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danger. It is a very delicate matter to interfere between a master and his scholars : nor do I see how you can fix the degree of severity that a master may use.” Johnson. “ Why, sir, till you can fix the degree of obstinacy and negligence of the scholars, you cannot fix the degree of severity of the master. Severity must be continued until obstinacy be subdued, and negligence be cured.” He mentioned the severity of Hunter, his own master.

Sir," said I, • Hunter is a Scotch name: so it should seem this schoolmaster who beat you so severely, was a Scotchman. I can now account for your prejudice against the Scotch.” JOHNSON. “ Sir, he was not Scotch; and, abating his brutality, he was a very good master.”

We talked of his two political pamphlets, The False Alarm, and Thoughts concerning Falkland's Islands. JOHNSON.“ Well, sir, which of them did you think the best ?" BOSWELL. “ I liked the second best." Johnson. “ Why, sir, I liked the first best; and Beattie liked the first best. Sir, there is a subtlety of disquisition in the first, that is worth all the fire of the second.” BosWELL. “ Pray, sir, is it true that lord North paid you a visit, and that you got two hundred a year in addition to your pension?" JOHNSON. “ No, sir. Except what I had from the bookseller, I did not get a farthing by them. And between you and me, I believe lord North is no friend to me.” BOSWELL. “ How so, sir ?" JOHNSON.

Why, sir, you cannot account for the fancies of men. -Well, how does lord Elibank? and how does lord Monboddo?" BOSWELL.

BOSWELL. “Very well, sir. Lord Monboddo still maintains the superiority of the savage life.” JOHNson. “ What strange narrowness of mind now is that, to think the things we have not known, are better than the things which we have known !" BOSWELL.“ Why, sir, that is a common prejudice.” JOHNSON. “ Yes, sir ; but a common prejudice should not be found in one whose trade it is to rectify errour."

A gentleman having come in who was to go as a mate in the ship along with Mr. Banks and Dr. Solander, Dr. Johnson asked what were the names of the ships destined for the expedition. The gentleman answered, they were once to be called the Drake and the Raleigh, but now they were to be called the Resolution and the Adventure. JOHNSON. “ Much better; for had the Raleigh returned without going round the world, it would have been ridiculous. To give them the names of the Drake and the Raleigh was laying a trap for satire." BoSWELL. “ Had you not some desire to go upon this expedition, sir?" JOHNSON.“ Why, yes, but I soon laid it aside. Sir, there is very little of intellectual, in the course. Besides, I see but at a small distance. So it was not worth my while to go to see birds fly, which I should not have seen fly; and fishes swim, which I should not have seen swim.”

The gentleman being gone, and Dr. Johnson having left the room for some time, a debate arose between the rev. Mr. Stockdale and Mrs. Desmoulins, whether Mr. Banks and Dr. Solander were entitled to any share of glory from their expedition. When Dr. Johnson returned to us, I told him the subject of their dispute. JOHNSON. “Why, sir, it was properly for botany that they went out: I believe they thought only of culling of simples.”

I thanked him for showing civilities to Beattie. Sir," said he, “I should thank you. We all love Beattie. Mrs. Thrale says, if ever she has another husband, she'll have Beattie. He sunk upon us that he was married ;

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TO JAMES BOSWELL, ESQ.

66

Edinburgh, May 3, 1792. “ MY DEAR SIR, -As I suppose your great work will soon be reprinted, I beg leave to trouble you with a remark on a passage of it, in which I am a little misrepresented. Be not alarmed; the misrepresentation is not imputable to you. Not having the book at hand, I cannot specify the page, but I suppose you will easily find it. Dr. Johnson says, speaking of Mrs. Thrale's family, Dr. Beattie “sunk upon us that he was married,” or words to that

purpose.

I am not sure that I understand sunk upon us, which is a very uncommon phrase : but it seems to me to imply, (and others, I find, have understood it in the same sense,) studiously concealed from us his being married. Now, sir, this was by no means the case. I could have no motive to conceal a circumstance, of which I never was nor can be ashamed ; and of which Dr. Johnson seemed to think, when he afterwards became acquainted with Mrs. Beattie, that I had, as was true, reason to be proud. So far was I from concealing her, that my wife had at that time almost as numerous an acquaintance in London as I had myself ; and was, 'not very long after, kindly invited and elegantly entertained at Streatham, by Mr. and Mrs. Thrale.

a very

else we should have shown his lady more civilities. She is

fine woman. But how can you show civilities to a nonentity? I did not think he had been married. Nay, I did not think about it one way or other; but he did not tell us of his lady till late.”

