Sunday, March 27, 2016

Boswell’s Life of Johnson: 115


Edited by Dan Leo, LL.D., Associate Professor of Illustrated and Abridged Classics; Assistant Women’s Lacrosse Coach, Olney Community College; author of Bozzie and Dr. Sam: Mrs. Williams Steps Out, the Olney Community College Press.

Artwork and layout personally co√∂rdinated by rhoda penmarq (pencils, inks, oils, gouache and watercolors by eddie el greco; lettering by roy dismas) for penmarqiqroniq™ productions.

to begin at the beginning, click here

for previous chapter, click here






Johnson was here solaced with an elegant entertainment, a very accomplished family, and much good company; among whom was Mr. Harris of Salisbury, who paid him many compliments on his Journey to the Western Islands.


The common remark as to the utility of reading history being made;— 

JOHNSON. 'We must consider how very little history there is; I mean real authentick history. That certain Kings reigned, and certain battles were fought, we can depend upon as true; but all the colouring, all the philosophy of history is conjecture.' 


BOSWELL. 'Then, Sir, you would reduce all history to no better than an almanack, a mere chronological series of remarkable events.' 

Mr. Gibbon, who must at that time have been employed upon his History, of which he published the first volume in the following year, was present; but did not step forth in defence of that species of writing. He probably did not like to trust himself with JOHNSON!


Johnson observed, that the force of our early habits was so great, that though reason approved, nay, though our senses relished a different course, almost every man returned to them.


I do not believe there is any observation upon human nature better founded than this; and, in many cases, it is a very painful truth; for where early habits have been mean and wretched, the joy and elevation resulting from better modes of life must be damped by the gloomy consciousness of being under an almost inevitable doom to sink back into a situation which we recollect with disgust. It surely may be prevented, by constant attention and unremitting exertion to establish contrary habits of superiour efficacy.



The Beggar's Opera, and the common question, whether it was pernicious in its effects, having been introduced;—

JOHNSON. 'As to this matter, which has been very much contested, I myself am of opinion, that more influence has been ascribed to The Beggar's Opera, than it in reality ever had; for I do not believe that any man was ever made a rogue by being present at its representation. At the same time I do not deny that it may have some influence, by making the character of a rogue familiar, and in some degree pleasing.' 

Then collecting himself as it were, to give a heavy stroke: 

'There is in it such a labefactation of all principles, as may be injurious to morality.'

While he pronounced this response, we sat in a comical sort of restraint, smothering a laugh, which we were afraid might burst out. 


In his Life of Gay, he has been still more decisive as to the inefficiency of The Beggar's Opera in corrupting society. But I have ever thought somewhat differently; for, indeed, not only are the gaiety and heroism of a highwayman very captivating to a youthful imagination, but the arguments for adventurous depredation are so plausible, the allusions so lively, and the contrasts with the ordinary and more painful modes of acquiring property are so artfully displayed, that it requires a cool and strong judgement to resist so imposing an aggregate: yet, I own, I should be very sorry to have The Beggar's Opera suppressed; for there is in it so much of real London life, so much brilliant wit, and such a variety of airs, which, from early association of ideas, engage, soothe, and enliven the mind, that no performance which the theatre exhibits, delights me more.


The late 'worthy' Duke of Queensberry, as Thomson, in his Seasons, justly characterises him, told me, that when Gay first shewed him The Beggar's Opera, his Grace's observation was, 'This is a very odd thing, Gay; I am satisfied that it is either a very good thing, or a very bad thing.' 

It proved the former, beyond the warmest expectations of the authour or his friends. 

Mr. Cambridge, however, shewed us to-day, that there was good reason enough to doubt concerning its success. He was told by Quin, that during the first night of its appearance it was long in a very dubious state; that there was a disposition to damn it, and that it was saved by the song,


'Oh ponder well! be not severe!'

the audience being much affected by the innocent looks of Polly, when she came to those two lines, which exhibit at once a painful and ridiculous image,

'For on the rope that hangs my Dear, 
Depends poor Polly's life.’

