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Lord Graham commended Dr. Drummond at Naples as a man of extraordinary talents; and added, that he had a great love of liberty. JOHNSON: "He is young, my Lord (looking to his Lordship with an arch smile); all boys love liberty, till experience convinces them they are not so fit to govern themselves as they imagined. We are all agreed as to our own liberty: we would have as much of it as we can get; but we are not agreed as to the liberty of others: for in proportion as we take, others must lose. I believe we hardly wish that the mob should have liberty to govern us. When that was the case some time ago, no man was at liberty not to have candles in his windows." RAMSAY: "The result is, that order is better than confusion." JOHNSON: "The result is, that order cannot be had but by subordination."
On Friday, April 16, I had been present at the trial of the unfortunate Mr. Hackman, who, in a fit of frantic jealous love, had shot Miss Ray, the favourite of a nobleman. Johnson, in whose company I had dined to-day with some other friends, was much interested by my account of what passed, and particularly with his prayer for the mercy of heaven. He said, in a solemn fervid tone, "I hope he shall find mercy.”
This day a violent altercation arose between Johnson and Beauclerk [at the club], which having made much noise at the time, I think it proper, in order to prevent any future misrepresentation, to give a minute account of it.
In talking of Hackman, Johnson argued, as Judge Blackstone had done, that his being furnished with two pistols was a proof that he meant to shoot two persons. Mr. Beauclerk said, “No; for that every wise man who intended to shoot himself took two pistols, that he might be sure of doing it at once. Lord -'s cook shot himself with one pistol, and lived ten days in great agony. Mr. who loved buttered muffins, but durst not eat them because they disagreed with his stomach, resolved to shoot himself; and then he eat three buttered muffins for breakfast, before shooting himself, knowing that he should not be troubled with indigestion: he had two charged pistols; one was found lying charged upon the table by him, after he had shot himself with the other."- "Well," said Johnson, with an air of triumph, "you see here one pistol was sufficient." Beauclerk replied smartly, "Because it happened to kill him." And either then or very little afterwards, being piqued at Johnson's triumphant remark, added, "This is what you don't know, and I do." There was then a cessation of the dispute; and some minutes intervened, during which, dinner and the glass went on cheerfully; when Johnson suddenly and abruptly exclaimed, "Mr. Beauclerk, how came you to talk so petulantly to me, as, 'This is what you don't know, but what I know? One thing I know, which you don't seem to know, that you are very uncivil." BEAUCLERK: "Because you began by being uncivil (which you always are)." The words in parentheses were, I believe not heard by Dr.
Johnson. Here again there was a cessation of arms. Johnson told me that the reason why he waited at first some time without taking any notice of what Mr. Beauclerk said, was because he was thinking whether he should resent it. But when he considered that there were present a young Lord and an eminent traveller, two men of the world with whom he had never dined before, he was apprehensive that they might think they had a right to take such liberties with him as Beauclerk did, and therefore resolved he would not let it pass; adding, "that he would not appear a coward." A little while after this, the conversation turned on the violence of Hackman's temper. Johnson then said, "It was his business to command his temper, as my friend Mr. Beauclerk should have done some time ago." BEAUCLERK: I should learn of you, Sir.” JOHNSON: "Sir, you have given me opportunities enough of learning, when I have been in your company. No man loves to be treated with contempt." BEAUCLERK (with a polite inclination toward Johnson): "Sir, you have known me twenty years, and however I may have treated others, you may be sure I could never treat you with contempt.” JOHNSON: "Sir, you have said more than was necessary." Thus it ended; and Beauclerk's coach not having come for him till very late, Dr. Johnson and another gentleman sat with him a long time after the rest of the company were gone; and he and I dined at Beauclerk's on the Saturday se'nnight following.
After this tempest had subsided, I recollect the following particulars of his conversation:
"I am always for getting a boy forward in his learning, for that is a sure good. I would let him at first read any English book which happens to engage his attention; because you have done a great deal when you have brought him to have entertainment from a book. He'll get better books afterwards."
