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

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[1245] Horace Walpole thus describes public affairs in February of this
year:--'The navy disgusted, insurrections in Scotland, Wales mutinous,
a rebellion ready to break out in Ireland where 15,000 Protestants were
in arms, without authority, for their own defence, many of them
well-wishers to the Americans, and all so ruined that they insisted on
relief from Parliament, or were ready to throw off subjection; Holland
pressed by France to refuse us assistance, and demanding whether we
would or not protect them: uncertainty of the fate of the West Indian
Islands; and dread at least that Spain might take part with France; Lord
North at the same time perplexed to raise money on the loan but at eight
per cent., which was demanded--such a position and such a prospect might
have shaken the stoutest king and the ablest administration. Yet the
king was insensible to his danger. He had attained what pleased him most
--his own will at home. His ministers were nothing but his tools--
everybody called them so, and they proclaimed it themselves.' Walpole's
_Journal of the Reign of George III_, ii. 339. In this melancholy
enumeration he passes over the American War.

[1246] See _ante_, i. 78, note 2.

[1247] Wesley himself recorded in 1739 (_Journal_, i. 177):--'I have
been all my life (till very lately) so tenacious of every point relating
to decency and order, that I should have thought the saving of souls
almost a sin if it had not been done in a church.'

[1248] Horace Walpole (_Letters_, viii. 131) talks of some one 'riding
on three elephants at once like Astley.' On p. 406 he says:--'I can
almost believe that I could dance a minuet on a horse galloping full
speed, like young Astley.'

[1249] See _ante_, i. 458.

[1250] A friend of Wilkes, as Boswell was, might well be supposed to
have got over such scruples.

[1251] Mr. Croker says that the '"celebrated friend" was no doubt
Burke.' Burke, however, is generally described by Boswell as 'eminent.'
Moreover Burke was not in the habit of getting drunk, as seems to have
been the case with 'the celebrated friend.' Boswell (_ante_, p. 245,
note 1) calls Hamilton 'celebrated,' but then Boswell and Hamilton were
not friends, as is shewn, _post_, Nov. 1783.

[1252] _Corinthians_. xv, 33.

[1253] See _ante_, ii. 121.

[1254] 'Prince Gonzaga di Castiglione, when dining in company with Dr.
Johnson, thinking it was a polite as well as gay thing to drink the
Doctor's health with some proof that he had read his works, called out
from the top of the table to the bottom.--_At your health, Mr.
Vagabond_.' Piozzi's _Synonymy_, ii. 358. Mme. D'Arblay (_Memoirs of Dr.
Burney_, ii. 258) says,--'General Paoli diverted us all very much by
begging leave of Mrs. Thrale to give one toast, and then, with smiling
pomposity, pronouncing "The great Vagabond."'

[1255] 'Very near to admiration is the wish to admire. Every man
willingly gives value to the praise which he receives, and considers the
sentence passed in his favour as the sentence of discernment.' Johnson's
_Works_, vii. 396.

[1256] See _ante_, ii. 461.

[1257] See _ante_, ii. 465.

[1258] See _ante_, _ib_. p. 466

[1259] See _ante_, _ib_. p. 467.

[1260] See _ante_, _ib_. p. 470.

[1261] See _ante_, _ib_. p. 469.

[1262] See ante_, p. 405.

[1263] Bishop Porteus. See _ante_, p. 279.

[1264] Miss Letitia Barnston. BOSWELL.

[1265] 'At Chester I passed a fortnight in mortal felicity. I had from
my earliest years a love for the military life, and there is in it an
animation and relish of existence which I have never found amongst any
other set of men, except players, with whom you know I once lived a
great deal. At the mess of Colonel Stuart's regiment I was quite _the
great man_, as we used to say; and I was at the same time all joyous and
gay ... I never found myself so well received anywhere. The young ladies
there were delightful, and many of them with capital fortunes. Had I
been a bachelor, I should have certainly paid my addresses to a Chester
lady.' _Letters of Boswell_, p. 247.

