Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Free Classic E-books

Life Of Johnson, Vol. 3 by Boswell, Edited by Birkbeck Hill

Part 10 out of 12

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 1.4 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

talk of the regatta.' _Ib_. p. 260. He was no doubt sick of the constant
reference made by writers and public speakers to Rome. For instance, in
Bolingbroke's _Dissertation upon Parties_, we find in three consecutive
Letters (xi-xiii) five illustrations drawn from Rome.

[586] It is strange that Boswell does not mention that on this day they
met the Duke and Duchess of Argyle in the street. That they did so we
learn from _Piozzi Letters_, i. 386. Perhaps the Duchess shewed him 'the
same marked coldness' as at Inverary. Boswell's _Hebrides_, Oct. 25.

[587] At Auchinleck he had 'exhorted Boswell to plant assiduously.'
Boswell's _Hebrides_, Nov. 4.

[588] See _ante_, i. 72. In Scotland it was Cocker's _Arithmetic_ that
he took with him. Boswell's _Hebrides_, Aug. 31. He was not always
correct in his calculations. For instance, he wrote to Mrs. Thrale from
Ashbourne less than a fortnight after Boswell's departure: 'Mr. Langdon
bought at Nottingham fair fifteen tun of cheese; which, at an ounce
a-piece, will suffice after dinner for four-hundred-and-eighty thousand
men.' _Piozzi Letters_, ii. 2. To arrive at this number he must have
taken a hundredweight as equal to, not 112, but 100, pounds.

[589] Johnson wrote the next day:--'Boswell is gone, and is, I hope,
pleased that he has been here; though to look on anything with pleasure
is not very common. He has been gay and good-humoured in his usual way,
but we have not agreed upon any other expedition.' _Piozzi Letters_,
i. 384.

[590] He lent him also the original journal of his _Hebrides_, and
received in return a complimentary letter, which he in like manner
published. Boswell's _Hebrides_, near the end.

[591] 'The landlord at Ellon said that he heard he was the greatest man
in England, next to Lord Mansfield.' _Ante_, ii. 336.

[592] See _ante_, under March 15, 1776, where Johnson says that 'truth
is essential to a story.'

[593] Johnson wrote to Mrs. Thrale:--'Boswell kept his journal very
diligently; but then what was there to journalize? I should be glad
to see what he says of *********.' _Piozzi Letters_, i. 390. The number
of stars renders it likely that Beauclerk is meant. See _ante_, p. 195,
note 1.

[594] See _ante_, ii. 279.

[595] Mr. Beauclerk. See _ante_, p. 195.

[596] Beauclerk.

[597] Johnson wrote to Mrs. Thrale:--'Boswell says his wife does not
love me quite well yet, though we have made a formal peace.' _Piozzi
Letters_, i. 390.

[598] A daughter born to him. BOSWELL. Mr. Croker says that this
daughter was Miss Jane Langton, mentioned post, May 10, 1784.

[599] She had already had eleven children, of whom seven were by this
time dead. _Ante_, p. 109. This time a daughter was born, and not a
young brewer. _Post_, July 3, 1778.

[600] Three months earlier Johnson wrote to Mrs. Thrale:--'We are not
far from the great year of a hundred thousand barrels, which, if three
shillings be gained upon each barrel, will bring us fifteen thousand
pounds a year.' _Piozzi Letters_, i. 357. We may see how here, as
elsewhere, he makes himself almost one with the Thrales.

[601] See _ante_, p. 97.

[602] Mrs. Aston. BOSWELL.

[603] See _State Trials_, vol. xi. p. 339, and Mr. Hargrave's
argument. BOSWELL. See _ante_, p. 87.

[604] The motto to it was happily chosen:--

'Quamvis ille niger, quamvis tu candidus esses.'

I cannot avoid mentioning a circumstance no less strange than true, that
a brother Advocate in considerable practice, but of whom it certainly
cannot be said, _Ingenuas didicit fideliter artes_, asked Mr. Maclaurin,
with a face of flippant assurance, 'Are these words your own?' BOSWELL.
Sir Walter Scott shows where the humour of this motto chiefly lay. 'The
counsel opposite,' he writes, 'was the celebrated Wight, an excellent
lawyer, but of very homely appearance, with heavy features, a blind eye
which projected from its socket, a swag belly, and a limp. To him
Maclaurin applied the lines of Virgil:--

'Quamvis ille niger, quamvis tu candidus esses,
O formose puer, nimium ne crede colori.'

['Though he was black, and thou art heavenly fair,
Trust not too much to that enchanting face.'

DRYDEN. Virgil, _Eclogues_, ii. 16.] Mr. Maclaurin wrote an essay
against the Homeric tale of 'Troy divine,' I believe, for the sole
purpose of introducing a happy motto,--

'Non anni domuere decem non mille carinae.'

[AEneid, ii. 198.] Croker's _Boswell_, p. 279.

[605] There is, no doubt, some malice in this second mention of Dundas's
Scottish accent (see _ante_, ii. 160). Boswell complained to Temple in
1789 that Dundas had not behaved well to himself or his brother David.
'The fact is, he writes, 'on David's being obliged to quit Spain on
account of the war, Dundas promised to my father that he would give him
an office. Some time after my father's death, Dundas renewed the
assurance to me in strong terms, and told me he had said to Lord
Caermarthen, "It is a deathbed promise, and I must fulfil it." Yet
David has now been kept waiting above eight years, when he might have
established himself again in trade.... This is cruel usage.' Boswell
adds:--'I strongly suspect Dundas has given Pitt a prejudice against me.
The excellent Langton says it is disgraceful; it is utter folly in Pitt
not to reward and attach to his Administration a man of my popular and
pleasant talents, whose merit he has acknowledged in a letter under his
own hand.' _Letters of Boswell_, p. 286.

[606] Knight was kidnapped when a child and sold to a Mr. Wedderburne of
Ballandean, who employed him as his personal servant. In 1769 his master
brought him to Britain, and from that time allowed him sixpence a week
for pocket money. By the assistance of his fellow-servants he learnt to
read. In 1772 he read in a newspaper the report of the decision in the
Somerset Case. 'From that time,' said Mr. Ferguson, 'he had had it in his
head to leave his master's service.' In 1773 he married a fellow-servant,
and finding sixpence a week insufficient for married life, applied for
ordinary wages. This request being refused, he signified his intention
of seeking service elsewhere. On his master's petition to the Justices
of Peace of Perthshire, he was brought before them on a warrant; they
decided that he must continue with him as formerly. For some time he
continued accordingly; but a child being born to him, he petitioned the
Sheriff, who decided in his favour. He thereupon left the house of his
master, who removed the cause into the Court of Session.' Ferguson
maintained that there are 'many examples of greater servitude in this
country [Scotland] than that claimed by the defender, i.e. [Mr.
Wedderburne, the plaintiff]. There still exists a species of perpetual
servitude, which is supported by late statutes and by daily practice,
viz. That which takes place with regard to the coaliers and sailers,
where, from the single circumstance of entering to work after puberty,
they are bound to perpetual service, and sold along with the works.'
Ferguson's _Additional Information_, July 4, 1775, pp. 3; 29; and
Maclaurin's _Additional Information_, April 20, 1776, p. 2. See _ante_,
p. 202.

[607] See _ante_, p. 106.

[608] Florence Wilson accompanied, as tutor, Cardinal Wolsey's nephew
to Paris, and published at Lyons in 1543 his _De Tranquillitate Animi
Dialogus_. Rose's _Biog. Dict_. xii. 508.

[609] When Johnson visited Boswell in Edinburgh, Mrs. Boswell 'insisted
that, to show all respect to the Sage, she would give up her own
bed-chamber to him, and take a worse.' Boswell's _Hebrides_, Aug. 14.
See _post_, April 18, 1778.

[610] See _ante_, Dec. 23, 1775.

[611] Fielding, in his _Voyage to Lisbon_ (p. 2), writes of him as
'my friend Mr. Welch, whom I never think or speak of but with love
and esteem.' See _post_, under March 30, 1783.

[612] Johnson defines _police_ as _the regulation and government of a
city or country, so far as regards the inhabitants_.

[613] At this time Under-secretary of State. See _ante_, i. 478, note 1.

[614] Fielding, after telling how, unlike his predecessor, he had not
plundered the public or the poor, continues:--'I had thus reduced an
income of about L500 a-year of the dirtiest money upon earth to little
more than L300; a considerable proportion of which remained with my
clerk.' He added that he 'received from the Government a yearly pension
out of the public service money.' _Voyage to Lisbon_, Introduction.

[615] The friendship between Mr. Welch and him was unbroken. Mr. Welch
died not many months before him, and bequeathed him five guineas for a
ring, which Johnson received with tenderness, as a kind memorial. His
regard was constant for his friend Mr. Welch's daughters; of whom, Jane
is married to Mr. Nollekens the statuary, whose merit is too well known
to require any praise from me. BOSWELL.

[616] See _ante_, ii. 50. It seems from Boswell's words, as the editor
of the _Letters of Boswell_ (p. 91) points out, that in this case he
was 'only a friend and amateur, and not a duly appointed advocate.'
He certainly was not retained in an earlier stage of the cause, for on
July 22, 1767, he wrote:--'Though I am not a counsel in that cause, yet
I am much interested in it.' _Ib_. p. 93.

[617] Dr. Percy, the Bishop of Dromore, humorously observed, that Levett
used to breakfast on the crust of a roll, which Johnson, after tearing
out the crumb for himself, threw to his humble friend. BOSWELL. Perhaps
the word _threw_ is here too strong. Dr. Johnson never treated Levett
with contempt. MALONE. Hawkins (_Life_, p. 398) says that 'Dr. Johnson
frequently observed that Levett was indebted to him for nothing more
than house-room, his share in a penny loaf at breakfast, and now and
then a dinner on a Sunday.' Johnson's roll, says Dr. Harwood, was every
morning placed in a small blue and white china saucer which had
belonged to his wife, and which he familiarly called 'Tetty.' See the
inscription on the saucer in the Lichfield Museum.

[618] See this subject discussed in a subsequent page, under May 3,
1779. BOSWELL.

[619] On Feb. 17, Lord North 'made his Conciliatory Propositions.'
_Parl. Hist_. xix. 762.

[620] See _ante_, ii 111.

[621] See _ante_, ii. 312.

[622] Alluding to a line in his _Vanity of Human Wishes_, describing
Cardinal Wolsey in his state of elevation:--

'Through him the rays of regal bounty shine.' BOSWELL.

[623] See _ante_, p. 205.

[624] 'In my mind's eye, Horatio.' _Hamlet_, act i. sc. 2.

[625] Mr. Langton. See _ante_, p. 48.

[626] See _ante_, May 12, 1775.

[627] Daughter of Dr. Swinfen, Johnson's godfather, and widow of Mr.
Desmoulins, a writing-master. BOSWELL.

[628] Johnson wrote to Mrs. Montagu on March 5:--'Now, dear Madam, we
must talk of business. Poor Davies, the bankrupt bookseller, is
soliciting his friends to collect a small sum for the repurchase of
part of his household stuff. Several of them gave him five guineas. It
would be an honour to him to owe part of his relief to Mrs. Montagu.'
Croker's _Boswell_, p. 570. J. D'Israeli says (_Calamities of Authors_,
i. 265):--'We owe to Davies beautiful editions of some of our elder
poets, which are now eagerly sought after; yet, though all his
publications were of the best kinds, and are now of increasing value,
the taste of Tom Davies twice ended in bankruptcy.' See _post_, April 7,

[629] See _ante_, i. 391. Davies wrote to Garrick in 1763:--'I remember
that during the run of _Cymbeline_ I had the misfortune to disconcert
you in one scene of that play, for which I did immediately beg your
pardon, and did attribute it to my accidentally seeing Mr. Churchill in
the pit, with great truth; and that was the only time I can recollect
of my being confused or unmindful of my business when that gentleman
was before me. I had even then a more moderate opinion of my abilities
than your candour would allow me, and have always acknowledged that
gentleman's picture of me was fair.' He adds that he left the stage
on account of Garrick's unkindness, 'who,' he says, 'at rehearsals took
all imaginable pains to make me unhappy.' _Garrick Corres_. i. 165.

