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Speculation in money.
greases it to make it last. Formerly, good tradesmen had no fire but in the kitchen; never in the parlour, except on Sunday. My father, who was a magistrate of Lichfield, lived thus. They never began to have a fire in the parlour, but on leaving off business, or some great revolution of their life.' Dr. Watson said, the hall was as a kitchen, in old squires' houses. JOHNSON. 'No, Sir. The hall was for great occasions, and never was used for domestick refection'.' We talked of the Union, and what money it had brought into Scotland. Dr. Watson observed, that a little money formerly went as far as a great deal now. JOHNSON. In speculation, it seems that a smaller quantity of money, equal in value to a larger quantity, if equally divided, should produce the same effect. But it is not so in reality. Many more conveniences and elegancies are enjoyed where money is plentiful, than where it is scarce. Perhaps a great familiarity with it, which arises from plenty, makes us more easily part with it.'
After what Dr. Johnson had said of St. Andrews, which he had long wished to see, as our oldest university, and the seat of our Primate in the days of episcopacy, I can say little. Since the publication of Dr. Johnson's book, I find
shirt and a shoulder of mutton every day." Johnson's Works, viii. 65. In Tristram Shandy, ii. ch. 4, published in 1759, we read:-' It was in this year [about 1700] that my uncle began to break in upon the daily regularity of a clean shirt.' In the Spiritual Quixote, published in 1773 (i. 51), Tugwell says to his master:-Your Worship belike has been used to shift you twice a week.' Mrs. Piozzi (Fourney, i. 105, date of 1789) says that she heard in Milan a travelled gentleman telling his auditors how all the men in London, that were noble, put on a clean shirt every day.' Johnson himself owned that he had no passion for clean linen.' Ante, i. 460.
Scott, in Old Mortality, ed. 1860, ix. 352, says: It was a universal custom in Scotland, that, when the family was at dinner, the outergate of the court-yard, if there was one, and if not, the door of the house itself, was always shut and locked.' In a note on this he says: -The custom of keeping the door of a house or chateau locked during the time of dinner probably arose from the family being anciently assembled in the hall at that meal, and liable to surprise.'
Johnson at St. Andrews.
that he has been censured for not seeing here the ancient chapel of St. Rule, a curious piece of sacred architecture'. But this was neither his fault nor mine. We were both of us abundantly desirous of surveying such sort of antiquities; but neither of us knew of this. I am afraid the censure must fall on those who did not tell us of it. In every place, where there is any thing worthy of observation, there should be a short printed directory for strangers, such as we find in all the towns of Italy, and in some of the towns in England. I was told that there is a manuscript account of St. Andrews, by Martin, secretary to Archbishop Sharp'; and that one Douglas has published a small account of it. I inquired at a bookseller's, but could not get it. Dr. Johnson's veneration for the Hierarchy is well known'. There is no wonder then, that he was affected with a strong indignation, while he beheld the ruins of religious magnificence. I happened to ask where John Knox was buried. Dr. Johnson burst out, 'I hope in the high-way'. I have been looking at his reformations"."
It was a very fine day. Dr. Johnson seemed quite wrapt up in the contemplation of the scenes which were now presented to him. He kept his hat off while he was upon any part of the ground where the cathedral had stood. He said well, that 'Knox had set on a mob, without knowing where
Johnson, writing of 'the chapel of the alienated college,' says:'I was always by some civil excuse hindered from entering it.' Works, ix. 4.
* George Martine's Reliquiae divi Andreae was published in 1797. See ante, ii. 196, and iv. 87.
* Mr. Chambers says that Knox was buried in a place which soon after became, and ever since has been, a highway; namely, the old churchyard of St. Giles in Edinburgh. Croker's Boswell, p. 283.
' In The Rambler, No. 82, Johnson makes a virtuoso write:-'I often lamented that I was not one of that happy generation who demolished the convents and monasteries, and broke windows by law.' He had in 1754 'viewed with indignation the ruins of the Abbeys of Oseney and Rewley near Oxford.' Ante, i. 317. Smollet, in Humphry Clinker (Letter of Aug. 8), describes St. Andrews as the skeleton of a venerable city.'
Retirement from the world.
it would end; and that differing from a man in doctrine was no reason why you should pull his house about his ears.' As we walked in the cloisters, there was a solemn echo, while he talked loudly of a proper retirement from the world. Mr. Nairne said, he had an inclination to retire. I called Dr. Johnson's attention to this, that I might hear his opinion if it was right. JOHNSON. Yes, when he has done his duty to society'. In general, as every man is obliged not only to "love GOD, but his neighbour as himself," he must bear his part in active life; yet there are exceptions. Those who are exceedingly scrupulous, (which I do not approve, for I am no friend to scruples',) and find their scrupulosity' invincible, so that they are quite in the dark, and know not what they shall do,-or those who cannot resist temptations, and find they make themselves worse by being in the world, without making it better, may retire. I never read of a hermit, but in imagination I kiss his feet; never of a monastery, but I could fall on my knees, and kiss the pavement. But I think putting young people there, who know nothing of life, nothing of retirement, is dangerous and wicked. It is a saying as old as Hesiod,
1 'Some talked of the right of society to the labour of individuals, and considered retirement as a desertion of duty. Others readily allowed that there was a time when the claims of the publick were satisfied, and when a man might properly sequester himself to review his life and purify his heart.' Rasselas, ch. 22.