[1266] Mrs. Thrale wrote to Johnson from Brighton in 1778:--'I have lost
what made my happiness in all seasons of the year; but the black dog
shall not make prey of both my master and myself. My master swims now,
and forgets the black dog.' Johnson replied:--'I shall easily forgive my
master his long stay, if he leaves the dog behind him. We will watch, as
well as we can, that the dog shall never be let in again, for when he
comes the first thing he does is to worry my master.' _Piozzi Letters_,
ii. 32, 37.

[1267] See _ante_, ii. 202.

[1268] I have a valuable collection made by my Father, which, with some
additions and illustrations of my own, I intend to publish. I have some
hereditary claim to be an Antiquary; not only from my Father, but as
being descended, by the mother's side, from the able and learned Sir
John Skene, whose merit bids defiance to all the attempts which have
been made to lessen his fame. BOSWELL. See _ante_, i. 225, note 2, for
an imperfect list of Boswell's projected publications, and Boswell's
_Hebrides_, Aug. 23, for a fuller one.

[1269] See _ante_, iii. 162, and Boswell's _Hebrides_, Nov. 11.

[1270] In the first two editions, _we_.

[1271] In chaps, xxiv. and xxv. of his _Siecle de Louis XV_. See _ante_,
i. 498, note 4, for Voltaire's 'catching greedily at wonders.'

[1272] Burton in the last lines of _The Anatomy of Melancholy_, says:--
'Only take this for a corollary and conclusion; as thou tenderest thine
own welfare in this and all other melancholy, thy good health of body
and mind, observe this short precept, give not way to solitariness and
idleness. "Be not solitary, be not idle."'

[1273] Johnson was in better spirits than usual. The following day he
wrote:--'I fancy that I grow light and airy. A man that does not begin
to grow light and airy at seventy is certainly losing time if he intends
ever to be light and airy.' _Piozzi Letters_, ii. 73.

[1274] Crescit amor nummi quantum ipsa pecunia crescit. _Juvenal_,
xiv. 139.

[1275] He had seen it on his Tour in Wales on July 26, 1774. See _post_,
vol. v.

[1276] Dean Percy, _ante_, p. 365.

[1277] Another son was the first Lord Ellenborough.

[1278] His regiment was afterwards ordered to Jamaica, where he
accompanied it, and almost lost his life by the climate. This impartial
order I should think a sufficient refutation of the idle rumour that
'there was still something behind the throne greater than the throne
itself.' BOSWELL. Lord Shelburne, about the year 1803, likening the
growth of the power of the Crown to a strong building that had been
raised up, said:--'The Earl of Bute had contrived such a lock to it as a
succession of the ablest men have not been able to pick, _nor has he
ever let the key be so much as seen by which he has held it_.'
Fitzmaurice's _Shelburne_, i. 68.

[1279] Boswell, on Jan. 4, wrote to Temple:--'How inconsiderable are
both you and I, in comparison with what we used to hope we should be!
Yet your learning and your memoirs set you far above the common run of
educated men. And _Son pittore anche io_. I too, in several respects,
have attained to superiority. But we both want solidity and force of
mind, such as we observe in those who rise in active life.' _Letters of
Boswell_, p. 249.


'For in the mind alone our follies lie,
The mind that never from itself can fly.'

FRANCIS. Horace, _Epistles_, i. 14. 13.

[1281] Requesting me to inquire concerning the family of a gentleman who
was then paying his addresses to Miss Doxy. BOSWELL.

[1282] It is little more than half that distance.

[1283] Johnson wrote to Mrs. Thrale on Nov. 7:--'My master, I hope,
hunts and walks, and courts the belles, and shakes Brighthelmston. When
he comes back, frolick and active, we will make a feast, and drink his
health, and have a noble day.' _Piozzi Letters_, ii. 79.

[1284] See page 368. BOSWELL. On Nov. 16 he wrote:--'At home we do not
much quarrel; but perhaps the less we quarrel, the more we hate. There
is as much malignity amongst us as can well subsist without any thought
of daggers or poisons.' _Piozzi Letters_, ii. 93.

[1285] See _ante_, i. 187.

[1286] See _post_, p. 421, and Feb. 27, 1784.

[1287] See _ante_, i. 260, and _post_, June 4. 1781.