‘Mallet, I believe, never wrote a single line of his projected Life of the Duke of Marlborough. He groped for materials, and thought of it till he had exhausted his mind. Thus it sometimes happens that men entangle themselves in their own schemes."
"To be contradicted in order to force you to talk is mighty unpleasing. You shine, indeed; but it is by being ground.”
Of a gentleman who made some figure among the Literati of his time (Mr. Fitzherbert), he said, "What eminence he had was by a felicity of manner; he had no more learning than what he could not help."
On Saturday, April 24, I dined with him at Mr. Beauclerk's, with Sir Joshua Reynolds, Mr. Jones (afterwards Sir William), Mr. Langton, Mr. Steevens, Mr. Paradise, and Dr. Higgins. I mentioned that Mr. Wilkes had attacked Garrick to me, as a man who had no friend. JOHNSON: "I believe he is right, Sir. [Oi píλoi, où píλos]—He had friends but no friend. Garrick was so diffused. he had no man to
whom he wished to unbosom himself. He found people always ready. to applaud him, and that always for the same thing; so he saw life with great uniformity." I took upon me, for once, to fight with Goliath's weapons, and play the sophist.-"Garrick did not need a friend, as he got from everybody all that he wanted. What is a friend? One who supports and comforts you, while others do not. Friendship, you know, Sir, is the cordial drop, 'to make the nauseous draught of life go down;' but if the draught be not nauseous, if it be all sweet, there is no occasion for that drop." JOHNSON : Many men would not be content to live so. I hope I should not. They would wish to have an intimate friend, with whom they might compare minds and cherish private virtues." One of the company mentioned Lord Chesterfield as a man who had no friend. JOHNSON: "There were more materials to make friendship in Garrick, had he not been so diffused.” BOSWELL: "Garrick was pure gold, but beat out to thin leaf. Lord Chesterfield was tinsel." JOHNSON: "Garrick was a very good man, the most cheerful man of his age; a decent liver in a profession which is supposed to give indulgence to licentiousness; and a man who gave away, freely, money acquired by himself. He begun the word with a great hunger for money; the son of a half-pay officer, bred in a family whose study was to make fourpence do as much as others made fourpence halfpenny do. But when he had got money he was very liberal.” I presumed to animadvert on his eulogy on Garrick, in his "Lives of the Poets." "You say, Sir, his death eclipsed the gaiety of nations." JOHNSON: "I could not have said more or less. It is the truth: eclipsed, not extinguished; and his death did eclipse: it was like a storm." BOSWELL: "But why nations? Did his gaiety extend farther than his own nation ?" JOHNSON: "Why, Sir, some exaggeration must be allowed. Besides, nations may be said—if we allow the Scotch to be a nation-to have gaiety-which they have not. You are an exception, though. Come, gentlemen, let us candidly admit that there is one Scotchman who is cheerful." BEAUCLERK: "But he is a very unnatural Scotchman." I, however, continued to think the compliment to Garrick hyperbolically untrue. His acting had ceased some time before his death; at any rate he had acted in ireland but a short time, at an early period of his life, and never in Scotland. I objected also to what appears an anti-climax of praise, when contrasted with the preceding panegyric, "and diminished the public stock of harmless pleasure!" "Is not harmless pleasure very tame?" JOHNSON : "Nay, Sir, harmless pleasure is the highest praise. Pleasure is a word of dubious import; pleasure is, in general, dangerous, and pernicious to virtue; to be able, therefore, to furnish pleasure that is harmlesss, pleasure pure and unalloyed, is as great a power as man can possess.' This was, perhaps, as ingenious a defence as could be made; still, however, I was not satisfied.
A celebrated wit being mentioned, he said, “One may say of him as was said of a French wit, Il n'a de l'esprit que contre Dieu. I have been several times in company with him, but never perceived any strong power of wit. He produces a general effect by various means; he has a cheerful countenance and a gay voice. Besides, his trade is wit. It would be as wild in him to come into company without merriment, as for a highwayman to take the road without his pistols."
