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

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

Part 9 out of 12

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

_John_; John_ston_ the Scotch. My illustrious friend observed that many
North Britons pronounced his name in their own way. BOSWELL. Boswell
(_Hebrides_, Oct. 21, 1773) tells of one Lochbuy who, 'being told that
Dr. Johnson did not hear well, bawled out to him, "Are you of the
Johnstons of Glencro, or of Ardnamurchan?"'

[312] See _post_, under Dec. 24, 1783.

[313] Johnson's old amanuensis. _Ante_, i. 187. Johnson described him as
'a man of great learning.' Croker's _Boswell_, p. 654.

[314] On account of their differing from him as to religion and
politicks. BOSWELL. See _post_, April 13, 1778. Mr. Croker says that
'the Club had, as its records show, for many of his latter years very
little of his company.'

[315] See _ante_, i. 225 note 2, July 4, 1774, and March 20, 1776.

[316] Boswell was no reader. 'I don't believe,' Johnson once said to
him, 'you have borrowed from Waller. I wish you would enable yourself
to borrow more.' _Ante_, April 16, 1775. Boswell wrote to Temple on
March 18, 1775:--'I have a kind of impotency of study.' Two months later
he wrote:--'I have promised to Dr. Johnson to read when I get to
Scotland, and to keep an account of what I read. I shall let you know
how I go on. My mind must be nourished.' _Letters of Boswell_, pp. 181,

[317] Chesterfield's _Letters to his Son_ were published in 1774, and
his _Miscellaneous Works_, together with _Memoirs and Letters to his
Friends_, early in 1777.

[318] 'Whatso it is, the Danaan folk, yea gift-bearing I fear.' Morris,
AEneids, ii. 49.

[319] He wrote to Mrs. Thrale on March 19, 1777:--'You are all young,
and gay, and easy; but I have miserable nights, and know not how to make
them better; but I shift pretty well a-days, and so have at you all at
Dr. Burney's to-morrow.' _Piozzi Letters_, i. 345.

[320] A twelfth was born next year. See _post_, July 3, 1778.

[321] It was March 29.

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

[323] See _ante_, i. 341, note 3.

[324] See _ante_, i. 439.

[325] Johnson's moderation in demanding so small a sum is extraordinary.
Had he asked one thousand, or even fifteen hundred guineas, the
booksellers, who knew the value of his name, would doubtless have
readily given it. They have probably got five thousand guineas by this
work in the course of twenty-five years. MALONE.

[326] See _post_, beginning of 1781.

[327] See _ante_, ii. 272, note 2.

[328] Mr. Joseph Cooper Walker, of the Treasury, Dublin, who obligingly
communicated to me this and a former letter from Dr. Johnson to the
same gentleman (for which see vol. i. p. 321), writes to me as follows:
--'Perhaps it would gratify you to have some account of Mr. O'Connor. He
is an amiable, learned, venerable old gentleman, of an independent
fortune, who lives at Belanagar, in the county of Roscommon; he is an
admired writer, and Member of the Irish Academy.--The above Letter is
alluded to in the Preface to the 2nd edit, of his _Dissert_, p. 3.'--Mr.
O'Connor afterwards died at the age of eighty-two. See a well-drawn
character of him in the _Gent. Mag_. for August 1791. BOSWELL.

[329] Mr. Croker shows good reason for believing that in the original
letter this parenthesis stood:--'_if such there were_.'

[330] See _ante_, i. 292.

[331] 'Johnson had not heard of Pearce's _Sermons_, which I wondered at,
considering that he wrote all the _Life_ published by the Chaplain
Derby, except what his Lordship wrote himself.' _Letters of Boswell_,
p. 242. See ante, March 20, 1776.

[332] Boswell, it seems, is here quoting himself. See his _Hebrides_,
3rd edit. p. 201 (Sept. 13, 1773), where, however, he lays the emphasis
differently, writing '_fervour_ of loyalty.'

[333] 'An old acquaintance' of the Bishop says that 'he struggled hard
ten years ago to resign his Bishopric and the Deanery of Westminster, in
which our gracious King was willing to gratify him; but upon a
consultation of the Bishops they thought it could not be done with
propriety; yet he was permitted to resign the Deanery.' _Gent. Mag_.
1775, p. 421.

[334] 'This person, it is said, was a stay-maker, but being a man of wit
and parts he betook himself to study, and at a time when the discipline
of the inns of court was scandalously lax, got himself called to the
Bar, and practised at the quarter-sessions under me, but with little
success. He became the conductor of a paper called _The Public Ledger_
and a writer for the stage, in which he met with some encouragement, till
it was insinuated that he was a pensioner of the minister, and therefore
a fit object of patriotic vengeance.' Hawkins's _Johnson_, p. 518. See
_ante_, ii. 48 note, and _post_, 1784, in Mr. Nichols's account of
Johnson's last days.

[335] 'This address had the desired effect. The play was well received.'
Murphy's _Garrick_, p. 302. Johnson wrote to Mrs. Thrale from Lichfield,
'Lucy [his step-daughter] thinks nothing of my prologue for Kelly, and
says she has always disowned it.' _Piozzi Letters_, i. 352.

[336] It was composed at a time when Savage was generally without
lodging, and often without meat. Much of it was written with pen and ink
that were borrowed, on paper that had been picked up in the streets. The
unhappy poet 'was obliged to submit himself wholly to the players, and
admit with whatever reluctance the emendations of Mr. Cibber, which he
always considered as the disgrace of his performance.' When it was
brought out, he himself took the part of Overbury. 'He was so much
ashamed of having been reduced to appear as a player, that he always
blotted out his name from the list when a copy of his tragedy was to be
shown to his friends.' Johnson's _Works_, viii. 110-112.

[337] It was not at Drury-lane, but at Covent Garden theatre, that it
was acted. MALONE.

[338] Part First, Chap 4. BOSWELL. See _ante_ ii. 225.

[339] _Life of Richard Savage_, by Dr. Johnson. BOSWELL.

[340] See _ante_, i. 387, and _post_, May 17, 1783.

[341] Sheridan joined the Literary Club in March, 1777. _The Rivals_
and _The Duenna_ were brought out in 1775; _The Trip to Scarborough_
on Feb. 24, 1777, and _The School for Scandal_ in the following May.
Moore (_Life of Sheridan_, i. 168), speaking of _The Duenna_, says,
'The run of this opera has, I believe, no parallel in the annals of the
drama. Sixty-three nights was the career of _The Beggar's Opera_; but
_The Duenna_ was acted no less than seventy-five times during the
season.' _The Trip to Scarborough_ was a failure. Johnson, therefore,
doubtless referred to _The Rivals_ and _The Duenna_.

[342] The date is wrongly given. Boswell says that he wrote again on
June 23 (_post_, p. 120), and Johnson's letter of June 28 is in answer
to both letters. The right date is perhaps June 9.

[343] See Boswell's _Hebrides_, under Nov. 11, 1773.

[344] See pp. 29, 30, of this volume. BOSWELL.

[345] Johnson, describing 'the fond intimacy' of Quin and Thomson, says
(_Works_, viii. 374):--'The commencement of this benevolence is very
honourable to Quin, who is reported to have delivered Thomson, then
known to him only for his genius, from an arrest by a very considerable
present; and its continuance is honourable to both, for friendship is
not always the sequel of obligation.'

[346] See _ante_, ii. 63, and _post_, June 18, 1778.

[347] Formerly Sub-preceptor to his present Majesty, and afterwards a
Commissioner of Excise. MALONE.

[348] The physician and poet. He died in 1779.

[349] Boswell nine years earlier (_ante_, ii. 63) had heard Johnson
accuse Thomson of gross sensuality.

[350] 'Savage, who lived much with Thomson, once told me he heard a
lady remarking that she could gather from his works three parts of his
character, that he was a great lover, a great swimmer, and rigorously
abstinent; but, said Savage, he knows not any love but that of the sex;
he was perhaps never in cold water in his life; and he indulges himself
in all the luxury that comes within his reach.' Johnson's _Works_, viii.

[351] Dr. Johnson was not the _editor_ of this Collection of _The
English Poets_; he merely furnished the biographical prefaces. MALONE.
See _post_, Sept. 14, 1777.

[352] See _ante_, under April 18, 1775.

[353] One letter he seems to have sent to him from this spot. See
_ante_, ii. 3, note 1.

[354] Dr. Johnson had himself talked of our seeing Carlisle together.
_High_ was a favourite word of his to denote a person of rank. He said
to me, 'Sir, I believe we may at the house of a Roman Catholick lady in
Cumberland; a high lady, Sir.' I afterwards discovered he meant Mrs.
Strickland, sister of Charles Townley, Esq., whose very noble collection
of pictures is not more to be admired, than his extraordinary and polite
readiness in shewing it, which I and several of my friends have
agreeably experienced. They who are possessed of valuable stores of
gratification to persons of taste, should exercise their benevolence in
imparting the pleasure. Grateful acknowledgments are due to Welbore
Ellis Agar, Esq., for the liberal access which he is pleased to allow to
his exquisite collection of pictures. BOSWELL.

[355] See Boswell's _Hebrides_, Sept. 11, 1773.

[356] It is no doubt, on account of its brevity that Boswell in speaking
of it writes:--'What is called _The Life_.'

[357] See Boswell's _Hebrides_, Oct, 29, 1773.

[358] See _ante_, under Feb. 7, 1775.

[359] See post, p. 139.

[360] See _ante_, i. 494.

[361] From Prior's imitation of _Gualterus Danistonus ad Amicos_; the
poem mentioned by Boswell in his _Hebrides_, Aug. 18, 1773.

[362] _Copy_ is _manuscript for printing_.

[363] Hawkins (_Life_, p. 521) says that the jury did not at the trial
recommend Dodd to mercy. To one of the petitions 'Mrs. Dodd first got
the hands of the jury that found the bill against her husband, and after
that, as it is supposed, of the jury that tried him.' Ib. p. 527. He
says that the public were at first very little interested in his fate,
'but by various artifices, and particularly the insertion of his name in
public papers, with such palliatives as he and his friends could invent,
never with the epithet of _unfortunate_, they were betrayed into such an
enthusiastic commiseration of his case as would have led a stranger to
believe that himself had been no accessory to his distresses, but that
they were the inflictions of Providence.' Ib. p. 520. Johnson wrote to
Dr. Taylor on May 19:--'Poor Dodd was sentenced last week.... I am
afraid he will suffer. The clergy seem not to be his friends. The
populace, that was extremely clamorous against him, begins to pity him.
_Notes and Queries_, 6th S., v. 423.

[364] Horace Walpole says 'the criminal was raised to the dignity of a
confessor in the eyes of the people--but an inexorable judge had already
pronounced his doom. Lord Mansfield, who never felt pity, and never
relented unless terrified, had indecently declared for execution even
before the judges had given their opinion. An incident that seemed
favourable weighed down the vigorous [qu. rigorous] scale. The Common
Council had presented a petition for mercy to the king. Lord Mansfield,
who hated the popular party as much as he loved severity, was not likely
to be moved by such intercessors. At Court it grew the language that the
king must discountenance such interposition.' Walpole adds that 'as an
attempt to rescue Dodd might be apprehended, two thousand men were
ordered to be reviewed in Hyde Park during the execution.' _Journal of
the Reign of George III_, ii. 125.

[365] Johnson, in the '_Observations_ inserted in the newspapers'
(_post_, p. 142), said 'that though the people cannot judge of the
administration of justice so well as their governors, yet their voice
has always been regarded. That if the people now commit an error, their
error is on the part of mercy; and that perhaps history cannot shew a
time in which the life of a criminal, guilty of nothing above fraud, was
refused to the cry of nations, to the joint supplication of three and
twenty thousand petitioners.' Hawkins's _Johnson_, p. 528. Johnson's
earnestness as a petitioner contrasts with the scornful way in which he
had spoken of petitions. 'There must be no yielding to encourage this,'
the minister might have answered in his own words. _Ante_, ii. 90.

