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While Sir Alexander Gordon conducted Dr. John. son to old Aberdeen, Professor Gordon and I called on Mr. Riddoch, whom I found to be a grave worthy clergyman. He observed, that whatever might be said of Dr. Johnson while he was alive, he would, after he was dead, be looked upon by the world with regard and astonishment, on account of his Dictionary.
Professor Gordon and I walked over to the Old College, which Dr. Johnson had seen by this time. I stepped into the chapel, and looked at the tomb of the founder, Archbishop Elphinston, of whom I shall have occasion to write in my History of James IV, of Scotland, the patron of my family.
We dined at Sir Alexander Gordon's. The Provost, Professor Ross, Professor Dunbar, Professor Thomas Gordon, were there. After dinner came in Dr. Gerard, Professor Leslie, Professor Macleod. We had little or no conversation in the morning; now we were but barren. The professors seemed afraid to speak.
Dr. Gerard told us that an eminent printer was very intimate with Warburton.-Johnson. Why, sir, he has printed some of his works, and perhaps bought the property of some of them. The intimacy is such as one of the professors here may have with one of the carpenters who is repairing the college.”—“But, (said Ge. rard,) I saw a letter from him to this printer, in which he says, that the one half of the clergy of the church of Scotland are fanaticks, and the other half infidels.” Johnson. “ Warburton has accustomed himself to write letters just as he speaks, without thinking any more of what he throws out. When I read Warburton first, and observed his force, and his contempt of mankind, I thought he had driven the world before him; but I
soon found that was not the case; for Warburton, by extending his abuse, rendered it ineffectual.”
He told me, when we were by ourselves, that he thought it very wrong in the printer, to shew Warburton's letter, as it was raising a body of enemies against him. He thought it foolish in Warburton to write so to the printer; and added, “Sir, the worst way of being intimate, is by scribbling.” He called Warburton's “ Doctrine of Grace” a poor performance, and so he said was Wesley's Answer. “Warburton, he observed had laid himself very open. In particular, he was weak enough to say, that, in some disorders of the imagination, people had spoken with tongues, had spoken languages which they never knew before; a thing as absurd as to say, that in some disorders of the imagination, people had been known to fly.”
I talked of the difference of genius, to try if I could engage Gerard in a disquisition with Dr. Johnson, but I did not succeed. I mentioned as a curious fact, that Lock had written verses.-Johnson. “I know of none, sir, but a kind of exercise prefixed to Dr. Sydenham's Works, in which he has some conceits about the dropsy, in which water and burning are united ; and how Dr. Sydenham removed fire by drawing off water, contrary to the usual practice, which is to extinguish fire by bringing water upon it. I am not sure that there is a word of all this; but it is such kind of talk."*
* All this, as Dr. Johnson suspected at the time, was the immediate inven-, tion of his own lively imagination, for there is not one word of it in Mr. Lock's complimentary performance. My readers will, I have no doubt, like to be satisfied, by comparing them; and, at any rate, it may entertain to read verses coinposed by our great metaphysician, when a Bachelor in Physick.
AUCTORI, IN TRACTATUM EJUS DE FEBRIBUS.
Flevit, non tantis par Medicina malis.
We spoke of Fingal. Dr. Johnson said calmly, “ If the poems were really translated, they were certainly
Nam post mille artes, medicæ tentamina cure,
Ardet adhuc Febris ; nec velit arte regi.
Ut restet paucus, quem capit urna, cinis.
Flaminarum & tenebras, & sine luce faces ;
Corruit ipse suis victima rapta focis.
Sistere, febrili se vidlet igne rapi.
Dum trahit antiquas lenta ruina domos,
Unica flugrantes tunc sepelire salus.
Gum perit artificis non minus usta domus.
Nec fictus, febres qui fovet, humor erit.
Quæ spes, si fallax ardeat intus aqua?
Quis ipsis major febribus ardor inest.
Et justo rapidlos temperat igne focos.
Solari ægrotos, qua potes arte, docet.
Dum sæpe încerto, quo calet, igne perit:
Prælusit busto, fit calor iste rogus.
Quem Natura negat, dat Medicina molum.
Dum dubia est inter spemque metumque salus ;
Credimus, iratam vel genuisse Stygem.
Abstulit, & tantos non sinit esse metus.
Credat, & antiquas ponere posse minas?
first written down. Let Mr. Macpherson deposite the manuscript in one of the colleges at Aberdeen, where there are people who can judge ; and, if the professors certify the authenticity, then there will be an end of the controversy. If he does not take this obvious and easy. . method, he gives the best reason to doubt; considering too, how much is against it à priori.
We sauntered after dinner in Sir Alexander's garden, and saw his little grotto, which is hung with pieces of poetry written in a fair hand. It was agreeable to observe the contentment and kindness of this quiet, benevolent man. Professor Macleod was brother to Macleod of Talisker, and brother-in-law to the Laird of Col. He gave me a letter to young Col. I was weary of this day, and began to think wishfully of being again in motion. I was uneasy to think myself too fastidious, whilst I fancied Dr. Johnson quite satisfied. But he owned to me that he was fatigued and teased by Sir Alexander's doing too much to entertain him. I said, it was all kindness.-Johnson. True, sir : but sensation is sensation."— Boswell. “ It is so: we feel pain equally from the surgeon's probe, as from the sword of the foe."
We visited two booksellers’ shops, and could not find Arthur Johnston's Poems. We went and satnear an hour
Post tot mille neces, cumulataque funera busto,
Victa jacet, parvo vulnere, dira Lues.
Quicquid inest istis ignibus, ignis erit.
Has gelida exstingui non nisi morte putas?
Pestis quæ superat cuncta, triumphus eris.
J. LOCK, A. M. Ex. Aede Christi, Oxon.
at Mr. Riddoch’s. He could not tell distinctly how much education at the college here costs, which disgusted Dr. Johnson. I had pledged myself that we should go to the inn, and not stay supper. They pressed us, but he was resolute. I saw Mr. Riddoch did not please him. He said to me, afterwards, “Sir, he has no vigour in his talk.” But my friend should have considered that he himself was not in good humour; so that it was not easy to talk to his satisfaction.—We sat contentedly at our inn. He then became merry, and observed how little we had either heard or said at Aberdeen : That the Aberdonians had not started a single mawkin (the Scottish word for hare) for us to pursue.
Tuesday, 24th August.
We set out about eight in the morning, and breakfasted at Ellon. The landlady said to me, “ Is not this the great Doctor, that is going about through the country ?”—I said, “Yes.”—“Ay, (said she,) we heard of him, I made an errand into the room on purpose to see him. There's something great in his appearance : it is a pleasure to have such a man in one's house; a man who does so much good. If I had thought of it, I would have shewn him a child of mine, who has had a lump on his throat for some time.”—“But, (said I,) he is not a doctor of physick.”_"Is he an oculist ?” said the landlord.—“ No, (said I,) he is only a very learned man.”—Landlord. “ They say he is the greatest man in England, except Lord Mansfield.” -Dr. Johnson was highly entertained with this, and I do think he was pleased too. He said, “ I like the exception; to have called me the greatest man in Eng. land, would have been an unmeaning compliment: but