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Title: Boswelliana - The Commonplace Book of James Boswell with a Memoir and Annotations
Author: Rogers, Charles
Language: English
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[Illustration: James Boswell
From an original sketch by Langton.]


The Commonplace Book of James Boswell with a Memoir and Annotations

by the


Historiographer of the Royal Historical Society, Fellow of the Society
of Antiquaries of Scotland, and Corresponding Member of
the Historical Society of New England.

And Introductory Remarks by the Right Honourable Lord Houghton.

Printed for the Grampian Club

      *      *      *      *      *      *

                     MEMBERS OF THE GRAMPIAN CLUB.

           His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, _Patron_.

  His Grace the Duke of Argyll, K.T.

  His Grace the Duke of Athole.

  Right Hon. the Earl of Aberdeen.

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  Sir Robert John Abercrombie, Bart., of Birkenbog.

  General Sir John Aitchison, K.C.B., G.C.B.

  The University of Aberdeen.

  Robert Vans Agnew, Esq., of Sheuchan, M.P.

  Lieut.-Colonel W. R. E. Alexander.

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  The Rev. G. R. Badenoch, LL.D., F.R.H.S.

  Joseph Bain, Esq., F.S.A. Scot.

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  Sir Robert Menzies, Bart., of Castle Menzies.

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  Rev W. O. Macfarlane, M.A. Oxon.

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  Lieut.-Colonel John Ramsay, of Barra.

  William Rider, Esq.

  Patrick Rankin, Esq., jun.

  Rev. Charles Rogers, LL.D., F.R.H.S., F.S.A. Scot., _Secretary_,
        Grampian Lodge, Forest Hill, S.E.

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  Edward J. Reed, Esq., C.B., M.P.

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  George Russell, Esq.

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  R. Milne Redhead, Esq., F.L.S., F.R.G.S.

  Right Hon. the Earl of Seafield.

  Right Hon. the Earl of Strathmore.

  Right Hon. the Earl of Stair.

  Right Hon. Lord Saltoun.

  Right Hon. Sir John Stuart, F.S.A. Scot.

  The Hon. Sir Charles Farquhar Shand.

  George Edwin Swithinbank, LL.D., F.S.A. Scot.

  William H. Smith, Esq.

  Alexander Smith, Esq.

  Captain Robert Steuart, of Westwood.

  David Semple, Esq., F.S.A. Scot.

  Thomas Stratton, Esq., M.D.

  Charles A. Stewart, Esq., of Achnacone.

  James Stillie, Esq.

  T. W. Swinburne, Esq.

  Alexander B. Stewart, Esq.

  Thomas Sopwith, Esq., F.R.S., F.R.H.S.

  Charles Stewart, Esq., R.N., F.S.A. Scot.

  A. Campbell Swinton, Esq., F.S.A. Scot., of Kimmerghame.

  Charles Shaw, Esq.

  Sion College, London.

  Robert R. Stodart, Esq.

  C. J. Stewart, Esq.

  George Stewart, Esq.

  William Stewart, Esq.

  H. King Spark, Esq.

  John Shand, Esq., W.S.

  James Frederick Spurr, Esq.

  The Right Hon. Lord Talbot de Malahide.

  Sir Walter Calverly Trevelyan, Bart., F.S.A., F.G.S., F.S.A. Scot.

  The Honourable Society of the Middle Temple.

  Alexander Tod, Esq., F.S.A. Scot.

  Charles Tennant, Esq.

  Gilbert Rainey Tennent, Esq.

  Robert Tennant, Esq.

  W. J. Taylor, Esq., of Glenbarry.

  Thomas Aubrey Turner, Esq.

  John Turnbull, Esq.

  John Tweed, Esq.

  Andrew Usher, Esq.

  Right Hon. Lord Wharncliffe.

  Sir Albert William Woods, F.S.A.

  Rev. John G. Wright, LL.D.

  George Ferguson Wilson, Esq., F.R.S.

  William Thorburn Wilson, F.S.A. Scot.

  Archibald Weir, Esq., M.D.

  Thomas A. Wise, Esq., M.D., F.S.A. Scot., F.R.H.S.

  J. P. Wise, Esq., Rostellan Castle.

  Miss Catherine Mary Watson.

  Fountaine Walker, Esq., of Foyers.

  J. A. Woods, Esq.

  James Wingate, Esq.

  Edward Wilson, Esq.

  Charles H. H. Wilson, Esq., of Dalnair.

  Mrs. W. Wilson.

  Andrew Wark, Esq.

  Rev. W. H. Wylie.

  Allan A. Maconochie Welwood, Esq., of Meadowbank.

  T. W. Spencer Waugh, Esq.

  Randolph Gordon Erskine Wemyss, Esq., of Wemyss and Torrie.

  Mrs. Wilkie.

  Evan C. Sutherland Walker, Esq., of Skibo.

      *      *      *      *      *      *


JAMES BOSWELL had not, by publishing his great work, the Life of Dr.
Samuel Johnson, completed his literary plans. He preserved the letters
he received from notable persons, and retained copies of his own.
For many years he kept a journal, in which he recorded not merely
his conversations with Dr. Johnson, but the diurnal occurrences of
his own life. Respecting his journal, in a letter to his friend Mr.
Temple, dated 22nd May, 1789, he writes:—“You have often told me that
I was the most thinking man you ever knew; it is certainly so as to
my own life. I am continually conscious, continually looking back or
looking forward, and wondering how I shall feel in situations which
I anticipate in fancy. My journal will afford materials for a very
curious narrative. I assure you I do not now live with a view to have
surprising incidents, though I own I am desirous that my life should
tell.” Boswell evidently intended to adapt the contents of his journal
to an autobiography; his early death precluded the intention.

Besides a journal, Boswell kept in a portfolio a quantity of loose
quarto sheets, inscribed on each page BOSWELLIANA. In certain of these
sheets the pages are denoted by numerals in the ordinary fashion;
another portion is numbered by the folios; while a further portion
consists of loose leaves and letterbacks. The greater part of the
entries are made so carefully as to justify the belief that the author
intended to embody the whole in a volume of literary anecdotes.

At Boswell’s death his portfolio was sold along with the books
contained in his house in London. It came into the possession of
John Hugh Smyth Pigott, Esq., of Brockley Hall, Somersetshire, an
indefatigable book collector. On Mr. Pigott’s death in 1861 the volume,
bound in russia, was sold along with the stores of the Brockley
library. Purchased by Mr. Thomas Kerslake, bookseller in Bristol, it
was afterwards sold by him to Lord Houghton. By his lordship it was
lately handed to the Grampian Club, with a view to publication.

Boswell’s commonplace-book exhibits some of the author’s weaknesses,
but is on the whole a valuable repertory. The social talk of leading
persons during the latter part of the century is graphically depicted.
Considerable light is thrown on the character of individuals respecting
whom every fragment of authentic information is treasured with
interest. In preparing the commonplace-book for the press the Editor
has omitted a few entries which transgressed on decorum. He has
generally retained the author’s orthography.

The Memoir has been prepared with a desire to depict the author’s
history in his own words. Letters to correspondents have been copiously
introduced. Of these a most interesting portion have been obtained
from the volume of Boswell’s Letters to Mr. Temple, published by Mr.
Bentley, under the care of Mr. Francis. It is curious to remark that
these letters, like the commonplace-book, left the family of the owner,
and were accidentally discovered in the shop of a trader at Boulogne.

The Editor cannot venture to enumerate all the kind friends who
have aided his inquiries. He has been indebted to Lord Houghton for
important particulars. The representatives of Thomas David Boswell, the
biographer’s brother, and of his uncle, Dr. John Boswell, have been
most polite and obliging in their communications. The Rev. W. H. Wylie
has kindly furnished Boswell’s address to the Ayrshire constituency.


  _May, 1874_.



THERE is no word of vindication or appreciation to be added to Mr.
Carlyle’s estimate of the character and merits of James Boswell. That
judgment places him so high that the most fantastic dream of his own
self-importance would have been fully realized, and yet there is no
disguise of his follies or condonation of his vices. We understand at
once the justice and the injustice of his contemporaries, and while
we are amused at the thought of their astonishment could the future
fame of the object of so much banter and rude criticism have been
revealed to them, we doubt whether, had we been in their place, our
misapprehension and depreciation would not have been still greater than

It was the object of Boswell’s life to connect his own name with that
of Dr. Johnson; the one is now identified with the other. He aspired
to transmit to future time the more transitory and evanescent forms
of Johnson’s genius; he has become the repository of all that is
most significant and permanent. The great “Dictionary” is superseded
by wider and more accurate linguistic knowledge; the succinct and
sententious biographies are replaced, where their subjects are
sufficiently important, by closer criticisms and by antiquarian
details, while in the majority of his subjects the Lives and Works
of the writers are alike forgotten. The “Rambler” and the “Idler”
stand among the British Essayists, dust-worn and silent; and though a
well-informed Englishman would recognise a quotation from “Rasselas” or
“London,” he would hardly be expected to remember the context.[1] But
the “Johnsoniad” keeps fresh among us the noble image of the moralist
and the man, and when a philosopher of our time says pleasantly of
Boswell what Heinrich Heine said gravely of Goethe, that he measures
the literary faculty of his friends by the extent of their appreciation
of his idol, it is to a composite creation of the genius of the master
and of the sympathetic talent of the disciple that is paid this
singular homage. For it was assuredly a certain analogy of character
that fitted Boswell to be the friendly devotee and intellectual
servitor of Dr. Johnson, and the resemblances of style and manner which
are visible even in the fragments brought together in this volume
cannot be regarded as parodies or conscious imitations, but rather
as illustrations of the mental harmony which enabled the reporter to
produce with such signal fidelity, in the words of another, his own
ideal of all that was good and great.

“Elia,” with his charming othersidedness, writes, in one place, “I
love to lose myself in other men’s minds,” and in another, “the habit
of too constant intercourse with spirits above you instead of raising
you, keeps you down; too frequent doses of original thinking from
others restrains what lesser portion of that faculty you may possess
in your own. You get entangled in another man’s mind, even as you
lose yourself in another man’s ground; you are walking with a tall
varlet, whose strides outpace yours to lassitude.” Both observations
are true, and instances are not wanting of the spirit of reverence
and the habit of waiting on the words and thoughts of those who are
regarded as the spokesmen of authority, emasculating the self-reliance
and thralling the free action of superior men. This is especially
observable in political life, where a certain surrender of independence
is indispensable to success, but where, if carried too far, it tends
to dwarf the stature and plane down the beneficial varieties of public
characters. But there will always be many forces that militate against
this courtliness in the Republic of Letters; leading men will have
their clique, and too often like to be kings of their company, but more
damage is done to themselves than to those who serve them, and there is
little fear of too rapid a succession of Boswells or Eckermanns.

In these days of ready and abundant writing the value of Conversation,
as the oral tradition of social intercourse, is not what it was in
times when speech was almost the exclusive communicator of intelligence
between man and man. Yet there will ever be an appreciation of the
peculiar talent which reproduces with vivacity those fabrics of the
hour, and gives to the passing lights and shades of thought an artistic
and picturesque coherence. This is the product of a genial spirit
itself delighting in the verbal fray, and of a society at once familiar
and intellectual. We have from other sources abundant details of the
vivacity of the upper classes of the Scottish community in the latter
half of the last century and the beginning of the present. It had the
gaiety which is the due relaxation of stern and solid temperaments, and
the humour which is the genuine reverse of a deep sense of realities
and an inflexible logic. It was intemperate, not with the intemperance
of other northern nations, to whom intoxication is either a diversion
to the torpor of the senses, or a narcotic applied by a benevolent
nature to an anxious and painful existence, but with a conviviality
which physical soundness and moral determination enabled them to
reconcile with the sharpest attention to their material interests and
with the hardest professional work.



Scotland had had the remarkable destiny in its earlier history
of assimilating to itself the elements of a finer civilisation
without losing its independence or national character; and it had
even interchanged with the continent of Europe various influences
of manners and speech. It had thus retained a certain intellectual
self-sufficiency, especially in its relations with English society
and literature, which never showed itself more distinctly than in
its estimate of Dr. Johnson and of his connection with Boswell. In
the pamphlets, and verses, and pictures of the time, Boswell appears
as a monomaniac, and Johnson as an impostor. The oblong quarto of
Caricatures which followed their journey to the Hebrides shows that
Boswell not only did not gain any favour from his countrymen, by
introducing among them the writer, who, however little understood in
his entire worth, nevertheless held a high place among English wits and
men of letters, but brought abundant ridicule on himself, his family,
and his friend. It required all Boswell’s invincible good humour to
withstand the sarcasm that assailed him. Dr. Johnson certainly repaid
with interest the prejudice and ill-will he encountered, but it remains
surprising that so good and intelligent a company did not better
recognise so great a man. We did not so receive Burns and Walter Scott.
The agreeable reminiscences of Lord Cockburn and Dean Ramsay have
given us the evening lights of the long day of social brightness which
Scotland, and especially Edinburgh, enjoyed; and if this pleasantness
is now a thing of the past, the citizens of the modern Athens have
only shared the lot of other sections of mankind, even of France, _par
excellence_, the country of Conversation.[2]

This decadence in the art and practice of the communication of ideas,
and in the cultivation of facile and coloured language, is commonly
attributed to the wide extension of literature and the press, which
give to every man all the knowledge of matters of interest which he
can require without the intervention of a fellow-creature. It may be
that men may now read and think too much to talk, but the change is,
perhaps, rather the effect of certain alterations in the structure of
society itself, accompanied by the fastidiousness that tries to make up
by silence and seclusion for the arbitrary distinctions and recognised
barriers, which limited and defined the game of life, but admitted
so much pleasant freedom within the rules. We can however, still
acknowledge the value of such records as those of the late Mr. Nassau,
Senior, whose “Conversations” with the most eminent politicians and men
of action of his time, especially in France, afford trustworthy and
interesting materials for the future historian, and where a legal mind
and well-trained observation take the place of vivid representation and
literary skill. “Quand un bon mot,” writes Monsieur L.’Enfant in one of
his prefaces to his “Poggiana” “est en même temps un trait d’Histoire,
on fait aisèment grace à’ce qui peut lui manquer du côté de la force et
du sel.”

The title of “Boswelliana,” which the editor has taken from the
original manuscript, is hardly correct. This is, in fact, one of the
note-books of the anecdotes and _facetiæ_ of the society in which
Boswell lived; and though such a use of the termination may find
some analogy in the Luculliana,—cherries that Lucullus brought from
Pontus—and the Appiana—apples introduced into Rome by him of the
Appian way,—yet the term “Ana,” in its most important applications,
has always referred not to the collector, but to the personage or
at any rate to the subject-matter of the book. Some vindication for
its use on the present occasion may, however, be found in those
instances in which Boswell acts as Bozzy to himself, and where the
opinions and the mode of enunciating them are so thoroughly Boswellian
that they give a characteristic flavour to the whole. What can be
more delightfully his own than the prefixes “Uxoriana,” and “My son

There is some mystery in the insertion of certain occasional
Johnsoniana, which could hardly have found their way into this
collection, if Boswell had at the time been keeping special memoranda
of his great Oracle. They are not very numerous nor consecutive, nor do
they imply that at the time they were taken down they were intended as
portions of the _magnum opus_. Most of them, however, are incorporated
in it, and are only repeated here to preserve the integrity of the
manuscript. The few omissions, such as they are, are of the same
character as the _lacunæ_ in the Temple letters.

The historical and biographical annotation of these anecdotes has
been a work requiring considerable local knowledge and antiquarian
research. Executed, as it is, by Dr. Rogers, it affords an interesting
social picture of the Scotland of the day, and there are many families
still living, who will here gladly recognise and welcome the words and
thoughts of their ancestors.


AS Dr. Johnson’s biographer, and the chronicler of his conversations,
James Boswell is entitled to remembrance. On the publication of his
“Life of Johnson,”—though seven years had elapsed since the moralist’s
decease, and two memoirs had in the interval appeared,—a deep interest
was excited; and the author, whose peculiarities had hitherto subjected
him to ridicule, at once attained a first place as a biographer. Time,
which effects many changes in literary popularity, has borne in an even
current the “Life of Johnson,” and therewith in every home of lettered
Britons has rendered familiar the name of Boswell.

Representing a landed branch of a Norman House, James Boswell inherited
no small share of family pride, a point of character which under proper
regulation might have proved salutary. Sieur de Bosville accompanied
William of Normandy into England, and held a considerable command at
the battle of Hastings. His descendants migrated into Scotland during
the reign of David I., and there acquired lands in the county of
Berwick. Robert Bosville obtained the lands of Oxmuir, in Berwickshire,
under William the Lion; he witnessed many charters in the reign of
that monarch. He was father of Adam de Bosville de Oxmuir, whose name
appears in an obligation of Philip de Lochore in 1235, during the
reign of Alexander II. In the lands of Oxmuir he was succeeded by his
son Roger, and his grandson William de Bosville, the latter of whom
was compelled with other barons to swear fealty to Edward I. in 1296.
Richard, son of William, obtained from King Robert the Bruce, lands
near Ardrossan, in Ayrshire, in addition to his estates in Berwickshire.

Roger de Boswell, second son of Richard of Oxmuir, married in the reign
of David II., Mariota, daughter and co-heiress of Sir William Lochore
of that ilk, with whom he obtained half the barony of Auchterderran, in
Fife. In this barony he was succeeded by his son John de Boswell, who
espoused Margaret, daughter of Sir Robert Melville, of Carnbee. Their
son, Sir William Boswell, was judge in a perambulation of the lands of
Kirkness and Lochore. He married Elizabeth, daughter and heiress of
Alexander Gordon, with whom he got some lands in the constabulary of
Kinghorn. His son, Sir John Boswell, designed of Balgregie, married,
early in the fifteenth century, Mariota, daughter of Sir John Glen, and
with her obtained the barony of Balmuto, in Fife.

Sir John Boswell, of Balmuto, was succeeded by his son David, who
married first Elizabeth, daughter of Sir John Melville, of Raith, and
secondly, Isabel, daughter of Sir Thomas Wemyss, of Rires, relict of
David Hay, of Naughton. Robert, younger son by the first marriage,
became parson of Auchterderran, and was much esteemed for his piety
and learning: he attained his hundredth year. David, the elder son,
obtained, in 1458, from James II., by a charter under the great seal,
the lands of Glasmont, in Fife. He married first Grizel, daughter of
Sir John Wemyss of that ilk; and secondly, in 1430, Lady Margaret
Sinclair, daughter of William, Earl of Orkney and Caithness. Thomas,
eldest son of the second marriage, obtained from James IV., as a signal
mark of royal favour, the estate of Auchinleck,[3] in Ayrshire. He was
slain at Flodden on the 9th September, 1513. By his wife Annabella,
daughter of Sir Hugh Campbell, of Loudoun, he had an only son David,
who, succeeding to the paternal estate, espoused Lady Janet Hamilton,
daughter of James, first Earl of Arran. David was succeeded by his son
John, whose first wife was Christian, daughter of Sir Robert Dalzell,
of Glenae, progenitor of the Earls of Carnwath. Of this marriage,
James, the eldest son, succeeded to Auchinleck. He died in 1618,
leaving by his wife, Marion Crawford, of Kerse, six sons, three of whom
entered the service of Gustavus Adolphus, and ultimately settled in
Sweden. David Boswell, the eldest, succeeded to Auchinleck; he was an
ardent supporter of Charles I., and was fined ten thousand marks for
refusing to subscribe the Covenant. He married Isabel, daughter of Sir
John Wallace, of Cairnhill, but having no male issue, he was at his
death in 1661 succeeded by his nephew David, son of his next brother
James by his wife, a daughter of Sir James Cunninghame, of Glengarnock.

David Boswell of Auchinleck espoused Anne, daughter of James Hamilton
of Dalziel, by whom, besides three daughters, he had two sons, James
and Robert. The latter settled in Edinburgh as a Writer to the Signet,
and acquiring a handsome fortune, purchased from his kinsman, Andrew
Boswell, the estate of Balmuto, which had belonged to his ancestors.
His son, Claude James Boswell, born in 1742, passed advocate in 1766,
and after serving eighteen years as sheriff of Fife, was in 1798 raised
to the bench, under the judicial title of Lord Balmuto.[4] His lordship
died on the 22nd July, 1824.

James Boswell, elder son of David Boswell of Auchinleck, succeeded
to the paternal estate: he practised as an advocate, and attained
considerable eminence in his profession. By his wife, Lady Elizabeth
Bruce, daughter of Alexander, second Earl of Kincardine, he had two
sons and a daughter, Veronica; she married David Montgomerie, of
Lainshaw, and his daughter Margaret espoused James Boswell, the subject
of this memoir. John, younger son of James Boswell of Auchinleck,
studied medicine, and became censor of the Royal College of Physicians,
Edinburgh. Alexander, the elder son, succeeded to Auchinleck on his
father’s death in 1748.

Through his father, Alexander Boswell was attracted to legal
studies; he passed advocate 29th December, 1729, and after a period
of successful practice at the bar, was in 1743 appointed sheriff of
Wigtonshire. He was raised to the bench in 1754, when he assumed the
title of Lord Auchinleck;[5] he was appointed a Lord of Justiciary in
the following year.

About the year 1739, Alexander Boswell married his cousin[6] Euphemia
Erskine, descended of the ennobled House of Erskine of Mar. Her father,
Colonel John Erskine, was a younger son of the Hon. Sir Charles
Erskine, first baronet of Alva, and her mother was Euphemia, one of
the four daughters of William Cochrane of Ochiltree, a scion of the
noble House of Dundonald by his wife Lady Mary Bruce, eldest daughter
of Alexander, second Earl of Kincardine. Of the marriage of Alexander
Boswell and Euphemia Erskine were born three sons: John, the second
son, became a military officer and died unmarried; David, the youngest,
entered a house of business, and at the close of his apprenticeship in
1768 joined partnership with Charles Herries, a Scotsman, and Honorius
Dalliol, a Frenchman, in establishing a mercantile house at Valencia in
Spain. On account of the Spaniards being prejudiced against the name of
David, as of Jewish origin, he assumed the Christian name of Thomas. On
account of the war he left Spain in 1780, when he settled in London,
and commenced business as a merchant and banker. He afterwards accepted
a post in the Navy Office, where he became the head of the Prize
Department. He purchased the estate of Crawley Grange, Buckinghamshire,
and died in 1826. A man of grave deportment and correct morals, he
was esteemed for his discretion, urbanity, and intelligence. By his
marriage with Anne Catherine, sister of General Sir Charles Green,
Bart., he became father of one child, Thomas David, who was born 24th
September, 1800. This gentleman succeeded his father in the estate of
Crawley Grange; he married in 1841 Jane, daughter of John Barker, Esq.
Having died without issue, his estate passed to another branch of the
Boswell family.

James Boswell, eldest son of Lord Auchinleck, was born at Edinburgh
on the 29th October, 1740. He received his rudimentary training from
a private tutor, Mr. John Dun, a native of Eskdale, and who, on
the presentation of his father, was, in 1752, ordained minister of
Auchinleck. He was afterwards sent to a school at Edinburgh, taught by
Mr. James Mundell, a teacher of eminence. Afterwards he was enrolled
as a pupil in the High School, under Mr. John Gilchrist, one of the
masters, a celebrated classical scholar.[7]

Possessed of strong religious and political convictions, Lord
Auchinleck sought to imbue his children with a love of Presbyterianism
and a loyal attachment to the House of Hanover. In those aims he was
assisted by his wife, a woman of vigorous sagacity and most exemplary
piety. To her affectionate counsel rather than to the wishes of his
father, the eldest son was disposed to yield some reverence. But he
early affected to despise the simple ritual of the Presbyterian Church,
and in direct antagonism to his father’s commands he declared himself
a Jacobite and a warm adherent of the exiled House. He related to Dr.
Johnson, that when his father prayed for King George, he proceeded to
pray for King James, till one day his uncle, General Cochrane, gave him
a shilling on condition that he would pray for the Hanoverian monarch.
The bribe overcame his scruples, and he did as he was asked.

With a view to his becoming an advocate at the Scottish Bar, Boswell
entered the University of Edinburgh. There he formed the acquaintance
of Mr. William Johnson Temple, from Allardine in Northumberland, a
young gentleman preparing in the literary classes for orders in the
English Church. Mr. Temple was Boswell’s senior, and much surpassed him
in general knowledge. He belonged to an old and respectable, if not an
affluent family, and he was of a pleasing and gentlemanly deportment.
The exiled king being forsaken, he became Boswell’s next hero. In
parting from him at the close of their first college session, Boswell
begged that their friendship might be maintained by correspondence;
and letters actually passed between them for thirty-seven years.
To Boswell’s share of that correspondence we are indebted for many
materials illustrative of his life.

It will be convenient at this point to present a few particulars of
Mr. Temple’s career, closely associated as that gentleman was with the
subject of our history. After leaving Edinburgh he sustained the loss
of a considerable fortune through the embarrassments of his father.
Proceeding to the University of Cambridge, he took the degree of LL.B.,
and soon afterwards entered into orders. In 1767 he was preferred to
the Rectory of Mamhead, Devonshire, which, added to the Vicarage of
St. Gluvias, Cornwall, brought him, with the remains of his private
fortune, an income of £500 a year. In youth he afforded proof of
original power; he was a considerable politician, and an excellent
classical scholar. He composed neatly; his character of the poet Gray,
with whom he was acquainted, has been quoted approvingly by Dr. Mason,
his biographer, and likewise by Dr. Johnson. He published an essay
on the studies of the clergy, another “On the Abuse of Unrestrained
Power,” and “A Selection of Historical and Political Memoirs;” but
none of these compositions were much sought after. He died on the
8th August, 1796, surviving our author little more than a year. He
was oppressed by an habitual melancholy, which the untoward temper
of his wife served materially to intensify. He has been described as
“Boswell’s faithful monitor;” he was scarcely so, for his remonstrances
were feeble. Had he reproved sternly he might have been of some service.

In a letter to Mr. Temple dated 29th July, 1758, Boswell informs him
that he had been introduced to Mr. Hume, whom he thus describes:—“He
is a most discreet, affable man, as ever I met with, and has really
a great deal of learning, and a choice collection of books. He is
indeed an extraordinary man,—few such people are to be met with
now-a-days. We talk a great deal of genius, fine language, improving
our style, &c., but I am afraid solid learning is much wore out. Mr.
Hume, I think, is a very proper person for a young man to cultivate
an acquaintance with. Though he has not perhaps the most delicate
taste, yet he has applied himself with great attention to the study of
the ancients, and is likewise a great historian, so that you are not
only entertained in his company, but may reap a great deal of useful

When Mr. Temple proceeded to Cambridge he reported to his Edinburgh
friend that he was studying in earnest. In his reply, dated 16th
December, 1758, Boswell describes his own studies:—“I can assure you,”
he writes, “the study of the law here is a most laborious task.... From
nine to ten I attend the law class; from ten to eleven study at home;
and from one to two attend a college [class] upon Roman antiquities;
the afternoon and evening I always spend in study. I never walk except
on Saturdays.” Thanking his friend for the perusal of a MS. poem he
adds, “To encourage you I have enclosed a few trifles of my own.... I
have published now and then the production of a leisure hour in the
magazines. If any of these essays can give entertainment to my friend,
I shall be extremely happy.”

On the importance of religion Boswell reciprocated his friend’s
sentiments. After informing him that the continuance of his friendship
made him “almost weep with joy,” he proceeds, “May indulgent Heaven
grant a continuance of our friendship! As our minds improve in
knowledge may the sacred flame still increase, until at last we reach
the glorious world above when we shall never be separated, but enjoy an
everlasting society of bliss. Such thoughts as these employ my happy
moments, and make me—

                        ‘Feel a secret joy
  Spring o’er my heart, beyond the pride of kings.’”

After a reference to companionship he adds, “I hope by Divine
assistance, you shall still preserve your amiable character amidst all
the deceitful blandishments of vice and folly.”

In the same letter Boswell informed Mr. Temple that he had fallen
desperately in love. The object of his affection was a Miss W—— t,
for so he disguises her name—a reticence in matters of the heart which
he does not evince subsequently. After expatiating on the lady’s charms
and angelic qualities, especially her “just regard for true piety and
religion,” he remarks that “she _is_ a fortune of thirty thousand
pounds.” With so large a dowry, he feels that she might be difficult
to win, but he conceives that “a youth of _his_ turn has a better
chance to gain the affections of a lady of her character than of any
other.” He adds complacently, “As I told you before, my mind is in such
an agreeable situation, that being refused would not be so fatal as to
drive me to despair.” He sums up by assuring his correspondent that he
had entrusted the secret of his passion only to another whose name was

Mr. Love was one of Boswell’s early heroes. A native of England, he
was originally connected with Drury Lane Theatre, but for some cause
he left London and sojourned at Edinburgh. There he at first practised
private theatricals, but afterwards became a teacher of elocution. He
read with Miss W—— t, and also with Boswell, though at different
hours, and advised the latter to look after the pretty heiress. Boswell
took the hint; but the dream soon passed away, for the name of the rich
beauty does not reappear.

To his young friend Mr. Love administered more useful counsel by
advising him to cultivate an easy style of composition. To accomplish
this he recommended him to keep a journal or commonplace-book, and
daily to record in it notes of conversations, and of more remarkable
occurrences. Boswell acted on Mr. Love’s suggestion. Writing to Mr.
Temple, he reports that having gone with his father to the Northern
Circuit, he travelled in a chaise with Sir David Dalrymple the whole
way, and that he kept an exact journal at the particular desire of his
friend Mr. Love, and sent it to him in sheets, by every post. Such was
Boswell’s first effort in journal-making; it was next to be practised
on Paoli, and latterly, with unprecedented success, on Dr. Johnson. As
to Mr. Love, it may be remarked that he compensated himself for his
early counsel by sponging his pupil. “Love is to breakfast with me
to-morrow,” wrote Boswell to Mr. Temple in July 1763. “I hope I shall
get him to pay me up some more of what he owes me. Pray, is _pay up_
an English phrase, I know _pay down_ is?”

Sir David Dalrymple, Bart., better known by his judicial title of Lord
Hailes, was now an Advocate Depute,[8] one of the faculty specially
retained by the Crown for arraigning offenders in the Justiciary Court.
An able lawyer, he had already afforded evidence of his ability and
accurate scholarship in several separate publications and in various
contributions to the periodicals. Possessing a fund of information
which he communicated with much suavity of manner, Boswell hailed
him as his Mæcenas. Having enrolled him among his divinities, he was
disposed to idolize likewise all those whom he approved. Of these the
most conspicuous was Dr. Samuel Johnson, whose existence was first made
known to him in a post-chaise conversation. He was delighted to learn
that he still lived, was the centre of a literary circle, had composed
a literary medley styled the _Rambler_, and had edited a dictionary. As
Sir David expatiated on his learning and his virtues, Boswell resolved
that one day Johnson should have a place among his gods.

In November, 1759, Boswell entered the University of Glasgow as a
student of civil law; he also attended the lectures of Dr. Adam Smith
on moral philosophy and rhetoric. His evenings were spent in places of
public amusement. From Mr. Love he had contracted a fancy for dramatic
art, which in the absence of a licensed theatre he could not gratify
in the capital. With more enlightened views the merchants of Glasgow
tolerated theatrical representations, obtaining on their boards such
talent as their provincial situation could afford. Among those who
sought a livelihood at the Glasgow theatre was Francis Gentleman, a
native of Ireland, and originally an officer in the army. This amiable
gentleman sold his commission in the hope of obtaining fame and
opulence as a dramatic author; but disappointed in obtaining a patron,
he attempted to subsist as an actor. He was entertained by Boswell,
who encouraged him to publish an edition of Southern’s tragedy of
“Oroonoco,” himself accepting the poetical dedication. The dedicatory
verses closed thus:—

  “But, where, with honest pleasure, she can find
  Sense, taste, religion, and good nature joined,
  There gladly will she raise her feeble voice,
  Nor fear to tell that Boswell is her choice.”

Boswell’s patronage did not avail the unfortunate player. He was
compelled to leave Glasgow; thereafter he removed from place to place,
“experiencing all the hardships of a wandering actor, and all the
disappointments of a friendless author.” He died in September, 1784.

At Glasgow, while spending his week-day evenings in places of
amusement, Boswell began to frequent on Sundays the services of the
Church of Rome. Before the end of the College session he had resolved
to embrace the Catholic faith, and to qualify himself for orders in the
Romish Church. These vagaries were so distressing to his parents that
he was recalled to Edinburgh. He consented to abandon his sacerdotal
aspirations, provided he was allowed to substitute for the law the
profession of arms. In March 1760 his father accompanied him to London
in order to procure him a commission in the Guards. They waited on
the Duke of Argyll, who, according to Boswell’s narrative, keenly
discommended the military proposal. “My lord,” said the Duke, “I like
your son; this boy must not be shot at for three shillings and sixpence
a day.” Lord Auchinleck soon after returned to Edinburgh.

Boswell was allowed to remain in London. His religious views were
opposed to his interests in the North, and it was evident that he would
not be restrained from avowing his belief in public. It was therefore
advisable that he should meanwhile reside in London. At the request of
his father, Lord Hailes introduced him to Dr. Jortin, in the hope that
that eminent divine would lead him to conform to the doctrines of the
English Church. The following letter from Dr. Jortin to Lord Hailes,
dated 27th April, 1760, would imply that Boswell had already, amidst
the gaieties of London, ceased to concern himself with ecclesiastical

 “Your young gentleman[9] called at my house on Thursday noon, April
 3. I was gone out for the day, and he seemed to be concerned at the
 disappointment, and proposed to come the day following. My daughter
 told him that I should be engaged at church, it being Good Friday.
 He then left your letter, and a note with it for me, promising to
 be with me on Saturday morning. But from that time to this I have
 heard nothing of him. He began, I suppose, to suspect some design
 upon him, and his new friends and fathers may have represented me to
 him as an heretic and an infidel, whom he ought to avoid as he would
 the plague. I should gladly have used my best endeavours upon this
 melancholy occasion, but, to tell you the truth, my hopes of success
 would have been small. Nothing is more intractable than a fanatic. I
 heartily pity your good friend. If his son be really sincere in his
 new superstition, and sober in his morals, there is some comfort in
 that, for surely a man may be a papist and an honest man. It is not to
 be expected that the son should feel much for his father’s sorrows.
 Religious bigotry eats up natural affection, and tears asunder the
 dearest bonds. Yet, if I had an opportunity I should have touched that
 string, and tried whether there remained in his breast any of the
 _veteris vestigia flammæ_.”

To his early attachment to the Romish Church, Boswell afterwards refers
only once. In a letter addressed to Mr. Temple in November, 1789,
he remarks that his “Popish imagination induces him to regard his
correspondent’s friendship as a kind of _credit_ on which he may in
part repose.”

With his father Boswell was not candid in his professed military
ardour. In seeking a commission in the Guards, he informed Mr.
Temple[10] his desire was “to be about court, enjoying the happiness of
the _beau monde_ and the company of men of genius.” As to military zeal
he afterwards announced in a pamphlet,[11] that he was troubled with a
natural timidity of personal danger, which cost him some philosophy to

He protracted his residence in London for a whole year. For some time
he resided with Alexander, tenth Earl of Eglinton, a warm friend
of the Auchinleck family. By his lordship he was introduced “into
the circle of the great, the gay, and the ingenious.” Having been
presented to the Jockey Club, and carried to Newmarket, he was deeply
moved by the events of the racecourse. Retiring to the coffee-room he
composed a poem, making himself the theme, though in styling himself
“The Cub at Newmarket” he gratified his egotism by the forfeiture of
dignity. Presented by Lord Eglinton to the Duke of York, he invited
his Royal Highness to listen to his poem, and ventured to offer him
the dedication. The Duke accepted what it would have been ungracious
to refuse, and Boswell printed his poem with an epistle dedicatory,
in which he “let the world know that this same Cub has been laughed at
by the Duke of York, had been read to his Royal Highness by the genius
himself, and warmed by the immediate beams of his kind indulgence.”
Boswell thus describes himself:—

  “Lord * * * * n, who has, you know,
  A little dash of whim or so;
  Who through a thousand scenes will range,
  To pick up anything that’s strange,
  By chance a curious cub had got,
  On Scotia’s mountains newly caught;
  And after driving him about
  Through London, many a diff’rent route,
  The comic episodes of which
  Would tire your lordship’s patience much;
  Newmarket Meeting being near,
  He thought ’twas best to have him there.

         *       *       *       *       *

  He was not of the iron race
  Which sometimes Caledonia grace;
  Though he to combat could advance,
  Plumpness shone in his countenance;
  And belly prominent declared
  That he for beef and pudding cared;
  He had a large and pond’rous head,
  That seemed to be composed of lead;
  From which hung down such stiff, lank hair,
  As might the crows in autumn scare.”

For some time Lord Eglinton was amused by the juvenile ardour and
vivacity of his guest. At length, overcome by his odd ways, he checked
in plain terms his visitor’s vanity and recklessness. The admonition
was probably unheeded, for his Lordship seems to have withdrawn
his patronage. His own career was cut short by a sad and memorable
occurrence; he was shot on his own estate by a poacher, whose firelock
he had forcibly seized. He died on the 25th October, 1769.

In London, Boswell got acquainted with the poet Derrick, who became his
companion and guide. Derrick was in his thirty-sixth year. A native
of Dublin, he had been apprenticed to a linendraper, but speedily
relinquished the concerns of trade. In 1751 he proceeded to London and
tried his fortune on the stage. He next sought distinction as a poet.
Introduced to Dr. Johnson, he obtained a share of the lexicographer’s
regard; but, while entertaining affection for him as a man, the
moralist reproved his muse and condemned his levity. Writing to Mr.
Temple, Boswell refers to some of Derrick’s verses as “infamously bad.”
When Nash died, Derrick succeeded him as master of ceremonies at Bath.
He died there about the year 1770.

In April, 1761, Boswell, in reluctant obedience to his father’s
wishes, returned to Edinburgh. Writing to Mr. Temple on the 1st May,
he implores his friend’s commiseration. “Consider this poor fellow
[meaning himself] hauled away to the town of Edinburgh, obliged to
conform to every Scotch custom, or be laughed at—‘Will you hae some
jeel? oh, fie! oh, fie!’—his flighty imagination quite cramped, and
he obliged to study ‘_Corpus Juris Civilis_;’ and live in his father’s
strict family; is there any wonder, sir, that the unlucky dog should
be somewhat fretful? Yoke a Newmarket courser to a dung-cart, and I’ll
lay my life on’t he’ll either caper or kick most confoundedly, or be
as stupid and restive as an old battered post-horse.” In the same
letter Boswell acknowledges that his behaviour in London had been the
reverse of creditable. On his return to Edinburgh, he contributed to a
local periodical some notes on London life. This narrative attracted
the notice of John, thirteenth Lord Somerville, a nobleman of singular
urbanity and considerable literary culture. His lordship invited the
author to his table, commended his composition, and urged him to
perseverance. Lord Somerville died in 1765. Boswell cherished his
memory with affection.

At Edinburgh, Boswell was admitted into the literary circles. He dined
familiarly with Lord Kames, was the disciple and friend of Sir David
Dalrymple, and passed long evenings with Dr. Robertson and David Hume.
His passion for the drama gained force. At this period there was no
licensed theatre in Edinburgh, and among religious families playgoing
was proscribed. Just five years had elapsed since the Rev. John Home,
minister of Athelstaneford, had, on account of taking part in the
private representation of his tragedy of “Douglas,” been constrained to
resign his parochial charge. The popular prejudice against theatricals
was a sufficient cause for our author falling into the opposite
extreme; he threw his whole energies into a movement which led six
years afterwards to a theatre being licensed in the capital.

Boswell’s chief associate in theatrical concerns was Mr. David Ross, a
tragedian who sometime practised on the London boards, but who, like
our author’s friends, Messrs. Love and Gentleman, had been driven
northward by misfortune. A native of London, Mr. Ross was of Scottish
parentage. His father had practised in Edinburgh as a Writer to the
Signet; he settled in London in 1722 as a Solicitor of Appeals. Born
in 1728, David, his only son, was sent to Westminster School. There
he committed some indiscretion, which led to his expulsion and his
father’s implacable resentment. For some years he earned subsistence
as a commercial clerk, but obtaining from Quin lessons in the dramatic
art, he came on Covent Garden stage in 1753, where he acquired a second
rank as a tragedian. Irregular habits interfered with his advancement,
and he proceeded to Edinburgh, in the hope of obtaining professional
support. He became Master of Revels, and gave private entertainments
which were appreciated and patronized. At length, on the 9th December,
1767, he was privileged to open the first licensed theatre in the
capital. Boswell, at his request, composed the ‘prologue;’ the verses,
now unhappily irrecoverable, were described by Lord Mansfield as “witty
and conciliating.” The theatre proved a success, and the player soon
afterwards acquired by marriage considerable emolument. He accepted
as his wife Fanny Murray, who had in a less honourable connexion been
associated with a deceased nobleman, receiving with her an annuity of
two hundred pounds. Ross obtained a further advance of fortune in a
manner singularly unexpected. On his death-bed his father made a will,
excluding him from any share of his property, and cruelly stipulating
that his sister “should pay him one shilling annually, on the first day
of May, his birthday, to remind him of his misfortune in being born”!
On the plea that by the law of Scotland, a person could not bequeath
an estate by mere words of exclusion without an express conveyance of
inheritance, Ross obtained a reduction of the settlement, and on a
decision by the House of Lords got possession of six thousand pounds.
He now retired from the Edinburgh theatre, and renewed his engagements
at Covent Garden; but he soon became a victim to reckless improvidence.
To the close Boswell cherished his society, though he did not venture
to introduce him into literary circles. He died in September, 1790.
The following extract from Boswell’s letter to Mr. Temple, dated 16th
September, 1790, will close the narrative of his career:—

 “My old friend Ross, the player, died suddenly yesterday morning. I
 was sent for, as his most particular friend in town, and have been
 so busy in arranging his funeral, at which I am to be chief mourner,
 that I have left myself very little time—only about ten minutes. Poor
 Ross! he was an unfortunate man in some respects; but he was a true
 _bon vivant_, a most social man, and never was without good eating and
 drinking, and hearty companions. He had schoolfellows and friends who
 stood by him wonderfully. I have discovered that Admiral Barrington
 once sent him £100, and allowed him an annuity of £60 a year.”

Among those of his own age and standing who supported Boswell in
managing theatricals at Edinburgh was the Honourable Andrew Erskine,
youngest son of Alexander, fifth Earl of Kellie. This young gentleman,
then a lieutenant in the 71st regiment, was abundantly facetious,
and composed respectable verses. Replying to a letter from Boswell,
dated at Auchinleck on the 25th August, Erskine expressed himself in
verse, and letters were exchanged on both sides for a considerable
period. Boswell meanwhile resolved to lay further claim to the poet’s
bays. In November he issued a poem in sixteen Spenserian stanzas,
covering a like number of printed pages, entitled “An Ode to Tragedy,
by a Gentleman of Scotland.” It was characteristically inscribed to
himself—the epistle dedicatory proceeding thus:—

 “The following ode which courts your acceptance is on a subject grave
 and solemn, and therefore may be considered by many people as not so
 well suited to your volatile disposition. But I, sir, who enjoy the
 pleasure of your intimate acquaintance, know that many of your hours
 of retirement are devoted to thought, and that you can as strongly
 relish the productions of a serious muse as the most brilliant sallies
 of sportive fancy.”

Writing to Erskine on the 17th December, Boswell further enlarges on
his own personal qualities. “The author of ‘The Ode to Tragedy,’” he
proceeds, “is a most excellent man; he is of an ancient family in the
west of Scotland, upon which he values himself not a little. At his
nativity appeared omens of his future greatness. His parts are bright,
and his education has been good. He has travelled in post-chaises
miles without number. He eats of every good dish, especially apple
pie. He drinks old hock. He has a very fine temper. He is somewhat of
a humourist, and a little tinctured with pride. He has a good manly
countenance, and owns himself to be amorous. He has infinite vivacity,
yet is observed at times to have a melancholy cast. He is rather fat
than lean, rather short than tall, rather young than old. His shoes are
neatly made, and he never wears spectacles.”

In 1760, Mr. Erskine edited the first volume of a work in duodecimo,
entitled “A Collection of Original Poems, by the Rev. Mr. Blacklock
and other Scotch gentlemen.” This publication contained compositions
by Mr. Blacklock, Dr. Beattie, Mr. Gordon of Dumfries, and others; it
was published by Alexander Donaldson,[12] an Edinburgh bookseller, and
was intended as the first of a series of three volumes. The second
volume was considerably delayed, owing to Mr. Erskine’s absence with
his regiment, and on Boswell were latterly imposed the editorial
labours. As contributors Erskine and Boswell were associated with Mr.
Home, author of Douglas, Mr. Macpherson, editor of Ossian, and others.
Of twenty-eight pieces from Boswell’s pen one is subjoined, eminently
characteristic of its author.

  “B——, of Soapers[13] the king,
    On Tuesdays at Tom’s does[14] appear,
  And when he does talk, or does sing,
    To him ne’er a one can come near
  For he talks with such ease and such grace,
    That all charm’d to attention we sit,
  And he sings with so comic a face,
    That our sides are just ready to split.

  “B—— is modest enough,
    Himself not quite Phœbus he thinks,
  He never does flourish with snuff,
    And hock is the liquor he drinks.
  And he owns that Ned C——t,[15] the priest,
    May to something of honour pretend,
  And he swears that he is not in jest,
    When he calls this same C——t his friend.

  “B—— is pleasant and gay,
    For frolic by nature design’d;
  He heedlessly rattles away
    When the company is to his mind.
  ‘This maxim,’ he says, ‘you may see,
    We can never have corn without chaff;’
  So not a bent sixpence cares he,
    Whether _with_ him or _at_ him you laugh.

  “B—— does women adore,
    And never once means to deceive,
  He’s in love with at least half a score;
    If they’re serious he smiles in his sleeve.
  He has all the bright fancy of youth,
    With the judgment of forty and five.
  In short, to declare the plain truth,
    There is no better fellow alive.”

Writing to Erskine on the 8th December, 1761, Boswell remarks that the
second volume of the “Collection” was about to appear, adding that his
friend would “make a very good figure, and himself a decent one.” But
the public, while not disapproving the strain of the known authors,
condemned the levity of the anonymous contributors, and thrust aside
the book. The publishing enterprise was ruined, and the projected third
volume did not appear.

Boswell determined to leave Edinburgh, assuring his father that a
military life was alone suited to his tastes. In a letter to Erskine,
dated the 4th of May, he proceeds:—

 “My fondness for the Guards must appear very strange to you, who have
 a rooted antipathy at the glare of scarlet. But I must inform you
 that there is a city called London, for which I have as violent an
 affection as the most romantic lover ever had for his mistress. There
 a man may indeed soap his own beard, and enjoy whatever is to be had
 in this transitory state of things. Every agreeable whim may be fully
 indulged without censure. I hope, however, you will not impute my
 living in England to the same cause for which Hamlet was advised to go
 there, because the people were all as mad as himself.”[16]

Paternal remonstrances having proved unavailing, Boswell was permitted
to return to the metropolis. From Parliament Place, Edinburgh, writing
to Erskine on the 10th November, he informs him that “on Monday next he
is to set out for London.” On the 20th November he writes from London,
“If I can get into the Guards, it will please me much; if not, I can’t
help it.”

Boswell brought from Scotland a recommendation to Charles, Duke of
Queensberry, the patron of Gay, but that nobleman took no part in his
concerns. He again sought the field of authorship. He and Erskine
had corresponded on a variety of topics, and he fancied that their
letters might attract attention. The letters were printed in an
octavo volume,[17] Boswell remarking in the preface, that he and his
correspondent “have made themselves laugh, and hope they will have the
same effect upon other people.” Erskine and Boswell were afterwards
associated in writing “Critical Strictures” on Mallet’s tragedy of
“Elvira,” acted at Drury Lane in the winter of 1762-3. In 1764, Erskine
published a drama entitled “She’s not Him, and He’s not Her; a Farce in
Two Acts, as it is performed in the Theatre in the Canongate.” In 1773
he issued “Town Eclogues,” a poem of twenty-two quarto pages, intended
“to expose the false taste for florid description which prevails in
modern poetry.”

From the 71st Erskine in 1763 exchanged into the 24th Regiment,
in which he became Captain. Retiring from the army, he settled
at Edinburgh. There he resided after 1790 with his sister, Lady
Colville, at Drumsheugh, near the Dean Bridge. He was an extraordinary
pedestrian, and walked nearly every morning to Queensferry, about ten
miles distant, where he breakfasted at Hall’s Inn. He dispensed with
attendance, and when he had finished his repast, left payment under
a plate. He was of a tall, portly form, and to the last wore gaiters
and a flapped vest. Though satirical with his pen, he was genial and
humorous in conversation. He was an early admirer and occasional
correspondent of the poet Burns. Like his brother, “the musical Earl
of Kellie,” he was a lover of Scottish melodies, and was one of a
party of amateurs who associated with Mr. George Thomson in designing
his “Collection of Scottish Airs.” He actively assisted Mr. Thomson
in the earlier stages of his undertaking. Several songs from his pen,
Burns, in a letter to Mr. Thomson, written in June, 1793, described
as “pretty,” adding, his “Love song is divine.” The composition so
described beginning “How sweet this lone vale,” became widely popular;
but the opening stanza only was composed by him. He was one of the
early friends of Archibald Constable, the eminent publisher, who, in
an autobiographical fragment has described him as having “an excellent
taste in the fine arts,” and being “the most unassuming man he had ever
met.”[18] His habits were regular, but he indulged occasionally at
cards, and was partial to the game of whist. Having sustained a serious
loss at his favourite pastime he became frantic, and threw himself into
the Forth, and perished. This sad event took place in September, 1793.
In a letter to Mr. Thomson, dated October, 1791, Burns writes that the
tidings of Erskine’s death had distressed and “scared” him.

From the day Sir David Dalrymple first named Dr. Samuel Johnson in the
post-chaise, Boswell entertained a hope of forming the lexicographer’s
acquaintance. On his former visit to London he had exerted some
effort to procure an introduction. Derrick promised it, but lacked
opportunity. During the summer of 1761, Thomas Sheridan lectured
at Edinburgh on the practice of elocution, and charmed Boswell by
descanting on Dr. Johnson’s virtues. Through Sheridan an introduction
seemed easy, but Boswell on visiting him found that he and the
lexicographer had differed. Boswell did not despair. He obtained leave
to occupy his friend Mr. Temple’s chambers in the Inner Temple, near
Dr. Johnson’s residence, and adjoining his well-known haunts.

A further effort was necessary. Boswell ingratiated himself with
Mr. Thomas Davies, bookseller, of No. 8, Russell Street, Covent
Garden, formerly a player. Mr. Davies knew Dr. Johnson well, saw him
frequently in his shop, and was privileged to entertain him at his
table. To meet Boswell, the lexicographer was invited more than once,
but as our author puts it, “he was by some unlucky accident or other
prevented from coming to us.” In an unexpected manner Boswell at
length attained his wishes. The occurrence must be described in his
own words:—“At last, on Monday, the 16th of May, when I was sitting
in Mr. Davies’ back parlour, after having drunk tea with him and Mrs.
Davies,[19] Johnson unexpectedly came into the shop; and Mr. Davies
having perceived him through the glass door in the room in which we
were sitting advancing towards us, he announced his awful approach to
me something in the manner of an actor in the part of Horatio, when he
addresses Hamlet on the appearance of his father’s ghost,—‘Look, my
lord, it comes!’ * * * Mr. Davies mentioned my name, and respectfully
introduced me to him. I was much agitated; and recollecting his
prejudice against the Scotch, of which I had heard much, I said to
Davies, ‘Don’t tell where I come from.’ ‘From Scotland,’ cried Davies,
roguishly. ‘Mr. Johnson,’ said I, ‘I do indeed come from Scotland,
but I cannot help it.’ I am willing to flatter myself that I meant
this as light pleasantry to soothe and conciliate him, and not as a
humiliating abasement at the expense of my country. But however that
might be, this speech was somewhat unlucky; for with that quickness of
wit for which he was so remarkable he seized the expression “come from
Scotland,” which I used in the sense of being of that country; and as
if I had said I had come away from it or left it, retorted, ‘That, sir,
I find, is what a very great many of your countrymen cannot help.’ This
stroke stunned me a good deal; and when we had sat down I felt myself
not a little embarrassed, and apprehensive of what might come next.
He then addressed himself to Davies: ‘What do you think of Garrick?
He has refused me an order for the play for Miss Williams, because he
knows the house will be full, and that an order would be worth three
shillings.’ Eager to take any opening to get into conversation with
him, I ventured to say, ‘Oh, sir, I cannot think Mr. Garrick would
grudge such a trifle to you.’ ‘Sir,’ said he, with a stern look, ‘I
have known David Garrick longer than you have done, and I know no right
you have to talk to me on this subject.’ Perhaps I deserved this check;
for it was rather presumptuous in me, an entire stranger, to express
any doubt of the justice of his animadversion upon his old acquaintance
and pupil. I now felt myself much mortified, and began to think that
the hope which I had long indulged of obtaining his acquaintance was
blasted. And in truth, had not my ardour been uncommonly strong, and
my resolution uncommonly persevering, so rough a reception might have
deterred me for ever from making any further attempts. Fortunately,
however, I remained upon the field not wholly discomfited, and was
soon rewarded by hearing some of his conversation.” Boswell closes his
narrative thus:—“I had for a part of the evening been left alone with
him, and had ventured to make an observation now and then, which he
received very civilly, so that I was satisfied that though there was a
roughness in his manner, there was no ill-nature in his disposition.
Davies followed me to the door, and when I complained to him a little
of the hard blows which the great man had given me, he kindly took
upon him to console me by saying, ‘Don’t be uneasy. I can see he likes
you very well.’”

Dr. Johnson regarded Boswell as an adventurer, who had come to London
in quest of literary employment. Davies perceiving this, privately
explained to him that Boswell was the son of a Scottish judge and heir
to a good estate. “A few days afterwards,” writes Boswell, “I called on
Davies, and asked him if he thought I might take the liberty of waiting
on Mr. Johnson at his chambers in the Temple. He said I certainly
might, and that _Mr. Johnson would take it as a compliment_. So upon
Tuesday, the 24th of May, after having been enlivened by the witty
sallies of Messieurs Thornton, Wilkes, Churchill, and Lloyd, with whom
I had passed the morning, I boldly repaired to Johnson. His chambers
were on the first floor of No. 1, Inner Temple Lane, and I entered
them with an impression given me by the Rev. Dr. Blair, of Edinburgh,
who had been introduced to me not long before and described his having
‘found the giant in his den,’ an expression which, when I came to be
pretty well acquainted with Johnson, I repeated to him, and he was
diverted at this picturesque account of himself. * * * He received
me very courteously; but it must be confessed that his apartment and
furniture and morning dress were sufficiently uncouth. His brown
suit of clothes looked very rusty; he had on a little old shrivelled
unpowdered wig, which was too small for his head; his shirt-neck and
knees of his breeches were loose; his black worsted stockings ill drawn
up, and he had a pair of unbuckled shoes by way of slippers. But all
these slovenly particularities were forgotten the moment that he began
to talk. Some gentlemen, whom I do not recollect, were sitting with
him; and when they went away I also rose, but he said to me, ‘Nay,
don’t go.’ ‘Sir,’ said I, ‘I am afraid that I intrude upon you. It is
benevolent to allow me to sit and hear you.’ He seemed pleased with
this compliment, which I sincerely paid him, and answered, ‘Sir, I am
obliged to any man who visits me.’ * * * Before we parted he was so
good as to promise to favour me with his company one evening at my
lodgings; and as I took my leave, shook me cordially by the hand. It
is almost needless to add that I felt no little elation at having now
so happily established an acquaintance of which I had been so long

The evident sincerity of Boswell’s respect pleased and flattered Dr.
Johnson. He listened to details of literary life in Edinburgh, and was
gratified to learn that certain Scotsmen appreciated his learning. He
visited Boswell in his chambers, and invited him to the Mitre Tavern,
where afterwards they frequently supped, and drank port till long after
midnight. At one of these festive meetings Boswell related the story of
the post-chaise, and expatiated on the merits of Sir David Dalrymple
with the ardour of a hero worshipper. Dr. Johnson toasted Sir David
in a bumper as “a man of worth, a scholar, and a wit.” He added, “I
have, however, never heard of him except from you; but let him know my
opinion of him, for as he does not show himself much in the world, he
should know the praise of the few who hear of him.” On the 2nd of July,
Boswell communicated with Sir David Dalrymple in these terms:[20]—

 “I am now upon a very good footing with Mr. Johnson. His conversation
 is instructive and entertaining. He has a most extensive fund of
 knowledge, a very clear expression, and much strong humour. I am often
 with him. Some nights ago we supped by ourselves at the Mitre Tavern,
 and sat over a sober bottle till between one and two in the morning.
 We talked a good deal of you. We drank your health, and he desired me
 to tell you so. When I am in his company I am rationally happy, I
 am attentive and eager to learn, and I would hope that I may receive
 advantage from such society.”

To Boswell’s letter, in its allusion to Dr. Johnson, Sir David
Dalrymple made the following answer:—[21]

 “It gives me pleasure to think that you have obtained the friendship
 of Mr. Samuel Johnson. He is one of the best moral writers which
 England has produced. At the same time I envy you the free and
 undisguised converse with such a man. May I beg you to present my best
 respects to him, and to assure him of the veneration which I entertain
 for the author of the ‘Rambler’ and of ‘Rasselas.’”

On the 15th July Boswell thus communicated with Mr. Temple:—

 “I had the honour of supping _tête-à-tête_ with Mr. Johnson last
 night; by-the-bye, I need not have used a French phrase. We sat till
 between two and three. He took me by the hand cordially, and said, ‘My
 dear Boswell, I love you very much.’ Now, Temple, can I help indulging

After quoting a portion of Sir David Dalrymple’s letter, he proceeds:—

 “Mr. Johnson was in vast good humour, and we had much conversation.
 I mentioned Fresnoy to him, but he advised me not to follow a plan,
 and he declared that he himself never followed one above two days.
 He advised me to read just as inclination prompted me, which alone,
 he said, would do me any good; for I had better go into company than
 read a set task. Let us study ever so much, we must still be ignorant
 of a good deal. Therefore the question is, what parts of science do
 we want to know? He said, too, that idleness was a distemper which I
 ought to combat against, and that I should prescribe to myself five
 hours a day, and in these hours gratify whatever literary desires may
 spring up. He is to give me his advice as to what books I should take
 with me from England. I told him that the _Rambler_ shall accompany
 me round Europe, and so be a Rambler indeed. He gave me a smile of

The _tête-à-tête_ with Dr. Johnson on the 14th of July, so described to
Mr. Temple, also forms the subject of a letter to Sir David Dalrymple.
That letter proceeds thus:—[22]

 “On Wednesday evening, Mr. Johnson and I had another _tête-à-tête_ at
 the ‘Mitre.’ Would you believe that we sat from half an hour after
 eight till between two and three! He took me cordially by the hand
 and said, ‘My dear Boswell! I love you very much.’ Can I help being
 somewhat vain? * * * He advises me to combat idleness as a distemper,
 to read five hours every day, but to let inclination direct me what
 to read. He is a great enemy to a stated plan of study. He advises
 me when abroad to go to places where there is most to be seen and
 learnt. He is not very fond of the notion of spending a whole winter
 in a Dutch town. He thinks I may do much more by private study than
 by attending lectures. He would have me to perambulate (a word in his
 own style) Spain. He says a man might see a good deal by visiting
 their inland towns and universities. He also advises me to visit the
 northern kingdoms, where more that is new is to be seen than in France
 and Italy, but he is not against my seeing these warmer regions.”

These allusions to foreign travel refer to a proposal by Lord
Auchinleck that his son should study civil law at Utrecht, and in which
Boswell was disposed to acquiesce, believing that in thus gratifying
his father’s wishes he might be permitted before returning home to
visit the principal countries of the Continent.

On Wednesday, the 21st July, Johnson supped at Boswell’s chambers,
when were also present Mr. George Dempster, M.P., and the host’s
paternal uncle, Dr. John Boswell, from Edinburgh. The occasion was one
of the most memorable in the course of Boswell’s intercourse with
his illustrious associate. Dr. Boswell entertained loose notions of
religion, and Mr. Dempster was a disciple of David Hume. Dempster made
a violent attack on Christianity, repeating the arguments of Rousseau,
and quoting approvingly the sentiments of Hume and Gibbon. Dr. Boswell
preserved a general silence, but was disposed to smile approvingly at
Dempster’s sallies. In the society of his new acquaintance, Dr. Johnson
was appalled to find a bold upholder of infidel sentiments, and his
indignation was proportionate. He assailed Dempster with much severity,
exposing the sophistry of his school. Boswell took notes of the
conversation, doubtless intending to utilize what he had written. Next
morning he hastened to Dr. Johnson’s chambers to express disapproval of
Dempster’s sentiments. Dr. Johnson answered, “I have not met with any
man for a long time who has given me such general displeasure. He is
totally unfixed in his principles, and wants to puzzle other people.”
This utterance is presented by Boswell in Dr. Johnson’s memoirs with
the prefatory remark, “Of a gentleman who was mentioned he said,” &c.
Boswell became very intimate with Mr. Dempster, and so erased from
his journal all memorials of the evening’s conversation. Not very
creditably he affirms, in Johnson’s Life, that the evening was wholly
occupied “in the discussion of social and political questions.” But the
truth, which Boswell sought to suppress, reaches us in his own words
from two different channels. To Mr. Temple, on the 23rd of July, he
wrote thus:—

 “On Wednesday evening, Mr. Johnson, Dempster, and my uncle Dr.
 Boswell, supped with me at my chambers. I had prodigious satisfaction
 to find Dempster’s sophistry (which he has learned from Hume and
 Rousseau) vanquished by the solid sense and vigorous reasoning of
 Johnson. It was a very fertile evening, and _my journal is stored
 with its fruits_. Dempster was as happy as a vanquished argumentator
 could he; and the honest Doctor was cheerful and conversible and
 highly entertained.”

On the same day Boswell communicated with Sir David Dalrymple in these

 “Mr. Johnson did me the honour to sup with me at my chambers some
 nights ago. _Entre nous_, he said that Dempster, who was also with me,
 gave him more general displeasure than any man he has met with of a
 long time. He saw a pupil of Hume and of Rousseau totally unsettled as
 to principles, and endeavouring to puzzle and shake other people with
 childish sophistry. I had infinite satisfaction in hearing solid truth
 confuting vain subtilty. * * * I thank God that I have got acquainted
 with Mr. Johnson. He has done me infinite service. He has assisted
 me to obtain peace of mind; he has assisted me to become a rational
 Christian; I hope I shall ever remain so.”[23]

In referring to his having become a rational Christian, Boswell desired
to satisfy his Scottish Mæcenas that he had personally abandoned the
superstitions of Romish worship. Mr. Dempster’s religious views,
together with his personal history and his acquaintance with Boswell,
may be finally disposed of. Grandson of George Dempster, merchant
and banker at Dundee, he succeeded to several important estates,
which his ancestor had acquired by granting extensive loans on
mortgages to the former proprietors. Born in 1735, he studied at the
University of Edinburgh, and in that city formed the intimacy of Dr.
William Robertson, Alexander Carlyle, John Home, and other eminent
clergymen. Under their auspices he sat as a lay member in the General
Assembly; and in that court he opposed his friends by seconding the
injunction of the House passed in 1757, forbidding the clergy to
countenance theatricals.[24] Becoming acquainted with David Hume, he
renounced Presbyterianism, and embraced infidelity. He abandoned the
Scottish Bar to which he had been called, and became candidate for
the parliamentary representation of the Fife and Forfar burghs. By a
narrow majority he secured his seat, but he was convicted of bribery
and the election was annulled. To accomplish his end he had sold two
fine estates, and expended nearly £15,000. On presenting himself to the
constituents the second time he was returned under less exceptionable
circumstances. He retained his seat from 1762 till 1790. He would join
no political party, probably owing to an uncertainty of judgment,
which was partly an inheritance; two of his ancestors being deposed
and afterwards restored to the ministry for certain changes in their
civil and ecclesiastical opinions. According to Boswell he early
cherished republican sentiments; latterly he resisted the revolutionary
ferment created by the French Directory. By the general public he was
esteemed a patriot, and was provincially known as “Honest George.”
The poet Burns held that he should have been ennobled. He supported
some liberal measures, and certain important services are associated
with his name. He denounced the conflict with the American colonies,
opposed the sovereignty exercised by the East India Company, sought to
remove all restraints from the national commerce, and advocated the
abolition of sinecures. On retiring from Parliament, he devoted himself
to the promotion of agriculture and manufactures in North Britain. He
established an agricultural society on his estate.[25] He improved
the condition of the Scottish fisheries, and discovered a method
of preserving salmon for the London market. He was much respected
on his estate, was benevolent to the poor, and exercised a generous
hospitality. He did not attend church on the plea of feeble health,
but he associated with the clergy of his neighbourhood, and to his
household spoke reverently of religion. In some twenty of his letters,
written at intervals during a period of twenty-five years preceding his
decease, the writer has on a close examination been unable to detect
any remark savouring of scepticism. Yet it is nearly certain that he
cherished to the close of a long life the blighting infidelity of David
Hume. To the Right Hon. John Wilson Croker was communicated by Sir
Walter Scott the following metrical epitaph, which it was alleged Mr.
Dempster composed upon himself:—

  “Pray for the soul of deceased George Dempster,
  In his youth a great fool, in his old age a gamester;
  What you’re to know, on this tomb you shall see,
  Life’s thread he let go when just ninety-three.
  So sound was his bottom, his acquaintance all wonder’d
  How old Nick had got him till he lived out the hundred.
  To his money concerns he paid little attention,
  First selling his land, then pawning his pension;[26]
  But his precious time he much better did manage,
  To the end of his life from his earliest nonage,
  He divided his hours into two equal parts,
  And spent one half in sleeping, the other at _cartes_.”[27]

Mr. Dempster died on his estate of Dunnichen, Forfarshire, on the 13th
February, 1818, at the age of eighty-four.

In May, 1763, two months before the period reached in the preceding
narrative, Boswell asked Sir David Dalrymple to interpose with
his father, who was threatening to disinherit him on account of
his unsettled habits. He concludes a letter to Sir David in these
words,—“Tell him to have patience with me for a year or two, and I may
be what he pleases.” In June he informs Sir David that his father’s
proposal that he should proceed to Utrecht, there to study civil law
under the celebrated M. Trotz had met with his acceptance, and that his
father was “much pleased to find in him so prudent a disposition.”[28]

He adds,—

 “My great object is to attain a proper conduct in life. How sad will
 it be if I turn no better than I am! I have much vivacity, which leads
 me to dissipation and folly. This I think I can restrain. But I will
 be moderate, and not aim at a stiff sageness and buckram correctness.
 I must, however, own to you that I have at bottom a melancholy cast,
 which dissipation relieves by making me thoughtless, and therefore an
 easier though a more contemptible animal. I dread a return of this
 malady. I am always apprehensive of it.”

About the Utrecht scheme he writes to Mr. Temple on the 15th July,
“I have had a long letter from my father, full of affection and good
counsel. Honest man, he is now very happy: it is amazing to think how
much he has had at heart my pursuing the road of civil life; he is
anxious for fear I should fall off from my prudent system, and return
to my dissipated, unsettled way of thinking; and in order to make him
easy, he insists on having my solemn promise that I will persist in the
scheme on which he is so earnestly bent: he knows my fidelity, and he
concludes that my promise will fix me. Indeed he is much in the right;
the only question is, how much I am to promise. I think I may promise
this much,—that I shall from this time study propriety of conduct, and
to be a man of knowledge and prudence, as far as I can; that I shall
make as much improvement as possible while I am abroad, and when I
return shall put on the gown as a member of the Faculty of Advocates,
and be upon the footing of a gentleman of business, with a view to my
getting into Parliament.”

For the use of Mr. Temple’s chambers Boswell paid his proportion of
rent, but his occupancy was burdened with the condition that his
friend’s brother, a youth of seventeen, might as occasion suited share
the accommodation. This young gentleman, Mr. Robert Temple, held a
commission in the line, but was not very ardent in his military duties.
Boswell’s early intercourse with him was abundantly characteristic.
To his brother he reported of him on the 15th July, that “his genius
and application consisted in washing his face and brushing his hat,
which he will execute in a few hours;” adding, “I find it somewhat
inconvenient to have anybody in chambers with me.... I have allowed
him to be too free with me; and I own it hurts me when I find my folly
bringing me into the situation of being upon an equality with if not
below the young man.” On the 23rd of July he in these doggerel verses
celebrated the youth on his returning from a visit to Salisbury:—

  “Bob Temple has at Sarum been,
  And all the pretty girls has seen;
  But he came back in the machine
    Because he was the barber!

  “From Mother Bowles he got good wine;
  He licked his lips and called it fine;
  But now the dog at Cliff’s must dine,
    And is not that the barber?”

In a few days afterwards, Master Robert having begun to borrow one
guinea after another, is described as “selfish,” of a “heedless
disposition,” and having “no great powers either of understanding or
imagination.” Boswell sums up; “I am glad he goes down to Cambridge.”

In his letter to Sir David Dalrymple of the 23rd July, Boswell enters
into some details respecting the Utrecht scheme, and expresses a
determination thoroughly to acquaint himself with the law of nations.
He has resolved to transcribe the whole of Erskine’s Institutes,[29]
that the details might be impressed in his memory.

The progress of the Utrecht arrangement is reported in the following
letter to Mr. Temple, dated 20th July:—

 “I have this night received a large packet from my father, with my
 letter of credit, and several letters of recommendation to different
 people in Holland. The letters have been sent open for me to seal,
 so I have been amused to see the different modes of treating that
 favourite subject myself. Sir David Dalrymple has written to Count
 Nassau; his letter is in French and is exceedingly genteel. He
 recommends Mr. Boswell as _un jeune homme de famille et de mérite_,
 and hopes he will find in the Count _le guide et le protecteur de
 sa jeunesse_. My father writes to Mynheer Abrahamus Gronovius, an
 old _literatus_ at Leyden. It is an excellent letter, and recalls
 their old ideas with more liveliness than you would imagine. I have
 several other letters, so that I can be at no loss where I am going,
 especially as I have got some relations of the first fashion at the
 Hague. My father has allowed me £60 a quarter—£240 a year; that is
 not a great allowance, but with economy I may live very well upon
 it, for Holland is a cheap country. However, I am determined not to
 be straitened, nor to encourage the least narrowness of disposition
 as to saving money, but will draw upon my father for any sums I find
 necessary. My affairs being thus far settled, I must set out soon.
 I can have no excuse for indulging myself in a much longer stay in
 London; and yet I must own to you, my dear friend, that I feel a good
 deal of uneasiness at the thoughts of quitting the place where my
 affection is truly centred, for there I enjoy most happiness; however,
 I am determined to go next week. I hope I shall not be feeble-minded,
 but pluck up manly resolution, and consider that I am leaving London
 in order to see the world, store my mind with more ideas, establish a
 proper character, and then return to the metropolis much happier, and
 more qualified for a solid relish of its advantages.”

