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Life Of Johnson, Vol. 2 by Boswell, Edited by Birkbeck Hill

Part 12 out of 12

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drinking a considerable quantity of strong beer to dull my faculties.'
_Letters of Boswell_, p. 215.

[1137] Voltaire wrote of Henault's _Abrege de l' Histoire de la
France_:--'Il a ete dans l'histoire ce que Fontenelle a ete dans la
philosophie. Il l'a rendue familiere.' Voltaire's _Works_, xvii. 99.
With a quotation from Henault, Carlyle begins his _French Revolution_.

[1138] My _Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides_, which that lady read in
the original manuscript. BOSWELL. Johnson wrote to Mrs. Thrale, 'May 22,
1775:--I am not sorry that you read Boswell's _Journal_. Is it not a
merry piece? There is much in it about poor me.' _Piozzi Letters_, i.
220. 'June 11, 1775. You never told me, and I omitted to inquire, how
you were entertained by Boswell's _Journal_. _One would think the man
had been hired to be a spy upon me_. He was very diligent, and caught
opportunities of writing from time to time.' _Ib_ p. 233. I suspect that
the words I have marked by italics are not Johnson's, but are Mrs.
Piozzi's interpolation.

[1139] 'In my heart of _heart_.' _Hamlet_, act iii. sc. 2.

[1140] Another parcel of Lord Hailes's _Annals of Scotland_. BOSWELL.

[1141] Where Sir Joshua Reynolds lived. BOSWELL.

[1142] Johnson's birthday. In _Pr. and Med_. p. 143, is a prayer which
was, he writes, 'composed at Calais in a sleepless night, and used
before the morn at Notre Dame.'

[1143] See _ante_, i. 243, note 3.

[1144] 'While Johnson was in France, he was generally very resolute in
speaking Latin.' _Post_, under Nov. 12, 1775.

[1145] Miss Thrale. BOSWELL.

[1146] In his _Journal_ he records 'their meals are gross' (_post_, Oct.
10). We may doubt therefore Mrs. Piozzi's statement that he said of the
French: 'They have few sentiments, but they express them neatly; they
have little in meat too, but they dress it well.' Piozzi's _Anec_.
p. 102.

[1147] See _ante_, i. 362, note 1.

[1148] Boswell wrote to Temple:--'You know, my dearest friend, of what
importance this is to me; of what importance it is to the family of
Auchinleck, _which you may be well convinced is my supreme object in
this world_.' _Letters of Boswell_, p. 217. Alexander Boswell was killed
in a duel in 1822.

[1149] This alludes to my old feudal principle of preferring male to
female succession. BOSWELL. See _post_, under Jan. 10, 1776.

[1150] He wrote to Dr. Taylor on the same day:--'I came back last
Tuesday from France. Is not mine a kind of life turned upside down?
Fixed to a spot when I was young, and roving the world when others are
contriving to sit still, I am wholly unsettled. I am a kind of ship with
a wide sail, and without an anchor.' _Notes and Queries_. 6th S.,
v. 422.

[1151] There can be no doubt that many years previous to 1775 he
corresponded with this lady, who was his step-daughter, but none of his
earlier letters to her have been preserved. BOSWELL. Many of these
earlier letters were printed by Malone and Croker in later editions.
See i. 512.

[1152] When on their way to Wales, July 7, 1774, _post_, vol. v.

[1153] Smollett wrote (_Travels_, i. 88):--'Notwithstanding the gay
disposition of the French, their houses are all gloomy. After all it is
in England only where we must look for cheerful apartments, gay
furniture, neatness, and convenience.'

[1154] Son of Mrs. Johnson, by her first husband. BOSWELL.

[1155] 'A gentleman said, "Surely that Vanessa must be an extraordinary
woman, that could inspire the Dean to write so finely upon her." Mrs.
Johnson [Stella] smiled, and answered "that she thought that point not
quite so clear; for it was well known the Dean could write finely upon a
broomstick."' Johnson's Works, viii. 210.

[1156] Horace Walpole wrote from Paris this autumn:--'I have not yet had
time to visit the Hotel du Chatelet.' _Letters_, vi. 260. On July 31st,
1789, writing of the violence of the mob, he says:--'The hotel of the
Due de Chatelet, lately built and superb, has been assaulted, and the
furniture sold by auction.' _Ib_ ix. 202.

[1157] See _post_, under Nov. 12, 1775, note, and June 25, 1784.

[1158] The Prior of the Convent of the Benedictines where Johnson had a
cell appropriated to him. _Post_, Oct. 31, and under Nov. 12.

[1159] The rest of this paragraph appears to be a minute of what was
told by Captain Irwin. BOSWELL.

[1160] Melchior Canus, a celebrated Spanish Dominican, who died at
Toledo, in 1560. He wrote a treatise _De Locis Theologicis_, in twelve
books. BOSWELL.

[1161] D'Argenson's. CROKER.

[1162] See Macaulay's _Essays_, i. 355, and Mr. Croker's answer in his
note on this passage. His notion that 'this book was exhibited purposely
on the lady's table, in the expectation that her English visitors would
think it a literary curiosity,' seems absurd. He does not choose to
remember the '_Bibl. des Fees_ and other books.' Since I wrote this note
Mr. Napier has published an edition of Boswell, in which this question
is carefully examined (ii. 550). He sides with Macaulay.

[1163] 'Si quelque invention peut suppleer a la connaissance qui nous
est refusee des longitudes sur la mer, c'est celle du plus habile
horloger de France (M. Leroi) qui dispute cette invention a
l'Angleterre.' Voltaire, _Siecle de Louis XV_, ch. 43.

[1164] The _Palais Marchand_ was properly only the stalls which were
placed along some of the galleries of the Palais. They have been all
swept away in Louis Philippe's restoration of the Palais. CROKER.

[1165] 'Petit siege de bois sur lequel on faisait asseoir, pour les
interroger, ceux qui etaient accuses d'un delit pouvant faire encourir
une peine afflictive.' LITTRE.

[1166] The Conciergerie, before long to be crowded with the victims of
the Revolution.

[1167] This passage, which so many think superstitious, reminds me of
Archbishop Laud's Diary. BOSWELL. Laud, for instance, on Oct. 27, 1640,
records:--'In my upper study hung my picture taken by the life; and
coming in, I found it fallen down upon the face, and lying on the floor,
the string being broken by which it was hanged against the wall. I am
almost every day threatened with my ruin in Parliament. God grant this
be no omen.' Perhaps there was nothing superstitious in Johnson's entry.
He may have felt ill in mind or body, and dreaded to become worse.

[1168] For a brief account of Freron, father and son, see Carlyle's
_French Revolution_, part ii. bk. 1. ch. 4.

[1169] A round table, the centre of which descended by machinery to a
lower floor, so that supper might be served without the presence of
servants. It was invented by Lewis XV. during the favour of Madame du
Barri. CROKER.

[1170] See _ante_, i. 363, note 3.

[1171] Before the Revolution the passage from the garden of the
Tuileries into the Place Louis XV. was over a _pont tournant_. CROKER.

[1172] The niece of Arabella Fermor, the Belinda of the _Rape of the
Lock_. Johnson thus mentions this lady (_Works_, viii. 246):--'At Paris,
a few years ago, a niece of Mrs. Fermor, who presided in an English
convent, mentioned Pope's works with very little gratitude, rather as an
insult than an honour.' She is no doubt the Lady Abbess mentioned
_post_, March 15, 1776. She told Mrs. Piozzi in 1784 'that she believed
there was but little comfort to be found in a house that harboured
poets; for that she remembered Mr. Pope's praise made her aunt very
troublesome and conceited, while his numberless caprices would have
employed ten servants to wait on him.' Piozzi's _Journey_, i. 20.

[1173] Mrs. Thrale wrote, on Sept. 18, 1777:--'When Mr. Thrale dismisses
me, I am to take refuge among the Austin Nuns, and study Virgil with
dear Miss Canning.' _Piozzi Letters_, i. 374.

[1174] _Pensionnaires_, pupils who boarded in the convent.

[1175] He brought back a snuff-box for Miss Porter. _Ante_, p. 387.

[1176] 63 livres = L2 12s. 6d.

[1177] Torture-chamber. See _ante_, i. 467, note 1.

[1178] 'Au parlement de Paris la chambre chargee des affaires
criminelles.' LITTRE.

[1179] The grandson was the Duke d'Enghien who was put to death by
Napoleon Bonaparte in 1804.

[1180] His tender affection for his departed wife, of which there are
many evidences in his _Prayers and Meditations_, appears very feelingly
in this passage. BOSWELL. 'On many occasions I think what she [his wife]
would have said or done. When I saw the sea at Brighthelmstone, I wished
for her to have seen it with me.' _Pr. and Med_. p. 91.

[1181] See _post_, p. 402.

[1182] See _post_, iii. 89.

[1183] Dr. Moore (_Travels in France_, i. 31) says that in Paris, 'those
who cannot afford carriages skulk behind pillars, or run into shops, to
avoid being crushed by the coaches, which are driven as near the wall as
the coachman pleases.' Only on the Pont Neuf, and the Pont Royal, and
the quays between them were there, he adds, foot-ways.

[1184] Lewis XVI.

[1185] The King's sister, who was guillotined in the Reign of Terror.

[1186] See p. 391. BOSWELL.

[1187] 'When at Versailles, the people showed us the Theatre. As we
stood on the stage looking at some machinery for playhouse purposes;
"Now we are here, what shall we act, Mr. Johnson:--_The Englishman in
Paris_"? "No, no," replied he, "we will try to act _Harry the Fifth_."'
Piozzi's _Anec_. p. 101. _The Englishman in Paris_ is a comedy by Foote.

[1188] This epithet should be applied to this animal, with one bunch.

[1189] He who commanded the troops at the execution of Lewis XVI.

[1190] 1462.

[1191] I cannot learn of any book of this name. Perhaps Johnson saw
_Durandi Rationale Officiorum Divinorum_, which was printed in 1459, one
year later than Johnson mentions. A copy of this he had seen at Blenheim
in 1774. His _Journey into North Wales_, Sept. 22.

[1192] He means, I suppose, that he read these different pieces while he
remained in the library. BOSWELL.

[1193] Johnson in his _Dictionary_ defines _Apartment_ as _A room; a set
of rooms_.

[1194] Smollett (_Travels_, i. 85) writes of these temporary
servants:--'You cannot conceive with what eagerness and dexterity these
rascally valets exert themselves in pillaging strangers. There is always
one ready in waiting on your arrival, who begins by assisting your own
servant to unload your baggage, and interests himself in your own
affairs with such artful officiousness that you will find it difficult
to shake him off.'

