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good man, our moralist contested this with great warmth, accusing him of gross sensuality and licentiousness of manners. I was very much afraid that in writing Thomson's life, Dr. Johnson would have treated his private character with a stern severity, but I was agreeably disappointed; and I may claim a little merit in it, from my having been at pains to send him authentick accounts of the affectionate and generous conduct of that poet to his sisters, one of whom, the wife of Mr. Thomson, schoolmaster at Lanark, I knew, and was presented by her with three of his letters, one of which Dr. Johnson has inserted in his life.

He was vehement against old Dr. Mounsey', of Chelsea College, as "a fellow who swore and talked loosely." "I have often been in his company," said Dr. Percy, "and never heard him swear or talk loosely." Mr. Davies, who sat next to Dr. Percy, having after this had some conversation aside with him, made a discovery which, in his zeal to pay court to Dr. Johnson, he eagerly proclaimed aloud from the foot of the table: "O, sir, I have found out a very good reason why Dr. Percy never heard Mounsey swear or talk loosely, for he tells me he never saw him but at the Duke of Northumberland's table." "And so, sir," said Dr. Johnson loudly to Dr. Percy, “you would shield this man from the charge of swearing and talking loosely, because he did not do so at the Duke of Northumberland's table. Sir, you might as well tell us that you had seen him hold up his hand

Messenger Mounsey, M. D. died at his apartments in Chelsea College. Dec. 26, 1788, at the great age of ninety-five. An extraordinary direction in his will may be found in the Gentleman's Magazine, vol. 50. p. ii. p. 1183.-MALONE. [The direction was, that his body should not suffer any funeral ceremony, but undergo dissection, and, after that operation, be thrown into the Thames, or where the surgeon pleased. It is surprising, that this coarse humorist should have been an intimate friend and favourite of the elegant and pious Mrs. Montagu ED.]



at the Old Bailey, and he neither swore nor talked loosely; or that you had seen him in the cart at Tyburn, and he neither swore nor talked loosely. And is it thus, sir, that you presume to controvert what I have related?" Dr. Johnson's animadversion was uttered in such a manner, that Dr. Percy seemed to be displeased, and soon afterwards left the company, of which Johnson did not at that time take any



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Swift having been mentioned, Johnson, as usual, treated him with little respect as an authour. Some of us endeavoured to support the Dean of St. Patrick's, by various arguments. One in particular praised his "Conduct of the Allies." JOHNSON. "Sir, his Conduct of the Allies' is a performance of very little ability.' Surely, sir," said Dr. Douglas, you must allow it has strong facts." JOHNSON. "Why yes, sir; but what is that to the merit of the composition? In the sessions-paper of the Old Bailey there are strong facts. Housebreaking is a strong fact; robbery is a strong fact; and murder is a mighty strong fact: but is great praise due to the historian of those strong facts? No, sir, Swift has told what he had to tell distinctly enough, but that is all. He had to count ten, and he has counted it right." Then recollecting that Mr. Davies, by acting as an informer, had been the occasion of his talking somewhat too harshly to his friend Dr. Percy, for which, probably, when the first ebullition was over, he felt some compunction, he took an opportunity to

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My respectable friend, upon reading this passage, observed that he probably must have said not simply "strong facts," but "strong facts well arranged.' His lordship, however, knows too well the value of written documents to insist on setting his recollection against my notes taken at the time. He does not attempt to traverse the record. The fact, perhaps, may have been, either that the additional words escaped me in the noise of a numerous company, or that Dr. Johnson, from his impetuosity, and eagerness to seize an opportunity to make a lively retort, did not allow Dr. Douglas to finish his sentence.-BOSWELL.

give him a hit: so added, with a preparatory laugh,


Why, sir, Tom Davies might have written the Conduct of the Allies."" Poor Tom being thus suddenly dragged into ludicrous notice in presence of the Scottish doctors, to whom he was ambitious of appearing to advantage, was grievously mortified. Nor did his punishment rest here; for upon subsequent occasions, whenever he, statesman all o'er 1," assumed a strutting importance, I used to hail him -"the Authour of the Conduct of the Allies."


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When I called upon Dr. Johnson next morning, I found him highly satisfied with his colloquial prowess the preceding evening. "Well," said he, "we had good talk." BOSWELL. "Yes, sir, you tossed and gored several persons."