[366] The king signs no sentences or death warrants; but out of respect
to the Royal perogative of mercy, expressed by the old adage, '_The
King's face gives grace_,' the cases of criminals convicted in London,
where the king is supposed to be resident, were reported to him by the
recorder, that his Majesty might have an option of pardoning. Hence it
was seriously doubted whether a recorder's report need or, indeed, could
be made at Windsor. All his Majesty did on these occasions was, to
express verbally his assent or dissent to or from the execution of the
sentence; and, though the King was on such occasions attended by his
Ministers and the great legal Privy Councillors, the business was not
technically a council business, but the individual act of the King.
On the accession of Queen Victoria, the nature of some cases that it
might be necessary to report to her Majesty occasioned the abrogation of
a practice which was certainly so far unreasonable that it made a
difference between London and all the rest of the kingdom. CROKER. 'I
was exceedingly shocked,' said Lord Eldon, 'the first time I attended to
hear the Recorder's report, at the careless manner in which, as it
appeared to me, it was conducted. We were called upon to decide on
sentences affecting no less than the lives of men, and yet there was
nothing laid before us to enable us to judge whether there had or had
not been any extenuating circumstances; it was merely a recapitulation
of the judge's opinion and the sentence. I resolved that I never would
attend another report, without having read and duly considered the whole
of the evidence of each case, and I never did.' Twiss's _Eldon_, i.

[367] Under-Secretary of State and a member of the Literary Club.
_Ante_, i. 478.

[368] Johnson does not here let Boswell know that he had written this
address (_post_, p. 141). Wesley, two days before Dodd's execution,
records (_Journal_, iv. 99):--'I saw Dr. Dodd for the last time. He was
in exactly such a temper as I wished. He never at any time expressed the
least murmuring or resentment at any one; but entirely and calmly gave
himself up to the will of God. Such a prisoner I scarce ever saw before;
much less such a condemned malefactor. I should think none could
converse with him without acknowledging that God is with him.' In
earlier years Wesley was more than once refused admittance to a man
under sentence of death who was 'earnestly desirous' to speak with him.
Wesley's _Journal_, ed. 1827, i. 255, 292, 378.

[369] Between the Methodists and the Moravians there was no good-will.
In 1749 the Moravians published a declaration that 'whosoever reckons
that those persons in England who are usually called Moravians, and
those who are called Methodists, are the same, he is mistaken.'
Thereupon Wesley recorded in his _Journal_, ii. l20:--'The Methodists,
so called, heartily thank Brother Louis for his Declaration; as they
count it no honour to be in any connexion either with him or his

[370] Since they have been so much honoured by Dr. Johnson I shall here
insert them:



'You know my solemn enthusiasm of mind. You love me for it, and I
respect myself for it, because in so far I resemble Mr. Johnson. You
will be agreeably surprized when you learn the reason of my writing this
letter. I am at Wittemberg in Saxony. I am in the old church where the
Reformation was first preached, and where some of the reformers lie
interred. I cannot resist the serious pleasure of writing to Mr. Johnson
from the Tomb of Melancthon. My paper rests upon the gravestone of that
great and good man, who was undoubtedly the worthiest of all the
reformers. He wished to reform abuses which had been introduced into the
Church; but had no private resentment to gratify. So mild was he, that
when his aged mother consulted him with anxiety on the perplexing
disputes of the times, he advised her "to keep to the old religion." At
this tomb, then, my ever dear and respected friend! I vow to thee an
eternal attachment. It shall be my study to do what I can to render your
life happy: and, if you die before me, I shall endeavour to do honour to
your memory; and, elevated by the remembrance of you, persist in noble
piety. May GOD, the Father of all beings, ever bless you! and may you
continue to love,

'Your most affectionate friend, and devoted servant,
'Sunday, Sept. 30, 1764.'

'Wilton-house, April 22, 1775.

'Every scene of my life confirms the truth of what you have told me,
"there is no certain happiness in this state of being."--I am here,
amidst all that you know is at Lord Pembroke's; and yet I am weary and
gloomy. I am just setting out for the house of an old friend in
Devonshire, and shall not get back to London for a week yet. You said to
me last Good-Friday, with a cordiality that warmed my heart, that if I
came to settle in London, we should have a day fixed every week, to meet
by ourselves and talk freely. To be thought worthy of such a privilege
cannot but exalt me. During my present absence from you, while,
notwithstanding the gaiety which you allow me to possess, I am darkened
by temporary clouds, I beg to have a few lines from you; a few lines
merely of kindness, as--a _viaticum_ till I see you again. In your
_Vanity of Human Wishes_, and in Parnell's _Contentment_, I find the
only sure means of enjoying happiness; or, at least, the hopes of
happiness. I ever am, with reverence and affection,

'Most faithfully yours,


[371] William Seward, Esq., F.R.S., editor of _Anecdotes of some
distinguished persons_, etc., in four volumes, 8vo., well known to a
numerous and valuable acquaintance for his literature, love of the fine
arts, and social virtues. I am indebted to him for several
communications concerning Johnson. BOSWELL. Miss Burney frequently
mentions him as visiting the Thrales. 'Few people do him justice,' said
Mrs. Thrale to her, 'because as Dr. Johnson calls him, he is an abrupt
young man; but he has excellent qualities, and an excellent
understanding.' Mme. D'Arblay's _Diary_, i. 141. Miss Burney, in one of
her letters, says:--'Mr. Seward, who seems to be quite at home among
them, appears to be a penetrating, polite, and agreeable young man. Mrs.
Thrale says of him, that he does good to everybody, but speaks well of
nobody.' _Memoirs of Dr. Burney_, ii. 89. He must not be confounded with
the Rev. Mr. Seward of Lichfield.

[372] See _post_, under date of June 18, 1778.

[373] In the list of deaths in the _Gent. Mag_. for 1779, p. 103, we
find, 'Feb. 8. Isaac de Groot, great-grandson to the learned Grotius.
He had long been supported by private donations, and at length was
provided for in the Charterhouse, where he died.'

[374] The preceding letter. BOSWELL.

[375] This letter was addressed not to a Mr. Dilly, but to Mr. W. Sharp,
Junior. See _Gent. Mag_. 1787, p. 99. CROKER.

[376] See _ante_, i. 312.

[377] See _ante_, p. 101.

[378] See Boswell's _Hebrides_, Oct. 16.

[379] See ante, p. 86, and _post_, under Nov. 29, 1777.

[380] Johnson gives both _epocha_ and _epoch_ in his _Dictionary_.

[381] Langton. See _ante_, p. 48, and _post_, Sept. 22, 1777.

[382] This very just remark I hope will be constantly held in
remembrance by parents, who are in general too apt to indulge their own
fond feelings for their children at the expence of their friends. The
common custom of introducing them after dinner is highly injudicious. It
is agreeable enough that they should appear at any other time; but they
should not be suffered to poison the moments of festivity by attracting
the attention of the company, and in a manner compelling them from
politeness to say what they do not think. BOSWELL. See _ante_, p. 28.

[383] Gibbon wrote to Garrick from Paris on Aug. 14:--'At this time of
year the society of the Turk's-head can no longer be addressed as a
corporate body, and most of the individual members are probably
dispersed: Adam Smith in Scotland; Burke in the shades of Beaconsfield;
Fox, the Lord or the devil knows where, etc. Be so good as to salute in
my name those friends who may fall in your way. Assure Sir Joshua, in
particular, that I have not lost my relish for _manly_ conversation and
the society of the brown table.' _Garrick Corres_. ii. 256. I believe
that in Gibbon's published letters no mention is found of Johnson.

[384] See _ante_, ii. 159, and _post_, April 4, 1778. Of his greatness
at the Bar Lord Eldon has left the following anecdote;--'Mr. Dunning,
being in very great business, was asked how he contrived to get through
it all. He said, "I do one third of it, another third does itself, and
the remaining third continues undone."' Twiss's _Eldon_, i. 327.

[385] It is not easy to detect Johnson in anything that comes even near
an inaccuracy. Let me quote, therefore, a passage from one of his
letters which shews that when he wrote to Mrs. Boswell he had not, as
he seems to imply, eaten any of the marmalade:--'Aug. 4, 1777. I believe
it was after I left your house that I received a pot of orange marmalade
from Mrs. Boswell. We have now, I hope, made it up. I have not opened my
pot.' _Piozzi Letters_, i. 350.

[386] See _ante_, March 19, 1776.

[387] What it was that had occured is shewn by Johnson's letter to Mrs.
Thrale on Aug. 4:--'Boswell's project is disconcerted by a visit from a
relation of Yorkshire, whom he mentions as the head of his clan [see
_ante_, ii. 169, note 2]. Boszy, you know, make a huge bustle about
all his own motions and all mine. I have inclosed a letter to pacify
him, and reconcile him to the uncertainties of human life.' _Piozzi
Letters_, i. 350.

[388] When she was about four months old, Boswell declared that she
should have five hundred pounds of additional fortune, on account of
her fondness for Dr. Johnson. See Boswell's _Hebrides_, Aug. 15, 1773.
She died, says Malone, of a consumption, four months after her father.

[389] See _ante_, March 23, 1776.

[390] By an odd mistake, in the first three editions we find a reading
in this line to which Dr. Johnson would by no means have subscribed,
_wine_ having been substituted for _time_. That error probably was a
mistake in the transcript of Johnson's original letter. The other
deviation in the beginning of the line (_virtue_ instead of nature) must
be attributed to his memory having deceived him. The verse quoted is the
concluding line of a sonnet of Sidney's:--

'Who doth desire that chast his wife should bee,
First be he true, for truth doth truth deserve;
Then be he such, as she his worth may see,
And, alwaies one, credit with her preserve:
Not toying kynd nor causelessly unkynd,
Nor stirring thoughts, nor yet denying right,
Nor spying faults, nor in plaine errors blind,
Never hard hand, nor ever rayns (reins) too light;
As far from want, as far from vaine expence,
Th' one doth enforce, the t'other doth entice:
Allow good companie, but drive from thence
All filthie mouths that glorie in their vice:
This done, thou hast no more but leave the rest
To _nature_, fortune, _time_, and woman's breast.'


[391] 2 Corinthians, iv. 17.

[392] Boswell says (ante, i. 342):--'I am not satisfied if a year passes
without my having read _Rasselas_ through.'

[393] It appears that Johnson, now in his sixty-eighth year, was
seriously inclined to realise the project of our going up the Baltick,
which I had started when we were in the Isle of Sky [Boswell's
_Hebrides_, Sept. 16]; for he thus writes to Mrs. Thrale; _Letters_,
vol. i. p. 366:--

'Ashbourne, Sept. 13, 1777.

'BOSWELL, I believe, is coming. He talks of being here to day: I shall
be glad to see him: but he shrinks from the Baltick expedition, which, I
think, is the best scheme in our power: what we shall substitute I know
not. He wants to see Wales; but, except the woods of _Bachycraigh_, what
is there in Wales, that can fill the hunger of ignorance, or quench the
thirst of curiosity? We may, perhaps, form some scheme or other; but, in
the phrase of _Hockley in the Hole_, it is a pity he has not a _better

Such an ardour of mind, and vigour of enterprise, is admirable at any
age: but more particularly so at the advanced period at which Johnson
was then arrived. I am sorry now that I did not insist on our executing
that scheme. Besides the other objects of curiosity and observation, to
have seen my illustrious friend received, as he probably would have
been, by a Prince so eminently distinguished for his variety of talents
and acquisitions as the late King of Sweden; and by the Empress of
Russia, whose extraordinary abilities, information, and magnanimity,
astonish the world, would have afforded a noble subject for
contemplation and record. This reflection may possibly be thought too
visionary by the more sedate and cold-blooded part of my readers; yet I
own, I frequently indulge it with an earnest, unavailing regret.
BOSWELL. In _The Spectator_, No. 436, Hockley in the Hole is described
as 'a place of no small renown for the gallantry of the lower order of
Britons.' Fielding mentions it in _Jonathan Wild_, bk. i. ch. 2:--
'Jonathan married Elizabeth, daughter of Scragg Hollow, of Hockley
in the Hole, Esq., and by her had Jonathan, who is the illustrious
subject of these memoirs.' In _The Beggar's Opera_, act i. Mrs. Peachum
says to Filch: 'You should go to Hockley in the Hole, and to Marylebone,
child, to learn valour. These are the schools that have bred so many
brave men.' Hockley in the Hole was in Clerkenwell. That Johnson had
this valour was shewn two years earlier, when he wrote to Mrs. Thrale
about a sum of L14,000 that the Thrales had received: 'If I had money
enough, what would I do? Perhaps, if you and master did not hold me, I
might go to Cairo, and down the Red Sea to Bengal, and take a ramble in
India. Would this be better than building and planting? It would surely
give more variety to the eye, and more amplitude to the mind. Half
fourteen thousand would send me out to see other forms of existence, and
bring me back to describe them.' _Piozzi Letters_, i. 266. To the 'King
of Sweden' _late_ was added in the second edition; Gustavus III having
been assassinated in March 1792. The story is somewhere told that George
III, on hearing the news, cried out, 'What, what, what! Shot, shot,
shot!' The Empress of Russia was Catherine II.

