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our Highlands; it is well known that in India a similar practice prevails.
Mr. M'Aulay began a rhapsody against creeds and confessions. Dr. Johnson showed, that " what he called imposition, was only a voluntary declaration of agreement in certain articles of faith, which a church has a right to require, just as any other society can insist on certain rules being observed by its members. Nobody is compelled to be of the church, as nobody is compelled to enter into a society." This was a very clear and just view of the subject; but M'Aulay could not be driven out of his track. Dr. Johnson said, " Sir, you are a bigot to laxness." l
Mr. M'Aulay and I laid the map of Scotland before us; and he pointed out a route for us from Inverness, by Fovt Augustus, to Glenelg, Sky, Mull, Icolmkill, Lorn, and Inverary, which I wrote down. As my father was to begin the northern circuit about the 18th of September, it was necessary for us either to make our tour with great expedition, so as to get to Auchinleck before he set out, er to protract it, so as not to be there till his return, which would be about the 10th of October. By M'Aulay's calculation, we were not to land in Lorn till the 20th of September. I thought that the interruptions by bad days, or by occasional excursions, might make it ten days later; and I thought, too, that we might perhaps go to Benbecula, and visit Clanranald, which would take a week of itself.
Dr. Johnson went up with Mr. Grant to the library, which consisted of a tolerable collection; but the Doctor thought it rather a lady's library, with some Latin books in it by chance, than the library of a clergyman. It had only two of the Latin fathers, and one of the Greek fathers in Latin. I doubted whether Dr. Johnson would be present at a presbyterian prayer. I told Mr. M'Aulay so, and said that the Doctor might sit in the library while we were at family worship. Mr. M'Aulay said, he would omit it, rather than give Dr. Johnson offence: but I would by no
'We suppose that this is the expression which Mr. Trevelyan (Life of Maeaulay, vol. i., p. 6) regards as "one of the very rudest things recorded by Buswell." We confess we cannot discover the excessive rudeness of the retort, which rather seems defensible under the circumstances.—Editor.
means agree that an excess of politeness, even to so great a man, should prevent what I esteem as one of the best pious regulations. I know nothing more beneficial, more comfortable, more agreeable, than that the little societies of each family should regularly assemble, and unite in praise and prayer to our heavenly Father, from whom we daily receive so much good, and may hope for more in a higher state of existence. I mentioned to Dr. Johnson the overdelicate scrupulosity of our host. He said, he had no objection to hear the prayer. This was a pleasing surprise to me; for he refused to go and hear Principal Robert son preach. "I will hear him," said he, " if he will get up into a tree and preach; but I will not give a sanction, by my presence, to a presbyterian assembly."
Mr. Grant having prayed, Dr. Johnson said, his prayer was a very good one, but objected to his not having introduced the Lord's Prayer.1 He told us, that an Italian of • some note in London said once to him, "We have in our service a prayer called the Pater Noster, which is a very fine composition. I wonder who is the author of it." A singular instance of ignorance in a man of some literature and general inquiry!
Saturday, Aug. 28.—Dr. Johnson had brought a Sallust with him in his pocket from Edinburgh. He gave it last night to Mr. M'Aulay's son, a smart young lad about eleven years old. Dr. Johnson had given an account of the education at Oxford, in all its gradations. The advantage of being a servitor to a youth of little fortune struck Mrs. M'Aulay much. I observed it aloud. Dr. Johnson very handsomely and kindly said, that, if they would send their boy to him, when he was ready for the university, he would get him made a servitor, and perhaps would do more for him. He could not promise to do more; but would undertake for the servitorship.2
1 Johnson in his own Journey says on this subject, "The most learned of the Scottish Doctors would now gladly admit a form of prayer if the people would endure it. The zeal or rage of congregations has its different degrees. In some parishes the Lord's Prayer is suffered: in others, it is still rejected as a form, and he that should make it part of his supplication, would be suspected of heretical pravity.''—Croker.
2 Dr. Johnson did not neglect what he had undertaken. By his interest with the Rev. Dr. Adams, master of Pembroke College, Oxford,
I should have mentioned that Mr. White, a Welshman, who has been many years factor (i.e. steward) on the estate of Calder, drank tea with us last night; and, upon getting a note from Mr. M'Aulay, asked us to his house. We had not time to accept of his invitation, He gave us a letter of introduction to Mr. Ferne, master of stores at Fort George. He showed it to me. It recommended "two celebrated gentlemen; no less than Dr. Johnson, author of his Dictionary, and Mr. Boswell, known at Edinburgh by the name of Paoli." He said, he hoped I had no objection to what he had written; if I had, he would alter it. I thought it was a pity to check his effusions, and acquiesced; taking care, however, to seal the letter, that it might not appear that I had read it.
