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very many by other kinds of expence. I had heard him talk once before io the same manner; and at Oxford he said, “ he wished he had learned to play at cards.” The truth, however, is, that he loved to display his ingeonity in argument; and therefore would sometimes in conversation maintaiu opinions which he was sensible were wrong, but in supporting which, his reasoning and wit would be most conspicuous. He would begin thus: “Why, Sir, as to the good or evil of card-playing,” “Now, (said Garrick,) he is thinking which side he shall take.” He appeared to have a pleasure in contradiction, especially when any opinion whatever was delivered with an air of confidence; so that there was hardly any topic, if not one of the great truths of Religion and Morality, that he might not have been incited to argue, either for or against, Lord Elibank had the highest admiration of his powers. He once observed to me, “Whatever opinion Johnson maintains, I will not say that be convinces me; but he never fails to shew me, that he has good reasons for it.” I have heard Johnson pay bis Lordship this high compliment:
“I never was in Lord Elibank's company without learning something."
We sat together till it was too late for the afternoon service. Thrale said, he had come with intention to go to church with us. We went at seven to evening prayers at St. Clement's church, after having drank coffee : an indulgence, which I understood Johnson yielded to on this occasion, in compliment to Thrale.
On Sunday, April 7, Easter-day, after having been at St. Paul's cathedral, I came to Dr. Johnson, according to my usual custoin. It seemed to me that there was always something peculiarly mild and placid in his manner upon this holy festival, the commemoration of the most joyful event in the history of our world, the resurrection of our LORD aud (Saviour, who, having triumphed over death and the grave, proclaimed inmortality to mankind.
I repeated to him an argument of a lady of my acquaintance, who maintained, that her husband's having been guilty of numberless infideTities, released her from conjugal obligations, because they were reciprocal. Jobuson. This is uniserable stuff, Sir. To the contract of marriage, besides the man and wife, there is a third party-Society; and if it be considered as a vow-God : and, therefore, it cannot be dissolved by their consent alone. Laws are not made for particular cases, but for men in general. A woman may be unhappy with her husband; but she cannot be freed from him without the approbation of the civil and ecclesiastical power. A man may be unhappy because he is not so rich as another ; but he is not to seize upon another's property with his own hand. Boswell. But Sir, this lady does not want that the contract should be dissolved; she only argues that she may indulge herself in gallantries with equal freedom as her husband does, provided she takes care not to introduce a spurious issue into his fainils. You know, Sir, what Macrobius has told of Julia. Johnson. This lady of yours, Sir, I think, is very fit for a brothel.
Mr. Macbean, author of the “ Dictionary of Ancient Geography,'' came in. He mentioned that he had been forty years absent from Scotland. Ah, Boswell! (said Johnson, smiling,) what would you give to be forty years from Scotlaud? I said, I should not like to be so long absent from the seat of my ancestors. This gentleman, Mrs. Williams, and Mr. Levett, dined with us.
Dr. Johnson made a remark, which both Mr. Macbean and I thought new. It was this: that “the law against usury is for the protection of creditors as well as debtors; for if there were no such check, people would be apt, from the temptation of great interest, to lend to desperate persons, by whom they would lose their money. Accordingly there are instances of ladies being ruined, by having injudiciously sunk their fortunes for high annuities, which, after a few years, ceased to be paid, in consequence of the ruined circumstayces of the borrower."
Mrs. Williams was very peevish; and I wondered at Johnson's patience with her now, as I had often done ou similar occasions. The truth is, that bis humane consideration of the forloro and indigent state in which this lady was left by her father, induced bim to treat her with the utmost teoderness, and even to be desirous of procuring her amusement, so as sometimes to incommode many of his friends, by carrying her with him to their houses, where, froin her manner of eating, in consequence of her blinduess, she could not but offend the delicacy of persons of nice sensations.
After coffee we went to afternoon service in St. Clement's church. Observing some beggars in the street as we walked along, I said to him, I supposed there was no civilized country in the world, where the misery of want in the lowest classes of the people was prevented. Johnson. I believe Sir, there is not; but it is better that some should be unhappy, than that none should be happy, which would be the case in a general state of equality.
