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after death, they can no longer be of use to us. We 1772. form many friendships by mistake, imagining people to Ætat. be different from what they really are. After death, 63, we shall see every one in a true light. Then, Sir, they talk of our meeting our relations : but then all relationship is dissolved ; and we shall have no regard for one person more than another, but for their real value. However, we shall either have the satisfaction of meeting our friends, or be satisfied without meeting them.” BOSWELL. Yet, Sir, we see in scripture, that Dives still retained an anxious concern about his brethren." Johnson. “Why, Sir, we must either suppose that passage to be metaphorical, or hold with many divines, and all the Purgatorians, that departed souls do not all at once arrive at the utmost perfection of which they are capable.” Boswell.“ I think, Sir, that is a very rational supposition.” Johnson. “Why yes, Sir; but we do not know it is a true one. There is no harm in believing it: but you must not compel others to make it an article of faith ; for it is not revealed.” BOSWELL. “ Do you think, Sir, it is wrong in a man who holds the doctrine of Purgatory, to pray for the souls of his deceased friends.” Johnson.“ Why no, Sir.” Bos
. " WELL. “ I have been told, that in the Liturgy of the Episcopal Church of Scotland, there was a form of prayer for the dead.” Johnson. “Sir, it is not in the Liturgy which Laud framed for the Episcopal Church of Scotland: if there is a liturgy older than that, I should be glad to see it.” BOSWELL. “ As to our employment in a future state, the sacred writings say little. . The Revelation, however, of St. John gives us many ideas, and particularly mentions musick.” Johnson.
Why, Sir, ideas must be given you by ineans of something which you know: and as to musick there are some philosophers and divines who have maintained that we shall not be spiritualized to such a degree, but that something of matter, very much refined, will remain. In that case, musick may make a part of our future felicity.”
Boswell. “I do not know whether there are any well-attested stories of the appearance of ghosts. You
1772. know there is a famous story of the appearance of Ætat.
Mrs. Veal, prefixed to ‘Drelincourt on Death.” JOHN63. son. “I believe, Sir, that is given up. I believe the
woman declared upon her death-bed that it was a lie.”, Boswell. “This objection is made against the truth of ghosts appearing: that if they are in a state of happiness, it would be a punishment to them to return to this world ; and if they are in a state of misery, it would be giving them a respite." Johnson. “ Why, Sir, as the happiness or misery of embodied spirits does not depend upon place, but is intellectual, we cannot say that they are less happy or less miserable by appearing
We went down between twelve and one to Mrs.' Williams's room, and drank tea. I mentioned that we were to have the remains of Mr. Gray, in prose and verse, published by Mr. Mason Johnson. “ I think we have had enough of Gray. I see they have published a splendid edition of Akenside's works. One bad ode may be suffered; but a number of them together makes one sick.” Boswell. “ Akenside's distinguished poem is his . Pleasures of Imagination :' but for my part, I never could admire it so much as most
Johnson. “Sir, I could not read it through.” Boswell. “I have read it through ; but I did not find any great power in it.”
I mentioned Elwal, the heretick, whose trial Sir John Pringle had given me to read. Johnson. “Sir, Mr. Elwal was, I think, an ironmonger at Wolverhampton ; and he had a mind to make himself famous, by being the founder of a new sect, which he wished much should be called Elwallians. He held, that every thing in the Old Testament that was not typical, was to be of perpetual observance : and so he wore a ribband in the plaits of his coat, and he also wore a beard. I remember I had the honour of dining in company with Mr. Elwal. There was one Barter, a miller, who wrote against him; and you had the controversy
[This fiction is known to have been invented by Daniel Defoe, and was added to the second edition of the English translation of Drelin court's work, to make it sell. The first edition had it not. M.]
between Mr. Elwal and Mr. BARTER. To try to 1772. make himself distinguished he wrote a letter to King Ætat. George the Second, challenging him to dispute with 63. him, in which he said, “George, if you be afraid to come by yourself, to dispute with a poor old man, you may bring a thousand of your black-guards with you ; and if you should still be afraid, you may bring a thousand of your red-guards.' The letter had something of the impudence of Junius to our present King. But the men of Wolverhampton were not so inflammable as the Common-Council of London ; so Mr. Elwal failed in his scheme of making himself a man of great consequence.”
