The Life of Samuel Johnson, LL.D: Including a Journal of His Tour to the Hebrides - Vol. 2

By James Boswell | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XVII. .
1773

Dunvegan Castle -- Cunning -- "Temple of Anaitis" -- Family Portraits -- Bacon's Henry VII -- Pennant the Tourist -- Johnson's Birth-day -- Languages the Pedigree of Nations -- The Laird of Muck -- Choice of a Wife -- Johnson on Boswell's Journal -- History of Lady Grange -- Poetry of Savages -- French Literati -- Prize Fighting -- French and English Soldiers -- Duelling -- Change of Manners -- Landed and trading Interests -- Loval's Pyramid -- Ulinish -- Lord Orrery, &c. &c.

Friday, Sept. 17 . -- AFTER dinner yesterday, we had a conversation on cunning. Macleod said that he was not afraid of cunning people; but would let them play their tricks about him like monkeys. "But," said I, "they'll scratch:" and Mr. McQueen added, "they'll invent new tricks, as soon as you find out what they do," JOHNSON. "Cunning has effect from the credulity of others, rather than from the abilities of those who are cunning. It requires no extraordinary talents to lie and deceive." This led us to consider whether it did not require great abilities to be very wicked. JOHNson. "It requires great abilities to have the power of being very wicked; but not to be very wicked. A man who has the power, which great abilities procure him, may use it well or ill; and it requires more abilities to use it well, than to use it ill. Wickedness is always easier than virtue; for it takes the short cut to everything. It is much easier to steal a hundred pounds, than to get it by labour, or any other way. Consider only what act of wickedness requires great abilities to commit it, when once the person who is to do it has the power; for there is the distinction. It requires great abilities to conquer an array, but none to massacre it after it is conquered "

The weather this day was rather better than any that we had since we came to Dunvegan. Mr. M'Queen had often mentioned a curious piece of antiquity near this, which he called a temple of the goddess Anaitis. Having often talked of going to see it, he and I

-323-

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The Life of Samuel Johnson, LL.D: Including a Journal of His Tour to the Hebrides - Vol. 2
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • Contents of Vol. II iii
  • Chapter I - 1769 9
  • Chapter II - 1769-1770 29
  • Chapter III - 1770 47
  • Chapter IV - 1771 60
  • Chapter V - 1772 81
  • Chapter VI - 1772-1773 98
  • Chapter VII - 1773 117
  • Chapter VIII - 1773 144
  • Chapter IX - 1773 168
  • Chapter X 190
  • Chapter XI 203
  • Chapter XII 219
  • Chapter XIII - 1773 236
  • Chapter XIV - 1773 255
  • Chapter XV - 1773 276
  • Chapter XVI - 1773 301
  • Chapter XVII - 1773 323
  • Chapter XVIII - 1773 348
  • Chapter XIX - 1773 376
  • Chapter XX - 1773 396
  • Chapter XXI - 1773 421
  • Chapter XXII - 1773 441
  • Appendix 467
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