Life Of Johnson, Vol. 1
by Boswell
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[1054] Johnson's Works, vi. 81. See Boswell's Hebrides, Aug. 16, 1773, where Johnson describes Mary as 'such a Queen as every man of any gallantry of spirit would have sacrificed his life for.' 'There are,' wrote Hume, 'three events in our history which may be regarded as touchstones of party-men. An English Whig who asserts the reality of the popish plot, an Irish Catholic who denies the massacre in 1641, and a Scotch Jacobite who maintains the innocence of Queen Mary, must be considered as men beyond the reach of argument or reason, and must be left to their prejudices.' History of England, ed. 1802, v. 504.

[1055] Prayers and Meditations, p. 42. BOSWELL. The following is his entry on this day:—

'1760, Sept. 18. Resolved D[eo]j[uvante]' To combat notions of obligation. To apply to study. To reclaim imagination. To consult the resolves on Tetty's coffin. To rise early. To study religion. To go to church. To drink less strong liquors. To keep a journal. To oppose laziness, by doing what is to be done tomorrow. Rise as early as I can. Send for books for Hist. of War. Put books in order. Scheme of life.'

[1056] See post, Oct. 19, 1769, and May 15, 1783, for Johnson's measure of emotion, by eating.

[1057] Mr. Croker points out that Murphy's Epistle was an imitation of Boileau's Eptre Molire.

[1058] The paper mentioned in the text is No. 38 of the second series of the Grays Inn Journal, published on June 15, 1754; which is a translation from the French version of Johnson's Rambler, No. 190. MALONE. Mrs. Piozzi relates how Murphy, used to tell before Johnson of the first time they met. He found our friend all covered with soot, like a chimney-sweeper, in a little room, with an intolerable heat and strange smell, as if he had been acting Lungs in the Alchymist, making aether. 'Come, come,' says Dr. Johnson, 'dear Murphy, the story is black enough now; and it was a very happy day for me that brought you first to my house, and a very happy mistake about the Ramblers.' Piozzi's Anec. p. 235. Murphy quotes her account, Murphy's Johnson, p. 79. See also post, 1770, where Dr. Maxwell records in his Collectanea how Johnson 'very much loved Arthur Murphy.' Miss Burney thus describes him:—'He is tall and well-made, has a very gentlemanlike appearance, and a quietness of manner upon his first address that to me is very pleasing. His face looks sensible, and his deportment is perfectly easy and polite.' A few days later she records:—'Mr. Murphy was the life of the party; he was in good spirits, and extremely entertaining; he told a million of stories admirably well.' Mme. D'Arblay's Diary, i. 195, 210. Rogers, who knew Murphy well, says that 'towards the close of his life, till he received a pension of 200 from the King, he was in great pecuniary difficulties. He had eaten himself out of every tavern from the other side of Temple-Bar to the west end of the town.' He owed Rogers a large sum of money, which he never repaid. 'He assigned over to me the whole of his works; and I soon found that he had already disposed of them to a bookseller. One thing,' Rogers continues, 'ought to be remembered to his honour; an actress with whom he had lived bequeathed to him all her property, but he gave up every farthing of it to her relations.' He was pensioned in 1803, and he died in 1805. Rogers's Table-Talk, p. 106.

[1059] Topham Beauclerk, Esq. BOSWELL.

[1060] Essays with that title, written about this time by Mr. Langton, but not published. BOSWELL.

[1061] Thomas Sheridan, born 1721, died 1788. He was the son of Swift's friend, and the father of R. B. Sheridan (who was born in 1751), and the great-great-grandfather of the present Earl of Dufferin.

[1062] Sheridan was acting in Garrick's Company, generally on the nights on which Garrick did not appear. Davies's Garrick, i. 299. Johnson criticises his reading, post, April 18, 1783.

[1063] Mrs. Sheridan was authour of Memoirs of Miss Sydney Biddulph, a novel of great merit, and of some other pieces.—See her character, post, beginning of 1763. BOSWELL.

[1064] Prayers and Meditations, p. 44. BOSWELL. '1761. Easter Eve. Since the communion of last Easter I have led a life so dissipated and useless, and my terrours and perplexities have so much increased, that I am under great depression and discouragement.'

[1065] See post, April 6, 1775.

[1066] I have had inquiry made in Ireland as to this story, but do not find it recollected there. I give it on the authority of Dr. Johnson, to which may be added that of the biographical Dictionary, and Biographia Dramatica; in both of which it has stood many years. Mr. Malone observes, that the truth probably is, not that an edition was published with Rolt's name in the title-page, but, that the poem being then anonymous, Rolt acquiesced in its being attributed to him in conversation. BOSWELL.

[1067] I have both the books. Innes was the clergyman who brought Psalmanazar to England, and was an accomplice in his extraordinary fiction. BOSWELL. It was in 1728 that Innes, who was a Doctor of Divinity and Preacher-Assistant at St. Margaret's Westminster, published this book. In his impudent Dedication to Lord Chancellor King he says that 'were matters once brought to the melancholy pass that mankind should become proselytes to such impious delusions' as Mandeville taught, 'punishments must be annexed to virtue and rewards to vice.' It was not till 1730 that Dr. Campbell 'laid open this imposture.' Preface, p. xxxi. Though he was Professor of Ecclesiastical History in St. Andrews, yet he had not, it should seem, heard of the fraud till then: so remote was Scotland from London in those days. It was not till 1733 that he published his own edition. For Psalmanazar, see post, April 18, 1778.

[1068] 'Died, the Rev. Mr. Eccles, at Bath. In attempting to save a boy, whom he saw sinking in the Avon, he, together with the youth, were both drowned.' Gent. Mag. Aug. 15, 1777. And in the magazine for the next month are some verses on this event, with an epitaph, of which the first line is,

'Beneath this stone the "Man of Feeling" lies.'


[1069] 'Harry Mackenzie,' wrote Scott in 1814, 'never put his name in a title page till the last edition of his works.' Lockhart's _Scott_, iv. 178. He wrote also _The Man of the World_, which Johnson 'looked at, but thought there was nothing in it.' Boswell's _Hebrides_, Oct. 2, 1773. Scott, however, called it 'a very pathetic tale.' Croker's _Boswell, p. 359. Burns, writing of his twenty-third year, says: '_Tristram Shandy_ and the _Man of Feeling_ were my bosom favourites.' Currie's _Life of Burns_, ed.1846. p. 21.

[1070] From the Prologue to Dryden's adaptation of The Tempest.

[1071] The originals of Dr. Johnson's three letters to Mr. baretti, which are among the very best he ever wrote, were communicated to the elegant monthly miscellany, The European Magazine, in which they first appeared. BOSWELL.

[1072] Baretti left London for Lisbon on Aug. 14, 1760. He went through Portugal, Spain, and France to Antibes, whence he went by sea to Genoa, where he arrived on Nov. 18. In 1770 he published a lively account of his travels under the title of A Journey from London to Genoa.

[1073] Malone says of Baretti that 'he was certainly a man of extraordinary talents, and perhaps no one ever made himself so completely master of a foreign language as he did of English.' Prior's Malone, p. 392. Mrs. Piozzi gives the following 'instance of his skill in our low street language. Walking in a field near Chelsea he met a fellow, who, suspecting him from dress and manner to be a foreigner, said sneeringly, "Come, Sir, will you show me the way to France?" "No, Sir," says Baretti instantly, "but I will show you the way to Tyburn."' He travelled with her in France. 'Oh how he would court the maids at the inns abroad, abuse the men perhaps, and that with a facility not to be exceeded, as they all confessed, by any of the natives. But so he could in Spain, I find.' Hayward's Piozzi, ii. 347.

[1074] Johnson was intimate with Lord Southwell, ante, p. 243. It seems unlikely that Baretti merely conducted Mr. Southwell from Turin to Venice; yet there is not a line in his Journey to show that any Englishman accompanied him from London to Turin.

[1075] See ante, p. 350, note.

[1076] The first of these annual exhibitions was opened on April 21, 1760, at the Room of the Society of Arts, in the Strand. 'As a consequence of their success, grew the incorporation of a Society of Artists in 1765, by seccession from which finally was constituted the Royal Academy [In Dec. 1768].' Taylor's Reynolds, i. 179. For the third exhibition Johnson wrote the Preface to the catalogue. In this, speaking for the Committee of the Artists he says:—'The purpose of this Exhibition is not to enrich the artist, but to advance the art; the eminent are not flattered with preference, nor the obscure insulted with contempt; whoever hopes to deserve public favour is here invited to display his merit.' Northcote's Reynolds, i. 101.

[1077] Hawkins (Life, p. 318) says that Johnson told him 'that in his whole life he was never capable of discerning the least resemblance of any kind between a picture and the subject it was intended to represent.' This, however must have been an exaggeration on the part either of Hawkins or Johnson. His general ignorance of art is shown by Mrs. Piozzi (Anec., p. 98):—'Sir Joshua Reynolds mentioned some picture as excellent. "It has often grieved me, sir," said Mr. Johnson, "to see so much mind as the science of painting requires, laid out upon such perishable materials: why do not you oftener make use of copper? I could wish your superiority in the art you profess to be preserved in stuff more durable than canvas." Sir Joshua urged the difficulty of procuring a plate large enough for historical subjects. "What foppish obstacles are these!" exclaims on a sudden Dr. Johnson. "Here is Thrale has a thousand tun of copper; you may paint it all round if you will, I suppose; it will serve him to brew in afterwards. Will it not, Sir?" to my husband who sat by. Indeed his utter scorn of painting was such, that I have heard him say, that he should sit very quietly in a room hung round with the works of the greatest masters, and never feel the slightest disposition to turn them, if their backs were outermost, unless it might be for the sake of telling Sir Joshua that he had turned them.' Such a remark of Johnson's must not, however, be taken too strictly. He often spoke at random, often with exaggeration. 'There is in many minds a kind of vanity exerted to the disadvantage of themselves.' This reflection of his is the opening sentence to the number of the Idler (No. 45) in which he thus writes about portrait-painting:—'Genius is chiefly exerted in historical pictures; and the art of the painter of portraits is often lost in the obscurity of his subject. But it is in painting as in life; what is greatest is not always best. I should grieve to see Reynolds transfer to heroes and to goddesses, to empty splendour and to airy fiction, that art which is now employed in diffusing friendship, in reviving tenderness, in quickening the affections of the absent, and continuing the presence of the dead.' It is recorded in Johnson's Works, (1787) xi. 208, that 'Johnson, talking with some persons about allegorical painting said, "I had rather see the portrait of a dog that I know than all the allegorical paintings they can show me in the world."' He bought prints of Burke, Dyer, and Goldsmith—'Good impressions' he said to hang in a little room that he was fitting up with prints. Croker's Boswell, p. 639. Among his effects that were sold after his death were 'sixty-one portraits framed and glazed,' post, under Dec. 9, 1784. When he was at Paris, and saw the picture-gallery at the Palais Royal, he entered in his Diary:—'I thought the pictures of Raphael fine;' post, Oct. 16, 1775. The philosopher Hume was more insensible even than Johnson. Dr. J.H. Burton says:—'It does not appear from any incident in his life, or allusions in his letters, which I can remember, that he had ever really admired a picture or a statue.' Life of me, ii. 134.

