Imagens das páginas

him." JOHNSON: "Why, Sir, that is very true, too; for I never knew a man of whom it could be said with less certainty to-day, what he will do to-morrow, than Garrick; it depends so much on his humour at the time." SCOTT: “I am glad to hear of his liberality. He has been represented as very saving." JOHNSON: "With his domestic saving we have nothing to do. I remember drinking tea with him long ago, when Peg Woffington' made it, and he grumbled at her for making it too strong. He had then begun to feel money in his purse, and did not know when he should have enough of it.


On the subject of wealth, the proper use of it, and the effects of that art which is called economy, he observed, "It is wonderful to think how men of very large estates not only spend their yearly incomes, but are often actually in want of money. It is clear they have not value for what they spend. Lord Shelburne told me, that a man of high rank, who looks into his own affairs, may have all that he ought to have, all that can be of any use, or appear with any advantage, for 5,000l. a-year. Therefore a great proportion must go in waste; and, indeed, this is the case with most people, whatever their fortune is." BOSWELL: "I have no doubt, Sir, of this. But how is it? What is waste ?" JOHNSON: "Why, Sir, breaking bottles, and a thousand other things. Waste cannot be accurately told, though we are sensible how destructive it is. Economy on the one hand, by which a certain income is made to maintain a man genteelly, and waste on the other, by which, on the same income another man lives shabbily, cannot be defined. It is a very nice thing; as one man wears his coat out much sooner than another, we cannot tell how."

We talked of war. JOHNSON: "6 Every man thinks meanly of himself for not having been a soldier, or not having been at sea.” BOSWELL: "Lord Mansfield does not." JOHNSON: "Sir, if Lord Mansfield were in a company of General Officers and Admirals who have been in service, he would shrink; he'd wish to creep under the table." BOSWELL: "No; he'd think he could try them all." JOHNSON: "Yes, if he could catch them; but they'd try him much sooner. No, Sir; were Socrates and Charles the Twelfth of Sweden both present in any company, and Socrates to say, 'Follow me, and hear a lecture in philosophy;' and Charles, laying his hand on his sword, to say, 'Follow me, and dethrone the Czar;' a man would be ashamed to follow Socrates. Sir, the impression is universal: yet it is strange

1 Margaret Woffington was the elder sister of Mrs. Cholmondeley, wife of the Hon. and Rev. George Cholmondeley, and an actress of some celebrity. She was born in Dublin in 1718, and her first appearance in London, was at Covent-garden Theatre, in 1738, in the character of "Sir Harry Wildair," in which she was eminently successful. Her society was extensively sought by persons of rank and talent. She died in 1760.

2 When Johnson told this little anecdote to Sir Joshua Reynolds, he mentioned a circumstance which he omitted to-day :-"Why," said Garrick, "it is as red as blood."BOSWELL.

As to the sailor, when you look down from the quarter-deck to the space below, you see the utmost extremity of human misery: such crowding, such filth, such stench!" BOSWELL: "Yet sailors are JOHNSON: happy." 66 They are happy as brutes are happy, with a piece of fresh meat,-with the grossest sensuality. But, Sir, the profession of soldiers and sailors has the dignity of danger. Mankind reverence those who have got over fear, which is so general a weakness." SCOTT: "But is not courage mechanical, and to be acquired ?" JOHNSON: "Why yes, Sir, in a collective sense. Soldiers consider themselves only as a part of a great machine." SCOTT: "We find people fond of being sailors." JOHNSON: "I cannot account for that, any more than I can account for other strange perversions of imagination."

His abhorrence of the profession of a sailor was uniformly violent ; but in conversation he always exalted the profession of a soldier. And yet I have, in my large and various collection of his writings, a letter to an eminent friend, in which he expresses himself thus: "My godson called on me lately. He is weary, and rationally weary, of a military life. If you can place him in some other state, I think you may increase his happiness, and secure his virtue. A soldier's time is passed in distress and danger, or in idleness and corruption." Such was his cool reflection in his study; but whenever he was warmed and animated by the

presence of company, he, like other philosophers, whose minds are impregnated with poetical fancy, caught the common enthusiasm for splendid renown.

