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to-day where you and I dined ; I ask your pardon.” 1773. Goldsmith answered placidly, “It must be much from you, Sir, that I take ill.” And so at once the difference was over, and they were on as easy terms as ever, and Goldsınith rattled away as usual.
In our way to the club to-night, when I regretted that Goldsmith would, upon every occasion, endeavour to shine, by which he often exposed himself, Mr. Langton observed, that he was not like Addison, who was content with the fame of his writings, and did not aim also at excellency in conversation, for which he found himself unfit; and that he said to a lady who complained of his having talked little in company,
“ Madam, I have but nine-pence in ready money, but I can draw for a thousand pounds.” I observed, that Goldsmith had a great deal of Gold in his cabinet, but, not content with that, was always taking out his purse. Johnson. “ Yes, Sir, and that so often an empty purse!"
Goldsmith's incessant desire of being conspicuous in company, was the occasion of his sometimes appearing to such disadvantage as one should hardly have supposed possible in a man of his genius. When his literary reputation had risen deservedly high, and his society was much courted, he became very jealous of the extraordinary attention which was every where paid to Johnson. One evening, in a circle of wits, he found fault with me for talking of Johnson as entitled to the honour of unquestionable superiority. Sir, (said he,) you are for making a monarchy of what should be a republick.”
He was still more mortified, when talking in a company with fluent vivacity, anél, as he flattered himself, to the admiration of all who were present;
1778. a German who sat next him, and perceived Johnson Atat. Ct. rolling himself, as if about to speak, suddenly stopped
him, saying, “Stay, stay,—Toctor Shonson is going to say something." This was, no doubt, very provoking, especially to one so irritable as Goldsmith, who frequently mentioned it with strong expressions of indignation.
It may also be observed, that Goldsmith was sometimes content to be treated with an easy familiarity, but, upon occasions, would be consequential and important. . An instance of this occurred in a small particular. Johnson had a way of contracting the names of his friends ; as Beauclerk, Beau; Boswell, Bozzy ; Langton, Lanky; Murphy, Mur; Sheridan, Sherry. I remember one day, when Tom Davies was telling that Dr. Johnson said, “ We are all in labour for a name to Goldy's play,” Goldsmith seemed displeased that such a liberty should be taken with his name, and said, “ I have often desired him not to call me Golily.” Tom was remarkably attentive to the most minute circumstance about Johnson. I recollect his telling me once, on my arrival in London,
Sir, our great friend has made an improvement on his appellation of old Mr. Sheridan. He calls hin now Sherry derry.”.
TO THE PEVEIEND MR. BAGSHAW, AT BROMLEY. 2
“ I RETURN you my sincere thanks for ditions to my Dictionary; but the new edition has
2 The Reverend Thomas Bagshaw, M. A, who died on November 20, 1787, in the seventy-seventh year of his age, Chaplain
been published some time, and therefore I cannot 1773. now make use of them. Whether I shall ever revise
Ætat. 64. it more, I know not. If many readers had been as judicious, as diligent, and as communicative as yourself, my work had been better. The world must at present take it as it is. I am, Sir,
“ Your most obliged
" And most humble servant, "May 8, 1773.
“ Sam. Jonsson."
On Sunday, May 8, I dined with Johnson at Mr. Langton's with Dr. Beattie and some other company, He descanted on the subject of Literary Property. “ There seems (said he,) to be in authours a stronger right of property than that by occupancy; a metaphysical right, a right, as it were, of creation, which should from its nature be perpetual ; but the consent of nations is against it; and indeed reason and the interests of learning are against it; for were it to be perpetual, no book, however useful, could be universally diffused amongst mankind, should the proprietor take it into his head to restrain its circulation. No
of Bromley College, in Kent, and Rector of Southfeet. He had resigned the cure of Bromley Parish some time before his death. For this, and another letter from Dr. Johnson in 178+, to the same truly respectable man, I am indebted to Dr. John Loveday, of the Commons, a son of the late learned and pious John Love, day, Esq. of Caversham in Berkshire, who obligingly transcribed them for me from the originals in his possession. This worthy gentleman, having retired from business, now lives in Warwickshire. The world has been lately obliged to him as the Editor of the late Rev. Dr. Townson's excellent work, modestly entitled “ A Discourse on the Evangelical History, from the Interment to the Ascension of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ;" to which is prefixed, a truly interesting and pleasing account of the authour, by the Reverend Mr. Ralpu.Churton.
1773. book could have the advanatge of being edited with Etat.67.notes, however necessary to its elucidation, should
the proprietor perversely oppose it. For the general good of the world, therefore, whatever valuable work has once been created by an authour, and issued out by him, should be understood as no longer in his power, but as belonging to the publick ; at the same time the authour is entitled to an adequate reward. This he should have by an exclusive right to his work for a considerable number of years."
He attacked Lord Monboddo's strange speculation on the primitive state of human nature ; observing,
Sir, it is all conjecture about a thing useless, even were it known to be true. Knowledge of all kinds is good. Conjecture, as to things useful, is good; but conjecture as to what it would be useless to know, such as whether men went upon all four, is very
On Monday, May 9, as I was to set out on my return to Scotland next morning, I was desirous to see as much of Dr. Johnson as I could. But I first called on Goldsınithi to take leave of him. The jealousy and envy which, though possessed of many most amiable qualities, he frankly avowed, broke out violently at this interview. Upon another occasion, when Goldsmith confessed himself to be of an envious disposition, I contended with Johnson that we ought not to be angry with him, he was so candid in owning, it. Nay, Sir, (said Johnson,) we must be angry that a man has such a superabundance of an odious quality, that he cannot keep it within his own breast, but it boils over.” In my opinion, however, Goldsmith had not more of it than oiher people have, but only talked of it freely.
He now seemed very angry that Johnson was going 1773. to be a traveller; said “ he would be a dead weight Ætat. 07. for me to carry, and that I should never be able to lug him along through the Highlands and Hebrides.” Nor would he patiently allow me to enlarge upon Johnson's wonderful abilities; but exclaimed, “ Is he like Burke, who winds into a subject like a ser
“ But, (said I) Johnson is the Hercules who strangled serpents in his, cradle.”
I dined with Dr. Johnson at General Paoli's. He was obliged, by indisposition, to leave the company early; he appointed me, however, to meet him in the evening at Mr. (now Sir Robert) Chambers's in the Temple, where he accordingly came, though he continued to be very ill. . Chambers, as is common on such occasions, prescribed various remedies to him. Johnson. (fretted by pain,) “ Pr’ythee don't teaze me. Stay till I am well, and then you shall tell me how to cure myself.” He grew better, and talked with a noble enthusiasm of keeping up the representation of respectable families. His zeal on this subject was a circumstance in his character exceedingly remarkable, when it is considered that he himself had no pretensions to blood. I heard him once say, “ I have great merit in being zealous for subordination and the honours of birth; for I can hardly tell who was my grandfather.” He maintained the dignity and propriety of male succession, in opposition to the opinion of one of our friends, who had that day employed Mr. Chambers to draw his will, devising his estate to his three sisters, in preference to a remote heir male. Johnson called them “ three dowdies," and said, with as high a spirit as the boldest Baron in the most perfect days of the feudal system,