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

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ludicrous errour. But Mr. Nourse, the bookseller, who was the proprietor
of the work, upon being applied to by Sir John Pringle, agreed very
handsomely to have the leaf on which it was contained cancelled, and
re-printed without it, at his own expence. BOSWELL. In the second
edition, published five years after Goldsmith's death, the story
remains. In a foot-note the editor says, that 'he has been credibly
informed that the professor had not the defect here mentioned.' The
story is not quite as Boswell tells it. 'Maclaurin,' writes Goldsmith
(ii. 91), 'was very subject to have his jaw dislocated; so that when he
opened his mouth wider than ordinary, or when he yawned, he could not
shut it again. In the midst of his harangues, therefore, if any of his
pupils began to be tired of his lecture, he had only to gape or yawn,
and the professor instantly caught the sympathetic affection; so that he
thus continued to stand speechless, with his mouth wide open, till his
servant, from the next room, was called in to set his jaw again.'

[46] Dr. Shebbeare (_post_, April 18, 1778) was tried for writing a
libellous pamphlet. Horace Walpole says:--'The bitterest parts of the
work were a satire on William III and George I. The most remarkable part
of this trial was the Chief Justice Mansfield laying down for law that
satires even on dead Kings were punishable. Adieu! veracity and history,
if the King's bench is to appreciate your expressions!' _Memoirs of the
Reign of George II_, iii. 153.

[47] What Dr. Johnson has here said, is undoubtedly good sense; yet I am
afraid that law, though defined by _Lord Coke_ 'the perfection of
reason,' is not altogether _with him_; for it is held in the books, that
an attack on the reputation even of a dead man, may be punished as a
libel, because tending to a breach of the peace. There is, however, I
believe, no modern decided case to that effect. In the King's Bench,
Trinity Term, 1790, the question occurred on occasion of an indictment,
_The King_ v. _Topham_, who, as a _proprietor_ of a news-paper entitled
_The World_, was found guilty of a libel against Earl Cowper, deceased,
because certain injurious charges against his Lordship were published in
that paper. An arrest of Judgment having been moved for, the case was
afterwards solemnly argued. My friend Mr. Const, whom I delight in
having an opportunity to praise, not only for his abilities but his
manners; a gentleman whose ancient German blood has been mellowed in
England, and who may be truely said to unite the _Baron_ and the
_Barrister_, was one of the Counsel for Mr. Topham. He displayed much
learning and ingenuity upon the general question; which, however, was
not decided, as the Court granted an arrest chiefly on the informality
of the indictment. No man has a higher reverence for the law of England
than I have; but, with all deference I cannot help thinking, that
prosecution by indictment, if a defendant is never to be allowed to
justify, must often be very oppressive, unless Juries, whom I am more
and more confirmed in holding to be judges of law as well as of fact,
resolutely interpose. Of late an act of Parliament has passed
declaratory of their full right to one as well as the other, in matter
of libel; and the bill having been brought in by a popular gentleman,
many of his party have in most extravagant terms declaimed on the
wonderful acquisition to the liberty of the press. For my own part I
ever was clearly of opinion that this right was inherent in the very
constitution of a Jury, and indeed in sense and reason inseparable from
their important function. To establish it, therefore, by Statute, is, I
think, narrowing its foundation, which is the broad and deep basis of
Common Law. Would it not rather weaken the right of primo-geniture, or
any other old and universally-acknowledged right, should the legislature
pass an act in favour of it? In my _Letter to the People of Scotland,
against diminishing the number of the Lords of Session_, published in
1785, there is the following passage, which, as a concise, and I hope a
fair and rational state of the matter, I presume to quote: 'The Juries
of England are Judges of _law_ as well as of fact, in _many civil_, and
in all _criminals_ trials. That my principles of _resistance_ may not be
misapprehended and more than my principles of _submission_, I protest
that I should be the last man in the world to encourage Juries to
contradict rashly, wantonly, or perversely, the opinion of the Judges.
On the contrary, I would have them listen respectfully to the advise
they receive from the Bench, by which they may be often well directed in
forming _their own opinion_; which, "and not anothers," is the opinion
they are to return _upon their oaths_. But where, after due attention to
all that the judge has said, they are decidedly of a different opinion
from him, they have not only a _power and a right_, but they are _bound
in conscience_ to bring in a verdict accordingly.' BOWELL. _The World_
is described by Gifford in his _Baviad and Marviad_, as a paper set up
by 'a knot of fantastic coxcombs to direct the taste of the town.'
Lowndes (_Bibl. Man_. ed. 1871, p. 2994) confounds it with _The World_
mentioned _ante_, i. 257. The 'popular gentleman' was Fox, whose Libel
Bill passed the House of Lords in June 1792. _Parl. Hist_. xxix. 1537.

[48] Nobody, that is to say, but Johnson. _Post_, p. 24, note 2.

[49] Of this service Johnson recorded:--'In the morning I had at church
some radiations of comfort.' _Pr. and Med_. p. 146.

[50] Baretti, in a marginal note on _Piozzi Letters_, i. 311, says:--
'Mr. Thrale, who was a worldly man, and followed the direction of his
own feelings with no philosophical or Christian distinctions, having
now lost the strong hope of being one day succeeded in the profitable
Brewery by the only son he had left, gave himself silently up to his
grief, and fell in a few years a victim to it.' In a second note (ii.
22) he says:--'The poor man could never subdue his grief on account of
his son's death.'

[51] A gentleman, who from his extraordinary stores of knowledge, has
been stiled _omniscient_. Johnson, I think very properly, altered it to
all-knowing, as it is a _verbum solenne_, appropriated to the Supreme

[52] Mrs. Thrale wrote to him on May 3:--'Should you write about
Streatham and Croydon, the book would be as good to me as a journey to
Rome, exactly; for 'tis Johnson, not _Falkland's Islands_ that interest
us, and your style is invariably the same. The sight of Rome might have
excited more reflections indeed than the sight of the Hebrides, and so
the book might be bigger, but it would not be better a jot.' _Piozzi
Letters_, i 318.

[53] Hawkins says (_Life_, p. 84) that 'Johnson was never greedy of
money, but without money could not be stimulated to write. I have been
told by a clergyman with whom he had been long acquainted, that, being
(sic) to preach on a particular occasion, he applied to him for help. "I
will write a sermon for thee," said Johnson, "but thou must pay me for
it."' See _post_, May 1, 1783. Horace Walpole (_Letters_, viii. 150)
records an anecdote that he had from Hawkins:--'When Dr. Johnson was at
his work on his _Shakespeare_, Sir John said to him, "Well! Doctor, now
you have finished your _Dictionary_, I suppose you will labour your
present work _con amore_ for your reputation." "No Sir," said Johnson,
"nothing excites a man to write but necessity."' Walpole then relates
the anecdote of the clergyman, and speaks of Johnson as 'the mercenary.'
Walpole's sinecure offices thirty-nine years before this time brought
him in 'near, L2000 a year.' In 1782 he wrote that his office of Usher
of the Exchequer was worth L1800 a year. _Letters_, i. lxxix, lxxxii.

[54] Swift wrote in 1735, when he was sixty-seven:--'I never got a
farthing by anything I writ, except one about eight years ago, and that
was by Mr. Pope's prudent management for me.' _Works_, xix. 171. It was,
I conjecture, _Gulliver's Travels_. Hume, in 1757, wrote:--'I am writing
the _History of England_ from the accession of Henry VII. I undertook
this work because I was tired of idleness, and found reading alone,
after I had often perused all good books (which I think is soon done),
somewhat a languid occupation.' J. H. Burton's _Hume_, ii. 33.

[55] This Mr. Ellis was, I believe, the last of that profession called
_Scriveners_, which is one of the London companies, but of which the
business is no longer carried on separately, but is transacted by
attornies and others. He was a man of literature and talents. He was the
authour of a Hudibrastick version of Maphaesus's _Canto_, in addition to
the _AEneid_; of some poems in Dodsley's _Collections_; and various other
small pieces; but being a very modest man, never put his name to
anything. He shewed me a translation which he had made of Ovid's
_Epistles_, very prettily done. There is a good engraved portrait of him
by Pether, from a picture by Fry, which hangs in the hall of the
Scriveners' company. I visited him October 4, 1790, in his ninety-third
year, and found his judgment distinct and clear, and his memory, though
faded so as to fail him occasionally, yet, as he assured me, and I
indeed perceived, able to serve him very well, after a little
recollection. It was agreeable to observe, that he was free from the
discontent and fretfulness which too often molest old age. He in the
summer of that year walked to Rotherhithe, where he dined, and walked
home in the evening. He died on the 31st of December, 1791. BOSWELL. The
version of Maphaesus's 'bombastic' additional _Canto_ is advertised in
the _Gent. Mag_. 1758, p. 233. The engraver of Mr. Ellis's portrait in
the first two editions is called Peffer.

[56] 'Admiral Walsingham boasted that he had entertained more
miscellaneous parties than any other man in London. At one time he had
received the Duke of Cumberland, Dr. Johnson, Mr. Nairne the optician,
and Leoni the singer. It was at his table that Dr. Johnson made that
excellent reply to a pert coxcomb who baited him during dinner. "Pray
now," said he to the Doctor, "what would you give, old gentleman, to be
as young and sprightly as I am?" "Why, Sir, I think," replied Johnson,
"I would almost be content to be as foolish."' Cradock's _Memoirs_, i.

[57] 'Dr. Johnson almost always prefers the company of an intelligent
man of the world to that of a scholar.' Mme. D'Arblay's _Diary_, i. 241.

[58] See J.H. Burton's _Hume_, i. 174, for an account of him.

[59] Lord Macartney, who with his other distinguished qualities, is
remarkable also for an elegant pleasantry, told me, that he met Johnson
at Lady Craven's, and that he seemed jealous of any interference: 'So,
(said his Lordship, smiling,) _I kept back_.' BOSWELL.

[60] See _ante_, i. 242.

[61] There is an account of him in Sir John Hawkins's Life of Johnson.
BOSWELL. Hawkins (Life, p. 246) records the following sarcasm of Ballow.
In a coffee-house he attacked the profession of physic, which Akenside,
who was a physician as well as poet, defended. 'Doctor,' said Ballow,
'after all you have said, my opinion of the profession of physic is
this. The ancients endeavoured to make it a science, and failed; and the
moderns to make it a trade, and have succeeded.'

[62] See _ante_, i. 274.

[63] I have in vain endeavoured to find out what parts Johnson wrote
for Dr. James. Perhaps medical men may. BOSWELL. See _ante_, i. 159.
Johnson, needing medicine at Montrose, 'wrote the prescription in
technical characters.' Boswell's _Hebrides_, Aug. 21, 1773.

[64] Horace Walpole, writing of May in this year, says that General
Smith, an adventurer from the East Indies, who was taken off by Foote in
_The Nabob_, 'being excluded from the fashionable club of young men of
quality at Almack's, had, with a set of sharpers, formed a plan for a
new club, which, by the excess of play, should draw all the young
extravagants thither. They built a magnificent house in St.
James's-street, and furnished it gorgeously.' _Journal of the Reign of
George III_, ii. 39.

[65] He said the same when in Scotland. Boswell's _Hebrides_, under Nov.
22, 1773. On the other hand, in _The Rambler_, No. 80, he wrote:--'It is
scarcely possible to pass an hour in honest conversation, without being
able, when we rise from it, to please ourselves with having given or
received some advantages; but a man may shuffle cards, or rattle dice,
from noon to midnight, without tracing any new idea in his mind, or
being able to recollect the day by any other token than his gain or
loss, and a confused remembrance of agitated passions, and clamorous

[66] 'Few reflect,' says Warburton, 'on what a great wit has so
ingenuously owned. That wit is generally false reasoning.' The wit was
Wycherley. See his letter xvi. to Pope in Pope's _Works_. Warburton's
_Divine Legation_, i. xii.

[67] 'Perhaps no man was ever more happy than Dr. Johnson in the
extempore and masterly defence of any cause which, at the given moment,
he chose to defend.' Stockdale's _Memoirs_, i. 261.

[68] Burke, in a letter that he wrote in 1771 (_Corres_. i. 330), must
have had in mind his talks with Johnson. 'Nay,' he said, 'it is not
uncommon, when men are got into debates, to take now one side, now
another, of a question, as the momentary humour of the man and the
occasion called for, with all the latitude that the antiquated freedom
and ease of English conversation among friends did, in former days,
encourage and excuse.' H.C. Robinson (_Diary_, iii. 485) says that Dr.
Burney 'spoke with great warmth of affection of Dr. Johnson, and said he
was the kindest creature in the world when he thought he was loved and
respected by others. He would play the fool among friends, but he
required deference. It was necessary to ask questions and make no
assertion. If you said two and two make four, he would say, 'How will
you prove that, Sir?' Dr. Burney seemed amiably sensitive to every
unfavourable remark on his old friend.