[1288] He wrote to Mrs. Thrale on April 11--'You are at all places of
high resort, and bring home hearts by dozens; while I am seeking for
something to say about men of whom I know nothing but their verses, and
sometimes very little of them. Now I have begun, however, I do not
despair of making an end.' _Piozzi Letters_, ii. 100.

[1289] See _ante_, ii. 5.

[1290] A writer in _Notes and Queries_ (3rd S., viii. 197) points out
that Johnson, writing to a doctor, uses a doctor's language. 'Until very
lately _solution of continuity_ was a favourite phrase with English
surgeons; where a bone was broken, or the flesh, &c. cut or _lacerated_,
there was a _solution of continuity_.' See _ante_, ii. 106, for

[1291] He died March 11, 1780, aged 40. _Gent. Mag_. 1780, p. 155.


'Animula, vagula, blandula,
Hospes comesque corporis,
Quae nunc abibis in loca,
Pallidula, rigida, nudula?
Nec, ut soles, dabis joca.'

_Adriani morientis ad animam suam_.

'Poor little, pretty, fluttering thing,
Must we no longer live together?
And dost thou prune thy trembling wing,
To take thy flight thou know'st not whither?
Thy humorous vein, thy pleasing folly
Lies all neglected, all forgot;
And pensive, wavering, melancholy,
Thou dread'st and hop'st thou know'st not what.' _Prior_.

In _The Spectator_, No. 532, is a letter from Pope to Steele on these
'famous verses which the Emperor Adrian spoke on his death-bed.' See in
Pope's _Correspondence_ (Elwin's _Pope_, vi. 394), this letter to Steele
of Nov. 7, 1712, for his version of these lines.

[1293] See _ante_, ii. 246, note 1.

[1294] Mr. Beauclerk's library was sold by publick auction in April and
May 1781, for L5011. MALONE. See _post_, May 8, 1781.

[1295] By a fire in Northumberland-house, where he had an apartment, in
which I have passed many an agreeable hour. BOSWELL.

[1296] See _post_, iv. 31.

[1297] In 1768, on his birthday, Johnson recorded, 'This day it came
into my mind to write the history of my melancholy.' _Ante_, ii. 45,
note 1.

[1298] Johnson had dated his letter, 'London, April 25, 1780,' and added,
'now there is a date; look at it.' _Piozzi Letters_, ii. 109. In his
reply he wrote:--'London, May 1, 1780. Mark that--you did not put the
year to your last.' _Ib_. p. 112.

[1299] _An Address to the Electors of Southwark. Ib_. p. 106. See _post_,
p. 440.

[1300] The author of the _Fitzosborne Letters (post_, May 5, 1784, note).
Miss Burney thus describes this evening:--'We were appointed to meet the
Bishop of Chester at Mrs. Montagu's. This proved a very gloomy kind of
grandeur; the Bishop waited for Mrs. Thrale to speak, Mrs. Thrale for
the Bishop; so neither of them spoke at all. Mrs. Montagu cared not a
fig, as long as she spoke herself, and so she harangued away. Meanwhile
Mr. Melmoth, the Pliny Melmoth, as he is called, was of the party, and
seemed to think nobody half so great as himself. He seems intolerably
self-sufficient--appears to look upon himself as the first man in Bath,
and has a proud conceit in look and manner, mighty forbidding.' Mme.
D'Arblay's _Diary_, i. 348.

[1301] Dr. John Hinchliffe. BOSWELL.

[1302] A kind of nick-name given to Mrs. Thrale's eldest daughter, whose
name being _Esther_, she might be assimilated to a _Queen_. BOSWELL.

[1303] Mr. Thrale. BOSWELL.

[1304] In Johnson's _Dictionary_ is neither _dawling_ nor _dawdling_. He
uses _dawdle, post_, June 3, 1781.

