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rather should have the precedence. I think more highly of him now than I did at twenty. There is more thinking in him and in Butler than in any of our poets."
Some of the company expressed a wonder why the author of so excellent a book as “The Whole Duty of Man” should conceal himself. JOHNSON. “There may be different reasons assigned for this, any one of which would be very
though that his religious counsels would have less weight when known to have come from a man whose profession was theology. He may have been a man whose practice was not suitable to his principles, so that his character might injure the effect of his book, which he had written in a season of penitence. Or he may have been a man of rigid self-denial, so that he would have no reward for his pious labour while in this world, but refer it all to a future state.”
The gentlemen went away to their club, and I was left at Beauclerk's till the fate of my election should be announced to me. I sat in a state of anxiety which even the charming conversation of Lady Di Beauclerk could not entirely dissipate. In a short time I received the agreeable intelligence that I was chosen. I hastened to the place of meeting, and was introduced to such a society as can seldom be found. Mr. Edmund Burke, whom I then saw for the first time, and whose splendid talents had long made me ardently wish for his acquaintance; Dr. Nugent, Mr. Garrick, Dr. Goldsmith, Mr. (afterwards Sir William) Jones, and the company with whom I had dined. Upon my entrance, Johnson placed himself behind a chair, on which he leaned
i Here is another instance of his high admiration of Milton as a poet. notwithstanding his just abhorrence of that sour republican's political principles. His candour and discrimination are equally conspicuous. Let us hear no more of his “ injustice to Milton.”
? In a manuscript in the Bodleian Library several circumstances are stated, which strongly incline me to believe that Dr. Accepted Frewen, Archbishop of York, was the author of this work.-Malone.
See, on the subject of the author of this celebrated and excellent work, Gentleman's Magazine, vol xxiv., p.26, and Ballard's Memoirs of Learned Ladies, p. 300. The late eccentric but learned Dr. Barrett, of Trinity College, Dublin, believed, I know not on what evidence, that Dr. Chappel, formerly provost of that college was the author.- Croker.
as on a desk or pulpit, and with humorous formality gave me a charge, pointing out the conduct expected from me as a good member of this club.
Goldsmith produced some very absurd verses which had been publicly recited to an audience for money. JOHNSON. “I can match this nonsense. There was a poem called · Eugenio,' which came out some years ago, and concludes thus:
And now, ye trifling, self-assuming elves,
Then sink into yourselves, and be no more.'1 Nay, Dryden, in his poem on the Royal Society, has these lines:
"Then we upon our globe's last verge shall go,
And see the ocean leaning on the sky;
And on the lunar world securely pry.'”. Talking of puns, Johnson, who had a great contempt for that species of wit, deigned to allow that there was one good pun in “ Menagiana," I think on the word corps.
i Dr. Johnson's memory here was not perfectly accurate : “Eugenio" does not conclude thus. There are eight more lines after the last of those quoted by him; and the passage which he meant to recite is as fol. lows:
“ Say now, ye fluttering, poor assuming elves,
Behold Eugenio,” &c. &c. Mr. Reed informs me that the author of Eugenio (Thomas Beech), a wine-merchant at Wrexham in Denbighshire, soon after its publication, viz, May 17, 1737, cut his own throat; and that it appears by Swift's works, that the poem had been shown to him, and received some of his corrections. Johnson had read Eugenio on his first coming to town, for we see it mentioned in one of his letters to Mr. Cave, which has been inserted in this work.
? There is no such poem ;—the lines are part of an allusion to the Royal Society, in the Annus Mirabilis, stanza 164.-- Croker.
I formerly thought that I had perhaps mistaken the word, and imagined it to be corps, from its similarity of sound to the real one. For an
Much pleasant conversation passed, which Johnson relished with great good humour. But his conversation alone, or what led to it, or was interwoven with it, is the business of this work.
On Saturday, May 1, we dined by ourselves at our old rendezvous, the Mitre tavern. He was placid, but not much disposed to talk. He observed, that “the Irish mix better with the English than the Scotch do; their language is nearer to English ; as a proof of which, they succeed very well as players, which Scotchmen do not. Then, Sir, they have not that extreme nationality which we find in the Scotch. I will do you, Boswell, the justice to say, that you are the most unscottified of your countrymen. You are almost the only instance of a Scotchman that I have known, who did not at every other sentence bring in some other Scotchman.”
