The Works of Samuel Johnson in Nine Volumes
Samuel Johnson

Part 9 out of 9

has so little of his manner.

Baretti's Dictionary of the English and Italian Languages. 2 vols. 4to.

To his excellency Don Felix, marquis of Abreu and Bertodano, ambassadour
extraordinary and plenipotentiary from his Catholick Majesty to the king
of Great Britain.

My Lord,

That acuteness of penetration into characters and designs, and that nice
discernment of human passions and practices, which have raised you to
your present height of station and dignity of employment, have long
shown you that dedicatory addresses are written for the sake of the
author more frequently than of the patron; and, though they profess only
reverence and zeal, are commonly dictated by interest or vanity. I
shall, therefore, not endeavour to conceal my motives, but confess, that
the Italian Dictionary is dedicated to your excellency, that I might
gratify my vanity, by making it known, that, in a country where I am a
stranger, I have been able, without any external recommendation, to
obtain the notice and countenance of a nobleman so eminent for knowledge
and ability, that, in his twenty-third year, he was sent as
plenipotentiary to superintend, at Aix la Chapelle, the interests of a
nation remarkable, above all others, for gravity and prudence; and who,
at an age when very few are admitted to publick trust, transacts the
most important affairs between two of the greatest monarchs of the

If I could attribute to my own merits the favours which your excellency
every day confers upon me, I know not how much my pride might be
inflamed; but, when I observe the extensive benevolence and boundless
liberality, by which all who have the honour to approach you are
dismissed more happy than they come, I am afraid of raising my own
value, since I dare not ascribe it so much to my power of pleasing as
your willingness to be pleased.

Yet, as every man is inclined to flatter himself, I am desirous to hope,
that I am not admitted to greater intimacy than others, without some
qualifications for so advantageous a distinction, and shall think it my
duty to justify, by constant respect and sincerity, the favours which
you have been pleased to show me.

I am, my lord,
Your excellency's most humble
and most obedient servant,


London, Jan. 12, 1760.

A complete System of Astronomical Chronology, unfolding the Scriptures.
By John Kennedy, rector of Bradley, in Derbyshire. 4to. 1762.

To the King.


Having by long labour, and diligent inquiry, endeavoured to illustrate
and establish the chronology of the bible, I hope to be pardoned the
ambition of inscribing my work to your majesty.

An age of war is not often an age of learning; the tumult and anxiety of
military preparations seldom leave attention vacant to the silent
progress of study, and the placid conquests of investigation; yet,
surely, a vindication of the inspired writers can never be unseasonably
offered to the defender of the faith; nor can it ever be improper to
promote that religion, without which all other blessings are snares of
destruction; without which armies cannot make us safe, nor victories
make us happy.

I am far from imagining that my testimony can add any thing to the
honours of your majesty, to the splendour of a reign crowned with
triumphs, to the beauty of a life dignified by virtue. I can only wish,
that your reign may long continue such as it has begun, and that the
effulgence of your example may spread its light through distant ages,
till it shall be the highest praise of any future monarch, that he
exhibits some resemblance of GEORGE THE THIRD.

I am, Sir,
Your majesty's, &c.


Hoole's translation of Tasso's Jerusalem Delivered. 1763.

To the Queen.


To approach the high and the illustrious has been, in all ages, the
privilege of poets; and though translations cannot justly claim the same
honour, yet they naturally follow their authors as attendants; and I
hope that, in return for having enabled Tasso to diffuse his fame
through the British dominions, I may be introduced by him to the
presence of your majesty.

Tasso has a peculiar claim to your majesty's favour, as follower and
panegyrist of the house of Este, which has one common ancestor with the
house of Hanover; and, in reviewing his life, it is not easy to forbear
a wish, that he had lived in a happier time, when he might, among the
descendants of that illustrious family, have found a more liberal and
potent patronage.

I cannot but observe, Madam, how unequally reward is proportioned to
merit, when I reflect that the happiness which was withheld from Tasso,
is reserved for me; and that the poem which once hardly procured to its
author the countenance of the princes of Ferrara, has attracted to its
translator the favourable notice of a British queen.

Had this been the fate of Tasso, he would have been able to have
celebrated the condescension of your majesty in nobler language, but
could not have felt it with more ardent gratitude, than,


Your majesty's most faithful
and devoted servant.

London and Westminster Improved. Illustrated by Plans.
4to. 1766.

To the King.


The patronage of works which have a tendency towards advancing the
happiness of mankind, naturally belongs to great princes; and publick
good, in which publick elegance is comprised, has ever been the object
of your majesty's regard.

In the following pages your majesty, I flatter myself, will find, that I
have endeavoured at extensive and general usefulness. Knowing,
therefore, your majesty's early attention to the polite arts, and more
particular affection for the study of architecture, I was encouraged to
hope, that the work which I now presume to lay before your majesty,
might be thought not unworthy your royal favour; and that the protection
which your majesty always affords to those who mean well, may be
extended to,


Your majesty's most dutiful subject,
and most obedient and most humble servant,


The English Works of Roger Ascham, edited by James Bennet. 4to. 1767.

To the right hon. Anthony Ashley Cooper, earl of Shaftesbury, baron
Ashley, lord lieutenant and custos rotulorum of Dorsetshire, F.R.S.

My Lord,

Having endeavoured, by an elegant and useful edition, to recover the
esteem of the publick to an author undeservedly neglected, the only care
which I now owe to his memory, is that of inscribing his works to a
patron, whose acknowledged eminence of character may awaken attention,
and attract regard.

I have not suffered the zeal of an editor so far to take possession of
my mind, as that I should obtrude upon your lordship any productions
unsuitable to the dignity of your rank or of your sentiments. Ascham was
not only the chief ornament of a celebrated college, but visited foreign
countries, frequented courts, and lived in familiarity with statesmen
and princes; not only instructed scholars in literature, but formed
Elizabeth to empire.

To propagate the works of such a writer will not be unworthy of your
lordship's patriotism; for I know not, what greater benefits you can
confer on your country, than that of preserving worthy names from
oblivion, by joining them with your own.

I am, my lord,
Your lordship's most obliged,
most obedient, and most humble servant,


Adams's Treatise on the Globes. 1767.

To the King.


It is the privilege of real greatness not to be afraid of diminution by
condescending to the notice of little things; and I, therefore, can
boldly solicit the patronage of your majesty to the humble labours by
which I have endeavoured to improve the instruments of science, and make
the globes, on which the earth and sky are delineated, less defective in
their construction, and less difficult in their use.

Geography is, in a peculiar manner, the science of princes. When a
private student revolves the terraqueous globe, he beholds a succession
of countries, in which he has no more interest, than in the imaginary
regions of Jupiter and Saturn: but your majesty must contemplate the
scientifick picture with other sentiments; and consider, as oceans and
continents are rolling before you, how large a part of mankind is now
waiting on your determinations, and may receive benefits, or suffer
evils, as your influence is extended or withdrawn.

The provinces, which your majesty's arms have added to your dominions,
make no inconsiderable part of the orb allotted to human beings. Your
power is acknowledged by nations, whose names we know not yet how to
write, and whose boundaries we cannot yet describe. But your majesty's
lenity and beneficence give us reason to expect the time, when science
shall be advanced by the diffusion of happiness; when the deserts of
America shall become pervious and safe; when those who are now
restrained by fear shall be attracted by reverence; and multitudes, who
now range the woods for prey, and live at the mercy of winds and
seasons, shall, by the paternal care of your majesty, enjoy the plenty
of cultivated lands, the pleasures of society, the security of law, and
the light of revelation.

I am, Sir,

Your majesty's most humble, most obedient,
and most dutiful subject and servant,


Bishop Zachary Pearce's Posthumous Works, 2 vols. 4to. Published by the
Rev. Mr. Derby. 1777.

To the King.


I presume to lay before your majesty, the last labours of a learned
bishop, who died in the toils and duties of his calling. He is now
beyond the reach of all earthly honours and rewards; and only the hope
of inciting others to imitate him, makes it now fit to be remembered,
that he enjoyed in his life the favour of your majesty.

The tumultuary life of princes seldom permits them to survey the wide
extent of national interest without losing sight of private merit; to
exhibit qualities which may be imitated by the highest and the humblest
of mankind; and to be at once amiable and great.

Such characters, if now and then they appear in history, are
contemplated with admiration. May it be the ambition of all your
subjects to make haste with their tribute of reverence: and, as
posterity may learn from your majesty how kings should live, may they
learn, likewise, from your people, how they should be honoured.

I am, may it please your majesty,
with the most profound respect,

Your majesty's most dutiful and devoted
subject and servant.


Designed to answer, in the most correct and expeditious manner, the
common purposes of business, particularly the business of the publick


Among the writers of fiction, whose business is to furnish that
entertainment which fancy perpetually demands, it is a standing plea,
that the beauties of nature are now exhausted; that imitation has
exerted all its power; and that nothing more can be done for the service
of their mistress, than to exhibit a perpetual transposition of known
objects, and draw new pictures, not by introducing new images, but by
giving new lights and shades, a new arrangement and colouring to the
old. This plea has been cheerfully admitted; and fancy, led by the hand
of a skilful guide, treads over again the flowery path she has often
trod before, as much enamoured with every new diversification of the
same prospect, as with the first appearance of it.