[1078] By Colman—'There is nothing else new,' wrote Horace Walpole on March 7, 1761 (Letters, in. 382), 'but a very indifferent play, called The Jealous Wife, so well acted as to have succeeded greatly.'

[1079] In Chap. 47 of Rasselas Johnson had lately considered monastic life. Imlac says of the monks:—'Their time is regularly distributed; one duty succeeds another, so that they are not left open to the distraction of unguided choice, nor lost in the shades of listless inactivity.... He that lives well in the world is better than he that lives well in a monastery. But perhaps every one is not able to stem the temptations of publick life; and, if he cannot conquer, he may properly retreat.' See also post, March 15, 1776, and Boswell's Hebrides, Aug. 19, 1773.

[1080] Baretti, in the preface to his Journey (p. vi.), says that the method of the book was due to Dr. Johnson. 'It was he that exhorted me to write daily, and with all possible minuteness; it was he that pointed out the topics which would most interest and most delight in a future publication.'

[1081] He advised Boswell to go to Spain. Post, June 25 and July 26, 1763.

[1082] Dr. Percy records that 'the first visit Goldsmith ever received from Johnson was on May 31, 1761, [ten days before this letter was written] when he gave an invitation to him, and much other company, many of them literary men, to a supper in his lodgings in Wine Office Court, Fleet Street. Percy being intimate with Johnson, was desired to call upon him and take him with him. As they went together the former was much struck with the studied neatness of Johnson's dress. He had on a new suit of clothes, a new wig nicely powdered, and everything about him so perfectly dissimilar from his usual appearance that his companion could not help inquiring the cause of this singular transformation. "Why, Sir," said Johnson, "I hear that Goldsmith, who is a very great sloven, justifies his disregard of cleanliness and decency by quoting my practice, and I am desirous this night to show him a better example."' Goldsmith's Misc. Works, i. 62.

[1083] Judges, v. 20.

[1084] Psalms, xix. 2.

[1085] Psalms, civ. 19.

[1086] Boswell is ten years out in his date. This work was published in 1752. The review of it in the Gent. Mag. for that year, p. 146, was, I believe, by Johnson.

[1087] He accompanied Lord Macartney on his embassy to China in 1792. In 1797 he published his Account of the Embassy.

[1088] It was taken in 1759, and restored to France in 1763. Penny Cyclo. xi. 463.

[1089] W. S. Landor (Works, ed. 1876, v. 99) says:—'Extraordinary as were Johnson's intellectual powers, he knew about as much of poetry as of geography. In one of his letters he talks of Guadaloupe as being in another hemisphere. Speaking of that island, his very words are these: "Whether you return hither or stay in another hemisphere."' Guadaloupe, being in the West Indies, is in another hemisphere.

[1090] See post, April 12, 1776.

[1091] 'It is necessary to hope, though hope should always be deluded; for hope itself is happiness, and its frustrations, however frequent, are less dreadful than its extinction.' The Idler, No. 58. See also post, under March 30, 1783, where he ranks the situation of the Prince of Wales as the happiest in the kingdom, partly on account of the enjoyment of hope.

[1092] Though Johnson wrote this same day to Lord Bute to thank him for his pension, he makes no mention to Baretti of this accession to his fortune.

[1093] See ante, p. 245. Mrs. Porter, the actress, lived some time with Mrs. Cotterel and her eldest daughter. CROKER.

[1094] Miss Charlotte Cotterel, married to Dean Lewis. See post, Dec. 21, 1762.

[1095] Reynolds's note-book shows that this year he had close on 150 sitters. Taylor's Reynolds, i. 218.

[1096] He married a woman of the town, who had persuaded him (notwithstanding their place of congress was a small coalshed in Fetter Lane) that she was nearly related to a man of fortune, but was injuriously kept by him out of large possessions. She regarded him as a physician already in considerable practice. He had not been married four months, before a writ was taken out against him for debts incurred by his wife. He was secreted; and his friend then procured him a protection from a foreign minister. In a short time afterwards she ran away from him, and was tried (providentially in his opinion) for picking pockets at the Old Bailey. Her husband was with difficulty prevented from attending the Court, in the hope she would be hanged. She pleaded her own cause and was acquitted. A separation between them took place.' Gent. Mag. lv. 101.

[1097] Richardson had died more than a year earlier,—on July 4, 1761. That Johnson should think it needful at the date of his letter to inform Baretti of the death of so famous a writer shows how slight was the communication between London and Milan. Nay, he repeats the news in his letter of Dec. 21, 1762.

[1098] On Dec. 8, 1765, he wrote to Hector:—'A few years ago I just saluted Birmingham, but had no time to see any friend, for I came in after midnight with a friend, and went away in the morning.' Notes and Queries, 6th S. iii. 321. He passed through Birmingham, I conjecture, on his visit to Lichfield.

[1099] Writing to Mrs. Thrale from Lichfield on July 20, 1767, he says:—'Miss Lucy [Porter, his step-daughter, not his daughter-in-law, as he calls her above] is more kind and civil than I expected, and has raised my esteem by many excellencies very noble and resplendent, though a little discoloured by hoary virginity. Everything else recalls to my remembrance years, in which I proposed what I am afraid I have not done, and promised myself pleasure which I have not found.' Piozzi Letters, i. 4.

[1100] In his Journey into Wales (Aug. 24, 1774), he describes how Mrs. Thrale visited one of the scenes of her youth. 'She remembered the rooms, and wandered over them with recollection of her childhood. This species of pleasure is always melancholy. The walk was cut down and the pond was dry. Nothing was better.'

[1101] This is a very just account of the relief which London affords to melancholy minds. BOSWELL.

[1102] To Devonshire.

[1103] See ante, p. 322.

[1104] Dr. T. Campbell (Diary of a visit to England, p. 32) recorded on March 16, 1775, that 'Baretti said that now he could not live out of London. He had returned a few years ago to his own country, but he could not enjoy it; and he was obliged to return to London to those connections he had been making for near thirty years past.' Baretti had come to England in 1750 (ante, p. 302), so that thirty years is an exaggeration.

[1105] How great a sum this must have been in Johnson's eyes is shown by a passage in his Life of Savage (Works, viii. 125). Savage, he says, was received into Lord Tyrconnel's family and allowed a pension of 200 a year. 'His presence,' Johnson writes, 'was sufficient to make any place of publick entertainment popular; and his approbation and example constituted the fashion. So powerful is genius when it is invested with the glitter of affluence!' In the last summer of his life, speaking of the chance of his pension being doubled, he said that with six hundred a year 'a man would have the consciousness that he should pass the remainder of his life in splendour, how long soever it might be.' Post, June 30, 1784. David Hume writing in 1751, says:—'I have 50 a year, a 100 worth of books, great store of linens and fine clothes, and near 100 in my pocket; along with order, frugality, a strong spirit of independency, good health, a contented humour, and an unabating love of study. In these circumstances I must esteem myself one of the happy and fortunate.' J. H. Burton's Hume, i. 342. Goldsmith, in his Present State of Polite Learning (chap, vii), makes the following observation on pensions granted in France to authors:—'The French nobility have certainly a most pleasing way of satisfying the vanity of an author without indulging his avarice. A man of literary merit is sure of being caressed by the great, though seldom enriched. His pension from the crown just supplies half a competence, and the sale of his labours makes some small addition to his circumstances; thus the author leads a life of splendid poverty, and seldom becomes wealthy or indolent enough to discontinue an exertion of those abilities by which he rose.' Whether Johnson's pension led to his writing less than he would otherwise have done may be questioned. It is true that in the next seventeen years he did little more than finish his edition of Shakespeare, and write his Journey to the Western Islands and two or three political pamphlets. But since he wrote the last number of The Idler in the spring of 1760 he had done very little. His mind, which, to use Murphy's words (Life, p. 80), had been 'strained and overlaboured by constant exertion,' had not recovered its tone. It is likely, that without the pension he would not have lived to write the second greatest of his works—the Lives of the Poets.

[1106] Mr. Forster (Life of Goldsmith, i. 281) says:—'Bute's pensions to his Scottish crew showing meaner than ever in Churchill's daring verse, it occurred to the shrewd and wary Wedderburne to advise, for a set off, that Samuel Johnson should be pensioned.' The Prophecy of Famine in which Churchill's attack was made on the pensioned Scots was published in Jan. 1763, nearly half a year after Johnson's pension was conferred.

[1107] For his Falkland's Islands 'materials were furnished to him by the ministry' (post, 1771). 'The Patriot was called for,' he writes, 'by my political friends' (post, Nov. 26, 1774). 'That Taxation no Tyranny was written at the desire of those who were then in power, I have no doubt,' writes Boswell (post, under March 21, 1775). 'Johnson complained to a friend that, his pension having been given to him as a literary character, he had been applied to by administration to write political pamphlets' (Ib.). Are these statements inconsistent with what Lord Loughborough said, and with Boswell's assertion (Ib.) that 'Johnson neither asked nor received from government any reward whatsoever for his political labours?' I think not. I think that, had Johnson unpensioned been asked by the Ministry to write these pamphlets, he would have written them. He would have been pleased by the compliment, and for pay would have trusted to the sale. Speaking of the first two of these pamphlets—the third had not yet appeared—he said, 'Except what I had from the booksellers, I did not get a farthing by them' (post, March 21, 1772). They had not cost him much labour. The False Alarm was written between eight o'clock of one night and twelve o'clock of the next. It went through three editions in less than two months (post, 1770). The Patriot was written on a Saturday (post, Nov. 26, 1774). At all events Johnson had received his pension for more than seven years before he did any work for the ministry. In Croft's Life of Young, which Johnson adopted (Works, viii. 422), the following passage was perhaps intended to be a defence of Johnson as a writer for the Ministry:—'Yet who shall say with certainty that Young was a pensioner? In all modern periods of this country, have not the writers on one side been regularly called hirelings, and on the other patriots?'

