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friend Douglas, the representative of a great house, and proprietor of a vast estate, should suffer the sacred spot where his mother lies interred to be unroofed, and exposed to all the inclemencies of the weather. Dr. Johnson, who, I knew not how, had formed an opinion on the Hamilton side, in the Douglas cause, slily answered, “Sir, Sir, don't be too severe upon the gentleman; don't accuse him of want of filial piety! Lady Jane Douglas was not his mother.” He roused my zeal so much that I took the liberty to tell him he knew nothing of the cause; which I do most seriously believe was the
We were now “ in a country of bridles and saddles," and set out fully equipped. The Duke of Argyle was obliging enough to mount Dr. Johnson on a stately steed from his grace's stable. My friend was highly pleased, and Joseph said, “ He now looks like a bishop."
We dined at the inn at Tarbat, and at night came to Rosedow, the beautiful seat of Sir James Colquhoun, on the banks of Lochlomond, where I, and any friends whom I have introduced, have ever been received with kind and elegant hospitality.
Wednesday, Oct. 27. – When I went into Dr. Johnson's room this morning, I observed to him how wonderfully courteous he had been at Inverary, and said, “ You were quite a fine gentleman when with the duchess.” He answered, in good humour, “ Sir, I look upon myself as a very polite man:
1:" and he was right, in a proper manly sense of the word. As an immediate proof of it, let me observe that he would not send back the Duke of Argyle's horse without a letter of thanks, which I copied.
TO THE DUKE OF ARGYLE.
“ Rosedow, 29th Oct. 1773. “ My LORD, — That kindness which disposed your grace to supply me with the horse, which I have now returned, will make you pleased to hear that he has carried me well.
By my diligence in the little commission with which I was honoured by the duchess, I will endeavour to show how highly I value the favours which I have received, and how much I desire to be thought, my lord, your grace's most obedient and most humble ser. vant,
SAM. JOHNSON." The duke was so attentive to his respectable guest that, on the same day, he wrote him an answer, which was received at Auchinleck :
FROM THE DUKE OF ARGYLE.
“ Inverary, 29th Oct. 1773 “ SIR, — I am glad to hear your journey from this place was not unpleasant, in regard to your horse. I wish I could have supplied you with good weather, which I am afraid you felt the want of.
“ The Duchess of Argyle desires her compliments to you, and is much obliged to you for remembering her commission. I am, Sir, your most obedient humble servant,
ARGYLE.” I am happy to insert every memorial of the honour done to my great friend. Indeed, I was at all times desirous to preserve the letters which he re
ceived from eminent persons, of which, as of all other papers, he was very negligent; and I once proposed to him that they should be committed to my care, as his custos rotulorum. I wish he had complied with my request, as by that means many valuable writings might have been preserved that are now lost. (1)
After breakfast, Dr. Johnson and I were furnished vith a boat, and sailed about upon Lochlomond, and landed on some of the islands which are interspersed. He was much pleased with the scene, which is so well known by the accounts of various travellers that it is unnecessary for me to attempt any description of it.
I recollect none of his conversation, except that, when talking of dress, he said, “ Sir, were I to have any thing fine, it should be very fine. Were I to wear a ring, it should not be a bauble, but a stone of great value. Were I to wear a laced or embroidered waistcoat, it should be very rich. I had once a very rich laced waistcoat, which I wore the first night of my tragedy."
Lady Helen Colquhoun (2) being a very pious (1) As a remarkable instance of his negligence, I remember some years ago to have found lying loose in his study, and without the cover which contained the address, a letter to him from Lord Thurlow, to whom he had made an application as chancellor, in behalf of a poor literary friend. It was expressed in such terms of respect for Dr. Johnson, that, in my zeal for his reputation, I remonstrated warmly with him on his strange inattention, and obtained his permission to take a copy of it; by which probably it has been preserved, as the original I have reason to suppose is lost.— B.–See post, 24th Oct. 1780.–C.
(2) The Hon. Helen Sutherland, eldest daughter of Lord Strathnaver, who died before his father, the fifteenth Earl of Sutherland. She died in 1791.-C.
woman, the conversation, after dinner, took a religious turn. Her ladyship defended the presbyterian mode of public worship; upon which Dr. Johnson delivered those excellent arguments for a form of prayer which he has introduced into his
Journey.” I am myself fully convinced that a form of prayer for public worship is in general most decent and edifying. Solennia verba have a kind of prescriptive sanctity, and make a deeper impression on the mind than extemporaneous effusions, in which, as we know not what they are to be, we cannot readily acquiesce. Yet I would allow also of a certain portion of extempore address, as occasion may require. This is the practice of the French protestant churches. And although the office of forming supplications to the throne of Heaven is, in my mind, too great a trust to be indiscriminately committed to the discretion of every minister, I do not mean to deny that sincere devotion may be experienced when joining in prayer with those who use no Liturgy.
We were favoured with Sir James Colquhoun's coach to convey us in the evening to Cameron, the seat of Commissary Smollet. (1) Our satisfaction of finding ourselves again in a comfortable carriage was very great. We had a pleasing conviction of the commodiousness of civilisation, and heartily laughed at the ravings of those absurd visionaries who have attempted to persuade us of the superior advantages of a state of nature.
(1) Commissary Smollet was the cousin-german of Dr. Smollet: he died without issue; and the family estate would have descended to the Doctor had he been alive, but his sister succeeded to it.-C.
Mr. Smollet was a man of considerable learning, with abundance of animal spirits ; so that he was a very good companion for Dr. Johnson, who said to me, “ We have had more solid talk here than at any place where we have been.”
I remember Dr. Johnson gave us this evening an able and eloquent discourse on the Origin of Evil, and on the consistency of moral evil with the power and goodness of God. He showed us how it arose from our free agency, an extinction of which would be a still greater evil than any we experience. I know not that he said any thing absolutely new, but he said a great deal wonderfully well: and perceiving us to be delighted and satisfied, he concluded his harangue with an air of benevolent triumph over an objection which has distressed many worthy minds; “ This then is the answer to the question, Ilobey to Kaxov ?" (1) Mrs. Smollet whispered me, that it was the best sermon she had ever heard. Much do I upbraid myself for having neglected to preserve it. (2)
Thursday, Oct. 28. — Mr. Smollet pleased Dr. Johnson, by producing a collection of newspapers in the time of the usurpation, from which it appeared that all sorts of crimes were very frequent during that horrible anarchy. By the side of the high road to Glasgow, at some distance from his house, he had erected a pillar to the memory of his ingenious kinsman, Dr. Smollet; and he consulted Dr. Johnson as to an inscription for it. Lord Kames, who, though he had a great store of knowledge, with
2 Thingce as eru subject which had engaged much of Johnson's attention. See his review of Jenyns's Nature and Origin of Evil, and Idler, No. 89. -- MARKLAND.]