[394] It so happened. The letter was forwarded to my house at Edinburgh.
BOSWELL. Arthur Young (_Tour through the North of England_, iv. 431-5)
describes, in 1768, some of the roads along which Boswell was to travel
nine years later. 'I would advise all travellers to consider the country
between Newcastle-under-Line and Preston as sea, and as soon think of
driving into the ocean as venturing into such detestable roads. I am
told the Derby way to Manchester is good, but further is not
penetrable.' The road from Wigan to Preston he calls 'infernal,' and
'cautions all travellers, who may accidentally purpose to travel this
terrible country, to avoid it as they would the devil; for a thousand to
one they break their necks or their limbs. They will here meet with ruts
which I actually measured four feet deep, and floating with mud only
from a wet summer; what therefore must it be after a winter?'

[395] Johnson wrote to Mrs. Thrale on Sept. 15, 1777:--'Last night came
Boswell. I am glad that he is come. He seems to be very brisk and
lively, and laughs a little at ---- [no doubt Taylor].' _Piozzi
Letters_, i. 368. On the 18th he wrote:--'Boswell is with us in good
humour, and plays his part with his usual vivacity.' On this Baretti
noted in his copy:--'That is, he makes more noise than anybody in
company, talking and laughing loud.' On p. 216 in vol. i. he
noted:--'Boswell is not quite right-headed in my humble opinion.'

[396] In the _Gent. Mag_. for 1777, p. 458, it is described as a
'violent shock.'

[397] 'Grief has its time' he once said (_post_, June 2, 1781). 'Grief
is a species of idleness,' he wrote to Mrs. Thrale (_Piozzi Letters_,
i. 77). He constantly taught that it is a duty not to allow the mind to
prey on itself. 'Gaiety is a duty when health requires it' (Croker's
_Boswell_, p. 529). 'Encourage yourself in bustle, and variety, and
cheerfulness,' he wrote to Mrs. Thrale ten weeks after the
death of her only surviving son (_Piozzi Letters_, i. 341). 'Even to
think in the most reasonable manner,' he said at another time, 'is for
the present not useful as not to think.' _Ib_ i. 202. When Mr. Thrale
died, he wrote to his widow:--'I think business the best remedy for
grief, as soon as it can be admitted.' _Ib_. ii 197. To Dr. Taylor
Johnson wrote:--'Sadness only multiplies self.' _Notes and Queries_, 6th
S., v. 461.

[398] 'There is no wisdom in useless and hopeless sorrow; but there is
something in it so like virtue, that he who is wholly without it cannot
be loved, nor will by me at least be thought worthy of esteem.' _Piozzi
Letters_, ii. 198. Against this Baretti has written in the margin:--
'Johnson never grieved much for anything. His trade was wisdom.' See
_ante_, ii. 94.

[399] See _ante_, iii 19. Mr. Croker gives a reference to p. 136 of his
edition. Turning to it we find an account of Johnson, who rode upon
three horses. It would seem from this that, because John=Jack, therefore

[400] Mr. Croker remarks on this:--'Johnson evidently thought, either
that Ireland is generally mountainous, or that Mr. Burke came from a
part which was: but he was mistaken.' The allusion may well be, not to
Burke as a native of Ireland, but to him as a student of national
politics and economy, to whom any general reflections on the character
of mountaineers would be welcome. In Johnson's _Works_ (1787), xi. 201,
it is stated that 'it was the philosophy of the book that Burke thought
well of.'

[401] Mr. Langley, I have little doubt, is the Mr. L---- of the
following passage in Johnson's letter, written from Ashbourne on July
12, 1775:--'Mr. L---- and the Doctor still continue at variance; and the
Doctor is afraid and Mr. L---- not desirous of a reconciliation. I
therefore step over at by-times, and of by-times I have enough.' _Piozzi
Letters_, i. 267.

[402] See _ante_, ii. 52.

[403] George Garrick. See Murphy's _Johnson_, p. 141.

[404] See _ante_, March 26, 1776, and _post_, Sept. 21, 1777.

[405] 'While Lord Bathurst held the Great Seal, an attempt was in vain
made to corrupt him by a secret offer to Lady Bathurst of three thousand
guineas for the living of St. George's, Hanover Square. The offer was
traced to the famous Dr. Dodd, then a King's Chaplain, and he was
immediately dismissed.' Campbell's _Chancellors_, v. 464. See Walpole's
_Journal of the Reign of George III_, i. 298.

[406] Horace Walpole, who accompanied Prince Edward to a service at the
Magdalen House in 1760, thus describes the service (_Letters_, iii. 282):
--'As soon as we entered the chapel the organ played, and the Magdalens
sung a hymn in parts. You cannot imagine how well. The chapel was
dressed with orange and myrtle, and there wanted nothing but a little
incense to drive away the devil,--or to invite him. Prayers then began,
psalms and a sermon; the latter by a young clergyman, one Dodd, who
contributed to the Popish idea one had imbibed, by haranguing entirely
in the French style, and very eloquently and touchingly. He
apostrophised the lost sheep, who sobbed and cried from their souls: so
did my Lady Hertford and Fanny Pelham, till, I believe, the city dames
took them both for Jane Shores. The confessor then turned to the
audience, and addressed himself to his Royal Highness, whom he called
most illustrious prince, beseeching his protection. In short, it was a
very pleasing performance, and I got _the most illustrious_ to desire it
might be printed.' Dr. A. Carlyle (_Auto_. p. 503) heard Dodd preach in
1769. 'We had,' he says, 'difficulty to get tolerable seats, the crowd
of genteel people was so great. The unfortunate young women were in a
latticed gallery, where you could only see those who chose to be seen.
The preacher's text was, "If a man look on a woman to lust after her,"
&c. The text itself was shocking, and the sermon was composed with the
least possible delicacy, and was a shocking insult on a sincere
penitent, and fuel for the warm passions of the hypocrites. The fellow
was handsome, and delivered his discourse remarkably well for a reader.
When he had finished, there were unceasing whispers of applause, which I
could not help contradicting aloud, and condemning the whole
institution, as well as the exhibition of the preacher, as _contra bonos
mores_, and a disgrace to a Christian city.' Goldsmith in 1774 exposed
Dodd as a 'quacking divine' in his _Retaliation_. He describes Dr.
Douglas as a 'The scourge of impostors, the terror of quacks,' and he

'But now he is gone, and we want a detector,
Our Dodds shall be pious, our Kenricks shall lecture.'

See _post_, April 7, 1778.

[407] The fifth earl, the successor of the celebrated earl. On Feb. 22,
1777, Dodd was convicted of forging a bond for L4,200 in his name; _Ann.
Reg_. xx. 168. The earl was unfortunate in his tutors, for he had been
also under Cuthbert Shaw (_ante_, ii 31 note 2).

[408] Mr. Croker quotes the following letter of Dodd, dated 1750:--'I
spent yesterday afternoon with Johnson, the celebrated author of _The
Rambler_, who is of all others the oddest and most peculiar fellow I
ever saw. He is six feet high, has a violent convulsion in his head,
and his eyes are distorted. He speaks roughly and loud, listens to no
man's opinions, thoroughly pertinacious of his own. Good sense flows
from him in all he utters, and he seems possessed of a prodigious fund
of knowledge, which he is not at all reserved in communicating; but in a
manner so obstinate, ungenteel, and boorish, as renders it disagreeable
and dissatisfactory. In short it is impossible for words to describe
him. He seems often inattentive to what passes in company, and then
looks like a person possessed by some superior spirit. I have been
reflecting on him ever since I saw him. He is a man of most universal
and surprising genius, but in himself particular beyond expression.'
Dodd was born in 1729.

[409] 'One of my best and tenderest friends,' Johnson called him, _post_,
July 31, 1784. See _post_, April 10, 1778.

[410] _The Convict's Address to his Unhappy Brethren: Being a Sermon
preached by the Rev. Dr. Dodd, Friday, June 6, 1777, in the Chapel of
Newgate, while under sentence of death, for forging the name of the
Earl of Chesterfield on a bond for L4,200. Sold by the booksellers and
news-carriers. Price Two-pence_. Johnson wrote to Mrs. Thrale from
Lichfield on Aug. 9:--'Lucy said, "When I read Dr. Dodd's sermon to the
prisoners, I said Dr. Johnson could not make a better."'

_Piozzi Letters_, i. 352. See _post_, p. 167.

[411] 'What must I do to be saved?' _Acts_ xvi. 30.

[412] 'And finally we must commend and entrust our souls to Him who
died for the sins of men; with earnest wishes and humble hopes that
He will admit us with the labourers who entered the vineyard at the last
hour, and associate us with the thief whom he pardoned on the cross.' p.

[413] _The Gent. Mag_. for 1777 (p. 450) says of this address:--'As
none but a convict could have written this, all convicts ought to read
it; and we therefore recommend its being framed, and hung up in all
prisons.' Mr. Croker, italicising _could_ and suppressing the latter
part of the sentence, describes it as a criticism that must have been
offensive to Johnson. The writer's meaning is simple enough. The
address, he knew, was delivered in the Chapel of Newgate by a prisoner
under sentence of death. If, instead of 'written' he had said
'delivered,' his meaning would have been quite clear.

[414] Having unexpectedly, by the favour of Mr. Stone, of London
Field, Hackney, seen the original in Johnson's hand-writing, of 'The
Petition of the City of London to his Majesty, in favour of Dr. Dodd,' I
now present it to my readers, with such passages as were omitted
in-closed in crotchets, and the additions or variations marked in

'That William Dodd, Doctor of Laws, now lying under sentence of death
_in your Majesty's gaol of Newgate_, for the crime of forgery, has for a
great part of his life set a useful and laudable example of diligence in
his calling, [and as we have reason to believe, has exercised his
ministry with great fidelity and efficacy,] _which, in many instances,
has produced the most happy effect_.

'That he has been the first institutor, [or] _and_ a very earnest and
active promoter of several modes of useful charity, and [that] therefore
[he] may be considered as having been on many occasions a benefactor to
the publick.

'[That when they consider his past life, they are willing to suppose his
late crime to have been not the consequence of habitual depravity, but
the suggestion of some sudden and violent temptation.]

'[That] _Your Petitioners_ therefore considering his case, as in some of
its circumstances unprecedented and peculiar, _and encouraged by your
Majesty's known clemency_, [they] most humbly recommend the said William
Dodd to [his] your Majesty's most gracious consideration, in hopes that
he will be found not altogether [unfit] _unworthy_ to stand an example
of Royal Mercy.' BOSWELL.

[415] His Speech at the Old Bailey, when found guilty. BOSWELL.

[416] In the second edition he is described as 'now Lord Hawkesbury.'
He had entered public life as Lord Bute's private secretary, and,
according to Horace Walpole, continued in it as his tool.' _Memoirs of
the Reign of George III_, iv. 70, 115. Walpole speaks of him as one of
'the Jesuits of the Treasury' (_Ib_. p. 110), and 'the director or agent
of all the King's secret counsels. His appearance was abject, his
countenance betrayed a consciousness of secret guilt; and, though his
ambition and rapacity were insatiate, his demeanour exhibited such a
want of spirit, that had he stood forth as Prime Minister, which he
really was, his very look would have encouraged opposition.' _Ib_. p.
135. The third Earl of Liverpool wrote to Mr. Croker on Dec. 7, 1845:
--'Very shortly before George III's accession my father became
confidential secretary of Lord Bute, if you can call secretary a man who
all through his life was so bad a penman that he always dictated
everything, and of whom, although I have a house full of papers, I have
scarcely any in his own hand.' _Croker Corres_. iii. 178. The editor is
in error in saying that the Earl of Liverpool who wrote this was son of
the Prime Minister. He was his half-brother.