He talked of Mr. Charles Fox, of whose abilities he thought highly, but observed, that he did not talk much at our CLUB. I have heard Mr. Gibbon remark, "that Mr. Fox could not be afraid of Dr. Johnson; yet he certainly was very shy of saying anything in Dr. Johnson's presence." Mr. Scott now quoted what was said of Alcibiades by a Greek poet, to which Johnson assented.1



1 Wishing to discover the ancient observation here referred to, I applied to Sir William Scott on the subject, but he had no recollection of it. My old and very learned friend, Dr. Michael Kearney, formerly senior fellow of Trinity College, Dublin, and now Archdeacon of Raphoe in Ireland, has, however, most happily elucidated this passage. He remarks to me, that "Mr. Boswell's memory must here have deceived him, and that Mr. Scott's observation must have been, that Mr. Fox, in the instance mentioned, might be considered as the reverse of Phoax, of whom, as Plutarch relates in the Life of Alcibiades, Eupolis the tragedian said, It is true he can talk, and yet he is no speaker.'"

If this discovery had been made by a scholiast on an ancient author, with what ardour and

He told us, that he had given Mrs. Montagu a catalogue of all Daniel De Foe's works of imagination; most, if not all, of which, as well as of his other works, he now enumerated, allowing a considerable share of merit to a man, who, bred a tradesman, had written so variously and so well. Indeed his "Robinson Crusoe" is enough of itself to establish his reputation.

He expressed great indignation at the imposture of the Cock-lane ghost, and related with much satisfaction, how he had assisted in detecting the cheat, and had published an account of it in the newspapers. Upon this subject, I incautiously offended him, by pressing him with too many questions, and he showed his displeasure. I apologised, saying that "I asked questions in ordered to be instructed and entertained; I repaired eagerly to the fountain; but that the moment he gave me a hint, the moment he put a lock upon the well, I desisted." "But, Sir," said he, "that is forcing one to do a disagreeable thing:" and he continued to rate me. "Nay, Sir," said I, "when you have put a lock upon the well, so that I can no longer drink, do not make the fountain of your wit play upon me and wet me."

He sometimes could not bear being teased with questions. I was once present when a gentleman asked so many, as, "What did you do, Sir?"—"What did you say, Sir?" that he at last grew enraged, and said, “I will not be put to the question. Don't you consider, Sir, that these are not the manners of a gentleman? I will not be baited with what and why; what is this? what is that? why is a cow's tail long? why is a fox's tail bushy?" The gentleman, who was a good deal out of countenance, said, "Why, Sir, you are so good, that I venture to trouble you." JOHNSON: "Sir, my being so good is no reason why you should be so ill."

Talking of the Justitia hulk at Woolwich, in which criminals were punished, by being confined to labour, he said, "I do not see that they are punished by this: they must have worked equally, had they never been guilty of stealing. They now only work; so, after all, they have gained; what they stole is clear gain to them; the confinement is nothing. Every man who works is confined: the smith to his shop, the tailor to his garret." BOSWELL: "And Lord Mansfield to his Court." JOHNSON: Yes, Sir. You know the notion of confinement may be ex ended, as in the song, 'Every island is a prison.' There is, in Dodsley's collection, a copy of verses to the author of that song."


Smith's Latin verses on Pococke, the great traveller,' were men

exuberant praise would Bentley or Taylor have spoken of it. Sir William Scott, to whom I communicated Dr. Kearney's remark, is perfectly satisfied that it is correct. For the other observations, we are indebted to the same gentleman. Every classical reader will lament that they are not more numerous.-MALONE.

1 Smith's verses are on Edward Pococke, the great Oriental linguist. He travelled, it is true; but Dr. Richard Pococke, late Bishop of Ossory, who published Travels through the Last is usually called the great traveller.-KEARNEY.

tioned. He repeated some of them, and said, they were Smith's best


He talked with an uncommon animation of travelling into distant countries; that the mind was enlarged by it, and that an acquisition of dignity of character was derived from it. He expressed a particular enthusiasm with respect to visiting the wall of China. I caught it for the moment, and said I really believed I should go and see the wall of China, had I not children, of whom it was my duty to take care. "Sir," said he, "by doing so, you would do what would be of importance in raising your children to eminence. There would be a lustre reflected upon them from your spirit and curiosity. They would be at all times regarded as the children of a man who had gone to view the wall of China-I am serious, Sir."

