Life Of Johnson, Vol. 3
by Boswell, Edited by Birkbeck Hill
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[1209] Afterwards Mr. Stuart Wortley. He was the father of the first Lord Wharncliffe. CROKER.

[1210] Horace Walpole, in April 1778, wrote:—'It was very remarkable that on the militia being ordered out, two of Lord Bute's younger sons offered, as Bedfordshire gentlemen, to take any rank in the militia in that county. I warned Lord Ossory, the Lord Lieutenant, against so dangerous a precedent as admitting Scots in the militia. A militia can only be safe by being officered by men of property in each county.' Journal of the Reign of George III, ii. 252.

[1211] Walpole wrote in Dec. 1778:—'His Majesty complained of the difficulty of recruiting. General Keppel replied aloud, "It is owing to the Scots, who raise their clans in and about London." This was very true; the Master of Lovat had received a Royal gift of L6000 to raise a regiment of his clan, and had literally picked up boys of fifteen in London and Westminster.' Ib. p. 316.

[1212] He made his will in his wife's life-time, and appointed her and Sir William Forbes, or the survivor of them, 'tutors and curators' to his children. Boswelliana, p. 186.

[1213] Head gardener at Stowe, and afterwards at Hampton Court and Windsor. He got his nickname from his habit of saying that grounds which he was asked to lay out had capabilities. Lord Chatham wrote of him:—'He writes Lancelot Brown Esquire, en titre d'office: please to consider, he shares the private hours of—[the King], dines familiarly with his neighbour of Sion [the Duke of Northumberland], and sits down at the tables of all the House of Lords, &c.' Chatham Corres. iv. 178, 430.

[1214] See ante, pp. 334, 350. Clive, before the Committee of the House of Commons, exclaimed:—'By God, Mr. Chairman, at this moment I stand astonished at my own moderation.' Macaulay's Essays, iii. 198.

[1215] See ante, p. 216.

[1216] Yet, according to Johnson, 'the poor in England were better provided for than in any other country of the same extent.' Ante, ii. 130.

[1217] See ante, ii. 119.

[1218] See ante, i. 67, note 2.

[1219] The Rev. Dr. Law, Bishop of Carlisle, in the Preface to his valuable edition of Archbishop King's Essay on the Origin of Evil [ed. 1781, p. xvii], mentions that the principles maintained in it had been adopted by Pope in his Essay on Man; and adds, 'The fact, notwithstanding such denial (Bishop Warburton's), might have been strictly verified by an unexceptionable testimony, viz that of the late Lord Bathurst, who saw the very same system of the [Greek: to beltion] (taken from the Archbishop) in Lord Bolingbroke's own hand, lying before Mr. Pope, while he was composing his Essay.' This is respectable evidence; but that of Dr. Blair is more direct from the fountain-head, as well as more full. Let me add to it that of Dr. Joseph Warton; 'The late Lord Bathurst repeatedly assured me that he had read the whole scheme of The Essay on Man, in the hand-writing of Bolingbroke, and drawn up in a series of propositions, which Pope was to versify and illustrate.' Essay on the Genius and Writings of Pope, vol. ii. p. 62. BOSWELL. In the above short quotation from Law are two parentheses. According to Paley, the Bishop was once impatient at the slowness of his Carlisle printer. '"Why does not my book make its appearance?" said he to the printer. "My Lord, I am extremely sorry; but we have been obliged to send to Glasgow for a pound of parentheses."' Best's Memorials, p. 196.

[1220] Johnson, defining ascertain in its first meaning as establish, quotes from Hooker: 'The divine law ascertaineth the truth of other laws.'

[1221] 'To those who censured his politicks were added enemies yet more dangerous, who called in question his knowledge of Greek, and his qualifications for a translator of Homer. To these he made no publick opposition; but in one of his letters escapes from them as well as he can. At an age like his, for he was not more than twenty-five, with an irregular education, and a course of life of which much seems to have passed in conversation, it is not very likely that he overflowed with Greek. But when he felt himself deficient he sought assistance; and what man of learning would refuse to help him?' Johnson's Works, viii. 252. Johnson refers, I think, to Pope's letter to Addison of Jan. 30, 1713-14.

[1222] 'That those communications had been consolidated into a scheme regularly drawn and delivered to Pope, from whom it returned only transformed from prose to verse, has been reported but can hardly be true. The Essay plainly appears the fabrick of a poet; what Bolingbroke supplied could be only the first principles; the order, illustration and embellishments must all be Pope's.' Works, viii. 287. Dr. Warton (Essay on Pope, ii. 58) says that he had repeatedly heard from Lord Bathurst the statement recorded by Dr. Blair.

