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Dr. Beattie did better: ipse venit. He was, however, so polite as to waive his privilege of nil mihi rescribas', and wrote from Edinburgh, as follows:

'Your very kind and agreeable favour of the 20th of April overtook me here yesterday, after having gone to Aberdeen, which place I left about a week ago. I am to set out this day for London, and hope to have the honour of paying my respects to Mr. Johnson and you, about a week or ten days hence. I shall then do what I can, to enforce the topick you mention; but at present I cannot enter upon it, as I am in a very great hurry; for I intend to begin my journey within an hour or two.'

He was as good as his word, and threw some pleasing motives into the northern scale. But, indeed, Mr. Johnson. loved all that he heard, from one whom he tells us, in his Lives of the Poets, Gray found a poet, a philosopher, and a good man'.'

My Lord Elibank did not answer my letter to his lordship for some time. The reason will appear, when we come to the isle of Sky3. I shall then insert my letter, with letters from his lordship, both to myself and Mr. Johnson. I beg it may be understood, that I insert my own letters, as I relate my own sayings, rather as keys to what is valuable belonging to others, than for their own sake.

long before we shall be at Marischal College.' BOSWELL. In spite of this warning Sir Walter Scott fell into the same error. The light foot of Mordaunt was not long of bearing him to Jarlok [Jarlshof].' Pirate, ch. viii. CROKER. Beattie was Professor of Moral Philosophy and Logic in Marischal College.

''Nil mihi rescribas; attamen ipse veni.' Ovid, Heroides, i. 2. Boswell liked to display such classical learning as he had. When he visited Eton in 1789 he writes, 'I was asked by the Head-master to dine at the Fellows' table, and made a creditable figure. I certainly have the art of making the most of what I have. How should one who has had only a Scotch education be quite at home at Eton? I had my classical quotations very ready.' Letters of Boswell, p. 308. 'Gray, Johnson writes (Works, viii. 479), visited Scotland in 1765. 'He naturally contracted a friendship with Dr. Beattie, whom he found a poet,' &c.

'Post, Sept. 12.


Johnson's convoy to Edinburgh.


Luckily Mr. Justice (now Sir Robert) Chambers', who was about to sail for the East-Indies, was going to take leave of his relations at Newcastle, and he conducted Dr. Johnson to that town. Mr. Scott, of University College, Oxford, (now Dr. Scott', of the Commons,) accompanied him from thence to Edinburgh. With such propitious convoys did he proceed to my native city. But, lest metaphor should make it be supposed he actually went by seas I choose to mention that he travelled in post-chaises, of which the rapid motion was one of his most favourite amusements'.

Dr. Samuel Johnson's character, religious, moral, political, and literary, nay his figure and manner, are, I believe, more generally known than those of almost any man; yet it may not be superfluous here to attempt a sketch of him. Let my readers then remember that he was a sincere and zealous christian, of high church of England and monarchical principles, which he would not tamely suffer to be questioned; steady and inflexible in maintaining the obligations of piety and virtue, both from a regard to the order of society, and from a veneration for the Great Source of all order; correct, nay stern in his taste; hard to please, and easily offended, impetuous and irritable in his temper, but of a most humane and benevolent heart; having a mind stored with a vast and various collection of learning and knowledge, which he communicated with peculiar perspicuity and force, in rich and choice expression. He united a most logical head with a most fertile imagination, which gave him an extraordinary advantage in arguing; for he could reason. close or wide, as he saw best for the moment. He could, when he chose it, be the greatest sophist that ever wielded a weapon in the schools of declamation; but he indulged this only in conversation; for he owned he sometimes talked

'See ante, i. 318.

' Afterwards Lord Stowell. He, his brother Lord Eldon, and Chambers were all Newcastle men. See ante, i. 534, for an anecdote of the journey and for a note on 'the Commons.'

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Johnson's character.

for victory'; he was too conscientious to make errour permanent and pernicious, by deliberately writing it. He was conscious of his superiority. He loved praise when it was brought to him; but was too proud to seek for it. He was somewhat susceptible of flattery'. His mind was so full of imagery, that he might have been perpetually a poet. It has been often remarked, that in his poetical pieces, which it is to be regretted are so few, because so excellent, his style is easier than in his prose. There is deception in this: it is not easier, but better suited to the dignity of verse; as one may dance with grace, whose motions, in ordinary walking, in the common step, are awkward. He had a constitutional melancholy, the clouds of which darkened the brightness of his fancy, and gave a gloomy cast to his whole course of thinking: yet, though grave and awful in his deportment, when he thought it necessary or proper, he frequently indulged himself in pleasantry and sportive sallies. He was prone to superstition, but not to credulity. Though his imagination might incline him to a belief of the marvellous and the mysterious, his vigorous reason examined the evidence with jealousy. He had a loud voice, and a slow deliberate utterance, which no doubt gave some additional weight to the sterling metal of his conversation'.

