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casi and others inserted, during the long time she was copying her firet rough scrawl. It is probable that her diary from fifteen years of age to five-and-twenty, which is still in manuscript, contains entries which would confirm or disprove our conjectures. As a question of art, it seems much less surprising that any one of Dr. Burney's daughters should know society at seventeen, than that a young woman of five-and-twenty should write of seventeen with its own buoyancy and freshness.” 1
“It was stated and believed,” says Mr. Croker in his note, "that she was only seventeen, when she surprised the world by her ‘Evelina.'” By whom was this stated ? It is insinuated, of course, that it proceeded from Fanny Burney. But there is not a tittle of evidence to show that either she herself, or any of her relatives, ever gave this representation. “I have not pretended," she writes in her book,“ to show the world what it actually is, but what it appears to a girl of seventeen; and so far as that any girl who is past seventeen may surely do."
But the animus of Mr. Croker with regard to Madame d'Arblay is conspicuous also in another of his notes. “On the evening of Saturday, May 15, he (Johnson) was in fine spirits at our Essex Head Club. He told us, “I dined yesterday at Mr. Garrick's, with Mrs. Carter, Miss Hannah More and Miss Fanny Burney. Three such women are not to be found.' "2 The note we allude to is as follows: “ The letters of these three ladies, posthumously published, have confirmed and indeed increased the reputation of Mrs. Carter and Hannah More, while they have wholly extinguished that of Madame d'Arblay; but this indeed had been waning ever since her two first novels, which, clever as they were, owed a great deal of their extraordinary success to the strange misrepresentation, that had been somehow made, of the author's being ten years younger than she really was." The latter part of this statement has been already confuted, and the comparison of these three ladies hardly needs confutation. For one person who knows and reads either Mrs. Carter's works or her letters, there are scores who love to read Madame D'Arblay's “ Diary and Letters.” Of this book, in seven volumes 8vo., two large editions have been sold ; and we have heard of, though not seen, a very handsome impression, with additional matter, published by another London firm. Lord Macaulay in a brilliant
1 Introduction to Evelina, p. xvii. London, 1881.
article in the January number of the “ Edinburgh Review," 1843,--to which, it may be surinised, we owe the flavour of this note of Mr. Croker's,-passed a very different judgment on the merit and interest of the Diary. “It is written, for the most part, in her earliest and best manner; in true woman's English, clear, natural, and lively. The two works (the memoirs of Madame D'Arblay's father, and the ‘Diary ') are lying side by side before us, and we never turn from the Memoirs to the Diary without a sense of relief. The difference is as great as the difference between the atmosphere of a perfumer's shop, filled with lavender water and jasmine soap, and the air of a heath on a fine morning of May. Both works ought to be consulted by every person who wishes to be acquainted with the history of our literature and our manners. But to read the Diary is a pleasure, to read the Memoirs will always be a task.” Nor will it be considered irrelevant to cite the opinion of another admirable judge. “To be sure, I delight in little, chattering, gossiping, bustling, consequential Fanny Burney, and find her very pleasant company, though the book would be all the better if there was less ostentation of natural affection and less room given to the twaddle of ordinary people long ago deservedly forgotten. But many of her notices of eminent persons are invaluable, and as good as anything in Boswell.” | And surely it is needless to say a single word as to the comparative popularity of Mrs. Hannah More's letters and those of Madame D'Arblay.- Editor.
CHURTON'S REMARKS ON BOSWELL'S
The Reverend Mr. Ralph Churton, Fellow of Brasen-Nose College, Oxford, has favoured me with the following remarks on my work, which, he is pleased to say, “I have hitherto extolled, and cordially approved : ”
? Lord Jeffrey to Professor Napier, Correspondence, p. 389. Macmillan, 1879.
· See antè, p. 221.