[1305] Miss Burney shews how luxurious a table Mr. Thrale kept. 'We
had,' she records, in May 1779, 'a very grand dinner to-day, _though
nothing to a Streatham dinner_, at the Ship Tavern [Brighton], where the
officers mess, to which we were invited by the major and the captain.'
As the major was a man of at least L8,000 a-year, and the captain of
L4,000 or L5,000, the dinner was likely to be grand enough. Mme.
D'Arblay's _Diary_, i. 211. Yet when Mr. Thrale had his first stroke in
1779, Johnson wrote:--'I am the more alarmed by this violent seizure, as
I can impute it to no wrong practices, or intemperance of any kind....
What can he reform? or what can he add to his regularity and temperance?
He can only sleep less.' _Piozzi Letters_, ii. 49, 51. Baretti, in a MS.
note on p. 51, says:--'Dr. Johnson knew that Thrale would eat like four,
let physicians preach.... May be he did not know it, so little did he
mind what people were doing. Though he sat by Thrale at dinner, he never
noticed whether he eat much or little. A strange man!' Yet in a note on
p. 49, Baretti had said that Thrale's seizure was caused by 'the mere
grief he could not overcome of his only son's loss. Johnson knew it, but
would not tell it.' See _post_, iv. 84, note 4.

[1306] Miss Burney.

[1307] I have taken the liberty to leave out a few lines. BOSWELL. Lines
about diet and physic.

[1308] See _ante_, ii. 61, note 4.

[1309] The author of _Fables for the Female Sex_, and of the tragedy of
_The Gamester_, and editor of _The World_. Goldsmith, in his _Present
State of Polite Learning_ (ch. x.), after describing the sufferings of
authors, continues:--'Let us not then aggravate those natural
inconveniences by neglect; we have had sufficient instances of this kind
already. Sale and Moore will suffice for one age at least. But they are
dead and their sorrows are over.' Mr. Foster (_Life of Goldsmith_, ed.
1871, ii, 484) strangely confounds Edward Moore the fabulist, with Dr.
John More the author of _Zeluco_.

[1310] Line of a song in _The Spectator_, No. 470. CROKER.

[1311] Hannah More, in 1783 (_Memoirs_, i. 286), describes 'Mrs. Vesey's
pleasant parties. It is a select society which meets at her house every
other Tuesday, on the day on which the Turk's Head Club dine together.
In the evening they all meet at Mrs. Vesey's, with the addition of such
other company as it is difficult to find elsewhere.'

[1312] Second Earl Spencer; the First Lord of the Admiralty under Pitt,
and father of Lord Althorp who was leader of the House of Commons under
Earl Grey.

[1313] see _ante_ p. 390.

[1314] Her childhood was celebrated by Prior in the lines beginning:--
'My noble, lovely little Peggy.' CROKER.

[1315] Horace Walpole (_Letters_, vii. 510) wrote on Feb. 5, 1781:--'I
saw Dr. Johnson last night at Lady Lucan's, who had assembled a _blue
stocking_ meeting in imitation of Mrs. Vesey's Babels. It was so blue,
it was quite Mazarine-blue. Mrs. Montagu kept aloof from Johnson, like
the west from the east.' In his letter of Jan. 14 (_ib_. p. 497), the
allusion to Mrs. Vesey's Babels is explained: 'Mrs. Montagu is one of my
principal entertainments at Mrs. Vesey's, who collects all the graduates
and candidates for fame, where they vie with one another, till they are
as unintelligible as the good folks at Babel.' 'Lady Spencer,' said
Samuel Rogers, 'recollected Johnson well, as she used to see him often
in her girlhood. Her mother, Lady Lucan, would say, "Nobody dines with
us to-day; therefore, child, we'll go and get Dr. Johnson." So they
would drive to Bolt Court and bring the doctor home with them.'
_Rogers's Table Talk_, p. 10. 'I told Lady Lucan,' wrote Johnson on
April 25, 1780, 'how long it was since she sent to me; but she said I
must consider how the world rolls about her. She seemed pleased that we
met again.' _Piozzi Letters_, ii. 107.

[1316] 'I have seen,' wrote Wraxall, 'the Duchess of Devonshire,
then in the first bloom of youth, hanging on the sentences that fell
from Johnson's lips, and contending for the nearest place to his chair.
All the cynic moroseness of the philosopher and the moralist seemed to
dissolve under so flattering an approach.' Wraxall's _Memoirs_, ed.
1815, i. 158.

