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could not tell the reason. It was, however, probably owing to his having 1783 had in his view the worst part of the Scottish nation, the needy adventurers, Ærat. 74. many of whom he thought were advanced beyond their merits, by means which he did not approve. Had he in his early life been in Scotland, and seen the worthy, sensible, independent gentlemen, who live rationally and hospitably at home, he never could have entertained such unfavourable and unjust notions of his fellow-subjects. And accordingly we find, that when he did visit Scotland, in the latter period of his life, he was fully sensible of all that it deserved, as I have already pointed out, when speaking of his “ Journey to the Western Inands."
Next day, Saturday, March 22, I found him still at Mrs. Thrale's, but he told me that he was to go to his own house in the afternoon. He was better, but I perceived he was but an unruly patient, for Dr. Pepys, who visited him, while I was with him said, “ If you were traftable; Sir, I Tould prescribe
I related to him a remark which a respectable friend had made to me, upon the then state of Government, when those who had been long in opposition had attained to power, it was supposed against the inclination of the Sovereign. “ You need not be uneasy (said this gentleman) about the King. He laughs at them all; he plays them one against another.” Johnson. “ Don't think so, Sir. The King is as much oppressed as a man can be. If he plays them one against another he wins nothing."
I had paid a visit to General Oglethorpe in the morning, and was told by him that Dr. Johnson faw company on Saturday evenings, and he would meet
at Johnson's, that night. When I mentioned this to Johnson, not doubting that it would please him, as he had a great value for Oglethorpe, the fretfulness of his disease unexpectedly shewed itself; his anger suddenly kindled, and he said, with vehemence, “ Did not you tell him not to come? Am I to be hunted in this manner?” I satisfied him that I could not divine that the visit would not be convenient, and that I certainly could not take it upon me of my own accord, to forbid the General.
I found Dr. Johnson in the evening in Mrs. Williams's room, at tea and coffee with her and Mrs. Desmoulins, who were also both ill; it was a fad scene, and he was not in a very good humour. He said of a performance that had lately come out, “Sir, if you Mould search all the mad-houses in England, you would not find ten men who would write so, and think it sense.”
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I was glad when General Oglethorpe's arrival was announced; and we left the ladies, Dr. Johnson attended him in the parlour, and was as courteous
The General faid he was busy reading the writers of the middle age. Johnson said they were very curious. OGLETHORPE. “ The House of Commons has usurped the power of the nation's money, and used it tyrannically. Government is now carried on by corrupt influence, instead of the inherent right in the King.” Johnson. “Sir, the want of inherent right in the King occasions all this disturbance. What we did at the Revolution was necessary: but it broke our constitution !.” OGLETHORPE. “My father did not think it necessary."
On Sunday, March 23, I break fasted with Dr. Johnson, who seemed much relieved, having taken opium the night before. He however protested against it, as a remedy that should be given with the utmost reluctance, and only in extreme necessity. I mentioned how commonly it was used in Turkey, and therefore it could not be so pernicious as he apprehended. He grew warm,
. and said, “ Turks take opium, and Christians take opium ; but Ruffel, in his account of Aleppo, tells us, that it is as disgraceful in Turkey to take too much opium, as it is with us to get drunk. Sir, it is amazing how things are exaggerated. A gentleman was lately telling in a company where I was present, that in France, as soon as a man of fashion marries, he takes an opera girl into keeping; and this he mentioned as a general custom. Pray, Sir, (said I,) how many opera girls may there be ? He answered, · About fourscore. Well then, Sir, (said I,) you see there can be no more than fourscore men of fashion who can do this.”
Mrs. Desmoulins made tea; and she and I talked before him upon a topick which he had once borne patiently from me, when we were by ourfelves his not complaining of the world, because he was not called to fome great office, nor had attained to great wealth. He flew into a violent passion, I confess with fome justice, and commanded us to have done.