[1195] Livres--francs we should now say.

[1196] It was here that Rousseau got rid of his children. 'Je savais que
l'education pour eux la moins perilleuse etait celle des enfans trouves;
et je les y mis.' _Les Reveries, ix'me promenade_.

[1197] Dr. Franklin, in 1785, wrote:--'I am credibly informed that
nine-tenths of them die there pretty soon.' _Memoirs_, iii. 187. Lord
Kames (_Sketches of the History of Man_, iii. 91) says:--'The Paris
almanac for the year 1768 mentions that there were baptised 18,576
infants, of whom the foundling-hospital received 6025.'

[1198] St. Germain des Pres. Better known as the Prison of the Abbaye.

[1199] I have looked in vain into De Bure, Meerman, Mattaire, and other
typographical books, for the two editions of the _Catholicon_, which Dr.
Johnson mentions here, with _names_ which I cannot make out. I read 'one
by _Latinius_, one by _Boedinus_.' I have deposited the original MS. in
the British Museum, where the curious may see it. My grateful
acknowledgements are due to Mr. Planta for the trouble he was pleased to
take in aiding my researches. BOSWELL. A Mr. Planta is mentioned in Mme.
D'Arblay's _Diary_, v. 39.

[1200] Friar Wilkes visited Johnson in May 1776. _Piozzi Letters_, i.
336. On Sept. 18, 1777, Mrs. Thrale wrote to Johnson:--'I have got some
news that will please you now. Here is an agreeable friend come from
Paris, whom you were very fond of when we were there--the Prior of our
English Benedictine Convent, Mr. Cowley ... He inquires much for you;
and says Wilkes is very well, No. 45, as they call him in the Convent. A
cell is always kept ready for your use he tells me.' _Ib_ p. 373.

[1201] The writing is so bad here, that the names of several of the
animals could not be decyphered without much more acquaintance with
natural history than I possess.--Dr. Blagden, with his usual politeness,
most obligingly examined the MS. To that gentleman, and to Dr. Gray, of
the British Museum, who also very readily assisted me, I beg leave to
express my best thanks. BOSWELL

[1202] It is thus written by Johnson, from the French pronunciation of
_fossane_. It should be observed, that the person who shewed this
Menagerie was mistaken in supposing the _fossane_ and the Brasilian
weasel to be the same, the _fossane_ being a different animal, and a
native of Madagascar. I find them, however, upon one plate in Pennant's
_Synopsis of Quadrupeds_. BOSWELL.

[1203] How little Johnson relished this talk is shewn by his letter to
Mrs. Thrale of May 1, 1780, and by her answer. He wrote:--'The
Exhibition, how will you do, either to see or not to see? The Exhibition
is eminently splendid. There is contour, and keeping, and grace, and
expression, and all the varieties of artificial excellence.' _Piozzi
Letters_, ii. III. She answered:--'When did I ever plague about contour,
and grace, and expression? I have dreaded them all three since that
hapless day at Compiegne when you teased me so.' _Ib_ p. 116

[1204] '_Nef_, (old French from _nave_) _the body of a church_.'
Johnson's _Dictionary_.

[1205] My worthy and ingenious friend, Mr. Andrew Lumisden, by his
accurate acquaintance with France, enabled me to make out many proper
names, which Dr. Johnson had written indistinctly, and sometimes spelt
erroneously. Boswell. Lumisden is mentioned in Boswell's
_Hebrides_, Sept. 13.

[1206] Baretti, in a marginal note on _Piozzi Letters_, i. 142, says
that 'Johnson saw next to nothing of Paris.' On p. 159 he adds:--'He
noticed the country so little that he scarcely spoke of it ever after.'
He shews, however, his ignorance of Johnson's doings by saying that 'in
France he never touched a pen.'

[1207] Hume's reception in 1763 was very different. He wrote to Adam
Smith:--'I have been three days at Paris, and two at Fontainebleau, and
have everywhere met with the most extraordinary honours which the most
exorbitant vanity could wish or desire.' The Dauphin's three children,
afterwards Lewis XVI, Lewis XVIII, and Charles X, had each to make a set
speech of congratulation. He was the favourite of the most exclusive
coteries. J.H. Burton's _Hume_, ii. 168, 177, 208. But at that date,
sceptical philosophy was the rage.

[1208] Horace Walpole wrote from Paris in 1771 (_Letters_, v.
317-19):--'The distress here is incredible, especially at Court.... The
middling and common people are not much richer than Job when he had lost
everything but his patience.' Rousseau wrote of the French in
1777:--'Cette nation qui se pretend si gaie montre peu cette gaite dans
ses jeux. Souvent j'allais jadis aux guinguettes pour y voir danser le
menu peuple; mais ses danses etaient si maussades, son maintien si
dolent, si gauche, que j'en sortais plutot contriste que rejoui.' _Les
Reveries, IXme. promenade_. Baretti (_Journey to Genoa_, iv. 146) denies
that the French 'are entitled to the appellation of cheerful.'
'Provence,' he says (_ib_. 148), 'is the only province in which you see
with some sort of frequency the rustic assemblies roused up to
cheerfulness by the _fifre_ and the _tambourin_.' Mrs. Piozzi describes
the absence of 'the happy middle state' abroad. 'As soon as Dover is
left behind, every man seems to belong to some other man, and no man to
himself.' Piozzi's _Journey_, ii. 341. Voltaire, in his review of _Julia
Mandeville_ (_Works_, xliii. 364), says:--'Pour peu qu'un roman, une
tragedie, une comedie ait de succes a Londres, on en fait trois et
quatre editions en peu de mois; c'est que l'etat mitoyen est plus riche
et plus instruit en Angleterre qu'en France, &c.' But Barry, the painter
(_post_, May 17, 1783), in 1766, described to Burke, 'the crowds of busy
contented people which cover (as one may say) the whole face of the
country.' But he was an Irishman comparing France with Ireland. 'They
make a strong, but melancholy contrast to a miserable ------ which I
cannot help thinking of sometimes. You will not be at any loss to know
that I mean Ireland.' Barry's _Works_, i. 57. 'Hume,' says Dr. J. H.
Burton, 'in his _Essay on The Parties of Great Britain_ (published in
1741), alludes to the absence of a middle class in Scotland, where he
says, there are only "two ranks of men, gentlemen who have some fortune
and education, and the meanest starving poor; without any considerable
number of the middling rank of men, which abounds more in England, both
in cities and in the country, than in any other quarter of the world."'
_Life of Hume_, i. 198. I do not find this passage in the edition of
Hume's _Essays_ of 1770.

[1209] Yet Smollett wrote in 1763:--'All manner of butcher's meat and
poultry are extremely good in Paris. The beef is excellent.' He adds, 'I
can by no means relish their cookery.' Smollett's _Travels_, i. 86.
Horace Walpole, in 1765, wrote from Amiens on his way to Paris:--'I am
almost famished for want of clean victuals, and comfortable tea, and
bread and butter.' _Letters_, iv. 401. Goldsmith, in 1770, wrote from
Paris:--'As for the meat of this country I can scarce eat it, and though
we pay two good shillings an head for our dinner, I find it all so
tough, that I have spent less time with my knife than my pick-tooth.'
Forster's _Goldsmith_, ii. 219.

[1210] Walpole calls Paris 'the ugliest, beastliest town in the
universe,' and describes the indelicacy of the talk of women of the
first rank. _Letters_, iv. 435. See _post_, May 13, 1778, and under
Aug. 29, 1783.

[1211] Madame du Boccage, according to Miss Reynolds, whose authority
was Baretti. Croker's _Boswell_, p. 467. See _post_, June 25, 1784.

[1212] In Edinburgh, Johnson threw a glass of lemonade out of the window
because the waiter had put the sugar into it 'with his greasy fingers.'
Boswell's _Hebrides_, Aug. 14.

[1213] Mrs. Thrale wrote to Johnson in 1782:--'When we were in France we
could form little judgement [of the spread of refinement], as our time
was passed chiefly among English; yet I recollect that one fine lady,
who entertained us very splendidly, put her mouth to the teapot, and
blew in the spout when it did not pour freely.' _Piozzi Letters_,
ii. 247.

[1214] That he did not continue exactly as in London is stated by
Boswell himself. 'He was furnished with a Paris-made wig of handsome
construction,' (_Post_, April 28, 1778). His _Journal_ shews that he
bought articles of dress (_ante_, p. 398). Hawkins (_Life_, p. 517) says
that 'he yielded to the remonstrances of his friends so far as to dress
in a suit of black and a Bourgeois wig, but resisted their importunity
to wear ruffles. By a note in his diary it appears that he laid out near
thirty pounds in clothes for this journey.' A story told by Foote we may
believe as little as we please. 'Foote is quite impartial,' said
Johnson, 'for he tells lies of everybody.' _Post_, under March 15, 1776.

[1215] If Johnson's Latin was understood by foreigners in France, but
not in England, the explanation may be found in his _Life of Milton_
(_Works_, vii. 99), where he says:--'He who travels, if he speaks Latin,
may so soon learn the sounds which every native gives it, that he need
make no provision before his journey; and if strangers visit us, it is
their business to practise such conformity to our modes as they expect
from us in their own countries.' Johnson was so sturdy an Englishman
that likely enough, as he was in London, he would not alter his
pronunciation to suit his Excellency's ear. In Priestley's _Works_,
xxiii. 233, a conversation is reported in which Dr. Johnson argued for
the Italian method of pronouncing Latin.

[1216] See _ante_, ii. 80.

[1217] As Mme. de Boufflers is mentioned in the next paragraph, Boswell
no doubt, wishes to shew that the letter was addressed to her. She was
the mistress of the Prince of Conti. She understood English, and was the
correspondent of Hume. There was also a Marquise de Boufflers, mistress
of old King Stanislaus.

[1218] In the _Piozzi Letters_ (i. 34), this letter is dated May 16,
1771; in Boswell's first and second editions, July 16, 1771; in the
third edition, July 16, 1775. In May, 1771, Johnson, so far as there is
anything to shew, was in London. On July 16, both in 1771 and 1775, he
was in Ashbourne. One of Hume's Letters (_Private Corres_., p. 283),
dated April 17, 1775, shews that Mme. de Boufflers was at that time
'speaking of coming to England.'

[1219] Mme. de Boufflers was in England in the summer of 1763. Jesse's
_Selwyn_, i. 235.

