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people of Campbelltown be diftreffed by the restoration of the refpondent, they are diftreffed only by their own fault; by turbulent passions and unrea- Atat. 63. fonable defires; by tyranny, which law has defeated, and by malice which virtue has furmounted."
This, Sir, (faid he,) you are to turn in your mind, and make the best use of it you can in your speech."
Of our friend Goldfmith he faid, "Sir, he is fo much afraid of being unnoticed, that he often talks merely left you should forget that he is in the company." BoSWELL. "Yes, he ftands forward." JOHNSON. "True, Sir; but if a man is to stand forward, he should wish to do it not in an aukward pofture, not in rags, not fo as that he shall only be expofed to ridicule." BOSWELL. For my part, I like very well to hear honest Goldsmith talk away carelessly." JOHNSON. "Why yes, Sir; but he should not like to hear himself."
On Tuesday, April 14, the decree of the Court of Seffion in the fchoolmafter's cause was reverfed in the Houfe of Lords, after a very eloquent fpeech by Lord Mansfield, who fhewed himself an adept in fchool difcipline, but I thought was too rigorous towards my client. On the evening of the next day I fupped with Dr. Johnson, at the Crown and Anchor tavern, in the Strand, in company with Mr. Langton and his brother-in-law, Lord Binning. I repeated a sentence of Lord Mansfield's speech, of which, by the aid of Mr. Longlands, the folicitor on the other fide, who obligingly allowed me to compare his note with my own, I have a full copy: "My Lords, feverity is not the way to govern either boys or men." "Nay, (faid Johnson,) it is the way to govern them. I know not whether it be the way to mend them.”
I talked of the recent expulfion of fix ftudents from the University of Oxford, who were methodists, and would not defift from publickly praying and exhorting. JOHNSON. "Sir, that expulfion was extremely just and proper. What have they to do at an Univerfity who are not willing to be taught, but will prefume to teach? Where is religion to be learnt but at an University? Sir, they were examined, and found to be mighty ignorant fellows." BOSWELL. "But, was it not hard, Sir, to expel them, for I am told they were good beings?" JOHNSON, "Sir, I believe they might be good beings; but they were not fit to.be in the University of Oxford. A cow is a very good animal in the field; but we turn her out of a garden." Lord Elibank used to repeat this as an illustration uncommonly happy.
Defirous of calling Johnfon forth to talk, and exercife his wit, though I should myself be the object of it, I refolutely ventured to undertake the defence of convivial indulgence in wine, though he was not to-night in the Cc c moft
1772. Etat. 63.
most genial humour. After,urging the common plaufible topicks, I at last had recourfe to the maxim, in vino veritas; a man who is well warmed with wine will speak truth. JOHNSON. "Why, Sir, that may be an argument for drinking, if you fuppofe men in general to be liars. But, Sir, I would not keep company with a fellow who lyes as long as he is fober, and whom you must make drunk before you can get a word of truth out of him "."
Mr. Langton told us he was about to establish a school upon his eftate, but it had been fuggested to him, that it might have a tendency to make the people lefs induftrious. JOHNSON. "No, Sir. While learning to read and write is a diftinction, the few who have that distinction may be the lefs inclined to work but when every body learns to read and write, it is no longer a distinction. A man who has a laced waistcoat is too fine a man to work; but if every body had laced waistcoats, we fhould have people working in laced waiftcoats. There are no people whatever more industrious, none who work more, than our manufacturers; yet they have all learnt to read and write. Sir, you must not neglect doing a thing immediately good, from fear of remote evil;-from fear of its being abufed. A man who has candles may fit up too late, which he would not do if he had not candles; but nobody will deny that the art of making candles, by which light is continued to us beyond the time that the fun gives us light, is a valuable art, and ought to be preserved.” BOSWELL." But, Sir, would it not be better to follow Nature; and go to bed and rise just as Nature gives us light or with-holds it?" JOHNSON." No2 Sir; for then we should have no kind of equality in the partition of our time between sleeping and waking. It would be very different in different seasons and in different places. In fome of the northern parts of Scotland how little light is there in the depth of winter!"
