The Life Of Johnson, Volume 3 of 6
by Boswell
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[181] See ante, April 14, 1775.

[182] See ante, May 12, 1774.

[183] A Gallicism, which has it appears, with so many others, become vernacular in Scotland. The French call a pulpit, la chaire de vrit. CROKER.

[184] As a proof of Dr. Johnson's extraordinary powers of composition, it appears from the original manuscript of this excellent dissertation, of which he dictated the first eight paragraphs on the 10th of May, and the remainder on the 13th, that there are in the whole only seven corrections, or rather variations, and those not considerable. Such were at once the vigorous and accurate emanations of his mind. BOSWELL.

[185] It is curious to observe that Lord Thurlow has here, perhaps in compliment to North Britain, made use of a term of the Scotch Law, which to an English reader may require explanation. To qualify a wrong, is to point out and establish it. BOSWELL.


'Quaeque ipse miserrima vidi, Et quorum pars magna fui.'

'Which thing myself unhappy did behold, Yea, and was no small part thereof.'

Morris, Aeneids, ii. 5.

[187] In the year 1770, in The False Alarm, Johnson attacked Wilkes with more than 'some asperity.' 'The character of the man,' he wrote, 'I have no purpose to delineate. Lampoon itself would disdain to speak ill of him, of whom no man speaks well.' He called him 'a retailer of sedition and obscenity;' and he said:—'We are now disputing ... whether Middlesex shall be represented, or not, by a criminal from a gaol.' Works, vi. 156, 169, 177. In The North Briton, No. xii, Wilkes, quoting Johnson's definition of a pensioner, asks:—'Is the said Mr. Johnson a dependant? or is he a slave of state, hired by a stipend to obey his master? There is, according to him, no alternative.—As Mr. Johnson has, I think, failed in this account, may I, after so great an authority, venture at a short definition of so intricate a word? A pension then I would call a gratuity during the pleasure of the Prince for services performed, or expected to be performed, to himself, or to the state. Let us consider the celebrated Mr. Johnson, and a few other late pensioners in this light.'

[188] Boswell, in his Letter to the People of Scotland (p. 70), mentions 'my old classical companion, Wilkes;' and adds, 'with whom I pray you to excuse my keeping company, he is so pleasant.'

[189] When Johnson was going to Auchinleck, Boswell begged him, in talking with his father, 'to avoid three topicks as to which they differed very widely; whiggism, presbyterianism, and—Sir John Pringle.' Boswell's Hebrides, Nov 2, 1773. See also ib. Aug 24. 'Pringle was President of the Royal Society—"who sat in Newton's chair, And wonder'd how the devil he got there."' J. H. Burton's Hume, i. 165. He was one of Franklin's friends (Franklin's Memoirs iii. III), and so was likely to be uncongenial to Johnson.

[190] No 22. CROKER. At this house 'Johnson owned that he always found a good dinner.' Post, April 15, 1778.

[191] This has been circulated as if actually said by Johnson; when the truth is, it was only supposed by me. BOSWELL.

[192] 'Don't let them be patriots,' he said to Mr. Hoole, when he asked him to collect a city Club. Post, April 6, 1781.

[193] See p. 7 of this volume. BOSWELL.

[194] 'Indifferent in his choice to sleep or die.' Addison's Cato, act v. sc. 1.

[195] See ante, i. 485.

[196] He was at this time 'employed by Congress as a private and confidential agent in England.' Dr. Franklin had arranged for letters to be sent to him, not by post but by private hand, under cover to his brother, Mr. Alderman Lee. Franklin's Memoirs, ii. 42, and iii. 415.

[197] When Wilkes the year before, during his mayoralty, had presented An Address, 'the King himself owned he had never seen so well-bred a Lord Mayor.' Walpole's Journal of the Reign of George III, i. 484.

[198] Johnson's London, a Poem, v. 145. BOSWELL—

'How when competitors like these contend, Can surly virtue hope to fix a friend.'

[199] See ante, ii. 154.

[200] Johnson had said much the same at a dinner in Edinburgh. See Boswell's Hebrides, Nov. 10, 1773. See ante, March 15, 1776, and post, Sept. 21, 1777.

[201] 'To convince any man against his will is hard, but to please him against his will is justly pronounced by Dryden to be above the reach of human abilities.' The Rambler, No. 93.

[202] Foote told me that Johnson said of him, 'For loud obstreperous broadfaced mirth, I know not his equal.' BOSWELL.

[203] In Farquhar's Beaux-Stratagem, Scrub thus describes his duties: —'Of a Monday I drive the coach, of a Tuesday I drive the plough, on Wednesday I follow the hounds, a Thursday I dun the tenants, on Friday I go to market, on Saturday I draw warrants, and a Sunday I draw beer.' Act iii. sc. 3.

[204] See ante, i. 393, note 1.

[205] See post, April 10, 1778, and April 24, 1779.

[206] See ante, i. 216, note 2.

[207] See ante, March 20, 1776, and Boswell's Hebrides, Sept. 22.

[208] Dryden had been dead but thirty-six years when Johnson came to London.

[209] 'Owen MacSwinny, a buffoon; formerly director of the play-house.' Horace Walpole, Letters, i. 118. Walpole records one of his puns. 'Old Horace' had left the House of Commons to fight a duel, and at once 'returned, and was so little moved as to speak immediately upon the Cambrick Bill, which made Swinny say, "That it was a sign he was not ruffled."' Ib. p. 233. See also, ib. vi. 373 for one of his stories.

[210] A more amusing version of the story, is in Johnsoniana (ed. 1836, p. 413) on the authority of Mr. Fowke. '"So Sir," said Johnson to Cibber, "I find you know [knew?] Mr. Dryden?" "Know him? O Lord! I was as well acquainted with him as if he had been my own brother." "Then you can tell me some anecdotes of him?" "O yes, a thousand! Why we used to meet him continually at a club at Button's. I remember as well as if it were but yesterday, that when he came into the room in winter time, he used to go and sit by the fire in one corner; and in summer time he would always go and sit in the window." "Thus, Sir," said Johnson, "what with the corner of the fire in winter and the window in summer, you see that I got much information from Cibber of the manners and habits of Dryden.'" Johnson gives, in his Life of Dryden (Works, vii. 300), the information that he got from Swinney and Cibber. Dr. Warton, who had written on Pope, found in one of the poet's female-cousins a still more ignorant survivor. 'He had been taught to believe that she could furnish him with valuable information. Incited by all that eagerness which characterised him, he sat close to her, and enquired her consanguinity to Pope. "Pray, Sir," said she, "did not you write a book about my cousin Pope?" "Yes, madam." "They tell me t'was vastly clever. He wrote a great many plays, did not he?" "I have heard of only one attempt, Madam." "Oh no, I beg your pardon; that was Mr. Shakespeare; I always confound them."' Wooll's Warton, p. 394.