« Nobody (faid he) has a right to talk in this manner, to bring before a man his own character, and the events of his life, when he does not choose it should be done. I never have fought the world ; the world was not to seek me. It is
• I have, in my “ Journal of a 'Tour to the Hebrides," fully expressed my sentiments upon this subject. The Revolution was necessary, but not a subject for glory; because it for a long time blafted the generous feelings of Loyalty. And now, when by the benignant effect of time the present Royal Family are established in our affe&tions, how unwife is it to revive by celebrations the memory of a hock, which it would surely have been better that our constitution had not required.
rather wonderful that so much has been done for me. All the complaints 1783.
may as well make a present to the post-man who brings me a letter. When patronage was limited, an authour expected to find a Mecænas, and complained if he did not find one. Why should he complain? This Mecænas has others as good as he, or others who have got the start of him.” Boswell. “ But furely, Sir, you will allow that there are many men of merit at the bar who never get practice." JOHNSON. “ Sir, you are sure that practice is got from an opinion that the person employed deserves it best; so that if a man of merit at the bar does not get practice, it is from errour, not from injustice. He is not neglected. A horse that is brought to market may not be bought, though he is a very good' horse: but that is from ignorance, not from intention.”
There was in this discourse much novelty, ingenuity, and discrimination,
" Regum æquabat opes animis.
On the subject of the right employment of wealth, Johnson observed, “A man cannot make a bad use of his money, so far as regards Society, if he does not hoard it. For if he either spends it or lends it out, Society has the
, benefit. It is in general better to spend money than to give it away; for industry is more promoted by spending money, than by giving it away. A man who spends his money is sure he is doing good with it: he is not so sure when he gives it away. A man who spends ten thousand a year will do more good than a man who spends two thousand and gives away eight.”
In the evening I came to him again. He was rather fietful from his illness. A entleman asked him, whether he had been abroad to-day. “ Den't talk so childishly, (said he). You may as well ask if I hanged myself to-day.” I mentioned politicks. Johnson. “Sir, I'd as soon have a man to break my bones as talk to me of publick affairs, 'internal or external. I have lived to see things all as bad as they can be.”
Having mentioned his friend the second Lord Southwell, he said, “ Lord Southwell was the highest bred man without insolence that I ever was in company
with ; the most qualified I ever saw. Lord Orrery was not dignified: Lord Chesterfield was, but he was insolent. Lord ********* is a man of coarse manners, but a man of abilities and information. I don't say he is a man I would set at the head of a nation, though perhaps he may be as good as the next Prime Minister that comes. But he is a man to be at the head of a Club;-I don't say our CLUB ;—for there's no such Club.” Boswell. “ But, Sir, was not he once a factious man?” Johnson. “O yes, Sir ; as
, factious a fellow as could be found: one who was for sinking us all into the mob.” Boswell. “How then, Sir, did he get into favour with the King?” Johnson. “ Because, Sir, I suppose he promised the King to do whatever the King pleased.”
He said, “ Goldsmith's blundering speech to Lord Shelburne, which has been so often mentioned, and which he really did make to him, was only a blunder in emphasis :- I wonder they should call your Lordship Malagrida, for Malagrida was a very good man ;'-meant, I wonder they should use Malagrida as a term of reproach.”
Soon after this time I had an opportunity of seeing, by means of one of his friends, a proof that his talents, as well as his obliging service to authours, were ready as ever. He had revised “ The Village,” an admirable poem, by the Reverend Mr. Crabbe. Its sentiments as to the false notions of rustick happiness and rustick virtue, were quite congenial with his own; and he had taken the trouble not only to suggest Night corrections and variations, but to 3
furnish some lines, when he thought he could give the writer's meaning better
On Sunday, March 30, I found him at home in the evening, and had the
“ The more a man extends and varies his acquaintance the better.” This,
“ Raising the wages of day-labourers is wrong; for it does not make them live better, but only makes them idler, and idleness is a very bad thing for human nature.”
s I shall give an instance, marking the original by Roman, and Johnson's fubftitution in Italick characters :
In fairer scenes, where peaceful pleasures spring,
Tityrus, the pride of Mantuan swains, might fing :
Where Virgil, not where Fancy, leads the way."