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down, when he informed us that he had been writing a dedication to Lord Spencer; and sponte suâ he pulled it out of his pocket; and sponte suâ, for nobody desired him, he began to read it; and before he had read half a dozen lines, sponte meâ, Sir, I told him it was not English, Sir." This trifle is prefixed to vol. v. and may be fairly said to justify the censure of the critic, even supposing it contained no other error previously to the giving of the above broad hint. It will scarcely be regarded as a forced digression, if I here relate what Farmer observed to me, a year or two before this period, respecting the ill-judging Sterne. My good friend," said he, one day in the parlour at Emmanuel, " you young men seem very fond of this Tristram Shandy: but mark my words, and remember what I say to you; however much it may be talked about at present, yet, depend upon it, in the course of twenty years, should any one wish to refer to the book in question, he will be obliged to go to an antiquary to inquire for it." This has proved truly prophetic; and it affords a strong confirmation of that poetical adage, generally, though falsely, attributed to Pope, while it belongs to Lord Roscommon, viz.—
"That want of decency is want of sense."
In the height of our convivial hilarity, our great man exclaimed, "Come, now, I'll give you a test: now I'll try whe is a true antiquary amongst you. Has any one of this company ever met with the History of Glorianus and Gloriana?" < Farmer, drawing the pipe out of his mouth, followed by a cloud of smoke, instantly said, "I've got the book." "Gi' me your hand, gi' me your hand," said Johnson; "you are the man after my own heart." And the shaking of two such hands, with two such happy faces attached to them, could hardly, I think, be matched in the whole annals of literature!
As to politics, it is well known that the Doctor was a firm and strenuous defender of the monarchical form of government, as approaching the nearest, that human wisdom is capable of doing, to the divine model, by placing over the nation a prince who shall be clearly above and unconnected with the very highest
ranks of his subjects. This must be the most natural form of a community; the safest, and the freest, because the most impartial. Why then should mortals wish for a different one?why covet the rule of factious nobles or burgomasters? — destroy millions of their fellow-creatures, to establish that most horrible of tyrannies, the power of Le Peuple Souverain, or a lawless and infuriate mob? Being, therefore, himself a true patriot, he was naturally much amused by facetiously exposing and ridiculing sham patriots or reformers; and on being asked for a toast, his answer was, "If you wish for a gentleman, I shall always give you Mr. Hollis (1): if for a lady, Mrs. Macaulay, Sir."
After much of the Doctor's sportiveness and play of wit, at the lady's expense, it must be owned, Beauclerk called out"Come, come, Doctor, take care what you say, and don't be too saucy about Mrs. Macaulay; for if you do, I shall find means of setting her upon you as soon as we return, and she will comb your wig for you pretty handsomely.' JOHNSON. "Well, Sir, and pray by what means do you propose to achieve this notable exploit of yours, Mr. Beauclerk ?" BEAUCLERK. "Oh! I'll soon tell you that, Doctor. You can't deny that it's now a full fortnight since Mrs. M. made you a present of her History; and to my certain knowledge it still remains in your study without one of the leaves being cut open; which is such a contempt of the lady's genius and abilities, that, should I acquaint her with it, as perhaps I shall, I wouldn't be in your place, Doctor, for a good deal, I assure you," JOHNSON (sub-laughing all the while at this threat). Why, in the first place, Sir, I am so far from denying your allegations, that I freely confess, before this company, that they are perfectly true and correct. The work of Mrs. Macaulay is indeed in the situation that you have described. But, in the second place, Sir, I may safely, I believe, defy all your oratorical powers so far to work upon that lady's vanity as to induce her to believe
(1) Thomas Hollis was born in London in 1720, and died suddenly whi walking in his grounds at Corscombe, in Dorsetshire, in 1774. He reprinted many of the political works of Milton, Algernon Sydney, Harrington, and other republican writers, at a great expense.
it possible that I could have suffered her writings to lie by me so long, without once gratifying myself by a perusal of them. However, pray try, Mr. Beauclerk: I beg you will try, Sir, as soon as you think proper: and then we shall see whether you will soonest bring the lady about my ears, or about your own, Sir."
