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them to Strahan, who sent them back with this answer:- 'That the first book he had published was the Duke of Berwick's Life, by which he had lost and he hated the name.'-Now I honestly tell you that Strahan has refused them; but I also honestly tell you, that he did it upon no principle, for he never looked into them." DILLY: "Are they well translated, Sir ?" JOHNSON: "Why, Sir, very well-in a style very current and very clear. I have written to the Benedictine to give me an answer upon two points :-What evidence is there that the letters are authentic? (for if they are not authentic they are nothing);And how long will it be before the original French is published? For if the French edition is not to appear for a considerable time, the translation will be almost as valuable as an original book. They will make two volumes in octavo; and I have undertaken to correct every sheet as it comes from the press." Mr. Dilly desired to see them, and said he would send for them. He asked Dr. Johnson if he would write a preface for them. JOHNSON: "No, Sir. The Benedictines were very kind to me, and I'll do what I undertook to do; but I will not mingle my name with them. I am to gain nothing by them. I'll turn them loose upon the world, and let them take their chance." DR. MAYO: "Pray, Sir, are Ganganelli's letters authentic ?" JOHNSON: "No Sir. Voltaire put the same question to the editor of them that I did to Macpherson-Where are the originals ?”
Mrs. Knowles affected to complain that men had much more liberty allowed them than women. JOHNSON: 66 Why, Madam, women have all the liberty they should wish to have. We have all the labour and the danger, and the women all the advantage. We go to sea, we build houses, we do every thing, in short, to pay our court to the women." MRS. KNOWLES: "The Doctor reasons very wittily, but not convincingly. Now, take the instance of building; the mason's wife, if she is ever seen in liquor, is ruined; the mason may get himself drunk as often as he pleases, with little loss of character; nay, may let his wife and children starve." JOHNSON: "Madam, you must consider, it the mason does get himself drunk, and let his wife and children starve, the parish will oblige him to find security for their maintenance. We have different modes of restraining evil. Stocks for the men, a duckingstool for women, and a pound for beasts. If we require more perfection. from women than from ourselves, it is doing them honour. And women. have not the same temptations that we have; they may always live in virtuous company; men must mix in the world indiscriminately. If a woman has no inclination to do what is wrong, being secured from it is no restraint to her. I am at liberty to walk into the Thames; but if I were to try it, my friends would restrain me in Bedlam, and I should be obliged to them." MRS. KNOWLES: "Still, Doctor, I cannot help thinking it a hardship that more indulgence is allowed to men than to women. It gives a superiority to men, to which I do not see how they
are entitled." JOHNSON: "It is plain, Madam, one or other must have the superiority. As Shakspeare says, 'If two men ride on a horse, one must ride behind."" DILLY: "I suppose, Sir, Mrs. Knowles would have them ride in panniers, one on each side." JOHNSON: "Then, Sir, the horse would throw them both." MRS. KNOWLES: "Well, I hope that in another world the sexes will be equal." BOSWELL: "That is being too ambitious, Madam. We might as well desire to be equal with the angels. We shall all, I hope, be happy in a future state, but we must not expect to be all happy in the same degree. It is enough, if we be happy according to our several capacities. A worthy carman will get to heaven as well as Sir Isaac Newton. Yet, though equally good, they will not have the same degree of happiness." JOHNSON: 'Probably not."
Upon this subject I had once before sounded him, by mentioning the iate Rev. Mr. Brown of Utrecht's image; that a great and small glass, though equally full, did not hold an equal quantity; which he threw out to refute David Hume's saying, that a little Miss, going to dance at a ball, in a fine new dress, was as happy as a great orator, after having made an eloquent and applauded speech. After some thought, Johnson said, "I come over to the parson.' As an instance of coincidence of thinking, Mr. Dilly told me, that Dr. King, a late dissenting minister in London, said to him, upon the happiness in a future state of good men of different capacities, “A pail does not hold so much as a tub; but if it be equally full, it has no reason to complain. Every saint in heaven will have as much happiness as he can hold." Mr. Dilly thought this a clear though a familiar illustration of the phrase, "One star differeth from another in brightness."
