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"Speaking of Mr. Hanway, who published A Six Weeks Tour through the South of England,' Jonas, (faid he,) acquired fome reputation by travelling abroad, but loft it all by travelling at home.'

"Of the paffion of love he remarked, that its violence and ill effects were much exaggerated; for who has known any real fufferings on that head, more than from the exorbitancy of any other paffion?

"He much commended Law's Serious Call,' which he faid was the fineft piece of hortatory theology in any language. Law (faid he,) fell

latterly into the reveries of Jacob Behmen, whom Law alledged to have been fomewhat in the fame ftate with St. Paul, and to have feen unutterable things. Were it even fo, (faid Johnfon,) Jacob would have resembled St. Paul still more, by not attempting to utter them.'

"He obferved, that the established clergy in general did not preach plain enough; and that polished periods and glittering sentences flew over the heads of the common people, without any impreffion upon their hearts. Something might be neceffary, he obferved, to excite the affections of the common people, who were funk in languor and lethargy, and therefore he supposed that the new concomitants of methodifm might probably produce so desirable an effect. The mind, like the body, he observed, delighted in change and novelty, and even in religion itself, courted new appearances and modifications. Whatever might be thought of fome methodist teachers, he faid, he could fcarcely doubt the fincerity of that man, who travelled nine hundred miles in a month, and preached twelve times a week; for no adequate reward, merely temporal, could be given for fuch indefatigable labour.

"Of Dr. Priestly's theological works, he remarked, that they tended to unfettle every thing, and yet fettled nothing.

"He was much affected by the death of his mother, and wrote to me to come and affift him to compofe his mind, which indeed I found extremely agitated. He lamented that all serious and religious converfation was banished from the fociety of men, and yet great advantages might be derived from it. All acknowledged, he said, what hardly any body practifed, the obligation we were under of making the concerns of eternity the governing principles of our lives. Every man, he observed, at last wishes for retreat: he fees his expectations fruftrated in the world, and begins to wean himself from it, and to prepare for everlasting separation.

"He obferved, that the influence of London now extended every where, and that from all manner of communication being opened, there shortly would be no remains of the ancient fimplicity, or places of cheap retreat to be found.



Ætat. 61.


"He was no admirer of blank-verfe, and faid it always failed, unless fuftained by the dignity of the fubject. In blank-verfe, he faid, the language fuffered more diftortion, to keep it out of profe, than any inconvenience or limitation to be apprehended from the fhackles and circumfcription of rhyme.

"He reproved me once for faying grace without mention of the name of our Lord JESUS CHRIST, and hoped in future I would be more mindful of the apoftolical injunction.

"He refufed to go out of a room before me at Mr. Langton's house, saying, he hoped he knew his rank better than to prefume to take place of a Doctor in Divinity. I mention fuch little anecdotes, merely to fhew the peculiar turn and habit of his mind.

"He ufed frequently to obferve, that there was more to be endured than enjoyed, in the general condition of human life; and frequently quoted those lines of Dryden:

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Strange cozenage! none would live past years again,

Yet all hope pleasure from what still remain.'

For his part, he said, he never paffed that week in his life which he would wish to repeat, were an angel to make the propofal to him.

"He was of opinion, that the English nation cultivated both their foil and their reafon better than any other people; but admitted that the French, though not the higheft, perhaps, in any department of literature, yet in every department were very high. Intellectual pre-eminence, he observed, was the highest fuperiority; and that every nation derived their highest reputation from the splendour and dignity of their writers. Voltaire, he said, was a good narrator, and that his principal merit consisted in a happy selection and arrangement of circumftances.

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Speaking of the French novels, compared with Richardfon's, he said they might be pretty baubles, but a wren was not an eagle.

"In a Latin converfation with the Pere Bofcovitz, at the house of Mrs. Cholmondeley, I heard him maintain the fuperiority of Sir Ifaac Newton over all foreign philofophers, with a dignity and eloquence that furprized that learned foreigner. It being obferved to him, that a rage for every thing English prevailed much in France after Lord Chatham's glorious war, he said, he did not wonder at it, for that we had drubbed those fellows into a proper reverence for us, and that their national petulance required periodical chas

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"Lord Lyttelton's Dialogues, he deemed a nugatory performance. man (said he,) fat down to write a book, to tell the world what the world had all his life been telling him.'

"Somebody obferving that the Scotch Highlanders in the year 1745, had made furprizing efforts, confidering their numerous wants and disadvantages: Yes, Sir, (faid he,) their wants were numerous, but you have not mentioned the greatest of them all,—the want of law.'

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Speaking of the inward light, to which fome methodists pretended, he faid, it was a principle utterly incompatible with focial or civil fecurity. If a man (said he,) pretends to a principle of action of which I can know nothing, nay, not so much as that he has it, but only that he pretends to it; how can I tell what that person may be prompted to do? When a person profeffes to be governed by a written ascertained law, I can then know where to find him.'

"The poem of Fingal, he said, was a mere unconnected rhapsody, a tirefome repetition of the fame images. In vain fhall we look for the lucidus ordo, where there is neither end or object, defign or moral, nec certa recurrit imago.'

