envy or of good will--I therein do rejoice, yea and will rejoice;' and this we may the rather do as this gentleman seems to express a truly Christian temper. And he has certainly fallen upon the right method for converting the heathen, by civilizing their children and teaching them husbandry, and the arts and manufactures, while he teaches them Christianity. I hope, therefore, you will liberally promote this good work, according to your ability, by coming prepared next Lord's day after service, to make your offerings to that purpose."
In acknowledging the "generous contribution," Mr. Wheelock was pleased to compliment him for his English Grammar and Catechism, and was so impressed with the value of the latter that he proposed to the author a slight change in the answer to one question, which, if he would make, he promised to use his influence to have the whole reprinted for the benefit of children, particularly in the Indian schools. The change involved a nice doctrinal point, having reference to a new heart and a new life.
Dr. Johnson agreed with Archbishop Secker in the opinion that the Society should establish an Episcopal Indian school, and thought that with a Bishop placed at Albany or Schenectady, such a one might be carried on under his eye and direction vastly to the credit and reputation of the Church. He even wrote to Sir William Johnson, Bart., the British agent for Indian affairs in New York, who was a Churchman and a member of the Society, to consult him about the best place in which to set up a school after the general plan of Mr. Wheelock, but his suggestion was eventually overlooked in the consideration of other things. [The Indian Charity-school at Lebanon was incorporated with Dartmouth College, New Hampshire, in 1771, and Dr. Wheelock made President.]
The Colony of Connecticut was deeply interested in the title to a large tract of land, which one Mason had raised a dispute about in behalf of the Mohegan Indians. Twice it had been determined here in the Colony's favor by disinterested Commissioners, acting under the appointment of the King and Council; but still the great question was unsettled; and Dr. William Samuel Johnson was selected as a special agent to the Court of Great Britain to manage the case and bring it to a righteous conclusion. "I know not," said the father in a note introducing him to Archbishop Secker, "by what fate it is, but quite contrary to all my expectations, the people of this Colony, notwithstanding their aversion to the Church, have chosen my son a member of their Council, and appointed him their agent to defend them in a cause of great importance before the King and Council." He departed from New York the day before Christmas, 1766, and arrived in Falmouth harbor on the 30th of January. The letters which he carried with him gave him access to the highest dignitaries of the Church, as well as to the highest officials in the Government, and he used his pen freely in communicating to his father whatever he saw and heard that might interest him personally, or tend to affect the progress of Christianity and the welfare of America. "Yesterday," said he in his first letter to him after reaching London, "I went to Lambeth, and was introduced to his Grace, and happily met there the Bishops of London and Bristol. The Archbishop received me very kindly and inquired very kindly as well as minutely after your health. He assured me he would, if possible, attend the hearing of the Mohegan cause when it should come on, and hoped to find it as just as I had represented it." The next letter mentioned his presence at the Anniversary Sermon of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, preached February 20, 1767, in the Church of St. Mary-le-Bow, by Dr. Ewer, Bishop of Llandaff. Owing to a bad delivery and his own bad hearing he "could take up very few sentences," but he knew he dwelt "largely upon the subject of American Bishops." [This was the celebrated sermon which excited the hostility of Dr. Charles Chauncy of Boston, an able Congregational divine, who thereupon renewed the war of pamphlets in this country, which had recently been closed.]
The following extract is from the same letter:--
Last Sunday I had the pleasure to hear the Archbishop preach, and to receive the Sacrament with him. He is truly an excellent preacher, even yet full of life and vigor; uses no glasses, and speaks with great ease; he has a fine voice, a decent, emphatical gesture, and an affectionate manner which engages the closest attention. His language is pure and correct, his sentiments just and masterly, yet adapted to the meanest capacities; he enters very little into speculative points, but exhorts to the practice of religion with great force, warmth, and energy. After service I dined with his Chaplains, Dr. Stinton of Oxford, and Dr. Porteus of Cambridge, both of them very worthy men. I then received an invitation to dine with his Grace the next day, which I complied with, and found at his table only Mrs. Talbot and her daughter, who live with the Archbishop, Lady Carter, the Bishop of St. David's, Dr. Moss, and Dr. Porteus. The entertainment was very elegant, and the Archbishop extremely facetious, easy, and agreeable. He carves himself, helps everybody, and does the honors of the table with an extreme good grace. This is telling you trifles, but I imagine every circumstance with respect to the Archbishop will be agreeable to you. You cannot imagine how much I wished you had been there. The conversation turned much upon American affairs, and from the course of it, I am convinced that such is the situation here at present that you must not expect anything can be soon done relative to the important object you have so much at heart.
