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those who preach against the doctrine of the Trinity. Johnson was highly
Though he did not think it fit that so aweful a subject should be introduced
Boswell. “ Pray, Mr. Dilly, how does Dr. Leland's History of Ireland' fell ?” Johnson. (Bursting forth with a generous indignation) “ The Irish are in a most unnatural state ; for we see there the minority prevailing over the majority. There is no instance, even in the ten persecutions, of such severity as that which the Protestants of Ireland have exercised against the Catholicks. Did we tell them we have conquered them, it would be above board: to punish them by confiscation and other penalties, as rebels, was monstrous injustice. King William was not their lawful sovereign: he had not been acknowledged by the parliament of Ireland, when they appeared in arms against him.”
I here suggested something favourable of the Roman Catholicks. TOPLADY. “ Does not their invocation of saints suppose omnipresence in the saints ?” Johnson. “ No, Sir; it supposes only pluripresence; and when spirits are divested of matter, it seems probable that they should see with more extent than when in an embodied state. There is, therefore, no approach to an
invasion of any of the divine attributes, in the invocation of saints. But I
He and Mr. Langton and I went together to the Club, where we found
In our way to the club to-night, when I regretted that Goldsmith would, upon every occasion, endeavour to shine, by which he often exposed' himself, Mr. Langton observed, that he was not like Addison, who was content with the fame of his writings, and did not aim also at excellency in conversation, for which he found himself unfit; and that he said to a lady, who complained of his having talked little in company, “ Madam, I have but nine-pence in ready money, but I can draw for a thousand pounds.” I observed, that Goldsinith had a great deal of gold in his cabinet, but, not content with that, was always taking out his purse. Johnson. “Yes, Sir, and that so often an empty purse!”
Goldsmith's incessant desire of being conspicuous in company, was the occasion of his sometimes appearing to fuch disadvantage as one should hardly have supposed possible in a man of his genius. When his literary reputation had risen deservedly high, and his society was much courted, he became very jealous of the extraordinary attention which was every where paid to Johnson, One evening, in a circle of wits, he found fault with me for talking of Johnson as entitled to the honour of unquestionable superiority. “Sir, (faid he,) you are for making a monarchy of what should be a republick.”
He was still more mortified, when talking in a company with Auent vivacity, and, as he flattered himself, to the admiration of all who were present; a German who sat next him, and perceived Johnson rolling himself, as if about to speak, suddenly stopped him, saying, “Stay, stay,—Toctor Shonson is going to say something." This was, no doubt, very provoking, especially to one so irritable as Goldsmith, who frequently mentioned it with strong expressions of indignation.
It may also be observed, that Goldsmith was sometimes content to be
He calls him now
To the Reverend Mr. BAGSHAW, at Bromley?..
“I RETURN you my sincere thanks for your additions to my Dictionary; but the new edition has been published fome time, and therefore I cannct now make use of them. Whether I shall ever revise it more, I know
If many readers had been as judicious, as diligent, and as communicative as yourself, my work had been better. The world must at present take it as it is. I am, Sir,
« Your most obliged
• And most humble servant, “ May 8, 1773.
On Sunday, May 8, I dined with Johnson at Mr. Langton's, with Dr. Beattie and some other company. He descanted on the subject of Literary Property. “ There seems, (said he,) to be in authours a stronger right of property than that by occupancy; a metaphysical right, a right, as it were, of creation,
2 'The Reverend Thomas Bagshaw, M. A. who died on November 20, 1787, in the seventyseventh year of his aze, Chaplain of Bromley College, in Kent, and Rector of Southfleet. He had resigned the cure of Bromley parilh some time before his death. For this, and another letter from Dr. Johnson in 1784, to the same truly respectable man, I am indebted to Dr. John Loveday, of the Commons, who has obligingly transcribed them for me from the originals in his possession.
1773 which should from its nature be perpetual; but the consent of nations is Ærat. 64. against it, and indeed reason and the interests of learning are against it; for
were it to be perpetual, no book, however useful, could be universally diffused amongst mankind, should the proprietor take it into his head to restrain its circulation. No book could have the advantage of being edited with notes, however necessary to its elucidation, should the proprietor perversely oppose it. For the general good of the world, therefore, whatever valuable work has once been created by an authour, and issued out by him, should be understood as no longer in his power, but as belonging to the publick ; at the same time the authour is entitled to an adequate reward. This he should have by an exclusive right to his work for a considerable number of years."
He attacked Lord Monboddo's strange speculation on the primitive state of human nature; observing, “Sir, it is all conjecture about a thing useless, even were it known to be true. Knowledge of all kinds is good. Conjecture, as to things useful, is good; but conjecture as to what it would be useless to know, such as whether men ever went upon all four, is very idle."
On Monday, May 9, as I was to set out on my return to Scotland next morning, I was desirous to see as much of Dr. Johnson as I could. But I first called on Goldsmith to take leave of him. The jealousy and envy which, though possessed of many most amiable qualities, he frankly avowed, broke out violently at this interview. Upon another occasion, when Goldsmith .confessed himself to be of an envious disposition, I contended with Johnson that we ought not to be angry with him, he was so candid in owning it. “ Nay, Sir, (said Johnson,) we must be angry that a man has such a superabundance of an odious quality that he cannot keep it within his own breast, but it boils over.” In my opinion, however, Goldsmith had not more of it than other people have, but only talked of it freely.
He now seemed very angry that Johnson was going to be a traveller ; faid, - he would be a dead weight for me to carry, and that I should never be able to lug him along through the Highlands and Hebrides.” Nor would he patiently allow me to enlarge upon Johnson's wonderful abilities; but exclaimed, “ Is he like Burke, who winds into a subject like a serpent?” “ But, (said I,) Johnson is the Hercules who strangled ferpents in his cradle."
I dined with Dr. Johnson at General Paoli's. He was obliged, by indisposition, to leave the company early; he appointed me, however, to meet him in the evening at Mr. (now Sir Robert,) Chambers's in the Temple, where he accordingly came, though he continued to be very ill. Chambers, as is .common on such occasions, prescribed various remedies to him. Johnson.
(fretted by pain,) « Priythee don't teaze me. Stay till I am well, and then
I have known him at times exceedingly diverted at what seemed to others
In this playful manner did he run on, exulting in his own pleasantry, which certainly was not such as might be expected from the authour of “ The Rambler,” but which is here preserved, that my readers may be acquainted even with the Nightest occasional characteristicks of so eminent a man.
Mr. Chambers did not by any means relish this jocularity upon a matter of which pars magna fuit, and seemed impatient till he got rid of us. Johnson could not stop his merriment, but continued it all the way till we got without the Temple-gate. He then burst into such a fit of laughter, that