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amused herself in the coach with knotting; he would scarcely allow this species of employment any merit. "Next to mere idleness, said he, "I think knotting is to be reckoned in the scale of insignificance; though I once attempted to learn knotting. Dempster's sister," looking to me, "endeavoured to teach me it; but I made no progress."


I was surprised at his talking without reserve in the public postcoach of the state of his affairs: "I have," said he, "about the world, I think, above a thousand pounds, which I intend shall afford Frank an annuity of seventy pounds a year." Indeed his openness with people at a first interview was remarkable. He said once to Mr. Langton, “I think I am like Squire Richard in The Journey to London,' I'm never strange in a strange place." He was truly social. He strongly censured what is much too common in England among persons of condition,— maintaining an absolute silence, when unknown to each other; as, for instance, when occasionally brought together in a room before the master or mistress of the house has appeared. "Sir, that is being so uncivilized as not to understand the common rights of humanity."

At the inn where we stopped he was exceedingly dissatisfied with some roast mutton which he had for dinner. The ladies, I saw, wondered to see the great philosopher, whose wisdom and wit they had been admiring all the way, get into ill-humour from such a cause. He scolded the waiter, saying, "It is as bad as bad can be; it is ill-fed, illkilled, ill-kept, and ill-drest."

He bore the journey very well, and seemed to feel himself elevated as he approached Oxford, that magnificent and venerable seat of Learning, Orthodoxy, and Toryism. Frank came in the heavy coach, in readiness to attend him; and we were received with the most polite hospitality at the house of his old friend Dr. Adams, Master of Pembroke College, who had given us a kind invitation. Before we were set down, I communicated to Johnson my having engaged to return to London directly, for the reason I have mentioned, but that I would hasten back to him again. He was pleased that I had made this journey merely to keep him company. He was easy and placid with Dr. Adams, Mrs. and Miss Adams, and Mrs. Kennicot, widow of the learned Hebræan, who was here on a visit. He soon dispatched the inquiries which were made about his illness and recovery, by a short and distinct narrative; and then assuming a gay air, repeated from Swift,

"Nor think on our approaching ills,
And talk of spectacles and pills."

Dr. Newton,1 the Bishop of Bristol, having been mentioned, Johnson, recollecting the manner in which he had been censured by that

1 Dr. Newton, in his account of his own Life, after animadverting upon Mr. Gibbon's History, says "Dr. Johnson's 'Lives of the Poets' afforded more amusement; but

Prelate, thus retaliated :-"Tom knew he should be dead before what he has said of me would appear. He durst not have printed it while he was alive." DR. ADAMS: "I believe his "Dissertations on the Prophecies' is his great work." JOHNSON: "Why, Sir, it is Tom's great work; but how far it is great, or how much of it is Tom's, are other questions. I fancy a considerable part of it was borrowed.” DR. ADAMS: "He was a very successful man." JOHNSON: "I don't think so, Sir. He did not get very high. He was late in getting what he did get; and he did not get it by the best means. I believe he was a gross flatterer."

I fulfilled my intention by going to London, and returned to Oxford on Wednesday the 9th of June, when I was happy to find myself again in the same agreeable circle at Pembroke College, with the comfortable prospect of making some stay. Johnson welcomed my return with more than ordinary glee.

He talked with great regard of the Honourable Archibald Campbell, whose character he had given at the Duke of Argyle's table, when we were at Inverary;1 and at this time wrote out for me, in his own hand, a fuller account of that learned and venerable writer, which 1 have published in its proper place. Johnson made a remark this evening which struck me a good deal. "I never," said he, "knew a nonjuror who could reason.' "2 Surely he did not mean to deny that candour was much hurt and offended at the malevolence that predominates in every part. Some passages, it must be allowed, are judicious and well written, but make not sufficient compensation for so much spleen and ill-humour. Never was any biographer more sparing of his praise, or more abundant in his censures. He seemingly delights more in exposing blemishes, than in recommending beauties; slightly passes over excellencies, enlarges upon imperfections, and, not content with his own severe reflections, revives old scandal, and produces large quotations from the forgotten works of former critics. His reputation was so high in the republic of letters, that it wanted not to be raised upon the ruins of others. But these Essays, instead of raising a higher idea than was before entertained of his understanding, have certainly given the world a worse opinion of his temper."-The Bishop was therefore the more surprised and concerned for his townsman, for "he respected him not only for his genius and learning, but valued him much for the more amiable part of his character, his humanity and charity, his morality and religion." The last sentence we may consider as the general and permanent opinion of Bishop Newton. The remarks which precede it must, by all who have read Johnson's admirable work, be imputed to the disgust and peevishness of old age. I wish they had not appeared, and that Dr. Johnson had not been provoked by them to express himself not in respectful terms of a Prelate whose labours were certainly of considerable advan. tage both to literature and religion.-BoswELL.