[211] Johnson told Malone that 'Cibber was much more ignorant even of matters relating to his own profession than he could well have conceived any man to be who had lived nearly sixty years with players, authors, and the most celebrated characters of the age.' Prior's Malone, p. 95. See ante, ii. 92.

[212] 'There are few,' wrote Goldsmith, 'who do not prefer a page of Montaigne or Colley Cibber, who candidly tell us what they thought of the world, and the world thought of them, to the more stately memoirs and transactions of Europe.' Cunningham's Goldsmith's Works, iv. 43.

[213] Essay on Criticism, i. 66.

[214] 'Cibber wrote as bad Odes (as Garrick), but then Gibber wrote The Careless Husband, and his own Life, which both deserve immortality.' Walpole's Letters, v. 197. Pope (Imitations of Horace, II. i. 90), says:—

'All this may be; the people's voice is odd, It is, and it is not, the voice of God. To Gammer Gurton if it give the bays, And yet deny The Careless Husband praise, Or say our fathers never broke a rule; Why then, I say, the public is a fool.'

See ante, April 6, 1775.

[215] See page 402 of vol. i. BOSWELL.

[216] Milton's L'Allegro, 1. 36.

[217] 'CATESBY. My Liege, the Duke of Buckingham is taken. RICHARD. Off with his head. So much for Buckingham.' Colley Gibber's Richard III, iv. I.

[218] _Ars Poetica, i. 128.

[219] My very pleasant friend himself, as well as others who remember old stories, will no doubt be surprised, when I observe that John Wilkes here shews himself to be of the WARBURTONIAN SCHOOL. It is nevertheless true, as appears from Dr. Hurd the Bishop of Worcester's very elegant commentary and notes on the 'Epistola ad Pisones.'

It is necessary to a fair consideration of the question, that the whole passage in which the words occur should be kept in view:

'Si quid inexpertum scenae committis, et audes Personam formare novam, servetur ad imum Qualis ab incepto processerit, et sibi constet. Difficile est propri communia dicere: tuque Rectis Iliacum carmen deducis in actus, Qum si proferres ignota indictaque primus, Publica materies privati juris erit, si Non circa vilem patulumque moraberis orbem, Nec verbum verbo curabis reddere fidus Interpres; nee desilies imitator in artum Unde pedem proferre pudor vetat aut operis lex.'

The 'Commentary' thus illustrates it: 'But the formation of quite new characters is a work of great difficulty and hazard. For here there is no generally received and fixed archetype to work after, but every one judges of common right, according to the extent and comprehension of his own idea; therefore he advises to labour and refit old characters and subjects, particularly those made known and authorised by the practice of Homer and the Epick writers.'

The 'Note' is,

'Difficile EST PROPRIE COMMUNIA DICERE.' Lambin's Comment is, 'Communia hoc loco appellat Horatius argumenta fabularum nullo adhuc tractata: et ita, quae cuivis exposita sunt et in medio quodammodo posita, quasi vacua et nemine occupata.' And that this is the true meaning of communia is evidently fixed by the words ignota indictaque, which are explanatory of it; so that the sense given it in the commentary is unquestionably the right one. Yet, notwithstanding the clearness of the case, a late critick has this strange passage: 'Difficile quidem esse propri communia dicere, hoc est, materiam vulgarem, notam et medio petitam, ita immutare atque exornare, ut nova et scriptori propria videatur, ultra concedimus; et maximi procul dubio ponderis ista est observatio. Sed omnibus utrinque collatis, et tum difficilis, tum venusti, tam judicii quam ingenii ratione habit, major videtur esse gloria fabulam formare penits novam, qum veterem, utcunque mutatam, de novo exhibere. (Poet. Prael. v. ii. p. 164.) Where, having first put a wrong construction on the word comnmnia, he employs it to introduce an impertinent criticism. For where does the poet prefer the glory of refitting old subjects to that of inventing new ones? The contrary is implied in what he urges about the superiour difficulty of the latter, from which he dissuades his countrymen, only in respect of their abilities and inexperience in these matters; and in order to cultivate in them, which is the main view of the Epistle, a spirit of correctness, by sending them to the old subjects, treated by the Greek writers.'

For my own part (with all deference for Dr. Hurd, who thinks the case clear,) I consider the passage, 'Difficile est propri communia dicere,' to be a crux for the criticks on Horace.

The explication which My Lord of Worcester treats with so much contempt, is nevertheless countenanced by authority which I find quoted by the learned Baxter in his edition of Horace: 'Difficile est propri communia dicere, h.e. res vulgares disertis verbis enarrare, vel humile thema cum dignitate tractare. Difficile est communes res propriis explicare verbis. Vet. Schol.' I was much disappointed to find that the great critick, Dr. Bentley, has no note upon this very difficult passage, as from his vigorous and illuminated mind I should have expected to receive more satisfaction than I have yet had.

Sanadon thus treats of it: 'Propri communia dicere; c'est dire, qu'il n'est pas ais de former ces personnages d'imagination, des caractres particuliers et cependant vraisemblables. Comme l'on a et le maitre de les former tels qu'on a voulu, les fautes que l'on fait en cela sont moins pardonnables. C'est pourquoi Horace conseille de prendre toujours des sujets connus tels que sont par exemple ceux que l'on peut tirer des pomes d'Homere.'

And Dacier observes upon it, 'Apres avoir marqu les deux qualits qu'il faut donner aux personnages qu'on invente, il conseille aux Potes tragiques, de n'user pas trop facilement de cette libert quils ont d'en inventer, car il est trs difficile de reussir dans ces nouveaux caractres. Il est mal ais, dit Horace, de traiter proprement, c'st dire convenablement, des sujets communs; c'est dire, des sujets invents, et qui n'ont aucun fondement ni dans l'Histoire ni dans la Fable; et il les appelle communs, parce qu'ils sont en disposition tout le monde, et que tout le monde a le droit de les inventer, et qu'ils sont, comme on dit, au premier occupant.' See his observations at large on this expression and the following.

