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Practice of the law.
then a child of about four months old. She had the appearance of listening to him. His motions seemed to her to be intended for her amusement; and when he stopped, she fluttered, and made a little infantine noise, and a kind of signal for him to begin again. She would be held close to him ; which was a proof, from simple nature, that his figure was not horrid. Her fondness for him endeared her still more to me, and I declared she should have five hundred pounds of additional fortune'.
We talked of the practice of the law. Sir William Forbes said, he thought an honest lawyer should never undertake a cause which he was satisfied was not a just one. “Sir, (said
' Mr. Johnson,) a lawyer has no business with the justice or injustice of the cause which he undertakes, unless his client asks his opinion, and then he is bound to give it honestly. The justice or injustice of the cause is to be decided by the judge. Consider, Sir; what is the purpose of courts of justice? It is, that every man may have his cause fairly tried, by men appointed to try causes. A lawyer is not to tell what he knows to be a lie: he is not to produce what he knows to be a false deed; but he is not to usurp the
province of the jury and of the judge, and determine what shall be the effect of evidence,—what shall be the result of legal argument. As it rarely happens that a man is fit to plead his own cause, lawyers are a class of the community, who, by study and experience, have acquired the art and power of arranging evidence, and of applying to the points
love for the public, neglected to his ruin. His thoughts went slow and his words came much slower; but a deep judgment appeared in everything he said or did. I may be, perhaps, inclined to carry his character too far; for he was the first man that entered into friendship with me.' Burnet's History, ed. 1818, i. 111. “The ninth Earl succeeded as fifth Earl of Elgin and thus united the two dignities.' Burke's Peerage. Boswell's quotation is from Persius, Satires, i. 27: •Scire tuum nihil est, nisi te scire hoc sciat alter.' It is the motto to The Spectator, No. 379.
i She died four months after her father. I cannot find that she received this additional fortune.
at issue what the law has settled. A lawyer is to do for his client all that his client might fairly do for himself, if he could. If, by a superiority of attention, of knowledge, of skill, and a better method of communication, he has the advantage of his adversary, it is an advantage to which he is entitled. There must always be some advantage, on one side or other; and it is better that advantage should be had by talents than by chance. If lawyers were to undertake no causes till they were sure they were just, a man might be precluded altogether from a trial of his claim, though, were it judicially examined, it might be found a very just claim'. This was sound practical doctrine, and rationally repressed a too refined scrupulosity of conscience.
Emigration was at this time a common topick of discourse. Dr. Johnson regretted it as hurtful to human happiness: 'For (said he) it spreads mankind, which weakens the defence of a nation, and lessens the comfort of living. Men, thinly scattered, make a shift, but a bad shift, without many things. A smith is ten miles off: they'll do without a nail or a staple. A taylor is far from them: they'll botch their own clothes. It is being concentrated which produces high convenience'.'
1 See ante, ii. 53.
• See ante, iii. 262. Johnson (Works, ix. 33) speaks of the general dissatisfaction which is now driving the Highlanders into the other hemisphere.' This dissatisfaction chiefly arose from the fact that the chiefs were 'gradually degenerating from patriarchal rulers to rapacious landlords.' Ib. p. 86. “That the people may not fly from the increase of rent I know not whether the general good does not require that the landlords be, for a time, restrained in their demands, and kept quiet by pensions proportionate to their loss ... It affords a legislator little self-applause to consider, that where there was formerly an insurrection there is now a wilderness. Ib. p. 94. •As the world has been let in upon the people, they have heard of happier climates and less arbitrary government. 16. p. 128.
• To a man that ranges the streets of London, where he is tempted to contrive wants for the pleasure of supplying them, a shop affords no image worthy of attention ; but in an island it turns the balance 30
Lord Chief Baron Orde.
Sir William Forbes, Mr. Scott, and I, accompanied Mr. Johnson to the chapel', founded by Lord Chief Baron Smith, for the Service of the Church of England. The Reverend Mr. Carre, the senior clergyman, preached from these words, 'Because the Lord reigneth, let the earth be be glad?.' I was sorry to think Mr. Johnson did not attend to the sermon, Mr. Carre's low voice not being strong enough to reach his hearing. A selection of Mr. Carre's sermons has, since his death, been published by Sir William Forbes', and the world has acknowledged their uncommon merit. I am well assured Lord Mansfield has pronounced them to be excellent.
Here I obtained a promise from Lord Chief Baron Orde', that he would dine at my house next day. I presented Mr. Johnson to his Lordship, who politely said to him, I have not the honour of knowing you ; but I hope for it, and to see you at my house. I am to wait on you tomorrow.' This respectable English judge will be long remembered in Scotland, where he built an elegant house, and lived in it magnificently. His own ample fortune, with the addition of his salary, enabled him to be splendidly hospitable. It may be fortunate for an individual amongst ourselves to be Lord Chief Baron; and a most worthy man now has the
of existence between good and evil. To live in perpetual want of little things is a state, not indeed of torture, but of constant vexation. I have in Sky had some difficulty to find ink for a letter; and if a woman breaks her needle, the work is at a stop.' Works, ix. 127.
