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principles of the people against whom thou art so exceedingly prejudiced, and that thou supposest us a set of infidels or deists.
DR. J. Certainly, I do think you little better than deists. MRS. K. This is indeed strange; 'tis passing strange, that a man of such universal reading and research, has not thought it at least expedient to look into the cause of dissent of a society so long established, and so conspicuously singular!
Dr. J. Not I, indeed! I have not read your Barclay's Apology; and for this plain reason - I never thought it worth my while. You are upstart sectaries, perhaps the best subdued by a silent contempt.
MRS. K. This reminds me of the language of the rabbis of old, when their hierarchy was alarmed by the increasing influence, force, and simplicity of dawning truth, in their high day of worldly dominion. We meekly trust, our principles stand on the same solid foundation of simple truth; and we invite the acutest investigation. The reason thou givest for not having read Barclay's Apology, is surely a very improper one for a man whom the world looks up to as a moral philosopher of the first rank; a teacher, from whom they think they have a right to expect much information. To this expecting, inquiring world, how can Dr. Johnson acquit himself, for remaining unacquainted with a book translated into five or six different languages, and which has been admitted into the libraries of almost every court and university in Christendom!— (Here the Doctor grew very angry, still more so at the space of time the gentlemen allowed his antagonist wherein to make her defence; and his impatience excited Mr. Boswell himself in a whisper to say, "I never saw this mighty lion so chafed before!")
The Doctor again repeated, that he did not think the Quakers deserved the name of Christians.
MRS. K. Give me leave, then, to endeavour to convince thee of thy error, which I will do by making before thee, and this respectable company, a confession of our faith. Creeds, or confessions of faith, are admitted by all to be the standard whereby we judge of every denomination of
professors. (To this every one present agreed; and even the Doctor grumbled out his assent.)
MRS. K. Well, then, I take upon me to declare, that the people called Quakers do verily believe in the Holy Scriptures, and rejoice with the most full and reverential acceptance of the divine history of facts as recorded in the New Testament. That we, consequently, fully believe those historical articles summed up in what is called the Apostles' Creed, with these two exceptions only, to wit, our Saviour's descent into hell, and the resurrection of the body. These mysteries we humbly leave just as they stand in the holy text; there being, from that ground, no authority for such assertion as is drawn up in the Creed. And now, Doctor, canst thou still deny to us the honorable title of Christians?
DR. J. Well! I must own I did not at all suppose you had so much to say for yourselves. However, I cannot forgive that little slut, for presuming to take upon herself as she has done.
MRS. K. I hope, Doctor, thou wilt not remain unforgiving; and that you will renew your friendship, and joyfully meet at last in those bright regions where pride and prejudice can never enter!
DR. J. Meet her! I never desire to meet fools any where. (This sarcastic turn of wit was so pleasantly received, that the Doctor joined in the laugh his spleen was dissipated; he took his coffee, and became, for the remainder of the evening, very cheerful and entertaining.)
617. Rebuke to a talkative Lady. (1)
He was one day in conversation with a very talkative lady, of whom he appeared to take very little notice. Why, Doctor, I believe you prefer the company of men to that of the ladies." "Madam," replied he, am very fond of the company of ladies; I like their beauty, I like their delicacy, I like their vivacity, and I like their silence."
(1) [Anecdotes 617. to 629. were communicated by William Seward, Esq., author of "Biographiana, &c.," to Isaac Reed, Esq., for insertion in the European Magazine.]
618. Building without a Scaffold.
Johnson was much pleased with a French expression made use of by a lady towards a person whose head was confused with a multitude of knowledge, at which he had not arrived in a regular and principled way,—“ Il a báti sans échafaud," -" he has built without his scaffold."
619. Love of Literature.
Dr. Johnson was of opinion that the happiest, as well as the most virtuous, persons were to be found amongst those who united with a business or profession a love of literature.
620. Marriage-Choice of a Wife.
He was constantly earnest with his friends, when they had thoughts of marriage, to look out for a religious wife. "A principle of honour or fear of the world," added he, "will many times keep a man in decent order; but when a woman loses her religion, she, in general, loses the only tie that will restrain her actions: Plautus, in his Amphytrio, makes Alcmena say beautifully to her husband,
"Non ego illam mihi dotem duco esse, quæ dos dicitur,
Deûm metum, parentûm amorum, et cognatûm concordiam ;
621. Tired of London.
He was once told that a friend of his, who had long lived in the metropolis, was about to quit it, to retire into the country, as being tired of London: " Say rather, Sir," said Johnson, "that he is tired of life."
622. Grammar, Writing, and Arithmetic. Dr. Johnson was extremely adverse to the present foppish mode of educating children, so as to make them what foolish mothers call "elegant young men." He said to some lady who asked him what she should teach her son in early life, "Madam, to read, to write, to count; grammar, writing, and arithmetic; three things
which, if not taught in very early life, are seldom or ever taught to any purpose, and without the knowledge of which no superstructure of learning or of knowledge can be built."
623. Hartley on Man.
Dr. Johnson one day observing a friend of his packing up the two volumes of "Observations on Man," written by this great and good man, to take into the country, said, "Sir, you do right to take Dr. Hartley with you.' Dr. Priestley said of him, "that he had learned more from Hartley, than from any book he had ever read, except the Bible."
624. Love of Change.
The Doctor used to say that he once knew a man of so vagabond a disposition, that he even wished, for the sake of change of place, to go to the West Indies. He set off on this expedition, and the Doctor saw him in town four months afterwards. Upon asking him, why he had not put his plan in execution, he replied, "I have returned these ten days from the West Indies. The sight of slavery was so horrid to me, that I could only stay two days in one of the islands." This man, who had once been a man of literature, and a private tutor to some young men of consequence, became so extremely torpid and careless in point of further information, that the Doctor, when he called upon him one day, and asked him to lend him a book, was told by him, that he had not one in the house.
An ancient had long ago said, "All secrecy is an evil." Johnson, in his strong manner, said, "Nothing ends more fatally than mysteriousness in trifles: indeed, it commonly ends in guilt; for those who begin by concealment of innocent things, will soon have something to hide which they dare not bring to light."
Johnson used to say of the Duc de Rochefoucault, that he was one of the few gentlemen writers, of whom authors by profession had occasion to be afraid.
627. Investment of Money.
A friend of Johnson, an indolent man, succeeding to a moderate sum of money on the death of his father, asked the Doctor how he should lay it out. "Half on mortgage," said he, "and half in the funds: you have then," continued he, "the two best securities for it that your country can afford. Take care, however, of the character of the person to whom you lend it on mortgage; see that he is a man of exactness and regularity, and lives within his income. The money in the funds you are sure of at every emergency; it is always at hand, and may be resorted to on every
628. The Eucharist.
The learned and excellent Charles Cole having once mentioned to him a book lately published on the Sacrament, he replied, "Sir, I look upon the sacrament as the palladium of our religion: I hope that no profane hands will venture to touch it."
629. Johnson at Tunbridge Wells.
In the summer of 1748, Johnson, for the sake of relaxation from his literary labours, and probably also for Mrs. Johnson's health, visited Tunbridge Wells, then a place of much greater resort than it is at present. In a drawing by Loggan, representing some of the "remarkable characters who were at Tunbridge Wells in 1748," Dr. Johnson stands the first figure. On the opposite side his wife is represented; as are also Garrick, Cibber, Speaker Onslow, Lord Chatham, Lord Lyttelton, Miss Chudleigh, and several celebrated persons; and in this assemblage, neither Johnson nor his wife exhibit any appearance of inferiority to the rest of the company. (')
(1) [See Boswell, vol. i. p. 165.—C.]