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On Friday, April 14, being Good-Friday, I repaired to him in the morning, according to my ufual cuftom on this day, and breakfafted 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 fuppofe because it is a kind of animal food.

He entered upon the ftate of the nation, and thus difcourfed: "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 inftance, 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 intereft. Our feveral ministries in this reign have outbid each other in conceffions 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 acceffion of a new King. Lord Bute, I fuppofe, thought to make the King popular by this conceffion; but the people never minded it; and it was a most impolitick meafure. There is no reason why a Judge fhould 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 feen Judges partial to the populace. A Judge 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 defirable that there should be a poffibility of being delivered from him by a new King. That is now gone by an act of parliament ex gratia of the Crown. Lord Bute advised the King to give up a very large fum 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


3 From this too juft obfervation there are some eminent exceptions.

+ The money arifing from the property of the prizes taken before the declaration of war, which were given to his Majefty 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 fum of 800,000l. a year; upon which Blackstone obferves, that "The hereditary revenues, being put under the fame 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 dif interested bounty of his Majefty." Book I. Chap. 8. p. 330. I fay



Ætat. 66.



I say Lord Bute advised, I mean, that fuch acts were done when he was minifter, Etat. 66. and we are to fuppofe that he advifed them.-Lord Bute fhewed 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 profeffion. He had *********** and **** to go on errands for him. He had occafion 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 accefs to him before the first people in England.”

I told him, that the admiffion 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 **** fhould not have come to the levee, to be in the way of people of confequence. He faw Lord Bute at all times; and could have faid what he had to fay at any time, as well as at the levee. There is now no Prime Minister: there is only an agent for government in the House of Commons. We are governed by the Cabinet; but there is no one head there, as in Sir Robert Walpole's time." BOSWELL. "What then, Sir, is the ufe of Parliament ?" JOHNSON. Why, Sir, Parliament is a larger council to the King; and the advantage of fuch a council is, having a great number of men of property concerned in the legislature, who, for their own intereft, will not confent to bad laws. And you must have obferved, Sir, that administration is feeble and timid, and cannot act with that authority and refolution which is neceffary. Were I in power, I would turn out every man who dared to oppose me. Government has the diftribution of offices, that it may be enabled to maintain its authority." "Lord Bute (he added,) took down too fast, without building up fomething new." BOSWELL. "Becaufe, Sir, he found a rotten building. The political coach was drawn by a fet of bad horfes: it was neceffary to change them." JOHNSON. "But he should have changed them one by one."

I told him that I had been informed by Mr. Orme, that many parts of the East Indies were better mapped than the Highlands of Scotland. JOHNSON. "That a country may be mapped, it must be travelled over.” "Nay, (faid I, meaning to laugh with him at one of his prejudices,) can't you fay, it is not worth mapping?"



As we walked to St. Clement's church, and faw feveral fhops open upon this most folemn fast-day of the Chriftian world, I remarked, that one dif- Etat. 66. advantage arising from the immensity of London, was, that nobody was heeded by his neighbour; there was no fear of cenfure for not obferving Good-Friday, as it ought to be kept, and as it is kept in country towns. He faid, it was, upon the whole, very well obferved even in London. He, however, owned, that London was too large; but added, "It is nonfenfe to say the head is too big for the body. It would be as much too big, though the body were ever fo large; that is to fay, though the country were ever fo extenfive. It has no fimilarity to a head connected with a body.”

Dr. Wetherell, Master of University College, Oxford, accompanied us home from church; and after he was gone, there came two other gentlemen, one of whom uttered the common-place complaints, that by the increase of taxes, labour would be dear, other nations would underfell us, and our commerce would be ruined. JOHNSON, (fmiling). "Never fear, Sir. Our commerce is in a very good state; and suppose we had no commerce at all, we could live very well on the produce of our own country." I cannot omit to mention, that I never knew any man who was lefs difpofed to be querulous than Johnson. Whether the subject was his own fituation, or the state of the publick, or the state of human nature in general, though he faw the evils, his mind was turned to refolution, and never to whining or complaint.

We went again to St. Clement's in the afternoon. He had found fault with the preacher in the morning for not choofing a text adapted to the day. The preacher in the afternoon had chofen one extremely proper: "It is finished."

After the evening fervice, he faid, "Come, you fhall go home with me, and fit just an hour." But he was better than his word; for after we had drunk tea with Mrs. Williams, he asked me to go up to his study with him, where we fat a long while together in a ferene undisturbed frame of mind, fometimes in filence, and fometimes converfing, as we felt ourselves inclined, or more properly fpeaking, as he was inclined; for during all the course of my long intimacy with him, my respectful attention never abated, and my wish to hear him was fuch, that I conftantly watched every dawning of communication from that great and illuminated mind.

