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is like an arrow shot from a long bow; the force of it depends on the strength 1784.
of the hand that draws it. Argument is like an arrow from a cross-bow, Ætat. 75.
which has equal force though shot by a child.”

He had dined that day at Mr. Hoole's, and Miss Helen Maria Williams
being expected in the evening, Mr. Hoole put into his hands her beautiful
“ Ode on the Peace 4;” Johnson read it over, and when this amiable, elegant,
and accomplished young lady was presented to him, he took her by the
hand in the most courteous manner, and repeated the finest stanza of her
poem; this was the most delicate and pleasing compliment he could pay.
Her respectable friend, Dr. Kippis, from whom I had this anecdote, was
standing by, and was not a little gratified.

Miss Williams told me, that the only other time she was fortunate enough to be in Dr. Johnson's company, he asked her to sit down by him, which she did, and upon her enquiring how he was, he answered, “ I am very ill indeed, Madam. I am very ill even when you are near me; what should I be were you at a distance,”

He had now a great desire to go to Oxford, as his first jaunt after his illness; we talked of it for some days, and I had promised to accompany him. He was impatient and fretful to-night, because I did not at once agree to go with him on Thursday. When I considered how ill he had been, and what allowance should be made for the influence of sickness upon his temper, I resolved to indulge him, though with some inconvenience to myself, as I wished to attend the musical meeting in honour of Handel, in WettminsterAbbey, on the following Saturday.

In the midst of his own diseases and pains, he was ever compassionate to the distresses of others, and actively earnest in procuring them aid, as appears from a note to Sir Joshua Reynolds, of June 1, in these words: “ I am ashamed to ask for some relief for a poor man, to whom, I hope, I have given what I can be expected to spare. The man importunes me, and the blow goes round. I am going to try another air on Thursday.”

On Thursday, June 3, the Oxford post-coach took us up in the morning at Bolt-court. The other two passengers were Mrs. Beresford and her daughter, two very agreeable ladies from America; they were going to Worcestershire, where they then resided. Frank had been sent by his master the day before to take places for us; and I found from the way-bill, that Dr. Johnson had made our names be put down. Mrs. Beresford, who had read

4 The Peace made by that very able statesman, the Earl of Shelburne, now Marquis of Lansdowne, which may fairly be considered as the foundation of all the prosperity of GreatBritain since that time.

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it, whispered me, “ Is this the great Dr. Johnson?” I told her it was; To The was then prepared to listen. As she foon happened to mention in a voice so low that Johnson did not hear it, that her husband had been a member of the American Congress, I cautioned her to beware of introducing that subject, as she must know how very violent Johnson was against the people of that country. He talked a great deal, but I am sorry I have preserved little of the conversation. Miss Beresford was so much charmed, that she said to me aside, “ How he does talk ! Every sentence is an essay.” She amused herself in the coach with knotting; he would scarcely allow this species of employment any merit.

« Next to mere idleness (said he) I think knotting is to be reckoned in the scale of insignificance; though I once attempted to learn knotting.. Dempster's sister (looking to me) endeavoured to teach me it; but I made no progress.”

I was surprised at his talking without reserve in the publick post-coach of the state of his affairs; “ I have (faid he) about the world I think above a thousand pounds, which I intend shall afford Frank an annuity of seventy pounds a year.'

At the inn where we stopped he was exceedingly dissatisfied with some roast mutton which we had for dinner. The ladies I saw wondered to see the great philosopher, whose wisdom and wit they had been admiring all the way, get into ill-humour from such a cause. He scolded the waiter, saying, “ It is as bad as bad can be. It is ill-fed, ill-killed, ill-kept, and ill-drest.”

He bore the journey very well, and seemed to feel himfelf elevated as he approached Oxford, that magnificent and venerable seat of Learning, Orthodoxy, and Toryism. Frank came in the heavy coach, in readiness to attend him; and we were received with the most polite hospitality at the house of his old friend Dr. Adams, Master of Pembroke College, who had given us a kind invitation. Before we were set down, I communicated to Johnson my having engaged to return to London directly, for the reason I have mentioned, but that I would hasten down to him again. He was pleased that I had made this journey merely to keep him company. He was easy and placid, with Dr. Adams, Mrs. and Miss Adams, and Mrs. Kennicot, widow of the learned Hebræan, who was here on a visit. He soon dispatched the inquiries which were made about his illness and recovery, by a short and distinct narrative ; and then assuming a gay air, repeated from Swift,

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« Nor think on our approaching ills,
" And talk of spectacles and pills.”


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Dr. Newton, the Bishop of Bristol, having been mentioned, Johnson, 1784.
recollecting the manner in which he had been mentioned by that Prelate “, Ærat. 75
thus retaliated: Tom knew he should be dead before what he has said of
me would appear. He durft not have printed it while he was alive.” Dr.
ADAMS. “ I believe his · Differtations on the Prophecies' is his great work.”
Johnson. “ Why, Sir, it is Tom's great work; but how far it is great, or
how much of it is Tom's, are other questions. I fancy a considerable part
of it was borrowed.” Dr. ADAMS. “ He was a very successful man.”
Johnson. “ I don't think so, Sir.-He did not get very high. He was late

in getting what he did get; and he did not get it by the best means. I
believe he was a gross flatterer."