After all, I cannot help entertaining some doubt whether the words, Difficile est propri communia dicere, may not have been thrown in by Horace to form a separate article in a 'choice of difficulties' which a poet has to encounter, who chooses a new subject; in which case it must be uncertain which of the various explanations is the true one, and every reader has a right to decide as it may strike his own fancy. And even should the words be understood as they generally are, to be connected both with what goes before and what comes after, the exact sense cannot be absolutely ascertained; for instance, whether propri is meant to signify in an appropriated manner, as Dr. Johnson here understands it, or, as it is often used by Cicero, with propriety, or elegantly. In short, it is a rare instance of a defect in perspicuity in an admirable writer, who with almost every species of excellence, is peculiarly remarkable for that quality. The length of this note perhaps requires an apology. Many of my readers, I doubt not, will admit that a critical discussion of a passage in a favourite classick is very engaging. BOSWELL. Boswell's French in this tedious note is left as he printed it.

[220] Johnson, after describing Settle's attack on Dryden, continues (Works, vii. 277):—'Such are the revolutions of fame, or such is the prevalence of fashion, that the man whose works have not yet been thought to deserve the care of collecting them, who died forgotten in an hospital, and whose latter years were spent in contriving shows for fairs ... might with truth have had inscribed upon his stone:—

"Here lies the Rival and Antagonist of Dryden."'

Pope introduces him in The Dunciad, i. 87, in the description of the Lord Mayor's Show:—

'Pomps without guilt, of bloodless swords and maces, Glad chains, warm furs, broad banners and broad faces. Now night descending the proud scene was o'er, But lived in Settle's numbers one day more.'

In the third book the ghost of Settle acts the part of guide in the Elysian shade.

[221] Johnson implies, no doubt, that they were both Americans by birth. Trecothick was in the American trade, but he was not an American. Walpole's Memoirs of the Reign of George III, iii. 184, note. Of Beckford Walpole says:—'Under a jovial style of good humour he was tyrannic in Jamaica, his native country.' Ib. iv. 156. He came over to England when young and was educated in Westminster School. Stephens's Horne Tooke, ii. 278. Cowper describes 'a jocular altercation that passed when I was once in the gallery [of the House], between Mr. Rigby and the late Alderman Beckford. The latter was a very incorrect speaker, and the former, I imagine, not a very accurate scholar. He ventured, however, upon a quotation from Terence, and delivered it thus, Sine Scelere et Baccho friget venus. The Alderman interrupted him, was very severe upon his mistake, and restored Ceres to her place in the sentence. Mr. Rigby replied, that he was obliged to his worthy friend for teaching him Latin, and would take the first opportunity to return the favour by teaching him English.' Southey's Cowper, iii. 317. Lord Chatham, in the House of Lords, said of Trecothick:—'I do not know in office a more upright magistrate, nor in private life a worthier man.' Parl. Hist. xvi. 1101. See post, Sept. 23, 1777.


'Oft have I heard thee mourn the wretched lot Of the poor, mean, despised, insulted Scot, Who, might calm reason credit idle tales, By rancour forged where prejudice prevails, Or starves at home, or practises through fear Of starving arts which damn all conscience here.'

Churchill's Prophecy of Famine, Poems, i. 105.

[223] For Johnson's praise of Lichfield see ante, March 23, 1776. For the use of the word civility, see ante ii. 155.

[224] See ante, i. 447.

[225] See ante, April 18, 1775.

[226] See post, April 15, 1778.

[227] It would not become me to expatiate on this strong and pointed remark, in which a very great deal of meaning is condensed. BOSWELL.

[228] 'Mr. Wilkes's second political essay was an ironical dedication to the Earl of Bute of Ben Jonson's play, The Fall of Mortimer. "Let me entreat your Lordship," he wrote, "to assist your friend [Mr. Murphy] in perfecting the weak scenes of this tragedy, and from the crude labours of Ben Jonson and others to give us a complete play. It is the warmest wish of my heart that the Earl of Bute may speedily complete the story of Roger Mortimer."' Almon's Wilkes, i. 70, 86.

[229] Yet Wilkes within less than a year violently attacked Johnson in parliament. He said, 'The two famous doctors, Shebbeare and Johnson, are in this reign the state hirelings called pensioners.' Their names, he continued, 'disgraced the Civil List. They are the known pensioned advocates of despotism.' Parl. Hist. xix. 118. It is curious that Boswell does not mention this attack, and that Johnson a few months after it was made, speaking of himself and Wilkes, said:—'The contest is now over.' Post, Sept 21, 1777.

[230] The next day he wrote to Mrs. Thrale:—'For my part, I begin to settle and keep company with grave aldermen. I dined yesterday in the Poultry with Mr. Alderman Wilkes, and Mr. Alderman Lee, and Counsellor Lee, his brother. There sat you the while, so sober, with your W——'s and your H——'s, and my aunt and her turnspit; and when they are gone, you think by chance on Johnson, what is he doing? What should he be doing? He is breaking jokes with Jack Wilkes upon the Scots. Such, Madam, are the vicissitudes of things.' Piozzi Letters, i. 325.

[231] See ante, March 20, 1776.

[232] If he had said this on a former occasion to a lady, he said it also on a latter occasion to a gentleman—Mr. Spottiswoode. Post, April 28, 1778. Moreover, Miss Burney records in 1778, that when Johnson was telling about Bet Flint (post, May 8, 1781) and other strange characters whom he had known, 'Mrs. Thrale said, "I wonder, Sir, you never went to see Mrs. Rudd among the rest." "Why, Madam, I believe I should," said he, "if it was not for the newspapers; but I am prevented many frolics that I should like very well, since I am become such a theme for the papers."' Mme. D'Arblay's Diary, i. 90.

[233] Pope, Essay on Man, ii. 2.

[234] Johnson wrote to Mrs. Thrale on May 14 (Tuesday):—'——goes away on Thursday, very well satisfied with his journey. Some great men have promised to obtain him a place, and then a fig for my father and his new wife.' Piozzi Letters, i. 324. He is writing no doubt of Boswell; yet, as Lord Auchinleck had been married more than six years, it is odd his wife should be called new. Boswell, a year earlier, wrote to Temple of his hopes from Lord Pembroke:—'How happy should I be to get an independency by my own influence while my father is alive!' Letters of Boswell, p. 182. Johnson, in a second letter to Mrs. Thrale, written two days after Boswell left, says:—'B—— went away on Thursday night, with no great inclination to travel northward; but who can contend with destiny? ... He carries with him two or three good resolutions; I hope they will not mould upon the road.' Piozzi Letters, i. 333.

[235] 1 Corinthians, xiii. 5.

[236] This passage, which is found in Act iii, is not in the acting copy of Douglas.

[237] Malone was one of these gentlemen. See post, under June 30, 1784. Reynolds, after saying that eagerness for victory often led Johnson into acts of rudeness, while 'he was not thus strenuous for victory with his intimates in tte—tte conversations when there were no witnesses,' adds:—'Were I to write the Life of Dr. Johnson I would labour this point, to separate his conduct that proceeded from his passions, and what proceeded from his reason, from his natural disposition seen in his quiet hours.' Taylor's Reynolds, ii. 462.

