Life Of Johnson, Vol. 1
by Boswell
Previous Part     1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  16
Home - Random Browse

[1269] Wilkes, among others, had attacked him in Aug. 1762 in The North Briton, Nos. xi. and xii.

[1270] When I mentioned the same idle clamour to him several years afterwards, he said, with a smile, 'I wish my pension were twice as large, that they might make twice as much noise.' BOSWELL.

[1271] In one thing at least he was changed. He could now indulge in the full bent, to use his own words (Works, viii. l36), 'that inquisitiveness which must always be produced in a vigorous mind, by an absolute freedom from all pressing or domestick engagements.'

[1272] See post, April 13, 1773, Sept. 17 and 19, 1777, March 21, 1783, and June 9, 1784. Lord Shelburne says:—'After the Revolution the Tory and Jacobite parties had become almost identified by their together opposing the Court for so many years, and still more by the persecution which they suffered in common, for it was the policy of Sir Robert Walpole to confound them as much as possible, so as to throw the Jacobite odium upon every man who opposed government.' Fitzmaurice's Shelburne, i. 35. Lord Bolingbroke (Works, iii. 28) complains that the writers on the side of the ministry 'frequently throw out that every man is a friend to the Pretender who is not a friend of Walpole.'

[1273] See post, April 6, 1775

[1274] Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides, 3rd edit. p. 402 [Nov. 10]. BOSWELL.

[1275] Mr. Walmsley died in 1751 (ante, p. 81). Johnson left Lichfield in 1737. Unless Mr. Walmsley after 1737 visited London from time to time, he can scarcely be meant.

[1276] See ante, p. 336.

[1277] He used to tell, with great humour, from my relation to him, the following little story of my early years, which was literally true: 'Boswell, in the year 1745, was a fine boy, wore a white cockade, and prayed for King James, till one of his uncles (General Cochran) gave him a shilling on condition that he should pray for King George, which he accordingly did. So you see (says Boswell) that Whigs of all ages are made the same way.' BOSWELL. Johnson, in his Dictionary under Whiggism, gives only one quotation, namely, from Swift: 'I could quote passages from fifty pamphlets, wholly made up of whiggism and atheism.' See post, April 28, 1778, where he said: 'I have always said, the first Whig was the Devil;' and Boswell's Hebrides, Oct. 21 and Nov. 8, 1773. To Johnson's sayings might be opposed one of Lord Chatham's in the House of Lords: 'There are some distinctions which are inherent in the nature of things. There is a distinction between right and wrong—between Whig and Tory.' Parl. Hist. xvi. 1107.

[1278] Letter to Rutland on Travel, 16mo. 1569. BOSWELL. This letter is contained in a little volume entitled, Profitable Instructions; describing what special observations are to be taken by travellers in all nations, states and countries; pleasant and profitable. By the three much admired, Robert, late Earl of Essex, Sir Philip Sidney, and Secretary Davison. London. Printed for Benjamin Fisher, at the Sign of the Talbot, without Aldersgate. 1633. (Lowndes gives the date of 1613, but the earliest edition seems to be this of 1633.) The letter from which Boswell quotes is entitled, The late E. of E. his advice to the E. of R. in his Travels. It is dated Greenwich, Jan. 4, 1596. Mr. Spedding (Bacon's Works, ix. 4) suggests that 'it may have been (wholly or in part) written by Bacon.'

[1279] Boswell (Boswelliana, p. 210) says that this 'impudent fellow' was Macpherson.

[1280] Boswell repeated this saying and some others to Paoli. 'I felt an elation of mind to see Paoli delighted with the sayings of Mr. Johnson, and to hear him translate them with Italian energy to the Corsican heroes.' Here Boswell describes the person as 'a certain authour.' Boswell's Corsica, p. 199

[1281] Boswell thus takes him off in his comic poem The Court of Session Garland:—

'"This cause," cries Hailes, "to judge I can't pretend, For justice, I percieve, wants an e at the end."'

Mr. R. Chambers, in a note on this, says:—'A story is told of Lord Hailes once making a serious objection to a law-paper, an in consequence to the whole suit, on account of the word justice being thus spelt. Traditions of Edinburgh, ii. 161. Burke says that he 'found him to be a clever man, and generally knowing.' Burke's Corres. iii. 301. See ante p. 267, and post May 12, 1774 and Boswell's Hebrides, Aug. 17, 1773.

[1282] 'Ita feri ut se mori sentiat.' Suetonius, Caligula, chap. xxx.

[1283] Johnson himself was constantly purposing to keep a journal. On April 11, 1773, he told Boswell 'that he had twelve or fourteen times attempted to keep a journal of his life,' post, April 11, 1773. The day before he had recorded:—'I hope from this time to keep a journal.' Pr. and Med. p. 124. Like records follow, as:—'Sept. 24, 1773. My hope is, for resolution I dare no longer call it, to divide my time regularly, and to keep such a journal of my time, as may give me comfort in reviewing it.' Ib. p. 132. 'April 6, 1777. My purpose once more is To keep a journal.' Ib. p. 161. 'Jan. 2, 1781. My hope is To keep a journal.' Ib. p. 188. See also post, April 14, 1775, and April 10, 1778.

[1284] Boswell, when he was only eighteen, going with his father to the [Scotch] Northern Circuit, 'kept,' he writes, 'an exact journal.' Letters of Boswell, p. 8. In the autumn of 1762 he also kept a journal which he sent to Temple to read. Ib. p. 19.

[1285] 'It has been well observed, that the misery of man proceeds not from any single crush of overwhelming evil, but from small vexations continually repeated.' Johnson's Works, viii. 333. 'The main of life is indeed composed of small incidents and petty occurrences.' Ib. ii. 322. Dr. Franklin (Memoirs, i. 199) says:—'Human felicity is produced not so much by great pieces of good fortune that seldom happen as by little advantages that occur every day.'

[1286] Boswell wrote the next day:—'We sat till between two and three. He took me by the hand cordially, and said, "My dear Boswell, I love you very much." Now Temple, can I help indulging vanity?' Letters of Boswell, p. 27. Fourteen years later Boswell was afraid that he kept Johnson too late up. 'No, Sir,' said he, 'I don't care though I sit all night with you.' Post, Sept. 23, 1777. See also post, April 7, 1779, where Johnson, speaking of these early days, said to Boswell, 'it was not the wine that made your head ache, but the sense that I put into it.'

[1287] Tuesday was the 19th.

[1288] 'The elder brother of the first Lord Rokeby, called long Sir Thomas Robinson, on account of his height, and to distinguish him from Sir Thomas Robinson, first Lord Grantham. It was on his request for an epigram that Lord Chesterfield made the distich:—

"Unlike my subject will I make my song, It shall be witty, and it shan't be long,"

and to whom he said in his last illness, "Ah, Sir Thomas, it will be sooner over with me than it would be with you, for I am dying by inches." Lord Chesterfield was very short.' CROKER. Southey, writing of Rokeby Hall, which belonged to Robinson, says that 'Long Sir Thomas found a portrait of Richardson in the house; thinking Mr. Richardson a very unfit personage to be suspended in effigy among lords, ladies, and baronets, he ordered the painter to put him on the star and blue riband, and then christened the picture Sir Robert Walpole.' Southey's Life, iii. 346. See also ante, p. 259 note 2, and post, 1770, near the end of Dr. Maxwell's Collectanea.

[1289] Johnson (Works, vi. 440) had written of Frederick the Great in 1756:—'His skill in poetry and in the French language has been loudly praised by Voltaire, a judge without exception if his honesty were equal to his knowledge.' Boswell, in his Hypochondriacks, records a conversation that he had with Voltaire on memory:—'I asked him if he could give me any notion of the situation of our ideas which we have totally forgotten at the time, yet shall afterwards recollect. He paused, meditated a little, and acknowledged his ignorance in the spirit of a philosophical poet by repeating as a very happy allusion a passage in Thomson's Seasons—"Aye," said he, "Where sleep the winds when it is calm?"' London Mag. 1783, p. 157. The passage is in Thomson's Winter, l. 116:—

'In what far-distant region of the sky, Hush'd in deep silence, sleep ye when 'tis calm?'

[1290] See post, ii. 54, note 3.

[1291] Bernard Lintot, the father, published Pope's Iliad and Odyssey. Over the sale of the Odyssey a quarrel arose between the two men. Johnson's Works, viii. 251, 274. Lintot is attacked in the Dunciad, i. 40 and ii. 53; He was High-Sheriff for Sussex in 1736—the year of his death. Gent. Mag. vi. 110. The son is mentioned in Johnson's Works, viii. 282.

[1292] 'July 19, 1763. I was with Mr. Johnson to-day. I was in his garret up four pair of stairs; it is very airy, commands a view of St. Paul's and many a brick roof. He has many good books, but they are all lying in confusion and dust.' Letters of Boswell, p. 30. On Good Friday, 1764, Johnson made the following entry:—'I hope to put my rooms in order: Disorder I have found one great cause of idleness.' On his birth-day in the same year he wrote:—'To-morrow I purpose to regulate my room.' Pr. and Med. pp. 50, 60.

[1293] See ante, p. 140, and post, under Sept. 9, 1779.

[1294] Afterwards Rector of Mamhead, Devonshire. He is the grandfather of the present Bishop of London. He and Boswell had been fellow-students at the University of Edinburgh, and seemed in youth to have had an equal amount of conceit. 'Recollect,' wrote Boswell, 'how you and I flattered ourselves that we were to be the greatest men of our age.' Letters of Boswell, p. 159. They began to correspond at least as early as 1758. The last letter was one from Boswell on his death-bed. Johnson thus mentions Temple (Works, viii. 480):—'Gray's character I am willing to adopt, as Mr. Mason has done, from a letter written to my friend Mr. Boswell by the Revd. Mr. Temple, Rector of St. Gluvias in Cornwall; and am as willing as his warmest well-wisher to believe it true.'

[1295] Johnson (Works, vii. 240) quotes the following by Edmund Smith, and written some time after 1708:—'It will sound oddly to posterity, that, in a polite nation, in an enlightened age, under the direction of the most literary property in 1710, whether by wise, most learned, and most generous encouragers of knowledge in the world, the property of a mechanick should be better secured than that of a scholar! that the poorest manual operations should be more valued than the noblest products of the brain! that it should be felony to rob a cobbler of a pair of shoes, and no crime to deprive the best authour of his whole subsistence! that nothing should make a man a sure title to his own writings but the stupidity of them!' See post, May 8, 1773, and Feb.7, 1774; and Boswell's Hebrides, Aug. 17 and 20, 1773.

