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ing; for rents are not fallen.-A man gives half a guinea for a dish of green peas. How much gardening does this occasion ? how many labourers must the competition to have such things early in the market keep in employment? You will hear it said, very gravely, “Why was not the half guinea, thus spent in luxury, given to the poor? To how many might it have afforded a good meal. Alas! has it not gone to the industrious poor, whom it is better to support than the idle poor? You are much surer that you are doing good when you pay money to those who work, as the recompence of their labour, than when you give money merely in charity. Suppose the ancient luxury of a dish of peacock's brains were to be revived, how many carcases would be left to the poor at a cheap rate: and as to the rout that is made about people who are ruined by extravagance, it is no matter to the nation that some individuals suffer. When so much general productive exertions is the consequence of luxury, the nation does not care though there are debtors in gaol: nay they, would not care though their creditors were there too."
The uncommon vivacity of General Oglethorpe's mind, and variety of knowledge, having sometimes made his conversation seem too desultory, Johnson observed, Oglethorpe, Sir, never completes what he has to say.”
He on the same account made a similar remark on Patrick Lord Elibank: “Sir, there is nothing conclusive in his talk."
When I complained of having dined at a splendid table without hearing one sentence of conversation worthy of being remembered, he said, “Sir, there seldom is any such conversation.” Boswell. Why then meet at table?” Johnson. Why to eat and drink together, and to promote kindness; and, Sir, this is better done when there is no solid conversation : for when there is, people differ in opinion, and get into bad humour, or some of the company who are not capable of such conversation, are left out, and feel themselves uneasy. It was for this reason Sir Robert Walpole said, he always talked bawdy at his table, because in that all could join.'
Being irritated by hearing a gentleman ask Mr. Levett a variety of questions concerning him, when he was sitting by, he broke out, Sir, you have but two topicks, yourself
I am sick of both.” “ A man, (said he,) should not talk of himself, nor much of any particular person. He should take care not to be made a proverb; and, therefore, should avoid having any one topic of which people can say, "We shall hear him upon it.' There was a Dr. Oldfield, who was always talking of the Duke of Marlborough. He came into a coffee house one day, and told that his Grace had spoken in the house of Lords for half an hour. “Did he indeed speak for half an hour?' (said Belchier, the surgeon,) Yes.' - And what did he say of Dr. Oldfield'· Nothing'—Why then, Sir, he was very ungrateful; for Dr. Oldfield could not have spoken for a quarter of an hour, without saying something of him.”
"Every man is to take existence on the terms on which it is given to him. To some men it is given on condition of not taking liberties, which other men may take without much harm. One may drink wine, and be nothing the worse for it; on another, wine may have effects so inflammatory as to injure him both in body and mind, and perhaps, make him commit something for which he may deserve to be hanged.”
" Lord Hale's Annals of Scotland' have not that painted form which is the taste of this age; but it is a book which will always sell, it has such a stability of dates, such a certainty of facts, and such a punctuality of citation. I never before read Scotch history with certainty.
I asked him whether he would advise me to read the Bible with a commentary, and what commentaries he would recommend. Johnson. “ To be sure, Sir, I would have you read the. Bible with a commentary; and I would recommend Lowth and Patrick on the Old Testament, and Hammond on the New."
During my stay in London this spring, I solicited his attention to another law case, in which I was engaged. In the course of a contested election for the Borough of Dumfermline, which I attended as one of my friend Colonel (afterwards Sir Archibald) Campbell's counsel; one of his political agents, who was charged with having been unfaithful to his em
ployer, and having deserted to the opposite party for a pecuniary reward--attacked very rudely in a news-paper the Reverend Mr. James Thomson, one of the ministers of that place, on account of a supposed allusion to him in one of his sermons. Upon this the minister, on a subsequent Sunday, arraigned him by name from the pulpit with some severity; and the agent, after the Sermon was over, rose up and asked the minister aloud, “What bribe he had received for telling so many lies from the chair of verity.” I was present at this very extraordinary scene. The person arraigned, and his father and brother, who also had a share both of the reproof from the pulpit, and in the retaliation, brought an action against Mr. Thomson, in the Court of Session, for defamation and damages, and I was one of the counsel for the reverend defendant, The Liberty of the pulpit was our great ground of defence; but we argued also on the provocation of the previous attack, and on the instant retaliation. The Court of Session, however-the fifteen Judges, who are at the same time the Jury, decided against the minister, contrary to my humble opinion; and several of them expressed themselves with indignation against him. He was an aged gentleman, formerly a military chaplain, and a man of high spirit and honour. Johnson was satisfied that the judgment was wrong, and dictated to me the following argument in confutation of it."
“Of the censure pronounced from the pulpit, our determination must be formed, as in other
cases, by a consideration of the act itself, and the particular circumstances with which it is invested.
“ The right of censure and rebuke seems necessarily appendant to the pastoral office. He, to whom the care of a congregation is entrusted, is considered as the shepherd of a flock, as the teacher of a school, as the father of a family. As a shepherd tending not his own sheep but those of his master, he is answerable for those that stray, and that lose themselves by straying. But no man be answerable for losses which he has not power to prevent, or for vagrancy which he has not authority to restrain.
“ As a teacher giving instruction for wages, and liable to reproach, if those whom he undertakes to inform make no proficiency, he must have the power of enforcing attendance, of awakening negligence, and repressing contradiction.
“ As a father, he possesses the paternal authority of admonition, rebuke, and punishment. He cannot, without reducing his office to an empty name, be hindered from the exercise of any practice necessary to stimulate the idle, to reform the vicious, to check the petulant, and correct the stubborn.
“ If we inquire into the practice of the primitive church, we shall, I believe, find the ministers of the word, exercising the whole authority of this complicated character. We shall find thein not only encouraging the good by exhortation, but terrifying the wicked by