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Pulteney, Pitt, Walpole, Wilkes.

[Oct. 21. He was a Whig, who pretended to be honest; and you know it is ridiculous for a Whig to pretend to be honest. He cannot hold it out'.' He called Mr. Pitt a meteor; Sir Robert Walpole a fixed star'. He said, 'It is wonderful to think that all the force of government was required to prevent Wilkes from being chosen the chief magistrate of London', though the liverymen knew he would rob their shops,-knew he would debauch their daughters'.'

try; he betrayed his friends and adherents; he ruined his character, and from a most glorious eminence sunk down to a degree of contempt. The first time Sir Robert (who was now Earl of Orford) met him in the House of Lords, he threw out this reproach :-" My Lord Bath, you and I are now two as insignificant men as any in England." In which he spoke the truth of my Lord Bath, but not of himself. For my Lord Orford was consulted by the ministers to the last day of his life.' King's Anec. p. 43.

'See ante, i. 499, and iii. 371.

'Sir Robert Walpole detested war. This made Dr. Johnson say of him, "He was the best minister this country ever had, as, if we would have let him (he speaks of his own violent faction), he would have kept the country in perpetual peace."' Seward's Biographiana, p. 554. See ante, i. 152.

See ante, iii. Appendix C.

I think it incumbent on me to make some observation on this strong satirical sally on my classical companion, Mr. Wilkes. Reporting it lately from memory, in his presence, I expressed it thus :-' They knew he would rob their shops, if he durst; they knew he would debauch their daughters, if he could; which, according to the French phrase, may be said renchérir on Dr. Johnson; but on looking into my Journal, I found it as above, and would by no means make any addition. Mr. Wilkes received both readings with a good humour that I cannot enough admire. Indeed both he and I (as, with respect to myself, the reader has more than once had occasion to observe in the course of this Journal,) are too fond of a bon mot, not to relish it, though we should be ourselves the object of it.

Let me add, in justice to the gentleman here mentioned, that at a subsequent period, he was elected chief magistrate of London [in 1774], and discharged the duties of that high office with great honour to himself, and advantage to the city. Some years before Dr. Johnson died, I was fortunate enough to bring him and Mr. Wilkes together; the consequence of which was, that they were ever afterwards


Oct. 21.]

English and Jewish history.


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BOSWELL. The History of England is so strange, that, if it were not so well vouched as it is, it would hardly be credible.' JOHNSON. Sir, if it were told as shortly, and with as little preparation for introducing the different events, as the History of the Jewish Kings, it would be equally liable to objections of improbability.' Mr. M'Leod was much pleased with the justice and novelty of the thought. Dr. Johnson illustrated what he had said, as follows: 'Take, as an instance, Charles the First's concessions to his parliament, which were greater and greater, in proportion as the parliament grew more insolent, and less deserving of trust. Had these concessions been related nakedly, without any detail of the circumstances which generally led to them, they would not have been believed.'

Sir Allan M'Lean bragged, that Scotland had the advantage of England, by having more water. JOHNSON. 'Sir, we would not have your water, to take the vile bogs which produce it. You have too much! A man who is drowned has more water than either of us;'-and then he laughed. (But this was surely robust sophistry: for the people of taste in England, who have seen Scotland, own that its variety of rivers and lakes makes it naturally more beautiful than England, in that respect.) Pursuing his victory over Sir Allan, he proceeded: 'Your country consists of two things, stone and water. There is, indeed, a little earth above the stone in some places, but a very little; and the stone is always appearing. It is like a man in rags; the naked skin is still peeping out.'

on easy and not unfriendly terms. The particulars I shall have great pleasure in relating at large in my Life of Dr. Johnson. BOSWELL. In the copy of Boswell's Letter to the People of Scotland in the British Museum is entered in Boswell's own hand—

'Comes jucundus in via pro vehiculo est. To John Wilkes, Esq.: as pleasant a companion as ever lived. From the author.

-will my Wilkes retreat,

And see, once seen before, that ancient seat, etc.'

See ante, iii. 74, 208; iv. 117, 259, note 2.



The Laird of Lochbuy.

[Oct. 21.

He took leave of Mr. M'Leod, saying, 'Sir, I thank you for your entertainment, and your conversation.'

Mr. Campbell, who had been so polite yesterday, came this morning on purpose to breakfast with us, and very obligingly furnished us with horses to proceed on our journey to Mr. M'Lean's of Lochbuy, where we were to pass the night. We dined at the house of Dr. Alexander M'Lean, another physician in Mull, who was so much struck with the uncommon conversation of Dr. Johnson, that he observed to me, 'This man is just a hogshead of sense.'

Dr. Johnson said of the Turkish Spy', which lay in the room, that it told nothing but what every body might have known at that time; and that what was good in it, did not pay you for the trouble of reading to find it.

After a very tedious ride, through what appeared to me the most gloomy and desolate country I had ever beheld', we arrived, between seven and eight o'clock, at Moy, the seat of the Laird of Lochbuy. Buy, in Erse, signifies yellow, and I at first imagined that the loch or branch of the sea here, was thus denominated, in the same manner as the Red Sea; but I afterwards learned that it derived its name from a hill above it, which being of a yellowish hue has the epithet of Buy.

