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Then, as you cannot make bad meat good, I would tell what is the best butcher's meat, the best beef, the best pieces; how to choose young fowls; the proper seasons of different vegetables; and then how to roast and boil and compound.” DILLY. “Mrs. Glasse's Cookery, which is the best, was written by Dr. Hill. Half the trade y know this.” JOHNSON. “ Well, sir; this shows how much better the subject of cookery may be treated by a philosopher. I doubt if the book be written by Dr. Hill; for, in Mrs. Glasse’s Cookery, which I have looked into, saltpetre and salprunella are spoken of as different substances, whereas salprunella is only saltpetre burnt on charcoal; and Hill could not be ignorant of this. However, as the greatest part of such a book is made by transcription, this mistake may have been carelessly adopted. But you shall see what a book of cookery I shall make. I shall agree with Mr. Dilly for the copy-right.” Miss SEWARD. “ That would be Hercules with the distaff indeed.” JOHNSON. “No, madam. Women can spin very well; but they cannot make a good book of cookery 2."
JOHNSON. “O! Mr. Dilly-you must know that an English benedictine monk at Paris has translated the Duke of Berwick's Memoirs from the original French, and has sent them to me to sell. I offered them to Strahan, who sent them back with this answer :-- that the first book he had published was the Duke of Berwick's Life, by which he had lost: and he hated the name.'Now I honestly tell you, that Strahan has refused them; but I also honestly tell you, that he did it upon no principle, for he never looked into them.” Dilly. “ Are they well translated, sir?” Johnson. “Why, sir, very well—in a style very current and very clear. I have written to the benedictine to give me an answer upon two points—What evidence is there that the letters are authentick? (for if they are not authentick, they are nothing.) -And how long will it be before the original French is published ? For if the French edition is not to appear for a considerable time, the translation will be almost as valuable as an original book. They will make two volumes in octavo; and I have undertaken to correct every sheet as it comes from the press.” Mr. Dilly desired to see them, and said he would send for them. He asked Dr. Johnson if he would write a preface to them. Johnson,
y As physicians are called the fuculty, and counsellors at law the profession, the booksellers of London are denominated the trade. Johnson disapproved of these denominations.-Boswell.
2 Since Johnson's days the great Kitchener has lived and written: see his Cook's Oracle, and the long list of works on gastronomy prefixed, which amply show, that in every age there have been those who have laboured to advance the amiable art of pleasing palates. With regard to Johnson's opinion, “ that women cannot make a good book of cookery," we must observe, that the lord high chancellor has not long ago been called on to spread the broad shield of an injunction over a lady's writings on this subject. The book is entitled Domestic Cookery by a Lady, and was first published by Murray.--Ed.
· No, sir. The benedictines were very kind to me, and I'll do what I undertook to do; but I will not mingle my name with them. I am to gain nothing by them. I'll turn them loose upon the world, and let them take their chance". Dr. MAYO. “Pray, sir, are Ganganelli's Letters authentick ?” JOHNSON. “No, sir. Voltaire put the same question to the editor of them that I did to MacphersonWhere are the originals ?"
Mrs. Knowles affected to complain that men had much more liberty allowed them than women. JOHNSON. “Why, madam, women have all the liberty they should wish to have. We have all the labour and the danger, and the women all the advantage. We go to sea, we build houses, we do every thing, in short, to pay our court to the women.” MRS. KNOWLES. “ The doctor reasons very wittily, but not convincingly. Now, take the instance of building : the mason's wife, if she is ever seen in liquor, is ruined; the mason may get himself drunk as often as he pleases, with little loss of character; nay, may let his wife and children starve." JOHNSON. “Madam, you must consider, if the mason does get himself drunk, and let his
a Cadell published them in 1779, the year after this conversation; but they were never very popular.—ED.
wife and children starve, the parish will oblige him to find security for their maintenance. We have different modes of restraining evil : stocks for the men, a ducking-stool for women, and a pound for beasts. If we require more perfection from women than from ourselves, it is doing them honour. And women have not the same temptations that we have: they may always live in virtuous company; men must mix in the world indiscriminately. If a woman has no inclination to do what is wrong, being secured from it is no restraint to her. I am at liberty to walk into the Thames; but if I were to try it, my friends would restrain me in Bedlam, and I should be obliged to them.” MRS. KNOWLES. “Still, doctor, I cannot help thinking it a hardship that more indulgence is allowed to men than to
It gives a superiority to men, to which I do not see how they are entitled.” JOHNSON. "It is plain, madam, one or other must have the superiority. As Shakespeare says, ' If two men ride on a horse, one must ride behind.'' Dilly. "I suppose, sir, Mrs. Knowles would have them ride in panniers, one on each side." JOHNSON. “Then, sir, the horse would throw them both." Mrs. KNOWLES. “ Well, I hope that in another world the sexes will be equal." Bos WELL. “ That is being too ambitious, madam. We might as well desire to be equal with the angels. We shall all, I hope, be happy in a future state, but we must not expect to be all happy in the same degree. It is enough, if we be happy according to our several capacities. A worthy carman will get to heaven as well as sir Isaac Newton. Yet, though equally good, they will not have the same degrees of happiness.” JOHNSON. “Probably not b."
