'Most sincerely yours, 'James Boswell.'
'If you do not write directly, so as to catch me here, I shall be disappointed. Two lines from you will keep my lamp burning bright.'
'To James Boswell, Esq. 'Dear Sir,
'Why should you importune me so earnestly to write? Of what importance can it be to hear of distant friends, to a man who finds himself welcome wherever he goes, and makes new friends faster than he can want them? If to the delight of such universal kindness of reception, any thing can be added by knowing that you retain my good-will, you may indulge yourself in the full enjoyment of that small addition.
'I am glad that you made the round of Lichfield with so much success: the oftener you are seen, the more you will be liked. It was pleasing to me to read that Mrs. Aston was so well, and that Lucy Porter was so glad to see you.
'In the place where you now are, there is much to be observed; and you will easily procure yourself skilful directors. But what will you do to keep away the black dog that worries you at home? If you would, in compliance with your father's advice, enquire into the old tenures and old charters of Scotland, you would certainly open to yourself many striking scenes of the manners of the middle ages. The feudal system, in a country half-barbarous, is naturally productive of great anomalies in civil life. The knowledge of past times is naturally growing less in all cases not of publick record; and the past time of Scotland is so unlike the present, that it is already difficult for a Scotchman to image the oeconomy of his grandfather. Do not be tardy nor negligent; but gather up eagerly what can yet be found.
'We have, I think, once talked of another project, a History of the late insurrection in Scotland, with all its incidents. Many falsehoods are passing into uncontradicted history. Voltaire, who loved a striking story, has told what he could not find to be true. 
'You may make collections for either of these projects, or for both, as opportunities occur, and digest your materials at leisure. The great direction which Burton has left to men disordered like you, is this, Be not solitary; be not idle: which I would thus modify;—If you are idle, be not solitary; if you are solitary, be not idle.
'There is a letter for you, from 'Your humble servant, 'Sam. Johnson.'
'London, October 27, 1779.' 'To Dr. Samuel Johnson. 'Carlisle, Nov. 7, 1779.
'My dear Sir,
'That I should importune you to write to me at Chester, is not wonderful, when you consider what an avidity I have for delight; and that the amor of pleasure, like the amor nummi, increases in proportion with the quantity which we possess of it. Your letter, so full of polite kindness and masterly counsel, came like a large treasure upon me, while already glittering with riches. I was quite enchanted at Chester, so that I could with difficulty quit it. But the enchantment was the reverse of that of Circ; for so far was there from being any thing sensual in it, that I was all mind. I do not mean all reason only; for my fancy was kept finely in play. And why not?—If you please I will send you a copy, or an abridgement of my Chester journal, which is truly a log-book of felicity.
'The Bishop treated me with a kindness which was very flattering. I told him, that you regretted you had seen so little of Chester. His Lordship bade me tell you, that he should be glad to shew you more of it. I am proud to find the friendship with which you honour me is known in so many places.
'I arrived here late last night. Our friend the Dean has been gone from hence some months; but I am told at my inn, that he is very populous (popular). However, I found Mr. Law, the Archdeacon, son to the Bishop, and with him I have breakfasted and dined very agreeably. I got acquainted with him at the assizes here, about a year and a half ago; he is a man of great variety of knowledge, uncommon genius, and I believe, sincere religion. I received the holy sacrament in the Cathedral in the morning, this being the first Sunday in the month; and was at prayers there in the evening. It is divinely cheering to me to think that there is a Cathedral so near Auchinleck; and I now leave Old England in such a state of mind as I am thankful to GOD for granting me.
'The black dog that worries me at home I cannot but dread; yet as I have been for some time past in a military train, I trust I shall repulse him. To hear from you will animate me like the sound of a trumpet, I therefore hope, that soon after my return to the northern field, I shall receive a few lines from you.
'Colonel Stuart did me the honour to escort me in his carriage to shew me Liverpool, and from thence back again to Warrington, where we parted. In justice to my valuable wife, I must inform you she wrote to me, that as I was so happy, she would not be so selfish as to wish me to return sooner than business absolutely required my presence. She made my clerk write to me a post or two after to the same purpose, by commission from her; and this day a kind letter from her met me at the Post-Office here, acquainting me that she and the little ones were well, and expressing all their wishes for my return home. I am, more and more, my dear Sir,
'Your affectionate 'And obliged humble servant, 'JAMES BOSWELL.'
'To JAMES BOSWELL, ESQ. 'DEAR SIR,
'Your last letter was not only kind but fond. But I wish you to get rid of all intellectual excesses, and neither to exalt your pleasures, nor aggravate your vexations, beyond their real and natural state.
'Why should you not be as happy at Edinburgh as at Chester? In culpa est animus, qui se non effugit usquam. Please yourself with your wife and children, and studies, and practice.
'I have sent a petition from Lucy Porter, with which I leave it to your discretion whether it is proper to comply. Return me her letter, which I have sent, that you may know the whole case, and not be seduced to any thing that you may afterwards repent. Miss Doxy perhaps you know to be Mr. Garrick's niece.
'If Dean Percy can be popular at Carlisle, he may be very happy. He has in his disposal two livings, each equal, or almost equal in value to the deanery; he may take one himself, and give the other to his son.
'How near is the Cathedral to Auchinleck, that you are so much delighted with it? It is, I suppose, at least an hundred and fifty miles off. However, if you are pleased, it is so far well.
'Let me know what reception you have from your father, and the state of his health. Please him as much as you can, and add no pain to his last years.
'Of our friends here I can recollect nothing to tell you. I have neither seen nor heard of Langton. Beauclerk is just returned from Brighthelmston, I am told, much better. Mr. Thrale and his family are still there; and his health is said to be visibly improved; he has not bathed, but hunted.
'At Bolt-court there is much malignity, but of late little open hostility. I have had a cold, but it is gone.
'Make my compliments to Mrs. Boswell, &c.
'I am, Sir,
'Your humble servant,
'London, Nov. 13, 1779.'
On November 22, and December 21, I wrote to him from Edinburgh, giving a very favourable report of the family of Miss Doxy's lover;—that after a good deal of enquiry I had discovered the sister of Mr. Francis Stewart, one of his amanuenses when writing his Dictionary;—that I had, as desired by him, paid her a guinea for an old pocket-book of her brother's which he had retained; and that the good woman, who was in very moderate circumstances, but contented and placid, wondered at his scrupulous and liberal honesty, and received the guinea as if sent her by Providence.—That I had repeatedly begged of him to keep his promise to send me his letter to Lord Chesterfield, and that this memento, like Delenda est Carthago, must be in every letter that I should write to him, till I had obtained my object.
1780: AETAT. 71.—In 1780, the world was kept in impatience for the completion of his Lives of the Poets, upon which he was employed so far as his indolence allowed him to labour.
I wrote to him on January 1, and March 13, sending him my notes of Lord Marchmont's information concerning Pope;—complaining that I had not heard from him for almost four months, though he was two letters in my debt;—that I had suffered again from melancholy;—hoping that he had been in so much better company, (the Poets,) that he had not time to think of his distant friends; for if that were the case, I should have some recompence for my uneasiness;—that the state of my affairs did not admit of my coming to London this year; and begging he would return me Goldsmith's two poems, with his lines marked.
His friend Dr. Lawrence having now suffered the greatest affliction to which a man is liable, and which Johnson himself had felt in the most severe manner; Johnson wrote to him in an admirable strain of sympathy and pious consolation.
'To DR. LAWRENCE.
'At a time when all your friends ought to shew their kindness, and with a character which ought to make all that know you your friends, you may wonder that you have yet heard nothing from me.
'I have been hindered by a vexatious and incessant cough, for which within these ten days I have been bled once, fasted four or five times, taken physick five times, and opiates, I think, six. This day it seems to remit.
'The loss, dear Sir, which you have lately suffered, I felt many years ago, and know therefore how much has been taken from you, and how little help can be had from consolation. He that outlives a wife whom he has long loved, sees himself disjoined from the only mind that has the same hopes, and fears, and interest; from the only companion with whom he has shared much good or evil; and with whom he could set his mind at liberty, to retrace the past or anticipate the future. The continuity of being is lacerated; the settled course of sentiment and action is stopped; and life stands suspended and motionless, till it is driven by external causes into a new channel. But the time of suspense is dreadful.
'Our first recourse in this distressed solitude, is, perhaps for want of habitual piety, to a gloomy acquiescence in necessity. Of two mortal beings, one must lose the other; but surely there is a higher and better comfort to be drawn from the consideration of that Providence which watches over all, and a belief that the living and the dead are equally in the hands of GOD, who will reunite those whom he has separated; or who sees that it is best not to reunite.
'I am, dear Sir,
'Your most affectionate,
'And most humble servant,
'January 20, 1780.'
'To JAMES BOSWELL, ESQ.
'Well, I had resolved to send you the Chesterfield letter; but I will write once again without it. Never impose tasks upon mortals. To require two things is the way to have them both undone.
'For the difficulties which you mention in your affairs I am sorry; but difficulty is now very general: it is not therefore less grievous, for there is less hope of help. I pretend not to give you advice, not knowing the state of your affairs; and general counsels about prudence and frugality would do you little good. You are, however, in the right not to increase your own perplexity by a journey hither; and I hope that by staying at home you will please your father.
'Poor dear Beauclerk—nec, ut soles, dabis joca. His wit and his folly, his acuteness and maliciousness, his merriment and reasoning, are now over. Such another will not often be found among mankind. He directed himself to be buried by the side of his mother, an instance of tenderness which I hardly expected. He has left his children to the care of Lady Di, and if she dies, of Mr. Langton, and of Mr. Leicester his relation, and a man of good character. His library has been offered to sale to the Russian ambassador.
'Dr. Percy, notwithstanding all the noise of the newspapers, has had no literary loss. Clothes and moveables were burnt to the value of about one hundred pounds; but his papers, and I think his books, were all preserved.
