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would feel who is strangled by a silken cord. Dr. Johnson was all attention to her grace. He used afterwards a droll expression, upon her enjoying the three titles of Hamilton, Brandon, and Argyle. Borrowing an image from the Turkish empire, he called her a ducliess with three tails.
He was much pleased with our visit at the castle of Inverary. The Duke of Argyle was exceedingly polite to him, and, upon his complaining of the shelties which he had hitherto ridden being too small for him, his grace told him he should be provided with a good horse to carry him next day.
Mr. John M'Aulay - passed the evening with us at our inn. When Dr. Johnson spoke of people whose principles were good, but whose practice was faulty, Mr. MAulay said, he had no notion of people being in earnest in their good professions, whose practice was not suitable to them. The doctor grew warm, and said, "Sir, are you so grossly ignorant of human nature, as not to know that a man may be very sincere in good principles, without having good practice?"
Dr. Johnson was unquestionably in the right; and whoever examines himself candidly will be satisfied of it, though the inconsistency between principles and practice is greater in some men than in others.
I recollect very little of this night's conversation. I am sorry that indolence came upon me towards the conclusion of our journey, so that I did not write down what passed with the same assiduity as during the greatest part of it.
1 Kenneth and John were sons of Aulay Macaulay: Kenneth, the reputed author of the History of St. Kilda; John, the grandfather of one of the greatest literary men of the nineteenth century—Thomas Babington, Lord Macaulay. With whatever severity Johnson's warmth on this occasion may be condemned—and Mr. Trevelyan in the Life of his great kinsman speaks of it as an act of brutality, vol. i., p. 7—there can be little doubt that, as Boswell asserted, Dr. Johnson was unquestionably in the right when he insisted that a man's actions often belie his principles—a mere truism, a hundred times asserted and repeated. "When," adds Mr. Trevelyan, " we think what well-known ground this was to Lord Macaulay, it is impossible to suppress a wish that the great talker hud been at hand to avenge his grandfather and grand-uncle." A very natural wish and imagination on the part of Macaulay's distinguished nephew and biographer; but it is also difficult to suppress the belief that, had such a meeting taken place between the two great talkers, Johnson, to use one of his own expressions, would have '' downed" his antagonist, if his antagonist's arguments had not risen above the plane of the minister of Calder or of the minister of Inverary. —Editor.
Tuesday, Oct. 26.—Mr. M'Aulay breakfasted with us, nothing hurt or dismayed by his last night's correction. Being a man of good sense, he had a just admiration of Dr. Johnson.
Either yesterday morning, or this, I communicated to Dr. Johnson, from Mr. M'Aulay's information, the news that Dr. Beattie had got a pension of two hundred pounds a year. He sat up in his bed, clapped his hands, and cried, "O brave we!"—a peculiar exclamation of his when he rejoices.1
As we sat over our tea, Mr. Home's tragedy of Douglas was mentioned. I put Dr. Johnson in mind, that once, in a coffee-house at Oxford, he called to old Mr. Sheridan, "How came you, Sir, to give Home a gold medal for writing that foolish play?" and defied Mr. Sheridan to show ten good lines in it. He did not insist they should be together; but that there were not ten good lines in the whole play. He now persisted in this. I endeavoured to defend that pathetic and beautiful tragedy, and repeated the following passage:—
Thou first of virtues I let no mortal leave
Thy onward path, although the earth should gape,
And from the gulf of hell destruction cry,
To take dissimulation's winding way."
Johnson. "That will not do, Sir. Nothing is good but what is consistent with truth or probability, which this is not. Juvenal,2 indeed, gives us a noble picture of inflexible virtue:—
"Esto bonus miles, tutor bonus, arbiter idem
'Having mentioned, more than once, that my Journal was perused hy Dr. Johnson, I think it proper to inform my readers that this is the last paragraph which he read.
2 Sat. viii., 79-84.
Falsus, et admoto dictet perjuria tauro.
He repeated the lines with great force and dignity; then, added, "And, after this, comes Johnny Home, with his earth gaping, and his destruction crying !—pooh !" 2
While we were lamenting the number of ruined religious buildings which we had lately seen, I spoke with peculiar feeling of the miserable neglect of the chapel belonging to the palace of Holyrood-house, in which are deposited the remains of many of the kings of Scotland, and of many of our nobility. I said it was a disgrace to the country that it was not repaired; and particularly complained that my friend Douglas, the representative of a great house, and proprietor of a vast estate, should suffer the sacred spot where his mother lies interred to be unroofed, and exposed to all the inclemencies of the weather. Dr. Johnson, who, I knew not how, had formed an opinion on the Hamilton side, in the Douglas cause, slily answered, " Sir, Sir, don't be too severe upon the gentleman; don't accuse him of want of filial piety ; Lady Jane Douglas was not his mother." He roused my zeal so much that I took the liberty to tell him he knew nothing of the cause; which I do most seriously believe was the case.
