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of Cheynel, in the “Student,” to be his.-JOHNSON : “No one else knows it.” Dr. Johnson had before this dictated to me a law-paper upon a question purely in the law of Scotland, concerning vicious intromission, that is to say, intermeddling with the effects of a deceased person without a regular title, which formerly was understood to subject the intermeddler to payment of all the defunct's debts. The principle has of late been relaxed. Dr. Johnson's argument was for a renewal of its strictness. The paper was printed, with additions by me, and given in to the Court of Session. Lord Hailes knew Dr. Johnson's part not to be mine, and pointed out exactly where it began and where it ended. Dr. Johnson said, “ It is much, now, that his lordship can distinguish so.”
In Dr. Johnson's “ Vanity of Human Wishes” there is the following passage :
“The teeming mother, anxious for her race,
And Sedley cursed the charms which pleased a king.” Lord Hailes told him he was mistaken in the instances he had given of unfortunate fair ones, for neither Vane nor Sedley had a title to that description. His lordship has since been so obliging as to send me a note of this, for the communication of which I am sure my readers will thank me.
“ The lines in the tenth satire of Juvenal, according to my alteration, should have run thus:
“ Yet Shore* could tell
And Valieret cursed " The first was a penitent by compulsion, the second by senti
knowledge in Scotland, as well as promote the improvement of the city of Edinburgh. He died November 10th, 1785. Mr. Maclaurin, advocate, was in 1787 elevated to the bench under the title of Lord Dreghorn. He was a bon vivant, a wit and scholar, and wrote several essays and light productions: he died in 1796. Dr. James Gregory—a distinguished member of an illustrious family-lived till 1821. Dr. John Boswell, physician, Edinburgh, died in 1780.- Ed. * Mistress of Edward IV.-BOSWELL.
+ Mistress of Louis XIV.-IBID. [Lord Hailes's emendations were not adopted by Johnson, but he seems to have modified the allusion to Sedley by substituting the word “form" for "charms." To have changed the name to that of Valiere would have destroyed the harmony of the verse, and made the reference more obscure. Jane Shore would perhaps have been a better instance than Ann Vane; but when Johnson wrote, the latter, as having been the mistress of Frederick Prince of Wales, and recently deceased (1736), besides being the subject of memoirs and lampoons, was well known in England. Catherine Sedley was the mistress of James II., who created her Countess of Dorchester. Sir Charles Sedley, her father, though shameless and profligate himself, seems to have felt this dishonour. He eagerly joined the party of the Prince of Orange against James, saying, “As the king has made my daughter a countess, I will endeavour to inake his daughter a queen.”ED.]
ment; though the truth is, Mademoiselle de la Valiere threw herself (but still from sentiment) in the king's way.
Our friend chose Vane, who was far from being well-looked, and Sedley, who was so ugly that Charles II. said his brother had her by way of penance."
Mr. Maclaurin's learning and talents enabled bim to do his part very well in Dr. Johnson's company. He produced two epitaphs upon his father, the celebrated mathematician. One was in English, of which Dr. Johnson did not change one word. In the other, which was in Latin, be made several alterations. In place of the very words of Virgil, “ Ubi luctus et pavor et plurima mortis imago,” he wrote “ Ubi luctus regnant et pavor." He introduced the word prorsus into the line, Mortalibus prorsus non absit solatium,” and after “Hujus enim scripta evolve," he added, “ Mentemque tantarum rerum capacem corpori caduco superstitem crede,” which is quite applicable to Dr. Johnson himself.*
Mr. Murray, advocate, who married a niece of Lord Mansfield's, and is now one of the judges of Scotland, by the title of Lord Henderland, sat with us a part of the evening, but did not venture to say anything that I remember, though he is certainly possessed of talents which would have enabled him to have shown himself to advantage, if too great anxiety had not prevented
At supper we had Dr. Alexander Webster, who, though not learned, had such a knowledge of mankind, such a fund of information and enter
a marble tombstone, in the GrayFriars church-yard. Edinburgh :
Infra situs est
H. L. P. F.
Nam tali auxilio nil eget;
Ubi luctus regnant et pavor,
Hujus enim scripta evolve,
Corpori caduco superstitem crede.
accommodating manners, that Dr. Johnson found him a very agree able companion.*
When Dr. Johnson and I were left by ourselves, I read to him my notes of the Opinions of our Judges upon the Questions of Literary Property. He did not like them, and said, “They make me think of your judges not with that respect which I should wish to do." To the argument of one of them that there can be no property in blasphemy or nonsense, he answered, “Then your rotten sheep are mine. By that rule, when a man's house falls into decay, he must lose it.”+ I mentioned an argument of mine, that literary performances are not taxed; as Churchill says,
“No statesman yet has thought it worth his pains
To tax our labours or excise our brains ;" and therefore they are not property. “ Yet,” said he, we hang a man for stealing a horse, and horses are not taxed.” Mr. Pitt has since put an end to that argument.
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 18. On this day we set out from Edinburgh. We should gladly have had Mr. Scott to go with us, but he was obliged to return to England I have given a sketch of Dr. Johnson; my readers may wish to know a little of his fellow traveller. Think, then, of a gentleman of ancient blood, the pride of which was his predominant passion. He was then in his thirty-third year, and had been about four years happily mar
* Dr. Webster was minister of the Tolbooth parish in Edinburgh. He originated the Clergy's. Widows' Fund, an admirable benevolent scheme, and was the first to draw up a return of the population in Scotland. This he accomplished in 1755. Besides his talents and industry as a calculator and statist, Dr. Webster was a noted evangelical preacher and convivial companion. He was married to a young lady of great beauty, a Miss Erskine, whose favour he had solicited for a friend. The lady frankly told him that he would perhaps come better speed if he were to speak for himself; and on this hint the minister spoke both in prose and verse, and was soon successful. “It is related,” says Chambers, "that going home early one morning with strong symptoms of over-indulgence upon him, and being asked by a friend who met him, • What the Tolbooth Whigs would say if they were to see him at that moment ?' he instantly replied, “They would not believe their own eyes.'” This genial, strongminded, and popular churchman lived to the age of seventy-seven, and died January 25th, 1781.--ED.
