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brother." BOSWELL. 66
Certainly his el-
der brother." JOHNSON. "You would
tell your friend of a woman's infamy, to
prevent his marrying a prostitute: there is
the same reason to tell him of his wife's
infidelity when he was married, to prevent
the consequences of imposition. It is a
breach of confidence not to tell a friend."
BOSWELL. "Would you tell Mr. -
(naming a gentleman who assuredly was
not in the least danger of such a miserable
disgrace, though married to a fine woman.)
JOHNSON. "No, sir; because it would do
no good: he is so sluggish, he'd never go
to parliament and get through a divorce."


He said of one of our friends, "He is ruining himself without pleasure. A man who loses at play, or who runs out his fortune at court, makes his estate less, in hopes of making it bigger (I am sure of this word, which was often used by him): it is a sad thing to pass through the quagmire of parsimony to the gulf of ruin. To pass over the flowery path of extravagance is very well."

said the evidence was irresistible. My wife went to the Hummums; (it is a place where people get themselves cupped.) I believe she went with intention to hear about this story of Ford. At first they were unwilling to tell her; but, after they had talked to her, she came away satisfied that it was true. To be sure, the man had a fever; and this vision may have been the beginning of it. But if the message to the women, and their behaviour upon it, were true as related, there was something supernatural. That rests upon his word; and there it remains."


Amongst the numerous prints pasted on the walls of the dining-room at Streatham was Hogarth's “Modern Midnight Conversation." I asked him what he knew of Parson Ford, who made a conspicuous figure in the riotous group. JOHNSON. "Sir, he was my acquaintance and relation, my mother's nephew. He had purchased a living in the country, but not simoniacally. I never saw him but in the country. I have been told he was a man of great parts; very profligate, but I never heard he was impious." BOSWELL. "Was there not a story of his ghost having appeared? JOHNSON. "Sir, it was believed. A waiter at the Hummums, in which house Ford died, had been absent for some time, and returned, not knowing that Ford was dead. Going down to the cellar, according to the story, he met him; going down again, he met him a second time. When he came up, he asked some of the people of the house what Ford could be doing there. They told him Ford was dead. The waiter took a fever, in which he lay for some time. When he recovered, he said he had a message to deliver to some women from Ford; but he was not to tell what, or to whom. He walked out; he was followed; but somewhere about St. Paul's they lost him. He came back, and said he had delivered the message, and the women exclaimed, Then we are all undone!' Dr. Pellet, who was not a credulous man, inquired into the truth of this story, and he


[No doubt Mr. Langton.-ED.]



After Mrs. Thrale was gone to bed, Johnson and I sat up late. We resumed Sir Joshua Reynolds's argument on the preceding Sunday, that a man would be virtuous, though he had no other motive than to preserve his character. JOHNSON. but" Sir, it is not true; for, as to this world, vice does not hurt a man's character." BoSWELL. "Yes, sir, debauching a friend's wife will." JOHNSON. "No, sir. Who thinks the worse of .3 for it?" BosWELL. "Lord was not his friend." JOHNSON. "That is only a circumstance, sir; a slight distinction. He could not get into the house but by Lord -4. A man is chose knight of the shire not the less for having debauched ladies." Bos WELL. "What, sir, if he debauched the ladies of gentlemen in the county, will not there be a general resentment against him?” JOHNSON. "No, sir. He will lose those particular gentlemen; but the rest will not trouble their heads about it" (warmly). BoSWELL. "Well, sir, I cannot think so." JOHNSON. "Nay, sir, there is no talking with a man who will dispute what every body knows (angrily). Don't you know BOSWELL. this?" No, sir; and I wish to think better of your country than you represent it. I knew in Scotland a gentleman obliged to leave it for debauching a lady; and in one of our counties an earl's brother lost his election because he had debauched the lady of another earl in that county, and destroyed the peace of a noble family."


Still he would not yield. He proceeded: "Will you not allow, sir, that vice does not hurt a man's character so as to obstruct his prosperity in life, when you know that 5 was loaded with wealth and honours? a man who had acquired his fortune by such crimes, that his consciousness of them impelled him to cut his own throat." BoswELL. "You will recollect, sir, that Dr. Robertson said he cut his throat because he was weary of still life;

[The editor declines to attempt supplying this He fears that it will be but too evident at whose expense Mr. Boswell chose to make so of--ED.]


fensive an hypothesis.-ED.]