'Poor Mr. Thrale has been in extreme danger from an apoplectical disorder, and recovered, beyond the expectation of his physicians; he is now at Bath, that his mind may be quiet, and Mrs. Thrale and Miss are with him.
'Having told you what has happened to your friends, let me say something to you of yourself. You are always complaining of melancholy, and I conclude from those complaints that you are fond of it. No man talks of that which he is desirous to conceal, and every man desires to conceal that of which he is ashamed. Do not pretend to deny it; manifestum habemus furem; make it an invariable and obligatory law to yourself, never to mention your own mental diseases; if you are never to speak of them, you will think on them but little, and if you think little of them, they will molest you rarely. When you talk of them, it is plain that you want either praise or pity; for praise there is no room, and pity will do you no good; therefore, from this hour speak no more, think no more, about them.
'Your transaction with Mrs. Stewart gave me great satisfaction; I am much obliged to you for your attention. Do not lose sight of her; your countenance may be of great credit, and of consequence of great advantage to her. The memory of her brother is yet fresh in my mind; he was an ingenious and worthy man.
'Please to make my compliments to your lady, and to the young ladies. I should like to see them, pretty loves.
'I am, dear Sir,
'April 8, 1780.'
Mrs. Thrale being now at Bath with her husband, the correspondence between Johnson and her was carried on briskly. I shall present my readers with one of her original letters to him at this time, which will amuse them probably more than those well-written but studied epistles which she has inserted in her collection, because it exhibits the easy vivacity of their literary intercourse. It is also of value as a key to Johnson's answer, which she has printed by itself, and of which I shall subjoin extracts.
'MRS. THRALE TO DR. JOHNSON.
'I had a very kind letter from you yesterday, dear Sir, with a most circumstantial date. You took trouble with my circulating letter,  Mr. Evans writes me word, and I thank you sincerely for so doing: one might do mischief else not being on the spot.
'Yesterday's evening was passed at Mrs. Montagu's: there was Mr. Melmoth; I do not like him though, nor he me; it was expected we should have pleased each other; he is, however, just Tory enough to hate the Bishop of Peterborough for Whiggism, and Whig enough to abhor you for Toryism.
'Mrs. Montagu flattered him finely; so he had a good afternoon on't. This evening we spend at a concert. Poor Queeney's sore eyes have just released her; she had a long confinement, and could neither read nor write, so my master treated her very good-naturedly with the visits of a young woman in this town, a taylor's daughter, who professes musick, and teaches so as to give six lessons a day to ladies, at five and threepence a lesson. Miss Burney says she is a great performer; and I respect the wench for getting her living so prettily; she is very modest and pretty-mannered, and not seventeen years old.
'You live in a fine whirl indeed; if I did not write regularly you would half forget me, and that would be very wrong, for I felt my regard for you in my face last night, when the criticisms were going on.
'This morning it was all connoisseurship; we went to see some pictures painted by a gentleman-artist, Mr. Taylor, of this place; my master makes one, every where, and has got a good dawling companion to ride with him now. He looks well enough, but I have no notion of health for a man whose mouth cannot be sewed up. Burney and I and Queeney teize him every meal he eats, and Mrs. Montagu is quite serious with him; but what can one do? He will eat, I think, and if he does eat I know he will not live; it makes me very unhappy, but I must bear it. Let me always have your friendship. I am, most sincerely, dear Sir,
'Your faithful servant,
'H. L. T.'
'Bath, Friday, April 28.'
'DR. JOHNSON TO MRS. THRALE.
'Mr. Thrale never will live abstinently, till he can persuade himself to live by rule.
* * * * *
Encourage, as you can, the musical girl.
'Nothing is more common than mutual dislike, where mutual approbation is particularly expected. There is often on both sides a vigilance not over-benevolent; and as attention is strongly excited, so that nothing drops unheeded, any difference in taste or opinion, and some difference where there is no restraint will commonly appear, immediately generates dislike.
'Never let criticisms operate upon your face or your mind; it is very rarely that an authour is hurt by his criticks. The blaze of reputation cannot be blown out, but it often dies in the socket; a very few names may be considered as perpetual lamps that shine unconsumed. From the authour of Fitzosborne's Letters I cannot think myself in much danger. I met him only once about thirty years ago, and in some small dispute reduced him to whistle; having not seen him since, that is the last impression. Poor Moore, the fabulist, was one of the company.
'Mrs. Montagu's long stay, against her own inclination, is very convenient. You would, by your own confession, want a companion; and she is par pluribus; conversing with her you may find variety in one.'
'London, May 1, 1780.'
On the and of May I wrote to him, and requested that we might have another meeting somewhere in the North of England, in the autumn of this year.
From Mr. Langton I received soon after this time a letter, of which I extract a passage, relative both to Mr. Beauclerk and Dr. Johnson.
'The melancholy information you have received concerning Mr. Beauclerk's death is true. Had his talents been directed in any sufficient degree as they ought, I have always been strongly of opinion that they were calculated to make an illustrious figure; and that opinion, as it had been in part formed upon Dr. Johnson's judgment, receives more and more confirmation by hearing what, since his death, Dr. Johnson has said concerning them; a few evenings ago, he was at Mr. Vesey's, where Lord Althorpe, who was one of a numerous company there, addressed Dr. Johnson on the subject of Mr. Beauclerk's death, saying, "Our CLUB has had a great loss since we met last." He replied, "A loss, that perhaps the whole nation could not repair!" The Doctor then went on to speak of his endowments, and particularly extolled the wonderful ease with which he uttered what was highly excellent. He said, that "no man ever was so free when he was going to say a good thing, from a look that expressed that it was coming; or, when he had said it, from a look that expressed that it had come." At Mr. Thrale's, some days before when we were talking on the same subject, he said, referring to the same idea of his wonderful facility, "That Beauclerk's talents were those which he had felt himself more disposed to envy, than those of any whom he had known."
'On the evening I have spoken of above, at Mr. Vesey's, you would have been much gratified, as it exhibited an instance of the high importance in which Dr. Johnson's character is held, I think even beyond any I ever before was witness to. The company consisted chiefly of ladies, among whom were the Duchess Dowager of Portland, the Duchess of Beaufort, whom I suppose from her rank I must name before her mother Mrs. Boscawen, and her elder sister Mrs. Lewson, who was likewise there; Lady Lucan, Lady Clermont, and others of note both for their station and understandings. Among the gentlemen were Lord Althorpe, whom I have before named, Lord Macartney, Sir Joshua Reynolds, Lord Lucan, Mr. Wraxal, whose book you have probably seen, The Tour to the Northern Parts of Europe; a very agreeable ingenious man; Dr. Warren, Mr. Pepys, the Master in Chancery, whom I believe you know, and Dr. Barnard, the Provost of Eton. As soon as Dr. Johnson was come in and had taken a chair, the company began to collect round him, till they became not less than four, if not five, deep; those behind standing, and listening over the heads of those that were sitting near him. The conversation for some time was chiefly between Dr. Johnson and the Provost of Eton, while the others contributed occasionally their remarks. Without attempting to detail the particulars of the conversation, which perhaps if I did, I should spin my account out to a tedious length, I thought, my dear Sir, this general account of the respect with which our valued friend was attended to, might be acceptable.'
'To THE REVEREND DR. FARMER.
'May 25, 1780.
'I know your disposition to second any literary attempt, and therefore venture upon the liberty of entreating you to procure from College or University registers, all the dates, or other informations which they can supply, relating to Ambrose Philips, Broome, and Gray, who were all of Cambridge, and of whose lives I am to give such accounts as I can gather. Be pleased to forgive this trouble from, Sir,
'Your most humble servant,
While Johnson was thus engaged in preparing a delightful literary entertainment for the world, the tranquillity of the metropolis of Great-Britain was unexpectedly disturbed, by the most horrid series of outrage that ever disgraced a civilised country. A relaxation of some of the severe penal provisions against our fellow-subjects of the Catholic communion had been granted by the legislature, with an opposition so inconsiderable that the genuine mildness of Christianity, united with liberal policy, seemed to have become general in this island. But a dark and malignant spirit of persecution soon shewed itself, in an unworthy petition for the repeal of the wise and humane statute. That petition was brought forward by a mob, with the evident purpose of intimidation, and was justly rejected. But the attempt was accompanied and followed by such daring violence as is unexampled in history. Of this extraordinary tumult, Dr. Johnson has given the following concise, lively, and just account in his _Letters to Mrs. Thrale:—
'On Friday, the good Protestants met in Saint George's-Fields, at the summons of Lord George Gordon, and marching to Westminster, insulted the Lords and Commons, who all bore it with great tameness. At night the outrages began by the demolition of the mass-house by Lincoln's-Inn.'
'An exact journal of a week's defiance of government I cannot give you. On Monday, Mr. Strahan, who had been insulted, spoke to Lord Mansfield, who had I think been insulted too, of the licentiousness of the populace; and his Lordship treated it as a very slight irregularity. On Tuesday night they pulled down Fielding's house, and burnt his goods in the street. They had gutted on Monday Sir George Savile's house, but the building was saved. On Tuesday evening, leaving Fielding's ruins, they went to Newgate to demand their companions who had been seized demolishing the chapel. The keeper could not release them but by the Mayor's permission, which he went to ask; at his return he found all the prisoners released, and Newgate in a blaze. They then went to Bloomsbury, and fastened upon Lord Mansfield's house, which they pulled down; and as for his goods, they totally burnt them. They have since gone to Caen-wood, but a guard was there before them. They plundered some Papists, I think, and burnt a mass-house in Moorfields the same night.'