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Being asked by a young nobleman, what was become of the gallantry and military spirit of the old English nobility, he replied, Why, my Lord, I'll tell you what is become of it; it is gone into the city to look for a fortune.'. "Speaking of a dull tiresome fellow, whom he chanced to meet, he said, That fellow feems to me to poffefs but one idea, and that is a wrong one.' "Much enquiry having been made concerning a gentleman who had quitted a company where Johnson was, and no information being obtained; at laft Johnson obferved, that he did not care to speak ill of any man behind his back, but he believed the gentleman was an attorney."

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"He spoke with much contempt of the notice taken of Woodhoufe, the poetical fhoemaker. He faid, it was all vanity and childishness; and that fuch objects were, to those who patronifed them, mere mirrours of their own fuperiority. They had better (faid he,) furnish the man with good implements for his trade, than raise fubfcriptions for his poems. He may make an excellent shoemaker, but can never make a good poet. A school-boy's exercife may be a pretty thing for a school-boy, but is no treat for a man.'

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Speaking of Boetius, who was the favourite writer of the middle ages, he said it was very furprizing, that upon such a subject, and in such a situation, he fhould be magis philofophus quàm Chriftianus.


Ætat. 61.

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"Speaking of Arthur Murphy, whom he very much loved, I don't know Etat. 61. (faid he,) that Arthur can be claffed with the very first dramatick writers yet at prefent I doubt much whether we have any thing fuperior to Arthur.' "Speaking of the national debt, he faid, it was an idle dream to fuppofe that the country could fink under it. Let the publick creditors be ever so clamorous, the intereft of millions muft ever prevail over that of thousands.

"Of Dr. Kennicott's Collations, he obferved, that though the text should not be much mended thereby, yet it was no fmall advantage to know, that we had as good a text as the most confummate industry and diligence could procure.

"Johnfon obferved, that fo many objections might be made to every thing, that nothing could overcome them but the neceffity of doing something. No man would be of any profeffion, as fimply opposed to not being of it: but every one must do something.

"He remarked, that a London parish was a very comfortless thing, for the clergyman feldom knew the face of one out of ten of his parishioners.

"Of the late Mr. Mallet he fpoke with no great refpect: faid, he was ready for any dirty job: that he had wrote against Byng at the instigation of the ministry, and was equally ready to write for him, provided he found his account in it.

"A gentleman who had been very unhappy in marriage, married immediately after his wife died: Johnson said, it was the triumph of hope over experience.

"He obferved, that a man of sense and education fhould meet a fuitable companion in a wife. It was a miferable thing when the converfation could only be fuch as, whether the mutton should be boiled or roafted, and probably a difpute about that.

"He did not approve of late marriages, observing, that more was lost in point of time, than compenfated for by any poffible advantages. Even ill afforted marriages were preferable to cheerless celibacy.

"Of old Sheridan he remarked, that he neither wanted parts or literature, but that his vanity and Quixotifm obfcured his merits.

"He faid, foppery was never cured; it was the bad ftamina of the mind, which, like thofe of the body, were never rectified: once a coxcomb, and always a coxcomb.

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Being told that Gilbert Cowper called him the Caliban of literature; Well, (faid he,) I must dub him the Punchinello.' "Speaking

"Speaking of the old Earl of Corke and Orrery, he said, that man spent


his life in catching at an object, [literary eminence,] which he had not power Etat. 61.

to grafp.'

"He often used to quote, with great pathos, those fine lines of Virgil:

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Optima quæque dies miferis mortalibus ævi

• Prima fugit; fubeunt morbi, tristisque fene&tus,

Et labor, et dure rapit inclementia mortis.'

"To find a substitution for violated morality, he said, was the leading feature in all perverfions of religion."

In 1771 he published another political pamphlet, entitled " Thoughts on the late Transactions respecting Falkland's Islands," in which, upon materials furnished to him by ministry, and upon general topicks expanded in his richest ftyle, he fuccefsfully endeavoured to perfuade the nation that it was wife and laudable to fuffer the queftion of right to remain undecided, rather than involve our country in another war. It has been fuggefted by fome, with what truth. I fhall not take upon me to decide, that he rated the confequence of those inlands to Great-Britain too low. But however this may be, every humane mind muft furely applaud the earneftnefs with which he averted the calamity of war; a calamity fo dreadful, that it is astonishing how civilised, nay, Christian nations, can deliberately continue to renew it. His description of its miferies in this pamphlet, is one of the finest pieces of eloquence in the English language. Upon this occafion, too, we find Johnson lashing the party in oppofition with unbounded feverity, and making the fullest use of what he ever reckoned a most effectual argumentative inftrument, contempt. His character of their very able mysterious champion, JUNIUS, is executed with all the force of his genius, and finished with the highest care. He feems to have exulted in fallying forth to fingle combat against the boasted and formidable hero, who bade defiance to " principalities and powers, and the rulers of this world."

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This pamphlet, it is obfervable, was foftened in one particular, after the first edition; for the conclufion of Mr. George Grenville's character stood thus: "Let him not, however, be depreciated in his grave. He had powers not univerfally poffeffed: could he have enforced payment of the Manilla ranfom, he could have counted it." Which, inftead of retaining its fly fharp point, was reduced to a mere flat unmeaning expreffion, or, if I may use the word,-truifm: "He had powers not univerfally poffeffed: and if he fometimes erred, he was likewife fometimes right."

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