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LONDON, Printed by JOHN NICHOLS,
Dr. JOHNSON'S Letter to the Earl of CHESTERFIEL D.
HAVE been lately informed, by the proprietors of the World, that two papers, in which my Dictionary is recommended to the publick, were written by your Lordship. To be fo distinguished is an honour which, being very little accustomed to favours from the great, I know not well how to receive, or in what terms to acknowledge.
When, upon fome flight encouragement, I firft vifited your Lordship, I was overpowered, like the rest of mankind, by the enchantment of your addrefs, and could not forbear to with, that I might boast myself le vainqueur du vainqueur de la terre'; that I might obtain that regard for which I faw the world contending. But I found my attendance fo little encouraged, that neither pride, nor modefty, would fuffer me to continue it. When I had once addreffed your Lordíhip in public, I had exhausted all the art of pleafing, which a retired and uncourtly scholar can poffefs. I had done all that I could; and no man is well pleated to have his all neglected, be it ever fo little.
Seven years, my Lord, have now paffed fince I waited in your outward room, or was repulfed from your door; during which time I have been pushing on my work through difficulties, of which it is useless to complain; and have brought it at laft to the verge of publication, without one act of affittance, one word of encouragement, or one fmile of favour. Such treatment I did not expect, for I never had a patron before.
The Shepherd in Virgil grew acquainted with Love, and found him a native of the rocks.
Is not a patron, my Lord, one who looks with unconcern on a man ftruggling for life in the water, and, when he has reached ground, encumbers him with help? The notice which you have been pleased to take of my labours, had it been early, had been kind; but it has been delayed till I am indifferent, and cannot enjoy it; till I am folitary, and cannot impart it; till I am known, and do not want it. I hope it is no very cynical afperity not to confefs obligations where no benefit has been received; or to be unwilling that the publick thould confider me as owing that to a patron, which Providence has enabled me to do for myself.
Having carried on my work thus far with fo little obligation to any favourer of learning, I fhall not be disappointed, though I fhould conclude it, if lefs be poffible, with lefs; for I have been long wakened from that dream of hope, in which I once boasted myfelf with fo much exultation.
Your Lordship's moft humble
Printed for D. HENRY by JOHN NICHOLS, Red Lion Patfage, Fleet-itreet;