Quin himself had so bad an opinion of it, that he refused the part of Captain Macheath, and gave it to Walker, who acquired great celebrity by his grave yet animated performance of it.



We talked of a young gentleman's marriage with an eminent singer, and his determination that she should no longer sing in publick, though his father was very earnest she should, because her talents would be liberally rewarded, so as to make her a good fortune. It was questioned whether the young gentleman, who had not a shilling in the world, but was blest with very uncommon talents, was not foolishly delicate, or foolishly proud, and his father truely rational without being mean. 

Johnson, with all the high spirit of a Roman senator, exclaimed,


'He resolved wisely and nobly to be sure. He is a brave man. Would not a gentleman be disgraced by having his wife singing publickly for hire? No, Sir, there can be no doubt here. I know not if I should not prepare myself for a publick singer, as readily as let my wife be one.'


Johnson arraigned the modern politicks of this country, as entirely devoid of all principle of whatever kind.

'Politicks (said he) are now nothing more than means of rising in the world. With this sole view do men engage in politicks, and their whole conduct proceeds upon it. How different in that respect is the state of the nation now from what it was in the time of Charles the First, during the Usurpation, and after the Restoration, in the time of Charles the Second.


The nation in general has ever been loyal, has been at all times attached to the monarch, though a few daring rebels have been wonderfully powerful for a time. The murder of Charles the First was undoubtedly not committed with the approbation or consent of the people. Had that been the case, Parliament would not have ventured to consign the regicides to their deserved punishment. And we know what exuberance of joy there was when Charles the Second was restored. If Charles the Second had bent all his mind to it, had made it his sole object, he might have been as absolute as Louis the Fourteenth.'

A gentleman observed he would have done no harm if he had.


JOHNSON. 'Why, Sir, absolute princes seldom do any harm. But they who are governed by them are governed by chance. There is no security for good government.'

CAMBRIDGE. 'There have been many sad victims to absolute government.'

JOHNSON. 'So, Sir, have there been to popular factions.'

BOSWELL. 'The question is, which is worst, one wild beast or many?'



Somebody found fault with writing verses in a dead language, maintaining that they were merely arrangements of so many words, and laughed at the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, for sending forth collections of them not only in Greek and Latin, but even in Syriac, Arabick, and other more unknown tongues. 

JOHNSON. 'I would have as many of these as possible; I would have verses in every language that there are the means of acquiring. Nobody imagines that an University is to have at once two hundred poets; but it should be able to show two hundred scholars. And I would have had at every coronation, and every death of a King, University-verses, in as many languages as can be acquired. I would have the world to be thus told, "Here is a school where every thing may be learnt."'


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part 116


Sunday, March 20, 2016

Boswell’s Life of Johnson: 114


Edited by Dan Leo, LL.D., Assistant Professor of Comic Strip Studies; Assistant Women’s Fencing Team Coach, Olney Community College; author of Bozzie and Dr. Sam: The Sage’s Thrashing Cane, the Olney Community College Press.

Art direction by rhoda penmarq (layout, pencils, charcoals, inks, colors by eddie el greco; lettering by roy dismas) for penmarqrite™ productions.

to begin at the beginning, click here

for previous chapter, click here






'To BENNET LANGTON, ESQ.

'DEAR SIR,

'I have enquired more minutely about the medicine for the rheumatism, which I am sorry to hear that you still want. The receipt is this: “Take equal quantities of flour of sulphur, and flour of mustard-seed, make them an electuary with honey or treacle; and take a bolus as big as a nutmeg several times a day, as you can bear it: drinking after it a quarter of a pint of the infusion of the root of Lovage.”

'Lovage, in Ray's Nomenclature, is Levisticum: perhaps the Botanists may know the Latin name.


'Of this medicine I pretend not to judge. There is all the appearance of its efficacy, which a single instance can afford: the patient was very old, the pain very violent, and the relief, I think, speedy and lasting.

