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“ The Reverend Mr. Zachariah Mudge, Prebendary of Exeter, and Vicar =;&L of St. Andrews in Plymouth; a man equally eminent for his virtues and Ærat. 72. abilities, and at once beloved as a companion and reverenced as a paftor. He had that general curiosity to which no kind of knowledge is indifferent or superfluous; and that general benevolence by which no order of men is hated or despised.
“ His principles both of thought and action were great and comprehensive. By a solicitous examination of objections, and judicious comparison of opposite arguments, he attained what enquiry never gives but to industry and perspicuity, a firm and unshaken settlement of conviction. But his firmness was without asperity; for, knowing with how much difficulty truth was sometimes found, he did not wonder that many mified it.
« The general course of his life was determined by his profession; he studied the sacred volumes in the original languages; with what diligence and success, his Notes upon the Psalms give fufficient evidence. He once endeavoured to add the knowledge of Arabick to that of Hebrew; but finding his thoughts too much diverted from other studies, after some time, desisted. from his purpose.
« His discharge of parochial duties was exemplary. How his Sermons were composed, may be learned from the excellent volume which he has given to the publick; but how they were delivered, can be known only to those that heard them, for as he appeared in the pulpit, words will not easily describe him. His delivery, though unconstrained was not negligent, and though forcible was not turbulent; disdaining anxious nicety of emphasis, , and laboured artifice of action, it captivated the hearer by its natural dignity, it roured the sluggish, and fixed the volatile, and detained the mind upon the subject, without directing it to the speaker.
“ The grandeur and folemnity of the preacher did not intrude upon his general behaviour; at the table of his friends he was a companion communicative and attentive, of unaffected manners, of manly cheerfulness, willing to please, and easy to be pleased. His acquaintance was universally solicited, and his presence obstructed no enjoyment which religion did not forbid. Though studious he was popular'; though argumentative he was modeft; though inflexible he was candid; and though metaphysical yet orthodox 2.)
3“ London Chronicle,” May 2, 1969. This respectable man is there mentioned to have died on the 3d of April, that year, at Collect, the seat of Thomas Veale, Esq. in his way to London.
On Friday, March 30, I dined with him at Sir Joshua Reynolds's, with the Earl of Charlemont, Sir Annesley Stewart, Mr. Eliot, of Port-Eliot, Mr. Burke, Dean Marlay, now Bishop of Clonfert, Mr. Langton; a most agreeable day, of which I regret that every circumstance is not preserved; but it is unreasonable to require such a multiplication of felicity.
Mr. Eliot, with whom Dr. Walter Harte had travelled, talked to us of
Mr. Eliot mentioned a curious liquor peculiar to his country, which the
I ventured to mention a ludicrous paragraph in the news-papers, that Dr.
« Shall I ask him ?” said his Lordship. We were, by a great majority, clear for the experiment. Upon which his Lordship very gravely
and with a courteous air faid, “ Pray, Sir, is it true that you are taking 1781. lessons of Veltris?” This was risking a good deal, and required the boldness Etat. 7z. of a General of Irish Volunteers to make the attempt. Johnson was at first startled, and in some heat answered, “How can your Lordship ask so simple a question ?" But immediately recovering himself, whether from unwillingness to be deceived, or to appear deceived, or whether from real good humour, he kept up the joke : “ Nay, but if any body were to answer the paragraph, and contradict it, I'd have a reply, and would say, that he who contradicted it was no friend either to Veftris or me. For why should not Dr. Johnson add to his other powers a little corporeal agility ? Socrates learnt to dance at an advanced age, and Cato learnt Greek at an advanced age. Then it might proceed to say, that this Johnson, not content with dancing on the ground, might dance on the rope ; and they might introduce the elephant dancing on the rope. A nobleman wrote a play, called "Love in a hollow Tree. He found out that it was a bad one, and therefore wished to buy up all the copies, and burn them. The Duchess of Marlborough had kept one; and when he was against her at an election, she had a new edition of it printed, and prefixed to it, as a frontispiece, an elephant dancing on a rope; to shew, that his Lordship’s writing comedy was as aukward as an elephant dancing on a rope.”