'On Wednesday I walked with Dr. Scott to look at Newgate, and found it in ruins, with the fire yet glowing. As I went by, the Protestants were plundering the Sessions-house at the Old-Bailey. There were not, I believe, a hundred; but they did their work at leisure, in full security, without sentinels, without trepidation, as men lawfully employed, in full day. Such is the cowardice of a commercial place. On Wednesday they broke open the Fleet, and the King's-Bench, and the Marshalsea, and Wood-street Compter, and Clerkenwell Bridewell, and released all the prisoners.'
'At night they set fire to the Fleet, and to the King's-Bench, and I know not how many other places; and one might see the glare of conflagration fill the sky from many parts. The sight was dreadful. Some people were threatened: Mr. Strahan advised me to take care of myself. Such a time of terrour you have been happy in not seeing.'
'The King said in Council, "That the magistrates had not done their duty, but that he would do his own;" and a proclamation was published, directing us to keep our servants within doors, as the peace was now to be preserved by force. The soldiers were sent out to different parts, and the town is now [June 9] at quiet.'
'The soldiers are stationed so as to be every where within call: there is no longer any body of rioters, and the individuals are hunted to their holes, and led to prison; Lord George was last night sent to the Tower. Mr. John Wilkes was this day in my neighbourhood, to seize the publisher of a seditious paper.'
'Several chapels have been destroyed, and several inoffensive Papists have been plundered; but the high sport was to burn the gaols. This was a good rabble trick. The debtors and the criminals were all set at liberty; but of the criminals, as has always happened, many are already retaken; and two pirates have surrendered themselves, and it is expected that they will be pardoned.'
'Government now acts again with its proper force; and we are all under the protection of the King and the law. I thought that it would be agreeable to you and my master to have my testimony to the publick security; and that you would sleep more quietly when I told you that you are safe.'
'There has, indeed, been an universal panick from which the King was the first that recovered. Without the concurrence of his ministers, or the assistance of the civil magistrate, he put the soldiers in motion, and saved the town from calamities, such as a rabble's government must naturally produce.'
'The publick has escaped a very heavy calamity. The rioters attempted the Bank on Wednesday night, but in no great number; and like other thieves, with no great resolution. Jack Wilkes headed the party that drove them away. It is agreed, that if they had seized the Bank on Tuesday, at the height of the panick, when no resistance had been prepared, they might have carried irrecoverably away whatever they had found. Jack, who was always zealous for order and decency, declares that if he be trusted with power, he will not leave a rioter alive. There is, however, now no longer any need of heroism or bloodshed; no blue ribband is any longer worn.'
Such was the end of this miserable sedition, from which London was delivered by the magnanimity of the Sovereign himself. Whatever some may maintain, I am satisfied that there was no combination or plan, either domestic or foreign; but that the mischief spread by a gradual contagion of frenzy, augmented by the quantities of fermented liquors, of which the deluded populace possessed themselves in the course of their depredations.
I should think myself very much to blame, did I here neglect to do justice to my esteemed friend Mr. Akerman, the keeper of Newgate, who long discharged a very important trust with an uniform intrepid firmness, and at the same time a tenderness and a liberal charity, which entitle him to be recorded with distinguished honour.
Upon this occasion, from the timidity and negligence of magistracy on the one hand, and the almost incredible exertions of the mob on the other, the first prison of this great country was laid open, and the prisoners set free; but that Mr. Akerman, whose house was burnt, would have prevented all this, had proper aid been sent to him in due time, there can be no doubt.
Many years ago, a fire broke out in the brick part which was built as an addition to the old gaol of Newgate. The prisoners were in consternation and tumult, calling out, 'We shall be burnt—we shall be burnt! Down with the gate—down with the gate!' Mr. Akerman hastened to them, shewed himself at the gate, and having, after some confused vociferation of 'Hear him—hear him!' obtained a silent attention, he then calmly told them, that the gate must not go down; that they were under his care, and that they should not be permitted to escape: but that he could assure them, they need not be afraid of being burnt, for that the fire was not in the prison, properly so called, which was strongly built with stone; and that if they would engage to be quiet, he himself would come in to them, and conduct them to the further end of the building, and would not go out till they gave him leave. To this proposal they agreed; upon which Mr. Akerman, having first made them fall back from the gate, went in, and with a determined resolution, ordered the outer turnkey upon no account to open the gate, even though the prisoners (though he trusted they would not) should break their word, and by force bring himself to order it. 'Never mind me, (said he,) should that happen.' The prisoners peaceably followed him, while he conducted them through passages of which he had the keys, to the extremity of the gaol which was most distant from the fire. Having, by this very judicious conduct, fully satisfied them that there was no immediate risk, if any at all, he then addressed them thus: 'Gentlemen, you are now convinced that I told you true. I have no doubt that the engines will soon extinguish this fire; if they should not, a sufficient guard will come, and you shall all be taken out and lodged in the Compters. I assure you, upon my word and honour, that I have not a farthing insured. I have left my house, that I might take care of you. I will keep my promise, and stay with you if you insist upon it; but if you will allow me to go out and look after my family and property, I shall be obliged to you.' Struck with his behaviour, they called out, 'Master Akerman, you have done bravely; it was very kind in you: by all means go and take care of your own concerns.' He did so accordingly, while they remained, and were all preserved.
Johnson has been heard to relate the substance of this story with high praise, in which he was joined by Mr. Burke. My illustrious friend, speaking of Mr. Akerman's kindness to his prisoners, pronounced this eulogy upon his character:—'He who has long had constantly in his view the worst of mankind, and is yet eminent for the humanity of his disposition, must have had it originally in a great degree, and continued to cultivate it very carefully.'
In the course of this month my brother David waited upon Dr. Johnson, with the following letter of introduction, which I had taken care should be lying ready on his arrival in London.
'To DR. SAMUEL JOHNSON.
'Edinburgh, April 29, 1780.
'MY DEAR SIR,
'This will be delivered to you by my brother David, on his return from Spain. You will be glad to see the man who vowed to "stand by the old castle of Auchinleck, with heart, purse, and sword;" that romantick family solemnity devised by me, of which you and I talked with complacency upon the spot. I trust that twelve years of absence have not lessened his feudal attachment; and that you will find him worthy of being introduced to your acquaintance.
'I have the honour to be,
'With affectionate veneration,
'My dear Sir,
'Your most faithful humble servant,
Johnson received him very politely, and has thus mentioned him in a letter to Mrs. Thrale: 'I have had with me a brother of Boswell's, a Spanish merchant, whom the war has driven from his residence at Valentia; he is gone to see his friends, and will find Scotland but a sorry place after twelve years' residence in a happier climate. He is a very agreeable man, and speaks no Scotch.'
'To DR. BEATTIE, AT ABERDEEN.
'More years than I have any delight to reckon, have past since you and I saw one another; of this, however, there is no reason for making any reprehensory complaint—Sic fata ferunt. But methinks there might pass some small interchange of regard between us. If you say, that I ought to have written, I now write; and I write to tell you, that I have much kindness for you and Mrs. Beattie; and that I wish your health better, and your life long. Try change of air, and come a few degrees Southwards: a softer climate may do you both good; winter is coming on; and London will be warmer, and gayer, and busier, and more fertile of amusement than Aberdeen.
'My health is better; but that will be little in the balance, when I tell you that Mrs. Montagu has been very ill, and is I doubt now but weakly. Mr. Thrale has been very dangerously disordered; but is much better, and I hope will totally recover. He has withdrawn himself from business the whole summer. Sir Joshua and his sister are well; and Mr. Davies has got great success as an authour, generated by the corruption of a bookseller. More news I have not to tell you, and therefore you must be contented with hearing, what I know not whether you much wish to hear, that I am, Sir,
'Your most humble servant, 'SAM. JOHNSON.'
'Bolt-court, Fleet-street, August 21, 1780.'
'To JAMES BOSWELL, Esq.
'I find you have taken one of your fits of taciturnity, and have resolved not to write till you are written to; it is but a peevish humour, but you shall have your way.
'I have sat at home in Bolt-court, all the summer, thinking to write the Lives, and a great part of the time only thinking. Several of them, however, are done, and I still think to do the rest.
'Mr. Thrale and his family have, since his illness, passed their time first at Bath, and then at Brighthelmston; but I have been at neither place. I would have gone to Lichfield, if I could have had time, and I might have had time if I had been active; but I have missed much, and done little.
'In the late disturbances, Mr. Thrale's house and stock were in great danger; the mob was pacified at their first invasion, with about fifty pounds in drink and meat; and at their second, were driven away by the soldiers. Mr. Strahan got a garrison into his house, and maintained them a fortnight; he was so frighted that he removed part of his goods. Mrs. Williams took shelter in the country.
'I know not whether I shall get a ramble this autumn; it is now about the time when we were travelling. I have, however, better health than I had then, and hope you and I may yet shew ourselves on some part of Europe, Asia, or Africa. In the mean time let us play no trick, but keep each other's kindness by all means in our power.
'The bearer of this is Dr. Dunbar, of Aberdeen, who has written and published a very ingenious book, and who I think has a kindness for me, and will, when he knows you, have a kindness for you.
'I suppose your little ladies are grown tall; and your son is become a learned young man. I love them all, and I love your naughty lady, whom I never shall persuade to love me. When the Lives are done, I shall send them to complete her collection, but must send them in paper, as for want of a pattern, I cannot bind them to fit the rest.
'I am, Sir, 'Yours most affectionately, 'SAM. JOHNSON.' 'London, Aug. 21, 1780.'
This year he wrote to a young clergyman in the country, the following very excellent letter, which contains valuable advice to Divines in general:—
'Not many days ago Dr. Lawrence shewed me a letter, in which you make mention of me: I hope, therefore, you will not be displeased that I endeavour to preserve your good-will by some observations which your letter suggested to me.
'You are afraid of falling into some improprieties in the daily service by reading to an audience that requires no exactness. Your fear, I hope, secures you from danger. They who contract absurd habits are such as have no fear. It is impossible to do the same thing very often, without some peculiarity of manner: but that manner may be good or bad, and a little care will at least preserve it from being bad: to make it good, there must, I think, be something of natural or casual felicity, which cannot be taught.