I fulfilled my intention by going to London, and returned to Oxford on
Wednesday the gth of June, when I was happy to find myself again in the
same agreeable circle at Pembroke College, with the comfortable prospect of
making some stay. Johnson welcomed my return with more than ordinary

He talked with great regard of the Honourable Archibald Campbell, whose character he had given at the Duke of Argylls table, when we were at Inveraray s; and at this time wrote out for me, in his own hand, a fuller account of that learned and venerable writer, which I have published in its

• Dr. Newton in his Account of his own Life, after animadverting upon Mr. Gibbon's
History, says, “ Dr. Johnson's • Lives of the Poets' afforded more amusement; but candour

was much hurt and offended at the malevolence that predominates in every part. Some passages,
it must be allowed, are judicious and well written, but make not suficient compensation for so
much spleen and ill humour. Never was any biographer more sparing of his praise, or more
abundant in his censures. He seemingly delights more in exposing blemishes, than in recom-
mending beauties ; Nightly passes over excellencies, enlarges upon imperfections, and not content
with his own severe reflections, revives oid scandal, and produces large quotations from the
forgotten works of former criticks. His reputation was so high in the republick of letters, that
it wanted not to be raised upon the ruins of others. But these Essays, instead of raising a
higher idea than was before entertained of his understanding, have certainly given the world a
worse opinion of his temper.” The Bishop was therefore the more surprized and concerned for his
townsman, for he os respected him not only for his genius and learning, but valued him much more for the
more amiable part of his character, his humanity and charity, his morality and religion.The last
sentence we may consider as the general and permanent opinion of Bishop Newton ; the remarks
which precede it must, by all who have read Johnson's admirable work, be imputed to the
disgust and peevishness of old age. I wish it had not appeared, and that Dr. Johnson had not
been provoked by it to express himself, not in respectful terms, of a Prelate, whose labours were
certainly of considerable advantage both to literature and religion.

Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides," 3d edit. p. 371.
Vol. II.



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Ælat. 75

proper place. Johnson made a remark this evening which struck me a good deal. “ I never (faid he) knew a nonjuror who could reason.” Surely he did not mean to deny that faculty to many of their writers; to Hickes, Brett, and other eminent divines of that persuasion ; and did not recollect that the seven Bishops, so justly celebrated for their magnanimous resistance of arbitrary power, were yet Nonjurors to the new Government. The nonjuring clergy of Scotland, indeed, who, excepting a few, have lately, by a sudden stroke, cut off all ties of allegiance to the house of Stuart, and resolved to pray for our present lawful Sovereign by name, may be thought to have confirmed this remark; as it may be said, that the divine indefeasible hereditary right which they professed to believe, if ever true, must be equally true still. Many of my readers will be surprized when I mention, that Johnson assured me he had never in his life been in a nonjuring meetinghouse.

Next morning at breakfast, he pointed out a passage in Savage's “Wanderer," faying, “ These are fine verses.”-“If (said he) I had written with hostility of Warburton in my Shakspeare, I should have quoted this couplet :

« Here Learning, blinded first, and then beguild,
• Looks dark as Ignorance, as Fancy wild.'

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You see they'd have fitted him to a T” (smiling). Dr. Adams.“ But you
did not write against Warburton.” Johnson. “ No, Sir, I treated him with

great respect both in my Preface and in my Notes."

Mrs. Kennicot spoke of her brother, the Reverend Mr. Chamberlayne, who had given up good preferments in the Church of England on his conversion to the Roman Catholick faith. Johnson, who warmly admired every man who acted from a conscientious regard to principle, erroneous or not,.. exclaimed fervently, « God bless him."

Mrs. Kennicot, in confirmation of Dr. Johnson's opinion, that the present was not worse than, former ages, mentioned that her brother assured her, there was now less infidelity on the Continent than there had been; Voltaire and Rousseau were less read. I asserted, from good authority, that Hume's infidelity was certainly less read. Johnson. “ All infidel writers drop into oblivion, when personal connections and the Apridness of novelty are gone ; though now and then a foolish fellow, who thinks he can be witty upon them, may bring them again into notice. There will sometimes start up a College joker, who does not consider that what is a joke in a College will not do in




Ætat. 75

the world. To such defenders of Religion I would apply a stanza of a poem which I remember to have seen in some old collection :

« Henceforth be quiet and agree,

Each kiss his empty brother ; • Religion scorns a foe like thee,

( But dreads a friend like t'other.'


The point is well, though the expression is not correct; one, and not thee, should be opposed to t'other 6.

On the Roman Catholick religion he said, “ If you join the Papists externally, they will not interrogate you strictly as to your belief in their tenets. No reasoning Papist believes every article of their faith. There is one side on which a good man might be persuaded to embrace it. A good man, of a timorous disposition, in great doubt of his acceptance with God, and pretty credulous, might be glad to be of a church where there are so many helps to get to Heaven. I would be a Papist if I could. I have fear enough; but an obstinate rationality prevents me. I shall never be a Papist, unless on the near approach of death, of which I have a very great terrour.

I wonder that women are not all Papists.” Boswell. “ They are not more afraid of death than men are.” Johnson. “Because they are less wicked.” Dr. Adams. “ They are more pious.” Johnson. “ No, hang 'em, they are not more

JOHNS pious. A wicked fellow is the most pious when he takes to it. He'll beat you all at piety.”

He argued in defence of some of the peculiar tenets of the Church of Rome. As to the giving the bread only to the laity, he said, “They may think, that in what is merely ritual, deviations from the primitive mode may be admitted

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6 I have inserted the stanza as Johnson repeated it from memory; but I have fince found the poem itself, in “ The Foundling Hospital for Wit,” printed at London, 1749. It is as follows:


“ EPIGRAM, occafioned by a religious Dispute at Bath.
« On Reason, Faith, and Mystery high,

« Two wits harangue the table ;
". -y believes he knows not why,

" N fwears 'tis all a fable.
« Peace, coxcombs, peace, and both agree,

“ N, kiss thy empty brother ;
« Religion laughs at foes like thee,
“ And dreads a friend like t'other."



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