[1317] In Nichols's _Lit. Anec_. viii. 548, 9, Dr. Barnard is thus
described:--'In powers of conversation I never yet knew his equal. He
saw infinite variety of characters, and like Shakespeare adopted them
all by turns for comic effect. He carried me to London in a hired
chaise; we rose from our seat, and put our heads out of the windows,
while the postboy removed something under us. He supposed himself in the
pillory, and addressed the populace against the government with all the
cant of _No. 45 and Co_. He once told me a little anecdote of the
original Parson Adams, whom he knew. "Oh, Sir!" said he to Barnard,
almost in a whisper, and with a look of horror, "would you believe it,
Sir, he was wicked from a boy;" then going up close to him, "You will be
shocked--you will not believe it,--he wrote God with a little g, when he
was ten years old!"'

[1318] In Mr. Croker's editions, 'had taken a chair' is changed into
'had taken the chair,' and additional emphasis is given by printing
these four words in italics.

[1319] The hostess must have suffered, for, according to Miss Burney,
'Lord Harcourt said, "Mrs. Vesey's fear of ceremony is really
troublesome; for her eagerness to break a circle is such that she
insists upon everybody's sitting with their backs one to another; that
is, the chairs are drawn into little parties of three together, in a
confused manner all over the room."' Mme. D'Arblay's _Diary_, i. 184.
Miss Burney thus describes her:--'She has the most wrinkled, sallow,
time-beaten face I ever saw. She is an exceeding well-bred woman, and of
agreeable manners; but all her name in the world must, I think, have
been acquired by her dexterity and skill in selecting parties, and by
her address in rendering them easy with one another.' _Ib_. p. 244. She
heard her say of a gentleman who had lately died:--'It's a very
disagreeable thing, I think, when one has just made acquaintance with
anybody and likes them, to have them die.' _Ib_. ii. 290.

[1320] Johnson passed over this scene very lightly. 'On Sunday evening I
was at Mrs. Vesey's, and there was inquiry about my master, but I told
them all good. There was Dr. Barnard of Eton, and we made a noise all
the evening; and there was Pepys, and Wraxall till I drove him away.'
_Piozzi Letters,_ ii. 98. Wraxall was perhaps thinking of this evening
when he wrote (_Memoirs_, ed. 1815, i. 147):--'Those whom he could not
always vanquish by the force of his intellect, by the depth and range of
his arguments, and by the compass of his gigantic faculties, he silenced
by rudeness; and I have myself more than once stood in the predicament
which I here describe. Yet no sooner was he withdrawn, and with him had
disappeared these personal imperfections, than the sublime attainments
of his mind left their full effect on the audience: such the whole
assembly might be in some measure esteemed while he was present.'

[1321] Among the provisions thus relaxed was one that subjected Popish
priests, or Papists keeping school, to perpetual imprisonment. Those
only enjoyed the benefit of the act who took a very strict test, in
which, among other things, they denied the Pope's temporal and civil
jurisdiction within this realm. This bill passed both Houses without a
single negative. It applied only to England. Scotland was alarmed by the
report that the Scotch Catholics were in like manner to be relieved. In
Edinburgh and Glasgow the Papists suffered from outrageous acts of
violence and cruelty, and government did not think it advisable to
repress this persecution by force. The success of these Scotch bigots
seems to have given the first rise to the Protestant Association in
England. _Ann. Reg_. xxiii. 254-6. How slight 'the relaxation' was in
England is shewn by Lord Mansfield's charge on Lord George Gordon's
trial, where we learn that the Catholics were still subject to all the
penalties created in the reigns of Elizabeth, James I, Charles II, and
of the first ten years of William III. _Ib_. xxiv. 237. Hannah More
(_Memoirs_, i. 326), four years after the riots, wrote:--'I have had a
great many prints, pamphlets, &c., sent me from Rouen; but, unluckily
for me, the sender happened to have put a popish prayer-book among my
things, which were therefore, by being caught in bad company, all found
guilty of popery at Brighthelmstone, and condemned to be burnt to my
great regret.' They were burnt in accordance with sect. 25 of 3 Jac. I.
c. 4. This act was only repealed in to 1846 (9 and 10. Rep. c. 59. s. i).

[1322] Vol. ii. p. 143, _et seq_. I have selected passages from
several letters, without mentioning dates. BOSWELL.

[1323] June 2. BOSWELL. Johnson wrote on June 9.

[1324] See _post_, p. 435.

