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son, and f. She too said, she was very glad I was come, for she was going to Bath, and should have been sorry to leave Dr. Jolinson before I came. This seemed to be attentive and kind; and I who had not been informed of any change, imagined all to be as well as formerly. He was little inclined to talk at dinner, and went to sleep after it : but when he joined us in the drawing-room, he seemed revived, and was again himself.
Talking of conversation, he said, There must, in the first place, bé knowledge, there must be materials ;-in the second place, there ipust be a command of words ;-in the third place, there inust be imaginatiori, to place things in such views as they are uot cominonly seen in ;and in the fourth place, there must be presence of mind, and a resolution that is not to be overcome by failures; this last is an essential requisite; for want of it many people do not excel in conversation. Now I want il; I throw up the game upon losing a stick. I wondered to hear hisä talk thus of himself, and said, I don't know, Sir, how this may be; but I am sure you beat other people's cards out of their hands. I doubt whether he heard this remark. While we went on talking triumphantly, I was fixed in admiration, and said to Mrs. Thrale, O, for short-hand to take this down !_You'll carry it all in your head, (said she ;) a long head is as good as short-hand.
It has been observed and wondered at, that Mr. Charles Fox never talked with any freedom in the presence of Dr. Johuson ; though it is well known, and I myself can witness, that his conversation is various, fuent, and exceedingly agreeable. Johnson's own experience, however, of that gentleman's reserve was a sufficient reason for his going on thus ; Fox never talks in private company; not from any deterınination not to talk, but because he has not the first motion. A man who is used to the applause of the House of Commons, has no wish for that of a private company. A man accustomed to throw for a thousand pounds, if set down to throw for sixpence, would not be at the pains to count bis dice. Burke's talk is the ebullition of his mind; he does not talk from a desire of distinction, but because is mind is full.
He thus curiously characterised one of our old acquaiutance : ******** is a good man, Sir; but he is at vain man and a lar. He, however, only telis lies of vanity; of victories, for instance, in conversation, which never happened. This alluded to a story which I hud repeated froin that geutleman, to entertain Jobusou with its wilt bravado : This Jobuson, Sir, (said he,) whom you are all afraid of, wilt shrink, if you come close to him in argument, and roar as loud as he. He once maintained the paradox, that there is no beaury but in utility. Sir, (-aid 1,) what say you to the peacock's tail, which is one of the most beautiful objects in nature, but would have as much utility if its feathers were all of one colour. He felt what I thus produced, and had recourse to his usual expedient, ridicule: exclaiming, A peacock has a tuil, and a fox has a tail; and then he burst out into a laugh. --Well, Sir, (said I, with a strong voice, looking him full in the face, you have unkennelled your fox; pursue him if you dare. He had not a word to say, Sir.---Johnson told me, that this was fiction from bee gioning to end.
After musing for some time, he said, I wonder how I should have any enemies ; for I do harm 10 nubody. Boswell. In the first place, Sir, you will be pleased to recollect, that you set out with attacking the Scotch; so you got a whole nation for your enemies. Johnson. Why, I own, that by my definition of vats I meant to vex then. Boswell. Pray, Sir, can you trace the cause of your antipathy to the Scotch. Johnson. I cannot Sir. Boswell. Old Mr. Sheridan says, it was because they sold Charles the First. Johnson. Then, Sir, old Mr. Sheridan has found out a very good reason.
Surely the most obstinate and sulky rationality, the most determined aversion to this great and good man, must be cured, when he is seen thus playing with one of his prejudices, of which he candidly admitted that he could not tell the reason. It was, however, probably owing to his having had in his view the worst part of the Scottish nation, the needy adventurers, many of whom he thought were advanced above their merits, by means which he did not approve. Had he in his early life heen in Scotland, and seen the worthy, sensible, independent gentle Den, who lived rationally and hospitably at home, he never could have entertained such unfavourable and unjust notions of his fellow-subjects. And accordingly we find, that when he did visit Scotland, in the latter period of his life, he was fully sensible of all that it deserved, as I have already pointed out, when speaking of his “ Journey to the Western islands."
