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1777 When we arrived at Derby, Dr. Butter accompanied us to see the manuÆtat. 68. factory of china there. I admired the ingenuity and delicate art with which
a man fashioned clay into a cup, a saucer, or a tea-pot, while a boy turned round a wheel to give the mass rotundity. I thought this as excellent in
a its species of power, as making good verses in its species. Yet I had no respect for this potter. Neither, indeed, has a man of any extent of thinking for a mere verse-maker, in whose numbers, however perfect, there is no poetry, no mind.
The china was beautiful ; but Dr. Johnson justly observed, it was too dear; for that he could have vessels of silver, of the same size, as cheap as what were here made of porcelain.
I felt a pleasure in walking about Derby, such as I always have in walking about any town to which I am not accustomed. There is an immediate fenfation of novelty; and one speculates on the way in which life is passed in it, which, although there is a fameness every where upon the whole, is yet minutely diversified. The minute diversities in every thing are wonderful. Talking of fhaving the other night at Dr. Taylor's, Dr. Johnson said, “Sir, of a thousand shavers, two do not shave so much alike as not to be distinguished.” I thought this not possible, till he specified so many of the varieties in shaving ;-holding the razor more or less perpendicular;--drawing long or short strokes ;-beginning at the upper part of the face, or the under;at the right side or the left side. Indeed, when one considers what variety of sounds can be uttered by the wind-pipe, in the compass of a very small aperture, we may be convinced how many degrees of difference there may be in the application of a razor.
We dined with Dr. Butter, whose lady is daughter of my cousin Sir John Douglas, whose grandson is now presumptive heir of the noble family of Queensberry. Johnson and he had a good deal of medical conversation. Johnson said, he had somewhere or other given an account of Dr. Nichols's discourse “ De Anima Medica." He told us, “that whatever a man's distemper was, Dr. Nichols would not attend him as a physician, if his mind was not at ease; for he believed that no medicines would have any influence. 'He once attended a man in trade, upon whom he found none of the medicines he prescribed had any effect; he asked the man's wife privately whether his affairs were not in a bad way? She said no. He continued his attendance some time, still without success. At length the man's wife told him, she had discovered that her husband's affairs were in a bad way. When Goldsmith svas dying, Dr. Turton said to him, 'Your pulse is in greater disorder than it
fhould be, from the degree of fever which you have: is your mind at ease?' 1777 Goldsmith answered it was not."
Ætat, 68, After dinner, Mrs. Butter went with me to see the silk-mill which Sir Thomas Lambe had a patent for, having brought away the contrivance from Italy. I am not very conversant with mechanicks; but the simplicity of this machine, and its multiplied operations, struck me with an agreeable surprize. I had learnt from Dr. Johnson, during this interview, not to think with a dejected indifference of the works of art, and the pleasures of life, because life is uncertain and short; but to consider such indifference as a failure of reason, a morbidness of mind; for happiness should be cultivated as much as we can, and the objects which are instrumental to it should be steadily considered as of importance, with a reference not only to ourselves, but to multitudes in successive ages. Though it is proper to value small
« Sands make the mountain, moments make the year';"
yet we must contemplate, collectively, to have a just estimation of objects. One moment's being uneasy or not, seems of no consequence; yet this may be thought of the next, and the next, and so on, till there is a large portion of misery. In the same way one must think of happiness, of learning, of friendship. We cannot tell the precise moment when friendship is formed. As in filling a vessel drop by drop there is at last a drop which makes it run over; so in a series of kindnesses there is at last one which makes the heart
We must not divide objects of our attention into minute parts, and think separately of each part. It is by contemplating a large mass of human existence, that a man, while he sets a just value on his own life, does not think of his death as annihilating all that is great and pleasing in the world, as if actually contained in his mind, according to Berkeley's reverie. If his imagination be not sickly and feeble; it “ wings its distant way” far beyond himself, and views the world in unceasing activity of every fort. It must be acknowledged, however, that Pope's plaintive reflection, that all things would be as gay as ever on the day of his death, is natural and common. We are apt to transfer to all around us our own gloom, without considering that at any given point of time there is, perhaps, as much youth and gaiety in the world as at another. Before I came into this life, in which I have had so many pleasant scenes, have not thousands and ten thousands of deaths and
1777. funerals happened, and have not families been in grief for their nearest relations ? ht. 68. But have those dismal circumstances at all affected me? Why then should
the gloomy scenes which I experience, or which I know, affect others ? Let us guard against imagining that there is an end of felicity upon earth, when we ourselves grow old, or are unhappy.