[1296] The question arose, after the passing of the first statute respecting literary property in 1710, whether by certain of its provisions this perpetual copyright at common law was extinguished for the future. The question was solemnly argued before the Court of King's Bench, when Lord Mansfield presided, in 1769. The result was a decision in favour of the common-law right as unaltered by the statute, with the disapproval however of Mr. Justice Yates. In 1774 the same point was brought before the House of Lords, and the decision of the court below reversed by a majority of six judges in eleven, as Lord Mansfield, who adhered to the opinion of the minority, declined to interfere; it being very unusual, from motives of delicacy, for a peer to support his own judgment on appeal to the House of Lords. Penny Cylco. viii. I. See post, Feb. 7, 1774. Lord Shelburne, on Feb 27, 1774, humourously describes the scene in the Lords to the Earl of Chatham:—'Lord Mansfield showed himself the merest Captain Bobadil that, I suppose, ever existed in real life. You can, perhaps, imagine to yourself the Bishop of Carlyle, an old metaphysical head of a college, reading a paper, not a speech, out of an old sermon book, with very bad sight leaning on the table, Lord Mansfield sitting at it, with eyes of fixed melancholy looking at him, knowing that the bishop's were the only eyes in the House who could not meet his; the judges behind him, full of rage at being drawn into so absurd an opinion, and abandoned in it by their chief; the Bishops waking, as your Lordship knows they do, just before they vote, and staring on finding something the matter; while Lord Townshend was close to the bar, getting Mr. Dunning to put up his glass to look at the head of criminal justice.' Chatham Corres. iv. 327.

[1297] See post April 15 1778, note.

[1298] Dr. Franklin (Memoirs iii. 178), complaining of the high prices of English books, describes 'the excessive artifices made use of to puff up a paper of verses into a pamphlet, a pamphlet into an octavo, and an octavo into a quarto with white-lines, exorbitant margins, &c., to such a degree that the selling of paper seems now the object, and printing on it only the pretence.'

[1299] Boswell was on friendly terms with him. He wrote to Erskine on Dec. 2, 1761:—'I am just now returned from eating a most excellent pig with the most magnificent Donaldson.' Boswell and Erskine Correspondence, p. 20.

[1300] Dr. Carlyle (Auto. p. 516) says that Lord Mansfield this year (1769) 'talking of Hume and Robertson's Histories, said that though he could point out few or no faults in them, yet, when he was reading their books, he did not think he was reading English.' See post, ii. 72, for Hume's Scotticisms. Hume went to France in 1734 when he was 23 years old and stayed there three years. Hume's Autobiography, p. vii. He never mastered French colloquially. Lord Charlemont, who met him in Turin in 1748, says:—'His speech in English was rendered ridiculous by the broadest Scotch accent, and his French was, if possible, still more laughable.' Hardy's Charlemont, i. 15. Horace Walpole, who met him in Paris in 1765, writes (Letters, iv. 426):—'Mr. Hume is the only thing in the world that they [the French] believe implicitly; which they must do, for I defy them to understand any language that he speaks.' Gibbon (Misc. Works, i. 122) says of Hume's writings:—'Their careless inimitable beauties often forced me to close the volume with a mixed sensation of delight and despair.' Dr. Beattie (Life, p. 243) wrote on Jan. 5, 1778:—'We who live in Scotland are obliged to study English from books, like a dead language, which we understand, but cannot speak.' He adds:—'I have spent some years in labouring to acquire the art of giving a vernacular cast to the English we write.' Dr. A. Carlyle (Auto, p. 222) says:—'Since we began to affect speaking a foreign language, which the English dialect is to us, humour, it must be confessed, is less apparent in conversation.'

[1301] Discours sur L'origine et les fondemens de l'ingalit parmi les hommes, 1754.

[1302] 'I have indeed myself observed that my banker ever bows lowest to me when I wear my full-bottomed wig, and writes me Mr. or Esq., accordingly as he sees me dressed.' Spectator, No. 150.

[1303] Mr. Croker, quoting Mr. Wright, says:—'See his Quantulumanque (sic) concerning Money.' I have read Petty's Quantulumcunque, but do not find the passage in it.

[1304] Johnson told Dr. Burney that Goldsmith said, when he first began to write, he determined to commit to paper nothing but what was new; but he afterwards found that what was new was false, and from that time was no longer solicitous about novelty. BURNEY. Mr. Forster (Life of Goldsmith, i. 421) says that this note 'is another instance of the many various and doubtful forms in which stories about Johnson and Goldsmith are apt to appear when once we lose sight of the trustworthy Boswell. This is obviously a mere confused recollection of what is correctly told by Boswell [post, March 26, 1779].' There is much truth in Mr. Forster's general remark: nevertheless Burney likely enough repeated to the best of his memory what he had himself heard from Johnson.

[1305] 'Their [the ancient moralists'] arguments have been, indeed, so unsuccessful, that I know not whether it can be shewn, that by all the wit and reason which this favourite cause has called forth a single convert was ever made; that even one man has refused to be rich, when to be rich was in his power, from the conviction of the greater happiness of a narrow fortune.' Johnson's Works, ii. 278. See post, June 3, 1781, and June 3, Sept. 7, and Dec. 7, 1782.

[1306] Johnson (Works, vi. 440) shows how much Frederick owed to 'the difficulties of his youth.' 'Kings, without this help from temporary infelicity, see the world in a mist, which magnifies everything near them, and bounds their view to a narrow compass, which few are able to extend by the mere force of curiosity.' He next points out what Cromwell 'owed to the private condition in which he first entered the world;' and continues:—'The King of Prussia brought to the throne the knowledge of a private man, without the guilt of usurpation. Of this general acquaintance with the world there may be found some traces in his whole life. His conversation is like that of other men upon common topicks, his letters have an air of familiar elegance, and his whole conduct is that of a man who has to do with men.'

[1307] See ante p. 408

[1308] See ante, p. 298.

[1309] That this was Mr. Dempster seems likely from the Letters of Boswell (p. 34), where Boswell says:—'I had prodigious satisfaction to find Dempster's sophistry (which he has learnt from Hume and Rousseau) vanquished by the solid sense and vigorous reasoning of Johnson. Dempster,' he continues, 'was as happy as a vanquished argumentator could be.' The character of the 'benevolent good man' suits Dempster (see post, under Feb. 7, 1775, where Boswell calls him 'the virtuous and candid Dempster'), while that of the 'noted infidel writer' suits Hume. We find Boswell, Johnson, and Dempster again dining together on May 9, 1772.


'Thou wilt at best but suck a bull, Or sheer swine, all cry and no wool.'

Hudibras, Part i. Canto I. 1. 851.

Dr. Z. Grey, in his note on these lines, quotes the proverbial saying 'As wise as the Waltham calf that went nine times to suck a bull.' He quotes also from The Spectator, No. 138, the passage where the Cynic said of two disputants, 'One of these fellows is milking a ram, and the other holds the pail.'

[1311] The writer of the article Vacuum in the Penny Cyclo. (xxvi. 76), quoting Johnson's words, adds:—'That is, either all space is full of matter, or there are parts of space which have no matter. The alternative is undeniable, and the inference to which the modern philosophy would give the greatest probablility is, that all space is full of matter in the common sense of the word, but really occupied by particles of matter with vacuous interstices.'

[1312] 'When any one tells me that he saw a dead man restored to life, I immediately consider with myself, whether it be more probable that this person should either deceive or be deceived, or that the fact which he relates should really have happened.' Humes Essay on Miracles, Part i. See post Sept. 22 1777, where Boswell again quoted this passage.

[1313] A coffee-house over against Catherine Street, now the site of a tourists' ticket office. Athenaeum, No. 3041.

[1314] Stockdale records (Memoirs, i. 202) that Johnson once said to him:—'Whenever it is the duty of a young and old man to act at the same time with a spirit of independence and generosity; we may always have reason to hope that the young man will ardently perform, and to fear that the old man will desert, his duty.'

[1315] Boswell thus writes of this evening:—'I learn more from him than from any man I ever was with. He told me a very odd thing, that he knew at eighteen as much as he does now; that is to say, his judgment is much stronger, but he had then stored up almost all the facts he has now, and he says that he has led but an idle life; only think, Temple, of that!' Letters of Boswell, p. 34. See ante, p. 56, and post, ii. 36. He told Windham in 1784 'that he read Latin with as much ease when he went to college as at present.' Windham's Diary, p. 17.

[1316] Johnson in 1739 wrote of 'those distempers and depressions, from which students, not well acquainted with the constitution of the human body, sometimes fly for relief to wine instead of exercise, and purchase temporary ease, by the hazard of the most dreadful consequences.' Works, vi. 271. In The Rambler, No. 85, he says:—'How much happiness is gained, and how much misery is escaped, by frequent and violent agitation of the body.' Boswell records (Hebrides, Sept. 24, 1773):—'Dr. Johnson told us at breakfast, that he rode harder at a fox-chace than anybody.' Mrs. Piozzi (Anec. p. 206) says:—'He certainly rode on Mr. Thrale's old hunter with a good firmness, and, though he would follow the hounds fifty miles an end sometimes, would never own himself either tired or amused. I think no praise ever went so close to his heart, as when Mr. Hamilton called out one day upon Brighthelmstone Downs, "Why Johnson rides as well, for aught I see, as the most illiterate fellow in England."' He wrote to Mrs. Thrale in 1777:—'No season ever was finer. Barley, malt, beer and money. There is the series of ideas. The deep logicians call it a sorites. I hope my master will no longer endure the reproach of not keeping me a horse.' Piozzi Letters, i. 360. See post, March 19 and 28, 1776, Sept. 20, 1777, and Nov. 21, 1778.

[1317] This one Mrs. Macaulay was the same personage who afterwards made herself so much known as 'the celebrated female historian.' BOSWELL. Hannah More (Memoirs, i. 234) tells the following story of Mrs. Macaulay's daughter:—'Desirous from civility to take some notice of her, and finding she was reading Shakespeare, I asked her if she was not delighted with many parts of King John. "I never read the Kings, ma'am," was the truly characteristic reply.' See post, April 13, 1773, and May 15, 1776.

[1318] This speech was perhaps suggested to Johnson by the following passage in The Government of the Tongue (p. 106)—a book which he quotes in his Dictionary:—'Lycurgus once said to one who importuned him to establish a popular parity in the state, "Do thou," says he, "begin it first in thine own family."'

