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“ It may, Ætat. 64
would have to tell of almost all the living great what 1773. they do not wish told.”
GOLDSMITH. perhaps, be necessary for a native to be more cautious; but a foreigner who comes among us without prejudice, may be considered as holding the place of a Judge, and may speak his mind freely.” Johnson. • Sir, a foreigner, when he sends a work from the press, ought to be on his guard against catching the errour and mistaken enthusiasm of the people among whom he happens to be.” GOLDSMITH. “ Sir, he wants only to sell his history, and to tell truth; one an honest, the other a laudable motive.' JOHNSON. “ Sir, they are both laudable motives. It is laudable in a man to wish to live by his labours ; but he should write so as he may live by them, not so as he may be knocked on the head. I would advise him to be at Calais before he publishes his history of the present age. A foreigner who attaches himself to a political party in this country, is in the worst state that can be imagined : he is looked upon as a mere intermeddler. A native may do it from interest.” Boswell. “ Or principle.” GOLDSMITH.
" There are people who tell a hundred political lies every day, and are not hurt by it. Surely, then, one may tell truth with safety." Johnson.“ Why, Sir, in the first place, he who tells a hundred lies has disa armed the force of his lies. But besides ; a man had rather have a hundred lies told of him, than one truth which he does not wish should be told." GOLDSMITH. “ For my part, I'd tell truth, and shame the devil.” JOHNSON. “ Yes, Sir; but the devil will be angry.
I wish to shame the devil as much as you do, but I should choose to be out of the reach of his claws." GOLDSMITH. “ His claws
1773. can do you no harm, when you have the shield of Ætat. 64."
It having been observed that there was little hos· pitality in London ; JOHNSON. “ Nay, Sir, any man
who has a name, or who has the power of pleasing, will be very generally invited in London. The man, Sterne, I have been told, has had engagements for three months.” GOLDSMITH. " And a very dull fellow." JOHNSON. “ Why, no, Sir.”
Martinelli told us, that for several years he lived much with Charles Townshend, and that he ventured to tell him he was a bad joker. JOHNSON. “ Why, Sir, thus much I can say upon the subject. One day he and a few inore agreed to go and dine in the country, and each of them was to bring a friend in his carriage with him. Charles Townshend asked Fitzherbert to go with him, but told him, “ You must find somebody to bring you back: I can only carry you there.” Fitzherbert did not much like this arrangement. He however, consented, observing sar- . castically, It will do very well; for then the same jokes will serve you in returning as in going.”
An eminent publick character being mentioned ;
JOHNSON. " I remember being present when he shewed himself to be so corrupted, or at least something so different from what I think right, as to maintain, that a member of parliament should go along with his party right or wrong. Nwo, Sir, this is so remote from native virtue, from scholastick virtue, that a good man must have undergone a great change before he can reconcile himself to such a doctrine. It is maintaining that you may lie to the publick; for you lie when you call that right which you think wrong, or the reverse. A friend of ours,
who is too much an echo of that gentleman, ob- 1773. served, that a man who does not stick uniformly to a
Ætat, 64. party, is only waiting to be bought. Why then, said I, he is only waiting to be what that gentleman is already."
We talked of the King's coming to see Goldsmith's new play.-" I wish he would," said Goldsmith : adding, however, with an affected indifference, “ Not that it would do me the least good.” Johnson. “ Well then, Sir, let us say it would do him good, (laughing.) No, Sir, this affectation will not pass ;it is mighty idle. In such a state as ours, who would not wish to please the Chief Magistrate?” GOLD
“I do wish to please him. I remember a line in Dryden,
And every poet is the monarch's friend.' It ought to be reversed.” JOHNSON. Nay, there are finer lines in Dryden on this subject :
For colleges on bounteous Kings depend, . And never rebel was to arts a friend." General Paoli observed, that successful rebels might. MARTINELLI. “ Happy rebellions." GOLDSMITH. 66 We have no such phrase.' GENERAL Paoll. “ But have you not the thing?" GOLDSMITH. “ Yes; all our happy revolutions. They have hurt our constitution, and will hurt it, till we mend it by another HAPPY REVOLUTION."-I never before discovered that my friend Goldsmith had so much of the old prejudice in him.
General Paoli, talking of Goldsmith's new play, said, “ Il a fait un compliment très gracieux d une certaine grande dame;" meaning a Duchess of the first şank.
1773. I expressed a doubt whether Goldsmith intended
it, in order that I might hear the truth from himself. Ætat, 64.
It, perhaps, was not quite fair to endeavour to bring
“ Très bien dit, et très élégamment.”
I spoke of Mr. Harris, of Salisbury, as being a
very learned man, and in particular an eminent Gre- 1773. cian. JOHNSON. "I am not sure of that. His
Ætat. 64. friends give him out as such, but I know not who of his friends are able to judge of it.” GOLDSMITH. “ He is what is much better: he is a worthy humane man.” JOHNSON. “ Nay, Sir, that is not to the purpose of our argument: that will as much prove that he can play upon the fiddle as well as Giardini, as that he is an eminent Grecian.” GOLDSMITH. greatest musical performers have but small emoluments. Giardini, I am told, does not get above seven hundred a year.” Johnson. “ That is indeed but little for a man to get, who does best that which so many endeavour to do. There is nothing, I think, in which the power of art is shown so much as in playing on the fiddle. In all other things we can do something at first. Any man will forge a bar of iron, if you give him a hammer; not so well as a smith, but tolerably. A man will saw a piece of wood, and make a box, though a clumsy one; but give him a fiddle and a fiddle-stick, and he can do nothing."
On Monday, April 19, he called on me with Mrs. Williams, in Mr. Strahan's coach, and carried me out to dine with Mr. Elphinston, at his Academy at Kensington. A printer having acquired a fortune sufficient to keep his coach, was a good topick for the credit of literature. Mrs. Williams said, that another printer, Mr. Hamilton, had not waited so long as Mr. Strahan, but had kept his coach several years
JOHNSON. “ He was in the right. Life is short. The sooner that a man begins to enjoy his wealth, the better."
Mr. Elphinston talked of a new book that was much admired, and asked Dr. Johnson if he had read