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son contrived to amuse his solitary hours. He sometimes employed himself in chymistry, sometimes in watering and pruning a vine, sometimes in small experiments, at which those who may smile, should recollect that there are moments which admit of being soothed only by trifles.
On the 20th of September I defended myself against his suspicion of me, which I did not deserve; and added,
pray let us write frequently. A whim strikes me, that we should send off a sheet once a week, like a stagecoach, whether it be full or not; nay, though it should be empty. The very sight of your hand-writing would comfort me; and were a sheet to be thus sent regularly, we should much oftener convey something, were it only a few kind words."
My friend, Colonel James Stuart, second son of the Earl of Bute, who had distinguished himself as a good officer of the Bedfordshire militia, had taken a publickspirited resolution to serve his country in its difficulties, hy raising a regular regiment, and taking the command of it himself. This, in the heir of the immense property of Wortley, was highly honourable. Having been in Scotland recruiting, he obligingly asked me to accompany him to Leeds, then the head-quarters of his corps;
2 In one of his manuscript Diaries, there is the following entry, which marks his curious minute attention : July 26, 1768. I shaved my nail by accident in whetting the knife, about an eighth of an inch from the bottom, and about a fourth from the top. This I measure that I may know the growth of nails; the whole is about five-eighths of an inch.”
Another of the same kind appears, Aug. 7, 1779, Partem brachii dextri carpo proximam et cutem pectoris circa mamillam dextram rasi, ut notum fieret quanto temporis pili renovarentur."
And, Aug. 15, 1783. I cut from the vine 41 leaves, which weighed five oz. and a half, and eight scruples :- I lay them upon my book-case, to see what weight they will lose by drying."
from thence to London for a short time, and afterwards to other places to which the regiment might be ordered. Such an offer, at a time of the year, when I had full leisure, was very pleasing; especially as I was to accompany a man of sterling good sense, information, discerniment, and conviviality, and was to have a second crop, in one year, of London and Johnson. Of this I informed my illustrious friend in characteristical warm terms, in a letter dated the 30th of September, from Leeds.
On Monday, October 4, I called at his house before he was up. He sent for me to his bed-side, and expressed his satisfaction at this incidental meeting, with as much vivacity as if he had been in the gaiety of youth. He called briskly, “ Frank, go and get coffee, and let us breakfast in splendour.”
During this visit to London I had several interviews with him, which it is unnecessary to distinguish particularly. I consulted him as to the appointment of guardians to my children, in case of my death. .
“ Sir, (said he, do not appoint a number of guardians. When there are many, they trust one to another, and the business is neglected. I would advise you to choose only one; let him be a man of respectable character, who, for his own credit, will do what is right; let him be a rich man, so that he may be under no temptation to take advantage; and let him be a man of business, who is used to conduct affairs with ability and expertness, to whom, therefore, the execution of the trust will not be burdensome."
On Sunday, October 10, we dined together at Mr. Strahan's. The conversation having turned on the prevailing practice of going to the East-Indies in quest of wealth ;-JOHNSON. “A man had better have ten thousand pounds at the end of ten years passed in Eng
land, than twenty thousand pounds at the end of ten years passed in India, because you must compute what you give for money; and the man who has lived ten years in India, has given up ten years of social comfort and all those 'advantages which arise from living in England. The ingenious Mr. Brown, distinguished by the name of Capability Brown, told me, that he was once at the seat of Lord Clive, who had returned from India with great wealth; and that he shewed him at the door of his ted-chamber a large chest, which he said he had once had full of gold; upon which Brown observed, “I am glad you can bear it so near your bedchamber."
We talked of the state of the poor in London.JOHNSON. " Saunders Welch, the Justice, who was once High-Constable of Holborn, and had the best opportunities of knowing the state of the poor, told me, that I under-rated the number, when I computed that twenty a week, that is, above a thousand a year, died of hunger; not absolutely of immediate hunger ; but of the wasting and other diseases which are the consequences of hunger. This happens only in so large a place as London, where people are not known. What we are told about the great sums got by begging, is not true: the trade is overstocked.