[1319] The first volume was published in 1756, the second in 1782.

[1320] Warton, to use his own words, 'did not think Pope at the head of his profession. In other words, in that species of poetry wherein Pope excelled, he is superior to all mankind; and I only say that this species of poetry is not the most excellent one of the art.' He disposes the English poets in four classes, placing in the first only Spenser, Shakespeare, and Milton. 'In the second class should be ranked such as possessed the true poetical genius in a more moderate degree, but who had noble talents for moral, ethical, and panegyrical poetry.' In this class, in his concluding volume, he says, 'we may venture to assign Pope a place, just above Dryden. Yet, to bring our minds steadily to make this decision, we must forget, for a moment, the divine Music Ode of Dryden; and may, perhaps, then be compelled to confess that though Dryden be the greater genius, yet Pope is the better artist.' Warton's Essay, i. i, vii. and ii. 404. See post, March 31, 1772.

[1321] Mr. Croker believes Joseph Warton was meant. His father, however, had been Fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford, and was afterwards Vicar of Basingstoke and Cobham, and Professor of Poetry in his own University, so that the son could scarcely be described as being 'originally poor.' It is, no doubt, after Boswell's fashion to introduce in consecutive paragraphs the same person once by name and once anonymously; but then the 'certain author who disgusted Boswell by his forwardness,' mentioned just before Warton, may be Warton himself.

[1322] 'When he arrived at Eton he could not make a verse; that is, he wanted a point indispensable with us to a certain rank in our system. But this wonderful boy, having satisfied the Master [Dr. Barnard] that he was an admirable scholar, and possessed of genius, was at once placed at the head of a form. He acquired the rules of Latin verse; tried his powers; and perceiving that he could not rise above his rivals in Virgil, Ovid, or the lyric of Horace, he took up the sermoni propiora, and there overshadowed all competitors. In the following lines he describes the hammer of the auctioneer with a mock sublimity which turns Horace into Virgil:—

'Jam-jamque cadit, celerique recursu Erigitur, lapsum retrahens, perque aera nutat.'

Nichols's Lit. Anec. viii. 547.

Horace Walpole wrote of him in Sept. 1765 (Letters, iv. 411):—'He is a very extraordinary young man for variety of learning. He is rather too wise for his age, and too fond of showing it; but when he has seen more of the world, he will choose to know less.' He died at Rome in the following year. Hume, on hearing the news, wrote to Adam Smith:—'Were you and I together, dear Smith, we should shed tears at present for the death of poor Sir James Macdonald. We could not possibly have suffered a greater loss than in that valuable young man.' J. H. Burton's Hume, ii. 349. See Boswell's Hebrides, Sept. 5, 1773.

[1323] Boswell says that Macdonald had for Johnson 'a great terrour.' (Boswelliana, p. 216.) Northcote (Life of Reynolds, i. 329) says:—'It is a fact that a certain nobleman, an intimate friend of Reynolds, had strangely conceived in his mind such a formidable idea of all those persons who had gained great fame as literary characters, that I have heard Sir Joshua say, he verily believed he could no more have prevailed upon this noble person to dine at the same table with Johnson and Goldsmith than with two tigers.' According to Mr. Seward (Biographiana, p. 600), Mrs. Cotterell having one day asked Dr. Johnson to introduce her to a celebrated writer, 'Dearest madam,' said he, 'you had better let it alone; the best part of every author is in general to be found in his book, I assure you.' Mr. Seward refers to The Rambler, No. 14, where Johnson says that 'there has often been observed a manifest and striking contrariety between the life of an authour and his writings.'

[1324] See post, Jan. 19, 1775. In his Hebrides (p. i) Boswell writes:—'When I was at Ferney, in 1764, I mentioned our design to Voltaire. He looked at me as if I had talked of going to the North Pole, and said, "You do not insist on my accompanying you?" "No, Sir." "Then I am very willing you should go."'

[1325] 'When he went through the streets he desired to have one to lead him by the hand. They asked his opinion of the high church. He answered that it was a large rock, yet there were some in St. Kilda much higher, but that these were the best caves he ever saw; for that was the idea which he conceived of the pillars and arches upon which the church stands.' M. Martin's Western Isles, p. 297. Mr. Croker compares the passage in The Spectator (No. 50), in which an Indian king is made to say of St. Paul's:—'It was probably at first an huge misshapen rock that grew upon the top of the hill, which the natives of the country (after having cut it into a kind of regular figure) bored and hollowed with incredible pains and industry.'

[1326] Boswell, writing to Temple the next day, slightly varies these words:—'He said, "My dear Boswell, it would give me great pain to part with you, if I thought we were not to meet again."' Letters of Boswell, p. 34.

[1327] Gibbon (Misc. Works, i. 43) protests against 'the trite and lavish praise of the happiness of our boyish years, which is echoed with so much affectation in the world. That happiness I have never known, that time I have never regretted. The poet may gaily describe the short hours of recreation; but he forgets the daily tedious labours of the school, which is approached each morning with anxious and reluctant steps.' See ante, p. 44, and post, under Feb. 27, 1772.

[1328] About fame Gibbon felt much as Johnson did. 'I am disgusted,' he wrote (ib. 272), 'with the affectation of men of letters, who complain that they have renounced a substance for a shadow, and that their fame (which sometimes is no insupportable weight) affords a poor compensation for envy, censure, and persecution. My own experience, at least, has taught me a very different lesson; twenty happy years have been animated by the labour of my History, and its success has given me a name, a rank, a character, in the world, to which I should not otherwise have been entitled.'

[1329] See ante, p. 432.

[1330] See ante, p. 332.

[1331] This opinion was given by him more at large at a subsequent period. See Journal of a Tour of the Hebrides, 3rd edit. p. 32 [Aug. 16]. BOSWELL. 'That Swift was its author, though it be universally believed, was never owned by himself, nor very well proved by any evidence; but no other claimant can be produced, and he did not deny it when Archbishop Sharpe and the Duchess of Somerset, by showing it to the Queen, debarred him from a bishoprick.' Johnson's Works, viii. 197. See also post, March 24, 1775. Stockdale records (Memoirs, ii. 61) that Johnson said 'that if Swift really was the author of The Tale of the Tub, as the best of his other performances were of a very inferior merit, he should have hanged himself after he had written it.' Scott (Life of Swift, ed. 1834, p. 77) says:—'Mrs. Whiteway observed the Dean, in the latter years of his life [in 1735], looking over the Tale, when suddenly closing the book he muttered, in an unconscious soliloquy, "Good God! what a genius I had when I wrote that book!" She begged it of him, who made some excuse at the moment; but on her birthday he presented her with it inscribed, "From her affectionate cousin." On observing the inscription, she ventured to say, "I wish, Sir, you had said the gift of the author!" The Dean bowed, smiled good-humouredly, and answered, "No, I thank you," in a very significant manner.' There is this to be said of Johnson's incredulity about the Tale of a Tub, that the History of John Bull and the Memoirs of Martinus Scriblerus, though both by Arbuthnot, were commonly assigned to Swift and are printed in his Works.

[1332] 'Thomson thinks in a peculiar train, and he thinks always as a man of genius; he looks round on Nature and on Life with the eye which Nature bestows only on a poet;—the eye that distinguishes in everything presented to its view whatever there is on which imagination can delight to be detained, and with a mind that at once comprehends the vast, and attends to the minute.' Johnson's Works, viii. 377. See post, ii. 63, and April 11, 1776.

[1333] Burke seems to be meant. See post, April 25, 1778, and Boswell's Hebrides, Aug. 15, and Sept. 15, 1773.—It is strange however that, while in these three places Boswell mentions Burke's name, he should leave a blank here. In Boswelliana, p. 328, Boswell records:—'Langton said Burke hammered his wit upon an anvil, and the iron was cold. There were no sparks flashing and flying all about.'

[1334] In Boswelliana (p. 214) this anecdote is thus given:—'Boswell was talking to Mr. Samuel Johnson of Mr. Sheridan's enthusiasm for the advancement of eloquence. "Sir," said Mr. Johnson, "it won't do. He cannot carry through his scheme. He is like a man attempting to stride the English Channel. Sir, the cause bears no proportion to the effect. It is setting up a candle at Whitechapel to give light at Westminster."' See also ante, p. 385, and post. Oct. 16, 1969, April 18 and May 17, 1783.

[1335] Most likely Boswell himself. See ante, p. 410.

[1336] 'Let a Frenchman talk twice with a minister of state, he desires no more to furnish out a volume.' Swift's Works, ed. 1803, xvi. 197. Lord Chesterfield wrote from Paris in 1741:—'They [the Parisians] despise us, and with reason, for our ill-breeding; on the other hand, we despite them for their want of learning, and we are in the right of it.' Supplement to Chesterfield's Letters, p. 49. See Boswell's Hebrides, Oct. 14, 1773.

[1337] 'Dr. Johnson said that he had been told by an acquaintance of Sir Isaac Newton, that in early life he started as a clamorous infidel.' Seward's Anecdotes, ii. 324. In Brewster's Life of Newton I find no mention of early infidelity. On the contrary, Newton had been described as one who 'had been a searcher of the Scriptures from his youth' (ii. 314). Brewster says that 'some foreign writers have endeavoured to shew that his theological writings were composed at a late period of life, when his mind was in its dotage.' It was not so, however. Ib. p. 315.

[1338] I fully intended to have followed advice of such weight; but having staid much longer both in Germany and Italy than I proposed to do, and having also visited Corsica, I found that I had exceeded the time allowed me by my father, and hastened to France in my way homewards. BOSWELL. See ante, p. 410.


'Has heaven reserved, in pity to the poor, No pathless waste, or undiscovered shore? No secret island in the boundless main? No peaceful desert, yet unclaimed by Spain?'

Johnson looked upon the discovery of America as a misfortune to mankind. In Taxation no Tyranny (Works, vi. 233) he says that 'no part of the world has yet had reason to rejoice that Columbus found at last reception and employment. In the same year, in a year hitherto disastrous to mankind, by the Portuguese was discovered the passage of the Indies, and by the Spaniards the coast of America.' On March 4, 1773, he wrote (Croker's Boswell, p. 248):—'I do not much wish well to discoveries, for I am always afraid they will end in conquest and robbery.' See ante, p. 308, note 2, and post, March 21, 1775, and under Dec. 24, 1783.

[1340] See ante, p. 394, note 2.

[1341] Letters written from Leverpoole, Chester, Corke, &c., by Samuel Derrick, 1767.

