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are examined in courts of justice, Dr. Johnson told us, that Garrick, though accustomed to face multitudes, when produced as a witness in Westminster Hall, was so disconcerted by a new mode of public appearance, that he could not understand what was asked. It was a cause where an actor claimed a free benefit, that is to say, a benefit without paying the expense of the house; but the meaning of the term was disputed. Garrick was asked. "Sir, have you a free benefit?" "Yes." "Upon what terms have you it?" "Upon—the terms—of—a free benefit." He was dismissed as one from whom no information amid be obtained. Dr. Johnson is often too hard ou our friend Mr. Garrick. When I asked him, why he did not mention him in the Preface to his " Shakspeare," he said, " Garrick has been liberally paid for any thing he has done for Shakspeare. If I should praise him, I should much more praise the nation who paid him. He has not made Shakspeare better known;' he cannot illustrate Shakspeare: so I have reasons enough against mentioning him, were reasons necessary. There should be reasons for it." I spoke of Mrs. Montagn's very high praises of Garrick. Johnson. "Sir, it is fit she should say so much, and I should say nothing. Reynolds is fond of her book, and I wonder at it; for neither I, nor Beauclerk, nor Mrs. Thrale, could get through it." 2
1 It has been trinmphantly asked, " Had not the plays of Shakspeare Iain dormant for many years before the appearance of Mr. Garrick? Did he not exhibit the most excellent of them frequently for thirty years together, and render them extremely popular by his own inimitable performance?" He undoubtedly did. But Dr. Johnson's assertion has been misunderstood. Knowing as well as the objectors what has been just stated, he must necessarily have meant, that "Mr. Garrick did not, as a critic, make Shakspeare better known l he did not illustrate any one passage in any of his plays by acuteness of disquisition, or sagacity of conjecture:" and what has been done with any degree of excellence in that way, was the proper and immediate subject of his preface. I may add in support of this explanation the following anecdote, related to me by one of the ablest commentators on Shakspeare, who knew much of Dr. Johnson: "Now I have quitted the theatre," cries Garrick, "I will sit down and read Shakspeare." "'Tis time you should," exclaimed Johnson, " for I much doubt if you ever examined one of his plays, from the first scene to the last." Note added in third edition.— Editor.
2 No man has less inclination to controversy than I have, particularly
Last night Dr. Johnson gave us an account of the whole process of tanning, and of the nature of milk, and the various operations upon it, as making whey, &c. His variety of information is surprising; and it gives one
with a lady. But as I have claimed, and am conscious of being entitled to, credit for the strictest fidelity, my respect for the public obliges me to take notice of an insinuation which tends to impeach it. Mrs. Fiozzi (late Mrs. Thrale), to her Anecdotes of Dr. Johnson, added the following postscript:—
"Naples, 10th Feb. 1786.
"Since the foregoing went to press, having seen a passage from Mr. Boswcll's Tour to the Hebrides, in which it is said, that I could not get through Mrs. Montagu's Essay on Shakspeare, I do not delay a moment to declare, that, on the contrary, I have always commended it myself, and heard it commended by every one else; and few things would give me more concern than to be thought incapable of tasting, or unwilling to testify my opinion of its excellence."
It is remarkable, that this postscript is so expressed, as not to point out the person who said that Mrs. Thrale could not get through Mrs. Montagu's book j and, therefore I think it necessary to remind Mrs. Piozzi, that the assertion concerning her was Dr. Johnson's, and not mine. The second observation that I shall make on this postscript is, that it does not deny the fact asserted, though I must acknowledge, from the praise it bestows on Mrs. Montagu's book, it may have been designed to convey that meaning.
What Mrs. Thrale's opinion is, or was, or what she may or may not have said to Dr. Johnson concerning Mrs. Montagu's book, it is not necessary for me to inquire. It is only incumbent on me to ascertain what Dr. Johnson said to me. I shall therefore confine myself to a very short state of the fact.
The unfavourable opinion of Mrs. Montagu's book, which Dr. Johnson is here reported to have given, is known to have been that which he uniformly expressed, as many of his friends well remember. So much for the authenticity of the paragraph, as far as it relates to his own sentiments. The words containing the assertion, to which Mrs. Piozzi objects, are printed from my manuscript Journal, and were taken down at the time. The Journal was read by Dr. Johnson, who pointed out some inaccuracies, which I corrected, but did not mention any inaccuracy in the paragraph in question: and what is still more material, and very flattering to me, a considerable part of my Journal, containing this paragraph, was read several years ago by Mrs. Thrale herself, who had it for some time in her pfissession, and returned it to me, without intimating that Dr. Johnson had mistaken her sentiments.
