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in my · Journey to the Hebrides,' how gold and silver destroy feudal subordination. But, besides, there is a general relaxation of reverence. No son now depends upon his father as in former times. Paternity used to be considered as of itself a great thing, which had a right to many claims. That is, in general, reduced to very small bounds. My hope is, that as anarchy produces tyranny, this extreme relaxation will produce freni strictio.”
Talking of fame, for which there is so great a desire, I observed how little there is of it in reality, compared with the other objects of human attention. « Let every man recollect, and he will be sensible how simall a part of his time is employed in talking or thinking of Shakspeare, Voltaire, or any of the moft celebrated men that have ever lived, or are now supposed to occupy the attention and admiration of the world. Let this be extracted and compresed; into what a narrow space will it go!" I then Nily introduced Mr. Garrick's fame, and his assuming the airs of a great man. Johnson,
. “Sir, it is wonderful how little Garrick assumes. No, Sir, Garrick fortunam reverenter habet. Consider, Sir: celebrated men, such as you have mentioned, have had their applause at a distance; but Garrick had it dashed in his face, founded in his ears, and went home every night with the plaudits of a thousand in his cranium. Then, Sir, Garrick did not find, but made his way to the tables, the levees, and almost the bed-chambers, of the great. Then, Sir, Garrick had under him a numerous body of people; who, from fear of his power, and hopes of his favour, and admiration of his talents, were constantly submissive to him. And here is a man who has advanced the dignity of his profesion. Garrick has made a player a higher character.” SCOTT. “And he is a very sprightly writer too.” Johnson. “ Yes, Sir; Scott
JOHNSON and all this supported by great wealth of his own acquisition. If all this had happened to me, I should have had a couple of fellows with long poles walking before me, to knock down every body that stood in the way. Confider, if all this had happened to Cibber or Quin, they'd have jumped over the moon.—Yet Garrick speaks to us." (smiling). Boswell, “ And Garrick
“ is a very good man, a charitable man.” Johnson. “Sir, a liberal man. He has given away more money than any man in England. There may be a little vanity mixed: but he has shewn, that money is not his first object.” Boswell. “ Yet Foote used to say of him, that he walked out with an intention to do a generous action; but, turning the corner of a street, he met with the ghost of a halfpenny, which frightened 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
On the subject of wealth, the proper use of it, and the effects of that art
We talked of war. Johnson. “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 com
Follow me, and hear a lecture in philosophy ;' and Charles, laying his hand
4 When Johnson told this little anecdote to Sir Joshua Reynolds, be mentioned a circumstance which he omitted to-day :- Why (faid Garrick) it is as red as blood."
1778. are happy as brutes are happy, with a piece of fresh meat, with the groffest JEtat. 69. sensuality. But, Sir, the profession of soldiers and failors has the dignity of
danger. Mankind reverence those who have got over fear, which is fo 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 parts 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 failor was uniformly violent; but in conversacion he always exalted the profession of a soldier.
foldier. 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 god-son 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 any thing in Dr. Johnson's presence.” Mr. Scott now quoted what was said of Alcibiades by a Greek poet, to which Johnson assented.
He told us, that he had given Mrs. Montagu a catalogue of all Daniel Defoe'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 silversmith, had written fo 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 fhewed his displeasure. I apologised, saying that “I asked questions in order 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 defisted.”-“ 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
He sometimes could not bear being teazed with questions. I was once
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 extended, as in the song, "Every isand is a prison. There is, in DodNey's collection, a copy of verses to the authour of that song.”
Smith's Latin verses on Pococke, the great traveller, were mentioned. He repeated some of them, and said they were Smith's best verses.
He talked with an uncommon animation of travelling into distant countries;
When we had left Mr. Scott's, he said, “Will you go home with me ?”
1798. amusing, though he was of a very diminutive size, he used, even in Johnson's Ætat. 69. presence, to imitate the stately periods and now and folemn 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
discourse which I heard so much in view, that I could give it very completely soon after taking it down. He defied me, as he had once defied an actual short-hand writer ; and he made the experiment by reading Nowly 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 conclufion from which was, that its excellence was principally owing to a studied arrangement of words, which could not be varied or abridged without an effential injury.
On Sunday, April 12, I found him at home before dinner ; Dr. Dodd's
I do not believe it." He then read
He and I, and Mrs. Williams, went to dine with the Reverend Dr. Percy. Talking of Goldlimith, 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 fure often enough. Now, Sir, what a man avows, he is not ashamed to think; though many a man thinks, what he is alhamed to avow. We are all envious naturally; but by checking envy we get the better of it, So we are all