[69] Patrick Lord Elibank, who died in 1778. BOSWELL. See Boswell's
_Hebrides_, Sept. 12, 1773.

[70] Yet he said of him:--'Sir, there is nothing conclusive in his talk.'
See _post_, p. 57.

[71] Johnson records of this Good Friday:--'My design was to pass part
of the day in exercises of piety, but Mr. Boswell interrupted me; of
him, however, I could have rid myself; but poor Thrale, _orbus et
exspes_, came for comfort, and sat till seven, when we all went to
church.' _Pr. and Med_. p. 146.

[72] Johnson's entries at Easter shew this year, and some of the
following years, more peace of mind than hitherto. Thus this Easter he
records, 'I had at church some radiations of comfort.... When I
received, some tender images struck me. I was so mollified by the
concluding address to our Saviour that I could not utter it.' _Pr. and
Med_. pp. 146, 149. 'Easter-day, 1777, I was for some time much
distressed, but at last obtained, I hope from the God of peace, more
quiet than I have enjoyed for a long time. I had made no resolution, but
as my heart grew lighter, my hopes revived, and my courage increased.'
_Ib_. p. 158. 'Good Friday, 1778. I went with some confidence and
calmness through the prayers.' _Ib_. p. 164.

[73] '_Nunquam enim nisi navi plena tollo vectorem_.' Lib. ii. c. vi.

[74] See _ante_, i. 187.

[75] See _ante_, i. 232.

[76] See _ante_, ii, 219.

[77] Cheyne's _English Malady, or a Treatise of Nervous Diseases of All
Kinds_, 1733. He recommended a milk, seed, and vegetable diet; by seed
he apparently meant any kind of grain. He did not take meat. He drank
green tea. At one time he weighed thirty-two stones. His work shews the
great change in the use of fermented liquors since his time. Thus he
says:--'For nearly twenty years I continued sober, moderate, and plain
in my diet, and in my greatest health drank not above a quart, or three
pints at most of wine any day' (p. 235). 'For near one-half of the time
from thirty to sixty I scarce drank any strong liquor at all. It will be
found that upon the whole I drank very little above a pint of wine, or
at most not a quart one day with another, since I was near thirty'
(p. 243). Johnson a second time recommended Boswell to read this book,
_post_, July 2, 1776. See _ante_, i. 65. Boswell was not the man to
follow Cheyne's advice. Of one of his works Wesley says:--'It is one of
the most ingenious books which I ever saw. But what epicure will ever
regard it? for "the man talks against good eating and drinking."'
Wesley's _Journal_, i. 347. Young, in his _Epistles to Pope_, No. ii.

'--three ells round huge Cheyne
rails at meat.'

Dr. J. H. Burton (_Life of Hume_, i. 45) shews reason for believing that
a very curious letter by Hume was written to Cheyne.

[78] '"Solitude," he said one day, "is dangerous to reason, without
being favourable to virtue; pleasures of some sort are necessary to the
intellectual as to the corporeal health; and those who resist gaiety
will be likely for the most part to fall a sacrifice to appetite; for
the solicitations of sense are always at hand, and a dram to a vacant
and solitary person is a speedy and seducing relief. Remember (continued
he) that the solitary mortal is certainly luxurious, probably
superstitious, and possibly mad."' Piozzi's _Anec_. p. 106.

[79] The day before he wrote to Mrs. Thrale:--'Mr. Thrale's alteration
of purpose is not weakness of resolution; it is a wise man's compliance
with the change of things, and with the new duties which the change
produces. Whoever expects me to be angry will be disappointed. I do not
even grieve at the effect, I grieve only at the cause.' _Piozzi
Letters_, i. 314. Mrs. Thrale on May 3 wrote:--'Baretti said you would
be very angry, because this dreadful event made us put off our Italian
journey, but I knew you better. Who knows even now that 'tis deferred
for ever? Mr. Thrale says he shall not die in peace without seeing Rome,
and I am sure he will go no-where that he can help without you.' _Ib_.
p. 317.

[80] See _ante_, i. 346.

[81] See _post_, July 22, 1777, note, where Boswell complains of
children being 'suffered to poison the moments of festivity.'

[82] Boswell, _post_, under March 30, 1783, says, 'Johnson discovered a
love of little children upon all occasions.'

[83] Johnson at a later period thought otherwise. _Post_, March 30, 1778.

[84] Pope borrowed from the following lines:--

'When on my sick bed I languish,
Full of sorrow, full of anguish;
Fainting, gasping, trembling, crying,
Panting, groaning, speechless, dying--
Methinks I hear some gentle spirit say,
Be not fearful, come away.'

Campbell's _Brit. Poets_, p. 301.

[85] In Rochester's _Allusion to the Tenth Satire of the First Book of

[86] In the _Monthly Review_ for May, 1792, there is such a correction
of the above passage, as I should think myself very culpable not to
subjoin. 'This account is very inaccurate. The following statement of
facts we know to be true, in every material circumstance:--Shiels was
the principal collector and digester of the materials for the work: but
as he was very raw in authourship, an indifferent writer in prose, and
his language full of Scotticisms, Cibber, who was a clever, lively
fellow, and then soliciting employment among the booksellers, was
engaged to correct the style and diction of the whole work, then
intended to make only four volumes, with power to alter, expunge, or
add, as he liked. He was also to supply _notes_, occasionally,
especially concerning those dramatick poets with whom he had been
chiefly conversant. He also engaged to write several of the Lives;
which, (as we are told,) he, accordingly, performed. He was farther
useful in striking out the Jacobitical and Tory sentiments, which Shiels
had industriously interspersed wherever he could bring them in:--and, as
the success of the work appeared, after all, very doubtful, he was
content with twenty-one pounds for his labour beside a few sets of the
books, to disperse among his friends.--Shiels had nearly seventy pounds,
beside the advantage of many of the best Lives in the work being
communicated by friends to the undertaking; and for which Mr. Shiels had
the same consideration as for the rest, being paid by the sheet, for the
whole. He was, however, so angry with his Whiggish supervisor, (He, like
his father, being a violent stickler for the political principles which
prevailed in the Reign of George the Second,) for so unmercifully
mutilating his copy, and scouting his politicks, that he wrote Cibber a
challenge: but was prevented from sending it, by the publisher, who
fairly laughed him out of his fury. The proprietors, too, were
discontented, in the end, on account of Mr. Cibber's unexpected
industry; for his corrections and alterations in the proof-sheets were
so numerous and considerable, that the printer made for them a grievous
addition to his bill; and, in fine, all parties were dissatisfied. On
the whole, the work was productive of no profit to the undertakers, who
had agreed, in case of success, to make Cibber a present of some
addition to the twenty guineas which he had received, and for which his
receipt is now in the booksellers' hands. We are farther assured, that
he actually obtained an additional sum; when he, soon after, (in the
year 1758,) unfortunately embarked for Dublin, on an engagement for one
of the theatres there: but the ship was cast away, and every person on
board perished. There were about sixty passengers, among whom was the
Earl of Drogheda, with many other persons of consequence and property.
[_Gent. Mag_. 1758, p. 555.]

'As to the alledged design of making the compilement pass for the work
of old Mr. Cibber, the charges seem to have been founded on a somewhat
uncharitable construction. We are assured that the thought was not
harboured by some of the proprietors, who are still living; and we hope
that it did not occur to the first designer of the work, who was also
the printer of it, and who bore a respectable character.

'We have been induced to enter thus circumstantially into the foregoing
detail of facts relating to _The Lives of the Poets_, compiled by
Messrs. Cibber and Shiels, from a sincere regard to that sacred
principle of Truth, to which Dr. Johnson so rigidly adhered, according
to the best of his knowledge; and which we believe, _no consideration_
would have prevailed on him to violate. In regard to the matter, which
we now dismiss, he had, no doubt, been misled by partial and wrong
information: Shiels was the Doctor's amanuensis; he had quarrelled with
Cibber; it is natural to suppose that he told his story in his own way;
and it is certain that _he_ was not "a very sturdy moralist." [The
quotation is from Johnson's _Works_, ix. 116.] This explanation appears
to me very satisfactory. It is, however, to be observed, that the story
told by Johnson does not rest solely upon my record of his conversation;
for he himself has published it in his _Life of Hammond_ [_ib_. viii.
90], where he says, "the manuscript of Shiels is now in my possession."
Very probably he had trusted to Shiels's word, and never looked at it so
as to compare it with _The Lives of the Poets_, as published under Mr.
Cibber's name. What became of that manuscript I know not. I should have
liked much to examine it. I suppose it was thrown into the fire in that
impetuous combustion of papers, which Johnson I think rashly executed,
when _moribundus_.' BOSWELL. Mr. Croker, quoting a letter by Griffiths
the publisher, says:--'The question is now decided by this letter in
opposition to Dr. Johnson's assertion.' Croker's _Boswell_, p. 818. The
evidence of such an infamous fellow as Griffiths is worthless. (For his
character see Forster's _Goldsmith_, i. 161.) As the _Monthly Review_
was his property, the passage quoted by Boswell was, no doubt, written
by his direction. D'Israeli (_Curiosities of Literature_, ed. 1834, vi.
375) says that Oldys (_ante_, i. 175) made annotations on a copy of
Langbaine's _Dramatic Poets_. 'This _Langbaine_, with additions by
Coxeter, was bought by Theophilus Cibber; on the strength of these notes
he prefixed his name to the first collection of the _Lives of Our
Poets_, written chiefly by Shiels.'

[87] Mason's _Memoirs of Gray's Life_ was published in 1775. Johnson, in
his _Life of Gray_ (_Works_, viii. 476), praises Gray's portion of the
book:--'They [Gray and Horace Walpole] wandered through France into
Italy; and Gray's _Letters_ contain a very pleasing account of many
parts of their journey.' 'The style of Madame de Sevigne,' wrote
Mackintosh (_Life_, ii. 221), 'is evidently copied, not only by her
worshipper Walpole, but even by Gray; notwithstanding the extraordinary
merits of his matter, he has the double stiffness of an imitator and of
a college recluse.'

[88] See ante, ii. 164.

[89] This impartiality is very unlikely. In 1757 Griffiths, the owner of
the _Monthly_, aiming a blow at Smollett, the editor of the _Critical_,
said that _The Monthly Review_ was not written by 'physicians without
practice, authors without learning, men without decency, gentlemen
without manners, and critics without judgement.' Smollett retorted:--
'_The Critical Review_ is not written by a parcel of obscure hirelings,
under the restraint of a bookseller and his wife, who presume to revise,
alter, and amend the articles occasionally. The principal writers in the
_Critical Review_ are unconnected with booksellers, un-awed by old women,
and independent of each other.' Forster's _Goldsmith_, i. 100. 'A fourth
share in _The Monthly Review_ was sold in 1761 for L755.' _A Bookseller
of the Last Century_, p. 19.

[90] See ante, ii. 39.

[91] Horace Walpole writes:--'The scope of the _Critical Review_ was to
decry any work that appeared favourable to the principles of the
Revolution.' _Memoirs of the Reign of George II_, iii. 260.

[92] 'The story of this publication is remarkable. The whole book was
printed twice over, a great part of it three times, and many sheets four
or five times. The booksellers paid for the first impression; but the
charges and repeated operations of the press were at the expense of the
author, whose ambitious accuracy is known to have cost him at least a
thousand pounds. He began to print in 1755. Three volumes appeared in
1764, and the conclusion in 1771. Andrew Reid undertook to persuade
Lyttelton, as he had persuaded himself, that he was master of the secret
of punctuation; and, as fear begets credulity, he was employed, I know
not at what price, to point the pages of _Henry the Second_. When time
brought the _History_ to a third edition, Reid was either dead or
discarded; and the superintendence of typography and punctuation was
committed to a man originally a comb-maker, but then known by the style
of Doctor. Something uncommon was probably expected, and something
uncommon was at last done; for to the Doctor's edition is appended, what
the world had hardly seen before, a list of errors in nineteen pages.'
Johnson's _Works_, viii. 492. In the first edition of _The Lives of the
Poets_ 'the Doctor' is called Dr. Saunders. So ambitious was Lord
Lyttelton's accuracy that in the second edition he gave a list of 'false
stops which hurt the sense.' For instance, the punctuation of the
following paragraph:--'The words of Abbot Suger, in his life of Lewis le
Gros, concerning this prince are very remarkable,' he thus corrects,
'after prince a comma is wanting.' See _ante_, ii. 37.

