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small aperture, we may be convinced how many degrees of difference there may be in the application of a razor.
We dined with Dr. Butter,* whose lady is daughter of my cousin Sir John Douglas, whose grandson is now presumptive heir of the noble family of Queensberry. Johnson and he had a good deal of medical conversation. Johnson said he had somewhere or other given an account of Dr. Nichols's discourse “ De Animâ Medica." He told us “that whatever a man's distemper was, Dr. Nichols would not attend him as a physician, if his mind was not at ease ; for he believed that no medicines would have any influence. He once attended a man in trade, upon whom he found none of the medicines he prescribed had any effect; he asked the man's wife privately whether his affairs were not in a bad way? She said no. He continued his attendance some time, still without success. At length the man's wife told him she had discovered that her husband's affairs were in a bad way. When Goldsmith was dying, Dr. Turton said to him, “ Your pulse is in greater disorder than it should be, from the degree of fever which you have : is your mind at ease ?' Goldsmith answered it was not.”
After dinner, Mrs. Butter went with me to see the silk-mill which Mr. John Lombe † had had a patent for, having brought away the contrivance from Italy. I am not very conversant with mechanics ; but the simplicity of this machine, and its multiplied operations, struck me with an agreeable surprise. I had learnt from Dr. Johnson, during this interview, not to think with a dejected indifference of the works of art, and the pleasures of life, because life is uncertain and short; but to consider such indifference as a failure of reason, a morbidness of mind ; for happiness should be cultivated as much as we can, and the objects which are instrumental to it should be steadily considered as of importance, with a reference not only to ourselves, but to multitudes in successive ages. Though it is proper to value small parts, as
Sands make the mountain, moments make the year ; " yet we must contemplate, collectively, to have a just estimation of objects. One moment's being uneasy or not, seems of no consequence; yet this may be thought of the next, and the next, and so on, till there is a large portion of misery. In the same way one must think of happiness, of learning, of friendship. We cannot tell the precise moment when friendship is formed. As in filling a vessel drop by drop, there is at last a drop which makes it run over ; so in a series of kindnesses there is at last one which makes the heart run over. We must not divide objects of our attention into minute parts, and think separately of each part. It is by contemplating a large mass of human existence, that a man, while he sets a just value on his own life, does not think of his death as annihilating all that is great and pleasing in the world, as if actually contained in his mind, according to Berkeley's reverie. If his imagination be not sickly and feeble, it “ wings its distant way” far beyond himself, and views the world in unceasing activity of every sort. It must be acknowledged, however, that Pope's plaintive reflection, that all things would be as gay as ever, on the day of his death, is natural and common. We are apt to transfer to all around us our own gloom, without considering that at any given point of time
(* Dr. Butter was at this time a practising physician at Derby. He afterwards removed to London, where he died in his 79th year, March 22, 1805. He is author of several medical tracts. M.)
† See Hutton's History of Derby," a book which is deservedly esteemed for its information, accuracy, and good narrative. Indeed, the age in which we live is eminently distinguished by topographical excellence.
713 there is, perhaps, as much youth and gaiety in the world as at another. Before I came into this life, in which I have had so many pleasant scenes, have not thousands and ten thousands of deaths and funerals happened, and have not families been in grief for their nearest relations ? But have those dismal circumstances at all affected me? Why then should the gloomy scenes which I experience, or which I know, affect others ? Let us guard against imagining that there is an end of felicity upon earth, when we ourselves grow old, or are unhappy.
Dr. Johnson told us at tea that when some of Dr. Dodd's pious friends were trying to console him by saying that he was going to leave “ a wretched world,” he had honesty enough not to join in the cant :—“No, no (said he), it has been a very agreeable world to me.” Johnson added, “I respect Dodd for thus speaking the truth; for, to be sure, he had for several years enjoyed a life of great voluptuousness."
He told us that Dodd's city friends stood by him so that a thousand pounds were ready to be given to the jailer if he would let him escape. He added that he knew a friend of Dodd's who walked about Newgate for some time on the evening before the day of his execution, with five hundred pounds in his pocket, ready to be paid to any of the turnkeys who could get him out : but it was too late ; for he was watched with much circumspection. He said Dodd's friends had an image of him made of wax, which was to have been left in his place ; and he believed it was carried into the prison.
Johnson disapproved of Dr. Dodd's leaving the world persuaded that " The Convict's Address to his unhappy Brethren was of his own writing. “But, Sir (said I), you contributed to the deception; for when Mr. Seward expressed a doubt to you that it was not Dodd's own, because it had a great deal more force of mind in it than anything known to be his, you answered – Why should you think so ? Depend upon it, Sir, when a man knows he is to be hanged in a fortnight, it concentrates his mind wonderfully,'' JOHNSON: “Sir, as Dodd
'got it from me to pass as his own, while that could do him any good, that was an implied promise that I should not own it. To own it, therefore, would have been telling a lie, with the addition of breach of promise, which was worse than simply telling a lie to make it be believed it was Dodd's. Besides, Sir, I did not directly tell a lie: I left the matter uncertain. Perhaps I thought that Seward From an engraving by Golder after a drawing by D. Dodd would not believe it the less REV. WILLIAM DODD (6. 1729, d. 1777)
to be mine for what I said ; but I would not put it in his power to say I had owned it."
He praised Blair's sermons : “ Yes,” said he (willing to let us see he was aware that fashionable fame, however deserved, is not always the most lasting), “perhaps they may not be reprinted after seven years ; at least not after Blair's death.
He said, “ Goldsmith was a plant that flowered late. There appeared nothing remarkable about him when he was young; though when he had got high in fame, one of his friends began to recollect something of his being distinguished at College. Goldsmith in the same manner recollected more of that friend's early years, as he grew a greater man.
I mentioned that Lord Monboddo told me he awaked every morning at four, and then for his health got up and walked in his room naked, with the window open, which he called taking an air bath ; after which he went to bed again, and slept two hours more. Johnson, who was always ready to beat down anything that seemed to be exhibited with disproportionate importance, thus observed : “I suppose, Sir, there is no more in it than this, he wakes at four, and cannot sleep till he chills himself, and makes the warmth of the bed a grateful sensation."
I talked of the difficulty of rising in the morning. Dr. Johnson told me " that the learned Mrs. Carter, at that period when she was eager in study, did not awake as early as she wished, and she therefore had a contrivance that, at a certain hour, her chamber-light should burn a string, to which a heavy weight was suspended, which then fell with a strong, sudden noise : this roused her from her sleep, and then she had no difficulty in getting up.” But I said that was my difficulty; and wished there could be some medicine invented which would make one rise without pain, which I never did, unless after lying in bed a very long time. Perhaps there may be something in the stores of Nature which could do this. I have thought of a pulley to raise me gradually ; but that would give me pain, as it would counteract my internal inclination. I would have something that can dissipate the vis inertiæ, and give elasticity to the muscles. As I imagine that the human body may be put, by the operation of other substances, into any state in which it has ever been ; and as I have experienced a state in which rising from bed was not disagreeable, but easy, nay, sometimes agreeable ; I suppose that this state may be produced, if we knew by what. We can heat the body, we can cool it ; we can give it tension or relaxation; and surely it is possible to bring it into a state in which rising from bed will not be a pain.
Johnson observed that "a man should take a sufficient quantity of sleep, which Dr. Mead says is between seven and nine hours.” I told him that Dr. Cullen said to me that a man should not take more sleep than he can take at once. JOHNSON : “This rule, Sir, cannot hold in all cases ; for many people have their sleep broken by sickness; and surely Cullen would not have a man to get up after having slept but an hour. Such a regimen would soon end in a long sleep." | Dr. Taylor remarked, I think very justly, that “a man who does not feel an inclination to
* He was distinguished in college, as appears from a circumstance mentioned by Dr. Kearney. See p. 393. M.]
† This regimen was, however, practised by Bishop Ken, of whom Hawkins (not Sir John) in his Life of that venerable prelate, p. 4, tells us, And that neither his study might be the aggressor on his hours of instruction, or what he judged his duty, prevent his improvements; or both, his closet addresses to his God; he strictly accustomed himself to but one sleep, which often obliged him to rise at one or two of the clock in the morning, and sometimes sooner ; and grew so habitual, that it continued with him almost till his last illness. And so lively and cheerful was his temper, that he would be very facetaoui
sleep at the ordinary times, instead of being stronger than other people, must not be well; for a man in health has all the natural inclinations to eat, drink, and sleep in a strong degree.'
Johnson advised me to-night not to refine in the education of my children.
* Life (said he), will not bear refinement; you must do as other people do."
As we drove back to Ashbourne, Dr. Johnson recommended to me, as
From an engraving by E. Finden after a drawing by Clarkson Stanfield, R.A. he had often done, to
IONA drink water only : “For
Johnson's visit to this place, on Oct. 19th, 1773, during his Hebridean
Tour with Boswell, inspired him with the famous passage quoted in (said he) you are then the footnote on p. 717 from his “ Journey to the Western Íslands of
Scotland.” sure not to get drunk ; whereas, if you drink wine, you are never sure." I said drinking wine was a pleasure which I was unwilling to give up. Why, Sir (said he), there is no doubt that not to drink wine is a great deduction from life : but it may be necessary.” He, however owned that in his opinion a free use of wine did not shorten life ; and said he would not give less for the life of a certain Scotch Lord (whom he named) celebrated for hard drinking, than for that of a sober man. “But stay (said he, with his usual intelligence, and accuracy of inquiry), does it take much wine to make him drunk ?” I answered, “A great deal either of wine or strong punch.”—“ Then (said he) that is the worse.” I presume to illustrate my friend's observation thus ; “ A fortress which soon surrenders has its walls less shattered, than when a long and obstinate resistance is made."
I ventured to mention a person who was as violent a Scotchman as he was an Englishman; and literally had the same contempt for an Englishman compared with a Scotchman, that he had for a Scotchman compared with an Englishman; and that he would say of Dr. Johnson, “Damned rascal ! to talk as he does of the Scotch.” This seemed, for a moment, “ to give him pause." It, perhaps, presented his extreme prejudice against the Scotch in a point of view somewhat new to him, by the effect of contrast.
By the time when we returned to Ashbourne, Dr. Taylor was gone to bed. Johnson and I sat up a long time by ourselves.
He was much diverted with ar. article which I showed him in the Critical Review of this year, giving an account of a curious publication, entitled “A Spiritual Diary and Soliloquies, by John Rutty, M.D.” Dr. Rutty was one of the people called Quakers, a physician of some eminence in Dublin, and author of several works. and entertaining to his friends in the evening, even when it was perceived that with difficulty he kept his eyes open ; and then seemed to go to rest with no other purpose than the refreshing and enabling bum with more vigour and cheerfulness to sing his morning hymn, as he then used to do to his lute before he put on his clothes.
This Diary, which was kept from 1753 to 1775, the year in which he died, and was now published in two volumes octavo, exhibited in the simplicity of his heart, a minute and honest register of the state of his mind; which, though frequently laughable enough, was not more so than the history of many men would be, if recorded with equal fairness.
The following specimens were extracted by the Reviewers :
“Tenth month, 1753. “23. Indulgence in bed an hour too long. “ Twelfth month, 17. An hypochondriac obnubilation from wind and indigestion. “Ninth month, 28. An over-dose of whisky. “ 29. A dull cross choleric day. “First month, 1757–22. A little swinish at dinner and repast. “ 31. Dogged on provocation.
Second month, 5. Very dogged or snappish. " 14. Snappish on fasting. “ 26. Cursed snappishness to those under me, on a bodily indisposition.
“ Third month, 11. On a provocation, exercised a dumb resentment for two days, instead of scolding.
“ 22. Scolded too vehemently. “ 23. Dogged again.
Fourth month, 29. Mechanically and sinfully dogged.”
Johnson laughed heartily at this good Quietist's self-condemning minutes ; particularly at his mentioning with such a serious regret, occasional instances of
swinishness ” in eating, and “doggedness of temper.” He thought the observations of the Critical Reviewers upon the importance of a man to himself so ingenious, and so well expressed, that I shall here introduce them.
After observing that “there are few writers who have gained any reputation by recording their own actions,” they say,
“We may reduce the egotists to four classes. In the first we have Julius Cæsar : he relates his own transactions ; but he relates them with peculiar grace and dignity, and his narrative is supported by the greatness of his character and achievements, In the second class we have Marcus Antoninus : this writer has given us a series of reflections on his own life; but his sentiments are so noble, his morality so sublime, that his meditations are universally admired. In the third class we have some others of tolerable credit, who have given importance to their own private history by an intermixture of literary anecdotes, and the occurrences of their own times: the celebrated Huetius has published an entertaining volume upon this plan, ' De rebus ad eum pertinentibus.' In the fourth class we have the journalists, temporal and spiritual: Elias Ashmole, William Lilly, George Whitefield, John Wesley, and a thousand other old women and fanatic writers of memoirs and meditations."
I mentioned to him that Dr. Hugh Blair, in his lectures on Rhetoric and Belles Lettres, which I heard him deliver at Edinburgh, had animadverted on the Johnsonian style as too pompous; and attempted to imitate it, by giving a sentence of Addison in the Spectator, No. 411, in the manner of Johnson. When treating of the utility of the pleasures of imagination in preserving us from vice, it is observed