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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Samuel Johnson's moral philosophy and its relation to the philosophy of Francis Bacon Kent, Maurice William 1971

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SAMUEL JOHNSON'S MORAL PHILOSOPHY AND ITS RELATION TO THE PHILOSOPHY OP FRANCIS BACON by MAURICE WILLIAM KENT B.A., University of B r i t i s h Columbia, 1967 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS i n the Department of ENGLISH We accept t h i s thesis as conforming to the required standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA August, 1971 In p r e s e n t i n g t h i s t h e s i s i n p a r t i a l f u l f i l m e n t o f the r e q u i r e m e n t s f o r an advanced degree a t the U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h C o l u m b i a , I a g r e e t h a t the L i b r a r y s h a l l make i t f r e e l y a v a i l a b l e f o r r e f e r e n c e and s t u d y . I f u r t h e r agree t h a t p e r m i s s i o n f o r e x t e n s i v e c o p y i n g o f t h i s t h e s i s f o r s c h o l a r l y p u r p o s e s may be g r a n t e d by the Head o f my Department o r by h i s r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s . I t i s u n d e r s t o o d t h a t c o p y i n g o r p u b l i c a t i o n o f t h i s t h e s i s f o r f i n a n c i a l g a i n s h a l l not be a l l o w e d w i t h o u t my w r i t t e n p e r m i s s i o n . Department o f E n g l i s h  The U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h C olumbia Vancouver 8, Canada Date August 18, 1971. Samuel Johnson's l i t e r a r y r e p u t a t i o n i n h i s own day was b u i l t l a r g e l y upon h i s work as a m o r a l i s t ; consequently, the moral stance which forms the b a s i s of t h i s r e p u t a t i o n merits more a t t e n t i o n than i t has h i t h e r t o r e c e i v e d . I t i s my purpose i n t h i s t h e s i s to e s t a b l i s h t h a t Johnson's moral w r i t i n g s , so h i g h l y r a t e d by h i s contemporaries, r e v e a l a d i s -t i n c t i v e q u a l i t y of mind and a c h a r a c t e r i s t i c moral approach which l i n k s the author to the w r i t i n g s and to the moral thought of F r a n c i s Bacon. In e s t a b l i s h i n g t h i s connection, the f i r s t stage i n t h i s t h e s i s i s the i s o l a t i o n of common f a c t o r s i n the backgrounds of both men which could l e a d to a molding of moral a t t i t u d e s i n t o s i m i l a r p a t t e r n s . T h i s i s fol l o w e d by an i n v e s t i g a t i o n of the e f f e c t s of environmental i n f l u e n c e s and pers o n a l t a s t e s which could draw Johnson to the m o r a l i s t i n F r a n c i s Bacon. More concrete evidence i s sought i n Johnson's D i c t i o n a r y , a work which serves not only as a gauge of Johnson's moral thought but a l s o as a measure of how c l o s e l y h i s thought i s a l i g n e d w i t h t h a t of F r a n c i s Bacon. The essays of the two m o r a l i s t s are examined t o d i s c l o s e the d r i v e which d i r e c t s t h e i r moral philosophy i n t o a common path, a path which, l e a d i n g away from a l l c o n s i d e r a t i o n s of the t h e o r e t i c a l to the p r a c t i c a l s e r v i c e of t h e i r f e l l o w man, de r i v e s from the same f i x e d p r i n c i p l e of C h r i s t i a n c h a r i t y . In f o l l o w i n g t h i s p r i n c i p l e of s e r v i c e , both men recognized the value of the essay and the b i o g r a p h i c a l form as i n s t r u -ments of moral i n s t r u c t i o n ; both u t i l i z e d them as such i n a p i o n e e r i n g f a s h i o n . F r a n c i s Bacon b e l i e v e d t h a t the task of b r i n g i n g the mind to v i r t u e r e q u i r e d , as a p r e r e q u i s i t e , a study of the mind and i t s d i s o r d e r s . Johnson undertakes such a study along the l i n e s envisaged by Bacon, and, i n Rasselas, he i s shown to be f o l l o w -i n g the methods and d i r e c t i o n s o f the e a r l i e r p h i l o s o p h e r . A l s o i n v e s t i g a t e d i s the evident p a r a l l e l i s m i n t h e i r mutual concern to p r o t e c t the mind from the e r r o r s of f a l l a c i o u s r e a -soning. F r a n c i s Bacon, i n The Coulers of Good and E v i l l , had made an important c o n t r i b u t i o n to the e t h i c s o f e v a l u a t i o n i n d e v i s i n g a method of exposing and d e s t r o y i n g the f a l l a c i e s of s o p h i s t i c a l reasoning; Samuel Johnson, i n h i s review of Soame Jenyns 1 study of e v i l , i l l u s t r a t e s a p r a c t i c a l a p p l i c a t i o n of t h i s p r e v i o u s l y n e g l e c t e d method i n the l o g i c a l demolishment of one of the dominant myths of eighteenth-century s o c i e t y . The c o n c l u s i o n drawn from t h i s p r e s e n t a t i o n i s t h a t , even where d i r e c t i n f l u e n c e s cannot be a s c r i b e d , the evidence i n d i -cates powerful a f f i n i t i e s i n thought and i n q u a l i t i e s of mind which draw Samuel Johnson to a s i m i l a r approach to moral philosophy as t h a t of F r a n c i s Bacon and r e s u l t i n s i m i l a r c o n c l u s i o n s about morals. Chapter Page I. AIMS AND PURPOSES 1 II . BACON AND JOHNSONS AREAS OF CONTACT 5 I I I . BACON AND JOHNSON: PRACTICAL MORALISTS . . . . 11 IV. JOHNSON'S DICTIONARY "24 V. THE MORAL ESSAYS 50 VI. JOHNSON AND BACON ON THE DISTURBED MIND . . . . 69 VII. THE ETHICS OF EVALUATION 87 VIII. CONCLUSION " . ., 103 SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY 107 CHAPTER I AIMS AND PURPOSES When a contemporary of Samuel Johnson r e f e r r e d t o him as "the f i r s t m o r a l i s t of the age," the laud a t o r y words were not without v a l i d i t y , f o r i t i s p r i m a r i l y i n the r o l e of m o r a l i s t t h a t Johnson b u i l t h i s l i t e r a r y r e p u t a t i o n i n h i s own day. His moral essays, p a r t i c u l a r l y those of The  Rambler, comprise the major components i n the b u i l d i n g of t h i s r e p u t a t i o n ; they are the works i n which "the great m o r a l i s t , " as Boswell c a l l e d him, r e v e a l s much of h i s e t h i c a l p o s i t i o n ; they are a l s o the works which Johnson h i m s e l f b e l i e v e d would be t r e a s u r e d by p o s t e r i t y above a l l h i s other w r i t i n g s . U n f o r t u n a t e l y f o r Johnson's sanguine e x p e c t a t i o n s , modern popular t a s t e turns away from the r a t h e r sombre m o r a l i z i n g of The Rambler and turns i n s t e a d to the essence of the author's genius which i t f i n d s d i s -t i l l e d i n h i s l a t e r works, such as The L i v e s of the Poets, and turns a l s o to the e v e r - f a s c i n a t i n g study of h i s char-a c t e r as r e v e a l e d i n Boswell's great L i f e . N e v e rtheless, to see Johnson whole i t i s necessary to see him w i t h i n the context of h i s p e r i o d and to grasp the e t h i c a l stance which formed a v i t a l element of h i s being, a stance which, f o r hi m s e l f and f o r h i s contemporaries, had the utmost r e l -evance and the hi g h e s t degree of importance. Because t h i s moral stance, l i k e the man h i m s e l f , i s h i g h l y i n d i v i d u a l i s t i c , i t d e f i e s any attempt at neat c a t e g o r i z a t i o n . Johnson d i s l i k e d systems, metaphysics, and t h e o r i s t s , and with a g r e a t e r emphasis upon hard-headed p r a c -t i c a l i t y than upon c o n s i s t e n c y i n h i s judgments, he a p p l i e d t the moral t h e o r i e s of h i s age the touchstone of h i s r a t i o n a l -ism and the o v e r r i d i n g a u t h o r i t y of r e v e l a t i o n . Although i t cannot be s a i d t h a t Johnson's moral p h i l o s -ophy developed i n t o an i n t e g r a t e d system or t h a t i t f a t h e r e d any p h i l o s o p h i c a l s c h o o l , i t ne v e r t h e l e s s assumes a d e f i n a b l e p a t t e r n of moral b e l i e f which emerges from the t o t a l i t y of h i s w r i t i n g s . Is t h i s p h i l o s o p h i c p a t t e r n o r i g i n a l w i t h Johnson or i s i t d e r i v i t i v e ? And, i f the l a t t e r , what i s the primary source? To hazard judgments regarding the sources of an author's thought or upon the i n f l u e n c e s t h a t have played upon h i s mind i s always a dangerous undertaking, p a r t i c u -l a r l y so i n the case of Samuel Johnson. His mind was not only steeped i n the c l a s s i c s of Western c i v i l i z a t i o n but had a l s o ranged w i d e l y among the myriad bypaths of l i t e r a t u r e and, f u r t h e r , was a mind b u t t r e s s e d by a remarkably r e t e n -t i v e memory which could always reach back i n t o the p r o d i g i o u s body of h i s reading to snatch, even from an obscure source, the apt q u o t a t i o n or the memorable phrase. I t i s evident, therefore,- t h a t i n c o n s i d e r i n g Samuel Johnson's moral philosophy, the shaping i n f l u e n c e s of t h a t philosophy must be sought w i t h i n the context of the e n t i r e two-thousand-year h e r i t a g e of C l a s s i c a l , C h r i s t i a n , and C h r i s t i a n Humanist thought. In a d d i t i o n , and not to be overlooked, are those i n f l u e n c e s which he breathed from the a i r around him, i n f l u e n c e s , f o r example, such as Hobbism or U t i l i t a r i a n i s m , which could have t h e i r e f f e c t enhanced by v i r t u e of being c u r r e n t or popu l a r . Without d i s c o u n t i n g the above r e s e r v a t i o n s , i t i s my i n t e n t i o n to demonstrate t h a t there are str o n g p a r a l l e l s t o be drawn between the p r a c t i c a l bent of the Johnsonian moral philosophy and the e q u a l l y p r a c t i c a l c a s t of the moral p h i l o s -ophy of S i r F r a n c i s Bacon, the great s c i e n t i s t - p h i l o s o p h e r of the Jacobean Age. By the middle of the eighteenth century, the p r e s t i g e of Bacon was, a f t e r a p e r i o d of p a r t i a l e c l i p s e , again i n the ascendant; and, i n a minor sense, the w r i t i n g s of Johnson could be s a i d to r e f l e c t a strong contemporary i n t e r e s t i n the philosophy of the e a r l i e r f i g u r e ; i n a major sense they r e f l e c t the powerful a f f i n i t i e s i n thought and i n a t t r i b u t e s of the two m o r a l i s t s . I propose, f i r s t , to e s t a b l i s h t h i s r e l a t i o n s h i p and then, secondly, to demonstrate t h a t s i m i l a r predetermining f a c t o r s d i r e c t the moral ph i l o s o p h y of both men away from c o n s i d e r a t i o n s of the t h e o r e t i c a l t o a primary focus upon the e n t i r e l y p r a c t i c a l end of b r i n g i n g man i n t o the s t r a i g h t way of t r u t h and v i r t u e . T h i r d l y , I w i l l show t h a t Johnson con-s i s t e n t l y f o l l o w s t h i s end, and, j u s t as c o n s i s t e n t l y , h i s w r i t i n g s r e f l e c t both the i n f l u e n c e and the comparable pur-pose of F r a n c i s Bacon. F i n a l l y , I propose to show t h a t , time and time again, the moral w r i t i n g s of Johnson not only complement the moral philosophy of Bacon but a l s o expand the scope of t h a t philosophy to encompass new f i e l d s p r e f i g u r e d or adumbrated i n the l a t t e r * s work. In developing t h i s p a t t e r n of p r e s e n t a t i o n , I w i l l be c o n c e n t r a t i n g i n Chapter I I upon the comparable elements i n the backgrounds, i n the attainments, and i n the a t t r i b u t e s of the two m o r a l i s t s , elements which c o u l d induce Johnson to f i n d the moral philosophy of Bacon c o n g e n i a l . In making these com-p a r i s o n s , i t i s my i n t e n t i o n to e s t a b l i s h a context i n which the evidence to be drawn from the works of both m o r a l i s t s w i l l appear i n a meaningful . p e r s p e c t i v e . Chapter I I I seeks to e s -t a b l i s h , f i r s t , t h a t the moral philosophy of both Bacon and Johnson i s based upon the selfsame r a t i o n a l e of p r a c t i c a l s e r -v i c e to one's f e l l o w man and, secondly, t h a t t h i s s e r v i c e i s undertaken i n compliance w i t h the d i c t a t e s of C h r i s t i a n char-i t y . In Chapter IV, c e r t a i n aspects of Johnson's moral stance are e x p l o r e d . The frequency of h i s use of Baconian quotations i n the D i c t i o n a r y , and t h e i r a p p l i c a t i o n to important p h i l o -s o p h i c a l concepts, are a l s o c i t e d as i l l u s t r a t i n g how c l o s e l y h i s m o r a l i s t i c approach approximates t h a t of F r a n c i s Bacon. In succeeding chapters the search f o r f u r t h e r evidence to support t h i s c o r r e l a t i o n i s expanded and i s c a r r i e d i n t o areas which are of v i t a l importance to the moral philosophy of both men. BACON AND JOHNSON: AREAS OF CONTACT At f i r s t glance there would appear to be few p o i n t s of s i m i l a r i t y between the car e e r of Bacon and t h a t of Johnson; n e v e r t h e l e s s , there are many p o i n t s of contact i n the back-ground and i n the attainments of the two men, a l l of which could predispose Johnson to f e e l an a f f i n i t y w i t h the e a r l i e r f i g u r e . As young men e n t e r i n g upon t h e i r r e s p e c t i v e careers i n the c i t y of London, both c a r r i e d the handicap of i l l -h e a l t h and an unprepossessing appearance. T h i s p a r a l l e l i s m of s i t u a t i o n i s more apparent than r e a l : Bacon, s c i o n of the most powerful o f f i c i a l of the realm, had a l l of the advantages t h a t an i n f l u e n t i a l f a m i l y and powerful connections can p r o -vide i n smoothing the path of preferment f o r an ambitious man; and, i n a d d i t i o n , he possessed the temperament and the w i l l to e x p l o i t these advantages to the f u l l and to t r i m h i s s a i l s to every favourable wind. Johnson, i n c o n t r a s t , was the son of a humble b o o k - s e l l e r and, with n e i t h e r f r i e n d s nor connections, he bore the a d d i t i o n a l disadvantage of a stubborn independence of mind which r e b e l l e d at c u r r y i n g f a v o u r . Though circumstances made more d i f f i c u l t the task of Johnson, both men rose i n t h e i r chosen f i e l d s by sheer a b i l i t y , and f a c i l i t y w ith the pen was a major f a c t o r i n Bacon's r i s e even as i t was the primary f a c t o r f o r Johnson. This f a c i l i t y w i t h the pen was not unearned; i n t h e i r r e s p e c t i v e backgrounds was an i n t e r r u p t e d u n i v e r s i t y career d u r i n g which both had r e b e l l e d a g a i n s t a s t u l t i f y i n g c u r r i c u l u m but, notwithstanding, had gained a tremendous amount of know-ledge. Bacon was c e r t a i n l y on a par with Johnson i n s c h o l a r l y attainment and i n h i s knowledge of the c l a s s i c s and of the B i b l e . A master of the media of communications, Bacon was a great c r e a t i v e s t y l i s t i n E n g l i s h prose and was no l e s s famed i n h i s day f o r h i s mastery of L a t i n . In choosing a p u b l i c r o l e Bacon had, of n e c e s s i t y , to master the a r t of suasive speech; t h i s he d i d so s u c c e s s f u l l y t h a t of h i s pa r l i a m e n t a r y speeches Ben Jonson could w r i t e : "The f e a r of every man was, l e s t he should make an end.""'' Although Samuel Johnson shunned any p u b l i c r o l e , he too was a master of words and, i f not a great o r a t o r , he was i n -d i s p u t a b l y the g r e a t e s t c o n v e r s a t i o n a l i s t of h i s age. He shared Bacon's h i g h regard f o r L a t i n ; and h i s mastery of the language was such t h a t he has been c a l l e d "one of the g r e a t e s t o L a t i n i s t s of modern times." L i k e Bacon before him, he creat e d a new s t y l e of E n g l i s h prose, a prose represented c h a r a c t e r i s t i c a l l y by the "Johnsonese" of The Rambler. The p a r t i c u l a r q u a l i t y of these essays l i e s i n t h e i r m a s t e r f u l use of language and, though the prose i s uniquely Johnsonian, there i s a r e l i a n c e upon the s k i l l f u l use of balance and of Ben Jonson, Timber or D i s c o v e r i e s , ed. F. E. S c h e l l i n g (Boston:1892), p. 30. ^Walter Jackson Bate, The Achievement of Samuel Johnson (New York: Oxford U n i v e r s i t y Press, 1955), p. 15. a n t i t h e s i s which r e c a l l s the s i m i l a r s k i l l of Bacon. A modern study of p h i l o s o p h i c words employed i n The Rambler has shown the high degree of a r t i s t r y w i t h which Johnson has s t r u c t u r e d h i s sentences and how, i n the use of p h i l o s o p h i c terms, he has drawn upon the s c i e n t i f i c and p h i l o s o p h i c vocabulary of the seventeenth century. T h i s i n t e r e s t i n the s c i e n c e and i n the philosophy of the previous century was a r e f l e c t i o n of the t i m e s , and Johnson could be expected t o respond to the "wave of a p p r e c i a t i o n " which arose f o r Bacon i n the middle of the e i g h t e e n t h century.' That he d i d so respond, and t h a t he saw Bacon p r i m a r i l y as a p h i l o s o p h e r , can be i n f e r r e d from the comment he makes on 5 M a l l e t ' s i n t r o d u c t i o n to the 1740 e d i t i o n of Bacon's Works: I t i s w r i t t e n with elegance, perhaps with some a f f e c t i o n ; but w i t h so much more knowledge of h i s t o r y than of s c i e n c e , t h a t when he afterwards undertook the L i f e of Marlborough, Warburton remarked, t h a t he might perhaps f o r g e t t h a t Marlborough was a g e n e r a l , as he had f o r g o t t e n t h a t Bacon was a philosopher,° W. K. Wimsatt, P h i l o s o p h i c Words: A Study of S t y l e and  Meaning i n the "Rambler" and "Dictionary"""of Samuel Johnson (New Haven: Yale U n i v e r s i t y Press, 1948). 4 J . C. Crowther, F r a n c i s Bacon; the F i r s t Statesman of  Science (London: The C r e s s e t Press, 1960), p. x i i . 5 I t i s from the volumes of t h i s e d i t i o n t h a t Johnson drew thousands of i l l u s t r a t i o n s i n compiling the D i c t i o n a r y . See Gordon S. Haight, "Johnson's Copy of Bacon's Works. } i  Yale U n i v e r s i t y L i b r a r y Gazette, v i (1932), pp. 67-73. g Samuel Johnson, " L i f e of M a l l e t , " L i v e s of the Poets, ed. George Birkbeck H i l l (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1905), I I I , 404. The community of i n t e r e s t s and of a t t r i b u t e s which Johnson shared with Bacon c o u l d w e l l b i n d him to the l a t t e r ' s i n f l u -ence. Another p o s s i b l e bond co u l d be h i s sense of i d e n t i f i -c a t i o n with one who had s u f f e r e d under poverty as he h i m s e l f had s u f f e r e d , even where, as i n the case of Bacon, p r o b i t y had not been proof a g a i n s t i t s subversive power. In Adventurer 131 Johnson d i s c u s s e s the p a r a d o x i c a l nature of Bacon: as m o r a l i s t he condemns the s i n n e r but as r e a l i s t he g i v e s due weight t o the compulsions which impel the s i n : Bacon, a f t e r he had added t o a long and c a r e f u l con-templation of almost everyAother o b j e c t of knowledge a cur i o u s i n s p e c t i o n i n t o common l i f e , and a f t e r having s u r -veyed nature as a p h i l o s o p h e r , had examined 'Men's business and bosoms' as a statesman; y e t f a i l e d so much i n the conduct of domestic a f f a i r s , t h a t i n the most l u c r a t i v e post to which a great and wealthy kingdom c o u l d advance him, he f e l t a l l the m i s e r i e s of a d i s t r e s s f u l poverty; and committed a l l the crimes to which poverty i n c i t e s . Such were a t once h i s negligence and r a p a c i t y , t h a t , as i t i s s a i d , he would g a i n by unworthy p r a c t i c e s t hat money which, when so ac q u i r e d , h i s servants might s t e a l from one end of the t a b l e , while he sat studious and a b s t r a c t e d at the other. As s c a r c e l y any man has reached the e x c e l l e n c e , very few have sunk to the weakness of Bacon . . For t h i s weakness "to which poverty i n c i t e s , " Johnson shows throughout h i s l i f e the sympathy and understanding of one who knows f i r s t hand the oppressive weight of poverty and a l s o the powerful c o n s t r a i n t s which i t imposes upon moral Johnson, Works; "The I d l e r " and "The Adventurer," eds. W. J . Bate, John M. B u l l i t t . L. F. Powell (New Haven: Yale U n i v e r s i t y P r e s s ) , I I (1963), 482. A l l r e f e r e n c e s to The  Rambler are to V o l s . III-IV-V of t h i s e d i t i o n , eds. W. J . Bate, A l b r e c h t B. Strauss (1969). r e c t i t u d e . In h i s c r i t i c a l review of Soame Jenyns 1 A Free  Enquiry i n t o the Nature and O r i g i n of E v i l , he a t t a c k s b i t t e r l y the smug complacency i m p l i c i t i n the author's a t t i -tude toward poverty, and the euphemistic d e f i n i t i o n of the term as "want of r i c h e s , " a sense i n which Johnson s t a t e s , "every man i n h i s o p i n i o n may be poor." " L i f e must be seen before i t can be known" he adds, and, i n d e s c r i b i n g the pov-e r t y occasioned by l a c k of s u f f i c i e n c y , he r e v e a l s h i s own awareness t h a t the poverty of a man such as Bacon, who can never l i v e w i t h i n h i s means, i s no l e s s compelling than the poverty occasioned by want of n e c e s s i t i e s . When Bacon was charged with a c c e p t i n g b r i b e s , h i s only defense was t h a t such b r i b e s had not been allowed to i n -fl u e n c e h i s judgment; i r o n i c a l l y enough, when Johnson was accused by h i s enemies of a c c e p t i n g a b r i b e i n the form of a Hanoverian pension, he had recourse to the same defense. Doubly i r o n i c i s the f a c t t h at Johnson, i n compiling the D i c t i o n a r y , had d e f i n e d the word "pension" as f o l l o w s : "An allowance made to anyone without an e q u i v a l e n t . In England i t i s g e n e r a l l y understood to mean pay given to a s t a t e h i r e l i n g f o r t r e a s o n to h i s country." With h i s own words thrown i n h i s t e e t h , Johnson must have r e a l i z e d t h a t h i s defense, though v a l i d enough and, as i n the case of Bacon, the only p o s s i b l e one i n the circumstances, would c a r r y no more weight w i t h d e t r a c t o r s than had Bacon's s i m i l a r defense i n a previous age. I have attempted to t r a c e the i n f l u e n c e s , the common i n t e r e s t s , and the shared a t t r i b u t e s which might have drawn Samuel Johnson to the philosophy of F r a n c i s Bacon i n a p e r i o d of resurgence of i n t e r e s t i n the l a t t e r f i g u r e and i n h i s p h i l o s o p h i c thought. The evidence which I have educed t o support the p o s s i b i l i t y of such an a t t r a c t i o n i s , of course, c i r c u m s t a n t i a l ; however, i t i s a l s o cumulative and lends sup-p o r t to the more s u b s t a n t i a l evidence t o be drawn from the works of Johnson. I t i s s u f f i c i e n t , at t h i s p o i n t , to i n d i -cate the strong p o s s i b i l i t y of such a connection; to pursue the q u e s t i o n of p o s s i b l e i n f l u e n c e s i n t o byways of i n c r e a s -i n g l y tenuous s u p p o s i t i o n would not be p r o f i t a b l e ; t h e r e f o r e , i t i s app r o p r i a t e to t u r n now to more s o l i d ground, to the evidence of the works of both m o r a l i s t s , and through t h a t evidence t o i s o l a t e the common f a c t o r s i n t h e i r approach to e t h i c a l q u e s t i o n s . CHAPTER I I I BACON AND JOHNSON: PRACTICAL MORALISTS Perhaps the most c h a r a c t e r i s t i c f e a t u r e of Johnson's approach to moral philosophy i s the hard-headed p r a c t i c a l i t y which we have a l r e a d y c i t e d ; i t i s a p r a c t i c a l i t y which has i t s f u l l c ounterpart i n the moral approach of the w o r l d l y -wise F r a n c i s Bacon. In the case of both m o r a l i s t s the em-phasis upon the p r a c t i c a l i s fundamental, and i s accompanied by a compensatory downgrading of the r o l e of the t h e o r e t i c a l . In f a c t , i f there i s one common f a c t o r which can be t r a c e d more c o n s i s t e n t l y than any other i n the moral w r i t i n g s or utterances of Bacon and of Johnson, i t i s t h e i r mutual aver-s i o n to a l l dogmatic systems and to a l l f i n e - s p u n t h e o r i z i n g . Whether i t be Bacon i n v e i g h i n g a g a i n s t the m a g i s t e r i a l words of A r i s t o t l e , or Johnson