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England now, as ever there were. But, secondly, supposing the stature of our people to be diminished, that is not owing to luxury; for, sir, consider to how very small a proportion of our people luxury can reach. Our soldiery, surely, are not luxurious, who live on sixpence a day; and the same remark will apply to almost all the other classes. Luxury, so far as it reaches the poor, will do good to the race of people; it will strengthen and multiply them. Sir, no nation was ever hurt by luxury; for, as I said before, it can reach but to a very few. I admit that the great increase of commerce and manufactures hurts the military spirit of a people; because it produces a competition for something else than martial honours—a competition for riches. It also hurts the bodies of the people ; for you will observe, there is no man who works at any particular trade, but you may know him from his appearance to do so. or the other of his body being more used than the rest, he is in some degree deformed : but, sir, that is not luxury. A tailor sits cross-legged; but that is not luxury.” GOLDSMITH. “ Come, you're just going to the same place by another road.” John
Nay, sir, I say that is not luxury. Let us take a walk from Charing-cross to Whitechapel, through, I suppose, the greatest series of shops in the world : what is there in any of these shops (if you except gin shops) that can do any human being any harm ?” GOLDSMITH. “Well, sir, I'll accept your challenge. The very next shop to Northumberlandhouse is a pickle shop.” Johnson. “Well, sir : do we not know that a maid can in one afternoon make
One part pickles sufficient to serve a whole family for a year ? nay, that five pickle shops can serve all the kingdom ? Besides, sir, there is no harm done to any body by the making of pickles, or the eating of pickles.”
theatrical procession. The doors, windows, and ceilings of old houses are not loftier than those of modern days. Other animals, too, cannot have degenerated in size by the lurury of man; and they seem, by all evidence, to have borne in old times the same proportion to the human figure that they now bear. -Ed.)
We drank tea with the ladies; and Goldsmith sung Toney Lumpkin's song in his comedy, “She Stoops to Conquer,” and a very pretty one, to an Irish tune , which he had designed for Miss Hardcastle; but as Mrs. Bulkeley, who played the part, could not sing, it was left out. He afterwards wrote it down for me, by which means it was preserved, and now appears amongst his poems. Dr. Johnson, in his way home, stopped at my lodgings in Piccadilly, and sat with me, drinking tea a second time, till a late hour.
I told him that Mrs. Macaulay said, she wondered how he could reconcile his political principles with his moral : his notions of inequality and subordination with wishing well to the happiness of all mankind, who might live so agreeably, had they all their portions of land, and none to domineer over another. JOHNSON. “Why, sir, I reconcile my principles very well, because mankind are happier in a state of inequality and subordination. Were they to be in this pretty state of equality, they would soon degenerate into brutes ; they would become Monboddo's nation; their tails would grow. Sir, all would be losers, were all to work for all: they would have no intellectual improvement. All intellectual improvement arises from leisure; all leisure arises from one working for another.”
Talking of the family of Stuart, he said, “ It should seem that the family at present on the throne has
• The humours of Ballamagairy-Boswell. (This air was not long since rerived and vulgarized in a song sung by the late Mr. Johnstone, in a farce called * The Wags of Windsor.” Mr. Moore has endeavoured to bring it back into good company; it is to be found in the ninth number of his Irish Melodies, p. 18.-ED.]
now established as good a right as the former family, by the long consent of the people; and that to disturb this right might be considered as culpable. At the same time I own, that it is a very difficult question, when considered with respect to the house of Stuart. To oblige people to take oaths as to the disputed right is wrong. I know not whether I could take them: but I do not blame those who do.” So conscientious and so delicate was he upon this subject, which has occasioned so much clamour against him.
Talking of law cases, he said, “The English reports, in general, are very poor: only the half of what has been said is taken down, and of that half, much is mistaken. Whereas, in Scotland, the arguments on each side are deliberately put in writing, to be considered by the court. I think a collection of your cases upon subjects of importance, with the opinions of the judges upon them, would be valuable.”
On Thursday, April 15, I dined with him and Dr. Goldsmith at General Paoli's. We found here Signor Martinelli', of Florence, authour of a History of England in Italian, printed at London.
I spoke of Allan Ramsay's “Gentle Shepherd,” in the Scottish dialect, as the best pastoral that had ever been written; not only abounding with beautiful rural imagery, and just and pleasing sentiments, but being
[Vincenzio Martinelli. He was an Italian, living chiefly among our no. bility, many of whom he instructed in his native idiom. He is the author of several works in Italian. His History of England, in two quarto volumes, is a mere compilation from Rapin. Two volumes of moral philosophy on La Vita Civile, &c. An octavo volume of his “ Lettere Familiare” is rather amusing, for the complacency of the writer respecting his own importance, and the narratives of his visits to various noblemen, whose names spangle his pages. Having prefixed his portrait to his works, Badini, another Italian scribbler, well known in his day, mortified at the success of his more fashionable rival, published a quarto pamphlet, entitled, I think, “ La Bilancia.” He also presented the portrait of Martinelli to the world, in a manner then perhaps novel. In a pair of scales, the head of Martinelli, weighed against a single feather, flies into the air. Martinelli disdained to reply to the scurrilities of his desperate compatriot, and to designate his low rank, and with an allusion to the well known grievance of the Lazzaroni of Naples, causticly observed, that he left his assailant to be tormented by another race of critics—Lo lascio á i suoi pidochi.-D'ISRAELI.)
