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should not know that. This has made poor Boswell unhappy, and I verily think he is as anxious to know the secret as a green sick girl. N.B. The book wherewith Johnson presented the highland lady was Cocker's Arithmetic.
Dr. Johnson calls the act in “ Braganza” with the monk, paralytick on one side ; i.e., the monk is introduced without any notification of his character, so that any other monk, or any other person might as well be introduced in the same place, and for the same purpose.
And I myself say, that Velasquez quitting his hold of the Dutchess, upon sight of the monk, is an effect without a sufficient cause. The cool, intrepid character of Velasquez required that he should either have dispatched, or attempted to dispatch the monk, and then there would have been a pretext for losing hold of the Dutchess. The Duke is a poor, tame animal, and by no means equal to his historic character. A whimsical incident I was witness to there. Murphy told a very comical story of a Scotchman's interview with Dr. Johnson, upon his earnest desire of being known to the Doctor. This was Boswell himself.1 N.B. “ The Tour to the Western Isles " was written in twenty days, and the “ Patriot” in three.
66 Taxation no Tyranny within a week, and not one of them would have yet. seen the light, had it not been for Mrs. Thrale and Baretti, who stirred him up by laying wagers.
APRIL 2nd. Fair. I went to the Chapel Royal, and heard the Bishop of Bangor preach. His subject was on these two commandments, &c. His object was to prove that piety and virtue went hand in hand, and could not exist separately. His proofs were taken first, from the state of paganism, whereas the theology was more or less refined, so was their morality more or less pure, and from experience of persons whose virtuous qualities were generally adequate to their notions of the Divinity; then he showed the inefficacy of the motives from the fitness of things, or the beauty of virtue, and so resolved all into the will of God. He touched upon the folly of enthusiasm, and instanced the violence of the Fanaticks in the last century, to impress a sense of the error of religion consisting merely in devotion ; then he glanced at the licentious reign which followed; then ended abruptly by saying that this was neither time nor place for dis
Essay on the Life and Genius of Samuel Johnson, LL.D., by Arthur Murphy, Esq., prefixed to Johnson's Works, Lond., 1792, vol. i., p. 106; and reprinted in this volume. - Editor.
cussing that matter. N.B. The Bishop of London read the communion service, but not according to the rubric, for at the let us pray, after the commandments, he did not turn round to the communion table. In the evening I went to St. Martin's, in hopes of hearing Harrison, and the church was very full, from the same expectations ; but we were all disappointed, for Dr. Scott, (Anti-Sejanus) mounted the pulpit, and as I could not well hear him, tho' just behind the pulpit, I went off to St. Stephen's, Wallbrook, not for the purpose of hearing, for I knew not who was to be there, but of seeing the Church, which is reckoned the handsomest in the world. They tell the following story of it, that Lord Burlington, who was the patron of architecture, saw in Italy a Church which he so admired and bepraised, that he got drawings made of it as the chef d'æuvre of human skill, but being told that it was a copy from Sir C. Wren's Wallbrook, he could not believe it, till he examined it; and what is very remarkable, they add, that coming late into London, he drove there directly, and viewed it by candle light. This is the story in London, but as Sir Christopher stole his plan of St. Paul's from St. Peter's, why may it not. be expected that the Italian Church is the original, and not the copy. It revolts against the costume, that an Italian Architect would borrow models from London. N.B. Lazarus is a good text for a sermon on the immortality of the soul, forasmuch as the only moral proof of it arises from the sufferings of the good, and the enjoyments of the wicked in this life.
APRIL 3rd. Fair. I went to the British Museum. The sight was so various, that it is hard to remember any thing distinctly, but what pleased me most was the ruins of Herculaneum. The original Magna Charta of King John was in the Harleian, I think. The shell for which a Cardinal gave five hundred pounds, I would be sorry to give five pence for, unless merely because it is a specimen of human folly. The magnitude of the crocodile (twenty feet) and the horn (five feet at least) growing out of the nose of the unicorn fish, were extraordinary to me. The form of the pulpits was curious. A cylindrical form with spiral geometrical stairs issuing from the central upright. This evening I sketched out a letter on the method to read the Liturgy.
N.B. The transparent picture of Vesuvius, in the last eruption from the side, done by direction of Sir William Hamilton, was
be a very
APRIL 4th. A drizzling rain from ten to four. I went to the House of Lords, on the Montagne appeal and heard Lords Mansfield, Camden, and the great lawyers at the bar. This night I finished my address to the Clergy on the Liturgy.
April 5th. Dined with Dilly in the Poultry,' as guest to Mr. Boswell, where I met Dr. Johnson, (and a Mr. Miller, who lives near Bath, who is a dilletanti man, keeps a weekly day for the Litterati, and is himself so litterate, that he gathereth all the flowers that ladies write, and bindeth into a garland, but enough of him) with several others, particularly a Mr. Scott, who seems to
sensible plain man. The Doctor, when I came in, had an answer, titled “ Taxation and Tyranny" to his last pamphlet, in his hand. He laughed at it, and said he would read no more of it, for that it paid him compliments, but gave him no information. He asked if there were any more of them. I told him I had seen another, and that the “ Monthly Review” had handled it in what I believed he called the way of information. Well,” says he, “ I should be glad to see it.” Then Boswell (who understands his temper well) asked him somewhat, for I was not attending, relative to the Provincial Assemblies. The Doctor, in process of discourse with him, argued with great vehemence that the Assemblies were nothing more than our Vestries. I asked him, was there not this difference, that an Act of the Assemblies required the King's assent to pass into a law : his answer had more of wit than of argument. “Well Sir," says he, “ that only gives it more weight." I thought I had gone too far, but dinner was then announced, and Dilly, who paid all attention to him, in placing him next to the fire, said, “ Doctor, perhaps you will be too warm. .” “ No Sir,” says the Doctor, “I am neither hot nor cold.” “And yet,” said I “Doctor, you are not a lukewarm man.”
