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"Who then to frail mortality shall trust,
I said, be should write expressly in support of Christianity; for that, although a reverence for it shines through his works in several places, that is not enough. "You know," said I, "what Grotius has done, and what Addison has done, you should do also." He replied, " I hope I shall."
Monday, Aug. 23.—Principal Campbell, Sir Alexander Gordon, Professor Gordon, and Professor Ross, visited us in the morning, as did Dr. Gerard, who had come six miles from the country on purpose. We went and saw the Mariscbal College,1 and at one o'clock we waited on the magistrates in the town-hall, as they bad invited us, in order to present Dr. Johnson with the freedom of the town,. which Provost Jopp did with a very good grace. Dr. Johnson was much pleased with this mark of attention, and received it very politely. There was a pretty numerous company assembled. It was striking to hear all of' them drinking, " Dr. Johnson! Dr. Johnson!" in the town-hall of Aberdeen, and then to see him with his burgess-ticket, or diploma,2 in his hat, which he wore as he walked along the street, according to the usual custom. It gave me great satisfaction to observe the regard, and, indeed, fondness too, which every body here had for my father.
WTule Sir Alexander Gordon conducted Dr. Johnson to Old Aberdeen, Professor Gordon and I called on Mr. Riddoch, whom I found to be a grave worthy clergyman. He observed that, whatever might be said of Dr. Johnson while he was alive, he would, after he was dead, be looked upon
1 Dr. Beattie was so kindly entertained in England, that he had nut yet returned home.
2 Dr. Johnson's burgess-ticket was in these words:—
"Aberdoniae, vigesimo tertio die mensis Augusti, anno Domini millessimo septingentesimo septuagesimo tertio, in presentia honorabilium virorum, Jacobi Jopp, armigeri,praepositi, Adami Duff, Gulielmi Young, Georgii Marr, et Gulielmi Forbes, Balivorum, Gulielmi Rainie Decani guildae, et Joannis Nicoll Thesaurarii dicti burgi.—Quo die vir generosus et doctrina clarus, Samuel Johnson, LL.D. receptus et admissus fuit in municipt's et fratres guildse praefati burgi de Aberdeen: in deditissimi amoris et affectus ac eximiae observantiae tesseram, quibus dicti magistrate eum amplectuntur. Extractum per me, Alex. Carnegie."
by the world with regard and astonishment, on account of his Dictionary.
Professor Gordon and I walked over to the old college, which Dr. Johuson had seen by this time. I stepped into the chapel', and looked at the tomb of the founder, Archbishop Elphinston, of whom I shall have occasion to write in my " History of James IV. of Scotland," the patron of iny family.1
We dined at Sir Alexander Gordon's. The provost, Professor Ross, Professor Dunbar, Professor Thomas Gordon, were there. After dinner came in Dr. Gerard, Professor Leslie, Professor Macleod. We had little or no conversation in the morning; now we were but barren. The professors seemed afraid to speak.
Dr. Gerard told us that an eminent printer2 was very intimate with Warburton. Johnson. "Why, Sir, he has printed some of his works, and perhaps bought the property of some of them. The intimacy is such as one of the professors here may have with one of the carpenters who is repairing the college."—" But," said Gerard, " I saw a letter from him to this printer, in which he says, that the one half of the clergy of the Church of Scotland are fanatics, and the other half infidels." Johnson. "Warburtou has accustomed himself to write letters just as he speaks, without thinking any more of what he throws out. When I read Warburton first, and observed his force, and his contempt of mankind, I thought he had driven the world before him; but I soon found that was not the case; for Warburton, by extending his abuse, rendered it ineffectual."
He told me, when we were by ourselves, that he thought it very wrong in the printer to show Warburton's letter, as it was raising a body of enemies against him. He thought it foolish in Warburton to write so to the printer; and added, " Sir, the worst way of being intimate is by scribbling." He called Warburton's "Doctrine of Grace" a poor performance, and so, he said, was Wesley's Answer. "Warburton," he observed, "had laid himself very open.
1 A pmjoot—and not the only one—never carried into effect.—Editor.
2 Mr. Strahnn. See Forbes's Lite of Beattie, vol. ii., p. 170.— Iu particular, he was weak enough to say, that, in some disorders of the imagination, people had spoken with tongues, had spoken languages which they never heard before; a thing as absurd as to say, that in some disorders of the imagination, people had been known to fly."
