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in Italy; yet the doctrine taught is essentially the 1772. same."
Ætat. 63. I mentioned the petition to Parliament for removing the subscription to the Thirty-nine Articles. JOHNSON. “ It was soon thrown out. Sir, they talk of not making boys at the University subscribe to what they do not understand; but they ought to consider, that our Universities were founded to bring up members for the church of England, and we must not supply our enemies with arms from our arsenal. No, Sir, the meaning of subscribing is, not that they fully understand all the articles, but that they will adhere to the Church of England. Now take it in this way, and
suppose that they should only subscribe their adherence to the Church of England, there would be still the same difficulty; for still the young men would be subscribing to what they do not understand. For if you should ask them, what do you mean by the Church of England? Do you know in what it differs from the Presbyterian Church from the Romish Church from the Greek Church? from the Coptick Church? they could not tell you. So, Sir, it comes to the same thing.” Boswell. “But, would it not be sufficient to subscribe the Bible !" Johnson. Why no, Sir; for all sects will subscribe the Bible ; nay, the Mahometans will subscribe the Bible ; for the Mahometans acknowledge Jesus Christ, as well as Moses, but maintain that God sent Mahomet as a still greater prophet than either.
I mentioned the motion which had been made in the House of Commons, to abolish the fast of the 30th of January. Johnson.“ Why, Sir, I could hare wished that it had been a temporary act, pei
1772. haps, to have expired with the century. I am against Ætat. 63. abolishing it; because that would be declaring it
wrong tò establish it; but I should have no objection to make an act, continuing it for another century, and then letting it expire.”
He disapproved of the Royal Marriage Bill; “ Because (said he) I would not have the people think that the validity of marriage depends on the will of man, or that the right of a King depends on the will of man. I should not have been against making the marriage of any of the royal family without the approbation of King and Parliament, highly criminal.”
In the morning we had talked of old families, and the respect due to them. Johnson. “Sir, you have a right to that kind of respect, and are arguing for yourself. I am for supporting the principle, and am disinterested in doing it, as I have no such right.” Boswell. “ Why, Sir, it is one more incitement to a man to do well.” Johnson. “Yes, Sir, and it is a matter of opinion, very necessary to keep society together. What is it but opinion, by which we have a respect for authority, that prevents us, who are the rabble, from rising up and pulling down you gentlemen from your places, and saying 'We will be gentlemen in our turn?' Now, Sir, that respect for authority is much more easily granted to a whose father has had it, than to an upstart, and so Society is more easily supported.” BOSWELL. “ Perhaps, Sir, it might be done by the respect belonging to office, as among the Romans, where the dress, the toga, inspired reverence.” Johnson. “Why, we know very little about the Romans. But, surely, it is much easier to respect a man who has always had respect, than to respect a man who we know was last
year no better than ourselves, and will be no better 1772. next year. In republicks there is not a respect for
Ætat. 63. authority, but a fear of power.” Boswell. “At present, Sir, I think riches seem to gain most respect.” Johnson. “ No, Sir, riches do not gain hearty respect ; they only procure external attention. A very rich man, from low beginnings, may buy his election in a borough ; but, cæteris paribus, a man of family will be preferred. People will prefer a man for whose father their fathers have voted, though they should get no more money, or even less. That shows that the respect for family is not merely fanciful, but has an actual operation. If gentlemen of family would allow the rich upstarts to spend their money profusely, which they are ready enough to do, and not vie with them in expence, the upstarts would soon be at an end, and the gentlemen would remain; but if the gentlemen will vie in expence with the upstarts, which is very foolish, they must be ruined.” I gave
him an account of the excellent mimickry of a friend of mine in Scotland; observing, at the same time, that some people thought it a very mean thing. Johnson. “Why, Sir, it is making a very mean use of a man's powers. But to be a good mimick, requires great powers ; great acuteness of observation, great retention of what is observed, and great pliancy of organs, to represent what is observed. I remember a lady of quality in this town, Lady
who was a wonderful mimick, and used to make me laugh immoderately. I have heard she is now gone mad.” Boswell. “It is amazing howa mimick can not only give you the
gestures and voice of a person whom he represents; but even what a person would say on any particular subject.”
1772. Johnson. “Why, Sir, you are to consider that the
manner and some particular phrases of a person do Ætat, 63.
much to impress you with an idea of him, and you
friend seems to possess. Foote is, however very entertaining, with a kind of conversation between wit and buffoonery."
On Monday, March 23, I found him busy, preparing a fourth edition of his folio Dictionary. Mr. Peyton, one of his original amanuenses, was writing for him. I put him in mind of a meaning of the word side, which he had omitted, viz. relationship; as father's side, mother's side. He inserted it. I asked him if humiliating was a good word, He said, he had seen it frequently used, but he did not know it to be legitimate English. He would not admit civilization, but only civility. With great deference to him I thought civilization, fromto civilize, better in the sense opposed to barbarity, than civility; as it is better to have a distinct wo:d for each sense, than one word with two senses, which civility is, in his way of using it.
He seemed also to be intent on some sort of chy. 1772. mical operation. I was entertained by observing how
Atat. 03. he contrived to send Mr. Peyton on an errand, without seeming to degrade him, “ Mr. Peyton,--Mr. Peyton, will you be so good as to take a walk to Temple-Bar? You will there see a chymist's shop at which you will be pleased to buy for me an ounce of oil of vitriol; not spirit of vitriol, but oil of vitriol. It will cost three half-pence.” Peyton immediately went, and returned with it, and told him it cost but a penny.
I then reminded him of the schoolmaster's cause, and proposed to read to him the printed papers concerning it. No, Sir, (said he,) I can read quicker than I can hear.” So he read them to himself.
After he had read for some time, we were interrupted by the entrance of Mr. Kristrom, a Swede, who was tutor to some young gentleman in the city. He told me, that there was a very good History of Sweden, by Daline. Having at that time an intention of writing the history of that country, I asked Dr. Johnson whether one might write a history of Sweden, without going thither. “ Yes, Sir, (said he,) one for common use."
We talked of languages. Johnson observed that Leibnitz had made some progress in a work, tracing all languages up to the Hebrew. Why, Sir, (said he,) you would not imagine that the French jour, day, is derived from the Latin dies, and yet nothing is more certain; and the intermediate steps are very clear. From dies, comes diurnus. Diu is, by inaccurate ears, or inaccurate pronunciation, easily confounded with giu; then the Italians form a substan-tive of the ablative of an adjective, and thence giuricos