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He was much diverted with an article which I shewed him in the « Critical 1777
Reviewof this year, giving an account of a curious publication, entitled, Ærat. 78.
“ 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 authour 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 state 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.

23. Indulgence in bed an hour too long.
“ Twelfth month, 17. An hypochondriack obnubilation from wind and
« Ninth month, 28. An over-dofe of whisky.

29. A dull, cross, cholerick day.
« First month, 1757-22. A little swinish at dinner and repast.

31. Dogged on provocation.
“ Second month, 5. Very dogged or snappish.

14. Snappish on fasting.
26. Cursed snappishness to those under me, on a bodily indisposition.

“ Third month, ur. On a provocation, exercised a dumb resentment for
two days, instead of scolding.
“ 22. Scolded too vehemently.

23. Dogged again.
“ Fourth month, 29. Mechanically and sinfully dogged.”

Johnson laughed heartily at this good Quietist's felf-condemning minutes ;
particularly at his mentioning, with such a serious regret, occasional instances of
"swinishness in eating, and doggedness of temper.He thought the observations
of the Critical Reviewers upon the importance of a man to himself fo
ingenious and so well expressed, that I shall here introduce them.

After obferving, that “ There are few writers who have gained any reputation by recording their own actions,” they say,

“ We may reduce the egotists to four clasies. In the first we have Julius Cæsar: he relates his own transactions; but he relates them with peculiar grace and dignity, and his narrative is supported by the greatness of his



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1777. character and archievements. In the second class we have Marcus Antoninus :
Arat. 68. this writer has given us a series of reflections on his own life ; but his fenti-

ments are so noble, his morality so sublime, that his meditations are universally
admired. In the third class we have some others of tolerable credit, who
have given importance to their own private history by an intermixture
of literary anecdotes, and the occurrences of their own times: the cele-
brated Huetius has published an entertaining volume upon this plan, De
rebus ad eum pertinentibus.' In the fourth class we have the journalists,
temporal and spiritual : Elias Ashmole, William Lilly, George Whitefield,
John Wesley, and a thousand other old women and fanatick writers of
memoirs and meditations."

I mentioned to him that Dr. Hugh Blair, in his lectures on Rhetorick and
Belles Lettres, which I heard him deliver at Edinburgh, had animadverted
on the Johnsonian style as too pompous; and attempted to imitate it, by
giving a sentence of Addison in “ The Spectator,” No. 411, in the manner
of Johnson. When treating of the utility of the pleasures of imagination in
preserving us from vice, it is observed of those “ who know not how to be
idle and innocent,” that their very first step out of business is into vice or
folly; which Dr. Blair supposed would have been expressed in “The Rambler,”
thus: “ Their very first step out of the regions of business is into the per-
turbation of vice, or the vacuity of folly 2.” Johnson. “Sir, these are not
the words I should have used. No, Sir; the imitators of my style have not
hit it. Miss Aikin has done it the best ; for she has imitated the sentiment
as well as the diction."

I intend, before this work is concluded, to exhibit specimens of imitation of my friend's style in various modes; some caricaturing or mimicking it, and some formed upon it, whether intentionally or with a degree of similarity to it, of which, perhaps, the writers were not conscious.

In Baretti's Review, which he published in Italy, under the title of Frusta Letteraria,” it is observed, that Dr. Robertson the historian had formed his style upon that of Il celebre Samuele Johnson.My friend himself was of that opinion; for he once said to me, in a pleasant humour,


Sir, if Robertson's

2 When Dr. Blair published his “ Lectures,” he was invidiously attacked for having omitted his censure on Johnson's style, and, on the contrary, praising it highly. But before that time Johnson's " Lives of the Poets” had appeared, in which his style was considerably easier than when he wrote “ The Rambler.” It would, therefore, have been uncandid in Plair, even supposing his criticism to have been just, to have preserved it.


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style be faulty, he owes it to me; that is, having too many words, and those 1777. too big ones.

Ætat. 68. I read to him a letter which Lord Monboddo had written to me, containing some critical remarks upon the style of his « Journey to the Western Inands of Scotland.” His Lordship praised the very fine paffage upon landing at Icolmkill }; but his own style being exceedingly dry and hard, he disapproved of the richness of Johnson's language, and of his frequent use of metaphorical expressions. Johnson. “Why, Sir, this criticism would be just, if in my style, fuperfluous words, or words too big for the thoughts, could be pointed out;

but this I do not believe can be done. For instance: in the passage which Lord Monboddo admires, “We were now treading that illustrious region, the word illustrious, contributes nothing to the mere narration;

' for the fact might be told without it: but it is not, therefore, superfluous ; for it wakes the mind to peculiar attention, where something of more than usual importance is to be presented. “Illustrious !'—for what? and then the sentence proceeds to expand the circumstances connected with Iona. And, Sir, as to metaphorical expression, that is a great excellence in style, when it is used with propriety, for it gives you two ideas for one;conveys the meaning more luminoully, and generally with a perception of delight.”