'My opinion of alterative medicine is not high, but quid tentasse nocebit? {“what harm to have tried it?” – Editor} if it does harm, or does no good, it may be omitted; but that it may do good, you have, I hope, reason to think is desired by,

'Sir, your most affectionate,
Humble servant,
SAM. JOHNSON.'

'April 17, 1775.'


On Tuesday, April 18, he and I were engaged to go with Sir Joshua Reynolds to dine with Mr. Cambridge, at his beautiful villa on the banks of the Thames, near Twickenham. Dr. Johnson's tardiness was such, that Sir Joshua, who had an appointment at Richmond, early in the day, was obliged to go by himself on horseback, leaving his coach to Johnson and me. Johnson was in such good spirits, that every thing seemed to please him as we drove along.


Our conversation turned on a variety of subjects. 


He thought portrait-painting an improper employment for a woman.

'Publick practice of any art, (he observed,) and staring in men's faces, is very indelicate in a female.'

I happened to start a question, whether, when a man knows that some of his intimate friends are invited to the house of another friend, with whom they are all equally intimate, he may join them without an invitation.

JOHNSON. 'No, Sir; he is not to go when he is not invited. They may be invited on purpose to abuse him' (smiling).


As a curious instance how little a man knows, or wishes to know, his own character in the world, or, rather, as a convincing proof that Johnson's roughness was only external, and did not proceed from his heart, I insert the following dialogue.

JOHNSON. 'It is wonderful, Sir, how rare a quality good humour is in life. We meet with very few good humoured men.'

I mentioned four of our friends, none of whom he would allow to be good humoured. One was acid, another was muddy, and to the others he had objections which have escaped me.


Then, shaking his head and stretching himself at ease in the coach, and smiling with much complacency, he turned to me and said,

'I look upon myself as a good humoured fellow.'

The epithet fellow, applied to the great Lexicographer, the stately Moralist, the masterly Critick, as if he had been Sam Johnson, a mere pleasant companion, was highly diverting; and this light notion of himself struck me with wonder.

I answered, also smiling,


'No, no, Sir; that will not do. You are good natured, but not good humoured: you are irascible. You have not patience with folly and absurdity. I believe you would pardon them, if there were time to deprecate your vengeance; but punishment follows so quick after sentence, that they cannot escape.'

I had brought with me a great bundle of Scotch magazines and news-papers, in which his Journey to the Western Islands was attacked in every mode; and I read a great part of them to him, knowing they would afford him entertainment. I wish the writers of them had been present: they would have been sufficiently vexed.


One ludicrous imitation of his style, by Mr. Maclaurin, now one of the Scotch Judges, with the title of Lord Dreghorn, was distinguished by him from the rude mass.

'This (said he,) is the best. But I could caricature my own style much better myself.'

He defended his remark upon the general insufficiency of education in Scotland; and confirmed to me the authenticity of his witty saying on the learning of the Scotch;—

'Their learning is like bread in a besieged town: every man gets a little, but no man gets a full meal.'

'There is (said he,) in Scotland, a diffusion of learning, a certain portion of it widely and thinly spread. A merchant there has as much learning as one of their clergy.'


He talked of Isaac Walton's Lives, which was one of his most favourite books. Dr. Donne's Life, he said, was the most perfect of them.

He observed, that 'it was wonderful that Walton, who was in a very low situation in life, should have been familiarly received by so many great men, and that at a time when the ranks of society were kept more separate than they are now.' 

He supposed that Walton had then given up his business as a linen draper and sempster, and was only an authour; and added, 'that he was a great panegyrist.'


BOSWELL. 'No quality will get a man more friends than a disposition to admire the qualities of others. I do not mean flattery, but a sincere admiration.'

JOHNSON. 'Nay, Sir, flattery pleases very generally. In the first place, the flatterer may think what he says to be true: but, in the second place, whether he thinks so or not, he certainly thinks those whom he flatters of consequence enough to be flattered.'

No sooner had we made our bow to Mr. Cambridge, in his library, than Johnson ran eagerly to one side of the room, intent on poring over the backs of the books.


