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Title: Life of Johnson, Volume 5 - Tour to the Hebrides (1773) and Journey into North Wales (1774)
Author: Boswell, James, 1740-1795
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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Some Poetical Pieces by Dr. JOHNSON, relative to the TOUR,
and never before published;

A Series of his Conversation, Literary Anecdotes, and Opinions
of Men and Books:


The Distresses and Escape of the GRANDSON of KING
JAMES II. in the Year 1746.


       *       *       *       *       *

       O! while along the stream of time, thy name
     Expanded flies, and gathers all its fame,
     Say, shall my little bark attendant fail,
     Pursue the triumph and partake the gale?    POPE.

       *       *       *       *       *








In every narrative, whether historical or biographical, authenticity is
of the utmost consequence[1]. Of this I have ever been so firmly
persuaded, that I inscribed a former work[2] to that person who was the
best judge of its truth. I need not tell you I mean General Paoli; who,
after his great, though unsuccessful, efforts to preserve the liberties
of his country, has found an honourable asylum in Britain, where he has
now lived many years the object of Royal regard and private respect[3];
and whom I cannot name without expressing my very grateful sense of the
uniform kindness which he has been pleased to shew me[4].

The friends of Doctor Johnson can best judge, from internal evidence,
whether the numerous conversations which form the most valuable part of
the ensuing pages are correctly related. To them, therefore, I wish to
appeal, for the accuracy of the portrait here exhibited to the world.

As one of those who were intimately acquainted with him, you have a
title to this address. You have obligingly taken the trouble to peruse
the original manuscript of this Tour, and can vouch for the strict
fidelity of the present publication[5]. Your literary alliance with our
much lamented friend, in consequence of having undertaken to render one
of his labours more complete, by your edition of _Shakspeare_[6], a work
which I am confident will not disappoint the expectations of the
publick, gives you another claim. But I have a still more powerful
inducement to prefix your name to this volume, as it gives me an
opportunity of letting the world know that I enjoy the honour and
happiness of your friendship; and of thus publickly testifying the
sincere regard with which I am,

  My dear Sir,
      Your very faithful
          And obedient servant,
              JAMES BOSWELL.

20th September, 1785.




Animated by the very favourable reception which two large impressions of
this work have had[7], it has been my study to make it as perfect as I
could in this edition, by correcting some inaccuracies which I
discovered myself, and some which the kindness of friends or the
scrutiny of adversaries pointed out. A few notes are added, of which the
principal object is, to refute misrepresentation and calumny.

To the animadversions in the periodical Journals of criticism, and in
the numerous publications to which my book has given rise, I have made
no answer. Every work must stand or fall by its own merit. I cannot,
however, omit this opportunity of returning thanks to a gentleman who
published a Defence of my Journal, and has added to the favour by
communicating his name to me in a very obliging letter.

It would be an idle waste of time to take any particular notice of the
futile remarks, to many of which, a petty national resentment, unworthy
of my countrymen, has probably given rise; remarks which have been
industriously circulated in the publick prints by shallow or envious
cavillers, who have endeavoured to persuade the world that Dr. Johnson's
character has been _lessened_ by recording such various instances of
his lively wit and acute judgment, on every topick that was presented to
his mind. In the opinion of every person of taste and knowledge that I
have conversed with, it has been greatly _heightened_; and I will
venture to predict, that this specimen of the colloquial talents and
extemporaneous effusions of my illustrious fellow-traveller will become
still more valuable, when, by the lapse of time, he shall have become an
_ancient_; when all those who can now bear testimony to the transcendent
powers of his mind, shall have passed away; and no other memorial of
this great and good man shall remain but the following Journal, the
other anecdotes and letters preserved by his friends, and those
incomparable works, which have for many years been in the highest
estimation, and will be read and admired as long as the English language
shall be spoken or understood.


LONDON, 15th Aug. 1786.


INTRODUCTION. Character of Dr. Johnson. He arrives in Scotland.

_August 15_. Sir William Forbes. Practice of the law. Emigration. Dr.
Beattie and Mr. Hume. Dr. Robertson. Mr. Burke's various and
extraordinary talents. Question concerning genius. Whitfield and Wesley.
Instructions to political parties. Dr. Johnson's opinion of Garrick as a

_August 16_. Ogden on Prayer. Aphoristick writing. Edinburgh surveyed.
Character of Swift's works. Evil spirits and witchcraft. Lord Monboddo
and the Ouran-Outang.

_August 17_. Poetry and Dictionary writing. Scepticism. Eternal
necessity refuted. Lord Hailes's criticism on _The Vanity of Human
Wishes._ Mr. Maclaurin. Decision of the Judges in Scotland on
literary property.

_August 18_. Set out for the Hebrides. Sketch of the authour's
character. Trade of Glasgow. Suicide. Inchkeith. Parliamentary
knowledge. Influence of Peers. Popular clamours. Arrive at St. Andrews.

_August 19_. Dr. Watson. Literature and patronage. Writing and
conversation compared. Change of manners. The Union. Value of money. St.
Andrews and John Knox. Retirement from the world. Dinner with the
Professors. Question concerning sorrow and content. Instructions for
composition. Dr. Johnson's method. Uncertainty of memory.

_August 20_. Effect of prayer. Observance of Sunday. Professor Shaw.
Transubstantiation. Literary property. Mr. Tyers's remark on Dr.
Johnson. Arrive at Montrose.

_August 21_. Want of trees. Laurence Kirk. Dinner at Monboddo.
Emigration. Homer. Biography and history compared. Decrease of learning.
Causes of it. Promotion of bishops. Warburton. Lowth. Value of
politeness. Dr. Johnson's sentiments concerning Lord Monboddo. Arrive
at Aberdeen.

_August 22_. Professor Thomas Gordon. Publick and private education.
Sir Alexander Gordon. Trade of Aberdeen. Prescription of murder in
Scotland. Mystery of the Trinity. Satisfaction of Christ. Importance of
old friendships.

_August 23_. Dr. Johnson made a burgess of Aberdeen. Dinner at Sir
Alexander Gordon's. Warburton's powers of invective. His _Doctrine of
Grace_. Lock's verses. Fingal.

_August 24_. Goldsmith and Graham. Slains castle. Education of children.
Buller of Buchan. Entails. Consequence of Peers. Sir Joshua Reynolds.
Earl of Errol.

_August 25_. The advantage of being on good terms with relations.
Nabobs. Feudal state of subordination. Dinner at Strichen. Life of
country gentlemen. THE LITERARY CLUB.

_August 26_. Lord Monboddo. Use and importance of wealth. Elgin.
Macbeth's heath. Fores.

_August 27_. Leonidas. Paul Whitehead. Derrick. Origin of Evil.
Calder-manse. Reasonableness of ecclesiastical subscription.
Family worship.

_August 28_. Fort George. Sir Adolphus Oughton. Contest between
Warburton and Lowth. Dinner at Sir Eyre Coote's. Arabs and English
soldiers compared. The Stage. Mr. Garrick, Mrs. Cibber, Mrs. Pritchard,
Mrs. Clive. Inverness.

_August 29_. Macbeth's Castle. Incorrectness of writers of Travels.
Coinage of new words. Dr. Johnson's _Dictionary_.

_August 30_. Dr. Johnson on horseback. A Highland hut. Fort Augustus.
Governour Trapaud.

_August 31_. Anoch. Emigration. Goldsmith. Poets and soldiers compared.
Life of a sailor. Landlord's daughter at Anoch.

_September 1_. Glensheal. The Macraas. Dr. Johnson's anger at being left
for a little while by the authour on a wild plain. Wretched inn
at Glenelg.

_September 2_. Dr. Johnson relents. Isle of Sky. Armidale.

_September 3_. Colonel Montgomery, now Earl of Eglintoune.

_September 4_. Ancient Highland Enthusiasm.

_September 5_. Sir James Macdonald's epitaph and last letters to his
mother. Dr. Johnson's Latin ode on the Isle of Sky. Isaac
Hawkins Browne.

_September 6_. Corrichatachin. Highland hospitality and mirth. Dr.
Johnson's Latin ode to Mrs. Thrale.

_September 7_. Uneasy state of dependence on the weather. State of those
who live in the country. Dr. M'Pherson's Dissertations. Second Sight.

_September 8_. Rev. Mr. Donald M'Queen. Mr. Malcolm M'Cleod. Sail to
Rasay. Fingal. Homer. Elegant and gay entertainment at Rasay.

_September 9_. Antiquity of the family of Rasay. Cure of infidelity.

_September 10_. Survey of the island of Rasay. Bentley. Mallet. Hooke.
Duchess of Marlborough.

_September 11_. Heritable jurisdictions. Insular life. The Laird of

_September 12_. Sail to Portree. Dr. Johnson's discourse on death.
Letters from Lord Elibank to Dr. Johnson and the authour. Dr. Johnson's
answer. Ride to Kingsburgh. Flora M'Donald.

_September 13_. Distresses and escape of the grandson of King James II.
Arrive at Dunvegan.

_September 14_. Importance of the chastity of women. Dr. Cadogan.
Whether the practice of authours is necessary to enforce their
Doctrines. Good humour acquirable.

_September 15_. Sir George M'Kenzie. Mr. Burke's wit, knowledge and

_September 16_. Dr. Johnson's hereditary melancholy. His minute
knowledge in various arts. Apology for the authour's ardour in his
pursuits. Dr. Johnson's imaginary seraglio. Polygamy.

_September 17_. Cunning. Whether great abilities are necessary to be
wicked. Temple of the Goddess Anaitis. Family portraits. Records not
consulted by old English historians. Mr. Pennant's Tours criticised.

_September 18_. Ancient residence of a Highland Chief. Languages the
pedigree of nations. Laird of the Isle of Muck.

_September 19_. Choice of a wife. Women an over-match for men. Lady
Grange in St. Kilda. Poetry of savages. French Literati. Prize-fighting.
French and English soldiers. Duelling.

_September 20_. Change of London manners. Laziness censured. Landed and
traded interest compared. Gratitude considered.

_September 21_. Description of Dunvegan. Lord Lovat's Pyramid. Ride to
Ulinish. Phipps's Voyage to the North Pole.

_September 22_. Subterraneous house and vast cave in Ulinish. Swift's
Lord Orrery. Defects as well as virtues the proper subject of biography,
though the life be written by a friend. Studied conclusions of letters.
Whether allowable in dying men to maintain resentment to the last.
Instructions for writing the lives of literary men. Fingal denied to be
genuine, and pleasantly ridiculed.

_September 23_. Further disquisition concerning Fingal. Eminent men
disconcerted by a new mode of publick appearance. Garrick. Mrs.
Montague's Essay on Shakspeare. Persons of consequence watched in
London. Learning of the Scots from 1550 to 1650. The arts of civil life
little known in Scotland till the Union. Life of a sailor. The folly of
Peter the Great in working in a dock-yard. Arrive at Talisker.
Presbyterian clergy deficient in learning.  _September 24_. French
hunting. Young Col. Dr. Birch, Dr. Percy. Lord Hailes. Historical
impartiality. Whiggism unbecoming in a clergyman.

_September 25_. Every island a prison. A Sky cottage. Return to
Corrichatachin. Good fellowship carried to excess.

_September 26_. Morning review of last night's intemperance. Old
Kingsburgh's Jacobite song. Lady Margaret Macdonald adored in Sky.
Different views of the same subject at different times. Self-deception.

_September 27_. Dr. Johnson's popularity in the Isle of Sky. His
good-humoured gaiety with a Highland lady.

_September 28_. Ancient Irish pride of family. Dr. Johnson on threshing
and thatching. Dangerous to increase the price of labour. Arrive at
Ostig. Dr. M'Pherson's Latin poetry.

_September 29_. Reverend Mr. M'Pherson, Shenstone. Hammond. Sir Charles
Hanbury Williams.

_September 30_. Mr. Burke the first man every where. Very moderate
talents requisite to make a figure in the House of Commons. Dr. Young.
Dr. Doddridge. Increase of infidel writings since the accession of the
Hanover family. Gradual impression made by Dr. Johnson. Particular
minutes to be kept of our studies.

_October 1_. Dr. Johnson not answerable for all the words in his
_Dictionary_. Attacks on authours useful to them. Return to Armidale.

_October 2_. Old manners of great families in Wales. German courts.
Goldsmith's love of talk. Emigration. Curious story of the people of
St. Kilda.

_October 3_. Epictetus on the voyage of death. Sail for Mull. A storm.
Driven into Col.

_October 4_. Dr. Johnson's mode of living in the Temple. His curious
appearance on a sheltie. Nature of sea-sickness. Burnet's _History of
his own Times_. Difference between dedications and histories.

_October 5_. People may come to do anything by talking of it. The
Reverend Mr. Hector Maclean. Bayle. Leibnitz and Clarke. Survey of Col.
Insular life. Arrive at Breacacha. Dr. Johnson's power of ridicule.

_October 6_. Heritable jurisdictions. The opinion of philosophers
concerning happiness in a cottage, considered. Advice to landlords.

_October 7_. Books the best solace in a state of confinement.

_October 8_. Pretended brother of Dr. Johnson. No redress for a man's
name being affixed to a foolish work. Lady Sidney Beauclerk. Carte's
_Life of the Duke of Ormond_. Col's cabinet. Letters of the great
Montrose. Present state of the island of Col.

_October 9_. Dr. Johnson's avidity for a variety of books. Improbability
of a Highland tradition. Dr. Johnson's delicacy of feeling.

_October 10_. Dependence of tenants on landlords.

_October 11_. London and Pekin compared. Dr. Johnson's high opinion of
the former.

_October 12_. Return to Mr. M'Sweyn's. Other superstitions beside those
connected with religion. Dr. Johnson disgusted with coarse manners. His
peculiar habits.

_October 13_. Bustle not necessary to dispatch. _Oats_ the food not of
the Scotch alone.

_October 14_. Arrive in Mull. Addison's _Remarks on Italy_. Addison not
much conversant with Italian literature. The French masters of the art
of accommodating literature. Their _Ana_. Racine. Corneille. Moliere.
Fenelon. Voltaire. Bossuet. Massillon. Bourdaloue. Virgil's description
of the entrance into hell, compared to a printing-house.

_October 15_. Erse poetry. Danger of a knowledge of musick. The
propriety of settling our affairs so as to be always prepared for death.
Religion and literary attainments not to be described to young persons
as too hard. Reception of the travellers in their progress. Spence.

_October 16_. Miss Maclean. Account of Mull. The value of an oak
walking-stick in the Hebrides. Arrive at Mr. M'Quarrie's in Ulva.
Captain Macleod. Second Sight. _Mercheta Mulierum_, and Borough-English.
The grounds on which the sale of an estate may be set aside in a court
of equity.

_October 17_. Arrive at Inchkenneth. Sir Allan Maclean and his
daughters. None but theological books should be read on Sunday. Dr.
Campbell. Dr. Johnson exhibited as a Highlander. Thoughts on drinking.
Dr. Johnson's Latin verses on Inchkenneth.

_October 18_. Young Col's various good qualities. No extraordinary
talents requisite to success in trade. Dr. Solander. Mr. Burke. Dr.
Johnson's intrepidity and presence of mind. Singular custom in the
islands of Col and Otaheité. Further elogium on young Col. Credulity of
a Frenchman in foreign countries.

_October 19_. Death of young Col. Dr. Johnson slow of belief without
strong evidence. _La Crédulité des incrédules_. Coast of Mull. Nun's
Island. Past scenes pleasing in recollection. Land on Icolmkill.
_October 20_. Sketch of the ruins of Icolmkill. Influence of solemn
scenes of piety. Feudal authority in the extreme. Return to Mull.

_October 21_. Pulteney. Pitt. Walpole. Mr. Wilkes. English and Jewish
history compared. Scotland composed of stone and water, and a little
earth. Turkish Spy. Dreary ride to Lochbuy. Description of the laird.

_October 22_. Uncommon breakfast offered to Dr. Johnson, and rejected.
Lochbuy's war-saddle. Sail to Oban.

_October 23_. Goldsmith's _Traveller_. Pope and Cowley compared.
Archibald Duke of Argyle. Arrive at Inverary. Dr. Johnson drinks some
whisky, and assigns his reason. Letter from the authour to Mr. Garrick.
Mr. Garrick's answer.

_October 24_. Specimen of Ogden on Prayer. Hervey's _Meditations_. Dr.
Johnson's Meditation on a Pudding. Country neighbours. The authour's
visit to the castle of Inverary. Perverse opposition to the influence of
Peers in Ayrshire.

_October 25_. Dr. Johnson presented to the Duke of Argyle. Grandeur of
his grace's seat. The authour possesses himself in an embarrassing
situation. Honourable Archibald Campbell on _a middle state_. The old
Lord Townshend. Question concerning luxury. Nice trait of character.
Good principles and bad practice.

_October 26_. A passage in Home's _Douglas_, and one in _Juvenal_,
compared. Neglect of religious buildings in Scotland. Arrive at Sir
James Colquhoun's.

_October 27_. Dr. Johnson's letter to the Duke of Argyle. His grace's
answer. Lochlomond. Dr. Johnson's sentiments on dress. Forms of prayer
considered. Arrive at Mr. Smollet's.

_October 28_. Dr. Smollet's Epitaph. Dr. Johnson's wonderful memory. His
alacrity during the Tour. Arrive at Glasgow.

_October 29_. Glasgow surveyed. Attention of the professors to Dr.

_October 30_. Dinner at the Earl of Loudoun's. Character of that
nobleman. Arrive at Treesbank.

_October 31_. Sir John Cunningham of Caprington.

_November 1_. Rules for the distribution of charity. Castle of
Dundonald. Countess of Eglintoune. Alexander Earl of Eglintoune.

_November 2_. Arrive at Auchinleck. Character of Lord Auchinleck, His
idea of Dr. Johnson.

_November 3_. Dr. Johnson's sentiments concerning the Highlands. Mr.
Harris of Salisbury.

_November 4_. Auchinleck. Cattle without horns. Composure of mind how
far attainable.  _November 5_. Dr. Johnson's high respect for the
English clergy.

_November 6_. Lord Auchinleck and Dr. Johnson in collision.

_November 7_. Dr. Johnson's uniform piety. His dislike of presbyterian

_November 8_. Arrive at Hamilton.

_November 9_. The Duke of Hamilton's house. Arrive at Edinburgh.

_November 10_. Lord Elibank. Difference in political principles
increased by opposition. Edinburgh Castle. Fingal. English credulity not
less than Scottish. Second Sight. Garrick and Foote compared as
companions. Moravian Missions and Methodism.

_November 11_. History originally oral. Dr. Robertson's liberality of
sentiment. Rebellion natural to man.

       *       *       *       *       *

Summary account of the manner in which Dr. Johnson spent his time from
November 12 to November 21. Lord Mansfield, Mr. Richardson. The private
life of an English Judge. Dr. Johnson's high opinion of Dr. Robertson
and Dr. Blair. Letter from Dr. Blair to the authour. Officers of the
army often ignorant of things belonging to their own profession. Academy
for the deaf and dumb. A Scotch Highlander and an English sailor.
Attacks on authours advantageous to them. Roslin Castle and Hawthornden.
Dr. Johnson's _Parody of Sir John Dalrymple's Memoirs_. Arrive at
Cranston. Dr. Johnson's departure for London. Letters from Lord Hailes
and Mr. Dempster to the authour. Letter from the Laird of Rasay to the
authour. The authour's answer. Dr. Johnson's Advertisement,
acknowledging a mistake in his _Journey to the Western Islands_. His
letter to the Laird of Rasay. Letter from Sir William Forbes to the
authour. Conclusion.


     _Baker's Chronicle_ [ed. 1665, p. 449].







Dr. Johnson had for many years given me hopes that we should go
together, and visit the Hebrides[9]. Martin's Account of those islands
had impressed us with a notion that we might there contemplate a system
of life almost totally different from what we had been accustomed to
see; and, to find simplicity and wildness, and all the circumstances of
remote time or place, so near to our native great island, was an object
within the reach of reasonable curiosity. Dr. Johnson has said in his
_Journey_[10] 'that he scarcely remembered how the wish to visit the
Hebrides was excited;' but he told me, in summer, 1763[11], that his
father put Martin's Account into his hands when he was very young, and
that he was much pleased with it. We reckoned there would be some
inconveniencies and hardships, and perhaps a little danger; but these we
were persuaded were magnified in the imagination of every body. When I
was at Ferney, in 1764, I mentioned our design to Voltaire. He looked at
me, as if I had talked of going to the North Pole, and said, 'You do not
insist on my accompanying you?'--'No, Sir,'--'Then I am very willing
you should go.' I was not afraid that our curious expedition would be
prevented by such apprehensions; but I doubted that it would not be
possible to prevail on Dr. Johnson to relinquish, for some time, the
felicity of a London life, which, to a man who can enjoy it with full
intellectual relish, is apt to make existence in any narrower sphere
seem insipid or irksome. I doubted that he would not be willing to come
down from his elevated state of philosophical dignity; from a
superiority of wisdom among the wise, and of learning among the learned;
and from flashing his wit upon minds bright enough to reflect it.

He had disappointed my expectations so long, that I began to despair;
but in spring, 1773, he talked of coming to Scotland that year with so
much firmness, that I hoped he was at last in earnest. I knew that, if
he were once launched from the metropolis he would go forward very well;
and I got our common friends there to assist in setting him afloat. To
Mrs. Thrale in particular, whose enchantment over him seldom failed, I
was much obliged. It was, '_I'll give thee a wind._'-' _Thou art
kind._[12]'--To _attract_ him, we had invitations from the chiefs
Macdonald and Macleod; and, for additional aid, I wrote to Lord
Elibank[13], Dr. William Robertson, and Dr. Beattie.

To Dr. Robertson, so far as my letter concerned the present subject, I
wrote as follows:

'Our friend, Mr. Samuel Johnson, is in great health and spirits; and, I
do think, has a serious resolution to visit Scotland this year. The more
attraction, however, the better; and therefore, though I know he will be
happy to meet you there, it will forward the scheme, if, in your answer
to this, you express yourself concerning it with that power of which you
are so happily possessed, and which may be so directed as to operate
strongly upon him.'

His answer to that part of my letter was quite as I could have wished.
It was written with the address and persuasion of the historian of
America.  'When I saw you last, you gave us some hopes that you might
prevail with Mr. Johnson to make out that excursion to Scotland, with
the expectation of which we have long flattered ourselves. If he could
order matters so, as to pass some time in Edinburgh, about the close of
the summer session, and then visit some of the Highland scenes, I am
confident he would be pleased with the grand features of nature in many
parts of this country: he will meet with many persons here who respect
him, and some whom I am persuaded he will think not unworthy of his
esteem. I wish he would make the experiment. He sometimes cracks his
jokes upon us; but he will find that we can distinguish between the
stabs of malevolence, and _the rebukes of the righteous, which are like
excellent oil[14], and break not the head[15]_. Offer my best
compliments to him, and assure him that I shall be happy to have the
satisfaction of seeing him under my roof.

To Dr. Beattie I wrote, 'The chief intention of this letter is to inform
you, that I now seriously believe Mr. Samuel Johnson will visit Scotland
this year: but I wish that every power of attraction may be employed to
secure our having so valuable an acquisition, and therefore I hope you
will without delay write to me what I know you think, that I may read it
to the mighty sage, with proper emphasis, before I leave London, which I
must do soon. He talks of you with the same warmth that he did last
year[16]. We are to see as much of Scotland as we can, in the months of
August and September. We shall not be long of being at Marischal
College[17]. He is particularly desirous of seeing some of the
Western Islands.'

Dr. Beattie did better: _ipse venit_. He was, however, so polite as to
wave his privilege of _nil mihi rescribas[18]_, and wrote from
Edinburgh, as follows:--'Your very kind and agreeable favour of the
20th of April overtook me here yesterday, after having gone to Aberdeen,
which place I left about a week ago. I am to set out this day for
London, and hope to have the honour of paying my respects to Mr. Johnson
and you, about a week or ten days hence. I shall then do what I can, to
enforce the topick you mention; but at present I cannot enter upon it,
as I am in a very great hurry; for I intend to begin my journey within
an hour or two.'

He was as good as his word, and threw some pleasing motives into the
northern scale. But, indeed, Mr. Johnson loved all that he heard, from
one whom he tells us, in his _Lives of the Poets_, Gray found 'a poet, a
philosopher, and a good man[19].'

My Lord Elibank did not answer my letter to his lordship for some time.
The reason will appear, when we come to the isle of _Sky_[20]. I shall
then insert my letter, with letters from his lordship, both to myself
and Mr. Johnson. I beg it may be understood, that I insert my own
letters, as I relate my own sayings, rather as keys to what is valuable
belonging to others, than for their own sake.

Luckily Mr. Justice (now Sir Robert) Chambers[21], who was about to sail
for the East-Indies, was going to take leave of his relations at
Newcastle, and he conducted Dr. Johnson to that town. Mr. Scott, of
University College, Oxford, (now Dr. Scott[22], of the Commons,)
accompanied him from thence to Edinburgh, With such propitious convoys
did he proceed to my native city. But, lest metaphor should make it be
supposed he actually went by sea, I choose to mention that he travelled
in post-chaises, of which the rapid motion was one of his most favourite

Dr. Samuel Johnson's character, religious, moral, political, and
literary, nay his figure and manner, are, I believe, more generally
known than those of almost any man; yet it may not be superfluous here
to attempt a sketch of him. Let my readers then remember that he was a
sincere and zealous Christian, of high church of England and monarchical
principles, which he would not tamely suffer to be questioned; steady
and inflexible in maintaining the obligations of piety and virtue, both
from a regard to the order of society, and from a veneration for the
Great Source of all order; correct, nay stern in his taste; hard to
please, and easily offended, impetuous and irritable in his temper, but
of a most humane and benevolent heart; having a mind stored with a vast
and various collection of learning and knowledge, which he communicated
with peculiar perspicuity and force, in rich and choice expression. He
united a most logical head with a most fertile imagination, which gave
him an extraordinary advantage in arguing; for he could reason close or
wide, as he saw best for the moment. He could, when he chose it, be the
greatest sophist that ever wielded a weapon in the schools of
declamation; but he indulged this only in conversation; for he owned he
sometimes talked for victory[24]; he was too conscientious to make
errour permanent and pernicious, by deliberately writing it. He was
conscious of his superiority. He loved praise when it was brought to
him; but was too proud to seek for it. He was somewhat susceptible of
flattery[25]. His mind was so full of imagery, that he might have been
perpetually a poet. It has been often remarked, that in his poetical
pieces, which it is to be regretted are so few, because so excellent,
his style is easier than in his prose. There is deception in this: it is
not easier, but better suited to the dignity of verse; as one may dance
with grace, whose motions, in ordinary walking, in the common step, are
awkward. He had a constitutional melancholy, the clouds of which
darkened the brightness of his fancy, and gave a gloomy cast to his
whole course of thinking: yet, though grave and awful in his deportment,
when he thought it necessary or proper, he frequently indulged himself
in pleasantry and sportive sallies. He was prone to superstition, but
not to credulity. Though his imagination might incline him to a belief
of the marvellous and the mysterious, his vigorous reason examined the
evidence with jealousy. He had a loud voice, and a slow deliberate
utterance, which no doubt gave some additional weight to the sterling
metal of his conversation[26]. His person was large, robust, I may say
approaching to the gigantick, and grown unwieldy from corpulency. His
countenance was naturally of the cast of an ancient statue, but somewhat
disfigured by the scars of that _evil_, which, it was formerly imagined,
the _royal touch_[27] could cure. He was now in his sixty-fourth year,
and was become a little dull of hearing. His sight had always been
somewhat weak; yet, so much does mind govern, and even supply the
deficiency of organs, that his perceptions were uncommonly quick and
accurate[28]. His head, and sometimes also his body shook with a kind of
motion like the effect of a palsy: he appeared to be frequently
disturbed by cramps, or convulsive contractions[29], of the nature of
that distemper called _St. Vitus's dance_. He wore a full suit of plain
brown clothes, with twisted hair-buttons[30] of the same colour, a
large bushy greyish wig, a plain shirt, black worsted stockings, and
silver buckles. Upon this tour, when journeying, he wore boots, and a
very wide brown cloth great coat, with pockets which might have almost
held the two volumes of his folio _Dictionary_; and he carried in his
hand a large English oak stick. Let me not be censured for mentioning
such minute particulars. Every thing relative to so great a man is worth
observing. I remember Dr. Adam Smith, in his rhetorical lectures at
Glasgow[31], told us he was glad to know that Milton wore latchets in
his shoes, instead of buckles. When I mention the oak stick, it is but
letting _Hercules_ have his club; and, by-and-by, my readers will find
this stick will bud, and produce a good joke[32].

This imperfect sketch of 'the COMBINATION and the _form_[33]' of that
Wonderful Man, whom I venerated and loved while in this world, and after
whom I gaze with humble hope, now that it has pleased ALMIGHTY GOD to
call him to a better world, will serve to introduce to the fancy of my
readers the capital object of the following journal, in the course of
which I trust they will attain to a considerable degree of
acquaintance with him.

His prejudice against Scotland[34] was announced almost as soon as he
began to appear in the world of Letters. In his _London_, a poem, are
the following nervous lines:--

     'For who would leave, unbrib'd, Hibernia's land?
      Or change the rocks of Scotland for the Strand?
      There none are swept by sudden fate away;
      But all, whom hunger spares, with age decay.'

The truth is, like the ancient Greeks and Romans, he allowed himself to
look upon all nations but his own as barbarians[35]: not only Hibernia,
and Scotland, but Spain, Italy, and France, are attacked in the same
poem. If he was particularly prejudiced against the Scots, it was
because they were more in his way; because he thought their success in
England rather exceeded the due proportion of their real merit; and
because he could not but see in them that nationality which I believe no
liberal-minded Scotsman will deny. He was indeed, if I may be allowed
the phrase, at bottom much of a _John Bull_[36]; much of a blunt _true
born Englishman_[37]. There was a stratum of common clay under the rock
of marble. He was voraciously fond of good eating[38]; and he had a
great deal of that quality called _humour_, which gives an oiliness and
a gloss to every other quality.

I am, I flatter myself, completely a citizen of the world.--In my
travels through Holland, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Corsica, France, I
never felt myself from home; and I sincerely love 'every kindred and
tongue and people and nation[39].' I subscribe to what my late truly
learned and philosophical friend Mr. Crosbie[40] said, that the English
are better animals than the Scots; they are nearer the sun; their blood
is richer, and more mellow: but when I humour any of them in an
outrageous contempt of Scotland, I fairly own I treat them as children.
And thus I have, at some moments, found myself obliged to treat even
Dr. Johnson.

To Scotland however he ventured; and he returned from it in great good
humour, with his prejudices much lessened, and with very grateful
feelings of the hospitality with which he was treated; as is evident
from that admirable work, his _Journey to the Western Islands of
Scotland_, which, to my utter astonishment, has been misapprehended,
even to rancour, by many of my countrymen.  To have the company of
Chambers and Scott, he delayed his journey so long, that the court of
session, which rises on the eleventh of August, was broke up before he
got to Edinburgh[41].

On Saturday the fourteenth of August, 1773, late in the evening, I
received a note from him, that he was arrived at Boyd's inn[42], at the
head of the Canongate. I went to him directly. He embraced me cordially;
and I exulted in the thought, that I now had him actually in Caledonia.
Mr. Scott's amiable manners, and attachment to our _Socrates_, at once
united me to him. He told me that, before I came in, the Doctor had
unluckily had a bad specimen of Scottish cleanliness[43]. He then drank
no fermented liquor. He asked to have his lemonade made sweeter; upon
which the waiter, with his greasy fingers, lifted a lump of sugar, and
put it into it. The Doctor, in indignation, threw it out of the window.
Scott said, he was afraid he would have knocked the waiter down. Mr.
Johnson told me, that such another trick was played him at the house of
a lady in Paris[44]. He was to do me the honour to lodge under my roof.
I regretted sincerely that I had not also a room for Mr. Scott. Mr.
Johnson and I walked arm-in-arm up the High=street, to my house in
James's court[45]: it was a dusky night: I could not prevent his being
assailed by the evening effluvia of Edinburgh. I heard a late baronet,
of some distinction in the political world in the beginning of the
present reign, observe, that 'walking the streets of Edinburgh at night
was pretty perilous, and a good deal odoriferous.' The peril is much
abated, by the care which the magistrates have taken to enforce the city
laws against throwing foul water from the windows[46]; but from the
structure of the houses in the old town, which consist of many stories,
in each of which a different family lives, and there being no covered
sewers, the ordour still continues. A zealous Scotsman would have wished
Mr. Johnson to be without one of his five senses upon this occasion. As
we marched slowly along, he grumbled in my ear, 'I smell you in the
dark[47]!' But he acknowledged that the breadth of the street, and the
loftiness of the buildings on each side made a noble appearance[48].

My wife had tea ready for him, which it is well known he delighted to
drink at all hours, particularly when sitting up late, and of which his
able defence against Mr. Jonas Hanway[49] should have obtained him a
magnificent reward from the East-India Company. He shewed much
complacency upon finding that the mistress of the house was so attentive
to his singular habit; and as no man could be more polite when he chose
to be so, his address to her was most courteous and engaging; and his
conversation soon charmed her into a forgetfulness of his external

I did not begin to keep a regular full journal till some days after we
had set out from Edinburgh; but I have luckily preserved a good many
fragments of his _Memorabilia_ from his very first evening in Scotland.

We had, a little before this, had a trial for murder, in which the
judges had allowed the lapse of twenty years since its commission as a
plea in bar, in conformity with the doctrine of prescription in the
_civil_ law, which Scotland and several other countries in Europe have
adopted. He at first disapproved of this; but then he thought there was
something in it, if there had been for twenty years a neglect to
prosecute a crime which was _known_. He would not allow that a murder,
by not being _discovered_ for twenty years, should escape
punishment[51]. We talked of the ancient trial by duel. He did not think
it so absurd as is generally supposed; 'For (said he) it was only
allowed when the question was _in equilibrio_, as when one affirmed and
another denied; and they had a notion that Providence would interfere in
favour of him who was in the right. But as it was found that in a duel,
he who was in the right had not a better chance than he who was in the
wrong, therefore society instituted the present mode of trial, and gave
the advantage to him who is in the right.'

We sat till near two in the morning, having chatted a good while after
my wife left us. She had insisted, that to shew all respect to the Sage
she would give up her own bed-chamber to him and take a worse[52]. This
I cannot but gratefully mention, as one of a thousand obligations which
I owe her, since the great obligation of her being pleased to accept of
me as her husband[53].


Mr. Scott came to breakfast, at which I introduced to Dr. Johnson and
him, my friend Sir William Forbes, now of Pitsligo[55]; a man of whom
too much good cannot be said; who, with distinguished abilities and
application in his profession of a Banker, is at once a good companion,
and a good christian; which I think is saying enough. Yet it is but
justice to record, that once, when he was in a dangerous illness, he was
watched with the anxious apprehension of a general calamity; day and
night his house was beset with affectionate enquiries; and, upon his
recovery, _Te deum_ was the universal chorus from the _hearts_ of his
countrymen.  Mr. Johnson was pleased with my daughter Veronica[56],
then a child of about four months old. She had the appearance of
listening to him. His motions seemed to her to be intended for her
amusement; and when he stopped, she fluttered, and made a little
infantine noise, and a kind of signal for him to begin again. She would
be held close to him; which was a proof, from simple nature, that his
figure was not horrid. Her fondness for him endeared her still more to
me, and I declared she should have five hundred pounds of additional

We talked of the practice of the law. Sir William Forbes said, he
thought an honest lawyer should never undertake a cause which he was
satisfied was not a just one. 'Sir, (said Mr. Johnson,) a lawyer has no
business with the justice or injustice of the cause which he undertakes,
unless his client asks his opinion, and then he is bound to give it
honestly. The justice or injustice of the cause is to be decided by the
judge. Consider, Sir; what is the purpose of courts of justice? It is,
that every man may have his cause fairly tried, by men appointed to try
causes. A lawyer is not to tell what he knows to be a lie: he is not to
produce what he knows to be a false deed; but he is not to usurp the
province of the jury and of the judge, and determine what shall be the
effect of evidence,--what shall be the result of legal argument. As it
rarely happens that a man is fit to plead his own cause, lawyers are a
class of the community, who, by study and experience, have acquired the
art and power of arranging evidence, and of applying to the points at
issue what the law has settled. A lawyer is to do for his client all
that his client might fairly do for himself, if he could. If, by a
superiority of attention, of knowledge, of skill, and a better method of
communication, he has the advantage of his adversary, it is an
advantage to which he is entitled. There must always be some advantage,
on one side or other; and it is better that advantage should be had by
talents than by chance. Lawyers were to undertake no causes till they
were sure they were just, a man might be precluded altogether from a
trial of his claim, though, were it judicially examined it might be
found a very just claim[58].' This was sound practical doctrine, and
rationally repressed a too refined scrupulosity[59] of conscience.

Emigration was at this time a common topick of discourse[60]. Dr.
Johnson regretted it as hurtful to human happiness: 'For (said he) it
spreads mankind, which weakens the defence of a nation, and lessens the
comfort of living. Men, thinly scattered, make a shift, but a bad shift,
without many things. A smith is ten miles off: they'll do without a nail
or a staple. A taylor is far from them: they'll botch their own clothes.
It is being concentrated which produces high convenience[61].'

Sir William Forbes, Mr. Scott, and I, accompanied Mr. Johnson to the
chapel[62], founded by Lord Chief Baron Smith, for the Service of the
Church of England. The Reverend Mr. Carre, the senior clergyman,
preached from these words, 'Because the Lord reigneth, let the earth be
glad[63].' I was sorry to think Mr. Johnson did not attend to the
sermon, Mr. Carre's low voice not being strong enough to reach his
hearing. A selection of Mr. Carre's sermons has, since his death, been
published by Sir William Forbes[64], and the world has acknowledged
their uncommon merit. I am well assured Lord Mansfield has pronounced
them to be excellent.

Here I obtained a promise from Lord Chief Baron Orde[65], that he would
dine at my house next day. I presented Mr. Johnson to his Lordship, who
politely said to him, I have not the honour of knowing you; but I hope
for it, and to see you at my house. I am to wait on you to-morrow.' This
respectable English judge will be long remembered in Scotland, where he
built an elegant house, and lived in it magnificently. His own ample
fortune, with the addition of his salary, enabled him to be splendidly
hospitable. It may be fortunate for an individual amongst ourselves to
be Lord Chief Baron; and a most worthy man now has the office; but, in
my opinion, it is better for Scotland in general, that some of our
publick employments should be filled by gentlemen of distinction from
the south side of the Tweed, as we have the benefit of promotion in
England. Such an interchange would make a beneficial mixture of manners,
and render our union more complete. Lord Chief Baron Orde was on good
terms with us all, in a narrow country filled with jarring interests and
keen parties; and, though I well knew his opinion to be the same with my
own, he kept himself aloof at a very critical period indeed, when the
_Douglas cause_ shook the sacred security of _birthright_ in Scotland
to its foundation; a cause, which had it happened before the Union, when
there was no appeal to a British House of Lords, would have left the
great fortress of honours and of property in ruins[66].  When we got
home, Dr. Johnson desired to see my books. He took down Ogden's _Sermons
on Prayer_[67], on which I set a very high value, having been much
edified by them, and he retired with them to his room. He did not stay
long, but soon joined us in the drawing room. I presented to him Mr.
Robert Arbuthnot, a relation of the celebrated Dr. Arbuthnot[68], and a
man of literature and taste. To him we were obliged for a previous
recommendation, which secured us a very agreeable reception at St.
Andrews, and which Dr. Johnson, in his _Journey_, ascribes to 'some
invisible friend[69].'

Of Dr. Beattie, Mr. Johnson said, 'Sir, he has written like a man
conscious of the truth, and feeling his own strength[70]. Treating your
adversary with respect is giving him an advantage to which he is not
entitled[71]. The greatest part of men cannot judge of reasoning, and
are impressed by character; so that, if you allow your adversary a
respectable character, they will think, that though you differ from him,
you may be in the wrong. Sir, treating your adversary with respect, is
striking soft in a battle. And as to Hume,--a man who has so much
conceit as to tell all mankind that they have been bubbled[72] for ages,
and he is the wise man who sees better than they,--a man who has so
little scrupulosity as to venture to oppose those principles which have
been thought necessary to human happiness,--is he to be surprized if
another man comes and laughs at him? If he is the great man he thinks
himself, all this cannot hurt him: it is like throwing peas against a
rock.' He added '_something much too rough_' both as to Mr. Hume's head
and heart, which I suppress. Violence is, in my opinion, not suitable to
the Christian cause. Besides, I always lived on good terms with Mr.
Hume, though I have frankly told him, I was not clear that it was right
in me to keep company with him. 'But, (said I) how much better are you
than your books!' He was cheerful, obliging, and instructive; he was
charitable to the poor; and many an agreeable hour have I passed with
him[73]: I have preserved some entertaining and interesting memoirs of
him, particularly when he knew himself to be dying, which I may some
time or other communicate to the world[74]. I shall not, however, extol
him so very highly as Dr. Adam Smith does, who says, in a letter to Mr.
Strahan the Printer (not a confidential letter to his friend, but a
letter which is published[75] with all formality:) 'Upon the whole, I
have always considered him, both in his life time and since his death,
as approaching as nearly to the idea of a perfectly wise and virtuous
man as perhaps the nature of human frailty will permit.' Let Dr. Smith
consider: Was not Mr. Hume blest with good health, good spirits, good
friends, a competent and increasing fortune? And had he not also a
perpetual feast of fame[76]? But, as a learned friend has observed to
me, 'What trials did he undergo to prove the perfection of his virtue?
Did he ever experience any great instance of adversity?'--When I read
this sentence delivered by my old _Professor of Moral Philosophy_, I
could not help exclaiming with the _Psalmist_, 'Surely I have now more
understanding than my teachers[77]!'

While we were talking, there came a note to me from Dr. William

   'I have been expecting every day to hear from you, of Dr. Johnson's
arrival. Pray, what do you know about his motions? I long
to take him by the hand. I write this from the college, where I have
only this scrap of paper. Ever yours,

'W. R.'


It pleased me to find Dr. Robertson thus eager to meet Dr. Johnson. I
was glad I could answer, that he was come: and I begged Dr. Robertson
might be with us as soon as he could.

Sir William Forbes, Mr. Scott, Mr. Arbuthnot, and another gentleman
dined with us. 'Come, Dr. Johnson, (said I,) it is commonly thought that
our veal in Scotland is not good. But here is some which I believe you
will like.' There was no catching him. JOHNSON. 'Why, Sir, what is
commonly thought, I should take to be true. _Your_ veal may be good; but
that will only be an exception to the general opinion; not a proof
against it.'

Dr. Robertson, according to the custom of Edinburgh at that time, dined
in the interval between the forenoon and afternoon service, which was
then later than now; so we had not the pleasure of his company till
dinner was over, when he came and drank wine with us. And then began
some animated dialogue[78], of which here follows a pretty full note.

We talked of Mr. Burke. Dr. Johnson said, he had great variety of
knowledge, store of imagery, copiousness of language. ROBERTSON. 'He has
wit too.' JOHNSON. 'No, Sir; he never succeeds there. 'Tis low; 'tis
conceit. I used to say, Burke never once made a good joke[79]. What I
most envy Burke for, is his being constantly the same. He is never what
we call hum-drum; never unwilling to begin to talk, nor in haste to
leave off.' BOSWELL. 'Yet he can listen.' JOHNSON. 'No: I cannot say he
is good at that[80]. So desirous is he to talk, that, if one is speaking
at this end of the table, he'll speak to somebody at the other end.
Burke, Sir, is such a man, that if you met him for the first time in the
street where you were stopped by a drove of oxen, and you and he stepped
aside to take shelter but for five minutes, he'd talk to you in such a
manner, that, when you parted, you would say, this is an extraordinary
man[81]. Now, you may be long enough with me, without finding any thing
extraordinary.' He said, he believed Burke was intended for the law; but
either had not money enough to follow it, or had not diligence
enough[82]. He said, he could not understand how a man could apply to
one thing, and not to another. ROBERTSON said, one man had more
judgment, another more imagination. JOHNSON. 'No, Sir; it is only, one
man has more mind than another. He may direct it differently; he may, by
accident, see the success of one kind of study, and take a desire to
excel in it. I am persuaded that, had Sir Isaac Newton applied to
poetry, he would have made a very fine epick poem. I could as easily
apply to law as to tragick poetry.' BOSWELL. 'Yet, Sir, you did apply to
tragick poetry, not to law.' JOHNSON. 'Because, Sir, I had not money to
study law. Sir, the man who has vigour, may walk to the east, just as
well as to the west, if he happens to turn his head that way[83].'
BOSWELL. 'But, Sir, 'tis like walking up and down a hill; one man will
naturally do the one better than the other. A hare will run up a hill
best, from her fore-legs being short; a dog down.' JOHNSON. 'Nay, Sir;
that is from mechanical powers. If you make mind mechanical, you may
argue in that manner. One mind is a vice, and holds fast; there's a good
memory. Another is a file; and he is a disputant, a controversialist.
Another is a razor; and he is sarcastical.' We talked of Whitefield. He
said he was at the same college with him[84], and knew him _before he
began to be better than other people_ (smiling;) that he believed he
sincerely meant well, but had a mixture of politicks and ostentation:
whereas Wesley thought of religion only[85]. ROBERTSON said, Whitefield
had strong natural eloquence, which, if cultivated, would have done
great things. JOHNSON. 'Why, Sir, I take it, he was at the height of
what his abilities could do, and was sensible of it. He had the ordinary
advantages of education; but he chose to pursue that oratory which is
for the mob[86].' BOSWELL. 'He had great effect on the passions.'
JOHNSON. 'Why, Sir, I don't think so. He could not represent a
succession of pathetic images. He vociferated, and made an impression.
_There_, again, was a mind like a hammer.' Dr. Johnson now said, a
certain eminent political friend of our's[87] was wrong, in his maxim of
sticking to a certain set of _men_ on all occasions. 'I can see that a
man may do right to stick to a _party_ (said he;) that is to say, he is
a _Whig_, or he is a _Tory_, and he thinks one of those parties upon the
whole the best, and that to make it prevail, it must be generally
supported, though, in particulars it may be wrong. He takes its faggot
of principles, in which there are fewer rotten sticks than in the other,
though some rotten sticks to be sure; and they cannot well be separated.
But, to bind one's self to one man, or one set of men, (who may be right
to-day and wrong to-morrow,) without any general preference of system, I
must disapprove[88].'

He told us of Cooke, who translated Hesiod, and lived twenty years on a
translation of Plautus, for which he was always taking subscriptions;
and that he presented Foote to a Club, in the following singular manner:
'This is the nephew of the gentleman who was lately hung in chains for
murdering his brother[89].'  In the evening I introduced to Mr.
Johnson[90] two good friends of mine, Mr. William Nairne, Advocate, and
Mr. Hamilton of Sundrum, my neighbour in the country, both of whom
supped with us. I have preserved nothing of what passed, except that Dr.
Johnson displayed another of his heterodox opinions,--a contempt of
tragick acting[91]. He said, 'the action of all players in tragedy is
bad. It should be a man's study to repress those signs of emotion and
passion, as they are called.' He was of a directly contrary opinion to
that of Fielding, in his _Tom Jones_; who makes Partridge say, of
Garrick, 'why, I could act as well as he myself. I am sure, if I had
seen a ghost, I should have looked in the very same manner, and done
just as he did[92].' For, when I asked him, 'Would you not, Sir, start
as Mr. Garrick does, if you saw a ghost?' He answered, 'I hope not. If I
did, I should frighten the ghost.'


Dr. William Robertson came to breakfast. We talked of _Ogden on Prayer_.
Dr. Johnson said, 'The same arguments which are used against GOD'S
hearing prayer, will serve against his rewarding good, and punishing
evil. He has resolved, he has declared, in the former case as in the
latter.' He had last night looked into Lord Hailes's _Remarks on the
History of Scotland_. Dr. Robertson and I said, it was a pity Lord
Hailes did not write greater things. His lordship had not then published
his _Annals of Scotland_[93]. JOHNSON. 'I remember I was once on a
visit at the house of a lady for whom I had a high respect. There was a
good deal of company in the room. When they were gone, I said to this
lady, "What foolish talking have we had!" "Yes, (said she,) but while
they talked, you said nothing." I was struck with the reproof. How much
better is the man who does anything that is innocent, than he who does
nothing. Besides, I love anecdotes[94]. I fancy mankind may come, in
time, to write all aphoristically, except in narrative; grow weary of
preparation, and connection, and illustration, and all those arts by
which a big book is made. If a man is to wait till he weaves anecdotes
into a system, we may be long in getting them, and get but few, in
comparison of what we might get.

Dr. Robertson said, the notions of _Eupham Macallan_, a fanatick woman,
of whom Lord Hailes gives a sketch, were still prevalent among some of
the Presbyterians; and therefore it was right in Lord Hailes, a man of
known piety, to undeceive them[95].

We walked out[96], that Dr. Johnson might see some of the things which
we have to shew at Edinburgh. We went to the Parliament-House[97],
where the Parliament of Scotland sat, and where the _Ordinary Lords_ of
Session hold their courts; and to the New Session-House adjoining to it,
where our Court of Fifteen (the fourteen _Ordinaries_, with the Lord
President at their head,) sit as a court of Review. We went to the
_Advocates Library_[98], of which Dr. Johnson took a cursory view, and
then to what is called the _Laigh_[99] (or under) Parliament-House,
where the records of Scotland, which has an universal security by
register, are deposited, till the great Register Office be finished. I
was pleased to behold Dr. Samuel Johnson rolling about in this old
magazine of antiquities. There was, by this time, a pretty numerous
circle of us attending upon him. Somebody talked of happy moments for
composition; and how a man can write at one time, and not at another.
'Nay, (said Dr. Johnson,) a man may write at any time, if he will set
himself _doggedly_[100] to it.'

I here began to indulge _old Scottish_[101] sentiments, and to express a
warm regret, that, by our Union with _England_, we were no more;--our
independent kingdom was lost[102]. JOHNSON. 'Sir, never talk of your
independency, who could let your Queen remain twenty years in captivity,
and then be put to death, without even a pretence of justice, without
your ever attempting to rescue her; and such a Queen too; as every man
of any gallantry of spirit would have sacrificed his life for[103].'
Worthy Mr. JAMES KERR, Keeper of the Records. 'Half our nation was
bribed by English money.' JOHNSON. 'Sir, that is no defence: that makes
you worse.' Good Mr. BROWN, Keeper of the Advocates' Library. 'We had
better say nothing about it.' BOSWELL. 'You would have been glad,
however, to have had us last war, sir, to fight your battles!' JOHNSON.
'We should have had you for the same price, though there had been no
Union, as we might have had Swiss, or other troops. No, no, I shall
agree to a separation. You have only to _go home_.' Just as he had said
this, I, to divert the subject, shewed him the signed assurances of the
three successive Kings of the Hanover family, to maintain the
Presbyterian establishment in Scotland. 'We'll give you that (said he)
into the bargain.'

We next went to the great church of St. Giles, which has lost its
original magnificence in the inside, by being divided into four places
of Presbyterian worship[104]. 'Come, (said Dr. Johnson jocularly to
Principal Robertson[105],) let me see what was once a church!' We
entered that division which was formerly called the _New Church_, and of
late the _High Church_, so well known by the eloquence of Dr. Hugh
Blair. It is now very elegantly fitted up; but it was then shamefully
dirty[106]. Dr. Johnson said nothing at the time; but when we came to
the great door of the Royal Infirmary, where upon a board was this
inscription, '_Clean your feet!_' he turned about slyly and said, 'There
is no occasion for putting this at the doors of your churches!'

We then conducted him down the Post-house stairs, Parliament-close, and
made him look up from the Cow-gate to the highest building in Edinburgh,
(from which he had just descended,) being thirteen floors or stories
from the ground upon the back elevation; the front wall being built upon
the edge of the hill, and the back wall rising from the bottom of the
hill several stories before it comes to a level with the front wall. We
proceeded to the College, with the Principal at our head. Dr. Adam
Fergusson, whose _Essay on the History of Civil Society[107]_ gives him
a respectable place in the ranks of literature, was with us. As the
College buildings[108] are indeed very mean, the Principal said to Dr.
Johnson, that he must give them the same epithet that a Jesuit did when
shewing a poor college abroad: '_Hae miseriae nostrae_.' Dr. Johnson
was, however, much pleased with the library, and with the conversation
of Dr. James Robertson, Professor of Oriental Languages, the Librarian.
We talked of Kennicot's edition of the Hebrew Bible[109], and hoped it
would be quite faithful. JOHNSON. 'Sir, I know not any crime so great
that a man could contrive to commit, as poisoning the sources of
eternal truth.'

I pointed out to him where there formerly stood an old wall enclosing
part of the college, which I remember bulged out in a threatening
manner, and of which there was a common tradition similar to that
concerning _Bacon's_ study at Oxford, that it would fall upon some very
learned man[110]. It had some time before this been taken down, that the
street might be widened, and a more convenient wall built. Dr. Johnson,
glad of an opportunity to have a pleasant hit at Scottish learning,
said, 'they have been afraid it never would fall.'

We shewed him the Royal Infirmary, for which, and for every other
exertion of generous publick spirit in his power, that noble-minded
citizen of Edinburgh, George Drummond, will be ever held in honourable
remembrance. And we were too proud not to carry him to the Abbey of
Holyrood-house, that beautiful piece of architecture, but, alas! that
deserted mansion of royalty, which Hamilton of Bangour, in one of his
elegant poems, calls

     'A virtuous palace, where no monarch dwells[111].'

I was much entertained while Principal Robertson fluently harangued to
Dr. Johnson, upon the spot, concerning scenes of his celebrated _History
of Scotland_. We surveyed that part of the palace appropriated to the
Duke of Hamilton, as Keeper, in which our beautiful Queen Mary lived,
and in which David Rizzio was murdered; and also the State Rooms. Dr.
Johnson was a great reciter of all sorts of things serious or comical. I
overheard him repeating here in a kind of muttering tone, a line of the
old ballad, _Johnny Armstrong's Last Good Night_:

     'And ran him through the fair body[112]!'

We returned to my house, where there met him, at dinner, the Duchess of
Douglas[113], Sir Adolphus Oughton, Lord Chief Baron, Sir William
Forbes, Principal Robertson, Mr. Cullen[114], Advocate. Before dinner he
told us of a curious conversation between the famous George
Faulkner[115] and him. George said that England had drained Ireland of
fifty thousand pounds in specie, annually, for fifty years. 'How so,
Sir! (said Dr. Johnson,) you must have a very great trade?' 'No trade.'
'Very rich mines?' 'No mines.' 'From whence, then, does all this money
come?' 'Come! why out of the blood and bowels of the poor people
of Ireland!'

He seemed to me to have an unaccountable prejudice against Swift[116];
for I once took the liberty to ask him, if Swift had personally offended
him, and he told me he had not. He said to-day, 'Swift is clear, but he
is shallow. In coarse humour, he is inferior to Arbuthnot[117]; in
delicate humour, he is inferior to Addison. So he is inferior to his
contemporaries; without putting him against the whole world. I doubt if
the _Tale of a Tub_ was his[118]: it has so much more thinking, more
knowledge, more power, more colour, than any of the works which are
indisputably his. If it was his, I shall only say, he was _impar

We gave him as good a dinner as we could. Our Scotch muir-fowl, or
growse, were then abundant, and quite in season; and so far as wisdom
and wit can be aided by administering agreeable sensations to the
palate, my wife took care that our great guest should not be deficient.

Sir Adolphus Oughton, then our Deputy Commander in Chief, who was not
only an excellent officer, but one of the most universal scholars I ever
knew, had learned the Erse language, and expressed his belief in the
authenticity of Ossian's Poetry[120]. Dr. Johnson took the opposite side
of that perplexed question; and I was afraid the dispute would have run
high between them. But Sir Adolphus, who had a very sweet temper,
changed the discourse, grew playful, laughed at Lord Monboddo's[121]
notion of men having tails, and called him a Judge, _à posteriori_,
which amused Dr. Johnson; and thus hostilities were prevented.

At supper[122] we had Dr. Cullen, his son the advocate, Dr. Adam
Fergusson, and Mr. Crosbie, advocate. Witchcraft was introduced[123].
Mr. Crosbie said, he thought it the greatest blasphemy to suppose evil
spirits counteracting the Deity, and raising storms, for instance, to
destroy his creatures. JOHNSON. 'Why, Sir, if moral evil be consistent
with the government of the Deity, why may not physical evil be also
consistent with it? It is not more strange that there should be evil
spirits, than evil men: evil unembodied spirits, than evil embodied
spirits. And as to storms, we know there are such things; and it is no
worse that evil spirits raise them, than that they rise.' CROSBIE. 'But
it is not credible, that witches should have effected what they are said
in stories to have done.' JOHNSON. 'Sir, I am not defending their
credibility. I am only saying, that your arguments are not good, and
will not overturn the belief of witchcraft.--(Dr. Fergusson said to me,
aside, 'He is right.')--And then, Sir, you have all mankind, rude and
civilized, agreeing in the belief of the agency of preternatural powers.
You must take evidence: you must consider, that wise and great men have
condemned witches to die[124].' CROSBIE. 'But an act of parliament put
an end to witchcraft[125].' JOHNSON. 'No, Sir; witchcraft had ceased;
and therefore an act of parliament was passed to prevent persecution for
what was not witchcraft. Why it ceased, we cannot tell, as we cannot
tell the reason of many other things.'--Dr. Cullen, to keep up the
gratification of mysterious disquisition, with the grave address for
which he is remarkable in his companionable as in his professional
hours, talked, in a very entertaining manner, of people walking and
conversing in their sleep. I am very sorry I have no note of this. We
talked of the _Ouran-Outang_, and of Lord Monboddo's thinking that he
might be taught to speak. Dr. Johnson treated this with ridicule. Mr.
Crosbie said, that Lord Monboddo believed the existence of every thing
possible; in short, that all which is in _posse_ might be found in
_esse_. JOHNSON. 'But, Sir, it is as possible that the _Ouran-Outang_
does not speak, as that he speaks. However, I shall not contest the
point. I should have thought it not possible to find a Monboddo; yet
_he_ exists.' I again mentioned the stage. JOHNSON. 'The appearance of a
player, with whom I have drunk tea, counteracts the imagination that he
is the character he represents. Nay, you know, nobody imagines that he
is the character he represents. They say, "See _Garrick!_ how he looks
to night! See how he'll clutch the dagger!" That is the buz of the


Sir William Forbes came to breakfast, and brought with him Dr.
Blacklock[127], whom he introduced to Dr. Johnson, who received him with
a most humane complacency; 'Dear Dr. Blacklock, I am glad to see you!'
Blacklock seemed to be much surprized, when Dr. Johnson said, 'it was
easier to him to write poetry than to compose his _Dictionary_[128]. His
mind was less on the stretch in doing the one than the other. Besides;
composing a _Dictionary_ requires books and a desk: you can make a poem
walking in the fields, or lying in bed. Dr. Blacklock spoke of
scepticism in morals and religion, with apparent uneasiness, as if he
wished for more certainty[129]. Dr. Johnson, who had thought it all
over, and whose vigorous understanding was fortified by much experience,
thus encouraged the blind Bard to apply to higher speculations what we
all willingly submit to in common life: in short, he gave him more
familiarly the able and fair reasoning of Butler's _Analogy_: 'Why, Sir,
the greatest concern we have in this world, the choice of our
profession, must be determined without demonstrative reasoning. Human
life is not yet so well known, as that we can have it. And take the case
of a man who is ill. I call two physicians: they differ in opinion. I am
not to lie down, and die between them: I must do something.' The
conversation then turned on Atheism; on that horrible book, _Système de
la Nature_[130]; and on the supposition of an eternal necessity, without
design, without a governing mind. JOHNSON. 'If it were so, why has it
ceased? Why don't we see men thus produced around us now? Why, at least,
does it not keep pace, in some measure, with the progress of time? If
it stops because there is now no need of it, then it is plain there is,
and ever has been, an all powerful intelligence. But stay! (said he,
with one of his satyrick laughs[131].) Ha! ha! ha! I shall suppose
Scotchmen made necessarily, and Englishmen by choice.'

At dinner this day, we had Sir Alexander Dick, whose amiable character,
and ingenious and cultivated mind, are so generally known; (he was then
on the verge of seventy, and is now (1785) eighty-one, with his
faculties entire, his heart warm, and his temper gay;) Sir David
Dalrymple, Lord Hailes; Mr. Maclaurin[132], advocate; Dr. Gregory, who
now worthily fills his father's medical chair[133]; and my uncle, Dr.
Boswell. This was one of Dr. Johnson's best days. He was quite in his
element. All was literature and taste, without any interruption. Lord
Hailes, who is one of the best philologists in Great Britain, who has
written papers in _The World_[134], and a variety of other works in
prose and in verse, both Latin and English, pleased him highly. He told
him, he had discovered the life of _Cheynel_, in _The Student_[135], to
be his. JOHNSON. 'No one else knows it.' Dr. Johnson had, before this,
dictated to me a law-paper, upon a question purely in the law of
Scotland, concerning _vicious intromission_[136], that is to say,
intermeddling with the effects of a deceased person, without a regular
title; which formerly was understood to subject the intermeddler to
payment of all the defunct's debts. The principle has of late been
relaxed. Dr. Johnson's argument was, for a renewal of its strictness.
The paper was printed, with additions by me, and given into the Court of
Session. Lord Hailes knew Dr. Johnson's part not to be mine, and pointed
out exactly where it began, and where it ended. Dr. Johnson said, 'It is
much, now, that his lordship can distinguish so.'  In Dr. Johnson's
_Vanity of Human Wishes_, there is the following passage:--

     'The teeming mother, anxious for her race,
      Begs, for each birth, the fortune of a face:
      Yet _Vane_ could tell, what ills from beauty spring,
      And _Sedley_ curs'd the charms which pleas'd a king[137].'

Lord Hailes told him, he was mistaken in the instances he had given of
unfortunate fair ones; for neither _Vane_ nor _Sedley_ had a title to
that description. His Lordship has since been so obliging as to send me
a note of this, for the communication of which I am sure my readers
will thank me.

'The lines in the tenth Satire of Juvenal, according to my alteration,
should have run thus:--

     'Yet _Shore_[138] could tell-----;
      And _Valiere_[139] curs'd------.'

'The first was a penitent by compulsion, the second by sentiment; though
the truth is, Mademoiselle de la Valiere threw herself (but still from
sentiment) in the King's way.

'Our friend chose _Vane_[140], who was far from being well-looked; and
_Sedley_, who was so ugly, that Charles II. said, his brother had her by
way of penance[141].'

Mr. Maclaurin's learning and talents enabled him to do his part very
well in Dr. Johnson's company. He produced two epitaphs upon his
father, the celebrated mathematician[142]. One was in English, of which
Dr. Johnson did not change one word. In the other, which was in Latin,
he made several alterations. In place of the very words of _Virgil_,
'_Ubi luctus et pavor et plurima mortis imago_[143],' he wrote '_Ubi
luctus regnant et pavor_.' He introduced the word _prorsus_ into the
line '_Mortalibus prorsus non absit solatium_,' and after '_Hujus enim
scripta evolve_,' he added '_Mentemque tantarum rerum capacem corpori
caduco superstitem crede_;' which is quite applicable to Dr. Johnson

Mr. Murray, advocate, who married a niece of Lord Mansfield's, and is
now one of the judges of Scotland, by the title of Lord _Henderland_,
sat with us a part of the evening; but did not venture to say any thing,
that I remember, though he is certainly possessed of talents which would
have enabled him to have shewn himself to advantage, if too great
anxiety had not prevented him.

At supper we had Dr. Alexander Webster, who, though not, learned, had
such a knowledge of mankind, such a fund of information and
entertainment, so clear a head and such accommodating manners, that Dr.
Johnson found him a very agreeable companion.

When Dr. Johnson and I were left by ourselves, I read to him my notes of
the Opinions of our Judges upon the questions of Literary Property[145].
He did not like them; and said, 'they make me think of your Judges not
with that respect which I should wish to do.' To the argument of one of
them, that there can be no property in blasphemy or nonsense, he
answered, 'then your rotten sheep are mine! By that rule, when a man's
house falls into decay, he must lose it.' I mentioned an argument of
mine, that literary performances are not taxed. As _Churchill_ says,

     'No statesman yet has thought it worth his pains
      To tax our labours, or excise our brains[146];'

and therefore they are not property. 'Yet, (said he,) we hang a man for
stealing a horse, and horses are not taxed.' Mr. Pitt has since put an
end to that argument[147].


On this day we set out from Edinburgh. We should gladly have had Mr.
Scott to go with us; but he was obliged to return to England.--I have
given a sketch of Dr. Johnson: my readers may wish to know a little of
his fellow traveller[148]. Think then, of a gentleman of ancient blood,
the pride of which was his predominant passion. He was then in his
thirty-third year, and had been about four years happily married. His
inclination was to be a soldier[149]; but his father, a respectable[150]
Judge, had pressed him into the profession of the law. He had travelled
a good deal, and seen many varieties of human life. He had thought more
than any body supposed, and had a pretty good stock of general learning
and knowledge[151]. He had all Dr. Johnson's principles, with some
degree of relaxation. He had rather too little, than too much prudence;
and, his imagination being lively, he often said things of which the
effect was very different from the intention[152]. He resembled sometimes

     'The best good man, with the worst natur'd muse[153].'

He cannot deny himself the vanity of finishing with the encomium of Dr.
Johnson, whose friendly partiality to the companion of his Tour
represents him as one 'whose acuteness would help my enquiry, and whose
gaiety of conversation, and civility of manners, are sufficient to
counteract the inconveniences of travel, in countries less hospitable
than we have passed[154].'  Dr. Johnson thought it unnecessary to put
himself to the additional expence of bringing with him Francis Barber,
his faithful black servant; so we were attended only by my man, Joseph
Ritter, a Bohemian; a fine stately fellow above six feet high, who had
been over a great part of Europe, and spoke many languages. He was the
best servant I ever saw. Let not my readers disdain his introduction!
For Dr. Johnson gave him this character: 'Sir, he is a civil man, and a
wise man[155].'

From an erroneous apprehension of violence, Dr. Johnson had provided a
pair of pistols, some gunpowder, and a quantity of bullets: but upon
being assured we should run no risk of meeting any robbers, he left his
arms and ammunition in an open drawer, of which he gave my wife the
charge. He also left in that drawer one volume of a pretty full and
curious Diary of his Life, of which I have a few fragments; but the book
has been destroyed. I wish female curiosity had been strong enough to
have had it all transcribed; which might easily have been done; and I
should think the theft, being _pro bono publico_, might have been
forgiven. But I may be wrong. My wife told me she never once looked into
it[156].--She did not seem quite easy when we left her: but away
we went!

Mr. Nairne, advocate, was to go with us as far as St. Andrews. It gives
me pleasure that, by mentioning his _name_, I connect his title to the
just and handsome compliment paid him by Dr. Johnson, in his book: 'A
gentleman who could stay with us only long enough to make us know how
much we lost by his leaving us[157]. 'When we came to Leith, I talked
with perhaps too boasting an air, how pretty the Frith of Forth looked;
as indeed, after the prospect from Constantinople, of which I have been
told, and that from Naples, which I have seen, I believe the view of
that Frith and its environs, from the Castle-hill of Edinburgh, is the
finest prospect in Europe. 'Ay, (said Dr. Johnson,) that is the state of
the world. Water is the same every where.

     "Una est injusti caerula forma maris[158]."'

I told him the port here was the mouth of the river or water of _Leith_.
'Not _Lethe_; said Mr. Nairne. 'Why, Sir, (said Dr. Johnson,) when a
Scotchman sets out from this port for England, he forgets his native
country.' NAIRNE. 'I hope, Sir, you will forget England here.' JOHNSON.
'Then 'twill still be more _Lethe_' He observed of the Pier or Quay,
'you have no occasion for so large a one: your trade does not require
it: but you are like a shopkeeper who takes a shop, not only for what he
has to put in it, but that it may be believed he has a great deal to put
into it.' It is very true, that there is now, comparatively, little
trade upon the eastern coast of Scotland. The riches of Glasgow shew how
much there is in the west; and perhaps we shall find trade travel
westward on a great scale, as well as a small.

We talked of a man's drowning himself. JOHNSON. 'I should never think it
time to make away with myself.' I put the case of Eustace Budgell[159],
who was accused of forging a will, and sunk himself in the Thames,
before the trial of its authenticity came on. 'Suppose, Sir, (said I,)
that a man is absolutely sure, that, if he lives a few days longer, he
shall be detected in a fraud, the consequence of which will be utter
disgrace and expulsion from society.' JOHNSON. 'Then, Sir, let him go
abroad to a distant country; let him go to some place where he is _not_
known. Don't let him go to the devil where he _is_ known!'

He then said, 'I see a number of people bare-footed here: I suppose you
all went so before the Union. Boswell, your ancestors went so, when they
had as much land as your family has now. Yet _Auchinleck_ is the _Field
of Stones_: there would be bad going bare-footed there. The _Lairds_,
however, did it.' I bought some _speldings_, fish (generally whitings)
salted and dried in a particular manner, being dipped in the sea and
dried in the sun, and eaten by the Scots by way of a relish. He had
never seen them, though they are sold in London. I insisted on
_scottifying_[160] his palate; but he was very reluctant. With
difficulty I prevailed with him to let a bit of one of them lie in his
mouth. He did not like it.

In crossing the Frith, Dr. Johnson determined that we should land upon
Inch Keith[161]. On approaching it, we first observed a high rocky
shore. We coasted about, and put into a little bay on the North-west. We
clambered up a very steep ascent, on which was very good grass, but
rather a profusion of thistles. There were sixteen head of black cattle
grazing upon the island. Lord Hailes observed to me, that Brantome calls
it _L'isle des Chevaux_, and that it was probably 'a _safer_ stable'
than many others in his time. The fort[162], with an inscription on
it, _Maria Re_ 1564, is strongly built. Dr. Johnson examined it with much
attention. He stalked like a giant among the luxuriant thistles and
nettles. There are three wells in the island; but we could not find one
in the fort. There must probably have been one, though now filled up, as
a garrison could not subsist without it. But I have dwelt too long on
this little spot. Dr. Johnson afterwards bade me try to write a
description of our discovering Inch Keith, in the usual style of
travellers, describing fully every particular; stating the grounds on
which we concluded that it must have once been inhabited, and
introducing many sage reflections; and we should see how a thing might
be covered in words, so as to induce people to come and survey it. All
that was told might be true, and yet in reality there might be nothing
to see. He said, 'I'd have this island. I'd build a house, make a good
landing-place, have a garden, and vines, and all sorts of trees. A rich
man, of a hospitable turn, here, would have many visitors from
Edinburgh.' When we got into our boat again, he called to me, 'Come,
now, pay a classical compliment to the island on quitting it.' I
happened luckily, in allusion to the beautiful Queen Mary, whose name is
upon the fort, to think of what Virgil makes Aeneas say, on having left
the country of his charming Dido.

     'Invitus, regina, tuo de littore cessi[163].'

'Very well hit off!' said he.

We dined at Kinghorn, and then got into a post-chaise[164]. Mr. Nairne
and his servant, and Joseph, rode by us. We stopped at Cupar, and drank
tea. We talked of parliament; and I said, I supposed very few of the
members knew much of what was going on, as indeed very few gentlemen
know much of their own private affairs. JOHNSON. 'Why, Sir, if a man is
not of a sluggish mind, he may be his own steward. If he will look into
his affairs, he will soon learn[165]. So it is as to publick affairs.
There must always be a certain number of men of business in parliament.'
BOSWELL. 'But consider, Sir; what is the House of Commons? Is not a
great part of it chosen by peers? Do you think, Sir, they ought to have
such an influence?' JOHNSON. 'Yes, Sir. Influence must ever be in
proportion to property; and it is right it should[166].' BOSWELL. 'But
is there not reason to fear that the common people may be oppressed?'
JOHNSON. 'No, Sir. Our great fear is from want of power in government.
Such a storm of vulgar force has broke in.' BOSWELL. 'It has only
roared.' JOHNSON. 'Sir, it has roared, till the Judges in
Westminster-Hall have been afraid to pronounce sentence in opposition to
the popular cry[167]. You are frightened by what is no longer dangerous,
like Presbyterians by Popery.' He then repeated a passage, I think, in
_Butler's Remains_, which ends, 'and would cry, Fire! Fire! in Noah's

We had a dreary drive, in a dusky night, to St. Andrews, where we
arrived late. We found a good supper at Glass's inn, and Dr. Johnson
revived agreeably. He said, 'the collection called _The Muses' Welcome
to King James_, (first of England, and sixth of Scotland,) on his return
to his native kingdom, shewed that there was then abundance of learning
in Scotland; and that the conceits in that collection, with which people
find fault, were mere mode.' He added, 'we could not now entertain a
sovereign so; that Buchanan had spread the spirit of learning amongst
us, but we had lost it during the civil wars[169].' He did not allow the
Latin Poetry of Pitcairne so much merit as has been usually attributed
to it; though he owned that one of his pieces, which he mentioned, but
which I am sorry is not specified in my notes, was, 'very well.' It is
not improbable that it was the poem which Prior has so elegantly

After supper, we made a _procession_ to _Saint Leonard's College_, the
landlord walking before us with a candle, and the waiter with a lantern.
That college had some time before been dissolved; and Dr. Watson, a
professor here, (the historian of Philip II.) had purchased the ground,
and what buildings remained. When we entered this court, it seemed quite
academical; and we found in his house very comfortable and genteel


We rose much refreshed. I had with me a map of Scotland, a bible which
was given me by Lord Mountstuart when we were together in Italy[172],
and Ogden's _Sermons on Prayer_; Mr. Nairne introduced us to Dr. Watson,
whom we found a well-informed man, of very amiable manners. Dr. Johnson,
after they were acquainted, said, 'I take great delight in him.' His
daughter, a very pleasing young lady, made breakfast. Dr. Watson
observed, that Glasgow University had fewer home-students, since trade
increased, as learning was rather incompatible with it. JOHNSON. 'Why,
Sir, as trade is now carried on by subordinate hands, men in trade have
as much leisure as others; and now learning itself is a trade. A man
goes to a bookseller, and gets what he can. We have done with
patronage[173]. In the infancy of learning, we find some great man
praised for it. This diffused it among others. When it becomes general,
an authour leaves the great, and applies to the multitude.' BOSWELL. 'It
is a shame that authours are not now better patronized.' JOHNSON. 'No,
Sir. If learning cannot support a man, if he must sit with his hands
across till somebody feeds him, it is as to him a bad thing, and it is
better as it is. With patronage, what flattery! what falsehood! While a
man is in equilibrio, he throws truth among the multitude, and lets them
take it as they please: in patronage, he must say what pleases his
patron, and it is an equal chance whether that be truth or falsehood.'
WATSON. 'But is not the case now, that, instead of flattering one
person, we flatter the age?' JOHNSON. 'No, Sir. The world always lets a
man tell what he thinks, his own way. I wonder, however, that so many
people have written, who might have let it alone. That people should
endeavour to excel in conversation, I do not wonder; because in
conversation praise is instantly reverberated[174].'

We talked of change of manners. Dr. Johnson observed, that our drinking
less than our ancestors was owing to the change from ale to wine.' I
remember, (said he,) when all the _decent_ people in Lichfield got drunk
every night, and were not the worse thought of[175]. Ale was cheap, so
you pressed strongly. When a man must bring a bottle of wine, he is not
in such haste. Smoking has gone out. To be sure, it is a shocking thing,
blowing smoke out of our mouths into other people's mouths, eyes, and
noses, and having the same thing done to us. Yet I cannot account, why a
thing which requires so little exertion, and yet preserves the mind from
total vacuity, should have gone out[176]. Every man has something by
which he calms himself: beating with his feet, or so[177]. I remember
when people in England changed a shirt only once a week[178]: a Pandour,
when he gets a shirt, greases it to make it last. Formerly, good
tradesmen had no fire but in the kitchen; never in the parlour, except
on Sunday. My father, who was a magistrate of Lichfield, lived thus.
They never began to have a fire in the parlour, but on leaving off
business, or some great revolution of their life.' Dr. Watson said, the
hall was as a kitchen, in old squires' houses. JOHNSON. 'No, Sir. The
hall was for great occasions, and never was used for domestick
refection[179].' We talked of the Union, and what money it had brought
into Scotland. Dr. Watson observed, that a little money formerly went as
far as a great deal now. JOHNSON. 'In speculation, it seems that a
smaller quantity of money, equal in value to a larger quantity, if
equally divided, should produce the same effect. But it is not so in
reality. Many more conveniences and elegancies are enjoyed where money
is plentiful, than where it is scarce. Perhaps a great familiarity with
it, which arises from plenty, makes us more easily part with it.'

After what Dr. Johnson had said of St. Andrews, which he had long wished
to see, as our oldest university, and the seat of our Primate in the
days of episcopacy, I can say little. Since the publication of Dr.
Johnson's book, I find that he has been censured for not seeing here
the ancient chapel of _St. Rule_, a curious piece of sacred
architecture.[180] But this was neither his fault nor mine. We were both
of us abundantly desirous of surveying such sort of antiquities: but
neither of us knew of this. I am afraid the censure must fall on those
who did not tell us of it. In every place, where there is any thing
worthy of observation, there should be a short printed directory for
strangers, such as we find in all the towns of Italy, and in some of the
towns in England. I was told that there is a manuscript account of St.
Andrews, by Martin, secretary to Archbishop Sharp;[181] and that one
Douglas has published a small account of it. I inquired at a
bookseller's, but could not get it. Dr. Johnson's veneration for the
Hierarchy is well known.[182] There is no wonder then, that he was
affected with a strong indignation, while he beheld the ruins of
religious magnificence. I happened to ask where John Knox was buried.
Dr. Johnson burst out, 'I hope in the high-way.[183] I have been looking
at his reformations.'[184]  It was a very fine day. Dr. Johnson seemed
quite wrapt up in the contemplation of the scenes which were now
presented to him. He kept his hat off while he was upon any part of the
ground where the cathedral had stood. He said well, that 'Knox had set
on a mob, without knowing where it would end; and that differing from a
man in doctrine was no reason why you should pull his house about his
ears.' As we walked in the cloisters, there was a solemn echo, while he
talked loudly of a proper retirement from the world. Mr. Nairne said, he
had an inclination to retire. I called Dr. Johnson's attention to this,
that I might hear his opinion if it was right. JOHNSON. 'Yes, when he
has done his duty to society[185]. In general, as every man is obliged
not only to "love GOD, but his neighbour as himself," he must bear his
part in active life; yet there are exceptions. Those who are exceedingly
scrupulous, (which I do not approve, for I am no friend to
scruples[186],) and find their scrupulosity[187] invincible, so that
they are quite in the dark, and know not what they shall do,--or those
who cannot resist temptations, and find they make themselves worse by
being in the world, without making it better, may retire[188]. 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[189]. It is a saying as old
as Hesiod,

     Erga neon, boulaite meson, enchaite geronton[190].

That is a very noble line: not that young men should not pray, or old
men not give counsel, but that every season of life has its proper
duties. I have thought of retiring, and have talked of it to a friend;
but I find my vocation is rather to active life.' I said, some young
monks might be allowed, to shew that it is not age alone that can retire
to pious solitude; but he thought this would only shew that they could
not resist temptation.

He wanted to mount the steeples, but it could not be done. There are no
good inscriptions here. Bad Roman characters he naturally mistook for
half Gothick, half Roman. One of the steeples, which he was told was in
danger, he wished not to be taken down; 'for, said he, it may fall on
some of the posterity of John Knox; and no great matter!'--Dinner was
mentioned. JOHNSON. 'Ay, ay; amidst all these sorrowful scenes, I have
no objection to dinner[191].'

We went and looked at the castle, where Cardinal Beaton was
murdered[192], and then visited Principal Murison at his college, where
is a good library-room; but the Principal was abundantly vain of it, for
he seriously said to Dr. Johnson, 'you have not such a one in

The professors entertained us with a very good dinner. Present: Murison,
Shaw, Cook, Hill, Haddo, Watson, Flint, Brown. I observed, that I
wondered to see him eat so well, after viewing so many sorrowful scenes
of ruined religious magnificence. 'Why, said he, I am not sorry, after
seeing these gentlemen; for they are not sorry.' Murison said, all
sorrow was bad, as it was murmuring against the dispensations of
Providence. JOHNSON. 'Sir, sorrow is inherent in humanity. As you cannot
judge two and two to be either five, or three, but certainly four, so,
when comparing a worse present state with a better which is past, you
cannot but feel sorrow.[194] It is not cured by reason, but by the
incursion of present objects, which wear out the past. You need not
murmur, though you are sorry.' MURISON. 'But St. Paul says, "I have
learnt, in whatever state I am, therewith to be content."' JOHNSON.
'Sir, that relates to riches and poverty; for we see St. Paul, when he
had a thorn in the flesh, prayed earnestly to have it removed; and then
he could not be content.' Murison, thus refuted, tried to be smart, and
drank to Dr. Johnson, 'Long may you lecture!' Dr. Johnson afterwards,
speaking of his not drinking wine, said, 'The Doctor spoke of
_lecturing_ (looking to him). I give all these lectures on water.'

He defended requiring subscription in those admitted to universities,
thus: 'As all who come into the country must obey the king, so all who
come into an university must be of the church[195].'

And here I must do Dr. Johnson the justice to contradict a very absurd
and ill-natured story, as to what passed at St. Andrews. It has been
circulated, that, after grace was said in English, in the usual manner,
he with the greatest marks of contempt, as if he had held it to be no
grace in an university, would not sit down till he had said grace aloud
in Latin. This would have been an insult indeed to the gentlemen who
were entertaining us. But the truth was precisely thus. In the course of
conversation at dinner, Dr. Johnson, in very good humour, said, 'I
should have expected to have heard a Latin grace, among so many learned
men: we had always a Latin grace at Oxford. I believe I can repeat
it.'[196] Which he did, as giving the learned men in one place a
specimen of what was done by the learned men in another place.

We went and saw the church, in which is Archbishop Sharp's
monument.[197] I was struck with the same kind of feelings with which
the churches of Italy impressed me. I was much pleased, to see Dr.
Johnson actually in St. Andrews, of which we had talked so long.
Professor Haddo was with us this afternoon, along with Dr. Watson. We
looked at St. Salvador's College. The rooms for students seemed very
commodious, and Dr. Johnson said, the chapel was the neatest place of
worship he had seen. The key of the library could not be found; for it
seems Professor Hill, who was out of town, had taken it with him. Dr.
Johnson told a joke he had heard of a monastery abroad, where the key of
the library could never be found.

It was somewhat dispiriting, to see this ancient archiepiscopal city
now sadly deserted[198]. We saw in one of its streets a remarkable proof
of liberal toleration; a nonjuring clergyman, strutting about in his
canonicals, with a jolly countenance and a round belly, like a
well-fed monk.

We observed two occupations united in the same person, who had hung out
two sign-posts. Upon one was, 'James Hood, White Iron Smith' (_i.e._
Tin-plate Worker). Upon another, 'The Art of Fencing taught, by James
Hood.'--Upon this last were painted some trees, and two men fencing, one
of whom had hit the other in the eye, to shew his great dexterity; so
that the art was well taught. JOHNSON. 'Were I studying here, I should
go and take a lesson. I remember _Hope_, in his book on this art[199],
says, "the Scotch are very good fencers."'

We returned to the inn, where we had been entertained at dinner, and
drank tea in company with some of the Professors, of whose civilities I
beg leave to add my humble and very grateful acknowledgement to the
honourable testimony of Dr. Johnson, in his _Journey_[200].

We talked of composition, which was a favourite topick of Dr. Watson's,
who first distinguished himself by lectures on rhetorick. JOHNSON. 'I
advised Chambers, and would advise every young man beginning to compose,
to do it as fast as he can, to get a habit of having his mind to start
promptly; it is so much more difficult to improve in speed than in
accuracy[201].' WATSON. 'I own I am for much attention to accuracy in
composing, lest one should get bad habits of doing it in a slovenly
manner.' JOHNSON. 'Why, Sir, you are confounding _doing_ inaccurately
with the _necessity_ of doing inaccurately. A man knows when his
composition is inaccurate, and when he thinks fit he'll correct it. But,
if a man is accustomed to compose slowly, and with difficulty, upon all
occasions, there is danger that he may not compose at all, as we do not
like to do that which is not done easily; and, at any rate, more time is
consumed in a small matter than ought to be.' WATSON. 'Dr. Hugh Blair
has taken a week to compose a sermon.' JOHNSON. 'Then, Sir, that is for
want of the habit of composing quickly, which I am insisting one should
acquire.' WATSON. 'Blair was not composing all the week, but only such
hours as he found himself disposed for composition.' JOHNSON. 'Nay, Sir,
unless you tell me the time he took, you tell me nothing. If I say I
took a week to walk a mile, and have had the gout five days, and been
ill otherwise another day, I have taken but one day. I myself have
composed about forty sermons[202]. I have begun a sermon after dinner,
and sent it off by the post that night. I wrote forty-eight of the
printed octavo pages of the _Life of Savage_ at a sitting; but then I
sat up all night. I have also written six sheets in a day of translation
from the French[203].' BOSWELL. 'We have all observed how one man
dresses himself slowly, and another fast.' JOHNSON. 'Yes, Sir: it is
wonderful how much time some people will consume in dressing; taking up
a thing and looking at it, and laying it down, and taking it up again.
Every one should get the habit of doing it quickly. I would say to a
young divine, "Here is your text; let me see how soon you can make a
sermon." Then I'd say, "Let me see how much better you can make it."
Thus I should see both his powers and his judgement.'

We all went to Dr. Watson's to supper. Miss Sharp, great grandchild of
Archbishop Sharp, was there; as was Mr. Craig, the ingenious architect
of the new town of Edinburgh[204] and nephew of Thomson, to whom Dr.
Johnson has since done so much justice, in his _Lives of the Poets_.

We talked of memory, and its various modes. JOHNSON. 'Memory will play
strange tricks. One sometimes loses a single word. I once lost _fugaces_
in the Ode _Posthume, Posthume_[205].' I mentioned to him, that a worthy
gentleman of my acquaintance actually forgot his own name. JOHNSON.
'Sir, that was a morbid oblivion.'


Dr. Shaw, the professor of divinity, breakfasted with us. I took out my
_Ogden on Prayer_, and read some of it to the company. Dr. Johnson
praised him. 'Abernethy[206], (said he,) allows only of a physical
effect of prayer upon the mind, which may be produced many ways, as well
as by prayer; for instance, by meditation. Ogden goes farther. In truth,
we have the consent of all nations for the efficacy of prayer, whether
offered up by individuals, or by assemblies; and Revelation has told us,
it will be effectual.' I said, 'Leechman seemed to incline to
Abernethy's doctrine.' Dr. Watson observed, that Leechman meant to shew,
that, even admitting no effect to be produced by prayer, respecting the
Deity, it was useful to our own minds[207]. He had given only a part of
his system. Dr. Johnson thought he should have given the whole.

Dr. Johnson enforced the strict observance of Sunday[208]. 'It should be
different (he observed) from another day. People may walk, but not throw
stones at birds. There may be relaxation, but there should be no

We went and saw Colonel Nairne's garden and grotto. Here was a fine old
plane tree. Unluckily the colonel said, there was but this and another
large tree in the county. This assertion was an excellent cue for Dr.
Johnson, who laughed enormously, calling to me to hear it. He had
expatiated to me on the nakedness of that part of Scotland which he had
seen. His _Journey_ has been violently abused, for what he has said upon
this subject. But let it be considered, that, when Dr. Johnson talks of
trees, he means trees of good size, such as he was accustomed to see in
England; and of these there are certainly very few upon the _eastern
coast_ of Scotland. Besides, he said, that he meant to give only a map
of the road; and let any traveller observe how many trees, which deserve
the name, he can see from the road from Berwick to Aberdeen[210]. Had
Dr. Johnson said, 'there are _no_ trees' upon this line, he would have
said what is colloquially true; because, by no trees, in common speech,
we mean few. When he is particular in counting, he may be attacked. I
know not how Colonel Nairne came to say there were but _two_ large trees
in the county of Fife. I did not perceive that he smiled. There are
certainly not a great many; but I could have shewn him more than two at
_Balmuto_, from whence my ancestors came, and which now belongs to a
branch of my family[211].

The grotto was ingeniously constructed. In the front of it were
petrified stocks of fir, plane, and some other tree. Dr. Johnson said,
'Scotland has no right to boast of this grotto; it is owing to personal
merit. I never denied personal merit to many of you.' Professor Shaw
said to me, as we walked, 'This is a wonderful man; he is master of
every subject he handles.' Dr. Watson allowed him a very strong
understanding, but wondered at his total inattention to established
manners, as he came from London.

I have not preserved in my Journal, any of the conversation which passed
between Dr. Johnson and Professor Shaw; but I recollect Dr. Johnson said
to me afterwards, 'I took much to Shaw.'

We left St. Andrews about noon, and some miles from it observing, at
_Leuchars_, a church with an old tower, we stopped to look at it. The
_manse_, as the parsonage-house is called in Scotland, was close by. I
waited on the minister, mentioned our names, and begged he would tell us
what he knew about it. He was a very civil old man; but could only
inform us, that it was supposed to have stood eight hundred years. He
told us, there was a colony of Danes in his parish[212]; that they had
landed at a remote period of time, and still remained a distinct people.
Dr. Johnson shrewdly inquired whether they had brought women with them.
We were not satisfied as to this colony.

We saw, this day, Dundee and Aberbrothick, the last of which Dr. Johnson
has celebrated in his _Journey_[213]. Upon the road we talked of the
Roman Catholick faith. He mentioned (I think) Tillotson's argument
against transubstantiation: 'That we are as sure we see bread and wine
only, as that we read in the Bible the text on which that false doctrine
is founded. We have only the evidence of our senses for both[214].' 'If,
(he added,) GOD had never spoken figuratively, we might hold that he
speaks literally, when he says, "This is my body[215]."' BOSWELL. 'But
what do you say, Sir, to the ancient and continued tradition of the
church upon this point?' JOHNSON. 'Tradition, Sir, has no place, where
the Scriptures are plain; and tradition cannot persuade a man into a
belief of transubstantiation. Able men, indeed, have _said_ they
believed it.'

This is an awful subject. I did not then press Dr. Johnson upon it: nor
shall I now enter upon a disquisition concerning the import of those
words uttered by our Saviour[216], which had such an effect upon many of
his disciples, that they 'went back, and walked no more with him.' The
Catechism and solemn office for Communion, in the Church of England,
maintain a mysterious belief in more than a mere commemoration of the
death of Christ, by partaking of the elements of bread and wine.

Dr. Johnson put me in mind, that, at St. Andrews, I had defended my
profession very well, when the question had again been started, Whether
a lawyer might honestly engage with the first side that offers him a
fee. 'Sir, (said I,) it was with your arguments against Sir William
Forbes[217]: but it was much that I could wield the arms of Goliah.'

He said, our judges had not gone deep in the question concerning
literary property. I mentioned Lord Monboddo's opinion, that if a man
could get a work by heart, he might print it, as by such an act the mind
is exercised. JOHNSON. 'No, Sir; a man's repeating it no more makes it
his property, than a man may sell a cow which he drives home.' I said,
printing an abridgement of a work was allowed, which was only cutting
the horns and tail off the cow. JOHNSON. 'No, Sir; 'tis making the cow
have a calf[218].'

About eleven at night we arrived at Montrose. We found but a sorry inn,
where I myself saw another waiter put a lump of sugar with his fingers
into Dr. Johnson's lemonade, for which he called him 'Rascal!' It put me
in great glee that our landlord was an Englishman. I rallied the Doctor
upon this, and he grew quiet[219]. Both Sir John Hawkins's and Dr.
Burney's _History of Musick_ had then been advertised. I asked if this
was not unlucky: would not they hurt one another? JOHNSON. 'No, Sir.
They will do good to one another. Some will buy the one, some the other,
and compare them; and so a talk is made about a thing, and the books
are sold.'

He was angry at me for proposing to carry lemons with us to Sky, that
he might be sure to have his lemonade. 'Sir, (said he,) I do not wish to
be thought that feeble man who cannot do without any thing. Sir, it is
very bad manners to carry provisions to any man's house, as if he could
not entertain you. To an inferior, it is oppressive; to a superior, it
is insolent.'

Having taken the liberty, this evening, to remark to Dr. Johnson, that
he very often sat quite silent for a long time, even when in company
with only a single friend, which I myself had sometimes sadly
experienced, he smiled and said, 'It is true, Sir[220]. Tom Tyers, (for
so he familiarly called our ingenious friend, who, since his death, has
paid a biographical tribute to his memory[221],) Tom Tyers described me
the best. He once said to me, "Sir, you are like a ghost: you never
speak till you are spoken to[222]."'


Neither the Rev. Mr. Nisbet, the established minister, nor the Rev. Mr.
Spooner, the episcopal minister, were in town. Before breakfast, we went
and saw the town-hall, where is a good dancing-room, and other rooms for
tea-drinking. The appearance of the town from it is very well; but many
of the houses are built with their ends to the street, which looks
awkward. When we came down from it, I met Mr. Gleg, a merchant here. He
went with us to see the English chapel. It is situated on a pretty dry
spot, and there is a fine walk to it. It is really an elegant building,
both within and without. The organ is adorned with green and gold. Dr.
Johnson gave a shilling extraordinary to the clerk, saying, 'He belongs
to an honest church[223].' I put him in mind, that episcopals were but
_dissenters_ here; they were only _tolerated_. 'Sir, (said he,) we are
here, as Christians in Turkey.' He afterwards went into an apothecary's
shop, and ordered some medicine for himself, and wrote the prescription
in technical characters. The boy took him for a physician[224].

I doubted much which road to take, whether to go by the coast, or by
Laurence Kirk and Monboddo. I knew Lord Monboddo and Dr. Johnson did not
love each other[225]; yet I was unwilling not to visit his Lordship; and
was also curious to see them together[226]. I mentioned my doubts to Dr.
Johnson, who said, he would go two miles out of his way to see Lord
Monboddo[227]. I therefore sent Joseph forward with the
following note:--

'Montrose, August 21.

'My Dear Lord,

'Thus far I am come with Mr. Samuel Johnson. We must be at Aberdeen
to-night. I know you do not admire him so much as I do; but I cannot be
in this country without making you a bow at your old place, as I do not
know if I may again have an opportunity of seeing Monboddo. Besides, Mr.
Johnson says, he would go two miles out of his way to see Lord Monboddo.
I have sent forward my servant, that we may know if your lordship be
at home.

'I am ever, my dear lord,

'Most sincerely yours,


As we travelled onwards from Montrose, we had the Grampion hills in our
view, and some good land around us, but void of trees and hedges. Dr.
Johnson has said ludicrously, in his _Journey_, that the _hedges_ were
of _stone_[228]; for, instead of the verdant _thorn_ to refresh the eye,
we found the bare _wall_ or _dike_ intersecting the prospect. He
observed, that it was wonderful to see a country so divested, so
denuded of trees.

We stopped at Laurence Kirk[229], where our great Grammarian,
Ruddiman[230], was once schoolmaster. We respectfully remembered that
excellent man and eminent scholar, by whose labours a knowledge of the
Latin language will be preserved in Scotland, if it shall be preserved
at all. Lord Gardenston[231], one of our judges, collected money to
raise a monument to him at this place, which I hope will be well
executed[232]. I know my father gave five guineas towards it. Lord
Gardenston is the proprietor of Laurence Kirk, and has encouraged the
building of a manufacturing village, of which he is exceedingly fond,
and has written a pamphlet upon it[233], as if he had founded Thebes; in
which, however, there are many useful precepts strongly expressed. The
village seemed to be irregularly built, some of the houses being of
clay, some of brick, and some of brick and stone. Dr. Johnson observed,
they thatched well here.  I was a little acquainted with Mr. Forbes,
the minister of the parish. I sent to inform him that a gentleman
desired to see him. He returned for answer, 'that he would not come to a
stranger.' I then gave my name, and he came. I remonstrated to him for
not coming to a stranger; and, by presenting him to Dr. Johnson, proved
to him what a stranger might sometimes be. His Bible inculcates, 'be not
forgetful to entertain strangers,' and mentions the same motive[234]. He
defended himself by saying, 'He had once come to a stranger who sent for
him; and he found him "_a little worth person!_"'

Dr. Johnson insisted on stopping at the inn, as I told him that Lord
Gardenston had furnished it with a collection of books, that travellers
might have entertainment for the mind, as well as the body. He praised
the design, but wished there had been more books, and those
better chosen.

About a mile from Monboddo, where you turn off the road, Joseph was
waiting to tell us my lord expected us to dinner. We drove over a wild
moor. It rained, and the scene was somewhat dreary. Dr. Johnson
repeated, with solemn emphasis, Macbeth's speech on meeting the witches.
As we travelled on, he told me, 'Sir, you got into our club by doing
what a man can do[235]. Several of the members wished to keep you out.
Burke told me, he doubted if you were fit for it: but, now you are in,
none of them are sorry. Burke says, that you have so much good humour
naturally, it is scarce a virtue[236].' BOSWELL. 'They were afraid of
you, Sir, as it was you who proposed me.' JOHNSON. 'Sir, they knew, that
if they refused you, they'd probably never have got in another. I'd have
kept them all out. Beauclerk was very earnest for you.' BOSWELL.
"Beauclerk has a keenness of mind which is very uncommon." JOHNSON.
'Yes, Sir; and everything comes from him so easily. It appears to me
that I labour, when I say a good thing.' BOSWELL. 'You are loud, Sir;
but it is not an effort of mind[237].'

Monboddo is a wretched place, wild and naked, with a poor old house;
though, if I recollect right, there are two turrets which mark an old
baron's residence. Lord Monboddo received us at his gate most
courteously; pointed to the Douglas arms upon his house, and told us
that his great-grandmother was of that family. 'In such houses (said
he,) our ancestors lived, who were better men than we.' 'No, no, my lord
(said Dr. Johnson). We are as strong as they, and a great deal
wiser[238].' This was an assault upon one of Lord Monboddo's capital
dogmas, and I was afraid there would have been a violent altercation in
the very close, before we got into the house. But his lordship is
distinguished not only for 'ancient metaphysicks,' but for ancient
_politesse_, '_la vieille cour_' and he made no reply[239].

His lordship was dressed in a rustick suit, and wore a little round
hat; he told us, we now saw him as _Farmer Burnet_[240], and we should
have his family dinner, a farmer's dinner. He said, 'I should not have
forgiven Mr. Boswell, had he not brought you here, Dr. Johnson.' He
produced a very long stalk of corn, as a specimen of his crop, and said,
'You see here the _loetas segetes_[241];' he added, that _Virgil_ seemed
to be as enthusiastick a farmer as he[242], and was certainly a
practical one. JOHNSON. 'It does not always follow, my lord, that a man
who has written a good poem on an art, has practised it. Philip Miller
told me, that in Philips's _Cyder_, a poem, all the precepts were just,
and indeed better than in books written for the purpose of instructing;
yet Philips had never made cyder[243].'

I started the subject of emigration[244]. JOHNSON. 'To a man of mere
animal life, you can urge no argument against going to America, but that
it will be some time before he will get the earth to produce. But a man
of any intellectual enjoyment will not easily go and immerse himself and
his posterity for ages in barbarism.'

He and my lord spoke highly of Homer. JOHNSON. 'He had all the learning
of his age. The shield of Achilles shews a nation in war, a nation in
peace; harvest sport, nay, stealing[245].' MONBODDO. 'Ay, and what we
(looking to me) would call a parliament-house scene[246]; a cause
pleaded.' JOHNSON. 'That is part of the life of a nation in peace. And
there are in Homer such characters of heroes, and combinations of
qualities of heroes, that the united powers of mankind ever since have
not produced any but what are to be found there.' MONBODDO. 'Yet no
character is described.' JOHNSON. 'No; they all develope themselves.
Agamemnon is always a gentleman-like character; he has always [Greek:
Basilikon ti]. That the ancients held so, is plain from this; that
Euripides, in his _Hecuba_, makes him the person to interpose[247].'
MONBODDO. 'The history of manners is the most valuable. I never set a
high value on any other history.' JOHNSON. 'Nor I; and therefore I
esteem biography, as giving us what comes near to ourselves, what we can
turn to use[248].' BOSWELL. 'But in the course of general history, we
find manners. In wars, we see the dispositions of people, their degrees
of humanity, and other particulars.' JOHNSON. 'Yes; but then you must
take all the facts to get this; and it is but a little you get.'
MONBODDO. 'And it is that little which makes history valuable.' Bravo!
thought I; they agree like two brothers. MONBODDO. 'I am sorry, Dr.
Johnson, you were not longer at Edinburgh to receive the homage of our
men of learning.' JOHNSON. 'My lord, I received great respect and great
kindness.' BOSWELL. 'He goes back to Edinburgh after our tour.' We
talked of the decrease of learning in Scotland, and of the _Muses'
Welcome_[249]. JOHNSON. 'Learning is much decreased in England, in my
remembrance[250].' MONBODDO. 'You, Sir, have lived to see its decrease
in England, I its extinction in Scotland.' However, I brought him to
confess that the High School of Edinburgh did well. JOHNSON. 'Learning
has decreased in England, because learning will not do so much for a man
as formerly. There are other ways of getting preferment. Few bishops are
now made for their learning. To be a bishop, a man must be learned in a
learned age,--factious in a factious age; but always of eminence[251].
Warburton is an exception; though his learning alone did not raise him.
He was first an antagonist to Pope, and helped Theobald to publish his
_Shakspeare_; but, seeing Pope the rising man, when Crousaz attacked his
_Essay on Man_, for some faults which it has, and some which it has not,
Warburton defended it in the Review of that time[252]. This brought him
acquainted with Pope, and he gained his friendship. Pope introduced him
to Allen, Allen married him to his niece: so, by Allen's interest and
his own, he was made a bishop[253]. But then his learning was the _sine
qua non_: he knew how to make the most of it; but I do not find by any
dishonest means.' MONBODDO. 'He is a great man.' JOHNSON. 'Yes; he has
great knowledge,--great power of mind. Hardly any man brings greater
variety of learning to bear upon his point[254].' MONBODDO. 'He is one
of the greatest lights of your church.' JOHNSON. 'Why, we are not so
sure of his being very friendly to us[255]. He blazes, if you will, but
that is not always the steadiest light. Lowth is another bishop who has
risen by his learning.'

Dr. Johnson examined young Arthur, Lord Monboddo's son, in Latin. He
answered very well; upon which he said, with complacency, 'Get you gone!
When King James comes back[256], you shall be in the _Muses Welcome_!'
My lord and Dr. Johnson disputed a little, whether the Savage or the
London Shopkeeper had the best existence; his lordship, as usual,
preferring the Savage. My lord was extremely hospitable, and I saw both
Dr. Johnson and him liking each other better every hour.

Dr. Johnson having retired for a short time, his lordship spoke of his
conversation as I could have wished. Dr. Johnson had said, 'I have done
greater feats with my knife than this;' though he had eaten a very
hearty dinner. My lord, who affects or believes he follows an
abstemious system, seemed struck with Dr. Johnson's manner of living. I
had a particular satisfaction in being under the roof of Monboddo, my
lord being my father's old friend, and having been always very good to
me. We were cordial together. He asked Dr. Johnson and me to stay all
night. When I said we _must_ be at Aberdeen, he replied, 'Well, I am
like the Romans: I shall say to you, "Happy to come;--happy to depart!"'
He thanked Dr. Johnson for his visit.

JOHNSON. 'I little thought, when I had the honour to meet your Lordship
in London, that I should see you at Monboddo.'

After dinner, as the ladies[257] were going away, Dr. Johnson would
stand up. He insisted that politeness was of great consequence in
society. 'It is, (said he,) fictitious benevolence[258]. It supplies the
place of it amongst those who see each other only in publick, or but
little. Depend upon it, the want of it never fails to produce something
disagreeable to one or other. I have always applied to good breeding,
what Addison in his _Cato_[259] says of honour:--

     "Honour's a sacred tie; the law of Kings;
      The noble mind's distinguishing perfection,
      That aids and strengthens Virtue where it meets her;
      And imitates her actions where she is not."'

When he took up his large oak stick, he said, 'My lord, that's
_Homerick_[260];' thus pleasantly alluding to his lordship's
favourite writer.

Gory, my lord's black servant, was sent as our guide, to conduct us to
the high road. The circumstance of each of them having a black servant
was another point of similarity between Johnson and Monboddo. I
observed how curious it was to see an African in the North of Scotland,
with little or no difference of manners from those of the natives. Dr.
Johnson laughed to see Gory and Joseph riding together most cordially.
'Those two fellows, (said he,) one from Africa, the other from Bohemia,
seem quite at home.' He was much pleased with Lord Monboddo to-day. He
said, he would have pardoned him for a few paradoxes, when he found he
had so much that was good: but that, from his appearance in London, he
thought him all paradox; which would not do. He observed that his
lordship had talked no paradoxes to-day. 'And as to the savage and the
London shopkeeper, (said he,) I don't know but I might have taken the
side of the savage equally, had any body else taken the side of the
shopkeeper.[261]' He had said to my lord, in opposition to the value of
the savage's courage, that it was owing to his limited power of
thinking, and repeated Pope's verses, in which 'Macedonia's madman' is
introduced, and the conclusion is,

     'Yet ne'er looks forward farther than his nose[262].'

I objected to the last phrase, as being low. JOHNSON. 'Sir, it is
intended to be low: it is satire. The expression is debased, to debase
the character.'

When Gory was about to part from us, Dr. Johnson called to him, 'Mr.
Gory, give me leave to ask you a question! are you baptised?' Gory told
him he was, and confirmed by the Bishop of Durham. He then gave him
a shilling.

We had tedious driving this afternoon, and were somewhat drowsy. Last
night I was afraid Dr. Johnson was beginning to faint in his resolution;
for he said, 'If we must ride much, we shall not go; and there's an end
on't.' To-day, when he talked of _Sky_ with spirit, I said, 'Why, Sir,
you seemed to me to despond yesterday. You are a delicate Londoner;--you
are a maccaroni[263]; you can't ride.' JOHNSON. 'Sir, I shall ride
better than you. I was only afraid I should not find a horse able to
carry me.' I hoped then there would be no fear of getting through our
wild Tour.

We came to Aberdeen at half an hour past eleven. The New Inn, we were
told, was full. This was comfortless. The waiter, however, asked, if one
of our names was Boswell, and brought me a letter left at the inn: it
was from Mr. Thrale, enclosing one to Dr. Johnson[264]. Finding who I
was, we were told they would contrive to lodge us by putting us for a
night into a room with two beds. The waiter said to me in the broad
strong Aberdeenshire dialect, 'I thought I knew you by your likeness to
your father.' My father puts up at the New Inn, when on his circuit.
Little was said to-night. I was to sleep in a little press-bed in Dr.
Johnson's room. I had it wheeled out into the dining-room, and there I
lay very well.


I sent a message to Professor Thomas Gordon, who came and breakfasted
with us. He had secured seats for us at the English chapel. We found a
respectable congregation, and an admirable organ, well played by
Mr. Tait.

We walked down to the shore: Dr. Johnson laughed to hear that Cromwell's
soldiers taught the Aberdeen people to make shoes and stockings, and to
plant cabbages[265]. He asked, if weaving the plaids[266] was ever a
domestick art in the Highlands, like spinning or knitting. They could
not inform him here. But he conjectured probably, that where people
lived so remote from each other, it was likely to be a domestick art; as
we see it was among the ancients, from Penelope. I was sensible to-day,
to an extraordinary degree, of Dr. Johnson's excellent English
pronunciation. I cannot account for its striking me more now than any
other day: but it was as if new to me; and I listened to every sentence
which he spoke, as to a musical composition. Professor Gordon gave him
an account of the plan of education in his college. Dr. Johnson said, it
was similar to that at Oxford. Waller the poet's great-grandson was
studying here. Dr. Johnson wondered that a man should send his son so
far off, when there were so many good schools in England[267]. He said,
'At a great school there is all the splendour and illumination of many
minds; the radiance of all is concentrated in each, or at least
reflected upon each. But we must own that neither a dull boy, nor an
idle boy, will do so well at a great school as at a private one. For at
a great school there are always boys enough to do well easily, who are
sufficient to keep up the credit of the school; and after whipping being
tried to no purpose, the dull or idle boys are left at the end of a
class, having the appearance of going through the course, but learning
nothing at all[268]. Such boys may do good at a private school, where
constant attention is paid to them, and they are watched. So that the
question of publick or private education is not properly a general one;
but whether one or the other is best for _my son_.'  We were told the
present Mr. Waller was a plain country gentleman; and his son would be
such another. I observed, a family could not expect a poet but in a
hundred generations. 'Nay, (said Dr. Johnson,) not one family in a
hundred can expect a poet in a hundred generations.' He then repeated
Dryden's celebrated lines,

     'Three poets in three distant ages born,' &c.

and a part of a Latin translation of it done at Oxford[269]: he did not
then say by whom.

He received a card from Sir Alexander Gordon, who had been his
acquaintance twenty years ago in London, and who, 'if forgiven for not
answering a line from him,' would come in the afternoon. Dr. Johnson
rejoiced to hear of him, and begged he would come and dine with us. I
was much pleased to see the kindness with which Dr. Johnson received his
old friend Sir Alexander[270]; a gentleman of good family, _Lismore_,
but who had not the estate. The King's College here made him Professor
of Medicine, which affords him a decent subsistence. He told us that the
value of the stockings exported from Aberdeen was, in peace, a hundred
thousand pounds; and amounted, in time of war, to one hundred and
seventy thousand pounds. Dr. Johnson asked, What made the difference?
Here we had a proof of the comparative sagacity of the two professors.
Sir Alexander answered, 'Because there is more occasion for them in
war.' Professor Thomas Gordon answered, 'Because the Germans, who are
our great rivals in the manufacture of stockings, are otherwise employed
in time of war.' JOHNSON. 'Sir, you have given a very good solution.'