'Your present method of making your sermons seems very judicious. Few frequent preachers can be supposed to have sermons more their own than yours will be. Take care to register, somewhere or other, the authours from whom your several discourses are borrowed; and do not imagine that you shall always remember, even what perhaps you now think it impossible to forget.
'My advice, however, is, that you attempt, from time to time, an original sermon; and in the labour of composition, do not burthen your mind with too much at once; do not exact from yourself at one effort of excogitation, propriety of thought and elegance of expression. Invent first, and then embellish. The production of something, where nothing was before, is an act of greater energy than the expansion or decoration of the thing produced. Set down diligently your thoughts as they rise, in the first words that occur; and, when you have matter, you will easily give it form: nor, perhaps, will this method be always necessary; for by habit, your thoughts and diction will flow together.
'The composition of sermons is not very difficult: the divisions not only help the memory of the hearer, but direct the judgement of the writer; they supply sources of invention, and keep every part in its proper place.
'What I like least in your letter is your account of the manners of your parish; from which I gather, that it has been long neglected by the parson. The Dean of Carlisle, who was then a little rector in Northamptonshire, told me, that it might be discerned whether or no there was a clergyman resident in a parish by the civil or savage manner of the people. Such a congregation as yours stands in need of much reformation; and I would not have you think it impossible to reform them. A very savage parish was civilised by a decayed gentlewoman, who came among them to teach a petty school. My learned friend Dr. Wheeler of Oxford, when he was a young man, had the care of a neighbouring parish for fifteen pounds a year, which he was never paid; but he counted it a convenience that it compelled him to make a sermon weekly. One woman he could not bring to the communion; and, when he reproved or exhorted her, she only answered, that she was no scholar. He was advised to set some good woman or man of the parish, a little wiser than herself, to talk to her in a language level to her mind. Such honest, I may call them holy artifices, must be practised by every clergyman; for all means must be tried by which souls may be saved. Talk to your people, however, as much as you can; and you will find, that the more frequently you converse with them upon religious subjects, the more willingly they will attend, and the more submissively they will learn. A clergyman's diligence always makes him venerable. I think I have now only to say, that in the momentous work you have undertaken, I pray GOD to bless you.
'I am, Sir, 'Your most humble servant, 'SAM. JOHNSON.'
'Bolt-court, Aug. 30, 1780.'
My next letters to him were dated August 24, September 6, and October 1, and from them I extract the following passages:—
'My brother David and I find the long indulged fancy of our comfortable meeting again at Auchinleck, so well realised, that it in some degree confirms the pleasing hope of O! preclarum diem! in a future state.'
'I beg that you may never again harbour a suspicion of my indulging a peevish humour, or playing tricks; you will recollect that when I confessed to you, that I had once been intentionally silent to try your regard, I gave you my word and honour that I would not do so again.'
'I rejoice to hear of your good state of health; I pray GOD to continue it long. I have often said, that I would willingly have ten years added to my life, to have ten taken from yours; I mean, that I would be ten years older to have you ten years younger. But let me be thankful for the years during which I have enjoyed your friendship, and please myself with the hopes of enjoying it many years to come in this state of being, trusting always, that in another state, we shall meet never to be separated. Of this we can form no notion; but the thought, though indistinct, is delightful, when the mind is calm and clear.'
'The riots in London were certainly horrible; but you give me no account of your own situation, during the barbarous anarchy. A description of it by DR. JOHNSON would be a great painting; you might write another London, a Poem.'
'I am charmed with your condescending affectionate expression, "let us keep each other's kindness by all the means in our power;" my revered Friend! how elevating is it to my mind, that I am found worthy to be a companion to Dr. Samuel Johnson! All that you have said in grateful praise of Mr. Walmsley, I have long thought of you; but we are both Tories, which has a very general influence upon our sentiments. I hope that you will agree to meet me at York, about the end of this month; or if you will come to Carlisle, that would be better still, in case the Dean be there. Please to consider, that to keep each other's kindness, we should every year have that free and intimate communication of mind which can be had only when we are together. We should have both our solemn and our pleasant talk.'
'I write now for the third time, to tell you that my desire for our meeting this autumn, is much increased. I wrote to Squire Godfrey Bosville, my Yorkshire chief, that I should, perhaps, pay him a visit, as I was to hold a conference with Dr. Johnson at York. I give you my word and honour that I said not a word of his inviting you; but he wrote to me as follows:—
'"I need not tell you I shall be happy to see you here the latter end of this month, as you propose; and I shall likewise be in hopes that you will persuade Dr. Johnson to finish the conference here. It will add to the favour of your own company, if you prevail upon such an associate, to assist your observations. I have often been entertained with his writings, and I once belonged to a club of which he was a member, and I never spent an evening there, but I heard something from him well worth remembering."
'We have thus, my dear Sir, good comfortable quarters in the neighbourhood of York, where you may be assured we shall be heartily welcome. I pray you then resolve to set out; and let not the year 1780 be a blank in our social calendar, and in that record of wisdom and wit, which I keep with so much diligence, to your honour, and the instruction and delight of others.'
Mr. Thrale had now another contest for the representation in parliament of the borough of Southwark, and Johnson kindly lent him his assistance, by writing advertisements and letters for him. I shall insert one as a specimen:
'TO THE WORTHY ELECTORS OF THE BOROUGH OF SOUTHWARK.
'A new Parliament being now called, I again solicit the honour of being elected for one of your representatives; and solicit it with the greater confidence, as I am not conscious of having neglected my duty, or of having acted otherwise than as becomes the independent representative of independent constituents; superiour to fear, hope, and expectation, who has no private purposes to promote, and whose prosperity is involved in the prosperity of his country. As my recovery from a very severe distemper is not yet perfect, I have declined to attend the Hall, and hope an omission so necessary will not be harshly censured.
'I can only send my respectful wishes, that all your deliberations may tend to the happiness of the kingdom, and the peace of the borough.
'I am, Gentlemen,
'Your most faithful
'And obedient servant,
'Southwark, Sept. 5, 1780.'
On his birth-day, Johnson has this note:—
'I am now beginning the seventy-second year of my life, with more strength of body, and greater vigour of mind, than I think is common at that age.'
But still he complains of sleepless nights and idle days, and forgetfulness, or neglect of resolutions. He thus pathetically expresses himself,—
'Surely I shall not spend my whole life with my own total disapprobation.'
Mr. Macbean, whom I have mentioned more than once, as one of Johnson's humble friends, a deserving but unfortunate man, being now oppressed by age and poverty, Johnson solicited the Lord Chancellor Thurlow, to have him admitted into the Charterhouse. I take the liberty to insert his Lordship's answer, as I am eager to embrace every occasion of augmenting the respectable notion which should ever be entertained of my illustrious friend:—
'To DR. SAMUEL JOHNSON.
'London, October 24, 1780.
'I have this moment received your letter, dated the 19th, and returned from Bath.
'In the beginning of the summer I placed one in the Chartreux, without the sanction of a recommendation so distinct and so authoritative as yours of Macbean; and I am afraid, that according to the establishment of the House, the opportunity of making the charity so good amends will not soon recur. But whenever a vacancy shall happen, if you'll favour me with notice of it, I will try to recommend him to the place, even though it should not be my turn to nominate.
'I am, Sir, with great regard,
'Your most faithful
'And obedient servant,
'To JAMES BOSWELL, ESQ.
'I am sorry to write you a letter that will not please you, and yet it is at last what I resolve to do. This year must pass without an interview; the summer has been foolishly lost, like many other of my summers and winters. I hardly saw a green field, but staid in town to work, without working much.
'Mr. Thrale's loss of health has lost him the election; he is now going to Brighthelmston, and expects me to go with him; and how long I shall stay, I cannot tell. I do not much like the place, but yet I shall go, and stay while my stay is desired. We must, therefore, content ourselves with knowing what we know as well as man can know the mind of man, that we love one another, and that we wish each other's happiness, and that the lapse of a year cannot lessen our mutual kindness.
'I was pleased to be told that I accused Mrs. Boswell unjustly, in supposing that she bears me ill-will. I love you so much, that I would be glad to love all that love you, and that you love; and I have love very ready for Mrs. Boswell, if she thinks it worthy of acceptance. I hope all the young ladies and gentlemen are well.
'I take a great liking to your brother. He tells me that his father received him kindly, but not fondly; however, you seem to have lived well enough at Auchinleck, while you staid. Make your father as happy as you can.
'You lately told me of your health: I can tell you in return, that my health has been for more than a year past, better than it has been for many years before. Perhaps it may please GOD to give us some time together before we are parted.
'I am, dear Sir, 'Yours most affectionately, 'SAM. JOHNSON.' 'October 17, 1780.'
