페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub

when in the room with one; and I own, I frequently 1783. suffered a good deal from the presence of this same Ætat.74. 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.”

“ This reminds me of the ludicrous account which he gave Mr. Langton, of the despicable state of a young gentleman of good family. “Sir, 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 adıniring 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 hava

P

VOL, IV,

1783. ing the history of my family from its founder ThoÆtat. 74.

mas 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 favourg 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.

On Thursday, April 10, I introduced to him, at his house in Bolt-court, the Honourable and Reverend William Stuart, son of the Earl of Bute; a gentleman truly worthy of being known to Johnson; being, with all the advantages of high birth, learning, travel, and elegant manners, an exemplary parish priest in every respect.

After some compliments on both sides, the tour which Johnson and I had made to the Hebrides was

[ocr errors]

[Written by John, Earl of Egmont. M.] }' 2 [At that time Vicar of Luton in Bedfordshire, where he lived for some years, and fully merited the character given of him in the text; now [1806] Lord Archbishop of Armagh, and Primate of Ireland. M.]

mentioned.-JOHNSON. “ I got an acquisition of 1783. more ideas by it than by any thing that I remember.

Ætat 74. I saw quite a different system of life.” BOSWELL. “ You would not like to make the same journey again?” Johnson. “ Why no, Sir; not the same: : it is a tale told. Gravina, an Italian critick, observes, that every man desires to see that of which he has read; but no man desires to read an account of what he has seen : so much does description fall short of reality. Description only excites curiosity: seeing satisfies it. Other people may go and see the Hebrides.” BoswELL. " I should wish to go and see some country totally different from what I have been used to; such as Turkey, where religion and every thing else are different.” Johnson. “ Yes, Sir; there are two objects of curiosity,—the Christian world, and the Mahometan world. All the rest may be considered as barbarous.” BOSWELL.

Boswell. “Pray, Sir, is the “Turkish Spy' a genuine book ?” Johnson.

No, Sir. Mrs. Manley, in her Life, says, that her father wrote the first two 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."3

Boswell.“ This has been a very factious reign, owing to the too great indulgence of Government."

3 [" The Turkish Spy," was pretended to have been written originally in Arabick; from Arabick translated into Italian, and thence into English. The real authour of the work, which was in fact originally written in Italian, was I. P. Marana, a Genoese, who died at Paris in 1693.

John Dunton in his life says, that “Mr. William Bradshaw received from Dr. Midgeley forty shillings a sheet for writing part of the “ Turkish Spy;" but I do not find that he any where mentions Sault as engaged in that work. M.]

1783. JOHNSON. 6 I think so, Sir. What at first was Ætat. 74. lenity, grew timidity. Yet this is reasoning à posteri

ori, 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 a 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 where 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 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.”

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.

• 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.

1783.

Mr. Lowe, the painter, who was with him, was very much distressed that a large picture which he

Ætat. 74, 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.

[ocr errors]

« 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 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. 5 April 12, 1783.

66 SAM. JOHNSON,"

« 이전계속 »