Upon this subject I had once before sounded him, by mentioning the late reverend Mr. Brown, of Utrecht's image, that a great and small glass, though equally full, did not hold an equal quantity ; which he threw out to
b See on this question bishop Hall's Epistles, Dec. iii. Epist. 6, “Of the different degrees of heavenly glory, and of our mutual knowledge of each other above.”-Malone,
refute David Hume's saying, that a little miss, going to dance at a ball in a fine new dress, was as happy as a great orator, after having made an eloquent and applauded speech. After some thought, Johnson said, “I come over to the parson.” As an instance of coincidence of thinking, Mr. Dilly told me, that Dr. King, a late dissenting minister in London, said to him, upon the bappiness in a future state of good men of different capacities, “A pail does not hold so much as a tub; but, if it be equally full, it has no reason to complain. Every saint in heaven will have as much happiness as he can hold." Mr. Dilly thought this a clear though a familiar illustration of the phrase, “ One star differeth from another in brightness."
Dr. Mayo having asked Johnson's opinion of Soame Jenyns's View of the Internal Evidence of the Christian Religion ;-Johnson. “I think it a pretty book; not very theological indeed; and there seems to be an affectation of ease and carelessness, as if it were not suitable to his character to be very serious about the matter.” BosWELL. “ He may have intended this to introduce his book the better among genteel people, who might be unwilling to read too grave a treatise. There is a general levity in the age. We have physicians now with bagwigs; may we not have airy divines, at least somewhat less solemn in their appearance than they used to be ?" JOHNSON. Jenyns might mean as you say." BosWELL, “ You should like his book, Mrs. Knowles, as it maintains, as you friends do, that courage is not a christian virtue." Mrs. KNOWLES. Yes indeed, I like him there ; but I cannot agree with him, that friendship is not a christian virtue.” JOHNSON.
JOHNSON. “Why, madam, strictly speaking, he is right. All friendship is preferring the interest of a friend, to the neglect, or perhaps against the interest of others; so that an old Greek said, 'He that has friends has no friend.' Now christianity recommends universal benevolence,-to consider all men as our brethren ;
c See vol. ii. p. 6; where also this subject is discussed.-Malone.
which is contrary to the virtue of friendship, as described by the ancient philosophers. Surely, madam, your sect must approve of this ; for you call all men friends.” Mrs. KNOWLES. We are commanded to do good to all men, • but especially to them who are of the household of faitb.'” JOHNSON. “Well, madam ; the household of faith is wide enough." MRS. KNOWLES. “But, doctor, our Saviour had twelve apostles, yet there was one whom he loved. John was called 'the disciple whom Jesus loved.'” JOHNSON, (with eyes sparkling benignantly.) “Very well indeed, madam. You have said very well.” BOSWELL. “ A fine application. Pray, şir, had you ever thought of it?" JOHNSON. “I had not, sir."
From this pleasing subject, he, I know not how or why, made a sudden transition to one upon which he was a violent aggressor; for he said, “I am willing to love all mankind, except an American :" and his inflammable corruption bursting into horrid fire, he“ breathed out threatenings and slaughter;" calling them “ rascals—robbers -pirates ;” and exclaiming, he'd “ burn and destroy them.” Miss Seward, looking to him with mild but steady astonishment, said, “Sir, this is an instance that we are always most violent against those whom we have injured.”—He was irritated still more by this delicate and keen reproach; and roared out another tremendous volley, which one might fancy could be heard across the Atlantick. During this tempest I sat in great uneasiness, lamenting his beat of temper; till, by degrees, I diverted his attention to other topicks.
DR. Mayo, (to Dr. Johnson.) “ Pray, sir, have you read Edwards, of New England, on Grace?” Johnson.
No, sir.” BOSWELL. It puzzled me so much as to the freedom of the human will, by stating, with wonderful acute ingenuity, our being actuated by a series of motives which we cannot resist, that the only relief I had was to forget it.” MAYO. “But he makes the proper distinction between moral and physical necessity.” Bos WELL. “Alas, sir, they come both to the same thing. You may