« PrejšnjaNaprej »
when he left Christ Church (where he resided while in Oxon) left behind him a Book in MSt., wherein a distinct acct was given of the Consular and Imperial coyns by himself.' Mr. Doble has also pointed out to me in the first edition of the Spectator the following passage at the end of No. 14:—
'On the first of April will be performed at the Play-house in the Hay-market an opera call'd The Cruelty of Atreus. N.B. The Scene wherein Thyestes eats his own children is to be performed by the famous Mr. Psalmanazar lately arrived from Formosa : The whole Supper being set to Kettle-drums.'
JOHNSON'S TRAVELS AND LOVE OF TRAVELLING.
On the passage in the text Macaulay in his Review of Croker's Edition of Boswell's Life of Johnson partly founds the following criticism :
'Johnson's visit to the Hebrides introduced him to a state of society completely new to him; and a salutary suspicion of his own deficiencies seems on that occasion to have crossed his mind for the first time. He confessed, in the last paragraph of his Journey, that his thoughts on national manners were the thoughts of one who had seen but little, of one who had passed his time almost wholly in cities. This feeling, however, soon passed away. It is remarkable that to the last he entertained a fixed contempt for all those modes of life and those studies which tend to emancipate the mind from the prejudices of a particular age or a particular nation. Of foreign travel and of history he spoke with the fierce and boisterous contempt of ignorance. What does a man learn by travelling? Is Beauclerk the better for travelling? What did Lord Charlemont learn in his travels, except that there was a snake in one of the pyramids of Egypt?" Macaulay's Essays, ed. 1843, i. 403.
In another passage (p. 400) Macaulay says:—
'Johnson was no master of the great science of human nature. He had studied, not the genus man, but the species Londoner. Nobody was ever so thoroughly conversant with all the forms of life and all the shades of moral and intellectual character which were to be seen
from Islington to the Thames, and from Hyde-Park corner to Mileend green. But his philosophy stopped at the first turnpike-gate. Of the rural life of England he knew nothing, and he took it for granted that everybody who lived in the country was either stupid or miserable.'
Of the two assertions that Macaulay makes in these two passages, while one is for the most part true, the other is utterly and grossly false. Johnson had no contempt for foreign travel. That curiosity which animated his eager mind in so many parts of learning did not fail him, when his thoughts turned to the great world outside our narrow seas. It was his poverty that confined him so long to the neighbourhood of Temple Bar. He must in these early days have sometimes felt with Arviragus when he says:
'What should we speak of
With his pension his wanderings at once began. His friendship with the Thrales gave them a still wider range. His curiosity, which in itself was always eager, was checked in his more prosperous circumstances by his years, his natural unwillingness at any one moment to make an effort, and by the want of travelling companions who were animated by a spirit of inquiry and of enterprise equal to his own. He did indeed travel much more than is commonly thought, and was far less frequently to be seen rolling along Fleet-street or stemming the full tide of human existence at Charing Cross than his biographers would have us believe.
The following table, imperfect though it must necessarily be, shows how large a part of his life he passed outside 'the first turnpike-gate,' and beyond the smoke of London:1709-1736. The first twenty-seven years of his life he spent in small country towns or villages-Lichfield, Stourbridge, Oxford, Market-Bosworth, Birmingham. So late as 1781 Lichfield did not contain 4,000 inhabitants (Parwood's History of Lichfield, p. 380); eight years later it was reckoned that a little over 8,000 people dwelt in Oxford (Parker's Early History of Oxford, ed. 1885, p. 229). In 1732 or 1733 Birmingham, when Johnson first went to live there, had not, I suppose, a population of 10,000. Its
growth was wonderfully rapid. Between 1770 and 1797 its inhabitants increased from 30,000 to nearly 80,000 (Birmingham Directory for 1780, p. xx, and A Brief History of Birmingham, p. 8).
1736-7. The first eighteen months of his married life he lived. quite in the country at Edial, two miles from Lichfield. Ante, i. 112.
1737. He was twenty-eight years old when he removed to London. Ante, i. 128.
1739. He paid a visit to Appleby in Leicestershire and to Ashbourn. Ante, i. 96, 154 note.
1754. Oxford. July and August, about five weeks. Ante, i. 314,
1759. Oxford. July, length of visit not mentioned. 1761-2. Lichfield. Winter, a visit of five days. 1762. In the summer of this year his pension was granted, and he henceforth had the means of travelling. Ante, i. 430.
Ante, i. 402. Ante, i. 428.
A trip to Devonshire, from Aug. 16 to Sept. 26; six weeks. Ante, 436.
Oxford. December. I am going for a few days or weeks to Oxford.' Letter of Dec. 21, 1762. Croker's
Boswell, p. 129.
1763. Harwich. August, a few days. Ante, i. 538.
Oxford. October, length of visit not mentioned. A letter dated Oxford, Oct. 27 . Croker's Boswell, p. 161.
1764. Langton in Lincolnshire, part of January and February.
Ante, i. 550.
Easton Maudit in Northamptonshire, part of June, July, and August. Croker's Boswell, p. 166, note, and ante, i. 562.
