Slike strani

Aetat. 68.]



married to Colonel Mure Campbell, an excellent man, with a pretty good estate of his own, and the prospect of having the Earl of Loudoun's fortune and honours. Is not this a noble lot for our fair Hebridean? How happy am I that she is to be in Ayrshire. We shall have the Laird of Rasay, and old Malcolm, and I know not how many gallant Macleods and bagpipes, &c. &c. at Auchinleck. Perhaps you may meet them all there.

'Without doubt you have read what is called The Life of David Hume', written by himself, with the letter from Dr. Adam Smith subjoined to it. Is not this an age of daring effrontery? My friend Mr. Anderson, Professor of Natural Philosophy at Glasgow, at whose house you and I supped', and to whose care Mr. Windham3, of Norfolk, was entrusted at that University, paid me a visit lately; and after we had talked with indignation and contempt of the poisonous productions with which this age is infested, he said there was now an excellent opportunity for Dr. Johnson to step forth. I agreed with him that you might knock Hume's and Smith's heads together, and make vain and ostentatious infidelity exceedingly ridiculous. Would it not be worth your while to crush such noxious weeds in the moral garden?

'You have said nothing to me of Dr. Dodd'. I know not how you think on that subject; though the news-papers give us a saying of yours in favour of mercy to him. But I own I am very desirous that the royal prerogative of remission of punishment should be employed to exhibit an illustrious instance of the regard which GOD'S VICEGERENT will ever shew to piety and virtue. If for ten righteous men the ALMIGHTY Would have spared Sodom, shall not a thousand acts of goodness done by Dr. Dodd counterbalance one crime? Such an instance would do more to encourage goodness, than his execution would do to deter from vice. I am not afraid of any bad consequence to society; for who will persevere for a long course of years in a distinguished discharge of religious duties, with a view to commit a forgery with impunity?

'Pray make my best compliments acceptable to Mr. and Mrs. Thrale, by assuring them of my hearty joy that the Master, as you

'It is, no doubt, on account of its brevity that Boswell in speaking of it writes:- What is called The Life.'

• See Boswell's Hebrides, Oct. 29, 1773. 'See ante, under Feb. 7, 1775.

• See post, p. 158.

'See ante, i. 572, note 1.



Petitions for Dr. Dodd.

[A.D. 1777.

call him, is alive. I hope I shall often taste his Champagnesoberly.

'I have not heard from Langton for a long time. I suppose he is as usual,

"Studious the busy moments to deceive'."

[ocr errors][merged small]

'Your most affectionate, and faithful humble servant, 'JAMES BOSWELL.'

On the 23rd of June, I again wrote to Dr. Johnson, enclosing a ship-master's receipt for a jar of orange-marmalade, and a large packet of Lord Hailes's Annals of Scotland.



'I have just received your packet from Mr. Thrale's, but have not day-light enough to look much into it. I am glad that I have credit enough with Lord Hailes to be trusted with more copy'. I hope to take more care of it than of the last. I return Mrs. Boswell my affectionate thanks for her present, which I value as a token of reconciliation.

'Poor Dodd was put to death yesterday, in opposition to the recommendation of the jury-the petition of the city of London'

1 From Prior's imitation of Gualterus Danistonus ad Amicos; the poem mentioned by Boswell in his Hebrides, Aug. 18, 1773. * Copy is manuscript for printing.

* Hawkins (Life, p. 521) says that the jury did not at the trial recommend Dodd to mercy. To one of the petitions 'Mrs. Dodd first got the hands of the jury that found the bill against her husband, and after that, as it is supposed, of the jury that tried him.' Ib. p. 527. He says that the public were at first very little interested in his fate, 'but by various artifices, and particularly the insertion of his name in the public papers, with such palliatives as he and his friends could invent, never without the epithet of unfortunate, they were betrayed into such an enthusiastic commiseration of his case, as would have led a stranger to believe that himself had been no accessory to his distresses, but that they were the inflictions of Providence.' Ib. p. 520. Johnson wrote to Dr. Taylor on May 19:-'Poor Dodd was sentenced last week. . . I am afraid he will suffer. The clergy seem not to be his friends. The populace, that was extremely clamorous against him, begins to pity him.' Notes and Queries, 6th S., v. 423.

Horace Walpole says 'the criminal was raised to the dignity of a


Aetat. 68.]

The King and death warrants.


and a subsequent petition signed by three-and-twenty thousand hands. Surely the voice of the publick, when it calls so loudly, and calls only for mercy, ought to be heard'.

'The saying that was given me in the papers I never spoke; but I wrote many of his petitions, and some of his letters. He applied to me very often. He was, I am afraid, long flattered with hopes of life; but I had no part in the dreadful delusion; for, as soon as the King had signed his sentence', I obtained from Mr.

confessor in the eyes of the people—but an inexorable judge had already pronounced his doom. Lord Mansfield, who never felt pity, and never relented unless terrified, had indecently declared for execution even before the judges had given their opinion. An incident that seemed favourable weighed down the vigorous [qu. rigorous] scale. The Common Council had presented a petition for mercy to the king. Lord Mansfield, who hated the popular party as much as he loved severity, was not likely to be moved by such intercessors. At Court it grew the language that the king must discountenance such interposition.' Walpole adds that ‘as an attempt to rescue Dodd might be apprehended, two thousand men were ordered to be reviewed in Hyde Park during the execution.' Journal of the Reign of George III, ii. 125.


