Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Johnson on assent

Your assent to a man you have never known to falsify is a debt; but after you have known a man to falsify, your assent to him is a favour.

Samuel Johnson (1709 - 1784)

The roll-call of people who Johnson's quote applies to is rather long isn't it? If we begin by listing politicians then it's hardly worth doing. May as well list them all and have done with it.


rogerh said...

A theme developing here, can't quite put my finger on it though.

Demetrius said...

Ah, he may well have been referring to Arnold Nesbitt. He was married to Henry Thrale's sister, Susannah, who was on a milk diet and who did not have children. Arnold had several children, notably by Mrs. Yeates, the actress. Arnold was a City and HEIC man who speculated heavily, went broke and later died leaving Henry Thrale with a huge liability in security for Nesbitt's debts. Thrale then had a stroke. They were closely connected to Sheridan, who also had an interesting financial life and with Goldsmith, also who had trouble managing his money. On Arnold's death his West Indian estates went to a nephew who unluckily was one of the Prince Regents more rakish drinking partners. He went bankrupt as well. Off the same patch in Co, Cavan as Nesbitt and Goldsmith was Jeremy Sneyd, more or less head of the then Civil Service, a younger son who finished up with an estate in Hampshire (Jane Austen knew of him) and a property close to Clarence House. Arnold's natural son, Lt. Gen. Colebrooke Nesbitt Aide to King George III was close to Sir John Moore and served with Arthur Wellesley in India. Colebrooke's widow Elizabeth lived over the fields from Wellesley (by then a Duke) in Hampshire much later. Follow the money.

A K Haart said...

rogerh - neither can I, and I'm writing the stuff.

D - thanks for the info and I think you are right - Johnson spent his whole life surrounded by people with the most extreme and convoluted money problems, beginning with his father. Thrale also invested heavily in some kind of ridiculous brewing technique which hadn't a hope of working. From some accounts, he just ate himself to death.