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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 cterula 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't will be still 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 into 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 should 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 Thames, before the trial of its authenticity came on. "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!"
1 Non illic urbes, non tn mirabere silvas: Una est injusti cserula forma maris.
Ovid. Amor., lib. ii.. eleg. xi., 12. Nor groves nor towns the ruthless ocean shows, Unvaried still its azure surface flows.
He then said, "I see a number of people barefooted here: I suppose you all went so before the Union. Boswell, your ancestors went so when they had as much land as your family has now. Yet Auchinleck is the field of stones; there would be bad going barefooted there. The lairds however did it." I bought some speldings, fish (generally whitings) salted and dried in a particular manner, being dipped in the sea and dried in the sun, and eaten by the Scots by way of a relish. He had never seen them, though they are sold in London. I insisted on scottifying1 his palate; but he was very reluctant. With difficulty I prevailed with him to let a bit of one of them lie in his mouth. He did not like it.
In crossing the Frith, Dr. Johnson determined that we should land upon Inch Keith. On approaching it, we first observed a high rocky shore. We coasted about and put into a little bay on the north-west. We clambered up a very steep ascent, on which was very good grass, but rather a profusion of thistles. There were sixteen head of black cattle grazing upon the island. Lord Hailes observed to me, that Brantome calls it L'isle des Chevaux, and that it was probably "a safer stable" than many others in his time. The fort, with an inscription on it, Maria Re: 1564, is strongly built. Dr. Johnson examined it with much attention. He stalked like a giant among the luxuriant thistles and nettles. There are three wells in the island, but we could not find one in the fort. There must probably have been one, though now filled up, as a garrison could not subsist without it."2 But I have dwelt too long on this little spot. Dr. Johnson afterwards bade me try to write a description of our discovering Inch Keith, in the usual style of travellers, describing fully every particular; stating the grounds on which we concluded that it must have been once inhabited, and introducing many sage reflections, and we should see how a thing might be covered in words, so as to induce people to come and survey it. All
1 My friend, General Campbell, Governor of Madras, tells me, that they make speldings in the East Indies, particularly at Bombay, where they call them Bambaloes.
2 The remains of the fort have been removed, to assist in constructing a very useful lighthouse upon the island.— Walter Scott.
that was told might be true, and yet in reality there might be nothing to see. He said, "I'd have this island. I'd build a house, make a good landing-place, have a garden, and vines, and all sorts of trees. A rich man of a hospital ile turn, here, would have many visitors from Edinburgh." "When we had got into our boat again, he called to me, "Come, now, pay a classical compliment to the island on quitting it." I happened luckily, in allusion to the beautiful Queen Mary, whose name is upon the fort, to think of what Virgil makes tineas say, on having left the country of his charming Dido :—
"Invitus, regina, tuo de littore cessi."1
"Very well hit off!" said he.
We dined at Kinghorn, and then got into a post-chaise. Mr. Nairne and his servant, and Joseph, rode by us. We stopped at Cupar, and drank tea. We talked of Parliament; and I said, I suppose very few of the members knew much of what was going on, as indeed very few gentlemen know much of their own private affairs. Johnson. "Why, Sir, if a man is not of a sluggish mind, he may be his own steward. If he will look into his affairs, he will soon learn. So it is as to public affairs. There must always be a certain number of men of business in parliament." Boswell. "But consider, Sir, what is the House of Commons? Is not a great part of it chosen by peers? Do you think, Sir, they ought to have such an influence?" Johnson. "Yes, Sir. Influence must ever be in proportion to property; and it is right it should." Boswell. "But is there not reason to fear that the common people may be oppressed?" JohnSon. "No, Sir. Our great fear is from want of power in government. Such a storm of vulgar force has broken in." Boswell. "It has only roared." Johnson. "Sir, it has roared, till the judges in Westminster Hall have been afraid to pronounce sentence in opposition to the popular cry. You are frightened by what is no longer dangerous, like presbyterians by popery." He then repeated a passage,