3 [Mr. Beauclerk. See ante, v. i. p. 316. n.

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[Bolingbroke. See as above.-ED.]

[Lord Clive. See ante, p. 185.--ED.]


little things not being sufficient to move
his great mind." JOHNSON (very angry).
"Nay, sir, what stuff is this? You had no
more this opinion after Robertson said it
than before. I know nothing more offen-
sive than repeating what one knows to be
foolish things, by way of continuing a dis-
pute, to see what a man will answer,-to
make him your butt!" (angrier still).
My dear sir, I had no such
intention as you seem to suspect; I had not,
indeed. Might not this nobleman have felt
every thing weary, stale, flat, and un-
profitable,' as Hamlet says?" JOHNSON.
Nay, if you are to bring in gabble, I'll
talk no more. I will not, upon my honour."
My readers will decide upon this dispute.
Next morning I stated to Mrs. Thrale at
breakfast, before he came down, the dispute
of last night as to the influence of character
upon success in life. She said he was cer-
tainly wrong; and told me that a baronet
lost an election in Wales because he had
debauched the sister of a gentleman in the
county, whom he made one of his daugh-
ters invite as her companion at his seat in
the country, when his lady and his other
children were in London. But she would
not encounter Johnson upon the subject.


I staid all this day with him at Streatham. He talked a great deal in very good humour.

as we find no people quite in a state of nature; but, I think, the more they are taught, the more modest they are. The French are a gross, ill-bred, untaught people; a lady there will spit on the floor and rub it with her foot. What I gained by being in France was, learning to be better satisfied with my own country. Time may be employed to more advantage from nineteen to twenty-four, almost in any way than in travelling. When you set travelling against mere negation, against doing nothing, it is better to be sure; but how much more Would a young man improve were he to study during those years. Indeed, if a young man is wild, and must run after women and bad company, it is better this should be done abroad, as, on his return, he can break off such connexions, and begin at home a new man, with a character to form, and acquaintance to make. How little does travelling supply to the conversation of any man who has travelled; how little to Beauclerk?" BOSWELL. "What say you to Lord -3?" JOHNSON "I never but once heard him talk of what he had seen, and that was of a large serpent in one of the pyramids of Egypt.” BOSWELL. Well, I happened to hear him tell the same thing, which made me mention him."


I talked of a country life. JOHNSON. edi-"Were I to live in the country, I would not devote myself to the acquisition of pop ularity; I would live in a much better way, much more happily; I would have my time at my own command." BOSWELL. "But, sir, is it not a sad thing to be at a distance from all our literary friends?" JOHNSON. "Sir, you will by-and-by have enough of this conversation, which now delights you so much."


Looking at Messrs. Dilly's splendid tion of Lord Chesterfield's miscellaneous works, he laughed, and said, "Here are now two speeches ascribed to him, both of which were written by me: and the best of it is, they have found out that one is like Demosthenes, and the other like Cicero 1." He censured Lord Kames's "Sketches of the History of Man," for misrepresenting Clarendon's account of the appearance of Sir George Villiers's ghost, as if Clarendon As he was a zealous friend of subordinawere weakly credulous; when the truth is, tion, he was at all times watchful to repress that Clarendon only says, that the story the vulgar cant against the manners of the was upon a better foundation of credit than great. High people, sir," said he, "are usually such discourses are founded upon; the best: take a hundred ladies of quality, nay, speaks thus of the person who was re- you'll find them better wives, better mothported to have seen the vision, "the poorers, more willing to sacrifice their own pleaman, if he had been at all waking;" which sure to their children, than a hundred other Lord Kames has omitted 2. He added, "In women. Trades-women (I mean the this book it is maintained that virtue is natu- wives of tradesmen) in the city, who are ral to man, and that if we would but consult worth from ten to fifteen thousand pounds, our own hearts, we should be virtuous. are the worst creatures upon the earth, Now, after consulting our own hearts all grossly ignorant, and thinking viciousness we can, and with all the helps we have, we fashionable. Farmers, I think, are often find how few of us are virtuous. This is worthless fellows. Few lords will cheat; saying a thing which all mankind know not and, if they do, they'll be ashamed of it: to be true." BOSWELL. "Is not modesty farmers cheat, and are not ashamed of it: natural?" JOHNSON. "I cannot say, sir, they have all the sensual vices too of the nobility, with cheating into the bargain.

[See ante, vol. i. p. 60.-ED.]

