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intercourse of life, which does not appear to be much connected with it." "And yet, (said I) people will go through the world very well, and carry on the Atat. 54. business of life to good advantage, without learning." JOHNSON. "Why, Sir, that may be true in cafes where learning cannot poffibly be of any use; for inftance, this boy rows us as well without learning, as if he could fing the fong of Orpheus to the Argonauts, who were the firft failors." He then called to the boy, "What would you give, my lad, to know about the Argonauts ?" "Sir, (faid the boy,) I would give what I have." Johnson was much pleased with his answer, and we gave him a double fare. Mr. Johnson then turning to me, "Sir, (faid he) a defire of knowledge is the natural feeling of mankind; and every human being, whofe mind is not debauched, will be willing to give all that he has to get knowledge."
We landed at the Old Swan, and walked to Billingfgate, where we took oars, and moved fmoothly along the filver Thames. It was a very fine day. We were entertained with the immense number and variety of ships that were lying at anchor, and with the beautiful country on each fide of the
I talked of preaching, and of the great fuccefs which those called Methodists* have. JOHNSON. " Sir, it is owing to their expreffing themselves in a plain
2 All who are acquainted with the history of Religion, (the most important, furely, that concerns the human mind,) know that the appellation of Methodists was first given to a fociety of students in the University of Oxford, whe about the year 1730, were distinguished by an earnest and methodical attention to devout exercises. This difpofition of mind is not a novelty or peculiar to any fect, but has been, and ftill may be found, in many Chriftians of every denomination. Johnson himself was, in a dignified manner, a Methodist. In his Rambler, No. 110, he mentions with refpect "the whole difcipline of regulated piety;" and in his " Prayers and Meditations," many inftances occur of his anxious examination into his fpiritual state. That this religious earnestnefs, and in particular an obfervation of the influence of the Holy Spirit, has fometimes degenerated into folly, and fometimes been counterfeited for base purposes, cannot be denied. But it is not, therefore, fair to decry it when genuine. The principal argument in reafon and good sense against methodism is, that it tends to debase human nature, and prevent the generous exertions of goodness, by an unworthy fuppofition that God will pay no regard to them, although it is pofitively said in the scriptures that he will reward every man according to his works." But I am happy to have it in my power to do juftice to those whom it is the fashion to ridicule, without any knowledge of their tenets; and this I can do by quoting a paffage from one of their beft apologists, Mr. Milner, who thus expreffes their doctrine upon this fubject. "Juftified by faith, renewed in his faculties, and conftrained by the love of Christ, their believer moves in the fphere of love and gratitude, and all his duties flow more or lefs from this principle. And though they are accumulating for him in heaven a treasure of blifs proportioned to
and familiar manner, which is the only way to do good to the common people, and which clergymen of genius and learning ought to do from a principle of duty, when it is fuited to their congregations; a practice, for which they will be praised by men of fenfe. To infist against drunkenness as a crime, becaufe it debases Reason, the noblest faculty of man, would be of no service to the common people: but to tell them that they may die in a fit of drunkenness, and fhew them how dreadful that would be, cannot fail to make a deep impreffion. Sir, when your Scotch clergy give up their homely manner, religion will foon decay in that country." Let this obfervation, as Johnfon meant it, be ever remembered.
I was much pleased to find myself with Johnfon at Greenwich, which he celebrates in his "London" as a favourite scene. I had the poem in my pocket, and read the lines aloud with enthusiasm:
"On Thames's banks in filent thought we ftood,
He remarked that the ftructure of Greenwich hofpital was too magnificent for a place of charity, and that its parts were too much detached to make one great whole.
Buchanan, he said, was a very fine poet; and obferved, that he was the first who complimented a lady, by afcribing to her the different perfections of the heathen goddeffes; but that Johnfton improved upon this, by making his lady, at the fame time, free from their defects.
He dwelt upon Buchanan's elegant verfes to Mary Queen of Scots, Nympha Caledonia, &c. and spoke with enthusiasm of the beauty of Latin verse. "All the modern languages (said he) cannot furnish so melodious a line as
• Formofam refonare doces Amarillida filvas."
Afterwards he entered upon the bufinefs of the day, which was to give me his advice as to a courfe of study. And here I am to mention with much
bis faithfulness and activity, and it is by no means inconfiftent with his principles to feel the force of this confideration, yet love itself fweetens every duty to his mind; and he thinks there is no abfurdity in his feeling the love of GoD as the grand commanding principle of his life." Essays on feveral religious Subjects, &c. by Jofeph Milner, A. M. Mafter of the Grammar School of Kingston-uponHull, 1789, p. 11.
regret, that my record of what he faid is miferably fcanty. I recollect with admiration an animating blaze of eloquence, which roused every intellectual power in me to the highest pitch, but must have dazzled me fo much, that my memory could not preferve the fubftance of his difcourfe; for the note which I find of it is no more than this :-" He ran over the grand scale of human knowledge; advised me to select some particular branch to excel in, but to acquire a little of every kind." The defect of my minutes will be fully supplied by a long letter upon the fubject which he favoured me with, after I had been some time at Utrecht, and which my readers will have the pleasure to perufe in its proper place.
We walked in the evening in Greenwich Park. He asked me, I fuppose by way of trying my difpofition, "Is not this very fine?" Having no exquifite relish of the beauties of Nature, and being more delighted with "the bufy hum of men," I answered, "Yes, Sir; but not equal to Fleet-street." JOHNSON. "You are right, Sir."
I am aware that many of my readers may cenfure my want of taste. Let me, however, shelter myself under the authority of a very fashionable Baronet in the brilliant world, who, on his attention being called to the fragrance of a May evening in the country, observed, "This may be very well; but, for my part, I prefer the finell of a flambeau at the play-house."
