We have here an instance of that asperity of temper with which Johnson has been frequently charged, but without any allowance for natural infirmity, or any consideration of his endeavours to correct it, or his readiness to atone for the pain it might sometimes give, by a kind and gentle treatment of the person offended. The truth of the matter is, that his whole life was a conflict with his passions and humours, and that few persons bore reprehension with more patience than himself. After his decease, I found among his papers an anonymous letter, that seemed to have been written by a person who had long had his eye on him, and remarked the offensive particulars in his behaviour, his propensity to contradiction, his want of deference to the opinions of others, his contention for victory over those with whom he disputed, his local prejudices and aversions, and other his evil habits in conversation, which made his acquaintance shunned by many, who, as a man of genius and worth, highly esteemed him. It was written with great temper, in a spirit of clarity, and with a due acknowledgment of those great talents with which he was endowed, but contained in it several home truths. In short, it was such a letter as many a one, on the receipt of it would have destroyed. On the contrary, Johnson preserved it, and placed it in his bureau, in a situation so obvious, that, whenever he opened that repository of his papers, it might look him in the face; and I have not the least doubt, that he frequently perused and reflected on its contents, and endeavoured to correct his behaviour by an address which he could not but consider as a friendly admonition. (Hawkins)

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