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a shoemaker thinks of the skin, out of which the piece of leather, of which he is making a pair of shoes, is cut."

On Saturday, May 8, I dined with him at Mr. Thrale's, where we met the Irish Dr. Campbell. Johnson had supped the night before at Mrs. Abington's, with some fashionable people whom he named; and he seemed much pleased with having made one in so elegant a circle.

Mrs. Thrale, who frequently practised a coarse mode of flattery, by repeating his bon mots in his hearing, told us that he had said, a certain celebrated actor was just fit to stand at the door of an auction-room, with a long pole, and cry, “Pray, gentlemen, walk in;" and that a certain authour, upon hearing this, had said, that another still more celebrated actor was fit for nothing better than that, and would pick your pocket after you came out. JOHNSON.

Nay, my dear lady, there is no wit in what our friend added ; there is only abuse. You may as well say of any man that he will pick a pocket. Besides, the man who is stationed at the door does not pick people's pockets : that is done within, by the auctioneer.”

Mrs. Thrale told us, that Tom Davies repeated, in a very bald manner, the story of Dr. Johnson's first repartee to me, which I have related exactly. He made me say, “ I was born in Scotland," instead of “ I come from Scotland;" so that Johnson's saying, “ That, Sir, is what a great many of your countrymen cannot help,” had no point, or even meaning: and that upon this being men. tioned to Mr. Fitzherbert, he observed, “ It is not every man that can carry a bon mot." 2

• Vol. I., page 241. Cor. et Ad.-Line 3: For “May” read “ April.” Ibid.-Line 7: After “circleread, “Nor did he omit to pique his mistress a little with jealousy of her housewifery; for he said, (with a smile,) • Mrs. Abington's jelly, my dear lady, was better than yours.'

1 “Mrs. Abington," says Baretti in his Dilly's. He had supped the night before Marginalia, “invited Johnson to dinner,

with Lady

-, Miss Jeffreys, one of and took pains to distinguish him above the maids of honour, Sir J. Reynolds, all her guests, who were all people of &c., at Mrs. Abington's. He said Sir the first distinction.” No wonder that C. Thompson, and others who were there, the sage was gratified.

spoke like people who had seen good Boswell's report of this evening is company, and so did Mrs. Abington again meagre, and it would almost seem herself, who could not have seen good that at these large dinners be grew too company. . . . When Dr. Goldsmith was convivial to carry out his duties. Dr. mentioned, and Dr. Percy's intention of Campbell's diary supplies some cha- writing his life, he expressed his approracteristic details: “Dined with Thrale, bation strongly, adding that Goldsmith where Dr. Johnson was, and Boswell was the best writer he ever knew upon (and Baretti as usual). The Doctor was every subject he wrote upon. He said pot in as good spirits as he was at that Kenrick bad borrowed all his


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On Monday, April 10, I dined with him at General Oglethorpe's, with Mr. Langton and the Irish Dr. Campbell, whom the General had obligingly given me leave to bring with me. This learned gentleman was thus gratified with a very high intellectual feast, by not only being in company with Dr. Johnson, but with General Oglethorpe, who had been so long a celebrated name both at home and abroad.

I must, again and again, intreat of my readers not to suppose that my imperfect record of conversation contains the whole of what was said by Johnson, or other eminent persons who lived with him. What I have preserved, however, has the value of the most perfect authenticity. He this day enlarged upon Pope's melancholy remark,

“Man never is, but always to be blest.” He asserted, that the present was never a happy state to any human being ; but that, as every part of life, of which we are conscious, was at some point of time a period yet to come, in which felicity

• Let me here be allowed to pay my tribute of most sincere gratitude to the memory of that excellent person, my intimacy with whom was the more valuable to me, because my first acquaintance with him was unexpected and unsolicited. Soon after the publication of my “ Account of Corsica,” he did me the honour to call on me, and approaching me with a frank courteous air, said, “My name, Sir, is Oglethorpe, and I wish to be acquainted with you." I was not a little flattered to be thús addressed by an eminent man, of whom I had read in Pope, from my early years,

“Or, driven by strong benevolence of soul,

Will fly, like OGLETHORPE, from pole to pole.” I was fortunate enough to be found worthy of his good opinion, insomuch, that I not only was invited to make one in the many respectable companies whom he enter. tained at his table, but had a cover at his hospitable board every day when I happened to be disengaged; and in his society I never failed to enjoy learned and animated conversation, seasoned with genuine sentiments of virtue and religion. dictionary from him.