A conversation took place about saying grace at breakfast (as we do in Scotland), as well as at dinner and supper; in which Dr. Johnson said, " It is enough if we have stated seasons of prayer; no matter when. A man may as well pray when he mounts his horse, or a woman when she milks her cow (which Mr. Grant told us is done in the Highlands), as at meals; and custom is to be followed." l
We proceeded to Fort George. When we came into the square, I sent a soldier with the letter to Mr. Ferne. He came to us immediately, and along with him Major Brewse of the Engineers, pronounced Bruce. He said he believed it was originally the same Norman name with Bruce: that he had dined at a house in London, where were three Bruces, one of the Irish line, one of the Scottish line, and himself of the English line. He said he was shown it in the Heralds' Office, spelt fourteen different ways.2 I told him the different spellings of my name. Dr. Johnson observed, that there had been great disputes about the spelling of Shakspeare's name; at last it was thought it would be settled by looking at the original copy of his will; but, upon examining it, he was found to have written it himself no less than three different ways.1
where he was educated for some time, ho obtained a servitorship for young M'Aulay. But it seems he had other views; and I believe went abroad.
1 He could not bear to have it thought that, in any instance whatever, the Scots were more pious than the English. I think grace as proper at breakfast as at any other meal. It is the pleasantest meal we have. Dr. Johnson has allowed the peculiar merit of breakfast in Scotland.
2 Bruce, the Abyssinian Traveller, found in the annals of that region a king named Brus, which he chooses to consider the genuine orthography of the name. This circumstance occasioned some mirth at the court of Gondar. — Walter Scott.
Mr. Ferne and Major Brewse first carried us to wait on Sir Eyre Coote, whose regiment, the 37th, was lying here, and who then commanded the fort. He asked us to dine with him, which we agreed to do.
Before dinner we examined the fort. The Major explained the fortification to us, and Mr. Ferne gave us an account of the stores. Dr. Johnson talked of the proportions of charcoal and saltpetre in making gunpowder, of granulating it, and of giving it a gloss. He made a very good figure upon these topics. He said to me afterwards, that " he had talked ostentatiously." We reposed ourselves a little in Mr. Ferne's house. He had every thing in neat order as in England; and a tolerable collection of books. I looked into Pennant's Tour in Scotland. He says little of this fort; but that "the barracks, &c. formed several streets." This is aggrandising. Mr. Ferne observed, if he had said they form a square, with a row of buildings before it, he would have given a juster description. Dr. Johnson remarked, " How seldom descriptions -correspond with realities; and the reason is, the people do not write them till some time after, and then their imagination has added circumstances."
We talked of Sir Adolphus Oughton. The Major said, he knew a great deal for a military man. Johnson. "Sir, you will find few men, of any profession, who know more. Sir Adolphus is a very extraordinary man; a man of boundless curiosity and unwearied diligence."
I know not how the Major contrived to introduce the contest between Warburton and Lowth. Johnson. "Warburton kept his temper all along, while Lowth was in a passion. Lowth published some of Warburton's letters. Warburton drew him on to write some very abusive letters,
1 The Florio autograph, though Sir F. Madden defended its authenticity in a pamphlet, is by no means now regarded as genuine by the authorities of the Museum.—Editor.
and then asked his leave to publish them; which he knew Lowth could not refuse, after what he had done. So that Warburton contrived that he should publish, apparently with Lowth's consent, what could not but show Lowth in a disadvantageous light."'
At three the drum beat for dinner. I, for a little while, fancied myself a military man, and it pleased me. We went to Sir Eyre Coote's, at the governor's house, and found him a most gentleman-like man. His lady is a very agreeable woman, with an uncommonly mild and sweet tone of voice. There was a pretty large company: Mr. Ferne, Major Bruwse, and several officers. Sir Eyre had come from the East Indies by land, through the deserts of Arabia. He told us, the Arabs could live five days without victuals, and subsist for three weeks on nothing else but the blood of their camels, who could lose so much of it as would suffice for that time, without being exhausted. He highly praised the virtue of the Arabs; their fidelity, if they undertook to conduct any person; and said, they would sacrifice their lives rather than let him be robbed. Dr. Johnson, who is always for maintaining the superiority of civilised over uncivilised men, said, "Why, Sir, I can see no superior virtue in this. A sergeant and twelve men, who are my guard, will die rather than I shall be robbed." Colonel Pennington, of the 37th regiment, took up the argument with a good deal of spirit and ingenuity. PenNington. "But the soldiers are compelled to this, by fear of punishment." Johnson. "Well, Sir, the Arabs are compelled by the fear of infamy." Pennington. "The soldiers have the same fear of infamy, and the fear of punishment besides; so have less virtue; because they act less voluntarily." Lady Coote observed very well, that it ought to be known if there was not, among the Arabs, some punishment for not being faithful on such occasions.
1 Here Dr. Johnson gave us part of a conversation held between n great personage and him, in the library at the Queen's palace, in the course of which this contest was considered. I have been at great pains to get that conversation as perfectly preserved as possible. It raay perhaps at some future time be given to the public.
The interview and conversation are fully recorded in the Life, vol. ii„ pp. 51-56. Boswell also honoured it with a separate publication. See vol. ii., p. 5i, note.—Editor.