[630] He was afterwards Solicitor-General under Lord Rockingham and
Attorney-General under the Duke of Portland. 'I love Mr. Lee
exceedingly,' wrote Boswell, 'though I believe there are not any two
specifick propositions of any sort in which we exactly agree. But the
general mass of sense and sociality, literature and religion, in each of
us, produces two given quantities, which unite and effervesce
wonderfully well. I know few men I would go farther to serve than Jack
Lee.' _Letter to the People of Scotland_, p. 75. Lord Eldon said that
Lee, in the debates upon the India Bill, speaking of the charter of the
East India Company, 'expressed his surprise that there could be such
political strife about what he called "a piece of parchment, with a bit
of wax dangling to it." This most improvident expression uttered by a
Crown lawyer formed the subject of comment and reproach in all the
subsequent debates, in all publications of the times, and in everybody's
conversation.' Twiss's _Eldon_, iii. 97. In the debate on Fox's India
Bill on Dec. 3, 1783, Lee 'asked what was the consideration of a
charter, a skin of parchment with a waxed seal at the corner, compared
to the happiness of thirty millions of subjects, and the preservation of
a mighty empire.' _Parl. Hist_. xxiv. 49. See Twiss's _Eldon_, i. 106-9,
and 131, for anecdotes of Lee; and _ante_, ii. 48, note 1.

[631] 'For now we see _through_ a glass darkly; but then face to face.'
I _Corinthians_, xiii. 12.

[632] Goldsmith notices this in the _Haunch of Venison_:--

My friend bade me welcome, but struck me quite dumb
With tidings that Johnson and Burke would not come;
For I knew it (he cried), both eternally fail,
The one with his speeches, and _t'other with Thrale_.'

CROKER. See _ante_, i. 493.

[633] See _post_, April 1, 1781. 'Johnson said:--"He who praises
everybody praises nobody."' Johnson's _Works_ (1787), xi. 216.

[634] See ante, p. 55.

[635] Johnson wrote in July 1775:--'Everybody says the prospect of
harvest is uncommonly delightful; but this has been so long the
summer talk, and has been so often contradicted by autumn, that I do not
suffer it to lay much hold on my mind. Our gay prospects have now for
many years together ended in melancholy retrospects.' _Piozzi Letters_,
i. 259. On Aug. 27, 1777, he wrote:--'Amidst all these little things
there is one great thing. The harvest is abundant, and the weather _a la
merveille_. No season ever was finer.' _Ib_. p. 360. In this month of
March, 1778, wheat was selling at 5s. 3d. the bushel in London; at 6s.
10d. in Somerset; and at 5s. 1d. in Northumberland, Suffolk, and Sussex.
_Gent. Mag_. xlviii. 98. The average price for 1778 was 5s. 3d. _Ann.
Reg_. xxi. 282.

[636] See _post_, iii. 243, Oct. 10, 1779, and April 1, 1781.

[637] The first edition was in 1492. Between that period and 1792,
according to this account, there were 3600 editions. But this is
very improbable. MALONE. Malone assumes, as Mr. Croker points out, that
this rate of publication continued to the year 1792. But after all, the
difference is trifling. Johnson here forgot to use his favourite cure
for exaggeration--counting. See _post_, April 18, 1783. 'Round numbers,'
he said, 'are always false.' Johnson's _Works_ (1787), xi. 198. Horace
Walpole (_Letters_, viii. 300), after making a calculation, writes:--'I
may err in my calculations, for I am a woeful arithmetician; but no
matter, one large sum is as good as another.'

[638] The original passage is: 'Si non potes te talem facere, qualem
vis, quomodo poteris alium ad tuum habere beneplacitum?' _De Imit.
Christ_. lib. i. cap. xvi. J. BOSWELL, Jun.

[639] See p. 29 of this vol. BOSWELL.

[640] Since this was written the attainder has been reversed; and
Nicholas Barnewall is now a peer of Ireland with this title. The person
mentioned in the text had studied physick, and prescribed _gratis_ to
the poor. Hence arose the subsequent conversation. MALONE.

[641] See Franklin's _Autobiography_ for his conversion from

[642] See _ante_, ii. 217, where Johnson advised Boswell to keep a
journal. 'The great thing to be recorded, is the state of your own

[643] 'Nobody can live long without knowing that falsehoods of
convenience or vanity, falsehoods from which no evil immediately visible
ensues, except the general degradation of human testimony, are very
lightly uttered, and, once uttered, are sullenly supported.' Johnson's
_Works_, viii. 23.

[644] _Literary Magazine_, 1756, p. 37. BOSWELL. Johnson's _Works_,
vi. 42. See _post_, Oct. 10, 1779.


'Quodcunque ostendis mihi sic incredulus odi.'
'For while upon such monstrous scenes we gaze,
They shock our faith, our indignation raise.'

FRANCIS. Horace, _Ars Poet_. 1. 188. Johnson speaks of 'the natural
desire of man to propagate a wonder.' _Works_, vii. 2. 'Wonders,' he
says, 'are willingly told, and willingly heard.' _Ib_. viii. 292.
Speaking of Voltaire he says:--'It is the great failing of a strong
imagination to catch greedily at wonders.' _Ib_. vi. 455. See _ante_, i.
309, note 3, ii. 247, and Boswell's _Hebrides_, Oct. 19, 1773. According
to Mrs. Piozzi (_Anec_. p. 137) Hogarth said:--'Johnson, though so wise
a fellow, is more like King David than King Solomon; for he says in his
haste that all men are liars.'

[646] The following plausible but over-prudent counsel on this subject
is given by an Italian writer, quoted by '_Rhedi de generatione
insectarum_,' with the epithet of '_divini poetae_:'

'_Sempre a quel ver ch'ha faccia di menzogna
Dee l'uom chiuder le labbra quanto ei puote;
Pero che senza colpa fa vergogna_.' BOSWELL.

It is strange that Boswell should not have discovered that these lines
were from Dante. The following is Wright's translation:--

'That truth which bears the semblance of a lie,
Should never pass the lips, if possible;
Tho' crime be absent, still disgrace is nigh.'

_Infern_. xvi. 124. CROKER.

[647] See _ante_, i. 7, note 1.

[648] See _ante_, i. 405.

[649] 'Of John Wesley he said:--"He can talk well on any subject."'
_Post_, April 15, 1778. Southey says that 'his manners were almost
irresistibly winning, and his cheerfulness was like perpetual sunshine.'
_Life of Wesley_, i. 409. Wesley recorded on Dec. 18, 1783 (_Journal_,
iv. 258):--'I spent two hours with that great man Dr. Johnson, who is
sinking into the grave by a gentle decay.'

[650] 'When you met him in the street of a crowded city, he attracted
notice, not only by his band and cassock, and his long hair white and
bright as silver, but by his pace and manner, both indicating that all
his minutes were numbered, and that not one was to be lost. "Though I
am always in haste," he says of himself, "I am never in a hurry; because
I never undertake any more work than I can go through with perfect
calmness of spirit."' Southey's _Wesley_, ii. 397.

[651] No doubt the Literary Club. See _ante_, ii. 330, 345. Mr. Croker
says 'that it appears by the books of the Club that the company on that
evening consisted of Dr. Johnson president, Mr. Burke, Mr. Boswell,
Dr. George Fordyce, Mr. Gibbon, Dr. Johnson (again named), Sir Joshua
Reynolds, Lord Upper Ossory, and Mr. R. B. Sheridan.' E. no doubt
stands for Edmund Burke, and J. for Joshua Reynolds. Who are meant by
the other initials cannot be known. Mr. Croker hazards some guesses; but
he says that Sir James Mackintosh and Chalmers were as dubious as

[652] See Langhorne's _Plutarch_, ed. 1809, ii. 133.

[653] 'A man came in balancing a straw upon his nose, and the audience
were clapping their hands in all the raptures of applause.' _The
Citizen of the World_, Letter xxi. According to Davis (_Life of Garrick_,
i. 113), 'in one year, after paying all expenses, L11,000 were the
produce of Mr. Maddocks (the straw-man's agility), added to the talents
of the players at Covent Garden theatre.'

[654] See _ante_, i. 399.

[655] 'Sir' said Edwards to Johnson (_post_, April 17, 1778),
'I remember you would not let us say _prodigious_ at College.'

[656] 'Emigration was at this time a common topick of discourse.
Dr. Johnson regretted it as hurtful to human happiness.' Boswell's
_Hebrides_, Aug. 15, 1773.

[657] In 1766 Johnson wrote a paper (first published in 1808) to
prove that 'the bounty upon corn has produced plenty.' 'The truth of
these principles,' he says, 'our ancestors discovered by reason, and the
French have now found it by experience. In this regulation we have the
honour of being masters to those who, in commercial policy, have been
long accounted the masters of the world.' _Works_, v. 323, 326, and
_ante_, i. 518. 'In 1688 was granted the parliamentary bounty upon the
exportation of corn. The country gentlemen had felt that the money price
of corn was falling. The bounty was an expedient to raise it
artificially to the high price at which it had frequently been sold in
the times of Charles I. and II.' Smith's _Wealth of Nations_, book I. c.
xi. The year 1792, the last year of peace before the great war, was
likewise the last year of exportation. _Penny Cyclo_. viii. 22.


'Though fraught with all learning, yet straining his throat
To persuade Tommy Townshend to lend him a vote.'

Goldsmith's _Retaliation_.

Horace Walpole says of Lord Mansfield's speech on the _Habeas Corpus
Bill_ of 1758:--'Perhaps it was the only speech that in my time at least
had real effect; that is, convinced many persons.' _Reign of George II_,
iii. 120.

[659] Gibbon, who was now a member of parliament, was present at this
dinner. In his _Autobiography_ (_Misc. Works_, i. 221) he says:--'After
a fleeting illusive hope, prudence condemned me to acquiesce in the
humble station of a mute.... Timidity was fortified by pride, and even
the success of my pen discouraged the trial of my voice. But I assisted
at the debates of a free assembly; I listened to the attack and defence
of eloquence and reason; I had a near prospect of the character, views,
and passions of the first men of the age.... The eight sessions that I
sat in parliament were a school of civil prudence, the first and most
essential virtue of an historian.'

[660] Horace, _Odes_, iii. 24, 46.

[661] Lord Bolingbroke, who, however detestable as a metaphysician, must
be allowed to have had admirable talents as a political writer, thus
describes the House of Commons, in his 'Letter to Sir William Wyndham:'
--'You know the nature of that assembly; they grow, like hounds, fond of
the man who shews them game, and by whose halloo they are used to be
encouraged.' BOSWELL. Bolingbroke's _Works_, i. 15.

[662] Smollett says (_Journey_, i. 147) that he had a musquetoon which
could carry eight balls. 'This piece did not fail to attract the
curiosity and admiration of the people in every place through which we
passed. The carriage no sooner halted than a crowd surrounded the man to
view the blunderbuss, which they dignified with the name of _petit
canon_. At Nuys in Burgundy, he fired it in the air, and the whole mob
dispersed, and scampered off like a flock of sheep.'

[663] Smollett does not say that he frightened the nobleman. He mistook
him for a postmaster and spoke to him very roughly. The nobleman seems
to have been good-natured; for, at the next stage, says Smollett,
'observing that one of the trunks behind was a little displaced, he
assisted my servant in adjusting it.' His name and rank were learnt
later on. _Journey_, i. p. 134.

[664] The two things did not happen in the same town. 'I am sure, writes
Thicknesse (_Travels_, ii. 147), 'there was but that single French
nobleman in this mighty kingdom, who would have submitted to such
insults as the Doctor _says_ he treated him with; nor any other town but
Sens [it was Nuys] where the firing of a gun would have so terrified the

[665] Both Smollett and Thicknesse were great grumblers.

