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is not only telling an untruth, but telling | conversation and gracious behaviour. He it clumsily ; for, if that be the case, every said to Mr. Barnard, "Sir, they may talk one who can look through a microscope of the king as they will; but he is the finest will be able to detect him."
gentleman I have ever seen?" And he af"I now (said Johnson to his friends, terwards observed to Mr. Langton, “Sir, when relating what had passed) began to his manners are those of as fine a gentleman consider that I was depreciating this man as we may suppose Louis XIV. or Charles in the estimation of his sovereign, and II.” thought it was lime for me to say some- At Sir Joshua Reynolds's, where a cirthing that might be more favourable.” He cle of Johnson's friends was collected round added, therefore, that Dr. Hill was, not- him to hear his account of this memorable withstanding, a very curious observer; and conversation, Dr. Joseph Warton, in his if he would have been contented to tell the frank and lively manner, was very active in Forid no more than lie knew, he might pressing him to mention the particulars. have been a very considerable man, and “ Come now, sir, this is an interesting matneeded not to have recourse to such mean ter; do favour us with it.” Johnson, with espedients to raise his reputation. great good humour, complied.
The king then talked of literary journals, He told them, “I found his majesty mentioned particularly the Journal des Sa- wished I should talk, and I made it my rans, and asked Johnson if it was well done. business to talk. I find it does a man good Johnson said, it was formerly very well to be talked to by his sovereign. In the done, and gave some account of the persons first place, a man cannot be in a paswho began it, and carried it on for some sion 3 1. Here some question interrupted years; enlarging, at the same time, on the him, which is to be regretted, as he cernature and use of such works. The king tainly would have pointed out and illustraasked him if it was well done now, John- ted many circumstances of advantage, from son answered,
he had no reason to think being in a situation where the powers of that it was.
The king then asked him if the mind are at once excited to vigorous there were any other literary journals pub- exertion, and tempered by reverential awe. lished in this kingdom, except the Monthly During all the time in which Dr. Johnand Critical Reviews; and on being an- son was employed in relating to the circle swered there was no other, his majesty ask- at Sir Joshua Reynolds's the particulars of ed which of them was the best: Johnson what passed between the king and him, answered, that the Monthly Review was Dr. Goldsmith remained unmoved upon a done with most care, the Critical upon the sofa at some distance, affecting not to join best principles ; adding that the authours of in the least in the eager curiosity of the the Mools Review were enemies to the company. He assigned as a reason for his church. This the king said he was sorry gloom and seeming inattention, that he apto hear.
prehended Johnson had relinquished his The conversation next turned on the purpose of furnishing him with a prologue Philosophical Transactions, when John- to his play, with the hopes of which he had son observed that they had now a better been flattered ; but it was strongly suspectmethod of arranging their materials than ed that he was fretting with chagrin and formerly. " Ay (said the king), they are envy at the singular honour Dr. Johnson obliged to Dr. Jolinson for that;” for his had lately enjoyed. At length, the frankmajesty had heard and remembered the cir- ness and simplicity of his natural character cumstance, which Johnson himself had prevailed. He sprung from the sofa, adforgot
vanced to Johnson, and in a kind of flutter, His majesty expressed a desire to have from imagining himself in the situation the literary biography of this country ably which he had just been hearing described, Executed, and proposed to Dr. Johnson to exclaimed, “Well, you acquitted yourself undertake it!: Johnson signified his readi- in this conversation better than I should Dess to coinply with his majesty's wishes. have done ; for I should have bowed and
During the whole of this interview, stammered through the whole of it.” Johnsod talked to his majesty with pro- [It is a singularity that, how
Ed. found respect, but still in his firm manly ever obvious, has not been before manner, with a sonorous voice, and never in that subdued tone which is commonly ? [This reminds us of Madame de Sevigné's med at the levee and in the drawing-room. charming naiveté, when, after giving an account Aiver the king withdrew, Johnson showed of Louis XIV. having danced with her, she himself highly pleased with his majesty's adds, “ Ah! c'est le plus grand roi du monde !"
-ED.) · [This perhaps may have given Dr. Johnson 3 [Johnson was, in his calmer moments, sensithe first idea of the most popular and entertain- ble of the too great vehemence of his conng of all his works, “ 'The Lives of the Poets.” versation; and yet, see post, 19th May, 1784.– -Ed.) TOL. 1.
observed, that Johnson should have been Christians, we should part with prayer ; in the presence of Queen Anne and of and that I would, if she was willing, say a George the Fourth 1. He once told short prayer beside her.