[1342] _Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides, 3rd ed. p. 104 [Aug. 27, 1773]. BOSWELL.

[1343] Ibid. p. 142 [242, Sept. 22, 1773]. BOSWELL. Johnson added:—'but it was nothing.' Derrick, in 1760, published Dryden's Misc. Works, with an Account of his Life.

[1344] He published a biographical work, containing an account of eminent writers, in three vols. 8vo. BOSWELL.


'Thus the soft gifts of sleep conclude the day, And stretched on bulks, as usual, poets lay.'

The Dunciad, ii. 420.

In Humphry Clinker, in the Letter of June 10, in which is described the dinner given by S—— to the poor authors, of one of them it is said:—'The only secret which he ever kept was the place of his lodgings; but it was believed that during the heats of summer he commonly took his repose upon a bulk.' Johnson defines bulk as a part of a building jutting out.

[1346] 'Knowledge is certainly one of the means of pleasure, as is confessed by the natural desire which every mind feels of increasing its ideas ... without knowing why we always rejoice when we learn, and grieve when we forget.' Rasselas, ch. xi.

[1347] In the days of Old London Bridge, as Mr. Croker points out, even when the tide would have allowed passengers to shoot it, those who were prudent landed above the bridge, and walked to some wharf below it.

[1348] All who are acquainted with the history of religion, (the most important, surely, that concerns the human mind,) know that the appellation of Methodists was first given to a society of students in the University of Oxford, who about the year 1730 were distinguished by an earnest and methodical attention to devout exercises. This disposition of mind is not a novelty, or peculiar to any sect, but has been, and still may be found, in many christians of every denomination. Johnson himself was, in a dignified manner, a Methodist. In his Rambler, No. 110, he mentions with respect 'the whole discipline of regulated piety;' and in his Prayers and Meditations, many instances occur of his anxious examination into his spiritual state. That this religious earnestness, and in particular an observation of the influence of the Holy Spirit, has sometimes degenerated into folly, and sometimes been counterfeited for base purposes, cannot be denied. But it is not, therefore, fair to decry it when genuine. The principal argument in reason and good sense against methodism is, that it tends to debase human nature, and prevent the generous exertions of goodness, by an unworthy supposition that GOD will pay no regard to them; although it is positively said in the scriptures that He 'will reward every man according to his works.' [St. Matthew xvi. 27.] But I am happy to have it [in] my power to do justice to those whom it is the fashion to ridicule, without any knowledge of their tenets; and this I can do by quoting a passage from one of their best apologists, Mr. Milner, who thus expresses their doctrine upon this subject. 'Justified by faith, renewed in his faculties, and constrained by the love of Christ, their believer moves in the sphere of love and gratitude, and all his duties flow more or less from this principle. And though they are accumulating for him in heaven a treasure of bliss proportioned to his faithfulness and activity, and it is by no means inconsistent with his principles to feel the force of this consideration, yet love itself sweetens every duty to his mind; and he thinks there is no absurdity in his feeling the love of GOD as the grand commanding principle of his life.' Essays on several religious Subjects, &c., by Joseph Milner, A.M., Master of the Grammar School of Kingston upon-Hull, 1789, p. 11. BOSWELL. Southey (Life of Wesley, i. 41), mentioning the names given at Oxford to Wesley and his followers, continues:—'One person with less irreverence and more learning observed, in reference to their methodical manner of life, that a new sect of Methodists was sprung up, alluding to the ancient school of physicians known by that name.' Wesley, in 1744, wrote The Humble Address to the King of the Societies in derision called Methodists. Journal, i. 437. He often speaks of 'the people called Methodists,' but sometimes he uses the term without any qualification. Mrs. Thrale, in 1780, wrote to Johnson:—'Methodist is considered always a term of reproach, I trust, because I never yet did hear that any one person called himself a Methodist.' Piozzi Letters, ii. 119.

[1349] Wesley said:—'We should constantly use the most common, little, easy words (so they are pure and proper) which our language affords. When first I talked at Oxford to plain people in the Castle [the prison] or the town, I observed they gaped and stared. This quickly obliged me to alter my style, and adopt the language of those I spoke to; and yet there is a dignity in their simplicity, which is not disagreeable to those of the highest rank.' Southey's Wesley, i. 431. See post, 1770, in Dr. Maxwell's Collectanea, Oct. 12, 1779, Aug. 30, 1780, and Boswell's Hebrides, Nov. 10, 1773.

[1350] In the original, struck.

[1351] Epigram, Lib. ii. 'In Elizabeth. Angliae Reg.' MALONE.

[1352] See Boswell's Hebrides, Aug. 23.

[1353] Virgil, Eclogues, i. 5. Johnson, when a boy, turned the line thus:—'And the wood rings with Amarillis' name.' Ante, p. 51.

[1354] Boswell said of Paoli's talk about great men:—'I regret that the fire with which he spoke upon such occasions so dazzled me, that I could not recollect his sayings, so as to write them down when I retired from his presence.' Corsica, p. 197.

[1355] More passages than one in Boswell's Letters to Temple shew this absence of relish. Thus in 1775 he writes:—'I perceive some dawnings of taste for the country' (p. 216); and again:—'I will force a taste for natural beauties' (p. 219).

[1356] Milton's L'Allegro, 1. 118.

[1357] See post, April 2, 1775, and April 17, 1778.

[1358] My friend Sir Michael Le Fleming. This gentleman, with all his experience of sprightly and elegant life, inherits, with the beautiful family Domain, no inconsiderable share of that love of literature, which distinguished his venerable grandfather, the Bishop of Carlisle. He one day observed to me, of Dr. Johnson, in a felicity of phrase, 'There is a blunt dignity about him on every occasion.' BOSWELL.

[1359] Wordsworth's lines to the Baronet's daughter, Lady Fleming, might be applied to the father:—

'Lives there a man whose sole delights Are trivial pomp and city noise, Hardening a heart that loathes or slights What every natural heart enjoys?'

Wordsworth's Poems, iv. 338.

[1360] Afterwards Lord Stowell. He was a member of Doctors' Commons, the college of Civilians in London, who practised in the Ecclesiastical Courts and the Court of the Admiralty. See Boswell's Hebrides, Aug. 14, 1773.

[1361] He repeated this advice on the death of Boswell's father, post, Sept. 7, 1782.

[1362] Johnson (Works, ix. 159) describes 'the sullen dignity of the old castle.' See also Boswell's Hebrides, Nov. 4. 1773.

[1363] Probably Burke's Vindication of Natural Society, published in 1756 when Burke was twenty-six.

[1364] See ante, p. 421.

[1365] Boswell wrote to Temple on July 28, 1763:—'My departure fills me with a kind of gloom that quite overshadows my mind. I could almost weep to think of leaving dear London, and the calm retirement of the Inner Temple. This is very effeminate and very young, but I cannot help it.' Letters of Boswell, p. 46.

[1366] Mrs. Piozzi says (Anec. p. 297) that 'Johnson's eyes were so wild, so piercing, and at times so fierce, that fear was, I believe, the first emotion in the hearts of all his beholders.'

[1367] Johnson was, in fact, the editor of this work, as appears from a letter of Mr. T. Davies to the Rev. Edm. Bettesworth:—'Reverend Sir,—I take the liberty to send you Roger Ascham's works in English. Though Mr. Bennet's name is in the title, the editor was in reality Mr. Johnson, the author of the Rambler, who wrote the life of the author, and added several notes. Mr. Johnson gave it to Mr. Bennet, for his advantage,' &c.—CROKER. Very likely Davies exaggerated Johnson's share in the book. Bennet's edition was published, not in 1763, but in 1761.

[1368] 'Lord Sheffield describes the change in Gibbon's opinions caused by the reign of terror:—'He became a warm and zealous advocate for every sort of old establishment. I recollect in a circle where French affairs were the topic and some Portuguese present, he, seemingly with seriousness, argued in favour of the Inquisition at Lisbon, and said he would not, at the present moment, give up even that old establishment.' Gibbons's Misc. Works, i. 328. One of Gibbon's correspondents told him in 1792, that the Wealth of Nations had been condemned by the Inquisition on account of 'the lowness of its style and the looseness of the morals which it inculcates.' Ib. ii. 479. See also post, May 7, 1773.

[1369] Johnson wrote on Aug. 17, 1773:—'This morning I saw at breakfast Dr. Blacklock, the blind poet, who does not remember to have seen light, and is read to by a poor scholar in Latin, Greek, and French. He was originally a poor scholar himself. I looked on him with reverence.' Piozzi Letters, i. 110. See also Boswell's Hebrides, Aug. 17, 1773. Spence published an Account of Blacklock, in which he meanly omitted any mention of Hume's great generosity to the blind poet. J. H. Burton's Hume, i. 392. Hume asked Blacklock whether he connected colour and sound. 'He answered, that as he met so often with the terms expressing colours, he had formed some false associations, but that they were of the intellectual kind. The illumination of the sun, for instance, he supposed to resemble the presence of a friend.' Ib. p. 389.

[1370] They left London early and yet they travelled only 51 miles that day. The whole distance to Harwich is 71 miles. Paterson's Itinerary, i. 323.

[1371] Mackintosh (Life, ii. 162) writing of the time of William III, says that 'torture was legal in Scotland, and familiar in every country of Europe but England. Was there a single writer at that time who had objected to torture? I think not.' In the Gent. Mag. for 1742 (p. 660) it is stated that 'the King of Prussia has forbid the use of torture in his dominions.' In 1747 (p. 298) we read that Dr. Blackwell, an English physician, had been put to the torture in Sweden. Montesquieu in the Esprit des Lois, vi. 17, published in 1748, writing of 'la question ou torture centre les criminels,' says:—'Nous voyons aujourd'hui une nation trs-bien police [la nation anglaise] la rejeter sans inconvnient. Elle n'est donc pas ncessaire par sa nature.' Boswell in 1765 found that Paoli tortured a criminal with fire. Corsica, p. 158. Voltaire, in 1777, after telling how innocent men had been put to death with torture in the reign of Lewis XIV, continues—'Mais un roi a-t-il le temps de songer ces menus details d'horreurs au milieu de ses ftes, de ses conqutes, et de ses mattresses? Daignez vous en occuper, Louis XVI, vous qui n'avez aucune de ces distractions!' Voltaire's Works, xxvi. 332. Johnson, two years before Voltaire thus wrote, had been shown la chambre de question—the torture-chamber-in Paris. Post, Oct. 17, 1775. It was not till the Revolution that torture was abolished in France. One of the Scotch judges in 1793, at the trial of Messrs. Palmer and Muir for sedition (post, June 3, 1781, note), 'asserted that now the torture was banished, there was no adequate punishment for sedition.' Parl. Hist. xxx. 1569.