[93] According to Horace Walpole, Lyttelton had angered Smollett by
declining 'to recommend to the stage' a comedy of his. 'He promised,'
Walpole continues, 'if it should be acted, to do all the service in his
power for the author. Smollett's return was drawing an abusive portrait
of Lord Lyttelton in _Roderick Random.' Memoirs of the Reign of George
II_, iii. 259.

[94] _Spectator_, No. 626. See _post_, 1780, in Mr. Langton's
_Collection_, near the end.

[95] When Steele brought _The Spectator_ to the close of its first
period, he acknowledged in the final number (No. 555) his obligation to
his assistants. In a postscript to the later editions he says:--'It had
not come to my knowledge, when I left off _The Spectator_, that I owe
several excellent sentiments and agreeable pieces in this work to Mr.
Ince, of Gray's Inn.' Mr. Ince died in 1758. _Gent. Mag_. 1758, p. 504.

[96] _Spectator_, No. 364.

[97] Sir Edward Barry, Baronet. BOSWELL.

[98] 'We form our words with the breath of our nostrils, we have the
less to live upon for every word we speak.' Jeremy Taylor's _Holy
Dying_, ch. i. sec. 1.

[99] On this day Johnson sent the following application for rooms in
Hampton Court to the Lord Chamberlain:--

'My Lord, Being wholly unknown to your lordship, I have only this
apology to make for presuming to trouble you with a request, that a
stranger's petition, if it cannot be easily granted, can be easily
refused. Some of the apartments are now vacant in which I am encouraged
to hope that by application to your lordship I may obtain a residence.
Such a grant would be considered by me as a great favour; and I hope
that to a man who has had the honour of vindicating his Majesty's
Government, a retreat in one of his houses may not be improperly or
unworthily allowed. I therefore request that your lordship will be
pleased to grant such rooms in Hampton Court as shall seem proper to

'My Lord,

'Your lordship's most obedient and most faithful humble servant,


'April 11, 1776.'

'Mr. Saml. Johnson to the Earl of Hertford, requesting apartments at
Hampton Court, 11th May, 1776.' And within, a memorandum of the
answer:--'Lord C. presents his compliments to Mr. Johnson, and is sorry
he cannot obey his commands, having already on his hands many
engagements unsatisfied.' Prior's _Malone_, p. 337. The endorsement does
not, it will be seen, agree in date with the letter. Lord C. stands for
the Lord Chamberlain.

[100] Hogarth saw Garrick in Richard III, and on the following night in
Abel Drugger; he was so struck, that he said to him, 'You are in your
element when you are begrimed with dirt, or up to your elbows in blood.'
Murphy's _Garrick_, p. 21. Cooke, in his _Memoirs of Macklin_, p. 110,
says that a Lichfield grocer, who came to London with a letter of
introduction to Garrick from Peter Garrick, saw him act Abel Drugger,
and returned without calling on him. He said to Peter Garrick: 'I saw
enough of him on the stage. He may be rich, as I dare say any man who
lives like him must be; but by G-d, though he is your brother, Mr.
Garrick, he is one of the shabbiest, meanest, most pitiful hounds I ever
saw in the whole course of my life.' Abel Drugger is a character in Ben
Jonson's _Alchemist_.

[101] See _post_, under Sept. 30, 1783.

[102] Lord Shelburne in 1766, at the age of twenty-nine, was appointed
Secretary of State in Lord Chatham's ministry. Fitzmaurice's _Shelburne_,
ii. 1. Jeremy Bentham said of him:--'His head was not clear. He felt the
want of clearness. He had had a most wretched education.' _Ib_. p. 175.

[103] He wrote to Mrs. Thrale on Aug. 14, 1780:--'I hope you have no
design of stealing away to Italy before the election, nor of leaving me
behind you; though I am not only seventy, but seventy-one.... But what
if I am seventy-two; I remember Sulpitius says of Saint Martin (now
that's above your reading), _Est animus victor annorum et senectuti
cedere nescius_. Match me that among your young folks.' _Piozzi
Letters_, ii. 177.

[104] Lady Hesketh, taking up apparently a thought which Paoli, as
reported by Boswell, had thrown out in conversation, proposed to Cowper
the Mediterranean for a topic. 'He replied, "Unless I were a better
historian than I am, there would be no proportion between the theme and
my ability. It seems, indeed, not to be so properly a subject for one
poem, as for a dozen."' Southey's _Cowper_, iii. 15, and vii. 44.

[105] Burke said:--'I do not know how it has happened, that orators have
hitherto fared worse in the hands of the translators than even the
poets; I never could bear to read a translation of Cicero.' _Life of Sir
W. Jones_, p. 196.

[106] See _ante_, ii. 188.

[107] See _ante_, ii. 182.

[108] See _post_, under date of Dec. 24, 1783, where mention seems to be
made of this evening.

[109] See _ante_, note, p. 30. BOSWELL

[110] 'Thomson's diction is in the highest degree florid and luxuriant,
such as may be said to be to his images and thoughts "both their lustre
and their shade;" such as invest them with splendour, through which,
perhaps, they are not always easily discerned.' Johnson's _Works_,
viii. 378. See _ante_, i. 453, and ii. 63.

[111] _A Collection of Poems in six volumes by several hands_, 1758.

[112] _Ib_. i. 116.

[113] Mr. Nicholls says, '_The Spleen_ was a great favourite with Gray
for its wit and originality.' Gray's _Works_, v. 36. See _post_, Oct. 10,
1779, where Johnson quotes two lines from it. 'Fling but a stone, the
giant dies,' is another line that is not unknown.

[114] A noted highwayman, who after having been several times tried and
acquitted, was at last hanged. He was remarkable for foppery in his dress,
and particularly for wearing a bunch of sixteen strings at the knees of his
breeches. BOSWELL.

[115] Goldsmith wrote a prologue for it. Horace Walpole wrote on
Dec. 14, 1771 (_Letters_, v. 356):--'There is a new tragedy at Covent
Garden called _Zobeide_, which I am told is very indifferent, though
written by a country gentleman.' Cradock in his old age published his
own _Memoirs_.

[116] '"Dr. Farmer," said Johnson {speaking of this essay}, "you have
done that which never was done before; that is, you have completely
finished a controversy beyond all further doubt." "There are some
critics," answered Farmer, "who will adhere to their old opinions."
"Ah!" said Johnson, "that may be true; for the limbs will quiver and
move when the soul is gone."' Northcote's _Reynolds_, i. 152. Farmer was
Master of Emanuel College, Cambridge (_ante_, i. 368). In a letter dated
Oct. 3, 1786, published in Romilly's _Life_ (i. 332), it is
said:--'Shakespeare and black letter muster strong at Emanuel.'

[117] 'When Johnson once glanced at this _Liberal Translation of the New
Testament_, and saw how Dr. Harwood had turned _Jesus wept_ into _Jesus,
the Saviour of the world, burst into a flood of tears_, he
contemptuously threw the book aside, exclaiming, "Puppy!" The author,
Dr. Edward Harwood, is not to be confounded with Dr. Thomas Harwood, the
historian of Lichfield.' Croker's _Boswell_, p. 836.

[118] See an ingenious Essay on this subject by the late Dr. Moor, Greek
Professor at Glasgow. BOSWELL.

[119] See _ante_, i. 6, note 2.

[120] 'Oh that my words were now written! oh that they were printed in a
book!' _Job_ xix. 23.

[121] 'The gradual progress which Iago makes in the Moor's conviction,
and the circumstances which he employs to inflame him, are so artfully
natural, that, though it will perhaps not be said of him as he says of
himself, that he is "a man not easily jealous," yet we cannot but pity
him, when at last we find him "perplexed in the extreme."' Johnson's
_Works_, v. 178.

[122] Of Dennis's criticism of Addison's _Cato_, he says:--'He found and
shewed many faults; he shewed them indeed with anger, but he found them
with acuteness, such as ought to rescue his criticism from oblivion.'
_Ib_. vii. 457. In a note on 'thunder rumbling from the mustard-bowl'
(The _Dunciad_, ii. 226) it is said:--'Whether Mr. Dennis was the
inventor of that improvement, I know not; but is certain that, being
once at a tragedy of a new author, he fell into a great passion at
hearing some, and cried, "S'death! that is _my_ thunder."' See
D'Israeli's _Calamities of Authors_, i. 135, for an amplification of
this story.

[123] Sir James Mackintosh thought Cumberland was meant. I am now
satisfied that it was Arthur Murphy. CROKER. The fact that Murphy's name
is found close to the story renders it more likely that Mr. Croker is

[124] 'Obscenity and impiety,' Johnson boasted in the last year of his
life, 'have always been repressed in my company.' _Post_, June 11, 1784.
See also _post_, Sept. 22, 1777.

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

[126] See _ib_. Aug. 15.

[127] See _post_, April 28, 29, 1778.

[128] See _ante_, Jan. 21, 1775, note.

[129] See _post_, April 28, 1778. That he did not always scorn to drink
when in company is shewn by what he said on April 7, 1778:--'I have
drunk three bottles of port without being the worse for it. University
College has witnessed this.'

[130] _Copy_ is _manuscript for printing_.

[131] In _The Rambler_, No. 134, he describes how he had sat
deliberating on the subject for that day's paper, 'till at last I was
awakened from this dream of study by a summons from the press; the time
was now come for which I had been thus negligently purposing to provide,
and, however dubious or sluggish, I was now necessitated to write. To a
writer whose design is so comprehensive and miscellaneous that he may
accommodate himself with a topick from every scene of life, or view of
nature, it is no great aggravation of his task to be obliged to a sudden
composition.' See _ante_, i. 203.

[132] See _ante_, i. 428.

[133] We have here an involuntary testimony to the excellence of this
admirable writer, to whom we have seen that Dr. Johnson _directly_
allowed so little merit. BOSWELL. 'Fielding's Amelia was the most
pleasing heroine of all the romances,' he said; 'but that vile broken
nose never cured [_Amelia_, bk. ii. ch. 1] ruined the sale of perhaps
the only book, which being printed off betimes one morning, a new
edition was called for before night.' Piozzi's _Anec_. p. 221. Mrs.
Carter, soon after the publication of _Amelia_, wrote (_Corres_. ii.
71):--'Methinks I long to engage you on the side of this poor
unfortunate book, which I am told the fine folks are unanimous in
pronouncing to be very sad stuff.' See _ante_, ii. 49.

[134] Horace Walpole wrote, on Dec, 21, 1775 (_Letters_, vi. 298):--
'Mr. Cumberland has written an _Ode_, as he modestly calls it, in
praise of Gray's _Odes_; charitably no doubt to make the latter taken
notice of. Garrick read it the other night at Mr. Beauclerk's, who
comprehended so little what it was about, that he desired Garrick to
read it backwards, and try if it would not be equally good; he did, and
it was.' It was to this reading backwards that Dean Barnard alludes in
his verses--

'The art of pleasing, teach me, Garrick;
Thou who reversest odes Pindaric,
A second time read o'er.'

See _post_, under May 8, 1781.

[135] Mr. Romney, the painter, who has now deservedly established a high
reputation. BOSWELL. Cumberland (_Memoirs_, i. 384) dedicated his _Odes_
to him, shortly after 'he had returned from pursuing his studies at
Rome.' 'A curious work might be written,' says Mr. Croker, 'on the
reputation of painters. Hayley dedicated his lyre (such as it was) to
Romney. What is a picture of Romney now worth?' The wheel is come full
circle, and Mr. Croker's note is as curious as the work that he

[136] Page 32 of this vol. BOSWELL.

[137] Thurlow.

[138] Wedderburne. Boswell wrote to Temple on May 1:--'Luckily Dr.
Taylor has begged of Dr. Johnson to come to London, to assist him in
some interesting business, and Johnson loves much to be so consulted and
so comes up.' _Letters of Boswell_, p. 234. On the 14th Johnson wrote to
Mrs. Thrale:--'Mr. Wedderburne has given his opinion today directly
against us. He thinks of the claim much as I think.' _Piozzi Letters_,
i. 323. In _Notes and Queries_, 6th S., v. 423, in a letter from Johnson
to Taylor, this business is mentioned.

