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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 some body 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. 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; Burke, politics and eloquence; Garrick, the art of public speaking; Langton was to be our Grecian, Colman our Latin professor; Nugent to teach physic; Lord
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 expense.
Charlemont, modern history; Beauclerk, natural philosophy; Vesey, Irish antiquities, or Celtic learning (1); Jones, Oriental learning; Goldsmith, poetry and ancient history; Chamier, commercial politics; Reynolds, painting, and the arts which have beauty for their object; Chambers, the law of England. 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, logic, metaphysics, and scholastic 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 died, who was a very good one; but as to every thing else, we should have a very capital university. (2)
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. (3) Dr. Johnson wrote a
(1) 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 Celtic learning, but might with propriety have been made professor of architecture, which he understood well, and has left a very good specimen of his know ledge and taste in that art, by an elegant house built on a plan of his own formation, at Lucan, a few miles from Dublin.
(2) [For an account of THE CLUB, see Vol. II. App. No. 1.]
(3) Here, unluckily, the windows had no pulleys, 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
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."
Thursday, Aug. 26. 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. (1) 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,
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.
(1) 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.—WAZLAR SCOTT.
containing several remarks of his own. 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 ('), and going about with a little round hat. (2) He laughed
(1) 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 surname, as James Burnett, Henry Home, even in judicial acts. - B. We see that the same custom prevailed amongst other gentlemen as well as the judges. All the lairds who are called by the names of their estates, as Rasay, Col, &c. sign their Christian and surnames, as J. Macleod, A. Maclean, &c. The dignity of the judicial bench has consecrated, in the case of the judges, what was once the common practice of the country.-C.
(2) Why not, in a remote country retirement? — C.—[It may be worth while to remark, that down to a very recent
Leartily 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 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 show 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 water-falls-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.
period, judges both in London and Edinburgh were distinguished, when mixing in common society, by certain grave peculiarities of dress: these, with some few ancient and venerable exceptions, have now disappeared: and it seems dcubtful whether the innovation was wise.-1835.]