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he had several of his neighbours from it at dinner. One of them, Dr. Fraser, who had been in the army, remembered to have seen Dr. Johnson at a lecture on experimental philosophy at Lichfield. The Doctor recollected being at the lecture, and he was surprised to find here somebody who knew him.
Mr. Fraser sent a servant to conduct us by a short passage into the high road. I observed to Dr. Johnson that I had a most disagreeable notion of the life of country gentlemen; that I left Mr. Fraser just now as one leaves a prisoner in a jail. Dr. Johnson said that I was right in thinking them unhappy, for that they had not enough to keep their mind in motion.
I started a thought this afternoon which amused us a great part of the way. "If," said I, "our club should come and set up in St. Andrews as a college to teach all that each of us can in the several departments of learning and taste, we should rebuild the city: we should draw a wonderful concourse of students." Dr. Johnson entered fully into the spirit of this project. We immediately fell to distributing the offices. I was to teach civil and Scotch law; Burke, politics and eloquence; Garrick, the art of public speaking; Langton was to be our Grecian, Colman our Latin, professor; Nugent to teach physic; Lord Charlemont, modern history; Beauclerk, natural philosophy; Vesey, Irish antiquities, or Celtic learning;* Jones, Oriental learntelling her (a year agoe) quite repented of her aprobation, and would fain have made me give my friend the slipe when our engagement was equal to ye priest's siremony, and my brothers, one the conterery, who's displeasur I only fear'd, went into the thing the minnet I told them of my resolusion, in so much that they both have asur'd me that they aprove of my choise, that ther is non in Briton they would have bin so well pleased with (to use their own words). My sister Argyle writes me, that the Duke took the account of my resolusion to marry in a most reasonable way, and as for my choise, thinks non could make any objections to it. I have bin att the more pains to write, because good Mrs. Hails has spreed twenty lyes with relation to my brother's carage (and aprobation) upon my change of condision, for which I don't resolve to speack ore countinance her any more.
"It was a strange accident befell Thom's son; however, thess losses are easely made up to one of Peggy's agge. I am of oppinion Tom will get more bearns than ever he will take the causion to provid for; but I imagin he will have his own hopes. I shall doe him no harme that way, not being very young, and having had many childreen alredey, which may indid be to likly, yet since Lady Delape had a daughter last sumer, I am resolved not to dispair till I am 50; since, without a mireckel, a woman may have a child till that age," &c.
This specimen of the epistolary intercourse of the haut ton of Scottish society, in the early part of last century is given in the "Historical Account of the Family of Fraser, 1825." The lady was not disappointed in her hopes of issue by her second marriage. She had a son, Alexander Fraser of Strichen, the "worthy" entertainer of Johnson and Boswell. The grandson of this gentleman, Thomas Alexander Fraser, succeeded as heir of entail to the large estates of Lovat in Inverness-shire, in 1816, and in 1837 was raised to the peerage by the title of Lord Lovat.-ED.]
Since the first edition, it has been suggested by one of the club, who knew Mr. Vesey better than Dr. Johnson and I, that we did not assign him a proper place; for he
ing; Goldsmith, poetry and ancient history; Chamier, commercial politics; Reynolds, painting and the arts which have beauty for their object; Chambers, the law of England. Dr. Johnson at first said, "I'll trust theology to nobody but myself;" but upon due consideration that Percy is a clergyman, it was agreed that Percy should teach practical divinity and British antiquities, Dr. Johnson himself, logic, metaphysics, and scholastic divinity. In this manner did we amuse ourselves, each suggesting, and each varying or adding, till the whole was adjusted. Dr. Johnson said, "We only wanted a ma thematician since Dyer died, who was a very good one; but as to everything else, we should have a very capital university.”*
We got at night to Banff. I sent Joseph on to Duff House; but Earl Fife was not at home, which I regretted much, as we should have had a very elegant reception from his lordship. We found here but an indifferent inn. Dr. Johnson wrote a long letter to Mrs. Thrale. I wondered to see him write so much so easily. He verified his own doctrine, that "a man may always write when he will set himself doggedly to it."
THURSDAY, AUGUST 26.
We got a fresh chaise here, a very good one, and very good horses. We breakfasted at Cullen. They set down dried haddocks,
was quite unskilled in Irish antiquities and Celtic learning, but might with propriety have been made professor of architecture, which he understood well, and has left a very good specimen of his knowledge and taste in that art, by an elegant house built on a plan of his own formation, at Lucan, a few miles from Dublin.-BOSWELL.