[1325] On this day (June 6) Johnson, writing to Mrs. Thrale at Bath, did
not mention the riots. He gives the date very fully--'London, No. 8,
Bolt-court, Fleet-street, June 6, 1780,' and adds:--'Mind this, and tell
Queency [Miss Thrale].' _Piozzi Letters_, ii. 141. Miss Burney, who was
with the Thrales, writes:--'Dr. Johnson has written to Mrs. Thrale,
without even mentioning the existence of this mob; perhaps, at this very
moment, he thinks it "a humbug upon the nation," as George Bodens called
the Parliament.' Mme. D'Arblay's _Diary_, i. 401. When Johnson wrote,
the mob had not risen to its height of violence. Mrs. Thrale in her
answer, giving the date, 'Bath, 3 o'clock on Saturday morning, June 10,
1780,' asks, 'Oh! my dear Sir, was I ever particular in dating a letter
before? and is this a time to begin to be particular when I have been up
all night in trembling agitation? Miss Burney is frighted, but she says
better times will come; she made me date my letter so, and persists in
hoping that ten years hence we shall all three read it over together and
be merry. But, perhaps, you will ask, "who is _consternated_,"? as you
did about the French invasion.' _Piozzi Letters_, ii. 146.

[1326] 'Lord Mansfield's house,' wrote Dr. Franklin from Paris
(_Memoirs_, iii. 62), 'is burnt with all his furniture, pictures, books,
and papers. Thus he who approved the burning American houses has had
fire brought home to him.'

[1327] Baretti in a marginal note on _mass-house_, says, 'So illiberal
was Johnson made by religion that he calls here the chapel a
mass-house.... Yet he hated the Presbyterians. That was a nasty blot in
his character.'

[1328] Horace Walpole this night (June 7) wrote:--'Yet I assure your
Ladyship there is no panic. Lady Aylesbury has been at the play in the
Haymarket, and the Duke and my four nieces at Ranelagh this evening.'
_Letters_, vii. 388. The following Monday he wrote:--'Mercy on us! we
seem to be plunging into the horrors of France, in the reigns of
Charles VI. and VII.!--yet, as extremes meet, there is at this moment
amazing insensibility. Within these four days I have received five
applications for tickets to see my house!' _Ib_. p. 395.

[1329] Written on June 10.

[1330] In the original, 'was this day _with a party of soldiers_.'

[1331] In the original, 'We are all _again_.'

[1332] Written on June 12.

[1333] George III told Lord Eldon that at a levee 'he asked Wilkes after
his friend Serjeant Glynne. "_My_ friend, Sir!" says Wilkes to the King;
"he is no friend of mine." "Why," said the King, "he _was_ your friend
and your counsel in all your trials." "Sir," rejoined Wilkes, "he _was_
my _counsel_--one _must_ have a counsel; but he was no _friend_; he
loves sedition and licentiousness which I never delighted in. In fact,
Sir, he was a Wilkite, which I never was." The King said the confidence
and humour of the man made him forget at the moment his impudence.'
Twiss's _Eldon_, ii. 356.

[1334] Lord George Gordon and his followers, during these outrages, wore
blue ribbands in their hats. MALONE.

[1335] Johnson added:--'All danger here is apparently over; but a
little agitation still continues. We frighten one another with a
seventy-thousand Scots to come hither with the Dukes of Gordon and
Argyle, and eat us, and hang us, or drown us.' Two days later Horace
Walpole, after mentioning that Lord George Gordon was in the Tower,
continued:--'What a nation is Scotland; in every reign engendering
traitors to the State, and false and pernicious to the Kings that favour
it the most. National prejudices, I know, are very vulgar; but if there
are national characteristics, can one but dislike the soils and climates
that concur to produce them?' _Letters_, vii. 400.

[1336] He died Nov. 19, 1792, and left 'about, L20,000 accumulated not
parsimoniously, but during a very long possession of a profitable
office.' His father, who was keeper before him, began as a turnkey.
_Gent. Mag_. 1792, p. 1062. Wesley wrote on Jan. 2, 1761:--'Of all the
seats of woe on this side hell, few, I suppose, exceed or even equal
Newgate. If any region of horror could exceed it a few years ago,
Newgate in Bristol did; so great was the filth, the stench, the misery,
and wickedness which shocked all who had a spark of humanity left.' He
described a great change for the better which had lately been made in
the London Newgate. Perhaps it was due to Akerman. Wesley's _Journal_,
iii. 32.

