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Johnson's pretended brother.
see the mine; but were prevented by the storm.
was raging, he said, 'We may be glad we are not damnati ad metalla.
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 8.
Dr. Johnson appeared to-day very weary of our present confined situation. He said, 'I want to be on the main land, and go on with existence. This is a waste of life.'
I shall here insert, without regard to chronology, some of his conversation at different times.
'There was a man some time ago, who was well received for two years, among the gentlemen of Northamptonshire, by calling himself my brother. At last he grew so impudent as by his influence to get tenants turned out of their farms. Allen the Printer', who is of that county, came to me, asking, with much appearance of doubtfulness, if I had a brother; and upon being assured I had none alive, he told me of the imposition, and immediately wrote to the country, and the fellow was dismissed. It pleased me to hear that so much was got by using my name. It is not every name that can carry double; do both for a man's self and his brother (laughing). I should be glad to see the fellow. However, I could have done nothing against him. A man can have no redress for his name being used, or ridiculous stories being told of him in the news-papers, except he can shew that he has suffered damage. Some years ago a foolish piece was published, said to be written by S. Johnson. Some of my friends wanted me to be very angry about this. I said, it would be in vain; for the answer would be, “S. Johnson may be Simon Johnson, or Simeon Johnson, or Solomon Johnson;" and even if the full name, Samuel Johnson, had been used, it might be said: "it is not you; it is a much cleverer fellow."
Beauclerk and I, and Langton, and Lady Sydney Beauclerk, mother to our friend, were one day driving in a coach by
''Johnson's landlord and next neighbour in Bolt-court.'
Carte's LIFE of Ormond.
Cuper's Gardens', which were then unoccupied. I, in sport, proposed that Beauclerk and Langton, and myself should take them; and we amused ourselves with scheming how we should all do our parts. Lady Sydney grew angry, and said, "an old man should not put such things in young people's heads." She had no notion of a joke, Sir; had come late into life, and had a mighty unpliable understanding.
Carte's Life of the Duke of Ormond is considered as a book of authority; but it is ill-written. The matter is diffused in too many words; there is no animation, no compression, no vigour. Two good volumes in duodecimo might be made out of the two in folio'.'
Talking of our confinement here, I observed, that our discontent and impatience could not be considered as very unreasonable; for that we were just in the state of which Seneca complains so grievously, while in exile in Corsica3.
Cuper's Gardens, near the south bank of the Thames, opposite to Somerset House. The gardens were illuminated, and the company entertained by a band of music and fireworks; but this, with other places of the same kind, has been lately discontinued by an act that has reduced the number of these seats of luxury and dissipation.' Dodsley's London and its Environs, ed. 1761, ii. 209. The Act was the 25th George II, for 'preventing robberies and regulating places of public entertainment.' Parl. Hist. xiv. 1234.
Mr. Johnson,' according to Mr. Langton, used to laugh at a passage in Carte's Life of the Duke of Ormond, where he gravely observes "that he was always in full dress when he went to court; too many being in the practice of going thither with double lapells."' Boswelliana, p. 274. The following is the passage:-'No severity of weather or condition of health served him for a reason of not observing that decorum of dress which he thought a point of respect to persons and places. In winter time people were allowed to come to court with double-breasted coats, a sort of undress. The duke would never take advantage of that indulgence; but let it be never so cold, he always came in his proper habit, and indeed the king himself always did the same, though too many neglected his example to make use of the liberty he was pleased to allow.' Carte's Life of Ormond, iv. 693. See ante, i. 49. It was originally published in three volumes folio in 1735-6.
' Seneca's two epigrams on Corsica are quoted in Boswell's Corsica, V.-22
Col's family papers.
'Yes, (said Dr. Johnson,) and he was not farther from home than we are.' The truth is, he was much nearer.
There was a good deal of rain to-day, and the wind was still contrary. Corneck attended me, while I amused myself in examining a collection of papers belonging to the family of Col. The first laird was a younger son of the Chieftain M'Lean, and got the middle part of Col for his patrimony. Dr. Johnson having given a very particular account' of the
first edition, p. 13. Boswell, in one of his Hypochondriacks (London Mag. 1778, p. 173), says :- For Seneca I have a double reverence, both for his own worth, and because he was the heathen sage whom my grandfather constantly studied.'