• Why,' says took him by repeating a repartee of Boswell, every man who writes Murphy's” (this was the speech about dictionary must borrow.' 'Not he,' the " long pole”). “Johnson said that says Johnson ; that is not necessary.' Murphy spoke nonsense, for that people's

Why,' says Boswell, have you not pockets were not picked at the door, but a great deal in common with those who in the room. • Then,' said I, he was wrote before you?' 'Yes, Sir,' says worse than the pick-pocket, forasmuch Johnson, 'I have the words, but my as he was a pandar to them.'

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This business was not to make words, but to went off with a laugh.” Mr. Croker, who explain them.' Talking of Garrick and was often very happy in his guesses, Barry, he said he always abused Garrick rightly supposed the “ still more celehimself, but when any body else did so brated actor to be Garrick, and the he fought for the dog like a tiger : as to “certain author" Murphy, both of whose Barry, he supposed he could not read.

Campbell supplies. He was * And how does he get his part ?' says wrong, however, in his guess at the one. Why somebody reads it to him; “certain celebrated actor," which was and yet I know,' says he, that he is Barry, not Sheridan, as he fancied. very much admired.' Mrs. Thrale then


was expected, there was some happiness produced by hope. Being pressed upon this subject, and asked if he really was of opinion that though, in general, happiness was very rare in human life, a man was not sometimes happy in the moment that was present, he answered, “ Never, but when he is drunk.”

He urged General Oglethorpe to give the world his Life. He said, “I know no man whose Life would be more interesting. If I were furnished with materials, I should be very glad to write it."

Mr. Scott of Amwell's Elegies were lying in the room. Dr. Johnson observed, “They are very well; but such as twenty people might write." Upon this I took occasion to controvert Horace's maxim,

mediocribus esse poetis Non Di, non homines, non concessere columne." for here (I observed,) was a very middle-rate poet, who pleased

• The General seemed unwilling to enter upon it at this time, but upon a subsequent occasion he communicated to me a number of particulars, which I have committed to writing; but I was not sufficiently diligent in obtaining more from him, not apprehending that his friends were so soon to lose him ; for notwithstand. ing his great age, he was very healthy and vigorous, and was at last carried off by a violent fever, which is often fatal at any period of life.

1 «The old man,” says Dr. Campbell, to give his opinion of Gray: he said “excused himself, saying the life of a there were but two good stanzas in all private man not worthy public his works. Boswell, desirous of eliciting notice. Boswell told him to furnish his opinion on too many subjects, as he the skeleton, and Dr. Johnson would thought, he rose up and took his hat. find the bones and muscles. He would This was not noticed by any body, as it be a good doctor,' says the general, was nine o'clock; but after we got into • who would do that.' .Well,' says I, Mr. Langton's coach, who gave us a set . he is a good Doctor;' at which he, the down, he said, “Boswell's conversation Doctor, laughed very heartily. Talked consists entirely in asking questions, and of America, and that his works would it is extremely offensive." We defended not be admired there.

•No,' says

it upon Boswell's eagerness to hear the Boswell, we shall soon hear of his Doctor speak." being hung in effigy.' 'I should be “Boswell took up the defence of suicide glad of that,' says the Doctor, that for argument's sake, and the Doctor said would be a new source of fame,' allud. that some cases were more excusable ing to some conversation on the fulness than others, but if it were excusable, it of his fame, which had gone before. should be the last resource. For *And,' says Boswell, ‘I wonder he has instance,' he says, “if a man is disnot been hung in effigy from the Hebrides tressed in circumstances (as in the case to England. I shall suffer them to do I mentioned of Denny) he ought to fly it corporeally,' says the Doctor, if they the country. How can he fly,' says can find a tree to do it upon.' Boswell Boswell, if he has wife and children asked if he had ever been under the • What, Sir,' says the Doctor, shaking hands of a dancing-master. 'Aye, and his head as if to promote the fermentaa dancing-mistress too, but I own to you tion of his wit, doth not a man fly I never took a lesson, but one or two. from his wife and children if he murders My blind eyes showed me I never could himself ?!" make a proficiency.' Roswell led him


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“ Why

many readers, and therefore poetry of a middle sort was entitled to some esteem; nor could I see why poetry should not, like every thing else, have different gradations of excellence, and, consequently of value. Johnson repeated the common remark, that " as there is no necessity for our having poetry at all, it being merely a luxury, an instrument of pleasure, it can have no value, unless when exquisite in its kind." I declared myself not satisfied. then, Sir, (said he,) Horace and you must settle it.” He was not much in the humour of talking.