[1108] See ante, p. 294.

[1109] Murphy's account is nearly as follows (Life, p. 92):—'Lord Loughborough was well acquainted with Johnson; but having heard much of his independent spirit, and of the downfall of Osborne the bookseller (ante, p. 154), he did not know but his benevolence might be rewarded with a folio on his head. He desired me to undertake the task. I went to the chambers in the Inner Temple Lane, which, in fact, were the abode of wretchedness. By slow and studied approaches the message was disclosed. Johnson made a long pause; he asked if it was seriously intended. He fell into a profound meditation, and his own definition of a pensioner occurred to him. He desired to meet next day, and dine at the Mitre Tavern. At that meeting he gave up all his scruples. On the following day Lord Loughborough conducted him to the Earl of Bute. The conversation that passed was in the evening related to me by Dr. Johnson. He expressed his sense of his Majesty's bounty, and thought himself the more highly honoured, as the favour was not bestowed on him for having dipped his pen in faction. "No, Sir," said Lord Bute, "it is not offered to you for having dipped your pen in faction, nor with a design that you ever should."' The reviewer of Hawkins's Johnson in the Monthly Review, lxxvi. 375, who was, no doubt, Murphy, adds a little circumstance:—'On the next day Mr. Murphy was in the Temple Lane soon after nine; he got Johnson up and dressed in due time; and saw him set off at eleven.' Malone's note on what Lord Bute said to Johnson is as follows:—'This was said by Lord Bute, as Dr. Burney was informed by Johnson himself, in answer to a question which he put, previously to his acceptance of the intended bounty: "Pray, my Lord, what am I expected to do for this pension?"'


'In Britain's senate he a seat obtains And one more pensioner St. Stephen gains.'

Moral Essays, iii. 392.

Johnson left the definition of pension and pensioner unchanged in the fourth edition of the Dictionary, corrected by him in 1773.

[1111] He died on March 10, 1792. This paragraph and the letter are not in the first two editions.

[1112] The Treasury, Home Office, Exchequer of Receipt and Audit Office Records have been searched for a warrant granting a pension to Dr. Johnson without success. In 1782, by Act of Parliament all pensions on the Civil List Establishment were from that time to be paid at the Exchequer. In the Exchequer Order Book, Michaelmas 1782, No. 46, p. 74, the following memorandum occurs:—"Memdum. 3 Dec. 1782. There was issued to the following persons (By order 6th of Nov. 1782) the sums set against their names respectively, etc.:—Persons names: Johnson Saml, LL.D. Pensions p. ann. 300. Due to 5 July 1782, two quarters, 150."

This pension was paid at the Exchequer from that time to the quarter ending 10 Oct. 1784. 'It is clear that the pension was payable quarterly [for confirmation of this, see post, Nov. 3, 1762, and July 16, 1765] and at the old quarter days, July 5, Oct. 10, Jan. 5, April 5, though payment was sometimes delayed. [Once he was paid half-yearly; see post, under March 20, 1771.] The expression "bills" was a general term at the time for notes, cheques, and warrants, and no doubt covered some kind of Treasury warrant.' The above information I owe to the kindness of my friend Mr. Leonard H. Courtney, M.P., late Financial Secretary to the Treasury. The 'future favours' are the future payments. His pension was not for life, and depended therefore entirely on the king's pleasure (see post, under March 21, 1775). The following letter in the Grenville Papers, ii. 68, seems to show that Johnson thought the pension due on the new quarter-day:—


'July 2, 1763.


'Be pleased to pay to the bearer seventy-five pounds, being the quarterly payment of a pension granted by his Majesty, and due on the 24th day of June last, to Sir,

'Your most humble servant,


[1113] They left London on Aug. 16 and returned to it on Sept. 26. Taylor's Reynolds, i. 214. Northcote records of this visit:—'I remember when Mr. Reynolds was pointed out to me at a public meeting, where a great crowd was assembled, I got as near to him as I could from the pressure of the people to touch the skirt of his coat, which I did with great satisfaction to my mind.' Northcote's Reynolds, i. 116. In like manner Reynolds, when a youth, had in a great crowd touched the hand of Pope. Ib, p. 19. Pope, when a boy of eleven, 'persuaded some friends to take him to the coffee-house which Dryden frequented.' Johnson's Works, viii. 236. Who touched old Northcote's hand? Has the apostolic succession been continued?—Since writing these lines I have read with pleasure the following passage in Mr. Ruskin's Praeterita, chapter i. p. 16:—'When at three-and-a-half I was taken to have my portrait painted by Mr. Northcote, I had not been ten minutes alone with him before I asked him why there were holes in his carpet.' Dryden, Pope, Reynolds, Northcote, Ruskin, so runs the chain of genius, with only one weak link in it.

[1114] At one of these seats Dr. Amyat, Physician in London, told me he happened to meet him. In order to amuse him till dinner should be ready, he was taken out to walk in the garden. The master of the house, thinking it proper to introduce something scientifick into the conversation, addressed him thus: 'Are you a botanist, Dr. Johnson:' 'No, Sir, (answered Johnson,) I am not a botanist; and, (alluding no doubt, to his near sightedness) should I wish to become a botanist, I must first turn myself into a reptile.' BOSWELL.

[1115] Mrs. Piozzi (Anec. 285) says:—'The roughness of the language used on board a man of war, where he passed a week on a visit to Captain Knight, disgusted him terribly. He asked an officer what some place was called, and received for answer that it was where the loplolly man kept his loplolly; a reply he considered as disrespectful, gross and ignorant.' Mr. Croker says that Captain Knight of the Belleisle lay for a couple of months in 1762 in Plymouth Sound. Croker's Boswell, p. 480. It seems unlikely that Johnson passed a whole week on ship-board. Loplolly, or Loblolly, is explained in Roderick Random, chap. xxvii. Roderick, when acting as the surgeon's assistant on a man of war, 'suffered,' he says, 'from the rude insults of the sailors and petty officers, among whom I was known by the name of Lobolly Boy.'

[1116] He was the father of Colonel William Mudge, distinguished by his trigonometrical survey of England and Wales. WRIGHT.

[1117] 'I have myself heard Reynolds declare, that the elder Mr. Mudge was, in his opinion, the wisest man he had ever met with in his life. He has always told me that he owed his first disposition to generalise, and to view things in the abstract, to him.' Northcote's Reynolds, i. 112, 115.

[1118] See post, under March 20, 1781.

[1119] See ante, p. 293. BOSWELL.

[1120] The present Devonport.

[1121] A friend of mine once heard him, during this visit, exclaim with the utmost vehemence 'I hate a Docker.' BLAKEWAY. Northcote (Life of Reynolds, i. 118) says that Reynolds took Johnson to dine at a house where 'he devoured so large a quantity of new honey and of clouted cream, besides drinking large potations of new cyder, that the entertainer found himself much embarrassed between his anxious regard for the Doctor's health and his fear of breaking through the rules of politeness, by giving him a hint on the subject. The strength of Johnson's constitution, however, saved him from any unpleasant consequences.' 'Sir Joshua informed a friend that he had never seen Dr. Johnson intoxicated by hard drinking but once, and that happened at the time that they were together in Devonshire, when one night after supper Johnson drank three bottles of wine, which affected his speech so much that he was unable to articulate a hard word, which occurred in the course of his conversation. He attempted it three times but failed; yet at last accomplished it, and then said, "Well, Sir Joshua, I think it is now time to go to bed."' Ib. ii. 161. One part of this story however is wanting in accuracy, and therefore all may be untrue. Reynolds at this time was not knighted. Johnson said (post, April 7, 1778): 'I did not leave off wine because I could not bear it; I have drunk three bottles of port without being the worse for it. University College has witnessed this.' See however post, April 24, 1779, where he said:—'I used to slink home when I had drunk too much;' also ante, p. 103, and post, April 28, 1783.

[1122] George Selwyn wrote:—'Topham Beauclerk is arrived. I hear he lost 10,000 to a thief at Venice, which thief, in the course of the year, will be at Cashiobury.' (The reference to this quotation I have mislaid.)

[1123] Two years later he repeated this thought in the lines that he added to Goldsmith's Traveller. Post, under Feb. 1766.

[1124] We may compare with this what 'old Bentley' said:—'Depend upon it, no man was ever written down but by himself.' Boswell's Hebrides, Oct. 1, 1773.

[1125] The preliminaries of peace between England and France had been signed on Nov. 3 of this year. Ann Reg. v. 246.

[1126] Of Baretti's Travels through Spain, &c., Johnson wrote to Mrs. Thrale:—'That Baretti's book would please you all I made no doubt. I know not whether the world has ever seen such Travels before. Those whose lot it is to ramble can seldom write, and those who know how to write very seldom ramble.' Piozzi Letters, i. 32.

[1127] See ante, p. 370.

[1128] See ante, p. 242, note 1.

[1129] Huggins had quarrelled with Johnson and Baretti (Croker's Boswell, 129, note). See also post, 1780, in Mr. Langton's Collection.

[1130] See ante, p. 370.

[1131] Cowper, writing in 1784 about Collins, says:—'Of whom I did not know that he existed till I found him there'—in the Lives of the Poets, that is to say. Southey's Cowper, v. II.

[1132] To this passage Johnson, nearly twenty years later, added the following (Works, viii. 403):—'Such was the fate of Collins, with whom I once delighted to converse, and whom I yet remember with tenderness.'

[1133] 'MADAM. To approach the high and the illustrious has been in all ages the privilege of Poets; and though translators cannot justly claim the same honour, yet they naturally follow their authours as attendants; and I hope that in return for having enabled TASSO to diffuse his fame through the British dominions, I may be introduced by him to the presence of YOUR MAJESTY.

TASSO has a peculiar claim to YOUR MAJESTY'S favour, as follower and panegyrist of the House of Este, which has one common ancestor with the House of HANOVER; and in reviewing his life it is not easy to forbear a wish that he had lived in a happier time, when he might, among the descendants of that illustrious family, have found a more liberal and potent patronage.

I cannot but observe, MADAM, how unequally reward is proportioned to merit, when I reflect that the happiness which was withheld from TASSO is reserved for me; and that the poem which once hardly procured to its authour the countenance of the Princess of Ferrara, has attracted to its translator the favourable notice of a BRITISH QUEEN.

Had this been the fate of TASSO, he would have been able to have celebrated the condescension of YOUR MAJESTY in nobler language, but could not have felt it with more ardent gratitude, than MADAM, Your MAJESTY'S Most faithful and devoted servant.'—BOSWELL.