[417] Burke wrote to Garrick of Fitzherbert:--'You know and love him;
but I assure you, until we can talk some late matters over, you, even
you, can have no adequate idea of the worth of that man.' _Garrick
Corres_. i. 190. See _ante_, i. 82.

[418] 'I remember a man,' writes Mrs. Piozzi (_Synonomy_, i. 2l7),
'much delighted in by the upper ranks of society, who upon a trifling
embarrassment in his affairs hanged himself behind the stable door, to
the astonishment of all who knew him as the liveliest companion and
most agreeable converser breathing. "What upon earth," said one at our
house, "could have made--[Fitzherbert] hang himself?" "Why, just his
having a multitude of acquaintance," replied Dr. Johnson, "and ne'er a
friend."' See _ante_, ii. 228.

[419] Dr. Gisborne, Physician to his Majesty's Household, has
obligingly communicated to me a fuller account of this story than had
reached Dr. Johnson. The affected Gentleman was the late John Gilbert
Cooper, Esq., author of a _Life of Socrates_, and of some poems in
Dodsley's _Collection_. Mr. Fitzherbert found him one morning,
apparently, in such violent agitation, on account of the indisposition
of his son, as to seem beyond the power of comfort. At length, however,
he exclaimed, 'I'll write an Elegy.' Mr. Fitzherbert being satisfied, by
this, of the sincerity of his emotions, slyly said, 'Had not you better
take a postchaise and go and see him?' It was the shrewdness of the
insinuation which made the story be circulated. BOSWELL. Malone
writes:--'Mr. Cooper was the last of the _benevolists_ or
sentimentalists, who were much in vogue between 1750 and 1760, and dealt
in general admiration of virtue. They were all tenderness in words;
their finer feeling evaporated in the moment of expression, for they had
no connection with their practice.' Prior's _Malone_, p. 427. See
_ante_, ii. 129. This fashion seems to have reached Paris a few years
later. Mme. Riccoboni wrote to Garrick on May 3, 1769:--'Dans notre
brillante capitale, ou dominent les airs et la mode, s'attendrir,
s'emouvoir, s'affliger, c'est le bon ton du moment. La bonte, la
sensibilite, la tendre humanite sont devenues la fantaisie universelle.
On ferait volontiers des malheureux pour gouter la douceur de les
plaindre.' Garrick _Corres_. ii. 561.

[420] Johnson had felt the truth of this in the case of 'old Mr.
Sheridan.' _Ante_, i. 387.

[421] Johnson, in his letters from Ashbourne, used to joke about
Taylor's cattle:--'July 23, 1770. I have seen the great bull, and very
great he is. I have seen likewise his heir apparent, who promises to
enherit all the bulk and all the virtues of his sire, I have seen the
man who offered an hundred guineas for the young bull, while he was yet
little better than a calf.' _Piozzi Letters_, i. 33. 'July 3, 1771. The
great bull has no disease but age. I hope in time to be like the great
bull; and hope you will be like him too a hundred years hence.' _Ib_. p.
39. 'July 10, 1771. There has been a man here to-day to take a farm.
After some talk he went to see the bull, and said that he had seen a
bigger. Do you think he is likely to get the farm?' _Ib_. p. 43. 'Oct.
31, 1772. Our bulls and cows are all well; but we yet hate the man that
had seen a bigger bull.' _Ib_. p. 61.

[422] Quoted by Boswell in his _Hebrides_, Aug. 16, 1773.

[423] In the letters that Boswell and Erskine published (_ante_, 384,
note) are some verses by Erskine, of very slight merit.

[424] Horace, _Odes_, ii. 4.


'The tender glance, the red'ning cheek,
O'erspread with rising blushes,
A thousand various ways they speak
A thousand various wishes.'

Hamilton's _Poems_, ed. 1760, p. 59.

[426] In the original, _Now. Ib_. p. 39.

[427] Thomson, in _The Seasons_, Winter, 1. 915, describes how the ocean

'by the boundless frost
Is many a fathom to the bottom chain'd.'

In 1. 992, speaking of a thaw, he says,

'The rivers swell of bonds impatient.'

[428] See _ante_ March 24, 1776.

[429] Johnson wrote of Pope (_Works_, viii. 309):--'The indulgence and
accommodation which his sickness required had taught him all the
unpleasing and unsocial qualities of a valetudinary man.'

[430] When he was ill of a fever he wrote to Mrs. Thrale:--'The doctor
was with me again to-day, and we both think the fever quite gone. I
believe it was not an intermittent, for I took of my own head physick
yesterday; and Celsus says, it seems, that if a cathartick be taken the
fit will return _certo certius_. I would bear something rather than
Celsus should be detected in an error. But I say it was a _febris
continua_, and had a regular crisis.' _Piozzi Letters_, i. 89.

[431] Johnson must have shortened his life by the bleedings that he
underwent. How many they were cannot be known, for no doubt he was
often bled when he has left no record of it. The following, however, I
have noted. I do not know that he was bled more than most people of his
time. Dr. Taylor, it should seem, underwent the operation every quarter.

Dec. 1755. Thrice. 54 ounces. Croker's _Boswell_, p. 100.

Jan. 1761. Once. _Ib_. p. 122.

April 1770. Cupped. _Pemb. Coll. MSS_.

Winter of 1772-3. Three times. _Ante_, ii. 206, and _Pemb. Coll. MSS_.

May 1773. Two copious bleedings. _Pr. and Med_. 130.

1774. Times not mentioned. 36 ounces. _Piozzi Letters_, i. 209.

Jan. 1777. Three bleedings. 22 ounces in first two. _Ib_. i. 343.

Jan. 1780. Once. _Post_, Jan. 20, 1780.

June 1780. Times not mentioned. Croker's _Boswell_, p. 649.

Jan. and Feb. 1782. Thrice. 50 ounces. _Post_, Feb. 4 and March 20,

May 1782. At least once. _Post_, under March 19, 1782, and _Piozzi
Letters_, ii. 240.

Yet he wrote to Mrs. Thrale, 'I am of the chymical sect, which holds
phlebotomy in abhorrence.' _Ib_. ii. 240. 'O why,' asks Wesley, who was
as strongly opposed to bleeding as he was fond of poulticing, 'will
physicians play with the lives of their patients? Do not others (as well
as old Dr. Cockburn) know that "no end is answered by bleeding in a
pleurisy, which may not be much better answered without it?"' Wesley's
_Journal_, ii. 310. 'Dr. Cheyne,' writes Pope, 'was of Mr. Cheselden's
opinion, that bleeding might be frequently repeated with safety, for he
advised me to take four or five ounces every full moon.' Elwin and
Courthope's _Pope's Works_, ix. 162.

[432] 'It is the heaviest stone that melancholy can throw at a man, to
tell him he is at the end of his nature.' _Sir Thomas Browne _quoted in
Johnson's _Works_, vi. 485. See _post_, April 15, 1778, and Boswell's
_Hebrides_, Sept. 12, 1773.

[433] In the last number of _The Idler_ Johnson says:--'There are few
things not purely evil of which we can say without some emotion of
uneasiness, _this is the last_.... The secret horrour of the last is
inseparable from a thinking being whose life is limited, and to whom
death is dreadful.'

[434] In the first edition for _scarce any man_ we find _almost no
man_. See _ante_, March 20, 1776, note.

[435] Bacon, in his _Essay on Death_, says:--'It is worthy the
observing, that there is no passion in the mind of man so weak but it
mates and masters the fear of death; and therefore death is no such
terrible enemy, when a man hath so many attendants about him, that can
win the combat of him.' In the _De Aug. Sci_. vi. 3. 12, he says:--'Non
invenias inter humanos affetum tam pusillum, qui si intendatur paullo
vehementius, non mortis metum superet.'

[436] Johnson, in his _Lives of Addison and Parnell_ (_Works_, vii. 399,
449), mentions that they drank too freely. See _post_, under Dec. 2,

[437] _Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides_. 3d edit. p. 240 [Sept. 22].

[438] In the _Life of Addison_ (_Works_, vii. 444) he says:--'The
necessity of complying with times, and of sparing persons, is the great
impediment of biography. History may be formed from permanent monuments
and records; but Lives can only be written from personal knowledge,
which is growing every day less, and in a short time is lost for ever.
What is known can seldom be immediately told; and when it might be told,
it is no longer known. The delicate features of the mind, the nice
discriminations of character, and the minute peculiarities of conduct,
are soon obliterated; and it is surely better that caprice, obstinacy,
frolick and folly, however they might delight in the description, should
be silently forgotten, than that, by wanton merriment and unseasonable
detection, a pang should be given to a widow, a daughter, a brother, or
a friend. As the process of these narratives is now bringing me among my
contemporaries, I begin to feel myself "walking upon ashes under which
the fire is not extinguished," and coming to the time of which it will
be proper rather to say "nothing that is false, than all that is true."'
See _ante_, i. 9, and 30.

[439] Dr. Taylor was very ready to make this admission, because the
party with which he was connected was not in power. There was then
some truth in it, owing to the pertinacity of factious clamour. Had he
lived till now, it would have been impossible for him to deny that his
Majesty possesses the warmest affection of his people. BOSWELL. See
_post_, March 21, 1783.

[440] The Duke of York in 1788, speaking in the House of Lords on
the King's illness, said:--'He was confident that his Royal Highness
[the Prince of Wales] understood too well the sacred principles which
seated the House of Brunswick on the throne of Great Britain ever to
assume or exercise any power, be his claim what it might, not derived
from the will of the people, expressed by their representatives, and
their lordships in parliament assembled.' _Parl. Hist_. xxvii. 678.

[441] See _ante_, i. 430.

[442] See Boswell's _Hebrides_, Sept. 18, 1773, and _post_, under
date of Sept. 9, 1779, note.

[443] 'The return of my birth-day,' he wrote in 1773, 'if I remember
it, fills me with thoughts which it seems to be the general care of
humanity to escape.' _Piozzi Letters_, i. 134. In 1781 he viewed the
day with calmness, _if not with cheerfulness_. He writes:--'I rose,
breakfasted, and gave thanks at church for my creation, preservation and
redemption. As I came home, I thought I had never begun any period of
life so placidly. I have always been accustomed to let this day pass
unnoticed, but it came this time into my mind that some little festivity
was not improper. I had a dinner; and invited Allen and Levet.' _Pr. and
Med_. p. 198. In 1783 he again had 'a little dinner,' and invited four
friends to keep the day. Croker's _Boswell_, p. 739. At Streatham the
day, it would seem, was always kept. Mrs. Piozzi writes (_Anec_. p.
211):--'On the birthday of our eldest daughter, and that of our friend,
Dr. Johnson, the 17th and 18th of September, we every year made up a
little dance and supper to divert our servants and their friends.'

[444] The son of a Mr. Coxeter, 'a gentleman,' says Johnson, 'who was
once my friend,' enlisted in the service of the East India Company.
Johnson asked Mr. Thrale to use his influence to get his discharge.
_Piozzi Letters_, i. 33.

[445] The bookseller whom Johnson beat, _ante_, i. 154.

[446] 'When a well-known author published his poems in the year 1777,
"Such a one's verses are come out," said I: "Yes," replied Johnson,
"and this frost has struck them in again. Here are some lines I have
written to ridicule them; but remember that I love the fellow dearly
now--for all I laugh at him.

'Wheresoe'er I turn my view,
All is strange, yet nothing new;
Endless labour all along,
Endless labour to be wrong;
Phrase that time has flung away;
Uncouth words in disarray,
Trick'd in antique ruff and bonnet,
Ode, and elegy, and sonnet.'"'

