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Lord Auchinleck's courtesy.
was in consequence of my saying that he was a constellation of genius and literature. It was a sly abrupt expression to one of his brethren on the bench of the Court of Session, in which Dr. Johnson was then standing; but it was not said in his hearing.
SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 7. My father and I went to publick worship in our parishchurch, in which I regretted that Dr. Johnson would not join us; for, though we have there no form of prayer, nor magnificent solemnity, yet, as God is worshipped in spirit and in truth, and the same doctrines preached as in the Church of England, my friend would certainly have shewn more liberality, had he attended. I doubt not, however, but he employed his time in private to very good purpose. His uniform and fervent piety was manifested on many occasions during our Tour, which I have not mentioned. His reason for not joining in Presbyterian worship has been recorded in a former page'.
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 8. Notwithstanding the altercation that had passed, my father, who had the dignified courtesy of an old Baron, was very civil to Dr. Johnson, and politely attended him to the post-chaise, which was to convey us to Edinburgh'.
iii. 371. For the epithet bear applied to Johnson see ante, ii. 75, 308, note 2, and iv. 131, note 2. Boswell wrote on June 19, 1775 3 My father harps on my going over Scotland with a brute (think, how shockingly erroneous !), and wandering (or some such phrase) to London.' Letters of Boswell, p. 207.
" It is remarkable that Johnson in his Life of Blackmore [Works, viii. 42] calls the imaginary Mr. Johnson of the Lay Monastery 'a constellation of excellence. CROKER.
· Page 138. BOSWELL. See also ante, iii. 382. 3. The late Sir Alexander Boswell,' wrote Sir Walter Scott, was a proud man, and, like his grandfather, thought that his father lowered himself by his deferential suit and service to Johnson. I have observed he disliked any allusion to the book or to Johnson himself, and I have heard that Johnson's fine picture by Sir Joshua was sent
Arrival at Edinburgh.
Thus they parted. They are now in another, and a higher, state of existence : and as they were both worthy Christian men, I trust they have met in happiness. But I must observe, in justice to my friend's political principles, and my own, that they have met in a place where there is no room for Whiggism'.
We came at night to a good inn at Hamilton. I recollect
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 9. I wished to have shewn Dr. Johnson the Duke of Hamilton's house, commonly called the Palace of Hamilton, which is close by the town. It is an object which, having been pointed out to me as a splendid edifice, from my earliest years, in travelling between Auchinleck and Edinburgh, has still great grandeur in my imagination. My friend consented to stop, and view the outside of it, but could not be persuaded to go into it.
We arrived this night at Edinburgh, after an absence of eighty-three day. For five weeks together, of the tempestuous season, there had been no account received of us. I cannot express how happy I was on finding myself again at home.
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 10. Old Mr. Drummond, the bookseller", came to breakfast. Dr. Johnson and he had not met for ten years. There was respect on his side, and kindness on Dr. Johnson's. Soon afterwards Lord Elibank came in, and was much pleased at seeing Dr. Johnson in Scotland. His lordship said, “hardly any thing seemed to him more improbable. Dr. Johnson had a very high opinion of him. Speaking of him to me, he
upstairs out of the sitting apartments at Auchinleck.' Croker Corres. ii. 32. This portrait, which was given by Sir Joshua to Boswell (Taylor's Reynolds, i. 147), is now in the possession of Mr. Charles Morrison.
"I have always said the first Whig was the devil.' Ante, iii. 371. · See ante, ii. 30.
characterized him thus: “Lord Elibank has read a great deal. It is true, I can find in books all that he has read ; but he has a great deal of what is in books, proved by the test of real life. Indeed, there have been few men whose conversation discovered more knowledge enlivened by fancy. He published several small pieces of distinguished merit; and has left some in manuscript, in particular an account of the expedition against Carthagena, in which he served as an officer in the army. His writings deserve to be collected. He was the early patron of Dr. Robertson, the historian, and Mr. Home, the tragick poet; who, when they were ministers of country parishes, lived near his seat.
He told me, ' I saw these lads had talents, and they were much with me.' I hope they will pay a grateful tribute to his memory'.
The morning was chiefly taken up by Dr. Johnson's giving him an account of our Tour. The subject of difference in political principles was introduced. JOHNSON. “It is much increased by opposition. There was a violent Whig, with whom I used to contend with great eagerness. After
' Dr. A. Carlyle (Auto. p. 266) has paid this tribute. “Lord Elibank, he writes, ‘had a mind that embraced the greatest variety of topics, and produced the most original remarks. ... He had been a lieutenant-colonel in the army and was at the siege of Carthagena, of which he left an elegant account (which I'm afraid is lost). He was a Jacobite, and a member of the famous Cocoa-tree Club, and resigned his commission on some disgust.' Dr. Robertson and John Home were his neighbours in the country, who made him change or soften down many of his original opinions, and prepared him for becoming a most agreeable member of the Literary Society of Edinburgh.' Smollett in Humphry Clinker (Letter of July 18), describes him as “a nobleman whom I have long revered for his humanity and universal intelligence, over and above the entertainment arising from the originality of his character.' Boswell, in the London Mag. 1779, p. 179, thus mentions the Cocoa-tree Club:-But even at Court, though I see much external obeisance, I do not find congenial sentiments to warm my heart; and except when I have the conversation of a very few select friends, I am never so well as when I sit down to a dish of coffee in the Cocoa Tree, sacred of old to loyalty, look round me to men of ancient families, and please myself with the consolatory thought that there is perhaps more good in the nation than I know.'