1 Johnson, in the 'Observations inserted in the newspapers' (post, p. 162), said 'that though the people cannot judge of the administration of justice so well as their governors, yet their voice has always been regarded. That if the people now commit an error, their error is on the part of mercy; and that perhaps history cannot shew a time in which the life of a criminal, guilty of nothing above fraud, was refused to the cry of nations, to the joint supplication of three and twenty thousand petitioners.' Hawkins's Johnson, p. 528. Johnson's earnestness as a petitioner contrasts with the scornful way in which he had spoken of petitions. There must be no yielding to encourage this,' the minister might have answered in his own words. Ante, ii. 104.

'The king signs no sentences or death warrants; but out of respect to the Royal prerogative of mercy, expressed by the old adage, ‹ The King's face gives grace,' the cases of criminals convicted in London, where the king is supposed to be resident, were reported to him by the recorder, that his Majesty might have an option of pardoning. Hence it was seriously doubted whether a recorder's report need or, indeed, could be made at Windsor. All his Majesty did on these occasions was, to express verbally his assent or dissent to or from the execution of the sentence; and, though the king was on such occasions attended by his Ministers and the great legal Privy Councillors,



The Moravians.

[A.D. 1777. Chamier' an account of the disposition of the court towards him, with a declaration that there was no hope even of a respite. This letter immediately was laid before Dodd; but he believed those whom he wished to be right, as it is thought, till within three days of his end. He died with pious composure and resolution. I have just seen the Ordinary that attended him. His address to his fellow-convicts offended the Methodists'; but he had a Moravian with him much of his time. His moral character is very

the business was not technically a council business, but the individual act of the King. On the accession of Queen Victoria, the nature of some cases that it might be necessary to report to her Majesty occasioned the abrogation of a practice which was certainly so far unreasonable that it made a difference between London and all the rest of the kingdom. CROKER. 'I was exceedingly shocked,' said Lord Eldon, the first time I attended to hear the Recorder's report, at the careless manner in which, as it appeared to me, it was conducted. We were called upon to decide on sentences affecting no less than the lives of men, and yet there was nothing laid before us to enable us to judge whether there had or had not been any extenuating circumstances; it was merely a recapitulation of the judge's opinion and the sentence. I resolved that I never would attend another report, without having read and duly considered the whole of the evidence of each case, and I never did.' Twiss's Eldon, i. 398.

' Under - Secretary of State and a member of the Literary Club. Ante, i. 553.

' Johnson does not here let Boswell know that he had written this address (post, p. 161). Wesley, two days before Dodd's execution, records (Journal, iv. 99) :—' I saw Dr. Dodd for the last time. He was in exactly such a temper as I wished. He never at any time expressed the least murmuring or resentment at any one; but entirely and calmly gave himself up to the will of God. Such a prisoner I scarce ever saw before; much less such a condemned malefactor. I should think none could converse with him without acknowledging that God is with him.' In earlier years Wesley was more than once refused admittance to a man under sentence of death who was 'earnestly desirous' to speak with him. Wesley's Journal, ed. 1827, i. 255, 292, 378. 'Between the Methodists and the Moravians there was no goodwill. In 1749 the Moravians published a declaration that 'whosoever reckons that those persons in England who are usually called Moravians, and those who are called Methodists, are the same, he is mistaken.' Thereupon Wesley recorded in his Journal, ii. 120:—'The Methodists, so called, heartily thank Brother Louis for his Declara


Aetat. 68.] A letter from Melancthon's tomb.


bad; I hope all is not true that is charged upon him. Of his behaviour in prison an account will be published.

'I give you joy of your country-house, and your pretty garden; and hope some time to see you in your felicity. I was much pleased with your two letters that had been kept so long in store';

tion; as they count it no honour to be in any connexion either with him or his Brethren.'

1 Since they have been so much honoured by Dr. Johnson I shall here insert them:



'You know my solemn enthusiasm of mind. You love me for it, and I respect myself for it, because in so far I resemble Mr. Johnson. You will be agreeably surprized when you learn the reason of my writing this letter. I am at Wittemberg in Saxony. I am in the old church where the Reformation was first preached, and where some of the reformers lie interred. I cannot resist the serious pleasure of writing to Mr. Johnson from the Tomb of Melancthon. My paper rests upon the gravestone of that great and good man, who was undoubtedly the worthiest of all the reformers. He wished to reform abuses which had been introduced into the Church; but had no private resentment to gratify. So mild was he, that when his aged mother consulted him with anxiety on the perplexing disputes of the times, he advised her "to keep to the old religion." At this tomb, then, my ever dear and respected friend! I vow to thee an eternal attachment. It shall be my study to do what I can to render your life happy: and, if you die before me, I shall endeavour to do honour to your memory; and, elevated by the remembrance of you, persist in noble piety. May GOD, the Father of all beings, ever bless you! and may you continue to love,

'Your most affectionate friend, and devoted servant,

'Sunday, Sept. 30, 1764.'



'Wilton-house, April 22, 1775.

'Every scene of my life confirms the truth of what you have told me, "there is no certain happiness in this state of being."—I am here, amidst all that you know is at Lord Pembroke's; and yet I am weary and gloomy. I am just setting out for the house of an old friend in Devonshire, and shall not get back to London for a week yet. You said to me last Good-Friday, with a cordiality that warmed my heart, that if I came to settle in London, we should have a day fixed every


« PrejšnjaNaprej »