Life Of Johnson, Volume 5
by Boswell
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[1156] Nathan Bailey published his English Dictionary in 1721.


'Woolston, the scourge of scripture, mark with awe! And mighty Jacob, blunderbuss of law.'

The Dunciad, first ed., bk. iii. l. 149. Giles Jacob published a Law Dictionary in 1729.

[1158] Ante, p. 393.

[1159] A writer in the Gent. Mag. 1786, p. 388, with some reason says:—'I heartily wish Mr. Boswell would get this Latin poem translated.'

[1160] Boswell, briefly mentioning the tour which Johnson made to Wales in the year 1774 with Mr. and Mrs. Thrale, says:—'I do not find that he kept any journal or notes of what he saw there' (ante, ii. 285). A journal had been kept however, which in 1816 was edited and published by Mr. Duppa. Mrs. Piozzi, writing in October of that year, says that three years earlier she had been shewn the MS. by a Mr. White, and that it was genuine. 'The gentleman who possessed it seemed shy of letting me read the whole, and did not, as it appeared, like being asked how it came into his hands.' Hayward's Piozzi, ii. 177. According to Mr. Croker (Croker's Boswell, p. 415) 'it was preserved by Johnson's servant, Barber. How it escaped Boswell's research is not known.' A fragment of Johnson's Annals, also preserved by Barber, had in like manner never been seen by Boswell; ante, i. 35, note 1. The editor of these Annals says (Preface, p. v):—'Francis Barber, unwilling that all the MSS. of his illustrious master should be utterly lost, preserved these relicks from the flames. By purchase from Barber's widow they came into the possession of the editor.' It seems likely that Barber was afraid to own what he had done; though as he was the residuary legatee he was safe from all consequences, unless the executors of the will who were to hold the residue of the estate in trust for him had chosen to proceed against him. Mr. Duppa in editing this Journal received assistance from Mrs. Piozzi, 'who,' he says (Preface, p. xi), 'explained many facts which could not otherwise have been understood.' A passage in one of her letters dated Bath, Oct. 11, 1816, shows how unfriendly were the relations between her and her eldest daughter, Johnson's Queeny, who had married Admiral Lord Keith. 'I am sadly afraid,' she writes, 'of Lady K.'s being displeased, and fancying I promoted this publication. Could I have caught her for a quarter-of-an-hour, I should have proved my innocence, and might have shown her Duppa's letter; but she left neither note, card, nor message, and when my servant ran to all the inns in chase of her, he learned that she had left the White Hart at twelve o'clock. Vexatious! but it can't be helped. I hope the pretty little girl my people saw with her will pay her more tender attention.' Three days later she wrote:—'Johnson's Diary is selling rapidly, though the contents are bien maigre, I must confess. Mr. Duppa has politely suppressed some sarcastic expressions about my family, the Cottons, whom we visited at Combermere, and at Lleweney.' Hayward's Piozzi, ii. 176-9. Mr. Croker in 1835 was able to make 'a collation of the original MS., which has supplied many corrections and some omissions in Mr. Duppa's text.' Mr. Croker's text I have generally followed.

[1161] 'When I went with Johnson to Lichfield, and came down to breakfast at the inn, my dress did not please him, and he made me alter it entirely before he would stir a step with us about the town, saying most satirical things concerning the appearance I made in a riding-habit; and adding, "'Tis very strange that such eyes as yours cannot discern propriety of dress; if I had a sight only half as good, I think I should see to the centre."' Piozzi's Anec. p. 288.

[1162] For Mrs. (Miss) Porter, Mrs. (Miss) Aston, Mr. Green, Mrs. Cobb, Mr. (Peter) Garrick, Miss Seward, and Dr. Taylor, see ante, ii. 462-473.

[1163] Dr. Erasmus Darwin, the physiologist and poet, grandfather of Charles Darwin. Mrs. Piozzi when at Florence wrote:—'I have no roses equal to those at Lichfield, where on one tree I recollect counting eighty-four within my own reach; it grew against the house of Dr. Darwin.' Piozzi's Journey, i. 278.

[1164] See ante, iii. 124, for mention of her father and brother.

[1165] The verse in Martial is:—

'Defluat, et lento splendescat turbida limo.'