After the lapse of three days Boswell wrote to Mr. Temple as follows:—

  “_Inner Temple,_
  _28th July, 1763._


 I have now fixed to-morrow se’nnight, Friday, the 5th of August, for
 the day of my departure; and on Saturday, the 6th, I shall be upon
 the Channel. Alas, my friend! let me disclose my weakness to you. My
 departure fills me with a kind of gloom that quite overshadows my
 mind. I could almost weep to think of leaving dear London and the
 calm retirement of the Inner Temple. I am now launching into the wide
 world, and am to be long at a distance from my dear Temple, whose kind
 and amiable counsel never failed to soothe my dejected mind. You may
 see I am somewhat melancholy; pray comfort me. This is very effeminate
 and very young, but I cannot help it. My time is fixed, and I will
 go; I have taken my resolution, and you shall see that I can keep to
 it. I enclose you a friendly dissertation, which you may read at your
 leisure; it will show how much stronger my mind was last night only. I
 am just going to meet Mr. Johnson at the ‘Turk’s Head.’”

The meeting with Johnson in the “Turk’s Head” coffee-house is duly
chronicled in the “Life.” Boswell expressed himself as resolved on
proceeding to Utrecht, and asked for advice.

“Come,” said Johnson, “let us make a day of it; let us go down to
Greenwich and dine, and talk of it fully, so that I shall say,—

  ‘On Thames’s bank in silent thought we stood,
  Where Greenwich smiles upon the silver flood.’”[30]

The friends proceeded to Greenwich on Saturday, the 30th. They
inspected the hospital, walked in the park, and returning to London
by the river, closed the day’s excursion by supping together at the
“Turk’s Head.” During the evening Boswell entertained his Mentor by
expatiating on the history of his House, and the extent and importance
of the family estate. By Johnson no allusion was made to the ostensible
purpose of the meeting; it was enough that on a day of the week when
Boswell was likely to meet with bad counsellors, he and his purse were
protected from their embrace. The friends met on Sunday. On Tuesday
they were both morning and evening together. On Wednesday evening they
supped at the “Turk’s Head,” when Johnson renewed his promise to start
with his friend for Harwich early on Friday morning.

As Boswell was for a considerable period to be left to his own control,
Sir David Dalrymple sent him a letter of advice, along with some
commissions to be executed in course of his tour. To Sir David’s letter
Boswell on the 2nd August made the following answer:—

 “My scepticism was not owing to thinking wrong, but to not thinking
 at all. It is a matter of great moment to keep a sense of religion
 constantly impressed upon our minds. If that divine guest does not
 occupy part of the space, vain intruders will; and when once they have
 got in it is difficult to get them out again. I shall remember your
 commission about the Greek Lyrics. I shall hear what the librarian
 says, and I shall make diligent search myself. As to the MSS. of
 Anacreon, Mr. Johnson says he doubts much if there be such a thing at

Of no settled convictions, Boswell was, under his protestations of
orthodoxy, considerably tinged with Dempster’s scepticism. Sir David
Dalrymple, who had formerly sought to rescue him from the Scylla of
credulity, was now attempting his deliverance from the Charybdis of
doubt. Boswell on the 3rd August communicated with Mr. Temple:—

 “To-morrow morning, at five o’clock, I set out upon my travels. I am
 much hurried with putting all my things in order. I have left some
 parcels in one of the drawers, which I beg you will keep for me till I
 return. I have been a great deal with Mr. Johnson of late, and (would
 you believe it?) his friendship for me is so great that he insists
 on seeing me sail, and has actually taken a place in the coach to
 accompany me to Harwich.”

In the “Life of Johnson” the narrative is continued:—

 “On Friday, August 5, we set out early in the morning in the Harwich
 stage-coach. A fat elderly gentlewoman and a young Dutchman seemed the
 most inclined among us to conversation. At the inn where we dined, the
 gentlewoman said that she had done her best to educate her children;
 and particularly that she had never suffered them to be a moment idle.
 _Johnson_: ‘I wish madam, you would educate me too; for I have been
 an idle fellow all my life.’ ‘I am sure, sir,’ said she, ‘you have
 not been idle.’ _Johnson_: ‘Nay, madam, it is very true; and that
 gentleman there,’ pointing to me, ‘has been idle. He was idle at
 Edinburgh. His father sent him to Glasgow, where he continued to be
 idle. He then came to London, where he has been very idle; and now he
 is going to Utrecht, where he will be as idle as ever.’ I asked him
 privately how he could expose me so. _Johnson_: ‘Pooh! pooh!’ said he;
 ‘they know nothing about you, and will think of it no more.’ ... Next
 day we got to Harwich to dinner; and my passage in the packet-boat
 to Helvoetsluys being secured, and my baggage put on board, we dined
 at an inn by ourselves.... We went and looked at the church, and
 having gone into it, and walked up to the altar, Johnson, whose piety
 was constant and fervent, sent me to my knees, saying, ‘Now that
 you are going to leave your native country, recommend yourself to
 the protection of your Creator and Redeemer.’ ... My revered friend
 walked down with me to the beach, where we embraced and parted with
 tenderness, and engaged to correspond by letters. I said, ‘I hope,
 sir, you will not forget me in my absence.’ _Johnson_: ‘Nay, sir, it
 is more likely that you should forget me than that I should forget
 you.’ As the vessel put out to sea I kept my eyes upon him for a
 considerable time, while he remained rolling his majestic frame in his
 usual manner; and at last I perceived him walk back into the town, and
 he disappeared.”

On the 8th December Dr. Johnson addressed to Boswell his first letter.
He entreated him to study civil law as his father had advised, and the
ancient languages, as he had personally resolved upon. He then proceeds
to depict his friend’s weaknesses in these forcible terms:—

 “You know a gentleman, who when first he set his foot in the gay
 world, as he prepared himself to whirl in the vortex of pleasure,
 imagined a total indifference and universal negligence to be the most
 agreeable concomitants of youth, and the strongest indication of an
 easy temper and a quick apprehension. Vacant to every object, and
 sensible of every impulse, he thought that an appearance of diligence
 would deduct something from the reputation of genius, and hoped that
 he should appear to attain, amidst all the ease of carelessness, and
 all the tumult of diversion, that knowledge and those accomplishments
 which mortals of the common fabric obtain only by mute abstraction
 and solitary drudgery. He tried this scheme of life awhile, was made
 weary of it by his sense and his virtue; he then wished to return to
 his studies, and finding long habits of idleness and pleasure harder
 to be cured than he expected, still wishing to retain his claim to
 some extraordinary prerogatives, resolved the common consequences of
 irregularity into an unalterable decree of destiny, and concluded that
 nature had originally formed him incapable of rational enjoyment. Let
 all such fancies, illusive and destructive, be banished henceforward
 from your thoughts for ever. Resolve and keep your resolution; choose,
 and pursue your choice. If you spend this day in study, you will find
 yourself still more able to study to-morrow; not that you are to
 expect that you shall at once obtain a complete victory.”

Johnson had commended his friend for keeping a journal.[31] He
concludes his letter by expressing a hope that he is “enriching his
journal with many observations upon the country” in which he was

At Utrecht Boswell obtained the friendship of M. Trotz, the learned
civilian, whose prelections on civil law he attended for some months.
He also became intimate with the Rev. William Brown, pastor of the
English congregation at Utrecht, subsequently Professor of Church
History at St. Andrews. Anecdotes related by M. Trotz and Mr. Brown are
preserved in Boswell’s Commonplace-book.

Lord Auchinleck had designed that his son should prosecute his studies
at Utrecht for two years. The proposal was not a hopeful one, and
it was not realized. Before his first term was completed, Boswell
longed for the pleasures of travel: as the term closed he hastened
into the country. He visited Leyden and other noted localities in
the Netherlands, and passed into Germany. He reached Berlin in July,
where he delivered a letter of introduction to Mr., afterwards Sir
Andrew Mitchell, British Ambassador at the Prussian Court. By this
accomplished gentleman he was well received and hospitably entertained.
From Berlin he wrote a letter to his father, expatiating on the
advantages of travel, and entreating that such a remittance might be
sent him as would carry him into Switzerland, and from thence into
Italy. Pending his father’s answer, he visited the duchies of Hanover
and Brunswick. Returning to Berlin on the 27th of August he found
a letter from his father, strongly disapproving his proposal for a
lengthened tour, and allowing him only the indulgence of visiting
France before resuming his legal studies at Utrecht. Mortified by
his father’s decision, and the severely peremptory character of his
letter, he thought of waiting on Mr. Mitchell to entreat his aid and
intervention. The ambassador was from home; he had gone with his
family to Spa, where he was still to remain some weeks. Procuring his
address, Boswell sent him a lengthened communication, which owing to
its peculiar manner we present without abridgment:—

 “You may believe, sir, that I was a good deal surprised to hear, upon
 my return to Berlin, that _onze Gezant_[32] was gone. There was indeed
 a surmise at Brunswick that you intended to return to England this
 season. I was asked if it was true, and very innocently affirmed that
 there was nothing in it. I find however, that when a man leaves a
 Minister at a foreign Court but for a fortnight, he is not sure of
 finding him upon his return. Your departure is a good deal unlucky for
 me, not only as it deprives me of conversation which gave me uncommon
 pleasure, and invariably accustomed me to rational thinking and
 honourable sentiment, but because I now particularly stand in need of
 your prudent and kind counsel with respect to my travels. I have had
 another letter from my father, in which he continues of opinion that
 travelling is of very little use, and may do a great deal of harm. I
 shall not repeat what I have formerly said of my father’s particular
 character; I say _particular_, for rarely will you find a man of so
 excellent a frame of body, and so noble a mind as to have passed
 through life with uniform propriety of conduct.[33] For my own part, I
 own that I am not such a favourite of nature. Think not that I intend
 to plead machinery, and escape from the censure due to the faults
 which I have committed. I only would have you consider that judgment
 is a natural gift as well as imagination, and force of mind is in a
 great measure independent of our endeavours: think of me as I am, and
 pronounce accordingly.

 “I esteem and love my father, and I am determined to do what is in
 my power to make him easy and happy; but you will allow that I may
 endeavour to make him happy and at the same time not be too hard upon
 myself. I must use you so much with the freedom of a friend as to tell
 you that, with the vivacity which you allowed me, I have a melancholy
 disposition. To escape from the gloom of dark speculation, I have made
 excursions into the fields of amusement, perhaps of folly. I have
 found that amusement and folly are beneath me, and that without some
 laudable pursuit my life must be insipid and wearisome. I therefore
 took the resolution of leaving London, and settled myself for the
 winter at Utrecht, where I recovered my inclination for study and
 rational thinking. I then laid my account with travelling for a couple
 of years, but I found my father’s views to be entirely different. You
 saw the letter which I wrote him from this, and I flatter myself that
 you approved of it. I cannot expect his answer for some weeks; in
 the meantime he tells me that he would not oppose my passing another
 winter at Utrecht, so that he does not grudge the time which I ask.
 As for the money, I should think for one year a little extraordinary
 expense is not thrown away, when it is also to be considered that
 what I spend now I shall not have some years hence. My father seems
 much against my going to Italy, but gives me leave to go from there
 and pass some months in Paris. I own that the words of the apostle
 Paul, “I must see Rome,” are strongly borne in upon my mind; it would
 give me infinite pleasure; it would give me talk for a lifetime,
 and I should go home to Auchinleck with serene contentment. I am no
 libertine, and have a moral certainty of suffering no harm in Italy;
 I can also assure you that I shall be as moderate as possible in my
 expenses. I do not intend to travel as _Mi Lord Anglois_, but merely
 as a scholar and a man of elegant curiosity, and I am told that in
 that character I may live in Italy very reasonably. I obviate your
 objection of my being obliged to live like others, by assuring you
 that I have none of that second-rate ambition which actuates most
 young men of fortune upon their travels. After passing four months on
 classic ground, I would come through France, and go home, as I said to
 my father, _uti conviva satur_.

 “Now, sir, tell me fairly if I am unreasonable. Upon my honour
 I cannot think that I am. I give you my word that my father’s
 inclinations shall be as inviolable laws to his son; but don’t
 you think that I may just remonstrate before I consider an act as
 passed? Don’t you think that, rather than go home contrary to what I
 much desire, and cannot help thinking very proper,—don’t you think
 it worth while to humour me so far as to allow me my year and a
 reasonable sum, after which I return clear and contented, without any
 pretence for my stormy disposition to murmur at? I would beg, sir,
 that you may write to my father your opinion as to this matter, and
 put it in the light that you think it deserves. In the meantime I can
 see little advantage to be had at Berlin. I shall, however, remain
 here a fortnight, after which I intend passing by Mannheim, and one or
 two more of the German Courts, to Geneva; I am then at the point from
 which I may either steer to Italy or to France. I shall see Voltaire.
 I shall also see Switzerland and Rousseau; these two men are to me
 greater objects than most statues or pictures. I take this opportunity
 to assure the loved and respected friend of my father that I am
 serenely happy at having obtained his acquaintance. I would hope that
 I shall not be found unworthy of his regard, and I wish very honestly
 for an opportunity of showing my real esteem for such a character as I
 could draw to any one else but to himself.”[34]

In a postscript Boswell begged an early reply. His letter, somewhat
Johnsonian in style, actually reflected some of Dr. Johnson’s
sentiments respecting himself, in the letter received at Utrecht. It
was sufficiently candid to induce friendship, and not more ambitious
than the ardour of youth might have excused or justified. But Mr.
Mitchell had no desire to arbitrate between father and son in a matter
with which he was personally unconcerned. He contented himself with
administering to the young traveller a lecture on filial obedience, and
declined all further negotiation. Lord Auchinleck meanwhile relented
without further pressure, assented to the Italian project, and sent
the necessary funds. To the Ambassador Boswell addressed a letter from
Geneva on the 26th December; it commenced in a style sufficiently

 “I thank you for your letter from Spa, although it gave me no great
 encouragement in my scheme of going to Italy. You tell me gravely to
 follow the plan which my father prescribed, whatever it may be, and in
 doing so I shall certainly act most wisely. I forgive you this, for I
 say just the same to young people when I advise. To enter into detail
 of the little circumstances which compose the felicity of another,
 is what a man of any genius can hardly submit to. We therefore give
 a good, wholesome, general counsel; and he who consults us thinks a
 little, and then endeavours to take his own way as well as he can.
 I have, however, the happiness to inform you that my father has
 consented that I shall go to Italy. Upon my soul, I am grateful to
 the most worthy of men: it will be hard if we are not well together,
 for I love him with the strongest affection. If I find that I cannot
 succeed in my own plans in such a way as to convince my father that
 I am in the right, I shall do my utmost to fulfil the plan beyond
 which he cannot think to look. You may suppose what my ideas are,
 for they are of your old acquaintances. One thing I am sure of, and
 by the undisguised honour of a man of probity I swear, shall chiefly
 influence me—a regard to the happiness of him to whom I owe so much,
 Believe me I have a soul.”

Had Boswell concluded his letter at this point he might have merited
some praise for snubbing the ambassador who had lectured him on filial
duty. But he goes on to entreat Mr. Mitchell’s influence on behalf
of the father and brother of his friend Mr. Temple. The father he
describes as formerly an officer in the Customs, who had forfeited his
appointment by becoming insolvent. The son, Master Robert, is now a
lieutenant on half-pay. Through Mr. Mitchell he desires a Government
post for the one, and full pay for the other. He assures the ambassador
that excepting his Sovereign he is “the only man in Britain” he would
ask a favour of. “If you can aid me,” he adds, “you will most truly
oblige a worthy fellow, for such I am.” To this second communication
the ambassador vouchsafed no answer.

Through a part of Germany Boswell was accompanied by the Earl
Marischal, who ordinarily resided at Berlin, and who had, during a
recent visit to Scotland, formed the acquaintance of Lord Auchinleck.
With introductions from his lordship he visited Voltaire at Ferney, and
Rousseau in the wilds of Neufchatel. It is to be regretted that he did
not record his conversations with these celebrated persons. Crossing
the Alps, he visited the principal towns of Italy. He spent some time
in Italy with Lord Mountstuart, eldest son of the Earl of Bute. To this
nobleman he dedicated his thesis when he was called to the Bar.

The inhabitants of Corsica were at this time engaged against the
Genoese in their memorable struggle for liberty, and Pascal Paoli,
their patriotic leader, had become celebrated over Europe. To Boswell
he had been warmly commended by Rousseau, who had corresponded with
the Corsicans respecting the formation of their laws. Boswell hinted
to Rousseau that he might proceed to Corsica, and when in April, 1765,
he reached Rome, he addressed a letter to the philosopher, begging an
introduction to Paoli. Not receiving a reply, he wrote to Rousseau a
second time, informing him that should he withhold the introduction
sought for “he should certainly go without it, and probably be hanged
as a spy.”[35] On his arrival at Florence, in August, he received a
letter from “the wild philosopher,” recommending him first to Mr.
Buttafoco, Captain of the Royal Italian Regiment at Viscovado, and
in his absence to General Paoli. At Leghorn he procured from Count
Rivarola, the Sardinian Consul, a special letter to Paoli and other
leading persons at Corsica.

Arriving in the island, Boswell was courteously received by Signor
Antonetti, to whom he presented a letter from Count Rivarola. After
entertaining him at his house, Antonetti facilitated his progress to
the town of Sollacarò, the headquarters of Paoli. On his route Boswell
heard that in the castle of Corte were detained three murderers, a
woman and two men; he gratified his curiosity by conversing with them.
At his request the executioner was also presented to him.

Reaching Sollacarò, Boswell was brought into the presence of Paoli,
to whom he handed his credentials. Paoli received him with reserve,
but afterwards became friendly. To the general he described himself
in these terms:—“With a mind naturally inclined to melancholy, and a
keen desire of inquiry, I have intensely applied myself to metaphysical
researches, and reasoned beyond my depth on such subjects as it is not
given to man to know. I have rendered my mind a comera (_sic_) obscura;
in the very heat of youth I felt the _non est tanti_, the _omnia
vanitas_ of one who has exhausted all the sweets of his being, and is
weary with dull repetition. I told him that I had almost become for
ever incapable of taking a part in active life.”[36]

Paoli introduced Boswell to his nobility, who severally honoured
him with visits. He was one day mounted on Paoli’s horse, with its
rich garniture of crimson velvet and gold lace. In journeying he was
attended by the general’s guards, an honour from which he “enjoyed a
sort of luxury of noble sentiment.” From Paoli’s palace at Corte, the
capital of Corsica, he addressed a letter to Dr. Johnson, which he
describes as “full of generous enthusiasm.” Having related what he had
done and seen, he summed up; “I dare to call this a spirited tour; I
dare to challenge your approbation.”[37]

From Corsica Boswell communicated to Rousseau, now in France, the
details of his visit to Paoli, and on his reaching Paris received
the philosopher’s commands to bring with him into England, whither
he had preceded him, the notorious companion of his household,
Therése La Vasseur. Boswell accepted the mission, and accompanied
Rousseau’s mistress from Paris to London. In reference to his intended
progress, Mr. Hume, at whose instance Rousseau proceeded to England,
thus communicated with his ingenious correspondent, the Countess de

  “_12th of January, 1766._

 “A letter has come open to me from Guy, the bookseller, by which I
 learn that Mademoiselle[38] sets out first in company with a friend
 of mine, a young gentleman very good-humoured, very agreeable, and
 very mad. He visited Rousseau in his mountains, who gave him a
 recommendation to Paoli, the King of Corsica; where this gentleman,
 whose name is Boswell, went last summer in search of adventures. He
 has such a rage for literature, that I dread some event fatal to our
 friend’s honour. For remember the story of Terentia, who was first
 married to Cicero, then to Sallust, and at last, in her old age,
 married a young nobleman, who imagined that she must possess some
 secret which would convey to him eloquence and genius.”

At Paris, in the house of Mr. Waters, an English banker, Boswell found
a letter from Dr. Johnson, dated the 14th January. It proceeded thus:—

 “Be assured for the present, that nothing has lessened either the
 esteem or love with which I dismissed you at Harwich. Both have been
 increased by all that I have been told of you by yourself or others,
 and when you return, you will return to an unaltered and, I hope,
 unalterable friend.

 “All that you have to fear from me is the vexation of disappointing
 me. No man loves to frustrate expectations which have been formed in
 his favour; and the pleasure which I promise myself from your journals
 and remarks is so great, that perhaps no degree of attention or
 discernment will be sufficient to afford it.

 “Come home, however, and take your chance. I long to see you and to
 hear you, and hope that we shall not be so long separated again. Come
 home, and expect such welcome as is due to him whom a wise and noble
 curiosity has led where perhaps, no native of this country ever was

       *       *       *       *       *

 “As your father’s liberality has indulged you with so long a ramble,
 I doubt not but that you will think his sickness, or even his desire
 to see you, a sufficient reason for hastening your return. The longer
 we live, and the more we think, the higher value we learn to put on
 the friendship and tenderness of parents and friends. Parents we can
 have but once; and he promises himself too much who enters life with
 the expectation of finding many friends. Upon some motive I hope that
 you will be here soon, and am willing to think that it will be an
 inducement to your return that it is sincerely desired by, dear sir,
 your affectionate humble servant,


Boswell reached London in the beginning of February, and at once
visited Dr. Johnson at his house in Johnson’s Court. Received with much
cordiality, he proceeded to entertain the lexicographer with Voltaire’s
opinions of some of the English poets. In the evening the friends
supped together at the Mitre Tavern, when Boswell learnt, for the first
time, that Johnson had become practically an abstainer. On Saturday,
the 15th February, Boswell and Johnson again met at the “Mitre,” the
former being accompanied by his friend Mr. Temple. Boswell spoke of
Rousseau, and said he had met with Mr. Wilkes in Italy, and had enjoyed
his society. Johnson denounced both the philosopher and the politician
in his severest manner.

In the course of their conversation General Paoli had remarked to
Boswell that he might inform the members of his court that the
Corsicans were worthy of greater support than they had hitherto
received. Boswell construed the remark into a request, and, before
he left the island, commissioned a Corsican dress in which he might,
to members of the English Cabinet, plead the cause of Paoli. In this
costume he waited on several members of Government, and some noted
politicians. From Mr. Walpole he experienced a courteous reception.
Mr. Pitt wrote him a short letter, which, in the hope of producing
a correspondence between him and the minister, he acknowledged as

  “_St. James’ Street, Feb. 19, 1766._

 “Sir,—I have the honour to receive your most obliging letter, and
 can with difficulty restrain myself from paying you compliments on
 the very genteel manner in which you are pleased to treat me. But I
 come from a people among whom even the lowest arts of insinuation
 are unknown. However you may, by political circumstances, be in one
 view a simple individual, yet, sir, Mr. Pitt will always be the prime
 minister of the brave, the secretary of freedom and of spirit; and
 I hope that I may with propriety talk to him of the views of the
 illustrious Paoli. Be that as it may, I shall very much value the
 honour of being admitted to your acquaintance.

  “I am, &c.,

Informed of his mother’s death, Boswell left London for Auchinleck.
His father was pleased to find him somewhat less volatile, and quite
reconciled to the legal profession. On the 26th July he was admitted
advocate. His “Thesis on Civil Law,” published at his admission, he
transmitted to Dr. Johnson, who criticised it with severity; he,
however, heartily commended his resolution to obey his father, and
seriously to occupy himself with business. His proposal to write a
history of Corsica Dr. Johnson objected to. “You have,” he wrote, “no
materials which others have not, or may have. You have, somehow or
other, warmed your imagination. I wish there were some cure, like the
lover’s leap, for all heads of which some single idea has obtained an
unreasonable and irregular possession. Mind your own affairs, and leave
the Corsicans to theirs.”

Aware of Boswell’s tendency to form resolutions, which he afterwards
departed from, Dr. Johnson entreated him to abandon his practice of
vow-making. To a letter from the lexicographer on this subject Boswell
made the following answer:—

  “_Auchinleck, 6th November, 1766._

 “Might I venture to differ from you with regard to the utility of
 vows? I am sensible that it may be very dangerous to make vows rashly,
 and without a due consideration. But I cannot help thinking that they
 may often be of great advantage to one of a variable judgment and
 irregular inclinations. I always remember a passage in one of your
 letters to our Italian friend, Baretti; where, talking of the monastic
 life, you say you do not wonder that serious men should put themselves
 under the protection of a religious order, when they have found how
 unable they are to take care of themselves. For my own part, without
 affecting to be a Socrates, I am sure I have a more than ordinary
 struggle to maintain with the Evil Principle; and all the methods I
 can devise are little enough to keep me tolerably steady in the paths
 of rectitude.”

In February, 1767, Boswell conveyed his congratulations to Mr. Temple
on his being admitted to priest’s orders, and instituted Rector of
Mamhead. The following remarks with which his congratulations were
accompanied would have reflected credit on Dr. Johnson:—

 “I am sincerely happy that you are at length the Reverend Mr. Temple.
 I view the profession of a clergyman in an amiable and respectable
 light. Don’t be moved by declamations against ecclesiastical history,
 as if that could blacken the sacred order. I confess that it is not
 in ecclesiastical history that we find the most agreeable account of
 divines: their politics, their ambition, and their cruelty are there
 displayed; but remember, Temple, you are there reading the vices of
 only political divines,—of such individuals as in so numerous a
 body have been very unworthy members of the Church, and should have
 rather been employed in the rudest secular concerns. But if you would
 judge fairly of the priests of Jesus, you must consider how many of
 the distressed they have comforted, how many of the wicked they have
 reclaimed, how many of the good they have improved; consider the lives
 of thousands of worthy pious divines who have been a blessing to their
 parishes. This is just, Temple. You say the truths of morality are
 written in the hearts of all men, and they find it their interest
 to practise them. My dear friend, will you believe a specious moral
 essayist against your own experience? Don’t you in the very same
 letter complain of the wickedness of those around you? Don’t you
 talk of the tares in society? My friend, it is your office to labour
 cheerfully in the vineyard, and, if possible, to leave not a tare in

       *       *       *       *       *

 “In a word, my dear Temple, be a good clergyman, and you will be happy
 both here and hereafter.”

Boswell proceeds to advise his friend to marry a suitable wife, and
expresses a regret that he himself cannot wed so long as his father
lives. Having administered these virtuous counsels, he intimates that
he has involved himself in an illicit amour—or, as he expresses it,
that he is attached to “a dear infidel.” The person so described was a
married woman, who had separated from her husband. Boswell had met her
in the autumn of 1765 at Moffat Spa, where he had been sojourning with
his friend Mr. Johnston, of Grange, a Dumfriesshire landowner. He had
brought her to Edinburgh, and she was now maintained at his expense. In
mitigation of his conduct in associating with her, he thus expatiates
to Mr. Temple:—

 “Don’t think her unfaithful; I could not love her if she was. There is
 baseness in all deceit which my soul is virtuous enough to abhor, and
 therefore I look with horror on adultery. But my amiable mistress is
 no longer bound to him who was her husband: he has used her shockingly
 ill; he has deserted her; he lives with another. Is she not then free?
 She is, it is clear, and no arguments can disguise it. She is now
 mine; and were she to be unfaithful to me, she ought to be pierced
 with a Corsican poniard; but I believe she loves me sincerely. She has
 done everything to please me: she is perfectly generous, and would not
 hear of any present.”

The first part of Boswell’s letter embracing these incongruous details
is dated “1st February,” and occupies seven folio pages. With temporary
discretion the writer hesitated to send off so strange a communication;
at length, on the 28th of the month, he resumed his narrative, which
after another interval was concluded on the 4th March, and thereupon
despatched. Respecting his unhappy amour he writes:—

 “I have talked a great deal of my sweet little mistress; I am,
 however, uneasy about her. Furnishing a house and maintaining her
 with a maid will cost me a great deal of money, and it is too like
 marriage, or too much a settled plan of licentiousness; but what
 can I do? I have already taken the house, and the lady has agreed
 to go in at Whitsuntide; I cannot in honour draw back.... Now am I
 tormented because my charmer has formerly loved others. Besides, she
 is ill-bred, quite a rompish girl. She debases my dignity; she has no
 refinement, but she is very handsome and very lively. What is it to
 me that she has formerly loved? so have I. I am positive that since
 I first courted her at Moffat she has been constant to me; she is
 kind, she is generous. What shall I do? I wish I could get off; and
 yet how awkward would it be!... What is to be thought of this life,
 my friend? Hear the story of my last three days. After tormenting
 myself with reflecting on my charmer’s former loves, and ruminating
 on parting with her, I went to her. I could not conceal my being
 distressed. I told her I was very unhappy, but I would not tell her
 why. She took this very seriously, and was so much affected that she
 went next morning and gave up her house. I went in the afternoon and
 secured the house, and then drank tea with her. She was much agitated;
 she said she was determined to go and board herself in the north of
 England, and that I used her very ill. I expostulated with her; I was
 sometimes inclined to let her go, and sometimes my heart was like to
 burst within me. I held her dear hand; her eyes were full of passion;
 I told her what made me miserable; she was pleased to find it was
 nothing worse. She had imagined I was suspicious of her fidelity, and
 she thought that very ungenerous in reconsidering her behaviour. She
 said I should not mind her faults before I knew her, since her conduct
 was now more circumspect. She owned that she loved me more than she
 had ever done her husband. All was well again.”

Boswell went out, and the same evening got drunk, and committed gross
follies. On the 30th March he wrote to Mr. Temple from Auchinleck. He
informed him that as his Circe had gone to Moffat, he has “had time
to think coolly,” and to call up “that reason which he had so often
contradicted.” He proceeds:—

 “Johnston, an old friend of mine, a writer in Edinburgh, but too
 much of an indolent philosopher to have great business, being rather
 a worthy country gentleman, with a paternal estate of £100 a year,
 was much distressed with my unhappy passion. He was at Moffat when
 it first began, and he marked the advance of the fever. It was he
 who assured me, upon his honour, that my fair one had a very bad
 character, and gave me some instances which made my lovesick heart
 recoil. He had some influence with me, but my brother David had more.
 To him I discovered my weakness, my slavery, and begged his advice.
 He gave it me like a man. I gloried in him. I roused all my spirit,
 and at last I was myself again. I immediately wrote her a letter, of
 which I enclose the scroll for your perusal. She and I have always
 corresponded in such a manner that no mischief could come of it, for
 we supposed a Miss——, to whom all my amorous vows were paid.... I
 have not yet got her answer: what will it be, think you? I shall judge
 of her character from it. I shall see if she is abandoned or virtuous;
 I mean both in a degree; I shall at any rate be free. What a snare
 have I escaped! Do you remember Ulysses and Circe?—

  ‘Sub domina meretrice vixisset turpis et excors.’

 “My life is one of the most romantic that I believe either you or I
 really know of, and yet I am a very sensible, good sort of man. What
 is the meaning of this, Temple? You may depend upon it that very soon
 my follies will be at an end, and I shall turn out an admirable member
 of society. Now that I have given my mind the turn, I am totally
 emancipated from my charmer, as much as from the gardener’s daughter
 who now puts on my fire and performs menial offices like any other
 wench, and yet just this time twelvemonth I was so madly in love as
 to think of marrying her. Should not this be an everlasting lesson to
 me?... How strangely do we colour over our vices! I startle when you
 talk of keeping another man’s wife, yet that was literally my scheme,
 though imagination represented it just as being fond of a pretty,
 lovely, black little lady, who to oblige me stayed in Edinburgh, and I
 very genteelly paid her expenses.”

From several letters to Mr. Temple at subsequent dates, it appears that
Boswell’s discreditable amour was protracted for some time longer. In
the same letter he invited his friend’s counsel respecting certain
matrimonial projects on which he had embarked.

Amidst his dissipations and follies Boswell was not altogether idle.
To Mr. Temple he reported, in March, that he had at the Bar earned
sixty-five guineas during the winter, and that his employment was
steadily on the increase. He stated that Mr. Hume augured favourably
of his work on Corsica; that Rousseau had quarrelled with him as he
had done with Hume; that Dr. Gregory had sought his acquaintance, and
that he had received a long letter from General Paoli, and one of three
pages from Lord Chatham.

To Lord Chatham Boswell replied in characteristic fashion:—

  “_Auchinleck, April 8th, 1767._

 “I have communicated to General Paoli the contents of your lordship’s
 letter, and I am persuaded he will think as I do.... Your lordship
 applauds my ‘generous warmth for so striking a character as the
 able chief.’ Indeed, my lord, I have the happiness of being able
 to contemplate with supreme delight those distinguished spirits by
 which God is sometimes pleased to honour humanity, and as I have no
 personal favour to ask of your lordship, I will tell you, with the
 confidence of one who does not fear to be thought a flatterer, that
 your character, my lord, has filled many of my best hours with that
 noble admiration which a disinterested soul can enjoy in the bower of

After informing his correspondent that he is about to publish an
account of Corsica, he proceeds:—

 “As for myself, to please a worthy and respected father, one of our
 Scots judges, I studied law, and am now fairly entered to the bar. I
 begin to like it; I can labour hard, I feel myself coming forward, and
 I hope to be useful to my country. Could your lordship find time to
 honour me now and then with a letter?

 “I have been told how favourably your lordship has spoken of me. To
 correspond with a Paoli and with a Chatham is enough to keep a young
 man ever ardent in the pursuit of virtuous fame.”

The cool egotism which prompted Boswell, an undistinguished youth, to
beg an occasional letter from an illustrious and veteran statesman is
without a parallel in biography. At Edinburgh, notwithstanding his
obvious eccentricity, he enjoyed a kind of literary _status_. As a
patron of histrionic art he led a considerable section of the Edinburgh
youth; and we have already related, that at the request of Ross, the
player, he composed the prologue spoken at the opening of the Edinburgh
theatre in December, 1767. By an act of indiscretion he nearly crushed
the institution he had helped to rear. He brought on the Edinburgh
stage a comedy entitled “The Coquettes,” to oblige Lady Houston, by
whom it was composed. On the third performance it was condemned as a
bad translation of one of Corneille’s worst plays. Lady Houston was
sister of Lord Cathcart, one of Boswell’s friends, and creditably
enough he was content to bear the censure of producing the piece rather
than expose the foolish gentlewoman who had placed it in his hands.

In his letter to Mr. Temple of the 30th March, 1767, he reports
concerning his forthcoming venture—“I am now seriously engaged in my
account of Corsica; it elevates my soul, and makes me _spernere humum_.
I shall have it finished by June.” Through Mr. Hume he endeavoured
to secure Mr. Andrew Millar as publisher; but negotiations being
unsatisfactory, he sold his MS. for 100 guineas to Messrs. Edward and
Charles Dilly, booksellers in the Poultry. In an ordinary octavo the
work appeared in the spring of 1768, with the title, “An Account of
Corsica: the Journal of a Tour to that Island, and Memoirs of Pascal
Paoli, by James Boswell, Esq.” It was dedicated, in flattering terms,
to Paoli; but the peculiarities of the writer were more apparent in his
preface. He there indicates his peculiar system of orthography. “Of
late,” he writes, “it has become the fashion to render our language
more neat and trim by leaving out k after c, and u in the last syllable
of words which used to end in our. The illustrious Mr. Samuel Johnson,
who has alone executed in England what was the task of whole academies
in other countries, has been careful in his dictionary to preserve the
k as a mark of Saxon original. He has for most part, too, been careful
to preserve the u, but he has also omitted it in several words. I have
retained the k, and have taken upon me to follow a general rule with
regard to words ending in our. Wherever a word originally Latin has
been transmitted to us through the medium of the French I have written
it with the characteristical u. Our attention to this may appear
trivial, but I own I am one of those who are curious in the formation
of language in its various modes; and therefore, with that, the
affinity of English with other tongues may not be forgotten. If this
work should at any future period be reprinted, I hope that care will be
taken of my orthography.”

Pursuant to his system, Boswell indulged the satisfaction of writing
_authour_ for author, and _tremenduous_ for a word known only
as tremendous. He closed his preface by intimating his literary

 “I should,” he writes, “be proud to be known as an authour, and I have
 an ardent ambition for literary fame; for of all possessions I should
 imagine literary fame to be the most valuable. A man who has been able
 to furnish a book which has been approved by the world has established
 himself as a respectable character in distant society, without any
 danger of having that character lessened by the observation of his
 weaknesses. To preserve an uniform dignity among those who see us
 every day is hardly possible, and to aim at it must put us under the
 fetters of a perpetual restraint. The authour of an approved book
 may allow his natural disposition an easy play, and yet indulge the
 pride of superior genius when he considers that by those who know him
 only as an authour he never ceases to be respected. Such an authour,
 when in his hours of gloom and discontent, may have the consolation
 to think that his writings are at that very time giving pleasure to
 numbers, and such an authour may cherish the hope of being remembered
 after death, which has been a great object to the noblest minds in
 all ages. Whether I may merit any portion of literary fame the public
 will judge. Whatever my ambition may be, I trust that my confidence is
 not too great, nor my hopes too sanguine.”

Though subjected to some ridicule, owing to the extreme egotism of the
writer, the Corsican Journey was well received. A second edition was
called for within a few months. Boswell proceeded to London to enjoy
an anticipated ovation. When he arrived Dr. Johnson was on a visit at
Oxford, but Boswell by letter solicited his commendation. Contrary to
his hopes he received this laconic answer—“I wish you would empty your
head of Corsica, which I think has filled it rather too long.” From Dr.
Johnson such a reproof was intolerable. Boswell at once despatched the
following reply:—

 “How can you bid me empty my head of Corsica? My noble-minded friend,
 do you not feel for an oppressed nation bravely struggling to be free?
 Consider fairly what is the case. The Corsicans never received any
 kindness from the Genoese. They never agreed to be subject to them.
 They owe them nothing, and when reduced to an abject state of slavery
 by force, shall they not rise in the great cause of liberty, and break
 the galling yoke? And shall not every liberal soul be warm for them?
 Empty my head of Corsica! Empty it of honour, empty it of humanity,
 empty it of friendship, empty it of piety. No! while I live, Corsica
 and the cause of the brave islanders shall ever employ much of my
 attention, shall ever interest me in the sincerest manner.”

Though Dr. Johnson imparted no praise, Boswell, on account of his book,
met with considerable attention. To Mr. Temple he wrote on the 14th

 “I am really the great man now. I have had David Hume in the forenoon,
 and Mr. Johnson in the afternoon of the same day visiting me. Sir John
 Pringle, Dr. Franklin, and some more company, dined with me to-day;
 and Mr. Johnson and General Oglethorpe one day, Mr. Garrick alone
 another, and David Hume and some more _literati_, dine with me next
 week. I give admirable dinners and good claret; and the moment I go
 abroad again, which will be in a day or two, I set up my chariot. This
 is enjoying the fruit of my labours, and appearing like the friend of
 Paoli. By-the-bye, the Earl of Pembroke and Captain Meadows are just
 setting out for Corsica, and I have the honour of introducing them by
 letter to the General. David Hume came on purpose the other day to
 tell me that the Duke of Bedford was very fond of my book, and had
 recommended it to the Duchess.”

In the beginning of 1769 Boswell issued under the publishing auspices
of Messrs. Dilly, a duodecimo volume entitled “British Essays in
favour of the brave Corsicans”—a work which was followed by the third
edition of his work on Corsica. In a preface to this edition, dated at
Auchinleck, 29th October, 1768, he thus disposes of his critics:—“To
those who have imagined themselves very witty in sneering at me for
being a Christian, I would recommend the serious study of theology;
and I hope they will attain to the same comfort that I have in the
belief of a revelation by which a Saviour is proclaimed to the world,
and ‘life and immortality are clearly brought to light.’” He closes by
congratulating himself on having obtained literary reputation.

 “May I be permitted to say,” he writes, “that the success of this
 book has exceeded my warmest hopes. When I first ventured to send it
 into the world I fairly owned an ardent desire for literary fame. I
 have obtained my desire; and whatever clouds may overcast my days, I
 can now walk here among the rocks and woods of my ancestors with an
 agreeable consciousness that I have done something worthy.”

Complacently as he had expressed himself, Boswell was ill at ease,
for though his book sold, and was generally approved, Dr. Johnson
remained silent. After enduring the affront for eighteen months, he at
length, in September, 1769, addressed a letter to the lexicographer,
charging him with unkindness. In these terms Dr. Johnson rebutted the

 “Why do you charge me with unkindness? I have omitted nothing that
 could do you good or give you pleasure, unless it be that I have
 forborne to tell you my opinion of your ‘Account of Corsica.’ I
 believe my opinion, if you think well of my judgment, might have given
 you pleasure; but when it is considered how much vanity is excited by
 praise, I am not sure that it would have done you good. Your history
 is like other histories, but your journal is in a very high degree
 curious and delightful. There is between the history and the journal
 that difference which there will always be found between notions
 borrowed from without and notions generated within. Your history was
 copied from books; your journal rose out of your own experience and
 observation. You express images which operated strongly upon yourself,
 and you have impressed them with great force upon your readers. I know
 not whether I could name any narrative by which curiosity is better
 excited or better gratified.”

These words from Dr. Johnson made Boswell happy. The Doctor’s opinion
as to the interest of the work mainly depending on the narrative of the
writer’s own experiences was shared generally. Respecting Boswell and
his performance, Mr. Walpole, in a letter to the poet Gray, dated 18th
February, 1768, thus expresses himself:—“Pray read the new account of
Corsica; what relates to Paoli will amuse you much. There is a deal
about the island and its dimensions that one does not care a straw
for. The author, Boswell, is a strange being, and, like Cambridge,[40]
has a rage for knowing anybody that was ever talked of. He forced
himself upon me in spite of my teeth and my doors, and I see has given
a foolish account of all he could pick up from me about King Theodore.
He then took an antipathy to me on Rousseau’s account, abused me in the
newspapers, and expected Rousseau to do so too; but as he came to see
me no more, I forgave all the rest. I see he is now a little sick of
Rousseau himself, but I hope it will not cure him of his anger to me;
however, his book will amuse you.”

This is caustic enough. Gray’s reply is equally in praise of Boswell’s
Journal and condemnatory of its author:—[41]

  “_Pembroke College, February 25, 1768._

 “Mr. Boswell’s book I was going to recommend to you when I received
 your letter. It has pleased and moved me strangely—all (I mean)
 that relates to Paoli.... The pamphlet proves what I have always
 maintained, that any fool may write a most valuable book by chance,
 if he will only tell us what he heard and said with veracity. Of Mr.
 Boswell’s truth I have not the least suspicion, because I am sure he
 could invent nothing of the kind. The title of this part of his work
 is a dialogue between a Green Goose and a Hero.”[42]

Inflated with his success as an author, and his supposed popularity as
the friend of the Corsicans and of Paoli, Boswell, on his return to
Edinburgh in the summer of 1768, began to eschew his legal duties and
spend his evenings at the gambling-table. To this practice he had been
formerly addicted, but he had temporarily renounced it, on the counsel
of Mr. Sheridan. In August, 1768, he reported to Mr. Temple that
“he found the fever still lurking in his veins,” and so indulged his
propensity. During the previous autumn he had experienced his father’s
resentment for his encouragement of theatricals and constant talk about
Paoli. In reference to his father’s displeasure he thus communicated
with Mr. Temple in September, 1767:—

 “How unaccountable is it that my father and I should be so ill
 together! He is a man of sense and a man of worth; but from some
 unhappy turn in his disposition he is much dissatisfied with a son
 whom you know. I write to him with warmth, with an honest pride,
 wishing that he should think of me as I am; but my letters shock him,
 and every expression in them is interpreted unfavourably. To give
 you an instance, I send you a letter I had from him a few days ago.
 How galling is it to the friend of Paoli to be treated so! I have
 answered him in my own style. I will be myself.... Temple, would you
 not like such a son? would you not feel a glow of parental joy? I know
 you would; and yet my worthy father writes to me in the manner you
 see, with that Scots strength of sarcasm which is peculiar to a North
 Briton. But he is offended with that fire which you and I cherish as
 the essence of our souls; and how can I make him happy? Am I bound to
 do so at the expense, not of this or the other agreeable wish, but
 at the expense of myself? The time was when such a letter from my
 father as the one I enclose would have depressed; but I am now firm,
 and as my revered friend Mr. Samuel Johnson used to say, I feel the
 privileges of an independent human being. However, it is hard that I
 cannot have the pious satisfaction of being well with my father.”

To lose the paternal favour was perilous; so Boswell’s next literary
performance was of a professional character. When he commenced practice
as an advocate, society in Edinburgh and in the country generally
was much agitated in connection with the Douglas case. The question
at issue was whether Mr. Archibald Douglas was the real heir to
the estates of Douglas, the succession otherwise devolving on the
Duke of Hamilton. The Lady Jane Douglas was twice married. By her
first union, which subsisted for many years she had no children; she
married secondly Mr. Stewart, afterwards Sir John Stewart, Bart., of
Grandtully, an aged gentleman in feeble health, and by this marriage,
as was alleged, gave birth to twin sons in her fifty-first year. Lady
Jane long resided in France; her alleged _accouchement_ took place in
the house of a Madame le Brun, in Paris, and it was asserted that the
children which she claimed as her sons were purchased from a Parisian
rope-dancer. The younger of the two boys died in childhood, and on
the death of the Duke of Douglas his Grace’s estates were claimed by
Archibald, the elder son. The validity of his claim was disputed,
and the evidence adduced on both sides occupies several quarto
volumes. In the Court of Session the claimant’s birth was pronounced
supposititious, on the casting vote of the Lord President Dundas. On
appeal that decision was reversed by the House of Lords, Lord Camden,
the Chancellor, alleging that “a more ample and positive proof of the
child’s being the son of a mother never appeared in a court of justice.”

While the Douglas case was exciting its utmost interest, Boswell
became a keen supporter of the claimant, Mr. Archibald Douglas; and
in November, 1767, produced a pamphlet entitled “The Essence of
the Douglas Cause.” This _brochure_ was issued in reply to a small
publication entitled “Considerations on the Douglas Cause,” but failed
to excite any general attention. The author, however, cherished the
belief that he had been of essential service to Mr. Douglas, and
accordingly requested that his name might be added to the list of
counsel retained on his behalf.

Boswell, we have seen, had begun to think of matrimony. In that
direction his thoughts were sufficiently persistent, though in respect
to the object of affection singularly variable. On the 30th March,
1767, he thus addressed Mr. Temple:—

 “What say you to my marrying? I intend, next autumn, to visit Miss
 Bosville in Yorkshire; but I fear, my lot being cast in Scotland, that
 beauty would not be content. She is, however, grave; I shall see.
 There is a young lady in the neighbourhood here who has an estate of
 her own between two and three hundred a year, just eighteen, a genteel
 person, an agreeable face, of a good family, sensible, good-tempered,
 cheerful, pious. You know my grand object is the ancient family of
 Auchinleck—a venerable and noble principle. How would it do to
 conclude an alliance with the neighbouring princess, and add her lands
 to our dominions? I should at once have a very pretty little estate, a
 good house, and a sweet place. My father is very fond of her: it would
 make him perfectly happy: he gives me hints in this way:—‘I wish you
 had her,’—‘No bad scheme this; I think it a very good one.’ But I
 will not be in a hurry; there is plenty of time.”

Writing to Mr. Temple on the 12th June, Boswell omits all reference to
Miss Bosville, but extols “the young lady in his neighbourhood” as a
kind of goddess.

 “The lady in my neighbourhood,” he writes, “is the finest woman I
 have ever seen. I went and visited her, and she was so good as to
 prevail with her mother to come to Auchinleck, where they stayed four
 days, and in our romantic groves I adored her like a divinity. I have
 already given you her character. My father is very desirous I should
 marry her; all my relations, all my neighbours, approve of it. She
 looked quite at home in the house of Auchinleck. Her picture would be
 an ornament to the gallery. Her children would be all Boswells and
 Temples, and as fine women as these are excellent men. And now my
 friend, my best adviser, comes to hear me talk of her and to fix my
 wavering mind.”

In his next letter to Mr. Temple, Boswell reveals that his “angelic
princess” is “Miss Blair, of Adamtown,” adding that on the preceding
Tuesday he had got inebriated in drinking her health, and in that
condition had committed miserable follies. He proceeds:—

 “You must resolve to visit my goddess. You are a stranger, and may
 do a romantic thing. You shall have consultation guineas, as an
 ambassador has his appointments. You see how I use you. In short,
 between us two, all rules and all maxims are suspended. Pray prepare
 yourself for this adventure; we shall settle it, I hope; I cannot
 go with you, though. You are to see our country for a jaunt upon my

Boswell was practical for once. In assuring his reverend friend that
he would have his “consultation guineas” he meant that his travelling
costs would be defrayed should he consent to visit Ayrshire, and
recommend him to Miss Blair. The proposal was acceded to. Mr. Temple
agreed to proceed on his mission at once on being furnished with the
needful instructions. Before the end of July he was in Scotland,
provided with an itinerary, from which we extract the following:—

 “_Wednesday._—Thomas[43] will bring you to Adamtown a little after
 eleven. Send up your name; if possible, put up your horses there,
 they can have cut grass; if not, Thomas will take them to Mountain, a
 place a mile off, and come back and wait at dinner. Give Miss Blair my
 letter. Salute her and her mother; ask to walk. See the place fully;
 think what improvements should be made. Talk of my mare, the purse,
 the chocolate. Tell them you are my very old and intimate friend.
 Praise me for my good qualities, you know them; but talk also how
 odd, how inconstant, how impetuous, how much accustomed to women of
 intrigue. Ask gravely, ‘Pray don’t you imagine there is something
 of madness in that family?’ Talk of my various travels, German
 princes, Voltaire and Rousseau. Talk of my father, my strong desire
 to have my own house. Observe her well. See how amiable! Judge if
 she would be happy with your friend. Think of me as the great man at
 Adamtown—quite classical, too! Study the mother. Remember well what
 passes. Stay tea. At six order horses and go to New Mills, two miles
 from Loudoun; but if they press you stay all night, do it. Be a man of
 as much ease as possible. Consider what a romantic expedition you are
 on; take notes; perhaps you now fix me for life.”

Instructions more extraordinary were never before delivered by lovesick
swain to the friend of his suit. That friend was to inform the lady of
his affections that he was “much accustomed to women of intrigue;” that
he was “odd,” “inconstant,” and “impetuous;” and he was even to hint
that there was madness in his family. That Boswell should have brought
his friend 500 miles so to describe him to the lady of his affections
is not the least remarkable feature of his strange career. Mr. Temple,
it is hoped, was more discreet than his client.

On his return to Mamhead Mr. Temple married a gentlewoman who brought
him a fortune of £1,300. Boswell wrote to Miss Blair, thanking her for
her attention to his friend, but the lady was silent. Her suitor became
perplexed; he feared that a certain nabob had “struck in,” or that
Temple “had told her his faults too honestly.” At length, after he had
endured the miseries of “a feverish disorder, the lady relented, and
sent him a most agreeable letter.” She made an excuse that a letter
of his had been delayed at the Ayr post office; but he had written
several. On the 28th August he again communicates with Mr. Temple. He
assumes the designation of a sovereign prince, and holds the clergyman
as his ambassador.

 “Are you not happy,” he writes, “to find that all is well between the
 Prince of Auchinleck and his fair neighbouring princess? In short,
 sir, I am one of the most fortunate men in the world. As Miss Blair
 is my great object at present, and you are a principal minister in
 forwarding the alliance, I enclose you the latest papers on the
 subject. You will find the letter I wrote her when ill, where you will
 see a Scots word _roving_, from the French _rêver_, as if to dream
 awake. I put it down as a good English word, not having looked in
 Johnson. You will next find the lady’s answer, then a long letter from
 me, which required an extraordinary degree of good sense and temper to
 answer it with an agreeable propriety; then her answer, which exceeds
 my highest expectations. Read these papers in their order, and let me
 have your excellency’s opinion. Am I not now as well as I can be? What
 condescension! what a desire to please! She studies my disposition,
 and resolves to be cautious, &c. Adorable woman! Don’t you think I had
 better not write again till I see her? I shall go west in a fortnight,
 but I can hardly restrain myself from writing to her in transport. I
 will go to Adamtown and stay a week. I will have no disguise; we shall
 see each other fairly. We are both independent; we have no temptation
 to marry but to make each other happy. Let us be sure if that would be
 the consequence.”

On the 5th of November Boswell writes to Mr. Temple from Adamtown:—

 “MY DEAR TEMPLE,—The pleasure of your countenance in reading the date
 of this letter is before me at this moment.... In short, I am sitting
 in the room with my princess, who is at this moment a finer woman than
 ever she appeared to me before. But, my valuable friend, be not too
 certain of your Boswell’s felicity, for indeed he has little of it at
 present.... For ten days I was in a fever, but at last I broke the
 enchantment. However, I could not be too sullen in my pride; I wrote
 to her from Auchinleck, and wished her joy, &c.; she answered me, with
 the same ease as ever, that I had no occasion. I then wrote her a
 strange sultanish letter, very cold and very formal, and did not go to
 see her for near three weeks....

 “But the princess and I have not yet made up our quarrel; she talks
 lightly of it. I am resolved to have a serious conversation with her
 to-morrow morning. If she can still remain indifferent as to what
 has given me much pain, she is not the woman I thought her, and from
 to-morrow morning shall I be severed from her as a lover. I shall just
 bring myself, I hope, to a good easy tranquillity. If she feels as I
 wish her to do, I shall adore her while my blood is warm.”

After an interval of three days Boswell again communicated with Mr.

  “_Auchinleck, Sunday, 8th November, 1767._

 “I wrote you from Adamtown, and told you how it was with the princess
 and me. Next morning I told her that I had complained to you that she
 would not make up our last quarrel, but she did not appear in the
 least inclined to own herself in the wrong. I confess that, between
 pride and love, I was unable to speak to her but in a very awkward
 manner. I came home on Friday; yesterday I was extremely uneasy. That
 I might give her a fair opportunity, I sent her a letter, of which I
 enclose you a copy. Could the proud Boswell say more than you will see
 there? In the evening I got her answer; it was written with an art and
 indifference astonishing from so young a lady:—‘I have not yet found
 out that I was to blame. If you have been uneasy on my account, I am
 indeed sorry for it; I should be sorry to give any person uneasiness,
 far more one whose cousin and friend I shall always be.’...

 “In short, Temple, she is cunning, and sees my weakness. But I now
 see her; and though I cannot but suffer severely, I from this moment
 resolve to think no more of her. I send you the copy of a note which
 goes to her to-morrow morning. Wish me joy, my good friend, of having
 discovered the snake before too late. I should have been ruined had
 I made such a woman my wife. Luckily for me, a neighbour who came to
 Auchinleck last night told me that he had heard three people at Ayr
 agree in abusing her as a jilt. What a risk have I run! However, as
 there is still a possibility that all this may be mistake and malice,
 I shall behave to her in a very respectful manner, and shall never
 say a word against her but to you. After this I shall be upon my guard
 against ever indulging the least fondness for a Scotch lass. I am a
 soul of a more southern frame. I may, perhaps, be fortunate enough to
 find an Englishwoman who will be sensible of my merit, and will study
 to please my singular humour.”

Subsequent letters from Boswell to Mr. Temple contain these
passages:—“Upon my soul, the madness of which I have a strong degree
in my composition is at present so heightened by love that I am
absolutely deprived of judgment.... One great fault of mine is talking
at random; I will guard against it.” Referring to the object of his
hopes at Adamtown, he writes:—“I will consecrate myself to her for
ever. I must have her to learn the harpsichord and French; she shall be
one of the first women in the island.” “Temple, I ventured to seize her
hand. She is really the finest woman to me I ever saw.”

To Mr. Temple, on the 24th December, he wrote thus:—

 “In my last I told you that after I had resolved to give up with the
 Princess for ever, I resolved first to see her. I was so lucky as to
 have a very agreeable interview, and was convinced by her that she was
 not to blame. This happened on a Thursday; that evening her cousin and
 most intimate friend, the Duchess of Gordon, came to town. Next day I
 was at the concert with them, and afterwards supped at Lord Kames’s.
 The Princess appeared distant and reserved. I could hardly believe
 that it was the same woman with whom I had been quite gay the day
 before; I was then uneasy. Next evening I was at the play with them:
 it was ‘Othello.’ I sat close behind the Princess, and at the most
 affecting scenes I pressed my hand upon her waist; she was in tears,
 and rather leaned to me. The jealous Moor described my very soul.”

Boswell subjoins a dialogue between “the Princess” and himself.
“You are very fond of Auchinleck,” said Boswell in his pleading.
“I confess I am,” responded the lady; “I wish I liked you as well
as I do Auchinleck.” There had been repeated meetings and lengthy
conversations, but Boswell could not extract a promise, and knew not
what to think. He begs that Mr. Temple will consult with his wife,
and thereupon advise him. Towards the close of his letter he writes,
“Amidst all this love I have been wild as ever.... To-morrow I shall
be happy with my devotions.... Could you assist me to keep up my real
dignity among the illiterate race of Scots lawyers?”

To Mr. Temple he writes from Edinburgh on the 8th February, 1768:—

 “All is over between Miss Blair and me. I have delayed writing till I
 could give you some final account. About a fortnight after she went
 to the country a report went that she was going to be married to Sir
 Alexander Gilmour, Member of Parliament for Mid-Lothian, a young man
 about thirty, who has £1,600 a year of estate, was formerly an officer
 in the Guards, and is now one of the clerks of the Board of Green
 Cloth, a thousand a year—in short, a noble match, though a man of
 expense, and obliged to lead a London life. After the fair agreement
 between her and me, which I gave you in my last, I had a title to
 know the truth. I wrote to her seriously, and told her if she did not
 write me an answer I should believe the report to be true. After three
 days I concluded from her silence that she was at least engaged. I
 endeavoured to laugh off my passion, and I got Sir Alexander Gilmour
 to frank a letter to her, which I wrote in a pleasant strain, and
 amused myself with the whim; still, however, I was not absolutely
 certain, as her conduct has been so prudent all along.”

To ask a gentleman to frank a letter for him addressed to a young
lady of whom they were rival lovers was an act of eccentricity
befitting Boswell only. In the letter above quoted he proceeds to
inform Mr. Temple that the heiress having come to town, he began to
apprehend that her affections were engaged by a Mr. Fullerton, whom
he describes as his “old rival, the nabob.” So he procured the nabob’s
acquaintance, and they called on the heiress together. She received
them courteously, but with greater than wonted reserve. Boswell was
determined to know the worst. He entertained Mr. Fullerton to supper
at the house of a relative, and the same evening took him to a tavern
and warmed him “with old claret.” As anticipated, Mr. Fullerton became
very communicative, admitting that he had been assiduous in attending
Miss Blair, but had received no suitable encouragement. He and Boswell
remained together long after midnight, and before separating agreed
that each on the morrow should visit the heiress, and make proposals
to her. Boswell made sure to reach first, as he went to breakfast; he
proposed, and was refused. The nabob called on Miss Blair an hour or
two afterwards, and was overpowered with her coldness.

 “Now that all is over,” Boswell sums up, “I see many faults in her
 which I did not see before.... I am, however, resolved to look out for
 a good wife either here or in England.... The heiress is a good Scots
 lass, but I must have an Englishwoman. You cannot say how fine a woman
 I may marry. Perhaps a Howard, or some other of the noblest in the

Finally, to assure his correspondent that he was not distracted by
rejection or disappointed hope, he embodied in his communication the
following somewhat splenetic verses at the expense of the “princess:”—

  “Although I be an honest laird,
    In person rather strong and brawny,
  For me the heiress never cared,
    For she would have the knight Sir Sawney.[44]

  “And when with ardent vows I swore,
    Loud as Sir Jonathan Trelawney,
  The heiress showed me to the door,
    And said she’d have the knight Sir Sawney.

  “She told me, with a scornful look,
    I was as ugly as a tawny;
  For she a better fish could hook,
    The rich and gallant knight Sir Sawney.”

In his next letter to Mr. Temple, dated London, 24th March, Boswell
expresses his joy that he is rid of Miss Blair, and informs him that
he and “a charming Dutchwoman” have renewed correspondence. Under the
name of Zelide she is frequently mentioned in his previous letters;
he had formed her acquaintance at Utrecht. Zelide is commended as
fair, lively, sensible, and accomplished; and is so deeply attached
to the writer that he feels he cannot be unhappy with her. By having
translated into French his work on Corsica she has shown a just
appreciation of his literary tastes.

Contrary to his usual habit, Boswell on this occasion consulted both
his father and his friend. Zelide, he said, was “willing to meet him
without any engagement;” but his counsellors were unwilling that any
meeting should be held. Writing to Mr. Temple on the 16th April he
admits that Zelide had faults, but time, he thinks, may have altered
her for the better, as it had in some measure altered himself. However,
he was willing, in deference to his advisers, to renounce Zelide. In a
postscript he asks Mr. Temple’s opinion of Miss Dick,[45] “with whom
he dined agreeably.” He describes her as “fine, healthy, young, and
amiable,” though lacking “a good fortune.” He acknowledges that he had
many wanton passions, “and had lately been wild as ever.” He is much
disappointed that his correspondent, to whom he had previously offered
a visit, had no spare bed: he will visit him after all, and “they will
sit up all night together.”

On the 26th April he informs Mr. Temple that Zelide is not yet given
up. He had received a letter from her, “full of good sense and
tenderness,” and he had asked his father to allow him to visit her at
Utrecht. “How do we know,” he proceeds, “but she is an inestimable
prize? Surely it is worth while to go to Holland to see a fair
conclusion, one way or other, of what has hovered in my mind for years.
I have written to her and told her all my perplexity; I have put in
the plainest light what conduct I actually require of her, and what
my father will require. I have bid her be my wife at present, and
comfort me with a letter, in which she shall show at once her wisdom,
her spirit, and her regard for me. You shall see it. I tell you, man,
she knows me and values me as you do.” Boswell adds that he has been
suffering from a distemper induced by social indulgence, and vows that
he “shall never again behave in a manner so unworthy the friend of

Disappointment still ruled. In a letter, dated 14th May, Boswell
informs Mr. Temple that he had received a letter from Zelide. Most
gently had he referred to her “levity and infidel notions,” and she had
proved a “termagant and scorched him.” He had assured his father that
Mademoiselle would not suit him as a wife; she, however, might be “a
good correspondent.”

Unaccepted as a lover, Zelide declined becoming a correspondent; she
was soon forgotten. Mr. Temple was opposed to Miss Dick, and Boswell,
though he disapproved his friend’s opinion, began to look elsewhere.
After two months,[46] he writes to Mamhead, that he had found another
mistress—a certain Mary Anne, an Irish beauty. He congratulates
himself on having escaped “the insensible Miss B. and the furious
Zelide,” and “rejoices in the finest creature that ever was formed,
_la belle Irlandaise_.” “Imagine to yourself, Temple,” he adds,
“a young lady just sixteen, formed like a Grecian nymph, with the
sweetest countenance, full of sensibility, accomplished, with a Dublin
education, always half the year in the north of Ireland, her father a
councillor-at-law, with the estate of £1,000 a year, and above £10,000
in ready money; her mother a sensible, well-bred woman; she the darling
of her parents, and no other child but her sister.” He adds, “Upon my
honour I never was so much in love; I never was before in a situation
to which there was not some objection, but here every flower is united,
and not a thorn to be found.... What a fortunate fellow am I! What a
variety of adventures in all countries! I was allowed to walk a great
deal with Miss——; I repeated my fervent passion to her again and
again; she was pleased, and I could swear that her little heart beat. I
carved the first letter of her name on a tree; I cut off a lock of her
hair, _male pertinax_. She promised not to forget me, nor to marry a
lord before March.... This is the most agreeable passion I ever felt;
sixteen, innocence, and gaiety make me quite a Sicilian swain. Before
I left London I made a vow in St. Paul’s church that I would not allow
myself ... for six months. I am hitherto firm to my vow, and already
feel myself a superior being.... In short, Maria has me without any

Amidst these vows and assurances of amendment, Boswell acknowledges
that he had during the last two months “employed a great deal of time
in gaming,” and had thereby wasted his means. Within three months he
has forgotten Mary Anne, is again a visitor at Adamtown, and on his
knees before Miss Blair. That lady is provokingly curt, and Boswell
is assured by her mother that he had made such a joke of his love for
her in every company that she was piqued.[47] After “this relapse of
fever” has continued a few weeks he bids a second adieu to Adamtown,
and determines to renew his addresses to Mary Anne. “Then,” he writes,
“came a kind letter from my amiable aunt Boyd in Ireland, and all the
charms of sweet Mary Anne revived. Since that time I have been quite
constant to her, and as indifferent towards Kate as if I never had
thought of her.... After her behaviour, do I, the candid, generous
Boswell, owe her anything? Am I anyhow bound by passionate inclinations
to which she did not even answer? Write to me, my dear friend. She will
be here soon. I am quite easy with her. What should I do? By all that’s
enchanting I go to Ireland in March!”

To the letter just quoted Boswell adds two postscripts. In the first he
intimates that he is “a good deal in debt.” In the second, he remarks,
“My present misfortune is occasioned by drinking. Since my return to
Scotland I have fallen a great deal too much into that habit, which
still prevails in Scotland. Perhaps the coldness of the Scots requires
it, but my young blood is turned to madness by it. This will be a
warning to me, and from henceforth I shall be a perfect man; at least,
I hope so.” Confessions which close the letter strongly proved that the
writer’s aspirations after perfection were altogether illusory.

In May, 1769, Boswell fulfilled his intention of visiting Ireland.
Through the influence of Mr. Sibthorpe, a landowner in the county or
Down, husband of one of his cousins, he was introduced into elegant and
lettered society. At Dublin he dined with Lord Charlemont, and met
such literary celebrities as Dr. Leland, Mr. Flood, Dr. Macbride, and
George Falconer, the friend of Swift and Chesterfield. More conspicuous
hospitalities which attended him at Dublin he deemed worthy of a place
in a reputed organ of fashionable intelligence. At his request the
_Public Advertiser_ informed its readers on the 7th of July that “James
Boswell, Esq., having now visited Ireland, he dined with his Grace
the Duke of Leinster at his seat at Carton: he went also by special
invitation to meet the Lord Lieutenant at his country seat at Leixlip,
to which he was conducted, in one of his Excellency’s coaches, by
Lieut.-Colonel Walshe. He dined there and stayed all night, and next
morning came in the coach with his Excellency to the Phœnix Park, and
was present at a review of Sir Joseph Yorke’s dragoons. He also dined
with the Right Honourable the Lord Mayor. He is now set out on his
return to Scotland.” In Ireland he remained six weeks, chiefly occupied
in prosecuting his suit. But the “charming Mary Anne” would only laugh
at his protestations. In deepest mortification he complained to his
cousin Margaret Montgomerie, who had accompanied him to Ireland. She
offered her sympathy, and Boswell in gratitude tendered his hand.
It was accepted cordially. Miss Montgomerie was not rich, but she
possessed largely what her lover entirely lacked—discretion and common
sense. Her pedigree justified her union with the heir of Auchinleck.
Paternally she was related to the noble house of Eglinton, and her
father, Mr. David Montgomerie, of Lainshaw, claimed the dormant peerage
of Lyle. To Lord Auchinleck the proposed union gave entire satisfaction.

The solemnization of the marriage was deferred till autumn. Meanwhile
Boswell resolved to pay another visit to the metropolis. Misfortune had
attended Paoli. With the sum of £700, which he raised by subscription,
Boswell, in August, 1768, shipped for Corsica a quantity of cannon
from the Carron Ironworks.[48] Whether the artillery reached its
destination, and to what extent it proved useful, has not been related.
Unable to overcome Paoli, the Genoese transferred Corsica to the
French, who accepting the gift, despatched an army under the Marshal
de Vaux to take possession. The inhabitants fought bravely, but were
overwhelmed by numbers. Paoli embarked on the 16th June, 1769, in an
English vessel bound for Leghorn. Crossing the Continent he repaired
to London, where he was hailed with the honours due to his patriotism.
Boswell hastened from Scotland to offer his respects. Paoli received
him warmly.

On the 6th September a national jubilee at Stratford-on-Avon celebrated
the memory of Shakspere. Writing on this subject to the _Scots
Magazine_ of the same month, Boswell, while generally commending the
proceedings, expressed regret that the demonstration commenced with an
oratorio. “I could have wished,” he wrote, “that prayers had been read,
and a short sermon preached; it would have consecrated our jubilee to
begin it with devotion—with gratefully adoring the Supreme Father of
all spirits, from whom cometh every good and perfect gift.” In strange
contrast with these devotional sentiments was Boswell’s own procedure
at the jubilee. He took the part of a buffoon, in supposed tribute to
patriotism. Rejoicing in his achievement, he published an account of
his appearance in the _London Magazine_ for September, accompanied with
his portrait. His narrative proceeds thus:—

 “One of the most remarkable masks upon this occasion was James
 Boswell, Esq., in the dress of an armed Corsican chief. He entered
 the amphitheatre about twelve o’clock. He wore a short dark-coloured
 coat of coarse cloth, scarlet waistcoat and breeches, and black
 spatter-dashes; his cap or bonnet was of black cloth; on the front of
 it was embroidered in gold letters, “_Viva la Liberta_,” and on one
 side of it was a handsome blue feather and cockade, so that it had an
 elegant as well as a warlike appearance. On the breast of his coat was
 sewed a Moor’s head, the crest of Corsica, surrounded with branches of
 laurel. He had also a cartridge pouch into which was stuck a stiletto,
 and on his left side a pistol was hung upon the belt of his cartridge
 pouch. He had a fusee slung across his shoulder, wore no powder in his
 hair, but had it plaited at full length with a knot of blue ribbons
 at the end of it. He had, by way of staff, a very curious vine all of
 one piece, with a bird finely carved upon it emblematical of the sweet
 bard of Avon. He wore no mask, saying that it was not proper for a
 gallant Corsican. So soon as he came into the room he drew universal
 attention. The novelty of the Corsican dress, its becoming appearance,
 and the character of that brave nation concurred to distinguish the
 armed Corsican chief. He was first accosted by Mrs. Garrick, with whom
 he had a good deal of conversation. Mr. Boswell danced both a minuet
 and a country dance with a very pretty Irish lady, Mrs. Sheldon, wife
 to Captain Sheldon, of the 38th Regiment of Foot, who was dressed in a
 genteel domino, and before she danced threw off her mask.”

