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moved by fish and a saddle of mutton; second course, a fowl they call Galena at head, and a capon larger than some of our Irish turkeys at foot; third course, four different sorts of Ices, Pineapple, Grape, Raspberry and a fourth; in each remove, there were I think fourteen dishes. The two first courses were served in massy plate. I sat beside Baretti, which was to me the richest part of the entertainment. He and Mr. and Mrs. Thrale joyn'd in expressing to me Dr. Johnson's concern, that he could not give me the meeting that day, but desired that I should go and see him. Baretti was very humourous about his new publication, which he expects to put out next month. He there introduces a dialogue about Ossian, wherein he ridicules the idea of its double translation into Italian, in hopes, he said, of having it abused by the Scots, which would give it an imprimatur for a second edition, and he had stipulated for twenty five guineas additional if the first should sell in a given time. He repeated to me upon memory, the substance of the letters which passed between Dr. Johnson and Mr. McPherson. The latter tells the Doctor, that neither his age nor infirmity's should protect him if he came in his way. The Doctor responds that no menaces of any rascal should intimidate him from detecting imposture wherever he met it.
26th. Rain in the morning, hail about one, rain at three, and a copious fall of snow at night. This day was the first on which I heard good preaching in England, and indeed Mr. Warner has in my sight redeemed the honour of his nation, for he is positively the best deliverer of a discourse I ever heard. He is the very thing I have often conceived a preacher ought to be, and his manner is what I should have aimed at, had it been my lot to be a preacher in any great city. He does not, as he ought not, rely on his notes. He makes excursions, and unwritten effusions which prevail over the warmest, the boldest compositions; and then when he hath exhausted such sentiments as present them selves, he returns to his notes, and takes up the next head, according to his preconceived arrangement. By this discreet conduct, he avoids the frozen, beaten track of declamation, and keeps clear of the labyrinth of nonsense into which those enthusiasts wander, whose vanity or hypocracy rejects the clue of composition. This day furnished me with a new fact. I learned that, according to the custom of London, any person may build a
1 Life, vol. iii. p. 34.
chappel, and by license of the Bishop, preach and pray in it publickly. This Mr. Warner has done, and his income arises from renting the seats. This house, called Tavistock Chappel must bring a goodly revenue, for it is capacious, of the square figure, and well filled. Indeed it ever must be so while its pulpit is so well filled. Dined this day with Mr. Combe who is an easy sensible man, his daughters are not to be as handsome as either father or mother, tho' like both, the elder taller than her mother. I saw three girls and two boys, these are young. This I set down lest I should forget it before I see Mrs. Woodward and the Dean. N.B. I since hear that Warner has sold his chappel for four thousand five hundred pounds; so these shops for preaching are bought and sold like other warehouses or theatres. N.B. Mr. Combe told me from his own knowledge, that the paving of Oxford Street came but to between nineteen and twenty thousand pounds, for it is current in London that it cost forty thousand.
27th. Frost in the morning, and light falls of snow all day. Went to see Reynold's pictures. His manner is certainly the true sublime, the colours seem laid on so coarsely that quivis speret idem. Gainsborough's I looked at afterwards, but his work seems laboured with small pencils ; I dont think he paints as well as Hunter in Dublin. What a pity that Reynold's colours do not stand, they want body, they seem glazed. Went to the Pantheon in the evening, it is a beautiful room and highly finished, with colours of paste resembling porphiry, or Armagh marble rather; but after all the orchestra seemed by no means of a piece, and awkwardly disposed; the circular not so large as the Rotunda, but with the Piazza it holds more, beside the gallery and great tea room below, equal to the whole area above, and besides the several rooms off it. There was the Prussian Ambassador, a white faced, white haired northern-like man, he had nothing of sensibility in his countenance—Lord Stormont no very sage looking man. The Duke of Cumberland and Lady Grosvenor, a fine woman lost to all sense of modesty, met over and over, and looked away from each other. Lord Lyttleton a mean looking person, but of no mean understanding. Lady Archer painted like a doll, but handsome, her feathers nodded like the plumes of Mambrino's helmet. There seem to be fewer ugly women among the English than the Irish, but I cannot say they are more hand
1 Columns ?- Editor.
some. Lady Townshend was by most people reckoned the handsomest woman there, but if Lady Grosvenor was modest, and her complexion natural, she would be my beauty. They say she has .... Lord Hinchinbroke. The singing by the Italian woman, who is handsome and of expressive gesticulation, was beyond any thing I could conceive in the compass of a voice.
Garrick was there, and by no means that well limbed man I have heard him cried up for, but his eye is excellence. N.B. I forgot to set down an article of the day, I dined last at Thrale's. Barretti complained that Major Vallancy had treated him ill in his discourse on the antiquity of the Irish language, by saying that he had misrepresented the copy he gave of Biscayan Pater-noster, for says he, I quote one, he quotes another, and a fifth might be quoted all different from each other, now says he, I could not misrepresent, for I could not understand, and the fact is, I did not misrepresent, for I can produce the book from whence I quoted.
