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by a gentleman eminent in the literary world, and the materials which he had collected for the remainder had been transferred to another hand. He observed, that all works which describe manners, require notes in sixty or seventy years, or less; and told us, he had communicated all he knew that could throw light upon “The Spectator.” He said, “ Addison had made his Sir Andrew ! Freeport a true Whig, arguing against giving charity to beggars, and throwing out other such ungracious sentiments; but that he had thought better, and made amends by making him found an hospital for decayed farmers." He called for the volume of “The Spectator" in which that account is contained, and read it aloud to us. He read so well, that every thing acquired additional weight and grace from his utterance.
The conversation having turned on modern imitations of ancient ballads, and some one having praised their simplicity, he treated them with that ridicule which he always displayed when this subject was mentioned.
He disapproved of introducing scripture phrases into secular discourse. This seemed to me a question of some difficulty. A scripture expression may be used, like a highly classical phrase, to produce an instantaneous strong impression; and it may be done without being at all improper. Yet I own there is danger, that applying the language of our sacred book to ordinary subjects may tend to lessen our reverence for it. If therefore it be introduced at all, it should be with very great caution.
On Thursday, April 8, I sat a good part of the evening with him, but he was very silent. He said, “ • Burnet's History of his own Times,' is very entertaining. The style, indeed, is mere chit-chat. I do not believe that Burnet intentionally lyed; but he was so much prejudiced, that he took no pains to find out the truth. He was like a man who resolves to regulate his time by a certain watch ; but will not inquire whether the watch is right or not."
Though he was not disposed to talk, he was unwilling that I should leave him ; and when I looked at my watch, and told him it was twelve o'clock, he cried, “What's that to you and me?" and ordered Frank to tell Mrs. Williams that we were coming to drink tea with her, which we did. It was settled that we should go to church together next day.
On the gth of April, being Good Friday, I breakfasted with him on tea and cross-buns; Doctor Levet, as Frank called him, making the tea. He carried me with him to the church of St. Clement Danes, where he had his seat ;' and his behaviour was, as I had imaged to myself, solemnly devout. I never shall forget the tremulous earnestness with which he pronounced the awful petition in the Litany: “In the hour of death, and at the day of judgement, good LORD deliver us."
* Drs. Percy and Calder. as Mr.
Croker heard from Chalmers.
We went to church both in the morning and evening. In the interval between the two services we did not dine, but he read in the Greek New Testament, and I turned over several of his books.
In Archbishop Laud's Diary, I found the following passage, which I read to Dr. Johnson :
"1623. February 1, Sunday. I stood by the most illustrious Prince Charles, at dinner. He was then very merry, and talked occasionally of many things with his attendants. Among other things, he said, that if he were necessitated to take any particular profession of life, he could not be a lawyer, adding his reasons: *I cannot (saith he,) defend a bad, nor yield in a good cause."" JOHNSON. “Sir, this is false reasoning; because every cause has a bad side : and a lawyer is not overcome, though the cause which he has endeavoured to support be determined against him.”
I told him that Goldsmith had said to me a few days before, “As I take my shoes from the shoemaker, and my coat from the taylor, so I take my religion from the priest.” I regretted this loose way of talking. JOHNSON. “Sir, he knows nothing; he has made up his mind about nothing."
To my great surprize, he asked me to dine with him on Easterday. I never supposed that he had a dinner at his house; for I had not then heard of any one of his friends having been entertained at his table. He told me, “ I generally have a meat pye on Sunday: it is baked at a publick oven, which is very properly allowed, because one man can attend it; and thus the advantage is obtained of not keeping servants from church to dress dinners.”
April 11, being Easter Sunday, after having attended divine service at St. Paul's, I repaired to Dr. Johnson's. I had gratified my curiosity much in dining with JEAN JACQUES ROUSSEAU, while he lived in the wilds of Neufchatel : I had as great a curiosity to dine with Dr. SAMUEL JOHNSON, in the dusky recess of a court in Fleetstreet. I supposed we should scarcely have knives and forks, and only some strange uncouth ill-drest dish: but I found every thing in very good order. We had no other company but Mrs. Williams and a young woman whom I did not know. As a dinner here was considered as a singular phænomenon, and as I was frequently interrogated on the subject, my readers may perhaps be desirous to know our bill of fare. Foote, I remember, in allusion to Francis, the negro, was willing to suppose that our repast was black broth. But the fact was, that we had a very good soup, a boiled leg of lamb and spinach, a veal pye, and a rice pudding.
• Afterwards Charles I.
1 Pew No. 18. A brass tablet has been affixed to the adjoining pillar, “against which he must often have reclined,” with the following inscription by Dr. Croly:-" In this pew, and beside this pillar, for many years attended divine service the celebrated Dr. Samuel Johnson, the philosopher, the poet, the
great. lexicographer, the profound moralist and chief writer of his time. Born 1709; died 1784. In the remem. brance and honour of noble faculties nobly employed, some inhabitants of the parish of St. Clement Danes have placed this slight memorial, A.D. 1851."
Of Dr. John Campbell, the authour, he said, “ He is a very inquisitive and a very able man, and a man of good religious principles, though I am afraid he has been deficient in practice. Campbell is radically right; and we may hope that in time, there will be good practice.”
He owned that he thought Hawkesworth was one of his imitators, but he did not think Goldsmith was. Goldsmith, he said, had great merit. BOSWELL. “But, Sir, he is much indebted to you for his getting so high in the publick estimation.” JOHNSON. “Why, Sir, he has, perhaps, got sooner to it by his intimacy with me.”
