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even once said, 'that he thought it an error to endeavour at pleasing God by taking the rod of reproof out of his hands.' And when we talked of convents, and the hardships suffered in them 'Remember always (said he) that a convent is an idle place, and where there is nothing to be done something must be endured: mustard has a bad taste per se you may observe, but very insipid food cannot be eaten without it.'

His respect however for places of religious retirement was carried to the greatest degree of earthly veneration 2: the Benedictine convent at Paris paid him all possible honours in return, and the Prior and he parted with tears of tenderness3. Two of that college sent to England on the mission some years after, spent much of their time with him at Bolt Court I know, and he was ever earnest to retain their friendship; but though beloved by all his Roman Catholic acquaintance, particularly Dr. Nugent 5, for whose esteem he had a singular value, yet was Mr. Johnson a most unshaken church of England man; and I think, or at

invigorated and roused, by which the attractions of pleasure are interrupted, and the claims of sensuality are broken.....Austerity is the proper antidote to indulgence; the diseases of mind as well as body are cured by contraries, and to contraries we should readily have recourse, if we dreaded guilt as we dread pain.' Rambler, No. 110.

For his penance in Uttoxeter market see Life, iv. 373.

In the Benedictine convent in Paris he recorded:-' Benedictines may sleep eight hours.-Bodily labour wanted in monasteries.' Ib. ii. 390.

2 Amidst the ruins at St. Andrews he said I never read of a hermit, but in imagination I kiss his feet; never of a monastery, but I could fall on my knees, and kiss the pavement. But I think putting young people there, who know nothing of life, nothing of retirement, is dangerous

and wicked.' Ib. v. 62. See also ib. i. 365.

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Goldsmith, who hated the prudery of Johnson's morals and the foppery of Hawkesworth's manners, yet warmly admired the genius of both, was in use to say among his acquaintance that Johnson would have made a decent monk, and Hawkesworth a good dancing master? Memoirs of the Life, &c., of Dr. Johnson, 1785, p. 194.

3 'I was very kindly treated by the English Benedictines, and have a cell appropriated to me in their convent.' Life, ii. 402.

* Letters, i. 401, 406; ii. 39.

5 Burke's father-in-law. Post, p. 230, and Life, i. 477.

Of the Roman Catholic religion he said... I would be a Papist if I could. I have fear enough; but an obstinate rationality prevents me.' Ib. iv. 289.


least I once did think, that a letter written by him to Mr. Barnard the King's librarian, when he was in Italy collecting books, contained some very particular advice to his friend to be on his guard against the seductions of the church of Rome'.

The settled aversion Dr. Johnson felt towards an infidel he expressed to all ranks, and at all times, without the smallest reserve; for though on common occasions he paid great deference to birth or title 3, yet his regard for truth and virtue never gave way to meaner considerations. We talked of a dead wit one evening, and somebody praised him-'Let us never praise talents so ill employed, Sir; we foul our mouths by commending such infidels' (said he). Allow him the lumières at least, intreated one of the company-'I do allow him, Sir (replied Johnson), just enough to light him to hell.'—Of a Jamaica gentleman, then lately dead *-' He will not, whither he is now gone (said Johnson), find much difference, I believe, either in the climate or the company.' The Abbé Reynal probably remembers that, being at the house of a common friend in London, the master of it approached Johnson with that gentleman so much celebrated in his hand, and this speech in his mouth : Will you permit me, Sir, to present to you the Abbé Reynal? 'No, Sir,' (replied the Doctor very loud) and suddenly turned away from them both 5.

' 'You are going into a part of the world divided, as it is said, between bigotry and atheism: such representations are always hyperbolical, but there is certainly enough of both to alarm any mind solicitous for piety and truth; let not the contempt of superstition precipitate you into infidelity, or the horror of infidelity ensnare you in superstition.' Letters, i. 147.