The alehouse in the city where Johnson used to go and sit with George Psalmanazar was, no doubt, the club in Old Street, where he met also 'the metaphysical tailor,' the uncle of Hoole the poet (post, under March 30, 1783). Psalmanazar is mentioned a third time by Boswell (post, May 15, 1784) in a passage borrowed from Hawkins's edition of Johnson's Works, xi. 206, where it is stated that 'Johnson said: "He had never seen the close of the life of any one that he wished so much his own to resemble as that of him, for its purity and devotion." He was asked whether he ever contradicted him. "I should as soon," said he, "have thought of contradicting a bishop." When he was asked whether he had ever mentioned Formosa before him, he said, "he was afraid to mention even China."' We learn from Hawkins's Life of Johnson, p. 547, that 'Psalmanazar lived in Ironmonger Row, Old Street; in the neighbourhood whereof he was so well known and esteemed, that, as Dr. Hawkesworth once told me, scarce any person, even children, passed him without shewing him the usual signs of respect.' In the list of the writers of the Universal History that Johnson drew up a few days before his death his name is given as the historian of the Jews, Gauls, and Spaniards (post, November, 1784). According to Mrs. Piozzi (Anecdotes, p. 175):—'His pious and patient endurance of a tedious illness, ending in an exemplary death, confirmed the strong impression his merit had made upon the mind of Mr. Johnson. "It is so very difficult," said he always, "for a sick man not to be a scoundrel."' Johnson, in Prayers and Meditations, p. 102, mentions him as a man 'whose life was, I think, uniform.' Smollett, in Humphry Clinker (in Melford's Letter of June 10), describes him as one 'who, after having drudged half a century in the literary mill, in all the simplicity and abstinence of an Asiatic, subsists upon the charity of a few booksellers, just sufficient to keep him from the parish.' A writer in the Annual Register for 1764 (ii. 71), speaking of the latter part of his life, says:—'He was concerned in compiling and writing works of credit, and lived exemplarily for many years.' He died a few days before that memorable sixteenth day of May 1763, when Boswell first met Johnson. It is a pity that no record has been kept of the club meetings in Ironmonger Row, for then we should have seen Johnson in a new light. Johnson in an alehouse club, with a metaphysical tailor on one side of him, and an aged writer on the other side of him, 'who spoke English with the city accent and coarsely enough,' and whom he would never venture to contradict, is a Johnson that we cannot easily imagine.
Of the greater part of Psalmanazar's life we know next to nothing—little, I believe, beyond the few facts that I have here gathered together. His early years he has described in his Memoirs. That he started as one of the most shameless impostors, and that he remained a hypocrite and a cheat till he was fully forty, if not indeed longer, his own narrative shows. That for many years he lived laboriously, frugally, and honestly seems to be no less certain. How far his Memoirs are truthful is somewhat doubtful. In them he certainly confesses the impudent trick which he had played in his youth, when he passed himself off as a Formosan convert. He wished, he writes, 'to undeceive the world by unravelling that whole mystery of iniquity' (p. 5). He lays bare roguery enough, and in a spirit, it seems, of real sorrow. Nevertheless there are passages which are not free from the leaven of hypocrisy, and there are, I suspect, statements which are at least partly false. Johnson, indeed, looked upon him as little less than a saint; but then, as Sir Joshua Reynolds tells us, though 'Johnson was not easily imposed upon by professions to honesty and candour, he appeared to have little suspicion of hypocrisy in religion.' It was in the year 1704 that Psalmanazar published his Historical and Geographical Description of Formosa. So gross is the forgery that it almost passes belief that it was widely accepted as a true narrative. He gave himself out as a native of that island and a convert to Christianity. He lied so foolishly as to maintain that in the Academies of Formosa Greek was studied (p. 290). He asserted also that in an island that is only about half as large as Ireland 18,000 boys were sacrificed every year (p. 176). But his readers were for the most part only too willing to be deceived; for in Protestant England his abuse of the Jesuits covered a multitude of lies. Ere he had been three months in London, he was, he writes (Memoirs, p. 179), 'cried up for a prodigy, and not only the domestic, but even the foreign papers had helped to blaze forth many things in his praise.' He was aided in his fraud by the Rev. Dr. Innes, or Innys, a clergyman of the English Church, who by means of his interesting convert pushed himself into the notice of Compton, Bishop of London, and before long was made chaplain-general to the English forces in Portugal (Memoirs, p. 191). The same man, as Boswell tells us (ante, i. 359), by another impudent cheat, a second time obtained 'considerable promotion.' Psalmanazar's book soon reached a second edition, 'besides the several versions it had abroad' (p. 5). Yet it is very dull reading—just such a piece of work as might be looked for from a young man of little fancy, but gifted with a strong memory. Nevertheless, the author's credit lasted so long, that for many years he lived on a subscription 'which was founded on a belief of his being a Formosan and a real convert to the Church of England' (p. 208). He was even sent to Oxford to study, and had rooms in one of the colleges—Christ Church, if I mistake not (p. 186). It was not only as a student that he was sent by his dupes to that ancient seat of learning; the Bishop of London hoped that he would 'teach the Formosan language to a set of gentlemen who were afterwards to go with him to convert those people to Christianity' (p. 161).
While he was living the life of a lying scoundrel, he was, he says (p. 192), 'happily restrained by Divine Grace,' so that 'all sense of remorse was not extinguished,' and there was no fall into 'downright infidelity.' At length he picked up Law's Serious Call, which moved him, as later on it moved better men (ante, i. 68). Step by step he got into a way of steady work, and lived henceforth a laborious and honest life. It was in the year 1728, thirty-five years before his death, that he began, he says, to write the narrative of his imposture (p. 59). A dangerous illness and the dread of death had deeply moved him, and filled him with the desire of leaving behind 'a faithful narrative' which would 'undeceive the world.' Nineteen years later, though he did not publish his narrative, he made a public confession of his guilt. In the unsigned article on Formosa, which he wrote in 1747 for Bowen's Complete System of Geography (ii. 251), he says, 'Psalmanaazaar [so he had at one time written his name] hath long since ingenuously owned the contrary [of the truthfulness of his narrative] though not in so public a manner, as he might perhaps have done, had not such an avowment been likely to have affected some few persons who for private ends took advantage of his youthful vanity to encourage him in an imposture, which he might otherwise never had the thought, much less the confidence, to have carried on. These persons being now dead, and out of all danger of being hurt by it, he now gives us leave to assure the world that the greatest part of that account was fabulous ... and that he designs to leave behind him a faithful account of that unhappy step, and other particulars of his life leading to it, to be published after his death.'
In his Memoirs he will not, he writes (p. 59), give any account 'of his real country or family.' Yet it is quite clear from his own narrative that he was born in the south of France. 'His pronunciation of French had,' it was said, 'a spice of the Gascoin accent, and in that provincial dialect he was so masterly that none but those born in the country could excel him' (Preface, p. 1). If a town can be found that answers to all that he tells of his birth-place, his whole account may be true; but the circumstances that he mentions seem inconsistent. The city in which he was born was twenty-four miles from an archiepiscopal city in which there was a college of Jesuits (p. 67), and about sixty miles from 'a noble great city full of gentry and nobility, of coaches, and all kinds of grandeur,' the seat of a great university (pp. 76, 83). When he left the great city for Avignon he speaks of himself as 'going down to Avignon' (p. 87). Thence he started on a pilgrimage to Rome, and in order to avoid his native place, after he had gone no great way, 'he wheeled about to the left, to leave the place at some twenty or thirty miles distance' (p. 101). He changed his mind, however, and returned home. Thence he set off to join his father, who was 'near 500 miles off' in Germany (p. 60). 'The direct route was through the great university city' and Lyons (p. 104). His birth-place then, if his account is true, was on the road from Avignon to Rome, sixty miles from a great university city and southwards of it, for through this university city passed the direct road from his home to Lyons. It was, moreover, sixty miles from an archiepiscopal city. I do not think that such a place can be found. He says (p. 59) that he thought himself 'obliged out of respect to his country and family to conceal both, it being but too common, though unjust, to censure them for the crimes of private persons.' The excuse seems unsatisfactory, for he tells enough to shew that he came from the South of France, while for his family there was no need of care. It was, he writes, 'ancient but decayed,' and he was the only surviving child. Of his father and mother he had heard nothing since he started on the career of a pious rogue. They must have been dead very many years by the time his Memoirs were given to the world. His story shews that at all events for the first part of his life he had been one of the vainest of men, and vanity is commonly found joined with a love of mystery. He is not consistent, moreover, in his dates. On April 23, 1752, he was in the 73rd year of his age (p. 7); so that he was born in either 1679 or 1680. When he joined his father he was 'hardly full sixteen years old' (p. 112); yet it was a few years after the Peace of Ryswick, which was signed on September 22, 1697. He was, he says, 'but near twenty' when he wrote his History of Formosa (p. 184). This was in the year 1704.
With his father he stayed but a short time, and then set out rambling northwards. At Avignon, by shameless lying, he had obtained a pass 'as a young student in theology, of Irish extract [sic] who had left his country for the sake of religion' (p. 98). It was wonderful that his fraud had escaped detection there, for he had kept his own name, 'because it had something of quality in it' (p. 99). He now resolved on a more impudent pretence; for 'passing as an Irishman and a sufferer for religion, did not only,' he writes, 'expose me to the danger of being discovered, but came short of the merit and admiration I had expected from it' (p. 112). He thereupon gave himself out as a Japanese convert, and forged a fresh pass, 'clapping to it the old seal' (p. 116). He went through different adventures, and at last enlisted in the army of the Elector of Cologne—an 'unhappy herd, destitute of all sense of religion and shamefacedness.' He got his discharge, but enlisted a second time, 'passing himself off for a Japanese and a heathen, under the name of Salmanazar' (pp. 133-141). Later on he altered it, he says, 'by the addition of a letter or two to make it somewhat different from that mentioned in the Book of Kings' (Shalmaneser, II Kings, xvii. 3). In his Description of Formosa he wrote it Psalmanaazaar, and in later life Psalmanazar. In his vanity he invented 'an awkward show of worship, turning his face to the rising or setting sun, and pleased to be taken notice of for so doing' (p. 144). He had moreover 'the ambition of passing for a moral heathen' (p. 147). By way of singularity he next took to living altogether upon raw flesh, roots, and herbs (p. 163).
It was when he was on garrison duty at Sluys that he became acquainted with Innes, who was chaplain to a Scotch regiment that was in the pay of the Dutch (p. 148). This man found in him a tool ready made to his hand. He had at once seen through his roguery, but he used his knowledge only to plunge him deeper in his guilt. By working on his fears and his vanity and by small bribes he induced him to profess himself a convert to the Church of England and to submit to baptism (p. 158). He brought him over to London, and introduced him to the Bishop of London, and to Tenison, Archbishop of Canterbury (pp. 164, 179). Psalmanazar spoke Latin fluently, but 'his Grace had either forgotten his, or being unused to the foreign pronunciation was forced to have it interpreted to him by Dr. Innes in English' (p. 178). The young impostor everywhere gave himself out as a Formosan who had been entrapped by a Jesuit priest, and brought to Avignon. 'There I could expect,' he wrote, 'no mercy from the Inquisitors, if I had not in hypocrisy professed their religion' (History of Formosa, p. 25). He was kept, he says, in a kind of custody, 'but I trusted under God to my heels' (p. 24). It was Innes who made him write this History.
