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better had there been more company there." BOSWELL." Might not Mrs. Montagn have been a fourth ?" JOHNSON. Sir, Mrs. Montagu does not make a trade of her wit; but Mrs. Montagu is a very extraordinary woman: she has a constant stream of conversation, and it is always impregnated; it has always meaning." BOSWELL." Mr. Burke has a constant stream of conversation." JOHNSON. "Yes, Sir; if a man were to go by chance at the same time with Burke under a shed, to shun a shower, he would say, 'this is an extraordinary man.' If Burke should go into a stable to see his horse dressed, the ostler would say, 'we have had an extraordinary man here." " BOSWELL. "Foote was a man who never failed in conversation. If he had gone into a stable-" JOHNSON. " Sir, if he had gone into a stable, the ostler would have said, here has been a comical fellow; but he would not have respected him." BosWELL. "And, Sir, the ostler would have answered him, would have given him as good as he brought, as the common saying is." JOHNSON. "Yes, Sir; and Foote would have answered the ostler. When Burke does not descend to be merry, his conversation is very superior indeed. There is no proportion between the powers which he shows in serious talk and in jocularity. When he lets himself down to that, he is in the kennel." I have in another place' opposed, and I hope with success, Dr. Johnson's very singular and erroneous notion as to Mr. Burke's pleasantry. Mr. Windham now said low to me, that he differed from our great friend in this observation; for that Mr. Burke was often very happy in his merriment. It would not have been right for either of us to have contradicted Johnson at this time, in a society all of whom did not know and value Mr. Burke as much as we did. It might have occasioned something more rough, and at any rate would probably have checked the flow of Johnson's good humour. He called to us with a sudden air of exultation, as the thought started in his mind, "O! Gentlemen, I must tell you a very great thing. The Empress of Russia has ordered the 'Rambler' to be translated into the Russian language;2 so I shall be read on the banks of the Wolga. Horace boasts that
1 "Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides."
2 I have since heard that the report was not well founded; but the elation discovered by Johnson, in the belief that it was true, showed a noble ardour for literary fame.
his fame would extend as far as the banks of the Rhone, now the Wolga is farther from me than the Rhone was from Horace." BosWELL. "You must certainly be pleased with this, Sir." JOHNSON. "I am pleased, Sir, to be sure. A man is pleased to find he has succeeded in that which he has endeavoured to do."
One of the company mentioned his having seen a noble person driving in his carriage, and looking exceedingly well, notwithstanding his great age. JOHNSON. "Ah, Sir, that is nothing. Bacon observes, that a stout healthy old man is like a tower undermined."
On Sunday, May 16, I found him alone: he talked of Mrs. Thrale with much concern, saying, "Sir, she has done everything wrong, since Thrale's bridle was off her neck ;" and was proceeding to mention some circumstances which have since been the subject of public discussion, when he was interrupted by the arrival of Dr. Douglas, now Bishop of Salisbury.
Dr. Douglas, upon this occasion, refuted a mistaken notion which is very common in Scotland that the ecclesiastical discipline' of the Church of England, though duly enforced, is insufficient to preserve the morals of the clergy, inasmuch as all delinquents may be screened by appealing to the convocation, which being never authorised by the king to sit for the despatch of business, the appeal never can be heard. Dr. Douglas observed that this was founded upon ignorance; for that the bishops have sufficient power to maintain discipline, and that the sitting of the convocation was wholly immaterial in this respect, it being not a court of judicature, but like a parliament, to make canons and regulations as times may require.
Johnson, talking of the fear of death, said, "Some people are not afraid, because they look upon salvation as the effect of an abso
1 Since the abolition of the High Commission Court in 1640, proceedings against clergymen for ecclesiastical offences (happily, in this country of rare occurrence, when compared with the number of the clergy) have been conducted by the same rules as are observed in other criminal cases in the spiritual courts. That inconveniences have attended their application to such suits is not a recent complaint. "The Archbishop" (Tenison), says Evelyn, in 1696, "told me how unsatisfied he was with the canon law, and how exceedingly unreasonable all their pleadings appeared to him;" and the ecclesiastical commissioners, appointed in 1831, allude in their report to the unnecessary delay, and the large expenses incurred, owing to the present form of proceedings. The report adds, that "the interests of religion evidently require that some provision should be made for the effectual prosecution of suits against clerks, and particularly to restore to the bishops that personal jurisdiction which they originally exercised."-MARKLAND.
lute decree, and think they feel in themselves the marks of sanctification. Others, and those the most rational in my opinion, look upon salvation as conditional; and as they never can be sure that they have complied with the conditions, they are afraid."
