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Johnson. “Why yes, sir, in a collective sense. Soldiers consider theinselves only as part of a great machine.” Scott. “We find people fond of being sailors.” Johnson. “I cannot account for that, any more than I can account for other strange perversions of imagination.” His abhorrence of the profession of a sailor was uniformly violent; but in conversation he always exalted the profession of a soldier. And yet I have, in my large and various collection of his writings, a letter to an eminent friend, in which he expresses himself thus: “My god-son called on me lately. He is weary, and rationally weary, of a military life. If you can place him in some other state, I think you may increase his happiness, and secure his virtue. A soldier's time is passed in distress and danger, or in idleness and corruption.” Such was his cool reflection in his study; but whenever he was warmed and animated by the presence of company, he, like other philosophers whose minds are impregnated with poetical fancy, caught the common enthusiasm for splendid renown.

He talked of Mr. Charles Fox, of whose abilities he thought highly, but observed, that he did not talk much at our Club. I have heard Mr. Gibbon remark, “ that Mr. Fox could not be afraid of Dr. Johnson; yet he certainly was very shy of saying any thing in Dr. Johnson's presence.” Mr. Scott now quoted what was said of Alcibiades by a Greek poet, to which Johnson assented'.

1 Wishing to discover the ancient observation here referred to, I applied to Sir William Scott on the subject, but he had no recollection of it. My old and very learned friend, Dr. Michael Kearney, formerly senior fellow of Trinity College, Dublin, and now Archdeacon of Raphoe in Ireland, has, however, most happily elucidated this passage. He remarks to me that “ Mr. Boswell's memory must here have deceived him; and that Mr. Scott's observation must have been, that Mr. Fox, in the instance mentioned, might be considered as the reverse of Phaux;' of whom, as Plutarch relates in the Life of Alcibiades, Eupolis, the tragedian, said, It is true he can talk, and yet he is no spcaker."

He told us, that he had given Mrs. Montague a catalogue of all Daniel Defoe's works of imagination'; most, if not all of which, as well as of his other works, he now enumerated, allowing a considerable share of merit to a man, who, bred a tradesman, had written so variously and so well. Indeed, his “Robinson Crusoe” is enough of itself to establish his reputation.

He expressed great indignation at the imposture of the Cock-lane ghost, and related, with much satisfaction, how he had assisted in detecting the cheat, and had published an account of it in the newspapers. Upon this subject I incautiously offended him, by pressing him with too many questions, and he showed his displeasure'. I apologised, saying, that “ I asked questions in order to be instructed and entertained; I repaired eagerly to the fountain ; but that the moment he gave me a hint, the moment he put a lock upon the well, I desisted.” “ But, sir,” said he, " that is forcing one to do a disagreeable thing:” and he continued to rate me. “Nay, sir,” said I, “when you have put a lock upon the well, so that I can no longer drink, do not make the fountain of your wit play upon me and wet me.”

He sometimes could not bear being teased with questions. I was once present when a gentleman asked so many, as, “What did you do, sir ?” “What did you say, sir ?” that he at last grew enraged, and said, “ I will not be put to the question. Don't you consider, sir, that these are not the manners of a

If this discovery had been made by a scholiast on an ancient author, with what ardour and exuberant praise would Bentley or Taylor have spoken of it! Sir William Scott, to whom I communicated Dr. Kearney's remark, is perfectly satisfied that it is correct. A few other observations have been communicated by the same gentleman. Every classical reader will lament that they are not more numerous.--Maloxe.

'{Probably the list which is to be found in Cibber's Lives.-ED.)

? He had little to be proud of in this affair, and, therefore, was angry when Boswell pressed him. See ante, vol. i. p. 415.--Ed.)

gentleman? I will not be baited with what and why; what is this? what is that? why is a cow's tail long? why is a fox's tail bushy ?” The gentleman, who was a good deal out of countenance, said,

Why, sir, you are so good, that I venture to trouble you.” Johnson. “Sir, my being so good is no reason why you should be so ill."

Talking of the Justitia hulk at Woolwich, in which criminals were punished, by being confined to labour, he said, I do not see that they are punished by this: they must have worked equally, had they never been guilty of stealing. They now only work; so, after all, they have gained ; what they stole is clear gain to them; the confinement is nothing. Every man who works is confined : the smith to his shop, the tailor to his garret.” BOSWELL. “And Lord Mansfield to his court.” Johnson. “Yes, sir. You know the notion of confinement may be extended, as in the song, 'Every island is a prison. There is in Dodsley's collection a copy of verses to the authour of that song.”