In the regions of science, however, there is not the same indulgence:
the understanding and the judgment travel there in the pursuit of Truth,
whom they always expect to find in one simple form, free from the
disguises of dress and ornament: and, as they travel with laborious step
and a fixed eye, they are content to stop, when the shades of night
darken the prospect, and patiently wait the radiance of a new morning,
to lead them forward in the path they have chosen, which, however
thorny, or however steep, is severely preferred to the most pleasing
excursions that bring them no nearer to the object of their search. The
plea, therefore, that nature is exhausted, and that nothing is left to
gratify the mind, but different combinations of the same ideas, when
urged as a reason for multiplying unnecessary labours, among the sons of
science, is not so readily admitted: the understanding, when in
possession of truth, is satisfied with the simple acquisition; and not,
like fancy, inclined to wander after new pleasures, in the
diversification of objects already known, which, perhaps, may lead to

But, notwithstanding this general disinclination to accumulate labours,
for the sake of that pleasure which arises merely from different modes
of investigating truth, yet, as the mines of science have been
diligently opened, and their treasures widely diffused, there may be
parts chosen, which, by a proper combination and arrangement, may
contribute not only to entertainment but use; like the rays of the sun,
collected in a concave mirror, to serve particular purposes of light and

The power of arithmetical numbers has been tried to a vast extent, and
variously applied to the improvement both of business and science. In
particular, so many calculations have been made, with respect to the
value and use of money, that some serve only for speculation and
amusement; and there is great opportunity for selecting a few that are
peculiarly adapted to common business, and the daily interchanges of
property among men. Those which happen in the publick funds are, at this
time, the most frequent and numerous; and to answer the purposes of that
business, in some degree, more perfectly than has hitherto been done,
the following tables are published. What that degree of perfection above
other tables of the same kind may be, is a matter, not of opinion and
taste, in which many might vary, but of accuracy and usefulness, with
respect to which most will agree. The approbation they meet with will,
therefore, depend upon the experience of those for whom they were
principally designed, the proprietors of the publick funds, and the
brokers who transact the business of the funds, to whose patronage they
are cheerfully committed.

Among the brokers of stocks are men of great honour and probity, who are
candid and open in all their transactions, and incapable of mean and
selfish purposes; and it is to be lamented, that a market of such
importance, as the present state of this nation has made theirs, should
be brought into any discredit by the intrusion of bad men, who, instead
of serving their country, and procuring an honest subsistence in the
army or the fleet, endeavour to maintain luxurious tables, and splendid
equipages, by sporting with the publick credit.

It is not long, since the evil of stockjobbing was risen to such an
enormous height, as to threaten great injury to every actual proprietor,
particularly, to many widows and orphans, who, being bound to depend
upon the funds for their whole subsistence, could not possibly retreat
from the approaching danger. But this evil, after many unsuccessful
attempts of the legislature to conquer it, was, like many others, at
length subdued by its own violence; and the reputable stockbrokers seem
now to have it in their power effectually to prevent its return, by not
suffering the most distant approaches of it to take footing in their own
practice, and by opposing every effort made for its recovery by the
desperate sons of fortune, who, not having the courage of highwaymen
take 'Change-alley rather than the road, because, though more injurious
than highwaymen, they are less in danger of punishment by the loss
either of liberty or life.

With respect to the other patrons, to whose encouragement these tables
have been recommended, the proprietors of the publick funds, who are
busy in the improvement of their fortunes, it is sufficient to say--that
no motive can sanctify the accumulation of wealth, but an ardent desire
to make the most honourable and virtuous use of it, by contributing to
the support of good government, the increase of arts and industry, the
rewards of genius and virtue, and the relief of wretchedness and want.

What good, what true, what fit we justly call,
Let this be all our care--for this is all;
To lay this treasure up, and hoard with haste
What ev'ry day will want, and most the last.
This done, the poorest can no wants endure;
And this not done, the richest must be poor. POPE.


Or, reasons offered against confining the procession to the usual track,
and pointing out others more commodious and proper. To which are
prefixed, a plan of the different paths recommended, with the parts
adjacent, and a sketch of the procession.--Most humbly submitted to

All pomp is instituted for the sake of the publick. A show without
spectators can no longer be a show. Magnificence in obscurity is equally
vain with a sundial in the grave.

As the wisdom of our ancestors has appointed a very splendid and
ceremonious inauguration of our kings, their intention was, that they
should receive their crown with such awful rites, as might for ever
impress upon them a due sense of the duties which they were to take,
when the happiness of nations is put into their hands; and that the
people, as many as can possibly be witnesses to any single act, should
openly acknowledge their sovereign by universal homage.

By the late method of conducting the coronation, all these purposes have
been defeated. Our kings, with their train, have crept to the temple
through obscure passages; and the crown has been worn out of sight of
the people.

Of the multitudes, whom loyalty or curiosity brought together, the
greater part has returned without a single glimpse of their prince's
grandeur, and the day that opened with festivity ended in discontent.

This evil has proceeded from the narrowness and shortness of the way,
through which the procession has lately passed. As it is narrow, it
admits of very few spectators; as it is short, it is soon passed. The
first part of the train reaches the Abbey, before the whole has left the
palace; and the nobility of England, in their robes of state, display
their riches only to themselves.

All this inconvenience may be easily avoided by choosing a wider and
longer course, which may be again enlarged and varied by going one way,
and returning another. This is not without a precedent; for, not to
inquire into the practice of remoter princes, the procession of Charles
the second's coronation issued from the Tower, and passed through the
whole length of the city to Whitehall[2].

The path in the late coronations has been only from Westminster hall,
along New Palace yard, into Union street, through the extreme end of
King street, and to the Abbey door, by the way of St. Margaret's church

The paths which I propose the procession to pass through, are,

1. From St. James's palace, along Pall Mall and Charing Cross, by
Whitehall, through Parliament street, down Bridge street, into King
street, round St. Margaret's church-yard, and from thence into the

2. From St. James's palace across the canal, into the Birdcage walk,
from thence into Great George street, then turning down Long ditch, (the
Gate house previously to be taken down,) proceed to the Abbey. Or,

3. Continuing the course along George street, into King street, and by
the way of St. Margaret's church yard, to pass into the west door of the

4. From St. James's palace, the usual way his majesty passes to the
House of Lords, as far as to the parade, when, leaving the horse guards
on the left, proceed along the Park, up to Great George street, and pass
to the Abbey in either of the tracks last mentioned.

5. From Westminster hall into Parliament street, down Bridge street,
along Great George street, through Long ditch, (the Gate house, as
before observed, to be taken down,) and so on to the west door of the

6. From Whitehall up Parliament street, down Bridge street, into King
street, round St. Margaret's church yard, proceed into the Abbey.

7. From the House of Lords along St. Margaret's street, across New
Palace yard, into Parliament street, and from thence to the Abbey by the
way last mentioned.

But if, on no account, the path must be extended to any of the lengths
here recommended, I could wish, rather than see the procession confined
to the old way, that it should pass,

8. From Westminster hall along Palace yard, into Parliament street, and
continued in the last mentioned path, viz. through Bridge street, King
street, and round the church yard, to the west door of the cathedral.

9. The return from the Abbey, in either case, to be as usual, viz. round
St. Margaret's church yard, into King street, through Union street,
along New Palace yard, and so into Westminster hall.

It is almost indifferent which of the six first ways, now proposed, be
taken; but there is a stronger reason than mere convenience for changing
the common course. Some of the streets in the old track are so ruinous,
that there is danger lest the houses, loaded as they will be with
people, all pressing forward in the same direction, should fall down
upon the procession. The least evil that can be expected is, that in so
close a crowd, some will be trampled upon, and others smothered; and,
surely, a pomp that costs a single life is too dearly bought. The new
streets, as they are more extensive, will afford place to greater
numbers, with less danger.

In this proposal, I do not foresee any objection that can reasonably be
made. That a longer march will require more time, is not to be
mentioned, as implying any defect in a scheme, of which the whole
purpose is to lengthen the march, and protract the time. The longest
course, which I have proposed, is not equal to an hour's walk in the
Park. The labour is not such, as that the king should refuse it to his
people, or the nobility grudge it to the king. Queen Anne went from the
palace through the Park to the Hall, on the day of her coronation; and,
when old and infirm, used to pass, on solemn thanksgivings, from the
palace to St. Paul's church[3].

Part of my scheme supposes the demolition of the Gate house, a building;
so offensive, that, without any occasional reason, it ought to be pulled
down, for it disgraces the present magnificence of the capital, and is a
continual nuisance to neighbours and passengers.

A longer course of scaffolding is, doubtless, more expensive than a
shorter; but, it is hoped, that the time is now passed, when any design
was received or rejected, according to the money that it would cost.
Magnificence cannot be cheap, for what is cheap cannot be magnificent.
The money that is so spent, is spent at home, and the king will receive
again what he lays out on the pleasure of his people. Nor is it to be
omitted, that, if the cost be considered as expended by the publick,
much more will be saved than lost; for the excessive prices, at which
windows and tops of houses are now let, will be abated; not only greater
numbers will be admitted to the show, but each will come at a cheaper

Some regulations are necessary, whatever track be chosen. The scaffold
ought to be raised at least four feet, with rails high enough to support
the standers, and yet so low as not to hinder the view.

