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When we got to Dr. Johnson's house, and were seated in his library, the 1778. dialogue went on adınirably. Edwards. “Sir, I remember you would not Ærat. 79. EDWARDS

let us say prodigious at College. For even then, Sir, (turning to me,) he was
delicate in language, and we all feared him?." Johnson. (to Edwards)
“ From your having practised the law long, Sir, I presume you must be rich.”
EDWARDS. “ No, Sir, I got a good deal of money; but I had a number of poor
relations to whom I gave a great part of it.” Johnson. “Sir, you have been
rich in the most valuable sense of the word.” EDWARDS. “But I shall not

. I
die rich.” JOHNSON. “ Nay, sure, Sir, it is better to live rich than to die
rich.” Edwards. “I wish I had continued at College.” Johnson. “ Why

you wish that, Sir?” EDWARDS. “ Because I think I should have had a
much easier life than mine has been. I should have been a parson, and had
a good living, like Bloxam and several others, and lived comfortably."
Johnson. “Sir, the life of a parson, of a conscientious clergyman, is not
easy. I have always considered a clergyman as the father of a larger family
than he is able to maintain. I would rather have Chancery suits upon my
hands than the cure of souls. No, Sir, I do not envy a clergyman's life as
an easy life, nor do I envy the clergyman who makes it an easy life." -Here
taking himself up all of a sudden, he exclaimed, “O! Mr. Edwards! I'll
convince you that I recollect you. Do you remember our drinking together

at an alehouse near Pembroke gate. At that time you told me of the Eton
boy, who, when verses on our Saviour's turning water into wine were pre-
scribed as an exercise, brought up a single line, which was highly admired:

Vidit et erubuit lympha pudica Deum.'
and I told you of another fine line in Camden’s Remains,' an eulogy upon
one of our Kings, who was succeeded by his son, a prince of equal merit:

Mira cano, Sol occubuit, nox nulla fecuta eft.'
Edwards. “You are a philosopher, Dr. Johnson. I have tried too in my
time to be a philosopher; but, I don't know how, cheerfulness was always
breaking in.”-Mr. Burke, Sir Joshua Reynolds, Mr. Courtenay, Mr. Malone,
and, indeed, all the eminent men to whom I have mentioned this, have
thought it an exquisite trait of character. The truth is, that philosophy,


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* Johnson said to me afterwards, "Sir, they respected me for my literature ; and yet it was not great but by comparison. Sir, it is amazing how little literature there is in the world." Hh 2



Ætat. 69,

like religion, is too generally supposed to be hard and severe, at least fo grave: as to exclude all gaiety..

EDWARDS. “ I have been twice married; Doctor. You, I suppose, havenever known what it was to have a wife.” JOHNSON. “ Sir, I have known, what it was to have a wife, and (in-a folemn tender faultering tone) I have known what it was to lose. a wife.--It had almost broke my heart.”

EDWARDS. “ How do you live, Sir ? For my part, I must have my regular meals, and a glass of good wine. I find I require it.” Johnson.

JOHNSON « I now drink no wine, Sir.. Early in life I drank wine : for many years I drank none. I then for some years drank a great deal.” EDWARDS. “ Some hogsheads, I warrant you.” Johnson. “I then had a fevere illness, and left it off, and I have never begun it again. I never felt any difference upon myself from eating one thing rather than another, nor from one kind of weather rather than another. There are people, I believe, who feel a difference; but I am not one of them. And as to regular meals, I have fasted from the Sunday's dinner to the Tuesday's dinner, without any inconvenience.. I belieye it is best to eat just as one is hungry; but a man who is in business, or a man who has a family, must have stated meals. I am a straggler. I may leave this town and go to Grand Cairo, without being missed here or observed there.” EDWARDS. “ Don't you, eat supper, Sir?” JOHNSON.