thundering at the hapless Boswell to c l e a r h i s mind of cant, there i s the same i m p l i c i t aware-ness of the dangerous a u t h o r i t y of systems and of p r e s c r i p t i v e words over man's reason. For metaphysical s p e c u l a t i o n , and f o r the d i s p u t e s which i t engendered, they e x h i b i t e d a s i m i l a r distaste*,. For example: i s there f r e e w i l l ? To Bacon, t h i s i s a q u e s t i o n which, as a m o r a l i s t , he i s r e q u i r e d n e i t h e r to r a i s e nor to answer; i t i s one of those i s s u e s which he f i n d s " f r u i t f u l of c o n t r o -v e r s i e s , but barren of e f f e c t s , " i s s u e s to be ignored where p o s s i b l e or to be r e l e g a t e d t o the province of theology. To Johnson, the mere r a i s i n g of such iss u e s would arouse both h i s impatience and h i s dogmatism, q u a l i t i e s c l e a r l y apparent i n the peremptory words which he used t o s i l e n c e a d i s p u t e over the q u e s t i o n : " S i r , we know our w i l l i s f r e e , and there's an end on't." His words on the s u b j e c t a t another occasion a f f o r d a more temperate response: " A l l theory i s a g a i n s t the freedom of the w i l l ; a l l experience f o r i t . " T h i s response i l l u s t r a t e s what i s a c h a r a c t e r i s t i c r e a c t i o n of Johnson when faced with fundamental c o n t r a d i c t i o n s between the evidence a f f o r d e d by theory and t h a t a f f o r d e d by experience. On such occasions, he i s a t one with Bacon i n l e a n i n g c o n s i s t e n t l y to the evidence brought f o r t h by experience, always provided t h a t such evidence i s congruent w i t h the r e v e a l e d t r u t h of D i v i n i t y . These examples i l l u s t r a t e , i n b r i e f , what i s a c h a r a c t -e r i s t i c and constant r e j e c t i o n of the t h e o r e t i c a l i n the moral philosophy of both men. The inci d e n c e of t h i s important f a c t o r , and the consequent d i r e c t i o n which i t imparts to t h e i r work, warrants an i n v e s t i g a t i o n of the premises upon which i t i s based. F r a n c i s Bacon, whose l o f t y purpose was the encompassment of a l l knowledge, h e l d a v i s i o n of a f u t u r e s t a t e i n which man, f r e e d of h i s i n v e t e r a t e tendency to worship f a l s e i d o l s , would be enabled to apprehend t r u t h and r e a l i t y through the agency of the Baconian method of i n d u c t i v e s c i e n c e . Hide-bound t r a d i t i o n , A r i s t o t e l i a n deduction, and s y l l o g i s m would be r e p l a c e d by i n d u c t i v e r e s e a r c h and experiment; the essen-t i a l would be r e p l a c e d by the f u n c t i o n a l and the a b s t r a c t by the concrete; contemplation would be subordinated t o a c t i o n ; knowledge and mastery of the m a t e r i a l world would be the g o a l achieved. The f r u i t of such knowledge and mastery i s power, power to be employed " f o r the b e n e f i t and use of man." The Baconian goal i s nobly conceived, but b a r r i n g the road to i t s achievement stand the entrenched metaphysical systems of the schoolmen, r e i n f o r c e d by the s t r i c t u r e s of the church r e g a r d -i n g f o r b i d d e n knowledge. Bacon has a f a i r t a r g e t i n the empty polemic, the q u i d d i t i e s , and the r i g i d A r i s t o t e l i a n i s m of the schoolmen, and he a t t a c k s t h e i r p o s i t i o n v i g o r o u s l y ; the church, however, by v i r t u e of i t s p o s i t i o n , i s immune from f r o n t a l a t t a c k and must be approached w i t h some circum-s p e c t i o n . How i s he to e s t a b l i s h t h a t the study of s c i e n c e , r a t h e r than smacking of the s a t a n i c , a c t u a l l y has d i v i n e sanction? And, having e s t a b l i s h e d t h i s p o i n t , how i s he then to preserve science u n a l l o y e d by the admixture of the a n t i -t h e t i c element of r e l i g i o n , while a t the same time he s t o u t l y maintains the t r u t h of Holy Writ? His s o l u t i o n i s to i n s i s t upon a twofold way to the apprehension of God: through the way of r e v e l a t i o n , the Book of His word, and through the way of study of the m a t e r i a l world, the Book of His works. In e f f e c t , he compartmentalizes r e l i g i o n and, by i n s i s t i n g upon the sacrosanct nature of the t r u t h of r e v e l a t i o n , he e f f e c -t i v e l y e l e v a t e s i t to a s t a t e of s p l e n d i d i s o l a t i o n , above any c o n s i d e r a t i o n of, or any i n t e r f e r e n c e w i t h , the more mundane route to God through the study of His handiwork. "Render unto f a i t h the t h i n g s t h a t are f a i t h ' s , " saya Bacon, and he f r e e l y consigns a l l things s p i r i t u a l to the realm of theology. By so doing he hopes t o preclude any i n -t e r f e r e n c e of dogmatic r e l i g i o n with what r e a l l y i n t e r e s t s him: the s c i e n t i f i c study of mankind and h i s r e l a t i o n to the p r a c t i c a l world. These, then, are the i s s u e s to which Bacon responds as he c l e a r s the path f o r h i s p r a c t i c a l p h i losophy. He brushes aside as of no moment the s p e c u l a t i v e and metaphysical p r e -occupations of the schools; and, somewhat incongruously, he makes h i s obeisance to a theology which he has e f f e c t i v e l y " k icked u p s t a i r s " i n order to f o r e s t a l l any o b s t r u c t i o n of h i s own primary i n t e r e s t s . The s i n c e r i t y of Bacon's r e l i g i o u s p r o t e s t a t i o n s might be open to some doubt; of the s i n c e r i t y of Johnson's r e l i g i o u s c o n v i c t i o n s there i s no q u e s t i o n . He clung to h i s f a i t h with the grim determination of one who saw i n i t h i s one f i r m warranty amidst an otherwise meaningless f l u x of e x i s t e n c e . I f he d e r i v e d some assurance from h i s orthodoxy, he d e r i v e d l i t t l e comfort; f o r he was t o r t u r e d by an innate s c e p t i c i s m which drove him u n r e m i t t i n g l y to f i n d j u s t i f i c a t i o n i n reason to b u t t r e s s t h a t which he had to b e l i e v e on f a i t h . Reason, however, though i t might temper and complement h i s f a i t h , Q F r a n c i s Bacon, The Works of F r a n c i s Bacon, eds. J . Spedding, R. L. E l l i s , D. D. Heath (London: Longman & Co., 1870), I, l x v . A l l r e f e r e n c e s to Bacon's works are to t h i s e d i t i o n . c o u l d not dominate i t ; s i n c e , as he s a i d i n the V i s i o n of Theodore, Reason, though "of a l l subordinate beings the g n o b l e s t and the g r e a t e s t , " i s but the handmaid of r e l i g i o n . His r e l i g i o n formed an i n t e g r a l p a r t of h i s moral philosophy, and i t s p e r v a s i v e i n f l u e n c e i s apparent i n the r e l i g i o u s b a s i s f o r the constant emphasis which he places upon the general r a t h e r than upon the p a r t i c u l a r . The business of the poet, says Imlac: " i s t o examine, not the i n d i v i d u a l , but the s p e c i e s , to remark general p r o p e r t i e s and l a r g e appearances: he does not number the st r e a k s of the t u l i p . " ^ What Imlac has a p p l i e d to the f u n c t i o n of the poet, Johnson would a l s o apply to the student of phi l o s o p h y . By c o n f i n i n g i t s e l f to the study of the g e n e r a l , the mind i s i n -s t r u c t e d and preserves i t s balance; conversely, when the proud mind turns to s p e c i a l i z a t i o n and to the study of p a r t i c u l a r s , the balance i s l o s t and the i n d i v i d u a l , s e l f - d e l u d e d , weaves v a i n t h e o r i e s and creates f a l s e systems. I t i s upon the b a s i s of t h i s , t h e i r fundamental e r r o r , t h a t Johnson's d i s l i k e of t h e o r i s t s and systematizers was b u i l t ; h i s comparable d i s l i k e f o r metaphysicians was b u i l t not so much upon t h e i r e r r o r but r a t h e r upon t h e i r i r r e l e v a n c y . T h i s a t t i t u d e of Johnson i s d e s c r i b e d a p t l y i n the words of Bertrand Bronson: S e l e c t i o n s from Samuel Johnson, ed. R. W. Chapman (London: Oxford U n i v e r s i t y P r e s s , 1955), p. 63. ^Samuel Johnson, Rasse l a s , chap. x. His d i s l i k e of the metaphysician does not a r i s e from a r a t i o n -a l i z i n g of h i s own i n t e l l e c t u a l i n f e r i o r i t y . He b e l i e v e d t h a t the f a r t h e s t one c o u l d go i n philosophy was not f a r enough t o penetrate u l t i m a t e o b s c u r i t i e s or make any p r a c t i c a l d i f f e r e n c e to humanity. Metaphysical systems e x i s t i n a vacuum; while the tremendous mysteries of l i f e and death beat, every hour, i n -exorably at man's door. The f i r s t c o u l d be put a s i d e ; the l a t t e r c o u l d not be i g n o r e d . H To summarize: i n responding t o r i g i d t h e o r e t i c a l pos-i t i o n s and to p r e s c r i p t i v e systems which d i r e c t l y challenge t h e i r own moral philosophy, Bacon and Johnson throw f u l l weight behind the counte r b a l a n c i n g l e v e r s of r a t i o n a l i t y and p r a c t i c a l i t y . For both men the operative motive i s the same, but i s based upon a s c a l e of values graduated on a d i f f e r e n t order of p r i o r i t i e s : t h a t of Bacon i m p l i c i t l y ordered to the primacy of n a t u r a l philosophy; t h a t of Johnson e x p l i c i t l y ordered to the primacy of r e l i g i o n . How, then, does the n a t u r a l philosophy of Bacon measure on Johnson's order of p r i o r i t i e s ? His unequivocal answer to t h i s q u e s t i o n appears i n the L i f e of M i l t o n : The knowledge of e x t e r n a l nature, and the s c i e n c e s which t h a t knowledge r e q u i r e s or i n c l u d e s , are not the great or the f r e -quent business of the human mind. Whether we provide f o r a c t i o n or c o n v e r s a t i o n . . . the f i r s t r e q u i s i t e i s the r e l i -gious and moral knowledge of r i g h t and wrong . . . We are p e r p e t u a l l y m o r a l i s t s , but we are geometricians only by chance. Our i n t e r c o u r s e w i t h i n t e l l e c t u a l nature i s necessary; our s p e c u l a t i o n s upon matter are v o l u n t a r y , and a t l e i s u r e . . . . the innovators whom I oppose are t u r n i n g o f f a t t e n t i o n from Bertrand H. Bronson, Johnson Agonistes and Other Essays (Cambridge: U n i v e r s i t y P r e s s , 1946), p. 40. l i f e t o nature. They seem to t h i n k , t h a t we are p l a c e d here to watch the growth of p l a n t s , or the motions of the stars.12 T h i s does not mean t h a t Johnson lacked sympathetic under-standing of the methods and the aims of experimental s c i e n c e . I have p r e v i o u s l y c i t e d h i s r e l i a n c e upon the evidence a f f o r d e d by experience, and, although he would not h o l d ex-perience to be the so l e s t r u c t u r a l agency i n the b u i l d i n g of 13 l e a r n i n g , i t was, to him, "the foundation of a l l knowledge." That he f u l l y comprehended some of the important i m p l i c a t i o n s of seventeenth-century science i s apparent i n the approval he expresses f o r one of i t s key p r i n c i p l e s , a p r i n c i p a l drawn from Bacon and r e s t a t e d by Locke: The c h i e f a r t of l e a r n i n g , as Locke has observed, i s t o attempt but l i t t l e a t a time. The widest excursions of the mind are made by short f l i g h t s f r e q u e n t l y repeated; the most l o f t y f a b r i c k s of science are formed by the c o n t i n u a l accu-mulation of s i n g l e p r o p o s i t i o n s Another passage, drawn from an e a r l i e r work, the L i f e of  Boerhaave, provides h i s most e x p l i c i t endorsement of the Baconian s c i e n t i f i c method. He i s speaking i n words of admir-a t i o n of the p r i n c i p l e s of Boerhaave: x L i v e s , ed. George Birkbeck H i l l , I, 99-100. 13 Jean H. Hagstrum, Samuel Johnson's L i t e r a r y C r i t i c i s m (Minneapolis: U n i v e r s i t y of Minnesota P r e s s , 1952), p. 5. 1 4Rambler 137; Works, IV, 361. When he l a i d down h i s o f f i c e of governour of the u n i v e r -s i t y , i n 1715, he made an o r a t i o n upon the s u b j e c t of " a t t a i n i n g to c e r t a i n t y i n n a t u r a l philosophy;" i n which he d e c l a r e s , i n the s t r o n g e s t terms, i n favour of experimental knowledge; and r e f l e c t s , w i t h j u s t s e v e r i t y , upon those a r r o -gant p h i l o s o p h e r s , who are too e a s i l y d i s g u s t e d with the slow methods of o b t a i n i n g true notions by frequent experiments; and who, possessed with too h i g h an o p i n i o n of t h e i r own a b i l i t i e s , r a t h e r choose to c o n s u l t t h e i r own imaginations, than i n q u i r e i n t o nature, and are b e t t e r pleased w i t h the charming amusement of forming hypotheses, than the t o i l s o m e drudgery of making o b s e r v a t i o n s . The emptiness and u n c e r t a i n t y of a l l those systems, whether venerable f o r t h e i r a n t i q u i t y , or agreeable f o r t h e i r n o v e l t y , he has e v i d e n t l y shown; and not only d e c l a r e d , but proved, t h a t we are e n t i r e l y ignorant of the p r i n c i p l e s of t h i n g s , and t h a t a l l the knowledge we have, i s of such q u a l i t i e s alone as are d i s c o v e r a b l e by experience, or such as may be deduced from them by mathematical demonstration.15 Johnson was w e l l read i n the s c i e n c e s , and h i s i n t e r e s t s embraced a broad f i e l d ; n e v e r t h e l e s s , by no s t r e t c h of the imagination could he be c o n s i d e r e d a s c i e n t i s t . He was a dabbler i n s c i e n t i f i c experiment i n a p e r i o d when such amateur experimentation was made popular by the s c i e n t i f i c a c t i v i t i e s of the Royal S o c i e t y , a c t i v i t i e s s a t i r i c a l l y epitomized (and with some j u s t i c e ) i n the S w i f t i a n p r o j e c t o r s of Lagado. For the men who were a c t u a l l y advancing the f r o n t i e r s of science and philosophy i n h i s own day, Johnson, with r a r e exceptions, had n e i t h e r a p p r e c i a t i o n nor sympathy; to him they were " v a i n i n n o v a t o r s , " and t h e i r achievements and t h e i r s p e c u l a t i o n s he e i t h e r ignored or b e l i t t l e d . 1 5Works (Troy, New York; P a f r a e t s Book Co., 1908), XIV, pp. 169-70. T h i s fundamental misapprehension of the t r u e bent of the s c i e n t i f i c impulse was a f a i l i n g he shared, s u r p r i s i n g l y enough, wit h S i r F r a n c i s Bacon. The l a t t e r , d e s p i t e h i s great r e p u t a t i o n as a s c i e n t i s t , a l s o lacked a p p r e c i a t i o n f o r the men who were making the great s c i e n t i f i c d i s c o v e r i e s of h i s day. He p a i d l i t t l e a t t e n t i o n to the d i s c o v e r i e s of G a l i l e o and of K e p l e r : he spoke s l i g h t i n g l y of G i l b e r t ' s work on the magnet; and of Harvey's study of the c i r c u l a t i o n of the blood he p a i d no heed, even though Harvey was h i s p e r s o n a l p h y s i c i a n . Bacon's own r o l e i n science was "to i n d i c a t e w i t h f i n e magnil-oquence the path by which alone 'science' could advance;" h i s one great and a b i d i n g achievement as a s c i e n t i s t was to impress permanently upon sci e n c e the n e c e s s i t y f o r sound methodology and f o r accurate and d e t a i l e d experimentation. Where he e r r e d was i n assuming an almost mechanical c e r t a i n t y f o r an i n d u c t i v e method which demanded much of the powers of o b s e r v a t i o n but l i t t l e of the f a c u l t i e s of reason and of im-a g i n a t i o n . I t was through h i s d i s t r u s t of these sometimes vagrant f a c u l t i e s t h a t Bacon f a i l e d to f o r e s e e the v i t a l r o l e to be played i n the advancement of science by the i n t u i t i v e leap of the mind i n the formation of hypotheses. Samuel Johnson, harbouring a s i m i l a r d i s t r u s t of uncon-s t r a i n e d d i s c u r s i v e reason and of u n b r i d l e d imagination, f o l l o w s Bacon i n u n d e r r a t i n g the importance of hypotheses i n B a s i l W i l l e y , The Seventeenth Century Background (New York: Doubleday & Co. Inc., 1953),. p. 34. the f i e l d of s c i e n c e . T h i s i s apparent i n the above q u o t a t i o n from the L i f e of Boerhaave when he speaks d i s p a r a g i n g l y of those "arrogant p h i l o s o p h e r s " who "are b e t t e r p l e a s e d w i t h the charming amusement of forming hypotheses, than the toilsome drudgery of making o b s e r v a t i o n s . " T h i s i s an a t t i t u d e which might be admirable i f i t had a p p l i c a t i o n only to the d i l e t t a n t e s of science and of p h i l o s -ophy; u n f o r t u n a t e l y , i t i s a blanket condemnation which Johnson a p p l i e s without d i s c r i m i n a t i o n to a Hume and to a Berkeley, as w e l l as to a Jenyns. Prom the i n v e s t i g a t i o n of t h i s p a r t i c u l a r area of myopia, i t i s apparent t h a t both p h i l o s o p h e r s e r r e d i n the same manner: Bacon, through a t o o - r i g i d adherence to a methodology; Johnson through a desperate need t o preserve i n v i o l a t e an orthodoxy. In t h i s one negative i n s t a n c e , as w e l l as i n the more p o s i t i v e f a c t o r s , the two m o r a l i s t s are l i n k e d together by a d r i v e which impels them to a l i k e c o n c e n t r a t i o n upon p r a c t i c a l m o r a l i t y . What, then, i s t h i s m o t i v a t i o n a l d r i v e which r e s u l t s i n so patent a c o r r e l a t i o n ? I t i s my c o n t e n t i o n t h a t , i n the case of both Bacon and Johnson, t h i s d r i v e i s rooted i n the compulsive need to render a p r a c t i c a l a p p l i -c a t i o n of the selfsame p r i n c i p l e of C h r i s t i a n c h a r i t y ; and i t i s t h i s C h r i s t i a n v i r t u e of c h a r i t y which forms the c o r n e r -stone of t h e i r p r a c t i c a l m o r a l i t y . T h i s , i t must be emphasized, i s c h a r i t y i n the t h e o l o g -i c a l sense, not a vague humanitarianism but a p o s i t i v e adherence to the teachings of C h r i s t , with the primary o b j e c -t i v e of o b t a i n i n g s a l v a t i o n . Whatever were Bacon's f e e l i n g s r e garding the a l l - p o w e r f u l Church of h i s day, there i s no doubt t h a t when he speaks of c h a r i t y as the g r e a t e s t "of a l l 17 v i r t u e s and d i g n i t i e s of the mind" he i s speaking as a p r a c t i s i n g C h r i s t i a n of a fundamental p r i n c i p l e of h i s moral philosophy, one which "recognizes as a supreme r u l e of con-18 duct the A u g u s t i n i a n p r i n c i p l e of c h a r i t y . . . ." This i s the b a s i c moral premise t o which Johnson a l s o f u l l y sub-s c r i b e d ; f o r , as C h r i s t i a n and as m o r a l i s t , he a l s o h e l d c h a r i t y "to be the hig h e s t C h r i s t i a n v i r t u e . • • the co r n e r -19 stone of C h r i s t i a n i t y . " For him, the p r a c t i s e of c h a r i t y was the "great t e s t " by which man i s to be judged; i t i s a t e s t which the evidence of h i s l i f e and the evidence of h i s works give assurance he would pass w i t h f l y i n g c o l o u r s ; both bear witness to the " l a r g e compassionate i d e a l of human development t h a t i s always the concern of Johnson, as a 20 m o r a l i s t , a c r i t i c , or an educator . . . ." I t i s true t h a t Johnson was compassionate; i t i s t r u e 17 "Of Goodness and Goodness of Nature," Essays; Works. V I I , 403. 18 P. H. Anderson, The Philosophy of F r a n c i s Bacon (Chicago: U n i v e r s i t y of Chicago Press, 1948), p. 53. 19 Maurice J . Quinlan, Samuel Johnson: A Layman's  R e l i g i o n (Madison: U n i v e r s i t y of Wisconson Press,1964), pp. 108-9. Bate, The Achievement of Samuel Johnson, p. 164. a l s o t h a t he had empathy f o r the unfortunate; however, f o r the c u l t of sentiment and f o r the i r r a t i o n a l f a i t h i n the n a t u r a l goodness of man he had no sympathy. He hated a " f e e l e r , " and he saw no v i r t u e i n the n a t u r a l benevolence of David Hume, d i v o r c e d as i t was from C h r i s t i a n r o o t s . C h a r i t y was, f o r him, s t e r n duty en j o i n e d by s c r i p t u r e and, when he gathered and supported under h i s ro o f a group of unloveable and quarrelsome s o c i a l m i s f i t s , he was donning the h a i r s h i r t which chastens p r i d e , while a t the same time he was e x e r c i s i n g C h r i s t i a n c h a r i t y , and s a t i s f y i n g h i s own n a t u r a l compassion. 21 "Seek the good of other men," says Bacon, and wit h these a u t h o r i t a t i v e words he epitomizes the animating s p i r i t of h i s own moral philosophy and t h a t of Johnson. Bacon's i n v e s t i -gations i n the f i e l d of n a t u r a l science are de d i c a t e d to the s e r v i c e of h i s moral philosophy, j u s t as the e f f o r t s of Johnson, the w r i t e r , are de d i c a t e d to the s e r v i c e of Johnson, the m o r a l i s t . Working from the same b a s i c premises, both p h i l o s o p h e r s f o l l o w the d i c t a t e s of C h r i s t i a n c h a r i t y i n de-v o t i n g t h e i r moral e f f o r t s t o the p r a c t i c a l r e f o r m a t i o n of man and of man's l o t i n t h i s world. Johnson, although he f u l l y s u s c r i b e s t o the p r i n c i p l e s and to the e m p i r i c a l methods of Baconian s c i e n c e , assigns t o the study of n a t u r a l h i s t o r y a low p r i o r i t y r e l a t i v e t o what he c a l l s the " f i r s t r e q u i s i t e " : the " r e l i g i o u s and moral knowledge of r i g h t and wrong." I f "Of Goodness and Goodness of Nature," Essays; Works, V I I , 404. the strengths of Bacon's moral philosophy have t h e i r counter-p a r t s i n the moral philosophy of Samuel Johnson, so a l s o do h i s weaknesses, f o r example: a s t r o n g b i a s a g a i n s t the theo-r e t i c a l causes both men t o undervalue the importance of s p e c u l a t i v e reasoning i n the advancement of knowledge. F u r t h e r supporting evidence f o r these c o n c l u s i o n s w i l l become manifest i n the examination of the s t u d i e s of b o t h authors. The f i r s t of these s t u d i e s t o be examined i s Samuel Johnson's D i c t i o n a r y , a work from the p r o s a i c f i e l d of l e x i -cography which, s u r p r i s i n g l y enough, r e v e a l s a great d e a l of the author's s c h o l a r l y i n t e r e s t s and the d i r e c t i o n of h i s thought, as w e l l as the i n f l u e n c e s which played upon h i s mind. CHAPTER IV JOHNSON'S DICTIONARY One might expect t h a t , when Samuel Johnson undertook the p e d e s t r i a n task of compiling a d i c t i o n a r y , h i s p a r t i c -u l a r touch of genius would cause new l i f e t o s p r i n g f o r t h from the h i t h e r t o barren ground of l e x i c o g r a p h y . Such, indeed, i s the case. The great D i c t i o n a r y , although begun as a p r i m a r i l y commercial venture, i s imbued throughout w i t h h i s powerful p e r s o n a l i t y . I t i s the p e r s o n a l q u a l i t y of the work which must be s t r e s s e d ; f o r , encompassing as i t does the e n t i r e range of the E n g l i s h language of h i s day, we have i n l a r g e p a r t h i s p e r -sonal a s s o c i a t i o n s f o r every word r e v e a l e d e i t h e r i n d e f i -n i t i o n or i n i l l u s t r a t i v e q u o t a t i o n . F u r t h e r , where h i s own f e e l i n g s are deeply i n v o l v e d , h i s opinions are expressed f e a r l e s s l y and without any pretence of o b j e c t i v i t y . To h i s monumental t a s k Johnson brought h i s v a s t knowledge, h i s o r i g i n a l i t y of thought, and, as we have alreadj^ i l l u s t r a t e d i n h i s d e f i n i t i o n of the word "pension," a l l of h i s p r e j u -d i c e s . " L e x i c o g r a p h e r — a harmless drudge" i s Johnson's own wryly humourous d e f i n i t i o n of the term, but never was there another l e x i c o g r a p h e r such as Johnson. He faced every word 22 "as a new and unavoidable c h a l l e n g e , " and from h i s v a s t Ian Watt, "Dr. Johnson and the L i t e r a t u r e of Experience," Johnsonian S t u d i e s , ed. Magdi Wahba ( C a i r o : Oxford U n i v e r s i t y P r e s s , 1962), p. 19. funded s t o r e of reading he drew i l l u s t r a t i v e quotations i n a manner which was not only o r i g i n a l but was a l s o h i g h l y s i g -n i f i c a n t to the advancement of l e x i c o g r a p h y , as the words of Gordon S. Haight bear witness: In the whole h i s t o r y of l e x i c o g r a p h y from the f i f t e e n t h century to the days of the New E n g l i s h D i c t i o n a r y there has been no g r e a t e r advance than Johnson 1s attempt to i l l u s t r a t e the h i s t o r y of words by quoting from the authors who used them; f o r c o n c e i v i n g t h i s p r i n c i p l e and c a r r y i n g i t out, no matter how i m p e r f e c t l y , he deserves a l l honor.23 Through the employment of the p r i n c i p l e of s e l e c t i v e choice i n h i s i l l u s t r a t i v e c i t a t i o n s , Johnson d i s c l o s e s those i n f l u e n c e s which, i n a l l l i k e l i h o o d , served to shape h i s own p e r s o n a l experience. He drew f r e q u e n t l y upon the bank of h i s memory f o r h i s q u o t a t i o n s , and these q u o t a t i o n s , so f i x e d i n the memory t h a t they can be r e c a l l e d at w i l l , have t h e i r own s i g n i f i c a n c e i n r e v e a l i n g Johnson's h a b i t u a l thought p a t t e r n s . In a l l cases the task of h i s amanuenses was merely t h a t of t r a n s c r i p t i o n ; the scrupulous Johnson i n v a r i a b l y d i d h i s own 24 reading and marked h i s own s e l e c t i o n s f o r copying. I t i s t h i s very c o n s c i e n t i o u s n e s s i n Johnson's approach which makes the D i c t i o n a r y so u n i q u e l y important an instrument; "no other l i t e r a r y man ever l e f t a more e x p l i c i t and a v a i l a b l e r e c o r d of h i s reading f o r a long p e r i o d i n a body of important "Johnson's Copy of Bacon's Works," Yale U n i v e r s i t y  L i b r a r y Gazette, v i (1932), 73. 