[139] Goldsmith wrote in 1762:--'Upon a stranger's arrival at Bath he is
welcomed by a peal of the Abbey bells, and in the next place by the
voice and music of the city waits.' Cunningham's _Goldsmith's Works_,
iv. 57. In _Humphry Clinker_ (published in 1771), in the Letter of April
24, we read that there was 'a peal of the Abbey bells for the honour of
Mr. Bullock, an eminent cow-keeper of Tottenham, who had just arrived at
Bath to drink the waters for indigestion.' The town waits are also
mentioned. The season was not far from its close when Boswell arrived.
Melford, in _Humphry Clinker_, wrote from Bath on May 17:--'The music
and entertainments of Bath are over for this season; and all our gay
birds of passage have taken their flight to Bristol-well [Clifton],
Tunbridge, Brighthelmstone, Scarborough, Harrowgate, &c. Not a soul is
seen in this place, but a few broken-winded parsons, waddling like so
many crows along the North Parade.' Boswell had soon to return to London
'to eat commons in the Inner Temple.' Delighted with Bath, and
apparently pleasing himself with the thought of a brilliant career at
the Bar, he wrote to Temple, 'Quin said, "Bath was the cradle of age,
and a fine slope to the grave." Were I a Baron of the Exchequer and you
a Dean, how well could we pass some time there!' _Letters of Boswell_,
pp. 231, 234.

[140] To the rooms! and their only son dead three days over one month!

'That it should come to this!
But two months dead: nay, not so much, not two.'

_Hamlet_, act i. sc. 2.

[141] No doubt Mr. Burke. See _ante_, April 15, 1773, and under Oct. 1,
1774, note, and Boswell's _Hebrides_, Aug. 15.

[142] Mr. E.J. Payne, criticising this passage, says:--'It is certain
that Burke never thought he was deserting any principle of his own in
joining the Rockinghams.' Payne's _Burke_, i. xvii.

[143] No doubt Mrs. Macaulay. See _ante_, i. 447. 'Being asked whether
he had read Mrs. Macaulay's second volume of the _History of England_,
"No, Sir," says he, "nor her first neither."' Johnson's _Works_ (1787),
xi. 205.

[144] 'Of this distinguished Epilogue the reputed author was the
wretched Budgel, whom Addison used to denominate "the man who calls me
cousin" [Spence's _Anecdotes_, ed. 1820, p. 161]; and when he was asked
how such a silly fellow could write so well, replied, "The Epilogue was
quite another thing when I saw it first." [_Ib_. p. 257.] It was known
in Tonson's family, and told to Garrick, that Addison was himself the
author of it, and that, when it had been at first printed with his name,
he came early in the morning, before the copies were distributed, and
ordered it to be given to Budgel, that it might add weight to the
solicitation which he was then making for a place.' Johnson's _Works_,
viii. 389. See _ante_, i. 181.

[145] See _post_, Jan. 20, 1782.

[146] On May 10, 1768, on which day the new parliament met, a great body
of people gathered round the King's Bench prison in St. George's Fields
in expectation that Wilkes would go thence to the House of Commons. Some
kind of a riot arose, a proclamation was made in the terms of the
Riot-Act, and the soldiers firing by order of Justice Gillam, killed
five or six on the spot. The justice and one of the soldiers were on the
coroner's inquest brought in guilty of wilful murder, and two other
soldiers of aiding and abetting therein. With great difficulty the
prisoners were saved from the rage of the populace. They were all
acquitted however. At Gillam's trial the judge ruled in his favour, so
that the case did not go to the jury. Of the trial of one of the
soldiers 'no account was allowed to be published by authority.' _Ann.
Reg_. 1768, pp. 108-9, 112, 136-8, 233. Professor Dicey (_Law of the
Constitution_, p. 308) points out that 'the position of a soldier may
be both in theory and practice, a difficult one. He may, as it has
been well said, be liable to be shot by a court-martial if he disobeys
an order, and to be hanged by a judge and jury if he obeys it.' The
remembrance of these cases was perhaps the cause of the feebleness shewn
in the Gordon Riots in June 1780. Dr. Franklin wrote from London on May
14, 1768 (_Memoirs_, iii. 315):--'Even this capital is now a daily scene
of lawless riot. Mobs patrolling the streets at noon-day, some knocking
all down that will not roar for Wilkes and liberty; courts of justice
afraid to give judgment against him; coal-heavers and porters pulling
down the houses of coal-merchants that refuse to give them more wages;
sawyers destroying saw-mills; sailors unrigging all the outward-bound
ships, and suffering none to sail till merchants agree to raise their
pay; watermen destroying private boats, and threatening bridges;
soldiers firing among the mobs and killing men, women, and children.'
'While I am writing,' he adds (_ib_. p. 316), 'a great mob of
coal-porters fill the street, carrying a wretch of their business upon
poles to be ducked for working at the old wages.' See also _ib_. p. 402.
Hume agreed with Johnson about the 'imbecility' of the government; but
he drew from it different conclusions. He wrote on Oct. 27, 1775, about
the addresses to the King:--'I wish they would advise him first to
punish those insolent rascals in London and Middlesex, who daily insult
him and the whole legislature, before he thinks of America. Ask him, how
he can expect that a form of government will maintain an authority at
3000 miles' distance, when it cannot make itself be respected, or even
be treated with common decency, at home.' J. H. Burton's _Hume_, ii.
479. On the 30th of this month of April--four days after the
conversation in the text--John Home recorded:--'Mr. Hume cannot give any
reason for the incapacity and want of genius, civil and military, which
marks this period.' _Ib_. p. 503.

[147] See _Dr. Johnson, His Friends, &c_., p. 252.

[148] It was published in 1743.

[149] I am sorry that there are no memoirs of the Reverend Robert Blair,
the author of this poem. He was the representative of the ancient family
of Blair, of Blair, in Ayrshire, but the estate had descended to a
female, and afterwards passed to the son of her husband by another
marriage. He was minister of the parish of Athelstanford, where Mr. John
Home was his successor; so that it may truely be called classick ground.
His son, who is of the same name, and a man eminent for talents and
learning, is now, with universal approbation, Solicitor-General of
Scotland. BOSWELL. Dr. A. Carlyle (_Auto_. p. 94) describes Blair 'as so
austere and void of urbanity as to make him quite disagreeable to young

[150] In 1775 Mrs. Montagu gave Mrs. Williams a small annuity. Croker's
_Boswell_, pp. 458, 739. Miss Burney wrote of her:--'Allowing a little
for parade and ostentation, which her power in wealth and rank in
literature offer some excuse for, her conversation is very agreeable.'
Mme. D'Arblay's _Diary_, i. 325. See _post_, April 7, 1778, note.


'Let humble Allen, with an awkward shame,
Do good by stealth, and blush to find it fame.'

Pope, _Sat. Ep_. i. 135.

[152] Johnson refers to Jenyns's _View of the Internal Evidence of the
Christian Religion_, published this spring. See _post_, April 15, 1778.
Jenyns had changed his view, for in his _Origin of Evil_ he said, in a
passage quoted with applause by Johnson (_Works_, vi. 69), that 'it is
observable that he who best knows our formation has trusted no one
thing of importance to our reason or virtue; he trusts to our vanity or
compassion for our bounty to others.'

[153] Mr. Langton is certainly meant. It is strange how often his mode
of living was discussed by Johnson and Boswell. See _post_, Nov. 16,
1776, July 22, and Sept. 22, 1777, March 18, April 17, 18, and 20,
May 12, and July 3, 1778.

[154] Baretti made a brutal attack on Mrs. Piozzi in the _European Mag_.
for 1788, xiii. 313, 393, and xiv. 89. He calls her 'the frontless
female, who goes now by the mean appellation of Piozzi; La Piozzi, as
my fiddling countrymen term her; who has dwindled down into the
contemptible wife of her daughter's singing-master.' His excuse was
the attacks made on him by her in the correspondence just published
between herself and Johnson (see _Piozzi Letters_, i. 277, 319). He
suspected her, and perhaps with reason, of altering some of these
letters. Other writers beside Baretti attacked her. To use Lord
Macaulay's words, grossly exaggerated though they are, 'She fled from
the laughter and hisses of her countrymen and countrywomen to a land
where she was unknown.' Macaulay's _Writings and Speeches_, ed. 1871, p.
393. According to Dr. T. Campbell (_Diary_, p. 33) Baretti flattered
Mrs. Thrale to her face. 'Talking as we were at tea of the magnitude of
the beer vessels, Baretti said there was one thing in Mr. Thrale's house
still more extraordinary; meaning his wife. She gulped the pill very
prettily--so much for Baretti.' See _post_, Dec. 21, 1776.

[155] Likely enough Boswell himself. On three other occasions he
mentions Otaheite; _ante_, May 7, 1773, _post_, June 15, 1784 and in his
_Hebrides_, Sept. 23, 1773. He was fond of praising savage life. See
_ante_, ii. 73.

[156] Chatterton said that he had found in a chest in St. Mary Redcliffe
Church manuscript poems by Canynge, a merchant of Bristol in the
fifteenth century, and a friend of his, Thomas Rowley. He gave some of
these manuscripts to George Catcot, a pewterer of Bristol, who
communicated them to Mr. Barret, who was writing a History of Bristol.
Rose's _Biog. Dict_. vi. 256.

[157] See Boswell's _Hebrides_, Sept. 22.

[158] See _ante_, i. 396.

[159] 'Artificially. Artfully; with skill.' Johnson's _dictionary_.

[160] Mr. Tyrwhitt, Mr. Warton, Mr. Malone. BOSWELL. Johnson wrote on
May 16:--'Steevens seems to be connected with Tyrwhitt in publishing
Chatterton's poems; he came very anxiously to know the result of our
inquiries, and though he says he always thought them forged, is not well
pleased to find us so fully convinced.' _Piozzi Letters_, i. 326.

[161] Catcot had been anticipated by Smith the weaver (2 _Henry VI_.
iv. 2)--'Sir, he made a chimney in my father's house, and the bricks are
alive at this day to testify it; therefore deny it not.'

[162] Horace Walpole says (_Works_, iv. 224) that when he was 'dining at
the Royal Academy, Dr. Goldsmith drew the attention of the company with
an account of a marvellous treasure of ancient poems lately discovered at
Bristol, and expressed enthusiastic belief in them; for which he was
laughed at by Dr. Johnson, who was present.... You may imagine we did not
at all agree in the measure of our faith; but though his credulity
diverted me, my mirth was soon dashed; for, on asking about Chatterton,
he told me he had been in London, and had destroyed himself.'

[163] Boswell returned a few days earlier. On May 1 he wrote to Temple:
--'Luckily Dr. Taylor has begged of Dr. Johnson to come to London, to
assist him in some interesting business; and Johnson loves much to be so
consulted, and so comes up. I am now at General Paoli's, quite easy and
gay, after my journey; not wearied in body or dissipated in mind. I have
lodgings in Gerrard Street, where cards are left to me; but I lie at the
General's, whose attention to me is beautiful.' _Letters of Boswell_,
p. 234. Johnson wrote to Mrs. Thrale on May 6:--'Tomorrow I am to dine,
as I did yesterday, with Dr. Taylor. On Wednesday I am to dine with
Oglethorpe; and on Thursday with Paoli. He that sees before him to his
third dinner has a long prospect.' _Piozzi Letters_, i. 320.

[164] See _ante_, May 12, 1775.

[165] In the _Dramatis Personae_ of the play are 'Aimwell and Archer, two
gentlemen of broken fortunes, the first as master, and the second as
servant.' See _ante_, March 23, 1776, for Garrick's opinion of Johnson's
'taste in theatrical merit.'

[166] Johnson is speaking of the _Respublicae Elzevirianae_, either 36 or
62 volumes. 'It depends on every collector what and how much he will
admit.' Ebert's _Bibl. Dict_. iii. 1571. See _ante_, ii. 7.

[167] See _post_, under Oct. 20, 1784, for 'the learned pig.'

[168] In the first edition Mme. de Sevigne's name is printed Sevigne, in
the second Sevige, in the third Sevigne. Authors and compositors last
century troubled themselves little about French words.

[169] Milton had put the same complaint into Adam's mouth:--

'Did I request thee, Maker, from my clay
To mould me man? ...
... As my will
Concurred not to my being,' &c.

_Paradise Lost_, x. 743.

[170] See _ante_, April 10, 1775.

[171] Fielding in the _Covent Garden Journal_ for June 2, 1752 (_Works_,
x. 80), says of the difficulty of admission at the hospitals:--'The
properest objects (those I mean who are most wretched and friendless)
may as well aspire at a place at Court as at a place in the Hospital.'

[172] 'We were talking of Dr. Barnard, the Provost of Eton. "He was the
only man," says Mr. Johnson quite seriously, "that did justice to my
good breeding; and you may observe that I am well-bred to a degree of
needless scrupulosity. No man," continued he, not observing the
amazement of his hearers, "no man is so cautious not to interrupt
another; no man thinks it so necessary to appear attentive when others
are speaking; no man so steadily refuses preference on himself, or so
willingly bestows it on another, as I do; no man holds so strongly as I
do the necessity of ceremony, and the ill effects which follow the
breach of it; yet people think me rude; but Barnard did me justice."'
Piozzi's _Anec_. p. 36. On p. 258, Mrs. Piozzi writes:--'No one was
indeed so attentive not to offend in all such sort of things as Dr.
Johnson; nor so careful to maintain the ceremonies of life; and though
he told Mr. Thrale once, that he had never sought to please till past
thirty years old, considering the matter as hopeless, he had been always
studious not to make enemies by apparent preference of himself.' See
Boswell's _Hebrides_, Oct. 27, 1773, where Johnson said:--'Sir, I look
upon myself as a very polite man.'

