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tolerate in such a case." JOHNSON. “Sir, we have been talking of right: this is another question. I think it is not politick to tolerate in such a case.”
Though he did not think it fit that so awful a subject should be introduced in a mixed company, and therefore at this time waved the theological question; yet his own orthodox belief in the sacred mystery of the TRINITY is evinced beyond doubt, by the following passage in his private devotions :
“O LORD, hear my prayer, for Jesus Christ's sake; to Med. p. whom, with thee and the Holy Ghost, three persons and one
God, be all honour and glory, world without end. Amen.”
BOSWELL. “Pray, Mr. Dilly, how does Dr. Leland's History of Ireland sell ?” JOHNSON (bursting forth with a generous indignation). “ The Irish are in a most unnatural state; for we see there the minority prevailing over the majority. There is no instance, even in the ten persecutions, of such severity as that which the protestants of Ireland have exercised against the Catholicks. Did we tell them we have conquered them, it would be above board : to punish them by confiscation and other penalties, as rebels, was monstrous injustice. King William was not their lawful sovereignt: he had not been acknowledged by the parliament of Ireland when they appeared in arms against him.”
I here suggested something favourable of the Roman Catholicks. TOPLADY. “Does not their invocation of saints suppose omnipresence in the saints?” JOHNSON. “No, sir; it supposes only pluripresence®, and when spirits are divested of matter, it seems probable that they should see with more extent than
(We must not forget that Johnson had been a violent Jacobite. See ante, vol. i. p. 444.-Ed.)
? [Surely it implies omnipresence in the same way that prayers to the Deity imply omnipresence. And, after all, what is the difference, to our bounded reason, between pluripresence and cmnipresence ?—ED.]
when in an embodied state. There is, therefore, no approach to an invasion of any of the divine attributes, in the invocation of saints. But I think it is will-worship, and presumption. I see no command for it, and therefore think it is safer not to practise it.”
He and Mr. Langton and I went together to THE CLUB, where we found Mr. Burke, Mr. Garrick, and some other members, and amongst them our friend Goldsmith, who sat silently brooding over Johnson's reprimand to him after dinner. Johnson perceived this, and said aside to some of us, “ I'll make Goldsmith forgive me;" and then called to him in a loud voice, “ Dr. Goldsmith,—something passed to-day where you and I dined: I ask your pardon.” Goldsinith answered placidly, “ It must be much from you, sir, that I take ill." And so at once the difference was over, and they were on as easy terms as ever, and Goldsmith rattled away as usual.
In our way to the club to-night, when I regretted that Goldsmith would, upon every occasion, endeavour to shine, by which he often exposed himself, Mr. Langton observed, that he was not like Addison, who was content with the fame of his writings, and did not aim also at excellency in conversation, for which he found himself unfit: and that he said to a lady who complained of his having talked little in company, “ Madam, I have but nine-pence in ready inoney, but I can draw for a thousand pounds." I observed that Goldsmith had a great deal of gold in his cabinet, but, not content with that, was always taking out his purse. Johnson. “Yes, sir, and that so often an empty purse!"
Goldsmith's incessant desire of being conspicuous in company was the occasion of his sometimes appearing to such disadvantage as one should hardly have supposed possible in a man of his genius. VOL. II.
When his literary reputation had risen deservedly high, and his society was much courted, he became very jealous of the extraordinary attention which was every where paid to Johnson. One evening, in a circle of wits, he found fault with me for talking of Johnson as entitled to the honour of unquestionable superiority. “Sir,” said he, "you are for making a monarchy of what should be a republick."
He was still more mortified, when, talking in a company with fluent vivacity, and, as he flattered himself, to the admiration of all who were present, a German who sat next him, and perceived Johnson rolling himself as if about to speak, suddenly stopped him, saying, “Stay, stay-Toctor Shonson is going to say something." This was, no doubt, very provoking, especially to one so irritable as Goldsmith, who frequently mentioned it with strong expressions of indignation.