[1223] 'In defiance of censure and contempt truth is frequently violated; and scarcely the most vigilant and unremitted circumspection will secure him that mixes with mankind from being hourly deceived by men, of whom it can scarcely be imagined that they mean any injury to him or profit to themselves.' Works, iv. 22.

[1224] See ante, pp. 226, 243.

[1225] Gibbon wrote of Lord Hailes:—'In his Annals of Scotland he has shewn himself a diligent collector and an accurate critic.' Gibbon's Misc. Works, i. 233.

[1226] See ante, ii. 237.

[1227] See ante, ii. 79.


'Versate diu quid ferre recusent, Quid valeant humeri.' 'Weigh with care What suits your genius, what your strength can bear.'

FRANCIS. Horace, Ars Poet. 1. 39.

[1229] Boswell seems to be afraid of having his head made to ache again, by the sense that Johnson should put into it. See ante, p. 381.

[1230] The Spleen, a Poem. BOSWELL. The author was Matthew Green. Dodsley's Collection, i. 145. See ante, p. 38.

[1231] See ante, i. 182.

[1232] Of Dryden he wrote (Works, vii. 250):—'He began even now to exercise the domination of conscious genius by recommending his own performance.'

[1233] See ante, i. 297.

[1234] Johnson's Works, vii. 95. See ante, i. 111.


1. Exeter-street, off Catherine-street, Strand. [March 1737, ante, i. 103.] 2. Greenwich. [July 1737, ante, i. 107.] 3. Woodstock-street, near Hanover-square. [End of 1737, ante, i. III.] 4. Castle-street, Cavendish-square, No. 6. [Spring and October 1738; ante, i. 120, and 135, note 1. Castle-street is now called Castle-street East.] 5. Strand. 6. Boswell-Court. 7. Strand, again. [In Croker's Boswell, p. 44, is a letter dated, 'At the Black Boy, over against Durham Yard, Strand, March 31, 1741.'] 8. Bow-street. 9. Holborn. 10. Fetter-lane. [Johnson mentions in Pr. and Med. p. 73, 'A good night's rest I once had in Fetter-Lane.'] 11. Holborn, again. 12. Gough-square. [In Croker's Boswell, p. 62, is a letter dated 'Goff-square, July 12, 1749.' He moved to Staple Inn on March 23, 1759. Rasselas was written when he was living in Gough-square, and not in Staple Inn, as has been asserted. Ante, i. 516.] 13. Staple Inn. 14. Gray's Inn. [In Croker's Boswell, p. 118, is a letter dated 'Gray's Inn, Dec. 17, 1759.'] 15. Inner Temple-lane, No. 1. [He was here in June 1760, ante, i. 350, note 1; and on Jan. 13, 1761, as is shewn by a letter in Croker's Boswell, p. 122. Johnson Buildings now stand where his house stood.] 16. Johnson's-court, No. 7. [See i. 518 for a letter dated 'Johnson's-court, Oct. 17, 1765.'] 17. Bolt-court, No. 8. [He was here on March 15, 1776 (ante, ii. 427). From about 1765 (ante, i. 493) to Oct. 7, 1782 (post), he had moreover 'an apartment' at Streatham, and from about 1765 to about the end of 1780, one at Southwark (ante, i. 493). From about the beginning of 1781 to the spring of 1783 he had a room either in Grosvenor-square or Argyll-street (post, March 20, 1781 and March 21, 1783.)]

[1236] See ante, ii. 55.

[1237] If, as seems to be meant, the 'gentleman supposed the case' on this occasion, he must have been Boswell, for no one else was present with Johnson.

[1238] A crime that he would have restrained by 'severe laws steadily enforced.' Ante, iii. 18.

[1239] See ante, ii. 105.

[1240] Lord Newhaven was one of a creation of eighteen Irish peers in 1776. 'It was a mob of nobility,' wrote Horace Walpole. 'The King in private laughed much at the eagerness for such insignificant honours.' Journal of the Reign of George III, ii. 58.

[1241] Now the Lady of Sir Henry Dashwood, Bart. BOSWELL.

[1242] See ante, ii. 111.

[1243] The False Alarm. See ante, ii. 111.

[1244] See Collins's Peerage, i. 636, and Hume's England, ed. 1802, iv. 451, for an account, how Henry VIII. once threatened to cut off the head of Edward Montagu, one of the members (not the Speaker as Mr. Croker says), if he did not get a money bill passed by the next day. The bill, according to the story, was passed. Mr. P. Cunningham informed Mr. Croker that Johnson was here guilty of an anachronism, for that heads were first placed on Temple Bar in William III's time.

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

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

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

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

[1249] See ante, i. 458.

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

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

[1252] Corinthians. xv, 33.