24 See W. B. C. Watkins, Johnson and E n g l i s h Poetry Before  1660 ( P r i n c e t o n U n i v e r s i t y P r e s s , 1936), pp. 23-24. l i t e r a t u r e . " ^ I t i s what Johnson has s i f t e d and chosen to r e c o r d from t h i s v a s t body of reading which makes the D i c t i o n a r y so im-p o r t a n t a source of evidence r e g a r d i n g Johnson's opinions i n those areas to which he i s deeply committed, such as moral p h i l o s o p h y . In other areas, where h i s concern i s not so deep or where h i s p o s i t i o n i s e s s e n t i a l l y n e u t r a l , h i s opinions are s u b j e c t to q u e s t i o n . Donald Greene has noted t h i s q u a l i f i -c a t i o n and, i n speaking of the D i c t i o n a r y as an a u t h o r i t a t i v e source f o r the p o l i t i c a l opinions of the l e x i c o g r a p h e r , he r e f e r s t o the " l a r g e extent" to which the l a t t e r "was merely f o l l o w i n g accepted l e x i c o g r a p h i c a l t r a d i t i o n . Even some of the examples c i t e d by Boswell as most c l e a r l y expressing 26 Johnson's own p r e j u d i c e s are arguable." However, what concerns t h i s t h e s i s i s not p r e j u d i c e s but moral philosophy, and i n the area of m o r a l i t y there i s no ambiguity i n Johnson's p o s i t i o n . "We are p e r p e t u a l l y moral-i s t s " he has s a i d , and h i s p e r s o n a l commitment to t h i s a t -t i t u d e i s borne out by evidence of the D i c t i o n a r y . He i n d i r e c t l y promotes v i r t u e i n the work by e x e r c i s i n g a form of moral censorship which avoids i l l u s t r a t i v e c i t a t i o n s from authors whose views he c o n s i d e r s i n i m i c a l to m o r a l i t y . For 25 Wimsatt, P h i l o s o p h i c Words (New Haven, 1948), p. x. 26 The P o l i t i c s of Samuel Johns on (New Haven: Yale U n i v e r s i t y Press, 1960), p. 154. example, Thomas Hobbes i s never mentioned because he bears the stigma of imputed i r r e l i g i o n ; hence, he i s debarred, even though Johnson shared many of the views of the " A t h e i s t of Malmesbury," i n c l u d i n g views of such b a s i c p h i l o s o p h i c impor-tance as the concept of the nature of man as being e s s e n t i a l l y w o l f i s h . S i m i l a r i s the case of Samuel C l a r k e , a clergyman whose sermons and other w r i t i n g s Johnson h e l d i n hig h esteem. He i s mentioned f r e q u e n t l y i n Boswell's L i f e , y e t i s never c i t e d i n the D i c t i o n a r y because of a c e r t a i n unorthodoxy i n 27 h i s views r e g a r d i n g the T r i n i t y . A r a t h e r s u r p r i s i n g i n -stance of comparative n e g l e c t i s the case of Robert Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy, "the only book t h a t ever took him (Johnson) out of bed two hours sooner than he wished t o 28 r i s e . " The work made a profound impression upon Johnson, and Burton's a p h o r i s t i c s t y l e made him eminently s u i t a b l e f o r qu o t a t i o n , y e t h i s name appears but r a r e l y i n the D i c t i o n a r y . One can only surmise t h a t the r a t h e r sombre s u b j e c t matter of the Anatomy was h e l d by Johnson to be i n a p p r o p r i a t e f o r natures l e s s ruggedly c o n s t i t u t e d than h i s own. A l l of these examples a t t e s t to Johnson's a b i d i n g concern f o r the moral w e l l - b e i n g of h i s reader; they a l s o confirm the E. L. McAdam, J r . , Donald and Mary Hyde, eds., D i a r i e s , Prayers and Annals, by Samuel Johnson (New Haven: Yale U n i v e r s i t y P r e s s ) , I (1958), 105n. 28 James Boswell, L i f e of Johns on, ed. G. B. H i l l , r e v . L. F. Powell (Oxford: Clarendon P r e s s , 1934), I I , 121. o adherence to h i s own famous dictum: " I t i s always the w r i t e r ' s 29 duty to make the world b e t t e r . " Although there would appear to be l i t t l e scope i n a work of l e x i c o g r a p h y f o r such a l a u d -able purpose, Johnson, by e x e r c i s i n g the negative v i r t u e of e x c l u s i o n , w i t h the one hand wards o f f p o s s i b l e baneful i n -f l u e n c e s ; w i t h the other hand he t h r u s t s forward those benef-i c e n t and p o s i t i v e i n f l u e n c e s which he taps by a d i s c r i m i n a t i n g use of i l l u s t r a t i v e q u o t a t i o n . Granting t h a t a system of moral order p r e v a i l s throughout the D i c t i o n a r y , who are the authors whose c i t e d words bear by i m p l i c a t i o n the Johnsonian stamp of moral approval? A s t a t i s -t i c a l study of the f i r s t volume of the f o u r volume e d i t i o n of the D i c t i o n a r y has provided a v a l i d answer to t h i s q u e s t i o n through a complete t a b u l a t i o n of sources, a t a b u l a t i o n which r e v e a l s t h a t the f o u r authors most f r e q u e n t l y c i t e d by Johnson are: Shakespeare, Dryden, M i l t o n , and Bacon, i n t h a t order of 30 frequency. T h i s choice i l l u s t r a t e s Johnson's rare a b i l i t y to transcend the b a r r i e r s of p r e j u d i c e and t o view o b j e c t i v e l y , and to a p p r e c i a t e f a i r l y , the work of others whose order of l i t e r a r y and moral values d i f f e r from h i s own. J . Vf. Krutch has commented upon t h i s l i b e r a l i t y of a t t i t u d e : Johnson, Preface to Shakespeare: Works, V I I , ed. A r t h u r Sherbo (New Haven: Yale U n i v e r s i t y Press, 1968), p. 71. 30 Lewis M. Freed, "The Sources of Johnson's D i c t i o n a r y " ( d i s s . , C o r n e l l U n i v e r s i t y , , 1939). One of the most s t r i k i n g f e a t u r e s of Johnson as a m o r a l i s t i s h i s unusual combination of u n y i e l d i n g s t r i c t n e s s so f a r as what he regarded as p o s i t i v e l y r e q u i r e d or p o s i t i v e l y f o r b i d d e n to man i s concerned, with the g r e a t e s t indulgence f o r h i m s e l f as w e l l as f o r others i n the matter of a l l a c t i v i t i e s which he regarded as e s s e n t i a l l y n e u t r a l . He d i s t r u s t e d , as he c l e a r l y s a i d , a l l tendency t o m u l t i p l y scruples.31 T h i s l i b e r a l i t y of a t t i t u d e was a t y p i c a l i n an age where abs o l u t i s m i n moral standards was the general r u l e . A l s o a t y p i c a l was the imaginative leap of h i s understanding which allowed him to enter i n t o the s p i r i t of a previous age and to p r o j e c t h i s wide sympathy to encompass the human and s o c i a l v i r t u e s , as w e l l as the f a i l i n g s of the l i t e r a r y r e p r e s e n t -a t i v e s of t h a t age. The u n d e r l y i n g t o l e r a n c e of Johnson tends to be obscured by the s u r f a c e appearance of hide-bound t o r y i s m which he too o f t e n presented t o the w o r l d . I t i s a t o l e r a n c e which i s o p e r a t i v e i n h i s s e l e c t i o n of the f o u r great l i t e r a r y f i g u r e s who are h i s primary sources f o r c i t a -t i o n s ; f o r each of these f i g u r e s f a l l a f o u l of Johnsonian p r i n c i p l e s i n one way or another. In the case of Shakespeare there i s an inherent c o n t r a -d i c t i o n between Johnson's r e s p e c t f o r c l a s s i c a l p r i n c i p l e s of order and the r e g u l a r i t y and h i s p a r t i a l i t y to the h i g h l y i r r e g u l a r bard. We see him w r e s t l i n g with t h i s ambivalence as he speaks i n the Preface to Shakespeare of h i s s u b j e c t ' s Samuel Johnson (New York: Henry H o l t & Co., 1945), p. 315. " d e f e c t s " i n the sphere of m o r a l i t y : He s a c r i f i c e s v i r t u e to convenience, and i s so much more c a r e f u l t o please than to i n s t r u c t , that he seems to w r i t e without any moral purpose. Prom h i s w r i t i n g s indeed a system of s o c i a l duty may be s e l e c t e d , f o r he t h a t t h i n k s reasonably must t h i n k m o r a l l y ; but h i s precepts and axioms drop c a s u a l l y from him; he makes no j u s t d i s t r i b u t i o n of good or e v i l ; nor i s always c a r e f u l to show i n the v i r t u o u s a d i s a p p r o b a t i o n of the wicked . . . T h i s f a u l t the b a r b a r i t y of h i s age cannot extenuate; f o r i t i s always a w r i t e r ' s duty to make the world b e t t e r , and j u s t i c e i s a v i r t u e independent on time or place.32 The note of censure apparent i n these words i s r e l a t i v e l y m i l d when measured a g a i n s t the general tone of approbation throughout the P r e f a c e . The key to Johnson's s e l f - j u s t i f -i c a t i o n f o r h i s f a v o u r i t i s m i s contained i n the statement: "he t h a t t h i n k s reasonably must t h i n k morally!"; i n other words, Shakespeare's i n t e n t i o n may not have been moral, but the e f f e c t of h i s work tends t o the advancement of m o r a l i t y and t h e r e f o r e merits commendation. Any Johnsonian commendation could be expected to come more grudgingly i n an assessment of the l i f e and works of John M i l t o n . The monarchist and orthodox Johnson shared l i t t l e common ground, e i t h e r i n p o l i t i c a l c o n v i c t i o n s or i n r e l i g i o u s t e n e t s , with the man he r e f e r r e d t o as a " s u r l y r e p u b l i c a n . " Notwithstanding, the honest c r i t i c i n Johnson giv e s due r e c o g n i t i o n to the l i t e r a r y genius of M i l t o n ; the v i g i l a n t m o r a l i s t i n him v o i c e s due p r a i s e f o r the M i l t o n i c 3 2 ¥ o r k s , VII (New Haven, 1968), p. 71 moralism: "Of h i s moral sentiments i t i s h a r d l y p r a i s e to a f f i r m t h a t they e x c e l t h a t of a l l other poets; f o r t h i s s u p e r i o r i t y he was indebted to h i s acquaintance with the sacred w r i t i n g s . " ^ For John Dryden, i n r e l i g i o n and i n p o l i t i c s a turncoat and i n moralism a l i g h t w e i g h t by any c r i t e r i o n , Johnson can f i n d a s o l i d b a s i s f o r a p p r e c i a t i o n only i n the province of l i t e r a r y achievement. His hig h e s t p r a i s e i s res e r v e d f o r Dryden's c o n t r i b u t i o n t o E n g l i s h poetry, and i n h i s summation of t h a t c o n t r i b u t i o n he e u l o g i z e s the poet i n these words: "What was s a i d of Rome, adorned by Augustus, may be a p p l i e d by an easy metaphor to E n g l i s h poetry embellished by Dryden, •he found i t b r i c k , and he l e f t i t marble.'" I have drawn out t h i s d i s c u s s i o n of these three authors to some l e n g t h , i n order to i l l u s t r a t e an important aspect of Johnson as a m o r a l i s t , namely: h i s broad-minded t o l e r a t i o n of the d i f f e r i n g r e l i g i o u s and p o l i t i c a l views of others and, i n a d d i t i o n , h i s i m p l i c i t acceptance of the f a c t t h a t the moral a t t i t u d e of others may be keyed to a d i f f e r e n t p i t c h and a p p l i e d l e s s r i g o r o u s l y than h i s own. Another, and converse aspect, i s the l a t e n t dogmatism and stubborn i n f l e x i b i l i t y of h i s c h a r a c t e r , an aspect which i n v a r i a b l y s u r f a c e s whenever he d i v i n e s a t h r e a t to h i s own t e n a c i o u s l y h e l d c o n v i c t i o n s 33 " L i f e of M i l t o n , " L i v e s , ed. George Birkbeck H i l l , I, 3 4 " L i f e of Dryden," L i v e s , I, 469. r e g a r d i n g the immutable v e r i t i e s of r e v e a l e d r e l i g i o n and m o r a l i t y . Johnson was a r e a l i s t with a p e s s i m i s t i c s t r e a k ; he d i d not expect p e r f e c t i o n i n t h i s world; and, though h i s moral aim i s to i n c u l c a t e v i r t u e , he never underestimates the d i f f i c u l t y of h i s t a s k . Perhaps n o t h i n g r e v e a l s so w e l l the bond of w o r l d l y wisdom which l i n k s him to Bacon as does h i s approving comment upon the l a t t e r * s r e a l i s t i c views: "Bacon i n the H i s t o r y of the Winds, a f t e r having o f f e r e d something to the imagination as d e s i r a b l e , o f t e n proposes lower advan-tages i n i t s place to the reason as a t t a i n a b l e . " T h i s i s only one of many ins t a n c e s of the community of i n t e r e s t s and of f e e l i n g Johnson shared with Bacon. I t i s a bond of sympathy r e i n f o r c e d by the empathy and the t o l e r a n c e I have p r e v i o u s l y c i t e d ; a l l of which, i n t o t a l , more than compensate f o r the d i s a p p r o v a l Johnson expressed f o r Bacon's lapse i n moral r e c t i t u d e . James Boswell, w r i t i n g of Johnson i n the L i f e , r e v e a l s something of h i s s u b j e c t ' s a t t i t u d e r e -garding Bacon: He t o l d me, t h a t Bacon was a f a v o u r i t e author w i t h him, but he had never read h i s works t i l l he was compiling the E n g l i s h D i c t i o n a r y , i n which he s a i d , I might see Bacon very o f t e n quoted. Mr. Seward r e c o l l e c t s h i s having mentioned, t h a t a D i c t i o n a r y of the E n g l i s h Language might be compiled from Bacon's w r i t i n g s alone, and t h a t he had once an i n t e n t i o n of g i v i n g an e d i t i o n of Bacon, at l e a s t o f h i s E n g l i s h works, and w r i t i n g the L i f e of t h a t great man.36 Rambler 14; Works I I I , 77-78. ed. G. B. H i l l , I I I , 194. I have s t r e s s e d the p e r v a s i v e i n f l u e n c e of Johnson's moral censorship i m p l i c i t i n h i s s e l e c t i o n o f c i t a t i o n s f o r the D i c t i o n a r y , a s e l e c t i v i t y which confirms an adherence t o h i s own dictum: "We are p e r p e t u a l l y m o r a l i s t s . " However, i n t h i s i n s t a n c e , Johnson i s not only a m o r a l i s t but a l s o a l e x -icographer engaged i n a t a s k r e q u i r i n g monumental e f f o r t and i n v o l v i n g monumental tedium and drudgery. I t i s the sheer magnitude of the mechanics of t h i s t a s k which compels Johnson to lower h i s s i g h t s as he f a c e s the p r a c t i c a l i m p o s s i b i l i t y of m a i n t a i n i n g the meticulous standards he had e s t a b l i s h e d f o r 37 h i m s e l f and had endeavored to maintain under the l e t t e r "A." Confined by the r e l e n t l e s s pressures of time and by the l i m -i t a t i o n s of endurance, Johnson, as a p r a c t i c a l man and as a c o n s c i e n t i o u s l e x i c o g r a p h e r , must have found h i s volumes of Bacon as something i n the nature of a godsend. Here, at h i s hand, was profound knowledge condensed i n t o a p h o r i s t i c phrases, phrases which, i n t h e i r axiomatic t e r s e n e s s , were i d e a l l y f i t t e d t o h i s purpose as a l e x i c o g r a p h e r ; i n t h e i r content c o n g e n i a l to h i s moral philosophy; i n t h e i r a p h o r i s t i c form attuned to the l i t e r a r y t a s t e of one who was not only h i m s e l f a great a p h o r i s t but who a l s o esteemed h i g h l y the a p h o r i s t i c s k i l l of others, as h i s words bear witness: He may t h e r e f o r e be j u s t l y numbered among the benefactors of mankind, who c o n t r a c t s the great r u l e s of l i f e i n t o s h o r t See Wimsatt, P h i l o s o p h i c Words, p. 46 sentences, t h a t may be e a s i l y impressed on the memory, and taught by frequent r e c o l l e c t i o n to r e c u r h a b i t u a l l y t o the mind.38 In r e s p e c t to a p h o r i s t i c s k i l l , the f i g u r e of F r a n c i s Bacon looms l a r g e among such "benefactors of mankind," and the extent to which h i s works were i n the nature of a godsend t o the h a r r i e d l e x i c o g r a p h e r i s r e v e a l e d by the testimony of the D i c t i o n a r y ; f o r i t i s a matter of important s t a t i s t i c a l f a c t t h a t i n the f i r s t volume alone, comprising approximately a f o u r t h of the t o t a l words, Johnson has drawn upon F r a n c i s Bacon as a source f o r n e a r l y twenty-five hundred i l l u s t r a t i v e .. 39 c i t a t i o n s . T h i s emphasis upon the important p r a c t i c a l b e n e f i t s which such c i t a t i o n s c o n f e r r e d upon the l e x i c o g r a p h e r , must not obscure the f a c t t h a t they are intended a l s o t o serve a l a r g e r aim i n the advancement of man's moral i n t e r e s t s . T h i s i s made patent i n the Pr e f a c e , wherein Johnson announces h i s i n t e n t i o n t h a t a l l the c i t a t i o n s s h a l l be " u s e f u l to some other end than the i l l u s t r a t i o n of a word." I t i s to f u r t h e r t h i s moral pur-pose t h a t he turns t o the works of the E l i z a b e t h a n authors where, among "the w e l l s of E n g l i s h u n d e f i l e d , " he f i n d s the sources of a speech "adequate to a l l the purposes of use and elegance." Among these masters Johnson c i t e s F r a n c i s Bacon as Rambler 175; Works V, 160. 'Freed, "The Sources of Johnson's D i c t i o n a r y , " p. 47. h i s s u f f i c i e n t a u t h o r i t y f o r the terms of " n a t u r a l knowledge." He does, indeed, draw l a r g e l y upon Bacon's N a t u r a l H i s t o r y to i l l u s t r a t e the terms of n a t u r a l philosophy, but h i s i n t e r e s t s have a wider scope, and he ranges widely among Bacon's works to f i n d many quotations which he a p p l i e s to the i l l u s t r a t i o n of the terms of moral p h i l o s o p h y . One example of these l a t t e r i l l u s t r a t i v e q uotations occurs i n h i s d e f i n i t i o n of the word " r a t i o n a l i s t , " a term h i g h l y s i g n i f i c a n t w i t h i n the context of moral p h i l o s o p h y . In the D i c t i o n a r y Johnson gives the denotative meaning of the term as : "one who proceeds i n h i s d i s q u i s i t i o n s and p r a c t i c e wholly upon reason." He then proceeds t o e l a b o r a t e upon h i s d e f i n i t i o n , and to r e v e a l the pe r s o n a l connotations he attaches to the term, by c a l l i n g upon a s e r i e s of apt s i m i l e s drawn from Bacon's works. He o f t e n used t h i s comparison, the e m p i r i c a l p h i l o s o p h e r s are l i k e to p i s m i r e s ; they only l a y up and. use t h e i r s t o r e ; the r a t i o n a l i s t s are l i k e to s p i d e r s ; they s p i n a l l out of t h e i r bowels; but give me the p h i l o s o p h e r , who, l i k e the bee, hath a middle f a c u l t y , g a t h e r i n g from abroad, but d i g e s t i n g what i s gathered by h i s own v i r t u e . Johnson's use of t h i s i l l u s t r a t i o n i n d i c a t e s h i s l i n k w i t h the moral thought of Bacon i n t h i s important area; i t f u r t h e r i n d i c a t e s t h a t he shares Bacon's r e s e r v a t i o n s r e g a r d i n g any t o o - e x c l u s i v e a dependence upon the r a t i o n a l f a c u l t y . T h i s l a t t e r f a c t i s confirmed by the testimony of h i s work, with i t s Baconian emphasis upon the ob s e r v a t i o n and the experience of l i f e as being n e c e s s a r i l y antecendent to the ex e r c i s e of r i g h t reason. L i k e S w i f t ' s famous bee i n The B a t t l e of the Books, he would hol d that the mind must f i r s t e n r i c h i t s e l f "by an u n i v e r s a l Range, w i t h long Search, much 40 atudy, true Judgment, and D i s t i n c t i o n of Things," f o r not u n t i l then may i t reap the f u l l harvest of i t s l a b o u r s . J . H. Hagstrum has remarked on t h i s important q u a l i f i c a t i o n of Johnson's r a t i o n a l i s m : Bacon's l i t t l e f a b l e of the bee leaves room f o r the r a t i o n a l f a c u l t y , s i n c e the mind must, by i t s own power, d i g e s t at home the m a t e r i a l s presented t o i t . But before e v e r y t h i n g e l s e i t must gather from abroad through e m p i r i c a l o b s e r v a t i o n and search. Johnson not only accepted the Baconian conception of the mind-empirical o b s e r v a t i o n f o l l o w e d by r a t i o n a l i s t i c " d i g e s t i o n " — a s an e p i s t e m o l o g i c a l t r u t h , but he made i t fundamental to h i s conception o f the mental p r e p a r a t i o n of the poet f o r h i s t a s k . One of the most s t r i k i n g f a c t s about Johnson's o f t - r e p e a t e d " c h a r a c t e r " of the poet i s the prom-inence he gives t o the e m p i r i c a l f a c u l t y . 4 1 Poetry, f o r F r a n c i s Bacon, i s a p l a n t sprung "from the l u s t of the e a r t h without a formal seed" and, whereas p h i l o s -ophy has referenc e to the f a c u l t y of Reason, poetry p e r t a i n s to Imagination, which "may a t pleasure make unlawful matches 42 and d i v o r c e s of t h i n g s . " Both of these f a c u l t i e s of the 40 A Tale of a Tub and The B a t t l e of the Books, eds. A. C. Guthkelch, D. N i c h o l Smith (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1958), p. 232. 4 1 " N a t u r e of Dr. Johnson's R a t i o n a l i s m , " JELH, XVIII (1950), 195. 'Bacon, Works, IV, 315. r a t i o n a l s o u l must be informed by the o b s e r v a t i o n and by the experience of l i f e and, although both serve a complementary f u n c t i o n , the r o l e of Imagination i s s u b s e r v i e n t , and i t must not presume t o domination over Reason. Ne v e r t h e l e s s , i n r e -spect to c e r t a i n c r e a t i v e f u n c t i o n s of the Imagination, Bacon does admit a q u a l i f i c a t i o n to t h i s r o l e of subservience: For sense sendeth over to Imagination before Reason have judged . . . N e i t h e r i s the Imagination simply and only a messenger; but i s i n v e s t e d with or a t l e a s t usurpeth no small a u t h o r i t y i n i t s e l f . . . f o r we see i n matters of F a i t h and R e l i g i o n we r a i s e our Imagination above our Reason.43 Bacon, somewhat p a t r o n i z i n g l y , r e f e r s t o poetry i n general as the "pleasure and p l a y of imagination." However, f o r h e r o i c p o e t r y he f i n d s words of p r a i s e , f o r i t "conduces not only to d e l i g h t but a l s o to magnanimity and m o r a l i t y " and '.'partakes somewhat of a d i v i n e nature, because i t r a i s e s the mind and c a r r i e s i t a l o f t , accomodating the show of t h i n g s to 44 the d e s i r e s of the mind." He recognizes the p o t e n t i a l value of p o e t r y as a medium of moral i n s t r u c t i o n but, apart from t h i s , h i s p r a i s e i s i n the nature of "an i n d u l g e n t concession 45 to human f r a i l t y , to the I d o l s of the T r i b e . " Poetry i s a s u b j e c t at the opposite pole to the science which i s h i s 43 Bacon, Works. I l l , 382. 4 4 * I b i d . , IV, 316. 