He told me, that he had been asked to undertake the new edition of the Biographia Britannica, but had declined it; which he afterwards said to me he regretted. In this regret many will join, because it would have procured us more of Johnson's most delightful species of writing; and although my friend Dr. Kippis has hitherto discharged the talk judiciously, distinąly, and with

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3 « WE were now treading that illustrious island, which was once the luminary of the Caledonian regions, whence savage clans and roving barbarians derived the benefits of knowledge, and the blessings of religion. To abstract the mind from all local emotion would be impossible, if it were endeavoured, and would be foolish if it were poflible. Whatever withdraws us from the power of our senses, whatever makes the past, the distant, or the future, predominate over the present, advances us in the dignity of thinking beings. Far from me, and from my friends, be such frigid philosophy, as may conduct us, indifferent and unmoved, over any ground which has been dignified by wisdom, bravery, or virtue. That man is little to be envied, whose patriotism would not gain force upon the plain of Marathon, or whose piety would not grow warmer among the ruins of Iona."

Had our 'Tour produced nothing else but this fublime paffage, the world must have acknow. ledged that it was not made in vain. The present respectable President of the Royal Society was so much struck on reading it, that he clasped his hands together, and remained for some time in an attitude of filent admiration,


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more impartiality than might have been expected from a Separatist, it were to Ærat. 68. have been wished that the superintendance of this literary Temple of Fame, .

had been asigned to “a friend to the constitution in Church and State.”
We should not then have had it too much crowded with obscure dissenting
teachers, doubtless men of merit and worth, but not quite to be numbered
amongst “ the most eminent persons who have fourished in Great-Britain
and Ireland.”

On Saturday, September 20, after breakfast, when Taylor was gone out
to his farm, Dr. Johnson and I had a serious conversation by ourselves on
melancholy and madness; which he was, I always thought, erroneously
inclined to confound together. Melancholy, like « great wit,” may be
“ near allied to madness ;” but there is, in my opinion, a distinct separation
between them. When he talked of madness, he was to be understood as
speaking of those who were in any great degree disturbed, or as it is com-
monly expressed, “ troubled in mind.” Some of the ancient philosophers held,
that all deviations from right reason were madness; and whoever wishes to
see the opinions both of ancients and moderns upon this subject, collected
and illustrated with a variety of curious facts, may read Dr. Arnold's very
entertaining work 4.

Johnson said, “ A madman loves to be with people whom he fears ; not as a dog fears the lash; but of whom he stands in awe." I was struck with the justice of this observation. To be with those of whom a person, whose mind is wavering and dejected, stands in awe, represses and composes an uneasy tumult of spirits, and consoles him with the contemplation of something steady, and at least comparatively great.

He added, “ Madmen are all sensual in the lower stages of the distemper. They are eager for gratifications to footh their minds and divert their attention from the misery which they suffer: but when they grow very ill, pleasure is too weak for them, and they seek for pains. Employment, Sir, and


4 “ Observations on Insanity," by Thomas Arnold, M. D. London, 1782.

s We read in the Gospels, that those unfortunate persons, who were pofseffed with evil spirits, (which, after all, I think is the most probable cause of madness, as was first fuggested to me by my respectable friend Sir John Pringle,) had recourse to pain, tearing themselves, and jumping sometimes into the fire, sometimes into the water. Mr. Seward has furnished me with a semarkable anecdote in confirmation of Dr. Johnson's observation. A tradesman, who had acquired a large fortune in London, retired from business, and went to live at Worcester. His mind, being without its usual occupation, and having nothing else to supply its place, preyed



hardships, prevent melancholy. I suppose in all our army in America there was not one man who went mad.”

Ætat. 68.
We entered seriously upon a question of much importance to me, which
Johnson was pleased to consider with friendly attention. I had long com-
plained to him that I felt myself discontented in Scotland, as too narrow a
sphere, and that I wished to make my chief residence in London, the great
scene of ambition, instruction, and amusement; a scene, which was to me,
comparatively speaking, a heaven upon earth. Johnson. “ Why, Sir, I
never knew any one who had such a gust for London as you have ; and I can-
not blame


wish to live there: yet, Sir, were I in your father's place, I should not consent to your settling there; for I have the old feudal notions, and I should be afraid that Auchinleck would be deserted, as you would foon find it more desirable to have a country-seat in a better climate. I own, however, that to consider it as a duty to reside on a family estate is a prejudice; for we must consider, that working-people get employment equally, and the produce of land is sold equally, whether a great family resides at home or not; and if the rents of an estate be carried to London, they return again in the circulation of commerce; nay, Sir, we must perhaps allow, that carrying the rents to a distance is a good, because it contributes to that circulation. We must, however, allow, that a well-regulated great family may improve a neighbourhood in civility and elegance, and give an example of good order, virtue, and piety; and so its residence at home may be of much advantage. But if a great family be disorderly and vicious, its residence at home is very pernicious to a neighbourhood. There is not now the same inducement to live in the country as formerly; the pleasures of social life are much better enjoyed in town; and there is no longer in the country that power and influence in proprietors of land which they had in old times, and which made the country so agreeable to them. The Laird of Auchinleck now is not near so great a man as the Laird of Auchinleck was a hundred

years ago.”

I told him, that one of my ancestors never went from home without being attended by thirty men on horseback. Johnson's shrewdness and spirit of enquiry were exerted upon every occasion. “ Pray (faid he,) how did your ancestor support his thirty men and thirty horses, when he went at a distance

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upon itself, so that existence was a torment to him. At last he was seized with the stone ; and a friend who found him in one of its feverest fits, having expressed his concern, “ No, no, Sir, (faid he,) don't pity me : what I now feel is ease, compared with that torture of mind from which it relieves me."


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