Piozzi's _Anec_. p. 64.

Thomas Warton in 1777 published a volume of his poems. He, no doubt, is

[447] In _The Rambler_, No. 121. Johnson, twenty-six years earlier,
attacked 'the imitation of Spenser, which, by the influence of some men
of learning and genius, seems likely to gain upon the age.... They seem
to conclude that, when they have disfigured their lines with a few
obsolete syllables, they have accomplished their design, without
considering that they ought, not only to admit old words, but to avoid
new. The laws of imitation are broken by every word introduced since the
time of Spenser.'

[448] Warton's _Ode on the First of April_ is found a line which may
have suggested these two lines:--'The morning hoar, and evening chill.'

[449] 'Collins affected the obsolete when it was not worthy of revival;
and he puts his words out of the common order, seeming to think, with
some later candidates for fame, that not to write prose is certainly to
write poetry.' Johnson's _Works_, viii. 404. Goldsmith, eleven years
earlier, said in his _Life of Parnell_ (_Misc. Works_, iv. 22):--'These
misguided innovators have not been content with restoring antiquated
words and phrases, but have indulged themselves in the most licentious
transpositions and the harshest constructions, vainly imagining that the
more their writings are unlike prose, the more they resemble poetry.'
Collins and Warton might have quoted by way of defence the couplet in
Milton's _L'Allegro_.--

'While the cock with lively din
Scatters the rear of _darkness thin_.'

[450] As some of my readers may be gratified by reading the progress of
this little composition, I shall insert it from my notes. 'When Dr.
Johnson and I were sitting _tete-a-tete_ at the Mitre tavern, May 9,
1778, he said "_Where_ is bliss," would be better. He then added a
ludicrous stanza, but would not repeat it, lest I should take it down.
It was somewhat as follows; the last line I am sure I remember:

"While I thus cried,
The hoary seer reply'd,
Come, my lad, and drink some beer."

In spring, 1779, when in better humour, he made the second stanza, as in
the text. There was only one variation afterwards made on my suggestion,
which was changing _hoary_ in the third line to _smiling_, both to avoid
a sameness with the epithet in the first line, and to describe the
hermit in his pleasantry. He was then very well pleased that I should
preserve it.' BOSWELL.

[451] When I mentioned Dr. Johnson's remark to a lady of admirable good
sense and quickness of understanding, she observed, 'It is true, all this
excludes only one evil; but how much good does it let in?'--To this
observation much praise has been justly given. Let me then now do myself
the honour to mention that the lady who made it was the late Margaret
Montgomerie, my very valuable wife, and the very affectionate mother of
my children, who, if they inherit her good qualities, will have no
reason to complain of their lot. _Dos magna parentum virtus_. BOSWELL.
The latter part of this note was first given in the second edition. The
quotation if from Horace:--

'Cos est magna parentium Virtus.'
'The lovers there for dowry claim
The father's virtue and the mother's fame.'

FRANCIS, Horace, Odes, iii. 24. 21.

[452] He saw it in 1774 on his way to Wales; but he must, I think, have
seen it since, for it does not appear from his _Journal of a Tour into
Wales_ that he then saw Lord Scarsdale. He met him also at Dr. Taylor's
in July 1775. _Piozzi Letters_, i. 267.

[453] I do not find the description in Young's _Six Months' Tour through
the North of England_, but in Pilkington's _Present State of Derbyshire_,
ii. 120.


'Quae regio in terris nostri non plena laboris?'
'What place, what land in all the earth but with our grief is stored?'

Morris, _AEneids_, i. 460.

[455] See _ante_, March 21 and 28, 1776.

[456] At Derby.

[457] Baretti in his _Italy_, i. 236, says:--'It is the general custom
for our authors to make a present of their works to booksellers, who in
return scarcely give a few copies when printed.' The Venetian bookseller
to whom Metastasio gave his cleared, Baretti says, more than L10,000.
Goldoni scarcely got for each of his plays ten pounds from the manager of
the Venetian theatre, and much less from the booksellers. 'Our learned
stare when they are told that in England there are numerous writers who
get their bread by their productions only.'

[458] I am now happy to understand, that Mr. John Home, who was himself
gallantly in the field for the reigning family, in that interesting
warfare, but is generous enough to do justice to the other side, is
preparing an account of it for the press. BOSWELL. Dr. A. Carlyle, who
knew Home well, says (_Auto_. p. 295):--'All his opinions of men and
things were prejudices, which, though it did not disqualify him for
writing admirable poetry, yet made him unfit for writing history.' See
_ante_, i. 225, for Boswell's projected works.

[459] Johnson wrote to Mrs. Thrale the next day:--'The finer pieces [of
the Derby china] are so dear that perhaps silver vessels of the same
capacity may be sometimes bought at the same price; and I am not yet so
infected with the contagion of china-fancy as to like anything at that
rate which can so easily be broken.' _Piozzi Letters_, i. 380.

[460] See _ante_, April 14, 1775.

[461] See Hutton's _History of Derby_, a book which is deservedly
esteemed for its information, accuracy, and good narrative. Indeed the
age in which we live is eminently distinguished by topographical
excellence. BOSWELL. According to Hutton the Italians at the beginning
of the eighteenth century had 'the exclusive art of silk-throwing.'
Lombe went to Italy, and by bribery got admittance into the works.
Having mastered the secret he returned to England with two of the
workmen. About the year 1717 he founded a great silk-mill at Derby. He
died early, being poisoned, it was asserted, by an Italian woman who had
been sent over to destroy him. In this mill, Hutton, as a child, 'had
suffered intolerable severity.' Hutton's _Derby_, pp. 193-205.

[462] 'I have enlarged my notions,' recorded Johnson in his _Journal of
a Tour into Wales_ (Aug. 3, 1774), after he had seen some iron-works.

[463] Young. BOSWELL.

'Think nought a trifle, though it small appear.'
Small sands the mountain, moments make the year,
And trifles life.'

_Love of Fame_, Satire vi.

[464] 'Pray, Sir, don't leave us;' said Johnson to an upholder of
Berkeley's philosophy, 'for we may perhaps forget to think of you, and
then you will cease to exist.' _Post_, 1780, in Langton's _Collection_.
See also _ante_, i. 471.

[465] Perhaps Boswell is thinking of Gray's lines at the close of the
_Progress of Poesy_:--

'Yet shall he mount, and keep his distant way
Beyond the limits of a vulgar fate.'

[466] Goldsmith wrote:--'In all Pope's letters, as well as in those of
Swift, there runs a strain of pride, as if the world talked of nothing
but themselves. "Alas," says he in one of them, "the day after I am
dead the sun will shine as bright as the day before, and the world
will be as merry as usual." Very strange, that neither an eclipse nor an
earthquake should follow the loss of a poet!' Cunningham's _Goldsmith's
Works_, iv. 85. Goldsmith refers, I suppose, to Pope's letter to Steele
of July 15, 1712, where he writes:--'The morning after my exit the sun
will rise as bright as ever, the flowers smell as sweet, the plants
spring as green, the world will proceed in its old course, people will
laugh as heartily, and marry as fast as they were used to do.' Elwin's
Pope's _Works_, vi. 392. Gray's friend, Richard West, in some lines
suggested by this letter, gives a pretty turn to Pope's thoughts where
he says:--

'For me, whene'er all-conquering Death shall spread
His wings around my unrepining head,
I care not; tho' this face be seen no more,
The world will pass as cheerful as before;
Bright as before the day-star will appear,
The fields as verdant, and the skies as clear.'

Mason's _Gray_, ed. 1807, i. 152.

[467] See _post_, April 12, 1778.

[468] A brother of Dodd's wife told Hawkins that 'Dodd's manner of
living was ever such as his visible income would no way account for.
He said that he was the most importunate suitor for preferment ever
known; and that himself had been the bearer of letters to great men,
soliciting promotion to livings, and had hardly escaped kicking down
stairs.' Hawkins's _Johnson_, p. 435.

[469] Hawkins (_Life_, p. 523) says that a Mr. Selwin, who just missed
being elected Chamberlain of the City, went by request to see a man
under sentence of death in Newgate, 'who informed him that he was in
daily expectation of the arrival of the warrant for his execution;
"but," said he, "I have L200, and you are a man of character, and had
the court-interest when you stood for Chamberlain; I should therefore
hope it is in your power to get me off." Mr. Selwin was struck with so
strange a notion, and asked, if there were any alleviating circumstances
in his case. The man peevishly answered "No;" but that he had enquired
into the history of the place where he was, and could not find that any
one who had L200 was ever hanged. Mr. Selwin told him it was out of his
power to help him, and bade him farewell--"which," added he, "he did;
for he found means to escape punishment."'

[470] Dodd, in his Dedication of this Sermon to Mr. Villette, the
Ordinary of Newgate, says:--'The following address owes its present
public appearance to you. You heard it delivered, and are pleased to
think that its publication will be useful. To a poor and abject worm
like myself this is a sufficient inducement to that publication.'

[471] See _ante_, p. 97. 'They have,' says Lowndes (_Bibl. Man_.),
'passed through innumerable editions.' To how many the book-stalls
testify, where they are offered second-hand for a few pence.

[472] Goldsmith was thirty when he published _An Enquiry into the
Present State of Polite Learning in Europe_; thirty-six when he
published The _Traveller_; thirty-seven when he published _The Vicar of
Wakefield_, and thirty-nine when he brought out _The Good-Natured Man_.
In flowering late he was like Swift. 'Swift was not one of those minds
which amaze the world with early pregnancy; his first work, except his
few poetical Essays, was the _Dissentions in Athens and Rome_, published
in his thirty-fourth year.' Johnson's _Works_, viii. 197. See _post_,
April 9, 1778.

[473] Burke, I think, is meant.

[474] This walking about his room naked was, perhaps, part of
Lord Monboddo's system that was founded 'on the superiority of the
savage life.' _Ante_, ii. 147.

[475] This regimen was, however, practised by Bishop Ken, of whom
Hawkins (_not Sir John_) in his life of that venerable Prelate, p. 4,
tells us: 'And that neither his study might be the aggressor on his
hours of instruction, or what he judged his duty prevent his
improvements; or both, his closet addresses to his GOD; he strictly
accustomed himself to but one sleep, which often obliged him to rise at
one or two of the clock in the morning, and sometimes sooner; and grew
so habitual, that it continued with him almost till his last illness.
And so lively and chearful was his temper, that he would be very
facetious and entertaining to his friends in the evening, even when it
was perceived that with difficulty he kept his eyes open; and then
seemed to go to rest with no other purpose than the refreshing and
enabling him with more vigour and chearfulness to sing his morning hymn,
as he then used to do to his lute before he put on his cloaths.'

[476] See _ante_, under Dec. 17, 1775.

[477] Boswell shortened his life by drinking, if, indeed, he did
not die of it. Less than a year before his death he wrote to Temple:--'I
thank you sincerely for your friendly admonition on my frailty in
indulging so much in wine. I _do_ resolve _anew_ to be upon my guard, as
I am sensible how very pernicious as well as disreputable such a habit
is! How miserably have I yielded to it in various years!' _Letters of
Boswell_, p. 353. In 1776 Paoli had taken his word of honour that he
would not taste fermented liquor for a year, that he might recover
sobriety. _Ib_. p. 233. For a short time also in 1778 Boswell was a
water-drinker, _Post_, April 28, 1778.

[478] Sir James Mackintosh told Mr. Croker that he believed Lord Errol
was meant here as well as _post_, April 28, 1778. See Boswell's
_Hebrides_, Aug. 24, 1773.

[479] 'Must give us pause.' _Hamlet_, act iii. sc. 1.

[480] 'He was the first,' writes Dr. T. Campbell (_Survey of the South
of Ireland_, p. 373), 'who gave histories of the weather, seasons, and
diseases of Dublin.' Wesley records (_Journal_, iv. 40):--'April 6,
1775. I visited that venerable man, Dr. Rutty, just tottering over the
grave; but still clear in his understanding, full of faith and love, and
patiently waiting till his change should come.'