When the service was ended, I went home with him, and we sat quietly by ourselves. He recommended Dr. Cheyne's books. I said, I thought Cheyne had been reckoned whimsical.-So he was, (said he,) in some things; but there is no end of objections. There are few books to which some objection or other may not be made, He added, I would not have you read any thing else of Chuyne, but his book on Health, and his · Euglish Malady.'
Upon the question whether a man who had been guilty of vicious ac, tions would do well to force himself into solitude and sadness? Johncon. No, Sir, unless it prevent him from being vicious again. With some people, gloomy penitence is only madness turned up side down. A man inay be gloomy, till, in order to be relieved from gloom, he has recourse again to criminal indulgencies.
On Wednesday, April 10, I dined with him at Mr. Thrale's, where were Mr. Murphy, and some other company. Before dinner, Dr. Johnson and I passed some time by ourselves. I was sorry to find it was now resolved that the proposed journey to Italy should not take place this year. He said, “ I am disappointed, to be sure ; but it is not a great disappointment. I wondered to see him bear, with a philosophical calmness, what would have made most people peevish and fretful. I perceived, however, that he had'so warmly cherished the hope of enjoying classical scenes, that he could not easily part with the scheme ; for he said, I shall probably contrive to get to Italy some other way, But I won't mention it to Mr. and Mrs. Thrale, as it might vex them. I suggested, that going to Italy might have done Mr. and Mrs. Thrale good. Johnson. I rather believe not, Sir. While grief is fresh, every attempt to divert only irritates. You must wait till grief be digested, and then amusement will dissipate the remains of it,
At dinner, Mr. Murphy entertained us with the history of Mr. Joseph Simpson, a school-fellow of Dr. Johnson, a barrister at law, of good parts, but who fell into a dissipated course of life, incompatible with that success in his profession which he once had, and would otherwise have deservedly nuaintained; yet he still preserved a dignity in his deporument. He wrote a tragedy on the story of Leonidas, entitled "The Patriot.” He read it to a company of lawyers, who found so many faults that he wrote it over again; so then there were two tragedies on the same suba ject, and with the same title. Dr. Johnson told us, that one of them was still in his possession. This very piece was, after his death, published by some person who had een about him, and, for the sake of a little hasty profit, was fallaciously advertised, so as to make it be believed to have been written by Johnson himself.
I said, I disliked the custom which some people had of bringing their children into company, because it in a manner forced us to say foolish compliments to please their parents. Johnson. You are right, Sir. We may be excused for not caring much about other peoples' children, for there are many who care very little about their own children. It may be observed, that men, who from being engaged in business, or from their course of life in whatever way, seldom see their children, do not care much about them. I myself should not have had much fondness for a child of my own. Mrs. Thrale. Nay, Sir, how can you talk so. Johnson. At least I never wished to have a child.
Mr. Murphy mentioned Dr. Johnson's having a design to publish an edition of Cowley. Johnson said, he did not know but he should ; and he expressed bis disapprobation of Dr. Hurd, for having published a murilated edition under the title of “Select Works of Abraham Cowley." Mr. Murphy thought it a bad precedent; observing, that any author might be used in the same manner; and that it was pleasiog to see the variety of an author's compositions, at different periods.
We talked of Flatman's Poems; and Mrs. Thrale observed, that Pope had partly borrowed from'him, “The dying Christian to his Soul." Johnson repeated Rochester's verses upon Flatman, which, I think, by much too severe :
“ Nor that slow drudge in swift Pindarick straius,
Flatman, who Cowley imitates with pains,
I like to recollect all the passages that I heard Johnson repeat: it stamps a value on thein.
He told us, that the book entitled “The Lives of the Poets, by Mr. Oibber," was entirely compiled by Mr. Shiels, a Scotchınan, one of his amanuenses, “The booksellers, (said he,) gave 'Theophilus Cibber, who was then in prison, ten guineas, to allow Mr. Cibber to be put upon the title-page, as the author; by this, a double imposition was intended; in the first place, that it was the work of a Cibber at all; and, in the second place, that it was the work of old Cibber.
