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CHANGE OF RELIGION.
and on the staircase leading to it was a board, with the names of contributors marked in gold letters. A printed catalogue of the collection was to be had at a bookseller's. Johnson expressed his admiration of the activity and diligence and good fortune of Mr. Green, in getting together, in his situation, so great a variety of things; and Mr. Green told me that Johnson once said to him, “ Sir, I should as soon have thought of building a man of war, as of collecting such a museum.” Mr. Green's obliging alacrity in showing it was very pleasing. His engraved portrait, with which he has favoured me, has a motto truly characteristical of his disposition, “ Nemo sibi vivat.”
A physician being mentioned who had lost his practice, because his whimsically changing his re. ligion had made people distrustful of him, I maina tained that this was unreasonable, as religion is un. connected with medical skill. JOHNSON. “Sir, it is not unreasonable ; for when people see a man absurd in what they understand, they may conclude the same of him in what they do not understand. If a physician were to take to eating of horseflesh, nobody would employ him; though one may eat horseflesh, and be a very skilful physician. If a man were educated in an absurd religion, his continuing to profess it would not hurt him, though his changing to it would. (1) ”
(1) Fothergill, a quaker, and Schomberg, a Jew, had the greatest practice of any two physicians of their time. — BURNEY. -Mr. D’Israeli thinks it possible, that Ralph Schomberg (the second son of Dr. Meyer Schomberg, the person mentioned by Dr. rney was the person alluded to in the text. Ralph
We drank tea and coffee at Mr. Peter Garrick's. where was Mrs. Aston, one of the maiden sisters of Mrs. Walmesley, wife of Johnson's first friend, and sister also of the lady of whom Johnson used to speak with the warmest admiration, by the name of Molly Aston, who was afterwards married to Captain Brodie of the navy.
Schomberg was driven from practice and out of society, for some dishonest tampering with the funds of an hospital, with which he was connected. C.
Lichfield. Peter Garrick. - Death of Mr. Thrale's only Son.-Shakspeare's Mulberry-tree.- Lord Bute.
- Marriage. — Questioning. Sir Fletcher Norton. -Ashbourne. Dr. Taylor.
« Old Men putting themselves to nurse.' “Il Palmerino ďInghilterra.” - Ingratitude. — Mr. Wedderburne.
“ Marrying for Love.”. Dr. James. Melancholy.— Captain Cook. Omai. Character of a Soldier. - Good humour of ancient Philosophers. - Public Schools.English Universities. Libels on the Dead.
On Sunday, March 24., we breakfasted with Mrs. Cobb, a widow lady, who lived in an agreeable sequestered place close by the town, called the Friary, it having been formerly a religious house. She and her niece, Miss Adey, were great admirers of Dr. Johnson; and he behaved to them with a kindness and easy pleasantry, such as we see between old and intimate acquaintance. He accompanied Mrs. Cobb to St. Mary's Church, and I went to the cathedral, where I was very much delighted with the music, finding it to be peculiarly solemn, and accordant with the words of the service.
We dined at Mr. Peter Garrick's, who was in a very lively humour, and verified Johnson's saying, that if he had cultivated gaiety as much as his brother David, he might have equally excelled in it. He was to-day quite a London narrator, telling us a variety of anecdotes with that earnestness and attempt at mimicry which we usually find in the wits of the metropolis. Dr. Johnson went with me to the cathedral in the afternoon. It was grand and pleasing to contemplate this illustrious writer, now full of fame, worshipping in “the solemn temple of his native city.
I returned to tea and coffee at Mr. Peter Garrick's, and then found Dr. Johnson at the Reverend Mr. Seward's, canon residentiary, who inhabited the bishop's palace, in which Mr. Walmesley lived, and which had been the scene of many happy hours in Johnson's early life. Mr. Seward had, with ecclesiastical hospitality and politeness, asked me in the morning, merely as a stranger, to dine with him ; and in the afternoon, when I was introduced to him, he asked Dr. Johnson and me to spend the evening, and sup with him. He was a genteel, well-bred, dignified clergyman, had travelled with Lord Charles Fitzroy, uncle of the present Duke of Grafton, who died when abroad, and he had lived much in the great world. He was an ingenious and literary man, had published an edition of Beaumont and Fletcher, and written verses in Dodsley's collection. His lady was the daughter of Mr. Hunter, Johnson's first schoolmaster. And now, for the first time, I had the pleasure of seeing his celebrated daughter, Miss Anna Seward, to whom I have since been indebted for many civilities, as well as some obliging communications concerning Johnson.
Mr. Seward mentioned to us the observations which he had made upon the strata of earth in volcanos, from which it appeared, that they were so
DEATH OF MR. THRALE's son.
very different in depth at different periods, that no calculation whatever could be made as to the time required for their formation. This fully refuted an anti-mosaical remark introduced into Captain Brydone's entertaining tour ('), I hope heedlessly, from a kind of vanity which is too common in those who have not sufficiently studied the most important of all subjects. Dr. Johnson, indeed, had said before, independent of this observation, “Shall all the accumulated evidence of the history of the world shall the authority of what is unquestionably the most ancient writing, be overturned by an uncertain remark such as this?
On Monday, March 25., we breakfasted at Mrs. Lucy Porter's. Johnson had sent an express to Dr. Taylor's, acquainting him of our being at Lichfield, and Taylor had returned an answer that his postchaise should come for us this day. While we sat at breakfast, Dr. Johnson received a letter by the post, which seemed to agitate him very much. When he had read it, he exclaimed, “One of the most dreadful things that has happened in my time.” The phrase my time, like the word age, is usually understood to refer to an event of a public or general nature. I imagined something like an assassination of the king - like a gunpowder plot carried into execution or like another fire of London. When asked, “What is it, Sir?” he answered, “ Mr. Thrale has lost his only son!” This was, no doubt, a very great affliction to Mr. and Mrs. Thrale, which their
(1) In Sicily and Malta. - C.