When we had left Mr. Scott's, he said, "Will you go home with me?" -"Sir," said I, "it is late; but I'll go with you for three minutes." JOHNSON: "Or four." We went to Mrs. Williams's room, where we found Mr. Allen, the printer, who was the landlord of his house in Boltcourt, a worthy, obliging man, and his very old acquaintance; and what was exceedingly amusing, though he was of a very diminutive size, he used, even in Johnson's presence, to imitate the stately periods and slow and solemn utterance of the great man. I, this evening, boasted, that although I did not write what is called stenography, or short-hand, in appropriated characters devised for the purpose, I had a method of my own of writing half words, and leaving out some altogether, so as yet to keep the substance and language of any discourse which I had heard so much in view, that I could give it very completely soon after I had taken it down. He defied me, as he had once defied an actual shorthand writer; and he made the experiment by reading slowly and distinctly a part of Robertson's "History of America," while I endeavoured to write it in my way of taking notes. It was found that I had it very imperfectly; the conclusion from which was, that its excellence was principally owing to a studied arrangement of words, which could not be varied or abridged without an essential injury.

On Sunday, April 12, I found him at home before dinner; Dr. Dodd's poem, entitled "Thoughts in Prison," was lying upon his table. This appearing to me an extraordinary effort by a man who was in Newgate for a capital crime, I was desirous to hear Johnson's opinion of it to my surprise he told me he had not read a line of it. I took up the book, and read a passage to him. JOHNSON: "Pretty well, if you are previously disposed to like them." I read another passage, with which he was better pleased. He then took the book into his own hands, and having looked at the prayer at the end of it, he said, "What evidence is there that this was composed the night before he suffered? I do not believe it." He then read aloud where he prays for the king, &c., and observed, "Sir, do you think that a man, the night before he is to be

hanged, cares for the succession of a royal family?—Though he may have composed this prayer then. A man, who has been canting all his life, may cant to the last.-And yet a man, who has been refused a pardon, after so much petitioning, would hardly be praying thus fer vently for the king."

He and I, and Mrs. Williams, went to dine with the Reverend Dr. Percy. Talking of Goldsmith, Johnson said, he was very envious. I defended him, by observing, that he owned it frankly upon all occasions. JOHNSON: "Sir, you are enforcing the charge. He had so much envy, that he could not conceal it. He was so full of it, that he overflowed. He talked of it, to be sure, often enough. Now, Sir, what a man avows he is not ashamed to think; though many a man thinks what he is ashamed to avow. We are all envious naturally; but by checking envy we get the better of it. So we are all thieves naturally; a child always tries to get at what it wants the nearest way. By good instruction and good habits this is cured, till a man has not even an inclination to seize what is another's; has no struggle with himself about it."

And here I shall record a scene of too much heat between Dr. Johnson and Dr. Percy, which I should have suppressed, were it not that it gave occasion to display the truly tender and benevolent heart of Johnson, who, as soon as he found a friend was at all hurt by anything which he had "said in his wrath,” was not only prompt and desirous to be reconciled, but exerted himself to make ample reparation.

Books of Travels having been mentioned, Johnson praised Pennant1 very highly, as he did at Dunvegan, in the Isle of Sky. Dr. Percy knowing himself to be the heir male of the ancient Percys3 and having the warmest and most dutiful attachment to the noble House of Northumberland, could not sit quietly and hear a man praised, who had spoken disrespectfully of Alnwick-castle, and the Duke's pleasuregrounds, especially as he thought meanly of his travels. He therefore

1 Thomas Pennant, the celebrated naturalist, and tourist. The principal works which emanated from his pen were his "British Zoology," a "Tour in Scotland," his "Account of London," and "Literary Memoirs;" all works of considerable repute. He was born in Downing, co. Flint., and died in 1718.

2 "Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides," edit. 3, p. 221.-BosWELL.

3 See this accurately stated, and the descent of his family from the Earls of Northumberland clearly deduced, in the Reverend Dr. Nash's excellent "History of Worcestershire, vol. ii. p. 318. The Doctor has subjoined a note, in which he says, "The Editor hath seen and carefully examined the proofs of all the particulars above-mentioned, now in the possession of the Reverend Thomas Percy."

The same proofs I have also myself carefully examined, and have seen some additional proofs which have occurred since the Doctor's book was published; and both as a Lawyer accustomed to the consideration of evidence, and as a Genealogist versed in the study of pedigrees, I am fully satisfied. I cannot help observing, as a circumstance of no small moment, that in tracing the Bishop of Dromore's genealogy, essential aid was given by the late Elizabeth Duchess of Northumberland, heiress of that illustrious house; a lady not only of high dignity of spirit, such as became her noble blood, but of excellent understanding and lively talents. With a fair pride I can boast of the honour of her Grace's correspondence, specimens of which adorn my archives.-BosWELL.

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