[1372] 'A cheerful and good heart will have a care of his meat and drink.' Ecclesiasticus, xxx. 25.

'Verecundari neminem apud mensam decet, Nam ibi de divinis atque humanis cernitur.' Trinummus, act 2, sc. 4.

Mrs. Piozzi (Anec. p. 149) records that 'Johnson often said, "that wherever the dinner is ill got, there is poverty, or there is avarice, or there is stupidity; in short, the family is somehow grossly wrong; for," continued he, "a man seldom thinks with more earnestness of anything than he does of his dinner; and if he cannot get that well dressed, he should be suspected of inaccuracy in other things."' Yet he 'used to say that a man who rode out for an appetite consulted but little the dignity of human nature.' Johnson's Works (1787), xi. 204.

[1373] This essay is more against the practices of the parasite than gulosity. It is entitled The art of living at the cost of others. Johnson wrote to one of Mrs. Thrale's children:—'Gluttony is, I think, less common among women than among men. Women commonly eat more sparingly, and are less curious in the choice of meat; but if once you find a woman gluttonous, expect from her very little virtue. Her mind is enslaved to the lowest and grossest temptation.' Piozzi Letters, ii. 298.

[1374] Hawkins (Life, p. 355) mentions 'the greediness with which he ate, his total inattention to those among whom he was seated, and his profound silence at the moment of refection.'

[1375] Cumberland (Memoirs, i. 357) says:—'He fed heartily, but not voraciously, and was extremely courteous in his commendations of any dish that pleased his palate.'

[1376] Johnson wrote to Mrs. Thrale on July 10, 1780:—'Last week I saw flesh but twice and I think fish once; the rest was pease. You are afraid, you say, lest I extenuate myself too fast, and are an enemy to violence; but did you never hear nor read, dear Madam, that every man has his genius, and that the great rule by which all excellence is attained and all success procured, is to follow genius; and have you not observed in all our conversations that my genius is always in extremes; that I am very noisy or very silent; very gloomy or very merry; very sour or very kind? And would you have me cross my genius when it leads me sometimes to voracity and sometimes to abstinence?' Piozzi Letters, ii. 166.

[1377] 'This,' he told Boswell, 'was no intentional fasting, but happened just in the course of a literary life.' Boswell's Hebrides, Oct. 4, 1773. See post, April 17, 1778.

[1378] In the last year of his life, when he knew that his appetite was diseased, he wrote to Mrs. Thrale:—'I have now an inclination to luxury which even your table did not excite; for till now my talk was more about the dishes than my thoughts. I remember you commended me for seeming pleased with my dinners when you had reduced your table; I am able to tell you with great veracity, that I never knew when the reduction began, nor should have known what it was made, had not you told me. I now think and consult to-day what I shall eat to-morrow. This disease will, I hope, be cured.' Piozzi Letters, ii. 362.

[1379] Johnson's visit to Gordon and Maclaurin are just mentioned in Boswell's Hebrides, under Nov. 11, 1772.

[1380] The only nobleman with whom he dined 'about the same time' was Lord Elibank. After dining with him, 'he supped,' says Boswell, 'with my wife and myself.' Ib.

[1381] See post, April 15, 1778.

[1382] Mrs. Piozzi (Anec. p. 102) says, 'Johnson's own notions about eating were nothing less than delicate; a leg of pork boiled till it dropped from the bone, a veal-pie with plums and sugar, or the outside cut of a salt buttock of beef were his favourite dainties.' Cradock saw Burke at a tavern dinner send Johnson a very small piece of a pie, the crust of which was made with bad butter. 'Johnson soon returned his plate for more. Burke exclaimed:—"I am glad that you are able so well to relish this pie." Johnson, not at all pleased that what he ate should ever be noticed, retorted:—"There is a time of life, Sir, when a man requires the repairs of a table."' Cradock's Memoirs, i. 229. A passage in Baretti's Italy, ii. 316, seems to show that English eating in general was not delicate. 'I once heard a Frenchman swear,' he writes, 'that he hated the English, "parce qu'ils versent du beurre fondu sur leur veau rod."'

[1383] 'He had an abhorrence of affectation,' said Mr. Langton. Post, 1780, in Mr. Langton's Collection.

[1384] At college he would not let his companions say prodigious. Post, April 17, 1778.

[1385] See post, Sept. 19, 1777, and 1780 in Mr. Langton's Collection. Dugald Stewart quotes a saying of Turgot:—'He who had never doubted of the existence of matter might be assured he had no turn for metaphysical disquisitions.' Life of Reid, p. 416.

[1386] Claude Buffier, born 1661, died 1737. Author of Trait despremires vrits et de la source de nos jugements.


'Not when a gilt buffet's reflected pride Turns you from sound philosophy aside.'

Pope's Satires, ii. 5.

[1388] Mackintosh (Life, i. 71) said that 'Burke's treatise on the Sublime and Beautiful is rather a proof that his mind was not formed for pure philosophy; and if we may believe Boswell that it was once the intention of Mr. Burke to have written against Berkeley, we may be assured that he would not have been successful in answering that great speculator; or, to speak more correctly, that he could not have discovered the true nature of the questions in dispute, and thus have afforded the only answer consistent with the limits of the human faculties.'

[1389] Goldsmith's Retaliation.

[1390] I have the following autograph letter written by Johnson to Dr. Taylor three weeks after Boswell's departure.


'Having with some impatience reckoned upon hearing from you these two last posts, and been disappointed, I can form to myself no reason for the omission but your perturbation of mind, or disorder of body arising from it, and therefore I once more advise removal from Ashbourne as the proper remedy both for the cause and the effect.

'You perhaps ask, whither should I go? any whither where your case is not known, and where your presence will cause neither looks nor whispers. Where you are the necessary subject of common talk, you will not safely be at rest.

'If you cannot conveniently write to me yourself let somebody write for you to

'Dear Sir,

'Your most affectionate,


'August 25, 1763.

'To the Reverend Dr. Taylor in Ashbourne, Derbyshire.'

Five other letters on the same subject are given in Notes and Queries, 6th S. v. pp. 324, 342, 382. Taylor and his wife 'never lived very well together' (p. 325), and at last she left him. On May 22nd of the next year Johnson congratulated Taylor 'upon the happy end of so vexatious an affair, the happyest [sic] that could be next to reformation and reconcilement' (p. 382). Taylor did not follow the advice to leave Ashbourne; for on Sept. 3 Johnson wrote to him:—'You seem to be so well pleased to be where you are, that I shall not now press your removal; but do not believe that every one who rails at your wife wishes well to you. A small country town is not the place in which one would chuse to quarrel with a wife; every human being in such places is a spy.' Ib. p. 343.

[1391] According to Mrs. Piozzi (Anec. p. 210) he was accompanied by his black servant Frank. 'I must have you know, ladies,' said he, 'that Frank has carried the empire of Cupid further than most men. When I was in Lincolnshire so many years ago he attended me thither; and when we returned home together, I found that a female haymaker had followed him to London for love.' If this story is generally true, it bears the mark of Mrs. Piozzi's usual inaccuracy. The visit was paid early in the year, and was over in February; what haymakers were there at that season?

[1392] Boswell by his quotation marks refers, I think, to his Hebrides, Oct. 24, 1773, where Johnson says:—'Nobody, at times, talks more laxly than I do.' See also post, ii. 73.

[1393] See post, April 26, 1776, for old Mr. Langton's slowness of understanding.

[1394] See ante, i. 320.

[1395] Mr. Best (Memorials, p. 65) thus writes of a visit to Langton:—'We walked to the top of a very steep hill behind the house. Langton said, "Poor dear Dr. Johnson, when he came to this spot, turned back to look down the hill, and said he was determined to take a roll down. When we understood what he meant to do, we endeavoured to dissuade him; but he was resolute, saying, he had not had a roll for a long time; and taking out of his lesser pockets whatever might be in them, and laying himself parallel with the edge of the hill, he actually descended, turning himself over and over till he came to the bottom." This story was told with such gravity, and with an air of such affectionate remembrance of a departed friend, that it was impossible to suppose this extraordinary freak an invention of Mr. Langton.' It must have been in the winter that he had this roll.

[1396] Boswell himself so calls it in a Mr. letter to Temple written three or four months after Garrick's death, Letters of Boswell, p. 242. See also Boswell's Hebrides, Aug. 25, 1773.

[1397] Malone says:—'Reynolds was the original founder of our Literary Club about the year 1762, the first thought of which he started to Dr. Johnson at his own fireside.' Prior's Malone, p. 434. Mrs. Piozzi (Anec. p. 122) says:—'Johnson called Reynolds their Romulus, or said somebody else of the company called him so, which was more likely.' According to Hawkins (Life, p. 425) the Club was founded in the winter of 1763, i.e. 1763-4.

[1398] Dr. Nugent, a physician, was Burke's father-in-law. Macaulay (Essays, i. 407) says:—'As we close Boswell's book, the club-room is before us, and the table on which stands the omelet for Nugent, and the lemons for Johnson.' It was from Mrs. Piozzi that Macaulay learnt of the omelet. Nugent was a Roman Catholic, and it was on Friday that the Club before long came to meet. We may assume that he would not on that day eat meat. 'I fancy,' Mrs. Piozzi writes (Anec. p. 122), 'Dr. Nugent ordered an omelet sometimes on a Friday or Saturday night; for I remember Mr. Johnson felt very painful sensations at the sight of that dish soon after his death, and cried:—"Ah my poor dear friend! I shall never eat omelet with thee again!" quite in an agony.' Dr. Nugent, in the imaginary college at St. Andrews, was to be the professor of physic. Boswell's Hebrides, Aug. 25, 1773.

[1399] Mr. Andrew Chamier was of Huguenot descent, and had been a stock-broker. He was a man of liberal education. 'He acquired such a fortune as enabled him, though young, to quit business, and become, what indeed he seemed by nature intended for, a gentleman.' Hawkins's Johnson, p. 422. In 1764 he was Secretary in the War Office. In 1775 he was appointed Under Secretary of State. Forster's Goldsmith, i. 310. He was to be the professor of commercial politics in the imaginary college. Johnson passed one of his birth-days at his house; post, under Sept. 9, 1779, note.

