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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'.”
[Sternc, 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. Mrm. 208. ED.]
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: Johnson. “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 character" 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 character 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 alluded 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 common 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.)
wrong, or the reverse. A friend of ours who is too much an echo of that gentleman, observed, that a man who does not stick uniformly to a party, is only waiting to be bought. Why, then, said I, he is only waiting to be what that gentleman is already."
We talked of the king's coming to see Goldsmith's new play':—“I wish he would,” said Goldsmith; adding, however, with an affected indifference, “Not that it would do me the least good.” Johnson. “Well, then, sir, let us say it would do him good (laughing). No, sir, this affectation will not pass ;it is mighty idle. In such a state as ours, who would not wish to please the chief magistrate ?" GOLDSMITH. “I do wish to please him. I remember a line in Dryden,
And every poet is the monarchi's friend.' It ought to be reversed.” JOHNSON. “Nay, there are finer lines in Dryden on this subject :
• For colleges on bounteous kings depend,
And never rebel was to arts a friend.'” General Paoli observed, that successful rebels might. MARTINELLI. “Happy rebellions.” GOLDSMITH. “ We have no such phrase.” GENERAL Paoli. “But have you not the thing ?” GOLDSMITH. “ Yes, all our happy revolutions. They have hurt our constitution, and will hurt it, till we mend it by another HAPPY REVOLUTION.” I never before discovered that my friend Goldsmith had so much of 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 ranka.
[“ She Stoops to Conquer” was played on Monday, 15th March. -Ed.) ? [The lady, no doubt, was the Duchess of Cumberland, whose marriage made a great noise about this time. The “compliment has escaped the Editor's observation, unless it be Hastings's speech to Miss Neville, in the second act, when he proposes to her to fly “10 France, where, even among slaves, the lates of marriage are respected."-Ed.]
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 beauconp d'autres belles choses, sans s'en apperceroir.” 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. Johnsox. “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. “ Ard 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 man has greater readiness at doing it than another."
I spoke of Mr. Harris, of Salisbury, 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.” Johxson. “ 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, 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 shown so much as in playing on the fiddle. In 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 Piozzi, and a fiddle-stick, and he can do nothing.” [To Mrs.
Piozzi he observed of Mr. Harris's dedication to his Hermes, that, though but fourteen lines long, there were six grammatical faults in it.]
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 topick 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
Johnsox.“ He 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
· [The Hamiltons were respectable booksellers for three generations.-Ed.)