And, you may depend upon it, there are many who cannot get work. A particular kind of manufacture fails : Those who have been used to work at it, can, for some time, work at nothing else. You meet a man begging; you charge him with idleness: he says, “I am willing to labour. Will you give me work ?'—' I cannot.' — Why then you have no right to charge me with idleness.
We left Mr. Strahan's at seven, as Johnson had said he intended to go to evening prayers. As we walked alone, he complained of a little gout in his toe, and said, " I shan't go to prayers to-night; I shall go tomorrow: Whenever I miss church on a Sunday, I resolve to go another day. But I do not always do it.”. This was a fair exhibition of that vibration between pious resolutions and indolence, which many of us have too often experienced.
I went home with him, and we had a long quiet conversation.
I read him a letter from Dr. Hugh Blair concerning Pope, (in writing whose life he was now employed,) which I shall insert as a literary curiosity.s
" TO JAMES BOSWELL, ESQ. DEAR SIR,
“ IN the year 1763, being at London, I was carried by Dr. John Blair, Prebendary of Westminster, to dine at old Lord Bathurst's ; where we found the late Mr. Mallet, Sir James Porter, who had been Ambassadour at Constantinople, the late Dr. Macaulay, and two or three more. The conversation turning on Mr. Pope, Lord Bathurst told us, that “ The Essay
3 The Rev. Dr. Law, Bishop of Carlisle, in the Preface to his valuable edition of Archbishop King's “Essay on the Origin of Evil," mentions that the principles maintained in it had been adopted by Pope in his “Essay on Man;" and adds, “The fact, notwithstanding such denial (Bishop Warburton's) might have been strictly verified by an unexceptionable testimony, viz. that of the late Lord Bathurst, who saw the very same system of the To Beatlov (taken from the Archbishop) in Lord Bolingbroke's own hand, lying before Mr. Pope, while he was composing his Essay." This is respectable evidence; but that of Dr. Blair is more direct from the fountainhead, as well as more full. Let me add to it that of Dr. Joseph Warton ; “ The late Lord Bathurst repeatedly assured me that he had read the whole scheme of 'the Essay on Man,' in the handwriting of Bolingbroke, and drawn up in a series of propositions, which Pope was to versify and illustrate." Essay on the Genius and Writings of Pope, vol.ii. p. 62.
was originally composed by Lord Bolingbroke in prose, and that Mr. Pope did no more than put it into verse: that he had read Lord Bolingbroke's manuscript in his own hand-writing; and remembered well, that he was at a loss whether most to admire the elegance of Lord Bolingbroke's prose, or the beauty of Mr. Pope's verse. When Lord Bathurst told this, Mr. Mallet bade me attend, and remember this remarkable piece of information; as, by the course of Nature, I might survive his Lordship, and be a witness of his having said so. The conversation was indeed too remarkable to be forgotten. A few days after, meeting with you, who were then also at London, you will remember that I mentioned to you what had passed on this subject, as I was much struck with this anecdote. But what ascertains my recollection of it, beyond doubt, is, that being accustomed to keep a journal of what passed when I was at London, which I wrote out every evening, I find the particulars of the above information, just as I have now given them, distinctly marked ; and am thence enabled to fix this conversation to have passed on Friday, the 22d of April, 1763.
“ I remember also distinctly, (though I have not for this the authority of my journal,) that the conversation going on concerning Mr. Pope, I took notice of a report which had been sometimes propagated that he did not understand Greek. Lord Bathurst said to me that he knew that to be false ; for that part of the Iliad was translated by Mr. Pope in his house in the country; and that in the morning when they assembled at breakfast, Mr. Pope used frequently to repeat, with great rapture, the Greek lines which he had been translating, and then to give them his version of them, and to compare them together. “ If these circumstances can be of any use to Dr.