Imatges de pÓgina

wrote the two first volumes. And in another book, 'Dunton's Life and Errours,' we find that the rest was written by one Sault, at two guineas a sheet, under the direction of Dr. Midgeley."

BOSWELL. "This has been a very factious reign, owing to the which a man exasperates most people more, than by displaying a superior ability of brilliancy in conversation. They seem pleased at the time; but their envy makes them curse him at their hearts.'

"My readers will probably be surprised to hear that the great Dr. Johnson could amuse himself with so slight and playful a species of composition as a Charade. have recovered one which he made on Dr. Barnard, now Lord Bishop of Killaloe; who has been pleased for many years to treat me with so much intimacy and social ease, that I may presume to call him not only my Right Reverend, but my very dear, Friend. I therefore with peculiar pleasure give to the world a just and elegant compliment thus paid to his Lordship by Johnson.

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My first a shuts out thieves from your house or your room,

My second expresses a Syrian perfume.

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My whole is a man in whose converse is shar'd

The strength of a Bar and the sweetness of Nard.'

Johnson asked Richard Owen Cambridge, Esq. if he had read the Spanish translation of Sallust, said to be written by a Prince of Spain, with the assistance of his tutor, who is professedly the authour of a treatise annexed, on the Phoenician language.

"Mr. Cambridge commended the work, particularly as he thought the Translator understood his authour better than is commonly the case with Translators; but said, he was disappointed in the purpose for which he borrowed the book; to see whether a Spaniard could be better furnished with inscriptions from monuments, coins, or other antiquities, which he might more probably find on a coast, so immediately opposite to Carthage, than the Antiquaries of any other countries. JOHNSON. 'I am very sorry you were not gratified in your expectations.' CAMBRIDGE. 'The language would have been of little use, as there is no history existing in that tongue to balance the partial accounts which the Roman writers have left us.' JOHNSON. 'No, Sir. They have not been partial, they have told their own story, without shame or regard to equitable treatment of their injured enemy; they had no eompunction, no feeling for a Carthaginian. Why, Sir, they would never have borne Virgil's description of Æneas's treatment of Dido, if she had not been a Carthaginian.'

"I gratefully acknowledge this and other communications from Mr. Cambridge, whom, if a beautiful villa on the banks of the Thames, a few miles distant from London, a numerous and excellent library, which he accurately knows and reads, a choice collection of pictures, which he understands and relishes, an easy fortune, an amiable family, an extensive circle of friends and acquaintance, distinguished by rank, fashion, and genius, a literary fame, various, elegant and still increasing, colloquial talents rarely to be found, and with all these means of happiness, enjoying, when well advanced in years, health and vigour of body, serenity and animation of mind, do not entitle to be addressed fortunate senex! I know not to whom, in any age, that expression could with propriety have been used. Long may he live to hear and to feel it !1

"Johnson's love of little children, which he discovered upon all occasions, calling them, 'pretty dears,' and giving them sweatmeats, was an undoubted proof of the real humanity and gentleness of his disposition.

"His uncommon kindness to his servants, and serious concern, not only for their comfort in this world, but their happiness in the next, was another unquestionable evidence of what all, who were intimately acquainted with him, knew to be true. Nor would it be just under this head, to omit the fondness which he shewed for animals which he had taken under his protection. I never shall forget the indulgence

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1 Mr. Cambridge died at Twickenham,

c" Barnard."

Sept. 17, 1802, in his eighty-sixth year.

too great indulgence of Government. JOHNSON. "I think so, Sir. What at first was lenity, grew timidity. Yet this is reasoning à posteriori, and may not be just. Supposing a few had at first been punished, I believe faction would have been crushed; but it might have been said, that it was a sanguinary reign. A man cannot tell à priori what will be best for Government to do. This reign has been very unfortunate. We have had an unsuccessful war; but that does not prove that we have been ill governed. One side or other must prevail in war, as one or other must win at play. When we beat Louis, we were not better governed; nor were the French better governed when Louis beat us."

On Saturday, April 12, I visited him, in company with Mr. Windham, of Norfolk, whom, though a Whig, he highly valued. One of the best things he ever said was to this gentleman; who, before he set out for Ireland as Secretary to Lord Northington, when Lord Lieutenant, expressed to the Sage some modest and virtuous doubts, whether he could bring himself to practise those arts which

with which he treated Hodge, his cat; for whom he himself used to go out and buy oysters, lest the servants, having that trouble, should take a dislike to the poor creature. I am, unluckily one of those who have an antipathy to a cat, so that I am uneasy when in the room with one; and I own, I frequently suffered a good deal from the presence of this same Hodge. I recollect him one day scrambling up Dr. Johnson's breast, apparently with much satisfaction, while my friend smiling and half-whistling, rubbed down his back, and pulled him by the tail; and when I observed he was a fine cat, saying, 'why, yes, Sir, but I have had cats whom I liked better than this;' and then as if perceiving Hodge to be out of countenance, adding, but he is a very fine cat, a very fine cat indeed."

