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GOOD FRIDAY-LORD BUTE-VALUE OF KNOWLEDGE-FAME AND IMMORTALITY-ADVANTAGES

OF READING-DINNER AT MR. CAMBRIDGE'S-JOHNSON'S OBJECTIONS TO FEMALE PORTRAITPAINTERS-ISAAC WALTON'S “ LIVES"-GAY'S “ BEGGARS' OPERA"-RICHARD BRINSLEY SHERIDAN'S MARRIAGE—"THE SPECTATOR"-JOHNSON AND BOSWELL VISIT BEDLAMAN APARTMENT ASSIGNED TO BOSWELL IN JOHNSON'S HOUSE-SUNDAY CONSULTATIONS -ALCHYMY-JOHNSON'S "RHINOCEROS LAUGH"-CORRESPONDENCE WITH BOSWELL IN SCOTLAND.

ON Friday, April 14, being Good-Friday, I repaired to him in the

morning, according to my usual custom on that day, and breakfasted with him. I observed that he fasted so very strictly, that he did not even taste bread, and took no milk with his tea; I suppose because it is a kind of animal food.

He entered upon the state of the nation, and thus discoursed: “Sir, the great misfortune pow is, that government has too little power. All that it has to bestow must of necessity be given to support itself ; so that it cannot reward merit. No man, for instance, can now be made a bishop for his learning and piety;' his only chance for promotion is his

From this too just observation there are some eminent exceptions.-BOSWELL.

being connected with somebody who has parliamentary interest. Our several ministers in this reign have outbid each other in concessions to the people. Lord Bute, though a very honourable man,-a man who meant well,-a man who had his blood full of prerogative,—was a theoretical statesman,-a book-minister,—and thought this country could be governed by the influence of the Crown alone. Then, Sir, he gave up a great deal. He advised the king to agree that the judges should hold their places for life, instead of losing them at the accession of a new king. Lord Bute, I suppose, thought to make the king popular by this concession ; but the people never minded it; and it was a most impolitic measure. There is no reason why a judge should hold his office for life, more than any other person in public trust. A judge may be partial otherwise than to the Crown: we have seen judges partial to the populace. A judge may become corrupt, and yet there may not be legal evidence against him. A judge may become froward from age. A judge may grow unfit for his office in many ways. It was desirable that there should be a possibility of being delivered from him by a new king. That is now gone by an act of Parliament ex gratiâ of the Crown. Lord Bute advised the king to give up a very large sum of money, for which nobody thanked him. It was of consequence to the king, but nothing to the public, among whom it was divided. When I say Lord Bute advised, I

mean, that such acts were done when he was minister, and we are to suppose that he advised them.-Lord Bute showed an undue partiality to Scotchmen. He turned out Dr. Nichols, a very eminent man, from being physician to the king, to make room for one of his countrymen, a man very low in his profession. He had on errands for him. He had occasion for people to go on errands for him ; but he should not have had Scotchmen ; and, certainly, he should not have suffered them to have access to him before the first people in England.”

I told him, that the admission of one of them before the first peopie in England, which had given the greatest offence, was no more than what happens at every minister's levee, where those who attend are admitted in the order that they have come, which is better than admitting them according to their rank ; for if that were to be the rule, a man who has waited all the morning might have the mortification to see a peer, newly

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? ? The money arising from the property of the prizes taken before the declaration of war, which were given to his Majesty by the Peace of Paris, and amounted to upwards of 700,0001., and from the lands in the ceded islands, which were estimated at 200,0001. more. Surely there was a noble munificence in this gift from a monarch to his people. And let it be remembered, that during the Earl of Bute's administration, the king was graciously pleased to give up the hereditary revenues of the Crown, and to accept, instead of them, of the limited sum of 800,0001. a year: upon which Blackstone observes, that “ The hereditary revenues, being put under the same management as the other branches of the public patrimony, will produce more and be better collected than heretofore; and the public is a gainer of upwards of 100,0001. per annum by this disinterested bounty of his Majesty."-Book i. chap. viii. p. 330. -BOSWELL.

come, go in before him, and keep him waiting still. JOHNSON : "True, Sir; but * ** * should not have come to the levee, to be in the way of people of consequence. He saw Lord Bute at all times : and could have said what he had to say at any time, as well as at the levee. There is now no Prime Minister; there is only an agent for government in the House of Commons. We are governed by the Cabinet ; but there is Lo one head there since Sir Robert Walpole's time.” BOSWELL : “What then, Sir, is the use of Parliament ?” JOHNSON:“Why, Sir, Parliament is a large council to the king ; and the advantage of such a council is, having a great number of men of property concerned in the legislature, who, for their own interest, will not consent to bad laws. And you must have observed, Sir, the administration is feeble and timid, and cannot act with that authority and resolution which is necessary. Were I in power, I would turn out every man who dared to oppose me. Government has the distribution of offices, that it may be enabled to maintain its authority.”

“Lord Bute,” he added, "took down too fast, without building up something new.” BOSWELL : “Because, Sir, he found a rotten building. The political coach was drawn by a set of bad horses; it was necessary to change them.” JOHNSON: “But he should have changed them one by one.'

I told him that I had been informed by Mr. Orme, that many parts of the East Indies were better mapped than the Highlands of Scotland. JOHNSON: “ That a country may be mapped, it must be travelled over.” “Nay,” said I, meaning to laugh with him at one of his prejudices,

it is not worth mapping ?” As we walked to St. Clement's Church, and saw several shops open upon this most solemn fast-day of the Christian world, I remarked, that one disadvantage arising from the immensity of London was, that nobody was heeded by his neighbour; there was no fear of censure for not observing Good Friday, as it ought to be kept, and as it is kept in country towns. He said it was, upon the whole, very well observed even in London. He, however, owned that London was too large ; but added, “It is nonsense to say the head is too big for the body. It would be as much too big though the body were ever so large ; that is to say, though the country were ever so extensive. It has no similarity to a head connected with a body."