Sir Joshua observed, (aside,) 'He runs to the books, as I do to the pictures: but I have the advantage. I can see much more of the pictures than he can of the books.'

Mr. Cambridge, upon this, politely said, 'Dr. Johnson, I am going, with your pardon, to accuse myself, for I have the same custom which I perceive you have. But it seems odd that one should have such a desire to look at the backs of books.'

Johnson, ever ready for contest, instantly started from his reverie, wheeled about, and answered,


'Sir, the reason is very plain. Knowledge is of two kinds. We know a subject ourselves, or we know where we can find information upon it. When we enquire into any subject, the first thing we have to do is to know what books have treated of it. This leads us to look at catalogues, and the backs of books in libraries.'

Sir Joshua observed to me the extraordinary promptitude with which Johnson flew upon an argument.

'Yes, (said I,) he has no formal preparation, no flourishing with his sword; he is through your body in an instant.'


(classix comix™ is made possible in part through the continued sponsorship the Bob’s Bowery Bar Foundation for the Unpopular Arts: “No disingenuous modesty shall prevent me from recommending my personal favorite item from the new spring brunch menu at Bob’s Bowery Bar: ‘Horace’s Hangover Special’: a great heaping plate of ‘Bob’s Mom’s Own’ creamed chipped beef, made with only the finest cave-dried free-range beef,

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part 115


Thursday, March 17, 2016

day and dark


by George Cabot Lodge

illustrations by konrad kraus






Now the golden fields of sunset rose on rose to me-ward fall,
Down the dark reverberate beaches clear and far the sea-birds call,
Blue across the fire-stained waters, eastward thrusts the chuckling tide,
Fresh as when the immortal impulse took the lifeless world for bride.

Now the shore's thin verge of shallows keep the tense and tender light,
Now the stars hang few and faultless, diademed on the brows of night,
Now the moon's unstinted silver falls like dew along the sea
While from far a friendly casement softly fills with light for me.

So it ends! I reaped the harvest, lived the long and lavish day,
Saw the earliest sunlight shiver thro' the breakers' endless play,
Felt the noonday's warm abundance, shared the hours of large repose, While the stately sun descended thro' the twilight's sumptuous' close.

Now the night-fall—Ah! I guess the immortal secret, glimpse the goal,
Know the hours have scanted nothing, know each fragment hints the whole,
While the Soul in power and freedom dares and wills to claim its own,
Star over star, a larger, lovelier unknown heaven beyond the known!



Monday, March 14, 2016

the bar by the side of the road


by Robert E Howard

illustrations by konrad kraus






There are liquorless souls that follow paths
Where whiskey never ran --
Let me live in a bar by the side of the road
And drink from the old beer can.

Let me live in a bar by the side of the road
Where the race of man goes dry,
The men who are "drys" and the men who are "wets"
(But none are so "wet" as I.)

I see from the bar by the side of the road,
A land with a drouth accurst;
And men who press on with the ardour of beer,
And men who are faint with thirst.

I know there are bars in Old Mexico,
And schooners of glorious height.
That the booze splashes on through the long afternoon,
And floods through the gutters of night.

But still I take gin when the travelers take gin
And Scotch with the whiskey man,
Nor ever refuse a thirsty soul
A swig from my old beer can.

For why should I praise Prohibition's restraints,
Or love the revenue man?
Let me live in a bar by the side of the road
And drink from the old beer can!



Sunday, March 13, 2016

Boswell’s Life of Johnson: 113


Edited by Dan Leo, LL.D., Professor of Illustrated Literature; Assistant Women’s Kick-Boxing Coach, Olney Community College; author of Bozzie and Dr. Sam: The Case of the Cad from Camberwell, the Olney Community College Press.

Art and layout by rhoda penmarq, assisted by eddie el greco and roy dismas; a penmarqroniq™ production.

to begin at the beginning, click here

for previous chapter, click here






He observed, 'All knowledge is of itself of some value. There is nothing so minute or inconsiderable, that I would not rather know it than not. In the same manner, all power, of whatever sort, is of itself desirable. A man would not submit to learn to hem a ruffle, of his wife, or his wife's maid; but if a mere wish could attain it, he would rather wish to be able to hem a ruffle.'