[1220] Boscovich, a learned Jesuit, was born at Ragusa in 1711, and died
in 1787. He visited London in 1760, and was elected a Fellow of the
Royal Society. Chalmers's _Biog. Dict_. See _ante_, p. 125.

[1221] See _ante_, p. 288.

[1222] Four years later Johnson thus spoke to Miss Burney of her
father:--'"I love Burney; my heart goes out to meet him." "He is not
ungrateful, Sir," cried I; "for most heartily does he love you." "Does
he, Madam? I am surprised at that." "Why, Sir? Why should you have
doubted it?" "Because, Madam, Dr. Burney is a man for all the world to
love: it is but natural to love him." I could have almost cried with
delight at this cordial, unlaboured _eloge_.' Mme. D'Arblay's
_Diary_, i. 196.

[1223] 'Though a sepulchral inscription is professedly a panegyrick, and
therefore not confined to historical impartiality, yet it ought always
to be written with regard to truth. No man ought to be commended for
virtues which he never possessed, but whoever is curious to know his
faults must inquire after them in other places.' Johnson's _Works_, v.
265. See _post_, April 24, 1779.

[1224] See _ante_, i. 46.

[1225] See _post_, iii. 12, and Boswell's _Hebrides_, Aug. 22.

[1226] Johnson's Dick Wormwood, in _The Idler_, No. 83, a man 'whose
sole delight is to find everything wrong, triumphs when he talks on the
present system of education, and tells us with great vehemence that we
are learning words when we should learn things.' In the _Life of Milton_
(_Works_, vii, 75), Johnson writes:--'It is told that in the art of
education Milton performed wonders; and a formidable list is given of
the authors, Greek and Latin, that were read in Aldersgate-street, by
youth between ten and fifteen or sixteen years of age. Those who tell or
receive these stories should consider, that nobody can be taught faster
than he can learn. The speed of the horseman must be limited by the
power of the horse.' He advised Boswell 'not to _refine_ in the
education of his children. You must do as other people do.' _Post_, iii.
169. Yet, in his _Life of Barretier_ (_Works_, vi. 380), he says:--'The
first languages which he learnt were the French, German, and Latin,
which he was taught, not in the common way, by a multitude of
definitions, rules, and exceptions, which fatigue the attention and
burden the memory, without any use proportionate to the time which they
require and the disgust which they create. The method by which he was
instructed was easy and expeditious, and therefore pleasing. He learnt
them all in the same manner, and almost at the same time, by conversing
in them indifferently with his father.'

[1227] Miss Aikin, better known as Mrs. Barbauld. Johnson uses
_Presbyterian_ where we should use _Unitarian_. 'The Unitarians of the
present day [1843] are the representatives of that branch of the early
Nonconformists who received the denomination of Presbyterians; and they
are still known by that name.' _Penny Cyclo_. xxvi. 6.

[1228] Othello, act ii. sc. 1.

[1229] He quotes Barbauld's _Lessons for Children_ (p. 68, ed. of 1878).
Mrs. Piozzi (_Anec_. p. 16), speaking of books for children says:--'Mrs.
Barbauld had his best praise; no man was more struck than Mr. Johnson
with voluntary descent from possible splendour to painful duty.' Mrs.
Piozzi alludes to Johnson's praise of Dr. Watts:--'Every man acquainted
with the common principles of human action, will look with veneration on
the writer, who is at one time combating Locke, and at another making a
catechism for children in their fourth year. A voluntary descent from
the dignity of science is perhaps the hardest lesson that humility can
teach.' _Works_, viii. 384. He praised Milton also, who, when 'writing
_Paradise Lost_, could condescend from his elevation to rescue children
from the perplexity of grammatical confusion, and the trouble of lessons
unnecessarily repeated.' _Ib_ vii. 99. Mrs. Barbauld did what Swift said
Gay had shown could be done. 'One may write things to a child without
being childish.' Swift's _Works_, xvii. 221. In her _Advertisement_, she
says:--'The task is humble, but not mean; to plant the first idea in a
human mind can be no dishonour to any hand.' 'Ethicks, or morality,'
wrote Johnson, 'is one of the studies which ought to begin with the
first glimpse of reason, and only end with life itself.' _Works_, v.
243. This might have been the motto of her book. As the _Advertisement_
was not published till 1778 (Barbauld's _Works_, ii. 19) it is possible
that Johnson's criticism had reached her, and that it was meant as an
answer. Among her pupils were William Taylor of Norwich, Sir William
Gell, and the first Lord Denman (_ib_. i. xxv-xxx). Mrs. Barbauld bore
Johnson no ill-will. In her _Eighteen Hundred and Eleven_, she describes
some future pilgrims 'from the Blue Mountains or Ontario's Lake,' coming
to view 'London's faded glories.'

'With throbbing bosoms shall the wanderers tread
The hallowed mansions of the silent dead,
Shall enter the long aisle and vaulted dome
Where genius and where valour find a home;
Bend at each antique shrine, and frequent turn
To clasp with fond delight some sculptured urn,
The ponderous mass of Johnson's form to greet,
Or breathe the prayer at Howard's sainted feet.'

_Ib_ i. 242.

[1230] According to Mme. D'Arblay he said:--'Sir, I shall be very glad
to have a new sense _put into_ me.' He had been wont to speak
slightingly of music and musicians. 'The first symptom that he showed of
a tendency to conversion was upon hearing the following read aloud from
the preface to Dr. Burney's _History of Music_ while it was yet in
manuscript:--"The love of lengthened tones and modulated sounds seems a
passion implanted in human nature throughout the globe; as we hear of no
people, however wild and savage in other particulars, who have not music
of some kind or other, with which they seem greatly delighted." "Sir,"
cried Dr. Johnson after a little pause, "this assertion I believe may be
right." And then, see-sawing a minute or two on his chair, he forcibly
added:--"All animated nature loves music--except myself!"' _Dr. Burney's
Memoirs_, ii. 77. Hawkins (_Life_, p. 319) says that Johnson said of
music, '"it excites in my mind no ideas, and hinders me from
contemplating my own." I have sometimes thought that music was positive
pain to him. Upon his hearing a celebrated performer go through a hard
composition, and hearing it remarked that it was very difficult, he
said, "I would it had been impossible."' Yet he had once bought a
flageolet, though he had never made out a tune. 'Had I learnt to
fiddle,' he said, 'I should have done nothing else' (_post_, April 7,
1778, and Boswell's _Hebrides_, Oct. 15, 1773). Not six months before
his death he asked Dr. Burney to teach him the scale of music (_ante_,
p. 263, note 4). That 'he appeared fond of the bagpipe, and used often
to stand for some time with his ear close to the great drone' (Boswell's
_Hebrides_, Oct. 15), does not tell for much either way. In his
_Hebrides_ (_Works_, ix. 55), he shews his pleasure in singing. 'After
supper,' he writes, 'the ladies sung Erse songs, to which I listened, as
an English audience to an Italian opera, delighted with the sound of
words which I did not understand.' Boswell records (_Hebrides_, Sept.
28) that another day a lady 'pleased him much, by singing Erse songs,
and playing on the guitar.' Johnson himself shews that if his ear was
dull to music, it was by no means dead to sound. He thus describes a
journey by night in the Highlands (_Works_, ix. l55):--'The wind was
loud, the rain was heavy, and the whistling of the blast, the fall of
the shower, the rush of the cataracts, and the roar of the torrent, made
a nobler chorus of the rough music of nature than it had ever been my
chance to hear before.' In 1783, when he was in his seventy-fourth year,
he said, on hearing the music of a funeral procession:--'This is the
first time that I have ever been affected by musical sounds.' _Post_,
1780, in Mr. Langton's _Collection_.

[1231] Miss Burney, in 1778, records that he said:--'David, Madam, looks
much older than he is; for his face has had double the business of any
other man's; it is never at rest; when he speaks one minute, he has
quite a different countenance to what he assumes the next; I don't
believe he ever kept the same look for half-an-hour together in the
whole course of his life; and such an eternal, restless, fatiguing play
of the muscles must certainly wear out a man's face before its real
time.' Mme. D'Arblay's _Diary_, i. 64. Malone fathers this witticism on
Foote. Prior's _Malone_, p. 369.

[1232] On Nov. 2 of this year, a proposal was made to Garrick by the
proprietors of Covent-Garden Theatre, 'that now in the time of dearth
and sickness' they should open their theatres only five nights in each
week. _Garrick Corres_, ii. 108.

[1233] 'Mrs. Boswell no doubt had disliked his wish to pass over his
daughters in entailing the Auchinleck estate, in favour of heirs-male
however remote. _Post_, p. 414--Johnson, on Feb. 9, 1776, opposing this
intention, wrote:--'I hope I shall get some ground now with
Mrs. Boswell.'

[1234] Joseph Ritter, a Bohemian, who was in my service many years, and
attended Dr. Johnson and me in our Tour to the Hebrides. After having
left me for some time, he had now returned to me. BOSWELL. See
_ante_, ii. 103.

[1235] See Boswell's _Hebrides_ near the end.

[1236] See _ante_, p. 383.

[1237] Mr. Croker says that he was informed by Boswell's grand-daughter,
who died in 1836, that it had come to be pronounced Auchinleck. The Rev.
James Chrystal, the minister of Auchinleck, in answer to my inquiry,
politely informs me that 'the name "Affleck" is still quite common as
applied to the parish, and even Auchinleck House is as often called
Place Affleck as otherwise.'

[1238] See Boswell's _Hebrides_, Nov. 4.

[1239] Acts of Parliament of Scotland, 1685, cap. 22. BOSWELL. Cockburn
(_Life of Jeffrey_, i. 372) mentions 'the statute (11 and 12 Victoria,
chap. 36) which dissolves the iron fetters by which, for about 160
years, nearly three-fourths of the whole land in Scotland was made
permanently unsaleable, and unattachable for debt, and every acre in the
kingdom might be bound up, throughout all ages, in favour of any heirs,
or any conditions, that the caprice of each unfettered owner might be
pleased to proscribe.'