. “ No, Sir.” EDWARDS. “ For my part now, I consider supper as a turnpike. " through which one must pass, in order to get to bed,"

Johnson. “ You are a lawyer, Mr. Edwards. Lawyers know life practie cally.. A bookish man should always have them to converse with. They have what he wants." Edwards. “ I am grown old: I am sixty-five." Johnson. “I shall be fixty-eight next birth-day. Come, Sir, drink water, and put in for a hundred.”

Mr. Edwards mentioned a gentleman who had left his whole fortune to Pembroke College. JOHNSON. “. Whether to leave one's whole fortune. : to a College be right, muft depend upon circumstances. I would leave the interest of the fortune I bequeathed to a College to my relations or my friends, for their lives. It is the same thing to a College, which is a permanent fociety, whether it gets the money now or twenty years hence ; and I would wish to make my relations or friends feel the benefit of it.”


I am not absolutely sure but this was my own suggestion, though it is truly in the character of Edwards.


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This interview confirmed my opinion of Johnson's most humane and benevolent heart. His cordial and placid behaviour to an old fellow-collegian, a. Ætat. 69, man so different from himself; and his telling him that he would go down to his farm and visit him, shewed a kindliness of disposition very rare at an. advanced age. He observed; “how wonderful it was that they had both been in London almost forty years, without having ever once met, and both walkers in the street too !” Mr. Edwards, when going away, again recurred to his consciousness of fenility, and looking full in Johnson's face, said to him, « You'll find in Dr.. Young,

«O my coevals ! remnants of yourselves."

O Johnson did not relish this at all; but look his head with impatience: Edwards walked off, seemingly highly pleased with the honour of having been thus noticed by Dr. Johnson. When he was gone, I said to Johnson, that I thought him but a weak man.. Johnson. “ Why, yes, Sir. Here is a man who has passed through life without experience : yet I would rather have him with me than a more sensible man who will not talk readily. This man is always willing to say what he has to say." Yet Dr. Johnson had himself by no means that willingness which he praised so much, and I think so justly; for who has not felt the painful effect of the dreary void, when there is a total silence in a company for any length of time; or, which is as bad, or perhaps worse, when the conversation is with difficulty kept up by. a. perpetual effort? Johnson once observed to me, “ Tom Tyers described me the best: Sır,

“ (faid: he,) you are like a ghost: you never speak till you are spoken to.”

The gentleman whom he thus familiarly mentioned was Mr. Thomas Tyers, son of Mr. Jonathan Tyers, the founder of that excellent place of publick amusement, Vauxhall Gardens, which must ever be an estate to its proprietor, as it is peculiarly adapted to the taste of the English nation; there being a mixture of curious shew-gay exhibition-musick, vocal and instrumental, not too refined for the general ear—for all which only a. shilling is paid—and, though last not least, good eating, and drinking for those who choose to purchase that regale. Mr. Thomas Tyers was bred to the law; but having a handsome fortune, vivacity of temper, and eccentricity of mind, he could not confine himself to the regularity of practice. He therefore ran about the world with a pleasant carelessness, amusing every body by his desultory conversation. He abounded in anecdote, but was not sufficiently attentive to accuracy. I therefore cannot

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1778. venture to avail myself much of a biographical sketch of Johnson which he Etat. 69. published, being one among the various persons ambitious of appending their

names to that of my illustrious friend. That sketch is, however, an entertaining little collection of fragments. Those which he published of Pope and Addison are of higher merit; but his fame must chiefly rest upon his “ Political Conferences,” in which he introduces several eminent perfons delivering their sentiments in the way of dialogue, and discovers a considerable share of learning, various knowledge, and discernment of character. This much may I be allowed to say of a man who was exceedingly obliging to me, and who lived with Dr. Johnson in as eafy a manner as almost any of his very numerous acquaintance.

Mr. Edwards had said to me aside, that Dr. Johnson should have been of a profession. I repeated the remark to Johnson that I might have his own thoughts on the subject. JOHNSON. “Sir, it would have been better that I had been of a profession. I ought to have been a lawyer.” Boswell. “I do not think, Sir, it would have been better, for we should not have had the English Dictionary.” Johnson. “ But you would have had Reports.”

