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said, “Here's our friend! The poor Doctor would have been happy to hear of this."
In our way, Johnson strongly expressed his love of driving fast in a post-chaise. “If (said he) I had no duties, and no reference to futurity, I would spend my life in driving briskly in a post-chaise with a pretty woman; but she should be one who could understand me, and would add something to the conversation.” I observed, that we were this day to stop just where the Highland army did in 1745. Johnson. It was a noble attempt. Boswell. I wish we could have an authentic history of it. Johnson. If you were not an idle dog you might write it, by collecting from every body what they can tell, and putting down your authorities. Boswell. But I could not have the advantage of it in my life-time." Johnson. You might have the satisfaction of its fame, by printing it in Holland; and as to profit, consider how long it was before writing came to be considered in a pecuniary view. Baretti says, he is the first man that ever received copy-money in Italy. I said that I would endeavour to do what Dr. Johnson suggested ; and I thought that I might write so as to venture to publish my “History of the Civil War in Great Britain in 1745 and 1746," without being obliged to go to a foreigo press.
When we arrived at Derby, Dr. Butter accompanied us to see the manufactory of china there. I admired the ingenuity and delicate art with which a man fashioned clay into a cup, a saucer, or a tea-pot, while a boy turned round a wheel to give the mass rotundity. I thought this as excellent in its species of power, as making good verses in its species. Yet I had no respect for this potter. Neither, indeed, has a man of any extent of thinking for a mere verse-maker, in whose numbers, however perfect, there is no poetry, po mind. The china was beautiful, but Dr. Johnson justly observed it was too dear; for that he could have vessels of silver, of the same size, as cheap as wliat they were here made of
I felt a pleasure in walking about Derby, such as I always have in walking about any town to which I am not accustomed. There is an im, mediate sensation of novelty; and one speculates on the way in which life is passed in it, which, although there is a sameness every where upon the whole, is yet minutely diversified. The minute diversities in every thing are wonderful. Talking of shaving the other night at Dr. Taylor's, Dr. Johnson said, “Sir, of a thousand shavers, two do not shave so much alike as not to be distinguished.” I thought this not possible, till he specified so many of the varieties in shaving :-holding the razor more or less perpendicular;-drawing long or short strokes;-beginning at the upper part of the face, or the under-at the right side or the left side. Indeed, when one considers what variety of sounds can be uttered by the wind-pipe, in the compass of a very small aperture, we may be convinced how many degress of difference there may be in the application of a
We dived with Dr. Butter, whose lady is daughter of my cousin Sir John Douglas, whose grandson is now presumptive heir of the poble family of Queensberry. Johnson and he had a good deal of medical conversation. Johnson said, he had somewhere or other given an account of Dr. Nichols's discourse “ De Animâ Medica.” He told us “that whatever a man's disteinper was, Dr. Nichols would not attend him as a physician, if his mind was not at ease; for he believed that no medicines would have any influence. He once attended a man in trade, upon whom he found none of the medicines he prescribed had any effect; he asked the man's wife privately whether his affairs were not in a bad way? She said no. He continued his attendance some time, still without success. At length the man's wife told hiin, she had dis. covered that her husband's affairs were in a bad way. When Gold sinith was dying, Dr. Turton said to him, “Your pulse is in greater disorder than it should be, from the degree of fever which you have; is your mind at ease ?' Goldsinith answered it was not.”
After dinner, Mrs. Butter went with me to see the silk-inill which Mr. John Lombe had bad a patent for, having brought away the contrivance from Italy. I am uot very conversant with mechanics; but the simplicity of this machine, and its multiplied operations, struck me with an agreeable surprise. I had learnt from Dr. Johnson), during this interview, not to think with a dejected indifference of the works of art, and the pleasures of life, because life is uncertain and short; but to cove sider such indifference as a failure of reason, a morbidness of mind; for happiness should be cultivated as much as we can, and the objects which are instrumental to it should be steadily considered as of importance, with a reference not only to ourselves, but to multitudes in successive ages. Though it is proper to value small parts, as
"Sands make the mountain, moments make the year."
