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Numerous reflections had been thrown out against him on account of his having accepted a pension from his present Majesty. "Why, Sir (said he, with a hearty laugh), it is a mighty foolish noise that they make. I have accepted 5 of a pension as a reward which has been thought due to my literary merit; and now that I have this pension, I am the same man in every respect that I have ever been; I retain the same principles. It is true, that I cannot now curse (smiling) the House of Hanover; nor would it be decent for 10 me to drink King James's health in the wine that King George gives me money to pay for. But, Sir, I think that the pleasure of cursing the House of Hanover, and drinking King James' health, are amply overbalanced by three hundred pounds a year."

15 I heard him once say, "that after the death of a violent Whig, with whom he used to contend with great eagerness, he felt his Toryism much abated." He said of Jacobitism: "A Jacobite is neither an Atheist nor a Deist.

That cannot be said of a Whig; for Whiggism is a negation of all 20 principle."

He was of Lord Essex's opinion, "rather to go a hundred miles to speak with one wise man, than five miles to see a fair town."

A person maintained that there was no distinction between 25 virtue and vice. JOHNSON. "Why, Sir, if the fellow does not think as he speaks, he is lying. But if he does really think that there is no distinction between virtue and vice, why, Sir, when he leaves our houses let us count our spoons.'

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He recommended to me to keep a journal of my life, full 30 and unreserved. He counselled me to keep it private, and said I might surely have a friend who would burn it in case of my death. "There is nothing, Sir, too little for so little a creature as man. It is by studying little things that we attain the great art of having as little misery and as much 35 happiness as possible."

One morning Mr. Dempster happened to call on me. When I complained that drinking port and sitting up late

with him affected my nerves for some time after, he said, "One had better be palsied at eighteen than not keep company with such a man."

Mr. Levet once showed me Dr. Johnson's library, which was contained in two garrets over his Chambers. I found 5 a number of good books, but dusty and in great confusion. The floor was strewed with manuscript leaves, in Johnson's own hand-writing, which I beheld with a degree of veneration, supposing they perhaps might contain portions of the Rambler or of Rasselas. I observed an apparatus for chymical 10 experiments, of which Johnson was all his life very fond. The place seemed to be very favourable for retirement and meditation. Johnson told me, that he went up thither without mentioning it to his servant when he wanted to study, secure from interruption; for he would not allow his servant 15 to say he was not at home when he really was. "A servant's strict regard for truth (said he), must be weakened by such a practice. A philosopher may know that it is merely a form of denial; but few servants are such nice distinguishers. If I accustom a servant to tell a lie for me, have I not reason 20 to apprehend that he will tell many lies for himself." JOHNSON. "Pity is not natural to man. Children are always cruel. Savages are always cruel. Pity is acquired and improved by the cultivation of reason. We may have uneasy sensations for seeing a creature in distress, without 25 pity; for we have not pity unless we wish to relieve them."


Rousseau's treatise on the inequality of mankind was at this time a fashionable topick. MR. DEMPSTER. A wise man ought to value only merit." JOHNSON. "If man were a savage, living in the woods by himself, this might be true; 30 but in civilized society we all depend upon each other, and our happiness is very much owing to the good opinion of mankind. Now, Sir, in civilized society, external advantages make us more respected. A man with a good coat upon his back meets with a better reception than he who has a bad 35 one. Sir, you may analyse this, and say what is there in it? But that will avail you nothing, for it is a part of a general

system. Pound St. Paul's church into atoms, and consider any single atom; it is, to be sure, good for nothing; but, put all these atoms together, and you have St. Paul's church. In civilized society, personal merit will not serve you so much 5 as money will. Sir, you may make the experiment. Go into the street, and give one man a lecture on morality, and another a shilling, and see which will respect you most. Rousseau, and all those who deal in paradoxes, are led away by a childish desire of novelty. When I was a boy, I used always 10 to choose the wrong side of a debate, because most ingenious things, that is to say, most new things, could be said upon it. Sir, there is nothing for which you may not muster up more plausible arguments, than those which are urged against wealth and other external advantages. Why, now, there is 15 stealing; why should it be thought a crime? When I was running about this town a very poor fellow, I was a great arguer for the advantages of poverty; but I was, at the same time, very sorry to be poor. Sir, all the arguments which are brought to represent poverty as no evil, shew it to be 20 evidently a great evil. You never find people labouring to convince you that you may live very happily upon a plentiful fortune." Mr. Dempster having endeavoured to maintain that intrinsick merit ought to make the only distinction amongst mankind, Johnson said, "Why, Sir, mankind have found that 25 this cannot be. How shall we determine the proportion of intrinsick merit? Were that to be the only distinction amongst mankind, we should soon quarrel about the degrees of it. Subordination tends greatly to human happiness. Were we all upon an equality, we should have no other en30 joyment than mere animal pleasure."