This "important object" was the American Episcopate, and a new effort was now made to remove, if possible, all opposition to it in both countries. So early as September, 1766, Dr. Chandler of Elizabethtown wrote thus to his venerable friend at Stratford: " By a letter from Mr. Cooper of a late date, I find that you continue to think that something should be published on the subject of American Bishops, and that I ought to undertake it. As to the former of these points, I have for a long time been convinced of the necessity of it, in order to bring the Dissenters and some of the Church people, and perhaps, horresco referens, some of our clergy into a just way of thinking on the subject. But as to the other point, as I am conscious of my own unfitness for the task, I have never been so happy as to be able to join with you in opinion."
The matter took definite shape afterwards when at a "general Convention" of clergymen from New York and New Jersey, with a few from other provinces, Chandler was appointed to prepare an appeal to the public, and he assured Johnson, who but for a tremor in his hand would have written it himself, that not a page should be printed until it had been submitted to his examination. He was indebted to him for a plan of the pamphlet, which he worked up by degrees, and furnished early in the spring of 1767. For on the 15th of April in that year, he wrote, announcing a proposed visit of President Cooper to Connecticut, and said among other things,--
Mr. Cooper will bring you my papers concerning American Bishops. I am ashamed that they should be offered for your inspection in so rough and imperfect a state; but my absolute inability to gain time to write them over again and give them a general correction, must be my apology. Before they go to the press, which will be some time in June, I must transcribe them; and by that time I shall be able to improve them much by the assistance of friends. Even without any such assistance, I think I could make them less unworthy of the notice of the public, by straightening the crooked places, and smoothing the rough ones, besides other amendments. But I begin to be disturbed in proportion as the time of publication draws nigh; and I must beg the favor of you to be on this occasion, what you have ever been on all occasions, my fidus Achates, my mentor, my guardian, and conductor. Every instance of your severity I shall esteem as a proof of your affection; and should your pen be as sharp as the point of a javelin, it would give me not pain, but pleasure.
You will therefore not be sparing in your animadversions, for the credit's sake of a young adventurer, who has been pushed forward by your own impulse, and for the sake of the cause, which must considerably depend on the success of this publication. I am sorry the papers cannot be left longer in your hands than Mr. Cooper is with you; but when I was appointed by the Convention to draw them up, I insisted upon a Committee to assist me; and as Mr. Seabury is one of that Committee, and has never had an opportunity of seeing them but in a very cursory manner last week in New York, I promised him, that after Mr. Cooper's return from Stratford they should be left in his hands. In my opinion the most blundering part of them at present is in the passage relating to Sir W. Johnson, of whom something is said that ought by no means to be said without his particular permission. And yet his testimony in favor of the usefulness of an Episcopate towards the conversion of the Indians is of too much weight to be omitted.
The publication of the "Appeal" did not at first fulfill the expectations of its author. He was disappointed that the clergy were not more active in circulating it, though he knew previously that those southward would regard it with little favor. Shortly before it appeared Dr. Chandler made a journey into Maryland, and in a letter to Johnson, giving a humorous account of the agricultural skill of the people, and a deplorable one of the state of the Church, he said, "Of about forty-five clergymen in the province, five or six are of good character, whose names should be mentioned with honor,.... but to hear the character of the rest, from the inhabitants, would make the ears of any sober heathen to tingle. You may be sure that they are much averse to having an American Episcopate, and they are averse to their numbers being increased, or their vacancies supplied from the northward."
The "Appeal" was reprinted in London, and sharply attacked there, as it had been here by Dr. Chauncy and other Dissenters. A passage from a letter of its author to Dr. Johnson, written at the close of the summer of 1768, will show the nature of these attacks. "You see," speaking of the reprints, "that it has been answered by a Presbyterian there; and I find that the London Chronicle' has introduced the subject to the view of the populace; several pieces having been published therein, but all of them by Chauncy's friends. In one of them an account is given of the answer made by the very learned Dr. Chauncy to a piece written in favor of American Bishops by one Chandler. In another, it is asserted that Dr. Chandler says that an American Episcopate is upon the point of being established, and that a tax is to be laid on the Americans for the support of it. It is astonishing that such falsehoods as these can be suffered to go unanswered, and that no methods are taken by the guardians of the Church to prevent the propagation and growth of them."