Dr. Mayo having asked Johnson's opinion of Soame Jenyns' "View of the Internal Evidence of the Christian Religion;"―JOHNSON: “I think it a pretty book; not very theological indeed; and there seems to be an affectation of ease and carelessness, as if it were not suitable to his character to be very serious about the matter." BoswELL: "He may have intended this to introduce his book the better among genteel people, who might be unwilling to read too grave a treatise. There is a general levity in the age. We have physicians now with bag-wigs, may we not have airy divines, at least somewhat less solemn in their appearance than they used to be?" JOHNSON: "Jenyns might mean as you say." BOSWELL: You should like his book, Mrs. Knowles, as it maintains, as your friends do, that courage is not a Christian virtue." MRS. KNOWLES: "Yes, indeed, I like him there; but I cannot agree with him, that friendship is not a Christian virtue." JOHNSON: "Why, Madam, strictly speaking, he is right. All friendship is preferring the
1 See on this question Bishop Hall's Epistles, Dec. iii. Epist. 6, "Of the different degrees of heavenly glory, and of our mutual knowledge of each other above."-MALONE.
2 See vol. ii. p. 13, where also this subject is discussed.-MALone.
interest of a friend, to the neglect, or, perhaps, against the interest of others; so that an old Greek said, 'He that has friends has no friend. \. Now Christianity recommends universal benevolence,-to consider all men as our brethren; which is contrary to the virtue of friendship, as described by the ancient philosophers. Surely, Madam, your sect must approve of this; for you call all men friends." MRS. KNOWLES: "We are commanded to do good to all men, 'but especially to them who are of the household of Faith."" JOHNSON: "Well, Madam, the household of Faith is wide enough." MRS. KNOWLES: "But, Doctor, our Saviour had twelve Apostles, yet there was one whom he loved. John was called 'the disciple whom Jesus loved."" JOHNSON (with eyes sparkling benignantly): "Very well, indeed, Madam. You have said very well." BOSWELL: "A fine application. Pray, Sir, had you ever thought of it?” JOHNSON: "I had not, Sir."
From this pleasing subject, he, I know not how or why, made a sudden transition to one upon which he was a violent aggressor; for he said, “I am willing to love all mankind, except an American;" and his inflammable corruption bursting into horrid fire, he, “breathed out threatenings and slaughter;" calling them, Rascals-robberspirates;" and exclaiming, he'd "burn and destroy them." Miss Seward, looking to him with mild but steady astonishment, said, "Sir, this is an instance that we are always most violent against those whom we have was irritated still more by this delicate and keen reproach; and roared out another tremendous volley, which one might fancy could be heard across the Atlantic. During this tempest I sat in great uneasiness, lamenting his heat of temper; till, by degrees, I diverted his attention to other topics.
DR. MAYO (to Dr. Johnson): "Pray, Sir, have you read Edwards, of New England, on Grace?" JOHNSON: "No, Sir." BoswELL: "It puzzled me so much as to the freedom of the human will, by stating, with wonderful acute ingenuity, our being actuated by a series of motives which we cannot resist, that the only relief I had was to forget it.” MAYO: "But he makes the proper distinction between moral and physical necessity." BOSWELL: Alas, Sir, they come both to the same thing. You may be bound as hard by chains when covered by leather as when the iron appears. The argument for the moral necessity of human actions is always, I observe, fortified by supposing universal prescience to be one of the attributes of the Deity." JOHNSON: "You are surer that you are free, than you are of prescience; you are surer that you can lift up your finger or not as you please, than you are of any conclusion from a deduction of reasoning. But let us consider a little the objection from prescience. It is certain I am either to go home to-night or not; that does not prevent my freedom." BOSWELL: "That it is certain you are either to go home or not, does not prevent your freedom because the liberty of choice between the two is compatible
with that certainty. But if one of these events be certain now, you have no future power of volition. If it be certain you are to go home to-night, you must go home." JOHNSON: "If I am well acquainted with a man, I can judge with great probability how he will act in any case, without his being restrained by my judging. GOD may have this probability increased to certainty." BoswELL: "When it is increased to certainty, freedom ceases, because that cannot be certainly foreknown, which is not certain at the time; but if it be certain at the time, it is a contradiction in terms to maintain that there can be afterwards any contingency dependant upon the exercise of will or anything else." JOHNSON: "All theory is against the freedom of the will: all experience for it."—I did not push the subject any farther. I was glad to find him so mild in discussing a question of the most abstract nature, involved with theological tenets, which he generally would not suffer to be in any degree opposed.1