In one of his little manuscript diaries about this time I find a short notice, which marks his amiable disposition more certainly than a thousand studied declarations. "Afternoon spent cheerfully and elegantly, I hope without offence to God or man; though in no holy duty, yet in the general exercise and cultivation of benevolence."
On Monday, May 17, I dined with him at Mr. Dilly's, where were Colonel Vallancy, the Reverend Dr. Gibbons, and Mr. Capel Lofft, who, though a most zealous Whig, has a mind so full of learning and knowledge, and so much exercised in various departments, and withal so much liberality, that the stupendous powers of the literary Goliah, though they did not frighten this little David of popular spirit, could not but excite his admiration. There was also Mr. Braithwaite of the post-office, that amiable and friendly man, who with modest and unassuming manners, has associated with many of the wits of the age. Johnson was very quiescent to-day. Perhaps too I was indolent. I find nothing more of him in my notes, but that when I mentioned that I had seen in the king's library sixty-three editions of my favourite Thomas à Kempis,-amongst which it was in eight languages, Latin, German, French, Italian, Spanish, English, Arabic, and Armenian,-he said he thought it unnecessary to collect many editions of a book, which were all the same, except as to the paper and print; he would have the original, and all the translations, and all the editions which had any variation in the text. He approved of the famous collection of the editions of Horace by Douglas,'
1 The mention by Pope (no very delicate one) is in the following lines of the Dunciad, and the subjoined note:
"Bid me with Pollio sup, as well as dine,
There all the learned shall at the labour stand,
"Douglas, a physician of great learning and no less taste; above all, curious in what related to Horace; of whom he collected every edition, translation, and comment, to the number of several hundred volumes."-Dunciad, b. iv. 1 392. Dr. James Douglas was born in Scotland in 1675, and died in London, in 1742. He published some medical works.-C.
mentioned by Pope, who is said to have had a closet filled with them; and he added, every man should try to collect one book in that manner, and present it to a public library."
On Tuesday, May 18, I saw him for a short time in the morning. I told him that the mob had called out as the king passed,1“No Fox, no Fox!" which I did not like. He said, "They were right, Sir." I said, I thought not; for it seemed to be making Mr. Fox the king's competitor. There being no audience, so that there could be no triumph in a victory, he fairly agreed with me. I said it might do very well, if explained thus, "Let us have no Fox," understanding it as a prayer to his majesty not to appoint that gentleman minister.
To open parliament. The Westminster election had concluded only the day before in 1avour of Mr. Fox, whose return, however, was delayed by the requisition for a scrutiny.-C.
Departed Friends-Argument-Testimony-Helen Maria Williams-Knotting-Oxford-New ton on the Prophecies-Nonjurors-Infidel Writers-Church of Rome-Whig and ToryMiss Adams-Fox and Pitt-Radcliffe's Travelling Fellowships-Prayer-Jeremy TaylorIffley-Dr. Nowell-Rev. Henry Bate-John Henderson-Balance of Misery.
ON Wednesday, May 19, I sat a part of the evening with him, by ourselves. I observed that the death of our friends might be a consolation against the fear of our own dissolution, because we might have more friends in the other world than in this. He perhaps felt this as a reflection upon his apprehension as to death, and said, with heat, "How can a man know where his departed friends are, or whether they will be his friends in the other world? How many friendships have you known formed upon principles of virtue ? Most friendships are formed by caprice or by chance-mere confederacies in vice or leagues in folly."
We talked of our worthy friend Mr. Langton. He said, "I know not who will go to heaven if Langton does not. Sir, I could almost say, Sit anima mea cum Langtono." I mentioned a very eminent friend as a virtuous man. JOHNSON. "Yes, Sir; but has not the evangelical virtue of Langton. would not scruple to pick up a wench."
I am afraid,
He however charged Mr. Langton with what he thought want of judgment upon an interesting occasion. "When I was ill," said he, "I desired he would tell me sincerely in what he thought my life was faulty. Sir, he brought me a sheet of paper, on which he had written down several texts of Scripture recommending Christian charity. And when I questioned him what occasion I had given for such an animadversion, all that he could say amounted to this, —that I sometimes contradicted people in conversation.