Martinelli told us, that for several years he lived much with Charles Townshend, and that he ventured to tell him he was a bad joker. Johnson.“ " Why, sir, thus much I can say upon the subject. One day he and a few more agreed to go and dine in the country, and each of them was to bring a friend in his carriage with him. Charles Townshend asked Fitzherbert to go with him, but told him, 'You must find somebody to bring you back; I can only carry
Fitzherbert did not much like this arrangement. He, however, consented, observing sarcastically, “It will do very well; for then the same jokes will serve you in returning as in going.'”
An eminent public character' being mentioned:JOHNsox. “I remember being present when he showed himself to be so corrupted, or at least something so different from what I think right, as to maintain that a member of parliament should go along with his party right or wrong. Now, sir, this is so remote from native virtue, from scholastick virtue, that a good man must have undergone a great change before he can reconcile himself to such a doctrine. It is maintaining that you may lie to the public; for you lie when you call that right which you think
· [The Editor once thought pretty confidently, that the “eminent public cha. racter" was Mr. Fox, and the friend of Johnson's, who had become too much the “echo" of the former, Mr. Burke; but Lord Wellesley and Sir James Mackintosh, who have been so kind as to favour the Editor with their advice on this and other points, think that Mr. Burke and Sir Joshua Reynolds were meant, doubting whether Mr. Fox was, in 1773, sufficiently prominent to be designated as “an eminent public character," whom Mr. Burke (whose reputation was then at its maturity) could be said to "echo.” Mr. Chalmers, on the whole, inclines to the same opinion, though he agrees with the Editor, that the distant and formal manner in which the eminent churacter is spoken of, and the allusion to his being “ already bought," (that is, being already in office,) suit Mr. Fox better than Mr. Burke. All, however, agree that Mr. Burke was one of the persons meant; he always maintained the opinion al. luded to, (see post, 15th August, 1773,) and was, indeed, the first who, in his “ Thoughts on the Present Discontents,” openly avowed and advocated the principle of inviolable adherence to political connexions, “putting," as Mr. Prior says, “to silence the hitherto conmon reproach applied to most public cha. racters of being party-men.” Life of Burke, vol. i. p. 232. “This is an instance," as Sir James Mackintosh observes, “which proves that the task of elucidating Boswell has not been undertaken too soon."- ED.)
Sir, he wants only to sell his history, and to tell truth; one an honest, the other a laudable motive.” Johnson. “Sir, they are both laudable motives. It is laudable in a man to wish to live by his labours; but he should write so as he may live by them, not so as he may be knocked on the head. I would advise him to be at Calais before he publishes his history of the present age. A foreigner who attaches himself to a political party in this country, is in the worst state that can be imagined : he is looked upon as a mere intermeddler. A native may do it from interest.” BOSWELL. “Or principle.” GOLDSMITH. “ There are people who tell a hundred political lies every day, and are not hurt by it. Surely, then, one may tell truth with safety.” Johnson. “Why, sir, in the first place, he who tells a hundred lies has disarmed the force of his lies. But besides ; a man had rather have a hundred lies told of him, than one truth which he does not wish should be told.” GOLDSMITH. “For my part, I'd tell truth, and shame the devil.” JOHNSON. “Yes, sir ; but the devil will be angry. I wish to shame the devil as much as you do, but I should choose to be out of the reach of his claws." GOLDSMITH. “His claws can do you no harm, when you have the shield of truth.”
It having been observed that there was little hospitality in London : JOHNSON. “Nay, sir, any man who has a name, or who has the power of pleasing, will be very generally invited in London. The man, Sterne, I have been told, has had engagements for three months.” GOLDSMITH. “And a very dull fellow.” Johnson. “Why, no, sir?.”
? [Sterne, as may be supposed, was no great favourite with Dr. Johnson ; and a lady once ventured to ask him how he liked Yorick's sermons : “I know nothing about them, madam," was his reply. But some time afterwards, for, getting himself, he severely censured them, and the lady very aptly retorted, “I understood you to say, sir, that you had never read them.' No, madam, I did read them, but it was in a stage-coach. I should never have deigned even to look at them had I been at large."-Crad. Mem. 208. ED.]