Goldsmith, though his vanity often excited him to occasional competition, had a very high regard for Johnson, which he at this time expressed in the strongest manner in the Dedication of his comedy, entitled, “ She stoops to conquer."*
Johnson observed, that there were very few books printed in Scotland before the Union. He had seen a complete collection of them in the possession of the Honourable Archibald Campbell, a nonjuring Bishop. I wish this collection had been kept entire. Many of them are in the library of the Faculty of Advocates at Edinburgh. I told Dr. Johnson that I had some intention to write the life of the learned and worthy Thomas Ruddiman. He said, “I should take pleasure in helping you to do honour to him. But his farewell letter to the Faculty of Advocates, when he resigned the office of their Librarian, should have been in Latin.”
I put a question to him upon a fact in common life, which he
A “By inscribing this slight performance to you, I do not mean so much to compliment you, as myself. It may do me some honour to inform the publick, that I have lived many years in intimacy with you. It may serve the interests of mankind also to inform them, that the greatest wit may be found in a character, without impairing the most unaffected piety.”
6 See an account of this learned and respectable gentleman, and of his curious work on the Middle State, “ Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides,” 3d edit. p. 371.
could not answer, nor have I found any one else who could. What is the reason that women servants, though obliged to be at the expense of purchasing their own clothes, have much lower wages than men servants, to whom a great proportion of that article is furnished, and when in fact our female house servants work much harder than the male ?
He told me, that he had twelve or fourteen times attempted to keep a journal of his life, but never could persevere. He advised me to do it. “ The great thing to be recorded. (said he.) is the state of your own mind; and you should write down every thing that you remember, for you cannot judge at first what is good or bad : and write immediately while the impression is fresh, for it will not be the same a week afterwards.”
I again solicited him to communicate to me the particulars of his early years.
He said, “ You shall have them all for two-pence. I hope you shall know a great deal more of me before you write my Life." He mentioned to me this day many circumstances, which I wrote down when I went home, and have interwoven in the former part of this narrative.
On Tuesday, April 13, he and Dr. Goldsmith and I dined at General Oglethorpe's. Goldsmith expatiated on the common topick, that the race of our people was degenerated, and that this was owing to luxury. JOHNSON. “ Sir, in the first place, I doubt the fact. I believe there are as many tall men in England now, as ever there were. But, secondly, supposing the stature of our people to be diminished, that is not owing to luxury; for, Sir, consider to how very small a proportion of our people luxury can reach. Our soldiery, surely, are not luxurious, who live on six-pence a day; and the same remark will apply to almost all the other classes. Luxury, so far as it reaches the poor, will do good to the race of people: it will strengthen and multiply them. Sir, no nation was ever hurt by luxury; for, as I said before, it can reach but to a very few. I admit that the great increase of commerce and manufactures hurts the military spirit of a people; because it produces a competition for something else than martial honours,--a competition for riches. It also hurts the bodies of the people; for you will observe, there is no man who works at any particular trade, but you may know him from his appearance to do so. One part or other of his body being more used than the rest, he is in some degree deformed: but, Sir, that is not luxury. A tailor sits cross-legged ; but that is not luxury.”. GOLDSMITH. “Come, you're just going to the same place by another road." JOHNSON. “Nay, Sir, I say that is not luxury. Let us take a walk from Charing-cross to White. chapel, through, I suppose, the greatest series of shops in the world, what is there in any of these shops, (if you except gin-shops,) that can do any human being any harm ?" GOLDSMITH. “ Well, Sir, I'll accept your challenge. The very next shop to Northumberland-house is a pickle-shop.” JOHNSON. “Well, Sir: do we not know that a maid can in one afternoon make pickles sufficient to serve a whole family for a year ? nay, that five pickle-shops can serve all the kingdom ? Besides, Sir, there is no harm done to any body by the making of pickles, or the eating of pickles.”
We drank tea with the ladies; and Goldsmith sung Tony Lumpkin's song in his comedy, “She stoops to conquer," and a very pretty one, to an Irish tune, which he had designed for Miss Hardcastle ; but as Mrs. Bulkeley, who played the part, could not sing, it was left out. He afterwards wrote it down for me, by which means it was preserved, and now appears amongst his poems.
Dr. Johnson, in his way home, stopt at my lodgings in Piccadilly, and sat with me, drinking tea a second time, till a late hour.
I told him that Mrs. Macaulay said, she wondered how he could reconcile his political principles with his moral; his notions of inequality and subordination with wishing well to the happiness of all mankind, who might live so agreeably, had they all their portions of land, and none to domineer over another. JOHNSON. “Why, Sir, I reconcile my principles very well, because mankind are happier in a state of inequality and subordination.
Were they to be in this pretty state of equality, they would soon degenerate into brutes ;—they would become Monboddo's nation ;-their tails
Sir, all would be losers, were all to work to all :they would have no intellectual improvement. All intellectual improvement arises from leisure : all leisure arises from one working for another."
Talking of the family of Stuart, he said, “ It should seem that the family at present on the throne has now established as good a right as the former family, by the long consent of the people; and that to disturb this right might be considered as culpable. At the same time I own, that it is a very difficult question, when considered with respect to the house of Stuart. To oblige people to take oaths as to the disputed right, is wrong. I know not whether I could take them : but I do not blame those who do." So conscientious and so delicate was he upon this subject, which has occasioned so much clamour against him.
Cor. et Ad.—Line 12: On “tune," put the following note:-“The Humours of Ballamagairy."