[1134] Young though Boswell was, he had already tried his hand at more than one kind of writing. In 1761 he had published anonymously an Elegy on the Death of an Amiable Young Lady, with an Epistle from Menalcas to Lycidas. (Edinburgh, Donaldson.) The Elegy is full of such errors as 'Thou liv'd,' 'Thou led,' but is recommended by a puffing preface and three letters—one of which is signed J—B. About the same time he brought out a piece that was even more impudent. It was An Ode to Tragedy. By a gentleman of Scotland. (Edinburgh, Donaldson, 1761. Price sixpence.) In the 'Dedication to James Boswell, Esq.,' he says:—'I have no intention to pay you compliments—To entertain agreeable notions of one's own character is a great incentive to act with propriety and spirit. But I should be sorry to contribute in any degree to your acquiring an excess of self-sufficiency ... I own indeed that when ... to display my extensive erudition, I have quoted Greek, Latin and French sentences one after another with astonishing celerity; or have got into my Old-hock humour and fallen a-raving about princes and lords, knights and geniuses, ladies of quality and harpsichords; you, with a peculiar comic smile, have gently reminded me of the importance of a man to himself, and slily left the room with the witty Dean lying open at—P.P. clerk of this parish. [Swift's Works, ed. 1803, xxiii. 142.] I, Sir, who enjoy the pleasure of your intimate acquaintance, know that many of your hours of retirement are devoted to thought.' The Ode is serious. He describes himself as having

'A soul by nature formed to feel Grief sharper than the tyrant's steel, And bosom big with swelling thought From ancient lore's remembrance brought.'

In the winter of 1761-2 he had helped as a contributor and part-editor in bringing out a Collection of Original Poems. (Boswell and Erskine's Letters, p. 27.) His next publication, also anonymous, was The Club at Newmarket, written, as the Preface says, 'in the Newmarket Coffee Room, in which the author, being elected a member of the Jockey Club, had the happiness of passing several sprightly good-humoured evenings.' It is very poor stuff. In the winter of 1762-3 he joined in writing the Critical Strictures, mentioned post, June 25, 1763. Just about the time that he first met Johnson he and his friend the Hon. Andrew Erskine had published in their own names a very impudent little volume of the correspondence that had passed between them. Of this I published an edition with notes in 1879, together with Boswell's Journal of a Tour to Corsica. (Messrs. Thos. De La Rue & Co.).

[1135] Boswell, in 1768, in the preface to the third edition of his Corsica described 'the warmth of affection and the dignity of veneration' with which he never ceased to think of Mr. Johnson.

[1136] In the Garrick Carres, (ii. 83) there is a confused letter from this unfortunate man, asking Garrick for the loan of five guineas. He had a scheme for delivering dramatic lectures at Eton and Oxford; 'but,' he added, 'my externals have so unfavourable an appearance that I cannot produce myself with any comfort or hope of success.' Garrick sent him five guineas. He had been a Major in the army, an actor, and dramatic author. 'For the last seven years of his life he struggled under sickness and want to a degree of uncommon misery.' Gent. Mag. for 1784, p. 959.

[1137] As great men of antiquity such as Scipio Africanus had an epithet added to their names, in consequence of some celebrated action, so my illustrious friend was often called DICTIONARY JOHNSON, from that wonderful atchievement of genius and labour, his Dictionary of the English Language; the merit of which I contemplate with more and more admiration. BOSWELL. In like manner we have 'Hermes Harris,' 'Pliny Melmoth,' 'Demosthenes Taylor,' 'Persian Jones,' 'Abyssinian Bruce,' 'Microscope Baker,' 'Leonidas Glover,' 'Hesiod Cooke,' and 'Corsica Boswell.'

[1138] See ante, p. 124. He introduced Boswell to Davies, who was 'the immediate introducer.' Post, under June 18, 1783, note.

[1139] On March 2, 1754 (not 1753), the audience called for a repetition of some lines which they applied against the government. 'Diggs, the actor, refused by order of Sheridan, the manager, to repeat them; Sheridan would not even appear on the stage to justify the prohibition. In an instant the audience demolished the inside of the house, and reduced it to a shell.' Walpole's _Reign of George II_, i. 389, and _Gent. Mag_. xxiv. 141. Sheridan's friend, Mr. S. Whyte, says (_Miscellanea Nova, p. 16):—'In the year 1762 Sheridan's scheme for an _English Dictionary_ was published. That memorable year he was nominated for a pension.' He quotes (p. 111) a letter from Mrs. Sheridan, dated Nov. 29, 1762, in which she says:—'I suppose you must have heard that the King has granted him a pension of 200. a year, merely as an encouragement to his undertaking.'

[1140] See post, March 28, 1776.

[1141] Horace Walpole describes Lord Bute as 'a man that had passed his life in solitude, and was too haughty to admit to his familiarity but half a dozen silly authors and flatterers. Sir Henry Erskine, a military poet, Home, a tragedy-writing parson,' &c. Mem. of the Reign of George III, i. 37.

[1142] See post, March 28, 1776.

[1143] 'Native wood-notes wild.' Milton's L'Allegro, l. 134


'In nova fert animus mutatas dicere formas Corpora. Di coeptis (nam vos mutastis et illas) Adspirate meis.' 'Of bodies changed to various forms I sing:— Ye Gods from whence these miracles did spring Inspired, &c.'—DRYDEN, Ov. Met. i.i.

See post under March 30, 1783, for Lord Loughborough.

[1145] See post, May 17, 1783, and June 24, 1784. Sheridan was not of a forgiving nature. For some years he would not speak to his famous son: yet he went with his daughters to the theatre to see one of his pieces performed. 'The son took up his station by one of the side scenes, opposite to the box where they sat, and there continued, unobserved, to look at them during the greater part of the night. On his return home he burst into tears, and owned how deeply it had gone to his heart, "to think that there sat his father and his sisters before him, and yet that he alone was not permitted to go near them."' Moore's Sheridan, i. 167.

[1146] As Johnson himself said:—'Men hate more steadily than they love; and if I have said something to hurt a man once, I shall not get the better of this by saying many things to please him.' Post, Sept. 15, 1777.

[1147] P. 447. BOSWELL. 'There is another writer, at present of gigantic fame in these days of little men, who has pretended to scratch out a life of Swift, but so miserably executed as only to reflect back on himself that disgrace which he meant to throw upon the character of the Dean.' The Life of Doctor Swift, Swift's Works, ed. 1803, ii. 200. There is a passage in the Lives of the Poets (Works, viii. 43) in which Johnson might be supposed playfully to have anticipated this attack. He is giving an account of Blackmore's imaginary Literary Club of Lay Monks, of which the hero was 'one Mr. Johnson.' 'The rest of the Lay Monks,' he writes, 'seem to be but feeble mortals, in comparison with the gigantick Johnson.' See also post, Oct. 16, 1769. Horace Walpole (Letters, v. 458) spoke no less scornfully than Sheridan of Johnson and his contemporaries. On April 27, 1773, after saying that he should like to be intimate with Anstey (the author of the New Bath Guide), or with the author of the Heroic Epistle, he continues:—'I have no thirst to know the rest of my contemporaries, from the absurd bombast of Dr. Johnson down to the silly Dr. Goldsmith; though the latter changeling has had bright gleams of parts, and the former had sense, till he changed it for words, and sold it for a pension. Don't think me scornful. Recollect that I have seen Pope and lived with Gray.'

[1148] Johnson is thus mentioned by Mrs. Sheridan in a letter dated, Blois, Nov. 16, 1743, according to the Garrick Corres, i. 17, but the date is wrongly given, as the Sheridans went to Blois in 1764: 'I have heard Johnson decry some of the prettiest pieces of writing we have in English; yet Johnson is an honourable man—that is to say, he is a good critic, and in other respects a man of enormous talents.'

[1149] My position has been very well illustrated by Mr. Belsham of Bedford, in his Essay on Dramatic Poetry. 'The fashionable doctrine (says he) both of moralists and criticks in these times is, that virtue and happiness are constant concomitants; and it is regarded as a kind of dramatick impiety to maintain that virtue should not be rewarded, nor vice punished in the last scene of the last act of every tragedy. This conduct in our modern poets is, however, in my opinion, extremely injudicious; for, it labours in vain to inculcate a doctrine in theory, which every one knows to be false in fact, viz. that virtue in real life is always productive of happiness; and vice of misery. Thus Congreve concludes the Tragedy of The Mourning Bride with the following foolish couplet:—

'For blessings ever wait on virtuous deeds, And though a late, a sure reward succeeds.'

'When a man eminently virtuous, a Brutus, a Cato, or a Socrates, finally sink under the pressure of accumulated misfortune, we are not only led to entertain a more indignant hatred of vice than if he rose from his distress, but we are inevitably induced to cherish the sublime idea that a day of future retribution will arrive when he shall receive not merely poetical, but real and substantial justice.' Essays Philosophical, Historical, and Literary, London, 1791, vol. II. 8vo. p. 317.

This is well reasoned and well expressed. I wish, indeed, that the ingenious authour had not thought it necessary to introduce any instance of 'a man eminently virtuous;' as he would then have avoided mentioning such a ruffian as Brutus under that description. Mr. Belsham discovers in his Essays so much reading and thinking, and good composition, that I regret his not having been fortunate enough to be educated a member of our excellent national establishment. Had he not been nursed in nonconformity, he probably would not have been tainted with those heresies (as I sincerely, and on no slight investigation, think them) both in religion and politicks, which, while I read, I am sure, with candour, I cannot read without offence. BOSWELL. Boswell's 'position has been illustrated' with far greater force by Johnson. 'It has been the boast of some swelling moralists, that every man's fortune was in his own power, that prudence supplied the place of all other divinities, and that happiness is the unfailing consequence of virtue. But surely the quiver of Omnipotence is stored with arrows against which the shield of human virtue, however adamantine it has been boasted, is held up in vain; we do not always suffer by our crimes; we are not always protected by our innocence.' The Adventurer, No. 120. See also Rasselas, chap. 27.

[1150] 'Charles Fox said that Mrs. Sheridan's Sydney Biddulph was the best of all modern novels. By the by [R. B.] Sheridan used to declare that he had never read it.' Rogers's Table-Talk, p. 90. The editor says, in a note on this passage:—'The incident in The School for Scandal of Sir Oliver's presenting himself to his relations in disguise is manifestly taken by Sheridan from his mother's novel.'