In honour of Corsica, Boswell read to the assemblage at Stratford a
poem which he published the same month in the _Scots Magazine_. These
are the concluding lines:—

      “Let me plead for liberty distressed,
  And warm for her each sympathetic breast;
  Amidst the splendid honours which you bear,
  To save a sister island be your care;
  With generous ardour make us also free,
  And give to Corsica a noble jubilee.”

On his return from Stratford, Dr. Johnson, in a letter dated 9th
September, congratulated him on his approaching marriage. He wrote

 “I am glad that you are going to be married, and as I wish you well
 in things of less importance, wish you well with proportionate ardour
 in this crisis of your life. What I can contribute to your happiness
 I should be very unwilling to withhold, for I have always loved and
 valued you, and shall love you and value you still more as you become
 more regular and useful, effects which a happy marriage will hardly
 fail to produce.”

Boswell was married to Miss Margaret Montgomerie, at Lainshaw, in
Ayrshire, on the 25th November, 1769. On the same day his father
entered on matrimony a second time, by espousing his cousin Elizabeth,
daughter of Robert Boswell of Balmuto, and sister of Claude James
Boswell, advocate, afterwards Lord Balmuto. This event, which Boswell
did not anticipate, considerably modified his nuptial rejoicings.
Boswell was afterwards reconciled; his father’s wife proved kindly and
generous, and she did not, by “multiplying,” add to the family burdens.

In congratulating Boswell on his new condition Mr. Temple could not
refer rejoicingly to his own matrimonial experiences. Mrs. Temple had
not proved agreeable to her husband or pleasing to her neighbours.
The occupancy of separate apartments did not rescue Mr. Temple from
domestic disquietude, and he became desirous of abandoning his living
of £80 a year for the humble station of a colonial chaplain.[49] In
the hope of obtaining such an appointment by the influence of friends
in the north, he proposed a visit to Boswell in the summer of 1770.
Boswell adduced certain family prospects as a reason why the visit
should be postponed.

About the end of August Mrs. Boswell gave birth to a son, who, much to
the grief of both parents, survived only a few hours. Boswell sought
comfort from his friend Mr. Temple, and expressed a hope that the visit
he had announced he would fulfil soon. In a letter to Mr. Temple, dated
6th September, he wrote,—

 “Send your portmanteau on Monday, directed for me at my house in
 Chessel’s Buildings, Canongate, and ride you over whenever you please.
 Give me all the time you can. My wife will be in her drawing-room next
 week, if it pleases God to continue to favour her. My dear friend, how
 happy will it make me to have you under my roof, and enjoy with you
 some invaluable hours of elegant friendship and classical sociality!”

Mr. Temple remained at Chessel’s Buildings several days. Though a
persistent water-drinker, his visit was much enjoyed by his host. To a
letter afterwards received from him Boswell replied thus:—

  “_Edinburgh, 6th October, 1770._

 “I rejoice that you got so well to Gainslaw. I was afraid you might
 find the journey very fatiguing; but you water-drinkers are Herculean
 fellows. I believe it would be better for me were I to adopt your
 system; but this is only _en passant_. It is a bill which would meet
 with a good deal of opposition in my lower house. How agreeable is it
 to me to find that my old and most intimate friend was so happy in my
 house! We must really contrive it so as to pass a good part of our
 time together. I never will rest till you have a living in the north,
 I hope in Northumberland or Cumberland.

 “You cannot say too much to me of my wife. How dare you quote to me
 _sua si bona norint_? I am fully sensible of my happiness in being
 married to so excellent a woman, so sensible a mistress of a family,
 so agreeable a companion, so affectionate and peculiarly proper
 helpmate for me. I own I am not so much on my guard against fits of
 passion or gloom as I ought to be; but that is really owing to her
 great goodness. There is something childish in it, I confess. I ought
 not to indulge in such fits; it is like a child that lets itself fall
 purposely, to have the pleasure of being tenderly raised up again by
 those who are fond of it. I shall endeavour to be better. Upon the
 whole I do believe I shall make her happy. God bless and preserve her!”

For eighteen months subsequent to his marriage Boswell applied himself
with unwonted steadiness to literary study, and the systematic practice
of his profession. If he corresponded regularly with Mr. Temple
during this period few of his letters have been preserved, and he has
recorded in his Life of Johnson that he and the lexicographer resumed,
in June, 1771, a correspondence which had for a year and a half
been intermitted. To a letter from Boswell, soliciting a renewal of
epistolary intercourse, Dr. Johnson wrote as follows:—

  “_London, June 20th, 1771._

 “I never was so much pleased as now with your account of yourself; and
 sincerely hope that, between public business, improving studies, and
 domestic pleasures, neither melancholy nor caprice will find any place
 for entrance. Whatever philosophy may determine of material nature,
 it is certainly true of intellectual nature that it abhors a vacuum.
 Our minds cannot be empty, and evil will break in upon them if they
 are not preoccupied by good. My dear sir, mind your studies, mind your
 business, make your lady happy, and be a good Christian. After this,—

                ‘Tristitiam et metus,
  Trades protervis in mare Creticum
    Portare ventis.’

 “If we perform our duty we shall be safe and steady, ‘_sive per_,’
 &c., whether we climb the Highlands or are tost among the Hebrides;
 and I hope the time will come when we may try our powers both with
 cliffs and water.”

Dr. Johnson’s letter contains the first published reference to the
proposed journey to the Hebrides. In March, 1772, Boswell revisited
London. He was retained as counsel in a case appealed to the House of
Lords by one Hastie, a schoolmaster, who had been deprived of office
for the cruel treatment of his pupils. That he might on this occasion
properly acquit himself, he sought and obtained the aid of Dr. Johnson.
During his visit he met Johnson frequently, and, with the intention
of becoming his biographer, carefully recorded his conversations. He
returned to Edinburgh in May.

Revisiting London in the spring of 1773, Boswell was for the first
time invited to dinner at Dr. Johnson’s private residence. He was, on
Dr. Johnson’s motion, admitted a member of the Literary Club. He had
become known to Sir Joshua Reynolds, Dr. Goldsmith, and Mr. Garrick; he
occasionally dined with General Oglethorpe, and continued on friendly
terms with Paoli. He was a favourite with Mr. Thrale, and frequently
enjoyed his hospitality. He returned to Edinburgh in May, and soon
afterwards Mrs. Boswell presented him with a daughter. He named the
child Veronica, in honour of his great-grandmother, the Countess of
Kincardine, a descendant of the Dutch family of Somnelsdyck.

Dr. Johnson had talked of the proposed Hebridean journey more
definitely. That his purpose might not waver, Boswell entreated some
leading Scotsmen to send him letters of invitation and encouragement.
Among those who responded by offers of hospitality were the chiefs
Macdonald and Macleod, Principal Robertson, and Dr. Beattie. Johnson
was much gratified, and fully determined to proceed to Scotland
before the close of the summer. He left London early in August, in a
post-chaise, along with Mr. Justice afterwards Sir Robert Chambers.
The latter tarried at Newcastle, and Johnson was accompanied from
thence to Edinburgh by Mr. Scott, afterwards Lord Stowell. From
Newcastle he wrote to Boswell, on Wednesday, the 11th August, that he
hoped to reach Edinburgh on the following Saturday. On the evening
of that day he arrived at Boyd’s Inn, Canongate, better known as the
“White Horse.” A note announcing his arrival brought Boswell at once.
They embraced cordially, and Boswell led him up High Street to his
house in James’s Court.

To that house Boswell had removed lately from Chessel’s Buildings.
James’s Court was entered from the Lawn Market by a low gateway. The
court was quadrilateral, and opposite the entrance were two common
stairs. Boswell occupied the dwelling reached by the western staircase,
at the height of three storeys, his door being that at the top of
the landing. The house was formerly occupied by David Hume, who here
composed a portion of his history, and entertained Boswell when a
youth. Dr. Hugh Blair had also occupied the dwelling.

Boswell having notified the arrival, his distinguished guest was, while
he remained in Edinburgh, fêted at every meal. Among those invited
by Boswell to meet him were such titled persons as the Duchess of
Douglas, Lord Chief Baron Orde, Lord Hailes, Sir William Forbes, Bart.,
of Pitsligo, Sir Adolphus Oughton, and Sir Alexander Dick, Bart.,
of Prestonfield. Of those known in literature similarly privileged
were Dr. William Robertson, Dr. Blair, Professor Adam Fergusson, Dr.
Gregory, Dr. Alexander Webster, and Dr. Blacklock. It was an epoch
in Boswell’s life, and he was proportionately elated. In his “Tour,”
published fifteen years afterwards, he in reference to this period of
his history presents of himself the following portraiture:—

“Think,” he writes, “of a gentleman of ancient blood, the pride of
which was his predominant passion. He was then in his thirty-third
year, and had been about four years happily married. His inclination
was to be a soldier, but his father, a respectable judge, had pressed
him into the profession of the law. He had travelled a good deal and
seen many varieties of human life; he had thought more than anybody
had supposed, and had a pretty good stock of general learning and
knowledge; he had all Dr. Johnson’s principles, with some degree of
relaxation; he had rather too little than too much prudence, and his
imagination being lively, he often said things of which the effect was
very different from the intention. He resembled sometimes—

  ‘The best good man with the worst-natured muse.’”

He cannot deny himself the vanity of finishing with the encomium of Dr.
Johnson, whose friendly partiality to the friend of his tour represents
him as one “whose acuteness would help my inquiry, and whose gaiety
of conversation and civility of manners are sufficient to counteract
the inconveniences of travel in countries less hospitable than we have

It was arranged that Boswell should accompany the lexicographer
throughout the northern journey; and he made offer to attend to all
business concerns, including those of finance. The travellers left
Edinburgh on Wednesday, the 18th August. They crossed the Forth
at Kinghorn, and proceeded to St. Andrews by post-chaise. By the
professors of that ancient university they were cordially received
and entertained with profuse hospitality. Among the ruins of the once
magnificent cathedral Dr. Johnson inveighed against the ill-directed
zeal of Presbyterian reformers. The travellers having rested two days
at St. Andrews, proceeded northward by Dundee and Arbroath. When
they reached Montrose, Boswell communicated with Lord Monboddo, who
sent them a cordial invitation to his country seat. They dined with
his lordship, and from thence posted to Aberdeen. There Dr. Johnson
gratified his tastes by engaging in literary gladiatorship with several
of the professors.

On Sunday, the 30th August, the travellers inspected a remarkable rock
basin, known as the Buller of Buchan, and dined at Slains Castle with
the Countess of Errol. Next day they proceeded to Banff, and on that
following to Elgin, when they visited the ruins of the cathedral. On
Friday, the 29th, they reached Nairn, and from thence inspected Cawdor
Castle. By the Rev. Arlay Macaulay, minister of Cawdor, they were
kindly entertained; he was known to them as author of a history of St.
Kilda, and he has further claim to remembrance as member of a family
which produced the celebrated Lord Macaulay. To his guests he presented
a useful itinerary.

On Saturday, the 30th August, the travellers inspected Fort George,
and dined with the governor, Sir Eyre Coote. Next day, at Inverness,
they attended the Episcopal Chapel, when Boswell mentions as an odd
coincidence, as to what might be said of his connecting himself with
Dr. Johnson, that Mr. Tait, the clergyman, remarked in his discourse
“that some connected themselves with men of distinguished talents, and
since they could not equal them, tried to deck themselves with their
merit by being their companions.” The coincidence, puzzling to Boswell,
admitted of simple solution, for Mr. Collector Keith, of the Excise, a
native of Ayrshire, had met the travellers at Fort George, and to the
clergyman notified their approach. Mr. Tait’s allusion, apart from its
truthfulness, was in the worst taste, and not to be justified. Boswell
and Dr. Johnson dined with Mr. Keith.

At Inverness the travellers hired horses and procured guides. They
remained one night at Fort Augustus, entertained by the governor,
and thence pursued their journey to the opposite shores of Skye.
Inconvenienced by rough roads, Dr. Johnson became irritable. As they
approached Glenelg, Boswell, without apprising his companion, rode
forward to secure at the inn the necessary accommodations. Johnson
called him back with an angry shout, and on his return reproved him
lustily. Boswell felt hurt, but did not venture to recriminate. His
reflections on this occasion are thus recorded in his journal:—

 “I wished to get on to see how we were to be lodged, and how we were
 to get a boat; all of which I thought I could best settle myself,
 without his having any trouble. To apply his great mind to minute
 particulars is wrong; it is like taking an immense balance (such as
 is kept on quays for weighing cargoes of ships) to weigh a guinea.
 I knew I had neat little scales which would do better, and that his
 attention to everything which falls in his way, and his uncommon
 desire to be always in the right, would make him weigh, if he knew of
 the particulars; it was right, therefore, for me to weigh them, and
 let him have them only in effect. I, however, continued to ride by
 him, finding he wished I should do so.”

The travellers found the inn at Glenelg nearly destitute of provisions,
but Macleod’s factor sent them rum and sugar, and at night they rested
on beds of hay. Next morning they sailed for Skye, and landing at
Armidale, were met by Sir Alexander Macdonald and his lady, formerly
Miss Bosville, of Yorkshire, with whom they remained several days. They
received much generous hospitality from Mr. Mackinnon, a farmer who
had entertained Pennant, and were pleased to find that he possessed a
considerable library. Invited to Rasay by the insular Chief, they had
at his house a distinguished reception. After spending some days at
Rasay they returned to Skye, and were conducted to the residence of
Mr. Macdonald, of Kingsburgh. His wife had earned a reputation which
secured her a visit from every traveller penetrating into the Hebrides.
She was the celebrated Flora Macdonald, who under circumstances of
peril enabled Prince Charles Edward to elude the vigilance of his
pursuers. At Kingsburgh Dr. Johnson slept in the bed on which the
Prince rested twenty-seven years before. To her guests Mrs. Macdonald
related the circumstances of the Prince’s escape.

The travellers were conducted to Dunvegan Castle, where they were
entertained by the Laird of Macleod and his accomplished mother, Lady
Macleod. At Dunvegan, Boswell attempting wit at Dr. Johnson’s expense,
paid dearly for his rashness. Johnson retaliated, sarcastically
presenting his assailant under a variety of degrading images, so as to
render him the sport of the company.[50]

For two weeks the travellers were attended by Mr. Donald McQueen,
a clergyman in Skye, whose respectable scholarship gratified Dr.
Johnson, while his personal influence availed in opening channels
of hospitality. With Mr. McQueen they parted on Saturday, the 25th
September. On the evening of that day, Dr. Johnson having retired at
an early hour, Boswell sat up drinking till five o’clock, when, much
intoxicated, he was helped to bed. In the afternoon Johnson entered his
apartment, and denounced him as “a drunken dog.” The words were uttered
playfully, and the inebriate, who had begun to dread a more terrible
reproof, was pleased to find his companion in good humour. He rose, and
opened the Church of England Prayer-book, and in the Epistle for the
day read these words,—“And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess.”
“Some,” he wrote, “would have taken this as a divine interposition.”

On Sunday, the 3rd October, the travellers left Skye for the island of
Col. When they had got to sea a tempest arose; Dr. Johnson went into
the hold and lay down, overcome with sickness. Conscious of danger,
Boswell became meditative.

 “Piety,” he writes, “afforded me comfort; yet I was disturbed by the
 objections that have been made against a particular Providence, and by
 the arguments of those who maintain that it is in vain to hope that
 the petitions of an individual, or even of congregations, can have
 any influence with the Deity; objections which have been often made,
 and which Dr. Hawkesworth has lately revived in his preface to the
 ‘Voyages to the South Seas;’ but Dr. Ogden’s excellent doctrines on
 the efficacy of intercession prevailed.”

At Col the travellers enjoyed the hospitality of Donald Maclean,
the young _laird_ who some time previously was a companion of their
journey. Owing to unfavourable winds they remained at Col till
Wednesday, the 13th October, when they sailed for Tobermory, in Mull.
From thence they proceeded to Ulva and Inchkenneth, enjoying on both
islands the hospitality of the owners, Mr. M’Quane and Sir Allan
Maclean. Sir Allan accompanied them in their voyage round Mull to the
island of Iona. They reached the island at nightfall, and procured beds
in a barn among hay. Boswell records that he was much impressed with
the solemnity of the scene; while Sir Allan and Dr. Johnson were at
breakfast he quietly left his companions and returned to the cathedral.
In these words he records his reflections:—

 “While contemplating the venerable ruins I reflected with much
 satisfaction that the solemn scenes of piety never lose their sanctity
 and influence, though the cares and follies of life may prevent us
 from visiting them, or may even make us fancy that their effects are
 only as yesterday when it is past, and never again to be perceived. I
 hoped that ever after having been in this holy place I should maintain
 an exemplary conduct. One has a strong propensity to fix upon some
 point of time from whence a better course of life may begin.”

Accompanied by Sir Allan Maclean the travellers returned to Mull.
After enjoying a series of hospitalities they sailed for Oban, on the
mainland. Next day they posted to Inverary. Boswell reported their
arrival to the Duke of Argyll, who cordially invited them to dinner.
To Dr. Johnson the Duke and Duchess were extremely courteous, but
Boswell’s presence was by the Duchess studiously ignored. As widow of
the late Duke of Hamilton she directed her displeasure at Boswell’s
zeal on behalf of Mr. Archibald Douglas in claiming the Douglas
estates, which she believed to belong lawfully to her former husband.
Boswell took her Grace’s displeasure as a compliment to his talents,
and has in his “Journey” playfully remarked that, his “punishment being
indicted by so dignified a beauty,[51] he had the consolation which a
man would feel who is strangled by a silken cord.”

Arriving on the shores of Lochlomond, the travellers visited Sir James
Colquhoun, Bart., at Rossdhu, and Mr. Commissary Smollett, cousin of
Dr. Tobias Smollett. They posted for Glasgow, inspecting _en route_ the
ancient castle of Dumbarton. At Glasgow they visited the university,
and two of the professors dined with them at their inn. Proceeding to
Ayrshire, they dined with the Earl of Loudoun, and visited the aged
Countess of Eglinton.

During the journey Boswell received a letter from his father,
permitting him to bring his friend to Auchinleck. They arrived there
on Sunday, the 2nd November, and remained a week. Lord Auchinleck and
Dr. Johnson contended keenly on various points, but the social current
moved more smoothly than Boswell had anticipated. Lord Auchinleck
regarded Dr. Johnson’s politics with aversion, and had denounced him
as a “Jacobite.” Illustrative of his dislike, an anecdote has been
preserved by Sir Walter Scott. When Boswell left Edinburgh with
Johnson on their northern tour, Lord Auchinleck remarked to a friend,
“There’s nae hope for Jamie, man; Jamie’s gane clean gyte. What do you
think, man? He’s aff wi’ the landlouping scoundrel of a Corsican. And
whase tail do ye think he has pinned himself to now, man? a _dominie_,
man,—an auld dominie, that keepit a schule and ca’d it an academy.”
Boswell has denied the truth of a report which had gained credit, that
on his representing the lexicographer to his father as a _constellation
of genius_, he replied, “_Ursa Major_.” Lord Auchinleck, he admits, did
use the expression, but it was spoken aside to a brother judge as Dr.
Johnson was standing in the Court of Session.[52]

After an absence of eighty-three days the travellers returned to
Edinburgh. They were complimented and entertained by Lord Elibank, Lady
Colville, Lord Hailes, Principal Robertson, and others. Mrs. Boswell,
though she did not oppose her husband taking part in the Hebridean
journey, was not reconciled to it. On his return she remarked to
him, “I have seen a bear led by a man, but I never before saw a man
led by a bear.” Boswell accepted the remark facetiously, and, in the
belief he would enjoy it, repeated it to Dr. Johnson. As might have
been expected, the lexicographer felt most keenly the allusion to his
rough manners, and he was placed in circumstances in which retort was
impossible. Removal was his only refuge, and he hastened his departure.
He left Edinburgh in the stage-coach on the 22nd November—just twelve
days after his return to the city. But he did not forget Mrs. Boswell’s
censure. For several years he alluded to her disliking him in many
letters to her husband. Writing to Boswell on the 29th January, 1774,
he sends his compliments to Mrs. Boswell, adding, “Tell her I do not
love her the less for wishing me away.” On the 5th March he wrote,
“Mrs. Boswell is a sweet lady—only she was so glad to see me go that
I have almost a mind to come again, that she may again have the same
pleasure.” In the same strain he writes to Boswell on the 27th August,

 “Of Mrs. Boswell, though she knows in her heart that she does not love
 me, I am always glad to hear any good, and hope that she and the dear
 little ladies will have neither sickness nor any other affliction. But
 she knows that she does not care what becomes of me, and for that she
 may be sure that I think her very much to blame.”

Dr. Johnson prepared his “Journey to the Hebrides” most leisurely; it
was not published till January, 1775. Boswell received a parcel of
copies, one for himself, others for persons who had shown particular
attention to the writer. In distributing the volumes he invited special
attention to an encomium upon himself in the earlier portion of the
work. Obtaining charge of several cases appealed from the Court of
Session to the House of Lords, he hastened to London to enjoy the
honours which he conceived Dr. Johnson’s eulogy must have secured him.

On the evening of Saturday, the 18th March, Boswell by the Edinburgh
diligence reached Grantham. Travelling being suspended till Monday, he
in the interval wrote a long letter to Mr. Temple. An extract follows.

 “I am now,” he proceeded, “so far on my way to London in the fly.
 It is Saturday night, and we repose here all Sunday. I have an
 acquaintance in Grantham, the Rev. Mr. Palmer, who was chaplain to
 the late Speaker; he is a worthy, learned, social man. I sent him a
 card that I would breakfast with him to-morrow, if not inconvenient to
 him. His answer is just come, which you shall hear: As breakfasting
 will be attended with some inconveniences in the present state of his
 family, he will be very glad of the favour of his company to a family
 dinner to-morrow at two o’clock. What can be the meaning of this?
 _How can breakfasting be inconvenient to a family that dines?_ Can
 he wish to lie long in the morning that Queen Mab may be with him,
 ‘tickling the parson as he lies asleep’? or can his wife and daughter
 not dress early enough? Pray guess in your next, with a sacerdotal
 sagacity, what this can be. I shall try to learn and let you know. It
 is now early in the morning. I am writing in a great English parlour,
 to have my letter ready for the post at nine. It is comfortable to
 have such an acquaintance as Palmer—so situated. I have thought of
 making a good acquaintance in each town on the road. No man has been
 more successful in making acquaintance easily than I have been. I even
 bring people quickly on to a degree of cordiality. I am a quick fire,
 but I know not if I last sufficiently, though surely, my dear Temple,
 there is always a warm place for you. With many people I have compared
 myself to a taper, which can light up a great and lasting fire, though
 itself is soon extinguished....

 “Mr. Johnson, when enumerating our club, observed of some of us that
 they talked from books,—Langton in particular. Garrick, he said,
 would talk from books, if he talked seriously. ‘I,’ said he, ‘do not
 talk from books; you do not talk from books.’ This was a compliment
 to my originality, but I am afraid I have not read books enough to
 be able to talk from them. You are very kind in saying that I may
 overtake you in learning. Believe me, though, that I have a kind of
 impotency of study; however, _nil desperandum est_....

 “For my own part, I have continued schemes of publication, but cannot
 fix. I am still very unhappy with my father. We are so totally
 different that a good understanding is scarcely possible. He looks
 on my going to London just now as an _expedition_, as idle and
 extravagant, when in reality it is highly improving to me, considering
 the company which I enjoy; and I think it is also for my interest, as
 in time I may get something. Lord Pembroke was very obliging to me
 when he was in Scotland, and has corresponded with me since. I have
 hopes from him. How happy should I be to get an independency by my own
 influence while my father is alive!

 “I am in charming health and spirits. There is a handsome maid in this
 inn, who interrupts me by coming sometimes into the room—I have no
 confession to make, my priest, so be not curious.

       *       *       *       *       *

 “Dr. Young says,—

  ‘A fever argues better than a Clarke.’

 It is as fair reasoning for me to say that this handsome maid (Matty
 is her name) argues better than—whom you please.”

Boswell reached London on the 21st March, and at once waited on Dr.
Johnson, who received him cordially. On the 4th April he despatched a
long letter to Mr. Temple, of which a portion is subjoined:—


 “My last was indeed a characteristical letter: I was quite in my old
 humour. My mind, formerly a wild, has been for some years pretty well
 enclosed with moral fences; but I fear the fences are stone hedges
 (to use a strange expression of Mr. Johnson in his ‘Journey’) of a
 loose construction, for a storm of passion would blow them down. When
 at Grantham there was a pretty brisk gale, which shook them; but now
 Reason, that steady builder and overseer, has set them firm, or they
 have proved to be better than I thought them, for my enclosures are in
 as good order as ever. I thank you, however, for your friendly props;
 your kind counsels pleased me much.

       *       *       *       *       *

 “Your soft admonitions would at any time calm the tempests of my soul.
 I told you that my arguments for concubinage were only for theory; the
 patriarchs might have a plurality, because they were not taught that
 it was wrong; but I, who have always been taught that it is wrong,
 cannot have the same enjoyment without an impression of its being so,
 and consequently without my moral sense suffering. But is not this
 prejudice? Be it so....

 “I had last night an unexpected call to be at the bar of the House
 of Commons this day for Captain Erskine, brother to Miss Floyer’s
 husband, as counsel for him in the Clackmannan election, where he is
 petitioner. I had neither wig nor gown with me. I posted to Claxton’s
 early this morning, and he has kindly lent me both. I know not but in
 equity he should have a share of the guineas which they bring....

 “To-day I dine at Sir John Pringle’s; to-morrow at Dilly’s, with Mr.
 Johnson and Langton, &c.; Thursday at Tom Davies’s, with Mr. Johnson
 and some others; Friday at the Turk’s Head, Gerrard Street, with our
 club, Sir Joshua Reynolds, &c., who now dine once a month, and sup
 every Friday. My forenoons are spent in visiting, and you know the
 distances of London make that business enough. Mr. Johnson has allowed
 me to write out a supplement to his Journey, but I wish I may be able
 to settle to it. This House of Commons work will be good ballast for
 me. I am little in what is called the gaiety of London; I went to
 Mrs. Abingdon’s benefit to please Sir Joshua Reynolds. I have been
 at no other public place except exhibitions of pictures with Lord
 Mountstuart;[53] he is warmly my friend, and has engaged to do for me.
 His brother’s lady,[54] a sweet, handsome, lively little woman, is
 my wife’s intimate friend. I pass many of my morning hours with her.
 Paoli and I (for his simple designation is the highest) are to be at
 Wilton some time between the 10th and 26th of this month; I shall go
 from thence to your parsonage and overpower you with vivacity, and
 return to Bath.”

Boswell proceeded to Mamhead, and there, though his host was an
abstainer, got very drunk. Mr. Temple entreated him, when he became
sober, to abandon his intemperate habits. As they talked together under
an aged yew, Boswell vowed that he should henceforth avoid excess and
cherish moderation. In a letter to Mr. Temple, dated the 10th May, he
remarked that Dr. Johnson was now discouraging his proposal to add
a supplement to his “Journey.” This proceeding he attributes to Dr.
Johnson’s unwillingness that any one should share his laurels. “But
don’t you think,” he adds, “I may write out my remarks on Scotland, and
send them to be revised by you? and then they may be published freely.
Give me your opinion of this.”

Good Friday, which fell upon the 14th of April, Boswell spent with Dr.
Johnson. They were present at three religious services, and in the
evening they sat “a long while together in a serene, undisturbed frame
of mind.” On Easter Sunday Boswell “attended the solemn service at St.
Paul’s.” Writing next day to Mr. Temple, he informs him that he had
“received the holy sacrament, and was exalted in piety.” In the same
letter he reports that he is enjoying “the metropolis to the full,” and
that he has had “too much dissipation.” He asks his friend not to fear
“his Asiatic multiplicity,” except when he happens to “take too much

Boswell remained in London about two months, and though chiefly engaged
in driving out, contrived to pocket forty guineas of professional
fees. From Grantham, _en route_ for Scotland, he wrote to Mr. Temple
that, much to his disgust, “Henry Dundas,[55] a coarse, unlettered,
unfanciful dog,” was to be made Lord Advocate “at thirty-three,” and
that he had personally resolved to join the English Bar on obtaining
his father’s consent. He proceeds,—

 “I passed a delightful day yesterday. After breakfasting with Paoli
 and worshipping at St. Paul’s, I dined _tête-à-tête_ with my charming
 Mrs. Stuart, of whom you have read in my Journal. She refused to be of
 a party at Richmond, that she and I might enjoy a farewell interview.
 We dined in all the elegance of two courses and a dessert, with dumb
 waiters, except when the second course and the dessert were served.
 We talked with unreserved freedom, as we had nothing to fear; we were
 _philosophical_, upon honour—not deep, but feeling we were pious; we
 drank tea, and bid each other adieu as purely as romance paints. She
 is my wife’s dearest friend, so you see how beautiful our intimacy is.”

Boswell adds that “the handsome chambermaid had gone from the inn,”
and that he had promised Dr. Johnson to accept a chest of books of
the moralist’s own selection, and to “read more and drink less.” He
sums up, “Tell Mrs. Temple that I am a favourite with her, because she
knows me better, and that she may be assured that the more she knows
me the more allowance will she make for my faults.” A postscript is
added. “There is,” he writes, “a Miss Silverton in the fly with me, an
amiable creature, who has been in France. I can unite little fondnesses
with perfect conjugal love. Remember to put my letters in a book
neatly,—see which of us does it first.”

From Edinburgh, on the 3rd June, Boswell wrote to Mr. Temple as

 “On my arrival here I had the pleasure to find my wife and two little
 daughters as well as I could wish; but indeed, my worthy friend, it
 required some philosophy to bear the change from England to Scotland.
 The unpleasing tone, the rude familiarity, the barren conversation, of
 those whom I found here, in comparison with what I had left, really
 hurt my feelings.... The General Assembly is sitting, and I practise
 at its bar. There is _de facto_ something low and coarse in such
 employment, though on paper it is a Court of _Supreme Judicature_; but
 guineas must be had.”

“Low and coarse” as Boswell regarded the practice of his profession in
the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, he acknowledges that
he did not perform his part without some misgiving. “Do you know,” he
proceeds, “it requires more than ordinary spirit to do what I am to do
this very morning; I am to go to the General Assembly and arraign a
judgment pronounced last year by Dr. Robertson, John Home, and a good
many more of them, and they are to appear on the other side. To speak
well, when I despise both the cause and the judges, is difficult; but I
believe I shall do so wonderfully. I look forward with aversion to the
little dull labours of the Court of Session.”

Besides being disgusted with the Scottish Lord Advocate, Scottish
manners, and Scottish courts, ecclesiastical and civil, Boswell was
particularly dissatisfied with his father. He had sent him, he writes,
“a conciliatory letter, but he fears he is callous.” In dread of the
paternal allowance being discontinued, he writes,—

 “If Lord Mountstuart would but give me an independency from the King
 while my father lives, I should be a fine fellow.” He adds, “My
 promise under the venerable yew has kept me sober.”

Boswell’s habits were not more pleasing to his father than were his
professional diligence and domestic economy. In the belief that his
son was an incorrigible idler, Lord Auchinleck seriously meditated a
withdrawal of his pension. But for his two children, disinheritance
might have followed. To Mr. Temple on the 19th of June he wrote thus:—

 “My father is most unhappily dissatisfied with me. My wife and I
 dined with him on Saturday; he did not salute her, though he had
 not seen her for three months; nor did he so much as ask her how she
 did, though she is advanced in pregnancy. I understand he fancies
 that if I had married another woman, I might not only have had a
 better portion with her, but might have been kept from what he thinks
 idle and extravagant conduct. He harps on my going over Scotland
 with a brute[56] (think how shockingly erroneous!), and wandering,
 or some such phrase, to London. In vain do I defend myself; even the
 circumstance that my last jaunt to London did not cost me £20—as I
 got forty-two guineas in London—does not affect him. How hard it is
 that I am totally excluded from parental comfort! I have a mind to go
 to Auchinleck next autumn, and try what living in a mixed stupidity
 of attention to common objects, and restraint from expressing any of
 my own feelings, can do with him. I always dread his making some bad

Lord Auchinleck had solid grounds for indignation. He allowed his son
£300 per annum, besides having provided him with a very expensive
education. In the Scottish courts Boswell had abundant employment
when he evinced the slightest inclination to attend to it. He had run
himself aground; he owed a thousand pounds, which he could not pay,
and his creditors were clamorous. Fretting under the unexpected burden
which he was expected to sustain, Lord Auchinleck felt disposed to
blame his daughter-in-law for encouraging his son’s extravagance, and
it is not certain that Boswell took the blame solely upon himself.
The worthy judge was at length got over, and Boswell recovered his
elasticity. To Mr. Temple on the 12th August he writes as follows:—

 “Tell me, my dear Temple, if a man who receives so many marks of more
 than ordinary consideration can be satisfied to drudge in an obscure
 corner, where the manners of the people are disagreeable to him? You
 see how soon I revive again. Could I but persuade my father to give
 me £400 a year, and let me go to the English Bar, I think I should be
 much better. That, however, seems to be impossible. As he is bound for
 £1,000 which I owe, he has resolved to lessen his allowance to me of
 £300 to £200. I must not dispute with him, but he is really a strange
 man. He is gone to Auchinleck. I intend to pass a little while with
 him there soon, and sound him; or there see just what attention can

In allusion to the request that his letters might be preserved, Boswell
was assured by Mr. Temple that he too contemplated a publication.
Boswell pronounces it “a charming thought.”[57] He refers exultingly
to the attention he had lately received from Paoli. “For the last
fortnight that I was in London,” he writes, “I lay at his house, and had
the command of his coach.... I felt more dignity when I had several
servants at my devotion, a large apartment, and the convenience and
state of a coach; I recollected that this dignity in London was
honourably acquired by my travels abroad, and my pen after I came home,
so I could enjoy it with my own approbation; and in the extent and
multiplicity of the metropolis other people had not even the materials
for finding fault, as my situation was not particularly known.”

Referring to his resolution to read more constantly, Boswell informs
Mr. Temple, on the 19th June, that he has not yet “begun to read,” but
that “his resolution is lively.” Lord Kames had asked him to become
his biographer, a piece of intelligence which does not again crop up.
In a conversation about Dr. Johnson he had disputed with Mr. Hume. The
quarrel is thus described:—

 “Mr. Hume said he would give me half a crown for every page of his
 dictionary in which he would not find an absurdity, if I would give
 him half a crown for every page in which he did find one; he talked
 so insolently, really, that I calmly determined to be at him; so I
 repeated, by way of telling that Dr. Johnson could be touched, the
 admirable passage in your letter, how the Ministry had set him to
 write in a way that they ‘could not ask even their infidel pensioner
 Hume to write.’ Upon honour, I did not give the least hint from whom
 I had the letter. When Hume asked if it was from an American, I said
 ‘No; it was from an English gentleman.’ ‘Would a gentleman write so?’
 said he. In short, Davy was finely punished for his treatment of my
 revered friend; and he deserved it richly, both for his petulance to
 so great a character, and for his talking so before me.”

In a letter dated 12th August he informed his reverend correspondent
that he had been suffering from his “atrabilious temperament.” In his
melancholy he had been strongly impressed by the phrase in Scripture,
“Seek ye the Lord while He may be found.” From sleep at night he had
awakened “dreading annihilation or being thrown into some horrible
state of being.” He proceeds:—

 “My promise under the solemn yew I have observed wonderfully, having
 never infringed it till the other day a very jovial company of us
 dined at a tavern, and I unwarily exceeded my bottle of old hock;
 and having once broke over the pale I run wild. But I did not get
 drunk; I was, however, intoxicated, and very ill next day. I ask your
 forgiveness, and I shall be more strictly cautious for the future. The
 drunken manners of this country are very bad.”

The distinction between being _intoxicated_ and _drunk_ is not very
obvious, and the allusion by way of defence to the intemperate habits
of the country is _Boswellian_. Amidst his general gloom Boswell
experienced comfort in the assurance by Mr. Temple that he was
preparing for the press a portion of their correspondence. A specimen
was transmitted, and Boswell tendered his advice. He insisted that
anonymous authorship would not suit, and suggested that his own name
as “James Boswell, Esq.,” should be displayed upon the title-page. Mr.
Temple subsequently published selections from his own letters under the
title of “Selection of Historical and Political Memoirs.”

About the middle of August Boswell begged Dr. Johnson for a
prescription against melancholy. The moralist replied:—

 “For the black fumes which rise in your mind I can prescribe nothing
 but that you disperse them by honest business or innocent pleasure,
 and by reading, sometimes easy and sometimes serious. Change of place
 is useful, and I hope your residence at Auchinleck will have many good
 effects.... Never, my dear sir,” added Dr. Johnson, “do you take it
 in your head to think that I do not love you; you may settle yourself
 in full confidence both of my love and esteem. I love you as a kind
 man, I value you as a worthy man, and hope in time to reverence you as
 a man of exemplary piety. I hold you, as Hamlet has it, ‘in my heart
 of hearts,’ and therefore it is little to say that I am, sir, your
 affectionate, humble servant,


To check his “atrabilious” complaint Boswell did not have recourse to
reading. He informed Mr. Temple that since his return from England his
reading had been confined to some small treatises on midwifery. On
the 2nd September he communicated with Mr. Temple from Auchinleck. He
had been there a week, and had experienced an unsupportable distress.
Next day being Sunday, he proposed to worship in the parish church,
and on Monday to join at Edinburgh his “valuable spouse and dear
little children.” To his dissension with his father he refers in
characteristic fashion:—

 “My father, whom I really both respect and affectionate (if that is a
 word, for it is a different feeling from that which is expressed by
 _love_, which I can say of you from my soul), is so different from me.
 We _divaricate_ so much, as Dr. Johnson said, that I am often hurt
 when I dare say he means no harm; and he has a method of treating
 me which makes me feel myself like a _timid boy_, which to _Boswell_
 (comprehending all that my character does in my own imagination and in
 that of a wonderful number of mankind) is intolerable. His wife, too,
 whom in my conscience I cannot condemn for any capital bad quality,
 is so narrow-minded, and, I don’t know how, so set upon keeping him
 under her own management, and so suspicious and so sourishly tempered
 that it requires the utmost exertion of practical philosophy to keep
 myself quiet. I, however, have done so all this week to admiration;
 nay, I have appeared good-humoured, but it has cost me drinking a
 considerable quantity of strong beer to dull my faculties....

 “I have sauntered about with my father, and he has seen that I am
 pleased with his works. But what a discouraging reflection it is that
 he has in his possession a renunciation of my birthright which I madly
 granted him, and which he has not the generosity to restore now that
 I am doing beyond his utmost hopes, and that he may incommode and
 disgrace me by some strange settlement, while all this time not a
 shilling is secured to my wife and children in case of my death.... My
 father is visibly failing. Perhaps I may get him yet to do as I wish.
 In the meantime I have written plainly to my brother David, to see if
 he will settle on my wife and daughters, in case of his succeeding. I
 shall now know whether trade has destroyed his liberal spirit.”

Amidst his many aberrations, and in spite of Dr. Johnson’s
discouragement, Boswell put into shape his travels in the Hebrides. He
forwarded the MS. to Johnson, who remarked on it to Mrs. Thrale, “One
would think the man had been hired to be a spy upon me.” To Boswell he
conveyed Mrs. Thrale’s favourable judgment, but reserved his own. On
this subject Boswell thus communicated with Mr. Temple:—

 “Dr. Johnson has said nothing to me of my remarks during my journey
 with him which I wish to write. Shall I task myself to write so much
 of them a week, and send you for revisal? If I do not publish them
 now they will be good materials for my ‘Life of Dr. Johnson.’”

On the 9th October Boswell was enabled to rejoice in an important
event,—Mrs. Boswell presented him with a son. To Mr. Temple he wrote
on the 6th November:—

 “My wife is recovered remarkably well. This son has been quite a
 cordial to her. He has been a little unlucky; the nurse had not milk
 enough, and as he is a big-boned fellow he cannot subsist without
 plentiful sustenance. We have got another nurse, a strong, healthy
 woman, with an abundant breast. His mother is quite unfit for nursing,
 she is of a temper so exceedingly anxious.”

Boswell named his infant son Alexander, after his father. The
compliment was well received, and in a few months afterwards Boswell
was relieved of all apprehensions respecting his inheritance. By his
father he was consulted as to the provisions of a deed of entail. He
solicited counsel from Dr. Johnson[58] and Lord Hailes on a point
respecting which he and his father disagreed. Lord Auchinleck proposed
that in the series of heirs to be established under the entail, all
males descending from his grandfather should be preferred to females,
but he would not extend that privilege to males deriving their descent
from a higher source. Boswell, on the other hand, desired that heirs
male, however remote, should be preferred. As both Dr. Johnson and Lord
Hailes supported the view of Lord Auchinleck, and Boswell at length
acquiesced in his father’s wishes, the entail, a document extending to
thirty-seven folio pages, was executed at Edinburgh on the 7th August,
1776. The instrument proceeds thus:—[59]

 “I ALEXANDER BOSWEL of Auchinleck Esquire one of the Senators of the
 College of Justice considering that having long intended to make
 a full settlement of my estate, but which I have put off a long
 time, not having fallen upon a plan which gave me satisfaction,
 notwithstanding I have seen a multiplicity of settlements, I am
 now come to the resolution to execute what follows, which though
 it appears to me better calculated to answer the ends of a family
 settlement, and to be more free from objections than others I have
 seen, I am conscious is not exempt from faults, for I see them. But
 when one is providing for futurity it is impossible to obviate all
 inconveniences. I have, however, chose this form as appearing to me
 subject to the fewest. The Settlement I am to make is a Taillie or
 Deed of Entail intended to be perpetual, which notwithstanding the
 prejudices of the ignorant and dissipated part of mankind to the
 contrary I have always approved of, if properly devised. My motive
 to it is not the preservation of my name and memory, for I know that
 after death our places here know us no more. But my motives are that
 the strength of the happy constitution with which this kingdom is
 blest, depends in a great measure upon there being kept up a proper
 number of Gentlemen’s families of independent fortunes. It was this
 which at first introduced the right of primogeniture amongst us, a
 right well adapted to the good of the younger, as well as the eldest,
 as it prevents estates crumbling down by division into morsels. It
 enables the several successive heirs to educate their whole children
 properly, and thereby fit them for different employments, so that
 these families are useful nurseries. On the other hand a danger
 arises from an accumulation of different estates into the hands
 of overgrown rich men. Again the estate which I have, though not
 great, is sufficient for answering all the reasonable expenses of a
 gentleman’s family and is situate in an agreeable country with the
 people of which I and my worthy predecessors have had the happiness to
 live in great friendship, which I hope shall always be the case with
 those that succeed me; and the place of residence has many uncommon
 beauties and conveniences, which several considerations would make
 any wise man careful to preserve such an estate. But as an heir may
 happen to get it who by weakness or extravagance would soon put an end
 to it, I cannot think any wise man will condemn me if while I allow
 the heirs of Taillie every power which a man of judgment would wish to
 exercise, I restrain them only from acting foolishly. If a person saw
 his next heir a weak foolish and extravagant person he would justly
 be censured if in place of giving his estate to his other children,
 or bestowing it upon some worthy friend who would make a proper use
 of it, he let it drop into the hands of a person who had nothing to
 recommend him but the legal character of an heir who directly on his
 succession would let it fly. I say he would justly be censured for
 this unless he laid that unhappy heir under proper restraints. And
 if this would be an advisable precaution to follow where the person
 is seen, it must be equally so whenever an heir happens to exist of
 that unhappy disposition at any period however remote, for no time can
 come when any reasonable man can think it would be beneficial to allow
 a person to act foolishly, do therefore hereby,—with the special
 advice and consent of James Boswell, Esquire, Advocate, younger of
 Auchinleck my eldest son, and under these impressions and in the hope
 and belief that I have fallen on a method of preventing children
 from being independent of their parents and of securing a proper
 provision for younger children, not only at first, which is all that
 is commonly done, but in all future times, the want of which appeared
 to me the most solid objection to Taillies—give, grant, and dispose
 heretably and Irredeemably to myself and the heirs male procreated
 and to be procreated of my body whom failing the lands of Auchinleck
 to Dr. John Boswell physician in Edinburgh my brother german and the
 heirs male lawfully procreated or to be procreated of his body, whom
 failing to Claude Boswell of Balmuto Esquire advocate, only son of
 the deceast John Boswell of Balmuto who was the only brother of the
 deceast Mr. James Boswell of Auchinleck advocate my father and the
 heirs male lawfully procreated or to be procreated of the body of the
 said Claude Boswell, whom failing to the heirs whatsoever lawfully
 procreated or to be procreated of my body, whom failing, to my own
 nearest heirs whatsoever descended of the body of Thomas Boswell of
 Auchinleck my predecessor, whom all failing to my own nearest heirs
 and assignies whatsoever—the eldest heir female and the descendants
 of her body always excluding heirs portioners and succeeding still
 without division, throughout the whole course of succession of heirs
 whatsoever as well as heirs of provision.”

After excluding from the succession all fatuous persons, and regulating
annuities for females and younger children, Lord Auchinleck proceeds to
guard against the extinction of the family name.

 “It is hereby,” he adds, “specially provided and declared That in case
 any of the heirs male of my body who shall succeed to my said lands
 and estate shall also succeed to a peerage or to any other estate
 entailed under such conditions as may restrain the heir from carrying
 my name and arms then and in every such case the person so succeeding
 to the said peerage or other such entailed estate when he is possessed
 of my said estate or succeeding to my estate when having right to
 such peerage or possessed of such other entailed estate shall forfeit
 all right and title to my said lands and estate and that not only
 for himself but also for his apparent heir and for all the apparent
 heirs of such an apparent heir in a direct line downwards whether in a
 nearer or remoter degree and my said estate shall devolve and belong
 to the next heir of Taillie though descending of the body of the
 person excluded or of his apparent heir in the same manner as if the
 person excluded and all the apparent heirs in the said peerage were
 naturally dead.”

On Friday, the 15th March, 1776, Boswell arrived in London. Four days
thereafter he accompanied Dr. Johnson, first to Oxford and afterwards
to Lichfield. At Oxford they had agreeable intercourse with Dr.
Wetherell, Master of University College; Dr. Adams, Master of Pembroke
College; Dr. Bentham, Professor of Divinity; Mr. Thomas Warton, and
Dr. Horne, Bishop of Norwich. _En route_ for Lichfield they paused at
Birmingham, to visit Dr. Johnson’s schoolfellow, Mr. Hector. Boswell
improved the occasion by visiting, at Soho, Mr. Matthew Boulton, the
celebrated mechanician, and partner of James Watt. Finding Mr. Boulton
at the head of seven hundred mechanics, he describes him as “an iron
chief,” and a “father to his tribe.” At Lichfield he was introduced
to Mrs. Lucy Porter, Dr. Johnson’s step-daughter, “an old maid, of
simple manners,” living on a fortune of £10,000 bequeathed to her by
her brother, a captain in the navy. On Friday, the 29th March, the
travellers returned to London.

Good Friday, which fell on the 5th of April, Boswell spent with Dr.
Johnson. They worshipped together morning and evening in St. Clement’s
Church. On Easter Sunday Boswell attended morning service in St. Paul’s
Cathedral, and in the evening accompanied Dr. Johnson to his pew in St.

In the preceding January the brothers Daniel and Robert Perreau were
hanged for forgery. They were convicted on the evidence of Margaret
Caroline Rudd, who cohabited with one of them, and who, to save her
own life, proved informer. This woman possessed uncommon powers of
fascination, and it was believed that she had duped the brothers into
the crime for which they suffered. Like other great criminals, Mrs.
Rudd had acquired a temporary celebrity, and on this account Boswell
determined to visit her. He carried out his intention, and confessed
himself charmed by Mrs. Rudd’s conversation and manners. Under the
plea that he would interest Mrs. Boswell, he made a full record of
Mrs. Rudd’s conversation, transmitting the MS. to Mr. Temple, that he
and his patron, Lord Lisburne, might “enjoy” its perusal. To his many
whims and vagaries in the past Mr. Temple had submitted with more than
befitting good nature, but the celebration of Mrs. Rudd was beyond
his endurance. He denounced the interview, and the record of it; and
Boswell, satisfied that he had been imprudent for once, took back his

Writing to Mr. Temple on the 28th April he remarks that he “must eat
commons in the Inner Temple this week and next, to make out another
term, that he may still be approximating to the English Bar.” He then

 “I don’t know but you have spoken too highly of Gibbon’s book; the
 Dean of Derry,[60] who is of our club, as well as Gibbon, talks of
 answering it. I think it is right that as fast as infidel wasps or
 venomous insects, whether creeping or flying, are hatched, they should
 be crushed. Murphy says he has read thirty pages of Smith’s ‘Wealth,’
 but says he shall read no more. Smith too is now of our club. _It has
 lost its select merit._ He has gone to Scotland at the request of
 David Hume, who is said to be dying. General Paoli had a pretty remark
 when I told him of this: “Ah! je suis fâché qu’il soit détrompé si

In a subsequent letter Boswell describes Gibbon as “an ugly, affected,
disgusting fellow,” adding, “he poisons our Literary Club to me.”
Gibbon was elected a member of the club in March, 1774. With an
agreeable presence and elegant manners his conversational powers were
of a high order. His religious sentiments being obnoxious to Dr.
Johnson led to Boswell’s personal dislike. Dr. Adam Smith was admitted
to the club on the 24th December, 1775. He and Dr. Johnson had been at
variance, but the quarrel was made up. Doubtless in connection with
this controversy Boswell thought meet to censure the philosopher and
his work. That a literary club which had added to its membership Edward
Gibbon and Adam Smith should thereby have lost “its select merit,”
reads strangely, even as a _dictum_ of James Boswell.

Boswell’s personal habits remained much the same. He informed
Mr. Temple that his “promise under the solemn yew” had not been
“religiously kept.” He had lately given “his word of honour” to General
Paoli that “he would not taste fermented liquor for a year.” He adds,
“I have kept the promise now about three weeks; I was really growing a

At the end of April Boswell proceeded to Bath, and there joined Dr.
Johnson at the residence of the Thrales. He accompanied Dr. Johnson
to Bristol, where they inspected the church of St. Mary, Redcliff,
and discoursed on the genius and errors of Chatterton. Returning to
London, Boswell realized a project on which he had set his heart—that
of bringing together Dr. Johnson and Mr. Wilkes. On this subject he

 “My desire of being acquainted with celebrated men of every
 description had made me much about the same time obtain an
 introduction to Dr. Samuel Johnson and to John Wilkes, Esq. Two men
 more different could perhaps not be selected out of all mankind. They
 had even attacked one another with some asperity in their writings;
 yet I lived in habits of friendship with both. I could fully relish
 the excellence of each, for I have ever delighted in that intellectual
 chemistry which can separate good qualities from evil in the same

Boswell contrived a meeting between Dr. Johnson and Mr. Wilkes by the
exercise of considerable craft. Having been invited to meet Mr. Wilkes
at the table of Mr. Edward Dilly, he bore a message from that gentleman
to Dr. Johnson, requesting him to join the party. In conveying it he
played on the Doctor’s “spirit of contradiction.” Having repeated Mr.
Dilly’s message without reference to the other guests, the following
conversation ensued:—

 _Johnson_: “Sir, I am obliged to Mr. Dilly; I will wait upon him.”

 _Boswell_: “Provided, sir, I suppose, that the company which he is to
 have is agreeable to you?”

 _Johnson_: “What do you mean, sir? What do you take me for? Do you
 think I am so ignorant of the world as to imagine that I am to
 prescribe to a gentleman what company he is to have at his table?”

 _Boswell_: “I beg your pardon, sir, for wishing to prevent you from
 meeting people whom you might not like. Perhaps he may have some of
 what he calls his patriotic friends with him.”

 _Johnson_: “Well, sir, and what then? What care I for his patriotic
 friends? Poh!”

 _Boswell_: “I should not be surprised to find Jack Wilkes there.”

 _Johnson_: “And if Jack Wilkes should be there, what is that to me,
 sir? My dear friend, let us have no more of this. I am sorry to be
 angry with you, but it is treating me strangely to talk to me as if I
 could not meet any company whatever occasionally.”[61]

Johnson and Wilkes met not unpleasantly, and Boswell had his triumph.
In May he returned to Edinburgh. Before leaving London he repeated
to Dr. Johnson his former promise that he would devote a portion of
his time to reading. Johnson despatched to him at Edinburgh several
boxes of books, thereby relieving his collection of supernumerary
volumes, and by placing on the books a marketable value discharging
a debt which he owed on the Hebridean journey. After an interval
Boswell reported that owing to a renewed attack of melancholy the boxes
remained unopened. Johnson in these words administered reproof:

 “To hear that you have not opened your boxes of books is very
 offensive. The examination and arrangement of so many volumes might
 have afforded you an amusement very seasonable at present, and useful
 for the whole of life. I am, I confess, very angry that you manage
 yourself so ill.”

Boswell opened the boxes, and found what he describes as “truly a
numerous and miscellaneous stall library thrown together at random.” It
was not further disturbed.

Boswell’s melancholy did not proceed from any constitutional disorder.
He was involved in debt, and his creditors were importunate. His father
was again appealed to, and the liabilities were discharged. Rejoicing
in his deliverance he communicated the good news to Dr. Johnson. On the
16th November the Doctor thus conveyed his congratulations:—

 “I had great pleasure in hearing that you are at last on good
 terms with your father. Cultivate his kindness by all honest and
 manly means. Life is but short: no time can be afforded but for
 the indulgence of real sorrow, or contest upon questions seriously
 momentous. Let us not throw away any of our days upon useless
 resentment, or contend who shall hold out longest in stubborn
 malignity. It is best not to be angry, and best, in the next place, to
 be quickly reconciled. May you and your father pass the remainder of
 your time in reciprocal benevolence!”

In December Mrs. Boswell presented her husband with a second son, who
was christened David. A delicate child, he survived only a few months.

Writing to Dr. Johnson on the 8th July, 1777, Boswell claims merit
in having refrained from visiting London since the spring of 1776,
and proposes that the Doctor should meet him at Carlisle, and from
thence complete his tour of the English cathedrals. To this proposal
Johnson did not accede, but the friends agreed to meet in September at
Ashbourne, in the hospitable residence of Dr. Taylor. At this meeting
Boswell intimated his desire to obtain a permanent residence in London
as an English barrister. This scheme Dr. Johnson warmly disapproved,
and entreated his companion to be satisfied with his prospective
advantages as a Scottish landowner.

In his more important legal causes Boswell had recourse to Dr.
Johnson’s assistance. At Ashbourne he asked help in a case of
importance. Joseph Knight, a negro, having been brought to Jamaica
in the usual course of the slave trade, was purchased by a Scottish
gentleman in the island, who afterwards returned to Scotland. Soon
after his arrival Knight claimed his freedom, and brought an action
to enforce it.[62] The case was now pending, and Boswell induced Dr.
Johnson to dictate an argument on the negro’s behalf. In recording it
he is careful to add that he was personally an upholder of the slave
trade. He writes:—

 “I record Dr. Johnson’s argument fairly upon this particular case;
 where, perhaps, he was in the right. But I beg leave to enter my most
 solemn protest against his general doctrine with respect to the slave
 trade. For I will resolutely say that his unfavourable notion of it
 was owing to prejudice and imperfect or false information. The wild
 and dangerous attempt which has for some time been persisted in to
 obtain an Act of our Legislature to abolish so very important and
 necessary a branch of commercial interest must have been crushed at
 once, had not the insignificance of the zealots, who vainly took the
 lead in it, made the vast body of planters, merchants, and others,
 whose immense properties are involved in that trade, reasonably
 enough suppose that there could be no danger. The encouragement which
 the attempt has received excites my wonder and indignation; and though
 some men of superior abilities have supported it, whether from a love
 of temporary popularity when prosperous, or a love of general mischief
 when desperate, my opinion is unshaken. To abolish a _status_ which
 in all ages God has sanctioned and man has continued, would not only
 be robbery to an innumerable class of our fellow-subjects, but it
 would be extreme cruelty to the African savages, a portion of whom
 it saves from massacre, or intolerable bondage in their own country,
 and introduces into a much happier state of life, especially now
 when their passage to the West Indies, and their treatment there, is
 humanely regulated. To abolish that trade would be to—

  “——Shut the gates of mercy on mankind.”

The political success of Edmund Burke induced Boswell to indicate his
readiness to co-operate with him in regard to the American colonies. To
Mr. Burke he wrote as follows:—

  “_Edinburgh, March 3, 1778._

 “DEAR SIR,—Upon my honour I began a letter to you some time ago,
 and did not finish it because I imagined you were then near your
 _apotheosis_, as poor Goldsmith said upon a former occasion, when he
 thought your party was coming into administration; and being one of
 your old Barons of Scotland, my pride could not brook the appearance
 of paying my court to a minister amongst the crowd of interested
 expectants on his accession. At present I take it for granted that
 I need be under no such apprehension, and therefore I resume the
 indulgence of my inclination. This may be perhaps a singular method
 of beginning a correspondence; and in one sense may not be very
 complimentative. But I can sincerely assure you, dear sir, that I feel
 and mean a genuine compliment to Mr. Burke himself. It is generally
 thought no meanness to solicit the notice and favour of a man in
 power; and surely it is much less a meanness to endeavour by honest
 means to have the honour and pleasure of being on an agreeable
 footing with a man of superior knowledge, abilities, and genius.

 “I have to thank you for the obligations which you have already
 conferred upon me by the welcome which I have, upon repeated
 occasions, experienced under your roof. When I was last in London
 you gave me a general invitation, which I value more than a Treasury
 warrant:—an invitation to ‘the feast of reason,’ and, what I like
 still more, ‘the flow of soul,’ which you dispense with liberal and
 elegant abundance, is, in my estimation, a privilege of enjoying
 certain felicity; and we know that riches and honour are desirable
 only as means to felicity, and that they often fail of the end.

 “Most heartily do I rejoice that our present ministers have at last
 yielded to conciliation. For amidst all the sanguinary zeal of my
 countrymen I have professed myself a friend to our fellow-subjects in
 America, so far as they claim an exemption from being taxed by the
 representatives of the King’s British subjects. I do not perfectly
 agree with you; for I deny the Declaratory Act, and I am a warm Tory
 in its true constitutional sense. I wish I were a commissioner, or one
 of the secretaries of the commission for the grand treaty. I am to be
 in London this spring, and if his Majesty should ask me what I would
 choose, my answer will be, to assist in the compact between Britain
 and America. May I beg to hear from you, and in the meantime to have
 my compliments made acceptable to Mrs. Burke?—I am, dear sir, your
 most obedient, humble servant,


On the 18th March Boswell arrived in London, and at once renewed his
intercourse with Dr. Johnson. They spent Good Friday together, Boswell
accompanying the lexicographer to morning and evening service in St.
Clement’s Church. Next evening, while taking tea with him, Boswell
severely experienced Dr. Johnson’s resentment. The narrative we
present in his own words:—

 “We talked of a gentleman (Mr. Langton) who was running out his
 fortune in London, and I said, ‘We must get him out of it. All his
 friends must quarrel with him, and that will soon drive him away.’
 _Johnson_: ‘Nay, sir, we’ll send you to him; if your company does
 not drive a man out of his house, nothing will.’ This was a horrible
 shock, for which there was no visible cause. I afterwards asked him
 why he had said so harsh a thing. _Johnson_: ‘Because, sir, you made
 me angry about the Americans.’ _Boswell_: ‘But why did you not take
 your revenge directly?’ _Johnson_ (_smiling_): ‘Because, sir, I had
 nothing ready. A man cannot strike till he has his weapons.’ This,”
 adds Boswell, “was a candid and pleasant confession.”[64]

Dr. Johnson made a second attack a fortnight afterwards, which
Boswell endured with less patience. On the 2nd May they met at Sir
Joshua Reynolds’. The wits of Queen Anne’s reign were talked of, when
Boswell exclaimed, “How delightful it must have been to have lived
in the society of Pope, Swift, Arbuthnot, Gay, and Bolingbroke! We
have no such society in our days.” Sir Joshua answered, “I think, Mr.
Boswell, you might be satisfied with your great friend’s conversation.”
“Nay, sir, Mr. Boswell is right,” said Johnson, “every man wishes
for preferment, and if Boswell had lived in those days he would
have obtained promotion.” “How so, sir?” asked Sir Joshua. “Why,
sir,” said Johnson, “he would have had a high place in the Dunciad.”
Boswell felt so much hurt that, contrary to his custom, he omits the
conversation.[65] He refers to the occurrence in these terms:—

 “On Saturday, May 2, I dined with him at Sir Joshua Reynolds’s, when
 there was a very large company, and a great deal of conversation;
 but owing to some circumstance, which I cannot now recollect, I have
 no record of any part of it, except that there were several people
 there by no means of the Johnsonian school, so that less attention was
 paid to him than usual, which put him out of humour, and upon some
 imaginary offence from me, he attacked me with such rudeness that I
 was vexed and angry, because it gave those persons an opportunity of
 enlarging upon his supposed ferocity, and ill-treatment of his best
 friends. I was so much hurt, and had my pride so much roused, that I
 kept away from him for a week, and perhaps might have kept away much
 longer, nay, gone to Scotland without seeing him again, had we not
 fortunately met and been reconciled.”

The reconciliation is thus described:—

 “On Friday, May 8, I dined with him at Mr. Langton’s. I was reserved
 and silent, which I supposed he perceived, and might recollect the
 cause. After dinner, when Mr. Langton was called out of the room and
 we were by ourselves, he drew his chair near to mine and said, in a
 tone of conciliating courtesy, ‘Well, how have you done?’ _Boswell_:
 ‘Sir, you have made me very uneasy by your behaviour to me at Sir
 Joshua Reynolds’s. You know, my dear sir, no man has a greater respect
 and affection for you, or would sooner go to the end of the world to
 serve you. Now to treat me so——’ He insisted that I had interrupted,
 which I assured him was not the case, and proceeded, ‘But why treat
 me so before people who neither love you nor me?’ ‘Well, I’m sorry
 for it. I’ll make it up to you twenty different ways, as you please.’
 _Boswell_: ‘I said to-day to Sir Joshua, when he observed that you
 _tossed_ me sometimes, I don’t care how often or how high he tosses me
 when only friends are present, for then I fall upon soft ground; but
 I do not like falling on stones, which is the case when enemies are
 present. I think this is a pretty good image, sir.’ _Johnson_: ‘Sir,
 it is one of the happiest I have ever heard.’”

Boswell left London on the 19th of May. On his return to Edinburgh he
was seized with an irrepressible longing for an early settlement in
London, and forthwith communicated his sentiments to Dr. Johnson. He
had the following answer:—

 “I wish you would a little correct or restrain your imagination, and
 imagine that happiness such as life admits may be had at other places
 as well as London. Without affecting stoicism, it may be said that it
 is our business to exempt ourselves as much as we can from the power
 of external things. There is but one solid basis of happiness, and
 that is, the reasonable hope of a happy futurity. This may be had
 everywhere. I do not blame your preference of London to other places,
 for it is really to be preferred if the choice is free; but few have
 the choice of their place or their manner of life, and mere pleasure
 ought not to be the prime motive of action.”

In August Mrs. Boswell gave birth to her third son, who was christened
James. Dr. Johnson sent suitable congratulations.

In March, 1779, Boswell again repaired to the metropolis. He spent Good
Friday with Dr. Johnson, attending him at both diets of worship in St.
Clement’s Church. Johnson, he relates, preferred silent meditation
during the interval of worship, and for his improvement handed him “Les
Pensées de Paschal,” a book which he perused with reverence. On Easter
Sunday he worshipped in St. Paul’s, and afterwards dined with Dr.

A letter to Mr. Temple, which Boswell commenced at London on the 31st
May, and finished at Newcastle on the 8th June, contains the following

 “Had you been in London last week, you would have seen your friend
 sadly changed for a little. So trifling a matter as letting the
 nails of my great toes grow into the flesh, particularly in one
 foot, produced so much pain and inflammation and lameness and
 apprehension, that I was confined to bed, and my spirits sank to
 dreary dejection.... I am now much better, but still unable to
 walk; and having received a very wise letter from my dear, sensible,
 valuable wife, that although my father is in no immediate danger, his
 indisposition is such that I ought to be with him, I have resolved
 to set out to-morrow, being the very first day after completing
 another term at the Temple.... Is it not curious that at times we
 are in so happy a frame that not the least trace of former misery
 or vexation is left upon the mind? But is not the contrary, too,
 experienced?—Gracious Author of our being, do Thou bring us at
 length to steady felicity.—What a strange, complicated scene is
 this life! It always strikes me that we cannot seriously, closely,
 and clearly examine almost any part of it. We are at pains to bring
 up children, just to give them an opportunity of struggling through
 cares and fatigues; but let us hope for gleams of joy here, and a
 blaze hereafter.... I got into the fly at Buckden, and had a very good
 journey. An agreeable young widow nursed me, and supported my lame
 foot on her knee. Am I not fortunate in having something about me
 that interests most people at first sight in my favour?... You ask me
 about Lowth’s ‘Isaiah.’ I never once heard it mentioned till I asked
 Dr. Johnson about it.... I do not think Lowth an engaging man; I sat a
 good while with him this last spring. He said Dr. Johnson had _great
 genius_. I give you this as a specimen of his talk, which seemed to me
 to be neither discriminating, pointed, nor animated; yet he certainly
 has much curious learning, and a good deal of critical sagacity.... I
 did not know Monboddo’s new book, ‘The Metaphysics of the Ancients,’
 had been advertised. I expect it will be found to be a very wonderful
 performance. I think I gathered from a conversation with him that he
 believes the ‘metempsychosis.’”

On his arrival in Edinburgh, learning that the celebrated Mr. John
Wesley was on a visit to the city, Boswell waited on him with a
letter from Dr. Johnson. The writer expressed a wish that “worthy
and religious men should be acquainted with each other.” Mr. Wesley
received Boswell with politeness, but did not encourage any closer

For two months after his return to Scotland Boswell despatched no
letters to Dr. Johnson. He in this fashion made trial of his friend’s
fidelity. At length receiving a letter from the Doctor inquiring for
his welfare, he resolved “never again to put him to the test.”[66]

The friendship which subsisted between Mrs. Boswell and Mrs. Stuart,
wife of the second son of John, third Earl of Bute, has been referred
to. Boswell was, we have seen, also a favourite with Mrs. Stuart. To
her regard for him Boswell delighted to refer, however, inopportunely.
In his _Boswelliana_ he relates that Lord Mountstuart having remarked
that he resembled Charles Fox, Colonel Stuart (Mrs. Stuart’s husband)
ejaculated, “You are much uglier.” Boswell replied, looking his
tormentor in the face, “Does your wife think so, Colonel James?”
Colonel Stuart knew Boswell intimately, and, in common with his wife,
enjoyed his humour and excused his egotism. Being in command of the
Bedfordshire Militia, he invited Boswell to accompany him and the
regiment to London and some other stations. Boswell readily complied.
He delighted “to accompany a man of sterling good sense, information,
discernment, and conviviality,” and he hoped in his society “to have a
second crop, in one year, of London and Johnson.”

On Monday, 4th October, Boswell waited on Dr. Johnson, thereafter
attending him daily during a fortnight’s residence in London. On the
18th October he departed for Chester, in company with Colonel Stuart.
He tarried a few hours at Lichfield, where he visited some of Dr.
Johnson’s relatives. His proceedings at Chester are related in the
following letter to Mr. Temple, dated Edinburgh, 4th January, 1780:—

 “From London, after an excellent fortnight there, I accompanied
 Colonel Stuart to Chester, to which town his regiment was ordered
 from Leeds, and there I passed another fortnight in mortal felicity.
 I had from my earliest years a love for the military life, and there
 is in it an animation and relish of existence which I have never
 found amongst any other set of men, except players, with whom you
 know I once lived a great deal. At the mess of Colonel Stuart’s
 regiment I was quite the great man, as we used to say; and I was at
 the same time all joyous and gay. Such was my home at Chester. But
 I had the good fortune to be known to the bishop, who is one of the
 most distinguished prelates for piety and eloquence, and one of the
 most pleasing men in social life that you can imagine. His palace was
 open to me, morning, noon, and night; and I was liberally entertained
 at his hospitable board. At Chester, too, I found Dean Smith, the
 translator of ‘Longinus,’ with whom you and I were so well acquainted
 when we were studying under Mr. John Stevenson. I was surprised to
 find him, for I somehow had imagined that he was an ancient English
 author, comparatively speaking. He is very old, but is quite cheerful
 and full of anecdotes. He lives very retired, with a disagreeable
 wife, and they told me I was the only man who had been in the deanery
 for a long time. I found too at Chester Mr. Falconer, a gentleman of
 fortune and extraordinary learning and knowledge, who is preparing a
 new edition of Strabo, at the desire of the University of Oxford; he
 was exceedingly obliging to me.”

At Chester Boswell found the young ladies to be especially charming.
Forgetting that he and his correspondent were both married, he informed
Mr. Temple that several of the ladies had “capital fortunes.” He wrote
to Dr. Johnson that he had complimented Miss Letitia Bainston, niece
of one of the prebendaries, in these words:—“I have come to Chester,
madam, I cannot tell how; and far less can I tell how I am able to
get away from it.” In his journey from Chester to Scotland Boswell
lingered at Carlisle. He wrote to Dr. Johnson that he had received the
sacrament in the cathedral, and that it was “divinely cheering to him
that there was a cathedral so near Auchinleck.” Dr. Johnson reminded
his correspondent that Carlisle cathedral was at least one hundred and
fifty miles from Auchinleck, adding, “If you are pleased, it is so far

In the spring of 1777 Boswell obtained a connection with the _London
Magazine_. He then commenced in its pages a series of papers, which
he styled “The Hypochondriack.” These papers are generally short,
and often disconnected; they abound in allusions to the writer’s
personal tastes and peculiar opinions, while classical quotations
are interspersed without point and without purpose. But Boswell was
pleased to see himself in print, and so he complacently reports to Mr.
Temple, in January, 1780, that his “Hypochondriack gets on wonderfully
well.” In his paper for March, 1780, he thus alludes to his love of

 “I do fairly acknowledge,” he writes, “that I love drinking; that I
 have a constitutional inclination to indulge in fermented liquors,
 and that were it not for the restraints of reason and religion, I am
 afraid I should be as constant a votary of Bacchus as any man.”[67]

At the close of his letter of January he informs Mr. Temple that his
father had been ill of fever, with his pulse at ninety-five; he then
begs a loan of £200, to satisfy a demand which his father could not be
informed of. The loan was not granted, and Boswell afterwards sought
repayment of an advance made to his friend at a former period, and
which remained undischarged.