It would add much to the gratification of the people, if the horse
guards, by which all our processions have been of late encumbered, and
rendered dangerous to the multitude, were to be left behind at the
coronation; and if, contrary to the desires of the people, the
procession must pass in the old track, that the number of foot soldiers
be diminished; since it cannot but offend every Englishman to see troops
of soldiers placed between him and his sovereign, as if they were the
most honourable of the people, or the king required guards to secure his
person from his subjects. As their station makes them think themselves
important, their insolence is always such as may be expected from
servile authority; and the impatience of the people, under such
immediate oppression, always produces quarrels, tumults, and mischief.

[1] First printed in the year 1761.

[2] The king went early in the morning to the Tower of London in his
coach, most of the lords being there before. And about ten of the
clock they set forward towards Whitehall, ranged in that order as
the heralds had appointed; those of the long robe, the king's
council at law, the masters of the chancery and judges, going first,
and so the lords in their order, very splendidly habited, on rich
footcloths; the number of their footmen being limited, to the dukes
ten, to the lords eight, and to the viscounts six, and to the barons
four, all richly clad, as their other servants were. The whole show
was the most glorious, in the order and expense, that had been ever
seen in England: they who rode first being in Fleet street when the
king issued out of the Tower, as was known by the discharge of the
ordnance: and it was near three of the clock in the afternoon, when
the king alighted at Whitehall. The next morning the king rode in
the same state in his robes, and with his crown on his head, and all
the lords in their robes to Westminster hall; where all the ensigns
for the coronation were delivered to those who were appointed to
carry them, the earl of Northumberland being made high constable,
and the earl of Suffolk, earl marshal, for the day. And then all the
lords in their order, and the king himself, walked on foot, upon
blue cloth, from Westminster hall to the Abbey church, where, after
a sermon preached by Dr. Morley, (then bishop of Worcester,) in
Henry the seventh's chapel, the king was sworn, crowned, and
anointed, by Dr. Juxon, archbishop of Canterbury, with all the
solemnity that in those cases had been used. All which being done,
the king returned in the same manner on foot to Westminster hall,
which was adorned with rich hangings and statues; and there the king
dined, and the lords on either side, at tables provided for them:
and all other ceremonies were performed with great order and
magnificence.--Life of lord Clarendon, p. 187.

[3] In order to convey to the reader some idea, how highly parade and
magnificence were estimated by our ancestors, on these solemn
occasions, I shall take notice of the manner of conducting lady Anne
Boleyn from Greenwich, previous to her coronation, as it is recited
by Stow.

King Henry the eighth (says that historian) having divorced queen
Catherine, and married Anne Boleyn, or Boloine, who was descended
from Godfrey Boloine, mayor of the city of London, and intending her
coronation, sent to order the lord mayor, not only to make all the
preparations necessary for conducting his royal consort from
Greenwich, by water, to the Tower of London but to adorn the city
after the most magnificent manner, for her passage through it to

In obedience to the royal precept, the mayor and common council not
only ordered the company of haberdashers, of which the lord mayor
was a member, to prepare a magnificent state barge; but enjoined all
the city corporations to provide themselves with barges, and to
adorn them in the most superb manner, and especially to have them
supplied with good bands of music.

On the 29th of May, the time prefixed for this pompous procession by
water the mayor, aldermen, and commons, assembled at St. Mary hill;
the mayor and aldermen in scarlet, with gold chains, and those who
were knights, with the collars of SS. At one they went on board the
city barge at Billingsgate, which was most magnificently decorated,
and attended by fifty noble barges, belonging to the several
companies of the city, with each its own corporation on board; and,
for the better regulation of this procession, it was ordered, that
each barge should keep twice their lengths asunder.

Thus regulated, the city barge was preceded by another mounted with
ordnance, and the figures of dragons, and other monsters,
incessantly emitting fire and smoke, with much noise. Then the city
barge, attended on the right by the haberdashers' state barge,
called the bachelors', which was covered with gold brocade, and
adorned with sails of silk, with two rich standards of the king's
and queen's arms at her head and stern, besides a variety of flags
and streamers, containing the arms of that company, and those of the
merchant adventurers; besides which, the shrouds and ratlines were
hung with a number of small bells: on the left was a barge that
contained a very beautiful mount, on which stood a white falcon
crowned, perched upon a golden stump, enriched with roses, being the
queen's emblem; and round the mount sat several beautiful virgins,
singing, and playing upon instruments. The other barges followed, in
regular order, till they came below Greenwich. On their return the
procession began with that barge which was before the last, in which
were the mayor's and sheriff's officers, and this was followed by
those of the inferior companies, ascending to the lord mayor's,
which immediately preceded that of the queen, who was attended by
the bachelors' or state barge, with the magnificence of which her
majesty was much delighted; and being arrived at the Tower, she
returned the lord mayor and aldermen thanks, for the pomp with which
she had been conducted thither.

Two days after, the lord mayor, in a gown of crimson velvet, and a
rich collar of SS, attended by the sheriffs, and two domestics in
red and white damask, went to receive the queen at the Tower of
London, whence the sheriffs returned to see that every thing was in
order. The streets were just before new gravelled, from the Tower to
Temple-bar, and railed in on each side, to the intent that the
horses should not slide on the pavement, nor the people be hurt by
the horses; within the rails near Gracechurch, stood a body of
Anseatic merchants, and next to them the several corporations of the
city, in their formalities, reaching to the alderman's station at
the upper end of Cheapside. On the opposite side were placed the
city constables, dressed in silk and velvet, with staffs in their
hands, to prevent the breaking in of the mob, or any other
disturbance. On this occasion, Gracechurch street and Corn hill were
hung with crimson and scarlet cloth, and the sides of the houses of
a place then called Goldsmiths' row, in Cheapside, were adorned with
gold brocades, velvet, and rich tapestry.

The procession began from the Tower, with twelve of the French
ambassador's domestics in blue velvet, the trappings of their horses
being blue sarsnet, interspersed with white crosses; after whom
marched those of the equestrian order, two and two, followed by
judges in their robes, two and two; then came the knights of the
bath in violet gowns, purfled with menever. Next came the abbots,
barons, bishops, earls, and marquises, in their robes, two and two.

Then the lord chancellor, followed by the Venetian ambassador and
the archbishop of York; next the French ambassador and the
archbishop of Canterbury, followed by two gentlemen representing the
dukes of Normandy and Aquitain; after whom rode the lord mayor of
London with his mace, and garter in his coat of arms; then the duke
of Suffolk, lord high steward, followed by the deputy marshal of
England, and all the other officers of state in their robes,
carrying the symbols of their several offices: then others of the
nobility in crimson velvet, and all the queen's officers in scarlet,
followed by her chancellor uncovered, who immediately preceded his

The queen was dressed in silver brocade, with a mantle of the same
furred with ermine; her hair was dishevelled, and she wore a chaplet
upon her head set with jewels of inestimable value. She sat in a
litter covered with silver tissue, and carried by two beautiful pads
cloathed in white damask, and led by her footmen. Over the litter
was carried a canopy of cloth of gold, with a silver bell at each
corner, supported by sixteen knights alternately, by four at a time.

After her majesty came her chamberlain, followed by her master of
horse, leading a beautiful pad, with a side-saddle, and trappings of
silver tissue. Next came seven ladies in crimson velvet, faced with
gold brocade, mounted on beautiful horses with gold trappings. Then
followed two chariots covered with cloth of gold, in the first of
which were the duchess of Norfolk and the marchioness of Dorset, and
in the second four ladies in crimson velvet; then followed seven
ladies dressed in the same manner, on horseback, with magnificent
trappings, followed by another chariot all in white, with six ladies
in crimson velvet; this was followed by another all in red, with
eight ladies in the same dress with the former; next came thirty
gentlewomen, attendants to the ladies of honour; they were on
horseback, dressed in silks and velvet; and the cavalcade was closed
by the horse guards.

This pompous procession being arrived in Fenchurch street, the queen
stopped at a beautiful pageant, crowded with children in mercantile
habits, who congratulated her majesty upon the joyful occasion of
her happy arrival in the city.

Thence she proceeded to Gracechurch corner, where was erected a very
magnificent pageant, at the expense of the company of Anseatic
merchants, in which was represented mount Parnassus, with the
fountain of Helicon, of white marble, out of which arose four
springs, about four feet high, centering at the top in a small
globe, from whence issued plenty of Rhenish wine till night. On the
mount sat Apollo, at his feet was Calliope, and beneath were the
rest of the Muses, surrounding the mount, and playing upon a variety
of musical instruments, at whose feet were inscribed several
epigrams suited to the occasion, in letters of gold.

Her majesty then proceeded to Leadenhall, where stood a pageant,
representing a hill encompassed with red and white roses; and above
it was a golden stump, upon which a white falcon, descending from
above, perched, and was quickly followed by an angel, who put a
crown of gold upon his head. A little lower on the hillock sat St.
Anne, surrounded by her progeny, one of whom made an oration, in
which was a wish that her majesty might prove extremely prolific.

The procession then advanced to the conduit in Corn hill, where the
Graces sat enthroned, with a fountain before them, incessantly
discharging wine; and underneath, a poet, who described the
qualities peculiar to each of these amiable deities, and presented
the queen with their several gifts.

The cavalcade thence proceeded to a great conduit that stood
opposite to Mercers' hall in Cheapside, and, upon that occasion, was
painted with a variety of emblems, and during the solemnity and
remaining part of the day, ran with different sorts of wine, for the
entertainment of the populace.

