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gratiá of the crown. Lord Bute advised the king to give up a very large sum of money, for which nobody thanked him. It was of consequence to the king, but nothing to the public, among whom it was divided. When I say lord Bute advised, I mean, that such acts were done when he was minister, and we are to suppose that he advised them.Lord Bute showed an undue partiality to Scotch
He turned out Dr. Nichols, a very eminent man, from being physician to the king, to make room for one of his countrymen, a man very low in his profession. He had ** ***** and **** to go on errands for him. He had occasion for people to go on errands for him, but he should not have had Scotchmen; and certainly, he should not have suffered them to have access to him before the first people in England.” BOSWELL. “ The admission of one of them before the first people in England, which has given the greatest offence, was no more than what happens at every minister's levee, where those who attend are admitted in the order that they have come, which is better than admitting them according to their rank; for, if that were to be the rule, a man who has waited all the morning might have the mortification to see a peer, newly come, go in before him, and keep him waiting still.” JOHNSON. " True; sir; but **** should not have conse to the levee, to be in the way of people of consequence. He saw lord Bute at all times; and could have said what he had to say at any time, as well as at the levee. There is now no prime minister : there is only an agent for government in the house of commons. We are governed by the cabinet : but there is no one head there since sir Robert Walpole's time.” BOSWELL * What then, sir, is the use of parliament ?" JoanSON. “ Why, sir, parliament is a large council to the king; and the advantage of such a council is, having a great number of men of property concerned in the legislature, who, for their own interest, will not consent to bad laws. And you must have observed, sir, the administration is feeble and timid, and cannot act with that authority and resolution which is necessary. Were I in power, would turn out every man who dared to oppose me. Government has the distribution of offices, that it may be enabled to niaintain its authority. Lord Bute took down too fast, without building up something new.” BOSWELL. “ Because, sir, he found a rotten building. The political coach was drawn by a set of bad horses; it was necessary to change them.” Johnson. “ But he should have changed them one by one.”
On another occasion, he said, “ The mode of government by one may be ill adapted to a small so. ciety, but is best for a great nation. The characteristic of our own government at present is imbecility. The magistrates dare not call the guards for fear of being banged; the guards will not coine, for fear of being given up to the blind rage of popular juries.” [Tempora mutantur.]
Talking of different governments — JOHNSON.
The more contracted power is, the more easily it is destroyed. A country governed by a despot is an inverted cone. Government there cannot be so firm, as when it rests upon a broad basis gradually contracted, as the government of Great Britain, which is founded on the parliament, then is in the privycouncil, then in the king.” Boswell.“ Power, when
contracted into the person of a despot, may be easily destroyed, as the prince may be cut off. So Caligula wished that the people of Rome had but one neck, that he might cut them off at a blow.” GENERAL OGLETHORPE.“ It was of the senate he wished that. The senate, by its usurpation, controlled both the emperor and the people. And don't you think that we see too much of that in our own parliament ?"
On this subject, he said, “The morality of an action depends on the motive from which we act. If I fling half a crown to a beggar with intention to break his head, and he picks it up and buys victuals with it, the physical effect is good; but, with re. spect to me, the action is very wrong. So, reli. gious exercises, if not performed with an intention to please God, avail us nothing :-as our Saviour says of those who perform them from other mo. tives, Verily they have their reward.'”
Of a gentleman who was mentioned, he said, “ I have not met with any man, for a long time, who has given me such general displeasure: he is totally fixed in his principles, and wants to puzzle other people.” Boswell said his principles had been poisoned by a noted infidel writer, but that he was nevertheless a benevolent good man. JOHN
“ We can have no dependence upon that instinctive, that constitutional goodness, which is not founded upon principle. I grant you, that such a
man may be a very amiable member of society. I cau conceive him placed in such a situation, that he is not much tempted to deviate from what is right; and as every man prefers virtue, when there is not some strong incitement to transgress its precepts, I can conceive him doing nothing wrong. But if such a man stood in need of money, I should not like to trust him; and I should certainly not trust him with young ladies, for there there is always temptation. Hume, and other sceptical innovators, are vain men, and will gratify themselves at any expense : truth will not afford sufficient food to their vanity; so they have betaken themselves to error. Truth, sir, is a cow, which will yield such people no more milk, and so they are gone to milk the bull. If I could have allowed myself to gratify my vanity at the expense of truth, what fame might I have acquired ! Every thing, which Hume has advanced against Christianity, had passed through my mind long before he wrote. Always remember this --that, after a system is well settled upon positive evidence, a few partial objections ought not to shake it. The human mind is so limited, that it cannot take in all the parts of a subject; so that there may be objections raised against any thing. There are objections against a plenum, and objections against a vacuum ; yet one of them must certainly be true.”
JOHNSON. “ I love the university of Salamanca ; for when the Spaniards were in doubt as to the lawfulness of their conquering America, the uni. versity of Salamanca gave it as their opinion, that it was not lawful.” He spoke this with great emotion, and with that generous warmth, which dic
tated the lines in his London, against Spanish errcroachment.
He talked of the heinousness of the crime of adultery, by which the peace of families was destroyed. He said, “ Confusion of progeny consti. tutes the essence of the crime; and, therefore, a woman who breaks her marriage vow is much more criminal than a man who does it. A man, to be sure, is criminal in the sight of God; but he does not do his wife a very material injury, if he does not insult her : if, for instance, from mere wantonness of appetite, he steals privately to her chambermaid. Sir, a wife ought not greatly to resent this. I would not receive home a daughter who had run away from her husband on that account. A wife should study to reclaim her husband by more atten. tion to please hin. Sir, a man will not, once in a hundred instances, leave his wife, and go to a harlot, if his wife has not been negligent of pleasing."
Here he discovered that acute discrimination, that solid judgment, and that knowledge of human nature, for which he was, upon all occasions, remarkable. Taking care to keep in view the moral and religious duty, as understood in our nation, he showed clearly, from reason and good sense, the greater degree of culpability in the one sex devia. ting from it than the other; and, at the same time, inculcated a very useful lesson as to the way to keep him.
Boswell asked him if it was not hard, that one deviation from chastity should so absolutely ruin a young woman.
JOHNSON. “ Why no, sir; it is the great principle which she is taught. When she has given up that priuciple, she has given up every no