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that he was not yet convinced. We called on Mr. Barret, the surgeon, and saw some of the originals, as they were called, which were executed very artificially; but from a careful inspection of them, and a consideration of the circumstances with which they were attended, we were quite satisfied of the imposture, which, indeed, has been clearly demonstrated from internal evidence, by several able critics. (1)
Honest Catcot seemed to pay no attention whatever to any objections, but insisted, as an end of all controversy, that we should go with him to the tower of the church of St. Mary, Redcliff, and view with our own eyes the ancient chest in which the manuscripts were found. (2) To this Dr. Johnson goodnaturedly agreed; and, though troubled with a shortness of breathing, laboured up a long flight of steps, till we came to the place where the wondrous chest stood." There," said Catcot, with a bouncing confident credulity, "there is the very chest itself." After this ocular demonstration, there was no more to be said. He brought to my recollection a Scotch Highlander, a man of learning too, and who had seen the world, attesting, and at the same time giving his reasons for, the authenticity of Fingal: "I have heard all that poem when I was young." "Have you, Sir? Pray what have you heard?”
(1) Mr. Tyrwhitt, Mr. Warton, Mr. Malone.
(2) This naïveté resembles the style of evidence which Johnson so pleasantly ridicules in the Idler, No. 10. "Jack Sneaker is a hearty adherent to the protestant establishment; he has known those who saw the bed into which the Pretender was conveyed in a warming pan."— C.
"I have heard Ossian, Oscar, and every one of them."
Johnson said of Chatterton, "This is the most extraordinary young man that has encountered my knowledge. It is wonderful how the whelp has written such things." (1)
We were by no means pleased with our inn at Bristol. "Let us see now," said I, "how we should describe it." Johnson was ready with his raillery. "Describe it, Sir? Why, it was so bad, that Boswell wished to be in Scotland!"
After Dr. Johnson returned to London [May 4th], I was several times with him at his house, where I occasionally slept, in the room that had been assigned for me. I dined with him at Dr. Taylor's, at General Oglethorpe's, and at General Paoli's. To avoid a tedious minuteness, I shall group together what I have preserved of his conversation during this period also, without specifying each scene where it passed, except one, which will be found so remarkable as certainly to deserve a very particular relation. Where the place or the persons do not contribute to the zest of the conversation, it is unnecessary to encumber my page with mentioning them. To know of what vintage our wine is, enables us to judge of its value, and to drink it with more relish: but to have
(1) Of the merit of the poems admitted on both sides of the controversy, he said, "It is a sword that cuts both ways. It is as wonderful that a boy of sixteen years old should have stored his mind with such a strain of ideas and images, as to suppose that such ease of versification and elegance of language were produced by Rowley in the time of Edward the Fourth.". HAWKINS.
the produce of each vine of one vineyard, in the same year, kept separate, would serve no purpose. To know that our wine (to use an advertising phrase) is "of the stock of an ambassador lately deceased," heightens its flavour: but it signifies nothing to know the bin where each bottle was once deposited.
"Garrick," he observed, "does not play the part of Archer in the Beaux Stratagem' well. The gentleman should break through the footman, which is not the case as he does it." (1)
"Where there is no education, as in savage countries, men will have the upper hand of women. Bodily strength, no doubt, contributes to this; but it would be so, exclusive of that; for it is mind that always governs. When it comes to dry understanding, man has the better."
"The little volumes entitled, Respublica (2),' which are very well done, were a bookseller's work."
"There is much talk of the misery which we cause to the brute creation; but they are recompensed by existence. If they were not useful to man, and therefore protected by him, they would not be nearly so numerous." This argument is to be found in the able and benignant Hutchinson's "Moral Philosophy." But the question is, whether the animals who endure such sufferings of various kinds, for the service and entertainment of man, would accept of
(1) Garrick, on the other hand, denied that Johnson was capable of distinguishing the gentleman from the footman. See anlè, p. 98.-C.
(2) Accounts of the principal States of Europe. — C.
existence upon the terms on which they have it. Madame de Sevigné, who, though she had many enjoyments, felt with delicate sensibility the prevalence of misery, complains of the task of existence having been imposed upon her without her consent.
“That man is never happy for the present is so true, that all his relief from unhappiness is only forgetting himself for a little while. Life is a progress from want to want, not from enjoyment to enjoyment."
"Though many men are nominally intrusted with the administration of hospitals and other public institutions, almost all the good is done by one man, by whom the rest are driven on; owing to confidence in him and indolence in them."
"Lord Chesterfield's Letters to his Son (1), I think, might be made a very pretty book. Take out the immorality, and it should be put into the hands of every young gentleman. An elegant manner and easiness of behaviour are acquired gradually and imperceptibly. No man can say, 'I'll be genteel.' There are ten genteel women for one genteel man, because they are more restrained. A man without some degree of restraint is insufferable; but we are all less restrained than women. Were a woman sitting in company to put out her legs before her as most men do, we should be tempted to kick them in." No man was a more attentive and nice observer of behaviour in those whose company he happened to be than Johnson, or, however strange
(1) A pretty book" was made up from these letters by the late Dr. Trusler, entitled "Principles of Politeness. - HALL
it may seem to many, had a higher estimation of its refinements. (1)
Lord Elliot informs me, that one day when Johnson and he were at dinner in a gentleman's house in London, upon Lord Chesterfield's Letters being mentioned, Johnson surprised the company by this sentence: " Every man of any education would rather be called a rascal, than accused of deficiency in the graces." Mr. Gibbon, who was present, turned to a lady who knew Johnson well, and lived much with him, and in his quaint manner, tapping his box, addressed her thus: "Don't you think, Madam (looking towards Johnson), that among all your acquaintance, you could find one exception?" The lady smiled, and seemed to acquiesce. (2)
(1) I one day commended a young lady for her beauty and pretty behaviour, to whom she thought no objections could have been made. "I saw her (says Dr. Johnson) take a pair of scissors in her left hand; and, although her father is now become a nobleman, and as you say excessively rich, I should, were I a youth of quality ten years hence, hesitate between a girl so neglected and a negro."-Piozzi." The child who took a pair of scissors in her left hand is now a woman of quality, highly respected, and would cut us, I conclude, most deservedly, if more were said on the subject."-Piozzi, MS.-I believe that the lady was the eldest daughter of Mr. Lyttelton, afterwards Lord Westcote, married to Sir Richard Hoare. She was born in Jamaica, and thence, perhaps, Johnson's strange allusion to the negro. - C.
(2) Colman, in his "Random Records," has given a lively sketch of the appearance and manners of Johnson and Gibbon in society:
"The learned Gibbon was a curious counterbalance to the learned (may I not say less learned?) Johnson. Their manners and taste, both in writing and conversation, were as different as their habiliments. On the day I first sat down with Johnson, in his rusty brown suit, and his black worsted stockings, Gibbon was placed opposite to me in a suit of flowered velvet, with a bag and sword. Each had his measured phraseology; and Johnson's famous parallel between Dryden and Pope, might be loosely parodied, in reference to himself and Gibbon : Johnson's style was grand, and Gibbon's elegant: the stateliness of the former was sometimes pedantic, and the