[1240] As first, the opinion of some distinguished naturalists, that our
species is transmitted through males only, the female being all along no
more than a _nidus_, or nurse, as Mother Earth is to plants of every
sort; which notion seems to be confirmed by that text of scripture, 'He
was yet _in the loins of his_ FATHER when Melchisedeck met him' (Heb.
vii. 10); and consequently, that a man's grandson by a daughter, instead
of being his _surest_ descendant as is vulgarly said, has in reality no
connection whatever with his blood. And secondly, independent of this
theory, (which, if true, should completely exclude heirs general,) that
if the preference of a male to a female, without regard to
primogeniture, (as a son, though much younger, nay, even a grandson by a
son, to a daughter,) be once admitted, as it universally is, it must be
equally reasonable and proper in the most remote degree of descent from
an original proprietor of an estate, as in the nearest;
because,--however distant from the representative at the time,--that
remote heir male, upon the failure of those nearer to the _original
proprietor_ than he is, becomes in fact the nearest male to _him_, and
is, therefore, preferable as _his_ representative, to a female
descendant.--A little extension of mind will enable us easily to
perceive that a son's son, in continuation to whatever length of time,
is preferable to a son's daughter, in the succession to an ancient
inheritance; in which regard should be had to the representation of the
original proprietor, and not to that of one of his descendants.

I am aware of Blackstone's admirable demonstration of the reasonableness
of the legal succession, upon the principle of there being the greatest
probability that the nearest heir of the person who last dies proprietor
of an estate, is of the blood of the first purchaser. But supposing a
pedigree to be carefully authenticated through all its branches, instead
of mere _probability_ there will be a _certainty_ that _the nearest heir
male, at whatever period_, has the same right of blood with the first
heir male, namely, _the original purchaser's eldest son_. Boswell.

[1241] Boswell wrote to Temple on Sept. 2, 1775:--'What a discouraging
reflection is it that my father has in his possession a renunciation of
my birthright, which I _madly_ granted to him, and which he has not the
generosity to restore now that I am doing beyond his utmost hopes, and
that he may incommode and disgrace me by some strange settlements, while
all this time not a shilling is secured to my wife and children in case
of my death!' _Letters of Boswell_, p. 216.

[1242] The technical term in Roman law for a building in good repair.

[1243] Which term I applied to all the heirs male. Boswell.

[1244] A misprint for 1776.

[1245] I had reminded him of his observation mentioned, ii. 261.

[1246] The entail framed by my father with various judicious clauses,
was settled by him and me, settling the estate upon the heirs male of
his grandfather, which I found had been already done by my grandfather,
imperfectly, but so as to be defeated only by selling the lands. I was
freed by Dr. Johnson from scruples of conscientious obligation, and
could, therefore, gratify my father. But my opinion and partiality of
male succession, in its full extent, remained unshaken. Yet let me not
be thought harsh or unkind to daughters; for my notion is, that they
should be treated with great affection and tenderness, and always
participate of the prosperity of the family. BOSWELL.

[1247] Temple, in _Popular Discontents_ (_Works_, iii. 62-64), examines
the general dissatisfaction with the judicature of the House of Lords.
Till the end of Elizabeth's reign, he states, the peers, who were few in
number, were generally possessed of great estates which rendered them
less subject to corruption. As one remedy for the evil existing in his
time, he suggests that the Crown shall create no Baron, who shall not at
the same time entail L4000 a year upon that honour, whilst it continues
in his family; a Viscount, L5000; an Earl, L6000; a Marquis, L7000; and
a Duke, L8000.

[1248] 'A cruel tyranny bathed in the blood of their Emperors upon every
succession; a heap of vassals and slaves; no nobles, no gentlemen, no
freeman, no inheritance of land, no strip of ancient families, [nullae
stirpes antiquae].' Spedding _Bacon_, vii. 22.

[1249] 'Let me warn you very earnestly against scruples,' he wrote on
March 5, of this year:--'I am no friend to scruples,' he had said at St.
Andrew's. Boswell's _Hebrides_, Aug. 19. 'On his many, men miserable,
but few men good.' Croker's _Boswell_, p. 844.

[1250] A letter to him on the interesting subject of the family
settlement, which I had read. BOSWELL.

[1251] Paoli had given Boswell much the same advice. 'All this,' said
Paoli, 'is melancholy. I have also studied metaphysics. I know the
arguments for fate and free-will, for the materiality and immateriality
of the soul, and even the subtle arguments for and against the existence
of matter. _Ma lasciamo queste dispute ai oziosi_. But let us leave
these disputes to the idle. _Io tengo sempre fermo un gran pensiero_. I
hold always firm one great object. I never feel a moment of
despondency.' Boswell's _Corsica_, ed. 1879, p. 193. See _post_,
March 14, 1781.

[1252] Johnson, in his letters to the Thrales during the year 1775,
mentions this riding-school eight or nine times. The person recommended
was named Carter. Gibbon (_Misc. Works_, i. 72) says 'the profit of the
_History_ has been applied to the establishment of a riding-school, that
the polite exercises might be taught, I know not with what success, in
the University.'

[1253] I suppose the complaint was, that the trustees of the Oxford
Press did not allow the London booksellers a sufficient profit upon
vending their publications. BOSWELL.

[1254] Cadell published _The False Alarm and The Journey to the
Hebrides_. Gibbon described him as 'That honest and liberal bookseller.'
Stewart's _Life of Robertson,_ p. 366.

[1255] I am happy in giving this full and clear statement to the
publick, to vindicate, by the authority of the greatest authour of his
age, that respectable body of men, the Booksellers of London, from
vulgar reflections, as if their profits were exorbitant, when, in truth,
Dr. Johnson has here allowed them more than they usually demand.

[1256] 'Behind the house was a garden which he took delight in watering;
a room on the ground-floor was assigned to Mrs. Williams, and the whole
of the two pair of stairs floor was made a repository for his books; one
of the rooms thereon being his study. Here, in the intervals of his
residence at Streatham, he received the visits of his friends, and to
the most intimate of them sometimes gave not inelegant dinners.'
Hawkins's _Johnson_, p. 531. He wrote to Mrs. Thrale on Aug. 14,
1780:--'This is all that I have to tell you, except that I have three
bunches of grapes on a vine in my garden: at least this is all that I
will now tell of my garden.' _Piozzi Letters_, ii. 178. This house was
burnt down in 1819. _Notes and Queries_, 1st S., v. 233.

[1257] He said, when in Scotland, that he was _Johnson of that Ilk_.
ROSWELL. See _post_, April 28, 1778, note.

[1258] See _ante_, ii. 229.

[1259] See vol. i. p. 375. BOSWELL. Boswell refers to the work of Dr.
Cohausen of Coblentz, _Hermippus Redivivus_. Dr. Campbell translated it
(_ante_, i. 417), under the title of _Hermippus Redivivus, or the Sage's
Triumph over Old Age and the Grave_. Cohausen maintained that life might
be prolonged to 115 years by breathing the breath of healthy young
women. He founded his theory 'on a Roman inscription--_AEsculapio et
Sanitati L. Colodius Hermippus qui vixit annos CXV. dies V. puellarum
anhelitu_.' He maintained that one of the most eligible conditions of
life was that of a Confessor of youthful nuns. _Lowndes's Bibl. Man_. p.
488, and _Gent. Mag_. xiii. 279. I. D'Israeli (_Curiosities of
Literature_, ed. 1834, ii. 102) describes Campbell's book as a 'curious
banter on the hermetic philosophy and the universal medicine; the grave
irony is so closely kept up, that it deceived for a length of time the
most learned. Campbell assured a friend it was a mere _jeu-d'-esprit_.'
Lord E. Fitzmaurice (_Life of Shelburne_, iii. 447) says that
Ingenhousz, a Dutch physician who lived with Shelburne, combated in one
of his works the notion held by certain schoolmasters, that 'it was
wholesome to inhale the air which has passed through the lungs of their
pupils, closing the windows in order purposely to facilitate that

[1260] See Boswell's _Hebrides_, Aug. 24.

[1261] The privilege of perpetuating in a family an estate and arms
_indefeasibly_ from generation to generation, is enjoyed by none of his
Majesty's subjects except in Scotland, where the legal fiction of _fine_
and _recovery_ is unknown. It is a privilege so proud, that I should
think it would be proper to have the exercise of it dependent on the
royal prerogative. It seems absurd to permit the power of perpetuating
their representation, to men, who having had no eminent merit, have
truly no name. The King, as the impartial father of his people, would
never refuse to grant the privilege to those who deserved it. BOSWELL.

[1262] Boswell wrote to Temple about six weeks later:--'Murphy says he
has read thirty pages of Smith's _Wealth_, but says he shall read no
more; Smith, too, is now of our Club. It has lost its select merit.'
_Letters of Boswell_, p. 233. Johnson can scarcely have read Smith; if
he did, it made no impression on him. His ignorance on many points as to
what constitutes the wealth of a nation remained as deep as ever.

[1263] Mr. Wedderburne. CROKER.

[1264] A similar bill had been thrown out sixteen years earlier by 194
to 84. 'A Bill for a Militia in Scotland was not successful; nor could
the disaffected there obtain this mode of having their arms restored.
Pitt had acquiesced; but the young Whigs attacked it with all their
force.' Walpole's _Reign of George II_, iii. 280. Lord Mountstuart's
bill was thrown out by 112 to 95, the Ministry being in the minority.
The arguments for and against it are stated in the _Ann. Reg_. xix 140.
See _post_, iii. i. Henry Mackenzie (_Life of John Home_, i. 26)
says:--'The Poker Club was instituted at a time when Scotland was
refused a militia, and thought herself affronted by the refusal. The
name was chosen from a quaint sort of allusion to the principles it was
meant to excite, as a club to stir up the fire and spirit of the
country.' See _ante_, p. 376.

[1265] 'Scotland paid only one fortieth to the land-tax, the very
specific tax out of which all the expenses of a militia were to be
drawn.' _Ann. Reg_. xix. 141.

[1266] In a new edition of this book, which was published in the
following year, the editor states, that either 'through hurry or
inattention some obscene jests had unluckily found a place in the first
edition.' See _post_, April 28, 1778.

[1267] See _ante_, ii. 338, note 2.

[1268] The number of the asterisks, taken with the term _worthy friend_,
renders it almost certain that Langton was meant. The story might,
however, have been told of Reynolds, for he wrote of Johnson:--'Truth,
whether in great or little matters, he held sacred. From the violation
of truth, he said, in great things your character or your interest was
affected; in lesser things, your pleasure is equally destroyed. I
remember, on his relating some incident, I added something to his
relation which I supposed might likewise have happened: "It would have
been a better story," says he, "if it had been so; but it was not."'
Taylor's _Reynolds_, ii. 457. Mrs. Piozzi records (_Anec_. p. 116):--'"A
story," says Johnson, "is a specimen of human manners, and derives its
sole value from its truth, When Foote has told me something, I dismiss
it from my mind like a passing shadow; when Reynolds tells me something,
I consider myself as possessed of an idea the more."'