1 "Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides," third edit. p. 371.-BOSWELL.

2 The Rev. Mr. Agutter has favoured me with a note of a dialogue between Mr. John Henderson and Dr. Johnson on this topic, as related by Mr. Henderson, and it is evidently so authentic that I shall here insert it:-Henderson: "What do you think, Sir, of William Law?" Johnson: "William Law, Sir, wrote the best piece of Parenetic Divinity; but William Law was no reasoner." Henderson: " Jeremy Collier, Sir?" Johnson: "Jeremy Collier fought without a rival, and therefore could not claim the victory." Mr. Henderson mentioned Kenn and Kettlewell; but some objections were made, at last he said, "But, Sir, what do you think of Lesley?" Johnson: "Charles Lesley I had forgotten. Lesley was a reasoner, and a reasoner who was not to be reasoned against."-Boswell.

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faculty to many of their writers; to Hickes, Brett, and other eminent divines of that persuasion; and did not recollect that the seven Bishops, so justly celebrated for their magnanimous resistance of arbitrary power, were yet nonjurors to the new Government. The nonjuring clergy of Scotland, indeed, who, excepting a few, have lately, by a sudden stroke, cut off all ties of allegiance to the house of Stuart, and resolved to pray for our present lawful Sovereign by name, may be thought to have confirmed this remark; as it may be said, that the divine indefeasible hereditary right which they professed to believe, if ever true, must be equally true still. Many of my readers will be surprised, when I mention that Johnson assured me he had never in his life been in a nonjuring meeting-house.


Next morning, at breakfast, he pointed out a passage in Savage's "Wanderer," saying, "These are fine verses. -“If,” said he, "I had written with hostility of Warburton in my Shakspeare, I should have quoted this couplet :

'Here Learning, blinded first, and then beguiled,
Looks dark as Ignorance, as Frenzy wild.'

You see they'd have fitted him to a T" (smiling). DR. ADAMS: "But you did not write against Warburton." JOHNSON: "No, Sir, I treated him with great respect both in my preface and in my notes."

Mrs. Kennicot spoke of her brother, the Rev. Mr. Chamberlayne, who had given up great prospects in the Church of England on his conversion to the Roman Catholic faith. Johnson, who warmly admired every man who acted from a conscientious regard to principle, erroneous or not, exclaimed fervently." GOD bless him.


Mrs. Kennicot, in confirmation of Dr. Johnson's opinion, that the present was not worse than former ages, mentioned that her brother assured her, there was now less infidelity on the Continent than there had been; Voltaire and Rousseau were less read. I asserted, from good authority, that Hume's infidelity was certainly less read. JOHNSON: "All infidel writers drop into oblivion, when personal connexions and the floridness of novelty are gone; though now and then a foolish fellow, who thinks he can be witty upon them, may bring them again into notice. There will sometimes start up a college joker, who does not consider that what is a joke in a college will not do in the world To such defenders of religion I would apply a stanza of a poem which I remember to have seen in some old collection :

"Henceforth be quiet and agree,

Each kiss his empty brother;
Religion scorns a foe like thee,

But dreads a friend like t'other.'

The point is well, though the expression is not correct; one, and not thee, should be opposed to t'other." 1

On the Roman Catholic religion he said, "If you join the Papists externally, they will not interrogate you strictly as to your belief in their tenets. No reasoning Papist believes every article of their faith. There is one side on which a good man might be persuaded to embrace it. A good man of a timorous disposition, in great doubt of his acceptance with GOD, and pretty credulous, may be glad to be of a church where there are so many helps to get to heaven. I would be a Papist if I could. I have fear enough; but an obstinate rationality prevents me. I shall never be a Papist, unless on the near approach of death, of which I have great terror. I wonder that women are not all Papists." BosWELL: They are not more afraid of death than men are. JOHNSON: "Because they are less wicked." DR. ADAMS: They are more pious.” JOHNSON: "No, hang 'em, they are not more pious. A wicked fellow is the most pious when he takes to it. He'll beat you all at piety.”



