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REVOLUTION."-I never before discovered man has greater readiness at doing it than that my friend Goldsmith had so much of another. the old prejudice in him.

General Paoli, talking of Goldsmith's new play, said, "Il a fait un compliment très gracieux à une certaine grande dame;' meaning a Duchess of the first rank.1

I expressed a doubt whether Goldsmith intended it, in order that I might hear the truth from himself. It, perhaps, was not quite fair to endeavour to bring him to a confession, as he might not wish to avow positively his taking part against the Court. He smiled and hesitated. The General at once relieved him, by this beautiful image : "Monsieur Goldsmith est comme la mer, qui jette des perles et beaucoup d'autres belles choses, sans s'en appercevoir." GOLDSMITH: "Très bien dit, et très élégamment."

A person was mentioned, who it was said could take down in short hand the speeches in Parliament with perfect exactness. JOHNSON : Sir, it is impossible. I remember one Angel, who came to me to write for him a preface or dedication to a book upon short-hand, and he professed to write as fast as a man could speak. In order to try him, I took down a book, and read while he wrote; and I favoured him, for I read more deliberately than usual. I had proceeded but a very little way, when he begged I would desist, for he could not follow me." Hearing now for the first time of this preface or dedication, I said, "What an expense, Sir, do you put us to in buying books, to which you have written prefaces or dedications." JOHNSON :" Why, I have dedicated to the Royal Family all round; that is to say, to the last generation of the Royal Family." GOLDSMITH : perhaps, Sir, not one sentence of wit in a whole dedication." JOHNSON: "Perhaps not, Sir." BOSWELL: "What then is the reason for applying to a particular person to do that which any one may do as well?" JOHNSON : Why, Sir, one

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1 The compliment will be found in Hastings' speech to Miss Neville, act ii., an allusion to the Royal Marriage Act recently passed owing to the marriages of the Duke of Cumberland with Mrs. Horton, and the Duke of Gloucester with Lady Waldegrave. See Forster's Life of Gold smith.


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I spoke of Mr. Harris, of Salisbury,2 as being a very learned man, and in particular an eminent Grecian. JOHNSON: "I am not sure of that. His friends give him out as such, but I know not who of his friends are able to judge of it." GOLDSMITH : "He is what is much better: he is a worthy humane man. JOHNSON: Nay, Sir, that is not to the purpose of our argument; that will as much prove that he can play upon the fiddle as well as Giardini,3 as that he is an eminent Grecian." GOLDSMITH: "The greatest musical performers have but small emoluments. Giardini, I am told, does not get above seven hundred a year." JOHNSON: "That is indeed but little for a man to get, who does best that which so many endeavour to do. There is nothing, I think, in which the power of art is shewn so much as in playing on the fiddle. all other things we can do something at first. Any man will forge a bar of iron, if you give him a hammer; not so well as a smith, but tolerably. A man will saw a piece of wood, and make a box, though a clumsy one; but give him a fiddle and a fiddle-stick, and he can do nothing."


On Monday, April 19, he called on me with Mrs. Williams, in Mr. Strahan's coach, and carried me out to dine with Mr. Elphinston at his Academy at Kensington. A printer having acquired a fortune sufficient to keep his coach, was a good topic for the credit of literature. Mrs. Williams said, that another printer, Mr. Hamilton, had not waited so long as Mr. Strahan, but had kept his coach several years sooner. JOHNSON: "He

2 James Harris (1709-1780) father of the first Lord Malmesbury. Hermes, the best known of his writings, was published in 1751; a Philosophical Inquiry concerning Language and Universal Grammar, written, says Coleridge, "with the precision of Aristotle and the elegance of Quintilian." In 1761 he entered Parliament as Member for Christchurch, which seat he retained until his death. He served successively as Lord of the Admiralty, Lord of the Treasury, and Secretary and Comptroller to the Queen.

3 Felix Giardini (1716-96) an Italian violinist and composer, who made a fortune in London with his concerts and pupils, and lost it as manager of the Italian Opera. Napier.

was in the right. Life is short. The sooner that a man begins to enjoy his wealth, the better.


Mr. Elphinston talked of a new book that was much admired, and asked Dr. Johnson if he had read it. JOHNSON : 66 'I have looked into it." What," said Elphinston, "have you not read it through?" Johnson, offended at being thus pressed, and so obliged to own his cursory mode of reading, answered tartly, "No, Sir; do you read books through?"