* Our Club, originally at the Turk's Head, Gerrard-street, then at Prince's, Sackville-street, now at Baxter's, Dover-street, which at Mr. Garrick's funeral acquired a name for the first time, and was called "The Literary Club," was instituted in 1764, and now consists of thirty-five members. It has, since 1773, been greatly augmented; and though Dr. Johnson with justice observed, that, by losing Goldsmith, Garrick, Nugent, Chamier, Beauclerk, we had lost what would make an eminent club, yet when I mention, as an accession, Mr. Fox, Dr. George Fordyce, Sir Charles Bunbury, Lord Ossory, Mr. Gibbon, Dr. Adam Smith, Mr. R. B. Sheridan, the Bishops of Kilaloe and St. Asaph, Dean Marley, Mr. Steevens, Mr. Dunning, Sir Joseph Banks, Dr. Scott of the Commons, Earl Spencer, Mr. Wyndham of Norfolk, Lord Elliott, Mr. Malone, Dr. Joseph Warton, the Rev. Thomas Warton, Lord Lucan, Mr. Burke unior, Lord Palmerston, Dr. Burney, Sir William Hamilton, and Dr. Warren, it will be acknowledged that we might establish a second university of high reputation.-Boswell.
+ Here, unluckily, the windows had no pulleys; and Dr. Johnson, who was constantly eager for fresh air, had much struggling to get one of them kept open. Thus he had a notion impressed upon him, that this wretched defect was general in Scotland; in consequence of which he has erroneously enlarged upon it in his "Journey." I regretted that he did not allow me to read over his book before it was printed. I should have changed very little; but I should have suggested an alteration in a few places where he has laid himself open to be attacked. I hope I should have prevailed with him to omit or soften his assertion, that "a Scotsman must be a sturdy moralist, who does not prefer Scotland to truth," for I really think it is not founded; and it is harshly said.-BOSWELL.
broiled along with our tea. I ate one; but Dr. Johnson was disgusted by the sight of them, so they were removed.* Cullen has a comfortable appearance, though but a very small town, and the houses mostly poor buildings.
I called on Mr. Robertson, who has the charge of Lord Findlater's affairs, and was formerly Lord Monboddo's clerk, was three times in France with him, and translated Condamine's account of the Savage Girl, to which his lordship wrote a preface, containing several remarks of his own. Robertson said ne did not believe so much as his lordship did; that it was plain to him the girl confounded what she imagined with what she remembered; that, besides, she perceived Condamine and Lord Monboddo forming theories, and she adapted her story to them.
Dr. Johnson said, "It is a pity to see Lord Monboddo publish such notions as he has done; a man of sense, and of so much elegant learning. There would be little in a fool doing it, we should only laugh; but when a wise man does it, we are sorry. Other people have strange notions, but they conceal them. If they have tails, they hide them, but Monboddo is as jealous of his tail as a squirrel." I shall here put down some more remarks of Dr. Johnson's on Lord Monboddo, which were not made exactly at this time, but come in well from connexion. He said, he did not approve of a judge's calling himself Farmer Burnett, and going about with a little
* Sir Walter Scott has entered a protest, in the name of his country, against Johnson's taste in the matter of haddocks. "A Finnan haddock," he says, "dried over the smoke of the sea-weed and sprinkled with salt water during the process, acquires a relish of a very peculiar and delicate flavour, inimitable on any other coast than that of Aberdeenshire." (Croker's Boswell.) Johnson might have replied, "Sir, you do not see your way through the question." The fish served up to the travellers at Cullen was the common dried haddock. Sir Walter alludes to the peculiar sort prepared at Finnan, a fishing-village six miles south of Aberdeen. "Your genuine haddock may be distinguished by his bright yellow colour, by his peculiar odour, and by other marks familiar to the learned. He should never be kept above a day, ought to be roasted by a very quick fire, and served up and eaten immediately. So highly is he esteemed that the burghs on the Frith of Forth, and other places, have regular manufactories of a spurious article, which they vend under his name." ("Book of Bon-Accord," Aberdeen, 1839.) The ordinary dried haddock is, however, a very palatable addition to the breakfast-table, and great quantities of the fish are now sent to the London market. -ED.
It is the custom in Scotland for the Judges of the Court of Session to have the title of lords from their estates; thus Mr. Burnett is Lord Monboddo, as Mr. Home was Lord Kames. There is something a little awkward in this; for they are denominated in deeds by their names, with the addition of "one of the Senators of the College of Justice;" and subscribe their Christian and sur-names, as James Burnett, Henry Home, even in judicial acts.-BOSWELL.
[As the ladies of these official dignitaries do not bear any share in their husbands honours, they are distinguished only by their lords' family name. They were not always contented with this species of Salique law, which certainly is somewhat inconsistent. But
round hat. He laughed heartily at his lordship's saying he was an enthusiastical farmer; "for," said he, "what can he do in farming by his enthusiasm?" Here, however, I think Dr. Johnson mistaken. He who wishes to be successful or happy ought to be enthusiastical-that is to say, very keen in all the occupations or diversions of life. An ordinary gentleman-farmer will be satisfied with looking at his fields once or twice a-day; an enthusiastical farmer will be constantly employed on them-will have his mind earnestly engaged ; will talk perpetually of them. But Dr. Johnson has much of the nil admirari in smaller concerns. That survey of life which gave birth to his "Vanity of Human Wishes" early sobered his mind. Besides, so great a mind as his cannot be moved by inferior objects; an elephant does not run and skip like lesser animals
Mr. Robertson sent a servant with us, to show us through Lord Findlater's wood, by which our way was shortened, and we saw some part of his domain, which is indeed admirably laid out. Dr. Johnson did not choose to walk through it. He always said that he was not come to Scotland to see fine places, of which there were enough in England; but wild objects, mountains, waterfalls, peculiar manners; in short, things which he had not seen before. I have a notion that he at no time has had much taste for rural beauties. I have myself very little.