Talking of the effects of drinking, he said, "Drinking may be practised with great prudence; a man who exposes himself when he is intoxicated, has not the art of getting drunk; a sober man who happens occasionally to get drunk, readily enough goes into a new company, which a man who has been drinking should never do. Such a man will undertake anything: he is without skill in inebriation. I used to slink home when I had drunk too much. A man accustomed to selfexamination will be conscious when he is drunk, though an habitual drunkard will not be conscious of it. I knew a physician who for twenty years was not sober; yet in a pamphlet, which he wrote upon fevers, he appealed to Garrick and me for his vindication from a charge of drunkenness. A bookseller (naming him), who got a large fortune by trade, was so habitually and equally drunk, that his most intimate friends never perceived that he was more sober at one time than another."
Talking of celebrated and successful irregular practisers in physic, he said, Taylor1 was the most ignorant man I ever knew, but sprightly; Ward, the dullest. Taylor challenged me once to talk Latin with him (laughing). I quoted some of Horace, which he took to be part of my own speech. He said a few words well enough." BEAUMONT: "I remember, Sir, you said, that Taylor was an instance how far impudence could carry ignorance." Mr. Beauclerk was very entertaining this day, and told us a number of short stories in a lively and elegant manner, and with that air of the world which has I know not what impressive effect, as if there were something more than is expressed, or than, perhaps, we could perfectly understand. As Johnson and I accompanied Sir Joshua Reynolds in his coach, Johnson said, "There is in Beauclerk a predominance over his company that one does not like. But he is a man who has lived so much in the world, that he has a short story on every occasion; he is always ready to talk, and is never exhausted."
Johnson and I passed the evening at Miss Reynolds's, Sir Joshua's sister. I mentioned that an eminent friend of ours, talking of the common remark, that affection descends, said that "this was wisely contrived for the preservation of mankind; for which it was not so necessary that there should be affection from children to parents, as from parents to children; nay, there should be no harm in that view though
The Chevalier Taylor, the celebrated Oculist.-MALONE.
children should at a certain age eat their parents." JOHNSON: “But, Sir, if this were known generally to be the case, parents would not have affection for children." BOSWELL: “True, Sir; for it is in expectation of a return that parents are so attentive to their children; and I know a very pretty instance of a little girl of whom her father was very fond, who once, when he was in a melancholy fit, and had gone to bed, persuaded him to rise in good humour by saying, 'My dear papa, please to get up, and let me help you on with your clothes, that I may learn to do it when you are an old man.”
Soon after this time a little incident occurred which I will not suppress, because I am desirous that my work should be, as much as is consistent with the strictest truth, an antidote to the false and injurious notions of his character, which have been given by others, and therefore I infuse every drop of genuine sweetness into my biographical cup.
"TO DR. JOHNSON.
"MY DEAR SIR,
South Audley-street, Monday, April 26. "I am in great pain with an inflamed foot, and obliged to keep my bed, so am prevented from having the pleasure to dine at Mr. Ramsay's to-day, which is very hard; and my spirits are sadly sunk. Will you be so friendly as to come and sit an hour with me in the evening. I am ever your most faithful "And affectionate humble servant,
"Mr. Johnson laments the absence of Mr. Boswell, and will come to him."
He came to me in the evening, and brought Sir Joshua Reynolds. I need scarcely say that their conversation, while they sat by my bedside, was the most pleasing opiate to pain that could have been administered.
Johnson, being now better disposed to obtain information concerning Pope than he was last year, sent by me to my Lord Marchmont a present of those volumes of his "Lives of the Poets," which were at this time published, with a request to have permission to wait on him; and his lordship, who had called on him twice, obligingly appointed Saturday, the 1st of May, for receiving us.
On that morning, Johnson came to me from Streatham, and, after drinking chocolate at General Paoli's, in South Audley-street, we proceeded to Lord Marchmont's, in Curzon-street. His lordship met us at the door of his library, and with great politeness said to Johnson "I am not going to make an encomium upon myself, by telling you the