It was difficult for Dr. Johnson, at this period, to write long letters to his son, but he managed to keep him well informed of the state of political and religious feeling on this side; and weighed thoroughly what was communicated to him in reply. In a letter from Stratford dated June 8, 1767, he expressed his pleasure at hearing that temperance was so much in fashion in England, and added,--
I wish you could have said the same of religion and all other virtues, but upon the whole I doubt the times are very deplorable, especially on account of the rage of avarice, ambition, and lust, which seem to threaten a dissolution. What else can be expected from such an unsettled state of the ministry, owing to such a perpetual and violent justling about in and out? What can a Pitt do in such a state, even if he mean ever so well, which after all is, perhaps, as well to be doubted of him as other men? If they cannot agree to do us any mischief, so they can neither, for the same reason, agree to do us any good; and that will be a great mischief, especially since what concerns the interest of religion here is totally neglected and despised.
I am extremely glad you heard and communicated with my great and good friend the Archbishop. Your character of him as a preacher and at his table is extremely beautiful and amiable. I wish with you I could have been with you. I must believe him to be one of the first characters of the age. I am indeed glad if he took in good part my last long letter. I was afraid it would be of hard digestion.
The Society have truly done you a great honor, in making you their agent in the Hampshire affair, and I am glad you have so good hopes of that, and that you have' audience with the Earl of Shelburne. It is said here with triumph that he told one Stockton of New Jersey, who I see has been in Scotland, and I suppose is the Synod's agent against Bishops, that there is no occasion for Bishops in America. I wish you may be able to convince him to the contrary, as I hope you will by Dr. Chandler's "Appeal," which I will send you as soon as printed.
The son, in his next letter, observed: "I doubt not Lord Shelburne said as you have been told. I wish he was the only one amongst the ministers of that opinion. I fear it is universal, and the common sentiment of all the leaders of all parties, and that, perhaps, of all others in which they are most agreed. The 'Appeal' you mention, however well drawn up, will, I fear, have very little effect. Perhaps the more you stir about this matter at present, the worse it will be." In the same letter, he took occasion to speak of Archbishop Secker, characterizing him as certainly one of the best of men. "I can clear up," he said, "whatever has seemed dubious in his conduct or character, and shall do it when I return to America. But the Court is not a scene for such good men to act in, and he wisely keeps himself to his own province; his diligence and condescension would surprise you; he excuses himself from no labors, assiduities, or attendance where he has the least prospect of doing good; he is beloved most by those who know him best; even the most profligate reverence him."
Besides attending to the business of his agency, which was protracted beyond his expectation, and having interviews with British Lords, who were occupied far more with material comforts than religious questions, the son found time to make several journeys into the country; some for the benefit of his health, and others for the sake of observation and historic culture. In returning to London from one of these, he went out of his course to visit at Bray the family of the late Bishop of Cloyne. His friend, the Doctor, was not at home, but his mother, the widow of Berkeley, made amends in some degree for his absence, whom he described to his father thus: "She is the finest old lady I ever saw; sensible, lively, facetious, and benevolent. She insinuates herself at the first acquaintance into one's esteem, and begets a high opinion of her virtues. She received me very affectionately, and remembered America, and you in particular with great regard, and was pleased to say that the Bishop and she had more pleasure in your acquaintance than any other person's while they were in that country."
In October, 1767, he made a tour into Yorkshire, and the agreeable letter which he wrote after reaching his destination has more than a family value:--
YORK, October 17, 1767.
HONORED SIR,--I received yours of the 11th of July the day before I left London, on my tour this way, and as I have been in motion ever since, could not write before. I am surprised that there should be so long an interval as three months between my letters, which I repeat very often; however, I hope it was not many days after you wrote, before you had intelligence, and that you will not again have so long a delay, unless it be in the depth of winter, when it may indeed be expected. The favorable account you give me of your own and my family's health gives me the greatest pleasure, and I bless God for it as I do for my own, which I find much confirmed by my ride here, which I was advised to take for that purpose, both the exercise and the country air having been very beneficial to me, and perfectly recovered me from my late indisposition.