Mr. Murphy said, that “ The Memoirs of Gray's Life set him much higher in bis estimation than his poems did; for you there saw a man constantly at work in literature. Johnson acquiesced in this; but depreciated the book, I thought very unreasonably. For he said, “I forced myself to read it, only because it was a common topic of conversation. I found it mighty dull; and, as to the style, it is fit for the second tuble.” Why he thought so I was at a loss to conceive. gave it as bis opinion that “Akeuside was a superior poet both to Gray aud Mason.”
Talking of the Reviews, Jobuson said, “I thiok them very impartial : I do not know an instance of partiality.” He mentioned what had passed upon the subject of the Monthly and Critical Reviews, in the conversation with wbich his Majesty had honoured him. He expatiated a little more on them this evening. The Monthly Reviewers (said he) are not Deists; but they are Christians with as little christianity as inay be; and are for pulling down all establishments. . The Critical Reviewers are for supporting the constitution both in Church and state. The Critical Reviewers, I believe, often review without reading the books through; but lay hold of a topic, and write chiefly from their own minds. The Monthly Reviewers are duller men, and are glad to read the books through.
He talked of Lord Lyttleton's extreme anxiety as an author; observing, that “ he was thirty years in preparing bis History, and that he employed a man to point it for him; as if (laughing) another man could point his sense better than bimself. Mr. Murphy said, he understood bis history was kept back several years for fear of Smollett, Johnson. This seems strange to Murphy and me, who never felt that anxiety, but sent what we wrote to the press, and let it take its chance. Mrs. Thrale.
The time has been, Sir, when you felt it. Johnson. Why really, Madam, I do not recollect a time when that was the case.
Talking of “The Spectator," he said, “It is wonderful that there is such a proportion of bad papers, in the half of the work which was not written by Addison; for there was all the world to write that half, yet not a half of that half is good. One of the finest pieces in the English language is the paper on Novelty, yet we do not hear it talked of. It was written by Grove, a dissenting teacher. He would not, I perceived, call him a clergyman, though he was candid enough to allow very great merit to his coni position. Mr. Murphy said, he remembered, when there were several people alive in London, who enjoyed a considerable reputation merely from having written a paper in “ The Spectator." He mentioned particularly Mr. Ince, who used to frequent Tom's coffeehouse. But (said Johnson, you must consider how highly Steele speaks of Mr. Ince. He would not allow that the paper on carrying a boy to travel, signed Philip Homebred, which was reported to be written by the Lord Chancellor Hardwicke, had merit. He said, “it was quite vulgar, and had nothing luminous.”
Johnson mentioned Dr. Barry's system of Physic. He was a man (said he) who had acquired a high reputation in Dublin, came over to England, and brought his reputation with him, but had not great suc
His notion was, that pulsation occasions death by attrition; and that, therefore, the way to preserve life is to retard pulsation. know that pulsation is strongest in infants, and that we increase in growth while it operates in its regular course; so it cannot be the cause of destruction. Soon after this, he said something very flattering to Mrs. Thrale, which I do not recollect; but it concluded with wishing her long life. Sir, (said I,) if Dr. Barry's System be true, you have now shortened Mrs. Thrale's life, perhaps, some minutes, by accelerating her pulsation.
On Thursday, April 11, I dined with him at General Paoli's, in whose house I now resided, and where I had ever afterwards the honour of being entertained with the kindest attention as his constant guest, while I was in London, till I had a house of my own there. I mentioned my having that morning introduced to Mr. Garrick, Count Neni, a Flemish pobleman of great rank and fortune, to whom Garrick talked of Able Drugger as a small part; and related, with pleasant vanity, that a Frenchman, who had seen him in one of his low characters, exclaimed, “ Comment ! je ne le crois pas. Ce n'est pas Monsieur Garrick, ce Grand Homme !"' Garrick added, with an appearance
of grave recollection, If I were to begin life again, I think I should not play those low characters. Upon which I observed, Sir, you would be in the wrong; for your great excellence is your variety of playing, your representing so well, characters so very different. Joboson. Carrick, Sir, was not in earnest in what he said; for, to be sure, bis peculiar excellence is his variety; and, perhaps, there is not any one character