[1151] No. 8.—The very place where I was fortunate enough to be introduced to the illustrious subject of this work, deserves to be particularly marked. I never pass by it without feeling reverence and regret. BOSWELL.

[1152] Johnson said:—'Sir, Davies has learning enough to give credit to a clergyman.' Post, 1780, in Mr. Langton's Collection. The spiteful Steevens thus wrote about Davies:—'His concern ought to be with the outside of books; but Dr. Johnson, Dr. Percy, and some others have made such a coxcomb of him, that he is now hardy enough to open volumes, turn over their leaves, and give his opinions of their contents. Did I ever tell you an anecdote of him? About ten years ago I wanted the Oxford Homer, and called at Davies's to ask for it, as I had seen one thrown about his shop. Will you believe me, when I assure you he told me "he had but one, and that he kept for his own reading?"' Garrick Corres. i. 608.

[1153] Johnson, writing to Beattie, post, Aug 21, 1780, says:—'Mr. Davies has got great success as an author, generated by the corruption of a bookseller.' His principal works are Memoirs of Garrick, 1780, and Dramatic Miscellanies, 1784.

[1154] Churchill, in the Rosciad, thus celebrated his wife and mocked his recitation:—

'With him came mighty Davies. On my life That Davies hath a very pretty wife:— Statesman all over!—In plots famous grown!— He mouths a sentence, as curs mouth a bone.'

Churchill's Poems, i. 16.

See post, under April 20, 1764, and March 20, 1778. Charles Lamb in a note to his Essay on the Tragedies of Shakespeare says of Davies, that he 'is recorded to have recited the Paradise Lost better than any man in England in his day (though I cannot help thinking there must be some mistake in this tradition).' Lamb's Works, ed. 1840, p. 517.

[1155] See Johnson's letter to Davies, post, June 18, 1783.

[1156] Mr. Murphy, in his Essay on the Life and Genius of Dr. Johnson, [p. 106], has given an account of this meeting considerably different from mine, I am persuaded without any consciousness of errour. His memory, at the end of near thirty years, has undoubtedly deceived him, and he supposes himself to have been present at a scene, which he has probably heard inaccurately described by others. In my note taken on the very day, in which I am confident I marked every thing material that passed, no mention is made of this gentleman; and I am sure, that I should not have omitted one so well known in the literary world. It may easily be imagined that this, my first interview with Dr. Johnson, with all its circumstances, made a strong impression on my mind, and would be registered with peculiar attention. BOSWELL.

[1157] See post, April 8, 1775.

[1158] That this was a momentary sally against Garrick there can be no doubt; for at Johnson's desire he had, some years before, given a benefit-night at his theatre to this very person, by which she had got two hundred pounds. Johnson, indeed, upon all other occasions, when I was in his company, praised the very liberal charity of Garrick. I once mentioned to him, 'It is observed, Sir, that you attack Garrick yourself, but will suffer nobody else to do it.' JOHNSON, (smiling) 'Why, Sir, that is true.' BOSWELL. See post, May 15, 1776, and April 17, 1778.

[1159] By Henry Home, Lord Kames, 3 vols. Edinburgh, 1762. See post, Oct. 16, 1769. 'Johnson laughed much at Lord Kames's opinion that war was a good thing occasionally, as so much valour and virtue were exhibited in it. "A fire," says Johnson, "might as well be thought a good thing; there is the bravery and address of the firemen employed in extinguishing it; there is much humanity exerted in saving the lives and properties of the poor sufferers; yet after all this, who can say a fire is a good thing?"' Johnson's Works, (1787) xi. 209.

[1160] No. 45 of the North Briton had been published on April 23. Wilkes was arrested under a general warrant on April 30. On May 6 he was discharged from custody by the Court of Common Pleas, before which he had been brought by a writ of Habeas Corpus. A few days later he was served with a subpoena upon an information exhibited against him by the Attorney-General in the Court of King's Bench. He did not enter an appearance, holding, as he said, the serving him with the subpoena as a violation of the privilege of parliament. Parl. Hist. xv. 1360.

[1161] Mr. Sheridan was then reading lectures upon Oratory at Bath, where Derrick was Master of the Ceremonies; or, as the phrase is, KING. BOSWELL. Dr. Parr, who knew Sheridan well, describes him 'as a wrong-headed, whimsical man.' 'I remember,' he continues, 'hearing one of his daughters, in the house where I lodged, triumphantly repeat Dryden's Ode upon St. Cecilia's Day, according to the instruction given to her by her father. Take a sample:—

"None but the brave None but the brave. None but the brave deserve the fair."

Naughty Richard [R. B. Sheridan], like Gallio, seemed to care nought for these things.' Moore's Sheridan, i. 9, 11. Sheridan writing from Dublin on Dec. 7, 1771, says:—'Never was party violence carried to such a height as in this session; the House [the Irish House of Parliament] seldom breaking up till eleven or twelve at night. From these contests the desire of improving in the article of elocution is become very general. There are no less than five persons of rank and fortune now waiting my leisure to become my pupils.' Ib. p. 60. See post, July 28, 1763.

[1162] Bonnell Thornton. See post July 1, 1763.

[1163] Lloyd was one of a remarkable group of Westminster boys. He was a school-fellow not only of Churchill, the elder Colman, and Cumberland, buy also of Cowper and Warren Hastings. Bonnell Thornton was a few years their senior. Not many weeks after this meeting with Boswell, Lloyd was in the Fleet prison. Churchill in Indepence(Poems ii 310) thus addresses the Patrons of the age:—

'Hence, ye vain boasters, to the Fleet repair And ask, with blushes ask if Lloyd is there.'

Of the four men who thus enlivened Boswell, two were dead before the end of the following year. Churchill went first. When Lloyd heard of his death, '"I shall follow poor Charles," was all he said, as he went to the bed from which he never rose again.' Thornton lived three or four years longer, Forster's Essays, ii 217, 270, 289. See also his Life of Goldsmith i. 264, for an account how 'Lloyd invited Goldsmith to sup with some friends of Grub Street, and left him to pay the reckoning.' Thornton, Lloyd, Colman, Cowper, and Joseph Hill, to whom Cowper's famous Epistle was addressed, had at one time been members of the Nonsense Club. Southey's Cowper, i. 37.

[1164] The author of the well-known sermons, see post, under Dec. 21, 1776.

[1165] See post, under Dec. 9, 1784.

[1166] See post, Feb. 7, 1775, under Dec. 24, 1783, and Boswell's Hebrides, Nov. 10, 1773.

[1167] 'Sir,' he said to Reynolds, 'a man might write such stuff for ever, if he would abandon his mind to it;' post, under March 30, 1783.

[1168] 'Or behind the screen' some one might have added, ante, i. 163.

[1169] Wesley was told that a whole waggon-load of Methodists had been lately brought before a Justice of the Peace. When he asked what they were charged with, one replied, 'Why they pretended to be better than other people, and besides they prayed from morning to night.' Wesley's Journal, i. 361. See also post, 1780, near the end of Mr. Langton's Collection.

[1170] 'The progress which the understanding makes through a book has' he said, 'more pain than pleasure in it;' post, May 1, 1783.

[1171] Matthew, vi. 16.

[1172] Boswell, it is clear, in the early days of his acquaintance with Johnson often led the talk to this subject. See post, June 25, July 14, 21, and 28, 1763.

[1173] See post, April 7, 1778.

[1174] He finished his day, 'however late it might be,' by taking tea at Miss Williams's lodgings; post, July 1, 1763.

[1175] See post, under Feb. 15, 1766, Feb. 1767, March 20, 1776, and Boswell's Hebrides, Sept. 20, 1773, where Johnson says:—'I have been trying to cure my laziness all my life, and could not do it.' It was this kind of life that caused so much of the remorse which is seen in his Prayers and Meditations.

[1176] Horace Walpole writing on June 12, 1759 (Letters, iii. 231), says:—'A war that reaches from Muscovy to Alsace, and from Madras to California, don't produce an article half so long as Mr. Johnson's riding three horses at once.' I have a curious copper-plate showing Johnson standing on one, or two, and leading a third horse in full speed.' It bears the date of November 1758. See post, April 3, 1778.

[1177] In the impudent Correspondence (pp. 63, 65) which Boswell and Andrew Erskine published this year, Boswell shows why he wished to enter the Guards. 'My fondness for the Guards,' he writes, 'must appear very strange to you, who have a rooted antipathy at the glare of scarlet. But I must inform you, that there is a city called London, for which I have as violent an affection as the most romantic lover ever had for his mistress.... I am thinking of the brilliant scenes of happiness, which I shall enjoy as an officer of the guards. How I shall be acquainted with all the grandeur of a court, and all the elegance of dress and diversions; become a favourite of ministers of state, and the adoration of ladies of quality, beauty, and fortune! How many parties of pleasure shall I have in town! How many fine jaunts to the noble seats of dukes, lords, and members of parliament in the country! I am thinking of the perfect knowledge which I shall acquire of men and manners, of the intimacies which I shall have the honour to form with the learned and ingenious in every science, and of the many amusing literary anecdotes which I shall pick up,' etc. Boswell, in his Hebrides (Aug. 18, 1773), says of himself:—'His inclination was to be a soldier; but his father, a respectable Judge, had pressed him into the profession of the law.'

[1178] A row of tenements in the Strand, between Wych Street and Temple Bar, and 'so called from the butchers' shambles on the south side.' (Strype, B. iv. p. 118.) Butcher Row was pulled down in 1813, and the present Pickett Street erected in its stead. P. CUNNINGHAM. In Humphry Clinker, in the letter of June 10, one of the poor authors is described as having been 'reduced to a woollen night-cap and living upon sheep's-trotters, up three pair of stairs backward in Butcher Row.'

[1179] Cibber was poet-laureate from 1730 to 1757. Horace Walpole describes him as 'that good humoured and honest veteran, so unworthily aspersed by Pope, whose Memoirs, with one or two of his comedies, will secure his fame, in spite of all the abuse of his contemporaries.' His successor Whitehead, Walpole calls 'a man of a placid genius.' Reign of George II, iii. 81. See ante, pp. 149, 185, and post, Oct. 19, 1769, May 15, 1776, and Sept. 21, 1777.

[1180] The following quotations show the difference of style in the two poets:—


'When her pride, fierce in arms, Would to Europe give law; At her cost let her come, To our cheer of huzza! Not lightning with thunder more terrible darts, Than the burst of huzza from our bold British hearts.'

Gent. Mag. xxv. 515.