[1269] Boswell felt this when, more than eight years earlier, he
wrote:--'As I have related Paoli's remarkable sayings, I declare upon
honour that I have neither added nor diminished; nay, so scrupulous have
I been, that I would not make the smallest variation, even when my
friends thought it would be an improvement. I know with how much
pleasure we read what is perfectly authentick.' Boswell's _Corsia_, ed.
1879, p. 126. See _post_, iii. 209.

[1270] In his _Life of Browne_ (_Works_, vi. 478) he sayd of 'innocent
frauds':--'But no fraud is innocent; for the confidence which makes the
happiness of society is in some degree diminished by every man whose
practice is at variance with his words.' 'Mr. Tyers,' writes Murphy
(_Life_, p. 146), 'observed that Dr. Johnson always talked as if he was
talking upon oath.' Compared with Johnson's strictness, Rouseau's laxity
is striking. After describing 'ces gens qu'on appelle vrais dans le
monde,' he continues;--'L'homme que j'appele _vrai_ fait tout le
contraire. En choses parfaitnement indifferentes la verite qu'alors
l'autre respecte si fort le touche fort peu, et il ne se fera guere de
scrupule d'amuser une compagnie par des faits controuve, dont il ne
resulte aucun jugement injuste ni pour ni contre qui que ce soit vivant
ou mort.' _Les Reveries: IVine Promenade_.

[1271] No doubt Mrs. Fermor (_ante_, p. 392.)

[1272] No. 110.

[1273] No. 52.

[1274] But see _ante_, ii. 365, and Boswell's _Hebrides_, Aug. 19.

[1275] See _ante_, ii. 8, and _post_, April 7, 1778.

[1276] Three weeks later, at his usual fast before Easter, Johnson
recorded:--'I felt myself very much disordered by emptiness, and called
for tea with peevish and impatient eagerness.' _Pr. and Med_. p. 147.

[1277] Of the use of spirituous liquors, he wrote (_Works_, vi.
26):--'The mischiefs arising on every side from this compendious mode of
drunkenness are enormous and insupportable, equally to be found among
the great and the mean; filling palaces with disquiet and distraction,
harder to be borne as it cannot be mentioned, and overwhelming
multitudes with incurable diseases and unpitied poverty.' Yet he found
an excuse for drunkenness which few men but he could have found.
Stockdale (_Memoirs_, ii. 189) says that he heard Mrs. Williams 'wonder
what pleasure men can take in making beasts of themselves. "I wonder,
Madam," replied Johnson, "that you have not penetration enough to see
the strong inducement to this excess; for he who makes a beast of
himself gets rid of the pain of being a man."'

[1278] Very likely Boswell. See _post_, under May 8, 1781, for a like
instance. In 1775, under a yew tree, he promised Temple to be sober. On
Aug. 12, 1775, he wrote:--'My promise under the solemn yew I have
observed wonderfully, having never infringed it till, the other day, a
very jovial company of us dined at a tavern, and I unwarily exceeded my
bottle of old Hock; and having once broke over the pale, I run wild, but
I did not get drunk. I was, however, intoxicated, and very ill next
day.' _Letters of Boswell_, p. 209. During his present visit to London
he wrote:--'My promise under the solemn yew was not religiously kept,
because a little wine hurried me on too much. The General [Paoli] has
taken my word of honour that I shall not taste fermented liquor for a
year, that I may recover sobriety. I have kept this promise now about
three weeks. I was really growing a drunkard.' _Ib_ p. 233. In 1778 he
was for a short time a water drinker. _Post_, April 28, 1778. His
intemperance grew upon him, and at last carried him off. On Dec. 4,
1790, he wrote to Malone:--'Courtenay took my word and honour that till
March 1 my allowance of wine per diem should not exceed four good
glasses at dinner, and a pint after it, and this I have kept, though I
have dined with Jack Wilkes, &c. On March 8, 1791, he wrote:--'Your
friendly admonition as to excess in wine _has_ been often too
applicable. As I am now free from my restriction to Courtenay, I shall
be much upon my guard; for, to tell the truth, I did go too deep the day
before yesterday.' Croker's _Boswell_, pp. 828, 829.

[1279] 'Mathematics are perhaps too much studied at our universities.
This seems a science to which the meanest intellects are equal. I forget
who it is that says, "All men might understand mathematics if they
would."' Goldsmith's _Present Stale of Polite Learning_, ch. 13.

[1280] 'No, Sir,' he once said, 'people are not born with a particular
genius for particular employments or studies, for it would be like
saying that a man could see a great way east, but could not west. It is
good sense applied with diligence to what was at first a mere accident,
and which by great application grew to be called by the generality of
mankind a particular genius.' Miss Reynolds's _Recollections_. Croker's
_Boswell_, p. 833:--'Perhaps this is Miss Reynolds's recollection of the
following, in Boswell's _Hebrides_, Aug. 15, 1773':--JOHNSON. 'I could
as easily apply to law as to tragick poetry.' BOSWELL. 'Yet, Sir, you
did apply to tragick poetry, not to law.' JOHNSON. 'Because, Sir, I had
not money to study law. Sir, the man who has vigour may walk to the east
just as well as to the west, if he happens to turn his head that way.'
'The true genius,' he wrote (_Works_, vii. 1), 'is a mind of large
general powers, accidentally determined to some particular direction.'
Reynolds held the same doctrine, having got it no doubt from Johnson. He
held 'that the superiority attainable in any pursuit whatever does not
originate in an innate propensity of the mind to that pursuit in
particular, but depends on the general strength of the intellect, and on
the intense and constant application of that strength to a specific
purpose. He regarded ambition as the cause of eminence, but accident as
pointing out the _means_.' Northcote's _Reynolds_, i. II. 'Porson
insisted that all men are born with abilities nearly equal. "Any one,"
he would say, "might become quite as good a critic as I am, if he would
only take the trouble to make himself so. I have made myself what I am
by intense labour."' Rogers's _Table Talk_, p. 305. Hume maintained the
opposite. 'This forenoon,' wrote Boswell on June 19, 1775, 'Mr. Hume
came in. He did not say much. I only remember his remark, that
characters depend more on original formation than on the way we are
educated; "for," said he, "princes are educated uniformly, and yet how
different are they! how different was James the Second from Charles the
Second!"' _Letters of Boswell_, p. 205. Boswell recorded, two years
earlier (_Hebrides_, Sept. 16):--'Dr. Johnson denied that any child was
better than another, but by difference of instruction; though, in
consequence of greater attention being paid to instruction by one child
than another, and of a variety of imperceptible causes, such as
instruction being counteracted by servants, a notion was conceived that,
of two children equally well educated, one was naturally much worse
than another.'

[1281] See _ante_, i. 348.

[1282] The grossness of naval men is shewn in Captain Mirvan, in Miss
Burney's _Evelina_. In her _Diary_, i. 358, she records:--'The more I
see of sea-captains the less reason I have to be ashamed of Captain
Mirvan, for they have all so irresistible a propensity to wanton
mischief--to roasting beaus and detesting old women, that I quite
rejoice I shewed the book to no one ere printed, lest I should have been
prevailed upon to soften his character.'

[1283] Baretti, in a MS. note in _Piozzi Letters_, i. 349, describes
Gwyn as 'the Welsh architect that built the bridge at Oxford.' He built
Magdalen Bridge.

[1284] 'Whence,' asks Goldsmith, 'has proceeded the vain magnificence of
expensive architecture in our colleges? Is it that men study to more
advantage in a palace than in a cell? One single performance of taste or
genius confers more real honour on its parent university than all the
labours of the chisel.' _Present State of Polite Learning_, ch. 13.
Newton used to say of his friend, the Earl of Pembroke, 'that he was a
lover of stone dolls.' Brewster's _Newton_, ed. 1860, ii. 334.

[1285] Afterwards Lord Stowell. See the beginning of Boswell's

[1286] See _ante_, i. 446.

[1287] See _ante_, ii. 121, and _post_, Oct. 27, 1779.

[1288] See _ante_, p. 424.

[1289] See _post_, under April 4, 1781.

[1290] See _ante_, p. 315.

[1291] See _ante_, i. 398.

[1292] 'Hume told Cadell, the bookseller, that he had a great desire to
be introduced to as many of the persons who had written against him as
could be collected. Accordingly, Dr. Douglas, Dr. Adams, &c., were
invited by Cadell to dine at his house, in order to meet Hume. They
came; and Dr. Price, who was of the party, assured me that they were all
delighted with David.' Rogers's _Table Talk_, p. 106.

[1293] Boswell, in his _Corsica_, ed. 1879, p. 204, uses a strange
argument against infidelity. 'Belief is favourable to the human mind
were it for nothing else but to furnish it entertainment. An infidel, I
should think, must frequently suffer from ennui.' In his _Hebrides_,
Aug. 15, note, he attacks Adam Smith for being 'so forgetful of _human
comfort_ as to give any countenance to that dreary infidelity which
would "make us poor indeed."'

[1294] 'JEMMY TWITCHER. Are we more dishonest than the rest of mankind?
What we win, gentlemen, is our own, by the law of arms and the right of
conquest. CROOK-FINGER'D JACK. Where shall we find such another set of
practical philosophers, who to a man are above the fear of death?' _The
Beggar's Opera_, act ii. sc. i.

[1295] Boswell, I think, here aims a blow at Gibbon. He says (_post_,
under March 19, 1781), that 'Johnson had talked with some disgust of Mr.
Gibbon's ugliness.' He wrote to Temple on May 8, 1779:--'Gibbon is an
ugly, affected, disgusting fellow, and poisons our literary club to me.'
He had before classed him among 'infidel wasps and venomous insects.'
_Letters of Boswell_, pp. 233, 242. The younger Coleman describes Gibbon
as dressed 'in a suit of flowered velvet, with a bag and sword.' _Random
Records_, i. 121.

[1296] 'Formam quidem ipsam, Marce fili, et tamquam faciem honesti
vides, "quae si oculis cerneretur, mirabiles amores" ut ait Plato,
"excitaret sapientiae."' Cicero, De _Off_. i. 5.

[1297] Of Beattie's attack on Hume, he said:--'Treating your adversary
with respect, is striking soft in a battle.' Boswell's _Hebrides_,
Aug. 15.

