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Yet I think I may, without impropriety, mention one circumstance, as an instance of my father's address. Dr. Johnson challenged him, as he did us all at Talisker, to point out any theological works of merit written by presbyterian ministers in Scotland. My father, whose studies did not lie much in that way, owned to me afterwards, that he was somewhat at a loss how to answer, but that luckily he recollected having read in catalogues the title of Durham on the Galatians; upon which he boldly said, “ Pray, Sir, have you read Mr. Durham's excellent commentary on the Galatians ?” “No, Sir,” said Dr. Johnson. By this lucky thought my father kept him at bay, and for some time enjoyed his triumph (1), but his antagonist soon made a retort, which I forbear to mention.
In the course of their altercation, Whiggism and presbyterianism, Toryism and episcopacy, were terribly buffeted. My worthy hereditary friend, Sir John Pringle, never having been mentioned, happily escaped without a bruise.
My father's opinion of Dr. Johnson may be conjectured from the name he afterwards gave him, which was URSA MAJOR. But it is not true, as has been reported, that it was in consequence of
my saying that he was a constellation of genius and literature. It was a sly abrupt expression to one of his brethren on the bench of the court of session,
(1) Mr. Chalmers informs me, that there is no such book as Durham" on the Galatians," though there is “ on the Revelations." Perhaps, however, Johnson misheard Galatians for Revelations. --C.
in which Dr. Johnson was then standing; but it was not said in his hearing
Sunday, Nov. 7.-My father and I went to public worship in our parish church, in which I regretted that Dr. Johnson would not join us ; for, though we have there no form of prayer, nor magnificent solemnity, yet, as God is worshipped in spirit and in truth, and the same doctrines preached as in the church of England, my friend would certainly have shown more liberality, had he attended. I doubt not, however, but he employed his time in private to very good purpose. His uniform and fervent piety was manifested on many occasions during our tour, which I have not mentioned. His reason for not joining in presbyterian worship has been recorded in a former page. (1)
Monday, Nov. 8. — Notwithstanding the altercathat had passed, my father, who had the dignified courtesy of an old baron, was very civil to Dr. Johnson, and politely attended him to the postchaise which was to convey us to Edinburgh.
Thus they parted. They are now in another, and a higher state of existence: and as they were both worthy christian men, I trust they have met in happiness. But I must observe, in justice to my friend's political principles, and my own, that they have met in a place where there is no room for Whiggism.
We came at night to a good inn at Hamilton. I recollect no more.
(1) See antè, Vol. IV. p. 125.
Tuesday, Nov. 9. - I wished to have shown Dr. Johnson the Duke of Hamilton's house, commonly called the palace of Hamilton, which is close by the town. It is an object which, having been pointed out to me as a splendid edifice, from my earliest years, in travelling between Auchinleck and Edinburgh, has still great grandeur in my imagination. My friend consented to stop, and view the outside of it, but could not be persuaded to go into it.
We arrived this night at Edinburgh, after an absence of eighty-three days. For five weeks together, of the tempestuous season, there had been no account received of us. I cannot express how happy I was on finding myself again at home.
Edinburgh. - Lord Elibank. Edinburgh Castle.
Fingal. Credulity. Second Sight. — Garrick and
Johnson's Departure for London. - Letters from
Wednesday, Nov. 10. - OLD Mr. Drummond, the bookseller, came to breakfast. Dr. Johnson and he had not met for ten years.
There was respect on his side, and kindness on Dr. Johnson's. Soon afterwards Lord Elibank came in, and was much pleased at seeing Dr. Johnson in Scotland. His lordship said, “hardly any thing seemed to him more improbable.” Dr. Johnson had a very high opinion of him. Speaking of him to me, he characterised him thus : “ Lord Elibank has read a great deal. It is true, I can find in books all that he has read; but he has a great deal of what is in books, proved by the test of real life.” Indeed, there have been few men whose conversation discovered
more knowledge enlivened by fancy. (') He published several small pieces of distinguished merit; and has left some in manuscript, in particular an account of the expedition against Carthagena, in which he served as an officer in the army. His writings deserve to be collected. He was the early patron of Dr. Robertson, the historian, and Mr. Home, the tragic poet; who, when they were ministers of country parishes, lived near his seat. He told me, “ I saw these lads had talents, and they were much with me." I hope they will pay a grateful tribute to his memory.
The morning was chiefly taken up by Dr. Johnson's giving him an account of our Tour. The subject of difference in political principles was introduced. JOHNSON “ It is much increased by opposition. There was a violent Whig, with whom I used to contend with great eagerness. After his death I felt my Toryism much abated.”. I suppose he meant Mr. Walmesley of Litchfield (?), whose character he has drawn so well in his life af Edmund Smith.
Mr. Nairne came in, and he and I accompanied Dr. Johnson to Edinburgh castle, which he owned was a great place.” But I must mention, as a
(1) Lord Elibank made a happy retort on Dr. Johnson's definition of oats, as the food of horses in England and of men in Scotland: “ Yes," said he; “and where else will you see such horses and such men ?" — WALTER Scort.
(2) See antè, Vol. II. p. 215. It seems unlikely that he and Mr. Walmesley could have had much intercourse since Johnson removed to London, in 1737. It was therefore more probably some member of the Ivy-lane Club, Dyer, M'Ghie, or Barker, whose political and religious tenets were what Johnson would have called Whiggish. C.