1. It was demolished in 1822.' Chambers's Traditions of Edinburgh, i. 215.
9 «The Lord reigneth; let the earth rejoice ; let the multitude of isles be glad thereof.' Psalms, xcvii. 1.
: A brief memoir of Mr. Carre is given in Forbes's Life of Beattie, Appendix Z.
. It was his daughter who gave the name to the new street in which Hume had taken a house by chalking on his wall Sr. DAVID STREET. • Hume's “lass,” judging that it was not meant in honour or reverence, ran into the house much excited, to tell her master how he was made game of. “Never mind, lassie,” he said ; “many a better man has been made a saint of before." J. H. Burton's Hume, ii. 436.
nffice : a man
Mr. Robert Arbuthnot.
office; but, in my opinion, it is better for Scotland in general, that some of our publick employments should be filled by gentlemen of distinction from the south side of the Tweed, as we have the benefit of promotion in England. Such an interchange would make a beneficial mixture of manners, and render our union more complete. Lord Chief Baron Orde was on good terms with us all, in a narrow country filled with jarring interests and keen parties; and, though I well knew his opinion to be the same with my own, he kept himself aloof at a very critical period indeed, when the Douglas cause shook the sacred security of birthright in Scotland to its foundation ; a cause, which had it happened before the Union, when there was no appeal to a British House of Lords, would have left the great fortress of honours and of property in ruins'.
When we got home, Dr. Johnson desired to see my books. He took down Ogden's Sermons on Prayer*, on which I set a very high value, having been much edified by them, and he retired with them to his room. He did not stay long, but soon joined us in the drawing room. I presented to him Mr. Robert Arbuthnot, a relation of the celebrated Dr. Arbuthnot', and a man of literature and taste. To him we were obliged for a previous recommendation, which secured us a very agreeable reception at St. Andrews, and which Dr. Johnson, in his Journey, ascribes to 'some invisible friend'.'
Of Dr. Beattie, Mr. Johnson said, “Sir, he has written like
· The House of Lords reversed the decision of the Court of Session in this cause. See ante, ii. 57, 264.
Ogden was Woodwardian Professor at Cambridge. The sermons were published in 1770. Boswell mentions them so often that in Rowlandson's caricatures of the tour he is commonly represented as having them in his hand or pocket. See ante, iii. 281.
• • Talking of the eminent writers in Queen Anne's reign, Johnson observed, “ I think Dr. Arbuthnot the first man among them.”' Ante,
• We found that by the interposition of some invisible friend lodgings had been provided for us at the house of one of the professors, whose easy civility quickly made us forget that we were strangers. Works, ix. 3.
Boswell's intimacy with Hume. (August 15.
a man conscious of the truth, and feeling his own strength'. Treating your adversary with respect is giving him an advantage to which he is not entitled'. The greatest part of men cannot judge of reasoning, and are impressed by character; so that, if you allow your adversary a respectable character, they will think, that though you differ from him, you may be in the wrong. Sir, treating your adversary with respect, is striking soft in a battle. And as to Hume,-a man who has so much conceit as to tell all mankind that they have been bubbled for ages, and he is the wise man who sees better than they,—a man who has so little scrupulosity as to venture to oppose those principles which have been thought necessary to human happiness,-is he to be surprized if another man comes and laughs at him? If ne is the great man he thinks himself, all this cannot hurt him : it is like throwing peas against a rock. He added ' something much too rough,' both as to Mr. Hume's head and heart, which I suppress. Violence is, in my opinion, not suitable to the Christian cause. Besides, I always lived on good terms with Mr. Hume, though I have frankly told nim, I was not clear that it was right in me to keep company with him. “But, ( said I,) how much better are you than your books!' He was cheerful, obliging, and instructive; he was charitable to the poor; and many an agreeable hour have I passed with him': I have preserved some
· He is referring to Beattie's Essay on Truth. See post, Oct. 1, and ante, ii. 231.
* See ante, ii. 507, where Johnson, again speaking of Hume, and pernaps of Gibbon, says :- When a man voluntarily engages in an important controversy, he is to do all he can to lessen his antagonist, because authority from personal respect has much weight with most people, and often more than reasoning.'
3 Johnson, in his Dictionary, calls bubble 'a cant (slang) word.'
- Boswell wrote to Temple in 1768 :-David [Hume) is really amiable: I always regret to him his unlucky principles, and he smiles al my faith ; but I have a hope which he has not, or pretends not to have. So who has the best of it, my reverend friend ?' Letters of Boswell, p. 151. Dr. A. Carlyle (Auto. pp. 274-5) says :—Mr. Hume