She expressed Hawk.
Sir John Hawkins, [that, in a visit great desire to hear me ; and held up her
to Mrs. Percy, who had the care poor hands, as she lay in bed, with great of one of the young princes, at the fervour, while I prayed, kneeling by her, queen's house, the Prince of Wales, being nearly in the following words: then a child, came into the room, and be “ Almighty and most merciful Father, gan to play about; when Johnson, with whose loving kindness is over all thy works, his usual curiosity, took an opportunity of behold, visit, and relieve this thy servant, asking him what books he was reading, who is grieved with sickness. Grant that and, in particular, inquired as to his know- the sense of her weakness may add strength ledge of the scriptures; the prince, in his to her faith, and seriousness to her repentanswers, gave him great satisfaction, and, ance. And grant that by the help of thy es to the last, said, that part of his daily ex- holy spirit, after the pains and labours of ercises was to read Ostervald 2.]
this short life, we may all obtain everlasting I received no letter from Johnson this happiness, thro Jesus Christ our Lord, year: nor have I discovered any of the cor- for whose sake hear our prayers5. Amen. respondence 3 he had, except the two letters Our Father, &c. to Mr. Drummond, which have been in “ I then kissed her. She told me, that to serted, for the sake of connexion with that part was the greatest pain that she had ever to the same gentleman in 1766. His diary lelt, and that she hoped we should meet affords no light as to his employment at again in a better place. I expressed, with this time. He passed (more than 4] three swelled eyes, and great emotion of tendermonths at Lichfield ; and I cannot omitness, the same hopes. We kissed, and partan affecting and solemn scene there, as re-ed, I humbly hope to meet again, and to lated by himself:
part no more 6." “Sunday, Oct. 18, 1767. Yesterday, By those who have been taught to loo! Oct. 17, at about ten in the morning, I upon Johnson as a man of a harsh and stern took my leave for ever of my dear old friend, character, let this tender and affectionat Catherine Chambers, who came to live with scene be candidly read; and let them the my mother about 1724, and has been but judge whether more warmth of heart an little parted from us since. She buried my grateful kindness is often found in huma father, my brother, and my mother. She nature. is now fifty-eight years old. " I desired all to withdraw, then told
“TO MRS. THRALE. her that we were to part for ever ; that as
" Lichfield, 20 July, 1767
“ Though I have been away so [George the First he probably never saw, much longer than I purposed or exbat George the Second he must frequently have pected, I have found nothing that seen, and he had the honour of conversing, as withdraws my affections from the above stated, with George the Third and George friends whoin”I left behind, or which ma the Fourth, and thus saw four of the five last sovereigns, whose reigns already include above a cen- which your kindness and Mr. Thrale's
me less desirous of reposing at that pl tury and a quarter.—Ev.]
[No doubt the popular Catechism and « A- | lows me to call my home. bridgement of Sacred History of J. F. Ostervald,
“ Miss Lucy is more kind and civil an eminent Swiss divine. He died in 1747,
I expected, and has raised my esteem in the 84th year of his age.-Ed.]
many excellencies very noble and res 3 It is proper here to mention, that when Ident, though a little discoloured by speak of his correspondence, I consider it independ- virginity. Every thing else recalls t ent of the voluminous collection of letters which, in remembrance years in which I prop the course of many years, he wrote to Mrs. Thrale, what, I am afraid, I have not done, an which forms a separate part of his works: and as mised myself pleasure which I hav a proof of the high estimation set on any thing found.” which came from his pen, was sold by that lady for the sum of five hundred pounds.—BosWELL. We have the following notice in F [See the preface for some observations on these votional record: letters.-Ed.] 4 In his letter to Mr. Drummond, dated Oct. and unsettled for a long time, and hav
“ August 2, 1767. I have been dis 24, 1767, he mentions that he had arrived in London, after an absence of nearly six months 5 [The greater part of this prayer is, in the country. Probably part of that time was Bishop of Ferns observes, in the visita spent at Oxford.-MALONE. [He dates a letter the sick in our liturgy.-ED.) to Mrs. Thrale, from Lichfield, as early as the 6 [Catherine Chambers died in a few d 20th July, and states that he had already been this interview, and was buried in St there longer than he intended. Letters.—Ed.] Lichfield, on the 7th Nov. 1767.-HAR
Leto vol. p.S
without resolution to apply to study or
[“ TO MRS. ASTON: t) business, being hindered by sudden
“ 17th November, 1767. snatches.