He again advised me to keep a journal fully and minutely, but not to mention such trifles as, that meat was too much or too little done, or that the weather was fair or rainy. He had, till very near his death, a contempt for the notion that the weather affects the human frame.


I told him that our friend Goldsmith had said to me, that he had come too late into the world, for that Pope and other poets had taken up the places in the Temple of Fame; so that, as but a few at any period can possess poetical reputation, a man of genius can now hardly acquire it.

JOHNSON. 'That is one of the most sensible things I have ever heard of Goldsmith. It is difficult to get literary fame, and it is every day growing more difficult. Ah, Sir, that should make a man think of securing happiness in another world, which all who try sincerely for it may attain. In comparison of that, how little are all other things! The belief of immortality is impressed upon all men, and all men act under an impression of it, however they may talk, and though, perhaps, they may be scarcely sensible of it.' 


I said, it appeared to me that some people had not the least notion of immortality; and I mentioned a distinguished gentleman of our acquaintance. 

JOHNSON. 'Sir, if it were not for the notion of immortality, he would cut a throat to fill his pockets.' 

When I quoted this to Beauclerk, who knew much more of the gentleman than we did, he said, in his acid manner, 'He would cut a throat to fill his pockets, if it were not for fear of being hanged.'


Dr. Johnson proceeded: 'Sir, there is a great cry about infidelity; but there are, in reality, very few infidels. I have heard a person, originally a Quaker, but now, I am afraid, a Deist, say, that he did not believe there were, in all England, above two hundred infidels.'


He was pleased to say, 'If you come to settle here, we will have one day in the week on which we will meet by ourselves. That is the happiest conversation where there is no competition, no vanity, but a calm quiet interchange of sentiments.'


In his private register this evening is thus marked, 'Boswell sat with me till night; we had some serious talk.'

It also appears from the same record, that after I left him he was occupied in religious duties, in 'giving Francis, his servant, some directions for preparation to communicate; in reviewing his life, and resolving on better conduct.' 

The humility and piety which he discovers on such occasions, is truely edifying. No saint, however, in the course of his religious warfare, was more sensible of the unhappy failure of pious resolves, than Johnson. He said one day, talking to an acquaintance on this subject,


'Sir, Hell is paved with good intentions.'

On Sunday, April 16, being Easter Day, after having attended the solemn service at St. Paul's, I dined with Dr. Johnson and Mrs. Williams.

I maintained that Horace was wrong in placing happiness in Nil admirari {“marvel at nothing” – Editor}, for that I thought admiration one of the most agreeable of all our feelings; and I regretted that I had lost much of my disposition to admire, which people generally do as they advance in life. 


JOHNSON. 'Sir, as a man advances in life, he gets what is better than admiration — judgement, to estimate things at their true value.'

I still insisted that admiration was more pleasing than judgement, as love is more pleasing than friendship. The feeling of friendship is like that of being comfortably filled with roast beef; love, like being enlivened with champagne.

JOHNSON. 'No, Sir; admiration and love are like being intoxicated with champagne; judgement and friendship like being enlivened.’


He then took occasion to enlarge on the advantages of reading, and combated the idle superficial notion, that knowledge enough may be acquired in conversation.

'The foundation (said he,) must be laid by reading. General principles must be had from books, which, however, must be brought to the test of real life. In conversation you never get a system. What is said upon a subject is to be gathered from a hundred people. The parts of a truth, which a man gets thus, are at such a distance from each other that he never attains to a full view.'


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part 114


Monday, March 7, 2016

Boswell’s Life of Johnson: 112


Edited by Dan Leo, LL.D., Associate Professor of Remedial Basic Introductory Reading; Assistant Women’s Javelin and Discus Coach, Olney Community College; author of Bozzie and Dr. Sam: The Case of the Importunate Urchin, the Olney Community College Press.

