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Dr. Doddridge's epigram.
pressed him much to come to Wellwyn. He always in tended it, but never went'. He was sorry when Young died. The cause of quarrel between Young and his son, he told us, was, that his son insisted Young should turn away a clergyman's widow, who lived with him, and who, having acquired great influence over the father, was saucy to the son. Dr. Johnson said, she could not conceal her resentment at him, for saying to Young, that an old man should not resign himself to the management of any body.' I asked him, if there was any improper connection between them. 'No, Sir, no more than between two statues. He was past fourscore, and she a very coarse woman. She read to him, and I suppose made his coffee, and frothed his chocolate, and did such things as an old man wishes to have done for him.'
Dr. Doddridge being mentioned, he observed that he was author of one of the finest epigrams in the English language. It is in Orton's Life of him". The subject is his family motto,-Dum vivimus, vivamus; which, in its primary signification, is, to be sure, not very suitable to a Christian divine; but he paraphrased it thus:
"Live, while you live, the epicure would say,
How then (if malice rul'd not all the fair)
Love of Fame, Satire v.
Johnson called on Young's son at Welwyn in June, 1781. Ante,
iv. 138. Croft, in his Life of Young (Johnson's Works, viii. 453), says that 'Young and his housekeeper were ridiculed with more ill-nature than wit in a kind of novel published by Kidgell in 1755, called The Card, under the name of Dr. Elwes and Mrs. Fusby.'
'Memoirs of Philip Doddridge, ed. 1766, p. 171.
Hume a Tory by chance.
I asked if it was not strange that government should permit so many infidel writings to pass without censure. JOHNSON. 'Sir, it is mighty foolish. It is for want of knowing their own power. The present family on the throne came to the crown against the will of nine tenths of the people'. Whether those nine tenths were right or wrong, it is not our business now to enquire. But such being the situation of the royal family, they were glad to encourage all who would be their friends. Now you know every bad man is a Whig; every man who has loose notions. The church was all against this family. They were, as I say, glad to encourage any friends; and therefore, since their accession, there is no instance of any man being kept back on account of his bad principles; and hence this inundation of impiety'.' I observed that Mr. Hume, some of whose writings were very unfavourable to religion, was, however, a Tory. JOHNSON. 'Sir, Hume is a Tory by chance3 as being a Scotchman; but not upon a principle of duty; for he has no principle. If he is any thing, he is a Hobbist.'
There was something not quite serene in his humour tonight, after supper; for he spoke of hastening away to London, without stopping much at Edinburgh, I reminded him that he had General Oughton and many others to see. JOHNSON. Nay, I shall neither go in jest, nor stay in jest. I shall do what is fit.' BOSWELL. Ay, Sir, but all I desire is, that you will let me tell you when it is fit.' JOHNSON. 'Sir, I shall not consult you.' BOSWELL. If you are to run away from us, as soon as you get loose, we will keep you confined in an island.' He was, however, on the whole, very good company. Mr. Donald M'Leod expressed very well the gradual impression made by Dr. Johnson on those who are so fortunate as to obtain his acquaintance.
'So late as 1783 he said this Hanoverian family is isolée here.' Ante, iv. 190.
'See ante, ii. 93, where he hoped that this gloom of infidelity was only a transient cloud.'
Boswell has recorded this saying, ante, iv. 224.
On keeping records.
you see him first, you are struck with awful reverence;-then you admire him;-and then you love him cordially.'
I read this evening some part of Voltaire's History of the War in 1741', and of Lord Kames against Hereditary Indefeasible Right. This is a very slight circumstance, with which I should not trouble my reader, but for the sake of observing that every man should keep minutes of whatever he reads. Every circumstance of his studies should be recorded; what books he has consulted; how much of them he has read; at what times; how often the same authors; and what opinions he formed of them, at different periods. of his life. Such an account would much illustrate the history of his mind2.
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 1.
I shewed to Dr. Johnson verses in a magazine, on his Dictionary, composed of uncommon words taken from it :
'Little of Anthropopathy has he,' &c.
He read a few of them, and said, 'I am not answerable for all the words in my Dictionary.' I told him that Garrick kept a book of all who had either praised or abused him. On the subject of his own reputation, he said, 'Now that I see it has been so current a topick, I wish I had done so too; but it could not well be done now, as so many things are scattered in news-papers.' He said he was angry at a boy of Oxford, who wrote in his defence against Kenrick; because it was doing him hurt to answer Kenrick. He was told afterwards, the boy was to come to him to ask a favour. He first thought to treat him rudely, on account of his
In 1755 an English version of this work had been published. Gent. Mag. 1755, p. 574. In the Chronological Catalogue on p. 343 in vol. 66 of Voltaire's Works, ed. 1819, it is entered as 'Histoire de la Guerre de 1741, fondue en partie dans le Précis du siècle de Louis XV.