In the common editions it has the number 45, and not 44. DUPPA.

[1166] See ante, iii. 187.

[1167] Johnson wrote on Nov. 27, 1772, 'I was yesterday at Chatsworth. They complimented me with playing the fountain and opening the cascade. But I am of my friend's opinion, that when one has seen the ocean cascades are but little things.' Piozzi Letters, i.69.

[1168] 'A water-work with a concealed spring, which, upon touching, spouted out streams from every bough of a willow-tree.' Piozzi MS. CROKER.

[1169] A race-horse, which attracted so much of Dr. Johnson's attention, that he said, 'of all the Duke's possessions, I like Atlas best.' DUPPA.

[1170] For Johnson's last visit to Chatsworth, see ante, iv. 357, 367.

[1171] 'From the Muses, Sir Thomas More bore away the first crown, Erasmus the second, and Micyllus has the third.' In the MS. Johnson has introduced [Greek: aeren] by the side of [Greek: eilen], DUPPA. 'Jacques Moltzer, en Latin Micyllus. Ce surnom lui fut donne le jour ou il remplissait avec le plus grand succes le role de Micyllus dans Le Songe de Lucien qui, arrange en drame, fut represente au college de Francfort. Ne en 1503, mort en 1558.' Nouv. Biog. Gen. xxxv. 922.

[1172] See ante, ii. 324, note I, and iii. 138.

[1173] Mr. Gilpin was an undergraduate at Oxford. DUPPA.

[1174] John Parker, of Brownsholme, in Lancashire [Browsholme, in Yorkshire], Esq. DUPPA.

[1175] Mrs. Piozzi 'rather thought' that this was Capability Brown [ante, iii. 400]. CROKER.

[1176] Mr. Gell, of Hopton Hall, father of Sir William Gell, well known for his topography of Troy. DUPPA.

[1177] See ante, iii. 160, for a visit paid by Johnson and Boswell to Kedleston in 1777.

[1178] See ante, iii. 164.

[1179] The parish of Prestbury. DUPPA.

[1180] At this time the seat of Sir Lynch Salusbury Cotton [Mrs. Thrale's relation], now, of Lord Combermere, his grandson, from which place he takes his title. DUPPA.

[1181] Shavington Hall, in Shropshire. DUPPA.

[1182] 'To guard. To adorn with lists, laces or ornamental borders. Obsolete.' Johnson's Dictionary.

[1183] Johnson wrote to Mrs. Thrale on Nov. 13, 1783:—'You seem to mention Lord Kilmurrey (sic) as a stranger. We were at his house in Cheshire [Shropshire].... Do not you remember how he rejoiced in having no park? He could not disoblige his neighbours by sending them no venison.' Piozzi Letters, ii. 326.

[1184] This remark has reference to family conversation. Robert was the eldest son of Sir L.S. Cotton, and lived at Lleweney. DUPPA.

[1185] Paradise Lost, book xi. v. 642. DUPPA.

[1186] See Mrs. Piozzi's Synonymy, i. 323, for an anecdote of this walk.

[1187] Lleweney Hall was the residence of Robert Cotton, Esq., Mrs. Thrale's cousin german. Here Mr. and Mrs. Thrale and Dr. Johnson staid three weeks. DUPPA. Mrs. Piozzi wrote in 1817:—'Poor old Lleweney Hall! pulled down after standing 1000 years in possession of the Salusburys.' Hayward's Piozzi, ii. 206.

[1188] Johnson's name for Mrs. Thrale. Ante, i. 494.

[1189] Johnson wrote to Mrs. Thrale on Sept. 13, 1777:—'Boswell wants to see Wales; but except the woods of Bachycraigh, what is there in Wales? What that can fill the hunger of ignorance, or quench the thirst of curiosity?' Piozzi Letters, i. 367. Ante, iii. 134, note 1.

[1190] Pennant gives a description of this house, in a tour he made into North Wales in 1780:—'Not far from Dymerchion, lies half buried in woods the singular house of Bach y Graig. It consists of a mansion of three sides, enclosing a square court. The first consists of a vast hall and parlour: the rest of it rises into six wonderful stories, including the cupola; and forms from the second floor the figure of a pyramid: the rooms are small and inconvenient. The bricks are admirable, and appear to have been made in Holland; and the model of the house was probably brought from Flanders, where this kind of building is not unfrequent. It was built by Sir Richard Clough, an eminent merchant, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth. The initials of his name are in iron on the front, with the date 1567, and on the gateway 1569.' DUPPA.

