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'The summer has been foolishly lost, like many other of my summers and winters. I hardly saw a green field, but staid in town to work, without working much.' Ante, iii. 501.
1784. Johnson's wish to go to Italy in the last year of his life was caused by the hope that it might be good for his health. do not,' he wrote, 'travel for pleasure or curiosity; yet if I should recover,' he added, 'curiosity would revive.' Post, iv. 401.
Mrs. Piozzi, without however giving the year, records :
'Dr. Johnson was very angry with a gentleman at our house for not being better company, and urged that he had travelled into Bohemia and seen Prague. "Surely," added he, "the man who has seen Prague might tell us something new and something strange, and not sit silent for want of matter to put his lips in motion.' Piozzi's Journey, ii. 317.
All these passages shew, what indeed is evident enough from the text, that it was not travelling in general but travelling between the ages of nineteen and twenty-four, with a character unformed, a memory unstored, and a judgment untrained, that Johnson attacked. It was a common habit in his day to send young men of fortune to make the tour of Europe, as it was called, at an age when they would now be sent to either Oxford or Cambridge. Lord Charlemont was but eighteen when he left England. Locke, at the end of his work on Education, said in 1692 much the same as Johnson said in 1778.
The ordinary time of travel,' he wrote, is from sixteen to one and twenty.' He would send any one either at a younger age than sixteen under a tutor, or at an older age than twenty-one without a tutor; 'when he is of age to govern himself, and make observations of what he finds in other countries worthy his notice, . . . and when, too, being thoroughly acquainted with the laws and fashions, the natural and moral advantages and defects of his own country, he has something to exchange with those abroad, from whose conversation he hoped to reap any knowledge.'
Goldsmith, in his Present State of Polite Learning, ch. xiii, wrote in 1759
'We see more of the world by travel, but more of human nature by remaining at home. . . . A youth just landed at the Brille resembles a clown at a puppet-show; carries his amazement from one miracle to another; from this cabinet of curiosities to that collection of pictures; but wondering is not the way to grow wise. . . . The greatest advantages
advantages which result to youth from travel are an easy address, the shaking off national prejudices, and the finding nothing ridic ulous in national peculiarities. The time spent in these acquisitions could have been more usefully employed at home.' Gibbon (Misc. Works, i. 197) says that 'the previous and indispensable requisites of foreign travel are age, judgment, a competent knowledge of men and books, and a freedom from domestic prejudices.'
When he was only eighteen years old he saw the evils of early travelling:
I never liked young travellers; they go too raw to make any great remarks, and they lose a time which is (in my opinion) the most precious part of a man's life.' Ib. p. 98.
Cowper, in his Progress of Error (ed. 1782, i. 60), describes how
His stock, a few French phrases got by heart,
Returning he proclaims by many a grace,
By shrugs and strange contortions of his face,
ELECTION OF LORD MAYORS OF LONDON.
IN the years 1751-2-3, the Lord Mayor was not appointed by rotation; Sir G. Champion, the senior Alderman, being accused of a leaning towards Spain. From 1754 to 1765 (inclusive) if there was in any year a contest, yet in each case the senior Alderman nominated was chosen. From 1766 to 1775 (inclusive) there was in every year a departure from the order of seniority. In 1776-8 the order of seniority was again observed; so that two years before Johnson made his remark the irregularity had come to an end. This information I owe to the kindness of Mr. Scott, the excellent Chamberlain of the City. Sir George Champion had
been passed over in the year 1739 also. In an address to the Liverymen he says that 'the disorders and great disturbance to the peace of the city, which in former times had been occasioned by the over-eagerness of some, too ambitious and impatient to obtain this great honour, had been quieted' by the adoption of the order of seniority. Gent. Mag. 1739, p. 595. Among the Lord Mayors from 1769–1775 (inclusive) we find Beckford, Trecothick, Crosby, Townshend, Bull, Wilkes, and Sawbridge. 'Where did Beckford and Trecothick learn English?' asked Johnson (ante, iii. 87). Crosby, in the year of his mayoralty (1770-1), was committed to the Tower by the House of Commons, for having himself committed to prison a messenger of the House when attempting to arrest the printer of the London Evening Debates, who was accused of a breach of privilege in reporting the Debates (Parl. Hist. xvii. 155). Townshend in the same year refused to pay the land-tax, on the plea that his county (Middlesex) was no longer represented, as Wilkes's election had been annulled (Walpole's Letters, v. 348). Bull in the House of Commons violently attacked Lord North's ministry (Parl. Hist. xix. 980). Sawbridge, year after year, brought into Parliament a bill for shortening the duration of parliaments. During his Mayoralty he would not suffer the pressgangs to enter the city. (Walpole's Journal of the Reign of George III, ii. 84.)
