Page:Footsteps of Dr. Johnson.djvu/69

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habits of thrift. They entered upon the widely extending battle of life like highly trained soldiers, and they gained additional force by acting together. If they came up " in droves," it was not one another that they butted. They exhibited when in a strange land that " national combination " which Johnson found " so invidious," but which brought them to " employment, riches, and distinction." ' Their thrift, and an eagerness to push on which sometimes amounted to servility, provoked many a gibe ; but if ever they found time and inclination to turn from Johnny Home to Shakespeare they might have replied in the words of Ferdinand :

"Some kinds of baseness Are nobly undergone, and most poor matters Point to rich ends."

On the advantages of the Union to Scotland Johnson was not easily tired of haranguing. Of the advantages to England he said nothing probably because he saw nothing. Yet it would not be easy to tell on which side the balance lay. Before the Union, he maintained, " the Scotch had hardly any trade, any money, or any elegance." : In his Journey to t/ic Western Islands he tells the Scotch that " they must be for ever content to owe to the English that elegance and culture which, if they had been vigilant and active, perhaps the English might have owed to them."

Smollett, who in national prejudice did not yield even to him, has strongly upheld the opposite opinion. In his History\\t describes Lord Belhaven's speech against the Union in the last parliament which sat in Scotland a speech " so pathetic that it drew tears ' from the audience. It is," he adds, "at this day looked upon as a prophecy by great part of the Scottish nation." ' The towns on the Eirth of Eorth, he maintained, through the loss of the trade with France, had been falling to decay ever since the two countries were united. 5 In these views he was not supported by the two great writers who were his countrymen and his contemporaries. It was chiefly to the Union that Adam Smith attributed the great improvements in agriculture which had been made in the eighteenth century. 6 It was to the Union that Hume attributed the blessing " of a government perfectly regular, and exempt from all violence and injustice." ' Many years later Thomas Carlyle, in whom

1 Worts, ix. 158. "' Humphry Clinker, iii. 7.

  • Boswell's/^/wtfK, v. 248. u Wealth of Nations, \. 308.

s Works, ix. 24. ~ Hume's History of England, vii. 438.

4 Smollett's History of England, ii. 99.

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