[1191] Bishop Shipley, whom Johnson described as 'knowing and convertible' Ante, iv. 246. Johnson, in his Dictionary, says that 'conversable is sometimes written conversible, but improperly.'

[1192] William Lloyd, Bishop of St. Asaph and afterwards of Worcester. He was one of the seven Bishops who were sent to the Tower in 1688. His character is drawn by Burnet, History of His Own Time, ed. 1818, i. 210. It was he of whom Bishop Wilkins said that 'Lloyd had the most learning in ready cash of any he ever knew.' Ante, ii. 256, note 3.

[1193] A curious account of Dodwell and 'the paradoxes after which he seemed to hunt' is given in Burnet, iv. 303. He was Camden Professor of Ancient History in the University of Oxford. 'It was about him that William III uttered those memorable words: "He has set his heart on being a martyr; and I have set mine on disappointing him."' Macaulay's England, ed. 1874, iv. 226. See Hearne in Leland's Itin., 3rd ed. v. 136.

[1194] By Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, in 1579. DUPPA.

[1195] See ante, iii. 357, and v. 42.

[1196] Perhaps Johnson wrote mere.

[1197] Humphry Llwyd was a native of Denbigh, and practised there as a physician, and also represented the town in Parliament. He died 1568, aged 41. DUPPA.

[1198] Mrs. Thrale's father. DUPPA.

[1199] Cowper wrote a few years later in the first book of The Task, in his description of the grounds at Weston Underwood:—

'Not distant far a length of colonnade Invites us. Monument of ancient taste, Now scorned, but worthy of a better fate. Our fathers knew the value of a screen From sultry suns, and in their shaded walks And long-protracted bowers enjoyed at noon The gloom and coolness of declining day. We bear our shades about us: self-deprived Of other screen, the thin umbrella spread, And range an Indian waste without a tree. Thanks to Benevolus [A]—he spares me yet These chestnuts ranged in corresponding lines, And though himself so polished still reprieves The obsolete prolixity of shade.'

[1200] Such a passage as this shews that Johnson was not so insensible to nature as is often asserted. Mrs. Piozzi (Anec. p. 99) says:—'Mr. Thrale loved prospects, and was mortified that his friend could not enjoy the sight of those different dispositions of wood and water, hill and valley, that travelling through England and France affords a man. But when he wished to point them out to his companion: "Never heed such nonsense," would he reply; "a blade of grass is always a blade of grass, whether in one country or another. Let us, if we do talk, talk about something; men and women are my subjects of enquiry; let us see how these differ from those we have left behind."' She adds (p. 265):— 'Walking in a wood when it rained was, I think, the only rural image he pleased his fancy with; "for," says he, "after one has gathered the apples in an orchard, one wishes them well baked, and removed to a London eating-house for enjoyment."' See ante, pp. 132, note 1, 141, note 2, 333, note i, and 346, note i, for Johnson's descriptions of scenery. Passages in his letters shew that he had some enjoyment of country life. Thus he writes:—'I hope 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. 'What I shall do next I know not; all my schemes of rural pleasure have been some way or other disappointed.' Ib. p. 372. 'I hope Mrs. ——— when she came to her favourite place found her house dry, and her woods growing, and the breeze whistling, and the birds singing, and her own heart dancing.' Ib. p. 401. In this very trip to Wales, after describing the high bank of a river 'shaded by gradual rows of trees,' he writes:—'The gloom, the stream, and the silence generate thoughtfulness.' Post, p. 454.

[A] Mr. Throckmorton the owner.