We had heard much of Lochbuy's being a great roaring braggadocio, a kind of Sir John Falstaff, both in size and manners; but we found that they had swelled him up to a fictitious size, and clothed him with imaginary qualities. Col's idea of him was equally extravagant, though very different: he told us he was quite a Don Quixote; and said, he would give a great deal to see him and Dr. Johnson together. The truth is, that Lochbuy proved to be only a bluff, comely, noisy old gentleman, proud of his hereditary consequence, and a very hearty and hospitable landlord.

1 See ante, iv. 231.

''Our afternoon journey was through a country of such gloomy desolation that Mr. Boswell thought no part of the Highlands equally terrifick.' Johnson's Works, ix. 150.


Oct. 21.]

The Laird of Lochbuy.


Lady Lochbuy was sister to Sir Allan M'Lean, but much older. He said to me, 'They are quite Antediluvians.' Being told that Dr. Johnson did not hear well, Lochbuy bawled out to him, 'Are you of the Johnstons of Glencro, or of Ardnamurchan'?' Dr. Johnson gave him a significant look, but made no answer; and I told Lochbuy that he was not Johnston, but Johnson, and that he was an Englishman'.

Lochbuy some years ago tried to prove himself a weak man, liable to imposition, or, as we term it in Scotland, a facile man, in order to set aside a lease which he had granted; but failed in the attempt. On my mentioning this circumstance to Dr. Johnson, he seemed much surprized that such a suit was admitted by the Scottish law, and observed, that In England no man is allowed to stultify himself'.'

Sir Allan, Lochbuy, and I, had the conversation chiefly to ourselves to-night; Dr. Johnson, being extremely weary, went to bed soon after supper.

'Johnson describes Lochbuy as 'a true Highland laird, rough and haughty, and tenacious of his dignity: who, hearing my name, inquired whether I was of the Johnstons of Glencoe (sic) or of Ardnamurchan.' Ib.

'Boswell totally misapprehended Lochbuy's meaning. There are two septs of the powerful clan of M'Donald, who are called Mac-Ian, that is John's-son; and as Highlanders often translate their names when they go to the Lowlands,—as Gregor-son for Mac-Gregor, Farquhar-son for Mac-Farquhar,-Lochbuy supposed that Dr. Johnson might be one of the Mac-Ians of Ardnamurchan, or of Glencro. Boswell's explanation was nothing to the purpose. The Johnstons are a clan distinguished in Scottish border history, and as brave as any Highland clan that ever wore brogues; but they lay entirely out of Lochbuy's knowledge-nor was he thinking of them. WALTER SCOTT.

'This maxim, however, has been controverted. See Blackstone's Commentaries, vol. ii. p. 291; and the authorities there quoted. BosWELL. Blackstone says:-'From these loose authorities, which Fitzherbert does not hesitate to reject as being contrary to reason, the maxim that a man shall not stultify himself hath been handed down as settled law; though later opinions, feeling the inconvenience of the rule, have in many points endeavoured to restrain it.' Ib. p. 292.



Cold sheep's-head.


[Oct. 22.

Before Dr. Johnson came to breakfast, Lady Lochbuy said, 'he was a dungeon of wit;' a very common phrase in Scotland to express a profoundness of intellect, though he afterwards told me, that he never had heard it. She proposed that he should have some cold sheep's-head for breakfast. Sir Allan seemed displeased at his sister's vulgarity, and wondered how such a thought should come into her head. From a mischievous love of sport, I took the lady's part; and very gravely said, 'I think it is but fair to give him an offer of it. If he does not choose it, he may let it alone.' I think so,' said the lady, looking at her brother with an air of victory. Sir Allan, finding the matter desperate, strutted about the room, and took snuff. When Dr. Johnson came in, she called to him, 'Do you choose any cold sheep's-head, Sir?' 'No, MADAM,' said he, with a tone of surprise and anger'.' 'It is here, Sir,' said she, supposing he had refused it to save the trouble of bringing it in. They thus went on at cross purposes, till he confirmed his refusal in a manner not to be misunderstood; while I sat quietly by, and enjoyed my success.

After breakfast, we surveyed the old castle, in the pit or dungeon of which Lochbuy had some years before taken upon him to imprison several persons'; and though he had

'Begging pardon of the Doctor and his conductor, I have often seen and partaken of cold sheep's head at as good breakfast-tables as ever they sat at. This protest is something in the manner of the late Culrossie, who fought a duel for the honour of Aberdeen butter. I have passed over all the Doctor's other reproaches upon Scotland, but the sheep's head I will defend totis viribus. Dr. Johnson himself must have forgiven my zeal on this occasion; for if, as he says, dinner be the thing of which a man thinks oftenest during the day, breakfast must be that of which he thinks first in the morning. WALTER Scott. I do not know where Johnson says this. Perhaps Scott was thinking of a passage in Mrs. Piozzi's Anec. p. 149, where she writes that he said: 'A man seldom thinks with more earnestness of any thing than he does of his dinner.'


' A horrible place it was. Johnson describes it (Works, ix. 152) as been

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