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attention, in whatever company he was; and he could ill brook any diminution of it. He was as sanguine a Whig and Presbyterian as Dr. Johnson was a Tory and Church of England man; and as he had not much leisure to be informed of Dr. Johnson's great merits by reading his works, he had a partial and unfavourable notion of him, founded on his supposed political tenets, which were so discordant to his own, that, instead of speaking of him with that respect to which he was entitled, he used to call him “a Jacobite fellow.” Knowing all this, I should not have ventured to bring them together, had not my father, out of kindness to me, desired me to invite Dr. Johnson to his house.
I was very anxious that all should be well, and begged of my friend to avoid three topics, as to which they differed very widelyWhiggism, Presbyterianism, and—Sir John Pringle. He said, courteously, “I shall certainly not talk on subjects which I am told are disagreeable to a gentleman under whose roof I am; especially, I shall not do so to your father.”
Our first day went off very smoothly. It rained, and we could not get out; but my father showed Dr. Johnson his library, which, in curious editions of the Greek and Roman classics, is, I suppose, not excelled by any private collection in Great Britain. My father had studied at Leyden, and been very intimate with the Gronovii and other learned men there. He was a sound scholar, and, in particular, had collated manuscripts and different editions of “ Anacreon,” and others of the Greek lyric poets, with great care; so that my friend and he had much matter for conversation, without touching on the fatal topics of difference.
Dr. Johnson found here Baxter's " Anacreon,” which he told me he had long inquired for in vain, and began to suspect there was no such book. Baxter was the keen antagonist of Barnes. His life is in the “ Biographia Britannica.” My father has written many notes on this book, and Dr. Johnson and I talked of having it reprinted.
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 3. It rained all day, and gave Dr. Johnson an impression of that incommodiousness of climate in the west, of which he has taken notice in his “ Journey;" but, being well accommodated, and furnished with variety of books, he was not dissatisfied.
Some gentlemen of the neighbourhood came to visit my father; but there was little conversation. One of them asked Dr. Johnson how he liked the Highlands. The question seemed to irritate him, for he answered, “ How, sir, can you ask me what obliges me to Epeak unfavourably of a country where I have been hospitably enter
tained ? Who can like the Highlands ?-I like the inhabitants very well.” The gentleman asked no more questions.*
Let me now make up for the present neglect by again gleaning from the past. At Lord Monboddo's, after the conversation upon
the decrease of learning in England, his lordship mentioned “ Hermes," by Mr. Harris of Salisbury, as the work of a living author, for whom he had a great respect. Dr. Johnson said nothing at the time, but, when we were in our post-chaise, he told me he thought Harris “ a coxcomb." This he said of him, not as a man, but as an author; and I give his opinions of men and books faithfully, whether they agree with my own or not. I do admit, that there always appeared to me something of affectation in Mr. Harris's manner of writing-something of a habit of clothing plain thoughts in analytic and categorical formality; but all his writings are imbued with learning, and all breathe that philanthropy and amiable disposition which distinguished him as a man.
At another time, during our Tour, he drew the character of a rapacious Highland chief with the strength of Theophrastus or la Bruyere, concluding with these words: “ Sir, he has no more the soul of a chief, than an attorney who has twenty houses in a street and considers how much he can make by them.”
He this day, when we were by ourselves, observed, how common it was for people to talk from books—to retail the sentiments of others and not their own; in short, to converse without any originality of thinking. He was pleased to say, “ You and I do not talk from books.”
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 4. I was glad to have at length a very fine day, on which I could show Dr. Johnson the Place of my family, which he has honoured with so much attention in his “ Journey.” He is, however, mistaken
* “It is said that being asked how he liked his entertainment in the Highlands, he answered, “The sauce to everything was the benevolence of the inhabitants. I love the people better than the country." (“Scots Magazine," November, 1773.)–Ed.
+ This gentleman, though devoted to the study of grammar and dialectics, was not so absorbed in it as to be without a sense of pleasantry, or to be offended at his favourite topics being treated lightly. I one day met him in the street, as I was hastening to the House of Lords, and told him I was sorry I could not stop, being rather too late to attend an appeal of the Duke of Hamilton against Douglas. “I thought," said he,“their contest had been over long ago."
." I answered, “The contest concerning Douglas's filiation was over long ago; but the contest now is, who shall have the estate.” Then, assuming the air of “ an ancient sage philosopher," I proceeded thus:“Were I to predicate concerning him, I should say, the contest formerly was, What is he? The contest now is, What has he ?"-"Riglet," replied Mr. Harris, smiling; "you have done with quality, and have got into quantity."-Boswell.
in thinking that the Celtic name, Auchinleck, has no relation to the natural appearance of it. I believe every Celtic name of a place will be found very descriptive. Auchinleck does not signify a stony field, as he has said, but a field of flag stones ; and this place has a number of rocks, which abound in strata of that kind. The “sullen dignity of the old castle,” as he has forcibly expressed it, delighted him exceedingly. On one side of the rock on which its ruins stand, runs the river Lugar, which is here of considerable breadth, and is bordered by other high rocks, shaded with wood. On the other side runs a brook, skirted in the same manner, but on a smaller scale. I cannot figure a more romantic scene.
I felt myself elated here, and expatiated to my illustrious Mentor on the antiquity and honourable alliances of my family, and on the merits of its founder, Thomas Boswell, who was highly favoured by his sovereign, James IV. of Scotland, and fell with him at the battle of Flodden-field ; and in the glow of what, I am sensible, will, in a commercial age, be considered as genealogical enthusiasm, did not omit to mention what I was sure my friend would not think lightly of—my relation to the royal personage, whose liberality, on his accession to the throne, had given him comfort and independence. I have, in a former page, acknowledged my pride of ancient blood, in which I was encouraged by Dr. Johnson.* My readers, therefore, will not be surprised at my having indulged it on this occasion.
