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Castle of Calder.
Dr. Johnson said privately to me, 'There is a combination. in it of which M'Aulay is not capable'.' However, he was exceedingly hospitable; and, as he obligingly promised us a route for our Tour through the Western Isles, we agreed to stay with him all night.
After dinner, we walked to the old castle of Calder (pronounced Cawder), the Thane of Cawdor's seat. I was sorry that my friend, this 'prosperous gentleman',' was not there. The old tower must be of great antiquity'. There is a drawbridge what has been a moat, and an ancient court, There is a hawthorn-tree, which rises like a wooden pillar through the rooms of the castle; for, by a strange conceit, the walls have been built round it. The thickness of the walls, the small slaunting windows, and a great iron door at the entrance on the second story as you ascend the stairs, all indicate the rude times in which this castle was erected. There were here some large venerable trees.
I was afraid of a quarrel between Dr. Johnson and Mr. M'Aulay, who talked slightingly of the lower English clergy. The Doctor gave him a frowning look, and said, 'This is a day of novelties; I have seen old trees in Scotland, and I have heard the English clergy treated with disrespect".'
I dreaded that a whole evening at Calder manse would be heavy; however, Mr. Grant, an intelligent and well-bred minister in the neighbourhood, was there, and assisted us by his conversation. Dr. Johnson, talking of hereditary occupations in the Highlands, said, 'There is no harm in such a custom as this; but it is wrong to enforce it, and oblige a man
Mr. Trevelyan (Life of Macaulay, ed. 1877, i. 6) says:-Johnson pronounced that Mr. Macaulay was not competent to have written the book that went by his name; a decision which, to those who happen to have read the work, will give a very poor notion of my ancestor's abilities.'
The thane of Cawdor lives,
A prosperous gentleman.' Macbeth, act. i. sc. 3. According to Murray's Handbook, ed. 1867, p. 308, no part of the castle is older than the fifteenth century.
See post, Nov. 5.
Creeds and confessions.
to be a taylor or a smith, because his father has been one.' This custom, however, is not peculiar to our Highlands; it is well known that in India a similar practice prevails.
Mr. M'Aulay began a rhapsody against creeds and confessions. Dr. Johnson shewed, that what he called imposition, was only a voluntary declaration of agreement in certain articles of faith, which a church has a right to require, just as any other society can insist on certain rules being observed by its members. Nobody is compelled to be of the church, as nobody is compelled to enter into a society.' This was a very clear and just view of the subject: but, M'Aulay could not be driven out of his track. Dr. Johnson said, 'Sir, you are a bigot to laxness.'
Mr. M'Aulay and I laid the map of Scotland before us; and he pointed out a route for us from Inverness, by Fort Augustus, to Glenelg, Sky, Mull, Icolmkill, Lorn, and Inverary, which I wrote down. As my father was to begin the northern circuit about the 18th of September, it was necessary for us either to make our tour with great expedition, so as to get to Auchinleck before he set out, or to protract it, so as not to be there till his return, which would be about the 10th of October. By M'Aulay's calculation, we were not to land in Lorn till the 20th of September. I thought that the interruptions by bad days, or by occasional excursions, might make it ten days later; and I thought too, that we might perhaps go to Benbecula, and visit Clanranald, which would take a week of itself.
Dr. Johnson went up with Mr. Grant to the library, which consisted of a tolerable collection; but the Doctor thought it rather a lady's library, with some Latin books in it by chance, than the library of a clergyman. It had only two of the Latin fathers, and one of the Greek fathers in Latin. I doubted whether Dr. Johnson would be present at a Presbyterian prayer. I told Mr. M'Aulay so, and said that the Doctor might sit in the library while we were at family worship. Mr. M'Aulay said, he would omit it, rather than give Dr. Johnson offence: but I would by no means agree that
[August 27. an excess of politeness, even to so great a man, should prevent what I esteem as one of the best pious regulations. I know nothing more beneficial, more comfortable, more agreeable, than that the little societies of each family should regularly assemble, and unite in praise and prayer to our heavenly Father, from whom we daily receive so much good, and may hope for more in a higher state of existence. I mentioned to Dr. Johnson the over-delicate scrupulosity of our host. He said, he had no objection to hear the prayer. This was a pleasing surprise to me; for he refused to go and hear Principal Robertson' preach. 'I will hear him, (said he,) if he will get up into a tree and preach; but I will not give a sanction, by my presence, to a Presbyterian assembly'.'
Mr. Grant having prayed, Dr. Johnson said, his prayer was a very good one; but objected to his not having introduced the Lord's Prayer'. He told us, that an Italian of some note in London said once to him, 'We have in our service a prayer called the Pater Noster, which is a very fine composition. I wonder who is the author of it.' A singular instance of ignorance in a man of some literature and general inquiry'!
The historian. Ante, p. 45.
See ante, iii. 382, and post, Nov. 7.
See post, Oct. 27.