“The chief part of what I have to observe is contained in the tollowing transcript from a letter to a friend, which, with his concurrence, I copied for this purpose; anå, whatever may be the merit or justness of the remarks, you may be sure that being written to a most intimate friend, without any intention that they ever should go further, they are the genuine and undisguised sentiments of the writer :
“Jan. 6, 1792. “ Last week I was reading the second volume of “Boswell's Johnson,” with increasing esteem for the worthy author, and increasing veneration of the wonderful and excellent man who is the subject of it. The writer throws in, now and then, very properly, some serious religious reflections ; but there is one remark, in iny mind an obvious and just one, which I think he has not made, that Johnson's “morbid melancholy," and constitutional infirmities, were intended by Providence, like St. Paul's thorn in the flesh, to check intellectual conceit and arrogance; which the consciousness of his extraordinary talents, awake as he was to the voice of praise, might otherwise have generated in a very culpable degree. Another observation strikes me, that in consequence of the same natural indisposition, and habitual sick. liness (for he says he scarcely passed one day without pain after his twentieth year), he considered and represented human life as a scene of much greater misery than is generally experienced. There may be persons bowed down with affliction all their days; and there are those, no doubt, whose iniquities rob them of rest; but neither calamities nor crimes, I hope and believe, do so much and so generally abound, as to justify the dark picture of life which Johnson's imagination designed, and his strong pencil delineated. This I am sure, the colouring is far too gloomy for what I have experienced, though, as far as I can remember, I had more sickness (I do not say more severe, but only more in quantity) than falls to the lot of most people. But then daily debility and occasional sickness were far overbalanced by intervenient days, and, perhaps, weeks void of pain, and overflowing with comfort. So that, in short, to return to the subject, human life, as far as I can perceive from experience or observation, is not that state of constant wretchedness which Johnson always insisted it was : which misrepresentation, for such it surely is, his biographer has not corrected, I suppose, because, unhappily,
he has himself a large portion of melancholy in his constitution, and fancied the portrait a faithful copy of life.'”
The learned writer then proceeds thus in his letter to me:
“I have conversed with some sensible men on this subject, who all seem to entertain the same sentiments respecting life with those which are expressed or implied in the foregoing paragraph. It might be added, that as the representation here spoken of appears not consistent with fact and experience, so neither does it seem to be countenanced by Scripture. There is, perhaps, no part of the sacred volume which at first sight promises so much to lend its sanction to these dark and desponding notions as the book of Ecclesiastes, which so often, and so emphatically, proclaims the vanity of things sublunary. But the design of this whole book (as it has been justly observed) is not to put us out of conceit with life, but to cure our vain expectations of a complete and perfect happiness in this world : to convince us, that there is no such thing to be found in mere external enjoyments; —and to teach us to seek for happiness in the practice of virtue, in the knowledge and love of God, and in the hopes of a better life. For this is the application of all : Let us hear, &c. xii. 13. Not only his duty, but his happiness too: For God, &c. v. 14. — See “Sherlock on Providence.'
“ The New Testament tells us, indeed, and most truly, that sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof:' and, therefore, wisely forbids us to increase our burden by forebodings of sorrows: but I think it nowhere says, that even our ordinary afflictions are not consistent with a very considerable degree of positive comfort and satisfaction. And, accordingly, one whose sufferings as well as merits were conspicuous assures us, that in proportion
as the sufferings of Christ abounded in them, so their consolation also abounded by Christ.' 2 Cor. i. 5. It is needless to cite, as indeed it would be endless even to refer to, the multitude of passages in both Testaments holding out, in the strongest language, promises of blessings, even in this world, to the faithful servants of God. I will only refer to St. Luke, xviii. 29, 30, and 1 Tim. iv. 8.
“Upon the whole, setting aside instances of great and lasting bodily pain, of minds peculiarly oppressed by melancholy, and of severe temporal calamities, from which extraordinary cases we
surely should not form our estimate of the general tenor and complexion of life; excluding these from the account, I am convinced that as well the gracious constitution of things which Providence has ordained, as the declarations of Scripture and the actual experience of individuals, authorise the sincere Christian to hope that his humble and constant endeavours to perform his duty, chequered as the best life is with many failings, will be crowned with a greater degree of present peace, serenity, and comfort, than he could reasonably permit himself to expect, if he measured his views and judged of life from the opinion of Dr. Johnson, often and energetically expressed in the memoirs of him, without any animadversion or censure by his ingenious biographer. If he himself, upon reviewing the subject, shall see the matter in this light, he will in an octavo edition, which is eagerly expected, make such additional remarks or corrections as he shall judge fit; lest the impressions which these discouraging passages may leave on the reader's mind should in a degree hinder what otherwise the whole spirit and energy of the work tends, and, I hope, successfully, to promote,-pure morality and true religion.”
Though I have, in some degree, obviated any reflections against my illustrious friend's dark views of life, when considering, in the course of this work, his “Rambler” and his “Rasselas," I am obliged to Mr. Churton for complying with my request of his permission to insert his remarks, being conscious of the weight of what he judiciously suggests as to the melancholy in my own constitution. His more pleasing views of life, I hope, are just. Valeant quantum valere possunt. Mr. Churton concludes his letter to me in these words :
“ Once, and once only, I had the satisfaction of seeing your illustrious friend ; and as I feel a particular regard for all whom he distinguished with his esteem and friendship, so I derive much pleasure from reflecting that I once beheld, though but tran. siently, near our college gate, one whose works will for ever delight and improve the world, who was a sincere and zealous son of the church of England, an honour to his country, and an ornament to human nature.”
His letter was accompanied with a present from himself of his “Sermons at the Bampton Lecture," and from his friend, Dr.