We talked of Tacitus, and I hazarded an opinion, that with all his merit for penetration, fhrewdness of judgement, and terfeness of expreffion, he was too compact, too much broken into hints, as it were, and therefore too difficult to be understood. To my great fatisfaction Dr. Johnson fanctioned this opinion. "Tacitus, Sir, feems to me rather to have made notes for an hiftorical work, than to have written a history".
5 Mrs. Piozzi, in her " Anecdotes," p. 261, has given an erroneous account of this incident, as of many others. She pretends to relate it from recollection, as if she herself had been prefent ; when the fact is, that it was communicated to her by me. She has reprefented it as a perfonality, and the true point has escaped her.
• It is remarkable, that Lord Monboddo, whom on account of his refembling Dr. Johnfon in fome particulars, Foote called an Elzevir edition of him, has, by coincidence, made the very fame remark. Origin and Progress of Language, vol. iii. 2d edit. p. 219.
At this time it appears from his "Prayers and Meditations," that he had been more than commonly diligent in religious duties, particularly in reading Atat. 63. the holy fcriptures. It was Paffion Week, that folemn feafon which the Christian world has appropriated to the commemoration of the mysteries of our redemption, and during which, whatever embers of religion are in our breasts, will be kindled into pious warmth.
I paid him fhort vifits both on Friday and Saturday, and feeing his large folio Greek Teftament before him, beheld him with a reverential awe, and would not intrude upon his time. While he was thus employed to fuch good purpose, and while his friends in their intercourfe with him conftantly found a vigorous intellect and a lively imagination, it is melancholy to read in his private register, "My mind is unfettled and my memory confufed. I have of late turned my thoughts with a very useless earneftness upon paft incidents. I have yet got no command over my thoughts; an unpleafing incident is almost certain to hinder my reft"." What philofophick heroifm was it in him to appear with fuch manly fortitude to the world, while he was inwardly fo diftreffed! We may furely believe that the mysterious principle of being "made perfect through suffering," was to be ftrongly exemplified in him.
On Sunday, April 19, being Eafter-day, General Paoli and I paid him a vifit before dinner. We talked of the notion that blind perfons can distinguish colours by the touch. Johnfon faid, that Profeffor Sanderfon mentions his having attempted to do it, but that he found he was aiming at an impoffibility; that to be fure a difference in the surface makes the difference of colours; but that difference is fo fine, that it is not fenfible to the touch. The General mentioned jugglers and fraudulent gamefters, who could know cards by the touch. Dr. Johnfon faid, "the cards ufed by fuch perfons must be less polished than ours commonly are."
We talked of founds. The General faid, there was no beauty in a fimple found but only in an harmonious compofition of founds. I prefumed to differ from this opinion, and mentioned the foft and fweet found of a fine woman's voice. JOHNSON. «No, Sir, if a ferpent or a toad uttered it, you would think it ugly." BOSWELL. "So you would think, Sir, were a beautiful tune to be uttered by one of those animals." JOHNSON. "No, Sir, it would be admired. We have feen fine fidlers whom we liked as little as toads," (laughing).
Talking on the fubject of taste in the arts, he faid, that difference of tafte was, in truth, difference of skill. BOSWELL." But, Sir, is there not a quality
called taste, which confifts merely in perception or in liking? For instance, we find people differ much as to what is the best style of English compofition. Some think Swift's the beft; others prefer a fuller and grander way of writing." JOHNSON. "Sir, you must first define what you mean by style, before you can judge who has a good tafte in style, and who has a bad. The two claffes of perfons whom you have mentioned don't differ as to good and bad. They both agree that Swift has a good neat style; but one loves a neat style, another loves a ftyle of more splendour. In like manner, one loves a plain coat, another loves a laced coat; but neither will deny that each is good in its kind."