Smith's Latin verses on Pococke, the great traveller”, were mentioned. He repeated some of them, and said they were Smith's best verses.

He talked with an uncommon animation of travelling into distant countries; that the mind was enlarged by it, and that an acquisition of dignity of

" I have in vain examined Dodsley's Collection for the verses here referred to; nor has the name of the authour been ascertained. The song alluded to begins with the words,

“Welcome, welcome, brother debtor;" it consists of several stanzas, in one of which it is said, that (see ante, vol. ii. .p. 480.)

“ Every island is a prison.”_MALONE. a Smith's Verses are on Edward Pococke, the great oriental linguist: he travelled, it is true ; but Dr. Richard Pococke, late Bishop of Ossory, who published Travels through the East, is usually called the great traveller.-KEARNEY. [Edward Pococke was Canon of Christ Church and Hebrew Professor in Ox. ford. The two Pocockes flourished just a century apart ; the one, Edward, being born in 1604; Richard, in the year 1704.-Hall.)

I am

I'll go

go with

character was derived from it.

He expressed a particular enthusiasm with respect to visiting the wall of China. I catched it for the moment, and said I really believed I should go and see the wall of China had I not children, of whom it was my duty to take care. Sir,” said he,“ by doing so, you would do what would be of importance in raising your children to eminence. There would be a lustre reflected upon them from your spirit and curiosity. They would be at all times regarded as the children of a man who had gone to view the wall of China. serious, sir.”

When we had left Mr. Scott's, he said, “Will you go home with me?" “ Sir," said I," it is late ; but

you

for three minutes.' JOHNSON. “ Or four.We went to Mrs. Williams's room, where we found Mr. Allen the printer, who was the landlord of his house in Bolt-court, a worthy, obliging man, and his very old acquaintance; and what was exceedingly amusing, though he was of a very diminutive size, he used, even in Johnson's presence, to imitate the stately periods and slow and solemn utterance of the great man. I this evening boasted, that although I did not write what is called stenography, or short-hand, in appropriated characters devised for the purpose, I had a method of my own of writing half words, and leaving out some altogether, so as yet to keep the substance and language of any discourse which I had heard so much in view, that I could give it very completely soon after I had taken it down. He defied me, as he had once defied an actual short-hand writer; and he made the experiment by reading slowly and distinctly a part of Robertson's “ History of America,” while I endeavoured to write it in my way of taking notes. It was found that I had it very imperfectly; the conclusion' from which was, that its excellence was principally owing to a studied arrangement of words, which could not be varied or abridged without an essential injury.

On Sunday, April 12, I found him at home before dinner; Dr. Dodd's poem, entitled “ Thoughts in Prison,” was lying upon his table. This appearing to me an extraordinary effort by a man who was in Newgate for a capital crime, I was desirous to hear Johnson's opinion of it: to my surprise, he told me he had not read a line of it. I took up the book and read a passage to him. JOHNSON. “Pretty well, if you are previously disposed to like them.” I read another passage, with which he was better pleased. He then took the book into his own hands, and having looked at the prayer at the end of it, he said, " What evi. dence is there that this was composed the night before he suffered ? I do not believe it." He then read aloud where he prays for the king, &c. and observed, “ Sir, do you think that a man, the night before he is to be hanged, cares for the succession of a royal family? Though, he may have composed this prayer then.

then. A man who has been canting all his life, may cant to the last. And yet a man who has been refused a pardon after so much petitioning, would hardly be praying thus fervently for the king”.”

He, and I, and Mrs. Williams, went to dine with

· [This is odd reasoning. Most readers would have come to the more obvious conclusion, that Boswell had failed in his experiment at short-hand. This passage may account for some verbal errors and obscurities in this work : when copying his notes, after a considerable lapse of time, Mr. Boswell probably misunderstood his own abbreviations.—ED.)

? [It does not seem consistent that Johnson should have thus spoken of one, in the sincerity of whose repentance he had so much confidence as to desire to have the benefit of his prayers, (ante, vol. iii. pp 511, 512). The observation, too, on the prayer " for the king" seems inconsiderate; because, if Dodd was a sincere penitent, he would be anxious to reconcile himself with all mankind, and, as the king might have saved his life, and would not, Dodd's prayer for him was probably neither form nor flattery, (for , what could they avail him at that hour?) but the proof of contrition, and of the absence of all personal resentment. -Ed.]

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