[481] Cowper wrote of Johnson's _Diary_:--'It is certain that the
publisher of it is neither much a friend to the cause of religion nor to
the author's memory; for, by the specimen of it that has reached us, it
seems to contain only such stuff as has a direct tendency to expose both
to ridicule.' Southey's _Cowper_, v. 152.

[482] Huet, Bishop of Avranches, born 1630, died 1721, published in
1718 _Commentarius de rebus ad eum pertinentibus. Nouv. Biog. Gene_.
xxv. 380.

[483] When Dr. Blair published his Lectures, he was invidiously attacked
for having omitted his censure on Johnson's style, and, on the contrary,
praising it highly. But before that time Johnson's _Lives of the Poets_
had appeared, in which his style was considerably easier than when he
wrote _The Rambler_. It would, therefore, have been uncandid in Blair,
even supposing his criticism to have been just, to have preserved it.

[484] Johnson refers no doubt to the essay _On Romances, An Imitation_,
by A. L. Aikin (Mrs. Barbauld); in _Miscellaneous Pieces in Prose_, by
J. and A. L. Aikin (1773), p. 39. He would be an acute critic who could
distinguish this _Imitation_ from a number of _The Rambler_.

[485] See _post_, under Dec. 6, 1784.

[486] _Id est, The Literary Scourge_.

[487] See _ante_, ii. 236, where Johnson attacks 'the _verbiage_ of

[488] 'We were now treading that illustrious island, which was once
the luminary of the Caledonian regions, whence savage clans and
roving barbarians derived the benefits of knowledge, and the blessings
of religion. To abstract the mind from all local emotion would be
impossible if it were endeavoured, and would be foolish if it were
possible. Whatever withdraws us from the power of our senses, whatever
makes the past, the distant, or the future, predominate over the
present, advances us in the dignity of thinking beings. Far from me, and
from my friends, be such rigid philosophy, as may conduct us,
indifferent and unmoved, over any ground which has been dignified by
wisdom, bravery or virtue. The [That] man is little to be envied, whose
patriotism would not gain force upon the plain of Marathon, or whose
piety would not grow warmer among the ruins of Iona.' Had our Tour
produced nothing else but this sublime passage, the world must have
acknowledged that it was not made in vain. Sir Joseph Banks, the present
respectable President of the Royal Society, told me, he was so much
struck on reading it, that he clasped his hands together, and remained
for some time in an attitude of silent admiration. BOSWELL. See
Boswell's _Hebrides_, Oct. 19, 1773, and Johnson's _Works_, ix. 145.

[489] 'He that thinks with more extent than another will want words of
larger meaning.' _Ante_, i. 218.

[490] In the original _island_.

[491] See _ante_, ii. 203, note 3.

[492] In this censure which has been carelessly uttered, I carelessly
joined. But in justice to Dr. Kippis, who with that manly candid good
temper which marks his character, set me right, I now with pleasure
retract it; and I desire it may be particularly observed, as pointed
out by him to me, that 'The new lives of dissenting Divines in the
first four volumes of the second edition of the _Biographia Brittanica_,
are those of John Abernethy, Thomas Amory, George Benson, Hugh Broughton
the learned Puritan, Simon Browne, Joseph Boyse of Dublin, Thomas
Cartwright the learned Puritan, and Samuel Chandler. The only doubt I
have ever heard suggested is, whether there should have been an article
of Dr. Amory. But I was convinced, and am still convinced, that he was
entitled to one, from the reality of his learning, and the excellent and
candid nature of his practical writings.

'The new lives of clergymen of the Church of England, in the same four
volumes, are as follows: John Balguy, Edward Bentham, George Berkley
Bishop of Cloyne, William Berriman, Thomas Birch, William Borlase,
Thomas Bott, James Bradley, Thomas Broughton, John Brown, John Burton,
Joseph Butler Bishop of Durham, Thomas Carte, Edmund Castell, Edmund
Chishull, Charles Churchill, William Clarke, Robert Clayton Bishop of
Clogher, John Conybeare Bishop of Bristol, George Costard, and Samuel
Croxall.--"I am not conscious (says Dr. Kippis) of any partiality in
conducting the work. I would not willingly insert a Dissenting Minister
that does not justly deserve to be noticed, or omit an established
Clergyman that does. At the same time, I shall not be deterred from
introducing Dissenters into the _Biographia_, when I am satisfied that
they are entitled to that distinction, from their writings, learning,
and merit."'

Let me add that the expression 'A friend to the Constitution in Church
and State,' was not meant by me, as any reflection upon this reverend
gentleman, as if he were an enemy to the political constitution of his
country, as established at the revolution, but, from my steady and
avowed predilection for a _Tory_, was quoted from Johnson's
_Dictionary_, where that distinction is so defined. BOSWELL. In his
_Dictionary_ a _Tory_ is defined as 'one who adheres to the ancient
constitution of the state and the apostolical hierarchy of the Church of
England.' It was on the _Biographia Britannica_ that Cowper wrote the
lines that end:--

'So when a child, as playful children use,
Has burnt to tinder a stale last year's news,
The flame extinct he views the roving fire,
There goes my lady, and there goes the squire,
There goes the parson, oh! illustrious spark,
And there, scarce less illustrious, goes the clerk.'

Cowper's Works, viii. 320.

Horace Walpole said that the '_Biographia Britannica_ ought rather to be
called _Vindicatio Britannica_, for that it was a general panegyric upon
everybody.' Prior's _Malone_, p. 115.

[493] See _ante_, p. 99.


'Great wits are sure to madness near allied,
And thin partitions do their bounds divide.'

Dryden's _Absalom and Achitophel_, 1, 163.

[495] _Observations on Insanity_, by Thomas Arnold, M.D., London, 1782.

[496] We read in the Gospels, that those unfortunate persons who were
possessed with evil spirits (which, after all, I think is the most
probable cause of madness, as was first suggested to me by my
respectable friend Sir John Pringle), had recourse to pain, tearing
themselves, and jumping sometimes into the fire, sometimes into the
water. Mr. Seward has furnished me with a remarkable anecdote in
confirmation of Dr. Johnson's observation. A tradesman, who had acquired
a large fortune in London, retired from business, and went to live at
Worcester. His mind, being without its usual occupation, and having
nothing else to supply its place, preyed upon itself, so that existence
was a torment to him. At last he was seized with the stone; and a friend
who found him in one of its severest fits, having expressed his concern,
'No, no, Sir, (said he) don't pity me: what I now feel is ease compared
with that torture of mind from which it relieves me.' BOSWELL.

[497] See _ante_, i. 446. 'Johnson was a great enemy to the present
fashionable way of supposing worthless and infamous persons mad.'
Johnson's _Works_ (1787), xi. 203.

[498] See _post_, April 1, 1779.

[499] See _post_, April 7, 1778.

[500] 'Reynolds,' writes Malone, 'was as fond of London as Dr. Johnson;
always maintaining that it was the only place in England where a
pleasant society might be found.' Prior's _Malone_ p. 433. Gibbon
wrote to Holroyd _Misc. Works_, ii 126:--'Never pretend to allure me by
painting in odious colours the dust of London. I love the dust, and
whenever I move into the Weald it is to visit you and my Lady, and not
your trees.' Burke, on the other hand, wrote (_Corres_. iii 422):--'What
is London? clean, commodious, neat; but, a very few things indeed
excepted, and endless addition of littleness to littleness, extending
itself over a great tract of land.' 'For a young man,' he says, 'for a
man of easy fortune, London is the best place one can imagine. But for
the old, the infirm, the straightened in fortune, the grave in character
or in disposition, I do not believe a much worse place can be found.'
_Ib_. iv. 250.


'Nescio qua natale solum dulcedine captos
Ducit, et immemores non sinit esse sui.'
Ovid, _Ep. ex Ponto_, i. 3. 35.

[502] 'In the morn and liquid dew of youth.' _Hamlet_, act i. sc. 3.

[503] Now, at the distance of fifteen years since this conversation
passed, the observation which I have had an opportunity of making in
Westminster Hall has convinced me, that, however true the opinion of
Dr. Johnson's legal friend may have been some time ago, the same
certainty of success cannot now be promised to the same display of
merit. The reasons, however, of the rapid rise of some, and the
disappointment of others equally respectable, are such as it might seem
invidious to mention, and would require a longer detail than would be
proper for this work. BOSWELL. Boswell began to eat his dinners in the
Inner Temple in 1775. _Ante_, p. 45 note 1, and _Letters of Boswell_, p.
196. In writing to Temple he thus mentions his career as a barrister.
'Jan. 10, 1789. In truth I am sadly discouraged by having no practice,
nor probable prospect of it; and to confess fairly to you, my friend, I
am afraid that, were I to be tried, I should be found so deficient in
the forms, the _quirks_ and the _quiddities_, which early habit
acquires, that I should expose myself. Yet the delusion of Westminster
Hall, of brilliant reputation and splendid fortune as a barrister, still
weighs upon my imagination.' _Ib_. p. 267. 'Aug. 23, 1789. The Law life
in Scotland amongst vulgar familiarity would now quite destroy me. I am
not able to acquire the Law of England.' _Ib_. p. 304. 'Nov. 28, 1789. I
have given up my house and taken good chambers in the Inner Temple, to
have the appearance of a lawyer. O Temple! Temple! is this realising any
of the towering hopes which have so often been the subject of our
conversations and letters? ... I do not see the smallest opening in
Westminster Hall but I like the scene, though I have attended only one
day this last term, being eager to get my _Life of Johnson_ finished.'
_Ib_. p. 314. 'April 6, 1791. When my book is launched, I shall, if I am
alone and in tolerable health and spirits, have some furniture put into
my chambers in the Temple, and force myself to sit there some hours
a-day, and to attend regularly in Westminster Hall. The chambers cost me
L20 yearly, and I may reckon furniture and a lad to attend there
occasionally L20 more. I doubt whether I shall get fees equal to the
expense.' _Ib_. p. 335. 'Nov. 22, 1791. I keep chambers open in the
Temple, I attend in Westminster Hall, but there is not the least
prospect of my having business.' _Ib_. p. 344. His chambers, as he wrote
to Malone, were 'in the very staircase where Johnson lived.' Croker's
_Boswell_, p. 830.

[504] Sunday was the 21st.

[505] See _ante_, March 26, 1776, and _post_, under Nov. 17, 1784.

[506] In _Notes and Queries_ for April, May, and June 1882, is a series
of Johnson's letters to Taylor, between June 10, 1742 and April 12,
1784. In the first Johnson signs himself:--'Your very affectionate,'
(p. 304). On Nov. 18, 1756, he writes:--'Neither of us now can find many
whom he has known so long as we have known each other.... We both stand
almost single in the world,' (p. 324). On July 15, 1765, he reproaches
Taylor with not writing:--'With all your building and feasting you might
have found an hour in some wet day for the remembrance of your old
friend. I should have thought that since you have led a life so festive
and gay, you would have [invited] me to partake of your hospitality,'
(p. 383). On Oct. 19, 1779, he says:--'Write to me soon. We are both
old. How few of those whom we have known in our youth are left alive!'
(p. 461). On April 12, 1784, he writes:--'Let us be kind to one another.
I have no friend now living but you and Mr. Hector that was the friend
of my youth,' (p. 482, and _post_, April 12, 1784). See _ante_, p. 131,
for his regret on the death of his school-fellow, Henry Jackson, who
seemed to Boswell (_ante_, under March 22, 1776) to be a low man, dull
and untaught. 'One of the old man's miseries,' he wrote, (_post_, Feb.
3, 1778), 'is that he cannot easily find a companion able to partake
with him of the past.' 'I have none to call me Charley now,' wrote
Charles Lamb on the death of a friend of his boyhood (Talfourd's _Lamb_,
ed. 1865, p. 145). Such a companion Johnson found in Taylor. That, on
the death of his wife, he at once sent for him, not even waiting for the
light of morning to come, is a proof that he had a strong affection for
the man.

[507] _Ecclesiasticus_, ch. xxxviii. verse 25. The whole chapter may be
read as an admirable illustration of the superiority of cultivated minds
over the gross and illiterate. BOSWELL.