We were now "in a country of bridles and saddles," and
1 " An honest guardian, arbitrator just,
For this and the other translations to which r.o signature is affixed, I am indebted to the friend whose observations are mentioned in thenotes, ante, p. 58, and Iust, p. 347.
.Probably Dr. Hugh Blair.—Walter Scott.
2 I am sorry that I was unlucky in my quotation. But, notwithstanding the acuteness of Dr. Johnson's criticism, and the power of his ridicule, the tragedy of Douglas stdl continues to be generally and deservedly admired.
set out fully equipped. The Duke of Argyle was obliging enough to mount Dr. Johnson on a stately steed from his grace's stable. My friend was highly pleased, and Joseph said, "He now looks like a bishop."
We dined at the inn at Tarbat, and at night came to Rosedow, the beautiful seat of Sir James Colquhoun, on the banks of Lochlomond, where I, and any friends whom I have introduced, have ever been received with kind and elegant hospitality.
Wednesday, Oct. 27.—When I went into Dr. Johnson's room this morning, I observed to him how wonderfully courteous he had been at Inverary, and said, "You were quite a fine gentleman when with the duchess." He answered, in good humour, " Sir, I look upon myself as a very polite man :" and he was right, in a proper manly sense of the word. As an immediate proof of it, let me observe that he would not send back the Duke of Argyle's horse without a letter of thanks, which I copied.
TO HIS GRACE THE DUKE OF ARGYLE.
"Rosedow, 29th Oct., 1773.
"That kindness which disposed your grace to supply me with the horse, which I have now returned, will make you pleased to hear that he has carried me well.
"By my diligence in the little commission with which I was hononred by the duchess, I will endeavour to show how highly I value the favours which I have received, and how much I desire to be thought, mv lord, your grace's most obedient and most humble servant, "Sam. Johnson."
The duke was so attentive to his respectable guest, that, on the same day, he wrote him an answer, which was received at Auchinleck:—
TO DR. JOHXSOX, AUCHINLECK, AYRSHIRE.
"Inverary, 29th Oct., 1773. "Sir,
"I am glad to hear your journey from this place was not unpleasant, in regard to your horse. I wish I could have supplied you with good weather, which I am afraid you felt the want of.
"The Duchess of Argyle desires her compliments to you, and is much obliged to you for remembering her commission. I am, Sir, your most obedient humble servant, Argyle."
I am happy to insert every memorial of the honour done to my great friend. Indeed, I was at all times desirous to preserve the letters which he received from eminent persons, of which, as of all other papers, he was very negligent; and I once proposed to him that they should be committed to my care, as his custos rotulorum. I wish he had complied with my request, as by that means many valuable writings might have been preserved that are now lost.1
After breakfast, Dr. Johnson and I were furnished with a boat, and sailed about upon Lochlomond, and landed on some of the islands which are interspersed. He was much pleased with the scene, which is so well known by the accounts of various travellers that it is unnecessary for me to attempt any description of it.
I recollect none of his conversation, except that, when talking of dress, he said, " Sir, were I to have anything fine, it should be very fine. Were I to wear a ring, it should not be a bauble, but a stone of great value. Were I to wear a laced or embroidered waistcoat, it should be very rich. I had once a very rich laced waistcoat, which I wore the first night of my tragedy."
Lady Helen Colquhoun2 being a very pious woman, the conversation, after dinner, took a religious turn. Her ladyship defended the presbyterian mode of public worship;
1 As a remarkable instance of his negligence, I remember some years ago to have found lying loose in his study, and without the cover which contained the address, a letter to him from Lord Thurlow, to whom he had made an application, as chancellor, in behalf of a poor literary friend. It was expressed in such terms of respect for Dr. Johnson, that in my zeal for his reputation, I remonstrated warmly with him on his strange inattention, and obtained his permission to take a copy of it; by which probably it has been preserved, as the original, I have reason to suppose, is lost.
See Life, vol. iii. (Oct., 1780).—Editor.
2 The Hon. Helen Sutherland, eldest daughter of Lord Strathnavar, who died before his father, the fifteenth Earl of Sutherland. She died in 1791.—Craker.