I talked of the difference of genius, to try if I could engage Gerard' in a disquisition with Dr. Johnson; but I did not succeed. I mentioned, as a curious faat, that Locke had written verses. Johnson. "I know of none, Sir, but a kind of exercise prefixed to Dr. Sydenham's Works, in which he has some conceits about the dropsy, in which water and burning are united; and how Dr. Sydenham removed fire by drawing off water, contrary to the usual practice, which is to extinguish fire by bringing water upon it. I am not sure that there is a word of all this; but it is such kind of talk."a
1 Dr. Gerard had written an essay on Genius. 8vo., London, 1774.— Editor.
* All this, as Dr. Johnson suspected at the time, was the immediate, invention of his own lively imagination; for there is not one word of it in Mr. Locke's complimentary performance. My readers will, I have no doul)t, like to be satisfied, by comparing them; and, at any rate, it may entertain them to read verses composed by our great metaphysician, when a bachelor in physic.
AUCTORI, IN TRACTATCM EJUS DE FEBRIBUS.
Febriles iestus, victumque ardoribus orbem
Flevit, non tantis par medicina malis.
Ardet adhuc febris; nee velit arte regi.
Ut restet paucus, quern capit urna, cinis.
Flammarum et tenebras, et sine luce faces;
Corruit ipse suis viciima rapta focis.
Sistere, febrili se videt igne rapi.
Dum trahit autiquus lenta ruina domos.
Unica flagrantes tunc sepclire salus,
Cum perit artifieis non minus usta domus.
Opponens, morbi qu;erit, et artis opem.
We spoke of Fingal. Dr. Johnson said calmly, "If the poems were really translated, they were certainly first written down. Let Mr. Macpherson deposit the manuscript in one of the colleges at Aberdeen, where there are people who can judge; and, if the professors certify the authenticity, then there will be an end of the controversy. If he
Non temere incuaat tectae putredinis ignes;
Nee (ictus, febresqui fovit, humor erit.
Quae spes, si fallax ardeat intus aqua?
Quis ipsis major febribus ardor inest.
Et justo rapidos temperat igne focos.
Solari segrotos, qua putes arte, docet.
Dum saspe incerto, quo calet, igne perit:
Praelusit busto, fit calor iste rogus.
Quern natura negat, dat medicina modum,
Dum dubia est inter spemque metumque salus;
Credimus iratam vel genuisse Stygem.
Abstulit, et tanlos non sinit esse metus.
Credat, et antiquas ponere posse minas?
Vieta jacet, parvo vulnere, dira lues.
Quiequid inest istis ignibus, ignis erit.
Has gelida extingui non nisi morte putas?
Pestis quae superat cuncta, triumphus eris.
Te simul et mundum qui manet, ignis erit.
J. Lock, A. M. Ex. JiLAe Christ. Oxon. Mr. Boswell says that Dr. Jnhnson's observation was " the immediate invention of his own lively imagination:"' and that there was -' not one word of it in Mr. Locke's performance;" but did Mr. Boswell read the verses ?—or what did he understand by " Nee fictus, fibres qui fovet, humor erit"? and " Si fallax ardeat intus aqua,"'! Surely these are the conceits, though not the precise expressions, which Johnson censured, and the whole is made up of the same " kind of talk."—Croker.
does not take this obvious and easy method, he gives the best reason to doubt; considering, too, how much is against it a priori."
We sauntered after dinner in Sir Alexander's garden, and saw his little grotto, which is hung with pieces of poetry written in a fair hand. It was agreeable to observe the contentment and kindness of this quiet, benevolent man. Professor Macleod was brother to Macleod of Talisker, and brother-in-law to the Laird of Col. He gave me a letter to young Col. I was weary of this day, and began to think wishfully of being again in motion. I was uneasy to think myself too fastidious, whilst I fancied Dr. Johnson quite satisfied. But he owned to me, that he was fatigued and teased by Sir Alexander's doing too much to entertain him. I said, it was all kindness. Johnson. "True, Sir; but sensation is sensation." Boswell. "It is so: we feel pain equally from the surgeon's probe, as from the sword of the foe."
We visited two booksellers' shops, and could not find Arthur Johnston's Poems.1 We went and sat near an hour at Mr. Riddoch's. He could not tell distinctly how much education at the college here costs, which disgusted Dr. Johnson. I had pledged myself, that we should go to the inn, and not stay supper. They pressed us, but he was resolute. I saw Mr. Biddoch did not please him. He said to me afterwards, "Sir, he has no vigour in his talk." But my friend should have considered, that he himself was not in good humour: so that it was not easy to talk to his satisfaction. We sat contentedly at our inn. He then became merry, and observed how little we had either heard or said at Aberdeen; that the Aberdonians had not started a single mawkin (the Scottish word for hare) for us to pursue.
Tuesday, August 24.—We set out about eight in the morning, and breakfasted at Ellon. The landlady said
1 Johnston is one of the most eminent men that Aberdeen has produced, lie was a native of the county (born about 1587), and rector of the university. His works were originally printed at Aberdeen; and their not being to be found in that seat of learning, to which he did so much honour, is strange. But such things sometimes happen. In Haarlem, the cradle of the art of printing, I could not find a guide book for the town.—Croker.