It gave me concern to find you were in danger of some trouble in Church matters, and especially that my old friend Jabez Hurd should have any hand in it, who I hoped would use all his influence to preserve peace and quietness; by this time, however, I hope matters are settled again; and indeed what can you fear with such a weight as the newly acquired friendship you mention must bring with it.
I see nothing amiss in the letters you inclose me, and shall deliver them as soon as I have opportunity for it; when I came out, those to whom they are directed were all out of town. I spoke to Faden the morning I came away to get Foster's Bible, which he said he would do, but chose to take Mr. Parkhurst's opinion of it first which he would have against my return; and as to the second part of the "Introduction," etc., it is not yet brought to the press, being the composition of a gentleman for the benefit of his own school, who delays the publication till his own pupils are ready to make use of it.
I thank you for sending your bill, and will get the pictures you mention if to be had, but fear there is no plate of the Bishop of Oxford or Lord Lyttleton, if there be of the Bishop of Carlisle. The latter are two as indifferent faces as are to be seen in the House of Lords, especially Lord Lyttleton, who is a lean, long-visaged, crooked, shriveled old gentleman; you would think him in a consumption; his voice too is very bad, but when he speaks, as he does pretty often, it is always very sensibly, and he is heard with great attention. ["Since you wanted Lord Lyttleton's picture, I got an acquaintance of mine to mention it to his Lordship and know of him whether he had any plate; and your being an American who had a value for his writings, he desired his compliments to you and thanks for taking so much notice of him, but said there never had been any picture taken of him, though his bookseller had requested one to prefix to his Life of Henry II., and perhaps he should consent to it when he had finished that work."--MS. Letter, February 6, 1768.]
When I came to Kingston-upon-Hull, I found Mr. Bell, with the Mayor and Corporation of the town at a turtle feast, at the inn I put up at. I introduced myself to him, and he me to the Mayor, etc., and after some time to his lady, who was very well pleased to see and acknowledge me as a relation. She is a worthy, sensible woman, but has few memorials of the family; both her parents having died when she was not two years old. Her father was a lawyer and died at the age of thirty-two. Her grandfather lived upon his estate, (without any profession), which I find was very considerable. Her great uncle was a Doctor of Physic, eminent in his profession and by his monument in Cherry-Burton Church (which I visited as well as the family seat there), it appears he died the 1st of November, 1724, at the age of ninety-four, having survived his wife, and seven out of nine children, who all died without issue, and the two which survived him being females never married, by which means the whole estate came to Mrs. Bell. This old Dr. Johnson retained his memory, etc. to the last, and as he remembered the transactions of almost a century, had you happened to have met with him, when you were here in 1723, he could doubtless have told you the circumstances of the emigration of our ancestors, no traces of which can now be discovered here. The arms are not the same with those we have assumed. I have taken a note of them, and shall examine at the "Herald's" office when I return to London. If, at this distance, any evidence of our relation could be imagined to arise from similarity of countenance, Mrs. Bell and I might pass very well for brother and sister, except that her eyes are very black. Her eldest child, a daughter about thirteen, is exactly our Polly, with a little longer face, and the other very like Betsey. Their son I did not see, being at a distant school. Whether we are related or not, they were really very civil, and as much so as they could have been with the clearest proof of it, and desired me to present their affectionate compliments to you and all the family.
Nothing very material has occurred here, unless it be the death of the Duke of York, who is not very greatly lamented (except by the Royal family and his own domestics), though we are all obliged to go into deep mourning for him.
I congratulate you on the anniversary of our birthdays, and hope the next we may celebrate together, in agreeable remembrance of my present rambles. I shall set out in a few days on my return to London, and shall write again by the first conveyance after I get to town; and in the mean time am, with the tenderest love to my dear wife and all the children,
Honored Sir, your most dutiful son and humble servant,
WM. SAM'L JOHNSON.
