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truth, that he contributed even a single sentiment to them; but he qualified my mind to think justly. No man had, like him, the faculty of teaching inferior minds the art of thinking. Perhaps other men might have equal knowledge ; but few were so communicative. His great pleasure was to talk to those who looked up to him. It was here he exhibited his wonderful powers. In mixed company, and frequently in company that ought to have looked

up to him, many, thinking they had a character for learning to support, considered it as beneath them to enlist in the train of his auditors; and to such persons he certainly did not appear to advantage, being often impetuous and overbearing.

The desire of shining in conversation was in him, indeed, a predominant passion ; and if it must be attributed to vanity, let it at the same time be recollected, that it produced that loquaciousness from which his more intimate friends derived considerable advantage. The observations which he made on poetry, on life, and on every thing about us, I applied to our art; with what success, others must judge. Perhaps an artist in his studies should pursue the same conduct ; and, instead of patching up a particular work on the narrow plan of imitation, rather endeavour to acquire the art and power

of thinking

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411. Johnson's Style of Conversation. [The following jeu d'esprit was written by Sir Joshua Reynolds to illustrate a remark

which he had made, that Dr. Johnson considered Garrick as his property, and would never suffer any one to praise or abuse him but himself.In the first of these supposed dialogues, Sir Joshua himself, by high encomiums upon Garrick, is represented as drawing down upon him Johnson's censure ; in the second, Mr. Gibbon, by taking the opposite side, calls forth his praise.]



Dr. Johnson and Sir Joshua Reynolds.
REYNOLDS. Let me alone, I'll bring him out. (Aside.)
I have been thinking, Dr. Johnson, this morning, on a

(1) [These Dialogues were printed in 1816 from the MS. of Sir Joshua, by his niece, Lady Thomond : they were not published, but distributed by her ladyship

matter that has puzzled me very much; it is a subject that I dare say has often passed in your thoughts, and though I cannot, I dare say you have made up your mind

upon it.

The subject


Johnson. Tilly fally! what is all this preparation, what is all this mighty matter ?

Rey. Why, it is a very weighty matter. I have been thinking upon is, predestination and freewill, two things I cannot reconcile together for the life of me;

my opinion, Dr. Johnson, freewill and foreknowledge cannot be reconciled.

Johns. Sir, it is not of very great importance what your opinion is upon such a question.

Rey. But I meant only, Dr. Johnson, to know your opinion.

Johns. No, Sir, you meant no such thing ; you meant only to show these gentlemen that you are not the man they took you to be, but that you think of high matters sometimes, and that you may have the credit of having it said that you held an argument with Sam. Johnson on predestination and freewill; a subject of that magnitude as to have engaged the attention of the world, to have perplexed the wisdom of man for these two thousand years ; a subject on which the fallen angels, who had yet not lost their original brightness, find themselves in wandering mazes lost.

That such a subject could be discussed in the levity of convivial conversation, is a degree of absurdity beyond what is easily conceivable.

Rey. It is so, as you say, to be sure ; I talked once to our friend Garrick upon this subject, but I remember we could make nothing of it.

to some friends of Dr. Johnson and Sir Joshua. The copy which I have was spontaneously transmitted to me by Mrs. Gwynn, the friend of Goldsmith and of Johnson, whose early beauty is noticed by Boswell, and who is sull distinguished for her amiable character and high mental accomplishments. Lady Thomond, in the prefatory note, calls this a "jeu d'esprit ;but I was informed by the late Sir George Beaumont, who knew all the parties, and to whom Reynolds himself gave a copy of it, that if the words jeu d'esprit were to be under. stood to imply that it was altogether an invention of Sir Joshua's, the term would be erroneous. The substance, and many of the expressions, of the alogues did really occur; Sir Joshua did little more than collect, as if into two conversations, what had been uttered at many, and heighten the effect by the juxtaposition of such discordant opinions. --C.]

Johns. O noble pair !

Rey, Garrick was a clever fellow, Dr. J. ; Garrick, take him altogether, was certainly a very great man.

Johns. Garrick, Sir, may be a great man in your opinion, as far as I know, but he was not so in mine ; little things are great to little men.

Rey. I have heard you say, Dr. Johnson

Johns. Sir, you never heard me say that David Garrick was a great man ; you may have heard me say that Garrick was a good repeater - of other men's words — words put into his mouth by other men ; this makes but a faint approach towards being a great man.