It may also be observed, that Goldsmith was sometimes content to be treated with an easy familiarity, but upon occasions would be consequential and important. An instance of this occurred in a small particular. Johnson had a way of contracting the names of his friends: as, Beauclerk, Beau ; Boswell, Bozzy ; Langton, Lanky; Murphy, Mur; Sheridan, Sherry. I remember one day, when Tom Davies was telling that Dr. Johnson said, “ We are all in labour for a name to Goldy's play,” Goldsmith seemed displeased that such a liberty should be taken with his name, and said, “ I have often desired him not to call me Goldy.” Tom was remarkably attentive to the most minute circumstance about Johnson. I re
[In some late publication it is stated that Buonaparte, repressing the flattery of one of his literary courtiers, said, “ Pour Dieu, laissez-nous au moins la republique des lettres." It has been also, with more probability, stated, that instead of being said by, it was said of him. Perhaps, after all, the French story is but a version of this bon mot of Goldsmith's. -Ed.]
collect his telling me once, on my arrival in London, “Sir, our great friend has made an improvement on his appellation of old Mr. Sheridan: he calls him now Sherry derry.
“ TO THE REV. MR. BAGSHAW, AT BROMLEY".
“8th May, 1773. “SIR,-I return you my sincere thanks for your additions to my Dictionary; but the new edition has been published some time, and therefore I cannot now make use of them. Whether I shall ever revise it more, I know not. If many readers had been as judicious, as diligent, and as communicative as yourself, my work had been better. The world must at present take it as it is. I am, sir, your most obliged and most humble servant,
On Sunday, 8th May, I dined with Johnson at Mr. Langton's, with Dr. Beattie and some other company. He descanted on the subject of literary property. “There seems,” said he, “ to be in authours a stronger right of property than that by occupancy ; a metaphysical right, a right, as it were, of creation, which should from its nature be perpetual ; but the consent of nations is against it; and indeed reason and the interests of learning are against it; for were it to be perpetual, no book, however useful, could be universally diffused amongst mankind, should the proprietor take it into his head to restrain its circulation. No book could have the advantage of being edited with notes, however necessary to its elucidation, should the proprietor perversely oppose it. For the general good of the world, therefore, whatever valuable work has once been created by an authour, and issued out by him, should be understood as no longer in his power, but as belonging to the publick; at the same time the authour is entitled to an adequate reward. This he should have by an exclusive right to his work for a considerable number of years."
1 The Rev. Thomas Bagshaw, M.A. who died on the 20th November, 1787, in the seventy-seventh year of his age, chaplain of Bromley college, in Kent, and rector of Scuthfleet. We had resigned the cure of Bromley parish some time before his death. For this, and another letter from Dr. Johnson in 1784, to the same truly respectable man, I am indebted to Dr. John Loveday, of the commons, a son of the late learned and pious John Loveday, Esq. of Caversham, in Berkshire, who obligingly transcribed them for me from the originals in his possession. The worthy gentleman, having retired from business, now lives in Warwickshire. The world has b en lately obliged to him as the editor of the late Rev. Dr. Townson's excellent work, modestly entitled " A Discourse on the Evangelical History, from the Interment to the Ascension of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ;" to which is prefixed a truly interesting and pleasing account of the authour, by the Rev. Mr. Ralph Churton.-BOSWELL.
He attacked Lord Monboddo's strange speculation on the primitive state of human nature; observing, “Sir, it is all conjecture about a thing useless, even were it known to be true. Knowledge of all kinds is good. Conjecture, as to things useful, is good ; but conjecture as to what it would be useless to know, such as whether men went upon all four, is very idle.”
On Monday, 9th May, as I was to set out on my return to Scotland next morning, I was desirous to see as much of Dr. Johnson as I could. But I first called on Goldsmith to take leave of him. The jealousy and envy, which, though possessed of many most amiable qualities, he frankly avowed, broke out violently at this interview'. Upon another occasion, when Goldsmith confessed himself to be of an envious disposition, I contended with Johnson that we ought not to be angry with him, he was so candid in owning it. “Nay, sir,” said Johnson, “we must be angry that a man has such a superabundance of an odious quality, that he cannot keep it within his own breast, but it boils over.” In my opinion, however, Goldsmith had not more of it than other people have, but only talked of it freely.
He now seemed very angry that Johnson was going to be a traveller; said "he would be a dead weight for me to carry, and that I should never be able to
[I wonder why Boswell so often displays a malevolent feeling towards Goldsmith ? Rivalry for Johnson's good graces, perhaps._WALTER Scott.)