While I remained in London this fpring, I was with him at feveral other times, both by himself and in company. I dined with him one day at the Crown and Anchor tavern, in the Strand, with Lord Elibank, Mr. Langton, and Dr. Vanfittart of Oxford. Without fpecifying each particular day, I have preferved the following memorable things.
I regretted the reflection in his Preface to Shakspeare against Garrick, to whom we cannot but apply the following paffage: "I collated fuch copies as I could procure, and wished for more, but have not found the collectors of these rarities very communicative." I told him, that Garrick had complained to me of it, and had vindicated himself by affuring me, that Johnson was made welcome to the full use of his collection, and that he left the key of it with a fervant, with orders to have a fire and every convenience for him. I found Johnson's notion was, that Garrick wanted to be courted for them, and that, on the contrary, Garrick fhould have courted him, and fent him the plays of his own accord. But, indeed, confidering the flovenly and careless manner in which books were treated by Johnson, it could not be expected that scarce and valuable editions fhould have been lent to him.
A gentleman having to fome of the ufual arguments for drinking added this: "You know, Sir, drinking drives away care, and makes us forget whatever is disagreeable. Would not you allow a man to drink for that reafon ?" JOHNSON. "Yes, Sir, if he fat next you."
I expreffed a liking for Mr. Francis Ofborn's works, and asked him what he thought of that writer. He anfwered, "A conceited fellow. Were a man to write fo now, the boys would throw ftones at him." He however did not alter my opinion of a favourite authour, to whom I was first directed by. his being quoted in "The Spectator," and in whom I have found much fhrewd and lively fenfe, expreffed indeed in a style fomewhat quaint, which, however, I do not diflike. His book has an air of originality. We figure to ourselves an ancient gentleman talking to us..
When one of his friends endeavoured to maintain that a country gentleman might contrive to pass his life very agreeably, "Sir, (faid he,) you cannot Atat. 63. give me an instance of any man who is permitted to lay out his own time, contriving not to have tedious hours." This obfervation, however, is equally applicable to gentlemen who live in cities, and are of no profession.
He said, "there is no permanent national character; it varies according to circumstances. Alexander the Great swept India: now the Turks fweep Greece."
A learned gentleman who in the course of converfation wifhed to inform us of this fimple fact, that the Counsel upon the circuit at Shrewsbury were much bitten by fleas, took, I suppose, seven or eight minutes in relating it circumftantially. He in a plenitude of phrase told us, that large bales of woollen cloth were lodged in the town-hall;-that by reason of this, fleas neftled there in prodigious numbers;-that the lodgings of the Counsel were near to the town-hall;—and that those little animals moved from place to place with wonderful agility. Johnson fat in great impatience till the gentleman had finished his tedious narrative, and then burft out, "It is a pity, Sir, that you have not seen a lion; for a flea has taken you fuch a time, that a lion must have ferved you a twelvemonth "."
He would not allow Scotland to for he was educated in England. Scotchman, if he be caught young."
Talking of a modern hiftorian and a modern moralift, he said, "There is more thought in the moralift than in the hiftorian. There is but a fhallow ftream of thought in hiftory." BOSWELL. "But furely, Sir, an hiftorian has reflection." JOHNSON. Why yes, Sir; and so has a cat when the catches a mouse for her kitten. But fhe cannot write like the moralift; neither can the hiftorian."
derive any credit from Lord Mansfield;
He said," I am very unwilling to read the manuscripts of authours, and give them my opinion. If the authours who apply to me have money, I bid them boldly print without a name; if they have written in order to get money, I tell them to go to the bookfellers, and make the beft bargain they can." BOSWELL. "But, Sir, if a bookfeller should bring you a manuscript to look at."-JOHNSON. "Why, Sir, I would defire the bookfeller to take it away."
Mrs. Piozzi, to whom I told this anecdote, has related it, as if the gentleman had given the natural hiftory of the mouse." Anecdotes, p. 191. I mentioned