1 See ante, iv. 129.


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The most

Baretti, in a MS. note on Piozzi Letters, i. 309, says :unaccountable part of Johnson's character was his total ignorance of the character of his most familiar acquaintance.'

'Lord Pembroke said once to me at Wilton, with a happy pleasantry, and some truth, that Dr. Johnson's sayings would not appear so extraordinary, were it not for his bow-wow way:' but I admit the truth of this only on some occasions. The Messiah, played upon the Canterbury organ, is more sublime than when played upon an inferior instrument, but very slight musick will seem grand, when conveyed to the ear through that majestick medium. While therefore Dr. Johnson's sayings are read, let his manner be taken along with them. Let it, however, be observed, that the sayings themselves are generally great; that, though he might be an ordinary composer at times, he was for the most part a Handel. BoSWELL. See ante, ii. 373, 426, and under Aug. 29, 1783.


Johnson's person and dress.


person was large, robust, I may say approaching to the gigantick, and grown unwieldy from corpulency. His countenance was naturally of the cast of an ancient statue, but somewhat disfigured by the scars of that evil, which, it was formerly imagined, the royal touch' could cure. He was now in his sixty-fourth year, and was become a little dull. of hearing. His sight had always been somewhat weak; yet, so much does mind govern, and even supply the deficiency of organs, that his perceptions were uncommonly quick and accurate'. His head, and sometimes also his body shook with a kind of motion like the effect of a palsy: he appeared to be frequently disturbed by cramps, or convulsive contractions', of the nature of that distemper called St. Vitus's dance. He wore a full suit of plain brown clothes, with twisted hair-buttons' of the same colour, a large bushy greyish wig, a plain shirt, black worsted stockings, and silver buckles. Upon this tour, when journeying, he wore boots, and a very wide brown cloth great coat, with pockets which might have almost held the two volumes of his folio Dictionary; and he carried in his hand a large English oak stick. Let me not be censured for mentioning such minute

1 See ante, i. 49.

See ante, i. 48.

'Such they appeared to me; but since the first edition, Sir Joshua Reynolds has observed to me, 'that Dr. Johnson's extraordinary gestures were only habits, in which he indulged himself at certain times. When in company, where he was not free, or when engaged earnestly in conversation, he never gave way to such habits, which proves that they were not involuntary.' I still however think, that these gestures were involuntary; for surely had not that been the case, he would have restrained them in the publick streets. BOSWELL. See ante, i. 166, 167.

By an Act of the 7th of George I. for encouraging the consumption of raw silk and mohair, buttons and button-holes made of cloth, serge, and other stuffs were prohibited. In 1738 a petition was presented to Parliament stating that 'in evasion of this Act buttons and button-holes were made of horse-hair to the impoverishing of many thousands and prejudice of the woollen manufactures.' An Act was brought in to prohibit the use of horse-hair, and was only thrown out on the third reading. Parl. Hist. x. 787.



Johnson's prejudice against Scotland.

particulars. Every thing relative to so great a man is worth observing. I remember Dr. Adam Smith, in his rhetorical lectures at Glasgow', told us he was glad to know that Milton wore latchets in his shoes, instead of buckles. When I mention the oak stick, it is but letting Hercules have his club; and, by-and-by, my readers will find this stick will bud, and produce a good joke'.

This imperfect sketch of the COMBINATION and the form of that Wonderful Man, whom I venerated and loved while in this world, and after whom I gaze with humble hope, now that it has pleased ALMIGHTY GOD to call him to a better world, will serve to introduce to the fancy of my readers the capital object of the following journal, in the course of which I trust they will attain to a considerable degree of acquaintance with him.

His prejudice against Scotland' was announced almost as soon as he began to appear in the world of Letters. In his London, a poem, are the following nervous lines:

'For who would leave, unbrib'd, Hibernia's land?
Or change the rocks of Scotland for the Strand?
There none are swept by sudden fate away;
But all, whom hunger spares, with age decay.'

The truth is, like the ancient Greeks and Romans, he allowed himself to look upon all nations but his own as

1 Boswell wrote to Erskine on Dec. 8, 1761: 'I, James Boswell Esq., who "am happily possessed of a facility of manners "-to use the very words of Mr. Professor [Adam] Smith, which upon honour were addressed to me.' Boswell and Erskine Corres. ed. 1879, p. 26.

'Post, Oct. 16.

'Hamlet, act iii. sc. 4.

• See ante, iv. March 21, 1783. Johnson is often reproached with his dislike of the Scotch, though much of it was assumed; but no one blames Hume's dislike of the English, though it was deep and real. On Feb. 21, 1770, he wrote:-'Our Government is too perfect in point of liberty for so rude a beast as an Englishman; who is a man, a bad animal too, corrupted by above a century of licentiousness.' J. H. Burton's Hume, ii. 434. Dr. Burton writes of the English as 'a people Hume so heartily disliked.' Ib. p. 433.


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