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Etat. 57.

Dr. Johnson at the fame time favoured me by marking the lines which he furnished to Goldsmith's "Deferted Village," which are only the four last:

"That trade's proud empire haftes to fwift decay,
"As ocean fweeps the labour'd mole away:
"While felf-dependent power can time defy,

"As rocks refift the billows and the sky."

Talking of education, "People have now a-days, (faid he,) got a strange opinion that every thing fhould be taught by lectures. Now, I cannot fee that lectures can do fo much good as reading the books from which the lectures are taken. I know nothing that can be beft taught by lectures, except where experiments are to be fhewn. You may teach chymiftry by lectures.-You might teach making of fhoes by lectures!"

At night I fupped with him at the Mitre tavern, that we might renew our focial intimacy at the original place of meeting. But there was now a confiderable difference in his way of living. Having had an illness, in which he was advised to leave off wine, he had, from that period, continued to abstain from it, and drank only water, or lemonade.

I told him that a foreign friend of his, whom I had met with abroad, was fo wretchedly perverted to infidelity, that he treated the hopes of immortality with brutal levity; and faid, "As man dies like a dog, let him lie like a dog." JOHNSON. "If he dies like a dog, let him lie like a dog." I added, that this man faid to me, "I hate mankind, for I think myself one of the best of them, and I know how bad I am." JOHNSON. "Sir, he must be very fingular in his opinion, if he thinks himself one of the best of men; for none of his friends think him fo." He faid, "No honeft man could be a Deift; for no man could be fo after a fair examination of the proofs of Christianity." I named Hume. JOHNSON. "No, Sir; Hume owned to a clergyman in the bishoprick of Durham, that he had never read the New Testament with attention." I mentioned Hume's notion, that all who are happy are equally happy; a little mifs with a new gown at a dancing-fchool ball, a general at the head of a victorious army, and an orator, after having made an eloquent speech in a great affembly. JOHNSON. "Sir, that all who are happy, are equally happy, is not true. A peafant and a philofopher may be equally fatisfied, but not equally happy. Happiness consists in the multiplicity of agreeable consciousnefs. A peasant has not capacity for having equal happiness with a philofopher." I remember this very question very happily illustrated in oppofition to


Hume, by the Reverend Mr. Robert Brown, at Utrecht. "A fmall drinking glass and a large one, (faid he,) may be equally full; but the large one holds more than the small."

Dr. Johnson was very kind this evening, and faid to me, "You have now lived five-and-twenty years, and you have employed them well." "Alas, Sir, (faid I,) I fear not. Do I know history? Do I know mathematicks? Do I know law?" JOHNSON. "Why, Sir, though you may know no science fo well as to be able to teach it, and no profeffion fo well as to be able to follow it, your general mafs of knowledge of books and men renders you very capable to make yourself mafter of any science, or fit yourself for any profeffion." I mentioned that a gay friend had advised me against being a lawyer, because I fhould be excelled by plodding blockheads. JOHNSON. Why, Sir, in the formulary and ftatutory part of law, a plodding blockhead may excel; but in the ingenious and rational part of it a plodding blockhead can never excel."

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I talked of the mode adopted by fome to rife in the world, by courting great men, and asked him whether he had ever fubmitted to it. JOHNSON. Why, Sir, I never was near enough to great men to court them. You may be prudently attached to great men, and yet independent. You are not to do what you think wrong; and, Sir, you are to calculate and not pay too dear for what you get. You must not give a fhilling's worth of court for fix-pence worth of good. But if you can get a fhilling's worth of good for fix-pence worth of court, you are a fool if you do not pay court."

He faid, "If convents fhould be allowed at all, they fhould only be retreats for persons unable to serve the publick, or who have served it. It is our first duty to serve society, and, after we have done that, we may attend wholly to the falvation of our own fouls. A youthful paffion for abstracted devotion fhould not be encouraged."

I introduced the subject of second fight, and other mysterious manifestations; the fulfilment of which, I fuggefted might happen by chance. JOHNSON. "Yes, Sir; but they have happened fo often, that mankind have agreed to think them not fortuitous."

I talked to him a great deal of what I had feen in Corfica, and of my intention to publish an account of it. He encouraged me by faying, "You cannot go to the bottom of the subject; but all that you tell us will be new to Give us as many anecdotes as you can."


Our next meeting at the Mitre was on Saturday the 15th of February, when I presented to him my old and most intimate friend, the Reverend Mr. Temple,



Etat. 57.


Etat. 57.

then of Cambridge. I having mentioned that I had paffed fome time with Rouffeau in his wild retreat, and having quoted fome remark made by Mr. Wilkes, with whom I had fpent many pleasant hours in Italy, Johnson faid, (farcaftically,) "It seems, Sir, you have kept very good company abroad, Rouffeau and Wilkes!" Thinking it enough to defend one at a time, I faid nothing as to my gay friend, but answered with a smile, "My dear Sir, you don't call Rouffeau bad company. Do you really think him a bad man?" JOHNSON. "Sir, if you are talking jeftingly of this, I don't talk with you. If you mean to be ferious, I think him one of the worst of men; a rafcal, who ought to be hunted out of fociety, as he has been. Three or four nations have expelled him; and it is a fhame that he is protected in this country." Boswell. "I don't deny, Sir, but that his novel may, perhaps, do harm; but I cannot think his intention was bad." JOHNSON. "Sir, that will not do. We cannot prove any man's intention to be bad. You may shoot a man through the head, and say you intended to miss him; but the Judge will order you to be hanged. An alledged want of intention, when evil is committed, will not be allowed in a court of juftice. Rouffeau, Sir, is a very bad man. I would fooner fign a sentence for his tranfportation, than that of any felon who has gone from the Old Bailey these many years. Yes, I fhould like to have him work in the plantations." BOSWELL. "Sir, do you think him as bad a man as Voltaire?" JOHNSON. Why, Sir, it is difficult to fettle the proportion

of iniquity between them."