[666] Lord Bolingbroke said of Lord Oxford:--'He is naturally inclined
to believe the worst, which I take to be a certain mark of a mean spirit
and a wicked soul; at least I am sure that the contrary quality, when it
is not due to weakness of understanding, is the fruit of a generous
temper and an honest heart.' Bolingbroke's _Works_, i. 25. Lord Eldon
asked Pitt, not long before his death, what he thought of the honesty of
mankind. 'His answer was, that he had a favourable opinion of mankind
upon the whole, and that he believed that the majority was really
actuated by fair meaning and intention.' Twiss's _Eldon_, i. 499.

[667] Johnson wrote in 175l:--'We are by our occupations, education,
and habits of life, divided almost into different species, which
regard one another, for the most part, with scorn and malignity.'
_The Rambler_, No. 160. In No. 173 he writes of 'the general hostility
which every part of mankind exercises against the rest to furnish
insults and sarcasm.' In 1783 he said:--'I am ready now to call a man _a
good man_ upon easier terms than I was formerly.' _Post_, under Aug. 29,

[668] Johnson thirty-four years earlier, in the _Life of Savage_
(_Works_, viii. 188), had written:--'The knowledge of life was indeed
his chief attainment; and it is not without some satisfaction that I can
produce the suffrage of Savage in favour of human nature.' On April 14,
1781, he wrote:--'The world is not so unjust or unkind as it is
peevishly represented. Those who deserve well seldom fail to receive
from others such services as they can perform; but few have much in
their power, or are so stationed as to have great leisure from their own
affairs, and kindness must be commonly the exuberance of content. The
wretched have no compassion; they can do good only from strong
principles of duty.' _Piozzi Letters_, ii. 199.

[669] Pope thus introduces this story:

'Faith in such case if you should prosecute,
I think Sir Godfrey should decide the suit,
Who send the thief who [that] stole the cash away,
And punish'd him that put it in his way.'

_Imitations of Horace_, book II. epist. ii. [l. 23]. BOSWELL.

[670] Very likely Boswell himself. See _post_, July 17, 1779, where
he put Johnson's friendship to the test by neglecting to write to him.

[671] No doubt Dr. Barnard, Dean of Derry, afterwards Bishop of
Killaloe. See _ante_, p. 84.

[672] The reverse of the story of _Combabus_, on which Mr. David Hume
told Lord Macartney, that a friend of his had written a tragedy. It is,
however, possible that I may have been inaccurate in my perception of
what Dr. Johnson related, and that he may have been talking of the same
ludicrous tragical subject that Mr. Hume had mentioned. BOSWELL. The
story of Combabus, which was originally told by Lucian, may be found in
Bayle's _Dictionary_. MALONE.

[673] Horace Walpole, less than three months later, wrote (_Letters_,
vii. 83):--'Poor Mrs. Clive has been robbed again in her own lane
[in Twickenham] as she was last year. I don't make a visit without
a blunderbuss; one might as well be invaded by the French.' Yet Wesley
in the previous December, speaking of highwaymen, records (_Journal_,
iv. 110):--'I have travelled all roads by day and by night for these
forty years, and never was interrupted yet.' Baretti, who was a great
traveller, says:--'For my part I never met with any robbers in my
various rambles through several regions of Europe.' Baretti's _Journey
from London to Genoa_, ii. 266.

[674] A year or two before Johnson became acquainted with the
Thrales a man was hanged on Kennington Common for robbing Mr. Thrale.
_Gent. Mag_. xxxiii. 411.

[675] The late Duke of Montrose was generally said to have been uneasy
on that account; but I can contradict the report from his Grace's own
authority. As he used to admit me to very easy conversation with him, I
took the liberty to introduce the subject. His Grace told me, that when
riding one night near London, he was attacked by two highwaymen on
horseback, and that he instantly shot one of them, upon which the other
galloped off; that his servant, who was very well mounted, proposed to
pursue him and take him, but that his Grace said, 'No, we have had blood
enough: I hope the man may live to repent.' His Grace, upon my presuming
to put the question, assured me, that his mind was not at all clouded by
what he had thus done in self-defence. BOSWELL.

[676] See Boswell's _Hebrides_, Sept. 22, for a discussion on signing

[677] 'Mr. Dunning the great lawyer,' Johnson called him, _ante_, p. 128.
Lord Shelburne says:--'The fact is well known of the present Chief
Justice of the Common Pleas (Lord Loughborough, formerly Mr. Wedderburne)
beginning a law argument in the absence of Mr. Dunning, but upon hearing
him hem in the course of it, his tone so visibly [sic] changed that there
was not a doubt in any part of the House of the reason of it.'
Fitzmaurice's _Shelburne_, iii. 454.

[678] 'The applause of a single human being,' he once said, 'is of great
consequence.' _Post_, 1780, in Mr. Langton's _Collection_.

[679] Most likely Boswell's father, for he answers to what is said of
this person. He was known to Johnson, he had married a second time, and
he was fond of planting, and entertained schemes for the improvement
of his property. See Boswell's _Hebrides_, Nov. 4 and 5, 1773.
_Respectable_ was still a term of high praise. It had not yet come
down to signify 'a man who keeps a gig.' Johnson defines it as
'venerable, meriting respect.' It is not in the earlier editions of his
_Dictionary_. Boswell, in his _Hebrides_ (Oct. 27), calls Johnson the
Duke of Argyle's 'respectable guest,' and _post_, under Sept. 5, 1780,
writes of 'the _respectable_ notion which should ever be entertained of
my illustrious friend.' Dr. Franklin in a dedication to Johnson
describes himself as 'a sincere admirer of his _respectable_ talents;'
_post_, end of 1780. In the _Gent. Mag_. lv. 235, we read that 'a stone
now covers the grave which holds his [Dr. Johnson's] _respectable_
remains.' 'I do not know,' wrote Hannah More (_Memoirs_, i. 43) of
Hampton Court, 'a more _respectable_ sight than a room containing
fourteen admirals, all by Sir Godfrey.' Gibbon (_Misc. Works_, ii. 487),
congratulating Lord Loughborough on becoming Lord Chancellor, speaks of
the support the administration will derive 'from so _respectable_ an
ally.' George III. wrote to Lord Shelburne on Sept. 16, 1782, 'when the
tie between the Colonies and England was about to be formally severed,'
that he made 'the most frequent prayers to heaven to guide me so to act
that posterity may not lay the downfall of this once _respectable_
empire at my door.' Fitzmaurice's _Shelburne_, iii. 297. Lord
Chesterfield (_Misc. Works_, iv. 308) writing of the hour of death
says:--'That moment is at least a very _respectable_ one, let people who
boast of not fearing it say what they please.'

[680] The younger Newbery records that Johnson, finding that he had a
violin, said to him:--'Young man, give the fiddle to the first beggar
man you meet, or you will never be a scholar.' _A Bookseller of the
Last Century_, pp. 127, 145. See Boswell's _Hebrides_, Oct. 15.

[681] When I told this to Miss Seward, she smiled, and repeated, with
admirable readiness, from _Acis and Galatea_,

'Bring me a hundred reeds of ample growth,
To make a pipe for my CAPACIOUS MOUTH.' BOSWELL.

[682] See _post_, June 3, 1784, where Johnson again mentions this. In
_The Spectator_, No. 536, Addison recommends knotting, which was, he
says, again in fashion, as an employment for 'the most idle part of the
kingdom; I mean that part of mankind who are known by the name of the
women's-men, or beaus,' etc. In _The Universal Passion_, Satire i,
Young says of fame:--

'By this inspired (O ne'er to be forgot!)
Some lords have learned to spell, and some to knot.'

Lord Eldon says that 'at a period when all ladies were employed (when
they had nothing better to do) in knotting, Bishop Porteous was asked by
the Queen, whether she might knot on a Sunday. He answered, "You may
not;" leaving her Majesty to decide whether, as _knot_ and _not_ were in
sound alike, she was, or was not, at liberty to do so.' Twiss's _Eldon_,
ii. 355.

[683] See Boswell's _Hebrides_, Aug. 23.

[684] See _post_, p. 248.

[685] Martin's style is wanting in that 'cadence which Temple gave to
English prose' (_post_, p. 257). It would not be judged now so
severely as it was a century ago, as the following instance will
show:--'There is but one steel and tinder-box in all this commonwealth;
the owner whereof fails not upon every occasion of striking fire in the
lesser isles, to go thither, and exact three eggs, or one of the lesser
fowls from each man as a reward for his service; this by them is called
the Fire-Penny, and this Capitation is very uneasy to them; I bid them
try their chrystal with their knives, which, when they saw it did strike
fire, they were not a little astonished, admiring at the strangeness of
the thing, and at the same time accusing their own ignorance,
considering the quantity of chrystal growing under the rock of their
coast. This discovery has delivered them from the Fire-Penny-Tax, and so
they are no longer liable to it.'

[686] See _ante_, p. 226.

[687] Lord Macartney observes upon this passage, 'I have heard him tell
many things, which, though embellished by their mode of narrative, had
their foundation in truth; but I never remember any thing approaching
to this. If he had written it, I should have supposed some wag had put
the figure of one before the three.'--I am, however, absolutely certain
that Dr. Campbell told me it, and I gave particular attention to it,
being myself a lover of wine, and therefore curious to hear whatever is
remarkable concerning drinking. There can be no doubt that some men can
drink, without suffering any injury, such a quantity as to others
appears incredible. It is but fair to add, that Dr. Campbell told me, he
took a very long time to this great potation; and I have heard Dr.
Johnson say, 'Sir, if a man drinks very slowly, and lets one glass
evaporate before he takes another, I know not how long he may drink.'
Dr. Campbell mentioned a Colonel of Militia who sat with him all the
time, and drank equally. BOSWELL.

[688] See _ante_, i. 417.

[689] In the following September she is thus mentioned by Miss Burney:
--'Mrs. Thrale. "To-morrow, Sir, Mrs. Montagu dines here, and then you
will have talk enough." Dr. Johnson began to see-saw, with a countenance
strongly expressive of inward fun, and after enjoying it some time in
silence, he suddenly, and with great animation, turned to me and cried;
"Down with her, Burney! down with her! spare her not! attack her, fight
her, and down with her at once! You are a rising wit, and she is at the
top; and when I was beginning the world, and was nothing and nobody, the
joy of my life was to fire at all the established wits, and then
everybody loved to halloo me on."' Mme. D'Arblay's _Diary_, i. 117. 'She
has,' adds Miss Burney, 'a sensible and penetrating countenance and the
air and manner of a woman accustomed to being distinguished and of great
parts. Dr. Johnson, who agrees in this, told us that a Mrs. Hervey of
his acquaintance says she can remember Mrs. Montagu _trying_ for this
same air and manner.' _Ib_. p. 122. See _ante_, ii. 88.

[690] Only one volume had been published; it ended with the sixteenth

[691] Dr. A. Carlyle (_Auto_. p. 462) says:--'She did not take at
Edinburgh. Lord Kames, who was at first catched with her Parnassian
coquetry, said at last that he believed she had as much learning as a
well-educated college lad here of sixteen. In genuine feelings and deeds
she was remarkably deficient. We saw her often in the neighbourhood of
Newcastle, and in that town, where there was no audience for such an
actress as she was, her natural character was displayed, which was that
of an active manager of her affairs, a crafty chaperon, and a keen
pursuer of her interest, not to be outdone by the sharpest coal-dealer
on the Tyne; but in this capacity she was not displeasing, for she was
not acting a part.'

