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Johnson a true born Englishman.'


barbarians': not only Hibernia, and Scotland, but Spain, Italy, and France, are attacked in the same poem. If he was particularly prejudiced against the Scots, it was because they were more in his way; because he thought their success in England rather exceeded the due proportion of their real merit; and because he could not but see in them that nationality which I believe no liberal-minded Scotsman will deny. He was indeed, if I may be allowed the phrase, at bottom much of a John Bull'; much of a blunt true born Englishman'. There was a stratum of common clay under the rock of marble. He was voraciously fond of good eating; and he had a great deal of that quality called humour, which gives an oiliness and a gloss to every other quality.

I am, I flatter myself, completely a citizen of the world. -In my travels through Holland, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Corsica, France, I never felt myself from home; and I sincerely love 'every kindred and tongue and people and nation.' I subscribe to what my late truly learned and philosophical friend Mr. Crosbie said, that the English are better animals than the Scots; they are nearer the sun; their blood is richer, and more mellow: but when I humour any of them in an outrageous contempt of Scotland, I fairly own I treat them as children. And thus I have, at some moments, found myself obliged to treat even Dr. Johnson.

To Scotland however he ventured; and he returned from it in great good humour, with his prejudices much lessened, and with very grateful feelings of the hospitality with which he was treated; as is evident from that admirable work, his Journey to the Western Islands of Scotland, which, to my

1 See ante, iv. 17.

'The term John Bull came into the English language in 1712, when Dr. Arbuthnot wrote The History of John Bull.

'Boswell in three other places so describes Johnson. See ante, i. 150, note I.

• See ante, i. 541.

''All nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues.' Rev. vii. 9.

• See ante, ii. 431.



Johnson arrives at Edinburgh. [August 14.

utter astonishment, has been misapprehended, even to rancour, by many of my countrymen.

To have the company of Chambers and Scott, he delayed his journey so long, that the court of session, which rises on the eleventh of August, was broke up before he got to Edinburgh'.

On Saturday the fourteenth of August, 1773, late in the evening, I received a note from him, that he was arrived at Boyd's inn', at the head of the Canongate. I went to him directly. He embraced me cordially; and I exulted in the


' In Cockburn's Life of Jeffrey, i. 157, there is a description of Edinburgh, towards the close of the century, 'the last purely Scotch age that Scotland was destined to see. Almost the whole official state, as settled at the Union, survived; and all graced the capital, unconscious of the economical scythe which has since mowed it down. All our nobility had not then fled. The lawyers, instead of disturbing good company by professional matter, were remarkably free of this vulgarity; and being trained to take difference of opinion easily, and to conduct discussions with forbearance, were, without undue obtrusion, the most cheerful people that were to be met with. Philosophy had become indigenous in the place, and all classes, even in their gayest hours, were proud of the presence of its cultivators. And all this was still a Scotch scene. The whole country had not begun to be absorbed in the ocean of London. According to the modern rate of travelling [written in 1852] the capitals of Scotland and of England were then about 2400 miles asunder. Edinburgh was still more distant in its style and habits. It had then its own independent tastes, and ideas, and pursuits.' Scotland at this time was distinguished by the liberality of mind of its leading clergymen, which was due, according to Dr. A. Carlyle (Auto. p. 57), to the fact that the Professor of Theology under whom they had studied was 'dull and Dutch and prolix.' 'There was one advantage,' he says, 'attending the lectures of a dull professor-viz., that he could form no school, and the students were left entirely to themselves, and naturally formed opinions far more liberal than those they got from the Professor.'

'Chambers (Traditions of Edinburgh, ed. 1825, ii. 297) says that 'the very spot which Johnson's arm-chair occupied is pointed out by the modern possessors.' The inn was called 'The White Horse.' 'It derives its name from having been the resort of the Hanoverian faction, the White Horse being the crest of Hanover.' Murray's Guide to Scotland, ed, 1867, p. 111.