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This violence feemed very strange to me, who had read many of Rouffeau's animated writings with great pleasure, and even edification, had been much pleased with his fociety, and was just come from the Continent, where he was very generally admired. Nor can I yet allow that he deferves the very fevere cenfure which Johnfon pronounced upon him. His abfurd preference of favage to civilised life, and other fingularities, are proofs rather of a defect in his understanding, than of any depravity in his heart. And notwithstanding the unfavourable opinion which many worthy men have expreffed of his Profeffion de Foi du Vicaire Savoyard," I cannot help admiring it as the performance of a man full of fincere reverential fubmiffion to Divine Mystery, though befet with perplexing doubts; a ftate of mind to be viewed with pity rather than with anger.

On his favourite fubject of fubordination, Johnfon faid, "So far is it from being true that men are naturally equal, that no two people can be half an hour together, but one fhall acquire an evident fuperiority over the other."

I mentioned

I mentioned the advice given us by philofophers, to confole ourselves, when 1766. distressed or embarrassed, by thinking of those who are in a worse fituation Etat. 57. than ourselves. This, I obferved, could not apply to all, for there must be some who have nobody worse than they are. JOHNson. Why to be fure, Sir, there are; but they don't know it. There is no being fo poor and fo contemptible, who does not think there is fomebody ftill poorer, and still more contemptible."

As my stay in London at this time was very fhort, I had not many opportunities of being with Dr. Johnson; but I felt my veneration for him in no degree leffened, by my having feen multorum hominum mores et urbes. On the contrary, by having it in my power to compare him with many of the most celebrated perfons of other countries, my admiration of his extraordinary mind was increased and confirmed.

The roughness, indeed, which fometimes appeared in his manners, was more striking to me now, from my having been accustomed to the studied smooth complying habits of the Continent; and I clearly recognised in him, not without refpect for his honeft confcientious zeal, the fame indignant and farcaftical mode of treating every attempt to unhinge or weaken good principles.

One evening, when a young gentleman teized him with an account of the infidelity of his fervant, who, he faid, would not believe the fcriptures, because he could not read them in the original tongues, and be fure that they were not invented. "Why, foolish fellow, (faid Johnson,) has he any better authority for almost every thing that he believes?"-" Then the vulgar, Sir, never can know they are right, but muft fubmit themselves to the learned.". JOHNSON. "To be fure, Sir. The vulgar are the children of the state, and must be taught like children."" Then, Sir, a poor Turk must be a Mahometan, just as a poor Englishman must be a Christian ?"-JOHNSON. "Why yes, Sir; and what then? This now is fuch stuff as I used to talk to my mother, when I first began to think myself a clever fellow; and fhe ought to have whipt me for it."

Another evening Dr. Goldsmith and I called on him, with the hope of prevailing on him to fup with us at the Mitre. We found him indisposed, and refolved not to go abroad. "Come then, (faid Goldfmith,) we will not go to the Mitre to-night, fince we cannot have the big man with us." Johnson then called for a bottle of port, of which Goldsmith and I partook, while our friend, now a water drinker fat by us. GOLDSMITH. "I think, Mr. Johnson, you don't go near the theatres now. You give yourself no more concern about a new play,


Etat. 57.

1766. play, than if you had never had any thing to do with the stage." JOHNSON. Why, Sir, our taftes greatly alter. The lad does not care for the child's rattle, and the old man does not care for the young man's whore." GOLDSMITH. << Nay, Sir; but your Mufe was not a whore." JOHNSON. "Sir, I do not think she was. But as we advance in the journey of life, we drop fome of the things which have pleafed us; whether it be that we are fatigued and don't choose to carry fo many things any farther, or that we find other things which we like better." BOSWELL. "But, Sir, why don't you give us fomething in fome other way?" GOLDSMITH, " Ay, Sir, we have a claim upon you." JOHNSON. JOHNSON. "No, Sir, I am not obliged to do any more. No man is obliged to do as much as he can do. A man is to have part of his life to himself. If a foldier has fought a good many campaigns, he is not to be blamed if he retires to eafe and tranquillity. A physician, who has practised long in a great city, may be excufed if he retires to a small town, and takes lefs practice. Now, Sir, the good I can do by my converfation bears the fame proportion to the good I can do by my writings, that the practice of a physician, retired to a small town, does to his practice in a great city." BOSWELL. "But I wonder, Sir, you have not more pleasure in writing than in not writing." JOHNSON. "Sir, you may wonder."

He talked of making verses, and observed, "The great difficulty is to know when you have made good ones. When compofing, I have generally had them in my mind, perhaps fifty at a time, walking up and down in my room; and then I have wrote them down, and often, from laziness, have written only half lines. I have written a hundred lines in a day. I remember I wrote a hundred lines of "The Vanity of human Wifhes" in a day. Doctor, (turning to Goldfinith,) I am not quite idle; I made one line t'other day; but I made no more. GOLDSMITH." Let us hear it; we'll put a bad one to it." JOHNSON. "No, Sir; I have forgot it."

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Such fpecimens of the eafy and playful converfation of the great Dr. Samuel Johnson are, I think, to be prized; as exhibiting the little varieties of a mind fo enlarged and fo powerful when objects of confequence required its exertions, and as giving us a minute knowledge of his character and modes of thinking.

After I had been some time in Scotland, I mentioned to him in a letter that "On my first return to my native country, after fome years of abfence, I was told of a vast number of my acquaintance who were all gone to the land of forgetfulness, and I found myself like a man stalking over a field of battle, who every moment perceives fome one lying dead." I complained of irresolution,


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