In the confession of his fraud Psalmanazar seems to keep back nothing. His repentance appears to be sincere, and his later life, there can be little question, was regular. Yet, as I have said, even his confessions apparently are not free from the old leaven of hypocrisy. It is indeed very hard, if not altogether impossible, for a man who has passed forty years and more as a lying hypocrite altogether to 'clear his mind of cant.' In writing of the time when he was still living the life of a lying scoundrel, he says:—'I have great reason to acknowledge it the greatest mercy that could befall me, that I was so well grounded in the principles and evidence of the Christian religion, that neither the conversation of the then freethinkers, as they loved to stile themselves, and by many of whom I was severely attacked, nor the writings of Hobbes, Spinosa, &c. against the truth of Divine revelation could appear to me in any other light than as the vain efforts of a dangerous set of men to overturn a religion, the best founded and most judiciously calculated to promote the peace and happiness of mankind, both temporal and eternal' (Memoirs, p. 192). Two pages further on he writes, a little boastfully it seems, of having had 'some sort of gallantry with the fair sex; with many of whom, even persons of fortune and character, of sense, wit, and learning, I was become,' he continues, 'a great favourite, and might, if I could have overcome my natural sheepishness and fear of a repulse, have been more successful either by way of matrimony or intrigue.' He goes on:—'I may truly say, that hardly any man who might have enjoyed so great a variety ever indulged himself in so few instances of the unlawful kind as I have done.' He concludes this passage in his writings by 'thankfully acknowledging that there must have been some secret providence that kept me from giving such way to unlawful amours as I might otherwise have done, to the ruin of my health, circumstances,' &c.
When he came to wish for an honest way of life he was beset with difficulties. 'What a deadly wound,' he writes, 'must such an unexpected confession have given to my natural vanity, and what a mortification would it have been to such sincere honest people [as my friends] to hear it from my mouth!' (p. 213.) This was natural enough. That he long hesitated, like a coward, on the brink is not to be cast in his teeth, seeing that at last he took the plunge. But then in speaking of the time when he weakly repeated, and to use his own words, 'as it were confirmed anew,' his old falsehoods, he should not have written that 'as the assurance of God's mercy gave me good grounds to hope, so that hope inspired me with a design to use all proper means to obtain it, and leave the issue of it to his Divine Providence' (p. 214). The only proper means to obtain God's mercy was at once to own to all the world that he had lied. It is only the Tartuffes and the Holy Willies who, whilst they persist in their guilt, talk of leaving the issue to the Divine Providence of God.
Since this Appendix was in type I have learnt, through the kindness of Mr. C.E. Doble, the editor of Hearne's Remarks and Collections, ed. 1885, that a passage in that book (i. 271), confirms my conjecture that Psalmanazar was lodged in Christ Church when at Oxford. Hearne says (July 9, 1706):—'Mr. Topping of Christ Church ... also tells me that Salmanezzer, the famous Formosan, when he left Christ Church (where he resided while in Oxon) left behind him a Book in MSt., wherein a distinct acct was given of the Consular and Imperial coyns by himself.' Mr. Doble has also pointed out to me in the first edition of the Spectator the following passage at the end of No. 14:—
'On the first of April will be performed at the Play-house in the Hay-market an opera call'd The Cruelty of Atreus. N.B. The Scene wherein Thyestes eats his own children is to be performed by the famous Mr. Psalmanazar lately arrived from Formosa: The whole Supper being set to Kettle-drums.'
* * * * *
JOHNSON'S TRAVELS AND LOVE OF TRAVELLING.
On the passage in the text Macaulay in his Review of Croker's Edition of Boswell's Life of Johnson partly founds the following criticism:—
'Johnson's visit to the Hebrides introduced him to a state of society completely new to him; and a salutary suspicion of his own deficiencies seems on that occasion to have crossed his mind for the first time. He confessed, in the last paragraph of his Journey, that his thoughts on national manners were the thoughts of one who had seen but little, of one who had passed his time almost wholly in cities. This feeling, however, soon passed away. It is remarkable that to the last he entertained a fixed contempt for all those modes of life and those studies which tend to emancipate the mind from the prejudices of a particular age or a particular nation. Of foreign travel and of history he spoke with the fierce and boisterous contempt of ignorance. "What does a man learn by travelling? Is Beauclerk the better for travelling? What did Lord Charlemont learn in his travels, except that there was a snake in one of the pyramids of Egypt?"' Macaulay's Essays, ed. 1843, i. 403.
In another passage (p. 400) Macaulay says:—
'Johnson was no master of the great science of human nature. He had studied, not the genus man, but the species Londoner. Nobody was ever so thoroughly conversant with all the forms of life and all the shades of moral and intellectual character which were to be seen from Islington to the Thames, and from Hyde-Park corner to Mile-end green. But his philosophy stopped at the first turnpike-gate. Of the rural life of England he knew nothing, and he took it for granted that everybody who lived in the country was either stupid or miserable.'
Of the two assertions that Macaulay makes in these two passages, while one is for the most part true, the other is utterly and grossly false. Johnson had no contempt for foreign travel. That curiosity which animated his eager mind in so many parts of learning did not fail him, when his thoughts turned to the great world outside our narrow seas. It was his poverty that confined him so long to the neighbourhood of Temple Bar. He must in these early days have sometimes felt with Arviragus when he says:—
'What should we speak of When we are old as you? when we shall hear The rain and wind beat dark December, how In this our pinching cave, shall we discourse The freezing hours away? We have seen nothing.'
With his pension his wanderings at once began. His friendship with the Thrales gave them a still wider range. His curiosity, which in itself was always eager, was checked in his more prosperous circumstances by his years, his natural unwillingness at any one moment to make an effort, and by the want of travelling companions who were animated by a spirit of inquiry and of enterprise equal to his own. He did indeed travel much more than is commonly thought, and was far less frequently to be seen rolling along Fleet-street or stemming the full tide of human existence at Charing Cross than his biographers would have us believe.
The following table, imperfect though it must necessarily be, shows how large a part of his life he passed outside 'the first turnpike-gate,' and beyond the smoke of London:—
1709-1736. The first twenty-seven years of his life he spent in small country towns or villages—Lichfield, Stourbridge, Oxford, Market-Bosworth, Birmingham. So late as 1781 Lichfield did not contain 4,000 inhabitants (Harwood's History of Lichfield, p. 380); eight years later it was reckoned that a little over 8,000 people dwelt in Oxford (Parker's Early History of Oxford, ed. 1885, p. 229). In 1732 or 1733 Birmingham, when Johnson first went to live there, had not, I suppose, a population of 10,000. Its growth was wonderfully rapid. Between 1770 and 1797 its inhabitants increased from 30,000 to nearly 80,000 (Birmingham Directory for 1780, p. xx, and A Brief History of Birmingham, p. 8).
1736-7. The first eighteen months of his married life he lived quite in the country at Edial, two miles from Lichfield. Ante, i. 97.
1737. He was twenty-eight years old when he removed to London. Ante, i. 110.
1739. He paid a visit to Appleby in Leicestershire and to Ashbourn. Ante, i. 82, 133 note 1.
1754. Oxford. July and August, about five weeks. Ante, i. 270, note 5.
1759. Oxford. July, length of visit not mentioned. Ante, i. 347.
1761-2. Lichfield. Winter, a visit of five days. Ante, i. 370.
1762. In the summer of this year his pension was granted, and he henceforth had the means of travelling. Ante, i. 372.
A trip to Devonshire, from Aug. 16 to Sept. 26; six weeks. Ante, i. 377.
Oxford. December. 'I am going for a few days or weeks to Oxford.' Letter of Dec. 21, 1762. Croker's Boswell, p. 129.
1763. Harwich. August, a few days. Ante, i. 464.
Oxford. October, length of visit not mentioned. A letter dated Oxford, Oct. 27 . Croker's Boswell, p. 161.
1764. Langton in Lincolnshire, part of January and February. Ante, i. 476.
Easton Maudit in Northamptonshire, part of June, July, and August. Croker's Boswell, p. 166, note, and ante, i. 486.
Oxford, October. Letter to Mr. Strahan dated Oxford, Oct. 24, 1764. Post, Addenda to vol. v.
Either this year or the next Johnson made the acquaintance of the Thrales. For the next seventeen years he had 'an apartment appropriated to him in the Thrales' villa at Streatham' (ante, i. 493), a handsome house that stood in a small park. Streatham was a quiet country-village, separated by wide commons from London, on one of which a highwayman had been hanged who had there robbed Mr. Thrale (ante, iii. 239, note 2). According to Mrs. Piozzi Johnson commonly spent the middle of the week at their house, coming on the Monday night and returning to his own home on the Saturday (post, iv. 169, note 3). Miss Burney, in 1778, describes him 'as living almost wholly at Streatham' (ante, i. 493, note 3). No doubt she was speaking chiefly of the summer half of the year, for in the winter time the Thrales would be often in their town house, where he also had his apartment. Mr. Strahan complained of his being at Streatham 'in a great measure absorbed from the society of his old friends' (ante, iii. 225). He used to call it 'my home' (ante, i. 493, note 3).
1765. Cambridge, early in the year; a short visit. Ante, i. 487.
Brighton, autumn; a short visit. Piozzi's Anec. p. 126, and Piozzi Letters, i. 1.