In September Boswell experienced a family loss in the death of Dr. John
Boswell, his father’s brother. Of his deceased relative he writes to
Mr. Temple that he was “a good scholar and affectionate relative,” but
“had no conduct.” He adds, “He had a strange kind of religion, but I
flatter myself he will be ere long, if he is not already in heaven.”
This passage might imply that in abandoning the Romish faith he had not
abjured the doctrine of purgatory; yet that doctrine is inconsistent
with the following aspiration contained in the same letter:—

 “I comfort myself with the Christian revelation of our being in a
 state of purification, and that we shall, in course of time, attain to
 felicity. It is delightful, Temple, to look forward to the period when
 you and I shall enjoy what we now imagine. In the meantime let us be
 patient, and do what we can.”

Writing to Mr. Temple in November, Boswell thus refers to an
unpleasantness which had for some months subsisted between him and his

 “I could not help smiling at the expostulation which you suggest to me
 to try with my father. It would do admirably with some fathers, but
 it would make mine much worse, for he cannot bear that his son should
 talk with him as a man. I can only lament his unmelting coldness to
 my wife and children, for I fear it is hopeless to think of his ever
 being more affectionate towards them. Yet it must be acknowledged
 that his paying £1,000 of my debt some years ago was a large bounty.
 He allows me £300 a year; but I find that what I gain by my practice
 and that sum together will not support my family. I have now two sons
 and three daughters. I am in hopes that my father will augment my
 allowance to £400 a year. I was indeed very imprudent in expressing
 my extreme aversion to his second marriage; but since it took place
 I am conscious of having behaved to himself and his lady with such
 respectful attention, and imposed such restraint upon myself as is
 truly meritorious. The woman is very implacable, and I imagine it is
 hardly possible that she can ever be my friend. She, however, behaves
 much better to the children than their grandfather does. We are all
 to dine at my father’s to-day; he is better now than he has been for
 several years.”

In thus writing Boswell lacked candour. Had he chosen to observe his
usual frankness he would not have heaped censure on his father’s
wife, but attributed the paternal resentment to its true cause—the
payment of that sum of £200 which Mr. Temple had declined to lend. His
correspondent’s advice respecting the plan for a London settlement was,
for the time not unacceptable. On this subject he writes:—

 “Your counsel to me to set my mind at rest, and be content with
 promotion in Scotland, is, I believe, very wise. My brother David
 enforced it earnestly. If my father lives a few years longer, age
 will, I suppose, fix me here without any question; for to embark in
 a new sphere when one is much after forty is not advisable. Yet, my
 dear Temple, ambition to be in Parliament or in the metropolis is
 very allowable. Perhaps my exalted notions of public situation are
 fallacious, for I begin to think that true elevation is to be acquired
 from study and thinking, and that when one is used to the most eminent
 situations they become familiar and insipid, and perhaps vexatious.”

The embarrassed condition of his affairs kept Boswell in Scotland
during the whole of 1780. In March, 1781, he again presented himself
in London. Good Friday was, as usual, spent with Dr. Johnson, the
friends worshipping together in St. Clement’s church. On Easter
Sunday he performed his wonted devotions in St. Paul’s Cathedral. Not
long afterwards he afforded sad evidence of persistent recklessness.
Dining with the Duke of Montrose, he became inebriated, and in this
condition joined an evening party at the Honourable Miss Monckton’s.
He talked incoherently, and Dr. Johnson, who was present, endeavoured
to shield him from observation.[68] Next, day being made conscious of
his lamentable aberration, he despatched to his hostess the following
verses as an apology for violating good manners:—

  “Not that with th’ excellent Montrose
    I had the happiness to dine;
  Not that I late from table rose,
    From Graham’s wit, from generous wine;

  “It was not these alone which led
    On sacred manners to encroach,
  And made me feel what most I dread,
    Johnson’s just frown and self-reproach:

  “But when I entered, not abashed,
    From your bright eyes were shot such rays,
  At once intoxication flashed,
    And all my frame was in a blaze.

  “But not a brilliant blaze, I own;
    Of the dull smoke I’m yet ashamed,
  I was a dreary ruin grown,
    And not enlightened, though enflamed.

  “Victim at once to wine and love,
    I hope, Maria, you’ll forgive;
  While I invoke the powers above,
    That henceforth I may wiser live.”

Boswell remained in London till the beginning of June. _En route_ for
Scotland, he accompanied Dr. Johnson to Southill, Bedfordshire, on a
visit to Mr. Charles Dilly, publisher, who had there established his
country seat. The friends reached Southill on Saturday, the 2nd June.
Next day they accompanied Mr. Dilly’s family to the parish church.
Boswell remained behind to receive the sacrament. During the evening he
sought religious conversation with Dr. Johnson, commencing thus:—“My
dear sir, I would fain be a good man; and I am very good now. I fear
God and honour the king; I wish to do no ill, and to be benevolent
to all mankind.” Dr. Johnson said impressions were deceitful and
dangerous, and explained the nature of the Christian atonement. Boswell
requested him to repeat his remarks, and proceeded to record them.[69]

Neglecting the practice of his profession, Boswell became wholly
dependent on his allowance from Lord Auchinleck, and again ran himself
aground. He explained his condition to Dr. Johnson as a reason why
he could not visit London in the spring of 1782, adding that could
he possibly reach the metropolis, he might obtain a post which would
restore his fortunes. Dr. Johnson replied as follows:—

 “To come hither with such expectations at the expense of borrowed
 money, which I find you know not where to borrow, can hardly be
 considered prudent. I am sorry to find, what your solicitations seem
 to imply, that you have already gone the length of your credit. This
 is to set the quiet of your whole life at hazard. If you anticipate
 your inheritance, you can at last inherit nothing; all that you
 receive must pay for the past. You must get a place, or pine in
 penury, with the empty name of a great estate. Poverty, my dear
 friend, is so great an evil, and pregnant with so much temptation, and
 so much misery, that I cannot but earnestly enjoin you to avoid it.
 Live on what you have; live if you can on less; do not borrow either
 for vanity or pleasure; the vanity will end in shame, and the pleasure
 in regret; stay therefore at home till you have saved money for your
 journey hither.”

In a letter written some months subsequently, Johnson resumed his
discourse on the miseries of improvidence:—

 “Whatever might have been your pleasure or mine, I know not how I
 could have honestly advised you to come hither with borrowed money.
 Do not accustom yourself to consider debt only as an inconvenience;
 you will find it a calamity. Poverty takes away so many means of doing
 good, and produces so much inability to resist evil, both natural
 and moral, that it is by all virtuous means to be avoided. Consider
 a man whose fortune is very narrow; whatever be his rank by birth,
 or whatever his reputation by intellectual excellence, what can he
 do, or what evil can he prevent? That he cannot help the needy is
 evident; he has nothing to spare. But perhaps his advice or admonition
 may be useful. His poverty will destroy his influence; many more can
 find that he is poor than that he is wise; and few will reverence
 the understanding that is of so little advantage to its owner. I say
 nothing of the personal wretchedness of a debtor, which, however, has
 passed into a proverb.”

After a long illness, patiently borne, Lord Auchinleck died at
Edinburgh on the 31st August. He had settled on his eldest son the
ancestral estate, with an unencumbered rental of £1,600 a year. On
receipt of the tidings, Dr. Johnson wrote to Boswell as follows:—

 “Your father’s death had every circumstance that could enable you
 to bear it; it was at a mature age, and it was expected; and as his
 general life had been pious, his thoughts had doubtless for many years
 past been turned upon eternity. That you did not find him sensible
 must doubtless grieve you; his disposition towards you was undoubtedly
 that of a kind, though not of a fond father. Kindness, at least
 actual, is in our power, but fondness is not; and if by negligence or
 imprudence you had extinguished his fondness, he could not at will
 rekindle it. Nothing then remained for you but mutual forgiveness of
 each other’s faults, and mutual desire of each other’s happiness. I
 shall long to know his final disposition of his fortune.”

At Auchinleck the deceased judge was deeply revered. In the
Kirk-Session Records of that parish, Mr. David Murdoch,[70]
schoolmaster and session clerk, has accompanied the entry of his death
with the following lines, entitled “Essay towards a character of Lord

  “For every sovereign virtue much renowned,
  Of judgment steady, and in wisdom sound,
  Through a long life in active bus’ness spent,
  For justice and for prudence eminent;
  Well qualified to occupy the line
  Allotted him by Providence divine;
  Employed with indefatigable pains
  In very num’rous and important scenes;
  And as his fame for justice was well known,
  His clemency no less conspicuous shone;
  Reliever of the needful and opprest,
  The gen’rous benefactor of distrest,
  Ready to hear and rectify a wrong,
  To re-establish harmony among
  Contending friends, or such as disagreed,
  And of his interposing aid had need;
  Successfully he laboured much and long
  As healer of the breaches us among;
  And still from jarring order brought about,
  Carefully searching unknown causes out.
    A foe to vice, detesting liars much,
  Of shrewd acuteness in discerning such;
  Averse to flattery, hating all deceit,
  Though in resentment mod’rate and discreet;
  And ready still, with sympathizing grace,
  To wipe the tear from every mourning face.
    Whether we see him talking at the Bar,
  Or on the Bench, a step exalted far,
  Display the spirit of his country’s laws,
  Or ruminate the merits of a cause;
  Or in retirement from such legal strife
  View him a gentleman in private life,—
  In all connections, and in him we find
  The husband loving and the parent kind,
  The easy master and the faithful friend,
  The honest counsellor, as all will own,
  And most indulgent landlord ever known.
  In all departments on the earthly stage,
  In every scene in which he did engage,
  Such steadiness, such truth and candour shone,
  As equalled is by few, surpassed by none;
  In everything important less or more,
  Supporting well the character he bore.
    A person thus disposed and thus endowed
  Must have been universally allowed
  The tribute of our praises heretofore,
  And claims our tears when now he is no more.
  All ranks in him a mighty loss sustain,
  Both rich and poor, the noble and the mean;
  For why? his services did far extend
  Through town and country to the kingdom’s end;
  The whole to him in obligations bound,
  As to his honour ever will redound.
    Revere his memory, and his death lament,
  As well becomes, with uniform assent;
  Your high concern by loud encomiums show,
  Unite the shout of praise and tear of woe;
  Your warm effusions only can reveal
  (And faintly too) what every heart must feel.
    This benefactor lost, the meaner man
  May quiver, and so he will, that’s all he can;
  Let those descended of a station higher,
  To imitate his virtuous life aspire;
  Transcribe the bright example set by him,
  Best way to evidence their true esteem.
  May after generations who succeed,
  From Register, his famed remembrance read.
  Alive his character afar was known,
  So may it long continue when he’s gone;
  And let the undissembled voice of fame
  To distant ages celebrate his name—
  A name of veneration and respect,
  Of honour and esteem, Lord Auchinleck.”

On Friday, the 21st March, 1783, Boswell arrived in London. He found
Dr. Johnson at Mrs. Thrale’s in feeble health. As on former occasions,
the friends worshipped together in St. Clement’s Church on Good Friday,
while Boswell again kept Easter in St. Paul’s. When congratulating
his friend on his position as a landowner, Dr. Johnson unsparingly
exposed his egotism. “Boswell,” said he, “you often vaunt so much, as
to provoke ridicule. You put me in mind of a man who was standing in
the kitchen of an inn with his back to the fire, and thus accosted the
person next him:—‘Do you know, sir, who I am?’ ‘No, sir,’ said the
other, ‘I have not that advantage.’ ‘Sir,’ said he, ‘I am the great
Twamley, who invented the new floodgate iron.’”[71]

Boswell left London for Scotland on the 29th of May. From Dr. Johnson
he received these parting counsels:—“Get as much force of mind as you
can. Live within your income. Always have something saved at the end of
the year. Let your imports be more than your exports, and you’ll never
go far wrong.”

On the opening of Parliament in November, 1783, Mr. Fox introduced in
the House of Commons his celebrated East India Bill. By this measure
he proposed to vest the Government of India for five years, in a
commission of seven, who were to be appointed by Parliament, and to
be irremovable by the Crown. The Bill was accepted by the Commons,
but was, on the 17th December, rejected in the Upper House, through
the influence of the King. The rejection of this measure compelled
the coalition ministry to resign, and Mr. Pitt became Prime Minister
on the understanding that he would appeal to the country without loss
of time. Having become a landowner, Boswell conceived himself a fit
candidate for parliamentary honours, and in prospect of a dissolution
resolved to offer his services to a constituency. He published a
pamphlet entitled “A Letter to the People of Scotland on the Present
State of the Nation” (43 pp. 12mo.). In this composition he denounces
Mr. Fox’s India Bill as “an attempt to deprive the sovereign of his
lawful authority;” and urges “his fellow-countrymen in their several
counties” to express their satisfaction that the Bill had been rejected
by the Lords. He celebrates the memory of Sir John Lowther, ancestor of
Lord Lowther,[72] who had lately promised him support. Then, passing to
his favourite theme, he announces himself as “a firm loyalist, holding
an estate transmitted to him by charters from a series of kings.” He
concludes by the offer of parliamentary service. His composition he
transmitted to Dr. Johnson, begging his opinion. The lexicographer was
in declining health, and was proportionally amiable. He complimented
the writer on his knowledge of constitutional history, adding that his
pamphlet would “raise his character, though it might not make him a
Minister of State.” Mr. Pitt sent a polite acknowledgment, commending
“the author’s zeal in the cause of the public.”

His “Letter to the People of Scotland” Boswell followed up by the
following address to the Ayrshire constituency:—

 “_To the Real Freeholders of the County of Ayr._

 “GENTLEMEN,—If my friend Colonel Montgomerie shall not be a
 candidate at the next election, I intend to offer my services as your
 representative in Parliament. If Colonel Montgomerie stands, he shall
 have my warmest support; for I have never ceased to think that great
 injustice was done both to you and him when he was deprived of the
 seat given him by your voice; and I am very desirous to have ample
 reparation made for that injustice. Indeed, gentlemen, you have at the
 two last general elections been disappointed of your representation
 by the unconstitutional means of those votes, which, upon a notice
 that I glory in having made, were, at a meeting of this county, 29th
 October, 1782, declared to be _nominal_ and _fictitious_.

 “Colonel Montgomerie and I will probably at no time be on different
 sides. We are both connected with the respectable old interest of
 the county; and I trust we should both be exceedingly sorry to hurt
 it by a division, of which its enemies are eagerly watchful to take

 “I pledge my word and honour that if there is not a greater number of
 the _real freeholders_ for me than for any other candidate, I shall
 retire from the contest. I disdain to avail myself of what I condemn;
 and I am not callous enough to bear the indignant and reproachful
 looks of my worthy neighbours, who would consider that, by an artful
 use of the letter of that law which so loudly calls for reformation, I
 had triumphed over their wishes, and annihilated their most valuable

 “My political principles I have avowed, in the most direct and public
 manner, to be those of a steady Royalist, who reveres monarchy, but is
 at the same time animated with genuine feelings of liberty; principles
 which, when well understood, are not in any degree inconsistent, but
 are happily united in the true British Constitution.

 “The confidences with which I have been honoured by many of you in
 my profession as a lawyer, and other marks of attention which you
 have been pleased to show me, emboldens me to believe that you think
 well of my integrity and abilities. On the other hand, I declare
 that I should pay the utmost deference to your instructions as my
 constituents; and as I am now the representative of a family which has
 held an estate in the county, and maintained a respectable character
 for almost three centuries, I flatter myself that I shall not be
 reckoned too presumptuous when I aspire to the high distinction
 of being your representative in Parliament, and that you will not
 disapprove of my indulging an ambition that this family shall rather
 advance than fall off in my time.

 “Though I should not be successful at the next, or at any future
 election, I am so fortunate as to have resources enough to prevent me
 from being discontented or fretful on that account; and I shall ever
 be, with cordial regard,

  “Your very faithful, and most obedient, humble servant,


  “_Auchinleck, March 17, 1784._”

Boswell was at York on the 28th March, 1784, _en route_ for London,
when he was informed that Parliament was dissolved. Having in a brief
note intimated to Dr. Johnson his political aspirations, he posted to
Ayrshire, to contest the county. From Johnson he received a letter
entreating him to be “scrupulous in the use of strong liquors,” as
“one night’s drunkenness might defeat the labour of forty days well

On reaching Auchinleck, Boswell learned what he might have ascertained
sooner, that Colonel Montgomerie was re-soliciting the suffrages of
the constituency. He was the successful candidate. Boswell again
proceeded southward, and on the 5th May reached London. He dined out
almost daily, frequently meeting Dr. Johnson, who though an invalid,
rejoiced in the intercourse of his friends. By his physicians Johnson
had been advised to proceed to Italy, and as the journey was delayed,
Boswell apprehended that his friend was suffering from lack of funds.
He applied to Lord Chancellor Thurlow, entreating an augmentation of
Johnson’s pension, or a special grant for the Italian journey. To the
Treasury the Chancellor presented the application, but it was not
entertained. Dr. Johnson expressed his grateful sense of Boswell’s
consideration and enterprise.

After a period of severe suffering, Dr. Johnson expired on the 13th
December, 1784. He had prepared an autobiography, but destroyed it,
with a portion of his correspondence, some weeks before his decease.
He appointed no literary executor, nor left instructions respecting a
memoir. Boswell contemplated a different result, but did not publicly
complain. From respect to Johnson’s wishes he had abstained from
publishing his Hebridean tour. He now seriously employed himself in
preparing it for the printer. As the first proof-sheet was being sent
him from Mr. Baldwin’s printing office, it happened to attract the
attention of Mr. Edmund Malone, who proceeded to read the account
of Dr. Johnson’s character. He was struck with the fidelity of the
representation, and begged Mr. Baldwin to introduce him to the
writer.[73] Boswell rejoiced to cultivate the acquaintance of one who
not only belonged to Dr. Johnson’s circle, but was himself a celebrity,
as editor of Goldsmith’s works, and as a writer on Shakespeare’s
plays.[74] He visited Mr. Malone almost daily, submitting to his
revision the MS. of his work. Accompanied by a flattering dedication to
Mr. Malone, the work appeared in 1786 as a bulky octavo, bearing on the
title-page the following copious inscription:—

 “The Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides, with Samuel Johnson, LL.D., by
 James Boswell, Esq., containing some poetical pieces by Dr. Johnson,
 relative to the Tour, and never before published: a series of his
 conversation, Literary Anecdotes, and Opinions of Men and Books, with
 an authentick account of the Distresses and Escape of the Grandson of
 King James II. in the year 1746.

  ‘O! while along the stream of time, thy name
  Expanded flies, and gathers all its fame,
  Say, shall my little book attendant sail,
  Pursue the triumph, and partake the gale?’


Above the imprint was placed a small woodcut representing a
falcon—the author’s crest, with his family motto, _vraye foy_. The
work was published by Mr. Charles Dilly, and the edition was rapidly
distributed. The author was thus commended by Mr. Courtenay in his
“Poetical Review:”[75]—

  “With Reynolds’ pencil, vivid, bold and true
  So fervent Boswell gives him to our view:
  In every trait we see his mind expand;
  The master rises by the pupil’s hand:
  We love the writer, praise his happy vein,
  Graced with the _naiveté_ of the sage Montaigne;
  Hence not alone are brighter parts display’d,
  But e’en the specks of character portray’d:
  We see the ‘Rambler’ with fastidious smile
  Mark the lone tree, and note the heath-clad isle;
  But when the heroic tale of ‘Flora’[76] charms,
  Deck’d in a kilt, he wields a chieftain’s arms;
  The tuneful piper sounds a martial strain,
  And Samuel sings ‘The King shall have his _ain_.’

         *       *       *       *       *

                            “Can Boswell be forgot,
  Scarce by North Britons now esteem’d a Scot?
  Who to the sage devoted from his youth
  Imbib’d from him the sacred love of truth;
  The keen research, the exercise of mind,
  And that best art, the art to know mankind.”

Much as his performance was appreciated by friendly persons, it was
impossible that Boswell’s morbid egotism should escape ridicule.
Thomas Rowlandson, the noted caricaturist, issued twenty cartoons,
presenting the unguarded tourist in absurd and grotesque scenes and
attitudes, founded on descriptions in his book. They were placed in the
shop windows and hawked about the streets, while the laughter-rousing
Peter Pindar[77] addressed Boswell in a “Poetical and Congratulatory
Epistle,” mercilessly castigating him in sarcastic and crushing rhymes.
Here is a specimen:—

          “At length, ambitious Thane, thy rage
  To give one spark to Fame’s bespangled page
  Is amply gratified. A thousand eyes
  Survey thy book with rapture and surprize!
  Loud of thy tour, a thousand tongues have spoken,
  And wonder’d that thy bones were never broken.

         *       *       *       *       *

  Nay, though thy Johnson ne’er had bless’d thine eyes,
  Paoli’s deeds had rais’d thee to the skies;
  Yes! his broad wing had rais’d thee (no bad luck)
  A tomtit twitt’ring on an eagle’s back.”

Equally pungent was the savage Pindar in a subsequent poem, entitled
“Bozzy and Piozzi.” He wrote:—

  “For thee, James Boswell, may the hand of Fate
  Arrest thy goose-quill and confine thy prate!
  Thine egotism the world disgusted hears—
  Then load with vanities no more our ears.
  Like some lone puppy, yelping all night long,
  That tires the very echoes with his tongue.
  Yet, should it lie beyond the pow’rs of Fate
  To stop thy pen, and still thy darling prate;
  To live in solitude, oh! be thy luck
  A chattering magpie on the Isle of Muck.”

Than the shafts of ridicule, Boswell experienced even more substantial
discomfort. Respecting Sir Alexander Macdonald, Bart., chief of the
Macdonalds, he had written thus unguardedly:—

 “Instead of finding the head of the Macdonalds surrounded with his
 clan, and a festive entertainment, we had a small company, and cannot
 boast of our cheer. The particulars are minuted in my Journal, but
 I shall not trouble the publick with them. I shall mention but one
 characteristick circumstance. My shrewd and hearty friend Sir Thomas
 (Wentworth) Blacket, Lady Macdonald’s uncle, who had preceded us on a
 visit to this chief, upon being asked by him if the punch-bowl then
 upon the table was not a very handsome one, replied, ‘Yes,—if it
 were full.’ Sir Alexander Macdonald having been an Eton scholar, Dr.
 Johnson had formed an opinion of him which was much diminished when
 he beheld him in the Isle of Skye, where we heard heavy complaints
 of rents racked, and the people driven to emigration. Dr. Johnson
 said, ‘It grieves me to see the chief of a great clan appear to such
 disadvantage. This gentleman has talents, nay, some learning; but he
 is totally unfit for this situation. Sir, the Highland chiefs should
 not be allowed to go farther south than Aberdeen. A strong-minded man,
 like his brother Sir James, may be improved by an English education,
 but in general they will be turned into insignificance.’ I meditated
 an escape from this house the very next day; but Dr. Johnson resolved
 that we should weather it out till Monday.”

In charging the chief of the Macdonalds with an unwarrantable
parsimony, Boswell is justified in a letter written by Dr. Johnson
to Mrs. Thrale.[78] But he evinced his wonted imprudence in making
public what had better have been concealed, and in dragging into the
controversy Sir Thomas Blacket, a near relative of Sir Alexander’s
wife.[79] Both baronets made loud complaint, and the chief of the
Macdonalds spoke of vengeance by personal chastisement. To this threat
Peter Pindar thus pungently alludes:—

  “Let Lord Macdonald[80] threat thy breech to kick,
  And o’er thy shrinking shoulders shake his stick
  Treat with contempt the menace of this Lord,
  ’Tis Hist’ry’s province, Bozzy, to record.”

The displeasure which Boswell had excited was appeased by a compromise.
He agreed in his next edition to exclude Blacket’s anecdote, and to
substitute allusion to Macdonald’s shabbiness by quoting his Latin
verses, welcoming the lexicographer to Skye.

In 1786 Boswell executed his Will, and it seems probable that “the
apprehension of danger to his life”[81] to which in that document he
refers was due to the menace of the Highland chief. If this conjecture
is well founded, it is interesting to remark that Boswell especially
provides that his own tenantry should in the matter of rent be treated
with leniency.

In the preface to his third edition, issued in 1786, Boswell vigorously
denounces his critics on both sides the Tweed. His Scottish compeers,
he alleges, have displayed “a petty national spirit unworthy of his
countrymen.” The English critics are styled “shallow and envious
cavillers.” In opposition to their assertions that he has _lessened_
Dr. Johnson’s character, he maintains that he was assured by persons of
taste that he had _greatly heightened_ it. He appeals to the judgment
of posterity.

Elated by his popularity as a tourist, he determined to reassert his
political pretensions. An opportunity for displaying patriotic ardour
seasonably occurred. A Bill was introduced into the House of Commons by
Mr. Islay Campbell, the Lord Advocate, and Mr. Dundas, Dean of Faculty,
for reconstructing the Court of Session. By this Bill it was proposed
to reduce the judges from fifteen to ten, and with the funds secured
by the reduction to augment the salaries of those who remained. In
opposition to this measure Boswell issued a pamphlet, sensationally
entitled “A Letter to the People of Scotland on the alarming attempt
to infringe the Articles of Union, and introduce a most pernicious
innovation, by diminishing the number of the Lords of Session.” This
composition, extending to 107 octavo pages, was published by Dilly, and
sold for half a crown. There were few sales, but copies of the pamphlet
were presented to the author’s friends.[82]

In his characteristic manner Boswell sets forth that the number of
judges was fixed unalterably by the Act of Union, “an Act which,
entering into the constitution of Parliament itself, Parliament dare
not alter.” The number of fifteen was declared by George Buchanan to
be small enough to avoid the character of a tyrannical junto.—“Is a
court of ten,” he proceeds, “the same with a court of fifteen? Is a
two-legged animal the same with a four-legged animal? I know nobody who
will gravely defend that proposition, except one grotesque philosopher,
whom ludicrous fable represents as going about avowing his hunger,
and wagging his tail, fain to become cannibal and eat his deceased
brethren.”[83] Lords of Session, he argues, do the work of English
juries in civil cases, and exercise the functions of English Grand
Juries. Mr. Dundas he denounces as “Harry the Ninth,” and Mr. Islay
Campbell is censured, though less abusively. Boswell next introduces
himself, and proceeds to expatiate on his personal merits. He had
in his previous letter “kindled the fire of loyalty and saved the
constitution.” He is “a true patriot,” and begs that he may not be
misunderstood by associating with Mr. Wilkes, “he being so pleasant,”
and an “old classical companion.” He declares himself a scholar and a
gentleman—“a scholar,” as he is familiar with Latin authors; and a
gentleman, “since his friends were persons of title and influence.” His
wife, whom “he loved as dearly as when she gave him her hand,” is “a
relation of Lord Eglinton, a true Montgomery.” The M.P. for Plymouth,
Captain Macbride, is “the cousin of his wife, and the friend of his
heart.” His intimate friend, Colonel Stuart, has “sterling good sense,
information, discernment, honour, honesty, and spirit.” Lord Lowther is
apostrophised thus:—

 “Let not the Scottish spirit be bowed. Let Lowther come forth and
 support us. We are his neighbours. _Paries proximus ardet._ We all
 know what HE can do. He upon whom the thousands of Whitehaven depend
 for _three_ of the elements. _He_ whose soul is all great; whose
 resentment is terrible, but whose liberality is boundless. I know
 that he is dignified by having hosts of enemies; but I have fixed
 his character in my mind upon no slight inquiry. I have traversed
 Cumberland and Westmoreland; I have sojourned at Carlisle and at
 Kendal; I know of the Lonsdale Club at Lancaster. Lowther! be kindly
 interested. Come over to Macedonia, and help us. With such personal
 qualities and such friends Boswell holds himself admirably qualified
 for a seat in the Legislature. He will present himself at next
 election as a candidate for Ayrshire. I have reason to hope,” he
 proceeds, “that many of the real freeholders of Ayrshire will support
 me at the election for next Parliament, against which I have declared
 myself a candidate. I shall certainly stand upon the substantial
 interest of the gentlemen of landed property; and if upon a fair trial
 I should not succeed in that object of ambition, which I have most
 ardently at heart, I have resources enough to prevent me from being
 discontented and fretful.”

The project of settling in London and forming a connection with the
English Bar, which Boswell had long cherished, was now to be carried
out. After keeping his terms, according to the usual practice, he was
called to the English Bar, at Hilary term, 1786. His professional
_debût_ prognosticated failure. Some of the junior barristers, to whom
he was known as _Johnson’s Bozzy_, prepared an imaginary case full of
absurdity, which was submitted for his opinion. Unsuspecting a trap, he
prepared an elaborate note of judgment. The laughter was prodigious,
and the merriment penetrated into private circles. A ridiculous
appearance in court, made soon afterwards, put a final check on his
career as a practising barrister.[84] About three years after joining
the English Bar he represented his condition to Mr. Temple in these

  “_London, January 10th, 1789._

 “I am sadly discouraged by having no practice nor probable prospect of
 it; and to confess fairly to you, my friend, I am afraid that were I
 to be tried, I should be found so deficient in the forms, the quirks,
 and the quiddities, which early habit acquires, that I should expose
 myself. Yet the delusion of Westminster Hall, of brilliant reputation
 and splendid fortune as a barrister, still weighs upon my imagination.
 I must be seen in the courts, and must hope for some happy openings
 in causes of importance. The Chancellor, as you observe, has not done
 as I expected; but why did I expect it? I am going to put him to the
 test. Could I be satisfied with being Baron of Auchinleck, with a good
 income for a gentleman in Scotland, I might, no doubt, be independent.
 But what can be done to deaden the ambition which has ever raged in my
 veins like a fever? In the country I should sink into wretched gloom,
 or at best into listless dulness and sordid abstraction. Perhaps a
 time may come when I may by lapse of time be grown fit for it. As yet
 I, really from a philosophical spirit, allow myself to be driven along
 the tide of life with a good deal of caution not to be much hurt; and
 still flattering myself that an unexpected lucky chance may at last
 place me so that the prediction of a fortunate cap appearing on my
 head at my birth will be fulfilled.”

Not long after writing this letter Boswell obtained his only
professional appointment; he was, through the influence of Lord
Lowther, appointed Recorder of Carlisle. The emoluments of the office
were small, and as an attendance of several weeks was required
annually, the acquisition was inconsiderable. But the wits did not
permit the new Recorder to enter on his post without ridicule. The
following _jeu d’esprit_ obtained circulation:—

  “Boswell once flamed with patriot zeal,
    His bow was ever bent;
  How he no public wrongs can feel
    Till Lowther nods assent.

  To seize the throne which faction tries,
    And would the Prince command,
  The Tory Boswell coolly cries,
    My King’s in Westmoreland.”

At the close of the first edition of Boswell’s Tour to the Hebrides,
appeared the following advertisement:—

  “Preparing for the Press, in one volume quarto,
  The Life of Samuel Johnson, LL.D.
  By James Boswell, Esq.

 “Mr. Boswell has been collecting materials for this work for more
 than twenty years, during which he was honoured with the intimate
 friendship of Dr. Johnson; to whose memory he is ambitious to erect
 a literary monument, worthy of so great an authour, and so excellent
 a man. Dr. Johnson was well informed of his design, and obligingly
 communicated to him several curious particulars. With these will be
 interwoven the most authentick accounts that can be obtained from
 those who knew him best; many sketches of his conversation on a
 multiplicity of subjects, with various persons, some of them the most
 eminent of the age; a great number of letters from him at different
 periods, and several original pieces dictated by him to Mr. Boswell,
 distinguished by that peculiar energy which marked every emanation of
 his mind.”

This advertisement, more befitting the announcement of a play than
the memoir of a moralist, did not escape the witty criticism of the
sarcastic Pindar. In a postscript to his “Poetical Epistle” he has thus

 “As Mr. Boswell’s ‘Journal’ hath afforded such universal pleasure, by
 the relation of minute incidents and the great moralist’s opinion of
 men and things during his northern tour, it will be adding greatly
 to the anecdotical treasury, as well as making Mr. B. happy, to
 communicate part of a dialogue that took place between Dr. Johnson and
 the author of this congratulatory epistle, a few months before the
 Doctor paid the great debt of nature. The Doctor was very cheerful
 that day, had on a black coat and waistcoat, a black plush pair of
 breeches, and black worsted stockings, a handsome grey wig, a shirt,
 a muslin neckcloth, a black pair of buttons in his shirt-sleeves, a
 pair of shoes ornamented with the very identical little buckles that
 accompanied the philosopher to the Hebrides; his nails were very
 neatly pared, and his beard fresh shaved with a razor fabricated by
 the ingenious Mr. Savigny.

 “_P. P._: ‘Pray, Doctor, what is your opinion of Mr. Boswell’s
 literary powers?’

 “_Johnson_: ‘Sir, my opinion is, that whenever Bozzy expires, he
 will create no vacuum in the region of literature—he seems strongly
 affected by the _cacoëches scribendi_; wishes to be thought a _rara
 avis_, and in truth so he is—your knowledge in ornithology, sir, will
 easily discover to what species of bird I allude.’ Here the Doctor
 shook his head and laughed.

 “_P. P._: ‘What think you, sir, of his account of Corsica?—of his
 character of Paoli?’

 “_Johnson_: ‘Sir, he hath made a mountain of a wart. But Paoli hath
 virtues. The account is a farrago of disgusting egotism and pompous

 “_P. P._: ‘I have heard it whispered, Doctor, that should you die
 before him, Mr. B. means to write your life.’

 “_Johnson_: ‘Sir, he cannot mean me so irreparable an injury,—which
 of us shall die first, is only known to the Great Disposer of events;
 but were I sure that James Boswell would write _my_ life, I do not
 know whether I would not anticipate the measure by taking _his_.’
 (Here he made three or four strides across the room, and returned to
 his chair with violent emotion.)

 “_P. P._: ‘I am afraid that he means to do you the favour.’

 “_Johnson_: ‘He dares not—he would make a scarecrow of me. I give
 him liberty to fire his blunderbuss in _his own_ face, but not murder
 _me_, sir. I heed not his [Greek: autos epha]. Boswell write my life!
 why, the fellow possesses not abilities for writing the life of an

Naturally indolent and procrastinating, Boswell was, like persons
of his temperament, aroused to enterprise by harsh and ungenerous
criticism. Johnson’s “Life” was commenced at once, and for some time
prosecuted vigorously. Abandoned for many months, it was taken up in
1787, and worked upon at intervals in the year following.

The progress of the undertaking is in February 1788, thus reported to
Mr. Temple:—

 “Mason’s Life of Gray is excellent, because it is interspersed with
 letters which show us the man.... I am absolutely certain that my mode
 of biography, which gives not only a history of Johnson’s visible
 progress through the world, and of his publications, but a view of his
 mind in his letters and conversations, is the most perfect that can
 be conceived, and will be more of a life than any work that has ever
 yet appeared. I have been wretchedly dissipated, so that I have not
 written a line for a fortnight; but to-day I resume my pen, and shall
 labour vigorously.”

To Mr. Temple a further report is presented in January, 1789:—

 “I am now very near my rough draft of Johnson’s Life. On Saturday I
 finished the Introduction and Dedication to Sir Joshua, both of which
 had appeared very difficult to be accomplished. I am confident they
 are well done. Whenever I have completed the rough draft, by which I
 mean the work without nice correction, Malone and I are to prepare
 one-half perfectly, and then it goes to press, whence I hope to have
 it early in February, so as to be out by the end of May.”

After joining the English Bar, and establishing his headquarters in
London, Boswell rented inexpensive chambers near the law courts; but
in the winter of 1788-9 he removed to a house in Queen Anne Street
West, Cavendish Square. He was joined by his two sons, and his daughter
Veronica,—the sons attending an academy in Soho. His attendants were
“a butler and Scotch housekeeper,” whom he kept “on account of their
fidelity and moderate wages.”[85]

Mrs. Boswell made a trial of London, but soon returned to Auchinleck.
She disapproved her husband’s preference for the English Bar, and
feared that the fogs of London would prove injurious to her health.
She had been an asthmatic patient, and at the commencement of 1789 the
complaint returned in an aggravated form. Writing to Mr. Temple on
the 5th March, Boswell expresses himself deeply concerned about his
“valuable and affectionate wife,” but he feels that joining her in the
country would destroy the completion of the Life of Johnson, and remove
him from “the great whirl of the metropolis,” from which he hoped “in
time to have a capital prize.” He had visited Ayrshire at the close
of 1788, and there prosecuted an active canvass among his supposed
friends, the parliamentary freeholders. The visit and its prospective
results are thus detailed to Mr. Temple:—

  “_London, 10th January, 1789._

 “As to my canvass in my own county, I started in opposition to a
 junction between Lord Eglintoun and Sir Adam Fergusson, who were
 violent opponents, and whose coalition is as odious there as the Great
 One is to the nation. A few friends and real independent gentlemen
 early declared for me; three other noble lords, the Earls of Cassilis,
 Glencairn, and Dumfries, have lately joined and set up a nephew of the
 Earl of Cassilis: a Mr. John Whitefoord, who as yet stands as I do,
 will, I understand, make a bargain with this alliance. Supposing he
 does, the two great parties will be so poised that I shall have it in
 my power to cast the balance. If they are so piqued that either will
 rather give the seat to me than be beaten by the other, I may have it.
 Thus I stand, and I shall be firm. Should Lord Lonsdale give me a seat
 he would do well, but I have no claim upon him for it. In the matter
 of the regency he adds that he had ‘almost written one of his very
 warm popular pamphlets in favour of the Prince;’ but as Lord Lonsdale
 was ill, and he had no opportunity of learning his sentiments, he had
 ‘prudently refrained.’ He accuses Pitt of ‘behaving very ill,’ in
 neglecting him, and denounces Dundas ‘as a sad fellow in his private

Boswell returned to Ayrshire in April. Mrs. Boswell had written
that she was “wasting away,” and her physician was not hopeful of
her improvement. Her husband thus describes her condition to Mr.

 “I found,” he writes, “my dear wife as ill, or rather worse than
 I apprehended. The consuming hectic fever had preyed upon her
 incessantly during the winter and spring, and she was miserably
 emaciated and weak. The physician and surgeon-apothecary, whom she
 allows occasionally, though rarely, to visit her, told me fairly, as
 to a man able to support with firmness what they announced, that they
 had no hopes of her recovery, though she might linger they could not
 say how long.... No man ever had a higher esteem or a warmer love
 for a wife than I have for her. You will recollect, my Temple, how
 our marriage was the result of an attachment truly romantic; yet how
 painful is it to me to recollect a thousand instances of inconsistent
 conduct! I can justify,” he adds, “my removing to the great sphere of
 England upon a principle of laudable ambition, but the frequent scenes
 of what I must call dissolute conduct are inexcusable; and often and
 often, when she was very ill in London, have I been indulging in
 festivity with Sir Joshua Reynolds, Courtenay, Malone, &c., and have
 come home late and disturbed her repose.”

In these expressions of affection Boswell was sincere, but he would
have better indicated regret for past inattention to his suffering
helpmate if his conduct during her last illness had been more suited to
her condition. During the five weeks he remained at Auchinleck, he was,
according to his own acknowledgment, “repeatedly from home,” and both
“on these occasions, and when neighbours visited him, drank too much
wine.” Returning from a neighbour’s house in a state of inebriety, he
experienced an accident, the particulars of which he thus related to
Mr. Temple:—

 “On Saturday last, dining at a gentleman’s house where I was visiting
 for the first time, and was eager to obtain political influence; I
 drank so freely that, riding home in the dark without a servant, I
 fell from my horse and bruised my shoulder severely. Next morning I
 had it examined by a surgeon, who found no fracture or dislocation,
 but blooded me largely to prevent inflammation.”

The presence in Auchinleck House of one whose habits were so irregular,
and who had narrowly escaped death in a fit of drunkenness, was not
likely to soothe the dying gentlewoman. Some days after the occurrence
of his accident, Boswell was invited by a friend of Lord Lonsdale to
accompany his lordship in an early journey to London. Though still a
sufferer and in bed on account of his fall, he resolved to obey the
summons, and Mrs. Boswell “animated him to set out.” With his arm in
a sling he posted to Carlisle. Reaching Lowther Castle, he found Lord
Lonsdale “in no hurry to proceed on the London journey.” Meanwhile his
shoulder became more uneasy, the pain extending to the breast and over
the entire arm, so that he was unable to put on his clothes without

       *       *       *       *       *

Two weeks after he had reached London a letter from the Auchinleck
physician informed him that Mrs. Boswell was rapidly sinking. He at
once set out for Ayrshire, accompanied by his two sons, and, as he is
particular in relating, the journey was performed in “sixty-four hours
and a quarter.” On his arrival he found that Mrs. Boswell had died four
days before. In a letter to Mr. Temple, dated 3rd July, he wrote thus:—

 “I cried bitterly and upbraided myself for leaving her, for she would
 not have left me. This reflection, my dear friend, will, I fear,
 pursue me to my grave.... I could hardly bring myself to agree that
 the body should be removed, for it was still a consolation to me to
 go and kneel by it, and talk to my dear, dear Peggy.... Her funeral
 was remarkably well attended. There were nineteen carriages followed
 the hearse, and a large body of horsemen, and the tenants of all my
 lands. It is not customary in Scotland for a husband to attend a
 wife’s funeral, but I resolved, if I possibly could, to do her the
 last honours myself; and I was able to go through it very decently.
 I privately read the funeral service over her coffin in presence of
 my sons, and was relieved by that ceremony a good deal. On the Sunday
 after Mr. Dun delivered, almost _verbatim_, a few sentences which I
 sent him as a character of her.”

Boswell’s religious views were still unsettled. During his wife’s
illness he wrote to Mr. Temple, “What aid can my wife have from
religion, except a pious resignation to the great and good God? for
indeed she is too shrewd to receive the common topics; she is keen and
penetrating.” What “the common topics” were, belief in which Boswell
regarded with contempt, he has not informed us, and it might be
hazardous to conjecture.

The dissolution of Parliament expected in the spring of 1789 did not
occur, but the representation of Ayrshire became vacant in July, owing
to the acceptance of a public office by the sitting member, Colonel
Montgomerie. Obtaining intimation of the vacancy, Boswell, four weeks
a widower, hastened from London to Ayrshire to renew his claims. There
were two other candidates—Sir Adam Fergusson and Mr. John Whitefoord.
The former was chosen. Boswell informed Mr. Temple that “he would make
an admirable figure even if he should be unsuccessful.” He stood alone!

Since his failure at the English Bar, Boswell had been most energetic
in the pursuit of patronage. He rested his hopes on Mr. Dundas and Mr.
Pitt, but more especially on Mr. Burke and Lord Lonsdale. Concerning
the two former he thus communicated with Mr. Temple in the spring of
1789. After censuring Mr. Dundas for neglecting to promote his brother
David, he proceeds:—

 “As to myself, Dundas, though he _pledged himself_ (as the modern
 phrase is) to assist me in advancing in promotion, and though he
 last year assured me, upon his honour, that my letter concerning the
 Scottish judges made no difference; yet, except when I in a manner
 compelled him to dine with me last winter, he has entirely avoided
 me, and I strongly suspect has given Pitt a prejudice against me. The
 excellent Langton says it is disgraceful; it is utter folly in Pitt
 not to reward and attach to his administration a man of my popular
 and pleasant talents, whose merit he has acknowledged in a letter
 under his own hand. He did not answer several letters which I wrote
 at intervals, requesting to wait upon him; I lately wrote to him that
 such behaviour to me was certainly not generous. ‘I think it is not
 just, and (forgive the freedom) I doubt if it be wise. If I do not
 hear from you in ten days, I shall conclude that you are inclined
 to have no further communication with me; for I assure you, sir, I
 am extremely unwilling to give you, or indeed myself, unnecessary
 trouble.’ About two months have elapsed, and _he has made no sign_.
 How can I still delude myself with dreams of rising in the great
 sphere of life.”

Mr. Burke knew Boswell’s good qualities, and had sought to befriend
him. In 1782 he recommended him for employment to General Conway,[88]
though without success. Boswell still hoped to obtain a post through
his influence, and not infrequently reminded him that he was unprovided
for. To Mr. Temple, in March, 1789, he describes Mr. Burke in these

 “I cannot help thinking with you that Pitt is the ablest and most
 useful minister of any of those whom we know; yet I am not sure that
 after the _pericula_ which should give caution, others (and amongst
 them Burke, whom I visited yesterday, and found as ably philosophical
 in political disquisition as ever) might not do as well; and if he has
 treated me unjustly in his stewardship for the public, and behaved
 with ungrateful insolence to my _patron_,[89] who first introduced
 him into public life, may I not warrantably arraign many articles,
 and great ones too, in his conduct which I can attack with forcible
 energy? At present I keep myself quiet, and wait till we see how
 things will turn out.”

While thus distrusting or despising his other patrons, Boswell rested
strongly on Lord Lonsdale. To Mr. Temple he communicated in March that
his lordship showed him “more and more regard.” He was his last star of
hope; but the setting was at hand.

Checked in his legal, political, and parliamentary aspirations, Boswell
began to devote some attention to family affairs. By his brother David
he was advised to return to Scotland, and there attend to the education
of his children. Concerning this proposal he remarks to Mr. Temple:—

 “Undoubtedly my having a house in Edinburgh would be best for them
 (the children); but, besides that my withdrawing thither would cut
 me off from all those chances which may in time raise me in life,
 I could not possibly endure Edinburgh now, unless I were to have a
 judge’s place to bear me up; and even then I should deeply sigh for
 the metropolis.”

He determined to remain in London. Plans for the disposal of his
children were, after much wavering, at length resolved upon. Alexander,
his eldest son, having “begun to oppose him,”[90] was removed from
Soho Academy to Eton. He was afterwards to be sent to the University
of Edinburgh, and latterly to Holland and Germany for the study
of civil law. James, the second son, described to Mr. Temple as
“an extraordinary boy, much of his father,” was to be educated as
a barrister. Meanwhile, being in his eleventh year, he was to be
continued at the Soho school. Veronica, the eldest daughter, was kept
in London under the charge of Mrs. Buchanan, a widow. Euphemia, the
second daughter, was sent to a boarding-school in Edinburgh; and
Elizabeth, the youngest, was placed in an educational institution at
Ayr. By thus dispersing the members of his family, Boswell secured
himself against any interference with his habits. For his children the
arrangement was salutary, since they could not have profited by the
exhibition of his weaknesses.

Amidst incessant place-hunting and a round of social indulgences,
the “Life of Johnson” proceeded slowly. The public were meanwhile
entertained by Mrs. Piozzi’s Anecdotes.[91] This work and the “Life of
Johnson,” by Sir John Hawkins, seemed to satisfy general curiosity. The
latter work, which appeared in 1787, deeply mortified Boswell; he was
mentioned in it only once, and then as “Mr. James Boswell, a native
of Scotland.”[92] Indignation inspired him with energy. As specimens
of his forthcoming work, he issued in quarto form two portions of
its contents, with these titles:—“The Celebrated Letter from Samuel
Johnson, LL.D., to Philip Dormer Stanhope, Earl of Chesterfield, now
first published, with notes by James Boswell, Esq. London: Printed by
Henry Baldwin for Charles Dilly, in the Poultry, 1790. [Price Half a
Guinea.]” “A Conversation between His Most Sacred Majesty George III.
and Samuel Johnson, LL.D., illustrated with Observations by James
Boswell, Esq. London: Printed by Henry Baldwin for Charles Dilly, in
the Poultry, 1790. [Price Half a Guinea.]”

The former of these _fasciculi_ occupied four, and the latter eight
quarto pages. Intimating to Mr. Temple that “a part of his _magnum
opus_ was ready for the press,” he added that Hawkins should not be
spared. His labours were interrupted by Mrs. Boswell’s illness and
his return to inebriate habits. On the 28th November he wrote to Mr.

 “Let me first address you from Cato:—

              ‘Thou best of friends,
  Pardon a weak distemper’d soul that swells,
  In sudden gusts, and sinks again in calms.’

 Your last letter supposes too truly my situation. With grief
 continually at my heart, I have been endeavouring to seek relief
 in dissipation and in wine, so that my life for some time past has
 been unworthy of myself, of you, and of all that is valuable in my
 character and connections. For a week past, as the common phrase is,
 ‘I have taken up,’ and by a more regular and quiet course find myself,
 I think, rather better.”

As in the case of his “Tour to the Hebrides,” Boswell submitted each
successive chapter of the “Life of Johnson” to the revision of Mr.
Malone. In his letter to Mr. Temple of the 28th November he remarks:—

 “The revision of my ‘Life of Johnson’ by so acute and knowing a critic
 as Mr. Malone is of most essential consequence, especially as he is
 _Johnsonianissimus_; and as he is to hasten to Ireland as soon as
 his Shakspere[93] is fairly published, I must avail myself of him
 _now_. His hospitality and my other invitations, and particularly
 my attendance at Lord Lonsdale’s, have lost us many evenings; but I
 reckon that a third of the work is settled, so that I shall get to
 press very soon. You cannot imagine what labour, what perplexity,
 what vexation I have endured in arranging a prodigious multiplicity
 of materials, in supplying omissions, in searching for papers, buried
 in different masses, and all this besides the exertion of composing
 and polishing. Many a time have I thought of giving it up. However,
 though I shall be uneasily sensible of its many deficiencies, it
 will certainly be to the world a very valuable and peculiar volume
 of biography, full of literary and characteristical anecdotes (which
 word, by the way, Johnson always condemned, as used in the sense that
 the French, and we from them, use it, as signifying particulars), told
 with authenticity, and in a lively manner. Would that it were in the
 booksellers’ shops! Methinks, if I had this _magnum opus_ launched,
 the public has no further claim upon me; for I have promised no more,
 and I may die in peace, or retire into dull obscurity, _reddarque

Writing to Mr. Temple on the 8th February, 1790, Boswell thus reports

 “I am within a short walk of Mr. Malone, who revises my ‘Life of
 Johnson’ with me. We have not yet gone over quite a half of it, but
 it is at last fairly in the press. I intended to have printed it upon
 what is called an _English_ letter, which would have made it look
 better; but upon calculation it would have made two quarto volumes,
 and two quarto volumes for one life would have appeared exorbitant,
 though in truth it is a view of much of the literature, and many of
 the literary men of Great Britain for more than half a century. I have
 therefore taken a smaller type, called _Pica_, and even upon that I
 am afraid its bulk will be very large. It is curious to observe how a
 printer calculates; he arranges a number of pages, and the words in
 them at different parts of the ‘copy’ (as the MS. is called), and so
 finds the number of words. Mine here are four hundred and one thousand
 six hundred. Does not this frighten you. By printing a page the number
 of words it holds is discovered; and by dividing the sum-total of
 words by that number we get the number of pages. Mine will be eight
 hundred. I think it will be, without exception, the most entertaining
 book you ever read. I cannot be done with printing before the end of

In excellent terms with himself, and rejoicing in his literary
aptitude, he thus addresses Mr. Temple on the 13th February:—

 “I dine in a different company almost every day, at least scarcely
 ever twice running in the same company, so that I have fresh
 accessions of ideas. I drink with Lord Lonsdale one day; the next I am
 quiet in Malone’s elegant study revising my Life of Johnson, of which
 I have high expectations, both as to fame and profit. I surely have
 the art of writing agreeably. The Lord Chancellor[94] told me he had
 read every word of my Hebridean Journal; he could not help it.”

On the 4th December Boswell addressed Mr. Malone:[95]—

 “The _magnum opus_ advances. I have revised p. 216. The additions
 which I have received are a Spanish quotation from Mr. Cambridge, an
 account of Johnson at Warley Camp from Mr. Langton, and Johnson’s
 letters to Mr. Hastings—three in all,—one of them long and
 admirable; but what sets the diamonds in pure gold of Ophir is a
 letter from Mr. Hastings to me, illustrating them and their writer. I
 had this day the honour of a long visit from the late Governor-General
 of India. There is to be no more impeachment. But you will see his
 character nobly vindicated, depend upon this.”

Though still ambitious of professional advancement, Boswell began to
dread the merriment of the Circuit mess, promoted too frequently at
his personal cost. On the plea of saving £50, and “avoiding rough,
unpleasant company,” he informed Mr. Temple in February, 1789, that
he would omit the spring Northern Circuit. In August he communicated
to the same correspondent that he had proceeded to Lord Lonsdale’s
with the intention of joining the autumn Circuit at Carlisle; but
that considering his “late severe loss,” and “the rough scenes of the
roaring, bantering society of lawyers,” he preferred to remain at
Lowther Castle. At the castle he was subjected to a practical jest,
which as an annoying incident he thus describes to Mr. Temple:—

 “A strange accident happened; the house at Lowther was so crowded
 that I and two other gentlemen were laid in one room. On Thursday
 morning my wig was missing; a strict search was made, all in vain. I
 was obliged to go all day in my night-cap, and absent myself from a
 party of ladies and gentlemen who went and dined with the Earl on the
 banks of the lake,—a piece of amusement which I was glad to shun,
 as well as a dance which they had at night. But I was in a ludicrous
 situation. I suspected a wanton trick which some people think witty;
 but I thought it very ill-timed to one in my situation. Next morning
 the Earl and a colonel, who I thought might have concealed my wig,
 declared to me, upon honour they did not know where it was; and the
 conjecture was that a clergyman who was in the room with me, and
 had packed up his portmanteau in a great hurry to set out in the
 morning early, might have put it up among his things. This is very
 improbable; but I could not long remain an object of laughter, so I
 went twenty-five miles to Carlisle on Tuesday, and luckily got a wig
 there fitted for me in a few hours.”

On the 13th October Boswell informed Mr. Temple that on lately visiting
Lowther Castle he received back his wig. “The way in which it was
lost,” he adds, “will remain as secret as the author of Junius.”

Mr. Temple became urgent for repayment of a loan of £200, and in
obtaining the necessary means Boswell severely taxed his resources.
Referring to the debt, he assured his correspondent that he had, after
deducting family costs, a free income of not more than £350, and that
while he had been in straitened circumstances for twenty years, he
dreaded that his embarrassments would continue. In a letter dated 28th
November he returns to his pecuniary difficulties.

 “The state of my affairs is very disagreeable; but be not afraid of
 your £200, as you may depend upon its being repaid. My rent-roll
 is above £1,600; but deducting annuities, interest of debts, and
 expenses absolutely necessary at Auchinleck, I have but about £850
 to spend. I reckon my five children at £500 a year. You see what
 remains for myself.”... “I am this year to make one trial of the
 Lord Chancellor. In short, I cast about everywhere. I do not see the
 smallest opening in Westminster Hall; but I like the scene, though I
 have attended only one day this last term, being eager to get my ‘Life
 of Johnson’ finished. And the delusion that practice may come at any
 time (which is certainly true) still possesses me.” He adds, “I have
 given up my house, and taken good chambers in the Inner Temple, to
 have the appearance of a lawyer. O Temple! Temple! is this realizing
 any of the towering hopes which have so often been the subject of our
 conversation and letters? Yet I live much with a great man, who, upon
 any day that his fancy shall be so inclined, may obtain for me an
 office which would make me independent.”

Boswell could cherish no reasonable hope of professional advancement,
save through the patronage of Lord Lonsdale. And the recent escapade
at Lowther Castle might have shown him that sentiments of respect were
unassociated with his lordship’s friendship. What he could not perceive
in August, 1789, was made sufficiently plain in the following June. The
narrative must be presented in his own words. Writing from Carlisle to
Mr. Temple on the 21st June, 1790, he proceeds:—

 “At no period during our long friendship have I been more unhappy
 than at present. The day on which I was obliged to set out from
 London I had no time allowed me after a most shocking conversation
 with Lord Lonsdale, and I hastened home in hopes of finding you,
 but you were gone out. It was to inform you that upon his seeing
 me by no means in good humour, he challenged it roughly, and said,
 ‘I suppose you thought I was to bring you into Parliament. I never
 had any such intention.’ In short, he expressed himself in the most
 degrading manner, in presence of a low man from Carlisle, and one
 of his menial servants. The miserable state of low spirits I had,
 as you too well know, laboured under for some time before made me
 almost sink under such unexpected insulting behaviour. He insisted
 rigorously on my having solicited the office of Recorder of Carlisle;
 and that I could not, without using him ill resign it until the
 duties which were now required of it were fulfilled, and without a
 sufficient time being given for the election of a successor. Thus was
 I dragged away as wretched as a convict; and in my fretfulness I used
 such expressions as excited him almost to fury, so that he used such
 expressions towards me that I should have, according to the irrational
 laws of honour sanctioned by the world, been under the necessity of
 risking my life, had not an explanation taken place.... I am down at
 an inn, in wretched spirits, and ashamed and sunk on account of the
 disappointment of hopes which led me to endure such grievances. I
 deserve all that I suffer. I may be kept hanging on for weeks, till
 the election and Midsummer Sessions are over; and I am at the same
 time distracted what to do in my own county, as to the state of which
 I expect letters every day. I am quite in a fever. O my old and most
 intimate friend, what a shocking state am I now reduced to! I entreat
 of you, if you possibly can, to afford me some consolation, directed
 to me here, and pray do not divulge my mortification. I will endeavour
 to appear indifferent; and as I now resign my Recordership, I shall
 gradually get rid of all communication with this brutal fellow.”

In Boswell’s correspondence Lord Lonsdale’s name only reappears once.
Writing to Mr. Temple on the 21st July, he remarks, “I parted from
the northern tyrant in a strange equivocal state, for he was half
irritated, half reconciled; but I promise you I shall keep myself quite
independent of him.”

Parliament was dissolved in July, and Boswell proposed once more
to offer his services to the Ayrshire constituency. He ultimately
determined more wisely, remarking to Mr. Temple that “he did not go to
Ayrshire, finding that he could only show how small a party he had.”

Amidst these distractions, Boswell found leisure warmly to interest
himself in two objects to which he had pledged his support. The
first of these was to obtain subscribers for two volumes of sermons,
published by his former tutor and early friend, Mr. John Dun, parish
minister of Auchinleck.[96] In these volumes the reverend author
attempted to ridicule the poet Burns. The following verses, a parody
on the bard’s “Address to the Deil,” were regarded by Boswell without


  “So zealous Robin, stout an’ fell,
  True champion for the cause o’ hell,
  Thou beats the righteous down pell mell,
                Sae frank and frothy,
  That o’ a seat where devils dwell,
                There’s nane mair worthy.

         *       *       *       *       *

  “Thou does as weel’s could be expectit,
  O’ ane wha’s wit lay long neglectet;
  Some _godly folk_ your rhyme, I trow,
                Ca’ worthless blether;
  But be na feart, ye’s get your due,
                When we forgather.

         *       *       *       *       *

  “In hell when I read o’er your sang,
  Where rhymes come thun’ring wi’ a bang,
  Quoth I, trouth I’s see Rab or lang,
                An’ that’s be seen.
  Giff Nick should on me ride the stang
                To Aberdeen.”

Mr. Dun’s work was still-born. In a letter to Mr. Temple, Boswell
regrets that his friend would, by his performance, be “a sad loser.”

While thus abetting the ridicule of the Ayrshire poet, Boswell’s other
enterprize was more creditable. He gave assistance in raising funds for
a monument to Dr. Johnson in Westminster Abbey. To this undertaking he
thus refers in a letter to Mr. Temple, dated the 28th November, 1789:—

 “Last Sunday I dined with him (Malone), with Sir Joshua Reynolds, Sir
 Joseph Banks, Mr. Metcalfe, Mr. Windham, Mr. Courtenay, and young Mr.
 Burke, being a select number of Dr. Johnson’s friends, to settle as to
 effectual measures for having a monument erected to him in Westminster
 Abbey; it is to be a whole-length statue of him, by Bacon, which will
 cost £600. Sir Joshua and Sir William Scott, his executors, are to
 send circular letters to a number of people, of whom we make a list,
 as supposing they will contribute. Several of us subscribed five
 guineas each, Sir Joshua and Metcalfe ten guineas each, Courtenay and
 young Burke two guineas each. Will you not be one of us, were it but
 for one guinea? We expect that the Bench of Bishops will be liberal,
 as he was the greatest supporter of the hierarchy. That venerable
 sound brings to my mind the ruffians of France, who are attempting
 to destroy all order, ecclesiastical and civil. The present state
 of that country is an intellectual earthquake, a whirlwind, a mad
 insurrection, without any immediate cause, and therefore we see to
 what a horrible anarchy it tends.”

The subject of the monument is resumed in Boswell’s letter to Mr.
Temple, dated 8th February, 1790:—

 “You will have seen that Johnson’s friends have been exerting
 themselves for his monument, which is to cost six hundred guineas. We
 have now near to £400 of the money. Can we have no Cornish coin? I
 wish you could assist us in your neighbourhood. As your character of
 Gray was adopted by him it would appear well if you sent two guineas.
 We shall have a great dispute as to the epitaph. Flood, the orator,
 though a distinguished scholar, says it should be in English, as
 a compliment to Johnson’s having perpetuated our language; he has
 compressed his opinion in these lines:—

  “No need of Latin, or of Greek to grace
    Our Johnson’s memory and inscribe his grave;
  His native tongue demands this mournful space,
    To pay the immortality he gave.”

Johnson’s monument in Westminster Abbey was erected in 1796 at the
cost of eleven hundred guineas; it was inscribed with a Latin epitaph
composed by Dr. Parr. Mr. Temple’s name does not appear among the

With the entire prostration of his political and professional
expectations, Boswell relapsed into melancholy. In a letter to Mr.
Temple dated 21st July he expresses himself in this earnest manner:—

 “Surely, my dear friend, there must be another world in which such
 beings as we are will have our misery compensated. But is not this a
 state of probation? and if it is, how awful is the consideration! I am
 struck with your question, ‘Have you confidence in the Divine aid?’ In
 truth I am sensible that I do not sufficiently ‘_try_ my ways’ as the
 Psalmist says, and am ever almost inclined to think with you _that_ my
 great _oracle Johnson did allow too much credit to good principles,
 without good practice_.”

In this passage Dr. Johnson’s sentiments on practical religion are
strangely perverted. Had not the great moralist warned his companion
against vanity and self-deceit, and the substitution of good intentions
for the active practice of virtue? In the autumn of 1790, Boswell’s
intemperance was excessive. On the 4th December, he wrote to Mr. Malone
in these words:—

 “On the day after your departure, that most friendly fellow
 Courtenay[97] (begging the pardon of an M.P. for so free an epithet)
 called on me, and took my word and honour that, till the 1st of March,
 my allowance of wine per diem should not exceed four good glasses
 at dinner, and a pint after it; and this I have kept, though I have
 dined with Jack Wilkes; at the London Tavern, after the launch of an
 Indiaman with dear Edwards; Dilly; at home with Courtenay; Dr. Barrow;
 at the mess of the Coldstream; at the Club; at Warren Hastings’;
 at Hawkins the Cornish member’s; and at home with a colonel of the
 guards, &c. This regulation, I assure you, is of essential advantage
 in many respects.”

Like the vow under “the solemn yew” at Mamhead, the word of honour
pledged to Mr. Courtenay was soon forgotten. On the 25th February,
1791, Boswell wrote to Mr. Malone as follows:—

 “Your friendly admonition as to excess in wine has been often too
 applicable; but upon this late occasion I erred on the other side.
 However as I am now free from my restriction to Courtenay I shall be
 much upon my guard; for, to tell the truth, I did go too deep the day
 before yesterday, having dined with Michael Angelo Taylor, and then
 supped at the London Tavern with the stewards of the Humane Society.”

In his letter of the 4th December, Boswell affirms that his promise
of sobriety extended till the 1st of March; he reports on the 25th of
February, that the term had closed! His melancholy had returned. On the
7th of February Mr. Temple was addressed thus:—

 “Before this time you have been informed of my having had a most
 miserable return of bad spirits. Not only have I had a total distaste
 of life, but have been perpetually gnawed by a kind of mental fever.
 It is really shocking that human nature is liable to such inexplicable
 distress. Oh, my friend, what can I do? * * * Your observation in a
 former letter, as to time being measured not only by days and years,
 but by an advancement in life, is new and striking, and is brought
 home to us both, especially to me, who have obtained no advancement
 whatever; but let me not harass you with my complaints.”

In his next letter to Mr. Temple, written on the 2nd of April, Boswell
further expatiates on his melancholy. He writes:—

 “Your kindness to me fairly makes me shed tears. Alas! I fear that my
 constitutional melancholy, which returns in such dismal fits, and is
 now aggravated by the loss of my valuable wife, must prevent me from
 any permanent felicity in this life. I snatch gratifications, but
 have no comfort, at least very little; yet your encouraging letters
 make me think at times that I may yet, by God’s blessing, attain to
 a portion of happiness, such as philosophy and religion concur in
 assuring us that this state of progressive being allows. I get bad
 rest in the night, and then I brood over all my complaints, the sickly
 mind which I have had from my early years—the disappointment of my
 hopes of success in life—the irrevocable separation between me and
 that excellent woman, who was my cousin, my friend and my wife; the
 embarrassment of my affairs—the disadvantage to my children in having
 so wretched a father—nay, the want of absolute certainty of being
 happy after death, the _sure prospect_ of which is frightful.”

Within a few months after sustaining that bereavement, which he still
deplored, Boswell contemplated the repair of his shattered fortunes by
contracting a second marriage. While in the North he wrote Mr. Temple
in July, 1790. “I got such accounts of the lady of fortune, whose
reputation you heard something of, that I was quite determined to make
no advances. Whether I shall take any such step I doubt much. The loss
I have experienced is perpetually recurring.”

Boswell resolved closely to watch his opportunity. His letter to Mr.
Temple of the 2nd April, 1791, contains the following:—

 “I am to dine with Sir William Scott, the King’s Advocate, at the
 Commons to-morrow, and shall have a serious consultation with him, as
 he has always encouraged me. It is to be a family party, where I am
 to meet Miss Bagnal (his lady’s sister) who may probably have six or
 seven hundred a year. She is about seven and twenty, and he tells me
 lively and gay—a Ranelagh girl—but of excellent principles, insomuch
 that she reads prayers to the servants in her father’s family every
 Sunday evening. ‘Let me see such a woman,’ cried I; and accordingly
 I am to see her. She has refused young and fine gentlemen. ‘Bravo,’
 cried I, ‘we see then what her taste is.’ Here then I am, my Temple,
 my flattering self! A scheme—an adventure seizes my fancy. Perhaps
 I may not like her; and what should I do with such a companion,
 unless she should really take a particular liking to me, which is
 surely not probable; and, as I am conscious of my distempered mind,
 could I _honestly_ persuade her to unite her fate with mine. As to my
 daughters, did I see a rational prospect of so good a scheme, I should
 not neglect it on their account, though I should certainly be liberal
 to them.”

Miss Bagnal’s name does not reappear. But he informs Mr. Temple on the
22nd of August that his matrimonial plans were still active:—

 “You must know,” he writes, “I have had several matrimonial schemes
 of late. I shall amuse you with them from Auchinleck. One was Miss
 Milles, daughter of the late Dean of Exeter, a most agreeable woman
 ‘_d’un certain âge_,’ and with a fortune of £10,000; she has left town
 for the summer. It was no small circumstance that she said to me, ‘Mr.
 Temple is a charming man.’”

The progress of Boswell’s _magnum opus_ has been traced to the 4th
December, 1790. On the 12th of that month the author wrote to Mr.

 “My work has met with a delay for a little while—not a whole day,
 however—by an unaccountable neglect in having paper enough in
 readiness. I have now before me p. 256. My utmost wish is to come
 forth on Shrove Tuesday (8th March).”

Mr. Malone was now in Ireland, and Boswell, in reporting to him the
progress of his undertaking, also communicated the miserable details of
his private embarrassments. In a letter to Mr. Malone, dated the 18th
January, 1791, he writes thus:—

 “I have been so disturbed by sad money matters that my mind has been
 quite fretful; £500 which I borrowed and lent to a first cousin, an
 unlucky captain of an Indiaman, were due on the 15th to a merchant in
 the city. I could not possibly raise that sum, and was apprehensive
 of being hardly used. He, however, indulged me with an allowance to
 make partial payments, £150 in two months, £150 in eight months, and
 the remainder, with the interests, in eighteen months. How I am to
 manage I am at a loss, and I know you cannot help me. So this, upon
 my honour, is no hint. I am really tempted to accept of the £1000 for
 my life of Johnson. Yet it would go to my heart to sell it at a price
 which I think much too low. Let me struggle and hope. I cannot be out
 on Shrove Tuesday as I flattered myself. P. 376 of Vol. II. is ordered
 for the press, and I expect another proof to-night. But I have yet
 near 200 pages of copy, besides letters, and _the death_, which is not
 yet written.”

Writing to Mr. Malone on the 29th January, Boswell makes these
deplorable revelations:—

 “I have for some weeks had the most woeful return of melancholy,
 insomuch that I have not only had no relish of anything, but a
 continual uneasiness and all the prospect before me for the rest
 of life has seemed gloomy and hopeless. The state of my affairs is
 exceedingly embarrassed. I mentioned to you that the £500 which I
 borrowed several years ago and lent to a first cousin, an unfortunate
 India captain, must now be paid; £150 on the 18th of March, £150 on
 the 18th October, and £257 15s. 6d. on the 18th July, 1792. This
 debt presses upon my mind, and it is uncertain if I shall ever get a
 shilling of it again. The clear money on which I can reckon out of my
 estate is scarcely £900 a year. What can I do? My grave brother urges
 me to quit London and live at my seat in the country, where he thinks
 that I might be able to save so as gradually to relieve myself. But,
 alas! I should be _absolutely_ miserable. In the meantime such are
 my projects and sanguine expectations, that you know I purchased an
 estate which was given long ago to a younger son of our family, and
 came to be sold last autumn, and paid for it £2500, £1500 of which I
 borrow upon itself by a mortgage. But the remaining £1000 I cannot
 conceive a possibility of raising, but by the mode of annuity which
 is I believe a very heavy disadvantage. I own it was imprudent in me
 to make a clear purchase at a time when I was sadly straitened, but
 if I had missed the opportunity it never again would have occurred,
 and I should have been vexed to see an ancient appanage, a piece
 of, as it were, the flesh and blood of the family in the hands of a
 stranger. And now that I have made the purchase I should feel myself
 quite despicable should I give it up. In this situation, then, my
 dear sir, would it not be wise in me to accept 1000 guineas for my
 Life of Johnson, supposing the person who made the offer should now
 stand to it, which I fear may not be the case; for two volumes may be
 considered as a disadvantageous circumstance. Could I indeed raise
 £1000 upon the credit of the work, I should incline to _game_, as Sir
 Joshua says, because it may produce double the money, though Steevens
 _kindly_ tells me that I have over printed, and that the curiosity
 about Johnson is _now_ only in our own circle. Pray decide for me;
 and if, as I suppose, you are for my taking the offer inform me with
 whom I am to treat. In my present state of spirits I am all timidity.
 Your absence has been a severe shake to me. I am at present quite at
 a loss what to do.... I have now desired to have but one compositor.
 Indeed, I go sluggishly and comfortlessly about my work. As I pass
 your door I cast many a longing look.... We had a numerous club on
 Tuesday; I in the chair, quoting Homer and Fielding, &c. to the
 astonishment of Jo. Warton, who with Langton and Seward eat a plain
 bit with me in my new house last Saturday.”