Dr. Wetherell, Master of University College, Oxford, accompanied us home from church ; and after he was gone, there came two other gentlemen, one of whom uttered the common-place complaints, that by the increase of taxes, labour would be dear, other nations would undersell us, and our commerce would be ruined. JOHNSON (smiling): “Never fear, Sir. Our commerce is in a very good state ; and suppose we had no commerce at all, we could live very well on the produce of our own country.” I cannot omit to mention, that I never knew any man who

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was less disposed to be querulous than Johnson. Whether the subject was his own situation, or the state of the public, or the state of human nature in general, though he saw the evils, his mind was turned to resolution, and never to whining or complaint.

We went again to St. Clement's in the afternoon. He had found fault with the preacher in the morning for not choosing a text adapted to the day. The preacher in the afternoon had chosen one extremely proper : “It is finished.”

After the evening service, he said, “ Come, you shall go home with me, and sit just an hour.” But he was better than his word ; for, after we had drunk tea with Mrs. Williams, he asked me to go up to his study with him, where we sat a long while together in a serene, undisturbed frame of mind, sometimes in silence, and sometimes conversing, as we felt ourselves inclined, or more properly speaking, as he was inclined ; for during all the course of my long intimacy with him, my respectful attention never abated, and my wish to hear him was such, that I constantly watched every dawning of communication from that great and illuminated mind.

He observed, “All knowledge is of itself of some value. There is nothing so minute or inconsiderable, that I would not rather know it than not. In the same manner, all power, of whatever sort, is of itself desirable. A man would not submit to learn to hem a ruffle of his wife, or of his wife's maid ; but if a mere wish could attain it, he would rather wish to be able to hem a ruffle.”

He again advised me to keep a journal fully and minutely, but not to mention such trifles as that meat was too much or too little done, or that the weather was fair or rainy. He had till very near his death a contempt for the notion that the weather affects the human frame.

I told him that our friend Goldsmith had said to me that he had come too late into the world, for that Pope and other poets had taken up the places in the Temple of Fame ; so that, as but a few at any period can possess poetical reputation, a man of genius can now hardly acquire it. JOHNSON : “That is one of the most sensible things I have ever heard of Goldsmith. It is difficult to get literary fame, and it is every day growing more difficult. Ah, Sir, that should make a man think of securing happiness in another world, which all who try sincerely for it may attain. In comparison of that, how little are all other things! The belief of immortality is impressed upon all men, and all men act under an impression of it, however they may talk, and though, perhaps, they may be scarcely sensible of it.” I said, it appeared to me that some people had not the least notion of immortality; and I mentioned a distinguished gentleman of our acquaintance. JOHNSON : “Sir, if it were not for the notion of immortality, he would cut a throat to fill his pockets.” When I quoted this to Beauclerk, who knew much more of the gentleman than

we did, he said, in his acid manner, “ He would cut a throat to fill his pockets, if it were not for fear of being hanged.”

Dr. Johnson proceeded : “ Sir, there is a great cry about infidelity; but there are, in reality, very few infidels. I have heard a person, originally a Quaker, but now, I am afraid, a Deist, say that he did not believe there were, in all England, above two hundred infidels.”

He was pleased to say, “ If you come to settle here, we will have one day in the week on which we will meet by ourselves. That is the happiest conversation where there is no competition, no vanity, but a calm, quiet interchange of sentiment.” In his private register this evening is thus marked :

“ Boswell sat with me till night; we had some serious talk.” 1 It also appears from the same record, that after I left him he was occupied in religious duties, in giving Francis, his servant, some directions for preparation to communicate; in reviewing his life, and resolving on better conduct.”

The humility and piety which he discovers on such occasions, is truly edifying. No saint, however, in the course of his religious warfare, was more sensible of the unhappy failure of pious resolves, than Johnson. He said one day, talking to an acquaintance on this subject, Sir, Hell is paved with good intentions."

On Sunday, April 16, being Easter-day, after having attended the solemn service at St. Paul's, I dined with Dr. Johnson and Mrs. Williams. I maintained that Horace was wrong in placing happiness in Nil admirari, for that I thought admiration one of the most agreeable of all our feelings; and I regretted that I had lost much of my disposition to admire, which people generally do as they advance in life. JOHNSON : “ Sir, as a man advances in life, he gets what is better than admiration,-judgment, to estimate things at their true value.” I still insisted that admiration was more pleasing than judgment, as love is more pleasing than friendship. The feeling of friendship is like that of being comfortably filled with roast beef; love, like being enlivened with champagne. JOHNSON : “No, Sir: admiration and love are like being intoxicated with champagne ; judgment and friendship like being enlivened. Waller has hit upon the same thought with you ; 3 but I don't

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1 Prayers and Meditations, p. 138. ? This is a proverbial sentence. "Hell," says Herbert, “is full of good meanings and wishings." -JACULA PRUDENTUM, p. 11, edit. 1651.- MALONE.

3 “ Amoret's as sweet and good

As the most delicious food;
Which but tasted does impart
Life and gladness to the heart.
“ Sacharissa's beauty's wine,
Which to madness does incline;
Such a liquor as no brain
That is mortal can sustain."-BOSWELL.

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