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what he thought was for the salvation of the souls of his subjects, till he lost a great empire. We, who thought that we should not be saved if we were Roman Catholicks, had the merit of maintaining our religion, at the expence of submitting ourselves to the government of King William, (for it could not be done otherwise,) -to the government of one of the most worthless scoundrels that ever existed. No; Charles the Second was not such a man as
, (naming another King). He did not destroy his father's will. He took money, indeed, from France: but he did not betray those over whom he ruled: he did not let the French fleet pass ours. George the First knew nothing, and desired to know nothing; did nothing, and desired to do nothing: and the only good thing that is told of him is, that he wished to restore the crown to its hereditary successor.” He roared with prodigious violence against George the Second. When he ceased, Moody interjected in an Irish tone, and with a comick look, “Ah! poor George the Second.”
I mentioned that Dr. Thomas Campbell had come from Ireland to London, principally to see Dr. Johnson. He seemed angry at this observation. Davies. " Why, you know, Sir, there came a man from Spain to see Livy;a and Corelli came to England to see Purcell, and, when he heard he was dead, went directly back again to Italy.” JOHNSON. “I should not have wished to be dead to disappoint Campbell, had he been so foolish as you represent him; but I should have wished to have been a hundred miles off.” This was apparently perverse; and I do believe it was not his real way of thinking: he could not but like a man who came so far to see him.
He laughed with some complacency, when I told him Campbell's odd expression to me concerning him: “That having seen such a man, was a thing to talk of a century hence;”—as if he could live so long.'
• Plin. Epist. Lib. ii. Ep. 3.
1 Boswell's ludicrous caution is shown
vowing that “ he would clean shoes for in thus suppressing the name of George him," and shed his blood for him. An II., as Mr. Croker supposes, and which acute critic in the Quarterly Review has is unmeaning considering the “pro shown that the allusion is to a Mr. Mus. digious violence" with which he is grave. It is true Mr. Croker had some spoken of.
doubts; but it is astonishing how Mrs. 2 “A flashy friend,” described in the Thrale's description could have been most amusing fashion by Mrs. Thrale, supposed to apply to Campbell; as, at has been mistaken both by Mr. Hay the close of her lively sketch, she quotes a ward and Mr. Croker for this Dr. phrase of the latter's: “. Upon my honour, Campbell. Mrs. Thrale's friend was al Sir,'' and indeed now,' as Dr. Campbell's ways protesting his worship of Johnson, phrase is, “I am hut a twitter to him.'
We got into an argument whether the Judges who went to India might with propriety engage in trade. Johnson warmly maintained that they might. “For why (he urged) should not Judges get riches, as well as those who deserve them less." I said, they should have sufficient salaries, and have nothing to take off their attention from the affairs of the publick. JOHNSON. “No Judge, Sir, can give his whole attention to his office; and it is very proper that he should employ what time he has to himself, for his own advantage, in the most profitable manner.” “Then, Sir, said Davies, who enlivened the dispute by making it somewhat dramatick,) he may become an insurer; and when he is going to the bench, he may be stopped,- Your Lordship cannot go yet: here is a bunch of invoices: several ships are about to sail."" JOHNSON. “Sir, you may as well say a judge should not have a house; for they may come and tell him, “Your Lordship’s house is on fire;' and so, instead of minding the business of his Court, he is to be occupied in getting the engine with the greatest speed. There is no end of this. Every Judge who has land, trades to a certain extent in corn or in cattle; and in the land itself, undoubtedly. His steward acts for him, and so do clerks for a great merchant. A Judge may be a farmer ; but he is not to geld his own pigs. A Judge may play a little at cards for his amusement; but he is not to play at marbles, or at chuck-farthing in the Piazza. No, Sir; there is no profession to which a man gives a very great proportion of his time. It is wonderful when a calculation is made, how little the mind is actually employed in the discharge of any profession. No man would be a Judge, upon the condition of being obliged to be totally a Judge. The best employed lawyer has his mind at work but for a small proportion of his time : a great deal of his occupation is merely mechanical.-I once wrote for a magazine: I made a calculation, that if I should write but a page a day, at the same rate, I should, in ten years, write nine volumes in folio, of an ordinary size and print.” BosweLL. “Such as Carte's History?" Johnson. “Yes, Sir. When a man writes from his own mind, he writes very rapidly. The greatest part of a writer's time is spent in reading, in order to write: a man will turn over half a library to make one book."
I argued warmly against the Judges trading, and mentioned Hale as an instance of a perfect Judge, who devoted himself
• Johnson certainly did, who had a mind stored with knowledge, and teeming with imagery; but the observation is not applicable to writers in general.
entirely to his office. JOHNSON. “Hale, Sir, attended to other things beside law: he left a great estate.” Boswell. “That was, because what he got, accumulated without any exertion and anxiety on his part.”
While the dispute went on, Moody once tried to say something upon our side. Tom Davies clapped him on the back, to encourage him. Beauclerk, to whom I mentioned this circumstance, said, that “ he could not conceive a more humiliating situation than to be clapped on the back by Tom Davies.” 1
We spoke of Rolt, to whose Dictionary of Commerce, Dr. Johnson wrote the Preface. JOHNSON. "Old Gardner the bookseller employed Rolt and Smart to write a monthly miscellany, called The Visitor.' There was a formal written contract, which Allen the printer saw. Gardner thought as you do of the Judge. They were bound to write nothing else. They were to have, I think, a third of the profits of this sixpenny pamphlet; and the contract was for ninetynine years. I wish I had thought of giving this to Thurlow, in the cause about Literary Property. What an excellent instance would it have been of the oppression of booksellers towards poor authours !" (smiling). Davies, zealous for the honour of the Trade, said, Gardner was not properly a bookseller. JOHNSON. “Nay, Sir; he certainly was a bookseller. He had served his time regularly, was a member of the Stationers' company, kept a shop in the face of mankind, purchased copy-right, and was a bibliopole, Sir, in every sense. I wrote for some months in “The Visitor,' for poor Smart, while he was mad, not then knowing the terms on which he was engaged to write, and thinking I was doing him good. I hoped his wits would soon return to him. Mine returned to me, and I wrote in •The Visitor' no longer.”