He then spoke of St. Kilda, the most remote of the Hebrides. I told him, I thought of buying it. JOHNSON. “Pray do, sir. We will go and pass a winter amid the blasts there. We shall have fine fish, and we will take some dried tongues with us, and some books. We will have a strong-built vessel, and some Orkney men to navigate her. We must build a tolerable house: but we may carry with us a wooden house ready made, and requiring nothing but to be put up. Consider, sir, by buying St. Kilda you may keep the people from falling into worse hands. We must give them a clergyman, and he shall be one of Beattie's choosing. He shall be educated at Marischal college. I'll be your lord chancellor, or what you please.” BOSWELL. “Are you serious, sir, in advising me to buy St. Kilda? for if you should advise me to go to Japan, I believe I should do it.” JOHNSON. “ Why, , yes, sir, I am serious.” BOSWELL. “

BOSWELL. “Why then I'll see what can be done." I

gave him an account of the two parties in the church of Scotland; those for supporting the rights of patrons, independent of the people, and those against it. Johnson. “It should be settled one way or other. I cannot wish well to a popular election of the clergy, when I consider that it occasions such animosities, such unworthy courting of the people, such slanders between the contending parties, and other disadvantages. It is enough to allow the people to remonstrate against the nomination of a minister for solid reasons.” (I suppose he meant heresy or immorality.)

“My request, therefore, is, that you would rectify this matter in your new edition. You are at liberty to make what use you please of this letter.

"My best wishes ever attend you and your family. Believe me to be, with the utmost regard and esteem, dear sir, “ Your obliged and affectionate humble servant,

J. BEATTIE.I have, from my respect for my friend Dr. Beattie, and regard to his extreme sensibility, inserted the foregoing letter; though I cannot but wonder at his considering as any imputation a phrase commonly used among the best friends. -Boswell.

63

He was engaged to dine abroad, and asked me to return to him in the evening at nine, which I accordingly did.

We drank tea with Mrs. Williams, who told us a story of second sight, which happened in Wales where she was born. He listened to it very attentively, and said he should be glad to have some instances of that faculty well authenticated. His elevated wish for more and more evidence for spirit, in opposition to the grovelling belief of materialism, led him to a love of such mysterious disquisitions. He again justly observed, that we could have no certainty of the truth of supernatural appearances, unless something was told us which we could not know by ordinary means, or something done which could not be done but by supernatural power: that Pharaoh, in reason and justice, required such evidence from Moses; nay, that our Saviour said, "If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin.” He had said in the morning, that Macaulay’s History of St. Kilda was very well written, except some foppery about liberty and slavery. I mentioned to him that Macaulay told me, he was advised to leave out of his book the wonderful story, that upon the approach of a stranger all the inhabitants catch cold a ; but that it had been so well authenticated, he determined to retain it. JOHNSON. “Sir, to leave things out of a book, merely because people tell you they will not be believed, is meanness. Macaulay acted with more magnanimity.”

a See this “ wonderful story” very easily explained in an earlier part of this volume, under the year

1768.-Ed.

We talked of the Roman catholic religion, and how little difference there was in essential matters between ours and it. JOHNSON, “True, sir; all denominations of christians have really little difference in point of doctrine, though they may differ widely in external forms. There is a prodigious difference between the external form of one of your presbyterian churches in Scotland, and a church in Italy; yet the doctrine taught is essentially the same."

I mentioned the petition to parliament for removing the subscription to the thirty-nine articles. JOHNSON. “ It was soon thrown out. Sir, they talk of not making boys at the university subscribe to what they do not understand; but they ought to consider, that our universities were founded to bring up members for the church of England, and we must not supply our enemies with arms from our arsenal.' No, sir, the meaning of subscribing is, not that they fully understand all the articles, but that they will adhere to the church of England. Now, take it in this way, and suppose that they should only subscribe their adherence to the church of England, there would be still the same difficulty; for still the young men would be subscribing to what they do not understand. For if

you should ask them, What do you mean by the church of England? Do you know in what it differs from the presbyterian church? from the Romish church? from the Greek church? from the Coptick church? they could not tell you. So, sir, it comes to the same thing." BosWELL. “ But would it not be sufficient to subscribe the Bible?" JOHNSON. “Why, no, sir ; for all sects will subscribe the Bible ; nay, the mahometans will subscribe the Bible ; for the mahometans acknowledge Jesus Christ as well as Moses, but maintain that God sent Mahomet as a still greater prophet than either.”

I mentioned the motion which had been made in the house of commons, to abolish the fast of the 30th of January. JOHNSON. Why, sir, I could have wished

VOL. II.

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