[1400] 'It was Johnson's intention,' writes Hawkins (Life, p. 423), 'that their number should not exceed nine.' Nine was the number of the Ivy Lane Club (ante, p. 190). Johnson, I suppose, looked upon nine as the most clubable number. 'It was intended,' says Dr. Percy, 'that if only two of these chanced to meet for the evening, they should be able to entertain each other.' Goldsmith's Misc. Works, i. 70. Hawkins adds that 'Mr. Dyer (post, 1780 in Mr. Langton's Collection), a member of the Ivy Lane Club, who for some years had been abroad, made his appearance among us, and was cordially received.' According to Dr. Percy, by 1768 not only had Hawkins formally withdrawn, but Beauclerk had forsaken the club for more fashionable ones. 'Upon this the Club agreed to increase their number to twelve; every new member was to be elected by ballot, and one black ball was sufficient for exclusion. Mr. Beauclerk then desired to be restored to the Society, and the following new members were introduced on Monday, Feb. 15, 1768; Sir R. Chambers, Dr. Percy and Mr. Colman.' Goldsmith's Misc. Works, i. 72. In the list in Croker's Boswell, ed. 1844, ii. 326, the election of Percy and Chambers is placed in 1765.

[1401] Boswell wrote on April 4, 1775:—'I dine, Friday, at the Turk's Head, Gerrard-street, with our Club, Sir Joshua Reynolds, etc., who now dine once a month, and sup every Friday.' Letters of Boswell, p. 186. In 1766, Monday was the night of meeting. Post, May 10, 1766. In Dec. 1772 the night was changed to Friday. Goldsmith's Misc. Works, i. 72. Hawkins says (Life, pp. 424, 5):—'We seldom got together till nine; preparing supper took up till ten; and by the time that the table was cleared, it was near eleven. Our evening toast was the motto of Padre Paolo, Esto perpetua! Esto perpetua was being soon not Padre Paolo's motto, but his dying prayer. 'As his end evidently approached, the brethren of the convent came to pronounce the last prayers, with which he could only join in his thoughts, being able to pronounce no more than these words, "Esto perpetua" mayst thou last for ever; which was understood to be a prayer for the prosperity of his country.' Johnson's Works, vi. 269.

[1402] See post, March 14, 1777.

[1403] 'After 1783 it removed to Prince's in Sackville-street, and on his house being soon afterwards shut up, it removed to Baxter's, which subsequently became Thomas's, in Dover-street. In January 1792 it removed to Parsloe's, in St. James's-street; and on February 26, 1799, to the Thatched-house in the same street.' Forster's Goldsmith i. 311.

[1404] The second edition is here spoken of. MALONE.

[1405] Life of Johnson, p. 425. BOSWELL.

[1406] From Sir Joshua Reynolds. BOSWELL. The Knight having refused to pay his portion of the reckoning for supper, because he usually eat no supper at home, Johnson observed, 'Sir John, Sir, is a very unclubable man.' BURNEY. Hawkins (Life, p. 231) says that 'Mr. Dyer had contracted a fatal intimacy with some persons of desperate fortunes, who were dealers in India stock, at a time when the affairs of the company were in a state of fluctuation.' Malone, commenting on this passage, says that 'under these words Mr. Burke is darkly alluded to, together with his cousin.' He adds that the character given of Dyer by Hawkins 'is discoloured by the malignant prejudices of that shallow writer, who, having quarrelled with Mr. Burke, carried his enmity even to Mr. Burke's friends.' Prior's Malone, p. 419. See also ante, p. 27. Hawkins (Life, p. 420) said of Goldsmith:—'As he wrote for the booksellers, we at the Club looked on him as a mere literary drudge, equal to the task of compiling and translating, but little capable of original, and still less of poetical composition.'

[1407] Life of Johnson, p. 425. BOSWELL. Hawkins is 'equally inaccurate' in saying' that Johnson was so constant at our meetings as never to absent himself.' (Ib. p. 424.) See post, Johnson's letter to Langton of March 9, 1766, where he says:—'Dyer is constant at the Club; Hawkins is remiss; I am not over diligent.'

[1408] Letters to and from Dr. Johnson. Vol. ii. p. 278 [387]. BOSWELL. The passage is as follows:—'"If he does apply," says our Doctor to Mr. Thrale, "I'll black-ball him." "Who, Sir? Mr. Garrick, your friend, your companion,—black-ball him!" "Why, Sir, I love my little David dearly, better than all or any of his flatterers do, but surely one ought, &c."'

[1409] Pope's Moral Essays, iii. 242.

[1410] Malone says that it was from him that Boswell had his account of Garrick's election, and that he had it from Reynolds. He adds that 'Johnson warmly supported Garrick, being in reality a very tender affectionate man. He was merely offended at the actors conceit.' He continues:—'On the former part of this story it probably was that Hawkins grounded his account that Garrick never was of the Club, and that Johnson said he never ought to be of it. And thus it is that this stupid biographer, and the more flippant and malicious Mrs. Piozzi have miscoloured and misrepresented almost every anecdote that they have pretented to tell of Dr. Johnson.' Prior's Malone, p. 392. Whatever was the slight cast upon Garrick, he was nevertheless the sixth new member elected. Four, as I have shown, were added by 1768. The next elections were in 1773 (Croker's Boswell, ed. 1844. ii. 326), when five were added, of whom Garrick was the second, and Boswell the fifth. In 1774 five more were elected, among whom were Fox and Gibbon. Hannah More (Memoirs, i. 249) says that 'upon Garrick's death, when numberless applications were made to succeed him [in the Club], Johnson was deaf to them all. He said, "No, there never could be found any successor worthy of such a man;" and he insisted upon it there should be a year's widowhood in the club, before they thought of a new election.'

[1411] Grainger wrote to Percy on April 6, 1764:—'Sam. Johnson says he will review it in The Critical' In August, 1765, he wrote:—'I am perfectly satisfied with the reception the Sugar Cane has met with, and am greatly obliged to you and Mr. Johnson for the generous care you took of it in my absence.' Prior's Goldsmith, i. 238. He was absent in the West Indies. He died on Dec. 16, 1766. Ib. p. 241. The review of the Sugar Cane in the Critical Review (p. 270) is certainly by Johnson. The following passage is curious:—'The last book begins with a striking invocation to the genius of Africa, and goes on to give proper instructions for the buying and choice of negroes.... The poet talks of this ungenerous commerce without the least appearance of detestation; but proceeds to direct these purchasers of their fellow-creatures with the same indifference that a groom would give instructions for choosing a horse.

'Clear roll their ample eye; their tongue be red; Broad swell their chest; their shoulders wide expand; Not prominent their belly; clean and strong Their thighs and legs in just proportion rise.'

See also post, March 21, 1776.

[1412] Johnson thus ends his brief review:—'Such in the poem on which we now congratulate the public as on a production to which, since the death of Pope, it not be easy to find anything equal.' Critical Review, p. 462.

[1413] Pr. and Med. p. 50. BOSWELL. He adds:—

'I hope To put my rooms in order. Disorder I have found one great cause of idleness.'

[1414] Ib. p. 51. BOSWELL.

[1415] It was on his birth-day that he said this. He wrote on the same day:—'I have outlived many friends. I have felt many sorrows. I have made few improvements.'

[1416] Prayers and Meditations, p. 58. BOSWELL. In his Vision of Theodore (Works, ix. 174) he describes the state of mind which he has recorded in his Meditations:—'There were others whose crime it was rather to neglect Reason than to disobey her; and who retreated from the heat and tumult of the way, not to the bowers of Intemperance, but to the maze of Indolence. They had this peculiarity in their condition, that they were always in sight of the road of Reason, always wishing for her presence, and always resolving to return to-morrow.'

[1417] See Appendix F.

[1418] It used to be imagined at Mr. Thrale's, when Johnson retired to a window or corner of the room, by perceiving his lips in motion, and hearing a murmur without audible articulation, that he was praying: but this was not always the case, for I was once, perhaps unperceived by him, writing at a table, so near the place of his retreat, that I heard him repeating some lines in an ode of Horace, over and over again, as if by iteration, to exercise the organs of speech, and fix the ode in his memory:

Audiet cives acuisse ferrum Quo graves Persas melius perirent, Audiet pugnas.... Odes, i. 2, 21. ['Our sons shall hear, shall hear to latest times, Of Roman arms with civil gore imbrued, Which better had the Persian foe subdued.' Francis.]

It was during the American War. BURNEY. Boswell in his Hebrides (Oct. 12, 1773) records, 'Dr. Johnson is often uttering pious ejaculations, when he appears to be talking to himself; for sometimes his voice grows stronger, and parts of the Lord's Prayer are heard.' In the same passage he describes other 'particularities,' and adds in a note:—'It is remarkable that Dr. Johnson should have read this account of some of his own peculiar habits, without saying anything on the subject, which I hoped he would have done.' See post, Dec. 1784, note.

[1419] Churchill's Poems, i. 16. See ante, p. 391.

[1420] 'It is in vain to try to find a meaning in every one of his particularities, which, I suppose, are mere habits contracted by chance; of which every man has some that are more or less remarkable.' Boswell's Hebrides, Oct. 12, 1773. 'The love of symmetry and order, which is natural to the mind of man, betrays him sometimes into very whimsical fancies. "This noble principle," says a French author, "loves to amuse itself on the most trifling occasions. You may see a profound philosopher," says he, "walk for an hour together in his chamber, and industriously treading at every step upon every other board in the flooring."' The Spectator, No. 632.

[1421] Mr. S. Whyte (Miscellanea Nova, p. 49) tells how from old Mr. Sheridan's house in Bedford-street, opposite Henrietta-street, with an opera-glass he watched Johnson approaching. 'I perceived him at a good distance working along with a peculiar solemnity of deportment, and an awkward sort of measured step. Upon every post as he passed along, he deliberately laid his hand; but missing one of them, when he had got at some distance he seemed suddenly to recollect himself, and immediately returning carefully performed the accustomed ceremony, and resumed his former course, not omitting one till he gained the crossing. This, Mr. Sheridan assured me, was his constant practice.'

[1422] Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides, 3rd edit. p. 316. BOSWELL. 'The day that we left Talisker, he bade us ride on. He then turned the head of his horse back towards Talisker, stopped for some time; then wheeled round to the same direction with ours, and then came briskly after us.' Boswell's Hebrides', Oct. 12, 1773.

