He was received with the most flattering marks of civility by everyone. He was looked upon as a kind of miracle, and almost carried about for a show. Those who were in his company were silent the moment he spoke, lest they should interrupt him, and lose any of the good things he was going to say. He repaid all their attention to him with ill-breeding, and when in the company of the ablest men in this country, who are certainly his superiors in point of abilities, his whole design was to show them how contemptibly he thought of them. Had the Scotch been more acquainted with Dr. Johnson's private character they would have expected nothing better. A man of illiberal manners and surly disposition, who all his life long had been at enmity with the Scotch, takes a sudden resolution of travelling amongst them; not, according to his own account, 'to find a people of liberal and refined education, but to see wild men and wild manners.""
The " patriotic Knox," as Boswell calls him, the author of A Tour through the Highlands and Hebnde Isles in \ 786, a man freer from prejudices than the common run, and one who readily acknowledged the merits of Johnson's book, bears equal witness to the wrath of his countrymen.
" Dr. Johnson (he writes) set out under incurable impressions of a national pre- judice, a religious prejudice, and a literary jealousy. From a writer of such abilities and such prejudices the natives of Scotland had reason to expect a shower of arrows without mercy, and it was possibly from this prepossession that they were ready to fall upon him as one man the moment that his book appeared. Their minds were charged with sentiments of indignity, resentment and revenge, which they did not fail to discharge upon his head in whole platoons from every quarter." *
To us, who know Johnson better than we know any other author who has ever lived, the charge of literary jealousy seems ridiculous. But Knox lived before Boswell's Life was published. Scotland, in which learning and even literature had slumbered for nearly a century, had started up from her long sleep, and was bent on turning the Auld Reekie into the Modern Athens. All her geese were swans, though of swans she had at this season a fair flock. " Edinburgh is a hotbed of genius," wrote Smollett, shortly before Johnson's visit, and as a proof of it he instanced among " authors of the first distinction," Wallace, Blair, Wilkie, and Fer- guson. Hume still earlier had proclaimed that at last there was
1 Letters from Edinburgh, 1774-5, London, so candid is the author amidst his errors, that it
1776, published without a name, but written by is hard to say whether he is more erroneous
Captain Edward Topham, pp. 137-140. Arnot, when he speaks in praise or censure of the
in his History of Edinburgh, p. 361, after ridi- Scottish nation." It is possible and perhaps
culing Topham's statement, that golf is played probable that he has exaggerated the ill-will
on the top of Arthur's Seat, continues : " These against Johnson. The passage which he puts in
letters are written with spirit and impartiality. quotation marks is not in \\vtjourney. But the facts and criticisms contained in them - Knox's Tour, p. Ixvii.
are for the most part equally ill-founded. Yet