[173] The younger Colman in his boyhood met Johnson and Gibbon. 'Johnson
was in his rusty brown and his black worsteds, and Gibbon in a suit of
flowered velvet, with a bag and sword. He condescended, once or twice in
the course of the evening, to talk with me;--the great historian was
light and playful, suiting his matter to the capacity of the boy; but it
was done more sua [sic]; still his mannerism prevailed; still he tapped
his snuff-box; still he smirked, and smiled, and rounded his periods
with the same air of good-breeding, as if he were conversing with men.
His mouth, mellifluous as Plato's, was a round hole, nearly in the
centre of his visage.' _Random Records_, i. 121.

[174] Samuel Sharp's _Letters from Italy_ were published in 1766. See
_ante_, ii. 57, note 2, for Baretti's reply to them.

[175] It may be observed, that Mr. Malone, in his very valuable edition
of Shakspeare, has fully vindicated Dr. Johnson from the idle censures
which the first of these notes has given rise to. The interpretation of
the other passage, which Dr. Johnson allows to be _disputable_, he has
clearly shown to be erroneous. BOSWELL. The first note is on the line in
_Hamlet_, act v. sc. 2--

'And many such like as's of great charge.'

Johnson says:--'A quibble is intended between _as_ the conditional
particle, and _ass_ the beast of burthen.' On this note Steevens
remarked:--'Shakespeare has so many quibbles of his own to answer for,
that there are those who think it hard he should be charged with others
which perhaps he never thought of.' The second note is on the opening of
Hamlet's soliloquy in act iii. sc. i. The line--

'To be, or not to be, that is the question,'

is thus paraphrased by Johnson:--'Before I can form any rational scheme
of action under this pressure of distress, it is necessary to decide
whether, after our present state, we are to be or not to be.'

[176] See _post_, March 30, April 14 and 15, 1778, and Boswell's
_Hebrides_, Oct. 25.

[177] Wesley wrote on Jan. 21, 1767 (_Journal_, iii. 263):--'I had a
conversation with an ingenious man who proved to a demonstration that it
was the duty of every man that could to be "clothed in purple and fine
linen," and to "fare sumptuously every day;" and that he would do
abundantly more good hereby than he could do by "feeding the hungry
and clothing the naked." O the depth of human understanding! What may
not a man believe if he will?' Much the same argument Johnson,
thirty-three years earlier, had introduced in one of his _Debates_
(_Works_, xi. 349). He makes one of the speakers say:--'Our expenses are
not all equally destructive; some, though the method of raising them be
vexatious and oppressive, do not much impoverish the nation, because
they are refunded by the extravagance and luxury of those who are
retained in the pay of the court.' See _post_, March 23, 1783. The whole
argument is nothing but Mandeville's doctrine of 'private vices, public
benefits.' See _post_, April 15, 1778.

[178] See _ante_, iii. 24.

[179] Johnson no doubt refers to Walpole in the following passage
(_Works_, viii. l37):--'Of one particular person, who has been at one
time so popular as to be generally esteemed, and at another so
formidable as to be universally detested, Mr. Savage observed that his
acquisitions had been small, or that his capacity was narrow, and that
the whole range of his mind was from obscenity to politicks, and from
politicks to obscenity.' This passage is a curious comment on Pope's
lines on Sir Robert--

'Seen him I have, but in his happier hour
Of social pleasure, ill-exchanged for power.'

_Epilogue to the Satires_, i. 29.

[180] Most likely Boswell himself. See _ante_, March 25, 1776, and
_post_, April 10, 1778, for Johnson's dislike of questioning. See also
_ante_, ii. 84, note 3.

[181] See _ante_, April 14, 1775.

[182] See _ante_, May 12, 1774.

[183] A Gallicism, which has it appears, with so many others, become
vernacular in Scotland. The French call a pulpit, _la chaire de verite_.

[184] As a proof of Dr. Johnson's extraordinary powers of composition,
it appears from the original manuscript of this excellent dissertation,
of which he dictated the first eight paragraphs on the 10th of May, and
the remainder on the 13th, that there are in the whole only seven
corrections, or rather variations, and those not considerable. Such were
at once the vigorous and accurate emanations of his mind. BOSWELL.

[185] It is curious to observe that Lord Thurlow has here, perhaps in
compliment to North Britain, made use of a term of the Scotch Law, which
to an English reader may require explanation. To _qualify_ a wrong, is
to point out and establish it. BOSWELL.


'Quaeque ipse miserrima vidi,
Et quorum pars magna fui.'

'Which thing myself unhappy did behold,
Yea, and was no small part thereof.'

Morris, _Aeneids_, ii. 5.

[187] In the year 1770, in _The False Alarm_, Johnson attacked Wilkes
with more than 'some asperity.' 'The character of the man,' he wrote, 'I
have no purpose to delineate. Lampoon itself would disdain to speak ill
of him, of whom no man speaks well.' He called him 'a retailer of
sedition and obscenity;' and he said:--'We are now disputing ... whether
Middlesex shall be represented, or not, by a criminal from a gaol.'
_Works_, vi. 156, 169, 177. In _The North Briton_, No. xii, Wilkes,
quoting Johnson's definition of a pensioner, asks:--'Is the said Mr.
Johnson a _dependant_? or is he _a slave of state, hired by a stipend
to obey his master_? There is, according to him, no alternative.--As Mr.
Johnson has, I think, failed in this account, may I, after so great an
authority, venture at a short definition of so intricate a word? A
_pension_ then I would call _a gratuity during the pleasure of the
Prince for services performed, or expected to be performed, to himself,
or to the state_. Let us consider the celebrated Mr. _Johnson_, and a
few other late pensioners in this light.'

[188] Boswell, in his _Letter to the People of Scotland_ (p. 70),
mentions 'my old classical companion, Wilkes;' and adds, 'with whom I
pray you to excuse my keeping company, he is so pleasant.'

[189] When Johnson was going to Auchinleck, Boswell begged him, in
talking with his father, 'to avoid three topicks as to which they
differed very widely; whiggism, presbyterianism, and--Sir John Pringle.'
Boswell's _Hebrides_, Nov 2, 1773. See also _ib_. Aug 24. 'Pringle was
President of the Royal Society--"who sat in Newton's chair, And wonder'd
how the devil he got there."' J. H. Burton's _Hume_, i. 165. He was one
of Franklin's friends (Franklin's _Memoirs_ iii. III), and so was likely
to be uncongenial to Johnson.

[190] No 22. CROKER. At this house 'Johnson owned that he always found a
good dinner.' _Post_, April 15, 1778.

[191] This has been circulated as if actually said by Johnson; when the
truth is, it was only _supposed_ by me. BOSWELL.

[192] 'Don't let them be _patriots_,' he said to Mr. Hoole, when he
asked him to collect a city Club. _Post_, April 6, 1781.

[193] See p. 7 of this volume. BOSWELL.

[194] 'Indifferent in his choice to sleep or die.' Addison's _Cato_,
act v. sc. 1.

[195] See _ante_, i. 485.

[196] He was at this time 'employed by Congress as a private and
confidential agent in England.' Dr. Franklin had arranged for letters to
be sent to him, not by post but by private hand, under cover to his
brother, Mr. Alderman Lee. Franklin's _Memoirs_, ii. 42, and iii. 415.

[197] When Wilkes the year before, during his mayoralty, had presented
An Address, 'the King himself owned he had never seen so well-bred a
Lord Mayor.' Walpole's _Journal of the Reign of George III_, i. 484.

[198] Johnson's _London, a Poem_, v. 145. BOSWELL--

'How when competitors like these contend,
Can surly virtue hope to fix a friend.'

[199] See _ante_, ii. 154.

[200] Johnson had said much the same at a dinner in Edinburgh. See
Boswell's _Hebrides_, Nov. 10, 1773. See _ante_, March 15, 1776, and
_post_, Sept. 21, 1777.

[201] 'To convince any man against his will is hard, but to please him
against his will is justly pronounced by Dryden to be above the reach of
human abilities.' _The Rambler_, No. 93.

[202] Foote told me that Johnson said of him, 'For loud obstreperous
broadfaced mirth, I know not his equal.' BOSWELL.

[203] In Farquhar's _Beaux-Stratagem_, Scrub thus describes his duties:
--'Of a Monday I drive the coach, of a Tuesday I drive the plough, on
Wednesday I follow the hounds, a Thursday I dun the tenants, on Friday I
go to market, on Saturday I draw warrants, and a Sunday I draw beer.'
Act iii. sc. 3.

[204] See _ante_, i. 393, note 1.

[205] See _post_, April 10, 1778, and April 24, 1779.

[206] See _ante_, i. 216, note 2.

[207] See _ante_, March 20, 1776, and Boswell's _Hebrides_, Sept. 22.

[208] Dryden had been dead but thirty-six years when Johnson came to

[209] 'Owen MacSwinny, a buffoon; formerly director of the play-house.'
Horace Walpole, _Letters_, i. 118. Walpole records one of his puns.
'Old Horace' had left the House of Commons to fight a duel, and at once
'returned, and was so little moved as to speak immediately upon the
_Cambrick Bill_, which made Swinny say, "That it was a sign he was not
_ruffled_."' _Ib_. p. 233. See also, _ib_. vi. 373 for one of his

[210] A more amusing version of the story, is in _Johnsoniana_
(ed. 1836, p. 413) on the authority of Mr. Fowke. '"So Sir," said
Johnson to Cibber, "I find you know [knew?] Mr. Dryden?" "Know him? O
Lord! I was as well acquainted with him as if he had been my own
brother." "Then you can tell me some anecdotes of him?" "O yes, a
thousand! Why we used to meet him continually at a club at Button's. I
remember as well as if it were but yesterday, that when he came into the
room in winter time, he used to go and sit by the fire in one corner;
and in summer time he would always go and sit in the window." "Thus,
Sir," said Johnson, "what with the corner of the fire in winter and the
window in summer, you see that I got _much_ information from Cibber of
the manners and habits of Dryden.'" Johnson gives, in his _Life of
Dryden_ (_Works_, vii. 300), the information that he got from Swinney
and Cibber. Dr. Warton, who had written on Pope, found in one of the
poet's female-cousins a still more ignorant survivor. 'He had been
taught to believe that she could furnish him with valuable information.
Incited by all that eagerness which characterised him, he sat close to
her, and enquired her consanguinity to Pope. "Pray, Sir," said she, "did
not you write a book about my cousin Pope?" "Yes, madam." "They tell me
t'was vastly clever. He wrote a great many plays, did not he?" "I have
heard of only one attempt, Madam." "Oh no, I beg your pardon; that was
Mr. Shakespeare; I always confound them."' Wooll's _Warton_, p. 394.

[211] Johnson told Malone that 'Cibber was much more ignorant even of
matters relating to his own profession than he could well have
conceived any man to be who had lived nearly sixty years with players,
authors, and the most celebrated characters of the age.' Prior's
_Malone_, p. 95. See _ante_, ii. 92.

[212] 'There are few,' wrote Goldsmith, 'who do not prefer a page of
Montaigne or Colley Cibber, who candidly tell us what they thought of
the world, and the world thought of them, to the more stately memoirs
and transactions of Europe.' Cunningham's _Goldsmith's Works_, iv. 43.

[213] _Essay on Criticism_, i. 66.

[214] 'Cibber wrote as bad Odes (as Garrick), but then Gibber wrote
_The Careless Husband_, and his own _Life_, which both deserve
immortality.' Walpole's _Letters_, v. 197. Pope (_Imitations of Horace_,
II. i. 90), says:--

'All this may be; the people's voice is odd,
It is, and it is not, the voice of God.
To Gammer Gurton if it give the bays,
And yet deny _The Careless Husband_ praise,
Or say our fathers never broke a rule;
Why then, I say, the public is a fool.'

See _ante_, April 6, 1775.

[215] See page 402 of vol. i. BOSWELL.

[216] Milton's _L'Allegro_, 1. 36.

[217] 'CATESBY. My Liege, the Duke of Buckingham is taken. RICHARD. Off
with his head. So much for Buckingham.' Colley Gibber's _Richard III_,
iv. I.

[218] _Ars Poetica, i. 128.