[692] What my friend meant by these words concerning the amiable
philosopher of Salisbury, I am at a loss to understand. A friend
suggests, that Johnson thought his _manner_ as a writer affected, while
at the same time the _matter_ did not compensate for that fault. In
short, that he meant to make a remark quite different from that which a
_celebrated gentleman_ made on a very eminent physician: 'He is a
coxcomb, but a _satisfactory coxcomb_.' BOSWELL. Malone says that the
_celebrated gentleman_ was Gerard Hamilton. See Boswell's _Hebrides_,
Nov. 3, where Johnson says that 'he thought Harris a coxcomb,' and
_ante_, ii. 225.

[693] _Hermes_.

[694] On the back of the engraving of Johnson in the Common Room
of University College is inscribed:--'Samuel Johnson, LL.D. in hac
camera communi frequens conviva. D.D. Gulielmus Scott nuper socius.'
Gulielmus Scott is better known as Lord Stowell. See _ante_, i. 379,
note 2, and iii. 42; and _post_, April 17, 1778.

[695] See _ante_, under March 15, 1776.

[696] See Boswell's _Hebrides_, Aug. 31.

[697] See _ante_, p. 176.

[698] See _ante_, i. 413.

[699] _Eminent_ is the epithet Boswell generally applies to Burke
(_ante_, ii. 222), and Burke almost certainly is here meant. Yet Johnson
later on said, 'Burke's talk is the ebullition of his mind. He does not
talk from a desire of distinction, but because his mind is full.'
_Post_, March 21, 1783.

[700] Kames describes it as 'an act as wild as any that superstition
ever suggested to a distempered brain.' _Sketches, etc_. iv. 321.

[701] See _ante,_ p. 243.

[702] 'Queen Caroline,' writes Horace Walpole, 'much wished to make
Dr. Clarke a bishop, but he would not subscribe the articles again.
I have often heard my father relate that he sat up one night at the
Palace with the Doctor, till the pages of the backstairs asked if they
would have fresh candles, my father endeavouring to persuade him to
subscribe again, as he had for the living of St. James's. Clarke
pretended he had _then_ believed them. "Well," said Sir Robert, "but if
you do not now, you ought to resign your living to some man who would
subscribe conscientiously." The Doctor would neither resign his living
nor accept the bishopric.' _Journal of the Reign of George III_, i. 8.
See _ante_, i. 398, _post_, Dec. 1784, where Johnson, on his death-bed,
recommended Clarke's _Sermons_; and Boswell's _Hebrides_, Oct. 5.

[703] Boswell took Ogden's _Sermons_ with him to the Hebrides, but
Johnson showed no great eagerness to read them. See Boswell's _Hebrides_,
Aug. 15 and 32.

[704] See _ante_, p. 223.

[705] _King Lear_, act iii. sc. 4.

[706] The Duke of Marlborough.

[707] See Chappell's _Popular Music of the Olden Time_, i. 330.

[708] See _ante_, p. 177.

[709] 'The accounts of Swift's reception in Ireland given by Lord
Orrery and Dr. Delany are so different, that the credit of the writers,
both undoubtedly veracious, cannot be saved but by supposing, what I
think is true, that they speak of different times. Johnson's _Works_,
viii. 207. See Boswell's _Hebrides_, Sept. Lord Orrery says that Swift,
on his return to Ireland in 1714, 'met with frequent indignities from
the populace, and indeed was equally abused by persons of all ranks and
denominations.' Orrery's _Remarks on Swift_, ed. 1752, p. 60. Dr. Delany
says (_Observations_, p. 87) that 'Swift, when he came--to take
possession of his Deanery (in 1713), was received with very
distinguished respect.'

[710] 'He could practise abstinence,' says Boswell (_post_, March 20,
1781), 'but not temperance.'

[711] 'The dinner was good, and the Bishop is knowing and conversible,'
wrote Johnson of an earlier dinner at Sir Joshua's where he had met the
same bishop. _Piozzi Letters_, i. 334.

[712] See _post_, Aug 19, 1784.

[713] There is no mention in the _Journey to Brundusium_ of a brook.
Johnson referred, no doubt, to Epistle I. 16. 12.


'Ne ought save Tyber hastning to his fall
Remaines of all. O world's inconstancie!
That which is firme doth flit and fall away,
And that is flitting doth abide and stay.'

Spenser, _The Ruines of Rome_.

[715] Giano Vitale, to give him his Italian name, was a theologian and
poet of Palermo. His earliest work was published in 1512, and he died
about 1560. _Brunet_, and Zedler's _Universal Lexicon_.


'Albula Romani restat nunc nominis index,
Qui quoque nunc rapidis fertur in aequor aquis.
Disce hinc quid possit Fortuna. Immota labascunt,
Et quae perpetuo sunt agitata manent.'

Jani Vitalis Panormitani _De Roma_. See _Delicia C.C. Italorum
Poetarum_, edit. 1608, p. 1433, It is curious that in all the editions
of Boswell that I have seen, the error _labescunt_ remains unnoticed.

[717] See _post_, June 2, 1781.

[718] Dr. Shipley was chaplain to the Duke of Cumberland. CROKER.
The battle was fought on July 2, N.S. 1747.


'Inconstant as the wind I various rove;
At Tibur, Rome--at Rome, I Tibur love.'

FRANCIS. Horace, _Epistles_, i. 8. 12. In the first two editions Mr.
Cambridge's speech ended here.


'More constant to myself, I leave with pain,
By hateful business forced, the rural scene.'

FRANCIS. Horace, _Epist_., I. 14. 16.

[721] See _ante_, p. 167.

[722] Fox, it should be remembered, was Johnson's junior by nearly
forty years.

[723] See _ante_, i. 413, ii. 214, and Boswell's _Hebrides_, Oct. 2.

[724] See _ante_, i. 478.

[725] 'Who can doubt,' asks Mr. Forster, 'that he also meant slowness
of motion? The first point of the picture is _that_. The poet is
moving slowly, his tardiness of gait measuring the heaviness of
heart, the pensive spirit, the melancholy of which it is the outward
expression and sign.' Forster's _Goldsmith_, i. 369.

[726] See _ante_, ii. 5.

[727] _Essay on Man_, ii. 2.

[728] Gibbon could have illustrated this subject, for not long before
he had at Paris been 'introduced,' he said, 'to the best company of
both sexes, to the foreign ministers of all nations, and to the first
names and characters of France.' Gibbon's _Misc. Works_, i. 227. He says
of an earlier visit:--'Alone, in a morning visit, I commonly found the
artists and authors of Paris less vain and more reasonable than in the
circles of their equals, with whom they mingle in the houses of the
rich.' _Ib_. p. 162. Horace Walpole wrote of the Parisians in 1765,
(_Letters_, iv. 436):--'Their gaiety is not greater than their
delicacy--but I will not expatiate. [He had just described the grossness
of the talk of women of the first rank.] Several of the women are
agreeable, and some of the men; but the latter are in general vain and
ignorant. The _savans_--I beg their pardon, the _philosophes_--are
insupportable, superficial, overbearing, and fanatic.'

[729] See _post_, under Aug. 29, 1783, and Boswell's _Hebrides_, Oct. 14.

[730] See _post_, April 28, 1783.

[731] See _ante_, p. 191.

[732] [Greek: 'gaerusko d aiei polla didaskomenos.'] 'I grow in learning
as I grow in years.' Plutarch, _Solon_, ch. 31.


''Tis somewhat to be lord of some small ground
In which a lizard may at least turn around.'

Dryden, _Juvenal_, iii. 230.

[734] _Modern characters from Shakespeare. Alphabetically arranged_.
A New Edition. London, 1778. It is not a pamphlet but a duodecimo of 88
pages. Some of the lines are very grossly applied.

[735] _As You Like it_, act iii. sc. 2. The giant's name is Gargantua,
not Garagantua. In _Modern Characters_ (p. 47), the next line also is
given:--'Tis a word too great for any mouth of this age's size.'
The lines that Boswell next quotes are not given.

[736] _Coriolanus_, act iii. sc. 1.

[737] See vol. i. p. 498. BOSWELL.

[738] See _ante_, ii. 236, where Johnson charges Robertson with
_verbiage_. This word is not in his _Dictionary_.

[739] Pope, meeting Bentley at dinner, addressed him thus:--'Dr.
Bentley, I ordered my bookseller to send you your books. I hope you
received them.' Bentley, who had purposely avoided saying anything about
_Homer_, pretended not to understand him, and asked, 'Books! books! what
books?' 'My _Homer_,' replied Pope, 'which you did me the honour to
subscribe for.'--'Oh,' said Bentley, 'ay, now I recollect--your
translation:--it is a pretty poem, Mr. Pope; but you must not call it
_Homer_.' Johnson's _Works_, viii. 336, note.

[740] 'It is certainly the noblest version of poetry which the world
has ever seen; and its publication must therefore be considered as one
of the great events in the annals of Learning.' _Ib_. p. 256. 'There
would never,' said Gray, 'be another translation of the same poem equal
to it.' Gray's _Works_, ed. 1858, v. 37. Cowper however says, that he
and a friend 'compared Pope's translation throughout with the original.
They were not long in discovering that there is hardly the thing in the
world of which Pope was so utterly destitute as a taste for _Homer_.'
Southey's _Cowper_, i. 106.

[741] Boswell here repeats what he had heard from Johnson, _ante_, p. 36.

[742] Swift, in his Preface to Temple's _Letters_, says:--'It is
generally believed that this author has advanced our English tongue to
as great a perfection as it can well bear.' Temple's _Works_, i. 226.
Hume, in his Essay _Of Civil Liberty_, wrote in 1742:--'The elegance and
propriety of style have been very much neglected among us. The first
polite prose we have was writ by a man who is still alive (Swift). As to
Sprat, Locke, and even Temple, they knew too little of the rules of art
to be esteemed elegant writers.' Mackintosh says (_Life_, ii.
205):--'Swift represents Temple as having brought English style to
perfection. Hume, I think, mentions him; but of late he is not often
spoken of as one of the reformers of our style--this, however, he
certainly was. The structure of his style is perfectly modern.' Johnson
said that he had partly formed his style upon Temple's; _ante_, i. 218.
In the last _Rambler_, speaking of what he had himself done for our
language, he says:--'Something, perhaps, I have added to the elegance of
its construction, and something to the harmony of its cadence.'

[743] 'Clarendon's diction is neither exact in itself, nor suited to
the purpose of history. It is the effusion of a mind crowded with ideas,
and desirous of imparting them; and therefore always accumulating words,
and involving one clause and sentence in another.' _The Rambler_,
No. 122.

[744] Johnson's addressing himself with a smile to Mr. Harris is
explained by a reference to what Boswell said (_ante_, p. 245) of
Harris's analytic method in his _Hermes_.

[745] 'Dr. Johnson said of a modern Martial [no doubt Elphinston's],
"there are in these verses too much folly for madness, I think, and too
much madness for folly."' Piozzi's _Anec_. p. 61. Burns wrote on it the
following epigram:--

'O thou whom Poetry abhors,
Whom Prose has turned out of doors,
Heard'st thou that groan--proceed no further,
'Twas laurell'd. Martial roaring murder.'

For Mr. Elphinston see _ante_, i. 210.

[746] It was called _The Siege of Aleppo_. Mr. Hawkins, the authour of
it, was formerly Professor of Poetry at Oxford. It is printed in his
_Miscellanies_, 3 vols. octavo. BOSWELL. 'Hughes's last work was
his tragedy, _The Siege of Damascus_, after which a _Siege_ became a
popular title.' Johnson's _Works_, vii. 477. See _ante_, i. 75, note 2.
Hannah More (_Memoirs_, i. 200) mentions another _Siege_ by a Mrs. B.
This lady asked Johnson to 'look over her _Siege of Sinope_; he always
found means to evade it. At last she pressed him so closely that he
refused to do it, and told her that she herself, by carefully looking it
over, would be able to see if there was anything amiss as well as he
could. "But, Sir," said she, "I have no time. I have already so many
irons in the fire." "Why then, Madame," said he, quite out of patience,
"the best thing I can advise you to do is to put your tragedy along with
your irons."' Mrs. B. was Mrs. Brooke. See Baker's _Biog. Dram_. iii.
273, where no less than thirty-seven _Sieges_ are enumerated.

