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1773.

Atat. 64.

player should be defpifed; for the great and ultimate end of all the employments of mankind is to produce amusement. Garrick produces more amufement than any body." BOSWELL. "You fay, Dr. Johnson, that Garrick exhibits himself for a fhilling. In this refpect he is only on a footing with a lawyer who exhibits himself for his fee, and even will maintain any nonsense or absurdity, if the cafe requires it. Garrick refuses a play or a part which he does not like; a lawyer never refufes." JOHNSON. "Why, Sir, what does this prove? only that a lawyer is worse. Bofwell is now like Jack in ‹ The Tale of a Tub,' who, when he is puzzled by an argument, hangs himself. He thinks I fhall cut him down, but I'll let him hang," (laughing vociferously.) SIR JOSHUA REYNOLDS. "Mr. Bofwell thinks that the profeffion of a lawyer being unquestionably honourable, if he can fhew the profeffion of a player to be more honourable, he proves his argument.'

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On Friday, April 30, I dined with him at Mr. Beauclerk's, where were Lord Charlemont, Sir Joshua Reynolds, and fome more members of the Literary Club, whom he had obligingly invited to meet me, as I was this evening to be balloted for as candidate for admiffion into that distinguished fociety. Johnson had done me the honour to propose me, and Beauclerk was very zealous for me.

Goldfmith being mentioned;-JOHNSON. "It is amazing how little Goldsmith knows. He feldom comes where he is not more ignorant than any one elfe." SIR JOSHUA REYNOLDS. "Yet there is no man whofe company is more liked.” JOHNSON. "To be fure, Sir. When people find a man of the most distinguished abilities as a writer, their inferiour while he is with them, it must be highly gratifying to them. What Goldfmith comically fays of himself is very true, he always gets the better when he argues alone;-meaning, that he is master of a subject in his study, and can write well upon it; but when he comes into company, grows confufed, and unable to talk. Take him as a poet, his Traveller' is a very fine performance; aye, and fo is his 'Deferted Village,' were it not fometimes too much the echo of his Traveller." Whether, indeed, we take him as a poet,—as a comick writer,—or as an historian, he stands in the first class." BOSWELL. "An historian! My dear Sir, you furely will not rank his compilation of the Roman Hiftory with the works of other hiftorians of this age?" JOHNSON. "Why, who are before him?" BOSWELL. "Hume,-Robertfon,-Lord Lyttelton." JOHNSON. (His antipathy to the Scotch beginning to rife,) " I have not read Hume; but, doubtlefs, Goldfmith's History is better than the verbiage of Robertson, or the foppery of Dalrymple." BOSWELL. "Will you not admit the fuperiority of Robertfon,

1773.

in whose History we find fuch penetration,-fuch painting?" JOHNSON. "Sir, you must confider how that penetration and that painting are employed. Etat. 64. It is not history, it is imagination. He who defcribes what he never faw, draws from fancy. Robertfon paints minds as Sir Joshua paints faces in a hiftory-piece he imagines an heroick countenance. You must look upon Robertfon's work as romance, and try it by that ftandard. Hiftory it is not. Besides, Sir, it is the great excellence of a writer to put into his book as much as his book will hold. Goldsmith has done this in his History. Now Robertfon might have put twice as much into his book. Robertfon is like a man who has packed gold in wool: the wool takes up more room than the gold. No, Sir; I always thought Robertfon would be crushed by his own weight, would be buried under his own ornaments. Goldfmith tells you shortly all you want to know: Robertson detains you a great deal too long. No man will read Robertfon's cumbrous detail a fecond time; but Goldfmith's plain narrative will please again and again. I would fay to Robertson what an old tutor of a College faid to one of his pupils: Read over your compofitions, and wherever you meet with a paffage which you think is particularly fine, ftrike it out.' Goldfmith's abridgement is better than that of Lucius Florus or Eutropius; and I will venture to say, that if you compare him with Vertot, in the fame places of the Roman History, you will find that he excels Vertot. Sir, he has the art of compiling, and of saying every thing he has to fay in a pleasing manner. He is now writing a Natural History, and will make it as entertaining as a Perfian Tale."

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I cannot dismiss the prefent topick without obferving, that it is probable that Dr. Johnson, who owned that he often "talked for victory," rather urged plaufible objections to Dr. Robertson's excellent hiftorical works, in the ardour of conteft, than expressed his real and decided opinion; for it is not easy to fuppofe, that he fhould fo widely differ from the reft of the literary world. JOHNSON. "I remember once being with Goldsmith in Westminster-abbey.. While we furveyed the Poets' Corner, I faid to him,

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Forfitan et noftrum nomen mifcebitur iftis".

When we got to Temple-bar he stopped me, pointed to the heads upon it, and flily whispered me,

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1773.

Johnfon praised John Bunyan highly. "His Pilgrim's Progrefs' has Etat. 64. great merit, both for invention, imagination, and the conduct of the story; and it has had the beft evidence of its merit, the general and continued approbation of mankind. Few books, I believe, have had a more extensive sale. It is remarkable, that it begins very much like the poem of Dante; yet there was no tranflation of Dante when Bunyan wrote. There is reafon to think that he had read Spencer."

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A propofition which had been agitated, that monuments to eminent perfons fhould, for the time to come, be erected in St. Paul's church as well as in Westminster-abbey, was mentioned; and it was asked, who should be honoured by having his monument first erected there. Somebody fuggefted Pope. JOHNSON. " Why, Sir, as Pope was a Roman Catholick, I would not have his to be firft. I think Milton's rather should have the precedence. I think more highly of him now than I did at twenty. There is more thinking in him and in Butler than in any of our poets."