[1337] There were two city prisons so called.

[1338] In the first two editions _will_. Boswell, in the third edition,
corrected most of his Scotticisms.

[1339] In the _Life of Savage_ (_Works_, viii. 183) Johnson wrote of the
keeper of the Bristol gaol:--'Virtue is undoubtedly most laudable in
that state which makes it most difficult; and therefore the humanity of
a gaoler certainly deserves this publick attestation; and the man whose
heart has not been hardened by such an employment may be justly proposed
as a pattern of benevolence. If an inscription was once engraved "to the
honest toll-gatherer," less honours ought not to be paid "to the tender
gaoler."' This keeper, Dagge by name, was one of Whitefield's disciples.
In 1739 Whitefield wrote:--'God having given me great favour in the
gaoler's eyes, I preached a sermon on the Penitent Thief, to the poor
prisoners in Newgate.' He began to read prayers and preach to them every
day, till the Mayor and Sheriffs forbade Mr. Dagge to allow him to
preach again. Tyerman's _Whitefield_, i. 179.

[1340] Vol. ii. p. 163. Mrs. Piozzi has omitted the name, she best knows

[1341] Now settled in London. BOSWELL.

[1342] I had been five years absent from London. BEATTIE.

[1343] '--sic fata ferebant.' _AEneid, ii. 34_.

[1344] Meaning his entertaining _Memoirs of David Garrick, Esq_., of
which Johnson (as Davies informed me) wrote the first sentence; thus
giving, as it were, the key-note performance. It is, indeed, very
characteristical of its authour, beginning with a maxim, and proceeding
to illustrate.--'All excellence has a right to be recorded. I shall,
therefore, think it superfluous to apologise for writing the life of a
man, who by an uncommon assemblage of private virtues, adorned the
highest eminence in a publick profession.' BOSWELL.

[1345] Davies had become bankrupt. See _ante_, p. 223. Young, in his
first _Epistle to Pope_, says:--

'For bankrupts write when ruined shops are shut
As maggots crawl from out a perished nut.'

Davies's _Memoirs of Garrick_, published this spring, reached its third
edition by the following year.

[1346] I wish he had omitted the suspicion expressed here, though I
believe he meant nothing but jocularity; for though he and I differed
sometimes in opinion, he well knew how much I loved and revered him.

[1347] The Thrales fled from Bath where a riot had broken out, and
travelled about the country in alarm for Mr. Thrale's 'personal safety,'
as it had been maliciously asserted in a Bath and Bristol paper that he
was a Papist. Mme. D'Arblay's _Diary_, i. 399.

[1348] On May 30 he wrote to Mrs. Thrale:--'I have been so idle that I
know not when I shall get either to you, or to any other place; for my
resolution is to stay here till the work is finished.... I hope, however,
to see standing corn in some part of the earth this summer, but I shall
hardly smell hay, or suck clover flowers.' _Piozzi Letters_, ii. 140.

[1349] It will, no doubt, be remarked how he avoids the _rebellious_
land of America. This puts me in mind of an anecdote, for which I am
obliged to my worthy social friend, Governour Richard Penn: 'At one of
Miss E. Hervey's assemblies, Dr. Johnson was following her up and down
the room; upon which Lord Abingdon observed to her, "Your great friend
is very fond of you; you can go no where without him."--"Ay, (said she),
he would follow me to any part of the world."--"Then (said the Earl),
ask him to go with you to _America_.'" BOSWELL. This lady was the niece
of Johnson's friends the Herveys [_ante_, i. 106]. CROKER.

[1350] _Essays on the History of Mankind_. BOSWELL. Johnson could
scarcely have known that Dunbar was an active opponent of the American
war. Mackintosh, who was his pupil, writes of him:--'I shall ever be
grateful to his memory for having contributed to breathe into my mind a
strong spirit of liberty.' Mackintosh's _Life_, i. 12. The younger
Colman, who attended, or rather neglected to attend his lectures, speaks
of him as 'an acute frosty-faced little Dr. Dunbar, a man of much
erudition, and great goodnature.' _Random Records_, ii. 93.