45 B a s i l W i l l e y , The E n g l i s h M o r a l i s t s (London: Chatto & Windus, 1964), p. 146. paramount i n t e r e s t ; hence, i t i s o b v i o u s l y of secondary im-portance to him. Nothing could be more i n d i c a t i v e of h i s a t t i t u d e toward poetry than the tone of p e r f u n c t o r y d i s m i s s a l which pervades the paragraph which a b r u p t l y c l o s e s h i s t r e a t -ment of the s u b j e c t : "But we stay too long i n the t h e a t r e ; l e t us now pass to the palace of the mind, which we are to 46 approach and enter with more reverence and a t t e n t i o n . " The "palace of the mind" meant as much to Johnson as i t d i d to Bacon, and the c o n j u n c t i o n i n t h e i r thought regarding the v i t a l r o l e of e m p i r i c a l o b s e r v a t i o n i n the realm of reason i s repeated i n t h e i r l i k e i n s i s t e n c e upon e m p i r i c a l knowledge as being the e s s e n t i a l b a s i s f o r the proper f u n c t i o n i n g of the imaginative f a c u l t y . "Imagination," Johnson d e c l a r e s , " i s u s e l e s s without knowledge: nature gives i n v a i n the power of combination, unless study and o b s e r v a t i o n supply 47 m a t e r i a l s t o be combined." Thus, i n e f f e c t , he denies t h a t imagination can be the fountainhead of any form of t r a n -scendental knowledge. In common with the general p r a c t i s e of h i s age, Johnson t r e a t s "fancy" and "imagination" as synonymous terms, as i s evident i n the D i c t i o n a r y where he d e f i n e s the l a t t e r term as: "Fancy: the power of forming i d e a l p i c t u r e s ; the power of r e p r e s e n t i n g t h i n g s absent to Bacon, Works, IV, 335. 47 " L i f e of B u t l e r , " L i v e s , ed. George Birkbeck H i l l , I, 212. one's s e l f or others." What i s s i g n i f i c a n t t o my purpose i s t h a t , as i n the case of the term, " r a t i o n a l i s t , " Johnson has e l e c t e d t o i l l u s t r a t e the p o s s i b l e connotative i n t e r p r e t a t i o n s of the term by an extensive q u o t a t i o n from the works o f Bacon. On t h i s o c c a s i o n , however, he has the a d d i t i o n a l advantage of being able to r e c o r d Bacon's own considered attempt to d e f i n e a l l t h a t he h i m s e l f comprehended by the term "imagination": Imagination I understand to be the r e p r e s e n t a t i o n of an i n d i v i d u a l thought. Imagination i s of three k i n d s : j o i n e d w i t h b e l i e f of t h a t which i s to come; j o i n e d with memory of t h a t which i s past; and of t h i n g s present, or as i f they were present; f o r I comprehend i n t h i s imagination f e i g n e d and a t p l e a s u r e , as i f one should imagine such a man to be i n the vestments of a pope, or to have wings. Johnson's i m p l i c i t endorsement of the Baconian i n t e r -p r e t a t i o n s can be i n f e r r e d from h i s use of the c i t a t i o n ; but h i s own more s u b j e c t i v e d e f i n i t i o n , and one which r e v e a l s what i s perhaps a c e r t a i n impatience with the inherent ambiguity of the term, appears i n Rambler 125: Imagination, a l i c e n t i o u s and vagrant f a c u l t y , u n s u s c e p t i b l e of l i m i t a t i o n s and impatient of r e s t r a i n t , has always en-deavored to b a f f l e the l o g i c i a n , to perplex the confines of d i s t i n c t i o n , and b u r s t the enclosures of r e g u l a r i t y . 4 8 Johnson's view of the imagination assumes a darker c a s t than does t h a t of Bacon. His b i t t e r s t r u g g l e s w i t h h i s own u n r u l y i n c l i n a t i o n s and passions doubtless gave him a keener awareness of the power of the i r r a t i o n a l f o r c e s of imagination 4 8Works IV, 300. to subvert the dominance of reason, an awareness which comes through i n the r i n g of c o n v i c t i o n i n h i s statements on the s u b j e c t . N evertheless, he would not h o l d i t p o s s i b l e or even d e s i r a b l e f o r man to achieve the opposite p o s i t i o n of a c o l d , d i s p a s s i o n a t e r a t i o n a l i t y ; to do so would be to suppress the v i t a l p a s s i o n a l s i d e of h i s nature and t o deny the i n e s -capable f a c t t h a t humanity i s compounded of both reason and p a s s i o n . Man, p l a c e d on the "isthmus of a middle s t a t e , " i s n e i t h e r houyhnhnm nor yahoo; h i s human nature f o r c e s him to walk an endless t i g h t r o p e ; reason and p a s s i o n r i d e on e i t h e r end of h i s b a l a n c i n g rod; whether that rod i n c l i n e s too f a r to one s i d e or the other, i t i s a l i k e d i s a s t e r . In R a s s e l a s , Johnson's i r o n i c s a t i r e probes the e f f e c t s of such imbalance i n the human mind: the s t o i c p h i l o s o p h e r , who breaks down under the weight of unexpected p e r s o n a l a f f l i c t i o n , r e v e a l s the f a l l a c y of the c l a i m of human s e l f -s u f f i c i e n c y based e x c l u s i v e l y upon the r a t i o n a l f a c u l t y ; on the other hand, the mad astronomer i l l u s t r a t e s the dangers of c r e a t i n g an imaginary world of i l l u s i o n by the s i n g l e -minded c o n c e n t r a t i o n upon p a r t i c u l a r s , f o r t h i s s e l f - c r e a t e d world can, a l l too e a s i l y , become a world of d e l u s i o n . I t i s t h i s tendency of imagination to concentrate upon what i s t r a n s i t o r y and p a r t i c u l a r , r a t h e r than upon what i s permanent and u n i v e r s a l , which i s at the r o o t of Johnson's d i s t r u s t of t h i s "vagrant" f a c u l t y . His awareness of t h i s tendency w i t h i n h i s own t u r b u l e n t nature, and h i s constant e f f o r t s t o c o n t r o l i t , perhaps gave a compensatory c o l o u r i n g to h i s a t t i t u d e r e g a r d i n g imaginative l i t e r a t u r e i n g e n e r a l . C e r t a i n l y , from a modern p e r s p e c t i v e , h i s general approach to poe t r y and h i s conception of the poet's r o l e appear as pedes-t r i a n as do the comparable a t t i t u d e s of Bacon. There i s the same s t r e s s on the d i d a c t i v e f u n c t i o n of poetry: "the end of w r i t i n g i s t o i n s t r u c t ; the end of p o e t r y i s to i n s t r u c t by 49 p l e a s i n g " ; a l s o , there i s the same p r a i s e f o r e p i c poetry: "which undertakes to teach the most important t r u t h s by the 50 most p l e a s i n g p r e c e p t s . " F i n a l l y , there i s the t y p i c a l l y Baconian emphasis upon e m p i r i c a l knowledge; f o r Johnson holds t h a t the mark of the genuine poet i s t r u t h to nature, and such t r u t h can only be d e r i v e d from antecedent experience. 51 The oft-quoted passage from E a s s e l a s , i n which Imlac claims the business of the poet i s not to number the streaks of the t u l i p , has o f t e n been i n t e r p r e t e d as a d e f i n i t i v e statement of Johnson's own a e s t h e t i c p r i n c i p l e s . T h i s i s not n e c e s s a r i l y so. Much of what Imlac says i n h i s d i s s e r t a t i o n on poetry i s indeed c o n s i s t e n t w i t h Johnson's c r i t i c a l t e n e t s , but Imlac i s c a r r i e d so f a r a f i e l d by h i s t r a n s p o r t s of en-thusiasm as to l o s e h i s customary common sense, u n t i l he "sounds l i k e any of the other i m p r a c t i c a l v i s i o n a r i e s i n the 49 Johnson, Preface to Shakespeare; Works, V I I , 67. 5 0 " L i f e of M i l t o n , " L i v e s , ed. G. B. H i l l , I, 170. 51 Chap. x. s t o r y i n announcing the r e q u i s i t e s of p o e t r y — u n i v e r s a l 52 knowledge and complete o b j e c t i v i t y , " The tenor of the d i s -s e r t a t i o n confirms the f a c t t h a t at some i n d e f i n i t e p o i n t parody has taken over, and the view of poetry represented by Imlac has become the t a r g e t of Johnsonian i r o n y and humour. " B a r d o l a t r y , " i t has been a p t l y s a i d , " c e r t a i n l y i s not a s i n 53 Johnson ever committed," and h i s own somewhat modest claims f o r poetry are completely a t v a r i a n c e with the grandiloquent claims of Imlac. Johnson's own commentary on these l a t t e r claims appears i n the d e c i s i v e words of Rasselas which prop-e r l y d e f l a t e Imlac: "Enough, thou hast convinced me t h a t no 54 human being can ever be a poet." To r e t u r n once again to F r a n c i s Bacon, there i s an im-p o r t a n t statement i n the De Augmentis concerning the psycho-l o g i c a l f a c u l t i e s which form the primary supports of the system of knowledge and of l e a r n i n g which he i s propounding: The best d i v i s i o n of human l e a r n i n g i s that d e r i v e d from the three f a c u l t i e s of the r a t i o n a l s o u l , which i s the seat of l e a r n i n g . H i s t o r y has r e f e r e n c e to the Memory, poesy to the Imagination, and philosophy to the Reason . . . . Wherefore from these three f o u n t a i n s , Memory, Imagination, and Reason flow these three emanations. H i s t o r y , Poesy, and Philosophy: and there can be no others.55 5 2 A l v i n Whitley, "The Comedy of R a s s e l a s , " ELH, XXIII (March, 1956), 57. 53 Clarence R. Tracy, "Democritus A r i s e . , A Study of Dr. Johnson's Humor," Yale Review, XXXIX (1949), 307. 54 Rasselas, chap. x i . 5 5 I I . I: Works, IV, 292. The phrase, "the best d i v i s i o n , " i s h i g h l y suggestive i n the context of t h i s Baconian c l a s s i f i c a t i o n of l e a r n i n g f o r , as one w r i t e r has noted, i t " i m p l i e s an awareness of d i f f e r e n t ways of c l a s s i f i c a t i o n and d e l i b e r a t e choice of h i s own 56 b a s i s . " In t h i s choice Bacon has r e j e c t e d the c l a s s i c a l account of the f a c u l t i e s , w i t h i t s i n c l u s i o n of a f a c u l t y of common sense; he has a l s o r e j e c t e d the account of the s c h o o l -men, w i t h i t s m u l t i p l i c i t y of d i v i s i o n s c r e a t e d by a b s t r a c t s p e c u l a t i o n . His own d i v i s i o n , simple and concrete, r e f l e c t s h i s constant preference f o r the f u n c t i o n a l r a t h e r than the s p e c u l a t i v e . I t was designed to form the b a s i s of a p r a c -t i c a l c l a s s i f i c a t i o n of l e a r n i n g which would not only encom-pass a l l t h a t had a l r e a d y been d i s c o v e r e d on the map of knowledge, but would a l s o s i g n a l i z e those shadowy areas which i t was most n e e d f u l f o r man to e x p l o r e . In the c r e a t i o n of t h i s system of knowledge the three b a s i c c a t e g o r i e s of Reason, Memory, and Imagination are c r u c i a l l y important to Bacon, f o r these three f a c u l t i e s form the s t r u c t u r a l centre of h i s b u i l d -i n g of l e a r n i n g and c a r r y most of the weight of t h i s b u i l d i n g , together with a l l of i t s e l a b o r a t i o n s and a l l of i t s rami-f i c a t i o n s . In r e s p e c t to these three f a c u l t i e s , the evidence of the D i c t i o n a r y r e v e a l s how Johnson has f o l l o w e d the Baconian conception of the f u n c t i o n of both Reason and of Imagination. Anderson, The Philosophy of F r a n c i s Bacon, p. 156. What of Memory, the t h i r d f a c u l t y , and the one to which Bacon assigns the f i e l d of H i s t o r y ? The a t t i t u d e of Bacon re g a r d i n g t h i s f a c u l t y has been a p t l y d e s c r i b e d as f o l l o w s : The senses, imagination, reason, and understanding f e d memory and memory f e d them. The r a t i o n a l f a c u l t i e s and a f f e c t i v e powers as channels of knowing, f e e l i n g , a c t i o n , and movement were not only inoperable but i n c o n c e i v a b l e without memory, the storehouse of experience.57 To f i n d the most complete expression of Johnson's a t t i t u d e concerning memory, i t i s necessary t o move outside of the D i c t i o n a r y to I d l e r 44, wherein he v o i c e s h i s thoughts on the three f a c u l t i e s of Bacon's c l a s s i f i c a t i o n , ^ with a p a r t i c u -l a r emphasis upon the o f f i c e s of the f a c u l t y of memory: Memory i s , among the f a c u l t i e s of the human mind, t h a t of which we make the most frequent use, or r a t h e r t h a t of which the agency i s i n c e s s a n t or p e r p e t u a l . Memory i s the primary and fundamental power, without which there c o u l d be no other i n t e l l e c t u a l o p e r a t i o n . Judgment and r a t i o c i n a t i o n suppose something a l r e a d y known, and draw t h e i r d e c i s i o n s only from experience. Imagination s e l e c t s ideas from the t r e a s u r e s of remembrance, and produces n o v e l t y only by v a r i e d combinations. We do not even form conjectures of d i s t a n t , or a n t i c i p a t i o n of f u t u r e events, but by concluding what i s p o s s i b l e from what i s past.59 Anderson, p. 156. 58 See Robert Shackleton, "Johnson and the Enlightenment," i n Johnson, Boswell and t h e i r C i r c l e (Oxford: Clarendon P r e s s , 1965), p. 90. T h i s author has noted the connection with Bacon's c l a s s i f i c a t i o n and a l s o f i n d s Johnson's thoughts "reminiscent of the system of c l a s s i f i c a t i o n o f human know-ledge, based on these three f a c u l t i e s , which D'Alembert, f o l l o w i n g Bacon's example, had e f f e c t e d i n the *Discours P r e l i m i n a i r e * to the E n c y c l o p e d i c " Works, II (New Haven, 1963), p. 137 F a l l i n g w i t h i n the province of t h i s f a c u l t y of memory are, according to Bacon, a l l of the s e v e r a l branches of h i s -t o r y , a f i e l d of study " p r o p e r l y concerned w i t h i n d i v i d u a l s , which are c i r c u m s c r i b e d by p l a c e and time." C i v i l h i s t o r y , which i n c l u d e s biography, i s one of these branches, a branch, moreover, which Bacon esteems so h i g h l y t h a t he d e c l a r e s the d i f f i c u l t y of i t to be "no l e s s than the d i g n i t y . . . and the d i g n i t y and a u t h o r i t y are pre-eminent among human w r i t i n g s . " I t was i n the time of h i s d i s g r a c e t h a t Bacon h i m s e l f turned to t h i s area, perhaps as a means of c o n s o l a t i o n , and p u b l i s h e d i n 1622 the H i s t o r y of Henry V I I . Although l a t e r ages were to unearth new evidence which was t o supplant t h i s work as a f a c t u a l h i s t o r y , i t n e v e r t h e l e s s remains a c l a s s i c example of Bacon's n a r r a t i v e s k i l l ; and, what i s more important, i t marks a breaking of new ground i n E n g l i s h biography i n the honest and o b j e c t i v e c h a r a c t e r i z a t i o n of Henry. "I have not f l a t -t e r e d him," says Bacon, simply and t r u t h f u l l y , i n h i s Dedica-t i o n of the work, "but took him to l i f e as w e l l as I c o u l d , 61 s i t t i n g so f a r o f f , and having no b e t t e r l i g h t . " A century and a h a l f l a t e r , Samuel Johnson was a l s o to t u r n i n the evening of h i s years to t h i s area of w r i t i n g and to produce h i s g r e a t e s t work of biography i n The L i v e s of the Poets. " I f a man i s to w r i t e 'A Panegyric,'" he was to say, 6 0 D e Augmentis I I . V; Works, IV, 302, 6 1 ¥ o r k s , VI, 25. "he may keep v i c e s out of s i g h t ; t i f he p r o f e s s e s to w r i t e 62 •A L i f e , 1 he must represent i t as i t r e a l l y was." In the p e r i o d of Johnson, as i n t h a t of Bacon, l o f t y panegyric a l l too o f t e n passed f o r biography; however, f o l l o w i n g the Baconian example, and running completely counter to t h i s accepted p r a c t i s e , Johnson became the f i r s t biographer of h i s century to i n s i s t upon the purveyance of t r u t h as being the primary duty of the biographer. He was the f i r s t to h o l d t h a t such b i o g r a p h i c t r u t h was more important than r e s p e c t f o r a dead man; he was the f i r s t to emphasize the p e r s o n a l r a t h e r than the p u b l i c aspect of h i s s u b j e c t . T h i s emphasis upon the p e r s o n a l i s keyed to Johnson's n e v e r - f a i l i n g concern f o r the reader's moral e d i f i c a t i o n . By d e p i c t i n g the v i c e s and weaknesses, as w e l l as the v i r t u e s of h i s s u b j e c t s , he i l l u s t r a t e s the moral lessons which can be drawn from the v i c i s s i t u d e s of t h e i r l i v e s . There i s no doubt t h a t Johnson approached biography as a labour of lo v e ; t h i s i s evidenced by the a m p l i f i c a t i o n of the L i v e s under h i s hand f a r beyond t h e i r planned scope. "No species of w r i t i n g , " he c l a i m s , "seems more worthy of c u l t i v a t i o n than biography, s i n c e none can be more d e l i g h t f u l or more u s e f u l , none can more c e r -t a i n l y enchain the heart by i r r e s i s t i b l e i n t e r e s t , or more ft Q widely d i f f u s e i n s t r u c t i o n to every d i v e r s i t y of c o n d i t i o n . " B oswell, L i f e . I l l , 155. 'Rambler 60; Works, I I I , 319. Biography then, combines both d e l i g h t and i n s t r u c t i o n to produce knowledge u s e f u l and n e e d f u l f o r man's e s t a t e i n t h i s world, r a t h e r than mere knowledge f o r i t s own sake. In t h i s i n v e s t i g a t i o n of Johnson's D i c t i o n a r y i t has only been necessary t o delve below s u r f a c e appearances t o s t r i k e the f i r m f oundation of the author's c o n s i s t e n t moral purpose. W i t h i n the c o n s t r i c t i v e framework imposed by le x i c o g r a p h y , a system of moral order has p r e v a i l e d ; the m o r a l l y d e l e t e r i o u s has been censored and expurgated; only t h a t which bears the stamp of Johnsonian moral approval has been r e t a i n e d . As a r e s u l t , every c i t a t i o n has Johnson's i m p l i c i t moral endorse-ment, and i s a v a l i d gauge of h i s moral a t t i t u d e . The frequency of the c i t a t i o n s drawn from Bacon's works i n d i c a t e s how h e a v i l y Johnson has leaned upon the concis e wisdom of the e a r l i e r master, not only because the b r e v i t y o f form of these c i t a t i o n s made them eminently s u i t a b l e f o r quo-t a t i o n , but a l s o because the views they express were those to which he hi m s e l f f u l l y s u s c r i b e d . I have shown how, i n h i s d e f i n i t i o n of terms e s s e n t i a l to moral philosophy, terms such as: "Imagination" and "Rat i o n a l i s m , " Johnson f o l l o w s Bacon i n s t r e s s i n g the v i t a l r o l e of e m p i r i c a l o b s e r v a t i o n and ex-perience i n informing these f a c u l t i e s , and f o l l o w s him a l s o i n s t r e s s i n g the need f o r a check r e i n t o c o n t r o l the vagrant f a c u l t y of ima g i n a t i o n . A t h i r d f a c u l t y , t h a t of memory, i s h e l d by both p h i l o s o p h e r s t o be v i t a l l y important. Bacon sees i t as p e r t a i n i n g to h i s t o r y and hence to biography, a f i e l d "pre-eminent among human w r i t i n g s . " In t h i s f i e l d Bacon was a p i o n e e r , as was Johnson, and a common f a c t o r i n t h e i r b i o g r a p h i c work i s the honest o b j e c t i v i t y with which they approached t h e i r s u b j e c t . T h i s correspondence of o p i n i o n r egarding the r o l e of reason, imagination, and memory extends, i n Johnson's case, to h i s acceptance of the s t r u c t u r a l d i v i s i o n of the Baconian theory of knowledge which i s based upon these f a c u l t i e s . In f o l l o w i n g t h i s d i v i s i o n , which marks an important break w i t h t r a d i t i o n a l thought, Johnson r e v e a l s how c l o s e l y he i s l i n k e d to Baconian p r i n c i p l e s i n what are e s s e n t i a l i s s u e s of moral p h i l o s o p h y . From among the many thousands of c i t a t i o n s from Bacon s c a t t e r e d throughout the D i c t i o n a r y , I have d i s c u s s e d only a few important p h i l o s o p h i c a l terms; a wealth of f u r t h e r i n f o r m a t i o n could be c a l l e d upon to i l l u s t r a t e other areas of Johnson's i n t e r e s t . For example: i t i s most s i g n i f -i c a n t t h a t the l e x i c o g r a p h e r s h o u l d draw f r e q u e n t l y upon the works of Bacon f o r h i s d e f i n i t i o n s o f l e g a l terms. Johnson had a profound i n t e r e s t i n the law, as i s evident i n a reading of Boswell's L i f e t and more than once he had s e r i o u s l y considered studying f o r the l e g a l p r o f e s s i o n . Not only had he d i c t a t e d b r i e f s t o t h a t s t r u g g l i n g young lawyer, James Boswell, but he had a l s o c o l l a b o r a t e d w i t h Robert Chambers i n composing c e r t a i n Oxford l e c t u r e s on E n g l i s h Law. A strong interest i n the study of law presupposes a d i s t i n c t i v e q u a l i t y of mind, and here, as i n so many other areas, Johnson i s again United to that great master of English jurisprudence, Francis Bacon. In the course of t h i s chapter I have traced the funda* mental agreement of the two moralists regarding the f a c u l t i e s of the mind and the foundations of knowledge. In examining the moral essays of both men i t w i l l be possible to see how th i s agreement i n p r i n c i p l e has been applied i n practise i n the performance of what Bacon c a l l s the "duty" of humanity: "to put the wanderer on the right way." 64 See Edward Lipincott McAdam J r . , Dr. Johnson and the  English Law (Syracuse: Syracuse UniversTTy Press, 1 9 5 1 ) . CHAPTER V THE MORAL ESSAYS When F r a n c i s Bacon, the p h i l o s o p h e r who took a l l know-ledge as h i s p r o v i n c e , began h i s monumental survey of knowledge wi t h The Advancement of Learning, the v a s t scope of h i s undertaking and the pressures of a busy l i f e f o r c e d the need to d i s c r i m i n a t e between f i e l d s w e l l covered by others and those which s u f f e r e d from a comparative n e g l e c t . The former he t r e a t s r a t h e r s u p e r f i c i a l l y ; the l a t t e r r e c e i v e s the major c o n c e n t r a t i o n . T h i s i s e n t i r e l y consonant wi t h h i s i n -t e n t i o n of ensuring t h a t d e f i c i e n c i e s i n knowledge are sup-p l i e d ; i t i s an i n t e n t i o n which must be borne i n mind, f o r i t i s the key to what o f t e n appears t o be a d i s p a r a t e treatment of s u b j e c t s which may be of equal i n t r i n s i c importance. Nevertheless, even where such d e f i c i e n c i e s do e x i s t , he f r e -q u e n t l y has to be content with an o u t l i n e of the problem, together w i t h a b r i e f p r e s e n t a t i o n of h i s views and h i s sug-ge s t i o n s f o r a s o l u t i o n , p r o v i d i n g , i n e f f e c t , guideposts f o r others to f o l l o w . I t i s i n r e l a t i o n to such problems t h a t there are str o n g grounds f o r b e l i e v i n g t h a t c e r t a i n o f Bacon's Essays serve a complementary f u n c t i o n to The Advancement i n attempting to supply some of the d e f i c i e n c i e s which the author had noted i n the l a t t e r work. One modern a u t h o r i t y has c i t e d the many p a r a l l e l s which support t h i s c o n t e n t i o n , and has gone on to s t a t e : • • • one of Bacon's primary motives i n composing a m a j o r i t y of p i e c e s contained i n h i s second and t h i r d c o l l e c t i o n s was a d e s i r e t o supply some of the d e f i c i e n c i e s i n m o r a l i t y and p o l i c y of which he had become aware while engaged i n the "general and f a i t h f u l perambulation of l e a r n i n g " which con-s t i t u t e d the f i r s t stage i n h i s great p h i l o s o p h i c a l under-t a k i n g . ^ In r e s p e c t t o t h i s complementary c o r r e l a t i o n , the Essays of Bacon provide what i s o f t e n a more f u l l y considered and a more ample treatment of the moral i s s u e s r a i s e d i n The  Advancement; consequently, they stand i n the same r e l a t i o n s h i p t o the l a t t e r work as the p e r i o d i c a l essays of Johnson stand to the Johnsonian canon and i n v i t e a v a l i d comparison. How-ever, before drawing such a comparison, i t w i l l be necessary to determine the fundamental purpose of the Baconian Essays and a l s o t h e i r p a r t i c u l a r q u a l i t i e s . I have s t a t e d p r e v i o u s l y t h a t Bacon avoided, wherever p o s s i b l e , any involvement i n t h e o l o g i c a l or metaphysical s p e c u l a t i o n ; as a consequence, he f r e e d h i m s e l f to "look i n t o and d i s s e c t the nature of the r e a l world," and to probe the knowledge which comes from nature and from man. From these sources comes knowledge which may be e i t h e r t h e o r e t i c a l or f u n c t i o n a l ; the one i s a p p l i c a b l e to s p e c u l a t i v e purposes, the other, to p r a c t i c a l . Bacon f r a n k l y admits h i