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of thinking-JOHNSON: "Were I in your place, sir, in seven years I would make this an independent island. I would roast oxen
whole, and hang out a flag as a signal to the Macdonalds to come and get beef and whiskey." Sir Alexander was still starting difficulties. JOHNSON: "Nay, sir; if you are born to object I have done with you. Sir, I would have a magazine of arms."-Sir ALEXANDER: " They would rust."-JOHNSON: "Let there be men to keep them clean. Your ancestors did not use to let their arms rust."
We attempted in vain to communicate to him a portion of our enthusiasm. He bore with so polite a good-nature our warm, and what some might call Gothic expostulations, on this subject, that I should not forgive myself were I to record all that Dr Johnson's ardour led him to say. This day was little better than a blank.
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 5.
I walked to the parish church of Slate, which is a very poor one. There are no church bells in the island. I was told there were once some; what has.become of them I could not learn. The minister not being at home there was no service. I went into the church, and saw the monument of Sir James Macdonald, which was elegantly executed at Rome, and has the following inscription, written by his friend, George Lord Lyttelton :
To the memory
Of SIR JAMES MACDONALD, BART.
Had attained to so eminent a degree of knowledge,
In Mathematics, Philosophy, Languages,
And in every other branch of useful and polite learning,
Wholly devoted to study:
Yet to this erudition he joined
What can rarely be found with it,
Great propriety of behaviour,
His eloquence was sweet, correct, and flowing;
His judgment strong and acute;
All which endowments, united
With the most amiable temper
And every private virtue,
The church is situated at Kilmore, about the middle of the parish. It is an old building, and has the date 1631 marked on it. It has been lately repaired, and is seated for nearly 500.-" Statistical Account of Scotland," 1840.—ED.
Procured him, not only in his own country,
But also from foreign nations,
The 25th of his life, After a long and extremely painful illness, Which he supported with admirable patience and fortitude,
He died at Rome,
Since the death of Sir Philip Sidney.
To his afflicted family,
Many useful improvements,
Under the sober direction
Reader, bewail our loss,
In testimony of her love,
To her departed son,
He showed for her,
His much-afflicted mother,
Erected this Monument,
* This extraordinary young man, whom I had the pleasure of knowing intimately, having been deeply regretted by his country, the most minute particulars concerning him must be interesting to many. I shall therefore insert his two last letters to his mother, Lady Margaret Macdonald, which her ladyship has been pleased to communicate to me.
“ Rome, July 9th, 1766. “MY DEAR MOTHER,—Yesterday's post brought me your answer to the first letter in which I acquainted you of my illness. Your tenderness and concern upon that account are the same I have always experienced, and to which I have often owed my life. Indeed, it never was in so great danger as it has been lately; and though it would have been a very great comfort to me to have had you near me, yet perhaps I ought to rejoice, on your account, that you had not the pain of such a spectacle. I have been now a week in Rome, and wish I could continue to give you the same good account of my recovery as I did in my last; but I must own that, for three days past, I have been in a very weak and miserable state, which, however, seems to give no uneasiness to my physicians. My stomach has been greatly out of order, without any visible cause; and the
Dr. Johnson said the inscription should have been in Latin, as everything intended to be universal and permanent should be.
This being a beautiful day, my spirits were cheered by the mere effect of climate: I had felt a return of spleen during my stay at Armidale, and had it not been that I had Dr. Johnson to contemplate, I should have sunk into dejection, but his firmness supported me. I looked at him as a man whose head is turning giddy at sea looks at a rock or any fixed object. I wondered at his tranquillity. He said, “ Sir, when a man retires into an island, he is to turn his thoughts entirely to another world: he has done with this."-Bos
to me, sir, to be very difficult to unite a due attention to this world and that which is to come ; for, if we engage eagerly in the affairs of life, we are apt to be totally forgetful of a future state ; and, on the other hand, a steady contemplation of the awful concerns of eternity renders all objects here so insignificant as to make us indifferent and negligent about them.”-JOHNSON: Sir, Dr. Cheyne has laid down a rule to himself on this subject which should be imprinted on every mind, “To neglect nothing to secure my eternal peace, more than if I had been certified I should die within the day ; nor to mind anything that my secular obligations and duties demanded of me less than if I had been insured to live fifty years more.'