[1201] In the MS. in Dr. Johnson's handwriting, he has first entered in his diary, 'The old Clerk had great appearance of joy at seeing his Mistress, and foolishly said that he was now willing to die:' he afterwards wrote in a separate column, on the same leaf, under the head of notes and omissions, 'He had a crown;' and then he appears to have read over his diary at a future time, and interlined the paragraph with the words 'only'—'given him by my Mistress,' which is written in ink of a different colour. DUPPA. 'If Mr. Duppa,' wrote Mrs. Piozzi, 'does not send me a copy of Johnson's Diary, he is as shabby as it seems our Doctor thought me, when I gave but a crown to the old clerk. The poor clerk had probably never seen a crown in his possession before. Things were very distant A.D. 1774 from what they are 1816.' Hayward's Piozzi, ii. 178. Mrs. Piozzi writes as if Johnson's censure had been passed in 1816 and not in 1774.

[1202] Mrs. Piozzi has the following MS. note on this:—'He said I flattered the people to whose houses we went. I was saucy, and said I was obliged to be civil for two, meaning himself and me. He replied nobody would thank me for compliments they did not understand. At Gwaynynog he was flattered, and was happy of course.' Hayward's Piozzi, i. 75. Sept. 21, 1778. Mrs. Thrale. 'I remember, Sir, when we were travelling in Wales, how you called me to account for my civility to the people. "Madam," you said, "let me have no more of this idle commendation of nothing. Why is it that whatever you see, and whoever you see, you are to be so indiscriminately lavish of praise?" "Why I'll tell you, Sir," said I, "when I am with you, and Mr. Thrale, and Queeny [Miss Thrale], I am obliged to be civil for four."' Mme. D'Arblay's Diary, i. 132. On June 11, 1775, he wrote to Mrs. Thrale from Lichfield:—'Everybody remembers you all: you left a good impression behind you. I hope you will do the same at———. Do not make them speeches. Unusual compliments, to which there is no stated and prescriptive answer, embarrass the feeble, who know not what to say, and disgust the wise, who knowing them to be false suspect them to be hypocritical.' Piozzi Letters, i. 232. She records that he once said to her:—'You think I love flattery, and so I do, but a little too much always disgusts me. That fellow Richardson [the novelist] on the contrary could not be contented to sail quietly down the stream of reputation, without longing to taste the froth from every stroke of the oar.' Piozzi's Anec. p. 184. See ante, iii. 293, for Johnson's rebuke of Hannah More's flattery.

[1203] Johnson, in his Dictionary, defines calamine or lapis calaminaris as a kind of fossile bituminous earth, which being mixed with copper changes it into brass. It is native siliceous oxide of zinc. The Imperial Dictionary.

[1204] See ante, iii. 164.

[1205] 'No' or 'little' is here probably omitted. CROKER.

[1206] The name of this house is Bodryddan; formerly the residence of the Stapyltons, the parents of five co-heiresses, of whom Mrs. Cotton, afterwards Lady Salusbury Cotton, was one. DUPPA.

[1207] 'Dr. Johnson, whose ideas of anything not positively large were ever mingled with contempt, asked of one of our sharp currents in North Wales, "Has this brook e'er a name?" and received for answer, "Why, dear Sir, this is the River Ustrad." "Let us," said he, turning to his friend, "jump over it directly, and shew them how an Englishman should treat a Welsh river."' Piozzi's Synonymy, i. 82.

[1208] See ante, i. 313, note 4.

[1209] On Aug. 16 he wrote to Mr. Levett:—'I have made nothing of the Ipecacuanha.' Ante, ii. 282. Mr. Croker suggests that up is omitted after 'I gave.'

[1210] See post, p. 453.

[1211] F.G. are the printer's signatures, by which it appears that at this time four sheets (B, C, D, E), or 64 pages had already been printed. The MS. was 'put to the press' on June 20. Ante, ii. 278.

[1212] The English version Psalm 36 begins,—'My heart sheweth me the wickedness of the ungodly,' which has no relation to 'Dixit injustus.'

[1213] This alludes to 'A prayer by R.W., (evidently Robert Wisedom) which Sir Henry Ellis, of the British Museum, has found among the Hymns which follow the old version of the singing Psalms, at the end of Barker's Bible of 1639. It begins,

'Preserve us, Lord, by thy deare word, From Turk and Pope, defend us Lord, Which both would thrust out of his throne Our Lord Jesus Christ, thy deare son.'