[747] That the story was true is shewn by the _Garrick Corres_. ii. 6.
Hawkins wrote to Garrick in 1774:--'You rejected my _Siege of Aleppo_
because it was "wrong in the first concoction," as you said.' He added
that his play 'was honoured with the _entire_ approbation of Judge
Blackstone and Mr. Johnson.'

[748] The manager of Covent Garden Theatre.

[749] Hawkins wrote:--'In short, Sir, the world will be a proper
judge whether I have been candidly treated by you.' Garrick, in his
reply, did not make the impertinent offer which he here boasts of.
Hawkins lived in Dorsetshire, not in Devonshire; as he reminds Garrick
who had misdirected his letter. _Garrick Corres_. ii. 7-11.

[750] See _ante_, i. 433.

[751] 'BOSWELL. "Beauclerk has a keenness of mind which is very
uncommon." JOHNSON. "Yes, Sir; and everything comes from him so easily.
It appears to me that I labour, when I say a good thing." BOSWELL. "You
are loud, Sir, but it is not an effort of mind."' Boswell's _Hebrides_,
Aug. 21. See _post_, under May 2, 1780.

[752] Boswell seems to imply that he showed Johnson, or at least read
to him, a portion of his journal. Most of his _Journal of a Tour to
the Hebrides_ had been read by him. Boswell's _Hebrides_, Aug. 18, and
Oct. 26.

[753] Hannah More wrote of this evening (_Memoirs_, i. 146):--'Garrick
put Johnson into such good spirits that I never knew him so entertaining
or more instructive. He was as brilliant as himself, and as good-humoured
as any one else.'

[754] He was, perhaps, more steadily under Johnson than under any else.
In his own words he was 'of Johnson's school.' (_Ante_, p. 230). Gibbon
calls Johnson Reynolds's oracle. Gibbon's _Misc. Works_, i. 149.

[755] Boswell never mentions Sir John Scott (Lord Eldon) who knew
Johnson (_ante_, ii. 268), and who was Solicitor-General when the _Life
of Johnson_ was published. Boswell perhaps never forgave him the trick
that he and others played him at the Lancaster Assizes about the years
1786-8. 'We found,' said Eldon, 'Jemmy Boswell lying upon the
pavement--inebriated. We subscribed at supper a guinea for him and
half-a-crown for his clerk, and sent him next morning a brief with
instructions to move for the writ of _Quare adhaesit pavimento_, with
observations calculated to induce him to think that it required great
learning to explain the necessity of granting it. He sent all round the
town to attornies for books, but in vain. He moved however for the writ,
making the best use he could of the observations in the brief. The judge
was astonished and the audience amazed. The judge said, "I never heard
of such a writ--what can it be that adheres _pavimento_? Are any of you
gentlemen at the Bar able to explain this?" The Bar laughed. At last one
of them said, "My Lord, Mr. Boswell last night _adhaesit pavimento_.
There was no moving him for some time. At last he was carried to bed,
and he has been dreaming about himself and the pavement."' Twiss's
_Eldon_, i. 130. Boswell wrote to Temple in 1789:--'I hesitate as to
going the Spring Northern Circuit, which costs L50, and obliges me to be
in rough, unpleasant company four weeks.' _Letters of Boswell_, p. 274.
See _ante_, ii. 191, note 2.

[756] 'Johnson, in accounting for the courage of our common people,
said (_Works_, vi. 151):--'It proceeds from that dissolution of
dependence which obliges every man to regard his own character. While
every man is fed by his own hands, he has no need of any servile arts;
he may always have wages for his labour, and is no less necessary to his
employer than his employer is to him.'

[757] He says of a laird's tenants:--'Since the islanders no longer
content to live have learned the desire of growing rich, an ancient
dependant is in danger of giving way to a higher bidder, at the
expense of domestick dignity and hereditary power. The stranger, whose
money buys him preference, considers himself as paying for all that he
has, and is indifferent about the laird's honour or safety. The
commodiousness of money is indeed great; but there are some advantages
which money cannot buy, and which therefore no wise man will by the love
of money be tempted to forego.' _Ib_. ix. 83.

[758] 'Every old man complains ... of the petulance and insolence
of the rising generation. He recounts the decency and regularity of
former times, and celebrates the discipline and sobriety of the age in
which his youth was passed; a happy age, which is now no more to be
expected, since confusion has broken in upon the world, and thrown down
all the boundaries of civility and reverence.' _The Rambler_, No. 50.

[759] Boswell, perhaps, had in mind _The Rambler_, No. 146:--'It is
long before we are convinced of the small proportion which every
individual bears to the collective body of mankind; or learn how few can
be interested in the fortune of any single man; how little vacancy is
left in the world for any new object of attention; to how small extent
the brightest blaze of merit can be spread amidst the mists of business
and of folly.'

[760] See _ante_, ii. 227.


'Fortunam reverenter habe, quicumque repente
Dives ab exili progrediere loco.'

Ausonius, _Epigrammata_, viii. 7.

Stockdale records (_Memoirs_, ii. 186), that Johnson said to
him:--'Garrick has undoubtedly the merit of an unassuming behaviour; for
more pains have been taken to spoil that fellow than if he had been heir
apparent to the Empire of India.'

[762] A lively account of Quin is given in _Humphry Clinker_, in the
letters of April 30 and May 6.

[763] See _ante_, i. 216.

[764] A few days earlier Garrick wrote to a friend:--'I did not hear
till last night that your friends have generously contributed to your
and their own happiness. No one can more rejoice at this circumstance
than I do; and as I hope we shall have a bonfire upon the occasion, I
beg that you will light it with the inclosed.' The inclosed was a bond
for L280. _Garrick Corres_. ii. 297. Murphy says:--'Dr. Johnson often
said that, when he saw a worthy family in distress, it was his custom to
collect charity among such of his friends as he knew to be affluent; and
on those occasions he received from Garrick more than from any other
person, and always more than he expected.' _Life of Garrick_, p. 378. 'It
was with Garrick a fixed principle that authors were intitled to the
emolument of their labours, and by that generous way of thinking he held
out an invitation to men of genius.' _Ib_. p. 362. See _ante_, p. 70,
and _post_, April 24, 1779.

[765] When Johnson told this little anecdote to Sir Joshua Reynolds, he
mentioned a circumstance which he omitted to-day:--'Why (said Garrick)
it is as red as blood.' BOSWELL. A passage in Johnson's answer to
Hanway's _Essay on Tea_ (_ante_, i. 314) shews that tea was generally
made very weak. 'Three cups,' he says, 'make the common quantity, so
slightly impregnated that, perhaps, they might be tinged with the
Athenian cicuta, and produce less effects than these letters charge
upon tea.' _Works_, vi. 24.

[766] To Garrick might be applied what Johnson said of Swift:--'He was
frugal by inclination, but liberal by principle.' _Works_, viii. 222.

[767] See _post_, under March 30, 1783. In Fitzmaurice's _Shelburne_,
ii. 329, is a paper by Lord Shelburne in which are very clearly laid
down rules of economy--rules which, to quote his own words (p. 337),
'require little, if any, more power of mind, than to be sure to put on
a clean shirt every day.' Boswell records (_Hebrides_, Aug. 18) that
Johnson said:--'If a man is not of a sluggish mind, he may be his own

[768] 'Lady Macbeth urges the excellence and dignity of courage, a
glittering idea which has dazzled mankind from age to age, and animated
sometimes the housebreaker, and sometimes the conqueror.' Johnson's
_Works_, v. 69.

[769] Smollett, who had been a ship's doctor, describes the hospital in
a man-of-war:--'Here I saw about fifty miserable distempered wretches,
suspended in rows, so huddled one upon another, that not more than
fourteen inches space was allotted for each with his bed and bedding;
and deprived of the light of the day as well as of fresh air;
breathing nothing but a noisome atmosphere ... devoured with vermin.'
&c. The doctor, when visiting the sick, 'thrust his wig in his pocket,
and stript himself to his waistcoat; then creeping on all fours under
their hammocks, and forcing up his bare pate between two, kept them
asunder with one shoulder until he had done his duty.' _Roderick
Random_, i. ch. 25 and 26.

[770] See _ante_, ii. 339.

[771] 'The qualities which commonly make an army formidable are long
habits of regularity, great exactness of discipline, and great
confidence in the commander ... But the English troops have none of
these requisites in any eminent degree. Regularity is by no means part
of their character.' Johnson's _Works_, vi. 150.

[772] See _ante_, i. 348.

[773] In the _Marmor Norfolciense_ (_Works_, vi. 101) he describes the
soldier as 'a red animal, that ranges uncontrolled over the country,
and devours the labours of the trader and the husbandman; that carries
with it corruption, rapine, pollution, and devastation; that threatens
without courage, robs without fear, and is pampered without labour.' In
_The Idler_, No. 21, he makes an imaginary correspondent say:--'I passed
some years in the most contemptible of all human stations, that of a
soldier in time of peace.' 'Soldiers, in time of peace,' he continues,
'long to be delivered from the tyranny of idleness, and restored to the
dignity of active beings.' _Ib_. No. 30, he writes:--'Among the
calamities of war may be justly numbered the diminution of the love of
truth by the falsehoods which interest dictates, and credulity
encourages. A peace will equally leave the warriour and relater of wars
destitute of employment; and I know not whether more is to be dreaded
from streets filled with soldiers accustomed to plunder, or from garrets
filled with scribblers accustomed to lie.' Many years later he wrote
(_Works_, viii. 396):--'West continued some time in the army; though it
is reasonable to suppose that he never sunk into a mere soldier, nor
ever lost the love, or much neglected the pursuit of learning.'

[774] See _ante_, p. 9.

[775] See _post_, March 21, 1783.

[776] The reference seems to be to a passage in Plutarch's _Alcibiades_,
where Phaeax is thus described:--'He seemed fitter for soliciting and
persuading in private than for stemming the torrent of a public debate;
in short, he was one of those of whom Eupolis says:--"True he can talk,
and yet he is no speaker."' Langhome's _Plutarch_, ed. 1809, ii. 137.
How the quotation was applied is a matter only for conjecture.

[777] 'Was there,' asked Johnson, 'ever yet anything written by mere man
that was wished longer by its readers, excepting _Don Quixote, Robinson
Crusoe_, and _The Pilgrim's Progress_?' Piozzi's _Anec_. p. 281.

[778] See _ante_, i. 406.

[779] See _ante_, March 25, 1776.

[780] In the _Gent. Mag_. for 1776, p. 382, this hulk seems to be
mentioned:--'The felons sentenced under the new convict-act began to
work in clearing the bed of the Thames about two miles below Barking
Creek. In the vessel wherein they work there is a room abaft in which
they are to sleep, and in the forecastle a kind of cabin for the
overseer.' _Ib_. p. 254, there is an admirable paper, very likely by
Bentham, on the punishment of convicts, which Johnson might have read
with advantage.

[781] See Boswell's _Hebrides_, Sept. 25.

[782] Malone says that he had in vain examined Dodsley's _Collection_
for the verses. My search has been equally in vain.

[783] Johnson (_Works_, vii. 373) praises Smith's 'excellent Latin ode
on the death of the great Orientalist, Dr. Pocock.' He says that he
does not know 'where to find it equalled among the modern writers.' See
_ante_, ii. 187, note 3.

[784] See _ante_, p. 7.

[785] See _post_, April 15, 1781.

[786] See _ante_, ii. 224.

[787] 'Thus commending myself and my eternal concerns into thy most
faithful hands, in firm hope of a happy reception into thy kingdom;
Oh! my God! hear me, while I humbly extend my supplications for others;
and pray that thou wouldst bless the King and all his family; that thou
wouldst preserve the crown to his house to endless generations.' Dodd's
_Last Prayer_, p. 132.