[238] These words must have been in the other copy. They are not in that which was preferred. BOSWELL.

[239] On June 3 he wrote that he was suffering from 'a very serious and troublesome fit of the gout. I enjoy all the dignity of lameness. I receive ladies and dismiss them sitting. Painful pre-eminence.' Piozzi Letters, i. 337. 'Painful pre-eminence' comes from Addison's Cato, act iii. sc. 5. Pope, in his Essay on Man, iv. 267, borrows the phrase:—

'Painful pre-eminence! yourself to view, Above life's weakness and its comforts too.'

It is humorously introduced into the Rolliad in the description of the Speaker:—

'There Cornewall sits, and oh! unhappy fate! Must sit for ever through the long debate. Painful pre-eminence! he hears, 'tis true, Fox, North, and Burke, but hears Sir Joseph too.'

[240] Dean Stanley (Memorials of Westminster Abbey, p. 297) says:— 'One expression at least has passed from the inscription into the proverbial Latin of mankind—

"Nihil tetigit quod non ornavit."'

In a note he adds:—'Professor Conington calls my attention to the fact that, if this were a genuine classical expression, it would be ornaret. The slight mistake proves that it is Johnson's own.' The mistake, of course, is the Dean's and the Professor's, who did not take the trouble to ascertain what Johnson had really written. If we may trust Cradock, Johnson here gave in a Latin form what he had already said in English. 'When a bookseller ventured to say something rather slightingly of Dr. Goldsmith, Johnson retorted:—"Sir, Goldsmith never touches any subject but he adorns it." Once when I found the Doctor very low at his chambers I related this circumstance to him, and it instantly proved a cordial.' Cradock's Memoirs, i. 231.

[241] According to Mr. Forster (Life of Goldsmith, i. 1), he was born on Nov. 10, 1728. There is a passage in Goldsmith's Bee, No. 2, which leads me to think that he himself held Nov. 12 as his birth-day. He says; 'I shall be sixty-two the twelfth of next November.' Now, as The Bee was published in October 1759, he would be, not sixty-two, but just half that number—thirty-one on his next birth-day. It is scarcely likely that he selected the number and the date at random.

[242] Reynolds chose the spot in Westminster Abbey where the monument should stand. Northcote's Reynolds, i. 326.

[243] For A. Chamier, see ante, i. 478, note 1; and post, April 9, 1778: for P. Metcalfe, post, under Dec. 20, 1782. W. Vachell seems only known to fame as having signed this Round Robin, and attended Sir Joshua's funeral. Who Tho. Franklin was I cannot learn. He certainly was not Thomas Francklin, D.D., the Professor of Greek at Cambridge and translator of Sophocles and Lucian, mentioned post, end of 1780. The Rev. Dr. Luard, the Registrar of that University, has kindly compared for me six of his signatures ranging from 1739 to 1770. In each of these the c is very distinct, while the writing is unlike the signature in the Round Robin.

[244] Horace Walpole wrote in Dec. of this year:—'The conversation of many courtiers was openly in favour of arbitrary power. Lord Huntingdon and Dr. Barnard, who was promised an Irish Bishopric, held such discourse publicly.' Journal of the Reign of George III, ii. 91.

[245] He however upon seeing Dr. Warton's name to the suggestion, that the Epitaph should be in English, observed to Sir Joshua, 'I wonder that Joe Warton, a scholar by profession, should be such a fool.' He said too, 'I should have thought Mund Burke would have had more sense.' Mr. Langton, who was one of the company at Sir Joshua's, like a sturdy scholar, resolutely refused to sign the Round Robin. The Epitaph is engraved upon Dr. Goldsmith's monument without any alteration. At another time, when somebody endeavoured to argue in favour of its being in English, Johnson said, 'The language of the country of which a learned man was a native, is not the language fit for his epitaph, which should be in ancient and permanent language. Consider, Sir; how you should feel, were you to find at Rotterdam an epitaph upon Erasmus in Dutch!' For my own part I think it would be best to have Epitaphs written both in a learned language, and in the language of the country; so that they might have the advantage of being more universally understood, and at the same time be secured of classical stability. I cannot, however, but be of opinion, that it is not sufficiently discriminative. Applying to Goldsmith equally the epithets of 'Poetae, Historici, Physici,' is surely not right; for as to his claim to the last of those epithets, I have heard Johnson himself say, 'Goldsmith, Sir, will give us a very fine book upon the subject; but if he can distinguish a cow from a horse, that, I believe, may be the extent of his knowledge of natural history.' His book is indeed an excellent performance, though in some instances he appears to have trusted too much to Buffon, who, with all his theoretical ingenuity and extraordinary eloquence, I suspect had little actual information in the science on which he wrote so admirably. For instance, he tells us that the cow sheds her horns every two years; a most palpable errour, which Goldsmith has faithfully transferred into his book. It is wonderful that Buffon, who lived so much in the country, at his noble seat, should have fallen into such a blunder. I suppose he has confounded the cow with the deer. BOSWELL. Goldsmith says:—'At three years old the cow sheds its horns and new ones arise in their place, which continue as long as it lives.' Animated Nature, iii. 12. This statement remains in the second edition. Johnson said that the epitaph on Sir J. Macdonald 'should have been in Latin, as everything intended to be universal and permanent should be.' Boswell's Hebrides, Sept. 5, 1773. He treated the notion of an English inscription to Smollett 'with great contempt, saying, "an English inscription would be a disgrace to Dr. Smollett."' Ib. Oct. 28, 1773.

[246] Beside this Latin Epitaph, Johnson honoured the memory of his friend Goldsmith with a short one in Greek. See ante, July 5, 1774. BOSWELL.

[247] See ante, Oct. 24, 1775.

[248] Upon a settlement of our account of expences on a Tour to the Hebrides, there was a balance due to me, which Dr. Johnson chose to discharge by sending books. BOSWELL.

[249] See post, under Nov. 29, 1777.

[250] Baretti told me that Johnson complained of my writing very long letters to him when I was upon the continent; which was most certainly true; but it seems my friend did not remember it. BOSWELL.

[251] See ante, iii. 27.

[252] See ante, i. 446, for Johnson's remedies against melancholy.

