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say what pleases his patron, and it is an equal chance whether that be truth or falsehood." Watson. "But is it not the ease now, that, instead of flattering one person, we flatter the age?" Johnson. "No, Sir. The world always lets a man tell what he thinks his own way. I wonder, however, that so many people have written, who might have let it alone. That people should endeavour to excel in conversation, I do not wonder; because in conversation praise is instantly reverberated."
We talked of change of manners. Dr. Johnson observed, that our drinking less than our ancestors was owing to the change from ale to wine. "I remember," said he, "when all the decent people in Lichfield got drunk every night, and were not the worse thought of. Ale was cheap, so you pressed strongly. When a man must bring a bottle of wine, he is not in such haste. Smoking has gone out. To be sure, it is a shocking thing, blowing smoke out of our mouths into other people's mouths, eyes, and noses, and having the same thing done to us. Yet I cannot account, why a thing which requires so little exertion, and yet preserves the mind from total vacuity, should have gone out. Every man has something by which he calms himself; beating with his feet or so,1 I remember when people in England changed a shirt only once a week: a Pandour, when he gets a shirt, greases it to make it last. Formerly, good tradesmen had no fire but in the kitchen; never in the parlour, except on Sunday. My father, who was a magistrate of Lichfield, lived thus. They never began to have a fire in the parlour, but on leaving off business, or some great revolution of their life." Dr. Watson said the hall was a kitchen in old squires' houses. JohnSon. "No, Sir. The hall was for great occasions, and never was used for domestic2 refection." We talked of the Union, and what money it had brought into Scotland. Dr. Watson observed, that a little money formerly went as far as a great deal now. Johnson. "In speculation, it seems that a smaller quantity of money, equal in value to a larger quantity, if equally divided, should produce tho
1 Dr. Johnson used to practise this himself very much.
2 I believe Johnson was mistaken. The Hall was frequently, if not generally, the common refectory.—Craker.
•same effect. But it is not so in reality. Many more conveniences and elegancies are enjoyed where money is plentiful, than where it is scarce. Perhaps a great familiarity with it, which arises from plenty, makes us more easily part with it."
After what Dr. Johnson had said of St. Andrew's, which he had long wished to see, as our oldest university, and the seat of our primate in the days of episcopacy, I can say little. Since the pubhcation of Dr. Johnson's book, I find that he has been censured for not seeing here the ancient chapel of St. Eule,1 a curious piece of sacred architecture. But this was neither his fault nor mine. We were both of us abundantly desirous of surveying such sort of antiquities; but neither of us knew of this. I am afraid the censure must fall on those who did not tell us of it. In every place, where there is any thing worthy of observation, there should be a short printed directory for strangers, such as we find in all the towns of Italy, and in some of the towns in England. I was told that there is a manuscript account of St. Andrews, by Martin, secretary to Archbishop Sharp; and that one Douglas has published a small account of it. I inquired at a bookseller's, but could not get it. Dr. Johnson's veneration for the hierarchy is well known. There is no wonder then, that he was affected with a strong indignation, while he beheld the ruins of religious magnificence. I happened to ask where John Knox was buried. Dr. Johnson burst out, " I hope in the highway.2 I have been looking at his reformations."
It was a very fine day. Dr. Johnson seemed quite wrapt up in the contemplation of the scenes which were now presented to him. He kept his hat off while he was upon any part of the ground where the cathedral had stood. He said well, that "Knox had set on a mob, without know
1 It is very singular how they could miss seeing St. Rule's chapel, an ecclesiastical building, the most ancient, perhaps, in Great Britain. It is a square tower, which stands close by the ruins of the old cathedral. Martin's Reliquiae Divi Andreae are now published.— Walter Scott.
2 It is, says Mr. Chambers, a little odd, though Boswell has overlooked it, that Knox was buried in a place which soon after became, and ever since has been, a highway; namely, the old churchyard of St. Giles in Edinburgh.—Croker,
ing where it would end; and that differing from a man in doctrine was no reason why you should pull his house about his ears." As we walked in the cloisters, there wasa, solemn echo, while he talked loudly of a proper retirement from the world. Mr. Nairne said, he had an inclination to retire. I called Dr. Johnson's attention to this, that I might hear his opinion if it was right. Johnson. "Yes, when he has done his duty to society. In general, as every man is obliged not only to ' love God, but his neighbour as himself,' he must bear his part in active life; yet there are exceptions. Those who are exceedingly scrupulous (which I do not approve, for I am no friend toscruples), and find their scrupulosity invincible, so that they are quite in the dark, and know not what they shall do,—or those who cannot resist temptations, and find they make themselves worse by being in the world, without making it better,—may retire. I never read of a hermit, but in imagination I kiss his feet: never of a monastery, but I could fall on my knees, and kiss the pavement. But I think putting young people there, who know nothing of life, nothing of retirement, is dangerous and wicked. It is a saying as old as Hesiod—
'Epycc vtuiv, (3ov\ai re /iectwv, tu%ai re ytpooroir.'l
That is a very noble line: not that young men should not pray, or old men not give counsel, but that every season of life has its proper duties. I have thought of retiring, and have talked of it to a friend; but I find my vocation is rather to active life." I said, some young monks might be allowed, to show that it is not age alone that can retire to pious solitude; but he thought this would only show that they could not resist temptation.