' Boswell is here merely repeating Johnson's words, who on April II of this year, advising him to keep a journal, had said, 'The great thing to be recorded is the state of your own mind.' Ante, ii. 249. This word is not in his Dictionary.
Attacks on authors useful to them.
meddling in that business; but then he considered, he had meant to do him all the service in his power, and he took another resolution; he told him he would do what he could for him, and did so; and the boy was satisfied. He said, he did not know how his pamphlet was done, as he had read very little of it. The boy made a good figure at Oxford, but died'. He remarked, that attacks on authors did them much service. A man who tells me my play is very bad, is less my enemy than he who lets it die in silence. A man whose business it is to be talked of, is much helped by being attacked'.' Garrick, I observed, had been often so helped. JOHNSON. 'Yes, Sir; though Garrick had more opportunities than almost any man, to keep the publick in mind of him, by exhibiting himself to such numbers, he would not have had so much reputation, had he not been so much attacked. Every attack produces a defence; and so attention is engaged. There is no sport in mere praise, when people are all of a mind.' BOSWELL. Then Hume is not the worse for Beattie's attack'?' JOHNSON. He is, because Beattie has
See ante, i. 576.
' See ante, ii. 70, 384; iii. 426, and post, under Nov. 11.
'Beattie had attacked Hume in his Essay on Truth (ante, ii. 231 and v. 31). Reynolds this autumn had painted Beattie in his gown of an Oxford Doctor of Civil Law, with his Essay under his arm. 'The angel of Truth is going before him, and beating down the Vices, Envy, Falsehood, &c., which are represented by a group of figures falling at his approach, and the principal head in this group is made an exact likeness of Voltaire. When Dr. Goldsmith saw this picture, he was very indignant at it, and said:"It very ill becomes a man of your eminence and character, Sir Joshua, to condescend to be a mean flatterer, or to wish to degrade so high a genius as Voltaire before so mean a writer as Dr. Beattie; for Dr. Beattie and his book together will, in the space of ten years, not be known ever to have been in existence, but your allegorical picture and the fame of Voltaire will live for ever to your disgrace as a flatterer." Northcote's Reynolds, i. 300. Another of the figures was commonly said to be a portrait of Hume; but Forbes (Life of Beattie, ed. 1824, p. 158) says he had reason to believe that Sir Joshua had no thought either of Hume or Voltaire. Beattie's Essay is so much a thing of the past that Dr. J. H. Burton does not, I believe, take the trouble ever to mention it in his Life of
Old Bentley's saying.
confuted him. I do not say, but that there may be some attacks which will hurt an author. Though Hume suffered from Beattie, he was the better for other attacks.' (He certainly could not include in that number those of Dr. Adams', and Mr. Tytler.) BOSWELL. 'Goldsmith is the better for attacks.' JOHNSON. 'Yes, Sir; but he does not think so yet. When Goldsmith and I published, each of us something, at the same time', we were given to understand that we might review each other. Goldsmith was for accepting the offer. I said, No; set Reviewers at defiance. It was said to old Bentley, upon the attacks against him, "Why, they'll write you down." "No, Sir," he replied; "depend upon it, no man was ever written down but by himself."
Hume. Burns did not hold with Goldsmith, for he took Beattie's side:'Hence sweet harmonious Beattie sung His Minstrel lays; Or tore, with noble ardour stung, The Sceptic's bays.'
(The Vision, part ii.)
1 See ante, ii. 505.
' William Tytler published in 1759 an Examination of the Histories of Dr. Robertson and Mr. Hume with respect to Mary Queen of Scots. It was reviewed by Johnson. Ante, i. 410.
'Johnson's Rasselas was published in either March or April, and Goldsmith's Polite Learning in April of 1759. I do not find that they published any other works at the same time. If these are the works meant, we have a proof that the two writers knew each other earlier than was otherwise known.
A learned prelate accidentally met Bentley in the days of Phalaris; and after having complimented him on that noble piece of criticism (the Answer to the Oxford Writers) he bad him not be discouraged at this run upon him, for tho' they had got the laughers on their side, yet mere wit and raillery could not long hold out against a work of so much merit. To which the other replied, "Indeed Dr. S. [Sprat], I am in no pain about the matter. For I hold it as certain, that no man was ever written out of reputation but by himself." Warburton on Pope, iv. 159, quoted in Porson's Tracts, p. 345. Against personal abuse,' says Hawkins (Life, p. 348), Johnson was ever armed by a reflection that I have heard him utter:-"Alas! reputation would be of little worth, were it in the power of every concealed enemy to deprive