He, as usual, defended luxury: "You cannot spend money in luxury without doing good to the poor. Nay, you do more good to them by spending it in luxury-you make them exert industry; whereas, by giving it, you keep them idle. I own, indeed, there may be more virtue în giving it immediately in charity, than in spending it in luxury ; though there may be pride in that too." Miss Seward asked, if this was not Mandeville's doctrine of “private vices public benefits.”2 JOHNSON: "The fallacy of that book is, that Mandeville defines neither vices nor benefits. He reckons among vices everything that gives pleasure. He takes the narrowest system of morality, monastic morality, which holds pleasure itself to be a vice, such as eating salt with our fish, because it makes it eat better; and he reckons wealth as a public benefit, which is by no means always true. Pleasure of itself is not a vice. Having a garden, which we all know to be perfectly innocent, is a great pleasure. At the same time, in this state of being there are many pleasures vices, which, however, are so immediately agreeable that we can hardly abstain from them. The happiness of heaven will be, that pleasure and virtue will be perfectly consistent. Mandeville puts the case of a man who gets drunk at an ale-house; and says it is a public benefit, because so much money is got by it to the public. But it must be considered, that all the good gained by this, through the gradation of alehouse-keeper, brewer, maltster, and farmer, is overbalanced by the evil caused to the man and his family by his getting drunk. This is the way to try what is vicious, by ascertaining whether
1 If any of my readers are disturbed by this thorny question, I beg leave to recommend to them Letter 69, of Montesquieu's Lettres Persanes; and the late Mr. John Palmer of Islington's Answer to Dr. Priestley's mechanical arguments for what he absurdly calls Philosophical necessity."-BOSWELL.
2 Bernard Mandeville was a Dutch physician, born at Dort, about 1670; but he eventually settled in London, and published a variety of works, the principal of which is "The Fable of the Bees, or Private Vices made Public Benefits." He died in 1733.-ED.
more evil than good is produced by it upon the whole, which is the case in all vice. It may happen that good is produced by vice, but not as vice; for instance, a robber may take money from its owner, and give it to one who will make a better use of it. Here is good produced; but not by the robbery as robbery, but as translation of property. I read Mandeville forty, or, I believe, fifty years ago. He did not puzzle me; he opened my views into real life very much. No; it is clear that the happiness of society depends on virtue. In Sparta, theft was allowed by general consent: theft, therefore, was there not a crime, but then there was no security; and what a life must they have had, when there was no security. Without truth there must be a dissolution of society. As it is, there is so little truth, that we are almost afraid to trust our ears; but how should we be, if falsehood were multiplied ten times! Society is held together by communication and information; and I remember this remark of Sir Thomas Brown's, 'Do the devils lie? No; for then hell could not subsist.'
Talking of Miss Hannah More, a literary lady, he said, "I was obliged to speak to Miss Reynolds, to let her know that I desired she would not flatter me so much." Somebody now observed, "She flatters Garrick." JOHNSON: "She is in the right to flatter Garrick. She is in the right for two reasons; first, because she has the world with her, who have been praising Garrick these thirty years; and secondly, because she is rewarded for it by Garrick. Why should she flatter me? I can do nothing for her. Let her carry her praise to a better market. (Then turning to Mrs. Knowles): You, Madam, have been flattering me all the evening; I wish you would give Boswell a little now. It you knew his merit as well as I do, you would say a great deal; he is the best travelling companion in the world."
Somebody mentioned the Rev. Mr. Mason's prosecution of Mr. Murray, the bookseller, for having inserted in a collection of " Gray's Poems," only fifty lines, of which Mr. Mason had still the exclusive property, under the statute of Queen Anne; and that Mr. Mason had persevered, notwithstanding his being requested to name his own terms of compensation. Johnson signified his displeasure at Mr. Mason's conduct very strongly; but added, by way of showing that he was not surprised at it, "Mason's a Whig." MRS. KNOWLES (not hearing distinctly): "What! a prig, Sir? "JOHNSON: "Worse, Madam; a Whig! But he is both."
I expressed a horror at the thought of death. "Nay, thou shouldst not have a horror for what is the gate of life." JOHNSON (standing upon the hearth rolling about, with a serious, solemn, and somewhat gloomy air): "No rational man can die without uneasy
1 See "A Letter to W. Mason, A.M., from J. Murray, bookseller, in London; " 2d. edit. p. 20.--BOSWELL.