[1351] Mr. Seward (_Biographiana_, p. 601) says that this clergyman was
'the son of an old and learned friend of his'--the Rev. Mr. Hoole, I

[1352] See _post_, iv. 12, and Boswell's _Hebrides_, Aug. 19.

[1353] Dr. Percy, now Bishop of Dromore. BOSWELL

[1354] Johnson, in 1764, passed some weeks at Percy's rectory. _Ante_,
i. 486.

[1355] See _ante_, p. 366.

[1356] See _ante,_, i. 458

[1357] 'O praeclarum diem quum ad illud divinum animorum concilium
c'tumque profiscar.' Cicero's _De Senectute_, c. 23.

[1358] See _ante_, p. 396.

[1359] See _ante_, ii. 162.

[1360] I had not then seen his letters to Mrs. Thrale. BOSWELL.

[1361] In the _Life of Edmund Smith_. See _ante_, i. 81, and Johnson's
_Works_, vii. 380.

[1362] Unlike Walmsley and Johnson, of whom one was a Whig, the other a
Tory. 'Walmsley was a Whig,' wrote Johnson, 'with all the virulence and
malevolence of his party; yet difference of opinion did not keep us
apart. I honoured him, and he endured me.'

[1363] See _ante_, ii. 169, note 2.

[1364] Miss Burney described an evening spent by Johnson at Dr. Burney's
some weeks earlier:--'He was in high spirits and good humour, talked all
the talk, affronted nobody, and delighted everybody. I never saw him
more sweet, nor better attended to by his audience.' In December she
wrote:--'Dr. Johnson is very gay, and sociable, and comfortable, and
quite as kind to me as ever.' A little later she wrote to Mrs.
Thrale:--'Does Dr. Johnson continue gay and good-humoured, and "valuing
nobody" in a morning?' Mme. D'Arblay's _Diary_, i. 412, 429, 432.

[1365] _Pr. and Med_. p. 185. BOSWELL.

[1366] See Boswell's _Hebrides_, Oct. 27.

[1367] The Charterhouse.

[1368] Macbean was, on Lord Thurlow's nomination, admitted 'a poor
brother of the Charterhouse.' _Ante_, i. 187. Johnson, on Macbean's
death on June 26, 1784, wrote:--'He was one of those who, as Swift says,
_stood as a screen between me and death_. He has, I hope, made a good
exchange. He was very pious; he was very innocent; he did no ill; and of
doing good a continual tenour of distress allowed him few opportunities;
he was very highly esteemed in the house [the Charterhouse].' _Piozzi
Letters_, ii. 373. The quotation from Swift is found in the lines _On
the Death of Dr. Swift_:--

'The fools, my juniors by a year,
Are tortured with suspense and fear,
Who wisely thought my age a screen,
When death approached, to stand between.'

Swift's _Works_, ed. 1803, xi. 246.

[1369] Johnson, in May, had persuaded Mrs. Thrale to come up from Bath
to canvass for Mr. Thrale. 'My opinion is that you should come for a
week, and show yourself, and talk in high terms. Be brisk, and be
splendid, and be publick. The voters of the Borough are too proud and
too little dependant to be solicited by deputies; they expect the
gratification of seeing the candidate bowing or curtseying before them.
If you are proud, they can be sullen. Mr. Thrale certainly shall not
come, and yet somebody must appear whom the people think it worth the
while to look at.' _Piozzi Letters_, ii. 114.

[1370] Hawkins's _Johnsons Works_, xi. 206. It is curious that
Psalmanazar, in his _Memoirs_, p. 101, uses the mongrel word

[1371] Taylor's _Life of Reynolds_, ii. 459.

[1372] Boswell, when in the year 1764 he was starting from Berlin for
Geneva, wrote to Mr. Mitchell, the English Minister at Berlin:--'I shall
see Voltaire; I shall also see Switzerland and Rousseau. These two men
are to me greater objects than most statues or pictures.' Nichols's
_Lit. Hist_. ed. 1848, vii. 319.

[1373] See _post,_ iv. 261, note 3 for Boswell's grievance against Pitt.


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