. Boswell. “ Aye; but there would not have been another who could have written the Dictionary. There have been many very good Judges. Suppose you had been Lord Chancellor ; you would have delivered opinions with more extent of mind, and in a more ornamented manner, than perhaps any Chancellor ever did, or ever will do. But, I believe, causes have been as judiciously decided as you could have done." JOHNSON. “ Yes, Sir. Property has been as well settled.”

Johnson, however, had a noble ambition floating in his mind, and had, undoubtedly, often speculated on the possibility of his supereminent powers being rewarded in this great and liberal country by the highest honours of the state. Sir William Scott informs me, that upon the death of the late Lord Lichfield, who was Chancellor of the University of Oxford, he said to Johnson, “What a pity it is, Sir, that you did not follow the profession of the law. You might have been Lord Chancellor of Great-Britain, and attained to the dignity of the peerage; and now that the title of Lichfield, your native city, is extinct, you might have had it.” Johnson, upon this, seemed much agitated; and, in an angry tone, exclaimed, “ Why will you vex me by

, suggesting this, when it is too late ?"

But he did not repine at the prosperity of others. The late Dr. Thomas Leland told Mr. Courtenay, that when Mr. Edmund Burke shewed Johnson his fine house and lands near Beaconsfield, Johnson coolly said, “ Non equidem invideo ; miror magis.


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Yet no man had a higher notion of the dignity of literature than Johnson, 1778. or was more determined in maintaining the respect which he justly considered trat: 69. as due to it. Of this, besides the general tenor of his conduct in society, some characteristical instances may be mentioned.

He told Sir Joshua Reynolds, that once when he dined in a numerous company of booksellers, where the room being small, the head of the table, at which he sat, was almost close to the fire, he perfevered in suffering a great deal of inconvenience from the heat, rather than quit his place, and let one of them fit above him.

Goldsmith, in his diverting simplicity, complained one day, in a mixed
company, of Lord Camden. “I met him (faid he) at Lord Clare's house

in the country, and he took no more notice of me than if I had been an
ordinary man.” The company having laughed heartily, Johnson stood forth
in defence of his friend.

“ Nay, gentlemen, (said he,) Dr. Goldsmith is in
the right. A nobleman ought to have made up to such a man as Goldsmith;
and I think it is much against Lord Camden that he neglected him.”

Nor could he patiently endure to hear that such respect as he thought due
only to higher intellectual qualities, should be bestowed on men of nighter,
though perhaps more amusing talents. I told him, that one morning, when
I went to breakfast with Garrick, who was very vain of his intimacy with
Lord Camden, he accosted me thus :- Pray now, did you ?-did you meet

a little lawyer turning the corner, eh?”—“No, Sir (said I). Pray what do
you mean by the question ?”_" Why, (replied Garrick, with an affected
indifference, yet as if standing on tip-toe,) Lord Camden has this moment

We have had a long walk together.” JOHNSON. “ Well, Sir,,
Garrick talked very properly. Lord Camden was a little lawyer to be
associating fo familiarly with a player.”

Sir Joshua Reynolds has observed, with great truth, that Johnson considered: Garrick to be as it were. his property. He would allow no man either. to blame or to praise Garrick in his presence, without contradicting him.

Having fallen into a very serious frame, in which mutual expressions of kindness passed between us, such as would be thought too vain in me to repeat, I talked with regret of the fad inevitable certainty that one of us must survive the other. Johnson. “ Yes, Sir, that is an affecting consideration. I remember Swift, in one of his letters to Pope, says, 'I intend to come over, that we may meet once more; and when we must part, it is what happens to all human beings.” Boswell. “ The hope that we shall see our : departed friends again must support the mind.” JOHNSON. “Why yes, : Sir.” BOSWELL.. “ There is a strange unwillingness to part with life, inde-4

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