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Dr. Johnson talked a great deal, and was so entertaining, that Lady Betty Hamilton, after dinner, went and placed her chair close to his, leaned upon the back of it, and listened eagerly. It would have made a fine picture to have drawn the sage and her at this time in their several attitudes. He did not know, all the while, how much he was honoured, I told him afterwards. I never saw him so gentle and complaisant as this day.
We went to tea. The duke and I walked up and down the drawing-room, conversing. The duchess still continued to show the same marked coldness for me; for which, though I suffered from it, I made every allowance, considering the very warm part I had taken for Douglas, in the cause in which she thought her son deeply interested.* Had not her grace discovered some displeasure towards me, I should have suspected her of insensibility or dissimulation.
Her grace made Dr. Johnson come and sit by her, and asked him why he made his journy so late in the year. Why, madam," said he, "you know Mr. Boswell must attend the Court of Session, and it does not rise till the twelfth of August." She said, with some sharpness, "I know nothing of Mr. Boswell." Poor Lady Lucy Douglas, to whom I mentioned this, observed, "She knew too much of Mr. Boswell." I shall make no remark on her grace's speech. I indeed felt it as rather too severe; but when I recollected that my punishment was inflicted by so dignified a beauty, I had that kind of consolation which a man would feel who is strangled by a silken cord. Dr. Johnson was all attention to her grace. He used afterwards a droll expression, upon her enjoying the three titles of Hamilton, Brandon, and Argyle. Borrowing an image from the Turkish empire, he called her a duchess with three tails.
He was much pleased with our visit at the castle of Inverary. The Duke of Argyle was exceedingly polite to him, and, upon his complaining of the shelties which he had hitherto ridden being too small for him, his grace told him he should be provided with a good horse to carry him next day.
Mr. John Macaulay passed the evening with us at our inn. When Dr. Johnson spoke of people whose principles were good, but whose practice was faulty, Mr. Macaulay said, he had no notion of people being in earnest in their good professions, whose practice was not suitable to them. The Doctor grew warm, and said, "Sir, are you so grossly ignorant of human nature, as not to know that a man may be very sincere in good principles, without having good practice ?"
*He was the unsuccessful competitor for the Douglas property. Frequent reference is made to this great" cause" in the "Life of Johnson."-ED.
Dr. Johnson was unquestionably in the right; and whoever examines himself candidly, will be satisfied of it, though the inconsistency between principles and practice is greater in some men than in others.
I recollect very little of this night's conversation. I am sorry that indolence came on me towards the conclusion of our journey, so that I did not write down what passed with the same assiduity as during the greatest part of it.
TUESDAY, OCTOBER 26.
Mr. Macaulay breakfasted with us, nothing hurt or dismayed by his last night's correction. Being a man of good sense, he had a just admiration of Dr. Johnson.*
* Mr. Macaulay had previously been minister of South Uist and Lismore. In 1755 he was translated to Inverary, and afterwards he left Inverary on receiving a presentation to Cardross, in Dumbartonshire, where he died in 1789. This gentleman was the founder of an illustrious family. Zachary Macaulay, the associate of Wilberforce and Clarkson in the abolition of slavery, was his son; the Right Hon. Thomas Babington Macaulay is his grandson. Allusion has been made (see anté, p. 84) to Mr. Kenneth Macaulay of Calder, brother of the minister of Inverary, and to Johnson's offer to pro
Either yesterday morning or this, I communicated to Dr. Johnson, from Mr. Macaulay's information, the news that Dr. Beattie had got a pension of two hundred pounds a-year. He sat up in his bed, clapped his hands, and cried, "O brave we!"-a peculiar exclamation of his when he rejoices.*
As we sat over our tea, Mr. Home's tragedy of Douglas was mentioned. I put Dr. Johnson in mind, that once, in a coffee-house at Oxford, he called to old Mr. Sheridan, "How came you, sir, to give Home a gold medal for writing that foolish play ?" and defied Mr. Sheridan to show ten good lines in it. He did not insist they should be together; but that there were not ten good lines in the whole play. He now persisted in this. I endeavoured to defend that pathetic and beautiful tragedy, and repeated the following passage.
JOHNSON: "That will not do, sir. Nothing is good but what is consistent with truth or probability, which this is not. indeed, gives us a noble picture of inflexible virtue:
"Esto bonus miles, tutor bonus, arbiter idem
Integer ambigua si quando citabere testis,
cure a servitorship at Oxford for his son. We have since learned that the young man (who bore the family name of Aulay Macaulay) entered the navy, and died in 1842 a retired officer of Marines. The statement made by Boswell, that Mr. Kenneth Macaulay did not write the History of St. Kilda which bears his name, but merely collected the materials, was always strenuously denied by his family and friends. The late Rev. Aulay Macaulay, a clergyman near Leicester, intended republishing the History of St. Kilda, with notes, showing the work to have been altogether his uncle's composition; but he died before accomplishing his task. There is no appearance of two hands being engaged in the work; one person must have written the whole; and it is certainly improbable that Dr. Macpherson of Skye should have allowed Macaulay to usurp the entire honours of the History, if he had himself been virtually the author of it. The book is a respectable volume of 278 pages. As Macaulay and Macpherson were not only brother clergymen in the Highlands, but intimate personal associates, the latter may have helped his friend to an occasional classical illustration or correction; for Dr. Macpherson, as Johnson acknowledged, had " a great deal of Latin, and good Latin." This conjectural assistance, however, should not deprive the minister of Calder of the substantial honours of his History-especially as Mr. Macaulay was otherwise rather scurvily and indelicately treated by the travellers.-ED.
