« 이전계속 »
there is humanely regulated. To abolish that trade would be to
shut the gates of mercy on mankind." What may have passed elsewhere concerning it, The HOUSE OF LORDS is wise and independent :
Intaminatis fulget honoribus ;
Arbitrio popularis auræ. I have read, conversed, and thought much upon the subject, and would recommend to all who are capable of conviction, an excellent Tract by my learned and ingenious friend John Ranby, Esq. entitled “Doubts on the Abolition of the Slave Trade.” To Mr. Ranby's « Doubts," I will apply Lord Chancellor Hardwicke's expression in praise of a Scotch Law Book, called * Dirleton's Doubts;' “ HIS Doubts, (said his Lordship,) are better than most people's Certainties.”
When I said now to Johnson, that I was afraid I kept him too late up, “ No, Sir, (said he,) I don't care though I sit all night with you.” This was an animated speech from a man in his sixty-ninth year.
Had I been as attentive not to displease him as I ought to have been, I know not but this vigil might have been 'fulfilled; but I unluckily entered upon the controversy concerning the right of Great-Britain to tax America, and attempted to argue in favour of our fellowsubjects on the other side of the Atlantick. I insisted that America might be very well governed, and made to yield sufficient revenue by the means of influence, as exemplified in Ireland, while the people might be pleased with the imagination of their participating of the British constitution, by having a body of representatives, without whose consent money could not be exacted from them. Johnson could not bear my thus opposing his avowed opinion, which he had exerted himself with an extreme degree of heat to enforce; and the violent agitation into which he was thrown, while answering, or rather reprimanding me, alarmed me so, that I heartily repented of my having unthinkingly introduced the subject. I myself, however, grew warm, and the change was great, from the calın state of philosophical discussion in which we had a little before been pleasingly employed.
I talked of the corruption of the British parliament, in which I alledged that any question, however unreasonable or unjust, might be carried by a venal majority; and I spoke with high admiration of the Roman Senate, as if composed of men sincerely desirous to resolve what they should think best for their country. My friend would allow no such character to the Roman Senate; and he maintained that the British Parliament was not corrupt, and that there was no occasion to corrupt its members; asserting, that there was hardly ever any question of great importance before Parliament, any question in which a man might not very well vote either upon one side or the other. He said there had been none in his time except that respecting America.
We were fatigued by the contest, which was produced by my want of caution; and he was not then in the humour to slide into easy and chearful talk. It therefore so happened, that we were after an hour or two very willing to separate and go to bed.
On Wednesday, September 24, I went into Dr. Johnson's room before he got up, and finding that the storm of the preceding night was quite laid, I sat down upon his bed-side, and he talked with as much readiness and good humour as ever. He recommended to me to
plant a considerable part of a large inoorish farm which I had purchased, and he made several calculations of the expence and profit ; for he delighted in exercising his mind on the science of numbers. He pressed upon me the importance of planting at the first in a very sufficient manner, quoting the saying
6 In bello non licet bis errare;” and adding, “ this is equally true in planting"
I spoke with gratitude of Dr. Taylor's hospitality; and as evidence that it was not on account of his good table alone that Johnson visited him often, I mentioned a little anecdote which had escaped my friend's recollection, and at hearing which repeated, he smiled. One evening, when I was sitting with him, Frank delivered this message;
“ Sir, Dr. Taylor sends his compliments to you, and begs you will dine with him to-morrow. He has got a hare.”-“ My compliments. (said Johnson) and I'll dine with him—hare or rabbit.”
After breakfast I departed, and pursued my journey northwards. I took my post-chaise from the Green Man, a very good inn at Ashbourne, the mistress of which, a mighty civil gentlewoman, courtseying very low, presented me with an engraving of the sign of her house; to which she had subjoined, in her own hand. writing, an address in such singular simplicity of style, that I have preserved it pasted upon one of the boards of my original Journal at this time, and shall here insert it for the amusement of my readers :
“ M. KILLINGLEY's duty waits upon Mr. Boswell, is exceedingly obliged to him for this favour; whenever he comes this way, hopes for a continuance of the same. Would Mr. Boswell name the house to his extensive acquaintance, it would be a singular favour conferrid on one who has it not in her power to make any other return but her most grateful thanks,
and sincerest prayers for his happiness in time, and in a blessed eternity.
“ Tuesday morn."
From this meeting at Ashbourne I derived a considerable accession to my Johnsonian store. I communicated my original Journal to Sir William Forbes, in whom I have always placed deserved confidence; and what he wrote to me concerning it is so much to my credit as the biographer of Johnson, that my readers will, I hope, grant me their indulgence for here inserting it : " It is not once or twice going over it (says Sir William,) that will satisfy me; for I find in it a high degree of instruction as well as entertainment; and I derive more benefit from Dr. Johnson's admirable discussions than I should be able to draw from his personal conversation ; for, I suppose there is not a man in the world to whom he discloses his sentiments so freely as to yourself.”
I cannot omit a curious circumstance which occurred at Edensor-inn, close by Chatsworth, to survey the magnificence of which I had gone a considerable way out of my road to Scotland. The inn was then kept by a very jolly landlord, whose name, I think, was Malton. He happened to mention that “ the celebrated Dr. Johnson had been in his house." I enquired who this Dr. Johnson was, that I might hear my host's notion of him. Sir, (said he,) Johnson, the great writer; Oddity, as they call him. He's the greatest writer in England; he writes for the ministry; he has a correspondence abroad, and lets them know what's going on."
My friend, who had a thorough dependence upon the authenticity of my relation without any embellishment, as falsehood or fiction is too gently called, laughed a good deal at this representation of himself.
MR. BOSWELL TO DR. JOHNSON. 66 MY DEAR SIR,
Edinburgh, Sept. 29, 1777. “ By the first post I inform you of my safe arrival at my own house, and that I had the comfort of finding my wife and children all in good health.
“ When I look back upon our late interview, it appears to me to have answered expectation better than almost any scheme of happiness that I ever put in execution. My Journal is stored with wisdom and wit; and my memory is filled with the recollection of lively and affectionate feelings, which now, I think, yield me more satisfaction than at the time when they were first excited. I have experienced this upon other occasions. I shall be obliged to you if you will explain it to me; for it seems wonderful that pleasure should be more vivid at a distance than when near. I wish you may find yourself in a humour to do me this favour; but I flatter myself with no strong hope of it; for I have observed, that unless upon very serious occasions, your letters to me are not answers to those which I write."
[I then expressed much uneasiness that I had mentioned to him the name of the gentleman who had told me the story so much to his disadvantage, the truth of which he had completely refuted; for that my having done so might be interpreted as a breach of confidence, and offend one whose society I valued :-therefore earnestly requesting that no notice might be taken of it to any body, till I should be in London, and have an opportunity to talk it over with the gentleman.]
TO JAMES BOSWELL, ESQ. “ DEAR SIR,
" You will wonder, or you have wondered, why no letter has come from me. What you wrote at your