'Ye guardian powers, to whose command, At Nature's birth, th' Almighty mind The delegated task assign'd To watch o'er Albion's favour'd land, What time your hosts with choral lay, Emerging from its kindred deep, Applausive hail'd each verdant steep, And white rock, glitt'ring to the new-born day!'

Ib. xxix. 32.

[1181] See ante, p. 167.

[1182] 'Whitehead was for some while Garrick's "reader" of new plays for Drury-lane.' Forster's Goldsmith, ii. 41. See post, April 25, 1778, note. The verses to Garrick are given in Chalmers's English Poets, xvii. 222.

[1183] 'In 1757 Gray published The Progress of Poetry and The Bard, two compositions at which the readers of poetry were at first content to gaze in mute amazement. Some that tried them confessed their inability to understand them.... Garrick wrote a few lines in their praise. Some hardy champions undertook to rescue them from neglect; and in a short time many were content to be shown beauties which they could not see.' Johnson's Works, viii. 478. See post, March 28, and April 2, 1775, and 1780 in Mr. Langton's Collection. Goldsmith, no doubt, attacked Gray among 'the misguided innovators,' of whom he said in his Life of Parnell:—'They have adopted a language of their own, and call upon mankind for admiration. All those who do not understand them are silent, and those who make out their meaning are willing to praise to show they understand.' Goldsmith's Misc. Works, iv. 22.

[1184] Johnson, perhaps, refers to the anonymous critic quoted by Mason in his notes on this Ode, who says:—'This abrupt execration plunges the reader into that sudden fearful perplexity which is designed to predominate through the whole.' Mason's Gray, ed. 1807, i. 96.

[1185] 'Of the first stanza [of The Bard] the abrupt beginning has been celebrated; but technical beauties can give praise only to the inventor. It is in the power of any man to rush abruptly upon his subject that has read the ballad of Johnny Armstrong.' Johnson's Works, viii. 485.

[1186] My friend Mr. Malone, in his valuable comments on Shakspeare, has traced in that great poet the disjecta membra of these lines. BOSWELL. Gray, in the edition of The Bard of the year 1768, in a note on these lines had quoted from King John, act v. sc. 1:—'Mocking the air with colours idly spread.' Gosse's Gray, i. 41. But Malone quotes also from Macbeth, act i. sc. 2:—

'Where the Norweyan banners flout the sky And fan our people cold.'

'Out of these passages,' he said, 'Mr. Gray seems to have framed the first stanza of his celebrated Ode.' Malone's Shakespeare, xv. 344.

[1187] Cradock records (Memoirs, 1.230) that Goldsmith said to him:—'You are so attached to Kurd, Gray, and Mason, that you think nothing good can proceed but out of that formal school;—now, I'll mend Gray's Elegy by leaving out an idle word in every line.

"The curfew tolls the knell of day, The lowing herd winds o'er the lea The ploughman homeward plods his way And—-"

Enough, enough, I have no ear for more.'

[1188] So, less than two years later, Boswell opened his mind to Paoli. 'My time passed here in the most agreeable manner. I enjoyed a sort of luxury of noble sentiment. Paoli became more affable with me. I made myself known to him.' Boswell's Corsica, p. 167.

[1189] See ante, p. 67.

[1190] See post, Sept. 22, 1777.

[1191] See post, March 30, 1778, where in speaking of the appearance of spirits after death he says:—'All argument is against it; but all belief is for it.' See also ante, p. 343, and post, April 15, 1778, under May 4, 1779, April 15, 1781, and June 12, 1784.

[1192] The caricature begins:—

'Pomposo, insolent and loud Vain idol of a scribbling crowd, Whose very name inspires an awe Whose ev'ry word is Sense and Law.'

Churchill's Poems, i. 216.

[1193] The chief impostor, a man of the name of Parsons, had, it should seem, set his daughter to play the part of the ghost in order to pay out a grudge against a man who had sued him for a debt. The ghost was made to accuse this man of poisoning his sister-in-law, and to declare that she should only be at ease in her mind if he were hanged. 'When Parsons stood on the Pillory at the end of Cock Lane, instead of being pelted, he had money given him.' Gent. Mag. xxxii. 43, 82, and xxxiii. 144.

[1194] Horace Walpole, writing on Feb. 2, 1762 (Letters, iii. 481), says:—'I could send you volumes on the Ghost, and I believe, if I were to stay a little, I might send its life, dedicated to my Lord Dartmouth, by the Ordinary of Newgate, its two great patrons. A drunken parish clerk set it on foot out of revenge, the Methodists have adopted it, and the whole town of London think of nothing else.... I went to hear it, for it is not an apparition, but an audition, ... the Duke of York, Lady Northumberland, Lady Mary Coke, Lord Hertford, and I, all in one Hackney-coach: it rained torrents; yet the lane was full of mob, and the house so full we could not get in.' See post, April 10, 1778.

[1195] Described by Goldsmith in Retaliation as 'The scourge of impostors, the terror of quacks.' See ante, p. 229.

[1196] The account was as follows:—'On the night of the 1st of February [1762] many gentlemen eminent for their rank and character were, by the invitation of the Reverend Mr. Aldrich, of Clerkenwell, assembled at his house, for the examination of the noises supposed to be made by a departed spirit, for the detection of some enormous crime.

'About ten at night the gentlemen met in the chamber in which the girl, supposed to be disturbed by a spirit, had, with proper caution, been put to bed by several ladies. They sat rather more than an hour, and hearing nothing, went down stairs, when they interrogated the father of the girl, who denied, in the strongest terms, any knowledge or belief of fraud.

'The supposed spirit had before publickly promised, by an affirmative knock, that it would attend one of the gentlemen into the vault under the Church of St. John, Clerkenwell, where the body is deposited, and give a token of her presence there, by a knock upon her coffin; it was therefore determined to make this trial of the existence or veracity of the supposed spirit.

'While they were enquiring and deliberating, they were summoned into the girl's chamber by some ladies who were near her bed, and who had heard knocks and scratches. When the gentlemen entered, the girl declared that she felt the spirit like a mouse upon her back, and was required to hold her hands out of bed. From that time, though the spirit was very solemnly required to manifest its existence by appearance, by impression on the hand or body of any present, by scratches, knocks, or any other agency, no evidence of any preter-natural power was exhibited.

'The spirit was then very seriously advertised that the person to whom the promise was made of striking the coffin, was then about to visit the vault, and that the performance of the promise was then claimed. The company at one o'clock went into the church, and the gentleman to whom the promise was made, went with another into the vault. The spirit was solemnly required to perform its promise, but nothing more than silence ensued: the person supposed to be accused by the spirit, then went down with several others, but no effect was perceived. Upon their return they examined the girl, but could draw no confession from her. Between two and three she desired and was permitted to go home with her father.

'It is, therefore, the opinion of the whole assembly, that the child has some art of making or counterfeiting a particular noise, and that there is no agency of any higher cause.' BOSWELL. Gent. Mag. xxxii. 81. The following MS. letter is in the British Museum:—


The appointment for the examination stands as it did when I saw you last, viz., between 8 and 9 this evening. Mr. Johnson was applied to by a friend of mine soon after you left him, and promised to be with us. Should be glad, if convenient, you'd show him the way hither. Mrs. Oakes, of Dr. Macauley's recommendation, I should be glad to have here on the occasion; and think it would do honour to the list of examiners to have Dr. Macauley with us.

I am, Dear Sir, your most obedient servant, STE. ALDRICH.

If Dr Macauley can conveniently attend, should be glad you'd acquaint Lord Dartmouth with it, who seemed to be at loss to recommend a gentleman of the faculty at his end of the town.

St. John's Square. Monday noon.

To the Revd. Dr. Douglas.'

Endorsed 'Mr. Aldrich, Feb. 1762, about the Cock Lane ghost.—Examination at his house.'

[1197] Boswell was with Paoli when news came that a Corsican under sentence of death 'had consented to accept of his life, upon condition of becoming hangman. This made a great noise among the Corsicans, who were enraged at the creature, and said their nation was now disgraced. Paoli did not think so. He said to me:—"I am glad of this. It will be of service. It will contribute to form us to a just subordination. As we must have Corsican tailours, and Corsican shoemakers, we must also have a Corsican hangman."' Boswell's Corsica, p. 201. See post, July 20 and 21, 1763, April 13, 1773, and March 28, 1775.

[1198] 'Mallet's Dramas had their day, a short day, and are forgotten.' Johnson's Works, viii. 468.

[1199] See ante, p. 384, note.

[1200] 'A man had heard that Dempster was very clever, and therefore expected that he could say nothing but good things. Being brought acquainted, Mr. Dempster said to him with much politeness, "I hope, Sir, your lady and family are well." "Ay, ay, man," said he, "pray where is the great wit in that speech?"' Boswelliana, p. 307. Mr. Dempster is mentioned by Burns in The Author's Earnest Cry and Prayer to the Scotch Representatives in the House of Commons:—'Dempster, a true-blue Scot I'se warran.' In 1769 he was elected member for the Forfar Boroughs. Parl. Hist. xvi. 453.

[1201] The Critical Review, in which Mallet himself sometimes wrote, characterised this pamphlet as 'the crude efforts of envy, petulance and self conceit.' There being thus three epithets, we, the three authours, had a humourous contention how each should be appropriated. BOSWELL.

[1202] Johnson (Works, ix. 86) talks of the chiefs 'gradually degenerating from patriarchal rulers to rapacious landlords.' In Boswell's Hebrides, the subject is often examined.

[1203] See ante, i. 365.

[1204] 'Dr. Burney spoke with great warmth of affection of Dr. Johnson; said he was the kindest creature in the world when he thought he was loved and respected by others. He would play the fool among friends, but he required deference. It was necessary to ask questions and make no assertion. If you said two and two make four, he would say, "How will you prove that, Sir?" Dr. Burney seemed amiably sensitive to every unfavourable remark on his old friend.' H. C. Robinson's Diary, iii. 485.

[1205] See post, April 24, 1777, note, and Oct. l0, 1779, where he consults Johnson about the study of Greek. He formed wishes, scarcely plans of study but never studied.

[1206] See post, Feb. 18, 1777. It was Graham who so insulted Goldsmith by saying:—''Tis not you I mean, Dr. Minor; 'tis Dr. Major there.' Boswell's Hebrides, Aug. 24, 1773.

[1207] See post, Sept. 19, 1777.

[1208] Of Mathematics Goldsmith wrote:—'This seems a science to which the meanest intellects are equal.' See post, March 15, 1776, note.