Rey. But take Garrick upon the whole, now, in regard to conversation

Johns. Well, Sir, in regard to conversation, I never discovered in the conversation of David Garrick


intellectual energy, any wide grasp of thought, any extensive comprehension of mind, or that he possessed any of those powers to which great could, with any degree of propriety, be applied

REY. But still

Johns. Hold, Sir, I have not done — there are, to be sure, in the laxity of colloquial speech, various kinds of greatness ; a man may be a great tobacconist, a man may be a great painter, he may be likewise a great mimic: now you may be the one, and Garrick the other, and yet neither of



great men. Rey. But, Dr. Johnson

Johns. Hold, Sir, I have often lamented how dangerous it is to investigate and to discriminate character, to men who have no discriminative powers.

Rey. But Garrick, as a companion, I heard you say — no longer ago than last Wednesday, at Mr. Thrale's table

Johns. You tease me, Sir. Whatever you may have heard me say — no longer ago than last Wednesday, at Mr. Thrale's table, I tell you I do not say so now : besides,

you not

as I said before, you may not have understood me, you misapprehended me, you may not have heard me.

Rey. I am very sure I heard you.

Johns. Besides, besides, Sir, besides, — do know, are you so ignorant as not to know, that it is the highest degree of rudeness to quote a man against himself ?

Rey. But if you differ from yourself, and give one opinion to-day

Johns. Have done, Sir ; the company, you see, are tired, as well as myself.”


Dr. Johnson and Mr. Gibbon. Johnson. No, Sir : Garrick's fame was prodigious, not only in England, but over all Europe. Even in Russia I have been told he was a proverb ; when any one had repeated well, he was called a second Garrick.

Gibbon. I think he had full as much reputation as he deserved.

Johns. I do not pretend to know, Sir, what your meaning may be, by saying he had as much reputation as he deserved; he deserved much, and he had much.

GiB. Why, surely, Dr. Johnson, his merit was in small things only, he had none of those qualities that make a real great man.

Johns. Sir, I as little understand what your meaning may be when you speak of the qualities that make a great man; it is a vague term. Garrick was no common man ; a man above the common size of men may surely, without any great impropriety, be called a great man. opinion he has very reasonably fulfilled the prophecy which he once reminded me of having made to his mother, when she asked me how little David went on at school, that I should say to her, that he would come to be hanged, or come to be a great man. No, Sir, it is undoubtedly true that the same qualities, united with virtue or with vice, make a hero or a rogue, a great general or a highwayman. Now Garrick, we are sure, was never hanged, and in regard to his being a great man, you must take the whole man together. It must be considered in how many

In my


things Garrick excelled in which every man desires to excel : setting aside his excellence as an actor, in which he is acknowledged to be unrivalled : as a man, as a poet, as à convivial companion, you will find but few his equals, and none his superior. As a man, he was kind, friendly, benevolent, and generous.

Gib. Of Garrick's generosity I never heard ; I understood his character to be totally the reverse, and that he was reckoned to have loved money.

Johns. That he loved money, nobody will dispute ; who does not ? but if you mean, by loving money, that he was parsimonious to a fault, Sir, you have been misinformed. To Foote, and such scoundrels, who circulated those reports, to such profligate spendthrifts prudence is meanness, and economy is avarice. That Garrick, in early youth, was brought up in strict habits of economy, I believe, and that they were necessary, I have heard from himself; to suppose that Garrick might inadvertently act from this habit, and be saving in small things, can be no wonder : but let it be remembered at the same time, that if he was frugal by habit, he was liberal from principle ; that when he acted from reflection, he did what his fortune enabled him to do, and what was expected from such a fortune. I remember no instance of David's parsimony but once, when he stopped Mrs. Woffington from replenishing the tea-pot ; it was already, he said, as red as blood ; and this instance is doubtful, and happened many years ago. In the latter part of his life I observed no blameable parsimony in David; his table was elegant and even splendid; his house both in town and country, his equipage, and I think all his habits of life, were such as might be expected from a man who had acquired great riches. In regard to his generosity, which you seem to question, I shall only

there is no man to whom I would apply with more confidence of success, for the loan of two hundred pounds to assist a common friend, than to David, and this too with very little, if any, probability of its being repaid.

Gib. You were going to say something of him as a writer — you don't rate him very high as a poet.

Johns. Sir, a man may be a respectable poet without


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