[1214] 'Proinde quum dominus Matth. 6 docet discipulos suos ne in orando multiloqui sint, nihil aliud docet quam ne credant deum inani verborum strepitu flecti rem eandem subinde flagitantium. Nam Graecis est [Greek: battologaesate]. [Greek: Battologein] autem illis dicitur qui voces easdem frequenter iterant sine causa, vel loquacitatis, vel naturae, vel consuetudinis vitio. Alioqui juxta precepta rhetorum nonnunquam laudis est iterare verba, quemadmodum et Christus in cruce clamitat. Deus meus, deus meus: non erat illa [Greek: battologia], sed ardens ac vehemens affectus orantis.' Erasmus's Works, ed. 1540, v. 927.

[1215] This alludes to Southwell's stanzas 'Upon the Image of Death,' in his Maeonia, [Maeoniae] a collection of spiritual poems:—

'Before my face the picture hangs, That daily should put me in mind Of those cold names and bitter pangs That shortly I am like to find: But, yet, alas! full little I Do thinke hereon that I must die.' &c.

Robert Southwell was an English Jesuit, who was imprisoned, tortured, and finally, in Feb. 1598 [1595] executed for teaching the Roman Catholic tenets in England. CROKER.

[1216] This work, which Johnson was now reading, was, most probably, a little book, entitled Baudi Epistolae. In his Life of Milton [Works, vii. 115], he has made a quotation from it. DUPPA.

[1217] Bishop Shipley had been an Army Chaplain. Ante, iii. 251.

[1218] The title of the poem is [Greek: Poiaema nouthetikon]. DUPPA.

[1219] This entry refers to the following passage in Leland's Itinerary, published by Thomas Hearne, ed. 1744, iv. 112. 'B. Smith in K.H.7. dayes, and last Bishop of Lincolne, beganne a new Foundation at this place settinge up a Mr. there with 2. Preistes, and 10. poore Men in an Hospitall. He sett there alsoe a Schoole-Mr. to teach Grammer that hath 10.l. by the yeare, and an Under-Schoole-Mr. that hath 5.l. by the yeare. King H.7. was a great Benefactour to this new Foundation, and gave to it an ould Hospitall called Denhall in Wirhall in Cheshire.'

[1220] A Journey to Meqwinez, the Residence of the present Emperor of Fez and Morocco, on the Occasion of Commodore Stewart's Embassy thither, for the Redemption of the British captives, in the Year 1721. DUPPA.

[1221] The Bibliotheca Literaria was published in London, 1722-4, in 4to numbers, but only extended to ten numbers. DUPPA.

[1222] By this expression it would seem, that on this day Johnson ate sparingly. DUPPA.

[1223] 'A weakness of the knees, not without some pain in walking, which I feel increased after I have dined.' DUPPA.

[1224] Penmaen Mawr is a huge rock, rising nearly 1550 feet perpendicular above the sea. Along a shelf of this precipice, is formed an excellent road, well guarded, toward the sea, by a strong wall, supported in many parts by arches turned underneath it. Before this wall was built, travellers sometimes fell down the precipices. DUPPA.

[1225] See post, p. 453.

[1226] 'Johnson said that one of the castles in Wales would contain all the castles that he had seen in Scotland.' Ante, ii. 285.

[1227] This gentleman was a lieutenant in the Navy. DUPPA.

[1228] Lady Catharine Percival, daughter of the second Earl of Egmont: this was, it appears, the lady of whom Mrs. Piozzi relates, that 'For a lady of quality, since dead, who received us at her husband's seat in Wales with less attention than he had long been accustomed to, he had a rougher denunciation:—"That woman," cried Johnson, "is like sour small beer, the beverage of her table, and produce of the wretched country she lives in: like that, she could never have been a good thing, and even that bad thing is spoiled."' [Anec. p. 171.] And it is probably of her, too, that another anecdote is told:—'We had been visiting at a lady's house, whom, as we returned, some of the company ridiculed for her ignorance:—"She is not ignorant," said he, "I believe, of any thing she has been taught, or of any thing she is desirous to know; and I suppose if one wanted a little run tea, she might be a proper person enough to apply to.'" [Ib. p. 219.] Mrs. Piozzi says, in her MS. letters, 'that Lady Catharine comes off well in the diary. He said many severe things of her, which he did not commit to paper.' She died in 1782. CROKER.