[219] My very pleasant friend himself, as well as others _who remember
old stories_, will no doubt be surprised, when I observe that _John
Wilkes_ here shews himself to be of the WARBURTONIAN SCHOOL. It is
nevertheless true, as appears from Dr. Hurd the Bishop of Worcester's
very elegant commentary and notes on the '_Epistola ad Pisones_.'

It is necessary to a fair consideration of the question, that the whole
passage in which the words occur should be kept in view:

'Si quid inexpertum scenae committis, et audes
Personam formare novam, servetur ad imum
Qualis ab incepto processerit, et sibi constet.
Difficile est proprie communia dicere: tuque
Rectius Iliacum carmen deducis in actus,
Quam si proferres ignota indictaque primus,
Publica materies privati juris erit, si
Non circa vilem patulumque moraberis orbem,
Nec verbum verbo curabis reddere fidus
Interpres; nee desilies imitator in artum
Unde pedem proferre pudor vetat aut operis lex.'

The 'Commentary' thus illustrates it: 'But the formation of quite _new
characters_ is a work of great difficulty and hazard. For here there is
no generally received and fixed _archetype_ to work after, but every one
_judges_ of common right, according to the extent and comprehension of
his own idea; therefore he advises to labour and refit _old characters
and subjects_, particularly those made known and authorised by the
practice of Homer and the Epick writers.'

The 'Note' is,

'_Difficile_ EST PROPRIE COMMUNIA DICERE.' Lambin's Comment is,
'_Communia hoc loco appellat Horatius argumenta fabularum a nullo adhuc
tractata: et ita, quae cuivis exposita sunt et in medio quodammodo
posita, quasi vacua et a nemine occupata_.' And that this is the true
meaning of _communia_ is evidently fixed by the words _ignota
indictaque_, which are explanatory of it; so that the sense given it in
the commentary is unquestionably the right one. Yet, notwithstanding the
clearness of the case, a late critick has this strange passage:
'_Difficile quidem esse proprie communia dicere, hoc est, materiam
vulgarem, notam et e medio petitam, ita immutare atque exornare, ut nova
et scriptori propria videatur, ultra concedimus; et maximi procul dubio
ponderis ista est observatio. Sed omnibus utrinque collatis, et tum
difficilis, tum venusti, tam judicii quam ingenii ratione habita, major
videtur esse gloria fabulam formare penitus novam, quam veterem,
utcunque mutatam, de novo exhibere_. (Poet. Prael. v. ii. p. 164.)
Where, having first put a wrong construction on the word _comnmnia_, he
employs it to introduce an impertinent criticism. For where does the
poet prefer the glory of refitting _old_ subjects to that of inventing
new ones? The contrary is implied in what he urges about the superiour
difficulty of the latter, from which he dissuades his countrymen, only
in respect of their abilities and inexperience in these matters; and in
order to cultivate in them, which is the main view of the Epistle, a
spirit of correctness, by sending them to the old subjects, treated by
the Greek writers.'

For my own part (with all deference for Dr. Hurd, who thinks the _case
clear_,) I consider the passage, '_Difficile est proprie communia
dicere_,' to be a _crux_ for the criticks on Horace.

The explication which My Lord of Worcester treats with so much contempt,
is nevertheless countenanced by authority which I find quoted by the
learned Baxter in his edition of Horace: '_Difficile est proprie
communia dicere_, h.e. res vulgares disertis verbis enarrare, vel humile
thema cum dignitate tractare. _Difficile est communes res propriis
explicare verbis_. Vet. Schol.' I was much disappointed to find that the
great critick, Dr. Bentley, has no note upon this very difficult
passage, as from his vigorous and illuminated mind I should have
expected to receive more satisfaction than I have yet had.

_Sanadon_ thus treats of it: '_Proprie communia dicere; c'est a dire,
qu'il n'est pas aise de former a ces personnages d'imagination, des
caracteres particuliers et cependant vraisemblables. Comme l'on a ete le
maitre de les former tels qu'on a voulu, les fautes que l'on fait en
cela sont moins pardonnables. C'est pourquoi Horace conseille de prendre
toujours des sujets connus tels que sont par exemple ceux que l'on peut
tirer des poemes d'Homere_.'

And _Dacier_ observes upon it, '_Apres avoir marque les deux qualites
qu'il faut donner aux personnages qu'on invente, il conseille aux Poetes
tragiques, de n'user pas trop facilement de cette liberte quils ont d'en
inventer, car il est tres difficile de reussir dans ces nouveaux
caracteres. Il est mal aise, dit Horace_, de traiter proprement, _c'st a
dire_ convenablement, _des_ sujets communs; _c'est a dire, des sujets
inventes, et qui n'ont aucun fondement ni dans l'Histoire ni dans la
Fable; et il les appelle_ communs, _parce qu'ils sont en disposition a
tout le monde, et que tout le monde a le droit de les inventer, et
qu'ils sont, comme on dit, au premier occupant_.' See his observations
at large on this expression and the following.

After all, I cannot help entertaining some doubt whether the words,
_Difficile est proprie communia dicere_, may not have been thrown in by
Horace to form a _separate_ article in a 'choice of difficulties' which
a poet has to encounter, who chooses a new subject; in which case it
must be uncertain which of the various explanations is the true one, and
every reader has a right to decide as it may strike his own fancy. And
even should the words be understood as they generally are, to be
connected both with what goes before and what comes after, the exact
sense cannot be absolutely ascertained; for instance, whether _proprie_
is meant to signify _in an appropriated manner_, as Dr. Johnson here
understands it, or, as it is often used by Cicero, _with propriety_, or
_elegantly_. In short, it is a rare instance of a defect in perspicuity
in an admirable writer, who with almost every species of excellence, is
peculiarly remarkable for that quality. The length of this note perhaps
requires an apology. Many of my readers, I doubt not, will admit that a
critical discussion of a passage in a favourite classick is very
engaging. BOSWELL. Boswell's French in this tedious note is left as he
printed it.

[220] Johnson, after describing Settle's attack on Dryden, continues
(_Works_, vii. 277):--'Such are the revolutions of fame, or such is the
prevalence of fashion, that the man whose works have not yet been
thought to deserve the care of collecting them, who died forgotten in
an hospital, and whose latter years were spent in contriving shows for
fairs ... might with truth have had inscribed upon his stone:--

"Here lies the Rival and Antagonist of Dryden."'

Pope introduces him in _The Dunciad_, i. 87, in the description of the
Lord Mayor's Show:--

'Pomps without guilt, of bloodless swords and maces,
Glad chains, warm furs, broad banners and broad faces.
Now night descending the proud scene was o'er,
But lived in Settle's numbers one day more.'

In the third book the ghost of Settle acts the part of guide in the
Elysian shade.

[221] Johnson implies, no doubt, that they were both Americans by birth.
Trecothick was in the American trade, but he was not an American.
Walpole's _Memoirs of the Reign of George III_, iii. 184, note. Of
Beckford Walpole says:--'Under a jovial style of good humour he was
tyrannic in Jamaica, his native country.' _Ib_. iv. 156. He came over to
England when young and was educated in Westminster School. Stephens's
_Horne Tooke_, ii. 278. Cowper describes 'a jocular altercation that
passed when I was once in the gallery [of the House], between Mr. Rigby
and the late Alderman Beckford. The latter was a very incorrect speaker,
and the former, I imagine, not a very accurate scholar. He ventured,
however, upon a quotation from Terence, and delivered it thus, _Sine
Scelere et Baccho friget venus_. The Alderman interrupted him, was very
severe upon his mistake, and restored Ceres to her place in the
sentence. Mr. Rigby replied, that he was obliged to his worthy friend
for teaching him Latin, and would take the first opportunity to return
the favour by teaching him English.' Southey's _Cowper_, iii. 317. Lord
Chatham, in the House of Lords, said of Trecothick:--'I do not know in
office a more upright magistrate, nor in private life a worthier man.'
_Parl. Hist_. xvi. 1101. See _post_, Sept. 23, 1777.


'Oft have I heard thee mourn the wretched lot
Of the poor, mean, despised, insulted Scot,
Who, might calm reason credit idle tales,
By rancour forged where prejudice prevails,
Or starves at home, or practises through fear
Of starving arts which damn all conscience here.'

Churchill's _Prophecy of Famine, Poems_, i. 105.

[223] For Johnson's praise of Lichfield see _ante_, March 23, 1776. For
the use of the word _civility_, see _ante_ ii. 155.

[224] See _ante_, i. 447.

[225] See _ante_, April 18, 1775.

[226] See _post_, April 15, 1778.

[227] It would not become me to expatiate on this strong and pointed
remark, in which a very great deal of meaning is condensed. BOSWELL.

[228] 'Mr. Wilkes's second political essay was an ironical dedication to
the Earl of Bute of Ben Jonson's play, _The Fall of Mortimer_. "Let me
entreat your Lordship," he wrote, "to assist your friend [Mr. Murphy] in
perfecting the weak scenes of this tragedy, and from the crude labours
of Ben Jonson and others to give us a _complete play_. It is the warmest
wish of my heart that the Earl of Bute may speedily complete the story of
Roger Mortimer."' Almon's _Wilkes_, i. 70, 86.

[229] Yet Wilkes within less than a year violently attacked Johnson in
parliament. He said, 'The two famous doctors, Shebbeare and Johnson, are
in this reign the state hirelings called pensioners.' Their names, he
continued, 'disgraced the Civil List. They are the known pensioned
advocates of despotism.' _Parl. Hist_. xix. 118. It is curious that
Boswell does not mention this attack, and that Johnson a few months
after it was made, speaking of himself and Wilkes, said:--'The contest
is now over.' _Post_, Sept 21, 1777.

[230] The next day he wrote to Mrs. Thrale:--'For my part, I begin to
settle and keep company with grave aldermen. I dined yesterday in the
Poultry with Mr. Alderman Wilkes, and Mr. Alderman Lee, and Counsellor
Lee, his brother. There sat you the while, so sober, with your W----'s
and your H----'s, and my aunt and her turnspit; and when they are gone,
you think by chance on Johnson, what is he doing? What should he be
doing? He is breaking jokes with Jack Wilkes upon the Scots. Such,
Madam, are the vicissitudes of things.' _Piozzi Letters_, i. 325.

[231] See _ante_, March 20, 1776.

[232] If he had said this on a former occasion to a lady, he said it
also on a latter occasion to a gentleman--Mr. Spottiswoode. _Post_,
April 28, 1778. Moreover, Miss Burney records in 1778, that when Johnson
was telling about Bet Flint (_post_, May 8, 1781) and other strange
characters whom he had known, 'Mrs. Thrale said, "I wonder, Sir, you
never went to see Mrs. Rudd among the rest." "Why, Madam, I believe I
should," said he, "if it was not for the newspapers; but I am prevented
many frolics that I should like very well, since I am become such a
theme for the papers."' Mme. D'Arblay's _Diary_, i. 90.

[233] Pope, _Essay on Man_, ii. 2.

[234] Johnson wrote to Mrs. Thrale on May 14 (Tuesday):--'----goes away
on Thursday, very well satisfied with his journey. Some great men have
promised to obtain him a place, and then a fig for my father and his new
wife.' _Piozzi Letters_, i. 324. He is writing no doubt of Boswell; yet,
as Lord Auchinleck had been married more than six years, it is odd his
wife should be called _new_. Boswell, a year earlier, wrote to Temple of
his hopes from Lord Pembroke:--'How happy should I be to get an
independency by my own influence while my father is alive!' _Letters of
Boswell_, p. 182. Johnson, in a second letter to Mrs. Thrale, written
two days after Boswell left, says:--'B---- went away on Thursday night,
with no great inclination to travel northward; but who can contend with
destiny? ... He carries with him two or three good resolutions; I hope
they will not mould upon the road.' _Piozzi Letters_, i. 333.

[235] 1 _Corinthians_, xiii. 5.

[236] This passage, which is found in Act iii, is not in the acting copy
of _Douglas_.

[237] Malone was one of these gentlemen. See _post_, under June 30,
1784. Reynolds, after saying that eagerness for victory often led
Johnson into acts of rudeness, while 'he was not thus strenuous for
victory with his intimates in tete-a-tete conversations when there were
no witnesses,' adds:--'Were I to write the Life of Dr. Johnson I would
labour this point, to separate his conduct that proceeded from his
passions, and what proceeded from his reason, from his natural
disposition seen in his quiet hours.' Taylor's _Reynolds_, ii. 462.

[238] These words must have been in the other copy. They are not in that
which was preferred. BOSWELL.