The late Alexander Earl of Eglintoune, who loved wit more than wine, and men of genius more than sycophants, had a great admiration of Johnson; but from the remarkable elegance of his own manners, was, perhaps, too delicately sensible of the roughness which sometimes appeared in Johnson's behaviour. One evening about this time, when his lordship did me the honour to sup at my lodgings with Dr. Robertson, and several other men of literary distinction, he regretted that Johnson had not been educated with no refinement, and lived more in polished society. "No, no, my lord," said Signor Baretti, "do with him what you would, he would always have been a bear." "True," answered the earl,

1 See the hard drawing of him in Churchill's Rosciad.-BOSWELL.

2 [Tenth earl, who was shot, in 1769, by Mungo Campbell, whose fowlingpiece Lord Eglintoune attempted to seize. To this nobleman Boswell was

indebted, as he himself said, to his early introduction to the circle of the great, the gay, and the ingenious. Boswell thus mentions himself in a tale called "The Cub at Newmarket," published in 1762:

Lord Eglintoune, who loves, you know,

A little dish of whim or so,

By chance a curious cub had got

On Scotia's mountains newly caught.

Gent. Mag. 1795, 471.-ED.]


with a smile, "but he would have been a dancing bear."

To obviate all the reflections which have gone round the world to Johnson's prejudice, by applying to him the epithet of a bear, let me impress upon my readers a just and happy saying of my friend Goldsmith, who knew him well :-" Johnson, to be sure, has a roughness in his manner: but no man alive has a more tender heart. He has nothing of the bear but his skin'"



"18th June, 1768.

“MY LOVE,—It gives me great pleasure to find that you are so well satisfied with what little things it has been in my power to send you. I hope you will always employ me in any office that can conduce to your convenience.


My health is, I thank God, much better, but it is yet very weak; and very little things put it into a troublesome state; but still I hope all will be well. Pray for me.

My friends at Lichfield must not think that I forget them. Neither Mrs. Cobb, nor Mrs. Adey, nor Miss Adey, nor Miss Seward, nor Miss Vise, are to suppose that I have lost all memory of their kindness. Mention me to them when you see them. I hear Mr. Vise has been lately very much in danger. I hope he is better.

"When you write again, let me know how you go on, and what company you keep, and what you do all day. I love to think on you, but do not know when I shall see you. Pray, write very often. I am, dearest, your humble servant, "SAM. JOHNSON."]

In 1769, so far as I can discover, the publick was favoured with nothing of Johnson's composition, either for himself or any of his friends 2. His "Medita

[It was drolly said, in reference to the pensions granted to Doctors Shebbeare and Johnson, that the king had pensioned a She-bear and a He-bear.— ED.]

2 [A difference took place in the March of this year between Mr. Thrale and Sir Joseph Mawbey, his colleague, in the representation of Southwark, when Sir Joseph endeavoured to defend himself from some anti-popular step he had taken, by inculpating Mr. Thrale; the affair is related in the Gentleman's

tions" too strongly prove that he suffered much both in body and mind; yet was he perpetually striving against evil, and nobly endeavouring to advance his intellectual and devotional improvement. Every generous and grateful heart must feel for the distresses of so eminent a benefactor to mankind; and now that his unhappiness is certainly known, must respect that dignity of character which prevented him from complaining.

His majesty having the preceding year instituted the Royal Academy of Arts in London, Johnson had now the honour of being appointed Professor in Ancient Literature 1. In the course of the year he wrote some letters to Mrs. Thrale, passed some part of the summer at Oxford and at Lichfield 2, and when at Oxford he wrote the following letter:


"31st May, 1769.

"DEAR SIR,-Many years ago, when I used to read in the library of your college, I promised to recompense the college for that permission, by adding to their books a Baskerville's

Magazine, and it seems that the concluding paragraph contains internal evidence of having been written by Dr. Johnson:

"If, therefore, delicacy of situation, and fear of public resentment, were the motives that impelled Sir Joseph to do his duty against his opinion, let his excuse have its full effect; but when he regrets his cowardice of compliance, let him regret likewise the cowardice of calumny; and when he shrinks from vulgar resentment, let him not employ falsehood to cover his retreat."—Gent. Mag. vol. xxxix. p. 162. The article proceeds to recommend a recurrence to triennial parliaments, a measure to which Johnson's hatred of the whig septennial bill would naturally incline him, and as, for Mr. Thrale's sake, he was obliged, by the violence of the times, to adopt some popular topic, he would probably select that of triennial parliaments.-ED.]

1 In which place he has been succeeded by Bennet Langton, Esq. When that truly religious gentleman was elected to this honorary professorship, at the same time that Edward Gibbon, Esq., noted for introducing a kind of sneering infidelity into his historical writings, was elected Professor of Ancient History, in the room of Dr. Goldsmith, I observed that it brought to my mind "Wicked Will Whiston and good Mr. Ditton."-I am now also of that admirable institution, as Secretary for Foreign Correspondence, by the favour of the academicians, and the approbation of the sovereign.-BOSWELL.

2 [He dates to Mrs. Thrale from Oxford, 27th June and 10th July. He seems to have been there ever since the 18th May.-ED.]

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