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SAMUEL JOHNSON, LL.D.
Johnson sets out on his Visit to the Hebrides. Sketch of his Character, religious, moral, political, and literary. - His Figure and Manner. He arrives in Scotland. Memorabilia.. -Law of Prescription.· Trial by Duel. Mr. Scott. - Sir William Forbes. - Practice of the Law.-Emigration. Rev. Mr Carr.- Chief Baron Orde.-Dr. Beattie and Mr. Hume. Dr. Robertson. Mr. Burke. - Genius. - Whitfield and Wesley. Political Parties. Johnson's Opinion of Garrick.
DR. JOHNSON had, for many years, given me hopes that we should go together and visit the Hebrides. Martin's account of those islands had impressed us with a notion, that we might there contemplate a system of life almost totally different from what we had been accustomed to see; and to find simplicity and wildness, and all tne circumstances of remote time or place, so near to our native great island, was an object within the
reach of reasonable curiosity. Dr. Johnson has said in his "Journey," that "he scarcely remembered how the wish to visit the Hebrides was excited;" but he told me, in summer, 1763, that his father put Martin's account into his hands when he was very young, and that he was much pleased with it. (1) We reckoned there would be some inconveniences and hardships, and perhaps a little danger; but these, we were persuaded, were magnified in the imagination of every body. When I was at Ferney, in 1764, I mentioned our design to Voltaire. He looked at me, as if I had talked of going to the North Pole, and said, "You do not insist on my accompanying you?"—"No, sir.” "Then I am very willing you should go." I was not afraid that our curious expedition would be prevented by such apprehensions; but I doubted that it would not be possible to prevail on Dr. Johnson to relinquish, for some time, the felicity of a London life, which, to a man who can enjoy it with full intellectual relish, is apt to make existence in any narrower sphere seem insipid or irksome. I doubted that he would not be willing to come down from his elevated state of philosophical
(1) [It is entitled, "A Description of the Western Islands of Scotland," by M. Martin, Gent., 1703. A second edition appeared in 1761. On a copy of Martin in the Advocates' Library I found, last summer (1834), the following note in the handwriting of Mr. Boswell:
"This very book accompanied Mr. Samuel Johnson and me in our Tour to the Hebrides, in autumn 1773. Mr. Johnson told me that he had read Martin when he was very young. Martin was a native of the Isle of Sky, where a number of his relatives still remain. His book is a very imperfect performance, and he is erroneous as to many particulars, even some concerning his own island. Yet, as it is the only book upon the subject, it is very generally known. I have seen a second edition of it. I cannot but have a kindness for him, notwithstanding his defects. Tames Boswell.”— UPCOTT.]