[1423] Sir Joshua's sister, for whom Johnson had a particular affection, and to whom he wrote many letters which I have seen, and which I am sorry her too nice delicacy will not permit to be published. BOSWELL. 'Whilst the company at Mr. Thrale's were speculating upon a microscope for the mind, Johnson exclaimed:—"I never saw one that would bear it, except that of my dear Miss Reynolds, and hers is very near to purity itself."' Northcote's Reynolds, i. 80. Once, said Northcote, there was a coolness between her and her brother. She wished to set forth to him her grievances in a letter. Not finding it easy to write, she consulted Johnson, 'who offered to write a letter himself, which when copied should pass as her own.' This he did. It began: 'I am well aware that complaints are always odious, but complain I must.' Such a letter as this she saw would not pass with Sir Joshua as her own, and so she could not use it. Ib. p. 203. Of Johnson's letters to her Malone published one, and Mr. Croker several more. Mme. D'Arblay, in the character she draws of her (Memoirs of Dr. Burney, i. 332), says that 'Dr. Johnson tried in vain to cure her of living in an habitual perplexity of mind and irresolution of conduct, which to herself was restlessly tormenting, and to all around her was teazingly wearisome.'

[1424] See Appendix C.

[1425] Pr. and Med. p. 61. BOSWELL.

[1426] See ante, p. 346.

[1427] His quarter's pension. See ante, P. 376.

[1428] Mr. Croker, misunderstanding a passage in Hawkins, writes:—'Hawkins says that he disliked to be called Doctor, as reminding him that he had been a schoolmaster.' What Hawkins really says (Life, p. 446) is this:—'His attachment to Oxford prevented Johnson from receiving this honour as it was intended, and he never assumed the title which it conferred. He was as little pleased to be called Doctor in consequence of it, as he was with the title of Domine, which a friend of his once incautiously addressed him by. He thought it alluded to his having been a schoolmaster.' It is clear that 'it' in the last line refers only to the title of Domine. Murphy (Life, p. 98) says that Johnson never assumed the title of Doctor, till Oxford conferred on him the degree. Boswell states (post, March 31, 1775, note):—'It is remarkable that he never, so far as I know, assumed his title of Doctor, but called himself Mr. Johnson.' In this, as I show there, Boswell seems to be not perfectly accurate. I do not believe Hawkins's assertion that Johnson 'was little pleased to be called Doctor in consequence of his Dublin degree.' In Boswell's Hebrides, most of which was read by him before he received his Oxford degree, he is commonly styled Doctor. Boswell says in a note on Aug. 15, 1773:—'It was some time before I could bring myself to call him Doctor.' Had Johnson disliked the title it would have been known to Boswell. Mrs. Thrale, it is true, in her letters' to him, after he had received both his degrees, commonly speaks of him as Mr. Johnson. We may assume that he valued his Oxford degree of M.A. more highly than the Dublin degree of LL.D.; for in the third edition of the Abridgment of his Dictionary, published in 1766, he is styled Samuel Johnson, A.M. In his Lives of the Poets he calls himself simply Samuel Johnson. He had by that time risen above degrees. In his Journey to the Hebrides (Works, ix. 14), after stating that 'An English or Irish doctorate cannot be obtained by a very young man,' he continues:—'It is reasonable to suppose ... that he who is by age qualified to be a doctor, has in so much time gained learning sufficient not to disgrace the title, or wit sufficient not to desire it.'

[1429] Trinity College made him, it should seem, Armiger at the same time that it made him Doctor of Laws.

[1430] See Appendix D for this letter.

[1431] Pr. and Med. p. 66. BOSWELL.

[1432] Single-speech Hamilton, as he was commonly called, though in the House of Commons he had spoken more than once. For above thirty sessions together, however, he held his tongue. Prior's Burke, p. 67.

[1433] See Appendix E for an explanation.

[1434] Pr. and Med. p. 67 BOSWELL.

[1435] See Appendix F.

[1436] Mr. Blakeway, in a note on this passage, says:—'The predecessor of old Thrale was Edmund Halsey, Esq.; the nobleman who married his daughter was Lord Cobham. The family of Thrale was of some consideration in St. Albans; in the Abbey-church is a handsome monument to the memory of Mr. John Thrale, late of London, merchant, who died in 1704.' He describes the arms on the monument. Mr. Hayward, in Mrs. Piozzis Autobiography, i. 9, quotes her marginal note on this page in Boswell. She says that Edmund Halsey, son of a miller at St. Albans, married the only daughter of his master, old Child, of the Anchor Brewhouse, Southwark, and succeeded to the business upon Child's death. 'He sent for one of his sister's sons to London (my Mr. Thrale's father); said he would make a man of him, and did so; but made him work very hard, and treated him very roughly.' He left him nothing at his death, and Thrale bought the brewery of Lord and Lady Cobham.

[1437] See post, under April 4, 1781, and June 16, 1781.

[1438] Mrs. Burney informs me that she heard Dr. Johnson say, 'An English Merchant is a new species of Gentleman.' He, perhaps, had in his mind the following ingenious passage in The Conscious Lovers, act iv. scene ii, where Mr. Sealand thus addresses Sir John Bevil: 'Give me leave to say, that we merchants are a species of gentry that have grown into the world this last century, and are as honourable, and almost as useful as you landed-folks, that have always thought yourselves so much above us; for your trading forsooth is extended no farther than a load of hay, or a fat ox.—You are pleasant people indeed! because you are generally bred up to be lazy, therefore, I warrant your industry is dishonourable.' BOSWELL.

The Conscious Lovers is by Steele. 'I never heard of any plays fit for a Christian to read,' said Parson Adams, 'but Cato and The Conscious Lovers; and I must own, in the latter there are some things almost solemn enough for a sermon.' Joseph Andrews, Book III, chap. xi.

[1439] In the first number of _The Hypochondriack_ Boswell writes:—'It is a saying in feudal treatises, "Semel Baro semper Baro_," "Once a baron always a baron."' _London Mag_. 1777, p. 493. He seems of Mr. Thrale's inferiority by speaking of him as Thrale and his house as Thrale's. See _post_, April 5 and 12, 1776, April 7, 1778, and under March 30, 1783. He never, I believe, is thus familiar in the case of Beauclerk, Burke, Langton, and Reynolds.

[1440] For her extraction see Hayward's Mrs. Piozzi, i. 238.

[1441] Miss Burney records in May 1779, how one day at Streatham 'Mr. Murphy met with a very joyful reception; and Mr. Thrale, for the first time in his life, said he was "a good fellow;" for he makes it a sort of rule to salute him with the title of "scoundrel," or "rascal." They are very old friends; and I question if Mr. Thrale loves any man so well.' Mme. D'Arblay's Diary, i. 210.

[1442] From the Garrick Corres, i. 116, it seems that Murphy introduced Garrick to the Thrales. He wrote to him on May 13, 1760:—'You stand engaged to Mr. Thrale for Wednesday night. You need not apprehend drinking; it is a very easy house.'

[1443] Murphy (Life, p. 98) says that Johnson's introduction to the Thrales 'contributed more than anything else to exempt him from the solicitudes of life.' He continues that 'he looks back to the share he had in that business with self congratulation, since he knows the tenderness which from that time soothed Johnson's cares at Streatham, and prolonged a valuable life.' Johnson wrote to Mrs. Thrale from Lichfield on July 20, 1767:—'I have found nothing that withdraws my affections from the friends whom I left behind, or which makes me less desirous of reposing at that place which your kindness and Mr. Thrale's allows me to call my home.' Piozzi Letters, i. 4. From Mull, on Oct. 15, 1773, he wrote:—'Having for many weeks had no letter, my longings are very great to be informed how all things are at home, as you and mistress allow me to call it.' Ib. p. 166. Miss Burney in 1778 wrote that 'though Dr. Johnson lives almost wholly at Streatham, he always keeps his apartments in town.' Mme. D'Arblay's Diary, i. 58. Johnson (Works, viii. 381) tells how, in the house of Sir Thomas Abney, 'Dr. Watts, with a constancy of friendship and uniformity of conduct not often to be found, was treated for thirty-six years with all the kindness that friendship could prompt, and all the attention that respect could dictate.' He continues:—'A coalition like this, a state in which the notions of patronage and dependence were overpowered by the perception of reciprocal benefits, deserves a particular memorial.' It was such a coalition which he formed with the Thrales—a coalition in which, though the benefits which he received were great, yet those which he conferred were still greater.

[1444] On this Mrs. Piozzi notes:—'No, no! Mr. Thrale's manners presented the character of a gay man of the town; like Millamant, in Congreve's comedy, he abhorred the country and everything in it.' Hayward's Piozzi, i. 10. Mrs. Millamant, in The Way of the World, act iv. sc. iv., says:—'I loathe the country and everything that relates to it.'

[1445] 'It is but justice to Mr. Thrale to say, that a more ingenuous frame of mind no man possessed. His education at Oxford gave him the habits of a gentleman; his amiable temper recommended his conversation, and the goodness of his heart made him a sincere friend.' Murphy's Johnson, p. 99. Johnson wrote of him to Mrs. Thrale:—'He must keep well, for he is the pillar of the house; and you must get well, or the house will hardly be worth propping.' Piozzi Letters, i. 340. See post, April 18, 1778. Mme. D'Arblay (Memoirs of Dr. Burney, ii. 104) gives one reason for Thrale's fondness for Johnson's society. 'Though entirely a man of peace, and a gentleman in his character, he had a singular amusement in hearing, instigating, and provoking a war of words, alternating triumph and overthrow, between clever and ambitious colloquial combatants, where there was nothing that could inflict disgrace upon defeat.'

[1446] In like manner he called Mr. Thrale Master or My master. 'I hope Master's walk will be finished when I come back.' Piozzi Letters, i. 355. 'My master may plant and dig till his pond is an ocean.' Ib. p. 357. See post, July 9, 1777.

[1447] Miss Burney thus described her in 1776:—'She is extremely lively and chatty; and showed none of the supercilious or pedantic airs so scoffingly attributed to women of learning or celebrity; on the contrary, she is full of sport, remarkably gay, and excessively agreeable. I liked her in everything except her entrance into the room, which was rather florid and flourishing, as who should say, "It is I!—No less a person than Mrs. Thrale!" However, all that ostentation wore out in the course of the visit, which lasted the whole morning; and you could not have helped liking her, she is so very entertaining— though not simple enough, I believe, for quite winning your heart.' Memoirs of Dr. Burney, ii. 88.

[1448] Mrs. Piozzi's Anecdotes, p. 279. BOSWELL.