“ Madam,—If you impute it to "I have for some days forborne wine and disrespect or inattention, that I took suppers. Abstinence is not easily practised no leave when I left Lichfield, you in another's house; but I think it fit to try. will do me great injustice. I know you too
*] was extremely perturbed in the night, well not to value your friendship. bat have had this day more ease than I ex- “ When I came to Oxford I inquired afpected. D[eo] gratia). Perhaps this may ter the product of our walnut-tree, but it be such a sudden relief as I once had by a had, like other trees this year, but very few good night's rest in Fetter-lane.
nuts, and for those few I came too late. " From that time, by abstinence, I have The tree, as I told you, madam, we cannot had more ease. I have read five books of find to be more than thirty years old, and Homer, and hope to end the sixth to-night. upon measuring it, I found it, at about one I have given Mrs. a guinea. foot from the ground, seven feet in circum
"By abstinence from wine and suppers, I ference, and at the height of about seven obtained sudden and great relief, and had feet, the circumference is five feet and a freedom of mind restored to me; which I hall; it would have been, I believe, still bighave wanted for all this year, without being ger but that it has been lopped. The nuts able to find my means of obtaining it.” are small, such as they call single nuts;
He, however, furnished Mr. Adams with whether this nut is of quicker growth than a dedication to the king of that ingenious better I have not yet inquired; such as they gentleman's “Treatise on the Globes,” are I hope to send them next year. conceived and expressed in such a manner “You know, dear madam, the liberty I as could not fail to be very grateful to a took of hinting, that I did not think your monarch, distinguished for his love of the present mode of life very pregnant with sciences.
happiness. Reflection has not yet changed This year was published a ridicule of his my opinion. Solitude excludes pleasure, style, under the title of “ Lexiphanes.” and does not always secure peace. Some Sir John Hawkins ascribes it to Dr. Ken- communication of sentiments is conimonly riek; but its authour was one Campbell, a necessary to give vent to the imagination, Scich purser in the navy. The ridicule and discharge the mind of its own flatucosisted in applying Johnson's “ words of lencies. Some lady surely might be found large meaning," to insignificant matters, as in whose conversation you might delight, is one should put the armour of Goliath up- and in whose fidelity you might repose. on a dwarf. The contrast might be laugh- The world, says Locke, has people of all ahle; but the dignity of the armour must re- sorts. You will forgive me this obtrusion main the same in all considerate minds. of my opinion; I am sure I wish you well. This malicious drollery!, therefore, it may “ Poor Kitty has done what we have all easily be supposed, could do no harm to its to do, and Lucy has the world to begin illustrious object.
anew; I hope she will find some way to
more content than I left her possessing. " TO BENNET LANGTON, ESQ.
“ Be pleased to make my compliments • 41 Mr. Rothwell's, perfumer, in New Bond-street,
to Mrs. Hinckley and Miss Turton. I am,
madam, your most obliged and most hum“Lichfield, 10th October, 1767.
- SAM. Johnson."] * DEAR SIR,—That you have been all summer in London is one more reason for It appears from his notes of the state of which I regret my long stay in the country. his mind, that he suffered great perturbaI hope that you will not leave the town be- tion and distraction in 1768. fore my return. We have here only the chance of vacancies in the passing carriages,
“ Town-malling4, in Kent, 18th Sept. 1768, at night. and I have bespoken one that may, if it hap
“ I have now begun the sixtieth year of pens, bring me to town on the fourteenth 2 my life. How the last year has past, I am of this month; but this is not certain.
* It will be a favour if you communicate 3 [Elizabeth, one of the younger daughters of this 10 Mrs. Williams; I long to see all my Sir Thomas Aston: see ante, p.29, n. Some friends. I am, dear sír, your most humble letters of Johnson to Mrs. Aston, which have ervant, “ SAM. Johnson.”
been communicated since that note was print
ed, are written with a uniform spirit of tender[It may trave been malicious, but it certain ness and respect, and, though of little other by Bont droll. It is so over-charged, as to value, afford an additional proof of the inaccura bere nether resemblance nor pleasantry.-Ed.)
cy of Miss Seward, who represents Dr. JohnWe inave just been that he was detained till son as stating to her a very unfavourable characthe sun - ED]
ter of Mrs. Aston.-Ed.]
