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No book could have the advantage of being edited with notes, however necessary to its elucidation, should the proprietor perversely oppose it. For the general good of the world, therefore, whatever valuable book has once been created by an author, and issued out by him, should be understood as no longer in his power, but as belonging to the public; at the same time the anthor is entitled to an adequate reward. This he should have by an exclusive right to his work for a considerable number of years."

He attacked Lord Monboddo's strange speculation on the primitive state of human nature ; observing, “Sir, it is all conjecture about a thing useless, even were it known to be true. Knowledge of all kind is good. Conjecture, as to things useful, is good ; but conjecture as to what it would be useless to know, such as whether men went upon all four, is very idle.”

On Monday, May 9, as I was to get out on my return to Scotland next morning, I was desirous to see as much of Dr. Johnson as I could. But I first called on Goldsmith to take leave of him. The jealousy and envy which, though possessed of many most amiable qualities, he frankly avowed, broke out violently at this interview. Upon another occasion, when Goldsmith confessed himself to be of an envious disposition, I. contended with Johnson that we ought not to be angry with him, he was so candid in owning it. “Nay, Sir,” said Johnson, “ we must be angry that a man has such a superabundance of an odious quality that he cannot keep it within his own breast, but it boils over.” In my opinion, however, Goldsmith had not more of it than other people have, but only talked of it freely.

He now seemed very angry that Johnson was going to be a traveller ; said, "he would be a dead weight for me to carry, and that I should never be able to lug him along through the Highlands and Hebrides.” Nor would he patiently allow me to enlarge upon Johnson's wonderful abilities; but exclaimed, “Is he like Burke, who winds into a subject like a serpent ?” “But,” said I, “ Johnson is the Hercules who strangled serpents in his cradle."

I dined with Dr. Johnson at General Paoli's. He was obliged, by indisposition, to leave the company early ; he appointed me, however, to meet him in the evening at Mr. (now Sir Robert) Chambers's in the Temple, where he accordingly.came, though he continued to be very ill. Chambers, as is common on such occasions, prescribed various remedies to him. JOHNSON (fretted by pain) : “Prythee don't tease me. Stay till I am well, and then you shall tell me how to cure myself." He grew better, and talked with a noble enthusiasm of keeping up the representation of respectable families. His zeal on this subject was a circumstance in his character exceedingly remarkable, when it is considered that he himself had no pretensions to blood. I heard him once say, “I have great merit in being zealous for subordination and the honours of birth ; for I can hardly tell who was my grandfather.” He maintained the dignity and propriety of male succession, in opposition to the opinion of one of our friends, who had that day employed Mr. Chambers to draw his will, devising his estate to his three sisters, in preference to a remote heir male. Johnson called them “three dowdies,” and said, with as high a spirit as the boldest Baron in the most perfect days of the feudal system, “An ancient estate should always go to males. It is mighty foolish to let a stranger have it because he marries your daughter, and takes your name. As for an estate newly acquired by trade, you may give it, if you will, to the dog Towser, and let him keep his own name.

I have known him at times exceedingly diverted at what seemed to others a very small sport. He now laughed immoderately, without any reason that we could perceive, at our friend's making his will ; called him the testator, and added, “I dare say he thinks he has done a mighty thing. He won't stay till he gets home to his seat in the country, to produce this wonderful deed : he'll call up the landlord of the first inn on the road; and, after a suitable preface upon the mortality and the uncertainty of life, will tell him that he should not delay making his will ; and 'here, Sir,' will he say, “is my will, which I have just made, with the assistance of one of the ablest lawyers in the kingdom;' and he will read it to him (laughing all the time). He believes he has made this will; but he did not make it : you, Chambers, made it for him. I trust you have had more conscience than to make him say, 'being of sound understanding ;' ha, ha, ha ! I hope he has left me a legacy. I'd have his will turned into verse, like a ballad.”

In this playful manner did he run on, exulting in his own pleasantry, which certainly was not such as might be expected from the author of “ The Rambler," but which is here preserved, that my readers may be acquainted even with the slightest occasional characteristics of so eminent a man.

Mr. Chambers did not by any means relish this jocularity upon a matter of which pars magna fuit, and seemed impatient till he got rid of us. Johnson could not stop his merriment, but continued it all the way till he got without the Temple-gate. He then burst into such a fit of laughter, that he appeared to be almost in a convulsion ; and, in order to support himself, laid hold of one of the posts at the side of the foot pavement, and sent forth peals so loud, that in the silence of the night his voice seemed to resound from Temple-bar to Fleet-ditch.