s p r e d i l e c -t i o n f o r the knowledge which i s f o r use r a t h e r than f o r R. S. Crane, "The R e l a t i o n of Bacon's Essays to h i s Program f o r the Advancement of Learning," E s s e n t i a l A r t i c l e s  f o r the Study of F r a n c i s Bacon, ed. B r i a n V i c k e r s (Hamdsen, Con n e c t i c u t : Acton Books, 1968), p. 278. s p e c u l a t i o n , and t h i s l e a n i n g i s c l e a r l y manifested i n the Essays. B e l i e v i n g t h a t t h i s m i s s i o n i n l i f e was to serve h i s f e l l o w man, Bacon based h i s conception of t h i s s e r v i c e upon h i s seasoned i n s i g h t i n t o the nature of man as he found him, and not upon what man p r o f e s s e d h i m s e l f to be. He saw c l e a r l y the d i s p a r i t y between what man does and what he ought t o do; he saw i n others, and he recognized i n h i m s e l f , the d r i v i n g need f o r w o r l d l y success. T h i s compulsive need, common to every age, was n o t a b l y strong i n h i s own p e r i o d , so much so t h a t "to Bacon and to others, p a r t i c u l a r l y M a c h i a v e l l i , the s u c c e s s f u l conduct of l i f e became the su b j e c t of a p h i l o s -ophy." To the extend t h a t the Essays convey prudent counsel concerning the s e i z i n g of occasions and o p p o r t u n i t i e s t o the end of g e t t i n g on i n l i f e , they can be s a i d t o conform t o t h i s new "philosophy." Is t h i s M a c h i a v e l l i a n i s m ? Not n e c e s s a r i l y , i t merely i n d i c a t e s t h a t Bacon, along with M a c h i a v e l l i , 67 "shared a t r a i t t h a t was p a r t and p a r c e l of the age." T h i s q u a l i t y of the Essays i l l u s t r a t e s p r a c t i c a l moral philosophy a p p l i e d to the end of improving man's l o t i n t h i s world; i t a l s o e x e m p l i f i e s c o n c r e t e l y the r o l e which Bacon advocates i n The Advancement f o r the would-be moral mentor, namely: t h a t he apply a wide knowledge of the world to " o r d i n a r y or common Hardin C r a i g , The Enchanted G l a s s : The E l i z a b e t h a n  Mind i n L i t e r a t u r e (Oxford: B a s i l B l a c k w e l l , 1950), p. 141. Matters." T h i s o r i e n t a t i o n of the Essays towards what i s m a t e r i a l l y b e n e f i c e n t t o man, has l a i d Bacon open to the charge t h a t he has ignored or minimized the important emotive and s p i r i t u a l aspects of man's nature. I t i s a charge which does have some v a l i d i t y , but Bacon should not be judged on the b a s i s of what he has omitted but, r a t h e r , on what he has i n c l u d e d , and t h i s i n i t s e l f marks a v a l u a b l e c o n t r i b u t i o n to p r a c t i c a l moral p h i l o s o p h y . The same pressures which, i n The Advancement, cause Bacon to scant areas of moral philosophy w e l l covered by others, pressures which never permit him to f u l l y conclude a work, are a l s o o p e r a t i v e i n the Essays, and they d i c t a t e a choice of t o p i c s of "which there i s frequent occasion to handle," t o p i c s which "come home to men's business and 68 bosoms." N e i t h e r does Bacon f o r g e t the world of the i d e a l i n h i s concern f o r the p r a c t i c a l . In the Essays, as i n The Advancement, the m o r a l i s t i n Bacon i s concerned to b r i n g the w i l l of man to the "Goodness" which "answers to the t h e o l o g -i c a l v i r t u e C h a r i t y , and admits no excess but e r r o r . " He holds t h a t man can be brought to the p r a c t i c e of v i r t u e by i n s t i l l i n g i n him such knowledge as i n "medicinable." T h i s knowledge, however, must be seasoned by the " c o r r e c t i v e s p i c e " The E p i s t l e D edicatory, Essays, 1625 ed.j Works, V I I , 373. 69 "Of Goodness and Goodness of Nature," Essays; Works, VI I , 403. of c h a r i t y , otherwise i f i t be "severed from c h a r i t y and not r e f e r r e d t o the good of men and mankind, i t hath r a t h e r a sounding and unworthy g l o r y than a m e r i t i n g and s u b s t a n t i a l v i r t u e . " Holding such views, how does one proceed i n the "bending" of the w i l l of man to v i r t u e ? Bacon's answer i s t o adopt the very means he had recommended i n The Advancement. Having cognizance of the mind's inherent l i m i t a t i o n s and i t s " n a t u r a l hatred of n e c e s s i t y and c o n s t r a i n t , " he u t i l i z e s a f l e x i b l e approach and, employing i n d i r e c t i o n where necessary, s k i l l -f u l l y adapts h i s means to the d e s i r e d end of a c h i e v i n g r e -formation. For the e f f i c i e n t conveyance of knowledge, Bacon main-t a i n e d there are two methods: the M a g i s t r a l and I n i t i a t i v e . The m a g i s t r a l teaches t h a t which should be b e l i e v e d ; the i n i t i a t i v e i n t i m a t e s what should be examined. Bacon advo-cates the l a t t e r method, w i t h the use of apothegms and apho-risms t o render the knowledge c o n c i s e l y , and a n t i t h e s e s used i n c o n j u n c t i o n to challenge the judgment. I t i s a method t o which Bacon attaches great importance, a n d i i t i s l a r g e l y the method of the Essays. The brusque s u c c i n c t n e s s of the apho-risms i n these s t u d i e s i s d e l i b e r a t e l y p r o v o c a t i v e and s t i m -u l a t e s i n t e r e s t while i t i n v i t e s examination; the a n t i t h e s e s The Advancement of Learning, I; Works, I I I , 266 are f u l l y i n v e s t i g a t e d and are balanced to present both s i d e s f a i r l y ; a u t h o r i a l judgment i s suspended to f o r c e the reader to e x e r c i s e h i s i n t e l l e c t i n the process of e v a l u a t i o n . A n t i t h -eses r e v e a l o b j e c t i v e t r u t h , i n i t i a t e thought, and f r e e the mind from s u b j e c t i o n to i d o l s . T h e i r frequent occurence throughout the Essays i l l u s t r a t e s what can be c a l l e d a j u r i d -i c a l approach. I t i s an approach which came n a t u r a l l y to Bacon, whose l e g a l t r a i n i n g endowed him with the a b i l i t y to a c t d i s p a s s i o n a t e l y i n the r o l e of e i t h e r prosecutor of de-fender. In n e i t h e r case, i t must be remembered, i s Bacon n e c e s s a r i l y r e p r e s e n t i n g h i s own views; he i s merely enacting r o l e s and, by the w i t h h o l d i n g of p e r s o n a l judgment, he i s i m p e l l i n g the reader to assume the r e s p o n s i b i l i t y of both judge and member of the j u r y i n drawing c o n c l u s i o n s on impor-tant i s s u e s . A f a i l u r e to grasp t h i s b a s i c i n t e n t i o n has l e d many—and no t a b l y W i l l i a m B l a k e ~ t o presume t h a t Bacon i s speaking i n the Essays as the D e v i l ' s advocate and rendering "good advice f o r Satan's kingdom." Samuel Johnson, as r e l i -gious as was Blake, i f more orthodox i n h i s p i e t y , v o i c e d an a p p r e c i a t i o n of the Essays which r e v e a l s a g r e a t e r c l a r i t y of p e r c e p t i o n : " T h e i r e x c e l l e n c e and t h e i r value c o n s i s t e d i n being the observations o f a strong mind oper a t i n g upon l i f e ; and i n consequence you f i n d there what you seldom f i n d i n 71 other books." Johnsonian M i s c e l l a n i e s , ed. George Birkbeck H i l l (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1896), I I , 229. The use of a n t i t h e s e s , as w e l l as t h a t of apothegms and aphorisms, comprise only one aspect of a m a s t e r l y technique of language which Bacon has designed f o r the purpose of g u i d -i n g the reader, through a process of i n d i r e c t i o n , "to a sober enquiry of t r u t h . " By a b s t a i n i n g from t h e o r i z i n g , s p e c u l a t i o n , or p e r s o n a l committal on the i s s u e s he r a i s e s , Bacon avoids any tendency to i n f l u e n c e by " n e c e s s i t y and c o n s t r a i n t " ; i n -stead, he u n o b t r u s i v e l y guides the reader's mind to the exer-c i s e of i t s r a t i o n a l f a c u l t y and, consequently, i n t o the path of r i g h t reason. The path of r i g h t reason i s the path of v i r t u e f o r , to Bacon as t o Johnson, the terms were v i r t u a l l y synonymous; indeed, i t was Johnson h i m s e l f who s a i d : "He who 72 t h i n k s reasonably must t h i n k m o r a l l y . " I t i s a measure of Bacon's a r t i s t i c s k i l l t h a t he c o u l d accomplish h i s d i d a c t i c purpose w i t h such deftness t h a t the medium and the message a l i k e were agreeable to h i s contemporaries and he c o u l d j u s t l y c l a i m h i s Essays to be the most " c u r r e n t " of h i s works. The genius of F r a n c i s Bacon imparted an a i r of i n d i v i d -u a l i t y and a sense of grandeur to every s u b j e c t he touched: j u s t as the depth of i n s i g h t and the mastery of form he ex-h i b i t e d i n the H i s t o r y of Henry VII f u l l y e n t i t l e him to be c a l l e d the f i r s t important E n g l i s h h i s t o r i a n , so do these same q u a l i t i e s c o n t r i b u t e t o the unique worth of the Baconian Johnson, Preface to Shakespeare; Works. VII (New Haven, 1968), p. 71. Essays and f u l l y warrant t h e i r author t o be the f i r s t important E n g l i s h e s s a y i s t . In examining these essays, i t has been my purpose to show tha t they are not merely i n c i d e n t a l e f f o r t s ; they form an im-po r t a n t and i n t e g r a l p a r t of the s t r u c t u r e of knowledge con-ce r n i n g the human s t a t e which Bacon i s e r e c t i n g ; they are a b u t t r e s s to h i s programme " f o r the p r a c t i c a l examination of the causes of human conduct, and he p r o f i t s from h i s knowledge of M a c h i a v e l l i on man conjugate and o f Montaigne on man 73 segregate." From the study of the causes of human conduct, Bacon proceeds by c o r o l l a r y t o the study of e f f e c t s ; the r e s u l t i s a compendium of p r a c t i c a l advice on how man may prosper i n the m a t e r i a l world i n which God has pl a c e d him. As I have suggested p r e v i o u s l y , Bacon's obeisance t o the a l l - p o w e r f u l Church of h i s day may have been d i c t a t e d more by p o l i c y than by c o n v i c t i o n ; n e v e r t h e l e s s , there i s no reason to doubt the s i n c e r i t y of h i s b e l i e f i n the fundamental t e n e t s of the C h r i s t i a n f a i t h , p a r t i c u l a r l y so i n regard t o the primary d i c t a t e which en j o i n s the p r a c t i s e of C h r i s t i a n love and c h a r i t y . I t i s t h i s sense of C h r i s t i a n o b l i g a t i o n towards h i s f e l l o w man which motivates Bacon to undertake the r o l e of e s s a y i s t ; i t i s h i s n a t u r a l b i a s towards the p r a c t i c a l which, seconded by the urgencies of time, determines t h a t h i s F. P. Wilson, E l i z a b e t h a n and Jacobean (Oxford: Clarendon P r e s s , 1945), p. 24. 58 74 s u b j e c t s be such as "come home to men's business and bosoms." In developing these s u b j e c t s he adheres c l o s e l y to the p r i n -c i p l e s governing moral suasion which he has enunciated i n The  Advancement, p r i n c i p l e s which depend upon the ope r a t i v e agency of language to "bend" the mind to v i r t u e by b r i n g i n g r i g h t reason to bear upon an i n c r e a s e d fund of knowledge. These, b r i e f l y , are the methods and the u n d e r l y i n g i n -t e n t i o n s of the Essays of Bacon. I t now remains t o a s c e r -t a i n whether there i s a c o r r e l a t i o n i n these aspects i n the p e r i o d i c a l essays of Samuel Johnson. The "Great Cham" of eighteenth-century l i t e r a t u r e was a sometime poet, c r i t i c , l e x i c o g r a p h e r , and e s s a y i s t ; he was c o n s i s t e n t l y a m o r a l i s t ; the wide scope of t h i s l a t t e r i n t e r e s t embraces a l l of h i s work, but the p e r i o d i c a l essays bear the sharpest focus of i t s c o n c e n t r a t i o n . The expressed i n t e n t i o n of the e s s a y i s t i n The Rambler i s "to consid e r the moral d i s -c i p l i n e of the mind and to promote the increase of v i r t u e r a t h -76 er than of l e a r n i n g , " by precepts intended " c h i e f l y f o r those 76 who are endeavoring to go forward up the steeps of v i r t u e . " these sentiments echo the i m p l i c i t i n t e n t i o n of the Baconian Essays; both m o r a l i s t s are f o l l o w i n g the s p i r i t of the p r e -cepts of The Advancement and are p r e s e n t i n g t h e i r moral 373. 75 74 The E p i s t l e D e d i c a t o r y , Essays, 1625 ed.; Works, V I I , Rambler 8 Works, I I I , 42. 7 6Rambler 70; Works, IV, 4. philosophy as a "humble handmaid" to the s e r v i c e of "sacred d i v i n i t y . " Samuel Johnson, i n the c l o s i n g paragraph of h i s f i n a l Rambler, gives a r a t h e r moving summary of h i s purpose i n these essays: The essays p r o f e s s e d l y , i f I have been able to execute my own i n t e n t i o n s , w i l l be found e x a c t l y conformable to the precepts of C h r i s t i a n i t y , without any accomodation to the l i c e n t i o u s n e s s and l e v i t y of the present age. I t h e r e f o r e look back on t h i s p a r t of my work with p l e a s u r e , which no blame or p r a i s e of man s h a l l d i m i n i s h or augment. I s h a l l never envy the honours which w i t and l e a r n i n g o b t a i n i n any other cause, i f I can be numbered among the w r i t e r s who have given ardour to v i r t u e and confidence to truth.77 F r a n c i s Bacon, l o o k i n g back from a s i m i l a r vantage p o i n t at the concluded essays of h i s 1597 e d i t i o n , f i n d s i n them nothing " c o n t r a r y or i n f e c t i o u s t o the s t a t e of R e l i g i o n , 78 or manners, but r a t h e r (as I suppose) medicinable." T h i s correspondence i n o p i n i o n r e l a t i v e to the moral worth of t h e i r r e s p e c t i v e essays, extends a l s o t o the value which they expect p o s t e r i t y to p l a c e upon them. Bacon b o l d l y opines t h a t the L a t i n v e r s i o n of h i s Essays "may l a s t as long 79 as books l a s t " ; Johnson has s i m i l a r expectations f o r the Rambler, and i n h i s words concerning these essays there i s a rare b u r s t of complacency: "My other works are wine and V I I , 523. 79 7 7Works, V, 320. 7 8 T h e E p i s t l e Dedicatory, Essays, 1597 ed.; Works, I b i d . , 1625 ed.; Works, V I I , 373. water; but my Rambler i s pure wine." " I t i s the fate of controvertists, 1 1 Johnson says i n Rambler 106, "even when they contend for philosophical or theological truth, to be soon l a i d 81 aside and slighted." A contrary fate awaits the true moral-i s t , for the l a t t e r , with his deep insight into what i s general i n human nature, may r a t i o n a l l y expect his works to l i v e after his death. Johnson's own high opinion of the value of Bacon's Essays leads him to comment upon the l a t t e r * s pre-tensions to the regard of posterity: There are, indeed few kinds of composition from which an author, however learned or ingenious, can hope a long con-tinuance of fame. He who has c a r e f u l l y studied human nature, and can well describe i t , may with most reason f l a t t e r his ambition. Bacon, among a l l his pretensions to the regard of posterity seems to have pleased himself c h i e f l y with his Essays, "which come home to men's business and bosoms," and of which, therefore, he declares his expectation, that they " w i l l l i v e as long as books l a s t . " T y p i c a l l y , Johnson adds a moral tag: It may however, s a t i s f y an honest and benevolent mind to have been useful, though less conspicuous; nor willl^he that extends his hopes to higher rewards be so much anxious to obtain praise, as to discharge the duty which Providence assigns him."82 83 "Charity vaunteth not i t s e l f , i s not puffed up": these words 8 0Boswell, L i f e , I, 210, n . i . 8 1¥orks, IV, 203. 8 2Rambler 106; Works, IV, 204. 8 3 I Cor. 13.4. of S t . Paul were p o s s i b l y i n Johnson's mind as he administered t h i s rebuke to the p r i d e of Bacon. Both m o r a l i s t s knew w e l l the words of the Apostle on c h a r i t y ; i n f a c t , Bacon, i n The Advancement, quotes e x t e n s i v e l y from the P a u l i n e e p i s t l e s to demonstrate a u t h o r i t a t i v e s a n c t i o n f o r h i s c o n t e n t i o n t h a t t r u e knowledge of the n a t u r a l world complements and r e i n f o r c e s 84 C h r i s t i a n f a i t h . The C h r i s t i a n foundation f o r the s p i r i t of s e r v i c e to t h e i r f e l l o w man i s the same f o r both Johnson and Bacon; however, i n Johnson's case, t h i s s p i r i t i s a l l -p e r v a s i v e and bears a d i s t i n c t i v e c a s t which i s a r e f l e c t i o n of h i s own t r o u b l e d p e r s o n a l i t y . The knowledge t h a t he had been endowed by God w i t h the g i f t of w r i t i n g meant, f o r F r a n c i s Bacon, the e x e r c i s e of t h i s g i f t i n God's s e r v i c e , i n the performance of what Johnson c a l l e d "the duty which Providence assigns him." In The  W r i t e r ' s Prayer, Bacon invokes the a i d of the D e i t y to a s s i s t him i n t h i s duty: Wherefore i f we labour i n thy works, thou w i l t make us p a r t a k e r s of t h y V i s i o n and thy Sabbath. We humbly beg t h a t t h i s mind may be s t e a d f a s t l y i n us, and t h a t thou, by our hands and a l s o by the hands of others on whom thou s h a l t bestow the same s p i r i t , w i l t please to convey a largeness of new alms to thy f a m i l y of Mankind.85 When Samuel Johnson s t a t e s t h a t i t i s "always the w r i t e r ' s Works, I I I , 266ff. 5Works, V I I , 260 duty to make the world b e t t e r , " he i s expressing the same s p i r i t of C h r i s t i a n s e r v i c e evident i n Bacon's prayer; he i s a l s o expressing a c l a s s i c a l conception of the w r i t e r ' s d i d a c -t i v e f u n c t i o n which, p e r s i s t i n g c o e x t e n s i v e l y with the C h r i s t i a n t r a d i t i o n and r e i n f o r c i n g i t , was as v a l i d f o r Johnson as i t was f o r Bacon. What we do not f i n d i n the l a t t e r f i g u r e , but which i s a powerful f a c t o r i n Johnson's person-a l i t y , i s the f e a r of death and damnation. I t i s a f a c t o r which giv e s a melancholy c a s t to much o f h i s work and causes him t o place a compensatory emphasis upon the means of s a l -v a t i o n . E a r l y C h r i s t i a n d o c t r i n e , r e f l e c t i n g the needs and the s i t u a t i o n of a small and beleaguered community of be-l i e v e r s , s e t the standard of c h a r i t y as b r o t h e r l y l o v e , w i t h a i d t o the needy as s o c i a l duty; however, over the c e n t u r i e s , dogmatic r e l i g i o n was t o c o r r u p t o r i g i n a l d o c t r i n e and t o make almsgi v i n g not an end i n i t s e l f , but a prime r e q u i s i t e f o r s a l v a t i o n . Samuel Johnson, who clung d e s p e r a t e l y to the c e r t a i n t i e s he found i n r e l i g i o u s orthodoxy, i l l u s t r a t e s i n h i s own words the contempory d o c t r i n e which equated the g i v i n g of alms wi t h the b u i l d i n g of a c r e d i t balance i n God's le d g e r : C h a r i t y , f o r i n s t a n c e , i s not d e f i n a b l e by l i m i t s . I t i s a duty to give to the poor; but no man can say how much another should give t o the poor, or when a man has g i v e n too l i t t l e t o save h i s soul.86 Boswell, L i f e . I I , 250 Despite t h i s apparent difference i n the re l i g i o u s temper of the two moralists, t h e i r basic purpose remains the same: to employ t h e i r talents i n d u t i f u l service to God and to the benefit of mankind i n the s p i r i t of true charity which, as Johnson says, "arises from f a i t h i n the promises of God, and 87 expects rewards only i n a future state." To move from the study of moral intention to the study of manner, i s to discover further t i e s which unite the two p h i l o s -ophers. Most obviously, there i s a basis for comparison i n the complete mastery of the English language which both men exhibit. In the s p e c i f i c s t y l i s t i c features of balance, parallelism, antitheses, and aphorisms, there are manifest p a r a l l e l s ; nevertheless, i n terms of t o t a l e f f e c t the language of Johnson remains uniquely his own, and the "Johnsonese" of The Rambler i s not the language of the Baconian Essays. This "Johnsonese" i s an i n d i v i d u a l i s t i c style not susceptible of easy analysis; nonetheless, i n respect to the important element of philosophic terminology, and i n the use of mechanical met-aphor and d i c t i o n , Johnson, as one study has shown, i s looking back to the seventeenth century: . . . to the language of mechanical philosophy which he found, both l i t e r a l and metaphoric, i n writers from Bacon to Locke and which he applied to psychology i n a metaphoric way that was i n degree of abstraction and pervasiveness p e c u l i a r l y his own.8° 8 7Sermon IV; Works (Troy, New York), XVI, p. 115. 88W. K. Wimsatt, Philosophic Words (New Haven, 1948), -p. 101. " I t has been my p r i n c i p a l i n t e n t i o n , " Johnson says of 89 these essays, "to i n c u l c a t e wisdom or p i e t y . " T h i s worthy end i s t o be achieved not by promoting i n n o v a t i o n but by r e i n -f o r c i n g o l d and fundamental t r u t h s . The i n t e n t i o n d i c t a t e s to a degree the format; hence, the i n t r o d u c t o r y p a t t e r n of many a Rambler essay c o n s i s t s of the formal c i t a t i o n of a moral maxim c o n t a i n i n g a gem of some such fundamental t r u t h . T h i s , i n t u r n , serves the e s s a y i s t as a springboard from which he launches i n t o an expansion of the moral meaning and i t s p r a c -t i c a l a p p l i c a t i o n t o the s o c i a l and moral problems men face i n t h e i r d a i l y l i v e s . T h i s form o f treatment lends i t s e l f more r e a d i l y to the m a g i s t r a l r a t h e r than the i n i t i a t i v e method of i n s t r u c t i o n advocated by Bacon and, consequently, bears the inherent r i s k of awakening i n the reader's mind the " n a t u r a l hatred" a g a i n s t n e c e s s i t y and c o n s t r a i n t of which Bacon had warned. Samuel Johnson, b e t t e r f i t t e d by pedagogic background and by temperament to adopt the m a g i s t r a l method, i s as f u l l y aware of t h i s r i s k as was Bacon; hence, throughout h i s essays, he acts upon t h i s awareness w i t h a m a s t e r f u l use of the very f l e x i b i l i t y and i n d i r e c t i o n of approach recommended i n The  Advancement as the means of minimizing t h i s p o t e n t i a l danger. '"Go i n t o the s t r e e t , " says Johnson, "and give one man a l e c t u r e on m o r a l i t y , and another a s h i l l i n g . And see which Rambler 208; Works, V, 319. w i l l respect you most." This appraisal of the d i f f i c u l t y of "bending" man's w i l l to virtue comes from a wide experience of the world, and is i n the s p i r i t of the Baconian dictum: "be aware of what i s i n our power and what i s not." The Johnson of The Rambler i s an essayist who must write to l i v e , and t h i s necessitates that he hold his reader; on the other hand, he i s a moralist who holds i t to be the primary duty and obligation of the writer to instr u c t ; the essays r e f l e c t the tension created by these two impulsions as the r e a l i s t i c Johnson strives for compromise by s t r i k i n g a balance between them. F u l l y aware that many f i n d moral instruction to be rather b i t t e r medicine, Johnson tempers his didacticism and sugar-coats his moral p i l l to make i t more palatable. Many essays of serious tone convey conviction and win acceptance by the sheer power of t h e i r prose. Others are presented i n the form of entertaining par-ables, but are well-freighted with moral implication. Lighter essays, humourous i n the Johnsonian manner, are interspersed among the more serious papers to lighten the overal l tone and to provide variety, while throughout the series the hortatory tone i s used jud i c i o u s l y . Johnson, however, concedes only so much to expediency; he does not s a c r i f i c e p r i n c i p l e . The voice of the stern preceptor, though muted by di s c r e t i o n , i s omnipresent. This Boswell, L i f e I, 440 was a f a c t o r which, coupled w i t h h i s r e f u s a l to accomodate to the popular t a s t e of the age, a l i e n a t e d many readers, as he h i m s e l f admitted: As i t has been my p r i n c i p a l design to i n c u l c a t e wisdom or p i e t y , I have a l l o t t e d few papers t o the i d l e s p o r t s of i m a g i n a t i o n . Some, perhaps, may be found, of which, the h i g h -e s t e x c e l l e n c e i s harmless merriment, but s c a r c e l y any man i s so s t e a d i l y s e r i o u s , as not to complain, t h a t the s e v e r i t y of d i c t a t o r i a l i n s t r u c t i o n has been too seldom r e l i e v e d , and t h a t he i s d r i v e n by the sternness of the Rambler's philosophy to more c h e e r f u l and a i r y companions.91 The l i n k s f o r g e d by comparable goals and common methods which u n i t e the essays of Johnson t o those of Bacon c o u l d be expounded upon almost i n d e f i n i t e l y ; a f u r t h e r , and even more important b a s i s of comparison d e r i v e s from the i n h e r e n t l y p e r s o n a l nature of the essay form, a f e a t u r e which makes i t a v a l u a b l e instrument f o r gauging the e s s e n t i a l q u a l i t i e s of the e s s a y i s t . One of the animating s p i r i t s of the work of F r a n c i s Bacon i s a broad humanitarianism which transcends contempo-r a r y p r e j u d i c e s and the b a r r i e r s of c l a s s t o embrace a l l degrees of mankind. Although he l i v e d i n a s o c i e t y which r e -garded the common people as l i t t l e b e t t e r than c a t t l e , Bacon had "a f i n e r and f a i r e r view of them, as he shows i n h i s essay, 'Of the True Greatness of Kingdoms and Estates,' and 92 elsewhere." A n a c h r o n i s t i c i n h i s own age, t h i s " f i n e r and 9 Rambler 208; Works, V, 319. 