On Tuesday, March 31, he and I dined at General Paoli's. A question was started whether the state of marriage was natural to man. JOHNSON. “Sir, it is so far from being natural for a man and woman to live in a state of marriage, that we find all the motives which they have for remaining in that connection, and the restraints which civilized society imposes to prevent separation, are hardly sufficient to keep them together.” The General said, that in a state of nature a man and woman upiting together, would form a strong and con. stant affection, by the mutual pleasure each would receive; and that the same causes of dissension would not arise between them, as occur between husband and wife in a civilized state. Johnson. a
“ Sir, they would have dissensions enough, though of another kind. One would choose to go a hunting in this wood, the other in that ; one would choose to go a fishing in this lake, the other in that ; or, perhaps, one would choose to go a hunting, when the other would choose to go a fishing; and so they would part. Besides, Sir, a sav. age man and a savage woman meet by chance : and when the man sees another woman that pleases him better, he will leave the first."
We then fell into a disquisition whether there is any beauty independent of utility. The General maintained there was not. Dr. Johnson maintained that there was; and he instanced a coffee cup which he held in his hand, the painting of which was of no real use, as
1772. the cup would hold the coffee equally well if plain ; Ætat. yet the painting was beautiful.
We talked of the strange custom of swearing in conversation. The General said, that all barbarous nations swore from a certain violence of temper, that could not be confined to earth, but was always reaching at the powers above. He said, too, that there was greater variety of swearing, in proportion as there was a greater variety of religious ceremonies.
Dr. Johnson went home with me to my lodgings in Conduit-street and drank tea, previous to our going to the Pantheon, which neither of us had seen before.
He said, “ Goldsmith's life of Parnell is poor ; not that it is poorly written, but that he had poor materials ; for nobody can write the life of a man, but those who have eat and drunk and lived in social intercourse with him."
I said, that if it was not troublesome and presuming too much, I would request him to tell me all the little circumstances of his life ; what schools he attended, when he came to Oxford, when he came to London, &c. &c. He did not disapprove of my curiosity as to these particulars ; but said, “ They'll come out by degrees, as we talk together.”
He censured Ruffhead's Life of Pope ; and said, “ he knew nothing of Pope, and nothing of poetry.” He praised Dr. Joseph Warton's Essay on Pope ; but said, “he supposed we should have no more of it, as the authour had not been able to persuade the world to think of Pope as he did.” BoswELL. “ Why, Sir,
. should that prevent him from continuing his work? He is an ingenious Counsel, who has made the most of his cause : he is not obliged to gain it.” Johnson. “But, Sir, there is a difference, when the cause is of a man's own making.”
We talked of the proper use of riches. JOHNSON. “If I were a man of a great estate, I would drive all the rascals whom I did not like out of the county at an election.”
I asked him, how far he thought wealth should be employed in hospitality. Johnson. “ You are to con
šider that ancient hospitality, of which we hear so 1772. much, was in an uncommercial country, when men be
Ætat. ing idle, were glad to be entertained at rich men's ta- 63. bles. But in a commercial country, a busy country, time becomes precious, and therefore hospitality is not so much valued. No doubt there is still room for a certain degree of it ; and a man has a satisfaction in seeing his friends eating and drinking around him. But promiscuous hospitality is not the way to gain real influence. You must help some people at table before others ; you must ask some people how they like their wine oftener than others. You therefore offend more people than you please. You are like the French statesman, who said, when he granted a favour, J'ai fait dix mécontents et un ingrat. Besides, Sir, being entertained ever so well at a man's table, impresses no lasting regard or esteem. No, Sir, the way to make sure of power and influence is, by lending money confidentially to your neighbours at a small interest, or perhaps at no interest at all, and having their bonds in your possession.” Boswell. May not a man, Sir, employ his riches to advantage, in educating young men of merit ?” Johnson. “Yes, Sir, if they fall in your way; but if it be understood that you patronize young men of merit, you will be harassed with solicitations. You will have numbers forced upon you, who have no merit ; some will force them upon you from mistaken partiality ; and some from downright interested motives, without scruple ; and you will be disgraced.”
“ Were I a rich man, I would propagate all kinds of trees that will grow in the open air. A green-house is childish. I would introduce foreign animals into the country; for instance, the rein-deer.”2
The conversation now turned on critical subjects. Johnson. " Bayes, in “The Rehearsal,' is a mighty silly character. If it was intended to be like a particular man, it could only be diverting while that man was remembered. But I question whether it was meant
* This project has since been realized. Sir Henry Liddel, who made a spirited tour into Lapland, brought two rein-deer to his estate in Northumberland, where they bred: but the race has unfortunately perished.