[253] It was not 'last year' but on June 22, 1772, that the negro, James Somerset—who had been brought to England by his master, had escaped from him, had been seized, and confined in irons on board a ship in The Thames that was bound for Jamaica, and had been brought on a writ of Habeas Corpus before the Court of King's Bench was discharged by Lord Mansfield. Howell's State Trials, xx. 79, and Lofft's Reports, 1772, p. 1. 'Lord Mansfield,' writes Lord Campbell (Lives of the Chief Justices, ii. 418), 'first established the grand doctrine that the air of England is too pure to be breathed by a slave.' According to Lord Campbell, Mansfield's judgment thus ended:—'The air of England has long been too pure for a slave, and every man is free who breathes it. Every man who comes into England is entitled to the protection of English law, whatever oppression he may heretofore have suffered, and whatever may be the colour of his skin:

'"Quamvis ille niger, quamvis tu candidus esses."

'Let the negro be discharged.'

Where Lord Campbell found this speech, that is to say if he did not put it together himself, I cannot guess. Mansfield's judgment was very brief. He says in the conclusion:—'The only question before us is, whether the cause on the return [to the writ of habeas corpus] is sufficient. If it is, the negro must be remanded; if it is not, he must be discharged. Accordingly the return states that the slave departed, and refused to serve; whereupon he was kept to be sold abroad. So high an act of dominion must be recognised by the law of the country where it is used. The power of a master over his slave has been extremely different in different countries. The state of slavery is of such a nature that it is incapable of being introduced on any reasons, moral or political.... It is so odious that nothing can be suffered to support it but positive law. Whatever inconveniences therefore may follow from a decision, I cannot say this case is allowed or approved by the law of England; and therefore the black must be discharged.' Lofft's Reports, 1772, p. 19. 'The judgment of the court,' says Broom (Constitutional Law, 1885, p. 99), 'was delivered by Lord Mansfield, C.J., after some delay, and with evident reluctance.' The passage about the air of England that Campbell puts into Mansfield's mouth is found in Mr. Hargrave's argument on May 14, 1772, where he speaks of England as 'a soil whose air is deemed too pure for slaves to breathe in.' Lofft's Reports, p. 2. Mr. Dunning replied:—'Let me take notice, neither the air of England is too pure for a slave to breathe in, nor the laws of England have rejected servitude.' Ib. p. 12. Serjeant Davy rejoined:—'It has been asserted, and is now repeated by me, this air is too pure for a slave to breathe in. I trust I shall not quit this court without certain conviction of the truth of that assertion.' Ib. p. 17. Lord Mansfield said nothing about the air. The line from Virgil, with which Lord Campbell makes Mansfield's speech end, was 'the happily chosen motto' to Maclaurin's published argument for the negro; Joseph Knight, post, under Nov. 29, 1777.

[254] The son of Johnson's old friend, Mr. William Drummond. (See vol. ii. pp. 26-29.) He was a young man of such distinguished merit, that he was nominated to one of the medical professorships in the College of Edinburgh without solicitation, while he was at Naples. Having other views, he did not accept of the honour, and soon afterwards died. BOSWELL.

[255] In the third and subsequent editions the date is wrongly given as the 16th.

[256] A Florentine nobleman, mentioned by Johnson in his Notes of his Tour in France [ante, Oct. 18, 1775]. I had the pleasure of becoming acquainted with him in London, in the spring of this year. BOSWELL. Mrs. Thrale wrote to Johnson from Bath on May 16:—'Count Manucci would wait seven years to come with you; so do not disappoint the man, but bring him along with you. His delight in your company is like Boniface's exultation when the squire speaks Latin; for understand you he certainly cannot.' Piozzi Letters, i. 328. It was not the squire, but the priest, Foigard, who by his Latin did Boniface good. The Beaux Strategem, act iii. sc. 2.

[257] Pr. and Med. p. 151.

[258] St. James, i. 17.

[259] See ante, ii. 175. Seven and even eight years later Paterson was still a student in need of Johnson's recommendation. Post, June 2, 1783, and April 5, 1784.

[260] See ante, p. 58.

[261] Why his Lordship uses the epithet pleasantly, when speaking of a grave piece of reasoning, I cannot conceive. But different men have different notions of pleasantry. I happened to sit by a gentleman one evening at the Opera-house in London, who, at the moment when Medea appeared to be in great agony at the thought of killing her children, turned to me with a smile, and said, 'funny enough.' BOSWELL.

[262] Dr. Johnson afterwards told me, that he was of opinion that a clergyman had this right. BOSWELL.

[263] Johnson, nearly three years earlier, had said of Granger:—'The dog is a Whig. I do not like much to see a Whig in any dress; but I hate to see a Whig in a parson's gown.' Boswell's Hebrides, Sept. 24, 1773.

[264] 'I did my utmost,' wrote Horace Walpole (Letters, v. 168), 'to dissuade Mr. Granger from the dedication, and took especial pains to get my virtues left out of the question.'


'In moderation placing all my glory, While Tories call me Whig, and Whigs a Tory.'

Pope, Imitations of Horace, Bk. ii Sat. I. 1. 67.

[266] 'One of the dippers at Brighthelmstone, seeing Mr. Johnson swim in the year 1766, said:—"Why, Sir, you must have been a stout-hearted gentleman forty years ago."' Piozzi's Anec. p. 113. Johnson, in his verses entitled, In Rivum a Mola Stoana Lichfeldi diffluentem (Works, i. 163), writes:—

'Errat adhuc vitreus per prata virentia rivus, Quo toties lavi membra tenella puer; Hic delusa rudi frustrabar brachia motu, Dum docuit blanda voce natare pater.'

[267] For this and Dr. Johnson's other letters to Mr. Levett, I am indebted to my old acquaintance Mr. Nathaniel Thomas, whose worth and ingenuity have been long known to a respectable, though not a wide circle; and whose collection of medals would do credit to persons of greater opulence. BOSWELL.

[268] Johnson's letters to Mrs. Thrale shew the difference between modern Brighton and the Brighthelmstone of his days. Thus he writes:— 'Ashbourne, Sept. 27, 1777. I know not when I shall write again, now you are going to the world's end [i.e. Brighton]. Extra anni solisque vias, where the post will be a long time in reaching you. I shall, notwithstanding all distance, continue to think on you.' Piozzi Letters, i. 387. 'Oct. 6, 1777. Methinks you are now a great way off; and if I come, I have a great way to come to you; and then the sea is so cold, and the rooms are so dull; yet I do love to hear the sea roar and my mistress talk—For when she talks, ye gods! how she will talk. I wish I were with you, but we are now near half the length of England asunder. It is frightful to think how much time must pass between writing this letter and receiving an answer, if any answer were necessary.' Ib. ii. 2.

