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back elevation; the front wall being built upon the edge of the hill, and the back wall rising from the bottom of the hill several stories before it comes to a level with the front wall. We proceeded to the College, with the Principal at our head. Dr. Adam Ferguson, whose "Essay on the History of civil Society" gives him a respectable place in the ranks of literature, was with us. As the College buildings are indeed very mean, the Principal said to Dr. Johnson, that he must give them the same epithet that a Jesuit did when shewing a poor college abroad: " He miserie nostræ." Dr. Johnson was, however, much pleased with the library, and with the conversation of Dr. James Robertson, Professor of Oriental Languages, the Librarian. We talked of Kennicot's edition of the Hebrew Bible, and hoped it would be quite faithful.JOHNSON. Sir," I know not any crime so great that a man could contrive to commit, as poisoning the sources of eternal truth."

I pointed out to him where there formerly stood an old wall enclosing part of the college, which I remember bulged out in a threatening manner, and of which there was a common tradition similar to that concerning Bacon's study at Oxford, that it would fall upon some very learned man. It had some time before this been taken down, that the street might be widened, and a more convenient wall built. Dr. Johnson, glad of an opportunity to have a pleasant hit at Scottish learning, said, "they were afraid it never would fall."

We shewed him the Royal Infirmary, for which, and for every other exertion of generous publick spirit in his power, that noble-minded citizen of

Edinburgh, George Drummond, will be ever held in honourable remembrance. And we were too proud not to carry him to the Abbey of Holyroodhouse, that beautiful piece of architecture, but, alas! that deserted mansion of royalty, which Hamilton of Bangour, in one of his elegant poems, calls

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A virtuous palace, where no monarch dwells."

I was much entertained while Principal Robertson fluently harangued to Dr. Johnson, upon the spot, concerning the scenes of his celebrated History of Scotland. We surveyed that part of the palace appropriated to the Duke of Hamilton, as Keeper, in which our beautiful Queen Mary lived, and in which David Rizzio was murdered; and also the State Rooms. Dr. Johnson was a great reciter of all sorts of things serious or comical. I over-heard him repeating here in a kind of muttering tone, a line of the old ballad, Johnny Armstrong's Last Good Night:

"And ran him through the fair body!"

We returned to my house, where there met him, at dinner, the Duchess of Douglas, Sir Adolphus Oughton, Lord Chief Baron, Sir William Forbes, Principal Robertson, Mr. Cullen, Advocate. Before

*The stanza from which he took this line is,
"But then rose up all Edinburgh,
"They rose up by thousands three;
"A cowardly Scot came John behind,
"And ran him through the fair body!"

dinner he told us of a curious conversation between the famous George Faulkner and him. George said that England had drained Ireland of fifty thousand pounds in specie, annually, for fifty years. "How so, sir! (said Dr. Johnson,) you must have a very great trade?" No trade." Very rich mines?" • No mines.'-From whence,

does all this money come?"


Come! why out of

the blood and bowels of the poor people of Ireland!'

He seemed to me to have an unaccountable prejudice against Swift; for I once took the liberty to ask him, if Swift had personally offended him, and he told me he had not. He said to-day, "Swift is clear, but he is shallow. In coarse humour, he is inferior to Arbuthnot; in delicate humour, he is inferior to Addison: So he is inferior to his contemporaries; without putting him against the whole world. I doubt if the "Tale of a Tub" was his :* it has so much more thinking, more knowledge, more power, more colour, than any of the works which are indisputably his. If it was his, I shall only say, he was impar sibi."

We gave him as good a dinner as we could. Our Scotch muir-fowl, or growse, were then abundant, and quite in season; and so far as wisdom and wit can be aided by administering agreeable sensations to the palate, my wife took care that our great guest should not be deficient.

Sir Adolphus Oughton, then our Deputy Commander in Chief, who was not only an excellent officer, but one of the most universal scholars I ever

[See the Life of Dr. Johnson, vol. ii. p. 333, 5th Edition.]

knew, had learned the Erse language, and expressed his belief in the authenticity of Ossian's Poetry. Dr. Johnson took the opposite side of that perplexed question; and I was afraid the dispute would have run high between them. But Şir Adolphus, who had a very sweet temper, changed the discourse, grew playful, laughed at Lord Monboddo's notion of men having tails, and called him a Judge, à posteriori, which amused Dr. Johnson; and thus hostilities were prevented.

At supper we had Dr. Cullen, his son the advo cate, Dr. Adam Fergusson, and Mr. Crosbie, advocate. Witchcraft was introduced. Mr. Crosbie said, he thought it the greatest blasphemy to suppose evil spirits counteracting the Deity, and raising storms, for instance, to destroy his creatures. JOHNSON. "Why, sir, if moral evil be consistent with the government of the Deity, why may not physical evil be also consistent with it? It is not more strange that there should be evil spirits, than evil men evil unembodied spirits, than evil embodied spirits. And as to storms, we know there are such things; and it is no worse that evil spirits raise them, than that they rise."-CROSBIE. "But it is not credible, that witches should have effected what they are said in stories to have done."-JOHNSON. "Sir, I am not defending their credibility. Í am only saying, that your arguments are not good, and will not overturn the belief of witchcraft.(Dr. Fergusson said to me, aside, He is right.') And then, sir, you have all mankind, rude and civilized, agreeing in the belief of the agency of preternatural powers. You must take evidence: you must consider, that wise and great men have D

condemned witches to die"-CROSBIE. "But an act of parliament put an end to witchcraft."

JOHNSON. "No, sir; witchcraft had ceased; and therefore an act of parliament was passed to prevent persecution for what was not witchcraft. Why it ceased, we cannot tell, as we cannot tell the reason of many other things."-Dr. Cullen, to keep up the gratification of mysterious disquisition, with the grave address for which he is remarkable in his companionable as in his professional hours, talked, in a very entertaining manner, of people walking and conversing in their sleep. I am very sorry I have no note of this. We talked of the OuranOutang, and of Lord Monboddo's thinging that he might be taught to speak. Dr. Johnson treated this with ridicule. Mr. Crosbie said, that Lord Monboddo believed the existence of every thing possible; in short, that all which is in posse might be found in esse.-JOHNSON. "But, sir, it is as possible that the Ouran-Outang does not speak, as that he speaks. However, I shall not contest the point. I should have thought it not possible to find a Monboddo; yet he exists."—I again mentioned the stage.-JOHNSON. "The appearance of a player, with whom I have drunk tea, counteracts the imagination that he is the character he represents. Nay, you know, nobody imagines that he is the character he represents. They say, 'See Garrick! how he looks to-night! See how he'll clutch the dagger !' That is the buz of the theatre."


Sir William Forbes came to breakfast, and brought with him Dr. Blacklock, whom he intro

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