At dinner, Dr. Johnson ate several plate-fulls of Scotch broth, with
barley and peas in it, and seemed very fond of the dish. I said, 'You
never ate it before.' JOHNSON. 'No, Sir; but I don't care how soon I eat
it again[271].' My cousin, Miss Dallas, formerly of Inverness, was
married to Mr. Riddoch, one of the ministers of the English chapel here.
He was ill, and confined to his room; but she sent us a kind invitation
to tea, which we all accepted. She was the same lively, sensible,
cheerful woman as ever. Dr. Johnson here threw out some jokes against
Scotland. He said, 'You go first to Aberdeen; then to _Enbru_ (the
Scottish pronunciation of Edinburgh); then to Newcastle, to be polished
by the colliers; then to York; then to London.' And he laid hold of a
little girl, Stuart Dallas, niece to Mrs. Riddoch, and, representing
himself as a giant, said, he would take her with him! telling her, in a
hollow voice, that he lived in a cave, and had a bed in the rock, and
she should have a little bed cut opposite to it!

He thus treated the point, as to prescription of murder in
Scotland[272]. 'A jury in England would make allowance for deficiencies
of evidence, on account of lapse of time; but a general rule that a
crime should not be punished, or tried for the purpose of punishment,
after twenty years, is bad. It is cant to talk of the King's advocate
delaying a prosecution from malice. How unlikely is it the King's
advocate should have malice against persons who commit murder, or should
even know them at all. If the son of the murdered man should kill the
murderer who got off merely by prescription, I would help him to make
his escape; though, were I upon his jury, I would not acquit him. I
would not advise him to commit such an act. On the contrary, I would bid
him submit to the determination of society, because a man is bound to
submit to the inconveniences of it, as he enjoys the good: but the
young man, though politically wrong, would not be morally wrong. He
would have to say, 'here I am amongst barbarians, who not only refuse to
do justice, but encourage the greatest of all crimes. I am therefore in
a state of nature: for, so far as there is no law, it is a state of
nature: and consequently, upon the eternal and immutable law of justice,
which requires that he who sheds man's blood should have his blood
shed[273], I will stab the murderer of my father.'

We went to our inn, and sat quietly. Dr. Johnson borrowed, at Mr.
Riddoch's, a volume of _Massillon's Discourses on the Psalms_: but I
found he read little in it. Ogden too he sometimes took up, and glanced
at; but threw it down again. I then entered upon religious conversation.
Never did I see him in a better frame: calm, gentle, wise, holy. I said,
'Would not the same objection hold against the Trinity as against
Transubstantiation?' 'Yes, (said he,) if you take three and one in the
same sense. If you do so, to be sure you cannot believe it: but the
three persons in the Godhead are Three in one sense, and One in another.
We cannot tell how; and that is the mystery!'

I spoke of the satisfaction of Christ. He said his notion was, that it
did not atone for the sins of the world; but, by satisfying divine
justice, by shewing that no less than the Son of God suffered for sin,
it shewed to men and innumerable created beings, the heinousness of it,
and therefore rendered it unnecessary for divine vengeance to be
exercised against sinners, as it otherwise must have been; that in this
way it might operate even in favour of those who had never heard of it:
as to those who did hear of it, the effect it should produce would be
repentance and piety, by impressing upon the mind a just notion of sin:
that original sin was the propensity to evil, which no doubt was
occasioned by the fall. He presented this solemn subject in a new light
to me[274], and rendered much more rational and clear the doctrine of
what our Saviour has done for us;--as it removed the notion of imputed
righteousness in co-operating; whereas by this view, Christ has done all
already that he had to do, or is ever to do for mankind, by making his
great satisfaction; the consequences of which will affect each
individual according to the particular conduct of each. I would
illustrate this by saying, that Christ's satisfaction resembles a sun
placed to shew light to men, so that it depends upon themselves whether
they will walk the right way or not, which they could not have done
without that sun, '_the sun of righteousness_[275]' There is, however,
more in it than merely giving light--_a light to lighten the
Gentiles_[276]: for we are told, there _is healing under his
wings_[277]. Dr. Johnson said to me, 'Richard Baxter commends a
treatise by Grotius, _De Satisfactione Christi_. I have never read it:
but I intend to read it; and you may read it.' I remarked, upon the
principle now laid down, we might explain the difficult and seemingly
hard text, 'They that believe shall be saved; and they that believe not
shall be damned[278]:' They that believe shall have such an impression
made upon their minds, as will make them act so that they may be
accepted by GOD.

We talked of one of our friends[279] taking ill, for a length of time, a
hasty expression of Dr. Johnson's to him, on his attempting to prosecute
a subject that had a reference to religion, beyond the bounds within
which the Doctor thought such topicks should be confined in a mixed
company. JOHNSON. 'What is to become of society, if a friendship of
twenty years is to be broken off for such a cause?' As Bacon says,

     'Who then to frail mortality shall trust,
      But limns the water, or but writes in dust[280].'

I said, he should write expressly in support of Christianity; for that,
although a reverence for it shines through his works in several places,
that is not enough. 'You know, (said I,) what Grotius has done, and what
Addison has done[281].--You should do also.' He replied, 'I hope
I shall.'


Principal Campbell, Sir Alexander Gordon, Professor Gordon, and
Professor Ross, visited us in the morning, as did Dr. Gerard, who had
come six miles from the country on purpose. We went and saw the
Marischal College[282], and at one o'clock we waited on the magistrates
in the town hall, as they had invited us in order to present Dr. Johnson
with the freedom of the town, which Provost Jopp did with a very good
grace. Dr. Johnson was much pleased with this mark of attention, and
received it very politely. There was a pretty numerous company
assembled. It was striking to hear all of them drinking 'Dr. Johnson!
Dr. Johnson!' in the town-hall of Aberdeen, and then to see him with
his burgess-ticket, or diploma[283], in his hat, which he wore as he
walked along the street, according to the usual custom. It gave me great
satisfaction to observe the regard, and indeed fondness too, which every
body here had for my father.

While Sir Alexander Gordon conducted Dr. Johnson to old Aberdeen,
Professor Gordon and I called on Mr. Riddoch, whom I found to be a grave
worthy clergyman. He observed, that, whatever might be said of Dr.
Johnson while he was alive, he would, after he was dead, be looked upon
by the world with regard and astonishment, on account of his

Professor Gordon and I walked over to the Old College, which Dr. Johnson
had seen by this time. I stepped into the chapel, and looked at the tomb
of the founder, Archbishop Elphinston[284], of whom I shall have
occasion to write in my _History of James IV. of Scotland_, the patron
of my family[285].  We dined at Sir Alexander Gordon's. The Provost,
Professor Ross, Professor Dunbar, Professor Thomas Gordon, were there.
After dinner came in Dr. Gerard, Professor Leslie[286], Professor
Macleod. We had little or no conversation in the morning; now we were
but barren. The professors seemed afraid to speak[287].

Dr. Gerard told us that an eminent printer[288] was very intimate with
Warburton. JOHNSON. 'Why, Sir, he has printed some of his works, and
perhaps bought the property of some of them. The intimacy is such as one
of the professors here may have with one of the carpenters who is
repairing the college.' 'But, (said Gerard,) I saw a letter from him to
this printer, in which he says, that the one half of the clergy of the
church of Scotland are fanaticks, and the other half infidels.' JOHNSON.
'Warburton has accustomed himself to write letters just as he speaks,
without thinking any more of what he throws out[289]. When I read
Warburton first, and observed his force, and his contempt of mankind, I
thought he had driven the world before him; but I soon found that was
not the case; for Warburton, by extending his abuse, rendered it

He told me, when we were by ourselves, that he thought it very wrong in
the printer to shew Warburton's letter, as it was raising a body of
enemies against him. He thought it foolish in Warburton to write so to
the printer; and added, 'Sir, the worst way of being intimate, is by
scribbling.' He called Warburton's _Doctrine of Grace_[291] a poor
performance, and so he said was Wesley's Answer[292]. 'Warburton, he
observed, had laid himself very open. In particular, he was weak enough
to say, that, in some disorders of the imagination, people had spoken
with tongues, had spoken languages which they never knew before; a thing
as absurd as to say, that, in some disorders of the imagination, people
had been known to fly.'

I talked of the difference of genius, to try if I could engage Gerard in
a disquisition with Dr. Johnson; but I did not succeed. I mentioned, as
a curious fact, that Locke had written verses. JOHNSON. 'I know of none,
Sir, but a kind of exercise prefixed to Dr. Sydenham's Works[293], in
which he has some conceits about the dropsy, in which water and burning
are united; and how Dr. Sydenham removed fire by drawing off water,
contrary to the usual practice, which is to extinguish fire by bringing
water upon it. I am not sure that there is a word of all this; but it is
such kind of talk[294].'  We spoke of _Fingal_[295]. Dr. Johnson said
calmly, 'If the poems were really translated, they were certainly first
written down. Let Mr. Macpherson deposite the manuscript in one of the
colleges at Aberdeen, where there are people who can judge; and, if the
professors certify the authenticity, then there will be an end of the
controversy. If he does not take this obvious and easy method, he gives
the best reason to doubt; considering too, how much is against it
_à priori'_.

We sauntered after dinner in Sir Alexander's garden, and saw his little
grotto, which is hung with pieces of poetry written in a fair hand. It
was agreeable to observe the contentment and kindness of this quiet,
benevolent man. Professor Macleod was brother to Macleod of Talisker,
and brother-in-law to the Laird of Col. He gave me a letter to young
Col. I was weary of this day, and began to think wishfully of being
again in motion. I was uneasy to think myself too fastidious, whilst I
fancied Dr. Johnson quite satisfied. But he owned to me that he was
fatigued and teased by Sir Alexander's doing too much to entertain him.
I said, it was all kindness. JOHNSON. 'True, Sir; but sensation is
sensation.' BOSWELL. 'It is so: we feel pain equally from the surgeon's
probe, as from the sword of the foe.'

We visited two booksellers' shops, and could not find Arthur Johnston's
Poems'[296]. We went and sat near an hour at Mr. Riddoch's. He could
not tell distinctly how much education at the college here costs[297],
which disgusted Dr. Johnson. I had pledged myself that we should go to
the inn, and not stay supper. They pressed us, but he was resolute. I
saw Mr. Riddoch did not please him. He said to me, afterwards, 'Sir, he
has no vigour in his talk.' But my friend should have considered that he
himself was not in good humour; so that it was not easy to talk to his
satisfaction. We sat contentedly at our inn. He then became merry, and
observed how little we had either heard or said at Aberdeen: that the
Aberdonians had not started a single _mawkin_ (the Scottish word for
hare) for us to pursue[298].


We set out about eight in the morning, and breakfasted at Ellon. The
landlady said to me, 'Is not this the great Doctor that is going about
through the country?' I said, 'Yes.' 'Ay, (said she) we heard of him. I
made an errand into the room on purpose to see him. There's something
great in his appearance: it is a pleasure to have such a man in one's
house; a man who does so much good. If I had thought of it, I would have
shewn him a child of mine, who has had a lump on his throat for some
time.' 'But, (said I,) he is not a doctor of physick.' 'Is he an
oculist?' said the landlord. 'No, (said I,) he is only a very learned
man.' LANDLORD. 'They say he is the greatest man in England, except Lord
Mansfield[299].' Dr. Johnson was highly entertained with this, and I do
think he was pleased too. He said, 'I like the exception: to have called
me the greatest man in England, would have been an unmeaning compliment:
but the exception marked that the praise was in earnest: and, in
_Scotland_, the exception must be _Lord Mansfield_, or--_Sir John

He told me a good story of Dr. Goldsmith. Graham, who wrote _Telemachus,
a Masque_[301], was sitting one night with him and Dr. Johnson, and was
half drunk. He rattled away to Dr. Johnson: 'You are a clever fellow, to
be sure; but you cannot write an essay like Addison, or verses like the
RAPE OF THE LOCK.' At last he said[302], '_Doctor_, I should be happy to
see you at Eaton[303].' 'I shall be glad to wait on you,' answered
Goldsmith. 'No, (said Graham,) 'tis not you I mean, Dr. _Minor_; 'tis
Doctor _Major_, there.' Goldsmith was excessively hurt by this. He
afterwards spoke of it himself. 'Graham, (said he,) is a fellow to make
one commit suicide.'

We had received a polite invitation to Slains castle. We arrived there
just at three o'clock, as the bell for dinner was ringing. Though, from
its being just on the North-east Ocean, no trees will grow here, Lord
Errol has done all that can be done. He has cultivated his fields so as
to bear rich crops of every kind, and he has made an excellent
kitchen-garden, with a hot-house. I had never seen any of the family:
but there had been a card of invitation written by the honourable
Charles Boyd, the earl's brother[304]. We were conducted into the
house, and at the dining-room door were met by that gentleman, whom both
of us at first took to be Lord Errol; but he soon corrected our mistake.
My Lord was gone to dine in the neighbourhood, at an entertainment given
by Mr. Irvine of Drum. Lady Errol received us politely, and was very
attentive to us during the time of dinner. There was nobody at table but
her ladyship, Mr. Boyd, and some of the children, their governour and
governess. Mr. Boyd put Dr. Johnson in mind of having dined with him at
Cumming the Quaker's[305], along with a Mr. Hall and Miss Williams[306]:
this was a bond of connection between them. For me, Mr. Boyd's
acquaintance with my father was enough. After dinner, Lady Errol
favoured us with a sight of her young family, whom she made stand up in
a row. There were six daughters and two sons. It was a very
pleasing sight.

Dr. Johnson proposed our setting out. Mr. Boyd said, he hoped we would
stay all night; his brother would be at home in the evening, and would
be very sorry if he missed us. Mr. Boyd was called out of the room. I
was very desirous to stay in so comfortable a house, and I wished to
see Lord Errol. Dr Johnson, however, was right in resolving to go, if we
were not asked again, as it is best to err on the safe side in such
cases, and to be sure that one is quite welcome. To my great joy, when
Mr. Boyd returned, he told Dr. Johnson that it was Lady Errol who had
called him out, and said that she would never let Dr. Johnson into the
house again, if he went away that night; and that she had ordered the
coach, to carry us to view a great curiosity on the coast, after which
we should see the house. We cheerfully agreed.

Mr. Boyd was engaged, in 1745-6, on the same side with many unfortunate
mistaken noblemen and gentlemen. He escaped, and lay concealed for a
year in the island of Arran, the ancient territory of the Boyds. He then
went to France, and was about twenty years on the continent. He married
a French Lady, and now lived very comfortably at Aberdeen, and was much
at Slains castle. He entertained us with great civility. He had a
pompousness or formal plenitude in his conversation, which I did not
dislike. Dr. Johnson said, 'there was too much elaboration in his talk.'
It gave me pleasure to see him, a steady branch of the family, setting
forth all its advantages with much zeal. He told us that Lady Errol was
one of the most pious and sensible women in the island; had a good head,
and as good a heart. He said, she did not use force or fear in educating
her children. JOHNSON. 'Sir, she is wrong[307]; I would rather have the
rod to be the general terror to all, to make them learn, than tell a
child if you do thus or thus, you will be more esteemed than your
brothers or sisters. The rod produces an effect which terminates in
itself. A child is afraid of being whipped, and gets his task, and
there's an end on't; whereas, by exciting emulation, and comparisons of
superiority, you lay the foundation of lasting mischief; you make
brothers and sisters hate each other.'

During Mr. Boyd's stay in Arran, he had found a chest of medical books,
left by a surgeon there, and had read them till he acquired some skill
in physick, in consequence of which he is often consulted by the poor.
There were several here waiting for him as patients. We walked round the
house till stopped by a cut made by the influx of the sea. The house is
built quite upon the shore; the windows look upon the main ocean, and
the King of Denmark is Lord Errol's nearest neighbour on the

We got immediately into the coach, and drove to _Dunbui_, a rock near
the shore, quite covered with sea-fowls; then to a circular bason of
large extent, surrounded with tremendous rocks. On the quarter next the
sea, there is a high arch in the rock, which the force of the tempest
has driven out. This place is called _Buchan's Buller_, or the _Buller
of Buchan_, and the country people call it the _Pot_. Mr. Boyd said it
was so called from the French _Bouloir_. It may be more simply traced
from _Boiler_ in our own language. We walked round this monstrous
cauldron. In some places, the rock is very narrow; and on each side
there is a sea deep enough for a man of war to ride in; so that it is
somewhat horrid to move along. However, there is earth and grass upon
the rock, and a kind of road marked out by the print of feet; so that
one makes it out pretty safely: yet it alarmed me to see Dr. Johnson
striding irregularly along. He insisted on taking a boat, and sailing
into the Pot. We did so. He was stout, and wonderfully alert. The
Buchan-men all shewing their teeth, and speaking with that strange sharp
accent which distinguishes them, was to me a matter of curiosity. He was
not sensible of the difference of pronunciation in the South and North
of Scotland, which I wondered at.

As the entry into the _Buller_ is so narrow that oars cannot be used as
you go in, the method taken is, to row very hard when you come near it,
and give the boat such a rapidity of motion that it glides in. Dr.
Johnson observed what an effect this scene would have had, were we
entering into an unknown place. There are caves of considerable depth; I
think, one on each side. The boatmen had never entered either of them
far enough to know the size. Mr. Boyd told us that it is customary for
the company at Peterhead well, to make parties, and come and dine in one
of the caves here.

He told us, that, as Slains is at a considerable distance from Aberdeen,
Lord Errol, who has a very large family, resolved to have a surgeon of
his own. With this view he educated one of his tenant's sons, who is now
settled in a very neat house and farm just by, which we saw from the
road. By the salary which the earl allows him, and the practice which he
has had, he is in very easy circumstances. He had kept an exact account
of all that had been laid out on his education, and he came to his
lordship one day, and told him that he had arrived at a much higher
situation than ever he expected; that he was now able to repay what his
lordship had advanced, and begged he would accept of it. The earl was
pleased with the generous gratitude and genteel offer of the man; but
refused it. Mr. Boyd also told us, Cumming the Quaker first began to
distinguish himself by writing against Dr. Leechman on Prayer[309], to
prove it unnecessary, as GOD knows best what should be, and will order
it without our asking:--the old hackneyed objection.

When we returned to the house we found coffee and tea in the
drawing-room. Lady Errol was not there, being, as I supposed, engaged
with her young family. There is a bow-window fronting the sea. Dr.
Johnson repeated the ode, _Jam satis terris_[310], while Mr. Boyd was
with his patients. He spoke well in favour of entails[311], to preserve
lines of men whom mankind are accustomed to reverence. His opinion was
that so much land should be entailed as that families should never fall
into contempt, and as much left free as to give them all the advantages
of property in case of any emergency. 'If (said he,) the nobility are
suffered to sink into indigence[312], they of course become corrupt;
they are ready to do whatever the king chooses; therefore it is fit they
should be kept from becoming poor, unless it is fixed that when they
fall below a certain standard of wealth they shall lose their
peerages[313]. We know the House of Peers have made noble stands, when
the House of Commons durst not. The two last years of parliament they
dare not contradict the populace[314].'

This room is ornamented with a number of fine prints, and with a whole
length picture of Lord Errol, by Sir Joshua Reynolds. This led Dr.
Johnson and me to talk of our amiable and elegant friend, whose
panegyrick he concluded by saying, 'Sir Joshua Reynolds, Sir, is the
most invulnerable man I know; the man with whom if you should quarrel,
you would find the most difficulty how to abuse[315].'

Dr. Johnson observed, the situation here was the noblest he had ever
seen,--better than Mount Edgecumbe, reckoned the first in England;
because, at Mount Edgecumbe[316], the sea is bounded by land on the
other side, and though there is there the grandeur of a fleet, there is
also the impression of there being a dock-yard, the circumstances of
which are not agreeable. At Slains is an excellent old house. The noble
owner has built of brick, along the square in the inside, a gallery,
both on the first and second story, the house being no higher; so that
he has always a dry walk, and the rooms, to which formerly there was no
approach but through each other, have now all separate entries from the
gallery, which is hung with Hogarth's works, and other prints. We went
and sat a while in the library. There is a valuable numerous
collection. It was chiefly made by Mr. Falconer, husband to the late
Countess of Errol in her own right. This earl has added a good many
modern books.

About nine the Earl came home. Captain Gordon of Park was with him. His
Lordship put Dr. Johnson in mind of their having dined together in
London, along with Mr. Beauclerk. I was exceedingly pleased with Lord
Errol. His dignified person and agreeable countenance, with the most
unaffected affability, give me high satisfaction. From perhaps a
weakness, or, as I rather hope, more fancy and warmth of feeling than is
quite reasonable, my mind is ever impressed with admiration for persons
of high birth, and I could, with the most perfect honesty, expatiate on
Lord Errol's good qualities; but he stands in no need of my praise. His
agreeable manners and softness of address prevented that constraint
which the idea of his being Lord High Constable of Scotland[317] might
otherwise have occasioned. He talked very easily and sensibly with his
learned guest. I observed that Dr. Johnson, though he shewed that
respect to his lordship, which, from principle, he always does to high
rank, yet, when they came to argument, maintained that manliness which
becomes the force and vigour of his understanding. To shew external
deference to our superiors, is proper: to seem to yield to them in
opinion, is meanness[318]. The earl said grace, both before and after
supper, with much decency. He told us a story of a man who was executed
at Perth, some years ago, for murdering a woman who was with child by
him, and a former child he had by her. His hand was cut off: he was then
pulled up; but the rope broke, and he was forced to lie an hour on the
ground, till another rope was brought from Perth, the execution being in
a wood at some distance,--at the place where the murders were committed.
_'There_,(said my lord,) _I see the hand of Providence_.' I was really
happy here. I saw in this nobleman the best dispositions and best
principles; and I saw him, _in my mind's eye_[319], to be the
representative of the ancient Boyds of Kilmarnock. I was afraid he might
have urged drinking, as, I believe, he used formerly to do; but he drank
port and water out of a large glass himself, and let us do as we
pleased[320]. He went with us to our rooms at night; said, he took the
visit very kindly; and told me, my father and he were very old
acquaintance;--that I now knew the way to Slains, and he hoped to see me
there again.

I had a most elegant room; but there was a fire in it which blazed; and
the sea, to which my windows looked, roared; and the pillows were made
of the feathers of some sea-fowl, which had to me a disagreeable smell;
so that, by all these causes, I was kept awake a good while. I saw, in
imagination, Lord Errol's father, Lord Kilmarnock[321] (who was beheaded
on Tower-hill in 1746), and I was somewhat dreary. But the thought did
not last long, and I fell asleep.


We got up between seven and eight, and found Mr. Boyd in the
dining-room, with tea and coffee before him, to give us breakfast. We
were in an admirable humour. Lady Errol had given each of us a copy of
an ode by Beattie, on the birth of her son, Lord Hay. Mr. Boyd asked Dr.
Johnson how he liked it. Dr. Johnson, who did not admire it, got off
very well, by taking it out, and reading the second and third stanzas of
it with much melody. This, without his saying a word, pleased Mr. Boyd.
He observed, however, to Dr. Johnson, that the expression as to the
family of Errol,

     'A thousand years have seen it shine,'

compared with what went before, was an anticlimax, and that it would
have been better

     'Ages have seen,' &c.

Dr. Johnson said, 'So great a number as a thousand is better. _Dolus
latet in universalibus_. Ages might be only two ages.' He talked of the
advantage of keeping up the connections of relationship, which produce
much kindness. 'Every man (said he,) who comes into the world, has need
of friends. If he has to get them for himself, half his life is spent
before his merit is known. Relations are a man's ready friends who
support him. When a man is in real distress, he flies into the arms of
his relations. An old lawyer, who had much experience in making wills,
told me, that after people had deliberated long, and thought of many for
their executors, they settled at last by fixing on their relations. This
shews the universality of the principle.'

I regretted the decay of respect for men of family, and that a Nabob now
would carry an election from them. JOHNSON. 'Why, Sir, the Nabob will
carry it by means of his wealth, in a country where money is highly
valued, as it must be where nothing can be had without money; but, if it
comes to personal preference, the man of family will always carry
it[322]. There is generally a _scoundrelism_ about a low man[323].' Mr.
Boyd said, that was a good _ism_.

I said, I believed mankind were happier in the ancient feudal state[324]
of subordination, than they are in the modern state of independency.
JOHNSON. 'To be sure, the _Chief_ was: but we must think of the number
of individuals. That _they_ were less happy, seems plain; for that state
from which all escape as soon as they can, and to which none return
after they have left it, must be less happy; and this is the case with
the state of dependance on a chief or great man.'

I mentioned the happiness of the French in their subordination, by the
reciprocal benevolence and attachment between the great and those in
lower rank[325]. Mr. Boyd gave us an instance of their gentlemanly
spirit. An old Chevalier de Malthe, of ancient _noblesse_, but in low
circumstances, was in a coffee-house at Paris, where was Julien, the
great manufacturer at the Gobelins, of the fine tapestry, so much
distinguished both for the figures and the _colours_. The chevalier's
carriage was very old. Says Julien, with a plebeian insolence, 'I think,
Sir, you had better have your carriage new painted.' The chevalier
looked at him with indignant contempt, and answered, 'Well, Sir, you may
take it home and _dye_ it!' All the coffee-house rejoiced at Julien's

We set out about nine. Dr. Johnson was curious to see one of those
structures which northern antiquarians call a Druid's temple. I had a
recollection of one at Strichen; which I had seen fifteen years ago; so
we went four miles out of our road, after passing Old Deer, and went
thither. Mr. Fraser, the proprietor, was at home, and shewed it to us.
But I had augmented it in my mind; for all that remains is two stones
set up on end, with a long one laid upon them, as was usual, and one
stone at a little distance from them. That stone was the capital one of
the circle which surrounded what now remains. Mr. Fraser was very
hospitable[326]. There was a fair at Strichen; and he had several of his
neighbours from it at dinner. One of them, Dr. Fraser, who had been in
the army, remembered to have seen Dr. Johnson at a lecture on
experimental philosophy, at Lichfield. The doctor recollected being at
the lecture; and he was surprised to find here somebody who knew him.

Mr. Fraser sent a servant to conduct us by a short passage into the
high-road. I observed to Dr. Johnson, that I had a most disagreeable
notion of the life of country gentlemen; that I left Mr. Fraser just
now, as one leaves a prisoner in a jail. Dr. Johnson said, that I was
right in thinking them unhappy; for that they had not enough to keep
their minds in motion[327].

I started a thought this afternoon which amused us a great part of the
way. 'If, (said I,) our club should come and set up in St. Andrews, as a
college, to teach all that each of us can, in the several departments of
learning and taste, we should rebuild the city: we should draw a
wonderful concourse of students.' Dr. Johnson entered fully into the
spirit of this project. We immediately fell to distributing the offices.
I was to teach Civil and Scotch law[328]; Burke, politicks and
eloquence; Garrick, the art of publick speaking; Langton was to be our
Grecian[329], Colman our Latin professor[330]; Nugent to teach
physick[331]; Lord Charlemont, modern history[332]; Beauclerk, natural
philosophy[333]; Vesey, Irish antiquities, or Celtick learning[334];
Jones, Oriental learning[335]; Goldsmith, poetry and ancient history;
Chamier, commercial politicks[336]; Reynolds, painting, and the arts
which have beauty for their object; Chambers, the law of England[337].
Dr. Johnson at first said, 'I'll trust theology to nobody but myself.'
But, upon due consideration, that Percy is a clergyman, it was agreed
that Percy should teach practical divinity and British antiquities; Dr.
Johnson himself, logick, metaphysicks[338], and scholastick divinity. In
this manner did we amuse ourselves;--each suggesting, and each varying
or adding, till the whole was adjusted. Dr. Johnson said, we only wanted
a mathematician since Dyer[339] died, who was a very good one; but as to
every thing else, we should have a very capital university[340].

We got at night to Banff. I sent Joseph on to Duff-house; but Earl Fife
was not at home, which I regretted much, as we should have had a very
elegant reception from his lordship. We found here but an indifferent
inn[341]. Dr. Johnson wrote a long letter to Mrs. Thrale. I wondered to
see him write so much so easily. He verified his own doctrine that 'a
man may always write when he will set himself _doggedly_ to it[342].'


We got a fresh chaise here, a very good one, and very good horses. We
breakfasted at Cullen. They set down dried haddocks broiled, along with
our tea. I ate one; but Dr. Johnson was disgusted by the sight of them,
so they were removed[343]. Cullen has a comfortable appearance, though
but a very small town, and the houses mostly poor buildings.

I called on Mr. Robertson, who has the charge of Lord Findlater's
affairs, and was formerly Lord Monboddo's clerk, was three times in
France with him, and translated Condamine's _Account of the Savage
Girl_, to which his lordship wrote a preface, containing several remarks
of his own. Robertson said, he did not believe so much as his lordship
did; that it was plain to him, the girl confounded what she imagined
with what she remembered: that, besides, she perceived Condamine and
Lord Monboddo forming theories, and she adapted her story to them.

Dr. Johnson said, 'It is a pity to see Lord Monboddo publish such
notions as he has done; a man of sense, and of so much elegant learning.
There would be little in a fool doing it; we should only laugh; but when
a wise man does it, we are sorry. Other people have strange notions; but
they conceal them. If they have tails, they hide them; but Monboddo is
as jealous of his tail as a squirrel.' I shall here put down some more
remarks of Dr. Johnson's on Lord Monboddo, which were not made exactly
at this time, but come in well from connection. He said, he did not
approve of a judge's calling himself _Farmer_ Burnett[344], and going
about with a little round hat[345]. He laughed heartily at his
lordship's saying he was an _enthusiastical_ farmer; 'for, (said he,)
what can he do in farming by his _enthusiasm_?' Here, however, I think
Dr. Johnson mistaken. He who wishes to be successful, or happy, ought to
be enthusiastical, that is to say, very keen in all the occupations or
diversions of life. An ordinary gentleman-farmer will be satisfied with
looking at his fields once or twice a day: an enthusiastical farmer will
be constantly employed on them; will have his mind earnestly engaged;
will talk perpetually, of them. But Dr. Johnson has much of the _nil
admirari_[346] in smaller concerns. That survey of life which gave birth
to his _Vanity of Human Wishes_ early sobered his mind. Besides, so
great a mind as his cannot be moved by inferior objects: an elephant
does not run and skip like lesser animals.  Mr. Robertson sent a
servant with us, to shew us through Lord Findlater's wood, by which our
way was shortened, and we saw some part of his domain, which is indeed
admirably laid out. Dr. Johnson did not choose to walk through it. He
always said, that he was not come to Scotland to see fine places, of
which there were enough in England; but wild objects,--mountains,
--waterfalls,--peculiar manners; in short, things which he had not seen
before. I have a notion that he at no time has had much taste for rural
beauties. I have myself very little[347].

Dr. Johnson said, there was nothing more contemptible than a country
gentleman living beyond his income, and every year growing poorer and
poorer[348]. He spoke strongly of the influence which a man has by being
rich. 'A man, (said he,) who keeps his money, has in reality more use
from it, than he can have by spending it.' I observed that this looked
very like a paradox; but he explained it thus: 'If it were certain that
a man would keep his money locked up for ever, to be sure he would have
no influence; but, as so many want money, and he has the power of giving
it, and they know not but by gaining his favour they may obtain it, the
rich man will always have the greatest influence. He again who lavishes
his money, is laughed at as foolish, and in a great degree with justice,
considering how much is spent from vanity. Even those who partake of a
man's hospitality, have but a transient kindness for him. If he has not
the command of money, people know he cannot help them, if he would;
whereas the rich man always can, if he will, and for the chance of that,
will have much weight.' BOSWELL. 'But philosophers and satirists have
all treated a miser as contemptible.' JOHNSON. 'He is so
philosophically; but not in the practice of life[349].' BOSWELL. 'Let me
see now:--I do not know the instances of misers in England, so as to
examine into their influence.' JOHNSON. 'We have had few misers in
England.' BOSWELL. 'There was Lowther[350].' JOHNSON. 'Why, Sir,
Lowther, by keeping his money, had the command of the county, which the
family has now lost, by spending it[351]; I take it he lent a great
deal; and that is the way to have influence, and yet preserve one's
wealth. A man may lend his money upon very good security, and yet have
his debtor much under his power.' BOSWELL. 'No doubt, Sir. He can always
distress him for the money; as no man borrows, who is able to pay on
demand quite conveniently.'

We dined at Elgin, and saw the noble ruins of the cathedral. Though it
rained much, Dr. Johnson examined them with a most patient attention.
He could not here feel any abhorrence at the Scottish reformers[352],
for he had been told by Lord Hailes, that it was destroyed before the
Reformation, by the Lord of Badenoch[353], who had a quarrel with the
bishop. The bishop's house, and those of the other clergy, which are
still pretty entire, do not seem to have been proportioned to the
magnificence of the cathedral, which has been of great extent, and had
very fine carved work. The ground within the walls of the cathedral is
employed as a burying-place. The family of Gordon have their vault here;
but it has nothing grand.

We passed Gordon Castle[354] this forenoon, which has a princely
appearance. Fochabers, the neighbouring village, is a poor place, many
of the houses being ruinous; but it is remarkable, they have in general
orchards well stored with apple-trees[355]. Elgin has what in England
are called piazzas, that run in many places on each side of the street.
It must have been a much better place formerly. Probably it had piazzas
all along the town, as I have seen at Bologna. I approved much of such
structures in a town, on account of their conveniency in wet weather.
Dr. Johnson disapproved of them, 'because (said he) it makes the under
story of a house very dark, which greatly over-balances the conveniency,
when it is considered how small a part of the year it rains; how few are
usually in the street at such times; that many who are might as well be
at home; and the little that people suffer, supposing them to be as much
wet as they commonly are in walking a street.'

We fared but ill at our inn here; and Dr. Johnson said, this was the
first time he had seen a dinner in Scotland that he could not eat[356].

In the afternoon, we drove over the very heath where Macbeth met the
witches, according to tradition[357]. Dr. Johnson again[358] solemnly

     'How far is't called to Fores? What are these,
      So wither'd, and so wild in their attire?
      That look not like the inhabitants o' the earth,
      And yet are on't?'

He repeated a good deal more of Macbeth. His recitation[359] was grand
and affecting, and as Sir Joshua Reynolds has observed to me, had no
more tone than it should have: it was the better for it. He then
parodied the _All-hail_ of the witches to Macbeth, addressing himself to
me. I had purchased some land called _Dalblair_; and, as in Scotland it
is customary to distinguish landed men by the name of their estates, I
had thus two titles, _Dalblair_ and Young _Auchinleck_. So my friend, in
imitation of

     'All hail, Macbeth! hail to thee, Thane of Cawdor!'

condescended to amuse himself with uttering

     'All hail, Dalblair! hail to thee, Laird of Auchinleck[360]!'

We got to Fores[361] at night, and found an admirable inn, in which Dr.
Johnson was pleased to meet with a landlord who styled himself
'Wine-Cooper, from LONDON.'


It was dark when we came to Fores last night; so we did not see what is
called King Duncan's monument[362]. I shall now mark some gleanings of
Dr. Johnson's conversation. I spoke of _Leonidas_[363], and said there
were some good passages in it. JOHNSON. 'Why, you must _seek_ for them.'
He said, Paul Whitehead's _Manners_[364] was a poor performance.
Speaking of Derrick, he told me 'he had a kindness for him, and had
often said, that if his letters had been written by one of a more
established name, they would have been thought very pretty

This morning I introduced the subject of the origin of evil[366].
JOHNSON. 'Moral evil is occasioned by free will, which implies choice
between good and evil. With all the evil that there is, there is no man
but would rather be a free agent, than a mere machine without the evil;
and what is best for each individual, must be best for the whole. If a
man would rather be the machine, I cannot argue with him. He is a
different being from me.' BOSWELL. 'A man, as a machine, may have
agreeable sensations; for instance, he may have pleasure in musick.'
JOHNSON. 'No, Sir, he cannot have pleasure in musick; at least no power
of producing musick; for he who can produce musick may let it alone: he
who can play upon a fiddle may break it: such a man is not a machine.'
This reasoning satisfied me. It is certain, there cannot be a free
agent, unless there is the power of being evil as well as good. We must
take the inherent possibilities of things into consideration, in our
reasonings or conjectures concerning the works of GOD.

We came to Nairn to breakfast. Though a county town and a royal burgh,
it is a miserable place. Over the room where we sat, a girl was spinning
wool with a great wheel, and singing an Erse song[367]: 'I'll warrant
you, (said Dr. Johnson.) one of the songs of Ossian.' He then repeated
these lines:---

     'Verse sweetens toil, however rude the sound.
        All at her work the village maiden sings;
      Nor while she turns the giddy wheel around,
        Revolves the sad vicissitude of things[368].'

I thought I had heard these lines before. JOHNSON. 'I fancy not, Sir;
for they are in a detached poem, the name of which I do not remember,
written by one Giffard, a parson.'

I expected Mr. Kenneth M'Aulay[369], the minister of Calder, who
published the history of St. Kilda[370], a book which Dr. Johnson liked,
would have met us here, as I had written to him from Aberdeen. But I
received a letter from him, telling me that he could not leave home, as
he was to administer the sacrament the following Sunday, and earnestly
requesting to see us at his manse. 'We'll go,' said Dr. Johnson; which
we accordingly did. Mrs. M'Aulay received us, and told us her husband
was in the church distributing tokens[371]. We arrived between twelve
and one o'clock, and it was near three before he came to us.

Dr. Johnson thanked him for his book, and said 'it was a very pretty
piece of topography.' M'Aulay did not seem much to mind the compliment.
From his conversation, Dr. Johnson was persuaded that he had not written
the book which goes under his name. I myself always suspected so; and I
have been told it was written by the learned Dr. John M'Pherson of
Sky[372], from the materials collected by M'Aulay. Dr. Johnson said
privately to me, 'There is a combination in it of which M'Aulay is not
capable[373].' 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[374],' was not there. The old tower must be of great
antiquity[375]. There is a draw-bridge--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

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 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 2Oth 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 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[377] 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

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[379].
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[380]!


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[381]. 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

I should have mentioned that Mr. White, a Welshman, who has 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 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[383].
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[384].'

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 were three Bruces, one of
the Irish line, one of the Scottish line, and himself of the English
line. He said he was shewn it in the Herald's office spelt fourteen
different ways[385]. I told him the different spellings of my name[386].
Dr Johnson observed, that there had been great disputes about the
spelling of Shakspear's name; at last it was thought it would be settled
by looking at the original copy of his will; but, upon examining it, he
was found to have written it himself no less than three different ways.

Mr. Ferne and Major Brewse first carried us to wait on Sir Eyre
Coote[387], whose regiment, the 37th, was lying here, and who then
commanded the fort. He asked us to dine with him, which we agreed to do.

Before dinner we examined the fort. The Major explained the
fortification to us, and Mr. Ferne gave us an account of the stores. Dr.
Johnson talked of the proportions of charcoal and salt-petre in making
gunpowder, of granulating it, and of giving it a gloss[388]. He made a
very good figure upon these topicks. He said to me afterwards, that 'he
had talked _ostentatiously_[389].' We reposed ourselves a little in Mr.
Ferne's house. He had every thing in neat order as in England; and a
tolerable collection of books. I looked into Pennant's _Tour in
Scotland_. He says little of this fort; but that 'the barracks, &c. form
several streets[390].' This is aggrandising. Mr. Ferne observed, if he
had said they form a square, with a row of buildings before it, he would
have given a juster description. Dr. Johnson remarked, 'how seldom
descriptions correspond with realities; and the reason is, that people
do not write them till some time after, and then their imagination has
added circumstances.'

We talked of Sir Adolphus Oughton[391]. The Major said, he knew a great
deal for a military man. JOHNSON. 'Sir, you will find few men, of any
profession, who know more. Sir Adolphus is a very extraordinary man; a
man of boundless curiosity and unwearied diligence.'

I know not how the Major contrived to introduce the contest between
Warburton and Lowth. JOHNSON. 'Warburton kept his temper all along,
while Lowth was in a passion. Lowth published some of Warburton's
letters. Warburton drew _him_ on to write some very abusive letters, and
then asked his leave to publish them; which he knew Lowth could not
refuse, after what _he_ had done. So that Warburton contrived that he
should publish, apparently with Lowth's consent, what could not but shew
Lowth in a disadvantageous light[392].'

At three the drum beat for dinner. I, for a little while, fancied myself
a military man, and it pleased me. We went to Sir Eyre Coote's, at the
governour's house, and found him a most gentleman-like man. His lady is
a very agreeable woman, with an uncommonly mild and sweet tone of voice.
There was a pretty large company: Mr. Ferne, Major Brewse, and several
officers. Sir Eyre had come from the East-Indies by land, through the
Desarts of Arabia. He told us, the Arabs could live five days without
victuals, and subsist for three weeks on nothing else but the blood of
their camels, who could lose so much of it as would suffice for that
time, without being exhausted. He highly praised the virtue of the
Arabs; their fidelity, if they undertook to conduct any person; and
said, they would sacrifice their lives rather than let him be robbed.
Dr. Johnson, who is always for maintaining the superiority of civilized
over uncivilized men[393], said, 'Why, Sir, I can see no superiour
virtue in this. A serjeant and twelve men, who are my guard, will die,
rather than that I shall be robbed.' Colonel Pennington, of the 37th
regiment, took up the argument with a good deal of spirit and
ingenuity. PENNINGTON. 'But the soldiers are compelled to this by fear
of punishment. 'JOHNSON. 'Well, Sir, the Arabs are compelled by the fear
of infamy.' PENNINGTON. 'The soldiers have the same fear of infamy, and
the fear of punishment besides; so have less virtue; because they act
less voluntarily.' Lady Coote observed very well, that it ought to be
known if there was not, among the Arabs, some punishment for not being
faithful on such occasions.

We talked of the stage. I observed, that we had not now such a company
of actors as in the last age; Wilks[394], Booth[395], &c. &c. JOHNSON.
'You think so, because there is one who excels all the rest so much: you
compare them with Garrick, and see the deficiency. Garrick's great
distinction is his universality[396]. He can represent all modes of
life, but that of an easy fine bred gentleman[397].' PENNINGTON. 'He
should give over playing young parts.' JOHNSON. 'He does not take them
now; but he does not leave off those which he has been used to play,
because he does them better than any one else can do them. If you had
generations of actors, if they swarmed like bees, the young ones might
drive off the old. Mrs. Cibber[398], I think, got more reputation than
she deserved, as she had a great sameness; though her expression was
undoubtedly very fine. Mrs. Clive[399] was the best player I ever saw.
Mrs. Prichard[400] was a very good one; but she had something affected
in her manner: I imagine she had some player of the former age in her
eye, which occasioned it.'  Colonel Pennington said, Garrick sometimes
failed in emphasis[401]; as for instance, in _Hamlet_,

     'I will speak _daggers_ to her; but use _none_[402].'

instead of

     'I will _speak_ daggers to her; but _use_ none.'

We had a dinner of two complete courses, variety of wines, and the
regimental band of musick playing in the square, before the windows,
after it. I enjoyed this day much. We were quite easy and cheerful. Dr.
Johnson said, 'I shall always remember this fort with gratitude.' I
could not help being struck with some admiration, at finding upon this
barren sandy point, such buildings,--such a dinner,--such company: it
was like enchantment. Dr. Johnson, on the other hand, said to me more
rationally, that 'it did not strike _him_ as any thing extraordinary;
because he knew, here was a large sum of money expended in building a
fort; here was a regiment. If there had been less than what we found, it
would have surprised him.' _He_ looked coolly and deliberately through
all the gradations: my warm imagination jumped from the barren sands to
the splendid dinner and brilliant company, to borrow the expression of
an absurd poet,

                         'Without ands or ifs,
     I leapt from off the sands upon the cliffs.'

The whole scene gave me a strong impression of the power and excellence
of human art.

We left the fort between six and seven o'clock: Sir Eyre Coote, Colonel
Pennington, and several more accompanied us down stairs, and saw us into
our chaise. There could not be greater attention paid to any visitors.
Sir Eyre spoke of the hardships which Dr. Johnson had before him.
BOSWELL. 'Considering what he has said of us, we must make him feel
something rough in Scotland.' Sir Eyre said to him, 'You must change
your name, Sir.' BOSWELL. 'Ay, to Dr. M'Gregor[403].'  We got safely to
Inverness, and put up at Mackenzie's inn. Mr. Keith, the collector of
Excise here, my old acquaintance at Ayr, who had seen us at the Fort,
visited us in the evening, and engaged us to dine with him next day,
promising to breakfast with us, and take us to the English chapel; so
that we were at once commodiously arranged.

Not finding a letter here that I expected, I felt a momentary impatience
to be at home. Transient clouds darkened my imagination, and in those
clouds I saw events from which I shrunk; but a sentence or two of the
_Rambler's_ conversation gave me firmness, and I considered that I was
upon an expedition for which I had wished for years, and the
recollection of which would be a treasure to me for life.


Mr. Keith breakfasted with us. Dr. Johnson expatiated rather too
strongly upon the benefits derived to Scotland from the Union[404], and
the bad state of our people before it. I am entertained with his copious
exaggeration upon that subject; but I am uneasy when people are by, who
do not know him as well as I do, and may be apt to think him
narrow-minded[405]. I therefore diverted the subject.

The English chapel, to which we went this morning, was but mean. The
altar was a bare fir table, with a coarse stool for kneeling on, covered
with a piece of thick sail-cloth doubled, by way of cushion. The
congregation was small. Mr. Tait, the clergyman, read prayers very well,
though with much of the Scotch accent. He preached on '_Love your
Enemies_[406].' It was remarkable that, when talking of the connections
amongst men, he said, that some connected themselves with men of
distinguished talents, and since they could not equal them, tried to
deck themselves with their merit, by being their companions. The
sentence was to this purpose. It had an odd coincidence with what might
be said of my connecting myself with Dr. Johnson[407].

After church we walked down to the Quay. We then went to Macbeth's
castle[408]. I had a romantick satisfaction in seeing Dr. Johnson
actually in it. It perfectly corresponds with Shakspear's description,
which Sir Joshua Reynolds has so happily illustrated, in one of his
notes on our immortal poet[409]:

          'This castle hath a pleasant seat: the air
          Nimbly and sweetly recommends itself
          Unto our gentle sense,' &c.[410]

Just as we came out of it, a raven perched on one of the chimney-tops,
and croaked. Then I repeated

           '----The raven himself is hoarse,
           That croaks the fatal entrance of Duncan
           Under my battlements[411].'

We dined at Mr. Keith's. Mrs. Keith was rather too attentive to Dr.
Johnson, asking him many questions about his drinking only water. He
repressed that observation, by saying to me, 'You may remember that Lady
Errol took no notice of this.'

Dr. Johnson has the happy art (for which I have heard my father praise
the old Earl of Aberdeen) of instructing himself, by making every man he
meets tell him something of what he knows best. He led Keith to talk to
him of the Excise in Scotland, and, in the course of conversation,
mentioned that his friend Mr. Thrale, the great brewer, paid twenty
thousand pounds a year to the revenue; and that he had four casks, each
of which holds sixteen hundred barrels,--above a thousand hogsheads.

After this there was little conversation that deserves to be remembered.
I shall therefore here again glean what I have omitted on former days.
Dr. Gerrard, at Aberdeen, told us, that when he was in Wales, he was
shewn a valley inhabited by Danes, who still retain their own language,
and are quite a distinct people. Dr. Johnson thought it could not be
true, or all the kingdom must have heard of it. He said to me, as we
travelled, 'these people, Sir, that Gerrard talks of, may have somewhat
of a _peregrinity_ in their dialect, which relation has augmented to a
different language.' I asked him if _peregrinity_ was an English word:
he laughed, and said, 'No.' I told him this was the second time that I
had heard him coin a word[412]. When Foote broke his leg, I observed
that it would make him fitter for taking off George Faulkner as Peter
Paragraph[413], poor George having a wooden leg. Dr. Johnson at that
time said, 'George will rejoice at the _depeditation_ of Foote;' and
when I challenged that word, laughed, and owned he had made it, and
added that he had not made above three or four in his _Dictionary_[414].
 Having conducted Dr. Johnson to our inn, I begged permission to leave
him for a little, that I might run about and pay some short visits to
several good people of Inverness. He said to me 'You have all the
old-fashioned principles, good and bad' I acknowledge I have. That of
attention to relations in the remotest degree, or to worthy persons, in
every state whom I have once known, I inherit from my father. It gave me
much satisfaction to hear every body at Inverness speak of him with
uncommon regard. Mr. Keith and Mr. Grant, whom we had seen at Mr.
M'Aulay's, supped with us at the inn. We had roasted kid, which Dr.
Johnson had never tasted before. He relished it much.


This day we were to begin our _equitation,_ as I said; for _I_ would
needs make a word too. It is remarkable, that my noble, and to me most
constant friend, the Earl of Pembroke[415], (who, if there is too much
ease on my part, will please to pardon what his benevolent, gay, social
intercourse, and lively correspondence have insensibly produced,) has
since hit upon the very same word. The title of the first edition of his
lordship's very useful book was, in simple terms, _A Method of breaking
Horses and teaching Soldiers to ride._ The title of the second edition

We might have taken a chaise to Fort Augustus, but, had we not hired
horses at Inverness, we should not have found them afterwards: so we
resolved to begin here to ride. We had three horses, for Dr. Johnson,
myself, and Joseph, and one which carried our portmanteaus, and two
Highlanders who walked along with us, John Hay and Lauchland Vass, whom
Dr. Johnson has remembered with credit in his JOURNEY[417], though he
has omitted their names. Dr. Johnson rode very well.  About three miles
beyond Inverness, we saw, just by the road, a very complete specimen of
what is called a Druid's temple. There was a double circle, one of very
large, the other of smaller stones. Dr. Johnson justly observed, that
'to go and see one druidical temple is only to see that it is nothing,
for there is neither art nor power in it; and seeing one is
quite enough.'

It was a delightful day. Lochness, and the road upon the side of it,
shaded with birch trees, and the hills above it, pleased us much. The
scene was as sequestered and agreeably wild as could be desired, and for
a time engrossed all our attention[418].

To see Dr. Johnson in any new situation is always an interesting object
to me; and, as I saw him now for the first time on horseback, jaunting
about at his ease in quest of pleasure and novelty, the very different
occupations of his former laborious life, his admirable productions, his
_London_, his _Rambler_, &c. &c., immediately presented themselves to my
mind, and the contrast made a strong impression on my imagination.

When we had advanced a good way by the side of Lochness, I perceived a
little hut, with an old-looking woman at the door of it. I thought here
might be a scene that would amuse Dr. Johnson; so I mentioned it to him.
'Let's go in,' said he. We dismounted, and we and our guides entered the
hut. It was a wretched little hovel of earth only, I think, and for a
window had only a small hole, which was stopped with a piece of turf,
that was taken out occasionally to let in light. In the middle of the
room or space which we entered, was a fire of peat, the smoke going out
at a hole in the roof. She had a pot upon it, with goat's flesh,
boiling. There was at one end under the same roof, but divided by a kind
of partition made of wattles, a pen or fold in which we saw a good
many kids.

Dr. Johnson was curious to know where she slept. I asked one of the
guides, who questioned her in Erse. She answered with a tone of emotion,
saying, (as he told us,) she was afraid we wanted to go to bed to her.
This _coquetry_, or whatever it may be called, of so wretched a being,
was truly ludicrous. Dr. Johnson and I afterwards were merry upon it. I
said it was he who alarmed the poor woman's virtue. 'No, Sir, (said he,)
she'll say "there came a wicked young fellow, a wild dog, who I believe
would have ravished me, had there not been with him a grave old
gentleman, who repressed him: but when he gets out of the sight of his
tutor, I'll warrant you he'll spare no woman he meets, young or old."'
'No, Sir, (I replied,) she'll say, "There was a terrible ruffian who
would have forced me, had it not been for a civil decent young man who,
I take it, was an angel sent from heaven to protect me."'

Dr. Johnson would not hurt her delicacy, by insisting on 'seeing her
bed-chamber,' like _Archer_ in the _Beaux Stratagem_[419]. But my
curiosity was more ardent; I lighted a piece of paper, and went into the
place where the bed was. There was a little partition of wicker, rather
more neatly done than that for the fold, and close by the wall was a
kind of bedstead of wood with heath upon it by way of bed! at the foot
of which I saw some sort of blankets or covering rolled up in a heap.
The woman's name was Fraser; so was her husband's. He was a man of
eighty. Mr. Fraser of Balnain allows him to live in this hut, and keep
sixty goats, for taking care of his woods, where he then was. They had
five children, the eldest only thirteen. Two were gone to Inverness to
buy meal[420]; the rest were looking after the goats. This contented
family had four stacks of barley, twenty-four sheaves in each. They had
a few fowls. We were informed that they lived all the spring without
meal, upon milk and curds and whey alone. What they get for their goats,
kids, and fowls, maintains them during the rest of the year.  She asked
us to sit down and take a dram. I saw one chair. She said she was as
happy as any woman in Scotland. She could hardly speak any English
except a few detached words. Dr. Johnson was pleased at seeing, for the
first time, such a state of human life. She asked for snuff. It is her
luxury, and she uses a great deal. We had none; but gave her sixpence a
piece. She then brought out her whiskey bottle. I tasted it; as did
Joseph and our guides, so I gave her sixpence more. She sent us away
with many prayers in Erse.

We dined at a publick house called the General's Hut[421], from General
Wade, who was lodged there when he commanded in the North. Near it is
the meanest parish _Kirk_ I ever saw. It is a shame it should be on a
high road. After dinner, we passed through a good deal of mountainous
country. I had known Mr. Trapaud, the deputy governour of Fort Augustus,
twelve years ago, at a circuit at Inverness, where my father was judge.
I sent forward one of our guides, and Joseph, with a card to him, that
he might know Dr. Johnson and I were coming up, leaving it to him to
invite us or not[422]. It was dark when we arrived. The inn was
wretched. Government ought to build one, or give the resident governour
an additional salary; as in the present state of things, he must
necessarily be put to a great expence in entertaining travellers. Joseph
announced to us, when we alighted, that the governour waited for us at
the gate of the fort. We walked to it. He met us, and with much civility
conducted us to his house. It was comfortable to find ourselves in a
well-built little square, and a neatly furnished house, in good company,
and with a good supper before us; in short, with all the conveniences of
civilised life in the midst of rude mountains. Mrs. Trapaud, and the
governour's daughter, and her husband, Captain Newmarsh, were all most
obliging and polite. The governour had excellent animal spirits, the
conversation of a soldier, and somewhat of a Frenchman, to which his
extraction entitles him. He is brother to General Cyrus Trapaud. We
passed a very agreeable evening.[423]


The governour has a very good garden. We looked at it, and at the rest
of the fort, which is but small, and may be commanded from a variety of
hills around. We also looked at the galley or sloop belonging to the
fort, which sails upon the Loch, and brings what is wanted for the
garrison. Captains Urie and Darippe, of the 15th regiment of foot,
breakfasted with us. They had served in America, and entertained Dr.
Johnson much with an account of the Indians.[424] He said, he could make
a very pretty book out of them, were he to stay there. Governour Trapaud
was much struck with Dr. Johnson. 'I like to hear him, (said he,) it is
so majestick. I should be glad to hear him speak in your court.' He
pressed us to stay dinner; but I considered that we had a rude road
before us, which we could more easily encounter in the morning, and that
it was hard to say when we might get up, were we to sit down to good
entertainment, in good company: I therefore begged the governour would
excuse us. Here too, I had another very pleasing proof how much my
father is regarded. The governour expressed the highest respect for him,
and bade me tell him, that, if he would come that way on the Northern
circuit, he would do him all the honours of the garrison.

Between twelve and one we set out, and travelled eleven miles, through a
wild country, till we came to a house in Glenmorison, called _Anoch_,
kept by a McQueen[425]. Our landlord was a sensible fellow; he had
learned his grammar[426], and Dr. Johnson justly observed, that 'a man
is the better for that as long as he lives.' There were some books here:
_a Treatise against Drunkenness_, translated from the French; a volume
of _The Spectator_; a volume of _Prideaux's Connection_, and _Cyrus's
Travels_[427]. McQueen said he had more volumes; and his pride seemed to
be much piqued that we were surprised at his having books.

Near to this place we had passed a party of soldiers, under a serjeant's
command, at work upon the road. We gave them two shillings to drink.
They came to our inn, and made merry in the barn. We went and paid them
a visit, Dr. Johnson saying, 'Come, let's go and give 'em another
shilling a-piece.' We did so; and he was saluted 'MY LORD' by all of
them. He is really generous, loves influence, and has the way of gaining
it. He said, 'I am quite feudal, Sir.' Here I agree with him. I said, I
regretted I was not the head of a clan; however, though not possessed of
such an hereditary advantage, I would always endeavour to make my
tenants follow me. I could not be a _patriarchal_ chief, but I would be
a _feudal_ chief.

The poor soldiers got too much liquor. Some of them fought, and left
blood upon the spot, and cursed whiskey next morning. The house here was
built of thick turfs, and thatched with thinner turfs and heath. It had
three rooms in length, and a little room which projected. Where we sat,
the side-walls were _wainscotted_, as Dr. Johnson said, with wicker,
very neatly plaited. Our landlord had made the whole with his own hands.

After dinner, McQueen sat by us a while, and talked with us. He said,
all the Laird of Glenmorison's people would bleed for him if they were
well used; but that seventy men had gone out of the Glen to America.
That he himself intended to go next year; for that the rent of his farm,
which twenty years ago was only five pounds, was now raised to twenty
pounds. That he could pay ten pounds and live; but no more.[428] Dr.
Johnson said, he wished M'Queen laird of Glenmorison, and the laird to
go to America. M'Queen very generously answered, he should be sorry for
it; for the laird could not shift for himself in America as he could do.

I talked of the officers whom we had left to-day; how much service they
had seen, and how little they got for it, even of fame. JOHNSON. 'Sir, a
soldier gets as little as any man can get.' BOSWELL. 'Goldsmith has
acquired more fame than all the officers last war, who were not
Generals.'[429] JOHNSON. 'Why, Sir, you will find ten thousand fit to do
what they did, before you find one who does what Goldsmith has done. You
must consider, that a thing is valued according to its rarity. A pebble
that paves the street is in itself more useful than the diamond upon a
lady's finger.' I wish our friend Goldsmith had heard this.[430]

I yesterday expressed my wonder that John Hay, one of our guides, who
had been pressed aboard a man of war, did not choose to continue in it
longer than nine months, after which time he got off. JOHNSON. 'Why,
Sir, no man will be a sailor, who has contrivance enough to get himself
into a jail; for, being in a ship is being in a jail, with the chance of
being drowned.'[431]  We had tea in the afternoon, and our landlord's
daughter, a modest civil girl, very neatly drest, made it for us. She
told us, she had been a year at Inverness, and learnt reading and
writing, sewing, knotting[432], working lace, and pastry. Dr. Johnson
made her a present of a book which he had bought at Inverness[433].

The room had some deals laid across the joists, as a kind of ceiling.
There were two beds in the room, and a woman's gown was hung on a rope
to make a curtain of separation between them. Joseph had sheets, which
my wife had sent with us, laid on them. We had much hesitation, whether
to undress, or lie down with our clothes on. I said at last, 'I'll
plunge in! There will be less harbour for vermin about me, when I am
stripped!' Dr. Johnson said, he was like one hesitating whether to go
into the cold bath. At last he resolved too. I observed he might serve a
campaign. JOHNSON. 'I could do all that can be done by patience: whether
I should have strength enough, I know not.' He was in excellent humour.
To see the Rambler as I saw him to-night, was really an amusement. I
yesterday told him, I was thinking of writing a poetical letter to him,
_on his return from Scotland_, in the style of Swift's humorous epistle
in the character of Mary Gulliver to her husband, Captain Lemuel
Gulliver, on his return to England from the country of the HOUYHNHUMS:--

     'At early morn I to the market haste,
      Studious in ev'ry thing to please thy taste.
      A curious _fowl_ and _sparagrass_ I chose;
      (For I remember you were fond of those:)
      Three shillings cost the first, the last sev'n groats;
      Sullen you turn from both, and call for OATS[434]:'

He laughed, and asked in whose name I would write it. I said, in Mrs.
Thrale's. He was angry. 'Sir, if you have any sense of decency or
delicacy, you won't do that!' BOSWELL. 'Then let it be in Cole's, the
landlord of the _Mitre tavern_; where we have so often sat together.'
JOHNSON. 'Ay, that may do.'

After we had offered up our private devotions, and had chatted a little
from our beds, Dr. Johnson said, 'GOD bless us both, for Jesus Christ's
sake! Good night!' I pronounced 'Amen.' He fell asleep immediately. I
was not so fortunate for a long time. I fancied myself bit by
innumerable vermin under the clothes; and that a spider was travelling
from the _wainscot_ towards my mouth. At last I fell into insensibility.


I awaked very early. I began to imagine that the landlord, being about
to emigrate, might murder us to get our money, and lay it upon the
soldiers in the barn. Such groundless fears will arise in the mind,
before it has resumed its vigour after sleep! Dr. Johnson had had the
same kind of ideas; for he told me afterwards, that he considered so
many soldiers, having seen us, would be witnesses, should any harm be
done, and that circumstance, I suppose, he considered as a
security.[435] When I got up, I found him sound asleep in his miserable
_stye_, as I may call it, with a coloured handkerchief tied round his
head. With difficulty could I awaken him. It reminded me of Henry the
Fourth's fine soliloquy on sleep; for there was here as _uneasy a
pallet_[436] as the poet's imagination could possibly conceive.

A _red coat_ of the 15th regiment, whether officer, or only serjeant, I
could not be sure, came to the house, in his way to the mountains to
shoot deer, which it seems the Laird of Glenmorison does not hinder any
body to do. Few, indeed, can do them harm. We had him to breakfast with
us. We got away about eight. M'Queen walked some miles to give us a
convoy. He had, in 1745, joined the Highland army at Fort Augustus, and
continued in it till after the battle of Culloden. As he narrated the
particulars of that ill-advised, but brave attempt, I could not refrain
from tears. There is a certain association of ideas in my mind upon that
subject, by which I am strongly affected. The very Highland names, or
the sound of a bagpipe, will stir my blood, and fill me with a mixture
of melancholy and respect for courage; with pity for an unfortunate and
superstitious regard for antiquity, and thoughtless inclination for war;
in short, with a crowd of sensations with which sober rationality has
nothing to do.

We passed through Glensheal, with prodigious mountains on each side. We
saw where the battle was fought in the year 1719.[437] Dr. Johnson
owned he was now in a scene of as wild nature as he could see; but he
corrected me sometimes in my inaccurate observations. 'There, (said I,)
is a mountain like a cone.' JOHNSON. 'No, Sir. It would be called so in
a book; and when a man comes to look at it, he sees it is not so. It is
indeed pointed at the top; but one side of it is larger than the
other[438].' Another mountain I called immense. JOHNSON. 'No; it is no
more than a considerable protuberance.'

We came to a rich green valley, comparatively speaking, and stopped a
while to let our horses rest and eat grass[439]. We soon afterwards came
to Auchnasheal, a kind of rural village, a number of cottages being
built together, as we saw all along in the Highlands. We passed many
miles this day without seeing a house, but only little summer-huts,
called _shielings_. Evan Campbell, servant to Mr. Murchison, factor to
the Laird of Macleod in Glenelg, ran along with us to-day. He was a
very obliging fellow. At Auchnasheal, we sat down on a green turf seat
at the end of a house; they brought us out two wooden dishes of milk,
which we tasted. One of them was frothed like a syllabub. I saw a woman
preparing it with such a stick as is used for chocolate, and in the same
manner. We had a considerable circle about us, men, women, and children,
all M'Craas, Lord Seaforth's people. Not one of them could speak
English. I observed to Dr. Johnson, it was much the same as being with a
tribe of Indians. JOHNSON. 'Yes, Sir; but not so terrifying[440].' I
gave all who chose it, snuff and tobacco. Governour Trapaud had made us
buy a quantity at Fort Augustus, and put them up in small parcels. I
also gave each person a bit of wheat bread, which they had never tasted
before. I then gave a penny apiece to each child. I told Dr. Johnson of
this; upon which he called to Joseph and our guides, for change for a
shilling, and declared that he would distribute among the children. Upon
this being announced in Erse, there was a great stir; not only did some
children come running down from neighbouring huts, but I observed one
black-haired man, who had been with us all along, had gone off, and
returned, bringing a very young child. My fellow traveller then ordered
the children to be drawn up in a row; and he dealt about his copper, and
made them and their parents all happy. The poor M'Craas, whatever may be
their present state, were of considerable estimation in the year 1715,
when there was a line in a song,

     'And aw the brave M'Craas are coming[441].'

There was great diversity in the faces of the circle around us: some
were as black and wild in their appearance as any American savages
whatever. One woman was as comely almost as the figure of Sappho, as we
see it painted. We asked the old woman, the mistress of the house where
we had the milk, (which by the bye, Dr. Johnson told me, for I did not
observe it myself, was built not of turf, but of stone,) what we should
pay. She said, what we pleased. One of our guides asked her in Erse, if
a shilling was enough. She said, 'yes.' But some of the men bade her ask
more[442]. This vexed me; because it shewed a desire to impose upon
strangers, as they knew that even a shilling was high payment. The
woman, however, honestly persisted in her first price; so I gave her
half a crown. Thus we had one good scene of life uncommon to us. The
people were very much pleased, gave us many blessings, and said they had
not had such a day since the old Laird of Macleod's time.

Dr. Johnson was much refreshed by this repast. He was pleased when I
told him he would make a good Chief. He said, 'Were I a chief, I would
dress my servants better than myself, and knock a fellow down if he
looked saucy to a Macdonald in rags: but I would not treat men as
brutes. I would let them know why all of my clan were to have attention
paid to them. I would tell my upper servants why, and make them tell the
others.'  We rode on well[443], till we came to the high mountain
called the Rattakin, by which time both Dr. Johnson and the horses were
a good deal fatigued. It is a terrible steep to climb, notwithstanding
the road is formed slanting along it; however, we made it out. On the
top of it we met Captain M'Leod of Balmenoch (a Dutch officer who had
come from Sky) riding with his sword slung across him. He asked, 'Is
this Mr. Boswell?' which was a proof that we were expected. Going down
the hill on the other side was no easy task. As Dr. Johnson was a great
weight, the two guides agreed that he should ride the horses
alternately. Hay's were the two best, and the Doctor would not ride but
upon one or other of them, a black or a brown. But as Hay complained
much after ascending the _Rattakin_, the Doctor was prevailed with to
mount one of Vass's greys. As he rode upon it down hill, it did not go
well; and he grumbled. I walked on a little before, but was excessively
entertained with the method taken to keep him in good humour. Hay led
the horse's head, talking to Dr. Johnson as much as he could; and
(having heard him, in the forenoon, express a pastoral pleasure on
seeing the goats browzing) just when the Doctor was uttering his
displeasure, the fellow cried, with a very Highland accent, 'See, such
pretty goats!' Then he whistled, _whu!_ and made them jump. Little did
he conceive what Dr. Johnson was. Here now was a common ignorant
Highland clown, imagining that he could divert, as one does a
child,--_Dr. Samuel Johnson!_ The ludicrousness, absurdity, and
extraordinary contrast between what the fellow fancied, and the reality,
was truly comick.

It grew dusky; and we had a very tedious ride for what was called five
miles; but I am sure would measure ten. We had no conversation. I was
riding forward to the inn at Glenelg, on the shore opposite to Sky, that
I might take proper measures, before Dr. Johnson, who was now advancing
in dreary silence, Hay leading his horse, should arrive. Vass also
walked by the side of his horse, and Joseph followed behind: as
therefore he was thus attended, and seemed to be in deep meditation, I
thought there could be no harm in leaving him for a little while. He
called me back with a tremendous shout, and was really in a passion with
me for leaving him. I told him my intentions, but he was not satisfied,
and said, 'Do you know, I should as soon have thought of picking a
pocket, as doing so?' BOSWELL. 'I am diverted with you, Sir.' JOHNSON.
'Sir, I could never be diverted with incivility. Doing such a thing,
makes one lose confidence in him who has done it, as one cannot tell
what he may do next.' His extraordinary warmth confounded me so much,
that I justified myself but lamely to him; yet my intentions were not
improper. I wished to get on, to see how we were to be lodged, and how
we were to get a boat; all which I thought I could best settle myself,
without his having any trouble. To apply his great mind to minute
particulars, is wrong: it is like taking an immense balance, such as is
kept on quays for weighing cargoes of ships,--to weigh a guinea. I knew
I had neat little scales, which would do better; and that his attention
to every thing which falls in his way, and his uncommon desire to be
always in the right, would make him weigh, if he knew of the
particulars: it was right therefore for me to weigh them, and let him
have them only in effect. I however continued to ride by him, finding he
wished I should do so.

As we passed the barracks at Bernéra, I looked at them wishfully, as
soldiers have always every thing in the best order: but there was only a
serjeant and a few men there. We came on to the inn at Glenelg. There
was no provender for our horses; so they were sent to grass, with a man
to watch them. A maid shewed us up stairs into a room damp and dirty,
with bare walls, a variety of bad smells, a coarse black greasy fir
table, and forms of the same kind; and out of a wretched bed started a
fellow from his sleep, like Edgar in _King Lear_[444], '_Poor Tom's a
cold_[445].'  This inn was furnished with not a single article that we
could either eat or drink[446]; but Mr. Murchison, factor to the Laird
of Macleod in Glenelg, sent us a bottle of rum and some sugar, with a
polite message, to acquaint us, that he was very sorry that he did not
hear of us till we had passed his house, otherwise he should have
insisted on our sleeping there that night; and that, if he were not
obliged to set out for Inverness early next morning, he would have
waited upon us. Such extraordinary attention from this gentleman, to
entire strangers, deserves the most honourable commemoration.

Our bad accommodation here made me uneasy, and almost fretful. Dr.
Johnson was calm. I said, he was so from vanity. JOHNSON. 'No, Sir, it
is from philosophy.' It pleased me to see that the _Rambler_ could
practise so well his own lessons.

I resumed the subject of my leaving him on the road, and endeavoured to
defend it better. He was still violent upon that head, and said, 'Sir,
had you gone on, I was thinking that I should have returned with you to
Edinburgh, and then have parted from you, and never spoken to you more.'

I sent for fresh hay, with which we made beds for ourselves, each in a
room equally miserable. Like Wolfe, we had a 'choice of
difficulties[447]'. Dr. Johnson made things easier by comparison. At
M'Queen's, last night, he observed that few were so well lodged in a
ship. To-night he said, we were better than if we had been upon the
hill. He lay down buttoned up in his great coat. I had my sheets spread
on the hay, and my clothes and great coat laid over me, by way
of blankets.


I had slept ill. Dr. Johnson's anger had affected me much. I considered
that, without any bad intention, I might suddenly forfeit his
friendship; and was impatient to see him this morning. I told him how
uneasy he had made me, by what he had said, and reminded him of his own
remark at Aberdeen, upon old friendships being hastily broken off. He
owned he had spoken to me in passion; that he would not have done what
he threatened; and that, if he had, he should have been ten times worse
than I; that forming intimacies, would indeed be 'limning the
water[448],' were they liable to such sudden dissolution; and he added,
'Let's think no more on't.' BOSWELL. 'Well then, Sir, I shall be easy.
Remember, I am to have fair warning in case of any quarrel. You are
never to spring a mine upon me. It was absurd in me to believe you.'
JOHNSON. 'You deserved about as much, as to believe me from night
to morning.'

After breakfast, we got into a boat for Sky. It rained much when we set
off, but cleared up as we advanced. One of the boatmen, who spoke
English, said, that a mile at land was two miles at sea. I then
observed, that from Glenelg to Armidale in Sky, which was our present
course, and is called twelve, was only six miles: but this he could not
understand. 'Well, (said Dr. Johnson,) never talk to me of the native
good sense of the Highlanders. Here is a fellow who calls one mile two,
and yet cannot comprehend that twelve such imaginary miles make in
truth but six.'

We reached the shore of Armidale before one o'clock. Sir Alexander
M'Donald came down to receive us. He and his lady, (formerly Miss
Bosville of Yorkshire[449],) were then in a house built by a tenant at
this place, which is in the district of Slate, the family mansion here
having been burned in Sir Donald Macdonald's time.  The most ancient
seat of the chief of the Macdonalds in the isle of Sky was at Duntulm,
where there are the remains of a stately castle. The principal residence
of the family is now at Mugstot, at which there is a considerable
building. Sir Alexander and Lady Macdonald had come to Armidale in their
way to Edinburgh, where it was necessary for them to be soon after this
time.  Armidale is situated on a pretty bay of the narrow sea, which
flows between the main land of Scotland and the Isle of Sky. In front
there is a grand prospect of the rude mountains of Moidart and
Knoidart[451]. Behind are hills gently rising and covered with a finer
verdure than I expected to see in this climate, and the scene is
enlivened by a number of little clear brooks.

Sir Alexander Macdonald having been an Eton scholar[452], and being a
gentleman of talents, Dr. Johnson had been very well pleased with him in
London[453]. But my fellow-traveller and I were now full of the old
Highland spirit, and were dissatisfied at hearing of racked rents and
emigration, and finding a chief not surrounded by his clan. Dr. Johnson
said, 'Sir, the Highland chiefs should not be allowed to go farther
south than Aberdeen. A strong-minded man, like Sir James Macdonald[454],
may be improved by an English education; but in general, they will be
tamed into insignificance.'

We found here Mr. Janes of Aberdeenshire, a naturalist. Janes said he
had been at Dr. Johnson's in London, with Ferguson the astronomer[455].
JOHNSON. 'It is strange that, in such distant places, I should meet with
any one who knows me. I should have thought I might hide myself in Sky.'


This day proving wet, we should have passed our time very uncomfortably,
had we not found in the house two chests of books, which we eagerly
ransacked. After dinner, when I alone was left at table with the few
Highland gentlemen who were of the company, having talked with very high
respect of Sir James Macdonald, they were all so much affected as to
shed tears. One of them was Mr. Donald Macdonald, who had been
lieutenant of grenadiers in the Highland regiment, raised by Colonel
Montgomery, now Earl of Eglintoune, in the war before last; one of those
regiments which the late Lord Chatham prided himself in having brought
from 'the mountains of the North[456]:' by doing which he contributed to
extinguish in the Highlands the remains of disaffection to the present
Royal Family. From this gentleman's conversation, I first learnt how
very popular his Colonel was among the Highlanders; of which I had such
continued proofs, during the whole course of my Tour, that on my return
I could not help telling the noble Earl himself, that I did not before
know how great a man he was.

We were advised by some persons here to visit Rasay, in our way to
Dunvegan, the seat of the Laird of Macleod. Being informed that the Rev.
Mr. Donald M'Queen was the most intelligent man in Sky, and having been
favoured with a letter of introduction to him, by the learned Sir James
Foulis, I sent it to him by an express, and requested he would meet us
at Rasay; and at the same time enclosed a letter to the Laird of
Macleod, informing him that we intended in a few days to have the honour
of waiting on him at Dunvegan.

Dr. Johnson this day endeavoured to obtain some knowledge of the state
of the country; but complained that he could get no distinct information
about any thing, from those with whom he conversed[457].


My endeavours to rouse the English-bred Chieftain[458], in whose house
we were, to the feudal and patriarchal feelings, proving ineffectual,
Dr. Johnson this morning tried to bring him to our way of thinking.
JOHNSON. 'Were I in your place, Sir, in seven years I would make this an
independant island. I would roast oxen whole, and hang out a flag as a
signal to the Macdonalds to come and get beef and whiskey.' Sir
Alexander was still starting difficulties. JOHNSON. 'Nay, Sir; if you
are born to object, I have done with you. Sir, I would have a magazine
of arms.' SIR ALEXANDER. 'They would rust.' JOHNSON. 'Let there be men
to keep them clean. Your ancestors did not use to let their arms

We attempted in vain to communicate to him a portion of our enthusiasm.
He bore with so polite a good nature our warm, and what some might call
Gothick, expostulations, on this subject, that I should not forgive
myself, were I to record all that Dr. Johnson's ardour led him to
say.--This day was little better than a blank.


I walked to the parish church of Slate, which is a very poor one. There
are no church bells in the island. I was told there were once some; what
has become of them, I could not learn. The minister not being at home,
there was no service. I went into the church, and saw the monument of
Sir James Macdonald, which was elegantly executed at Rome, and has the
following inscription, written by his friend, George Lord Lyttelton:--

     To the memory
     Who in the flower of youth
     Had attained to so eminent a degree of knowledge,
     In Mathematics, Philosophy, Languages,
     And in every other branch of useful and polite learning
     As few have acquired in a long life
     Wholly devoted to study:
     Yet to this erudition he joined
     What can rarely be found with it,
     Great talents for business,
     Great propriety of behaviour,
     Great politeness of manners!
     His eloquence was sweet, correct, and flowing;
     His memory vast and exact;
     His judgement strong and acute;
     All which endowments, united
     With the most amiable temper
     And every private virtue,
     Procured him, not only in his own country,
     But also from foreign nations[460],
     The highest marks of esteem.
     In the year of our Lord 1766,
     The 25th of his life,
     After a long and extremely painful illness,
     Which he supported with admirable patience and fortitude,
     He died at Rome,
     Where, notwithstanding the difference of religion,
     Such extraordinary honours were paid to his memory,
     As had never graced that of any other British Subject,
     Since the death of Sir Philip Sidney.
     The fame he left behind him is the best consolation
     To his afflicted family,
     And to his countrymen in this isle,
     For whose benefit he had planned
     Many useful improvements,
     Which his fruitful genius suggested,
     And his active spirit promoted,
     Under the sober direction
     Of a clear and enlightened understanding.
     Reader, bewail our loss,
     And that of all Britain.
     In testimony of her love,
     And as the best return she can make
     To her departed son,
     For the constant tenderness and affection
     Which, even to his last moments,
     He shewed for her,
     His much afflicted mother,
     Daughter to the EARL of EGLINTOUNE,
     Erected this Monument,
     A.D. 1768[461]'

Dr. Johnson said, the inscription should have been in Latin, as every
thing intended to be universal and permanent should be[462].

This being a beautiful day, my spirits were cheered by the mere effect
of climate. I had felt a return of spleen during my stay at Armidale,
and had it not been that I had Dr. Johnson to contemplate, I should have
sunk into dejection; but his firmness supported me. I looked at him, as
a man whose head is turning giddy at sea looks at a rock, or any fixed
object. I wondered at his tranquillity. He said, 'Sir, when a man
retires into an island, he is to turn his thoughts entirely to another
world. He has done with this.' BOSWELL. 'It appears to me, Sir, to be
very difficult to unite a due attention to this world, and that which is
to come; for, if we engage eagerly in the affairs of life, we are apt to
be totally forgetful of a future state; and, on the other hand, a steady
contemplation of the awful concerns of eternity renders all objects here
so insignificant, as to make us indifferent and negligent about them.'
JOHNSON. 'Sir, Dr. Cheyne has laid down a rule to himself on this
subject, which should be imprinted on every mind:--"_To neglect nothing
to secure my eternal peace, more than if I had been certified I should
die within the day: nor to mind any thing that my secular obligations
and duties demanded of me, less than if I had been ensured to live fifty
years more[463]_."'

I must here observe, that though Dr. Johnson appeared now to be
philosophically calm, yet his genius did not shine forth as in
companies, where I have listened to him with admiration. The vigour of
his mind was, however, sufficiently manifested, by his discovering no
symptoms of feeble relaxation in the dull, 'weary, flat and
unprofitable[464]' state in which we now were placed.

I am inclined to think that it was on this day he composed the following
Ode upon the _Isle of Sky_, which a few days afterwards he shewed me
at Rasay:--


     Ponti profundis clausa recessibus,
     Strepens procellis, rupibus obsita,
     Quam grata defesso virentem
     Skia sinum nebulosa pandis.

     His cura, credo, sedibus exulat;
     His blanda certe pax habitat locis:
     Non ira, non moeror quietis
     Insidias meditatur horis.

     At non cavata rupe latescere,
     Menti nec aegrae montibus aviis
     Prodest vagari, nec frementes
     E scopulo numerare fluctus.

     Humana virtus non sibi sufficit,
     Datur nec aequum cuique animum sibi
     Parare posse, ut Stoicorum
     Secta crepet nimis alta fallax.

     Exaestuantis pectoris impetum,
     Rex summe, solus tu regis arbiter,
     Mentisque, te tollente, surgunt,
     Te recidunt moderante fluctus[465].

After supper, Dr. Johnson told us, that Isaac Hawkins Browne drank
freely for thirty years, and that he wrote his poem, _De Animi
Immortalitate_, in some of the last of these years[466]. I listened to
this with the eagerness of one who, conscious of being himself fond of
wine, is glad to hear that a man of so much genius and good thinking as
Browne had the same propensity[467].


We set out, accompanied by Mr. Donald M'Leod, (late of Canna) as our
guide. We rode for some time along the district of Slate, near the
shore. The houses in general are made of turf, covered with grass. The
country seemed well peopled. We came into the district of Strath, and
passed along a wild moorish tract of land till we arrived at the shore.
There we found good verdure, and some curious whin-rocks, or collections
of stones like the ruins of the foundations of old buildings. We saw
also three Cairns of considerable size.

About a mile beyond Broadfoot, is Corrichatachin, a farm of Sir
Alexander Macdonald's, possessed by Mr. M'Kinnon[468], who received us
with a hearty welcome, as did his wife, who was what we call in Scotland
a _lady-like_ woman. Mr. Pennant in the course of his tour to the
Hebrides, passed two nights at this gentleman's house. On its being
mentioned, that a present had here been made to him of a curious
specimen of Highland antiquity, Dr. Johnson said, 'Sir, it was more than
he deserved; the dog is a Whig[469].'

We here enjoyed the comfort of a table plentifully furnished[470], the
satisfaction of which was heightened by a numerous and cheerful company;
and we for the first time had a specimen of the joyous social manners of
the inhabitants of the Highlands. They talked in their own ancient
language, with fluent vivacity, and sung many Erse songs with such
spirit, that, though Dr. Johnson was treated with the greatest respect
and attention, there were moments in which he seemed to be forgotten.
For myself, though but a _Lowlander_, having picked up a few words of
the language, I presumed to mingle in their mirth, and joined in the
choruses with as much glee as any of the company. Dr. Johnson being
fatigued with his journey, retired early to his chamber, where he
composed the following Ode, addressed to Mrs. Thrale[471]:--


     Permeo terras, ubi nuda rupes
     Saxeas miscet nebulis ruinas,
     Torva ubi rident steriles coloni
     Rura labores.

     Pervagor gentes, hominum ferorum
     Vita ubi nullo decorata cultu
     Squallet informis, tugurique fumis
     Foeda latescit.

     Inter erroris salebrosa longi,
     Inter ignotae strepitus loquelae,
     Quot modis mecum, quid agat, requiro,
     Thralia dulcis?

     Seu viri curas pia nupta mulcet,
     Seu fovet mater sobolem benigna,
     Sive cum libris novitate pascet
     Sedula mentem;

     Sit memor nostri, fideique merces,
     Stet fides constans, meritoque blandum
     Thraliae discant resonare nomen
     Littora Skiae.

Scriptum in Skiá, Sept. 6, 1773[472].


Dr. Johnson was much pleased with his entertainment here. There were
many good books in the house: _Hector Boethius_ in Latin; Cave's _Lives
of the Fathers_; Baker's _Chronicle_; Jeremy Collier's _Church History_;
Dr. Johnson's small _Dictionary_; Craufurd's _Officers of State_, and
several more[473]:--a mezzotinto of Mrs. Brooks the actress (by some
strange chance in Sky[474]), and also a print of Macdonald of
Clanranald[475], with a Latin inscription about the cruelties after the
battle of Culloden, which will never be forgotten.

It was a very wet stormy day; we were therefore obliged to remain here,
it being impossible to cross the sea to Rasay.

I employed a part of the forenoon in writing this Journal. The rest of
it was somewhat dreary, from the gloominess of the weather, and the
uncertain state which we were in, as we could not tell but it might
clear up every hour. Nothing is more painful to the mind than a state of
suspence, especially when it depends upon the weather, concerning which
there can be so little calculation. As Dr. Johnson said of our weariness
on the Monday at Aberdeen, 'Sensation is sensation[476]:'
Corrichatachin, which was last night a hospitable house, was, in my
mind, changed to-day into a prison. After dinner I read some of Dr.
Macpherson's _Dissertations on the Ancient Caledonians_[477]. I was
disgusted by the unsatisfactory conjectures as to antiquity, before the
days of record. I was happy when tea came. Such, I take it, is the state
of those who live in the country. Meals are wished for from the cravings
of vacuity of mind, as well as from the desire of eating. I was hurt to
find even such a temporary feebleness, and that I was so far from being
that robust wise man who is sufficient for his own happiness. I felt a
kind of lethargy of indolence. I did not exert myself to get Dr. Johnson
to talk, that I might not have the labour of writing down his
conversation. He enquired here if there were any remains of the second
sight[478]. Mr. M'Pherson, Minister of Slate, said, he was _resolved_
not to believe it, because it was founded on no principle[479]. JOHNSON.
'There are many things then, which we are sure are true, that you will
not believe. What principle is there, why a loadstone attracts iron? why
an egg produces a chicken by heat? why a tree grows upwards, when the
natural tendency of all things is downwards? Sir, it depends upon the
degree of evidence that you have.' Young Mr. M'Kinnon mentioned one
M'Kenzie, who is still alive, who had often fainted in his presence, and
when he recovered, mentioned visions which had been presented to him. He
told Mr. M'Kinnon, that at such a place he should meet a funeral, and
that such and such people would be the bearers, naming four; and three
weeks afterwards he saw what M'Kenzie had predicted. The naming the very
spot in a country where a funeral comes a long way, and the very people
as bearers, when there are so many out of whom a choice may be made,
seems extraordinary. We should have sent for M'Kenzie, had we not been
informed that he could speak no English. Besides, the facts were not
related with sufficient accuracy.

Mrs. M'Kinnon, who is a daughter of old Kingsburgh, told us that her
father was one day riding in Sky, and some women, who were at work in a
field on the side of the road, said to him they had heard two _taiscks_,
(that is, two voices of persons about to die[480],) and what was
remarkable, one of them was an _English taisck_, which they never heard
before. When he returned, he at that very place met two funerals, and
one of them was that of a woman who had come from the main land, and
could speak only English. This, she remarked, made a great impression
upon her father.

How all the people here were lodged, I know not. It was partly done by
separating man and wife, and putting a number of men in one room, and of
women in another.


When I waked, the rain was much heavier than yesterday; but the wind had
abated. By breakfast, the day was better, and in a little while it was
calm and clear. I felt my spirits much elated. The propriety of the
expression, '_the sunshine of the breast_[481],' now struck me with
peculiar force; for the brilliant rays penetrated into my very soul. We
were all in better humour than before. Mrs. M'Kinnon, with unaffected
hospitality and politeness, expressed her happiness in having such
company in her house, and appeared to understand and relish Dr.
Johnson's conversation, as indeed all the company seemed to do. When I
knew she was old Kingsburgh's daughter, I did not wonder at the good
appearance which she made.

She talked as if her husband and family would emigrate, rather than be
oppressed by their landlord; and said, 'how agreeable would it be, if
these gentlemen should come in upon us when we are in America.' Somebody
observed that Sir Alexander Macdonald was always frightened at sea.
JOHNSON. '_He_ is frightened at sea; and his tenants are frightened when
he comes to land.'

We resolved to set out directly after breakfast. We had about two miles
to ride to the sea-side, and there we expected to get one of the boats
belonging to the fleet of bounty[482] herring-busses then on the coast,
or at least a good country fishing-boat. But while we were preparing to
set out, there arrived a man with the following card from the Reverend
Mr. Donald M'Queen:--

'Mr. M'Queen's compliments to Mr. Boswell, and begs leave to acquaint
him that, fearing the want of a proper boat, as much as the rain of
yesterday, might have caused a stop, he is now at Skianwden with
Macgillichallum's[483] carriage, to convey him and Dr. Johnson to Rasay,
where they will meet with a most hearty welcome, and where. Macleod,
being on a visit, now attends their motions.' 'Wednesday afternoon.'

This card was most agreeable; it was a prologue to that hospitable and
truly polite reception which we found at Rasay. In a little while
arrived Mr. Donald M'Queen himself; a decent minister, an elderly man
with his own black hair, courteous, and rather slow of speech, but
candid, sensible, and well informed, nay learned. Along with him came,
as our pilot, a gentleman whom I had a great desire to see, Mr. Malcolm
Macleod, one of the Rasay family, celebrated in the year 1745-6. He was
now sixty-two years of age, hale, and well proportioned,--with a manly
countenance, tanned by the weather, yet having a ruddiness in his
cheeks, over a great part of which his rough beard extended. His eye was
quick and lively, yet his look was not fierce, but he appeared at once
firm and good-humoured. He wore a pair of brogues[484],--Tartan hose
which came up only near to his knees, and left them bare,--a purple
camblet kilt[485],--a black waistcoat,--a short green cloth coat bound
with gold cord,--a yellowish bushy wig,--a large blue bonnet with a gold
thread button. I never saw a figure that gave a more perfect
representation of a Highland gentleman. I wished much to have a picture
of him just as he was. I found him frank and _polite_, in the true sense
of the word.

The good family at Corrichatachin said, they hoped to see us on our
return. We rode down to the shore; but Malcolm walked with
graceful agility.

We got into Rasay's _carriage_, which was a good strong open boat made
in Norway. The wind had now risen pretty high, and was against us; but
we had four stout rowers, particularly a Macleod, a robust black-haired
fellow, half naked, and bare-headed, something between a wild Indian and
an English tar. Dr. Johnson sat high, on the stern, like a magnificent
Triton. Malcolm sung an Erse song, the chorus of which was '_Hatyin foam
foam eri_', with words of his own[486]. The tune resembled '_Owr the
muir amang the heather_'. The boatmen and Mr. M'Queen chorused, and all
went well. At length Malcolm himself took an oar, and rowed vigorously.
We sailed along the coast of Scalpa, a rugged island, about four miles
in length. Dr. Johnson proposed that he and I should buy it, and found a
good school, and an episcopal church, (Malcolm[487] said, he would come
to it,) and have a printing-press, where he would print all the Erse
that could be found.  Here I was strongly struck with our long
projected scheme of visiting the Hebrides being realized[488]. I called
to him, 'We are contending with seas;' which I think were the words of
one of his letters to me[489]. 'Not much,' said he; and though the wind
made the sea lash considerably upon us, he was not discomposed. After we
were out of the shelter of Scalpa, and in the sound between it and
Rasay, which extended about a league, the wind made the sea very
rough[490]. I did not like it. JOHNSON. 'This now is the Atlantick. If I
should tell at a tea table in London, that I have crossed the Atlantick
in an open boat, how they'd shudder, and what a fool they'd think me to
expose myself to such danger?' He then repeated Horace's ode,--

     'Otium Divos rogat in patenti
      Prensus Aegaeo----[491]'

In the confusion and hurry of this boisterous sail, Dr. Johnson's spurs,
of which Joseph had charge, were carried over-board into the sea, and
lost[492]. This was the first misfortune that had befallen us. Dr.
Johnson was a little angry at first, observing that 'there was something
wild in letting a pair of spurs be carried into the sea out of a boat;'
but then he remarked, 'that, as Janes the naturalist had said upon
losing his pocket-book, it was rather an inconvenience than a loss.' He
told us, he now recollected that he dreamt the night before, that he put
his staff into a river, and chanced to let it go, and it was carried
down the stream and lost. 'So now you see, (said he,) that I have lost
my spurs; and this story is better than many of those which we have
concerning second sight and dreams.' Mr. M'Queen said he did not believe
the second sight; that he never met with any well attested instances;
and if he should, he should impute them to chance; because all who
pretend to that quality often fail in their predictions, though they
take a great scope, and sometimes interpret literally, sometimes
figuratively, so as to suit the events. He told us, that, since he came
to be minister of the parish where he now is, the belief of witchcraft,
or charms, was very common, insomuch that he had many prosecutions
before his _session_ (the parochial ecclesiastical court) against women,
for having by these means carried off the milk from people's cows. He
disregarded them; and there is not now the least vestige of that
superstition. He preached against it; and in order to give a strong
proof to the people that there was nothing in it, he said from the
pulpit that every woman in the parish was welcome to take the milk from
his cows, provided she did not touch them[493].

Dr. Johnson asked him as to _Fingal_. He said he could repeat some
passages in the original, that he heard his grandfather had a copy of
it; but that he could not affirm that Ossian composed all that poem as
it is now published. This came pretty much to what Dr. Johnson had
maintained[494]; though he goes farther, and contends that it is no
better than such an epick poem as he could make from the song of Robin
Hood[495]; that is to say, that, except a few passages, there is nothing
truly ancient but the names and some vague traditions. Mr. M'Queen
alleged that Homer was made up of detached fragments. Dr. Johnson denied
this; observing, that it had been one work originally, and that you
could not put a book of the _Iliad_ out of its place; and he believed
the same might be said of the _Odyssey_.

The approach to Rasay was very pleasing. We saw before us a beautiful
bay, well defended by a rocky coast; a good family mansion; a fine
verdure about it,--with a considerable number of trees;--and beyond it
hills and mountains in gradation of wildness. Our boatmen sung with
great spirit. Dr. Johnson observed, that naval musick was very ancient.
As we came near the shore, the singing of our rowers was succeeded by
that of reapers, who were busy at work, and who seemed to shout as much
as to sing, while they worked with a bounding activity[496]. Just as we
landed, I observed a cross, or rather the ruins of one, upon a rock,
which had to me a pleasing vestige of religion. I perceived a large
company coming out from the house. We met them as we walked up. There
were Rasay himself; his brother Dr. Macleod; his nephew the Laird of
M'Kinnon; the Laird of Macleod; Colonel Macleod of Talisker, an officer
in the Dutch service, a very genteel man, and a faithful branch of the
family; Mr. Macleod of Muiravenside, best known by the name of Sandie
Macleod, who was long in exile on account of the part which he took in
1745; and several other persons. We were welcomed upon the green, and
conducted into the house, where we were introduced to Lady Rasay, who
was surrounded by a numerous family, consisting of three sons and ten
daughters. The Laird of Rasay is a sensible, polite, and most hospitable
gentleman. I was told that his island of Rasay, and that of Rona, (from
which the eldest son of the family has his title,) and a considerable
extent of land which he has in Sky, do not altogether yield him a very
large revenue[497]: and yet he lives in great splendour; and so far is
he from distressing his people, that, in the present rage for
emigration, not a man has left his estate.  It was past six o'clock
when we arrived. Some excellent brandy was served round immediately,
according to the custom of the Highlands, where a dram is generally
taken every day. They call it a _scalch_[498]. On a side-board was
placed for us, who had come off the sea, a substantial dinner, and a
variety of wines. Then we had coffee and tea. I observed in the room
several elegantly bound books, and other marks of improved life. Soon
afterwards a fidler appeared, and a little ball began. Rasay himself
danced with as much spirit as any man, and Malcolm bounded like a roe.
Sandie Macleod, who has at times an excessive flow of spirits, and had
it now, was, in his days of absconding, known by the name of
_M'Cruslick_[499], which it seems was the designation of a kind of
wild man in the Highlands, something between Proteus and Don Quixote;
and so he was called here. He made much jovial noise. Dr. Johnson was so
delighted with this scene, that he said, 'I know not how we shall get
away.' It entertained me to observe him sitting by, while we danced,
sometimes in deep meditation,--sometimes smiling complacently,--sometimes
looking upon Hooke's _Roman History_,--and sometimes talking a
little, amidst the noise of the ball, to Mr. Donald M'Queen, who
anxiously gathered knowledge from him. He was pleased with M'Queen, and
said to me, 'This is a critical man, Sir. There must be great vigour of
mind to make him cultivate learning so much in the isle of Sky, where
he might do without it. It is wonderful how many of the new publications
he has. There must be a snatch of every opportunity.' Mr. M'Queen told
me that his brother (who is the fourth generation of the family
following each other as ministers of the parish of Snizort,) and he
joined together, and bought from time to time such books as had
reputation. Soon after we came in, a black cock and grey hen, which had
been shot, were shewn, with their feathers on, to Dr. Johnson, who had
never seen that species of bird before. We had a company of thirty at
supper; and all was good humour and gaiety, without intemperance.


At breakfast this morning, among a profusion of other things, there were
oat-cakes, made of what is called _graddaned_ meal, that is, meal made
of grain separated from the husks, and toasted by fire, instead of being
threshed and kiln-dried. This seems to be bad management, as so much
fodder is consumed by it. Mr. M'Queen however defended it, by saying,
that it is doing the thing much quicker, as one operation effects what
is otherwise done by two. His chief reason however was, that the
servants in Sky are, according to him, a faithless pack, and steal what
they can; so that much is saved by the corn passing but once through
their hands, as at each time they pilfer some. It appears to me, that
the gradaning is a strong proof of the laziness of the Highlanders, who
will rather make fire act for them, at the expence of fodder, than
labour themselves. There was also, what I cannot help disliking at
breakfast, cheese: it is the custom over all the Highlands to have it;
and it often smells very strong, and poisons to a certain degree the
elegance of an Indian repast[500]. The day was showery; however, Rasay
and I took a walk, and had some cordial conversation. I conceived a more
than ordinary regard for this worthy gentleman. His family has possessed
this island above four hundred years[501]. It is the remains of the
estate of Macleod of Lewis, whom he represents. When we returned, Dr.
Johnson walked with us to see the old chapel. He was in fine spirits. He
said,' This is truly the patriarchal life: this is what we came to
find.'  After dinner, M'Cruslick, Malcolm, and I, went out with guns,
to try if we could find any black-cock; but we had no sport, owing to a
heavy rain. I saw here what is called a Danish fort. Our evening was
passed as last night was. One of our company, I was told, had hurt
himself by too much study, particularly of infidel metaphysicians; of
which he gave a proof, on second sight being mentioned. He immediately
retailed some of the fallacious arguments of Voltaire and Hume against
miracles in general. Infidelity in a Highland gentleman appeared to me
peculiarly offensive. I was sorry for him, as he had otherwise a good
character. I told Dr. Johnson that he had studied himself into
infidelity. JOHNSON. 'Then he must study himself out of it again. That
is the way. Drinking largely will sober him again.'


Having resolved to explore the Island of Rasay, which could be done only
on foot, I last night obtained my fellow-traveller's permission to leave
him for a day, he being unable to take so hardy a walk. Old Mr. Malcolm
M'Cleod, who had obligingly promised to accompany me, was at my bed-side
between five and six. I sprang up immediately, and he and I, attended by
two other gentlemen, traversed the country during the whole of this day.
Though we had passed over not less than four-and-twenty miles of very
rugged ground, and had a Highland dance on the top of _Dun Can_, the
highest mountain in the island, we returned in the evening not at all
fatigued, and piqued ourselves at not being outdone at the nightly ball
by our less active friends, who had remained at home.

My survey of Rasay did not furnish much which can interest my readers; I
shall therefore put into as short a compass as I can, the observations
upon it, which I find registered in my journal. It is about fifteen
English miles long, and four broad. On the south side is the laird's
family seat, situated on a pleasing low spot. The old tower of three
stories, mentioned by Martin, was taken down soon after 1746, and a
modern house supplies its place. There are very good grass-fields and
corn-lands about it, well-dressed. I observed, however, hardly any
inclosures, except a good garden plentifully stocked with vegetables,
and strawberries, raspberries, currants, &c.

On one of the rocks just where we landed, which are not high, there is
rudely carved a square, with a crucifix in the middle. Here, it is said,
the Lairds of Rasay, in old times, used to offer up their devotions. I
could not approach the spot, without a grateful recollection of the
event commemorated by this symbol.

A little from the shore, westward, is a kind of subterraneous house.
There has been a natural fissure, or separation of the rock, running
towards the sea, which has been roofed over with long stones, and above
them turf has been laid. In that place the inhabitants used to keep
their oars. There are a number of trees near the house, which grow well;
some of them of a pretty good size. They are mostly plane and ash. A
little to the west of the house is an old ruinous chapel, unroofed,
which never has been very curious. We here saw some human bones of an
uncommon size. There was a heel-bone, in particular, which Dr. Macleod
said was such, that if the foot was in proportion, it must have been
twenty-seven inches long. Dr. Johnson would not look at the bones. He
started back from them with a striking appearance of horrour[502]. Mr.
M'Queen told us it was formerly much the custom, in these isles, to have
human bones lying above ground, especially in the windows of churches.
On the south of the chapel is the family burying-place. Above the door,
on the east end of it, is a small bust or image of the Virgin Mary,
carved upon a stone which makes part of the wall. There is no church
upon the island. It is annexed to one of the parishes of Sky; and the
minister comes and preaches either in Rasay's house, or some other
house, on certain Sundays. I could not but value the family seat more,
for having even the ruins of a chapel close to it. There was something
comfortable in the thought of being so near a piece of consecrated
ground.[503] Dr. Johnson said, 'I look with reverence upon every place
that has been set apart for religion;' and he kept off his hat while he
was within the walls of the chapel[504].

The eight crosses, which Martin mentions as pyramids for deceased
ladies, stood in a semicircular line, which contained within it the
chapel. They marked out the boundaries of the sacred territory within
which an asylum was to be had. One of them, which we observed upon our
landing, made the first point of the semicircle. There are few of them
now remaining. A good way farther north, there is a row of buildings
about four feet high; they run from the shore on the east along the top
of a pretty high eminence, and so down to the shore on the west, in much
the same direction with the crosses. Rasay took them to be the marks for
the asylum; but Malcolm thought them to be false sentinels, a common
deception, of which instances occur in Martin, to make invaders imagine
an island better guarded. Mr. Donald M'Queen, justly in my opinion,
supposed the crosses which form the inner circle to be the church's

The south end of the island is much covered with large stones or rocky
strata. The laird has enclosed and planted part of it with firs, and he
shewed me a considerable space marked out for additional plantations.

_Dun Can_ is a mountain three computed miles from the laird's house. The
ascent to it is by consecutive risings, if that expression may be used
when vallies intervene, so that there is but a short rise at once; but
it is certainly very high above the sea. The palm of altitude is
disputed for by the people of Rasay and those of Sky; the former
contending for Dun Can, the latter for the mountains in Sky, over
against it. We went up the east side of Dun Can pretty easily. It is
mostly rocks all around, the points of which hem the summit of it.
Sailors, to whom it was a good object as they pass along, call it
Rasay's cap. Before we reached this mountain, we passed by two lakes. Of
the first, Malcolm told me a strange fabulous tradition. He said, there
was a wild beast in it, a sea horse, which came and devoured a man's
daughter; upon which the man lighted a great fire, and had a sow roasted
at it, the smell of which attracted the monster. In the fire was put a
spit. The man lay concealed behind a low wall of loose stones, and he
had an avenue formed for the monster, with two rows of large flat
stones, which extended from the fire over the summit of the hill, till
it reached the side of the loch. The monster came, and the man with the
red-hot spit destroyed it. Malcolm shewed me the little hiding-place,
and the rows of stones. He did not laugh when he told this story. I
recollect having seen in the _Scots Magazine_, several years ago, a poem
upon a similar tale, perhaps the same, translated from the Erse, or
Irish, called _Albin and the Daughter of Mey_.

There is a large tract of land, possessed as a common, in Rasay. They
have no regulations as to the number of cattle. Every man puts upon it
as many as he chooses. From Dun Can northward, till you reach the other
end of the island, there is much good natural pasture unincumbered by
stones. We passed over a spot, which is appropriated for the exercising
ground. In 1745, a hundred fighting men were reviewed here, as Malcolm
told me, who was one of the officers that led them to the field[505].
They returned home all but about fourteen. What a princely thing is it
to be able to furnish such a band! Rasay has the true spirit of a chief.
He is, without exaggeration, a father to his people.

There is plenty of lime-stone in the island, a great quarry of
free-stone, and some natural woods, but none of any age, as they cut the
trees for common country uses. The lakes, of which there are many, are
well stocked with trout. Malcolm catched one of four-and-twenty pounds
weight in the loch next to Dun Can, which, by the way, is certainly a
Danish name, as most names of places in these islands are.

The old castle, in which the family of Rasay formerly resided, is
situated upon a rock very near the sea. The rock is not one mass of
stone, but a concretion of pebbles and earth, so firm that it does not
appear to have mouldered. In this remnant of antiquity I found nothing
worthy of being noticed, except a certain accommodation rarely to be
found at the modern houses of Scotland, and which Dr. Johnson and I
sought for in vain at the Laird of Rasay's new built mansion, where
nothing else was wanting. I took the liberty to tell the Laird it was a
shame there should be such a deficiency in civilized times. He
acknowledged the justice of the remark. But perhaps some generations may
pass before the want is supplied. Dr. Johnson observed to me, how
quietly people will endure an evil, which they might at any time very
easily remedy; and mentioned as an instance, that the present family of
Rasay had possessed the island for more than four hundred years, and
never made a commodious landing place, though a few men with pickaxes
might have cut an ascent of stairs out of any part of the rock in a
week's time[506].

The north end of Rasay is as rocky as the south end. From it I saw the
little isle of Fladda, belonging to Rasay, all fine green ground;--and
Rona, which is of so rocky a soil that it appears to be a pavement. I
was told however that it has a great deal of grass in the interstices.
The Laird has it all in his own hands. At this end of the island of
Rasay is a cave in a striking situation. It is in a recess of a great
cleft, a good way up from the sea. Before it the ocean roars, being
dashed against monstrous broken rocks; grand and aweful _propugnacula_.
On the right hand of it is a longitudinal cave, very low at the
entrance, but higher as you advance. The sea having scooped it out, it
seems strange and unaccountable that the interior part, where the water
must have operated with less force, should be loftier than that which is
more immediately exposed to its violence. The roof of it is all covered
with a kind of petrifications formed by drops, which perpetually distil
from it. The first cave has been a place of much safety. I find a great
difficulty in describing visible objects[507]. I must own too that the
old castle and cave, like many other things of which one hears much, did
not answer my expectations. People are every where apt to magnify the
curiosities of their country.

This island has abundance of black cattle, sheep, and goats;--a good
many horses, which are used for ploughing, carrying out dung, and other
works of husbandry. I believe the people never ride. There are indeed no
roads through the island, unless a few detached beaten tracks deserve
that name. Most of the houses are upon the shore; so that all the people
have little boats, and catch fish. There is great plenty of potatoes
here. There are black-cock in extraordinary abundance, moorfowl, plover
and wild pigeons, which seemed to me to be the same as we have in
pigeon-houses, in their state of nature. Rasay has no pigeon-house.
There are no hares nor rabbits in the island, nor was there ever known
to be a fox[508], till last year, when one was landed on it by some
malicious person, without whose aid he could not have got thither, as
that animal is known to be a very bad swimmer. He has done much
mischief. There is a great deal of fish caught in the sea round Rasay;
it is a place where one may live in plenty, and even in luxury. There
are no deer; but Rasay told us he would get some.

They reckon it rains nine months in the year in this island, owing to
its being directly opposite to the western[509] coast of Sky, where the
watery clouds are broken by high mountains. The hills here, and indeed
all the heathy grounds in general, abound with the sweet-smelling plant
which the Highlanders call _gaul_, and (I think) with dwarf juniper in
many places. There is enough of turf, which is their fuel, and it is
thought there is a mine of coal.--Such are the observations which I made
upon the island of Rasay, upon comparing it with the description given
by Martin, whose book we had with us.

There has been an ancient league between the families of Macdonald and
Rasay. Whenever the head of either family dies, his sword is given to
the head of the other. The present Rasay has the late Sir James
Macdonald's sword. Old Rasay joined the Highland army in 1745, but
prudently guarded against a forfeiture, by previously conveying his
estate to the present gentleman, his eldest son[510]. On that occasion,
Sir Alexander, father of the late Sir James Macdonald, was very friendly
to his neighbour. 'Don't be afraid, Rasay,' said he; 'I'll use all my
interest to keep you safe; and if your estate should be taken, I'll buy
it for the family.'--And he would have done it.

Let me now gather some gold dust,--some more fragments of Dr. Johnson's
conversation, without regard to order of time. He said, 'he thought very
highly of Bentley; that no man now went so far in the kinds of learning
that he cultivated[511]; that the many attacks on him were owing to
envy, and to a desire of being known, by being in competition with such
a man; that it was safe to attack him, because he never answered his
opponents, but let them die away[512]. It was attacking a man who would
not beat them, because his beating them would make them live the longer.
And he was right not to answer; for, in his hazardous method of writing,
he could not but be often enough wrong; so it was better to leave things
to their general appearance, than own himself to have erred in
particulars.' He said, 'Mallet was the prettiest drest puppet about
town, and always kept good company[513]. That, from his way of talking
he saw, and always said, that he had not written any part of the _Life
of the Duke of Marlborough_, though perhaps he intended to do it at some
time, in which case he was not culpable in taking the pension[514]. That
he imagined the Duchess furnished the materials for her _Apology_, which
Hooke wrote, and Hooke furnished the words and the order, and all that
in which the art of writing consists. That the duchess had not superior
parts, but was a bold frontless woman, who knew how to make the most of
her opportunities in life. That Hooke got a _large_ sum of money for
writing her _Apology_[515]. That he wondered Hooke should have been weak
enough to insert so profligate a maxim, as that to tell another's secret
to one's friend is no breach of confidence[516]; though perhaps Hooke,
who was a virtuous man[517], as his _History_ shews, and did not wish
her well, though he wrote her _Apology_, might see its ill tendency, and
yet insert it at her desire. He was acting only ministerially.' I
apprehended, however, that Hooke was bound to give his best advice. I
speak as a lawyer. Though I have had clients whose causes I could not,
as a private man, approve; yet, if I undertook them, I would not do any
thing that might be prejudicial to them, even at their desire, without
warning them of their danger.


It was a storm of wind and rain; so we could not set out. I wrote some
of this _Journal_, and talked a while with Dr. Johnson in his room, and
passed the day, I cannot well say how, but very pleasantly. I was here
amused to find Mr. Cumberland's comedy of the _Fashionable Lover_[518],
in which he has very well drawn a Highland character, Colin M'Cleod, of
the same name with the family under whose roof we now were. Dr. Johnson
was much pleased with the Laird of Macleod, who is indeed a most
promising youth, and with a noble spirit struggles with difficulties,
and endeavours to preserve his people. He has been left with an
incumbrance of forty thousand pounds debt, and annuities to the amount
of thirteen hundred pounds a year. Dr. Johnson said, 'If he gets the
better of all this, he'll be a hero; and I hope he will[519]. I have
not met with a young man who had more desire to learn, or who has learnt
more. I have seen nobody that I wish more to do a kindness to than
Macleod.' Such was the honourable elogium, on this young chieftain,
pronounced by an accurate observer, whose praise was never
lightly bestowed.

There is neither justice of peace, nor constable in Rasay. Sky has Mr.
M'Cleod of Ulinish, who is the sheriff substitute, and no other justice
of peace. The want of the execution of justice is much felt among the
islanders. Macleod very sensibly observed, that taking away the
heritable jurisdictions[520] had not been of such service in the islands
as was imagined. They had not authority enough in lieu of them. What
could formerly have been settled at once, must now either take much time
and trouble, or be neglected. Dr. Johnson said, 'A country is in a bad
state which is governed only by laws; because a thousand things occur
for which laws cannot provide, and where authority ought to interpose.
Now destroying the authority of the chiefs set the people loose. It did
not pretend to bring any positive good, but only to cure some evil; and
I am not well enough acquainted with the country to know what degree of
evil the heritable jurisdictions occasioned[521].' I maintained hardly
any; because the chiefs generally acted right, for their own sakes.
Dr. Johnson was now wishing to move. There was not enough of
intellectual entertainment for him, after he had satisfied his
curiosity, which he did, by asking questions, till he had exhausted the
island; and where there was so numerous a company, mostly young people,
there was such a flow of familiar talk, so much noise, and so much
singing and dancing, that little opportunity was left for his energetick
conversation[522]. He seemed sensible of this; for when I told him how
happy they were at having him there, he said, 'Yet we have not been able
to entertain them much.' I was fretted, from irritability of nerves, by
M'Cruslick's too obstreperous mirth. I complained of it to my friend,
observing we should be better if he was, gone. 'No, Sir (said he). He
puts something into our society, and takes nothing out of it.' Dr.
Johnson, however, had several opportunities of instructing the company;
but I am sorry to say, that I did not pay sufficient attention to what
passed, as his discourse now turned chiefly on mechanicks, agriculture
and such subjects, rather than on science and wit. Last night Lady Rasay
shewed him the operation of _wawking_ cloth, that is, thickening it in
the same manner as is done by a mill. Here it is performed by women, who
kneel upon the ground, and rub it with both their hands, singing an Erse
song all the time. He was asking questions while they were performing
this operation, and, amidst their loud and wild howl, his voice was
heard even in the room above[523].

They dance here every night. The queen of our ball was the eldest Miss
Macleod, of Rasay, an elegant well-bred woman, and celebrated for her
beauty over all those regions, by the name of Miss Flora Rasay[524].
There seemed to be no jealousy, no discontent among them; and the gaiety
of the scene was such, that I for a moment doubted whether unhappiness
had any place in Rasay. But my delusion was soon dispelled, by
recollecting the following lines of my fellow-traveller:--

     'Yet hope not life from pain or danger free,
      Or think the doom of man revers'd for thee[525]!'


It was a beautiful day, and although we did not approve of travelling on
Sunday, we resolved to set out, as we were in an island from whence one
must take occasion as it serves. Macleod and Talisker sailed in a boat
of Rasay's for Sconser, to take the shortest way to Dunvegan. M'Cruslick
went with them to Sconser, from whence he was to go to Slate, and so to
the main land. We were resolved to pay a visit at Kingsburgh, and see
the celebrated Miss Flora Macdonald, who is married to the present Mr.
Macdonald of Kingsburgh; so took that road, though not so near. All the
family, but Lady Rasay, walked down to the shore to see us depart. Rasay
himself went with us in a large boat, with eight oars, built in his
island[526]; as did Mr. Malcolm M'Cleod, Mr. Donald M'Queen, Dr.
Macleod, and some others. We had a most pleasant sail between Rasay and
Sky; and passed by a cave, where Martin says fowls were caught by
lighting fire in the mouth of it. Malcolm remembers this. But it is not
now practised, as few fowls come into it.

We spoke of Death. Dr. Johnson on this subject observed, that the
boastings of some men, as to dying easily, were idle talk[527],
proceeding from partial views. I mentioned Hawthornden's
_Cypress-grove_, where it is said that the world is a mere show; and
that it is unreasonable for a man to wish to continue in the show-room,
after he has seen it. Let him go cheerfully out, and give place to other
spectators[528]. JOHNSON. 'Yes, Sir, if he is sure he is to be well,
after he goes out of it. But if he is to grow blind after he goes out of
the show-room, and never to see any thing again; or if he does not know
whither he is to go next, a man will not go cheerfully out of a
show-room. No wise man will be contented to die, if he thinks he is to
go into a state of punishment. Nay, no wise man will be contented to
die, if he thinks he is to fall into annihilation: for however unhappy
any man's existence may be, he yet would rather have it, than not exist
at all[529]. No; there is no rational principle by which a man can die
contented, but a trust in the mercy of GOD, through the merits of Jesus
Christ.' This short sermon, delivered with an earnest tone, in a boat
upon the sea, which was perfectly calm, on a day appropriated to
religious worship, while every one listened with an air of satisfaction,
had a most pleasing effect upon my mind.

Pursuing the same train of serious reflection, he added that it seemed
certain that happiness could not be found in this life, because so many
had tried to find it, in such a variety of ways, and had not found it.

We reached the harbour of Portree, in Sky, which is a large and good
one. There was lying in it a vessel to carry off the emigrants called
the _Nestor_. It made a short settlement of the differences between a
chief and his clan:--

     '-----_Nestor_ componere lites
      Inter Peleiden festinat & inter Atriden.'[530]

We approached her, and she hoisted her colours. Dr. Johnson
and Mr. McQueen remained in the boat: Rasay and I, and the
rest went on board of her. She was a very pretty vessel, and, as
we were told, the largest in Clyde. Mr. Harrison, the captain,
shewed her to us. The cabin was commodious, and even elegant.
There was a little library, finely bound. _Portree_ has its name
from King James the Fifth having landed there in his tour
through the Western Isles, _Ree_ in Erse being King, as _Re_ is in
Italian; so it is _Port Royal_. There was here a tolerable inn.
On our landing, I had the pleasure of finding a letter from
home; and there were also letters to Dr. Johnson and me, from
Lord Elibank[531], which had been sent after us from Edinburgh.
His Lordship's letter to me was as follows:--


'I flew to Edinburgh the moment I heard of Mr. Johnson's arrival; but so
defective was my intelligence, that I came too late. 'It is but justice
to believe, that I could never forgive myself, nor deserve to be
forgiven by others, if I was to fail in any mark of respect to that very
great genius.--I hold him in the highest veneration; for that very
reason I was resolved to take no share in the merit, perhaps guilt, of
inticing him to honour this country with a visit.--I could not persuade
myself there was any thing in Scotland worthy to have a Summer of Samuel
Johnson bestowed on it; but since he has done us that compliment, for
heaven's sake inform me of your motions. I will attend them most
religiously; and though I should regret to let Mr. Johnson go a mile out
of his way on my account, old as I am,[532] I shall be glad to go five
hundred miles to enjoy a day of his company. Have the charity to send a
council-post[533] with intelligence; the post does not suit us in the
country.--At any rate write to me. I will attend you in the north, when
I shall know where to find you.

     I am,
     My dear Boswell,
     Your sincerely
     Obedient humble servant,

'August 21st, 1773.'

The letter to Dr. Johnson was in these words:--


'I was to have kissed your hands at Edinburgh, the moment I heard of
you; but you was gone.

'I hope my friend Boswell will inform me of your motions. It will be
cruel to deprive me an instant of the honour of attending you. As I
value you more than any King in Christendom, I will perform that duty
with infinitely greater alacrity than any courtier. I can contribute but
little to your entertainment; but, my sincere esteem for you gives me
some title to the opportunity of expressing it.

'I dare say you are by this time sensible that things are pretty much
the same, as when Buchanan complained of being born _solo et seculo
inerudito_. Let me hear of you, and be persuaded that none of your
admirers is more sincerely devoted to you, than,

     Dear Sir,
         Your most obedient,
             And most humble servant,

Dr. Johnson, on the following Tuesday, answered for both of us, thus:--

'My LORD, 'On the rugged shore of Skie, I had the honour of your
Lordship's letter, and can with great truth declare, that no place is so
gloomy but that it would be cheered by such a testimony of regard, from
a mind so well qualified to estimate characters, and to deal out
approbation in its due proportions. If I have more than my share, it is
your Lordship's fault; for I have always reverenced your judgment too
much, to exalt myself in your presence by any false pretensions.

'Mr. Boswell and I are at present at the disposal of the winds, and
therefore cannot fix the time at which we shall have the honour of
seeing your lordship. But we should either of us think ourselves injured
by the supposition that we would miss your lordship's conversation, when
we could enjoy it; for I have often declared that I never met you
without going away a wiser man.[534]

    'I am, my Lord,
     Your Lordship's most obedient
     And most humble servant,
     Skie, Sept. 14, 1773.'   'SAM. JOHNSON.'

At Portree, Mr. Donald McQueen went to church and officiated in Erse,
and then came to dinner. Dr. Johnson and I resolved that we should treat
the company, so I played the landlord, or master of the feast, having
previously ordered Joseph to pay the bill.

Sir James Macdonald intended to have built a village here, which would
have done great good. A village is like a heart to a country. It
produces a perpetual circulation, and gives the people an opportunity to
make profit of many little articles, which would otherwise be in a good
measure lost. We had here a dinner, _et praeterea nihil_. Dr. Johnson
did not talk. When we were about to depart, we found that Rasay had been
beforehand with us, and that all was paid: I would fain have contested
this matter with him, but seeing him resolved, I declined it. We parted
with cordial embraces from him and worthy Malcolm. In the evening Dr.
Johnson and I remounted our horses, accompanied by Mr. McQueen and Dr.
Macleod. It rained very hard. We rode what they call six miles, upon
Rasay's lands in Sky, to Dr. Macleod's house. On the road Dr. Johnson
appeared to be somewhat out of spirits. When I talked of our meeting
Lord Elibank, he said, 'I cannot be with him much. I long to be again in
civilized life; but can stay but a short while;' (he meant at
Edinburgh.) He said, 'let us go to Dunvegan to-morrow.' 'Yes, (said I,)
if it is not a deluge.' 'At any rate,' he replied. This shewed a kind of
fretful impatience; nor was it to be wondered at, considering our
disagreeable ride. I feared he would give up Mull and Icolmkill, for he
said something of his apprehensions of being detained by bad weather in
going to Mull and _Iona_. However I hoped well. We had a dish of tea at
Dr. Macleod's, who had a pretty good house, where was his brother, a
half-pay officer. His lady was a polite, agreeable woman. Dr. Johnson
said, he was glad to see that he was so well married, for he had an
esteem for physicians.[535] The doctor accompanied us to Kingsburgh,
which is called a mile farther; but the computation of Sky has no
connection whatever with real distance.[536]  I was highly pleased to
see Dr. Johnson safely arrived at Kingsburgh, and received by the
hospitable Mr. Macdonald, who, with a most respectful attention,
supported him into the house. Kingsburgh was completely the figure of a
gallant Highlander,--exhibiting 'the graceful mien and manly
looks[537],' which our popular Scotch song has justly attributed to that
character. He had his Tartan plaid thrown about him, a large blue bonnet
with a knot of black ribband like a cockade, a brown short coat of a
kind of duffil, a Tartan waistcoat with gold buttons and gold
button-holes, a bluish philibeg, and Tartan hose. He had jet black hair
tied behind, and was a large stately man, with a steady sensible

There was a comfortable parlour with a good fire, and a dram went round.
By and by supper was served, at which there appeared the lady of the
house, the celebrated Miss Flora Macdonald. She is a little woman, of a
genteel appearance, and uncommonly mild and well-bred[538]. To see Dr.
Samuel Johnson, the great champion of the English Tories, salute Miss
Flora Macdonald in the isle of Sky, was a striking sight; for though
somewhat congenial in their notions, it was very improbable they should
meet here.

Miss Flora Macdonald (for so I shall call her) told me, she heard upon
the main land, as she was returning home about a fortnight before, that
Mr. Boswell was coming to Sky, and one Mr. Johnson, a young English
buck[539], with him. He was highly entertained with this fancy. Giving
an account of the afternoon which we passed, at _Anock_, he said, 'I,
being a _buck_, had miss[540] in to make tea.' He was rather quiescent
to-night, and went early to bed. I was in a cordial humour, and promoted
a cheerful glass. The punch was excellent. Honest Mr. M'Queen observed
that I was in high glee, 'my _governour_[541] being gone to bed.' Yet in
reality my heart was grieved, when I recollected that Kingsburgh was
embarrassed in his affairs, and intended to go to America[542]. However,
nothing but what was good was present, and I pleased myself in thinking
that so spirited a man would be well every where. I slept in the same
room with Dr. Johnson. Each had a neat bed, with Tartan curtains, in an
upper chamber.


The room where we lay was a celebrated one. Dr. Johnson's bed was the
very bed in which the grandson of the unfortunate King James the
Second[543] lay, on one of the nights after the failure of his rash
attempt in 1745-6, while he was eluding the pursuit of the emissaries of
government, which had offered thirty thousand pounds as a reward for
apprehending him. To see Dr. Samuel Johnson lying in that bed, in the
isle of Sky, in the house of Miss Flora Macdonald, struck me with such a
group of ideas as it is not easy for words to describe, as they passed
through the mind. He smiled, and said, 'I have had no ambitious thoughts
in it[544].' The room was decorated with a great variety of maps and
prints. Among others, was Hogarth's print of Wilkes grinning, with a cap
of liberty on a pole by him. That too was a curious circumstance in the
scene this morning; such a contrast was Wilkes to the above groupe. It
reminded me of Sir William Chambers's _Account of Oriental
Gardening_[545], in which we are told all odd, strange, ugly, and even
terrible objects, are introduced for the sake of variety; a wild
extravagance of taste which is so well ridiculed in the celebrated
Epistle to him[546]. The following lines of that poem immediately
occurred to me;

     'Here too, O king of vengeance! in thy fane,
      Tremendous Wilkes shall rattle his gold chain[547].'

Upon the table in our room I found in the morning a slip of paper, on
which Dr. Johnson had written with his pencil these words,

     'Quantum cedat virtutibus aurum[548].'

What he meant by writing them I could not tell[549]. He had caught cold
a day or two ago, and the rain yesterday having made it worse, he was
become very deaf. At breakfast he said, he would have given a good deal
rather than not have lain in that bed. I owned he was the lucky man; and
observed, that without doubt it had been contrived between Mrs.
Macdonald and him. She seemed to acquiesce; adding, 'You know young
_bucks_ are always favourites of the ladies.' He spoke of Prince Charles
being here, and asked Mrs. Macdonald, '_Who_ was with him? We were told,
madam, in England, there was one Miss Flora Macdonald with him.' She
said, 'they were very right;' and perceiving Dr. Johnson's curiosity,
though he had delicacy enough not to question her, very obligingly
entertained him with a recital of the particulars which she herself knew
of that escape, which does so much honour to the humanity, fidelity, and
generosity of the Highlanders. Dr. Johnson listened to her with placid
attention, and said, 'All this should be written down.'

From what she told us, and from what I was told by others personally
concerned, and from a paper of information which Rasay was so good as to
send me, at my desire, I have compiled the following abstract, which, as
it contains some curious anecdotes, will, I imagine, not be
uninteresting to my readers, and even, perhaps, be of some use to future

       *       *       *       *       *

Prince Charles Edward, after the battle of Culloden, was conveyed to
what is called the _Long Island_, where he lay for some time concealed.
But intelligence having been obtained where he was, and a number of
troops having come in quest of him, it became absolutely necessary for
him to quit that country without delay. Miss Flora Macdonald, then a
young lady, animated by what she thought the sacred principle of
loyalty, offered, with the magnanimity of a Heroine, to accompany him in
an open boat to Sky, though the coast they were to quit was guarded by
ships. He dressed himself in women's clothes, and passed as her supposed
maid, by the name of Betty Bourke, an Irish girl. They got off
undiscovered, though several shots were fired to bring them to, and
landed at Mugstot, the seat of Sir Alexander Macdonald. Sir Alexander
was then at Fort Augustus, with the Duke of Cumberland; but his lady was
at home. Prince Charles took his post upon a hill near the house. Flora
Macdonald waited on lady Margaret[550], and acquainted her of the
enterprise in which she was engaged. Her ladyship, whose active
benevolence was ever seconded by superior talents, shewed a perfect
presence of mind, and readiness of invention, and at once settled that
Prince Charles should be conducted to old Rasay, who was himself
concealed with some select friends. The plan was instantly communicated
to Kingsburgh, who was dispatched to the hill to inform the Wanderer,
and carry him refreshments. When Kingsburgh approached, he started up,
and advanced, holding a large knotted stick, and in appearance ready to
knock him down, till he said, 'I am Macdonald of Kingsburgh, come to
serve your highness.' The Wanderer answered, 'It is well,' and was
satisfied with the plan.

Flora Macdonald dined with Lady Margaret, at whose table there sat an
officer of the army, stationed here with a party of soldiers, to watch
for Prince Charles in case of his flying to the isle of Sky. She
afterwards often laughed in good-humour with this gentleman, on her
having so well deceived him.  After dinner, Flora Macdonald on
horseback, and her supposed maid, and Kingsburgh, with a servant
carrying some linen, all on foot, proceeded towards that gentleman's
house. Upon the road was a small rivulet which they were obliged to
cross. The Wanderer, forgetting his assumed sex, that his clothes might
not be wet, held them up a great deal too high. Kingsburgh mentioned
this to him, observing, it might make a discovery. He said, he would be
more careful for the future. He was as good as his word; for the next
brook they crossed, he did not hold up his clothes at all, but let them
float upon the water. He was very awkward in his female dress. His size
was so large, and his strides so great, that some women whom they met
reported that they had seen a very big woman, who looked like a man in
woman's clothes, and that perhaps it was (as they expressed themselves)
the _Prince_, after whom so much search was making.

At Kingsburgh he met with a most cordial reception; seemed gay at
supper, and after it indulged himself in a cheerful glass with his
worthy host. As he had not had his clothes off for a long time, the
comfort of a good bed was highly relished by him, and he slept soundly
till next day at one o'clock.

The mistress of Corrichatachin told me, that in the forenoon she went
into her father's room, who was also in bed, and suggested to him her
apprehensions that a party of the military might come up, and that his
guest and he had better not remain here too long. Her father said, 'Let
the poor man repose himself after his fatigues; and as for me, I care
not, though they take off this old grey head ten or eleven years sooner
than I should die in the course of nature.' He then wrapped himself in
the bed-clothes, and again fell fast asleep.

On the afternoon of that day, the Wanderer, still in the same dress, set
out for Portree, with Flora Macdonald and a man servant. His shoes being
very bad, Kingsburgh provided him with a new pair, and taking up the old
ones, said, 'I will faithfully keep them till you are safely settled at
St. James's. I will then introduce myself by shaking them at you, to put
you in mind of your night's entertainment and protection under my roof.'
He smiled, and said, 'Be as good as your word!' Kingsburgh kept the
shoes as long as he lived. After his death, a zealous Jacobite gentleman
gave twenty guineas for them.  Old Mrs. Macdonald, after her guest had
left the house, took the sheets in which he had lain, folded them
carefully, and charged her daughter that they should be kept unwashed,
and that, when she died, her body should be wrapped in them as a winding
sheet. Her will was religiously observed.

Upon the road to Portree, Prince Charles changed his dress, and put on
man's clothes again; a tartan short coat and waistcoat, with philibeg
and short hose, a plaid, and a wig and bonnet.

Mr. Donald M'Donald, called Donald Roy, had been sent express to the
present Rasay, then the young laird, who was at that time at his
sister's house, about three miles from Portree, attending his brother,
Dr. Macleod, who was recovering of a wound he had received at the battle
of Culloden. Mr. M'Donald communicated to young Rasay the plan of
conveying the Wanderer to where old Rasay was; but was told that old
Rasay had fled to Knoidart, a part of Glengary's estate. There was then
a dilemma what should be done. Donald Roy proposed that he should
conduct the Wanderer to the main land; but young Rasay thought it too
dangerous at that time, and said it would be better to conceal him in
the island of Rasay, till old Rasay could be informed where he was, and
give his advice what was best. But the difficulty was, how to get him to
Rasay. They could not trust a Portree crew, and all the Rasay boats had
been destroyed, or carried off by the military, except two belonging to
Malcolm M'Leod, which he had concealed somewhere.

Dr. Macleod being informed of this difficulty, said he would risk his
life once more for Prince Charles; and it having occurred, that there
was a little boat upon a fresh-water lake in the neighbourhood, young
Rasay and Dr. Macleod, with the help of some women, brought it to the
sea, by extraordinary exertion, across a Highland mile of land, one half
of which was bog, and the other a steep precipice.

These gallant brothers, with the assistance of one little boy, rowed the
small boat to Rasay, where they were to endeavour to find Captain
M'Leod, as Malcolm was then called, and get one of his good boats, with
which they might return to Portree, and receive the Wanderer; or, in
case of not finding him, they were to make the small boat serve, though
the danger was considerable.

Fortunately, on their first landing, they found their cousin Malcolm,
who, with the utmost alacrity, got ready one of his boats, with two
strong men, John M'Kenzie, and Donald M'Friar. Malcolm, being the oldest
man, and most cautious, said, that as young Rasay had not hitherto
appeared in the unfortunate business, he ought not to run any risk; but
that Dr. Macleod and himself, who were already publickly engaged, should
go on this expedition. Young Rasay answered, with an oath, that he would
go, at the risk of his life and fortune. 'In GOD'S name then (said
Malcolm) let us proceed.' The two boatmen, however, now stopped short,
till they should be informed of their destination; and M'Kenzie declared
he would not move an oar till he knew where they were going. Upon which
they were both sworn to secrecy; and the business being imparted to
them, they were eager to put off to sea without loss of time. The boat
soon landed about half a mile from the inn at Portree.

All this was negotiated before the Wanderer got forward to Portree.
Malcolm M'Leod and M'Friar were dispatched to look for him. In a short
time he appeared, and went into the publick house. Here Donald Roy, whom
he had seen at Mugstot, received him, and informed him of what had been
concerted. He wanted silver for a guinea, but the landlord had only
thirteen shillings. He was going to accept of this for his guinea; but
Donald Roy very judiciously observed, that it would discover him to be
some great man; so he desisted. He slipped out of the house, leaving his
fair protectress, whom he never again saw; and Malcolm Macleod was
presented to him by Donald Roy, as a captain in his army. Young Rasay
and Dr. Macleod had waited, in impatient anxiety, in the boat. When he
came, their names were announced to him. He would not permit the usual
ceremonies of respect, but saluted them as his equals.

Donald Roy staid in Sky, to be in readiness to get intelligence, and
give an alarm in case the troops should discover the retreat to Rasay;
and Prince Charles was then conveyed in a boat to that island in the
night. He slept a little upon the passage, and they landed about
day-break. There was some difficulty in accommodating him with a
lodging, as almost all the houses in the island had been burnt by the
soldiery. They repaired to a little hut, which some shepherds had lately
built, and having prepared it as well as they could, and made a bed of
heath for the stranger, they kindled a fire, and partook of some
provisions which had been sent with him from Kingsburgh. It was
observed, that he would not taste wheat-bread, or brandy, while
oat-bread and whisky lasted; 'for these, said he, are my own country
bread and drink.'--This was very engaging to the Highlanders.

Young Rasay being the only person of the company that durst appear with
safety, he went in quest of something fresh for them to eat: but though
he was amidst his own cows, sheep, and goats, he could not venture to
take any of them for fear of a discovery, but was obliged to supply
himself by stealth. He therefore caught a kid, and brought it to the hut
in his plaid, and it was killed and drest, and furnished them a meal
which they relished much. The distressed Wanderer, whose health was now
a good deal impaired by hunger, fatigue, and watching, slept a long
time, but seemed to be frequently disturbed. Malcolm told me he would
start from broken slumbers, and speak to himself in different languages,
French, Italian, and English. I must however acknowledge, that it is
highly probable that my worthy friend Malcolm did not know precisely the
difference between French and Italian. One of his expressions in English
was, 'O GOD! poor Scotland!'

While they were in the hut, M'Kenzie and M'Friar, the two boatmen, were
placed as sentinels upon different eminences; and one day an incident
happened, which must not be omitted. There was a man wandering about the
island, selling tobacco. Nobody knew him, and he was suspected to be a
spy. M'Kenzie came running to the hut, and told that this suspected
person was approaching. Upon which the three gentlemen, young Rasay, Dr.
Macleod, and Malcolm, held a council of war upon him, and were
unanimously of opinion that he should instantly be put to death. Prince
Charles, at once assuming a grave and even severe countenance, said,
'God forbid that we should take away a man's life, who may be innocent,
while we can preserve our own.' The gentlemen however persisted in their
resolution, while he as strenuously continued to take the merciful side.
John M'Kenzie, who sat watching at the door of the hut, and overheard
the debate, said in Erse, 'Well, well; he must be shot. You are the
king, but we are the parliament, and will do what we choose.' Prince
Charles, seeing the gentlemen smile, asked what the man had said, and
being told it in English, he observed that he was a clever fellow, and,
notwithstanding the perilous situation in which he was, laughed loud and
heartily. Luckily the unknown person did not perceive that there were
people in the hut, at least did not come to it, but walked on past it,
unknowing of his risk. It was afterwards found out that he was one of
the Highland army, who was himself in danger. Had he come to them, they
were resolved to dispatch him; for, as Malcolm said to me, 'We could not
keep him with us, and we durst not let him go. In such a situation, I
would have shot my brother, if I had not been sure of him.' John
M'Kenzie was at Rasay's house when we were there[551]. About eighteen
years before, he hurt one of his legs when dancing, and being obliged to
have it cut off, he now was going about with a wooden leg. The story of
his being a _member of parliament_ is not yet forgotten. I took him out
a little way from the house, gave him a shilling to drink Rasay's
health, and led him into a detail of the particulars which I have just
related. With less foundation, some writers have traced the idea of a
parliament, and of the British constitution, in rude and early times. I
was curious to know if he had really heard, or understood, any thing of
that subject, which, had he been a greater man, would probably have been
eagerly maintained. 'Why, John, (said I,) did you think the king should
be controuled by a parliament?' He answered, 'I thought, Sir, there were
many voices against one.'

The conversation then turning on the times, the Wanderer said, that, to
be sure, the life he had led of late was a very hard one; but he would
rather live in the way he now did, for ten years, than fall into the
hands of his enemies. The gentlemen asked him, what he thought his
enemies would do with him, should he have the misfortune to fall into
their hands. He said, he did not believe they would dare to take his
life publickly, but he dreaded being privately destroyed by poison or
assassination. He was very particular in his inquiries about the wound
which Dr. Macleod had received at the battle of Culloden, from a ball
which entered at one shoulder, and went cross to the other. The doctor
happened still to have on the coat which he wore on that occasion. He
mentioned, that he himself had his horse shot under him at Culloden;
that the ball hit the horse about two inches from his knee, and made him
so unruly that he was obliged to change him for another. He threw out
some reflections on the conduct of the disastrous affair at Culloden,
saying, however, that perhaps it was rash in him to do so. I am now
convinced that his suspicions were groundless; for I have had a good
deal of conversation upon the subject with my very worthy and ingenious
friend, Mr. Andrew Lumisden, who was under secretary to Prince Charles,
and afterwards principal secretary to his father at Rome, who, he
assured me, was perfectly satisfied both of the abilities and honour of
the generals who commanded the Highland army on that occasion. Mr.
Lumisden has written an account of the three battles in 1745-6, at once
accurate and classical[552]. Talking of the different Highland corps,
the gentlemen who were present wished to have his opinion which were the
best soldiers. He said, he did not like comparisons among those corps:
they were all best.

He told his conductors, he did not think it advisable to remain long in
any one place; and that he expected a French ship to come for him to
Lochbroom, among the Mackenzies. It then was proposed to carry him in
one of Malcolm's boats to Lochbroom, though the distance was fifteen
leagues coastwise. But he thought this would be too dangerous, and
desired that, at any rate, they might first endeavour to obtain
intelligence. Upon which young Rasay wrote to his friend, Mr. M'Kenzie
of Applecross, but received an answer, that there was no appearance of
any French ship.  It was therefore resolved that they should return to
Sky, which they did, and landed in Strath, where they reposed in a
cow-house belonging to Mr. Niccolson of Scorbreck. The sea was very
rough, and the boat took in a good deal of water. The Wanderer asked if
there was danger, as he was not used to such a vessel. Upon being told
there was not, he sung an Erse song with much vivacity. He had by this
time acquired a good deal of the Erse language.

Young Rasay was now dispatched to where Donald Roy was, that they might
get all the intelligence they could; and the Wanderer, with much
earnestness, charged Dr. Macleod to have a boat ready, at a certain
place about seven miles off, as he said he intended it should carry him
upon a matter of great consequence; and gave the doctor a case,
containing a silver spoon, knife, and fork, saying, 'keep you that till
I see you,' which the doctor understood to be two days from that time.
But all these orders were only blinds; for he had another plan in his
head, but wisely thought it safest to trust his secrets to no more
persons than was absolutely necessary. Having then desired Malcolm to
walk with him a little way from the house, he soon opened his mind,
saying, 'I deliver myself to you. Conduct me to the Laird of M'Kinnon's
country.' Malcolm objected that it was very dangerous, as so many
parties of soldiers were in motion. He answered, 'There is nothing now
to be done without danger.' He then said, that Malcolm must be the
master, and he the servant; so he took the bag, in which his linen was
put up, and carried it on his shoulder; and observing that his
waistcoat, which was of scarlet tartan, with a gold twist button, was
finer than Malcolm's, which was of a plain ordinary tartan, he put on
Malcolm's waistcoat, and gave him his; remarking at the same time, that
it did not look well that the servant should be better dressed than
the master.

Malcolm, though an excellent walker, found himself excelled by Prince
Charles, who told him, he should not much mind the parties that were
looking for him, were he once but a musket shot from them; but that he
was somewhat afraid of the Highlanders who were against him. He was well
used to walking in Italy, in pursuit of game; and he was even now so
keen a sportsman, that, having observed some partridges, he was going
to take a shot: but Malcolm cautioned him against it, observing that the
firing might be heard by the tenders[553] who were hovering upon
the coast.

As they proceeded through the mountains, taking many a circuit to avoid
any houses, Malcolm, to try his resolution, asked him what they should
do, should they fall in with a party of soldiers: he answered, 'Fight,
to be sure!' Having asked Malcolm if he should be known in his present
dress, and Malcolm having replied he would, he said, 'Then I'll blacken
my face with powder.' 'That, said Malcolm, would discover you at once.'
'Then, said he, I must be put in the greatest dishabille possible.' So
he pulled off his wig, tied a handkerchief round his head, and put his
night-cap over it, tore the ruffles from his shirt, took the buckles out
of his shoes, and made Malcolm fasten them with strings; but still
Malcolm thought he would be known. 'I have so odd a face, (said he) that
no man ever saw me but he would know me again[554].'

He seemed unwilling to give credit to the horrid narrative of men being
massacred in cold blood, after victory had declared for the army
commanded by the Duke of Cumberland. He could not allow himself to think
that a general could be so barbarous[555].  When they came within two
miles of M'Kinnon's house, Malcolm asked if he chose to see the laird.
'No, (said he) by no means. I know M'Kinnon to be as good and as honest
a man as any in the world, but he is not fit for my purpose at present.
You must conduct me to some other house; but let it be a gentleman's
house.' Malcolm then determined that they should go to the house of his
brother-in-law, Mr. John M'Kinnon, and from thence be conveyed to the
main land of Scotland, and claim the assistance of Macdonald of
Scothouse. The Wanderer at first objected to this, because Scothouse was
cousin to a person of whom he had suspicions. But he acquiesced in
Malcolm's opinion.

When they were near Mr. John M'Kinnon's house, they met a man of the
name of Ross, who had been a private soldier in the Highland army. He
fixed his eyes steadily on the Wanderer in his disguise, and having at
once recognized him, he clapped his hands, and exclaimed, 'Alas! is this
the case?' Finding that there was now a discovery, Malcolm asked 'What's
to be done?' 'Swear him to secrecy,' answered Prince Charles. Upon which
Malcolm drew his dirk, and on the naked blade, made him take a solemn
oath, that he would say nothing of his having seen the Wanderer, till
his escape should be made publick.

Malcolm's sister, whose house they reached pretty early in the morning,
asked him who the person was that was along with him. He said it was one
Lewis Caw, from Crieff, who being a fugitive like himself, for the same
reason, he had engaged him as his servant, but that he had fallen sick.
'Poor man! (said she) I pity him. At the same time my heart warms to a
man of his appearance.' Her husband was gone a little way from home; but
was expected every minute to return. She set down to her brother a
plentiful Highland breakfast. Prince Charles acted the servant very
well, sitting at a respectful distance, with his bonnet off. Malcolm
then said to him, 'Mr. Caw, you have as much need of this as I have;
there is enough for us both: you had better draw nearer and share with
me.' Upon which he rose, made a profound bow, sat down at table with his
supposed master, and eat very heartily. After this there came in an old
woman, who, after the mode of ancient hospitality, brought warm water,
and washed Malcolm's feet. He desired her to wash the feet of the poor
man who attended him. She at first seemed averse to this, from pride, as
thinking him beneath her, and in the periphrastick language of the
Highlanders and the Irish, said warmly, 'Though I washed your father's
son's feet, why should I wash his father's son's feet?' She was however
persuaded to do it.

They then went to bed, and slept for some time; and when Malcolm awaked,
he was told that Mr. John M'Kinnon, his brother-in-law, was in sight. He
sprang out to talk to him before he should see Prince Charles. After
saluting him, Malcolm, pointing to the sea, said, 'What, John, if the
prince should be prisoner on board one of those tenders?' 'GOD forbid!'
replied John. 'What if we had him here?' said Malcolm. 'I wish we had,'
answered John; 'we should take care of him.' 'Well, John,' said Malcolm,
'he is in your house.' John, in a transport of joy, wanted to run
directly in, and pay his obeisance; but Malcolm stopped him, saying,
'Now is your time to behave well, and do nothing that can discover him.'
John composed himself, and having sent away all his servants upon
different errands, he was introduced into the presence of his guest, and
was then desired to go and get ready a boat lying near his house, which,
though but a small leaky one, they resolved to take, rather than go to
the Laird of M'Kinnon. John M'Kinnon, however, thought otherwise; and
upon his return told them, that his Chief and lady M'Kinnon were coming
in the laird's boat. Prince Charles said to his trusty Malcolm, 'I am
sorry for this, but must make the best of it.' M'Kinnon then walked up
from the shore, and did homage to the Wanderer. His lady waited in a
cave, to which they all repaired, and were entertained with cold meat
and wine. Mr. Malcolm M'Leod being now superseded by the Laird of
M'Kinnon, desired leave to return, which was granted him, and Prince
Charles wrote a short note, which he subscribed _James Thompson_,
informing his friends that he had got away from Sky, and thanking them
for their kindness; and he desired this might be speedily conveyed to
young Rasay and Dr. Macleod, that they might not wait longer in
expectation of seeing him again. He bade a cordial adieu to Malcolm, and
insisted on his accepting of a silver stock-buckle, and ten guineas from
his purse, though, as Malcolm told me, it did not appear to contain
above forty. Malcolm at first begged to be excused, saying, that he had
a few guineas at his service; but Prince Charles answered, 'You will
have need of money. I shall get enough when I come upon the main land.'

The Laird of M'Kinnon then conveyed him to the opposite coast of
Knoidart. Old Rasay, to whom intelligence had been sent, was crossing at
the same time to Sky; but as they did not know of each other, and each
had apprehensions, the two boats kept aloof.

These are the particulars which I have collected concerning the
extraordinary concealment and escapes of Prince Charles, in the
Hebrides. He was often in imminent danger.[556] The troops traced him
from the Long Island, across Sky, to Portree, but there lost him.

Here I stop,--having received no farther authentick information of his
fatigues and perils before he escaped to France. Kings and subjects may
both take a lesson of moderation from the melancholy fate of the House
of Stuart; that Kings may not suffer degradation and exile, and subjects
may not be harassed by the evils of a disputed succession.

Let me close the scene on that unfortunate House with the elegant and
pathetick reflections of _Voltaire_, in his _Histoire Générale_:--

'Que les hommes privés (says that brilliant writer, speaking of Prince
Charles) qui se croyent malheureux, jettent les yeux sur ce prince et
ses ancêtres.'[557] In another place he thus sums up the sad story of
the family in general:--

'Il n'y a aucun exemple dans l'histoire d'une maison si longtems
infortunée. Le premier des Rois d'Écosse, [ses aïeux] qui eut le nom de
_Jacques_, après avoir été dix-huit ans prisonnier en Angleterre, mourut
assassiné, avec sa femme, par la main de ses sujets. _Jacques_ II, son
fils, fut tué à vingt-neuf ans en combattant contre les Anglois.
_Jacques_ III, mis en prison par son peuple, fut tué ensuite par les
révoltés, dans une bataille. _Jacques_ IV, périt dans un combat qu'il
perdit. _Marie Stuart_, sa petite-fille, chassée de son trône, fugitive
en Angleterre, ayant langui dix-huit ans en prison, se vit condamnée à
mort par des juges Anglais, et eut la tête tranchée. _Charles_ Ier,
petit-fils de _Marie_, Roi d'Écosse et d'Angleterre, vendu par les
Écossois, et jugé à mort par les Anglais, mourut sur un échafaud dans la
place publique. _Jacques_, son fils, septième du nom, et deuxième en
Angleterre, fut chassé de ses trois royaumes; et pour comble de malheur
on contesta à son fils [jusqu'à] sa naissance. Ce fils ne tenta de
remonter sur le trône de ses pères, que pour faire périr ses amis par
des bourreaux; et nous avons vu le Prince _Charles Édouard_, réunissant
en vain les vertus de ses pères[558] et le courage du Roi _Jean
Sobieski_, son aïeul maternel, exécuter les exploits et essuyer les
malheurs les plus incroyables. Si quelque chose justifie ceux qui
croient une fatalité à laquelle rien ne peut se soustraire, c'est cette
suite continuelle de malheurs qui a persécuté la maison de _Stuart_,
pendant plus de trois cents années.'[559]

The gallant Malcolm was apprehended in about ten days after they
separated, put aboard a ship and carried prisoner to London. He said,
the prisoners in general were very ill treated in their passage; but
there were soldiers on board who lived well, and sometimes invited him
to share with them: that he had the good fortune not to be thrown into
jail, but was confined in the house of a messenger, of the name of Dick.
To his astonishment, only one witness could be found against him, though
he had been so openly engaged; and therefore, for want of sufficient
evidence, he was set at liberty. He added, that he thought himself in
such danger, that he would gladly have compounded for banishment[560].
Yet, he said, 'he should never be so ready for death as he then
was[561].' There is philosophical truth in this. A man will meet death
much more firmly at one time than another. The enthusiasm even of a
mistaken principle warms the mind, and sets it above the fear of death;
which in our cooler moments, if we really think of it, cannot but be
terrible, or at least very awful.

Miss Flora Macdonald being then also in London, under the protection of
Lady Primrose[562], that lady provided a post-chaise to convey her to
Scotland, and desired she might choose any friend she pleased to
accompany her. She chose Malcolm. 'So (said he, with a triumphant air) I
went to London to be hanged, and returned in a post-chaise with Miss
Flora Macdonald.'

Mr. Macleod of Muiravenside, whom we saw at Rasay, assured us that
Prince Charles was in London in 1759[563], and that there was then a
plan in agitation for restoring his family. Dr. Johnson could scarcely
credit this story, and said, there could be no probable plan at that
time. Such an attempt could not have succeeded, unless the King of
Prussia had stopped the army in Germany; for both the army and the fleet
would, even without orders, have fought for the King, to whom they had
engaged themselves.

Having related so many particulars concerning the grandson of the
unfortunate King James the Second; having given due praise to fidelity
and generous attachment, which, however erroneous the judgment may be,
are honourable for the heart; I must do the Highlanders the justice to
attest, that I found every where amongst them a high opinion of the
virtues of the King now upon the throne, and an honest disposition to be
faithful subjects to his majesty, whose family has possessed the
sovereignty of this country so long, that a change, even for the
abdicated family, would now hurt the best feelings of all his subjects.

The _abstract_ point of _right_ would involve us in a discussion of
remote and perplexed questions; and after all, we should have no clear
principle of decision. That establishment, which, from political
necessity, took place in 1688, by a breach in the succession of our
kings, and which, whatever benefits may have accrued from it, certainly
gave a shock to our monarchy,[564]--the able and constitutional
Blackstone wisely rests on the solid footing of authority. 'Our
ancestors having most indisputably a competent jurisdiction to decide
this great and important question, and having, in fact, decided it, it
is now become our duty, at this distance of time, to acquiesce in their

Mr. Paley, the present Archdeacon of Carlisle, in his _Principles of
Moral and Political Philosophy_, having, with much clearness of
argument, shewn the duty of submission to civil government to be founded
neither on an indefeasible _jus divinum_, nor on _compact_, but on
_expediency_, lays down this rational position:--

'Irregularity in the first foundation of a state, or subsequent
violence, fraud, or injustice, in getting possession of the supreme
power, are not sufficient reasons for resistance, after the government
is once peaceably settled. No subject of the _British_ empire conceives
himself engaged to vindicate the justice of the _Norman_ claim or
conquest, or apprehends that his duty in any manner depends upon that
controversy. So likewise, if the house of _Lancaster_, or even the
posterity of _Cromwell_, had been at this day seated upon the throne of
_England_, we should have been as little concerned to enquire how the
founder of the family came there[566].'  In conformity with this
doctrine, I myself, though fully persuaded that the House of _Stuart_
had originally no right to the crown of _Scotland_; for that _Baliol_,
and not _Bruce_, was the lawful heir; should yet have thought it very
culpable to have rebelled, on that account, against Charles the First,
or even a prince of that house much nearer the time, in order to assert
the claim of the posterity of Baliol.

However convinced I am of the justice of that principle, which holds
allegiance and protection to be reciprocal, I do however acknowledge,
that I am not satisfied with the cold sentiment which would confine the
exertions of the subject within the strict line of duty. I would have
every breast animated with the _fervour_ of loyalty[567]; with that
generous attachment which delights in doing somewhat more than is
required, and makes 'service perfect freedom[568].' And, therefore, as
our most gracious Sovereign, on his accession to the throne, gloried in
being _born a Briton_[569]; so, in my more private sphere, _Ego me nunc_
denique natum, _gratulor_[570]. I am happy that a disputed succession no
longer distracts our minds; and that a monarchy, established by law, is
now so sanctioned by time, that we can fully indulge those feelings of
loyalty which I am ambitious to excite. They are feelings which have
ever actuated the inhabitants of the Highlands and the Hebrides. The
plant of loyalty is there in full vigour, and the Brunswick graft now
flourishes like a native shoot. To that spirited race of people I may
with propriety apply the elegant lines of a modern poet, on the 'facile
temper of the beauteous sex[571]:'--

     'Like birds new-caught, who flutter for a time,
      And struggle with captivity in vain;
      But by-and-by they rest, they smooth their plumes,
      And to _new masters_ sing their former notes[572].'

Surely such notes are much better than the querulous growlings of
suspicious Whigs and discontented Republicans.

       *       *       *       *       *

Kingsburgh conducted us in his boat across one of the lochs, as they
call them, or arms of the sea, which flow in upon all the coasts of
Sky,--to a mile beyond a place called _Grishinish_. Our horses had been
sent round by land to meet us. By this sail we saved eight miles of bad
riding. Dr. Johnson said, 'When we take into computation what we have
saved, and what we have gained, by this agreeable sail, it is a great
deal.' He observed, 'it is very disagreeable riding in Sky. The way is
so narrow, one only at a time can travel, so it is quite unsocial; and
you cannot indulge in meditation by yourself, because you must be always
attending to the steps which your horse takes.' This was a just and
clear description of its inconveniences.

The topick of emigration being again introduced[573], Dr. Johnson said,
that 'a rapacious chief would make a wilderness of his estate.' Mr.
Donald M'Queen told us, that the oppression, which then made so much
noise, was owing to landlords listening to bad advice in the letting of
their lands; that interested and designed[574] people flattered them
with golden dreams of much higher rents than could reasonably be paid:
and that some of the gentlemen _tacksmen_[575], or upper tenants, were
themselves in part the occasion of the mischief, by over-rating the
farms of others. That many of the _tacksmen_, rather than comply with
exorbitant demands, had gone off to America, and impoverished the
country, by draining it of its wealth; and that their places were filled
by a number of poor people, who had lived under them, properly speaking,
as servants, paid by a certain proportion of the produce of the lands,
though called sub-tenants. I observed, that if the men of substance were
once banished from a Highland estate, it might probably be greatly
reduced in its value; for one bad year might ruin a set of poor tenants,
and men of any property would not settle in such a country, unless from
the temptation of getting land extremely cheap; for an inhabitant of any
good county in Britain, had better go to America than to the Highlands
or the Hebrides. Here, therefore, was a consideration that ought to
induce a Chief to act a more liberal part, from a mere motive of
interest, independent of the lofty and honourable principle of keeping a
clan together, to be in readiness to serve his king. I added, that I
could not help thinking a little arbitrary power in the sovereign, to
control the bad policy and greediness of the Chiefs, might sometimes be
of service. In France a Chief would not be permitted to force a number
of the king's subjects out of the country. Dr. Johnson concurred with
me, observing, that 'were an oppressive chieftain a subject of the
French king, he would probably be admonished by a _letter_.[576]'

During our sail, Dr. Johnson asked about the use of the dirk, with which
he imagined the Highlanders cut their meat. He was told, they had a
knife and fork besides, to eat with. He asked, how did the women do? and
was answered, some of them had a knife and fork too; but in general the
men, when they had cut their meat, handed their knives and forks to the
women, and they themselves eat with their fingers. The old tutor of
Macdonald always eat fish with his fingers, alledging that a knife and
fork gave it a bad taste. I took the liberty to observe to Dr. Johnson,
that he did so. 'Yes, said he; but it is because I am short-sighted, and
afraid of bones, for which reason I am not fond of eating many kinds of
fish, because I must use my fingers.'

Dr. M'Pherson's _Dissertations on Scottish Antiquities_, which he had
looked at when at Corrichatachin[577], being mentioned, he remarked,
that 'you might read half an hour, and ask yourself what you had been
reading: there were so many words to so little matter, that there was no
getting through the book.'

As soon as we reached the shore, we took leave of Kingsburgh, and
mounted our horses. We passed through a wild moor, in many places so
soft that we were obliged to walk, which was very fatiguing to Dr.
Johnson. Once he had advanced on horseback to a very bad step. There
was a steep declivity on his left, to which he was so near, that there
was not room for him to dismount in the usual way. He tried to alight on
the other side, as if he had been a _young buck_ indeed, but in the
attempt he fell at his length upon the ground; from which, however, he
got up immediately without being hurt. During this dreary ride, we were
sometimes relieved by a view of branches of the sea, that universal
medium of connection amongst mankind. A guide, who had been sent with us
from Kingsburgh, explored the way (much in the same manner as, I
suppose, is pursued in the wilds of America,) by observing certain marks
known only to the inhabitants. We arrived at Dunvegan late in the
afternoon. The great size of the castle, which is partly old and partly
new, and is built upon a rock close to the sea, while the land around it
presents nothing but wild, moorish, hilly, and craggy appearances, gave
a rude magnificence to the scene. Having dismounted, we ascended a
flight of steps, which was made by the late Macleod, for the
accommodation of persons coming to him by land, there formerly being,
for security, no other access to the castle but from the sea; so that
visitors who came by the land were under the necessity of getting into a
boat, and sailed round to the only place where it could be approached.
We were introduced into a stately dining-room, and received by Lady
Macleod, mother of the laird, who, with his friend Talisker, having been
detained on the road, did not arrive till some time after us.

We found the lady of the house a very polite and sensible woman, who had
lived for some time in London, and had there been in Dr. Johnson's
company. After we had dined, we repaired to the drawing-room, where some
of the young ladies of the family, with their mother, were at tea[578].
This room had formerly been the bed-chamber of Sir Roderick Macleod, one
of the old Lairds; and he chose it, because, behind it, there was a
considerable cascade[579], the sound of which disposed him to sleep.
Above his bed was this inscription: 'Sir Rorie M'Leod of Dunvegan,
Knight. GOD send good rest!' Rorie is the contraction of Roderick. He
was called Rorie _More_, that is, great Rorie, not from his size, but
from his spirit. Our entertainment here was in so elegant a style, and
reminded my fellow-traveller so much of England, that he became quite
joyous. He laughed, and said, 'Boswell, we came in at the wrong end of
this island.' 'Sir, (said I,) it was best to keep this for the last.' He
answered, 'I would have it both first and last.'


Dr. Johnson said in the morning, 'Is not this a fine lady[580]?' There
was not a word now of his 'impatience to be in civilized
life[581];--though indeed I should beg pardon,--he found it here. We had
slept well, and lain long. After breakfast we surveyed the castle, and
the garden. Mr. Bethune, the parish minister,--Magnus M'Leod, of
Claggan, brother to Talisker, and M'Leod of Bay, two substantial
gentlemen of the clan, dined with us. We had admirable venison, generous
wine; in a word, all that a good table has. This was really the hall of
a chief. Lady M'Leod had been much obliged to my father, who had settled
by arbitration a variety of perplexed claims between her and her
relation, the Laird of Brodie, which she now repaid by particular
attention to me. M'Leod started the subject of making women do penance
in the church for fornication. JOHNSON. 'It is right, Sir. Infamy is
attached to the crime, by universal opinion, as soon as it is known. I
would not be the man who would discover it, if I alone knew it, for a
woman may reform; nor would I commend a parson who divulges a woman's
first offence; but being once divulged, it ought to be infamous.
Consider, of what importance to society the chastity of women is. Upon
that all the property in the world depends[582]. We hang a thief for
stealing a sheep; but the unchastity of a woman transfers sheep, and
farm and all, from the right owner. I have much more reverence for a
common prostitute than for a woman who conceals her guilt. The
prostitute is known. She cannot deceive: she cannot bring a strumpet
into the arms of an honest man, without his knowledge. BOSWELL. 'There
is, however, a great difference between the licentiousness of a single
woman, and that of a married woman.' JOHNSON. 'Yes, Sir; there is a
great difference between stealing a shilling, and stealing a thousand
pounds; between simply taking a man's purse, and murdering him first,
and then taking it. But when one begins to be vicious, it is easy to go
on. Where single women are licentious, you rarely find faithful married
women.' BOSWELL. 'And yet we are told that in some nations in India, the
distinction is strictly observed.' JOHNSON. 'Nay, don't give us India.
That puts me in mind of Montesquieu, who is really a fellow of genius
too in many respects; whenever he wants to support a strange opinion, he
quotes you the practice of Japan or of some other distant country of
which he knows nothing. To support polygamy, he tells you of the island
of Formosa, where there are ten women born for one man[583]. He had but
to suppose another island, where there are ten men born for one woman,
and so make a marriage between them.[584]'  At supper, Lady Macleod
mentioned Dr. Cadogan's book on the gout[585]. JOHNSON. 'It is a good
book in general, but a foolish one in particulars. It is good in
general, as recommending temperance and exercise, and cheerfulness. In
that respect it is only Dr. Cheyne's book told in a new way; and there
should come out such a book every thirty years, dressed in the mode of
the times. It is foolish, in maintaining that the gout is not
hereditary, and that one fit of it, when gone, is like a fever when
gone.' Lady Macleod objected that the author does not practise what he
teaches[586]. JOHNSON. 'I cannot help that, madam. That does not make
his book the worse. People are influenced more by what a man says, if
his practice is suitable to it,--because they are blockheads. The more
intellectual people are, the readier will they attend to what a man
tells them. If it is just, they will follow it, be his practice what it
will. No man practises so well as he writes. I have, all my life long,
been lying till noon[587]; yet I tell all young men, and tell them with
great sincerity, that nobody who does not rise early will ever do any
good. Only consider! You read a book; you are convinced by it; you do
not know the authour. Suppose you afterwards know him, and find that he
does not practise what he teaches; are you to give up your former
conviction? At this rate you would be kept in a state of equilibrium,
when reading every book, till you knew how the authour practised.[588]'
'But,' said Lady M'Leod, 'you would think better of Dr. Cadogan, if he
acted according to his principles.' JOHNSON. 'Why, Madam, to be sure, a
man who acts in the face of light, is worse than a man who does not know
so much; yet I think no man should be the worse thought of for
publishing good principles. There is something noble in publishing
truth, though it condemns one's self.[589]' I expressed some surprize at
Cadogan's recommending good humour, as if it were quite in our own power
to attain it. JOHNSON. 'Why, Sir, a man grows better humoured as he
grows older. He improves by experience. When young, he thinks himself of
great consequence, and every thing of importance. As he advances in
life, he learns to think himself of no consequence, and little things of
little importance; and so he becomes more patient, and better pleased.
All good-humour and complaisance are acquired. Naturally a child seizes
directly what it sees, and thinks of pleasing itself only. By degrees,
it is taught to please others, and to prefer others; and that this will
ultimately produce the greatest happiness. If a man is not convinced of
that, he never will practise it. Common language speaks the truth as to
this: we say, a person is well _bred_. As it is said, that all material
motion is primarily in a right line, and is never _per circuitum_, never
in another form, unless by some particular cause; so it may be said
intellectual motion is.' Lady M'Leod asked, if no man was naturally
good? JOHNSON. 'No, Madam, no more than a wolf.' BOSWELL. 'Nor no woman,
Sir?' JOHNSON. 'No, Sir.[590]' Lady M'Leod started at this, saying, in a
low voice, 'This is worse than Swift.'

M'Leod of Ulinish had come in the afternoon. We were a jovial company at
supper. The Laird, surrounded by so many of his clan, was to me a
pleasing sight. They listened with wonder and pleasure, while Dr.
Johnson harangued. I am vexed that I cannot take down his full strain of


The gentlemen of the clan went away early in the morning to the harbour
of Lochbradale, to take leave of some of their friends who were going to
America. It was a very wet day. We looked at Rorie More's horn, which is
a large cow's horn, with the mouth of it ornamented with silver
curiously carved. It holds rather more than a bottle and a half. Every
Laird of M'Leod, it is said, must, as a proof of his manhood, drink it
off full of claret, without laying it down. From Rorie More many of the
branches of the family are descended; in particular, the Talisker
branch; so that his name is much talked of. We also saw his bow, which
hardly any man now can bend, and his _Glaymore>_, which was wielded with
both hands, and is of a prodigious size. We saw here some old pieces of
iron armour, immensely heavy. The broadsword now used, though called the
_Glaymore, (i.e._ the _great sword_) is much smaller than that used in
Rorie More's time. There is hardly a target now to be found in the
Highlands. After the disarming act[591], they made them serve as covers
to their butter-milk barrels; a kind of change, like beating spears into

Sir George Mackenzie's Works (the folio edition) happened to lie in a
window in the dining room. I asked Dr. Johnson to look at the
_Characteres Advocatorum_. He allowed him power of mind, and that he
understood very well what he tells[593]; but said, that there was too
much declamation, and that the Latin was not correct. He found fault
with _appropinquabant_[594], in the character of Gilmour. I tried him
with the opposition between _gloria_ and _palma_, in the comparison
between Gilmour and Nisbet, which Lord Hailes, in his _Catalogue of the
Lords of Session_, thinks difficult to be understood. The words are,
_'penes illum gloria, penes hunc palma_[595].' In a short _Account of
the Kirk of Scotland_, which I published some years ago, I applied these
words to the two contending parties, and explained them thus: 'The
popular party has most eloquence; Dr. Robertson's party most influence.'
I was very desirous to hear Dr. Johnson's explication. JOHNSON. 'I see
no difficulty. Gilmour was admired for his parts; Nisbet carried his
cause by his skill in law. _Palma_ is victory.' I observed, that the
character of Nicholson, in this book resembled that of Burke: for it is
said, in one place, _'in omnes lusos & jocos se saepe resolvebat_[596];'
and, in another, _'sed accipitris more e conspectu aliquando astantium
sublimi se protrahens volatu, in praedam miro impetu descendebat[597]'._
JOHNSON. 'No, Sir; I never heard Burke make a good joke in my
life[598].' BOSWELL. 'But, Sir, you will allow he is a hawk.' Dr.
Johnson, thinking that I meant this of his joking, said, 'No, Sir, he is
not the hawk there. He is the beetle in the mire[599].' I still adhered
to my metaphor,--'But he _soars_ as the hawk.' JOHNSON. 'Yes, Sir; but
he catches nothing.' M'Leod asked, what is the particular excellence of
Burke's eloquence? JOHNSON. 'Copiousness and fertility of allusion; a
power of diversifying his matter, by placing it in various relations.
Burke has great information, and great command of language; though, in
my opinion, it has not in every respect the highest elegance.' BOSWELL.
'Do you think, Sir, that Burke has read Cicero much?' JOHNSON. 'I don't
believe it, Sir. Burke has great knowledge, great fluency of words, and
great promptness of ideas, so that he can speak with great illustration
on any subject that comes before him. He is neither like Cicero, nor
like Demosthenes[600], nor like any one else, but speaks as well as
he can.'

In the 65th page of the first volume of Sir George Mackenzie, Dr.
Johnson pointed out a paragraph beginning with _Aristotle_, and told me
there was an error in the text, which he bade me try to discover. I was
lucky enough to hit it at once. As the passage is printed, it is said
that the devil answers _even_ in _engines_. I corrected it to--_ever_ in
_oenigmas_. 'Sir, (said he,) you are a good critick. This would have
been a great thing to do in the text of an ancient authour.'


Last night much care was taken of Dr. Johnson, who was still distressed
by his cold. He had hitherto most strangely slept without a night-cap.
Miss M'Leod made him a large flannel one, and he was prevailed with to
drink a little brandy when he was going to bed. He has great virtue in
not drinking wine or any fermented liquor, because, as he acknowledged
to us, he could not do it in moderation[601]. Lady M'Leod would hardly
believe him, and said, 'I am sure, Sir, you would not carry it too far.'
JOHNSON. 'Nay, madam, it carried me. I took the opportunity of a long
illness to leave it off. It was then prescribed to me not to drink wine;
and, having broken off the habit, I have never returned to it[602].'

In the argument on Tuesday night, about natural goodness, Dr. Johnson
denied that any child was better than another, but by difference of
instruction; though, in consequence of greater attention being paid to
instruction by one child than another, and of a variety of imperceptible
causes, such as instruction being counteracted by servants, a notion was
conceived, that of two children, equally well educated, one was
naturally much worse than another. He owned, this morning, that one
might have a greater aptitude to learn than another, and that we
inherit dispositions from our parents[603]. 'I inherited, (said he,) a
vile melancholy from my father, which has made me mad all my life, at
least not sober[604].' Lady M'Leod wondered he should tell this. 'Madam,
(said I,) he knows that with that madness he is superior to other men.'

I have often been astonished with what exactness and perspicuity he will
explain the process of any art. He this morning explained to us all the
operation of coining, and, at night, all the operation of brewing, so
very clearly, that Mr. M'Queen said, when he heard the first, he thought
he had been bred in the Mint; when he heard the second, that he had been
bred a brewer.

I was elated by the thought of having been able to entice such a man to
this remote part of the world. A ludicrous, yet just image presented
itself to my mind, which I expressed to the company. I compared myself
to a dog who has got hold of a large piece of meat, and runs away with
it to a corner, where he may devour it in peace, without any fear of
others taking it from him. 'In London, Reynolds, Beauclerk, and all of
them, are contending who shall enjoy Dr. Johnson's conversation. We are
feasting upon it, undisturbed, at Dunvegan.'

It was still a storm of wind and rain. Dr. Johnson however walked out
with M'Leod, and saw Rorie More's cascade in full perfection. Colonel
M'Leod, instead of being all life and gaiety, as I have seen him, was at
present grave, and somewhat depressed by his anxious concern about
M'Leod's affairs, and by finding some gentlemen of the clan by no means
disposed to act a generous or affectionate part to their Chief in his
distress, but bargaining with him as with a stranger. However, he was
agreeable and polite, and Dr. Johnson said, he was a very pleasing man.
My fellow-traveller and I talked of going to Sweden[605]; and, while we
were settling our plan, I expressed a pleasure in the prospect of seeing
the king. JOHNSON. 'I doubt, Sir, if he would speak to us.' Colonel
M'Leod said, 'I am sure Mr. Boswell would speak to _him_.' But, seeing
me a little disconcerted by his remark, he politely added, 'and with
great propriety.' Here let me offer a short defence of that propensity
in my disposition, to which this gentleman alluded. It has procured me
much happiness. I hope it does not deserve so hard a name as either
forwardness or impudence. If I know myself, it is nothing more than an
eagerness to share the society of men distinguished either by their rank
or their talents, and a diligence to attain what I desire[606]. If a man
is praised for seeking knowledge, though mountains and seas are in his
way, may he not be pardoned, whose ardour, in the pursuit of the same
object, leads him to encounter difficulties as great, though of a
different kind?

After the ladies were gone from table, we talked of the Highlanders not
having sheets; and this led us to consider the advantage of wearing
linen. JOHNSON. 'All animal substances are less cleanly than vegetable.
Wool, of which flannel is made, is an animal substance; flannel
therefore is not so cleanly as linen. I remember I used to think tar
dirty; but when I knew it to be only a preparation of the juice of the
pine, I thought so no longer. It is not disagreeable to have the gum
that oozes from a plum-tree upon your fingers, because it is vegetable;
but if you have any candle-grease, any tallow upon your fingers, you are
uneasy till you rub it off. I have often thought, that if I kept a
seraglio, the ladies should all wear linen gowns,--or cotton; I mean
stuffs made of vegetable substances. I would have no silk; you cannot
tell when it is clean: It will be very nasty before it is perceived to
be so. Linen detects its own dirtiness.'

To hear the grave Dr. Samuel Johnson, 'that majestick teacher of moral
and religious wisdom,' while sitting solemn in an armchair in the Isle
of Sky, talk, _ex cathedra_, of his keeping a seraglio[607], and
acknowledge that the supposition had _often_ been in his thoughts,
struck me so forcibly with ludicrous contrast, that I could not but
laugh immoderately. He was too proud to submit, even for a moment, to be
the object of ridicule, and instantly retaliated with such keen
sarcastick wit, and such a variety of degrading images, of every one of
which I was the object, that, though I can bear such attacks as well as
most men, I yet found myself so much the sport of all the company, that
I would gladly expunge from my mind every trace of this severe retort.

Talking of our friend Langton's house in Lincolnshire, he said, 'the old
house of the family was burnt. A temporary building was erected in its
room; and to this day they have been always adding as the family
increased. It is like a shirt made for a man when he was a child, and
enlarged always as he grows older.'

We talked to-night of Luther's allowing the Landgrave of Hesse two
wives, and that it was with the consent of the wife to whom he was first
married. JOHNSON. 'There was no harm in this, so far as she was only
concerned, because _volenti non fit injuria_. But it was an offence
against the general order of society, and against the law of the Gospel,
by which one man and one woman are to be united. No man can have two
wives, but by preventing somebody else from having one.'


After dinner yesterday, we had a conversation upon cunning. M'Leod said
that he was not afraid of cunning people; but would let them play their
tricks about him like monkeys. 'But, (said I,) they'll scratch;' and Mr.
M'Queen added, 'they'll invent new tricks, as soon as you find out what
they do.' JOHNSON. 'Cunning has effect from the credulity of others,
rather than from the abilities of those who are cunning. It requires no
extraordinary talents to lie and deceive[608].' This led us to consider
whether it did not require great abilities to be very wicked. JOHNSON.
'It requires great abilities to have the _power_ of being very wicked;
but not to _be_ very wicked. A man who has the power, which great
abilities procure him, may use it well or ill; and it requires more
abilities to use it well, than to use it ill. Wickedness is always
easier than virtue; for it takes the short cut to every thing. It is
much easier to steal a hundred pounds, than to get it by labour, or any
other way. Consider only what act of wickedness requires great abilities
to commit it, when once the person who is to do it has the power; for
_there_ is the distinction. It requires great abilities to conquer an
army, but none to massacre it after it is conquered.'

The weather this day was rather better than any that we had since we
came to Dunvegan. Mr. M'Queen had often mentioned a curious piece of
antiquity near this, which he called a temple of the Goddess ANAITIS.
Having often talked of going to see it, he and I set out after
breakfast, attended by his servant, a fellow quite like a savage. I must
observe here, that in Sky there seems to be much idleness; for men and
boys follow you, as colts follow passengers upon a road. The usual
figure of a Sky-boy, is a _lown_ with bare legs and feet, a dirty
_kilt_, ragged coat and waistcoat, a bare head, and a stick in his hand,
which, I suppose, is partly to help the lazy rogue to walk, partly to
serve as a kind of a defensive weapon. We walked what is called two
miles, but is probably four, from the castle, till we came to the sacred
place. The country around is a black dreary moor on all sides, except to
the sea-coast, towards which there is a view through a valley; and the
farm of _Bay_ shews some good land. The place itself is green ground,
being well drained by means of a deep glen on each side, in both of
which there runs a rivulet with a good quantity of water, forming
several cascades, which make a considerable appearance and sound. The
first thing we came to was an earthen mound, or dyke, extending from the
one precipice to the other. A little farther on was a strong stone-wall,
not high, but very thick, extending in the same manner. On the outside
of it were the ruins of two houses, one on each side of the entry or
gate to it. The wall is built all along of uncemented stones, but of so
large a size as to make a very firm and durable rampart. It has been
built all about the consecrated ground, except where the precipice is
steep enough to form an inclosure of itself. The sacred spot contains
more than two acres. There are within it the ruins of many houses, none
of them large,--a _cairn_,--and many graves marked by clusters of
stones. Mr. M'Queen insisted that the ruin of a small building, standing
east and west, was actually the temple of the Goddess ANAITIS, where her
statue was kept, and from whence processions were made to wash it in one
of the brooks. There is, it must be owned, a hollow road, visible for a
good way from the entrance; but Mr. M'Queen, with the keen eye of an
antiquary, traced it much farther than I could perceive it. There is not
above a foot and a half in height of the walls now remaining; and the
whole extent of the building was never, I imagine, greater than an
ordinary Highland house. Mr. M'Queen has collected a great deal of
learning on the subject of the temple of ANAITIS; and I had endeavoured,
in my _Journal_, to state such particulars as might give some idea of
it, and of the surrounding scenery; but from the great difficulty of
describing visible objects[609], I found my account so unsatisfactory,
that my readers would probably have exclaimed

     'And write about it, _Goddess_, and about it[610];'

and therefore I have omitted it.

When we got home, and were again at table with Dr. Johnson, we first
talked of portraits. He agreed in thinking them valuable in families. I
wished to know which he preferred, fine portraits, or those of which the
merit was resemblance. JOHNSON. 'Sir, their chief excellence is being
like.' BOSWELL. 'Are you of that opinion as to the portraits of
ancestors, whom one has never seen?' JOHNSON. 'It then becomes of more
consequence that they should be like; and I would have them in the dress
of the times, which makes a piece of history. One should like to see how
_Rorie More_ looked. Truth, Sir, is of the greatest value in these
things[611].' Mr. M'Queen observed, that if you think it of no
consequence whether portraits are like, if they are but well painted,
you may be indifferent whether a piece of history is true or not, if
well told.

Dr. Johnson said at breakfast to-day, 'that it was but of late that
historians bestowed pains and attention in consulting records, to attain
to accuracy[1]. Bacon, in writing his history of Henry VII, does not
seem to have consulted any, but to have just taken what he found in
other histories, and blended it with what he learnt by tradition.' He
agreed with me that there should be a chronicle kept in every
considerable family, to preserve the characters and transactions of
successive generations.

After dinner I started the subject of the temple of ANAITIS. Mr. M'Queen
had laid stress on the name given to the place by the country
people,--_Ainnit_; and added, 'I knew not what to make of this piece of
antiquity, till I met with the _Anaitidis delubrum_ in Lydia, mentioned
by Pausanias and the elder Pliny.' Dr. Johnson, with his usual
acuteness, examined Mr. M'Queen as to the meaning of the word _Ainnit_,
in Erse; and it proved to be a _water-place_, or a place near water,
'which,' said Mr. M'Queen, 'agrees with all the descriptions of the
temples of that goddess, which were situated near rivers, that there
might be water to wash the statue.' JOHNSON. 'Nay, Sir, the argument
from the name is gone. The name is exhausted by what we see. We have no
occasion to go to a distance for what we can pick up under our feet. Had
it been an accidental name, the similarity between it and Anaitis might
have had something in it; but it turns out to be a mere physiological
name.' Macleod said, Mr. M'Queen's knowledge of etymology had destroyed
his conjecture. JOHNSON. 'Yes, Sir; Mr. M'Queen is like the eagle
mentioned by Waller, who was shot with an arrow feather'd from his own
wing[612].' Mr. M'Queen would not, however, give up his conjecture.
JOHNSON. 'You have one possibility for you, and all possibilities
against you. It is possible it may be the temple of Anaitis. But it is
also possible that it may be a fortification; or it may be a place of
Christian worship, as the first Christians often chose remote and wild
places, to make an impression on the mind; or, if it was a heathen
temple, it may have been built near a river, for the purpose of
lustration; and there is such a multitude of divinities, to whom it may
have been dedicated, that the chance of its being a temple of _Anaitis_
is hardly any thing. It is like throwing a grain of sand upon the
sea-shore to-day, and thinking you may find it to-morrow. No, Sir, this
temple, like many an ill-built edifice, tumbles down before it is roofed
in.' In his triumph over the reverend antiquarian, he indulged himself
in a _conceit_; for, some vestige of the _altar_ of the goddess being
much insisted on in support of the hypothesis, he said, 'Mr. M'Queen is
fighting _pro_ aris _et focis'_.

It was wonderful how well time passed in a remote castle, and in dreary
weather. After supper, we talked of Pennant. It was objected that he was
superficial. Dr. Johnson defended him warmly[613]. He said, 'Pennant has
greater variety of enquiry than almost any man, and has told us more
than perhaps one in ten thousand could have done, in the time that he
took. He has not said what he was to tell; so you cannot find fault with
him, for what he has not told. If a man comes to look for fishes, you
cannot blame him if he does not attend to fowls.' 'But,' said Colonel
M'Leod, 'he mentions the unreasonable rise of rents in the Highlands,
and says, "the gentlemen are for emptying the bag, without filling
it[614];" for that is the phrase he uses. Why does he not tell how to
fill it?' JOHNSON. 'Sir, there is no end of negative criticism. He tells
what he observes, and as much as he chooses. If he tells what is not
true, you may find fault with him; but, though he tells that the land is
not well cultivated, he is not obliged to tell how it may be well
cultivated. If I tell that many of the Highlanders go bare-footed, I am
not obliged to tell how they may get shoes. Pennant tells a fact. He
need go no farther, except he pleases. He exhausts nothing; and no
subject whatever has yet been exhausted. But Pennant has surely told a
great deal. Here is a man six feet high, and you are angry because he is
not seven.' Notwithstanding this eloquent _Oratio pro Pennantio_, which
they who have read this gentleman's _Tours_, and recollect the _Savage_
and the _Shopkeeper_ at _Monboddo_[615], will probably impute to the
spirit of contradiction, I still think that he had better have given
more attention to fewer things, than have thrown together such a number
of imperfect accounts.


Before breakfast, Dr. Johnson came up to my room to forbid me to mention
that this was his birthday; but I told him I had done it already; at
which he was displeased[616]; I suppose from wishing to have nothing
particular done on his account. Lady M'Leod and I got into a warm
dispute. She wanted to build a house upon a farm which she has taken,
about five miles from the castle, and to make gardens and other
ornaments there; all of which I approved of; but insisted that the seat
of the family should always be upon the rock of Dunvegan. JOHNSON. 'Ay,
in time we'll build all round this rock. You may make a very good house
at the farm; but it must not be such as to tempt the Laird of M'Leod to
go thither to reside. Most of the great families in England have a
secondary residence, which is called a jointure-house: let the new house
be of that kind.' The lady insisted that the rock was very inconvenient;
that there was no place near it where a good garden could be made; that
it must always be a rude place; that it was a _Herculean_ labour to make
a dinner here. I was vexed to find the alloy of modern refinement in a
lady who had so much old family spirit. 'Madam, (said I,) if once you
quit this rock, there is no knowing where you may settle. You move five
miles first;--then to St. Andrews, as the late Laird did;--then to
Edinburgh;--and so on till you end at Hampstead, or in France. No, no;
keep to the rock: it is the very jewel of the estate. It looks as if it
had been let down from heaven by the four corners, to be the residence
of a Chief. Have all the comforts and conveniences of life upon it, but
never leave Rorie More's cascade.' 'But, (said she,) is it not enough if
we keep it? Must we never have more convenience than Rorie More had? he
had his beef brought to dinner in one basket, and his bread in another.
Why not as well be Rorie More all over, as live upon his rock? And
should not we tire, in looking perpetually on this rock? It is very well
for you, who have a fine place, and every thing easy, to talk thus, and
think of chaining honest folks to a rock. You would not live upon it
yourself.' 'Yes, Madam, (said I,) I would live upon it, were I Laird of
M'Leod, and should be unhappy if I were not upon it.' JOHNSON. (with a
strong voice, and most determined manner), 'Madam, rather than quit the
old rock, Boswell would live in the pit; he would make his bed in the
dungeon.' I felt a degree of elation, at finding my resolute feudal
enthusiasm thus confirmed by such a sanction. The lady was puzzled a
little. She still returned to her pretty farm,--rich ground,--fine
garden. 'Madam, (said Dr. Johnson,) were they in Asia, I would not leave
the rock.' My opinion on this subject is still the same. An ancient
family residence ought to be a primary object; and though the situation
of Dunvegan be such that little can be done here in gardening, or
pleasure-ground, yet, in addition to the veneration required by the
lapse of time, it has many circumstances of natural grandeur, suited to
the seat of a Highland Chief: it has the sea--islands--rocks,--hills,
--a noble cascade; and when the family is again in opulence, something
may be done by art.  Mr. Donald M'Queen went away to-day, in order to
preach at Bracadale next day. We were so comfortably situated at
Dunvegan, that Dr. Johnson could hardly be moved from it. I proposed to
him that we should leave it on Monday. 'No, Sir, (said he,) I will not
go before Wednesday. I will have some more of this good[617].' However,
as the weather was at this season so bad, and so very uncertain, and we
had a great deal to do yet, Mr. M'Queen and I prevailed with him to
agree to set out on Monday, if the day should be good. Mr. M'Queen,
though it was inconvenient for him to be absent from his harvest,
engaged to wait on Monday at Ulinish for us. When he was going away, Dr.
Johnson said, 'I shall ever retain a great regard for you[618];' then
asked him if he had _The Rambler_. Mr. M'Queen said, 'No; but my brother
has it.' JOHNSON. 'Have you _The Idler_? M'QUEEN. 'No, Sir.' JOHNSON.
'Then I will order one for you at Edinburgh, which you will keep in
remembrance of me.' Mr. M'Queen was much pleased with this. He expressed
to me, in the strongest terms, his admiration of Dr. Johnson's wonderful
knowledge, and every other quality for which he is distinguished. I
asked Mr. M'Queen, if he was satisfied with being a minister in Sky. He
said he was; but he owned that his forefathers having been so long
there, and his having been born there, made a chief ingredient in
forming his contentment. I should have mentioned that on our left hand,
between Portree and Dr. Macleod's house, Mr. M'Queen told me there had
been a college of the Knights Templars; that tradition said so; and that
there was a ruin remaining of their church, which had been burnt: but I
confess Dr. Johnson has weakened my belief in remote tradition. In the
dispute about _Anaitis_, Mr. M'Queen said, Asia Minor was peopled by
Scythians, and, as they were the ancestors of the Celts, the same
religion might be in Asia Minor and Sky. JOHNSON. 'Alas! Sir, what can a
nation that has not letters tell of its original. I have always
difficulty to be patient when I hear authours gravely quoted, as giving
accounts of savage nations, which accounts they had from the savages
themselves. What can the _M'Craas_[619] tell about themselves a thousand
years ago? There is no tracing the connection of ancient nations, but by
language; and therefore I am always sorry when any language is lost,
because languages are the pedigree of nations[620]. If you find the same
language in distant countries, you may be sure that the inhabitants of
each have been the same people; that is to say, if you find the
languages a good deal the same; for a word here and there being the
same, will not do. Thus Butler, in his _Hudibras_, remembering that
_Penguin_, in the Straits of Magellan, signifies a bird with a white
head, and that the same word has, in Wales, the signification of a
white-headed wench, (_pen_ head, and _guin_ white,) by way of ridicule,
concludes that the people of those Straits are Welsh[621].'

A young gentleman of the name of M'Lean, nephew to the Laird of the isle
of Muck, came this morning; and, just as we sat down to dinner, came the
Laird of the isle, of Muck himself, his lady, sister to Talisker, two
other ladies their relations, and a daughter of the late M'Leod of
Hamer, who wrote a treatise on the second sight, under the designation
of THEOPHILUS INSULANUS[622]. It was somewhat droll to hear this Laird
called by his title. _Muck_ would have sounded ill; so he was called
_Isle of Muck_, which went off with great readiness. The name, as now
written, is unseemly, but it is not so bad in the original Erse, which
is _Mouach_, signifying the Sows' Island. Buchanan calls it INSULA
PORCORUM. It is so called from its form. Some call it Isle of _Monk_.
The Laird insists that this is the proper name. It was formerly
church-land belonging to Icolmkill, and a hermit lived in it. It is two
miles long, and about three quarters of a mile broad. The Laird said, he
had seven score of souls upon it. Last year he had eighty persons
inoculated, mostly children, but some of them eighteen years of age. He
agreed with the surgeon to come and do it, at half a crown a head. It is
very fertile in corn, of which they export some; and its coasts abound
in fish. A taylor comes there six times in a year. They get a good
blacksmith from the isle of Egg.


It was rather worse weather than any that we had yet. At breakfast Dr.
Johnson said, 'Some cunning men choose fools for their wives, thinking
to manage them, but they always fail. There is a spaniel fool and a mule
fool. The spaniel fool may be made to do by beating. The mule fool will
neither do by words or blows; and the spaniel fool often turns mule at
last: and suppose a fool to be made do pretty well, you must have the
continual trouble of making her do. Depend upon it, no woman is the
worse for sense and knowledge.[623]' Whether afterwards he meant merely
to say a polite thing, or to give his opinion, I could not be sure; but
he added, 'Men know that women are an over-match for them, and therefore
they choose the weakest or most ignorant. If they did not think so, they
never could be afraid of women knowing as much as themselves.'[624] In
justice to the sex, I think it but candid to acknowledge, that, in a
subsequent conversation, he told me that he was serious in what he
had said.

He came to my room this morning before breakfast, to read my Journal,
which he has done all along. He often before said, 'I take great delight
in reading it.' To-day he said, 'You improve: it grows better and
better.' I observed, there was a danger of my getting a habit of writing
in a slovenly manner. 'Sir,' said he, 'it is not written in a slovenly
manner. It might be printed, were the subject fit for printing[625].'
While Mr. Beaton preached to us in the dining-room, Dr. Johnson sat in
his own room, where I saw lying before him a volume of Lord Bacon's
works, _The Decay of Christian Piety_, Monboddo's _Origin of Language_,
and Sterne's _Sermons_[626]. He asked me to-day how it happened that we
were so little together: I told him, my Journal took up much time. Yet,
on reflection, it appeared strange to me, that although I will run from
one end of London to another to pass an hour with him, I should omit to
seize any spare time to be in his company, when I am settled in the same
house with him. But my Journal is really a task of much time and labour,
and he forbids me to contract it.

I omitted to mention, in its place, that Dr. Johnson told Mr. M'Queen
that he had found the belief of the second sight universal in Sky,
except among the clergy, who seemed determined against it. I took the
liberty to observe to Mr. M'Queen, that the clergy were actuated by a
kind of vanity. 'The world, (say they,) takes us to be credulous men in
a remote corner. We'll shew them that we are more enlightened than they
think.' The worthy man said, that his disbelief of it was from his not
finding sufficient evidence; but I could perceive that he was prejudiced
against it[627].

After dinner to-day, we talked of the extraordinary fact of Lady
Grange's being sent to St. Kilda, and confined there for several years,
without any means of relief[628]. Dr. Johnson said, if M'Leod would let
it be known that he had such a place for naughty ladies, he might make
it a very profitable island. We had, in the course of our tour, heard of
St. Kilda poetry. Dr. Johnson observed, 'it must be very poor, because
they have very few images.' BOSWELL. 'There may be a poetical genius
shewn in combining these, and in making poetry of them.' JOHNSON. 'Sir,
a man cannot make fire but in proportion as he has fuel. He cannot coin
guineas but in proportion as he has gold.' At tea he talked of his
intending to go to Italy in 1775. M'Leod said, he would like Paris
better. JOHNSON. 'No, Sir; there are none of the French literati now
alive, to visit whom I would cross a sea. I can find in Buffon's book
all that he can say[629].'

After supper he said, 'I am sorry that prize-fighting is gone out[630];
every art should be preserved, and the art of defence is surely
important. It is absurd that our soldiers should have swords, and not be
taught the use of them. Prize-fighting made people accustomed not to be
alarmed at seeing their own blood, or feeling a little pain from a
wound. I think the heavy _glaymore_ was an ill-contrived weapon. A man
could only strike once with it. It employed both his hands, and he must
of course be soon fatigued with wielding it; so that if his antagonist
could only keep playing a while, he was sure of him. I would fight with
a dirk against Rorie More's sword. I could ward off a blow with a dirk,
and then run in upon my enemy. When within that heavy sword, I have him;
he is quite helpless, and I could stab him at my leisure, like a calf.
It is thought by sensible military men, that the English do not enough
avail themselves of their superior strength of body against the French;
for that must always have a great advantage in pushing with bayonets. I
have heard an officer say, that if women could be made to stand, they
would do as well as men in a mere interchange of bullets from a
distance: but, if a body of men should come close up to them, then to be
sure they must be overcome; now, (said he,) in the same manner the
weaker-bodied French must be overcome by our strong soldiers.'

The subject of duelling was introduced[631] JOHNSON. 'There is no case
in England where one or other of the combatants _must_ die: if you have
overcome your adversary by disarming him, that is sufficient, though you
should not kill him; your honour, or the honour of your family, is
restored, as much as it can be by a duel. It is cowardly to force your
antagonist to renew the combat, when you know that you have the
advantage of him by superior skill. You might just as well go and cut
his throat while he is asleep in his bed. When a duel begins, it is
supposed there may be an equality; because it is not always skill that
prevails. It depends much on presence of mind; nay on accidents. The
wind may be in a man's face. He may fall. Many such things may decide
the superiority. A man is sufficiently punished, by being called out,
and subjected to the risk that is in a duel.' But on my suggesting that
the injured person is equally subjected to risk, he fairly owned he
could not explain the rationality of duelling.


When I awaked, the storm was higher still. It abated about nine, and the
sun shone; but it rained again very soon, and it was not a day for
travelling. At breakfast, Dr. Johnson told us, 'there was once a pretty
good tavern in Catherine-street in the Strand, where very good company
met in an evening, and each man called for his own half-pint of wine, or
gill, if he pleased; they were frugal men, and nobody paid but for what
he himself drank. The house furnished no supper; but a woman attended
with mutton-pies, which any body might purchase. I was introduced to
this company by Cumming the Quaker[632], and used to go there sometimes
when I drank wine. In the last age, when my mother lived in London,
there were two sets of people, those who gave the wall, and those who
took it; the peaceable and the quarrelsome. When I returned to
Lichfield, after having been in London, my mother asked me whether I was
one of those who gave the wall, or those who took it. Now, it is fixed
that every man keeps to the right; or, if one is taking the wall,
another yields it, and it is never a dispute[633].' He was very severe
on a lady, whose name was mentioned. He said, he would have sent her to
St. Kilda. That she was as bad as negative badness could be, and stood
in the way of what was good: that insipid beauty would not go a great
way; and that such a woman might be cut out of a cabbage, if there was a
skilful artificer.

M'Leod was too late in coming to breakfast. Dr. Johnson said, laziness
was worse than the tooth-ach. BOSWELL. 'I cannot agree with you, Sir; a
bason of cold water or a horse whip will cure laziness.' JOHNSON. 'No,
Sir, it will only put off the fit; it will not cure the disease. I have
been trying to cure my laziness all my life, and could not do it.'
BOSWELL. 'But if a man does in a shorter time what might be the labour
of a life, there is nothing to be said against him.' JOHNSON (perceiving
at once that I alluded to him and his _Dictionary_). 'Suppose that
flattery to be true, the consequence would be, that the world would have
no right to censure a man; but that will not justify him to

After breakfast, he said to me, 'A Highland Chief should now endeavour
to do every thing to raise his rents, by means of the industry of his
people. Formerly, it was right for him to have his house full of idle
fellows; they were his defenders, his servants, his dependants, his
friends. Now they may be better employed. The system of things is now so
much altered, that the family cannot have influence but by riches,
because it has no longer the power of ancient feudal times. An
individual of a family may have it; but it cannot now belong to a
family, unless you could have a perpetuity of men with the same views.
M'Leod has four times the land that the Duke of Bedford has. I think,
with his spirit, he may in time make himself the greatest man in the
King's dominions; for land may always be improved to a certain degree. I
would never have any man sell land, to throw money into the funds, as is
often done, or to try any other species of trade. Depend upon it, this
rage of trade will destroy itself. You and I shall not see it; but the
time will come when there will be an end of it. Trade is like gaming. If
a whole company are gamesters, play must cease; for there is nothing to
be won. When all nations are traders, there is nothing to be gained by
trade[635], and it will stop first where it is brought to the greatest
perfection. Then the proprietors of land only will be the great men.' I
observed, it was hard that M'Leod should find ingratitude in so many of
his people. JOHNSON. 'Sir, gratitude is a fruit of great cultivation;
you do not find it among gross people.' I doubt of this. Nature seems to
have implanted gratitude in all living creatures[636]. The lion,
mentioned by Aulus Gellius, had it[637]. It appears to me that culture,
which brings luxury and selfishness with it, has a tendency rather to
weaken than promote this affection.

Dr. Johnson said this morning, when talking of our setting out, that he
was in the state in which Lord Bacon represents kings. He desired the
end, but did not like the means[638]. He wished much to get home, but
was unwilling to travel in Sky. 'You are like kings too in this, Sir,
(said I,) that you must act under the direction of others.'


The uncertainty of our present situation having prevented me from
receiving any letters from home for some time, I could not help being
uneasy. Dr. Johnson had an advantage over me, in this respect, he having
no wife or child to occasion anxious apprehensions in his mind[639]. It
was a good morning; so we resolved to set out. But, before quitting this
castle, where we have been so well entertained, let me give a short
description of it.

Along the edge of the rock, there are the remains of a wall, which is
now covered with ivy. A square court is formed by buildings of different
ages, particularly some towers, said to be of great antiquity; and at
one place there is a row of false cannon of stone[640]. There is a very
large unfinished pile, four stories high, which we were told was here
when _Leod_, the first of this family, came from the Isle of Man,
married the heiress of the M'Crails, the ancient possessors of Dunvegan,
and afterwards acquired by conquest as much land as he had got by
marriage. He surpassed the house of Austria; for he was _felix_ both
_bella gerere_ et _nubere_[641]. John _Breck_ M'Leod, the grandfather of
the late laird, began to repair the castle, or rather to complete it:
but he did not live to finish his undertaking[642]. Not doubting,
however, that he should do it, he, like those who have had their
epitaphs written before they died, ordered the following inscription,
composed by the minister of the parish, to be cut upon a broad stone
above one of the lower windows, where it still remains to celebrate what
was not done, and to serve as a memento of the uncertainty of life, and
the presumption of man:--

'Joannes Macleod Beganoduni Dominus gentis suae Philarchus[643],
Durinesiae Haraiae Vaternesiae, &c.: Baro D. Florae Macdonald
matrimoniali vinculo conjugatus turrem hanc Beganodunensem proavorum
habitaculum longe vetustissimum diu penitus labefectatam Anno aerae
vulgaris MDCLXXXVI. instauravit.

     'Quem stabilire juvat proavorum tecta vetusta,
      Omne scelus fugiat, justitiamque colat.
      Vertit in aerias turres magalia virtus,
      Inque casas humiles tecta superba nefas.'

M'Leod and Talisker accompanied us. We passed by the parish church of
_Durinish_. The church-yard is not inclosed, but a pretty murmuring
brook runs along one side of it. In it is a pyramid erected to the
memory of Thomas Lord Lovat, by his son Lord Simon, who suffered on
Tower-hill[644]. It is of free-stone, and, I suppose, about thirty feet
high. There is an inscription on a piece of white marble inserted in it,
which I suspect to have been the composition of Lord Lovat himself,
being much in his pompous style:--

'This pyramid was erected by SIMON LORD FRASER of LOVAT, in honour of
Lord THOMAS his Father, a Peer of Scotland, and Chief of the great and
ancient Clan of the FRASERS. Being attacked for his birthright by the
family of ATHOLL, then in power and favour with KING WILLIAM, yet, by
the valour and fidelity of his clan, and the assistance of the
CAMPBELLS, the old friends and allies of his family, he defended his
birthright with such greatness and fermety of soul, and such valour and
activity, that he was an honour to his name, and a good pattern to all
brave Chiefs of clans. He died in the month of May, 1699, in the 63rd
year of his age, in Dunvegan, the house of the LAIRD of MAC LEOD, whose
sister he had married: by whom he had the above SIMON LORD FRASER, and
several other children. And, for the great love he bore to the family of
MAC LEOD, he desired to be buried near his wife's relations, in the
place where two of her uncles lay. And his son LORD SIMON, to shew to
posterity his great affection for his mother's kindred, the brave MAC
LEODS, chooses rather to leave his father's bones with them, than carry
them to his own burial-place, near Lovat.'

I have preserved this inscription[645], though of no great value,
thinking it characteristical of a man who has made some noise in the
world. Dr. Johnson said, it was poor stuff, such as Lord Lovat's butler
might have written.

I observed, in this church-yard, a parcel of people assembled at a
funeral, before the grave was dug. The coffin, with the corpse in it,
was placed on the ground, while the people alternately assisted in
making a grave. One man, at a little distance, was busy cutting a long
turf for it, with the crooked spade which is used in Sky; a very aukward
instrument. The iron part of it is like a plough-coulter. It has a rude
tree for a handle, in which a wooden pin is placed for the foot to press
upon. A traveller might, without further enquiry, have set this down as
the mode of burying in Sky. I was told, however, that the usual way is
to have a grave previously dug.

I observed to-day, that the common way of carrying home their grain here
is in loads on horseback. They have also a few sleds, or _cars_, as we
call them in Ayrshire, clumsily made, and rarely used[646].

We got to Ulinish about six o'clock, and found a very good farm-house,
of two stories. Mr. M'Leod of Ulinish, the sheriff-substitute of the
island, was a plain honest gentleman, a good deal like an English
Justice of peace; not much given to talk, but sufficiently sagacious,
and somewhat droll. His daughter, though she was never out of Sky, was a
very well-bred woman. Our reverend friend, Mr. Donald M'Queen, kept his
appointment, and met us here.

Talking of Phipps's voyage to the North Pole, Dr. Johnson observed, that
it 'was conjectured that our former navigators have kept too near land,
and so have found the sea frozen far north, because the land hinders the
free motion of the tide; but, in the wide ocean, where the waves tumble
at their full convenience, it is imagined that the frost does not take


In the morning I walked out, and saw a ship, the Margaret of Clyde, pass
by with a number of emigrants on board. It was a melancholy sight. After
breakfast, we went to see what was called a subterraneous house, about a
mile off. It was upon the side of a rising ground. It was discovered by
a fox's having taken up his abode in it, and in chasing him, they dug
into it. It was very narrow and low, and seemed about forty feet in
length. Near it, we found the foundations of several small huts, built
of stone. Mr. M'Queen, who is always for making every thing as ancient
as possible, boasted that it was the dwelling of some of the first
inhabitants of the island, and observed, what a curiosity it was to find
here a specimen of the houses of the _Aborigines_, which he believed
could be found no where else; and it was plain that they lived without
fire. Dr. Johnson remarked, that they who made this were not in the
rudest state; for that it was more difficult to make _it_ than to build
a house; therefore certainly those who made it were in possession of
houses, and had this only as a hiding-place. It appeared to me, that the
vestiges of houses, just by it, confirmed Dr. Johnson's opinion.

From an old tower, near this place, is an extensive view of
Loch-Braccadil, and, at a distance, of the isles of Barra and South
Uist; and on the land-side, the _Cuillin_, a prodigious range of
mountains, capped with rocky pinnacles in a strange variety of shapes.
They resemble the mountains near Corté in Corsica, of which there is a
very good print. They make part of a great range for deer, which, though
entirely devoid of trees, is in these countries called a _forest_.

In the afternoon, Ulinish carried us in his boat to an island possessed
by him, where we saw an immense cave, much more deserving the title of
_antrum immane_[648] than that of the Sybil described by Virgil, which I
likewise have visited. It is one hundred and eighty feet long, about
thirty feet broad, and at least thirty feet high. This cave, we were
told, had a remarkable echo; but we found none[649]. They said it was
owing to the great rains having made it damp. Such are the excuses by
which the exaggeration of Highland narratives is palliated. There is a
plentiful garden at Ulinish, (a great rarity in Sky,) and several trees;
and near the house is a hill, which has an Erse name, signifying, _'the
hill of strife'_, where, Mr. M'Queen informed us, justice was of old
administered. It is like the _mons placiti_ of Scone, or those hills
which are called _laws_[650], such as Kelly _law_, North Berwick _law_,
and several others. It is singular that this spot should happen now to
be the sheriff's residence.

We had a very cheerful evening, and Dr. Johnson talked a good deal on
the subject of literature. Speaking of the noble family of Boyle, he
said, that all the Lord Orrerys, till the present, had been writers.
The first wrote several plays[651]; the second[652] was Bentley's
antagonist; the third[653] wrote the _Life of Swift_, and several other
things; his son Hamilton wrote some papers in the _Adventurer_ and
_World_. He told us, he was well acquainted with Swift's Lord Orrery. He
said, he was a feebleminded man; that, on the publication of Dr.
Delany's _Remarks_ on his book, he was so much alarmed that he was
afraid to read them. Dr. Johnson comforted him, by telling him they were
both in the right; that Delany had seen most of the good side of
Swift,--Lord Orrery most of the bad. M'Leod asked, if it was not wrong
in Orrery to expose the defects of a man with whom he lived in intimacy.
JOHNSON. 'Why no, Sir, after the man is dead; for then it is done
historically[654].' He added, 'If Lord Orrery had been rich, he would
have been a very liberal patron. His conversation was like his writings,
neat and elegant, but without strength. He grasped at more than his
abilities could reach; tried to pass for a better talker, a better
writer, and a better thinker than he was[655]. There was a quarrel
between him and his father, in which his father was to blame; because it
arose from the son's not allowing his wife to keep company with his
father's mistress. The old lord shewed his resentment in his
will[656],--leaving his library from his son, and assigning, as his
reason, that he could not make use of it.'

I mentioned the affectation of Orrery, in ending all his letters on the
_Life of Swift_ in studied varieties of phrase[657], and never in the
common mode of _'I am'_, &c., an observation which I remember to have
been made several years ago by old Mr. Sheridan. This species of
affectation in writing, as a foreign lady of distinguished talents once
remarked to me, is almost peculiar to the English. I took up a volume of
Dryden, containing the CONQUEST of GRANADA, and several other plays, of
which all the dedications had such studied conclusions. Dr. Johnson
said, such conclusions were more elegant, and in addressing persons of
high rank, (as when Dryden dedicated to the Duke of York[658],) they
were likewise more respectful. I agreed that _there_ it was much better:
it was making his escape from the Royal presence with a genteel sudden
timidity, in place of having the resolution to stand still, and make a
formal bow.

Lord Orrery's unkind treatment of his son in his will, led us to talk of
the dispositions a man should have when dying. I said, I did not see why
a man should act differently with respect to those of whom he thought
ill when in health, merely because he was dying. JOHNSON. 'I should not
scruple to speak against a party, when dying; but should not do it
against an individual. It is told of Sixtus Quintus, that on his
death-bed, in the intervals of his last pangs, he signed
death-warrants[659].' Mr. M'Queen said, he should not do so; he would
have more tenderness of heart. JOHNSON. 'I believe I should not either;
but Mr. M'Queen and I are cowards[660]. It would not be from tenderness
of heart; for the heart is as tender when a man is in health as when he
is sick, though his resolution may be stronger[661]. Sixtus Quintus was
a sovereign as well as a priest; and, if the criminals deserved death,
he was doing his duty to the last. You would not think a judge died ill,
who should be carried off by an apoplectick fit while pronouncing
sentence of death. Consider a class of men whose business it is to
distribute death:--soldiers, who die scattering bullets. Nobody thinks
they die ill on that account.'

Talking of Biography, he said, he did not think that the life of any
literary man in England had been well written[662]. Beside the common
incidents of life, it should tell us his studies, his mode of living,
the means by which he attained to excellence, and his opinion of his own
works. He told us, he had sent Derrick to Dryden's relations, to gather
materials for his Life[663]; and he believed Derrick[664] had got all
that he himself should have got; but it was nothing. He added, he had a
kindness for Derrick, and was sorry he was dead.

His notion as to the poems published by Mr. M'Pherson, as the works of
Ossian, was not shaken here. Mr. M'Queen always evaded the point of
authenticity, saying only that Mr. M'Pherson's pieces fell far short of
those he knew in Erse, which were said to be Ossian's. JOHNSON. 'I hope
they do. I am not disputing that you may have poetry of great merit; but
that M'Pherson's is not a translation from ancient poetry. You do not
believe it. I say before you, you do not believe it, though you are very
willing that the world should believe it.' Mr. M'Queen made no answer
to this[665]. Dr. Johnson proceeded. 'I look upon M'Pherson's _Fingal_
to be as gross an imposition as ever the world was troubled with. Had it
been really an ancient work, a true specimen how men thought at that
time, it would have been a curiosity of the first rate. As a modern
production, it is nothing.' He said, he could never get the meaning of
an _Erse_ song explained to him[666]. They told him, the chorus was
generally unmeaning. 'I take it, (said he,) Erse songs are like a song
which I remember: it was composed in Queen Elizabeth's time, on the Earl
of Essex: and the burthen was

     "Radaratoo, radarate, radara tadara tandore."'

'But surely,' said Mr. M'Queen, 'there were words to it, which had
meaning.' JOHNSON. 'Why, yes, Sir; I recollect a stanza, and you shall
have it:--

     "O! then bespoke the prentices all,
      Living in London, both proper and tall,
      For Essex's sake they would fight all.
        Radaratoo, radarate, radara, tadara, tandore[667]."'

When Mr. M'Queen began again to expatiate on the beauty of Ossian's
poetry, Dr. Johnson entered into no farther controversy, but, with a
pleasant smile, only cried, 'Ay, ay; _Radaratoo radarate'_.


I took _Fingal_ down to the parlour in the morning, and tried a test
proposed by Mr. Roderick M'Leod, son to Ulinish. Mr. M'Queen had said he
had some of the poem in the original. I desired him to mention any
passage in the printed book, of which he could repeat the original. He
pointed out one in page 50 of the quarto edition, and read the Erse,
while Mr. Roderick M'Leod and I looked on the English;--and Mr. M'Leod
said, that it was pretty like what Mr. M'Queen had recited. But when Mr.
M'Queen read a description of Cuchullin's sword in Erse, together with a
translation of it in English verse, by Sir James Foulis, Mr. M'Leod
said, that was much more like than Mr. M'Pherson's translation of the
former passage. Mr. M'Queen then repeated in Erse a description of one
of the horses in Cuchillin's car. Mr. M'Leod said, Mr. M'Pherson's
English was nothing like it.

When Dr. Johnson came down, I told him that I had now obtained some
evidence concerning _Fingal_; for that Mr. M'Queen had repeated a
passage in the original Erse, which Mr. M'Pherson's translation was
pretty like; and reminded him that he himself had once said, he did not
require Mr. M'Pherson's _Ossian_ to be more like the original than
Pope's _Homer_. JOHNSON. 'Well, Sir, this is just what I always
maintained. He has found names, and stories, and phrases, nay, passages
in old songs, and with them has blended his own compositions, and so
made what he gives to the world as the translation of an ancient poem.'
If this was the case, I observed, it was wrong to publish it as a poem
in six books. JOHNSON. 'Yes, Sir; and to ascribe it to a time too when
the Highlanders knew nothing of _books_, and nothing of _six_;--or
perhaps were got the length of counting six. We have been told, by
Condamine, of a nation that could count no more than four[668]. This
should be told to Monboddo; it would help him. There is as much charity
in helping a man down-hill, as in helping him up-hill.' BOSWELL. 'I
don't think there is as much charity.' JOHNSON. 'Yes, Sir, if his
_tendency_ be downwards. Till he is at the bottom he flounders; get him
once there, and he is quiet. Swift tells, that Stella had a trick, which
she learned from Addison, of encouraging a man in absurdity, instead of
endeavouring to extricate him[669].'

Mr. M'Queen's answers to the inquiries concerning _Ossian_ were so
unsatisfactory, that I could not help observing, that, were he examined
in a court of justice, he would find himself under a necessity of being
more explicit. JOHNSON. 'Sir, he has told Blair a little too much, which
is published[670]; and he sticks to it. He is so much at the head of
things here, that he has never been accustomed to be closely examined;
and so he goes on quite smoothly.' BOSWELL. 'He has never had any body
to work[671] him.' JOHNSON. 'No, Sir; and a man is seldom disposed to
work himself; though he ought to work himself, to be sure.' Mr. M'Queen
made no reply[672].

Having talked of the strictness with which witnesses are examined in
courts of justice, Dr. Johnson told us, that Garrick, though accustomed
to face multitudes, when produced as a witness in Westminster-hall, was
so disconcerted by a new mode of public appearance, that he could not
understand what was asked[673]. It was a cause where an actor claimed a
_free benefit_; that is to say, a benefit without paying the expence of
the house; but the meaning of the term was disputed. Garrick was asked,
'Sir, have you a free benefit?' 'Yes.' 'Upon what terms have you it?'
'Upon-the terms-of-a free benefit.' He was dismissed as one from whom no
information could be obtained. Dr. Johnson is often too hard on our
friend Mr. Garrick. When I asked him why he did not mention him in the
Preface to his _Shakspeare_[674] he said, 'Garrick has been liberally
paid for any thing he has done for Shakspeare. If I should praise him, I
should much more praise the nation who paid him. He has not made
Shakspeare better known[675]; he cannot illustrate Shakspeare; so I have
reasons enough against mentioning him, were reasons necessary. There
should be reasons _for_ it.' I spoke of Mrs. Montague's very high
praises of Garrick[676]. JOHNSON. 'Sir, it is fit she should say so
much, and I should say nothing. Reynolds is fond of her book, and I
wonder at it; for neither I, nor Beauclerk, nor Mrs. Thrale, could get
through it[677].'  Last night Dr. Johnson gave us an account of the
whole process of tanning and of the nature of milk, and the various
operations upon it, as making whey, &c. His variety of information is
surprizing[678]; and it gives one much satisfaction to find such a man
bestowing his attention on the useful arts of life. Ulinish was much
struck with his knowledge; and said, 'He is a great orator, Sir; it is
musick to hear this man speak.' A strange thought struck me, to try if
he knew any thing of an art, or whatever it should be called, which is
no doubt very useful in life, but which lies far out of the way of a
philosopher and a poet; I mean the trade of a butcher. I enticed him
into the subject, by connecting it with the various researches into the
manners and customs of uncivilized nations, that have been made by our
late navigators into the South Seas. I began with observing, that Mr.
(now Sir Joseph) Banks tells us, that the art of slaughtering animals
was not known in Otaheité, for, instead of bleeding to death their
dogs, (a common food with them,) they strangle them. This he told me
himself; and I supposed that their hogs were killed in the same way. Dr.
Johnson said, 'This must be owing to their not having knives,--though
they have sharp stones with which they can cut a carcase in pieces
tolerably.' By degrees, he shewed that he knew something even of
butchery. 'Different animals (said he) are killed differently. An ox is
knocked down, and a calf stunned; but a sheep has its throat cut,
without any thing being done to stupify it. The butchers have no view to
the ease of the animals, but only to make them quiet, for their own
safety and convenience. A sheep can give them little trouble. Hales[679]
is of opinion, that every animal should be blooded, without having any
blow given to it, because it bleeds better.' BOSWELL. 'That would be
cruel.' JOHNSON. 'No, Sir; there is not much pain, if the jugular vein
be properly cut.' Pursuing the subject, he said, the kennels of
Southwark ran with blood two or three days in the week; that he was
afraid there were slaughter-houses in more streets in London than one
supposes; (speaking with a kind of horrour of butchering;) and, yet he
added, 'any of us would kill a cow rather than not have beef.' I said we
_could_ not. 'Yes, (said he,) any one may. The business of a butcher is
a trade indeed, that is to say, there is an apprenticeship served to it;
but it may be learnt in a month[680].'

I mentioned a club in London at the Boar's Head in Eastcheap, the very
tavern[681] where Falstaff and his joyous companions met; the members of
which all assume Shakspeare's characters. One is Falstaff, another
Prince Henry, another Bardolph, and so on. JOHNSON. 'Don't be of it,
Sir. Now that you have a name, you must be careful to avoid many things,
not bad in themselves, but which will lessen your character[682]. This
every man who has a name must observe. A man who is not publickly known
may live in London as he pleases, without any notice being taken of him;
but it is wonderful how a person of any consequence is watched. There
was a member of parliament, who wanted to prepare himself to speak on a
question that was to come on in the House; and he and I were to talk it
over together. He did not wish it should be known that he talked with
me; so he would not let me come to his house, but came to mine. Some
time after he had made his speech in the house, Mrs. Cholmondeley[683],
a very airy[684] lady, told me, 'Well, you could make nothing of him!'
naming the gentleman; which was a proof that he was watched. I had once
some business to do for government, and I went to Lord North's.
Precaution was taken that it should not be known. It was dark before I
went; yet a few days after I was told, 'Well, you have been with Lord
North.' That the door of the prime minister should be watched is not
strange; but that a member of parliament should be watched, or that my
door should be watched, is wonderful.'

We set out this morning on our way to Talisker, in Ulinish's boat,
having taken leave of him and his family. Mr. Donald M'Queen still
favoured us with his company, for which we were much obliged to him. As
we sailed along Dr. Johnson got into one of his fits of railing at the
Scots. He owned that they had been a very learned nation for a hundred
years, from about 1550 to about 1650; but that they afforded the only
instance of a people among whom the arts of civil life did not advance
in proportion with learning; that they had hardly any trade, any money,
or any elegance, before the Union; that it was strange that, with all
the advantages possessed by other nations, they had not any of those
conveniencies and embellishments which are the fruit of industry, till
they came in contact with a civilized people. 'We have taught you, (said
he,) and we'll do the same in time to all barbarous nations,--to the
Cherokees,--and at last to the Ouran-Outangs;' laughing with as much
glee as if Monboddo had been present. BOSWELL. 'We had wine before the
Union.' JOHNSON. 'No, Sir; you had some weak stuff, the refuse of
France, which would not make you drunk.' BOSWELL. 'I assure you, Sir,
there was a great deal of drunkenness.' JOHNSON. 'No, Sir; there were
people who died of dropsies, which they contracted in trying to get

I must here glean some of his conversation at Ulinish, which I have
omitted. He repeated his remark, that a man in a ship was worse than a
man in a jail[686]. 'The man in a jail, (said he,) has more room, better
food, and commonly better company, and is in safety.' 'Ay; but, (said
Mr. M'Queen,) the man in the ship has the pleasing hope of getting to
shore.' JOHNSON. 'Sir, I am not talking of a man's getting to shore; but
of a man while he is in a ship: and then, I say, he is worse than a man
while he is in a jail. A man in a jail _may_ have the _"pleasing hope"_
of getting out. A man confined for only a limited time, actually _has_
it.' M'Leod mentioned his schemes for carrying on fisheries with spirit,
and that he would wish to understand the construction of boats. I
suggested that he might go to a dock-yard and work, as Peter the Great
did. JOHNSON. 'Nay, Sir, he need not work. Peter the Great had not the
sense to see that the mere mechanical work may be done by any body, and
that there is the same art in constructing a vessel, whether the boards
are well or ill wrought. Sir Christopher Wren might as well have served
his time to a bricklayer, and first, indeed, to a brick-maker.'

There is a beautiful little island in the Loch of Dunvegan, called
_Isa_. M'Leod said, he would give it to Dr. Johnson, on condition of his
residing on it three months in the year; nay one month. Dr. Johnson was
highly amused with the fancy. I have seen him please himself with little
things, even with mere ideas like the present. He talked a great deal of
this island;--how he would build a house there,--how he would fortify
it,--how he would have cannon,--how he would plant,--how he would sally
out, and _take_ the isle of Muck;--and then he laughed with uncommon
glee, and could hardly leave off. I have seen him do so at a small
matter that struck him, and was a sport to no one else[687]. Mr. Langton
told me, that one night he did so while the company were all grave about
him:--only Garrick, in his significant smart manner, darting his eyes
around, exclaimed, '_Very_ jocose, to be sure!' M'Leod encouraged the
fancy of Doctor Johnson's becoming owner of an island; told him, that it
was the practice in this country to name every man by his lands; and
begged leave to drink to him in that mode: '_Island Isa_, your health!'
Ulinish, Talisker, Mr. M'Queen, and I, all joined in our different
manners, while Dr. Johnson bowed to each, with much good humour.

We had good weather, and a fine sail this day. The shore was varied with
hills, and rocks, and corn-fields, and bushes, which are here dignified
with the name of natural _wood_. We landed near the house of Ferneley, a
farm possessed by another gentleman of the name of M'Leod, who,
expecting our arrival, was waiting on the shore, with a horse for Dr.
Johnson. The rest of us walked. At dinner, I expressed to M'Leod the joy
which I had in seeing him on such cordial terms with his clan.
'Government (said he) has deprived us of our ancient power; but it
cannot deprive us of our domestick satisfactions. I would rather drink
punch in one of their houses, (meaning the houses of his people,) than
be enabled by their hardships to have claret in my own.[688]' This
should be the sentiment of every Chieftain. All that he can get by
raising his rents, is more luxury in his own house. Is it not better to
share the profits of his estate, to a certain degree, with his kinsmen,
and thus have both social intercourse and patriarchal influence?

We had a very good ride, for about three miles, to Talisker, where
Colonel M'Leod introduced us to his lady. We found here Mr. Donald
M'Lean, the young Laird of _Col_, (nephew to Talisker,) to whom I
delivered the letter with which I had been favoured by his uncle,
Professor M'Leod, at Aberdeen[689]. He was a little lively young man. We
found he had been a good deal in England, studying farming, and was
resolved to improve the value of his father's lands, without oppressing
his tenants, or losing the ancient Highland fashions.

Talisker is a better place than one commonly finds in Sky. It is
situated in a rich bottom. Before it is a wide expanse of sea, on each
hand of which are immense rocks; and, at some distance in the sea, there
are three columnal rocks rising to sharp points. The billows break with
prodigious force and noise on the coast of Talisker[690]. There are here
a good many well-grown trees. Talisker is an extensive farm. The
possessor of it has, for several generations, been the next heir to
M'Leod, as there has been but one son always in that family. The court
before the house is most injudiciously paved with the round blueish-grey
pebbles which are found upon the sea-shore; so that you walk as if upon
cannon-balls driven into the ground.

After supper, I talked of the assiduity of the Scottish clergy, in
visiting and privately instructing their parishioners, and observed how
much in this they excelled the English clergy. Dr. Johnson would not let
this pass. He tried to turn it off, by saying, 'There are different ways
of instructing. Our clergy pray and preach.' M'Leod and I pressed the
subject, upon which he grew warm, and broke forth: 'I do not believe
your people are better instructed. If they are, it is the blind leading
the blind; for your clergy are not instructed themselves.' Thinking he
had gone a little too far, he checked himself, and added, 'When I talk
of the ignorance of your clergy, I talk of them as a body: I do not mean
that there are not individuals who are learned (looking at Mr.
M'Queen[691]). I suppose there are such among the clergy in Muscovy. The
clergy of England have produced the most valuable books in support of
religion, both in theory and practice. What have your clergy done, since
you sunk into presbyterianism? Can you name one book of any value, on a
religious subject, written by them[692]?' We were silent. 'I'll help
you. Forbes wrote very well; but I believe he wrote before episcopacy
was quite extinguished.' And then pausing a little, he said, 'Yes, you
have Wishart AGAINST Repentance[693].' BOSWELL. 'But, Sir, we are not
contending for the superior learning of our clergy, but for their
superior assiduity.' He bore us down again, with thundering against
their ignorance, and said to me, 'I see you have not been well taught;
for you have not charity.' He had been in some measure forced into this
warmth, by the exulting air which I assumed; for, when he began, he
said, 'Since you _will_ drive the nail!' He again thought of good Mr.
M'Queen, and, taking him by the hand, said, 'Sir, I did not mean any
disrespect to you[694].'

Here I must observe, that he conquered by deserting his ground, and not
meeting the argument as I had put it. The assiduity of the Scottish
clergy is certainly greater than that of the English. His taking up the
topick of their not having so much learning, was, though ingenious, yet
a fallacy in logick. It was as if there should be a dispute whether a
man's hair is well dressed, and Dr. Johnson should say, 'Sir, his hair
cannot be well dressed; for he has a dirty shirt. No man who has not
clean linen has his hair well dressed.' When some days afterwards he
read this passage, he said, 'No, Sir; I did not say that a man's hair
could not be well dressed because he has not clean linen, but because
he is bald.'

He used one argument against the Scottish clergy being learned, which I
doubt was not good. 'As we believe a man dead till we know that he is
alive; so we believe men ignorant till we know that they are learned.'
Now our maxim in law is, to presume a man alive, till we know he is
dead. However, indeed, it may be answered, that we must first know he
has lived; and that we have never known the learning of the Scottish
clergy. Mr. M'Queen, though he was of opinion that Dr. Johnson had
deserted the point really in dispute, was much pleased with what he
said, and owned to me, he thought it very just; and Mrs. M'Leod was so
much captivated by his eloquence, that she told me 'I was a good
advocate for a bad cause.'


This was a good day. Dr. Johnson told us, at breakfast, that he rode
harder at a fox chace than any body[695]. 'The English (said he) are the
only nation who ride hard a-hunting. A Frenchman goes out, upon a
managed[696] horse, and capers in the field, and no more thinks of
leaping a hedge than of mounting a breach. Lord Powerscourt laid a
wager, in France, that he would ride a great many miles in a certain
short time. The French academicians set to work, and calculated that,
from the resistance of the air, it was impossible. His lordship however
performed it.'

Our money being nearly exhausted, we sent a bill for thirty pounds,
drawn on Sir William Forbes and Co.[697], to Lochbraccadale, but our
messenger found it very difficult to procure cash for it; at length,
however, he got us value from the master of a vessel which was to carry
away some emigrants. There is a great scarcity of specie in Sky[698].
Mr. M'Queen said he had the utmost difficulty to pay his servants'
wages, or to pay for any little thing which he has to buy. The rents are
paid in bills[699], which the drovers give. The people consume a vast
deal of snuff and tobacco, for which they must pay ready money; and
pedlars, who come about selling goods, as there is not a shop in the
island, carry away the cash. If there were encouragement given to
fisheries and manufactures, there might be a circulation of money
introduced. I got one-and-twenty shillings in silver at Portree, which
was thought a wonderful store.

Talisker, Mr. M'Queen, and I, walked out, and looked at no less than
fifteen different waterfalls near the house, in the space of about a
quarter of a mile[700]. We also saw Cuchillin's well, said to have been
the favourite spring of that ancient hero. I drank of it. The water is
admirable. On the shore are many stones full of crystallizations in
the heart.

Though our obliging friend, Mr. M'Lean, was but the young laird, he had
the title of _Col_ constantly given him. After dinner he and I walked to
the top of Prieshwell, a very high rocky hill, from whence there is a
view of Barra,--the Long Island,--Bernera,--the Loch of Dunvegan,--part
of Rum--part of Rasay, and a vast deal of the isle of Sky. Col, though
he had come into Sky with an intention to be at Dunvegan, and pass a
considerable time in the island, most politely resolved first to
conduct us to Mull, and then to return to Sky. This was a very fortunate
circumstance; for he planned an expedition for us of more variety than
merely going to Mull. He proposed we should see the islands of _Egg,
Muck, Col,_ and _Tyr-yi_. In all these islands he could shew us every
thing worth seeing; and in Mull he said he should be as if at home, his
father having lands there, and he a farm.

Dr. Johnson did not talk much to-day, but seemed intent in listening to
the schemes of future excursion, planned by Col. Dr. Birch[701],
however, being mentioned, he said, he had more anecdotes than any man. I
said, Percy had a great many; that he flowed with them like one of the
brooks here. JOHNSON. 'If Percy is like one of the brooks here, Birch
was like the river Thames. Birch excelled Percy in that, as much as
Percy excels Goldsmith.' I mentioned Lord Hailes as a man of anecdote.
He was not pleased with him, for publishing only such memorials and
letters as were unfavourable for the Stuart family[702]. 'If, (said he,)
a man fairly warns you, "I am to give all the ill; do you find the
good;" he may: but if the object which he professes be to give a view of
a reign, let him tell all the truth. I would tell truth of the two
Georges, or of that scoundrel, King William[703]. Granger's
_Biographical History_[704] is full of curious anecdote, but might have
been better done. The dog is a Whig. I do not like much to see a Whig in
any dress; but I hate to see a Whig in a parson's gown[705].'


It was resolved that we should set out, in order to return to Slate, to
be in readiness to take boat whenever there should be a fair wind. Dr.
Johnson remained in his chamber writing a letter, and it was long before
we could get him into motion. He did not come to breakfast, but had it
sent to him. When he had finished his letter, it was twelve o'clock, and
we should have set out at ten. When I went up to him, he said to me, 'Do
you remember a song which begins,

     "Every island is a prison[706]
      Strongly guarded by the sea;
      Kings and princes, for that reason,
      Prisoners are, as well as we?"'

I suppose he had been thinking of our confined situation[707]. He would
fain have gone in a boat from hence, instead of riding back to Slate. A
scheme for it was proposed. He said, 'We'll not be driven tamely from
it:'-but it proved impracticable.

We took leave of M'Leod and Talisker, from whom we parted with regret.
Talisker, having been bred to physick, had a tincture of scholarship in
his conversation, which pleased Dr. Johnson, and he had some very good
books; and being a colonel in the Dutch service, he and his lady, in
consequence of having lived abroad, had introduced the ease and
politeness of the continent into this rude region.

Young Col was now our leader. Mr. M'Queen was to accompany us half a day
more. We stopped at a little hut, where we saw an old woman grinding
with the _quern_, the ancient Highland instrument, which it is said was
used by the Romans, but which, being very slow in its operation, is
almost entirely gone into disuse.

The walls of the cottages in Sky, instead of being one compacted mass
of stones, are often formed by two exterior surfaces of stone, filled up
with earth in the middle, which makes them very warm. The roof is
generally bad. They are thatched, sometimes with straw, sometimes with
heath, sometimes with fern. The thatch is secured by ropes of straw, or
of heath; and, to fix the ropes, there is a stone tied to the end of
each. These stones hang round the bottom of the roof, and make it look
like a lady's hair in papers; but I should think that, when there is
wind, they would come down, and knock people on the head.

We dined at the inn at Sconser, where I had the pleasure to find a
letter from my wife. Here we parted from our learned companion, Mr.
Donald M'Queen. Dr. Johnson took leave of him very affectionately,
saying, 'Dear Sir, do not forget me!' We settled, that he should write
an account of the Isle of Sky, which Dr. Johnson promised to revise. He
said, Mr. M'Queen should tell all that he could; distinguishing what he
himself knew, what was traditional, and what conjectural.

We sent our horses round a point of land, that we might shun some very
bad road; and resolved to go forward by sea. It was seven o'clock when
we got into our boat. We had many showers, and it soon grew pretty dark.
Dr. Johnson sat silent and patient. Once he said, as he looked on the
black coast of Sky,-black, as being composed of rocks seen in the
dusk,--'This is very solemn.' Our boatmen were rude singers, and seemed
so like wild Indians, that a very little imagination was necessary to
give one an impression of being upon an American river. We landed at
_Strolimus_, from whence we got a guide to walk before us, for two
miles, to _Corrichatachin_. Not being able to procure a horse for our
baggage, I took one portmanteau before me, and Joseph another. We had
but a single star to light us on our way. It was about eleven when we
arrived. We were most hospitably received by the master and mistress,
who were just going to bed, but, with unaffected ready kindness, made a
good fire, and at twelve o'clock at night had supper on the table.

James Macdonald, of _Knockow_, Kingsburgh's brother, whom we had seen at
Kingsburgh, was there. He shewed me a bond granted by the late Sir James
Macdonald, to old Kingsburgh, the preamble of which does so much honour
to the feelings of that much-lamented gentleman, that I thought it worth
transcribing. It was as follows:--

'I, Sir James Macdonald, of Macdonald, Baronet, now, after arriving at
my perfect age, from the friendship I bear to Alexander Macdonald of
Kingsburgh, and in return for the long and faithful services done and
performed by him to my deceased father, and to myself during my
minority, when he was one of my Tutors and Curators; being resolved, now
that the said Alexander Macdonald is advanced in years, to contribute my
endeavours for making his old age placid and comfortable,'--

therefore he grants him an annuity of fifty pounds sterling.

Dr. Johnson went to bed soon. When one bowl of punch was finished, I
rose, and was near the door, in my way up stairs to bed; but
Corrichatachin said, it was the first time Col had been in his house,
and he should have his bowl;-and would not I join in drinking it? The
heartiness of my honest landlord, and the desire of doing social honour
to our very obliging conductor, induced me to sit down again. Col's bowl
was finished; and by that time we were well warmed. A third bowl was
soon made, and that too was finished. We were cordial, and merry to a
high degree; but of what passed I have no recollection, with any
accuracy. I remember calling _Corrichatachin_ by the familiar
appellation of _Corri_, which his friends do. A fourth bowl was made, by
which time Col, and young M'Kinnon, Corrichatachin's son, slipped away
to bed. I continued a little with Corri and Knockow; but at last I left
them. It was near five in the morning when I got to bed.


I awaked at noon, with a severe head-ach. I was much vexed that I should
have been guilty of such a riot, and afraid of a reproof from Dr.
Johnson. I thought it very inconsistent with that conduct which I ought
to maintain, while the companion of the Rambler. About one he came into
my room, and accosted me, 'What, drunk yet?' His tone of voice was not
that of severe upbraiding; so I was relieved a little. 'Sir, (said I,)
they kept me up.' He answered, 'No, you kept them up, you drunken
dog:'-This he said with good-humoured _English_ pleasantry. Soon
afterwards, Corrichatachin, Col, and other friends assembled round my
bed. Corri had a brandy-bottle and glass with him, and insisted I should
take a dram. 'Ay, said Dr. Johnson, fill him drunk again. Do it in the
morning, that we may laugh at him all day. It is a poor thing for a
fellow to get drunk at night, and sculk to bed, and let his friends have
no sport.' Finding him thus jocular, I became quite easy; and when I
offered to get up, he very good naturedly said, 'You need be in no such
hurry now[708].' I took my host's advice, and drank some brandy, which I
found an effectual cure for my head-ach. When I rose, I went into Dr.
Johnson's room, and taking up Mrs. M'Kinnon's Prayer-book, I opened it
at the twentieth Sunday after Trinity, in the epistle for which I read,
'And be not drunk with wine, wherein there is excess[709].' Some would
have taken this as a divine interposition.

Mrs. M'Kinnon told us at dinner, that old Kingsburgh, her father, was
examined at Mugstot, by General Campbell, as to the particulars of the
dress of the person who had come to his house in woman's clothes along
with Miss Flora M'Donald; as the General had received intelligence of
that disguise. The particulars were taken down in writing, that it might
be seen how far they agreed with the dress of the _Irish girl_ who went
with Miss Flora from the Long Island. Kingsburgh, she said, had but one
song, which he always sung when he was merry over a glass. She dictated
the words to me, which are foolish enough:--

     'Green sleeves[710] and pudding pies,
      Tell me where my mistress lies,
      And I'll be with her before she rise,
      Fiddle and aw' together.

      May our affairs abroad succeed,
      And may our king come home with speed,
      And all pretenders shake for dread,
      And let _his_ health go round.

      To all our injured friends in need,
      This side and beyond the Tweed!--
      Let all pretenders shake for dread,
      And let _his_ health go round.
         Green sleeves,' &c.

While the examination was going on, the present Talisker, who was there
as one of M'Leod's militia, could not resist the pleasantry of asking
Kingsburgh, in allusion to his only song, 'Had she _green sleeves_?'
Kingsburgh gave him no answer. Lady Margaret M'Donald was very angry at
Talisker for joking on such a serious occasion, as Kingsburgh was really
in danger of his life. Mrs. M'Kinnon added that Lady Margaret was quite
adored in Sky. That when she travelled through the island, the people
ran in crowds before her, and took the stones off the road, lest her
horse should stumble and she be hurt[711]. Her husband, Sir Alexander,
is also remembered with great regard. We were told that every week a
hogshead of claret was drunk at his table.

This was another day of wind and rain; but good cheer and good society
helped to beguile the time. I felt myself comfortable enough in the
afternoon. I then thought that my last night's riot was no more than
such a social excess as may happen without much moral blame; and
recollected that some physicians maintained, that a fever produced by it
was, upon the whole, good for health: so different are our reflections
on the same subject, at different periods; and such the excuses with
which we palliate what we know to be wrong.


Mr. Donald M'Leod, our original guide, who had parted from us at
Dunvegan, joined us again to-day. The weather was still so bad that we
could not travel. I found a closet here, with a good many books, beside
those that were lying about. Dr. Johnson told me, he found a library in
his room at Talisker; and observed, that it was one of the remarkable
things of Sky, that there were so many books in it.

Though we had here great abundance of provisions, it is remarkable that
Corrichatachin has literally no garden: not even a turnip, a carrot, or
a cabbage. After dinner, we talked of the crooked spade used in Sky,
already described, and they maintained that it was better than the usual
garden-spade, and that there was an art in tossing it, by which those
who were accustomed to it could work very easily with it. 'Nay, (said
Dr. Johnson,) it may be useful in land where there are many stones to
raise; but it certainly is not a good instrument for digging good land.
A man may toss it, to be sure; but he will toss a light spade much
better: its weight makes it an incumbrance. A man _may_ dig any land
with it; but he has no occasion for such a weight in digging good land.
You may take a field piece to shoot sparrows; but all the sparrows you
can bring home will not be worth the charge.' He was quite social and
easy amongst them; and, though he drank no fermented liquor, toasted
Highland beauties with great readiness. His conviviality engaged them so
much, that they seemed eager to shew their attention to him, and vied
with each other in crying out, with a strong Celtick pronunciation,
'Toctor Shonson, Toctor Shonson, your health!'

This evening one of our married ladies, a lively pretty little woman,
good-humouredly sat down upon Dr. Johnson's knee, and, being encouraged
by some of the company, put her hands round his neck, and kissed him.
'Do it again, (said he,) and let us see who will tire first.' He kept
her on his knee some time, while he and she drank tea. He was now like a
_buck_[712] indeed. All the company were much entertained to find him so
easy and pleasant. To me it was highly comick, to see the grave
philosopher,--the Rambler,-toying with a Highland beauty[713]!--But what
could he do? He must have been surly, and weak too, had he not behaved
as he did. He would have been laughed at, and not more respected, though
less loved.

He read to-night, to himself, as he sat in company, a great deal of my
Journal, and said to me, 'The more I read of this, I think the more
highly of you.' The gentlemen sat a long time at their punch, after he
and I had retired to our chambers. The manner in which they were
attended struck me as singular:--The bell being broken, a smart lad lay
on a table in the corner of the room, ready to spring up and bring the
kettle, whenever it was wanted. They continued drinking, and singing
Erse songs, till near five in the morning, when they all came into my
room, where some of them had beds. Unluckily for me, they found a bottle
of punch in a corner, which they drank; and Corrichatachin went for
another, which they also drank. They made many apologies for disturbing
me. I told them, that, having been kept awake by their mirth, I had once
thoughts of getting up, and joining them again. Honest Corrichatachin
said, 'To have had you done so, I would have given a cow.'


The weather was worse than yesterday. I felt as if imprisoned. Dr.
Johnson said, it was irksome to be detained thus: yet he seemed to have
less uneasiness, or more patience, than I had. What made our situation
worse here was, that we had no rooms that we could command; for the good
people had no notion that a man could have any occasion but for a mere
sleeping-place; so, during the day, the bed chambers were common to all
the house. Servants eat in Dr. Johnson's; and mine was a kind of general
rendezvous of all under the roof, children and dogs not excepted. As the
gentlemen occupied the parlour, the ladies had no place to sit in,
during the day, but Dr. Johnson's room. I had always some quiet time for
writing in it, before he was up; and, by degrees, I accustomed the
ladies to let me sit in it after breakfast, at my _Journal_, without
minding me.

Dr. Johnson was this morning for going to see as many islands as we
could; not recollecting the uncertainty of the season, which might
detain us in one place for many weeks. He said to me, 'I have more the
spirit of adventure than you.' For my part, I was anxious to get to
Mull, from whence we might almost any day reach the main land.

Dr. Johnson mentioned, that the few ancient Irish gentlemen yet
remaining have the highest pride of family; that Mr. Sandford, a friend
of his, whose mother was Irish, told him, that O'Hara (who was true
Irish, both by father and mother) and he, and Mr. Ponsonby, son to the
Earl of Besborough, the greatest man of the three, but of an English
family, went to see one of those ancient Irish, and that he
distinguished them thus: 'O'Hara, you are welcome! Mr. Sandford, your
mother's son is welcome! Mr. Ponsonby, you may sit down.'

He talked both of threshing and thatching. He said, it was very
difficult to determine how to agree with a thresher. 'If you pay him by
the day's wages, he will thresh no more than he pleases; though to be
sure, the negligence of a thresher is more easily detected than that of
most labourers, because he must always make a sound while he works. If
you pay him by the piece, by the quantity of grain which he produces, he
will thresh only while the grain comes freely, and, though he leaves a
good deal in the ear, it is not worth while to thresh the straw over
again; nor can you fix him to do it sufficiently, because it is so
difficult to prove how much less a man threshes than he ought to do.
Here then is a dilemma: but, for my part, I would engage him by the day:
I would rather trust his idleness than his fraud.' He said, a roof
thatched with Lincolnshire reeds would last seventy years, as he was
informed when in that county; and that he told this in London to a great
thatcher, who said, he believed it might be true. Such are the pains
that Dr. Johnson takes to get the best information on every

He proceeded:--'It is difficult for a farmer in England to find
day-labourers, because the lowest manufacturers can always get more than
a day-labourer. It is of no consequence how high the wages of
manufacturers are; but it would be of very bad consequence to raise the
wages of those who procure the immediate necessaries of life, for that
would raise the price of provisions. Here then is a problem for
politicians. It is not reasonable that the most useful body of men
should be the worst paid; yet it does not appear how it can be ordered
otherwise. It were to be wished, that a mode for its being otherwise
were found out. In the mean time, it is better to give temporary
assistance by charitable contributions to poor labourers, at times when
provisions are high, than to raise their wages; because, if wages are
once raised, they will never get down again[715].'

Happily the weather cleared up between one and two o'clock, and we got
ready to depart; but our kind host and hostess would not let us go
without taking a _snatch_, as they called it; which was in truth a very
good dinner. While the punch went round, Dr. Johnson kept a close
whispering conference with Mrs. M'Kinnon, which, however, was loud
enough to let us hear that the subject of it was the particulars of
Prince Charles's escape. The company were entertained and pleased to
observe it. Upon that subject, there was something congenial between the
soul of Dr. Samuel Johnson, and that of an isle of Sky farmer's wife. It
is curious to see people, how far so ever removed from each other in the
general system of their lives, come close together on a particular point
which is common to each. We were merry with Corrichatachin, on Dr.
Johnson's whispering with his wife. She, perceiving this, humourously
cried, 'I am in love with him. What is it to live and not to love?' Upon
her saying something, which I did not hear, or cannot recollect, he
seized her hand eagerly, and kissed it.

As we were going, the Scottish phrase of '_honest man_!' which is an
expression of kindness and regard, was again and again applied by the
company to Dr. Johnson. I was also treated with much civility; and I
must take some merit from my assiduous attention to him, and from my
contriving that he shall be easy wherever he goes, that he shall not be
asked twice to eat or drink any thing (which always disgusts him), that
he shall be provided with water at his meals, and many such little
things, which, if not attended to, would fret him. I also may be allowed
to claim some merit in leading the conversation: I do not mean leading,
as in an orchestra, by playing the first fiddle; but leading as one does
in examining a witness--starting topics, and making him pursue them. He
appears to me like a great mill, into which a subject is thrown to be
ground. It requires, indeed, fertile minds to furnish materials for this
mill. I regret whenever I see it unemployed; but sometimes I feel myself
quite barren, and have nothing to throw in. I know not if this mill be a
good figure; though Pope makes his mind a mill for turning verses[716].

We set out about four. Young Corrichatachin went with us. We had a fine
evening, and arrived in good time at _Ostig_, the residence of Mr.
Martin M'Pherson, minister of Slate. It is a pretty good house, built by
his father, upon a farm near the church. We were received here with much
kindness by Mr. and Mrs. M'Pherson, and his sister, Miss M'Pherson, who
pleased Dr. Johnson much, by singing Erse songs, and playing on the
guittar. He afterwards sent her a present of his _Rasselas_. In his
bed-chamber was a press stored with books, Greek, Latin, French, and
English, most of which had belonged to the father of our host, the
learned Dr. M'Pherson; who, though his _Dissertations_ have been
mentioned in a former page[717] as unsatisfactory, was a man of
distinguished talents. Dr. Johnson looked at a Latin paraphrase of the
song of Moses, written by him, and published in the _Scots Magazine_ for
1747, and said, 'It does him honour; he has a good deal of Latin, and
good Latin.' Dr. M'Pherson published also in the same magazine, June
1739, an original Latin ode, which he wrote from the isle of Barra,
where he was minister for some years. It is very poetical, and exhibits
a striking proof how much all things depend upon comparison: for Barra,
it seems, appeared to him so much worse than Sky, his _natale
solum_[718], that he languished for its 'blessed mountains,' and thought
himself buried alive amongst barbarians where he was. My readers will
probably not be displeased to have a specimen of this ode:--

     'Hei mihi! quantos patior dolores,
      Dum procul specto juga ter beata;
      Dum ferae Barrae steriles arenas
           Solus oberro.
     'Ingemo, indignor, crucior, quod inter
      Barbaros Thulen lateam colentes;
      Torpeo languens, morior sepultus,
           Carcere coeco.'

After wishing for wings to fly over to his dear country, which was in
his view, from what he calls _Thule_, as being the most western isle of
Scotland, except St. Kilda; after describing the pleasures of society,
and the miseries of solitude, he at last, with becoming propriety, has
recourse to the only sure relief of thinking men,--_Sursum
corda_[719]--the hope of a better world, disposes his mind to

     'Interim fiat, tua, rex, voluntas:
      Erigor sursum quoties subit spes
      Certa migrandi Solymam supernam,
           Numinis aulam.'

He concludes in a noble strain of orthodox piety:--

     'Vita tum demum vocitanda vita est.
      Tum licet gratos socios habere,
      Seraphim et sanctos TRIADEM verendam


After a very good sleep, I rose more refreshed than I had been for some
nights. We were now at but a little distance from the shore, and saw the
sea from our windows, which made our voyage seem nearer. Mr. M'Pherson's
manners and address pleased us much. He appeared to be a man of such
intelligence and taste as to be sensible of the extraordinary powers of
his illustrious guest. He said to me, 'Dr. Johnson is an honour to
mankind; and, if the expression may be used, is an honour to religion.'

Col, who had gone yesterday to pay a visit at Camuscross, joined us this
morning at breakfast. Some other gentlemen also came to enjoy the
entertainment of Dr. Johnson's conversation. The day was windy and
rainy, so that we had just seized a happy interval for our journey last
night. We had good entertainment here, better accommodation than at
Corrichatachin, and time enough to ourselves. The hours slipped along
imperceptibly. We talked of Shenstone. Dr. Johnson said he was a good
layer-out of land[721], but would not allow him to approach excellence
as a poet. He said, he believed he had tried to read all his _Love
Pastorals_, but did not get through them. I repeated the stanza,

     'She gazed as I slowly withdrew;
        My path I could hardly discern;
      So sweetly she bade me adieu,
        I thought that she bade me return[722].'

He said, 'That seems to be pretty.' I observed that Shenstone, from his
short maxims in prose, appeared to have some power of thinking; but Dr.
Johnson would not allow him that merit[723]. He agreed, however, with
Shenstone, that it was wrong in the brother of one of his correspondents
to burn his letters[724]: 'for, (said he,) Shenstone was a man whose
correspondence was an honour.' He was this afternoon full of critical
severity, and dealt about his censures on all sides. He said, Hammond's
_Love Elegies_ were poor things[725]. He spoke contemptuously of our
lively and elegant, though too licentious, Lyrick bard, Hanbury
Williams, and said, 'he had no fame, but from boys who drank with

While he was in this mood, I was unfortunate enough, simply perhaps, but
I could not help thinking, undeservedly, to come within 'the whiff and
wind of his fell sword[727].' I asked him, if he had ever been
accustomed to wear a night-cap. He said 'No.' I asked, if it was best
not to wear one. JOHNSON. 'Sir, I had this custom by chance, and perhaps
no man shall ever know whether it is best to sleep with or without a
night-cap.' Soon afterwards he was laughing at some deficiency in the
Highlands, and said, 'One might as well go without shoes and stockings.'
Thinking to have a little hit at his own deficiency, I ventured to
add,------' or without a night-cap, Sir.' But I had better have been
silent; for he retorted directly. 'I do not see the connection there
(laughing). Nobody before was ever foolish enough to ask whether it was
best to wear a night-cap or not. This comes of being a little
wrong-headed.' He carried the company along with him: and yet the truth
is, that if he had always worn a night-cap, as is the common practice,
and found the Highlanders did not wear one, he would have wondered at
their barbarity; so that my hit was fair enough.


There was as great a storm of wind and rain as I have almost ever seen,
which necessarily confined us to the house; but we were fully
compensated by Dr. Johnson's conversation. He said, he did not grudge
Burke's being the first man in the House of Commons, for he was the
first man every where; but he grudged that a fellow who makes no figure
in company, and has a mind as narrow as the neck of a vinegar cruet,
should make a figure in the House of Commons, merely by having the
knowledge of a few forms, and being furnished with a little occasional
information[728]. He told us, the first time he saw Dr. Young was at the
house of Mr. Richardson, the author of _Clarissa_. He was sent for, that
the doctor might read to him his _Conjectures on original
Composition_[729], which he did, and Dr. Johnson made his remarks; and
he was surprized to find Young receive as novelties, what he thought
very common maxims. He said, he believed Young was not a great scholar,
nor had studied regularly the art of writing[730]; that there were very
fine things in his _Night Thoughts_[731], though you could not find
twenty lines together without some extravagance. He repeated two
passages from his _Love of Fame_,--the characters of Brunetta[732] and
Stella[733], which he praised highly. He said Young pressed him much to
come to Wellwyn. He always intended it, but never went[734]. He was
sorry when Young died. The cause of quarrel between Young and his son,
he told us, was, that his son insisted Young should turn away a
clergyman's widow, who lived with him, and who, having acquired great
influence over the father, was saucy to the son. Dr. Johnson said, she
could not conceal her resentment at him, for saying to Young, that 'an
old man should not resign himself to the management of any body.' I
asked him, if there was any improper connection between them. 'No, Sir,
no more than between two statues. He was past fourscore, and she a very
coarse woman. She read to him, and I suppose made his coffee, and
frothed his chocolate, and did such things as an old man wishes to have
done for him.'

Dr. Doddridge being mentioned, he observed that 'he was author of one of
the finest epigrams in the English language. It is in Orton's Life of
him.[735] The subject is his family motto,--_Dum vivimus, vivamus_;
which, in its primary signification, is, to be sure, not very suitable
to a Christian divine; but he paraphrased it thus:

     "Live, while you live, the _epicure_ would say,
      And seize the pleasures of the present day.
      Live, while you live, the sacred _preacher_ cries,
      And give to GOD each moment as it flies.
      Lord, in my views let both united be;
      I live in _pleasure_, when I live to _thee_."'

I asked if it was not strange that government should permit so many
infidel writings to pass without censure. JOHNSON. 'Sir, it is mighty
foolish. It is for want of knowing their own power. The present family
on the throne came to the crown against the will of nine tenths of the
people.[736] Whether those nine tenths were right or wrong, it is not
our business now to enquire. But such being the situation of the royal
family, they were glad to encourage all who would be their friends. Now
you know every bad man is a Whig; every man who has loose notions. The
church was all against this family. They were, as I say, glad to
encourage any friends; and therefore, since their accession, there is no
instance of any man being kept back on account of his bad principles;
and hence this inundation of impiety[737].' I observed that Mr. Hume,
some of whose writings were very unfavourable to religion, was, however,
a Tory. JOHNSON. 'Sir, Hume is a Tory by chance[738] as being a
Scotchman; but not upon a principle of duty; for he has no principle. If
he is any thing, he is a Hobbist.'

There was something not quite serene in his humour to-night, after
supper; for he spoke of hastening away to London, without stopping much
at Edinburgh. I reminded him that he had General Oughton and many others
to see. JOHNSON. 'Nay, I shall neither go in jest, nor stay in jest. I
shall do what is fit.' BOSWELL. 'Ay, Sir, but all I desire is, that you
will let me tell you when it is fit.' JOHNSON. 'Sir, I shall not consult
you.' BOSWELL. 'If you are to run away from us, as soon as you get
loose, we will keep you confined in an island.' He was, however, on the
whole, very good company. Mr. Donald McLeod expressed very well the
gradual impression made by Dr. Johnson on those who are so fortunate as
to obtain his acquaintance. 'When you see him first, you are struck with
awful reverence;--then you admire him;--and then you love him

I read this evening some part of Voltaire's _History of the War_ in
1741[739], and of Lord Kames against Hereditary Indefeasible Right. This
is a very slight circumstance, with which I should not trouble my
reader, but for the sake of observing that every man should keep minutes
of whatever he reads. Every circumstance of his studies should be
recorded; what books he has consulted; how much of them he has read; at
what times; how often the same authors; and what opinions he formed of
them, at different periods of his life. Such an account would much
illustrate the history of his mind.[740]


I shewed to Dr. Johnson verses in a magazine, on his _Dictionary_,
composed of uncommon words taken from it:--

     'Little of _Anthropopathy_[741] has he,' &c.

He read a few of them, and said, 'I am not answerable for all the words
in my _Dictionary_'. I told him that Garrick kept a book of all who had
either praised or abused him. On the subject of his own reputation, he
said,' Now that I see it has been so current a topick, I wish I had done
so too; but it could not well be done now, as so many things are
scattered in newspapers.' He said he was angry at a boy of Oxford, who
wrote in his defence against Kenrick; because it was doing him hurt to
answer Kenrick. He was told afterwards, the boy was to come to him to
ask a favour. He first thought to treat him rudely, on account of his
meddling in that business; but then he considered, he had meant to do
him all the service in his power, and he took another resolution; he
told him he would do what he could for him, and did so; and the boy was
satisfied. He said, he did not know how his pamphlet was done, as he had
'read very little of it. The boy made a good figure at Oxford, but
died.[742] He remarked, that attacks on authors did them much service.
'A man who tells me my play is very bad, is less my enemy than he who
lets it die in silence. A man whose business it is to be talked of, is
much helped by being attacked.'[743] Garrick, I observed, had been often
so helped. JOHNSON. 'Yes, Sir; though Garrick had more opportunities
than almost any man, to keep the publick in mind of him, by exhibiting
himself to such numbers, he would not have had so much reputation, had
he not been so much attacked. Every attack produces a defence; and so
attention is engaged. There is no sport in mere praise, when people are
all of a mind.' BOSWELL. 'Then Hume is not the worse for Beattie's
attack?[744]' JOHNSON. 'He is, because Beattie has confuted him. I do
not say, but that there may be some attacks which will hurt an author.
Though Hume suffered from Beattie, he was the better for other attacks.'
(He certainly could not include in that number those of Dr. Adams[745],
and Mr. Tytler[746].) BOSWELL. 'Goldsmith is the better for attacks.'
JOHNSON. 'Yes, Sir; but he does not think so yet. When Goldsmith and I
published, each of us something, at the same time[747], we were given to
understand that we might review each other. Goldsmith was for accepting
the offer. I said, No; set Reviewers at defiance. It was said to old
Bentley, upon the attacks against him, "Why, they'll write you down."
"No, Sir," he replied; "depend upon it, no man was ever written down but
by himself[748]." 'He observed to me afterwards, that the advantages
authors derived from attacks, were chiefly in subjects of taste, where
you cannot confute, as so much may be said on either side.[749] He told
me he did not know who was the authour of the _Adventures of a
Guinea_[750], but that the bookseller had sent the first volume to him
in manuscript, to have his opinion if it should be printed; and he
thought it should.

The weather being now somewhat better, Mr. James McDonald, factor to Sir
Alexander McDonald in Slate, insisted that all the company at Ostig
should go to the house at Armidale, which Sir Alexander had left, having
gone with his lady to Edinburgh, and be his guests, till we had an
opportunity of sailing to Mull. We accordingly got there to dinner; and
passed our day very cheerfully, being no less than fourteen in number.


Dr. Johnson said, that 'a Chief and his Lady should make their house
like a court. They should have a certain number of the gentlemen's
daughters to receive their education in the family, to learn pastry and
such things from the housekeeper, and manners from my lady. That was the
way in the great families in Wales; at Lady Salisbury's,[751] Mrs.
Thrale's grandmother, and at Lady Philips's.[752] I distinguish the
families by the ladies, as I speak of what was properly their province.
There were always six young ladies at Sir John Philips's: when one was
married, her place was filled up. There was a large school-room, where
they learnt needle-work and other things.' I observed, that, at some
courts in Germany, there were academies for the pages, who are the sons
of gentlemen, and receive their education without any expence to their
parents. Dr. Johnson said, that manners were best learned at those
courts.' You are admitted with great facility to the prince's company,
and yet must treat him with much respect. At a great court, you are at
such a distance that you get no good.' I said, 'Very true: a man sees
the court of Versailles, as if he saw it on a theatre.' He said, 'The
best book that ever was written upon good breeding, _Il Corteggiano_, by
Castiglione[753], grew up at the little court of Urbino, and you should
read it.' I am glad always to have his opinion of books. At Mr.
McPherson's, he commended Whitby's _Commentary_[754], and said, he had
heard him called rather lax; but he did not perceive it. He had looked
at a novel, called _The Man of the World_[755], at Rasay, but thought
there was nothing in it. He said to-day, while reading my _Journal_,
'This will be a great treasure to us some years hence.'

Talking of a very penurious gentleman of our acquaintance[756], he
observed, that he exceeded _L'Avare_ in the play[757]. I concurred with
him, and remarked that he would do well, if introduced in one of Foote's
farces; that the best way to get it done, would be to bring Foote to be
entertained at his house for a week, and then it would be _facit
indignatio_[758]. JOHNSON. 'Sir, I wish he had him. I, who have eaten
his bread, will not give him to him; but I should be glad he came
honestly by him.'

He said, he was angry at Thrale, for sitting at General Oglethorpe's
without speaking. He censured a man for degrading himself to a
non-entity. I observed, that Goldsmith was on the other extreme; for he
spoke at all ventures.[759] JOHNSON. 'Yes, Sir; Goldsmith, rather than
not speak, will talk of what he knows himself to be ignorant, which can
only end in exposing him.' 'I wonder, (said I,) if he feels that he
exposes himself. If he was with two taylors,' 'Or with two founders,
(said Dr. Johnson, interrupting me,) he would fall a talking on the
method of making cannon, though both of them would soon see that he did
not know what metal a cannon is made of.' We were very social and merry
in his room this forenoon. In the evening the company danced as usual.
We performed, with much activity, a dance which, I suppose, the
emigration from Sky has occasioned. They call it _America_. Each of the
couples, after the common _involutions_ and _evolutions_, successively
whirls round in a circle, till all are in motion; and the dance seems
intended to shew how emigration catches, till a whole neighbourhood is
set afloat. Mrs. M'Kinnon told me, that last year when a ship sailed
from Portree for America, the people on shore were almost distracted
when they saw their relations go off, they lay down on the ground,
tumbled, and tore the grass with their teeth. This year there was not a
tear shed. The people on shore seemed to think that they would soon
follow. This indifference is a mortal sign for the country.

We danced to-night to the musick of the bagpipe, which made us beat the
ground with prodigious force. I thought it better to endeavour to
conciliate the kindness of the people of Sky, by joining heartily in
their amusements, than to play the abstract scholar. I looked on this
Tour to the Hebrides as a copartnership between Dr. Johnson and me. Each
was to do all he could to promote its success; and I have some reason to
flatter myself, that my gayer exertions were of service to us. Dr.
Johnson's immense fund of knowledge and wit was a wonderful source of
admiration and delight to them; but they had it only at times; and they
required to have the intervals agreeably filled up, and even little
elucidations of his learned text. I was also fortunate enough frequently
to draw him forth to talk, when he would otherwise have been silent. The
fountain was at times locked up, till I opened the spring. It was
curious to hear the Hebridians, when any dispute happened while he was
out of the room, saying, 'Stay till Dr. Johnson comes: say that
to _him!_

Yesterday, Dr. Johnson said, 'I cannot but laugh, to think of myself
roving among the Hebrides at sixty[760]. I wonder where I shall rove at
fourscore[761]!' This evening he disputed the truth of what is said, as
to the people of St. Kilda catching cold whenever strangers come. 'How
can there (said he) be a physical effect without a physical cause[762]?'
He added, laughing, 'the arrival of a ship full of strangers would kill
them; for, if one stranger gives them one cold, two strangers must give
them two colds; and so in proportion.' I wondered to hear him ridicule
this, as he had praised M'Aulay for putting it in his book: saying, that
it was manly in him to tell a fact, however strange, if he himself
believed it[763]. He said, the evidence was not adequate to the
improbability of the thing; that if a physician, rather disposed to be
incredulous, should go to St. Kilda, and report the fact, then he would
begin to look about him. They said, it was annually proved by M'Leod's
steward, on whose arrival all the inhabitants caught cold. He jocularly
remarked, 'the steward always comes to demand something from them; and
so they fall a coughing. I suppose the people in Sky all take a cold,
when--(naming a certain person[764]) comes.' They said, he came only in
summer. JOHNSON. 'That is out of tenderness to you. Bad weather and he,
at the same time, would be too much.'


Joseph reported that the wind was still against us. Dr. Johnson said, 'A
wind, or not a wind? that is the question[765];' for he can amuse
himself at times with a little play of words, or rather sentences. I
remember when he turned his cup at Aberbrothick, where we drank tea, he
muttered _Claudite jam rivos, pueri'_[766]. I must again and again
apologize to fastidious readers, for recording such minute particulars.
They prove the scrupulous fidelity of my _Journal_. Dr. Johnson said it
was a very exact picture of a portion of his life.

While we were chatting in the indolent stile of men who were to stay
here all this day at least, we were suddenly roused at being told that
the wind was fair, that a little fleet of herring-busses was passing by
for Mull, and that Mr. Simpson's vessel was about to sail. Hugh
M'Donald, the skipper, came to us, and was impatient that we should get
ready, which we soon did. Dr. Johnson, with composure and solemnity,
repeated the observation of Epictetus, that, 'as man has the voyage of
death before him,--whatever may be his employment, he should be ready at
the master's call; and an old man should never be far from the shore,
lest he should not be able to get himself ready.' He rode, and I and the
other gentlemen walked, about an English mile to the shore, where the
vessel lay. Dr. Johnson said, he should never forget Sky, and returned
thanks for all civilities. We were carried to the vessel in a small boat
which she had, and we set sail very briskly about one o'clock. I was
much pleased with the motion for many hours. Dr. Johnson grew sick, and
retired under cover, as it rained a good deal. I kept above, that I
might have fresh air, and finding myself not affected by the motion of
the vessel, I exulted in being a stout seaman, while Dr. Johnson was
quite in a state of annihilation. But I was soon humbled; for after
imagining that I could go with ease to America or the East-Indies, I
became very sick, but kept above board, though it rained hard.

As we had been detained so long in Sky by bad weather, we gave up the
scheme that Col had planned for us of visiting several islands, and
contented ourselves with the prospect of seeing Mull, and Icolmkill and
Inchkenneth, which lie near to it.

Mr. Simpson was sanguine in his hopes for awhile, the wind being fair
for us. He said, he would land us at Icolmkill that night. But when the
wind failed, it was resolved we should make for the sound of Mull, and
land in the harbour of Tobermorie. We kept near the five herring vessels
for some time; but afterwards four of them got before us, and one little
wherry fell behind us. When we got in full view of the point of
Ardnamurchan, the wind changed, and was directly against our getting
into the Sound. We were then obliged to tack, and get forward in that
tedious manner. As we advanced, the storm grew greater, and the sea very
rough. Col then began to talk of making for Egg, or Canna, or his own
island. Our skipper said, he would get us into the Sound. Having
struggled for this a good while in vain, he said, he would push forward
till we were near the land of Mull, where we might cast anchor, and lie
till the morning; for although, before this, there had been a good moon,
and I had pretty distinctly seen not only the land of Mull, but up the
Sound, and the country of Morven as at one end of it, the night was now
grown very dark. Our crew consisted of one M'Donald, our skipper, and
two sailors, one of whom had but one eye: Mr. Simpson himself, Col, and
Hugh M'Donald his servant, all helped. Simpson said, he would willingly
go for Col, if young Col or his servant would undertake to pilot us to
a harbour; but, as the island is low land, it was dangerous to run upon
it in the dark. Col and his servant appeared a little dubious. The
scheme of running for Canna seemed then to be embraced; but Canna was
ten leagues off, all out of our way; and they were afraid to attempt the
harbour of Egg. All these different plans were successively in
agitation. The old skipper still tried to make for the land of Mull; but
then it was considered that there was no place there where we could
anchor in safety. Much time was lost in striving against the storm. At
last it became so rough, and threatened to be so much worse, that Col
and his servant took more courage, and said they would undertake to hit
one of the harbours in Col. 'Then let us run for it in GOD'S name,' said
the skipper; and instantly we turned towards it. The little wherry which
had fallen behind us had hard work. The master begged that, if we made
for Col, we should put out a light to him. Accordingly one of the
sailors waved a glowing peat for some time. The various difficulties
that were started, gave me a good deal of apprehension, from which I was
relieved, when I found we were to run for a harbour before the wind. But
my relief was but of short duration: for I soon heard that our sails
were very bad, and were in danger of being torn in pieces, in which case
we should be driven upon the rocky shore of Col. It was very dark, and
there was a heavy and incessant rain. The sparks of the burning peat
flew so much about, that I dreaded the vessel might take fire. Then, as
Col was a sportsman, and had powder on board, I figured that we might be
blown up. Simpson and he appeared a little frightened, which made me
more so; and the perpetual talking, or rather shouting, which was
carried on in Erse, alarmed me still more. A man is always suspicious of
what is saying in an unknown tongue; and, if fear be his passion at the
time, he grows more afraid. Our vessel often lay so much on one side,
that I trembled lest she should be overset, and indeed they told me
afterwards, that they had run her sometimes to within an inch of the
water, so anxious were they to make what haste they could before the
night should be worse. I now saw what I never saw before, a prodigious
sea, with immense billows coming upon a vessel, so as that it seemed
hardly possible to escape. There was something grandly horrible in the
sight. I am glad I have seen it once. Amidst all these terrifying
circumstances, I endeavoured to compose my mind. It was not easy to do
it; for all the stories that I had heard of the dangerous sailing among
the Hebrides, which is proverbial[767], came full upon my recollection.
When I thought of those who were dearest to me, and would suffer
severely, should I be lost, I upbraided myself, as not having a
sufficient cause for putting myself in such danger. Piety afforded me
comfort; yet I was disturbed by the objections that have been made
against a particular providence, and by the arguments of those who
maintain that it is in vain to hope that the petitions of an individual,
or even of congregations, can have any influence with the Deity;
objections which have been often made, and which Dr. Hawkesworth has
lately revived, in his Preface to the _Voyages to the South Seas_[768];
but Dr. Ogden's excellent doctrine on the efficacy of intercession

It was half an hour after eleven before we set ourselves in the course
for Col. As I saw them all busy doing something, I asked Col, with much
earnestness, what I could do. He, with a happy readiness, put into my
hand a rope, which was fixed to the top of one of the masts, and told me
to hold it till he bade me pull. If I had considered the matter, I might
have seen that this could not be of the least service; but his object
was to keep me out of the way of those who were busy working the vessel,
and at the same time to divert my fear, by employing me, and making me
think that I was of use. Thus did I stand firm to my post, while the
wind and rain beat upon me, always expecting a call to pull my rope.
The man with one eye steered; old M'Donald, and Col and his servant, lay
upon the fore-castle, looking sharp out for the harbour. It was
necessary to carry much _cloth_, as they termed it, that is to say, much
sail, in order to keep the vessel off the shore of Col. This made
violent plunging in a rough sea. At last they spied the harbour of
Lochiern, and Col cried, 'Thank GOD, we are safe!' We ran up till we
were opposite to it, and soon afterwards we got into it, and
cast anchor.

Dr. Johnson had all this time been quiet and unconcerned. He had lain
down on one of the beds, and having got free from sickness, was
satisfied. The truth is, he knew nothing of the danger we were in[769]
but, fearless and unconcerned, might have said, in the words which he
has chosen for the motto to his _Rambler_,

     'Quo me cunque rapit tempestas, deferor hospes.[770]'

Once, during the doubtful consultations, he asked whither we were going;
and upon being told that it was not certain whether to Mull or Col, he
cried, 'Col for my money!' I now went down, with Col and Mr. Simpson, to
visit him. He was lying in philosophick tranquillity with a greyhound of
Col's at his back, keeping him warm. Col is quite the _Juvenis qui
gaudet canibus_[771]. He had, when we left Talisker, two greyhounds,
two terriers, a pointer, and a large Newfoundland water-dog. He lost one
of his terriers by the road, but had still five dogs with him. I was
very ill, and very desirous to get to shore. When I was told that we
could not land that night, as the storm had now increased, I looked so
miserably, as Col afterwards informed me, that what Shakspeare has made
the Frenchman say of the English soldiers, when scantily dieted,
_'Piteous they will look, like drowned mice!'_[772] might, I believe,
have been well applied to me. There was in the harbour, before us, a
Campbelltown vessel, the Betty, Kenneth Morrison master, taking in
kelp, and bound for Ireland. We sent our boat to beg beds for two
gentlemen, and that the master would send his boat, which was larger
than ours. He accordingly did so, and Col and I were accommodated in his
vessel till the morning.


About eight o'clock we went in the boat to Mr. Simpson's vessel, and
took in Dr. Johnson. He was quite well, though he had tasted nothing but
a dish of tea since Saturday night. On our expressing some surprise at
this, he said, that, 'when he lodged in the Temple, and had no regular
system of life, he had fasted for two days at a time, during which he
had gone about visiting, though not at the hours of dinner or supper;
that he had drunk tea, but eaten no bread; that this was no intentional
fasting, but happened just in the course of a literary life.'[773]

There was a little miserable publick-house close upon the shore, to
which we should have gone, had we landed last night: but this morning
Col resolved to take us directly to the house of Captain Lauchlan
M'Lean, a descendant of his family, who had acquired a fortune in the
East-Indies, and taken a farm in Col[774]. We had about an English mile
to go to it. Col and Joseph, and some others, ran to some little horses,
called here _Shelties_, that were running wild on a heath, and catched
one of them. We had a saddle with us, which was clapped upon it, and a
straw halter was put on its head. Dr. Johnson was then mounted, and
Joseph very slowly and gravely led the horse. I said to Dr. Johnson, 'I
wish, Sir, _the Club_ saw you in this attitude.[775]'

It was a very heavy rain, and I was wet to the skin. Captain M'Lean had
but a poor temporary house, or rather hut; however, it was a very good
haven to us. There was a blazing peat-fire, and Mrs. M'Lean, daughter of
the minister of the parish, got us tea. I felt still the motion of the
sea. Dr. Johnson said, it was not in imagination, but a continuation of
motion on the fluids, like that of the sea itself after the storm
is over.

There were some books on the board which served as a chimney-piece. Dr.
Johnson took up Burnet's _History of his own Times_[776]. He said, 'The
first part of it is one of the most entertaining books in the English
language; it is quite dramatick: while he went about every where, saw
every where, and heard every where. By the first part, I mean so far as
it appears that Burnet himself was actually engaged in what he has told;
and this may be easily distinguished.' Captain M'Lean censured Burnet,
for his high praise of Lauderdale in a dedication[777], when he shews
him in his history to have been so bad a man. JOHNSON. 'I do not myself
think that a man should say in a dedication what he could not say in a
history. However, allowance should be made; for there is a great
difference. The known style of a dedication is flattery: it professes
to flatter. There is the same difference between what a man says in a
dedication, and what he says in a history, as between a lawyer's
pleading a cause, and reporting it.'

The day passed away pleasantly enough. The wind became fair for Mull in
the evening, and Mr. Simpson resolved to sail next morning: but having
been thrown into the island of Col we were unwilling to leave it
unexamined, especially as we considered that the Campbelltown vessel
would sail for Mull in a day or two, and therefore we determined
to stay.


I rose, and wrote my _Journal_ till about nine; and then went to Dr.
Johnson, who sat up in bed and talked and laughed. I said, it was
curious to look back ten years, to the time when we first thought of
visiting the Hebrides[778]. How distant and improbable the scheme then
appeared! Yet here we were actually among them. 'Sir, (said he,) people
may come to do any thing almost, by talking of it. I really believe, I
could talk myself into building a house upon island Isa[779], though I
should probably never come back again to see it. I could easily persuade
Reynolds to do it; and there would be no great sin in persuading him to
do it. Sir, he would reason thus: "What will it cost me to be there once
in two or three summers? Why, perhaps, five hundred pounds; and what is
that, in comparison of having a fine retreat, to which a man can go, or
to which he can send a friend?" He would never find out that he may have
this within twenty miles of London. Then I would tell him, that he may
marry one of the Miss M'Leods, a lady of great family. Sir, it is
surprising how people will go to a distance for what they may have at
home. I knew a lady who came up from Lincolnshire to Knightsbridge with
one of her daughters, and gave five guineas a week for a lodging and a
warm bath; that is, mere warm water. _That_, you know, could not be had
in _Lincolnshire_! She said, it was made either too hot or too
cold there.'

After breakfast, Dr. Johnson and I, and Joseph, mounted horses, and Col
and the Captain walked with us about a short mile across the island. We
paid a visit to the Reverend Mr. Hector M'Lean. His parish consists of
the islands of Col and Tyr-yi. He was about seventy-seven years of age,
a decent ecclesiastick, dressed in a full suit of black clothes, and a
black wig. He appeared like a Dutch pastor, or one of the assembly of
divines at Westminster. Dr. Johnson observed to me afterwards, 'that he
was a fine old man, and was as well-dressed, and had as much dignity in
his appearance as the dean of a cathedral.' We were told, that he had a
valuable library, though but poor accommodation for it, being obliged to
keep his books in large chests. It was curious to see him and Dr.
Johnson together. Neither of them heard very distinctly; so each of them
talked in his own way, and at the same time. Mr. M'Lean said, he had a
confutation of Bayle, by Leibnitz. JOHNSON. 'A confutation of Bayle,
Sir! What part of Bayle do you mean? The greatest part of his writings
is not confutable: it is historical and critical.' Mr. M'Lean said, 'the
irreligious part;' and proceeded to talk of Leibnitz's controversy with
Clarke, calling Leibnitz a great man. JOHNSON. 'Why, Sir, Leibnitz
persisted in affirming that Newton called space _sensorium numinis_,
notwithstanding he was corrected, and desired to observe that Newton's
words were QUASI _sensorium numinis_[780]. No, Sir; Leibnitz was as
paltry a fellow as I know. Out of respect to Queen Caroline, who
patronised him, Clarke treated him too well.[781]'  During the time
that Dr. Johnson was thus going on, the old minister was standing with
his back to the fire, cresting up erect, pulling down the front of his
periwig, and talking what a great man Leibnitz was. To give an idea of
the scene, would require a page with two columns; but it ought rather to
be represented by two good players. The old gentleman said, Clarke was
very wicked, for going so much into the Arian system[782]. 'I will not
say he was wicked, said Dr. Johnson; he might be mistaken.' M'LEAN. 'He
was wicked, to shut his eyes against the Scriptures; and worthy men in
England have since confuted him to all intents and purposes.' JOHNSON.
'I know not _who_ has confuted him to _all intents and purposes_.' Here
again there was a double talking, each continuing to maintain his own
argument, without hearing exactly what the other said.

I regretted that Dr. Johnson did not practice the art of accommodating
himself to different sorts of people. Had he been softer with this
venerable old man, we might have had more conversation; but his forcible
spirit, and impetuosity of manner, may be said to spare neither sex nor
age. I have seen even Mrs. Thrale stunned; but I have often maintained,
that it is better he should retain his own manner[783]. Pliability of
address I conceive to be inconsistent with that majestick power of mind
which he possesses, and which produces such noble effects. A lofty oak
will not bend like a supple willow.

He told me afterwards, he liked firmness in an old man, and was pleased
to see Mr. M'Lean so orthodox. 'At his age, it is too late for a man to
be asking himself questions as to his belief[784].'  We rode to the
northern part of the island, where we saw the ruins of a church or
chapel[785]. We then proceeded to a place called Grissipol, or the
rough Pool.

At Grissipol we found a good farm house, belonging to the Laird of Col,
and possessed by Mr. M'Sweyn. On the beach here there is a singular
variety of curious stones. I picked up one very like a small cucumber.
By the by, Dr. Johnson told me, that Gay's line in _The Beggars Opera_,
'As men should serve a cucumber[786],' &c. has no waggish meaning, with
reference to men flinging away cucumbers as too _cooling_, which some
have thought; for it has been a common saying of physicians in England,
that a cucumber should be well sliced, and dressed with pepper and
vinegar, and then thrown out, as good for nothing. Mr. M'Sweyn's
predecessors had been in Sky from a very remote period, upon the estate
belonging to M'Leod; probably before M'Leod had it The name is certainly
Norwegian, from _Sueno_, King of Norway. The present Mr. M'Sweyn left
Sky upon the late M'Leod's raising his rents. He then got this farm
from Col.

He appeared to be near fourscore; but looked as fresh, and was as strong
as a man of fifty. His son Hugh looked older; and, as Dr. Johnson
observed, had more the manners of an old man than he. I had often heard
of such instances, but never saw one before. Mrs. M'Sweyn was a decent
old gentlewoman. She was dressed in tartan, and could speak nothing but
Erse. She said, she taught Sir James M'Donald Erse, and would teach me
soon. I could now sing a verse of the song _Hatyin foam'eri_[787], made
in honour of Allan, the famous Captain of Clanranald, who fell at
Sherrif-muir[788]; whose servant, who lay on the field watching his
master's dead body, being asked next day who that was, answered, 'He was
a man yesterday.'

We were entertained here with a primitive heartiness. Whiskey was served
round in a shell, according to the ancient Highland custom. Dr. Johnson
would not partake of it; but, being desirous to do honour to the modes
'of other times,' drank some water out of the shell.

In the forenoon Dr. Johnson said, 'it would require great resignation to
live in one of these islands.' BOSWELL. 'I don't know, Sir; I have felt
myself at times in a state of almost mere physical existence, satisfied
to eat, drink, and sleep, and walk about, and enjoy my own thoughts; and
I can figure a continuation of this.' JOHNSON. 'Ay, Sir; but if you were
shut up here, your own thoughts would torment you. You would think of
Edinburgh or London, and that you could not be there.'

We set out after dinner for _Breacacha_, the family seat of the Laird of
Col, accompanied by the young laird, who had now got a horse, and by the
younger Mr. M'Sweyn, whose wife had gone thither before us, to prepare
every thing for our reception, the laird and his family being absent at
Aberdeen. It is called _Breacacha_, or the Spotted Field, because in
summer it is enamelled with clover and daisies, as young Col told me. We
passed by a place where there is a very large stone, I may call it a
_rock_;--'a vast weight for Ajax[789].' The tradition is, that a giant
threw such another stone at his mistress, up to the top of a hill, at a
small distance; and that she in return, threw this mass down to
him[790]. It was all in sport.

     'Malo me petit lasciva puella[791].'

As we advanced, we came to a large extent of plain ground. I had not
seen such a place for a long time. Col and I took a gallop upon it by
way of race. It was very refreshing to me, after having been so long
taking short steps in hilly countries. It was like stretching a man's
legs after being cramped in a short bed. We also passed close by a large
extent of sand-hills, near two miles square. Dr. Johnson said, 'he never
had the image before. It was horrible, if barrenness and danger could be
so.' I heard him, after we were in the house of _Breacacha_, repeating
to himself, as he walked about the room,

     'And smother'd in the dusty whirlwind, dies[792].'

Probably he had been thinking of the whole of the simile in _Cato_, of
which that is the concluding line; the sandy desart had struck him so
strongly. The sand has of late been blown over a good deal of meadow,
and the people of the island say, that their fathers remembered much of
the space which is now covered with sand, to have been under
tillage[793]. Col's house is situated on a bay called _Breacacha_ Bay.
We found here a neat new-built gentleman's house, better than any we had
been in since we were at Lord Errol's. Dr. Johnson relished it much at
first, but soon remarked to me, that 'there was nothing becoming a Chief
about it: it was a mere tradesman's box[794].' He seemed quite at home,
and no longer found any difficulty in using the Highland address; for as
soon as we arrived, he said, with a spirited familiarity, 'Now, _Col_,
if you could get us a dish of tea.' Dr. Johnson and I had each an
excellent bed-chamber. We had a dispute which of us had the best
curtains. His were rather the best, being of linen; but I insisted that
my bed had the best posts, which was undeniable. 'Well, (said he,) if
you _have_ the best _posts_, we will have you tied to them and whipped.'
I mention this slight circumstance, only to shew how ready he is, even
in mere trifles, to get the better of his antagonist, by placing him in
a ludicrous view. I have known him sometimes use the same art, when hard
pressed in serious disputation. Goldsmith, I remember, to retaliate for
many a severe defeat which he has suffered from him, applied to him a
lively saying in one of Cibber's comedies, which puts this part of his
character in a strong light.--'There is no arguing with Johnson; for,
_if his pistol misses fire, he knocks you down with the butt end of


After a sufficiency of sleep, we assembled at breakfast. We were just as
if in barracks. Every body was master. We went and viewed the old castle
of Col, which is not far from the present house, near the shore, and
founded on a rock. It has never been a large feudal residence, and has
nothing about it that requires a particular description. Like other old
inconvenient buildings of the same age, it exemplified Gray's
picturesque lines,

     'Huge[796] windows that exclude the light,
      And passages that lead to nothing.'

It may however be worth mentioning, that on the second story we saw a
vault, which was, and still is, the family prison. There was a woman put
into it by the laird, for theft, within these ten years; and any
offender would be confined there yet; for, from the necessity of the
thing, as the island is remote from any power established by law, the
laird must exercise his jurisdiction to a certain degree.

We were shewn, in a corner of this vault, a hole, into which Col said
greater criminals used to be put. It was now filled up with rubbish of
different kinds. He said, it was of a great depth, 'Ay, (said Dr.
Johnson, smiling,) all such places, that _are filled up_, were of a
great depth.' He is very quick in shewing that he does not give credit
to careless or exaggerated accounts of things. After seeing the castle,
we looked at a small hut near it. It is called _Teigh Franchich, i.e._
the Frenchman's House. Col could not tell us the history of it. A poor
man with a wife and children now lived in it. We went into it, and Dr.
Johnson gave them some charity. There was but one bed for all the
family, and the hut was very smoky. When he came out, he said to me,
_'Et hoc secundum sententiam philosophorum est esse beatus_[797].'
BOSWELL. 'The philosophers, when they placed happiness in a cottage,
supposed cleanliness and no smoke.' JOHNSON. 'Sir, they did not think
about either.'

We walked a little in the laird's garden, in which endeavours have been
used to rear some trees; but, as soon as they got above the surrounding
wall, they died. Dr. Johnson recommended sowing the seeds of hardy
trees, instead of planting.

Col and I rode out this morning, and viewed a part of the island. In the
course of our ride, we saw a turnip-field, which he had hoed with his
own hands. He first introduced this kind of husbandry into the Western
islands[798]. We also looked at an appearance of lead, which seemed very
promising. It has been long known; for I found letters to the late
laird, from Sir John Areskine and Sir Alexander Murray, respecting it.

After dinner came Mr. M'Lean, of Corneck, brother to Isle of Muck, who
is a cadet of the family of Col. He possesses the two ends of Col, which
belong to the Duke of Argyll. Corneck had lately taken a lease of them
at a very advanced rent, rather than let the Campbells get a footing in
the island, one of whom had offered nearly as much as he. Dr. Johnson
well observed, that, 'landlords err much when they calculate merely
what their land _may_ yield. The rent must be in a proportionate ratio
of what the land may yield, and of the power of the tenant to make it
yield. A tenant cannot make by his land, but according to the corn and
cattle which he has. Suppose you should give him twice as much land as
he has, it does him no good, unless he gets also more stock. It is clear
then, that the Highland landlords, who let their substantial tenants
leave them, are infatuated; for the poor small tenants cannot give them
good rents, from the very nature of things. They have not the means of
raising more from their farms[799].' Corneck, Dr. Johnson said, was the
most distinct man that he had met with in these isles: he did not shut
his eyes, or put his fingers in his ears, which he seemed to think was a
good deal the mode with most of the people whom we have seen of late.


Captain M'Lean joined us this morning at breakfast. There came on a
dreadful storm of wind and rain, which continued all day, and rather
increased at night. The wind was directly against our getting to Mull.
We were in a strange state of abstraction from the world: we could
neither hear from our friends, nor write to them. Col had brought Daille
_on the Fathers_[800], Lucas _on Happiness_[801], and More's
_Dialogues_[802], from the Reverend Mr. M'Lean's, and Burnet's _History
of his own Times_, from Captain M'Lean's; and he had of his own some
books of farming, and Gregory's _Geometry_[803]. Dr. Johnson read a good
deal of Burnet, and of Gregory, and I observed he made some geometrical
notes in the end of his pocket-book. I read a little of Young's _Six
Weeks' Tour through the Southern Counties_; and Ovid's _Epistles_, which
I had bought at Inverness, and which helped to solace many a weary hour.

We were to have gone with Dr. Johnson this morning to see the mine; but
were prevented by the storm. While it was raging, he said, 'We may be
glad we are not _damnati ad metalla_.'


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[804], 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 newspapers,
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 Cuper's Gardens[805], 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[806].

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 Corsica[807]. '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[808] of
the 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:--



'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'Martins 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 manner,

'Dear Sir,

'Your most obliged, affectionate,
    'And most humble Servants,
        'DUGALL CAMERON, _of Strone_.
         DUGALL CAMERON, _of Barr_.
         DUGALL CAMERON, _of Inveriskvouilline_.
         DUGALL CAMERON, _of Invinvalie_.'

'Strone, 11th March, 1737.'

Ewen Cameron was protected, and his son has now a farm from the Laird of
Col, in Mull.

The family of Col was very loyal in the time of the great Montrose[809],
from whom I found two letters in his own handwriting. The first is
as follows:--



'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

     'Your very faithful friende,

'Strethearne, 20 Jan. 1646.'

The other is:--



'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

     'Your faithful friend,

'Petty, 17 April, 1646.'

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 shall only give what is called his Epitaph,
which Dr. Johnson said, 'was not so very bad.'

     'Nature's minion, Virtue's wonder,
      Art's corrective here lyes under.'

I asked, what 'Art's corrective' meant. 'Why, Sir, (said he,) that the
laird was so exquisite, that he set art right, when she was wrong.'

I found several letters to the late Col, from my father's old companion
at Paris, Sir Hector M'Lean, one of which was written at the time of
settling the colony in Georgia[811]. It dissuades Col from letting
people go there, and assures him there will soon be an opportunity of
employing them better at home. Hence it appears that emigration from
the Highlands, though not in such numbers at a time as of late, has
always been practised. Dr. Johnson observed that 'the Lairds, instead of
improving their country, diminished their people.'

There are several districts of sandy desart in Col. There are
forty-eight lochs of fresh water; but many of them are very small,--meer
pools. About one half of them, however, have trout and eel. There is a
great number of horses in the island, mostly of a small size. Being
over-stocked, they sell some in Tir-yi, and on the main land. Their
black cattle, which are chiefly rough-haired, are reckoned remarkably
good. The climate being very mild in winter, they never put their beasts
in any house. The lakes are never frozen so as to bear a man; and snow
never lies above a few hours. They have a good many sheep, which they
eat mostly themselves, and sell but a few. They have goats in several
places. There are no foxes; no serpents, toads, or frogs, nor any
venomous creature. They have otters and mice here; but had no rats till
lately that an American vessel brought them. There is a rabbit-warren on
the north-east of the island, belonging to the Duke of Argyle. Young Col
intends to get some hares, of which there are none at present. There are
no black-cock, muir-fowl[812], nor partridges; but there are snipe,
wild-duck, wild-geese, and swans, in winter; wild-pidgeons, plover, and
great number of starlings; of which I shot some, and found them pretty
good eating. Woodcocks come hither, though there is not a tree upon the
island. There are no rivers in Col; but only some brooks, in which there
is a great variety of fish. In the whole isle there are but three hills,
and none of them considerable for a Highland country. The people are
very industrious. Every man can tan. They get oak, and birch-bark, and
lime, from the main land. Some have pits; but they commonly use tubs. I
saw brogues[813] very well tanned; and every man can make them. They all
make candles of the tallow of their beasts, both moulded and dipped; and
they all make oil of the livers of fish. The little fish called Cuddies
produce a great deal. They sell some oil out of the island, and they use
it much for light in their houses, in little iron lamps, most of which
they have from England; but of late their own blacksmith makes them. He
is a good workman; but he has no employment in shoeing horses, for they
all go unshod here, except some of a better kind belonging to young Col,
which were now in Mull. There are two carpenters in Col; but most of the
inhabitants can do something as boat-carpenters. They can all dye. Heath
is used for yellow; and for red, a moss which grows on stones. They make
broad-cloth, and tartan, and linen, of their own wool and flax,
sufficient for their own use; as also stockings. Their bonnets come from
the mainland. Hard-ware and several small articles are brought annually
from Greenock, and sold in the only shop in the island, which is kept
near the house, or rather hut, used for publick worship, there being no
church in the island. The inhabitants of Col have increased considerably
within these thirty years, as appears from the parish registers. There
are but three considerable tacksmen on Col's part of the island[814]:
the rest is let to small tenants, some of whom pay so low a rent as
four, three, or even two guineas. The highest is seven pounds, paid by a
farmer, whose son goes yearly on foot to Aberdeen for education, and in
summer returns, and acts as a schoolmaster in Col. Dr. Johnson said,
'There is something noble in a young man's walking two hundred miles and
back again, every year, for the sake of learning[815].'

This day a number of people came to Col, with complaints of each others'
trespasses. Corneck, to prevent their being troublesome, told them, that
the lawyer from Edinburgh was here, and if they did not agree, he would
take them to task. They were alarmed at this; said, they had never been
used to go to law, and hoped Col would settle matters himself. In the
evening Corneck left us.

As, in our present confinement, any thing that had even the name of
curious was an object of attention, I proposed that Col should shew me
the great stone, mentioned in a former page[816], as having been thrown
by a giant to the top of a mountain. Dr. Johnson, who did not like to be
left alone, said he would accompany us as far as riding was practicable.
We ascended a part of the hill on horseback, and Col and I scrambled up
the rest. A servant held our horses, and Dr. Johnson placed himself on
the ground, with his back against a large fragment of rock. The wind
being high, he let down the cocks of his hat, and tied it with his
handkerchief under his chin. While we were employed in examining the
stone, which did not repay our trouble in getting to it, he amused
himself with reading _Gataker on Lots and on the Christian Watch[817],_
a very learned book, of the last age, which had been found in the garret
of Col's house, and which he said was a treasure here. When we descried
him from above, he had a most eremitical appearance; and on our return
told us, he had been so much engaged by Gataker, that he had never
missed us. His avidity for variety of books, while we were in Col, was
frequently expressed; and he often complained that so few were within
his reach. Upon which I observed to him, that it was strange he should
complain of want of books, when he could at any time make such
good ones.

We next proceeded to the lead mine. In our way we came to a strand of
some extent, where we were glad to take a gallop, in which my learned
friend joined with great alacrity. Dr. Johnson, mounted on a large bay
mare without shoes, and followed by a foal, which had some difficulty in
keeping up with him, was a singular spectacle.

After examining the mine, we returned through a very uncouth district,
full of sand hills; down which, though apparent precipices, our horses
carried us with safety, the sand always gently sliding away from their
feet. Vestiges of houses were pointed out to us, which Col, and two
others who had joined us, asserted had been overwhelmed with sand blown
over them. But, on going close to one of them, Dr. Johnson shewed the
absurdity of the notion, by remarking, that 'it was evidently only a
house abandoned, the stones of which had been taken away for other
purposes; for the large stones, which form the lower part of the walls,
were still standing higher than the sand. If _they_ were not blown over,
it was clear nothing higher than they could be blown over.' This was
quite convincing to me; but it made not the least impression on Col and
the others, who were not to be argued out of a Highland tradition.

We did not sit down to dinner till between six and seven. We lived
plentifully here, and had a true welcome. In such a season good firing
was of no small importance. The peats were excellent, and burned
cheerfully. Those at Dunvegan, which were damp, Dr. Johnson called 'a
sullen fuel.' Here a Scottish phrase was singularly applied to him. One
of the company having remarked that he had gone out on a stormy evening,
and brought in a supply of peats from the stack, old Mr. M'Sweyn said,
'that was _main honest_[818]!'

Blenheim being occasionally mentioned, he told me he had never seen
it[819]: he had not gone formerly; and he would not go now, just as a
common spectator, for his money: he would not put it in the power of
some man about the Duke of Marlborough to say, 'Johnson was here; I knew
him, but I took no notice of him[820].' He said, he should be very glad
to see it, if properly invited, which in all probability would never be
the case, as it was not worth his while to seek for it. I observed, that
he might be easily introduced there by a common friend of ours, nearly
related to the duke[821]. He answered, with an uncommon attention to
delicacy of feeling, 'I doubt whether our friend be on such a footing
with the duke as to carry any body there; and I would not give him the
uneasiness of seeing that I knew he was not, or even of being himself
reminded of it.'


There was this day the most terrible storm of wind and rain that I ever
remember[822]. It made such an awful impression on us all, as to
produce, for some time, a kind of dismal quietness in the house. The day
was passed without much conversation: only, upon my observing that there
must be something bad in a man's mind, who does not like to give leases
to his tenants, but wishes to keep them in a perpetual wretched
dependance on his will, Dr. Johnson said, 'You are right: it is a man's
duty to extend comfort and security among as many people as he can. He
should not wish to have his tenants mere _Ephemerae_,--mere beings of an
hour[823].' BOSWELL. 'But, Sir, if they have leases is there not some
danger that they may grow insolent? I remember you yourself once told
me, an English tenant was so independent, that, if provoked, he would
_throw_ his rent at his landlord.' JOHNSON. 'Depend upon it, Sir, it is
the landlord's own fault, if it is thrown at him. A man may always keep
his tenants in dependence enough, though they have leases. He must be a
good tenant indeed, who will not fall behind in his rent, if his
landlord will let him; and if he does fall behind, his landlord has him
at his mercy. Indeed, the poor man is always much at the mercy of the
rich; no matter whether landlord or tenant. If the tenant lets his
landlord have a little rent beforehand, or has lent him money, then the
landlord is in his power. There cannot be a greater man than a tenant
who has lent money to his landlord; for he has under subjection the very
man to whom he should be subjected.'


We had some days ago engaged the Campbelltown vessel to carry us to
Mull, from the harbour where she lay. The morning was fine, and the wind
fair and moderate; so we hoped at length to get away.

Mrs. M'Sweyn, who officiated as our landlady here, had never been on the
main land. On hearing this, Dr. Johnson said to me, before her, 'That is
rather being behind-hand with life. I would at least go and see
Glenelg.' BOSWELL. 'You yourself, Sir, have never seen, till now, any
thing but your native island.' JOHNSON. 'But, Sir, by seeing London, I
have seen as much of life as the world can shew[824].' BOSWELL. 'You
have not seen Pekin.' JOHNSON. 'What is Pekin? Ten thousand Londoners
would _drive_ all the people of Pekin: they would drive them like deer.'

We set out about eleven for the harbour; but, before we reached it, so
violent a storm came on, that we were obliged again to take shelter in
the house of Captain M'Lean, where we dined, and passed the night.


After breakfast, we made a second attempt to get to the harbour; but
another storm soon convinced us that it would be in vain. Captain
M'Lean's house being in some confusion, on account of Mrs. M'Lean being
expected to lie-in, we resolved to go to Mr. M'Sweyn's, where we arrived
very wet, fatigued, and hungry. In this situation, we were somewhat
disconcerted by being told that we should have no dinner till late in
the evening, but should have tea in the mean time. Dr. Johnson opposed
this arrangement; but they persisted, and he took the tea very readily.
He said to me afterwards, 'You must consider, Sir, a dinner here is a
matter of great consequence. It is a thing to be first planned, and then
executed. I suppose the mutton was brought some miles off, from some
place where they knew there was a sheep killed.'

Talking of the good people with whom we were, he said, 'Life has not got
at all forward by a generation in M'Sweyn's family; for the son is
exactly formed upon the father. What the father says, the son says; and
what the father looks, the son looks.'

There being little conversation to-night, I must endeavour to recollect
what I may have omitted on former occasions. When I boasted, at Rasay,
of my independency of spirit, and that I could not be bribed, he said,
'Yes, you may be bribed by flattery.' At the Reverend Mr. M'Lean's, Dr.
Johnson asked him, if the people of Col had any superstitions. He said,
'No.' The cutting peats at the increase of the moon was mentioned as
one; but he would not allow it, saying, it was not a superstition, but a
whim. Dr. Johnson would not admit the distinction. There were many
superstitions, he maintained, not connected with religion; and this was
one of them[825]. On Monday we had a dispute at the Captain's, whether
sand-hills could be fixed down by art. Dr. Johnson said, 'How _the
devil_ can you do it?' but instantly corrected himself, 'How can you do
it[826]?' I never before heard him use a phrase of that nature.

He has particularities which it is impossible to explain[827]. He never
wears a night-cap, as I have already mentioned; but he puts a
handkerchief on his head in the night. The day that we left Talisker, he
bade us ride on. He then turned the head of his horse back towards
Talisker, stopped for some time; then wheeled round to the same
direction with ours, and then came briskly after us. He sets open a
window in the coldest day or night, and stands before it. It may do with
his constitution; but most people, amongst whom I am one, would say,
with the frogs in the fable, 'This may be sport to you; but it is death
to us.' It is in vain to try to find a meaning in every one of his
particularities, which, I suppose, are mere habits, contracted by
chance; of which every man has some that are more or less remarkable.
His speaking to himself, or rather repeating, is a common habit with
studious men accustomed to deep thinking; and, in consequence of their
being thus rapt, they will even laugh by themselves, if the subject
which they are musing on is a merry one. Dr. Johnson is often uttering
pious ejaculations, when he appears to be talking to himself; for
sometimes his voice grows stronger, and parts of the Lord's Prayer are
heard[828]. I have sat beside him with more than ordinary reverence on
such occasions[829].

In our Tour, I observed that he was disgusted whenever he met with
coarse manners. He said to me, 'I know not how it is, but I cannot bear
low life[830]: and I find others, who have as good a right as I to be
fastidious, bear it better, by having mixed more with different sorts of
men. You would think that I have mixed pretty well too.'

He read this day a good deal of my _Journal_, written in a small book
with which he had supplied me, and was pleased, for he said, 'I wish thy
books were twice as big.' He helped me to fill up blanks which I had
left in first writing it, when I was not quite sure of what he had said,
and he corrected any mistakes that I had made. 'They call me a scholar,
(said he,) and yet how very little literature is there in my
conversation.' BOSWELL. 'That, Sir, must be according to your company.
You would not give literature to those who cannot taste it. Stay till we
meet Lord Elibank.'

We had at last a good dinner, or rather supper, and were very well
satisfied with our entertainment.


Col called me up, with intelligence that it was a good day for a passage
to Mull; and just as we rose, a sailor from the vessel arrived for us.
We got all ready with dispatch. Dr. Johnson was displeased at my
bustling, and walking quickly up and down. He said, 'It does not hasten
us a bit. It is getting on horseback in a ship[831]. All boys do it; and
you are longer a boy than others.' He himself has no alertness, or
whatever it may be called; so he may dislike it, as _Oderunt hilarem

Before we reached the harbour, the wind grew high again. However, the
small boat was waiting and took us on board. We remained for some time
in uncertainty what to do: at last it was determined, that, as a good
part of the day was over, and it was dangerous to be at sea at night, in
such a vessel, and such weather, we should not sail till the morning
tide, when the wind would probably be more gentle. We resolved not to go
ashore again, but lie here in readiness. Dr. Johnson and I had each a
bed in the cabin. Col sat at the fire in the fore-castle, with the
captain, and Joseph, and the rest. I eat some dry oatmeal, of which I
found a barrel in the cabin. I had not done this since I was a boy. Dr.
Johnson owned that he too was fond of it when a boy[833]; a circumstance
which I was highly pleased to hear from him, as it gave me an
opportunity of observing that, notwithstanding his joke on the article
of OATS[834], he was himself a proof that this kind of _food_ was not
peculiar to the people of Scotland.


When Dr. Johnson awaked this morning, he called _'Lanky!'_ having, I
suppose, been thinking of Langton; but corrected himself instantly, and
cried, _'Bozzy!'_ He has a way of contracting the names of his friends.
Goldsmith feels himself so important now, as to be displeased at it. I
remember one day, when Tom Davies was telling that Dr. Johnson said, We
are all in labour for a name to _Goldy's_ play,' Goldsmith cried 'I have
often desired him not to call me _Goldy[835].'_

Between six and seven we hauled our anchor, and set sail with a fair
breeze; and, after a pleasant voyage, we got safely and agreeably into
the harbour of Tobermorie, before the wind rose, which it always has
done, for some days, about noon.  Tobermorie is an excellent harbour.
An island lies before it, and it is surrounded by a hilly theatre[836].
The island is too low, otherwise this would be quite a secure port; but,
the island not being a sufficient protection, some storms blow very hard
here. Not long ago, fifteen vessels were blown from their moorings.
There are sometimes sixty or seventy sail here: to-day there were twelve
or fourteen vessels. To see such a fleet was the next thing to seeing a
town. The vessels were from different places; Clyde, Campbelltown,
Newcastle, &c. One was returning to Lancaster from Hamburgh. After
having been shut up so long in Col, the sight of such an assemblage of
moving habitations, containing such a variety of people, engaged in
different pursuits, gave me much gaiety of spirit. When we had landed,
Dr. Johnson said, 'Boswell is now all alive. He is like Antaeus; he gets
new vigour whenever he touches the ground.' I went to the top of a hill
fronting the harbour, from whence I had a good view of it. We had here a
tolerable inn. Dr. Johnson had owned to me this morning, that he was out
of humour. Indeed, he shewed it a good deal in the ship; for when I was
expressing my joy on the prospect of our landing in Mull, he said, he
had no joy, when he recollected that it would be five days before he
should get to the main land. I was afraid he would now take a sudden
resolution to give up seeing Icolmkill. A dish of tea, and some good
bread and butter, did him service, and his bad humour went off. I told
him, that I was diverted to hear all the people whom we had visited in
our tour, say, _'Honest man!_ he's pleased with every thing; he's always
content!'--'Little do they know,' said I. He laughed, and said, 'You

We sent to hire horses to carry us across the island of Mull to the
shore opposite to Inchkenneth, the residence of Sir Allan M'Lean, uncle
to young Col, and Chief of the M'Leans, to whose house we intended to go
the next day. Our friend Col went to visit his aunt, the wife of Dr.
Alexander M'Lean, a physician, who lives about a mile from Tobermorie.

Dr. Johnson and I sat by ourselves at the inn, and talked a good deal. I
told him, that I had found, in Leandro Alberti's Description of Italy,
much of what Addison has given us in his _Remarks_[838]. He said, 'The
collection of passages from the Classicks has been made by another
Italian: it is, however, impossible to detect a man as a plagiary in
such a case, because all who set about making such a collection must
find the same passages; but, if you find the same applications in
another book, then Addison's learning in his _Remarks_ tumbles down. It
is a tedious book; and, if it were not attached to Addison's previous
reputation, one would not think much of it. Had he written nothing else,
his name would not have lived. Addison does not seem to have gone deep
in Italian literature: he shews nothing of it in his subsequent
writings. He shews a great deal of French learning. There is, perhaps,
more knowledge circulated in the French language than in any other[839].
There is more original knowledge in English.' 'But the French (said I)
have the art of accommodating[840] literature.' JOHNSON. 'Yes, Sir: we
have no such book as Moreri's _Dictionary_[841].' BOSWELL. 'Their
_Ana_[842] are good.' JOHNSON. 'A few of them are good; but we have one
book of that kind better than any of them; Selden's _Table-talk_. As to
original literature, the French have a couple of tragick poets who go
round the world, Racine and Corneille, and one comick poet, Moliere.'
BOSWELL. 'They have Fenelon.' JOHNSON. 'Why, Sir, _Telemachus_ is pretty
well.' BOSWELL. 'And Voltaire, Sir.' JOHNSON. 'He has not stood his
trial yet. And what makes Voltaire chiefly circulate is collection; such
as his _Universal History_.' BOSWELL. 'What do you say to the Bishop of
Meaux?' JOHNSON. 'Sir, nobody reads him[843].' He would not allow
Massilon and Bourdaloue to go round the world. In general, however, he
gave the French much praise for their industry.

He asked me whether he had mentioned, in any of the papers of the
_Rambler_, the description in Virgil of the entrance into Hell, with an
application to the press; 'for (said he) I do not much remember them.' I
told him, 'No.' Upon which he repeated it:--

     'Vestibulum ante ipsum, primisque in faucibus orci,
      Luctus et ultrices posuere cubilia Curae;
      Pallentesque habitant Morbi, tristisque Senectus,
      Et metus, et malesuada Fames, et turpis Egestas,
      Terribiles visu formae; Lethumque, Laborque[844].'

'Now, (said he) almost all these apply exactly to an authour: all these
are the concomitants of a printing-house. I proposed to him to dictate
an essay on it, and offered to write it. He said, he would not do it
then, but perhaps would write one at some future period.

The Sunday evening that we sat by ourselves at Aberdeen, I asked him
several particulars of his life, from his early years, which he readily
told me; and I wrote them down before him. This day I proceeded in my
inquiries, also writing them in his presence. I have them on detached
sheets. I shall collect authentick materials for THE LIFE OF SAMUEL
JOHNSON, LL.D.; and, if I survive him, I shall be one who will most
faithfully do honour to his memory. I have now a vast treasure of his
conversation, at different times, since the year 1762[845], when I first
obtained his acquaintance; and, by assiduous inquiry, I can make up for
not knowing him sooner[846].

A Newcastle ship-master, who happened to be in the house, intruded
himself upon us. He was much in liquor, and talked nonsense about his
being a man for _Wilkes and Liberty_, and against the ministry. Dr.
Johnson was angry, that 'a fellow should come into _our_ company, who
was fit for _no_ company.' He left us soon.

Col returned from his aunt, and told us, she insisted that we should
come to her house that night. He introduced to us Mr. Campbell, the Duke
of Argyle's factor in Tyr-yi. He was a genteel, agreeable man. He was
going to Inverary, and promised to put letters into the post-office for
us[847]. I now found that Dr. Johnson's desire to get on the main land,
arose from his anxiety to have an opportunity of conveying letters to
his friends.

After dinner, we proceeded to Dr. M'Lean's, which was about a mile from
our inn. He was not at home, but we were received by his lady and
daughter, who entertained us so well, that Dr. Johnson seemed quite
happy. When we had supped, he asked me to give him some paper to write
letters. I begged he would write short ones, and not _expatiate_, as we
ought to set off early. He was irritated by this, and said, 'What must
be done; must be done: the thing is past a joke.' 'Nay, Sir, (said I,)
write as much as you please; but do not blame me, if we are kept six
days before we get to the main land. You were very impatient in the
morning: but no sooner do you find yourself in good quarters, than you
forget that you are to move.' I got him paper enough, and we parted in
good humour.

Let me now recollect whatever particulars I have omitted. In the morning
I said to him, before we landed at Tobermorie, 'We shall see Dr. M'Lean,
who has written _The History of the M'Leans'_. JOHNSON. 'I have no great
patience to stay to hear the history of the M'Leans. I would rather hear
the History of the Thrales.' When on Mull, I said, 'Well, Sir, this is
the fourth of the Hebrides that we have been upon.' JOHNSON. 'Nay, we
cannot boast of the number we have seen. We thought we should see many
more. We thought of sailing about easily from island to island; and so
we should, had we come at a better season[848]; but we, being wise men,
thought it would be summer all the year where _we_ were. However, Sir,
we have seen enough to give us a pretty good notion of the system of
insular life.'

Let me not forget, that he sometimes amused himself with very slight
reading; from which, however, his conversation shewed that he contrived
to extract some benefit. At Captain M'Lean's he read a good deal in _The
Charmer_, a collection of songs[849].

We this morning found that we could not proceed, there being a violent
storm of wind and rain, and the rivers being impassable. When I
expressed my discontent at our confinement, Dr. Johnson said, 'Now that
I have had an opportunity of writing to the main land, I am in no such
haste.' I was amused with his being so easily satisfied; for the truth
was, that the gentleman who was to convey our letters, as I was now
informed, was not to set out for Inverary for some time; so that it was
probable we should be there as soon as he: however, I did not undeceive
my friend, but suffered him to enjoy his fancy.

Dr. Johnson asked, in the evening, to see Dr. M'Lean's books. He took
down Willis _de Anima Brutorum_[850], and pored over it a good deal.

Miss M'Lean produced some Erse poems by John M'Lean, who was a famous
bard in Mull, and had died only a few years ago. He could neither read
nor write. She read and translated two of them; one, a kind of elegy on
Sir John M'Lean's being obliged to fly his country in 1715; another, a
dialogue between two Roman Catholick young ladies, sisters, whether it
was better to be a nun or to marry. I could not perceive much poetical
imagery in the translation. Yet all of our company who understood Erse,
seemed charmed with the original. There may, perhaps, be some choice of
expression, and some excellence of arrangement, that cannot be shewn in

After we had exhausted the Erse poems, of which Dr. Johnson said
nothing, Miss M'Lean gave us several tunes on a spinnet, which, though
made so long ago as in 1667, was still very well toned. She sung along
with it. Dr. Johnson seemed pleased with the musick, though he owns he
neither likes it, nor has hardly any perception of it. At Mr.
M'Pherson's, in Slate, he told us, that 'he knew a drum from a trumpet,
and a bagpipe from a guittar, which was about the extent of his
knowledge of musick.' To-night he said, that, 'if he had learnt musick,
he should have been afraid he would have done nothing else but play. It
was a method of employing the mind without the labour of thinking at
all, and with some applause from a man's self[851].'

We had the musick of the bagpipe every day, at Armidale, Dunvegan, and
Col. Dr. Johnson appeared fond of it, and used often to stand for some
time with his ear close to the great drone.

The penurious gentleman of our acquaintance, formerly alluded to[852],
afforded us a topick of conversation to-night. Dr. Johnson said, I ought
to write down a collection of the instances of his narrowness, as they
almost exceeded belief. Col told us, that O'Kane, the famous Irish
harper, was once at that gentleman's house. He could not find in his
heart to give him any money, but gave him a key for a harp, which was
finely ornamented with gold and silver, and with a precious stone, and
was worth eighty or a hundred guineas. He did not know the value of it;
and when he came to know it, he would fain have had it back; but O'Kane
took care that he should not. JOHNSON. 'They exaggerate the value; every
body is so desirous that he should be fleeced. I am very willing it
should be worth eighty or a hundred guineas; but I do not believe it.'
BOSWELL. 'I do not think O'Kane was obliged to give it back.' JOHNSON.
'No, Sir. If a man with his eyes open, and without any means used to
deceive him, gives me a thing, I am not to let him have it again when he
grows wiser. I like to see how avarice defeats itself: how, when
avoiding to part with money, the miser gives something more valuable.'
Col said, the gentleman's relations were angry at his giving away the
harp-key, for it had been long in the family. JOHNSON. 'Sir, he values a
new guinea more than an old friend.'

Col also told us, that the same person having come up with a serjeant
and twenty men, working on the high road, he entered into discourse with
the serjeant, and then gave him sixpence for the men to drink. The
serjeant asked, 'Who is this fellow?'. Upon being informed, he said, 'If
I had known who he was, I should have thrown it in his face.' JOHNSON.
'There is much want of sense in all this. He had no business to speak
with the serjeant. He might have been in haste, and trotted on. He has
not learnt to be a miser: I believe we must take him apprentice.'
BOSWELL. 'He would grudge giving half a guinea to be taught.' JOHNSON.
'Nay, Sir, you must teach him _gratis_. You must give him an opportunity
to practice your precepts.'

Let me now go back, and glean _Johnsoniana_. The Saturday before we
sailed from Slate, I sat awhile in the afternoon, with Dr. Johnson in
his room, in a quiet serious frame. I observed, that hardly any man was
accurately prepared for dying; but almost every one left something
undone, something in confusion; that my father, indeed, told me he knew
one man, (Carlisle of Limekilns,) after whose death all his papers were
found in exact order; and nothing was omitted in his will. JOHNSON.
'Sir, I had an uncle who died so; but such attention requires great
leisure, and great firmness of mind. If one was to think constantly of
death, the business of life would stand still. I am no friend to making
religion appear too hard. Many good people have done harm by giving
severe notions of it. In the same way, as to learning: I never frighten
young people with difficulties; on the contrary, I tell them that they
may very easily get as much as will do very well. I do not indeed tell
them that they will be _Bentleys_!

The night we rode to Col's house, I said, 'Lord Elibank is probably
wondering what is become of us.' JOHNSON. 'No, no; he is not thinking of
us.' BOSWELL. 'But recollect the warmth with which he wrote[853]. Are we
not to believe a man, when he says he has a great desire to see another?
Don't you believe that I was very impatient for your coming to
Scotland?' JOHNSON. 'Yes, Sir; I believe you were; and I was impatient
to come to you. A young man feels so, but seldom an old man.' I however
convinced him that Lord Elibank, who has much of the spirit of a young
man, might feel so. He asked me if our jaunt had answered expectation. I
said it had much exceeded it. I expected much difficulty with him, and
had not found it. 'And (he added) wherever we have come, we have been
received like princes in their progress.'

He said, he would not wish not to be disgusted in the Highlands; for
that would be to lose the power of distinguishing, and a man might then
lie down in the middle of them. He wished only to conceal his disgust.

At Captain M'Lean's, I mentioned Pope's friend, Spence. JOHNSON. 'He was
a weak conceited man[854].' BOSWELL. 'A good scholar, Sir?' JOHNSON.
'Why, no, Sir.' BOSWELL. 'He was a pretty scholar.' JOHNSON. 'You have
about reached him.'

Last night at the inn, when the factor in Tyr-yi spoke of his having
heard that a roof was put on some part of the buildings at Icolmkill, I
unluckily said, 'It will be fortunate if we find a cathedral with a roof
on it.' I said this from a foolish anxiety to engage Dr. Johnson's
curiosity more. He took me short at once. 'What, Sir? how can you talk
so? If we shall _find_ a cathedral roofed! as if we were going to a
_terra incognita_; when every thing that is at Icolmkill is so well
known. You are like some New-England-men who came to the mouth of the
Thames. "Come, (say they,) let us go up and see what sort of inhabitants
there are here." They talked, Sir, as if they had been to go up the
Susquehannah, or any other American river.'


This day there was a new moon, and the weather changed for the better.
Dr. Johnson said of Miss M'Lean, 'She is the most accomplished lady that
I have found in the Highlands. She knows French, musick, and drawing,
sews neatly, makes shellwork, and can milk cows; in short, she can do
every thing. She talks sensibly, and is the first person whom I have
found, that can translate Erse poetry literally[855].' We set out,
mounted on little Mull horses. Mull corresponded exactly with the idea
which I had always had of it; a hilly country, diversified with heath
and grass, and many rivulets. Dr. Johnson was not in very good humour.
He said, it was a dreary country, much worse than Sky. I differed from
him. 'O, Sir, (said he,) a most dolorous country[856]!'

We had a very hard journey to-day. I had no bridle for my sheltie, but
only a halter; and Joseph rode without a saddle. At one place, a loch
having swelled over the road, we were obliged to plunge through pretty
deep water. Dr. Johnson observed, how helpless a man would be, were he
travelling here alone, and should meet with any accident; and said, 'he
longed to get to _a country of saddles and bridles_' He was more out of
humour to-day, than he has been in the course of our Tour, being fretted
to find that his little horse could scarcely support his weight; and
having suffered a loss, which, though small in itself, was of some
consequence to him, while travelling the rugged steeps of Mull, where he
was at times obliged to walk. The loss that I allude to was that of the
large oak-stick, which, as I formerly mentioned, he had brought with him
from London[857]. It was of great use to him in our wild peregrination;
for, ever since his last illness in 1766[858], he has had a weakness in
his knees, and has not been able to walk easily. It had too the
properties of a measure; for one nail was driven into it at the length
of a foot; another at that of a yard. In return for the services it had
done him, he said, this morning he would make a present of it to some
Museum; but he little thought he was so soon to lose it. As he
preferred riding with a switch, it was entrusted to a fellow to be
delivered to our baggage-man, who followed us at some distance; but we
never saw it more. I could not persuade him out of a suspicion that it
had been stolen. 'No, no, my friend, (said he,) it is not to be expected
that any man in Mull, who has got it, will part with it. Consider, Sir,
the value of such a _piece of timber_ here!'

As we travelled this forenoon, we met Dr. McLean, who expressed much
regret at his having been so unfortunate as to be absent while we were
at his house.

We were in hopes to get to Sir Allan Maclean's at Inchkenneth, to-night;
but the eight miles, of which our road was said to consist, were so very
long, that we did not reach the opposite coast of Mull till seven at
night, though we had set out about eleven in the forenoon; and when we
did arrive there, we found the wind strong against us. Col determined
that we should pass the night at M'Quarrie's, in the island of Ulva,
which lies between Mull and Inchkenneth; and a servant was sent forward
to the ferry, to secure the boat for us; but the boat was gone to the
Ulva side, and the wind was so high that the people could not hear him
call; and the night so dark that they could not see a signal. We should
have been in a very bad situation, had there not fortunately been lying
in the little sound of Ulva an Irish vessel, the Bonnetta, of
Londonderry, Captain M'Lure, master. He himself was at M'Quarrie's; but
his men obligingly came with their long-boat, and ferried us over.
M'Quarrie's house was mean; but we were agreeably surprized with the
appearance of the master, whom we found to be intelligent, polite, and
much a man of the world. Though his clan is not numerous, he is a very
ancient Chief, and has a burial place at Icolmkill. He told us, his
family had possessed Ulva for nine hundred years; but I was distressed
to hear that it was soon to be sold for payment of his debts.

Captain M'Lure, whom we found here, was of Scotch extraction, and
properly a McLeod, being descended of some of the M'Leods who went with
Sir Normand of Bernera to the battle of Worcester; and after the defeat
of the royalists, fled to Ireland, and, to conceal themselves, took a
different name. He told me, there was a great number of them about
Londonderry; some of good property. I said, they should now resume
their real name. The Laird of M'Leod should go over, and assemble them,
and make them all drink the large horn full[859], and from that time
they should be M'Leods. The captain informed us, he had named his ship
the Bonnetta, out of gratitude to Providence; for once, when he was
sailing to America with a good number of passengers, the ship in which
he then sailed was becalmed for five weeks, and during all that time,
numbers of the fish Bonnetta swam close to her, and were caught for
food; he resolved therefore, that the ship he should next get, should be
called the Bonnetta.

M'Quarrie told us a strong instance of the second sight. He had gone to
Edinburgh, and taken a man-servant along with him. An old woman, who was
in the house, said one day, 'M'Quarrie will be at home to-morrow, and
will bring two gentlemen with him;' and she said, she saw his servant
return in red and green. He did come home next day. He had two gentlemen
with him; and his servant had a new red and green livery, which
M'Quarrie had bought for him at Edinburgh, upon a sudden thought, not
having the least intention when he left home to put his servant in
livery; so that the old woman could not have heard any previous mention
of it. This, he assured us, was a true story.

M'Quarrie insisted that the _Mercheta Mulierum_, mentioned in our old
charters, did really mean the privilege which a lord of the manor, or a
baron, had, to have the first night of all his vassals' wives. Dr.
Johnson said, the belief of such a custom having existed was also held
in England, where there is a tenure called _Borough English_, by which
the eldest child does not inherit, from a doubt of his being the son of
the tenant[860]. M'Quarrie told us, that still, on the marriage of each
of his tenants, a sheep is due to him; for which the composition is
fixed at five shillings[861]. I suppose, Ulva is the only place where
this custom remains.

Talking of the sale of an estate of an ancient family, which was said to
have been purchased much under its value by the confidential lawyer of
that family, and it being mentioned that the sale would probably be set
aside by a suit in equity, Dr. Johnson said, 'I am very willing that
this sale should be set aside, but I doubt much whether the suit will be
successful; for the argument for avoiding the sale is founded on vague
and indeterminate principles, as that the price was too low, and that
there was a great degree of confidence placed by the seller in the
person who became the purchaser. Now, how low should a price be? or what
degree of confidence should there be to make a bargain be set aside? a
bargain, which is a wager of skill between man and man. If, indeed, any
fraud can be proved, that will do.'

When Dr. Johnson and I were by ourselves at night, I observed of our
host, '_aspectum generosum habet;'--'et generosum animum_', he added.
For fear of being overheard in the small Highland houses, I often talked
to him in such Latin as I could speak, and with as much of the English
accent as I could assume, so as not to be understood, in case our
conversation should be too loud for the space.

We had each an elegant bed in the same room; and here it was that a
circumstance occurred, as to which he has been strangely misunderstood.
From his description of his chamber, it has erroneously been supposed,
that his bed being too short for him, his feet during the night were in
the mire; whereas he has only said, that when he undressed, he felt his
feet in the mire: that is, the clay-floor of the room, on which he stood
upon before he went into bed, was wet, in consequence of the windows
being broken, which let in the rain[862].


Being informed that there was nothing worthy of observation in Ulva, we
took boat, and proceeded to Inchkenneth, where we were introduced by our
friend Col to Sir Allan M'Lean, the Chief of his clan, and to two young
ladies, his daughters. Inchkenneth is a pretty little island, a mile
long, and about half a mile broad, all good land[863].

As we walked up from the shore, Dr. Johnson's heart was cheered by the
sight of a road marked with cart-wheels, as on the main land; a thing
which we had not seen for a long time. It gave us a pleasure similar to
that which a traveller feels, when, whilst wandering on what he fears is
a desert island, he perceives the print of human feet.  Military men
acquire excellent habits of having all conveniences about them. Sir
Allan M'Lean, who had been long in the army, and had now a lease of the
island, had formed a commodious habitation, though it consisted but of a
few small buildings, only one story high[864]. He had, in his little
apartments, more things than I could enumerate in a page or two.

Among other agreeable circumstances, it was not the least, to find here
a parcel of the _Caledonian Mercury_, published since we left Edinburgh;
which I read with that pleasure which every man feels who has been for
some time secluded from the animated scenes of the busy world.

Dr. Johnson found books here. He bade me buy Bishop Gastrell's
_Christian Institutes_[865], which was lying in the room. He said, 'I do
not like to read any thing on a Sunday, but what is theological; not
that I would scrupulously refuse to look at any thing which a friend
should shew me in a newspaper; but in general, I would read only what is
theological. I read just now some of Drummond's _Travels_[866], before I
perceived what books were here. I then took up Derham's

Every particular concerning this island having been so well described by
Dr. Johnson, it would be superfluous in me to present the publick with
the observations that I made upon it, in my _Journal_.

I was quite easy with Sir Allan almost instantaneously. He knew the
great intimacy that had been between my father and his predecessor, Sir
Hector, and was himself of a very frank disposition. After dinner, Sir
Allan said he had got Dr. Campbell about an hundred subscribers to his
_Britannia Elucidata_, (a work since published under the title of _A
Political Survey of Great Britain_[868],) of whom he believed twenty
were dead, the publication having been so long delayed. JOHNSON. 'Sir, I
imagine the delay of publication is owing to this;--that, after
publication, there will be no more subscribers, and few will send the
additional guinea to get their books: in which they will be wrong; for
there will be a great deal of instruction in the work. I think highly of
Campbell[869]. In the first place, he has very good parts. In the second
place, he has very extensive reading; not, perhaps, what is properly
called learning, but history, politicks, and, in short, that popular
knowledge which makes a man very useful. In the third place, he has
learned much by what is called the _vox viva_. He talks with a great
many people.'

Speaking of this gentleman, at Rasay, he told us, that he one day called
on him, and they talked of Tull's _Husbandry_[870]. Dr. Campbell said
something. Dr. Johnson began to dispute it. 'Come, (said Dr. Campbell,)
we do not want to get the better of one another: we want to encrease
each other's ideas.' Dr. Johnson took it in good part, and the
conversation then went on coolly and instructively. His candour in
relating this anecdote does him much credit, and his conduct on that
occasion proves how easily he could be persuaded to talk from a better
motive than 'for victory[871].'

Dr. Johnson here shewed so much of the spirit of a Highlander, that he
won Sir Allan's heart: indeed, he has shewn it during the whole of our
Tour. One night, in Col, he strutted about the room with a broad sword
and target, and made a formidable appearance; and, another night, I took
the liberty to put a large blue bonnet on his head. His age, his size,
and his bushy grey wig, with this covering on it, presented the image
of a venerable _Senachi_[872]: and, however unfavourable to the Lowland
Scots, he seemed much pleased to assume the appearance of an ancient
Caledonian. We only regretted that he could not be prevailed with to
partake of the social glass. One of his arguments against drinking,
appears to me not convincing. He urged, that 'in proportion as drinking
makes a man different from what he is before he has drunk, it is bad;
because it has so far affected his reason.' But may it not be answered,
that a man may be altered by it _for the better_; that his spirits may
be exhilarated, without his reason being affected[873]. On the general
subject of drinking, however, I do not mean positively to take the other
side. I am _dubius, non improbus_.

In the evening, Sir Allan informed us that it was the custom of his
house to have prayers every Sunday; and Miss M'Lean read the evening
service, in which we all joined. I then read Ogden's second and ninth
_Sermons on Prayer_, which, with their other distinguished excellence,
have the merit of being short. Dr. Johnson said, that it was the most
agreeable Sunday he had ever passed[874]; and it made such an impression
on his mind, that he afterwards wrote the following Latin verses upon


     Parva quidem regio, sed relligione priorum
       Nota, Caledonias panditur inter aquas;
     Voce ubi Cennethus populos domuisse feroces
       Dicitur, et vanos dedocuisse deos.
     Hue ego delatus placido per coerula cursu
       Scire locum volui quid daret ille novi.
     Illic Leniades humili regnabat in aula,
       Leniades magnis nobilitatus avis:
     Una duas habuit casa cum genitore puellas,
       Quas Amor undarum fingeret esse deas:
     Non tamen inculti gelidis latuere sub antris,
       Accola Danubii qualia saevus habet;
     Mollia non decrant vacuae solatia vitae,
       Sive libros poscant otia, sive lyram.
     Luxerat ilia dies, legis gens docta supernae
       Spes hominum ac curas cum procul esse jubet,
     Ponti inter strepitus sacri non munera cultus
       Cessarunt; pietas hic quoque cura fuit:
     Quid quod sacrifici versavit femina libros,
       Legitimas faciunt pectora pura preces[876].
     Quo vagor ulterius? quod ubique requiritur hic est;
       Hic secura quies, hic et honestus amor[877].


We agreed to pass this day with Sir Allan, and he engaged to have every
thing in order for our voyage to-morrow.

Being now soon to be separated from our amiable friend young Col, his
merits were all remembered. At Ulva he had appeared in a new character,
having given us a good prescription for a cold. On my mentioning him
with warmth, Dr. Johnson said, 'Col does every thing for us: we will
erect a statue to Col.' 'Yes, said I, and we will have him with his
various attributes and characters, like Mercury, or any other of the
heathen gods. We will have him as a pilot; we will have him as a
fisherman, as a hunter, as a husbandman, as a physician.'

I this morning took a spade, and dug a little grave in the floor of a
ruined chapel[878], near Sir Allan M'Lean's house, in which I buried
some human bones I found there. Dr. Johnson praised me for what I had
done, though he owned, he could not have done it. He shewed in the
chapel at Rasay[879] his horrour at dead men's bones. He shewed it again
at Col's house. In the Charter-room there was a remarkable large
shin-bone, which was said to have been a bone of _John Garve_[880], one
of the lairds. Dr. Johnson would not look at it; but started away.

At breakfast, I asked, 'What is the reason that we are angry at a
trader's having opulence[881]?' JOHNSON. 'Why, Sir, the reason is,
(though I don't undertake to prove that there is a reason,) we see no
qualities in trade that should entitle a man to superiority. We are not
angry at a soldier's getting riches, because we see that he possesses
qualities which we have not. If a man returns from a battle, having lost
one hand, and with the other full of gold, we feel that he deserves the
gold; but we cannot think that a fellow, by sitting all day at a desk,
is entitled to get above us.' BOSWELL. 'But, Sir, may we not suppose a
merchant to be a man of an enlarged mind, such as Addison in the
_Spectator_ describes Sir Andrew Freeport to have been?' JOHNSON. 'Why,
Sir, we may suppose any fictitious character. We may suppose a
philosophical day-labourer, who is happy in reflecting that, by his
labour, he contributes to the fertility of the earth, and to the support
of his fellow-creatures; but we find no such philosophical day-labourer.
A merchant may, perhaps, be a man of an enlarged mind; but there is
nothing in trade connected with an enlarged mind[882].'

I mentioned that I had heard Dr. Solander say he was a Swedish
Laplander[883]. JOHNSON. 'Sir, I don't believe he is a Laplander. The
Laplanders are not much above four feet high. He is as tall as you; and
he has not the copper colour of a Laplander.' BOSWELL. 'But what motive
could he have to make himself a Laplander?' JOHNSON. 'Why, Sir, he must
either mean the word Laplander in a very extensive sense, or may mean a
voluntary degradation of himself. "For all my being the great man that
you see me now, I was originally a Barbarian;" as if Burke should say,
"I came over a wild Irishman." Which he might say in his present state
of exaltation.'

Having expressed a desire to have an island like Inchkenneth, Dr.
Johnson set himself to think what would be necessary for a man in such a
situation. 'Sir, I should build me a fortification, if I came to live
here; for, if you have it not, what should hinder a parcel of ruffians
to land in the night, and carry off every thing you have in the house,
which, in a remote country, would be more valuable than cows and sheep?
add to all this the danger of having your throat cut.' BOSWELL. 'I would
have a large dog.' JOHNSON. 'So you may, Sir; but a large dog is of no
use but to alarm.' He, however, I apprehend, thinks too lightly of the
power of that animal. I have heard him say, that he is afraid of no dog.
'He would take him up by the hinder legs, which would render him quite
helpless,--and then knock his head against a stone, and beat out his
brains.' Topham Beauclerk told me, that at his house in the country, two
large ferocious dogs were fighting. Dr. Johnson looked steadily at them
for a little while; and then, as one would separate two little boys, who
were foolishly hurting each other, he ran up to them, and cuffed their
heads till he drove them asunder[884]. But few men have his intrepidity,
Herculean strength, or presence of mind. Most thieves or robbers would
be afraid to encounter a mastiff.

I observed, that, when young Col talked of the lands belonging to his
family, he always said, '_my_ lands[885].' For this he had a plausible
pretence; for he told me, there has been a custom in this family, that
the laird resigns the estate to the eldest son when he comes of age,
reserving to himself only a certain life-rent. He said, it was a
voluntary custom; but I think I found an instance in the charter-room,
that there was such an obligation in a contract of marriage. If the
custom was voluntary, it was only curious; but if founded on obligation,
it might be dangerous; for I have been told, that in Otaheité, whenever
a child is born, (a son, I think,) the father loses his right to the
estate and honours, and that this unnatural, or rather absurd custom,
occasions the murder of many children.

Young Col told us he could run down a greyhound; 'for, (said he,) the
dog runs himself out of breath, by going too quick, and then I get up
with him[886].' I accounted for his advantage over the dog, by remarking
that Col had the faculty of reason, and knew how to moderate his pace,
which the dog had not sense enough to do. Dr. Johnson said, 'He is a
noble animal. He is as complete an islander as the mind can figure. He
is a farmer, a sailor, a hunter, a fisher: he will run you down a dog:
if any man has a _tail_[887], it is Col. He is hospitable; and he has an
intrepidity of talk, whether he understands the subject or not. I regret
that he is not more intellectual.'

Dr. Johnson observed, that there was nothing of which he would not
undertake to persuade a Frenchman in a foreign country. 'I'll carry a
Frenchman to St. Paul's Church-yard, and I'll tell him, "by our law you
may walk half round the church; but, if you walk round the whole, you
will be punished capitally," and he will believe me at once. Now, no
Englishman would readily swallow such a thing: he would go and inquire
of somebody else[888].' The Frenchman's credulity, I observed, must be
owing to his being accustomed to implicit submission; whereas every
Englishman reasons upon the laws of his country, and instructs his
representatives, who compose the legislature.  This day was passed in
looking at a small island adjoining Inchkenneth, which afforded nothing
worthy of observation; and in such social and gay entertainments as our
little society could furnish.


After breakfast we took leave of the young ladies, and of our excellent
companion Col, to whom we had been so much obliged. He had now put us
under the care of his Chief; and was to hasten back to Sky. We parted
from him with very strong feelings of kindness and gratitude; and we
hoped to have had some future opportunity of proving to him the
sincerity of what we felt; but in the following year he was
unfortunately lost in the Sound between Ulva and Mull[889]; and this
imperfect memorial, joined to the high honour of being tenderly and
respectfully mentioned by Dr. Johnson, is the only return which the
uncertainty of human events has permitted us to make to this deserving
young man.

Sir Allan, who obligingly undertook to accompany us to Icolmkill[890],
had a strong good boat, with four stout rowers. We coasted along Mull
till we reached _Gribon_, where is what is called Mackinnon's cave,
compared with which that at Ulinish[891] is inconsiderable. It is in a
rock of a great height, close to the sea. Upon the left of its entrance
there is a cascade, almost perpendicular from the top to the bottom of
the rock. There is a tradition that it was conducted thither
artificially, to supply the inhabitants of the cave with water. Dr.
Johnson gave no credit to this tradition. As, on the one hand, his faith
in the Christian religion is firmly founded upon good grounds; so, on
the other, he is incredulous when there is no sufficient reason for
belief[892]; being in this respect just the reverse of modern infidels,
who, however nice and scrupulous in weighing the evidences of religion,
are yet often so ready to believe the most absurd and improbable tales
of another nature, that Lord Hailes well observed, a good essay might be
written _Sur la crédulité des Incrédules_.

The height of this cave I cannot tell with any tolerable exactness; but
it seemed to be very lofty, and to be a pretty regular arch. We
penetrated, by candlelight, a great way; by our measurement, no less
than four hundred and eighty-five feet. Tradition says, that a piper and
twelve men once advanced into this cave, nobody can tell how far; and
never returned. At the distance to which we proceeded the air was quite
pure; for the candle burned freely, without the least appearance of the
flame growing globular; but as we had only one, we thought it dangerous
to venture farther, lest, should it have been extinguished, we should
have had no means of ascertaining whether we could remain without
danger. Dr. Johnson said, this was the greatest natural curiosity he had
ever seen.

We saw the island of Staffa, at no very great distance, but could not
land upon it, the surge was so high on its rocky coast[893].

Sir Allan, anxious for the honour of Mull, was still talking of its
_woods_, and pointing them out to Dr. Johnson, as appearing at a
distance on the skirts of that island, as we sailed along. JOHNSON.
'Sir, I saw at Tobermorie what they called a wood, which I unluckily
took for _heath_. If you shew me what I shall take for _furze_, it will
be something.'

In the afternoon we went ashore on the coast of Mull, and partook of a
cold repast, which we carried with us. We hoped to have procured some
rum or brandy for our boatmen and servants, from a publick-house near
where we landed; but unfortunately a funeral a few days before had
exhausted all their store[894]. Mr. Campbell, however, one of the Duke
of Argyle's tacksmen, who lived in the neighbourhood, on receiving a
message from Sir Allan, sent us a liberal supply.

We continued to coast along Mull, and passed by Nuns' Island, which, it
is said, belonged to the nuns of Icolmkill, and from which, we were
told, the stone for the buildings there was taken. As we sailed along by
moon-light, in a sea somewhat rough, and often between black and gloomy
rocks, Dr. Johnson said, 'If this be not _roving among the Hebrides_,
nothing is[895]. The repetition of words which he had so often
previously used, made a strong impression on my imagination; and, by a
natural course of thinking, led me to consider how our present
adventures would appear to me at a future period.

I have often experienced, that scenes through which a man has passed,
improve by lying in the memory: they grow mellow. _Acti labores sunt
jucundi_[896]. This may be owing to comparing them with present listless
ease. Even harsh scenes acquire a softness by length of time[897]; and
some are like very loud sounds, which do not please, or at least do not
please so much, till you are removed to a certain distance. They may be
compared to strong coarse pictures, which will not bear to be viewed
near. Even pleasing scenes improve by time, and seem more exquisite in
recollection, than when they were present; if they have not faded to
dimness in the memory. Perhaps, there is so much evil in every human
enjoyment, when present,--so much dross mixed with it, that it requires
to be refined by time; and yet I do not see why time should not melt
away the good and the evil in equal proportions;--why the shade should
decay, and the light remain in preservation.

After a tedious sail, which, by our following various turnings of the
coast of Mull, was extended to about forty miles, it gave us no small
pleasure to perceive a light in the village at Icolmkill, in which
almost all the inhabitants of the island live, close to where the
ancient building stood. As we approached the shore, the tower of the
cathedral, just discernible in the air, was a picturesque object.

When we had landed upon the sacred place, which, as long as I can
remember, I had thought on with veneration, Dr. Johnson and I cordially
embraced. We had long talked of visiting Icolmkill; and, from the
lateness of the season, were at times very doubtful whether we should be
able to effect our purpose. To have seen it, even alone, would have
given me great satisfaction; but the venerable scene was rendered much
more pleasing by the company of my great and pious friend, who was no
less affected by it than I was; and who has described the impressions it
should make on the mind, with such strength of thought, and energy of
language, that I shall quote his words, as conveying my own sensations
much more forcibly than I am capable of doing:--

'We were now treading that illustrious Island, which was once the
luminary of the Caledonian regions, whence savage clans and roving
barbarians derived the benefits of knowledge, and the blessings of
religion. To abstract the mind from all local emotion would be
impossible, if it were endeavoured, and would be foolish if it were
possible. Whatever withdraws us from the power of our senses, whatever
makes the past, the distant, or the future, predominate over the
present, advances us in the dignity of thinking beings. Far from me, and
from my friends, be such frigid philosophy as may conduct us indifferent
and unmoved over any ground which has been dignified by wisdom, bravery,
or virtue. That man is little to be envied, whose patriotism would not
gain force upon the plain of _Marathon_, or whose piety would not grow
warmer among the ruins of _Iona_[898]!'

Upon hearing that Sir Allan M'Lean was arrived, the inhabitants, who
still consider themselves as the people of M'Lean, to whom the island
formerly belonged, though the Duke of Argyle has at present possession
of it, ran eagerly to him.

We were accommodated this night in a large barn, the island, affording
no lodging that we should have liked so well. Some good hay was strewed
at one end of it, to form a bed for us, upon which we lay with our
clothes on; and we were furnished with blankets from the village[899].
Each of us had a portmanteau for a pillow. When I awaked in the morning,
and looked round me, I could not help smiling at the idea of the chief
of the M'Leans, the great English Moralist, and myself, lying thus
extended in such a situation.


Early in the morning we surveyed the remains of antiquity at this place,
accompanied by an illiterate fellow, as _Cicerone_, who called himself a
descendant of a cousin of Saint Columba, the founder of the religious
establishment here. As I knew that many persons had already examined
them, and as I saw Dr. Johnson inspecting and measuring several of the
ruins of which he has since given so full an account, my mind was
quiescent; and I resolved to stroll among them at my ease, to take no
trouble to investigate minutely, and only receive the general impression
of solemn antiquity, and the particular ideas of such objects as should
of themselves strike my attention.

We walked from the monastery of Nuns to the great church or cathedral,
as they call it, along an old broken causeway. They told us, that this
had been a street; and that there were good houses built on each side.
Dr. Johnson doubted if it was any thing more than a paved road for the
nuns. The convent of Monks, the great church, Oran's chapel, and four
other chapels, are still to be discerned. But I must own that Icolmkill
did not answer my expectations; for they were high, from what I had read
of it, and still more from what I had heard and thought of it, from my
earliest years. Dr. Johnson said, it came up to his expectations,
because he had taken his impression from an account of it subjoined to
Sacheverel's _History of the Isle of Man_[900], where it is said, there
is not much to be seen here. We were both disappointed, when we were
shewn what are called the monuments of the kings of Scotland, Ireland,
and Denmark, and of a King of France. There are only some grave-stones
flat on the earth, and we could see no inscriptions. How far short was
this of marble monuments, like those in Westminster Abbey, which I had
imagined here! The grave-stones of Sir Allan M'Lean's family, and of
that of M'Quarrie, had as good an appearance as the royal grave-stones;
if they were royal, we doubted.

My easiness to give credit to what I heard in the course of our Tour was
too great. Dr. Johnson's peculiar accuracy of investigation detected
much traditional fiction, and many gross mistakes. It is not to be
wondered at, that he was provoked by people carelessly telling him, with
the utmost readiness and confidence, what he found, on questioning them
a little more, was erroneous[901]. Of this there were innumerable

I left him and Sir Allan at breakfast in our barn, and stole back again
to the cathedral, to indulge in solitude and devout meditation[902].
While contemplating the venerable ruins, I refleeted with much
satisfaction, that the solemn scenes of piety never lose their sanctity
and influence, though the cares and follies of life may prevent us from
visiting them, or may even make us fancy that their effects are only 'as
yesterday, when it is past[903],' and never again to be perceived. I
hoped, that, ever after having been in this holy place, I should
maintain an exemplary conduct. One has a strange propensity to fix upon
some point of time from whence a better course of life may begin[904].

Being desirous to visit the opposite shore of the island, where Saint
Columba is said to have landed, I procured a horse from one
M'Ginnis[905], who ran along as my guide. The M'Ginnises are said to be
a branch of the clan of M'Lean. Sir Allan had been told that this man
had refused to send him some rum, at which the knight was in great
indignation. 'You rascal! (said he,) don't you know that I can hang you,
if I please?' Not adverting to the Chieftain's power over his clan, I
imagined that Sir Allan had known of some capital crime that the fellow
had committed, which he could discover, and so get him condemned; and
said, 'How so?' 'Why, (said Sir Allan,) are they not all my people?'
Sensible of my inadvertency, and most willing to contribute what I could
towards the continuation of feudal authority, 'Very true,' said I. Sir
Allan went on: 'Refuse to send rum to me, you rascal! Don't you know
that, if I order you to go and cut a man's throat, you are to do it?'
'Yes, an't please your honour! and my own too, and hang myself too.' The
poor fellow denied that he had refused to send the rum. His making these
professions was not merely a pretence in presence of his Chief; for
after he and I were out of Sir Allan's hearing, he told me, 'Had he sent
his dog for the rum, I would have given it: I would cut my bones for
him.' It was very remarkable to find such an attachment to a Chief,
though he had then no connection with the island, and had not been there
for fourteen years. Sir Allan, by way of upbraiding the fellow, said, 'I
believe you are a _Campbell_.'

The place which I went to see is about two miles from the village. They
call it _Portawherry_, from the wherry in which Columba came; though,
when they shew the length of his vessel, as marked on the beach by two
heaps of stones, they say, 'Here is the length of the _Currach_', using
the Erse word.

Icolmkill is a fertile island. The inhabitants export some cattle and
grain; and I was told, they import nothing but iron and salt. They are
industrious, and make their own woollen and linen cloth; and they brew a
good deal of beer, which we did not find in any of the other

We set sail again about mid-day, and in the evening landed on Mull, near
the house of the Reverend Mr. Neal M'Leod, who having been informed of
our coming, by a message from Sir Allan, came out to meet us. We were
this night very agreeably entertained at his house. Dr. Johnson observed
to me, that he was the cleanest-headed man that he had met with in the
Western islands. He seemed to be well acquainted with Dr. Johnson's
writings, and courteously said, 'I have been often obliged to you,
though I never had the pleasure of seeing you before.'

He told us, he had lived for some time in St. Kilda, under the tuition
of the minister or catechist there, and had there first read Horace and
Virgil. The scenes which they describe must have been a strong contrast
to the dreary waste around him.


This morning the subject of politicks was introduced. JOHNSON. 'Pulteney
was as paltry a fellow as could be[907]. He was a Whig, who pretended to
be honest; and you know it is ridiculous for a Whig to pretend to be
honest. He cannot hold it out[908].' He called Mr. Pitt a meteor; Sir
Robert Walpole a fixed star[909]. He said, 'It is wonderful to think
that all the force of government was required to prevent Wilkes from
being chosen the chief magistrate of London[910], though the liverymen
knew he would rob their shops,--knew he would debauch their

BOSWELL. 'The History of England is so strange, that, if it were not so
well vouched as it is, it would hardly be credible.'

JOHNSON. 'Sir, if it were told as shortly, and with as little
preparation for introducing the different events, as the History of the
Jewish Kings, it would be equally liable to objections of
improbability.' Mr. M'Leod was much pleased with the justice and novelty
of the thought. Dr. Johnson illustrated what he had said, as follows:
'Take, as an instance, Charles the First's concessions to his
parliament, which were greater and greater, in proportion as the
parliament grew more insolent, and less deserving of trust. Had these
concessions been related nakedly, without any detail of the
circumstances which generally led to them, they would not have been

Sir Allan M'Lean bragged, that Scotland had the advantage of England, by
its having more water. JOHNSON. 'Sir, we would not have your water, to
take the vile bogs which produce it. You have too much! A man who is
drowned has more water than either of us;'--and then he laughed. (But
this was surely robust sophistry: for the people of taste in England,
who have seen Scotland, own that its variety of rivers and lakes makes
it naturally more beautiful than England, in that respect.) Pursuing his
victory over Sir Allan, he proceeded: 'Your country consists of two
things, stone and water. There is, indeed, a little earth above the
stone in some places, but a very little; and the stone is always
appearing. It is like a man in rags; the naked skin is still
peeping out.'

He took leave of Mr. M'Leod, saying, 'Sir, I thank you for your
entertainment, and your conversation.'

Mr. Campbell, who had been so polite yesterday, came this morning on
purpose to breakfast with us, and very obligingly furnished us with
horses to proceed on our journey to Mr. M'Lean's of _Lochbuy_, where we
were to pass the night. We dined at the house of Dr. Alexander M'Lean,
another physician in Mull, who was so much struck with the uncommon
conversation of Dr. Johnson, that he observed to me, 'This man is just a
_hogshead_ of sense.'

Dr. Johnson said of the _Turkish Spy_[912], which lay in the room, that
it told nothing but what every body might have known at that time; and
that what was good in it, did not pay you for the trouble of reading
to find it.

After a very tedious ride, through what appeared to me the most gloomy
and desolate country I had ever beheld[913], we arrived, between seven
and eight o'clock, at May, the seat of the Laird of _Lochbuy_. _Buy_, in
Erse, signifies yellow, and I at first imagined that the loch or branch
of the sea here, was thus denominated, in the same manner as the _Red
Sea_; but I afterwards learned that it derived its name from a hill
above it, which being of a yellowish hue has the epithet of _Buy_.

We had heard much of Lochbuy's being a great roaring braggadocio, a kind
of Sir John Falstaff, both in size and manners; but we found that they
had swelled him up to a fictitious size, and clothed him with imaginary
qualities. Col's idea of him was equally extravagant, though very
different: he told us he was quite a Don Quixote; and said, he would
give a great deal to sec him and Dr. Johnson together. The truth is,
that Lochbuy proved to be only a bluff, comely, noisy old gentleman,
proud of his hereditary consequence, and a very hearty and hospitable
landlord. Lady Lochbuy was sister to Sir Allan M'Lean, but much older.
He said to me, 'They are quite _Antediluvians_.' Being told that Dr.
Johnson did not hear well, Lochbuy bawled out to him, 'Are you of the
Johnstons of Glencro, or of Ardnamurchan[914]?' Dr. Johnson gave him a
significant look, but made no answer; and I told Lochbuy that he was not
Johns_ton_, but John_son_, and that he was an Englishman[915].  Lochbuy
some years ago tried to prove himself a weak man, liable to imposition,
or, as we term it in Scotland, a _facile_ man, in order to set aside a
lease which he had granted; but failed in the attempt. On my mentioning
this circumstance to Dr. Johnson, he seemed much surprized that such a
suit was admitted by the Scottish law, and observed, that 'In England no
man is allowed to _stultify_ himself[916].'

Sir Allan, Lochbuy, and I, had the conversation chiefly to ourselves
to-night: Dr. Johnson, being extremely weary, went to bed soon
after supper.


Before Dr. Johnson came to breakfast, Lady Lochbuy said, 'he was a
_dungeon_ of wit;' a very common phrase in Scotland to express a
profoundness of intellect, though he afterwards told me, that he never
had heard it. She proposed that he should have some cold sheep's-head
for breakfast. Sir Allan seemed displeased at his sister's vulgarity,
and wondered how such a thought should come into her head. From a
mischievous love of sport, I took the lady's part; and very gravely
said, 'I think it is but fair to give him an offer of it. If he does not
choose it, he may let it alone.' 'I think so,' said the lady, looking at
her brother with an air of victory. Sir Allan, finding the matter
desperate, strutted about the room, and took snuff. When Dr. Johnson
came in, she called to him, 'Do you choose any cold sheep's-head, Sir?'
'No, MADAM,' said he, with a tone of surprise and anger[917]. 'It is
here, Sir,' said she, supposing he had refused it to save the trouble of
bringing it in. They thus went on at cross purposes, till he confirmed
his refusal in a manner not to be misunderstood; while I sat quietly by,
and enjoyed my success.

After breakfast, we surveyed the old castle, in the pit or dungeon of
which Lochbuy had some years before taken upon him to imprison several
persons[918]; and though he had been fined in a considerable sum by the
Court of Justiciary, he was so little affected by it, that while we were
examining the dungeon, he said to me, with a smile, 'Your father knows
something of this;' (alluding to my father's having sat as one of the
judges on his trial.) Sir Allan whispered me, that the laird could not
be persuaded that he had lost his heritable jurisdiction[919].

We then set out for the ferry, by which we were to cross to the main
land of Argyleshire. Lochbuy and Sir Allan accompanied us. We were told
much of a war-saddle, on which this reputed Don Quixote used to be
mounted; but we did not see it, for the young laird had applied it to a
less noble purpose, having taken it to Falkirk fair _with a drove of
black cattle._ We bade adieu to Lochbuy, and to our very kind
conductor[920], Sir Allan M'Lean, on the shore of Mull, and then got
into the ferry-boat, the bottom of which was strewed with branches of
trees or bushes, upon which we sat. We had a good day and a fine
passage, and in the evening landed at Oban, where we found a tolerable
inn. After having been so long confined at different times in islands,
from which it was always uncertain when we could get away, it was
comfortable to be now on the mainland, and to know that, if in health,
we might get to any place in Scotland or England in a certain number
of days.

Here we discovered from the conjectures which were formed, that the
people on the main land were entirely ignorant of our motions; for in a
Glasgow newspaper we found a paragraph, which, as it contains a just
and well-turned compliment to my illustrious friend, I shall
here insert:--

'We are well assured that Dr. Johnson is confined by tempestuous weather
to the isle of Sky; it being unsafe to venture, in a small boat, upon
such a stormy surge as is very common there at this time of the year.
Such a philosopher, detained on an almost barren island, resembles a
whale left upon the strand. The latter will be welcome to every body, on
account of his oil, his bone, &c., and the other will charm his
companions, and the rude inhabitants, with his superior knowledge and
wisdom, calm resignation, and unbounded benevolence.'


After a good night's rest, we breakfasted at our leisure. We talked of
Goldsmith's _Traveller_, of which Dr. Johnson spoke highly; and, while I
was helping him on with his great coat, he repeated from it the
character of the British nation, which he did with such energy, that the
tear started into his eye:--

     'Stern o'er each bosom reason holds her state,
      With daring aims irregularly great,
      Pride in their port, defiance in their eye,
      I see the lords of human kind pass by,
      Intent on high designs, a thoughtful band,
      By forms unfashion'd, fresh from nature's hand;
      Fierce in their native hardiness of soul,
      True to imagin'd right, above control,
      While ev'n the peasant boasts these rights to scan,
      And learns to venerate himself as man.'

We could get but one bridle here, which, according to the maxim _detur
digniori_, was appropriated to Dr. Johnson's sheltie. I and Joseph rode
with halters. We crossed in a ferry-boat a pretty wide lake[921], and on
the farther side of it, close by the shore, found a hut for our inn. We
were much wet. I changed my clothes in part, and was at pains to get
myself well dried. Dr. Johnson resolutely kept on all his clothes, wet
as they were, letting them steam before the smoky turf fire. I thought
him in the wrong; but his firmness was, perhaps, a species of heroism.

I remember but little of our conversation. I mentioned Shenstone's
saying of Pope, that he had the art of condensing sense more than any
body[922]. Dr. Johnson said, 'It is not true, Sir. There is more sense
in a line of Cowley than in a page (or a sentence, or ten lines,--I am
not quite certain of the very phrase) of Pope.' He maintained that
Archibald, Duke of Argyle[923], was a narrow man. I wondered at this;
and observed, that his building so great a house at Inverary was not
like a narrow man. 'Sir, (said he,) when a narrow man has resolved to
build a house, he builds it like another man. But Archibald, Duke of
Argyle, was narrow in his ordinary expences, in his quotidian

The distinction is very just. It is in the ordinary expences of life
that a man's liberality or narrowness is to be discovered. I never heard
the word _quotidian_ in this sense, and I imagined it to be a word of
Dr. Johnson's own fabrication; but I have since found it in _Young's
Night Thoughts_, (Night fifth,)

     'Death's a destroyer of quotidian prey,'

and in my friend's _Dictionary_, supported by the authorities of Charles
I. and Dr. Donne.

It rained very hard as we journied on after dinner. The roar of torrents
from the mountains, as we passed along in the dusk, and the other
circumstances attending our ride in the evening, have been mentioned
with so much animation by Dr. Johnson, that I shall not attempt to say
any thing on the subject[924].

We got at night to Inverary, where we found an excellent inn. Even here,
Dr. Johnson would not change his wet clothes.

The prospect of good accommodation cheered us much. We supped well; and
after supper, Dr. Johnson, whom I had not seen taste any fermented
liquor during all our travels, called for a gill of whiskey. 'Come,
(said he,) let me know what it is that makes a Scotchman happy[925]!' He
drank it all but a drop, which I begged leave to pour into my glass,
that I might say we had drunk whisky together. I proposed Mrs. Thrale
should be our toast. He would not have _her_ drunk in whisky, but rather
'some insular lady;' so we drank one of the ladies whom we had lately
left. He owned to-night, that he got as good a room and bed as at an
English inn.

I had here the pleasure of finding a letter from home, which relieved me
from the anxiety I had suffered, in consequence of not having received
any account of my family for many weeks. I also found a letter from Mr.
Garrick, which was a regale[926] as agreeable as a pine-apple would be
in a desert[927]. He had favoured me with his correspondence for many
years; and when Dr. Johnson and I were at Inverness, I had written to
him as follows:--

     Sunday, 29 August, 1773.


'Here I am, and Mr. Samuel Johnson actually with me. We were a night at
Fores, in coming to which, in the dusk of the evening, we passed over
the bleak and blasted heath where Macbeth met the witches[928]. Your old
preceptor[929] repeated, with much solemnity, the speech--

     "How far is't called to Fores?  What are these,
      So wither'd and so wild in their attire," &c.

This day we visited the ruins of Macbeth's castle at Inverness. I have
had great romantick satisfaction in seeing Johnson upon the classical
scenes of Shakspeare in Scotland; which I really looked upon as almost
as improbable as that "Birnam wood should come to Dunsinane[930]."
Indeed, as I have always been accustomed to view him as a permanent
London object, it would not be much more wonderful to me to see St.
Paul's Church moving along where we now are. As yet we have travelled
in post-chaises; but to-morrow we are to mount on horseback, and ascend
into the mountains by Fort Augustus, and so on to the ferry, where we
are to cross to Sky. We shall see that island fully, and then visit some
more of the Hebrides; after which we are to land in Argyleshire, proceed
by Glasgow to Auchinleck, repose there a competent time, and then return
to Edinburgh, from whence the Rambler will depart for old England again,
as soon as he finds it convenient. Hitherto we have had a very
prosperous expedition. I flatter myself, _servetur ad imum, qualis ab
incepto processerit_[931]. He is in excellent spirits, and I have a rich
journal of his conversation. Look back, Davy[932], to Litchfield,--run
up through the time that has elapsed since you first knew Mr.
Johnson,--and enjoy with me his present extraordinary Tour. I could not
resist the impulse of writing to you from this place. The situation of
the old castle corresponds exactly to Shakspeare's description. While we
were there to-day[933], it happened oddly, that a raven perched upon one
of the chimney-tops, and croaked. Then I in my turn repeated--

     "The raven himself is hoarse,
      That croaks the fatal entrance of Duncan,
      Under my battlements."

'I wish you had been with us. Think what enthusiastick happiness I shall
have to see Mr. Samuel Johnson walking among the romantick rocks and
woods of my ancestors at Auchinleck[934]! Write to me at Edinburgh. You
owe me his verses on great George and tuneful Cibber, and the bad verses
which led him to make his fine ones on Philips the musician[935]. Keep
your promise, and let me have them. I offer my very best compliments to
Mrs. Garrick, and ever am,

     'Your warm admirer and friend,


'_To David Garrick, Esq., London._'

His answer was as follows:--

     'Hampton, September 14, 1773.


'You stole away from London, and left us all in the lurch; for we
expected you one night at the club, and knew nothing of your departure.
Had I payed you what I owed you, for the book you bought for me, I
should only have grieved for the loss of your company, and slept with a
quiet conscience; but, wounded as it is, it must remain so till I see
you again, though I am sure our good friend Mr. Johnson will discharge
the debt for me, if you will let him. Your account of your journey to
_Fores_, the _raven_, _old castle_, &c., &c., made me half mad. Are you
not rather too late in the year for fine weather, which is the life and
soul of seeing places? I hope your pleasure will continue _qualis ab
incepto_, &c.

'Your friend[936] ------ threatens me much. I only wish that he would
put his threats in execution, and, if he prints his play, I will forgive
him. I remember he complained to you, that his bookseller called for the
money for some copies of his ------, which I subscribed for, and that I
desired him to call again. The truth is, that my wife was not at
home[937], and that for weeks together I have not ten shillings in my
pocket.--However, had it been otherwise, it was not so great a crime to
draw his poetical vengeance upon me. I despise all that he can do, and
am glad that I can so easily get rid of him and his ingratitude. I am
hardened both to abuse and ingratitude.

'You, I am sure, will no more recommend your poetasters to my civility
and good offices.

'Shall I recommend to you a play of Eschylus, (the Prometheus,)
published and translated by poor old Morell, who is a good scholar[938],
and an acquaintance of mine? It will be but half a guinea, and your name
shall be put in the list I am making for him. You will be in very
good company.

'Now for the Epitaphs!

[_These, together with the verses on George the Second, and Colley
Cibber, as his Poet Laureat, of which imperfect copies are gone about,
will appear in my Life of Dr. Johnson[939]._]

'I have no more paper, or I should have said more to you. My love[940]
and respects to Mr. Johnson.

'Yours ever,


'I can't write. I have the gout in my hand.'

'_To James Boswell, Esq., Edinburgh._'


We passed the forenoon calmly and placidly. I prevailed on Dr. Johnson
to read aloud Ogden's sixth sermon on Prayer, which he did with a
distinct expression, and pleasing solemnity. He praised my favourite
preacher, his elegant language, and remarkable acuteness; and said, he
fought infidels with their own weapons.

As a specimen of Ogden's manner, I insert the following passage from the
sermon which Dr. Johnson now read. The preacher, after arguing against
that vain philosophy which maintains, in conformity with the hard
principle of eternal necessity, or unchangeable predetermination, that
the only effect of prayer for others, although we are exhorted to pray
for them, is to produce good dispositions in ourselves towards them;
thus expresses himself:--

'A plain man may be apt to ask, But if this then, though enjoined in the
holy scriptures, is to be my real aim and intention, when I am taught to
pray for other persons, why is it that I do not plainly so express it?
Why is not the form of the petition brought nearer to the meaning? Give
them, say I to our heavenly father, what is good. But this, I am to
understand, will be as it will be, and is not for me to alter. What is
it then that I am doing? I am desiring to become charitable myself; and
why may I not plainly say so? Is there shame in it, or impiety? The wish
is laudable: why should I form designs to hide it?

'Or is it, perhaps, better to be brought about by indirect means, and in
this artful manner? Alas! who is it that I would impose on? From whom
can it be, in this commerce, that I desire to hide any thing? When, as
my Saviour commands me, I have _entered into my closet, and shut my
door_, there are but two parties privy to my devotions, GOD and my own
heart; which of the two am I deceiving?'

He wished to have more books, and, upon inquiring if there were any in
the house, was told that a waiter had some, which were brought to him;
but I recollect none of them, except Hervey's _Meditations_. He thought
slightingly of this admired book. He treated it with ridicule, and would
not allow even the scene of the dying Husband and Father to be
pathetick[941]. I am not an impartial judge; for Hervey's _Meditations_
engaged my affections in my early years. He read a passage concerning
the moon, ludicrously, and shewed how easily he could, in the same
style, make reflections on that planet, the very reverse of
Hervey's[942], representing her as treacherous to mankind. He did this
with much humour; but I have not preserved the particulars. He then
indulged a playful fancy, in making a _Meditation on a Pudding_[943], of
which I hastily wrote down, in his presence, the following note; which,
though imperfect, may serve to give my readers some idea of it.


'Let us seriously reflect of what a pudding is composed. It is composed
of flour that once waved in the golden grain, and drank the dews of the
morning; of milk pressed from the swelling udder by the gentle hand of
the beauteous milk-maid, whose beauty and innocence might have
recommended a worse draught; who, while she stroked the udder, indulged
no ambitious thoughts of wandering in palaces, formed no plans for the
destruction of her fellow-creatures: milk, which is drawn from the cow,
that useful animal, that eats the grass of the field, and supplies us
with that which made the greatest part of the food of mankind in the age
which the poets have agreed to call golden. It is made with an egg, that
miracle of nature, which the theoretical Burnet[944] has compared to
creation. An egg contains water within its beautiful smooth surface; and
an unformed mass, by the incubation of the parent, becomes a regular
animal, furnished with bones and sinews, and covered with feathers. Let
us consider; can there be more wanting to complete the Meditation on a
Pudding? If more is wanting, more may be found. It contains salt, which
keeps the sea from putrefaction: salt, which is made the image of
intellectual excellence, contributes to the formation of a pudding.'

In a Magazine I found a saying of Dr. Johnson's, something to this
purpose; that the happiest part of a man's life is what he passes lying
awake in bed in the morning. I read it to him. He said, 'I may, perhaps,
have said this; for nobody, at times, talks more laxly than I do[945].'
I ventured to suggest to him, that this was dangerous from one of his

I spoke of living in the country, and upon what footing one should be
with neighbours. I observed that some people were afraid of being on too
easy a footing with them, from an apprehension that their time would not
be their own. He made the obvious remark, that it depended much on what
kind of neighbours one has, whether it was desirable to be on an easy
footing with them, or not. I mentioned a certain baronet, who told me,
he never was happy in the country, till he was not on speaking terms
with his neighbours, which he contrived in different ways to bring
about. 'Lord ----------(said he) stuck long; but at last the fellow
pounded my pigs, and then I got rid of him.' JOHNSON. 'Nay, Sir, My Lord
got rid of Sir John, and shewed how little he valued him, by putting his
pigs in the pound.'

I told Dr. Johnson I was in some difficulty how to act at Inverary. I
had reason to think that the Duchess of Argyle disliked me, on account
of my zeal in the Douglas cause[946]; but the Duke of Argyle had always
been pleased to treat me with great civility. They were now at the
castle, which is a very short walk from our inn; and the question was,
whether I should go and pay my respects there. Dr. Johnson, to whom I
had stated the case, was clear that I ought; but, in his usual way, he
was very shy of discovering a desire to be invited there himself. Though
from a conviction of the benefit of subordination[947] to society, he
has always shewn great respect to persons of high rank, when he happened
to be in their company, yet his pride of character has ever made him
guard against any appearance of courting the great. Besides, he was
impatient to go to Glasgow, where he expected letters. At the same time
he was, I believe, secretly not unwilling to have attention paid him by
so great a Chieftain, and so exalted a nobleman. He insisted that I
should not go to the castle this day before dinner, as it would look
like seeking an invitation. 'But, (said I,) if the Duke invites us to
dine with him to-morrow, shall we accept?' 'Yes, Sir;' I think he said,
'to be sure.' But, he added, 'He won't ask us!' I mentioned, that I was
afraid my company might be disagreeable to the duchess. He treated this
objection with a manly disdain: '_That_, Sir, he must settle with his
wife.' We dined well. I went to the castle just about the time when I
supposed the ladies would be retired from dinner. I sent in my name;
and, being shewn in, found the amiable Duke sitting at the head of his
table with several gentlemen. I was most politely received, and gave his
grace some particulars of the curious journey which I had been making
with Dr. Johnson. When we rose from table, the Duke said to me, 'I hope
you and Dr. Johnson will dine with us to-morrow.' I thanked his grace;
but told him, my friend was in a great hurry to get back to London. The
Duke, with a kind complacency, said, 'He will stay one day; and I will
take care he shall see this place to advantage.' I said, I should be
sure to let him know his grace's invitation. As I was going away, the
Duke said, 'Mr. Boswell, won't you have some tea ?' I thought it best to
get over the meeting with the duchess this night; so respectfully
agreed. I was conducted to the drawing room by the Duke, who announced
my name; but the duchess, who was sitting with her daughter, Lady Betty
Hamilton[948], and some other ladies, took not the least notice of me. I
should have been mortified at being thus coldly received by a lady of
whom I, with the rest of the world, have always entertained a very high
admiration, had I not been consoled by the obliging attention of
the Duke.

When I returned to the inn, I informed Dr. Johnson of the Duke of
Argyle's invitation, with which he was much pleased, and readily
accepted of it. We talked of a violent contest which was then carrying
on, with a view to the next general election for Ayrshire; where one of
the candidates, in order to undermine the old and established interest,
had artfully held himself out as a champion for the independency of the
county against aristocratick influence, and had persuaded several
gentlemen into a resolution to oppose every candidate who was supported
by peers[949]. 'Foolish fellows! (said Dr. Johnson), don't they see that
they are as much dependent upon the Peers one way as the other. The
Peers have but to _oppose_ a candidate to ensure him success. It is said
the only way to make a pig go forward, is to pull him back by the tail.
These people must be treated like pigs.'


My acquaintance, the Reverend Mr. John M'Aulay[950], one of the
Ministers of Inverary, and brother to our good friend at Calder[951],
came to us this morning, and accompanied us to the castle, where I
presented Dr. Johnson to the Duke of Argyle. We were shewn through the
house; and I never shall forget the impression made upon my fancy by
some of the ladies' maids tripping about in neat morning dresses. After
seeing for a long time little but rusticity, their lively manner, and
gay inviting appearance, pleased me so much, that I thought, for the
moment, I could have been a knight-errant for them[952].

We then got into a low one-horse chair, ordered for us by the Duke, in
which we drove about the place. Dr. Johnson was much struck by the
grandeur and elegance of this princely seat. He thought, however, the
castle too low, and wished it had been a story higher. He said, 'What I
admire here, is the total defiance of expence.' I had a particular pride
in shewing him a great number of fine old trees, to compensate for the
nakedness which had made such an impression on him on the eastern coast
of Scotland.

When we came in, before dinner, we found the duke and some gentlemen in
the hall. Dr. Johnson took much notice of the large collection of arms,
which are excellently disposed there. I told what he had said to Sir
Alexander M'Donald, of his ancestors not suffering their arms to
rust[953]. 'Well, (said the doctor,) but let us be glad we live in times
when arms _may_ rust. We can sit to-day at his grace's table, without
any risk of being attacked, and perhaps sitting down again wounded or
maimed.' The duke placed Dr. Johnson next himself at table. I was in
fine spirits; and though sensible that I had the misfortune of not being
in favour with the duchess, I was not in the least disconcerted, and
offered her grace some of the dish that was before me. It must be owned
that I was in the right to be quite unconcerned, if I could. I was the
Duke of Argyle's guest; and I had no reason to suppose that he adopted
the prejudices and resentments of the Duchess of Hamilton.

I knew it was the rule of modern high life not to drink to any body; but
that I might have the satisfaction for once to look the duchess in the
face, with a glass in my hand, I with a respectful air addressed
her,--'My Lady Duchess, I have the honour to drink your grace's good
health.' I repeated the words audibly, and with a steady countenance.
This was, perhaps, rather too much; but some allowance must be made for
human feelings.

The duchess was very attentive to Dr. Johnson. I know not how a _middle
state[954]_ came to be mentioned. Her grace wished to hear him on that
point. 'Madam, (said he,) your own relation, Mr. Archibald Campbell, can
tell you better about it than I can. He was a bishop of the nonjuring
communion, and wrote a book upon the subject[955].' He engaged to get it
for her grace. He afterwards gave a full history of Mr. Archibald
Campbell, which I am sorry I do not recollect particularly. He said, Mr.
Campbell had been bred a violent Whig, but afterwards 'kept better
company, and became a Tory.' He said this with a smile, in pleasant
allusion, as I thought, to the opposition between his own political
principles and those of the duke's clan. He added that Mr. Campbell,
after the revolution, was thrown into gaol on account of his tenets;
but, on application by letter to the old Lord Townshend[956], was
released; that he always spoke of his Lordship with great gratitude,
saying, 'though a _Whig_, he had humanity.'

Dr. Johnson and I passed some time together, in June 1784[957], at
Pembroke College, Oxford, with the Reverend Dr. Adams, the master; and I
having expressed a regret that my note relative to Mr. Archibald
Campbell was imperfect, he was then so good as to write with his own
hand, on the blank page of my _Journal_, opposite to that which contains
what I have now mentioned, the following paragraph; which, however, is
not quite so full as the narrative he gave at Inverary:--

'_The Honourable_ ARCHIBALD CAMPBELL _was, I believe, the Nephew[958] of
the Marquis of Argyle. He began life by engaging in Monmouth's
rebellion, and, to escape the law, lived some time in Surinam. When he
returned, he became zealous for episcopacy and monarchy; and at the
Revolution adhered not only to the Nonjurors, but to those who refused
to communicate with the Church of England, or to be present at any
worship where the usurper was mentioned as king. He was, I believe, more
than once apprehended in the reign of King William, and once at the
accession of George. He was the familiar friend of Hicks[959] and
Nelson[960]; a man of letters, but injudicious; and very curious and
inquisitive, but credulous. He lived[961] in 1743, or 44, about 75 years
old.'_  The subject of luxury having been introduced, Dr. Johnson
defended it. 'We have now (said he) a splendid dinner before us; which
of all these dishes is unwholesome?' The duke asserted, that he had
observed the grandees of Spain diminished in their size by luxury. Dr.
Johnson politely refrained from opposing directly an observation which
the duke himself had made; but said, 'Man must be very different from
other animals, if he is diminished by good living; for the size of all
other animals is increased by it[962].' I made some remark that seemed
to imply a belief in _second sight_. The duchess said, 'I fancy you will
be a _Methodist_.' This was the only sentence her grace deigned to utter
to me; and I take it for granted, she thought it a good hit on my
_credulity_ in the Douglas cause.

A gentleman in company, after dinner, was desired by the duke to go to
another room, for a specimen of curious marble, which his grace wished
to shew us. He brought a wrong piece, upon which the duke sent him back
again. He could not refuse; but, to avoid any appearance of servility,
he whistled as he walked out of the room, to shew his independency. On
my mentioning this afterwards to Dr. Johnson, he said, it was a nice
trait of character.

Dr. Johnson talked a great deal, and was so entertaining, that Lady
Betty Hamilton, after dinner, went and placed her chair close to his,
leaned upon the back of it, and listened eagerly. It would have made a
fine picture to have drawn the Sage and her at this time in their
several attitudes. He did not know, all the while, how much he was
honoured. I told him afterwards. I never saw him so gentle and
complaisant as this day.

We went to tea. The duke and I walked up and down the drawing-room,
conversing. The duchess still continued to shew the same marked coldness
for me; for which, though I suffered from it, I made every allowance,
considering the very warm part that I had taken for Douglas, in the
cause in which she thought her son deeply interested. Had not her grace
discovered some displeasure towards me, I should have suspected her of
insensibility or dissimulation.

Her grace made Dr. Johnson come and sit by her, and asked him why he
made his journey so late in the year. 'Why, madam, (said he,) you know
Mr. Boswell must attend the Court of Session, and it does not rise till
the twelfth of August.' She said, with some sharpness, 'I _know nothing_
of Mr. Boswell.' Poor Lady Lucy Douglas[963], to whom I mentioned this,
observed, 'She knew _too much_ of Mr. Boswell.' I shall make no remark
on her grace's speech. I indeed felt it as rather too severe; but when I
recollected that my punishment was inflicted by so dignified a beauty, I
had that kind of consolation which a man would feel who is strangled by
a _silken cord_. Dr. Johnson was all attention to her grace. He used
afterwards a droll expression, upon her enjoying the three titles of
Hamilton, Brandon, and Argyle[964]. Borrowing an image from the Turkish
empire, he called her a _Duchess_ with _three tails_.

He was much pleased with our visit at the castle of Inverary. The Duke
of Argyle was exceedingly polite to him, and upon his complaining of the
shelties which he had hitherto ridden being too small for him, his grace
told him he should be provided with a good horse to carry him next day.

Mr. John M'Aulay passed the evening with us at our inn. When Dr. Johnson
spoke of people whose principles were good, but whose practice was
faulty, Mr. M'Aulay said, he had no notion of people being in earnest in
their good professions, whose practice was not suitable to them. The
Doctor grew warm, and said, 'Sir, you are so grossly ignorant of human
nature, as not to know that a man may be very sincere in good
principles, without having good practice[965]!'

Dr. Johnson was unquestionably in the right; and whoever examines
himself candidly, will be satisfied of it, though the inconsistency
between principles and practice is greater in some men than in others.

I recollect very little of this night's conversation. I am sorry that
indolence came upon me towards the conclusion of our journey, so that I
did not write down what passed with the same assiduity as during the
greatest part of it.


Mr. M'Aulay breakfasted with us, nothing hurt or dismayed by his last
night's correction. Being a man of good sense, he had a just admiration
of Dr. Johnson.

Either yesterday morning, or this, I communicated to Dr. Johnson, from
Mr. M'Aulay's information, the news that Dr. Beattie had got a pension
of two hundred pounds a year[966]. He sat up in his bed, clapped his
hands, and cried, 'O brave we[967]!'--a peculiar exclamation of his
when he rejoices[968].

As we sat over our tea, Mr. Home's tragedy of _Douglas_ was mentioned. I
put Dr. Johnson in mind, that once, in a coffee house at Oxford, he
called to old Mr. Sheridan, 'How came you, Sir, to give Home a gold
medal for writing that foolish play?' and defied Mr. Sheridan to shew
ten good lines in it. He did not insist they should be together; but
that there were not ten good lines in the whole play[969]. He now
persisted in this. I endeavoured to defend that pathetick and beautiful
tragedy, and repeated the following passage:--

     Thou first of virtues! let no mortal leave
     Thy onward path, although the earth should gape,
     And from the gulph of hell destruction cry,
     To take dissimulation's winding way[970].'

JOHNSON. 'That will not do, Sir. Nothing is good but what is consistent
with truth or probability, which this is not. Juvenal, indeed, gives us
a noble picture of inflexible virtue:--

     "Esto bonus miles, tutor bonus, arbiter idem
     Integer: ambiguae si quando citabere testis,
     Incertaeque rei, Phalaris licet imperet ut sis,
     Falsus, et admoto dictet perjuria tauro,
     Summum crede nefas animam praeferre pudori,
     Et propter vitam vivendi perdere causas[2]."'

He repeated the lines with great force and dignity; then
added, 'And, after this, comes Johnny Home, with his _earth
gaping_, and his _destruction crying_:--Pooh[971]!'

While we were lamenting the number of ruined religious buildings which
we had lately seen, I spoke with peculiar feeling of the miserable
neglect of the chapel belonging to the palace of Holyrood-house, in
which are deposited the remains of many of the Kings of Scotland, and
many of our nobility. I said, it was a disgrace to the country that it
was not repaired: and particularly complained that my friend Douglas,
the representative of a great house and proprietor of a vast estate,
should suffer the sacred spot where his mother lies interred, to be
unroofed, and exposed to all the inclemencies of the weather. Dr.
Johnson, who, I know not how, had formed an opinion on the Hamilton
side, in the Douglas cause, slily answered, 'Sir, Sir, don't be too
severe upon the gentleman; don't accuse him of want of filial piety!
Lady Jane Douglas was not _his_ mother.' He roused my zeal so much that
I took the liberty to tell him he knew nothing of the cause: which I do
most seriously believe was the case[972].

We were now 'in a country of bridles and saddles[973],' and set out
fully equipped. The Duke of Argyle was obliging enough to mount Dr.
Johnson on a stately steed from his grace's stable. My friend was highly
pleased, and Joseph said, 'He now looks like a bishop.'

We dined at the inn at Tarbat, and at night came to Rosedow, the
beautiful seat of Sir James Colquhoun, on the banks of Lochlomond, where
I, and any friends whom I have introduced, have ever been received with
kind and elegant hospitality.


When I went into Dr. Johnson's room this morning, I observed to him how
wonderfully courteous he had been at Inveraray, and said, 'You were
quite a fine gentleman, when with the duchess.' He answered, in good
humour, 'Sir, I look upon myself as a very polite man:' and he was
right, in a proper manly sense of the word[974]. As an immediate proof
of it, let me observe, that he would not send back the Duke of Argyle's
horse without a letter of thanks, which I copied.



'That kindness which disposed your grace to supply me with the horse,
which I have now returned, will make you pleased to hear that he has
carried me well.

'By my diligence in the little commission with which I was honoured by
the duchess[975], I will endeavour to shew how highly I value the
favours which I have received, and how much I desire to be thought,

'My Lord,

'Your Grace's most obedient,

'And most humble servant,


'Rosedow, Oct. 29, 1773.'

The duke was so attentive to his respectable[976] guest, that on the
same day, he wrote him an answer, which was received at Auchinleck:--


'SIR,  'I am glad to hear your journey from this place was not
unpleasant, in regard to your horse. I wish I could have supplied you
with good weather, which I am afraid you felt the want of.

'The Duchess of Argyle desires her compliments to you, and is much
obliged to you for remembering her commission.

'I am, Sir,

'Your most obedient humble servant,


'Inveraray, Oct. 29, 1773.'

I am happy to insert every memorial of the honour done to my great
friend. Indeed, I was at all times desirous to preserve the letters
which he received from eminent persons, of which, as of all other
papers, he was very negligent; and I once proposed to him, that they
should be committed to my care, as his _Custos Rotulorum_. I wish he had
complied with my request, as by that means many valuable writings might
have been preserved, that are now lost[977].

After breakfast, Dr. Johnson and I were furnished with a boat, and
sailed about upon Lochlomond, and landed on some of the islands which
are interspersed[978]. He was much pleased with the scene, which is so
well known by the accounts of various travellers, that it is unnecessary
for me to attempt any description of it.

I recollect none of his conversation, except that, when talking of
dress, he said, 'Sir, were I to have any thing fine, it should be very
fine. Were I to wear a ring, it should not be a bauble, but a stone of
great value. Were I to wear a laced or embroidered waistcoat, it should
be very rich. I had once a very rich laced waistcoat, which I wore the
first night of my tragedy[979].'  Lady Helen Colquhoun being a very
pious woman, the conversation, after dinner, took a religious turn. Her
ladyship defended the presbyterian mode of publick worship; upon which
Dr. Johnson delivered those excellent arguments for a form of prayer
which he has introduced into his _Journey_[980]. I am myself fully
convinced that a form of prayer for publick worship is in general most
decent and edifying. _Solennia verba_ have a kind of prescriptive
sanctity, and make a deeper impression on the mind than extemporaneous
effusions, in which, as we know not what they are to be, we cannot
readily acquiesce. Yet I would allow also of a certain portion of
extempore address, as occasion may require. This is the practice of the
French Protestant churches. And although the office of forming
supplications to the throne of Heaven is, in my mind, too great a trust
to be indiscriminately committed to the discretion of every minister, I
do not mean to deny that sincere devotion may be experienced when
joining in prayer with those who use no Liturgy.

We were favoured with Sir James Colquhoun's coach to convey us in the
evening to Cameron, the seat of Commissary Smollet[981]. Our
satisfaction of finding ourselves again in a comfortable carriage was
very great. We had a pleasing conviction of the commodiousness of
civilization, and heartily laughed at the ravings of those absurd
visionaries who have attempted to persuade us of the superior advantages
of a _state of nature_[982].

Mr. Smollet was a man of considerable learning, with abundance of animal
spirits; so that he was a very good companion for Dr. Johnson, who said
to me, 'We have had more solid talk here than at any place where we
have been.'

I remember Dr. Johnson gave us this evening an able and eloquent
discourse on the _Origin of Evil_[983], and on the consistency of moral
evil with the power and goodness of GOD. He shewed us how it arose from
our free agency, an extinction of which would be a still greater evil
than any we experience. I know not that he said any thing absolutely
new, but he said a great deal wonderfully well; and perceiving us to be
delighted and satisfied, he concluded his harangue with an air of
benevolent triumph over an objection which has distressed many worthy
minds: 'This then is the answer to the question, _Pothen to Kakon_?'
Mrs. Smollet whispered me, that it was the best sermon she had ever
heard. Much do I upbraid myself for having neglected to preserve it.


Mr. Smollet pleased Dr. Johnson, by producing a collection of
newspapers in the time of the Usurpation, from which it appeared that
all sorts of crimes were very frequent during that horrible anarchy. By
the side of the high road to Glasgow, at some distance from his house,
he had erected a pillar to the memory of his ingenious kinsman, Dr.
Smollet; and he consulted Dr. Johnson as to an inscription for it. Lord
Kames, who, though he had a great store of knowledge, with much
ingenuity, and uncommon activity of mind, was no profound scholar, had
it seems recommended an English inscription[984]. Dr. Johnson treated
this with great contempt, saying, 'An English inscription would be a
disgrace to Dr. Smollet[985];' and, in answer to what Lord Kames had
urged, as to the advantage of its being in English, because it would be
generally understood, I observed, that all to whom Dr. Smollet's merit
could be an object of respect and imitation, would understand it as well
in Latin; and that surely it was not meant for the Highland drovers, or
other such people, who pass and repass that way.

We were then shewn a Latin inscription, proposed for this monument. Dr.
Johnson sat down with an ardent and liberal earnestness to revise it,
and greatly improved it by several additions and variations. I
unfortunately did not take a copy of it, as it originally stood; but I
have happily preserved every fragment of what Dr. Johnson wrote:--

    Quisquis ades, viator[986],
    Vel mente felix, vel studiis cultus,
    Immorare paululum memoriae
    Viri iis virtutibus
    Quas in homine et cive
    Et laudes, et imiteris,

    Postquam mira--
    Se ----

    Tali tantoque viro, suo patrueli,

    Hanc columnam,
    Amoris eheu! inane monumentum,
    In ipsis Leviniae ripis,
    Quas primis infans vagitibus personuit,
    Versiculisque jam fere moriturus illustravit[987],
    Ponendam curavit[988].

We had this morning a singular proof of Dr. Johnson's quick and
retentive memory. Hay's translation of _Martial_ was lying in a window.
I said, I thought it was pretty well done, and shewed him a particular
epigram, I think, of ten, but am certain of eight, lines. He read it,
and tossed away the book, saying--'No, it is not pretty well.' As I
persisted in my opinion, he said, 'Why, Sir, the original is
thus,'--(and he repeated it;) 'and this man's translation is thus,'--and
then he repeated that also, exactly, though he had never seen it before,
and read it over only once, and that too, without any intention of
getting it by heart[989].

Here a post-chaise, which I had ordered from Glasgow, came for us, and
we drove on in high spirits. We stopped at Dunbarton, and though the
approach to the castle there is very steep, Dr. Johnson ascended it with
alacrity, and surveyed all that was to be seen. During the whole of our
Tour he shewed uncommon spirit, could not bear to be treated like an old
or infirm man, and was very unwilling to accept of any assistance,
insomuch that, at our landing at Icolmkill, when Sir Allan M'Lean and I
submitted to be carried on men's shoulders from the boat to the shore,
as it could not be brought quite close to land, he sprang into the sea,
and waded vigorously out.  On our arrival at the Saracen's Head Inn, at
Glasgow, I was made happy by good accounts from home; and Dr. Johnson,
who had not received a single letter since we left Aberdeen[990], found
here a great many, the perusal of which entertained him much. He enjoyed
in imagination the comforts which we could now command, and seemed to be
in high glee. I remember, he put a leg up on each side of the grate, and
said, with a mock solemnity, by way of soliloquy, but loud enough for me
to hear it, 'Here am I, an ENGLISH man, sitting by a _coal_ fire.'


The professors[991] of the University being informed of our arrival, Dr.
Stevenson, Dr. Reid[992], and Mr. Anderson breakfasted with us. Mr.
Anderson accompanied us while Dr. Johnson viewed this beautiful city. He
had told me, that one day in London, when Dr. Adam Smith was boasting of
it, he turned to him and said, 'Pray, Sir, have you ever seen
Brentford[993]?' This was surely a strong instance of his impatience,
and spirit of contradiction. I put him in mind of it to-day, while he
expressed his admiration of the elegant buildings, and whispered him,
'Don't you feel some remorse[994]?'

We were received in the college by a number of the professors, who
shewed all due respect to Dr. Johnson; and then we paid a visit to the
principal, Dr. Leechman[995], at his own house, where Dr. Johnson had
the satisfaction of being told that his name had been gratefully
celebrated in one of the parochial congregations in the Highlands, as
the person to whose influence it was chiefly owing that the New
Testament was allowed to be translated into the Erse language. It seems
some political members of the Society in Scotland for propagating
Christian Knowledge had opposed this pious undertaking, as tending to
preserve the distinction between the Highlanders and Lowlanders. Dr.
Johnson wrote a long letter upon the subject to a friend, which being
shewn to them, made them ashamed, and afraid of being publickly exposed;
so they were forced to a compliance. It is now in my possession, and is,
perhaps, one of the best productions of his masterly pen[996].

Professors Reid and Anderson, and the two Messieurs Foulis, the Elzevirs
of Glasgow, dined and drank tea with us at our inn, after which the
professors went away; and I, having a letter to write, left my
fellow-traveller with Messieurs Foulis. Though good and ingenious men,
they had that unsettled speculative mode of conversation which is
offensive to a man regularly taught at an English school and university.
I found that, instead of listening to the dictates of the Sage, they
had teazed him with questions and doubtful disputations. He came in a
flutter to me, and desired I might come back again, for he could not
bear these men. 'O ho! Sir, (said I,) you are flying to me for refuge!'
He never, in any situation, was at a loss for a ready repartee. He
answered, with a quick vivacity, 'It is of two evils choosing the
least.' I was delighted with this flash bursting from the cloud which
hung upon his mind, closed my letter directly, and joined the company.

We supped at Professor Anderson's. The general impression upon my memory
is, that we had not much conversation at Glasgow, where the professors,
like their brethren at Aberdeen[997], did not venture to expose
themselves much to the battery of cannon which they knew might play upon
them[998]. Dr. Johnson, who was fully conscious of his own superior
powers, afterwards praised Principal Robertson for his caution in this
respect[999]. He said to me, 'Robertson, Sir, was in the right.
Robertson is a man of eminence, and the head of a college at Edinburgh.
He had a character to maintain, and did well not to risk its being


We set out towards Ayrshire. I sent Joseph on to Loudoun, with a
message, that, if the Earl was at home, Dr. Johnson and I would have the
honour to dine with him. Joseph met us on the road, and reported that
the Earl '_jumped for joy,_' and said, 'I shall be very happy to see
them.' We were received with a most pleasing courtesy by his Lordship,
and by the Countess his mother, who, in her ninety-fifth year, had all
her faculties quite unimpaired[1000]. This was a very cheering sight to
Dr. Johnson, who had an extraordinary desire for long life. Her
ladyship was sensible and well-informed, and had seen a great deal of
the world. Her lord had held several high offices, and she was sister to
the great Earl of Stair[1001].

I cannot here refrain from paying a just tribute to the character of
John Earl of Loudoun, who did more service to the county of Ayr in
general, as well as to the individuals in it, than any man we have ever
had. It is painful to think that he met with much ingratitude from
persons both in high and low rank: but such was his temper, such his
knowledge of 'base mankind[1002],' that, as if he had expected no other
return, his mind was never soured, and he retained his good-humour and
benevolence to the last. The tenderness of his heart was proved in
1745-6, when he had an important command in the Highlands, and behaved
with a generous humanity to the unfortunate. I cannot figure a more
honest politician; for, though his interest in our county was great, and
generally successful, he not only did not deceive by fallacious
promises, but was anxious that people should not deceive themselves by
too sanguine expectations. His kind and dutiful attention to his mother
was unremitted. At his house was true hospitality; a plain but a
plentiful table; and every guest, being left at perfect freedom, felt
himself quite easy and happy. While I live, I shall honour the memory of
this amiable man[1003].

At night, we advanced a few miles farther, to the house of Mr. Campbell
of Treesbank, who was married to one of my wife's sisters, and were
entertained very agreeably by a worthy couple.


We reposed here in tranquillity. Dr. Johnson was pleased to find a
numerous and excellent collection of books, which had mostly belonged to
the Reverend Mr. John Campbell, brother of our host. I was desirous to
have procured for my fellow-traveller, to-day, the company of Sir John
Cuninghame, of Caprington, whose castle was but two miles from us. He
was a very distinguished scholar, was long abroad, and during part of
the time lived much with the learned Cuninghame[1004], the opponent of
Bentley as a critick upon Horace. He wrote Latin with great elegance,
and, what is very remarkable, read Homer and Ariosto through every year.
I wrote to him to request he would come to us; but unfortunately he was
prevented by indisposition.


Though Dr. Johnson was lazy, and averse to move, I insisted that he
should go with me, and pay a visit to the Countess of Eglintoune, mother
of the late and present earl. I assured him, he would find himself amply
recompensed for the trouble; and he yielded to my solicitations, though
with some unwillingness. We were well mounted, and had not many miles to
ride. He talked of the attention that is necessary in order to
distribute our charity judiciously. 'If thoughtlessly done, we may
neglect the most deserving objects; and, as every man has but a certain
proportion to give, if it is lavished upon those who first present
themselves, there may be nothing left for such as have a better claim. A
man should first relieve those who are nearly connected with him, by
whatever tie; and then, if he has any thing to spare, may extend his
bounty to a wider circle.[1005]'

As we passed very near the castle of Dundonald, which was one of the
many residences of the kings of Scotland, and in which Robert the Second
lived and died, Dr. Johnson wished to survey it particularly. It stands
on a beautiful rising ground, which is seen at a great distance on
several quarters, and from whence there is an extensive prospect of the
rich district of Cuninghame, the western sea, the isle of Arran, and a
part of the northern coast of Ireland. It has long been unroofed; and,
though of considerable size, we could not, by any power of imagination,
figure it as having been a suitable habitation for majesty[1006]. Dr.
Johnson, to irritate my _old Scottish_[1007] enthusiasm, was very
jocular on the homely accommodation of 'King _Bob_,' and roared and
laughed till the ruins echoed.

Lady Eglintoune, though she was now in her eighty-fifth year, and had
lived in the retirement of the country for almost half a century, was
still a very agreeable woman. She was of the noble house of Kennedy, and
had all the elevation which the consciousness of such birth inspires.
Her figure was majestick, her manners high-bred, her reading extensive,
and her conversation elegant. She had been the admiration of the gay
circles of life, and the patroness of poets[1008]. Dr. Johnson was
delighted with his reception here. Her principles in church and state
were congenial with his. She knew all his merit, and had heard much of
him from her son, Earl Alexander[1009], who loved to cultivate the
acquaintance of men of talents, in every department.

All who knew his lordship, will allow that his understanding and
accomplishments were of no ordinary rate. From the gay habits which he
had early acquired, he spent too much of his time with men, and in
pursuits far beneath such a mind as his. He afterwards became sensible
of it, and turned his thoughts to objects of importance; but was cut off
in the prime of his life. I cannot speak, but with emotions of the most
affectionate regret, of one, in whose company many of my early days were
passed, and to whose kindness I was much indebted.

Often must I have occasion to upbraid myself, that soon after our return
to the main land, I allowed indolence to prevail over me so much, as to
shrink from the labour of continuing my journal with the same minuteness
as before; sheltering myself in the thought, that we had done with the
Hebrides; and not considering, that Dr. Johnson's Memorabilia were
likely to be more valuable when we were restored to a more polished
society. Much has thus been irrecoverably lost.

In the course of our conversation this day, it came out, that Lady
Eglintoune was married the year before Dr. Johnson was born; upon which
she graciously said to him, that she might have been his mother; and
that she now adopted him; and when we were going away, she embraced him,
saying, 'My dear son, farewell[1010]!' My friend was much pleased with
this day's entertainment, and owned that I had done well to force
him out.


We were now in a country not only '_of saddles and bridles_[1011],' but
of post-chaises; and having ordered one from Kilmarnock, we got to
Auchinleck[1012] before dinner.

My father was not quite a year and a half older than Dr. Johnson; but
his conscientious discharge of his laborious duty as a judge in
Scotland, where the law proceedings are almost all in writing,--a severe
complaint which ended in his death,--and the loss of my mother, a woman
of almost unexampled piety and goodness,--had before this time in some
degree affected his spirits[1013], and rendered him less disposed to
exert his faculties: for he had originally a very strong mind, and
cheerful temper. He assured me, he never had felt one moment of what is
called low spirits, or uneasiness, without a real cause. He had a great
many good stories, which he told uncommonly well, and he was remarkable
for 'humour, _incolumi gravitate_[1014],' as Lord Monboddo used to
characterise it. His age, his office, and his character, had long given
him an acknowledged claim to great attention, in whatever company he
was; and he could ill brook any diminution of it. He was as sanguine a
Whig and Presbyterian, as Dr. Johnson was a Tory and Church of England
man: and as he had not much leisure to be informed of Dr. Johnson's
great merits by reading his works, he had a partial and unfavourable
notion of him, founded on his supposed political tenets; which were so
discordant to his own, that instead of speaking of him with that respect
to which he was entitled, he used to call him 'a _Jacobite fellow_.'
Knowing all this, I should not have ventured to bring them together, had
not my father, out of kindness to me, desired me to invite Dr. Johnson
to his house.

I was very anxious that all should be well; and begged of my friend to
avoid three topicks, as to which they differed very widely; Whiggism,
Presbyterianism, and--Sir John Pringle.[1015] He said courteously, 'I
shall certainly not talk on subjects which I am told are disagreeable to
a gentleman under whose roof I am; especially, I shall not do so to
_your father_.'

Our first day went off very smoothly. It rained, and we could not get
out; but my father shewed Dr. Johnson his library, which in curious
editions of the Greek and Roman classicks, is, I suppose, not excelled
by any private collection in Great Britain. My father had studied at
Leyden, and been very intimate with the Gronovii, and other learned men
there. He was a sound scholar, and, in particular, had collated
manuscripts and different editions of _Anacreon_, and others of the
Greek Lyrick poets, with great care; so that my friend and he had much
matter for conversation, without touching on the fatal topicks of

Dr. Johnson found here Baxter's _Anacreon_[1016], which he told me he
had long enquired for in vain, and began to suspect there was no such
book. Baxter was the keen antagonist of Barnes[1017]. His life is in
the _Biographia Britannica_[1018]. My father has written many notes on
this book, and Dr. Johnson and I talked of having it reprinted.


It rained all day, and gave Dr. Johnson an impression of that
incommodiousness of climate in the west, of which he has taken notice in
his _Journey_[1019]; but, being well accommodated, and furnished with
variety of books, he was not dissatisfied.

Some gentlemen of the neighbourhood came to visit my father; but there
was little conversation. One of them asked Dr. Johnson how he liked the
Highlands. The question seemed to irritate him, for he answered, 'How,
Sir, can you ask me what obliges me to speak unfavourably of a country
where I have been hospitably entertained? Who _can_ like the
Highlands[1020]? I like the inhabitants very well[1021].' The gentleman
asked no more questions.

Let me now make up for the present neglect, by again gleaning from the
past. At Lord Monboddo's, after the conversation upon the decrease of
learning in England, his Lordship mentioned _Hermes_, by Mr. Harris of
Salisbury[1022], as the work of a living authour, for whom he had a
great respect. Dr. Johnson said nothing at the time; but when we were in
our post-chaise, he told me, he thought Harris 'a coxcomb.' This he
said of him, not as a man, but as an authour[1023]; and I give his
opinions of men and books, faithfully, whether they agree with my own or
not. I do admit, that there always appeared to me something of
affectation in Mr. Harris's manner of writing; something of a habit of
clothing plain thoughts in analytick and categorical formality. But all
his writings are imbued with learning; and all breathe that philanthropy
and amiable disposition, which distinguished him as a man[1024].

At another time, during our Tour, he drew the character of a rapacious
Highland Chief[1025] with the strength of Theophrastus or la Bruyère;
concluding with these words:--'Sir, he has no more the soul of a Chief,
than an attorney who has twenty houses in a street, and considers how
much he can make by them.'

He this day, when we were by ourselves, observed, how common it was for
people to talk from books; to retail the sentiment's of others, and not
their own; in short, to converse without any originality of thinking. He
was pleased to say, 'You and I do not talk from books[1026].'


I was glad to have at length a very fine day, on which I could shew Dr.
Johnson the _Place_ of my family, which he has honoured with so much
attention in his _Journey_. He is, however, mistaken in thinking that
the Celtick name, _Auchinleck_, has no relation to the natural
appearance of it. I believe every Celtick name of a place will be found
very descriptive. _Auchinleck_ does not signify a _stony field_, as he
has said, but a _field of flag stones_; and this place has a number of
rocks, which abound in strata of that kind. The 'sullen dignity of the
old castle,' as he has forcibly expressed it, delighted him
exceedingly.[1027] On one side of the rock on which its ruins stand,
runs the river Lugar, which is here of considerable breadth, and is
bordered by other high rocks, shaded with wood. On the other side runs a
brook, skirted in the same manner, but on a smaller scale. I cannot
figure a more romantick scene.

I felt myself elated here, and expatiated to my illustrious Mentor on
the antiquity and honourable alliances of my family, and on the merits
of its founder, Thomas Boswell, who was highly favoured by his
sovereign, James IV. of Scotland, and fell with him at the battle of
Flodden-field[1028]; and in the glow of what, I am sensible, will, in a
commercial age, be considered as genealogical enthusiasm, did not omit
to mention what I was sure my friend would not think lightly of, my
relation[1029] to the Royal Personage, whose liberality, on his
accession to the throne, had given him comfort and independence[1030].
I have, in a former page[1031], acknowledged my pride of ancient blood,
in which I was encouraged by Dr. Johnson: my readers therefore will not
be surprised at my having indulged it on this occasion.

Not far from the old castle is a spot of consecrated earth, on which may
be traced the foundations of an ancient chapel, dedicated to St.
Vincent, and where in old times 'was the place of graves' for the
family. It grieves me to think that the remains of sanctity here, which
were considerable, were dragged away, and employed in building a part of
the house of Auchinleck, of the middle age; which was the family
residence, till my father erected that 'elegant modern mansion,' of
which Dr. Johnson speaks so handsomely. Perhaps this chapel may one day
be restored.

Dr. Johnson was pleased when I shewed him some venerable old trees,
under the shade of which my ancestors had walked. He exhorted me to
plant assiduously[1032], as my father had done to a great extent.

As I wandered with my reverend friend in the groves of Auchinleck, I
told him, that, if I survived him, it was my intention to erect a
monument to him here, among scenes which, in my mind, were all
classical; for in my youth I had appropriated to them many of the
descriptions of the Roman poets. He could not bear to have death
presented to him in any shape; for his constitutional melancholy made
the king of terrours more frightful. He turned off the subject, saying,
'Sir, I hope to see your grand-children!'

This forenoon he observed some cattle without horns, of which he has
taken notice in his _Journey_[1033], and seems undecided whether they be
of a particular race. His doubts appear to have had no foundation; for
my respectable neighbour, Mr. Fairlie, who, with all his attention to
agriculture, finds time both for the classicks and his friends, assures
me they are a distinct species, and that, when any of their calves have
horns, a mixture of breed can be traced. In confirmation of his opinion,
he pointed out to me the following passage in Tacitus,--'_Ne armentis
quidem suus honor, aut gloria frontis_[1034];' (_De mor. Germ. § 5_)
which he wondered had escaped Dr. Johnson.

On the front of the house of Auchinleck is this inscription:--

     'Quod petis, hic est;
     Est Ulubris; animus si te non deficit aequus[1035].'

It is characteristick of the founder; but the _animus aequus_ is, alas!
not inheritable, nor the subject of devise. He always talked to me as if
it were in a man's own power to attain it; but Dr. Johnson told me that
he owned to him, when they were alone, his persuasion that it was in a
great measure constitutional, or the effect of causes which do not
depend on ourselves, and that Horace boasts too much, when he says,
_aequum mi animum ipse parabo_[1036].


The Reverend Mr. Dun, our parish minister, who had dined with us
yesterday, with some other company, insisted that Dr. Johnson and I
should dine with him to-day. This gave me an opportunity to shew my
friend the road to the church, made by my father at a great expence, for
above three miles, on his own estate, through a range of well enclosed
farms, with a row of trees on each side of it. He called it the _Via
sacra_, and was very fond of it.[1037]Dr. Johnson, though he held
notions far distant from those of the Presbyterian clergy, yet could
associate on good terms with them. He indeed occasionally attacked
them. One of them discovered a narrowness of information concerning the
dignitaries of the Church of England, among whom may be found men of the
greatest learning, virtue, and piety, and of a truly apostolic
character. He talked before Dr. Johnson, of fat bishops and drowsy
deans; and, in short, seemed to believe the illiberal and profane
scoffings of professed satyrists, or vulgar railers. Dr. Johnson was so
highly offended, that he said to him, 'Sir, you know no more of our
Church than a Hottentot[1038].' I was sorry that he brought this
upon himself.


I cannot be certain, whether it was on this day, or a former, that Dr.
Johnson and my father came in collision. If I recollect right, the
contest began while my father was shewing him his collection of medals;
and Oliver Cromwell's coin unfortunately introduced Charles the First,
and Toryism. They became exceedingly warm, and violent, and I was very
much distressed by being present at such an altercation between two men,
both of whom I reverenced; yet I durst not interfere. It would certainly
be very unbecoming in me to exhibit my honoured father, and my respected
friend, as intellectual gladiators, for the entertainment of the
publick: and therefore I suppress what would, I dare say, make an
interesting scene in this dramatick sketch,--this account of the
transit of Johnson over the Caledonian Hemisphere[1039].

Yet I think I may, without impropriety, mention one circumstance, as an
instance of my father's address. Dr. Johnson challenged him, as he did
us all at Talisker[1040], to point out any theological works of merit
written by Presbyterian ministers in Scotland. My father, whose studies
did not lie much in that way, owned to me afterwards, that he was
somewhat at a loss how to answer, but that luckily he recollected having
read in catalogues the title of _Durham on the Galatians_; upon which he
boldly said, 'Pray, Sir, have you read Mr. Durham's excellent commentary
on the Galatians?' 'No, Sir,' said Dr. Johnson. By this lucky thought my
father kept him at bay, and for some time enjoyed his triumph[1041]; but
his antagonist soon made a retort, which I forbear to mention.

In the course of their altercation, Whiggism and Presbyterianism,
Toryism and Episcopacy, were terribly buffeted. My worthy hereditary
friend, Sir John Pringle, never having been mentioned, happily escaped
without a bruise.

My father's opinion of Dr. Johnson may be conjectured from the name he
afterwards gave him, which was URSA MAJOR[1042]. But it is not true, as
has been reported, that it was in consequence of my saying that he was a
_constellation_[1043] of genius and literature. It was a sly abrupt
expression to one of his brethren on the bench of the Court of Session,
in which Dr. Johnson was then standing; but it was not said in
his hearing.


My father and I went to publick worship in our parish-church, in which I
regretted that Dr. Johnson would not join us; for, though we have there
no form of prayer, nor magnificent solemnity, yet, as GOD is worshipped
in spirit and in truth, and the same doctrines preached as in the Church
of England, my friend would certainly have shewn more liberality, had he
attended. I doubt not, however, but he employed his time in private to
very good purpose. His uniform and fervent piety was manifested on many
occasions during our Tour, which I have not mentioned. His reason for
not joining in Presbyterian worship has been recorded in a former


Notwithstanding the altercation that had passed, my father, who had the
dignified courtesy of an old Baron, was very civil to Dr. Johnson, and
politely attended him to the post-chaise, which was to convey us to

Thus they parted. They are now in another, and a higher, state of
existence: and as they were both worthy Christian men, I trust they have
met in happiness. But I must observe, in justice to my friend's
political principles, and my own, that they have met in a place where
there is no room for _Whiggism_[1046].

We came at night to a good inn at Hamilton. I recollect no more.


I wished to have shewn Dr. Johnson the Duke of Hamilton's house,
commonly called the _Palace_ of Hamilton, which is close by the town. It
is an object which, having been pointed out to me as a splendid edifice,
from my earliest years, in travelling between Auchinleck and Edinburgh,
has still great grandeur in my imagination. My friend consented to stop,
and view the outside of it, but could not be persuaded to go into it.

We arrived this night at Edinburgh, after an absence of eighty-three
days. For five weeks together, of the tempestuous season, there had been
no account received of us. I cannot express how happy I was on finding
myself again at home.


Old Mr. Drummond, the bookseller[1047], came to breakfast. Dr. Johnson
and he had not met for ten years. There was respect on his side, and
kindness on Dr. Johnson's. Soon afterwards Lord Elibank came in, and was
much pleased at seeing Dr. Johnson in Scotland. His lordship said,
'hardly any thing seemed to him more improbable.' Dr. Johnson had a
very high opinion of him. Speaking of him to me, he characterized him
thus: 'Lord Elibank has read a great deal. It is true, I can find in
books all that he has read; but he has a great deal of what is in books,
proved by the test of real life.' Indeed, there have been few men whose
conversation discovered more knowledge enlivened by fancy. He published
several small pieces of distinguished merit; and has left some in
manuscript, in particular an account of the expedition against
Carthagena, in which he served as an officer in the army. His writings
deserve to be collected. He was the early patron of Dr. Robertson, the
historian, and Mr. Home, the tragick poet; who, when they were ministers
of country parishes, lived near his seat. He told me, 'I saw these lads
had talents, and they were much with me.' I hope they will pay a
grateful tribute to his memory[1048].

The morning was chiefly taken up by Dr. Johnson's giving him an account
of our Tour. The subject of difference in political principles was
introduced. JOHNSON. 'It is much increased by opposition. There was a
violent Whig, with whom I used to contend with great eagerness. After
his death I felt my Toryism much abated.' I suppose he meant Mr.
Walmsley of Lichfield, whose character he has drawn so well in his _Life
of Edmund Smith_[1049].  Mr. Nairne[1050] came in, and he and I
accompanied Dr. Johnson to Edinburgh Castle, which he owned was 'a great
place.' But I must mention, as a striking instance of that spirit of
contradiction to which he had a strong propensity, when Lord Elibank was
some days after talking of it with the natural elation of a Scotchman,
or of any man who is proud of a stately fortress in his own country, Dr.
Johnson affected to despise it, observing that 'it would make a good
_prison_ in ENGLAND.'

Lest it should be supposed that I have suppressed one of his sallies
against my country, it may not be improper here to correct a mistaken
account that has been circulated, as to his conversation this day. It
has been said, that being desired to attend to the noble prospect from
the Castle-hill, he replied, 'Sir, the noblest prospect that a Scotchman
ever sees, is the high road that leads him to London.' This lively
sarcasm was thrown out at a tavern[1051] in London, in my presence, many
years before.

We had with us to-day at dinner, at my house, the Lady Dowager Colvill,
and Lady Anne Erskine, sisters of the Earl of Kelly[1052]; the
Honourable Archibald Erskine, who has now succeeded to that title; Lord
Elibank; the Reverend Dr. Blair; Mr. Tytler, the acute vindicator of
Mary Queen of Scots[1053], and some other friends[1054].

_Fingal_ being talked of, Dr. Johnson, who used to boast that he had,
from the first, resisted both Ossian[1055] and the Giants of
Patagonia[1056], averred his positive disbelief of its authenticity.
Lord Elibank said, 'I am sure it is not M'Pherson's. Mr. Johnson, I keep
company a great deal with you; it is known I do. I may borrow from you
better things than I can say myself, and give them as my own; but, if I
should, every body will know whose they are.' The Doctor was not
softened by this compliment. He denied merit to _Fingal_, supposing it
to be the production of a man who has had the advantages that the
present age affords; and said, 'nothing is more easy than to write
enough in that style if once you begin[1057].'[1058]One gentleman in
company[1059] expressing his opinion 'that _Fingal_ was certainly
genuine, for that he had heard a great part of it repeated in the
original,' Dr. Johnson indignantly asked him whether he understood the
original; to which an answer being given in the negative, 'Why then,
(said Dr. Johnson,) we see to what _this_ testimony comes:--thus it is.'

I mentioned this as a remarkable proof how liable the mind of man is to
credulity, when not guarded by such strict examination as that which Dr.
Johnson habitually practised.[1060]The talents and integrity of the
gentleman who made the remark, are unquestionable; yet, had not Dr.
Johnson made him advert to the consideration, that he who does not
understand a language, cannot know that something which is recited to
him is in that language, he might have believed, and reported to this
hour, that he had 'heard a great part of _Fingal_ repeated in the

For the satisfaction of those on the north of the Tweed, who may think
Dr. Johnson's account of Caledonian credulity and inaccuracy too
strong,[1061] it is but fair to add, that he admitted the same kind of
ready belief might be found in his own country. 'He would undertake, (he
said) to write an epick poem on the story of _Robin Hood_,[1062] and
half England, to whom the names and places he should mention in it are
familiar, would believe and declare they had heard it from their
earliest years.'

One of his objections to the authenticity of _Fingal_, during the
conversation at Ulinish,[1063] is omitted in my _Journal_, but I
perfectly recollect it. 'Why is not the original deposited in some
publick library, instead of exhibiting attestations of its
existence?[1064] Suppose there were a question in a court of justice,
whether a man be dead or alive: You aver he is alive, and you bring
fifty witnesses to swear it: I answer, "Why do you not produce the
man?"' This is an argument founded upon one of the first principles of
the _law of evidence_, which _Gilbert_[1065] would have held to be

I do not think it incumbent on me to give any precise decided opinion
upon this question, as to which I believe more than some, and less than

The subject appears to have now become very uninteresting to the
publick. That _Fingal_ is not from beginning to end a translation from
the Gallick, but that _some_ passages have been supplied by the editor
to connect the whole, I have heard admitted by very warm advocates for
its authenticity. If this be the case, why are not these distinctly
ascertained? Antiquaries, and admirers of the work, may complain, that
they are in a situation similar to that of the unhappy gentleman, whose
wife informed him, on her death-bed, that one of their reputed children
was not his; and, when he eagerly begged her to declare which of them it
was, she answered, '_That_ you shall never know;' and expired, leaving
him in irremediable doubt as to them all.

I beg leave now to say something upon _second sight_, of which I have
related two instances,[1067] as they impressed my mind at the time. I
own, I returned from the Hebrides with a considerable degree of faith in
the many stories of that kind which I heard with a too easy
acquiescence, without any close examination of the evidence: but, since
that time, my belief in those stories has been much weakened,[1068] by
reflecting on the careless inaccuracy of narrative in common matters,
from which we may certainly conclude that there may be the same in what
is more extraordinary. It is but just, however, to add, that the belief
in second sight is not peculiar to the Highlands and Isles.[1069]

Some years after our Tour, a cause[1070] was tried in the Court of
Session, where the principal fact to be ascertained was, whether a
ship-master, who used to frequent the Western Highlands and Isles, was
drowned in one particular year, or in the year after. A great number of
witnesses from those parts were examined on each side, and swore
directly contrary to each other, upon this simple question. One of them,
a very respectable Chieftain, who told me a story of second sight, which
I have not mentioned, but which I too implicitly believed, had in this
case, previous to this publick examination, not only said, but attested
under his hand, that he had seen the ship-master in the year subsequent
to that in which the court was finally satisfied he was drowned. When
interrogated with the strictness of judicial inquiry, and under the awe
of an oath, he recollected himself better, and retracted what he had
formerly asserted, apologising for his inaccuracy, by telling the
judges, 'A man will _say_ what he will not _swear_.' By many he was much
censured, and it was maintained that every gentleman would be as
attentive to truth without the sanction of an oath, as with it. Dr.
Johnson, though he himself was distinguished at all times by a
scrupulous adherence to truth, controverted this proposition; and as a
proof that this was not, though it ought to be, the case, urged the very
different decisions of elections under Mr. Grenville's Act,[1071] from
those formerly made. 'Gentlemen will not pronounce upon oath what they
would have said, and voted in the house, without that sanction.'

However difficult it may be for men who believe in preternatural
communications, in modern times, to satisfy those who are of a different
opinion, they may easily refute the doctrine of their opponents, who
impute a belief in _second sight_ to _superstition_. To entertain a
visionary notion that one sees a distant or future event, may be called
_superstition_: but the correspondence of the fact or event with such an
impression on the fancy, though certainly very wonderful, _if proved_,
has no more connection with superstition, than magnetism or electricity.

After dinner, various topicks were discussed; but I recollect only one
particular. Dr. Johnson compared the different talents of Garrick and
Foote,[1072] as companions, and gave Garrick greatly the preference for
elegance, though he allowed Foote extraordinary powers of entertainment.
He said, 'Garrick is restrained by some principle; but Foote has the
advantage of an unlimited range. Garrick has some delicacy of feeling;
it is possible to put him out; you may get the better of him; but Foote
is the most incompressible fellow that I ever knew; when you have driven
him into a corner, and think you are sure of him, he runs through
between your legs, or jumps over your head, and makes his escape.'

Dr. Erskine[1073] and Mr. Robert Walker, two very respectable ministers
of Edinburgh, supped with us, as did the Reverend Dr. Webster.[1074] The
conversation turned on the Moravian missions, and on the Methodists. Dr.
Johnson observed in general, that missionaries were too sanguine in
their accounts of their success among savages, and that much of what
they tell is not to be believed. He owned that the Methodists had done
good; had spread religious impressions among the vulgar part of
mankind:[1075] but, he said, they had great bitterness against other
Christians, and that he never could get a Methodist to explain in what
he excelled others; that it always ended in the indispensible necessity
of hearing one of their preachers.[1076]


Principal Robertson came to us as we sat at breakfast, he advanced to
Dr. Johnson, repeating a line of Virgil, which I forget. I
suppose, either

     Post varios casus, per tot discrimina rerum[1077]--


     --multum ille et terris jactatus, et alto[1078].

Every body had accosted us with some studied compliment on our return.
Dr. Johnson said, 'I am really ashamed of the congratulations which we
receive. We are addressed as if we had made a voyage to Nova Zembla, and
suffered five persecutions in Japan[1079].' And he afterwards remarked,
that, 'to see a man come up with a formal air and a Latin line, when we
had no fatigue and no danger, was provoking[1080].' I told him, he was
not sensible of the danger, having lain under cover in the boat during
the storm[1081]: he was like the chicken, that hides its head under its
wing, and then thinks itself safe.

Lord Elibank came to us, as did Sir William Forbes. The rash attempt in
1745 being mentioned, I observed, that it would make a fine piece of
History. Dr. Johnson said it would.[1082] Lord Elibank doubted whether
any man of this age could give it impartially. JOHNSON. 'A man, by
talking with those of different sides, who were actors in it, and
putting down all that he hears, may in time collect the materials of a
good narrative. You are to consider, all history was at first oral. I
suppose Voltaire was fifty years[1083] in collecting his _Louis XIV_.
which he did in the way that I am proposing.' ROBERTSON. 'He did so. He
lived much with all the great people who were concerned in that reign,
and heard them talk of everything: and then either took Mr. Boswell's
way, of writing down what he heard, or, which is as good, preserved it
in his memory; for he has a wonderful memory.' With the leave, however,
of this elegant historian, no man's memory can preserve facts or sayings
with such fidelity as may be done by writing them down when they are
recent. Dr. Robertson said, 'it was now full time to make such a
collection as Dr. Johnson suggested; for many of the people who were
then in arms, were dropping off; and both Whigs and Jacobites were now
come to talk with moderation.' Lord Elibank said to him, 'Mr. Robertson,
the first thing that gave me a high opinion of you, was your saying in
the _Select Society_[1084], while parties ran high, soon after the year
1745, that you did not think worse of a man's moral character for his
having been in rebellion. This was venturing to utter a liberal
sentiment, while both sides had a detestation of each other.'  Dr.
Johnson observed, that being in rebellion from a notion of another's
right, was not connected with depravity; and that we had this proof of
it, that all mankind applauded the pardoning of rebels; which they would
not do in the case of robbers and murderers. He said, with a smile, that
'he wondered that the phrase of _unnatural_ rebellion should be so much
used, for that all rebellion was natural to man.'

       *       *       *       *       *

As I kept no Journal of anything that passed after this morning, I
shall, from memory, group together this and the other days, till that on
which Dr. Johnson departed for London. They were in all nine days; on
which he dined at Lady Colvill's, Lord Hailes's, Sir Adolphus Oughton's,
Sir Alexander Dick's, Principal Robertson's, Mr. M'Laurin's[1085], and
thrice at Lord Elibank's seat in the country, where we also passed two
nights[1086]. He supped at the Honourable Alexander Gordon's[1087], now
one of our judges, by the title of Lord Rockville; at Mr. Nairne's, now
also one of our judges, by the title of Lord Dunsinan; at Dr. Blair's,
and Mr. Tytler's; and at my house thrice, one evening with a numerous
company, chiefly gentlemen of the law; another with Mr. Menzies of
Culdares, and Lord Monboddo, who disengaged himself on purpose to meet
him; and the evening on which we returned from Lord Elibank's, he supped
with my wife and me by ourselves[1088].

He breakfasted at Dr. Webster's, at old Mr. Drummond's, and at Dr.
Blacklock's; and spent one forenoon at my uncle Dr. Boswell's[1089], who
shewed him his curious museum; and, as he was an elegant scholar, and a
physician bred in the school of Boerhaave[1090], Dr. Johnson was pleased
with his company.  On the mornings when he breakfasted at my house, he
had, from ten o'clock till one or two, a constant levee of various
persons, of very different characters and descriptions. I could not
attend him, being obliged to be in the Court of Session; but my wife was
so good as to devote the greater part of the morning to the endless task
of pouring out tea for my friend and his visitors.

Such was the disposition of his time at Edinburgh. He said one evening
to me, in a fit of languor, 'Sir, we have been harassed by invitations.'
I acquiesced. 'Ay, Sir,' he replied; but how much worse would it have
been, if we had been neglected[1091]?'

From what has been recorded in this _Journal_, it may well be supposed
that a variety of admirable conversation has been lost, by my neglect to
preserve it. I shall endeavour to recollect some of it, as well as
I can.

At Lady Colvill's, to whom I am proud to introduce any stranger of
eminence, that he may see what dignity and grace is to be found in
Scotland, an officer observed, that he had heard Lord Mansfield was not
a great English lawyer. JOHNSON. 'Why, Sir, supposing Lord Mansfield not
to have the splendid talents which he possesses, he must be a great
English lawyer, from having been so long at the bar, and having passed
through so many of the great offices of the law. Sir, you may as well
maintain that a carrier, who has driven a packhorse between Edinburgh
and Berwick for thirty years, does not know the road, as that Lord
Mansfield does not know the law of England[1092].'

At Mr. Nairne's, he drew the character of Richardson, the authour of
_Clarissa_, with a strong yet delicate pencil. I lament much that I have
not preserved it; I only remember that he expressed a high opinion of
his talents and virtues; but observed, that 'his perpetual study was to
ward off petty inconveniences, and procure petty pleasures; that his
love of continual superiority was such, that he took care to be always
surrounded by women[1093], who listened to him implicitly, and did not
venture to controvert his opinions; and that his desire of distinction
was so great, that he used to give large vails to the Speaker Onslow's
servants, that they might treat him with respect.'

On the same evening, he would not allow that the private life of a
Judge, in England, was required to be so strictly decorous as I
supposed. 'Why then, Sir, (said I,) according to your account, an
English judge may just live like a gentleman.' JOHNSON. 'Yes,
Sir[1094],--if he _can_.'

At Mr. Tytler's, I happened to tell that one evening, a great many years
ago, when Dr. Hugh Blair and I were sitting together in the pit of
Drury-lane play-house, in a wild freak of youthful extravagance, I
entertained the audience _prodigiously_[1095], by imitating the lowing
of a cow. A little while after I had told this story, I differed from
Dr. Johnson, I suppose too confidently, upon some point, which I now
forget. He did not spare me. 'Nay, Sir, (said he,) if you cannot talk
better as a man, I'd have you bellow like a cow[1096].'

At Dr. Webster's, he said, that he believed hardly any man died without
affectation. This remark appears to me to be well founded, and will
account for many of the celebrated death-bed sayings which are

On one of the evenings at my house, when he told that Lord Lovat boasted
to an English nobleman, that though he had not his wealth, he had two
thousand men whom he could at any time call into the field, the
Honourable Alexander Gordon observed, that those two thousand men
brought him to the block. 'True, Sir, (said Dr. Johnson:) but you may
just as well argue, concerning a man who has fallen over a precipice to
which he has walked too near,--"His two legs brought him to that," is he
not the better for having two legs?'

At Dr. Blair's I left him, in order to attend a consultation, during
which he and his amiable host were by themselves. I returned to supper,
at which were Principal Robertson, Mr. Nairne, and some other gentlemen.
Dr. Robertson and Dr. Blair, I remember, talked well upon
subordination[1098] and government; and, as my friend and I were walking
home, he said to me, 'Sir, these two doctors are good men, and wise
men[1099].' I begged of Dr. Blair to recollect what he could of the long
conversation that passed between Dr. Johnson and him alone, this
evening, and he obligingly wrote to me as follows:--

'_March_ 3, 1785.


'--As so many years have intervened, since I chanced to have that
conversation with Dr. Johnson in my house, to which you refer, I have
forgotten most of what then passed, but remember that I was both
instructed and entertained by it. Among other subjects, the discourse
happening to turn on modern Latin poets, the Dr. expressed a very
favourable opinion of Buchanan, and instantly repeated, from beginning
to end, an ode of his, intituled _Calendae Maiae_, (the eleventh in his
_Miscellaneorum Liber_), beginning with these words, '_Salvete sacris
deliciis sacrae_,' with which I had formerly been unacquainted; but upon
perusing it, the praise which he bestowed upon it, as one of the
happiest of Buchanan's poetical compositions, appeared to me very just.
He also repeated to me a Latin ode he had composed in one of the western
islands, from which he had lately returned. We had much discourse
concerning his excursion to those islands, with which he expressed
himself as having been highly pleased; talked in a favourable manner of
the hospitality of the inhabitants; and particularly spoke much of his
happiness in having you for his companion; and said, that the longer he
knew you, he loved and esteemed you the more. This conversation passed
in the interval between tea and supper, when we were by ourselves. You,
and the rest of the company who were with us at supper, have often taken
notice that he was uncommonly bland and gay that evening, and gave much
pleasure to all who were present. This is all that I can recollect
distinctly of that long conversation.

'Your's sincerely,


At Lord Hailes's, we spent a most agreeable day; but again I must lament
that I was so indolent as to let almost all that passed evaporate into
oblivion. Dr. Johnson observed there, that 'it is wonderful how ignorant
many officers of the army are, considering how much leisure they have
for study, and the acquisition of knowledge[1100].' I hope he was
mistaken; for he maintained that many of them were ignorant of things
belonging immediately to their own profession; 'for instance, many
cannot tell how far a musket will carry a bullet;' in proof of which, I
suppose, he mentioned some particular person, for Lord Hailes, from whom
I solicited what he could recollect of that day, writes to me as

'As to Dr. Johnson's observation about the ignorance of officers, in the
length that a musket will carry, my brother, Colonel Dalrymple, was
present, and he thought that the doctor was either mistaken, by putting
the question wrong, or that he had conversed on the subject with some
person out of service.

'Was it upon that occasion that he expressed no curiosity to see the
room at Dumfermline, where Charles I. was born? "I know that he was
born, (said he;) no matter where."--Did he envy us the birth-place of
the king?'

Near the end of his _Journey_, Dr. Johnson has given liberal praise to
Mr. Braidwood's academy for the deaf and dumb[1101]. When he visited it,
a circumstance occurred which was truly characteristical of our great
Lexicographer. 'Pray, (said he,) can they pronounce any _long_ words?'
Mr. Braidwood informed him they could. Upon which Dr. Johnson wrote one
of his _sesquipedalia verba_[1102], which was pronounced by the
scholars, and he was satisfied. My readers may perhaps wish to know what
the word was; but I cannot gratify their curiosity. Mr. Braidwood told
me, it remained long in his school, but had been lost before I made my

Dr. Johnson one day visited the Court of Session[1104]. He thought the
mode of pleading there too vehement, and too much addressed to the
passions of the judges. 'This (said he) is not the Areopagus.'

At old Mr. Drummond's, Sir John Dalrymple quaintly said, the two noblest
animals in the world were, a Scotch Highlander and an English
sailor[1105]. 'Why, Sir, (said Dr. Johnson,) I shall say nothing as to
the Scotch Highlander; but as to the English Sailor, I cannot agree with
you.' Sir John said, he was generous in giving away his money.' JOHNSON.
'Sir, he throws away his money, without thought, and without merit. I do
not call a tree generous, that sheds its fruit at every breeze.' Sir
John having affected to complain of the attacks made upon his
_Memoirs_[1106], Dr. Johnson said, 'Nay, Sir, do not complain. It is
advantageous to an authour, that his book should be attacked as well as
praised. Fame is a shuttlecock. If it be struck only at one end of the
room, it will soon fall to the ground. To keep it up, it must be struck
at both ends[1107].' Often have I reflected on this since; and, instead
of being angry at many of those who have written against me, have smiled
to think that they were unintentionally subservient to my fame, by using
a battledoor to make me _virum volitare per ora_[1108].

At Sir Alexander Dick's, from that absence of mind to which every man is
at times subject, I told, in a blundering manner, Lady Eglingtoune's
complimentary adoption of Dr. Johnson as her son; for I unfortunately
stated that her ladyship adopted him as her son, in consequence of her
having been married the year _after_ he was born. Dr. Johnson instantly
corrected me. 'Sir, don't you perceive that you are defaming the
countess? For, supposing me to be her son, and that she was not married
till the year after my birth, I must have been her _natural_ son.' A
young lady of quality, who was present, very handsomely said, 'Might not
the son have justified the fault?' My friend was much flattered by this
compliment, which he never forgot. When in more than ordinary spirits,
and talking of his journey in Scotland, he has called to me, 'Boswell,
what was it that the young lady of quality said of me at Sir Alexander
Dick's ?' Nobody will doubt that I was happy in repeating it.

My illustrious friend, being now desirous to be again in the great
theatre of life and animated exertion, took a place in the coach, which
was to set out for London on Monday the 22nd of November[1109]. Sir John
Dalrymple pressed him to come on the Saturday before, to his house at
Cranston, which being twelve miles from Edinburgh, upon the middle road
to Newcastle, (Dr. Johnson had come to Edinburgh by Berwick, and along
the naked coast[1110],) it would make his journey easier, as the coach
would take him up at a more seasonable hour than that at which it sets
out. Sir John, I perceived, was ambitious of having such a guest; but,
as I was well assured, that at this very time he had joined with some of
his prejudiced countrymen in railing at Dr. Johnson[1111], and had said,
he 'wondered how any gentleman of Scotland could keep company with him,'
I thought he did not deserve the honour: yet, as it might be a
convenience to Dr. Johnson, I contrived that he should accept the
invitation, and engaged to conduct him. I resolved that, on our way to
Sir John's, we should make a little circuit by Roslin Castle, and
Hawthornden, and wished to set out soon after breakfast; but young Mr.
Tytler came to shew Dr. Johnson some essays which he had written; and my
great friend, who was exceedingly obliging when thus consulted[1112],
was detained so long, that it was, I believe, one o'clock before we got
into our post-chaise. I found that we should be too late for dinner at
Sir John Dalrymple's, to which we were engaged: but I would by no means
lose the pleasure of seeing my friend at Hawthornden,--of seeing _Sam
Johnson_ at the very spot where _Ben Jonson_ visited the learned and
poetical Drummond[1113].

We surveyed Roslin Castle, the romantick scene around it, and the
beautiful Gothick chapel[1114], and dined and drank tea at the inn;
after which we proceeded to Hawthornden, and viewed the caves; and I
all the while had _Rare Ben_[1115] in my mind, and was pleased to think
that this place was now visited by another celebrated wit of England.

By this time 'the waning night was growing old,' and we were yet several
miles from Sir John Dalrymple's. Dr. Johnson did not seem much troubled
at our having treated the baronet with so little attention to
politeness; but when I talked of the grievous disappointment it must
have been to him that we did not come to the _feast_ that he had
prepared for us, (for he told us he had killed a seven-year old sheep on
purpose,) my friend got into a merry mood, and jocularly said, 'I dare
say, Sir, he has been very sadly distressed: Nay, we do not know but the
consequence may have been fatal. Let me try to describe his situation in
his own historical style, I have as good a right to make him think and
talk, as he has to tell us how people thought and talked a hundred years
ago, of which he has no evidence. All history, so far as it is not
supported by contemporary evidence, is romance[1116]--Stay now.--Let us
consider!' He then (heartily laughing all the while) proceeded in his
imitation, I am sure to the following effect, though now, at the
distance of almost twelve years, I cannot pretend to recollect all the
precise words:--

'Dinner being ready, he wondered that his guests were not yet come.
His wonder was soon succeeded by impatience. He walked about the
room in anxious agitation; sometimes he looked at his watch, sometimes
he looked out at the window with an eager gaze of expectation,
and revolved in his mind the various accidents of human life. His
family beheld him with mute concern. "Surely (said he, with a sigh,)
they will not fail me." The mind of man can bear a certain pressure;
but there is a point when it can bear no more. A rope was in his view,
and he died a Roman death[1117].

It was very late before we reached the seat of Sir John Dalrymple, who,
certainly with some reason, was not in very good humour. Our
conversation was not brilliant. We supped, and went to bed in ancient
rooms, which would have better suited the climate of Italy in summer,
than that of Scotland in the month of November.

I recollect no conversation of the next day, worth preserving, except
one saying of Dr. Johnson, which will be a valuable text for many decent
old dowagers, and other good company, in various circles to descant
upon. He said, 'I am sorry I have not learnt to play at cards. It is
very useful in life: it generates kindness, and consolidates
society[1118].' He certainly could not mean deep play.

My friend and I thought we should be more comfortable at the inn at
Blackshields, two miles farther on. We therefore went thither in the
evening, and he was very entertaining; but I have preserved nothing but
the pleasing remembrance, and his verses on George the Second and
Cibber[1119], and his epitaph on Parnell[1120], which he was then so
good as to dictate to me. We breakfasted together next morning, and then
the coach came, and took him up. He had, as one of his companions in it,
as far as Newcastle, the worthy and ingenious Dr. Hope, botanical
professor at Edinburgh. Both Dr. Johnson and he used to speak of their
good fortune in thus accidentally meeting; for they had much instructive
conversation, which is always a most valuable enjoyment, and, when found
where it is not expected, is peculiarly relished.

I have now completed my account of our Tour to the Hebrides. I have
brought Dr. Johnson down to Scotland, and seen him into the coach which
in a few hours carried him back into England. He said to me often, that
the time he spent in this Tour was the pleasantest part of his
life[1121], and asked me if I would lose the recollection of it for five
hundred pounds. I answered I would not; and he applauded my setting such
a value on an accession of new images in my mind[1122].

Had it not been for me, I am persuaded Dr. Johnson never would have
undertaken such a journey; and I must be allowed to assume some merit
from having been the cause that our language has been enriched with such
a book as that which he published on his return; a book which I never
read but with the utmost admiration, as I had such opportunities of
knowing from what very meagre materials it was composed.

But my praise may be supposed partial; and therefore I shall insert two
testimonies, not liable to that objection, both written by gentlemen of
Scotland, to whose opinions I am confident the highest respect will be
paid, Lord Hailes[1123], and Mr. Dempster[1124]. 'TO JAMES


'I have received much pleasure and much instruction, from perusing _The
Journey to the Hebrides_.

'I admire the elegance and variety of description, and the lively
picture of men and manners. I always approve of the moral, often of the
political, reflections. I love the benevolence of the authour.

'They who search for faults, may possibly find them in this, as well as
in every other work of literature.

'For example, the friends of the old family say that _the aera of
planting_ is placed too late, at the Union of the two kingdoms[1125]. I
am known to be no friend of the old family; yet I would place the aera
of planting at the Restoration; after the murder of Charles I. had been
expiated in the anarchy which succeeded it.

'Before the Restoration, few trees were planted, unless by the
monastick drones: their successors, (and worthy patriots they were,) the
barons, first cut down the trees, and then sold the estates. The
gentleman at St. Andrews, who said that there were but two trees in
Fife[1126], ought to have added, that the elms of Balmerino[1127] were
sold within these twenty years, to make pumps for the fire-engines.

'In J. Major de _Gestis Scotorum_, L. i. C. 2. last edition, there is a
singular passage:--

'"Davidi Cranstoneo conterraneo, dum de prima theologiae licentia foret,
duo ei consocii et familiares, et mei cum eo in artibus auditores,
scilicet Jacobus Almain Senonensis, et Petrus Bruxcellensis,
Praedicatoris ordinis, in Sorbonae curia die Sorbonico commilitonibus
suis publice objecerunt, _quod pane avenaceo plebeii Scoti_, sicut a
quodam religioso intellexerant, _vescebantur, ut virum, quem cholericum
noverant, honestis salibus tentarent, qui hoc inficiari tanquam patriae
dedecus nisus est_."

'Pray introduce our countryman, Mr. Licentiate David Cranston, to
the acquaintance of Mr. Johnson.

'The syllogism seems to have been this:

     'They who feed on oatmeal are barbarians;
      But the Scots feed on oatmeal:

The licentiate denied the _minor_,

     I am, Sir,
     Your most obedient servant,

'Newhailes, 6th Feb. 1775.'

     Dunnichen, 16th February, 1775.


'I cannot omit a moment to return you my best thanks for the
entertainment you have furnished me, my family, and guests, by the
perusal of Dr. Johnson's _Journey to the Western Islands_; and now for
my sentiments of it. I was well entertained. His descriptions are
accurate and vivid. He carried me on the Tour along with him. I am
pleased with the justice he has done to your humour and vivacity. "The
noise of the wind being all its own," is a _bon-mot_, that it would have
been a pity to have omitted, and a robbery not to have ascribed to its

'There is nothing in the book, from beginning to end, that a Scotchman
need to take amiss[1129]. What he says of the country is true, and his
observations on the people are what must naturally occur to a sensible,
observing, and reflecting inhabitant of a _convenient_ Metropolis, where
a man on thirty pounds a year may be better accommodated with all the
little wants of life, than _Col._ or _Sir Allan_. He reasons candidly
about the _second sight_; but I wish he had enquired more, before he
ventured to say he even doubted of the possibility of such an unusual
and useless deviation from all the known laws of nature[1130]. The
notion of the second sight I consider as a remnant of superstitious
ignorance and credulity, which a philosopher will set down as such, till
the contrary is clearly proved, and then it will be classed among the
other certain, though unaccountable parts of our nature, like
dreams[1131], and-I do not know what.  'In regard to the language, it
has the merit of being all his own. Many words of foreign extraction are
used, where, I believe, common ones would do as well, especially on
familiar occasions. Yet I believe he could not express himself so
forcibly in any other stile. I am charmed with his researches concerning
the Erse language, and the antiquity of their manuscripts. I am quite
convinced; and I shall rank _Ossian_, and his _Fingals_ and _Oscars_,
amongst the Nursery Tales, not the true history of our country, in all
time to come.

'Upon the whole, the book cannot displease, for it has no pretensions.
The author neither says he is a Geographer, nor an Antiquarian, nor very
learned in the History of Scotland, nor a Naturalist, nor a
Fossilist[1132]. The manners of the people, and the face of the country,
are all he attempts to describe, or seems to have thought of. Much were
it to be wished, that they who have travelled into more remote, and of
course, more curious, regions, had all possessed his good sense. Of the
state of learning, his observations on Glasgow University[1133] shew he
has formed a very sound judgement. He understands our climate too, and
he has accurately observed the changes, however slow and imperceptible
to us, which Scotland has undergone, in consequence of the blessings of
liberty and internal peace. I could have drawn my pen through the story
of the old woman at St. Andrews, being the only silly thing in the
book[1134]. He has taken the opportunity of ingrafting into the work
several good observations, which I dare say he had made upon men and
things, before he set foot on Scotch ground, by which it is considerably
enriched[1135]. A long journey, like a tall May-pole, though not very
beautiful itself, yet is pretty enough, when ornamented with flowers and
garlands; it furnishes a sort of cloak-pins for hanging the furniture of
your mind upon; and whoever sets out upon a journey, without furnishing
his mind previously with much study and useful knowledge, erects a
May-pole in December, and puts up very useless cloak-pins[1136].

'I hope the book will induce many of his countrymen to make the same
jaunt, and help to intermix the more liberal part of them still more
with us, and perhaps abate somewhat of that virulent antipathy which
many of them entertain against the Scotch: who certainly would never
have formed those _combinations_[1137] which he takes notice of, more
than their ancestors, had they not been necessary for their mutual
safety, at least for their success, in a country where they are treated
as foreigners. They would find us not deficient, at least in point of
hospitality, and they would be ashamed ever after to abuse us in
the mass.

'So much for the Tour. I have now, for the first time in my life, passed
a winter in the country; and never did three months roll on with more
swiftness and satisfaction. I used not only to wonder at, but pity,
those whose lot condemned them to winter any where but in either of the
capitals. But every place has its charms to a cheerful mind. I am busy
planting and taking measures for opening the summer campaign in farming;
and I find I have an excellent resource, when revolutions in politicks
perhaps, and revolutions of the sun for certain, will make it decent for
me to retreat behind the ranks of the more forward in life.

'I am glad to hear the last was a very busy week with you. I see you as
counsel in some causes which must have opened a charming field for your
humourous vein. As it is more uncommon, so I verily believe it is more
useful than the more serious exercise of reason; and, to a man who is to
appear in publick, more eclat is to be gained, sometimes more money too,
by a _bon-mot_, than a learned speech. It is the fund of natural humour
which Lord North possesses, that makes him so much the favourite of the
house, and so able, because so amiable, a leader of a party[1138].

'I have now finished _my_ Tour of _Seven Pages_. In what remains, I beg
leave to offer my compliments, and those of _ma tres chere femme_, to
you and Mrs. Boswell. Pray unbend the busy brow, and frolick a little in
a letter to,

'My dear Boswell,

'Your affectionate friend,


I shall also present the publick with a correspondence with the Laird
of Rasay, concerning a passage in the _Journey to the_ Western Islands,
which shews Dr. Johnson in a very amiable light.


'Rasay, April 10th, 1775.


'I take this occasion of returning you my most hearty thanks for the
civilities shewn to my daughter by you and Mrs. Boswell. Yet, though she
has informed me that I am under this obligation, I should very probably
have deferred troubling you with making my acknowledgments at present,
if I had not seen Dr. Johnson's _Journey to the Western Isles_, in which
he has been pleased to make a very friendly mention of my family, for
which I am surely obliged to him, as being more than an equivalent for
the reception you and he met with. Yet there is one paragraph I should
have been glad he had omitted, which I am sure was owing to
misinformation; that is, that I had acknowledged McLeod to be my chief,
though my ancestors disputed the pre-eminence for a long tract of time.

'I never had occasion to enter seriously on this argument with the
present laird or his grandfather, nor could I have any temptation to
such a renunciation from either of them. I acknowledge, the benefit of
being chief of a clan is in our days of very little significancy, and to
trace out the progress of this honour to the founder of a family, of any
standing, would perhaps be a matter of some difficulty.

'The true state of the present case is this: the McLeod family consists
of two different branches; the M'Leods of Lewis, of which I am
descended, and the M'Leods of Harris. And though the former have lost a
very extensive estate by forfeiture in king James the Sixth's time,
there are still several respectable families of it existing, who would
justly blame me for such an unmeaning cession, when they all acknowledge
me head of that family; which though in fact it be but an ideal point of
honour, is not hitherto so far disregarded in our country, but it would
determine some of my friends to look on me as a much smaller man than
either they or myself judge me at present to be. I will, therefore, ask
it as a favour of you to acquaint the Doctor with the difficulty he has
brought me to. In travelling among rival clans, such a silly tale as
this might easily be whispered into the ear of a passing stranger; but
as it has no foundation in fact, I hope the Doctor will be so good as to
take his own way in undeceiving the publick, I principally mean my
friends and connections, who will be first angry at me, and next sorry
to find such an instance of my littleness recorded in a book which has a
very fair chance of being much read. I expect you will let me know what
he will write you in return, and we here beg to make offer to you and
Mrs. Boswell of our most respectful compliments.

'I am,

'Dear Sir,

'Your most obedient humble servant,


       *       *       *       *       *


'London, May 8, 1775.


'The day before yesterday I had the honour to receive your letter, and I
immediately communicated it to Dr. Johnson. He said he loved your
spirit, and was exceedingly sorry that he had been the cause of the
smallest uneasiness to you. There is not a more candid man in the world
than he is, when properly addressed, as you will see from his letter to
you, which I now enclose. He has allowed me to take a copy of it, and he
says you may read it to your clan, or publish it if you please. Be
assured, Sir, that I shall take care of what he has entrusted to me,
which is to have an acknowledgement of his errour inserted in the
Edinburgh newspapers. You will, I dare say, be fully satisfied with Dr.
Johnson's behaviour. He is desirous to know that you are; and therefore
when you have read his acknowledgement in the papers, I beg you may
write to me; and if you choose it, I am persuaded a letter from you to
the Doctor also will be taken kind. I shall be at Edinburgh the week
after next.

'Any civilities which my wife and I had in our power to shew to your
daughter, Miss M'Leod, were due to her own merit, and were well repaid
by her agreeable company. But I am sure I should be a very unworthy man
if I did not wish to shew a grateful sense of the hospitable and genteel
manner in which you were pleased to treat me. Be assured, my dear Sir,
that I shall never forget your goodness, and the happy hours which I
spent in Rasay.

'You and Dr. M'Leod were both so obliging as to promise me an account in
writing, of all the particulars which each of you remember, concerning
the transactions of 1745-6. Pray do not forget this, and be as minute
and full as you can; put down every thing; I have a great curiosity to
know as much as I can, authentically.

'I beg that you may present my best respects to Lady Rasay, my
compliments to your young family, and to Dr. M'Leod; and my hearty good
wishes to Malcolm, with whom I hope again to shake hands cordially. I
have the honour to be,

'Dear Sir,

'Your obliged and faithful humble servant,

'JAMES BOSWELL.'  ADVERTISEMENT, written by Dr. Johnson, and inserted
by his desire in the Edinburgh newspapers:--Referred to in the foregoing

_'THE authour of the_ Journey to the Western Islands, _having related
that the M'Leods of Rasay acknowledge the chieftainship or superiority
of the M'Leods of Sky, finds that he has been misinformed or mistaken.
He means in a future edition to correct his errour[1141], and wishes to
be told of more, if more have been discovered.'_

Dr. Johnson's letter was as follows:--



'Mr. Boswell has this day shewn me a letter, in which you complain of a
passage in _The Journey to the Hebrides._ My meaning is mistaken. I did
not intend to say that you had personally made any cession of the rights
of your house, or any acknowledgement of the superiority of M'Leod of
Dunvegan. I only designed to express what I thought generally
admitted,--that the house of Rasay allowed the superiority of the house
of Dunvegan. Even this I now find to be erroneous, and will therefore
omit or retract it in the next edition.

'Though what I had said had been true, if it had been disagreeable to
you, I should have wished it unsaid; for it is not my business to adjust
precedence. As it is mistaken, I find myself disposed to correct, both
by my respect for you, and my reverence for truth.  'As I know not when
the book will be reprinted, I have desired Mr. Boswell to anticipate the
correction in the Edinburgh papers. This is all that can be done.

'I hope I may now venture to desire that my compliments may be made, and
my gratitude expressed, to Lady Rasay, Mr. Malcolm M'Leod, Mr. Donald
M'Queen, and all the gentlemen and all the ladies whom I saw in the
island of Rasay; a place which I remember with too much pleasure and too
much kindness, not to be sorry that my ignorance, or hasty persuasion,
should, for a single moment, have violated its tranquillity.

'I beg you all to forgive an undesigned and involuntary injury, and to
consider me as,

'Sir, your most obliged,

'And most humble servant,

'SAM. JOHNSON[1142].'

'London, May 6, 1775.'

It would be improper for me to boast of my own labours; but I cannot
refrain from publishing such praise as I received from such a man as Sir
William Forbes, of Pitsligo, after the perusal of the original
manuscript of my _Journal_[1143].


'Edinburgh, March 7, 1777.


'I ought to have thanked you sooner, for your very obliging letter, and
for the singular confidence you are pleased to place in me, when you
trust me with such a curious and valuable deposit as the papers you
have sent me[1144]. Be assured I have a due sense of this favour, and
shall faithfully and carefully return them to you. You may rely that I
shall neither copy any part, nor permit the papers to be seen.

'They contain a curious picture of society, and form a journal on the
most instructive plan that can possibly be thought of; for I am not sure
that an ordinary observer would become so well acquainted either with
Dr. Johnson, or with the manners of the Hebrides, by a personal
intercourse, as by a perusal of your _Journal_.

'I am, very truly,

'Dear Sir,

'Your most obedient,

'And affectionate humble servant,


When I consider how many of the persons mentioned in this Tour
are now gone to 'that undiscovered country, from whose bourne no
traveller returns[1145],' I feel an impression at once awful and
tender.--_Requiescant in pace!_

It may be objected by some persons, as it has been by one of my friends,
that he who has the power of thus exhibiting an exact transcript of
conversations is not a desirable member of society. I repeat the answer
which I made to that friend:--'Few, very few, need be afraid that their
sayings will be recorded. Can it be imagined that I would take the
trouble to gather what grows on every hedge, because I have collected
such fruits as the _Nonpareil_ and the BON CHRETIEN[1146]?'

On the other hand, how useful is such a faculty, if well exercised! To
it we owe all those interesting apophthegms and _memorabilia_ of the
ancients, which Plutarch, Xenophon, and Valerius Maximus, have
transmitted to us. To it we owe all those instructive and entertaining
collections which the French have made under the title of _Ana_, affixed
to some celebrated name. To it we owe the _Table-Talk_ of Selden[1147],
the _Conversation_ between Ben Jonson and Drummond of Hawthornden,
Spence's _Anecdotes_ of Pope[1148], and other valuable remains in our
own language. How delighted should we have been, if thus introduced into
the company of Shakspeare and of Dryden[1149], of whom we know scarcely
any thing but their admirable writings! What pleasure would it have
given us, to have known their petty habits, their characteristick
manners, their modes of composition, and their genuine opinion of
preceding writers and of their contemporaries! All these are now
irrecoverably lost. Considering how many of the strongest and most
brilliant effusions of exalted intellect must have perished, how much is
it to be regretted that all men of distinguished wisdom and wit have not
been attended by friends, of taste enough to relish, and abilities
enough to register their conversation;

     'Vixere fortes ante Agamemnona
      Multi, sed omnes illacrymabiles
      Urgentur, ignotique longa
      Nocte, carent quia vate sacro[1150].'

They whose inferiour exertions are recorded, as serving to explain or
illustrate the sayings of such men, may be proud of being thus
associated, and of their names being transmitted to posterity, by being
appended to an illustrious character.

Before I conclude, I think it proper to say, that I have
suppressed[1151] every thing which I thought could _really_ hurt any
one now living. Vanity and self-conceit indeed may sometimes suffer.
With respect to what _is_ related, I considered it my duty to 'extenuate
nothing, nor set down aught in malice[1152];' and with those lighter
strokes of Dr. Johnson's satire, proceeding from a warmth and quickness
of imagination, not from any malevolence of heart, and which, on account
of their excellence, could not be omitted, I trust that they who are the
subject of them have good sense and good temper enough not to be

I have only to add, that I shall ever reflect with great pleasure on a
Tour, which has been the means of preserving so much of the enlightened
and instructive conversation of one whose virtues will, I hope, ever be
an object of imitation, and whose powers of mind were so extraordinary,
that ages may revolve before such a man shall again appear.


No. I.

_In justice to the ingenious_ DR. BLACKLOCK, _I publish the following
letter from him, relative to a passage in p. 47._



'Having lately had the pleasure of reading your account of the journey
which you took with Dr. Samuel Johnson to the Western Isles, I take the
liberty of transmitting my ideas of the conversation which happened
between the doctor and myself concerning Lexicography and Poetry, which,
as it is a little different from the delineation exhibited in the former
edition of your _Journal_, cannot, I hope, be unacceptable; particularly
since I have been informed that a second edition of that work is now in
contemplation, if not in execution: and I am still more strongly tempted
to encourage that hope, from considering that, if every one concerned in
the conversations related, were to send you what they can recollect of
these colloquial entertainments, many curious and interesting
particulars might be recovered, which the most assiduous attention could
not observe, nor the most tenacious memory retain. A little reflection,
Sir, will convince you, that there is not an axiom in Euclid more
intuitive nor more evident than the doctor's assertion that poetry was
of much easier execution than lexicography. Any mind therefore endowed
with common sense, must have been extremely absent from itself, if it
discovered the least astonishment from hearing that a poem might be
written with much more facility than the same quantity of a dictionary.

'The real cause of my surprise was what appeared to me much more
paradoxical, that he could write a sheet of dictionary _with as much
pleasure_ as a sheet of poetry. He acknowledged, indeed, that the latter
was much easier than the former. For in the one case, books and a desk
were requisite; in the other, you might compose when lying in bed, or
walking in the fields, &c. He did not, however, descend to explain, nor
to this moment can I comprehend, how the labours of a mere Philologist,
in the most refined sense of that term, could give equal pleasure with
the exercise of a mind replete with elevated conceptions and pathetic
ideas, while taste, fancy, and intellect were deeply enamoured of
nature, and in full exertion. You may likewise, perhaps, remember, that
when I complained of the ground which Scepticism in religion and morals
was continually gaining, it did not appear to be on my own account, as
my private opinions upon these important subjects had long been
inflexibly determined. What I then deplored, and still deplore, was the
unhappy influence which that gloomy hesitation had, not only upon
particular characters, but even upon life in general; as being equally
the bane of action in our present state, and of such consolations as we
might derive from the hopes of a future.

'I have the pleasure of remaining with sincere esteem and respect,

'Dear Sir,

'Your most obedient humble servant,


'Edinburgh, Nov. 12, 1785.'

I am very happy to find that Dr. Blacklock's apparent uneasiness on the
subject of Scepticism was not on his own account, (as I supposed) but
from a benevolent concern for the happiness of mankind. With respect,
however, to the question concerning poetry, and composing a dictionary,
I am confident that my state of Dr. Johnson's position is accurate. One
may misconceive the motive by which a person is induced to discuss a
particular topick (as in the case of Dr. Blacklock's speaking of
Scepticism); but an assertion, like that made by Dr. Johnson, cannot be
easily mistaken. And indeed it seems not very probable, that he who so
pathetically laments the _drudgery_[1153] to which the unhappy
lexicographer is doomed, and is known to have written his splendid
imitation of _Juvenal_ with astonishing rapidity[1154], should have had
'as much pleasure in writing a sheet of a dictionary as a sheet of
poetry[1155].' Nor can I concur with the ingenious writer of the
foregoing letter, in thinking it an axiom as evident as any in Euclid,
that 'poetry is of easier execution than lexicography.' I have no doubt
that Bailey[1156], and the 'mighty blunderbuss of law[1157],' Jacob,
wrote ten pages of their respective _Dictionaries_ with more ease than
they could have written five pages of poetry.

If this book should again be reprinted, I shall with the utmost
readiness correct any errours I may have committed, in stating
conversations, provided it can be clearly shewn to me that I have been
inaccurate. But I am slow to believe, (as I have elsewhere
observed[1158]) that any man's memory, at the distance of several years,
can preserve facts or sayings with such fidelity as may be done by
writing them down when they are recent: and I beg it may be remembered,
that it is not upon _memory_, but upon what was _written at the time_,
that the authenticity of my _Journal_ rests.

       *       *       *       *       *

No. II.

Verses written by Sir Alexander (now Lord) Macdonald; addressed and
presented to Dr. Johnson, at Armidale in the Isle of Sky[1159].

     Viator, o qui nostra per aequora
     Visurus agros Skiaticos venis,
       En te salutantes tributim
         Undique conglomerantur oris.

     Donaldiani,--quotquot in insulis
     Compescit arctis limitibus mare;
       Alitque jamdudum, ac alendos
         Piscibus indigenas fovebit.

     Ciere fluctus siste, Procelliger,
     Nec tu laborans perge, precor, ratis,
       Ne conjugem plangat marita,
         Ne doleat soboles parentem.

     Nec te vicissim poeniteat virum
     Luxisse;--vestro scimus ut aestuant
       In corde luctantes dolores,
         Cum feriant inopina corpus.

     Quidni! peremptum clade tuentibus
     Plus semper illo qui moritur pati
       Datur, doloris dum profundos
         Pervia mens aperit recessus.

     Valete luctus;--hinc lacrymabiles
     Arcete visus:--ibimus, ibimus
       Superbienti qua theatro
         Fingaliae memorantur aulae.

     Illustris hospes! mox spatiabere
     Qua mens ruinae ducta meatibus
       Gaudebit explorare coetus,
         Buccina qua cecinit triumphos;

     Audin? resurgens spirat anhelitu
     Dux usitato, suscitat efficax
       Poeta manes, ingruitque
         Vi solitâ redivivus horror.

     Ahaena quassans tela gravi manu
     Sic ibat atrox Ossiani pater:
       Quiescat urnâ, stet fidelis
         Phersonius vigil ad favillam.

_Preparing for the Press, in one Volume Quarto_,



Mr. Boswell has been collecting materials for this work for more than
twenty years, during which he was honoured with the intimate friendship
of Dr. Johnson; to whose memory he is ambitious to erect a literary
monument, worthy of so great an authour, and so excellent a man. Dr.
Johnson was well informed of his design, and obligingly communicated to
him several curious particulars. With these will be interwoven the most
authentick accounts that can be obtained from those who knew him best;
many sketches of his conversation on a multiplicity of subjects, with
various persons, some of them the most eminent of the age; a great
number of letters from him at different periods, and several original
pieces dictated by him to Mr. Boswell, distinguished by that peculiar
energy, which marked every emanation of his mind.

Mr. Boswell takes this opportunity of gratefully acknowledging the many
valuable communications which he has received to enable him to render
his _Life of Dr. Johnson_ more complete. His thanks are particularly due
to the Rev. Dr. Adams, the Rev. Dr. Taylor, Sir Joshua Reynolds, Mr.
Langton, Dr. Brocklesby, the Rev. Thomas Warton, Mr. Hector of
Birmingham, Mrs. Porter, and Miss Seward.

He has already obtained a large collection of Dr. Johnson's letters to
his friends, and shall be much obliged for such others as yet remain in
private hands; which he is the more desirous of collecting, as all the
letters of that great man, which he has yet seen, are written with
peculiar precision and elegance; and he is confident that the
publication of the whole of Dr. Johnson's epistolary correspondence
will do him the highest honour.


(_Page_ 80.)

As no one reads Warburton now--I bought the five volumes of his
_Divine Legation_ in excellent condition, bound in calf, for ten pence--one
or two extracts from his writing may be of interest. His Dedication
of that work to the Free-Thinkers is as vigorous as it is abusive. It has
such passages as the following:--'Low and mean as your buffoonery is,
it is yet to the level of the people:' p. xi. 'I have now done with
your buffoonery, which, like chewed bullets, is against the law of arms;
and come next to your scurrilities, those stink-pots of your offensive
war.' _Ib. p. xxii_. On page xl. he returns again to their '_cold_
buffoonery.' In the Appendix to vol. v, p. 414, he thus wittily replies
to Lowth, who had maintained that 'idolatry was punished under the
DOMINION of Melchisedec'(p. 409):--'Melchisedec's story is a short
one; he is just brought into the scene to _bless_ Abraham in his return
from conquest. This promises but ill. Had this _King and Priest of
Salem_ been brought in _cursing_, it had had a better appearance: for, I
think, punishment for opinions which generally ends in a _fagot_ always
begins with a _curse_. But we may be misled perhaps by a wrong translation.
The Hebrew word to _bless_ signifies likewise to _curse_, and under
the management of an intolerant priest good things easily run into their
contraries. What follows is his taking _tythes_ from Abraham. Nor will
this serve our purpose, unless we interpret these _tythes_ into _fines for
non-conformity_; and then by the _blessing_ we can easily understand
_absolution_. We have seen much stranger things done with the _Hebrew
verity_. If this be not allowed, I do not see how we can elicit fire and
fagot from this adventure; for I think there is no inseparable connexion
between _tythes_ and _persecution_ but in the ideas of a Quaker.--And
so much for King Melchisedec. But the learned _Professor_, who
has been hardily brought up in the keen atmosphere of WHOLESOME
SEVERITIES and early taught to distinguish between _de facto_ and _de
jure_, thought it 'needless to enquire into _facts_, when he was secure
of the _right_'.

This 'keen atmosphere of wholesome severities' reappears by the
way in Mason's continuation of Gray's Ode to Vicissitude:--

     'That breathes the keen yet wholesome air
      Of rugged penury.'

And later in the first book of Wordsworth's _Excursion_
(ed. 1857, vi. 29):--

     'The keen, the wholesome air of poverty.'

Johnson said of Warburton: 'His abilities gave him an haughty confidence,
which he disdained to conceal or mollify; and his impatience
of opposition disposed him to treat his adversaries with such contemptuous
superiority as made his readers commonly his enemies, and
excited against the advocate the wishes of some who favoured the cause.
He seems to have adopted the Roman Emperour's determination,
_oderint dum metuant_; he used no allurements of gentle language, but
wished to compel rather than persuade.' Johnson's _Works_, viii. 288.
See _ante_, ii. 36, and iv. 46.

       *       *       *       *       *


(_Page_ 158.)

Johnson's Ode written in Sky was thus translated by Lord

     'Where constant mist enshrouds the rocks,
      Shattered in earth's primeval shocks,
      And niggard Nature ever mocks
                The labourer's toil,
      I roam through clans of savage men,
      Untamed by arts, untaught by pen;
      Or cower within some squalid den
                O'er reeking soil.

      Through paths that halt from stone to stone,
      Amid the din of tongues unknown,
      One image haunts my soul alone,
                Thine, gentle Thrale!
      Soothes she, I ask, her spouse's care?
      Does mother-love its charge prepare?
      Stores she her mind with knowledge rare,
                Or lively tale?

Forget me not! thy faith I claim,
      Holding a faith that cannot die,
      That fills with thy benignant name
                These shores of Sky.'

Hayward's _Piozzi_, i. 29.

       *       *       *       *       *


(_Page_ 307.)

Johnson's use of the word _big_, where he says 'I wish thy books were
twice as big,' enables me to explain a passage in _The Life of Johnson
(ante_, iii. 348) which had long puzzled me. Boswell there represents
him as saying:--'A man who loses at play, or who runs out his fortune at
court, makes his estate less, in hopes of making it _bigger_.' Boswell
adds in a parenthesis:--'I am sure of this word, which was often used by
him.' He had been criticised by a writer in the _Gent. Mag_. 1785, p.
968, who quoting from the text the words 'a _big_ book,' says:--'Mr.
Boswell has made his friend (as in a few other passages) guilty of a
_Scotticism_. An Englishman reads and writes a _large_ book, and wears a
_great_ (not a _big_ or _bag_) coat.' When Boswell came to publish _The
Life of Johnson_, he took the opportunity to justify himself, though he
did not care to refer directly to his anonymous critic. This
explanation I discovered too late to insert in the text.





THE YEAR 1774.[1160]


We left Streatham 11 a.m.
Price of four horses 2s. a mile.


Barnet 1.40 p.m.
On the road I read Tully's _Epistles_.
At night at Dunstable.
To Lichfield, 83 miles.
To the Swan[1161].


To Mrs. Porter's[1162].
To the Cathedral.
To Mrs. Aston's.
To Mr. Green's.
Mr. Green's Museum was much admired, and
Mr. Newton's china.


To Mr. Newton's. To Mrs. Cobb's.
Dr. Darwin's[1163]. I went again to Mrs. Aston's. She was sorry to part.


Breakfasted at Mr. Garrick's.
Visited Miss Vyse[1164].
Miss Seward.
Went to Dr. Taylor's.
I read a little on the road in Tully's _Epistles_ and _Martial_.
Mart. 8th, 44, 'lino pro limo[1165].'

JULY 10.
Morning, at church. Company at dinner.

JULY 11.

At Ham[1166]. At Oakover. I was less pleased with Ham than when I saw it
first, but my friends were much delighted.

JULY 12.

At Chatsworth. The Water willow. The cascade shot out from many spouts.
The fountains[1167]. The water tree[1168]. The smooth floors in the
highest rooms. Atlas, fifteen hands inch and half[1169].

River running through the park. The porticoes on the sides support two
galleries for the first floor.

My friends were not struck with the house. It fell below my ideas of the
furniture. The staircase is in the corner of the house. The hall in the
corner the grandest room, though only a room of passage.

On the ground-floor, only the chapel and breakfast-room, and a small
library; the rest, servants' rooms and offices[1170].

A bad inn.

JULY 13.

At Matlock.

JULY 14.

At dinner at Oakover; too deaf to hear, or much converse. Mrs. Gell.

The chapel at Oakover. The wood of the pews grossly painted. I could not
read the epitaph. Would learn the old hands.

JULY 15.

At Ashbourn. Mrs. Diot and her daughters came in the morning. Mr. Diot
dined with us. We visited Mr. Flint.

     [Greek: To proton Moros, to de deuteron ei en Erasmos,
     To triton ek Mouson stemma Mikullos echei.][1171]

JULY 16.

At Dovedale, with Mr. Langley[1172] and Mr. Flint. It is a place that
deserves a visit; but did not answer my expectation. The river is small,
the rocks are grand. Reynard's Hall is a cave very high in the rock; it
goes backward several yards, perhaps eight. To the left is a small
opening, through which I crept, and found another cavern, perhaps four
yards square; at the back was a breach yet smaller, which I could not
easily have entered, and, wanting light, did not inspect.

I was in a cave yet higher, called Reynard's Kitchen. There is a rock
called the Church, in which I saw no resemblance that could justify
the name.

Dovedale is about two miles long. We walked towards the head of the
Dove, which is said to rise about five miles above two caves called the
Dog-holes, at the end of Dovedale.

In one place, where the rocks approached, I proposed to build an arch
from rock to rock over the stream, with a summer-house upon it.

The water murmured pleasantly among the stones.

I thought that the heat and exercise mended my hearing. I bore the
fatigue of the walk, which was very laborious, without inconvenience.

There were with us Gilpin[1173] and Parker[1174]. Having heard of this
place before, I had formed some imperfect idea, to which it did not
answer. Brown[1175] says he was disappointed. I certainly expected a
larger river where I found only a clear quick brook. I believe I had
imaged a valley enclosed by rocks, and terminated by a broad expanse
of water.

He that has seen Dovedale has no need to visit the Highlands.

In the afternoon we visited old Mrs. Dale.

JULY 17.

Sunday morning, at church.

Afternoon, at Mr. Diot's.

JULY 18.

Dined at Mr. Gell's[1176].

JULY 19.

We went to Kedleston[1177] to see Lord Scarsdale's new house, which is
very costly, but ill contrived. The hall is very stately, lighted by
three skylights; it has two rows of marble pillars, dug, as I hear from
Langley, in a quarry of Northamptonshire; the pillars are very large and
massy, and take up too much room; they were better away. Behind the hall
is a circular saloon, useless, and therefore ill contrived.

The corridors that join the wings to the body are mere passages through
segments of circles. The state bed-chamber was very richly furnished.
The dining parlour was more splendid with gilt plate than any that I
have seen. There were many pictures. The grandeur was all below. The
bedchambers were small, low, dark, and fitter for a prison than a house
of splendour. The kitchen has an opening into the gallery, by which its
heat and its fumes are dispersed over the house. There seemed in the
whole more cost than judgment.

We went then to the silk mill at Derby[1178], where I remarked a
particular manner of propagating motion from a horizontal to a
vertical wheel.

We were desired to leave the men only two shillings. Mr. Thrale's bill
at the inn for dinner was eighteen shillings and tenpence.

At night I went to Mr. Langley's, Mrs. Wood's, Captain Astle, &c.

JULY 20.

We left Ashbourn and went to Buxton, thence to Pool's Hole, which is
narrow at first, but then rises into a high arch; but is so obstructed
with crags, that it is difficult to walk in it. There are two ways to
the end, which is, they say, six hundred and fifty yards from the mouth.
They take passengers up the higher way, and bring them back the lower.
The higher way was so difficult and dangerous, that, having tried it, I
desisted. I found no level part.

At night we came to Macclesfield, a very large town in Cheshire, little
known. It has a silk mill: it has a handsome church, which, however, is
but a chapel, for the town belongs to some parish of another name[1179],
as Stourbridge lately did to Old Swinford.

Macclesfield has a town-hall, and is, I suppose, a corporate town.

JULY 21.

We came to Congleton, where there is likewise a silk mill. Then to
Middlewich, a mean old town, without any manufacture, but, I think, a
Corporation. Thence we proceeded to Namptwich, an old town: from the
inn, I saw scarcely any but black timber houses. I tasted the brine
water, which contains much more salt than the sea water. By slow
evaporation, they make large crystals of salt; by quick boiling, small
granulations. It seemed to have no other preparation.

At evening we came to Combermere[1180], so called from a wide lake.

JULY 22.

We went upon the Mere. I pulled a bulrush of about ten feet. I saw no
convenient boats upon the Mere.

JULY 23.

We visited Lord Kilmorey's house[1181]. It is large and convenient, with
many rooms, none of which are magnificently spacious. The furniture was
not splendid. The bed-curtains were guarded[1182]. Lord Kilmorey shewed
the place with too much exultation. He has no park, and little

JULY 24.

We went to a chapel, built by Sir Lynch Cotton for his tenants. It is
consecrated, and therefore, I suppose, endowed. It is neat and plain.
The Communion plate is handsome. It has iron pales and gates of great
elegance, brought from Lleweney, 'for Robert has laid all open[1184].'

We saw Hawkestone, the seat of Sir Rowland Hill, and were conducted by
Miss Hill over a large tract of rocks and woods; a region abounding with
striking scenes and terrifick grandeur. We were always on the brink of a
precipice, or at the foot of a lofty rock; but the steeps were seldom
naked: in many places, oaks of uncommon magnitude shot up from the
crannies of stone; and where there were not tall trees, there were
underwoods and bushes.

Round the rocks is a narrow patch cut upon the stone, which is very
frequently hewn into steps; but art has proceeded no further than to
make the succession of wonders safely accessible. The whole circuit is
somewhat laborious; it is terminated by a grotto cut in a rock to a
great extent, with many windings, and supported by pillars, not hewn
into regularity, but such as imitate the sports of nature, by asperities
and protuberances.

The place is without any dampness, and would afford an habitation not
uncomfortable. There were from space to space seats in the rock. Though
it wants water, it excels Dovedale by the extent of its prospects, the
awfulness of its shades, the horrors of its precipices, the verdure of
its hollows, and the loftiness of its rocks: the ideas which it forces
upon the mind are, the sublime, the dreadful, and the vast. Above is
inaccessible altitude, below is horrible profundity. But it excels the
garden of Ilam only in extent.

Ilam has grandeur, tempered with softness; the walker congratulates his
own arrival at the place, and is grieved to think that he must ever
leave it. As he looks up to the rocks, his thoughts are elevated; as he
turns his eyes on the vallies, he is composed and soothed.

He that mounts the precipices at Hawkestone, wonders how he came
thither, and doubts how he shall return. His walk is an adventure, and
his departure an escape. He has not the tranquillity, but the horror, of
solitude; a kind of turbulent pleasure, between fright and admiration.

Ilam is the fit abode of pastoral virtue, and might properly diffuse its
shades over Nymphs and Swains. Hawkestone can have no fitter inhabitants
than giants of mighty bone and bold emprise[1185]; men of lawless
courage and heroic violence. Hawkestone should be described by Milton,
and Ilam by Parnel.

Miss Hill shewed the whole succession of wonders with great civility.
The house was magnificent, compared with the rank of the owner.

JULY 26.

We left Combermere, where we have been treated with great civility. Sir
L. is gross, the lady weak and ignorant. The house is spacious, but not
magnificent; built at different times, with different materials; part is
of timber, part of stone or brick, plastered and painted to look like
timber. It is the best house that I ever saw of that kind.

The Mere, or Lake, is large, with a small island, on which there is a
summer-house, shaded with great trees; some were hollow, and have seats
in their trunks.

In the afternoon we came to West-Chester; (my father went to the fair,
when I had the small-pox). We walked round the walls, which are
compleat, and contain one mile three quarters, and one hundred and one
yards; within them are many gardens: they are very high, and two may
walk very commodiously side by side. On the inside is a rail. There are
towers from space to space, not very frequent, and, I think, not all

JULY 27.

We staid at Chester and saw the Cathedral, which is not of the first
rank. The Castle. In one of the rooms the Assizes are held, and the
refectory of the Old Abbey, of which part is a grammar school. The
master seemed glad to see me. The cloister is very solemn; over it are
chambers in which the singing men live.

In one part of the street was a subterranean arch, very strongly built;
in another, what they called, I believe rightly, a Roman hypocaust.

Chester has many curiosities.

JULY 28.

We entered Wales, dined at Mold, and came to Lleweney[1187].

JULY 29.

We were at Lleweney.

In the lawn at Lleweney is a spring of fine water, which rises above the
surface into a stone basin, from which it runs to waste, in a continual
stream, through a pipe.

There are very large trees.

The Hall at Lleweney is forty feet long, and twenty-eight broad. The
gallery one hundred and twenty feet long, (all paved.) The Library
forty-two feet long, and twenty-eight broad. The Dining-parlours
thirty-six feet long, and twenty-six broad.

It is partly sashed, and partly has casements.

JULY 30.

We went to Bâch y Graig, where we found an old house, built 1567, in an
uncommon and incommodious form. My Mistress[1188] chattered about
tiring, but I prevailed on her to go to the top. The floors have been
stolen: the windows are stopped.

The house was less than I seemed to expect; the river Clwyd is a brook
with a bridge of one arch, about one third of a mile.

The woods[1189] have many trees, generally young; but some which seem to
decay. They have been lopped. The house never had a garden. The addition
of another story would make an useful house, but it cannot be great.
Some buildings which Clough, the founder, intended for warehouses, would
make store-chambers and servants' rooms[1190]. The ground seems to be
good. I wish it well.

JULY 31.  We went to church at St. Asaph. The Cathedral, though not
large, has something of dignity and grandeur. The cross aisle is very
short. It has scarcely any monuments. The Quire has, I think, thirty-two
stalls of antique workmanship. On the backs were CANONICUS, PREBEND,
but it has all the usual titles and dignities. The service was sung only
in the Psalms and Hymns.

The Bishop was very civil[1191]. We went to his palace, which is but
mean. They have a library, and design a room. There lived Lloyd[1192]
and Dodwell[1193].


We visited Denbigh, and the remains of its Castle.

The town consists of one main street, and some that cross it, which I
have not seen. The chief street ascends with a quick rise for a great
length: the houses are built, some with rough stone, some with brick,
and a few are of timber.

The Castle, with its whole enclosure, has been a prodigious pile; it is
now so ruined, that the form of the inhabited part cannot easily
be traced.

There are, as in all old buildings, said to be extensive vaults, which
the ruins of the upper works cover and conceal, but into which boys
sometimes find a way. To clear all passages, and trace the whole of what
remains, would require much labour and expense. We saw a Church, which
was once the Chapel of the Castle, but is used by the town: it is
dedicated to St. Hilary, and has an income of about--

At a small distance is the ruin of a Church said to have been begun by
the great Earl of Leicester[1194], and left unfinished at his death. One
side, and I think the east end, are yet standing. There was a stone in
the wall, over the door-way, which it was said would fall and crush the
best scholar in the diocese. One Price would not pass under it[1195].
They have taken it down.

We then saw the Chapel of Lleweney, founded by one of the Salusburies:
it is very compleat: the monumental stones lie in the ground. A chimney
has been added to it, but it is otherwise not much injured, and might be
easily repaired.

We went to the parish Church of Denbigh, which, being near a mile from
the town, is only used when the parish officers are chosen.

In the Chapel, on Sundays, the service is read thrice, the second time
only in English, the first and third in Welsh. The Bishop came to survey
the Castle, and visited likewise St. Hilary's Chapel, which is that
which the town uses. The hay-barn, built with brick pillars from space
to space, and covered with a roof. A more[1196] elegant and lofty Hovel.

The rivers here, are mere torrents which are suddenly swelled by the
rain to great breadth and great violence, but have very little constant
stream; such are the Clwyd and the Elwy. There are yet no mountains. The
ground is beautifully embellished with woods, and diversified by

In the parish church of Denbigh is a bas relief of Lloyd the antiquary,
who was before Camden. He is kneeling at his prayers[1197].


We rode to a summer-house of Mr. Cotton, which has a very extensive
prospect; it is meanly built, and unskilfully disposed.

We went to Dymerchion Church, where the old clerk acknowledged his
Mistress. It is the parish church of Bâch y Graig. A mean fabrick: Mr.
Salusbury[1198] was buried in it. Bâch y Graig has fourteen seats
in it.

As we rode by, I looked at the house again. We saw Llannerch, a house
not mean, with a small park very well watered. There was an avenue of
oaks, which, in a foolish compliance with the present mode, has been cut
down[1199]. A few are yet standing. The owner's name is Davies.

The way lay through pleasant lanes, and overlooked a region beautifully
diversified with trees and grass[1200].

At Dymerchion Church there is English service only once a month. This is
about twenty miles from the English border.

The old clerk had great appearance of joy at the sight of his Mistress,
and foolishly said, that he was now willing to die. He had only a crown
given him by my Mistress[1201].

At Dymerchion Church the texts on the walls are in Welsh.


     We went in the coach to Holywell.
     Talk with Mistress about flattery[1202].

Holywell is a market town, neither very small nor mean. The spring
called Winifred's Well is very clear, and so copious, that it yields one
hundred tuns of water in a minute. It is all at once a very great
stream, which, within perhaps thirty yards of its eruption, turns a
mill, and in a course of two miles, eighteen mills more. In descent, it
is very quick. It then falls into the sea. The well is covered by a
lofty circular arch, supported by pillars; and over this arch is an old
chapel, now a school. The chancel is separated by a wall. The bath is
completely and indecently open. A woman bathed while we all looked on.

In the Church, which makes a good appearance, and is surrounded by
galleries to receive a numerous congregation, we were present while a
child was christened in Welsh.

We went down by the stream to see a prospect, in which I had no part. We
then saw a brass work, where the lapis calaminaris[1203] is gathered,
broken, washed from the earth and the lead, though how the lead was
separated I did not see; then calcined, afterwards ground fine, and then
mixed by fire with the copper.

We saw several strong fires with melting pots, but the construction of
the fire-places I did not learn.

At a copper-work which receives its pigs of copper, I think, from
Warrington, we saw a plate of copper put hot between steel rollers, and
spread thin; I know not whether the upper roller was set to a certain
distance, as I suppose, or acted only by its weight.

At an iron-work I saw round bars formed by a knotched hammer and anvil.
There I saw a bar of about half an inch, or more, square cut with shears
worked by water, and then beaten hot into a thinner bar. The hammers all
worked, as they were, by water, acting upon small bodies, moved very
quick, as quick as by the hand.

I then saw wire drawn, and gave a shilling. I have enlarged my
notions[1204], though not being able to see the movements, and having
not time to peep closely, I know less than I might. I was less weary,
and had better breath, as I walked farther.


Ruthin Castle is still a very noble ruin; all the walls still remain, so
that a compleat platform, and elevations, not very imperfect, may be
taken. It encloses a square of about thirty yards. The middle space was
always open.

The wall is, I believe, about thirty feet high, very thick, flanked with
six round towers, each about eighteen feet, or less, in diameter. Only
one tower had a chimney, so that there was[1205] commodity of living. It
was only a place of strength. The garrison had, perhaps, tents in
the area.

Stapylton's house is pretty[1206]: there are pleasing shades about it,
with a constant spring that supplies a cold bath. We then went to see
a Cascade.

I trudged unwillingly, and was not sorry to find it dry. The water was,
however, turned on, and produced a very striking cataract. They are paid
an hundred pounds a year for permission to divert the stream to the
mines. The river, for such it may be termed[1207], rises from a single
spring, which, like that of Winifred's, is covered with a building.

We called then at another house belonging to Mr. Lloyd, which made a
handsome appearance. This country seems full of very splendid houses.

Mrs. Thrale lost her purse. She expressed so much uneasiness, that I
concluded the sum to be very great; but when I heard of only seven
guineas, I was glad to find that she had so much sensibility of money.

I could not drink this day either coffee or tea after dinner. I know not
when I missed before.


Last night my sleep was remarkably quiet. I know not whether by fatigue
in walking, or by forbearance of tea[1208].

I gave the ipecacuanha[1209]. Vin. emet. had failed; so had tartar emet.

I dined at Mr. Myddleton's, of Gwaynynog. The house was a gentleman's
house, below the second rate, perhaps below the third, built of stone
roughly cut. The rooms were low, and the passage above stairs gloomy,
but the furniture was good. The table was well supplied, except that the
fruit was bad. It was truly the dinner of a country gentleman. Two
tables were filled with company, not inelegant.

After dinner, the talk was of preserving the Welsh language. I offered
them a scheme. Poor Evan Evans was mentioned, as incorrigibly addicted
to strong drink. Worthington[1210] was commended. Myddleton is the only
man, who, in Wales, has talked to me of literature. I wish he were truly
zealous. I recommended the republication of David ap Rhees's
Welsh Grammar.

Two sheets of _Hebrides_ came to me for correction to-day, F.G.[1211]


I corrected the two sheets. My sleep last night was disturbed.

Washing at Chester and here, 5_s_. 1_d_.

I did not read.

I saw to-day more of the out-houses at Lleweney. It is, in the whole, a
very spacious house.


I was at Church at Bodfari. There was a service used for a sick woman,
not canonically, but such as I have heard, I think, formerly at
Lichfield, taken out of the visitation.

The Church is mean, but has a square tower for the bells, rather too
stately for the Church.


Dixit injustus, Ps. 36, has no relation to the English[1212].

Preserve us, Lord, has the name of Robert Wisedome, 1618.--Barker's

Battologiam ab iteratione, recte distinguit Erasmus.--_Mod. Orandi
Deum_, p. 56-144[1214].

Southwell's Thoughts of his own death[1215].

Baudius on Erasmus[1216].


The Bishop and much company dined at Lleweney. Talk of Greek--and of the
army[1217]. The Duke of Marlborough's officers useless. Read
_Phocylidis_[1218], distinguished the paragraphs. I looked in Leland: an
unpleasant book of mere hints.

Lichfield School, ten pounds; and five pounds from the Hospital[1219].


At Lloyd's, of Maesmynnan; a good house, and a very large walled garden.
I read Windus's Account of his _Journey to Mequinez_, and of Stewart's
Embassy[1220]. I had read in the morning Wasse's _Greek Trochaics to
Bentley_. They appeared inelegant, and made with difficulty. The Latin
Elegy contains only common-place, hastily expressed, so far as I have
read, for it is long. They seem to be the verses of a scholar, who has
no practice of writing. The Greek I did not always fully understand. I
am in doubt about the sixth and last paragraphs, perhaps they are not
printed right, for [Greek: eutokon] perhaps [Greek: eustochon.] q?

The following days I read here and there. The _Bibliotheca Literaria_
was so little supplied with papers that could interest curiosity, that
it could not hope for long continuance[1221]. Wasse, the chief
contributor, was an unpolished scholar, who, with much literature, had
no art or elegance of diction, at least in English.


At Bodfari I heard the second lesson read, and the sermon preached in
Welsh. The text was pronounced both in Welsh and English. The sound of
the Welsh, in a continued discourse, is not unpleasant.

[Greek: Brosis oligae][1222].

The letter of Chrysostom, against transubstantiation. Erasmus to the
Nuns, full of mystick notions and allegories.


Imbecillitas genuum non sine aliquantulo doloris inter ambulandum quem a
prandio magis sensi[1223].


We left Lleweney, and went forwards on our journey.

We came to Abergeley, a mean town, in which little but Welsh is spoken,
and divine service is seldom performed in English.

Our way then lay to the sea-side, at the foot of a mountain, called
Penmaen Rhôs. Here the way was so steep, that we walked on the lower
edge of the hill, to meet the coach, that went upon a road higher on the
hill. Our walk was not long, nor unpleasant: the longer I walk, the less
I feel its inconvenience. As I grow warm, my breath mends, and I think
my limbs grow pliable.

We then came to Conway Ferry, and passed in small boats, with some
passengers from the stage coach, among whom were an Irish gentlewoman,
with two maids, and three little children, of which, the youngest was
only a few months old. The tide did not serve the large ferry-boat, and
therefore our coach could not very soon follow us. We were, therefore,
to stay at the Inn. It is now the day of the Race at Conway, and the
town was so full of company, that no money could purchase lodgings. We
were not very readily supplied with cold dinner. We would have staid at
Conway if we could have found entertainment, for we were afraid of
passing Penmaen Mawr, over which lay our way to Bangor, but by bright
daylight, and the delay of our coach made our departure necessarily
late. There was, however, no stay on any other terms, than of sitting up
all night.

The poor Irish lady was still more distressed. Her children wanted rest.
She would have been content with one bed, but, for a time, none could be
had. Mrs. Thrale gave her what help she could. At last two gentlemen
were persuaded to yield up their room, with two beds, for which she gave
half a guinea. Our coach was at last brought, and we set out with some
anxiety, but we came to Penmaen Mawr by daylight; and found a way,
lately made, very easy, and very safe.[1224] It was cut smooth, and
enclosed between parallel walls; the outer of which secures the
passenger from the precipice, which is deep and dreadful. This wall is
here and there broken, by mischievous wantonness.[1225] The inner wall
preserves the road from the loose stones, which the shattered steep
above it would pour down. That side of the mountain seems to have a
surface of loose stones, which every accident may crumble. The old road
was higher, and must have been very formidable. The sea beats at the
bottom of the way.

At evening the moon shone eminently bright; and our thoughts of danger
being now past, the rest of our journey was very pleasant. At an hour
somewhat late, we came to Bangor, where we found a very mean inn, and
had some difficulty to obtain lodging. I lay in a room, where the other
bed had two men.


We obtained boats to convey us to Anglesey, and saw Lord Bulkeley's
House, and Beaumaris Castle.

I was accosted by Mr. Lloyd, the Schoolmaster of Beaumaris, who had seen
me at University College; and he, with Mr. Roberts, the Register of
Bangor, whose boat we borrowed, accompanied us. Lord Bulkeley's house
is very mean, but his garden garden is spacious, and shady with large
trees and smaller interspersed. The walks are straight, and cross each
other, with no variety of plan; but they have a pleasing coolness, and
solemn gloom, and extend to a great length.

The castle is a mighty pile; the outward wall has fifteen round towers,
besides square towers at the angles. There is then a void space between
the wall and the Castle, which has an area enclosed with a wall, which
again has towers, larger than those of the outer wall. The towers of the
inner Castle are, I think, eight. There is likewise a Chapel entire,
built upon an arch as I suppose, and beautifully arched with a stone
roof, which is yet unbroken. The entrance into the Chapel is about eight
or nine feet high, and was, I suppose, higher, when there was no rubbish
in the area.

This Castle corresponds with all the representations of romancing
narratives. Here is not wanting the private passage, the dark cavity,
the deep dungeon, or the lofty tower. We did not discover the Well. This
is the most compleat view that I have yet had of an old Castle.[1226] It
had a moat.

The Towers.

We went to Bangor.


We went by water from Bangor to Caernarvon, where we met Paoli and Sir
Thomas Wynne. Meeting by chance with one Troughton,[1227] an intelligent
and loquacious wanderer, Mr. Thrale invited him to dinner. He attended
us to the Castle, an edifice of stupendous magnitude and strength; it
has in it all that we observed at Beaumaris, and much greater
dimensions: many of the smaller rooms floored with stone are entire; of
the larger rooms, the beams and planks are all left: this is the state
of all buildings left to time. We mounted the Eagle Tower by one hundred
and sixty-nine steps, each of ten inches. We did not find the Well; nor
did I trace the Moat; but moats there were, I believe, to all castles on
the plain, which not only hindered access, but prevented mines. We saw
but a very small part of this mighty ruin, and in all these old
buildings, the subterraneous works are concealed by the rubbish.

To survey this place would take much time: I did not think there had
been such buildings; it surpassed my ideas.


We were at Church; the service in the town is always English; at the
parish Church at a small distance, always Welsh. The town has by
degrees, I suppose, been brought nearer to the sea side.

We received an invitation to Dr. Worthington. We then went to dinner at
Sir Thomas Wynne's,--the dinner mean, Sir Thomas civil, his Lady
nothing.[1228] Paoli civil.

We supped with Colonel Wynne's Lady, who lives in one of the towers of
the Castle.

I have not been very well.


We went to visit Bodville, the place where Mrs. Thrale was born; and the
Churches called Tydweilliog and Llangwinodyl, which she holds by

We had an invitation to the house of Mr. Griffiths of Bryn o dol, where
we found a small neat new built house, with square rooms: the walls are
of unhewn stone, and therefore thick; for the stones not fitting with
exactness, are not strong without great thickness. He had planted a
great deal of young wood in walks. Fruit trees do not thrive; but having
grown a few years, reach some barren stratum and wither.

We found Mr. Griffiths not at home; but the provisions were good. Mr.
Griffiths came home the next day. He married a lady who has a house and
estate at [Llanver], over against Anglesea, and near Caernarvon, where
she is more disposed, as it seems, to reside than at Bryn o dol.

I read Lloyd's account of Mona, which he proves to be Anglesea.

In our way to Bryn o dol, we saw at Llanerk a Church built crosswise,
very spacious and magnificent for this country. We could not see the
Parson, and could get no intelligence about it.


We went to see Bodville. Mrs. Thrale remembered the rooms, and wandered
over them with recollection of her childhood. This species of pleasure
is always melancholy. The walk was cut down, and the pond was dry.
Nothing was better.[1229]

We surveyed the Churches, which are mean, and neglected to a degree
scarcely imaginable. They have no pavement, and the earth is full of
holes. The seats are rude benches; the Altars have no rails. One of them
has a breach in the roof. On the desk, I think, of each lay a folio
Welsh Bible of the black letter, which the curate cannot easily

Mr. Thrale purposes to beautify the Churches, and if he prospers, will
probably restore the tithes. The two parishes are, Llangwinodyl and
Tydweilliog.[1231] The Methodists are here very prevalent. A better
church will impress the people with more reverence of publick worship.

Mrs. Thrale visited a house where she had been used to drink milk, which
was left, with an estate of two hundred pounds a year, by one Lloyd, to
a married woman who lived with him.

We went to Pwllheli, a mean old town, at the extremity of the country.
Here we bought something, to remember the place.


We returned to Caernarvon, where we ate with Mrs. Wynne.


We visited, with Mrs. Wynne, Llyn Badarn and Llyn Beris, two lakes,
joined by a narrow strait. They are formed by the waters which fall from
Snowdon and the opposite mountains. On the side of Snowdon are the
remains of a large fort, to which we climbed with great labour. I was
breathless and harassed. The Lakes have no great breadth, so that the
boat is always near one bank or the other.

_Note_. Queeny's goats, one hundred and forty-nine, I think.[1232]


We returned to Bangor, where Mr. Thrale was lodged at Mr. Roberts's, the


We went to worship at the Cathedral. The quire is mean, the service was
not well read.


We came to Mr. Myddelton's, of Gwaynynog, to the first place, as my
Mistress observed, where we have been welcome.

_Note_. On the day when we visited Bodville, we turned to the house of
Mr. Griffiths, of Kefnamwycllh, a gentleman of large fortune, remarkable
for having made great and sudden improvements in his seat and estate. He
has enclosed a large garden with a brick wall. He is considered as a man
of great accomplishments. He was educated in literature at the
University, and served some time in the army, then quitted his
commission, and retired to his lands. He is accounted a good man, and
endeavours to bring the people to church.

In our way from Bangor to Conway, we passed again the new road upon the
edge of Penmaen Mawr, which would be very tremendous, but that the wall
shuts out the idea of danger. In the wall are several breaches, made, as
Mr. Thrale very reasonably conjectures, by fragments of rocks which roll
down the mountain, broken perhaps by frost, or worn through by rain.

We then viewed Conway.

To spare the horses at Penmaen Rhôs, between Conway and St. Asaph, we
sent the coach over the road across the mountain with Mrs. Thrale, who
had been tired with a walk sometime before; and I, with Mr. Thrale and
Miss, walked along the edge, where the path is very narrow, and much
encumbered by little loose stones, which had fallen down, as we thought,
upon the way since we passed it before.

At Conway we took a short survey of the Castle, which afforded us
nothing new. It is larger than that of Beaumaris, and less than that of
Caernarvon. It is built upon a rock so high and steep, that it is even
now very difficult of access. We found a round pit, which was called the
Well; it is now almost filled, and therefore dry. We found the Well in
no other castle. There are some remains of leaden pipes at Caernarvon,
which, I suppose, only conveyed water from one part of the building to
another. Had the garrison had no other supply, the Welsh, who must know
where the pipes were laid, could easily have cut them.


We came to the house of Mr. Myddelton, (on Monday,) where we staid to
September 6, and were very kindly entertained. How we spent our time, I
am not very able to tell[1233].

We saw the wood, which is diversified and romantick.


We dined with Mr. Myddelton, the clergyman, at Denbigh, where I saw the
harvest-men very decently dressed, after the afternoon service, standing
to be hired. On other days, they stand at about four in the morning.
They are hired from day to day.


We lay at Wrexham; a busy, extensive, and well built town. It has a very
large and magnificent Church. It has a famous fair.


We came to Chirk Castle.


We came to the house of Dr. Worthington[1234], at Llanrhaiadr. Our
entertainment was poor, though his house was not bad. The situation is
very pleasant, by the side of a small river, of which the bank rises
high on the other side, shaded by gradual rows of trees. The gloom, the
stream, and the silence, generate thoughtfulness.  The town is old, and
very mean, but has, I think, a market. In this house, the Welsh
translation of the Old Testament was made. The Welsh singing Psalms were
written by Archdeacon Price. They are not considered as elegant, but as
very literal, and accurate.

We came to Llanrhaiadr, through Oswestry; a town not very little, nor
very mean. The church, which I saw only at a distance, seems to be an
edifice much too good for the present state of the place.


We visited the waterfall, which is very high, and in rainy weather very
copious. There is a reservoir made to supply it. In its fall, it has
perforated a rock. There is a room built for entertainment. There was
some difficulty in climbing to a near view. Lord Lyttelton[1235] came
near it, and turned back.

When we came back, we took some cold meat, and notwithstanding the
Doctor's importunities, went that day to Shrewsbury.


I sent for Gwynn[1236], and he shewed us the town. The walls are
broken, and narrower than those of Chester. The town is large, and has
many gentlemen's houses, but the streets are narrow. I saw Taylor's
library. We walked in the Quarry; a very pleasant walk by the
river.[1237] Our inn was not bad.


Sunday. We were at St. Chads, a very large and luminous Church. We were
on the Castle Hill.


We called on Dr. Adams,[1238] and travelled towards Worcester, through
Wenlock; a very mean place, though a borough. At noon, we came to
Bridgenorth, and walked about the town, of which one part stands on a
high rock; and part very low, by the river. There is an old tower,
which, being crooked, leans so much, that it is frightful to pass by it.

In the afternoon we came through Kinver, a town in Staffordshire; neat
and closely built. I believe it has only one street.

The road was so steep and miry, that we were forced to stop at
Hartlebury, where we had a very neat inn, though it made a very poor


We came to Lord Sandys's, at Ombersley, where we were treated with great

The house is large. The hall is a very noble room.


We went to Worcester, a very splendid city. The Cathedral is very noble,
with many remarkable monuments. The library is in the Chapter House. On
the table lay the _Nuremberg Chronicle_, I think, of the first edition.
We went to the china warehouse. The Cathedral has a cloister. The long
aisle is, in my opinion, neither so wide nor so high as that of


We went to Hagley, where we were disappointed of the respect and
kindness that we expected[1240].


We saw the house and park, which equalled my expectation. The house is
one square mass. The offices are below. The rooms of elegance on the
first floor, with two stories of bedchambers, very well disposed above
it. The bedchambers have low windows, which abates the dignity of the
house. The park has one artificial ruin[1241], and wants water; there
is, however, one temporary cascade. From the farthest hill there is a
very wide prospect.

I went to church. The church is, externally, very mean, and is therefore
diligently hidden by a plantation. There are in it several modern
monuments of the Lytteltons.

There dined with us, Lord Dudley, and Sir Edward Lyttelton, of
Staffordshire, and his Lady. They were all persons of agreeable

I found time to reflect on my birthday, and offered a prayer, which I
hope was heard.


We made haste away from a place, where all were offended[1242]. In the
way we visited the Leasowes[1243]. It was rain, yet we visited all the
waterfalls. There are, in one place, fourteen falls in a short line. It
is the next place to Ham Gardens[1244]. Poor Shenstone never tasted his
pension. It is not very well proved that any pension was obtained for
him. I am afraid that he died of misery[1245].

We came to Birmingham, and I sent for Wheeler, whom I found well.


We breakfasted with Wheeler,[1246] and visited the manufacture of Papier
Maché. The paper which they use is smooth whited brown; the varnish is
polished with rotten stone. Wheeler gave me a tea-board. We then went to
Boulton's,[1247] who, with great civility, led us through his shops. I
could not distinctly see his enginery.

Twelve dozen of buttons for three shillings.[1248] Spoons struck at


Wheeler came to us again.

We came easily to Woodstock.


We saw Blenheim and Woodstock Park.[1249] The Park contains two thousand
five hundred acres; about four square miles. It has red deer.  Mr.
Bryant[1250] shewed me the Library with great civility. _Durandi
Rationale_, 1459[1251]. Lascaris' _Grammar_ of the first edition, well
printed, but much less than later editions[1252]. The first

The Duke sent Mr. Thrale partridges and fruit.

At night we came to Oxford.


We visited Mr. Coulson[1254]. The Ladies wandered about the University.


We dine with Mr. Coulson. Vansittart[1255] told me his distemper.

Afterwards we were at Burke's, where we heard of the dissolution of the
Parliament. We went home[1256].


[1] See _ante_, ii. 434, note 1, and iii. 209.

[2] His _Account of Corsica_, published in 1768.

[3] Horace Walpole wrote on Nov.6, 1769 (_Letters_, v. 200):--'I found
Paoli last week at Court. The King and Queen both took great notice of
him. He has just made a tour to Bath, Oxford, &c., and was everywhere
received with much distinction.' See _ante_, ii. 71.

[4] Boswell, when in London, was 'his constant guest.' Ante, iii 35.

[5] Boswell's son James says that 'in 1785 Mr. Malone was shewn at Mr.
Baldwin's printing-house a sheet of the _Tour to the Hebrides_
which contained Johnson's character. He was so much struck with the
spirit and fidelity of the portrait that he requested to be introduced
to its writer. From this period a friendship took place between them,
which ripened into the strictest and most cordial intimacy. After Mr.
Boswell's death in 1795 Mr. Malone continued to shew every mark of
affectionate attention towards his family.' _Gent. Mag._ 1813, p. 518.

[6] Malone began his edition of _Shakespeare_ in 1782; he brought it out
in 1790. Prior's _Malone_, pp. 98, 166.

[7] Boswell in the 'Advertisement' to the second edition, dated Dec. 20,
1785, says that 'the whole of the first impression has been sold in a
few weeks.' Three editions were published within a year, but the fourth
was not issued till 1807. A German translation was published in Lübeck
in 1787. I believe that in no language has a translation been published
of the _Life of Johnson_. Johnson was indeed, as Boswell often calls
him, 'a trueborn Englishman'--so English that foreigners could neither
understand him nor relish his _Life_.

[8] The man thus described is James I.

[9] See _ante_, i. 450 and ii. 291.

[10] _A Journey to the Western Islands of Scotland_. Johnson's _Works_
ix. 1.

[11] See _ante_, i. 450. On a copy of Martin in the Advocates' Library
[Edinburgh] I found the following note in the handwriting of Mr.
Boswell:--'This very book accompanied Mr. Samuel Johnson and me in our
Tour to the Hebrides.' UPCOTT. Croker's _Boswell_, p. 267.

[12] Macbeth, act i. sc. 3.

[13] See _ante_, iii. 24, and _post_, Nov. 10.

[14] Our friend Edmund Burke, who by this time had received some pretty
severe strokes from Dr. Johnson, on account of the unhappy difference in
their politicks, upon my repeating this passage to him, exclaimed 'Oil
of vitriol !' BOSWELL.

[15] _Psalms_, cxli. 5.

[16] 'We all love Beattie,' he had said. _Ante_, ii. 148.

[17] This, I find, is a Scotticism. I should have said, 'It will not be
long before we shall be at Marischal College.' BOSWELL. In spite of this
warning Sir Walter Scott fell into the same error. 'The light foot of
Mordaunt was not long of bearing him to Jarlok [Jarlshof].' _Pirate_,
ch. viii. CROKER. Beattie was Professor of Moral Philosophy and Logic in
Marischal College.

[18] 'Nil mihi rescribas; attamen ipse veni.' Ovid, _Heroides_, i. 2.
Boswell liked to display such classical learning as he had. When he
visited Eton in 1789 he writes, 'I was asked by the Head-master to dine
at the Fellows' table, and made a creditable figure. I certainly have
the art of making the most of what I have. How should one who has had
only a Scotch education be quite at home at Eton? I had my classical
quotations very ready.' _Letters of Boswell_, p. 308.

[19] Gray, Johnson writes (_Works_, viii. 479), visited Scotland in
1765. 'He naturally contracted a friendship with Dr. Beattie, whom he
found a poet,' &c.

[20] _Post_, Sept. 12.

[21] See _ante_, i. 274.

[22] Afterwards Lord Stowell. He, his brother Lord Eldon, and Chambers
were all Newcastle men. See _ante_, i. 462, for an anecdote of the
journey and for a note on 'the Commons.'

[23] See _ante_, ii. 453.

[24] See _ante_, iv. III.

[25] Baretti, in a MS. note on _Piozzi Letters_, i. 309, says:--'The
most unaccountable part of Johnson's character was his total ignorance
of the character of his most familiar acquaintance.'

[26] Lord Pembroke said once to me at Wilton, with a happy pleasantry,
and some truth, that 'Dr. Johnson's sayings would not appear so
extraordinary, were it not for his _bow-wow way_:' but I admit the truth
of this only on some occasions. The _Messiah_, played upon the
_Canterbury organ_, is more sublime than when played upon an inferior
instrument, but very slight musick will seem grand, when conveyed to the
ear through that majestick medium. _While therefore Dr. Johnson's
sayings are read, let his manner be taken along with them_. Let it,
however, be observed, that the sayings themselves are generally great;
that, though he might be an ordinary composer at times, he was for the
most part a Handel. BOSWELL. See _ante_, ii. 326, 371, and under
Aug. 29, 1783.

[27] See _ante_, i. 42.

[28] See _ante_, i. 41.

[29] Such they appeared to me; but since the first edition, Sir Joshua
Reynolds has observed to me, 'that Dr. Johnson's extraordinary gestures
were only habits, in which he indulged himself at certain times. When in
company, where he was not free, or when engaged earnestly in
conversation, he never gave way to such habits, which proves that they
were not involuntary.' I still however think, that these gestures were
involuntary; for surely had not that been the case, he would have
restrained them in the publick streets. BOSWELL. See _ante_, i. 144.

[30] By an Act of the 7th of George I. for encouraging the consumption
of raw silk and mohair, buttons and button-holes made of cloth, serge,
and other stuffs were prohibited. In 1738 a petition was presented to
Parliament stating that 'in evasion of this Act buttons and button-holes
were made of horse-hair to the impoverishing of many thousands and
prejudice of the woollen manufactures.' An Act was brought in to
prohibit the use of horse-hair, and was only thrown out on the third
reading. _Parl. Hist._ x. 787.

[31] Boswell wrote to Erskine on Dec. 8, 1761: 'I, James Boswell Esq.,
who "am happily possessed of a facility of manners"--to use the very
words of Mr. Professor [Adam] Smith, which upon honour were addressed to
me.' _Boswell and Erskine Corres_. ed. 1879, p. 26.

[32] _Post_, Oct. 16.

[33] _Hamlet_, act iii, sc. 4.

[34] See _ante_, iv., March 21, 1783. Johnson is often reproached with
his dislike of the Scotch, though much of it was assumed; but no one
blames Hume's dislike of the English, though it was deep and real. On
Feb. 21, 1770, he wrote:--'Our Government is too perfect in point of
liberty for so rude a beast as an Englishman; who is a man, a bad animal
too, corrupted by above a century of licentiousness.' J. H. Burton's
_Hume_, ii. 434. Dr. Burton writes of the English as 'a people Hume so
heartily disliked.' _Ib_. p. 433.

[35] See _ante_, iv. 15.

[36] The term _John Bull_ came into the English language in 1712, when
Dr. Arbuthnot wrote _The History of John Bull_.

[37] Boswell in three other places so describes Johnson. See _ante_,
i.129, note 3.

[38] See _ante_, i.467.

[39] 'All nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues.' _Rev_. vii.9.

[40] See _ante_, ii. 376

[41] In Cockburn's _Life of Jeffrey_, i.157, there is a description of
Edinburgh, towards the close of the century, 'the last purely Scotch age
that Scotland was destined to see. Almost the whole official state, as
settled at the Union, survived; and all graced the capital, unconscious
of the economical scythe which has since mowed it down. All our nobility
had not then fled. The lawyers, instead of disturbing good company by
professional matter, were remarkably free of this vulgarity; and being
trained to take difference of opinion easily, and to conduct discussions
with forbearance, were, without undue obtrusion, the most cheerful
people that were to be met with. Philosophy had become indigenous in the
place, and all classes, even in their gayest hours, were proud of the
presence of its cultivators. And all this was still a Scotch scene. The
whole country had not begun to be absorbed in the ocean of London.
According to the modern rate of travelling [written in 1852] the
capitals of Scotland and of England were then about 2400 miles asunder.
Edinburgh was still more distant in its style and habits. It had then
its own independent tastes, and ideas, and pursuits.' Scotland at this
time was distinguished by the liberality of mind of its leading
clergymen, which was due, according to Dr. A. Carlyle (_Auto_. p 57), to
the fact that the Professor of Theology under whom they had studied was
'dull and Dutch and prolix.' 'There was one advantage,' he says,
'attending the lectures of a dull professor--viz., that he could form no
school, and the students were left entirely to themselves, and naturally
formed opinions far more liberal than those they got from the

[42] Chambers (_Traditions of Edinburgh_, ed. 1825, ii.297) says that
'the very spot which Johnson's armchair occupied is pointed out by the
modern possessors.' The inn was called 'The White Horse.' 'It derives
its name from having been the resort of the Hanoverian faction, the
White Horse being the crest of Hanover.' Murray's _Guide to Scotland_,
ed. 1867, p. 111.

[43] Boswell writing of Scotland says:--'In the last age it was the
common practice in the best families for all the company to eat milk, or
pudding, or any other dish that is eat with a spoon, not by distributing
the contents of the dish into small plates round the table, but by every
person dipping his spoon into the large platter; and when the fashion of
having a small plate for each guest was brought from the continent by a
young gentleman returned from his travels, a good old inflexible
neighbour in the country said, "he did not see anything he had learnt
but to take his broth twice." Nay, in our own remembrance, the use of a
carving knife was considered as a novelty; and a gentleman of ancient
family and good literature used to rate his son, a friend of mine, for
introducing such a foppish superfluity.'--_London Mag_. 1778, p.199.

[44] See _ante_, ii. 403. Johnson, in describing Sir A. Macdonald's
house in Sky, said:--'The Lady had not the common decencies of her
tea-table; we picked up our sugar with our fingers.' _Piozzi
Letters_, i.138.

[45] Chambers says that 'James's Court, till the building of the New
Town, was inhabited by a select set of gentlemen. They kept a clerk to
record their names and their proceedings, had a scavenger of their own,
and had balls and assemblies among themselves.' Paoli was Boswell's
guest there in 1771. _Traditions of Edinburgh_, i. 219. It was burnt
down in 1857. Murray's _Guide to Scotland_, ed. 1883, p.49. Johnson
wrote:--'Boswell has very handsome and spacious rooms, level with the
ground on one side of the house, and on the other four stories high.'
_Piozzi Letters_, i. 109. Dr. J.H. Burton says that Hume occupied them
just before Boswell. He continues:--'Of the first impression made on a
stranger at that period when entering such a house, a vivid description
is given by Sir Walter Scott in _Guy Mannering_; and in Counsellor
Pleydell's library, with its collection of books, and the prospect from
the window, we have probably an accurate picture of the room in which
Hume spent his studious hours.' _Life of Hume_, ii. 137, 431. At
Johnson's visit Hume was living in his new house in the street which was
humorously named after him, St. David Street. _Ib_. p. 436.

[46] The English servant-girl in _Humphry Clinker_ (Letter of July 18),
after describing how the filth is thus thrown out, says:--'The maid
calls _gardy loo_ to the passengers, which signifies _Lord have mercy
upon you!_'

[47] Wesley, when at Edinburgh in May, 1761, writes:--'How can it be
suffered that all manner of filth should still be thrown even into this
street [High Street] continually? How long shall the capital city of
Scotland, yea, and the chief street of it, stink worse than a common
sewer?' Wesley's _Journal_, iii. 52. Baretti (_Journey from London to
Genoa_, ii.255) says that this was the universal practice in Madrid in
1760. He was driven out of that town earlier than he had intended to
leave it by the dreadful stench. A few years after his visit the King
made a reform, so that it became 'one of the cleanest towns in Europe.'
_Ib_. p 258. Smollett in _Humphry Clinker_ makes Matthew Bramble say
(Letter of July 18):--'The inhabitants of Edinburgh are apt to imagine
the disgust that we avow is little better than affectation.'

[48] 'Most of their buildings are very mean; and the whole town bears
some resemblance to the old part of Birmingham.' _Piozzi
Letters_, i. 109.

[49] See _ante_, i. 313.

[50] Miss Burney, describing her first sight of Johnson, says:--'Upon
asking my father why he had not prepared us for such uncouth, untoward
strangeness, he laughed heartily, and said he had entirely forgotten
that the same impression had been at first made upon himself; but had
been lost even on the second interview.' _Memoirs of Dr. Burney_, ii.91.

[51] See _post_, Aug. 22.

[52] see _ante_, iii. 216.

[53] Boswell writes, in his _Hypochondriacks_:--'Naturally somewhat
singular, independent of any additions which affectation and vanity may
perhaps have made, I resolved to have a more pleasing species of
marriage than common, and bargained with my bride that I should not be
bound to live with her longer than I really inclined; and that whenever
I tired of her domestic society I should be at liberty to give it up.
Eleven years have elapsed, and I have never yet wished to take advantage
of my stipulated privilege.' _London Mag_. 1781, p.136. See _ante_, ii.
140, note 1.

[54] Sir Walter Scott was two years old this day. He was born in a house
at the head of the College Wynd. When Johnson and Boswell returned to
Edinburgh Jeffrey was a baby there seventeen days old. Some seventeen or
eighteen years later 'he had the honour of assisting to carry the
biographer of Johnson, in a state of great intoxication, to bed. For
this he was rewarded next morning by Mr. Boswell clapping his head, and
telling him that he was a very promising lad, and that if "you go on as
you've begun, you may live to be a Bozzy yourself yet."' Cockburn's
_Jeffrey_, i. 33.

[55] He was one of Boswell's executors, and as such was in part
responsible for the destruction of his manuscripts. _Ante_, iii. 301,
note i. It is to his _Life of Dr. Beattie_ that Scott alludes in the
Introduction to the fourth Canto of _Marmion_:--

     'Scarce had lamented Forbes paid
      The tribute to his Minstrel's shade;
      The tale of friendship scarce was told,
      Ere the narrator's heart was cold--
      Far may we search before we find
      A heart so manly and so kind.'

It is only of late years that _Forbes_ has generally ceased to be a

[56] The saint's name of _Veronica_ was introduced into our family
through my great grandmother Veronica, Countess of Kincardine, a Dutch
lady of the noble house of Sommelsdyck, of which there is a full account
in Bayle's _Dictionary_. The family had once a princely right in
Surinam. The governour of that settlement was appointed by the States
General, the town of Amsterdam, and Sommelsdyck. The States General have
acquired Sommelsdyck's right; but the family has still great dignity and
opulence, and by intermarriages is connected with many other noble
families. When I was at the Hague, I was received with all the affection
of kindred. The present Sommelsdyck has an important charge in the
Republick, and is as worthy a man as lives. He has honoured me with his
correspondence for these twenty years. My great grandfather, the husband
of Countess Veronica, was Alexander, Earl of Kincardine, that eminent
_Royalist_ whose character is given by Burnet in his _History of his own
Times_. From him the blood of _Bruce_ flows in my veins. Of such
ancestry who would not be proud? And, as _Nihil est, nisi hoc sciat
alter_, is peculiarly true of genealogy, who would not be glad to seize
a fair opportunity to let it be known. BOSWELL. Boswell visited Holland
in 1763. _Ante_, i. 473. Burnet says that 'the Earl was both the wisest
and the worthiest man that belonged to his country, and fit for
governing any affairs but his own; which he by a wrong turn, and by his
love for the public, neglected to his ruin. His thoughts went slow and
his words came much slower; but a deep judgment appeared in everything
he said or did. I may be, perhaps, inclined to carry his character too
far; for he was the first man that entered into friendship with me.'
Burnet's _History_, ed. 1818, i. III. 'The ninth Earl succeeded as fifth
Earl of Elgin and thus united the two dignities.' Burke's _Peerage_.
Boswell's quotation is from Persius, _Satires_, i. 27: 'Scire tuum nihil
est, nisi te scire hoc sciat alter.' It is the motto to _The
Spectator_, No. 379.

[57] She died four months after her father. I cannot find that she
received this additional fortune.

[58] See _ante_, ii. 47.

[59] See _ante_, iv. 5, note 2.

[60] See _ante_, iii. 231. Johnson (_Works_, ix. 33) speaks of 'the
general dissatisfaction which is now driving the Highlanders into the
other hemisphere.' This dissatisfaction chiefly arose from the fact that
the chiefs were 'gradually degenerating from patriarchal rulers to
rapacious landlords.' _Ib._ p. 86. 'That the people may not fly from the
increase of rent I know not whether the general good does not require
that the landlords be, for a time, restrained in their demands, and kept
quiet by pensions proportionate to their loss.... It affords a
legislator little self-applause to consider, that where there was
formerly an insurrection there is now a wilderness.' _Ib._ p. 94. 'As
the world has been let in upon the people, they have heard of happier
climates and less arbitrary government.' _Ib._ p. 128.

[61] 'To a man that ranges the streets of London, where he is tempted to
contrive wants for the pleasure of supplying them, a shop affords no
image worthy of attention; but in an island it turns the balance of
existence between good and evil. To live in perpetual want of little
things is a state, not indeed of torture, but of constant vexation. I
have in Sky had some difficulty to find ink for a letter; and if a woman
breaks her needle, the work is at a stop.' _Ib._ p. 127.

[62] 'It was demolished in 1822.' Chambers's _Traditions of Edinburgh_,
i. 215.

[63] 'The Lord reigneth; let the earth rejoice; let the multitude of
isles be glad thereof.' _Psalms_, xcvii.1.

[64] A brief memoir of Mr. Carre is given in Forbes's _Life of Beattie_,
Appendix Z.

[65] It was his daughter who gave the name to the new street in which
Hume had taken a house by chalking on his wall ST. DAVID STREET. 'Hume's
"lass," judging that it was not meant in honour or reverence, ran into
the house much excited, to tell her master how he was made game of.
"Never mind, lassie," he said; "many a better man has been made a saint
of before."' J.H. Burton's _Hume_, ii. 436.

[66] The House of Lords reversed the decision of the Court of Session in
this cause. See _ante_, ii.50, 230.

[67] Ogden was Woodwardian Professor at Cambridge. The sermons were
published in 1770. Boswell mentions them so often that in Rowlandson's
caricatures of the tour he is commonly represented as having them in his
hand or pocket. See _ante_, iii. 248.

[68] 'Talking of the eminent writers in Queen Anne's reign, Johnson
observed, "I think Dr. Arbuthnot the first man among them.'" _Ante_,
i. 425.

[69] 'We found that by the interposition of some invisible friend
lodgings had been provided for us at the house of one of the professors,
whose easy civility quickly made us forget that we were strangers.'
_Works_, ix. 3.

[70] He is referring to Beattie's _Essay on Truth_. See _post_, Oct. 1,
and _ante_, ii. 201.

[71] See _ante_, ii. 443, where Johnson, again speaking of Hume, and
perhaps of Gibbon, says:--'When a man voluntarily engages in an
important controversy, he is to do all he can to lessen his antagonist,
because authority from personal respect has much weight with most
people, and often more than reasoning.'

[72] Johnson, in his Dictionary, calls _bubble_ 'a cant [slang] word.'

[73] Boswell wrote to Temple in 1768:--'David [Hume] is really amiable:
I always regret to him his unlucky principles, and he smiles at my
faith; but I have a hope which he has not, or pretends not to have. So
who has the best of it, my reverend friend?' _Letters of Boswell_,
p.151. Dr. A. Carlyle (_Auto_. pp. 274-5) says:--'Mr. Hume gave both
elegant dinners and suppers, and the best claret, and, which was best of
all, he furnished the entertainment with the most instructive and
pleasing conversation, for he assembled whosoever were most knowing and
agreeable among either the laity or clergy. For innocent mirth and
agreeable raillery I never knew his match....He took much to the company
of the younger clergy, not from a wish to bring them over to his
opinions, for he never attempted to overturn any man's principles, but
they best understood his notions, and could furnish him with literary

[74] No doubt they were destroyed with Boswell's other papers. _Ante_,
iii.301, note 1.

[75] This letter, though shattered by the sharp shot of Dr. _Horne_ of
_Oxford's_ wit, in the character of _One of the People called
Christians_, is still prefixed to Mr. Hume's excellent _History of
England_, like a poor invalid on the piquet guard, or like a list of
quack medicines sold by the same bookseller, by whom a work of whatever
nature is published; for it has no connection with his _History_, let it
have what it may with what are called his _Philosophical_ Works. A
worthy friend of mine in London was lately consulted by a lady of
quality, of most distinguished merit, what was the best History of
England for her son to read. My friend recommended Hume's. But, upon
recollecting that its usher was a superlative panegyrick on one, who
endeavoured to sap the credit of our holy religion, he revoked his
recommendation. I am really sorry for this ostentatious _alliance_;
because I admire _The Theory of Moral Sentiments_, and value the
greatest part of _An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of
Nations_. Why should such a writer be so forgetful of human comfort, as
to give any countenance to that dreary infidelity which would make us
poor indeed?' ['makes me poor indeed.' _Othello_, act iii. sc.3].
BOSWELL. Dr. Horne's book is entitled, _A Letter to Adam Smith, LL.D.,
On the Life, Death, and Philosophy of his Friend David Hume, Esq. By one
of the People called Christians_. Its chief wit is in the Preface. The
bookseller mentioned in this note was perhaps Francis Newbery, who
succeeded his father, Goldsmith's publisher, as a dealer in quack
medicines and books. They dealt in 'over thirty different nostrums,' and
published books of every nature. Of the father Johnson said:--'Newbery
is an extraordinary man, for I know not whether he has read or written
most books.' He is the original of 'Jack Whirler' in _The Idler_, No.
19. _A Bookseller of the Last Century_, pp. 22, 73.

[76] Hume says that his first work, his _Treatise of Human Nature_,
'fell _dead-born from the press.' Auto._ p.3. His _Enquiry concerning
Human Understanding_ 'was entirely overlooked and neglected.' _Ib_. p.4.
His _Enquiry concerning the Principles of Morals_ 'came unnoticed and
unobserved into the world.' _Ib_. p.5. The first volume of his _History
of England_ certainly met with numerous assailants; but 'after the first
ebullitions of their fury were over, what was still more mortifying, the
book seemed to sink into oblivion. Mr. Millar told me,' he continues,
'that in a twelvemonth he sold only forty-five copies of it...I was I
confess, discouraged, and had not the war at that time been breaking out
between France and England, I had certainly retired to some provincial
town of the former kingdom, have changed my name, and never more have
returned to my native country.' _Ib_. p.6. Only one of his works, his
_Political Discourses_, was 'successful on the first publication.' _Ib_.
p.5. By the time he was turned fifty, however, his books were selling
very well, and he had become 'not only independent but opulent.' Ib. p.
8. A few weeks before he died he wrote: 'I see many symptoms of my
literary reputation's breaking out at last with additional lustre.'
_Ib_. p.10.

[77] _Psalms_, cxix. 99.

[78] We learn, _post_, Oct. 29, that Robertson was cautious in his talk,
though we see here that he had much more courage than the professors of
Aberdeen or Glasgow.

[79] This was one of the points upon which Dr. Johnson was strangely
heterodox. For, surely, Mr. Burke, with his other remarkable qualities,
is also distinguished for his wit, and for wit of all kinds too: not
merely that power of language which Pope chooses to denominate wit:--

     (True wit is Nature to advantage drest;
      What oft was thought, but ne'er so well exprest.)

[Pope's Essay on Criticism, ii. 297.] but surprising allusions,
brilliant sallies of vivacity, and pleasant conceits. His speeches in
parliament are strewed with them. Take, for instance, the variety which
he has given in his wide range, yet exact detail, when exhibiting his
Reform Bill. And his conversation abounds in wit. Let me put down a
specimen. I told him, I had seen, at a _Blue stocking_ assembly, a
number of ladies sitting round a worthy and tall friend of ours,
listening to his literature. 'Ay, (said he) like maids round a
May-pole.' I told him, I had found out a perfect definition of human
nature, as distinguished from the animal. An ancient philosopher said,
Man was 'a two-legged animal without feathers,' upon which his rival
Sage had a Cock plucked bare, and set him down in the school before all
the disciples, as a 'Philosophick Man.' Dr. Franklin said, Man was 'a
tool-making animal,' which is very well; for no animal but man makes a
thing, by means of which he can make another thing. But this applies to
very few of the species. My definition of _Man_ is, 'a Cooking animal.'
The beasts have memory, judgment, and all the faculties and passions of
our mind in a certain degree; but no beast is a cook. The trick of the
monkey using the cat's paw to roast a chestnut, is only a piece of
shrewd malice in that _turpissima bestia_, which humbles us so sadly by
its similarity to us. Man alone can dress a good dish; and every man
whatever is more or less a cook, in seasoning what he himself eats. Your
definition is good, said Mr. Burke, and I now see the full force of the
common proverb, 'There is _reason_ in roasting of eggs.' When Mr.
Wilkes, in his days of tumultuous opposition, was borne upon the
shoulders of the mob, Mr. Burke (as Mr. Wilkes told me himself, with
classical admiration,) applied to him what _Horace_ says of _Pindar_,

     ..._numeris_que fertur
  LEGE _solutis_. [_Odes_, iv. 2. 11.]

Sir Joshua Reynolds, who agrees with me entirely as to Mr. Burke's.
fertility of wit, said, that this was 'dignifying a pun.' He also
observed, that he has often heard Burke say, in the course of an
evening, ten good things, each of which would have served a noted wit
(whom he named) to live upon for a twelvemonth. I find, since the former
edition, that some persons have objected to the instances which I have
given of Mr. Burke's wit, as not doing justice to my very ingenious
friend; the specimens produced having, it is alleged, more of conceit
than real wit, and being merely sportive sallies of the moment, not
justifying the encomium which, they think with me, he undoubtedly
merits. I was well aware, how hazardous it was to exhibit particular
instances of wit, which is of so airy and spiritual a nature as often to
elude the hand that attempts to grasp it. The excellence and efficacy of
a _bon mot_ depend frequently so much on the occasion on which it is
spoken, on the particular manner of the speaker, on the person to whom
it is applied, the previous introduction, and a thousand minute
particulars which cannot be easily enumerated, that it is always
dangerous to detach a witty saying from the group to which it belongs,
and to set it before the eye of the spectator, divested of those
concomitant circumstances, which gave it animation, mellowness, and
relief. I ventured, however, at all hazards, to put down the first
instances that occurred to me, as proofs of Mr. Burke's lively and
brilliant fancy; but am very sensible that his numerous friends could
have suggested many of a superior quality. Indeed, the being in company
with him, for a single day, is sufficient to shew that what I have
asserted is well founded; and it was only necessary to have appealed to
all who know him intimately, for a complete refutation of the heterodox
opinion entertained by Dr. Johnson on this subject. _He_ allowed Mr.
Burke, as the reader will find hereafter [_post_. Sept.15 and 30], to be
a man of consummate and unrivalled abilities in every light except that
now under consideration; and the variety of his allusions, and splendour
of his imagery, have made such an impression on _all the rest_ of the
world, that superficial observers are apt to overlook his other merits,
and to suppose that _wit_ is his chief and most prominent excellence;
when in fact it is only one of the many talents that he possesses, which
are so various and extraordinary, that it is very difficult to ascertain
precisely the rank and value of each. BOSWELL. For Malone's share in
this note, see _ante_, iii. 323, note 2. For Burke's Economical Reform
Bill, which was brought in on Feb. 11, 1780, see Prior's _Burke_, p.184.
For _Blue Stocking_, see _ante_, iv. 108. The 'tall friend of ours' was
Mr. Langton (_ante_, i. 336). For Franklin's definition, see _ante_,
iii. 245, and for Burke's classical pun, _ib_. p. 323. For Burke's
'talent of wit,' see _ante_, i. 453, iii. 323, iv. May 15, 1784, and
_post_, Sept. 15.

[80] See _ante_, iv. 27, where Burke said:--'It is enough for me to have
rung the bell to him [Johnson].'

[81] See _ante_, vol. iv, May 15, 1784.

[82] Prior (_Life of Burke_, pp.31, 36) says that 'from the first his
destination was the Bar.' His name was entered at the Middle Temple in
1747, but he was never called. Why he gave up the profession his
biographer cannot tell.

[83] See _ante_, ii. 437, note 2.

[84] See _ante_, i. 78, note 2.

[85] That cannot be said now, after the flagrant part which Mr. _John
Wesley_ took against our American brethren, when, in his own name, he
threw amongst his enthusiastick flock, the very individual combustibles
of Dr. _Johnson's Taxation no Tyranny_; and after the intolerant spirit
which he manifested against our fellow-christians of the Roman Catholick
Communion, for which that able champion, Father _O'Leary_, has given him
so hearty a drubbing. But I should think myself very unworthy, if I did
not at the same time acknowledge Mr. John Wesley's merit, as a veteran
'Soldier of Jesus Christ' [2 _Timothy_, ii. 3], who has, I do believe,
'turned many from darkness into light, and from the power of _Satan_ to
the living GOD' [_Acts_, xxvi. 18]. BOSWELL. Wesley wrote on Nov. 11,
1775 (_Journal_, iv. 56), 'I made some additions to the _Calm Address to
our American Colonies_. Need any one ask from what motive this was
wrote? Let him look round; England is in a flame! a flame of malice and
rage against the King, and almost all that are in authority under him. I
labour to put out this flame.' He wrote a few days later:--'As to
reviewers, news-writers, _London Magazines_, and all that kind of
gentlemen, they behave just as I expected they would. And let them lick
up Mr. Toplady's spittle still; a champion worthy of their cause.'
_Journal_, p. 58. In a letter published in Jan. 1780, he said:--'I
insist upon it, that no government, not Roman Catholic, ought to
tolerate men of the Roman Catholic persuasion. They ought not to be
tolerated by any government, Protestant, Mahometan, or Pagan.' To this
the Rev. Arthur O'Leary replied with great wit and force, in a pamphlet
entitled, _Remarks on the Rev. Mr. Wesley's Letters_. Dublin, 1780.
Wesley (_Journal_, iv. 365) mentions meeting O'Leary, and says:--'He
seems not to be wanting either in sense or learning.' Johnson wrote to
Wesley on Feb. 6, 1776 (Croker's _Boswell_, p. 475), 'I have thanks to
return you for the addition of your important suffrage to my argument on
the American question. To have gained such a mind as yours may justly
confirm me in my own opinion. What effect my paper has upon the public,
I know not; but I have no reason to be discouraged. The lecturer was
surely in the right, who, though he saw his audience slinking away,
refused to quit the chair while Plato staid.'

[86] 'Powerful preacher as he was,' writes Southey, 'he had neither
strength nor acuteness of intellect, and his written compositions are
nearly worthless.' Southey's _Wesley,_ i. 323. See _ante_, ii. 79.

[87] Mr. Burke. See _ante_, ii. 222, 285, note 3, and iii. 45.

[88] If due attention were paid to this observation, there would be more
virtue, even in politicks. What Dr. Johnson justly condemned, has, I am
sorry to say, greatly increased in the present reign. At the distance of
four years from this conversation, 21st February, 1777, My Lord
Archbishop of York, in his 'sermon before the Society for the
Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts,' thus indignantly describes
the then state of parties:--'Parties once had a _principle_ belonging
to them, absurd perhaps, and indefensible, but still carrying a notion
of _duty_, by which honest minds might easily be caught. 'But there are
now _combinations_ of _individuals_, who, instead of being the sons and
servants of the community, make a league for advancing their _private
interests_. It is their business to hold high the notion of _political
honour_. I believe and trust, it is not injurious to say, that such a
bond is no better than that by which the lowest and wickedest
combinations are held together; and that it denotes the last stage of
political depravity.' To find a thought, which just shewed itself to us
from the mind of _Johnson_, thus appearing again at such a distance of
time, and without any communication between them, enlarged to full
growth in the mind of _Markham_, is a curious object of philosophical
contemplation.--That two such great and luminous minds should have been
so dark in one corner,--that _they_ should have held it to be 'Wicked
rebellion in the British subjects established in America, to resist the
abject condition of holding all their property at the mercy of British
subjects remaining at home, while their allegiance to our common Lord
the King was to be preserved inviolate,--is a striking proof to me,
either that 'He who sitteth in Heaven' [_Psalms_, ii.4] scorns the
loftiness of human pride,--or that the evil spirit, whose personal
existence I strongly believe, and even in this age am confirmed in that
belief by a _Fell_, nay, by a _Hurd_, has more power than some choose to
allow. BOSWELL. Horace Walpole writing on June 10, 1778, after censuring
Robertson for sneering at Las Casas, continues:--'Could Archbishop
Markham in a Sermon before the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel
by fire and sword paint charity in more contemptuous terms? It is a
Christian age.' _Letters_, vii.81. It was Archbishop Markham to whom
Johnson made the famous bow; _ante_, vol. iv, just before April 10,
1783. John Fell published in 1779 _Demoniacs; an Enquiry into the
Heathen and Scripture Doctrine of Daemons_. For Hurd see _ante_, under
June 9,1784.

[89] See Forster's _Essays_, ii 304-9. Mr. Forster often quotes Cooke in
his _Life of Goldsmith_. He describes him (i. 58) as 'a _young_ Irish
law student who had chambers near Goldsmith in the temple.' Goldsmith
did not reside in the temple till 1763 (_ib_. p.336), and Cooke was old
enough to have published his _Hesiod_ in 1728, and to have found a place
in _The Dunciad_ (ii. 138). See Elwin and Courthope's _Pope_, x. 212,
for his correspondence with Pope.

[90] It may be observed, that I sometimes call my great friend, _Mr_.
Johnson, sometimes _Dr_. Johnson: though he had at this time a doctor's
degree from Trinity College, Dublin. The University of Oxford afterwards
conferred it upon him by a diploma, in very honourable terms. It was
some time before I could bring myself to call him Doctor; but, as he has
been long known by that title, I shall give it to him in the rest of
this Journal. BOSWELL. See _ante_, i. 488, note 3, and ii. 332, note I.

[91] In _The Idler_, No. viii, Johnson has the following fling at
tragedians. He had mentioned the terror struck into our soldiers by the
Indian war-cry, and he continues:--'I am of opinion that by a proper
mixture of asses, bulls, turkeys, geese, and tragedians a noise might be
procured equally horrid with the war-cry.' See _ante_, ii.92.

[92] _Tom Jones_, Bk. xvi. chap. 5. Mme. Necker in a letter to Garrick
said:--'Nos acteurs se métamorphosent assez bien, mais Monsieur Garrick
fait autre chose; il nous métamorphose tous dans le caractère qu'il a
revêtu; _nous sommes remplis de terreur avec Hamlet_,' &c. _Garrick
Corres_. ii. 627.

[93] See _ante_, i. 432, and ii. 278.

[94] See _ante_, ii. 11.

[95] Euphan M'Cullan (not Eupham Macallan) is mentioned in Dalrymple's
[Lord Hailes] _Remarks on the History of Scotland_, p. 254. She
maintained that 'she seldom ever prayed but she got a positive answer.'
The minister of her parish was ill. 'She prayed, and got an answer that
for a year's time he should be spared; and after the year's end he fell
sick again.' 'I went,' said she, 'to pray yet again for his life; but
the Lord left me not an mouse's likeness (a proverbial expression,
meaning _to reprove with such severity that the person reproved shrinks
and becomes abashed_), and said, 'Beast that thou art! shall I keep my
servant in pain for thy sake?' And when I said, 'Lord, what then shall I
do?' He answered me, 'He was but a reed that I spoke through, and I will
provide another reed to speak through.' Dalrymple points out that it was
a belief in these 'answers from the Lord' that led John Balfour and his
comrades to murder Archbishop Sharp.

[96] R. Chambers, in his _Traditions_, speaking of the time of Johnson's
visit, says (i. 21) on the authority of 'an ancient native of Edinburgh
that people all knew each other by sight. The appearance of a new face
upon the streets was at once remarked, and numbers busied themselves in
finding out who and what the stranger was.'

[97] It was on this visit to the parliament-house, that Mr. Henry
Erskine (brother of Lord Erskine), after being presented to Dr. Johnson
by Mr. Boswell, and having made his bow, slipped a shilling into
Boswell's hand, whispering that it was for the sight of his _bear_.

[98] This is one of the Libraries entitled to a copy of every new work
published in the United Kingdom. Hume held the office of librarian at a
salary of £40 a year from 1752 to 1757. J.H. Burton's _Hume_, i.
367, 373.

[99] The Edinburgh oyster-cellars were called _laigh shops_. Chambers's
_Traditions_, ii. 268.

[100] This word is commonly used to signify _sullenly, gloomily_; and in
that sense alone it appears in Dr. Johnson's _Dictionary_. I suppose he
meant by it, 'with an _obstinate resolution_, similar to that of a
sullen man.' BOSWELL. Southey wrote to Scott:--'Give me more lays, and
correct them at leisure for after editions--not laboriously, but when
the amendment comes naturally and unsought for. It never does to sit
down doggedly to _correct_.' Southey's _Life_, iii. 126. See _ante_, i.
332, for the influence of seasons on composition.

[101] Boswell, _post_, Nov. 1, writes of '_old Scottish_ enthusiasm,'
again italicising these two words.

[102] See _ante_, iii. 410.

[103] See _ante_, i. 354.

[104] Cockburn (_Life of Jeffrey_, i. 182) writing of the beginning of
this century, describes how the General Assembly 'met in those days, as
it had done for about 200 years, in one of the aisles of the then grey
and venerable cathedral of St. Giles. That plain, square, galleried
apartment was admirably suited for the purpose; and it was more
interesting from the men who had acted in it, and the scenes it had
witnessed, than any other existing room in Scotland. It had beheld the
best exertions of the best men in the kingdom ever since the year 1640.
Yet was it obliterated in the year 1830 with as much indifference as if
it had been of yesterday; and for no reason except a childish desire for
new walls and change.'

[105] I have hitherto called him Dr. William Robertson, to distinguish
him from Dr. James Robertson, who is soon to make his appearance. But
_Principal_, from his being the head of our college, is his usual
designation, and is shorter: so I shall use it hereafter. BOSWELL.

[106] The dirtiness of the Scotch churches is taken off in _The Tale of
a Tub_, sect. xi:--'Neither was it possible for the united rhetoric of
mankind to prevail with Jack to make himself clean again.' In _Humphry
Clinker_ (Letter of Aug. 8) we are told that 'the good people of
Edinburgh no longer think dirt and cobwebs essential to the house of
God.' Bishop Horne (_Essays and Thoughts_, p. 45) mentioning 'the maxim
laid down in a neighbouring kingdom that _cleanliness is not essential
to devotion_,' continues, 'A Church of England lady once offered to
attend the Kirk there, if she might be permitted to have the pew swept
and lined. "The pew swept and lined!" said Mess John's wife, "my husband
would think it downright popery."' In 1787 he wrote that there are
country churches in England 'where, perhaps, three or four noble
families attend divine service, which are suffered year after year to be
in a condition in which not one of those families would suffer the worst
room in their house to continue for a week.' _Essays and Thoughts_,
p. 271.

[107] 'Hume recommended Fergusson's friends to prevail on him to
suppress the work as likely to be injurious to his reputation.' When it
had great success he said that his opinion remained the same. He had
heard Helvetius and Saurin say that they had told Montesquieu that he
ought to suppress his _Esprit des Lois_. They were still convinced that
their advice was right. J. H. Burton's _Hume_, ii. 385-7. It was at
Fergusson's house thirteen years later that Walter Scott, a lad of
fifteen, saw Burns shed tears over a print by Bunbury of a soldier lying
dead on the snow. Lockhart's _Scott_, i. 185. See _ib_. vii. 61, for an
anecdote of Fergusson.

[108] They were pulled down in 1789. Murray's _Handbook for Scotland_,
ed. 1883, p. 60.

[109] See _ante_, ii. 128.

[110] See _ante_, iii. 357, and _post_, Johnson's _Tour into Wales_,
Aug. 1, 1774.


     'There where no statesman buys,
        no bishop sells;
      A virtuous palace where no
        monarch dwells.'

_An Epitaph_. Hamilton's Poems, ed. 1760, p. 260. See _ante_, iii. 150.

[112] The stanza from which he took this line is,

     'But then rose up all Edinburgh,
       They rose up by thousands three;
     A cowardly Scot came John behind,
     And ran him through the fair body!'

[113] Johnson described her as 'an old lady, who talks broad Scotch with
a paralytick voice, and is scarce understood by her own countrymen.'
_Piozzi Letters_, i.109. Lord Shelburne says that 'her husband, the last
Duke, could neither read nor write without great difficulty.'
Fitzmaurice's _Shelburne_, i. 11. Dr. A. Carlyle (_Auto_. p. 107) says
that in 1745 he heard her say:--'I have sworn to be Duchess of Douglas
or never to mount a marriage bed.' She married the Duke in 1758. R.
Chambers wrote in 1825:--'It is a curious fact that sixty years ago
there was scarcely a close in the High Street but what had as many noble
inhabitants as are at this day to be found in the whole town.'
_Traditions of Edinburgh_, ed. 1825, i. 72.

[114] See ante, ii. 154, note 1.

[115] Lord Chesterfield wrote from London on Dec. 16, 1760 (_Misc.
Works_, iv. 291):--'I question whether you will ever see my friend
George Faulkner in Ireland again, he is become so great and considerable
a man here in the republic of letters; he has a constant table open to
all men of wit and learning, and to those sometimes who have neither. I
have been able to get him to dine with me but twice.'

[116] Dr. Johnson one evening roundly asserted in his rough way that
"Swift was a shallow fellow; a very shallow fellow." Mr. Sheridan
replied warmly but modestly, "Pardon me, Sir, for differing from you,
but I always thought the Dean a very clear writer." Johnson vociferated
"All shallows are clear."' _Town and Country Mag_. Sept. 1769. _Notes
and Queries_, Jan. 1855, p. 62. See _ante_, iv. 61.

[117] '_The Memoirs of Scriblerus_,' says Johnson (_Works_, viii. 298),
'seem to be the production of Arbuthnot, with a few touches, perhaps, by
Pope.' Swift also was concerned in it. Johnson goes on to shew why 'this
joint production of three great writers has never obtained any notice
from mankind.' Arbuthnot was the author of _John Bull_. Swift wrote to
Stella on May 10, 1712:--'I hope you read _John Bull_. It was a Scotch
gentleman, a friend of mine, that wrote it; but they put it upon me.'
See _ante_, i. 425.

[118] See _ante_, i. 452, and ii. 318.

[119] Horace, _Satires_. I. iii. 19.

[120] See _ante_, i. 396, and ii. 298.

[121] See _ante_, ii. 74.

[122] 'At supper there was such conflux of company that I could scarcely
support the tumult. I have never been well in the whole journey, and am
very easily disordered.' _Piozzi Letters_, i. 109.

[123] See _ante_, iv. 17, and under June 9, 1784.

[124] Johnson was thinking of Sir Matthew Hale for one.

[125] 'It is supposed that there were no executions for witchcraft in
England subsequently to the year 1682; but the Statute of I James I, c.
12, so minute in its enactments against witches, was not repealed till
the 9 Geo. II, c. 5. In Scotland, so late as the year 1722, when the
local jurisdictions were still hereditary [see _post_, Sept. 11], the
sheriff of Sutherlandshire condemned a witch to death.' _Penny Cyclo_.
xxvii. 490. In the Bishopric of Wurtzburg, so late as 1750, a nun was
burnt for witchcraft: 'Cette malheureuse fille soutint opiniâtrément
qu'elle était sorcière.... Elle était folle, ses juges furent imbécilles
et barbares.' Voltaire's _Works_, ed. 1819, xxvi. 285.

[126] A Dane wrote to Garrick from Copenhagen on Dec. 23, 1769:--'There
is some of our retinue who, not understanding a word of your language,
mimic your gesture and your action: so great an impression did it make
upon their minds, the scene of daggers has been repeated in dumb show a
hundred times, and those most ignorant of the English idiom can cry out
with rapture, "A horse, a horse; my kingdom for a horse!"' _Garrick
Corres._ i. 375. See _ante_, vol. iv. under Sept. 30, 1783

[127] See _ante_, i. 466.

[128] Johnson, in the preface to his _Dictionary_ (_Works_, v. 43),
after stating what he had at first planned, continues:--'But these were
the dreams of a poet doomed at last to wake a lexicographer.' See
_ante_, i. 189, note 2, and May I, 1783.

[129] See his letter on this subject in the APPENDIX. BOSWELL. He had
been tutor to Hume's nephew and was one of Hume's friends. J.H Burton's
_Hume_, ii. 399.

[130] By the Baron d'Holbach. Voltaire (_Works_, xii. 212) describes
this book as 'Une _Philippique_ contre Dieu.' He wrote to M.
Saurin:--'Ce maudit livre du Système de la Nature est un péché contre
nature. Je vous sais bien bon gré de réprouver l'athéisme et d'aimer ce
vers: "Si Dieu n'existait pas, il faudrait l'inventer." Je suis rarement
content de mes vers, mais j'avoue que j'ai une tendresse de père pour
celui-là.' _Ib_. v. 418.

[131] One of Garrick's correspondents speaks of 'the sneer of one of
Johnson's ghastly smiles.' _Garrick Corres_. i. 334. 'Ghastly smile' is
borrowed from _Paradise Lost_, ii. 846.

[132] See _ante_, iii. 212. In Chambers's _Traditions of Edinburgh_, ii.
158, is given a comic poem entitled _The Court of Session Garland_,
written by Boswell, with the help, it was said, of Maclaurin.

[133] Dr. John Gregory, Professor of Medicine in the University of
Edinburgh, died on Feb. 10 of this year. It was his eldest son James who
met Johnson. 'This learned family has given sixteen professors to
British Universities.' Chalmers's _Biog. Dict._ xvi. 289.

[134] See _ante_, i. 257, note 3.

[135] See _ante_, i. 228.

[136] See _ante_, ii. 196.

[137] In the original, _cursed the form that_, &c. Johnson's _Works_, i.

[138] Mistress of Edward IV. BOSWELL.

[139] Mistress of Louis XIV. BOSWELL. Voltaire, speaking of the King and
Mlle. de La Vallière (not Valiere, as Lord Hailes wrote her name),
says:--'Il goûta avec elle le bonheur rare d'être aimé uniquement pour
lui-même.' _Siècle de Louis XIV_, ch. 25. He describes her penitence in
a fine passage. _Ib._ ch. 26.

[140] Malone, in a note on the _Life of Boswell_ under 1749, says that
'this lady was not the celebrated Lady Vane, whose memoirs were given to
the public by Dr. Smollett [in _Peregrine Pickle_], but Anne Vane, who
was mistress to Frederick Prince of Wales, and died in 1736, not long
before Johnson settled in London.' She is mentioned in a note to Horace
Walpole's _Letters_, 1. cxxxvi.

[141] Catharine Sedley, the mistress of James II, is described by
Macaulay, _Hist of Eng._ ed. 1874, ii. 323.

[142] Dr. A Carlyle (_Auto._ p. 114) tells how in 1745 he found
'Professor Maclaurin busy on the walls on the south side of Edinburgh,
endeavoring to make them more defensible [against the Pretender]. He had
even erected some small cannon.' See _ante_, iii, 15, for a ridiculous
story told of him by Goldsmith.


      'Crudelis ubique
Luctus, ubique pavor, et plurima
  mortis imago:'
    'grim grief on every side,
And fear on every side there is,
  and many-faced is death.'

Morris, Virgil _Aeneids_, ii. 368.

[144] Mr. Maclaurin's epitaph, as engraved on a marble tomb-stone, in the
Grey-Friars church-yard, Edinburgh:--

     Infra situs est
     Mathes. olim in Acad. Edin. Prof.
     Electus ipso Newtono suadente.
     Non ut nomini paterno consulat,
     Nam tali auxilio nil eget;
     Sed ut in hoc infelici campo,
     Ubi luctus regnant et pavor,
     Mortalibus prorsus non absit solatium;
     Hujus enim scripta evolve,
     Mentemque tantarum rerum capacem
     Corpori caduco superstitem crede.


[145] See _ante_, i. 437, and _post_, p. 72.


     'What is't to us, if taxes rise or fall,
      Thanks to our fortune we pay none at all.

      No statesman e'er will  find it worth his pains
      To tax our labours and excise our brains.
      Burthens like these vile earthly buildings bear,
      No tribute's laid on _Castles_ in the _Air_'

Churchill's _Poems, Night,_ ed. 1766, i. 89.

[147] Pitt, in 1784, laid a tax of ten shillings a year on every horse
'kept for the saddle, or to be put in carriages used solely for
pleasure.'_Parl. Hist._ xxiv. 1028.

[148] In 1763 he published the following description of himself in his
_Correspondence with Erskine_, ed. 1879, p.36. 'The author of the _Ode
to Tragedy_ is a most excellent man; he is of an ancient family in the
west of Scotland, upon which he values himself not a little. At his
nativity there appeared omens of his future greatness. His parts are
bright; and his education has been good. He has travelled in
post-chaises miles without number. He is fond of seeing much of the
world. He eats of every good dish, especially apple-pie. He drinks old
hock. He has a very fine temper. He is somewhat of an humorist, and a
little tinctured with pride. He has a good manly countenance, and he
owns himself to be amorous. He has infinite vivacity, yet is observed at
times to have a melancholy cast. He is rather fat than lean, rather
short than tall, rather young than old.' He is oddly enough described in
Arighi's _Histoire de Pascal Paoli_, i. 231, 'En traversant la
Mediterranée sur de frêles navires pour venir s'asseoir au foyer de la
nationalité Corse, des hommes _graves_ tels que Boswel et Volney
obéissaient sans doute à un sentiment bien plus élevé qu'au besoin
vulgaire d'une puérile curiosité'

[149] See _ante_, i. 400.

[150] For _respectable_, see _ante_, iii. 241, note 2.

[151] Boswell, in the last of his _Hypochondriacks_, says:--'I perceive
that my essays are not so lively as I expected they would be, but they
are more learned. And I beg I may not be charged with excessive
arrogance when I venture to say that they contain a considerable portion
of original thinking.'_London Mag_. 1783, p. 124.

[152] Burns, in _The Author's Earnest Cry and Prayer_, says:--

     'But could I like Montgomeries fight,
      Or gab like Boswell.'

Boswell and Burns were born within a few miles of each other, Boswell
being the elder by eighteen years.

     'For pointed satire I would Buckhurst choose,
      The best good man, with the worst-natured muse.'

Rochester's _Imitations of Horace, Sat_. i. 10.

[154] Johnson's _Works_, ix. i. See _ante_, ii. 278, where he wrote to
Boswell:--'I have endeavoured to do you some justice in the first
paragraph [of the _Journey_].' The day before he started for Scotland he
wrote to Dr. Taylor:--'Mr. Boswell, an active lively fellow, is to
conduct me round the country.' _Notes and Queries_, 6th S. v. 422. 'His
inquisitiveness,' he said, 'is seconded by great activity.' _Works_, ix.
8. On Oct. 7 he wrote from Skye:--'Boswell will praise my resolution and
perseverance; and I shall in return celebrate his good humour and
perpetual cheerfulness.... It is very convenient to travel with him, for
there is no house where he is not received with kindness and respect.'
_Piozzi Letters_, i. 198. He told Mrs. Knowles that 'Boswell was the
best travelling companion in the world.' _Ante_, iii. 294. Mr. Croker
says (_Croker's Boswell_, p. 280):--'I asked Lord Stowell in what
estimation he found Boswell amongst his countrymen. "Generally liked as
a good-natured jolly fellow," replied his lordship. "But was he
respected?" "Well, I think he had about the proportion of respect that
you might guess would be shown to a jolly fellow." His lordship thought
there was more regard than respect.' _Hebrides,_ p. 40.

[155] See _ante_, ii. 103, 411.

[156] There were two quarto volumes of this Diary; perhaps one of them
Johnson took with him. Boswell had 'accidently seen them and had read a
great deal in them,' as he owned to Johnson (_ante_, under Dec. 9,
1784), and moreover had, it should seem, copied from them (_ante_, i.
251). The 'few fragments' he had received from Francis Barber
(_ante_, i. 27).

[157] In the original 'how much we lost _at separation_' Johnson's
_Works_, ix. I. Mr. William Nairne was afterwards a Judge of the Court
of Sessions by the title of Lord Dunsinnan. Sir Walter Scott wrote of
him:--'He was a man of scrupulous integrity. When sheriff depute of
Perthshire, he found upon reflection, that he had decided a poor man's
case erroneously; and as the only remedy, supplied the litigant
privately with money to carry the suit to the supreme court, where his
judgment was reversed.' Croker's _Boswell_, p. 280.


     'Non illic urbes, non tu mirabere silvas:
      Una est injusti caerula forma maris.

_Ovid. Amor._ L. II. El. xi.

     Nor groves nor towns the ruthless ocean shows;
     Unvaried still its azure surface flows.


[159] See _ante_. ii. 229.

[160] My friend, General Campbell, Governour of Madras, tells me, that
they made _speldings_ in the East-Indies, particularly at Bombay, where
they call them _Bambaloes_. BOSWELL. Johnson had told Boswell that he
was 'the most _unscottified_ of his countrymen.'_Ante_, ii. 242.

[161] 'A small island, which neither of my companions had ever visited,
though, lying within their view, it had all their lives solicited their
notice.' Johnson's _Works_, ix. 1.

[162] 'The remains of the fort have been removed to assist in
constructing a very useful lighthouse upon the island. WALTER SCOTT.


     'Unhappy queen!
      Unwilling I forsook your friendly state.'

Dryden. [_Aeneid_, vi. 460.] BOSWELL.

[164] Dr. A. Carlyle (_Auto_. p. 331) says of his journey to London in
1758:--'It is to be noted that we could get no four-wheeled chaise
till we came to Durham, those conveyances being then only in their
infancy. Turnpike roads were only in their commencement in the north.'
'It affords a southern stranger,' wrote Johnson (_Works_ ix. 2), 'a new
kind of pleasure to travel so commodiously without the interruption of

[165] See _ante_, iii. 265, for Lord Shelburne's statement on this

[166] See _ante_, ii. 339, and iii. 205, note 4.

[167] See _ante_, iii. 46.

[168] The passage quoted by Dr. Johnson is in the _Character of the
Assembly-man_; Butler's _Remains_, p. 232, edit. 1754:--'He preaches,
indeed, both in season and out of season; for he rails at Popery, when
the land is almost lost in Presbytery; and would cry Fire! Fire! in
Noah's flood.'

There is reason to believe that this piece was not written by Butler,
but by Sir John Birkenhead; for Wood, in his _Athenae Oxonienses_, vol.
ii. p. 640, enumerates it among that gentleman's works, and gives the
following account of it:

_'The Assembly-man_ (or the character of an assembly-man) written 1647,
_Lond._ 1662-3, in three sheets in qu. The copy of it was taken from the
author by those who said they could not rob, because all was theirs; so
excised what they liked not; and so mangled and reformed it, that it was
no character of an Assembly, but of themselves. At length, after it had
slept several years, the author published it to avoid false copies. It
is also reprinted in a book entit. _Wit and Loyalty revived_, in a
collection of some smart satyrs in verse and prose on the late times.
_Lond._ 1682, qu. said to be written by Abr. Cowley, Sir John
Birkenhead, and Hudibras, alias Sam. Butler.'--For this information I am
indebted to Mr. Reed, of Staple Inn. BOSWELL. This tract is in the
_Harleian Misc_., ed. 1810, vi. 57. Mr. Reed's quotation differs
somewhat from it.

[169] 'When a Scotchman was talking against Warburton, Johnson said he
had more literature than had been imported from Scotland since the days
of Buchanan. Upon the other's mentioning other eminent writers of the
Scotch; "These will not do," said Johnson, "Let us have some more of
your northern lights; these are mere farthing candles."' Johnson's
_Works_ (1787), xi. 208. Dr. T. Campbell records (_Diary_, p. 61) that
at the dinner at Mr. Dilly's, described _ante_, ii. 338, 'Dr. Johnson
compared England and Scotland to two lions, the one saturated with his
belly full, and the other prowling for prey. He defied any one to
produce a classical book written in Scotland since Buchanan. Robertson,
he said, used pretty words, but he liked Hume better; and neither of
them would he allow to be more to Clarendon than a rat to a cat. "A
Scotch surgeon may have more learning than an English one, and all
Scotland could not muster learning enough for Lowth's _Prelections_."'
See _ante_, ii. 363, and March 30, 1783.

[170] The poem is entitled _Gualterus Danistonus ad Amicos_. It

     'Dum studeo fungi fallentis munere vitae'

Which Prior imitates:--

     'Studious the busy moments to deceive.'

Sir Walter Scott thought that the poem praised by Johnson was 'more
likely the fine epitaph on John, Viscount of Dundee, translated by
Dryden, and beginning _Ultime Scotoruml_' Archibald Pitcairne, M.D., was
born in 1652, and died in 1713.

[171] My Journal, from this day inclusive, was read by Dr. Johnson.
BOSWELL. It was read by Johnson up to the second paragraph of Oct. 26.
Boswell, it should seem, once at least shewed Johnson a part of the
Journal from which he formed his _Life_. See _ante_, iii. 260, where he
says:--'It delighted him on a review to find that his conversation
teemed with point and imagery.'

[172] See _ante_, ii. 20, note 4.

[173] Goldsmith, in his _Present State of Polite Learning_, published in
1759, says, (ch. x):--'When the great Somers was at the helm, patronage
was fashionable among our nobility ... Since the days of a certain prime
minister of inglorious memory [Sir Robert Walpole] the learned have been
kept pretty much at a distance. ... The author, when unpatronised by the
Great, has naturally recourse to the bookseller. There cannot be perhaps
imagined a combination more prejudicial to taste than this. It is the
interest of the one to allow as little for writing, and of the other to
write as much as possible; accordingly tedious compilations and
periodical magazines are the result of their joint endeavours.'

[174] In the first number of _The Rambler_, Johnson shews how attractive
to an author is the form of publication which he was himself then
adopting:--'It heightens his alacrity to think in how many places he
shall have what he is now writing read with ecstacies to-morrow.'

[175] Yet he said 'the inhabitants of Lichfield were the most sober,
decent people in England.' _Ante_, ii. 463.

[176] At the beginning of the eighteenth century, says Goldsmith,
'smoking in the rooms [at Bath] was permitted.' When Nash became King of
Bath he put it down. Goldsmith's _Works_, ed. 1854, iv. 51. 'Johnson,'
says Boswell (_ante_, i. 317), 'had a high opinion of the sedative
influence of smoking.'

[177] Dr. Johnson used to practise this himself very much. BOSWELL.

[178] In _The Tatler_, for May 24, 1709, we are told that 'rural
esquires wear shirts half a week, and are drunk twice a day.' In the
year 1720, Fenton urged Gay 'to sell as much South Sea stock as would
purchase a hundred a year for life, "which will make you sure of a clean
shirt and a shoulder of mutton every day."' Johnson's _Works_, viii. 65.
In _Tristram Shandy_, ii. ch. 4, published in 1759, we read:--'It was in
this year [about 1700] that my uncle began to break in upon the daily
regularity of a clean shirt.' In _the Spiritual Quixote_, published in
1773 (i. 51), Tugwell says to his master:--'Your Worship belike has been
used to shift you twice a week.' Mrs. Piozzi (_Journey_, i. 105, date of
1789) says that she heard in Milan 'a travelled gentleman telling his
auditors how all the men in London, _that were noble_, put on a clean
shirt every day.' Johnson himself owned that he had 'no passion for
clean linen.' _Ante_, i. 397.

[179] Scott, in _Old Mortality_, ed. 1860, ix. 352, says:--'It was a
universal custom in Scotland, that, when the family was at dinner, the
outer-gate of the court-yard, if there was one, and if not, the door of
the house itself, was always shut and locked.' In a note on this he
says:--'The custom of keeping the door of a house or chateau locked
during the time of dinner probably arose from the family being anciently
assembled in the hall at that meal, and liable to surprise.'

[180] Johnson, writing of 'the chapel of the alienated college,'
says:--'I was always by some civil excuse hindered from entering it.'
_Works_, ix. 4.

[181] George Marline's _Reliquiae divi Andreae_ was published in 1797.

[182] See _ante_, ii. 171, and iv. 75.

[183] Mr. Chambers says that Knox was buried in a place which soon after
became, and ever since has been, a high-way; namely, the old church-yard
of St. Giles in Edinburgh. Croker's _Boswell_, p. 283.

[184] In _The Rambler_, No. 82, Johnson makes a virtuoso write:--'I
often lamented that I was not one of that happy generation who
demolished the convents and monasteries, and broke windows by law.' He
had in 1754 'viewed with indignation the ruins of the Abbeys of Oseney
and Rewley near Oxford.' Ante, i. 273. Smollett, in _Humphry Clinker_
(Letrer of Aug. 8), describes St. Andrews as 'the skeleton of a
venerable city.'

[185] 'Some talked of the right of society to the labour of individuals,
and considered retirement as a desertion of duty. Others readily allowed
that there was a time when the claims of the publick were satisfied, and
when a man might properly sequester himself to review his life and
purify his heart.' _Rasselas_, ch. 22.

[186] See _ante_, ii. 423.

[187] See _ante_, iv. 5, note 2, and v. 27.

[188] 'He that lives well in the world is better than he that lives well
in a monastery. But, perhaps, every one is not able to stem the
temptations of publick life, and, if he cannot conquer, he may properly
retreat.' _Rasselas_, ch. 47. See _ante_, ii. 435.

[189] 'A youthful passion for abstracted devotion should not be
encouraged.' _Ante_, ii. 10. The hermit in _Rasselas_ (ch. 21)
says:--'The life of a solitary man will be certainly miserable, but not
certainly devout.' In Johnson's _Works_ (1787), xi. 203, we read that
'Johnson thought worse of the vices of retirement than of those of
society.' Southey (_Life of Wesley_, i. 39) writes:--'Some time before
John Wesley's return to the University, he had travelled many miles to
see what is called "a serious man." This person said to him, "Sir, you
wish to serve God and go to heaven. Remember, you cannot serve Him
alone; you must therefore find companions or make them; the Bible knows
nothing of solitary religion." Wesley never forgot these words.'

[190] [Erga neon, boulai de meson euchai de gerunton. _Hesiodi
Fragmenta_, Lipsiae 1840, p. 371]

     Let youth in deeds, in  counsel man engage;
     Prayer is the proper duty of old age.


[191] One 'sorrowful scene' Johnson was perhaps too late in the year to
see. Wesley, who visited St. Andrews on May 27, 1776, during the
vacation, writes (_Journal_, iv. 75):--'What is left of St. Leonard's
College is only a heap of ruins. Two colleges remain. One of them has a
tolerable square; but all the windows are broke, like those of a
brothel. We were informed the students do this before they leave
the college.'

[192] 'He was murdered by the ruffians of reformation, in the manner of
which Knox has given what he himself calls a merry narrative.' Johnson's
_Works_, ix. 3. In May 1546 the Cardinal had Wishart the Reformer
killed, and at the end of the same month he got killed himself.

[193] Johnson says (_Works_, ix. 5):--'The doctor, by whom it was
shown, hoped to irritate or subdue my English vanity by telling me that
we had no such repository of books in England.' He wrote to Mrs. Thrale
(_Piozzi Letters_, i. 113):--'For luminousness and elegance it may vie
at least with the new edifice at Streatham.' 'The new edifice' was, no
doubt, the library of which he took the touching farewell. _Ante_,
iv. 158.

[194] 'Sorrow is properly that state of the mind in which our desires
are fixed upon the past, without looking forward to the future, an
incessant wish that something were otherwise than it has been, a
tormenting and harassing want of some enjoyment or possession which we
have lost, and which no endeavours can possibly regain.' _The Rambler_,
No. 47. He wrote to Mrs. Thrale on the death of her son:--'Do not
indulge your sorrow; try to drive it away by either pleasure or pain;
for, opposed to what you are feeling, many pains will become pleasures.'
_Piozzi Letters_, i. 310.

[195] See ante, ii. 151.

[196] The Pembroke College grace was written by Camden. It was as
follows:--'Gratias tibi agimus, Deus misericors, pro acceptis a tua
bonitate alimentis; enixe comprecantes ut serenissimum nostrum Regem
Georgium, totam regiam familiam, populumque tuum universum tuta in pace
semper custodies.'

[197] Sharp was murdered on May 3, 1679, in a moor near St. Andrews.
Burnet's _History of his Own time_, ed. 1818, ii. 82, and Scott's _Old
Mortality_, ed, 1860, ix. 297, and x. 203.

[198] 'One of its streets is now lost; and in those that remain there is
the silence and solitude of inactive indigence and gloomy
depopulation.... St. Andrews seems to be a place eminently adapted to
study and education.... The students, however, are represented as, at
this time, not exceeding a hundred. I saw no reason for imputing their
paucity to the present professors.' Johnson's _Works_, ix. 4. A student,
he adds, of lower rank could get his board, lodging, and instruction for
less than ten pounds for the seven months of residence. Stockdale says
(_Memoirs_, i. 238) that 'in St. Andrews, in 1756, for a good bedroom,
coals, and the attendance of a servant I paid one shilling a week.'

[199] _The Compleat Fencing-Master_, by Sir William Hope. London, 1691.

[200] 'In the whole time of our stay we were gratified by every mode of
kindness, and entertained with all the elegance of lettered hospitality'
Johnson's _Works_, ix. 3.

[201] Dugald Stewart (_Life of Adam Smith_, p. 107) writes:--'Mr. Smith
observed to me not long before his death, that after all his practice in
writing he composed as slowly, and with as great difficulty as at first.
He added at the same time that Mr. Hume had acquired so great a facility
in this respect, that the last volumes of his _History_ were printed
from his original copy, with a few marginal corrections.' See _ante_,
iii. 437 and iv. 12.

[202] Of these only twenty-five have been published: Johnson's _Works_,
ix. 289-525. See _ante_, iii. 19, note 3, and 181. Johnson wrote on
April 20, 1778:--'I have made sermons, perhaps as readily as formerly.'
_Pr. and Med._ p. 170. 'I should think,' said Lord Eldon, 'that no
clergyman ever wrote as many sermons as Lord Stowell. I advised him to
burn all his manuscripts of that kind. It is not fair to the clergymen
to have it known he wrote them.' Twiss's _Eldon_, iii. 286. Johnson, we
may be sure, had no copy of any of his sermons. That none of them should
be known but those he wrote for Taylor is strange.

[203] He made the same statement on June 3, 1781 (_ante_, iv. 127),
adding, 'I should be glad to see it [the translation] now.' This shows
that he was not speaking of his translation of _Lobo_, as Mr. Croker
maintains in a note on this passage. I believe he was speaking of his
translation of Courayer's _Life of Paul Sarpi. Ante_, i. 135.

[204] 'As far as I am acquainted with modern architecture, I am aware of
no streets which, in simplicity and manliness of style, or general
breadth and brightness of effect, equal those of the New Town of
Edinburgh. But, etc.' Ruskin's _Lectures on Architecture and
Painting_, p. 2.

[205] Horace, _Odes_, ii. 14. 1.

[206] John Abernethy, a Presbyterian divine. His works in 7 vols. 8vo.
were published in 1740-51.

[207] Leechman was principal of Glasgow University (_post_, Oct. 29). On
his appointment to the Chair of Theology he had been prosecuted for
heresy for having, in his _Sermon on Prayer_, omitted to state the
obligation to pray in the name of Christ. Dr. A. Carlyle's _Auto_. p.
69. One of his sermons was placed in Hume's hands, apparently that the
author might have his suggestions in preparing a second edition. Hume
says:--'First the addressing of our virtuous withes and desires to the
Deity, since the address has no influence on him, is only a kind of
rhetorical figure, in order to render these wishes more ardent and
passionate. This is Mr. Leechman's doctrine. Now the use of any figure
of speech can never be a duty. Secondly, this figure, like most figures
of rhetoric, has an evident impropriety in it, for we can make use of no
expression, or even thought, in prayers and entreaties, which does not
imply that these prayers have an influence. Thirdly, this figure is very
dangerous, and leads directly, and even unavoidably, to impiety and
blasphemy,' etc. J.H. Burton's _Hume_, i. 161.

[208] Nichols (_Lit. Anec._ ii. 555) records:--'During the whole of my
intimacy with Dr. Johnson he rarely permitted me to depart without some
sententious advice.... His words at parting were, "Take care of your
eternal salvation. Remember to observe the Sabbath. Let it never be a
day of business, nor wholly a day of dissipation." He concluded his
solemn farewell with, "Let my words have their due weight. They are the
words of a dying man." I never saw him more.'

[209] See _ante_, ii. 72.

[210] 'From the bank of the Tweed to St. Andrews I had never seen a
single tree which I did not believe to have grown up far within the
present century.... The variety of sun and shade is here utterly
unknown.... A tree might be a show in Scotland as a horse in Venice.
At St. Andrews Mr. Boswell found only one, and recommended it to my
notice: I told him that it was rough and low, or looked as if I thought
so. "This," said he, "is nothing to another a few miles off." I was still
less delighted to hear that another tree was not to be seen nearer.
"Nay," said a gentleman that stood by, "I know but of this and that tree
in the county."' Johnson's _Works_, ix. 7 'In all this journey [so far
as Slains Castle] I have not travelled an hundred yards between hedges,
or seen five trees fit for the carpenter.' _Piozzi Letters_, i.120. See
_ante_, ii. 301.

[211] One of the Boswells of this branch was, in 1798, raised to the
bench under the title of Lord Balmuto. It was his sister who was
Boswell's step-mother. Rogers's _Boswelliana,_ pp. 4, 82.

[212] 'The colony of Leuchars is a vain imagination concerning a certain
fleet of Danes wrecked on Sheughy Dikes.' WALTER SCOTT. 'The fishing
people on that coast have, however, all the appearance of being a
different race from the inland population, and their dialect has many
peculiarities.' LOCKHART. Croker's _Boswell_, p. 286.

[213] 'I should scarcely have regretted my journey, had it afforded
nothing more than the sight of Aberbrothick.' _Works_, ix. 9.

[214] Johnson referred, I believe, to the last of Tillotson's _Sermons
preached upon Several Occasions_, ed. 1673, p. 316, where the preacher
says:--'Supposing the _Scripture_ to be a Divine Revelation, and that
these words (_This is My Body_), if they be in Scripture, must
necessarily be taken in the strict and literal sense, I ask now, What
greater evidence any man has that these words (_This is My Body_) are in
the Bible than every man has that the bread is not changed in the
sacrament? Nay, no man has so much, for we have only the evidence of
_one_ sense that these words are in the Bible, but that the bread is not
changed we have the concurring testimony of _several_ of our senses.'

[215] This also is Tillotson's argument. 'There is no more certain
foundation for it [transubstantiation] in Scripture than for our
Saviour's being substantially changed into all those things which are
said of him, as that he is a _rock_, a _vine_, a _door_, and a hundred
other things.' _Ib_. p. 313.

[216] Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, except
ye eat the flesh of the son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life
in you. See _St. John's Gospel_, chap. vi. 53, and following
verses. BOSWELL.

[217] See _ante_, p. 26.

[218] See _ante_, i. 140, note 5, and v. 50.

[219] Johnson, after saying that the inn was not so good as they
expected, continues:--'But Mr. Boswell desired me to observe that the
innkeeper was an Englishman, and I then defended him as well as I
could.' _Works_, ix. 9.

[220] Johnson wrote to Mrs. Thrale on July 29, 1775 (_Piozzi Letters_,
i. 292):--' I hope I shall quickly come to Streatham...and catch a little
gaiety among you.' On this Baretti noted in his copy:--'_That_ he never
caught. He thought and mused at Streatham as he did habitually
everywhere, and seldom or never minded what was doing about him.' On the
margin of i. 315 Baretti has written:--'Johnson mused as much on the road
to Paris as he did in his garret in London as much at a French opera as
in his room at Streatham.'

[221] _A Biographical Sketch of Dr. Samuel Johnson,_ by Thomas Tyers,
Esq. See _ante_, iii. 308.

[222] This description of Dr. Johnson appears to have been borrowed from
Tom Jones, bk. xi. ch. ii. 'The other who, like a ghost, only wanted to
be spoke to, readily answered, '&c. BOSWELL.

[223] Perhaps he gave the 'shilling extraordinary' because he 'found a
church,' as he says, 'clean to a degree unknown in any other part of
Scotland.' _Works_, ix. 9.

[224] See _ante,_ iii. 22.

[225] See _ante,_ May 9, 1784. Yet Johnson says (_Works_, ix. 10):--'The
magnetism of Lord Monboddo's conversation easily drew us out of
our way.'

[226] There were several points of similarity between them; learning,
clearness of head, precision of speech, and a love of research on many
subjects which people in general do not investigate. Foote paid Lord
Monboddo the compliment of saying, that he was an Elzevir edition
of Johnson.

It has been shrewdly observed that Foote must have meant a diminutive,
or _pocket_ edition. BOSWELL. The latter part of this note is not in the
first edition.

[227] Lord Elibank (_post_, Sept. 12) said that he would go five hundred
miles to see Dr. Johnson; but Johnson never said more than he meant.

[228] _Works_, ix. 10. Of the road to Montrose he remarks:--'When I had
proceeded thus far I had opportunities of observing, what I had never
heard, that there were many beggars in Scotland. In Edinburgh the the
proportion is, I think, not less than in London, and in the smaller
places it is far greater than in English towns of the same extent. It
must, however, be allowed that they are not importunate, nor clamorous.
They solicit silently, or very modestly.' _Ib._ p. 9. See _post_, p.
116, note 2.

[229] James Mill was born on April 6, 1773, at Northwater Bridge, parish
of Logie Pert, Forfar. The bridge was 'on the great central line of
communication from the north of Scotland. The hamlet is right and left
of the high road.' Bain's _Life of James Mill_, p. 1. Boswell and
Johnson, on their road to Laurence Kirk, must have passed close to the
cottage in which he was lying, a baby not five months old.

[230] See _ante_, i. 211.

[231] There is some account of him in Chambers's _Traditions of
Edinburgh_, ed. 1825, ii. 173, and in Dr. A. Carlyle's _Auto._ p. 136.

[232] G. Chalmers (_Life of Ruddiman_, p. 270) says:--'In May, 1790, Lord
Gardenston declared that he still intended to erect a proper monument in
his village to the memory of the late learned and worthy Mr. Ruddiman.'
In 1792 Gardenston, in his _Miscellanies_, p. 257, attacked Ruddiman.
'It has of late become fashionable,' he wrote, 'to speak of Ruddiman in
terms of the highest respect.' The monument was never raised.

[233] _A Letter to the Inhabitants of Laurence Kirk_, by F. Garden.

[234] 'Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have
entertained angels unawares.' _Hebrews_ xiii, 2.

[235] This, I find, is considered as obscure. I suppose Dr. Johnson
meant, that I assiduously and earnestly recommended myself to some of
the members, as in a canvass for an election into parliament. BOSWELL.
See _ante_, ii, 235.

[236] Goldsmith in _Retaliation_, a few months later, wrote of William
Burke:--'Would you ask for his merits? alas! he had none; What was good
was spontaneous, his faults were his own.' See _ante_, iii 362, note 2.

[237] See _ante_, iii. 260, 390, 425.

[238] Hannah More (_Memoirs_, i. 252) wrote of Monboddo in 1782:--'He is
such an extravagant adorer of the ancients, that he scarcely allows the
English language to be capable of any excellence, still less the French.
He said we moderns are entirely degenerated. I asked in what? "In
everything," was his answer. He loves slavery upon principle. I asked
him how he could vindicate such an enormity. He owned it was because
Plutarch justified it. He is so wedded to system that, as Lord
Barrington said to me the other day, rather than sacrifice his favourite
opinion that men were born with tails, he would be contented to wear
one himself.'

[239] Scott, in a note on _Guy Mannering_, ed. 1860, iv. 267, writes of
Monboddo:--'The conversation of the excellent old man, his high,
gentleman-like, chivalrous spirit, the learning and wit with which he
defended his fanciful paradoxes, the kind and liberal spirit of his
hospitality, must render these _noctes coenaeque_ dear to all who, like
the author (though then young), had the honour of sitting at his board.'

[240] Lord Cockburn, writing of the title that Jeffrey took when he was
raised to the Bench in 1834, said:--'The Scotch Judges are styled
_Lords_; a title to which long usage has associated feelings of
reverence in the minds of the people, who could not now be soon made to
respect or understand _Mr. Justice_. During its strongly feudalised
condition, the landholders of Scotland, who were almost the sole judges,
were really known only by the names of their estates. It was an insult,
and in some parts of the country it is so still, to call a laird by his
personal, instead of his territorial, title. But this assumption of two
names, one official and one personal, and being addressed by the one and
subscribing by the other, is wearing out, and will soon disappear
entirely.' Cockburn's _Jeffrey_, i. 365. See _post_, p. 111, note 1.

[241] _Georgics_, i. 1.

[242] Walter Scott used to tell an instance of Lord Monboddo's
agricultural enthusiasm, that returning home one night after an absence
(I think) on circuit, he went out with a candle to look at a field of
turnips, then a novelty in Scotland. CROKER.

[243] Johnson says the same in his _Life of John Philips_, and adds:--
'This I was told by Miller, the great gardener and botanist, whose
experience was, that "there were many books written on the same subject
in prose, which do not contain so much truth as that poem."' _Works_,
vii. 234. Miller is mentioned in Walpole's _Letters_, ii. 352:--'There is
extreme taste in the park [Hagley]: the seats are not the best, but
there is not one absurdity. There is a ruined castle built by Miller,
that would get him his freedom, even of Strawberry: it has the true rust
of the Barons' Wars.'

[244] See _ante_, p. 27.

[245] My note of this is much too short. _Brevis esse laboro, obscurus
fio_. ['I strive to be concise, I prove obscure.' FRANCIS. Horace, _Ars
Poet_. l. 25.] Yet as I have resolved that _the very Journal which Dr.
Johnson read_, shall be presented to the publick, I will not expand the
text in any considerable degree, though I may occasionally supply a word
to complete the sense, as I fill up the blanks of abbreviation, in the
writing; neither of which can be said to change the genuine _Journal_.
One of the best criticks of our age conjectures that the imperfect
passage above was probably as follows: 'In his book we have an accurate
display of a nation in war, and a nation in peace; the peasant is
delineated as truly as the general; nay, even harvest-sport, and the
modes of ancient theft are described.' BOSWELL. 'One of the best
criticks is, I believe, Malone, who had 'perused the original
manuscript.' See _ante_, p. 1; and _post_, Oct. 26, and under Nov. 11.

[246] It was in the Parliament-house that 'the ordinary Lords of
Session,' the Scotch Judges, that is to say, held their courts.
_Ante_, p. 39.

[247] Dr. Johnson modestly said, he had not read Homer so much as he
wished he had done. But this conversation shews how well he was
acquainted with the Maeonian bard; and he has shewn it still more in his
criticism upon Pope's _Homer_, in his _Life_ of that Poet. My excellent
friend, Mr. Langton, told me, he was once present at a dispute between
Dr. Johnson and Mr. Burke, on the comparative merits of Homer and
Virgil, which was carried on with extraordinary abilities on both sides.
Dr. Johnson maintained the superiority of Homer. BOSWELL. Johnson told
Windham that he had never read through the Odyssey in the original.
Windham's _Diary_, p. 17. See _ante_, iii. 193, and May 1, 1783.

[248] Johnson ten years earlier told Boswell that he loved most 'the
biographical part of literature.' _Ante_, i. 425. Goldsmith said of
biography:--'It furnishes us with an opportunity of giving advice freely
and without offence.... Counsels as well as compliments are best
conveyed in an indirect and oblique manner, and this renders biography
as well as fable a most convenient vehicle for instruction. An ingenious
gentleman was asked what was the best lesson for youth; he answered,
"The life of a good man." Being again asked what was the next best, he
replied, "The life of a bad one."' Prior's _Goldsmith_, i. 395.

[249] See _ante_, p. 57.

[250] Ten years later he said:--'There is now a great deal more
learning in the world than there was formerly; for it is universally
diffused.' _Ante_, April 29,1783. Windham (_Diary_, p. 17) records
'Johnson's opinion that I could not name above five of my college
acquaintances who read Latin with sufficient ease to make it

[251] See _ante_, ii. 352.

[252] 'Warburton, whatever was his motive, undertook without
solicitation to rescue Pope from the talons of Crousaz, by freeing him
from the imputation of favouring fatality, or rejecting revelation; and
from month to month continued a vindication of the _Essay on Man_ in the
literary journal of that time, called the _Republick of Letters'_
Johnson's _Works_, viii. 289. Pope wrote to Warburton of the _Essay on
Man_:--'You understand my work better than I do myself.' Pope's _Works_,
ed. 1886, ix. 211.

[253] See _ante_, ii. 37, note I, and Pope's _Works_, ed. 1886, ix. 220.
Allen was Ralph Allen of Prior Park near Bath, to whom Fielding
dedicated _Amelia_, and who is said to have been the original of
Allworthy in _Tom Jones_. It was he of whom Pope wrote:--

     'Let low-born Allen, with an awkward shame,
      Do good by stealth and blush to find it fame.'

_Epilogue to the Satires_, i. 135.

_Low-born_ in later editions was changed to _humble_. Warburton not only
married his niece, but, on his death, became in her right owner of
Prior Park.

[254] Mr. Mark Pattison (_Satires of Pope_, p. 158) points out
Warburton's 'want of penetration in that subject [metaphysics] which he
considered more peculiarly his own.' He said of 'the late Mr. Baxter'
(Andrew Baxter, not Richard Baxter), that 'a few pages of his reasoning
have not only more sense and substance than all the elegant discourses
of Dr. Berkeley, but infinitely better entitle him to the character of a
great genius.'

[255] It is of Warburton that Churchill wrote in _The Duellist (Poems,_
ed. 1766, ii. 82):--

     'To prove his faith which all admit
      Is at least equal to his wit,
      And make himself a man of note,
      He in defence of Scripture wrote;
      So long he wrote, and long about it,
      That e'en believers 'gan to doubt it.'

[256] I find some doubt has been entertained concerning Dr. Johnson's
meaning here. It is to be supposed that he meant, 'when a king shall
again be entertained in Scotland.' BOSWELL.

[257] Perhaps among these ladies was the Miss Burnet of Monboddo, on
whom Burns wrote an elegy.

[258] In the _Rambler_, No. 98, entitled _The Necessity of Cultivating
Politeness_, Johnson says:--'The universal axiom in which all
complaisance is included, and from which flow all the formalities which
custom has established in civilized nations, is, _That no man shall give
any preference to himself.'_ In the same paper, he says that
'unnecessarily to obtrude unpleasing ideas is a species of oppression.'

[259] Act ii. sc. 5.

[260] Perhaps he was referring to Polyphemus's club, which was

     'Of height and bulk so vast
      The largest ship might claim it for a mast.'

Pope's _Odyssey_, ix. 382.

Or to Agamemnon's sceptre:--

     'Which never more shall leaves or blossoms bear.'

_Iliad_, i. 310.

[261] 'We agreed pretty well, only we disputed in adjusting the claims
of merit between a shopkeeper of London and a savage of the American
wildernesses. Our opinions were, I think, maintained on both sides
without full conviction; Monboddo declared boldly for the savage, and I,
perhaps for that reason, sided with the citizen.' _Piozzi Letters_,
i. 115.


     'Heroes are much the same, the point's agreed,
      From Macedonia's madman to the Swede;
      The whole strange purpose of their lives to find,
      Or make, an enemy of all mankind!
      Not one looks backward, onward still he goes,
      Yet ne'er looks forward further than his nose.'

_Essay on Man,_ iv. 219.

[263] _Maccaroni_ is not in Johnson's _Dictionary_. Horace Walpole
(_Letters_, iv. 178) on Feb. 6, 1764, mentions 'the Maccaroni Club,
which is composed of all the travelled young men who wear long curls and
spying-glasses.' On the following Dec. 16 he says:--'The Maccaroni Club
has quite absorbed Arthur's; for, you know, old fools will hobble after
young ones.' _Ib._ p. 302. See _post_, Sept. 12, for _buck_.

[264] 'We came late to Aberdeen, where I found my dear mistress's
letter, and learned that all our little people were happily recovered of
the measles. Every part of your letter was pleasing.' _Piozzi Letters_,
i. 115. For Johnson's use of the word _mistress_ in speaking of Mrs.
Thrale see _ante_, i. 494.

[265] See _ante_, ii. 455. 'They taught us,' said one of the Professors,
'to raise cabbage and make shoes, How they lived without shoes may yet
be seen; but in the passage through villages it seems to him that
surveys their gardens, that when they had not cabbage they had nothing.'
_Piozzi Letters_, i. 116. Johnson in the same letter says that 'New
Aberdeen is built of that granite which is used for the _new_ pavement
in London.'

[266] 'In Aberdeen I first saw the women in plaids.' _Piozzi Letters_,
i. 116.

[267] Seven years later Mackintosh, on entering King's College, found
there the son of Johnson's old friend, 'the learned Dr. Charles Burney,
finishing his term at Aberdeen.' Among his fellow-students were also
some English Dissenters, among them Robert Hall. Mackintosh's _Life,_ i.
10, 13. In Forbes's _Life of Beattie_ (ed. 1824, p. 169) is a letter by
Beattie, dated Oct. 15, 1773, in which the English and Scotch
Universities are compared. Colman, in his _Random Records,_ ii. 85,
gives an account of his life at Aberdeen as a student.

[268] Lord Bolingbroke (Works, iii. 347) in 1735 speaks of 'the little
care that is taken in the training up our youth,' and adds, 'surely it
is impossible to take less.' See _ante_, ii. 407, and iii. 12.

[269] _London, 2d May_, 1778. Dr. Johnson acknowledged that he was
himself the authour of the translation above alluded to, and dictated it
to me as follows:--

     Quos laudet vates Graius Romanus et Anglus
     Tres tria temporibus secla dedere suis.
     Sublime ingenium Graius; Romanus habebat
     Carmen grande sonans; Anglus utrumque tulit.
     Nil majus Natura capit: clarare priores
     Quae potuere duos tertius unus habet.    BOSWELL.

It was on May 2, 1778, that Johnson attacked Boswell with such rudeness
that he kept away from him for a week. _Ante_, iii. 337.

[270] 'We were on both sides glad of the interview, having not seen nor
perhaps thought on one another for many years; but we had no emulation,
nor had either of us risen to the other's envy, and our old kindness was
easily renewed.' _Piozzi Letters_, i. 117.

[271] Johnson wrote on Sept. 30:--'Barley-broth is a constant dish, and
is made well in every house. A stranger, if he is prudent, will secure
his share, for it is not certain that he will be able to eat anything
else.' _Piozzi Letters_, i. p. 160.

[272] See _ante_. p. 24.

[273] _Genesis_, ix. 6.

[274] My worthy, intelligent, and candid friend, Dr. Kippis, informs me,
that several divines have thus explained the mediation of our Saviour.
What Dr. Johnson now delivered, was but a temporary opinion; for he
afterwards was fully convinced of the _propitiatory sacrifice_, as I
shall shew at large in my future work, _The Life of Samuel Johnson,
LL.D._ BOSWELL. For Dr. Kippis see _ante_, iii. 174, and for Johnson on
the propitiatory sacrifice, iv. 124.

[275] _Malachi_, iv. 2.

[276] _St. Luke_, ii 32.

[277] 'Healing _in_ his wings,'_Malachi_, iv. 2.

[278] 'He that believeth and is baptised shall be saved; but he that
believeth not shall be damned.' _St. Mark_, xvi. 16.

[279] Mr. Langton. See _ante_, ii. 254, 265.

[280] Spedding's _Bacon_, vii. 271. The poem is also given in _The
Golden Treasury_, p. 37; where, however, 'limns _the_ water' is changed
into 'limns _on_ water.'

[281] 'Addison now returned to his vocation, and began to plan literary
occupations for his future life. He purposed a tragedy on the death of
Socrates... He engaged in a nobler work, a defence of the Christian
religion, of which part was published after his death.' Johnson's
_Works_, vii. 441, and Addison's _Works_, ed. 1856, v. 103.

[282] Dr. Beattie was so kindly entertained in England, that he had not
yet returned home. BOSWELL. Beattie was staying in London till his
pension got settled. Early in July he had been told that he was to have
a pension of £200 a year (_ante_, ii. 264, note 2). It was not till Aug.
20 that it was conferred. On July 9, he, in company with Sir Joshua
Reynolds, received the degree of D.C.L. at Oxford. On Aug. 24, he had a
long interview with the King; 'who asked,' Beattie records, 'whether we
had any good preachers at Aberdeen. I said "Yes," and named Campbell and
Gerard, with whose names, however, I did not find that he was
acquainted.' It was this same summer that Reynolds painted him in 'the
allegorical picture representing the triumph of truth over scepticism
and infidelity' (_post_, Oct. 1, note). Forbes's _Beattie_, ed. 1824,
pp. 151-6, 167.

[283] Dr. Johnson's burgess-ticket was in these words:--'Aberdoniae,
vigesimo tertio die mensis Augusti, anno Domini millesimo
septingentesimo septuagesimo tertio, in presentia honorabilium virorum,
Jacobi Jopp, armigeri, praepositi, Adami Duff, Gulielmi Young, Georgii
Marr, et Gulielmi Forbes, Balivorum, Gulielmi Rainie Decani guildae, et
Joannis Nicoll Thesaurarii dicti burgi. 'Quo die vir generosus et
doctrina clarus, Samuel Johnson, LL.D. receptus et admissus fuit in
municipes et fratres guildae: praefati burgi de Aberdeen. In deditissimi
amoris et affectus ac eximiae observantiae tesseram, quibus dicti
Magistratus eum amplectuntur. Extractum per me, ALEX. CARNEGIE.'
BOSWELL. 'I was presented with the freedom of the city, not in a gold
box, but in good Latin. Let me pay Scotland one just praise; there was
no officer gaping for a fee; this could have been said of no city on the
English side of the Tweed.' _Piozzi Letters_, i. 117. Baretti, in a MS.
note on this passage, says:--'Throughout England nothing is done for
nothing. Stop a moment to look at the rusticks mowing a field, and they
will presently quit their work to come to you, and ask something to
drink.' Aberdeen conferred its freedom so liberally about this time that
it is surprising that Boswell was passed over. George Colman the
younger, when a youth of eighteen, was sent to King's College. He says
in his worthless _Random Records_, ii. 99:--'I had scarcely been a week
in Old Aberdeen, when the Lord Provost of the New Town invited me to
drink wine with him one evening in the Town Hall; there I found a
numerous company assembled. The object of this meeting was soon declared
to me by the Lord Provost, who drank my health, and presented me with
the freedom of the City.' Two of his English fellow-students, of a
little older standing, had, he said, received the same honour. His
statement seemed to me incredible; but by the politeness of the
Town-clerk, W. Gordon, Esq., I have found out that in the main it is
correct. Colman, with one of the two, was admitted as an Honorary
Burgess on Oct. 8, 1781, being described as _vir generosus_; the other
had been admitted earlier. The population of Aberdeen and its suburbs in
1769 was, according to Pennant, 16,000. Pennant's _Tour_, p. 117.

[284] 'King's College in Aberdeen was an exact model of the University
of Paris. Its founder, Bishop [not Archbishop] Elphinstone, had been a
Professor at Paris and at Orleans.' Burton's _Scotland_, ed. 1873, iii.
404. On p. 20, Dr. Burton describes him as 'the rich accomplished
scholar and French courtier Elphinstone, munificently endowing a
University after the model of the University of Paris.'

[285] Boswell projected the following works:--1. An edition of
_Johnson's Poems. Ante_, i. 16. 2. A work in which the merit of
Addison's poetry shall be maintained, _ib_. p. 225. 3. A _History of
Sweden_, ii. 156. 4. A_ Life of Thomas Ruddiman, ib._ p. 216. 5. An
edition of Walton's_ Lives_ iii. 107. 6. A _History of the Civil War in_
_Great Britain in_ 1745 and 1746, _ib._, p. 162.

7. A _Life of Sir Robert Sibbald, ib._ p. 227. 8 An account of his own
Travels, _ib_. p. 300. 9. A Collection, with notes, of old tenures and
charters of Scotland, _ib_. p. 414, note 3. 10. A _History of James IV._
11. 'A quarto volume to be embellished with fine plates, on the subject
of the controversy (_ante_, ii. 367) occasioned by the _Beggar's
Opera._' Murray's _Johnsoniana_, ed. 1836, p. 502.

Thomas Boswell received from James IV. the estate of Auchinleck. _Ante_,
ii. 413. See _post_, Nov. 4.

[286] Mackintosh says, in his _Life_, i. 9:--'In October, 1780, I was
admitted into the Greek class, then taught by Mr. Leslie, who did not
aspire beyond teaching us the first rudiments of the language; more
would, I believe, have been useless to his scholars.'

[287] 'Boswell was very angry that the Aberdeen professors would not
talk.' _Piozzi Letters_, i. 118. Dr. Robertson and Dr. Blair, whom
Boswell, five years earlier, invited to meet Johnson at supper, 'with an
excess of prudence hardly opened their lips' (_ante_, ii. 63). At
Glasgow the professors did not dare to talk much (_post_, Oct. 29). On
another occasion when Johnson came in, the company 'were all as quiet as
a school upon the entrance of the headmaster.' _Ante_, iii. 332.

[288] Dr. Beattie says that this printer was Strahan. He had seen the
letter mentioned by Gerard, and many other letters too from the Bishop
to Strahan. 'They were,' he continues, 'very particularly acquainted.'
He adds that 'Strahan was eminently skilled in composition, and had
corrected (as he told me himself) the phraseology of both Mr. Hume and
Dr. Robertson.' Forbes's _Beattie_, ed. 1824, p. 341.

[289] An instance of this is given in Johnson's _Works_, viii.
288:--'Warburton had in the early part of his life pleased himself with
the notice of inferior wits, and corresponded with the enemies of Pope.
A letter was produced, when he had perhaps himself forgotten it, in
which he tells Concanen, "Dryden, I observe, borrows for want of
leisure, and Pope for want of genius; Milton out of pride, and Addison
out of modesty."'

[290] 'Goldsmith asserted that Warburton was a weak writer. "Warburton,"
said Johnson, "may be absurd, but he will never be weak; he flounders
well."' Stockdale's _Memoirs_, ii. 64. See Appendix A.

[291] _The Doctrine of Grace; or the Office and Operations of the Holy
Spirit vindicated from the Insults of Infidelity and the Abuses of
Fanaticism_, 1762.

[292] _A Letter to the Bishop of Gloucester, occasioned by his Tract on
the Office and Operations of the Holy Spirit_, by John Wesley, 1762.

[293] Malone records:--'I could not find from Mr. Walpole that his
father [Sir Robert] read any other book but Sydenham in his retirement.'
To his admiration of Sydenham his death was attributed; for it led him
to treat himself wrongly when he was suffering from the stone. Prior's
_Malone_, p. 387. Johnson wrote a _Life of Sydenham_. In it he ridicules
the notion that 'a man eminent for integrity _practised Medicine by
chance, and grew wise only by murder_.' _Works_, vi. 409.

[294] All this, as Dr. Johnson suspected at the time, was the immediate
invention of his own lively imagination; for there is not one word of it
in Mr. Locke's complimentary performance. My readers will, I have no
doubt, like to be satisfied, by comparing them; and, at any rate, it may
entertain them to read verses composed by our great metaphysician, when
a Bachelor in Physick.


     Febriles aestus, victumque ardoribus orbem
       Flevit, non tantis par Medicina malis.
     Nam post mille artes, medicae tentamina curae,
       Ardet adhuc Febris; nec velit arte regi.
     Praeda sumus flammis; solum hoc speramus ab igne,
       Ut restet paucus, quem capit urna, cinis.
     Dum quaerit medicus febris caussamque, modumque,
       Flammarum & tenebras, & sine luce faces;
     Quas tractat patitur flammas, & febre calescens,
       Corruit ipse suis victima rapta focis.
     Qui tardos potuit morbos, artusque trementes,
       Sistere, febrili se videt igne rapi.
     Sic faber exesos fulsit tibicine muros;
       Dum trahit antiquas lenta ruina domos.
     Sed si flamma vorax miseras incenderit aedes,
       Unica flagrantes tunc sepelire salus.
     Fit fuga, tectonicas nemo tunc invocat artes;
       Cum perit artificis non minus usta domus.
     Se tandem _Sydenham_ febrisque Scholaeque furori
       Opponens, morbi quaerit, & artis opem.
     Non temere incusat tectae putedinis [putredinis] ignes;
       Nec fictus, febres qui fovet, humor erit.
     Non bilem ille movet, nulla hic pituita; Salutis
       Quae spes, si fallax ardeat intus aqua?
     Nec doctas magno rixas ostentat hiatu,
       Quîs ipsis major febribus ardor inest.
     Innocuas placide corpus jubet urere flammas,
       Et justo rapidos temperat igne focos.
     Quid febrim exstinguat, varius quid postulet usus,
       Solari aegrotos, qua potes arte, docet,
     Hactenus ipsa suum timuit Natura calorem,
       Dum saepe incerto, quo calet, igne perit:
     Dum reparat tacitos male provida sanguinis ignes,
       Praslusit busto, fit calor iste rogus.
     Jam secura suas foveant praecordia flammas,
       Quem Natura negat, dat Medicina modum.
     Nec solum faciles compescit sanguinis aestus,
       Dum dubia est inter spemque metumque salus;
     Sed fatale malum domuit, quodque astra malignum
       Credimus, iratam vel genuisse _Stygem_.
     Extorsit _Lachesi_ cultros, Pestique venenum
       Abstulit, & tantos non sinit esse metus.
     Quis tandem arte nova domitam mitescere Pestem
       Credat, & antiquas ponere posse minas?
     Post tot mille neces, cumulataque funera busto,
       Victa jacet parvo vulnere dira Lues.
     Aetheriae quanquam spargunt contagia flammae,
       Quicquid inest istis ignibus, ignis erit.
     Delapsae coelo flammae licet acrius urant
       Has gelida exstingui non nisi morte putas?
     Tu meliora paras victrix Medicina; tuusque,
       Pestis quae superat cuncta, triumphus eris [erit].
     Vive liber, victis febrilibus ignibus; unus
       Te simul & mundum qui manet, ignis erit.

J. LOCK, A.M. Ex. Aede Christi, Oxon. BOSWELL.

[295] See _ante_, ii. 126, 298.

[296] 'One of its ornaments [i.e. of
Marischal College] is the picture of
Arthur Johnston, who was principal
of the college, and who holds among
the Latin Poets of Scotland the next
place to the elegant Buchanan.'
Johnson's _Works_, ix. 12. Pope
attacking Benson, who endeavoured
to raise himself to fame by erecting
monuments to Milton, and printing
editions of Johnson's version of
the _Psalms_, introduces the Scotch
Poet in the _Dunciad_:--
On two unequal crutches propped
he came,
Milton's on this, on that one Johnston's
_Dunciad_, bk. iv. l. III.
Johnson wrote to Boswell for a copy
of Johnston's _Poems_ (_ante_, iii. 104)
and for his likeness (_ante_, March 18,

[297] 'Education is here of the same price as at St. Andrews, only the
session is but from the 1st of November to the 1st of April' [five
months, instead of seven]. _Piozzi Letters_, i. 116. In his _Works_ (ix.
14) Johnson by mistake gives eight months to the St. Andrews session. On
p. 5 he gives it rightly as seven.

[298] Beattie, as an Aberdeen professor, was grieved at this saying when
he read the book. 'Why is it recorded?' he asked. 'For no reason that I
can imagine, unless it be in order to return evil for good.' Forbes's
_Beattie_, ed. 1824. p. 337.

[299] See _ante_, ii. 336, and iii. 209.

[300] See _ante_, iii. 65, and _post_, Nov. 2.

[301] See _ante_, i. 411. Johnson, no doubt, was reminded of this story
by his desire to get this book. Later on (_ante_, iii. 104) he asked
Boswell 'to be vigilant and get him Graham's _Telemachus_.'

[302] I am sure I have related this story exactly as Dr. Johnson told it
to me; but a friend who has often heard him tell it, informs me that he
usually introduced a circumstance which ought not to be omitted. 'At
last, Sir, Graham, having now got to about the pitch of looking at one
man, and talking to another, said _Doctor_, &c.' 'What effect (Dr.
Johnson used to add) this had on Goldsmith, who was as irascible as a
hornet, may be easily conceived.' BOSWELL.

[303] Graham was of Eton College.

[304] It was to Johnson that the invitation was due. 'What I was at the
English Church at Aberdeen I happened to be espied by Lady Dr.
Middleton, whom I had sometime seen in London; she told what she had
seen to Mr. Boyd, Lord Errol's brother, who wrote us an invitation to
Lord Errol's house.' _Piozzi Letters_, i. 118. Boswell, perhaps, was not
unwilling that the reader should think that it was to him that the
compliment was paid.

[305] 'In 1745 my friend, Tom Cumming the Quaker, said he would not
fight, but he would drive an ammunition cart.' _Ante_, April 28, 1783.
Smollett (_History of England_, iv. 293) describes how, in 1758, the
conquest of Senegal was due to this 'sensible Quaker,' 'this honest
Quaker,' as he calls him, who not only conceived the project, but 'was
concerned as a principal director and promoter of the expedition. If it
was the first military scheme of any Quaker, let it be remembered it was
also the first successful expedition of this war, and one of the first
that ever was carried on according to the pacifick system of the
Quakers, without the loss of a drop of blood on either side.' If there
was no bloodshed, it was by good luck, for 'a regular engagement was
warmly maintained on both sides.' It was a Quaker, then, who led the van
in the long line of conquests which have made Chatham's name so famous.
Mrs. Piozzi (_Anec_. p. 185) says:--'Dr. Johnson told me that Cummyns
(sic) the famous Quaker, whose friendship he valued very highly, fell a
sacrifice to the insults of the newspapers; having declared to him on
his death-bed, that the pain of an anonymous letter, written in some of
the common prints of the day, fastened on his heart, and threw him into
the slow fever of which he died.' Mr. Seward records (_Anec_. ii.
395):--'Mr. Cummins, the celebrated American Quaker, said of Mr. Pitt
(Lord Chatham):--"The first time I come to Mr. Pitt upon any business I
find him extremely ignorant; the second time I come to him, I find him
completely informed upon it."'

[306] See _ante_, i. 232.

[307] See _ante_, i. 46.

[308] 'From the windows the eye wanders over the sea that separates
Scotland from Norway, and when the winds beat with violence, must enjoy
all the terrifick grandeur of the tempestuous ocean. I would not for any
amusement wish for a storm; but as storms, whether wished or not, will
sometimes happen, I may say, without violation of humanity, that I
should willingly look out upon them from Slanes Castle.' Johnson's
_Works_, ix. 15.

[309] See _ante_, p. 68.

[310] Horace. _Odes_, i. 2.

[311] See _ante_, ii. 428.

[312] Perhaps the poverty of their host led to this talk. Sir Walter
Scott wrote in 1814:--'Imprudence, or ill-fortune as fatal as the sands
of Belhelvie [shifting sands that had swallowed up a whole parish], has
swallowed up the estate of Errol, excepting this dreary mansion-house
and a farm or two adjoining.' Lockhart's _Scott_, ed. 1839, iv. 187.

[313] See _ante_, ii. 421, note 1.

[314] Since the accession of George I. only one parliament had had so
few as five sessions, and it was dissolved before its time by his death.
One had six sessions, six seven sessions, (including the one that was
now sitting,) and one eight. There was therefore so little dread of a
sudden dissolution that for five years of each parliament the members
durst contradict the populace.

[315] To Miss Burney Johnson once said:--'Sir Joshua Reynolds possesses
the largest share of inoffensiveness of any man that I know.' _Memoirs
of Dr. Burney_, i. 343. 'Once at Mr. Thrale's, when Reynolds left the
room, Johnson observed:--"There goes a man not to be spoiled by
prosperity."' Northcote's _Reynolds_, i. 82. Burke wrote of him:--'He
had a strong turn for humour, and well saw the weak sides of things. He
enjoyed every circumstance of his good fortune, and had no affectation
on that subject. And I do not know a fault or weakness of his that he
did not convert into something that bordered on a virtue, instead of
pushing it to the confines of a vice.' Taylor's _Reynolds_, ii. 638.

[316] He visited Devonshire in 1762. _Ante_, i. 377.

[317] Horace Walpole, describing the coronation of George III, writes:--
'One there was ... the noblest figure I ever saw, the high-constable of
Scotland, Lord Errol; as one saw him in a space capable of containing
him, one admired him. At the wedding, dressed in tissue, he looked like
one of the Giants in Guildhall, new gilt. It added to the energy of his
person, that one considered him acting so considerable a part in that
very Hall, where so few years ago one saw his father, Lord Kilmarnock,
condemned to the block.' _Letters_, iii. 438. Sir William Forbes
says:--'He often put me in mind of an ancient Hero, and I remember Dr.
Johnson was positive that he resembled Homer's character of Sarpedon.'
_Life of Beattie_, ed. 1824, Appendix D. Mrs. Piozzi says:--'The Earl
dressed in his robes at the coronation and Mrs. Siddons in the character
of Murphy's Euphrasia were the noblest specimens of the human race I
ever saw.' _Synonymy_, i.43. He sprang from a race of rebels. 'He united
in his person,' says Forbes, 'the four earldoms of Errol, Kilmarnock,
Linlithgow, and Callander.' The last two were attainted in 1715, and
Kilmarnock in 1745. _Life of Beattie_, Appendix D.

[318] Lord Chesterfield, in his letters to his son [iii. 130], complains
of one who argued in an indiscriminate manner with men of all ranks,
Probably the noble lord had felt with some uneasiness what it was to
encounter stronger abilities than his own. If a peer will engage at
foils with his inferior in station, he must expect that his inferior in
station will avail himself of every advantage; otherwise it is not a
fair trial of strength and skill. The same will hold in a contest of
reason, or of wit.--A certain king entered the lists of genius with
Voltaire. The consequence was, that, though the king had great and
brilliant talents, Voltaire had such a superiority that his majesty
could not bear it; and the poet was dismissed, or escaped, from that
court.--In the reign of James I. of England, Crichton, Lord Sanquhar, a
peer of Scotland, from a vain ambition to excel a fencing-master in his
own art, played at rapier and dagger with him. The fencing-master, whose
fame and bread were at stake, put out one of his lordship's eyes.
Exasperated at this, Lord Sanquhar hired ruffians, and had the
fencing-master assassinated; for which his lordship was capitally tried,
condemned, and hanged. Not being a peer of England, he was tried by the
name of Robert Crichton, Esq.; but he was admitted to be a baron of
three hundred years' standing.--See the _State Trials_; and the _History
of England_ by Hume, who applauds the impartial justice executed upon a
man of high rank. BOSWELL. The 'stronger abilities' that Chesterfield
encountered were Johnson's. Boswell thought wrongly that it was of
Johnson that his Lordship complained in his letters to his son. _Ante_,
i. 267, note 2. 'A certain King' was Frederick the Great. _Ante_, i.
434. The fencing-master was murdered in his own house in London, five
years after Sanquhar (or Sanquire) had lost his eye. Bacon, who was
Solicitor-General, said:--'Certainly the circumstance of time is heavy
unto you; it is now five years since this unfortunate man, Turner, be it
upon accident or despight, gave the provocation which was the seed of
your malice.' _State Trials_, ii. 743, and Hume's _History_, ed.
1802, vi. 61.

[319] _Hamlet_, act i. sc. 2.

[320] Perhaps Lord Errol was the Scotch Lord mentioned _ante_, iii. 170,
and the nobleman mentioned _ib_. p. 329.

[321] 'Pitied by gentle minds Kilmarnock died.' _Ante_. i. 180.

[322] Sir Walter Scott describes the talk that he had in 1814 near
Slains Castle with an old fisherman. 'The old man says Slains is now
inhabited by a Mr. Bowles, who comes so far from the southward that
naebody kens whare he comes frae. "Was he frae the Indies?" "Na; he did
not think he came that road. He was far frae the Southland. Naebody ever
heard the name of the place; but he had brought more guid out o'
Peterhead than a' the Lords he had seen in Slains, and he had seen
three."' Lockhart's _Scott_, ed. 1839, iv. 188. The first of the three
was Johnson's host.

[323] See _ante_, ii. 153, and iii. 1, note 2.

[324] Smollett, in _Humphry Clinker_ (Letter of Sept. 6), writing of the
Highlanders and their chiefs, says:--'The original attachment is
founded on something prior to the _feudal system_, about which the
writers of this age have made such a pother, as if it was a new
discovery, like the _Copernican system_ ... For my part I expect to see
the use of trunk-hose and buttered ale ascribed to the influence of the
_feudal system_.' See _ante_, ii. 177.

[325] Mme. Riccoboni wrote to Garrick on May 3, 1769:--'Vous conviendrez
que les nobles sont peu ménagés par vos auteurs; le sot, le fat, ou le
malhonnête homme mêlé dans l'intrigue est presque toujours un lord.'
_Garrick Corres_, ii. 561. Dr. Moore (_View of Society in France_, i.
29) writing in 1779 says:--'I am convinced there is no country in Europe
where royal favour, high birth, and the military profession could be
allowed such privileges as they have in France, and where there would be
so few instances of their producing rough and brutal behaviour to
inferiors.' Mrs. Piozzi, writing in 1784, though she did not publish her
book till 1789, said:--'The French are really a contented race of
mortals;--precluded almost from possibility of adventure, the low
Parisian leads gentle, humble life, nor envies that greatness he never
can obtain.' _Journey through France_, i. 13.

[326] He is the worthy son of a worthy father, the late Lord Strichen,
one of our judges, to whose kind notice I was much obliged. Lord
Strichen was a man not only honest, but highly generous; for after his
succession to the family estate, he paid a large sum of debts contracted
by his predecessor, which he was not under any obligation to pay. Let me
here, for the credit of Ayrshire, my own county, record a noble instance
of liberal honesty in William Hutchison, drover, in Lanehead, Kyle, who
formerly obtained a full discharge from his creditors upon a composition
of his debts; but upon being restored to good circumstances, invited his
creditors last winter to a dinner, without telling the reason, and paid
them their full sums, principal and interest. They presented him with a
piece of plate, with an inscription to commemorate this extraordinary
instance of true worth; which should make some people in Scotland blush,
while, though mean themselves, they strut about under the protection of
great alliance, conscious of the wretchedness of numbers who have lost
by them, to whom they never think of making reparation, but indulge
themselves and their families in most unsuitable expence. BOSWELL.

[327] See _ante_, ii. 194; iii. 353; and iv. June 30, 1784.

[328] Malone says that 'Lord Auchinleck told his son one day that it
would cost him more trouble to hide his ignorance in the Scotch and
English law than to show his knowledge. This Mr. Boswell owned he had
found to be true.' _European Magazine_, 1798, p. 376.

[329] See _ante_, iv. 8, note 3, and iv. 20.

[330] Colman had translated _Terence. Ante_, iv. 18.

[331] Dr. Nugent was Burke's father-in-law. _Ante_, i. 477.

[332] Lord Charlemont left behind him a _History of Italian Poetry_.
Hardy's _Charlemont_, i. 306, ii. 437.

[333] See _ante_, i. 250, and ii. 378, note 1.

[334] Since the first edition, it has been suggested by one of the club,
who knew Mr. Vesey better than Dr. Johnson and I, that we did not assign
him a proper place; for he was quite unskilled in Irish antiquities and
Celtick learning, but might with propriety have been made professor of
architecture, which he understood well, and has left a very good
specimen of his knowledge and taste in that art, by an elegant house
built on a plan of his own formation, at Lucan, a few miles from Dublin.
BOSWELL. See _ante_, iv. 28.

[335] Sir William Jones, who died at the age of forty-seven, had
'studied eight languages critically, eight less perfectly, but all
intelligible with a dictionary, and twelve least perfectly, but all
attainable.' Teignmouth's _Life of Sir W. Jones_, ed. 1815, p. 465. See
_ante_, iv. 69.

[336] See _ante_, i. 478.

[337] See _ante_, p. 16.

[338] Mackintosh in his _Life_, ii. 171, says:--'From the refinements of
abstruse speculation Johnson was withheld, partly perhaps by that
repugnance to such subtleties which much experience often inspires, and
partly also by a secret dread that they might disturb those prejudices
in which his mind had found repose from the agitations of doubt.'

[339] See _ante_, iv. 11, note 1.

[340] Our Club, originally at the Turk's Head, Gerrard-street, then at
Prince's, Sackville-street, now at Baxter's, Dover-street, which at Mr.
Garrick's funeral acquired a _name_ for the first time, and was called
THE LITERARY CLUB, was instituted in 1764, and now consists of
thirty-five members. It has, since 1773, been greatly augmented; and
though Dr. Johnson with justice observed, that, by losing Goldsmith,
Garrick, Nugent, Chamier, Beauclerk, we had lost what would make an
eminent club, yet when I mentioned, as an accession, Mr. Fox, Dr. George
Fordyce, Sir Charles Bunbury, Lord Ossory, Mr. Gibbon, Dr. Adam Smith,
Mr. R.B. Sheridan, the Bishops of Kilaloe and St. Asaph, Dean Marley,
Mr. Steevens, Mr. Dunning, Sir Joseph Banks, Dr. Scott of the Commons,
Earl Spencer, Mr. Windham of Norfolk, Lord Elliott, Mr. Malone, Dr.
Joseph Warton, the Rev. Thomas Warton, Lord Lucan, Mr. Burke junior,
Lord Palmerston, Dr. Burney, Sir William Hamilton, and Dr. Warren, it
will be acknowledged that we might establish a second university of high
reputation. BOSWELL. Mr. (afterwards Sir) William Jones wrote in 1780
(_Life_, p. 241):--'Of our club I will only say that there is no branch
of human knowledge on which some of our members are not capable of
giving information.'

[341] Here, unluckily, the windows had no pullies; and Dr. Johnson, who
was constantly eager for fresh air, had much struggling to get one of
them kept open. Thus he had a notion impressed upon him, that this
wretched defect was general in Scotland; in consequence of which he has
erroneously enlarged upon it in his _Journey_. I regretted that he did
not allow me to read over his book before it was printed. I should have
changed very little; but I should have suggested an alteration in a few
places where he has laid himself open to be attacked. I hope I should
have prevailed with him to omit or soften his assertion, that 'a
Scotsman must be a sturdy moralist, who does not prefer Scotland to
truth,' for I really think it is not founded; and it is harshly said.
BOSWELL. Johnson, after a half-apology for 'these diminutive
observations' on Scotch windows and fresh air, continues:--'The true
state of every nation is the state of common life.' _Works_, ix. 18.
Boswell a second time (_ante_, ii. 311) returns to Johnson's assertion
that 'a Scotchman must be a very sturdy moralist who does not love
Scotland better than truth; he will always love it better than inquiry.'
_Works_, ix. 116.

[342] See _ante_, p. 40.

[343] A protest may be entered on the part of most Scotsmen against the
Doctor's taste in this particular. A Finnon haddock dried over the smoke
of the sea-weed, and sprinkled with salt water during the process,
acquires a relish of a very peculiar and delicate flavour, inimitable on
any other coast than that of Aberdeenshire. Some of our Edinburgh
philosophers tried to produce their equal in vain. I was one of a party
at a dinner, where the philosophical haddocks were placed in competition
with the genuine Finnon-fish. These were served round without
distinction whence they came; but only one gentleman, out of twelve
present, espoused the cause of philosophy. WALTER SCOTT.

[344] It is the custom in Scotland for the judges of the Court of
Session to have the title of _lords_, from their estates; thus Mr.
Burnett is Lord _Monboddo_, as Mr. Home was Lord _Kames_. There is
something a little awkward in this; for they are denominated in deeds by
their _names_, with the addition of 'one of the Senators of the College
of Justice;' and subscribe their Christian and surnames, as _James
Burnett_, _Henry Home_, even in judicial acts. BOSWELL. See _ante_, p.
77, note 4.

[345] See _ante_, ii. 344, where Johnson says:--'A judge may be a
farmer, but he is not to geld his own pigs.'


     'Not to admire is all the art I know
      To make men happy and to keep them so.'

Pope, _Imitations of Horace_, Epistles, i. vi. 1.

[347] See _ante_, i. 461.

[348] See _ante_, iv. 152.

[349] See _ante_, iii. 322.

[350] In the _Gent. Mag._ for 1755, p. 42, among the deaths is entered
'Sir James Lowther, Bart., reckoned the richest commoner in Great
Britain, and worth above a million.' According to Lord Shelburne, Lord
Sunderland, who had been advised 'to nominate Lowther one of his
Treasury on account of his great property,' appointed him to call on
him. After waiting for some time he rang to ask whether he had come,
'The servants answered that nobody had called; upon his repeating the
inquiry they said that there was an old man, somewhat wet, sitting by
the fireside in the hall, who they supposed had some petition to deliver
to his lordship. When he went out it proved to be Sir James Lowther.
Lord Sunderland desired him to be sent about his business, saying that
no such mean fellow should sit at his Treasury.' Fitzmaurice's
_Shelburne_, i. 34.

[351] I do not know what was at this time the state of the parliamentary
interest of the ancient family of Lowther; a family before the Conquest;
but all the nation knows it to be very extensive at present. A due
mixture of severity and kindness, oeconomy and munificence,
characterises its present Representative. BOSWELL. Boswell, most
unhappily not clearly seeing where his own genius lay, too often sought
to obtain fame and position by the favour of some great man. For some
years he courted in a very gross manner 'the present Representative,'
the first Earl of Lonsdale, who treated him with great brutality.
_Letters of Boswell_, pp. 271, 294, 324, and _ante_, iv. May 15, 1783.
In the _Ann. Reg._ 1771, p. 56, it is shewn how by this bad man 'the
whole county of Cumberland was thrown into a state of the greatest
terror and confusion; four hundred ejectments were served in one day.'
Dr. A. Carlyle (_Auto._ p. 418) says that 'he was more detested than any
man alive, as a shameless political sharper, a domestic bashaw, and an
intolerable tyrant over his tenants and dependants.' Lord Albemarle
(_Memoirs of Rockingham,_ ii. 70) describes the 'bad Lord Lonsdale. He
exacted a serf-like submission from his poor and abject dependants. He
professed a thorough contempt for modern refinements. Grass grew in the
neglected approaches to his mansion.... Awe and silence pervaded the
inhabitants [of Penrith] when the gloomy despot traversed their streets.
He might have been taken for a Judge Jefferies about to open a royal
commission to try them as state criminals... In some years of his life
he resisted the payment of all bills.' Among his creditors was
Wordsworth's father, 'who died leaving the poet and four other helpless
children. The executors of the will, foreseeing the result of a legal
contest with _a millionaire,_ withdrew opposition, trusting to Lord
Lonsdale's sense of justice for payment. They leaned on a broken reed,
the wealthy debtor "Died and made no sign."' [2 _Henry VI,_ act iii. sc.
3.] See De Quincey's _Works,_ iii. 151.

[352] 'Let us not,' he says, 'make too much haste to despise our
neighbours. Our own cathedrals are mouldering by unregarded
dilapidation. It seems to be part of the despicable philosophy of the
time to despise monuments of sacred magnificence.' _Works_, ix. 20.

[353] Note by Lord _Hailes_. 'The cathedral of Elgin was burnt by the
Lord of Badenoch, because the Bishop of Moray had pronounced an award
not to his liking. The indemnification that the see obtained was, that
the Lord of Badenoch stood for three days bare-footed at the great gate
of the cathedral. The story is in the Chartulary of Elgin.' BOSWELL. The
cathedral was rebuilt in 1407-20, but the lead was stripped from the
roof by the Regent Murray, and the building went to ruin. Murray's
_Handbook_, ed. 1867, p. 303. 'There is,' writes Johnson (_Works_, ix.
20), 'still extant in the books of the council an order ... directing
that the lead, which covers the two cathedrals of Elgin and Aberdeen,
shall be taken away, and converted into money for the support of the
army.... The two churches were stripped, and the lead was shipped to be
sold in Holland. I hope every reader will rejoice that this cargo of
sacrilege was lost at sea.' On this Horace Walpole remarks (_Letters_,
vii. 484):--'I confess I have not quite so heinous an idea of sacrilege
as Dr. Johnson. Of all kinds of robbery, that appears to me the lightest
species which injures nobody. Dr. Johnson is so pious that in his
journey to your country he flatters himself that all his readers will
join him in enjoying the destruction of two Dutch crews, who were
swallowed up by the ocean after they had robbed a church.'

[354] I am not sure whether the Duke was at home. But, not having the
honour of being much known to his grace, I could not have presumed to
enter his castle, though to introduce even so celebrated a stranger. We
were at any rate in a hurry to get forward to the wildness which we came
to see. Perhaps, if this noble family had still preserved that
sequestered magnificence which they maintained when catholicks,
corresponding with the Grand Duke of Tuscany, we might have been induced
to have procured proper letters of introduction, and devoted some time
to the contemplation of venerable superstitious state. BOSWELL. Burnet
(_History of his own Times_, ii. 443, and iii. 23) mentions the Duke of
Gordon, a papist, as holding Edinburgh Castle for James II. in 1689.

[355] 'In the way, we saw for the first time some houses with
fruit-trees about them. The improvements of the Scotch are for immediate
profit; they do not yet think it quite worth their while to plant what
will not produce something to be eaten or sold in a very little time.'
_Piozzi Letters_, i. 121.

[356] 'This was the first time, and except one the last, that I found
any reason to complain of a Scottish table.' Johnson's _Works_, ix. 19.

[357] The following year Johnson told Hannah More that 'when he and
Boswell stopt a night at the spot (as they imagined) where the Weird
Sisters appeared to Macbeth, the idea so worked upon their enthusiasm,
that it quite deprived them of rest. However they learnt the next
morning, to their mortification, that they had been deceived, and were
quite in another part of the country' H. More's _Memoirs_, i. 50.

[358] See _ante_, p. 76.

[359] Murphy (_Life_, p. 145) says that 'his manner of reciting verses
was wonderfully impressive.' According to Mrs. Piozzi (_Anec_. p. 302),
'whoever once heard him repeat an ode of Horace would be long before
they could endure to hear it repeated by another.'

[360] Then pronounced _Affléck_, though now often pronounced as it is
written. Ante, ii. 413.

[361] At this stage of his journey Johnson recorded:--'There are more
beggars than I have ever seen in England; they beg, if not silently, yet
very modestly.' _Piozzi Letters_, i. 122. See ante, p. 75, note 1.

[362] Duncan's monument; a huge column on the roadside near Fores, more
than twenty feet high, erected in commemoration of the final retreat of
the Danes from Scotland, and properly called Swene's Stone.

[363] Swift wrote to Pope on May 31, 1737:--'Pray who is that Mr.
Glover, who writ the epick poem called _Leonidas_, which is reprinting
here, and has great vogue?' Swift's _Works_ (1803), xx. 121. 'It passed
through four editions in the first year of its publication (1737-8).'
Lowndes's _Bibl. Man_. p. 902. Horace Walpole, in 1742, mentions
_Leonidas_ Glover (_Letters_, i. 117); and in 1785 Hannah More writes
(_Memoirs_, i. 405):--'I was much amused with hearing old Leonidas
Glover sing his own fine ballad of _Hosier's Ghost_, which was very
affecting. He is past eighty [he was seventy-three]. Mr. Walpole coming
in just afterwards, I told him how highly I had been pleased. He begged
me to entreat for a repetition of it. It was the satire conveyed in this
little ballad upon the conduct of Sir Robert Walpole's ministry which is
thought to have been a remote cause of his resignation. It was a very
curious circumstance to see his son listening to the recital of it with
so much complacency.'

[364] See ante, i. 125.

[365] See _ante_, i. 456, and _post_, Sept. 22.

[366] See _ante_, ii. 82, and _post_, Oct. 27.

[367] 'Nairne is the boundary in this direction between the highlands
and lowlands; and until within a few years both English and Gaelic were
spoken here. One of James VI.'s witticisms was to boast that in Scotland
he had a town "sae lang that the folk at the tae end couldna understand
the tongue spoken at the tother."' Murray's _Handbook for Scotland_, ed.
1867, p. 308. 'Here,' writes Johnson (_Works_, ix. 21), 'I first saw
peat fires, and first heard the Erse language.' As he heard the girl
singing Erse, so Wordsworth thirty years later heard The
Solitary Reaper:--

'Yon solitary Highland Lass
Reaping and singing by herself.'


     'Verse softens toil, however rude the sound;
     She feels no biting pang the while she sings;
     Nor, as she turns the giddy wheel around,
     Revolves the sad vicissitude of things.'

_Contemplation._ London: Printed for R. Dodsley in Pall-mall, and sold
by M. Cooper, at the Globe in Paternoster-Row, 1753.

The author's name is not on the title-page. In the _Brit. Mus. Cata._
the poem is entered under its title. Mr. Nichols (_Lit. Illus._ v. 183)
says that the author was the Rev. Richard Gifford [not Giffard] of
Balliol College, Oxford. He adds that 'Mr. Gifford mentioned to him with
much satisfaction the fact that Johnson quoted the poem in his
_Dictionary_.' It was there very likely that Boswell had seen the lines.
They are quoted under _wheel_ (with changes made perhaps intentionally
by Johnson), as follows:

     'Verse sweetens care however rude the sound;
      All at her work the village maiden sings;
      Nor, as she turns the giddy wheel around,
      Revolves the sad vicissitudes of things.'

_Contemplation_, which was published two years after Gray's _Elegy_, was
suggested by it. The rising, not the parting day, is described. The
following verse precedes the one quoted by Johnson:--

     'Ev'n from the straw-roofed cot the note of joy
      Flows full and frequent, as the village-fair,
      Whose little wants the busy hour employ,
      Chanting some rural ditty soothes her care.'

Bacon, in his _Essay Of Vicissitude of Things_ (No. 58), says:--'It is
not good to look too long upon these turning _wheels of vicissitude_
lest we become _giddy_' This may have suggested Gifford's last two
lines. _Reflections on a Grave, &c._ (_ante_, ii. 26), published in
1766, and perhaps written in part by Johnson, has a line borrowed from
this poem:--

     'These all the hapless state of mortals show
      The sad vicissitude of things below.'

Cowper, _Table-Talk_, ed. 1786, i. 165, writes of

     'The sweet vicissitudes of day and night.'

The following elegant version of these lines by Mr. A. T. Barton, Fellow
and Tutor of Johnson's own College, will please the classical reader:--

     Musa levat duros, quamvis rudis ore, labores;
     Inter opus cantat rustica Pyrrha suum;
     Nec meminit, secura rotam dum versat euntem,
     Non aliter nostris sortibus ire vices.

[369] He was the brother of the Rev. John M'Aulay (_post_, Oct. 25), the
grandfather of Lord Macaulay.

[370] See _ante_, ii. 51.

[371] In Scotland, there is a great deal of preparation before
administering the sacrament. The minister of the parish examines the
people as to their fitness, and to those of whom he approves gives
little pieces of tin, stamped with the name of the parish as _tokens_,
which they must produce before receiving it. This is a species of
priestly power, and sometimes may be abused. I remember a lawsuit
brought by a person against his parish minister, for refusing him
admission to that sacred ordinance. BOSWELL.

[372] See _ post_, Sept. 13 and 28.

[373] 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 my ancestor's abilities.'


     'The thane of Cawdor lives, A prosperous gentleman.'

_Macbeth_, act i. sc. 3.

[375] According to Murray's _Handbook,_ ed. 1867, p. 308, no part of the
castle is older than the fifteenth century.

[376] See _post_, Nov. 5.

[377] The historian. _Ante_, p. 41.

[378] See _ante_, iii. 336, and _post_, Nov. 7.

[379] See _post_, Oct. 27.

[380] Baretti was the Italian. Boswell disliked him (_ante_, ii. 98
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 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.

[381] Goldsmith (_Present Slate 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.

[382] 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. 380.

[383] '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_.

[384] 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.

[385] Bruce, the Abyssinian Traveller, found in the annals of that
region a king named _Brus_, which he chooses to consider the genuine
orthography of the name. This circumstance occasioned some mirth at the
court of Gondar. WALTER SCOTT.

[386] See _ante_, ii. 169, note 2, and _post_, Sept. 2. Johnson, so far
as I have observed, spelt the name _Boswel_.

[387] Sir Eyre Coote was born in 1726. He took part in the battle of
Plassey in 1757, and commanded at the reduction of Pondicherry in 1761.
In 1770-71 he went by land to Europe. In 1780 he took command of the
English army against Hyder Ali, whom he repeatedly defeated. He died in
1783. Chalmers's _Biog. Dict_. x. 236. There is a fine description of
him in Macaulay's _Essays_, ed. 1843, iii. 385.

[388] See _ante_, iii. 361.

[389] Reynolds wrote of Johnson:--'He sometimes, it must be confessed,
covered his ignorance by generals rather than appear ignorant' Taylor's
_Reynolds_, ii. 457.

[390] 'The barracks are very handsome, and form several regular and good
streets.' Pennant's _Tour_, p. 144.

[391] See _ante_, p. 45.

[392] Here Dr. Johnson gave us part of a conversation held between a
Great Personage and him, in the library at the Queen's Palace, in the
course of which this contest was considered. I have been at great pains
to get that conversation as perfectly preserved as possible. It may
perhaps at some future time be given to the publick. BOSWELL. For 'a
Great Personage' see _ante_, i. 219; and for the conversation, ii. 33.

[393] See _ante_, ii. 73, 228, 248; iii. 4 and June 15, 1784.

[394] See _ante_, i. 167, note 1.

[395] Booth acted _Cato_, and Wilks Juba when Addison's _Cato_ was
brought out. Pope told Spence that 'Lord Bolingbroke's carrying his
friends to the house, and presenting Booth with a purse of guineas for
so well representing the character of a person "who rather chose to die
than see a general for life," carried the success of the play much
beyond what they ever expected.' Spence's _Anec_. p. 46. Bolingbroke
alluded to the Duke of Marlborough. Pope in his _Imitations of Horace_,
2 Epist. i. 123 introduces 'well-mouth'd Booth.'

[396] See _ante_, iii. 35, and under Sept. 30, 1783.

[397] 'Garrick used to tell, that Johnson said of an actor who played
Sir Harry Wildair at Lichfield, "There is a courtly vivacity about the
fellow;" when, in fact, according to Garrick's account, "he was the most
vulgar ruffian that ever went upon _boards_."' _Ante_, ii. 465.

[398] Mrs. Cibber was the sister of Dr. Arne the musical composer, and
the wife of Theophilus Cibber, Colley Cibber's son. She died in 1766,
and was buried in the cloisters of Westminster Abbey. Baker's _Biog.
Dram._ i. 123.

[399] See _ante_, under Sept. 30, 1783.

[400] See _ante_, i. 197, and ii. 348.

[401] Johnson had set him to repeat the ninth commandment, and had with
great glee put him right in the emphasis. _Ante_, i. 168.

[402] Act iii. sc. 2.

[403] Boswell's suggestion is explained by the following passage in
Johnson's _Works_, viii. 463:--'Mallet was by his original one of the
Macgregors, a clan that became about sixty years ago, under the conduct
of Robin Roy, so formidable and so infamous for violence and robbery,
that the name was annulled by a legal abolition.'

[404] See _ante_, iii. 410, where he said to an Irish gentleman:--'Do
not make an union with us, Sir. We should unite with you, only to rob
you. We should have robbed the Scotch, if they had had anything of which
we could have robbed them.'

[405] It is remarkable that Dr. Johnson read this gentle remonstrance,
and took no notice of it to me. BOSWELL. See _post_, Oct. 12, note.

[406] _St. Matthew_, v. 44.

[407] It is odd that Boswell did not suspect the parson, who, no doubt,
had learnt the evening before from Mr. Keith that the two travellers
would be present at his sermon. Northcote (_Life of Reynolds_, ii. 283)
says that one day at Sir Joshua's dinner-table, when his host praised
Malone very highly for his laborious edition of _Shakespeare_, he
(Northcote) 'rather hastily replied, "What a very despicable creature
must that man be who thus devotes himself, and makes another man his
god;" when Boswell, who sat at my elbow, and was not in my thoughts at
the time, cried out "Oh! Sir Joshua, then that is me!"'

[408] Johnson (_Works_, ix. 23) more cautiously says:--'Here is a
castle, called the castle of Macbeth.'

[409] 'This short dialogue between Duncan and Banquo, whilst they are
approaching the gates of Macbeth's castle, has always appeared to me a
striking instance of what in painting is termed _repose_. Their
conversation very naturally turns upon the beauty of its situation, and
the pleasantness of the air; and Banquo, observing the martlet's nests
in every recess of the cornice, remarks that where those birds most
breed and haunt the air is delicate. The subject of this quiet and easy
conversation gives that repose so necessary to the mind after the
tumultuous bustle of the preceding scenes, and perfectly contrasts the
scene of horror that immediately succeeds. It seems as if Shakespeare
asked himself, what is a prince likely to say to his attendants on such
an occasion? whereas the modern writers seem, on the contrary, to be
always searching for new thoughts, such as would never occur to men in
the situation which is represented. This also is frequently the practice
of Homer, who from the midst of battles and horrors relieves and
refreshes the mind of the reader by introducing some quiet rural image,
or picture of familiar domestick life.' Johnson's _Shakespeare_.
Northcote (_Life of Reynolds_, i. 144-151) quotes other notes
by Reynolds.

[410] In the original _senses_. Act i, sc. 6.

[411] Act i. sc. 5.

[412] Boswell forgets _scoundrelism_, _ante_, p. 106, which, I suppose,
Johnson coined.

[413] See _ante_, ii. 154, note 3. Peter Paragraph is one of the
characters in Foote's Comedy of _The Orators_.

[414] When upon the subject of this _peregrinity_, he told me some
particulars concerning the compilation of his _Dictionary_, and
concerning his throwing off Lord Chesterfield's patronage, of which very
erroneous accounts have been circulated. These particulars, with others
which he afterwards gave me,--as also his celebrated letter to Lord
Chesterfield, which he dictated to me,--I reserve for his _Life._
BOSWELL. See _ante,_ i. 221, 261.

[415] See _ante,_ ii. 326, 371, and v. 18.

[416] It is the third edition, published in 1778, that first bears this
title. The first edition was published in 1761, and the second in 1762.

[417] 'One of them was a man of great liveliness and activity, of whom
his companion said that he would tire any horse in Inverness. Both of
them were civil and ready-handed Civility seems part of the national
character of Highlanders.' _Works,_ ix. 25.

[418] 'The way was very pleasant; the rock out of which the road was cut
was covered with birch trees, fern, and heath. The lake below was
beating its bank by a gentle wind.... In one part of the way we had
trees on both sides for perhaps half a mile. Such a length of shade,
perhaps, Scotland cannot shew in any other place.' _Piozzi Letters_, i.
123. The travellers must have passed close by the cottage where James
Mackintosh was living, a child of seven.

[419] Boswell refers, I think, to a passage in act iv. sc. I of
Farquhar's Comedy, where Archer says to Mrs. Sullen:--'I can't at this
distance, Madam, distinguish the figures of the embroidery.' This
passage is copied by Goldsmith in _She Stoops to Conquer_, act iii.,
where Marlow says to Miss Hardcastle: 'Odso! then you must shew me your

[420] Johnson (_Works_, ix. 28) gives a long account of this woman.
'Meal she considered as expensive food, and told us that in spring, when
the goats gave milk, the children could live without it.'

[421] It is very odd, that when these roads were made, there was no care
taken for _Inns_. The _King's House_, and the _General's Hut_, are
miserable places; but the project and plans were purely military. WALTER
SCOTT. Johnson found good entertainment here, 'We had eggs and bacon and
mutton, with wine, rum, and whisky. I had water.' _Piozzi Letters_,
i. 124.

[422] 'Mr. Boswell, who between his father's merit and his own is sure
of reception wherever he comes, sent a servant before,' &c. Johnson's
_Works_, ix. 30.

[423] On April 6, 1777, Johnson noted down: 'I passed the night in such
sweet uninterrupted sleep as I have not known since I slept at Fort
Augustus.' _Pr. and Med._ p.159. On Nov. 21, 1778, he wrote to Boswell:
'The best night that I have had these twenty years was at Fort
Augustus.' _Ante_, iii. 369.

[424] See _ante_, iii. 246.

[425] A McQueen is a Highland mode of expression. An Englishman would
say _one_ McQueen. But where there are _clans_ or _tribes_ of men,
distinguished by _patronymick_ surnames, the individuals of each are
considered as if they were of different species, at least as much as
nations are distinguished; so that a _McQueen_, a _McDonald_, a
_McLean_, is said, as we say a Frenchman, an Italian, a Spaniard.

[426] 'I praised the propriety of his language, and was answered that I
need not wonder, for he had learnt it by grammar. By subsequent
opportunities of observation I found that my host's diction had nothing
peculiar. Those Highlanders that can speak English commonly speak it
well, with few of the words and little of the tone by which a Scotchman
is distinguished ... By their Lowland neighbours they would not
willingly be taught; for they have long considered them as a mean and
degenerate race.' Johnson's _Works_, ix. 31. He wrote to Mrs. Thrale:
'This man's conversation we were glad of while we staid. He had been
out, as they call it, in forty-five, and still retained his old
opinions.' _Piozzi Letters_, i. 130.

[427] By the Chevalier Ramsay.

[428] 'From him we first heard of the general dissatisfaction which is
now driving the Highlanders into the other hemisphere; and when I asked
him whether they would stay at home if they were well treated, he
answered with indignation that no man willingly left his native country.
Johnson's _Works_, ix. 33. See _ante_, p. 27.

[429] 'The chief glory of every people arises from its authors.' _Ib._
v. 49.

[430] Four years later, three years after Goldsmith's death, Johnson
'observed in Lord Scarsdale's dressing-room Goldsmith's _Animated
Nature_; and said, "Here's our friend. The poor doctor would have been
happy to hear of this."' _Ante_, iii.162.

[431] See _ante_, i. 348 and ii. 438 and _post_, Sept. 23. Mackintosh
says: 'Johnson's idea that a ship was a prison with the danger of
drowning is taken from Endymion Porter's _Consolation to Howell_ on his
imprisonment in the _Fleet_, and was originally suggested by the pun.'
_Life of Mackintosh_, ii. 83. The passage to which he refers is found in
Howell's letter of Jan. 2, 1646 (book ii. letter 39), in which he writes
to Porter:--'You go on to prefer my captivity in this _Fleet_ to that of
a voyager at sea, in regard that he is subject to storms and springing
of leaks, to pirates and picaroons, with other casualties.'

[432] See _ante_, iii. 242.

[433] This book has given rise to much enquiry, which has ended in
ludicrous surprise. Several ladies, wishing to learn the kind of reading
which the great and good Dr. Johnson esteemed most fit for a young
woman, desired to know what book he had selected for this Highland
nymph. 'They never adverted (said he) that I had no _choice_ in the
matter. I have said that I presented her with a book which I _happened_
to have about me.' And what was this book? My readers, prepare your
features for merriment. It was _Cocker's Arithmetick_!--Wherever this
was mentioned, there was a loud laugh, at which Johnson, when present,
used sometimes to be a little angry. One day, when we were dining at
General Oglethorpe's, where we had many a valuable day, I ventured to
interrogate him. 'But, Sir, is it not somewhat singular that you should
_happen_ to have _Cocker's Arithmetick_ about you on your journey? What
made you buy such a book at Inverness?' He gave me a very sufficient
answer. 'Why, Sir, if you are to have but one book with you upon a
journey, let it be a book of science. When you have read through a book
of entertainment, you know it, and it can do no more for you; but a book
of science is inexhaustible.' BOSWELL.

Johnson thus mentions his gift: 'I presented her with a book which I
happened to have about me, and should not be pleased to think that she
forgets me.' _Works_, ix. 32. The first edition of _Cocker's Arithmetic_
was published about 1660. _Brit. Mus. Cata._ Though Johnson says that 'a
book of science is inexhaustible,' yet in _The Rambler_, No. 154, he
asserts that 'the principles of arithmetick and geometry may be
comprehended by a close attention in a few days.' Mrs. Piozzi says
(_Anec_. p. 77) that 'when Mr. Johnson felt his fancy disordered, his
constant recurrence was to arithmetic; and one day that he was confined
to his chamber, and I enquired what he had been doing to divert himself,
he shewed me a calculation which I could scarce be made to understand,
so vast was the plan of it; no other indeed than that the national debt,
computing it at £180,000,000, would, if converted into silver, serve to
make a meridian of that metal, I forget how broad, for the globe of the
whole earth.' See _ante_, iii. 207, and iv. 171, note 3.

[434] Swift's _Works_ (1803), xxiv. 63.

[435] 'We told the soldiers how kindly we had been treated at the
garrison, and, as we were enjoying the benefit of their labours, begged
leave to shew our gratitude by a small present.... They had the true
military impatience of coin in their pockets, and had marched at least
six miles to find the first place where liquor could be bought. Having
never been before in a place so wild and unfrequented I was glad of
their arrival, because I knew that we had made them friends; and to gain
still more of their goodwill we went to them, where they were carousing
in the barn, and added something to our former gift.' _Works_, ix. 31-2.


     'Why rather sleep, liest thou in smoky cribs,
      Upon uneasy pallets stretching thee.' &c.

          2 _Henry IV._ act iii. sc. 1.

[437] Spain, in 1719, sent a strong force under the Duke of Ormond to
Scotland in behalf of the Chevalier. Owing to storms only a few hundred
men landed. These were joined by a large body of Highlanders, but being
attacked by General Wightman, the clansmen dispersed and the Spaniards
surrendered. Smollett's _England_, ed. 1800, ii. 382.

[438] Boswell mentions this _ante_, i. 41, as a proof of Johnson's
'perceptive quickness.'

[439] Dr. Johnson, in his _Journey_, thus beautifully describes his
situation here:--'I sat down on a bank, such as a writer of romance
might have delighted to feign. I had, indeed, no trees to whisper over
my head; but a clear rivulet streamed at my feet. The day was calm, the
air soft, and all was rudeness, silence, and solitude. Before me, and on
either side, were high hills, which, by hindering the eye from ranging,
forced the mind to find entertainment for itself. Whether I spent the
hour well, I know not; for here I first conceived the thought of this
narration.' The _Critical Reviewers_, with a spirit and expression
worthy of the subject, say,--'We congratulate the publick on the event
with which this quotation concludes, and are fully persuaded that the
hour in which the entertaining traveller conceived this narrative will
be considered, by every reader of taste, as a fortunate event in the
annals of literature. Were it suitable to the task in which we are at
present engaged, to indulge ourselves in a poetical flight, we would
invoke the winds of the Caledonian Mountains to blow for ever, with
their softest breezes, on the bank where our author reclined, and
request of Flora, that it might be perpetually adorned with the gayest
and most fragrant productions of the year.' BOSWELL. Johnson thus
described the scene to Mrs. Thrale:--'I sat down to take notes on a
green bank, with a small stream running at my feet, in the midst of
savage solitude, with mountains before me and on either hand covered
with heath. I looked around me, and wondered that I was not more
affected, but the mind is not at all times equally ready to be put in
motion.' _Piozzi Letters_, i. 131.

[440] 'The villagers gathered about us in considerable numbers, I
believe without any evil intention, but with a very savage wildness of
aspect and manner.' Johnson's _Works_, ix. 38.

[441] The M'Craas, or Macraes, were since that time brought into the
king's army, by the late Lord Seaforth. When they lay in Edinburgh
Castle in 1778, and were ordered to embark for Jersey, they with a
number of other men in the regiment, for different reasons, but
especially an apprehension that they were to be sold to the East-India
Company, though enlisted not to be sent out of Great-Britain without
their own consent, made a determined mutiny, and encamped upon the lofty
mountain, _Arthur's seat_, where they remained three days and three
nights; bidding defiance to all the force in Scotland. At last they came
down, and embarked peaceably, having obtained formal articles of
capitulation, signed by Sir Adolphus Oughton, commander in chief,
General Skene, deputy commander, the Duke of Buccleugh, and the Earl of
Dunmore, which quieted them. Since the secession of the Commons of Rome
to the _Mons Sacer_, a more spirited exertion has not been made. I gave
great attention to it from first to last, and have drawn up a particular
account of it. Those brave fellows have since served their country
effectually at Jersey, and also in the East-Indies, to which, after
being better informed, they voluntarily agreed to go. BOSWELL. The line
which Boswell quotes is from _The Chevalier's Muster Roll_:--

     'The laird of M'Intosh is coming,
      M'Crabie & M'Donald's coming,
      M'Kenzie & M'Pherson's coming,
      And the wild M'Craw's coming.
      Little wat ye wha's coming,
      Donald Gun and a's coming.'
         Hogg's _Jacobite Relics_, i. 152.

Horace Walpole (_Letters_, vii. 198) writing on May 9, 1779, tells how
on May 1 'the French had attempted to land [on Jersey], but Lord
Seaforth's new-raised regiment of 700 Highlanders, assisted by some
militia and some artillery, made a brave stand and repelled the

[442] 'One of the men advised her, with the cunning that clowns never
can be without, to ask more; but she said that a shilling was enough. We
gave her half a crown, and she offered part of it again.' _Piozzi
Letters_, i. 133.

[443] Of this part of the journey Johnson wrote:--'We had very little
entertainment as we travelled either for the eye or ear. There are, I
fancy, no singing birds in the Highlands.' _Piozzi Letters_, i. 135. It
is odd that he should have looked for singing birds on the first of

[444] Act iii. sc. 4.

[445] It is amusing to observe the different images which this being
presented to Dr. Johnson and me. The Doctor, in his _Journey_, compares
him to a Cyclops. BOSWELL. 'Out of one of the beds on which we were to
repose, started up at our entrance, a man black as a Cyclops from the
forge.' _Works_, ix. 44. Johnson wrote to Mrs. Thrale:--'When we were
taken up stairs, a dirty fellow bounced out of the bed where one of us
was to lie. Boswell blustered, but nothing could be got'. _Piozzi
Letters_, i, 136. Macaulay (_Essays_, ed. 1843, i. 404) says: 'It is
clear that Johnson himself did not think in the dialect in which he
wrote. The expressions which came first to his tongue were simple,
energetic, and picturesque. When he wrote for publication, he did his
sentences out of English into Johnsonese. His letters from the Hebrides
to Mrs. Thrale are the original of that work of which the _Journey to
the Hebrides_ is the translation; and it is amusing to compare the two
versions.' Macaulay thereupon quotes these two passages. See _ante_,
under Aug. 29, 1783.

[446] 'We had a lemon and a piece of bread, which supplied me with my
supper.'_Piozzi Letters_, i, 136. Goldsmith, who in his student days had
been in Scotland, thus writes of a Scotch inn:--'Vile entertainment is
served up, complained of, and sent down; up comes worse, and that also
is changed, and every change makes our wretched cheer more unsavoury.'
_Present State of Polite Learning_, ch. 12.

[447] General Wolfe, in his letter from Head-quarters on Sept. 2, 1759,
eleven days before his death wrote:--'In this situation there is such a
choice of difficulties that I own myself at a loss how to determine.'
_Ann. Reg._ 1759, p. 246.

[448] See _ante_, p. 89.

[449] See _ante_, ii. 169, note 2.

[450] Boswell, in a note that he added to the second edition (see
_post_, end of the _Journal_), says that he has omitted 'a few
observations the publication of which might perhaps be considered as
passing the bounds of a strict decorum,' In the first edition (p. 165)
the next three paragraphs were as follows:--'Instead of finding the head
of the Macdonalds surrounded with his clan, and a festive entertainment,
we had a small company, and cannot boast of our cheer. The particulars
are minuted in my Journal, but I shall not trouble the publick with
them. I shall mention but one characteristick circumstance. My shrewd
and hearty friend Sir Thomas (Wentworth) Blacket, Lady Macdonald's
uncle, who had preceded us in a visit to this chief, upon being asked by
him if the punch-bowl then upon the table was not a very handsome one,
replied, "Yes--if it were full." 'Sir Alexander Macdonald having been an
Eton scholar, Dr. Johnson had formed an opinion of him which was much
diminished when he beheld him in the isle of Sky, where we heard heavy
complaints of rents racked, and the people driven to emigration. Dr.
Johnson said, "It grieves me to see the chief of a great clan appear to
such disadvantage. This gentleman has talents, nay some learning; but he
is totally unfit for this situation. Sir, the Highland chiefs should not
be allowed to go farther south than Aberdeen. A strong-minded man, like
his brother Sir James, may be improved by an English education; but in
general they will be tamed into insignificance." 'I meditated an escape
from this house the very next day; but Dr. Johnson resolved that we
should weather it out till Monday.' Johnson wrote to Mrs. Thrale:--'We
saw the isle of Skie before us, darkening the horizon with its rocky
coast. A boat was procured, and we launched into one of the straits of
the Atlantick Ocean. We had a passage of about twelve miles to the point
where ---- ---- resided, having come from his seat in the middle of the
island to a small house on the shore, as we believe, that he might with
less reproach entertain us meanly. If he aspired to meanness, his
retrograde ambition was completely gratified... Boswell was very angry,
and reproached him with his improper parsimony.' _Piozzi Letters_, i.
137. A little later he wrote:--'I have done thinking of ---- whom we now
call Sir Sawney; he has disgusted all mankind by injudicious parsimony,
and given occasion to so many stories, that ---- has some thoughts of
collecting them, and making a novel of his life.' _Ib_. p. 198. The last
of Rowlandson's _Caricatures_ of Boswell's _Journal_ is entitled
_Revising for the Second Edition_. Macdonald is represented as seizing
Boswell by the throat and pointing with his stick to the _Journal_ that
lies open at pages 168, 169. On the ground lie pages 165, 167, torn out.
Boswell, in an agony of fear, is begging for mercy.


     'Here, in Badenoch, here in Lochaber anon, in Lochiel, in
      Knoydart, Moydart, Morrer, Ardgower, and Ardnamurchan,
      Here I see him and here: I see him; anon I lose him.'

Clough's _Bothie_, p. 125

[452] See his Latin verses addressed to Dr. Johnson, in this APPENDIX.

[453] See _ante_, ii. 157.

[454] See _ante_, i. 449.

[455] See _ante_, ii. 99.

[456] See _ante_, iii 198, note 1.

[457] 'Such is the laxity of Highland conversation, that the inquirer is
kept in continual suspense, and by a kind of intellectual retrogradation
knows less as he hears more.' Johnson's _Works_, ix. 47. 'They are not
much accustomed to be interrogated by others, and seem never to have
thought upon interrogating themselves; so that if they do not know what
they tell to be true, they likewise do not distinctly perceive it to be
false. Mr. Boswell was very diligent in his inquiries; and the result of
his investigations was, that the answer to the second question was
commonly such as nullified the answer to the first.' _Ib._, p. 114.

[458] Mr. Carruthers, in his edition of Boswell's _Hebrides_, says (p.
xiv):--'The new management and high rents took the tacksmen, or larger
tenants, by surprise. They were indignant at the treatment they
received, and selling off their stock they emigrated to America. In the
twenty years from 1772 to 1792, sixteen vessels with emigrants sailed
from the western shores of Inverness-shire and Ross-shire, containing
about 6400 persons, who carried with them in specie at least £38,400. A
desperate effort was made by the tacksmen on the estate of Lord
Macdonald. They bound themselves by a solemn oath not to offer for any
farm that might become vacant. The combination failed of its object, but
it appeared so formidable in the eyes of the "English-bred chieftain,"
that he retreated precipitately from Skye and never afterwards

[459] Dr. Johnson seems to have forgotten that a Highlander going armed
at this period incurred the penalty of serving as a common soldier for
the first, and of transportation beyond sea for a second offence. And as
for 'calling out his clan,' twelve Highlanders and a bagpipe made a
rebellion. WALTER SCOTT.

[460] Mackintosh (_Life_ ii. 62) says that in Mme. du Deffand's
_Correspondence_ there is 'an extraordinary confirmation of the talents
and accomplishments of our Highland Phoenix, Sir James Macdonald. A
Highland chieftain, admired by Voltaire, could have been no
ordinary man.'

[461] This extraordinary young man, whom I had the pleasure of knowing
intimately, having been deeply regretted by his country, the most minute
particulars concerning him must be interesting to many. I shall
therefore insert his two last letters to his mother, Lady Margaret
Macdonald, which her ladyship has been pleased to communicate to me.
'Rome, July 9th, 1766. 'My DEAR MOTHER, 'Yesterday's post brought me
your answer to the first letter in which I acquainted you of my illness.
Your tenderness and concern upon that account are the same I have always
experienced, and to which I have often owed my life. Indeed it never was
in so great danger as it has been lately; and though it would have been
a very great comfort to me to have had you near me, yet perhaps I ought
to rejoice, on your account, that you had not the pain of such a
spectacle. I have been now a week in Rome, and wish I could continue to
give you the same good accounts of my recovery as I did in my last; but
I must own that, for three days past, I have been in a very weak and
miserable state, which however seems to give no uneasiness to my
physician. My stomach has been greatly out of order, without any visible
cause; and the palpitation does not decrease. I am told that my stomach
will soon recover its tone, and that the palpitation must cease in time.
So I am willing to believe; and with this hope support the little
remains of spirits which I can be supposed to have, on the forty-seventh
day of such an illness. Do not imagine I have relapsed;--I only recover
slower than I expected. If my letter is shorter than usual, the cause of
it is a dose of physick, which has weakened me so much to-day, that I am
not able to write a long letter. I will make up for it next post, and
remain always 'Your most sincerely affectionate son, 'J. MACDONALD.' He
grew gradually worse; and on the night before his death he wrote as
follows from Frescati:--'MY DEAR MOTHER, 'Though I did not mean to
deceive you in my last letter from Rome, yet certainly you would have
very little reason to conclude of the very great and constant danger I
have gone through ever since that time. My life, which is still almost
entirely desperate, did not at that time appear to me so, otherwise I
should have represented, in its true colours, a fact which acquires very
little horror by that means, and comes with redoubled force by
deception. There is no circumstance of danger and pain of which I have
not had the experience, for a continued series of above a fortnight;
during which time I have settled my affairs, after my death, with as
much distinctness as the hurry and the nature of the thing could admit
of. In case of the worst, the Abbé Grant will be my executor in this
part of the world, and Mr. Mackenzie in Scotland, where my object has
been to make you and my younger brother as independent of the eldest as
possible.' BOSWELL. Horace Walpole (Letters, vii. 291), in 1779, thus
mentions this 'younger brother':--'Macdonald abused Lord North in very
gross, yet too applicable, terms; and next day pleaded he had been
drunk, recanted, and was all admiration and esteem for his Lordship's
talents and virtues.'

[462] See _ante_, iii. 85, and _post_, Oct. 28.

[463] Cheyne's English Malady, ed. 1733, p. 229.

[464] 'Weary, stale, flat and unprofitable.' _Hamlet_, act i. sc. 2. See
_ante_, iii. 350, where Boswell is reproached by Johnson with 'bringing
in gabble,' when he makes this quotation.

[465] VARIOUS READINGS. Line 2. In the manuscript, Dr. Johnson, instead
of _rupibus obsita_, had written _imbribus uvida_, and _uvida nubibus_,
but struck them both out. Lines 15 and 16. Instead of these two lines,
he had written, but afterwards struck out, the following:--

     Parare posse, utcunque jactet
     Grandiloquus nimis alta Zeno.

BOSWELL. In Johnson's _Works_, i. 167, these lines are given with some
variations, which perhaps are in part due to Mr. Langton, who, we are
told (_ante_, Dec. 1784), edited some, if not indeed all, of Johnson's
Latin poems.

[466] Cowper wrote to S. Rose on May 20, 1789:--'Browne was an
entertaining companion when he had drunk his bottle, but not before;
this proved a snare to him, and he would sometimes drink too much.'
Southey's _Cowper_, vi. 237. His _De Animi Immortalitate_ was published
in 1754. He died in 1760, aged fifty-four. See _ante_, ii. 339.

[467] Boswell, in one of his _Hypochondriacks_ (_ante_, iv. 179)
says:--'I do fairly acknowledge that I love Drinking; that I have a
constitutional inclination to indulge in fermented liquors, and that if
it were not for the restraints of reason and religion, I am afraid I
should be as constant a votary of Bacchus as any man.... Drinking is in
reality an occupation which employs a considerable portion of the time
of many people; and to conduct it in the most rational and agreeable
manner is one of the great arts of living. Were we so framed that it
were possible by perpetual supplies of wine to keep ourselves for ever
gay and happy, there could be no doubt that drinking would be the
_summum bonum_, the chief good, to find out which philosophers have been
so variously busied. But we know from humiliating experience that men
cannot be kept long in a state of elevated drunkenness.'

[468] That my readers may have my narrative in the style of the country
through which I am travelling, it is proper to inform them, that the
chief of a clan is denominated by his _surname_ alone, as M'Leod,
M'Kinnon, M'lntosh. To prefix _Mr._ to it would be a degradation from
_the_ M'Leod, &c. My old friend, the Laird of M'Farlane, the great
antiquary, took it highly amiss, when General Wade called him Mr.
M'Farlane. Dr. Johnson said, he could not bring himself to use this mode
of address; it seemed to him to be too familiar, as it is the way in
which, in all other places, intimates or inferiors are addressed. When
the chiefs have _titles_ they are denominated by them, as _Sir James
Grant_, _Sir Allan M'Lean_. The other Highland gentlemen, of landed
property, are denominated by their _estates_, as _Rasay_, _Boisdale_;
and the wives of all of them have the title of _ladies_. The _tacksmen_,
or principal tenants, are named by their farms, as _Kingsburgh_,
_Corrichatachin_; and their wives are called the _mistress_ of
Kingsburgh, the _mistress_ of Corrichatachin.--Having given this
explanation, I am at liberty to use that mode of speech which generally
prevails in the Highlands and the Hebrides. BOSWELL.

[469] See _ante_, iii. 275.

[470] Boswell implies that Sir A. Macdonald's table had not been
furnished plentifully. Johnson wrote:--'At night we came to a tenant's
house of the first rank of tenants, where we were entertained better
than at the landlord's.' _Piozzi Letters_, i. 141.

[471] 'Little did I once think,' he wrote to her the same day, 'of
seeing this region of obscurity, and little did you once expect a
salutation from this verge of European life. I have now the pleasure of
going where nobody goes, and seeing what nobody sees.' _Piozzi Letters_,
i. 120. About fourteen years since, I landed in Sky, with a party of
friends, and had the curiosity to ask what was the first idea on every
one's mind at landing. All answered separately that it was this Ode.

[472] See Appendix B.

[473] 'I never was in any house of the islands, where I did not find
books in more languages than one, if I staid long enough to want them,
except one from which the family was removed.' Johnson's _Works_, ix.
50. He is speaking of 'the higher rank of the Hebridians,' for on p. 61
he says:--'The greater part of the islanders make no use of books.'

[474] There was a Mrs. Brooks, an actress, the daughter of a Scotchman
named Watson, who had forfeited his property by 'going out in the '45.'
But according to _The Thespian Dictionary_ her first appearance on the
stage was in 1786.

[475] Boswell mentions, _post_, Oct. 5, 'the famous Captain of
Clanranald, who fell at Sherrif-muir.'

[476] See _ante_, p. 95.

[477] By John Macpherson, D.D. See _post_, Sept. 13.

[478] Sir Walter Scott, when in Sky in 1814, wrote:--'We learn that most
of the Highland superstitions, even that of the second sight, are still
in force.' Lockhart's _Scott_, ed. 1839, iv. 305. See _.ante_, ii.
10, 318.

[479] Of him Johnson wrote:--'One of the ministers honestly told me that
he came to Sky with a resolution not to believe it.' _Works_, ix. 106.

[480] 'By the term _second sight_ seems to be meant a mode of seeing
superadded to that which nature generally bestows. In the Erse it is
called _Taisch_; which signifies likewise a spectre or a vision.'
_Johnson's Works_, ix. 105.

[481] Gray's _Ode on a distant prospect of Eton College_, 1. 44.

[482] A tonnage bounty of thirty shillings a ton was at this time given
to the owners of busses or decked vessels for the encouragement of the
white herring fishery. Adam Smith (_Wealth of Nations_, iv. 5) shews how
mischievous was its effect.

[483] The Highland expression for Laird of Rasay. BOSWELL.

[484] 'In Sky I first observed the use of brogues, a kind of artless
shoes, stitched with thongs so loosely, that, though they defend the
foot from stones, they do not exclude water.' Johnson's _Works_, ix 46.

[485] To evade the law against the tartan dress, the Highlanders used to
dye their variegated plaids and kilts into blue, green, or any single

[486] See _post_, Oct. 5.

[487] The Highlanders were all well inclined to the episcopalian form,
_proviso_ that the right _king_ was prayed for. I suppose Malcolm meant
to say, 'I will come to your church because you are honest folk,' viz.
_Jacobites_. WALTER SCOTT.

[488] See _ante_, i. 450, and ii. 291.

[489] Perhaps he was thinking of Johnson's letter of June 20, 1771
(_ante_, ii. 140), where he says:--'I hope the time will come when we
may try our powers both with cliffs and water.'

[490] 'The wind blew enough to give the boat a kind of dancing
agitation.' _Piozzi Letters_, i. 142. 'The water was calm and the rowers
were vigorous; so that our passage was quick and pleasant.' Johnson's
_Works_, ix. 54.


     'Caught in the wild Aegean seas,
      The sailor bends to heaven for ease.'

FRANCIS. Horace, 2, _Odes_, xvi. 1.

[492] See _ante_, iv. Dec. 9, 1784, note.

[493] Such spells are still believed in. A lady of property in Mull, a
friend of mine, had a few years since much difficulty in rescuing from
the superstitious fury of the people, an old woman, who used a _charm_
to injure her neighbour's cattle. It is now in my possession, and
consists of feathers, parings of nails, hair, and such like trash, wrapt
in a lump of clay. WALTER SCOTT.

[494] Sir Walter Scott, writing in Skye in 1814, says:--'Macleod and Mr.
Suter have both heard a tacksman of Macleod's recite the celebrated
Address to the Sun; and another person repeat the description of
Cuchullin's car. But all agree as to the gross infidelity of Macpherson
as a translator and editor.' Lockhart's _Scott_, iv. 308.

[495] See _post_, Nov. 10.

[496] 'The women reaped the corn, and the men bound up the sheaves. The
strokes of the sickle were timed by the modulation of the harvest-song,
in which all their voices were united.' Johnson's _Works_, ix. 58.

[497] 'The money which he raises annually by rent from all his
dominions, which contain at least 50,000 acres, is not believed to
exceed £250; but as he keeps a large farm in his own hands, he sells
every year great numbers of cattle ... The wine circulates vigorously,
and the tea, chocolate, and coffee, however they are got, are always at
hand.' _Piozzi Letters_, i. 142. 'Of wine and punch they are very
liberal, for they get them cheap; but as there is no custom-house on the
island, they can hardly be considered as smugglers.' _Ib_. p. 160.
'Their trade is unconstrained; they pay no customs, for there is no
officer to demand them; whatever, therefore, is made dear only by impost
is obtained here at an easy rate.' Johnson's _Works_, ix. 52.

[498] 'No man is so abstemious as to refuse the morning dram, which they
call a _skalk_.' Johnson's _Works_, ix. p. 51.

[499] Alexander Macleod, of Muiravenside, advocate, became extremely
obnoxious to government by his zealous personal efforts to engage his
chief Macleod, and Macdonald of Sky, in the Chevalier's attempts of
1745. Had he succeeded, it would have added one third at least to the
Jacobite army. Boswell has oddly described _M'Cruslick_, the being whose
name was conferred upon this gentleman, as something between Proteus and
Don Quixote. It is the name of a species of satyr, or _esprit follet_, a
sort of mountain Puck or hobgoblin, seen among the wilds and mountains,
as the old Highlanders believed, sometimes mirthful, sometimes
mischievous. Alexander Macleod's precarious mode of life and variable
spirits occasioned the _soubriquet_. WALTER SCOTT.

[500] Johnson also complained of the cheese. 'In the islands they do
what I found it not very easy to endure. They pollute the tea-table by
plates piled with large slices of Cheshire cheese, which mingles its
less grateful odours with the fragrance of the tea.' _Works_, ix. 52.

[501] 'The estate has not, during four hundred years, gained or lost a
single acre.' _Ib_. p. 55.

[502] Lord Stowell told me, that on the road from Newcastle to Berwick,
Dr. Johnson and he passed a cottage, at the entrance of which were set
up two of those great bones of the whale, which are not unfrequently
seen in maritime districts. Johnson expressed great horror at the sight
of these bones; and called the people, who could use such relics of
mortality as an ornament, mere savages. CROKER.

[503] In like manner Boswell wrote:--'It is divinely cheering to me to
think that there is a Cathedral so near Auchinleck [as Carlisle].'
_Ante_, iii. 416.

[504] 'It is not only in Rasay that the chapel is unroofed and useless;
through the few islands which we visited we neither saw nor heard of any
house of prayer, except in Sky, that was not in ruins. The malignant
influence of Calvinism has blasted ceremony and decency together... It
has been for many years popular to talk of the lazy devotion of the
Romish clergy; over the sleepy laziness of men that erected churches we
may indulge our superiority with a new triumph, by comparing it with the
fervid activity of those who suffer them to fall.' Johnson's _Works_,
ix. 61. He wrote to Mrs. Thrale:--'By the active zeal of Protestant
devotion almost all the chapels have sunk into ruin.' _Piozzi
Letters_, i. 152.

[505] 'Not many years ago,' writes Johnson, 'the late Laird led out one
hundred men upon a military expedition.' _Works_, ix. 59. What the
expedition was he is careful not to state.

[506] 'I considered this rugged ascent as the consequence of a form of
life inured to hardships, and therefore not studious of nice
accommodations. But I know not whether for many ages it was not
considered as a part of military policy to keep the country not easily
accessible. The rocks are natural fortifications.' Johnson's _Works_,
ix. p. 54.

[507] See _post_ Sept. 17.

[508] In Sky a price was set 'upon the heads of foxes, which, as the
number was diminished, has been gradually raised from three shillings
and sixpence to a guinea, a sum so great in this part of the world,
that, in a short time, Sky may be as free from foxes as England from
wolves. The fund for these rewards is a tax of sixpence in the pound,
imposed by the farmers on themselves, and said to be paid with great
willingness.' Johnson's _Works_, ix. 57.

[509] Boswell means that the eastern coast of Sky is westward of Rasay.

[510] 'The Prince was hidden in his distress two nights in Rasay, and
the King's troops burnt the whole country, and killed some of the
cattle. You may guess at the opinions that prevail in this country; they
are, however, content with fighting for their King; they do not drink
for him. We had no foolish healths', _Piozzi Letters_, i. 145.

[511] See _ante_, iv. 217, where he said:--'You have, perhaps, no man
who knows as much Greek and Latin as Bentley.'

[512] See _ante_, ii. 61, and _post_, Oct. 1.

[513] See _ante_, i. 268, note 1.

[514] Steele had had the Duke of Marlborough's papers, and 'in some of
his exigencies put them in pawn. They then remained with the old
Duchess, who, in her will, assigned the task to Glover [the author of
_Leonidas_] and Mallet, with a reward of a thousand pounds, and a
prohibition to insert any verses. Glover rejected, I suppose with
disdain, the legacy, and devolved the whole work upon Mallet; who had
from the late Duke of Marlborough a pension to promote his industry, and
who talked of the discoveries which he had made; but left not, when he
died, any historical labours behind him.' Johnson's _Works_, viii. 466.
The Duchess died in 1744 and Mallet in 1765. For more than twenty years
he thus imposed more or less successfully on the world. About the year
1751 he played on Garrick's vanity. 'Mallet, in a familiar conversation
with Garrick, discoursing of the diligence which he was then exerting
upon the _Life of Marlborough_, let him know, that in the series of
great men quickly to be exhibited, he should _find a niche_ for the hero
of the theatre. Garrick professed to wonder by what artifice he could be
introduced; but Mallet let him know, that by a dexterous anticipation he
should fix him in a conspicuous place. "Mr. Mallet," says Garrick in his
gratitude of exultation, "have you left off to write for the stage?"
Mallet then confessed that he had a drama in his hands. Garrick promised
to act it; and _Alfred_ was produced.' _Ib_. p. 465. See _ante_,
iii. 386.

[515] According to Dr. Warton (_Essay on Pope_, ii. 140) he received
£5000. 'Old Marlborough,' wrote Horace Walpole in March, 1742 (Letters,
i. 139), 'has at last published her _Memoirs_; they are digested by one
Hooke, who wrote a Roman history; but from her materials, which are so
womanish that I am sure the man might sooner have made a gown and
petticoat with them.'

[516] See _ante_, i. 153

[517] 'Hooke,' says Dr. Warton (_Essay on Pope_, ii. 141), 'was a Mystic
and a Quietist, and a warm disciple of Fénelon. It was he who brought a
Catholic priest to take Pope's confession on his death-bed.'

[518] See Cumberland's _Memoirs_, i. 344.

[519] Mr. Croker says that 'though he sold a great tract of land in
Harris, he left at his death in 1801 the original debt of £50,000
[Boswell says £40,000] increased to £70,000.' When Johnson visited
Macleod at Dunvegan, he wrote to Mrs. Thrale:--'Here, though poor
Macleod had been left by his grandfather overwhelmed with debts, we had
another exhibition of feudal hospitality. There were two stags in the
house, and venison came to the table every day in its various forms.
Macleod, besides his estate in Sky, larger I suppose than some English
counties, is proprietor of nine inhabited isles; and of his isles
uninhabited I doubt if he very exactly knows the number, I told him that
he was a mighty monarch. Such dominions fill an Englishman with envious
wonder; but when he surveys the naked mountain, and treads the quaking
moor; and wanders over the wild regions of gloomy barrenness, his wonder
may continue, but his envy ceases. The unprofitableness of these vast
domains can be conceived only by the means of positive instances. The
heir of Col, an island not far distant, has lately told me how wealthy
he should be if he could let Rum, another of his islands, for twopence
halfpenny an acre; and Macleod has an estate which the surveyor reports
to contain 80,000 acres, rented at £600 a year.' _Piozzi Letters_,
i. 154.

[520] They were abolished by an act passed in 1747, being 'reckoned
among the principal sources of the rebellions. They certainly kept the
common people in subjection to their chiefs. By this act they were
legally emancipated from slavery; but as the tenants enjoyed no leases,
and were at all times liable to be ejected from their farms, they still
depended on the pleasure of their lords, notwithstanding this
interposition of the legislature, which granted a valuable consideration
in money to every nobleman and petty baron, who was thus deprived of one
part of his inheritance.' Smollett's _England_, iii. 206. See _ante_, p.
46, note 1, and _post_, Oct. 22.

[521] 'I doubt not but that since the regular judges have made their
circuits through the whole country, right has been everywhere more
wisely and more equally distributed; the complaint is, that litigation
is grown troublesome, and that the magistrates are too few and therefore
often too remote for general convenience... In all greater questions
there is now happily an end to all fear or hope from malice or from
favour. The roads are secure in those places through which forty years
ago no traveller could pass without a convoy...No scheme of policy has
in any country yet brought the rich and poor on equal terms to courts of
judicature. Perhaps experience improving on experience may in time
effect it.' Johnson's _Works_, ix. 90.

[522] He described Rasay as 'the seat of plenty, civility, and
cheerfulness.' _Piozzi Letters_, i. 152.

[523] 'We heard the women singing as they _waulked_ the cloth, by
rubbing it with their hands and feet, and screaming all the while in a
sort of chorus. At a distance the sound was wild and sweet enough, but
rather discordant when you approached too near the performers.'
Lockhart's _Scott_, iv. 307.

[524] She had been some time at Edinburgh, to which she again went, and
was married to my worthy neighbour, Colonel Mure Campbell, now Earl of
Loudoun, but she died soon afterwards, leaving one daughter. BOSWELL.
'She is a celebrated beauty; has been admired at Edinburgh; dresses her
head very high; and has manners so lady-like that I wish her head-dress
was lower.' _Piozzi Letters_, i. 144. See _ante_, iii. 118.


     'Yet hope not life from _grief_ or danger free,
      _Nor_ think the doom of man reversed for thee.'

_The Vanity of Human Wishes_.

[526] 'Rasay accompanied us in his six-oared boat, which he said was his
coach and six. It is indeed the vehicle in which the ladies take the air
and pay their visits, but they have taken very little care for
accommodations. There is no way in or out of the boat for a woman but by
being carried; and in the boat thus dignified with a pompous name there
is no seat but an occasional bundle of straw.' _Piozzi Letters_, i. 152.
In describing the distance of one family from another, Johnson
writes:--'Visits last several days, and are commonly paid by water; yet
I never saw a boat furnished with benches.' _Works_, ix. 100.

[527] See _ante_, ii. 106, and iii. 154.

[528] 'They which forewent us did leave a Roome for us, and should wee
grieve to doe the same to these which should come after us? Who beeing
admitted to see the exquisite rarities of some antiquaries cabinet is
grieved, all viewed, to have the courtaine drawen, and give place to new
pilgrimes?' _A Cypresse Grove_, by William Drummond of Hawthorne-denne,
ed. 1630, p. 68.

[529] See _ante_, iii. 153, 295.


     'While hoary Nestor, by experience wise,
      To reconcile the angry monarch tries.'

FRANCIS. Horace, i _Epis_. ii. II.

[531] _See ante_, p. 16.

[532] Lord Elibank died Aug. 3, 1778, aged 75. _Gent. Mag._ 1778, p.

[533] A term in Scotland for a special messenger, such as was formerly
sent with dispatches by the lords of the council.

[534] Yet he said of him:--'There is nothing _conclusive_ in his talk.'
_Ante_ iii. 57.

[535] 'I believe every man has found in physicians great liberality and
dignity of sentiment, very prompt effusion of beneficence, and
willingness to exert a lucrative art where there is no hope of lucre.'
Johnson's _Works_, vii. 402. See _ante_, iv. 263.

[536] Johnson says (_ib_. ix. 156) that when the military road was made
through Glencroe, 'stones were placed to mark the distances, which the
inhabitants have taken away, resolved, they said, "to have no
new miles."'


     'The lawland lads think they are fine,
      But O they're vain and idly gawdy;
      How much unlike that graceful mien
      And manly look of my highland laddie.'

From '_The Highland Laddie_, written long since by Allan Ramsay, and now
sung at Ranelagh and all the other gardens; often fondly encored, and
sometimes ridiculously hissed.' _Gent. Mag_. 1750, p. 325.

[538] 'She is of a pleasing person and elegant behaviour. She told me
that she thought herself honoured by my visit; and I am sure that
whatever regard she bestowed on me was liberally repaid.' _Piozzi
Letters_, i. 153. In his _Journey_ (_Works_, ix. 63) Johnson speaks of
Flora Macdonald, as 'a name that will be mentioned in history, and if
courage and fidelity be virtues, mentioned with honour.'

[539] This word, which meant much the same as, _fop_ or _dandy_, is
found in Bk. x. ch. 2 of Fielding's _Amelia_ (published in 1751):--'A
large assembly of young fellows, whom they call bucks.' Less than forty
years ago, in the neighbourhood of London, it was, I remember, still
commonly applied by the village lads to the boys of a boarding-school.

[540] This word was at this time often used in a loose sense, though
Johnson could not have so used it. Thus Horace Walpole, writing on May
16, 1759 (_Letters_, iii. 227), tells a story of the little Prince
Frederick. 'T'other day as he was with the Prince of Wales, Kitty Fisher
passed by, and the child named her; the Prince, to try him, asked who
that was? "Why, a Miss." "A Miss," said the Prince of Wales, "why are
not all girls Misses?" "Oh! but a particular sort of Miss--a Miss that
sells oranges."' Mr. Cunningham in a note on this says:--'Orange-girls
at theatres were invariably courtesans.'

[541] _Governor_ was the term commonly given to a tutor, especially a
travelling tutor. Thus Peregrine Pickle was sent first to Winchester and
afterwards abroad 'under the immediate care and inspection of a
governor.' _Peregrine Pickle_, ch. xv.

[542] He and his wife returned before the end of the War of
Independence. On the way back she showed great spirit when their ship
was attacked by a French man of war. Chambers's _Rebellion in
Scotland_, ii. 329.

[543] I do not call him _the Prince of Wales_, or _the Prince_, because
I am quite satisfied that the right which the _House of Stuart_ had to
the throne is extinguished. I do not call him, the _Pretender_, because
it appears to me as an insult to one who is still alive, and, I suppose,
thinks very differently. It may be a parliamentary expression; but it is
not a gentlemanly expression. I _know_, and I exult in having it in my
power to tell, that THE ONLY PERSON in the world who is intitled to be
offended at this delicacy, thinks and feels as I do; and has liberality
of mind and generosity of sentiment enough to approve of my tenderness
for what even _has been_ Blood Royal. That he is a _prince_ by
_courtesy_, cannot be denied; because his mother was the daughter of
Sobiesky, king of Poland. I shall, therefore, _on that account alone_,
distinguish him by the name of _Prince Charles Edward_. BOSWELL. To have
called him the _Pretender_ in the presence of Flora Macdonald would have
been hazardous. In her old age, 'such is said to have been the virulence
of the Jacobite spirit in her composition, that she would have struck
any one with her fist who presumed, in her hearing, to call Charles _the
Pretender_.' Chambers's _Rebellion in Scotland_, ii. 330.

[544] This, perhaps, was said in allusion to some lines ascribed to
_Pope_, on his lying, at John Duke of Argyle's, at Adderbury, in the
same bed in which Wilmot, Earl of Rochester, had slept:

     'With no poetick ardour fir'd,
        I press [press'd] the bed where Wilmot lay;
      That here he liv'd [lov'd], or here expir'd,
        Begets no numbers, grave or gay.'


[545] See _ante_, iv. 60, 187.

[546] See _ante_, iv. 113 and 315.

[547] 'This was written while Mr. Wilkes was Sheriff of London, and when
it was to be feared he would rattle his chain a year longer as Lord
Mayor.' Note to Campbell's _British Poets_, p. 662. By 'here' the poet
means at _Tyburn_.

[548] With virtue weigh'd, what worthless trash is gold! BOSWELL.

[549] Since the first edition of this book, an ingenious friend has
observed to me, that Dr. Johnson had probably been thinking on the
reward which was offered by government for the apprehension of the
grandson of King James II, and that he meant by these words to express
his admiration of the Highlanders, whose fidelity and attachment had
resisted the golden temptation that had been held out to them. BOSWELL.

[550] On the subject of Lady Margaret Macdonald, it is impossible to
omit an anecdote which does much honour to Frederick, Prince of Wales.
By some chance Lady Margaret had been presented to the princess, who,
when she learnt what share she had taken in the Chevalier's escape,
hastened to excuse herself to the prince, and exlain to him that she was
not aware that Lady Margaret was the person who had harboured the
fugitive. The prince's answer was noble: 'And would _you_ not have done
the same, madam, had he come to you, as to her, in distress and danger?
I hope--I am sure you would!' WALTER SCOTT.

[551] This old Scottish _member of parliament_, I am informed, is still
living (1785). BOSWELL.

[552] I cannot find that this account was ever published. Mr. Lumisden
is mentioned _ante_, ii. 401, note 2.

[553] This word is not in Johnson's _Dictionary_.

[554] Dr. A. Carlyle (_Auto_. p. 153) describes him in 1745 as 'a
good-looking man of about five feet ten inches; his hair was dark red,
and his eyes black. His features were regular, his visage long, much
sunburnt and freckled, and his countenance thoughtful and melancholy.'
When the Pretender was in London in 1750, 'he came one evening,' writes
Dr. W. King (_Anec_. p. 199) 'to my lodgings, and drank tea with me; my
servant, after he was gone, said to me, that he thought my new visitor
very like Prince Charles. "Why," said I, "have you ever seen Prince
Charles?" "No, Sir," said the fellow, "but this gentleman, whoever he
may be, exactly resembles the busts which are sold in Red Lionstreet,
and are said to be the busts of Prince Charles." The truth is, these
busts were taken in plaster of Paris from his face. He has an handsome
face and good eyes.'

[555] Sir Walter Scott, writing of his childhood, mentions 'the stories
told in my hearing of the cruelties after the battle of Culloden. One or
two of our own distant relations had fallen, and I remember of (sic)
detesting the name of Cumberland with more than infant hatred.'
Lockhart's _Scott_, i. 24. 'I was,' writes Dr. A. Carlyle (_Auto_, p.
190), 'in the coffee-house with Smollett when the news of the battle of
Culloden arrived, and when London all over was in a perfect uproar of
joy.' On coming out into the street, 'Smollett,' he continues,
'cautioned me against speaking a word, lest the mob should discover my
country, and become insolent, "for John Bull," says he; "is as haughty
and valiant to-night as he was abject and cowardly on the Black
Wednesday when the Highlanders were at Derby." I saw not Smollett again
for some time after, when he shewed me his manuscript of his _Tears of
Scotland_. Smollett, though a Tory, was not a Jacobite, but he had the
feelings of a Scotch gentleman on the reported cruelties that were said
to be exercised after the battle of Culloden.' See _ante_, ii. 374, for
the madman 'beating his straw, supposing it was the Duke of Cumberland,
whom he was punishing for his cruelties in Scotland in 1746.'

[556] 'He was obliged to trust his life to the fidelity of above fifty
individuals, and many of these were in the lowest paths of fortune. They
knew that a price of £30,000 was set upon his head, and that by
betraying him they should enjoy wealth and affluence.' Smollett's _Hist.
of England_, iii. 184.

[557] 'Que les hommes privés, qui se plaignent de leurs petites
infortunes, jettent les yeux sur ce prince et sur ses ancêtres.' _Siècle
de Louis XV_, ch. 25.

[558] 'I never heard him express any noble or benevolent sentiments, or
discover any sorrow or compassion for the misfortunes of so many worthy
men who had suffered in his cause. But the most odious part of his
character is his love of money, a vice which I do not remember to have
been imputed by our historians to any of his ancestors, and is the
certain index of a base and little mind. I have known this gentleman,
with 2000 Louis d'ors in his strong box, pretend he was in great
distress, and borrow money from a lady in Paris, who was not in affluent
circumstances.' Dr. W. King's _Anec._ p. 201. 'Lord Marischal,' writes
Hume, 'had a very bad opinion of this unfortunate prince; and thought
there was no vice so mean or atrocious of which he was not capable; of
which he gave me several instances.' J. H. Burton's _Hume_, ii. 464.

[559] _Siècle de Louis XIV_, ch. 15. The accentuation of this passage,
which was very incorrect as quoted by Boswell, I have corrected.

[560] By banishment he meant, I conjecture, transportation as a
convict-slave to the American plantations.

[561] Wesley in his _Journal_--the reference I have mislaid--seemed from
this consideration almost to regret a reprieve that came to a
penitent convict.

[562] Hume describes how in 1753 (? 1750) the Pretender, on his secret
visit to London, 'came to the house of a lady (who I imagined to be Lady
Primrose) without giving her any preparatory information; and entered
the room where she had a pretty large company with her, and was herself
playing at cards. He was announced by the servant under another name.
She thought the cards would have dropped from her hands on seeing him.
But she had presence enough of mind to call him by the name he assumed.'
J.H. Burton's _Hume_, ii. 462. Mr. Croker (Croker's _Boswell_, p. 331)
prints an autograph letter from Flora Macdonald which shows that Lady
Primrose in 1751 had lodged £627 in a friend's hands for her behoof, and
that she had in view to add more.

[563] It seems that the Pretender was only once in London, and that it
was in 1750. _Ante_, i. 279, note 5. I suspect that 1759 is Boswell's
mistake or his printer's. From what Johnson goes on to say it is clear
that George II. was in Germany at the time of the Prince's secret visit.
He was there the greater part of 1750, but not in 1753 or 1759. In 1750,
moreover, 'the great army of the King of Prussia overawed Hanover.'
Smollett's _England_, iii. 297. This explains what Johnson says about
the King of Prussia stopping the army in Germany.

[564] See _ante_, iv. 165, 170.

[565] COMMENTARIES on the laws of England, book 1. chap. 3. BOSWELL.

[566] B. VI. chap. 3. Since I have quoted Mr. Archdeacon Paley upon one
subject, I cannot but transcribe, from his excellent work, a
distinguished passage in support of the Christian Revelation.--After
shewing, in decent but strong terms, the unfairness of the _indirect_
attempts of modern infidels to unsettle and perplex religious
principles, and particularly the irony, banter, and sneer, of one whom
he politely calls 'an eloquent historian,' the archdeacon thus expresses

'Seriousness is not constraint of thought; nor levity, freedom. Every
mind which wishes the advancement of truth and knowledge, in the most
important of all human researches, must abhor this licentiousness, as
violating no less the laws of reasoning than the rights of decency.
There is but one description of men to whose principles it ought to be
tolerable. I mean that class of reasoners who can see _little_ in
christianity even supposing it to be true. To such adversaries we
address this reflection.--Had _Jesus Christ_ delivered no other
declaration than the following, "The hour is coming in the which all
that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth,--they
that have done well [good] unto the resurrection of life, and they that
have done evil unto the resurrection of damnation," [_St. John_ v. 25]
he had pronounced a message of inestimable importance, and well worthy
of that splendid apparatus of prophecy and miracles with which his
mission was introduced and attested:--a message in which the wisest of
mankind would rejoice to find an answer to their doubts, and rest to
their inquiries. It is idle to say that a future state had been
discovered already.--It had been discovered as the Copernican System
was;--it was one guess amongst many. He alone discovers who _proves_,
and no man can prove this point but the teacher who testifies by
miracles that his doctrine comes from GOD.'--Book V. chap. 9.

If infidelity be disingenuously dispersed in every shape that is likely
to allure, surprise, or beguile the imagination,--in a fable, a tale, a
novel, a poem,--in books of travels, of philosophy, of natural
history,--as Mr. Paley has well observed,--I hope it is fair in me thus
to meet such poison with an unexpected antidote, which I cannot doubt
will be found powerful. BOSWELL. The 'eloquent historian' was Gibbon.
See Paley's _Principles_, ed. 1786, p. 395.

[567] In _The Life of Johnson (ante_, iii. 113), Boswell quotes these
words, without shewing that they are his own; but italicises not
fervour, but loyalty.

[568] 'Whose service is perfect freedom.' _Book of Common Prayer._

[569] See _ante_, i. 353, note 1.

[570] Ovid, _Ars Amatoria_, iii. 121.


     'This facile temper of the beauteous sex
      Great Agamemnon, brave Pelides proved.'

These two lines follow the four which Boswell quotes. _Agis_, act iv.

[572] _Agis_, a tragedy, by John Home. BOSWELL.

[573] See _ante_, p. 27.

[574] A misprint, I suppose, for _designing_.

[575] 'Next in dignity to the laird is the tacksman; a large taker or
leaseholder of land, of which he keeps part as a domain in his own hand,
and lets part to under-tenants. The tacksman is necessarily a man
capable of securing to the laird the whole rent, and is commonly a
collateral relation.' Johnson's _Works_, ix. 82.

[576] A _lettre de cachet_.

[577] _Ante_, p. 159.

[578] 'It is related that at Dunvegan Lady Macleod, having poured out
for Dr. Johnson sixteen cups of tea, asked him if a small basin would
not save him trouble, and be more agreeable. "I wonder, Madam," answered
he roughly, "why all the ladies ask me such questions. It is to save
yourselves trouble, Madam, and not me." The lady was silent and resumed
her task.' Northcote's _Reynolds_, i. 81.

[579] 'In the garden-or rather the orchard which was formerly the
garden-is a pretty cascade, divided into two branches, and called Rorie
More's Nurse, because he loved to be lulled to sleep by the sound of
it.' Lockhart's _Scott_, iv. 304.

[580] It has been said that she expressed considerable dissatisfaction
at Dr. Johnson's rude behaviour at Dunvegan. Her grandson, the present
Macleod, assures me that it was not so: 'they were all,' he says
emphatically, '_delighted_ with him.' CROKER. Mr. Croker refers, I
think, to a communication from Sir Walter Scott, published in the
_Croker Corres_. ii. 33. Scott writes:--'When wind-bound at Dunvegan,
Johnson's temper became most execrable, and beyond all endurance, save
that of his guide. The Highlanders, who are very courteous in their way,
held him in great contempt for his want of breeding, but had an idea at
the same time there was something respectable about him, they could not
tell what, and long spoke of him as the Sassenach _mohr_, or
large Saxon.'

[581] 'I long to be again in civilized life.' _Ante_, p. 183.

[582] See _ante_, iii. 406.

[583] Johnson refers, I think, to a passage in _L'Esprit des Lois_, Book
xvi. chap. 4, where Montesquieu says:--'J'avoue que si ce que les
relations nous disent était vrai, qu'à Bantam il y a dix femmes pour un
homme, ce serait un cas bien particulier de la polygamie. Dans tout ceci
je ne justifie pas les usages, mais j'en rends les raisons.'

[584] What my friend treated as so wild a supposition, has actually
happened in the Western islands of Scotland, if we may believe Martin,
who tells it of the islands of Col and Tyr-yi, and says that it is
proved by the parish registers. BOSWELL. 'The Isle of Coll produces more
boys than girls, and the Isle of Tire-iy more girls than boys; as if
nature intended both these isles for mutual alliances, without being at
the trouble of going to the adjacent isles or continent to be matched.
The parish-book in which the number of the baptised is to be seen,
confirms this observation.' Martin's _Western Islands,_ p. 271.

[585] _A Dissertation on the Gout_, by W. Cadogan, M.D., 1771. It went
through nine editions in its first year.

[586] This was a general reflection against Dr. Cadogan, when his very
popular book was first published. It was said, that whatever precepts he
might give to others, he himself indulged freely in the bottle. But I
have since had the pleasure of becoming acquainted with him, and, if his
own testimony may be believed, (and I have never heard it impeached,)
his course of life has been conformable to his doctrine. BOSWELL.

[587] 'April 7, 1765. I purpose to rise at eight, because, though I
shall not yet rise early, it will be much earlier than I now rise, for I
often lie till two.' _Pr. and Med._ p. 62. 'Sept. 18, 1771. My nocturnal
complaints grow less troublesome towards morning; and I am tempted to
repair the deficiencies of the night. I think, however, to try to rise
every day by eight, and to combat indolence as I shall obtain strength.'
_Ib._ p. 105. 'April 14, 1775. As my life has from my earliest years
been wasted in a morning bed, my purpose is from Easter day to rise
early, not later than eight.' _Ib._ p. 139.

[588] See _post_, Oct. 25.

[589] See _ante_, iv. under Dec. 2, 1784.

[590] Miss Mulso (Mrs. Chapone) wrote in 1753:--'I had the assurance to
dispute with Mr. Johnson on the subject of human malignity, and wondered
to hear a man, who by his actions shews so much benevolence, maintain
that the human heart is naturally malevolent, and that all the
benevolence we see in the few who are good is acquired by reason and
religion.' _ Life of Mrs. Chapone_, p.73. See _post_, p. 214.

[591] This act was passed in 1746.

[592] _Isaiah_, ii. 4.

[593] Sir Walter Scott, after mentioning Lord Orford's (Horace Walpole)
_History of His Own Time_, continues:--'The Memoirs of our Scots Sir
George Mackenzie are of the same class--both immersed in little
political detail, and the struggling skirmish of party, seem to have
lost sight of the great progressive movements of human affairs.'
Lockhart's _Scott_ vii. 12.

[594] 'Illum jura potius ponere quam de jure respondere dixisses; eique
appropinquabant clientes tanquam judici potius quam advocato.'
Mackenzie's _Works_, ed. 1716, vol. i. part 2, p. 7.

[595] 'Opposuit ei providentia Nisbetum: qui summâ doctrinâ
consummatâque eloquentiâ causas agebat, ut justitiae scalae in
aequilibrio essent; nimiâ tamen arte semper utens artem suam suspectam
reddebat. Quoties ergo conflixerunt, penes Gilmorum gloria, penes
Nisbetum palma fuit; quoniam in hoc plus artis et cultus, in illo
naturae et virium.' _Ib._

[596] He often indulged himself in every species of pleasantry and wit.

[597] But like the hawk, having soared with a lofty flight to a height
which the eye could not reach, he was wont to swoop upon his quarry with
wonderful rapidity. BOSWELL. These two quotations are part of the same
paragraph, and are not even separated by a word. _Ib._ p. 6.

[598] See _ante_, i. 453; iii. 323; iv. 276; and v. 32.

[599] Some years later he said that 'when Burke lets himself down to
jocularity he is in the kennel.' _Ante_, iv. 276.

[600] Cicero and Demosthenes, no doubt, were brought in by the passage
about Nicholson. Mackenzie continues:--'Hic primus nos a Syllogismorum
servitute manumisit et Aristotelem Demostheni potius quam Ciceroni forum
concedere coegit.' P. 6.

[601] See _ante_ ii. 435 and iv. 149, note 3.

[602] See _ante_, i. 103.

[603] See _ante_ ii 436

[604] See _ante_, i. 65.

[605] On Sept. 13, 1777, Johnson wrote:--'Boswell shrinks from the
Baltick expedition, which, I think, is the best scheme in our power.'
_Ante_, iii. 134, note 1.

[606] See _ante_, ii. 59, note 1.

[607] See _ante_, iii. 368.

[608] 'Every man wishes to be wise, and they who cannot be wise are
almost always cunning ... nor is caution ever so necessary as with
associates or opponents of feeble minds.' _The Idler_, No. 92. In a
letter to Dr. Taylor Johnson says:--'To help the ignorant commonly
requires much patience, for the ignorant are always trying to be
cunning.' _Notes and Queries_, 6th S. v. 462. Churchill, in _The
Journey_ (_Poems_, ed. 1766, ii. 327), says:--

     ''Gainst fools be guarded; 'tis a certain rule,
      Wits are safe things, there's danger in a fool.'

[609] See _ante_, p. 173.


     'For thee we dim the eyes, and stuff the head
      With all such reading as was never read;
      For thee explain a thing till all men doubt it,
      And  write   about  it,  goddess, and about it.'

_The Dunciad_, iv. 249.

[611] Genius is chiefly exerted in historical pictures; and the art of
the painter of portraits is often lost in the obscurity of his subject.
But it is in painting as in life; what is greatest is not always best. I
should grieve to see Reynolds transfer to heroes and to goddesses, to
empty splendour and to airy fiction, that art which is now employed in
diffusing friendship, in reviving tenderness, in quickening the
affections of the absent, and continuing the presence of the dead.' _The
Idler_, No. 45. 'Southey wrote thirty years later:--'I find daily more
and more reason to wonder at the miserable ignorance of English
historians, and to grieve with a sort of despondency at seeing how much
that has been laid up among the stores of knowledge has been neglected
and utterly forgotten.' Southey's _Life_, ii. 264. On another occasion
he said of Robertson:--'To write his introduction to _Charles V_,
without reading these _Laws_ [the _Laws_ of Alonso the Wise], is one of
the thousand and one omissions for which he ought to be called rogue, as
long as his volumes last. _Ib_. p. 318


     'That eagle's fate and mine are one,
      Which on the shaft that made him die,
      Espy'd a feather of his own,
      Wherewith he wont to soar so high.'
      _Epistle to a Lady._

Anderson's _Poets_, v. 480.

[613] See _ante_, iii. 271.

[614] 'In England there may be reason for raising the rents (in a
certain degree) where the value of lands is increased by accession of
commerce, ...but here (contrary to all policy) the great men begin at
the wrong end, with squeezing the bag, before they have helped the poor
tenant to fill it; by the introduction of manufactures.' Pennant's
_Scotland_, ed. 1772, p. 191.

[615] Boswell refers, not to a passage in _Pennant_, but to Johnson's
admission that in his dispute with Monboddo, 'he might have taken the
side of the savage, had anybody else taken the side of the shopkeeper.'
_Ante_, p. 83.

[616] 'Boswell, with some of his troublesome kindness, has informed this
family and reminded me that the 18th of September is my birthday. The
return of my birthday, if I remember it, fills me with thoughts which it
seems to be the general care of humanity to escape.' _Piozzi Letters_,
i. 134. See _ante_, iii. 157.

[617] 'At Dunvegan I had tasted lotus, and was in danger of forgetting
that I was ever to depart, till Mr. Boswell sagely reproached me with my
sluggishness and softness.' Johnson's _Works_, ix. 67.

[618] Johnson wrote of the ministers:--'I saw not one in the islands
whom I had reason to think either deficient in learning, or irregular in
life; but found several with whom I could not converse without wishing,
as my respect increased, that they had not been Presbyterians.' _Ib_.
p. 102.

[619] See _ante_, p. 142.

[620] See _ante_, ii. 28.


     'So horses they affirm to be
      Mere engines made by geometry,
      And were invented first from engines,
      As Indian Britons were from penguins.'

_Hudibras_, part i. canto 2, line 57. Z. Gray, in a note on these lines,
quotes Selden's note on Drayton's _Polyolbion_:--'About the year 1570,
Madoc, brother to David Ap Owen, Prince of Wales, made a sea-voyage to
Florida; and by probability those names of Capo de Breton in Norimberg,
and Penguin in part of the Northern America, for a white rock and a
white-headed bird, according to the British, were relicts of this

[622] Published in Edinburgh in 1763.

[623] See ante, ii. 76. 'Johnson used to say that in all family disputes
the odds were in favour of the husband from his superior knowledge of
life and manners.' Johnson's Works (1787), xi. 210.

[624] He wrote to Dr. Taylor:--' Nature has given women so much power
that the law has very wisely given them little.' _Notes and Queries_,
6th S. v. 342.

[625] As I have faithfully recorded so many minute particulars, I hope I
shall be pardoned for inserting so flattering an encomium on what is now
offered to the publick. BOSWELL.

[626] See _ante_, iv. 109, note 1.

[627] 'The islanders of all degrees, whether of rank or understanding,
universally admit it, except the ministers, who universally deny it, and
are suspected to deny it in consequence of a system, against
conviction.' Johnson's _Works_, ix. 106.

[628] The true story of this lady, which happened in this century, is as
frightfully romantick as if it had been the fiction of a gloomy fancy.
She was the wife of one of the Lords of Session in Scotland, a man of
the very first blood of his country. For some mysterious reasons, which
have never been discovered, she was seized and carried off in the dark,
she knew not by whom, and by nightly journeys was conveyed to the
Highland shores, from whence she was transported by sea to the remote
rock of St. Kilda, where she remained, amongst its few wild inhabitants,
a forlorn prisoner, but had a constant supply of provisions, and a woman
to wait on her. No inquiry was made after her, till she at last found
means to convey a letter to a confidential friend, by the daughter of a
Catechist, who concealed it in a clue of yarn. Information being thus
obtained at Edinburgh, a ship was sent to bring her off; but
intelligence of this being received, she was conveyed to M'Leod's island
of Herries, where she died.

In CARSTARE'S STATE PAPERS we find an authentick narrative of Connor
[Conn], a catholick priest, who turned protestant, being seized by some
of Lord Seaforth's people, and detained prisoner in the island of
Herries several years; he was fed with bread and water, and lodged in a
house where he was exposed to the rains and cold. Sir James Ogilvy
writes (June 18, 1667 [1697]), that the Lord Chancellor, the Lord
Advocate, and himself, were to meet next day, to take effectual methods
to have this redressed. Connor was then still detained; p. 310.--This
shews what private oppression might in the last century be practised in
the Hebrides.

In the same collection [in a letter dated Sept. 15, 1700], the Earl of
Argyle gives a picturesque account of an embassy from the _great_ M'Neil
_of Barra_, as that insular Chief used to be denominated:--'I received a
letter yesterday from M'Neil of Barra, who lives very far off, sent by a
gentleman in all formality, offering his service, which had made you
laugh to see his entry. His style of his letter runs as if he were of
another kingdom.'--Page 643 [648]. BOSWELL.

Sir Walter Scott says:--'I have seen Lady Grange's Journal. She had
become privy to some of the Jacobite intrigues, in which her husband,
Lord Grange (an Erskine, brother of the Earl of Mar, and a Lord of
Session), and his family were engaged. Being on indifferent terms with
her husband, she is said to have thrown out hints that she knew as much
as would cost him his life. The judge probably thought with Mrs.
Peachum, that it is rather an awkward state of domestic affairs, when
the wife has it in her power to hang the husband. Lady Grange was the
more to be dreaded, as she came of a vindictive race, being the
grandchild [according to Mr. Chambers, the child] of that Chiesley of
Dalry, who assassinated Sir George Lockhart, the Lord President. Many
persons of importance in the Highlands were concerned in removing her
testimony. The notorious Lovat, with a party of his men, were the direct
agents in carrying her off; and St. Kilda, belonging then to Macleod,
was selected as the place of confinement. The name by which she was
spoken or written of was _Corpach_, an ominous distinction,
corresponding to what is called _subject_ in the lecture-room of an
anatomist, or _shot_ in the slang of the Westport murderers' [Burke and
Hare]. Sir Walter adds that 'it was said of M'Neil of Barra, that when
he dined, his bagpipes blew a particular strain, intimating that all the
world might go to dinner.' Croker's _Boswell_, p. 341.

[629] I doubt the justice of my fellow-traveller's remark concerning the
French literati, many of whom, I am told, have considerable merit in
conversation, as well as in their writings. That of Monsieur de Buffon,
in particular, I am well assured, is highly instructive and
entertaining. BOSWELL. See _ante_, iii. 253.

[630] Horace Walpole, writing of 1758, says:--'Prize-fighting, in which
we had horribly resembled the most barbarous and most polite nations,
was suppressed by the legislature.' _Memoirs of the Reign of George II_,
iii. 99. According to Mrs. Piozzi (_Anec._ p. 5), Johnson said that his
'father's brother, Andrew, kept the ring in Smithfield (where they
wrestled and boxed) for a whole year, and never was thrown or conquered.
Mr. Johnson was,' she continues, 'very conversant in the art of boxing.'
She had heard him descant upon it 'much to the admiration of those who
had no expectation of his skill in such matters.'

[631] See _ante_, ii. 179, 226, and iv. 211.

[632] See _ante_, p. 98.

[633] See _ante_, i, 110.

[634] See _ante_, i. 398, and ii. 15, 35, 441.

[635] Gibbon, thirteen years later, writing to Lord Sheffield about the
commercial treaty with France, said (_Misc. Works_, ii. 399):--'I hope
both nations are gainers; since otherwise it cannot be lasting; and such
double mutual gain is surely possible in fair trade, though it could not
easily happen in the mischievous amusements of war and gaming.'

[636] Johnson (_Works_, viii. 139), writing of gratitude and resentment,
says:--'Though there are few who will practise a laborious virtue,
there will never be wanting multitudes that will indulge an easy vice.'

[637] _Aul. Gellius_, lib. v. c. xiv. BOSWELL.

[638] 'The difficulties in princes' business are many and great; but the
greatest difficulty is often in their own mind. For it is common with
princes, saith Tacitus, to will contradictories. _Sunt plerumque regum
voluntates vehementes, et inter se contrariae_. For it is the solecism
of power to think to command the end, and yet not to endure the mean.'
Bacon's _Essays_, No. xix.

[639] Yet Johnson wrote to Mrs. Thrale on Sept. 30:--'I am now no longer
pleased with the delay; you can hear from me but seldom, and I cannot at
all hear from you. It comes into my mind that some evil may happen.'
_Piozzi Letters_, i. 148. On Oct. 15 he wrote to Mr. Thrale:--'Having
for many weeks had no letter, my longings are very great to be informed
how all things are at home, as you and mistress allow me to call it....
I beg to have my thoughts set at rest by a letter from you or my
mistress.' _Ib_. p. 166. See _ante_, iii. 4.

[640] Sir Walter Scott thus describes Dunvegan in 1814:--'The whole
castle occupies a precipitous mass of rock overhanging the lake, divided
by two or three islands in that place, which form a snug little harbour
under the walls. There is a court-yard looking out upon the sea,
protected by a battery, at least a succession of embrasures, for only
two guns are pointed, and these unfit for service. The ancient entrance
rose up a flight of steps cut in the rock, and passed into this
court-yard through a portal, but this is now demolished. You land under
the castle, and walking round find yourself in front of it. This was
originally inaccessible, for a brook coming down on the one side, a
chasm of the rocks on the other, and a ditch in front, made it
impervious. But the late Macleod built a bridge over the stream, and the
present laird is executing an entrance suitable to the character of this
remarkable fortalice, by making a portal between two advanced towers,
and an outer court, from which he proposes to throw a draw-bridge over
to the high rock in front of the castle.' Lockhart's _Scott_, ed.
1839, iv. 303.


     'Bella gerant alii; tu, felix Austria, nube;
      Quae dat Mars aliis, dat tibi regna Venus.'

[642] Johnson says of this castle:--'It is so nearly entire, that it
might have easily been made habitable, were there not an ominous
tradition in the family, that the owner shall not long outlive the
reparation. The grandfather of the present laird, in defiance of
prediction, began the work, but desisted in a little time, and applied
his money to worse uses.' _Works_, ix. 64.

[643] Macaulay (_Essays_, ed. 1843, i. 365) ends a lively piece of
criticism on Mr. Croker by saying:--'It requires no Bentley or Casaubon
to perceive that Philarchus is merely a false spelling for Phylarchus,
the chief of a tribe.'

[644] See _ante_, i. 180.

[645] Sir Walter Scott wrote in 1814:--'The monument is now nearly
ruinous, and the inscription has fallen down.' Lockhart's _Scott_,
iv. 308.

[646] 'Wheel carriages they have none, but make a frame of timber, which
is drawn by one horse, with the two points behind pressing on the
ground. On this they sometimes drag home their sheaves, but often convey
them home in a kind of open pannier, or frame of sticks, upon the
horse's back.' Johnson's _Works_, ix. 76. 'The young Laird of Col has
attempted what no islander perhaps ever thought on. He has begun a road
capable of a wheel-carriage. He has carried it about a mile.' _Ib_.
p. 128.

[647] Captain Phipps had sailed in May of this year, and in the
neighbourhood of Spitzbergen had reached the latitude of more than 80°.
He returned to England in the end of September. _Gent. Mag_. 1774,
p. 420.

[648] _Aeneid_, vi. II.

[649] 'In the afternoon, an interval of calm sunshine courted us out to
see a cave on the shore, famous for its echo. When we went into the
boat, one of our companions was asked in Erse by the boatmen, who they
were that came with him. He gave us characters, I suppose to our
advantage, and was asked, in the spirit of the Highlands, whether I
could recite a long series of ancestors. The boatmen said, as I
perceived afterwards, that they heard the cry of an English ghost. This,
Boswell says, disturbed him.... There was no echo; such is the fidelity
of report.' _Piozzi Letters_, i. 156.

[650] '_Law_ or _low_ signifies a hill: _ex. gr._ Wardlaw, guard hill,
Houndslow, the dog's hill.' Blackie's _Etymological Geography_, p. 103.

[651] Pepys often mentions them. At first he praises them highly, but of
one of the later ones--_Tryphon_--he writes:--'The play, though
admirable, yet no pleasure almost in it, because just the very same
design, and words, and sense, and plot, as every one of his plays have,
any one of which would be held admirable, whereas so many of the same
design and fancy do but dull one another.' Pepys's _Diary_, ed. 1851,
v. 63.

[652] The second and third earls are passed over by Johnson. It was the
fourth earl who, as Charles Boyle, had been Bentley's antagonist. Of
this controversy a full account is given in Lord Macaulay's _Life of

[653] The fifth earl, John. See _ante_, i. 185, and iii. 249.

[654] See _ante_, i. 9, and iii. 154.

[655] See _ante_, ii. 129, and iii. 183.

[656] The young lord was married on the 8th of May, 1728, and the
father's will is dated the 6th of Nov. following. 'Having,' says the
testator, 'never observed that my son hath showed much taste or
inclination, either for the entertainment or knowledge which study and
learning afford, I give and bequeath all my books and mathematical
instruments [with certain exceptions] to Christchurch College, in
Oxford.' CROKER.

[657] His _Life of Swift_ is written in the form of _Letters to his Son,
the Hon. Hamilton Boyle._ The fifteenth Letter, in which he finishes his
criticism of _Gulliver's Travels_, affords a good instance of this
'studied variety of phrase.' 'I may finish my letter,' he writes,
'especially as the conclusion of it naturally turns my thoughts from
Yahoos to one of the dearest pledges I have upon earth, yourself, to
whom I am a most

     Affectionate Father,


See _ante_, i. 275-284, for Johnson's letters to Thomas Warton, many of
which end 'in studied varieties of phrase.'

[658] _The Conquest of Granada_ was dedicated to the Duke of York. The
conclusion is as follows:--'If at any time Almanzor fulfils the parts of
personal valour and of conduct, of a soldier and of a general; or, if I
could yet give him a character more advantageous that what he has, of
the most unshaken friend, the greatest of subjects, and the best of
masters; I should then draw all the world a true resemblance of your
worth and virtues; at least as far as they are capable of being copied
by the mean abilities of,


'Your Royal Highness's

'Most humble, and most

'Obedient servant,


[659] On the day of his coronation he was asked to pardon four young men
who had broken the law against carrying arms. 'So long as I live,' he
replied, 'every criminal must die.' 'He was inexorable in individual
cases; he adhered to his laws with a rigour that amounted to cruelty,
while in the framing of general rules we find him mild, yielding, and
placable.' Ranke's _Popes_, ed. 1866, i. 307, 311.

[660] See _ante_, iii. 239, where he discusses the question of shooting
a highwayman.

[661] In _The Rambler_, No. 78, he says:--'I believe men may be
generally observed to grow less tender as they advance in age.'

[662] He passed over his own _Life of Savage_.

[663] 'When I was a young fellow, I wanted to write the _Life of Dryden'
Ante_, iii. 71.

[664] See _ante_, p. 117.

[665] 'I asked a very learned minister in Sky, who had used all arts to
make me believe the genuineness of the book, whether at last he believed
it himself; but he would not answer. He wished me to be deceived for the
honour of his country; but would not directly and formally deceive me.
Yet has this man's testimony been publickly produced, as of one that
held _Fingal_ to be the work of Ossian.' Johnson's _Works_, ix. 115.

[666] A young lady had sung to him an Erse song. He asked her, 'What is
that about? I question if she conceived that I did not understand it.
For the entertainment of the company, said she. But, Madam, what is the
meaning of it? It is a love song. This was all the intelligence that I
could obtain; nor have I been able to procure the translation of a
single line of Erse.' _Piozzi Letters_, i. 146. See _post_, Oct. 16

[667] This droll quotation, I have since found, was from a song in
honour of the Earl of Essex, called _Queen Elisabeth's Champion_, which
is preserved in a collection of Old Ballads, in three volumes, published
in London in different years, between 1720 and 1730. The full verse is
as follows:--

     'Oh! then bespoke the prentices all,
      Living in London, both proper and tall,
      In a kind letter sent straight to the Queen,
      For Essex's sake they would fight all.
          Raderer too, tandaro te,
          Raderer, tandorer, tan do re.'


[668] La Condamine describes a tribe called the Tameos, on the north
side of the river Tiger in South America, who have a word for _three_.
He continues:--'Happily for those who have transactions with them,
their arithmetic goes no farther. The Brazilian tongue, a language
spoken by people less savage, is equally barren; the people who speak
it, where more than three is to be expressed, are obliged to use the
Portuguese.' Pinkerton's _Voyages_, xiv. 225.

[669] 'It was Addison's practice, when he found any man invincibly
wrong, to flatter his opinions by acquiescence, and sink him yet deeper
in absurdity. This artifice of mischief was admired by Stella; and Swift
seems to approve her admiration.' Johnson's _Works_, vii. 450. Swift, in
his _Character of Mrs. Johnson _ (Stella), says:--'Whether this
proceeded from her easiness in general, or from her indifference to
persons, or from her despair of mending them, or from the same practice
which she much liked in Mr. Addison, I cannot determine; but when she
saw any of the company very warm in a wrong opinion, she was more
inclined to confirm them in it than oppose them. The excuse she commonly
gave, when her friends asked the reason, was, "That it prevented noise
and saved time." Swift's _Works_, xiv. 254.

[670] In the Appendix to Blair's _Critical Dissertation on the Poems of
Ossian_ Macqueen is mentioned as one of his authorities for his

[671] See _ante_, iv. 262, note.

[672] I think it but justice to say, that I believe Dr. Johnson meant to
ascribe Mr. M'Queen's conduct to inaccuracy and enthusiasm, and did not
mean any severe imputation against him. BOSWELL.

[673] In Baretti's trial (_ante_, ii. 97, note I) he seems to have given
his evidence clearly. What he had to say, however, was not much.

[674] Boswell had spoken before to Johnson about this omission. _Ante_,
ii. 92.

[675] It has been triumphantly asked, 'Had not the plays of Shakspeare
lain dormant for many years before the appearance of Mr. Garrick? Did he
not exhibit the most excellent of them frequently for thirty years
together, and render them extremely popular by his own inimitable
performance?' He undoubtedly did. But Dr. Johnson's assertion has been
misunderstood. Knowing as well as the objectors what has been just
stated, he must necessarily have meant, that 'Mr. Garrick did not as _a
critick_ make Shakspeare better known; he did not _illustrate_ any one
_passage_ in any of his plays by acuteness of disquisition, or sagacity
of conjecture: and what had been done with any degree of excellence in
_that_ way was the proper and immediate subject of his preface. I may
add in support of this explanation the following anecdote, related to me
by one of the ablest commentators on Shakspeare, who knew much of Dr.
Johnson: 'Now I have quitted the theatre, cries Garrick, I will sit down
and read Shakspeare.' ''Tis time you should, exclaimed Johnson, for I
much doubt if you ever examined one of his plays from the first scene to
the last.' BOSWELL. According to Davies (_Life of Garrick_, i. 120)
during the twenty years' management of Drury Lane by Booth, Wilks and
Cibber (about 1712-1732) not more than eight or nine of Shakspeare's
plays were acted, whereas Garrick annually gave the public seventeen or
eighteen. _Romeo and Juliet_ had lain neglected near 80 years, when in
1748-9 Garrick brought it out, or rather a hash of it. 'Otway had made
some alteration in the catastrophe, which Mr. Garrick greatly improved
by the addition of a scene, which was written with a spirit not unworthy
of Shakespeare himself.' _Ib_. p. 125. Murphy (_Life of Garrick_, p.
100), writing of this alteration, says:--'The catastrophe, as it now
stands, is the most affecting in the whole compass of the drama.' Davies
says (p. 20) that shortly before Garrick's time 'a taste for Shakespeare
had been revived. The ladies had formed themselves into a society under
the title of The Shakespeare Club. They bespoke every week some
favourite play of his.' This revival was shown in the increasing number
of readers of Shakespeare. It was in 1741 that Garrick began to act. In
the previous sixteen years there had been published four editions of
Pope's _Shakespeare_ and two of Theobald's. In the next ten years were
published five editions of Hanmer's _Shakespeare_, and two of
Warburton's, besides Johnson's _Observations on Macbeth. _Lowndes's
_Bibl. Man._ ed. 1871, p. 2270.

[676] In her foolish _Essay on Shakespeare_, p. 15. See _ante_, ii. 88.

[677] No man has less inclination to controversy than I have,
particularly with a lady. But as I have claimed, and am conscious of
being entitled to credit for the strictest fidelity, my respect for the
publick obliges me to take notice of an insinuation which tends to
impeach it.

Mrs. Piozzi (late Mrs. Thrale), to her _Anecdotes of Dr. Johnson_, added
the following postscript:--

'_Naples, Feb._ 10, 1786.

'Since the foregoing went to the press, having seen a passage from Mr.
Boswell's _Tour to the Hebrides,_ in which it is said, that _I could not
get through Mrs. Montague's "Essay on Shakspeare,"_ I do not delay a
moment to declare, that, on the contrary, I have always commended it
myself, and heard it commended by every one else; and few things would
give me more concern than to be thought incapable of tasting, or
unwilling to testify my opinion of its excellence.'

It is remarkable that this postscript is so expressed, as not to point
out the person who said that Mrs. Thrale could not get through Mrs.
Montague's book; and therefore I think it necessary to remind Mrs.
Piozzi, that the assertion concerning her was Dr. Johnson's, and not
mine. The second observation that I shall make on this postscript is,
that it does not deny the fact asserted, though I must acknowledge from
the praise it bestows on Mrs. Montague's book, it may have been designed
to convey that meaning.

What Mrs. Thrale's opinion is or was, or what she may or may not have
said to Dr. Johnson concerning Mrs. Montague's book, it is not necessary
for me to enquire. It is only incumbent on me to ascertain what Dr.
Johnson said to me. I shall therefore confine myself to a very short
state of the fact. The unfavourable opinion of Mrs. Montague's book,
which Dr. Johnson, is here reported to have given, is, known to have
been that which he uniformly expressed, as many of his friends well
remember. So much, for the authenticity of the paragraph, as far as it
relates to his own sentiments. The words containing the assertion, to
which Mrs. Piozzi objects, are printed from my manuscript Journal, and
were taken down at the time. The Journal was read by Dr. Johnson, who
pointed out some inaccuracies, which I corrected, but did not mention
any inaccuracy in the paragraph in question: and what is still more
material, and very flattering to me, a considerable part of my Journal,
containing this paragraph, _was read several years ago by, Mrs. Thrale
herself _[see _ante_, ii. 383], who had it for some time in her
possession, and returned it to me, without intimating that Dr. Johnson
had mistaken her sentiments.

When the first edition of my Journal was passing through the press, it
occurred to me that a peculiar delicacy was necessary to be observed in
reporting the opinion of one literary lady concerning the performance of
another; and I had such scruples on that head, that in the proof sheet I
struck out the name of Mrs. Thrale from the above paragraph, and two or
three hundred copies of my book were actually printed and published
without it; of these Sir Joshua Reynolds's copy happened to be one. But
while the sheet was working off, a friend, for whose opinion I have
great respect, suggested that I had no right to deprive Mrs. Thrale of
the high honour which Dr. Johnson had done her, by stating her opinion
along with that of Mr. Beauclerk, as coinciding with, and, as it were,
sanctioning his own. The observation appeared to me so weighty and
conclusive, that I hastened to the printing-house, and, as a piece of
justice, restored Mrs. Thrale to that place from which a too scrupulous
delicacy had excluded her. On this simple state of facts I shall make no
observation whatever. BOSWELL. This note was first published in the form
of a letter to the Editor of _The Gazetteer_ on April 17, 1786.

[678] See _ante_, p. 215, for his knowledge of coining and brewing, and
_post_, p. 263, for his knowledge of threshing and thatching. Now and
then, no doubt, 'he talked ostentatiously,' as he had at Fort George
about Gunpowder (_ante_, p. 124). In the _Gent. Mag._ for 1749, p. 55,
there is a paper on the _Construction of Fireworks_, which I have little
doubt is his. The following passage is certainly Johnsonian:--'The
excellency of a rocket consists in the largeness of the train of fire it
emits, the solemnity of its motion (which should be rather slow at
first, but augmenting as it rises), the straightness of its flight, and
the height to which it ascends.'

[679] Perhaps Johnson refers to Stephen Hales's _Statical Essays_
(London, 1733), in which is an account of experiments made on the blood
and blood-vessels of animals.

[680] Evidence was given at the Tichborne Trial to shew that it takes
some years to learn the trade.

[681] Not the very tavern, which was burned down in the great fire. P.

[682] I do not see why I might not have been of this club without
lessening my character. But Dr. Johnson's caution against supposing
one's self concealed in London, may be very useful to prevent some
people from doing many things, not only foolish, but criminal. BOSWELL.

[683] See _ante_, iii. 318.

[684] Johnson defines _airy_ as _gay, sprightly, full of mirth_, &c.

[685] 'A man would be drowned by claret before it made him drunk.'
_Ante_, iii. 381.

[686] _Ante_, p. 137.

[687] See _ante_ ii. 261.

[688] Lord Chesterfield wrote in 1747 (_Misc. Works_, iv. 231):--
Drinking is a most beastly vice in every country, but it is really a
ruinous one to Ireland; nine gentlemen in ten in Ireland are
impoverished by the great quantity of claret, which from mistaken
notions of hospitality and dignity, they think it necessary should be
drunk in their houses. This expense leaves them no room to improve their
estates by proper indulgence upon proper conditions to their tenants,
who must pay them to the full, and upon the very day, that they may pay
their wine-merchants.' In 1754 he wrote (_ib._p.359):--If it would but
please God by his lightning to blast all the vines in the world, and by
his thunder to turn all the wines now in Ireland sour, as I most
sincerely wish he would, Ireland would enjoy a degree of quiet and
plenty that it has never yet known.'

[689] See _ante_, p. 95.

[690] 'The sea being broken by the multitude of islands does not roar
with so much noise, nor beat the storm with such foamy violence as I
have remarked on the coast of Sussex. Though, while I was in the
Hebrides, the wind was extremely turbulent, I never saw very high
billows.' Johnson's _Works_, ix. 65.

[691] Johnson this day thus wrote of Mr. M'Queen to Mrs. Thrale:--'You
find that all the islanders even in these recesses of life are not
barbarous. One of the ministers who has adhered to us almost all the
time is an excellent scholar.' _Piozzi Letters,_ i. 157.

[692] See _post_, Nov. 6.

[693] This was a dexterous mode of description, for the purpose of his
argument; for what he alluded to was, a Sermon published by the learned
Dr. William Wishart, formerly principal of the college at Edinburgh, to
warn men _against_ confiding in a death-bed _repentance_ of the
inefficacy of which he entertained notions very different from those of
Dr. Johnson. BOSWELL.

[694] The Rev. Dr. A. Carlyle (_Auto_. p. 441) thus writes of the
English clergy whom he met at Harrogate in 1763:--'I had never seen so
many of them together before, and between this and the following year I
was able to form a true judgment of them. They are, in general--I mean
the lower order--divided into bucks and prigs; of which the first,
though inconceivably ignorant, and sometimes indecent in their morals,
yet I held them to be most tolerable, because they were unassuming, and
had no other affectation but that of behaving themselves like gentlemen.
The other division of them, the prigs, are truly not to be endured, for
they are but half learned, are ignorant of the world, narrow-minded,
pedantic, and overbearing. And now and then you meet with a _rara avis_
who is accomplished and agreeable, a man of the world without
licentiousness, of learning without pedantry, and pious without
sanctimony; but this _is_ a _rara avis_'.

[695] See _ante_, i. 446, note 1.

[696] Johnson defines _manage_ in this sense _to train a horse to
graceful action_, and quotes Young:--

     'They vault from hunters to the managed steed.'

[697] Of Sir William Forbes of a later generation, Lockhart (_Life of
Scott_, ix. 179) writes as follows:--'Sir William Forbes, whose
banking-house was one of Messrs. Ballantyne's chief creditors, crowned
his generous efforts for Scott's relief by privately paying the whole of
Abud's demand (nearly £2000) out of his own pocket.'

[698] This scarcity of cash still exists on the islands, in several of
which five shilling notes are necessarily issued to have some
circulating medium. If you insist on having change, you must purchase
something at a shop. WALTER SCOTT.

[699] 'The payment of rent in kind has been so long disused in England
that it is totally forgotten. It was practised very lately in the
Hebrides, and probably still continues, not only in St. Kilda, where
money is not yet known, but in others of the smaller and remoter
islands.' Johnson's _Works_, ix. 110.

[700] 'A place where the imagination is more amused cannot easily be
found. The mountains about it are of great height, with waterfalls
succeeding one another so fast, that as one ceases to be heard another
begins.' _Piozzi Letters_, i. 157.

[701] See _ante_, i. 159.

[702] Johnson seems to be speaking of Hailes's _Memorials and Letters
relating to the History of Britain in the reign of James I and of
Charles I_.

[703] See _ante_, ii. 341.

[704] See _ante_, iii. 91.

[705] 'In all ages of the world priests have been enemies to liberty,
and it is certain that this steady conduct of theirs must have been
founded on fixed reasons of interest and ambition. Liberty of thinking
and of expressing our thoughts is always fatal to priestly power, and to
those pious frauds on which it is commonly founded.... Hence it must
happen in such a government as that of Britain, that the established
clergy, while things are in their natural situation, will always be of
the _Court_-party; as, on the contrary, dissenters of all kinds will be
of the _Country_-party.' Hume's _Essays_, Part 1, No. viii.

[706] In the original _Every island's but a prison._ The song is by a
Mr. Coffey, and is given in Ritson's _English Songs_ (1813), ii. 122.
It begins:--

     'Welcome, welcome, brother debtor,
         To this poor but merry place,
      Where no bailiff, dun, nor setter,
         Dares to show his frightful face.'

See _ante_, iii. 269.

[707] He wrote to Mrs. Thrale the day before (perhaps it was this day,
and the copyist blundered):--' I am still in Sky. Do you remember
the song--

We have at one time no boat, and at another may have too much wind; but
of our reception here we have no reason to complain.' _Piozzi
Letters_, i. 143.

[708] My ingenuously relating this occasional instance of intemperance
has I find been made the subject both of serious criticism and ludicrous
banter. With the banterers I shall not trouble myself, but I wonder that
those who pretend to the appellation of serious criticks should not have
had sagacity enough to perceive that here, as in every other part of the
present work, my principal object was to delineate Dr. Johnson's manners
and character. In justice to him I would not omit an anecdote, which,
though in some degree to my own disadvantage, exhibits in so strong a
light the indulgence and good humour with which he could treat those
excesses in his friends, of which he highly disapproved.

In some other instances, the criticks have been equally wrong as to the
true motive of my recording particulars, the objections to which I saw
as clearly as they. But it would be an endless task for an authour to
point out upon every occasion the precise object he has in view,
Contenting himself with the approbation of readers of discernment and
taste, he ought not to complain that some are found who cannot or will
not understand him. BOSWELL.

[709] In the original, 'wherein is excess.'

[710] See Chappell's _Popular Music of the Olden Time_, i. 231.

[711] See _ante_, iii. 383.

[712] see _ante_, p. 184.

[713] See _ante_, ii. 120, where he took upon his knee a young woman who
came to consult him on the subject of Methodism.

[714] See _ante_, pp. 215, 246.

[715] See _ante_, iv. 176.


     'If ev'ry wheel of that unwearied mill
      That turned ten thousand verses now stands still.'

_Imitations of Horace, 2 Epis._ ii. 78.

[717] _Ante_, p. 206.


     'Nescio qua natale solum dulcedine captos
      Ducit.'--Ovid, _Ex Pont_. i. 3. 35.

[719] Lift up your hearts.

[720] Mr. Croker prints the following letter written to Macleod the day

     'Ostig, 28th Sept. 1773.

'DEAR SIR,--We are now on the margin of the sea, waiting for a boat and
a wind. Boswell grows impatient; but the kind treatment which I find
wherever I go, makes me leave, with some heaviness of heart, an island
which I am not very likely to see again. Having now gone as far as
horses can carry us, we thankfully return them. My steed will, I hope,
be received with kindness;--he has borne me, heavy as I am, over ground
both rough and steep, with great fidelity; and for the use of him, as
for your other favours, I hope you will believe me thankful, and
willing, at whatever distance we may be placed, to shew my sense of your
kindness, by any offices of friendship that may fall within my power.

'Lady Macleod and the young ladies have, by their hospitality and
politeness, made an impression on my mind, which will not easily be
effaced. Be pleased to tell them, that I remember them with great
tenderness, and great respect.--I am, Sir, your most obliged and most
humble servant,


'P.S.--We passed two days at Talisker very happily, both by the
pleasantness of the place and elegance of our reception.'

[721] Johnson (_Works_, viii. 409), after describing how Shenstone laid
out the Leasowes, continues:--'Whether to plant a walk in undulating
curves, and to place a bench at every turn where there is an object to
catch the view; to make water run where it will be heard, and to
stagnate where it will be seen; to leave intervals where the eye will be
pleased, and to thicken the plantation where there is something to be
hidden, demands any great powers of mind, I will not inquire: perhaps a
surly and sullen speculator may think such performances rather the sport
than the business of human reason.'

[722] Johnson quotes this and the two preceding stanzas as 'a passage,
to which if any mind denies its sympathy, it has no acquaintance with
love or nature.' _Ib_. p. 413.

[723] 'His mind was not very comprehensive, nor his curiosity active; he
had no value for those parts of knowledge which he had not himself
cultivated.' _Ib._ p. 411.

[724] In the preface to vol. iii. of Shenstone's _Works_, ed. 1773, a
quotation is given (p. vi) from one of the poet's letters in which he
complains of this burning. He writes:--'I look upon my Letters as some of
my _chef-d'auvres_.' On p. 301, after mentioning _Rasselas_, he
continues:--'Did I tell you I had a letter from Johnson, inclosing
Vernon's _Parish-clerk_?'

[725] 'The truth is these elegies have neither passion, nature, nor
manners. Where there is fiction, there is no passion: he that describes
himself as a shepherd, and his Neaera or Delia as a shepherdess, and
talks of goats and lambs, feels no passion. He that courts his mistress
with Roman imagery deserves to lose her; for she may with good reason
suspect his sincerity.' Johnson's _Works_, viii. 91. See _ante_, iv. 17.

[726] His lines on Pulteney, Earl of Bath, still deserve some fame:--

     'Leave a blank here and there in each page
      To enrol the fair deeds of his youth!
      When you mention the acts of his age,
      Leave a blank for his honour and truth.'

From _The Statesman_, H. C. Williams's _Odes_, p. 47.

[727] Hamlet, act ii. sc. 2.

[728] He did not mention the name of any particular person; but those
who are conversant with the political world will probably recollect more
persons than one to whom this observation may be applied. BOSWELL. Mr.
Croker thinks that Lord North was meant. For his ministry Johnson
certainly came to have a great contempt (_ante_, iv. 139). If Johnson
was thinking of him, he differed widely in opinion from Gibbon, who
describes North as 'a consummate master of debate, who could wield with
equal dexterity the arms of reason and of ridicule.' Gibbon's _Misc.
Works_, i. 221. On May 2, 1775, he wrote:--' If they turned out Lord
North to-morrow, they would still leave him one of the best companions
in the kingdom.' _Ib._ ii. 135.

[729] Horace Walpole is speaking of this work, when he wrote on May 16,
1759 (_Letters_, iii. 227):--'Dr. Young has published a new book, on
purpose, he says himself, to have an opportunity of telling a story that
he has known these forty years. Mr. Addison sent for the young Lord
Warwick, as he was dying, to shew him in what peace a Christian could
die--unluckily he died of brandy--nothing makes a Christian die in
peace like being maudlin! but don't say this in Gath, where you are.'

[730] 'His [Young's] plan seems to have started in his mind at the
present moment; and his thoughts appear the effect of chance, sometimes
adverse, and sometimes lucky, with very little operation of judgment....
His verses are formed by no certain model; he is no more like himself in
his different productions than he is like others. He seems never to have
studied prosody, nor to have had any direction but from his own ear. But
with all his defects, he was a man of genius and a poet.' Johnson's
_Works_, viii. 458, 462. Mrs. Piozzi (_Synonymy_, ii. 371) tells why
'Dr. Johnson despised Young's quantity of common knowledge as
comparatively small. 'Twas only because, speaking once upon the subject
of metrical composition, he seemed totally ignorant of what are called
rhopalick verses, from the Greek word, a club--verses in which each word
must be a syllable longer than that which goes before, such as:

     Spes deus aeternae stationis conciliator.'

[731] He had said this before. _Ante_, ii. 96.


     'Brunetta's wise in actions great and rare,
      But scorns on trifles to bestow her care.
      Thus ev'ry hour Brunetta is to blame,
      Because th' occasion is beneath her aim.
      Think nought a trifle, though it small appear;
      Small sands the mountains, moments make the year,
      And trifles life. Your care to trifles give,
      Or you may die before you truly live.'

_Love of Fame_, Satire vi. Johnson often taught that life is made up of
trifles. See _ante_, i. 433.


     "But hold," she cries, "lampooner, have a care;
      Must I want common sense, because I'm fair?"
      O no: see Stella; her eyes shine as bright,
      As if her tongue was never in the right;
      And yet what real learning, judgment, fire!
      She seems inspir'd, and can herself inspire:
      How then (if malice rul'd not all the fair)
      Could Daphne publish, and could she forbear?
      We grant that beauty is no bar to sense,
      Nor is't a sanction for impertinence.

_Love of Fame_, Satire v.

[734] Johnson called on Young's son at Welwyn in June, 1781. _Ante_, iv.
119. Croft, in his _Life of Young_ (Johnson's _Works_, viii. 453), says
that 'Young and his housekeeper were ridiculed with more ill-nature than
wit in a kind of novel published by Kidgell in 1755, called _The Card_,
under the name of Dr. Elwes and Mrs. Fusby.'

[735] _Memoirs of Philip Doddridge_, ed. 1766, p. 171.

[736] So late as 1783 he said 'this Hanoverian family is isolée here.'
_Ante_, iv. 165.

[737] See _ante_, ii. 81, where he hoped that 'this gloom of infidelity
was only a transient cloud.'

[738] Boswell has recorded this saying, _ante_, iv. 194.

[739] In 1755 an English version of this work had been published. _Gent.
Mag_. 1755, p. 574. In the Chronological Catalogue on p. 343 in vol. 66
of Voltaire's _Works_, ed. 1819, it is entered as _'Histoire de la
Guerre de_ 1741, fondue en partie dans le _Précis du siècle de
Louis XV_.'

[740] Boswell is here merely repeating Johnson's words, who on April 11
of this year, advising him to keep a journal, had said, 'The great thing
to be recorded is the state of your own mind.' _Ante_, ii. 217.

[741] This word is not in his _Dictionary_.

[742] See _ante_, i. 498.

[743] See _ante_, ii. 61, 335; iii. 375, and _post_, under Nov. 11.

[744] Beattie had attacked Hume in his _Essay on Truth_ (_ante_, ii. 201
and v. 29). Reynolds this autumn had painted Beattie in his gown of an
Oxford Doctor of Civil Law, with his _Essay_ under his arm. 'The angel
of Truth is going before him, and beating down the Vices, Envy,
Falsehood, &c., which are represented by a group of figures falling at
his approach, and the principal head in this group is made an exact
likeness of Voltaire. When Dr. Goldsmith saw this picture, he was very
indignant at it, and said:--"It very ill becomes a man of your eminence
and character, Sir Joshua, to condescend to be a mean flatterer, or to
wish to degrade so high a genius as Voltaire before so mean a writer as
Dr. Beattie; for Dr. Beattie and his book together will, in the space of
ten years, not be known ever to have been in existence, but your
allegorical picture and the fame of Voltaire will live for ever to your
disgrace as a flatterer."' Northcote's _Reynolds_, i. 300. Another of
the figures was commonly said to be a portrait of Hume; but Forbes
(_Life of Beattie_, ed. 1824, p. 158) says he had reason to believe that
Sir Joshua had no thought either of Hume or Voltaire. Beattie's _Essay_
is so much a thing of the past that Dr. J. H. Burton does not, I
believe, take the trouble ever to mention it in his _Life of Hume_.
Burns did not hold with Goldsmith, for he took Beattie's side:--

     'Hence sweet harmonious Beattie sung
               His _Minstrel_ lays;
      Or tore, with noble ardour stung,
               The _Sceptic's_ bays.'

(_The Vision_, part ii.)

[745] See _ante_, ii. 441.

[746] William Tytler published in 1759 an _Examination of the Histories
of Dr. Robertson and Mr. Hume with respect to Mary Queen of Scots_. It
was reviewed by Johnson. _Ante_, i. 354.

[747] Johnson's _Rasselas_ was published in either March or April, and
Goldsmith's _Polite Learning_ in April of 1759.I do not find that they
published any other works at the same time. If these are the works
meant, we have a proof that the two writers knew each other earlier than
was otherwise known.

[748] 'A learned prelate accidentally met Bentley in the days of
_Phalaris_; and after having complimented him on that noble piece of
criticism (the _Answer_ to the Oxford Writers) he bad him not be
discouraged at this run upon him, for tho' they had got the laughers on
their side, yet mere wit and raillery could not long hold out against a
work of so much merit. To which the other replied, "Indeed Dr. S.
[Sprat], I am in no pain about the matter. For I hold it as certain,
that no man was ever written out of reputation but by himself."'
_Warburton on Pope_, iv. 159, quoted in Person's _Tracts_, p. 345.
'Against personal abuse,' says Hawkins (_Life_, p. 348), 'Johnson was
ever armed by a reflection that I have heard him utter:--"Alas!
reputation would be of little worth, were it in the power of every
concealed enemy to deprive us of it."' He wrote to Baretti:--'A man of
genius has been seldom ruined but by himself.' _Ante_, i. 381. Voltaire
in his _Essay Sur les inconvéniens attachés à la Littérature_ (_Works_,
ed. 1819, xliii. 173), after describing all that an author does to win
the favour of the critics, continues:--'Tous vos soins n'empêchent pas
que quelque journaliste ne vous déchire. Vous lui répondez; il réplique;
vous avez un procès par écrit devant le public, qui condamne les deux
parties au ridicule.' See _ante_, ii. 61, note 4.

[749] However advantageous attacks may be, the feelings with which they
are regarded by authors are better described by Fielding when he
says:--'Nor shall we conclude the injury done this way to be very
slight, when we consider a book as the author's offspring, and indeed as
the child of his brain. The reader who hath suffered his muse to
continue hitherto in a virgin state can have but a very inadequate idea
of this kind of paternal fondness. To such we may parody the tender
exclamation of Macduff, "Alas! thou hast written no book."' _Tom Jones_,
bk. xi. ch. 1.

[750] It is strange that Johnson should not have known that the
_Adventures of a Guinea_ was written by a namesake of his own, Charles
Johnson. Being disqualified for the bar, which was his profession, by a
supervening deafness, he went to India, and made some fortune, and died
there about 1800. WALTER SCOTT.

[751] Salusbury, not Salisbury.

[752] Horace Walpole (_Letters_, .ii 57) mentions in 1746 his cousin Sir
John Philipps, of Picton Castle; 'a noted Jacobite.'... He thus mentions
Lady Philipps in 1788 when she was 'very aged.' 'They have a favourite
black, who has lived with them a great many years, and is remarkably
sensible. To amuse Lady Philipps under a long illness, they had read to
her the account of the Pelew Islands. Somebody happened to say we were
sending a ship thither; the black, who was in the room, exclaimed, "Then
there is an end of their happiness." What a satire on Europe!' _Ib_.
ix. 157.

Lady Philips was known to Johnson through Miss Williams, to whom, as a
note in Croker's _Boswell_ (p. 74) shews, she made a small yearly

[753] 'To teach the minuter decencies and inferiour duties, to regulate
the practice of daily conversation, to correct those depravities which
are rather ridiculous than criminal, and remove those grievances which,
if they produce no lasting calamities, impress hourly vexation, was
first attempted by Casa in his book of _Manners_, and Castiglione in his
_Courtier_; two books yet celebrated in Italy for purity and elegance.'
Johnson's _Works_, vii. 428. _The Courtier_ was translated into English
so early as 1561. Lowndes's _Bibl. Man_. ed. 1871, p. 386.

[754] Burnet (_History of His Own Time_, ii. 296) mentions Whitby among
the persons who both managed and directed the controversial war' against
Popery towards the end of Charles II's reign. 'Popery,' he says, 'was
never so well understood by the nation as it came to be upon this
occasion.' Whitby's Commentary _on the New Testament_ was published
in 1703-9.

[755] By Henry Mackenzie, the author of _The Man of Feeling. Ante_, i.
360. It had been published anonymously this spring. The play of the same
name is by Macklin. It was brought out in 1781.

[756] No doubt Sir A. Macdonald. _Ante_, p. 148. This 'penurious
gentleman' is mentioned again, p. 315.

[757] Molière's play of _L'Avare_.


     '...facit indignatio versum.'

Juvenal, _Sat_. i. 79.

[759] See _ante_, iii. 252.

[760] He was sixty-four.

[761] Still, perhaps, in the _Western Isles_, 'It may be we shall touch
the Happy Isles.' Tennyson's _Ulysses._

[762] See _ante_, ii, 51.

[763] See _ante_, ii. 150.

[764] Sir Alexander Macdonald.

[765] 'To be or not to be: that is the question.' _Hamlet_, act iii. sc.

[766] Virgil, _Eclogues_, iii. III.

[767] 'The stormy Hebrides.' Milton's _Lycidas_, 1. 156.

[768] Boswell was thinking of the passage (p. xxi.) in which Hawkesworth
tells how one of Captain Cook's ships was saved by the wind falling.
'If,' he writes, 'it was a natural event, providence is out of the
question; at least we can with no more propriety say that providentially
the wind ceased, than that providentially the sun rose in the morning.
If it was not,' &c. According to Malone the attacks made on Hawkesworth
in the newspapers for this passage 'affected him so much that from low
spirits he was seized with a nervous fever, which on account of the high
living he had indulged in had the more power on him; and he is supposed
to have put an end to his life by intentionally taking an immoderate
dose of opium.' Prior's _Malone_, p. 441. Mme. D'Arblay says that these
attacks shortened his life. _Memoirs of Dr. Burney_, i. 278. He died on
Nov. 17 of this year. See _ante_, i. 252, and ii. 247.

[769] 'After having been detained by storms many days at Sky we left it,
as we thought, with a fair wind; but a violent gust, which Bos had a
great mind to call a tempest, forced us into Col.' _Piozzi Letters_, i.
167. 'The wind blew against us in a short time with such violence, that
we, being no seasoned sailors, were willing to call it a tempest... The
master knew not well whither to go; and our difficulties might, perhaps,
have filled a very pathetick page, had not Mr. Maclean of Col... piloted
us safe into his own harbour.' Johnson's _Works_, ix. 117. Sir Walter
Scott says, 'Their risque, in a sea full of islands, was very
considerable. Indeed, the whole expedition was highly perilous,
considering the season of the year, the precarious chance of getting
sea-worthy boats, and the ignorance of the Hebrideans, who,
notwithstanding the opportunities, I may say the _necessities_, of their
situation, are very careless and unskilful sailors.' Croker's
_Boswell_, p. 362.

[770] For as the tempest drives, I shape my way. FRANCIS. [Horace,
_Epistles_, i. 1. 15.] BOSWELL.


     'Imberbus juvenis, tandem custode remoto,
      Gaudet equis canibusque, et aprici gramine campi.'
     'The youth, whose will no froward tutor bounds,
      Joys in the sunny field, his horse and hounds.'

FRANCIS. Horace, _Ars Poet_. 1. 161.

[772] _Henry VI_, act i. sc. 2.

[773] See _ante_, i. 468, and iii. 306.

[774] Johnson describes him as 'a gentleman who has lived some time in
the East Indies, but, having dethroned no nabob, is not too rich to
settle in his own country.' Johnson's _Works_, ix. 117.

[775] This curious exhibition may perhaps remind some of my readers of
the ludicrous lines, made, during Sir Robert Walpole's administration,
on Mr. George (afterwards Lord) Lyttelton, though the figures of the two
personages must be allowed to be very different:--

     'But who is this astride the pony;
      So long, so lean, so lank, so bony?
      Dat be de great orator, Littletony.'


These lines were beneath a caricature called _The Motion_, described by
Horace Walpole in his letter of March 25, 1741, and said by Mr.
Cunningham to be 'the earliest good political caricature that we
possess.' Walpole's _Letters_, i. 66. Mr. Croker says that 'the exact
words are:--

     bony? O he be de great orator Little-Tony.'

[776] See _ante_, ii. 213.

[777] In 1673 Burnet, who was then Professor of Theology in Glasgow,
dedicated to Lauderdale _A Vindication of the Authority, &c., of the
Church and State of Scotland_. In it he writes of the Duke's 'noble
character, and more lasting and inward characters of his princely mind.'

[778] See _ante_, i. 450.

[779] See _ante_, p. 250.

[780] 'Others have considered infinite space as the receptacle, or
rather the habitation of the Almighty; but the noblest and most exalted
way of considering this infinite space, is that of Sir Isaac Newton, who
calls it the _sensorium_ of the Godhead. Brutes and men have their
_sensoriola_, or little _sensoriums_, by which they apprehend the
presence, and perceive the actions, of a few objects that lie contiguous
to them. Their knowledge and observation turn within a very narrow
circle. But as God Almighty cannot but perceive and know everything in
which he resides, infinite space gives room to infinite knowledge, and
is, as it were, an organ to Omniscience.' Addison, _The Spectator_,
No. 565.

[781] 'Le célèbre philosophe Leibnitz ... attaqua ces expressions du
philosophe anglais, dans une lettre qu'il écrivit en 1715 à la feue
reine d'Angleterre, épouse de George II. Cette princesse, digne d'être
en commerce avec Leibnitz et Newton, engagea une dispute reglée par
lettres entre les deux parties. Mais Newton, ennemi de toute dispute et
avare de son temps, laissa le docteur Clarke, son disciple en physique,
et pour le moins son égal en métaphysique, entrer pour lui dans la lice.
La dispute roula sur presque toutes les idées métaphysiques de Newton,
et c'est peut-être le plus beau monument que nous ayons des combats
littéraires.' Voltaire's _Works_, ed. 1819, xxviii. 44.

[782] See _ante_, iii. 248.

[783] See _ante_, iv. 295, where Boswell asked Johnson 'if he would not
have done more good if he had been more gentle.' JOHNSON. 'No, Sir; I
have done more good as I am. Obscenity and impiety have always been
repressed in my company.'

[784] 'Mr. Maclean has the reputation of great learning: he is
seventy-seven years old, but not infirm, with a look of venerable
dignity, excelling what I remember in any other man. His conversation
was not unsuitable to his appearance. I lost some of his good will by
treating a heretical writer with more regard than in his opinion a
heretick could deserve. I honoured his orthodoxy, and did not much
censure his asperity. A man who has settled his opinions does not love
to have the tranquillity of his conviction disturbed; and at
seventy-seven it is time to be in earnest.' Johnson's _Works_, ix. 118.

[785] 'Mr. Maclean has no publick edifice for the exercise of his
ministry, and can officiate to no greater number than a room can
contain; and the room of a hut is not very large... The want of churches
is not the only impediment to piety; there is likewise a want of
ministers. A parish often contains more islands than one... All the
provision made by the present ecclesiastical constitution for the
inhabitants of about a hundred square miles is a prayer and sermon in a
little room once in three weeks.' Johnson's _Works_, ix. 118.


     'Our Polly is a sad slut, nor heeds
        what we have taught her.
      I wonder any man alive will
        ever rear a daughter.
      For she must have both hoods
        and gowns, and hoops to
        swell her pride,
      With scarfs and stays, and
        gloves and lace; and she
        will have men beside;
      And when she's drest with care
        and cost, all-tempting, fine and gay,
      As men should serve a cucumber,
        she flings herself away.'

Air vii.

[787] See _ante_, p. 162.

[788] In 1715.


     'When Ajax strives some rock's vast weight to throw,
      The line too labours, and the words move slow.'

Pope, _Essay on Criticism_, l. 370.

[790] Johnson's remark on these stones is curious as shewing that he had
not even a glimpse of the discoveries to be made by geology. After
saying that 'no account can be given' of the position of one of the
stones, he continues:--'There are so many important things of which
human knowledge can give no account, that it may be forgiven us if we
speculate no longer on two stones in Col.' _Works_, ix. 122. See _ante_,
ii. 468, for his censure of Brydone's 'anti-mosaical remark.'


     'Malo me Galatea petit, lasciva puella.'
     'My Phillis me with pelted apples plies.'

DRYDEN. Virgil, _Eclogues_, iii. 64.


     'The helpless traveller, with wild surprise,
      Sees the dry desert all around him rise,
      And smother'd in the dusty whirlwind dies.'

_Cato_ act ii. sc. 6.

[793] Johnson seems unwilling to believe this. 'I am not of opinion that
by any surveys or land-marks its [the sand's] limits have been ever
fixed, or its progression ascertained. If one man has confidence enough
to say that it advances, nobody can bring any proof to support him in
denying it.' _Works_, ix. 122. He had seen land in like manner laid
waste north of Aberdeen; where 'the owner, when he was required to pay
the usual tax, desired rather to resign the ground.' _Ib_. p. 15.

[794] _Box_, in this sense, is not in Johnson's _Dictionary_.

[795] See _ante_, ii. 100, and iv. 274.

[796] In the original, _Rich windows. A Long Story_, l. 7.

[797] 'And this according to the philosophers is happiness.' Boswell
says of Crabbe's poem _The Village_, that 'its sentiments as to the
false notions of rustick happiness and rustick virtue were quite
congenial with Johnson's own.' _Ante_, iv. 175.

[798] 'This innovation was considered by Mr. Macsweyn as the idle
project of a young head, heated with English fancies; but he has now
found that turnips will really grow, and that hungry sheep and cows will
really eat them.' Johnson's _Works_, ix. 121. 'The young laird is heir,
perhaps, to 300 square miles of land, which, at ten shillings an acre,
would bring him £96,000 a year. He is desirous of improving the
agriculture of his country; and, in imitation of the Czar, travelled for
improvement, and worked with his own hands upon a farm in
Hertfordshire.' _Piozzi Letters_, i. 168.

[799] 'In more fruitful countries the removal of one only makes room for
the succession of another; but in the Hebrides the loss of an inhabitant
leaves a lasting vacuity; for nobody born in any other parts of the
world will choose this country for his residence.' Johnson's
_Works_, ix. 93.

[800] 'In 1628 Daillé wrote his celebrated book, _De l'usage des Pères_,
or _Of the Use of the Fathers_. Dr. Fleetwood, Bishop of Ely, said of it
that he thought the author had pretty sufficiently proved they were of
_no use_ at all.' Chalmers's _Biog. Dict_. xi. 209.

[801] _Enquiry after Happiness_, by Richard Lucas, D.D., 1685.

[802] _Divine Dialogues_, by Henry More, D.D. See _ante_, ii. 162, note

[803] By David Gregory, the second of the sixteen professors which the
family of Gregory gave to the Universities. _Ante_, p. 48.

[804] 'Johnson's landlord and next neighbour in Bolt-court.' _Ante_,
iii. 141.

[805] '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.

[806] '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. 42. It was originally published in _three_ volumes folio in 1735-6.

[807] Seneca's two epigrams on Corsica are quoted in Boswell's
_Corsica_, 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.'

[808] '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.

[809] '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

[810] 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.

[811] See _ante,_ i., 127.

[812] Muir-fowl is grouse. _Ante_ p. 44.

[813] See ante, p. 162, note 1.

[814] 'In Col only two houses pay the window tax; for only two have six
windows, which, I suppose, are the laird's and Mr. Macsweyn's.'
Johnson's _Works_, ix. 125. 'The window tax, as it stands at present
(January 1775)...lays a duty upon every window, which in England
augments gradually from twopence, the lowest rate upon houses with not
more than seven windows, to two shillings, the highest rate upon houses
with twenty-five windows and upwards.' _Wealth of Nations,_ v. 2. 2 .1.
The tax was first imposed in 1695, as a substitute for hearth money.
Macaulay's _England,_ ed. 1874, vii. 271. It was abolished in 1851.

[815] Thomas Carlyle was not fourteen when, one 'dark frosty November
morning,' he set off on foot for the University at Edinburgh--a distance
of nearly one hundred miles. Froude's _Carlyle_, i. 22.

[816] _Ante_, p. 290.

[817] _Of the Nature and Use of Lots: a Treatise historicall and
theologicall._ By Thomas Gataker. London, 1619. _The Spirituall Watch,
or Christ's Generall Watch-word._ By Thomas Gataker. London, 1619.

[818] See _ante_, p. 264.

[819] He visited it with the Thrales on Sept. 22, 1774, when returning
from his tour to Wales, and with Boswell in 1776 (_ante_, ii. 451).

[820] Mr. Croker says that 'this, no doubt, alludes to Jacob Bryant, the
secretary or librarian at Blenheim, with whom Johnson had had perhaps
some coolness now forgotten.' The supposition of the coolness seems
needless. With so little to go upon, guessing is very hazardous.

[821] Topham Beauclerk, who had married the Duke's sister, after she had
been divorced for adultery with him from her first husband Viscount
Bolingbroke. _Ante_, ii. 246, note 1.

[822] See _post_, Dempster's Letter of Feb. 16, 1775.

[823] See _ante_, ii. 340, where Johnson said that 'if he were a
gentleman of landed property, he would turn out all his tenants who did
not vote for the candidate whom he supported.'

[824] See _ante_, iii. 378.

[825] 'They have opinions which cannot be ranked with superstition,
because they regard only natural effects. They expect better crops of
grain by sowing their seed in the moon's increase. The moon has great
influence in vulgar philosophy. In my memory it was a precept annually
given in one of the English almanacks, "to kill hogs when the moon was
increasing, and the bacon would prove the better in boiling."' Johnson's
_Works,_ ix. 104. Bacon, in his _Natural History_(No.892) says:--'For
the increase of moisture, the opinion received is, that seeds will grow
soonest if they be set in the increase of the moon.'

[826] The question which Johnson asked with such unusual warmth might
have been answered, 'by sowing the bent, or couch grass.' WALTER SCOTT.

[827] See _ante,_ i. 484.

[828] See _ante_, i. 483.

[829] It is remarkable, that Dr. Johnson should have read this account
of some of his own peculiar habits, without saying any thing on the
subject, which I hoped he would have done. BOSWELL. See _ante_, p. 128,
note 2, and iv. 183, where Boswell 'observed he must have been a bold
laugher who would have ventured to tell Dr. Johnson of any of his

[830] In this he was very unlike Swift, who, in his youth, when
travelling in England, 'generally chose to dine with waggoners,
hostlers, and persons of that rank; and he used to lie at night in
houses where he found written of the door _Lodgings for a penny_. He
delighted in scenes of low life.' Lord Orrery's _Swift_, ed. 1752,
p. 33.

[831] This is from the _Jests of Hierocles._ CROKER.

[832] 'The grave a gay companion shun.' FRANCIS. Horace, 1 _Epis._
xviii. 89.

[833] Boswell in 1776 found that 'oats were much used as food in Dr.
Johnson's own town.' _Ante_, ii. 463.

[834] _Ante_, i. 294.

[835] See _ante_, ii. 258.

[836] 'The richness of the round steep green knolls, clothed with copse,
and glancing with cascades, and a pleasant peep at a small fresh-water
loch embosomed among them--the view of the bay, surrounded and guarded
by the island of Colvay--the gliding of two or three vessels in the more
distant Sound--and the row of the gigantic Ardnamurchan mountains
closing the scene to the north, almost justify the eulogium of
Sacheverell, [_post,_ p. 336] who, in 1688, declared the bay of
Tobermory might equal any prospect in Italy.' Lockhart's _Scott,_
iv. 338.

[837] 'The saying of the old philosopher who observes, that he who wants
least is most like the gods who want nothing, was a favourite sentence
with Dr. Johnson, who, on his own part, required less attendance, sick
or well, than ever I saw any human creature. Conversation was all he
required to make him happy.' Piozzi's _Anec._ p. 275.

[838] _Remarks on Several Parts of Italy_ (_ante_, ii. 346). Johnson
(_Works_, vii. 424) says of these _Travels_:--'Of many parts it is not a
very severe censure to say that they might have been written at home.'
He adds that 'the book, though awhile neglected, became in time so much
the favourite of the publick, that before it was reprinted it rose to
five times its price.'

[839] See _ante_, iii. 254, and iv. 237.

[840] Johnson (_Works_, viii. 320) says of Pope that 'he had before him
not only what his own meditation suggested, but what he had found in
other writers that might be _accomodated_ to his present purpose.'
Boswell's use of the word is perhaps derived, as Mr. Croker suggests,
from _accommoder_, in the sense of _dressing up or cooking meats_. This
word occurs in an amusing story that Boswell tells in one of his
Hypochondriacks (_London Mag_. 1779, p. 55):--'A friend of mine told me
that he engaged a French cook for Sir B. Keen, when ambassador in Spain,
and when he asked the fellow if he had ever dressed any magnificent
dinners the answer was:--"Monsieur, j'ai accommodé un dîner qui faisait
trembler toute la France."' Scott, in _Guy Mannering_ (ed. 1860, iii.
138), describes 'Miss Bertram's solicitude to soothe and _accommodate_
her parent.' See _ante_, iv. 39, note 1, for '_accommodated_ the
ladies.' To sum up, we may say with Justice Shallow:--'Accommodated! it
comes of _accommodo_; very good; a good phrase.' 2 _Henry IV_, act
iii. sc. 2.

[841] 'Louis Moréri, né en Provence, en 1643. On ne s'attendait pas que
l'auteur du _Pays d'amour_, et le traducteur de _Rodriguez_, entreprît
dans sa jeunesse le premier dictionnaire de faits qu'on eût encore vu.
Ce grand travail lui coûta la vie... Mort en 1680.' Voltaire's _Works_,
ed. 1819, xvii. 133.

[842] Johnson looked upon _Ana_ as an English word, for he gives it in
his _Dictionary_.

[843] I take leave to enter my strongest protest against this judgement.
_Bossuet_ I hold to be one of the first luminaries of religion and
literature. If there are who do not read him, it is full time they
should begin. BOSWELL.


     Just in the gate, and in the jaws of hell,
     Revengeful cares, and sullen sorrows dwell;
     And pale diseases, and repining age;
     Want, fear, and famine's unresisted rage;
     Here toils and death, and death's half-brother, sleep,
     Forms  terrible to view their sentry keep.

Dryden, _Aeneid_, vi. 273. BOSWELL. Voltaire, in his Essay _Sur les
inconvéniens attachés à la Littérature_ (_Works_, xliii. 173),
says:--'Enfin, après un an de refus et de négociations, votre ouvrage
s'imprime; c'est alors qu'il faut ou assoupir les _Cerbères_ de la
littérature ou les faire aboyer en votre faveur.' He therefore carries
on the resemblance one step further,--

'Cerberus haec ingens latratu regna trifauci Personat.' _Aeneid_, vi.

[845] It was in 1763 that Boswell made Johnson's acquaintance. _Ante_,
i. 391.

[846] It is no small satisfaction to me to reflect, that Dr. Johnson
read this, and, after being apprized of my intention, communicated to
me, at subsequent periods, many particulars of his life, which probably
could not otherwise have been preserved. BOSWELL. See _ante_, i. 26.

[847] Though Mull is, as Johnson says, the third island of the Hebrides
in extent, there was no post there. _Piozzi Letters_, i. 170.

[848] This observation is very just. The time for the Hebrides was too
late by a month or six weeks. I have heard those who remembered their
tour express surprise they were not drowned. WALTER SCOTT.

[849] _ The Charmer, a Collection of Songs Scotch and English._
Edinburgh, 1749.

[850] By Thomas Willis, M.D. It was published in 1672. 'In this work he
maintains that the soul of brutes is like the vital principle in man,
that it is corporeal in its nature and perishes with the body. Although
the book was dedicated to the Archbishop of Canterbury, his orthodoxy, a
matter that Willis regarded much, was called in question.' Knight's
_Eng. Cyclo_. vi. 741. Burnet speaks of him as 'Willis, the great
physician.' _History of his Own Time_, ed. 1818, i. 254. See _Wood's
Athenae_, iii. 1048.

[851] See _ante_, ii. 409 and iii. 242, where he said:--'Had I learnt to
fiddle, I should have done nothing else.'

[852] _Ante_, p. 277.

[853] _Ante_, p. 181.

[854] Mr. Langton thinks this must have been the hasty expression of a
splenetick moment, as he has heard Dr. Johnson speak of Mr. Spence's
judgment in criticism with so high a degree of respect, as to shew that
this was not his settled opinion of him. Let me add that, in the preface
to the _Preceptor_, he recommends Spence's _Essay on Papers Odyssey_,
and that his admirable _Lives of the English Poets_ are much enriched by
Spence's Anecdotes of Pope. BOSWELL. For the _Preceptor_ see _ante_, i.
192, and Johnson's _Works_, v. 240. Johnson, in his _Life of Pope (ib_.
viii. 274), speaks of Spence as 'a man whose learning was not very
great, and whose mind was not very powerful. His criticism, however, was
commonly just; what he thought he thought rightly; and his remarks were
recommended by his coolness and candour.' See _ante_, iv. 9, 63.

[855] 'She was the only interpreter of Erse poetry that I could ever
find.' Johnson's _Works_, ix. 134. See _ante_, p. 241.

[856] 'After a journey difficult and tedious, over rocks naked and
valleys untracked, through a country of barrenness and solitude, we
came, almost in the dark, to the sea-side, weary and dejected, having
met with nothing but waters falling from the mountains that could raise
any image of delight.' _Piozzi Letters_, i. 170. 'It is natural, in
traversing this gloom of desolation, to inquire, whether something may
not be done to give nature a more cheerful face.' Johnson's _Works_,
ix. 136.

[857] _Ante_, p. 19.

[858] See _ante_, i. 521.

[859] See _ante_, p. 212.

[860] Sir William Blackstone says, in his _Commentaries_, that 'he
cannot find that ever this custom prevailed in England;' and therefore
he is of opinion that it could not have given rise to _Borough-English_.
BOSWELL. 'I cannot learn that ever this custom prevailed in England,
though it certainly did in Scotland (under the name of _mercketa_ or
_marcheta_), till abolished by Malcolm III.' _Commentaries_, ed. 1778,
ii. 83. Sir H. Maine, in his _Early History of Institutions_, p. 222,
writes:--'Other authors, as Blackstone tells us, explained it ["Borough
English"] by a supposed right of the Seigneur or lord, now very
generally regarded as apocryphal, which raised a presumption of the
eldest son's illegitimacy.'

[861] 'Macquarry was used to demand a sheep, for which he now takes a
crown, by that inattention to the uncertain proportion between the value
and the denomination of money, which has brought much disorder into
Europe. A sheep has always the same power of supplying human wants, but
a crown will bring, at one time more, at another less'. Johnson's
_Works_, ix. 139.

[862] 'The house and the furniture are not always nicely suited. We were
driven once, by missing a passage, to the hut of a gentleman, where,
after a very liberal supper, when I was conducted to my chamber, I found
an elegant bed of Indian cotton, spread with fine sheets. The
accommodation was flattering; I undressed myself, and felt my feet in
the mire. The bed stood upon the bare earth, which a long course of rain
had softened to a puddle.' _Works_, ix. 98.

[863] Inchkenneth is a most beautiful little islet, of the most verdant
green, while all the neighbouring shore of Greban, as well as the large
islands of Colinsay and Ulva, are as black as heath and moss can make
them. But Ulva has a good anchorage, and Inchkenneth is surrounded by
shoals. It is now uninhabited. The ruins of the huts, in which Dr.
Johnson was received by Sir Allan M'Lean, were still to be seen, and
some tatters of the paper hangings were to be seen on the walls. Sir G.
O. Paul was at Inchkenneth with the same party of which I was a member.
[See Lockhart's _Scott_, ed. 1839, iii. 285.] He seemed to suspect many
of the Highland tales which he heard, but he showed most incredulity on
the subject of Johnson's having been entertained in the wretched huts of
which we saw the ruins. He took me aside, and conjured me to tell him
the truth of the matter. 'This Sir Allan,' said he, 'was he a _regular
baronet_, or was his title such a traditional one as you find in
Ireland?' I assured my excellent acquaintance that, 'for my own part, I
would have paid more respect to a knight of Kerry, or knight of Glynn;
yet Sir Allan M'Lean was a _regular baronet_ by patent;' and, having
giving him this information, I took the liberty of asking him, in
return, whether he would not in conscience prefer the worst cell in the
jail at Gloucester (which he had been very active in overlooking while
the building was going on) to those exposed hovels where Johnson had
been entertained by rank and beauty. He looked round the little islet,
and allowed Sir Allan had some advantage in exercising ground; but in
other respects he thought the compulsory tenants of Gloucester had
greatly the advantage. Such was his opinion of a place, concerning which
Johnson has recorded that 'it wanted little which palaces could afford.'

[864] 'Sir Allan's affairs are in disorder by the fault of his
ancestors, and while he forms some scheme for retrieving them he has
retreated hither.' _Piozzi Letters_ i. 172.

[865] By Francis Gastrell, Bishop of Chester, published in 1707.

[866] _Travels through different cities of Germany, &c.,_, by Alexander
Drummond. Horace Walpole, on April 24, 1754 (_Letters_, ii. 381),
mentions 'a very foolish vulgar book of travels, lately published by one
Drummond, consul at Aleppo.'

[867] _ Physico-Theology; or a Demonstration of the Being and Attributes
of God from his Works of Creation._ By William Derham, D.D., 1713.
Voltaire, in _Micromégas,_ ch. I, speaking of 'l'illustre vicaire
Derham' says:--'Malheureusement, lui et ses imitateurs se trompent
souvent dans l'exposition de ces merveilles; ils s'extasient sur la
sagesse qui se montre dans l'ordre d'un phénomène et on découvre que ce
phénomène est tout différent de ce qu'ils ont supposé; alors c'est ce
nouvel ordre qui leur paraît un chef d'oeuvre de sagesse.'

[868] This work was published in 1774. Johnson said on March 20, 1776
(_ante_, ii. 447), 'that he believed Campbell's disappointment on
account of the bad success of that work had killed him.'

[869] Johnson said of Campbell:--'I am afraid he has not been in the
inside of a church for many years; but he never passes a church without
pulling off his hat. This shows that he has good principles.' _Ante_,
i. 418.

[870] _New horse-shoeing Husbandry_, by Jethro Tull, 1733.

[871] 'He owned he sometimes talked for victory.' _Ante_, iv. 111, and
v. 17.

[872] 'They said that a great family had a _bard_ and a _senachi_, who
were the poet and historian of the house; and an old gentleman told me
that he remembered one of each. Here was a dawn of intelligence....
Another conversation informed me that the same man was both bard and
senachi. This variation discouraged me.... Soon after I was told by a
gentleman, who is generally acknowledged the greatest master of
Hebridian antiquities, that there had, indeed, once been both bards and
senachies; and that _senachi_ signified _the man of talk_, or of
conversation; but that neither bard nor senachi had existed for some
centuries.' Johnson's _Works_, ix. 109.

[873] See _ante_, iii. 41, 327

[874] 'Towards evening Sir Allan told us that Sunday never passed over
him like another day. One of the ladies read, and read very well, the
evening service;--"and Paradise was opened in the wild."' _Piozzi
Letters_, i. 173. The quotation is from Pope's _Eloisa to Abelard_,
l. 134:--

     'You raised these hallowed walls; the desert smil'd,
      And Paradise was open'd in the wild.'

[875] He sent these verses to Boswell in 1775. _Ante_ ii. 293.

[876] Boswell wrote to Johnson on Feb. 2, 1775, (_ante_, ii. 295):--'Lord
Hailes bids me tell you he doubts whether--

     "Legitimas faciunt pectora pura preces,"

be according to the rubrick, but that is your concern; for you know, he
is a Presbyterian.'

[877] In Johnson's _Works_, i. 167, these lines are given with
amendments and additions, mostly made by Johnson, but some, Mr. Croker
believes, by Mr. Langton. In the following copy the variations are
marked in italics.

     Parva quidem regio sed religione priorum
       _Clara_ Caledonias panditur inter aquas.
     Voce ubi Cennethus populos domuisse feroces
        Dicitur, et vanos dedocuisse deos.
     Huc ego delatus placido per caerula cursu,
       Scire _locus_ volui quid daret _iste_ novi.
     Illic Leniades humili regnabat in aula,
       Leniades, magnis nobilitatus avis.
     Una duas _cepit_ casa cum genitore puellas,
       Quas Amor undarum _crederet_ esse deas.
     _Nec_ tamen inculti gelidis latuere sub antris,
       Accola Danubii qualia saevus habet.
     Mollia non _desunt_ vacuae solatia vitae
       Sive libros poscant otia, sive lyram.
     _Fulserat_ illa dies, legis _qua_ docta supernae
       Spes hominum _et_ curas _gens_ procul esse jubet.
     _Ut precibus justas avertat numinis iras,
       Et summi accendat pectus amore boni._
     Ponti inter strepitus _non sacri_ munera cultus
       Cessarunt, pietas hic quoque cura fuit.
     _Nil opus est oeris sacra de turre sonantis
       Admonitu, ipsa suas nunciat hora vices._
     Quid, quod sacrifici versavit foemina libros?
       _Sint pro legitimis pura labella sacris._
     Quo vagor ulterius? quod ubique requiritur hic est,
       Hic secura quies, hic et honestus amor.

Mr. Croker says of the third line from the end, that in a copy of these
verses in Johnson's own hand which he had seen, 'Johnson had
first written

     _Sunt pro legitimis pectora pura sacris._

He then wrote

     _Legitimas faciunt pura labella preces._

That line was erased, and the line as it stands in the _Works_ is
substituted in Mr. Langton's hand, as is also an alteration in the 16th
line, _velit_ into _jubet_.' _Jubet_ however is in the copy as printed
by Boswell. Mr. Langton edited some, if not all, of Johnson's Latin
poems. (_Ante_, iv. 384.)

[878] 'Boswell, who is very pious, went into the chapel at night to
perform his devotions, but came back in haste for fear of spectres.'
_Piozzi Letters_, i. 173.

[879] _Ante_ p. 169.

[880] John Gerves, or John the Giant, of whom Dr. Johnson relates a
curious story; _Works_ ix. 119.

[881] Lord Chatham in the House of Lords, on Nov. 22, 1770, speaking of
'the honest, industrious tradesman, who holds the middle rank, and has
given repeated proofs that he prefers law and liberty to gold,' had
said:--'I love that class of men. Much less would I be thought to
reflect upon the fair merchant, whose liberal commerce is the prime
source of national wealth. I esteem his occupation, and respect his
character.' _Parl. Hist._ xvi. 1107.

[882] See _ante_, iii. 382.

[883] He was born in Nordland in Sweden, in 1736. In 1768 he and Mr.
Banks accompanied Captain Cook in his first voyage round the world. He
died in 1782. Knight's _Eng. Cyclo._ v. 578. Miss Burney wrote of him in
1780:--'My father has very exactly named him, in calling him a
philosophical gossip.' Mme. D'Arblay's _Diary_, i. 305. Horace Walpole
the same year, just after the Gordon Riots, wrote (_Letters_, vii.
403):--'Who is secure against Jack Straw and a whirlwind? How I
abominate Mr. Banks and Dr. Solander, who routed the poor Otaheitans out
of the centre of the ocean, and carried our abominable passions amongst
them! not even that poor little speck could escape European
restlessness.' See _ante_ ii. 148.

[884] Boswell tells this story again, _ante_, ii. 299. Mrs. Piozzi's
account (_Anec_. p. 114) is evidently so inaccurate that it does not
deserve attention; she herself admits that Beauclerk was truthful. In a
marginal note on Wraxall's _Memoirs_, she says:--'Topham Beauclerk
(wicked and profligate as