[788] See _ante_, iii. 166.

[789] See _ante_, i. 413.

[790] 'I never knew,' wrote Davies of Johnson, 'any man but one who
had the honour and courage to confess that he had a tincture of envy
in him. He, indeed, generously owned that he was not a stranger to it;
at the same time he declared that he endeavoured to subdue it.' Davies's
_Garrick_, ii. 391.

[791] Reynolds said that Johnson, 'after the heat of contest was over,
if he had been informed that his antagonist resented his rudeness,
was the first to seek after a reconcilation.' Taylor's _Reynolds_, 11.
457. See ante, 11. 109.

[792] _Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides_, edit. 3, p. 221 [Sept. 17].

[793] See this accurately stated, and the descent of his family from
the Earls of Northumberland clearly deduced in the Reverend Dr. Nash's
excellent _History of Worcestershire_, vol. ii. p. 318. The Doctor has
subjoined a note, in which he says, 'The Editor hath Seen and carefully
examined the proofs of all the particulars above-mentioned, now in the
possession of the Reverend Thomas Percy.' The same proofs I have also
myself carefully examined, and have seen some additional proofs which
have occurred since the Doctor's book was published; and both as a
Lawyer accustomed to the consideration of evidence, and as a
Genealogist versed in the study of pedigrees, I am fully satisfied. I
cannot help observing, as a circumstance of no small moment, that in
tracing the Bishop of Dromore's genealogy, essential aid was given by
the late Elizabeth Duchess of Northumberland, Heiress of that
illustrious House; a lady not only of high dignity of spirit, such as
became her noble blood, but of excellent understanding and lively
talents. With a fair pride I can boast of the honour of her Grace's
correspondence, specimens of which adorn my archives. BOSWELL.

[794] 'The gardens are trim to the highest degree, and more adapted to a
_villa_ near London than the ancient seat of a great Baron. In a word,
nothing except the numbers of unindustrious poor that swarm at the gate
excites any one idea of its former circumstances.' Pennant's _Scotland_,
p. 31.

[795] Mr. Croker quotes a passage from _The Heroic Epistle_,
which ends:--

'So when some John his dull invention racks
To rival Boodle's dinners, or Almack's,
Three uncouth legs of mutton shock our eyes,
Three roasted geese, three buttered apple pies.'

[796] Johnson saw Alnwick on his way to Scotland. 'We came to Alnwick,'
he wrote, 'where we were treated with great civility by the Duke: I went
through the apartments, walked on the wall, and climbed the towers.'
_Piozzi Letters_, i. 108.

[797] 'When Reynolds painted his portrait looking into the slit of his
pen and holding it almost close to his eye, as was his custom, he felt
displeased, and told me he would not be known by posterity for his
_defects_ only, let Sir Joshua do his worst. I said that the picture in
the room where we were talking represented Sir Joshua holding his ear in
his hand to catch the sound. "He may paint himself as deaf, if he
chooses," replied Johnson, "but I will not be _blinking Sam_."' Piozzi's
_Anec_. p. 248.

[798] 'You look in vain for the _helmet_ on the tower, the ancient
signal of hospitality to the traveller, or for the grey-headed
porter to conduct him to the hall of entertainment. Instead of the
disinterested usher of the old times, he is attended by a _valet_ to
receive the fees of admittance.' Pennant's _Scottland_, p. 32.

[799] It certainly was a custom, as appears from the following passage
in _Perce-forest_, vol. iii. p. 108:--'Fasoient mettre au plus hault
de leur hostel un _heaulme, en signe_ que tous les gentils hommes et
gentilles femmes entrassent hardiment en leur hostel comme en leur
propre.' KEARNEY.

[800] The title of a book translated by Dr. Percy. BOSWELL. It is a
translation of the introduction to _l'Histoire de Danemarck_, par M.
Mallet. Lowndes's _Bibl. Man_. ed. 1871, p. 1458.

[801] He was a Welshman.

[802] This is the common cant against faithful Biography. Does the
worthy gentleman mean that I, who was taught discrimination of
character by Johnson, should have omitted his frailties, and, in short,
have _bedawbed_ him as the worthy gentleman has bedawbed Scotland?

[803] See Dr. Johnson's _Journey to the Western Islands_, 296
[_Works_, ix. 124];--see his _Dictionary_ article, _oats_:--and my
_Voyage to the Hebrides_, first edition. PENNANT.

[804] Mr. Boswell's Journal, p. 286, [third edition, p. 146, Sep. 6.]

[805] See _ante_, ii. 60.

[806] Percy, it should seem, took offence later on. Cradock (_Memoirs_,
i. 206) says:--'Almost the last time I ever saw Johnson [it was in 1784]
he said to me:--"Notwithstanding all the pains that Dr. Farmer and I
took to serve Dr. Percy in regard to his _Ancient Ballads_, he has left
town for Ireland without taking leave of either of us."' Cradock adds
(p. 238) that though 'Percy was a most pleasing companion, yet there was
a violence in his temper which could not always be controlled.' 'I was
witness,' he writes (p. 206), 'to an entire separation between Percy and
Goldsmith about Rowley's [Chatterton's] poems.'

[807] Sunday, April 12, 1778. BOSWELL.

[808] Johnson, writing of the uncertainty of friendship, says: 'A
dispute begun in jest upon a subject which, a moment before, was on both
sides regarded with careless indifference, is continued by the desire of
conquest, till vanity kindles into rage, and opposition rankles into
enmity. Against this hasty mischief I know not what security can be
obtained; men will be sometimes surprised into quarrels.' _The Idler_,
No. 23. See _ante_, ii. 100, note 1.

[809] Though the Bishop of Dromore kindly answered the letters which I
wrote to him, relative to Dr. Johnson's early history; yet, in justice
to him, I think it proper to add, that the account of the foregoing
conversation and the subsequent transaction, as well as some other
conversations in which he is mentioned, has been given to the publick
without previous communication with his Lordship. BOSWELL. This note is
first given in the second edition, being added, no doubt, at the
Bishop's request.

[810] See _post_, 1780, in Mr. Langton's _Collection_.

[811] Chap. xlii. is still shorter:--'_Concerning Owls_.

'There are no owls of any kind in the whole island.'

Horrebow says in his _Preface_, p. vii:--'I have followed Mr. Anderson
article by article, declaring what is false in each.' A Member of the
_Icelandic Literary Society_ in a letter to the _Pall Mall Gazette_,
dated May 3, 1883, thus accounts for these chapters:--'In 1746 there was
published at Hamburg a small volume entitled, _Nachrichlen von Island,
Groenland und der Strasse Davis_. The Danish Government, conceiving that
its intentions were misrepresented by this work, procured a reply to be
written by Niels Horrebow, and this was published, in 1752, under the
title of _Tilforladelige Efterretninger om Island_; in 1758, an English
translation appeared in London. The object of the author was to answer
all Anderson's charges and imputations. This Horrebow did categorically,
and hence come these Chapters, though it must be added that they owe
their laconic celebrity to the English translator, the author being
rather profuse than otherwise in giving his predecessor a flat denial.'

[812] See _ante_, p. 255.

[813] 'A fugitive from heaven and prayer,

I mocked at all religious fear,
Deep scienced in the mazy lore
Of mad philosophy: but now
Hoist sail, and back my voyage plough
To that blest harbour which I left before.'

FRANCIS. Horace, _Odes_, i. 34. 1.

[814] See _ante_, i. 315, and _post_, p. 288.

[815] Ovid, _Meta_. ii. 13.

[816] Johnson says (_Works_, viii. 355):--'The greater part of mankind
_have no character at all_, have little that distinguishes them from
others equally good or bad.' It would seem to follow that the greater
part of mankind have no style at all, for it is in character that style
takes its spring.

[817] 'Dodd's wish to be received into our society was conveyed to us
only by a whisper, and that being the case all opposition to his
admission became unnecessary.' Hawkins's _Johnson_, p. 435.

[818] See note, vol. iii. p. 106. BOSWELL. See _post_, p. 290, for
Johnson's violence against the Americans and those who sided with them.

[819] The friend was Mr. Steevens. Garrick says (_Corres_. ii. 361)
that Steevens had written things in the newspapers against him that
were slanderous, and then had assured him upon his word and honour that
he had not written them; that he had later on bragged that he had
written them, and had said, 'that it was fun to vex me.' Garrick
adds:--'I was resolved to keep no terms with him, and will always treat
him as such a pest of society merits from all men.' 'Steevens, Dr. Parr
used to say, had only three friends--himself, Dr. Farmer, and John Reed,
so hateful was his character. He was one of the wisest, most learned,
but most spiteful of men.' Johnstone's _Parr_, viii. 128. Boswell had
felt Steevens's ill-nature. While he was carrying the _Life of Johnson_
through the press, at a time when he was suffering from 'the most woeful
return of melancholy,' he wrote to Malone,--'Jan 29, 1791. Steevens
_kindly_ tells me that I have over-printed, and that the curiosity about
Johnson is _now_ only in our own circle.... Feb. 25. You must know that
I am _certainly_ informed that a certain person who delights in mischief
has been _depreciating_ my book, so that I fear the sale of it may be
very dubious.' Croker's _Boswell_, p. 828. _A certain person_ was, no
doubt, Steevens. See _ante_, ii. 375, and _post_, under March 30, 1783,
and May 15, 1784.


'I own th' indulgence--Such I give and take.'

FRANCIS. Horace, _Ars Poet_. 1. II.


'We grant, altho' he had much wit,
H' was very shy of using it,
As being loth to wear it out.'

_Hudibras_, i. I. 45.

[822] 'Among the sentiments which almost every man changes as he
advances into years is the expectation of uniformity of character.'
_The Rambler_, No. 70. See _ante_, i. 161, note 2.

[823] See _ante_, iii. 55.

[824] After this follows a line which Boswell has omitted:--'Then
rises fresh, pursues his wonted game.' _Cato_, act i. sc. 4.

[825] Boswell was right, and Oglethorpe wrong; the exclamation in
Suetonius is, 'Utinam _populus_ Romanus unam cervicem haberet.' Calig.

[826] 'Macaroon (_macarone_, Italian), a coarse, rude, low fellow;
whence, _macaronick_ poetry, in which the language is purposely
corrupted.' Johnson's _Dictionary_. '_Macaroni_, probably from old
Italian _maccare, to bruise, to batter, to pester_; Derivative,
_macaronic_, i.e. in a confused or mixed state (applied to a jumble of
languages).' Skeat's _Etymological Diet_.

[827] _Polemo-middinia_, as the Commentator explains, is _Proelium in
sterquilinio commissum_. In the opening lines the poet thus calls on
the Skipperii, or _Skippers_:--

'Linquite skellatas botas, shippasque picatas,
Whistlantesque simul fechtam memorate blodeam,
Fechtam terribilem, quam marvellaverat omnis
Banda Deum, quoque Nympharum Cockelshelearum.'

[828] In Best's _Memorials_, p. 63, is given another of these lines
that Mr. Langton repeated:--'Five-poundon elendeto, ah! mala simplos.'
For Joshua Barnes see _post_, 1780, in Mr. Langton's _Collection_.

[829] See _ante_, iii. 78.

[830] Dr. Johnson, describing her needle-work in one of his letters to
Mrs. Thrale, vol. i. p. 326, uses the learned word _sutile_; which Mrs.
Thrale has mistaken, and made the phrase injurious by writing '_futile_
pictures.' BOSWELL. See _post_, p. 299.

[831] See _ante_, ii. 252, note 2.

[832] The revolution of 1772. The book was published in 1778. Charles
Sheridan was the elder brother of R.B. Sheridan.

[833] See _ante_, i. 467.

[834] As Physicians are called _the Faculty_, and Counsellors at
Law _the Profession_; the Booksellers of London are denominated _the
Trade_. Johnson disapproved of these denominations. BOSWELL. Johnson
himself once used this 'denomination.' _Ante_, i. 438.