yet we must contemplate, collectively, to have a just estimation of ob. jects. One moment's being uneasy or not, seems of no consequence ; yet this
may be thought of the next, and the next, and so on, till there is a large portion of inisery. In the same way one must think of happi. ness, of learning, of friendship. We cannot tell the precise moment when friendship is formed. As in tilling a vessel drop by drop, there is at last a drop which inakes it run over; so in a series of kindnesses there is at last one which makes the heart run over. We must not divide objects of our attention into minute parts, and think or parately of each part. It is by contemplating a large mass of human existence, that a man, while he sets a just value on his own life, does not think of his death as annihilating all that is great and pleasing in the world, as it actually contained in his mind, according to Berkeley's reverie. If his imagination be not sickly and feeble, it " winys its distant way" far beyond himself, and views the world in unceasing activity of every sort,
It must be acknowledged, however, that Pope's plaintive reflection, that all things would be as gay as ever, on the day of his death, is påtural and common. We are apt to transfer to all around us our own gloom, without considering that at any given point of time there is, perhaps, as much youth and gaiety in the world as at another. Before I came into this life, in which I have had so many pleasant scenes, have not thoi sands and teu thousands of deaths and funerals happened, and have not families been in grief for their nearest relations? But have those dismal circumstances at all affected me? Why then should the gloomy scenes which I experience, or which I know, affect others : Let us guard agaiust imagining that there is an end of felicity upon earth, when we ourselves grow old or are unhappy.
Dr. Johnson told us at tea, that when some of Dr. Dodd's pious friends were trying to console him by saying that he was going to leave “a wretched world," he had honesty enough not to join in the cant ;-No, no (said he,) it has been a very agreeable world to me." Johnson added, “I respect Dodd for thus speaking the truth; for, to be sure, he had for several years enjoyed a life of great voluptuousness."
He told us, that Dodd's city friends stood by him so, that a thousand pounds were ready to be given to the gaoler, if he would let him escape. He added, that he knew a friend of Dodd's, who walked about Newgate for some time on the evening before the day of his execution, with five hundred pounds in his pocket, ready to be paid to any of the turnkeys who could get him out; but it was too late; for he was watched with much circumspection. He said, Dodd's friends had an image of him made of wax, which was to have been left in his place; and he believed it was carried into the prison.
Joboson disapproved of Dr. Dodd's leaving the world persuaded that “The Convict's Address to his unhappy Bretbren," was of his own writing. “But, Sir, (said I,) you contributed to the deception; for when Mr. Seward expressed a doubt to you that it was not Dodd's own, because it had a great deal more force of mind in it than any thing known to be his, you answered,—Why should you think so ? Depend upon it, Sir, when a man knows he is to be haoged in a fortnight, it concentrates his mind wonderfully." Johnson, Sir, as Dodd got it from me to pass as his own, while that could do him any good, that was an implied promise that I should not own it. To own it, therefore, would have been telling a lie, with the addition of breach of promise, which was worse than simply telling a lie to make it believed, it was Dodd's. Besides, Sir, I did not directly tell a lie: 1 left the matter uocertain. Perhaps I thought that Seward would not believe it the les slo be mine for what I said; but I would not put it in his power to say I had owned it.”
He praised Blair's sermons : “Yet," said he, (willing to let us see that he was aware that fashiovable fame, however deserved, is not always the most lasting,) "perhaps, they may not be reprinted after seven years ; at least not after Blair's death.”
He said, “ Goldsmith was a plant that flowered late. There appeared nothing remarkable about him when he was young; though when he had got high in fame, one of his friends began to recollect something of his being distinguished at College. Goldsmith in the same manner recollected more of that friend's early years as be grew a greater man.”
I mentioned that Lord Monboddo told me, he awaked every morning at four, and then for his health got up and walked in his room naked, with the window open, which he called taking an air bath; after which he went to bed again, and slept two hours more. Jobuson, who was always ready to beat down any thing that seemed to be exhibited with disproportionale importance, thus observed : “ I suppose, Sir, there is no more in it than this, he wakes at four, and cannot sleep till he chills himself, and makes the warmth of the bed a grateful sensation."
