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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'scourt, 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 Letters to Lord Mansfield"; a copy of which had been sent by the authour 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 bcok 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. If 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 show us the possibilities of human life. And, sir, you will not say that the

[A friend and relative of Addison's, who drowned himself to escape a prosecution on account of forging the will of Dr. Tindal, in which Budgell bad provided himself with a legacy of 20001. To this Pope alludes :

“Let Budgell charge low Grub-street on my quill,

And write whate'er he please—except my will." - ED.) (On the Douglas Causc.--Ed.]

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 ?.”

He said, “ Goldsmith should not be for 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.”

'I regretted that Dr. Johnson never took the trouble to study a question which interested nations. He would not even read a pamphlet which I wrote upon it, entitled The Essence of the Douglas Cause ; which I have reason to 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.-BOSWELL.

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 great variety of composition, never exercised 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:

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

" It has already been observerl, chat one of the first Essays was a Latin poem on a glow-worm; but whether it be any where extant has not been ascertained. --MALONE.

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".

He said, “ Goldsmith should not be for 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

i regretted that Dr. Johnson never took the trouble to study a question which interested nations. He would not even read a pamphlet which I wrote upon it, entitled The Essence of the Douglas Cause ; which I have reason to 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 Nansfield and Lord Camden united in 1769, and from which only five of a numerous body entered a protest.-BOSWELL.

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may be diverted by them; but Johnson gives you a forcible hug, and shakes laughter out of you, whether you will or no.”

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 great variety of composition, never exercised 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:

“Glow-worm lying in the garden saw a candle in a neighbouring palace,—and complained of the littleness of his own light; another observed—wait a little ;-soon dark,—have outlasted mona (many) of these glaring lights, which are only brighter as they haste to nothing.”

It has already been observed, that one of the first Essays was a Latin poem on a glow-worm; but whether it be any where extant has not been ascertained. --MALONE.

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