Slike strani

August 25.]

An imaginary college.


the offices. I was to teach Civil and Scotch law'; Burke, politicks and eloquence; Garrick, the art of publick speaking; Langton was to be our Grecian', Colman our Latin professor; Nugent to teach physick'; Lord Charlemont, modern history'; Beauclerk, natural philosophy; Vesey, Irish antiquities, or Celtick learning'; Jones, Oriental learning; Goldsmith, poetry and ancient history; Chamier, commercial politicks'; Reynolds, painting, and the arts which have beauty for their object; Chambers, the law of England". Dr. Johnson at first said, 'I'll trust theology to nobody but myself.' But, upon due consideration, that Percy is a clergyman, it was agreed that Percy should teach practical divinity and British antiquities; Dr. Johnson himself, logick, metaphysicks", and scholastick divinity. In this manner did we

'Malone says that Lord Auchinleck told his son one day that it would cost him more trouble to hide his ignorance in the Scotch and English law than to show his knowledge. This Mr. Boswell owned he had found to be true.' European Magazine, 1798, p. 376.

2 See ante, iv. 9, note 5, and iv. 23.

3 Colman had translated Terence. Ante, iv. 21.

* Dr. Nugent was Burke's father-in-law. Ante, i. 552.

5 Lord Charlemont left behind him a History of Italian Poetry. Hardy's Charlemont, i. 306, ii. 437.

• See ante, i. 290, and ii. 433, note 3.

7 Since the first edition, it has been suggested by one of the club, who knew Mr. Vesey better than Dr. Johnson and I, that we did not assign him a proper place; for he was quite unskilled in Irish antiquities and Celtick learning, but might with propriety have been made professor of architecture, which he understood well, and has left a very good specimen of his knowledge and taste in that art, by an elegant house built on a plan of his own formation, at Lucan, a few miles from Dublin. BosWELL. See ante, iv. 33.

Sir William Jones, who died at the age of forty-seven, had 'studied eight languages critically, eight less perfectly, but all intelligible with a dictionary, and twelve least perfectly, but all attainable.' Teignmouth's Life of Sir W. Jones, ed. 1815, p. 465. See ante, iv. 80. • See ante, i. 553.

10 See ante, p. 17.


"Mackintosh in his Life, ii. 171, says: From the refinements of abstruse speculation Johnson was withheld, partly perhaps by that



The Literary Club.

[August 25. amuse ourselves;—each suggesting, and each varying or adding, till the whole was adjusted. Dr. Johnson said, we only wanted a mathematician since Dyer' died, who was a very good one; but as to every thing else, we should have a very capital university'.

We got at night to Banff. I sent Joseph on to Duffhouse; but Earl Fife was not at home, which I regretted much, as we should have had a very elegant reception from his lordship. We found here but an indifferent inn. Dr.

repugnance to such subtleties which much experience often inspires. and partly also by a secret dread that they might disturb those prejudices in which his mind had found repose from the agitations of doubt.'

1 See ante, iv. 13, note 1.

' Our Club, originally at the Turk's Head, Gerrard-street, then at Prince's, Sackville-street, now at Baxter's, Dover-street, which at Mr. Garrick's funeral acquired a name for the first time, and was called THE LITERARY CLUB, was instituted in 1764, and now consists of thirty-five members. It has, since 1773, been greatly augmented; and though Dr. Johnson with justice observed, that, by losing Goldsmith, Garrick, Nugent, Chamier, Beauclerk, we had lost what would make an eminent club, yet when I mentioned, as an accession, Mr. Fox, Dr. George Fordyce, Sir Charles Bunbury, Lord Ossory, Mr. Gibbon, Dr. Adam Smith, Mr. R. B. Sheridan, the Bishops of Kilaloe and St. Asaph, Dean Marley, Mr. Steevens, Mr. Dunning, Sir Joseph Banks, Dr. Scott of the Commons, Earl Spencer, Mr. Windham of Norfolk, Lord Elliott, Mr. Malone, Dr. Joseph Warton, the Rev. Thomas Warton, Lord Lucan, Mr. Burke junior, Lord Palmerston, Dr. Burney, Sir William Hamilton, and Dr. Warren, it will be acknowledged that we might establish a second university of high reputation. Boswell. Mr. (afterwards Sir) William Jones wrote in 1780 (Life, p. 241):-' Of our club I will only say that there is no branch of human knowledge on which some of our members are not capable of giving information.' 'Here, unluckily, the windows had no pullies; and Dr. Johnson, who was constantly eager for fresh air, had much struggling to get one of them kept open. Thus he had a notion impressed upon him, that this wretched defect was general in Scotland; in consequence of which he has erroneously enlarged upon it in his Journey. I regretted that he did not allow me to read over his book before it was printed. I should have changed very little; but I should have suggested an alteration in a few places where he has laid himself open to be at


August 26.]

Finnon Haddocks.


Johnson wrote a long letter to Mrs. Thrale. I wondered to see him write so much so easily. He verified his own doctrine that a man may always write when he will set himself doggedly to it'.'


