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SAMUEL JOHNSON, LL.D.
1777 — 1778.
Ashbourne. Personal Disputes. Duke of Devonshire. — Burke's Definition of a Free Government.
Ilam. -- The Christian Revelation. - Mungo Campbell. - Dr. Taylor's Bull-dog. Æsop at play." - Memory. Rochester's Poems. - Prior. Hypochondria. Books. – Homer and Virgil. Lord Bacon. Topham Beauclerk. Grainger's “ Ode on Solitude.” — Music. — Happiness. — Future State. --Slave Trade. — American Independence.
Corruption of Parliament.— Planting.--" Oddity Johnson.' Decision of the Negro Cause. Mr. Saunders Welch. - Advice to Travellers. - Correspondence.
On Monday, September 22., when at breakfast, I unguardedly said to Dr. Johnson, “I wish I saw you and Mrs. Macaulay together.” He grew very angry; and, after a pause, while a cloud gathered on his brow, he burst out, “No, Sir ; you would not see us quarrel, to make you sport. Don't you know that it is very uncivil to pit two people against
one another ?” Then, checking himself, and wishing to be more gentle, he added, “I do not say you should be hanged or drowned for this ; but it is
Dr. Taylor thought him in the wrong, and spoke to him privately of it; but I afterwards acknowledged to Johnson that I was to blame, for I candidly owned, that I meant to express a desire to see a contest between Mrs. Macaulay and him ; but then I knew how the contest would end ; so that I was to see him triumph. Johnson. “Sir, you cannot be sure how a contest
a will end ; and no man has a right to engage two people in a dispute by which their passions may be inflamed, and they may part with bitter resentment against each other. I would sooner keep company with a man from whom I must guard my pockets, than with a man who contrives to bring me into a dispute with somebody that he may hear it. This is the great fault of (1) (naming one of our friends), endeavouring to introduce a subject upon which he knows two people in the company differ.” BOSWELL. “But he told me, Sir, he does it for instruction.”
JOHNSON. “ Whatever the motive be, Sir, the man who does so, does very wrong. He has no more right to instruct himself at such risk, than he has to make two people fight a duel, that he may learn how to defend himself."
He found great fault with a gentleman of our
(1) Mr. Langton is, no doubt, meant here, and in the next paragraph. See the affair of the 7th May, 1773 (Vol. III, p. 305., and Vol. IV. p. 90.); where the reader will find the cause of Johnson's frequent and fretful recurrence to this com. plaint. — C.