28th. The coldest day I felt this season, rain, hail, snow, and sleet. Dined with Lord Dacre, and I cannot help remarking how similar all the great dinners I have met with are, the soup, fish, and saddle of mutton, turkey and pidgeons, &c.; second course : ices and fruits, dessert. He affects knowledge particularly of antiquity. Here dined the man from whom I conjecture Foote drew his Cadwallader, if he is not the original, he certainly is like Foote's Cadwallader, his name is something like Cousbel
N.B. The two Ropers, and the wife to one of them. A pint of claret I think, was not consumed. Here, as almost every where else in England, I found a strong partiality in favour of their own country; the intense coldness of the day, gave occasion to talk of the weather, and it was agreed that Paris had sometimes as bad, a lady bridling herself said “
every one allows that we have every thing better than the French except climate, and I, who have spent much of my time in Paris, think that we have even a better climate."
A few days ago, in a large company, it was argued that Englishmen had no right to talk so loud in favour of liberty, as they enslaved without mercy the blacks abroad. A young man in a passion exclaimed, that God Almighty had made them slaves, for they were black, flat-nosed, and negros, and then concluded with Old England for ever.
29th. Intensely cold, the streets were white with snow about twelve o'clock, which soon melted and the snow came
on again at five. N.B. Leoni, for which I paid two pounds five and sixpence, is but one pound seven in the Catalogue here.
30th. Colder, if possible, hail and snow showers all day, id est, at intervals. Dined at the Grecian with Mr. Rose of Dublin, and went with him to Covent Garden to see the Barrys in the “ Grecian Daughter," but could not get seats a little after five, so I went to the two shilling gallery in Drury Lane, and saw the “Distressed Mother” most distressingly performed for the benefit of Slingsby, whose tambourine dance made some amends, and King in the “Peep from behind the curtain " was excellent, not that the composition was so, but there was something ridiculous enough in Orpheus calling Eurydice to sleep, and in his setting men, cows, sheep, &c., a dancing. Miss Young was very poor in “Hermione,” perhaps she would not have appeared so, if I had not seen Mrs. Fitzhenry, and the creature who did Andromache, was not fit to be a scullion in Hector's kitchen.
31st. Fair, but cold. I read the answer to “ Taxation no Tyranny.” It reprobates Johnson's position of the supremacy of even the Legislature, forasmuch as all power originates in the people, and is only delegated to a few for the good of the whole. This is the limit of their power, and whenever that is overleaped, the supremacy reverts to the people, they are ipso facto invested with the right of resistance, for would it not be absurd to suppose that fourteen millions of people should be a sacrifice to one thousand. The parallel too between the American assemblys, and the parish vestry's doth not apply, for many reasons, but principally for this, that the assemblys cannot of themselves legislate, the concurrence of the Crown is necessary, but with this consent an act of assembly becomes a law binding upon that province, but this is not the case with the vestry. The distinction of actual and virtual representation is sophistical, for representation is a right appendant, not to persons, but things, id est, property; so that American property can neither be actually or virtually represented in a British parlement. Besides, there is this to be said for a British parlement taxing all the people of Britain, whether represented or not; the Commons lay no greater burdens upon the shoulders of others, than on their own, they pay every tax in common with every other subject; whereas the British parlement would share none of the load laid on America, and therefore, could not sympathise with it in its sufferings therefrom, and consequently its taxation is in equity, incompetent. It is also in justice, for the American Charters granted by the several English Kings, were either with or without the consent of parlement, if the former be the case, then the Charters have all the qualities of a law; if the latter, (without the express consent) still they had the tacit consent, and consequently the British parlement, acquiescing so long under the Americans being governed by their own laws, yields a prescriptive right, which they cannot now in justice invalidate.
April 1st. A fair day, dined at Mr. Thrale's, whom in proof of the magnitude of London, I cannot help remarking, no coachman, and this is the third I have called, could find without enquiry. But of this by the way. There was Murphy, Boswell, and Baretti, the two last, as I learned just before I entered, are mortal foes, so much so that Murphy and Mrs. Thrale agreed that Boswell expressed a desire that Baretti should be hanged upon that unfortunate affair of his killing, &c. Upon this hint, I went and without any sagacity, it was easily discernable, for upon Baretti's entering, Boswell did not rise, and upon Baretti's descry of Boswell, he grinned a perturbed glance. Politeness however smooths the most hostile brows, and theirs were smoothed. Johnson was the subject, both before and after dinner, for it was the boast of all but myself, that under that roof were the Doctor's first friends. His bon mots were retailed in such plenty, that they, like a surfeit, could not lye upon my memory. Boswell arguing in favour of a cheerful glass, adduced the maxim in vino veritas, “well,” says Johnson, “and what then unless a man has lived a lye.” B. then urged that it made a man forget all his cares, that, to be sure
says Johnson "might be of use if a man sat by such a person as you.” Boswell confessed that he liked a glass of whiskey in the Highland tour, and used to take it; at length says Johnson, “ let me try wherein the pleasure of a Scotsman consists,” and so tips off a brimmer of whiskey. But Johnson's abstemiousness is new to him, for within a few years he would swallow two bottles of Port without any apparent alteration, and once in the company with whom I dined this day, he said, “pray Mr. Thrale give us another bottle.” It is ridiculous to pry so nearly into the movements of such men, yet Boswell carries it to a degree of superstition. The Doctor it appears has a custom of putting the peel of oranges into his pocket, and he asked the Doctor what use he made of them, the Doctor's reply was, that his dearest friend