WEFOUNDA Letter to Lord Cathcart, President of the Board of Police in Scotland: Concerning the Recovery of Persons Drowned, and Seemingly Dead (Classic Reprint)


I COULD hardly flatter myself with the hope, that so very early in the season I should have to acknowledge obligations to the Duke of BEDFORD, and to the Earl of LAUDERDALE. These noble persons have lost no time in conferring upon me that sort of honour, which it is alone within their competence, and which it is certainly most congenial to their nature, and to their manners, to bestow.

Why will they not let me remain in obscurity and inaction? Are they apprehensive, that if an atom of me remains, the sect has something to fear? Must I be annihilated, lest, like old John Zisca’s, my skin might be made into a drum, to animate Europe to eternal battle, against a tyranny that threatens to overwhelm all Europe, and all the human race?

It would ill become me to boast of anything. It would as ill become me, thus called upon, to depreciate the value of a long life, spent with unexampled toil in the service of my country. Since the total body of my services, on account of the industry which was shown in them, and the fairness of my intentions, have obtained the acceptance of my sovereign, it would be absurd in me to range myself on the side of the Duke of Bedford and the corresponding society, or, as far as in me lies, to permit a dispute on the rate at which the authority appointed by our constitution to estimate such things has been pleased to set them.

The Letter to Chesterfield (February 1755) was Samuel Johnson 's response to what some believed to be Lord Chesterfield 's opportunistic endorsement of his A Dictionary of the English Language . Although Chesterfield was patron of the Proposal for the Dictionary , he made no moves to further the progress of the Dictionary until seven years after his original investment into the project. Suddenly, Chesterfield wrote two "puff" pieces to promote the Dictionary , which prompted Johnson to write a letter accusing Chesterfield of only providing help when it was least needed.

Some claim that the letter caused a minor furore in the contemporary literary world when Johnson made it public and it has been the subject of critical comment ever since; it has been described as literature's "declaration of independence". [1] [2] However, Chesterfield's reaction to the letter was quite different, and he praised Johnson's intellect and ability to write after reading it for the first time. Johnson could not believe that Chesterfield would ever react favourably towards the letter, and it was not until years later that Chesterfield and Johnson would finally reconcile.

After seven years from first meeting Johnson to go over the work, Chesterfield wrote two anonymous essays in The World that recommended the Dictionary . [5] He complained that the English language was lacking structure and argued:

WriteToThem Lords edition is an experiment. Lords do not have a duty to reply to the public, and they are (obviously) not elected. Nevertheless, they get to vote on things that affect all of us, so we reckon they should at least be easy to contact. It is best only to contact a Lord about an issue they can help with or influence, which includes national legislation and other issues Parliament deals with. For more information, read our Frequently Asked Questions .

Lords do not have constituencies like MPs, so we need different ways for you to find a Lord to contact. We hope you like the methods we have come up with.

mySociety Limited is a project of UK Citizens Online Democracy, a registered charity in England and Wales. For full details visit mysociety.org .

I COULD hardly flatter myself with the hope, that so very early in the season I should have to acknowledge obligations to the Duke of BEDFORD, and to the Earl of LAUDERDALE. These noble persons have lost no time in conferring upon me that sort of honour, which it is alone within their competence, and which it is certainly most congenial to their nature, and to their manners, to bestow.

Why will they not let me remain in obscurity and inaction? Are they apprehensive, that if an atom of me remains, the sect has something to fear? Must I be annihilated, lest, like old John Zisca’s, my skin might be made into a drum, to animate Europe to eternal battle, against a tyranny that threatens to overwhelm all Europe, and all the human race?

It would ill become me to boast of anything. It would as ill become me, thus called upon, to depreciate the value of a long life, spent with unexampled toil in the service of my country. Since the total body of my services, on account of the industry which was shown in them, and the fairness of my intentions, have obtained the acceptance of my sovereign, it would be absurd in me to range myself on the side of the Duke of Bedford and the corresponding society, or, as far as in me lies, to permit a dispute on the rate at which the authority appointed by our constitution to estimate such things has been pleased to set them.

The Letter to Chesterfield (February 1755) was Samuel Johnson 's response to what some believed to be Lord Chesterfield 's opportunistic endorsement of his A Dictionary of the English Language . Although Chesterfield was patron of the Proposal for the Dictionary , he made no moves to further the progress of the Dictionary until seven years after his original investment into the project. Suddenly, Chesterfield wrote two "puff" pieces to promote the Dictionary , which prompted Johnson to write a letter accusing Chesterfield of only providing help when it was least needed.