This I thought pleased him, and as I sat next him, I had a fine opportunity of attending to his phiz; and I could clearly see he was fond of having his quaint things laughed at, and they (without any force) gratified my propensity to affuse grinning. Mr. Dilly led him to give his opinion of men and things, of which he is very free, and Dilly will probably retail them all. Talking of the Scotch, (after Boswell was gone) he said, though they were not a learned nation, yet they were far removed from ignorance. Learning was new among them, and he doubted not but they
1 Life, vol. ii., p. 310.
would in time be a learned people, for they were a fine, bold enterprising people. He compared England and Scotland to two lions, the one saturated' with his belly full, and the other prowling for prey. But the test he offered to prove that Scotland, tho'it bad learning enough for common life, yet had not sufficient for the dignity of literature, was, that he defied any one to produce a classical book, written in Scotland since Buchannan. Robertson, he said, used pretty words, but he liked Hume better, and neither of them would he allow to be more to Clarendon, than a rat to a cat. “A Scotch surgeon,” says he “ may have more learniny than an English one, and all Scotland could not muster learning enough for Louth's prelections." Turning to me, he said,
, "you have produced classical writers and scholars; I don't know,” says he,“ that any man is before Usher, as a scholar, unless it
be Selden, and you have a philosopher, Boyle, and you have Swift and Congreve, but the latter, says he,
and he might have added the former too. He then said, you certainly have a turn for the drama, for you have Southerne and Farquhar and Congreve, and many living authors and players. Encouraged by this, I went back to assert the genius of Ireland in old times, and ventured to say that the first professors of Oxford and Paris, &c., &c., were Irish. “Sir,” says he, “I believe there is something in what you say, and I am content with it, since they are not Scotch.” This day I went to Guildhall, and waited for above an hour before the Lord Mayor came. He, Wilkes, was rather worse than I expected to find him, for he labours under baldness, increpitude, and want of teeth ; from the hedge of the teeth being removed, his tongue is for ever trespassing upon his lips, whereof the undermost, together with the chin, projects very far. He went to the front of the Hustings, where he was clapped as a player more than once before he spoke, tho' I was removed from him but the breadth of the green table, I could not make out all he said, (which was not much, but it was) in reprobating the measures of the Ministry towards the Americans. He then sat down, and Captain Allen, after making a speech too trivial for a mountebank, yet he too was applauded, read the address, petition, and remonstrance, which will be in the prints. Talking of Addison's timidity keeping him down so that he never spoke in the House of Commons was, he said, much more blameworthy, than if he had attempted and failed, as a man is more praiseworthy who fights and is beaten, than he who runs away.
1 satiated ?
APRIL 6th. Light showers, dined with Lord Dartrey, who promised to print Swift's letter next week. I went in the evening to the Italian Opera in the Haymarket, for Lestini's benefit. An Italian Opera is not so absurd an entertainment as I expected, for it is nearly as intelligible as if it were in English, considering the inarticulation of the words by the singers. The grand absurdity lies against an Opera at large, i.e. an attempt to express the passions by singing, and yet the action of Italian performers is so just, that their language of dumb show would be intelligible without the aid of song. However this was the first, and it shall be the last sacrifice I shall make of sense to sound.
April 7th. Cold in the morning, with some rain, but it turned out a fine day. I went down to Greenwich, and viewed the Hospital, and the outside of Flamstead's Observatory, the inside not being to be seen without some special order, on account of some thefts committed. I walked from thence to Woolwich, and viewed the Dockyard, particularly a seventy-four gun ship not finished, which is truly a monstrous vessel. In the Warren, as it is called, I saw great number of cannon and bombs piled up in huge pyramids and prisms, large as Irish turf stacks. This is a poor place, as I suppose all places must be that depend on letting lodgings. The prospect from King John's palace, (as they call it) about midway between Greenwich and Woolwich, was fine, the bow of the river bending in a sweet curve.
N.B. There were hawthorn trees in Greenwich Park almost full in leaf, as they were quite green. There were others how. ever not so forward, apple trees in full blossom.
APRIL 8th. Very cold, and some rain, but not enough to allay the blowing of the dust. Dined with Thrale,' where Dr. Johnson was, and Boswell, (and Baretti as usual.) The Doctor was not in as good spirits as he was at Dilly's. He had supped the night before with Lady Miss Jeffry's, one of the maids of honour, Sir Joshua Reynolds, &c., at Mrs. Abington's. He said Sir C. Thompson, and some others who were there, spoke like people who had seen good company, and so did Mrs. Abington herself, who could not have seen good company. He seems fond of Boswell, and yet he is always abusing the Scots before him, by
· Life, vol. ii., p. 318.