We drank tea with Mrs. Williams. I introduced a question which had been much agitated in the church of Scotland, whether the claim of lay-patrons to present ministers to parishes be well founded; and supposing it to be well founded, whether it ought to be exercised without the concurrence of the people? That church is composed of a series of judicatures : a presbytery, a synod, and finally, a general assembly; before all of which this matter may be contended : and in some cases the presbytery having refused to induct or settle, as they call it, the person presented by the patron, it has been found necessary to appeal to the General Assembly. He said, I might see the sub
accurate and shrewd unknown gentleman, to whom I am indebted for some remarks on my work, observes on this passage :-" Q. if not on the word fort? A vociferous French preacher said of Bourdaloue, ' Il prêche fort bien, et moi bien fort.'- Menagiana. See also Anecdotes Littéraires, art. Bourdaloue.” But my ingenious and obliging correspondent, Mr. Abercrombie of Philadelphia, has pointed out to me the following passage; which renders the preceding conjecture unnecessary, and confirms my original statement :
“Madame de Bourdonne, chanoinesse de Remiremont, venoit d'entendre un discours plein de feu et d'esprit, mais fort peu solide, et trèsirrégulier. Une de ses amies, qui y prenoit intérêt pour l'orateur, lui dit en sortant, · Eh bien, Madame, que vous semble-t-il de ce que vous venez d'entendre ? Qu'il y a d'esprit ? '_'Il y a tant,' répondit Madame de Bourdonne, que je n'y ai pas vu de corps." Menagiana, tome ii., p. 64. [Note in the third edition, vol. ii., p. 239.-Editor.]
ject well treated in the “Defence of Pluralities ;” and although he thought that a patron should exercise his right with tenderness to the inclinations of the people of a parish, he was very clear as to his right. Then, supposing the question to be pleaded before the General Assembly, he dictated to me what follows:
“ Against the right of patrons is commonly opposed, by the inferior judicatures, the plea of conscience. Their conscience tells them that the people ought to choose their pastor; their conscience tells them that they ought not to impose upon a congregation a minister ungrateful and unacceptable to his auditors. Conscience is nothing more than a conviction felt by ourselves of something to be done, or something to be avoided ; and in questions of simple unperplexed morality, conscience is very often a guide that may be trusted. But before conscience can determine, the state of the question is supposed to be completely known. In questions of law, or of fact, conscience is very often confounded with opinion. No man's conscience can tell him the rights of another man; they must be known by rational investigation or historical inquiry. Opinion, which he that holds it may call his conscience may teach some men that religion would be promoted, and quiet preserved, by granting to the people universally the choice of their ministers. But it is a conscience very ill informed that violates the rights of one man for the convenience of another. Religion cannot be promoted by injustice; and it was never yet found that a popular election was very quietly transacted.
“That justice would be violated by transferring to the people the right of patronage, is apparent to all who know whence that right had its original. The right of patronage was not at first a privilege torn by power from unresisting poverty. It is not an authority at first usurped in times of ignorance, and established only by succession and by precedents. It is not a grant capriciously made from a higher tyrant to a lower. It is a right dearly purchased by the first possessors, and justly inherited by those that succeeded them. When Christianity was established in this island, a regular mode of public worship was prescribed. Public worship requires a public place; and the proprietors of lands, as they were converted, built churches for their families and their vassals. For the maintenance of ministers, they settled a certain portion of their lands, and a district, through which each minister was required to extend his care, was, by that circumscription, constituted a parish. This is a position so generally received in England, that the extent of a manor and of a parish are regularly received for each other. The churches which the proprietors of lands had thus built and thus endowed, they justly thought themselves entitled to provide with ministers; and when the episcopal government prevails, the bishop has no power to reject a man nominated by the patron, but for some crime that might exclude him from the priesthood. For the endowment of the church being the gift of the landlord, he was consequently at liberty to give it, according to his choice, to any man capable of performing the holy offices. The people did not choose him, because the people did not pay him.
“We hear it sometimes urged, that this original right is passed out of memory, and is obliterated and obscured by many translations of property and changes of government: that scarce any church is now in the hands of the heirs of the builders ; and that the present persons have entered subsequently upon the pretended rights by a thousand accidental and unknown causes. Much of this, perhaps, is true. But how is the right of patronage extinguished ? If the right followed the lands, it is possessed by the same equity by which the lands are possessed. It is, in effect, part of the manor, and protected by the same laws with every other privilege. Let us suppose an estate forfeited by treason, and granted by the crown to a new family. With the lands were forfeited all the rights appendant to those lands ; by the same power that grants the lands, the rights also are granted. The right lost to the patron falls not to the people, but is either retained by the crown, or, what to the people is the same thing, is by the crown given away. Let it change bands ever so often, it is possessed by him that receives it with the same right as it was conveyed. It may, indeed, like all our possessions, be forcibly seized or fraudulently obtained. But no injury is still done to the people ; for what they never had, they have never lost. Caius may usurp the right of Titius, but neither Caius, nor Titius injure the people; and no man's conscience, however tender or however active, can prompt him to restore what may be proved to have been never taken away. Supposing, what I think cannot be proved, that a popular election of ministers were to be desired, our desires are not the measure of equity. It were to be desired that power should be only in the hands of the merciful, and riches