[269] Boswell wrote to Temple on Nov. 3, 1780:—'I could not help smiling at the expostulation which you suggest to me to try with my father. It would do admirably with some fathers; but it would make mine much worse, for he cannot bear that his son should talk with him as a man. I can only lament his unmelting coldness to my wife and children, for I fear it is hopeless to think of his ever being more affectionate towards them. Yet it must be acknowledged that his paying 1000 of my debt some years ago was a large bounty. He allows me 300 a year.' Letters of Boswell, p. 255.

[270] See ante, Aug. 27, 1775, note.

[271] See ante, p. 48, note 4.

[272] 'He said to me often that the time he spent in this Tour was the pleasantest part of his life, and asked me if I would lose the recollection of it for five hundred pounds.' Boswell's Hebrides, under Nov. 22, 1773.

[273] Chap. viii. 10. A translation of this work is in Bibliotheca Pastorum, ed. J. Ruskin, vol. i.

[274] 'The chief cause of my deficiency has been a life immethodical and unsettled, which breaks all purposes, confounds and suppresses memory, and perhaps leaves too much leisure to imagination.' Pr. and Med. p. 136.

[275] Johnson wrote to Boswell (ante, June 12, 1774):—'I have stipulated twenty-five for you to give in your own name.' The book was published early in 1775. On Feb. 25, 1775, he wrote:—'I am sorry that I could get no books for my friends in Scotland. Mr. Strahan has at last promised to send two dozen to you.' It is strange that not far short of two years passed before the books were sent.

[276] Boswell had 'expressed his extreme aversion to his father's second marriage.' Letters of Boswell, p. 255—On Sept. 2, 1775, he thus described his step-mother:—'His wife, whom in my conscience I cannot condemn for any capital bad quality, is so narrow-minded, and, I don't know how, so set upon keeping him under her own management, and so suspicious and so sourishly tempered that it requires the utmost exertion of practical philosophy to keep myself quiet.' Ib. p. 216.

[277] See ante, Jan. 19 and May 6, 1775.

[278] See ante, p. 86.

[279] See ante, May 27, 1775.

[280] Macquarry was the chief of Ulva's Isle. 'He told us,' writes Boswell, 'his family had possessed Ulva for nine hundred years; but I was distressed to hear that it was soon to be sold for payment of his debts.' Boswell's Hebrides, Oct 16, 1773.

[281] See ante, March 24, 1776.

[282] Mrs. Thrale gives a long but scarcely credible account of her quarrel with Baretti. It is very unlikely that he used to say to her eldest daughter 'that, if her mother died in a lying-in which happened while he lived here, he hoped Mr. Thrale would marry Miss Whitbred, who would be a pretty companion for her, and not tyrannical and overbearing like me.' Hayward's Piozzi, ii. 336. No doubt in 1788 he attacked her brutally (see ante, p. 49). 'I could not have suspected him,' wrote Miss Burney, 'of a bitterness of invective so cruel, so ferocious.' Mme. D'Arblay's Diary, iv. 185. The attack was provoked. Mrs. Piozzi, in January, 1788, published one of Johnson's letters, in which he wrote—at all events she says he wrote:—'Poor B——i! do not quarrel with him; to neglect him a little will be sufficient. He means only to be frank, and manly, and independent, and perhaps, as you say, a little wise. To be frank he thinks is to be cynical, and to be independent is to be rude. Forgive him, dearest lady, the rather because of his misbehaviour I am afraid he learnt part of me. I hope to set him hereafter a better example.' Piozzi Letters, i. 277. Malone, in 1789, speaks of 'the roughness for which Baretti was formerly distinguished.' Prior's Malone, p. 391. Mrs. Thrale thus describes his departure: 'My daughter kept on telling me that Mr. Baretti was grown very old and very cross, would not look at her exercises, but said he would leave this house soon, for it was no better than Pandmonium. The next day he packed up his cloke-bag, which he had not done for three years, and sent it to town; and while we were wondering what he would say about it at breakfast, he was walking to London himself, without taking leave of any one person, except it may be the girl, who owns they had much talk, in the course of which he expressed great aversion to me and even to her, who, [sic] he said, he once thought well of.' Hayward's Piozzi, ii. 339. Baretti, in the Eur. Mag. xiii. 398, told his story. He said:—'Madam took it into her head to give herself airs, and treat me with some coldness and superciliousness. I did not hesitate to set down at breakfast my dish of tea not half drank, go for my hat and stick that lay in the corner of the room, turn my back to the house insalutato hospite, and walk away to London without uttering a syllable.' In a marginal note on Piozzi Letters, i. 338, he says he left Streatham on June 4, 1776. 'I had,' he writes, 'by that time been in a manner one of the family during six years and a-half. Johnson had made me hope that Thrale would at last give me an annuity for my pains, but, never receiving a shilling from him or from her, I grew tired at last, and on some provocation from her left them abruptly.' It should seem that he afterwards made it up with them, for in a note on vol. ii. p. 191, he says of the day of Mr. Thrale's death, 'Johnson and I, and many other friends, were to dine with him that day.' The rest of the note, at all events, is inaccurate, for he says that 'Mrs. Thrale imparted to Johnson the news [of her husband's death],' whereas Johnson saw him die.

[283] Mrs. Piozzi says that this money was given to Baretti as a consolation for the loss of the Italian tour (ante, iii. 6). Hayward's Piozzi, ii. 337.

[284] The Duke of York was present when Foote had the accident by which he lost his leg (ante, ii. 95). Moved by compassion, he obtained for him from the King a royal patent for performances at the Haymarket from May 14 to Sept. 14 in every year. He played but thrice after his retirement. Forster's Essays, ii. 400, 435.

[285] Strahan showed greater sagacity about Gibbon's Decline and Fall, which had been declined by Elmsly. 'So moderate were our hopes,' writes Gibbon (Misc. Works, i. 223), 'that the original impression had been stinted to five hundred, till the number was doubled by the prophetic taste of Mr. Strahan.' Carrick called Strahan 'rather an obtuse man.' Post, April 9 1778.

[286] See post, Sept. 19, 1777, and April 20, 1781.