Among the Aldermen the Court-party had a majority. In April 1769 Wilkes's eligibility for election as an Alderman was not allowed by a majority of ten to six (Walpole's Memoirs of the Reign of George III, iii. 360, and Ann. Reg. xii. 92). On his release from prison in April 1770 he was, however, admitted without a division (ib. xiii. 99). When, in March 1770, the City presented an outspoken remonstrance to the King, sixteen Aldermen protested against it (Walpole's Letters, v. 229). About this time there arose a great division in the popular party in the City. According to Lord Albemarle, in his Memoirs of Rockingham, ii. 209, from the period of this struggle 'the Whigs and what are now called Radicals became two distinct sections of the Liberal party.' Townshend, who in this followed the lead of Lord Shelburne, headed the more moderate men against Wilkes. The result was that in 1771 each section running a candidate for the Mayoralty, a third man, Nash, who was opposed to both, was returned (Walpole's Memoirs of the Reign of George III, iv. 345, and Ann. Reg. xiv. 146).
The Livery, for a time at least, was Wilkite. Wilkes's name was sent up as Lord Mayor at the top of the list in 1772 and 1773, but he was in each case passed over by the Court of Aldermen. It was not till 1774 that he was elected by a kind of 'Hobson's choice.' The Aldermen had to choose between him and the retiring Lord Mayor, Bull. Walpole, writing of Nov. 1776, says the new Lord Mayor 'invited the Ministers to his feast, to which they had not been asked for seven years' (Journal of the Reign of George III, ii. 84). See Boswell's Hebrides, post, v. 386.
THE INMATES OF JOHNSON'S HOUSE.
IN September of this year (1778) Miss Burney records the following conversation at Streatham:- MRS. THRALE. "Pray, Sir, how does Mrs. Williams like all this tribe?" DR. J. "Madam, she does not like them at all; but their fondness for her is not greater. She and Desmoulins quarrel incessantly; but as they can both be occasionally of service to each other, and as neither of them have any other place to go to, their animosity does not force them to separate." . . . MR. T. “And pray who is clerk of your kitchen, Sir?" DR. J. "Why, Sir, I am afraid there is none; a general anarchy prevails in my kitchen, as I am told by Mr. Levett, who says it is not now what it used to be." MRS. T. "Mr. Levett, I suppose, Sir, has the office of keeping the hospital in health, for he is an apothecary." DR. J. "Levett, Madam, is a brutal fellow, but I have a good regard for him; for his brutality is in his manners, not his mind." MR. T. "But how do you get your dinners drest?" DR. J. "Why, Desmoulins has the chief management of the kitchen; but our roasting is not magnificent, for we have no jack." MR. T. "No jack! Why, how do they manage without?" DR. J. "Small joints, I believe, they manage with a string, and larger are done at the tavern. I have some thoughts (with a profound gravity) of buying a jack, because I think a jack is some credit to a house." MR. T. "Well, but you'll have a spit too." DR. J. "No, Sir, no; that would be superfluous;
for we shall never use it; and if a jack is seen, a spit will be presumed." MRS. T. "But pray, Sir, who is the Poll you talk of? She that you used to abet in her quarrels with Mrs. Williams, and call out, At her again, Poll! Never flinch, Poll" DR. J. "Why, I took to Poll very well at first, but she won't do upon a nearer examination." MRS. T. "How came she among you, Sir?" DR.
J. "Why, I don't rightly remember, but we could spare her very well from us. Poll is a stupid slut. I had some hopes of her at first; but when I talked to her tightly and closely, I could make nothing of her; she was wiggle waggle, and I could never persuade her to be categorical." Mme. D'Arblay's Diary, i. 114.
More than a year later Johnson wrote to Mrs. Thrale :-' Discord keeps her residence in this habitation, but she has for some time been silent. We have much malice, but no mischief. Levett is rather a friend to Williams, because he hates Desmoulins more. A thing that he should hate more than Desmoulins is not to be found.' Piozzi Letters, ii. 8o. Mrs. Piozzi (Anec. p. 213) says He really was oftentimes afraid of going home, because he was so sure to be met at the door with numberless complaints; and he used to lament pathetically to me that they made his life miserable from the impossibility he found of making theirs happy, when every favour he bestowed on one was wormwood to the rest. If, however, I ventured to blame their ingratitude, and condemn their conduct, he would instantly set about softening the one and justifying the other; and finished commonly by telling me, that I knew not how to make allowances for situations I never experienced.' Hawkins (Life, p. 404) says:-'Almost throughout Johnson's life poverty and distressed circumstances seemed to be the strongest of all recommendations to his favour. When asked by one of his most intimate friends, how he could bear to be surrounded by such necessitous and undeserving people as he had about him, his answer was, "If I did not assist them, no one else would, and they must be lost for want." His humanity and generosity, in proportion to his slender income, were,' writes Murphy (Life, p. 146), 'unbounded. It has been truly said that the lame, the blind, and the sorrowful found in his house a sure retreat.' See also ante, iii. 252. At the same time it must be remembered that while Mrs. Desmoulins and Miss Carmichael only brought trouble into the house, in the society of Mrs. Williams and Levett he had real pleasure. See ante, i. 269, note 1, and 282, note 1.