Baretti was the Italian. Boswell disliked him (ante, ii. 112 note), and perhaps therefore described him merely as 'a man of some literature.' Baretti complained to Malone that 'the story as told gave an unfair representation of him.' He had, he said, ‘observed to Johnson that the petition lead us not into temptation ought rather to be addressed to the tempter of mankind than a benevolent Creator. "Pray, Sir," said Johnson, “do you know who was the author of the Lord's Prayer?" Baretti, who did not wish to get into any serious dispute and who appears to be an Infidel, by way of putting an end to the conversation, only replied:-"Oh, Sir, you know by our religion (Roman Catholic) we are not permitted to read the Scriptures. You can't therefore expect an answer." Prior's Malone, p. 399. Sir Joshua Reynolds, on hearing this from Malone, said :— This turn which Baretti now gives to the matter was an after-thought; for he once said SATURDAY,
SATURDAY, AUGUST 28.
Dr. Johnson had brought a Sallust with him in his pocket from Edinburgh. He gave it last night to Mr. M'Aulay's son, a smart young lad about eleven years old. Dr. Johnson had given an account of the education at Oxford, in all its gradations. The advantage of being a servitor to a youth of little fortune struck Mrs. M'Aulay much'. I observed it aloud. Dr. Johnson very handsomely and kindly said, that, if they would send their boy to him, when he was ready for the university, he would get him made a servitor, and perhaps would do more for him. He could not promise to do more; but would undertake for the servitorship'.
I should have mentioned that Mr. White, a Welshman, who had been many years factor (i. e. steward) on the estate of Calder, drank tea with us last night, and upon getting a note from Mr. M'Aulay, asked us to his house. We had
to me myself:-"There are various opinions about the writer of that prayer; some give it to St. Augustine, some to St. Chrysostom, &c. What is your opinion?"' Ib. p. 394. Mrs. Piozzi says that she heard 'Baretti tell a clergyman the story of Dives and Lazarus as the subject of a poem he once had composed in the Milanese district, expecting great credit for his powers of invention.' Hayward's Piozzi, ii. 348.
1 Goldsmith (Present State of Polite Learning, chap. 13) thus wrote of servitorships: 'Surely pride itself has dictated to the fellows of our colleges the absurd passion of being attended at meals, and on other public occasions, by those poor men who, willing to be scholars, come in upon some charitable foundation. It implies a contradiction for men to be at once learning the liberal arts, and at the same time treated as slaves; at once studying freedom and practising servitude.' Yet a young man like Whitefield was willing enough to be a servitor. He had been a waiter in his mother's inn; he was now a waiter in a college, but a student also. See my Dr. Johnson: His Friends and his Critics, p. 27.
* Dr. Johnson did not neglect what he had undertaken. By his interest with the Rev. Dr. Adams, master of Pembroke College, Oxford, where he was educated for some time, he obtained a servitorship for young M'Aulay. But it seems he had other views; and I believe went abroad. BOSWELL. See ante, ii. 435.
Grace at meals.
not time to accept of his invitation. He gave us a letter of introduction to Mr. Ferne, master of stores at Fort George. He shewed it to me. It recommended 'two celebrated gentlemen; no less than Dr. Johnson, author of his Dictionary, -and Mr. Boswell, known at Edinburgh by the name of Paoli.' He said he hoped I had no objection to what he had written; if I had, he would alter it. I thought it was a pity to check his effusions, and acquiesced; taking care, however, to seal the letter, that it might not appear that I had read it.
A conversation took place about saying grace at breakfast (as we do in Scotland) as well as at dinner and supper; in which Dr. Johnson said, 'It is enough if we have stated seasons of prayer; no matter when'. A man may as well pray when he mounts his horse, or a woman when she milks her cow, (which Mr. Grant told us is done in the Highlands,) as at meals; and custom is to be followed'.'
We proceeded to Fort George. When we came into the square, I sent a soldier with the letter to Mr. Ferne. He came to us immediately, and along with him came Major Brewse of the Engineers, pronounced Bruce. He said he believed it was originally the same Norman name with Bruce. That he had dined at a house in London, where
''I once drank tea,' writes Lamb, 'in company with two Methodist divines of different persuasions. Before the first cup was handed round, one of these reverend gentlemen put it to the other, with all due solemnity, whether he chose to say anything. It seems it is the custom with some sectaries to put up a short prayer before this meal also. His reverend brother did not at first quite apprehend him, but upon an explanation, with little less importance he made answer that it was not a custom known in his church.' Essay on Grace before Meat.
'He could not bear to have it thought that, in any instance whatever, the Scots are more pious than the English. I think grace as proper at breakfast as at any other meal. It is the pleasantest meal we have. Dr. Johnson has allowed the peculiar merit of breakfast in Scotland. BoSWELL. If an epicure could remove by a wish in quest of sensual gratification, wherever he had supped he would breakfast in Scotland.' Johnson's Works, ix. 52.