Some claim that the letter caused a minor furore in the contemporary literary world when Johnson made it public and it has been the subject of critical comment ever since; it has been described as literature's "declaration of independence". [1] [2] However, Chesterfield's reaction to the letter was quite different, and he praised Johnson's intellect and ability to write after reading it for the first time. Johnson could not believe that Chesterfield would ever react favourably towards the letter, and it was not until years later that Chesterfield and Johnson would finally reconcile.

After seven years from first meeting Johnson to go over the work, Chesterfield wrote two anonymous essays in The World that recommended the Dictionary . [5] He complained that the English language was lacking structure and argued:

WriteToThem Lords edition is an experiment. Lords do not have a duty to reply to the public, and they are (obviously) not elected. Nevertheless, they get to vote on things that affect all of us, so we reckon they should at least be easy to contact. It is best only to contact a Lord about an issue they can help with or influence, which includes national legislation and other issues Parliament deals with. For more information, read our Frequently Asked Questions .

Lords do not have constituencies like MPs, so we need different ways for you to find a Lord to contact. We hope you like the methods we have come up with.

mySociety Limited is a project of UK Citizens Online Democracy, a registered charity in England and Wales. For full details visit mysociety.org .

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I COULD hardly flatter myself with the hope, that so very early in the season I should have to acknowledge obligations to the Duke of BEDFORD, and to the Earl of LAUDERDALE. These noble persons have lost no time in conferring upon me that sort of honour, which it is alone within their competence, and which it is certainly most congenial to their nature, and to their manners, to bestow.

Why will they not let me remain in obscurity and inaction? Are they apprehensive, that if an atom of me remains, the sect has something to fear? Must I be annihilated, lest, like old John Zisca’s, my skin might be made into a drum, to animate Europe to eternal battle, against a tyranny that threatens to overwhelm all Europe, and all the human race?

It would ill become me to boast of anything. It would as ill become me, thus called upon, to depreciate the value of a long life, spent with unexampled toil in the service of my country. Since the total body of my services, on account of the industry which was shown in them, and the fairness of my intentions, have obtained the acceptance of my sovereign, it would be absurd in me to range myself on the side of the Duke of Bedford and the corresponding society, or, as far as in me lies, to permit a dispute on the rate at which the authority appointed by our constitution to estimate such things has been pleased to set them.

The Letter to Chesterfield (February 1755) was Samuel Johnson 's response to what some believed to be Lord Chesterfield 's opportunistic endorsement of his A Dictionary of the English Language . Although Chesterfield was patron of the Proposal for the Dictionary , he made no moves to further the progress of the Dictionary until seven years after his original investment into the project. Suddenly, Chesterfield wrote two "puff" pieces to promote the Dictionary , which prompted Johnson to write a letter accusing Chesterfield of only providing help when it was least needed.

Some claim that the letter caused a minor furore in the contemporary literary world when Johnson made it public and it has been the subject of critical comment ever since; it has been described as literature's "declaration of independence". [1] [2] However, Chesterfield's reaction to the letter was quite different, and he praised Johnson's intellect and ability to write after reading it for the first time. Johnson could not believe that Chesterfield would ever react favourably towards the letter, and it was not until years later that Chesterfield and Johnson would finally reconcile.

After seven years from first meeting Johnson to go over the work, Chesterfield wrote two anonymous essays in The World that recommended the Dictionary . [5] He complained that the English language was lacking structure and argued:

I COULD hardly flatter myself with the hope, that so very early in the season I should have to acknowledge obligations to the Duke of BEDFORD, and to the Earl of LAUDERDALE. These noble persons have lost no time in conferring upon me that sort of honour, which it is alone within their competence, and which it is certainly most congenial to their nature, and to their manners, to bestow.

Why will they not let me remain in obscurity and inaction? Are they apprehensive, that if an atom of me remains, the sect has something to fear? Must I be annihilated, lest, like old John Zisca’s, my skin might be made into a drum, to animate Europe to eternal battle, against a tyranny that threatens to overwhelm all Europe, and all the human race?

It would ill become me to boast of anything. It would as ill become me, thus called upon, to depreciate the value of a long life, spent with unexampled toil in the service of my country. Since the total body of my services, on account of the industry which was shown in them, and the fairness of my intentions, have obtained the acceptance of my sovereign, it would be absurd in me to range myself on the side of the Duke of Bedford and the corresponding society, or, as far as in me lies, to permit a dispute on the rate at which the authority appointed by our constitution to estimate such things has been pleased to set them.


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