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"This reminds me of the ludicrous account which he gave Mr. Langton, of the despicable state of a young gentleman of good family. Šir, when I heard of him last, he was running about town shooting cats.' And then in a sort of kindly reverie, he bethought himself of his own favourite cat, and said, 'But Hodge shan't be shot: no, no, Hodge shall not be shot.'

"He thought Mr. Beauclerk made a shrewd and judicious remark to Mr. Langton, who, after having been for the first time in company with a well-known wit about town, was warmly admiring and praising him,- See him again,' said Beauclerk.

"His respect for the Hierarchy, and particularly the Dignitaries of the Church, has been more than once exhibited in the course of this work. Mr. Seward saw him presented to the Archbishop of York, and described his Bow to an ARCH-BISHOP as such a studied elaboration of homage, such an extension of limb, such a flexion of body, as have seldom or ever been equalled.

"I cannot help mentioning with much regret, that by my own negligence I lost an opportunity of having the history of my family from its founder Thomas Boswell, in 1504, recorded and illustrated by Johnson's pen. Such was his goodness to me, that when I presumed to solicit him for so great a favour, he was pleased to say, 'Let me have all the materials you can collect, and I will do it both in Latin and English; then let it be printed, and copies of it be deposited in various places for security and preservation.' I can now only do the best I can to make up for this loss, keeping my great Master steadily in view. Family histories, like the imagines majorum of the ancients, excite to virtue; and I wish that they who really have blood, would be more careful to trace and ascertain its course. Some have affected to laugh at the history of the house of Yvery: it would be well if many others would transmit their pedigrees to posterity, with the same accuracy and generous zeal, with which the Noble Lord who compiled that work has honoured and perpetuated his ancestry."


it is supposed a person in that situation has occasion to employ. "Don't be afraid, Sir, (said Johnson, with a pleasant smile,) you will soon make a very pretty rascal.”1

He talked to-day a good deal of the wonderful extent and variety of London, and observed, that men of curious enquiry might see in it such modes of life as very few could even imagine. He in particular recommended to us to explore Wapping, which we resolved to do, and certainly shall.

Mr. Lowe the painter, who was with him, was very much distressed that a large picture which he had painted was refused to be received into the exhibition of the Royal Academy. Mrs. Thrale knew Johnson's character so superficially, as to represent him as unwilling to do small acts of benevolence; and mentions, in particular, that he would hardly take the trouble to write a letter in favour of his friends. The truth, however, is, that he was remarkable, in an extraordinary degree, for what she denies to him; and, above all, for this very sort of kindness, writing letters for those to whom his solicitations might be of service. He now gave Mr. Lowe the following, of which I was diligent enough, with his permission, to take copies at the next coffee-house, while Mr. Windham was so good as to stay by me.

To Sir JOSHUA Reynolds.

"SIR, Mr. Lowe considers himself as cut off from all credit and all hope, by the rejection of his picture from the Exhibition. Upon this work he has exhausted all his powers, and suspended all his expectations: and certainly, to be refused an opportunity of

Cor. et Ad.-Line 5: Dele" and certainly shall," and on "do" put the following note:-"We accordingly carried our scheme into execution, in October, 1792; but whether from that uniformity which has in modern times, in a great degree, spread through every part of the metropolis, or from our want of sufficient exertion, we were disappointed.'


1 From Mr. Windham's notes it appears that the phrase about "making a very pretty rascal " was not spoken, but was part of some written advice given by Johnson to his friend." I have no great timidity in my own disposition, and am no encourager of it in others. Never be afraid to think yourself fit for any thing for which your friends think you fit. You will become an able negotiator, a very young rascal. . No one in Ire

land wears even the mask of incorruption. No one professes to do for sixpence what he can get a shilling for doing.. Set sail and see where the winds and the

waves will carry you. Every day will improve another-Dies diem docetby observing at night where you have failed in the day, and by resolving to fail no more."-Windham's Diary.

2 The expedition was made on October 23rd, according to Mr. Windham's Diary. He was no less disgusted than Mr. Boswell.

"I let myself foolishly be drawn by Boswell to explore, as he called it, Wapping, instead of going to see the battle between Ward and Stanyard, which turned out a very good one, and which would have served as a very good introduction to Boswell's diary."

taking the opinion of the publick, is in itself a very great hardship. It is to be condemned without a trial.