[287] Johnson, I believe, at this time suffered less than usual from despondency. See ante, iii. 25, note 1. The passage in which these words are found applies to one day only. It is as follows:—'March 28. This day is Good Friday. It is likewise the day on which my poor Tetty was taken from me. My thoughts were disturbed in bed. I remembered that it was my wife's dying day, and begged pardon for all our sins, and commended her; but resolved to mix little of my own sorrows or cares with the great solemnity. Having taken only tea without milk I went to church; had time before service to commend my wife, and wished to join quietly in the service, but I did not hear well, and my mind grew unsettled and perplexed. Having rested ill in the night I slumbered at the sermon, which, I think, I could not as I sat perfectly hear.... At night I had some ease. L.D. [Laus Deo] I had prayed for pardon and peace.' Pr. and Med. p. 153. Hawkins, however (Life, p. 532), says, perhaps with considerable exaggeration, that at this time, 'he sunk into indolence, till his faculties seemed to be impaired; deafness grew upon him; long intervals of mental absence interrupted his conversation, and it was difficult to engage his attention to any subject. His friends concluded that his lamp was emitting its last rays, but the lapse of a short period gave them ample proofs to the contrary.' The proofs were The Lives of the Poets. Johnson himself says of this time:—'Days and months pass in a dream; and I am afraid that my memory grows less tenacious, and my observation less attentive.' Pr. and Med. 160.


'Lo, the poor Indian! whose untutor'd mind Sees God in clouds, or hears him in the wind.'

Pope's Essay on Man, i. 99.

[289] '"I inherited," said Johnson, "a vile melancholy from my father, which has made me mad all my life, at least not sober."' Boswell's Hebrides, Sept. 16, 1773. See ante, i. 65, and post, Sept. 20, 1777.

[290] Pr. and Med. p. 155. BOSWELL.

[291] Pr. and Med. p. 158. BOSWELL.

[292] He continues:—'I passed the afternoon with such calm gladness of mind as it is very long since I felt before. I passed the night in such sweet uninterrupted sleep as I have not known since I slept at Fort Augustus.' See post, Nov. 21, 1778, where in a letter to Boswell he says:—'The best night that I have had these twenty years was at Fort Augustus.' In 1767 he mentions (Pr. and Med. p. 73) 'a sudden relief he once had by a good night's rest in Fetter Lane,' where he had lived many years before. His good nights must have been rare indeed.

[293] Bishop Percy says that he handed over to Johnson various memoranda which he had received from 'Goldsmith's brother and others of his family, to afford materials for a Life of Goldsmith, which Johnson was to write and publish for their benefit. But he utterly forgot them and the subject.' Prior successfully defends Johnson against the charge that he did not include Goldsmith's Life among the Lives of the Poets. 'The copy-right of She Stoops to Conquer was the property of Carnan the bookseller (surviving partner of F. Newbery); and Carnan being "a most impracticable man and at variance with all his brethren," in the words of Malone to the Bishop, he refused his assent, and the project for the time fell to the ground.' But Percy clearly implies that it was a separate work and not one of the Lives that Johnson had undertaken. See Prior's Goldsmith, Preface, p. x. Malone, in a note on Boswell's letter of July 9, 1777, says:—'I collected some materials for a Life of Goldsmith, by Johnson's desire.' He goes on to mention the quarrel with Carnan. It should seem then that Johnson was gathering materials for Goldsmith's Life before the Lives of the Poets were projected; that later on he intended to include it in that series, but being thwarted by Carnan that he did nothing.

[294] See Boswell's Hebrides, Aug. 24, 1773.

[295] 'I have often desired him not to call me Goldy.' Ib. Oct. 14.

[296] 'The Duke of Argyle was obliging enough to mount Dr. Johnson on a stately steed from his grace's stable. My friend was highly pleased, and Joseph [Boswell's Bohemian servant] said, "He now looks like a bishop."' Boswell's Hebrides, Oct. 26.

[297] See ante, ii. 196.

[298] Even Burke falls into the vulgarism of 'mutual friend.' See his Correspondence, i. 196, ii. 251. Goldsmith also writes of 'mutual acquaintance.' Cunningham's Goldsmith's Works, iv. 48.

[299] He means to imply, I suppose, that Johnson was the father of plantations. See ante, under Feb. 7, 1775. note.

[300] For a character of this very amiable man, see Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides, 3rd edit. p. 36. [Aug. 17.] BOSWELL.

[301] By the then course of the post, my long letter of the 14th had not yet reached him. BOSWELL.

[302] History of Philip the Second. BOSWELL.

[303] See ante, Jan. 21, 1775.

[304] See ante, iii. 48.

[305] He wrote to Mrs. Thrale on Jan. 15, 1777, that he had had about twelve ounces of blood taken, and then about ten more, and that another bleeding was to follow. 'Yet I do not make it a matter of much form. I was to-day at Mrs. Gardiner's. When I have bled to-morrow, I will not give up Langton nor Paradise. But I beg that you will fetch me away on Friday. I do not know but clearer air may do me good; but whether the air be clear or dark, let me come to you.' Piozzi Letters, i. 344. See post, Sept. 16, 1777, note.

[306] See ante, i. 411, and Boswell's Hebrides, Aug. 24, 1773.

[307] Johnson tried in vain to buy this book at Aberdeen. Ib. Aug. 23.

[308] See ante, May 12, 1775.

[309] No doubt her Miscellanies. Ante, ii. 25.

[310] See Boswell's Hebrides, Aug. 22.

[311] Johnson is the most common English formation of the Sirname from John; Johnston the Scotch. My illustrious friend observed that many North Britons pronounced his name in their own way. BOSWELL. Boswell (Hebrides, Oct. 21, 1773) tells of one Lochbuy who, 'being told that Dr. Johnson did not hear well, bawled out to him, "Are you of the Johnstons of Glencro, or of Ardnamurchan?"'

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

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

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

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

[316] Boswell was no reader. 'I don't believe,' Johnson once said to him, 'you have borrowed from Waller. I wish you would enable yourself to borrow more.' Ante, April 16, 1775. Boswell wrote to Temple on March 18, 1775:—'I have a kind of impotency of study.' Two months later he wrote:—'I have promised to Dr. Johnson to read when I get to Scotland, and to keep an account of what I read. I shall let you know how I go on. My mind must be nourished.' Letters of Boswell, pp. 181, 195.

[317] Chesterfield's Letters to his Son were published in 1774, and his Miscellaneous Works, together with Memoirs and Letters to his Friends, early in 1777.

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

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

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

[321] It was March 29.

[322] Pr. and Med. p. 155. BOSWELL

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

[324] See ante, i. 439.

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

[326] See post, beginning of 1781.

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

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

[329] Mr. Croker shows good reason for believing that in the original letter this parenthesis stood:—'if such there were.'

[330] See ante, i. 292.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[339] Life of Richard Savage, by Dr. Johnson. BOSWELL.

[340] See ante, i. 387, and post, May 17, 1783.

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

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

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

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

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

[346] See ante, ii. 63, and post, June 18, 1778.