At the end of Wood street, the standard there was finely embellished
with royal portraitures and a number of flags, on which were painted
coats of arms and trophies, and above was a concert of vocal and
instrumental music.

At the upper end of Cheapside was the aldermen's station, where the
recorder addressed the queen in a very elegant oration, and, in the
name of the citizens, presented her with a thousand marks, in a
purse of gold tissue, which her majesty very gracefully received.

At a small distance, by Cheapside conduit, was a pageant, in which
were seated Minerva, Juno, and Venus; before whom stood the god
Mercury, who, in their names, presented the queen a golden apple.

At St. Paul's gate was a fine pageant, in which sat three ladies
richly dressed, with each a chaplet on her head, and a tablet in her
hand, containing Latin inscriptions.

At the east end of St. Paul's cathedral, the queen was entertained
by some of the scholars belonging to St. Paul's school, with verses
in praise of the king and her majesty, with which she seemed highly

Thence proceeding to Ludgate, which was finely decorated, her
majesty was entertained with several songs adapted to the occasion,
sung in concert by men and boys upon the leads over the gate.

At the end of Shoe lane, in Fleet street, a handsome tower with four
turrets, was erected upon the conduit, in each of which stood one of
the cardinal virtues, with their several symbols; who, addressing
themselves to the queen, promised they would never leave her, but be
always her constant attendants. Within the tower was an excellent
concert of music, and the conduit all the while ran with various
sorts of wine.

At Temple-bar she was again entertained with songs, sung in concert
by a choir of men and boys; and having from thence proceeded to
Westminster, she returned the lord mayor thanks for his good
offices, and those of the citizens, that day. The day after, the
lord mayor, aldermen, and sheriffs, assisted at the coronation,
which was performed with great splendour.--Stow's Annals.

_Note_. The same historian informs us, that queen Elizabeth passed
in the like manner, through the city, to her coronation.

The admirers of the descriptions of pageants may be amply gratified
in Henry's History of England. The field of the cloth of gold shines
"luna inter minora sidera."--Ed.


The publick may justly require to be informed of the nature and extent
of every design, for which the favour of the publick is openly
solicited. The artists, who were themselves the first projectors of an
exhibition in this nation, and who have now contributed to the following
catalogue, think it, therefore, necessary to explain their purpose, and
justify their conduct. An exhibition of the works of art, being a
spectacle new in this kingdom, has raised various opinions and
conjectures, among those who are unacquainted with the practice in
foreign nations. Those who set out their performances to general view,
have been too often considered as the rivals of each other, as men
actuated, if not by avarice, at least by vanity, and contending for
superiority of fame, though not for a pecuniary prize: it cannot be
denied or doubted, that all who offer themselves to criticism are
desirous of praise; this desire is not only innocent, but virtuous,
while it is undebased by artifice, and unpolluted by envy, and of envy
or artifice these men can never be accused, who, already enjoying all
the honours and profits of their profession, are content to stand
candidates for publick notice, with genius yet unexperienced, and
diligence yet unrewarded; who, without any hope of increasing their own
reputation or interest, expose their names and their works, only that
they may furnish an opportunity of appearance to the young, the
diffident, and the neglected. The purpose of this exhibition is not to
enrich the artists, but to advance the art; the eminent are not
flattered with preference, nor the obscure insulted with contempt;
whoever hopes to deserve publick favour, is here invited to display his

Of the price put upon this exhibition, some account may be demanded.
Whoever sets his work to be shown, naturally desires a multitude of
spectators; but his desire defeats its own end, when spectators assemble
in such numbers as to obstruct one another. Though we are far from
wishing to diminish the pleasures, or depreciate the sentiments of any
class of the community, we know, however, what every one knows, that all
cannot be judges or purchasers of works of art; yet we have already
found, by experience, that all are desirous to see an exhibition. When
the terms of admission were low, our room was thronged with such
multitudes as made access dangerous, and frightened away those whose
approbation was most desired.

Yet, because it is seldom believed that money is got but for the love of
money, we shall tell the use which we intend to make of our expected

Many artists of great abilities are unable to sell their works for their
due price; to remove this inconvenience, an annual sale will be
appointed, to which every man may send his works, and send them, if he
will, without his name. These works will be reviewed by the committee
that conduct the exhibition. A price will be secretly set on every
piece, and registered by the secretary. If the piece exposed is sold for
more, the whole price shall be the artist's; but if the purchaser's
value is at less than the committee, the artist shall be paid the
deficiency from the profits of the exhibition.


The following opinions on cases of law may be regarded as among the
strongest proofs of Johnson's enlarged powers of mind, and of his
ability to grapple with subjects, on general principles, with whose
technicalities he could not be familiar. Of law, as a science, he ever
expressed the deepest admiration, and an author who combines an accurate
knowledge of the practical details of jurisprudence with the most
philosophical views of legal principles, has quoted Dr. Johnson, as
pronouncing the study of law "the last effort of human intelligence
acting upon human experience." We allude to the eloquent and excellent
Sir James Mackintosh's Discourse on the Study of the Law of Nature and
Nations, p. 58. Lord Bacon, in his two books on the Advancement of
Learning, has affirmed, that professed lawyers are not the best law
authors; and the comprehensive and lucid opinions which Dr. Johnson has
here given, and which, in many instances, have been subsequently
sanctioned by legislative authority, seem to establish the remark.

The first Case in the present edition, involves an ingenious defence of
the right of abridgment, founded on considerations on Dr. Trapp's
celebrated sermons "on the nature, folly, sin, and danger of being
righteous over-much." These discourses, about the year 1739, when
methodism was a novelty, attracted much attention. Mr. Cave, always
anxious to gratify his readers, abridged and extracted parts from them,
and promised a continuation. This never appeared; stopped, perhaps, by
threats of prosecution on the part of the original publishers of the
sermons. It was, in all probability, on this occasion, that Dr. Johnson
wrote the following paper.--Gent. Mag. July, 1787. It is a subject with
whose bearings he might be presumed to be practically conversant; and,
accordingly, we find, in his memoirs, many recorded arguments of his, on
literary property. They uniformly exhibit the most enlarged and liberal
views--a readiness to sacrifice private considerations to publick and
general good. He wished the author to be adequately remunerated for his
labour, and tenderly protected from spoliation, but, by no means,
encouraged in monopoly. See Boswell's Life, i. ii. iv.



1. That the copy of a book is the property of the author, and that he
may, by sale, or otherwise, transfer that property to another, who has a
right to be protected in the possession of that property, so
transferred, is not to be denied.

2. That the complainants may be lawfully invested with the property of
this copy, is likewise granted.

3. But the complainants have mistaken the nature of this property; and,
in consequence of their mistake, have supposed it to be invaded by an
act, in itself legal, and justifiable by an uninterrupted series of
precedents, from the first establishment of printing, among us, down to
the present time.

4. He that purchases the copy of a book, purchases the sole right of
printing it, and of vending the books printed according to it; but has
no right to add to it, or take from it, without the author's consent,
who still preserves such a right in it, as follows from the right every
man has to preserve his own reputation.

5. Every single book, so sold by the proprietor, becomes the property of
the buyer, who purchases, with the book, the right of making such use of
it as he shall think most convenient, either for his own improvement or
amusement, or the benefit or entertainment of mankind.

6. This right the reader of a book may use, many ways, to the
disadvantage both of the author and the proprietor, which yet they have
not any right to complain of, because the author when he wrote, and the
proprietor when he purchased the copy, knew, or ought to have known,
that the one wrote, and the other purchased, under the hazard of such
treatment from the buyer and reader, and without any security from the
bad consequences of that treatment, except the excellence of the book.

7. Reputation and property are of different kinds; one kind of each is
more necessary to be secured by the law than another, and the law has
provided more effectually for its defence. My character as a man, a
subject, or a trader, is under the protection of the law; but my
reputation, as an author, is at the mercy of the reader, who lies under
no other obligations to do me justice than those of religion and
morality. If a man calls me rebel or bankrupt, I may prosecute and
punish him; but, if a man calls me ideot or plagiary, I have no remedy;
since, by selling him the book, I admit his privilege of judging, and
declaring his judgment, and can appeal only to other readers, if I think
myself injured.

8. In different characters we are more or less protected; to hiss a
pleader at the bar would, perhaps, be deemed illegal and punishable, but
to hiss a dramatick writer is justifiable by custom.

9. What is here said of the writer, extends itself naturally to the
purchaser of a copy, since the one seldom suffers without the other.

10. By these liberties it is obvious, that authors and proprietors may
often suffer, and sometimes unjustly: but as these liberties are
encouraged and allowed for the same reason with writing itself, for the
discovery and propagation of truth, though, like other human goods, they
have their alloys and ill consequences; yet, as their advantages
abundantly preponderate, they have never yet been abolished or

11. Thus every book, when it falls into the hands of the reader, is
liable to be examined, confuted, censured, translated, and abridged; any
of which may destroy the credit of the author, or hinder the sale of the

12. That all these liberties are allowed, and cannot be prohibited
without manifest disadvantage to the publick, may be easily proved; but
we shall confine ourselves to the liberty of making epitomes, which
gives occasion to our present inquiry.

13. That an uninterrupted prescription confers a right, will be easily
granted, especially if it appears that the prescription, pleaded in
defence of that right, might at any time have been interrupted, had it
not been always thought agreeable to reason and to justice.