Not far from the old castle is a spot of consecrated earth, on which
may be traced the foundations of an ancient chapel, dedicated to St. Vincent, and where in old times “was the place of graves” for the family. It grieves me to think that the remains of sanctity
* The "ancient blood" of our anthor would have boiled with indignation could he have foreseen that his grandson was to set aside the deed of entail attaching the family estate of Auchinleck to heirs male. The correspondence between Johnson and Boswell on this subject will be found in the “Life of Johnson," under date of 1773. The deed was drawn up by Lord Aucbinleck, signed, tested, and placed in publica custodia, where it remained undisturbed from the year 1777 down to the summer of 1851. On examination, it was found that the deed was invalid. By the law of Scotland, confirmed by numerous decisions in the Scottish and English Courts, when a word of any importance in a deed of entail is written on an erasure, without being authenticated in the testing or prohibiting clause, the effect is fatal to the object of the deed, by rendering it improbative. The Auchinleck deed was in this position. In the clause prohibiting the right of sale, the word redeemable had at first been written instead of irredeemable. An erasure was made, and the five letters "irred" were written on this erasure, and no notice of the circumstance was contained in the testing clause. This was held by the Scottish Judges to be a fatal objection; and Sir James Boswell, the proprietor, will be entitled to sell the estate or to make a new disposition of it in order to provide for his children, who are all daughters. Thus vanishes the succession of heirs male. The blunder of a copying-clerk bas annulled the deed, so anxiously con. cocted, that was to gratify family pride, and carry down to distant generations the name of Boswell of Auchinleck!-ED.
here, which were considerable, were dragged away, and employed in building a part of the house of Auchinleck, of the middle age ; which was the family residence, till my father erected that “ elegant modern mansion," of which Dr. Johnson speaks so handsomely. Perhaps this chapel may one day be restored.
Dr. Johnson was pleased when I showed him some venerable old trees, under the shade of which my ancestors had walked. horted me to plant assiduously, as my father had done to a great extent.
As I wandered with my reverend friend in the groves of Auchinleck, I told him, that if I survived him, it was my intention to erect a monument to him here, among scenes which, in my mind, were all classical; for in my youth I had appropriated to them many of the descriptions of the Roman poets. He could not bear to have death presented to him in any shape, for his constitutional melancholy made the king of terrors more frightful. He turned off the subject, saying, “Sir, I hope to see your grandchildren !”
This forenoon he observed some cattle without horns, of which he has taken notice in his “ Journey," and seems undecided whether they be of a particular race. His doubts appear to have had no foundation ; for my respectable neighbour, Mr. Fairlie, who, with all his attention to agriculture, finds time both for the classics and his friends, assures me they are a distinct species, and that, when any of their calves have horns, a mixture of breed can be traced. In confirmation of his opinion, he pointed out to me the following passage in Tacitus: “Ne armentis quidem suus honor, aut gloria frontis ;” (“De Mor. Germ.” $ 5.) which he wondered had escaped Dr. Johnson.
On the front of the house of Auchinleck is this inscription :
It is characteristic of the founder ; but the animus equus is, alas! not inheritable, nor the subject of devise. He always talked to me as if it were in a man's own power to attain it; but Dr. Johnson told me that he owned to him, when they were alone, his persuasion that it was in a great measure constitutional, or the effect of causes which do not depend on ourselves; and that Horace boasts too much when he says, “ Æquum mi animum ipse parabo."
*“Anxious through seas and lands to search for rest,
Is but laborious idleness at best;
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 5. The reverend Mr. Dun, our parish minister, who had dined with us yesterday, with some other company, insisted that Dr. Johnson and I should dine with him to-day. This gave me an opportunity to show
friend the road to the church, made by my father at a great expence, for above three miles, on his own estate, through a range of well-enclosed farms, with a row of trees on each side of it. He called it the Via sacra, and was very fond of it. Dr. Johnson, though he held notions far distant from those of the Presbyterian clergy, yet could associate on good terms with them. He indeed occasionally attacked them. One of them discovered a narrowness of information concerning the dignitaries of the Church of England, among whom may be found men of the greatest learning, virtue, and piety, and of a truly apostolic character. He talked before Dr. Johnson of fat bishops and drowsy deans; and, in short, seemed to believe the illiberal and profane scoffings of professed satirists or vulgar railers. Dr. Johnson was so highly offended, that he said to him, “Sir, you know no more of our church than a Hottentot."- I was sorry that he brought this
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 6.
I cannot be certain, whether it was on this day, or a former, that Dr. Johnson and my father came in collision. If I recollect right, the contest began while my father was showing him his collection of medals; and Oliver Cromwell's coin unfortunately introduced Charles the First and Toryism. They became exceedingly warm and violent, and I was very much distressed by being present at such an altercation between two men, both of whom I reverenced; yet I durst not interfere. It would certainly be very unbecoming in me to exhibit my honoured father and my respected friend as intellectual gladiators, for the entertainment of the public; and therefore I
suppress what would, I dare say, make an interesting scene in this dramatic sketch, -this account of the transit of Johnson over the Caledonian hemisphere.
Yet I think I may, without impropriety, mention one circumstance, as an instance of my father's address. Dr. Johnson challenged him, as he did us all at Talisker, to point out any theological works of merit written by Presbyterian ministers in Scotland. My father, whose studies did not lie much in that way, owned to me afterwards, that he was somewhat at a loss how to answer, but that luckily he recollected having read in catalogues the title of “ Durham on the Galatians;" upon which he boldly said, “ Pray, sir, have you read