1 JEn., vi., 460.
I think, in Butler's Remains, which ends, " and would cry fire! fire! in Noah's flood." 1
We had a dreary drive, in a dusky night, to St. Andrew's, where we arrived late. We found a good supper at Glass's inn, and Dr. Johnson revived agreeably. He said, "The collection called ' The Muses' Welcome to King James' (first of England, and sixth of Scotland), on his return to his native kingdom, showed that there was then abundance of learning in Scotland; and that the conceits in that collection, with which people find fault, were mere mode." He added, " We could not now entertain a sovereign so; that Buchanan had spread the spirit of learning amongst us, but we had lost it during the civil wars." He did not allow the Latin poetry of Pitcairne2 so much merit as had been attributed to it: though he owned that one of his pieces, which he mentioned, but which I am sorry is not specified in my notes, was "very well." It is not improbable that it was the poem which Prior had so elegantly translated.2
After supper, we made a procession to Saint Leonard's college, the landlord walking before us with a caudle, and
1 The passage quoted by Dr. Johnson is in the Character of the Assembly Man. Butler's Remains, p. 232, edit. 1754: "He preaches, indeed, both in season and out of season; for he rails at Popery. when the land is almost lost in Presbytery; and would cry fire! tire I in Noah's flood."
There is reason tn believe that this piece was not written by Butler, but by Sir John Birkenhead; for Wood, in his Atheme Oxonienses, vol. ii., p. 640, enumerates it among that gentleman's works, and gives the following account of it:—
"The Assembly Man (or the character of an assembly man"), written 1647, Lond. 166:2-3, in three sheets in quarto. The copy of it was taken from the author by those who said they could not rob, because all was theirs; so excised what they liked not; and so mangled and reformed it. that it was no character of an assembly, but of themselves. At length, after it had slept several years, the author published it, to avoid false copies. It is also reprinted in a book entitled Wit and Loyalty revived, in a collection of some smart satires in verse and prose on the late times, Lend. 1682, 4to., said to be written by Abr. Cowley, Sir John Birkenhead, and Hudibras, alias Sam. Butler." For this information I am indebted to Mr. Keed, of Staple Inn.
2 Dr. Archibald Pitcairne, born at Edinburgh, December 25, 1652; died there, October 20, 1713.—Wright.
2 More likely the fine epitaph on John Viscount of Dundee, translated by Dryden. and beginning Ultime Scotontm, &c. — Walter Scott.
the waiter with a lantern. That college had some time before been dissolved; and Dr. Watson,1 a professor here (the historian of Philip II.), had purchased the ground, and what buildings remained. When we entered his court, it seemed quite academical;2 and we found in his house very comfortable and genteel accommodation.3
Thursday, Aug. 19.—We rose much refreshed. I had with me a map of Scotland, a Bible which was given me by Lord Mountstuart when we were together in Italy, and Ogden's " Sermons on Prayer." Mr. Nairne introduced us to Dr. Watson, whom we found a well-informed man, of very amiable manners. Dr. Johnson, after they were acquainted, said, "I take great delight in him." His daughter, a very pleasing young lady, made breakfast. Dr. Watson observed, that Glasgow University had fewer home students since trade increased, as learning was rather incompatible with it. Johnson. "Why, Sir, as trade is now carried on by subordinate hands, men in trade have as much leisure as others; and now learning itself is a trade. A man goes to a bookseller, and gets what he can. We have done with patronage. In the infancy of learning, we find some great man praised for it. This diffused it among others. When it becomes general, an author leaves the great, and applies to the multitude." Boswell. "It is a shame that authors are not now better patronised." Johnson. "no, Sir. If learning cannot support a man, if he must sit with his hands across till somebody feeds him, it is as to him a bad thing, and it is better as it is. With patronage, what flattery! what falsehood! While a man is in equilibrio, he throws truth among the multitude, and lets them take it as they please : in patronage, he must
1 See Life, vol. iii., p. 138 (note).—Editor.
a "The chapel of the alienated college is yet standing," says Johnson, "afabrick not inelegant of external structure; but I was always, by some civil excuse, hindered from entering it. A decent attempt, as I was since told, has been made to convert it into a kind of greenhouse by planting its area with shrubs. This new method of gardening is unsuc cessful; the plants do not hitherto prosper. To what use it will next be put I have no pleasure in conjecturing. It is something that its present state is at least not ostentatiously displayed. Where there is yet shame, there may in time be virtue."—Journey, pp. 9, 10.
3 My Journal, from this day inclusive, was read by Dr. Johnson.