Dr. Johnson told us at tea, that when some of Dr. Dodd's pious friends were trying to console him by saying that he was going to leave “ a wretched world,” he had honesty enough not to join in the cant :-"No, no, (said he,)
-“ it has been a very agreeable world to me.” Johnson added, “I respect Dodd for thus speaking the truth; for, to be sure, he had for several years enjoyed a life of great voluptuousness.”
He told us, that Dodd's city friends stood by him so, that a thousand pounds were ready to be given to the gaoler, if he would let him escape. He added, that he knew a friend of Dodd's, who walked about Newgate for some time on the evening before the day of his execution, with five hundred pounds in his pocket, ready to be paid to any of the turnkeys who could get him out: but it was too late; for he was watched with much circumspection. He said, Dodd's friends had an image of him made of wax, which was to have been left in his place; and he believed it was carried into the prison.
Johnson disapproved of Dr. Dodd's leaving the world persuaded that “ The Convict's Address to his unhappy Brethren,” was of his own writing. Sir, (said I,) you contributed to the deception ; for when Mr. Seward expressed a doubt to you that it was not Dodd's own, because it had a great deal more force of mind in it than any thing known to be his, you answered, “Why should you think so ? Depend upon it, Sir, when a man knows he is to be hanged in a fortnight, it concentrates his mind wonderfully.” Johnson.. “ Sir, as Dodd got it from me to pass as his own, while
, that could do him any good, there was an implied promise that I should not own it. To own it, therefore, would have been telling a lie, with the addition of breach of promise, which was worse than simply telling a lie to make it be believed it was Dodd's. Besides, Sir, I did not dire&tly tell a lie : I left the matter uncertain. Perhaps I thought that Seward would not believe it the less to be mine for what I said; but I would not put it in his power to say I had owned it."
He praised Blair's sermons: “ Yet,” said he, (willing to let us see he was aware that fashionable fame, however deserved, is not always the most lasting) “perhaps, they may not be re-printed after seven years; at least not after Blair's death.”
He said, “ Goldsmith was a plant that flowered late. There appeared
I mentioned that Lord Monboddo told me, he awaked every morning
Johnson observed, “ that a man hould take a sufficient quantity of seep,
1777. long sleep'.” Dr. Taylor remarked, I think very justly, “that a man who does Ærat. 68. not feel an inclination to deep at the ordinary time; instead of being stronger
than other people, must not be well; for a man in health has all the natural inclinations to eat, drink, and feep, in a strong degree.”
Johnson advised me to-night not to refine in the education of my children. “ Life (said he) will not bear refinement : you must do as other people do.”
As we drove back to Alhbourne, Dr. Johnson recommended to me, as he had often done, to drink water only : “For (said he) you are then sure not to get drunk; whereas if you drink wine you are never sure.” I said, drinking wine was a pleasure which I was unwilling to give up. “Why, Sir, (said he,) there is no doubt that not to drink wine is a great deduction from life; but it may be necessary.” He however owned, that in his opinion a free use of wine did not shorten life; and said, he would not give less for the life of a certain Scotch Lord (whom he named) celebrated for hard drinking, than for that of a sober man. “ But stay, (faid he, with his usual intelligence, and accuracy of enquiry,) does it take much wine to make him drunk?” I answered, " a great deal either of wine or strong punch."-" Then (said he) that is the worse.” I presume to illustrate my friend's observation thus: “A fortress which foon surrenders has its walls less shattered, than when a long and obstinate resistance is made.”
I ventured to mention a person who was as violent a Scotsman as he was an Englishman; and literally had the same contempt for an Englishman compared with a Scotsman, that he had for a Scotsman compared with an Englishman ; and that he would say of Dr. Johnson, “ Damned rascal! to talk as he does of the Scorch.” This seemed, for a moment, “ to give him pause.” It, perhaps, presented his extreme prejudice against the Scotch in a point of view somewhat new to him, by the effect of contrast.
By the time when we returned to Ashbourne, Dr. Taylor was gone to bed. Johnson and I fat up a long time by ourselves.
: This regimen was, however, practised by Bishop Ken, of whom Hawkins (not Sir John) in his Life of that venerablc Prelate, page 4, tells us, “ And that neither his study might be the aggressor on his hours of instruction, or what he judged his duty prevent his improvements; or both, his closet addresses to his God; he strictly accustomed himself to but one sleep, which often obliged him to rise at one or two of the clock in the morning, and sometimes sooner; and grew fo habitual, that it continued with him almost till his last illness. And so lively and cheartul was his temper, that he would be very facetious and entertaining to his friends in the evening, even when it was perceived that with difficulty he kept his eyes open ; and then seemed to go to rest with no other purpose than the refreshing and enabling him with more vigour and cheerful. ness to sing his morning hymn, as he then used to do to his lute, before he put on his cloaths."