[835] See _ante_, ii. 385.

[836] A translation of these forged letters which were written by
M. de Caraccioli was published in 1776. By the _Gent. Mag_. (xlvi. 563)
they were accepted as genuine. In _The Ann. Reg_. for the same year
(xix. 185) was published a translation the letter in which Voltaire had
attacked their authenticity. The passage that Johnson quotes is the
following:--'On est en droit de lui dire ce qu'on dit autrefois a l'abbe
Nodot: "Montrez-nous votre manuscript de Petrone, trouve a Belgrade, ou
consentez a n'etre cru of de personne."' Voltaire's _Works_, xliii.

[837] Baretti (_Journey from London to Genoa_, i. 9) says that he
saw in 1760, near Honiton, at a small rivulet, 'an engine called a
ducking-stool; a kind of armed wooden chair, fixed on the extremity of a
pole about fifteen feet long. The pole is horizontally placed on a post
just by the water, and loosely pegged to that post; so that by raising
it at one end, you lower the stool down into the midst of the river.
That stool serves at present to duck scolds and termagants.'

[838] 'An two men ride of a horse, one must ride behind.' _Much Ado
about Nothing_, act iii. sc. 5.

[839] See _ante_, ii. 9.

[840] 'One star differeth from another star in glory.' I Cor. xv. 41.

[841] See _ante_, iii. 48, 280.

[842] 'The physicians in Hogarth's prints are not caricatures: the
full dress with a sword and _a great tye-wig_, and the hat under the
arm, and the doctors in consultation, each smelling to a gold-headed
cane shaped like a parish-beadle's staff, are pictures of real life in
his time, and myself have seen a young physician thus equipped walk the
streets of London without attracting the eyes of passengers.' Hawkins's
_Johnson_, p. 238. Dr. T. Campbell in 1777, writing of Dublin to a
London physician, says:--'No sooner were your _medical wigs_ laid aside
than an attempt was made to do the like here. But in vain.' _Survey of
the South of Ireland_, p. 463.

[843] 'Jenyns,' wrote Malone, on the authority of W.G. Hamilton,
'could not be made without much labour to comprehend an argument. If
however there was anything weak or ridiculous in what another said, he
always laid hold of it and played upon it with success. He looked at
everything with a view to pleasantry alone. This being his grand object,
and he being no reasoner, his best friends were at a loss to know
whether his book upon Christianity was serious or ironical.' Prior's
_Malone_, p. 375.

[844] Jenyns maintains (p. 51) that 'valour, patriotism, and friendship
are only fictitious virtues--in fact no virtue at all.'

[845] He had furnished an answer to this in _The Rambler_, No. 99,
where he says:--'To love all men is our duty so far as it includes a
general habit of benevolence, and readiness of occasional kindness; but
to love all equally is impossible.... The necessities of our condition
require a thousand offices of tenderness, which mere regard for the
species will never dictate. Every man has frequent grievances which only
the solicitude of friendship will discover and remedy, and which would
remain for ever unheeded in the mighty heap of human calamity, were it
only surveyed by the eye of general benevolence equally attentive to
every misery.' See _ante_, i. 207, note 1.

[846] _Galatians_, vi. 10.

[847] _St. John_, xxi. 20. Compare Jeremy Taylor's _Measures and Offices
of Friendship_, ch. i. 4.

[848] In the first two editions 'from this _amiable and_ pleasing

[849] _Acts of the Apostles_, ix. i.

[850] See _ante_, ii. 82.

[851] If any of my readers are disturbed by this thorny question,
I beg leave to recommend, to them Letter 69 of Montesquieu's _Lettres
Persanes_; and the late Mr. John Palmer of Islington's Answer to Dr.
Priestley's mechanical arguments for what he absurdly calls
'Philosophical Necessity.' BOSWELL. See _post_, under Aug. 29, 1783;

[852] See _ante_, ii. 217, and iii. 55.

[853] 'I have proved,' writes Mandeville (_Fables of the Bees_, ed.
1724, p. 179), 'that the real pleasures of all men in nature are
worldly and sensual, if we judge from their practice; I say all men in
nature, because devout Christians, who alone are to be excepted here,
being regenerated and preternaturally assisted by the divine grace,
cannot be said to be in nature.'

[854] Mandeville describes with great force the misery caused by gin--
'liquid poison' he calls it--'which in the fag-end and outskirts of the
town is sold in some part or other of almost every house, frequently
in cellars, and sometimes in the garret.' He continues:--'The
short-sighted vulgar in the chain of causes seldom can see further than
one link; but those who can enlarge their view may in a hundred places
see good spring up and pullulate from evil, as naturally as chickens do
from eggs.' He instances the great gain to the revenue, and to all
employed in the production of the spirit from the husbandman upwards.
_Fable of the Bees_, p. 89.

[855] 'If a miser, who is almost a plum (i.e. worth L100,000, _Johnson's
Dictionary_), and spends but fifty pounds a year, should be robbed of a
thousand guineas, it is certain that as soon as this money should come
to circulate, the nation would be the better for the robbery; yet
justice and the peace of the society require that the robber should be
hanged.' _Ib_. p. 83.

[856] Johnson, in his political economy, seems to have been very much
under Mandeville's influence. Thus in attacking Milton's position
that 'a popular government was the most frugal; for the trappings of a
monarchy would set up our ordinary commonwealth,' he says, 'The support
and expense of a court is, for the most part, only a particular kind of
traffick, by which money is circulated, without any national
impoverishment.' _Works_, vii. 116. Mandeville in much the same way
says:--'When a covetous statesman is gone, who spent his whole life in
fattening himself with the spoils of the nation, and had by pinching and
plundering heaped up an immense treasure, it ought to fill every good
member of the society with joy to behold the uncommon profuseness of his
son. This is refunding to the public whatever was robbed from it. As
long as the nation has its own back again, we ought not to quarrel with
the manner in which the plunder is repaid.' _Ib_. p. 104.

[857] See _ante_, ii. 176.

[858] In _The Adventurer_, No. 50, Johnson writes:--'"The devils," says
Sir Thomas Brown, "do not tell lies to one another; for truth is
necessary to all societies; nor can the society of hell subsist without
it."' Mr. Wilkin, the editor of Brown's _Works_ (ed. 1836, i. liv),
says:--'I should be glad to know the authority of this assertion.'
I infer from this that the passage is not in Brown's _Works_.

[859] Hannah More: see _post_, under date of June 30, 1784.

[860] In her visits to London she was commonly the guest of the
Garricks. A few months before this conversation Garrick wrote a prologue
and epilogue for her tragedy of _Percy_. He invested for her the money
that she made by this play. H. More's _Memoirs_, i. 122, 140.

[861] In April 1784 she records (_ib_. i. 319) that she called on
Johnson shortly after she wrote _Le Bas Bleu_. 'As to it,' she
continues, 'all the flattery I ever received from everybody together
would not make up his sum. He said there was no name in poetry that
might not be glad to own it. All this from Johnson, that parsimonious
praiser!' He wrote of it to Mrs. Thrale on April 19, 1784:--'It is in my
opinion a very great performance.' _Piozzi Letters_, ii. 364. Dr.
Beattie wrote on July 31, 1784:--'Johnson told me with great solemnity
that Miss More was "the most powerful versificatrix" in the English
language.' Forbes's _Beattie_, ed. 1824, p. 320.

[862] See Boswell's _Hebrides_, Aug. 18.

[863] The ancestor of Mr. Murray of Albemarle Street.

[864] See _A Letter to W. Mason, A.M. from J. Murray, Bookseller in
London_; 2d edition, p. 20. BOSWELL.

[865] 'The righteous hath hope in his death.' _Proverbs_, xiv. 32.

[866] See _post_, June 12, 1784.

[867] Johnson, in _The Convict's Address_ (_ante_, p. 141), makes Dodd
say:--'Possibly it may please God to afford us some consolation, some
secret intimations of acceptance and forgiveness. But these radiations
of favour are not always felt by the sincerest penitents. To the greater
part of those whom angels stand ready to receive, nothing is granted in
this world beyond rational hope; and with hope, founded on promise, we
may well be satisfied.'

[868] 'I do not find anything able to reconcile us to death but
extreme pain, shame or despair; for poverty, imprisonment, ill fortune,
grief, sickness and old age do generally fail.' _Swift's Works_, ed.
1803, xiv. 178.

[869] 'I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have
kept the faith: henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of
righteousness.' 2 _Timothy_, iv. 7 and 8.

[870] See _ante_, p. 154.

[871] 'Inde illud Maecenatis turpissimum votum, quo et debilitatem non
recusat, et deformitatem, et novissime acutam crucem dummodo inter haec
mala spiritus prorogetur.

"Debilem facito manu,
Debilem pede, coxa;
Tuber adstrue gibberum,
Lubricos quate dentes;
Vita dum superest, bene est;
Hanc mihi vel acuta
Si sedeam cruce sustine."'

Seneca's _Epistles_, No. 101.

Dryden makes Gonsalvo say in _The Rival Ladies_, act iv. sc. 1:--

'For men with horrour dissolution meet,
The minutes e'en of painful life are sweet.'

In Paradise Lost Moloch and Belial take opposite sides on this point:--

'What doubt we to incense
His utmost ire? which, to the height enraged,
Will either quite consume us, and reduce
To nothing this essential; happier far
Than miserable to have eternal being.'

Bk. ii. 1. 94.

'Who would lose,
Though full of pain, this intellectual being,
Those thoughts that wander through eternity,
To perish rather, swallowed up and lost
In the wide womb of uncreated night,
Devoid of sense and motion?'

1. 146.

Cowper, at times at least, held with Moloch. He wrote to his friend
Newton:--'I feel--I will not tell you what--and yet I must--a wish that
I had never been, a wonder that I am, and an ardent but hopeless desire
not to be.' Southey's _Cowper_, vi. 130. See _ante_, p. 153, and
Boswell's _Hebrides_, Sept. 12.

[872] Johnson recorded in _Pr. and Med_. p. 202:--'At Ashbourne I hope
to talk seriously with Taylor.' Taylor published in 1787 _A Letter
to Samuel Johnson on the Subject of a Future State_. He writes that
'having heard that Johnson had said that he would prefer a state of
torment to that of annihilation, he told him that such a declaration,
coming from him, might be productive of evil consequences. Dr. J.
desired him to arrange his thoughts on the subject.' Taylor says that
Johnson's entry about the serious talk refers to this matter. _Gent.
Mag_. 1787, p. 521. I believe that Johnson meant to warn Taylor about
the danger _he_ was running of 'entering the state of torment.'

[873] Wesley, like Johnson, was a wide reader. On his journeys he
read books of great variety, such as _The Odyssey_, Rousseau's _Emile_,
Boswell's _Corsica_, Swift's _Letters_, Hoole's _Tasso_, Robertson's
_Charles V., Quintus Curtius_, Franklin's _Letters on Electricity_,
besides a host of theological works. Like Johnson, too, he was a great
dabbler in physic and a reader of medical works. His writings covered a
great range. He wrote, he says, among other works, an English, a Latin,
a Greek, a Hebrew, and a French Grammar, a Treatise on Logic and another
on Electricity. In the British Isles he had travelled perhaps more than
any man of his time, and he had visited North America and more than one
country of Europe. He had seen an almost infinite variety of characters.
See _ante_, p. 230.

[874] The story is recorded in Wesley's _Journal_, ed. 1827, iv. 316.
It was at Sunderland and not at Newcastle where the scene was laid.
The ghost did not prophesy ill of the attorney. On the contrary, it said
to the girl:--'Go to Durham, employ an attorney there, and the house
will be recovered.' She went to Durham, 'and put the affair into Mr.
Hugill the attorney's hands.' 'A month after,' according to the girl,
'the ghost came about eleven. I said, "Lord bless me! what has brought
you here again?" He said, "Mr. Hugill has done nothing but wrote one
letter."' On this Wesley writes by way of comment:--'So he [the ghost]
had observed him [the attorney] narrowly, though unseen.' See _post_,
under May 3, 1779.