On the 10th February, Boswell informed Mr. Malone that he had invested
£16 8s. in a lottery ticket, and that instead of obtaining £5000 had
drawn a blank. He proceeds:—

 “Oh, could I but get a few thousands, what a difference would it make
 upon my state of mind, which is harassed by thinking of my debts! I am
 anxious to have your determination as to my _magnum opus_. I am very
 unwilling to part with the property of it, and certainly would not,
 if I could but get credit for £1000 for three or four years. Could
 you not assist me in that way, on the security of the book, and of
 an assignment to one half of my rents, £700, which, upon my honour,
 are always due, and would be forthcoming in the case of my decease. I
 _will_ not sell till I have your answer as to this.”

Mr. Malone did not reply. On the 25th Boswell made a new proposal.
After referring to a severe attack of melancholy which had lately
oppressed him, he proceeds:—

 “I am in a distressing perplexity how to decide as to the property of
 my book. You must know that I am certainly informed that a certain
 person, who delights in mischief, has been depreciating it, so that
 I fear the sale of it may be very dubious. _Two quartos_ and _two
 guineas_ sound in an alarming manner. I believe in my present frame
 I should accept even of £500, for I suspect that were I now to talk
 to Robinson, I should find him not disposed to give £1000. Did he
 absolutely offer it, or did he only express himself so as that you
 _concluded_ he would give it? The pressing circumstance is that I must
 lay down £1000 by the 1st of May on account of the purchase of land,
 which my old family enthusiasm urged me to make. You, I doubt not,
 have full confidence in my honesty. May I then ask you if you could
 venture to join with me in a bond for that sum, as then I would take
 my chance, and as Sir Joshua says, Game with my book? Upon my honour,
 your telling me that you cannot comply with what I propose will not
 in the least surprise me, or make any manner of difference as to my
 opinion of your friendship. I mean to ask Sir Joshua if he will join;
 for, indeed, I should be vexed to sell my _magnum opus_ for a great
 deal less than its intrinsic value. I meant to publish on Shrove
 Tuesday, but if I can get out within the month of March I shall be

Sir Joshua Reynolds and Mr. Malone both declined pecuniary
responsibility, but Boswell was nevertheless relieved from his
embarrassments. He obtained in Scotland a loan of £600 on the credit
of his rents, and Dilly and Baldwin made an advance on the credit of
his book. Writing to Mr. Malone on the 8th March, he excuses that
gentleman’s unwillingness to incur monetary risk, and elated in having
overcome the pressure of his creditors, he resolves to keep the
property of his book, “believing that he should not _repent_ it.” There
is a new grievance:—

 “You would observe,” he writes, “some stupid lines on Mr. Burke
 in the ‘Oracle’ by _Mr. Boswell_. I instantly wrote to Mr. Burke,
 expressing my indignation at such impertinence, and had next morning
 a most obliging answer. Sir William Scott told me I could have no
 legal redress. So I went _civilly_ to Bell, and he promised to mention
 _handsomely_ that _James Boswell_, Esq., was not the author of the
 lines. The note, however, on the subject, was a second impertinence.
 But I can do nothing. I wish Fox, in his bill upon libels, would make
 a heavy penalty the consequence of forging any person’s name to any
 composition, which in reality such a trick amounts to.”

Four days after conveying to Mr. Malone the tidings of his his
deliverance from pecuniary troubles, Boswell condoles with his friend,
in his lottery ticket having drawn a blank, since had a prize turned
up, he would have expected the accommodation of a loan! He proceeds:—

 “As it is, I shall, as I wrote to you, be enabled to weather my
 difficulties for some time; but I am still in great anxiety about
 the sale of my book. I find so many people shake their heads at the
 _two quartos_ and _two guineas_. Courtenay is clear that I should
 sound Robinson and accept of a thousand guineas, if he will give
 that sum. Meantime, the title-page must be made as good as may be.
 It appears to me that mentioning his studies, works, conversations,
 and letters, is not sufficient; and I would suggest comprehending an
 account, in chronological order, of his studies, works, friendships,
 acquaintances, and other particulars; his conversation with eminent
 men; a series of his letters to various persons; also several original
 pieces of his compositions never before published. The whole, &c. You
 will probably be able to assist me in expressing my idea and arranging
 the parts. In the advertisement I intend to mention the letter to Lord
 Chesterfield, and perhaps the interview with the King, and the names
 of the correspondents, in alphabetical order.... Do you know that my
 bad spirits are returned upon me to a certain degree; and such is
 the sickly fondness for change of place, and imagination of relief,
 that I sometimes think you are happier by being in Dublin, than one
 is in this great metropolis, where hardly any man cares for another.
 I am persuaded I should relish your Irish dinners very much. I have
 at length got chambers in the Temple, in the very staircase where
 Johnson lived, and when my _magnum opus_ is fairly launched, then
 shall I make a trial.”

In his letter to Mr. Temple of the 2nd April, Boswell refers to his
forthcoming work in these terms:—

 “My ‘Life of Johnson’ is at last drawing to a close. I am correcting
 the last sheet.... I really hope to publish it on the 25th current....
 I am at present in such bad spirits that I have every fear concerning
 it—that I may get no profit, nay, may lose—that the public may be
 disappointed, and think that I have done it poorly—that I may make
 many enemies, and even have quarrels. But, perhaps, the very reverse
 of all this may happen.”

Boswell adds in reference to his professional aspirations:—

 “When my book is launched I shall, if I am alone and in tolerable
 health and spirits, have some furniture put into my chambers in the
 Temple, and force myself to sit there some hours a day, and to attend
 regularly in Westminster Hall. The chambers cost me £20 yearly, and I
 may reckon furniture and a lad to attend them occasionally £20 more. I
 doubt whether I shall get fees equal to the expense.”

On the 19th April, Boswell thus wrote to his friend Mr. Dempster:—

 “We must not entirely lose sight of one another, or rather, we must
 not suffer ‘out of sight out of mind’ to be applicable to two such
 old friends, who have always lived pleasantly together, though
 of principles directly opposite.... I some time ago resigned my
 Recordership of Carlisle. I perceived that no advantage would accrue
 from it. I could satisfy you in _conversation_ that I was right. The
 melancholy event of losing my valuable wife will, I fear, never allow
 me to have real comfort. You cannot imagine how it hangs upon my
 spirits; yet I can talk and write, and, in short, _force myself_ to
 a wonderful degree. I enclose you a poem which I have published upon
 a subject on which I never heard your sentiments, but I could lay
 my life you are one of the pretty theorists; however, you will have
 candour enough to allow that I have _worked_ well. I have a good house
 in Great Portland Street. My two eldest daughters live with me; my
 youngest is at a boarding-school at Chelsea; my eldest son is at Eton;
 my second at Westminster. I am sadly straitened in my circumstances; I
 can but _exist_ as to _expense_; but they are so good to me here that
 I have a full share of the metropolitan advantages.

 “My _magnum opus_, the ‘Life of Dr. Johnson,’ in two volumes, quarto,
 is to be published on Monday, 16th May. It is too great a book to be
 given in presents, as I gave my ‘Tour,’ so you must not expect one,
 though you yourself form a part of its multifarious contents. I really
 think it will be the most entertaining collection that has appeared
 in this age. When it is fairly launched, I mean to stick close to
 Westminster Hall, and it will be truly kind if you recommend me
 appeals or causes of any sort.”

Boswell’s poem on the Slave-trade, to which he refers, was either at
once withdrawn from circulation, or was, on his decease, suppressed by
his family. It is unknown to bibliographers. The “Life of Johnson,”
in two quarto volumes, was issued about the middle of May from the
publishing house of Mr. Charles Dilly. The title-page, which the author
had laboured to render attractive, was thus inscribed:—

 “The Life of Samuel Johnson, LL.D., comprehending an Account of his
 Studies and numerous Works, in chronological order; a series of
 his Epistolary Correspondence and Conversations with many eminent
 persons; and various Original Pieces of his composition, never before
 published. The whole exhibiting a view of literature and literary
 men in Great Britain, for more than half a century, during which he
 flourished, in two volumes, by James Boswell, Esq. 2 vols., 4to.
 London: Printed by Thomas Baldwin for Charles Dilly, in the Poultry,

The following passages from the Dedication to Sir Joshua Reynolds are
characteristic of the writer:—

 “If there be a pleasure in celebrating the distinguished merit of a
 contemporary mixed with a certain degree of vanity not altogether
 inexcusable in appearing fully sensible of it, where can I find one
 in complimenting whom I can with more general approbation gratify
 those feelings.” Referring to his Tour to the Hebrides, the author
 proceeds: “In one respect this work will in some passages be
 different from the former. In my ‘Tour’ I was almost unboundedly open
 in my communications; and from my eagerness to display the wonderful
 fertility and readiness of Johnson’s wit, freely showed to the world
 its dexterity even when I was myself the object of it. I trusted that
 I should be liberally understood as knowing very well what I was
 about, and by no means as simply unconscious of the pointed effects
 of the satire. I own indeed that I was arrogant enough to suppose
 that the tenor of the rest of the book would sufficiently guard me
 against such a strange imputation. But it seems I judged too well
 of the world; for, though I could scarcely believe it, I have been
 undoubtedly informed that many persons especially in distant quarters,
 not penetrating enough into Johnson’s character, so as to understand
 his mode of treating his friends, have arraigned my judgment instead
 of seeing that I was sensible of all that they could observe. It is
 related of the great Dr. Clarke that when, in one of his leisure
 hours, he was unbending himself with a few friends in the most playful
 and frolicksome manner, he observed Beau Nash approaching, upon which
 he suddenly stopped. ‘My boys (said he) let us be grave; here comes
 a fool.’ The world, my friend, I have found to be a great fool, as
 to that particular on which it has become necessary to speak very
 plainly. I have therefore in this work been more reserved; and though
 I tell nothing but the truth, I have still kept in my mind that
 the whole truth is not always to be exposed. This, however, I have
 managed so as to occasion no diminution of the pleasure which my book
 should afford, though malignity may sometimes be disappointed of its

In this manner Boswell disposes of Dr. Wolcott and the other satirists
who had made merry at his “Tour.” Though published at the price of
two guineas, the success of the “Life” was immediate. It was eagerly
sought after, and everywhere read. Even those who were indifferent
about Johnson, and who despised his biographer, added the work to their
library, and were amused by its _chit chat_.[98] Writing to Mr. Temple
on the 22nd August, Boswell reported that twelve hundred copies were
in circulation, and that he expected that the entire impression of
seventeen hundred copies would be sold before Christmas. By the success
of his work he was induced to cherish renovated hope; he again dreamed
of professional employment. In his letter to Mr. Temple of the 22nd
August he writes:—

 “I have gone the full round of the Home Circuit, to which I have
 returned, finding it much more pleasant; and though I did not get a
 single brief do not repent of the expense, as I am showing myself
 desirous of business and imbibing legal knowledge.”

On the 22nd November he informed Mr. Temple that he kept chambers open
in the Temple; and attended in Westminster Hall; but had not the least
prospect of business.

After attending Westminster Hall for two years Boswell was employed in
a case of appeal to the House of Peers. He had no other brief. In the
autumn of 1791 he resided several weeks at Auchinleck. Returning to
London in November he thus reported himself to his friend at Mamhead:—

 “I had a very unhappy time in Ayrshire. My house at Auchinleck seemed
 deserted and melancholy; and it brought upon my mind, with unusual
 force, the recollection of my having lost my dear and valuable wife.
 My London spirits were soon exhausted; I sank into languor and gloom;
 I found myself very unfit to transact business with my tenants, or,
 indeed, with anybody. To escape from what I felt at Auchinleck I
 visited a good deal, but alas! I could not escape from myself: in
 short, you may see that I was exceedingly ill. I hoped to be restored
 when I got to London, but my depression of spirits has continued,
 and still, though I go into jovial scenes, I feel no pleasure in
 existence, except the mere gratification of the senses. Oh, my
 friend, this is sad. I have imagined that I was quite unable to write
 a letter.... My spirits have been still more sunk by seeing Sir Joshua
 Reynolds almost as low as myself. He has for more than two months past
 had a pain in his blind eye, the effect of which has been to occasion
 a weakness in the other, and he broods over the dismal apprehension
 of becoming quite blind.... I force myself to be a great deal with
 him, to do what is in my power to amuse him.... This is a desponding,
 querulous letter, which I have wished these several weeks to write.
 Pray try to do me some good.”

Boswell’s correspondence with Mr. Temple in 1792 has, one short note
excepted, not been preserved. It is probable that most of his spare
hours were devoted to the revision of his “Life of Johnson,” of which
the second edition appeared in the following year.

In October, 1792, the parish of Auchinleck became vacant by the death
of Mr. Dun. Though upholding as part of his _patriotic_ creed, that
with negroes abroad the unlanded population at home should be denied
political or other privileges, Boswell was not unwilling to obtain
acceptance with the common people. As patron of Auchinleck parish he
assured the parishioners that he would consult their wishes in planting
the vacant cure. On this subject he thus communicated with Mr. Temple
on the 26th February, 1793:—

 “I am within a few hours of setting out for Auchinleck, honest David
 having secured me a place in the Carlisle coach to Ferry Bridge that
 I may have an opportunity to stop should I be too much fatigued. It
 is quite right that I should now go down. The choice of a minister to
 a worthy parish is a matter of very great importance, and I cannot
 be sure of the real wishes of the people without being present.
 Only think, Temple, how serious a duty I am about to discharge! I,
 James Boswell, Esq.—you know what vanity that name includes—I
 have promised to come down on purpose, and his honour’s goodness
 is gratefully acknowledged. Besides, I have several matters of
 consequence to my estate to adjust; and though the journey will no
 doubt be uncomfortable, and my being alone in that house where once
 I was so happy, be dreary in a woeful degree, the consciousness of
 duty, and being busy, will I hope support me. I shall write to you, my
 friend, from my seat. I am to be there only about three weeks.”

Soon after his arrival in Ayrshire, Boswell presented to the vacant
living Mr. John Lindsay, a probationer from Edinburgh. The appointment
was not distasteful to the parishioners. Returning to the metropolis he
issued, in July, the second edition of his “Life of Johnson,” in three
octavo volumes; it contained “eight sheets of additional matter,” and
was improved otherwise. In the _Advertisement_ he wrote as follows:—

 “It seems to me in my moments of self-complacency, that this extensive
 biographical work, however inferior in the nature, may in one respect
 be assimilated to the ‘Odyssey.’ Amidst a thousand entertaining and
 instructive episodes, the hero is never long out of sight, for they
 are all in some degree connected with him; and he, in the whole course
 of the history, is exhibited by the author for the best advantage of
 his readers:

  ‘Quid virtus et quid sapientia possit,
  Utile proposuit nobis exemplar Ulyssem.’

 Should there be any cold-blooded or morose mortals who really dislike
 this book I will give them a story to apply. When the great Duke of
 Marlborough, accompanied by Lord Cadogan, was one day reconnoitring
 the army in Flanders, a heavy rain came on and they both called for
 their cloaks. Lord Cadogan’s servant, a good-humoured, alert lad,
 brought his lordship’s in a minute; the Duke’s servant, a lazy, sulky
 dog, was so sluggish that his Grace, being wet to the skin, reproved
 him, and had for an answer, with a grunt, ‘I came as fast as I could;’
 upon which the Duke calmly said, ‘Cadogan! I would not for a thousand
 pounds have that fellow’s temper.’”

 “There are some men I believe, who have, or think they have, a very
 small share of vanity. Such may speak of their literary fame in a
 decorous style of diffidence; but I confess that I am so formed by
 nature and by habit that to restrain the expression of delight on
 having obtained such fame, to me would be truly painful. Why, then,
 should I suppress it? Why, out of the ‘abundance of the heart,’
 should I not speak? Let me then mention, with a warm but no insolent
 exultation, that I have been regaled with spontaneous praise of my
 work by many and various persons eminent for their rank, learning,
 talents, and accomplishments, much of which praise I leave under their
 hands to be reposited in my archives at Auchinleck. An honourable and
 reverend friend, speaking of the favourable reception of my volume,
 even in the circles of fashion and elegance, said to me, ‘You have
 made them all talk Johnson.’ Yes, I may add, I have _Johnsonized_ the
 land; and I trust they will not only talk, but think Johnson.”

No sooner was the second edition of his work on the publisher’s
shelves than Boswell was again involved in the meshes of dissipation.
Sauntering forth, quite drunk, he was knocked down and robbed. Some
weeks after the event he communicated with Mr. Temple as follows:—

 “Behold my hand! The robbery is only of a few shillings, but the cut
 on my head and bruises on my arms were sad things, and confined me
 to my bed in pain and fever and helplessness, as a child many days.
 By means of surgeon Earle and apothecary Devaynes, I am now, I thank
 God, pretty well. This, however, shall be a crisis in my life. I trust
 I shall henceforth be a sober, regular man. Indeed, my indulgence in
 wine has, of late years especially, been excessive. You remember what
 Lord Eliot said, nay, what you, I am sorry to think, have seen. Your
 suggestion as to my being carried off in a state of intoxication is
 awful. I thank you for it, my dear friend. It impressed me much, I
 assure you.”

In a letter to Mr. Temple, dated 31st May, 1794, Boswell again
expresses his appreciation of his friend’s remonstrances:—

 “I thank you sincerely for your friendly admonition on my frailty in
 indulging so much in wine. I do resolve anew to be upon my guard, as I
 am sensible how very pernicious as well as disreputable such a habit
 is. How miserably have I yielded to it in various years. Recollect
 what General Paoli said to you—recollect what happened to Berwick.”

A constitution naturally robust had been severely taxed. Boswell
imbibed liquor of all sorts, and like other dissipated persons, fell
into bouts of drinking. When he partially abstained, he unconsciously
prepared himself for inebriate practices of a more aggravated
character. At length he became a victim to these social excesses. Early
in the spring of 1795, Mr. Temple, junior, then an inmate of Boswell’s
house, wrote to his father: “A few nights ago Mr. Boswell returned
from the Literary Club quite weak and languid.” Such is our first
intimation of an illness, which terminated fatally. About the beginning
of April he commenced a letter to Mr. Temple in these words:—“My dear
Temple,—I would fain write to you in my own hand, but really cannot.”
Boswell dropped the pen, which was taken up by his son James, who thus
wrote to his dictation:—

 “Alas, my friend, what a state is this! My son James is to write for
 me what remains of this letter, and I am to dictate. The pain which
 continued for so many weeks was very severe indeed, and when it went
 off I thought myself quite well; but I soon felt a conviction that I
 was by no means as I should be—so exceedingly weak, as my miserable
 attempt to write to you affords a full proof. All, then, that can be
 said is, that I must wait with patience.”

After referring to Mr. Temple’s own indisposition, Boswell concludes by
representing himself as “a good deal stronger,” and subscribing himself
“here and hereafter” his correspondent’s “affectionate friend.” A
postscript, added by James Boswell, jun., informed Mr. Temple that his
father was ignorant of his “dangerous situation.” The letter was kept
up, and another addition, dated 8th April, represented the patient as
“in a state of extraordinary pain and weakness,” but as “having a good
deal recovered.”

The improvement was temporary. After a few days Boswell suffered a
relapse. On the 17th April, his younger son wrote to Mr. Temple as

 “My father desires me to tell you that on Tuesday evening he was
 taken ill with a fever, attended with a severe shivering and violent
 headache, disorder in his stomach and throwing up; he has been close
 confined to bed ever since. He thinks himself better to-day, but
 cannot conjecture when he shall recover. His affection for you remains
 the same. You will receive a long and full letter from him.”

On the 4th of May, David Boswell communicated to Mr. Temple that his
brother was in “the most imminent danger.” On the 18th of the same
month, James Boswell, jun., reported that his father was “considerably
worse,” and that there were “little or no hopes of his recovery.” Next
day David Boswell reported to Mr. Temple that the end had come:—

 “I have now,” he writes, “the painful task of informing you that my
 dear brother expired this morning at two o’clock: we have both lost a
 kind and affectionate friend, and I shall never have such another. He
 has suffered a great deal during his illness, which has lasted five
 weeks, but not much in his last moments.”

Boswell died in his house in Great Portland Street, on the 19th May,
1795. He had reached his fifty-fifth year. In the June number of the
_Gentleman’s Magazine_ his friends, Messrs. Courtenay and Malone,
presented estimates of his character. Mr. Courtenay wrote thus:—

 “Good nature was highly predominant in his character. He appeared
 to entertain sentiments of benevolence to all mankind, and it does
 not seem to me that he ever did or could injure any human being
 _intentionally_. His conversational talents were always pleasing and
 often fascinating. He was a Johnson in everything but _manner_; and
 there were few of Dr. Johnson’s friends that were not very ready to
 dispense with _that_. His attachment to the Doctor for so long a
 period was a meritorious perseverance in the desire of knowledge.”
 Admitting that his social habits had shortened his life, Mr. Courtenay
 adds,—“As his belief in Revelation was unshaken, and his religious
 impressions were deep and recurring frequently, let us hope that he
 has now attained that state from which imperfection and calamity are
 alike excluded.”

From the misrepresentations of a journalist Mr. Malone vindicated the
memory of his friend in these words:—

 “The most important misrepresentation is that Mr. Boswell was
 convivial without being _social_ or _friendly_,—a falsehood which
 all who knew him intimately can peremptorily contradict. He had not
 only an inexhaustible fund of good humour and good nature, but was
 extremely warm in his attachments, and as ready to exert himself for
 his friends as any man.” After claiming for Boswell “considerable
 intellectual powers,” he concludes,—“He will long be regretted by
 a wide circle of friends, to whom his good qualities and social
 talents always made his company a valuable accession; and by none more
 sincerely than by the present vindicator of his fame.”

In the same number of the _Gentleman’s Magazine_, a correspondent,
subscribing himself “M. Green,” states that Boswell contemplated the
publication of a quarto volume, to be embellished with plates on the
controversy occasioned by the _Beggar’s Opera_. “With this particular
view,” he adds, “he lately paid several visits to the present truly
humane ‘governor of Newgate,’ as he ordinarily styled Mr. Kirby.”

In a subsequent number of the _Gentleman’s Magazine_, Mr. Temple,
under the signature of “Biographicus,” denied a statement by Mr. Malone
that Boswell was of a melancholy temperament; he maintained that he
was quite otherwise prior to his attachment to Dr. Johnson. J. B.
R., another writer in the same magazine, remarked that the deceased
“had many failings and many virtues and many amiable qualities, which
predominated over the frailties incident to human nature.”

Boswell’s Will, written with his own hand, and bearing date 28th May,
1785, was found in his repositories. It is now printed for the first
time.[99] Had it earlier been made public the testator might have
encountered “less obloquy,” and obtained greater praise. Seldom has
Scottish landlord evinced greater consideration for his tenantry and
domestics. The document is as follows:—

 “I James Boswell Esquire of Auchinleck having already settled
 everything concerning my Landed Estate so far as is in my power as
 an heir of Entail, so that my mind is quiet respecting my dear wife
 and children, do now when in perfect soundness of mind but under
 the apprehension of some danger to my life which however may prove
 a false alarm, thus make my last Will and Testament containing also
 clauses of another nature which I desire may be valid and effectual.
 I resign my soul to God my almighty and most merciful Father trusting
 that it will be redeemed by the awfull and mysterious Sacrifice of
 our Lord Jesus Christ and admitted to endless felicity in heaven. I
 request that my body may be interred in the family burial place in the
 church of Auchinleck. I appoint my much valued spouse Mrs. Margaret
 Montgomerie and my worthy friend Sir William Forbes of Pitsligo,
 Baronet, to be my Executors and in case of the death of either of
 them the office shall devolve solely to the survivor. And whereas my
 honoured and pious grand mother Lady Elizabeth Boswell devised to
 the heir succeeding to the barrony of Auchinleck from generation to
 generation the Ebony Cabinet and the dressing plate of silver gilt,
 which belonged to her mother Veronica, Countess of Kincardine, leaving
 it however optional to her son my father that entail thereof or not
 as he should think fit, and he having neglected to do so, whereby the
 said Ebony Cabinet and dressing plate are now at my free disposal, I
 do by these presents dispose the same to the heir succeeding to the
 barrony of Auchinleck from generation to generation. And I declare
 that it shall not be in the power of any such heir to alienate or
 impignorate the same on any account whatever. And I do hereby dispose
 to the said heirs of Entail in their order, all lands and heritages
 belonging to me, in fee simple, after payment of my debts, but under
 this provision, that in case any of them shall alienate the said Ebony
 Cabinet and dressing plate, the person so alienating shall forfeit
 the sum of One Thousand Pounds sterling, which shall be paid to the
 next heir succeeding by entail. And I declare that the heir of Entail
 first succeeding to these my unentailed lands, shall within six months
 after his succession thereto execute a deed of Entail thereof to the
 same series of heirs with that in the Entail executed by my Father
 and me, which if he fails to do they shall then go to the next heir
 of Entail, and it is also an express condition that he shall divest
 himself of the field thereof and reserve only his life-rent. I mean
 this to apply to the said first succeeding heir. Furthermore as my
 late honoured Father made a very curious collection of the classics
 and other books, which it is desireable should be preserved for ever
 in the family of Auchinleck, I do by these presents dispose to the
 successive heirs of Entail of the barrony of Auchinleck” [here there
 is a word torn off] “Greek and Latin books, as also all manuscripts
 of whatever kind, lying in the house of Auchinleck, under the same
 conditions and under the same forfeiture as I have mentioned with
 regard to the Ebony Cabinet and dressing plate, and all my other
 moveable Estate or Executory I leave equally among my other children,
 the furniture in the house of Auchinleck to be valued by two sworn
 appreazers, and the heir to keep it at that value and pay the same to
 my younger children, excepting however all my pictures which I dispose
 to the said successive heirs of Entail under the same conditions and
 forfeiture as above mentioned, and excepting also the furniture in
 my house at Edinburgh which I bequeath to my dear wife. I bequeath
 one hundred pounds sterling to my dear brother Thomas David Boswell
 Esquire banker in London, to purchase a piece of plate to keep in
 remembrance of me in his family and to my dear brother Lieutenant John
 Boswell being a batchelor, I bequeath Fifty Guineas to purchase a ring
 or whatever other thing he may like best to keep for my sake. To my
 friends the Reverend Mr. Temple in Cornwall, John Johnston Esquire
 of Grange, Sir John Dick Baronet, Sir William Forbes of Pitsligo,
 Baronet, Captain John Macbryde of the Royal Navy, and Mr. Charles
 Dilly of London, bookseller, Alexander Fairlie of Fairlie, Esq. and
 Edmund Malone Esq. of the kingdom of Ireland, The Hon. Colonel James
 Stewart and George Dempster Esquire, I bequeath each a gold mourning
 ring, and I hereby leave to the said Sir William Forbes, the Reverend
 Mr. Temple and Edmund Malone Esquire all my manuscripts of my own
 composition, and all my letters from various persons to be published
 for the benefit of my younger children, as they shall decide, that is
 to say they are to have a discretionary power to publish more or less.
 I leave to Mr. James Bruce my overseer Twenty Pounds yearly during his
 life and if he shall continue to reside at Auchinleck I leave to him
 the house he now possesses with his meal and all other perquisites.
 And to Mrs. Bell Bruce my housekeeper I leave Ten pounds yearly during
 her life with two pecks of meal weekly in case of her not liveing in
 the family of Auchinleck. Lastly, as there are upon the estate of
 Auchinleck several tenants whose families have possessed their farms
 for many generations, I do by these presents grant leases for nineteen
 years and their respective lifetimes of their present farms to John
 Templeton in Hopland, James Murdoch in Blackstown commonly called the
 Raw, James Peden in Old Byre, William Samson in Mill of Auchinleck,
 John Hird in Hirdstown, William Murdoch in Willocks town, and to any
 of the sons of the late James Caldow in Stivenstown whom the ministers
 and elders of Auchinleck shall approve of, a lease of that farm in the
 above terms, the rents to be fixed by two men to be mutually chosen
 by the laird of Auchinleck for the time and each tenant. I also grant
 a lease in the like terms to Andrew Dalrymple in Mains of Auchinleck,
 my Baron officer. And I do beseech all the succeeding heirs of Entail
 to be kind to the Tenants and not to turn out old possessors to get a
 little more rent. And in case my nomination of Tutors and Curators to
 my children being written upon unstamped paper should not be valid,
 I here again constitute and appoint my dear wife, Mrs. Margaret
 Montgomerie and my worthy friend Sir William Forbes of Pitsligo, or
 the survivor of them, to the said office with all usual powers and
 with the recommendations contained in the said unstamped deed. In
 witness whereof, these presents written with my own hand (of which I
 consent to the registration in the books of Council and Session that
 they may have full effect and thereto constitute my procurators) are
 subscribed by me at London this twenty eight day of May, One thousand
 Seven hundred and Eighty five, before these witnesses Mr. Edward Dilly
 bookseller there, and Mr. John Normaville his clerk. (signed) James
 Boswell. Chs. Dilly witness, John Normaville witness.”

The three persons nominated as literary executors did not meet, and the
entire business of the trust was administered by Sir William Forbes,
Bart., who appointed as his law agent Robert Boswell, writer to the
signet, cousin german of the deceased. By that gentleman’s advice,
Boswell’s manuscripts were left to the disposal of his family; and it
is believed that the whole were immediately destroyed. The _Commonplace
Book_ escaped, having been incidentally sold among the printed books.

The following inventory of Boswell’s moveable effects, presented for
registration in the Commissariat Register is not without interest:

 “In the first place there pertained and belonged to the said defunct
 at the time aforesaid of his death, the articles aftermentioned of
 the values underwritten, whereof the Executor herein gives up in
 inventary the sum of Twenty Shillings sterling of the value of each
 article viz., Imprimis Four hundred and eighty three pounds fourteen
 shillings as the amount of sales of furniture books pictures &c. in
 the defunct’s house in London. Item, Five hundred and Seventy six
 pounds eight shillings and two pence as the value of furniture in
 the house of Auchinleck estimated by two sworn appraisers. Item, One
 hundred and five pounds as the value of silver plate at Auchinleck
 exclusive of the family plate devised to the heir estimated at or near
 the bullion value. Item, One hundred pounds supposed about the value
 of the books at Auchinleck per catalogue in the hands of the Executor
 exclusive of Greek and Latin classics and manuscripts there, also left
 to the heir. Item, Seventy seven pounds three shillings as the value
 of cattle and stocking at Auchinleck per estimate in the hands of the
 Executor. Item, Three hundred pounds as the value of the remaining
 copies of the Life of D^{r.} Johnson written by the defunct and sold
 to Mr. Dilly bookseller. And One hundred pounds as the supposed value
 of manuscripts left by the defunct.

 “In the second place there was indebted and owing to the said defunct
 at the time aforesaid of his death, the sums of money after mentioned
 for the reasons after specified, viz., One Pound sterling part of the
 sum of Ninety Seven Pounds eight shillings and Eleven pence sterling
 being a balance of cash in the hands of Mr Thomas David Boswell
 brother to the defunct per accompt. Item, One pound sterling, part of
 the sum of Ninety one pounds sixteen shillings and six pence being a
 claim Mr Alexander Boswell the heir for cash advanced to him by Mr
 Thomas David Boswell at the time of the defunct’s death and credited
 to Mr Thomas David Boswell in his account with the Executor. Item, One
 pound Sterling part of the sum of Two hundred and twenty five pounds
 fourteen shillings and three pence as arrears of rent of the estate
 of Auchinleck for accounts transmitted by the factor. Item, One pound
 sterling part of the sum of Nine hundred and forty two pounds six
 shillings and seven pence sterling as the claim against the heirs of
 said estate under the Entail act for three fourths of the defunct’s
 expenditure in improving the Entailed estate bearing interest from
 Martinmas seventeen hundred and ninety five. Item, One pound sterling,
 part of the sum of nine hundred and fifty pounds sterling as half a
 year’s rent of said estate due to the Executor by law for the year
 Seventeen hundred and ninety five, being the year in which the defunct
 died per rental furnished by the factor. Item, one Pound sterling
 part of the sum of forty two pounds nine shillings and one penny
 being a balance of account due by Mr Dilly, bookseller. Item, One
 pound sterling, part of the sum of six hundred and eighty four pounds
 sixteen shillings and eight pence being debt due by Capt^n Bruce
 Boswell of Calcutta of Principal and Interest paid to the Executor
 since the defunct’s death. Item, One pound sterling, part of the sum
 of one hundred and ninety five pounds sterling being a balance of debt
 due by the Trustees of the late Mr Johnston of Grange, as stated by
 the defunct in a holograph view of his affairs made out by him, as at
 the first day of January Seventeen hundred and ninety five. And One
 pound sterling, part of the sum of seven hundred pounds sterling and
 upwards of debts due from various turnpike roads in Ayrshire for money
 advanced by the late Lord Auchinleck.”

In the terms of his Will, Boswell’s remains were conveyed to
Auchinleck, and there deposited in the family vault. Robert Boswell
proposed that a memorial tablet should be placed at his grave and
offered the following metrical inscription:—

  “Here Boswell lies! drop o’er his tomb a tear,
  Let no malignant tongue pursue him here;
  Bury his failings in the silent grave,
  And from unfriendly hands his memory save.
  Record the praise he purchased, let his name
  Mount on the wings of literary fame,
  And to his honour say,—‘Here Boswell lies,
  Whose pleasing pen adorned the good and wise,
  Whose memory down the stream of time shall flow
  Far as famed Johnson’s or Paoli’s go!’”

Robert Boswell’s proposal was not entertained, and the preceding
epitaph was found among his papers after his own decease many years
subsequently. By his descendants the memory of Johnson’s biographer has
not been honoured, yet the family of Boswell, with a pedigree dating
from the Conquest, cannot point to a more distinguished kinsman.

The marriage of persons nearly related by blood is apt to engender
cerebral weakness in the offspring. The first-born of cousins-german,
James Boswell suffered from an imperfect and morbid organization. Mr.
Carlyle’s analysis of his mental condition we cordially accept, “The
highest [quality],” writes Mr. Carlyle, “lay side by side with the
lowest, not morally combined with it and spiritually transfiguring it,
but tumbling in half-mechanical juxtaposition with it; and from time
to time, as the mad alternative chanced, irradiating it, or eclipsed
by it.” Around his intellectual nature hovered a dark cloud, while
there was light within; the cloud was malformation or disease, but
the morbid element did not extinguish the internal fire. Boswell’s
perceptive power was of the highest order; he could retain and
reproduce scenes and conversations with the naturalness of reality.
A literary Pre-Raffaelite, his observation was acute in proportion
as his reflective powers waned or slept; what he saw and heard he
set forth forcibly and without embellishment. The assertion of Lord
Macaulay that the “Life of Johnson” was due to the author’s weakness
requires no serious refutation. Boswell produced the best biography in
the language, because he was the best fitted for the task. Like the
astronomer who points his telescope to the heavens in a darkened room,
he concentrated his mental energies on the objects of his reverence,
and with photographic accuracy depicted all that he surveyed. In
proportion as he failed to develop his own intellectual nature, he
succeeded in delineating the intellectual character of others. A mirror
true and transparent lay under the opaque cloud, and reflected outward
what a healthier intellect had appropriated and transfused. If in
respect of mental phenomena the figure is admissible—the reflective
faculty which is ordinarily concave and thereby receptive, was in the
mind of Boswell convex and radiating outwards. The cords which fettered
his understanding braced his perception and nerved his memory. He
showed strength in weakness. The dry rod budded. The grey ruin was
mantled by the green ivy.

The fool prates unconscious of his folly; the maniac is happy in his
chain. Boswell was conscious of his weakness,—hence his habitual
melancholy. To Mr. Temple he early spoke of madness existing in his
family, and afterwards described himself as partially insane. In his
journal he compares his head to a tavern usurped by low punch drinkers,
whom he could not displace. Such an unhappy consciousness might
have led to reckless perversity, or hopeless inaptitude. In Boswell
it stimulated to untiring effort, life-long energy. His vanity and
vacillation and rashness were attendant on a distempered brain—his
literary achievements were the result of a successful conflict with
constitutional disorder.

Boswell lived at a period when social excesses, especially in North
Britain, prevailed greatly. Into these excesses he fell, but he freely
acknowledged his errors, and sincerely repented. Ambitious of personal
honour, he nevertheless promoted sedulously the interests of others. A
fervid patriot, he was an obliging neighbour, a generous companion,
and an unfailing friend. He exercised an abundant hospitality. Angry at
times he was easily reconciled, and hastened to forgive. His religious
views, long unfixed, were never wholly obscured; he passed through the
ordeals of credulity and scepticism, and at length returning to his old
moorings, determined to know nothing but a Saviour crucified. In his
Will, prepared within the retirement of his closet, he made this record
of his trust,—“I resign my soul to God, my almighty and most merciful
Father, trusting that it will be redeemed by the awful and mysterious
sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ, and admitted to eternal felicity in
heaven.” Dr. Johnson, who knew his weaknesses, commended his piety, and
Sir William Forbes, another enlightened judge of human character, has
borne concerning him this testimony:—

 “I have known few men who possessed a stronger sense of piety, or
 more fervent devotion (tinctured no doubt with some little share of
 superstition, which had probably been in some degree fostered by his
 habits of intimacy with Dr. Johnson), perhaps not always sufficient to
 regulate his imagination or direct his conduct, yet still genuine, and
 founded both in his understanding and his heart.”[100]

Of Boswell’s personal aspects, the full length portrait by Langton,
engraved for this volume, is understood to convey a correct
representation. Rather above the middle height, and inclined to
corpulency, he walked with a stately gait, and in his costume observed
the latest fashion. He had a large head, and wore a powdered wig; his
prominent but well set features beamed with perpetual good humour. “It
was impossible,” remarked a contemporary, “to look in his face without
being moved by the comicality which always reigned upon it.”[101]
He talked much and with rapidity, but his observant faculty was not
apparent to those who only met him in society.

Boswell left two sons and three daughters; James, the younger son,
entered Brazenose College, Oxford, of which he was elected a fellow
upon the Vinerian foundation. He was afterwards called to the English
Bar, and became a Commissioner of Bankruptcy. An accomplished scholar
and of industrious habits, he was by Mr. Malone appointed his literary
executor. Under his care appeared Mr. Malone’s enlarged edition of
Shakespeare, completed in 1821, in twenty-one octavo volumes. In the
first volume he defended, in an able and ingenious essay, Mr. Malone’s
reputation from an attack made on his statements and opinions by a
writer of eminence. He inherited his father’s _bonhommie_ and love of
sociality. He died unmarried in the Middle Temple, London, on the 24th
February, 1822, aged forty-three; his remains were deposited in the
Temple Church. By his elder brother his death was lamented in these

  “There is a pang when kindred spirits part,
    And cold philosophy we must disown;
  There is a thrilling spot in every heart,
    For pulses beat not from a heart of stone.

  “Boswell, th’ allotted earth has closed on thee,
    Thy mild but generous warmth has passed away:
  A finer spirit never death set free,
    And now the friend we honour’d is but clay.

  “His was the triumph of the heart and mind,
    His was the lot which few are blessed to know:
  More proved, more valued—fervent, yet so kind,
    He never lost one friend, nor found one foe.”

Alexander Boswell, the biographer’s elder son, succeeded to the family
estate. He studied at Westminster School, and the University of Oxford;
and, after making the tour of Europe settled at Auchinleck. A lover
of historical and antiquarian learning, he established a private
printing-press, and reproduced many rare tracts preserved in the family
library. Early devoted to poetical composition, he published several
volumes of poetry and song. His poems abound in drollery, but are
generally fragmentary. Of his songs, “Jenny’s Bawbee,” “Jenny Dang
the Weaver,” “The Lass o’ Isla,” and “Bannocks o’ Barley Meal,” have
long been popular. To public affairs he devoted no inconsiderable
attention. He was in the Conservative interest elected M.P. for
Ayrshire, and became Colonel of the Yeomanry Cavalry, in the same
county. He originated the proposal of erecting a public monument to
the poet Burns, on the banks of the Doon, and raised £2,000 on behalf
of the undertaking. In 1821 his patriotism and public enterprise
were rewarded by a Baronetcy. His career terminated under painful
circumstances. Indulging a tendency to sarcasm, he published in a
Glasgow newspaper a severe pasquinade against Mr. James Stuart, younger
of Dunearn, a leader of the liberal party at Edinburgh. Challenged by
Mr. Stuart to mortal combat, he accepted the _cartel_, and the parties
met at Auchtertool, Fifeshire. Sir Alexander fell, the bullet from his
opponent’s pistol having entered the middle of the right clavicle,
which it severely fractured. He lingered till the following day. His
death took place on the 27th March, 1822, and his remains were interred
at Auchinleck. In the following verses, John Goldie, an Ayrshire poet,
celebrated his obsequies:—

  “O! heard you the trumpet sound sad on the gale,
  O! heard you the voice of weeping and wail?
  O! saw you the horsemen in gallant array,
  As in sorrow and silence they moved on their way.

  “The people’s deep wailing, the trumpet’s shrill tone,
  Were the breathings of sorrow for him that is gone;
  And yon dark plumes of death that did mournfully wave,
  Deck’d the bier that bore on their lov’d chief to the grave.

  “When the train of lone mourners arrived at the path,
  That leads to the desolate mansions of death,
  O! marked you each horseman lean sad on his sword,
  When the corse slowly passed of the chief he adored.

  “And mark’d you each manly heart heave with a sigh;
  And mark’d you the tear-drop that gush’d in each eye
  Of those who were robed in the garments of woe,
  When they saw him in Death’s dreary mansion laid low.

  “Thy halls, Auchinleck! are all desolate now,
  Aye! roll on in sorrow, in solitude flow;
  For low lies thy bard who so sweetly did sing,—
  Thy chieftain so true to his country and king.”[102]

Sir Alexander married in November, 1799, Grace, fifth daughter of
Thomas Cumming, banker, Edinburgh, representative of the ancient family
of Erenside. By this marriage he became father of one son and three
daughters. Grace Theresa, the eldest daughter, married Sir William
Francis Eliott, Bart., of Stobs, and became mother of the present
baronet, with other issue. Grace Jane died in childhood, and Margaret
Emily, the youngest daughter, is wife of Major-General Vassall, and
resides at Balhary, Perthshire. James, only son of Sir Alexander
Boswell, was born in December, 1806. He studied at Brazenose College,
Oxford, and after succeeding to Auchinleck resided chiefly on his
estate. In 1830 he espoused his cousin, Jessie Jane, elder daughter of
Sir James Montgomery Cunningham, Bart., of Corsehill; of which marriage
were born two daughters. In 1850, Sir James Boswell instituted a
legal process to prove the invalidity of the Auchinleck entail. He was
opposed by Thomas Alexander Boswell, of Crawley Grange, next heir-male,
but it was held by the judges that as the material word “irredeemably”
was written upon an erasure, the entail was inoperative.[103] Relieved
from the settlement of 1776, Sir James Boswell bequeathed Auchinleck
to his two daughters as co-heiresses. Sir James died in 1857 when the
baronetcy became extinct. Julia, his elder daughter, married George
Mounsey, solicitor, Carlisle, some time mayor of that city. Emily
Harriet, the younger daughter, married in 1873, the Hon. Richard Wogan
Talbot, eldest son of Lord Talbot de Malahide.

The biographer’s three daughters were Veronica, Euphemia, and
Elizabeth. Veronica, the eldest, survived her father only four months;
she died of consumption on the 26th September, 1795, aged twenty-three.
Euphemia, the second daughter, inherited her father’s literary tastes,
combined, unhappily, with cerebral weakness. Leaving the protection
of her family she fixed her abode in London, resolved on supporting
herself as an operatic writer. She composed an Opera for Drury Lane
Theatre, which, according to her narrative, was accepted by the
manager, and was being prepared for the stage, when the theatre was
in 1809 destroyed by fire. Thereafter, she made eleemosynary appeals
by private letters and public advertisements. She entreated pecuniary
aid from the Lord Chancellor Eldon, the Earl of Moira, Lord Lonsdale,
and Lord Sidmouth. On the death of the Princess Amelia, in 1810, she
composed a “Soliloquy,” which she forwarded to the Prince Regent, in
the belief that she would be rewarded by a pension on the Civil List.
From private lodgings in Northumberland street she in 1811 despatched
a missive, setting forth that being “neglected by those bound by the
ties of blood to cherish her,” she had “pledged her pianoforte,—though
a composer is as much at a loss for an instrument as a carpenter
without his tools.” In another letter of the same year she writes, “If
dragged to a jail, which must be my fate, I shudder at it, and implore
your aid.”

  “Let me not suffer Otway’s fate,
  When Nelly’s[104] tears were sent too late:
  Where Genius pierced through darkest gloom,
  Though hungry Death has marked his tomb.”

The charge of neglect preferred against her relatives by this unhappy
gentlewoman having obtained some credit, we have instituted on the
subject a careful inquiry. Euphemia Boswell, we find, was the victim
of a diseased imagination. By her relatives she was regarded with
affectionate solicitude, while they severely suffered from her painful
hallucinations and groundless complaints. She died about the age of
sixty. In her Will she expressed a desire that her remains should be
deposited in Westminster, Abbey near the grave of Dr. Johnson. She was
buried elsewhere. She composed a small work which she dedicated to
Bishop Porteous; no copy has been found.

Elizabeth, the biographer’s youngest daughter, married 23rd December,
1799, her second cousin, William Boswell, advocate, who became
Sheriff of Berwickshire. Of this marriage were born three sons and
one daughter. Robert Cramond, the eldest son, died in 1821, shortly
after being admitted advocate. James Paoli, second son, joined the
army, and died in India in 1820; Bruce, the third son, also joined
the army, and attained the rank of Colonel. The daughter, Elizabeth
Margaret Montgomery, married November, 1849, John Williams, of
H.E.I.C’s. Civil Service, Bombay, who died in 1853. Mrs. Elizabeth
Boswell died 1st January, 1814; her husband in January, 1841. On the
death of Thomas Alexander Boswell, son of the biographer’s brother,
Thomas David, in March, 1852,[105] the fine estates of Crawley Grange,
Buckinghamshire,[106] and Astwood, Berkshire, together worth nearly
£2,000 per annum, became possessed by Colonel Bruce Boswell, who
dying in October, 1856, was succeeded by his sister, who survives.
Mrs. Williams was mother of twin sons, who died in infancy; her only
surviving child, Elizabeth Anne, was married in 1860 to the Rev.
Charles Cumberlye, who assumed the name of Ware on the death of his
grand-uncle, Mr. Samuel Ware. Mr. Cumberlye Ware died in May, 1870,
and his widow in March, 1871. Their family consist of one son and
three daughters. The son, Charles Edward Ware, is precluded by a
family settlement from succeeding to the maternal property, and the
heiress of Crawley Grange is Edith Caroline, his eldest sister, who, on
succession, will assume the name of Boswell. The two younger daughters,
Elizabeth Mary and Catherine Augusta, retain the family name of

William Boswell, Advocate and Sheriff of Berwickshire, who married
the youngest daughter of the biographer, was eldest of four sons of
Robert Boswell, the biographer’s cousin-german, and law agent under
his will. This gentleman was born at Auchinleck House, on the 19th
January, 1740; his father was Dr. John Boswell, younger brother of
Lord Auchinleck, and his mother, Anne, daughter of Robert Cramond, of
Auldbar, Forfarshire. Robert Boswell was a writer to the signet, in
Edinburgh; he subsequently held office as Lyon Depute, and latterly
removed to London. Possessed of literary tastes and unflagging
industry, he qualified himself to read the Scriptures in the original
tongues. He composed hymns, some of which were after his decease
printed for private circulation. His metrical epitaph on his cousin,
the biographer, has been quoted. Eminently pious, he exhorted publicly.
He died at London in April, 1804, in his 65th year.

Alexander Boswell, writer to the Signet, second son of Robert Boswell,
was father of the Rev. Robert Bruce Boswell, chaplain to the Honourable
East India Company and minister of St. James’s church, Calcutta.[107]
The son of that reverend gentleman, John Alexander Corrie Boswell, held
an appointment in the Honourable East India Company’s Madras Civil
Service; he died some years ago. His son, Henry St. George Boswell,
now resident in London, is male representative of the house of Boswell
of Auchinleck. John James, third son of Robert Boswell, was admitted
advocate, but afterwards became a physician, and entered the medical
service of the Honourable East India Company; he latterly sought
practice in Edinburgh, where he died in August, 1839. Major John James
Boswell, his only surviving son, commands the 2nd Regiment of Punjaub
Infantry, at Dera Ghazee Khan, in India. John Campbell, fourth son of
Robert Boswell, was a physician in India; he died at Penang, _s. p._
in October, 1841. Miss Charlotte Maria Tucker, granddaughter of Robert
Boswell, is under her _nom de plume_, A. L. O. E., well known for her
valuable contributions to religious literature.

Concerning James Boswell’s maternal ancestors, a few particulars
may be acceptable. Charles Erskine, of Alva, son of the Hon. Charles
Erskine, fifth son of John, seventh Earl of Mar, was created a baronet
of Nova Scotia on the 30th April, 1666. Charles, his third son, was
a lord of session, with the judicial designation of Lord Tinwald,
and was father of James Erskine, a lord of session, by the title of
Lord Alva. Lieutenant-General Sir Henry Erskine, Bart., grandson of
the first baronet, was many years M.P. for the Anstruther burghs; he
composed the popular song, “The Garb of Old Gaul.” He died in 1765, and
was succeeded in the baronetcy by James, his eldest son, who assumed
the surname of St. Clair, and on the death of his uncle, Alexander
Wedderburn, first Earl of Rosslyn in 1805, became the second Earl.

Colonel John Erskine, a younger son of the Hon. Sir Charles Erskine,
first baronet of Alva, and brother of Lord Tinwald, married
Euphemia, daughter of William Cochrane, of Ochiltree, of the noble
house of Dundonald, and his wife Lady Mary Bruce, eldest daughter
of the second Earl of Kincardine. Two daughters of this marriage
became memorable. Euphemia, the younger, was the first wife of Lord
Auchinleck, and mother of James Boswell, who by maternal descent was
great-great-grandson of John, seventh Earl of Mar.

Mary, eldest daughter of Colonel John Erskine, married in 1739 the
Rev. Alexander Webster, D.D., minister of the Tolbooth Church,
Edinburgh. Connected with this marriage is a romantic incident. Prior
to his settlement at Edinburgh Dr. Webster was minister of Culross,
Perthshire. Mary Erskine resided in that parish with her aunt Lady
Preston, wife of Sir George Preston, Bart., of Valleyfield. A young
gentleman of the neighbourhood was attracted by her charms, but being
unsuccessful in his addresses, begged Dr. Webster to intercede on his
behalf. The Doctor consented, and waiting on Miss Erskine, pled his
friend’s cause with energy. The lady listened patiently but expressed
a decided negative. “Had you spoken as well for yourself,” she added,
“I might have answered differently.” To his friend Dr. Webster reported
the particulars of the interview, and soon afterwards presented himself
at Valleyfield to plead his own suit. The lady complied, but her
relations consented with reluctance. The marriage took place on the
13th June, 1737; Miss Erskine possessing a dowry of £4,000. Elated by
his good fortune Dr. Webster celebrated his helpmate in a song, which,
published in the _Scots Magazine_ for November, 1747, became popular.
It commenced thus,—

  “O how could I venture to love one like thee,
  And you not despise a poor conquest like me?
  On lords, thy admirers, could look wi’ disdain,
  And knew I was naething, yet pitied my pain?
  You said while they teased you with nonsense and dress,
  ‘When real the passion, the vanity’s less,’
  You saw through that silence which others despise,
  And while beaux we’re a-talking read love in my eyes.”

Through his successful wooing Dr. Webster was led to devise the
Ministers’ Widows Fund, so as to raise the social _status_ of his
clerical brethren. In 1755 the first enumeration of the people of
Scotland was conducted under his superintendence. He proposed the
enlargement of the city of Edinburgh by the erection of the new town.
In the Highlands and islands he promoted agricultural improvement. By
his wife he was energetically aided in works of active benevolence. He
died in 1784, having survived his helpmate eighteen years.



“MY father had all along so firm, so dry a mind, that religious
principles, however carefully inculcated by his father and mother, and
however constantly they remained on the surface, never incorporated
with his thoughts, never penetrated into the seat of his affections.
They were a dead range, not a quickset hedge. The fence had a good
appearance enough, and was sufficiently strong; but it never flourished
in green luxuriance, never blossomed, never bore fruit. The ground
within, however, produced plentiful crops of useful exertions as a
judge, and improvements as a landed ^{laird} gentleman. And let it be
considered that there may be a fine fence round barren, unprofitable

  24th Sept., 1780.

       *       *       *       *       *

“Maclaurin[108] maintained that bashfulness was the compound effect
of vanity and sensibility.[109] Nichols contended that it was quite
corporeal, for the same man will be at one time bashful, and at another
time quite easy. ‘That is,’ said Maclaurin, ‘he has at one time a
higher notion of himself than at another.’ ‘No,’ said Nichols, ‘it is a
trick which the nerves play to the imagination.’”

  23rd Sept., 1780.

       *       *       *       *       *

“My friend Johnston[110] advised me to have our family crest, a hawk,
cut upon a pebble which I found on the channel of the Lugar, which runs
by Auchinleck. Said he, ‘Let him perch on his native stone.’”

  22nd Sept., 1780.

       *       *       *       *       *

“It is not unusual for men who have no real freindship(_sic_) nor
principle to have at the same time so sanguine an opinion of their own
abilities, that they imagine they can impose on others as if they were
children. They will do them an essential injury, and at the same time
try to persuade them that they have done only what was fair and right.
They are like determined rogues, who first rob, and then blindfold you
that you may not pursue them.”

  24th Sept., 1780.

       *       *       *       *       *

“Nichols said one should never dispute with a woman, for she has not
understanding enough to be convinced; at least, never will own herself
in the wrong, and always will be angry with you.”

  22nd Sept., 1780.

       *       *       *       *       *

“Nichols said he liked better to converse with women than with men of
the greatest sense and knowledge. He owned he could gain no acquisition
to his intellectual stock from them, but they diverted and cheered him.
I said he had them like housemaids to sweep the cobwebs from his mind
and give it a polish.”

  22nd Sept., 1780.

       *       *       *       *       *

“A man who wishes just to be easy will always avoid those subjects
which he has discovered are hard and puzzling. Nay, he will not even
take the trouble to make the selection, but like a luxurious indolent
eater, wherever he finds any piece in the least degree tough he will
let it alone.”

  23rd Sept., 1780.

       *       *       *       *       *

“Nichols said that a man of the _ton_, as the phrase is,—of high
breeding, and fashionable air, has at first an irresistible superiority
over plain men, others who have not such superficial advantages. He has
a shake of the head which frightens you, but when you are once used to
him you laugh at the shake.”

  23rd Sept., 1780.

       *       *       *       *       *

“In winter 1779, after Scotland had been exhausted by raising new
levies, Sir William Augustus Cunningham[111] boasted in the House of
Commons that 20,000 men might yet be raised in that country and never
be missed, either from manufactures or agriculture. The Hon. Henry
Ershire[112] said he believed it was true. But they must be raised from
the churchyards.”

  From himself.

       *       *       *       *       *

“A ludicrous recruiting advertisement was given about in Edinburgh in
1778, inviting, amongst many other denominations, all man midwives to
join the King’s standard (repair to the drumhead and acquire glory).
Mrs. Dundas, of Melville,[113] pleasantly asked if Dr. Young, the most
eminent practitioner in midwifery, would enlist. ‘No, madam,’ said the
Hon. Henry Erskine, ‘he has already right to as great a title as he
could acquire in the army.’ ‘Ay,’ said she, ‘what is that?’ ‘Madam,’
said he, ‘the deliverer of his country.’”

  From himself.

       *       *       *       *       *

“In 1780 there was published at Edinburgh an account of Lord George
Gordon,[114] with his head. He was then in the Tower for high treason.
Harry Erskine said, ‘The next thing we shall have will he an account of
Lord George Gordon without his head.’”

  I was present.

       *       *       *       *       *

“When Boswell was introduced to Mr. Samuel Johnson, who had a very
great antipathy at the Scotch, ‘Mr. Johnson,’ said he, ‘I come from
Scotland, but I can’t help it.’ ‘Sir,’ said Johnson, ‘that I find is
what a very great many of your countrymen cannot help.’”[115]

       *       *       *       *       *

“Lord Eglintoune[116] said that the hearts of the ladies were like
a looking-glass, which will reflect an image of the object that is
present, but retains no trace of what is absent.”

  I was present.

       *       *       *       *       *

“Doctor Blair[117] asked Macpherson[118] why he lived in England, as
he certainly could not be fond of John Bull. ‘Sir’, said he, ‘I hate
John Bull, but I love his daughters.’”


       *       *       *       *       *

“Boswell was walking with some ladies at Ranelagh, when a large young
woman passed by. ‘That lady,’ said Boswell, ‘has a great deal of
beauty; it cannot, indeed, well be exprest, but it may be _felt_.’”

       *       *       *       *       *

“Lady Fanny Montgomerie[119] met with a very handsome woman in the
highlands of Scotland, who had so much simplicity of manner that she
had never seen herself but in the water. Lady Fanny showed her a little
pocket mirror, which gave her a clear view of her own face, and asked
her if she ever had seen anything so handsome. ‘Madam,’ said she, ‘by
your asking that question I should imagine that your ladyship had never
seen such a glass as this.’”


       *       *       *       *       *

“Boswell was talking away one evening in St. James’s Park with much
vanity. Said his friend Temple, ‘We have heard of many kinds of
hobby-horses, but, Boswell, you ride upon yourself.’”

       *       *       *       *       *

“A stupid fellow was declaiming against that kind of raillery called
_roasting_, and was saying, I am sure I have a great deal of good
nature; I never roast any. ‘Why, sir,’ said Boswell, ‘you are an
exceedingly good-natured man, to be sure; but I can give you a better
reason for your never roasting any. Sir, you never roast any, because
you have got no fire.’”

       *       *       *       *       *

“A keen Scott (_sic_) [Dr. Ogilvie][120] was standing up for his
country, and boasting that it had a great many noble wild prospects.
‘Sir,’ said Mr. Samuel Johnson, ‘I believe you have a great many noble
wild prospects. Norway, too, has got some prospects; and Lapland is
remarkable for prodigious noble wild prospects. But, sir, I believe the
noblest prospect that a Scotchman ever sees is the road which leads him
to England.’”

  I was present.

       *       *       *       *       *

“When the Duke de Nivernais was sent ambassador from France to England,
at the first inn in Britain he was charged a most extravagant bill.
The people of the house being asked how they could use him so ill when
he was a stranger, they replied that was the very reason; for as they
chose to observe Scripture rules, ‘He was a stranger,’ said they, ‘and
we took him in.’”


       *       *       *       *       *

“Boswell asked Mr. Samuel Johnson what was best to teach a gentleman’s
children first. ‘Why, sir,’ said he, ‘there is no matter what you teach
them first. It matters no more than which leg you put first into your
bretches (_sic_). Sir, you may stand disputing which you shall put in
first, but in the meantime your legs are bare. No matter which you put
in first so that you put ’em both in, and then you have your bretches
on. Sir, while you think which of two things to teach a child first,
another boy, in the common course, has learnt both.’”

  I was present.

       *       *       *       *       *

“Mr. Samuel Johnson doubted much of the authenticity of the poems of
Ossian. Doctor Blair asked him if he thought any man could describe
these barbarous manners so well if he had not lived at the time and
seen them. ‘Any man, sir,’ replied Mr. Johnson,—‘any man, woman, or
child might have done it.’”


       *       *       *       *       *

“Boswell was praising the English highly, and saying they were a fine
open people. ‘Oh,——,’ said Macpherson, ‘an open people! their mouths,
indeed, are open to gluttony to fill their belly, but I know of no
other openness they have.’”

  I was present.

       *       *       *       *       *

“Boswell was telling Mr. Samuel Johnson how Macpherson railed at all
established systems. ‘So would he tumble in a hog-stye,’ said Mr.
Johnson, ‘as long as you look at him and cry to him to come out; but
let him alone, never mind him, and he’ll soon give it over.’”

       *       *       *       *       *

“Hall,[122] the author of ‘Crazy Tales,’ said he could not bear
David Hume for being such a monarchical dog. ‘Is it not shocking,’
said he, ‘that a fellow who does not believe^{fear} in God, should
believe^{fear} in a king?’”

  MR. DEMPSTER.[123]

       *       *       *       *       *

“Mr. Samuel Johnson, after being acquainted with Lord Chesterfield,
said, ‘I see now what this man is. I thought he had been a lord among
wits, but I find he is only a wit among lords.’”


       *       *       *       *       *

“Mr. Samuel Johnson was once at Windsor, and dined with the mayor. But
the fellow (said he) not content with feeding my body, thought he must
feed my mind too, and so he told me a long story how he had sent three
criminals to the plantations. Tired to death with his nonsense, ‘I wish
(to God),’ said Johnson, ‘that I was the fourth.’”


       *       *       *       *       *

“A bishop was flattering Sir Robert Walpole[126] egregiously. A
gentleman asked him how he could bear such fulsome stuff. ‘Sir,’ said
he, ‘if you were as severely scourged in the House of Commons as I am,
you would be glad of any dog to lick your sores.’”


       *       *       *       *       *

“An officer on the recruiting service made his regular returns to the
regiment, in which he said that he had as yet got none, but that he had
a man of six foot two in his eye. ‘All nonsense!’ said the colonel;
‘recall him immediately. He has had that fellow in his eye these six


       *       *       *       *       *

“Lord Chesterfield told a half-pay lieutenant that he would bring him
back to full pay in the same rank. ‘My lord,’ said he, ‘I detest the
name of lieutenant so much that I would not be made Lord Lieutenant of

  A Stranger.

       *       *       *       *       *

“Boswell said that a man is reckoned a wise man rather for what he does
not say than for what he says. Perhaps upon the whole _Limbertongue_
speaks a greater quantity of good sense than Manly does. But
_Limbertongue_ gives you such floods of frivolous nonsense that his
sense is quite drowned. _Manly_ gives you unmixed good sense only.
_Manly_ will always be thought the wisest man of the two.”

       *       *       *       *       *

“Dempster, who was a great republican, was presenting an address one
day at court. He was hurt to see subordination prevail so much, and was
shocked to see the keen and able Lord Marchmont[128] bowing just like
the rest. He said he looked like a chained eagle at a gentleman’s gate.”

  From himself.

       *       *       *       *       *

“Mr. Samuel Johnson said that all sceptical innovators were vain men;
and finding mankind allready (_sic_) in possession of Truth, they found
they could not gratify their vanity in supporting her, and so they have
taken to error. Truth (said he) is a cow which will yield such people
no more milk, and so they are gone to milk the bull.”

  I was present.

       *       *       *       *       *

“Captain Erskine[129] complained that Boswell’s hand was so large, that
his letters contained very little. My lines (said Boswell) are, like
my ideas, very irregular, and at a great distance from each other.”

       *       *       *       *       *

“Sir W. Maxwell[130] said he was allways affraid (_sic_) of a clever
man till he knew if he had good nature. ‘Yes,’ said Boswell; ‘when you
see a clever man you see a man brandishing a drawn sword, and you are
uneasy till you know if he intends only to make it glitter in the sun,
or to run you through the body with it.’”

       *       *       *       *       *

“A robust Caledonian was telling (in the Scots pronunciation) that he
was born in _Embro_. ‘Indeed!’ said an English physician: ‘upon my
word, the prettiest abortion I ever saw.’”


       *       *       *       *       *

“Boswell said that men of lively fancies seldom tell a story so
distinctly as those of slower capacity, as they confound the intellect
with an excess of brilliancy. It is a common expression, I cannot see
for the light. It may also be said, I cannot understand you; you shine
so much.”

       *       *       *       *       *

“Boswell told Mr. Samuel Johnson that a gentleman of their acquaintance
maintained in public company that he could see no distinction between
virtue and vice. ‘Sir,’ said Mr. Johnson, ‘does he intend that we
should believe that he is lying, or that he is in earnest? If we think
him a lyar, that is not honouring him very much. But if we think him in
earnest, when he leaves our houses let us count our spoons.’”

       *       *       *       *       *

“Mr. Sheridan, though a man of knowledge and parts, was a little
fancifull (_sic_) in his projects for establishing oratory and altering
the mode of British education. ‘Mr. Samuel Johnson,’ said Sherry,
‘cannot abide me, for I allways ask him, Pray sir, what do you propose
to do?’”


       *       *       *       *       *

“Boswell was talking to Mr. Samuel Johnson of Mr. Sheridan’s enthusiasm
for the advancement of eloquence. ‘Sir,’ said Mr. Johnson, ‘it won’t
do. He cannot carry through his scheme. He is like a man attempting
to stride the English Channel. Sir, the cause bears no proportion to
the effect. It is setting up a candle at Whitechapel to give light at

       *       *       *       *       *

“When Mr. Trotz,[132] Professor of Civil Law at Utrecht, was at
Copenhagen, he had a mind to hear the Danish pulpit oratory, and went
into one of their churches. At that time the barbarous custom of making
spoil of shipwrecked goods still prevailed in Denmark. The minister
prayed with great fervency: ‘O Lord, if it please Thee to chastise the
wicked for their sins, and to send forth Thy stormy winds to destroy
their ships, we beg that Thou mayest throw them upon our coasts rather
upon any other, that Thy chosen people may receive benefit therefrom,
and with thankful hearts may glorify Thy holy name.’”


       *       *       *       *       *

“‘_Tres faciunt collegium_’ is the common adage. A professor of law
at Utrecht came to his college one day, and found but one student.
He would not have it said that he was obliged to dismiss for want of
auditors. So he gravely pronounced, ‘Deus unus, ergo duo in tres. Tres
faciunt collegium. Incipemus.’”

  An UTRECHT Student.

       *       *       *       *       *

“An English gentleman who was studying at Geneva was introduced to Mr.
Voltaire, and at one of the comedies which were given at the Delice
he had the part of a stupid absurd Englishman assigned to him. The
gentleman was modest and anxious, and was saying he did not know well
how to do. Mr. Voltaire encouraged him: ‘Sir,’ said he, ‘don’t be
affraid. Just act in your own natural way, and you’ll do very well.’”


       *       *       *       *       *

“The King of Prussia asked an English gentleman why the civil law
did not universally prevail in Great Britain. The gentleman replied,
Because we are not Romans. ‘That is true,’ said the King, ‘but your
nation has produced many Romans.’”


       *       *       *       *       *

“When Lord Hope[133] was presented to the King of Prussia, he told him
that he made in one summer the tour of Denmark, Sweden, and Norway.
‘Ay,’ said the king, ‘and pray, my lord, why have you not been in


       *       *       *       *       *

“Mr. Samuel Johnson said of Sheridan, ‘Sherry is dull, naturally
dull, but it must have cost him a great deal of pains to become so
exceedingly stupid; such an excess of stupidity is not in nature.’”

  MR. DEMPSTER, from FOOTE.[134]

       *       *       *       *       *

“The Earl of Marchmont and Lord Littleton[135] differed warmly about
the authenticity of Fingal. Macpherson said he should like to see them
fighting a duel in Hyde Park. ‘See them!’ said Dempster: ‘no one man
could possibly see _them_, they would stand at such a distance from one

  I was present.

       *       *       *       *       *

“When Derrick was made King of Bath, Mr. Samuel Johnson said, ‘Derry
may do very well while he can outrun his character, but the moment that
his character gets up with him he is gone.’”

  I was present.

       *       *       *       *       *

“When Dempster was at Brussels, a young gentleman of Scotland was very
bad. Dempster said that the surgeons poured mercury into him as if he
had been the tube of a weather-glass.”

       *       *       *       *       *

“Boswell told Mr. Samuel Johnson that Sir James Macdonald[136] said he
had never seen him, but he had a great respect for him, though at the
same time a great terror. ‘Were he to see me,’ said Mr. Johnson, ‘it
would probably lessen both.’”

       *       *       *       *       *

“Mr. Samuel Johnson told Boswell that Dr. Goldsmith when abroad used to
dispute in the universities, and so get prize money, which carried him
on in his travels. ‘Well,’ said Boswell, ‘that was indeed _disputing_
his _passage_ through Europe.’”

       *       *       *       *       *

“Boswell was saying that Derrick was a miserable writer. ‘True,’ said
Mr. Samuel Johnson,[137] ‘but it is to his being a writer that he owes
anything he has. Sir, had not Derrick been a writer, he would have
been sweeping the crosses in the streets, and asking halfpence from
everybody that passed.’”

       *       *       *       *       *

“A good-natured, stupid man, at Bath, wanted to appear a man of some
consequence by talking often with Mr. Quin,[138] although he had
nothing earthly to say more than ‘Your servant, Mr. Quin! I hope you
are well.’ Quin bore with him for some time, but at last he lost
patience, and one day when the gentleman came up to him with a ‘Mr.
Quin, I hope you are well!’ Quin replied, ‘Yes, sir, I am very well,
and intend to be so for six months to come; so, sir, till that time I
desire you may not again ask me that question.’”

  MR. ROSE, at Utrecht.

       *       *       *       *       *

“Mr. Samuel Johnson and Boswell slept in one room at Chichester. A moth
flew round the candle for some time, and burnt itself to death. ‘That
creature,’ said Mr. Johnson, ‘was its own tormentor, and I believe its
name was Boswell.’”[139]

       *       *       *       *       *

“Mr. Fordyce[140] said that a man of public character who falls into
disgrace in England receives immediate punishment from the mob; and
is a greater man than Orpheus, who only made live animals follow him,
whereas the rogue makes dead cats come after him.”

  I was present.

       *       *       *       *       *

“Baldie Robertson, a Scotch advocate, asked Boswell to accompany him
to cheapen a couple of rooms of Lucky Rannie’s. She told him, ‘Sir,
you shall just have them for a guinea a week, you furnishing coal and
candle.’ Baldie, with much emotion, cried out, ‘But I tell you, woman,
I have no coal and candle.’”

       *       *       *       *       *

“Boswell said of Miss Stewart, of Blackhall,[141] ‘that more brilliant
beauties came armed with darts and attacked men as foes, but Miss
Stewart carried no weapons of destruction, and treated with them as
with allies.’”