[1298] When Gibbon entered Magdalen College in 1752, the ordinary
commoners were already excluded. 'As a gentleman commoner,' he writes,
'I was admitted to the society of the fellows, and fondly expected that
some questions of literature would be the amusing and instructive topics
of their discourse. Their conversation stagnated in a round of college
business, Tory politics, personal anecdotes, and private scandal; their
dull and deep potations excused the brisk intemperance of youth; and
their constitutional toasts were not expressive of the most lively
loyalty for the house of Hanover.' Gibbon's _Misc. Works_, i. 53. In
Jesse's edition of White's _Selborne_, p. ii, it is stated that 'White,
as long as his health allowed him, always attended the annual election
of Fellows at Oriel College, where the gentlemen-commoners were allowed
the use of the common-room after dinner. This liberty they seldom
availed themselves of, except on the occasion of Mr. White's visits; for
such was his happy manner of telling a story that the room was always
filled when he was there.' He died in 1793.

[1299] 'So different are the colours of life as we look forward to the
future, or backward to the past, and so different the opinions and
sentiments which this contrariety of appearance naturally produces, that
the conversation of the old and young ends generally with contempt or
pity on either side.... One generation is always the scorn and wonder of
the other; and the notions of the old and young are like liquors of
different gravity and texture which never can unite.' _The Rambler_,
No. 69.

[1300] 'It was said of a dispute between two mathematicians, "_malim cum
Scaligero errare quam cum Clavio recte sapere_" that "it was more
eligible to go wrong with one than right with the other." A tendency of
the same kind every mind must feel at the perusal of Dryden's prefaces
and Rymer's discourses.' Johnson's _Works_, vii. 303.

[1301] 'There is evidence of Phil. Jones's love of beer; for we find
scribbled at the end of the college buttery-books, "O yes, O yes, come
forth, Phil. Jones, and answer to your charge for exceeding the
batells." His excess, perhaps, was in liquor.' _Dr. Johnson: His
Friends, &c_., p. 23.

[1302] See _post_, iii. 1.

[1303] Dr. Fisher, who was present, told Mr. Croker that 'he recollected
one passage of the conversation. Boswell quoted _Quern Deus vult
perdere, prius dementat_, and asked where it was. A pause. At last Dr.
Chandler said, in Horace. Another pause. Then Fisher remarked that he
knew of no metre in Horace to which the words could be reduced: and
Johnson said dictatorially, "The young man is right."' See _post_, March
30, 1783. For another of Dr. Fisher's anecdotes, see _ante_, p. 269.
Mark Pattison recorded in his _Diary_ in 1843 (_Memoirs_, p. 203), on
the authority of Mr. (now Cardinal) Newman:--'About 1770, the worst time
in the University; a head of Oriel then, who was continually obliged to
be assisted to bed by his butler. Gaudies, a scene of wild license. At
Christ Church they dined at three, and sat regularly till chapel at
nine.' A gaudy is such a festival as the one in the text.

[1304] The author of the _Commentary on the Psalms_. See Boswell's
_Hebrides_, Aug. 15, note.

[1305] See _ante_, pp. 279, 283.

[1306] 'I have seen,' said Mr. Donne to Sir R. Drewry, 'a dreadful
vision since I saw you. I have seen my dear wife pass twice by me,
through this room, with her hair hanging about her shoulders, and a dead
child in her arms.' He learnt that on the same day, and about the very
hour, after a long and dangerous labour, she had been delivered of a
dead child. Walton's _Life of Dr. Donne_, ed. 1838, p. 25.

[1307] 'Biographers so little regard the manners or behaviour of their
heroes, that more knowledge may be gained of a man's real character by a
short conversation with one of his servants than from a formal and
studied narrative, begun with his pedigree, and ended with his funeral.'
_The Rambler_, No. 60. See _post_, iii. 71.

[1308] See _post_, iii. 112.

[1309] It has been mentioned to me by an accurate English friend, that
Dr. Johnson could never have used the phrase _almost nothing_, as not
being English; and therefore I have put another in its place. At the
same time, I am not quite convinced it is not good English. For the best
writers use the phrase '_Little or nothing_;' i.e. almost so little as
to be nothing. BOSWELL. Boswell might have left _almost nothing_ in his
text. Johnson used it in his writings, certainly twice. 'It will add
_almost nothing_ to the expense.' Works, v. 307. 'I have read little,
_almost nothing_.' _Pr. and Med_. p. 176. Moreover, in a letter to Mrs.
Aston, written on Nov. 5, 1779 (Croker's _Boswell_, p. 640), he
says:--'Nothing almost is purchased.' In _King Lear_, act ii. sc. 2,
we have:--

'Nothing almost sees miracles But misery.'

[1310] 'Pope's fortune did not suffer his charity to be splendid and
conspicuous; but he assisted Dodsley with a hundred pounds, that he
might open a shop.' Johnson's _Works_, viii. 318.

[1311] _A Muse in Livery: or the Footman's Miscellany_. 1732. A rhyme in
the motto on the title-page shows what a Cockney muse Dodsley's was.
He writes:--

'But when I mount behind the coach,
And bear aloft a flaming torch.'

The Preface is written with much good feeling.

[1312] James Dodsley, many years a bookseller in Pall Mall. He died Feb.
19, 1797. P. CUNNINGHAM. He was living, therefore, when this anecdote
was published.

[1313] Horace Walpole (_Letters_, iii. 135) says:--'You know how decent,
humble, inoffensive a creature Dodsley is; how little apt to forget or
disguise his having been a footman.' Johnson seems to refer to Dodsley
in the following passage, written in 1756 (_Works_, v. 358):--'The last
century imagined that a man composing in his chariot was a new object of
curiosity; but how much would the wonder have been increased by a
footman studying behind it.'

[1314] See _ante_, i. 417.

[1315] Yet surely it is a very useful work, and of wonderful research
and labour for one man to have executed. BOSWELL. See Boswell's
_Hebrides_, Oct. 17, 1773.

[1316] Two days earlier, Hume congratulated Gibbon on the first volume
of his _Decline and Fall_:--'I own that if I had not previously had the
happiness of your personal acquaintance, such a performance from an
Englishman in our age would have given me some surprise. You may smile
at this sentiment, but as it seems to me that your countrymen, for
almost a whole generation, have given themselves up to barbarous and
absurd faction, and have totally neglected all polite letters, I no
longer expected any valuable production ever to come from them.' J. H.
Burton's _Hume_, ii. 484.

[1317] Five weeks later Boswell used a different metaphor. 'I think it
is right that as fast as infidel wasps or venomous insects, whether
creeping or flying, are hatched, they should be crushed.' _Letters of
Boswell_, p. 232. If the infidels were wasps to the orthodox, the
orthodox were hornets to the infidels. Gibbon wrote (_Misc. Works_, i.
273):--'The freedom of my writings has indeed provoked an implacable
tribe; but as I was safe from the stings, I was soon accustomed to the
buzzing of the hornets.'

[1318] Macaulay thus examines this report (_Essays_, i. 360):--'To what
then, it has been asked, could Johnson allude? Possibly to some anecdote
or some conversation of which all trace is lost. One conjecture may be
offered, though with diffidence. Gibbon tells us in his memoirs [_Misc.
Works_, i. 56] that at Oxford he took a fancy for studying Arabic, and
was prevented from doing so by the remonstrances of his tutor. Soon
after this, the young man fell in with Bossuet's controversial writings,
and was speedily converted by them to the Roman Catholic faith. The
apostasy of a gentleman-commoner would of course be for a time the chief
subject of conversation in the common room of Magdalene. His whim about
Arabic learning would naturally be mentioned, and would give occasion to
some jokes about the probability of his turning Mussulman. If such jokes
were made, Johnson, who frequently visited Oxford, was very likely to
hear of them.' Though Gibbon's _Autobiography_ ends with the year 1788,
yet he wrote portions of it, I believe, after the publication of the
_Life of Johnson_. (See _ante_, ii. 8, note 1.) I have little doubt that
in the following lines he refers to the attack thus made on him by
Boswell and Johnson. 'Many years afterwards, when the name of Gibbon was
become as notorious as that of Middleton, it was industriously whispered
at Oxford that the historian had formerly "turned Papist;" my character
stood exposed to the reproach of inconstancy.' Gibbon's _Misc.
Works_, i. 65.

[1319] Steele, in his _Apology for Himself and his Writings_ (ed. 1714,
p. 80), says of himself:--'He first became an author when an ensign of
the Guards, a way of life exposed to much irregularity, and being
thoroughly convinced of many things of which he often repented, and
which he more often repeated, he writ, for his own private use, a little
book called the _Christian Hero_, with a design principally to fix upon
his own mind a strong impression of virtue and religion, in opposition
to a stronger propensity towards unwarrantable pleasures. This secret
admonition was too weak; he therefore printed the book with his name, in
hopes that a standing testimony against himself, and the eyes of the
world, that is to say of his acquaintance, upon him in a new light,
might curb his desires, and make him ashamed of understanding and
seeming to feel what was virtuous, and living so quite contrary a life.'

[1320] 'A man,' no doubt, is Boswell himself.

[1321] '"I was sure when I read it that the preface to Baretti's
_Dialogues_ was Dr. Johnson's; and that I made him confess." "Baretti's
_Dialogues_! What are they about?" "A thimble, and a spoon, and a knife,
and a fork! They are the most absurd, and yet the most laughable things
you ever saw. They were written for Miss Thrale, and all the dialogues
are between her and him, except now and then a shovel and a poker, or a
goose and a chair happen to step in."' Mme. D'Arblay's _Diary_, ii. 263.

[1322] 'April 4, 1760. At present nothing is talked of, nothing admired,
but what I cannot help calling a very insipid and tedious performance;
it is a kind of novel called _The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy_;
the great humour of which consists in the whole narration always going
backwards.' Walpole's _Letters_, iii. 298. 'March 7, 1761. The second
and third volumes of _Tristram Shandy_, the dregs of nonsense, have
universally met the contempt they deserve.' _Ib_ 382. '"My good friend,"
said Dr. Farmer (_ante_, i. 368), one day in the parlour at Emanuel
College, "you young men seem very fond of this _Tristram Shandy_; but
mark my words, however much it may be talked about at present, yet,
depend upon it, in the course of twenty years, should any one wish to
refer to it, he will be obliged to go to an antiquary to inquire for
it."' Croker's _Boswell_, ed. 1844, ii. 339. See _ante_, ii. 173, note
2, and 222.

[1323] Mrs. Rudd. She and the two brothers Perreau were charged with
forgery. She was tried first and acquitted, the verdict of the jury
being 'not guilty, according to the evidence before us.' The _Ann. Reg_.
xviii. 231, adds:--'There were the loudest applauses on this acquittal
almost ever known in a court of justice.' 'The issue of Mrs. Rudd's
trial was thought to involve the fate of the Perreaus; and the popular
fancy had taken the part of the woman as against the men.' They were
convicted and hanged, protesting their innocence. _Letters of Boswell_,
pp. 223-230. Boswell wrote to Temple on April 28:--'You know my
curiosity and love of adventure; I have got acquainted with the
celebrated Mrs. Rudd.' _Ib_ P. 233--Three days later, he wrote:--
'Perhaps the adventure with Mrs. Rudd is very foolish, notwithstanding
Dr. Johnson's approbation.' _Ib_ p. 235. See _post_, iii. 79, and
April 28, 1778.