[239] On June 3 he wrote that he was suffering from 'a very serious and
troublesome fit of the gout. I enjoy all the dignity of lameness. I
receive ladies and dismiss them sitting. _Painful pre-eminence_.' _Piozzi
Letters_, i. 337. 'Painful pre-eminence' comes from Addison's _Cato_,
act iii. sc. 5. Pope, in his _Essay on Man_, iv. 267, borrows the

'Painful pre-eminence! yourself to view,
Above life's weakness and its comforts too.'

It is humorously introduced into the _Rolliad_ in the description of the

'There Cornewall sits, and oh! unhappy fate!
Must sit for ever through the long debate.
Painful pre-eminence! he hears, 'tis true,
Fox, North, and Burke, but hears Sir Joseph too.'

[240] Dean Stanley (_Memorials of Westminster Abbey_, p. 297) says:--
'One expression at least has passed from the inscription into the
proverbial Latin of mankind--

"Nihil tetigit quod non ornavit."'

In a note he adds:--'Professor Conington calls my attention to the fact
that, if this were a genuine classical expression, it would be
_ornaret_. The slight mistake proves that it is Johnson's own.' The
mistake, of course, is the Dean's and the Professor's, who did not take
the trouble to ascertain what Johnson had really written. If we may
trust Cradock, Johnson here gave in a Latin form what he had already
said in English. 'When a bookseller ventured to say something rather
slightingly of Dr. Goldsmith, Johnson retorted:--"Sir, Goldsmith never
touches any subject but he adorns it." Once when I found the Doctor very
low at his chambers I related this circumstance to him, and it instantly
proved a cordial.' Cradock's _Memoirs_, i. 231.

[241] According to Mr. Forster (_Life of Goldsmith_, i. 1), he was born
on Nov. 10, 1728. There is a passage in Goldsmith's _Bee_, No. 2, which
leads me to think that he himself held Nov. 12 as his birth-day. He says;
'I shall be sixty-two the twelfth of next November.' Now, as _The Bee_
was published in October 1759, he would be, not sixty-two, but just half
that number--thirty-one on his next birth-day. It is scarcely likely that
he selected the number and the date at random.

[242] Reynolds chose the spot in Westminster Abbey where the monument
should stand. Northcote's _Reynolds_, i. 326.

[243] For A. Chamier, see _ante_, i. 478, note 1; and _post_, April 9,
1778: for P. Metcalfe, _post_, under Dec. 20, 1782. W. Vachell seems
only known to fame as having signed this _Round Robin_, and attended Sir
Joshua's funeral. Who Tho. Franklin was I cannot learn. He certainly was
not Thomas Francklin, D.D., the Professor of Greek at Cambridge and
translator of _Sophocles_ and _Lucian_, mentioned _post_, end of 1780.
The Rev. Dr. Luard, the Registrar of that University, has kindly
compared for me six of his signatures ranging from 1739 to 1770. In each
of these the _c_ is very distinct, while the writing is unlike the
signature in the _Round Robin_.

[244] Horace Walpole wrote in Dec. of this year:--'The conversation of
many courtiers was openly in favour of arbitrary power. Lord Huntingdon
and Dr. Barnard, who was promised an Irish Bishopric, held such
discourse publicly.' _Journal of the Reign of George III_, ii. 91.

[245] He however upon seeing Dr. Warton's name to the suggestion, that
the Epitaph should be in English, observed to Sir Joshua, 'I wonder
that Joe Warton, a scholar by profession, should be such a fool.' He
said too, 'I should have thought Mund Burke would have had more sense.'
Mr. Langton, who was one of the company at Sir Joshua's, like a sturdy
scholar, resolutely refused to sign the _Round Robin_. The Epitaph is
engraved upon Dr. Goldsmith's monument without any alteration. At
another time, when somebody endeavoured to argue in favour of its being
in English, Johnson said, 'The language of the country of which a
learned man was a native, is not the language fit for his epitaph, which
should be in ancient and permanent language. Consider, Sir; how you
should feel, were you to find at Rotterdam an epitaph upon Erasmus _in
Dutch_!' For my own part I think it would be best to have Epitaphs
written both in a learned language, and in the language of the country;
so that they might have the advantage of being more universally
understood, and at the same time be secured of classical stability. I
cannot, however, but be of opinion, that it is not sufficiently
discriminative. Applying to Goldsmith equally the epithets of '_Poetae_,
_Historici_, _Physici_,' is surely not right; for as to his claim to the
last of those epithets, I have heard Johnson himself say, 'Goldsmith,
Sir, will give us a very fine book upon the subject; but if he can
distinguish a cow from a horse, that, I believe, may be the extent of
his knowledge of natural history.' His book is indeed an excellent
performance, though in some instances he appears to have trusted too
much to Buffon, who, with all his theoretical ingenuity and
extraordinary eloquence, I suspect had little actual information in the
science on which he wrote so admirably. For instance, he tells us that
the _cow_ sheds her horns every two years; a most palpable errour, which
Goldsmith has faithfully transferred into his book. It is wonderful that
Buffon, who lived so much in the country, at his noble seat, should have
fallen into such a blunder. I suppose he has confounded the _cow_ with
the _deer_. BOSWELL. Goldsmith says:--'At three years old the cow sheds
its horns and new ones arise in their place, which continue as long as
it lives.' _Animated Nature_, iii. 12. This statement remains in the
second edition. Johnson said that the epitaph on Sir J. Macdonald
'should have been in Latin, as everything intended to be universal and
permanent should be.' Boswell's _Hebrides_, Sept. 5, 1773. He treated
the notion of an English inscription to Smollett 'with great contempt,
saying, "an English inscription would be a disgrace to Dr. Smollett."'
_Ib_. Oct. 28, 1773.

[246] Beside this Latin Epitaph, Johnson honoured the memory of his
friend Goldsmith with a short one in Greek. See _ante_, July 5, 1774.

[247] See _ante_, Oct. 24, 1775.

[248] Upon a settlement of our account of expences on a Tour to the
Hebrides, there was a balance due to me, which Dr. Johnson chose to
discharge by sending books. BOSWELL.

[249] See _post_, under Nov. 29, 1777.

[250] Baretti told me that Johnson complained of my writing very long
letters to him when I was upon the continent; which was most certainly
true; but it seems my friend did not remember it. BOSWELL.

[251] See _ante_, iii. 27.

[252] See _ante_, i. 446, for Johnson's remedies against melancholy.

[253] It was not 'last year' but on June 22, 1772, that the negro, James
Somerset--who had been brought to England by his master, had escaped
from him, had been seized, and confined in irons on board a ship in The
Thames that was bound for Jamaica, and had been brought on a writ of
_Habeas Corpus_ before the Court of King's Bench was discharged by Lord
Mansfield. Howell's _State Trials_, xx. 79, and Lofft's _Reports_, 1772,
p. 1. 'Lord Mansfield,' writes Lord Campbell (_Lives of the Chief
Justices_, ii. 418), 'first established the grand doctrine that the air
of England is too pure to be breathed by a slave.' According to Lord
Campbell, Mansfield's judgment thus ended:--'The air of England has long
been too pure for a slave, and every man is free who breathes it. Every
man who comes into England is entitled to the protection of English law,
whatever oppression he may heretofore have suffered, and whatever may be
the colour of his skin:

'"Quamvis ille niger, quamvis tu candidus esses."

'Let the negro be discharged.'

Where Lord Campbell found this speech, that is to say if he did not put
it together himself, I cannot guess. Mansfield's judgment was very
brief. He says in the conclusion:--'The only question before us is,
whether the cause on the return [to the writ of _habeas corpus_] is
sufficient. If it is, the negro must be remanded; if it is not, he must
be discharged. Accordingly the return states that the slave departed,
and refused to serve; whereupon he was kept to be sold abroad. So high
an act of dominion must be recognised by the law of the country where it
is used. The power of a master over his slave has been extremely
different in different countries. The state of slavery is of such a
nature that it is incapable of being introduced on any reasons, moral or
political.... It is so odious that nothing can be suffered to support it
but positive law. Whatever inconveniences therefore may follow from a
decision, I cannot say this case is allowed or approved by the law of
England; and therefore the black must be discharged.' Lofft's _Reports_,
1772, p. 19. 'The judgment of the court,' says Broom (_Constitutional
Law_, 1885, p. 99), 'was delivered by Lord Mansfield, C.J., after some
delay, and with evident reluctance.' The passage about the air of
England that Campbell puts into Mansfield's mouth is found in Mr.
Hargrave's argument on May 14, 1772, where he speaks of England as 'a
soil whose air is deemed too pure for slaves to breathe in.' Lofft's
_Reports_, p. 2. Mr. Dunning replied:--'Let me take notice, neither the
air of England is too pure for a slave to breathe in, nor the laws of
England have rejected servitude.' _Ib_. p. 12. Serjeant Davy
rejoined:--'It has been asserted, and is now repeated by me, this air is
too pure for a slave to breathe in. I trust I shall not quit this court
without certain conviction of the truth of that assertion.' _Ib_. p. 17.
Lord Mansfield said nothing about the air. The line from Virgil, with
which Lord Campbell makes Mansfield's speech end, was 'the happily
chosen motto' to Maclaurin's published argument for the negro; Joseph
Knight, _post_, under Nov. 29, 1777.

[254] The son of Johnson's old friend, Mr. William Drummond. (See vol.
ii. pp. 26-29.) He was a young man of such distinguished merit, that he
was nominated to one of the medical professorships in the College of
Edinburgh without solicitation, while he was at Naples. Having other
views, he did not accept of the honour, and soon afterwards died.

[255] In the third and subsequent editions the date is wrongly given as
the 16th.

[256] A Florentine nobleman, mentioned by Johnson in his _Notes of his
Tour in France_ [_ante_, Oct. 18, 1775]. I had the pleasure of becoming
acquainted with him in London, in the spring of this year. BOSWELL. Mrs.
Thrale wrote to Johnson from Bath on May 16:--'Count Manucci would wait
seven years to come with you; so do not disappoint the man, but bring
him along with you. His delight in your company is like Boniface's
exultation when the squire speaks Latin; for understand you he
certainly cannot.' _Piozzi Letters_, i. 328. It was not the squire,
but the priest, Foigard, who by his Latin did Boniface good.
_The Beaux Strategem_, act iii. sc. 2.

[257] _Pr. and Med_. p. 151.

[258] _St. James_, i. 17.

[259] See _ante_, ii. 175. Seven and even eight years later Paterson was
still a student in need of Johnson's recommendation. _Post_, June 2,
1783, and April 5, 1784.

[260] See _ante_, p. 58.

[261] Why his Lordship uses the epithet _pleasantly_, when speaking of
a grave piece of reasoning, I cannot conceive. But different men have
different notions of pleasantry. I happened to sit by a gentleman one
evening at the Opera-house in London, who, at the moment when _Medea_
appeared to be in great agony at the thought of killing her children,
turned to me with a smile, and said, '_funny_ enough.' BOSWELL.

[262] Dr. Johnson afterwards told me, that he was of opinion that a
clergyman had this right. BOSWELL.

[263] Johnson, nearly three years earlier, had said of Granger:--'The
dog is a Whig. I do not like much to see a Whig in any dress; but I hate
to see a Whig in a parson's gown.' Boswell's _Hebrides_, Sept. 24, 1773.

[264] 'I did my utmost,' wrote Horace Walpole (_Letters_, v. 168), 'to
dissuade Mr. Granger from the dedication, and took especial pains to get
my _virtues_ left out of the question.'


'In moderation placing all my glory,
While Tories call me Whig, and Whigs a Tory.'

Pope, _Imitations of Horace_, Bk. ii Sat. I. 1. 67.

[266] 'One of the dippers at Brighthelmstone, seeing Mr. Johnson swim in
the year 1766, said:--"Why, Sir, you must have been a stout-hearted
gentleman forty years ago."' _Piozzi's Anec_. p. 113. Johnson, in his
verses entitled, _In Rivum a Mola Stoana Lichfeldiae diffluentem_
(_Works_, i. 163), writes:--

'Errat adhuc vitreus per prata virentia rivus,
Quo toties lavi membra tenella puer;
Hic delusa rudi frustrabar brachia motu,
Dum docuit blanda voce natare pater.'

[267] For this and Dr. Johnson's other letters to Mr. Levett, I am
indebted to my old acquaintance Mr. Nathaniel Thomas, whose worth and
ingenuity have been long known to a respectable, though not a wide
circle; and whose collection of medals would do credit to persons of
greater opulence. BOSWELL.