[1449] Johnson wrote to Mrs. Thrale on Oct. 13, 1777:—'I cannot but think on your kindness and my master's. Life has upon the whole fallen short, very short, of my early expectation; but the acquisition of such a friendship, at an age when new friendships are seldom acquired, is something better than the general course of things gives man a right to expect. I think on it with great delight; I am not very apt to be delighted.' Piozzi Letters, ii. 7. Johnson's friends suffered from this connection. See post, March 20, 1778, where it is said that 'at Streatham he was in a great measure absorbed from the society of his old friends.'

[1450] Yet one year he recorded:—'March 3, I have never, I thank God, since new year's day deviated from the practice of rising. In this practice I persisted till I went to Mr. Thrale's sometime before Midsummer; the irregularity of that family broke my habit of rising. I was there till after Michaelmas.' Hawkins's Johnson, p. 458, note. Hawkins places this in 1765; but Johnson states (Pr. and Med. p. 71), 'I returned from Streatham, Oct. 1, —66, having lived there more than three months.'

[1451] Boswell wrote to Temple in 1775:—'I am at present in a tourbillon of conversations; but how come you to throw in the Thrales among the Reynoldses and the Beauclerks? Mr. Thrale is a worthy, sensible man, and has the wits much about his house; but he is not one himself. Perhaps you mean Mrs. Thrale.' Letters of Boswell, p. 192. Murphy (Life, p. 141) says:—'It was late in life before Johnson had the habit of mixing, otherwise than occasionally, with polite company. At Mr. Thrale's he saw a constant succession of well-accomplished visitors. In that society he began to wear off the rugged points of his own character. The time was then expected when he was to cease being what George Garrick, brother to the celebrated actor, called him the first time he heard him converse. "A TREMENDOUS COMPANION"'

[1452] Johnson wrote to Dr. Warton on Oct. 9:—'Mrs. Warton uses me hardly in supposing that I could forget so much kindness and civility as she showed me at Winchester.' Wooll's Warton, p. 309. Malone on this remarks:—'It appears that Johnson spent some time with that gentleman at Winchester in this year.' I believe that Johnson is speaking of the year 1762, when, on his way to Devonshire, he passed two nights in that town. See Taylor's Reynolds, i. 214.

[1453] It was in 1745 that he published his Observations on Macbeth, as a specimen of his projected edition (ante, p. 175). In 1756 he issued Proposals undertaking that his work should be published before Christmas, 1757 (p. 318). On June 21, 1757, he writes:—'I am printing my new edition of Shakspeare' (p. 322). On Dec. 24 of the same year he says, 'I shall publish about March' (p. 323). On March 8, 1758, he writes:—'It will be published before summer.... I have printed many of the plays' (p. 327). In June of the same year Langton took some of the plays to Oxford (p. 336). Churchill's Ghost (Parts 1 and 2) was published in the spring of 1762 (p. 319). On July 20, 1762, Johnson wrote to Baretti, 'I intend that you shall soon receive Shakspeare' (p. 369). In October 1765 it was published.

[1454] According to Mr. Seward (Anec. ii. 464), 'Adam Smith styled it the most manly piece of criticism that was ever published in any country.'

[1455] George III, at all events, did not share in this blind admiration. 'Was there ever,' cried he, 'such stuff as great part of Shakespeare? only one must not say so. But what think you? What? Is there not sad stuff? What? What?' 'Yes, indeed, I think so, Sir, though mixed with such excellencies that—' 'O!' cried he, laughing good-humouredly, 'I know it is not to be said! but it's true. Only it's Shakespeare, and nobody dare abuse him.' Mme. D'Arblay's Diary, ii, 398.

[1456] That Johnson did not slur his work, as has been often said, we have the best of all evidence—his own word. 'I have, indeed,' he writes (Works, v. 152), 'disappointed no opinion more than my own; yet I have endeavoured to perform my task with no slight solicitude. Not a single passage in the whole work has appeared to me corrupt which I have not attempted to restore; or obscure which I have not attempted to illustrate.'

[1457] Steevens wrote to Garrick:—'To say the truth, the errors of Warburton and Johnson are often more meritorious than such corrections of them as the obscure industry of Mr. Farmer and myself can furnish. Disdaining crutches, they have sometimes had a fall; but it is my duty to remember, that I, for my part, could not have kept on my legs at all without them.' Garrick Corres. ii, 130. 'Johnson's preface and notes are distinguished by clearness of thought and diction, and by masterly common sense.' Cambridge Shakespeare, i. xxxvi.

[1458] Kenrick later on was the gross libeller of Goldsmith, and the far grosser libeller of Garrick. 'When proceedings were commenced against him in the Court of King's Bench [for the libel on Garrick], he made at once the most abject submission and retractation.' Prior's Goldsmith, i. 294. In the Garrick Carres, (ii. 341) is a letter addressed to Kenrick, in which Garrick says:—'I could have honoured you by giving the satisfaction of a gentleman, if you could (as Shakespeare says) have screwed your courage to the sticking place, to have taken it.' It is endorsed:—'This was not sent to the scoundrel Dr. Kenrick.... It was judged best not to answer any more of Dr. Kenrick's notes, he had behaved so unworthily.'

[1459] Ephraim Chambers, in the epitaph that he made for himself (ante, p. 219), had described himself as multis pervulgatus paucis notus.' Gent. Mag. x. 262.

[1460] See Boswell's Hebrides, Oct. 1, 1773.

[1461] Johnson had joined Voltaire with Dennis and Rymer. 'Dennis and Rymer think Shakespeare's Romans not sufficiently Roman; and Voltaire censures his kings as not completely royal. Dennis is offended that Menenius, a senator of Rome, should play the buffoon; and Voltaire, perhaps, thinks decency violated when the Danish usurper is represented as a drunkard. But Shakespeare always makes nature predominate over accident.... His story requires Romans or kings, but he thinks only on men. He knew that Rome, like every other city, had men of all dispositions; and wanting a buffoon, he went into the senate-house for that which the senate-house would certainly have afforded him. He was inclined to show an usurper and a murderer, not only odious, but despicable; he therefore added drunkenness to his other qualities, knowing that kings love wine like other men, and that wine exerts its natural power upon kings. These are the petty cavils of petty minds; a poet overlooks the casual distinction of country and condition, as a painter, satisfied with the figure, neglects the drapery.' Johnson's Works, v. 109. Johnson had previously attacked Voltaire, in his Memoirs of Frederick the Great. (Ante, i. 435, note 2.) In these Memoirs he writes:—'Voltaire has asserted that a large sum was raised for her [the Queen of Hungary's] succour by voluntary subscriptions of the English ladies. It is the great failing of a strong imagination to catch greedily at wonders. He was misinformed, and was perhaps unwilling to learn, by a second enquiry, a truth less splendid and amusing.' Ib. vi. 455. See post, Oct. 27, 1779.

[1462] 'Voltaire replied in the Dictionnaire Philosophique. (Works, xxxiii. 566.) 'J'ai jet les yeux sur une dition de Shakespeare, donne par le sieur Samuel Johnson. J'y ai vu qu'on y traite de petits esprits les trangers qui sont tonns que dans les pices de ce grand Shakespeare un snateur romain fasse le bouffon; et gu'un roi paraisse sur le thtre en ivrogne. Je ne veux point souponner le sieur Johnson d'tre un mauvais plaisant, et d'aimer trop le vin; mais je trouve un peu extraordinaire qu'il compte la bouffonnerie et l'ivrognerie parmi les beautes du thatre tragique; la raison qu'il en donne n'est pas moins singulire. Le pote, dit-il, ddaigne ces distinctions accidentelles de conditions et de pays, comme un peintre qui, content d'avoir peint la figure, nglige la draperie. La comparaison serait plus juste, s'il parlait d'un peintre qui, dans un sujet noble, introduirait des grotesques ridicules, peindrait dans la bataille d'Arbelles Alexandre-le Grand monte sur un ne, et la femme de Darius buvant avec des goujats dans un cabaret.' Johnson, perhaps, had this attack in mind when, in his Life of Pope (Works, viii. 275), he thus wrote of Voltaire:—'He had been entertained by Pope at his table, when he talked with so much grossness, that Mrs. Pope was driven from the room. Pope discovered by a trick that he was a spy for the court, and never considered him as a man worthy of confidence.'

[1463] See post, under May 8, 1781.

[1464] See post, ii. 74.

[1465] He was probably proposing to himself the model of this excellent person, who for his piety was named the Seraphic Doctor. BOSWELL.


'E'en in a bishop I can spy desert, Secker is decent, Rundel has a heart.'

Pope. Epil, Sat. II. 70.

[1467] So Smollett calls him in his History of England, iii. 16.

[1468] Six of these twelve guineas Johnson appears to have borrowed from Mr. Allen, the printer. See Hawkins's Life of Johnson, p. 366 n. MALONE.

[1469] Written by mistake for 1759. On the outside of the letter of the 13th was written by another hand—'Pray acknowledge the receipt of this by return of post, without fail.' MALONE.

[1470] Catherine Chambers, Mrs. Johnson's maid-servant. She died in October, 1767. MALONE. See post, ii. 43.

[1471] This letter was written on the second leaf of the preceding, addressed to Miss Porter. MALONE.

[1472] Mrs. Johnson probably died on the 20th or 21st January, and was buried on the day this letter was written. MALONE. On the day on which his mother was buried Johnson composed a prayer, as being 'now about to return to the common comforts and business of the world.' Pr. and Med. p. 38. After his wife''s death he had allowed forty days to pass before his 'return to life.' See ante, p. 234, note 2.

[1473] See ante, p. 80.

[1474] Barnaby Greene had just published The Laureat, a Poem, in which Johnson is abused. It is in the February list of books in the Gent. Mag. for 1765.

[1475] Sir Cloudesly Shovel's monument is thus mentioned by Addison in The Spectator, No. 26:—'It has very often given me great offence; instead of the brave rough English Admiral, which was the distinguishing character of that plain gallant man, he is represented on his tomb by the figure of a beau, dressed in a long periwig, and reposing himself upon velvet cushions under a canopy of state.'


'That live-long wig, which Gorgon's self might own, Eternal buckle takes in Parian stone.'

Pope's Moral Essays, iii. 295.

[1477] Milton's Epigram is in his Sylvarum Liber, and is entitled In Effigiei ejus Sculptorem.

[1478] Johnson's acquaintance, Bishop Newton (post, June 3, 1784), published an edition of Milton.

[1479] It was no doubt by the Master of Emanuel College, his friend Dr. Farmer (ante, p. 368), that Johnson was promised 'an habitation' there.


Previous Part     1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  16
Home - Random Browse