Oxford, October. Letter to Mr. Strahan dated Oxford, Oct. 24, 1764. Post, Addenda to vol. v.
Either this year or the next Johnson made the acquaintance of the Thrales. For the next seventeen years he had 'an apartment appropriated to him in the Thrales' villa at Streatham' (ante, i. 570), a handsome house that stood in a small park. Streatham was a quiet country-village, separated by wide commons from London, on one of which a highwayman had been hanged who had there robbed Mr.
Thrale (ante, iii. 271, note 2). According to Mrs. Piozzi Johnson commonly spent the middle of the week at their house, coming on the Monday night and returning to his own home on the Saturday (post, iv. 195, note 2). Miss Burney, in 1778, describes him 'as living almost wholly at Streatham' (ante, i. 570, note 4). No doubt she was speaking chiefly of the summer half of the year, for in the winter time the Thrales would be often in their town house, where he also had his apartment. Mr. Strahan complained of his being at Streatham 'in a great measure absorbed from the society of his old friends' (ante, iii. 255). He used to call it 'my home' (ante, i. 570, note 4).
1765. Cambridge, early in the year; a short visit. Ante, i. 563. Brighton, autumn; a short visit. Piozzi's Anec. p. 126, and Piozzi Letters, i. 1.
1766. Streatham, summer and autumn; more than three months. Ante, ii. 28, and Pr. and Med. p. 71.
Oxford, autumn; a month. Ante, ii. 28.
1767. Lichfield, summer and autumn; 'near six months.' Ante, ii. 34, and Piozzi Letters, i. 4, 5.
1768. Oxford, spring; several weeks. Piozzi Letters, i. 6–15. Townmalling in Kent, September; apparently a short visit. Pr. and Med. p. 81.
1769. Oxford, from at least May 18 to July 7. Piozzi Letters, i.
19-23, and ante, ii. 77.
Lichfield and Ashbourn, August; a short visit. Piozzi Letters, i. 24, and ante, ii. 77.
Brighton, part of August and September; some weeks. Ante, ii. 78, 80, and Croker's Boswell, p. 198, letter dated Brighthelmstone, August 26, 1769.'
1770. Lichfield and Ashbourn, apparently whole of July. Piozzi
Letters, i. 26-32.
1771. Lichfield and Ashbourn, from June 20 to after Aug. 5. Ante, ii. 162, 163, and Piozzi Letters, i. 36-54.
1772. Lichfield and Ashbourn, from about Oct. 15 to early in December. Piozzi Letters, i. 55-69.
1773. ? Oxford, April; a hurried visit. Ante, ii. 270, note 1.
Ante, ii. 304,
Oxford, part of November and December. Ante, ii. 308. III.-33
1774. Tour to North Wales (Derbyshire, Chester, Conway, Anglesey, Snowdon, Shrewsbury, Worcester, Birmingham, Oxford, Beaconsfield) from July 5 to Sept. 30. Ante, ii. 325, and post, v. 427.
1775. Oxford, March; a short visit.
Piozzi Letters, i. 212.
Oxford, Lichfield, Ashbourn, from end of May till some time in August. Ante, ii. 437, and Piozzi Letters, i. 223– 301.
? Brighton; apparently a brief visit in September. Croker's Boswell, p. 459.
A tour to Paris (going by Calais and Rouen and returning by Compiegne, St. Quintin, and Calais), from Sept. 15 to Nov. 12. Ante, ii. 441, 459, 460. 1776. Oxford, Lichfield, Ashbourn, March 19-29. (The trip was cut short by young Thrale's death.) Ante, ii. 501, and iii. 4, 5. Bath, from the middle of April to the beginning of May. Ante, iii. 51, 59.
Brighton, part of September and October; full seven weeks. Ante, iii. 105.
1777. Oxford, Lichfield, and Ashbourn, from about July 28 to about Nov. 6. Ante, iii. 147, 239, and Piozzi Letters, i. 348-396 and ii. 1-16 (the letter of Oct. 3, i. 396, is wrongly dated, as is shown by the mention of Foote's death).
Brighton, November; a visit of three days. Ante, iii. 239. 1778. Warley Camp, in Essex, September; about a week. Ante, iii. 410.
1779. Lichfield, Ashbourn, from May 20 to end of June. Ante, iii. 449, and Piozzi Letters, ii. 44-55.
Epsom, September; a few days. Pr. and Med. pp. 181, 225.
1780. Brighton. October. MS. letter dated Oct. 26, 1780 to Mr.
Nichols in the British Museum.
1781. Oxford, Birmingham, Lichfield, Ashbourn, from Oct. 15 to Dec. 11. Post, iv. 156, and Croker's Boswell, p. 699, note 5. 1782. Oxford, June; about ten days. Post, iv. 174, and Piozzi
Letters, ii. 243-249.
Brighton, part of October and November. Post, iv. 184. 1783. Rochester, July; about a fortnight. Post, iv. 269.
Heale, near Salisbury, part of August and September; three weeks. Post, iv. 270, 276.