Art direction by rhoda penmarq (layout, pencils, inks, oils, watercolors and charcoals by eddie el greco ; lettering by roy dismas ); a penmarq ateliers™/sternwall studios™ co-production.

to begin at the beginning, click here

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Friday, April 7, I dined with him at a Tavern, with a numerous company.

JOHNSON. 'I have been reading Twiss's Travels in Spain, which are just come out. They are as good as the first book of travels that you will take up. They are as good as those of Keysler; nay, as Addison's, if you except the learning. They are not so good as Brydone's, but they are better than Pococke's. I have not, indeed, cut the leaves yet; but I have read in them where the pages are open, and I do not suppose that what is in the pages which are closed is worse than what is in the open pages.’


Patriotism having become one of our topicks, Johnson suddenly uttered, in a strong determined tone, an apophthegm, at which many will start:

'Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.'

But let it be considered, that he did not mean a real and generous love of our country, but that pretended patriotism which so many, in all ages and countries, have made a cloak for self-interest.

I maintained, that certainly all patriots were not scoundrels. Being urged, (not by Johnson) to name one exception, I mentioned an eminent person, whom we all greatly admired.


JOHNSON. 'Sir, I do not say that he is not honest; but we have no reason to conclude from his political conduct that he is honest.’

Mrs. Prichard being mentioned, he said, 'Her playing was quite mechanical. It is wonderful how little mind she had. Sir, she had never read the tragedy of Macbeth all through. She no more thought of the play out of which her part was taken, than a shoemaker thinks of the skin, out of which the piece of leather, of which he is making a pair of shoes, is cut.'



On Saturday, May 8, I dined with him at Mr. Thrale's, where we met the Irish Dr. Campbell.

Johnson had supped the night before at Mrs. Abington's, with some fashionable people whom he named; and he seemed much pleased with having made one in so elegant a circle. Nor did he omit to pique his mistress a little with jealousy of her housewifery; for he said, (with a smile,)

'Mrs. Abington's jelly, my dear Lady, was better than yours.'



Mrs. Thrale, who frequently practised a coarse mode of flattery, by repeating his bon-mots in his hearing, told us that he had said, a certain celebrated actor was just fit to stand at the door of an auction-room with a long pole, and cry 'Pray gentlemen, walk in;' and that a certain authour, upon hearing this, had said, that another still more celebrated actor was fit for nothing better than that, and would pick your pocket after you came out.

JOHNSON. 'Nay, my dear lady, there is no wit in what our friend added; there is only abuse. You may as well say of any man that he will pick a pocket. Besides, the man who is stationed at the door does not pick people's pockets; that is done within, by the auctioneer.'


On Monday, April 10, I dined with him at General Oglethorpe's, with Mr. Langton and the Irish Dr. Campbell, whom the General had obligingly given me leave to bring with me. This learned gentleman was thus gratified with a very high intellectual feast, by not only being in company with Dr. Johnson, but with General Oglethorpe, who had been so long a celebrated name both at home and abroad.

I must, again and again, intreat of my readers not to suppose that my imperfect record of conversation contains the whole of what was said by Johnson, or other eminent persons who lived with him. What I have preserved, however, has the value of the most perfect authenticity.


He this day enlarged upon Pope's melancholy remark,

'Man never is, but always to be blest.'

He asserted that the present was never a happy state to any human being; but that, as every part of life, of which we are conscious, was at some point of time a period yet to come, in which felicity was expected, there was some happiness produced by hope.

Being pressed upon this subject, and asked if he really was of opinion, that though, in general, happiness was very rare in human life, a man was not sometimes happy in the moment that was present, he answered,


'Never, but when he is drunk.'

He urged General Oglethorpe to give the world his Life. He said, 'I know no man whose Life would be more interesting. If I were furnished with materials, I should be very glad to write it.'

Johnson repeated the common remark, that, 'as there is no necessity for our having poetry at all, it being merely a luxury, an instrument of pleasure, it can have no value, unless when exquisite in its kind.'