92 Hardin C r a i g , The Enchanted G l a s s : The E l i z a b e t h a n  Mind i n L i t e r a t u r e (Oxford, 1950), p. 192. f a i r e r view" of Bacon antedates by more than a century the growth of humanitarianism i n the period of Johnson. It corre-sponds d i r e c t l y to the s p i r i t of the l a t t e r , who was to write with humane concern of his country's treatment of French prisoners of war and who, l i k e the great Lord Chancellor, was also possessed of the common touch. Both moralists had an acute awareness of the miseries of mankind; both cherished the hope that man, through the exer-cise of his free w i l l could, by his own endeavors and with God's help, regain some measure of his prelapsarian virtue to the greater glory of God and "the r e l i e f of man's estate." Virtue, then, i s the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow for the man who follows the moral path blazed i n the essays of Bacon and of Johnson. It i s upon the basis of t h i s manifest love for his fellow man that Johnson can be c a l l e d an u t i l i -t a rian; i t i s also the reason why Bacon "has also been calle d an u t i l i t a r i a n ; not because he loved truth less than others, but because he loved men more."^3 I have previously noted that quality of mind i n both moral-i s t s which recognized i n objective biography a valuable i n -strument of moral e d i f i c a t i o n . That same quality of mind also recognized the essay form as an important vehicle of p r a c t i c a l moral instruction, and both philosophers were to u t i l i z e i t as Robert L e s l i e E l l i s , ed., Works, by Francis Bacon (London, 1870), I, 58. such i n the f u l f i l l m e n t of t h e i r duty of Chr i s t i a n service to t h e i r fellow man. In t h i s service both followed the pre-cepts of The Advancement i n s k i l l f u l l y adapting t h e i r l i t e r a r y means to t h e i r moral ends. I t is important to recognize the innovative quality i n the consistent attention to the ob-ligations of Chr i s t i a n charity i n the essays of both writers. Johnson f u l l y recognized and valued this quality i n the Essays of Bacon. Both writers valued t h e i r respective essays above a l l t h e i r other works; both expected that the i n t r i n s i c im-portance of t h e i r essays would be recognized and appreciated by posterity. CHAPTER VI BACON AND JOHNSON ON THE DISTURBED MIND F r a n c i s Bacon, as I have s a i d , was a p r a c t i c a l m o r a l i s t ; so was Samuel Johnson; t h e i r p r a c t i c a l i t y found common ground i n a mutual i n t e r e s t i n an important area of moral philosophy; namely, the study of the mind and i t s d i s o r d e r s , i t s manifest p r o p e n s i t y f o r e v i l and i t s l a t e n t p o t e n t i a l i t y f o r good. 94 Paul Alkon, i n a recent work, has noted t h i s connection be-tween the two p h i l o s o p h e r s . He sees the works of Johnson as going f a r to provide " p r e c i s e l y " the type of enquiry i n t o t h i s area recommended i n The Advancement of L e a r n i n g . T h i s was an enquiry which Bacon h e l d to be e s s e n t i a l f o r the progress of t h i s v i t a l branch of moral philosophy i f i t was to a r r i v e a t the u l t i m a t e g o a l of b r i n g i n g the w i l l of man to the p r a c t i s e of v i r t u e . T h i s g o a l i s always Bacon's a b i d i n g i n t e r e s t ; but, i n t h i s i n s t a n c e , h i s s p e c i f i c concern i s to see t h a t the de-f i c i e n c y i n the sum of moral knowledge occasioned by the p r e -vious n e g l e c t of t h i s area be s u p p l i e d . In The Advancement of Learning, when Bacon undertakes h i s survey of the s t a t e of moral knowledge, he d i v i d e s h i s study i n t o two p r i n c i p a l p a r t s : the f i r s t i s concerned w i t h the "Exemplar or ^Platform of Good," the other w i t h the "Regiment or C u l t u r e of the Mind." The one i s t h e o r e t i c a l and d e s c r i b e s Samuel Johnson and Moral D i s c i p l i n e (Northwestern U n i v e r s i t y Press, 1967). the nature of Good; the other i s p r a c t i c a l and p r e s c r i b e s r u l e s to "subdue, apply, and accomodate the w i l l of man t h e r e -95 unto." Bacon does not enlarge to any extent upon the nature of good, as he f i n d s i t a f i e l d wherein the a n c i e n t s , the moral p h i l o s o p h e r s , and the d i v i n e s have " e x c e l l e n t l y laboured." Not so i s the case of the f i e l d of the p r a c t i c a l , "the Georgics of the Mind," which he holds t o be "no l e s s worthy to be had i n honour," but which has been passed over as being l e s s a p p r o p r i a t e f o r r h e t o r i c a l ornamentation. Bacon then proceeds to present h i s own views r e g a r d i n g the need f o r t h i s study: Through the negligence of our times, wherein few men take any care touching the c u l t i v a t i o n and d i s p o s i t i o n of the mind . • . y e t I w i l l not on t h a t account pass by i t untouched, but r a t h e r conclude w i t h t h a t aphorism of Hippocrates, " t h a t they who are s i c k and f e e l no p a i n are s i c k i n t h e i r mind"; they need medicine not only to assuage the disease but to awake the sense. And i f i t be objected t h a t the cure of men's minds belongs to sacred d i v i n i t y , i t i s most t r u e , but moral p h i l o s -ophy may be admitted i n t o the t r a i n of theology, as a wise servant and f a i t h f u l handmaid t o be ready a t her beck to m i n i s t e r t o her s e r v i c e and requirements.96 To Bacon, the p r a c t i c a l study of the mind i s a s u b j e c t of such importance t h a t he exclaims upon the "strangeness" of i t s being "not y e t reduced t o w r i t t e n enquiry," and he proceeds to c h a r t the d e f i c i e n c i e s i n t h i s area of knowledge and the methods r e q u i r e d to supply them. He advocates, as f i r s t i n importance, a study of a p t i t u d e s and of the c o n s t i t u e n t Sorks, I I I , 412. 6 I b i d . , p. 422. elements of c h a r a c t e r which are the u n d e r l y i n g s p r i n g s of a c t i o n ; f u r t h e r , he urges a " s c i e n t i f i c and accurate d i s -s e c t i o n of minds and c h a r a c t e r s , " i n other words, a study of p s y c h o l o g i c a l t y p e s . Secondly, once the nature of mind i s determined, the focus of study should be d i r e c t e d to the d i s -tempers of the mind and t o those d i s o r d e r s of the a f f e c t i o n s which d i v e r t the mind from the p u r s u i t of v i r t u e . C o n s i d -e r a t i o n should a l s o be given t o the e f f e c t s of custom and h a b i t upon the w i l l and the a p p e t i t e , those r u l i n g f a c t o r s i n morals and the antecedents of a c t i o n s . F i n a l l y , there i s r e -q u i r e d a study o f the measures necessary to c u l t i v a t e the mind and to i n c u l c a t e good and v i r t u o u s a t t i t u d e s w i t h i n the com-pass of the s u b j e c t ' s c a p a c i t i e s . Such a c u l t i v a t i o n r e q u i r e s an awareness of the mind's inhe r e n t l i m i t a t i o n s and demands a c e r t a i n f l e x i b i l i t y and s u b t l e t y of approach, "because of t h e n a t u r a l h a t r e d of the mind a g a i n s t n e c e s s i t y and c o n s t r a i n t . " T h i s i s the method of approach which I have shown to be oper-a t i v e i n the Essays of Bacon, as w e l l as i n those of Johnson; i t i s a l s o o p e r a t i v e i n the e a r l y s e c t i o n s of The Advancement, as Bacon seeks the support of h i s general reader and the favour of King James i n e s t a b l i s h i n g the l e g i t i m a c y of the new method of l e a r n i n g he i s propounding. To move from the g e n e r a l to the p a r t i c u l a r : i t i s a gauge of the importance t h a t Bacon p l a c e s upon the study of the mind t h a t he c i t e s the q u a l i t i e s necessary i n the p h i l o s o p h e r who would undertake to remedy the d e f i c i e n c i e s he has noted. One of these d e c l a r e d p r e r e q u i s i t e s i s a thorough knowledge of l i f e as i t i s a c t u a l l y l i v e d , a knowledge f r e e of the t a i n t which had h i t h e r t o corrupted the study o f philosophy, namely: t h a t men "have despised to be conversant i n o r d i n a r y or common matters." F u r t h e r , to a r r i v e a t conclusions regarding the moral course necessary f o r others r e q u i r e s a degree of w o r l d l y wisdom which encompasses a knowledge of e v i l as w e l l as of good, an a t t r i b u t e which Bacon s t r e s s e s : So t h a t we are much beholden to Machiavel and others, t h a t w r i t e what men do and not what they ought to do. For i t i s not p o s s i b l e to j o i n s e rpentine wisdom w i t h the columbine innocency, except men know e x a c t l y a l l the c o n d i t i o n s of the serpent . . . . Nay an honest man can do no good upon those t n a t are wicked t o r e c l a i m them, without the help of the knowledge of e v i l . . . except you can make them p e r c e i v e t h a t you know the utmost reaches of t h e i r own c o r r u p t o p i n -i o n s , they despise a l l morality,97 P a r t i c u l a r importance i s p l a c e d by Bacon upon the moral mentor best f i t t e d to the remedial f u n c t i o n o f p r e s c r i b i n g means to "recover and preserve the good e s t a t e of the mind": The poets and w r i t e r s of h i s t o r i e s are the best doctors o f t h i s knowledge; where we may f i n d p a i n t e d f o r t h w i t h great l i f e , how a f f e c t i o n s are k i n d l e d and e x c i t e d ; and how p a c i f i e d and r e f r a i n e d ; and how again contained from a c t and f u r t h e r degree; how t h e y d i s c l o s e themselves, how they work, how they vary, how they gather and f o r t i f y , how they are inwrapped one w i t h another, and how they do f i g h t and en-counter one wit h another, and other the l i k e p a r t i c u l a r s . 9 8 9 7Works, I I I , p. 426, 9 8 I b i d . , p. 435. In the L a t i n t r a n s l a t i o n o f the above, Bacon has expanded upon h i s conception of the r o l e of the w r i t e r of h i s t o r i e s i n t h i s c o n t e x t , and Spedding appends an exp l a n a t o r y note which r e v e a l s t h a t the c o n n o t a t i o n which Bacon i s a p p l y i n g to the use of the word, " h i s t o r i a n , " i s t h a t of the p o r t r a y e r of " c h a r a c t e r s " who: • • . would have a f u l l and c a r e f u l a n a l y s i s made, e x h i b i t i n g not the e n t i r e c h a r a c t e r , but the s e v e r a l f e a t u r e s and i n -d i v i d u a l p e c u l i a r i t i e s of mind and d i s p o s i t i o n which make i t up, with t h e i r connexion and bearing one upon a n o t h e r : — a k i n d of moral and mental anatomy, as a b a s i s f o r a system of moral and mental medicine.99 Measured a g a i n s t the s c a l e of a t t r i b u t e s we have l i s t e d , Johnson i s the one p r a c t i c a l m o r a l i s t i d e a l l y c a s t t o perform the p i v o t a l r o l e envisaged by Bacon. What other m o r a l i s t could l a y a more v a l i d c l a i m to a "thorough knowledge of l i f e as i t i s a c t u a l l y l i v e d " than c o u l d Samuel Johnson? I t was a knowledge f i r m l y grounded i n p e r s o n a l hardship and b i t t e r ex-p e r i e n c e . P h y s i c a l a f f l i c t i o n and mental maladjustment were constant and concomitant f e a t u r e s of h i s t r o u b l e d journey throughout l i f e ; g r i n d i n g p overty was h i s i n t r a c t a b l e t r a v e l -l i n g companion u n t i l the l a t t e r p a r t of t h a t journey. Despite the compelling nature of these handicaps, Johnson was always able to r i s e above the l i m i t a t i o n s they would impose upon him. Upon a r r i v a l i n London, he sank i n t o the lowly anonymity of Works. I l l , p. 436n the nether world of Grubstreet hackwork, to the slums, and to the s c h o l a r ' s l i f e of " t o i l , envy, want, the patron, and the j a i l . " A l e s s e r man would have remained submerged, but Johnson g r a d u a l l y l i f t e d h i m s e l f from the miasma of these surroundings i n h i s r i s e t o l i t e r a r y fame and p e r s o n a l prominence. Through-out h i s l i f e he came to know every l e v e l o f s o c i e t y , from the l o w l i e s t denizens of the s t r e e t s t o the bourgeois a f f l u e n c e of Streatham and the p r i d e of a r i s t o c r a c y . Always he was to r e -main the same Samuel Johnson, always h i s own man, whether for m e r l y as the unregarded s u p p l i a n t i n the anterooms of the great, or l a t e r as the l i t e r a r y l i o n sought a f t e r to d i g n i f y t h e i r s a l o n s . He was never t o l o s e the common touch; con-sequently, no other man c o u l d be f r e e r of the t a i n t which Bacon h e l d t o be so i n i m i c a l t o moral philosophy, namely: the f a l s e p r i d e which d i s d a i n e d t o "be conversant i n o r d i n a r y and common matters." In f a c t , i t was concerning such common and o r d i n a r y matters t h a t Johnson d e l i g h t e d t o expound, as witness h i s f r e q u e n t l y d i s p l a y e d knowledge r e l a t i v e to the mechanic a r t s . A l l knowledge t h a t was of p r a c t i c a l b e n e f i t to mani&n t h i s world i n t e r e s t e d Johnson, j u s t as i t had i n t e r e s t e d Bacon. Pew men have delved more deeply i n t o the knowledge which comes from books than had Samuel Johnson; however, f o r the p r a c t i c a l knowledge t o be drawn from l i f e , h i s teacher was experience; h i s s c h o o l was the c i t y of London; i t was i n t h i s world i n microcosm t h a t he mastered the w o r l d l y knowledge of both good and e v i l . T h i s q u a l i f i c a t i o n , together w i t h h i s other a t t r i b u t e s , eminently f i t t e d Johnson f o r the ta s k of ad-m i n i s t e r i n g mental and moral p h y s i c i n the s e r v i c e to which Bacon assigns a high p r i o r i t y , namely: the recovery and p r e -s e r v a t i o n of the "good e s t a t e " of the mind. For t h i s s e r v i c e Bacon claims the best doctors are "the poets and w r i t e r s of h i s t o r i e s . " Johnson, formed i n the very image of the "doctor" envisaged by Bacon, i s preeminently f i t t e d f o r t h i s r o l e . As w r i t e r of verse, as w r i t e r of f i c t i o n , and as m o r a l i s t , Johnson i s a poet by any d e f i n i t i o n of the term; he i s j u s t as c e r t a i n l y a w r i t e r of h i s t o r y and, p a r t i c u l a r l y i n the L i v e s , he r e v e a l s h i s g i f t f o r the p e r c e p t i v e a n a l y s i s and d i s s e c t i o n of c h a r a c t e r which i s the c h i e f d i s t i n c t i o n of the h i s t o r i a n i n Bacon's connotation of the term. In a d d i t i o n , Johnson views the importance of the p o e t i c f u n c t i o n i n t h i s s e r v i c e i n the same l i g h t as does Bacon; f o r i m p l i c i t throughout Rambler 106 i s the c o n t e n t i o n t h a t the true m o r a l i s t i s the only true poet, d e a l i n g as he does wi t h the general and the unchanging i n human nature r a t h e r than w i t h the t r a n s i e n t and the f l e e t i n g . One f u r t h e r important a t t r i b u t e which Johnson brought t o the study of the mind was the knowledge which had accrued t o him through h i s l i f e l o n g i n t e r e s t i n the f i e l d of medicine. A. D. Atkinson, i n compiling a l i s t of the prose reading i n E n g l i s h w i t h which Johnson i s known to have been f a m i l i a r , 1 0 0 " D r . Johnson's E n g l i s h Prose Reading," N & _ (1953), pp. 290-91. " has d i s c l o s e d an impressive number of works on medicine and surgery. From t h i s l i s t one might surmise t h a t Johnson's i n t e r e s t i s d i f f u s e d and g e n e r a l ; whereas, the weight of con-t r a r y evidence i n d i c a t e s h i s i n t e r e s t i s p a r t i c u l a r i z e d and i s focused upon the study of morbid psychology as i t r e l a t e d t o h i s own mental s t a t e and t o t h a t of o t h e r s . His was a mind which confirmed the evidence of ob s e r v a t i o n by the touchstone of i n t r o s p e c t i o n , and the n a t u r a l flow or d i r e c t i o n of h i s thought processes was "to f o l l o w upon and g e n e r a l i z e from h i g h l y p e r s o n a l experience, so t h a t a l l h i s ideas about the general human s i t u a t i o n are i n an important sense an extension of p r i v a t e s e n s i b i l i t y . " ' ^ ' ' ' T h i s p r i v a t e s e n s i b i l i t y gave Johnson an acute awareness of h i s own mental maladjustments: h i s compulsive t i c , h i s ch r o n i c melancholia, and h i s morbid f e a r of i n s a n i t y . Of t h i s l a t t e r aberrancy, Mrs. P i o z z i was to comment: His over-anxious care t o r e t a i n without blemish the p e r f e c t s a n i t y of h i s mind, c o n t r i b u t e d much t o d i s t u r b i t . . . . He had s t u d i e d medicine d i l i g e n t l y i n a l l i t s branches; but had given p a r t i c u l a r a t t e n t i o n to the diseases of the imagination which he watched i n h i m s e l f w i t h a s o l i c i t u d e d e s t r u c t i v e of h i s own peace, and i n t o l e r a b l e to those he t r u s t e d . 1 0 2 T h i s h y p e r s e n s i t i v i t y concerning h i s own mental s t a t e A r i e h Sachs, Passionate I n t e l l i g e n c e : Imagination and  Reason i n the Work of Samue1 Johnson (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins P r e s s , 1 9 6 7 J 7 p» 1 0 . 1 0 2 "Anecdotes," i n Johnsonian M i s c e l l a n i e s , ed. George Birkbeck H i l l (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1 9 6 7 ) , I, 1 9 9 - 2 0 0 . impelled Johnson i n the d i r e c t i o n of s e l f - d i a g n o s i s ; t h i s , i n t u r n , provided a fund of knowledge and a s k i l l i n a n a l y s i s which was not only a v a l u a b l e a s s e t f o r a w r i t e r who avowed a c e n t r a l concern f o r "the moral d i s c i p l i n e of the mind," but was a l s o of utmost p r a c t i c a l s e r v i c e when a p p l i e d w i t h h i s p e n e t r a t i v e i n s i g h t to the d i a g n o s i s of the mental d i s t u r b -ances of o t h e r s . Johnson's intense p e r s o n a l involvement i n t h i s area i s a f u r t h e r complement to the l i s t of q u a l i t i e s which Bacon r e q u i r e d of the m o r a l i s t who would undertake the study of the d i s t u r b e d mind. The l a t t e r , i n enumerating these q u a l i t i e s , has drawn the p i c t u r e of Samuel Johnson, as moral-i s t , t o the l i f e , w h i l e at the same time he has drawn the p i c t u r e of F r a n c i s Bacon. As poets, h i s t o r i a n s , and m o r a l i s t s , both men possess i n f u l l measure the a t t r i b u t e s l i s t e d . Although Johnson was t o b u i l d upon the base e s t a b l i s h e d by Bacon, h i s wide-ranging i n v e s t i g a t i o n s c o u l d not be con-t a i n e d w i t h i n the t e n t a t i v e boundaries sketched by the l a t t e r , f o r , as Paul Alkon says: Johnson went f a r beyond Bacon's simple equation of mental dis e a s e s with distempered a f f e c t i o n s : the importance of mai n t a i n i n g proper balance among the higher f a c u l t i e s as w e l l as the need f o r keeping a p p e t i t e s and passions d u l y con-t r o l l e d i s a r e c u r r i n g t o p i c throughout Johnson's career as a m o r a l i s t . In a wide range of d i f f e r e n t l i t e r a r y contexts he suggests numerous methods of p r e s e r v i n g such balance i n order t o prevent what Imlac r e f e r s t o as " d i s o r d e r s of the i n t e l l e c t . " The g r e a t e r complexity of Johnson's a n a l y s i s of "the d i s e a s e s and i n f i r m i t i e s of the mind," however, i s merely an extension o f , r a t h e r than a departure from, the Baconian view t h a t such a n a l y s i s i s an e s s e n t i a l aspect of "the regiment or c u l t u r e of the mind."103 F r a n c i s Bacon, to use h i s own f i g u r e of speech, had "coasted" the d e s e r t reaches and the c u l t i v a t e d shores of the world of knowledge; he had charted the approaches to the un-known areas which i n v i t e d e x p l o r a t i o n ; he had marked the beachheads from which such e x p l o r a t i o n c o u l d be launched. More than a century was to elapse before Samuel Johnson be-came the f i r s t to f o l l o w i n the t r a c k of Bacon to the p a r t i c -u l a r l a n d f a l l marking the T e r r a I n c o g n i t a of the d i s t u r b e d mind. From the beachhead charted by Bacon, and f o l l o w i n g the Baconian d i r e c t i o n s , Johnson s t r u c k out i n t o the v a s t h i n t e r -land of t h i s unexplored area. Not by t h e o r i z i n g from a f a r , but by p r a c t i c a l o n - s i t e o b s e r v a t i o n s , Johnson took surveys of t h i s l a n d and e s t a b l i s h e d the bench marks which were to become the b a s i c r e f e r e n c e p o i n t s from which many aspects of modern p s y c h o l o g i c a l s t u d i e s have developed. Of t h i s c o n t r i b u t i o n , i t has been s a i d : Johnson's own sense of the working of the human imagination probably provides us with the c l o s e s t a n t i c i p a t i o n of Freud to be found i n psychology or moral w r i t i n g before the t w e n t i e t h century.104 Although t h i s does not imply t h a t Freud was i n f l u e n c e d by Johnson, there i s s u b s t a n t i a l support f o r the assessment: 103 Samuel Johns on and Moral D i s c i p l i n e (Northwestern U n i v e r s i t y Press, 1967), pp. 211-12. lO^Walter Bate, The Achievement of Samuel Johnson, p. 93. • . t h a t Johnson made outstanding c o n t r i b u t i o n s to the p s y c h o a n a l y t i c h e r i t a g e which the t w e n t i e t h century i n h e r i t e d from the p a s t . " 1 0 5 Three c e n t u r i e s ago, Bacon "stands at the t h r e s h o l d of 106 modernity, and pronounces . . . the new idea of s c i e n c e . " Johnson, c l o s e r t o us i n time, stands i n t h a t same r e l a t i o n s h i p t o the present-day science of p s y c h o a n a l y s i s . Both men a r e , as i t were, p o i s e d between two worlds: they look forward to the world of the f u t u r e ; they a l s o look backward to the world of the past; both appear u n c e r t a i n of t h e i r next step; n e i t h e r i s able to d r i v e through t o a c o n c l u s i v e s y n t h e s i s . In the background of Samuel Johnson there looms the f i g u r e o f Robert Burton, as w e l l as t h a t of F r a n c i s Bacon, and the i n f l u e n c e of the seventeenth-century anatomist upon Johnson was c o n s i d -e r a b l e . Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy has a l s o been claimed 107 to be an a n t i c i p a t i o n of Freudian psychology, and i t i s p o s s i b l e t h a t , i n probing t h i s work f o r a comprehension of h i s own neuroses, Johnson gained many i n s i g h t s i n t o the workings of the i m a g i n a t i o n . I f such i s the case, there i s j u s t i c e i n the c l a i m of one w r i t e r t h a t , by conceding t h a t modern 105 Kathleen M. Grange, "Samuel Johnson's Account of C e r t a i n P s y c h o a n a l y t i c Concepts," i n Samue1 Johnson: A C o l l e c t i o n o f C r i t i c a l Essays, ed. Donald J . Greene (New J e r s e y : P r e n t i c e H a l l Inc., 1965), p. 149. 