Slike strani

temper is not very harsh and sour, can retain a doubt of the goodness of his heart.

It is painful to recollect with what rancour he was assailed by numbers of shallow, irritable North Britons, on account of his supposed injurious treatment of their country and countrymen in his Journey. Had there been any just ground for such a charge, would the virtuous and candid Dempster have given his opinion of the book in the terms in which I have quoted? Would the patriotic Knox1 have spoken of it as he has done? Would Mr. Tytler, surely

'a Scot, if ever Scot there were,'

have expressed himself thus? And let me add, that citizen of the world, as I hold myself to be, I have that degree of predilection for my natale solum, nay, I have that just sense of the merit of an ancient nation which has been ever renowned for its valour, which in former times maintained its independence against a powerful neighbour, and in modern times has been equally distinguished for its ingenuity and industry in civilised life, that I should have felt a generous indignation at any injustice done to it. Johnson treated Scotland no worse than he did even his best friends, whose characters he used to give as they appeared to him, both in light and shade. Some people, who had not exercised their minds sufficiently, condemned him for censuring his friends. But Sir Joshua Reynolds, whose philosophical penetration and justness of thinking were not less known to those who

1 I observed with much regret, while the first edition of this work was passing through the press (August 1790), that this ingenious gentleman was dead.

lived with him, than his genius in his art is admired by the world, explained his conduct thus: 'He was fond of discrimination, which he could not show without pointing out the bad as well as the good in every character; and as his friends were those whose characters he knew best, they afforded him the best opportunity for showing the acuteness of his judgment.'

He expressed to his friend Mr. Windham of Norfolk, his wonder at the extreme jealousy of the Scotch, and their resentment at having their country described by him as it really was; when to say that it was a country as good as England, would have been a gross falsehood. 'None of us (said he) would be offended if a foreigner who has travelled here should say, that vines and olives don't grow in England.' And as to his prejudice against the Scotch, which I always ascribed to that nationality which he observed in them, he said to the same gentleman, 'When I find a Scotchman to whom an Englishman is as a Scotchman, that Scotchman shall be as an Englishman to me.' His intimacy with many gentlemen of Scotland, and his employing so many natives of that country as his amanuenses, prove that his prejudice was not virulent; and I have deposited in the British Museum, amongst other pieces of his writing, the following note in answer to one from me, asking if he would meet me at dinner at the Mitre, though a friend of mine, a Scotchman, was to be there:-'Mr. Johnson does not see why Mr. Boswell should suppose a Scotchman less acceptable than any other man. He will be at the Mitre.'

My much-valued friend Dr. Barnard, now bishop of Killaloe, having once expressed to him an apprehen

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

so the Scotch which I always war zinc i which ne ostrve i'r M, Lea d

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

25 a. Bir hand, and his er ploj ing

ant cold as his sammens

e was not virulent; and I have . Museum, anacrt order › ǹllowing note in answer te of the world moe, se at dinne end of ming, a neo cbma a, wa.. Mr. Johnson does not see my M

[ocr errors]

Boswell snoald suppose a Scot bran ass accepta' » than any other inuh. He wil be at the Mire'

M-maer valued friend Dr. Barnard, tow bishop of 123doo, Paving once expressed to him an


« PrejšnjaNaprej »