Friday, April 7, I dined with him at a tavern, with a numerous Second Edition, line 17.—There has probably been some mistake as to the terms of this supposed extraordinary contract, the recital of which from hearsay afforded Johnson so much play for his sportive acuteness. Or if it was worded as he supposed, it is so strange that I should conclude it was a joke. Mr. Gardner, I am assured, was a worthy and liberal man.
1 This remark of Beauclerk's almost shaped the following:-"Travels through warrants a marginal note in Wilkes' copy Italy: containing new and curious obserof Boswell's “ Johnson,” viz., that he was vations on that country, with the most "shy, sly, and dry.”
authentic account yet published of capital A Captain Northall, who had travelled pieces of painting, sculpture, and archiin Italy, had made some notes in a pocket tecture that are to be seen in Italy. By book of the various pictures, statues, Johin Northall, Esq. 1766.” &c., which he had seen. It fell into 3 A meeting of the club, as Mr. Croker Rolt's hands, who, from such slender shows. He supposes that Boswell was materials and some volumes of old traveis, afraid of giving offence to the members
company. JOHNSON. “I have been reading "Twiss's Travels in Spain,' which are just come out. They are as good as the first book of travels that you will take up. They are as good as those of Keysler or Blainville; nay, as Addison's, if you except the learning. They are not so good as Brydone's, but they are better than Pococke's. I have not, indeed, cut the leaves yet; but I have read in them where the pages are open, and I do not suppose that what is in the pages which are closed is worse than what is in the open pages. It would seem (he added,) that Addison had not acquired much Italian learning, for we do not find it introduced into his writings. The only instance that I recollect, is his quoting • Stavo bene. Per star meglio, sto qui.'
I mentioned Addison's having borrowed many of his classical remarks from Leandro Alberti. Mr. Beauclerk said, “ It was alleged that he had borrowed also from another Italian authour.” JOHNSON. “Why, Sir, all who go to look for what the Classicks have said of Italy must find the same passages; and I should think it would be one of the first things the Italians would do on the revival of learning, to collect all that the Roman authours had said of their country."
Ossian being mentioned ;-JOHNSON. “Supposing the Irish and Erse languages to be the same, which I do not believe, yet as there is no reason to suppose that the inhabitants of the Highlands and Hebrides ever wrote their native language, it is not to be credited that a long poem was preserved among them. If we had no evidence of the art of writing being practised in one of the counties of England, we should not believe that a long poem was preserved there, though in the neighbouring counties, where the same language was spoken, the inhabitants could write." BeauCLERK. “ The ballad of Lullabalero was once in the mouths of all the people of this country, and is said to have had a great effect in bringing about the Revolution. Yet I question whether any body can repeat it now; which shews how improbable it is that much poetry should be preserved by tradition."
One of the company suggested an internal objection to the antiquity of the poetry said to be Ossian's, that we do not find the wolf in it, which must have been the case had it been of that age. by his reports of their conversations. hopes; for on other occasions, when But, in truth, Boswell records a good that statesman was present, he supdeal of what occurred in the club room. presses his name, and that of the place I believe the true cause to have been of ineeting. his fear of Burke, from whom he had
The mention of the wolf had led Johnson to think of other wild beasts; and while Sir Joshua Reynolds and Mr. Langton were carrying on a dialogue about something which engaged them earnestly, he, in the midst of it, broke out, “ Pennant ells of Bears—" (what he added, I have forgotten.) They went on, which he being dull of hearing, did not perceive, or, if he did, was not willing to break off his talk; so he continued to vociferate his remarks, and Bear (“like a word in a catch," as Beauclerk said, was repeatedly heard at intervals, which coming from him who, by those who did not know him, had been so often assimilated to that ferocious animal, while we who were sitting around could hardly stifle laughter, produced a very ludicrous effect. Silence having ensued, he proceeded: “We are told, that the black bear is innocent; but I should not like to trust myself with him." Mr. Gibbon muttered, in a low tone of voice, “ I should not like to trust myself with you." This piece of sarcastick pleasantry was a prudent resolution, if applied to a competition of abilities.
Patriotism having become one of our topicks, Johnson suddenly uttered, in a strong determined tone, an apothegm, at which many will start: “Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.” But let it be considered, that he did not mean a real and generous love of our country, but that pretended patriotism which so many, in all ages and countries, have made a cloak for self-interest. I maintained, that certainly all patriots were not scoundrels. Being urged (not by Johnson,) to name one exception, I mentioned an eminent person, whom we all greatly admired. JOHNSON. “ Sir, I do not say that he is not honest; but we have no reason to conclude from his political conduct that he is honest. Were he to accept of a place from this ministry, he would lose that character of firmness which he has, and might be turned out of his place in a year. This ministry is neither stable, nor grateful to their friends, as Sir Robert Walpole was : so that he may think it more for his interest to take his chance of his party coming in.”
Mrs. Pritchard being mentioned, he said, “Her playing was quite mechanical. It is wonderful how little mind she had. Sir, she had never read the tragedy of Macbeth all through. She no more thought of the play out of which her part was taken, than
Mrs. Thrale adds (Marginalia) that the actress gave Johnson her reason for this neglect_“she had not time to do so.” Mr. Forster suggests as the proba
ble cause of Dr. Johnson's depreciation of this lady, that he associated her with the disagreeable recollection of the failure of his play.