       *       *       *       *       *

“Lord Eglintoune said to Boswell, whose lively imagination formed many
schemes, but whose indolence hindered him from executing them, ‘Jamie,
you have a light head, but a heavy a——.’”

       *       *       *       *       *

“Lord Eglintoune said to Boswell, who was maintaining that by habit he
would acquire the power of application to business, ‘Application must
be an original vigour of mind. The arm of any blacksmith may become so
strong by habit that he may gain his bread; but if he has not natural
strength he will never make excellent work.’”

       *       *       *       *       *

“The Spaniards are a noble people; at least, their gentlemen have great
souls. At a famous battle there was a brave Spanish officer who had
been wounded in many actions, and had but one eye left. A bullet came
and struck it out as he was charging at the head of his troops, and
wounded him mortally. With calm and solemn dignity he called to his
men, ‘Bonas noctias, cavilieros’ (‘Good night, my fellow-soldiers’).”


       *       *       *       *       *

“A German baron, newly arrived at Paris in a suit trimmed with
almaches—that is, small lace disposed so as to look like horns—went
to the theatre just in his travelling dress, and getting behind the
scenes showed himself upon the stage. The Parterre began to make a
noise like the firing of cannon. One of the players begged to know
what was the matter, when a gentleman replied, pointing to the baron,
‘Animal, ne voys tu pas que nous attaqons cette ouvrage a corne?’ ‘You
fool, don’t you see that we are attacking that hornwork?’”


       *       *       *       *       *

“Monsieur Chapelle satirized with much keenness the _petits maîtres_ of
his time. One of them who chanced to be in company with him exclaimed
against these satires, and said he wished he knew the author—he would
beat him heartily. He plagued the company with his threatenings,
especially Chapelle, whom he sat next to and shouldered. At last
Chapelle gave a spring, and turning up his back to him, cried, ‘Frap et
va t’en!’ (‘Strike, and get thee gone!’)”


       *       *       *       *       *

“When M. Voltaire was in England he had a great desire to see Dr.
Clarke,[142] but the Doctor, who had heard his character, would not be
acquainted with him; at last he fell in with a friend of Dr. Clarke’s,
who asked him to be of a party where the Doctor was. Voltaire went
and seated himself next to the Doctor, in full expectation of hearing
him talk, but he remained very silent. Voltaire, in order to force
him to speak, threw out all the wild profane rhodomontades that his
imagination could suggest against religion. At last Dr. Clarke turned
about, and looking him steadily in the face with the keen eagle eyes
for which he was remarkable, ‘Sir,’ said he, ‘do you acknowledge that
two and two make four?’ Voltaire was so confounded by this that he said
not another word.”

  MR. BROWN.[143]

       *       *       *       *       *

“A dull German baron had got amongst the English at Geneva, and, being
highly pleased with their spirit, wanted to imitate them. One day an
Englishman came in to the baron’s room, and found him jumping with
all his might upon the chairs and down again, so that he was all in a
sweat. ‘Mon Dieu! Monsieur le baron,’ dit-il, ‘que faites-vous?’ (‘Good
God! baron,’ said he, ‘what are you about?’) ‘Monsieur,’ replied the
baron, wiping down his temples with a handkerchief, ‘j’apprens d’être
vif’ (‘I am learning to be lively’).”


       *       *       *       *       *

“Mr. Thomas Hunter,[144] minister at New Cumnock, was visiting his
parish on a very cold day. At a substantial farmer’s they set him down
an excellent smoaking _haggis_. ‘Come,’ said he, ‘here is the grace:—O
Lord, we thank Thee for this warm Providence.’”


       *       *       *       *       *

“When Mr. Sheridan lived at Windsor he used often to meet a very
awkward fellow who did not know how to hold his arms. Mr. Sheridan said
the fellow always made him imagine that he was carrying home a pair of
arms that somebody had bespoke.”

  From himself.

       *       *       *       *       *

“When Mr. David Hume began first to be known in the world as a
philosopher, Mr. Thomas White, a decent rich merchant of London, said
to him, ‘I am surprised, Mr. Hume, that a man of your good sense should
think of being a philosopher. Why, I now took it into my head to be
a philosopher for some time, but tired of it most confoundedly, and
very soon gave it up.’ ‘Pray, sir,’ said Mr. Hume, ‘in what branch of
philosophy did you employ your researches? What books did you read?’
‘Books?’ said Mr. White; ‘nay, sir, I read no books, but I used to sit
you whole forenoons a-yawning and poking the fire.’”


       *       *       *       *       *

“Pierot, the biting French satirist, had often applied to be admitted
member of the Academie Royale, and still was rejected. One day, after
hearing their disquisitions, a freind (_sic_) asked him, ‘N’ont-ils
pas beaucoup d’esprit?’ ‘Esprit?’ replied Pierot, ‘sans doute ils out
beaucoup d’esprit. Ils out esprit _comme_ quatre.’ The society is
forty-eight in number.”

       *       *       *       *       *

“Mr. Tronchin,[146] physician at Geneva, an intimate friend of Mr.
Voltaire, told Mr. Brown, the English minister at Utrecht, that one
time when Voltaire was very bad, he was under the greatest terror for
death, and he used this strong expression to Mr. Tronchin,—‘Sir, if
I were put upon the rack at three o’clock in the afternoon, and had
both my legs and both my arms broke, if I had my choice either to die
immediately or to live till seven at night, I would choose to live
till seven.’ A fortnight after, when he was quite recovered, he was
talking against religion with as much wildness and extravagance as
ever, and seemed highly delighted with shaking the faith of all the
company. Mr. Tronchin, who was present, got up with indignation, went
round to Voltaire, and catching him by the breast, said, ‘You pitiful
wretch! are you, for a little gratification of vanity, endeavouring to
destroy the only pillars which can support mankind at that awful hour
which made you so lately tremble like a coward?’ In contradiction to
this story, see in my Journal the account which Tronchin gave me of


       *       *       *       *       *

“During a hot action between the French and the allied armies, in which
the former were defeated, a French grenadier was taken prisoner by
an officer of the Iniskilling [Enniskillin] dragoons. He immediately
demanded of the prisoner, ‘Where is Marshal Broglio?’ The brave
grenadier replied, with the high spirit of a French soldier, ‘Il est
partout.’ He is everywhere.”

  M. GIFFARDIER, from the Officer.

       *       *       *       *       *

“As a strong picture of the difference between French and German
manners, the following story will serve: An English officer in Germany
during the war kept a girl. She had a great deal of spirit, and for
a frolic she would pay a visit to the enemy’s outpost. She first came
to a French centinel, who seeing a pretty—nay, elegant lady coming
towards him, immediately grounded his arms, pulled off his hat, and
with all the politeness in the world saluted her with ‘Ah, madame, je
suis charmé,’ &c. She put out her hand, which he kissed with great
gallantry. She then went to a German centinel in the French service.
When he observed her approaching, he looked stern and shoved her back
with his hand; and when she attempted still to advance, he held out his
fusil. She ran briskly off, crying, ‘You brute, we have taken Cassel!’”

       *       *       *       *       *

“After a defeat of the French in Germany by the Prussians, a French
soldier got his back against a tree, and was defending himself against
four or five Prussians. The King of Prussia came up himself, and called
out to the soldier, ‘Mon ami, croyez-vous que vous êtes invincible?’ He
replied, ‘Oui, sire, si j’etois commandé par vous.’”


       *       *       *       *       *

“After another defeat of the French by the Prussians, a French soldier
said to his companion while they were running off, ‘Vraiment cet Roi de
Prusse est un brave homme. Je crois qu’il a servi en France.’”


       *       *       *       *       *

“After the defeat of the French at Rosbach, there happened a ludicrous
enough incident. A little French officer was taken prisoner by a tall,
fierce, black hussar. After making him deliver up his sword, his watch,
and his money, the hussar made him get up behind him and hold fast, and
away he galloped; and all the time, with the greatest _sang froid_, he
was eating apples out of his pocket, and now and then, with a humph,
threw one over his shoulder to the officer, who, for fear of his
displeasure, eat them every one most faithfully.”

  MR. GIFFARDIER, from the officer himself.

       *       *       *       *       *

“When Boswell was a young, giddy, frolicsome dog in London, a parcel
of sarcastical Scots, dining at Almack’s,[148] were enlarging much on
his imprudence. ‘I do not know,’ said Dempster, ‘how Boswell may do in
this world, but I am sure he would do very well in a better.’”

  From MISS DEMPSTER.[149]

       *       *       *       *       *

“Boswell complained that he had too good a memory in trifles, which
prevented his remembering things of consequence. ‘My head,’ said he,
‘is like a tavern, in which a club of low punch-drinkers have taken up
the room that might have been filled with lords who drink Burgundy, but
it is not in the landlord’s power to dispossess them.’”

       *       *       *       *       *

“A gentleman was complaining that upon a long voyage their provisions
were very bad, and, in particular, that their beef turned quite green.
‘Very right, sir,’ said Caleb Whitefoord,[150] ‘you know all flesh is
grass, and therefore ought to be green.’”

  I was present.

       *       *       *       *       *

“Boswell says that a man who sets out on the journey of life with
opinions that he has never examined is like a man who goes a-fowling
with a gun that has never been proved.”

       *       *       *       *       *

“Boswell, who had a good deal of whim, used not only to form wild
projects in his imagination, but would sometimes reduce them to
practice. In his calm hours he said with great good humour, ‘There have
been many people who built castles in the air, but I believe I am the
first that ever attempted to live in them.’”

       *       *       *       *       *

“A gentleman said of a clumsy wench that she was as hot as fire. ‘Yes,’
said Boswell, ‘but in a very different way. The fire feels nothing, but
communicates the heat to other bodies; but this wench leaves all cold
around her while she herself is burning.’”

       *       *       *       *       *

“A young lady was wishing much to be her _own mistress_. ‘You are mine,
miss,’ said her lover, ‘and that is much better.’”

       *       *       *       *       *

“Mademoiselle de Zuyl told Boswell one day, ‘Monsieur, cette après-midi
j’ai voulee convaincre ma chere mere de quelque chose, mais elle ne
vouloit pas m’entendre, et pour m’echaper elle a courue de chambre
en chambre. J’ai la suivi pourtant et j’ai raisonnée.’ ‘Eh bien,
Mademoiselle,’ replied Boswell, ‘c’etoit un raisonnement suivi.’”

       *       *       *       *       *

“A gentleman told Boswell that one of his studious freinds used to have
a bottle of wine set upon his desk in the evening, and that generally
he caught himself at the end of it. ‘Ay,’ said Boswell, ‘I suppose,
sir, he took care not to catch himself before he got to the end of it.’”

       *       *       *       *       *

“A forward fellow asked Boswell one day the character of a certain
general officer. ‘Sir,’ said Boswell, ‘the gentleman is a general, and
I do not choose to enter into particulars.’”

       *       *       *       *       *

“When Boswell had the rage of getting into the Guards, he talked of
it to John Home,[151] whose poetry breathed a martial spirit, and
therefore might approve his desire to be a soldier. ‘Sir,’ said John
Home, ‘the Guards are no soldiers; they are just beefeaters, only they
don’t eat beef.’”

       *       *       *       *       *

“Boswell was at Leyden in the year 1764. The Hon. Charles Gordon[152]
said to him with affected diffidence, in order to receive a compliment,
‘Mr. Boswell, I would willingly come and see you for a day at Utrecht,
but I am afraid I should tire you.’ ‘Sir,’ replied Boswell, ‘I defy you
to tire me for one day.’”

       *       *       *       *       *

“When Boswell was passing through Leyden, in the year 1764, he put up
at the ‘Golden Ball,’ and was shown into the great parlour, which, as
in all the inns in Holland, is a public room. As he was eating a sober
bit of supper there entered three roaring West Indians, followed by
a large dog. They made a deal of rude noise. The waiter thought it
incumbent upon him to make an apology for their roughness. ‘Sir,’ said
he, ‘they are very good-natured gentlemen.’ ‘Yes, yes,’ said Boswell,
‘I see they are very good-natured gentlemen, and in my opinion, sir,
the dog seems to be as good-natured as any of the three.’”

       *       *       *       *       *

“When Mr. de Neitschutz, Grand Ecuyer du Prince d’Anhalt-Dessau was
sent to the King of Prussia to treat with him, and to beg that he would
not demand such great subsidies, the King used to say, ‘Mon ami, il
faut soutenir des armees. Je ne suis pas en etat de la faire. Vous
savez que je n’ai rien. Il faut que je vole.’”


       *       *       *       *       *

“When Voltaire was at Berlin he used to be rude to the King of Prussia.
The King came into his room one day when he had before him on a table
a great parcel of his Majesty’s verses, which he no doubt put in order
very freely. The King called to him, ‘Que faites-vous, Voltaire?’ He
replied, ‘Sire, j’arrange votre linge sale.’”


       *       *       *       *       *

“After the battle of Colline, where the King of Prussia was sadly
defeated, his Majesty stood in a musefull melancholy, and looked
through his glass at a battery of cannon which was still playing and
was within reach of him. His troops had all retired, only the Scots
General Grant stood behind him at a little distance; a cannon bullet
took away the skirt of his coat, and at last when he found that the
King made no preparation to retire, he came up to him and said,
‘Est-ceque votre majeste veut prendre la batterie tout seul?’ The
King looked at him with approbation, and said, ‘Allons, mon ami,’ and
retreated. ‘Eh bien, Grant,’ said he, ‘c’est une triste affaire.’”


       *       *       *       *       *

“During one of his campaigns the King of Prussia composed a sermon
entitled ‘Sermon sur le jour de jugement preché devant l’Abbé de Prade,
par son aumonier ordinaire l’Incredulité.’ L’Abbé de Prade was his
reader. The sermon was a grave discourse, full of Scripture phrases. It
might have been preached in any church in Europe.”


       *       *       *       *       *

“Mr. Burnet was one day riding along with the Prussian army through a
wood. He heard behind him a voice crying, ‘March furt in der Deivells
naam,’ but did not think that the King had been near him. He turned
about, however, and there was his Majesty’s horse’s mouth touching
Burnet’s horse’s tail. The King had lost a battle. The weather was
bad. He was muffled up in his great-coat, was in very bad humour, and
looked confoundedly sulky. Burnet was anxious to make way for him,
and immediately put spurs to his horse and sprung away. The wood was
so thick that the branches caught hold of him and drove off his hat
and wig. He had shaved his head that morning, so that there he was,
he sticking with his white skull exposed to the elements. The King,
notwithstanding his ill-humour, could not help being diverted, and
burst out into an immense fit of laughter. He then said to Burnet,
‘Monsieur, je vous demande pardon, mais je m’en vais le reparer.’ He
then called to a soldier, ‘Geve die Heer syn Hoed en zyn peruik.’”


       *       *       *       *       *

“The King of Prussia sometimes used to amuse himself in the most
extraordinary manner. After having played on his flute till he was
tired, he would say to the Abbé de Prade, ‘Allons, si j’etois membre
du Parlement d’ Angleterre voici comment je parlerais;’ then he would
harangue on the balance of power, &c., like a very Pitt.”


       *       *       *       *       *

“The British Envoy’s mail was once seized going from Berlin. It was
said to have been done by the Ambassador of France. Mr. Mitchell
said,[154] ‘Je n’en crois rien.’ ‘Peut être,’ said one, ‘il a reçu
des ordres pour le faire et qu’est ce que cela feroit,’ said Mitchell.
‘Monsieur,’ said the gentleman, ‘si vous aviéz reçu des ordres du
Roi votre maître de saisir une Malle ne voudriez vous pas le faire?’
‘Monsieur,’ replied Mr. Mitchell, ‘Premierrement le Roi mon maître ne
me donnera jamais _des telles_ ordres. En second lieu, assurement je ne
les obeierois pas, “non,” je lui ecrirois, Si vous, Sire, voulez faire
des choses comme cela, il faut envoyer un voleur, et non pas tacher de
faire un voleur de votre Envoye.’”

  MR. MITCHELL himself.

       *       *       *       *       *

“Boswell was presented to the Duke of Argyle,[155] at Whitton, in
the year 1760. The duke talked some time with him, and was pleased,
and seemed surprised that Boswell wanted to have a commission in the
guards. His Grace took Boswell’s father aside, and said, ‘My lord, I
like your son. That boy must not be shot at for three and sixpence a

       *       *       *       *       *

“Lord Auchinleck and his son were very different men. My lord was
sollid (_sic_) and composed; Boswell was light and restless. My lord
rode very slow; Boswell was one day impatient to get on, and begged my
lord to ride a little faster; ‘for,’ said he, ‘it is not the exercise
which fatigues, but the hinging upon a beast.’ His father replied,
‘What’s the matter, man, how a chield hings, if he dinna hing upon a

       *       *       *       *       *

“When Captain Augustus Hervey was lying in the port of Leghorn, some of
the first people of the country paid him a visit aboard his ship. He
ordered his men to draw up a bucket of water, and presented it to the
nobles, bidding them drink that. ‘Why,’ said they, ‘’tis salt water.’
‘Is it?’ said he. ‘Then know that wherever this water is found the King
of Great Britain is master.’”


       *       *       *       *       *

“Mr. Burnet went once into a Presbyterian kirk. The minister lectured
on these words,—‘You shall take no scrip for your journey.’ ‘A scrip,’
said he, ‘my beloved brethren, was a clockbag, a portmanteau, or a


       *       *       *       *       *

“A gentleman was saying at Voltaire’s table, ‘J’ai lu un telle chose.’
‘Monsieur,’ said Voltaire, ‘il ne faut pas croire tout ce qu’on a lu.’
‘Monsieur,’ replied he, ‘j’ai pourtant lu tous vos ouvrages.’”

  The Gentleman.

       *       *       *       *       *

“Boswell said that to be a good rural poet a man must have an appetite
for the beauties of nature as another has for his dinner. A man who has
a poor stomach will never talk with force of a good dinner; nor will he
whose taste is feeble talk with force of a fine prospect. This kind of
taste must be felt, and cannot even be imagined by others.”

       *       *       *       *       *

“Boswell said that a dull fool was nothing, as he never showed himself.
The great thing, said he, is to have your fool well furnished with
animal spirits and conceit, and he’ll display to you a rich fund of
risibility. He said this at a certain court in Germany.”

       *       *       *       *       *

“A formal fellow at Paris paid a great many long-winded compliments to
Mademoiselle Ameté, the Turk. When he had finished, she said to the
gentleman next her, ‘Je ne puis pas soutenir cet homme la; il me parle
comme un Dedicace.’”


       *       *       *       *       *

“Boswell said that young people are often tempted to resign themselves
to a warm fancy or a strong benevolent passion, because they have
read that those who are thus agitated are nobler beings, and enjoy a
felicity superior to that of sedate rational men. But let them consider
that all these fine things have been said by the hot-brained people
themselves, and that one who is drunk may and does boast as much his
intoxicated situation. The impartial method of judging what state of
mind is happiest is to hear the voice of the majority of sensible men,
most of whom, either when young or when drunk, have felt the enticing
delirium. If none approve it but such as immediately feel it, we may
pronounce it a false joy. For other states, of mind, as the cool
circumspection of wisdom, the moderate tenderness of affection, the
solemn ardour of devotion, the noble firmness of manly honour,—these
others approve of; others wish to possess.”

       *       *       *       *       *

“Boswell asked, ‘Why have we not a neat phrase to express our being
eager to see, equivalent to “I pricked up my ears” when eager to hear?’”

       *       *       *       *       *

“When Sir Adam Fergusson[157] was at Dusseldorf he admired much an
organ in one of the churches, and wished greatly to hear an English
tune upon it. Barnard, (nephew to the great Sir John, and) a merchant
at Dunkirk, was there. He begged of the organist to give him liberty to
play the vespers, which he agreed to. Barnard played the solemn music
very gravely, but by way of a voluntary he gave ‘Ally Croaker.’ He,
however, adorned it with several variations, so that the organist said,
‘Monsieur, en que c’est un beau morceau.’”


       *       *       *       *       *

At the court of Saxe-Gotha there were two ladies of honour,
Mesdemoiselles de Rickslepen, sisters, very pretty, but very little.
Boswell said to a baron of the court, “Monsieur, il faut les prendre
comme des alouettes, par la demi-douzaine.”

       *       *       *       *       *

“When Poniatowsky[158] was made king of Poland, anno 1764, many of
the first nobles opposed his election, as they imagined that he would
follow the system of the King of Prussia, and introduce arbitrary
power. Le Comte de Sapia, grand Ecuyer de la Lithuanie, quitted his
country in discontent. He passed some time at the court of Gotha. One
of the courtiers there said to him, ‘Monsieur, vous qui aimez tant la
liberté vous devez aller en Angleterre.’ ‘Dieu m’en garde!’ cried he;
‘non; il faut aller en France, pour apprendre nos nouveaux devoirs.’”


       *       *       *       *       *

“Boswell showed some of his verses to a German professor, who
understood English. The professor was highly pleased with them. When he
laid them down Boswell said, ‘I wrote some of them last night.’ ‘Ah,’
said the professor, ‘I did not know they had been yours, sir, or I
should have praised them more.’”

       *       *       *       *       *

“A prince talked of a subject of learning—a piece of history, and
said, ‘Je ne sais en verité.’ Another prince said, ‘On trouvera cela
peut être dans un dictionnaire.’ ‘H’m, oui,’ said another^{third}
prince, ‘ui, on le trouvera dans un dictionnaire.’”

  I was present.

       *       *       *       *       *

“Boswell said the English language was like the ancient Corinthian
brass. When Corinth was burnt, the fortuitous mixture of gold, silver,
and copper produced a metal more excellent than any original one. So,
by the different invasions of England was produced a mixture of old
British, German, and French, which makes a language superior to any
original tongue. The proportions in the one case are as curious as in
the other.”

       *       *       *       *       *

“Boswell compared himself to the ancient Corinthian brass. ‘I am,’ said
he, ‘a composition of an infinite variety of ingredients. I have been
formed by a vast number of scenes of the most different natures, and I
question if any uniform education could have produced a character so
agreable’” (_sic_).

       *       *       *       *       *

“The Dutch bourgeois generally wear coats and wigs of prodigious size,
by no means made to fit them; but by way of so much cloth and so much
hair Boswell said, ‘Les Hollandois portent des habits et des peruques
comme des Hardes.’”

       *       *       *       *       *

“Krimberg, grand maître de madame la Marcgrave de Baden Baden, said
of the Marcgrave of Baden Dourlach, ‘Les autres princes s’amusent des
amusements, mais ce prince s’amusa des affaires.“‘

  I was present.

       *       *       *       *       *

“Boswell said that a great company was just a group of _têtes-à-têtes_.”

       *       *       *       *       *

“The father of young M. Gaio, at Strasburg, had an immense cask of
prodigious fine old Rhenish. His maître d’hotel came and told him that,
unfortunately, it had burst the cask and was totally lost. M. Gaio
(having eat his evening soup), replied, ‘Eh bien, mon vin est lu.’”


       *       *       *       *       *

“The uncle of young M. Gaio at Strasbourg had a set of Dresden tea
china which he valued very much. As one of his servants was bringing it
hastily in one day he fell and broke the whole set. His master stepped
calmly forward, helped him up, and called to another servant, ‘Ecoutez,
donnez une verre du vin de Bourgogne a François, je crois qu’il a en


       *       *       *       *       *

“Lord Eglintoune said to his brother,[159] Colonel Montgomerie, who was
to be his heir, ‘If I live, Archie, I’ll take care of you.’ ‘Yes, my
lord,’ replied the colonel, ‘and if you die I’ll take care of myself.’”


       *       *       *       *       *

“Mr. Needham[160] went with another gentleman to call upon M. Diderot.
A comely well-dressed lady opened the door to them. The gentleman
said, ‘Madame est sans doute la femme de M. Diderot.’ She, with an air
of smiling satisfaction, replied, ‘Monsieur, les philosophes ne ses
marient point.’”


       *       *       *       *       *

“Mr. Needham said that Rousseau’s not complying with the common
established ceremonies of society was like a Quaker saying Thee and
Thou, and not pulling off his hat.”

  I was present.

       *       *       *       *       *

“The Syndics or Magistrates of Geneva wear prodigious periwigs. M. de
Voltaire said to them, ‘Messieurs, vous repandez votre poudre dans
toutes les territoires voisines.’”


       *       *       *       *       *

“Erskine[161] and Boswell were one day sauntering in Leicester Fields
and talking of the famous scheme of squaring the circle. ‘Come, come,’
said Boswell, ‘let us circle the square, and that will be as good;’ so
these two poets took a walk round the square, laughing very heartily at
the conceit.”

       *       *       *       *       *

“Mr. Richardson, chaplain to Sir Joseph Yorke,[162] and another
clergyman were walking near a village by Cambridge, where were a number
of Methodists. They saw a child of four year old lying accross (_sic_)
the road, and immediately ran up to lift it up, when they heard a
number of people cry, ‘Let it alone, let it alone, it’s convicted, it’s
convicted.’ They asked, ‘Pray, how? so young a child has not been at
church.’ ‘No, but its father and mother have, and the Lord has been
dealing with their child.’”

  From himself.

       *       *       *       *       *

“Boswell said that Mademoiselle de Maasdain, at the Hague, was as black
as a chimney. ‘Then,’ said the Rev. Dr. Maclaine, ‘her husband would be
a chimney-sweeper.’”

       *       *       *       *       *

“Boswell said that Mademoiselle de Zuyl was too vivacious, and crowded
her _bon mots_ in conversation, so that one had not time to examine
them one by one, and see their beauties. He said, she used to make
people run through the Vatican, where you glance over a number of fine
pictures, but have not time to look at and relish any.”

       *       *       *       *       *

“Fordyce was much scandalized at a French barber who shaved him in
Paris, and having caught a fly, called it _cette machine la_. ‘Why,’
said Boswell, ‘in England we call a machine a fly, why may not the
French call a fly a machine?’”

       *       *       *       *       *

“Andrew Stuart,[163] Nairne,[164] Colonel Scott, and Boswell went in a
coach from the Hague to Rotterdam. The Dutch coachman was so heavy a
blockhead that Andrew Stuart took the reins from him and drove. A mole,
somehow or other, was seen upon the road. ‘Well,’ said Boswell, ‘when
Mr. Andrew Stuart drove a Dutch coach, he drove so hard that the very
moles came above ground to look at him.’”

       *       *       *       *       *

“In the year 1715 Lord Marischal observed a Highlander crying, and
looking at the poor fellow he observed he had no shoes. He sent one to
him, who spoke Erse, and bid him not be cast down, for he should have
shoes. ‘Sir,’ said the Highlander, ‘I want no shoes; I am crying to see
a Macdonald retire from his enemy.’”


       *       *       *       *       *

“In the year 1715, when my Lord Marischal was preparing to leave London
and join the Stuart army, Fletcher of Salton[165] came to him at seven
in the morning, asked a dish of tea to get his servant out of the way,
and then said, ‘My lord, you are now going to join with people who will
not be honest, nor so steady as yourself. I advise you, don’t go.’ My
lord answered, ‘Sir, I shall not dispute whether King James or King
George has the best right to the crown. I know you are for no king.
But, as things are, I think we may get rid of the union which oppresses
us.’ ‘My lord,’ replied Fletcher, ‘it is a good thing to be young: when
I was your age I thought as you do, and would have acted as you do; but
I am now growing old, I have been sorely brought down by sickness, and
I find my mind is failing with my body.”


       *       *       *       *       *

“Boswell went from Berlin to Charlottenburg while the entertainments
were there on account of the betrothing of the Princess Elizabeth
of Brunswick to the Prince of Prussia; all the ladies and gentlemen
pressed eagerly to get places at the windows of the palace, in order
to see the royal families at supper. Boswell found this a little
ridiculous, so came up to his acquaintances and said, ‘Allons, allons,
je vous en prie voyons la seconde table; je vous assure il vaut mieux
la peine; ces gens mangent plus que les autres?’ (‘Come, come, pray do
let us go see the second table; I assure you it is more worth while;
they eat more than the others.’)”

       *       *       *       *       *

“Boswell said that Sir Joseph Yorke was so anxious lest people should
forget that he was an ambassador, that he held his head as high and
spoke as little as possible. As in the infancy of painting it was found
necessary to write below a picture, this is a cow, or this is a horse,
so from the mouth of Sir Joe cometh a label with these words—‘I am an

       *       *       *       *       *

“Boswell said that the descriptions of human life which we find in
books are very false, because written in retirement. When a painter
would take a portrait or a landscape, he is always sure to be present,
whereas a painter of human life gets away from the object, buries
himself in the shade, or basks in the sunshine, and consequently gives
either too black or too gay a creature of his imagination, which he
calls human life.”

       *       *       *       *       *

“Two Scotch Highlanders were benighted, and lay down to sleep on the
side of a mountain. After they had lain a little, one of them got up,
but soon returned again. The other asked him, ‘What’s this, Donald?
what have you been about?’ Duncan replied, ‘I was only bringing a
stane to put under my head.’ Donald started up and cried, ‘H—g your
effeminacy, man! canna ye sleep without a stane aneath your head?’”


       *       *       *       *       *

“After the Prince of Prussia had been defeated by the Austrians, the
King, who was marching desperate against them, wrote to him thus:—‘Mon
frère, Daun vous a traité comme un petit Ecolier. Il vous a foueté avec
des verges. Un homme qui va mourir, n’a rien d’dissimuler.’”


       *       *       *       *       *

“Lord Auchinleck was one of the most firm and indefatigable judges that
ever lived. Brown at Utrecht said that he was one of those great beams
which are placed here and there to support the edifice of Society.”

  I was present.

       *       *       *       *       *

“Boswell said that Berkley[166] reasoned himself out of house and home.”

       *       *       *       *       *

“An unhappy hypochondriack complained that in his gloomy hours he
believed himself a fool. A hard-hearted wag was cruel enough to say to
him, ‘Crede quod habes et habes.’”

       *       *       *       *       *

“Captain Bertie was in one of three English ships who advanced against
seven French. The sailors were so overjoyed at this noble opportunity
that they huzzaed and threw their hats overboard, and those who had no
hats, their wigs. They fought and beat the French heartily.”


       *       *       *       *       *

“If those who have no taste for the fine arts would fairly own it,
perhaps it would be better. Mr. Damer and Captain Howe, two true-born
Englishmen, were in the great gallery at Florence; they submitted
quietly to be shown a few of the pictures, but seeing the gallery so
immensely long their impatience burst forth and they tried, for a bet,
who should hop first to the end of it.”

  THE HON. MR. HOWE.[168]

       *       *       *       *       *

“When Boswell came first into Italy, and saw the extreme profligacy of
the ladies, he said, ‘Italy has been called the garden of Europe, I
think it is the _Covent Garden_.’”

       *       *       *       *       *

“Churchill,[169] in his abusive poem against Scotland called the
‘Prophecy of Famine,’ had the following line:—

  ‘Far as the eye could reach no tree was seen.’

Mr. Jamieson, a true Scot, said, ‘Faith, I wish I had as many
Churchills to hang upon them as there’s trees.’”

       *       *       *       *       *

“Boswell had a travelling box in which he carried his hats and
his papers. He was saying one day, ‘What connection now have they
together?’ Replied Mr. Lumisden,[170] ‘They have both a connection with
your head.’”

       *       *       *       *       *

“An honest Scots sailor who had been wounded in the service took up a
public-house at Dundee, and on his sign had his story painted. First he
was drawn with both his legs firing away, with this inscription,—‘Thus
I was;’ then with one leg, and inscribed, ‘Thus _I am_, the Fortune of

  MR. WILLISON.[172]

       *       *       *       *       *

“A young fellow by chance let a china plate fall. His father asked
him, ‘Pray, sir, what way did you do that?’ He very gravely took up
another, and let it fall in the same manner: ‘That way, sir.’”


       *       *       *       *       *

“A very big man said he intended often to have spoke in the House of
Commons. ‘I wish you had, sir,’ said Matthew Henderson; ‘for if you had
not been heard, you would at least have been seen.’”


       *       *       *       *       *

P. 1. “April.—My father said to me, ‘I am much pleased with your
conduct in every respect.’ After all my anxiety while abroad, here is
the most perfect approbation and calm of mind. I never felt such sollid
(_sic_) happiness. But I feel I am not so happy with this approbation
and this calm as I expected to be. Alas! such is the condition of
humanity, that we are not allowed here the perfect enjoyment of the
satisfaction which arises even from worth. But why do I say alas! when
I really look upon this life merely as a transient state?

P. 2. “I must stay at Auchinleck. I have there just the kind of
complaining proper for me. All must complain, and I more than most of
my fellow-creatures.

P. 3. “A man is but in proportion to the impressions which his power
makes. I see there is variety of powers.”

       *       *       *       *       *

“Saturday, April 19th.—This morning my worthy father wak’d me early
and told me of the sudden death of my Lord Justice Clerk (Lord
Minto),[174] and repeated with a calm solemnity,—

  ‘Trahimur sævo rapiente fato.’”

       *       *       *       *       *

“A modern man of taste found fault with the avenues at Auchinleck, and
said he wished to see straggling trees. ‘I wish,’ said Boswell, ‘I
could see straggling fools in this world.’”

       *       *       *       *       *

“Boswell said that business itself helps a man on just as the chaise
going down a hill helps on the horse which is in the shafts. ‘When,’
said he, ‘I think of the fatigues of the law I tremble. But when I have
once get on the harnessing of a Process, away I go without difficulty.
This is just; let a man never despond as to anything, let him be yok’d,
and no fear.’”

       *       *       *       *       *

“When Boswell observed that the Lords of Session were often
inattentive, he said he wished he had liberty to speak to the bench as
one speaks to a company, where if any one whom one wishes to attend
appears to be absent, one can rouse him by directing the discourse
particularly to him. ‘So,’ said Boswell, ‘I would say, “My Lord Sagely,
your lordship must surely agree,” &c.; “But besides, my Lord Doubtfull,
it appears,” &c.’”

       *       *       *       *       *

“Boswell had a great aversion to the law, but forced himself to enter
upon that laborious profession in compliance with the anxious desire
of his father, for whom he had the greatest regard. After putting on
the gown, he said with great good humour to his brother advocates,
‘Gentlemen, I am prest into the service here; but I have observed that
a prest man, either by sea or land, after a little time does just as
well as a volunteer.’”

       *       *       *       *       *

“Lord Auchinleck said the great point for a judge is to conduct a cause
with safety and expedition, like a skillfull pilot. ‘The Agents always
endeavour to keep a cause afloat. But I keep my eye upon the haven, and
the moment I have got him fairly in order I give one hearty push, and
there he’s landed.’”

       *       *       *       *       *

“Boswell said when we see a man of eminence we desire nothing more than
to be of his acquaintance; we then wish to have him as a companion; and
when we have attained that we are impatient till we gain a superiority
over him. Such is the restless progress of man!”

       *       *       *       *       *

“A sailor, who had been long out at sea, was on his return asked by a
companion what sort of voyage they had. ‘Why,’ said he, ‘a very good
one; only we had prayers twice. But one of the times there was no more
occasion for them than if you and I should fall down and pray this


       *       *       *       *       *

“My Lord Stair,[176] who wrote a very bad hand, sent once to my Lord
Loudoun a written commission to be read to Sir Philip Honeywood.[177]
Lord Loudoun received the letter at the British Coffee-house, where he
was sitting after dinner with some friends taking a very hearty bottle;
and whether the wine made him see double or no, so it was that he read
the commission very distinctly. Next morning he went to wait on Sir
Philip Honeywood, and being then quite cool and in his sober senses
he could not read a word of it, and neither could Sir Philip. Lord
Loudoun could not go back to Lord Stair and tell him his hand was not
legible, so Sir Philip trusted to Lord Loudoun’s memory of what he had
read the day before, and could not then read at all, a most curious
fact. When the Duke of Cumberland was told of it he said, ‘Loudoun, why
did you not stay and dine with Sir Philip, and then you would both have
read it.’”


       *       *       *       *       *

“Mr. Clark, uncle to Baron Clark, a most curious mortal, who had been
bred a surgeon, had travelled over the greatest part of the world, and
always walked. He had the misfortune to break one of his legs, and two
pieces of the bone came out of it. He had them drest, and made hafts
to a knife and fork of them. When he was dying he sent for Doctor
Clark[178] and the Baron.[179] ‘Now, gentlemen,’ said he, ‘this knife
and fork will be the most valuable part of my executory, and I’ll leave
them to any of you two who shall give me the best inscription to put
upon them. The Doctor, who was a fine classical scholar, tried a good
many times, but at length the baron fairly got the better of him by a
most elegant and well-adapted inscription,—

  ‘Quæ terra nostri non plena laboris?’”


       *       *       *       *       *

“Campbell of Suckoth[180] and his son were both men of great wit.
The father had been constantly attached to the Duke of Argyle, but
had never got the least assistance from him, upon which the son went
and paid court to the Duke of Hamilton. His dutchess (_sic_) was then
of the Spencer family.[181] So young Suckoth planted a mount, which
he called Mount Spencer. The dutchess made him a present of some fine
foreign trees in flower-pots, so he got a cart and a couple of horses
from his father to bring them home with, but most of them broke by the
way. The old man was not pleased that his son had deserted his chief,
so he says to him, ‘Dear John, why will you pay court to the House of
Hamilton, for I see naething ye get frae them but a wheen broken pigs?’
‘Sir,’ says he, ‘broken pigs are as good as broken promises.’ ‘Very
true,’ John, ‘but they’re no sae dear o’ the carriage.’”


       *       *       *       *       *

“Sir William Gordon[182] wanted a servant who could write well. ‘My
father,’ said he, ‘knew of a very clever fellow, but the most drunken,
good-for-nothing dog that ever lived.’ ‘Oh,’ said Sir William, ‘no
matter for that, let him be sent for.’ So when he came Sir William
asked him a great many questions, to which Brodie answered most
distinctly. At last he asked, him, ‘Can you write Latin, sir?’ ‘Can
your honour read it?’ said he. Sir William was quite fond of him, and
had him drest out to all advantage. One day, at his own table, he was
telling a story. ‘Not so, sir,’ said Brodie, who was standing at his
back. ‘You dog,’ said he, ‘how do you know?’ ‘Because I have heard
your honour tell it before.’ He lived with Sir William more than seven


       *       *       *       *       *

“Sir William Gordon was always a singular character. When he came to
be eighteen it was necessary for him to choose a curator, and he chose
his own livery servant, ‘for’ said he, ‘one is plagued seeking for a
curator to sign papers with you, and sometimes they refuse to sign.”


       *       *       *       *       *

“Mr. Charles Cochrane[183] said one day to my Lord Justice Clerk
(Charles Erskine[184]), ‘Pray, my lord, what is the reason that there
never was a gentleman a ruling elder, who was not either a knave or a
very weak man?’ ‘Ay, Charles’ said he, ‘why, I’m a ruling elder myself,
and what do you take me to be?’ ‘A very weak man, my lord.’”


       *       *       *       *       *

“Sir Walter Pringle,[185] afterwards Lord Newhall, was apt to be very
passionate when he thought a lord did not hear him properly. One day
he appeared before Lord Forglen,[186] who was very heavy. Sir Walter
opened his cause. The other party answered, and among other objections
which they stated, they insisted on some trifling point of form, that
the cause had not been regularly put up upon the wall. Sir Walter
replied to all their objections with accuracy and spirit, but took no
notice of the trifling point of form. ‘Lord Forglen,’ said Sir Walter,
‘you have pleaded your cause very well, but what do you say to the
wall?’ ‘Indeed’ said he, ‘my lord, I have been speaking to it this
half-hour;’ and off he went in a great passion.”


       *       *       *       *       *

“Jack Bowes, an Englishman, who was married to a noted midwife at
Edinburgh, and was really mad, but had great humour, got up one day on
the steps which lead up to the New Kirk (the lady’s steps), and there
he gathered a crowd about him, and preached to them. ‘Gentlemen,’ said
he, ‘you will find my text in the 2nd Epistle of St. Paul to Timothy,
the 4th chapter, and there the 13th verse, ‘The cloak that I left at
Troas with Carpus, when thou comest, bring with thee, and the books,
but especially the parchments.’ ‘We insist upon the first clause. We
see, gentlemen, from these words that Paul was a presbyter, for he wore
a cloak. He does not say the gown which I left at Troas, but the cloak
which I left at Troas with Carpus, when thou comest bring with thee.
Timothy, we all know, was a bishop. Now, my friends, the doctrine I
would inculcate from this is, that a presbyter had a bishop for his


       *       *       *       *       *

“A drover owed another ——, as the price of —— lambs. His creditor
came and craved time for the money. ‘John,’ said he, ‘let me alone
for a fortnight, for I really cannot pay you sooner.’ The creditor
insisted, and called him before a judge and put him to his oath. He
swore positively that he owed no such debt. After the court was over,
the creditor asked him how he could swear against what he had owned so
often. ‘Because,’ said he, ‘you forced me, and I had nothing else for
it; but, however, John, you shall lose nothing by it, for I shall give
you my bill for the money payable in a fortnight,’ and actually he did
give his bill and paid him accordingly. A most wonderful mixture of
impiety and honesty.”


       *       *       *       *       *

“Sir William Gordon would needs make a library because my Lord
Sunderland made one, but all he wanted was just dear books. He came in
one day to Vanderaa’s shop, in Leyden, and asked if he had got any dear
new books. Vanderaa showed him the ‘Thesaurus Italiæ et Siciliæ’ in——
volumes. Sir William turned to Dr. Cooper and said, ‘Pray, Doctor, have
I got that book?’ ‘No, Sir William, nor do I think you have occasion
for it.’ ‘Mr. Cooper, I cannot be without that book.’ ‘Upon my word,
Sir William, I think you might very well be without it.’ ‘There, Mr.
Cooper, you and I differ.—Mr. Vanderaa, let that book be packed up and
sent for me to London.’”


       *       *       *       *       *

“Dr. Taylor, the oculist, was one evening supping at William Earl of
Dumfries’s, at Edinburgh. He harangued with his usual fluency and
impudence, and boasted that he knew the thoughts of everybody by
looking at their eyes. The first Lady Dumfries,[187] who was hurt with
his behaviour, asked him with a smile of contempt, ‘Pray, sir, do you
know what I am thinking?’ ‘Yes, madam,’ said he. ‘Then,’ replied the
countess, ‘it’s very safe, for I am sure you will not repeat it.’”

  DR. WEBSTER, who was present.

       *       *       *       *       *

“When the first Lady Dumfries was within a quarter of an hour of her
death, she showed an attention to the interests of religion, and at the
same time an address equal to that of any statesman. The earl came down
from her all in tears, and told it to the Rev. Mr. Webster. ‘My lord,’
said she, ‘you have always shown a proper regard to the ordinances
of religion. People have been pleased to say that you did so out of
compliment to me. Providence is now giving your lordship an opportunity
to show that it was entirely from yourself.’”


       *       *       *       *       *

“John Lord Hope[188] was educated at home about his father’s house,
full of conceit, full of petulance. His mother, the first Lady
Hopetown, stood much in awe of my lord, but when he was not present was
very lively and agreeable. One night at supper Lord Hope had made some
figure of the crumbs of his bread, and plagued all the company to tell
what it was. Many flattered him; some called it a pretty summerhouse;
some, one of the ruins of Rome, and so made him exceedingly vain. He
at last applied to my lady his mother. ‘Madam,’ said he, ‘you have not
told me what you think it is.’ ‘Well,’ said she, ‘if you will have what
I think it, I shall tell you I think it a monument of a young lord’s


       *       *       *       *       *

“Mr. William Nairne observed that it maybe said of a well-employed
barrister who lays by much money, what Horace says of the _ant_,—

  ‘_Ore_ trahit quodcunque potest atque addit acervo.’”

  I was present.

       *       *       *       *       *

“A gentleman expended immense sums of money in attempting to improve a
barren soil. Boswell observed ‘that the gentleman was as busy burying
gold as others are in digging it up.’”

       *       *       *       *       *

“It has often occurred to me that artificial passions are stronger than
real ones, just as a wall built with good mortar is found to be harder
and worse to separate than the natural rock. A passion for pageantry,
and many more of the passions generated in civilized life, often
influence men more than the real genuine passions natural to man.”

       *       *       *       *       *

“Cullen, the mimic,[189] had a wretched manner of his own. He was one
forenoon reading Lord Mansfield’s admirable speech on the Privilege
Bill. Several of our brother advocates were listening to him. I could
not help laughing, for I said hearing Lord Mansfield’s speech read by
Cullen was like hearing a piece of Handel’s music played on a (trump)
Jew’s harp.”

       *       *       *       *       *

“I have observed that business has a different effect on the spirits of
different men. It sinks the spirits of some and raises the spirits of
others. To the spirits of some, a variety of affairs are like stones
put into a pool of water, which make the water rise in proportion
to the quantity of stones; to the spirits of others, affairs (_des
affaires_) are like sponges put into a pool of water, which suck it up.
Men of great firmness can retain their vivacity amidst a multiplicity
of business. The King of Prussia is a distinguished example.”[190]

       *       *       *       *       *

“Mr. John Pettigrew,[191] minister of Govan, was one of the originals
amongst the clergy of Scotland, of which there were many in the last
age. His presbytery was once violently divided who should be moderator
in the room of one Mr. Love,[192] then in the chair. While they were
disputing with vast keenness Mr. Petticrew came in, and being asked
his opinion, he said, ‘Moderator, let brotherly love continue.’ The
presbytery took his advice, and so their disputes were ended in good


       *       *       *       *       *

“Cullen, the mimick,[193] was excessively ugly, having most horrible
teeth, and, upon the whole, a physiognomy worse than Wilkes’s. His own
manner, as has been observed, was also wretched. One morning when he
was grinning and pleading a cause, I stood by and observed, ‘Whom is
Cullen taking off? He is taking off the devil.’”

       *       *       *       *       *

“Sinclair, of Briggend, a Caithness laird, was telling that a gentleman
with whom he had played at loo had a way of keeping Pam in the head of
his boot, and bringing him out when he found him necessary. ‘Ay,’ said
Andrew Erskine, ‘it seems he played _booty_ with you.’”

  I was present.

       *       *       *       *       *

“I was defending one day poor Mrs. C—— at the time when her husband
was suing her for a divorce, and saying that she was no worse than
the Miss V——s, for all her faults were only innocent improprieties.
‘No worse!’ said Andrew Erskine, ‘she is ten times better; she only
intrigued with certain people, but the Miss V——s did it with
everybody that was near her, and would have done it with everybody at a
distance had it been possible.’”

       *       *       *       *       *

“Cullen, the mimick, as has been more than once observed, had a
wretched manner of his own. I was one day to walk out with him to dine
at Craig House with Mr. Lockhart,[194] the Dean of Faculty. I was
saying to a lady that I wondered what characters he would give me by
the road. ‘Oh,’ said she, ‘no matter, providing you have not himself.
As Sir John Falstaff said to the hostess, when she offered the fat
knight a hog’s countenance, “Any countenance but thy own.”’”

       *       *       *       *       *

“John Home showed the Lord Chief Baron Orde a pair of pumps he had on,
and desired his lordship to observe how well they were made, telling
him at the same time that they had been made for Lord Bute,[195] but
were rather too little for him, so his lordship had made John a present
of them. ‘I think,’ said the Lord Chief Baron, ‘you have taken the
measure of Lord Bute’s foot.’”


       *       *       *       *       *

“A very awkward fellow was dancing at the Edinburgh Assembly. Matthew
Henderson[197] said, ‘He looks like a professor of dislocation.’”

  HON. ALEX. GORDON, [_See note, p. 254_].[198]

       *       *       *       *       *

“A man who uses a great many words to express his meaning shows that he
has no distinct idea, no neatness of speech. He is like a bad marksman,
who, instead of aiming a single stone at an object, takes up a handful
of stones, gravel, sand, and all, and throws at it, thinking that in
that manner he may hit it.”

       *       *       *       *       *

“It sometimes happens that when a man throws out a reflection against
one, he, without intending it, pays a compliment. In such a case, I
think I am well entitled to take the compliment. If a man throws a
snowball at me, and I find a diamond in the heart of it, surely the
diamond is mine.”

       *       *       *       *       *

“One day when a company of us were dining at Mr. Foote’s, in Edinburgh,
and I believe I was the only man present who had any faith at all
in spirits, many jokes flew around my head; but I stood my ground,
and went so far as to say that I did not disbelieve the existence of
witches. Matthew Henderson, who is very happy in uncommon wild sallies,
cried out, ‘Johnson inoculates him by moonlight.’”

       *       *       *       *       *

“In talking of Dr. Armstrong’s[199] excessive indolence to Andrew
Erskine I used this strong figure, he is sometimes so that his soul
cannot turn itself in its bed.”

       *       *       *       *       *

“Allan Ramsay[200] painted a portrait of David Hume, dressed in scarlet
with rich gold lace. ‘George III.,’ said he, ‘thought the picture very
like, but thought the dress rather too fine. I wished,’ said Ramsay,
‘posterity should see that one philosopher during your Majesty’s reign
had a good coat upon his back.’”

       *       *       *       *       *

“Lord President Arniston[201] was a man of uncommon fire, but at the
same time of a sound strong judgement. When he was at the Bar, and his
fancy sometimes ran away with him, Lord Cullen said he was a wise man
upon a mad horse.”


       *       *       *       *       *

“The first Earl of Stair[202] was a Captain of Dragoons, and when there
was a comparative trial for an election to a regency, as it was called,
or a professorship of the College of Glasgow, Mr. Dalrymple, afterwards
known as Lord Stair, appeared in his jack-boots as a candidate, and
carried the election. When he was afterwards pleading as a lawyer
in the Court of Session, some ignorant fellow who was his opponent
committed some gross blunders in the Latin which he quoted. ‘Pray’ said
Stair, ‘don’t break Priscian’s head!’ ‘Sir,’ said the fellow, ‘I was
not bred a schoolmaster.’ ‘No’ replied Stair, ‘nor a scholar either.’”


       *       *       *       *       *

“Lord Forglen was a most curious mixture of a character. Lord Newhall,
who was a grave austere judge, told my father, ‘Forglen is a man of a
desultory mind. I was once walking with him on that fine walk upon the
river-side at Forglen, when all at once he says, “Now, my lord, this is
a fine walk. If ye want to pray to God, can there be a better place?
and if ye want to kiss a bonny lass, can there be a better place?”’”


       *       *       *       *       *

“In the southern countries the warmth of the sunny climate makes the
people of a due warmth without drinking, but in northern countries
men’s hearts are as hard as cold iron till heated by wine. In warm
countries they are like the softer metals naturally; but with us there
is no making any impression on the heart till it is heated by the fire
of strong liquor. I look upon every jovial company among us as a forge
of friendship.”

       *       *       *       *       *

“A collection of _bonmots_ or lively sallies which have appeared in law
papers before the Court of Session, without being expunged, would be
like the pictures preserved in Herculaneum, or like mirrors saved out
of the ruins after the earthquake of Lisbon.”

       *       *       *       *       *

“One of the gownkeepers to the Lords of Session had a wonderful share
of natural humour. He was much given to drinking. One day the first
Sir Gilbert Elliot, Lord Minto,[203] who from the political fury of
the times had, when passing his trials as an advocate, been unjustly
remitted to his studies, and Lord Anstruther,[204] another of the
judges, who was noted for his ignorance, would needs amuse themselves
with wagering so much beer that he could not walk along a certain
deal in the floor of the parliament-house without going off it. The
gownkeeper began; but being a good deal muddy with tippling, he soon
staggered off the right line. ‘You’ve lost,’ cried Minto. ‘At leisure,
my Lord,’ said he, ‘I’ll begin again. Your lordship was remitted to
your studies; may not I be so too?’ Anstruther gave a good laugh. The
gownkeeper turned to him,—‘True, my lord, he was remitted to his
studies; but it was not for ignorance.’”


       *       *       *       *       *

“The same gownkeeper at the time when the Court of Session used to
sit in the afternoon was carrying in a couple of candles. Mr. William
Carmichael, advocate, who was remarkably humpbacked, and, like all
deformed people, loved a little mischief, stretched out his legs as the
gownkeeper passed, which made him come down with a vengeance. The Lord
President flew into a great passion, calling out, ‘You drunken beast!
this is insufferable.’ The gownkeeper gathering himself up, addressed
his lordship slily: ‘An’t please your lordship, I am not drunk; but
the truth is, as I was bringing in the candles I fell ow’r Mr. William
Carmichael’s back.’ (This fair hit put the whole court in good humour.)”


       *       *       *       *       *

“Wedderburn was a little while in opposition, and then joined the
court. It was said by a patriot writer, he just kissed the cause like
Judas in order to betray it.”

  A newspaper.

       *       *       *       *       *

“In the debate in Parliament about Falkland Island, Mr. Burke said,
‘Our ministry’s excusing themselves on account of its smallness puts
me in mind of an unlucky country girl, who acknowledged that she had
indeed a bastard child—but it was a very little one.’”


       *       *       *       *       *

“Wilkes was the ugliest fellow that ever lived, and a most notorious
infidel. Boswell said he was partial as to one article, for he had too
much interest to deny the resurrection of the body.”

       *       *       *       *       *

“Wilkes was one evening in company with some French _esprits forts_ who
were every one atheist. Wilkes opposed them with great spirit, and then
said, ‘Now in England Mr. Wilkes is looked upon as the most abandoned
and impious fellow alive; and here am I defending the being of a God
against you all.’”

  From himself.

       *       *       *       *       *

“Wilkes was one day talking of the resurrection of the body. ‘For my
own share,’ said he, ‘I would no more value being raised with the same
body than being raised in the same coat, waistcoat, and breeches.’”

  I was present.

       *       *       *       *       *

“Mr. John McLaren,[205] minister of the Tolbooth Church, Edinburgh,
was a man of uncommon natural genius. My father wrote the heads of his
sermons for many years. His last prayer was pretty much a form, and
was full of strong expressions and lively figures: ‘Lord, bless Thy
churches abroad in Hungary, Bohemia, Lithuania, Poland;’ and ‘Lord,
pity Thy poor servants in France. Thou had once glorious churches
there; but now they are like dead men out o’ mind.’ And speaking of
hastening the restoration of the Jews, and in-bringing the Gentiles as
a sort of joyful consummation, ‘Lord, shule [shovel] awa time.’ As he
did not like the Union, ‘Pity poor Scotland. Our rowers have brought
us into deep waters [a Scripture phrase], may we have a peur [pure]
ministry and peur ordinances, and let the bane o’ Scotland never be
a little-worth, lax, frothy ministry, that ken little o’ God, less o’
Christ, and are full of themselves.’”


       *       *       *       *       *

“When John, Duke of Argyle, came down to Scotland in all his power, the
Presbytery of Edinburgh were to wait upon him. The young fashionable
brethren regretted much that Mr. McLaren was moderator, as they did
not think he would make a proper elegant speech. However, Mr. McLaren
addressed the duke thus:—‘My Lord Deuch (Duke), I am not used to make
speeches to men like your Grace. All I shall say is your Grace has come
of great and good men. Your Grace excels them all in greatness. I pray
God you may excel them all in goodness.’ The duke, who had a high value
for his ancestors, was greatly pleased with this speech. He said it was
the genteelest compliment he had ever heard, and most suitable from a


       *       *       *       *       *

“When there was a thanksgiving day kept at Edinburgh for a victory
by the Whig army over the Jacobites in the year 1715, Betty Frank,
daughter to Mr. George Frank, advocate, Matthew Brown the clerk’s
second wife, a great Jacobite, was passing by the Talbooth Kirk in the
time of publick worship, and she dropped a halfpenny into the plate,
wrapped in paper with this inscription,—

  ‘Stop, good preacher; go no further!
  God receives no thanks for murther.’”


       *       *       *       *       *

“It was formerly the custom for the magistrates of Edinburgh on the
king’s birthday to get upon the Cross, which was hung with carpets
and busked (drest) with flowers for the occasion, and before all the
citizens to drink the health of the day, &c. The glasses used to be
filled before they arrived. One day it was a very heavy rain, so that
as the glasses overflowed there was at last hardly the colour of wine
in them. On this occasion the same Mr. Brown wrote these lines:—

  ‘At Cana once heaven’s Lord was pleased
    Amongst blithe bridle folks to dine,
  And for to countenance their mirth
    He turned their water into wine.

  ‘But when for joy of Brunswick’s birth
    Our tribunes mounted the theatre,
  Heaven would not countenance their mirth,
    But turned their claret into water.’”


       *       *       *       *       *

“The bonnie Earl of Moray,[206] he might ha’ been a queen, used to be
ludicrously said of the late James, Earl of Moray. He might ha’ been
a queen was, however, a serious compliment to express handsomeness in
Regent Moray’s time, of whom it was said, ‘The noble earl,’ &c., and
even of late date it was a serious expression in Scotland. My father
told me that Taylour, the hill minister, speaking to him of Johnston of
Wamphray, who was a very handsome man, said gravely, ‘He might ha’ been
a queen.’”

“McIlvaine of Grümet (pronounced Grimmet), in Carrick, was a very great
original. My father knew him well. He was a tall stately man, quite
erect, with a long sword at right angles with his body, so that when he
was going in or out at a door he stuck. All the old anti-revolutioners,
of which number he was in a very zealous degree, were much in his
style. He was offered a troop of horse at the Revolution, but refused
it, as his conscience would not allow him to take the oaths to a _new_
government. He had something of the old Spanish rhodomontade and a
great deal of curious humour. He wrote to Mr. Charles Cochrane, with
a present of solan geese, thus,—‘Worthy peer, I send you four solan
geese to defeat the quadruple alliance, and all alliances, leagues,
and covenants that have been made repugnant to religion, honour, and
honesty. What we cannot do by works let faith supply, being fortified
with the juice of the generous grape, which makes a little pitiful
fellow as great as any accidental forte monarch.’”


       *       *       *       *       *

“Grimmet lived just on the coast of Carrick, and had a little boat
which he used to send out, and so had always plenty of fish. Once when
my Lord Cathcart[207] had a great deal of company with him, he sent
to Grimmet for some fish. Grimmet sent him some with the following
letter:—‘I have sent your lordship some fish, but am sorry I could
not get more. The truth is, we have of late been infested with a fish
called the dog-fish, from the German Ocean, which consumes our fish by
sea as much as some people from that country do consume our substance
by land.’”

       *       *       *       *       *

“Bardarrock[208] was one evening drinking with a company of gentlemen.
When it came to his toast he gave Miss De Hood. ‘Miss De Hood,’ said
they, ‘we never heard of her.’ ‘Neither,’ said he, ‘did I ever hear of
ony o’ yours.’”


       *       *       *       *       *

“David Hume used to say that he did not find it an irksome task to him
to go through a great many dull books when writing his history. ‘I then
read,’ said he, ‘not for pleasure, but in order to find out facts.’ He
compared it to a sportsman seeking hares, who does not mind what sort
of ground it is that he goes over farther than as he may find hares in

  From himself.

       *       *       *       *       *

“As it was said that French cooks will make admirable dishes of things
which others throw away as useless, so the French in general can cook
up a _ragoût_ of vanity from the most trivial circumstances; nay,
from circumstances which naturally ought to humble them. Instance
the soldier running before the King of Prussia, who said, ‘Ma fois,
c’est un brave homme, ce Roi de Prusse. Je crois qu’il a servi en
France.’ And the Chevalier de Malte, who told me that if Lord George
Sackville[209] had advanced at Minden, the French army would have
turned, ‘et il aurroit ete le plus illustre jour que la France jamais

       *       *       *       *       *

“Mr. William Auld,[210] the minister of Mauchline, took his Sunday’s
supper with me one night when I lived in the Canongate. He had provided
himself with a large new wig, with the greatest number of curls in
it that I almost ever saw. As he walked up the street in his way home
some drunken fellows passed him, and his wig having attracted their
attention, one of them called out, ‘There’s a wig like the hundred and
nineteenth Psalm,’—a droll comparison of the number of curls in the
wig to the number of verses in the psalm, very apropos (apposite) to a

  MR. BROWN, my clerk, who was present.

       *       *       *       *       *

“Mr. Charles Cochrane liked to have a number of curious mortals about
him at Ochiltree. Richmond of Bardarrock was one of them, but had more
education and genius than most of them. One day they made a kind of
butt of Bardarrock, and were all laughing at him, upon which he very
gravely said, ‘It’s a changed world now; the lairds of this place
were wont to keep hawks, but this laird has an unco’ taste,—he keeps


       *       *       *       *       *

“Lord Forglen was a great original. Every Sunday evening he had with
him his niece Betty Kinloch,[211] afterwards Lady Milton, Charles
Forbes, who went out in the 1715, and David Reid, his clerk. He had
what he called the exercise, which was singing a psalm and reading a
chapter; and his form was this,—‘Betsy, ye hae a sweet voice; lift ye
the psalm;—Charles, ye hae a strong voice, read ye the chapter;—and,
David, fire ye the plate.’ This was burnt brandy for them. Accordingly
all went on, and whenever the brandy was enough, David blew out the
flame, which was a signal; the exercise stopped, and they took their


       *       *       *       *       *

“When Lord Forglen was dying my grandfather went and visited him, and
found him quite cheerful. ‘Come awa, Mr. Boswell,’ said he, ‘and learn
to dee (die), man. I’m ga’n awa to see your old friend Cullen[212] and
mine. He was a gude honest man! but his walk and yours was nae very
steady when you used to come in frae Maggy Johnston’s[213] upo’ the
Saturday afternoons.’”


       *       *       *       *       *

“Old Dr. Clark told my father that he came in to see Lord Forglen when
he was dying. ‘Weel, Doctor’ said he, ‘what news?’ ‘I canna say I hear
any,’ said the Doctor. ‘Dear man,’ said he, ‘wha do they say’s to
succeed me?’ ‘It’s time enough,’ said the Doctor, ‘to speak o’ that, my
lord, when ye’re dead.’ ‘Hoot, daft body,’ said Forglen, ‘will ye tell
us?’ Upon which the Doctor mentioned such a man. ‘What’s his interest?’
‘So-and-so.’ ‘Poh, that ’ill no do. Wha else?’ ‘Sic a man.’ ‘What’s his
interest?’ ‘So-and-so.’ ‘Poh, that ’ill no do either.’ Then the Doctor
mentioned a third man and his interest. ‘I’ll lay my siller on his head
against the field.’”


       *       *       *       *       *

“Old Dr. Clark told my father the day Lord Forglen died he called at
his door, and was met by David Reid, his clerk. ‘How does my lord do?’
‘I hope he’s weel.’ So the Doctor knew he was dead. David conducted him
into a room, and when he looked beneath the table there was (sic) two
dozen of wine. In a little in came the rest of the Doctors. So they all
sat down, and David gave them some of my lord’s last words, at the same
time putting the bottels (sic) about very busily. After they had taken
a glass or two they arose to go away. ‘No, gentlemen,’ said David, ‘not
so; it was the express will o’ the dead that I should fill you a’ fou,
and I maun fulfil the will o’ the dead.’ All the time the tears were
running down his cheeks. ‘And indeed,’ said the Doctor, ‘he did fulfil
it, for there was na ane o’ us able to bite his ain thumb.’”


       *       *       *       *       *

“——[214] was a very religious young woman. She refused Mr. James
Dundas,[215] of Arniston, because he was a rake. Some years afterwards
she married Mr. Alexander Leslie,[216] brother to the Earl of Leven,
who at length was Earl of Leven himself, but had very little when she
married him. Upon which Monypenny, of Pitmilly, wrote these lines:—

  ‘Celia, who cast her eyes to heaven,
  Now turns them back and looks to Leven;
  Her former coyness she repents,
  And thinks of men of lower rents,
  Which makes it true what old folks says—
  There’s difference of market days.’”


It is curious that Pitmilly’s[217] sister was second wife to Mr. Leslie
after he came to be earl.

       *       *       *       *       *

“The old laird of Blair[218] was a man of singular humour. He and the
laird of Baidlin were once visiting at Eglintoune. When they were
coming away, Blair says, ‘Baidlin, we have been very kindly entertained
in this house. I think we’ll leave a crown, the price o’ drink-money.’
‘I think so too,’ said Baidlin. Blair contrived to let Baidlin go
before him, who gave his crown. In a little after Blair came down, and
he says to the butler, ‘Heark’ye! did Baidlin gie you the crown I
gied him to gie you?’ ‘Yes, an’t please your honour,’ said the butler,
and bowed to the ground; so that Blair got all the honour. He was a
man, however, who used to brag of his tricks, so Baidlin got notice
of this, and was determined to be evens with him. The next time he
was at Blair the laird had got a kind of threatening letter from Mr.
William Blair,[219] one of the regents of the College of Glasgow,
craving him for the annual rent of £500 which the laird of Blair owed
him, and a letter of apology from Blair, with entreaties of delay, was
lying open on the table. Mr. William Blair was married to a daughter
of Orbistoun’s,[220] with whom he got a good deal of money, and both
he and she squinted a good deal. When the laird went out of the room
Baidlin wrote a postscript to the letter,—

  ‘Glee’d Will Blair has gotten a wife,
    And Orbistoun defraud it;
  Their eyes are in continual strife,
    Similis simili gaudet.’

“The laird without looking into his letter again seals it and sends it
off; upon receiving it, Mr. William Blair was in a most horrid rage,
and immediately sent him a charge of horning. The laird got upon his
horse, came to Mr. William, and begged to know why he used him so
severely. ‘Used!’ said he, ‘after writing to me in that impertinent
manner!’ The laird desired to see what he had written; and on being
shown the postscript, ‘Oh,’ said he, ‘that has been Baidlin.’”


       *       *       *       *       *

“I have often remarked how strongly people’s faults are painted when
once we are exasperated against them. The faults of indifferent people
are, as it were, written in invisible ink; we scarcely perceive them,
and only know where they exist. But the moment our resentment is
kindled against these same people their faults appear black like the
characters written in invisible ink when held to the fire.”

       *       *       *       *       *

“Pope told Lord Marchmont of his intention to have Warburton[221] write
notes upon his works. ‘Well said, my lord; it will be a very good trial
of the strength of your genius to see how much nonsense you can carry
down to posterity when you have Warburton on your back.’”

  DAVID HUME, Esq., who had it from LORD MARCHMONT.

       *       *       *       *       *

“Warburton was a prodigious flatterer of Lord Mansfield, and
consequently a favourite. David Hume was one day speaking violently
against him to his lordship, who said, ‘Upon my word, Mr. Hume, he is
quite a different man in conversation from what he is in his books.’
‘Then, my Lord,’ said Hume, ‘he must be the most agreeable man in the


       *       *       *       *       *

“David Hume was one day observing to me that he could not conceive what
satisfaction envious people could have by saying that a work of genius
such as the ‘Gentle Shepherd’ was not written by its reputed author,
but by some other person, as one should imagine that they must be
equally hurt by one person’s being admired as by another. I accounted
for it in this way: that by ascribing it to another person than its
reputed author, they raise doubts whether the praise is due to the one
or the other, and so the admiration, instead of being fixed to one, is
kept _in equilibrio_, like Mahomet’s coffin between the two loadstones.”

       *       *       *       *       *

“The celebrated Mr. Banks[222] before he set sail on his first
expedition was in love with a Miss Blosset; when he returned he found
himself so enthusiastically fond of roving in search of unknown
regions, that he could not think of matrimony. At the same time he had
shown such an attachment to the lady that it was matter of great doubt
in the world of private news whether he would think himself bound in
honour to marry her. General Paoli asked Mr. Richard Owen Cambridge,
‘Pray, do you think Mr. Banks will marry Miss Blosset?’ ‘Oh no, sir,’
said Mr. Cambridge, ‘his thoughts are all _beyond_ Cape _Horn_.’”


       *       *       *       *       *

“Dempster said that Cullen the mimick was to men’s characters like wax
to intaglios—to seals cut inwards: That men had particularities, but
that we did not perceive them till the impressions of them were shown,
reversed, bold, and prominent (or words to that purpose), by Cullen’s

  I was present.

       *       *       *       *       *

“In the spring, 1772, Dempster gave me the following lively
representation of Sir William Meredith.[223] ‘He is no longer with us,’
said he, ‘nor has he yet joined the ministry. He is like a wart round
which there is a string tied. All circulation is stopped between him
and us; and he is ready to be cut off whenever the ministry please.’”

       *       *       *       *       *

“I was one of Mr. Ross[224] the player’s counsel as a friend. His
spouse, the celebrated Fanny Murray, made me a present of some very
pretty straw mats for setting dishes on. Lord Auchinleck observed to
me, ‘Well, James, she cannot say that then she does not value your
advice a _straw_.’”

       *       *       *       *       *

“Mr. C. F. told a story in a company in a very confused manner, and
then said he told it in confidence, and then begged they would not
repeat it. ‘Pray,’ said Dempster, ‘do you think any of us can repeat
this story’?”

       *       *       *       *       *

“A Jew having been brought before Lord Mansfield as Lord Chief Justice
of the King’s Bench, applied to be admitted to bail. He was dressed
in very rich lace clothes. The counsel against him disputed for a
considerable time, alleging that the bail which he offered was not
good. My lord was tired and in a hurry, and looking at the Jew’s rich
clothes, ‘Why, sir,’ said he, ‘he will burn for the money.’”

  COUNCILLOR VANSITTART, who was present.

       *       *       *       *       *

“At the exhibition of the Royal Academy at London in 1772 there was
a picture of Lord Clive renouncing Meer Jaffier’s legacy in favour
of the East India Company, for the support of invalids. Dempster did
not perfectly believe the story of this picture. He was dining at Sir
George Colebrooke’s,[225] and Lady Colebrooke would needs expatiate
upon this picture, and on the subject of it. ‘Madam,’ said Dempster, ‘I
take it that affair won’t bear to be _canvassed_.’”


       *       *       *       *       *

“On Monday, the 2nd November, 1772, I dined at Fortune’s in
company with Mr. Banks, Dr. Solander,[226] and several more, at
an entertainment given by Mr. Hamilton, of Bangour,[227] when the
following good things passed:

“Lord Kelly[228] said of a Mr. Wright who was present, ‘He has been in
several parts of the world, and I expect to see him in Otaheite before
he dies.’ ‘So then, my lord,’ said David Hume, Esq., ‘you expect to
be there yourself.’ My lord, in order to retort upon Hume for this
catching at his word, set himself in a steady posture, and said, ‘My
dear David, if you were to go there you would be obliged to retract
all your essays on miracles.’ ‘Oh no, my lord,’ said Hume, ‘everything
there is in nature.’ ‘Aye,’ said the Earl, ‘(but) there are different

       *       *       *       *       *

“Mr. Hamilton of Bangour’s lady, was that morning delivered of a
son, who was not yet baptized. Lord Kelly proposed his health; but
addressing himself to Principal Robertson, said, ‘Doctor, this is not
a safe toast for you, for he’s not a Christian.’ ‘My lord,’ said the
Principal, ‘there are good hopes.’ Hume laughed. Said the Earl, ‘David,
if there are hopes, I am afraid it will be worse for you.’”