I talked of the difficulty of rising in the morning. Dr. Johnson told me, “that the learped Mrs. Carter, at that period when she was eager in study, did not awake as early as she wished, and she therefore had a contrivance, that at a certain hour, her chamber light should burn a string to which a heavy weight was suspended, which then fell with a strong sudden noise: this roused her from sleep, and then she had no difficulty in getting up.” But I said that was my difficulty: and wished there could be some medicine which would make one rise without pain, which I never did, unless after lying in bed a very long time. Perhaps there may be something in the stores of Nature which could do this. I have thought of a pulley to raise me gradually; but that would give me pain, as it would counteract my internal inclination. I would have suinething that can dissipate the vis inertia , and give elasticity to the muscles. As I imagine that the human body may be put, by the operation of other substances, into any state in which it has ever been; and I have experienced a state in which rising from bed was not disagreeable, but easy, way, sometimes agreeable; I suppose that this state may be produced, if we knew by what. We can heat the body, we can cool it; we can give it tension or relaxation; and surely it is possible to bring it into a state in wbich rising from bed will not be a pain.
Johusou observed that a man should take a sufficient quantity of sleep; which Dr. Mead says is between seven and nine hours. I told him, that Dr. Cullen said to me, that a man should not take more sleep than he can take at once. Johnson. This rule, Sir, cannot hold in all cases, for many people have their sleep broken by sickness; and surely, Cullen would not have a man to get up, after having slept but av hour. Such a regimen would soon end in a long sleep.” Dr. Taylor remarked, I think very justly, that “a man who does not feel an inclination to sleep at the ordinary times, instead of being stronger than other people, must pot be well; for a man in health has all the natural inclinations to eat, drink, and sleep, in a strong degree.”
“ But stay,
Johnson advised me to-night not to refine in the education of my children. “ Life, (said he) will not bear refinement; you must do as other people do."
As we drove back to Ashbourne, Dr. Johnson recommended to me, as he had often done, to drink water only: "For (said he) you are then sure not to get drunk; whereas, if you driok wine, you are never sure.” I said, drinking wine was a pleasure which I was unwilling to give up.
Why, Sir, (said he,) there is no doubt that not to drink wine is a great deduction from life: but it may be necessary.”. He however owned, that in his opinion a free use of wine did not shorteu life; and said, he would not give less for the life of a certain Scotch Lord (whoin he named) celebrated for hard drinking, than for that of a sober man. (said he, with his usual intelligence and accuracy of enquiry,) does it take much wine to make him drunk ?" I auswered, “A great deal either oi wine or strong punch."-" Then (said he) that is the worse." I presume to illustrate my friend's observation thus; “A fortress which soon surrenders has its walls less shattered, than when a long and obstipate resistauce is made.”
I ventured to mention a person who was as violent a Scotchman as he was an Englishman; and literally had the same contempt for an English man compared with a Scotchman, that he had for a Scotchman compared with an Englishman; and that be would say of Dr. Johnson, “ Damned rascal! to talk as he does of the Scotch.” This seemed, for a moment, to give him pause." It, perhaps, presented his extreme prejudice against the Scotch in a point of view somewhat new to him, by the effect of contrast.
By the tiine when we returned to Ashbourne, Dr. Taylor was gone to bed. Johnson and I sat up a long time by ourselves.
He was much diverted with an article which I shewed him in the “ Critical Review" of this year, giving an account of a curious publication, entitled " A spiritual Diary and Soliloquies, by John Rutty, M. D.” Dr. Rutty was one of the people called Quakers, a physician of some eminence in Dublin, and author of several works. This Diary, which was kept from 1753 to 1775, the year in which he died, and was now published in two volumes octavo, exhibited in the simplicity of his heart, a minute and honest register of the stute of his mind; which, though frequently laughable enough, was not more so than the history of many men would be, if recorded with equal fairness.
The following specimens were extracted by the Reviewers;
“ Tenth month, 1753.
Twelfth month. 17. An hypochondriack obnubilation from wind and indigestion.
Ninth month, 28. An over-dose of whisky.