[1209] In his Present State of Polite Learning, ch. 13 (Misc. Works, i. 266), Goldsmith writes:—'A man who is whirled through Europe in a post-chaise, and the pilgrim who walks the grand tour on foot, will form very different conclusions. Haud inexpertus loquor.' The last three words are omitted in the second edition.

[1210] George Primrose in the Vicar of Wakefield (ch. 20), after describing these disputations, says:—'In this manner I fought my way towards England.'

[1211] Dr. Warton wrote to his brother on Jan. 22, 1766:—'Of all solemn coxcombs Goldsmith is the first; yet sensible—but affects to use Johnson's hard words in conversation.' Wooll's Warton, p. 312.

[1212] It was long believed that the author of one of Goldsmith's early works was Lord Lyttelton. '"Whenever I write anything," said Goldsmith, "I think the public make a point to know nothing about it." So the present book was issued as a History of England in a series of Letters from a Nobleman to his Son. The persuasion at last became general that the author was Lord Lyttelton, and the name of that grave good lord is occasionally still seen affixed to it on the bookstalls.' Forster's Goldsmith, i. 301. The Traveller was the first of his works to which he put his name. It was published in 1764. 16. p. 364.

[1213] Published in 1759.

[1214] Published in 1760-1.

[1215] See his Epitaph in Westminster Abbey, written by Dr. Johnson. BOSWELL.

'Qui nullum fere scribendi genus Non tetigit, Nullum quod tetigit non ornavit.'

Post, under June 22, 1776.

[1216] In allusion to this, Mr. Horace Walpole, who admired his writings, said he was 'an inspired ideot;' and Garrick described him as one

'——for shortness call'd Noll, Who wrote like an angel, and talk'd like poor Poll.'

Sir Joshua Reynolds mentioned to me that he frequently heard Goldsmith talk warmly of the pleasure of being liked, and observe how hard it would be if literary excellence should preclude a man from that satisfaction, which he perceived it often did, from the envy which attended it; and therefore Sir Joshua was convinced that he was intentionally more absurd, in order to lessen himself in social intercourse, trusting that his character would be sufficiently supported by his works. If it indeed was his intention to appear absurd in company, he was often very successful. But with due deference to Sir Joshua's ingenuity, I think the conjecture too refined. BOSWELL.

Horace Walpole's saying of the 'inspired ideot' is recorded in Davies's Garrick, ii. 151. Walpole, in his Letters, describes Goldsmith as 'a changeling that has had bright gleams of parts,' (v. 458); 'a fool, the more wearing for having some sense,' (vi. 29); 'a poor soul that had sometimes parts, though never common sense,' (ib. p. 73); and 'an idiot, with once or twice a fit of parts,' (ib. p. 379). Garrick's lines—

'Here lies Nolly Goldsmith, for shortness called Noll, Who wrote like an angel, but talked like poor Poll,'

are his imaginary epitaph on Goldsmith, which, with the others, gave rise to Retaliation. Forster's Goldsmith, ii. 405.

[1217] Rousseau accounting for the habit he has 'de balbutier promptement des paroles sans ides,' continues, 'je crois que voil de quoi faire assez comprendre comment n'tant pas un sot, j'ai cependant souvent pass pour l'tre, mme chez des gens en tat de bien juger.... Le parti que j'ai pris d'crire et de me cacher est prcisment celui qui me convenait. Moi prsent on n'aurait jamais su ce que je valois, on ne l'aurait pas soupconn mme.' Les Confessions, Livre iii. See post, April 27, 1773, where Boswell admits that 'Goldsmith was often very fortunate in his witty contests, even when he entered the lists with Johnson himself:' and April 30, 1773, where Reynolds says of him: 'There is no man whose company is more liked.'

[1218] Northcote, a few weeks before his death, said to Mr. Prior:—'When Goldsmith entered a room, Sir, people who did not know him became for a moment silent from awe of his literary reputation; when he came out again, they were riding upon his back.' Prior's Goldsmith, i. 440. According to Dr. Percy:—'His face was marked with strong lines of thinking. His first appearance was not captivating; but when he grew easy and cheerful in company, he relaxed into such a display of good humour as soon removed every unfavourable impression.' Goldsmith's Misc. Works, i. 117.

[1219] 'Dr. Goldsmith told me, he himself envied Shakespeare.' Walpole's Letters, vi. 379. Boswell, later on (post, May 9, 1773), says:—'In my opinion Goldsmith had not more of it [an envious disposition] than other people have, but only talked of it freely.' See also post, April 12, 1778. According to Northcote, 'Sir Joshua said that Goldsmith considered public notoriety or fame as one great parcel, to the whole of which he laid claim, and whoever partook of any part of it, whether dancer, singer, slight of hand man, or tumbler, deprived him of his right.' Northcote's Reynolds, i. 248. See post, April 7, 1778, where Johnson said that 'Goldsmith was not an agreeable companion, for he talked always for fame;' and April 9, 1778.

[1220] Miss Hornecks, one of whom is now married to Henry Bunbury, Esq., and the other to Colonel Gwyn. BOSWELL.

[1221] 'Standing at the window of their hotel [in Lisle] to see a company of soldiers in the Square, the beauty of the sisters Horneck drew such marked admiration, that Goldsmith, heightening his drollery with that air of solemnity so generally a point in his humour and so often more solemnly misinterpreted, turned off from the window with the remark that elsewhere he too could have his admirers. The Jessamy Bride, Mrs. Gwyn, was asked about the occurrence not many years ago; remembered it as a playful jest; and said how shocked she had subsequently been "to see it adduced in print as a proof of his envious disposition."' Forster's Goldsmith, ii. 217.

[1222] Puppets.

[1223] He went home with Mr. Burke to supper; and broke his shin by attempting to exhibit to the company how much better he could jump over a stick than the puppets. BOSWELL. Mr. Hoole was one day in a coach with Johnson, when 'Johnson, who delighted in rapidity of pace, and had been speaking of Goldsmith, put his head out of one of the windows to see they were going right, and rubbing his hands with an air of satisfaction exclaimed:—"This man drives fast and well; were Goldsmith here now he would tell us he could do better."' Prior's Goldsmith, ii. 127.

[1224] See post, April 9, 1773; also April 9, 1778, where Johnson says, 'Goldsmith had no settled notions upon any subject.'

[1225] I am willing to hope that there may have been some mistake as to this anecdote, though I had it from a Dignitary of the Church. Dr. Isaac Goldsmith, his near relation, was Dean of Cloyne, in 1747. BOSWELL. This note first appears in the second edition.

[1226] Mr. Welsh, in A Bookseller of the Last Century, p. 58, quotes the following entry from an account-book of B. Collins of Salisbury, the printer of the first edition of the Vicar:—'Vicar of Wakefield, 2 vols. 12mo., 1/3rd. B. Collins, Salisbury, bought of Dr. Goldsmith, the author, October 28, 1762, 21.' Goldsmith, it should seem from this, as Collins's third share was worth twenty guineas, was paid not sixty pounds, but sixty guineas. Collins shared in many of the ventures of Newbery, Goldsmith's publisher. Mr. Welsh says (ib. p. 61) that Collins's accounts show 'that the first three editions resulted in a loss.' If this was so, the booksellers must have been great bunglers, for the book ran through three editions in six or seven months. Forster's Goldsmith, i. 425.

[1227] The Traveller (price one shilling and sixpence) was published in December 1764, and The Vicar of Wakefield in March 1766. In August 1765 the fourth edition of The Traveller appeared, and the ninth in the year Goldsmith died. He received for it 21. Forster's Goldsmith, i. 364, 374, 409. See ante, p. 193, note i.

[1228] '"Miss Burney," said Mrs. Thrale [to Dr. Johnson], "is fond of The Vicar of Wakefield, and so am I. Don't you like it, Sir?" "No, madam, it is very faulty; there is nothing of real life in it, and very little of nature. It is a mere fanciful performance."' Mme. D'Arblay's Diary, i. 83. 'There are a hundred faults in this Thing,' said Goldsmith in the preface, 'and a hundred things might be said to prove them beauties. But it is needless. A book may be amusing with numerous errors, or it may be very dull without a single absurdity.' See post, April 25, 1778.

[1229] Anecdotes of Johnson, p. 119. BOSWELL.

[1230] Life of Johnson, p. 420. BOSWELL.

[1231] In his imprudence he was like Savage, of whom Johnson says (Works, viii. 161):—'To supply him with money was a hopeless attempt; for no sooner did he see himself master of a sum sufficient to set him free from care for a day, than he became profuse and luxurious.' When Savage was 'lodging in the liberties of the Fleet, his friends sent him every Monday a guinea, which he commonly spent before the next morning, and trusted, after his usual manner, the remaining part of the week to the bounty of fortune.' Ib. p. 170.

[1232] It may not be improper to annex here Mrs. Piozzi's account of this transaction, in her own words, as a specimen of the extreme inaccuracy with which all her anecdotes of Dr. Johnson are related, or rather discoloured and distorted:—'I have forgotten the year, but it could scarcely, I think, be later than 1765 or 1766 that he was called abruptly from our house after dinner, and returning in about three hours, said he had been with an enraged authour, whose landlady pressed him for payment within doors, while the bailiffs beset him without; that he was drinking himself drunk with Madeira, to drown care, and fretting over a novel, which, when finished, was to be his whole fortune, but he could not get it done for distraction, nor could he step out of doors to offer it for sale. Mr. Johnson, therefore, sent away the bottle, and went to the bookseller, recommending the performance, and desiring some immediate relief; which when he brought back to the writer, he called the 'woman of the house directly to partake of punch, and pass their time in merriment.' Anecdotes of Dr. Johnson, p. 119. BOSWELL. The whole transaction took place in 1762, as is shown, ante, p. 415, note 1; Johnson did not know the Thrales till 1764.

[1233] Through Goldsmith Boswell became acquainted with Reynolds. In his Letter to the People of Scotland (p. 99), he says:—'I exhort you, my friends and countrymen, in the words of my departed Goldsmith, who gave me many nodes Atticae, and gave me a jewel of the finest water—the acquaintance of Sir Joshua Reynolds.'

[1234] See post, July 30, 1763.

[1235] See post, March 20, 1776, and Boswell's Hebrides, Oct. 17, 1773.

[1236] See post, March 15, 1776.

[1237] 'Dr. Campbell was an entertaining story-teller, which [sic] sometimes he rather embellished; so that the writer of this once heard Dr. Johnson say:—"Campbell will lie, but he never lies on paper."' Gent. Mag. for 1785, p. 969.