106 D. G. James, The Dream of Learning (Oxford: Clarendon P r e s s , 1951), p. 29. 107 See Bergan Evans, The P s y c h i a t r y of Robert Burton (New York: Columbia U n i v e r s i t y P ress, 1944). conceptions of the human psyche: • • . were a r r i v e d at i n complete independence of Burton, then we have another instance of the depth and breadth of Dr. Johnson's understanding. For h i s i n t e l l e c t u a l a cute-ness, i m p e l l e d by the agony of h i s heart, l e d him to see more c l e a r l y i n t o Burton's meaning than d i d h i s own age and s e v e r a l generations which f o l l o w e d him. In any assessment of the importance of Johnson's con-t r i b u t i o n to modern p s y c h i a t r i c knowledge, h i s p o s s i b l e i n -debtedness t o Robert Burton i s c l e a r l y worthy of c o n s i d e r a t i o n ; However, to attempt any comparative a n a l y s i s of the r e s p e c t i v e i n f l u e n c e s of Bacon and of Burton i n reference t o t h i s p a r -t i c u l a r aspect would be n e i t h e r f r u i t f u l nor p e r t i n e n t , as such i n f l u e n c e s would not be mutually e x c l u s i v e . C e r t a i n l y , the n e u r o t i c s i d e of Johnson's nature would be expected t o r e -a c t s t r o n g l y t o the words of Burton, the melancholy and s c h o l -a r l y r e c l u s e of Oxford; j u s t as c e r t a i n l y , the r a t i o n a l s i d e of Johnson's nature would be expected t o respond to the i n -s p i r a t i o n a l words of Bacon, whose moral philosophy, l i k e h i s own, was hammered out on the hard a n v i l o f l i f e and g i v e n the same p r a c t i c a l temper i n the forge of w o r l d l y c o n t e n t i o n . To move from t h i s r a t h e r i n v o l v e d area to one which i s more amenable t o study: iirhat i s the source of the evidence which ensures Johnson's p l a c e i n the h i s t o r y of p s y c h i a t r i c R i c h a r d B. Hovey, "Dr. Samuel Johnson, P s y c h i a t r i s t , " ML-q. XV (Dec. 1954), 325. knowledge? Some of t h i s evidence i s to be found s c a t t e r e d throughout the p e r i o d i c a l essays, but the primary source i s Ras s e l a s , a work which has been d e s c r i b e d as " i n t r o d u c i n g a new understanding and a new dimension" to the i n v e s t i g a t i o n 109 of the mind. Rasselas i s a n o v e l w i t h a p l o t of the b a r e s t s i m p l i c i t y and a s t o r y s t r i p p e d t o the merest e s s e n t i a l s ; y e t , w i t h a l , a work of such complexity t h a t i t can be i n t e r p r e t e d on many l e v e l s of meaning. So m u l t i - f a c e t e d i s the work t h a t i t s c e n t r a l theme has been v a r i o u s l y i n t e r p r e t e d as comic, as t r a g i c , or as a combination of both. A moral f a b l e i t c e r -t a i n l y i s , and i t i s a gauge of Johnson's genius t h a t he has been able t o f r e i g h t the c o n v e n t i o n a l v e h i c l e of an a l l e g o r -i c a l journey w i t h such a wealth of moral meaning and t o s u b t l y convey t h a t meaning through the medium of dramatic i r o n y . The s a t i r i c i r o n y of Rasselas probes below s u p e r f i c i a l -i t i e s t o expose and t o explode a l l of the forms of escapism which l u r e the mind away from the harsh world of r e a l i t y and i n t o the comforting but i l l u s o r y world of i m a g i n a t i o n . As a work of s a t i r e , Rasselas c o u l d be expected t o have a f i x e d r e f e r e n c e p o i n t i n a norm of approved behavior. Such a norm has been thought to be embodied i n the c h a r a c t e r of Imlac; however, although the poet-philosopher serves f r e q u e n t l y as Kathleen M. Grange, "Dr. Samuel Johnson's Account of a Schizophrenic I l l n e s s i n Rasselas (1959)," Medical H i s t o r y , VI (1962), 164. the mouthpiece f o r Johnsonian moral d i c t a , he i s merely an-other persona and bears the same r e l a t i o n s h i p to Johnson as G u l l i v e r bears t o Jonathan S w i f t , The s a t i r i c norm i s not embodied i n any one character; i n s t e a d , what i s implied i s a norm of common sense and r i g h t reason against which a l l de-v i a t i o n s , ranging from vague i d e a l i s m to madness, stand out i n s t a r k r e l i e f . Escapism i n any form i s anathema t o Johnson, and " i n s t i n c t i v e h o s t i l i t y to any s o l u t i o n t h a t seems to savor of escapism i s one of the most consistent t r a i t s i n Johnson's psychology." 1^ 0 When Johnson speaks i n Rasselas of the "dangerous prevalence of imagination," and r e f e r s t o any predominance of fancy over reason as "a degree of i n s a n -i t y , " he i s speaking from h i s own torment of s p i r i t of the i n s i d i o u s power which had sapped h i s own strength of w i l l , and had made him only too w e l l aware of the p r i c e exacted f o r sta y i n g "too long i n the theatre." Rasselas i s undoubtedly a s a t i r e on the u n r e a l i s t i c view of l i f e ; and, whatever else i t may be, i t i s a l s o a b r i l l i a n t study of the case h i s t o r i e s of d i f f e r e n t p s y c h o l o g i c a l types s u f f e r i n g from the common delusions and obsessions which a f f l i c t mankind. In t h i s context c e r t a i n chapters of the work, i t has been claimed: Donald Greene, The P o l i t i c s of Samuel Johnson, p.136. • . . suggest i n s i g h t s i n t o n e u r o s i s which are comparable t o those of modern p s y c h i a t r y : t h a t a n x i e t y i s the c e n t r a l symptom of the depressed; t h a t the anguish o f g u i l t , the over-laden conscience, weighs h e a v i l y on the melaneholiac; t h a t such persons seek ease and e x p i a t i o n by f u r t h e r s e l f -punishment i e , s e l f - a g g r e s s i o n s ; t h a t they a r e d r i v e n to " s u p e r s t i t i o n , " i e , compulsive r i t u a l s ; t h a t sexual d i s t u r b -ances are a c o n t r i b u t i n g f a c t o r i n melancholia; t h a t the symptoms of such i l l n e s s e s are but exaggerations or i n t e n s i -f i c a t i o n s of tendencies i n the non-neurotic p e r s o n a l i t y ; and t h a t the deeper causes of the v i c t o r y o f "fancy" over "reason" cannot be reached by o r d i n a r y r a t i o n a l p r o c e s s e s — i n a word, l i e i n the unconscious . H I IIn t h i s e a r l y study of the e t i o l o g y of p s y c h o s i s , Johnson, by means of Imlac's d e l i n e a t i o n of the case h i s t o r y of the paranoid astronomer., u n v e i l s what i s "not only a c l a s s i c but probably the f i r s t d e t a i l e d a n a l y s i s of s c h i z o -112 p h r e n i a i n the E n g l i s h 'language." I f Imlac can be s a i d to represent Johnson as e t h i c a l man, the astronomer can be s a i d to represent Johnson as n e u r o t i c man; and the Johnsonian i n -s i g h t i n t o h i s own neuroses i s r e v e a l e d i n the words of Imlac which d e p i c t the melancholic a b e r r a t i o n s of the obsessed astronomer,and which p r e s c r i b e f o r the a l l e v i a t i o n of t h a t s t a t e the very p a l l i a t i v e s Johnson had found e f f e c t i v e i n r e -l i e v i n g h i s own c o n d i t i o n . T h i s c o n d i t i o n o f Johnson has Hovey, "Dr. Samuel Johnson, P s y c h i a t r i s t , " MLQ, XV (Dec. 1954), 324. 112 Grange, "Samuel Johnson's Account o f C e r t a i n Psycho-a n a l y t i c Concepts," p. 150. T h i s w r i t e r f u r t h e r adds, i n "Dr. Samuel Johnson's Account of Schizophrenic I l l n e s s i n Rasselas (1759)," t h a t t h i s case h i s t o r y was recognized i n Johnson's time as marking an important advance i n the under-standing of i n s a n i t y , and was valued as such by the medical men of the f o l l o w i n g century. i t s e l f been the subject of many recent s t u d i e s , studies which have extended even to the i n v e s t i g a t i o n of a p o s s i b l e masoch-113 i s t i c element i n h i s character hinted at by Mrs. Thrale. His neuroses have been v a r i o u s l y i n t e r p r e t e d i n Jungian, A d l e r i a n , and Freudian terms, a l l of which i n t e r p r e t a t i o n s a l -though i n t e r e s t i n g i n themselves, are n e i t h e r r e l e v a n t t o the purposes of t h i s t h e s i s nor do they b r i n g us much c l o s e r to an understanding of the enigma which i s Johnson. For those who would presume to reduce Samuel Johnson t o an easy c o d i f i c a t i o n , the best answer i s tha t provided by himself when Goldsmith pro-posed t o the members of the Club that they add another to the r o s t e r , f o r the reason t h a t they had a l l " t r a v e l l e d over one another's minds." " S i r , " was Johnson's r e t o r t — a n d one would l i k e to know the t o n e — " y o u have not t r a v e l l e d over _y_ mind, I promise you." I t i s a mistake to consider the h i s t o r y of the study of abnormal psychology as representing an ordered scale of progression; r a t h e r , from the stage of l i v e l y i n t e r e s t i n the seventeenth century to the achievements of modern p s y c h i a t r y , there i s a desert area c h a r a c t e r i z e d by what can be c a l l e d 115 " i n t e l l e c t u a l r e t r o g r e s s i o n . " Throughout t h i s long 113 Katherine C. Balderston, "Johnson's V i l e Melan-choly," i n Age of Johnson Essays Presented t o Chauncey Brewster  Tinker (New Haven: 1949), pp. 3-14. 1 1 4 B o s w e l l , L i f e . IV, 183. •^^Evans, The P s y c h i a t r y of Robert Burton, pp. 110-11. interregnum, Samuel Johnson stands apart as t h e f i r s t to accept the challenge represented by Bacon's summons t o t h i s f i e l d of study and the f i r s t t o f o l l o w the Baconian d i r e c t i v e s i n i t s p u r s u i t . Although Johnson's work does not represent any c l i n i c a l study, i t i s no l e s s v a l i d on t h a t account. What i t does r e -present i s acute o b s e r v a t i o n and i n s i g h t , and i t possesses the same i n t r i n s i c merit which Johnson recognized i n the Baconian Essays, namely: t h a t of being the product of a "strong mind opera t i n g upon l i f e . " F r a n c i s Bacon, the pioneer of modern s c i e n c e , w r i t i n g over three c e n t u r i e s ago, c h a r a c t e r i z e d the c r e a t i v e w r i t e r as the i n d i v i d u a l best q u a l i f i e d t o undertake the study of the d i s o r d e r e d mind; Sigmund Freud, the pioneer of modern p s y c h i a t r y , and h i m s e l f an important m o r a l i s t , echoes the thought of Bacon i n speaking of the r o l e of the c r e a t i v e w r i t e r i n modern p s y c h i a t r y : . . . the d e s c r i p t i o n of the human mind i s indeed the domain which i s most h i s own; he has from time immemorial been the p r e c u r s o r of s c i e n c e , and so too of s c i e n t i f i c psychology . . . the c r e a t i v e w r i t e r cannot evade the p s y c h i a t r i s t nor the p s y c h i a t r i s t the c r e a t i v e w r i t e r . H f i In the l i g h t of Dr. Johnson's extensive s t u d i e s i n t h i s area, i t would be d i f f i c u l t t o e s t a b l i s h t o what degree he 116 Sigmund Freud, Complete P s y c h o l o g i c a l Works, general ed. James Strachey i n c o l l a b o r a t i o n with Anna Freud (London: Hogarth Press, 1953), IX, 43-44. draws d i r e c t l y upon Baconian i n s t r u c t i o n s i n undertaking the study of the d i s t u r b e d mind. However, where t h e r e i s a man-i f e s t c o r r e l a t i o n between the two men i s i n the s i m i l a r i t y of mental c o n s t i t u t i o n which caused Johnson not only to see the importance of such a study i n the same l i g h t as d i d F r a n c i s Bacon, but a l s o caused him to pursue t h a t study upon the very l i n e s envisaged i n the l a t t e r ' s work. I have shown t h i s sim-i l a r i t y of mental c o n s t i t u t i o n evidenced i n a s i m i l a r approach to biography and to the essay form; t h i s study o f the mind i s yet another example of how c l o s e i s the l i n k between the two p h i l o s o p h e r s . CHAPTER VII THE ETHICS OP EVALUATION In exploring only one section of the broad f i e l d of psychological investigation opened up by Bacon, I have at-tempted to show how Johnson has followed the guidelines and the suggestions l a i d down as appropriate f o r t h i s i n v e s t i -gation by the e a r l i e r philosopher. Other important areas of Bacon's psychological speculations have received close attention by the English philosophers who followed him and have proven to be f r u i t f u l sources of expanded research, par-t i c u l a r l y so i n the case of John Locke and his followers. To attempt to determine whether Johnson's use of Baconian con-cepts related to these l a t t e r areas derives d i r e c t l y from the works of Bacon or i n d i r e c t l y through intermediate sources such as Locke or Isaac Watts—both popular with Johnson—would be a d i f f i c u l t skein to unravel. It suffices to say that such re-ferences appear frequently throughout the Johnsonian canon. Through the " p r a c t i c a l " tendency of his philosophy, and through Locke, Bacon was the father alike of English psycho-l o g i c a l speculation and of the empirical method i n the department of ethics. This quotation supports the statements which we have made regarding Bacon's important role i n influencing psychological Charles Singer, "Francis Bacon," Encyclopaedia  B r i t t a n i c a (Chicago, 1943), I I , 883. s p e c u l a t i o n ; however, our present concern i s with the l a t t e r p a r t o f the q u o t a t i o n : what of F r a n c i s Bacon as the " f a t h e r " of the e m p i r i c a l method i n the department of e t h i c s ? At f i r s t g lance, t h i s would appear t o be a branch of t h e o r e t i c a l science f o r which the p r a c t i c a l Johnson, w i t h h i s d i s t a s t e f o r theory, would have l i t t l e a f f i n i t y . N e v e rtheless, i t w i l l be my con-cern i n t h i s chapter t o i l l u s t r a t e how one important element of Bacon's c o n t r i b u t i o n t o l o g i c and to e t h i c s i s d i r e c t l y r e -l a t e d to what has been c a l l e d Johnson's "most important p i e c e 118 of p h i l o s o p h i c a l w r i t i n g , " namely: A Review of Soame  Jenyns 1 "A Free Enquiry i n t o the Nature and O r i g i n of E v i l , " One of the many s u b j e c t s i n which Bacon found A r i s t o t l e ' s treatment " d e f i c i e n t " was i n the l a t t e r ' s a n a l y s i s of the sophisms of r h e t o r i c ; hence, one of the purposes of h i s w r i t i n g Of the Coulers of Good and E v i l l (1597), was to c o r -r e c t the Greek p h i l o s o p h e r ' s h a n d l i n g of the s u b j e c t . He i s a l s o concerned t o defend and "to s t i r the ea r t h a l i t t l e about the r o o t s " of the scie n c e of r h e t o r i c , and to r e d e f i n e i t s f u n c t i o n : "The duty and o f f i c e of R h e t o r i c i s t o apply Reason 119 to Imagination f o r the b e t t e r moving of the w i l l , " The work was a l s o to serve as a t ouchstone f o r the d e t e c t i o n of r h e t o r i c m i s a p p l i e d , "a means of arming the l i s t e n e r or reader 118 S t u a r t Gerry Brown, "Dr. Johnson and the Old Order," Samuel Johnson, ed. Donald J . Greene(1965), p. 163. 1 1 9 W o r k s , I I I , 409. a g a i n s t the legerdemain of language used i n the s e r v i c e of ,,120 specious p r o o f , " "In d e l i b e r a t i v e s the p o i n t i s , what i s good and what i s e v i l , and of good what i s g r e a t e r , and of e v i l what i s l e s s . " Thus does Bacon begin h i s e a r l y treatment o f the l o g i c of e v a l u a t i o n and h i s emendation of the labours of A r i s t o t l e i n the same f i e l d . With s c e p t i c a l aim and e m p i r i c a l method he presents, and then r e f u t e s , a s e r i e s of sophisms which are g e n e r a l l y h e l d by common o p i n i o n to be t r u e . A s i g n i f i c a n t f e a t u r e of the r e f u t a t i o n i s t h a t i t does not i n v o l v e the p r e s e n t a t i o n of c o n t r a r y arguments or of more v a l i d axioms; i n s t e a d , there i s the d i s s e c t i o n and breaking down, p o i n t by p o i n t , of the s t r u c t u r e of specious reasoning which has brought acceptance of these sophisms as general r u l e s . Bacon claims that A r i s t o t l e has not only f a i l e d t o make t h i s nec-essary r e f u t a t i o n but has a l s o f a i l e d to recognize the impor-tance of doing so. F u r t h e r , i n s o f a r as these sophisms p e r t a i n to r h e t o r i c , and the appeal i s t o the i m a g i n a t i o n , " t h e i r use i s not more f o r p r o b a t i o n than f o r a f f e c t i n g and moving . . . t h e r e f o r e the p o i n t s and s t i n g s of words are by no means to 121 be n e g l e c t e d . " Whether the appeal be d i r e c t e d t o imagina-t i o n or to reason, any f a l l a c i e s i n that appeal must be 120 Anne R i g h t e r , " F r a n c i s Bacon," The E n g l i s h Mind, eds. Hugh Sykes Davies, George Watson (Cambridge: U n i v e r s i t y P r e s s , 1964), p. 14. ^^De Augmentis; Works, IV, 458. c o n t r a d i c t e d . One w r i t e r has expressed the d i s p a r i t y of method i n these words: A r i s t o t l e ' s way was t o proceed from the common o p i n i o n or p r e j u d i c e and r e f i n e t h a t o p i n i o n or p r e j u d i c e i n t o p h i l -osophic t r u t h , Bacon's way was t o de s t r o y the common o p i n i o n or p r e j u d i c e , and introduce u n c e r t a i n t y . What i s the e s s e n t i a l importance of the s u b j e c t i t s e l f and of t h i s new method of a r r i v i n g a t c o r r e c t e t h i c a l con-c l u s i o n s ? Bacon's own assessment i s as f o l l o w s : To make a true and safe judgment,.nothing can be of g r e a t e r use and defence t o the mind, than the d i s c o v e r i n g and r e p r e -hension of these c o l o u r s showing i n what cases they h o l d , and i n what they deceive . . . so being performed, i t so c l e a r e t h man's judgment and e l e c t i o n , as i t i s the l e s s l i k e l y to s l i d e i n t o any error.123 For a modern assessment of Bacon's own c o n t r i b u t i o n to t h i s f i e l d of study i n Of the Coulers o f Good and E v i l l , we may c o n s i d e r the o p i n i o n of P r o f e s s o r Toulmin, an a u t h o r i t y i n t h i s f i e l d , who has prefaced a recent study w i t h the s t a t e -ment t h a t he i s t a k i n g up the s u b j e c t where i t was l e f t i n Bacon's C o u l e r s . and h i s words on the l a t t e r work serve to place i t i n a proper h i s t o r i c a l p e r s p e c t i v e : T h i s e a r l y i n t e r e s t i n the notion s o f e t h i c s f a i l e d t o keep the same place i n h i s thoughts as d i d h i s p a s s i o n f o r the Howard B. White, Peace Among the Willows (The Hague: Martinus N i j h o f f , 1968), p. 35. 1 2 3 0 f j__e Coulers of Good and E v i l l ; Works. V I I , 77. The Coulers appears i n an a m p l i f i e d form i n the De Augmentis. I w i l l be quoting from both v e r s i o n s . p o s s i b i l i t i e s of s c i e n c e . And t h i s i s perhaps a p i t y , f o r c e r t a i n l y few s i n c e h i s time have brought t o the study of e t h i c s q u i t e the l u c i d i t y and s t r a i g h t f o r w a r d n e s s which mark h i s work. The o b s c u r i t y from which he rescued i n d u c t i v e reasoning s t i l l envelops evaluation.124 A key reference i n the above q u o t a t i o n i s t h a t which r e -l a t e s to the " o b s c u r i t y " which envelops e v a l u a t i o n . This would i n d i c a t e t h a t the Baconian approach s t i m u l a t e d no immediate advances i n the d i r e c t i o n i n d i c a t e d , e i t h e r i n the area of theory or i n the p r a c t i c a l a p p l i c a t i o n of h i s method. To r e t u r n once again to Samuel Johnson, I w i l l now en-deavor to t r a c e the threads which l i n k t h i s r a t h e r neglected work of Bacon to the w r i t i n g s of the "Great Cham" of e i g h t -eenth-century l i t e r a t u r e . F i r s t , i t i s a p p r o p r i a t e to emphasize that Johnson knew Bacon's Coulers w e l l ; the evidence of the D i c t i o n a r y r e v e a l s t h a t he has quoted from the work 125 seven times i n the f i r s t volume alone. T h i s could be con-s i d e r e d a number r a t h e r d i s p r o p o r t i o n a t e l y l a r g e , c o n s i d e r i n g t h a t the work i t s e l f i s fragmentary and comprises but f i f t e e n pages of the Spedding e d i t i o n of Bacon's Works. Secondly, the problem of good and e v i l , the s u b j e c t with which Bacon opens the C o u l e r s , was a p a r t i c u l a r l y v i t a l issue i n the age of Johnson when the r i s e of o p t i m i s t i c Deism brought a new sense of urgency to the i n v e s t i g a t i o n of how, as Soame Jenyns 124 Stephen E d e l s t o n Toulmin, An Examination of the Place  of Reason i n E t h i c s (Cambridge: U n i v e r s i t y Press, 1958). Freed, "The Sources of Johnson's D i c t i o n a r y , " p. 47. phrased i t : " E v i l of any k i n d can be the p r o d u c t i o n o f i n -f i n i t e Goodness, j o i n e d w i t h i n f i n i t e Power." Not only does Jenyns pose the q u e s t i o n but he attempts an answer i n h i s theodicy, A Free E n q u i r y i n t o the Nature and O r i g i n of E v i l . T h i s work was one of the most popular of the many p u b l i c a -t i o n s which at t h a t time were p r e s e n t i n g the D e i s t i c p o s i t i o n r e l a t i v e t o the important d o c t r i n e of the Great Chain of Being and the concomitant p r i n c i p l e of P l e n i t u d e . T h i s d o c t r i n e has a long h i s t o r y , w i t h r o o t s extending back to Greek philosophy and w i t h forms o f i t appearing throughout the Medieval and Renaissance p e r i o d s . The popu-l a r i t y of the d o c t r i n e i n the eighteenth century was not due d i r e c t l y to e a r l y sources but to Locke and to L e i b n i t z , "the two p h i l o s o p h e r s whose r e p u t a t i o n and i n f l u e n c e were g r e a t e s t i n the ensuing f i f t y y e a r s . " In h i s Essay Concerning Human Understanding. Locke s t a t e s the general p o s i t i o n s u c c i n c t l y : In a l l the v i s i b l e c o r p o r e a l world we see no chasms or gaps. A l l q u i t e down from us the descent i s by easy steps, and a continued s e r i e s t h a t i n each remove d i f f e r v ery l i t t l e one from the other . . . . And when we con s i d e r the i n f i n i t e power and wisdom of the Maker, we have reason to t h i n k , t h a t i t i s s u i t a b l e t o the magnificent harmony of the u n i v e r s e , and the great design and i n f i n i t e goodness of the a r c h i t e c t , t h a t the s p e c i e s of c r e a t u r e s should a l s o , by gentle degrees, ascend upwards from us towards h i s i n f i n i t e p e r f e c t i o n , as we see they g r a d u a l l y descend from us downwards.127 Arthur Lovejoy, The Great Chain of Being (Cambridge: Harvard U n i v e r s i t y P ress, 1957), p. 184. ed. Alexander Campbell F r a s e r (New York: Dover P u b l i c a t i o n s , Inc., 1959), I I , 67-68. By a p p l i c a t i o n of the p r i n c i p l e of p l e n i t u d e , i t i s i m p l i e d t h a t there are no gaps i n the c h a i n and t h a t every l i f e form has been f u l l y r e a l i z e d i n f u l f i l l m e n t of God's purpose i n c r e a t i o n . I t i s d i f f i c u l t today t o conceive o f the degree of general acceptance of the concept of the Chain of Being i n the eighteenth century, f o r , i n P r o f e s s o r Lovejoy's words: There has been no p e r i o d i n which w r i t e r s of a l l s o r t s — m e n of science and p h i l o s o p h e r s , poets and popular e s s a y i s t s , d e i s t s and orthodox d i v i n e s — t a l k e d so much about the Chain of Being, or accepted more i m p l i c i t l y the general scheme of ideas connected with i t , or more b o l d l y drew from these t h e i r l a t e n t i m p l i c a t i o n s , or apparent i m p l i c a t i o n . . . . Next to the word "Nature" the "Great Chain of Being" was the sacred phrase of the e i g h t e e n t h century, p l a y i n g a p a r t somewhat analagous to t h a t of the b l e s s e d word " e v o l u t i o n " i n the l a t e n i n e t e e n t h . To p o s i t a s c a l e of being ranging from the inanimate t o the i n f i n i t e as p a r t of a cosmic scheme which, while p e r f e c