Very near the house of Maclean stands the castle of Col, which was the mansion of the Laird till the house was built. . . . On the wall was, not long ago, a stone with an inscription, importing, that if any man of the clan of Maclonich shall appear before this castle, though he come at midnight, with a man's head in his hand, he shall there find safety and protection against all but the king. This is an old Highland treaty made upon a very memorable occasion. Maclean, the son of John Gerves, who recovered Col, and conquered Barra, had obtained, it is said, from James the Second, a grant of the lands of Lochiel, forfeited, I suppose, by some offence against the state. Forfeited estates were not in those days quietly resigned; Maclean, therefore, went with an armed force to seize his new possessions, and, I know not for what reason, took his wife with him. The Camerons rose in defence of their chief, and a battle was fought at Loch Ness, near the place where Fort Augustus now stands, in which Lochiel obtained the victory, and Maclean, with his followers, was defeated and destroyed. The lady fell into the hands of the conquerors, and, being found pregnant, was placed in the custody of Maclonich, one of a tribe or family branched from Cameron, with orders, if she brought a boy, to destroy him, if a girl, to spare her. Maclonich's wife, who was with child likewise, had a girl about the same time at which Lady Maclean brought a boy; and Maclonich, with more generosity to his captive than fidelity to his trust, contrived that the children should be changed. Maclean, being thus preserved from death, in time recovered his original patrimony; and, in gratitude to his friend, made his castle a place of refuge to any of the clan that should think himself in danger; and, as a proof of reciprocal confidence, Maclean took upon himself and his posterity the care of educating the heir of Maclonich.' Johnson's Works, ix. 130.
Col's family papers.
connection between this family and a branch of the family of Camerons, called M'Lonich, I shall only insert the following document, (which I found in Col's cabinet,) as a proof of its continuance, even to a late period:
TO THE LAIRD OF COL.
'The long-standing tract of firm affectionate friendship 'twixt your worthy predecessors and ours affords us such assurance, as that we may have full relyance on your favour and undoubted friendship, in recommending the bearer, Ewen Cameron, our cousin, son to the deceast Dugall M'Connill of Innermaillie, sometime in Glenpean, to your favour and conduct, who is a man of undoubted honesty and discretion, only that he has the misfortune of being alledged to have been accessory to the killing of one of M'Martin's family about fourteen years ago, upon which alledgeance the M'Martin's are now so sanguine on revenging, that they are fully resolved for the deprivation of his life; to the preventing of which you are relyed on by us, as the only fit instrument, and a most capable person. Therefore your favour and protection is expected and intreated, during his good behaviour; and failing of which behaviour, you'll please to use him as a most insignificant person deserves.
'Sir, he had, upon the alledgeance foresaid, been transported, at Lochiel's desire, to France, to gratify the M'Martins, and upon his return home, about five years ago, married: But now he is so much threatened by the M'Martins, that he is not secure enough to stay where he is, being Ardmurchan, which occasions this trouble to you. Wishing prosperity and happiness to attend still yourself, worthy Lady, and good family, we are, in the most affectionate
'Your most obliged, affectionate,
'DUGALL CAMERON, of Strone.
DUGALL CAMERON, of Inveriskvouilline.
'Strone, 11th March, 1737.'
Ewen Cameron was protected, and his son has now a farm
from the Laird of Col, in Mull.
Letters of the great Montrose.
The family of Col was very loyal in the time of the great Montrose', from whom I found two letters in his own handwriting. The first is as follows:
FOR MY VERY LOVING FRIEND THE LAIRD OF COAll. 'SIR,
'I must heartily thank you for all your willingness and good affection to his Majesty's service, and particularly the sending alongs of your son, to who I will heave ane particular respect, hopeing also that you will still continue ane goode instrument for the advanceing ther of the King's service, for which, and all your former loyal carriages, be confident you shall find the effects of his Ma's favour, as they can be witnessed you by
20 Jano. 1646.'
The other is :
'Your very faithful friende,
'FOR THE LAIRD OF COL.
'Having occasion to write to your fields, I cannot be forgetful of your willingness and good affection to his Majesty's service. I acknowledge to you, and thank you heartily for it, assuring, that in what lies in my power, you shall find the good. Meanwhile, I shall expect that you will continue your loyal endeavours, in wishing those slack people that are about you, to appear more obedient than they do, and loyal in their prince's service; whereby I assure you, you shall find me ever
• Petty, 17 April, 1646.'
'Your faithful friend, MONTROSE'.'
I found some uncouth lines on the death of the present laird's father, intituled Nature's Elegy upon the death of Donald Maclean of Col.' They are not worth insertion. I
''Mr. Croker tells us that the great Marquis of Montrose was beheaded at Edinburgh in 1650. There is not a forward boy at any school in England who does not know that the Marquis was hanged.' Macaulay's Essays, ed. 1843, i. 357.
'It is observable that men of the first rank spelt very ill in the last century. In the first of these letters I have preserved the original spelling. BosWELL.