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up to such a man as Goldsmith; and I think it is much against Lord Camden that he neglected him."
Nor could he patiently endure to hear that such respect as he thought due only to higher intellectual qualities should be bestowed on men of slighter, though perhaps more amusing, talents. I told him (says Mr. B.) that one morning, when I went to breakfast with Garrick, who was very vain of his intimacy with Lord Camden, he accosted me thus:-“ Pray now, did you? did you meet a little lawyer turning the corner, eh?"_“ No, Sir (said I); pray what do you mean by the question?"_" Why (replied Garrick, with an affected indifference, yet as if standing on tip-toe), Lord Camden has this moment left me. We have had a long walk together.”—J. “Well, Sir, Garrick talked very properly. Lord Camden was a little lawyer to be associating so familiarly with a player.”
Mrs. Montagu, a lady distinguished for having written an Essay on Shakspeare, being mentioned, Sir Joshua Reynolds said, “ I think that essay does her honour."-JOHNSON. “ Yes, Sir, it does her honour; but it would do nobody else honour. I have, indeed, not read it all. But when I take up the end of a web, and find it packthread, I do not expect, by looking further, to find embroidery, Sir, I will venture to say,
You may as
there is not one sentence of true criticism in her book.”-GARRICK. “But, Sir, surely it shows how much a certain French writer has mistaken Shakspeare, which nobody else has done.”—J. “Sir, nobody else has thought it worth while; and what merit is there in that? well praise a schoolmaster for whipping a boy who has construed ill. No, Sir, there is no real criticism in it; none shewing the beauty of thought, as formed on the workings of the human heart*".
He said that he had given Mrs. Montagu a catalogue of all Daniel Defoe's works of imagination; most, if not all of which, as well as of his other works, he enumerated; allowing a considerable share of merit to a man who, bred a tradesman, had written .so variously and so well. Indeed his · Robinson Crusoe is enough of itself to establish his reputation.
* Mr. Boswell says, he considers it is a piece of the secondary or comparative species of criticism, and not of that profound species which alone Dr. Johnson would allow be “ real criticism.” It is besides clearly and elegantly expressed, and has done effectually what it professed to do, namely vindicated Shakspeare from the misrepresentations of the French writer; and considering how many young people were misled by his witty, though false, observations, Mrs. Montagu's Essay was of service to Shake speare with a certain class of readers, and is, therefore, entitled to praise. Johnson, I am assured, allowed the merit which I have stated, saying (with reference to the Frenchman), “it is conclu. sive ad hominem."
It always appeared, that he estimated the compositions of Richardson too highly, and that he had an unreasonable prejudice against Fielding. In comparing those two writers, he used this expression; “ that there was as great a difference between them as between a man who knew how a watch was made, and a man who could tell the hour by looking on the dial-plate.” This was a short and figurative state of his distinction between drawing characters of nature and characters only of manners.
“ But (says Mr. B.) I cannot help being of opinion, that the neat watches of Fielding are as well constructed as the large clocks of Richardson, and that his dial-plates are brighter. Fielding's characters, though they do not expand themselves so widely in dissertation, are as just pictures of human nature, and I will venture to say, have more striking features, and nicer touches of the pencil; and though Johnson nised to quote with approbation a saying of Richardson's, that the virtues of Fielding's heroes were the vices of a truly good man,' I will venture to add, that the moral tendency of Fielding's writings, though it does not encourage a strained and rarely possible virtue, is ever favourable to honour and honesty, and cherishes the benevolent and generous affections. He, who is as good as Fielding would make him, is an amiable member of society, and may be led on by more regu.
lated instructors to a high state of ethical perfection.”
Johnson at another time said, “Sir Francis Wronghead is a character of manners, though drawn with great humour.” He then repeated very happily all Sir Francis's credulous account to Manly of his being with “ the great man," and securing a place. Being asked if “The Suspicious Husband' did not furnish a well drawn character, that of Ranger, Johnson said,
No, Sir; Ranger is just a rake, a mere rake, and a lively young fellow, but no character.”
Richardson had little conversation, except about his own works, of which Sir Joshua Reynolds said he was always willing to talk, and glad to have them introduced *. Johnson, when he carried
* One day at his country house at Northend, where a large company was assembled at dinner, a gentleman who was just returned from Paris, willing to please Mr. Richardson, mentioned to him à very flattering circumstance,-. that he had seen his Clarissa' lying on the King's brother's table. Richardson, observing that part of the company were engaged in talking to each other, affected then not to attend to it; but by and by, when there was a general silence, and he thought that the flattery might be fully heard, he addressed himself to the gentleman, “I think, Siry you were saying something about," pausing in a high flutter of expectation. The gentleman, provoked at his inordinate vanity, resolved not to indulge it, and with an exquisitely sly air of indifference answered, “ A mere trifle, Sir, not worth repeating.” The mortification of Richardson was visible, and he did not speak ten words more the whole day.
Mr. Langton to see him, professed that he could bring him out into conversation, and used this allusive expression, “Sir, I can make him rear;” but he failed: for in that interview Richardson said little else than that there lay in the room a translation into German of his Clarissa.'
Talking of some of the modern plays, Johnson said, “False Delicacy' was totally void of character. He praised Goldsmith’s ‘Good Natured Man;' said it was the best comedy that had appeared since the Provoked Husband,' and that there had not been of late any such character exhibited on the stage as that of Croaker. Mr. B. observed, that it was the Suspirius of Johnson's Rambler. He said, Goldsmith had owned he had borrowed it from thence. “ Sir (continued he), there is all the difference in the world between characters of nature and characters of manners; and there is the difference between the characters of Fielding and those of Richardson. Characters of manners are very entertaining; but they are to be understood by a more superficial observer than characters of nature, where a man must dive into the recesses of the human heart."
Of Dr. Goldsmith he said, 66 No man was more foolish when he had not a pen in his hand, nor more wise when he had."
Of Goldsmith's · Traveller,' he said, “ There has not been so fine a poem since Pope's time."