We staid so long at Greenwich, that our fail up the river, in our return to London, was by no means fo pleasant as in the morning; for the night air was fo cold that it made me fhiver. I was the more fenfible of it from having fat up all the night before, recollecting and writing in my journal what I thought worthy of prefervation; an exertion, which, during the first part of my acquaintance with Johnfon, I frequently made. I remember having fat up four nights in one week, without being much incommoded in the day time.
Johnson, whofe robuft frame was not in the leaft affected by the cold, fcolded me, as if my fhivering had been a paltry effeminacy, faying, "Why do you fhiver?" Sir William Scott, of the Commons, told me, that when he complained of a head-ach in the post-chaise, as they were travelling together to Scotland, Johnfon treated him in the fame manner, "At your age, Sir, I had no head-ach." It is not easy to make allowance for fenfations in others, which we ourselves have not at the time. We must all have experienced how very differently we are affected by the complaints of our neighbours, when we are well and when we are ill. In full health, we can scarcely believe that they fuffer much; fo faint is the image of pain upon our imagination: when softened by sickness, we readily fympathize with the fufferings of others.
1763. Atat. 54
L Etat. 54.
We concluded the day at the Turk's Head coffee-house very socially. He was pleased to liften to a particular account which I gave him of my family, and of its hereditary eftate, as to the extent and population of which he asked queftions, and made calculations; recommending, at the fame time, a liberal kindness to the tenantry, as people over whom the proprietor was placed by Providence. He took delight in hearing my description of the romantick feat of my ancestors. "I must be there, Sir, (faid he) and we will live in the old caftle; and if there is not a room in it remaining, we will build one." I was highly flattered, but could scarcely indulge a hope that Auchinleck would indeed be honoured by his prefence, and celebrated by a description, as it afterwards was, in his "Journey to the Western Inlands."
After we had again talked of my fetting out for Holland, he faid "I must fee thee out of England: I will accompany you to Harwich." I could not find words to express what I felt upon this unexpected and very great mark of his affectionate regard.
Next day, Sunday, July 31, I told him I had been that morning at a meeting of the people called Quakers, where I had heard a woman preach. JOHNSON. "Sir, a woman's preaching is like a dog's walking on his hinder legs. It is not done well; but you are furprized to find it done at all.” On Tuesday, August 2, (the day of my departure from London having. been fixed for the 5th,) Dr. Johnson did me the honour to pass a part of the morning with me at my Chambers. He faid, that "he always felt an inclination to do nothing." I obferved, that it was ftrange to think that the most indolent man in Britain had written the most laborious work, THE ENGLISH DICTIONARY.
I mentioned an imprudent publication, by a certain friend of his, at an early period of life, and asked him if he thought it would hurt him. JOHNSON.. "No, Sir; not much. It may, perhaps, be mentioned at an election."
I had now made good my title to be a privileged man, and was carried by him in the evening to drink tea with Mifs Williams, whom, though under the misfortune of having loft her fight, I found to be agreeable in converfation; for she had a variety of literature, and expreffed herself well; but her peculiar value was the intimacy in which she had long lived with Johnson, by which she was well acquainted with his habits, and knew how to lead him on to talk.
After tea he carried me to what he called his walk, which was a long narrow paved court in the neighbourhood, overshadowed by fome trees. There we fauntered a confiderable time; and I complained to him that my love of
London and of his company was fuch, that I fhrunk almoft from the 1763. thought of going away even to travel, which is generally fo much defired by Etat. 54. young men. He roused me by manly and fpirited converfation. He advised me, when fettled in any place abroad, to study with an eagerness after knowledge, and to apply to Greek an hour every day; and when I was moving. about, to read diligently the great book of mankind.
On Wednesday, Auguft 3, we had our laft focial evening at the Turk's Head coffee-house, before my fetting out for foreign parts. I had the misfortune, before we parted, to irritate him unintentionally. I mentioned to him how common it was in the world to tell abfurd ftories of him, and to ascribe to him very ftrange fayings. JOHNSON. "What do they make me fay, Sir?" BOSWELL. "Why, Sir, as an inftance very ftrange indeed, (laughing heartily as I fpoke,) David Hume told me, you said that you would stand before a battery of cannon, to restore the Convocation to its full powers.”— Little did I apprehend that he had actually faid this; but I was foon convinced of my errour; for, with a determined look, he thundered out, " And would I not, Sir? Shall the Presbyterian Kirk of Scotland have its General Affembly, and the Church of England be denied its Convocation?" He was walking up and down the room while I told him the anecdote; but when he uttered this explosion of high-church zeal, he had come clofe to my chair, and his eyes flashed with indignation. I bowed to the ftorm, and diverted the force of it, by leading him to expatiate on the influence which religion derived from maintaining the church with great external respectability.
I must not omit to mention that he this year wrote "The Life of Afcham,†” and the Dedication to the Earl of Shaftesbury,† prefixed to the edition of that writer's English works, published by Mr. Bennet.
On Friday, Auguft 5, we fet out early in the morning in the Harwich ftage coach. A fat elderly gentlewoman, and a young Dutchman, seemed the most inclined among us to converfation. At the inn where we dined, the gentlewoman faid that she had done her best to educate her children; and, particu-larly, that she had never fuffered them to be a moment idle. JOHNSON. “I. wish, Madam, you would educate me too; for I have been an idle fellow all my life." "I am fure, Sir, (faid fhe) you have not been idle." JOHNSON. "Nay, Madam, it is very true; and that gentleman there (pointing to me,) has been idle. He was idle at Edinburgh... His father fent him to Glasgow, where he continued to be idle. He then came to London, where he has been very idle; and now he is going to Utrecht, where he will be as idle as