He argued in defence of some of the peculiar tenets of the Church of Rome. As to the giving the bread only to the laity he said, "They may think, that in what is merely ritual, deviations from the primitive mode may be admitted on the ground of convenience; and I think they are as well warranted to make this alteration, as we are to substitute sprinkling in the room of the ancient baptism." As to the invocation of saints, he said, "Though I do not think it authorized, it appears to me, that the communion of saints in the Creed means the communion with the saints in Heaven, as connected with the holy Catholic church.'" He admitted the influence of evil spirits upon our minds, and said, "Nobody who believes the New Testament can deny it."

I brought a volume of Dr. Hurd, the Bishop of Worcester's Sermons, and read to the company some passages from one of them, upon


I have inserted the stanza as Johnson repeated it from memory; but I have since found the poem itself, in "The Foundling Hospital for Wit," printed at London, 1749 It is as follows:

"EPIGRAM, occasioned by a religious dispute at Bath.

"On Reason, Faith, and Mystery high,
Two wits harangue the table;
By believes he knows not why,
Nh swears 'tis all a fable.


Peace, coxcombs, peace, and both agree;
Nh, kiss thy empty brother;
Religion laughs at foes like thee,

And dreads a friend like t'other."-BOSWELL.

Walker, in his "Divine Poesie," Canto first, has the same thought finely expressed :

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this text, "Resist the Devil, and he will fly from you." James iv. 7. I was happy to produce so judicious and elegant a supporter of a doctrine, which, I know not why, should, in this world of imperfect knowledge, and therefore of wonder and mystery in a thousand instances, be contested by some with an unthinking assurance and flippancy.

After dinner, when one of us talked of there being a great enmity between Whig and Tory:-JOHNSON: " Why, not so much, I think, unless when they come into competition with each other. There is none when they are only common acquaintance, none when they are of different sexes. A Tory will marry into a Whig family, and a Whig into a Tory family, without any reluctance. But indeed, in a matter of much more concern than political tenets, and that is religion, men and women do not concern themselves much about difference of opinion; and ladies set no value on the moral character of men who pay their addresses to them; the greatest profligate will be as well received as the man of the greatest virtue, and this by a very good woman, by a woman who says her prayers three times a day." Our ladies endeavoured to defend their sex from this charge; but he roared them down! No, no! a lady will take Jonathan Wild as readily as St. Austin, if he has threepence more; and, what is worse, her parents will give her to him. Women have a perpetual envy of our vices; they are less vicious than we, not from choice, but because we restrict them; they are the slaves


The Sermon thus opens:-" That there are angels and spirits, good and bad; that at the head of these last there is ONE more considerable and malignant than the rest who, in the form, or under the name of a serpent, was deeply concerned in the fall of man, and whose head, as the prophetic language is, the son of man was one day to bruise; that this evil spirit, though that phophecy be in part completed, has not yet received his death's wound, but is still permitted, for ends unsearchable to us, and in ways which we cannot particularly explain, to have a certain degree of power in this world hostile to its virtue and happiness, and sometimes exerted with too much success; all this is so clear from Scripture, that no believer, unless he be first of all spoiled by philosophy and vain deceit can possibly entertain a doubt of it."

Having treated of possessions, his lordship says, "As I have no authority to affirm that there are now any such, so neither may I presume to say with confidence, that there are not any."

"But then with regard to the influence of evil spirits at this day upon the SOULS of men, I shall take leave to be a great deal more peremptory." Then, having stated the various proofs, he adds, "All this, I say, is so manifest to every one who reads the Scriptures, that, if we respect their authority, the question concerning the reality of the demoniac influence upon the minds of men is clearly determined."

Let it be remembered, that these are not the words of an antiquated or obscure enthusiast, but of a learned and polite prelate now alive, and were spoken, not to a vulgar congregation, but to the Honourable Society of Lincoln's Inn. His lordship in this Sermon explains the words, " Deliver us from evil," in the Lord's Prayer, as signifying a request to be protected from" the evil one,' that is, the Devil. This is well illustrated in a short but excellent Commentary by my late worthy friend, the Rev. Dr. Lort, of whom it may be truly said, "Multis ille bonis flebilis occidit." It is remarkable that Waller, in his "Reflections on the several Petitions in that sacred form of devotion," has understood this in the same sense:

"Guard us from all temptations of the FOE. -Boswell.

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