[268] Johnson's letters to Mrs. Thrale shew the difference between
modern Brighton and the Brighthelmstone of his days. Thus he writes:--
'Ashbourne, Sept. 27, 1777. I know not when I shall write again, now
you are going to the world's end [i.e. Brighton]. _Extra anni solisque
vias_, where the post will be a long time in reaching you. I shall,
notwithstanding all distance, continue to think on you.' _Piozzi
Letters_, i. 387. 'Oct. 6, 1777. Methinks you are now a great way off;
and if I come, I have a great way to come to you; and then the sea is so
cold, and the rooms are so dull; yet I do love to hear the sea roar and
my mistress talk--For when she talks, ye gods! how she will talk. I wish
I were with you, but we are now near half the length of England asunder.
It is frightful to think how much time must pass between writing this
letter and receiving an answer, if any answer were necessary.'
_Ib_. ii. 2.

[269] Boswell wrote to Temple on Nov. 3, 1780:--'I could not help
smiling at the expostulation which you suggest to me to try with my
father. It would do admirably with some fathers; but it would make mine
much worse, for he cannot bear that his son should talk with him as a
man. I can only lament his unmelting coldness to my wife and children,
for I fear it is hopeless to think of his ever being more affectionate
towards them. Yet it must be acknowledged that his paying L1000 of my
debt some years ago was a large bounty. He allows me L300 a year.'
_Letters of Boswell_, p. 255.

[270] See _ante_, Aug. 27, 1775, note.

[271] See _ante_, p. 48, note 4.

[272] 'He said to me often that the time he spent in this Tour was
the pleasantest part of his life, and asked me if I would lose the
recollection of it for five hundred pounds.' Boswell's _Hebrides_,
under Nov. 22, 1773.

[273] Chap. viii. 10. A translation of this work is in
_Bibliotheca Pastorum_, ed. J. Ruskin, vol. i.

[274] 'The chief cause of my deficiency has been a life immethodical
and unsettled, which breaks all purposes, confounds and suppresses
memory, and perhaps leaves too much leisure to imagination.' _Pr. and
Med_. p. 136.

[275] Johnson wrote to Boswell (_ante_, June 12, 1774):--'I have
stipulated twenty-five for you to give in your own name.' The book was
published early in 1775. On Feb. 25, 1775, he wrote:--'I am sorry that I
could get no books for my friends in Scotland. Mr. Strahan has at last
promised to send two dozen to you.' It is strange that not far short of
two years passed before the books were sent.

[276] Boswell had 'expressed his extreme aversion to his father's
second marriage.' _Letters of Boswell_, p. 255--On Sept. 2, 1775, he
thus described his step-mother:--'His wife, whom in my conscience I
cannot condemn for any capital bad quality, is so narrow-minded, and, I
don't know how, so set upon keeping him under her own management, and so
suspicious and so sourishly tempered that it requires the utmost
exertion of practical philosophy to keep myself quiet.' _Ib_. p. 216.

[277] See _ante_, Jan. 19 and May 6, 1775.

[278] See _ante_, p. 86.

[279] See _ante_, May 27, 1775.

[280] Macquarry was the chief of Ulva's Isle. 'He told us,' writes
Boswell, 'his family had possessed Ulva for nine hundred years; but I
was distressed to hear that it was soon to be sold for payment of his
debts.' Boswell's _Hebrides_, Oct 16, 1773.

[281] See _ante_, March 24, 1776.

[282] Mrs. Thrale gives a long but scarcely credible account of her
quarrel with Baretti. It is very unlikely that he used to say to her
eldest daughter 'that, if her mother died in a lying-in which happened
while he lived here, he hoped Mr. Thrale would marry Miss Whitbred, who
would be a pretty companion for her, and not tyrannical and overbearing
like me.' Hayward's _Piozzi_, ii. 336. No doubt in 1788 he attacked her
brutally (see _ante_, p. 49). 'I could not have suspected him,' wrote
Miss Burney, 'of a bitterness of invective so cruel, so ferocious.' Mme.
D'Arblay's _Diary_, iv. 185. The attack was provoked. Mrs. Piozzi, in
January, 1788, published one of Johnson's letters, in which he wrote--at
all events she says he wrote:--'Poor B----i! do not quarrel with him; to
neglect him a little will be sufficient. He means only to be frank, and
manly, and independent, and perhaps, as you say, a little wise. To be
frank he thinks is to be cynical, and to be independent is to be rude.
Forgive him, dearest lady, the rather because of his misbehaviour I am
afraid he learnt part of me. I hope to set him hereafter a better
example.' _Piozzi Letters_, i. 277. Malone, in 1789, speaks of 'the
roughness for which Baretti was formerly distinguished.' Prior's
_Malone_, p. 391. Mrs. Thrale thus describes his departure: 'My daughter
kept on telling me that Mr. Baretti was grown very old and very cross,
would not look at her exercises, but said he would leave this house
soon, for it was no better than Pandaemonium. The next day he packed up
his cloke-bag, which he had not done for three years, and sent it to
town; and while we were wondering what he would say about it at
breakfast, he was walking to London himself, without taking leave of any
one person, except it may be the girl, who owns they had much talk, in
the course of which he expressed great aversion to me and even to her,
who, [_sic_] he said, he once thought well of.' Hayward's _Piozzi_, ii.
339. Baretti, in the _Eur. Mag_. xiii. 398, told his story. He
said:--'Madam took it into her head to give herself airs, and treat me
with some coldness and superciliousness. I did not hesitate to set down
at breakfast my dish of tea not half drank, go for my hat and stick that
lay in the corner of the room, turn my back to the house _insalutato
hospite_, and walk away to London without uttering a syllable.' In a
marginal note on _Piozzi Letters_, i. 338, he says he left Streatham on
June 4, 1776. 'I had,' he writes, 'by that time been in a manner one of
the family during six years and a-half. Johnson had made me hope that
Thrale would at last give me an annuity for my pains, but, never
receiving a shilling from him or from her, I grew tired at last, and on
some provocation from her left them abruptly.' It should seem that he
afterwards made it up with them, for in a note on vol. ii. p. 191, he
says of the day of Mr. Thrale's death, 'Johnson and I, and many other
friends, were to dine with him that day.' The rest of the note, at all
events, is inaccurate, for he says that 'Mrs. Thrale imparted to Johnson
the news [of her husband's death],' whereas Johnson saw him die.

[283] Mrs. Piozzi says that this money was given to Baretti as a
consolation for the loss of the Italian tour (_ante_, iii. 6). Hayward's
_Piozzi_, ii. 337.

[284] The Duke of York was present when Foote had the accident by which
he lost his leg (_ante_, ii. 95). Moved by compassion, he obtained for
him from the King a royal patent for performances at the Haymarket from
May 14 to Sept. 14 in every year. He played but thrice after his
retirement. Forster's Essays, ii. 400, 435.

[285] Strahan showed greater sagacity about Gibbon's _Decline and Fall_,
which had been declined by Elmsly. 'So moderate were our hopes,' writes
Gibbon (_Misc. Works_, i. 223), 'that the original impression had been
stinted to five hundred, till the number was doubled by the prophetic
taste of Mr. Strahan.' Carrick called Strahan 'rather an _obtuse_ man.'
_Post_, April 9 1778.

[286] See _post_, Sept. 19, 1777, and April 20, 1781.

[287] Johnson, I believe, at this time suffered less than usual from
despondency. See _ante_, iii. 25, note 1. The passage in which these
words are found applies to one day only. It is as follows:--'March 28.
This day is Good Friday. It is likewise the day on which my poor Tetty
was taken from me. My thoughts were disturbed in bed. I remembered
that it was my wife's dying day, and begged pardon for all our sins, and
commended her; but resolved to mix little of my own sorrows or cares
with the great solemnity. Having taken only tea without milk I went to
church; had time before service to commend my wife, and wished to join
quietly in the service, but I did not hear well, and my mind grew
unsettled and perplexed. Having rested ill in the night I slumbered at
the sermon, which, I think, I could not as I sat perfectly hear.... At
night I had some ease. L.D. [Laus Deo] I had prayed for pardon and
peace.' _Pr. and Med_. p. 153. Hawkins, however (_Life_, p. 532), says,
perhaps with considerable exaggeration, that at this time, 'he sunk into
indolence, till his faculties seemed to be impaired; deafness grew upon
him; long intervals of mental absence interrupted his conversation, and
it was difficult to engage his attention to any subject. His friends
concluded that his lamp was emitting its last rays, but the lapse of a
short period gave them ample proofs to the contrary.' The proofs were
_The Lives of the Poets_. Johnson himself says of this time:--'Days and
months pass in a dream; and I am afraid that my memory grows less
tenacious, and my observation less attentive.' _Pr. and Med_. 160.


'Lo, the poor Indian! whose untutor'd mind
Sees God in clouds, or hears him in the wind.'

Pope's _Essay on Man_, i. 99.

[289] '"I inherited," said Johnson, "a vile melancholy from my father,
which has made me mad all my life, at least not sober."' Boswell's
_Hebrides_, Sept. 16, 1773. See _ante_, i. 65, and _post_, Sept. 20,

[290] _Pr. and Med_. p. 155. BOSWELL.

[291] _Pr. and Med_. p. 158. BOSWELL.

[292] He continues:--'I passed the afternoon with such calm gladness of
mind as it is very long since I felt before. I passed the night in such
sweet uninterrupted sleep as I have not known since I slept at Fort
Augustus.' See _post_, Nov. 21, 1778, where in a letter to Boswell he
says:--'The best night that I have had these twenty years was at Fort
Augustus.' In 1767 he mentions (_Pr. and Med_. p. 73) 'a sudden relief
he once had by a good night's rest in Fetter Lane,' where he had lived
many years before. His good nights must have been rare indeed.

[293] Bishop Percy says that he handed over to Johnson various memoranda
which he had received from 'Goldsmith's brother and others of his family,
to afford materials for a _Life of Goldsmith_, which Johnson was to
write and publish for their benefit. But he utterly forgot them and the
subject.' Prior successfully defends Johnson against the charge that he
did not include Goldsmith's _Life_ among the _Lives of the Poets_. 'The
copy-right of _She Stoops to Conquer_ was the property of Carnan the
bookseller (surviving partner of F. Newbery); and Carnan being "a most
impracticable man and at variance with all his brethren," in the words
of Malone to the Bishop, he refused his assent, and the project for the
time fell to the ground.' But Percy clearly implies that it was a
separate work and not one of the _Lives_ that Johnson had undertaken.
See Prior's _Goldsmith_, Preface, p. x. Malone, in a note on Boswell's
letter of July 9, 1777, says:--'I collected some materials for a _Life
of Goldsmith_, by Johnson's desire.' He goes on to mention the quarrel
with Carnan. It should seem then that Johnson was gathering materials
for Goldsmith's _Life_ before the _Lives of the Poets_ were projected;
that later on he intended to include it in that series, but being
thwarted by Carnan that he did nothing.

[294] See Boswell's _Hebrides_, Aug. 24, 1773.

[295] 'I have often desired him not to call me Goldy.' _Ib_. Oct. 14.

[296] 'The Duke of Argyle was obliging enough to mount Dr. Johnson on a
stately steed from his grace's stable. My friend was highly pleased, and
Joseph [Boswell's Bohemian servant] said, "He now looks like a bishop."'
Boswell's _Hebrides_, Oct. 26.

[297] See _ante_, ii. 196.

[298] Even Burke falls into the vulgarism of 'mutual friend.' See his
_Correspondence_, i. 196, ii. 251. Goldsmith also writes of 'mutual
acquaintance.' Cunningham's _Goldsmith's Works_, iv. 48.

[299] He means to imply, I suppose, that Johnson was the father of
plantations. See _ante_, under Feb. 7, 1775. note.

[300] For a character of this very amiable man, see _Journal of a Tour
to the Hebrides_, 3rd edit. p. 36. [Aug. 17.] BOSWELL.

[301] By the then course of the post, my long letter of the 14th had not
yet reached him. BOSWELL.

[302] _History of Philip the Second_. BOSWELL.

[303] See _ante_, Jan. 21, 1775.

[304] See _ante_, iii. 48.

[305] He wrote to Mrs. Thrale on Jan. 15, 1777, that he had had about
twelve ounces of blood taken, and then about ten more, and that another
bleeding was to follow. 'Yet I do not make it a matter of much form. I
was to-day at Mrs. Gardiner's. When I have bled to-morrow, I will not
give up Langton nor Paradise. But I beg that you will fetch me away on
Friday. I do not know but clearer air may do me good; but whether the
air be clear or dark, let me come to you.' _Piozzi Letters_, i. 344. See
_post_, Sept. 16, 1777, note.

[306] See _ante_, i. 411, and Boswell's _Hebrides_, Aug. 24, 1773.

[307] Johnson tried in vain to buy this book at Aberdeen. _Ib_. Aug. 23.

[308] See _ante_, May 12, 1775.

[309] No doubt her _Miscellanies_. _Ante_, ii. 25.

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

[311] John_son_ is the most common English formation of the Sirname from

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