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subject, as explained by Hoadly, and, by consequence, to look on submission to lawful authority as a moral obligation; he therefore condemned the conduct of James the Second during his short reign; and, had he been a subject of that weak and infatuated monarch, would, I am persuaded, have resisted any invasion of his right, or unwarrantable exertion of power, with the same spirit as did the president and fellows of Magdalen College, or those conscientious divines, the seven bishops. This disposition, as it leads to Whigism, one would have thought might have reconciled him to the memory of James's successor, whose exercise of the regal authority among us merited better returns than were made him; but, it had no such effect; he never spoke of King William but in terms of reproach, and, in his opinion of him, seemed to adopt all the prejudices of jacobite bigotry and rancour.
266. Sir Robert Walpole.
Of Sir Robert Walpole, notwithstanding that he had written against him in the early part of his life, he had a high opinion. He said of him, that he was a fine fellow, and that his very enemies deemed him so before his death he honoured his memory for having kept this country in peace many years, as also for the goodness and placability of his temper; of which Pulteney, Earl of Bath, thought so highly, that, in a conversation with Johnson, he said, that Sir Robert was of a temper so calm and equal, and so hard to be provoked, that he was very sure he never felt the bitterest invectives against him for half an hour.
To the same purpose Johnson related the following anecdote, which he said he had from Lord North :Sir Robert having got into his hands some treasonable letters of his inveterate enemy, William Shippen, one of the heads of the jacobite faction, he sent for him, and burned them before his face. Some time afterwards, Shippen had occasion to take the oaths to the government in the House of Commons, which, while he was doing, Sir Robert, who stood next him, and knew his principles
to be the same as ever, smiled: "Egad, Robin," said Shippen, who had observed him, "that's hardly fair.”
267. Patriots.- Pulteney.
To party opposition Dr. Johnson ever expressed great aversion; and, of the pretences of patriots, always spoke with indignation and contempt. He partook of the short-lived joy that infatuated the public, when Sir Robert Walpole ceased to have the direction of the national councils, and trusted to the professions of Mr. Pulteney and his adherents, who called themselves the countryparty, that all elections should thenceforward be free and uninfluenced, and that bribery and corruption, which were never practised but by courtiers and their agents, should be no more. A few weeks, nay, a few days, convinced Johnson, that what had assumed the appearance of patriotism was personal hatred and inveterate malice in some, and in others, an ambition for that power which, when they had got it, they knew not how to exercise. change of men, and in some respect of measures, took place: Mr. Pulteney's ambition was gratified by a peerage; the wants of his associates were relieved by places, and seats at the public boards; and, in a short time, the stream of government resumed its former channel, and ran with a current as even as it had ever done.
Upon this developement of the motives, the views, and the consistency of the above-mentioned band of patriots, Johnson once remarked to me, that it had given more strength to government than all that had been written in its defence; meaning thereby, that it had destroyed all confidence in men of that character.
268. Johnson and Arkwright.
His knowledge in manufactures was extensive, and his comprehension relative to mechanical contrivances was still more extraordinary. The well-known Mr. Arkwright pronounced him to be the only person who, on a first view, understood both the principle and powers of his most complicated piece of machinery.
269. A lazy Dog.
One day, on seeing an old terrier lie asleep by the fireside at Streatham, he said, "Presto, you are, if possible, a more lazy dog than I am."
270. Goldsmith's "Traveller."
He repeated poetry with wonderful energy and feeling. He was seen to weep whilst he repeated Goldsmith's character of the English in his "Traveller," beginning "Stern o'er each bosom," &c.
He was extremely accurate in his computation of time. He could tell how many heroic Latin verses could be repeated in such a given portion of it, and was anxious that his friends should take pains to form in their minds some measure for estimating the lapse of it.
Johnson was not apt to judge ill of persons without good reasons; an old friend of his used to say, that in general he thought too well of mankind.
Johnson spoke Latin with great fluency and elegance. He said, indeed, he had taken great pains about it.
Being asked by Dr. Lawrence, what he thought the best system of education, he replied, "School in school hours, and home instruction in the intervals."
He once expressed these sentiments :-"I have seldom met with a man whose colloquial ability exceeded that of Mallet. I was but once in Hume's company, and then his only attempt at merriment consisted in his display of a drawing too indecently gross to have delighted, even in
Colman never produced a luckier thing than his first Ode in imitation of Gray ('); a considerable part of it may be numbered among those felicities which no man has twice attained."
276. Johnson's Talk.
One who had long known Johnson said of him, "In general you may tell what the man to whom you are speaking will say next; this you can never do of Johnson: his images, his allusions, his great powers of ridicule, throw the appearance of novelty upon the most common conversation."
277. Mr. Thrale's Death-bed.
He attended Mr. Thrale in his last moments, and stayed in the room praying, as is imagined, till he had drawn his last breath. "His servants," said he, "would have waited upon him in this awful period, and why not his friend ?"
278. The Thrales. - Leave-taking.
The death of Mr. Thrale dissolved the friendship between him and Johnson; but it abated not in the latter that care for the interests of those whom his friend had left behind him, which he thought himself bound to cherish, as a living principle of gratitude. The favours he had received from Mr. Thrale were to be repaid by the exercise of kind offices towards his relict and her children; and these, circumstanced as Johnson was, could only be prudent counsels, friendly admonition to the one, and preceptive instruction to the others, both which he was ever ready to interpose. Nevertheless, it was observed by myself, and other of Johnson's friends, that, soon after the decease of Mr. Thrale, his visits to Streatham became less and less frequent, and that he studiously avoided the mention of the place or family. It seems that between him and the widow there was a formal taking of leave, for I find in his diary the following note:-" April 5th, 1783. "I took leave of Mrs. Thrale. I was much moved. I had some expostulations with her. She said
(1) ["Odes to Obscurity and Oblivion."]