August 14.] Boswell's house in James's court.



thought, that I now had him actually in Caledonia. Scott's amiable manners, and attachment to our Socrates, at once united me to him. He told me that, before I came in, the Doctor had unluckily had a bad specimen of Scottish cleanliness'. He then drank no fermented liquor. He asked to have his lemonade made sweeter; upon which the waiter, with his greasy fingers, lifted a lump of sugar, and put it into it. The Doctor, in indignation, threw it out of the window. Scott said, he was afraid he would have knocked the waiter down. Mr. Johnson told me, that such another trick was played him at the house of a lady in Paris'. He was to do me the honour to lodge under my roof. I regretted sincerely that I had not also a room for Mr. Scott. Mr. Johnson and I walked arm-in-arm up the High-street, to my house in James's court': it was a dusky night: I

1 Boswell writing of Scotland says:-'In the last age it was the common practice in the best families for all the company to eat milk, or pudding, or any other dish that is eat with a spoon, not by distributing the contents of the dish into small plates round the table, but by every person dipping his spoon into the large platter; and when the fashion of having a small plate for each guest was brought from the continent by a young gentleman returned from his travels, a good old inflexible neighbour in the country said, "he did not see anything he had learnt but to take his broth twice." Nay, in our own remembrance, the use of a carving knife was considered as a novelty; and a gentleman of ancient family and good literature used to rate his son, a friend of mine, for introducing such a foppish superfluity.'-London Mag. 1778, p. 199.

* See ante, ii. 462. Johnson, in describing Sir A. Macdonald's house in Sky, said :-'The Lady had not the common decencies of her teatable; we picked up our sugar with our fingers.' Piozzi Letters, i. 138. 'Chambers says that 'James's Court, till the building of the New Town, was inhabited by a select set of gentlemen. They kept a clerk to record their names and their proceedings, had a scavenger of their own, and had balls and assemblies among themselves.' Paoli was Boswell's guest there in 1771. Traditions of Edinburgh, i. 219. It was burnt down in 1857. Murray's Guide to Scotland, ed. 1883, p. 49. Johnson wrote:-'Boswell has very handsome and spacious rooms, level with the ground on one side of the house, and on the other four stories high.' Piozzi Letters, i. 109. Dr. J. H. Burton says that Hume


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The streets of Edinburgh.

[August 14. could not prevent his being assailed by the evening effluvia of Edinburgh. I heard a late baronet, of some distinction in the political world in the beginning of the present reign, observe, that 'walking the streets of Edinburgh at night was pretty perilous, and a good deal odoriferous.' The peril is much abated, by the care which the magistrates have taken to enforce the city laws against throwing foul water from the windows'; but from the structure of the houses in the old town, which consist of many stories, in each of which a different family lives, and there being no covered sewers, the odour still continues. A zealous Scotsman would have wished Mr. Johnson to 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

occupied them just before Boswell. He continues:-'Of the first impression made on a stranger at that period when entering such a house, a vivid description is given by Sir Walter Scott in Guy Mannering; and in Counsellor Pleydell's library, with its collection of books, and the prospect from the window, we have probably an accurate picture of the room in which Hume spent his studious hours.' Life of Hume, ii. 137, 431. At Johnson's visit Hume was living in his new house in the street which was humorously named after him, St. David Street. Ib. p. 436.

The English servant-girl in Humphry Clinker (Letter of July 18), after describing how the filth is thus thrown out, says: 'The maid calls gardy loo to the passengers, which signifies Lord have mercy upon you!'

'Wesley, when at Edinburgh in May, 1761, writes:- How can it be suffered that all manner of filth should still be thrown even into this street [High Street] continually? How long shall the capital city of Scotland, yea, and the chief street of it, stink worse than a common sewer?' Wesley's Journal, iii. 52. Baretti (Journey from London to Genoa, ii. 255) says that this was the universal practice in Madrid in 1760. He was driven out of that town earlier than he had intended to leave it by the dreadful stench. A few years after his visit the King made a reform, so that it became one of the cleanest towns in Europe.' Ib. p. 258. Smollett in Humphry Clinker makes Matthew Bramble say (Letter of July 18):-'The inhabitants of Edinburgh are apt to imagine the disgust that we avow is little better than affectation.'


August 14.] Prescription of murder in Scotland.


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 appearance3.

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

''Most of their buildings are very mean; and the whole town bears some resemblance to the old part of Birmingham.' Piozzi Letters, i. 109. 'See ante, i. 362.

'Miss Burney, describing her first sight of Johnson, says :-'Upon asking my father why he had not prepared us for such uncouth, untoward strangeness, he laughed heartily, and said he had entirely forgotten that the same impression had been at first made upon himself; but had been lost even on the second interview.' Memoirs of Dr. Burney, ii. 91.

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