He this day again defended duelling, and put his argument upon what I have ever thought the most solid basis; that if public war be allowed to be consistent with morality, private war must be equally so. Indeed we may observe what strained arguments are used to reconcile war with the Christian religion. But, in my opinion, it is exceeding clear that duelling having better reasons for its barbarous violence, is more justifiable than war in which thousands go forth without any cause of personal quarrel, and massacre each other.

On Wednesday, April 21, I dined with him at Mr. Thrale's. A gentleman attacked Garrick for being vain. JOHNSON : "No wonder, Sir, that he is vain; a man who is perpetually flattered in every mode that can be conceived. So many bellows have blown the fire, that one wonders he is not by this time become a cinder." BOSWELL: "And such bellows two. Lord Mansfield with his cheeks like to burst Lord Chatham like an Eolus. I have read such notes from them to him as were enough to turn his head." JOHNSON: "True. When he whom every body else flatters, flatters me, I then am truly happy." MRS. THRALE: “The sentiment is in Congreve, I think." JOHNSON: "Yes, Madam, in 'The Way of the World':

'If there's delight in love, 'tis when I see That heart which others bleed for, bleed for me.'

"No, Sir, I should not be surprised though Garrick chained the ocean and lashed the winds." BOSWELL: "Should it not be, Sir, lashed the ocean and chained

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recollect the original :

In Corum atque Eurum solitus sævire flagellis
Barbarus, Æolio nunquam hoc in carcere

Ipsum compedibus qui vinxerat Ennosigæum."
Juv. Sat. x. 180.

This does very well, when both the winds and the sea are personified, and mentioned by their mythological names, as in Juvenal; but when they are mentioned in plain language, the application of the epithets suggested by me is the most obvious; and accordingly my friend himself, in his imitation of the passage which describes Xerxes, has

"The waves he lashes, and enchains the wind."

The modes of living in different countries, and the various views with which men travel in quest of new scenes, having been talked of, a learned gentleman who holds a considerable office in the law,1 expatiated on the happiness of a savage life; and mentioned an instance of an officer who had actually lived for some time in the wilds of America, of whom, when in that state, he quoted this reflection with an air of admiration, as if it had been deeply philosophical: "Here am I, free and unrestrained, amidst the rude magnificence of Nature, with this Indian woman by my side, and this gun, with which I can procure food when I want it: what more can be desired for human happiness?" It did not require much sagacity to foresee that such a sentiment would not be permitted to pass without due animadversion. JOHNSON: "Do not allow yourself, Sir, to be imposed upon by such gross absurdity. It is sad stuff; it is brutish. If a bull could speak, he might as well exclaim,─Here am I with this cow and this grass; what being can enjoy greater felicity?"

We talked of the melancholy end of a gentleman who had destroyed himself."

1 Most probably Mr. (afterwards Sir W.) Pepys, a Master in Chancery, a frequent visitor at Streatham, between whom and Johnson there was no good will. Croker.

2 William Fitzherbert, M.P. for Derby, who hanged himself with a bridle in his stable on his return from witnessing an execution. See Walpole's Letters, v. 562. Dr. Hill.



JOHNSON: "It was owing to imaginary difficulties in his affairs, which, had he talked of with any friend, would soon have vanished." BOSWELL: "Do you think, Sir, that all who commit suicide are mad?" JOHNSON: "Sir, they are often not universally disordered in their intellects, but one passion presses so upon them, that they yield to it, and commit suicide, as a passionate man will stab another." He added, "I have often thought, that after a man has taken the resolution to kill himself, it is not courage in him to do any thing, however desperate, because he has nothing to fear." GOLDSMITH: "I don't see that." JOHNSON : Nay, but my dear Sir, why should you not see what every one else sees ?" GOLDSMITH: "It is for fear of something that he has resolved to kill himself: and will not that timid disposition restrain him?" JOHNSON: "It does not signify that the fear of something made him resolve; it is upon the state of his mind, after the resolution is taken, that I argue. Suppose a man either from fear, or pride, or conscience, or whatever motive, has resolved to kill himself; when once the resolution is taken, he has nothing to fear. He may then go and take the King of Prussia by the nose, at the head of his army. He cannot fear the rack, who is resolved to kill himself. When Eustace Budgell was walking down to the Thames, determined to drown himself, he might, if he pleased, without any apprehension of danger, have turned aside, and first set fire to St. James's palace."