14. The numberless abridgments that are to be found of all kinds of
writings, afford sufficient evidence that they were always thought
legal, for they are printed with the names of the abbreviators and
publishers, and without the least appearance of a clandestine
transaction. Many of the books, so abridged, were the properties of men
who wanted neither wealth, nor interest, nor spirit, to sue for justice,
if they had thought themselves injured. Many of these abridgments must
have been made by men whom we can least suspect of illegal practices,
for there are few books of late that are not abridged.

15. When bishop Burnet heard that his History of the Reformation was
about to be abridged, he did not think of appealing to the court of
chancery; but, to avoid any misrepresentation of his history, epitomised
it himself, as he tells us in his preface.

16. But, lest it should be imagined that an author might do this rather
by choice than necessity, we shall produce two more instances of the
like practice, where it would certainly not have been borne, if it had
been suspected of illegality. The one, in Clarendon's History, which was
abridged, in 2 vols. 8vo.; and the other in bishop Burnet's History of
his Own Time, abridged in the same manner. The first of these books was
the property of the university of Oxford, a body tenacious enough of
their rights; the other, of bishop Burnet's heirs, whose circumstances
were such as made them very sensible of any diminution of their

17. It is observable, that both these abridgments last mentioned, with
many others that might be produced, were made when the act of parliament
for securing the property of copies was in force, and which, if that
property was injured, afforded an easy redress: what then can be
inferred from the silence and forbearance of the proprietors, but that
they thought an epitome of a book no violation of the right of the

18. That their opinion, so contrary to their own interest, was founded
in reason, will appear from the nature and end of an abridgment.

19. The design of an abridgment is, to benefit mankind by facilitating
the attainment of knowledge; and by contracting arguments, relations, or
descriptions, into a narrow compass, to convey instruction in the
easiest method, without fatiguing the attention, burdening the memory,
or impairing the health of the student.

20. By this method the original author becomes, perhaps, of less value,
and the proprietor's profits are diminished; but these inconveniencies
give way to the advantage received by mankind, from the easier
propagation of knowledge; for as an incorrect book is lawfully
criticised, and false assertions justly confuted, because it is more the
interest of mankind, that errour should be detected, and truth
discovered, than that the proprietors of a particular book should enjoy
their profits undiminished; so a tedious volume may, no less lawfully,
be abridged, because it is better that the proprietors should suffer
some damage, than that the acquisition of knowledge should be obstructed
with unnecessary difficulties, and the valuable hours of thousands
thrown away.

21. Therefore, as he that buys the copy of a book, buys it under this
condition, that it is liable to be confuted, if it is false, however his
property may be affected by such a confutation; so he buys it, likewise,
liable to be abridged, if it be tedious, however his property may suffer
by the abridgment.

22. To abridge a book, therefore, is no violation of the right of the
proprietor, because to be subject to the hazard of an abridgment was an
original condition of the property.

23. Thus we see the right of abridging authors established both by
reason and the customs of trade. But, perhaps, the necessity of this
practice may appear more evident, from a consideration of the
consequences that must probably follow from the prohibition of it.

24. If abridgments be condemned, as injurious to the proprietor of the
copy, where will this argument end? Must not confutations be, likewise,
prohibited for the same reason? Or, in writings of entertainment, will
not criticisms, at least, be entirely suppressed, as equally hurtful to
the proprietor, and certainly not more necessary to the publick?

25. Will not authors, who write for pay, and who are rewarded, commonly,
according to the bulk of their work, be tempted to fill their works with
superfluities and digressions, when the dread of an abridgment is taken
away, as doubtless more negligences would be committed, and more
falsehoods published, if men were not restrained by the fear of censure
and confutation?

26. How many useful works will the busy, the indolent, and the less
wealthy part of mankind be deprived of! How few will read or purchase
forty-four large volumes of the transactions of the royal society,
which, in abridgment, are generally read, to the great improvement of

27. How must general systems of sciences be written, which are nothing
more than epitomes of those authors who have written on particular
branches, and those works are made less necessary by such collections!
Can he that destroys the profit of many copies be less criminal than he
that lessens the sale of one?

28. Even to confute an erroneous book will become more difficult, since
it has always been a custom to abridge the author whose assertions are
examined, and, sometimes, to transcribe all the essential parts of his
book. Must an inquirer after truth be debarred from the benefit of such
confutations, unless he purchases the book, however useless, that gave
occasion to the answer?

29. Having thus endeavoured to prove the legality of abridgments from
custom from reason, it remains only that we show, that we have not
printed the complainant's copy, but abridged it[1].

30. This will need no proof, since it will appear, upon comparing the
two books, that we have reduced thirty-seven pages to thirteen of the
same print.

31. Our design is, to give our readers a short view of the present
controversy; and we require, that one of these two positions be proved,
either that we have no right to exhibit such a view, or that we can
exhibit it, without epitomising the writers of each party.

[1] A fair and bona fide abridgment of any book is considered a new
work; and however it may injure the sale of the original, yet it is not
deemed, in law, to be a piracy, or violation of the author's copyright.
1 Bro. 451. 2. Atk. 141. and Mr. Christian's note on the Commentaries,
ii. 407.--Ed.


[The following argument, on school chastisement, was dictated to Mr.
Boswell, who was counsel in the case. It originated in 1772, when a
schoolmaster at Campbelltown was deprived, by a court of inferior
jurisdiction, of his office, for alleged cruelty to his scholars. The
court of session restored him. The parents or friends, whose weak
indulgence had listened to their children's complaints in the first
stage, now appealed to the house of lords, who reversed the decree of
the court of session, and the schoolmaster was, accordingly, deprived of
his situation, April 14, 1772.--Boswell, ii.]

The charge is, that this schoolmaster has used immoderate and cruel
correction. Correction, in itself, is not cruel; children, being not
reasonable, can be governed only by fear. To impress this fear is,
therefore, one of the first duties of those who have the care of
children. It is the duty of a parent; and has never been thought
inconsistent with parental tenderness. It is the duty of a master, who
is in his highest exaltation, when he is "loco parentis[1]." Yet, as
good things become evil by excess, correction, by being immoderate, may
become cruel. But, when is correction immoderate? When it is more
frequent or more severe than is required, "ad monendum et docendum," for
reformation and instruction. No severity is cruel which obstinacy makes
necessary; for the greatest cruelty would be to desist, and leave the
scholar too careless for instruction, and too much hardened for reproof.
Locke, in his Treatise of Education, mentions a mother, with applause,
who whipped an infant eight times before she had subdued it; for, had
she stopped at the seventh act of correction, her daughter, says he,
would have been ruined. The degrees of obstinacy in young minds are very
different; as different must be the degrees of persevering severity. A
stubborn scholar must be corrected, till he is subdued. The discipline
of a school is military. There must be either unbounded license, or
absolute authority. The master, who punishes, not only consults the
future happiness of him who is the immediate subject of correction, but
he propagates obedience through the whole school; and establishes
regularity by exemplary justice. The victorious obstinacy of a single
boy, would make his future endeavours of reformation or instruction
totally ineffectual. Obstinacy, therefore, must never be victorious.
Yet, it is well known that there, sometimes, occurs a sullen and hardy
resolution, that laughs at all common punishment, and bids defiance to
all common degrees of pain. Correction must be proportionate to
occasions. The flexible will be reformed by gentle discipline, and the
refractory must be subdued by harsher methods. The degrees of
scholastick, as of military punishment, no stated rules can ascertain.
It must be enforced till it overpowers temptation; till stubbornness
become flexible, and perverseness regular. Custom and reason have,
indeed, set some bounds to scholastick penalties. The schoolmaster
inflicts no capital punishments; nor enforces his edicts by either death
or mutilation. The civil law has wisely determined, that a master who
strikes at a scholar's eye shall be considered as criminal. But
punishments, however severe, that produce no lasting evil, may be just
and reasonable, because they may be necessary. Such have been the
punishments used by the respondent. No scholar has gone from him either
blind or lame, or with any of his limbs or powers injured or impaired.
They were irregular, and he punished them; they were obstinate, and he
enforced his punishment. But, however provoked, he never exceeded the
limits of moderation, for he inflicted nothing beyond present pain; and
how much of that was required, no man is so little able to determine as
those who have determined against him--the parents of the offenders. It
has been said, that he used unprecedented and improper instruments of
correction. Of this accusation the meaning is not very easy to be found.
No instrument of correction is more proper than another, but as it is
better adapted to produce present pain, without lasting mischief.
Whatever were his instruments, no lasting mischief has ensued; and,
therefore, however unusual, in hands so cautious, they were proper. It
has been objected, that the respondent admits the charge of cruelty, by
producing no evidence to confute it. Let it be considered, that his
scholars are either dispersed at large in the world, or continue to
inhabit the place in which they were bred. Those who are dispersed
cannot be found; those who remain are the sons of his prosecutors, and
are not likely to support a man to whom their fathers are enemies. If it
be supposed that the enmity of their fathers proves the justness of the
charge, it must be considered how often experience shows us, that men
who are angry on one ground will accuse on another; with how little
kindness, in a town of low trade, a man who lives by learning is
regarded; and how implicitly, where the inhabitants are not very rich, a
rich man is hearkened to and followed. In a place like Campbelltown, it
is easy for one of the principal inhabitants to make a party. It is easy
for that party to heat themselves with imaginary grievances. It is easy
for them to oppress a man poorer than themselves; and natural to assert
the dignity of riches, by persisting in oppression. The argument which
attempts to prove the impropriety of restoring him to the school, by
alleging that he has lost the confidence of the people, is not the
subject of juridical consideration; for he is to suffer, if he must
suffer, not for their judgment, but for his own actions. It may be
convenient for them to have another master; but it is a convenience of
their own making. It would be, likewise, convenient for him to find
another school; but this convenience he cannot obtain. The question is
not, what is now convenient, but what is generally right. If the people
of Campbelltown be distressed by the restoration of the respondent, they
are distressed only by their own fault; by turbulent passions and
unreasonable desires; by tyranny, which law has defeated, and by malice,
which virtue has surmounted.