· [It appears that he visited, with the 'Thrales,
- Surveys the general coil of human king
unwilling to terrify myself with thinking. “ Press'd with the load of life, the weary mind This day has been past in great perturbation; I was distracted at church in an un- But this dark ground might make Goldcommon degree, and my distress has had smith's humour shine the more !. very little intermission. I have found my- In the spring of this year, having pubself somewhat relieved by reading, which lished my “ Account of Corsica, with the I therefore intend to practise when I am Journal of a Tour to that Islaud," I returnable.
ed to London, very desirous to see Dr. “ This day it came into my mind to write Johnson, and hear him upon the subject. the history of my melancholy. On this 1 I found he was at Oxford, with his friend purpose to deliberate ; I know not whether Mr. Chambers, who was now Vinerian it may not too much disturb me.”
Professor, and lived in New-inn Hall.
Having had no letter from him since that Nothing of his writings was given to the in which he criticised the Latinity of my publick this year, except the Prologue * to Thesis, and having been told by somebody his friend Goldsmith's comedy of “ The that he was offended at my having put into Good-natured Man.” The first lines of my book an extract of his letter to me ar this prologue are strongly characteristical Paris, I was impatient to be with him, and of the dismal gloom of his mind; which in therefore followed him to Oxford, where I his case, as in the case of all who are dis- was entertained by Mr. Chambers, with a tressed with the same malady of imagina- | civility which I shall ever gratefully retion, transfers to others its own feelings. | member. I found that Dr. Johnson had Who could suppose it was to introduce a sent a letter to me to Scotland, and that I comedy; when Mr. Bensley solemnly be had nothing to complain of but his being gan,
more indifferent to my anxiety than I wish Mr. Brooke of Town-malling, of whose primi- circumstances of time and place, such srag,
ed him to be. Instead of giving, with the tive house and manners we find some account in ments of his conversation as I preserved the Letters.
" Dr. Johnson to Mrs. Thrale, 230 August, during this visit to Oxford, I shall throw 1777.—" It was very well done by Mr. Brooke them together in continuation. to send for you. His house is one of my favour
I asked him whether, as a moralist, he ite places. His water is very commodious, and did not think that the practice of the law, the whole place has the true old appearance of in some degree, hurt the nice feeling of a little country town. I hope Miss goes, for she honesty. Johnson. “Why no, sir, if you takes notice."
act properly. You are not to deceive your “ Mrs. Thrale to Dr. Johnson, 18th Sep clients with false representations of your teniber, 1777.—“ Come, here is news of Town- opinion: you are not to tell lies to a judge." malling, the quiet old-fashioned place in Kent, Boswell. “ But what do you think of that you liked so, because it was agreeable to supporting a cause which you know to be your own notions of a rural life. I believe we bad?” Johnson. “Sir, you do not know were the first people, except the master of it, who it to be good or bad till the judge deterhad, for many years, taken delight in the old mines it. I have said that you are to state coach without springs, the two roasted ducks in facts fairly; so that your thinking, or what one dish, the fortified flower-garden, and fir-trees you call knowing, a cause to be bad, must cut in figures. A spirit of innovation has howev- be from reasoning, must be from your supo er reached even there at last. The roads are mended; no more narrow shaded lanes, but
posing your arguments to be weak and inclear open tumpike trotting. A yew hedge, or
conclusive. But, sir, that is not enough. an eugh hedge if you will, newly cut down too
In this prologue, as Mr. John Taylor informs by his nephew's desire. Ah ! those nephews.- me, after the fourth line—“And social sorrow And a wall pulled away, which bore incompara- loses hialf its pain,” the following couplet was ioble fruit—to call in the country—is the phrase. serted: Mr. Thrale is wicked enough to urge on these ** Amidst the toils of this returning year, rough reformers; how it will end I know not. When senators and nobles learn to fear, For your comfort, the square canals still drop into Our little bard without complaint may share one another, and the chocolate is still made in the
The bustling season's epidemick care." room by a maid, who curtsies as she presents So the prologue appeared in the Publick Addet. every cup. Dear old Daddy Brooke looks well, tizer (the theatrical gazette of that day,) soon and even handsome at eighty-one years old; after the first representation of this comedy in while I saw his sister, who is ninety-four years 1768.-Goldsmith probably thought that the old and calls him Frankey, eat more venison at lines printed in italick characters, which, hower. a sitting than Mr. Thrale. These are the proper er, seem necessary, or at least improve the sense, contemplations of this season. May my daugh- might give offence, and therefore prevailed ou ter and my friend but enjoy life as long, and use Johnson to omit them. The epithel little, which it as innocently as these sweet people have perhaps the authour thought night diminish his done. The sight of such a family consoles one's dignity, was also changed to anxious,-Mabeart."-ED.)