[1324] See _post_, May 15, 1784, where Johnson says that Mrs. Montagu
has 'a constant _stream_ of conversation,' and a second time allows that
'Burke is an extraordinary man.' Johnson writes of 'a _stream_ of
melody.' Works, viii. 92. For Burke's conversation see _post_, April 7,
1778, 1780 in Mr. Langton's _Collection_, March 21, 1783, and Boswell's
_Hebrides_, Aug. 15.

[1325] See _ante_, ii. 16.

[1326] According to Boswell's record in _Boswelliana_, p. 273, two
sayings are here united. He there writes, on the authority of Mr.
Langton:--'Dr. Johnson had a very high opinion of Edmund Burke. He said,
"That fellow calls forth all my powers"; and once when he was out of
spirits and rather dejected he said, "Were I to see Burke now 'twould
kill me."'

[1327] See _ante_, ii. 100, iii. 24, and under May 8, 1781.

[1328] In a note on the _Dunciad_, ii. 50, the author of this epigram is
said to be Dr. Evans.

[1329] Capability Brown, as he was called. See _post_, Oct. 30, 1779.

[1330] Such an 'impudent dog' had Boswell himself been in Corsica.
'Before I was accustomed to the Corsican hospitality,' he wrote. 'I
sometimes forgot myself, and imagining I was in a publick house, called
for what I wanted, with the tone which one uses in calling to the
waiters at a tavern. I did so at Pino, asking for a variety of things at
once, when Signora Tomasi perceiving my mistake, looked in my face and
smiled, saying with much calmness and good nature, "una cosa dopo un
altra, Signore. One thing after another, Sir."' Boswell's _Corsica_, ed.
1879, p. 151. A Corsican gentleman, who knows the Tomasi family, told me
that this reply is preserved among them by tradition.

[1331] Sir John Hawkins has preserved very few _Memorabilia_ of Johnson.
There is, however, to be found, in his bulky tome [p. 87], a very
excellent one upon this subject:--'In contradiction to those, who,
having a wife and children, prefer domestick enjoyments to those which a
tavern affords, I have heard him assert, _that a tavern chair was the
throne of human felicity_.--"As soon," said he, "as I enter the door of
a tavern, I experience an oblivion of care, and a freedom from
solicitude: when I am seated, I find the master courteous, and the
servants obsequious to my call; anxious to know and ready to supply my
wants: wine there exhilarates my spirits, and prompts me to free
conversation and an interchange of discourse with those whom I most
love: I dogmatise and am contradicted, and in this conflict of opinions
and sentiments I find delight."' BOSWELL.

[1332] We happened to lie this night at the inn at Henley, where
Shenstone wrote these lines. BOSWELL. I give them as they are found in
the corrected edition of his Works, published after his death. In
Dodsley's collection the stanza ran thus:--

'Whoe'er has travell'd life's dull round,
Whate'er his _various tour has_ been,
May sigh to think _how oft_ he found
His warmest welcome at an Inn.' BOSWELL.

[1333] See Boswell's _Hebrides_, Sept. 29.

[1334] See Shenstone's _Works_, iii. 311. Rev. Richard Graves, author of
_The Spiritual Quixote_. He and Shenstone were fellow-students at
Pembroke College, Oxford.

[1335] 'He too often makes use of the _abstract_ for the _concrete_.'

[1336] 'I asked him why he doated on a coach so, and received for
answer, that in the first place the company was shut in with him
_there_, and could not escape as out of a room; in the next place he
heard all that was said in a carriage, where it was my turn to be deaf.'
Piozzi's _Anec_. p. 276. See _post_, iii, 5, 162. Gibbon, at the end of
a journey in a post-chaise, wrote (_Misc. Works_, i. 408):--'I am always
so much delighted and improved with this union of easeand motion, that,
were not the expense enormous, I would travel every year some hundred
miles, more especially in England.'

[1337] Johnson (_Works_, viii. 406) tells the following 'ludicrous
story' of _The Fleece_. 'Dodsley the bookseller was one day mentioning
it to a critical visitor with more expectation of success than the other
could easily admit. In the conversation the author's age was asked; and,
being represented as advanced in life, "He will," said the critic, "be
buried in woollen."' To encourage the trade in wool, an Act was passed
requiring the dead to be buried in woollen, Burke refers to this when he
says of Lord Chatham, who was swathed in flannel owing to the gout:--
'Like a true obeyer of the laws, he will be buried in woollen.' Burke's
_Corres_, ii. 201. Hawkins (_Life_, p. 231) says:--'A portrait of Samuel
Dyer [see _post_, 1780, in Mr. Langton's _Collection_] was painted by
Sir Joshua, and from it a mezzotinto was scraped; the print whereof, as
he was little known, sold only to his friends. A singular use was made
of it; Bell, the publisher of _The English Poets_, caused an engraving
to be made from it, and prefixed it to the poems of Mr. John Dyer.'

[1338] Such is this little laughable incident, which has been often
related. Dr. Percy, the Bishop of Dromore, who was an intimate friend of
Dr. Grainger, and has a particular regard for his memory, has
communicated to me the following explanation:--

'The passage in question was originally not liable to such a perversion;
for the authour having occasion in that part of his work to mention the
havock made by rats and mice, had introduced the subject in a kind of
mock heroick, and a parody of Homer's battle of the frogs and mice,
invoking the Muse of the old Grecian bard in an elegant and well-turned
manner. In that state I had seen it; but afterwards, unknown to me and
other friends, he had been persuaded, contrary to his own better
judgement, to alter it, so as to produce the unlucky effect

The above was written by the Bishop when he had not the Poem itself to
recur to; and though the account given was true of it at one period, yet
as Dr. Grainger afterwards altered the passage in question, the remarks
in the text do not now apply to the printed poem.

The Bishop gives this character of Dr. Grainger:--'He was not only a man
of genius and learning, but had many excellent virtues; being one of the
most generous, friendly, and benevolent men I ever knew.' BOSWELL.

[1339] Dr. Johnson said to me, 'Percy, Sir, was angry with me for
laughing at _The Sugar-cane_: for he had a mind to make a great thing of
Grainger's rats.' BOSWELL. Johnson helped Percy in writing a review of
this poem in 1764 (_ante_, i. 481).

[1340] In _Poems_ by Christopher Smart, ed. 1752, p. 100. One line may
serve as a sample of the whole poem, Writing of 'Bacchus, God of hops,'
the poet says:--

''Tis he shall gen'rate the buxom beer.'

[1341] See Boswell's _Hebrides_, Aug. 22.

[1342] Henley in Arden, thirteen miles from Birmingham.

[1343] Mr. Hector's house was in the Square--now known as the Old
Square. It afterwards formed a part of the Stork Hotel, but it was
pulled down when Corporation Street was made. A marble tablet had been
placed on the house at the suggestion of the late Mr. George Dawson,
marking the spot where 'Edmund Hector was the host, Samuel Johnson the
guest.' This tablet, together with the wainscoting, the door, and the
mantelpiece of one of the rooms, was set up in Aston Hall, at the
Johnson Centenary, in a room that is to be known as Dr. Johnson's Room.

[1344] My worthy friend Mr. Langton, to whom I am under innumerable
obligations in the course of my Johnsonian History, has furnished me
with a droll illustration about this question. An honest carpenter,
after giving some anecdote in his presence of the ill-treatment which he
had received from a clergyman's wife, who was a noted termagant, and
whom he accused of unjust dealing in some transaction with him, added,
'I took care to let her know what I thought of her.' And being asked,
'What did you say?' answered, 'I told her she was a _scoundrel_.'

[1345] 'As to the baptism of infants, it is a mere human tradition, for
which neither precept nor practice is to be found in all the Scripture.'
Barclay's _Apology_, Proposition xii, ed. 1703, p. 409.

[1346] _John_ iii. 30. BOSWELL.

[1347] Mr. Seward (_Anec_. ii. 223) says that 'Dr. Johnson always
supposed that Mr. Richardson had Mr. Nelson in his thoughts when he
delineated the character of Sir Charles Grandison.' Robert Nelson was
born in 1656, and died in 1715.

[1348] 'Mr. Arkwright pronounced Johnson to be the only person who on a
first view understood both the principle and powers of machinery.'
Johnson's _Works_ (1787), xi. 215. Arthur Young, who visited Birmingham
in 1768, writes:--'I was nowhere more disappointed than at Birmingham,
where I could not gain any intelligence even of the most common nature,
through the excessive jealousy of the manufacturers. It seems the French
have carried off several of their fabricks, and thereby injured the town
not a little. This makes them so cautious that they will show strangers
scarce anything.' _Tour through the North of England_, iii. 279.

[1349] Johnson wrote to Mrs. Thrale (year not given):--'I have passed
one day at Birmingham with my old friend Hector--there's a name--and his
sister, an old love. My mistress is grown much older than my friend,

---"O quid habes illius, illius
Quae spirabat amores
Quae me surpuerat mihi."'

'Of her, of her what now remains,
Who breathed the loves, who
charmed the swains,
And snatched me from my heart?'

FRANCIS, Horace, _Odes_, iv. 13. 18. _Piozzi Letters_, i. 290.

[1350] Some years later he wrote:--'Mrs. Careless took me under her
care, and told me when I had tea enough.' _Ib_. ii. 205.

[1351] See _ante_, ii. 362, note 3.

[1352] Johnson, in a letter to Hector, on March 7 of this year,
described Congreve as 'very dull, very valetudinary, and very recluse,
willing, I am afraid, to forget the world, and content to be forgotten
by it, to repose in that sullen sensuality into which men naturally sink
who think disease a justification of indulgence, and converse only with
those who hope to prosper by indulging them ... Infirmity will come, but
let us not invite it; indulgence will allure us, but let us turn
resolutely away. Time cannot always be defeated, but let us not yield
till we are conquered.' _Notes and Queries_, 6th S., iii. 401.

[1353] In the same letter he said:--'I hope dear Mrs. Careless is well,
and now and then does not disdain to mention my name. It is happy when a
brother and sister live to pass their time at our age together. I have
nobody to whom I can talk of my first years--when I do to Lichfield, I
see the old places but find nobody that enjoyed them with me.'

