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 This act was only repealed in to 1846 (9 and 10.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

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

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

[1324] See post, p. 435.

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

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

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

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

[1329] Written on June 10.

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

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

[1332] Written on June 12.

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

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

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

[1336] He died Nov. 19, 1792, and left 'about, 20,000 accumulated not parsimoniously, but during a very long possession of a profitable office.' His father, who was keeper before him, began as a turnkey. Gent. Mag. 1792, p. 1062. Wesley wrote on Jan. 2, 1761:—'Of all the seats of woe on this side hell, few, I suppose, exceed or even equal Newgate. If any region of horror could exceed it a few years ago, Newgate in Bristol did; so great was the filth, the stench, the misery, and wickedness which shocked all who had a spark of humanity left.' He described a great change for the better which had lately been made in the London Newgate. Perhaps it was due to Akerman. Wesley's Journal, iii. 32.

[1337] There were two city prisons so called.

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

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

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

[1341] Now settled in London. BOSWELL.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[1355] See ante, p. 366.

[1356] See ante,, i. 458

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

[1358] See ante, p. 396.

[1359] See ante, ii. 162.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[1367] The Charterhouse.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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