The trouble in the parish, referred to in this letter, was not very serious, and appears to have grown out of a desire on the part of Dr. Johnson's friends to furnish him with some aid in his ministrations. His infirmities had become so great that at times he was unable to discharge his public duties, and a "soreness in his legs," the result partly of breaking one of them about twenty years before, confined him to the house several weeks, in the winter season. Mr. John Tyler, a graduate of Yale College and a theological student of his, who was about to proceed to England for ordination, was thought of as a permanent assistant; but opposition was raised to him on the ground that he was not a very good reader and did not promise to make much of a preacher, and a few of the parishioners therefore did not wish to see him in a position where, according to the natural course of things, he would succeed to the Rectorship. Dr. Johnson, not less than the Church of England in the Colonies, lost a firm and noble friend in the death of Archbishop Secker. They were kindred spirits. They were "loving brothers," as far as two men of nearly the same age could be so, without having seen each other face to face, or known each other only in a long and affectionate correspondence. The letter of his son which brought the intelligence of his decease was one of the saddest that could have come to him at: that crisis. It is worthy of being spread upon these pages, for the facts it contains and the counsels it gave:--
LONDON, August 12, 1768.
HONORED SIR,--I must not fail by this packet to acquaint you (though I imagine Mr. Tyler did not leave the Downs before the melancholy intelligence reached him) of the death of our great and good friend, the Archbishop of Canterbury, in whom religion in general, and particularly the Church in America, have lost their best friend in this country. His physicians and friends flattered us with hopes that he might recover from this disorder, and continue yet some time; but for my own part I have been, ever since I saw him last, about a month ago, satisfied he was drawing near his end. The immediate occasion of his death was the misfortune of breaking his thigh bone, which happened on Sunday evening the 31st of July, as he was endeavoring to raise himself hastily from his couch; it was imm6diately set by the king's surgeons, and he was easy and more comfortable than could have been expected after such an accident, but soon grew worse, and on Wednesday, the 3d inst., he expired. When his body was opened, it appeared that his thigh bone was extremely decayed, and the physicians expressed their astonishment, that he could have lived so long under so much pain as he must have endured, for some time past with the gout, rheumatism, and gravel, by all which he was sorely afflicted, and his constitution quite worn out. He was interred privately, according to his own orders, in Lambeth churchyard.
Thus we must bid adieu to one of the best of men. God's will be done! He can and certainly will take care of His own cause and interest in the world, but in truth I see no prospect at present that anybody here will make good the Archbishop's ground. Several of the Bishops are indeed very worthy men, but none of them in my opinion by any means so well qualified for that high station as the late Archbishop. It does not yet appear who will succeed him; almost every Bishop has been named; at present the Bishop of Lichfield and Coventry, Dr. Cornwallis, is most talked of, and he and the Bishop of London seem to stand the fairest chance; but interest may give it to another, and it is difficult to say who, at present, is most in favor at Court.
But from none of them, I fear, may religion in America expect that attention and aid which it has formerly had. The Church of England there should in fact think more of taking care of itself. The Society will indeed, I trust, still continue to afford their friendly assistance, but even that is a precarious dependence, and I wish my countrymen not to rely too much upon it, but prepare themselves as far as possible to stand upon their own ground. The affection between that country and this seems to be every day decreasing, and the growing jealousies on both sides threaten the destruction of all our harmony and happiness; already there is hardly any other cement left between us beside the interest founded in trade, and even that is declining. Let us look forward and see where these things must end, and consider what must probably be soon the state of that country and this. I was going to imagine it with respect to religion. But in truth I dare not pursue these reflections farther upon paper. Let them remain for the subjects of future, but alas! distant conversation, for I see little prospect that I may spend next winter with you at Stratford, or that I can leave this country before next spring. I almost say with David, "Woe is me that I am constrained to dwell with Mesech, and to have my habitation among the tents of Kedar;" but we must' submit and leave it to Providence, which orders all things for the best.
I am just now happy in receiving your favor of the 10th of June, by which I find you were all well at that time. God be thanked for it, and for the perfect health I enjoy. I shall forward your letter to Dr. Berkeley, who is now at Canterbury, and will bring Pike's "Lexicon," as you advise, for Billy, who, I rejoice greatly to find, proceeds so rapidly in his studies. With my tenderest love to him, my dear wife, and all the children, and compliments to all friends,
I remain, honored Sir,
Your most dutiful son and humble servant,
WM. SAM'L JOHNSON.
I inclose you this morning's paper, by which it appears that the Bishop of Lichfield is nominated Archbishop of Canterbury; you have also some account of the late Archbishop's will, and a list of his charities.
W. S. J.