[1] See Blackstone's Comment, i. 453.


[This argument cannot be better prefaced than by Mr. Boswell's own
exposition of the law of vitious intromission. He was himself an
advocate at the Scotch bar, and of counsel in this case. "It was held of
old, and continued for a long period, to be an established principle in
Scotch law, that whoever intermeddled with the effects of a person
deceased, without the interposition of legal authority to guard against
embezzlement, should be subjected to pay all the debts of the deceased,
as having been guilty of what was technically called _vitious
intromission_. The court of session had, gradually, relaxed the
strictness of this principle, where an interference proved had been
inconsiderable. In the case of Wilson against Smith and Armour, in the
year 1772, I had laboured to persuade the judge to return to the ancient
law. It was my own sincere opinion, that they ought to adhere to it; but
I had exhausted all my powers of reasoning in vain. Johnson thought as I
did; and in order to assist me in my application to the court, for a
revision and alteration of the judgment, he dictated to me the following
argument."--Boswell, ii. 200.]

This, we are told, is a law which has its force only from the long
practice of the court; and may, therefore, be suspended or modified as
the court shall think proper.

Concerning the power of the court, to make or to suspend a law, we have
no intention to inquire. It is sufficient, for our purpose, that every
just law is dictated by reason, and that the practice of every legal
court is regulated by equity. It is the quality of reason, to be
invariable and constant; and of equity, to give to one man what, in the
same case, is given to another. The advantage which humanity derives
from law is this: that the law gives every man a rule of action, and
prescribes a mode of conduct which shall entitle him to the support and
protection of society. That the law may be a rule of action, it is
necessary that it be known; it is necessary that it be permanent and
stable. The law is the measure of civil right; but, if the measure be
changeable, the extent of the thing measured never can be settled.

To permit a law to be modified at discretion, is to leave the community
without law. It is to withdraw the direction of that publick wisdom, by
which the deficiencies of private understanding are to be supplied. It
is to suffer the rash and ignorant to act at discretion, and then to
depend for the legality of that action on the sentence of the judge. He
that is thus governed lives not by law, but by opinion; not by a certain
rule, to which he can apply his intention before he acts, but by an
uncertain and variable opinion, which he can-never know but after he has
committed the act, on which that opinion shall be passed. He lives by a
law, if a law it be, which he can never know her fore he has offended
it. To this case may be justly applied that important principle, "misera
est servitus ubi jus est aut incognitum aut vagum." If intromission be
not criminal, till it exceeds a certain point, and that point be
unsettled, and, consequently, different in different minds, the right of
intromission, and the right of the creditor arising from it, are all
_jura vaga_, and, by consequence, are _jura incognita_; and the result
can be no other than a _misera servitus_, an uncertainty concerning the
event of action, a servile dependance on private opinion.

It may be urged, and with great plausibility, that there may be
intromission without fraud; which, however true, will by no means
justify an occasional and arbitrary relaxation of the law. The end of
law is protection, as well as vengeance. Indeed, vengeance is never used
but to strengthen protection. That society only is well governed, where
life is freed from danger and from suspicion; where possession is so
sheltered by salutary prohibitions, that violation is prevented more
frequently than punished. Such a prohibition was this, while it operated
with its original force. The creditor of the deceased was not only
without loss, but without fear. He was not to seek a remedy for an
injury suffered; for injury was warded off.

As the law has been sometimes administered, it lays us open to wounds,
because it is imagined to have the power of healing. To punish fraud,
when it is detected, is the proper art of vindictive justice; but to
prevent frauds, and make punishment unnecessary, is the great employment
of legislative wisdom. To permit intromission, and to punish fraud, is
to make law no better than a pitfall. To tread upon the brink is safe;
but to come a step further is destruction. But, surely, it is better to
enclose the gulf, and hinder all access, than by encouraging us to
advance a little, to entice us afterwards a little further, and let us
perceive our folly only by our destruction.

As law supplies the weak with adventitious strength, it likewise
enlightens the ignorant with extrinsick understanding. Law teaches us to
know when we commit injury and when we suffer it. It fixes certain marks
upon actions, by which we are admonished to do or to forbear them. "Qui
sibi bene temperat in licitis," says one of the fathers, "nunquam cadet
in illicita:" he who never intromits at all, will never intromit with
fraudulent intentions.

The relaxation of the law against vitious intromission has been very
favourably represented by a great master of jurisprudence[1], whose
words have been exhibited with unnecessary pomp, and seem to be
considered as irresistibly decisive. The great moment of his authority
makes it necessary to examine his position: 'Some ages ago,' says he,
'before the ferocity of the inhabitants of this part of the island was
subdued, the utmost severity of the civil law was necessary, to restrain
individuals from plundering each other. Thus, the man who intermeddled
irregularly with the moveables of a person deceased, was subjected to
all the debts of the deceased, without limitation. This makes a branch
of the law of Scotland, known by the name of vitious intromission: and
so rigidly was this regulation applied in our courts of law, that the
most trifling moveable abstracted mala fide, subjected the intermeddler
to the foregoing consequences, which proved, in many instances, a most
rigorous punishment. But this severity was necessary, in order to subdue
the undisciplined nature of our people. It is extremely remarkable,
that, in proportion to our improvement in manners, this regulation has
been gradually softened, and applied by our sovereign court with a
sparing hand.'

I find myself under the necessity of observing, that this learned and
judicious writer has not accurately distinguished the deficiencies and
demands of the different conditions of human life, which, from a degree
of savageness and independence, in which all laws are vain, passes, or
may pass, by innumerable gradations, to a state of reciprocal benignity,
in which laws shall be no longer necessary. Men are first wild and
unsocial, living each man to himself, taking from the weak, and losing
to the strong. In their first coalitions of society, much of this
original savageness is retained. Of general happiness, the product of
general confidence, there is yet no thought. Men continue to prosecute
their own advantages by the nearest way; and the utmost severity of the
civil law is necessary to restrain individuals from plundering each
other. The restraints then necessary, are restraints from plunder, from
acts of publick violence, and undisguised oppression. The ferocity of
our ancestors, as of all other nations, produced not fraud, but rapine.
They had not yet learned to cheat, and attempted only to rob. As manners
grow more polished, with the knowledge of good, men attain, likewise,
dexterity in evil. Open rapine becomes less frequent, and violence gives
way to cunning. Those who before invaded pastures and stormed houses,
now begin to enrich themselves by unequal contracts and fraudulent

It is not against the violence of ferocity, but the circumventions of
deceit, that this law was framed; and, I am afraid, the increase of
commerce, and the incessant struggle for riches, which commerce excites,
give us no prospect of an end speedily to be expected of artifice and
fraud. It, therefore, seems to be no very conclusive reasoning, which
connects those two propositions:--'the nation is become less ferocious,
and, therefore, the laws against fraud and covin shall be relaxed.'

Whatever reason may have influenced the judges to a relaxation of the
law, it was not that the nation was grown less fierce; and, I am afraid,
it cannot be affirmed, that it is grown less fraudulent.

Since this law has been represented as rigorously and unreasonably
penal, it seems not improper to consider, what are the conditions and
qualities that make the justice or propriety of a penal law.

To make a penal law reasonable and just, two conditions are necessary,
and two proper. It is necessary that the law should be adequate to its
end; that, if it be observed, it shall prevent the evil against which it
is directed. It is, secondly, necessary that the end of the law be of
such importance as to deserve the security of a penal sanction. The
other conditions of a penal law, which, though not absolutely necessary,
are, to a very high degree, fit, are, that to the moral violation of the
law there are many temptations, and, that of the physical observance
there is great facility.

All these conditions apparently concur to justify the law which we are
now considering. Its end is the security of property, and property very
often of great value. The method by which it effects the security is
efficacious, because it admits, in its original rigour, no gradations of
injury; but keeps guilt and innocence apart, by a distinct and definite
limitation. He that intromits, is criminal; he that intromits not, is
innocent. Of the two secondary considerations it cannot be denied that
both are in our favour. The temptation to intromit is frequent and
strong; so strong, and so frequent, as to require the utmost activity of
justice, and vigilance of caution, to withstand its prevalence: and the
method by which a man may entitle himself to legal intromission, is so
open and so facile, that to neglect it is a proof of fraudulent
intention; for why should a man omit to do (but for reasons which he
will not confess) that which he can do so easily, and that which he
knows to be required by the law? If temptation were rare, a penal law
might be deemed unnecessary. If the duty, enjoined by the law, were of
difficult performance, omission, though it could not be justified, might
be pitied. But in the present case, neither equity nor compassion
operate against it. An useful, a necessary law is broken, not only
without a reasonable motive, but with all the inducements to obedience
that can be derived from safety and facility.