I declared myself not satisfied.


'Why then, Sir, (said he,) Horace and you must settle it.'

He was not much in the humour of talking.

No more of his conversation for some days appears in my journal, except that when a gentleman told him he had bought a suit of lace for his lady, he said, 'Well, Sir, you have done a good thing and a wise thing.'

'I have done a good thing, (said the gentleman,) but I do not know that I have done a wise thing.'

JOHNSON. 'Yes, Sir; no money is better spent than what is laid out for domestick satisfaction. A man is pleased that his wife is drest as well as other people; and a wife is pleased that she is drest.'

On Friday, April 14, being Good-Friday, I repaired to him in the morning, according to my usual custom on that day, and breakfasted with him. I observed that he fasted so very strictly, that he did not even taste bread, and took no milk with his tea; I suppose because it is a kind of animal food.


He entered upon the state of the nation, and thus discoursed:

'Sir, the great misfortune now is, that government has too little power. All that it has to bestow must of necessity be given to support itself; so that it cannot reward merit. No man, for instance, can now be made a Bishop for his learning and piety; his only chance for promotion is his being connected with somebody who has parliamentary interest.’

BOSWELL. 'What then, Sir, is the use of Parliament?'


JOHNSON. 'Why, Sir, Parliament is a larger council to the King; and the advantage of such a council is, having a great number of men of property concerned in the legislature, who, for their own interest, will not consent to bad laws. And you must have observed, Sir, that administration is feeble and timid, and cannot act with that authority and resolution which is necessary. Were I in power, I would turn out every man who dared to oppose me. Government has the distribution of offices, that it may be enabled to maintain its authority.'

I told him that I had been informed by Mr. Orme, that many parts of the East-Indies were better mapped than the Highlands of Scotland.


JOHNSON. 'That a country may be mapped, it must be travelled over.'

'Nay, (said I, meaning to laugh with him at one of his prejudices,) can't you say, it is not worth mapping?'

Dr. Wetherell, Master of University College, Oxford, accompanied us home from church; and after he was gone, there came two other gentlemen, one of whom uttered the common-place complaints, that by the increase of taxes, labour would be dear, other nations would undersell us, and our commerce would be ruined.


JOHNSON (smiling). 'Never fear, Sir. Our commerce is in a very good state; and suppose we had no commerce at all, we could live very well on the produce of our own country.'

I cannot omit to mention, that I never knew any man who was less disposed to be querulous than Johnson. Whether the subject was his own situation, or the state of the publick, or the state of human nature in general, though he saw the evils, his mind was turned to resolution, and never to whining or complaint.


After the evening service, he said, 'Come, you shall go home with me, and sit just an hour.' 

But he was better than his word; for after we had drunk tea with Mrs. Williams, he asked me to go up to his study with him, where we sat a long while together in a serene undisturbed frame of mind, sometimes in silence, and sometimes conversing, as we felt ourselves inclined, or more properly speaking, as he was inclined; for during all the course of my long intimacy with him, my respectful attention never abated, and my wish to hear him was such, that I constantly watched every dawning of communication from that great and illuminated mind.


(classix comix™ is made possible in part through a generous grant from the Bob’s Bowery Bar Foundation for the Propagation of the Uncommercial Arts,: “I should be unforgivably remiss were I not to mention for the benefit of my more carnivorous friends Bob’s Bowery Bar’s ‘Beef ‘n’ Bock Special’:

a quarter pound of hand-carved slow-roasted top loin beef – your choice of ‘rare’ or ‘bloody’ – served over a chewy fresh-baked sourdough roll and smothered in ‘Mom’s’ garlic ‘n’ mushroom gravy, with a heaping fistful of chili fries, plus a large schooner of Bob’s legendary basement-brewed house bock – all this for the bargain price of only $2.50!” – Horace P. Sternwall, host of Bob’s Bowery Bar Presents Horace P. Sternwall’s Tales of the old 49ers, Tuesdays at 9pm {EST}, exclusively on the Dumont Television Network.)


part 113