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towards my client. On the evening of the next day I supped with Dr. Johnson, at the Crown and Anchor tavern, in the Strand, in company with Mr. Langton and his brother-in-law, Lord Binning1. I repeated a sentence of Lord Mansfield's speech, of which, by the aid of Mr. Longlands, the solicitor on the other side, who obligingly allowed me to compare his note with my own, I have a full copy. My lords, severity is not the way to govern either boys "Nay," said Johnson," it is the way to govern them. I know not whether it be the way to mend them."

or men."


I talked of the recent expulsion of six students from the University of Oxford, who were methodists, and would not desist from publickly praying and exhorting. JOHNSON. "Sir, that expulsion was extremely just and proper. What have they to do at an university, who are not willing to be taught, but will presume to teach? Where is religion to be learnt, but at an university? Sir, they were examined, and found to be mighty ignorant fellows." Boswell. But, was it not hard, sir, to expel them, for I am told they were good beings?" JOHNSON. "I believe they might be good beings; but they were not fit to be in the University of Oxford. A cow is a very good animal in the field; but we turn her out of a garden." Lord Elibank used to repeat this as an illustration uncommonly happy.


Desirous of calling Johnson forth to talk, and exercise his wit, though I should myself be the object of it, I resolutely ventured to undertake the defence of convivial indulgence in wine, though he was not

[Charles, Lord Binning, afterwards eighth Earl of Haddington, was the son of Mary Holt, who, by a first marriage with Mr. Lloyd, was the mother of Lady Rothes, Mr. Langton's wife.-ED.]

[Not very recent, if he alluded to six members of St. Edmund Hall, who were expelled in May, 1768. See Gent. Mag. vol. xxxviii. p. 225.—ED.]


to-night in the most genial humour. After urging the common plausible topicks, I at last had recourse to the maxim, in vino veritas, a man who is well warmed with wine will speak truth. JOHNSON. Why, sir, that may be an argument for drinking, if you suppose men in general to be liars. But, sir, I would not keep company with a fellow, who lies as long as he is sober, and whom you must make drunk before you can get a word of truth out of him '."


Mr. Langton told us, he was about to establish a school upon his estate, but it had been suggested to him, that it might have a tendency to make the people less industrious. JOHNSON. "No, sir. While learning to read and write is a distinction, the few who have that distinction may be the less inclined to work; but when every body learns to read and write, it is no longer a distinction. A man who has a laced waistcoat is too fine a man to work; but if every body had laced waistcoats, we should have people working in laced waistcoats. There are no people whatever more industrious, none who work more, than our manufacturers; yet they have all learnt to read and write. Sir, you must not neglect doing a thing immediately good, from fear of remote evil, from fear of its being abused. A man who has candles may sit up too late, which he would not do if he had not candles; but nobody will deny that the art of making candles, by which light is continued to us beyond the time that the sun gives us light, is a valuable art, and ought to be preserved." BOSWELL. "But, sir, would it not be better to follow nature; and go to bed and rise just as nature gives us light or withholds it?"

Mrs. Piozzi, in her " Anecdotes," p 201, has given an erroneous account of this incident, as of many others. She pretends to relate it from recollection, as if she herself had been present: when the fact is that it was communicated to her by me. She has represented it as a personality, and the true point has escaped her.-BOSWELL.

JOHNSON. "No, sir; for then we should have no kind of equality in the partition of our time between sleeping and waking. It would be very different in different seasons and in different places. In some of the northern parts of Scotland how little light is there in the depth of winter!"

We talked of Tacitus, and I hazarded an opinion, that with all his merit for penetration, shrewdness of judgment, and terseness of expression, he was too compact, too much broken into hints, as it were, and therefore too difficult to be understood. To my great satisfaction, Dr. Johnson sanctioned this opinion.


Tacitus, sir, seems to me rather to have made notes for an historical work, than to have written a history'."

