Imatges de pÓgina

one day, in a mixed company, of Lord Camden. "I met him," said he, " at Lord Clare's house(1) in the country, and he took no more notice of me than if I had been an ordinary man." The company having laughed heartily, Johnson stood forth in defence of his friend. Nay, gentlemen," said he, " Dr. Goldsmith is in the right. A nobleman ought to have made up to such a man as Goldsmith; and I think it is much against Lord Camden that he neglected him."


Nor could he patiently endure to hear, that such respect as he thought due only to higher intellectual qualities should be bestowed on men of slighter, though perhaps more amusing, talents. I told him, that one morning, when I went to breakfast with Garrick, who was very vain of his intimacy with Lord Camden, he accosted me thus: "Pray now, did you did you meet a little lawyer turning the corner, eh?" "No, Sir," said I; 66 pray what do you mean by the question?" "Why," replied Garrick, with an affected indifference, yet as if standing on tip-toe, "Lord Camden has this moment left me. We have had a long walk together." JOHNSON. "Well, Sir, Garrick talked very properly. Lord Camden was a little lawyer to be associating so familiarly with a player."

Sir Joshua Reynolds observed, with great truth, that Johnson considered Garrick to be as it were his property. He would allow no man either to

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blame or to praise Garrick in his presence, without contradicting him. (1)

Having fallen into a very serious frame of mind. in which mutual expressions of kindness passed between us, such as would be thought too vain in me to repeat, I talked with regret of the sad inevitable certainty that one of us must survive the other. JOHNSON. "Yes, Sir, that is an affecting consideration. I remember Swift, in one of his letters to Pope, says, I intend to come over, that we may meet once more; and when we must part, it is what happens to all human beings.'" BOSWELL. "The hope that we shall see our departed friends again must support the mind." JOHNSON. "Why, yes, Sir." (2) BOSWELL. "There is a strange unwillingness to part with life, independent of serious fears as to futurity. A reverend friend of ours (3) (naming him) tells me, that he feels an uneasiness at the thoughts of leaving his house, his study, his books." JOHNSON. "This is foolish in *****. A man need not be uneasy on these grounds: for, as he will retain his consciousness, he may say with the philosopher, Omnia mea mecum porto.”


(1) Sir Joshua Reynolds wrote two Dialogues, in illustration of this position, in the first of which Johnson attacks Garrick in opposition to Sir Joshua, and in the other defends him against Gibbon. Lord Farnborough has obligingly communicated to ne the evidence of the late Sir George Beaumont (who had received copies of them from Sir Joshua himself), both of their authenticity and of their correct imitation of Johnson's style of conversation, and I have therefore given them a place in the Appendix.-C. [See post, JOHNSONIANA.]

(2) See on the same subject, Vol. III. p. 192. — M. (3) Dr. Percy. — C.

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WELL. True, Sir: we may carry our books in our heads; but still there is something painful in the thought of leaving for ever what has given us pleasure. I remember, many years ago, when my imagination was warm, and I happened to be in a melancholy mood, it distressed me to think of going into a state of being in which Shakspeare's poetry did not exist. A lady, whom I then much admired, a very amiable woman, humoured my fancy, and relieved me by saying, ' The first thing you will meet with in the other world will be an elegant copy of Shakspeare's works presented to you.' Dr. Johnson smiled (1) benignantly at this, and did not appear to disapprove of the notion.

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We went to St. Clement's church again in the afternoon, and then returned and drank tea and coffee in Mrs. Williams's room; Mrs. Desmoulins doing the honours of the tea-table. I observed that he would not even look at a proof-sheet of his "Life of Waller" on Good-Friday.

Mr. Allen, the printer, brought a book on agriculture, which was printed, and was soon to be published. (2) It was a very strange performance, the author having mixed in it his own thoughts upon various topics, along with his remarks on ploughing, sowing, and other farming operations. He seemed to be an absurd profane fellow, and had introduced in his books many sneers at religion, with

(1) Dr. Johnson might well smile at such a distress of mind, and at the argument by which it was relieved. — C.

(2) This was Marshall's "Minutes of Agriculture." The author lived to publish many more important and less offensive works on this subject. CHALMERS.

equal ignorance and conceit. Dr. Johnson permitted me to read some passages aloud. One was that he resolved to work on Sunday, and did work, but he owned he felt some weak compunction; and he had this very curious reflection : "I was born in the wilds of Christianity, and the briars and thorns still hang about me." Dr. Johnson could not help laughing at this ridiculous image, yet was very angry at the fellow's impiety. However," said he," the reviewers will make him hang himself." He however observed, "that formerly there might have been a dispensation obtained for working on Sunday in the time of harvest." (1) Indeed, in ritual observances, were all the ministers of religion what they should be, and what many of them are, such a power might be wisely and safely lodged with the church.


On Saturday, 18th April, I drank tea with him. He praised the late Mr. Duncombe (2), of Canterbury, as a pleasing man. "He used to come to me; I did not seek much after him. Indeed, I never sought much after any body." Boswell. "Lord Orrery, I suppose." JOHNSON." No, Sir; I never went to him but when he sent for me." BOSWELL."Richardson?" JOHNSON. "Yes, Sir: but I sought after George Psalmanazar the most.

(1) [In the injunctions of Queen Elizabeth for the observance of Sunday, there was one exception - viz. for labour in time of harvest, after divine service: but which was not provided for in the act 29 Car. 2. c. 7.- MARKLAND.]

(E) William Duncombe, Esq. He married the sister of John Hughes, the poet; was the author of two tragedies, and other ingenious productions; and died 26th Feb. 1769, aged 79.-M.

I used to go and sit with him at an alehouse in the city." (1)

I am happy to mention another instance which 1 discovered of his seeking after a man of merit. Soon after the Honourable Daines Barrington had published his excellent " Observations on the Statutes (2)," Johnson waited on that worthy and learned gentleman; and, having told him his name, courteously said, "I have read your book, Sir, with great pleasure, and wish to be better known to you." Thus began an acquaintance, which was continued with mutual regard as long as Johnson lived.

Talking of a recent seditious delinquent (3), he said, "They should set him in the pillory, that he may be punished in a way that would disgrace him.”

(1) This extraordinary person lived and died at a house in Old Street, where Dr. Johnson was witness to his talents and virtues, and to his final preference of the church of England, after having studied, disgraced, and adorned so many modes of worship. The name he went by was not supposed by his friend to be that of his family, but all inquiries were vain: his reasons for concealing his original were penitentiary; he deserved no other name than that of the impostor, he said. His pious and patient endurance of a tedious illness, ending in an exemplary death (1763), confirmed the strong impression his merit had made upon the mind of Dr. Johnson. Piozzi. [The Memoir of Psalmanazar, written by himself, and published in 1754, though now a neglected piece of biography, will well repay the reader, as it affords much curious information. — MARKLAND.]

(2) Quarto, 1766. The worthy author died March 13. 1800, aged about 74. — M.

(3) Mr. Horne Tooke, who had been in the preceding July convicted of a seditious libel. The sentence-pronounced in November, 1777-was a year's imprisonment, and 2001. fine; but it seems strange that Johnson should, in April, 1778, have spoken conjecturally and prospectively of a sentence passed six months before. Perhaps this may be accounted for by Horne Tooke's having obtained a writ of error, and so suspended the ⚫ execution of the sentence. See post, p. 206. — C.

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