[1253] See ante, ii. 121.

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

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

[1256] See ante, ii. 461.

[1257] See ante, ii. 465.

[1258] See ante, ib. p. 466

[1259] See ante, ib. p. 467.

[1260] See ante, ib. p. 470.

[1261] See ante, ib. p. 469.

[1262] See ante_, p. 405.

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

[1264] Miss Letitia Barnston. BOSWELL.

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

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

[1267] See ante, ii. 202.

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

[1269] See ante, iii. 162, and Boswell's Hebrides, Nov. 11.

[1270] In the first two editions, we.

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

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

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

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

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

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

[1277] Another son was the first Lord Ellenborough.

[1278] His regiment was afterwards ordered to Jamaica, where he accompanied it, and almost lost his life by the climate. This impartial order I should think a sufficient refutation of the idle rumour that 'there was still something behind the throne greater than the throne itself.' BOSWELL. Lord Shelburne, about the year 1803, likening the growth of the power of the Crown to a strong building that had been raised up, said:—'The Earl of Bute had contrived such a lock to it as a succession of the ablest men have not been able to pick, nor has he ever let the key be so much as seen by which he has held it.' Fitzmaurice's Shelburne, i. 68.

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


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

FRANCIS. Horace, Epistles, i. 14. 13.

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

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

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

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

[1285] See ante, i. 187.

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

[1287] See ante, i. 260, and post, June 4. 1781.

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

[1289] See ante, ii. 5.

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

[1291] He died March 11, 1780, aged 40. Gent. Mag. 1780, p. 155.


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

Adriani morientis ad animam suam.

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

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

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

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

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

[1296] See post, iv. 31.

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

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

[1299] An Address to the Electors of Southwark. Ib. p. 106. See post, p. 440.

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

[1301] Dr. John Hinchliffe. BOSWELL.

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

[1303] Mr. Thrale. BOSWELL.

[1304] In Johnson's Dictionary is neither dawling nor dawdling. He uses dawdle, post, June 3, 1781.

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

[1306] Miss Burney.

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

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

[1309] The author of Fables for the Female Sex, and of the tragedy of The Gamester, and editor of The World. Goldsmith, in his Present State of Polite Learning (ch. x.), after describing the sufferings of authors, continues:—'Let us not then aggravate those natural inconveniences by neglect; we have had sufficient instances of this kind already. Sale and Moore will suffice for one age at least. But they are dead and their sorrows are over.' Mr. Foster (Life of Goldsmith, ed. 1871, ii, 484) strangely confounds Edward Moore the fabulist, with Dr. John More the author of Zeluco.

[1310] Line of a song in The Spectator, No. 470. CROKER.

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

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

[1313] see ante p. 390.

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

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

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

[1317] In Nichols's Lit. Anec. viii. 548, 9, Dr. Barnard is thus described:—'In powers of conversation I never yet knew his equal. He saw infinite variety of characters, and like Shakespeare adopted them all by turns for comic effect. He carried me to London in a hired chaise; we rose from our seat, and put our heads out of the windows, while the postboy removed something under us. He supposed himself in the pillory, and addressed the populace against the government with all the cant of No. 45 and Co. He once told me a little anecdote of the original Parson Adams, whom he knew. "Oh, Sir!" said he to Barnard, almost in a whisper, and with a look of horror, "would you believe it, Sir, he was wicked from a boy;" then going up close to him, "You will be shocked—you will not believe it,—he wrote God with a little g, when he was ten years old!"'

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

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

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

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

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

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

[1324] See post, p. 435.

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

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

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

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

[1329] Written on June 10.

[1330] In the original, 'was this day with a party of soldiers.'

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

[1332] Written on June 12.

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

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

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

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

[1337] There were two city prisons so called.

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

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

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

[1341] Now settled in London. BOSWELL.

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

[1343] '—sic fata ferebant.' AEneid, ii. 34.

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

[1345] Davies had become bankrupt. See ante, p. 223. Young, in his first Epistle to Pope, says:—

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[1352] See post, iv. 12, and Boswell's Hebrides, Aug. 19.

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

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

[1355] See ante, p. 366.

[1356] See ante,, i. 458

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

[1358] See ante, p. 396.

[1359] See ante, ii. 162.

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

[1361] In the Life of Edmund Smith. See ante, i. 81, and Johnson's Works, vii. 380.

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

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

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

[1365] Pr. and Med. p. 185. BOSWELL.

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

[1367] The Charterhouse.

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

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

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

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

[1370] Hawkins's Johnsons Works, xi. 206. It is curious that Psalmanazar, in his Memoirs, p. 101, uses the mongrel word transmogrify.

[1371] Taylor's Life of Reynolds, ii. 459.

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

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


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