At this time it appears from his "Prayers and Meditations," that he had been more than commonly diligent in religious duties, particularly in reading the holy scriptures. It was Passion Week, that solemn season which the Christian world has appropriated to the commemoration of the mysteries of our redemption, and during which, whatever embers of religion are in our breasts, will be kindled into pious warmth.

I paid him short visits both on Friday and Saturday, and seeing his large folio Greek Testament before him, beheld him with a reverential awe, and would not intrude upon his time. While he was

thus employed to such good purpose, and while his friends in their intercourse with him constantly found a vigorous intellect and a lively imagination, it is melancholy to read in his private register:

1 It is remarkable that Lord Monboddo, whom, on account of his resembling Dr. Johnson in some particulars, Foote called an Elzevir edition of him, has, by coincidence, made the very same remark.—Origin and Progress of Language, vol. iii. 2d edit. p. 219.

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My mind is unsettled and my memory confused. of late turned my thoughts with a very useless earnestness upon past incidents. I have yet got no command over my thoughts; an unpleasing incident is almost certain to hinder my rest."

What philosophick heroism was it in him to appear with such manly fortitude to the world, while he was inwardly so distressed! We may surely believe that the mysterious principle of being "made perfect through suffering," was to be strongly exemplified in him.

On Sunday, 19th April, being Easter-day, General Paoli and I paid him a visit before dinner. We talked of the notion that blind persons can distinguish colours by the touch. Johnson said, that Professor Sanderson mentions his having attempted to do it, but that he found he was aiming at an impossibility; that to be sure a difference in the surface makes the difference of colours; but that difference is so fine, that it is not sensible to the touch. The general mentioned jugglers and fraudulent gamesters, who could know cards by the touch. Dr. Johnson said, "the cards used by such persons must be less polished than ours commonly are."

We talked of sounds. The general said, there was no beauty in a simple sound, but only in an harmonious composition of sounds. I presumed to differ from this opinion, and mentioned the soft and sweet sound of a fine woman's voice. JOHNSON.


No, sir, if a serpent or a toad uttered it, you would think it ugly." BOSWELL." So you would think, sir, were a beautiful tune to be uttered by one of those animals." JOHNSON. "No, sir, it would be admired. We have seen fine fiddlers whom we liked as little as toads." (laughing.)

Talking on the subject of taste in the arts, he said, that difference of taste was, in truth, difference of

& Med.

p. 110.

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skill. BOSWELL. "But, sir, is there not a quality called taste, which consists merely in perception or in liking? for instance, we find people differ much as to what is the best style of English composition. Some think Swift's the best; others prefer a fuller and grander way of writing." JOHNSON. "Sir, you must first define what you mean by style, before you can judge who has a good taste in style, and who has a bad. The two classes of persons whom you have mentioned, don't differ as to good and bad. They both agree that Swift has a good neat style; but one loves a neat style, another loves a style of more splendour. In like manner, one loves a plain coat, another loves a laced coat; but neither will deny that each is good in its kind.”

[The following meditations, made about this period, are very interesting sketches of his feelings:

" April 26, 1772. I was some way hindered from continuing this contemplation in the usual manner, and therefore try, at the distance of a week, to review the last [Easter] Sunday.

"I went to church early, having first, I think, used my prayer. When I was there, I had very little perturbation of mind. During the usual time of meditation, I considered the Christian duties under the three principles of soberness, righteousness, and godliness; and purposed to forward godliness by the annual perusal of the Bible; righteousness by settling something for charity, and soberness by early hours. I commended as usual, with preface of permission, and, I think, mentioned Bathurst. I came home, and found Paoli and Boswell waiting for me. What devotions I used after my return home, I do not distinctly remember. I went to prayers in the evening; and, I think, entered late.

"On Good Friday, I paid Peyton without requiring work. "It is a comfort to me, that at last, in my sixty-third year, I have attained to know, even thus hastily, confusedly, and imperfectly, what my Bible contains."


Having missed church in the morning (April 26), I went this evening, and afterwards sat with Southwell."]

While I remained in London this spring, I was with him at several other times, both by himself and

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