I must here observe, that though Dr. Johnson appeared now to be philosophically calm, yet his genius did not shine forth as in com
palpitation does not decrease. I am told that my stomach will soon recover its tone, and that the palpitation must cease in time. So I am willing to believe ; and with this hope support the little remains of spirits which I can be supposed to have on the fortyseventh day of such an illness. Do not imagine I have relapsed, I only recover slower than I expected. If my letter is shorter than usual, the cause of it is a dose of physic, which has weakened me so much to-day that I am not able to write a long letter. I will make up for it next post, and remain always
“ Your most sincerely affectionate Son,
“ J. MACDONALD." He grew gradually worse; and on the night before his death he wrote as follows from Frescati:
"MY DEAR MOTHER,—Though I did not mean to deceive you in my last letter from Rome, yet certainly you would have very little reason to conclude of the very great and constant danger I have gone through ever since that time. My life, which is still almost entirely desperate, did not at that time appear to me so, otherwise I should have represented, in its true colours, a fact which acquires very little horror by that means, and comes with redoubled force by deception. There is no circumstance of danger and pain of which I have not had the experience, for a continued series of above a fortnight; during which time I have settled my affairs, after my death, with as much distinctness as the hurry and the nature of the thing could admit of. In case of the worst, the Abbé Grant will be my executor in this part of the world, and Mr. Mackenzie in Scotland, where my object has been to make you and my younger brother as independent of the eldest as possible.”-Boswell. [Lady Margaret Macdonald survived till March 30th 1799.-ED.]
panies, where I have listened to him with admiration. The vigour of his mind was, however, sufficiently manifested, by his discovering no symptoms of feeble relaxation in the dull, "weary, flat, and unprofitable" state in which we now were placed.
I am inclined to think that it was on this day he composed the following Ode upon the Isle of Sky, which a few days afterwards he showed me at Rasay
Ponti profundis clausa recessibus,
Strepens procellis, rupibus obsita,
His cura, credo, sedibus exulat;
At non cavatâ rupe latescere,
Humana virtus non sibi sufficit;
Parare posse, ut Stoicorum
Exæstuantis pectoris impetum,
* VARIOUS READINGS.
Line 2. In the manuscript, Dr. Johnson, instead of rupibus obsita, had written imbribus uvida, and uvida nubibus, but struck them both out.
Lines 15 and 16. Instead of these two lines, he had written, but afterwards struck out, the following:
"Parare posse, utcunque jactet
Grandiloquus nimis alta Zeno.' "-BOSWELL.
[The following is a translation of the above Ode, altered from the "Scots Magazine," February, 1786:
Close on old ocean's utmost bounds,
Girt with wild waves and rocky mounds,
How grateful to the wearied eye
Spreads thy green bosom, misty SKYE!
Care surely flies these soft retreats,
After supper, Dr. Johnson told us that Isaac Hawkins Browne drank freely for thirty years, and that he wrote his poem, “De Animi Immortalitate," in some of the last of these years. I listened to this with the eagerness of one who, conscious of being himself fond of wine, is glad to hear that a man of so much genius and good thinking as Browne had the same propensity.
MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 6. We set out, accompanied by Mr. Donald Macleod (late of Canna) us our guide ; we rode for some time along the district of Slate, near the shore. The houses in general are made of turf covered with grass. The country seemed well peopled. We came into the district of Strath, and passed along a wild moorish tract of land till we arrived at the shore. There we found good verdure and some curious whin-rocks, or collections of stones, like the ruins of the foundations of old buildings : we saw also three cairns of considerable size.
About a mile beyond Broadfoot [Broadford] is Corrichatachin, a farm of Sir Alexander Macdonald's, possessed by Mr. Mackinnon,* who received us with a hearty welcome, as did his wife, who was what we call in Scotland a lady-like woman. Mr. Pennant, in the course of his tour to the Hebrides, passed two nights at this gentleman's house. On its being mentioned that a present had here been
And yet to climb the hilly heath,
The tide of passion ebbs or flows.--Ed.] * That my readers may have my narrative in the style of the country through which I am travelling, it is proper to inform them that the chief of a clan is denominated by his surname alone; as Macleod, Mackinnon, Mackintosh. To prefix Mr. to it would be a degradation from the Macleod, &c. My old friend, the laird of Macfarlane, the great antiquary, took it highly amiss when General Wade called him Mr. Macfarlane. Dr. Johnson said he could not bring himself to use this mode of address, it seemed to him to be too familiar, as it is the way in which, in all other places, intimates or inferiors are addressed. When the chiefs have titles they are denominated by them, as Sir James Grant, Sir Allan Maclean. The other Highland gentlemen, of landed property, are denominated by their estates, as Rasay, Boisdale; and the wives of all of them have the title of ladies. The tacksmen, or principal tenants, are named by their farms, as kingsburgh, Corrichatachin; and their wives are called the mistress of Kingsburgh, the inistress of Corrichatachin. Having given this explanation, I am at liberty to use that mode of speech which generally prevails in the Highlands and the Hebrides. -Boswell.