[1238] I am inclined to think that he was misinformed as to this circumstance. I own I am jealous for my worthy friend Dr. John Campbell. For though Milton could without remorse absent himself from publick worship [Johnson's Works, vii. 115] I cannot. On the contrary, I have the same habitual impressions upon my mind, with those of a truely venerable Judge, who said to Mr. Langton, 'Friend Langton, if I have not been at church on Sunday, I do not feel myself easy.' Dr. Campbell was a sincerely religious man. Lord Macartney, who is eminent for his variety of knowledge, and attention to men of talents, and knew him well, told me, that when he called on him in a morning, he found him reading a chapter in the Greek New Testament, which he informed his Lordship was his constant practice. The quantity of Dr. Campbell's composition is almost incredible, and his labours brought him large profits. Dr. Joseph Warton told me that Johnson said of him, 'He is the richest authour that ever grazed the common of literature.' BOSWELL.

[1239] See post, April 7, 1778. Campbell complied with one of the Monita Padagogica of Erasmus. 'Si quem praeteribis natu grandem, magistratum, sacerdotem, doctorem.... memento aperire caput.... Itidem facito quum praeteribis asdem sacram.' Erasmus's Colloquies, ed. 1867, i. 36.

[1240] Reynolds said of Johnson:—'He was not easily imposed upon by professions to honesty and candour; but he appeared to have little suspicion of hypocrisy in religion.' Taylor's Reynolds, ii. 459. Boswell, in one of his penitent letters, wrote to Temple on July 21, 1790:—'I am even almost inclined to think with you, that my great oracle Johnson did allow too much credit to good principles, without good practice.' Letters of Boswell, p. 327.

[1241] Campbell lived in 'the large new-built house at the north-west-corner of Queen Square, Bloomsbury, whither, particularly on a Sunday evening, great numbers of persons of the first eminence for science and literature resorted for the enjoyment of conversation.' Hawkins's Johnson, p. 210.

[1242] Churchill, in his first poem, The Rosciad (Poems, i. 4), mentions Johnson without any disrespect among those who were thought of as judge.

'For Johnson some, but Johnson, it was feared, Would be too grave; and Sterne too gay appeared.'

In The Author (ib. ii. 36), if I mistake not, he grossly alludes to the convulsive disorder to which Johnson was subject. Attacking the pensioners he says—the italics are his own:—

'Others, half-palsied only, mutes become, And what makes Smollett write makes Johnson dumb.'

[1243] See post, April 6, 1772, where Johnson called Fielding a blockhead.

[1244] Churchill published his first poem, The Rosciad, in March or April 1761 (Gent. Mag. xxxi. 190); The Apology in May or June (Ib. p. 286); Night in Jan. 1762 (Ib. xxxii. 47); The First and Second Parts of The Ghost in March (ib. p. 147); The Third Part in the autumn (ib. p. 449); The Prophecy of Famine in Jan. 1763 (ib. xxxiii. 47), and The Epistle to Hogarth in this month of July (ib. p. 363). He wrote the fourth part of The Ghost, and nine more poems, and died on Nov. 4, 1764, aged thirty-two or thirty-three.

[1245] 'Cowper had a higher opinion of Churchill than of any other contemporary writer. "It is a great thing," he said, "to be indeed a poet, and does not happen to more than one man in a century; but Churchill, the great Churchill, deserved that name." He made him, more than any other writer, his model.' Southey's Cowper, i. 87, 8.

[1246] Mr. Forster says that 'Churchill asked five guineas for the manuscript of The Rosciad (according to Southey, but Mr. Tooke says he asked twenty pounds).' Finding no purchaser he brought the poem out at his own risk. Mr. Forster continues:—'The pulpit had starved him on forty pounds a year; the public had given him a thousand pounds in two months.' Forster's Essays, ii. 226, 240. As The Rosciad was sold at one shilling a copy, it seems incredible that such a gain could have been made, even with the profits of The Apology included. 'Blotting and correcting was so much Churchill's abhorrence that I have heard from his publisher he once energetically expressed himself, that it was like cutting away one's own flesh.' D'Israeli's Curiosities of Literature, ed. 1834, iii. 129. D'Israeli 'had heard that after a successful work he usually precipitated the publication of another, relying on its crudeness being passed over by the public curiosity excited by its better brother. He called this getting double pay, for thus he secured the sale of a hurried work.'

[1247] In the opening lines of Gotham, Bk. iii, there is a passage of great beauty and tenderness.

[1248] In 1769 I set Thornton's burlesque Ode. It was performed at Ranelagh in masks, to a very crowded audience, as I was told; for I then resided in Norfolk. BURNEY. Dr. Burney's note cannot be correct. He came to reside in London in 1760 (Memoirs of Dr. Burney, i. 133) The Ode is in the list of 'new books, published' in the Gent. Mag. for June 1763, and is described as having been performed at Ranelagh.

[1249] The Connoisseur was started by Thornton and Colman in 1754. Cowper and Lloyd were contributors. Southey's Cowper, i. 46, 49, 65.

[1250] See ante, p. 350, note.

[1251] See post, Aug. 2, 1763, and Oct. 26, 1769.

[1252] See post. Sept. 20, 1777, note.

[1253] The northern bard mentioned page 421. When I asked Dr. Johnson's permission to introduce him, he obligingly agreed; adding, however, with a sly pleasantry, 'but he must give us none of his poetry.' It is remarkable that Johnson and Churchill, however much they differed in other points, agreed on this subject. See Churchill's Journey.

['Under dark Allegory's flimsy veil Let Them with Ogilvie spin out a tale Of rueful length,' Churchill's Poems, ii. 329.]

It is, however, but justice to Dr. Ogilvie to observe, that his Day of Judgement has no inconsiderable share of merit. BOSWELL.

[1254] 'Johnson said:—"Goldsmith should not be for ever attempting to shine in conversation."' Post, April 27, 1773. See also post, May 7, 1773.

[1255] Fifteen years later Lord George Germaine, Secretary of State, asserted in a debate 'that the King "was his own Minister," which Charles Fox took up admirably, lamenting that His Majesty "was his own unadvised Minister."' Walpole's Journal of the Reign of George III, ii. 314.

[1256] 'The general story of mankind will evince that lawful and settled authority is very seldom resisted when it is well employed.... Men are easily kept obedient to those who have temporal dominion in their hands, till their veneration is dissipated by such wickedness and folly as can neither be defended nor concealed.' The Rambler, No. 50. See post, March 31, 1772.

[1257] 'It is natural to believe ... that no writer has a more easy task than the historian. The philosopher has the works of omniscience to examine.... The poet trusts to his invention.... But the happy historian has no other labour than of gathering what tradition pours down before him, or records treasure for his use.' The Rambler, No. 122.

[1258] See Boswell's Hebrides, Aug. 21, 1773.

[1259] 'Arbuthnot was a man of great comprehension, skilful in his profession, versed in the sciences, acquainted with ancient literature, and able to animate his mass of knowledge by a bright and active imagination; a scholar with great brilliancy of wit; a wit, who in the crowd of life retained and discovered a noble ardour of religious zeal.' Johnson's Works, viii. 296.

[1260] Goldsmith wrote from Edinburgh in 1753:—'Shall I tire you with a description of this unfruitful country, where I must lead you over their hills all brown with heath, or their vallies scarce able to feed a rabbit? Man alone seems to be the only creature who has arrived to the natural size in this poor soil. Every part of the country presents the same dismal landscape.' Forster's Goldsmith, i. 433.

[1261] See Boswell's Hebrides, Nov. 10, 1773.

[1262] Johnson would suffer none of his friends to fill up chasms in conversation with remarks on the weather: 'Let us not talk of the weather.' BURNEY.

[1263] See ante, p. 332.

[1264] Boswell wrote to Temple on Sept. 9, 1767:—'How unaccountable is it that my father and I should be so ill together! He is a man of sense and a man of worth; but from some unhappy turn in his disposition he is much dissatisfied with a son whom you know. I write to him with warmth, with an honest pride, wishing that he should think of me as I am; but my letters shock him, and every expression in them is interpreted unfavourably. To give you an instance, I send you a letter I had from him a few days ago. How galling is it to the friend of Paoli to be treated so! I have answered him in my own style; I will be myself.' Letters of Boswell, p. 110. In the following passage in one of his Hypochondriacks he certainly describes his father. 'I knew a father who was a violent Whig, and used to attack his son for being a Tory, upbraiding him with being deficient in "noble sentiments of liberty," while at the same time he made this son live under his roof in such bondage, that he was not only afraid to stir from home without leave, like a child, but durst scarcely open his mouth in his father's presence. This was sad living. Yet I would rather see such an excess of awe than a degree of familiarity between father and son by which all reverence is destroyed.' London Mag. 1781, p. 253.

[1265] Boswell, the day after this talk, wrote:—'I have had a long letter from my father, full of affection and good counsel. Honest man! he is now very happy: it is amazing to think how much he has had at heart, my pursuing the road of civil life.' Letters of Boswell, p. 25.

[1266] Gray, says Nicholls, 'disliked all poetry in blank verse, except Milton.' Gray's Works, ed. 1858, v. 36. Goldsmith, in his Present State of Polite Learning (ch. xi.), wrote in 1759:—'From a desire in the critic of grafting the spirit of ancient languages upon the English have proceeded of late several disagreeable instances of pedantry. Among the number, I think, we may reckon blank verse. Nothing but the greatest sublimity of subject can render such a measure pleasing; however, we now see it used upon the most trivial occasions.' On the same page he speaks of 'the tuneless flow of our blank verse.' See post, 1770, in Dr. Maxwell's Collectanea and the beginning of 1781, under The Life of Milton, for Johnson's opinion of blank verse.

[1267] 'Johnson told me, that one day in London, when Dr. Adam Smith was boasting of Glasgow, he turned to him and said, "Pray, Sir, have you ever seen Brentford?'" Boswell's Hebrides, Oct. 29, 1773. See post, April 29, 1778.

[1268] 'He advised me to read just as inclination prompted me, which alone, he said, would do me any good; for I had better go into company than read a set task. He said, too, that I should prescribe to myself five hours a day, and in these hours gratify whatever literary desires may spring up.' Letters of Boswell, p. 28. The Editor of these Letters compares Tranio's advice:—

'No profit grows where is no pleasure ta'en: In brief, Sir, study what you most affect.'

Taming of the Shrew, act i. sc. I.

'Johnson used to say that no man read long together with a folio on his table. "Books," said he, "that you may carry to the fire, and hold readily in your hand, are the most useful after all."' Johnson's Works (1787), xi. 197. See also The Idler, No. 67, and post, April 12, 1776, and under Sept. 22, 1777.

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