Such was the rapid appearance and disappearance, the very transient visit, of this great man, to an university supereminently famous in itself for the production of great men. It was a visit, however, of which he spoke afterwards in town, to the writer of this account, with very pleasing recollections. Though he must have been well known to many of the heads and doctors at this seat of learning, yet he seemed studious to preserve a strict incognito; his only aim being an introduction to his favourite scholar- his brother patriot, and antiquary, who was then Mr. (but afterwards Dr.) Farmer, and master of his college, and who finally declined episcopacy. Merit like Johnson's seeks not publicity; it follows not fame, but leaves fame to follow it. Had he visited Cambridge at the commencement, or on some public occasion, he would doubtless have met with the honours due to the bright luminary of a sister university; and yet, even these honours, however genuine and desirable, the modesty of conscious excellence seems rather to have prompted him to avoid.
Oct. 17. 1818.
B. N. TURNER.]
(See p. 322.)
MR. Langton did not disregard the counsel given by Dr. Johnson, but wrote the following Account, which he has been pleased to communicate to me: —
"The circumstances of Mr. Peregrine Langton were these. He had an annuity for life of two hundred pounds per annum. He resided in a village in Lincolnshire; the rent of his house,
with two or three small fields, was twenty-eight pounds; the county he lived in was not more than moderately cheap; his family consisted of a sister, who paid him eighteen pounds annually for her board, and a niece. The servants were two maids, and two men in livery. His common way of living, at his table, was three or four dishes; the appurtenances to his table were neat and handsome; he frequently entertained company at dinner, and then his table was well served with as many dishes as were usual at the tables of the other gentlemen in the neighbourhood. His own appearance, as to clothes, was genteelly neat and plain. He had always a post-chaise, and kept three horses.
"Such, with the resources I have mentioned, was his way of living, which he did not suffer to employ his whole income; for he had always a sum of money lying by him for any extraordinary expenses that might arise. Some money he put into the stocks; at his death, the sum he had there amounted to one hundred and fifty pounds. He purchased out of his income his household furniture and linen, of which latter he had a very ample store; and, as I am assured by those that had very good means of knowing, not less than the tenth part of his income was set apart for charity: at the time of his death, the sum of twenty-five pounds was found, with a direction to be employed in such uses.
"He had laid down a plan of living proportioned to his income, and did not practise any extraordinary degree of parsimony, but endeavoured that in his family there should be plenty without waste. As an instance that this was his endeavour, it may be worth while to mention a method he took in regulating a proper allowance of malt liquor to be drunk in his family, that there might not be a deficiency, or any intemperate profusion. On a complaint made that his allowance of a hogshead in a month was not enough for his own family, he ordered the quantity of a hogshead to be put into bottles, had it locked up from the servants, and distributed out, every day, eight quarts, which is the quantity each day at one hogshead in a month; and told his servants, that if that did not suffice,
he would allow them more; but, by this method, it appeared at once that the allowance was much more than sufficient for his small family; and this proved a clear conviction, that could not be answered, and saved all future dispute. He was, in general, very diligently and punctually attended and obeyed by his servants; he was very considerate as to the injunctions he gave, and explained them distinctly; and, at their first coming to his service, steadily exacted a close compliance with them, without any remission; and the servants, finding this to be the case, soon grew habitually accustomed to the practice of their business, and then very little further attention was necessary. On extraordinary instances of good behaviour, or diligent service, he was not wanting in particular encouragements and presents above their wages: it is remarkable that he would permit their relations to visit them, and stay at his house two or three days at a time.
"The wonder, with most that hear an account of his economy, will be, how he was able, with such an income, to do so much, especially when it is considered that he paid for every thing he had. He had no land, except the two or three small fields which I have said he rented; and, instead of gaining any thing by their produce, I have reason to think he lost by them; however, they furnished him with no further assistance towards his housekeeping, than grass for his horses (not hay, for that I know he bought), and for two cows. Every Monday morning he settled his family accounts, and so kept up a constant attention to the confining his expenses within his income; and to do it more exactly, compared those expenses with a computation he had made, how much that income would afford him every week and day of the year. One of his economical practices was, as soon as any repair was wanting in or about his house, to have it immediately performed. When he had money to spare, he chose to lay in a provision of linen or clothes, or any other necessaries; as then, he said, he could afford it, which he might not be so well able to do when the actual want came; in consequence of which method, he had a considerable supply of necessary articles lying by him, beside what was in use.