[508] Passages in Johnson's Letters to Mrs. Thrale are to the same
effect. 'Aug. 3, 1771. Having stayed my month with Taylor I came away on
Wednesday, leaving him, I think, in a disposition of mind not very
uncommon, at once weary of my stay, and grieved at my departure.'
_Piozzi Letters_, i. 52. 'July 13, 1775. Dr. Taylor and I spend little
time together, yet he will not yet be persuaded to hear of parting.'
_Ib_. p. 276. 'July 26, 1775. Having stayed long enough at Ashbourne, I
was not sorry to leave it. I hindered some of Taylor's diversions, and
he supplied me with very little.' _Ib_ p. 287.

[509] The second volume of these Sermons, which was published in 1789, a
year after the first, contains the following addition to the title:--'To
which is added a Sermon written by Samuel Johnson, L.L.D., for the
Funeral of his Wife.' 'Dr. Taylor had,' writes Murphy (_Life_, p. 171),
'The LARGEST BULL in England, and some of the best Sermons.'

[510] If the eminent judge was Lord Mansfield, we may compare with
Boswell's regret the lines in which Pope laments the influence of
Westminster Hall and Parliament:--

'There truant Windham every muse gave o'er,
There Talbot sunk, and was a wit no more.
How sweet an Ovid, Murray was our boast!
How many Martials were in Pulteney lost!'

_The Dunciad_, iv. 167.

[511] Boswell's brother David had been settled in Spain since 1768.
(_Boswelliana_, p. 5.) He therefore is no doubt the son, and Lord
Auchinleck the father.

[512] See _ante_, ii. 129, and Boswell's _Hebrides_, Sept. 22, 1773.

[513] 'Jack' had not shown all his manners to Johnson. Gibbon thus
describes him in 1762 (_Misc. Works_, i. 142):--'Colonel Wilkes, of
the Buckinghamshire militia, dined with us. I scarcely ever met with a
better companion; he has inexhaustible spirits, infinite wit and humour,
and a great deal of knowledge; but a thorough profligate in principle as
in practice, his life stained with every vice, and his conversation full
of blasphemy and indecency. These morals he glories in--for shame is a
weakness he has long since surmounted.' The following anecdote in
_Boswelliana_ (p. 274) is not given in the _Life of Johnson_:--'Johnson
had a sovereign contempt for Wilkes and his party, whom he looked upon
as a mere rabble. "Sir," said he, "had Wilkes's mob prevailed against
government, this nation had died of _phthiriasis_. Mr. Langton told me
this. The expression, _morbus pediculosus_, as being better known would
strike more."'

[514] See _ante_, p. 79, note 1.

[515] See _ante_, p. 69.

[516] See _ante_, i. 402.

[517] See _ante_, i. 167.

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

[519] See _post, ib_., where Johnson told Mrs. Siddons that 'Garrick was
no declaimer.'

[520] Hannah More (_Memoirs_, ii. 16) says that she once asked Garrick
'why Johnson was so often harsh and unkind in his speeches both of him
and to him:--"Why," he replied, "it is very natural; is it not to be
expected he should be angry that I, who have so much less merit than
he, should have had so much greater success?"'

[521] Foote died a month after this conversation. Johnson wrote to Mrs.
Thrale:--'Did you see Foote at Brighthelmstone? Did you think he would
so soon be gone? Life, says Falstaff, is a shuttle [_Merry Wives of
Windsor_, act v. sc. 1]. He was a fine fellow in his way; and the world
is really impoverished by his sinking glories. Murphy ought to write his
life, at least to give the world a _Footeana_. Now will any of his
contemporaries bewail him? Will genius change _his sex_ to weep? I
would really have his life written with diligence.' This letter is
wrongly dated Oct. 3, 1777. It was written early in November. _Piozzi
Letters_, i. 396. Baretti, in a marginal note on _Footeana_, says:--'One
half of it had been a string of obscenities.' See _post_, April 24,
1779, note.

[522] See _ante_, i. 447.

[523] _To pit_ is not in Johnson's _Dictionary_.

[524] Very likely Mr. Langton. See _ante_, ii. 254.

[525] Two months earlier Johnson had complained that Langton's table was
rather coarse. _Ante_, p. 128.

[526] See _post_, April 13, 1781, where he again mentions this advice.
'He said of a certain lady's entertainments, "What signifies going
thither? There is neither meat, drink, nor talk."' Johnson's _Works_
(1787), xi. 207.

[527] William, third Duke of Devonshire, who died in 1755. Johnson
(_post_, April 1, 1779) 'commended him for a dogged veracity.' Horace
Walpole records of him a fact that 'showed a conscientious idea of
honesty in him. Sometime before his death he had given up to two of
his younger sons L600 a-year in land, that they might not perjure
themselves, if called upon to swear to their qualifications as Knights
of the Shire.' _Memoirs of the Reign of George II_, ii. 86.

[528] Philip Francis wrote to Burke in 1790:--'Once for all, I wish
you would let me teach you to write English. To me who am to read
everything you write, it would be a great comfort, and to you no sort of
disparagement. Why will you not allow yourself to be persuaded that
polish is material to preservation?' Burke's _Corres_, iii. 164.

[529] Edit. 2, p. 53. BOSWELL.

[530] This is a mistake. The Ports had been seated at Islam time out of
mind. Congreve had visited there, and his _seat_, that is _the bench_ on
which he sometimes sat, used to be shown. CROKER. On the way to Islam,
Johnson told Boswell about the dedication of his _Plan_ to Lord
Chesterfield. _Ante_, i. 183, note 4.

[531] See _ante_, i. 41.

[532] 'I believe more places than one are still shown in groves and
gardens where he is related to have written his _Old Bachelor_.'
Johnson's _Works_, viii. 23.

[533] Page 89. BOSWELL.

[534] See Plott's _History of Staffordshire_, p. 88, and the authorities
referred to by him. BOSWELL.

[535] See _ante_, ii. 247, and _post_, March 31, 1778.

[536] See _ante_, i. 444.

[537] Mrs. Piozzi records (_Anec_. p. 109):--'In answer to the arguments
urged by Puritans, Quakers, etc. against showy decorations of the human
figure, I once heard him exclaim:--"Oh, let us not be found, when our
Master calls us, ripping the lace off our waistcoats, but the spirit of
contention from our souls and tongues! ... Alas! Sir, a man who cannot
get to heaven in a green coat will not find his way thither the sooner
in a grey one."' See _ante_, i, 405.

[538] Campbell, who was an exciseman, had in July, 1769, caught a
favourite servant of Lord Eglintoune in smuggling 80 gallons of rum in
one of his master's carts. This, he maintains, led to an ill-feeling. He
had a right to carry a gun by virtue of his office, and from many of the
gentry he had licences to shoot over their grounds. His lordship,
however, had forbidden him to enter his. On Oct. 24, 1769, he passed
into his grounds, and walked along the shore within the sea-mark,
looking for a plover. Lord Eglintoune came up with him on the sea-sands
and demanded his gun, advancing as if to seize it. Campbell warned him
that he would fire if he did not keep off, and kept retiring backwards
or sideways. He stumbled and fell. Lord Eglintoune stopped a little, and
then made as if he would advance. Campbell thereupon fired, and hit him
in the side. He was found guilty of murder. On the day after the trial
he hanged himself in prison. _Ann. Reg_. xiii. 219. See _ante_, ii. 66,
and Boswell's _Hebrides_, Nov. 1.

[539] See _ante_, p. 40.

[540] _See ante_, ii. 10.

[541] Boswell here alludes to the motto of his Journal:--

'Oh! while along the stream of time thy name
Expanded flies, and gathers all its fame;
Say, shall my little bark attendant sail,
Pursue the triumph, and partake the gale?'

Pope's _Essay on Man_, iv. 383.


'His listless length at noontide would he stretch,
And pore upon the brook that babbles by.'

Gray's _Elegy_.

[543] Johnson, a fortnight or so later, mentions this waterfall in a
letter to Mrs. Thrale, after speaking of a pool that Mr. Thrale was
having dug. 'He will have no waterfall to roar like the Doctor's. I sat
by it yesterday, and read Erasmus's _Militis Christiani Enchiridion_.'
_Piozzi Letters_, ii. 3.

[544] See _post_, April 9 and 30, 1778. At the following Easter he
recorded: 'My memory is less faithful in retaining names, and, I am
afraid, in retaining occurrences.' _Pr. and Med_. p. 170.

[545] I am told that Horace, Earl of Orford, has a collection of
_Bon-Mots_ by persons who never said but one. BOSWELL. Horace Walpole
had succeeded to his title after the publication of the first edition of
this book.

[546] See Macaulay's _Essays_, i. 370.

[547] Johnson (_Works_, vii. 158) tells how 'Rochester lived worthless
and useless, and blazed out his youth and his health in lavish
voluptuousness; till, at the age of one and thirty, he had exhausted the
fund of life, and reduced himself to a state of weakness and decay.' He
describes how Burnet 'produced a total change both of his manners and
opinions,' and says of the book in which this conversion is recounted
that it is one 'which the critick ought to read for its elegance, the
philosopher for its arguments, and the saint for its piety.' In
Johnson's answer to Boswell we have a play on the title of this work,
which is, _Some passages of the Life and Death of John Earl of

[548] In the passages from Johnson's _Life of Prior_, quoted _ante_,
ii. 78, note 3, may be found an explanation of what he here says.
A poet who 'tries to be amorous by dint of study,' and who 'in his
amorous pedantry exhibits the college,' may be gross and yet not excite
to lewdness. Goldsmith, in 1766, in a book entitled _Beauties of English
Poetry Selected_, had inserted two of Prior's tales, 'which for once
interdicted from general reading a book with his name upon its
title-page.' Mr. Forster hereupon remarks 'on the changes in the public
taste. Nothing is more frequent than these, and few things so sudden.'
Of these changes he gives some curious instances. Forster's _Goldsmith_,
ii. 4.

[549] See _ante_, iii. 5.

[550] See _ante_, i. 428.

[551] Horace, _Odes_, ii. 14.

[552] I am informed by Mr. Langton, that a great many years ago he was
present when this question was agitated between Dr. Johnson and Mr.
Burke; and, to use Johnson's phrase, they 'talked their best;' Johnson
for Homer, Burke for Virgil. It may well be supposed to have been one
of the ablest and most brilliant contests that ever was exhibited. How
much must we regret that it has not been preserved. BOSWELL. Johnson
(_Works_, vii. 332), after saying that Dryden 'undertook perhaps the
most arduous work of its kind, a translation of Virgil,' continues:--'In
the comparison of Homer and Virgil, the discriminative excellence of
Homer is elevation and comprehension of thought, and that of Virgil is
grace and splendour of diction. The beauties of Homer are therefore
difficult to be lost, and those of Virgil difficult to be retained.' Mr.
E.J. Payne, in his edition of Burke's _Select Works_, i. xxxviii, says:--
'Most writers have constantly beside them some favourite classical author
from whom they endeavour to take their prevailing tone. Burke, according
to Butler, always had a "ragged Delphin _Virgil_" not far from his elbow.'
See Boswell's _Hebrides_, Aug. 21, note.

[553] According to Sir Joshua Reynolds, 'Mr. Burke, speaking of Bacon's
_Essays_, said he thought them the best of his works. Dr. Johnson was of
opinion that their excellence and their value consisted in being the
observations of a strong mind operating upon life; and in
consequence you find there what you seldom find in other books.'
Northcote's _Reynolds_, ii. 281.

[554] Mr. Seward perhaps imperfectly remembered the following passage in
the _Preface to the Dictionary_ (_Works_, v. 40):--'From the authors
which rose in the time of Elizabeth, a speech might be formed adequate to
all the purposes of use and elegance. If the language of theology were
extracted from Hooker and the translation of the Bible; the terms of
natural knowledge from Bacon; the phrases of policy, war, and navigation
from Raleigh; the dialect of poetry and fiction from Spenser and Sidney;
and the diction of common life from Shakespeare, few ideas would be lost
to mankind for want of English words in which they might be expressed.'