[1229] Johnson described in 1762 his disappointment on his return to Lichfield. Ante, i. 370.

[1230] 'It was impossible not to laugh at the patience Doctor Johnson shewed, when a Welsh parson of mean abilities, though a good heart, struck with reverence at the sight of Dr. Johnson, whom he had heard of as the greatest man living, could not find any words to answer his inquiries concerning a motto round somebody's arms which adorned a tomb-stone in Ruabon church-yard. If I remember right, the words were,

Heb Dw, Heb Dym, Dw o' diggon.

And though of no very difficult construction, the gentleman seemed wholly confounded, and unable to explain them; till Mr. Johnson, having picked out the meaning by little and little, said to the man, "Heb is a preposition, I believe, Sir, is it not?" My countryman recovering some spirits upon the sudden question, cried out, "So I humbly presume, Sir," very comically.' Piozzi's Anec. p. 238. The Welsh words, which are the Myddelton motto, mean, 'Without God, without all. God is all-sufficient.' Piozzi MS. Croker's Boswell, p. 423.

[1231] In 1809 the whole income for Llangwinodyl, including surplice fees, amounted to forty-six pounds two shillings and twopence, and for Tydweilliog, forty-three pounds nineteen shillings and tenpence; so that it does not appear that Mr. Thrale carried into effect his good intention. DUPPA.

[1232] Mr. Thrale was near-sighted, and could not see the goats browsing on Snowdon, and he promised his daughter, who was a child of ten years old, a penny for every goat she would shew him, and Dr. Johnson kept the account; so that it appears her father was in debt to her one hundred and forty-nine pence. Queeny was the epithet, which had its origin in the nursery, by which Miss Thrale was always distinguished by Johnson. DUPPA. Her name was Esther. The allusion was to Queen Esther. Johnson often pleasantly mentions her in his letters to her mother. Thus on July 27, 1780, he writes:—'As if I might not correspond with my Queeney, and we might not tell one another our minds about politicks or morals, or anything else. Queeney and I are both steady and may be trusted; we are none of the giddy gabblers, we think before we speak.' Piozzi Letters, ii. 169. Four days later he wrote:—'Tell my pretty dear Queeney, that when we meet again, we will have, at least for some time, two lessons in a day. I love her and think on her when I am alone; hope we shall be very happy together and mind our books.' Ib. p. 173.

[1233] See ante, iv. 421, for the inscription on an urn erected by Mr. Myddelton 'on the banks of a rivulet where Johnson delighted to stand and repeat verses.' On Sept. 18, 1777, Johnson wrote to Mrs. Thrale: —'Mr. ——'s erection of an urn looks like an intention to bury me alive; I would as willingly see my friend, however benevolent and hospitable, quietly inurned. Let him think for the present of some more acceptable memorial.' Piozzi Letters, i. 371.

[1234] Johnson wrote on Oct. 24, 1778:—'My two clerical friends Darby and Worthington have both died this month. I have known Worthington long, and to die is dreadful. I believe he was a very good man.' Piozzi Letters, ii. 26.

[1235] Thomas, the second Lord Lyttelton. DUPPA.

[1236] Mr. Gwynn the architect was a native of Shrewsbury, and was at this time completing a bridge across the Severn, called the English Bridge: besides this bridge, he built one at Acham, over the Severn, near to Shrewsbury; and the bridges at Worcester, Oxford [Magdalen Bridge], and Henley. DUPPA. He was also the architect of the Oxford Market, which was opened in 1774. Oxford during the Last Century, ed. 1859, p. 45. Johnson and Boswell travelled to Oxford with him in March, 1776. Ante, ii. 438. In 1778 he got into some difficulties, in which Johnson tried to help him, as is shewn by the following autograph letter in the possession of my friend Mr. M. M. Holloway:—


'Poor Mr. Gwyn is in great distress under the weight of the late determination against him, and has still hopes that some mitigation may be obtained. If it be true that whatever has by his negligence been amiss, may be redressed for a sum much less than has been awarded, the remaining part ought in equity to be returned, or, what is more desirable, abated. When the money is once paid, there is little hope of getting it again.