An argument which does not convince It always appeared to me that he estimayourself
, may convince the judge to whom ted the compositions of Richardson too you urge it; and if it does convince him, highly 3, and that he had an unreasonable why, then, sir, you are wrong, and he is prejudice against Fielding. In comparing right. It is his business to judge; and you those two writers, he used this expression; are not to be confident in your own opinion “ that there was as great a difference bethat a cause is bad, but to say all you can tween them, as between a man who knew for your client, and then hear the judge's how a watch was made, and a man who opinion.” Boswell. “ But, sir, does not could tell the hour by looking on the dialaffecting a warmth when you have no plate.” This was a short and figurative warmth, and appearing to be clearly of one state of his distinction between drawing opinion when you are in reality of another characters of nature and characters only of opinion, does not such dissimulation im- manners. But I cannot help being of opinpair one's honesty? Is there not some dan- ion that the neat watches of Fielding are ger that a lawyer may put on the same as well constructed as the large clocks of mask in common life, in the intercourse Richardson, and that his dial-plates are with his friends?" Johnson. “Why no, brighter. Fielding's characters, though sir. Every body knows you are paid for they do not expand themselves so widely in affecting warmth for your client; and it is, dissertation, are as just pictures of human therefore, properly no dissimulation; the nature, and I will venture to say, have more moment you come from the bar you resume striking features, and nicer touches of the your usual behaviour. Sir, a man will no pencil; and though Johnson used to quote more carry the artifice of the bar into the with approbation a saying of Richardson's, common intercourse of society, than a man “ that the virtues of Fielding's heroes were who is paid for tumbling upon his hands the vices of a truly good man,” I will venwill continue lo tumble upon his hands ture to add that the moral tendency of when he should walk on his feet 1."
Fielding's writings, though it does not enTalking of some of the modern plays, he courage a strained and rarely possible virsaid, “ False Delicacy 2" was totally void of tue, is ever favourable to honour and honcharacter. He praised Goldsmith’s “ Good-esty, and cherishes the benevolent and gennatured Man;" said it was the best comedy erous affections. He who is as good as that had appeared since “ The Provoked Fielding would make him, is an amiable Husband," and that there had not been of member of society, and may be led on, by late any such character exhibited on the more regulated instructors, to a higher state stage as that of Croaker. I observed it was of ethical perfection. the Suspirius of his Rambler. He said, [Johnson was inclined, as being Goldsmith had owned he had borrowed it personally acquainted with Richardfrom thence. “Sir (continued he), there son, to favour the opinion of his adis all the difference in the world between mirers that he was acquainted with the incharacters of nature and characters of man- most recesses of the human heart, and had Ders; and there is the difference between an absolute command over the passions; but the characters of Fielding and those of he seemed not firm in it, and could at any Richardson. Characters of manners are time be talked into a disapprobation of all very entertaining; but they are to be un- fictitious relations, of which he would frederstood by a more superficial observer quently say they took no hold of the mind.) than characters of nature, where a man Johnson proceeded: “Even Sir Francis must dive into the recesses of the human Wronghead' is a character of manners, beart.”
though drawn with great humour." He See post, 15th August, 1773, where Johnson cis's credulous account to Manly of his be
then repeated, very happily, all Sir Franhas supported the same argument.–J. Boswell. (Cicero touches this question more than once, but ing with the great man,” and securing a
place. I asked him if “The Suspicious never with much confidence. * Atqui etiam hoc
Husband did not furnish a well-drawn por ceptura oficü diligenter tenendum est, ne quem unquam innocentem judicio capitis arcessas;
character, that of Ranger. Johnson. id, enim, sine scelere fieri nullo pacto potest.
“ No, sir; Ranger is just a rake, a mere Nec tamen, ut hoc fugiendum est, ita habendum rake, and a lively young fellow, but no a religioni, nocentem aliquando, modo ne ne
character." far cum un piumque, defendere. Vult hoc multi- The great Douglas cause was at this time tudo, patitur consuetudo, fert etian humanitas. a very general subject of discussion. I found Juticis est semper in causas verum sequi patroni, he had not studied it with much attention, thrinamuam verisimile, etiamsi minus sit verum, but had only heard parts of it occasionally. deseulere.” (De Off. 1. 2. c. 14.) We might He, however, talked of it, and said, “I am leave especies a les conditional and apologetical of opinion that positive proof of fraud should delence of this owo profession from the great philosophical orator.-ED.)
3 [See ante, p. 96, and post, 6th April, . [By Kelly, the poetical staymaker.- Ed.) 1772.-Ed.)