t i n i t s t o t a l i t y , i s o n l y seemingly imperfect i n i t s p a r t s , was a p a r t i c u l a r l y a t t r a c t i v e o p t i o n to many t h i n k e r s i n the eighteenth century. Such a s c a l e , w i t h i t s gradations imply-i n g the p r i n c i p l e of a necessary s u b o r d i n a t i o n , was as though made to order f o r those who f e l t the need of a p h i l o s o p h i c shore to prop up the r a t h e r shaky concept of s o c i e t y as s t a t i c , w i t h gradations based upon a s c a l e measured i n prop-e r t y r i g h t s . A problem arose i n r e l a t i o n to the p a r a d o x i c a l 1 2 8 T h e Great Chain of Being, pp. 183-84. presence of e v i l i n t h i s d i v i n e scheme. The a n t h r o p o c e n t r i c d o c t r i n e , while h i g h l y f l a t t e r i n g to human v a n i t y , could not r e a d i l y accomodate the e x i s t e n c e of things which were ob-v i o u s l y not i n s t r u m e n t a l to man's w e l l - b e i n g . One a l t e r n a t i v e was to deny any c e n t r a l r o l e f o r man and to see him only as another l i n k i n the chain; then, c o n v e n i e n t l y , the s u f f e r i n g of man c o u l d be seen as p o s s i b l y b e n e f i t i n g the c h a i n as a whole, or other p a r t s of the c h a i n . Soame Jenyns' theodicy i s of t h i s nature, but i t i s p a r t i c u l a r l y noteworthy f o r the smug complacency which u n d e r l i e s the stand t h a t p a i n and poverty f o r the i n d i v i d u a l are a b s o l u t e l y necessary f o r the general happiness of the whole. In a d d i t i o n , there i s a c e r t a i n bland f a t u i t y i n the c e l e b r a t i o n of the compensations of poverty, and i n the acceptance of the ignorance r e s u l t i n g from l a c k of education as being a b e n e f i c e n t " o p i a t e " and a " c o r d i a l " administered by a gracious providence. I t i s t h i s advocacy of s o c i a l i n j u s t i c e i n the attempt to base an o p t i m i s t i c world view on such monstrous premises which undoubtedly f i r e d Johnson to make h i s s c a t h i n g review of Jenyns' work. What of these compensations which Jenyns claims are attendant upon the s t a t e s of poverty and of ignorance? I t i s i n r e b u t t a l of these claims t h a t we see Johnson at h i s most austere and, at the same time, at h i s most humane. The a u s t e r i t y comes through i n the tone of s t e r n reproof with which h i s massive common sense cuts through the cant of Jenyns' statements; the humanitarianism comes through i n the r e v e l a t i o n of h i s own stance on these c l a i m s ; the combination o f both f a c t o r s produces some of h i s most memorable phrases. The happiness a t t r i b u t e d to a s t a t e o f poverty which, t o be en-dured, r e q u i r e s the "opiate of i n s e n s i b i l i t y " i s , he d e c l a r e s : " l i k e t h a t of a mal e f a c t o r , who ceases to f e e l the cords t h a t b i n d him, when the p i n c e r s are t e a r i n g h i s f l e s h . " His d e n i a l of the argument f o r the w i t h h o l d i n g of education c o n t a i n s one of h i s most noble statements: I am always a f r a i d of determining on the side o f envy o r c r u e l t y . The p r i v i l e g e s of education may, sometimes, be improperly bestowed, but I s h a l l always f e a r t o withhold them, l e s t I should be y i e l d i n g t o the suggestions of p r i d e , while I persuade myself t h a t I am f o l l o w i n g the maxims o f p o l i c y ; and under the appearance o f s a l u t a r y r e s t r a i n t s , should be i n d u l g i n g the l u s t of dominion, and t h a t malevolence which d e l i g h t s i n seeing others depressed.129 These, as we have s a i d , are i s s u e s which c o u l d be ex-pected t o draw a strong r e a c t i o n from Johnson; however, they are i s s u e s s u b s i d i a r y t o the primary concern of A Free  E n q u i r y : the problem of e v i l . How does one dispose o f t h i s k n o t t y problem i n a theodicj'- based on the concept of the Great Chain of Being? Jenyns* answer i s t o f i n d t h a t , i n r e l a t i o n to h i s great S c a l e , e v i l i s onl y so i n appearance; i n e f f e c t , he sweeps i t under the rug where i t d i s a p p e a r s . Johnson, t o whom e v i l was always v i v i d l y r e a l , c ould not accept t h i s neat s o l u t i o n and, c h a r a c t e r i s t i c a l l y , he s t r i k e s to the heart o f 129 Review of "A Free E n q u i r y i n t o the Nature and O r i g i n  of E v i l . " f o r k s (Troy, New York) , X I I I , pp. 230-31. the i s s u e by c h a l l e n g i n g both the concept of the Great Chain of Being and the d o c t r i n e of P l e n i t u d e , and t h i s he does with d e v a s t a t i n g e f f e c t . I t i s a measure o f Johnson's courage and h i s b o l d i n d i v i d u a l i t y t h a t he should dare to a t t a c k d o c t r i n e s so f i r m l y entrenched t h a t , though some v o i c e s had been r a i s e d a g a i n s t them, they had not been s e r i o u s l y c h a l l e n g e d i n h i s s o c i e t y f o r generations, d o c t r i n e s which had been upheld by men l i k e Locke, Pope, Addison, and Law. Nor should we f o r g e t t h a t i n a t t a c k i n g the base i t s e l f he i s i n d i r e c t l y undermining the s o c i a l c o r o l l a r i e s which were drawn from these d o c t r i n e s and which were of utmost s e r v i c e s i n upholding the r u l i n g c l a s s of h i s day. Nevertheless, a t t a c k i t he d i d , and the comparative ease w i t h which h i s l o g i c demolished the specious reasoning which had supported these d o c t r i n e s would make one wonder why i t had not been done b e f o r e . The p a l p a b l e f a c t i s t h a t no one had p r e v i o u s l y thought to challenge an o p i n i o n so commonly h e l d . We have now come f u l l c i r c l e and are back to F r a n c i s Bacon and Of the Coulers of Good and E v i l l ; f o r , was i t not t h i s very work which s t r e s s e d most emp h a t i c a l l y the n e c e s s i t y of c h a l l e n g i n g such common opinion? I t i s my c o n t e n t i o n t h a t i n the very undertaking of the t a s k of i n v e s t i g a t i n g the Chain of Being, Johnson i s p u t t i n g i n t o p r a c t i s e the i n j u n c t i o n of Bacon i n t h i s regard, and i s a p p l y i n g i t t o one of the most f i r m l y rooted opinions of h i s day. Furthermore, i n under-t a k i n g the probe o f t h i s concept and o f i t s c o r o l l a r y d o c t r i n e s , he i s f o l l o w i n g the method o f Bacon. Step by step he penetrates through to the inherent s o p h i s t r y of these doc-t r i n e s and, as he demolishes piece by piece the underpinnings of the argument which supports them, the e n t i r e s t r u c t u r e f a l l s t o the ground and—once more i n the manner of Bacon—he leaves i t where i t f a l l s . Is the Chain of Being a true continuum as n e c e s s a r i l y im-p l i e d by the p r i n c i p l e of plenitude? Can tha t p r i n c i p l e be supported by reason or e m p i r i c a l evidence? Here i s Johnson: Every Reason which can be brought t o prove, that there are Beings of every p o s s i b l e s o r t , w i l l prove t h a t there i s the greatest Number p o s s i b l e of every Sort of Beings; but t h i s , w i th respect to Man we know, i f we know anything, not to be true . . . . The Scale of Existence from I n f i n i t y to Nothing cannot p o s s i b l y have Being. The highest Being not i n f i n i t e must be, as has been often observed, at an i n f i n i t e Distance below I n f i n i t y . . . . And i n t h i s Distance between f i n i t e and i n f i n i t e , there w i l l be Room f o r ever f o r an i n f i n i t e Series of i n d e f i n a b l e Existence . . . . Cr e a t i o n , wherever i t stops, must stop i n f i n i t e l y below i n f i n i t y and on the other i n f i n i t y above nothing . . . . Nor i s t h i s a l l . In the Scale, wherever i t begins or ends, are endless V a c u i t i e s . At whatever D i s -tance we suppose the next Order of Beings to be above Man, there i s room f o r an intermediate Order of Beings between them; and i f f o r one order, then f o r i n f i n i t e orders; since everything t h a t admits of more or l e s s , and consequently a l l the Parts of t h a t which admits them, may be i n f i n i t e l y d i -vided. So t h a t , as f a r as we can judge, there may be Room i n the Vacuity between any two Steps of the Scale, or between any two Point s of the Cone of Being, f o r i n f i n i t e E x e r t i o n of I n f i n i t e P o w e r . I 3 0 The whole, though p e r f e c t i n i t s e l f , requires imperfection and j u s t i n f e r i o r i t y i n i t s subordinate p a r t s , claims Jenyns, Review, pp. 223ff and "these E v i l s of Imperfections, proceeding from the neces-sary i n f e r i o r i t y of some beings i n comparison to others can i n no sense be c a l l e d any E v i l s at a l l . " Johnson counters: I t does not appear, even t o the imagination, that of three orders of being, the f i r s t and the t h i r d receive any ad-vantages from the imperfection of the second, or t h a t , indeed, they may not equal l y e x i s t , though the second had never been, or should cease t o be; and why should t h a t be concluded necessary, which cannot be proved even to be useful?131 Thus does Johnson b l u n t l y demolish the view of Jenyns and completely j u s t i f y h i s own conclusive assessment: This Scale of Being I have demonstrated t o be r a i s e d by pre-sumptuous Imagination, to r e s t on Nothing at the Bottom, to lean on Nothing at the Top, and to have V a c u i t i e s from step to step through which any Order of Being may sink i n t o N i h i l i t y without any Inconvenience, so f a r as we can Judge, to the next Rank above or below i t . . . . A system has been r a i s e d , which i s so ready to f a l l t o pieces of i t s e l f , t h a t no great p r a i s e can be derived from i t s destruction.132 L o g i c a l l y , Johnson i s f u l l y j u s t i f i e d i n h i s rather con-temptuous d i s m i s s a l of t h i s system and i n h i s assumption that i t has been completely d i s c r e d i t e d ; whereas, i n a c t u a l i t y , n e i t h e r Johnson's c r i t i c i s m s nor the s i m i l a r attacks of V o l t a i r e had much apparent e f f e c t at the time. As Professor Lovejoy has s a i d : "Throughout the century the assumptions of p l e n i t u d e , c o n t i n u i t y , and gradation continued . . . to I 3 1 R e v i e w , p. 224. 1 3 2 I b i d . , pp. 234ff. operate p o w e r f u l l y upon men's minds, e s p e c i a l l y i n the b i o l o g -. , . ,,133 x c a l s c i e n c e s . " These words r e v e a l the i n v e t e r a t e tendency of the human mind to c l i n g t e n a c i o u s l y to what Bacon r e f e r s t o as "the mischievous a u t h o r i t y of systems." Through t h i s tendency the common o p i n i o n — i n t h i s case one of the I d o l s of the T h e a t r e — has, by the power of custom and of s u p e r s t i t i o n , been i n v e s t e d w i t h a l l the f o r c e of p r e s c r i p t i o n , and has c r e a t e d an almost impregnable s t r o n g h o l d of e r r o r . "The end of l o g i c " says Bacon, " i s t o teach a form of argument t o secure reason, and not t o entrap i t ; the end l i k e -wise of moral philosophy i s t o procure the a f f e c t i o n s to f i g h t 134 on the side of reason, and not to invade i t . " In Johnson's Review there i s an i m p l i c i t endorsement of Bacon's statement, both i n terms of the means employed and i n the end achieved. In the C o u l e r s , as i n Johnson's work, the end of l o g i c i s a t t a i n e d when s o p h i s t r y has been exposed and reason has been f r e e d from enslavement t o the I d o l s . No new s y n t h e s i s i s attempted. In the Review he suggests no a l t e r n a t i v e approach to the problem of e v i l but comments b r i e f l y on the vast scope of the problem. I t i s s u f f i c i e n t f o r Johnson, j u s t as i t was f o r Bacon, t h a t reason has been r e i n s t a t e d upon her throne, f o r from r i g h t reason t r u t h must p r o c e e d — a n obvious t r u i s m 1 3 3 T h e Great Chain of Being, pp. 254-55. 1 34 De Augmentis; Works, IV, 455-56. f o r a man who had s t a t e d : "He who t h i n k s reasonably must t h i n k m o r a l l y . " Iffhen P r o f e s s o r Toulmin speaks i n h i g h p r a i s e o f the " l u c i d i t y and s t r a i g h t f o r w a r d n e s s " which mark Bacon's work i n the C o u l e r s , the same words o f p r a i s e c o u l d , w i t h equal p r o -p r i e t y , be a p p l i e d to the work o f Johnson we have j u s t d i s -cussed. Bacon and Johnson e x h i b i t a comparable power of v i v i d e x p r e s s i o n and the same g i f t f o r apothegm and the trenchant phrase; both possess an i n c i s i v e l o g i c which c u t s through s o p h i s t i c verbiage and cleaves to e s s e n t i a l s ; both possess a c e r t a i n r u t h l e s s f o r c e which cannot be s a t i s f i e d w i t h the mere lo p p i n g of branches from the rank growth of e r r o r but must s t r i k e at the very roots t h e r e o f . The n e c e s s i t y of e r a d i c a t i n g such rank e r r o r s motivates Bacon's w r i t i n g of the C o u l e r s ; the same i m p e l l i n g f o r c e motivates Johnson's w r i t i n g of the Review. E v i l , as I have s a i d , was always v i v i d l y r e a l t o Johnson;, he was quick t o f e r ^ r e t i t out and to a t t a c k i t i n any of i t s g u i s e s . In Rambler 4 he a s s a i l s those w r i t e r s who p a i n t e v i l i n the a t t r a c t i v e c o l o u r s o f v i r t u e and thereby "confound the c o l o u r s of r i g h t and wrong": I t i s of the utmost importance t o mankind, t h a t p o s i t i o n s of t h i s tendency be l a i d open and confuted; f o r while men con-s i d e r good and e v i l as s p r i n g i n g from the same r o o t , they w i l l spare the one f o r the sake of the other, and i n judging, i f not at l e a s t of themselves, w i l l be apt to estimate t h e i r v i r t u e s by t h e i r v i c e s . To t h i s f a t a l e r r o r a l l those w i l l c o n t r i b u t e , who confound the c o l o u r s o f r i g h t and wrong, and i n s t e a d of h e l p i n g to s e t t l e t h e i r boundaries, mix them with so much a r t , t h a t no common mind i s able t o d i s u n i t e them • • . . V i c e , f o r v i c e i s necessary t o be shown, should a l -ways d i s g u s t ; nor should the graces o f g a i e t y , or the d i g n i t y of courage, be so u n i t e d w i t h i t , as to r e c o n c i l e i t to the mind . . . . I t i s t h e r e f o r e t o be s t e a d i l y i n c u l c a t e d , t h a t v i r t u e i s the hi g h e s t proof of understanding, and the only s o l i d b a s i s of greatness; and t h a t v i c e i s the n a t u r a l con-sequence of narrow thoughts, t h a t i t begins i n mistake and ends i n ignominy.1^5 Th i s concern t o ensure t h a t v i r t u e i s " s t e a d i l y i n c u l -cated" forms an important c r i t e r i o n i n Johnson's l i t e r a r y judgments; i t can be seen, f o r example, as forming the b a s i s of h i s a t t a c k upon F i e l d i n g ' s c h a r a c t e r i z a t i o n of Tom Jones, f o r i n Johnson's words: " I t i s not a s u f f i c i e n t v i n d i c a t i o n of a c h a r a c t e r , t h a t i t i s drawn as i t appears, f o r many 136 c h a r a c t e r s ought never t o be drawn." I t i s p o s s i b l e to c i t e works of other p h i l o s o p h e r s wherein f a l s e systems and ideas have been attacked l o g i c a l l y and e f f e c t i v e l y . However, where the Coulers and the Review stand apart from such other works i s i n a m o t i v a t i o n which i s based not upon i n t e l l e c t u a l p r i d e or the d e s i r e t o supplant one system w i t h another; i n s t e a d , what i s paramount f o r both m o r a l i s t s i s the honest and c h a r i t a b l e purpose of arming man's reason a g a i n s t the a l l u r i n g blandishments o f e v i l and of sweeping e r r o r from h i s pathway t o v i r t u e . Samuel Johnson, i n f o l l o w i n g the Baconian p r i n c i p l e s e x e m p l i f i e d i n the 5 f_orks, I I I , 24-25. 6 I b i d . , p. 22. C o u l e r s , r e v e a l s a comparable awareness o f the need t o s a f e -guard the understanding from the perv a s i v e i n f l u e n c e of f a l -l a c i o u s reasoning; i n making an important a p p l i c a t i o n of these p r i n c i p l e s i n the un d e r c u t t i n g o f some o f the most popular and most dominant myths of h i s s o c i e t y , he r e v e a l s once again, as i n the case of the study o f the d i s t u r b e d mind, t h a t he i s tuned-in to the same range and order o f temporal m o r a l i s t i c p r i o r i t i e s as was F r a n c i s Bacon. CHAPTER V I I I CONCLUSION Samuel Johnson, i t must be remembered, was a C h r i s t i a n humanist. As such, he represents the complex amalgam of C h r i s t i a n and C l a s s i c a l t r a d i t i o n , spanning over two thousand years of Western h i s t o r y , together with the a c c r e t i o n s super-imposed upon t h i s a n c i e n t h e r i t a g e by the s e c u l a r r e v o l u t i o n i n thought occasioned by the advances of the p h y s i c a l s c i e n c e s . When he speaks of reason i n the domain of e t h i c s he i s speaking from h i s own humanist t r a d i t i o n of the r i g h t reason which recognizes the unchanging and the u n i v e r s a l i n human nature and t r e a t s of what i s m o r a l l y p r a c t i c a l , given man's freedom of w i l l ; on the other hand, when he speaks of reason i n the domain of s c i e n c e , he uses the term i n i t s d i s -c u r s i v e sense, conceding the p r o p r i e t y , and even the n e c e s s i t y , of i t s a p p l i c a t i o n t o the s p e c u l a t i v e and t o the f a c t u a l . The boundaries of these r e s p e c t i v e domains, as c l e a r l y d i s t i n g u i s h -able as b l a c k from white to Johnson and t o h i s contemporaries, have become b l u r r e d with the passage of time and have merged i n t o what i s o f t e n a grey area of ambiguity f o r the modern reader. As a consequence, i t has been a l l too easy to read am-biv a l e n c e i n t o Johnson's moral a t t i t u d e where, i n f a c t , none e x i s t s . In speaking w i t h approval of many of the concepts of the new r a t i o n a l i s m v a r i o u s l y propounded by Descartes, Hobbes, > and Locke, Johnson has r e f e r e n c e t o the standards a p p r o p r i a t e to t h i s f i e l d , and these he a p p l i e s w i t h a wide l a t i t u d e ; conversely, when h i s re f e r e n c e i s t o the e t h i c a l standards which represent the f u s i o n of C h r i s t i a n r e v e l a t i o n and r i g h t reason, he a p p l i e s these standards r i g o r o u s l y , admitting no v a r i a b l e s and p e r m i t t i n g no e x c e p t i o n s . Upon those occasions when the r e v o l u t i o n a r y t h r u s t of s p e c u l a t i v e reason encroaches too b o l d l y upon the p r o v i n c e of t h i s l a t t e r e t h i c a l t r a d i t i o n , Johnson rouses h i m s e l f to do b a t t l e i n i t s defense. I t i s a b a t t l e which, u n f o r t u -n a t e l y , g i v e n the circumstances of h i s age and the waning f o r c e of t h i s t r a d i t i o n , p l a c e s Johnson i n the p o s i t i o n of f i g h t i n g what i s o f t e n a l o n e l y and desperate rearguard a c t i o n . One example of h i s spontaneous r e a c t i o n to whatever threatens h i s own e t h i c a l standard I have p r e v i o u s l y i l l u s -t r a t e d , t h a t i s : h i s uncompromising r e j e c t i o n of the then f a s h i o n a b l e c u l t of the " s e n t i m e n t a l " — a term, i n c i d e n t a l l y , which he ref u s e d t o d i g n i f y by any e x p l i c a t i o n i n the D i c t i o n a r y . I t was not t h a t Johnson could not f e e l sympathy with what was genuinely humanitarian i n the contempory worship of " f e e l i n g " ; r a t h e r , what drew the Johnsonian i r e was the attempt to d i s p l a c e the t r a d i t i o n a l e t h i c a l p r i n c i p l e of C h r i s t i a n c h a r i t y , as enjoined by the a u t h o r i t y of s c r i p t u r e and endorsed by r i g h t reason, w i t h an e t h i c a l p r i n c i p l e based s o l e l y upon s p e c u l a t i v e reason and having f o r i t s support nothing more s u b s t a n t i a l than the vagaries o f mutable f e e l i n g . Here, as elsewhere, Johnson has a p p l i e d only one touchstone t o the p r i n c i p l e s of moral philosophy: those p r i n c i p l e s which accord p o s i t i v e l y with h i s own e t h i c a l stand-ards have h i s i m p l i c i t endorsement; those which r e g i s t e r neg-a t i v e l y are r e j e c t e d out of hand and att a c k e d as r e p r e s e n t i n g e r r o r . However, there remains f o r him y e t a t h i r d area of what could be c a l l e d n e u t r a l ground: n e i t h e r p o s i t i v e nor negat i v e , and h e r e i n the moral p h i l o s o p h e r may be as e c l e c t i c as he wishes and, l i k e Bacon's bee, gather h i s nectar where he may. What appears to be a growing awareness of Johnson's im-portance as a m o r a l i s t has prompted some recent s c h o l a r l y i n v e s t i g a t i o n s i n t o the i n f l u e n c e s which have shaped h i s moral ph i l o s o p h y . However, most of these i n v e s t i g a t i o n s , r a t h e r than f o l l o w i n g the main l i n e o f Johnson's m o r a l i s t i c thought, appear to have been shunted o f f and d i v e r t e d i n t o the s i d e -t r a c k of the above-mentioned " n e u t r a l " ground. Does Johnson f o l l o w Cumberland i n t o U t i l i t a r i a n i s m ? Does he f o l l o w Hobbes i n h i s p o l i t i c s ? The questions are v a l i d enough; n e v e r t h e l e s s , they concern i s s u e s which are p e r i p h e r a l i n r e l a t i o n to Johnson's c e n t r a l c o n s i d e r a t i o n s as a m o r a l i s t , and t h e i r p o s s i b l e answers b r i n g us l i t t l e c l o s e r t o an understanding of the e s s e n t i a l Johnson. No c l o s e t p h i l o s o p h e r , Samuel Johnson saw l i f e as a grim s t r u g g l e dominated by the haunting f e a r of r e t r i b u t i o n , and wi t h the great moral i s s u e s pounding i n c e s s a n t l y at man's door r e q u i r i n g answers. As one of the l a s t great r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s of the Christi a n - h u m a n i s t t r a d i t i o n he harks back t o an e a r l i e r age, to the seventeenth century, and to the f i g u r e of F r a n c i s Bacon, a man bred i n the same e t h i c a l t r a d i t i o n , r e -sp e c t i n g the same C h r i s t i a n p r i n c i p l e s , and having the same p r a c t i c a l concern f o r man's advancement. In e x p l o r i n g t h i s r e l a t i o n s h i p between the Augustan Johnson and the Jacobean Lord C h a n c e l l o r , I have been compelled by the wide scope of the su b j e c t t o confine myself t o onl y the more s a l i e n t p o i n t s which e s t a b l i s h the connection between the two m o r a l i s t s . Prom t h e i r works f u r t h e r s u p p o r t i n g evidence could be educed which would f u r t h e r c o n f i r m t h i s r e l a t i o n s h i p ; nonetheless, I b e l i e v e I have s u f f i c i e n t l y demonstrated the strong a f f i n i t i e s i n thought and i n a t t i t u d e which cause both men to b r i n g t h e i r p r a c t i c a l m o r a l i t y to a c e n t r a l focus upon the same primary task of b r i n g i n g man i n t o the s t r a i g h t way of t r u t h and v i r t u e . "Seek the good of other men," says Bacon, and i n t h i s simple dictum there i s comprehended the r u l i n g p r i n c i p l e which governs h i s own moral philosophy as w e l l as t h a t of Samuel Johnson. In t h e i r comprehensive view of what i s necessary f o r man as a f r e e moral agent i n a p r a c t i c a l world, t h e i r con-s i s t e n t a p p l i c a t i o n of t h i s p r i n c i p l e sets them apart from more t r a d i t i o n a l p h i l o s o p h e r s ; i t a l s o marks t h e i r s i n g u l a r and important c o n t r i b u t i o n to E n g l i s h moral philosophy. Alkon, P a u l . Samuel Johnson and Moral D i s c i p l i n e . North-western U n i v e r s i t y P ress, 1967. Anderson, F u l t o n H. The Philosophy of F r a n c i s Bacon. Chicago: U n i v e r s i t y of Chicago Press, 1948. Atkinson, A. D. "Dr. Johnson's Prose Reading." N&Q (1953), Feb., 60-63; March, 107-10; May, 206-10; J u l y , 228-93; Aug., 344-46. Bacon, F r a n c i s . 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