JOHNSON. "Memory will play strange tricks. One sometimes loses a single word. I once lost fugaces in the Ode' Posthume, Posthume.'" I mentioned to him, that a worthy gentleman of my acquaintance actually forgot his own name. JOHNSON. "Sir, that was a morbid oblivion."

Friday, Aug. 20.- 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()," 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 (2) seemed to incline to Abernethy's doctrine." Dr. Watson observed, that Leechman meant to show that, even admitting no effect to be produced by prayer, respecting the Deity, it was useful to our own minds. 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. "It should be different (he observed)

(1) An Irish dissenting divine, whose "Discourses on the Divine Attributes," and some volumes of sermons, are highly esteemed even by the clergy of the Church of England. He died in 1740.- C.

(2) Dr. William Leechman [Principal of the College at Glasgow], who published, amongst other valuable works, a discourse On the Nature, Reasonableness, and Advantages of Prayer." He died in 1785, aged eighty.-C.

from another day. People may walk, but not throw stones at birds. There may be relaxation, but there should be no levity."

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. (1) 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. 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. (2) When he is

(1) Johnson has been unjustly abused for dwelling on the bareness of Fife. There are good trees in many parts of that county, but the east coast, along which lay Johnson's route, is certainly destitute of wood, excepting young plantations. The other tree mentioned by Colonel Nairne is probably the Prior Letham plane, measuring in circumference at the surface nearly twenty feet, and at the setting on of the branches nineteen feet. This giant of the forest stands in a cold exposed situation, apart from every other tree. - WALTER SCOTT.

(2) [Dr. Johnson's remarks on the trees of Scotland must greatly surprise a native. In some of our provinces, trees cannot be reared by any method of cultivation we have yet dis

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 shown him more than two at Balmuto, from whence my ancestors came, and which now belongs to a branch of my family.

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 in

covered; in some, where trees flourish extremely well, they are not much cultivated, because they are not necessary; but in others, we have store of wood, and forests of great extent, and of great antiquity. - BEATTIE to PORTEUS.]

form us, that it was supposed to have stood eight hundred years. He told us there was a colony of Danes in his parish; 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. (1)

We saw, this day, Dundee and Aberbrothick, the last of which Dr. Johnson has celebrated in his "Journey." (2) Upon the road we talked of the Roman Catholic 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."-"If," he added, "God had never spoken figuratively, we might hold that he speaks literally, when he says, This is my body.'" 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

(1) The colony at 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.-J. G. L.]

(2) ["I should scarcely have regretted my journey, had it afforded nothing more than the sight of Aberbrothick.". SON.]


Dr. Johnson upon it; nor shall I now enter upon a disquisition concerning the import of those words uttered by our Saviour (1), 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; but it was much that I could wield the arms of Goliath."

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 abridgment of a work was allowed, which was only cutting the horns and tail off the cow. JOHNSON. "No, Sir; 't is making the cow

have a calf."

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


(1) Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, except you 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.


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