       *       *       *       *       *

“Somebody observed that Lord Elibank[229] was constantly reading
Lucretius; another asked, ‘Has he given up Tacitus?’ Said Lord Kelly,
‘It’s long since he gave up Tacitus; for he never can hold his tongue a
minute, and he has taken to Lucretius because he feels himself grown so
old that he would make but a poor figure with Lucretia.’ At saying this
the earl laughed, as if in scorn, and cried, ‘Such nonsense!’”

       *       *       *       *       *

“Our frame and temper of mind depends much on the state of our bodies.
The human body is often called a machine, and a wonderful machine it
is. The blood is like quicksilver, the veins like feathers, the nerves
like springs. The soul sits in the machine. As one who in a chaise
when driving hard cannot hear or give attention, I have been conscious
of the corporeal machine running on with such rapidity that I felt to
apply seriously to anything was in vain for me while that continued.”

       *       *       *       *       *

“Mr. Crosbie,[230] the advocate, when he once took up an idea retained
it most obstinately, even after there was convincing evidence against
it. On occasion of the great cause between Nabob Fullerton[231] and
Orangefield,[232] where he and I were on opposite sides, he persisted
in thinking Fullerton in the right, when every one else was clear
against him. I said Crosbie’s head was like a Christmas-box with a slit
in the top of it. If once a thing has got into it, you cannot get it
out again but by breaking the box. ‘We must break your head, Crosbie,’
said I.”

       *       *       *       *       *

“It’s a good thing for Scotland that we can appeal to the House of
Lords. I look upon that court, the House of Lords, as a great rolling
stone, which by going over a cause effectually smooths it at once, when
our fifteen lords, who have been breaking the clods with their mallets
for a long time, may have left some parts rough; or sometimes may have
found large masses which they have not been able to break at all. The
rolling stone can never do harm. If the cause is smooth, it will make
it more firmly so; if rough in whole or in part, will smooth it.”

       *       *       *       *       *

“Banks and Solander were telling of a monstrous crater which they had
found in Iceland, which threw up prodigious quantities of hot water to
an amazing height. The story, I believe, was true. But I had my joke on
them as travellers; I said they had found a kettle to boil Pontopidan
the Bishop of Berghen’s wonderful fish.”

       *       *       *       *       *

“I have observed that the Lords of Justiciary in Scotland, though
they proceed with strong common sense and in general with material
justice, yet have not studied criminal law as a science, though it is
a very extensive, important, and nice one. Being lords of session,
their attention is chiefly taken up with civil affairs, and they take
criminal matters only by the bye. They are like barber-surgeons, who
shave—and bleed—upon occasions.”

       *       *       *       *       *

“There are a variety of little circumstances in life, which, like pins
in a lady’s dress, are necessary for keeping it together, and giving it
neatness and elegance.”

       *       *       *       *       *

“A man of fame and acknowledged judgment as an author giving his
opinion to a bookseller in favour of a literary work, the copy of which
is offered for sale, when he does not sincerely think as he says, is
a piece of real dishonesty, quite different from those commendations
which a good-natured though not strictly honest flattery bestows. It is
like a goldsmith, to whom suspicious metal is referred, certifying that
it is gold when he knows it to be brass or a bad mixture.”

       *       *       *       *       *

“Dr. Johnson had a very high opinion of Edmund Burke. He said, ‘That
fellow calls forth all my powers;’ and once, when he was out of spirits
and rather dejected, he said, ‘Were I to see Burke now ’twould kill

  MR. LANGTON.[233]

       *       *       *       *       *

“Mr. Johnson used to laugh at a passage in Carte’s ‘Life[234] of the
Duke of Ormond,’ where he gravely observes ‘that he was always in full
dress when he went to court; too many being in the practice of going
thither with double lapells.’”


       *       *       *       *       *

“——, who translated ‘Ariosto,’ had a dispute with Tom Wharton[235]
as to some passages of it. —— knew the subject perfectly, but could
not express himself. Wharton knew it very superficially, but wrote with
ease and vivacity. Johnson said ‘the one had ball without powder, and
the other powder without ball.’”

       *       *       *       *       *

“Johnson had a sovereign contempt for Wilkes and his party, whom
he looked upon as a mere rabble. ‘Sir,’ said he, ‘had Wilkes’s mob
prevailed against Government, this nation had died of _phthiriasis_.’
Mr. Langton told me this. The expression, _Morbus pediculosus_, as
being better known, would strike more. _Lousy disease_ may be put in a

       *       *       *       *       *

“Mr. Ilay Campbell[236] spoke with admirable good sense and ingenuity,
but had a very weak voice and a diminutive appearance and manner. I
said his pleading was like Giardini’s playing on a child’s fiddle.”

       *       *       *       *       *

“The extracts of a book given in the review often please us much more
than the book itself does. The extracts are embellished and illustrated
with criticism. It is like collops well-seasoned and served up with
a good sauce, which are better eating than the sirloin or rump from
whence they are cut. (Or, thus one eats with greater relish slices or
collops well seasoned and served up with a good sauce, than one does
the sirloin or rump from whence they are cut).”

       *       *       *       *       *

“I said the Court of Session was much more quiet and agreeable when
President Dundas[237] was absent. ‘When he is there,’ said I, ‘you feel
yourself as in a bleachfield with a large dog in it. He is chained and
does not bite you. But he barks _wowf, wowf_, and makes you start; your
nerves are hurt by him.’”

       *       *       *       *       *

“Mr. Alexander Murray,[238] said that the President Dundas upon the
bench was like Lord Kelly playing in a concert—very quick, loud, and
rumbling. Nothing can be a more lively representation of his manner
than this, when you harangue a little with the president’s blustering
tone and bounces of voice at intervals—‘I cannot agree to give you
this cause against the Duke of Gordon, sitting here as judge on great
revolution principles,’ &c.”

       *       *       *       *       *

“I said that Mr. Charles Hay[239] and I, who studied Scotch law
together, used to go to Mr. McLaurin,[240] when we found any
difficulty, as to a mill to get it ground. ‘Yes,’ said Crosbie, ‘and he
made you twenty difficulties out of one.’ ‘The observation,’ said I,
‘is just and witty. It reminds me of the fable of the lady, who when
she was not pleased with her looks dashed the mirror in pieces, and so
saw a multitude of ugly faces instead of one.’”

       *       *       *       *       *

“26th June, 1774.—At a Sunday’s supper at Dr. Webster’s, when I was
finding fault with a lady for going to visit a relation who had married
a low man, the Doctor said that treating such people with mere civility
was the best way to get the better of them. I answered, ‘I don’t want
to get the better of them, I want to get rid of them: you may get the
better of a sow by going into the mire and boxing it; but who would do
it?’ My wife, who wanted to support Dr. Webster, though she had not
much attended to the dispute, said something which was of pretty much
the same import with my remarks. ‘Well,’ said I, ‘this is good enough.
She thinks she is opposing me, and yet she agrees with me; she thinks
she is riding a race with me and getting the better, and all the time
she is behind me.’”

       *       *       *       *       *

“My father told me that when he got his gown upon the resignation of
the worthy Lord Dun,[241] he went and waited upon him, and said, ‘My
lord, as I am to be your lordship’s unworthy successor I am come to ask
your blessing.’ ‘Sir,’ said Lord Dun, ‘I held that office too long,
for I was come to be but half a judge. Nay, what do I say? I was come
to be worse, for I was able to give corporal presence but one-half of
the year, and when I was present I could not have given that attention
which every man ought to have who decides on the property of others.
But to tell you the truth, I held my office from an apprehension that
they might put in a man even worse than half a judge. However, sir,
since you are to be my successor,’—(he then paid my father some
genteel compliments); he added, ‘I have no title to give a blessing,
but if my prayers can be of any service to you, while I live they shall
never be wanting.’”

       *       *       *       *       *

“29th June, 1774.—I said the business of the Court of Session went
on as fast without the President[242] as with him, though with less
noise, when he was absent the court was a plain girr (hoop), which ran
smoothly and quietly; when he was there, it was a girr with jinglers.’”

       *       *       *       *       *

“When Charles Townshend[243] read some of Lord Kames’[244] ‘Elements
of Criticism,’ he said, ‘This is the work of a dull man grown
whimsical,’—a most characteristical account of Lord Kames as a writer.”


       *       *       *       *       *

“Mr. Andrew Balfour[246] said of Lord Kames, ‘He has the obstinacy of a
mule and the levity of a harlequin.’”


       *       *       *       *       *

“Mr. Alexander Lockhart, Dean of the Faculty of Advocates, very readily
shed tears when he pleased, whether from feeling or from a weakness in
his eyes was disputed. He was also very fond of getting his fees. I
applied to him a _part_ of a fine passage in Shakspere,—

  ‘He hath a _tear_ for pity, and a _hand_
      Open as the day.’”

       *       *       *       *       *

“When Andrew Stuart declared himself a candidate as member of
Parliament for Lanarkshire after being stigmatised so severely by
Thurlow and Lord Camden for his conduct in the Douglas cause, Sir
John Douglas, who was very keen in the great cause, and had admirable
extravagant sallies, said, ‘What think you of this fellow? He has
brass indeed! why, you may make ten dozen of tea-kettles out of his

  I was present.

       *       *       *       *       *

“I always wished to go to the English bar. When I found I could labour,
I said it was pity to dig in a lead mine when I could get to a gold

       *       *       *       *       *

“In 1774 there came on before the Court of Session a cause at the
instance of a _black_[247] for having it declared that he was free. I
was one of the counsel. We took no fees; and I said I knew one thing,
that he was not a Guinea _black_.”

       *       *       *       *       *

“General Scott[248] was a man of wonderful good luck. He married Lady
Mary Hay, a very fine woman. She ran off with Captain Sutherland, but
was catched at Barnet, and the General got a divorce with the utmost
ease. He then married Miss Peggy Dundas, who proved an admirable
wife. Everything turned out well for him. Sandie Murray[249] said he
was like a cat, throw him as you please he always falls on his feet.
Nairne,[250] on hearing this, quoted the motto of the Isle of Man,—

  ‘Quocunque jeceris stabit.’”

       *       *       *       *       *

“General Scott and General Grant,[251] two noted gamesters, were one
day driving upon the sands of Leith at the races in a post-chaise
together. Nisbet,[252] of Dirleton, pointing to them, said very
significantly from Prior, ‘An honest, but a simple pair.’”

       *       *       *       *       *

“June 18th, 1774.—I said in a dispute with Sir Alexander Dick,[253] on
the different estimation to be put on sons and daughters, that sons
are truly part of a family; daughters go into other families. Sons are
the furniture of your house; daughters are furniture in your house
only for sale. No man would wish to have his daughters fixtures. Such
of them as are well looked are like pictures in the catalogues of the
exhibition, those marked thus are for sale. (Or thus, daughters are
like certain pictures in the exhibition, those marked thus, &c.)”

       *       *       *       *       *

“June 18th, 1774.—Cosmo Gordon and I were talking of David
Moncrieffe,[254] whose vanity was consummate, and who was flattered
prodigiously by those whom he entertained, Cosmo mentioned a company of
some of them, and said he would be embalmed. ‘Yes’ said I, ‘David gets
himself made a mummy in his own lifetime.’ Said Cosmo, ‘Like Charles
V., who went into his own coffin.’”

       *       *       *       *       *

“I said Moncrieffe entertained people to flatter him, as we feed a
cow to give us milk. The better the pasture, the more plentiful and
richer will the milk be. Moncrieffe therefore feeds his _pecora ventri
obedientia_ in clover. Other comparisons may be made. He feeds people
like silkworms, for their silk, or like civet cats, for their perfume.”

       *       *       *       *       *

“Mr. Brown,[255] merchant in Edinburgh, who, from his stiffness of
temper and manners went by the name of _Buckram Brown_, was a violent
American; and when it was said that the king’s army had defeated and
dispersed General Washington’s army near New York, ‘That is nothing,’
said he; ‘for there will start up new armies of twenty, thirty, forty
thousand men.’ The Hon. Captain Archibald Erskine[256] on being told
this said very pleasantly, alluding to Falstaff’s fictitious foes and
Mr. Brown’s nickname, yes, men in Buckram.’”

  I was present.

       *       *       *       *       *

“There was a woman called Mrs. Betty Kettle, who lived with Mr. Thomson
of Charleton,[257] and was exceedingly ill-tempered and troublesome.
Lady Anne Erskine[258] said, ‘Mrs. Betty Kettle kept all the house in
hot water.’”


       *       *       *       *       *

“The writers who attacked David Hume before Beattie[259] took the lash
in hand, treated him with so much deference that they had no effect.
He was cased in a covering of respect. But Beattie stripped him of all
his assumed dignity, and having laid his back bare, scourged him till
he smarted keenly, and cursed again. David was on very civil terms with
his former opponents, being treated by them as Dr. Shebbeare was in
the pillory, who was being allowed to wear a fine powdered flowing wig.
But he was virulent against Beattie, as I have witnessed, for Beattie
treated him as an enemy to morals and religion deserved.”

       *       *       *       *       *

“I said that Dempster and Crosbie were different: thus Dempster
had elegant knowledge of men and books, with vivacity to show it;
Crosbie solid stores of learning and law and antiquities and natural
philosophy. Dempster resembles a jeweller’s shop, gay and glittering in
the sun; Crosbie, the warehouse of an opulent merchant, dusky somewhat,
but filled with large quantities of substantial goods.”

       *       *       *       *       *

“I am for most part either in too high spirits or too low. I am a grand
wrestler with life. It is either above me, or I am above it; yet there
are calm intervals in which I have no struggle with life, and I go
quietly on.—February, 1777.”

       *       *       *       *       *

“Sir Adam Fergusson,[260] who, by a strange coincidence of chances,
got in to be member of parliament for Ayrshire in 1774, was the
great-grandson of a messenger. I was talking at Rowallan[261] on the
17th March, 1777, with great indignation that the whole families of
the county should be defeated by an upstart. Major Dunlop[262] urged
the popular topick, that the other candidate, Mr. Kennedy,[263] was
supported by noblemen who wanted to annihilate the influence of the
gentlemen, and he still harped on the coalition of three peers. ‘Sir,’
said I, ‘let the ancient respectable families have the lead, rather
than the spawn of a messenger. Better three peers than three _oyeses_.’”

       *       *       *       *       *

“Mr. David Rae,[264] advocate, when he pleaded in appeals at the bar
of the House of Lords, used to speak a strange kind of English by
way of avoiding Scotch. In particular he pronounced the termination,
_tion_, as in petition, very open, that he might not sound it _shin_,
as is done in Scotland. Mr. Nairne, advocate, said Mr. Rae has
shone—_tion_—more in the House of Lords than any man.”

  I was present.

       *       *       *       *       *

“Mr. David Rae, advocate, one day pleaded a cause in the Court
of Session with a great deal of extravagant drollery. Mr. John
Swinton[265] said of him upon that occasion, he was not only Rae, but


       *       *       *       *       *

“Swift says, ‘No man keeps me at a distance, but he keeps himself at
as great a distance from me.’ This has the appearance as if the man
of dignity suffered something, whereas it is just what he wishes. He
wishes to be at a distance from vulgar disagreeable people.”

       *       *       *       *       *

“A friend and neighbour of mine, Mr. H——n, of S——m,[266] is like
a fire of a certain species of coal which has a deal of heat but no
flame. He is warm, but wants free expression.”

       *       *       *       *       *

“Lord Monboddo[267] was urging with keen credulity that the Patagonians
were really at a medium above eight feet high. ‘Nay,’ said General
Melville,[268] ‘I can believe anything great, as I happened in my youth
to see a whale cast on shore.’ ‘A whale,’ said I, ‘is a good cast to
the imagination.’”

  MONBODDO, 22nd November, 1778.

       *       *       *       *       *

“The good humour of some people must be supplied by external and
occasional aids, like a pond which depends for water on the rain which
falls. Others have a constant flow of good humour within themselves,
like a spring well.”

       *       *       *       *       *

“The beautiful Lady Wallace[269] said in a company that she had had a
dream, which from her way of expressing herself was suspected to be a
little wanton. She said she could not tell it to the company. She could
tell it but to one gentleman at a time. She told it to Mr. Crosbie. ‘It
seems,’ said I, ‘you take Mr. Crosbie to be a Joseph, that you tell
your dream to him.’ A witty allusion to Joseph’s character, both for
interpreting dreams and for chastity.—11th December, 1779.”

       *       *       *       *       *

“Few characters will bear the examination of reason. You may examine
them for curiosity, as you examine bodies with a microscope. But you
will be as much disgusted with their gross qualities. You will see them
as Swift makes Gulliver see the skins of the ladies of Brobdignag.”

       *       *       *       *       *

“A poor minister who had come to Edinburgh had his horse arrested. He
upon this gave in a petition to the Lords of Session, praying to have
his personal estate sequestrated and his horse delivered up to him. The
lords granted his petition. George Fergusson[270] found fault with them
for giving him his horse. ‘Come, come,’ said I, ‘you need not be angry;
there is no kindness in it, for you know the proverb, ‘Set a beggar on
horseback, and he’ll ride to the devil.’” 1779.

       *       *       *       *       *

“I have not an ardent love for parties of pleasure; yet if I am once
engaged in them no man is more joyous. The difference between me and
one who is the promoter of them is like that between a water-dog and
an ordinary dog. I have no instinct prompting me; I never go into the
water of my own accord; but throw me in, and you will find I swim

       *       *       *       *       *

“Sir Joshua Reynolds observed that a little wit seemed to go a great
way with the ancients, if we might judge from the instances of it which
Plutarch has collected. Edmund Burke upon this observed that wit was
a commodity which would not keep. Said his brother Richard,[271] ‘If
there had been more _salt_ in it, it would have kept.’”

  25th April, 1776.

       *       *       *       *       *

“The difference between satire in London and in Scotland is this:—In
London you are not intimately known, so the satire is thrown at you
from a distance, and, however keen, does not tear and mangle you. In
London the attack on character is clean boxing. In Scotland it is
grappling. They tear your hair, scratch your face, get you down in the
mire, and not only hurt but disfigure and debase you.

       *       *       *       *       *

“A company were talking of Dr. Johnson. Dr. Armstrong, who had a
violent prejudice against him, and was in the habit of saying and
being praised for saying odd things, was present. Being asked if his
dictionary was not very well done, ‘Yes,’ said he, ‘for one man; but
there should have been four-and-twenty—a blockhead for every letter.’”


       *       *       *       *       *

“Burke, talking to Mr. Dempster of——, a member of Parliament who had
deserted his party for court advantages, asked if he had not fallen.
‘Yes,’ said Dempster, ‘on his feet.’”


       *       *       *       *       *

“Talking of the great men whom the resistance or rebellion in America
had produced, Dempster said, ‘It costs a great deal to raise heroes;
they must be raised in a hotbed.’ ‘Yes,’ said I, ‘these have cost a
great deal of bark of royal oak, and a good deal of dung too.’”

  London, 23rd April, 1779.

       *       *       *       *       *

“The conversation having turned on Andrew Stuart’s[272] artful defence
of the treacherous conduct of his brother to Lord Pigot,[273] I said,
‘He has laid on a thick colouring upon his brother’s character. It
would not clean; he has died (_sic_) it.’”

  London, 23rd April, 1779.

       *       *       *       *       *

“Mr. Seward[274] once mentioned to me, either as a remark of his own or
of somebody else’s, that the most agreeable conversation is that which
entertains you at the time, but of which you remember no particulars.’
I said to-day I thought otherwise, ‘as it is better both to be
entertained at the time and remember good things which have passed.
There is the same difference as between making a pleasant voyage and
returning home empty, and making a pleasant voyage and returning home
richly laden.’”

  23rd April, 1779.

       *       *       *       *       *

“I wrote to Dempster from Edinburgh, 13th December, 1779. I am in
good spirits, but you must not expect entertainment from me. The most
industrious bee cannot make honey without flowers. But what are _the
flowers of Edinburgh_?”

       *       *       *       *       *

“Showing Dr. Johnson slight pretty pieces of poetry is like showing him
fine delicate shells, which he crushes in handling.”

       *       *       *       *       *

“In the debate concerning Sir Hugh Palliser[275] in the House of
Commons, when it was proposed to address the king to dismiss him, Mr.
Wedderburne said, ‘Stained as that gentleman’s flag has been, I should
be very sorry to see it hoisted over him as an acting admiral; but I
can see no reason why for one unfortunate spot he should be deprived of
the last consolation of its waving over his grave.’”

  _Public Advertiser._

       *       *       *       *       *

“My wife was angry at a silk cloak for Veronica being ill-made, and
said it could not be _altered_. ‘Then,’ said I, ‘it must be a _Persian_
cloak,’ alluding to the silk called Persian and the unalterable
_Persian_ laws.” 1780.

       *       *       *       *       *

“I told Paoli that Topham Beauclerck[276] found fault with
Brompton’s[277] refreshing the Pembroke family picture by Vandyck,
and said he had spoiled it by painting it over (which, by the way,
Lord Pembroke assured me was not the case). ‘Po, po’ said Paoli (of
whom Beauclerc had talked disrespectfully), he has not _spoiled_
it; Beauclerc scratches at everything. He is accustomed to scratch
[scratching his head in allusion to Beauclerc’s lousiness], and he’d
scratch at the face of Venus.’”

  London, 1778.

       *       *       *       *       *

“Bodens was dining at a house where a neck of roast veal was set down.
After eating a bone of it, he was waiting for something else. The
lady of the house told him it was their family dinner, and there was
nothing else. ‘Nay, madam,’ said Bodens, stuttering, ‘if it be n-neck
or n-othing, I’ll have t’other bone.’”

  EARL PEMBROKE,[278] London,
  26th April, 1778.

       *       *       *       *       *

“Spottiswood[279] asked me what was the reason I had given up drinking
wine. ‘Because,’ said I, ‘I never could drink it but to excess.’ Said
he, ‘An excessive good reason.’”

  Dining at Paoli’s,
  28th April, 1778.

       *       *       *       *       *

“When a man talks of his own faults, it is often owing to a
consciousness that they cannot be concealed, and others will treat them
more severely than he himself does. He thinks others will throw him
down, so he had better lye down softly.”

  London, April, 1778.

       *       *       *       *       *

“I can more easily part with a good sum at once than with a number of
small sums—with a hundred guineas rather than with two guineas at
fifty different times; as one has less pain from having a tooth drawn
whole than when it breaks and is pulled out in pieces.”

  London, April, 1778.

       *       *       *       *       *

“When Wilkes was borne on the shoulders of the unruly mob, Burke
applied to him what Horace says of Pindar,—‘Fertur numeris legibus

  MR. WILKES, London, April, 1778.

N.B.—“Dr. Johnson[280] thought this an admirable double pun; and he
will seldom allow any vent to that species of witticism.”

       *       *       *       *       *

“General Paoli was in a boat at Portsmouth at the naval review in 17—.
He seated himself close to the helm. They wanted to steer the vessel,
and in the hurry of getting to the helm they overturned the general. He
said, very pleasantly:—‘Darbord que je me metts au gouvernail ou men

  GENERAL PAOLI, London, 1778.

       *       *       *       *       *

“At the regatta on the Thames, Sir Joshua Reynolds said to
Dunning,[281] ‘I wonder who is the Director of this show?’ Dunning,
who delights in the ludicrous in an extreme degree, pointed to a
blackguard who was sitting on one of the lamps on Westminster Bridge,
and said, ‘There he is.’ Sir Joshua observing a fellow on a wooden post
nearer the water answered, ‘I believe you are right, and there is one
who has a post under him.’”

  April 25th, 1778.

       *       *       *       *       *

“Colman[282] had a house opposite to a timber yard. The prospect of
logs and deals was but clumsy. Colman said it would soon be covered
by some trees planted before his windows. Sir Joshua Reynolds upon
this quoted the proverb, ‘You will not be able to see the _wood_ for

  25th April, 1778.

       *       *       *       *       *

“At Sir Joshua Reynolds’ table —— observed that in the Germanick
politicks at present the King of Prussia was a good attorney for
the ——. ‘Yes,’ said I, ‘and he has a good power.’”

  2nd May, 1778.

       *       *       *       *       *

“In London you have an inexhaustible variety of company to enjoy with
superficial pleasure, and out of these you may always have a few chosen
friends for intimate cordiality. While you have a wide lake to sport
in, you may have a stewpond to fatten, cherishing to high friendship,
affection, and love, by feeding with attention and kindness. One must
have a friend, a wife, or a mistress much in private; must dwell upon
them, if that phrase may be used; must by reiterated habits of regard
feel the particular satisfaction of intimacy. There must be many coats
of the colour laid on to make a body substantial enough to last, for
the colour of ordinary agreeable acquaintance is so slight that every
feather can brush it off. One should be very careful in choosing
for the stewpond. Horace says, ‘_Qualem commendes etiam atque etiam
respice_.’ Such a recommendation is useful to put us on our guard to
preserve our character for discernment. It is as much so to make us
preserve our own comfort in friendship.”

  London, April, 1778.

       *       *       *       *       *

“If you wish to be very happy with your friend, or wife, or mistress,
be with them in London or Bath, or some place where you are both
enjoying pleasure; not in the country, where there is dulness and
weariness. You may, perhaps, bear up your spirits even in dreary cold
darkness in their company, but it is too severe trial to make the
experiment. There may be love enough, yet not of such a supreme degree
that warms amidst external disadvantages. It is not giving them fair
play. Be with them in the sunshine; let mutual gladness beam upon your
hearts; and let the ideas of pleasure be associated with the ideas of
your being together. If pity be akin to love, it is so to melancholy
love. Joy is the fond relation of delightful love of the sweet passion.”

  London, April and May, 1778.

       *       *       *       *       *

“General Paoli one day asked me to read to him something good out of
my journal of conversations, which he found me busy recording. I was
running my eye over the pages, muttering and long of bringing forth
anything, upon which the general observed with his usual metaphorical
fancy, _finesse d’esprit_, ‘Reason says I am a deer lost in a wood.
It is difficult to find me.’ I had nothing to answer at the time, but
afterwards—I forget how long—I said, ‘The wood is crowded with deer.
There are so many good things, one is at a loss which to choose.’”

  London, April, 1778.

       *       *       *       *       *

“Mr. Crosbie was the member of several clubs. I said to him, ‘Crosbie,
you are quite a club sawyer.’”

       *       *       *       *       *

“Dr. Webster was rather late in coming to a dinner which I gave at
Fortune’s, 9th July, 1774. His apology was, that just as he was coming
out a man arrived who had money to pay him, and he stayed to receive
it. ‘You was very right,’ said I, ‘for money is not like fame, that if
you fly from it, it will pursue you as your shadow does.’”

       *       *       *       *       *

“Harry Erskine[283] was observing that a certain agent would take it
amiss to have it mentioned that his grandfather was a bellman. ‘I don’t
think it,’ said I. ‘A bellman is a respectable title,’ said Peter
Murray;[284] ‘it is at least a sounding title.’”

       *       *       *       *       *

“‘I was wondering one day how many times a lawyer walks backwards and
forwards in the outer house[285] in a forenoon,’ said Cosmo Gordon.
‘You must take a compound ratio of his idleness and his velocity.’”

       *       *       *       *       *

“My wife said it would be much better to give salaries to members of
Parliament than to let them try what they can get off their country by
places and pensions. Said she, ‘They are like ostlers and postillions,
who have no wages, and must support themselves by vails.’”[286]

       *       *       *       *       *

“One day when causes were called in the Inner House in an irregular
manner, and not according to the roll, I said to Crosbie, ‘The English
courts run straight out like a fox; ours double like a hare.’”

       *       *       *       *       *

“The pleasure of seeing Italy chiefly depends on the ideas which a man
carries thither. Take an ignorant mechanick or an unlearned country
squire to the banks of the Tiber. Show him Mount Soracte, the ruins
of Rome, and drive him on to Naples, he will have little enjoyment.
But a man whose mind is stored with classical knowledge feels a noble
enthusiasm. His ideas uniting with the objects before him catch fire,
and a flame is produced as in a chemical process by the mingling of
certain substances, while others remain quite tame. A man must have his
imagination charged with classical _particles_.”

       *       *       *       *       *

“The severe measures taken against the Americans united them firmly by
a cement of blood.”

  A. BRITON, _Pub. Advert._, 16th Sept., 1775.

       *       *       *       *       *

“Parliament is now, instead of being the representative of the nation,
the echo of the Cabinet; and its acts are only wrappers to the ready
prepared pills of the court laboratory for the people to swallow—if
they do not stick in their throats.”

  A. BRITON, _Pub. Advert._, 16th Sept., 1775.

       *       *       *       *       *

“I said of a rich man who entertained us luxuriously, that although he
was exceedingly ridiculous, we restrained ourselves from talking of him
as we might do, lest we should lose his feasts. Said I, ‘he makes our
teeth sentinels upon our tongues.’”

       *       *       *       *       *

“I said that a drunken fellow was not honest. ‘A stick,’ said I ‘kept
allways moist becomes rotten.’”

“If a man entertains his company himself, it is a great fatigue. It is
blowing a fire with his own breath. Whoever can afford it should have a
led captain of strong animal spirits, who may, like perpetual bellows,
keep up the social flame.”

       *       *       *       *       *

“I told Nairne one afternoon that I had been taking an airing with our
solicitor-general. Said he, ‘Was you _learning_ to be solicitor?’ ‘No
no,’ said I; ‘solicitors-general are _non docti, sed facti_.’”


       *       *       *       *       *

“Poor David Hamilton of Monkland, on account of his vote in
Lanarkshire, was made one of the macers of the Court of Session. He
had a constant hoarseness, so that he could scarcely be heard when
he called the causes and the lawyers, and was indeed as unfit for a
crier of court as a man could be. I said he had no voice but _at an

       *       *       *       *       *

“Sandie Maxwell, the wine merchant, told a story very well, and used to
heighten it by greater and greater degrees of strong humour, according
to the disposition of the company. I said he _blew_ a story to any
size, as a man blows figures in a glasshouse. A satirical fellow would
say, I warrant he shall not blow his own bottles to too large a size.”

       *       *       *       *       *

“Lady Di Beauclerk[287] said to me she understood Mrs. V—— was an
idiot. I said I was told so too; but when I was introduced to her did
not find it be true. ‘Or perhaps,’ said I, ‘her being less an idiot
than I had imagined her to be may have made me think she was not an
idiot at all.’ ‘I think,’ said Lady Di, ‘she is bad enough, if that be
all that a lawyer has to say for her, that she is only less an idiot
than he imagined.’ Said I, ‘There are different kinds of idiots as of
dogs, water idiots and land idiots, and so on.’ ‘I think,’ said Lady
Di, ‘that is worth writing down.’”

  Richmond, 27th April, 1781.

       *       *       *       *       *

“Lady Di Beauclerk told me that Langton had never been to see her since
she came to Richmond, his head was so full of the militia and Greek.
‘Why,’ said I, ‘madam, he is of such a length, he is awkward, and not
easily moved.’ ‘But,’ said she, ‘if he had laid himself at his length,
his feet had been in London, and his head might have been here _eodem

       *       *       *       *       *

“Lord Chesterfield could indulge himself in making any sort of pun at a
time. Dr. Barnard, now Bishop of Killaloe, was standing by his lordship
in the pump-room at Bath, when the late Duchess of Northumberland’s
father was brought in a chair very unwieldy. The musick was playing. My
lord said to Barnard, ‘We have a new sort of instrument this morning—a
dull Seymour[288] (dulcimer).’”

  From DR. BARNARD, London, 1781.

       *       *       *       *       *

“Parnell[289] was miserably addicted to drinking. He could not refrain
even the morning that Swift introduced him to Lord Oxford.[290] My lord
pressed through the crowd to get to Parnell. But he soon perceived his
situation. He in a little said to Swift, ‘your friend, I fear, is not
very well.’ Swift answered, ‘He is troubled with a great shaking.’ ‘I
am sorry,’ said the Earl, ‘that he should have such a distemper, but
especially that it should attack him in the morning.’”

  From DR. BARNARD, Bishop of Killaloe,
  who had it from DR. DELANY.

       *       *       *       *       *

“In spring, 1781, Dr. Franklin[291] wrote from Paris to a freind in
London, with indignation against one who had been entrusted with money
belonging to the American prisoners, and had run off with it. One
expression in his letters was singularly strong, and indeed wild:—‘If
that fellow is not damned, it is not worth while to keep a devil.’”

  MR. SUARD.[292]

       *       *       *       *       *

“Lord Foley,[293] whose extravagance frequently brought his creditors
upon him so as to have executions in his house, was rallying George
Selwyn on his particular curiosity for spectacles of death. ‘You go,’
said he, ‘I understand, to see all executions.’ ‘No my lord,’ answered
George, ‘I don’t go to see your executions.’”


       *       *       *       *       *

“The Honourable Mrs. Stuart[294] was one day talking to me with just
severity against drunkenness (the sin which doth most easily beset me).
I attempted to apologise, and said that intoxication might happen at a
time to any man. ‘Yes,’ said she, ‘to any man but a Scotsman, for what
with another man is an accident is in him a habit.’”

       *       *       *       *       *

“At Sir John Dick’s, Sunday, 8th May, 1785, I made the gentlemen
sit and drink out some capital old hock after the ladies left us.
When I came into the drawing-room, and was seated by the lady of Sir
Matthew White Ridley,[295] she said to me, ‘We ladies don’t like you
when you have drunk a bottle of hock, because you then tell us only
plain truth.’ ‘Bravo!’ cried I; ‘Lady Ridley, this shall go into my
_Boswelliana_. It is one of the best _bon mots_ I have heard for a
long time. It goes deep into human nature.’”

       *       *       *       *       *

“M. D’Ankerville (9th May, 1785) at General Paoli’s paid me the
compliment that I was the man of genius who had the best heart he had
ever known.”

       *       *       *       *       *

“The king cannot give to Langton because he is not in the political
sphere. He cannot take a handful of the gold upon the faro table, and
give it to any man, however worthy, who is only looking on or stalking
round the room. Let him play, let him part, and take his chance. The
king is but the marker at the great billiard-table of the state. He can
mark a man three, four, or five, or whatever number according to his
play, and if he goes off the table into opposition, can rub out the
chalk; like the marker, he can give what money he has for himself as he
pleases, and employ his own tailor or shoemaker, and buy his own snuff
and ballads, take a walk or a ride at his idle hours where he pleases.”

       *       *       *       *       *

“The first time Suard saw Burke, who was at Reynolds’s, Johnson touched
him on the shoulder and said, ‘Le grande Burke.’”

       *       *       *       *       *

“My journal is ready; it is in the larder, only to be sent to the
kitchen, or perhaps trussed and larded a little.”

       *       *       *       *       *

“Mrs. Cosway[296] said she had often expressed a wish to see me.
General (Paoli) did not tell me this. He has been affraid of making me
too vain and turning the head of his friend. No, he knows the value of
things—it was not worth telling.”

       *       *       *       *       *

“At Mr. Aubrey’s, 19th April, Wilkes and I hard at it. I warm on
monarchy. ‘Po, your’n old Tory.’ _Boswell._ ‘And you’re a new Tory. Let
that stand for that.’”

       *       *       *       *       *

“I mentioned my having been in Tothill Fields Bridewell; how the
keeper had let me in, &c. _Wilkes_, ‘I don’t wonder at your getting
in, but that you got out.’ _Bos._ ‘O no, I have no propensity to be
a jail-bird; I never had the honour you have had[297] [he looking a
little disconcerted, as the pill rather too strong]—I mean being Lord
Mayor of London; I mean the golden _chain_. I never had the honour to
have a chain of any sort.’”

       *       *       *       *       *

“‘I’ll have some of the other soup too. Were there a hundred soups, I
should eat of them all.’ _Mrs. Aubrey_ (very pleasantly): ‘I am sorry
ours comes so far short of your number.’”

       *       *       *       *       *

“Old Hutton[298] talked of men of phlegm and men of fancy. Said H.,
‘Men of phlegm punish the beef, the solid parts of dinner; men of
fancy, the dessert.’ ‘Sir,’ said I, ‘men of fancy would have nothing
to work upon were there not men of phlegm. Men of phlegm perform the
actions, compile the histories, discover the arts and sciences upon
which poetry is founded.’”

       *       *       *       *       *

“Dr. Burney[299] said he hoped I was now come to plant myself in
London. ‘I’ll bring the watering pan,’ said he.”

       *       *       *       *       *

“I told Lord Galloway,[300] April, 1785, that I called Lord Daer
Darius.[301] ‘What,’ said he, ‘do you think him the son of Cyrus?’
laughing at Lord Selkirk. I did not think he’d have said this, though a
distinguished law lord.”

       *       *       *       *       *

“When Pitt the second made his first appearance in the House of Commons
in opposition to Fox, Gibbon[302] said, ‘There is a beautiful painted
pinnace just going to be run down by a black collier.’ He never was
more mistaken. Pitt has more forcible indignation in him than Fox.”


       *       *       *       *       *

“As a playful instance of the proverb, I said, ‘Every man has his
price. Lord Shelburne[303] has his price [meaning Dr. Price],[304] whom
I love and call _Pretium affectionis_.’”

  Monday, 18th April, 1785, at

       *       *       *       *       *

“General Paoli said more good things than almost anybody, yet he talks
of them with contempt. I told him he had always _bon mots_ about him,
which he used like footballs—he threw them down and gave them a kick.”
24th April, 1785.

       *       *       *       *       *

“April, 1785, at Mr. Osborne’s. Sir Joseph Banks told me he was sure he
had a soul. He felt it high within him, as a woman does a child.”

       *       *       *       *       *

“25th April, 1785. Dining on guard with Colonel Lord Cathcart,[306]
Cataline was mentioned. ‘Who was he?’ said George[307] Hanger, ‘for
I know no ancient history.’ ‘I’ll tell you what he was,’ said Colonel
Tarleton. ‘_Alieni cupidus, sui profusus_.’ ‘Very fair!’ said Hanger.
In a little talking of fellows going carelessly to execution, Tarleton
said, ‘We’re told Sir Thomas More smiled all the way.’”

       *       *       *       *       *

“Mrs. Heron[308] being at her parish church, the name of the minister
being Stot,[309] as it was a very bad day, and the wind and rain were
driving through the windows, a lady observed that it was like a _guarde
mange_. ‘I think so too, madam,’ said she; ‘but if that were the case I
should think it would be better to have a dead stot than a living one.’”

  From herself.

       *       *       *       *       *

“Houstoun Stewart[310] was one night in Drury Lane playhouse very
shabbily dressed. A surly-looking, boorish fellow comes up to him:
‘Pray, sir, whose seat do you keep?’ Houstoun replied with an ironical
complaisance, ‘Yours, sir.’ As he was rising the fellow observed his
sword, was much confused, and asked ten thousand pardons. ‘From this,’
says Stewart, ‘we see the value of a sword. Had I wanted it I might
have been taken for a real footman.’”


       *       *       *       *       *

“A comical fellow was telling that Raploch sat upon turkey eggs and
brought out birds, which made the company laugh extremely. ‘Stay, stay,
gentlemen!’ says Harry Barclay;[311] ‘you don’t know that these turkeys
are all my cousins german, for Raploch is my uncle.’”

  LADY KAMES.[312]

       *       *       *       *       *

“A gentleman was one night talking of the Nile. An ignorant boobie who
was present asked him with great eagerness, ‘Pray, what fellow was
that?’ ‘Why, troth, sir,’ says he, ‘it was a fellow that took a conceit
to hide his head so that it could not be found again.’”


       *       *       *       *       *

“A dog one day jumped upon Miss Bruce[313] of Kinross’s lap at a
tea-table. ‘I wonder,’ says she, ‘if dogs can see anything particularly
agreeable about me?’ ‘Indeed, madam,’ replied a gentleman, ‘he would be
a very sad dog that did not.’”


       *       *       *       *       *

“Mr. Heron[314] was one day reproving a servant at table for
negligence. ‘What have you been thinking of, Peter, that you have
forgot spoons?’ ‘I suppose, my dear,’ says his lady, ‘that he has been
thinking of knives and forks.’”

  I was present.

       *       *       *       *       *

“We are apt to imagine that the Turks are a brutal sort of people,
totally given up to gross sensuality, and altogether void of gay fancy
or the finer feelings. As an instance to the contrary, my Lord Galloway
tells that he was sitting at Constantinople with a Turkish gentleman,
who, although a true Mussulman, took a glass of wine. The custom there
is not for a company to drink all at once, like a regiment going
through their evolutions, but as the intention of drinking is to cheer
the spirits, they take a cup of the liquor which stands before them
just as they feel themselves in need of it. This Turk, after having
taken three or four bumpers of champagne, pointed to a lamp which hung
above their heads, as they never use candles. ‘This,’ says he, ‘my
lord, is to me as the oil is to that lamp.’ A pretty allusion, as if it
lighted him up.”


       *       *       *       *       *

“My lord having shown to the same gentleman a picture of Lady
Garlies,[316] he looked at it a long time very attentively, and then
asked my lord, with a good deal of emotion, whose picture it was. My
lord answered that it was the picture of his lady, who had died just
before he left his native country. ‘My lord,’ said the Turk, ‘you have
the strongest constitution, and have a chance to live longer than
any man I ever met with.’ And being asked his reason for saying so,
‘Because, my lord, you have been able to survive so fine a woman.’ A
noble expression of a feeling heart.”


       *       *       *       *       *

“Silinger, a gentleman of Ireland, remarkable for humour and spirit,
had got himself drunk one night, and had broke windows in St. James’s
Street. Next morning at White’s they were all talking of and abusing
him most confoundedly. Lord Coke,[317] a most worthless fellow, stood
up with great warmth for Mr. Silinger, who a little after came in!
‘Silinger,’ cried my lord, ‘you are much obliged to me this morning,
for I have been losing my character in defence of yours.’ ‘Have you so,
my lord?’ says he, ‘then you are much obliged to me, for you have lost
the worst character in all England.’”

  MR. MURRAY, of Broughtoun.

       *       *       *       *       *

“Colonel Chartres,[318] who knew mankind too well to be ignorant of the
power of flattery, said to John,[319] Duke of Argyle, ‘Good heaven,
my lord, what would I give to have your character! I would give ten
thousand pounds.’ ‘Indeed, Chartres,’ replied the duke, ‘it would be
the worst bargain you ever made, for you would lose it again in a day.’”


       *       *       *       *       *

“A gentleman was one day making that common serious reflection, ‘Time
runs.’ ‘Very well,’ replied Boswell, ‘let it run there, for I am sure I
shall never try to pursue it.’”

       *       *       *       *       *

“Lady Katie Murray[320] having shown her full-length portrait to Lord
Eglintoune, ‘O such vanity, such vanity!’ cried he, ‘do you really take
that for you?’ ‘Indeed, my lord,’ says she, Mr. Reynolds says that it
is me; so I can’t help it.’”

  From herself.

       *       *       *       *       *

“Colonel Folly came to wait upon old Jerviswood,[321] who was very
deaf; and being very finically dressed, the old gentleman asked with
great curiosity, ‘Who’s that? who’s that?’ and being answered, Colonel
Folly, ‘I see,’ says he, ‘he’s a fool, but what is his name?’”


       *       *       *       *       *

“Sir Alexander Dick passed an evening at Rome with a number of
gentlemen, who had been obliged to fly Scotland on account of the
rebellion, 1715. One of them sung ‘The Broom of the Cowdenknowes,’[322]
with which the whole company were so much affected as to burst into
tears and cry with great bitterness.”

  From himself.

       *       *       *       *       *

“When John McKie[323] was in Prussia, one of the sentinels petitioned
him and some other gentlemen who were with him for their charity to
a poor Briton, who had been seized by the advanced guards while in
the Dutch service, and had now but very poor pay. ‘Pray, sir,’ said
Mr. McKie, ‘what is your name?’ ‘John McKie, sir,’ said he, ‘from the
Laird of Balgowan’s estate, in the parish of Monigaff, in Galloway.’
Surprised and pleased at the discovery, they collected all the silver
they had about them and threw to him.”


       *       *       *       *       *

“Jerviswood carried his whole family to travel with him through Italy.
The first night of their being in Rome they went to an assembly, and
were surprised to find them dancing to the tune of ‘The Lads of Dunse.’
The history of the thing was this:—the Italians have no country
dances; but Miss Edwin, sister to Lady Charlotte’s husband, was very
fond of the Scots country dances, and as her family were opulent people
when they were abroad, she had influence enough with the Italians to
introduce these dances, which they still remain fond of.”


       *       *       *       *       *

“It is a tradition believed in the family of Carnwath[324] that one
of the old earls, who was a very zealous Catholic, took it into his
head to make a pilgrimage to the Holy Sepulchre. As he was entering
one of the gates of Constantinople he saw a woman sitting on a balcony
spinning and singing, ‘O the broom,’ &c.”


       *       *       *       *       *

“A man had heard that Dempster was very clever, and therefore expected
that he could say nothing but good things. Being brought acquainted,
Mr. Dempster said to him with much politeness, ‘I hope, sir, your lady
and family are well.’ ‘Ay, ay, man,’ said he, ‘pray where is the great
wit in that speech?’”


       *       *       *       *       *

“A gentleman was complaining that he had done good to another who had
made him no grateful return. ‘Well, well,’ said Boswell, ‘you are so
far lucky, that if you did good to your neighbour you have your reward,
whether he will or not.’”

       *       *       *       *       *

“Boswell and John Home met with a man in their walk one morning, who
said that he was a hundred and three. ‘What a stupid fellow,’ said
Boswell, ‘must that be who has lived so long!’”

       *       *       *       *       *

“Boswell was one day complaining that he was sometimes dull. ‘Yes,
yes,’ cried Lord Kames, ‘_aliquando dormitat Homerus_’ (Homer sometimes
nods). Boswell being too much elated with this, my lord added, ‘Indeed,
sir, it is the only chance you had of resembling Homer.’”

       *       *       *       *       *

“A countryman came one day and told Lady Machermore,[326] ‘Oh,
madam, you have lost a great enemy this morning—the auld bear of
Kirouchtree’s dead.’ ‘Ay, ay,’ says she, ‘the auld Heron dead? give the
honest man a dram.’ The fellow took his dram very contentedly, and then
said, ‘Na, God be thanked, madam, Heron’s not dead, for I mean the old
boar-sow that used to destroy your potatoes.’”


       *       *       *       *       *

“At an execution in the Grass Mercat, Boswell was observing that if you
will consider it abstractly there is nothing terrible in it. ‘No doubt,
sir,’ replied Mr. Love, ‘if you will abstract everything terrible that
it has about it, nothing terrible will remain.’”

       *       *       *       *       *

“When Lord Galloway was in Constantinople, an old Turk of sixty was
dining one day with a company of the English, with whose ease and
freedom and mirth he was so much transported as to exclaim, ‘Good God,
am I come to this age, and have lived but one day!’”


       *       *       *       *       *

“Lord Mark Ker[327] was playing at backgammon with Lord Stair in a
coffee-house in London; an impudent fellow was saying some rude things
against Scotland. ‘Come, my Lord Stair,’ said Lord Mark, ‘let us have a
throw of the dice, which of us two kicks this scoundrel down-stairs.’
Lord Stair had the highest throw, and accordingly used the fellow as he
deserved. ‘Well,’ said Lord Mark, ‘I allways am unlucky at play.’”


       *       *       *       *       *

“Montgomerie,[328] of Skermorly, was Provost of Glasgow. A vain, haughty
man, Jacobie Corbet,[329] a merchant, and a noted man for humour,
accosted him one day in the familiar style of ‘How are you, Hugh?’
‘Hugh, sir?’ said he, ‘is that a proper way of talking to the Lord
Provost of Glasgow?—Officer, take this fellow to prison directly.’ It
was accordingly done. Some time after commissions for justices of the
peace came down, and amongst the rest was one for —— Montgomerie, of
Skermorly. ‘Ay,’ said he, ‘this is pretty odd. I should think the Queen
might have been better acquainted with my name.’ ‘Indeed,’ replied
Corbet, ‘I dare say she remembered your name, but she knew that if she
called you Hugh she would have got the Tolbooth.’”


       *       *       *       *       *

“When Campbell,[330] of Shawfield, returned with all his riches to
Glasgow, everybody flocked about him to pay their respects except
Corbet, with whom he had served his apprenticeship, who never troubled
his head or went near him. Shawfield, concerned at this, and willing
to ingratiate himself with everybody, came up to him as he was walking
before his shop. ‘Oh, my good old friend, Jacobie Corbet, I rejoice to
see you. I protest I know no odds upon you these twenty years.’ ‘Say
you so, Daniel?’ cried he, ‘but I know a very great odds upon you; you
came here at first wanting bretches, and now you are riding a coach and


       *       *       *       *       *

“Colonel Irwin[331] was dancing down a country dance at Bath, when
somebody said, ‘I hope Mrs. Irwin is well.’ The colonel, dancing on,
bowed and smiled and replied, ‘Dead a fortnight,—dead a fortnight.’”


       *       *       *       *       *

“Sanderson, the Quaker, and Lady Galloway, had a violent dispute about
religion. ‘Well, well, Catherine,’[332] said he, ‘you have but an Act
of Parliament for your religion; I have the same for mine.’”


       *       *       *       *       *

“Lady Garlies[333] was making a cap to herself one evening. Says old
Galloway, with much slyness, ‘If you were a milliner, madam, you would
have plenty of business.’ ‘Yes,’ said Garlies, one way or t’other.’”

  I was present.

       *       *       *       *       *

“A young extravagant dog had contrived to swell his bills prodigiously,
and among other articles he had this:—‘To an entertainment to my
friends the night before I left Oxford, £40.’ ‘My dear Tom,’ said his
father, ‘I rejoice to find you so fortunate a man, for by what I can
see you have a greater number of friends than any man in England.’”


       *       *       *       *       *

“A company of strolling players were rehearsing ‘Macbeth,’ and singing
the chorus of ‘We fly by night.’ ‘Oh,’ cried the landlord, who
overheard them, ‘I’ll take care of that;’ and immediately called a
constable to lay hold of them.”


       *       *       *       *       *

“As Lord Mark Ker was going one night to pay a visit, one of his
chairmen jostled a gentleman upon the street, who immediately knocked
him down. Lord Mark came out of his chair, and as the fellow recovered
himself, he desired the gentleman to chastise him for his insolence,
which he declined. ‘Why, then, sir,’ said Lord Mark, ‘you will excuse
me for taking notice of you for knocking down my chairman,’ and caned
him most heartily.”


       *       *       *       *       *

“Sir William Maxwell of Springkell[335] said that Lord Fife[336] and
Miss Willy[337] Maxwell resembled one another, for they had both bought
their titles dear enough.”

  I was present.

       *       *       *       *       *

“Whenever a young man was recommended to old Lord Stormont[338] for
one of his kirks, he used allways to ask, ‘Is he good-natured in his
drink?’ and if that was the case he said he should be his man.”


       *       *       *       *       *

“Lady Elibank[339] was regretting that old families should sink.
Sir William Baird of Newbyth,[340] an ugly-looking dog, was there,
who laughed and said, ‘What is all that stuff about old families?
All nonsense! I should be glad to know who is the representative of
Nebuchadnezzar’s family?’ This Lord Elibank, then a boy, replied, ‘You,
sir, and he got you when he was eating grass with the beasts of the


       *       *       *       *       *

“At a hunters’ meeting at Dumfries, Mr. Riddle[341] of Glenriddle came
up to the Duke of Hamilton,[342] with his hand in his coat pocket.
‘Will your Grace crack any walnuts?’ The duke, who had lost his teeth,
took it as an affront, and was very sulky.”


“When this story was told, somebody said, ‘That’s nuts for B[oswell].’”

       *       *       *       *       *

“When Sir Peter Frazer of Dores[343] brought home his lady to the
Highlands, he said to his English coachman, ‘All these hills are mine,
John.’ ‘Indeed, sir,’ said he, ‘they’re all not worth a groat. I would
not take off my hat and thank God Almighty for all this part of the
creation.’ Just as he spoke the coach overturned.”


       *       *       *       *       *

“When Lord Hyndford[344] was ambassador at the court of Berlin, the
King of Prussia said to him one morning at the levee, ‘Do you know, my
lord, that two of my soldiers have this morning died of the English
distemper? they have hanged themselves.’ ‘True, sire,’ replied Lord
Hyndford; ‘but it was for a very different reason. Suicide amongst
our people is occasioned by an over-fulness; but I am told that these
fellows hanged themselves because they were dying of hunger.’”


       *       *       *       *       *

“Lord Dunmore[345] was telling Lord Cassillis[346] that his little
child was beginning to speak, and could allready say Dun. ‘Well, my
lord,’ said he, ‘it will say _more_ by and by.’”

  From himself.

       *       *       *       *       *

“Colonel Murray was imposing on some ignorant young fellow at play.
Lord Mark Ker said nobody but a scoundrel and a villain would do so.
Murray came to Lord Mark, and asked him if he had said so. ‘Sir,’ said
he, ‘to the best of my remembrance these were my words. I am not sure
but I likewise added rascal.’”


       *       *       *       *       *

“A fellow was swearing most terribly in a coffee-house. Colonel
Forrester came up to him. ‘Pray sir, what entitles you to swear and
blaspheme at this rate?’ ‘Eh, colonel,’ said he, ‘What! are you
reproving me for it? I’m sure you used to swear as much as any man.’
‘Yes sir,’ said he, ‘when it was the fashion. But now it is only
practised by porters and chairmen. I left it off as below a gentleman.’”

  MR. GOLDIE, of Hoddam.

       *       *       *       *       *

“Cosmo Alexander[347] the painter, upon a slight acquaintance with
a Roman Catholic lady, took her out to dance in the Edinburgh
assembly, and as he was figuring away in black velvet with various
gesticulations, ‘Lord Elibank,’ asked Sir William Maxwell, ‘who’s that
who dances?’ Being told Mr. Alexander the painter, ‘Upon my word,’ said
his lordship, ‘a very picturesque minuet.’”


       *       *       *       *       *

“The Duke of Newcastle[348] had a very mixed character, was not
deficient in parts, but was remarkable for being inattentive, confused,
and hurried. Lord Chesterfield said he was like a man who had lost half
an hour in the morning and was running about all the day, in order to
find it again.”


       *       *       *       *       *

“Lady——, a woman of low birth, whose father and uncle had both been
strung at Tyburn, asked George Selwyn[349] to come and see an elegant
room which she was fitting up at her house in Pall Mall. George,
observing some vacant places for pictures, inquired what she was to
put there. She said she intended to hang some family pictures there.
‘O, madam’ replied he, ‘I thought all your ladyship’s family had been
hanged already.’”


       *       *       *       *       *

“The Laird of Macfarlane[350] was maintaining one day that the
highlands was much better country than Fife, and that Kelly Law would
make no figure among the hills in his country. ‘I grant you,’ said
Captain Erskine, ‘it would make but a contemptible figure as a hill,
but it would make an admirable plain.’”


       *       *       *       *       *

“An Irish servant told his master that his best horse had fallen over a
precipice. ‘Well,’ said he, ‘there is no help for it; let us at least
save something; go directly and skin him, and come quickly back.’ The
fellow, being very long of returning, was asked what he had been about.
‘An’t please your honour,’ said he, ‘the horse run so fast, that it was
three hours before I could overtake him to get the skin off.’”


       *       *       *       *       *

“The same gentleman sent his servant one dark night with a friend to
conduct him through a bad step in the road. His friend fell into the
very middle of the mire. The servant being asked upon his return if he
had shown the gentleman the hole, ‘Indeed sir,’ said he, ‘he did not
need to be shown it, for he found it himself.’”


       *       *       *       *       *

“A countryman was carrying a hare over his shoulder in the streets. A
waggish young fellow accosted him thus:—‘Pray sir, is that your own
hare, or a wig?’”


       *       *       *       *       *

“When Mr. Love was engaged for Drury Lane, he went to Covent Garden
and saw Shuter[352] play Falstaff the night before he appeared in that
character himself. After the play was over, Mr. Shuter said, ‘He has
satisfied me very much—because he satisfied nobody else.’”

  From himself.

       *       *       *       *       *

“The Duke de Nivernois[353] is a man of fine parts and address, but a
very diminutive figure. When he made his appearance in London in the
year 1762, Charles Townshend said, ‘It is impossible this can be an
ambassador, for he has not even the preliminaries of a man.’”


       *       *       *       *       *

“Eating supper is nothing. ’Tis drinking supper hurts a man.”

  29th May, 1783.

       *       *       *       *       *

“Mr. Burke said at Chelsea College dinner, a poor French cook was
persecuted by the mob at Edinburgh as a Papist. Said young Burke, ‘They
had taken him for a _frier_!’”

       *       *       *       *       *

“At Chelsea College dinner, 29th May, 1783, Sir George Howard,[354] the
Governor, drank to the memory of Charles the Second, the founder; and
then to the glorious and immortal memory of William the Third, its last
royal benefactor. Mr. Burke, who used to joke with Mr. Boswell as a
friend to the House of Stewart, observed that no notice had been taken
of James the Second, whose name is still inscribed upon the college as
a benefactor. Mr. Boswell then said, merely from the connection of the
word _medio_ with that prince as the _middle_ king who had promoted
that institution, ‘Sir George, you are unmindful of _medio tutissimus
ibis_.’ Sir George answered, very justly, ‘That is a maxim I think he
did not understand.’”

       *       *       *       *       *

“My friends are to me like the cinnamon tree, which produces nutmeg,
mace, and cinnamon; not only do I get wisdom and worth out of them,
but amusement. I use them as the Chinese do their animals; nothing is
lost; there a very good dish is made of the poorest parts. So I make
the follies of my friends serve as a dessert after their valuable

       *       *       *       *       *

“It is very disagreeable to hear a man going about a subject and about
it, and hesitating, while one perceives what he means to say. Mental
stammering hurts one as much as a stammering in speech.”

  Mrs. Boscawen,[355] 17th May, 1784.

       *       *       *       *       *

“I was observing at Mr. Dilly’s how terrible an idea it was when Mr.
Perry was going to the East Indies for ten years in quest of languages.
Dr. Johnson said, with his wonderful shrewdness, ‘He went _to_ the
East Indies. The question is, what did he go _from_?’”

       *       *       *       *       *

“My only objection to living in London is that there is too much space
and too little time.”

  27th May 1784.

       *       *       *       *       *

“I said Suard had a feeble venom spit-spit.”


       *       *       *       *       *

“I told General Paoli that Dr. Johnson said Langton was first a
talking man—then he would be a silent man. ‘All upon system, to be
distinguished,’ said the General. ‘He wanted to go into the cave of
Trophonius, and he went into that of Polyphemus’ (alluding to his being
a disciple of Dr. Johnson).”


       *       *       *       *       *

“My son Alexander,[356] one day in December [1783], when in a passion
at his sister Phemie for something she had said, used this strong
expression,—‘Phemie, if your tongue be not cut out, it will soon be
full of lies.’”


“January 7. He understood that there was a violent opposition to the
king; and he imagined Sir Philip Ainslie[357] was on that side. He said
the king should send messengers to discover all that are against him.
That would soon turn Sir Philip Ainslie’s brain right.”

       *       *       *       *       *

“January 10. He complained that his brother James beat him. Grange said
he should not mind him, as he was but a child. ‘Ay,’ said he, ‘but he
must not be a big man to me’ (alluding to the weight of his blows).”

       *       *       *       *       *

“The difference between an ancient family is sometimes not visible.
Above the ground the tree may be the same. The ancient has only deeper
roots, which only antiquarian diggers observe. Yet from the deep
roots there are plants of a more stately air, so that in general the
difference appears even in the stem and branches; sometimes, indeed, by
rich and happy culture, the new ones will look almost as well.”

       *       *       *       *       *

“In a book of science or of general information, one may introduce an
eloquent sentence, if not too flighty; or, when an elevated thought
occurs stand on tiptoe, but not rise from the ground. I made this
remark to Mr. Lumsden, while reading a passage of higher tone in
his account of Rome. It will also apply to Sir John Pringle’s[358]
Discourses before the Royal Society.”

       *       *       *       *       *

“A man begged sixpence from a gentleman and was refused. With a
melancholy look he said, ‘Well, then, I know what to do.’ The gentleman
struck with this, and dreaming the poor man meant to kill himself, gave
him the sixpence, and then asked him, ‘What would you do?’ ‘Why, sir,’
said he, ‘I should be obliged to work.’”


       *       *       *       *       *

“Peter Boyle[359] has so much milk of temper one can hardly be angry
with him. But even milk will offend, when it goes down the _wrong

       *       *       *       *       *

“Asparagus is like gentility; it cannot be brought to the table till
several generations from the dunghill.”

       *       *       *       *       *

“The arsenic sophistry of Gibbon—sweet and poisonous.”

       *       *       *       *       *

“The minds of some men are like a dark cellar—their knowledge lies
concealed; while the minds of others are all sunshine and mirror, and
reflect all that they read or hear in a lively manner.”

       *       *       *       *       *

“Sir John Wemyss[360] calling on R. Colville[361] in the abbey a few
weeks after losing £500 by him, was offered by him a tune on the
fiddle. ‘Stay,’ said Sir John, ‘till the rest of your creditors get a

       *       *       *       *       *

“‘Who’s there?’ said the Lord President Arniston, one morning at
breakfast, in winter, 1782-3; ‘I dinna see.’ John Swinton, then
a candidate for a gown, courteously said, ‘The light is in your
lordship’s eyes.’ ‘No, John,’ said he, ‘the light’s out of my e’en.’”

       *       *       *       *       *

“Burke said that it was of great consequence to have a British peerage,
for each generation is born in a great theatre where he may display his
talents. I told this to General Paoli, who was of a different opinion.
‘It is true,’ said the general, he is born in a great theatre, but he
is applauded before he acts.’”

       *       *       *       *       *

“When it was asked in India why Sir Thomas Rumbold’s[362] acquisition
of wealth made more noise than that of others, a black man said,
‘Others pluck one feather, and one feather from the fowl, and the fowl
do not make noise; but Rumbold tear all the feathers all at once, and
the fowl cry Zua, Zua.’”


       *       *       *       *       *

“General Paoli said of Sir Joshua Reynolds, whose deafness made him use
a trumpet, ‘He has a horn only at one ear; if he had one at both he
would be a Jupiter.’”

  6th May, 1781.

       *       *       *       *       *

“I told young Burke that Wilkes said he was an enemy to General Paoli
from the natural antipathy of good to bad. ‘Which _is_ the bad?’ said

  6th May, 1781.

       *       *       *       *       *

“General Paoli described a blue-stocking meeting very well:—Here, four
or five old ladies talking formally, and a priest (Dr. Barnard, Provost
of Eton), with a wig like the globe, sitting in the _middle_, as if he
were confessing them.’”

  May, 1781.

       *       *       *       *       *

“Mrs. Thrale spoke slightingly of Paradise.[363] She said, ‘I never
heard him say anything, but my fader vos not a Greek, but my moder was
a Greek.’ Young Burke and I thought her too severe; ‘but,’ said young
Burke, ‘it seems she does not find the tree of knowledge in Paradise.’”

  6th May, 1781.

       *       *       *       *       *

“Lady Preston[364] had catched cold by going to some meeting. Capt.
Brisbane[365] wrote to Lady Maxwell,[366] ‘Some ladies have a zeal, I
do not say without knowledge, but without constitution to support it.’”

       *       *       *       *       *

“When Wilkes and I sat together, each glass of wine produced a flash of
wit, like gunpowder thrown into the fire—Puff! puff!”

       *       *       *       *       *

“Lord Mountstuart said at J. R. McKye’s, 30th April, 1783, that it was
observed I was like Charles Fox. ‘I have been told so,’ said I. ‘You’re
much uglier,’ said Col. James Stuart, with his sly drollery. I turned
to him, full as sly and as droll: ‘Does _your wife_ think so, Colonel
James?’ Young Burke said, ‘Here was less meant than meets the ear.’”

       *       *       *       *       *

“Mr. Charles Cochrane[367] was applied to requesting freestone to erect
a monument at Falkirk to Sir Harry Monro,[368] who was killed at the
battle there, fighting against Prince Charles in 1745. Mr. Cochrane
very readily granted the request, and said he should be very glad to
give stones for burying all the Whigs in Scotland.”

  From MR. STOBIE, Mr. Cochrane’s agent.

       *       *       *       *       *

“One who boasted of being an infidel said to Mr. Allan Logan that he
wished much to see a spirit, but had in vain visited churchyards and
every other place where he had the best chance. Mr. Logan, who was a
very serious and even superstitious and credulous believer, answered,
‘Why, man, you was a great fool for making the experiment, and you
would have the devil to be as great a fool as yourself. He is sure of
you at present, and you would have him to appear to you, that you might
be convinced of a future state and escape him? No, no; he is too wise
for that.’”

  1st Oct., 1780, from the Rev. Mr. ROLLAND[369] of Culross.

       *       *       *       *       *

“The Earl of Dumfries,[370] in Charles the Second’s time, was a
hard-hearted, unfeeling father. His son, Lord Crichton, had gone to
Edinburgh, foolishly, as he thought. He died there, and his corpse
was brought home to be buried in the family vault. As the earl saw
the hearse from his window he said, ‘Ay, ay, Charles, thou went to
Edinburgh without an errand; I think thou hast got one to bring thee
back again.’ My father, who was always averse to my going to London,
often told this story before me. I said one day of the earl, ‘What a

       *       *       *       *       *

“Mr. Beauclerc told Dr. Johnson that Dr. James[371] said to him he knew
more Greek than Mr. Walmsley.[372] ‘Sir,’ said he, ‘Dr. James did not
know enough of Greek to be sensible of his ignorance of the language.
Walmsley did.’”


       *       *       *       *       *

“A certain young clergyman used to come about Dr. Johnson. The Doctor
said it vexed him to be in his company, his ignorance was so hopeless.
‘Sir,’ said Mr. Langton, ‘his coming about you shows he wishes to help
his ignorance.’ ‘Sir,’ said the Doctor, ‘his ignorance is so great, I
am afraid to show him the bottom of it.’”


       *       *       *       *       *

“To account for the common remark that the more a man advances in
knowledge, the less he seems to himself to know, Mr. Burke said that
what is in itself infinite, there is a larger circle without the first,
and a larger without the next, and so on.”

  Young MR. BURKE.

       *       *       *       *       *

“Dr. Johnson desired me to tell Sheridan[373] he’d be glad to see him
and shake hands with him. I said Sheridan was unwilling to come, as he
never could forget the attack —— half told him. ‘But it was wrong to
keep up resentment so long,’ said the Doctor; ‘the truth is, he knows
I despise his character; ’tis not all resentment; partly out of habit,
and rather disgust, as at a drug that has made him sick.’”

       *       *       *       *       *

“Lady Townshend[374] sent to Mr. Winnington for his coach and six
horses one day. He asked her afterwards if they came in proper time,
and her ladyship was pleased with them. ‘Oh,’ said she, ‘I only invited
them to dine. I wished they should have one good dinner, so I ordered
them plenty of hay and straw.’”


       *       *       *       *       *

“I said it was a strange thing that Short,[375] the famous telescope
maker in London, left a legacy of a thousand pounds to Lady Mary
Douglas, who had no need of money, when he had a number of poor
relations. Thomas Earl of Kelly said upon this, ‘He was not a
reflecting telescope maker.’”

       *       *       *       *       *

“It was mentioned at Lady Colville’s[376] that Mrs. C., of S., whose
husband was a very big man, had once been very fond of Colonel M., and
had suffered much from his forsaking her. ‘What!’ said a lady; ‘she
seems to like her husband so well, that I could not believe she was
ever fond of any other man.’ ‘She _was_ very fond of another man,’ said
I. ‘But her husband _smothered_ that passion.’” 1783.

       *       *       *       *       *

“At a dinner at Mr. Crosbie’s, when the company were very merry, the
Rev. Dr. Webster told them he was sorry to go away so early, but was
obliged to catch the tide, to cross the Frith of Forth to Fife. ‘Better
stay a little,’ said Thomas Earl of Kelly,[377] ‘till you be half seas


       *       *       *       *       *

“Harry Erskine and another advocate, had written papers in a cause
before Lord Westhall.[378] They thought them very good papers. But a
clerk came to Mr. Erskine with a message that ‘My Lord had read the
papers, and could not _understand_ them, and he would send a note of
what he _wanted_.’ ‘Make my compliments to his lordship,’ said Erskine,
‘and tell him (pointing to his forehead) I have none to spare.’”

  From MR. ERSKINE himself.

       *       *       *       *       *

“On the 2nd December, 1782, I went to dine at Walker’s tavern with a
committee of the Presbytery of Edinburgh, who were taking evidence in a
criminal process—the heritors of Carsphairn[379] against Mr. Affleck,
who had a presentation to that parish. The agent for the heritors was
the entertainer. I was asked to take the head of the table thus:—‘Mr.
Boswell, you’ll take this end.’ ‘No,’ said I, ‘the Moderator will sit
there.’ ‘Then you’ll take this end,’ the foot of the table. ‘No,’ said
I, pointing to the agent. I placed myself about the middle of the
table, and said, ‘I have no end in view but a good dinner.’ Said the
Rev. Mr. Brown,[380] of Edinburgh, ‘The end is lawful if the means be

       *       *       *       *       *

“Miss Leslie, General Leslie’s[381] daughter, had a pretty necklace,
she obligingly took it off, and let me look at it. I said, ‘It is
pretty, even when it’s off.’”

  12th Nov., 1782.

       *       *       *       *       *

“Sir James Johnstone[382] asked me if turning off nominal and
fictitious voters now upon the roll would not be an act of violence.
‘Yes,’ said I, ‘it would be an act of violence. But it would be an act
of violence like turning thieves out of your house.’”

  12th Nov., 1782.

       *       *       *       *       *

“Mr. Keith,[383] the envoy, was in company with a good Highland lady,
some of whose sons had been successful in the army. The company were
talking of putting their sons to different professions. Said she, with
great earnestness, ‘If I had twenty _sons_, I would put them all to the

  From his eldest daughter, 12th Nov., 1782.[384]

       *       *       *       *       *

“I said Lord Monboddo chose to vary Horace’s _Mens sana in corpore
sano_, and to have _mens insana incorpore sano_; for his endeavour is
to keep his mind wild and his body robust.”

  12th Nov., 1782.

       *       *       *       *       *

“Langton said he could not laugh at Burke’s wit. The Bishop of Killaloe
said, ‘I’ll tell you a story: Colonel Lutterel was at the house of
a gentleman who insisted on his drinking more than he chose, and
locked the door on him. The colonel fell upon a contrivance to get off
which succeeded. “Come,” said the gentleman, “fill your glass, you
must drink;” “Sir,” said the colonel, “I don’t like your wine.” The
gentleman had nothing to say.’”