2 [This suppression is particularly blameable, 3 [Charlemont. His lordship was in the habit because the question was as to the extent of Clar- of telling the story alluded to rather too often.— endon's credulity. See also ante, p. 189.-ED.] | ED.]

There is as much fornication and adultery | my 3 was then the common topick of conamongst farmers as amongst noblemen." versation. It was asked why piling their BOSWELL. "The notion of the world, sir, arms was insisted upon as a matter of such wever, is, that the morals of women of consequence, when it seemed to be a cirquauty are worse than those in lower sta- cumstance so inconsiderable in itself. JOHNtions." JOHNSON. "Yes, sir; the licen- SON. "Why, sir, a French authour says, 'Il tiousness of one woman of quality makes y a beaucoup de puerilités dans la guerre.' more noise than that of a number of wo- All distinctions are trifles, because great men in lower stations: then, sir, you are to things can seldom occur, and those distincconsider the malignity of women in the city tions are settled by custom. A savage against women of quality, which will make would as willingly have his meat sent to them believe any thing of them, such as him in the kitchen, as eat it at the table that they call their coachmen to bed. No, here: as men become civilised, various sir; so far as I have observed, the higher in modes of denoting honourable preference rank, the richer ladies are, they are the bet- are invented." ter instructed, and the more virtuous."


This year the Reverend Mr. Horne published his "Letter to Mr. Dunning on the English Particle." Johnson read it, and though not treated in it with sufficient respect, he had candour enough to say to Mr. Seward, "Were I to make a new edition of my Dictionary, I would adopt several 1 of Mr. Horne's etymologies. I hope they did not put the dog in the pillory for his libel: he has too much literature for that?." On Saturday, May 16, I dined with him at Mr. Beauclerk's with Mr. Langton, Mr. Steevens, Dr. Higgins, and some others. I regret very feelingly every instance of my remissness in recording his memorabilia; I am afraid it is the condition of humanity (as Mr. Windham, of Norfolk, once observed to me, after having made an admirable speech in the house of commons, which was highly applauded, but which he afterwards perceived might have been better)," that we are more uneasy from thinking of our wants, than happy in thinking of our acquisitions." This is an unreasonable mode of disturbing our tranquillity, and should be corrected: let me then comfort myself with the large treasure of Johnson's conversation which I have preserved for my own enjoyment and that of the world, and et me exhibit what I have upon each occasion, whether more or less, whether a bulse, or only a few sparks of a diamond.

He said, "Dr. Mead lived more in the broad sunshine of life than almost any



The disaster of General Burgoyne's ar

He this day made the observations upon the similarity between "Rasselas" and "Candide:" which I have inserted in its proper place, when considering his admirable philosophical romance. He said, "Candide" he thought had more power in it than any thing that Voltaire had written.

He said, "The lyrical part of Horace never can be perfectly translated; so much of the excellence is in the numbers and expression. Francis has done it the best; I'll take his, five out of six, against them all."

On Sunday, May 17, I presented to him Mr. Fullarton, of Fullarton, who has since distinguished himself so much in India, to whom he naturally talked of travels, as Mr. Brydone accompanied him in his tour to Sicily and Malta. He said, "The information which we have from modern travellers is much more authentick than what we had from ancient travellers: ancient travellers guessed; modern travellers measure. The Swiss admit that there is but one errour in Stanyan. If Brydone were more attentive to his Bible, he would be a good traveller."

He said, "Lord Chatham was a Dictator; he possessed the power of putting the state in motion; now there is no power, all order is relaxed." BOSWELL. "Is there no hope of a change to the better?" JOHNSON. "Why, yes, sir, when we are weary of this relaxation. So the city of London will appoint its mayors again by seniority." BOSWELL. "But is not that taking a mere chance for having a good or a bad mayor?" JOHNSON. "Yes, sir; but the evil of competition is greater than that of the worst mayor that can come: besides, there is no more reason to suppose that the choice of a rabble will be right, than that chance will be right."

1 In Mr. Horne Tooke's enlargement of that "Letter," which he has since published with the title of "Era Tegra, or, The Diversions of Purley," he mentions this compliment, as if Dr. Johnson, instead of several of his etymologies, had said all His recollection having thus magnified it, shows how ambitious he was of the appro-gaged to dine with me at Mr. Dilly's; I bation of so great a man.-BoSWELL. waited upon him to remind him of his ap

me some salutary counsel, and recommend

[See ante, p. 178. The editor cannot ac-pointment and attend him thither; he gave count for Johnson's ignorance of the sentenceany more than for the inconsistency between the wishes expressed in this and the former passage. -ED.]