"If you could procure the revocation of this incapacitating edict, you would deliver an unhappy man from great affliction. The Council has sometimes reversed its own determination; and I hope, that by your interposition this luckless picture may be got admitted. I am, &c.

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"SIR, Mr. Lowe's exclusion from the Exhibition gives him more trouble than you and the other gentlemen of the Council could imagine or intend. He considers disgrace and ruin as the inevitable consequence of your determination.

"He says, that some pictures have been received after rejection; and if there be any such precedent, I earnestly intreat that you will use your interest in his favour. Of his work, I can say nothing: I pretend not to judge of painting; and this picture I never saw: but I conceive it extremely hard to shut out any man from the possibility of success; and therefore I repeat my request that you will propose the re-consideration of Mr. Lowe's case; and if there be any among the Council with whom my name can have any weight, be pleased to communicate to them the desire of, Sir, "Your most humble servant,

"April 12, 1783."


Such intercession was too powerful to be resisted, and Mr. Lowe's performance was admitted at Somerset-house. The subject, as I recollect, was the Deluge, at that point of time when the water was verging to the top of the last uncovered mountain. Near to the spot was seen the last of the antediluvian race, exclusive of those who were saved in the ark of Noah. This was one of those giants, then the inhabitants of the earth, who had still strength to swim, and with one of his hands held aloft his infant child. Upon the small remaining dry spot appeared a famished lion, ready to spring at the child and devour it. Mr. Lowe told me that Johnson said to him, "Sir, your picture is noble and probable."—"A compliment, indeed, (said Mr. Lowe,) from a man who cannot lie, and cannot be mistaken."1

About this time he wrote to Mrs. Lucy Porter, mentioning his bad health, and that he intended a visit to Lichfield. "It is (says he) with no great expectation of amendment that I make every

1 Northcote, however, who had seen it, pronounced it to be "execrable.”

year a journey into the country; but it is pleasant to visit those whose kindness has been often experienced."


On April 18, (being Good-Friday,) I found him at breakfast, in his usual manner upon that day, drinking tea without milk, and eating a cross-bun to prevent faintness; we went to St. Clement's church, as formerly. When we came home from church he placed himself on one of the stone seats at his garden-door, and I took the other, and thus in the open air and in a placid frame, he talked away very easily. JOHNSON. "Were I a country gentleman, I should not be very hospitable, I should not have crowds in my house." Boswell. "Sir Alexander Dick tells me, that he remembers having a thousand people in a year to dine at his house; that is reckoning each person one each time that he dined there." JOHNSON. That, Sir, is about three a day." BOSWELL. "How your statement lessens the idea." JOHNSON. "That, Sir, is the good of counting. It brings every thing to a certainty which before floated in the mind indefinitely." BOSWELL. "But Omne ignotum pro magnifico est. One is sorry to have this diminished." JOHNSON. "Sir, you should not allow yourself to be delighted with errour.' Boswell. "Three a day seem but few." JOHNSON. "Nay, Sir, he who entertains three a day does very liberally. And if there is a large family the poor entertain those three, for they eat what the poor would get; there must be superfluous meat; it must be given to the poor, or thrown out." BOSWELL. "I observe in London, that the poor go about and gather bones, which I understand are manufactured." JOHNSON. "Yes, Sir; they boil them, and extract a grease from them for greasing wheels and other purposes. Of the best pieces they make a mock ivory, which is used for hafts to knives, and various other things. The coarser pieces, they burn and pound them, and sell the ashes." BOSWELL. "For what purpose, Sir?" JOHNSON. "Why, Sir, for making a furnace for the chymists for melting iron. A paste made of burnt bones will stand a stronger heat than any thing else. Consider, Sir, if you are to melt iron, you cannot line your pot with brass, because it is softer than iron and would melt sooner; nor with iron, for though malleable iron is harder than cast iron, yet it would not do; but a paste of burnt bones will not melt." Boswell. Do you know, Sir, I have discovered a manufacture to a great extent, of what you only piddle at-scraping and drying the peel of oranges. At a place in Newgate-street, there is a prodigious

Cor. et Ad.-Last line: On "oranges" put the following note:-"It is suggested to me by an anonymous Annotator on my Work, that the reason why Dr. Johnson collected the peels of squeezed oranges, may be found. in the 358th Letter in Mrs. Piozzi's Collection, where it appears that he recommended dried orange-peel, finely powdered,' as a medicine.”

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