Having mentioned more than once that my Journal was perused by Dr. Johnson, I think it proper to inform my readers that this is the last paragraph which he read.BOSWELL.
He repeated the lines with great force and dignity; then added, "And after this, comes Johnny Home, with his earth gaping, and his destruction crying ;-Pooh !"†
While we were lamenting the number of ruined religious buildings which we had lately seen, I spoke with peculiar feeling of the miserable neglect of the chapel belonging to the palace of Holyroodhouse, in which are deposited the remains of many of the Kings of Scotland, and of many of our nobility. I said, it was a disgrace to the country that it was not repaired: and particularly complained that my friend Douglas, the representative of a great house, and proprietor of a vast estate, should suffer the sacred spot where his mother lies interred, to be unroofed, and exposed to all the inclemencies of the weather. Dr. Johnson, who, I know not how, had formed an opinion on the Hamilton side, in the Douglas cause, slily answered, "Sir, sir, don't be too severe upon the gentleman; don't accuse him of want of filial piety! Lady Jane Douglas was not his mother.” He roused my zeal so much that I took the liberty to tell him he knew nothing of the cause: which I do most seriously believe was the case.
We were now "in a country of bridles and saddles," and set out fully equipped. The Duke of Argyle was obliging enough to mount Dr. Johnson on a stately steed from his grace's stable. My friend was highly pleased, and Joseph said, "He now looks like a bishop."
We dined at the inn at Tarbat, and at night came to Rosedow, the beautiful seat of Sir James Colquhoun, on the banks of Lochlomond, where I, and any friends whom I have introduced, have ever been received with kind and elegant hospitality.
* An honest guardian, arbitrator just,
Be thou; thy station deem a sacred trust.
With thy good sword maintain thy country's cause;
In every action venerate its laws:
The lie suborned if falsely urged to swear,
Though torture wait thee, torture firmly bear;
To forfeit honour think the highest shame,
Nor to preserve it, with thy virtue give
That for which only man should wish to live."
For this and the other translations to which no signature is affixed, I am indebted to the friend whose observations are mentioned in the notes, pp. 53 and 312-BOSWELL
+ I am sorry that I was unlucky in my quotation. But notwithstanding the acuteness of Dr. Johnson's criticism,'and the power of his ridicule, the tragedy of " Douglas" still continues to be generally and deservedly admired.-BOSWELL. [He had quoted the same passage in his "Essence of the Douglas Cause."-ED.]
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 27.
When I went into Dr. Johnson's room this morning, I observed to him how wonderfully courteous he had been at Inverary, and said, "You were quite a fine gentleman, when with the duchess." He answered, in good humour, "Sir, I look upon myself as a very polite man:" and he was right, in a proper manly sense of the word. As an immediate proof of it, let me observe, that he would not send back the Duke of Argyle's horse without a letter of thanks, which I copied.
TO HIS GRACE THE DUKE OF ARGYLE.
MY LORD,-That kindness which disposed your grace to supply me with the horse, which I have now returned, will make you pleased to hear that he has carried me well.
By my diligence in the little commission with which I was honoured by the duchess, I will endeavour to show how highly I value the favours which I have received, and how much I desire to be thought, my lord, your grace's most obedient and most humble servant,
Rosedow, Oct. 29, 1773.
The Duke was so attentive to his respectable guest, that on the same day, he wrote him an answer, which was received at Auchinleck:
TO DR. JOHNSON, AUCHINLECK, AYRSHIRE.
SIR-I am glad to hear your journey from this place was not unpleasant, in regard to your horse. I wish I could have supplied you with good weather, which am afraid you felt the want of.
The Duchess of Argyle desires her compliments to you, and is much obliged to you for remembering her commission. I am, sir, your most obedient humble servant, ARGYLE.
Inverary, Oct. 29, 1773.
I am happy to insert every memorial of the honour done to my great friend. Indeed, I was at all times desirous to preserve the letters which he received from eminent persons, of which, as of all other papers, he was very negligent; and I once proposed to him, that they should be committed to my care, as his Custos Rotulorum. I wish he had complied with my request, as by that means many valuable writings might have been preserved that are now lost.*
After breakfast, Dr. Johnson and I were furnished with a boat, and sailed about upon Lochlomond, and landed on some of the islands
* As a remarkable instance of his negligence, I remember some years ago to have found lying loose in his study, and without the cover, which contained the address, a letter to him, from Lord Thurlow, to whom he had made an application as Chancellor, in behalf of a poor literary friend. It was expressed in such terms of respect for Dr. Johnson that, in my zeal for his reputation, I remonstrated warmly with him on his strange inattention, and obtained his permission to take a copy of it; by which probably it has been preserved, as the original, I have reason to suppose, is lost.-BoSWELL