Dr. Johnson said there was nothing more contemptible than a country gentleman living beyond his income, and every year growing poorer and poorer. He spoke strongly of the influence which a man has by being rich. “A man,” said he, "who keeps his money, has in reality more use from it than he can have by spending it." I observed that this looked very like a paradox; but he explained it thus: If it were certain that a man would keep his money locked up for ever, to be sure he would have no influence; but, as so many want money, and he has the power of giving it, and they know not but by gaining his favour they may obtain it, the rich man will always have the greatest influence. He, again, who lavishes his money is laughed at as foolish, and in a great degree with justice, considering how much is spent from vanity. Even those who partake of a man's hospitality have but a transient kindness for him. If he has not the command of money, people know he cannot help them if he would; whereas the rich man always can, if he will, and for the chance of that will have much weight."-BoswELL: But philosophers and satirists have all treated a miser as contemptible."-JOHNSON: "He is so philosophically; their pretensions to title are said to have been long since repelled by James V., the Sovereign who founded the College of Justice. "I," said he, "made the carles lords, but who the devil made the carlines ladies?" (Scott. Note in "Redgauntlet.")-ED.]
but not in the practice of life."-BOSWELL: "Let me see, now; I do not know the instances of misers in England, so as to examine into their influence."-JOHNSON: "We have had few misers in England.” -BOSWELL: "There was Lowther.”—JOHNSON: "Why, sir, Lowther, by keeping his money, had the command of the county, which the family has now lost by spending it.* I take it, he lent a great deal, and that is the way to have influence and yet preserve one's wealth. A man may lend his money upon very good security, and yet have his debtor much under his power."-BoswELL: "No doubt, sir. He can always distress him for the money; as no man borrows who is able to pay on demand quite conveniently."
We dined at Elgin, and saw the noble ruins of the cathedral. Though it rained much, Dr. Johnson examined them with a most patient attention. He could not here feel any abhorrence at the Scottish reformers, for he had been told by Lord Hailes that it was destroyed before the Reformation, by the Lord of Badenoch,† who
* I do not know what was at this time the state of the parliamentary interest of the ancient family of Lowther, a family before the Conquest; but all the nation knows it to be very extensive at present. A due mixture of severity and kindness, economy and munificence, characterises its present representative.-BOSWELL.
[The family of Lowther has since illustrated its nobility by its patronage of Wordsworth the poet.-ED.]
↑ Note by Lord Hailes.-" The cathedral of Elgin was burnt by the Lord of Badenoch because the Bishop of Moray had pronounced an award not to his liking. The indemnification that the see obtained was, that the Lord of Badenoch stood for three days barefooted at the great gate of the cathedral. The story is in the Chartulary of Elgin." -BOSWELL.
[The Lord of Badenoch alluded to is better known in history and tradition by the title of the Wolf of Badenoch. This notorious personage was Alexander Stewart; or in Gaelic, Alister More Mac an Righ, a natural son of King Robert II. The Highlanders considered the fertile plains of Moray, peopled by a Flemish race, as a country in which all men were free to take their prey. Stewart had plundered the Church lands; the Bishop of Moray excommunicated him; and in revenge the Wolf descended with his followers and ravaged the district. He first burned the town of Forres, and then, on the feast of St. Botolph 1390, he set fire to Elgin Cathedral, to the canons and chaplains' houses, and to the greater part of the town. He did penance for the outrage in the Blackfriars at Perth, and promised to make indemnification to the Bishop of Moray; but he died in less than four years afterwards, February 20th, 1394. The magnificent ruins of Elgin Cathedral show that the Wolf of Badenoch did not complete his work of destruction. The pointed arches and their decorations speak of a period anterior to his fiery raid; but as every subsequent bishop was compelled to devote a third of his temporalities to the completion of the pile, large additions were made in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. The building was in the form of a Passion or Jerusalem Cross, having five towers, two at each end, and one, 198 feet high, in the centre. In 1568, from miserable parsimony, the Privy Council, under the Regent Morton, stripped the lead from the roof of the cathedral and shipped it to Holland for sale. The vessel foundered. "I hope every reader," says Johnson, "will rejoice that this cargo of sacrilege was lost at sea." The cathedral soon went to decay, and in 1711 the great tower fell. Of late years attention has been paid to the preservation of the venerable pile, and the rubbish which had been accumulated has been cleared away, disclosing more fully the graceful and noble proportions and ornate tracery of unquestionably the finest ruin in Scotland.-ED.]