" See ante, ii. 484.
3 See ante, iv. 6, note 2, and v. 29.
4He that lives well in the world is better than he that lives well in a monastery. But, perhaps, every one is not able to stem the temptations of publick life, and, if he cannot conquer, he may properly retreat.' Rasselas, ch. 47. See ante, ii. 497.
A youthful passion for abstracted devotion should not be encouraged.' Ante, ii. 12. The hermit in Rasselas (ch. 21) says:-'The life of a solitary man will be certainly miserable, but not certainly devout.' In Johnson's Works (1787), xi. 203, we read that 'Johnson thought worse of the vices of retirement than of those of society.' Southey (Life of Wesley, i. 39) writes:- Some time before John Wesley's return to the University, he had travelled many miles to see what is called "a
August 19.] Johnson's vocation to active life.
Ἐργα νεῶν, βουλαίτε μέσων, εὔχαιτε γερόντων. That is a very noble line: not that young men should not pray, or old men not give counsel, but that every season of life has its proper duties. I have thought of retiring, and have talked of it to a friend; but I find my vocation is rather to active life.' I said, some young monks might be allowed, to shew that it is not age alone that can retire to pious solitude; but he thought this would only shew that they could not resist temptation.
He wanted to mount the steeples, but it could not be done. There are no good inscriptions here. Bad Roman characters he naturally mistook for half Gothick, half Roman. One of the steeples, which he was told was in danger, he wished not to be taken down; for, (said he,) it may fall on some of the posterity of John Knox; and no great matter!'-Dinner was mentioned. JOHNSON. 'Ay, ay; amidst all these sorrowful scenes, I have no objection to dinner".'
We went and looked at the castle, where Cardinal Beaton was murdered3, and then visited Principal Murison at his
serious man." This person said to him, "Sir, you wish to serve God and go to heaven. Remember, you cannot serve Him alone; you must therefore find companions or make them; the Bible knows nothing of solitary religion." Wesley never forgot these words.'
[Εργα νέων, βουλαὶ δὲ μέσων, εὐχαὶ δὲ γερόντων.
* One 'sorrowful scene' Johnson was perhaps too late in the year to see. Wesley, who visited St. Andrews on May 27, 1776, during the vacation, writes (Journal, iv. 75):-'What is left of St. Leonard's College is only a heap of ruins. Two colleges remain. One of them has a tolerable square; but all the windows are broke, like those of a brothel. We were informed the students do this before they leave the college.'
He was murdered by the ruffians of reformation, in the manner of which Knox has given what he himself calls a merry narrative.' Johnson's Works, ix. 3. In May 1546 the Cardinal had Wishart the Reformer killed, and at the end of the same month he got killed himself.
At Dinner with the Professors. [August 19.
college, where is a good library-room; but the Principal was abundantly vain of it, for he seriously said to Dr. Johnson, 'you have not such a one in England'.'
The professors entertained us with a very good dinner. Present: Murison, Shaw, Cook, Hill, Haddo, Watson, Flint, Brown. I observed, that I wondered to see him eat so well, after viewing so many sorrowful scenes of ruined religious magnificence. Why, (said he,) I am not sorry, after seeing these gentlemen; for they are not sorry.' Murison said, all sorrow was bad, as it was murmuring against the dispensations of Providence. JOHNSON. 'Sir, sorrow is inherent in humanity. As you cannot judge two and two to be either five, or three, but certainly four, so, when comparing a worse present state with a better which is past, you cannot but feel sorrow'. It is not cured by reason, but by the incursion of present objects, which wear out the past. You need not murmur, though you are sorry.' MURISON. But St. Paul says, “I have learnt, in whatever state I am, therewith to be content." JOHNSON. 'Sir, that relates to riches and poverty; for we see St. Paul, when he had a thorn in the flesh, prayed earnestly to have it removed; and then he could not be content.' Murison, thus refuted, tried to be smart, and drank to Dr. Johnson, Long may you lecture!' Dr. Johnson
1 Johnson says (Works, ix. 5):-The doctor, by whom it was shown, hoped to irritate or subdue my English vanity by telling me that we had no such repository of books in England.' He wrote to Mrs. Thrale (Piozzi Letters, i. 113) For luminousness and elegance it may vie at least with the new edifice at Streatham.' 'The new edifice' was, no doubt, the library of which he took the touching farewell. Ante, iv. 181.
2 Sorrow is properly that state of the mind in which our desires are fixed upon the past, without looking forward to the future, an incessant wish that something were otherwise than it has been, a tormenting and harassing want of some enjoyment or possession which we have lost, and which no endeavours can possibly regain.' The Rambler, No. 47. He wrote to Mrs. Thrale on the death of her son: -'Do not indulge your sorrow; try to drive it away by either pleasure or pain; for, opposed to what you are feeling, many pains will become pleasures.' Piozzi Letters, i. 310.