1766. Streatham, summer and autumn; more than three months. Ante, ii. 25, and Pr. and Med. p. 71.
Oxford, autumn; a month. Ante, ii. 25.
1767. Lichfield, summer and autumn; 'near six months.' Ante, ii. 30, and Piozzi Letters, i. 4, 5.
1768. Oxford, spring; several weeks. Piozzi Letters, i. 6-15.
Townmalling in Kent, September; apparently a short visit. Pr. and Med. p. 81.
1769. Oxford, from at least May 18 to July 7. Piozzi Letters, i. 19-23, and ante, ii. 67.
Lichfield and Ashbourn, August; a short visit. Piozzi Letters, i. 24, and ante, ii. 67.
Brighton, part of August and September; some weeks. Ante, ii. 68, 70, and Croker's Boswell, p. 198, letter dated 'Brighthelmstone. August 26, 1769.'
1770. Lichfield and Ashbourn, apparently whole of July. Piozzi Letters, i. 26-32.
1771. Lichfield and Ashbourn, from June 20 to after Aug. 5. Ante, ii. 141, 142, and Piozzi Letters, i. 36-54.
1772. Lichfield and Ashbourn, from about Oct. 15 to early in December. Piozzi Letters, i. 55-69.
1773. Oxford, April; a hurried visit. Ante, ii. 235, note 2.
Tour to Scotland from Aug. 6 to Nov. 26. Ante, ii. 265, 268.
Oxford, part of November and December. Ante, ii. 268.
1774. Tour to North Wales (Derbyshire, Chester, Conway, Anglesey, Snowdon, Shrewsbury, Worcester, Birmingham, Oxford, Beaconsfield) from July 5 to Sept. 30. Ante, ii. 285, and post, v. 427.
1775. Oxford, March; a short visit. Piozzi Letters, i. 212.
Oxford, Lichfield, Ashbourn, from end of May till some time in August. Ante, ii. 381, and Piozzi Letters, i. 223-301.
Brighton; apparently a brief visit in September. Croker's Boswell, p. 459.
A tour to Paris (going by Calais and Rouen and returning by Compiegne, St. Quintin, and Calais), from Sept. 15 to Nov. 12. Ante, ii. 384, 401.
1776. Oxford, Lichfield, Ashbourn, March 19-29. (The trip was cut short by young Thrale's death.) Ante, ii. 438, and iii. 4.
Bath, from the middle of April to the beginning of May. Ante, iii. 44, 51.
Brighton, part of September and October; full seven weeks. Ante, iii. 92.
1777. Oxford, Lichfield, and Ashbourn, from about July 28 to about Nov. 6. Ante, iii. 129, 210, and Piozzi Letters, i. 348-396 and ii. 1-16 (the letter of Oct. 3, i. 396, is wrongly dated, as is shown by the mention of Foote's death).
Brighton, November; a visit of three days. Ante, iii. 210.
1778. Warley Camp, in Essex, September; about a week. Ante, iii. 360.
1779. Lichfield, Ashbourn, from May 20 to end of June. Ante, iii. 395, and Piozzi Letters, ii. 44-55.
Epsom, September; a few days. Pr. and Med. pp. 181, 225.
1780. Brighton. October. MS. letter dated Oct. 26, 1780 to Mr. Nichols in the British Museum.
1781. Oxford, Birmingham, Lichfield, Ashbourn, from Oct. 15 to Dec. 11. Post, iv. 135, and Croker's Boswell, p. 699, note 5.
1782. Oxford, June; about ten days. Post, iv. 151, and Piozzi Letters, ii. 243-249.
Brighton, part of October and November. Post, iv. 159.
1783. Rochester, July; about a fortnight. Post, iv. 233.
Heale near Salisbury, part of August and September; three weeks. Post, iv. 233, 239.
1784. Oxford, June; a fortnight. Post, iv. 283, 311.
Lichfield, Ashbourn, Oxford, from July 13 to Nov. 16. Post, iv. 353, 377.
That he was always eager to see the world is shown by many a passage in his writings and by the testimony of his biographers. How Macaulay, who knew his Boswell so well, could have accused him of 'speaking of foreign travel with the fierce and boisterous contempt of ignorance' would be a puzzle indeed, did we not know how often this great rhetorician was by the stream of his own mighty rhetoric swept far away from the unadorned strand of naked truth. To his unjust and insulting attack I shall content myself with opposing the following extracts which with some trouble I have collected:—
1728 or 1729. Johnson in his undergraduate days was one day overheard saying:—
'I have a mind to see what is done in other places of learning. I'll go and visit the Universities abroad. I'll go to France and Italy. I'll go to Padua.' Ante, i. 73.
1734. 'A generous and elevated mind is distinguished by nothing more certainly than an eminent degree of curiosity, nor is that curiosity ever more agreeably or usefully employed than in examining the laws and customs of foreign nations.' Ante, i. 89.
1751. 'Curiosity is one of the permanent and certain characteristicks of a vigorous intellect.' Rambler, No. 103. 'Curiosity is in great and generous minds the first passion and the last; and perhaps always predominates in proportion to the strength of the contemplative faculties.' Ib. No. 150.
1752. Francis Barber, describing Johnson's friends in 1752, says:—
'There was a talk of his going to Iceland with Mr. Diamond, which would probably have happened had he lived.' Ante, i. 242. Johnson, in a letter to the wife of the poet Smart, says, 'we have often talked of a voyage to Iceland.' Post, iv. 359 note. Mrs. Thrale wrote to him when he was in the Hebrides in 1773:—'Well! 'tis better talk of Iceland. Gregory challenges you for an Iceland expedition; but I trust there is no need; I suppose good eyes might reach it from some of the places you have been in.' Piozzi Letters, i. 188.
1761. Johnson wrote to Baretti:—
'I wish you had staid longer in Spain, for no country is less known to the rest of Europe.' Ante, i. 365. He twice recommended Boswell to perambulate Spain. Ante, i. 410, 455.
1763. 'Dr. Johnson flattered me (Boswell) with some hopes that he would, in the course of the following summer, come over to Holland, and accompany me in a tour through the Netherlands.' Ante, i. 470.
1772. He said that he had had some desire, though he soon laid it aside, to go on an expedition round the world with Mr. Banks and Dr. Solander. Ante, ii. 147.
1773. 'Dr. Johnson and I talked of going to Sweden.' Boswell's Hebrides, post, v. 215.
On Sept. 9, 1777, Boswell wrote to Johnson:—
'I shrink a little from our scheme of going up the Baltick: I am sorry you have already been in Wales; for I wish to see it.' Ante, iii. 134. Four days later Johnson wrote to Mrs. Thrale:—'Boswell 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 (post, v. 436), 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.' Ib. note 1.
'Martin's account of the Hebrides had impressed us with a notion that we might there contemplate a system of life almost totally different from what we had been accustomed to see.... Dr. Johnson told me that his father put Martin's account into his hands when he was very young, and that he was much pleased with it.' Post, v. 13.
From the Hebrides Johnson wrote to Mrs. Thrale:—
'I have a desire to instruct myself in the whole system of pastoral life; but I know not whether I shall be able to perfect the idea. However, I have many pictures in my mind, which I could not have had without this journey; and should have passed it with great pleasure had you, and Master, and Queeney been in the party. We should have excited the attention and enlarged the observation of each other, and obtained many pleasing topicks of future conversation.' Piozzi Letters, i. 159. 'We travelled with very little light in a storm of wind and rain; we passed about fifty-five streams that crossed our way, and fell into a river that, for a very great part of our road, foamed and roared beside us; all the rougher powers of nature except thunder were in motion, but there was no danger. I should have been sorry to have missed any of the inconveniencies, to have had more light or less rain, for their co-operation crowded the scene and filled the mind.' Ib. p. 177.
See post, v. 334 for the splendid passage in which, describing the emotions raised in his mind by the sight of Iona, he says:—
'Whatever withdraws us from the power of our senses, whatever makes the past, the distant, or the future predominate over the present, advances us in the dignity of thinking beings.... That man is little to be envied whose patriotism would not gain force upon the plains of Marathon, or whose piety would not grow warmer among the ruins of Iona.'
Macaulay seems to have had the echo of these lines still in his ear, when he described imagination as 'that noble faculty whereby man is able to live in the past and in the future, in the distant and in the unreal.' Essays, ed. 1853, iii. 167.
1774. When he saw some copper and iron works in Wales he wrote:—
'I have enlarged my notions.' Post, v. 442. See also ante, iii. 164.
His letter to Warren Hastings shows his curiosity about India. Ante, iv. 68.
1775. The Thrales had just received a sum of 14,000. Johnson wrote to Mrs. Thrale:—
'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 to 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.
'Regions mountainous and wild, thinly inhabited and little cultivated, make a great part of the earth, and he that has never seen them must live unacquainted with much of the face of nature, and with one of the great scenes of human existence.' Johnson's Works, ix. 36. 'All travel has its advantages. If the traveller visits better countries he may learn to improve his own; and if fortune carries him to worse he may learn to enjoy it.' Ib. p. 136.
To Dr. Taylor he wrote:—
'I came back last Tuesday from France. Is not mine a kind of life turned upside down? Fixed to a spot when I was young, and roving the world when others are contriving to sit still, I am wholly unsettled. I am a kind of ship with a wide sail, and without an anchor.' Ante, ii. 387, note 2.
1776. In the spring of this year everything was settled for his journey to Italy with the Thrales. Hannah More wrote (Memoirs, i. 74):—
'Johnson and Mr. Boswell have this day set out for Oxford, Lichfield, &c., that the Doctor may take leave of all his old friends previous to his great expedition across the Alps. I lament his undertaking such a journey at his time of life, with beginning infirmities. I hope he will not leave his bones on classic grounds.'
Boswell tells how—
'Speaking with a tone of animation Johnson said, "We must, to be sure, see Rome, Naples, Florence, and Venice, and as much more as we can."' Ante, iii. 19.