When the first edition of my Journal was passing through the press, it occurred to me, that a peculiar delicacy was necessary to be observed in rep rtingthe opinion of one literary lady concerning the performance of an)thcr; and I had such scruples on that head, that, in the proof sheet, I struck out the name of Mrs. Thrale from the above paragraph,
much satisfaction to find such a man bestowing his attention on the useful arts of life. Ulinish was much struck with his knowledge; and said, " He is a great orator, Sir; it is music to hear this man speak." A strange thought struck me, to try if he knew any thing of an art, or whatever it should be called, which is no doubt very useful in life, but which lies far out of the way of a philosopher and poet; I mean the trade of a butcher. I enticed him into the subject, by connecting it with the various researches into the manners and customs of uncivilized nations, that have been made by our late navigators into the South Seas. I began with observing, that Mr. (now Sir Joseph) Banks tells us, that the art of slaughtering animals was not known in Otaheite, for, instead of bleeding to death their dogs (a common food with them), they strangle them. This he told me himself; and I supposed that their hogs were killed in the same way. Dr. Johnson said, "This must be owing to their not having knives, though they have sharp stones with which they can cut a carcase in pieces tolerably." By degrees, he showed that he knew something even of butchery. "Different animals," said he, " are killed differently. An ox is knocked down, and a calf stunned; but a sheep has its throat cut, without any thing being done to stupify it. The butchers have no view to the ease of the animals, but only to make them quiet, for their own safety and convenience. A sheep can give them little trouble. Hales is of opinion that every animal should be blooded, without having any blow given to it, because it bleeds better." Boswell. "That would be cruel." Johnson. "No, Sir; there is not
and two or three hundred copies of my book were actually printed and published without it; of these Sir Jushua Reynolds'copy happened to be one. But while the sheet was working off, a friend, for whose opinion I have great respect, suggested that I had no right to deprive Airs. Thrale of the high honour which Dr. Johnson had done her, by stating her opinion along with that of Mr. Beauclerk, as coinciding with, and, as it were, sanctioning his own. The observation appeared to me so weighty and conclusive, that I hastened to the printing-house, and, as a piece of justice, restored Mrs. Thrale tu that place from which a too scrupulous delicacy had excluded her.
On this simple state of facts I shall make no observation whatever. [Note added in the thin' edition.—Editor.]
much pain, if the jugular vein be properly cut." Pursuing the subject, he said, the kennels of Southwark ran with blood two or three days in the week; that he was afraid there were slaughter-houses in more streets in London than one supposes (speaking with a kind of horror of butchering); "and yet," he added, " any of us would kill a cow, rather than not have beef." I said we could not. "Yes," said he, "any one may. The business of a butcher is a trade indeed, that is to say, there is an apprenticeship served to it; but it may be learnt in a month."
I mentioned a club in London, at the Boar's Head in Eastcheap, the very tavern' where Falstaff and his joyous companions met; the members of which all assume Shakespeare's characters. One is Falstaff, another Prince Henry, another Bardolph, and so on. Johnson. "Don't be of it, Sir. Now that you have a name, you must be careful to avoid many things, not bad in themselves, but which will lessen your character.2 This every man who has a name must observe. A man who is not publicly known may live in London as he pleases, without any notice being taken of him; but it is wonderful how a person of any consequence is watched. There was a member of parliament, who wanted to prepare himself to speak on a question that was to come on in the house; and he and I were to talk it over together. He did not wish it should be known that he talked with me; so he would not let me come to his house, but came to mine. Some time after he had made his speech in the house, Mrs. Cholmoudeley, a very airy lady, told me, 'Well, you could make nothing of him !' naming the gentleman; which was a proof that he was watched. I had once some business to do for government, and I went to Lord North's. Precaution was taken that it should not be known. It was dark before I went; yet a few days
1 Not the very tavern, which was burned down in the great fire. Goldsmith and Washington Irving have i'allen into the same mistake.— P. Cunningham.
The house rebuilt on the original site had a stone sign of a boar's lead with the date of 1668, let into the wall.—Croker.
2 I do not see why I might not have been of this club without lessening; my character. But Dr. Johnson's caution against supposing one's self concealed in London may be very useful to prevent some popple from doing many things, not only foolish, but criminal.
after I was told, 'Well, you have been with Lord North.' That the door of the prime minister should be watched is not strange; but that a member of parliament should be watched is wonderful."
We set out this morning on our way to Talisker, in Ulinish's boat, having taken leave of him and his family. Mr. Donald M'Queen still favoured us with his company, for which we were much obliged to him. As we sailed along, Dr. Johnson got into one of his fits of railing at the Scots. He owned they had been a very learned nation for a hundred years, from about 1550 to about 1650; but that they afforded the only instance of a people among whom the arts of civil life did not advance in proportion with learning; that they had hardly any trade, any money, or any elegance, before the Union; that it was strange that, with all the advantages possessed by other nations, they had not any of those conveniencies and embellishments which are the fruits of industry, till they came in contact with a civilized people. "We have taught you," said he, " and we'll do the same in time to all barbarous nations, to the Cherokees, and at last to the Ouran-Outangs," laughing with as much glee as if Monboddo had been present. BosWell. "We had wine before the Union." Johnson. "No, Sir; you had some weak stuff, the refuse of France, which would not make you drunk." Boswell. "I assure you, Sir, there was a great deal of drunkenness." Johnson. "No, Sir; there were people who died of dropsies, which they contracted in trying to get drunk."
I must here glean some of his conversation at Ulinish, which I have omitted. He repeated his remark, that a man in a ship was worse that a man in a jail. "The man in a jail," said he, "has more room, better food, and commonly bettor company, and is in safety." "Ay; but," said Mr. M'Queen, "the man in the ship has the pleasing hope of getting to shore." Johnson. "Sir, I am not talking of a man's getting to shore, but of a man while he is in a ship; and then, I say, he is worse than a man while he is in jail. A man in a jail may have the 'pleasing hope' of getting out. A man confined for only a limited time actually has it." Macleod mentioned his schemes for carrying on fisheries with spirit, and that he would wish to