'The load is, I believe, very hard upon him; he indulges some flattering opinions that by the influence of his academical friends it may be lightened, and will not be persuaded but that some testimony of my kindness may be beneficial. I hope he has been guilty of nothing worse than credulity, and he then certainly deserves commiseration. I never heard otherwise than that he was an honest man, and I hope that by your countenance and that of other gentlemen who favour or pity him some relief may be obtained.

'I am, Sir, 'Your most humble servant, 'SAM. JOHNSON.' 'Bolt Court, Fleet-street, 'Jan. 30, 1778.'

[1237] An ancestor of mine, a nursery-gardener, Thomas Wright by name, after whom my grandfather, Thomas Wright Hill, was called, planted this walk. The tradition preserved in my family is that on his wedding-day he took six men with him and planted these trees. When blamed for keeping the wedding-dinner waiting, he answered, that if what he had been doing turned out well, it would be of far more value than a wedding-dinner.

[1238] The Rector of St. Chad's, in Shrewsbury. He was appointed Master of Pembroke College, Oxford, in the following year. See ante, ii. 441.

[1239] 'I have heard Dr. Johnson protest that he never had quite as much as he wished of wall-fruit except once in his life, and that was when we were all together at Ombersley.' Piozzi's Anec. p. 103. Mrs. Thrale wrote to him in 1778:—'Mr. Scrase gives us fine fruit; I wished you my pear yesterday; but then what would one pear have done for you?' Piozzi Letters, ii. 36. It seems unlikely that Johnson should not at Streatham have had all the wall-fruit that he wished.

[1240] This visit was not to Lord Lyttelton, but to his uncle [afterwards by successive creations, Lord Westcote, and Lord Lyttelton], the father of the present Lord Lyttelton, who lived at a house called Little Hagley. DUPPA. Johnson wrote to Mrs. Thrale in 1771:—'I would have been glad to go to Hagley in compliance with Mr. Lyttelton's kind invitation, for beside the pleasure of his conversation I should have had the opportunity of recollecting past times, and wandering per montes notos et flumina nota, of recalling the images of sixteen, and reviewing my conversations with poor Ford.' Piozzi Letters, i. 42. He had been at school at Stourbridge, close by Hagley. Ante, i. 49. See Walpole's Letters, ix. 123, for an anecdote of Lord Westcote.

[1241] Horace Walpole, writing of Hagley in Sept. 1753 (Letters, ii. 352), says:—'There is extreme taste in the park: the seats are not the best, but there is not one absurdity. There is a ruined castle, built by Miller, that would get him his freedom even of Strawberry [Walpole's own house at Twickenham]: it has the true rust of the Barons' Wars.'

[1242] 'Mrs. Lyttelton forced me to play at whist against my liking, and her husband took away Johnson's candle that he wanted to read by at the other end of the room. Those, I trust, were the offences.' Piozzi MS. CROKER.

[1243] Johnson (Works, viii. 409) thus writes of Shenstone and the Leasowes:—'He began to point his prospects, to diversify his surface, to entangle his walks, and to wind his waters; which he did with such judgment and such fancy as made his little domain the envy of the great and the admiration of the skilful; a place to be visited by travellers and copied by designers. .... For awhile the inhabitants of Hagley affected to tell their acquaintance of the little fellow that was trying to make himself admired; but when by degrees the Leasowes forced themselves into notice, they took care to defeat the curiosity which they could not suppress by conducting their visitants perversely to inconvenient points of view, and introducing them at the wrong end of a walk to detect a deception; injuries of which Shenstone would heavily complain. Where there is emulation there will be vanity; and where there is vanity there will be folly. The pleasure of Shenstone was all in his eye: he valued what he valued merely for its looks; nothing raised his indignation more than to ask if there were any fishes in his water.' See ante, p. 345.

[1244] See ante, iii. 187, and v. 429.

[1245] 'He spent his estate in adorning it, and his death was probably hastened by his anxieties. He was a lamp that spent its oil in blazing. It is said that if he had lived a little longer he would have been assisted by a pension: such bounty could not have been ever more properly bestowed.' Johnson's Works, viii. 410. His friend, Mr. Graves, the author of The Spiritual Quixote, in a note on this passage says that, if he was sometimes distressed for money, yet he was able to leave legacies and two small annuities.