On Sunday, April 1, I dined with him at Mr. Thrale's, with Sir Philip Jennings Clerk and Mr. Perkins, who had the superintendence of Mr. Thrale’s brewery, with a falary of five hundred pounds a year. Sir Philip had the appearance of a gentleman of ancient family, well advanced in life. He wore his own white hair in a bag of goodly size, a black velvet coat, with an embroidered waistcoat, and very rich laced ruffles; which Mrs. Thrale faid were old fashioned, but which, for that reason, I thought the more respectable, more like a Tory; yet Sir Philip was then in opposition in parliament. “Ah, Sir, (said Johnson,) ancient ruffles and modern principles do not agree.” Sir Philip defended the opposition to the American war ably and with temper, and I joined him. He said, the majority of the nation was against the ministry. Johnson. “I, Sir, am against the ministry; but it is for having too little of that of which opposition thinks they have too much. Were I minister, if any man wagged his finger against me, he should be turned out ; for that which it is in the power of Government to give at pleasure to one or to another, should be given to the supporters of Govern
If you will not oppose at the expence of losing your place, your
present opposition is only a contest to get what others have. Sir Robert Ecat. 77. Walpole acted as I would do. As to the American war,, the sense of the .
nation is with the ministry. The majority of those who can understand is with it; the majority of those who can only bear is against it; and as those who, can only hear are more numerous than those who can understand, and opposition is always loudest, a majority of the rabble will be for opposition.”
This boisterous vivacity entertained us; but the fact really was, that those who could understand the best were against the American war, as almost every: man now is, when the question has been coolly considered.
Mrs. Thrale gave high praise to a gentleman of our acquaintance. Johnson. “Nay, my dear lady, don't talk so. Mr. ****'s character is very short. It is nothing. He fills a chair. He is a man of a genteel appearance, and that is all. I know nobody who blafts by praise as you do: for whenever there is exaggerated praise, every body is set against a character. They are provoked to attack it. Now there is *****: you praised that man with such : disproportion, that I was incited to lessen him, perhaps more than he deserves.. His blood is upon your head. By the same principle, your malice defeats itself; for your censure is too violent. And yet (looking to her with a leering smile) she is the first woman in the world could she but restrain that wicked tongue of hers—she would be the only woman could she but command that little whirligig.”
Upon the subject of exaggerated praise I took the liberty to say, that I thought there might be very high praise given to a known character which deserved it, and therefore it would not be exaggerated. Thus, one might fay of Mr. Edmund Burke, He is a very wonderful man.. Johnson. “ Nox Sir, you would not be safe if another man had a mind perversely, to contradict. He might answer, Where is all the wonder? Burke is, to be sure, a man of uncommon abilities, with a great quantity of matter in his mind, and a great Auency of language in his mouth. But we are not be stunned and astonished by him. So you see, Sir, even Burke would suffer, not from any fault of his own, but from your folly.”
Mrs. Thrale mentioned a gentleman who had acquired a fortune of four thousand a year in trade, but was absolutely miserable, because he could not talk in company; so miserable, that he was impelled to lament his situation in the street to ******, whom he hates, and who he knows despises him. * I am a most unhappy man (said he). I am invited to conversations. I go to conversations; but, alas ! I have no conversation." JOHNSON. “ Man
, . commonly cannot be successful in different ways. This gentleman has spent
in getting four thousand pounds a year, the time in which he might have 1781. learnt to talk; and now he cannot talk.” Mr. Perkins made a shrewd and Ærat. 72. droll remark : “ If he had got his four thousand a year as a mountebank, he might have learnt to talk at the same time that he was getting his fortune.”
Some other gentlemen came in. The conversation concerning the person whose character Dr. Johnson had treated so flightingly, as he did not know his merit, was resumed. Mrs. Thrale said, “ You think so of him, Sir, because he is quiet, and does not exert himself with force. You'll be saying the same thing of Mr. ***** there, who sits as quiet—" This was not well bred; and Johnson did not let it pass without correction. Madam, what right have you to talk thus ? Both Mr. ***** and I have
I reason to take it ill. You may talk so of Mr. ***** : but why do you make me do it. Have I said any thing against Mr. ***** You have set him, that I might fhoot him : but I have not shot him.
One of the gentlemen faid, he had seen three folio volumes of Dr. Johnson's sayings collected by me. “ I must put you right, Sir (said I); for I am very exact in authenticity. You could not see folio volumes, for I have none: you might have seen fome in quarto and octavo. This is inattention which one should guard againft.” Johnson.
Johnson. “ Sir, it is a want of concern about veracity. He does not know that he saw any volumes. If he had seen them he could have remembered their size."
Mr. Thrale appeared very lethargick to-day. I saw him again on Monday evening, at which time he was not thought to be in immediate danger ; but early in the morning of Wednesday the 4th, he expired. Johnson was in the house, and thus mentions the event: “ I felt almost the laft Autter of his pulse, and looked for the last time upon the face that for fifteen years had never been turned upon me but with respect and benignity 8.”
Upon that day there was a Call of the LITERARY CLUB; but Johnson apologised for his absence by the following note :
“ MR. JOHNSON knows that Sir Joshua Reynolds and the other Gentlemen will excuse his incompliance with the Call, when they are told that Mr. Thrale died this morning.”