"No man (said Johnson) who ever lived by literature, has lived more independently than I have done." He said he had taken longer time than he needed to have done in composing his Dictionary. He received our compliments upon that 35 great work with complacency, and told us that the Academy della Crusca could scarcely believe that it was done by one


At night, Mr. Johnson and I supped in a private room at the Turk's Head coffee-house, in the Strand. "I encourage this house (said he), for the mistress of it is a good civil woman, and has not much business."

"Sir, I love the acquaintance of young people; because, in 5 the first place, I don't like to think myself growing old. In the next place, young acquaintances must last longest, if they do last; and then, Sir, young men have more virtue than old men; they have more generous sentiments in every respect. I love the young dogs of this age, they have more wit and 10 humour and knowledge of life than we had; but then the dogs are not so good scholars. Sir, in my early years I read very hard. It is a sad reflection but a true one, that I knew almost as much at eighteen as I do now. My judgement, to be sure, was not so good; but I had all the facts." 15 "I would behave to a nobleman as I should expect he would behave to me, were I a nobleman and he Sam Johnson. Sir, there is one Mrs. Macaulay° in this town, a great republican. One day when I was at her house, I put on a very grave countenance, and said to her, 'Madam, I am now become a 20 convert to your way of thinking. I am convinced that all mankind are upon an equal footing; and to give you an unquestionable proof, Madam, that I am in earnest, here is a very sensible, civil, well-behaved fellow-citizen, your footman; I desire that he may be allowed to sit down and dine with us.' 25 I thus, Sir, shewed her the absurdity of the levelling doctrine. She has never liked me since. Sir, your levellers wish to level down as far as themselves; but they cannot bear levelling up to themselves."

He said, he would go to the Hebrides with me, unless some 30 very good companion should offer when I was absent, which he did not think probable; adding, "There are few people whom I take so much to as you."

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We talked of the education of children; and I asked him what he thought was best to teach them first. JOHNSON. 35 "Sir, it is no matter what you teach them first, any more than what leg you shall put into your breeches first. Sir,


you may stand disputing which is best to put in first, but in the mean time your breech is bare. Sir, while you are considering which of two things you should teach your child first, another boy has learnt them both."

"I have no more pleasure in hearing a man attempting wit and failing, than in seeing a man trying to leap over a ditch and tumbling into it."


"Why, Sir, Sherry is dull, naturally dull; but it must have taken him a great deal of pains to become what we now 10 see him. Such an excess of stupidity, Sir, is not in Nature."

"Sir, what influence can Mr. Sheridan have upon the language of this great country, by his narrow exertions? Sir, it is burning a farthing candle at Dover, to shew light at Calais.'

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"Sir, I honour Derrick for his presence of mind. One 15 night, when Floyd, another poor authour, was wandering about the streets in the night, he found Derrick fast asleep upon a bulk; upon being suddenly waked, Derrick started up, 'My dear Floyd, I am sorry to see you in this destitute state will you go home with me to my lodgings?'" 20 I again begged his advice as to my method of study at Utrecht. "Come, (said he) let us make a day of it. Let us go down to Greenwich and dine, and talk of it there."

Dr. Johnson and I took a sculler at the Temple stairs, and set out for Greenwich. I asked him if he really thought a 25 knowledge of the Greek and Latin languages an essential requisite to a good education. JOHNSON. "Most certainly, Sir." "And yet, (said I) people go through the world very well, and carry on the business of life to good advantage, without learning." JOHNSON. "Why, Sir, that may be true 30 in cases where learning cannot possibly be of any use; for instance, this boy rows us as well without learning, as if he could sing the song of Orpheus to the Argonauts, who were the first sailors." He then called to the boy, “What would you give, my lad, to know about the Argonauts?" "Sir 35 (said the boy), I would give what I have." Johnson was much pleased with his answer, and we gave him a double fare. Dr. Johnson then turning to me, “Sir (said he), a desire of know

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