[1246] Mr. Duppa—without however giving his authority—says that this was Dr. Wheeler, mentioned ante, iii. 366. The Birmingham Directory for the year 1770 shews that there were two tradesmen in the town of that name, one having the same Christian name, Benjamin, as Dr. Wheeler.

[1247] Boswell visited these works in 1776. Ante, ii. 459.

[1248] Burke in the House of Commons on Jan. 25, 1771, in a debate on Falkland's Island, said of the Spanish Declaration:—'It was made, I admit, on the true principles of trade and manufacture. It puts me in mind of a Birmingham button which has passed through an hundred hands, and after all is not worth three-halfpence a dozen.' Parl. Hist. xvi. 1345.

[1249] Johnson and Boswell drove through the Park in 1776. Ante, ii. 451.

[1250] 'My friend the late Lord Grosvenor had a house at Salt Hill, where I usually spent a part of the summer, and thus became acquainted with that great and good man, Jacob Bryant. Here the conversation turned one morning on a Greek criticism by Dr. Johnson in some volume lying on the table, which I ventured (for I was then young) to deem incorrect, and pointed it out to him. I could not help thinking that he was somewhat of my opinion, but he was cautious and reserved. "But, Sir," said I, willing to overcome his scruples, "Dr. Johnson himself admitted that he was not a good Greek scholar." "Sir," he replied, with a serious and impressive air, "it is not easy for us to say what such a man as Johnson would call a good Greek scholar." I hope that I profited by that lesson—certainly I never forgot it.' Gifford's Works of Ford, vol. i. p. lxii. Croker's Boswell, p. 794. 'So notorious is Mr. Bryant's great fondness for studying and proving the truths of the creation according to Moses, that he told me himself, and with much quaint humour, a pleasantry of one of his friends in giving a character of him:—"Bryant," said he, "is a very good scholar, and knows all things whatever up to Noah, but not a single thing in the world beyond the Deluge."' Mme. D'Arblay's Diary, iii. 229.

[1251] This is a work written by William Durand, Bishop of Mende, and printed on vellum, in folio, by Fust and Schoeffer, in Mentz, 1459. It is the third book that is known to be printed with a date. DUPPA. It is perhaps the first book with a date printed in movable metal type. Brunei, ed. 1861, ii. 904. See ante, ii. 397.

[1252] Dr. Johnson, in another column of his Diary, has put down, in a note, 'First printed book in Greek, Lascaris's Grammar, 4to, Mediolani, 1476.' The imprint of this book is, Mediolani Impressum per Magistrum Dionysium Paravisinum. M.CCCC.LXXVI. Die xxx Januarii. The first book printed in the English language was the Historyes of Troye, printed in 1471. DUPPA. A copy of the Historyes of Troy is exhibited in the Bodleian Library with the following superscription:—'Lefevre's Recuyell of the historyes of Troye. The first book printed in the English language. Issued by Caxton at Bruges about 1474.'

[1253] The Battle of the Frogs and Mice. The first edition was printed by Laonicus Cretensis, 1486. DUPPA.

[1254] Mr. Coulson was a Senior Fellow of University College. Lord Stowell informed me that he was very eccentric. He would on a fine day hang out of the college windows his various pieces of apparel to air, which used to be universally answered by the young men hanging out from all the other windows, quilts, carpets, rags, and every kind of trash, and this was called an illumination. His notions of the eminence and importance of his academic situation were so peculiar, that, when he afterwards accepted a college living, he expressed to Lord Stowell his doubts whether, after living so long in the great world, he might not grow weary of the comparative retirement of a country parish. CROKER. See ante, ii. 382, note.

[1255] Dr. Robert Vansittart, Fellow of All Souls, and Regius Professor of Law. DUPPA. Johnson wrote to Mrs. Thrale on Nov. 3, 1773:—'Poor V———! There are not so many reasons as he thinks why he should envy me, but there are some; he wants what I have, a kind and careful mistress; and wants likewise what I shall want at my return. He is a good man, and when his mind is composed a man of parts.' Piozzi Letters, i. 197. See ante, i. 348.

[1256] See ante, ii. 285, note 3.


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