When the journey was put off by the sudden death of Mr. Thrale's son, Boswell wrote:—
'I perceived that he had so warmly cherished the hope of enjoying classical scenes, that he could not easily part with the scheme; for he said, "I shall probably contrive to get to Italy some other way."' Ib. p. 28.
A day later Boswell wrote:—
'A journey to Italy was still in his thoughts. He said, "A man who has not been in Italy is always conscious of an inferiority, from his not having seen what it is expected a man should see. The grand object of travelling is to see the shores of the Mediterranean."' Ib. p. 36. 'Johnson's desire to go abroad, particularly to see Italy, was very great; and he had a longing wish, too, to leave some Latin verses at the Grand Chartreux. He loved indeed the very act of travelling.... He was in some respects an admirable companion on the road, as he piqued himself upon feeling no inconvenience, and on despising no accommodations.' Piozzi's Anec. p. 168.
Johnson, this same year, speaking of a friend who had gone to the East Indies, said:—
'I had some intention of accompanying him. Had I thought then as I do now, I should have gone.' Ante, iii. 20. According to Mr. Tyers he once offered to attend another friend to India. Moreover 'he talked much of travelling into Poland to observe the life of the Palatines, the account of which struck his curiosity very much.' Johnsoniana, ed. 1836, p. 157.
1777. Boswell wrote to Johnson this year (ante, iii. 107):—
'You have, I believe, seen all the cathedrals in England except that of Carlisle.'
This was not the case, yet most of them he had already seen or lived to see. With Lichfield, Oxford, and London he was familiar. Winchester and Exeter he had seen in 1762 on his tour to Devonshire (ante, i. 377), Peterborough, Ely, Lincoln, York, and Durham he no doubt saw in 1773 on his way to Scotland. The first three he might also have seen in 1764 on his visit to Langton (ante, i. 476). Chester, St. Asaph, Bangor, and Worcester he visited in 1774 in his journey to Wales (post, v. 435, 436, 448, 456). Through Canterbury he almost certainly passed in 1775 on his way to France (ante, ii. 384). Bristol he saw in 1776 (ante, iii. 51). To Chichester he drove from Brighton in 1782 (post, iv. 160). Rochester and Salisbury he visited in the summer of 1783 (post, iv. 233). Wells he might easily have seen when he was at Bath in 1776 (ante, iii. 44), and possibly Gloucester. Through Norwich he perhaps came on his return from Lincolnshire in 1764 (ante, i. 476). Hereford, I think, he could not have visited.
When in the September of this year Johnson and Boswell were driving in Dr. Taylor's chaise to Derby, 'Johnson strongly expressed his love of driving fast in a post-chaise. "If," said he, "I had no duties, and no reference to futurity, I would spend my life in driving briskly in a post-chaise with a pretty woman; but she should be one who could understand me, and would add something to the conversation"' (ante, iii. 162). He had previously said (ante, ii. 453), as he was driven rapidly along in a post-chaise, 'Life has not many things better than this.'
1778. Boswell wrote to Johnson:—
'My wife is so different from you and me that she dislikes travelling.' Ante, iii. 219.
Later on in the year Boswell records:—
'Dr. Johnson expressed a particular enthusiasm with respect to visiting the wall of China. I catched it for the moment, and said I really believed I should go and see the wall of China had I not children, of whom it was my duty to take care. "Sir, (said he,) by doing so you would do what would be of importance in raising your children to eminence. There would be a lustre reflected upon them from your spirit and curiosity. They would be at all times regarded as the children of a man who had gone to view the wall of China. I am serious, Sir."' Ante, iii. 269.
1780. In August he wrote to Boswell:—
'I know not whether I shall get a ramble this summer.... I hope you and I may yet shew ourselves on some part of Europe, Asia, or Africa.' Ante, iii. 435.
In the same year Johnson wrote to Mrs. Thrale:—
'I hope you have no design of stealing away to Italy before the election, nor of leaving me behind you; though I am not only seventy, but seventy-one.' Piozzi Letters, ii. 177.
On Oct. 17 he wrote:—
'The summer has been foolishly lost, like many other of my summers and winters. I hardly saw a green field, but staid in town to work, without working much.' Ante, iii. 441.
1784. Johnson's wish to go to Italy in the last year of his life was caused by the hope that it might be good for his health. 'I do not,' he wrote, 'travel for pleasure or curiosity; yet if I should recover,' he added, 'curiosity would revive.' Post, iv. 348.
Mrs. Piozzi, without however giving the year, records:—
'Dr. Johnson was very angry with a gentleman at our house for not being better company, and urged that he had travelled into Bohemia and seen Prague. "Surely," added he, "the man who has seen Prague might tell us something new and something strange, and not sit silent for want of matter to put his lips in motion."' Piozzi's Journey, ii. 317.
All these passages shew, what indeed is evident enough from the text, that it was not travelling in general but travelling between the ages of nineteen and twenty-four, with a character unformed, a memory unstored, and a judgment untrained, that Johnson attacked. It was a common habit in his day to send young men of fortune to make the tour of Europe, as it was called, at an age when they would now be sent to either Oxford or Cambridge. Lord Charlemont was but eighteen when he left England. Locke, at the end of his work on Education, said in 1692 much the same as Johnson said in 1778.
'The ordinary time of travel,' he wrote, 'is from sixteen to one and twenty.' He would send any one either at a younger age than sixteen under a tutor, or at an older age than twenty-one without a tutor; 'when he is of age to govern himself, and make observations of what he finds in other countries worthy his notice ... and when, too, being thoroughly acquainted with the laws and fashions, the natural and moral advantages and defects of his own country, he has something to exchange with those abroad, from whose conversation he hoped to reap any knowledge.'
Goldsmith, in his Present State of Polite Learning, ch. xiii, wrote in 1759:—
'We see more of the world by travel, but more of human nature by remaining at home.... A youth just landed at the Brille resembles a clown at a puppet-show; carries his amazement from one miracle to another; from this cabinet of curiosities to that collection of pictures; but wondering is not the way to grow wise.... The greatest advantages which result to youth from travel are an easy address, the shaking off national prejudices, and the finding nothing ridiculous in national peculiarities. The time spent in these acquisitions could have been more usefully employed at home.' Gibbon (Misc. Works, i. 197) says that 'the previous and indispensable requisites of foreign travel are age, judgment, a competent knowledge of men and books, and a freedom from domestic prejudices.'
When he was only eighteen years old he saw the evils of early travelling:—
'I never liked young travellers; they go too raw to make any great remarks, and they lose a time which is (in my opinion) the most precious part of a man's life.' Ib. p. 98.
Cowper, in his Progress of Error (ed. 1782, i. 60), describes how—
'His stock, a few French phrases got by heart, With much to learn and nothing to impart, The youth obedient to his sire's commands, Sets off a wanderer into foreign lands.
* * * * *
Returning he proclaims by many a grace, By shrugs and strange contortions of his face, How much a dunce that has been sent to roam Excels a dunce that has been kept at home.'
ELECTION OF LORD MAYORS OF LONDON.
In the years 1751-2-3, the Lord Mayor was not appointed by rotation; Sir G. Champion, the senior Alderman, being accused of a leaning towards Spain. From 1754 to 1765 (inclusive) if there was in any year a contest, yet in each case the senior Alderman nominated was chosen. From 1766 to 1775 (inclusive) there was in every year a departure from the order of seniority. In 1776-8 the order of seniority was again observed; so that two years before Johnson made his remark the irregularity had come to an end. This information I owe to the kindness of Mr. Scott, the excellent Chamberlain of the City. Sir George Champion had been passed over in the year 1739 also. In an address to the Liverymen he says that 'the disorders and great disturbance to the peace of the city, which in former times had been occasioned by the over-eagerness of some, too ambitious and impatient to obtain this great honour, had been quieted' by the adoption of the order of seniority. Gent. Mag. 1739, p. 595. Among the Lord Mayors from 1769-1775 (inclusive) we find Beckford, Trecothick, Crosby, Townshend, Bull, Wilkes, and Sawbridge. 'Where did Beckford and Trecothick learn English?' asked Johnson (ante, iii. 76). Crosby, in the year of his mayoralty (1770-1), was committed to the Tower by the House of Commons, for having himself committed to prison a messenger of the House when attempting to arrest the printer of the London Evening Debates, who was accused of a breach of privilege in reporting the Debates (Parl. Hist. xvii. 155). Townshend in the same year refused to pay the land-tax, on the plea that his county (Middlesex) was no longer represented, as Wilkes's election had been annulled (Walpole's Letters, v. 348). Bull in the House of Commons violently attacked Lord North's ministry (Parl. Hist. xix. 980). Sawbridge, year after year, brought into Parliament a bill for shortening the duration of parliaments. During his Mayoralty he would not suffer the pressgangs to enter the city. (Walpole's Journal of the Reign of George III, ii. 84.)
Among the Aldermen the Court-party had a majority. In April 1769 Wilkes's eligibility for election as an Alderman was not allowed by a majority of ten to six (Walpole's Memoirs of the Reign of George III, iii. 360, and Ann. Reg. xii. 92). On his release from prison in April 1770 he was, however, admitted without a division (ib. xiii. 99). When, in March 1770, the City presented an outspoken remonstrance to the King, sixteen Aldermen protested against it (Walpole's Letters, v. 229). About this time there arose a great division in the popular party in the City. According to Lord Albemarle, in his Memoirs of Rockingham, ii. 209, from the period of this struggle 'the Whigs and what are now called Radicals became two distinct sections of the Liberal party.' Townshend, who in this followed the lead of Lord Shelburne, headed the more moderate men against Wilkes. The result was that in 1771 each section running a candidate for the Mayoralty, a third man, Nash, who was opposed to both, was returned (Walpole's Memoirs of the Reign of George III, iv. 345, and Ann. Reg. xiv. 146).