I, therefore, return to my original position, that a law, to have its
effects, must be permanent and stable. It may be said, in the language
of the schools, "lex non recipit majus et minus;" we may have a law, or
we may have no law, but we cannot have half a law. We must either have a
rule of action, or be permitted to act by discretion and by chance.
Deviations from the law must be uniformly punished, or no man can be
certain when he shall be safe.

That from the rigour of the original institution this court has
sometimes departed, cannot be denied. But as it is evident that such
deviations as they, make law uncertain, make life unsafe, I hope, that
of departing from it there will now be an end; that the wisdom of our
ancestors will be treated with due reverence; and that consistent and
steady decisions will furnish the people with a rule of action, and
leave fraud and fraudulent intromissions no future hope of impunity or


[1] Lord Kames, in his Historical Law Tracts.

[2] "This masterly argument on vitious intromission, after being
prefaced and concluded with some sentences of my own," says Mr.
Boswell, "and garnished with the usual formularies, was actually
printed, and laid before the lords of session, but without
success."--Boswell, ii. 207.


[Dr. Johnson has treated this delicate and difficult subject with
unusual acuteness. As Mr. Boswell has recorded the argument, we will
make use, once more, of his words to introduce it; observing, by the
way, that it did not convince Mr. Boswell's own mind, who was himself a
lay patron. "I introduced a question which has been much agitated in the
church of Scotland, whether the claim of lay patrons to present
ministers to parishes be well founded; and, supposing it to be well
founded, whether it ought to be exercised without the concurrence of the
people? That church is composed of a series of judicatures; a
presbytery, a synod, and, finally, a general assembly; before all of
which this matter may be contended; and, in some cases, the presbytery
having refused to induct or _settle_, as they call it, the person
presented by the patron, it has been found necessary to appeal to the
general assembly. Johnson said, I might see the subject well treated in
the Defence of Pluralities; and although he thought that a patron should
exercise his right with tenderness to the inclinations of the people of
a parish, he was very clear as to his right. Then supposing the question
to be pleaded before the general assembly, he dictated to me what
follows."--Boswell, ii. 248.]

Against the right of patrons is commonly opposed, by the inferiour
judicatures, the plea of conscience. Their conscience tells them, that
the people ought to choose their pastor; their conscience tells them,
that they ought not to impose upon a congregation a minister ungrateful
and unacceptable to his auditors. Conscience is nothing more than a
conviction, felt by ourselves, of something to be done, or something to
be avoided; and in questions of simple unperplexed morality, conscience
is very often a guide that may be trusted. But before conscience can
determine, the state of the question is supposed to be completely known.
In questions of law, or of fact, conscience is very often confounded
with opinion. No man's conscience can tell him the rights of another
man; they must be known by rational investigation, or historical
inquiry. Opinion, which he that holds it may call his conscience, may
teach some men that religion would be promoted, and quiet preserved, by
granting to the people universally the choice of their ministers. But it
is a conscience very ill informed that violates the rights of one man,
for the convenience of another. Religion cannot be promoted by
injustice: and it was never yet found that a popular election was very
quietly transacted.

That justice would be violated by transferring to the people the right
of patronage, is apparent to all who know whence that right had its
original. The right of patronage was not at first a privilege torn by
power from unresisting poverty. It is not an authority, at first usurped
in times of ignorance, and established only by succession and by
precedents. It is not a grant capriciously made from a higher tyrant to
a lower. It is a right dearly purchased by the first possessours, and
justly inherited by those that succeed them. When Christianity was
established in this island, a regular mode of worship was prescribed.
Publick worship requires a publick place; and the proprietors of lands,
as they were converted, built churches for their families and their
vassals. For the maintenance of ministers they settled a certain portion
of their lands; and a district, through which each minister was required
to extend his care, was, by that circumscription, constituted a parish.
This is a position so generally received in England, that the extent of
a manor and of a parish are regularly received for each other. The
churches which the proprietors of lands had thus built and thus endowed,
they justly thought themselves entitled to provide with ministers; and,
where the episcopal government prevails, the bishop has no power to
reject a man nominated by the patron, but for some crime that might
exclude him from the priesthood. For, the endowment of the church being
the gift of the landlord, he was, consequently, at liberty to give it,
according to his choice, to any man capable of performing the holy
offices. The people did not choose him, because the people did not pay

We hear it sometimes urged, that this original right is passed out of
memory, and is obliterated and obscured by many translations of property
and changes of government; that scarce any church is now in the hands of
the heirs of the builders; and that the present persons have entered
subsequently upon the pretended rights by a thousand accidental and
unknown causes. Much of this, perhaps, is true. But how is the right of
patronage extinguished? If the right followed the lands, it is
possessed, by the same equity by which the lands are possessed. It is,
in effect, part of the manor, and protected by the same laws with every
other privilege. Let us suppose an estate forfeited by treason, and
granted by the crown to a new family. With the lands were forfeited all
the rights appendant to those lands; by the same power that grants the
lands, the rights also are granted. The right, lost to the patron, falls
not to the people, but is either retained by the crown, or, what to the
people is the same thing, is by the crown given away. Let it change
hands ever so often, it is possessed by him that receives it, with the
same right as it was conveyed. It may, indeed, like all our possessions,
be forcibly seized or fraudulently obtained. But no injury is still done
to the people; for what they never had, they have never lost. Caius may
usurp the right of Titius, but neither Caius nor Titius injure the
people; and no man's conscience, however tender or however active, can
prompt him to restore what may be proved to have been never taken away.
Supposing, what I think cannot be proved, that a popular election of
ministers were to be desired, our desires are not the measure of equity.
It were to be desired, that power should be only in the hands of the
merciful, and riches in the possession of the generous; but the law must
leave both riches and power where it finds them; and must often leave
riches with the covetous, and power with the cruel. Convenience may be a
rule in little things, where no other rule has been established. But, as
the great end of government is to give every man his own, no
inconvenience is greater than that of making right uncertain. Nor is any
man more an enemy to publick peace, than he who fills weak heads with
imaginary claims, and breaks the series of civil subordination, by
inciting the lower classes of mankind to encroach upon the higher.

Having thus shown that the right of patronage, being originally
purchased, may be legally transferred, and that it is now in the hands
of lawful possessours, at least as certainly as any other right, we have
left the advocates of the people no other plea than that of convenience.
Let us, therefore, now consider what the people would really gain by a
general abolition of the right of patronage. What is most to be desired
by such a change is, that the country should be supplied with better
ministers. But why should we suppose that the parish will make a wiser
choice than the patron? If we suppose mankind actuated by interest, the
patron is more likely to choose with caution, because he will suffer
more by choosing wrong. By the deficiencies of his minister, or by his
vices, he is equally offended with the rest of the congregation; but he
will have this reason more to lament them, that they will be imputed to
his absurdity or corruption. The qualifications of a minister are well
known to be learning and piety. Of his learning the patron is probably
the only judge in the parish; and of his piety not less a judge than
others; and is more likely to inquire minutely and diligently before he
gives a presentation, than one of the parochial rabble, who can give
nothing but a vote. It may be urged, that though the parish might not
choose better ministers, they would, at least, choose ministers whom
they like better, and who would, therefore, officiate with greater
efficacy. That ignorance and perverseness should always obtain what they
like, was never considered as the end of government; of which it is the
great and standing benefit, that the wise see for the simple, and the
regular act for the capricious. But that this argument supposes the
people capable of judging, and resolute to act according to their best
judgments, though this be sufficiently absurd, it is not all its
absurdity. It supposes not only wisdom, but unanimity in those, who upon
no other occasions are unanimous or wise. If by some strange concurrence
all the voices of a parish should unite in the choice of any single man,
though I could not charge the patron with injustice for presenting a
minister, I should censure him as unkind and injudicious. But it is
evident, that, as in all other popular elections, there will be
contrariety of judgment and acrimony of passion; a parish upon every
vacancy would break into factions, and the contest for the choice of a
minister would set neighbours at variance, and bring discord into
families. The minister would be taught all the arts of a candidate,
would flatter some, and bribe others; and the electors, as in all other
cases, would call for holy-days and ale, and break the heads of each
other during the jollity of the canvass. The time must, however, come at
last, when one of the factions must prevail, and one of the ministers
get possession of the church. On what terms does he enter upon his
ministry, but those of enmity with half his parish? By what prudence or
what diligence can he hope to conciliate the affections of that party,
by whose defeat he has obtained his living? Every man who voted against
him will enter the church with hanging head and downcast eyes, afraid to
encounter that neighbour by whose vote and influence he has been
overpowered. He will hate his neighbour for opposing him, and his
minister for having prospered by the opposition; and, as he will never
see him but with pain, he will never see him but with hatred. Of a
minister presented by the patron, the parish has seldom any thing worse
to say, than that they do not know him. Of a minister chosen by a
popular contest, all those who do not favour him, have nursed up in
their bosoms principles of hatred and reasons of rejection. Anger is
excited principally by pride. The pride of a common man is very little
exasperated by the supposed usurpation of an acknowledged superiour. He
bears only his little share of a general evil, and suffers in common
with the whole parish; but when the contest is between equals, the
defeat has many aggravations, and he that is defeated by his next
neighbour, is seldom satisfied without some revenge: and it is hard to
say, what bitterness of malignity would prevail in a parish, where these
elections should happen to be frequent, and the enmity of opposition
should be rekindled before it had cooled.