2 See Life, i. 268 for his attack on that scoundrel and coward' Bolingbroke, and that 'beggarly Scotchman' Mallet; and ii. 95 for his attack on Foote, who, if he be an infidel, is an infidel as a dog is an

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infidel.' Of Hume he said something so rough that Boswell suppresses it. Ib. v. 30. 'He talked with some disgust of Gibbon's ugliness.' Ib. iv. 73.

3 I have great merit,' he said, 'in being zealous for subordination and the honours of birth, for I can hardly tell who was my grandfather.' Ib. ii. 261.


Perhaps Lord Mayor Beckford. Ib. iii. 76, 201.

5 Hannah More (Memoirs, i. 394), records the same story, adding that Johnson put his hands behind his back. Romilly, who had formed the highest expectations of Raynal from Though

Though Mr. Johnson had but little reverence either for talents or fortune, when he found them unsupported by virtue; yet it was sufficient to tell him a man was very pious, or very charitable, and he would at least begin with him on good terms, however the conversation might end'. He would, sometimes too, good-naturedly enter into a long chat for the instruction or entertainment of people he despised. I perfectly recollect his condescending to delight my daughter's dancing-master with a long argument about his art; which the man protested, at the close of the discourse, the Doctor knew more of than himself; who remained astonished, enlightened, and amused by the talk of a person little likely to make a good disquisition upon dancing. I have sometimes indeed been rather pleased than vexed when Mr. Johnson has given a rough answer to a man who perhaps deserved one only half as rough, because I knew he would repent of his hasty reproof3, and make us all amends by some conversation at once instructive and entertaining, as in the following cases: A young fellow asked him abruptly one day, Pray, Sir, what and where is Palmira? I heard somebody talk last night of the ruins of Palmira. "Tis a hill in Ireland (replies Johnson), with palms growing on the top, and a bog at the

his works, was greatly disappointed when he met him. I was filled at this time with horror at slavery and the slave-trade, and his history of the two Indies had served to enlighten these sentiments; but when I came to talk on these subjects with him he appeared to me so cold and so indifferent about them that I conceived a very unfavourable opinion of him.' Memoirs of Romilly, ed. 1840,

i. 70.

In Grimm's Correspondance, ed. 1814, v. 390, under date of Sept. 1782, is the following entry :-' J'ai vu,' écrivit dernièrement le Roi de Prusse à M. d'Alembert, 'j'ai vu l'Abbé Raynal. À la manière dont il m'a parlé de la puissance, des ressources et des richesses de tous

les peuples du globe, j'ai cru m'entretenir avec la Providence.... Je me suis bien gardé de révoquer en doute l'exactitude du moindre de ses calculs; j'ai compris qu'il n'entendrait pas raillerie, même sur un écu.'

1 See ante, p. 35, where he invited a kind of Methodist' to his house on Easter Sunday, but did not keep him, as he had purposed, to dinner.

2 He had had, he said, one or two lessons in dancing. Life, iv. 80, n. 2. 3 Reynolds remarked that 'when upon any occasion Johnson had been rough to any person in company, he took the first opportunity of reconciliation by drinking to him, or addressing his discourse to him.' Ib. ii. 109. See also ib. ii. 256, and post, p. 269.


bottom and so they call it Palm-mira. Seeing however that the lad thought him serious, and thanked him for the information, he undeceived him very gently indeed; told him the history, geography, and chronology of Tadmor in the wilderness, with every incident that literature could furnish I think, or eloquence express, from the building of Solomon's palace to the voyage of Dawkins and Wood'.

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On another occasion, when he was musing over the fire in our drawing-room at Streatham, a young gentleman called to him suddenly, and I suppose he thought disrespectfully, in these words: Mr. Johnson, Would you advise me to marry? I would advise no man to marry, Sir (returns for answer in a very angry tone Dr. Johnson), who is not likely to propagate understanding;' and so left the room". Our companion looked confounded, and I believe had scarce recovered the consciousness of his own existence, when Johnson came back, and drawing his chair among us, with altered looks and a softened voice, joined in the general chat, insensibly led the conversation to the subject of marriage, where he laid himself out in a dissertation so useful, so elegant, so founded on the true knowledge of human life, and so adorned with beauty of sentiment, that no one ever

'Horace Walpole makes the following use of this anecdote (Letters, ix. 48): In fact the poor man is to be pitied: he was mad, and his disciples did not find it out, but have unveiled all his defects; nay, have exhibited all his brutalities as wit, and his lowest conundrums as humour. Judge! The Piozzi relates that, a young man asking him where Palmyra was, he replied, "In Ireland; it was a bog planted with palmtrees."... What will posterity think of us when it reads what an idol we adored?'

For 'Jamaica Dawkins' and the troop of Turkish horse which he hired to guard him and Wood on their way to Palmyra see Life, iv. 126.

The young gentleman was Mr. Thrale's nephew, Sir John Lade, on whom Johnson wrote some lines on his coming of age. Ib. iv. 413; Letters, ii. 190. According to Mr. Hayward 'he married a woman of the town, and contrived to waste the whole of a fine fortune before he died.' Hayward's Piozzi, i. 78.

In the Sporting Magazine for 1796, p. 162, is the following entry:-' Another of Sir John Lade's estates is under the hammer; the money arising from which has been long appropriated; £200,000 have indiscreetly slipped through this baronet's fingers since he became possessed of his property.' He became of age in 1780. Letters, ii. 191, n. 1. See also post, p. 281.


recollected the offence, except to rejoice in its consequences. He repented just as certainly however, if he had been led to praise any person or thing by accident more than he thought it deserved; and was on such occasions comically earnest to destroy the praise or pleasure he had unintentionally given '.

Sir Joshua Reynolds mentioned some picture as excellent. 'It has often grieved me, Sir (said Mr. Johnson), to see so much mind as the science of painting requires, laid out upon such perishable materials: why do not you oftener make use of copper? I could wish your superiority in the art you profess, to be preserved in stuff more durable than canvas.' Sir Joshua urged the difficulty of procuring a plate large enough for historical subjects, and was going to raise further objections: 'What foppish 2 obstacles are these! (exclaims on a sudden Dr. Johnson:) Here is Thrale has a thousand tun of copper; you may paint it all round if you will, I suppose; it will serve him to brew in afterwards: Will it not, Sir?' (to my husband who sat by). Indeed Dr. Johnson's utter scorn of painting was such, that I have heard him say, that he should sit very quietly in a room hung round with the works of the greatest masters, and never feel the slightest disposition to turn them if their backs were outermost, unless it might be for the sake of telling Sir Joshua that he had turned them3. Such speeches may


'It may be alleged that ... as a false satire ought to be recanted for the sake of him whose reputation may be injured, false praise ought likewise to be obviated, lest the distinction between vice and virtue should be lost,' &c. Works, viii. 126. See also Life, iv. 82, and ante, p. 185. 2 Johnson defines foppish as-(1) Foolish, idle, vain.

(2) Vain in show; foolishly ostentatious; vain of dress.

See post, p. 219 for 'foppish lamentations.'

3 He wrote to Miss Reynolds on Oct. 19, 1779:-'You will do me a great favour if you will buy for me the prints of Mr. Burke, Mr. Dyer,

and Dr. Goldsmith, as you know good impressions. If any of your own pictures are engraved buy them for me. I am fitting up a little room with prints.' Letters, ii. 107. Among his effects that were sold after his death were 146 portraits, of which 61 were framed and glazed. Life, iv. 441. See also ib. i. 363, n. 3.

Horace Walpole wrote on May 6, 1770 (Letters, v. 236):-'Another rage is for prints of English portraits; I have been collecting them above thirty years, and originally never gave for a mezzotinto above one or two shillings. The lowest are now a crown; most from half a guinea to a guinea.'


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