† Lord Chancellor Eldon, it will be recollected, acted upon the opinion of the Scottish Judge, when an injunction was applied for to restrain the circulation of a pirated edition of Lord Byron's "Cain." He refused the injunction until it could be shown that the publisher could maintain an action for the work. “ It is true," he admitted, “ that this mode of dealing with the work, if it be calculated to produce mischievous effects, opens a door for its dissemination; but the duty of stopping the work does not belong to a Court of Equity, which has no criminal jurisdiction, and cannot punish or check the offence.” The owner of the copyright might consider himself entitled to protection until the law bad decided that the publication was mischievous. The question has not been agitated since the date of the case brought before Lord Eldon.-ED.
ried His inclination was to be a soldier; but his father, a respectable judge, had pressed him into the profession of the law. He had travelled a good deal, and seen many varieties of human life. He had thought more than anybody supposed, and had a pretty good stock of general learning and knowledge. He had all Dr. Johnson's principles, with some degree of relaxation. He had rather too little than too much prudence; and his imagination being lively, he often said things of which the effect was very different from the intention. He resembled sometimes
“ The best good man, with the worst natured muse.”* He cannot deny himself the vanity of finishing with the encomium of Dr. Johnson, whose friendly partiality to the companion of his tour represents him as one “whose acuteness would help my inquiry, and whose gaiety of conversation and civility of manners are sufficient to counteract the inconveniences of travel in countries less hospitable than we have passed.”
Dr. Johnson thought it unnecessary to put himself to the additional expense of bringing with him Francis Barber, his faithful black servant; so we were attended only by my man, Joseph Ritter, a Bohemian, a fine stately fellow above six feet high, who had been over & great part of Europe, and spoke many languages. He was the best servant I ever saw. Let not my readers disdain his introduction, for Dr. Johnson gave him this character: “Sir, he is a civil man and a wise man.”
From an erroneous apprehension of violence, Dr. Johnson had provided a pair of pistols, some gunpowder, and a quantity of bullets; but upon being assured we should run no risk of meeting any robbers, he left his arms and ammunition in an open drawer, of which he gave my wife the charge. He also left in that drawer one volume of a pretty full and curious diary of his life of which I have a few fragments, but the book has been destroyed. I wish female curiosity had been strong enough to have had it all transcribed, which might easily have been done; and I should think the theft, being pro bono publico, might have been forgiven. But I may be wrong. My wife told me she never once looked into it. She did not seem quite easy when we left her; but away we went.
Mr. Nairne, advocate, was to go with us as far as St. Andrews. It gives me pleasure that by mentioning his name I connect his title to the just and handsome compliment paid him by Dr. Johnson in
* Rochester of Dorset; yet Dorset's song, “ To all you ladies now on land,” written at sea the night before an engagement, shows that his muse could be at times propitious. Goldsmith in his “Retaliation” applies the above line, slightly altered, to Caleb Whiteford.-ED,
bis book: “A gentleman who could stay with us only long enough to make us know how much we lost by his leaving us."* When we came to Leith, I talked with perhaps too boasting an air how pretty the Frith of Forth looked; as, indeed, after the prospect from Constantinople, of which I have been told, and that from Naples, which I have seen, I believe the view of that frith and its environs, from the castle-hill of Edinburgh, is the finest prospect in Europe. “Ay," said Dr. Johnson, " that is the state of the world. Water is the same everywhere.
“ Una est injusti cærula forma maris.'”+ I told him the port here was the mouth of the river or water of Leith. “Not Lethe,” said Mr. Nairne. Why, sir,” said Dr. Johnson, “when a Scotchman sets out from this port for England, he forgets his native country.”—NAIRNE : "I hope, sir, you will forget England here.”—JOHNSON: “Then 'twill still be more Lethe." He observed of the pier or quay, “ You have no occasion for so large a one; your trade does not require it. But you are like a shopkeeper who takes a shop, not only for what he has to put in it, but that it may be believed he has a great deal to put into it.” It is very true that there is now comparatively little trade upon the eastern coast of Scotland. The riches of Glasgow show how much there is in the west; and perhaps we shall find trade travel westward on a great scale as well as a small.
We talked of a man's drowning himself. — JOHNSON: "I shall never think it time to make away with myself.” I put the case of Eustace Budgell, who was accused of. forging a will, and sunk himself in the Chames before the trial of its authenticity came “Suppose, sir,” said I, “ that a man is absolutely sure that if he lives a few days longer he shall be detected in a fraud, the consequence of which will be utter disgrace and expulsion from society."-JOHNSON :
Then, sir, let him go abroad to a distant country. Let him go to some place where he is not known; don't let him go to the devil, where he is known"
* Mr. Nairne was a younger son of Sir William Nairne of Dunsinnan, Bart. In 1786 he was promoted to the bench and took the title of Lord Dunsinnan. On hearing of the title, the lively Duchess of Gordon is said to have remarked to the Judge, “ I am astonished, my lord, for I never knew you had begun sinning.” In 1790 the Judge succeeded to the baronetcy, and died at a very advanced age at Dunsinnan House, March 25th, 1811.
Lord Dunsinnan was greatly esteemed, and on obtaining possession of the family estate became an ardent and judicious rural improver.-ED.
+ “Non illic urbes, non tu mirabere silvas;
Ovid. AMOR. Lib. II. El. xi.