[555] Of Mallet's _Life of Bacon_, Johnson says (_Works_, viii. 465)
that it is 'written with elegance, perhaps with some affectation;
but with so much more knowledge of history than of science, that when he
afterwards undertook the _Life of Marlborough_, Warburton remarked, that
he might perhaps forget that Marlborough was a general, as he had
forgotten that Bacon was a philosopher.'

[556] It appears from part of the original journal in Mr. Anderdon's
papers that the friend who told the story was Mr. Beauclerk and the
gentleman and lady alluded to were Mr. (probably Henry) and Miss
Harvey. CROKER. Not Harvey but Hervey. See _ante_, i. 106, and ii. 32,
for another story told by Beauclerk against Johnson of Mr. Thomas

[557] Johnson, in his _Dictionary_, gives as the 17th meaning of _make,
to raise as profit from anything_. He quotes the speech of Pompey in
_Measure for Measure_, act iv. sc. 3:--'He made five marks, ready money.'
But Pompey, he might reply, was a servant, and his English therefore is
not to be taken as a standard.

[558] _Idea_ he defines as _mental imagination_.

[559] See _post_, May 15, 1783, note.

[560] In the first three editions of Boswell we find _Tadnor_ for
_Tadmor_. In Dodsley's _Collection_, iv. 229, the last couplet is as

'Or Tadmor's marble wastes survey,
Or in yon roofless cloister stray.'

[561] This is the tune that William Crotch (Dr. Crotch) was heard
playing before he was two years and a half old, on a little organ that
his father, a carpenter, had made. _Ann. Reg_. xxii 79.

[562] See _ante_, under Dec. 17, 1775.

[563] In 1757 two battalions of Highlanders were raised and sent
to North America. _Gent. Mag_. xxvii. 42, 333. Boswell (_Hebrides_,
Sept. 3, 1773) mentions 'the regiments which the late Lord Chatham
prided himself in having brought from "the mountains of the north."'
Chatham said in the House of Lords on Dec. 2, 1777:--'I remember that I
employed the very rebels in the service and defence of their country.
They were reclaimed by this means; they fought our battles; they
cheerfully bled in defence of those liberties which they attempted to
overthrow but a few years before.' _Parl. Hist_. xix. 477.


'Yet hope not life from grief or danger free,
Nor think the doom of man reversed for thee.'

Line 154.

[565] See _ante_, ii. 168. Boswell, when a widower, wrote to Temple
of a lady whom he seemed not unwilling to marry:--'She is about
seven-and-twenty, and he [Sir William Scott] tells me lively and gay--
_a Ranelagh girl_--but of excellent principles, insomuch that she reads
prayers to the servants in her father's family every Sunday evening.'
_Letters of Boswell_, p. 336.

[566] Pope mentions [_Dunciad_, iv. 342],

'Stretch'd on the rack of a too easy chair.'

But I recollect a couplet quite apposite to my subject in _Virtue an
Ethick Epistle_, a beautiful and instructive poem, by an anonymous
writer, in 1758; who, treating of pleasure in excess, says:--

'Till languor, suffering on the rack of bliss,
Confess that man was never made for this.' BOSWELL.

[567] See _post_, June 12, 1784.

[568] See _ante_, p. 86.

[569] 'For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not
according to knowledge.' _Romans_, x. 2.

[570] Horace Walpole wrote:--'Feb. 17, 1773. Caribs, black Caribs, have
no representatives in Parliament; they have no agent but God, and he is
seldom called to the bar of the House to defend their cause.' Walpole's
_Letters_, v. 438. 'Feb. 14, 1774. 'If all the black slaves were in
rebellion, I should have no doubt in choosing my side, but I scarce wish
perfect freedom to merchants who are the bloodiest of all tyrants. I
should think the souls of the Africans would sit heavy on the swords of
the Americans.' _Ib_. vi. 60.

[571] See _ante_, ii. 27, 312.

[572] 'We are told that the subjection of Americans may tend to the
diminution of our own liberties; an event which none but very
perspicacious politicians are able to foresee. If slavery be thus
fatally contagious, how is it that we hear,' etc. _Works_, vi. 262. In
his _Life of Milton_ (_ib_. vii. 116) he says:--'It has been observed
that they who most loudly clamour for liberty do not most liberally
grant it.'

[573] See page 76 of this volume. BOSWELL.

[574] The address was delivered on May 23, 1770. The editor of _Rogers's
Table Talk_ quotes, on p. 129, Mr. Maltby, the friend of Rogers, who
says:--'Dr. C. Burney assured me that Beckford did not utter one
syllable of the speech--that it was wholly the invention of Horne Tooke.
Being very intimate with Tooke, I questioned him on the subject. "What
Burney states," he said, "is true. I saw Beckford just after he came
from St. James's. I asked him what he had said to the King; and he
replied, that he had been so confused, he scarcely knew what he had
said. But, cried I, _your speech_ must be sent to the papers; I'll write
it for you. I did so immediately, and it was printed forthwith."' Tooke
gave the same account to Isaac Reed. Walpole's _Letters_, v. 238, note.
Stephens (_Life of Horne Tooke_, i. 155-8) says, that the King's answer
had been anticipated and that Horne had suggested the idea of a reply.
Stephens continues:--'The speech in reply, as Mr. Horne lately
acknowledged to me, was his composition.' Stephens does not seem to have
heard the story that Beckford did not deliver the reply. He says that
Horne inserted the account in the newspapers. 'No one,' he continues,
'was better calculated to give copies of those harangues than the person
who had furnished the originals; and as to the occurrences at St.
James's, he was enabled to detail the particulars from the lips of the
members of the deputation.' Alderman Townshend assured Lord Chatham that
Beckford did deliver the speech. _Chatham Corres_. iii. 460. Horne
Tooke's word is not worth much. He did not resign his living till more
than seven years after he wrote to Wilkes:--'It is true I have suffered
the infectious hand of a bishop to be waved over me; whose imposition,
like the sop given to Judas, is only a signal for the devil to enter.'
Stephens's _Horne Tooke_, i. 76. Beckford, dying in his Mayoralty, is
oddly connected with Chatterton. 'Chatterton had written a political
essay for _The North Briton_, which, though accepted, was not printed on
account of Lord Mayor Beckford's death. The patriot thus calculated the
death of his great patron:--

L s. d.
Lost by his death in
this Essay 1 11 6
Gained in Elegies L2.2
in Essays L3.3
5 5 0
Am glad he is dead by L3 13 6

D'Israeli's _Calamities of Authors_, i. 54.

[575] At the time that Johnson wrote this there were serfs in Scotland.
An Act passed in 1775 (15 Geo. III. c. 22) contains the following
preamble:--'Whereas by the law of Scotland, as explained by the judges
of the courts of law there, many colliers and salters are in a state of
slavery and bondage, bound to the collieries or saltworks where they
work for life, transferable with the coalwork and salteries,' etc. The
Act was ineffectual in giving relief, and in 1779 by 39 Geo. III. c. 56
all colliers were 'declared to be free from their servitude.' The last
of these emancipated slaves died in the year 1844. _Tranent and its
Surroundings_, by P. M'Neill, p. 26. See also _Parl. Hist_. xxix.
1109, where Dundas states that it was only 'after several years'
struggle that the bill was carried through both Houses.'

[576] See _ante_, ii. 13.

[577] 'The Utopians do not make slaves of the sons of their slaves; the
slaves among them are such as are condemned to that state of life for the
commission of some crime.' Sir T. More's _Utopia--Ideal Commonwealths_,
p. 129.

[578] The Rev. John Newton (Cowper's friend) in 1763 wrote of the
slave-trade, in which he had been engaged, 'It is indeed accounted a
genteel employment, and is usually very profitable, though to me it did
not prove so, the Lord seeing that a large increase of wealth could not
be good for me.' Newton's _Life_, p. 148. A ruffian of a London
Alderman, a few weeks before _The Life of Johnson_ was published, said
in parliament:--'The abolition of the trade would destroy our
Newfoundland fishery, which the slaves in the West Indies supported _by
consuming that part of the fish which was fit for no other consumption_,
and consequently, by cutting off the great source of seamen, annihilate
our marine.' _Parl. Hist_. xxix. 343.

[579] Gray's Elegy. Mrs. Piozzi maintained that 'mercy was totally
abolished by French maxims; for, if all men are equal, mercy is no
more.' Piozzi's _Synonymy_, i. 370. Johnson, in 1740, described
slavery as 'the most calamitous estate in human life,' a state 'which
has always been found so destructive to virtue, that in many languages a
slave and a thief are expressed by the same word.' _Works_, v. 265-6.
Nineteen years later he wrote of the discoveries of the
Portuguese:--'Much knowledge has been acquired, and much cruelty been
committed; the belief of religion has been very little propagated, and
its laws have been outrageously and enormously violated.' _Ib_. p. 219.
Horace Walpole wrote, on July 9, 1754, (_Letters_, ii. 394), 'I was
reading t'other day the _Life of Colonel Codrington_. He left a large
estate for the propagation of the Gospel, and ordered that three hundred
negroes should constantly be employed upon it. Did one ever hear a more
truly Christian charity than keeping up a perpetuity of three hundred
slaves to look after the Gospel's estate?' Churchill, in _Gotham_,
published in 1764 (_Poems_, ii. 101), says of Europe's treatment of the
savage race:--

'Faith too she plants, for her own ends imprest,
To make them bear the worst, and hope the best.'


'With stainless lustre virtue shines,
A base repulse nor knows nor fears;

Nor claims her honours, nor declines,
As the light air of crowds uncertain veers.'
FRANCIS. Horace _Odes_, iii. 2.

[581] Sir Walter Scott, in a note to _Redgauntlet_, Letter 1, says:--
'Sir John Nisbett of Dirleton's _Doubts and Questions upon the Law
especially of Scotland_, and Sir James Stewart's _Dirleton's Doubts
and Questions resolved and answered_, are works of authority in Scottish
jurisprudence. As is generally the case, the _Doubts_ are held more in
respect than the solution.'

[582] When Boswell first made Johnson's acquaintance it was he who
suffered from the late hours. _Ante_, i. 434.

[583] See _ante_, ii. 312.

[584] Burke, in _Present Discontents_, says:--'The power of the Crown,
almost dead and rotten as Prerogative, has grown up anew, with much more
strength and far less odium, under the name of Influence.' _Influence_
he explains as 'the method of governing by men of great natural interest
or great acquired consideration.' Payne's _Burke_, i. 10, 11. 'Influence,'
said Johnson,' must ever be in proportion to property; and it is right it
should.' Boswell's _Hebrides_, Aug. 18. To political life might be applied
what Johnson wrote of domestic life:--'It is a maxim that no man ever was
enslaved by influence while he was fit to be free.' _Notes and Queries_,
6th S., v. 343.

[585] Boswell falls into what he calls 'the cant transmitted from age to
age in praise of the ancient Romans.' _Ante_, i. 311. To do so with
Johnson was at once to provoke an attack, for he looked upon the Roman
commonwealth as one 'which grew great only by the misery of the rest of
mankind.' _Ib_. Moreover he disliked appeals to history. 'General
history,' writes Murphy (_Life_, p. 138), 'had little of his regard.
Biography was his delight. Sooner than hear of the Punic War he
would be rude to the person that introduced the subject.' Mrs. Piozzi
says (_Anec_. p. 80) that 'no kind of conversation pleased him less, I
think, than when the subject was historical fact or general polity.
'What shall we learn from _that_ stuff?' said he. 'He never,' as he
expressed it, 'desired to hear of the _Punic War_ while he lived.' The
_Punic War_, it is clear, was a kind of humorous catch word with him.
She wrote to him in 1773:--'So here's modern politics in a letter from
me; yes and a touch of the _Punic War_ too.' _Piozzi Letters_, i. 187.
He wrote to her in 1775, just after she had been at the first regatta
held in England:--'You will now find the advantage of having made one at
the regatta.... It is the good of public life that it supplies agreeable
topics and general conversation. Therefore wherever you are, and
whatever you see, talk not of the Punic War; nor of the depravity of
human nature; nor of the slender motives of human actions; nor of the
difficulty of finding employment or pleasure; but talk, and talk, and

Book of the day: