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Dr. Johnson repeatedly talked of the heinousness of the crime of adultery, by which the peace of families was destroyed. “He said, confusion of progeny constitutes the essence of the crime; and therefore a woman who breaks her marriage vows is much more criminal than a man who does it. A man, to be sure, is criminal in the sight of God: but he does not do his wife a very material injury, if he does not insult her; if, for instance, from mere wantonness of appe· tite, he steals privately to her chambermaid. Sir, a wife ought not greatly to resent this. I would not receive home a daughter, who had run away from her husband on that account. A wife should study to reclaim her husband by more attention to please him. Sir, a man will not, once in a hundred instances, leave his wife and go to an harlot, if his wife has not been negligent of pleasing,"
Being asked, if it was not hard that one deviation f:om chastity should absolutely ruin a young woman? Johnson. " Why, no, Sir; it is the great principle which she is taught. When she has given up that principle, she has given up every notion of female honour and virtue, which are all included in chastity.".
. . When Mr. B. once censured a gentleman of his acquaintance for marrying a second time, as it showed a disregard of his first wife; he said, “ Not at all, Sir. On the contrary, were he not to marry again, it might be concluded that his first wife had given him a disgust to marriage ; but by taking a second wife he pays the highest compliment to the first, by showing that she made him so happy as a married man, that he wishos to be so a second time." . .
As As a proof that Dr. Johnson possessed great personal courage, Mr. B. gives the following instances.
On being told one day of the danger there was that a gun might burst if charged with many balls, he put in six or seven, and fired it off against a wall. Mr. Langton, when swimming with the Doctor near Oxford, cautioned him against a pool, which was reckoned particularly dangerous; upon which Johnson directly swam into it.
One night he was attacked in the street by four men, to whom he would not yield, but kept them all at bay, till the watch came up, and carried both him and them to the round-house.
Foote, who so successfully revived the old comedy, by exhibiting living characters, had resolved to imitate Johnson on the stage, expecting great profits from his ridicule of so celebrated a man. Johnson being informed of his intention, and being at dinner at Mr. Thomas Davies's, the bookseller, he asked Mr. Davies “ What was the common price of an bak-stick;' and being answered six-pence, “ Why, then, Sir (said he) give me leave to send your servant to purchase me a shilling one. I'll have a double quantity; for I am told Foote means to take me off, as he calls it, and I am determined the fellow shall not do it with impunity." Davies took care to acquaint Foote of this, which effectually checked the wantonness of the mimic. Mr. Macpherson's menaces made Johnson provide himself with the same implement of defence; and had he bern attacked he would have made his corporal prowess be felt as much as his intellectual.
His - Journey to the Western Islands of Scotland”. is a most valuable performance. It abounds in extensive philosophical views of society, and in ingenious sentiments and lively description. A considerable part of it, indeed, consists of speculations, which, many years before he saw the wild regions which we visited together,' probably had employed his attention, though the actual sight of those secnes undoubtedly quickened and augmented them. Mr. Orme, the very able historian, agreed with Mr. B. in this opinion,
which he thus strongly expressed:-" There are in that book thoughts, which, by long revolution in the great mind of Johnson, have been formed and polished like pebbles rolled in the ocean !”
In the year 1776, an Epitaph, which Dr. Johnson had written for the monument of Dr. Goldsmith in Westminster Abbey, gave occasion to a remonstrance to the Monarch of literature.
Sir William Forbes, who gave Mr. B. an account of this circumstance, writes to him thus :-" I enclose the Round Robin." This jeu d'esprit took its rise one day at dinner at our friend Sir Joshua Reynolds's. All the company present, except myself, were friends and acquaintance of Dr. Goldsmith. The Epitaph written for him by Dr. Johnson, became the subject of conversation, and various amendations were suggested, which it was agreed should be submitted to the Doctor's consideration. But the question was, who should have the courage to propose them to him? At last it was hinted, that there could be no way so good as that of a Round Robin, as the sailors call it, which they make use of when they enter into a conspiracy, so as not to let it be known who puts his name first or last to the paper. This proposition was instantly assented to, and Dr. Barnard, Dean of Derry, now Bishop of Killaloe, drew up an Address to Dr. Johnson on the 'occasion, replete with wit and humour, but which it was feared the Doctor might think treated the subject with too much levity. Mr. Burke then proposed the address as it stands in the paper in writing, of which the following is a copy : “ We, the circumscribers, haring read with great plea
șure, an intended Epitaph for the Monument of Dr. Goldsmith, which, considered abstractedly, appears to be, for elegant conposition and masterly style, in every respect worthy of the pen of its learned author, are yet of opinion, that the character of the deceased as a writer, particularly as a Poet, is perhaps not delineated with the exactnesss which Dr. Johnson is cupable of giving it. We therefure, with deference to his su
perior judgment, humbly request that he would at least take the trouble of revising it, and of making such ailditions and alterations as he shall think proper, upon a farther perusal : But if we might tenture to express our wishes, they would lead us to request, that he would write the Epitaph in English, rather than in Latin: as we think that the memory of so eminent an English writer, ought to be perpetuated in that language to which his works are likely to be so lasting an ornament, which we also know to have been the opinion of the late Doctor himself.
Thos. Franklin T'. Barnard.
Edm. Burke. " Sir Joshua agreed to carry it to Dr. Johnson, who received it with great good humour, and desired Sir Joshua to tell the gentlemen, that he would alter the Epitaph in any manner they pleased, as to the sense of it; but he would never consent to disgrace the walls of Westminster Abbey with an English inscription."
Tom Davies, the bookseller, in 1778, unfortunately failed in his circumstances, and was much indebted to Dr. Johnson's kindness for obtaining for him, many alleviations of his distress. Johnson blamed his folly in quitting the stage, by wbieh he and his wife got tive hundred pounds a year. Mr. B. told the Doctor, be believed it was owing to Churchill's attack upon him ;
“ He mouths a sentence as curs mouth a bone.” Johuson replied, “ I believe so too, Sir. But what a man is he who is to be driven from the stage by a line ! Another line would have driven him from his shop.”
Mr. Thomas Davies was soon to hare a benefit from Drury-lane theatre, as some relief to his unfortunatc circumstances, Dr. Johnson, Mr. Boswell,
and and their friends, were all warmly interested for his success, and had contributed towards it. However, they thought there was no harm in having a joke, when he could not be hurt by it. Mr. B. proposed, that he should be brought on to speak a Prologue upon the occasion; and began to mutser fragments of what it might be: as, that when now grown old, he was obliged to cry, " Poor Tom's a-cold :that he ownech he had been driven from the stage by Churchill, but that this was no disgrace, for a Churchill had beat thie French ; that he had been satyrised as “ mouthing a sentence as curs mouth a bone,” but he was now glad of a bone to pick... Nay (said Johnson) I would have him to say,
« Mad Tom is come to see the world again." Goldsmith being mentioned one day, Johnson observed that it was long before his inerit came to be acknowledged. That he once complained to him, in ladicrous terms of distress, * Whenever I wyjte any thing, the public make a point to know nothing at all about it;' hut that his .« Traveller” brought him into high reputation. . . . .
Johnson (now in his seventieth year) said, " it is a man's own fault, it is from want of use, if his mind grows torpid in old age." - This season there was a whimsical fashion in the newspapers, of applying Shakspeare's words to describe living people well known in the world; which was done under the title of “Modern Characters from Shakspeare:” many of which were admirably adapted, The fancy took so much, that they were afterwards collected into a pamphlet. Somebody said to Johnson, that he had not been in those characters, “ Yes (said he) I have. I should have been sorry to be left out.” He then repeated what had been applied to him : 1
- I must borrow GARAGANTU'A's mouth.” Johnson had a noble ambition floating in his mind, and had, undoubtedly, often speculated on the possi