No more of his conversation for some days appears in my journal, except that when a gentleman told him he had bought a suit of laces for his lady. He said, “Well, Sir, you have done a good thing, and a wise thing.” “I have done a good thing, (said the gentleman,) but I do not know that I have done a wise thing.” JOHNSON. “ Yes, Sir; no money is better spent than what is laid out for domestick satisfaction, A man is pleased that his wife is drest as well as other people ; and a wife is pleased that she is drest."

On Friday, April 14, being Good Friday, I repaired to him in the morning, according to my usual custom on this day, and breakfasted with him. I observed that he fasted so very strictly, that he did not even taste bread, and took no milk with his tea, I suppose because it is a kind of animal food.

He entered upon the state of the nation, and thus discoursed: “ Sir, the great misfortune now is, that government has too little power. All that it has to bestow, must of necessity be given to support itself; so that it cannot reward merit. No man, for instance, can now be made a Bishop for his learning and piety;* his only chance for promotion is his being connected with somebody who has parliamentary interest. Our several ministries in this reign have outbid each other in concessions to the people. Lord Bute, though a very honourable man,-a man who meant well,-a man who had his blood full of prerogative,—was a theoretical statesman, -a book-minister, and thought this country could be governed by the influence of the Crown alone. Then, Sir, he gave up a great deal. He advised the King to agree that the Judges should hold their places for life, instead of losing them at the accession of a new King. Lord Bute, I suppose, thought to make the King popular by this concession; but the people never minded it; and it was a most impolitick measure. There is no reason why a Judge

A From this too just observation there are some eminent exceptions.

should hold his office for life, more than any other person in publick trust. A Judge may be partial otherwise than to the Crown: we have seen Judges partial to the populace. A Judge may become corrupt, and yet there may not be legal evidence against him. A Judge may become froward from age. A Judge may grow unfit for his office in many ways. It was desirable that there should be a possibility of being delivered from him by a new King. That is now gone by an act of parliament ex gratiâ of the Crown. Lord Bute advised the King to give up a very large sum of money,' for which nobody thanked him. It was of consequence to the King, but nothing to the publick, among whom it was divided. When I say Lord Bute advised, I mean, that such acts were done when he was minister, and we are to suppose that he advised them.Lord Bute shewed an undue partiality to Scotchmen. He turned out Dr. Nichols, a very eminent man, from being physician to the King, to make room for one of his countrymen, a man very low in his profession.

He had ***

***** and **** to go on errands for him. He had occasion for people to go on errands for him ; but he should not have had Scotchmen; and, certainly, he should not have suffered them to have access to him before the first people in England."

I told him, that the admission of one of them before the first people in England, which had given the greatest offence, was no more than what happens at every minister's levee, where those who attend are admitted in the order that they have come, which is better than admitting them according to their rank; for if that were to be the rule, a man who has waited all the morning might have the mortification to see a peer, newly come, go in before him, and keep him waiting still. JOHNSON. " True, Sir; but **** should not have come to the levee, to be in the way of people of consequence. He saw Lord Bute at all times; and could have said what he had

• The money arising from the property of the prizes taken before the declaration of war, which were given to his Majesty by the peace of Paris, and amounted to upwards of 700,000l. and from the lands in the ceded islands, which were estimated at 200,000l. more. Surely, there was a noble munificence in this gift from a Monarch to his people. And let it be remembered, that during the Earl of Bute's administration, the King was graciously pleased to give up the hereditary revenues of the Crown, and to accept, instead of them, of the limited sum of 800,000l. a year; upon which Blackstone observes, that “ The hereditary revenues, being put under the same management as the other branches of the publick patrimony, will produce more, and be better collected than heretofore ; and the publick is a gainer of upwards of 100,000l. per annum, by this disinterested bounty of bis Majesty." Book I. Chap. 8. p. 330.


" It is easy to fill up these blanks, Boswell always giving his readers a clue by scrupulously setting down the

proper number of stars.
and Home are alluded to.


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