On Tuesday, April 27, Mr. Beauclerk and I called on him in the morning. As we walked up Johnson's Court, I said, "I have a veneration for this court; and was glad to find that Beauclerk had the same reverential enthusiasm. We found him alone. We talked of Mr. Andrew Stuart's elegant and plausible

1 Eustace Budgell, a relative of Addison, was accused of forging a will in which he was provided with a legacy of £2,000. He drowned himself before the trial. See Pope's Prologue to the Satires.

"Let Budgell charge low Grub-street on his quill, And write whate'er he please, except my will." Croker.




Letters to Lord Mansfield: a copy of which had been sent by the author to Dr. Johnson. JOHNSON : 'They have not answered the end. They have not been talked of; I have never heard of them. This is owing to their not being sold. People seldom read a book which is given to them; and few are given. The way to spread a work is to sell it at a low price. No man will send to buy a thing that costs even sixpence, without an intention to read it." BOSWELL: " May it not be doubted, Sir, whether it be proper to publish letters, arraigning the ultimate decision of an important cause by the supreme judicature of the nation?" JOHNSON: "No, Sir, I do not think it was wrong to publish these letters. they are thought to do harm, why not answer them? But they will do no harm, if Mr. Douglas be indeed the son of Lady Jane he cannot be hurt: if he be not her son, and yet has the great estate of the family of Douglas, he may well submit to have a pamphlet against him by Andrew Stuart. Sir, I think such a publication does good, as it does good to shew us the possibilities of human life. And, Sir, you will not say that the Douglas cause was a cause of easy decision, when it divided your Court as much as it could do, to be determined at all. When your judges are seven and seven, the casting vote of the President must be given on one side or other; no matter, for my argument, on which; one or the other must be taken; as when I am to move, there is no matter which leg I move first. And then, Sir, it was otherwise determined here. No, Sir, a more dubious determination of any question cannot be imagined.'


2 On the Douglas Cause. See p. 190, note 2. 3 I regretted that Dr. Johnson never took the trouble to study a question which interested nations. He would not even read a pamphlet the Douglas Cause; which, I have reason to which I wrote upon it, entitled The Essence of flatter myself, had considerable effect in favour of Mr. Douglas of whose legitimate filiation I was then, and am still, firmly convinced. Let me add, that no fact can be more respectably ascertained, than by the judgment of the most august tribunal in the world; a judgment in which Lord Mansfield and Lord Camden united in 1769, and from which only five of a numerous body entered a protest. B.


He said, "Goldsmith should not be for great variety of composition, never exer

ever attempting to shine in conversation: he has not temper for it, he is so much mortified when he fails. Sir, a game of jokes is composed partly of skill, partly of chance, a man may be beat at times by one who has not the tenth part of his wit. Now Goldsmith's putting himself against another, is like a man laying a hundred to one who cannot spare the hundred. It is not worth a man's while. A man should not lay a hundred to one, unless he can easily spare it, though he has a hundred chances for him he can get but a guinea, and he may lose a hundred. Goldsmith is in this state. When he contends, if he gets the better, it is a very little addition to a man of his literary reputation: if he does not get the better, he is miserably vexed."


Johnson's own superlative powers of wit set him above any risk of such uneasiness. Garrick had remarked to me of him, a few days before: "Rabelais and all other wits are nothing compared with him. You may be diverted by them; but Johnson gives you a forcible hug, and shakes laughter out of you, whether you will or no.'

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Goldsmith, however, was often very fortunate in his witty contests, even when he entered the lists with Johnson himself. Sir Joshua Reynolds was in company with them one day, when Goldsmith said, that he thought he could write a good fable, mentioned the simplicity which that kind of composition requires, and observed, that in most fables the animals introduced seldom talk in character. "For instance," said he, "the fable of the little fishes, who saw birds fly over their heads, and envying them, petitioned Jupiter to be changed into birds. The skill," continued he, "consists in making them talk like little fishes. While he indulged himself in this fanciful reverie, he observed Johnson shaking his sides, and laughing. Upon which he smartly proceeded, "Why, Dr. Johnson, this is not so easy as you seem to think; for if you were to make little fishes talk, they would talk like WHALES. Johnson, though remarkable for his



cised his talents in fable, except we allow his beautiful tale published in Mrs. Williams's "Miscellanies" to be of that species. I have however, found among his manuscript collections the following sketch of one :

"Glowworm lying in the garden saw a candle in a neighbouring palace,-and complained of wait a little;-soon dark, have outlasted To the littleness of his own light;-another observed [many] of these glaring lights which are only brighter as they haste to nothing."