This most ludicrous exhibition of the awful, melancholy, and venerable Johnson, happened well to counteract the feelings of sadness which I used to experience when parting with him for a considerable time. I accompanied him to his door, where he gave me his blessing.

He records of himself this year, “ Between Easter and Whitsuntide, having always considered that time as propitious to study, I attempted to learn the Low Dutch Language.” It is to be observed, that he here admits an opinion of the human mind being influenced by seasons, which he ridicules in his writings. His progress, he says, was interrupted by a fever “which, by the imprudent use of a small print, left an inflanımation in his useful eye.” We cannot but admire his spirit when we know,

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that amidst a complication of bodily and mental distress, he was still animated with the desire of intellectual improvement. Various notes of his studies appear on different days, in his manuscript diary of this year ;

such as,

Inchoavi lectionem Pentateuchi-Finivi lectionem Conf. Fab. Burdonum.Legi primum actum Troadum.Legi Dissertationem Clerici postremam de Pent.2 of Clark's Sermons.-L. Apollonii pugnam Betriciam.L. centum versus Homeri.

Let this serve as a specimen of what accessions of literature he was perpetually infusing into his mind, while he charged himself with idleness.

This year died Mrs. Salusbury (mother of Mrs. Thrale), a lady whom he appears to have esteemed much, and whose memory he honoured with an Epitaph.

1 "Prayers and Meditations," p. 129.–BOSWELL.
2 Mrs. Piozzi's “ Anecdotes of Johnson,” p. 131.-BOSWELL.



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IN a letter from Edinburgh, dated the 29th of May, I pressed him to

persevere in his resolution to make this year the projected visit to the Hebrides, of which he and I had talked for many years, and which I was confident would afford us much entertainment.


Johnson's-court, Fleet-street, July 5, 1773. “ When your letter came to me, I was so darkened by an inflammation in my eye that I could not for some time read it. I can now write without trouble, and can read large prints. My eye is gradually growing stronger ; and I hope will be able to take some delight in the survey of a Caledonian loch.

“ Chambers is going a Judge, with six thousand a-year, to Bengal. He and I shall come down together as far as Newcastle, and thence I shall easily get to Fdinburgh. Let me know the exact time when your Courts intermit. I must conform a little to Chambers's occasions, and he must conform a little to mine. The time which you shall fix must be the common point to which we will come as near as we can. Except this eye, I am very well.

“ Beattie is so caressed, and invited, and treated, and liked, and flattered by the great, that I can see nothing of him. I am in great hope that he will be well provided for, and then we will live upon him at the Marischal College, without pity or modesty.

left the town without taking leave of me, and is gone in deep dudgeon to - Is not this very childish ? Where is now my legacy?

“ I hope your dear lady and her dear baby are both well. I shall see them too when I come; and I have that opinion of your choice, as to suspect that when I have seen Mrs. Boswell, I shall be less willing to go away.

I am, dear Sir,
Your affectionate humble servant,


“ Write to me as soon as you can.

Chambers is now at Oxford."

I again wrote to him, informing him that the Court of Session rose on the 12th of August, hoping to see him before that time, and expressing, perhaps in too extravagant terms, my admiration of him, and my expectation of pleasure from our intended tour.


August 3, 1773. “Ī shall set out from London on Friday the 6th of this month, and purpose not to loiter much by the way. Which day I shall be at Edinburgh I cannot exactly tell. I suppose I must drive to an inn, and send a porter to

find you.

“I am afraid Beattie will not be at his College soon enough for us, and I shall be sorry to miss him; but there is no staying for the concurrence of all conveniences. We will do as well as we can.

“ I am, Sir,
“ Your mest humble servant,

“ Sam. JOHNSON."


August 3, 1773. “ Not being at Mr. Thrale's when your letter came, I had written the inclosed paper and sealed it; bringing it hither for a frank, I found yours. If any thing could repress my ardour, it would be such a letter as yours. To disappoint a friend unpleasing: and he that forms expectations like yours, must be disappointed. Think only when you see me, that you see a man who loves you, and is proud and glad that you love him.

“ I am, Sir,
“ Your most affectionate,


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