On Tuesday, May 19, I was to set out for Scotland in the evening. He was en

3 [Its surrender at Saratoga, October 17, 1777.-ED.]

ed vigorous resolution against any deviation from moral duty. Boswell. "But you would not have me to bind myself by a solemn obligation?" JOHNSON (much agitated). "What! a vow!-0, no, sir, a vow is a horrible thing! it is a snare for sin. The man who cannot go to heaven without a vow, may go." Here, standing erect in the middle of his library, and rolling grand, his pause was truly a curious compound of the solemn and the ludicrous: he half-whistled in his usual way when pleasant, and he paused as if checked by religious awe. Methought he would have added, to hell, but was restrained. I humoured the dilemma. "What, sir!" said I,

"In cælum jusseris ibit?' "'—Juv. 3 Sat. alluding to his imitation of it,

"And bid him go to hell, to hell he goes."

I had mentioned to him a slight fault in his noble "Imitation of the Tenth Satire of Juvenal," a too near recurrence of the verb spread in his description of the young enthusiast at college:

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Through all his veins the fever of renown
Spreads from the strong contagion of the gown;
O'er Bodley's dome his future labours spread,

And Bacon's mansion trembles o'er his head. "

He had desired me to change spreads to burns; but for perfect authenticity, I now had it done with his own hand 2. I thought this alteration not only cured the fault, but was more poetical, as it might carry an allusion to the shirt by which Hercules was inflamed.

We had a quiet, comfortable meeting at Mr. Dilly's; nobody there but ourselves. Mr. Dilly mentioned somebody having wished that Milton's "Tractate on Education" should be printed along with his Poems in the edition of the English Poets then going on. JOHNSON. "It would be breaking in upon the plan; but would be of no great consequence. So far as it would be any thing, it would be wrong. Education in England has been in danger of being hurt by two of its greatest men, Milton and Locke. Milton's plan is impracticable, and I suppose has never been tried. Locke's, I fancy, has been tried often enough, but is very imperfect; it gives too much to one side, and too little to the other; it gives too little to literature.-I shall do what I can for Dr. Watts; but my materials are very scanty. His poems are by no means his best works; I cannot praise his poetry itself highly; but I can praise its design."

1 [See ante, vol. i. p. 234.-ED.]

2 The slip of paper on which he made the correction is deposited by me in the noble library to which it relates, and to which I have presented other pieces of his handwriting.-BoSWELL.

My illustrious friend and I parted with assurances of affectionate regard.

I wrote to him on the 25th of May, from Thorpe, in Yorkshire, one of the seats of Mr. Bosville, and gave him an account of my having passed a day at Lincoln, unexpectedly, and therefore without having any letters of introduction, but that I had been honoured with civilities from the Reverend Mr. Simpson, an acquaintance of his 3, and Captain Broadley, of the Lincolnshire militia; but more particularly from the Reverend Dr. Gordon, the chancellor, who first received me with great politeness as a stranger, and, when I informed him who I was, entertained me at his house with the most flattering attention: I also expressed the pleasure with which I had found that our worthy friend, Langton, was highly esteemed in his own county town.

"Edinburgh, 18th June, 1778.


"Since my return to Scotland, I have been again at Lanark, and have had more conversation with Thomson's sister. It is strange that Murdoch, who was his intimate friend, should have mistaken his mother's maiden name, which he says was Hume, whereas Hume was the name of his grandmother by the mother's side. His mother's name was Beatrix Trotter 4, a daughter of Mr. Trotter of Fogo, a small proprietor of land. Thomson had one brother, whom he had with him in England as his amanuensis; but he was seized with a consumption, and having returned to Scotland, to try what his native air would do for him, died young. He had three sisters; one married to Mr. Bell, minister of the parish of Strathaven, one to Mr. Craig, father of the ingenious architect, who gave the plan of the New Town of Edinburgh, and one to Mr. Thomson, master of the grammar-school at Lanark. He was of a humane and benevolent disposition; not only sent valuable presents to his sisters, but a yearly allowance in money, and was always wishing to have it in his power to do them more good. Lord Lyttelton's observation, that he loathed much to write,' was very true. His letters to his sister, Mrs. Thomson, were not frequent, and in one of them he says, 'All my friends who know me, know how backward I am to

3 [Probably brother of the gentleman to whom he addressed the letter, ante, vol. i. p. 150, and vol. ii. p. 59.-Ed.]

