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terests of learning are against it; for were it to be perpetual, no book, however useful, could be universally diffused amongst mankind, should the proprietor take it into his head to restrain the circulation. No book could have the advantage of being edited with notes, however necessary to its elucidation, should the proprietor perversely oppose it. For the general good of the world, therefore, whatever valuable work has once been created by an author, and issued out by him, should be understood as no longer in his power, but as belonging to the public; at the same time the author is entitled to an adequate reward. This he should have by an exclusive right to his work for a considerable number of years."
He disapproved much of mingling real facts with fiction. On this account he censured a book intitled, “Love and Madness.'
Mr. Boswell once asked if the “ Turkish Spy' was a genuine book? Johnson replied, “No, Sir. Mrs. Manley, in her Life,' says, that her father wrote the two first volumes; and in another book, · Dunton's Life and Errors,' we find that the rest was written by one Sault, at two guineas a sheet, under the direction of Dr. Midgeley."
Speaking of one who with more than ordinary boldness attacked public measures and the royal family, he said, “ I think he is safe from the law,
but he is an abusive scoundrel; and instead of applying to my Lord Chief Justice to punish him, I would send half a dozen footmen and have him well ducked."
He censured a writer of entertaining Travels for assuming a feigned character, saying (in his sense of the word), " He carries out one. lie; we know not how many be brings back."
He apprehended that the delineation of characters in the end of the first Book of the 'Retreat of the Ten Thousand' was the first instance of the kind that was known.
Johnson spoke unfavourably of a certain pretty voluminous author, saying, “ He used to write anonymous books, and then other books com. mending those books; in which there was something of rascality."
Mr. Boswell one day told him he had been that morning at a meeting of the people called Quakers, where he had heard a woman preach, Johnson observed, “Sir, a woman's preaching is like a dog's walking on his hinder legs. It is not done well; but you are surprized to find it done at all."
“ After we came out of the church one Sunday (says Mr. Boswell), we 'stood talking for some time together of Bishop Berkeley's sophistry to prove the non-existence of matter, and that every thing in the universe is merely ideale
I observed, that though we are satisfied his doctrine is not true, it is impossible to refute it. But never shall. I forget the alacrity with which Jobnson answered, striking his foot with mighty force against a large stone, till he rebounded from it, “I refute it thus.' This was a stout exemplification of the first truths of Pere Bouffier, or the original principles of Reid and of Beattie; without admitting which, we can no more argue in metaphysicks, than we can argue in matbematicks without axioms. To me (adds Mr. B.) it is not conceivable how Berkeley can be answered by pure reasoning; but I know that the nice and difficult task was to have been undertaken by one of the most luminous minds of the present age, had not politics ' turned him from calm philosophy aside.' What an admirable display of subtilty, united with brilliance, might his contending with Berkeley have afforded us. How must we, when we reflect on the loss of such an intellectual feast, regret that he should be characterised as the man,
" Who born for the universe narrow'd his mind,
Talking of the origin of language, Johnson said, “It must have come by inspiration. A thousand, nay a million of children could not invent a language. While the organs are pliable,
there is not understanding enough to form a language; by the time that there is understanding enough, the organs are become stiff. We know that after a certain age we cannot learn to pronounce a new language. No foreigner, who comes to England when advanced in life, ever pronounces English tolerably well; at least such instances are very rare.
When I maintain that language must have come by inspiration, I do not mean that inspiration is required for rhetorick, and all the beauties of language; for when once man has language, we can conceive that he may gradually form modifications of it. I mean only that inspiration seems to me to be necessary to give man the faculty of speech; to inform him that he may have speech; which I think he could no more find out without inspiration, than cows or hogs would think of such a faculty.”—Mr. Walker, the philologer, who was present, said, “Do you think, Sir, that there are any perfect synonimes in any language?”—Johnson. “ Originally there were not; but by using words negligently, or in poetry, one word coines to be confounded with another."
On occasion of a proposed translation of the Bible, he observed, “ I am not very willing that any language should be totally extinguished. The similitude and derivation of languages afford the most indubitable proof of the traduction of
nations, and the genealogy of mankind. They add often physical certainty to historical evidence; and often supply the only evidence of ancient migrations, and of the revolutions of ages which left no written monuinents behind them.
« Every man's opinions (continued he), at least his desires, are a little influenced by his favourite studies. My zeal for languages may seem, perhaps, rather over-heated, even to those by whom I desire to be well-esteemed. To those who have nothing in their thoughts but trade or policy, present power, or present money, I should not think it necessary to defend my opinions; but with inen of letters I would not unwillingly compound, by wishing the continuance of every language, however narrow in its extent, · or however incommodious for common purposes, till it is reposited in some version of a known book, that it may be always hereafter examined ·and compared with other languages, and then * permitting its disuse: for this purpose the translation of the Bible is most to be desired. It is not certain that the same method will not preserve the Highland language for the purposes of learning, and abolish it from daily use. When the Highlanders read the Bible, they will naturally wish to have its obscurities cleared, and to know the history, collateral or appendant.