On Thursday, April 29, I dined with him at General Oglethorpe's, where were Sir Joshua Reynolds, Mr. Langton, Dr. Goldsmith, and Mr. Thrale. I was very desirous to get Dr. Johnson absolutely fixed in his resolution to go with me to the Hebrides this year; and I told him that I had received a letter from Dr. Robertson the historian, upon the subject, with which he was much pleased, and now talked in such a manner of his long intended tour, that I was satisfied he meant to fulfil his engagement.

The custom of eating dogs at Otaheite being mentioned, Goldsmith observed that this was also a custom in China; that a dog-butcher is as common there as any other butcher; and that when he walks abroad all the dogs fall on him. JOHNSON: "That is not owing to his killing dogs, Sir. I remember a butcher at Lichfield, whom a dog, that was in the house where I lived, always attacked. It is the smell of carnage which provokes this, let the animals he has killed be what they may." GOLDSMITH: "Yes, there is a general abhorrence in animals at the signs of massacre. If you put a tub full of blood into a stable, the horses are like to go mad." JOHNSON: "I doubt that." GOLDSMITH: "Nay, Sir, it is a fact well authenticated." THRALE: "You had better prove it before you put it into your book on Natural History. You may do it in my stable if you will." JOHNSON : "Nay, Sir, I would not have him prove it. If he is content to take his information from others, he may get through his book with little trouble, and without much endangering his reputation.



if he makes experiments for so comprehensive a book as his, there would be no end to them; his erroneous assertions would then fall upon himself; and he might be blamed for not having made experiments as to every particular.

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The character of Mallet having been introduced, and spoken of slightingly by Goldsmith; JOHNSON: "Why, Sir, Mallet had talents enough to keep his literary reputation alive as long as he himself lived; and that, let me tell you, is a good deal." GOLDSMITH: "But I cannot agree that it was so. His literary reputation was dead long before his natural death. I consider an author's literary reputation to be alive only while his name will insure a good price for his copy from the booksellers. I will get you [to Johnson] a hundred guineas for any thing whatever that you shall write, if you put your name to it."


Dr. Goldsmith's new play, "She Stoops to Conquer," being mentioned; JOHNSON: I know of no comedy for many years that has so much exhilarated an audience, that has answered so much the great end of comedy-making an audience merry.'

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Goldsmith having said that Garrick's compliment to the Queen, which he introduced into the play of "The Chances, which he had altered and revised this year, was mean and gross flattery ;-JOHNSON: "Why, Sir, I would not write, I would not give solemnly under my hand, a character beyond what I thought really true; but a speech on the stage, let it flatter ever so extravagantly, is formular. It has always been formular to flatter kings and queens; so much so, that even in our church-service we have our most religious King,' used indiscriminately, whoever is king. Nay, they even flatter themselves;-'we have been graciously pleased to grant.'-No modern flattery, however, is so gross as that of the Augustan age, where the Emperor was deified. Præsens Divus habebitur Augustus.' And as to meanness, (rising into warmth), how is it mean in a player,-a showman,- a fellow who exhibits himself for a shilling, to flatter his queen? The attempt, indeed, was dangerous; for if it had missed, what

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became of Garrick, and what became of the Queen? As Sir William Temple says of a great general, it is necessary not only that his designs be formed in a masterly manner, but that they should be attended with success. Sir, it is right, at a time when the Royal Family is not generally liked, to let it be seen that the people like at least one of them. SIR JOSHUA REYNOLDS: "I do not perceive why the profession of a player should be despised; for the great and ultimate end of all the employments of mankind is to produce amusement. Garrick produces more amusement than any body." BOSWELL : "You say, Dr. Johnson that Garrick exhibits himself for a shilling. In this respect 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 case require it. Garrick refuses a play or a part which he does not like: a lawyer never refuses." JOHNSON: "Why, Sir, what does this prove? only that a lawyer is worse. Boswell is now like Jack in 'The Tale of a Tub,' who, when he is puzzled by an argument, hangs himself. He thinks I shall cut him down, but I'll let him hang," (laughing vociferously).1 SIR JOSHUA REYNOLDS: "Mr. Boswell thinks that the profession of a lawyer being unquestionably honourable, if he can shew the profession 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 some 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 admission into that distinguished society. Johnson had done me the honour to propose me, and Beauclerk was very zealous for me.

Goldsmith being mentioned; JOHNSON: "It is amazing how little Goldsmith knows. He seldom comes where

1 The allusion is not to The Tale of a Tub, but to The History of John Bull, iv. 2; where however Jack does not hang himself for any such reason; but the misrepresentation turned the laugh against Boswell, which was all Johnson cared for. Lockhart.

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