Dr. Johnson was by no means attentive to minute accuracy in his "Lives of the Poets;" for, notwithstanding my having detected this mis take, he continued it.-BOSWELL.

write letters; and never impute the negligence of my hand to the coldness of my heart.' I send you a copy of the last letter which she had from him; she never heard that he had any intention of going into holy orders. From this late interview with his sister, I think much more favourably of him, as I hope you will. I am eager to see more of your Prefaces to the Poets: I solace myself with the few proof-sheets which I have.

"I send another parcel of Lord Hailes's 'Annals,' which you will please to return to me as soon as you conveniently can. He says, 'he wishes you would cut a little deeper;' but he may be proud that there is so little occasion to use the critical knife. I ever am, my dear sir, your faithful and affectionate humble servant, "JAMES BOSWELL."

66 TO JAMES BOSWELL, ESQ. "London, 3d July, 1778. "SIR, I have received two letters from you, of which the second complains of the neglect shown to the first. You must not tie your friends to such punctual correspondence. You have all possible assurances of my affection and esteem; and there ought to be no need of reiterated professions. When it may happen that I can give you either counsel or comfort, I hope it will never happen to me that I should neglect you: but you must not think me criminal or cold, if I say nothing when I have nothing to say.

"You are now happy enough. Mrs. Boswell is recovered; and I congratulate you upon the probability of her long life. If general approbation will add any thing to your enjoyment, I can tell you that I have heard you mentioned as a man whom every body likes. I think life has little more to give.


has gone to his regiment. He has laid down his coach, and talks of making more contractions of his expense: how he will succeed, I know not. It is difficult to reform a household gradually; it may be done better by a system totally new. I am afraid he has always something to hide. When ve pressed him to go to 2, he objected the necessity of attending his navigation 3; yet he could talk of going to Aberdeen 4, a place not much nearer his navigation. I believe he cannot bear the thought of living at in a state of diminution; and of appearing among the gentlemen of the neighbourhood shorn of 2 [Langton.-ED.] 3 [The Wey canal, from Guildford to Weybridge, in which he had a considerable share, which his grandson now possesses.-ED.]


[His lady and family, it appears, were in Scotland at this period.-ED.]

his beams. This is natural, but it is cowardly. What I told him of the increasing expense of a growing family, seems to have struck him. He certainly had gone on with very confused views, and we have, I think, shown him that he is wrong; though, with the common deficience of advisers, we have not shown him how to do right.

"I wish you would a little correct or restrain your imagination, and imagine that happiness, such as life admits, may be had at other places as well as London. Without affecting 5 Stoicism, it may be said, that it is our business to exempt ourselves as much as we can from the power of external things. There is but one solid basis of happiness; and that is, the reasonable hope of a happy futurity. This may be had everywhere.

"I do not blame your preference to London to other places, for it is really to be preferred, if the choice is free; but few have the choice of their place, or their manner of life; and mere pleasure ought not to be the prime motive of action.

"Mrs. Thrale, poor thing, has a daughter. Mr. Thrale dislikes the times, like the rest of us. Mrs. Williams is sick; Mrs. Desmoulins is poor. I have miserable nights. Nobody is well but Mr. Levett. I am, dear sir, your most, &c.


Mr. Langton has been pleased, at my request, to favour me with some particulars of Dr. Johnson's visit to Warley-camp, where this gentleman was at the time stationed as a captain in the Lincolnshire militia. I shall give them in his own words in a letter to me.

"It was in the summer of the year 1778, that he complied with my invitation to come down to the camp at Warley, and he staid with me about a week; the scene appeared, notwithstanding a great degree of ill health that he seemed to labour under, to interest and amuse him, as agreeing with the disposition that I believe you know he constantly manifested towards inquiring into subjects of the military kind. He sate, with a patient degree of attention, to observe the proceedings of a regimental courtmartial, that happened to be called in the time of his stay with us; and one night, as late as at eleven o'clock, he accompanied the major of the regiment in going what are styled the rounds, where he might observe the forms of visiting the guards, for the seeing that they and their sentries are ready in their duty on their several posts He took occasion to converse at times or military topics, once in particular, that I see the mention of, in your Journal of a


5 [In former editions "asserting❞—emended by Mr. Malone.-ED.]

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