Some of the company expreffed a wonder why the authour of fo excellent a book as "The whole Duty of Man" fhould conceal himfelf. JOHNSON. "There may be different reasons affigned for this, any one of which would be very fufficient. He may have been a clergyman, and may have thought that his religious counfels would have lefs weight when known to come from a man whofe profeffion was Theology. He may have been a man whose practice was not fuitable to his principles; fo that his character might injure the effect of his book, which he had written in a season of penitence. Or he may have been a man of rigid self-denial, so that he would have no reward for his pious labours while in this world, but refer it all to a future ftate."

The gentlemen went away to their club, and I was left at Beauclerk's till the fate of my election fhould be announced to me. In a fhort time I received the agreeable intelligence that I was chofen. I haftened to the place of meeting, and was introduced to fuch a fociety as can feldom be found. Mr. Edmund Burke, whom I then faw for the first time, and whofe fplendid talents had long made me ardently with for his acquaintance; Dr. Nugent, Mr. Garrick, Dr. Goldsmith, Mr. (now Sir William,) Jones, and the company with whom I had dined. Upon my entrance, Johnson placed himself behind a chair, on which he leaned as on a defk or pulpit, and with humorous formality gave me a Charge, pointing out the conduct expected from me as a good member of this club.

Goldsmith produced fome very abfurd verfes which had been publickly recited to an audience for money. JOHNSON. "I can match this nonfense.

There

There was a poem called Eugenio,' which came out fome years ago, and concluded thus:

And now, ye trifling felf-affuming elves,

• Brimful of pride, of nothing, of yourselves,
Survey Eugenio, view him o'er and o'er,

Then fink into yourselves, and be no more.'

Nay, Dryden in his poem on the Royal Society, has thefe lines:

Then we upon our globe's last verge fhall go,

And fee the ocean leaning on the sky;

From thence our rolling neighbours we shall know,

And on the lunar world fecurely pry."

Talking of puns, Johnson, who had a great contempt for that species of wit, deigned to allow that there was one good pun in " Menagiana," I think on the word corps.

Much pleasant conversation paffed, which Johnson relished with great good humour. But his converfation alone, or what led to it, or was interwoven with it, is the bufinefs of this work.

On Saturday, May 1, we dined by ourselves at our old rendezvous, the Mitre tavern. He was placid, but not much difpofed to talk. He obferved, that "The Irish mix better with the English than the Scotch do; their language is nearer to English; as a proof of which, they fucceed very well as players, which Scotchmen do not. Then, Sir, they have not that extreme nationality which we find in the Scotch. I will do you, Boswell, the justice to fay, that you are the most unfcottified of your countrymen. You are almost the only inftance of a Scotchman that I have known, who did not at every other fentence bring in fome other Scotchman.”

We drank tea with Mrs. Williams. I introduced a queftion which has been much agitated in the Church of Scotland, whether the claim of lay-patrons to present ministers to parishes be well founded; and fuppofing it to be well founded, whether it ought to be exercifed without the concurrence of the people? That Church is compofed of a series of judicatures: a Presbytery,a Synod, and, finally, a General Affembly; before all of which, this matter may be contended: and in fome cafes the Prefbytery having refused to induct or fettle, as they call it, the perfon prefented by the patron, it has been found neceffary to appeal to the General Affembly. He faid, I might fee the fubject well

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1773.

Etat. 64.

1773.

well treated in the "Defence of Pluralities;" and although he thought that a Etat. 64. patron fhould exercise his right with tenderness to the inclinations of the people of a parish, he was very clear as to his right. Then fuppofing the question to be pleaded before the General Affembly, he dictated to me what follows: "AGAINST the right of patrons is commonly oppofed, by the inferiour judicatures, the plea of confcience. Their confcience tells them, that the people ought to choose their paftor; their confcience tells them that they ought not to impofe upon a congregation a minister ungrateful and unacceptable to his auditors. Confcience is nothing more than a conviction felt by ourfelves of fomething to be done, or fomething to be avoided; and, in questions of fimple unperplexed morality, confcience is very often a guide that may be trufted. But before confcience can determine, the ftate of the question is fuppofed to be completely known. In queftions of law, or of fact, conscience is very often confounded with opinion. No man's confcience can tell him the rights of another man: they must be known by rational investigation or historical enquiry. Opinion, which he that holds it may call his confcience, may teach some men that religion would be promoted, and quiet preferved, by granting to the people univerfally the choice of their minifters. But it is a conscience very ill informed that violates the rights of one man, for the convenience of another. Religion cannot be promoted by injustice: and it was never yet found that a popular election was very quietly transacted.

"That juftice would be violated by transferring to the people the right of patronage, is apparent to all who know whence that right had its original. The right of patronage was not at first a privilege torne by power from unrefifting poverty. It is not an authority at firit ufurped in times of ignorance, and established only by fucceffion and by precedents. It is not a grant capriciously made from a higher tyrant to a lower. It is a right dearly purchased by the firft poffeffors, and juftly inherited by those that fucceeded them. When Christianity was established in this ifland, a regular mode of publick worship was prescribed. Publick worship requires a publick place; and the proprietors of lands, as they were converted, built churches for their families and their vaffals. For the maintenance of minifters, they fettled a certain portion of their lands; and a district, through which each minister was required to extend his care, was, by that circumfcription, conftituted a parish. This is a pofition fo generally received in England, that the extent of a manor and of a parish are regularly received for each other. The churches which the proprietors of lands had thus built and thus endowed, they juftly thought themselves entitled to provide with minifters; and where the epifcopal govern

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