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there being no covered sewers, the odour still continues. A zealous Scotchman would have wished Mr. Johnsonto be without one of his five senses upon this occasion. As we marched slowly along, he grumbled in my ear, “I smell you in the dark !” But he acknowledged that the breadth of the street, and the loftiness of the buildings on each side, made a noble appearance.
My wife had tea ready for him, which it is well known he delighted to drink at all hours, particularly when sitting up late, and of which his able defence against Mr. Jonas Hanway should have obtained him a magnificent reward from the East-India Company. He shewed much complacency, upon finding that the mistress of the house was so attentive to his singular habit; and as no man could be more polite when he chose to be so, his address to her was most courteous and engaging; and his conversation soon charmed her into a forgetfulness of his external appearance.
I did not begin to keep a regular full journal till some days after we had set out from Edinburgh ; but I have luckily preserved a good many fragments of his Memorabilia from his very first evening in Scotland.
We had a little before this, had a trial for murder, in which the judges had allowed the lapse of twenty years since its commission as a plea in bar, in conformity with the doctrine of prescription in the civil law, which Scotland and several other countries in Europe have adopted. He at first disapproved of this; but then he thought there was something in it, if there had been for twenty years a neglect to prosecute a crime which was known. He would not allow that a murder, by not being discovered for twenty years, should escape punishment. We talked of the ancient trial by duel. He did not think it so absurd as is generally
supposed; “ For (said he) it was only allowed when the question was in equilibrio, as when one affirmed and another denied ; and they had a notion that Providence would interfere in favour of him who was in the right. But as it was found that in a duel, he who was in the right had not a better chance than he who was in the wrong, therefore society instituted the present mode of trial, and gave the advantage to him who is in the right.
We sat till near two in the morning, having chatted a good while after my wife left us. She had insisted, that to shew all respect to the Sage, she would give up our own bed-chamber to him, and take a worse. This I cannot but gratefully mention, as one of a thousand obligations which I owe her, since the great obligation of her being pleased to accept of me as her hus. band.
Sunday 15th August.
Mr. Scott came to breakfast, at which I introduced to Dr. Johnson, and him, my friend Sir William Forbes, now of Pitsligo; a man of whom too much good cannot be said ; who, with distinguished abilities and application in his profession of a Banker, is at once a good companion, and a good christian ; which I think is saying enough. Yet it is but justice to record, that once, when he was in a dangerous illness, he was watched with the anxious apprehension of a general calamity; day and night his house was beset with affectionate inquiries; and, upon his recovery, Te Deum was the universal chorus from the hearts of his coun: trymen.
Mr. Johnson was pleased with my daughter Veronica, * then a child of about four months old. She had the appearance of listening to him. His motions seemed to her to be intended for her amusement; and when he stopped, she fluttered, and made a little infantine noise, and a kind of signal for him to begin again. She would be held close to him ; which was a proof, from simple nature, that his figure was not horrid. Her fondness for him endeared her still more to me, and I declared she should have five hundred pounds of additional fortune.
We talked of the practice of the law. Sir William Forbes, said, he thought an honest lawyer should never undertake a cause which he was satisfied was not a just
“Sir, (said Mr. Johnson,) a lawyer has no busi. ness with the justice or injustice of the cause which he undertakes, unless his client asks his opinion, and then he is bound to give it honestly. The justice or injustice of the cause is to be decided by the judge. Consider, Sir; what is the purpose of courts of justice ? It is, that every man may have his cause fairly tried, by men appointed to try causes. A lawyer is not to tell what he knows to be a lie: he is not produce what he knows to be a false deed; but he is not to usurp the province of the jury and of the judge, and determine what shall be the effect of evidence,—what shall be the result of legal argument. As it rarely happens that a man is fit to plead his own cause, lawyers are a class of the community, who, by study and experience, have acquired the art and power of arranging evidence, and of applying to the points at issue what the law has settled. A lawyer is to do for his client all that his client might fairly do for himself, if he could. If, by a superiority of attention, of knowledge, of skill, and a better method of communication, he has the advantage of his adversary, it is an advantage to which he is entitled. There must always be some advantage, on one side or other; and it is better that advantage should be nad by talents, than by chance. If lawyers were to undertake no causes till they were sure they were just, might be precluded altogether from a trial of his claim though, were it judicially examined, it might be found a very just claim.”—This was sound practical doctrine, and rationally repressed a too refined scrupulosity of conscience.
* The saint's name of Veronica, was introduced into our family through my great grandmother Veronica, Countess of Kincardine, a Dutch lady of the noble house of Sommelsdyck, of which there is a full account in Bayle’s Dictionary. The family had once a princely right in Surinam. The governour of that island was appointed by the States General, the town of Amsterdam, and Sommelsdyck. The States General have acquired Sommelsdyck’s right; but the family has still great dignity and opulence, and by intermarriages is connected with many other noble families. When I was at the Hague, I was received with all the affection of kindred. The present Sommelsdyck has an important charge in the Republick, and is as worthy a man as lives. He has honoured me with his correspondence for these twenty years. My great grandfather, the husband of Countess Veronica, was Alexander, Earl of Kincardine, that eminent Royalist whose character is given by Burnet, in his History of his own Times. From him the blood of Bruce Rows in my veins. Of such ancestry who would not be proud ? And, as Nihil est, nisi hoc sciat alter, is peculiarly true of genealogy, who would not be glad to seize a fair opportunity to let it be known?
Emigration was at this time a common topick of discourse. Dr. Johnson regretted it as hurtful to human happiness: "For (said he) it spreads mankind, which weakens the defence of a nation, and lessens the comfort of living. Men, thinly scattered, make a shift, but a bad shift, without many things. A smith is ten miles off: they'll do without a nail or a staple. A taylor is far from them : they'll botch their own clothes. It is being concentrated which produces high convenience,"
Sir William Forbes, Mr. Scott, and I, accompanied Mr. Johnson to the chapel, founded by Lord Chief Baron Smith, for the service of the church of England. The Reverend Mr. Carre, the senior clergyman, preached from these words, “ Because the Lord reigneth, let the earth be glad.”—I was sorry to think Mr. Johnson did not attend to the sermon, Mr. Carre's low voice not being strong enough to reach his hearing. A selection of Mr. Carre's sermons has, since his death, been published by Sir William Forbes, and the world has acknowledged their uncommon merit. I am well assured Lord Mansfield has pronounced them to be excellent.
Here I obtained a promise from Lord Chief Baron Orde, that he would dine at my house next day. I presented Mr. Johnson to his Lordship, who politely said to him, “ I have not the honour of knowing you; “but I hope for it, and to see you at my house. I am “to wait on you to-morrow.” This respectable English judge will be long remembered in Scotland, where he built an elegant house, and lived in it magnificently. His own ample fortune, with the addition of his salary, enabled him to be splendidly hospitable. It may be fortunate for an individual amongst ourselves to be Lord Chief Baron; and a most worthy man now has the office : but, in my opinion, it is better for Scotland in general, that some of our publick employments should be filled by gentlemen of distinction from the south side of the Tweed, as we have the benefit of promotion in England. Such an interchange would make a beneficial mixture of manners, and render our union more complete. Lord Chief Baron Orde was on good terms with us all, in a narrow country filled with jarring interests and keen parties ; and though I well knew his