We got a fresh chaise here, a very good one, and very good horses. We breakfasted at Cullen. They set down dried haddocks broiled, along with our tea. I ate one; but Dr. Johnson was disgusted by the sight of them, so they were removed. Cullen has a comfortable appearance, though but a very small town, and the houses mostly poor buildings. I called on Mr. Robertson, who has the charge of Lord Findlater's affairs, and was formerly Lord Monboddo's clerk, was three times in France with him, and translated Condamine's Account of the Savage Girl, to which his lordship wrote a preface, containing several remarks of his own. Robertson said, he did not believe so much as his lordship

tacked. I hope I should have prevailed with him to omit or soften his assertion, that a Scotsman must be a sturdy moralist, who does not prefer Scotland to truth,' for I really think it is not founded; and it is harshly said. BOSWELL. Johnson, after a half-apology for 'these diminutive observations' on Scotch windows and fresh air, continues: The true state of every nation is the state of common life.' Works, ix. 18. Boswell a second time (ante, ii. 356) returns to Johnson's assertion that 'a Scotchman must be a very sturdy moralist who does not love Scotland better than truth; he will always love it better than inquiry.' Works, ix. 116.

1 See ante, p. 44.

' A protest may be entered on the part of most Scotsmen against the Doctor's taste in this particular. A Finnon haddock dried over the smoke of the sea-weed, and sprinkled with salt water during the process, acquires a relish of a very peculiar and delicate flavour, inimitable on any other coast than that of Aberdeenshire. Some of our Edinburgh philosophers tried to produce their equal in vain. I was one of a party at a dinner, where the philosophical haddocks were placed in competition with the genuine Finnon - fish. These were served round without distinction whence they came; but only one gentleman, out of twelve present, espoused the cause of philosophy. WALTER SCOTT.


Lord Monboddo.

[August 26.

did; that it was plain to him, the girl confounded what she imagined with what she remembered: that, besides, she perceived Condamine and Lord Monboddo forming theories, and she adapted her story to them.

Dr. Johnson said, 'It is a pity to see Lord Monboddo publish such notions as he has done; a man of sense, and of so much elegant learning. There would be little in a fool doing it; we should only laugh; but when a wise man does it, we are sorry. Other people have strange notions; but they conceal them. If they have tails, they hide them; but Monboddo is as jealous of his tail as a squirrel.' I shall here put down some more remarks of Dr. Johnson's on Lord Monboddo, which were not made exactly at this time, but come in well from connection. He said, he did not approve of a judge's calling himself Farmer Burnett', and going about with a little round hat. He laughed heartily at his lordship's saying he was an enthusiastical farmer; ‘for, (said he,) what can he do in farming by his enthusiasm?' Here, however, I think Dr. Johnson mistaken. He who wishes to be successful, or happy, ought to be enthusiastical, that is to say, very keen in all the occupations or diversions of life. An ordinary gentleman-farmer will be satisfied with looking at his fields once or twice a day: an enthusiastical farmer will be constantly employed on them; will have his mind earnestly engaged; will talk perpetually of them. But Dr. Johnson has much of the nil admirari' in smaller concerns.

It is the custom in Scotland for the judges of the Court of Session to have the title of lords, from their estates; thus Mr. Burnett is Lord Monboddo, as Mr. Home was Lord Kames. There is something a little. awkward in this; for they are denominated in deeds by their names, with the addition of 'one of the Senators of the College of Justice;' and subscribe their christian and surnames, as James Burnett, Henry Home, even in judicial acts. BOSWELL. See ante, p. 87, note 3. See ante, ii. 393, where Johnson says:-'A judge may be a farmer, but he is not to geld his own pigs.'

'Not to admire is all the art I know

To make men happy and to keep them so.'

Pope, Imitations of Horace, Epistles, i. vi. 1.


August 26.]

The influence of wealth.


That survey of life which gave birth to his Vanity of Human Wishes early sobered his mind. Besides, so great a mind as his cannot be moved by inferior objects; an elephant does not run and skip like lesser animals.

Mr. Robertson sent a servant with us, to shew us through Lord Findlater's wood, by which our way was shortened, and we saw some part of his domain, which is indeed admirably laid out. Dr. Johnson did not choose to walk through it. He always said, that he was not come to Scotland to see fine places, of which there were enough in England; but wild objects,- -mountains,—————waterfalls,—peculiar manners; in short, things which he had not seen before. I have a notion that he at no time has had much taste for rural beauties. I have myself very little'.

Dr. Johnson said, there was nothing more contemptible than a country gentleman living beyond his income, and every year growing poorer and poorer'. He spoke strongly of the influence which a man has by being rich. A man, (said he,) who keeps his money, has in reality more use from it, than he can have by spending it.' I observed that this looked very like a paradox; but he explained it thus: 'If it were certain that a man would keep his money locked up for ever, to be sure he would have no influence; but, as so many want money, and he has the power of giving it, and they know not but by gaining his favour they may obtain it, the rich man will always have the greatest influence. He again who lavishes his money, is laughed at as foolish, and in a great degree with justice, considering how much is spent from vanity. Even those who partake of a man's hospitality, have but a transient kindness for him. If he has not the command of money, people know he cannot help them, if he would; whereas the rich man always can, if he will, and for the chance of that, will have much weight.' BOSWELL. 'But philosophers and satirists have all treated a miser as contemptible.' JOHNSON. 'He is so philosophically; but not in the practice of life'.' BOSWELL. 'Let me see now :— See ante, iii. 366.

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1 See ante, i. 533.

2 See ante, iv. 175.

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