Next day, Saturday, March 22, I found him still at Mrs. Tbrale's, but he told me that he was to go to his own house in the afternooli. He was better, but I perceived he was but an unruly patient, for Sir Lucas Pepys, who visited him, while I was with him said, If you were tractable, Sir, I should prescribe for you.
I related to him a remark which a respectable friend had made to me, apon the then state of Government, when those who had been long in opposition had attained to power, as it was supposed, against the inclinution of the Sovereign. You need not be uneasy (said this gentleman). about the King. He laughs at them all; be plays them one against another. Johosop. Don't think so, Sir. The King is as much oppressed as a man can be. If he plays them one against another, he wius uothing,
I bad paid a visit to General Oglethorpe in the morning, and was told by him that Dr. Johnson saw company on Saturday evenings, and he would meet me at Dr. Johnson's that night. When ( mentioned this to Johnson, not doubting that it would please him, as he had a great value for Oglethorpe, the fretfulness of his disease unexpectedly shewed itsell; his anger suddenly kindled, and he said, with vehemence, Did not you tell him not to come! Am I to be hunted in this manuer: I satisfied him
that I could not divine that the visit would not be convenient, and that I certainly could not take it upon me of my owo accord to forbid the General.
I found Dr. Johnson in the evening in Mrs. Williams's roon, at tea and coffee with her and Mrs. Desmoulins, who were also both ill; it was a sad scene, and he was not in a very good humour. He said of a pera formance that had lately come out, Sir, if you should search all the madhouses in England, you would not find teu men who would write so, and think it sense.
I was glad when General Oglethorpe's arrival was announced, and we left the ladies. Dr. Johnson attended him in the parlour, and was as courteous as ever. The Geueral said, he was busy, reading the writers of the middle age. Johnson said they were very curious. Oglethorpe. The House of Commons has usurped the power of the nation's money, and used it tyranvically. Government is now carried ou by corrupt influence, instead of the inherent right in the King. Johnson. Sir, the want of inherent right in the King occasions all this disturbance. What we did at the Revolution was necessary : but it broke our constitution. Oglethorpe. My father did not think it necessary.
On Sunday, March 23, I breakfasted with Dr. Johnson, who seemed much relieved, having taken opium the night before. He, however, protested against it, as a remedy that should be given with the utmost relactance, and only in extreme necessity. I mentioned huw commonly it was used in Turkey, and that therefore it could not be so pernicious as be apprehended. He grew warm, and said, Torks take opium, and Christians take opium; but Russel, in his account of Aleppo, tells us, that it is as disgraceful in Turkey to take too much opium, as it is with us to get drunk. Sir, it is amazing how things are exaggerated. A gentleman was lately telling in a company where I was present, that in France as soon as a man of fashion marries, he takes an opera girl into keeping; and this he mentioned as a general custom. Pray, Sir, (said I) bow many opera girls may there be ? He answered About foursccre. Well then, Sir, (said 1,) you see there can be no more thau fourscore men of fashion who can do this.
Mrs. Desmoulins made tea; and she and I talked before him upon a topic which he had once borne patiently from me when we were by ourselves,-his not complaining of the world, because he was not cailed to some great office, por had attained to great wealeh. He flew into a violent passion, I confess with some justice, and commanded us to have done. Nobody, (said he,) has a right to talk in this manner, to bring before a man his own character, and the events of his life, when he does not choose it should be done. I never have sought the world; the world was not to seek me. It is rather wonderful that so much has been done
All the complaints which are made of the world are unjust, I never knew a man of merit neglected; it was generally by his own fault that he failed of success. A man may bide his head in a hole: he may go into the country, and publish a book now and then, which nobody reads, and then complains he is neglected. There is no reason why any person should exert himself for a man who has written a good book: he has not written it for any individual. lipay as well make a present to the postman who brings me a letter. When patronage was limited, an author expected to find a Mæcenas, and complained if he did not find one. Why should he coinplain? This Mæcenas has others as good as he, or others who have got the start of him. Boswell. But surely, Sir, you will allow that there are men of merit at the bar, who never get practice. Johnson. Sir, you are sure that practice is got from an opinion that the person employed deserves it best; so that if a man of merit at the bar does not get practice, it is from error, not froin injustice. He is not neglected.
A horse that is brought to market may not be bought, though he is a very good horse: but that is from ignorance, not from intention.