[875] Johnson, with his horror of annihilation, caught at everything
which strengthened his belief in the immortality of the soul. Boswell
mentions _ante_, ii. 150, 'Johnson's elevated wish for more and more
evidence for spirit,' and records the same desire, _post_, June 12,
1784. Southey (_Life of Wesley_, i. 25) says of supernatural
appearances:--'With regard to the good end which they may be supposed to
answer, it would be end sufficient if sometimes one of those unhappy
persons, who looking through the dim glass of infidelity see nothing
beyond this life, and the narrow sphere of mortal existence, should,
from the established truth of one such story (trifling and objectless as
it might otherwise appear), be led to a conclusion that there are more
things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in their philosophy.' See
_ante_, p. 230, and _post_, April 15, 1781.

[876] Miss Jane Harry. In Miss Seward's _Letters_, i. 97, is an
account of her, which Mr. Croker shows to be inaccurate. There is, too,
a long and lifeless report of the talk at this dinner.

[877] See _ante_, ii. 14, 105.

[878] Mrs. Knowles, not satisfied with the fame of her needlework, the
'_sutile pictures_' mentioned by Johnson, in which she has indeed
displayed much dexterity, nay, with the fame of reasoning better than
women generally do, as I have fairly shewn her to have done,
communicated to me a Dialogue of considerable length, which after many
years had elapsed, she wrote down as having passed between Dr. Johnson
and herself at this interview. As I had not the least recollection of
it, and did not find the smallest trace of it in my _Record_ taken at
the time, I could not in consistency with my firm regard to
authenticity, insert it in my work. It has, however, been published in
_The Gent. Mag_. for June, 1791. It chiefly relates to the principles of
the sect called _Quakers_; and no doubt the Lady appears to have greatly
the advantage of Dr. Johnson in argument as well as expression. From
what I have now stated, and from the internal evidence of the paper
itself, any one who may have the curiosity to peruse it, will judge
whether it was wrong in me to reject it, however willing to gratify Mrs.
Knowles. BOSWELL. Johnson mentioned the '_sutile pictures_' in a letter
dated May 16, 1776, describing the dinner at Messrs. Dilly's. 'And
there,' he wrote, 'was Mrs. Knowles, the Quaker, that works the sutile
[misprinted by Mrs. Piozzi _futile_] pictures. She is a Staffordshire
woman, and I am to go and see her. Staffordshire is the nursery of art;
here they grow up till they are transplanted to London.' _Piozzi
Letters_, i. 326. He is pleasantly alluding to the fact that he was a
Staffordshire man. In the _Dialogue_ in _The Gent. Mag_. for 1791, p.
502, Mrs. Knowles says that, the wrangle ended thus:--'Mrs. K. "I hope,
Doctor, thou wilt not remain unforgiving; and that you will renew your
friendship, and joyfully meet at last in those bright regions where
pride and prejudice can never enter." Dr. Johnson. "Meet _her_! I never
desire to meet fools anywhere." This sarcastic turn of wit was so
pleasantly received that the Doctor joined in the laugh; his spleen was
dissipated, he took his coffee, and became, for the remainder of the
evening, very cheerful and entertaining.' Did Miss Austen find here the
title of _Pride and Prejudice_, for her novel?

[879] Of this day he recorded (_Pr. and Med_. p. 163):--'It has happened
this week, as it never happened in Passion Week before, that I have
never dined at home, and I have therefore neither practised abstinence
nor peculiar devotion.'

[880] See _ante_, iii. 48, note 4.

[881] I believe, however, I shall follow my own opinion; for the world
has shewn a very flattering partiality to my writings, on many
occasions. BOSWELL. In _Boswelliana_, p. 222, Boswell, after recording a
story about Voltaire, adds:--'In contradiction to this story, see in my
_Journal_ the account which Tronchin gave me of Voltaire.' This
_Journal_ was probably destroyed by Boswell's family. By his will, he
left his manuscripts and letters to Sir W. Forbes, Mr. Temple, and Mr.
Malone, to be published for the benefit of his younger children as they
shall decide. The Editor of _Boswelliana_ says (p. 186) that 'these
three literary executors did not meet, and the entire business of the
trust was administered by Sir W. Forbes, who appointed as his law-agent,
Robert Boswell, cousin-german of the deceased. By that gentleman's
advice, Boswell's manuscripts were left to the disposal of his family;
and it is believed that the whole were immediately destroyed.' The
indolence of Malone and Temple, and the brutish ignorance of the
Boswells, have indeed much to answer for. See _ante_, i. 225, note 2,
and _post_, May 12, 1778.

[882] 'He that would travel for the entertainment of others should
remember that the great object of remark is human life.' _The Idler_,
No. 97.

[883] See _ante_, ii. 377.

[884] Johnson recorded (_Pr. and Med_. p. 163):--'Boswell came in to go
to Church ... Talk lost our time, and we came to Church late, at the
Second Lesson.'

[885] See _ante_, i. 461.

[886] Oliver Edwards entered Pembroke College in June, 1729. He left in
April, 1730.

[887] _Pr. and Med_. p. 164. BOSWELL.

[888] 'Edwards observed how many we have outlived. I hope, yet hope, that
my future life shall be better than my past.' _Pr. and Med_. p. 166.

[889] See _post_, April 30, 1778.

[890] See _ante_, p. 221.

[891] 'Don't, Sir, accustom yourself to use big words for little
matters.' _Ante_, i. 471.

[892] Johnson said to me afterwards, 'Sir, they respected me for my
literature; and yet it was not great but by comparison. Sir, it is
amazing how little literature there is in the world.' BOSWELL.

[893] See _ante_, i. 320.

[894] Very near the College, facing the passage which leads to it from
Pembroke Street, still stands an old alehouse which must have been old
in Johnson's time.

[895] This line has frequently been attributed to Dryden, when a King's
Scholar at Westminster. But neither Eton nor Westminster have in truth
any claim to it, the line being borrowed, with a slight change, from an
Epigram by Crashaw:--

'Joann. 2,

'_Aquae in vinum versae.
Unde rubor vestris et non sua purpura lymphis?
Qua rosa mirantes tam nova mutat aquas?
Numen, convinvae, praesens agnoscite numen,
Nympha pudica_ DEUM _vidit, et erubuit_.' MALONE.

What gave your springs a brightness not their own?
What rose so strange the wond'ring waters flushed?
Heaven's hand, oh guests; heaven's hand may here be known;
The spring's coy nymph has seen her God and blushed.

[896] 'He that made the verse following (some ascribe it to Giraldus
Cambrensis) could adore both the sun rising, and the sun setting, when
he could so cleanly honour King Henry II, then departed, and King
Richard succeeding.

"_Mira cano, Sol occubuit, nox nulla sequutaest_."'

Camden's _Remains_ (1870), p. 351.

[897] 'When Mr. Hume began to be known in the world as a philosopher,
Mr. White, a decent, rich merchant of London, said to him:--"I am
surprised, Mr. Hume, that a man of your good sense should think of
being a philosopher. Why, _I_ now took it into my head to be a
philosopher for some time, but tired of it most confoundedly, and very
soon gave it up." "Pray, Sir," said Mr. Hume, "in what branch of
philosophy did you employ your researches? What books did you read?"
"Books?" said Mr. White; "nay sir, I read no books, but I used to sit
whole forenoons a-yawning and poking the fire." _Boswelliana_, p. 221.
The French were more successful than Mr. Edwards in the pursuit of
philosophy, Horace Walpole wrote from Paris in 1766 (_Letters_, iv.
466):--'The generality of the men, and more than the generality, are
dull and empty. They have taken up gravity, thinking it was philosophy
and English, and so have acquired nothing in the room of their natural
levity and cheerfulness.'

[898] See _ante_, ii. 8.

[899] See _ante_, i. 332.

[900] See _ante_, i. 468, and Boswell's _Hebrides_, Oct. 4.

[901] I am not absolutely sure but this was my own suggestion, though it
is truly in the character of Edwards. BOSWELL.

[902] Sixty-nine. He was born in 1709.

[903] See _ante_, i. 75, note 1.


'O my coevals! remnants of yourselves!
Poor human ruins, tottering o'er the grave!
Shall we, shall aged men, like aged trees,
Strike deeper their vile roots, and closer cling,
Still more enamoured of this wretched soil?'

Young's _Night Thoughts_, Night iv.

[905] See Boswell's _Hebrides_, Aug. 20, 1773. According to Mrs. Piozzi
'he liked the expression so well that he often repeated it.' Piozzi's
_Anec_. p. 208. He wrote to her:--'Have you not observed in all our
conversations that my _genius_ is always in extremes; that I am very
noisy or very silent; very gloomy or very merry; very sour or very
kind?' _Piozzi Letters_, ii. 166. In Mme. D'Arblay's _Diary_ (ii. 310)
we read that 'Dr. Johnson is never his best when there is nobody to draw
him out;' and in her _Memoirs of Dr. Burney_ (ii. 107) she adds that
'the masterly manner in which, as soon as any topic was started, he
seized it in all its bearings, had so much the air of belonging to the
leader of the discourse, that this singularity was unsuspected save by
the experienced observation of long years of acquaintance.' Malone wrote
in 1783:--'I have always found him very communicative; ready to give his
opinion on any subject that was mentioned. He seldom, however, starts a
subject himself; but it is very easy to lead him into one.' Prior's
_Malone_, p. 92. What Dugald Stewart says of Adam Smith (_Life_, p. 114)
was equally true of Johnson:--'He was scarcely ever known to start a new
topic himself, or to appear unprepared upon those topics that were
introduced by others.' Johnson, in his long fits of silence, was perhaps
like Cowper, but when aroused he was altogether unlike. Cowper says of
himself:--'The effect of such continual listening to the language of a
heart hopeless and deserted is that I can never give much more than half
my attention to what is started by others, and very rarely start
anything myself.' Southey's _Cowper_, v. 10.

[906] In summer 1792, additional and more expensive decorations having
been introduced, the price of admission was raised to two shillings. I
cannot approve of this. The company may be more select; but a number of
the honest commonalty are, I fear, excluded from sharing in elegant and
innocent entertainment. An attempt to abolish the one-shilling gallery
at the playhouse has been very properly counteracted. BOSWELL.

[907] _Regale_, as a noun, is not in Johnson's Dictionary. It was a
favourite word with Miss Burney.

[908] 'Tyers is described in _The Idler_, No. 48, under the name of Tom
Restless; "a circumstance," says Mr. Nichols, "pointed out to me by
Dr. Johnson himself."' _Lit. Anec_. viii. 81. 'When Tom Restless
rises he goes into a coffee-house, where he creeps so near to men whom
he takes to be reasoners, as to hear their discourse, and endeavours to
remember something which, when it has been strained through Tom's head,
is so near to nothing, that what it once was cannot be discovered. This
he carries round from friend to friend through a circle of visits, till,
hearing what each says upon the question, he becomes able at dinner to
say a little himself; and as every great genius relaxes himself among
his inferiors, meets with some who wonder how so young a man can talk so

[909] 'That accurate judge of human life, Dr. Johnson, has often been
heard by me to observe, that it was the greatest misfortune which
could befall a man to have been bred to no profession, and pathetically
to regret that this misfortune was his own.' _More's Practical Piety_,
p. 313. MARKLAND.

[910] He had wished to study it. See _ante_, i. 134.

[911] The fourth Earl of Lichfield, the Chancellor of Oxford, died in
1772. The title became extinct in 1776, on the death of the fifth earl.
The present title was created in 1831. Courthope's _Hist. Peerage_,
p. 286.

[912] See _post_, March 23, 1783, where Boswell vexed him in much the
same way.

Book of the day: