Page images
PDF
EPUB

none.

Europ. tite, but appearing rather impatient, and being asked unnecessary and Mag. frivolous questions, he said he often thought of Macbeth,—Question v. xxxvi. p. 155. enrages him.'

He retired immediately after dinner, and we soon went, at his desire (Mr. Sastres and myself), and sat with him till tea. He said little, but dozed at times. At six he ordered tea for us, and we went out to drink it with Mrs. Davies; but the doctor drank

The Rev. Dr. Taylor, of Ashburne, came soon after; and Dr. Johnson desired our attendance at prayers, which were read by Dr. Taylor. Mr. Ryland came and sat some time with him: he thought him much better. Mr. Sastres and I continued with him the remainder of the evening, when he exhorted Mr. Sastres in nearly these words: 'There is no one who has shown me more attention than you

have done, and it is now right you should claim some attention from me. You are a young man, and are to struggle through life : you are in a profession that I dare say you will exercise with great fidelity and innocence; but let me exhort you always to think of my situation, which must one day be yours : always remember that life is short, and that eternity never ends ! I say nothing of your religion; for if you conscientiously keep to it, I have little doubt but you may be saved :

if

you read the controversy, I think we have the right on our side; but if you do not read it, be not persuaded, from any worldly consideration, to alter the religion in which you were educated : change not, but from conviction of reason.' He then most strongly enforced the motives of virtue and piety from the consideration of a future state of reward and punishment, and concluded with, “Remember all this, and God bless you! Write down what I have said--I think you are the third person I have bid do this'' At ten o'clock he dismissed us, thanking us for a visit which he said could not have been very pleasant to us.

Monday, Nov. 29.—Called with my son about eleven: saw the doctor, who said, “You must not now stay ;' but as we were going away, he said, “I will get Mr. Hoole to come next Wednesday and read the Litany to me, and do you and Mrs. Hoole come with him.' He appeared very ill. Returning from the city I called again to inquire, and heard that Dr. Butter was with him. In the evening, about eight, called again and just saw him; but did not stay, as Mr. Langton was with him on business. I met Sir Joshua Reynolds going away.

Tuesday, Nov. 30.-Called twice this morning, but did not see him: he was much the same. In the evening, between six and seven, went to his house: found there Mr. Langton, Mr. Sastres, and Mr. Ryland: the doctor being asleep in the chamber, we went all to tea and coffee, when the doctor came in to us rather cheerful, and enter

[ocr errors]

1 The other two were Dr. Brocklesby and myself.-J. HOOLE.

p. 155.

ing said, ' Dear gentlemen, how do you do?' He drank coffee, and, Europ. in the course of the conversation, said that he recollected a poem of Mag. his, made some years ago on a young gentleman coming of

V. xxxvi. age.

He repeated the whole with great spirit: it consisted of about fifteen or sixteen stanzas of four lines, in alternate rhyme. He said he had only repeated it once since he composed it, and that he never gave but one copy. He said several excellent things that evening, and among the rest, that 'scruples made many men miserable, but few men good. He spoke of the affectation that men had to accuse themselves of petty faults or weaknesses, in order to exalt themselves into notice for any extraordinary talents which they might possess; and instanced in WaMer, which he said he would record if he lived to revise his life. Waller was accustomed to say that his memory was so bad he would sometimes forget to repeat his grace at table, or the Lord's prayer, perhaps that people might wonder at what he did else of great moment; for the doctor observed, that no man takes

upon

himself small blemishes without supposing that great abilities are attributed to him; and that, in short, this affectation of candour or modesty was but another kind of indirect self-praise, and had its foundation in vanity. Frank bringing him a note, as he opened it he said an odd thought struck him, that one should receive no letters in the grave!' His talk was in general very serious and devout, though occasionally cheerful : he said, “You are all serious men, and I will tell you something. About two years since I feared that I had neglected God, and that then I had not a mind to give him ; on which I set about to read Thomas à Kempis in Low Dutch, which I accomplished, and thence I judged that my mind was not impaired, Low Dutch having no affinity with any of the languages which I knew. With respect to his recovery, he seemed to think it hopeless. There was to be a consultation of physicians next day: he wished to have his legs scarified, to let out the water ; but this his medical friends opposed, and he submitted to their opinion, though he said he was not satisfied. At half past eight he dismissed us all but Mr. Langton. I first asked him if my son should attend him next day, to read the Litany, as he had desired; but he declined it on account of the expected consultation. We went away, leaving Mr. Langton and Mr. Desmoulins, a young man who was employed in copying his Latin epigrams.

“Wednesday, Dec. 1.-At his house in the evening: drank tea and coffee with Mr. Sastres, Mr. Desmoulins, and Mr. 2 Hall: went into the doctor's chamber after tea, when he gave me an epitaph to

This note was from Mr. Davies the bookseller, and mentioned a present of some pork; upon which the doctor said, in a manner that seemed as if he thought it ill-timed, T Too much of this,” or some such expression.-J. HOOLE.

? [Probably a mistake for Mrs. Hall.-ED.]

p. 156.

Europ. copy, written by him for his father, mother, and brother. He conMag. tinued much the same. v. xxxvi.

“ Thursday, Dec. 2.-Called in the morning and left the epitaph: with him in the evening about seven ; found Mr. Langton and Mr. Desmoulins ; did not see the doctor; he was in his chamber, and afterwards engaged with Dr. Scott.

Friday, Dec. 3.-Called; but he wished not to see any body. Consultation of physicians to be held that day: called again in the evening; found Mr. Langton with him ; Mr. Sastres and I went together into his chamber; he was extremely low. “I am very bad indeed, dear gentlemen,' he said ; ' very bad, very low, very cold, and I think I find my life to fail. In about a quarter of an hour he dismissed Mr. Sastres and me; but called me back again, and said that next Sunday, if he lived, he designed to take the sacrament, and wished me, my wife, and son to be there. We left Mr. Langton with him.

Saturday, Dec. 4.-Called on him about three: he was much the same, did not see him, he had much company that day. Called in the evening with Mr. Sastres about eight; found he was not disposed for company; Mr. Langton with him ; did not see him.

Sunday, Dec. 5.—Went to Bolt-court with Mrs. Hoole after eleven; found there Sir John Hawkins, Rev. Mr. Strahan, Mrs. Gardiner, and Mr. Desmoulins, in the dining-room. After some time the doctor came to us from the chamber, and saluted us all, thanking us all for this visit to him. He said he found himself very bad, but hoped he should go well through the duty which he was about to do. The sacrament was then administered to all present, Frank being of the number. The doctor repeatedly desired Mr. Strahan to speak louder; seeming very anxious not to lose any part of the service, in which he joined in very great fervour of devotion. The service over, he again thanked us all for attending him on the occasion: he said he had taken some opium to enable him to support the fatigue: he seemed quite spent, and lay in his chair some time in a kind of doze: he then got up and retired into his chamber. Mr. Ryland then called on him. I was with them: he said to Mr. Ryland, “I have taken

my viaticum: I hope I shall arrive safe at the end of my journey, and be accepted at last.' He spoke very despondingly several times: Mr. Ryland comforted him, observing that we had great hopes given us. Yes,' he replied, we have hopes given us; but they are conditional, and I know not how far I have fulfilled those conditions 1.' He afterwards said, “However, I think that I have

See his letter to Mrs. Thrale, vol. ii. p. 350.-J. HOOLE.

now corrected all bad and vicious habits. Sir Joshua Reynolds Europ. called on him: we left them together. Sir Joshua being gone, he Mag. called Mr. Ryland and me again to him: he continued talking very p. 156. seriously, and repeated a prayer or collect with great fervour, when Mr. Ryland took his leave. He eat a tolerable dinner, but retired directly after dinner. My son came to us from his church: we were at dinner-Dr. Johnson, Mrs. Gardiner, myself, Mrs. Hoole, my son, and Mr. Desmoulins. He had looked out a sermon of Dr. Clarke's, !'On the Shortness of Life,' for me to read to him after dinner, bút he was too ill to hear it. After six o'clock he called us all into his room, when he dismissed us for that night with a prayer, delivered as he sat in his great chair in the most fervent and affecting manner, his mind appearing wholly employed with the thoughts of another life. He told Mr. Ryland that he wished not to come to God with opium, but that he hoped he had been properly attentive. He said before us all, that when he recovered the last spring, he had only called it a reprieve, but that he did think it was for a longer time; however he hoped the time that had been prolonged to him might be the means of bringing forth fruit meet for repentance.