his death I felt my Toryism much abated.' I
I suppose he meant Mr. Walmsley of Lichfield, whose character he has drawn so well in his Life of Edmund Smith'.
Mr. Nairne' came in, and he and I accompanied Dr. Johnson to Edinburgh Castle, which he owned was a great place.' But I must mention, as a striking instance of that spirit of contradiction to which he had a strong propensity, when Lord Elibank was some days after talking of it with the natural elation of a Scotchman, or of any man who is proud of a stately fortress in his own country, Dr. Johnson affected to despise it, observing that it would make a good prison in ENGLAND.'
Lest it should be supposed that I have suppressed one of his sallies against my country, it may not be improper here to correct a mistaken account that has been circulated, as to his conversation this day. It has been said, that being desired to attend to the noble prospect from the Castle-hill, he replied, “Sir, the noblest prospect that a Scotchman ever sees, is the high road that leads him to London.' This lively sarcasm was thrown out at a tavern in Londono, in my presence, many years before.
We had with us to-day at dinner, at my house, the Lady Dowager Colvill, and Lady Anne Erskine, sister of the Earl of Kelly* ; the Honourable Archibald Erskine, who has now succeeded to that title: Lord Elibank; the Reverend Dr. Blair ; Mr. Tytler, the acute vindicator of Mary Queen of Scots, and some other friends.
Johnson's Works, vii. 380. See ante, i. 94. · See ante, p. 60.
The Mitre Tavern. Ante, i. 493. * Of this Earl of Kelly Boswell records the following pun :- At a dinner at Mr. Crosbie's, when the company were very merry, the Rev. Dr. Webster told them he was sorry to go away so early, but was obliged to catch the tide, to cross the Firth of Forth. “Better stay a little,” said Thomas Earl of Kelly, “till you be half-seas over." Rogers's Boswelliana, p. 325.
* See ante, i. 410.
. In the first edition, and his son the advocate. Under this son, A. F. Tytler, afterwards a Lord of Session by the title of Lord Wood
Fingal being talked of, Dr. Johnson, who used to boast that he had, from the first, resisted both Ossian' and the Giants of Patagonia’, averred his positive disbelief of its authenticity. Lord Elibank said, 'I am sure it is not M.Pherson's. Mr. Johnson, I keep company a great deal with you; it is known I do. I may borrow from you better things than I can say myself, and give them as my own; but, if I should, every body will know whose they are.' The Doctor was not softened by this compliment. He denied merit to Fingal, supposing it to be the production of a man who has had the advantages that the present age affords; and said, ‘nothing is more easy than to write enough in that style if once you begin'. 'One gentleman in company' expressing
houselee, Scott studied history at Edinburgh College. Lockhart's Scott, ed. 1839, i. 59, 278.
See ante, i. 458, and ii. 339. • If we know little of the ancient Highlanders, let us not fill the vacuity with Ossian. If we have not searched the Magellanick regions, let us however forbear to people them with Patagons.” Johnson's Works, ix. 116. Horace Walpole wrote on May 22, 1766 (Letters, iv. 500) :
-Oh! but we have discovered a race of giants! Captain Byron has found a nation of Brobdignags on the coast of Patagonia ; the inhabitants on foot taller than he and his men on horseback. I don't indeed know how he and his sailors came to be riding in the South Seas. However, it is a terrible blow to the Irish, for I suppose all our dowagers now will be marrying Patagonians.'
3 I desire not to be understood as agreeing entirely with the opinions of Dr. Johnson, which I relate without any remark. The many imitations, however, of Fingal, that have been published, confirm this observation in a considerable degree. BOSWELL. Johnson said to Sir Joshua of Ossian :— Sir, a man might write such stuff for ever, if he would abandon his mind to it.' Ante, iv. 211. * In the first edition (p. 485) this paragraph ran thus :
-Young Mr. Tytler stepped briskly forward, and said, “ Fingal is certainly genuine; for I have heard a great part of it repeated in the original.”Dr. John indignantly asked him, “Sir, do you understand the original ?"- Tytler. “No, Sir.”—Johnson. “Why, then, we see to what this testimony comes :-Thus it is."--He afterwards said to me, “ Did you observe the wonderful confidence with which young Tytler advanced, with his front already brased?" * For in company we should perhaps read in the company.