He wanted to mount the steeples, but it could not be done. There are no good inscriptions here. Bad Roman characters he naturally mistook for half Gothic, half Eoman. One of the steeples, which he was told was in danger, he wished not to be taken down: "for," said he, "it may fall on some of the posterity of John Knox; and:
1 "Let youth in deeds, in counsel man engage:
no great matter!"' Dinner was mentioned. Johnson. "Ay, ay, amidst all these sorrowful scenes, I have no objection to dinner."
We went and looked at the castle where Cardinal Beaton was murdered,2 and then visited Principal Murison at his college, where is a good library room; but the Principal was abundantly vain of it, for he seriously said to Dr. Johnson, "You have not such a one in England." 3
The professors entertained us with a very good dinner. Present: Murison, Shaw, Cooke, Hill,4 Haddo, Watson, Flint, Brown. I observed, that I wondered to see him eat so well, after viewing so many sorrowful scenes of ruined religious magnificence. "Why," said he, " I am not sorry, after seeing these gentlemen, for they are not sorry." Murison said, all sorrow was bad as it was murmuring against the dispensations of Providence. Johnson. "Sir, sorrow is inherent in humanity. As you cannot judge two and two to be either five or three, but certainly four, so, when comparing a worse present state, with a better which is past, you cannot but feel sorrow. It is not cured by reason, but by the incursion of present objects, which wear out the past. You need not murmur, though you are sorry." Mttrison. "But St. Paul says, 'I have learnt, in whatever state I am, therewith to be content.'" Johnson. "Sir, that relates to riches and poverty; for we see St. Paul, when he had a thorn in the flesh, prayed earnestly to have it removed; and then he could not be content." Murison, thus refuted, tried to be smart, and drank to Dr. Johnson, "Long may you lecture!" Dr. Johnson afterwards, speaking of his not drinking wine, said, "The Doctor spoke of lecturing (looking to him). I give all these lectures on water."
1 These towers have been repaired by the government, with a proper attention to the antiquities of the country.-—Walttr Scott.
- On the 29th May, 1546, in the episcopal palace of St. Andrew's, which the cardinal's fears of assassination had converted into a fortress. Editor.
3 "The library," says Johnson, " is not very spacious, but elegant and luminous. The doctor by whom it was shown hoped to irritate or subdue my English vanity by telling me, that we had no such repository of books in England." Johnson, with unusual forbearance, appears not to have contradicted him, as assuredly he might; for the library of St. Andrew's is, I am informed, but 75 feet long, whilst that of All Souls, in Oxford, is 198 feet; of Christ Church, 141; of Queen's, 123; and each of the three divisions of the Bodleian is more than twice as long as the library of St. Andrew's.—Croker.
* Dr. George Hill, author of Theological Institutes, &c.; born in 1750, died in December, 1819.— Wright.
He defended requiring subscription in those admitted to universities, thus: "As all who come into the country must obey the king, so all who come into an university must he of the Church."
And here I must do Dr. Johnson the justice to contradict a very absurd and ill-natured story, as to what passed at St. Andrew's. It has been circulated, that, after grace was said in English, in the usual manner, he, with the greatest marks of contempt, as if he had held it to be no grace in an university, would not sit down till he had said grace aloud, in Latin. This would have been an insult indeed to the gentlemen who were entertaining us. But the truth was precisely thus. In the course of conversation at dinner, Dr. Johnson, in very good humour, said, "I should have expected to have heard a Latin grace, among so many learned men: we had always a Latin grace at Oxford. I believe I can repeat it." Which he did, as giving the learned men in one place a specimen of what was done by the learned men in another place.1
We went and saw the church, in which is Archbishop Sharp's 2 monument.3 I was struck with the same kind of feelings with which the churches of Italy impressed me. I was much pleased to see Dr. Johnson actually in St. Andrew's, of which we had talked so long. Professor
1 Boswell might have added, that as this dinner was at an inn, Johnsin could not have seriously expected a Latin grace, said even M at Oxford" in the college halls only.—Lockhart.
* James Sharp, Archbishop of St. Andrew's, was dragged from his coach, and murdered in the arms of his daughter, on Magus Moor, 3rd of May, 1679. Sir Walter Scott, in his celebrated tale, entitled Old Mortality, has told this story with all the force of history and all the interest of romance.—Croker.
'The monument is of Italian marble. The brother of the archbishop left a sum for preserving it, which, in one unhappy year, was expended in paintins it in resemblance of reality. The daubing is now removed.— Waller Scott