Aetat. 74.] The right employment of wealth.


consider thus:-How much harder would it be if the same persons had both all the merit and all the prosperity. Would not this be a miserable distribution for the poor dunces? Would men of merit exchange their intellectual superiority, and the enjoyments arising from it, for external distinction and the pleasures of wealth? If they would not, let them not envy others, who are poor where they are rich, a compensation which is made to them. Let them look inwards and be satisfied; recollecting with conscious pride what Virgil finely says of the Corycius Senex, and which I have, in another place', with truth and sincerity applied to Mr. Burke :

'Regum æquabat opes animis 2'

On the subject of the right employment of wealth, Johnson observed, 'A man cannot make a bad use of his money, so far as regards Society, if he does not hoard it; for if he either spends it or lends it out, Society has the benefit. It is in general better to spend money than to give it away; for industry is more promoted by spending money than by giving it away. A man who spends his money is sure he is doing good with it he is not so sure when he gives it away. A man who spends ten thousand a year will do more good than a man who spends two thousand and gives away eight 3.

In the evening I came to him again. He was somewhat fretful from his illness. A gentleman asked him, whether he had been abroad to-day. 'Don't talk so childishly, (said he.) You may as well ask if I hanged myself to-day.' I mentioned politicks. JOHNSON. 'Sir, I'd as soon have a man to break my bones as talk to me of publick affairs, internal or external. I have lived to see things all as bad as they can be.'

Having mentioned his friend the second Lord Southwell, he said, 'Lord Southwell was the highest-bred man without

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Goldsmith, Shelburne and Malagrida. [A.D. 1783.

insolence that I ever was in company with; the most qualitied I ever saw. Lord Orrery1 was not dignified: Lord Chesterfield was, but he was insolent. Lord *********3 is a man of coarse manners, but a man of abilities and information. I don't say he is a man I would set at the head of a nation, though perhaps he may be as good as the next Prime Minister that comes; but he is a man to be at the head of a Club; I don't say our CLUB; for there's no such Club.' BOSWELL. But, Sir, was he not once a factious man?' JOHNSON. 'O yes, Sir; as factious a fellow as could be found: one who was for sinking us all into the mob.' BOSWELL. 'How then, Sir, did he get into favour with the King?' JOHNSON. Because, Sir, I suppose he promised the King to do whatever the King pleased.'


He said, 'Goldsmith's blundering speech to Lord Shelburne, which has been so often mentioned, and which he really did make to him, was only a blunder in emphasis: "I wonder they should call your Lordship Malagridas, for Malagrida was a very



See Boswell's Hebrides, Sept.

Johnson had said :-'Lord Chesterfield is the proudest man this day existing.' Ante, i. 265.

3 Lord Shelburne. At this time he was merely holding office till a new Ministry was formed. On April 5 he was succeeded by the Duke of Portland. His coarse manners' were due to a neglected childhood. In the fragment of his Autobiography he describes the domestic brutality and ill-usage he experienced at home,' in the South of Ireland. 'It cost me,' he continues, 'more to unlearn the habits, manners, and principles which I then imbibed, than would have served to qualify me for any rôle whatever through life.' Fitzmaurice's Shelburne, i. 12, 16.

4 Bentham, it is reported, said of of him that alone of his own time, he was a "Minister who did not fear the people.". Ib. iii. 572.

5 Malagrida, a Jesuit, was put to death at Lisbon in 1761, nominally

on a charge of heresy, but in reality on a suspicion of his having sanctioned, as confessor to one of the conspirators, an attempt to assassinate King Joseph of Portugal. Voltaire, Siècle de Louis XV, ch. xxxviii. His name,' writes Wraxall (Memoirs, ed. 1815, i. 67), 'is become proverbial among us to express duplicity.' It was first applied to Lord Shelburne in a squib attributed to Wilkes, which contained a vision of a masquerade. The writer, after describing him as masquerading as 'the heir apparent of Loyola and all the College,' continues:-'A little more of the devil, my Lord, if you please, about the eyebrows; that's enough, a perfect Malagrida, I protest.' Fitzmaurice's Shelburne, ii. 164. 'George III. habitually spoke of Shelburne as "Malagrida," and the "Jesuit of Berkeley Square."' Ib. iii. 8. The charge of duplicity was first made against Shelburne on the retirement of Fox (the first Lord Holland) in 1763. 'It was the tradition of Holland House that Bute justified the conduct of


Aetat. 74.]

Crabbe's VILLAGE.


good man;" meant, I wonder they should use Malagrida as a term of reproach'.'

Soon after this time I had an opportunity of seeing, by means of one of his friends, a proof that his talents, as well as his obliging service to authours, were ready as ever. He had revised The Village, an admirable poem, by the Reverend Mr. Crabbe. Its sentiments as to the false notions of rustick happiness and rustick virtue were quite congenial with his own3; and he had taken the trouble not only to suggest slight corrections and variations, but to furnish some lines, when he thought he could give the writer's meaning better than in the words of the manuscript *.


Shelburne, by telling Fox that it was "a pious fraud." "I can see the fraud plainly enough," is said to have been Fox's retort, "but where is the piety?" Ib. i. 226. Any one who has examined Reynolds's picture of Shelburne, especially 'about the eyebrows,' at once sees how the name of Jesuit was given.