“ Monday, Dec. 6.-Sent in the morning to make inquiry after him : he was much the same: called in the evening; found Mr. Cruikshanks the surgeon with him: he said he had been that day quarrelling with all his physicians: he appeared in tolerable spirits.

“ Tuesday, Dec. 7.—Called at dinner-time: saw him eat a very good dinner: he seemed rather better, and in spirits.

Wednesday, Dec. 8.-Went with Mrs. Hoole and my son, by appointment; found him very poorly and low, after a very bad night. Mr. Nichols the printer was there. My son read the Litany, the doctor several times urging him to speak louder. After prayers Mr. Langton came in: much serious discourse: he warned us all to profit by his situation; and, applying to me, who stood next him, exhorted me to lead a better life than he had done. “A better life than

you, my dear sir !' I repeated. He replied warmly, Don't compliment now. He told Mr. Langton that he had the night before enforced

a powerful argument to a powerful objection against Christianity.

“He had often thought it might seem strange that the Jews, who refused belief to the doctrine supported by the miracles of our Saviour, should after his death raise a numerous church; but he said that they expected fully a temporal prince, and with this idea the multitude was actuated when they strewed his way with palmbranches on his entry into Jerusalem; but finding their expectations afterwards disappointed, rejected him, till in process of time, comparing all the circumstances and prophecies of the Old Testament,

[Probably Mr. Windham ; see his Journal. The word He in the next sentence means not Mr. Windham, but Dr. Johnson.-ED.]

on

1

[ocr errors]

Europ. confirmed in the New, many were converted ; that the Apostles themMag.

selves once believed him to be a temporal prince. He said that he v. xxxvi. p. 157.

had always been struck with the resemblance of the Jewish passover and the Christian doctrine of redemption. He thanked us all for our attendance, and we left him with Mr. Langton.

Thursday, Dec. 9.–Called in the evening ; did not see him, as he was engaged.

“ Friday, Dec. 10.-Called about eleven in the morning ; saw Mr. La Trobel there: neither of us saw the doctor, as we understood he wished not to be visited that day. In the evening I sent him a letter, recommending Dr. Dalloway (an irregular physician) as an extraordinary person for curing the dropsy. He returned me a verbal answer that he was obliged to me, but that it was too late. My son read prayers with him this day.

“Saturday, Dec, 11.-Went to Bolt-court about twelve; met there Dr. Burney, Dr. Taylor, Sir John Hawkins, Mr. Sastres, Mr. Paradise, Count Zenobia, and Mr. Langton. Mrs. Hoole called for me there: we both went to him: he received us very kindly; told me he had my letter, but “it was too late for doctors, regular or irregular. His physicians had been with him that day, but prescribed nothing. Mr. Cruikshanks came: the doctor was rather cheerful with him ; he said, “Come, give me your hand,' and shook him by the hand, adding, “You shall make no other use of it now;' meaning he should not examine his legs. Mr. Cruikshanks wished to do it, but the doctor would not let him. Mr. Cruikshanks said he would call in the evening

“ Sunday, Dec. 12.-Was not at Bolt-court in the forenoon; at St. Sepulchre's school in the evening with Mrs. Hoole, where we saw Mrs. Gardiner and Lady Rothes; heard that Dr. Johnson was very bad, and had been something delirious. Went to Bolt-court about nine, and found there Mr. Windham and the Rev. Mr. Strahan. The doctor was then very bad in bed, which I think he had only taken to that day: he had now refused to take any more medicine or food.

Mr. Cruikshanks came about eleven : he endeavoured to persuade him to take some nourishment, but in vain. Mr. Windham then went again to him, and, by the advice of Mr. Cruikshanks, put it upon this footing—that by persisting to refuse all sustenance he might probably defeat his own purpose to preserve his mind clear, as his weakness might bring on paralytic complaints that might affect his mental powers.

The doctor, Mr. Windham said, heard him patiently; but when he had heard all, he desired to be troubled no

He then took a most affectionate leave of Mr. Windham, who reported to us the issue of the conversation, for only Mr. Desmoulins was with them in the chamber. I did not see the doctor that day,

more.

[blocks in formation]
« PreviousContinue »