He observed, “All knowledge is of itself of some value. There is nothing fo minute or inconfiderable, that I would not rather know it than not. In the fame manner, all power, of whatever fort, is of itself desirable. A man would not submit to learn to hem a ruffle, of his wife, or his wife's maid; but if a mere wish could attain it, he would rather wish to be able to hem a ruffle.” Q ૧ ૧ 2 He

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He again advised me to keep a journal fully and minutely, but not to menEtat. 66. tion fuch trifles as, that meat was too much or too little done, or that the weather was fair or rainy. He had, till very near his death, a contempt for the notion that the weather affects the human frame.

I told him that our friend Goldsmith had said to me, that he had come too late into the world, for that Pope and other poets had taken up the places in the Temple of Fame; fo that as but a few at any period can poffefs poetical reputation, a man of genius can now hardly acquire it. JOHNSON. "That is one of the most fenfible things I have ever heard of Goldfmith. It is difficult to get literary fame, and it is every day growing more difficult. Ah, Sir, that fhould make a man think of fecuring happiness in another world, which all who try fincerely for it may attain. In comparison of that, how little are all other things! The belief of immortality is impreffed upon all men, and all men act under an impreffion of it, however they may talk, and though, perhaps, they may be scarcely fenfible of it." I faid, it appeared to me that fome people had not the leaft notion of immortality; and I mentioned a distinguished gentleman of our acquaintance. JOHNSON. "Sir, if it were not for the notion of immortality, he would cut a throat to fill his pockets.” When I quoted this to Beauclerk, who knew much more of the gentleman than we did, he said, in his acid manner, "He would cut a throat to fill his pockets, if it were not for fear of being hanged."

Dr. Johnson proceeded: "Sir, there is a great cry about infidelity; but there are, in reality, very few infidels. I have heard a perfon, originally a Quaker, but now, I am afraid, a Deift, say, that he did not believe there were, in all England, above two hundred infidels.”

He was pleased to fay, "If you come to fettle here, we will have one day in the week on which we will meet by ourselves. That is the happiest converfation where there is no competition, no vanity, but a calm quiet interchange of sentiments." In his private register this evening is thus marked, "Bofwell fat with me till night; we had some serious talk "." It also appears from the fame record, that after I left him he was occupied in religious duties, in "giving Francis, his fervant, fome directions for preparation to communicate; in reviewing his life, and refolving on better conduct." The humility and piety which he discovers on fuch occafions, is truly edifying. No faint, however, in the course of his religious warfare, was more fenfible of the unhappy failure of pious refolves, than Johnson. He faid one day, talking to an acquaintance on this fubject, "Sir, Hell is paved with good intentions."

s Prayers and Meditations, p. 138.



On Sunday, April 16, being Eafter-day, after having attended the folemn. service at St. Paul's, I dined with Dr. Johnson and Mrs. Williams. I main- Etat. 66. tained that Horace was wrong in placing happiness in Nil admirari, for that I thought admiration one of the most agreeable of all our feelings; and I regretted that I had loft much of my difpofition to admire, which people generally do as they advance in life. JOHNSON. "Sir, as a man advances in life, he gets what is better than admiration,-judgement, to estimate things at their true value." I ftill infifted that admiration was more pleafing than judgement, as love is more pleafing than friendship. The feeling of friendship is like that of being comfortably filled with roaft-beef; love, like being enlivened with champagne. JOHNSON. "No, Sir; admiration and love are like being intoxicated with champagne; judgement and friendship like being enlivened. Waller has hit upon the fame thought with you: but I don't believe you have borrowed from Waller. I wish you would enable yourself

to borrow more."

He then took occafion to enlarge on the advantages of reading, and combated the idle fuperficial notion, that knowledge enough may be acquired in converfation. "The foundation (faid he,) must be laid by reading. General principles must be had from books, which, however, must be brought to the test of real life. In converfation you never get a system. What is faid upon a fubject is to be gathered from a hundred people. The parts of a truth, which a man gets thus, are at fuch a distance from each other, that he never attains to a full view."

On Tuesday, April 18, he and I were engaged to go with Sir JoshuaReynolds to dine with Mr. Cambridge, at his beautiful villa on the banks of the Thames, near Twickenham. Dr. Johnfon's tardinefs was fuch, that Sir Joshua, who had an appointment at Richmond early in the day, was obliged to go by himself on horseback, leaving his coach to Johnson and me. Johnfon was in fuch good fpirits, that every thing feemed to please him as we drove along.

Our converfation turned on a variety of fubjects. He thought portraitpainting an improper employment for a woman. "Publick practice of any art, (he obferved,) and ftaring in men's faces, is very indelicate in a female."

6" Amoret's as fweet and good
"As the most delicious food;
"Which but tafted does impart
"Life and gladness to the heart.

"Sachariffa's beauty's wine,

"Which to madness does incline;
"Such a liquor as no brain
"That is mortal can sustain."

I happened

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