[1354] I went through the house where my illustrious friend was born,
with a reverence with which it doubtless will long be visited. An
engraved view of it, with the adjacent buildings, is in _The Gent. Mag_.
for Feb. 1875. BOSWELL.

[1355] The scene of Farquhar's _Beaux Stratagem_ is laid in Lichfield.
The passage in which the ale is praised begins as follows:--

'_Aimwell_. I have heard your town of Lichfield much famed for ale; I
think I'll taste that.

'_Boniface_, Sir, I have now in my cellar ten tun of the best ale in
Staffordshire; 'tis smooth as oil, sweet as milk, clear as amber, and
strong as brandy; and will be just fourteen year old the fifth day of
next March, old style.' Act i. sc. i. See _post_, April 20, 1781.

[1356] Though his letters to her are very affectionate, yet what he
wrote of her to Mrs. Thrale shews that her love for him was not strong.
Thus he writes:--'July 20, 1767. Miss Lucy is more kind and civil than I
expected.' _Piozzi Letters_, i. 4. 'July 17, 1771. Lucy is a
philosopher, and considers me as one of the external and accidental
things that are to be taken and left without emotion. If I could learn
of Lucy, would it be better? Will you teach me?' _Ib_ p. 46. 'Aug. 1,
1775. This was to have been my last letter from this place, but Lucy
says I must not go this week. Fits of tenderness with Mrs. Lucy are not
common, but she seems now to have a little paroxysm, and I was not
willing to counteract it.' _Ib_ p. 293. 'Oct. 27, 1781. Poor Lucy's
illness has left her very deaf, and I think, very inarticulate ... But
she seems to like me better than she did.' _Ib_ ii. 208. 'Oct. 31, 1781.
Poor Lucy's health is very much broken ... Her mental powers are not
impaired, and her social virtues seem to increase. She never was so
civil to me before.' _Ib_ p. 211. On his mother's death he had written
to her:--'Every heart must lean to somebody, and I have nobody but you.'
_Ante_ i. 515.

[1357] See _ante_, p. 311.

[1358] See _post_, iii. 131.

[1359] Boswell varies Johnson's definition, which was 'a grain which in
England is generally given to horses, but in Scotland supports the
people.' _ante_, i. 294, note 8.

[1360] '"I remember," said Dr. Johnson, "when all the _decent_ people in
Lichfield got drunk every night."' Boswell's _Hebrides_, Aug. 19. See
_post_, iii. 77.

[1361] He had to allow that in literature they were behind the age.
Nearly four years after the publication of _Evelina_, he
wrote:--'Whatever Burney [by Burney he meant Miss Burney] may think of
the celerity of fame, the name of _Evelina_ had never been heard at
Lichfield till I brought it. I am afraid my dear townsmen will be
mentioned in future days as the last part of this nation that was
civilised. But the days of darkness are soon to be at an end; the
reading society ordered it to be procured this week.' _Piozzi
Letters_, ii. 221.

[1362] See _ante_, ii. 159.

[1363] Garrick himself, like the Lichfieldians, always said--_shupreme,
shuperior_. BURNEY.

[1364] Johnson did not always speak so disrespectfully of Birmingham. In
his _Taxation no Tyranny_ (_Works_, vi. 228), he wrote:--'The traders of
Birmingham have rescued themselves from all imputation of narrow
selfishness by a manly recommendation to Parliament of the rights and
dignity of their native country.' The _boobies_ in this case were
sound Tories.

[1365] This play was Gibber's _Hob; or The Country Wake_, with
additions, which in its turn was Dogget's _Country Wake_ reduced. Reed's
_Biog. Dram_. ii. 307.

[1366] Boswell says, _post_, under Sept. 30, 1783, that 'Johnson had
thought more upon the subject of acting than might be generally

[1367] A nice observer of the female form. CROKER. Terence, _Eun_. iii.

[1368] In Farquhar's Comedy of _Sir Harry Wildair_.

[1369] Gilbert Walmesley, _ante_, i. 81

[1370] See _ante_, i. 83.

[1371] Cradock (_Memoirs_ i. 74) says that in the Cathedral porch, a
gentleman, 'who might, perhaps, be too ambitious to be thought an
acquaintance of the great Literary Oracle, ventured to say, "Dr.
Johnson, we have had a most excellent discourse to day," to which he
replied, "That may be, Sir, but it is impossible for you to know it."'

[1372] _The Tempest_, act iv., sc. 1.

[1373] See _post_, iii. 151.

[1374] Johnson, in 1763, advising Miss Porter to rent a house,
said:--'You might have the Palace for twenty pounds.' Croker's
_Boswell_, p. 145.

[1375] Boswell, after his book was published, quarrelled with Miss
Seward. He said that he was forced to examine these communications 'with
much caution. They were tinctured with a strong prejudice against
Johnson.' His book, he continued, was meant to be 'a _real history_ and
not a _novel_,' so that he had 'to suppress all erroneous particulars,
however entertaining.' He accused her of attacking Johnson with
malevolence. _Gent. Mag_. 1793, p. 1009. For Boswell's second meeting
with her, see _post_, iii. 284.

[1376] A Signor Recupero had noticed on Etna, the thickness of each
stratum of earth between the several strata of lava. 'He tells me,'
wrote Brydone, 'he is exceedingly embarrassed by these discoveries in
writing the history of the mountain. That Moses hangs like a dead weight
upon him, and blunts all his zeal for inquiry; for that really he has
not the conscience to make his mountain so young as that prophet makes
the world. The bishop, who is strenuously orthodox--for it is an
excellent see--has already warned him to be upon his guard, and not to
pretend to be a better natural historian than Moses.' Brydone's
_Tour_, i. 141.

[1377] He wrote:--'Mr. Boswell is with me, but I will take care that he
shall hinder no business, nor shall he know more than you would have
him.' Mr. Morison's _Collection of Autographs_, vol. ii.

[1378] 'March 23, 1776. Master Thrale, son of Mr. Thrale, member for the
Borough, suddenly before his father's door.' _Gent. Mag_. 1776, p. 142.

[1379] See _post_, iii. 95.

[1380] 'Sir,' he said, 'I would walk to the extent of the diameter of
the earth to save Beauclerk' (_post_, 1780, in Mr. Langton's
_Collection_). He had written of the boy the previous summer:--'Pray
give my service to my dear friend Harry, and tell him that Mr. Murphy
does not love him better than I do.' _Piozzi Letters_, i. 262.

[1381] See an accurate and animated statement of Mr. Gastrel's
barbarity, by Mr. Malone, in a note on _Some account of the Life of
William Shakspeare_, prefixed to his admirable edition of that poet's
works, vol. i. p. 118. BOSWELL.

[1382] See Prior's _Life of Malone_, p. 142.

[1383] _Piozzi Letters_, i. 307.

[1384] See _post_, iii. 18, note 1.

[1385] Mr. Hoole wrote of Johnson's last days:--'Being asked unnecessary
and frivolous questions, he said he often thought of _Macbeth_ [act iii.
sc. 4]--"Question enrages him."' Croker's _Boswell_, p. 843. See _post_,
iii. 57, 268.

[1386] Sir Fletcher Norton, afterwards Speaker of the House of Commons,
and in 1782 created Baron Grantley. MALONE. For Norton's ignorance, see
_ante_, ii. 91. Walpole (_Letters_, iv. 124) described him as 'a tough
enemy; I don't mean in parts or argument, but one that makes an
excellent bull-dog.' When in 1770 he was made Speaker, Walpole
wrote:--'Nothing can exceed the badness of his character, even in this
bad age.' _Ib_ v. 217. In his _Memoirs of the Reign of George III_, i.
240, Walpole says:--'It was known that in private causes he took money
from both parties.' Horne (afterwards Horne Tooke) charged Norton with
this practice; _Parl. Hist_. xvii. 1010; and so did Junius in his
_Letter_ xxxix. Churchill, in _The Duellist_ (_Poems_, ed. 1766, ii.
87), writing of him, says:--

'How often...
Hath he ta'en briefs on false pretence,
and undertaken the defence
of trusting fools, whom in the end
He meant to ruin, not defend.'

Lord Eldon said that 'he was much known by the name of Sir Bull-face
Double Fee.' He added that 'he was not a lawyer.' Twiss's _Eldon_, iii.
98. 'Acting, it was supposed from resentment, having been refused a
peerage,' he made on May 7, 1777, a bold speech to the King on
presenting the Civil List Bill. 'He told him that his faithful Commons,
labouring under burthens almost too heavy to be borne, had granted him a
very great additional revenue--great beyond example, great beyond his
Majesty's highest wants.' _Parl. Hist_. xix. 213, and Walpole's _Journal
of the Reign of George III_, ii. 113.

[1387] Burns's Holy Willie, like Boswell, was an Ayrshire man.

[1388] Johnson, on May 16, wrote of him to Mrs. Thrale:--'He has his
head as full as yours at an election. Livings and preferments, as if he
were in want with twenty children, run in his head. But a man must have
his head on something, small or great.' _Piozzi Letters_, i. 325.

[1389] Johnson wrote on May 25, 1780 (_Piozzi Letters_, ii. 136):'----
is come to town, brisk and vigorous, fierce and fell, to drive on his
lawsuit. Nothing in all life now can be more _profligater_ than what he
is; and if, in case, that so be, that they persist for to resist him, he
is resolved not to spare no money, nor no time.' Taylor, no doubt, is
meant, and Baretti, in a marginal note, says:--'This was the elegant
phraseology of that Doctor.' See _post_, iii. 180.

[1390] See _ante_, p. 460.

[1391] He did not hold with Steele, who in _The Spectator_, No. 153,
writes:--'It was prettily said, "He that would be long an old man must
begin early to be one."' Mrs. Piozzi (_Anec_. p. 275) says that 'saying
of the old philosopher, that he who wants least is most like the gods
who want nothing, was a favourite sentence with Dr. Johnson, who
required less attendance, sick or well, than ever I saw any human

[1392] Dr. Butter, of Derby, is mentioned _post_, iii. 163, and under
May 8, 1781.

[1393] Andrew Stuart's _Letters to Lord Mansfield_ (_ante_, ii. 229).

[1394] Johnson was thinking of Charles's meeting with the King of
Poland. 'Charles XII. etait en grosses bottes, ayant pour cravate un
taffetas noir qui lui serrait le cou; son habit etait, comme a
l'ordinaire, d'un gros drap bleu, avec des boutons de cuivre dore.'
Voltaire's _Works_, ed. 1819, xx. 123.


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