[This case shall be introduced by Mr. Boswell himself. "In the course of
a contested election for the borough of Dumfermline, which I attended as
one of my friend Sir Archibald Campbell's counsel, one of his political
agents, who was charged with having been unfaithful to his employer, and
having deserted to the opposite party for a pecuniary reward, attacked,
very rudely, in the newspapers, the reverend James Thompson, one of the
ministers of that place, on account of a supposed allusion to him in one
of his sermons. Upon this, the minister, on a subsequent Sunday,
arraigned him by name, from the pulpit, with some severity; and the
agent, after the sermon was over, rose up and asked the minister aloud,
'What bribe he had received for telling so many lies from the chair of
verity.' I was present at this very extraordinary scene. The person
arraigned, and his father and brother, who also had a share both of the
reproof from the pulpit, and in the retaliation, brought an action
against Mr. Thompson, in the court of session, for defamation and
damages, and I was one of the counsel for the reverend defendant. The
liberty of the pulpit was our great ground of defence; but we argued
also on the provocation of the previous attack, and on the instant
retaliation. The court of session, however, the fifteen judges, who are
at the same time the jury, decided against the minister, contrary to my
humble opinion; and several of them expressed themselves with
indignation against him. He was an aged gentleman, formerly a military
chaplain, and a man of high spirit and honour. He wished to bring the
cause by appeal before the house of lords, but was dissuaded by the
advice of the noble person, who lately presided so ably in that most
honourable house, and who was then attorney-general. Johnson was
satisfied that the judgment was wrong, and dictated to me the following
argument in confutation of it." As our readers will, no doubt, be
pleased to read the opinion of so eminent a man as lord Thurlow, in
immediate comparison with one on the same subject by Johnson, we refer
them to Boswell's Life, vol. iii. p. 59. edit. 1802; from whence the
above extract is taken.]

Of the censure pronounced from the pulpit, our determination must be
formed, as in other cases, by a consideration of the act itself, and the
particular circumstances with which it is invested.

The right of censure and rebuke seems necessarily appendant to the
pastoral office. He, to whom the care of a congregation is entrusted, is
considered as the shepherd of a flock, as the teacher of a school, as
the father of a family. As a shepherd, tending not his own sheep but
those of his master, he is answerable for those that stray, and that
lose themselves by straying. But no man can be answerable for losses
which he has not power to prevent, or for vagrancy which he has not
authority to restrain.

As a teacher giving instruction for wages, and liable to reproach, if
those whom he undertakes to inform make no proficiency, he must have the
power of enforcing attendance, of awakening negligence, and repressing

As a father, he possesses the paternal authority of admonition, rebuke
and punishment. He cannot, without reducing his office to an empty name,
be hindered from the exercise of any practice necessary to stimulate the
idle, to reform the vicious, to check the petulant, and correct the

If we inquire into the practice of the primitive church, we shall, I
believe, find the ministers of the word exercising the whole authority
of this complicated character. We shall find them not only encouraging
the good by exhortation, but terrifying the wicked by reproof and
denunciation. In the earliest ages of the church, while religion was yet
pure from secular advantages, the punishment of sinners was publick
censure, and open penance; penalties inflicted merely by ecclesiastical
authority, at a time when the church had yet no help from the civil
power; while the hand of the magistrate lifted only the rod of
persecution; and when governours were ready to afford a refuge to all
those who fled from clerical authority.

That the church, therefore, had once a power of publick censure is
evident, because that power was frequently exercised. That it borrowed
not its power from the civil authority is, likewise, certain, because
civil authority was at that time its enemy.

The hour came, at length, when, after three hundred years of struggle
and distress, truth took possession of imperial power, and the civil
laws lent their aid to the ecclesiastical constitutions. The magistrate,
from that time, cooperated with the priest, and clerical sentences were
made efficacious by secular force. But the state, when it came to the
assistance of the church, had no intention to diminish its authority.
Those rebukes and those censures, which were lawful before, were lawful
still. But they had hitherto operated only upon voluntary submission.
The refractory and contemptuous were at first in no danger of temporal
severities, except what they might suffer from the reproaches of
conscience, or the detestation of their fellow christians. When religion
obtained the support of law, if admonitions and censures had no effect,
they were seconded by the magistrates with coercion and punishment.

It, therefore, appears, from ecclesiastical history, that the right of
inflicting shame by publick censure has been always considered as
inherent in the church; and that this right was not conferred by the
civil power; for it was exercised when the civil power operated against
it. By the civil power it was never taken away; for the Christian
magistrate interposed his office, not to rescue sinners from censure,
but to supply more powerful means of reformation; to add pain where
shame was insufficient; and when men were proclaimed unworthy of the
society of the faithful, to restrain them by imprisonment, from
spreading abroad the contagion of wickedness.

It is not improbable, that from this acknowledged power of publick
censure, grew, in time, the practice of auricular confession. Those who
dreaded the blast of publick reprehension, were willing to submit
themselves to the priest, by a private accusation of themselves; and to
obtain a reconciliation with the church by a kind of clandestine
absolution and invisible penance; conditions with which the priest
would, in times of ignorance and corruption, easily comply, as they
increased his influence, by adding the knowledge of secret sins to that
of notorious offences, and enlarged his authority, by making him the
sole arbiter of the terms of reconcilement.

From this bondage the Reformation set us free. The minister has no
longer power to press into the retirements of conscience, or torture us
by interrogatories, or put himself in possession of our secrets and our
lives. But though we have thus controlled his usurpations, his just and
original power remains unimpaired. He may still see, though he may not
pry; he may yet hear, though he may not question. And that knowledge
which his eyes and ears force upon him, it is still his duty to use, for
the benefit of his flock. A father, who lives near a wicked neighbour,
may forbid a son to frequent his company. A minister, who has in his
congregation a man of open and scandalous wickedness, may warn his
parishioners to shun his conversation. To warn them is not only lawful,
but not to warn them would be criminal. He may warn them, one by one, in
friendly converse, or by a parochial visitation. But if he may warn each
man singly, what shall forbid him to warn them altogether? Of that which
is to be made known to all, how is there any difference, whether it be
communicated to each singly, or to all together? What is known to all,
must necessarily be publick, whether it shall be publick at once, or
publick by degrees, is the only question. And of a sudden and Solemn
publication the impression is deeper, and the warning more effectual.

It may easily be urged, if a minister be thus left at liberty to delate
sinners from the pulpit, and to publish, at will, the crimes of a
parishioner, he may often blast the innocent and distress the timorous.
He may be suspicious, and condemn without evidence; he may be rash, and
judge without examination; he may be severe, and treat slight offences
with too much harshness; he may be malignant and partial, and gratify
his private interest or resentment under the shelter of his pastoral

Of all this there is possibility, and of all this there is danger. But
if possibility of evil be to exclude good, no good ever can be done. If
nothing is to be attempted in which there is danger, we must all sink
into hopeless inactivity. The evils that may be feared from this
practice arise not from any defect in the institution, but from the
infirmities of human nature. Power, in whatever hands it is placed, will
be sometimes improperly exerted; yet courts of law must judge, though
they will sometimes judge amiss. A father must instruct his children,
though he himself may often want instruction. A minister must censure
sinners, though his censure may be sometimes erroneous by want of
judgment, and sometimes unjust by want of honesty.

If we examine the circumstances of the present case, we shall find the
sentence neither erroneous nor unjust; we shall find no breach of
private confidence, no intrusion into secret transactions. The fact was
notorious and indubitable; so easy to be proved, that no proof was
desired. The act was base and treacherous, the perpetration insolent and
open, and the example naturally mischievous. The minister, however,
being retired and recluse, had not yet heard what was publickly known
throughout the parish; and, on occasion of a publick election, warned
his people, according to his duty, against the crimes which publick
elections frequently produce. His warning was felt by one of his
parishioners, as pointed particularly at himself. But instead of
producing, as might be wished, private compunction and immediate
reformation, it kindled only rage and resentment. He charged his
minister, in a publick paper, with scandal, defamation, and falsehood.
The minister, thus reproached, had his own character to vindicate, upon
which his pastoral authority must necessarily depend. To be charged with
a defamatory lie is an injury which no man patiently endures in common
life. To be charged with polluting the pastoral office with scandal and
falsehood, was a violation of character still more atrocious, as it
affected not only his personal but his clerical veracity. His
indignation naturally rose in proportion to his honesty, and, with all
the fortitude of injured honesty, he dared this calumniator in the
church, and at once exonerated himself from censure, and rescued his
flock from deception and from danger. The man, whom he accuses, pretends
not to be innocent; or, at least, only pretends, for he declines a
trial. The crime of which he is accused has frequent opportunities, and
strong temptations. It has already spread far, with much depravation of
private morals, and much injury to publick happiness.

To warn the people, therefore, against it, was not wanton and officious,
but necessary and pastoral.

What then is the fault with which this worthy minister is charged? He
has usurped no dominion over conscience. He has exerted no authority in
support of doubtful and controverted opinions. He has not dragged into
light a bashful and corrigible sinner. His censure was directed against
a breach of morality, against an act which no man justifies. The man who
appropriated this censure to himself, is evidently and notoriously
guilty. His consciousness of his own wickedness incited him to attack
his faithful reprover with open insolence and printed accusations. Such
an attack made defence necessary; and we hope it will be, at last,
decided, that the means of defence were just and lawful[1].

[1] This nervous argument was honoured by the particular approbation of
Mr. Burke.--Boswell, iii. 62.



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