There was in this discourse much novelty, ingenuity, and discrimination, such as is seldom to to be found. Yet I cannot belp thinkin that men of merit, who have no success in life, may be forgiven for lamenting, if they are not allowed to complain. They may consider it as hard that their rit should not have its suitable distinction. Though there is no intentional injustice towards them on the part of the world, their merit not having been perceived, they inay yet repine against fortune, or fate, or by whatever name they choose to call the supposed mythological power of Destiny. It has, however, occurred to me, as a consolatory thought, that men of merit should consider thus :- How much harder would it be, if the same persons had both all the merit and all the prosperity. Would not this be a miserable distribution for the poor dances ? Would men of merit exchange their intellectual superiority, and the enjoyments arising from it, for external distinction and the pleasures of wealth? If they would not, let them not envy others, who are poor where they are rich, a compensation which is made to them. Let them look inwards and be satisfied'; recollecting with conscious pride - What Virgil finely says of the Corycius Senex, and which I hare, in another place, with truth and sincerity, applied to Mr. Burke:
Regum æquabat opes animis,"
On the subject of the right employment of wealth, Johnson observed, A man cannot make a bad use of his money, so far as regards Society, if he does not hoard it; for if he either speuds it or lends it out, Society bas the benefit. It is in general better to spend money than to give it away : for industry is more promoted by spending money than by giving it away. A man who spends his money is sure be is doing good with it: he is not so sure when he gives it away. A man who spends ten thousand * year will do more good than a man who spends two thousand aud gives away eight.
In the evening I came to him again, He was somewhat fretful from bis illness. A gentleman asked him whether he had been abroad to-day. Don't talk so childishly, (said he.) You may as well ask if I hanged myself to-day. I mentioned politics. Johnsou. Sir, I'd as soon have a man to break my boves as talk to me of public affairs, internal or external. I have lived to see things all as bad as they can be.
Having mentioned his friend, the second Lord Southwell, he said, Lord Southwell was the highest-bred man without insolence, that lever was iu company with; the most qualitied I ever saw. Lord Orrery was not dignified; Lord Chesterfield was, but he was jusolent. Lord
is a man of coarse muoners, but a man of abilities and information. I don't say he is a mao I would set at the head of a nation, though perhaps he may be as good as the next Prime Minister that comes; but he is a man to be at the head of a Club;-I don't say our Club;for there's no such Club. Boswell. But, Sir, was he not once a factious man? Jobpson. O yes, Sir; as factious a fellow as could be found : one who was for sinking us all into the mob. Boswell. How theu, Sir, did he get into favour with the King ? Johnson. Because, Sir, I suppose he promised the King to do whatever the King pleased.
He said, Goldsmith's blundering speech to Lord Shelburue, which has been so often mentioned, and which he really did make to him, was Qoly a blunder in empbasis :- I wonder they should call your Lordship Malagrida, for Malagrida was a very good man ;-meant, I wonder they should use Malagrida as a term of reproach.
Soon after this time I had an opportunity of seeing, by means of oue of his friends, a proof that his talents, as well as his obliging service to authors, were ready as ever. He had revised “The Village," an admirable poem, by the Reverend Mr. Crabbe. Its sentiments as to the false notions of rustie happiness and rustic virtue, were quite congenial with his own; and he had taken the trouble not only to suggest slight core rections and variations, but to furnish some lines, when he thought he could give the writers's meaning better than in the words of the manu. script.
On Sunday, March 30, I found him at home in the evening, and had the pleasure to meet with Dr. Brocklesby, whose reading, and know ledge of life, and good spirits, supply him with a never-failing source conversation. He mentioned a respectable gentleman, who became extremely penurious near the close of his life. Jobinson said there must have been a degree of madness about him. Not at all, Sir, said Dr. Brocklesby, bis judgment was entire. Unluckily, however, he mentioned thut although he had a fortune of twenty-seven thousand pounds, be denied himself many comforts, from an apprehension that he could uot. afford them. Nay, Sir, cried Johnson, when the judgment is so disturbed that a man cannot count, that is pretty well.
I shall bere insert a few of Johason's sayings, without the formality of dates, as they have no reference to any particular time or place.