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

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

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

[350] 'Savage, who lived much with Thomson, once told me he heard a lady remarking that she could gather from his works three parts of his character, that he was a great lover, a great swimmer, and rigorously abstinent; but, said Savage, he knows not any love but that of the sex; he was perhaps never in cold water in his life; and he indulges himself in all the luxury that comes within his reach.' Johnson's Works, viii. 377.

[351] Dr. Johnson was not the editor of this Collection of The English Poets; he merely furnished the biographical prefaces. MALONE. See post, Sept. 14, 1777.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[359] See post, p. 139.

[360] See ante, i. 494.

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

[362] Copy is manuscript for printing.

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

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

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

[366] The king signs no sentences or death warrants; but out of respect to the Royal perogative of mercy, expressed by the old adage, 'The King's face gives grace,' the cases of criminals convicted in London, where the king is supposed to be resident, were reported to him by the recorder, that his Majesty might have an option of pardoning. Hence it was seriously doubted whether a recorder's report need or, indeed, could be made at Windsor. All his Majesty did on these occasions was, to express verbally his assent or dissent to or from the execution of the sentence; and, though the King was on such occasions attended by his Ministers and the great legal Privy Councillors, the business was not technically a council business, but the individual act of the King. On the accession of Queen Victoria, the nature of some cases that it might be necessary to report to her Majesty occasioned the abrogation of a practice which was certainly so far unreasonable that it made a difference between London and all the rest of the kingdom. CROKER. 'I was exceedingly shocked,' said Lord Eldon, 'the first time I attended to hear the Recorder's report, at the careless manner in which, as it appeared to me, it was conducted. We were called upon to decide on sentences affecting no less than the lives of men, and yet there was nothing laid before us to enable us to judge whether there had or had not been any extenuating circumstances; it was merely a recapitulation of the judge's opinion and the sentence. I resolved that I never would attend another report, without having read and duly considered the whole of the evidence of each case, and I never did.' Twiss's Eldon, i. 398.

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

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

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

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



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

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

'To DR. SAMUEL JOHNSON. 'Wilton-house, April 22, 1775. 'My DEAR SIR,

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

'Most faithfully yours,


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

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

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

[374] The preceding letter. BOSWELL.

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

[376] See ante, i. 312.

[377] See ante, p. 101.

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

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

[380] Johnson gives both epocha and epoch in his Dictionary.

[381] Langton. See ante, p. 48, and post, Sept. 22, 1777.

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

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

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

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

[386] See ante, March 19, 1776.

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

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

[389] See ante, March 23, 1776.

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

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


[391] 2 Corinthians, iv. 17.

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

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

'Ashbourne, Sept. 13, 1777.

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

Such an ardour of mind, and vigour of enterprise, is admirable at any age: but more particularly so at the advanced period at which Johnson was then arrived. I am sorry now that I did not insist on our executing that scheme. Besides the other objects of curiosity and observation, to have seen my illustrious friend received, as he probably would have been, by a Prince so eminently distinguished for his variety of talents and acquisitions as the late King of Sweden; and by the Empress of Russia, whose extraordinary abilities, information, and magnanimity, astonish the world, would have afforded a noble subject for contemplation and record. This reflection may possibly be thought too visionary by the more sedate and cold-blooded part of my readers; yet I own, I frequently indulge it with an earnest, unavailing regret. BOSWELL. In The Spectator, No. 436, Hockley in the Hole is described as 'a place of no small renown for the gallantry of the lower order of Britons.' Fielding mentions it in Jonathan Wild, bk. i. ch. 2:— 'Jonathan married Elizabeth, daughter of Scragg Hollow, of Hockley in the Hole, Esq., and by her had Jonathan, who is the illustrious subject of these memoirs.' In The Beggar's Opera, act i. Mrs. Peachum says to Filch: 'You should go to Hockley in the Hole, and to Marylebone, child, to learn valour. These are the schools that have bred so many brave men.' Hockley in the Hole was in Clerkenwell. That Johnson had this valour was shewn two years earlier, when he wrote to Mrs. Thrale about a sum of 14,000 that the Thrales had received: 'If I had money enough, what would I do? Perhaps, if you and master did not hold me, I might go to Cairo, and down the Red Sea to Bengal, and take a ramble in India. Would this be better than building and planting? It would surely give more variety to the eye, and more amplitude to the mind. Half fourteen thousand would send me out to see other forms of existence, and bring me back to describe them.' Piozzi Letters, i. 266. To the 'King of Sweden' late was added in the second edition; Gustavus III having been assassinated in March 1792. The story is somewhere told that George III, on hearing the news, cried out, 'What, what, what! Shot, shot, shot!' The Empress of Russia was Catherine II.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[402] See ante, ii. 52.

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

[404] See ante, March 26, 1776, and post, Sept. 21, 1777.

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

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

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

See post, April 7, 1778.

[407] The fifth earl, the successor of the celebrated earl. On Feb. 22, 1777, Dodd was convicted of forging a bond for 4,200 in his name; Ann. Reg. xx. 168. The earl was unfortunate in his tutors, for he had been also under Cuthbert Shaw (ante, ii 31 note 2).

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

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

[410] The Convict's Address to his Unhappy Brethren: Being a Sermon preached by the Rev. Dr. Dodd, Friday, June 6, 1777, in the Chapel of Newgate, while under sentence of death, for forging the name of the Earl of Chesterfield on a bond for 4,200. Sold by the booksellers and news-carriers. Price Two-pence. Johnson wrote to Mrs. Thrale from Lichfield on Aug. 9:—'Lucy said, "When I read Dr. Dodd's sermon to the prisoners, I said Dr. Johnson could not make a better."'

Piozzi Letters, i. 352. See post, p. 167.

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

[412] 'And finally we must commend and entrust our souls to Him who died for the sins of men; with earnest wishes and humble hopes that He will admit us with the labourers who entered the vineyard at the last hour, and associate us with the thief whom he pardoned on the cross.' p. 14.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[424] Horace, Odes, ii. 4.


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

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

[426] In the original, Now. Ib. p. 39.

[427] Thomson, in The Seasons, Winter, 1. 915, describes how the ocean

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

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

'The rivers swell of bonds impatient.'

[428] See ante March 24, 1776.

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

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

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

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

Jan. 1761. Once. Ib. p. 122.

April 1770. Cupped. Pemb. Coll. MSS.

Winter of 1772-3. Three times. Ante, ii. 206, and Pemb. Coll. MSS.

May 1773. Two copious bleedings. Pr. and Med. 130.

1774. Times not mentioned. 36 ounces. Piozzi Letters, i. 209.

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

Jan. 1780. Once. Post, Jan. 20, 1780.

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

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

May 1782. At least once. Post, under March 19, 1782, and Piozzi Letters, ii. 240.

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

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