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Hector. A very stupid maid, who opened the door, told us that " her master was gone out; he was gone to the country; she could not tell when he would return." In short, she gave us a miserable reception; and Johnson observed, "She would have behaved no better to people who wanted him in the way of his profession." He said to her, "My name is Johnson; tell him I called. Will you remember the name?" She answered with rustic simplicity, in the Warwickshire pronunciation, "I don't understand you, Sir." "Blockhead," said he, "I'll write." I never heard the word blockhead applied to a woman before, though I do not see why it should not, when there is evident occasion for it. (1) He, however, made another attempt to make her understand him, and roared loud in her ear, "Johnson," and then she catched the sound.
We next called on Mr. Lloyd, one of the people called quakers. He too was not at home,, but Mrs. Lloyd was, and received us courteously, and asked us to dinner. Johnson said to me, "After the uncertainty of all human things at Hector's, this invitation came very well." We walked about the town, and he was pleased to see it increasing.
(1) My worthy friend Mr. Langton, to whom I am under innumerable obligations in the course of my Johnsonian History, has furnished me with a droll illustration of this question. An honest carpenter, after giving some anecdote, in his presence, of the ill treatment which he had received from a clergyman's wife, who was a noted termagant, and whom he accused of unjust dealing in some transaction with him, added, "I took care to let her know what I thought of her." And being asked, "What did you say?" answered, "I told her she was a scoundrel."
I talked of legitimation by subsequent marriage, which obtained in the Roman law, and still obtains in the law of Scotland. JOHNSON. "I think it a bad thing (1), because the chastity of women being of the utmost importance, as all property depends upon it, they who forfeit it should not have any possibility of being restored to good character; nor should the children, by an illicit connection, attain the full right of lawful children, by the posterior consent of the offending parties." "His opinion upon this subject deserves consideration. Upon his principle there may at times be a hardship, and seemingly a strange one, upon individuals; but the general good of society is better secured. And, after all, it is unreasonable in an individual to repine that he has not the advantage of a state which is made different from his own, by the social institution under which he is born. A woman does not complain that her brother who is younger than her gets their common father's estate. Why then should a natural son complain that a younger brother, by the same parents lawfully begotten, gets it? The operation of law is similar in both cases. Besides, an illegitimate son, who has a younger legitimate brother by the same father and mother, has no
(1) Is it not surprising and disgraceful that in a civilised empire like ours, so important a principle as the state of marriage, which is the foundation of our whole civil constitution, should be to this hour vague, obscure, and contradictory? One law for England-a different one, or rather none at all, for Ireland and for Scotland the monstrous doctrine mentioned in the text. It is to be hoped that Mr. Peel, who has done so much towards rationalizing our law on other subjects, will see the necessity of doing something similar on this most important
stronger claim to the father's estate, than if that legitimate brother had only the same father, from whom alone the estate descends.
Mr. Lloyd joined us in the street; and in a little while we met friend Hector, as Mr. Lloyd called him. It gave me pleasure to observe the joy which Johnson and he expressed on seeing each other again. Mr. Lloyd and I left them together, while he obligingly showed me some of the manufactures of this very curious assemblage of artificers. We all met at dinner at Mr. Lloyd's, where we were entertained with great hospitality. Mr. and Mrs. Lloyd had been married the same year with their majesties, and, like them, had been blessed with a numerous family of fine children, their numbers being exactly the same. Johnson said, "Marriage is the best state for man in general; and every man is a worse man, in proportion as he is unfit for the married state."
I have always loved the simplicity of manners, and the spiritual-mindedness, of the quakers; and talking with Mr. Lloyd, I observed, that the essential part of religion was piety, a devout intercourse with the Divinity; and that many a man was a quaker without knowing it.
As Dr. Johnson had said to me in the morning, while we walked together, that he liked individuals among the quakers, but not the sect; when we were at Mr. Lloyd's, I kept clear of introducing any questions concerning the peculiarities of their faith. But I having asked to look at Baskerville's edition of Barclay's Apology," Johnson laid hold of it; and
the chapter on baptism happening to open, Johnson remarked, "He says there is neither precept nor practice for baptism in the scriptures; that is false." Here he was the aggressor, by no means in a gentle manner; and the good quakers had the advantage of him; for he had read negligently, and had not observed that Barclay speaks of infant baptism; which they calmly made him perceive. Mr. Lloyd, however, was in a great mistake; for when insisting that the rite of baptism by water was to cease, when the spiritual administration of Christ began, he maintained that John the Baptist said, "My baptism shall decrease, but his shall increase." Whereas the words are," He must increase, but I must decrease" [ch. iii. v. 30].
One of them having objected to the "observance of days, and months, and years," Johnson answered, "The church does not superstitiously observe days, merely as days, but as memorials of important facts. Christmas might be kept as well upon one day of the year as another; but there should be a stated day for commemorating the birth of our Saviour, because there is danger that what may be done on any day will be neglected."
He said to me at another time, "Sir, the holidays observed by our church are of great use in religion." There can be no doubt of this in a limited sense, I mean if the number of such consecrated portions of time be not too extensive. The excellent Mr. Nelson's "Festivals and Fasts," which has, I understand, the greatest sale of any book ever printed in England, except the Bible, is a most valuable help
to devotion: and in addition to it I would recommend two sermons on the same subject, by Mr. Pott, Archdeacon of St. Alban's, equally distinguished for piety and elegance. I am sorry to have it to say, that Scotland is the only Christian country, catholic or protestant, where the great events of our religion are not solemnly commemorated by its ecclesiastical establishment, on days set apart for the purpose.
Mr. Hector was so good as to accompany me to see the great works of Mr. Boulton, at a place which he has called Soho, about two miles from Birmingham, which the very ingenious proprietor showed me himself to the best advantage. I wished Johnson had been with us: for it was a scene which I should have been glad to contemplate by his light. The vastness and the contrivance of some of the machinery would have "matched his mighty mind." I shall never forget Mr. Boulton's expression to me, "I sell here, Sir, what all the world desires to havePOWER." He had about seven hundred people at work. I contemplated him as an iron chieftain, and he seemed to be a father to his tribe. One of them came to him, complaining grievously of his landlord for having distrained his goods. "Your landlord is in the right, Smith (said Boulton). But I'll tell you what: find you a friend who will lay down one half of your rent, and I'll lay down the other half; and you shall have your goods again."
From Mr. Hector I now learnt many particulars of Dr. Johnson's early life, which, with others that