Beauclerk wrote to Lord Charlemont on Nov. 20, 1773 :—‘Goldsmith the other day put a paragraph into the newspapers in praise of Lord Mayor Townshend. [Shelburne supported Townshend in opposition to Wilkes in the election of the Lord Mayor. Fitzmaurice's Shelburne, ii. 287.] The same night we happened to sit next to Lord Shelburne at Drury Lane. I mentioned the circumstance of the paragraph to him; he said to Goldsmith that he hoped that he had mentioned nothing about Malagrida in it. "Do you know," answered Goldsmith, "that I never could conceive the reason why they call you Malagrida, for Malagrida was a very good sort of man." You see plainly what he meant to say, but that happy turn of expression is peculiar to himself. Mr. Walpole says that this story is a picture of Goldsmith's whole life.' Life of Charlemont,

i. 344

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Dr. Brocklesby.

[A.D. 1783.

On Sunday, March 30, I found him at home in the evening, and had the pleasure to meet with Dr. Brocklesby', whose reading, and knowledge of life, and good spirits, supply him with a never-failing source of conversation. He mentioned a respectable gentleman, who became extremely penurious near the close of his life. Johnson said there must have been a degree of madness about him. 'Not at all, Sir, (said Dr. Brocklesby,) his judgement was entire.' Unluckily, however, he mentioned that although he had a fortune of twenty-seven thousand pounds, he denied himself many comforts, from an apprehension that he could not afford them. Nay, Sir, (cried Johnson,) when the judgement is so disturbed that a man cannot count, that is pretty well.'

I shall here insert a few of Johnson's sayings, without the formality of dates, as they have no reference to any particular time or place.

'The more a man extends and varies his acquaintance the better.' This, however, was meant with a just restriction; for, he on another occasion said to me, 'Sir, a man may be so much of every thing, that he is nothing of any thing.'

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Raising the wages of day-labourers is wrong2; for it does

Shall modern poets court the

Mantuan muse?

From Truth and Nature shall we

widely stray,

Where Fancy leads, or Virgil led

the way?'

'On Mincio's banks, in Casar's bounteous reign,

If Tityrus found the golden age

Must sleepy bards the flattering
dream prolong,
Mechanick echoes of the Mantuan

From Truth and Nature shall we

widely stray, Where Virgil, not where Fancy, leads the way?'

Here we find Johnson's poetical and critical powers undiminished. I must, however, observe, that the aids he gave to this poem, as to The

Traveller and Deserted Village of Goldsmith, were so small as by no means to impair the distinguished merit of the authour. BOSWELL.


In the Gent. Mag. 1763, pp. 602, 633, is a review of his Observations on Diseases of the Army. He says that the register of deaths of military men proves that more than eight times as many men fall by what was called the gaol fever as by battle. His suggestions are eminently wise. Lord Seaford, in 1835, told Leslie 'that he remembered dining in company with Dr. Johnson at Dr. Brocklesby's, when he was a boy of twelve or thirteen. He was impressed with the superiority of Johnson, and his knocking everybody down in argument.' C. R. Leslie's Recollections, i. 146.

2 See Boswell's Hebrides, Sept. 28.


Aetat. 74.]

The use of keeping accounts.


not make them live better, but only makes them idler, and idleness is a very bad thing for human nature.'

'It is a very good custom to keep a journal' for a man's own use; he may write upon a card a day all that is necessary to be written, after he has had experience of life. At first there is a great deal to be written, because there is a great deal of novelty; but when once a man has settled his opinions, there is seldom much to be set down.'

'There is nothing wonderful in the journal which we see Swift kept in London, for it contains slight topicks, and it might soon be written 2.'

I praised the accuracy of an account-book of a lady whom I mentioned. JOHNSON. 'Keeping accounts, Sir, is of no use when a man is spending his own money, and has nobody to whom he is to account. You won't eat less beef to-day, because you have written down what it cost yesterday.' I mentioned. another lady who thought as he did, so that her husband could not get her to keep an account of the expence of the family, as she thought it enough that she never exceeded the sum allowed her. JOHNSON. 'Sir, it is fit she should keep an account, because her husband wishes it; but I do not see its use 3. I maintained that keeping an account has this advantage, that it satisfies a man that his money has not been lost or stolen, which he might sometimes be apt to imagine, were there no written state of his expence; and beside, a calculation of œconomy so as not to

1 See ante, i. 433, and ii. 217, 358. 2 In his Life of Swift (Works, viii. 205) he thus speaks of this Journal:-'In the midst of his power and his politicks, he kept a journal of his visits, his walks, his interviews with ministers, and quarrels with his servant, and transmitted it to Mrs. Johnson and Mrs. Dingley, to whom he knew that whatever befell him was interesting, and no accounts could be too minute. Whether these diurnal trifles were properly exposed to eyes which had never received any pleasure from the presence of the dean, may be reasonably doubted: they have, however, some odd attraction : the reader, finding frequent mention

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of names which he has been used to consider as important, goes on in hope of information; and, as there is nothing to fatigue attention, if he is disappointed, he can hardly complain.'

3 On his fifty-fifth birthday he recorded:-' I resolve to keep a journal both of employment and of expenses. To keep accounts.' Pr. and Med. 59. See post, Aug. 25, 1784, where he writes to Langton:-'I am a little angry at you for not keeping minutes of your own acceptum et expensum, and think a little time might be spared from Aristophanes for the res familiares!


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