  27th May, 1783.

       *       *       *       *       *

“Langton said Burke hammered his wit upon an anvil, and the iron was
cold. There were no sparks flashing and flying all about. Said the
Bishop of Killaloe,[385] ‘I don’t think the iron is cold, but Burke
is not so much a smith as he is a chymist, he analyzes a word, he
decomposes it, and brings out all its different^{meaning} senses.’”

  27th May, 1783.

       *       *       *       *       *

“I said to General Paoli, it was wonderful how much Corsica had done
for me, how far I had got in the world by having been there. I had got
upon a rock in Corsica and jumped into the middle of life.”

  27th May, 1783.

       *       *       *       *       *

“It was observed by somebody that Lord Dundonald attended to the
church very ill. Miss Preston said that their two black servants were
generally there every Sunday,—‘Ay,’ said Mr. Charles Preston, ‘but two
blacks don’t make a white.’”

  Valley Field, 17th October, 1778.

       *       *       *       *       *


“When I was warm, telling of my own consequence and generosity, my wife
made some cool humbling remarks upon me. I flew into a violent passion;
I said if you throw cold water on a plate of iron much heated it will
burst into shivers.”

       *       *       *       *       *

“She recommended reading the ‘Arabian Nights Entertainments’ to one
in bad health and low spirits; ‘not,’ said she; ‘to be taken into the
mind, but to keep out disturbing thoughts; let them be like a sentry,
whom we do not admit into the chamber of a sick person, but place at
the door to prevent noisy intruders.’”

       *       *       *       *       *

“She disapproved of my inviting Mr. M——sh, a man of ability but
of violent manners, to make one in a genteel party at our house one
evening. ‘He is,’ said she, ‘like fire and water, useful, but not to be
brought into company.’”

       *       *       *       *       *

“Dr. Grant asked if Mr. Macadam of Craigengellan had but one daughter.
I said he had properly speaking but one—one beautiful daughter, the
other poor girl was very ugly. My wife said that it was hard that want
of good looks should make her not be reckoned his daughter; she was
more a daughter on that account, as being more likely to continue with


_Page 52._—In his “Life of Garrick” (Lond., 1868, vol. I., p. 422)
Mr. Percy Fitzgerald presents the following narrative of Boswell’s
appearance at a dinner in Guildhall. The date 1759 assigned to the
occasion is evidently erroneous. It is not improbable that it took
place shortly after the interchange of letters between him and Mr.
Pitt. “The Grocer in London” was probably composed in the manner of the
“Song of the Barber,” quoted at page 36.

“At a Guildhall dinner, when Mr. Pitt was present with Sir Joshua
[Reynolds] and other celebrities, Mr. Boswell contrived to be asked
to sing; then, standing up, he delivered a short speech referring
to himself, in which he said that he had had the good fortune to be
introduced to most of the crowned heads and distinguished characters
in Europe, but with all his exertions had never attained the happiness
of being presented to a gentleman, who was an honour to his country,
and whose talents he held in the highest esteem. All the company
understood the allusion, but Mr. Pitt remained perfectly cold and
impassive. Then Mr. Boswell gave his song, which was a sort of parody
on Dibdin’s ‘Sweet Little Cherub,’ and called ‘A Grocer in London.’
The minister was a member of the Grocers’ guild, and this absurdity
was in his honour. So far this was ludicrous enough, but Boswell,
half volunteering and half pressed by the company, and no doubt much
affected by the wine, sang this song over no less than six times, until
Mr. Pitt’s muscles at length relaxed, and he was obliged to join in the
general roar. Mr. Taylor, who was present, walked home with the author
of the song, and recollected that they roared ‘Grocer of London’ all
through the streets.”

_Pages 49_ and _110_.—Boswell was wont to attend public executions,
both in Edinburgh and London, but the propensity of witnessing such
spectacles was in his mind unassociated with an indifference to
suffering. His love of excitement overcame his natural sympathies, and
obscured his judgment. In June, 1790, he induced Sir Joshua Reynolds to
accompany him to Newgate, to witness the execution of five convicts.
One of these, an old servant of Mrs. Thrale, recognised Boswell among
the crowd, and bowed to him from the scaffold. Some persons having
censured Sir Joshua for being present at such a revolting spectacle, he
justified his procedure in a letter to Boswell. An extract follows:—

“I am obliged to you for carrying me yesterday to see the execution
at Newgate of the five malefactors. I am convinced it is a vulgar
error; the opinion that it is so terrible a spectacle, or that it in
any way implies a hardness of heart or cruelty of disposition, any
more than such a disposition is implied in seeking delight from the
representation of a tragedy. Such an execution as we saw, when there
was no torture of the body, or expression of agony of the mind, but
when the criminals, on the contrary, appeared perfectly composed,
without the least trembling, ready to speak and answer with civility
and attention any question that was proposed, neither in a state of
torpidity nor insensibility, but grave and composed,—I am convinced
from what we saw, and from the report of Mr. Ackerman, that it is a
state of suspense that is the most irksome and intolerable to the human
mind, and that certainty, though of the worst, is a more eligible
state; that the mind soon reconciles itself even to the worst, when
that worst is fixed as fate.... I consider it is natural to desire
to see such sights, and, if I may venture, to take delight in them,
in order to stir and interest the mind, to give it some emotion, as
moderate exercise is necessary for the body.”

_Page 136._—When he was passing through the press his “Tour to the
Hebrides,” Boswell conceived the idea of sitting for his portrait to
Sir Joshua Reynolds. The following letter which he addressed to the
great artist is peculiarly characteristic:—

“MY DEAR SIR,—The debts which I contracted in my father’s lifetime
will not be cleared off by me for some years. I therefore think it
unconscientious to indulge myself in any expensive article of elegant
luxury. But in the meantime you may die, or I may die; and I should
regret very much that there should not be at Auchinleck my portrait
painted by Sir Joshua Reynolds, with whom I have the felicity of
living in social intimacy. I have a proposal to make to you. I am for
certain to be called to the English Bar next February: will you now do
my picture? and the price shall be paid out of the first fees which
I receive as a barrister in Westminster Hall. Or if that fund should
fail, it shall be paid at any rate five years hence by myself or my
representatives. If you are pleased to approve of this proposal, you
signifying your concurrence underneath upon two duplicates, one of
which shall be kept by each of us, will be a sufficient voucher of the
obligation. I ever am, with very sincere regards, my dear sir, your
faithful and affectionate humble servant,


  “_London, 7th June, 1785._”

This letter was endorsed by Sir Joshua thus:—“I agree to the above
condition.—London, September 10th, 1785.” Boswell’s portrait, in
_kit-cat_ size, was painted by Sir Joshua some time afterwards. Whether
a price was named or paid does not appear, but it is certain the
biographer and the great painter remained in terms of the closest
friendship. Sir Joshua died in 1792; he bequeathed to Boswell the
sum of £200, to be expended, if he thought proper, in the purchase
of a picture at the sale of his paintings, to be kept for his sake.
Boswell’s portrait by Reynolds is now in the collection of Sir Robert
Peel, Bart. (“Life and Times of Sir Joshua Reynolds,” by C. R. Leslie,
R.A., and Tom Taylor. Lond., 1815, 2 vols.)


  Aberdeen, Earl of, 226

  Abingdon, Mrs., 97

  Adam, Lord Chief Commissioner, 252

  Adams, Dr. of Oxford, 109

  Adolphus, Gustavus, 3

  Affleck, Rev. Mr., 326

  Ainslie, Sir Philip, 318

  Alexander II., 2

  Alexander, Cosmo, 314

  Alexander, John, 314

  Almack’s Hotel, 224

  Alva, Lord, 199

  Amelia, Princess, 195

  Ameté, Mademoiselle, 230

  Anstruther, Sir William, Bart., 257

  Antonetti, Signor, 48

  Argyll, Duchess of, 92

  Argyll, Duke of, 12, 92, 229, 231, 245, 260, 305

  Armstrong, John, M.D., 255, 287

  Arran, James, first Earl of, 3

  Ashbourne, 115

  Aubrey, Mr. 299

  Aubrey, Mrs., 300

  Auchinleck, Lord, 4, 5, 12, 13, 35, 43, 48, 65, 79, 82, 92, 100-109,
        114, 128, 129, 199, 221, 229, 234, 238, 242, 244, 245, 246, 247,
        248, 251, 257, 258, 260, 261, 262, 264, 265, 266, 267, 306

  Auld, Rev. William, 263

  Bagnall, Miss, 167

  Baidlin, Laird of, 267

  Baillie, George, of Jerviswoode, 306, 317

  Bainston, Letitia, 123

  Baird, Sir William, Bart., 312

  Baldwin, Thomas, printer, 136, 155, 171, 174

  Balfour, Andrew, 279

  Baliol, Mrs. Bethune, 327

  Balmuto, Lord, 4, 82, 108

  Banks, Sir Joseph, 163, 269, 270, 273

  Barclay, Harry, of Collairnie, 303

  Bardarrock, Laird of, 262

  Baretti, 53

  Barker, Jane, 6

  Barker, John, 6

  Barnard, William, D.D., 111

  Barrow, Dr., 165

  Beauclerk, Lady Diana, 296

  Beauclerk, Lord Sidney, 289

  Beauclerk, Topham, 289, 323

  Beattie, Dr. James, 20, 85, 191, 282

  Beaufort, Duke of, 317

  Bedford, Duke of, 62

  Berghen, Bishop of, 273

  Berkeley, Bishop, 238

  Bernard, Dr., Bishop of Killaloe, 111, 297

  Bernard, Mr., 232

  Bertie, Captain Peregrine, 238, 239

  Blacket, Sir Thomas, 139

  Blacklock, Dr., 20, 86

  Blair, Bryce of Blair, 267

  Blair, Laird of, 267

  Blair, Miss, of Adamtown, 67, 78

  Blair, Mr. William, 267

  Blair, Rev. Dr. Hugh, 27, 86, 207, 209

  Blair, Rev. Robert, 267

  Bodens, Mr., 290

  Boscawen, Admiral Edward, 317

  Boscawen, Mrs., 317

  Bosville, Adam de, 2

  Bosville, Elizabeth Diana, 67, 89, 139, 140

  Bosville, Godfrey, 140

  Bosville, Robert, 1

  Bosville, Sieur de, 1

  Boswell, Alexander, (_see_ Lord Auchinleck)

  Boswell, Alexander, W. S., 198

  Boswell, Sir Alexander, Bart., 106, 154, 186, 318

  Boswell, Andrew, of Balmuto, 4

  Boswell, Claude James, Lord Balmuto, 4, 82, 108

  Boswell Colonel Bruce, 188, 196, 197

  Boswell, David, of Auchinleck, 3, 4

  Boswell, David, of Glasmont, 2

  Boswell, David, or Thomas David, 5, 150, 154, 169, 177, 181, 185, 186

  Boswell, Dr. John, 4, 30, 124, 197

  Boswell, Elizabeth, 82, 155, 195, 196

  Boswell, Elizabeth M. M., 196

  Boswell, Emily Harriet, 195

  Boswell, Euphemia, 154, 195, 196

  Boswell, Grace Jane, 194

  Boswell, Grace Theresa, 194

  Boswell, Henry St. George, 198

  Boswell, James, 1, 333

  Boswell, James, jun., 136, 154, 180, 192

  Boswell, James Paoli, 196

  Boswell, John Alexander Corrie, 198

  Boswell, John, of Auchinleck, 3

  Boswell, John Campbell, 198

  Boswell, John de, 2

  Boswell, John William, 197

  Boswell, Julia, 195

  Boswell, Lieutenant John, 5, 185

  Boswell, Major John James, 198

  Boswell, Margaret Emily, 194

  Boswell, Mrs., 93, 94, 106, 120, 149-152, 183, 193

  Boswell, Mrs. Elizabeth, 197

  Boswell, Richard, 2

  Boswell, Robert, of Balmuto, 4, 82

  Boswell, Robert Cramond, 196

  Boswell, Robert W. S., 186, 197, 198

  Boswell, Roger de, 2

  Boswell, Rev. Robert, 2

  Boswell, Rev. Robert Bruce, 198

  Boswell, Sir James, Bart., 194

  Boswell, Sir John, of Balgregie, 2

  Boswell, Sir John, of Balmuto, 2

  Boswell, Sir William, 2

  Boswell, Thomas Alexander, 195, 197

  Boswell, Thomas, of Auchinleck, 3

  Boswell, William, advocate, 196, 197

  Boswell, Veronica, 4, 85, 148, 154, 195

  Boswelliana, 203, 328

  Bouflers, Countess de, 50

  Boulton, Mr., 110

  Bowes, Jack, 247

  Boyle, Hon. Patrick, 319

  Brisbane, Captain, 322

  Bristol, 112

  Briton, A., 295

  Brocklesby, Dr., 301

  Brompton, Robert, 289

  Brown, George, of Elliestoun, 254

  Brown, Bailie John, 281

  Brown, Matthew, 260

  Brown, Rev. James, 326

  Brown, Rev. Laurence, 220

  Brown, Rev. William, of Utrecht, 42, 219, 222

  Brown, William Laurence, D.D., 220

  Bruce, Lady Elizabeth, 4, 183

  Bruce, Miss, of Kinross, 303

  Bruce, Mrs. Bell, 185

  Bruce, Sir William, Bart., 303

  Brun, Madame le, 66

  Buchan, Buller of, 88

  Buchan, Earl of, 206

  Buchanan, George, 142

  Buchanan, Mr., 154

  Burke, Edmund, 116, 152, 153, 163, 171, 291, 316, 327, 328

  Burke, Edmund, jun., 163, 321

  Burke, Richard, 287

  Burnet, Mr. Secretary, 227, 228, 230

  Burnett, James, of Monboddo, 285

  Burney, Charles, Mus. D., 300

  Burns, Robert, 24, 33, 129, 162, 253

  Bute, Earl of, 48, 97, 122, 133, 252

  Buttafoco, Mr., 48

  Cadogan, Lord, 178

  Caithness, Earl of Orkney and, 3

  Caldow, James, 186

  Cambridge, Richard Owen, 63, 158

  Camden, Lord, 279

  Camden, Lord Chancellor, 66

  Campbell, Annabella, of Loudoun, 3

  Campbell, Archibald, of Succoth, 274

  Campbell, Captain, of Skipness, 310

  Campbell, David, of Shawfield, 310

  Campbell, Mr. Islay, 141, 274

  Campbell, Sir Hugh, of Loudoun, 3

  Campbells of Succoth, 244

  Carlisle, 115

  Carlyle, Dr. Alexander, 32

  Carlyle, Thomas, 189

  Carmichael, Mr. William, 258

  Carnwath, Earls of, 3, 307

  Carron Company, 80

  Carstairs, Sir John, 303

  Cassilis, Earl of, 149, 313

  Cathcart, Lord, 59, 262, 302

  Chambers, Sir Robert, 86

  Chambers, William, 3, 20

  Chapelle, Monsieur, 219

  Charlemont, Lord, 79

  Charles I., 3

  Charles II., 316

  Chartres, Colonel Francis, 305

  Chatham, Earl of, 52, 58, 231

  Chesterfield, Earl of, 155, 172, 211, 297

  Churchill, Charles, 239

  Clark, Baron, 244

  Clark, Dr., 265

  Clarke, Dr. Samuel, 175, 219

  Clerk, John, physician, 244

  Clerk, Sir John, Bart., 244

  Clive, Lord, 270

  Cochrane, Anne, 321

  Cochrane, Charles, 246, 264, 322

  Cochrane, General, 7

  Cochrane, William, of Ochiltree, 5, 199, 321, 325

  Coke, Viscount, 305

  Col, Isle of, 91

  Colebrooke, Sir George, 270

  Colline, Battle of, 227

  Colman, George, 292

  Colquhoun, Sir James, Bart., 92

  Colville, Lady, 23, 93, 325

  Colville, Lord, of Culross, 320

  Compton, Lady Charlotte, 324

  Constable, Archibald, 24

  Conway, General, 153

  Cooper, Dr., 248

  Coote, Sir Eyre, 88

  Corbet, Jacobie, 309

  Cork, Earl of, 126

  Cosway, Mrs., 299

  Cosway, Richard, R.A., 299

  Courtenay, John, M. P., 137, 150, 163, 165, 172, 181

  Cramond, Robert, of Auldbar, 197

  Crawford, Marion of Kerse, 3

  Crawfurd, Mr., of Rotterdam, 213

  Crawley Grange, Estate of, 6, 197

  Crichton, Lord, 323

  Croker, John Wilson, 34

  Crosbie, Andrew, advocate, 272, 283, 286, 294, 295

  Cullen, Dr., 224

  Cullen, Lord, 250, 251, 252

  Cumberland, Duke of, 254, 325

  Cumberlye, Catherine Augusta, 197

  Cumberlye, Elizabeth Mary, 197

  Cunningham, Allan, 253

  Cunningham, Jessie Jane, 194

  Cunningham, Sir David, 97, 205

  Cunningham, Sir Jas., of Glengarnock, 4

  Cunningham, Sir James Montgomery, Bart., 194

  Cunningham, Sir William A., Bart., 205

  D’Anhalt, Governeur, du, 227

  D’Ankerville, M., 299

  Daer, Lord, 301

  Dalrymple, Andrew, 186

  Dalrymple, David, 325

  Dalrymple, Henry, of Drummore, 325

  Dalrymple, Sir John, 256

  Dalrymple, Sir David, Bart., 5, 10, 11, 12, 17, 24, 29, 30, 35, 37,
        39, 40, 86, 106, 221

  Dalliol, Honorius, 5

  Dalzell, Christian, 3

  Dalzell, Sir Robert, 3

  Damer, Mr., 239

  David I., 1

  David II., 2

  Davies, Thomas, 25, 97

  Delany, Dr., 297

  Dempster, George, M.P., 31-34, 173, 185, 210, 270, 287, 307

  Dempster, Helen, 224

  Derrick, the poet, 16, 216

  Dick, Miss, 75

  Dick, Sir Alexander, Bart., 75, 86, 280

  Dick, Sir John, Bart., 185, 298

  Dilly, Charles, 59, 62, 127, 137, 155, 171, 174, 185, 317

  Dilly, Edward, 59, 62, 113, 186

  Donaldson, Alexander, 20, 203

  Douglas Case, The, 65, 66

  Douglas, Duke of, 66

  Douglas, Duchess of, 86

  Douglas, Lady Jane, 66

  Douglas, Lady Mary, 325

  Douglas, Mr. Archibald, 66, 92

  Douglas, Sir John, 312

  Dreghorn, Lord, 203

  Drummond, Mrs. Home, 303

  Duff, William, of Braco, 311

  Dumfries, Countess of, 248

  Dumfries, Earl of, 149, 323

  Dun, Lord, 277

  Dun, Rev. John, 6, 151, 162, 177

  Dunbar, Mrs., of Mackermore, 308

  Dundas, Henry, Lord Melville, 98, 141, 149, 152

  Dundas, Lord President, 66, 255, 266, 275

  Dundas, James, of Arniston, 266

  Dundas, Mrs., of Melville, 206

  Dundonald, Earls of, 5, 199

  Dunlop, John, of Dunlop, 283

  Dunlop, Major Andrew, 283

  Dunmore, Earl of, 313

  Dunning, John, 291

  Dunvegan castle, 90

  Edmonstone, Colonel Archibald, 241

  Edward, Prince Charles, 90, 245

  Eglinton, Countess of, 92

  Eglinton, Earl of, 14, 15, 97, 142, 149, 207, 218, 232, 308

  Eldon, Lord Chancellor, 195

  Elibank, Lady, 312

  Elibank, Lord, 93, 271

  Eliott, Sir William Francis, Bart., 194

  Elliot, Sir Gilbert, 257

  Elizabeth, Princess, of Brunswick, 237

  Errol, Countess of, 88

  Erskine, Captain, 97

  Erskine, Charles, of Tinwald, 246

  Erskine, Colonel John, 5, 199

  Erskine, David, Lord Dun, 277

  Erskine, Euphemia, 5

  Erskine, Hon. Captain Andrew, 19, 20, 22, 23, 24, 235, 252, 255, 315

  Erskine, Hon. Captain Archibald, 282

  Erskine, Hon. Charles, 199

  Erskine, Hon. Henry, 205, 206, 207, 294, 325

  Erskine, Hon. Sir Charles, Bart., 5, 199

  Erskine, Lady Anne, 282, 308

  Erskine, Lt.-General Sir Henry, 199

  Erskine, Mary, 199

  Erskine, Rev. Dr. John, 266

  Fairlie, Alexander, of Fairlie, 185

  Falconer, George, 79

  Falconer, Mr., 123

  Ferdinand, Prince, 263

  Ferguson, George, Lord Hermand, 286

  Fergusson, Professor Adam, 86

  Fergusson, Sir Adam, Bart., 149, 152, 232, 283

  Fergusson, Sir James, Bart., 286

  Fife, Earl of, 311

  Fitzwilliam, Earl, 117

  Fletcher, Andrew, of Saltoun, 236

  Flood, Mr., 79, 164

  Foley, Lord, 298

  Folly, Colonel, 306

  Foote, Samuel, 215, 254

  Forbes, Duncan, of Culloden, 255

  Forbes, Sir William, Bart., 86, 183, 185, 186, 191

  Fordyce, Dr. George, 217, 234

  Fordyce, Rev. Dr. James, 217

  Forglen, Lord, 256, 264

  Forrester, Colonel, 314

  Fort Augustus, 88

  Fort George, 88

  Fox, Rt. Hon. Charles, 122, 132, 171

  Frank, Betty, 260

  Frank, George, advocate, 260

  Franklin, Dr. Benjamin, 61, 298

  Fraser, Sir Alexander, 313

  Frazer, Sir Peter, of Dores, 313

  Fullerton, “the Nabob,” 73, 74

  Gainslaw, 83

  Gaio, M., 234

  Galloway, Lord, 304, 310, 311

  Garlies, Lady, 304, 310

  Garrick, David, 26, 62, 81, 85, 95

  Gentleman, Francis, 12

  Gibbon, Edward, 31, 111, 112, 301, 319

  Giffardier, M., 219, 222, 223

  Gilchrist, Mr. John, 6

  Gilmour, Sir Alexander, 73, 74

  Glanville, William Evelyn, 317

  Glasgow, 92

  Glen, Sir John, 2

  Glencairn, Earl of, 149

  Glenelg, 89

  Goldie, John, 193

  Goldie, G., 303, 314

  Goldsmith, Dr., 85, 136

  Gordon, Alexander, of Kinghorn, 2

  Gordon, Cosmo, 294

  Gordon, Duchess of, 72, 286

  Gordon, Duke of, 275

  Gordon, Hon. Alexander, 253, 254

  Gordon, Lord George, 206

  Gordon, Mr., of Dumfries, 20

  Gordon, Sir William Gordon, Bart., of Park, 245

  Gotha, La Grande Maîtresse de, 232

  Grantham, 94, 98

  Grant, General Sir Alexander, 280

  Grant, Sir Francis, Bart., 265

  Gray, the poet, 8, 63, 147

  Green, Anne Catherine, 6

  Green, General Sir Charles, Bart., 6

  Green, Mr., 182

  Gregory, Dr., 58, 86

  Gronovius, Abrahamus, 37

  Grumet, Laird of, 262

  Guy, the bookseller, 50

  Gwynne, Nell, 196

  Haddington, Earl of, 254, 255, 308

  Hadfield, Miss, 299

  Hailes, Lord, 5, 10, 11, 12, 17, 24, 29, 30, 35, 37, 39, 40, 58, 59,
        61, 62, 86, 93, 102, 106, 111

  Hall Stevenson, John, 210

  Hamilton, Anne, 4

  Hamilton, David, of Monckland, 296

  Hamilton, Duke of, 66, 92, 312

  Hamilton, James, of Bangour, 270, 271

  Hamilton, James, of Dalziel, 4

  Hamilton, John, of Sundrum, 285

  Hamilton, Lady Janet, 3

  Hanger, Colonel, George, 302

  Hardwicke, Lord Chancellor, 235

  Harley, Robert, Earl of Orford, 297

  Hastie, a schoolmaster, 85

  Hastings, Warren, 158, 165

  Hawkesworth, Dr., 91

  Hawkins, Mr., M. P., 165

  Hawkins, Sir John, 155, 156

  Hay, Charles, Lord Newton, 275, 279

  Hay, David, of Naughton, 2

  Heaton, Mr., 110

  Hebrides, Tour to the, 85-94, 105, 151

  Henderland, Lord, 275

  Henderson, Matthew, 253

  Heron, Mrs., of Heron, 302, 303

  Heron, Patrick, M. P., 303, 308

  Herries, Charles, 5

  Hertford, Marquess of, 153

  Hervey, Captain Augustus, 230

  Hird, John, 186

  Hood, Miss de, 262

  Home, Rev. John, 17, 20, 32, 100, 252, 308

  Honywood, General Philip, 243

  Hope, James, Lord, 215

  Hope, John, Lord, 249

  Hope, Sir Thomas, Bart., 303

  Horne, Dr., 109

  Houston, Lady, 59

  Howard, General Sir George, 316

  Howe, Admiral, Earl, 239

  Howe, General Sir William, 239

  Hume, David, 8, 17, 31, 33, 50, 86, 210, 221, 255, 262, 263, 268, 283,

  Hunter, Rev. Thomas, 220

  Hutton, Charles, 300

  Hutton, James, M. D., 300

  Hyndford, Lord, 313

  Inchkenneth, 91

  Inverary, 92

  Inverness, 88

  Iona, 91

  Irving, Colonel John, 310

  James, Dr. Robert, 323

  Jockey Club, 14

  Johnson, Samuel, LL.D., 1, 8, 10, 11, 16, 24, 32, 49-53, 59-63, 82,
        84-98, 103-6, 109-129, 131-136, 139, 141, 145-7, 155-160, 196,
        207, 209-217, 273, 287, 289, 291, 324

  Johnston, John, of Grange, 54, 56, 185, 188, 204

  Johnston, Maggy, 265

  Johnstone, Sir James, Bart., of Westerhall, 327

  Jortin, Rev. Dr., 13

  Kames, Lord, 102, 278, 303, 307, 308

  Keith, Miss Jenny, 327

  Keith, Mr., Collector, 88

  Keith, Robert, 327

  Keith, Mrs. Murray, 327

  Kellie, Earl of, 19, 254, 271, 275-310

  Kenmure, Lord, 307

  Kennedy, David, advocate, 284

  Ker, Lord Mark, 309, 311, 313

  Kettle, Mrs. Betty, 282

  Kilda, St., 88

  Kincardine, Alexander, second Earl of, 1, 316, 325

  Kincardine, Countess of, 85, 184

  Kinghorn, 87

  Kinloch, Elizabeth, 264

  Knight, Joseph, a negro, 115, 279

  Kirby, Mr., Governor of Newgate, 182

  Langton, Bennet, 95, 118, 119, 158, 274, 278, 298, 318, 324, 328

  Leinster, Duke of, 79

  Leland, Dr., 79

  Leslie, General Alexander, 326

  Leslie, Hon. Alexander, 266

  Lestsch, M., 227

  Leven, Earl of, 266

  Lichfield, 109, 110, 122

  Lindsay, Rev. John, 178

  Lochore, Mariota, 2

  Lochore, Philip de, 2

  Lockhart, Alexander, advocate, 279

  Lockhart, George, of Carnwath, 252

  Lonsdale Club, 143

  Lonsdale, Lord, 133, 143, 145, 149, 151, 152-4, 158-161, 195

  Love, Mr., the player, 10, 31

  Love, Rev. William, 251

  Loudoun, Earl of, 243, 244

  Lowther, Sir John, 133

  Lumsden, Andrew, 240, 319

  Lutterel, Colonel, 327

  Lyttleton, George, Lord, 215

  Maasdain, Mademoiselle de, 235

  Macaulay, Lord, 88, 189

  Macaulay, Rev. Aulay, 88

  Macbride, Dr., 79

  Macbryde, Captain John, 142, 185

  Macdonald, Flora, 90

  Macdonald, Mr., of Kingsburgh, 89

  Macdonald, Sir Alexander, 89, 139-140

  Macdonald, Sir James, Bart., 216

  Macfarlane, William, 192

  Macfarlane, Lady Elizabeth, 315

  Macfarlane, Walter, of that Ilk, 315

  Mackermore, Lady, 308

  Mackinnon, Mr., 89

  Maclaine, Rev. Dr., 235

  Maclaurin, John, Lord Dreghorn, 203, 276, 284

  Maclaurin, Professor Colin, 203

  Maclean, Donald, 91

  Maclean, Sir Allan, 91

  Macleod, Lady, 90

  Macleod, of Macleod, 85, 90

  Macpherson, James, 20, 207

  Mallet, David, 23

  Malone, Edmund, 136, 148, 150, 156-158, 163-172, 181-182, 185, 192

  Malte, Chevalier de, 263

  Mansfield, Earl of, 18, 250, 268, 270

  Marchmont, Earl of, 212, 268

  Marischal, Earl, 47, 231, 236

  Marlborough, Duke of, 178, 296

  Mary Anne, an Irish beauty, 77-79

  Mason, Rev. Mr., 147

  Maxwell, Alexander, 296

  Maxwell, Lady, of Monreith, 322

  Maxwell, Miss Eglinton, 286

  Maxwell, Miss Jane, 311

  Maxwell, Sir Robert, 307

  Maxwell, Sir William, Bart., of Monreith, 213

  Maxwell, Sir William, Bart., of Springkell, 311, 312

  M’Claren, Rev. John, 259, 260

  McKie, John, of Bargaly, 307

  McKye, J. R., 322

  McMurdo, Mr., 253

  McQuane, Mr., 91

  McQueen, Rev. Donald, 90

  Meadows, Captain, 62

  Melville, General Robert, 285

  Melville, Sir Robert, 2

  Meredith, Sir William, 269

  Millar, Andrew, bookseller, 59

  Miller, Miss, 167

  Minto, Earl of, 241, 257

  Mitchell, Sir Andrew, 43-47, 228

  Moira, Earl of, 195

  Monboddo, Lord, 87, 142, 285, 327

  Monckton, Hon. Mary, 126

  Moncrieff, David Stuart, of Moredun, 281

  Monro, Sir Robert, Bart., 322

  Montgomerie, Colonel, M.P., 133-5, 153

  Montgomerie, David, of Lainshaw, 4, 79

  Montgomerie, Hugh, of Skermorly, 309

  Montgomerie, Lady Frances, 208

  Montgomerie, Miss Margaret, 79, 82

  Montgomery, Lady Mary, 97

  Montrose, 87

  Montrose, Duke of, 126

  Monypenny, David, of Pitmilly, 266

  Moray, Earl of, 261

  Mounsey, Mr. George, 195

  Mountstuart, Lord, 48, 97, 100, 122

  Mundell, Mr. James, 6

  Murdoch, A. of Monkton, 272

  Murdoch, David, 129

  Murdoch, James, 183

  Murdoch, William, 186

  Murray, Alexander, Lord Henderland, 275

  Murray, Colonel, 313

  Murray, Fanny, 18, 269

  Murray, Lady Catherine, 306

  Murray, Mr., of Broughton, 305

  Murray, Patrick, advocate, 294

  Murray, Patrick, Lord Elibank, 271

  Murray, Sir Robert, of Hillhead, 254

  Mull, 91

  Nassau, Count, 37

  Nairne, William, Lord Dreghorn, 234, 296

  Nairne, Sir William, Bart., 236, 249, 280

  Needham, John Turberville, 234

  Neitschutz, Mr. de, 227

  Newhall, Lord, 246

  Nisbet, William, of Dirleton, 254, 280

  Nichols, John, 203, 205

  Nicholls, Rev. N., 82

  Nivernais, Duke de, 209

  Normaville, John, 186

  Ogden, Dr., 90

  Ogilvie, Dr. John, 208

  Ogilvie, Lord, 220

  Oglethorpe, General, 62, 85

  Orde, Lord Chief Baron, 86, 252

  Orkney, Earl of, 3

  Ormonde, Duke of, 274

  Oughton, Sir Adolphus, 86

  Oxford, Earl of, 297

  Palliser, Sir Hugh, 289

  Palmer, Rev. Mr., 94

  Paoli, General, 48, 49, 51, 52, 58

  Paradise, John, 321

  Parnell, Thomas, D.D., 297

  Parr, Dr., 164

  Peden, James, 185

  Pembroke, Earl of, 62, 95, 290

  Perreau, the brothers, 110

  Pettigrew, Rev. John, 251

  Pigot, Sir George, Bart., 288

  Pindar, Peter, 138, 140, 146

  Piozzi, Mrs., 85, 105, 129, 139, 155

  Pitcairn, Robert, 3, 59, 62, 63, 79, 80, 99, 111, 112, 180, 291, 293,
        318, 321, 328

  Pitt, Rt. Hon. William, 132, 149, 153, 231

  Poniatowski, King of Poland, 232

  Pope, Alexander, 118, 305

  Porter, Mrs. Lucy, 110

  Prade, Abbé de, 227

  Preston, Charles, 228

  Preston, Sir George, Bart., 199, 321

  Preston, Lady, 199, 321

  Preston, Miss, 228

  Price, Richard, D.D., 301

  Pringle, Sir John, Bart., 61, 319

  Pringle, Sir Walter, 246

  Prussia, King of, 215, 223, 227, 263

  Prussia, Prince of, 238

  Queensberry, Duke of, 23

  Quin, James, the player, 217

  Rae, Sir David, Bart., 284

  Ramsay, Allan, the painter, 255

  Ramsay, Rev. James, 240

  Rasay, Isle of, 89

  Regent, The Prince, 195

  Rennie, David, of Melville, 206

  Reynolds, Sir Joshua, 85, 97, 118, 119, 150, 163, 169, 172, 287, 292,

  Richardson, Rev. Mr., 235

  Richmond, Mr., of Bardarrock, 262

  Rickslepen, Mesdemoiselles, 232

  Riddell, Robert, of Glenriddell, 312

  Ridley, Lady, 298

  Ridley, Sir Matthew White, Bart., M. P., 298

  Rivarola, Count, 48

  Robert the Bruce, 2

  Robertson, Baldwin, advocate, 217

  Robertson, Barbara, of Orbiston, 267

  Robertson, Dr. William, 17, 32, 85, 86, 93, 100, 210, 250, 271

  Robinson, Mr., bookseller, 170

  Rockville, Lord, 254

  Roger, Rev. James, 33

  Rogers, Sir William, 3

  Rolland, Rev. James, 323

  Rose, Mr., at Utrecht, 217

  Ross, David, tragedian, 17, 18, 59, 269

  Rosslyn, Earl of, 199

  Rousseau, 48, 49, 50, 51, 58, 64, 68, 234

  Rowlandson, Thomas, 137

  Rudd, Margaret Caroline, 110

  Rumbold, Sir Thomas, Bart., 320

  Sackville, Lord George, 263

  Samson, William, 185

  Sanderson, the Quaker, 310

  Scott, Colonel, 236

  Scott, General, of Balcomie, 279, 280

  Scott, Sir Walter, 92

  Scott, Sir William, 86, 163, 167, 171

  Selwyn, George, M. P., 314

  Seward, William, F.R.S., 288

  Seymour, Algernon, 297

  Seymour, Lady Elizabeth, 297

  Shakespeare, 80, 81

  Sharp, Archbishop, 245

  Shelburne, Earl of, 301

  Sheldon, Captain, 81

  Sheldon, Mrs., 81

  Sheridan Thomas, 24, 64, 211, 213, 215, 221

  Sheridan, Richard Brinsley, 211

  Short, James, optician, 324

  Shuter, Edward, comedian, 316

  Sibthorpe, Mr., 78

  Sidmouth, Lord, 195

  Silverton, Miss, 99

  Sinclair, Lady Margaret, 3

  Sinclair, Pate, 3

  Sinclair of Briggend, 251

  Shebbeare, Dr., 282

  Skye, Isle of, 90

  Smith, Dean, 123

  Smith, Dr. Adam, 11, 111, 112

  Smollett, Dr. Tobias, 92

  Smollett, Mr. Commissary, 92

  Soaping Club, The, 21

  Solander, Dr., 270, 273

  Somerville, John, Thirteenth Lord, 16

  Somerville, Mrs. Mary, 4

  Somnelsdyck, 85

  Spencer, Edmund, of Rendlesham, 245

  Spencer, Lady Diana, 296

  Spottiswoode of Spottiswoode, 290

  St. Andrews, 87

  Stair, Earl of, 243, 256

  Steevens, Mr., 169

  Stevenson, John, 123

  Stevenson, John Hall, 210

  Stewart, Houstoun, 302

  Stewart, Miss, of Blackhall, 218

  Stewart, Sir John, Bart., 66

  Stewart, Sir Michael, Bart., 218, 302

  Stobie, Mr., 322

  Stormont, Lord, 312

  Stratford-on-Avon, 80

  Stuart, Andrew, M.P., 236, 279, 288

  Stuart, Captain Keith, 241

  Stuart, Hon. Col. James A., 97, 122, 123, 143, 185

  Stuart, Hon. Mrs., 97, 99, 298

  Stuart, James, of Dunearn, 193

  Suard, Jean Baptiste Antoine, 298, 299

  Sunderland, Lord, 248

  Swinton, Lord, 284

  Sydenham, Thomas, 118

  Syme, Mrs., 211

  Tait, Archbishop, 275

  Tait, Rev. Mr., 88

  Talbot de Malahide, Lord, 195

  Talbot, Hon. Richard Talbot, 195

  Taylor, Dr., oculist, 248

  Taylor, Dr., of Ashbourne, 115

  Taylor, Michael Angelo, 165

  Temple, Captain Robert, 36, 47, 209

  Temple, Mr., jun., 180

  Temple, Mrs., 8, 82, 99

  Temple, Rev. William Johnson, 7, 8, 9, 14, 16, 29, 30, 35-38, 40,
        51-57, 65, 67-78, 82-84, 96-106, 111, 120-126, 144-161, 163-167,
        172, 176-183, 185, 190

  Templeton, John, 185

  Theodore, King, 64

  Thomson, George, 24

  Thrale, Mr., 82, 112, 321

  Thrale, Mrs., 85, 105, 129, 139, 155

  Thurlow, Lord Chancellor, 135

  Tinwald, Lord, 199, 246

  Tobermory, 91

  Tronchin, Theodore, 221, 222

  Trotz, C. H., 35, 42, 214

  Trumbull, Watte, 3

  Tucker, Miss Charlotte Maria, 198

  Twamley, Mr., 132

  Ulva, Isle of, 91

  Utrecht, 35, 37, 42, 43, 214

  Vansittart, Councillor, 270

  Vassall, Major-General, 194

  Vasseur, Therese La, 50

  Vaux, Marshal De, 80

  Voltaire, 48, 51, 68, 214, 219, 227, 230, 235

  Wake, Captain, 230

  Walker’s Tavern, 326

  Wallace, George, advocate, 278

  Wallace, Isabel, 3

  Wallace, Lady, 286

  Wallace, Rev. Robert, D.D., 278

  Wallace, Sir John, of Cairnhill, 4

  Wallace, Sir Thomas, 253

  Walmesley, Gilbert, 323

  Walpole, Horace, 52, 63

  Walpole, Sir Robert, 211

  Walshe, Lt.-Colonel, 79

  Warburton, Bishop, 268

  Ware, Charles Edward, 197

  Ware, Edith Caroline, 197

  Ware, Mr. Cumberlye, 197

  Warton, Joseph, 170

  Warton, Thomas, 109

  Warwick, Earl of, 304

  Waters, Mr., banker in Paris, 50

  Webster, Captain, 211

  Webster, Dr. Alexander, 5, 86, 199, 211, 248, 249, 276, 277, 278, 325

  Webster, Mrs. Alexander, 199, 320

  Wedderburn, Alexander, 199

  Wellesley, Marquis of, 118

  Wemyss, Sir John, Bart., 320

  Wesley, Rev. John, 121

  Westhall, Lord, 325

  Wetherell, Dr., 109

  Wharton, Marquess of, 274

  White, Thomas, 221

  Whitefoord, Allan, 311

  Whitefoord, Caleb, 224

  Whitefoord, John, 149, 152

  Wilberforce, William, M.P., 176

  Wilkes, John, 27, 51, 112, 113, 141, 165, 274, 291, 299, 301, 322

  William the Conqueror, 1

  William the Lion, 2

  Williams, Miss, 26

  Williams, Mrs., of Crawley Grange, 197

  Windham, Mr., 163

  Wolcott, Dr. John, 138, 175

  Wright, Mr., 271

  York, Duke of, 14, 15

  Yorke, Sir Joseph, 79, 237

  Young, Dr., physician, 206, 233

  Zelide, 75, 77

  Zoilen, Mademoiselle, 220

  Zuyl, Mademoiselle de, 225, 235



[1] I happened however to be present on an occasion when a quotation
from Dr. Johnson served as a special illustration of the infallible
memory and rapid intuition of a man of letters in whose distinction
Scotland has a considerable share. It was in the house of a lady of
literary and social importance in her day, who was fond of displaying
her disregard of religious decencies. At one end of the table the
party were talking of a remarkable fall of some fronts of houses in
Tottenham-court-road, leaving the rooms open to the street in all their
usual conditions. At the other the hostess was tracing resemblances
between Mormonism and Christianity, with peculiar application to their
founders. Mr. Macaulay, seated in the middle, leant over to Dean Milman
opposite, and said in a low tone, “You remember Johnson’s London,—

   ‘Here falling houses thunder on your head,
    And here a female Atheist talks you dead.’”

[2] This opinion receives an accidental confirmation of its events
by the publication of the Life of Sir Gilbert Eliot—a work highly
honourable to a Scottish house by the dignity of its records and the
talent of their reproduction. This cannot be better expressed than in
the words of Lady Minto, writing from Edinburgh, February 21, 1802:—

“This country has arrived at the true pitch of comfort and happiness.
The people are full of information, are natural, unassuming, and
social, but with a great mixture of occupation. People meet together
to be pleased, cheerful, and easy; even the Scotch pride has its uses
by putting the poor often on an equal footing with the rich. A Douglas
or a Scott would consider himself on a par with persons of the highest
title and rank; their education is equally good, their society the
same, their spirit and love of their country possibly much greater.
Almost every family can boast of heroes in some generation, which
excites emulation; and nothing is so uncommon as to see idle men and
listless manners. All is energy, and every one has some object in view
to exercise his faculties and talents. I must say, at the present time
I think the race very superior to the English, who are too far gone
in luxury and dissipation to be agreeable or happy. _Morals_ here
are certainly very good, and yet the manners are much more free, and
one scarcely ever meets with affectation and airs. People meet like
friends, and not with a cold bow and a distant curtsey.”

[3] In reference to Thomas Boswell the following entries appear in
the Treasurer’s books:—May 15th, 1504. “Item, to Thomas Boswell he
laid downe in Leith to the wife of the kingis innis and to the boye
ran the kingis hors 18s.” Aug. 2, 1504. “Item, for twa hidis to be
jakkis to Thomas Boswell and Watte Trumbull, agane the Raid of Eskdale
[an expedition against the Border thieves], 56s.” January 1, 1504-5.
“Item, to Thomas Boswell and Pate Sinclair to by thaim daunsing geir,
28s.” December 31, 1505. “Item, to 30 dosane of bellis for dansarris,
delyverit to Thomas Boswell, £4 10s.” In his “Collection of Criminal
Trials,” Mr. Pitcairn, who quotes these entries, supposes that Thomas
Boswell held the position of royal minstrel. In this office he was
probably the successor of Sir William Rogers, chief musician to James
III. Rogers, like Boswell, obtained from his sovereign a grant of lands
in guerdon of service. He suffered a violent death in 1482. (“Traquair
Papers,” quoted in Chambers’ “History of Peeblesshire,” Edinb., 1861,
8vo., pp. 81-86.)

[4] Lord Balmuto was a large coarse-looking man, with black hair and
beetling eyebrows. Though not vulgar he was passionate, and had a
boisterous manner. My mother and her sisters gave him the nickname of
the “black bull of Norr’away,” in allusion to the northern position of
Balmuto.—“Personal Recollections of Mary Somerville,” Lond., 8vo.,
1873, p. 55.

[5] In a MS. commonplace-book of Lord Hailes, preserved at New
Hailes, near Edinburgh, occurs the following entry in his lordship’s
handwriting:—“1754, Feb. 14. My friend Mr. Alex. Boswell, of
Auchinleck, admitted a Lord of Session. He has told me that it was by
the interest of the Duke of Newcastle. For once at least his Grace
judged right.” The Duke of Newcastle was Prime Minister.

[6] This lady’s eldest sister was wife of the celebrated Dr. Alexander
Webster, of Edinburgh (see _postea_).

[7] Dr. Stevens’ “History of the High School of Edinburgh,” pp. 100,

[8] In Lord Hailes’ Commonplace-book, preserved at New Hailes, is the
following entry:—“1755, April 1.—I began my office of Advocate Depute
at Stirling—a ridiculous day of the year. At that time I was very
ignorant of criminal law, but good intentions have, I hope, atoned for
my defects.”

[9] Letter of Dr. Jortin, preserved at New Hailes.

[10] Letter to Mr. Temple, dated 1st May, 1761.

[11] “Letter to the People of Scotland,” Lond., 8vo., 1785.

[12] This person is entitled to more than a passing notice. Long before
the modern publication of cheap literature by W. and R. Chambers and
Charles Knight, Alexander Donaldson opened a shop in London for the
sale of what were termed “spurious editions” of popular books. The
London booksellers endeavoured to check his enterprise, but were
defeated in the courts of law. Latterly he was unfortunate. His nephew,
James Donaldson, also a printer at Edinburgh, founded and endowed
the hospital in that city which bears his name. For that purpose he
bequeathed the sum of £200,000.

[13] Boswell has appended this note. “Who has not heard of ‘_Every man
soap his own beard_’—the reigning phrase for ‘Every man in his humor’?
Upon this foundation B—— instituted a jovial society, called the

[14] An Edinburgh tavern.

[15] The name of this Soaper has not been discovered.

[16] Throughout his whole career Boswell entertained the idea that his
mind was imperfectly balanced.

[17] Letters between the Honourable Andrew Erskine and James Boswell,
Esq. London, 1763, 8vo.

[18] “Archibald Constable and his Correspondents.” Edinburgh, 1873,
8vo, vol. I., p. 32.

[19] Mrs. Davies was originally an actress, and was celebrated as a

[20] Boswell’s letter at New Hailes.

[21] Boswell’s “Life of Johnson.”

[22] Original letter at New Hailes.

[23] Original letter preserved at New Hailes.

[24] “Autobiography of the Rev. Dr. Alexander Carlyle.” Edinburgh,
1860, 8vo., p. 322.

[25] Of this society, styled the Lunan and Viney Water Farming Club,
the Rev. James Roger, of Dunino, father of the writer, was on Mr.
Dempster’s nomination elected perpetual secretary. The minute-book is
in the writer’s possession.

[26] In 1765 Mr. Dempster obtained the patent office of Secretary to
the Order of the Thistle, with a salary of £500 per annum.

[27] Cards.

[28] Letter of Boswell preserved at New Hailes.

[29] “Institutes of the Law of Scotland,” by John Erskine, of Carnock.
A standard book of reference in the law courts of Scotland.

[30] This account of the quotation from Johnson’s poem of “London” is
contained in a letter addressed by Boswell to Sir David Dalrymple. In
the “Life of Johnson” Boswell states that the quotation was made by

[31] “I could give you pages of strong sense and humour which I have
heard from that great man, and which are treasured up in my journal.
And here I must inform you that he desired me to keep just the journal
that I do; and when I told him that it was already my practice, he said
he was glad I was upon so good a plan.”—_MS. letter from Boswell of
13th July, 1763, preserved at New Hailes._

[32] Dutch for “our envoy.”

[33] The meaning here is defective.

[34] “Memoirs and Papers of Sir Andrew Mitchell, K.B., Envoy
Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary from the Court of Great
Britain to the Court of Prussia, from 1756 to 1771,” edited by Andrew
Bisset, Esq., vol. ii., p. 381.

[35] Boswell’s “Account of and Tour to Corsica,” London, 1769, 8vo., p.

[36] Boswell’s “Corsica,” 3rd edition, p. 349.

[37] “Life of Johnson.”

[38] “Private Correspondence of David Hume.” Lond. 1820, 4to., p. 131.

[39] “Chatham Correspondence,” vol. ii., p. 388.

[40] Richard Owen Cambridge, author of “The Scribleraid” and other
works. A gentleman of opulence, he entertained in his villa at
Twickenham the literary celebrities of his time. He died in 1802, aged

[41] In his letters to Mr. Temple of 9th September, 1767, and 14th May,
1768, Boswell evinces a particular desire to possess Mr. Gray’s opinion
of his work, and to obtain his personal acquaintance. It is hoped that
he remained uninformed of the poet’s sentiments concerning him.

[42] “The Works of Thomas Gray. Edited by the Rev. John Mitford.”
London: 1816, 2 vols., 4to, vol. ii., p. 498.

[43] Boswell’s servant.

[44] Sir Alexander Gilmour, Bart., of Craigmiller, M.P., Boswell’s
supposed rival in the affections of Miss Blair, died _unmarried_ in
France, on the 27th December, 1792.

[45] Miss Dick was eldest of the three daughters of Sir Alexander Dick,
Bart., of Prestonfield. Mr. Temple met her during his visit to Scotland
on the Adamtown expedition.

[46] Letter to Mr. Temple, written from Auchinleck, 24th August, 1768.

[47] Letter from Boswell to Mr. Temple, dated Edinburgh, 9th December,

[48] “The Carron Company has furnished me them very cheap; there are
two 32-pounders, four 24’s, four 18’s, and twenty 9-pounders, with
one hundred and fifty ball to each. It is really a tolerable train of
artillery.” (Letter from Boswell to Mr. Temple, dated 24th August,

[49] See Correspondence between the Rev. N. Nicholls and the poet Gray,

[50] Boswell’s “Tour to the Hebrides.”

[51] John, fifth Duke of Argyll, married Elizabeth, relict of James,
sixth Duke of Hamilton, and daughter of John Gunning, Esq., of Castle
Coote, co. Roscommon. The Duchess was a celebrated beauty.

[52] Life of Johnson.

[53] John, Lord Mountstuart, eldest son of John, third Earl of Bute,
and afterwards first Marquess of Bute. He was born 30th June, 1744, and
died 16th November, 1814.

[54] This lady was Margaret, daughter of Sir David Cunninghame, of
Milnecraig, and his wife, Lady Mary Montgomery, daughter of Alexander,
ninth Earl of Eglinton. She married, in 1767, the Hon. James Archibald
Stuart, second son of John, third Earl of Bute. This gentleman was one
of Boswell’s most attached friends.

[55] Afterwards Viscount Melville.

[56] A forcible rendering of what he meant by styling Dr. Johnson “Ursa

[57] Letter dated 6th June, 1775.

[58] Boswell’s “Life of Johnson,” London, 1818, 10 vols., 12mo., vol.
vi., p. 34.

[59] From the Register of Tailzies, preserved in the General Register
House, Edinburgh, vol. xix., folio 233.

[60] The Rev. Thomas Barnard, D.D., Dean of Derry, was elected a member
of the Literary Club in December, 1755. Son of William Barnard, D.D.,
successively Bishop of Raphoe and Derry, he was educated at Westminster
School. Obtaining orders, he was appointed Dean of Derry in 1769. He
was consecrated Bishop of Killaloe in 1780, and translated to the see
of Limerick in 1794. He died at Wimbledon, Surrey, on the 7th June,
1806. He was a cherished friend of Dr. Goldsmith, and an associate of
Johnson, Burke, and Sir Joshua Reynolds.

[61] “Life of Johnson.”

[62] The negro gained his plea.

[63] Correspondence of the Right Hon. Edmund Burke, edited by Charles
Earl Fitzwilliam. Lond., 4 vols., 1844, vol. ii, p. 207.

[64] “Life of Johnson.”

[65] Mr. Croker relates the anecdote on the authority of the Marquess
of Wellesley, who received it from Mr. Thomas Sydenham. That gentleman
got the story from Mr. Knight, to whom it was communicated by Sir
Joshua Reynolds.

[66] “Life of Johnson.”

[67] Throughout these papers Boswell adopts his peculiar system of
orthography, presenting _judgement_ for judgment, _authour_ for author,
_empannael_ for empannel.

[68] The Honourable Mary Monckton was youngest daughter of John, first
Viscount Galway. She married, on the 17th January, 1786, Edmund,
seventh Earl of Cork; she died in 1840.

[69] “Life of Johnson.”

[70] This gentleman was, we believe, father of Mr. John Murdoch, the
first and most efficient instructor of the poet Burns.

[71] A Mr. Twamley invented a kind of box-iron for smoothing linen.

[72] Lord Lowther was son-in-law of the Earl of Bute, and
brother-in-law of Boswell’s friend, Colonel Stuart. Boswell’s relations
with this influential nobleman will form a prominent feature in the
subsequent narrative.

[73] Life of Edmund Malone, by James Boswell, jun., contributed to the
_Gentleman’s Magazine_, and reprinted for private circulation.

[74] Mr. Malone published in 1778 his “Attempt to ascertain the order
in which Shakespeare’s Plays were written.”

[75] A Poetical Review of the Literary and Moral Character of the late
Samuel Johnson, LL.D., with Notes by John Courtenay, Esq. Lond.: C.
Dilly, 1786.

[76] The celebrated Flora Macdonald.

[77] The pseudonym of Dr. John Wolcott, the eminent satirist.

[78] From the Hebrides Dr. Johnson wrote to Mrs. Thrale in these
terms:—“We had a passage of about twelve miles to the point where
Sir Alexander Macdonald resided, having come from his seat, in the
middle of the island, to a small house on the shore, as we believe,
that he might with less reproach entertain us meanly. If he aspired to
meanness, his retrograde ambition was completely gratified; but he did
not succeed equally in escaping reproach. He had no cook, nor I suppose
much provision; nor had the lady the common decencies of her tea-table;
we picked up our sugar with our fingers. Boswell was very angry, and
reproached him with his improper parsimony.... I have done thinking of
Sir Alexander Macdonald, whom we now call Sir Sawney; he has disgusted
all mankind by injudicious parsimony, and given occasion to so many
stories, that Boswell has some thoughts of collecting them, and making
a novel of his life.” (Letters to Mrs. Thrale, vol. i., p. 137.)

[79] Lady Macdonald, _née_ Elizabeth Diana Bosville, was a member
of the eldest branch of the Boswell family, and was one of those
gentlewomen to whom early in life Boswell thought of offering his hand
(see page 67). Daughter of Godfrey Bosville, Esq., of Gunthwaite,
Yorkshire, she married Sir Alexander Macdonald in 1768.

[80] Sir Alexander Macdonald, Bart., was raised to the peerage, as
Baron Macdonald of Slate, on the 17th July, 1776.

[81] See _postea_.

[82] In the Library of the British Museum is contained a copy of the
pamphlet which belonged to Mr. Wilkes. In Boswell’s handwriting it is
thus inscribed:—

      “Comes jucundus in via pro vehiculo est.
   “To John Wilkes, Esq., as pleasant a companion as ever lived.
               “From the Author.
         “...Will my Wilkes retreat,
          And see, once seen before, that ancient seat,” &c.

[83] This satirical allusion to Lord Monboddo is conceived in the very
worst taste. His lordship had shown marked attention to Boswell in his
youth, and had entertained him and Dr. Johnson at Monboddo, during
the progress of their tour. Latterly his lordship and Dr. Johnson had
differed, and probably on this account Boswell considered himself
entitled to make this offensive allusion to his philosophical opinions.

[84] Boswell’s motion in Court, _quare adhæsit pavimento_, is preserved
as a jest in the courts of Westminster.

[85] Letter from Boswell to Mr. Temple.

[86] Letter to Mr. Temple of 22nd May.

[87] Letter to Mr. Temple.

[88] Henry Seymour Conway, a General in the army, was brother of the
first Marquess of Hertford. He was under the Rockingham administration
Secretary of State for Ireland, and leader of the House of Commons. He
died in 1795.

[89] Pitt was brought into Parliament for the close borough of Appleby
by Sir James Lowther, afterwards Lord Lonsdale.

[90] Letter to Mr. Temple.

[91] Mrs. Piozzi’s Anecdotes of Dr. Johnson. London: 1785.

[92] Boswell called on Sir John Hawkins, and complained of being
slighted in his book. “I know what you mean,” said Sir John; “you
would have had me to say that Johnson undertook this tour with _the_
Boswell.” _Miss Hawkins’ Johnsoniana._

[93] Malone’s Edition of Shakspere, in ten volumes, was published in

[94] Lord Chancellor Thurlow.

[95] Boswell’s Life of Johnson, edited by the Right Hon. John Wilson
Croker and others, London, 1848, 12mo., vol. x., pp. 209-220.

[96] “Sermons, in two volumes, by John Dun, V.D.M. Kilmarnock, 1790,”

[97] John Courtenay, Esq., was born in Ireland in 1741, and died in
1816. He composed the “Poetical Review of Dr. Johnson” and other works.
He was, when Boswell knew him, Surveyor of the Ordnance and M.P. for
Tamworth. He was a warm friend and pleasant companion.

[98] See “Life of William Wilberforce,” Lond., 1838. Vol. iii., pp. 63,

[99] From the Commissariat Register of Glasgow, preserved in the
General Register House, Edinburgh, vol. 74, p. 194.

[100] “Life of James Beattie, LL.D.,” by Sir William Forbes, of
Pitsligo, Bart., Edinb. 1807, 3 vols., vol. iii., p. 378.

[101] Statement of Mr. William Macfarlane, of Edinburgh, to Robert
Chambers. “Traditions of Edinburgh,” 1869, 12mo., p. 74.

[102] See the Poetical Works of Sir Alexander Boswell, Bart., with
memoir, by Robert Howie Smith, Glasgow, 1871, 12mo.

[103] Decisions of the Court of Session, 20th March, 1851.

[104] The celebrated Nell Gwynne, who is believed to have transmitted
a benefaction to the starving poet, which did not reach till after his

[105] The only son of Thomas Alexander Boswell, of Crawley Grange, died
in India in his 18th year.

[106] Births Register of Auchinleck.

[107] The Rev. Robert Bruce Boswell published in 1842 a volume of
“Psalms and Hymns, chiefly selected,” dedicated to Daniel, Lord Bishop
of Calcutta.

[108] John Maclaurin, eldest son of Colin Maclaurin, Professor of
Mathematics in the University of Edinburgh, was admitted advocate in
August, 1756. After a period of successful practice at the bar, he was
raised to the bench by the title of Lord Dreghorn in January, 1789. He
died at Edinburgh 24th December, 1796. Maclaurin was one of Boswell’s
early associates; he contributed several poems to the first volume of
Donaldson’s “Collection,” Edinburgh, 1760. Three dramas from his pen,
entitled, “Hampden,” “The Public,” and “The Philosopher’s Opera,” are
of very ordinary merit. His collected works were published in 1798 in
two octavo volumes.

[109] John Nichols, printer, the celebrated author of the “Literary
Anecdotes,” was born in 1744 and died in 1826. A person of ripe and
varied scholarship, he enjoyed the esteem of Dr. Johnson.

[110] John Johnston, of Grange, was one of Boswell’s early and more
confidential associates. Professionally a writer to the signet, he
owned the small estate of Grange, Dumfriesshire, which brought him a
rental of about £100 per annum. In a letter to the Hon. Andrew Erskine,
dated 8th May, 1762, Boswell alludes to Johnston in these terms:—“I
shall be at Dumfries soon, when I hope to see my friend Johnston. We
will talk much of old Scotch history, and the memory of former years
will warm our hearts. Johnston is a very worthy fellow. I may safely
say so, for I have lived in intimacy with him more years than the
Egyptian famine lasted.” In his reply Erskine desires to be kindly
remembered to “honest Johnston.” He inquires whether “his trees are
growing well at his paternal estate of Grange; if he is as fond of
Melvil’s Memoirs [“Memoirs of Sir James Melvil, of Halhill,” London,
1752, 8vo.] as he used to be; and if he continues to stretch himself
in the sun upon the mountains near Edinburgh.” Johnston fell into bad
health. He predeceased Boswell, who became a creditor on his estate. At
Boswell’s death the trustees on Johnston’s estate were indebted to his
representatives in the sum of £195. (See _supra_, p. 188.)

[111] Sir William Augustus Cunynghame, fourth baronet of Milncraig,
Ayrshire, was eldest son of Lieutenant-General Sir David Cunynghame and
his wife, Lady Mary Montgomery, only daughter of Alexander, ninth Earl
of Eglinton. For many years he represented the county of Linlithgow in
the House of Commons; he also held several important offices in the
public service. He died 17th January, 1828.

[112] The Hon. Henry Erskine, a celebrated humorist, was second son
of Henry David, tenth Earl of Buchan, and brother of Lord Chancellor
Erskine: he was born at Edinburgh, in November, 1746. He passed
advocate in 1768, and soon attained professional eminence. He was
appointed Lord Advocate on the accession of the Coalition Ministry in
1783, and three years afterwards was chosen Dean of Faculty. On the
return of the liberal party to power he was reappointed Lord Advocate,
and was at the same time elected M.P. for the Dumfries burghs. After
a period of broken health, he died on the 8th October, 1817. Many of
his sparkling witticisms and humorous sallies are included in popular
collections of _bonmots_.

[113] Mrs. Dundas, of Melville, was daughter of David Rennie, Esq., of
Melville Castle, and first wife of Henry Dundas, subsequently Viscount
Melville. She died about 1790.

[114] On the 2nd June, 1790, Lord George Gordon, M.P., a younger son of
Cosmo George, third Duke of Gordon, led 100,000 persons in procession
to the House of Commons, to present a petition against a measure for
relieving Roman Catholics from certain disabilities and penalties.
The procession was followed by a riot, which continued several days,
and was attended with the destruction of Catholic chapels and private
dwellings. The prisons of London, too, were thrown open by the rabble,
and the mansion of the chief justice thrown down. Lord George Gordon
was tried for high treason, but acquitted. Afterwards convicted of
libelling Queen Marie Antoinette of France, and presenting a petition
reflecting on the laws and administration of criminal justice, he was
committed to Newgate, where he died on the 1st November, 1793. Lord
George Gordon evidently laboured under mental aberration, and ought to
have been placed in a lunatic asylum.

[115] This anecdote is included by Boswell in his “Life of Johnson.”

[116] Alexander, tenth Earl of Eglinton, was a friend of the Auchinleck
family, and one of Boswell’s early patrons. Born in 1726, he succeeded
his father in his third year. A zealous promoter of agriculture, he was
much beloved by his tenantry and neighbours. He was mortally wounded by
a poacher, whom he sought forcibly to deprive of his firelock: he died
on the 25th October, 1769.

[117] Dr. Hugh Blair, the celebrated preacher and rhetorician, was a
central figure in the literary society of Edinburgh. He was collegiate
minister of the High Church, and professor of rhetoric in the
University. The first volume of his “Sermons” was published by Strahan,
on the recommendation of Dr. Johnson. Dr. Blair was an early patron of
Burns, and to his encouragement and active assistance Macpherson was
much indebted in producing his first specimens of Ossianic poetry. Dr.
Blair died at Edinburgh on the 27th December, 1800, aged eighty-two.

[118] James Macpherson, the editor of Ossian, established his residence
in London in 1766, in his twenty-eighth year. In 1780 he was elected
M.P. for Camelford. He died at Belleville, Inverness-shire, on the 17th
February, 1796, aged fifty-eight. Boswell’s allusion to John Bull is
explained by the attacks made on Macpherson by Dr. Johnson and other
English writers, in reference to the authenticity of Ossian’s poems.

[119] Lady Frances Montgomerie was daughter of Alexander, ninth Earl
of Eglinton, and sister of the tenth and eleventh earls. She died

[120] Dr. John Ogilvie, was minister of Midmar, Aberdeenshire. He
composed many volumes of poetry, and several of his lyrics have
obtained celebrity. He died in 1814, at an advanced age.

[121] Captain Robert Temple was younger brother of Boswell’s intimate
friend, the Rev. William Johnson Temple, rector of Mamhead. (See
_supra_, pp. 36, 47.)

[122] John Hall-Stevenson was a relative of Laurence Sterne, and the
“Eugenius” of his “Tristram Shandy.” His “Crazy Tales,” which appeared
anonymously in 1762, are described by Sir Walter Scott as “witty and
indecent.” Bishop Warburton describes Hall-Stevenson as “a monster of
impiety and lewdness.” He died in 1785. He is noticed in Dr. Alexander
Carlyle’s Autobiography.

[123] George Dempster, M.P. (See _supra_, pp. 32-34.)

[124] Dr. William Robertson, the historian, was son of a Scottish
clergyman, and claimed descent from the Robertsons of Struan, an
important family in the Highlands. Born in 1721, he was appointed
minister of Gladsmuir in 1743; he was translated to one of the
city churches of Edinburgh in 1758, and three years afterwards was
appointed Principal of the University. He became historiographer royal
for Scotland, and received other offices attended with honours and
emoluments. His “History of Scotland during the Reigns of Mary and
James VI.” appeared in 1759, and at once attracted attention. His other
historical works sustained his reputation. He died on the 11th June,
1793, aged seventy-one. His sister, Mrs. Syme, was grandmother of
Henry, Lord Brougham.

[125] Thomas Sheridan, father of Richard Brinsley Sheridan, whose
acquaintance Boswell formed at Edinburgh early in life. Mr. Sheridan
was a lecturer on elocution, and author of a pronouncing dictionary. He
was latterly at variance with Dr. Johnson. He died in 1788.

[126] Sir Robert Walpole, latterly Earl of Orford. This eminent
statesman was born in 1676, and died 18th March, 1745.

[127] Captain Webster, only son of the Rev. Dr. Alexander Webster,
minister of the Tolbooth church, Edinburgh, was Boswell’s maternal
cousin. Captain Webster attained the rank of colonel; he fell in the
American war.

[128] Hugh Home, third Earl of Marchmont, was celebrated for his
elegant learning and remarkable powers of debate. He enjoyed the esteem
of Chatham and Walpole. Lord Cobham placed his bust in the temple
of worthies at Stowe; and Pope, who enjoyed his intimacy, has thus
celebrated him in the grotto at Twickenham,—

“There the bright flame was shot through Marchmont’s soul.”

Dr. Johnson entertained a prejudice against him, but was induced by
Boswell to wait on him for his recollections of Pope. Johnson was
received by the earl with much cordiality, and at the close of a long
interview he remarked to Boswell that he “would rather have given
twenty pounds than not have come.” Lord Marchmont died on the 10th
January, 1794, aged eighty-six.

[129] Captain Andrew Erskine (see _supra_, pp. 19-24).

[130] Sir William Maxwell, fourth Baronet of Monreith, Wigtonshire. He
died 22nd August, 1771.

[131] Mr. Crawfurd succeeded the Rev. John Home in 1770, as Conservator
of Scots Privileges at Campvere.

[132] C. H. Trotz, the great German jurisconsult, whose lectures on
civil law Boswell attended at Utrecht in 1763. Professor Trotz was born
in 1701, and died in 1773.

[133] James, Lord Hope, subsequently third Earl of Hopetoun, was born
in 1741; he entered the army in 1758, and was present at the battle of
Minden the following year; he left the army in 1764 to accompany his
elder brother on a Continental tour; he succeeded to the earldom in
1781, and was afterwards elected a representative peer. He died on the
29th May, 1816, aged seventy-five.

[134] Samuel Foote, the celebrated comedian, was born in 1720, at
Truro, in Cornwall; he belonged to a respectable family, but he
soon wasted his inheritance and his wife’s fortune by a course of
dissipation. Compelled by necessity, he became a player, making his
_début_ in the Haymarket Theatre in 1747. From a grotesque imitation of
leading persons he attained popularity, accompanied with a rancorous
feeling on the part of those whom he subjected to ridicule. He was an
entertaining companion, but possessed few amiable qualities. He died in
October, 1777, and was buried in Westminster Abbey.

[135] George Lyttleton was born in 1709. As a commoner he entered
Parliament in his twenty-first year. He opposed Walpole, and in 1732
was appointed secretary to Frederick, Prince of Wales. On Walpole’s
retirement he obtained a succession of offices, culminating in the
Chancellorship of the Exchequer; in 1759 he was raised to the peerage.
Henceforth he cultivated letters, producing various works in prose and
verse. He was inclined to indolence, but was much esteemed for his high
principle and moral worth. He died 22nd August, 1773.

[136] Boswell has inserted this anecdote in his Life of Dr. Johnson.
Sir James Macdonald, Bart., the “Scottish Marcellus,” was eighth
baronet of Sleat, and male representative of the Lords of the Isles.
Born in 1741, he early distinguished himself at Eton by the variety of
his accomplishments, and high hopes were entertained of his career. He
was unhappily seized with a complication of disorders, of which he died
on the 26th July, 1766, at the age of twenty-five.

[137] This anecdote is included by Boswell in his “Life of Johnson.”

[138] James Quin, the player, was extremely pugnacious; he fought two
duels, in one of which he killed his antagonist. His latter years, on
his partial retirement from the stage, were spent at Bath. He died on
the 21st January, 1766, aged seventy-three.

[139] Boswell has published this anecdote in his “Life of Johnson.”

[140] Boswell was on terms of friendship with the Rev. Dr. James
Fordyce, author of “Addresses to the Deity.” He died at Bath on the 1st
October, 1796. His nephew, Dr. George Fordyce, an eminent physician
in the metropolis, became in 1774 a member of the Literary Club. He
published numerous professional works, and died 25th May, 1802.

[141] Miss Margaret Stewart, eldest daughter of Sir Michael Stewart,
Bart., of Blackhall, married in 1764 Sir William Maxwell, Bart., of
Springkell. She had a younger sister, Eleanora, who died unmarried.

[142] Voltaire visited England in 1724, when Dr. Samuel Clarke was
in the zenith of his fame. His “Evidences of Natural and Revealed
Religion” appeared in 1705, and was followed by other theological and
philosophical works. Dr. Clarke was born at Norwich in 1675, and died
in 1729. He displayed a playful humour among his ordinary associates,
but was grave and circumspect in the presence of strangers, especially
of forward or eccentric persons.

[143] With the Rev. William Brown, minister of the Scottish Church at
Utrecht, Boswell became acquainted during his residence in that city.
Mr. Brown had a personal history, not uneventful. Son of the Rev.
Laurence Brown, minister of Lintrathen in Forfarshire, he rescued when
a theological student several officers captured by the rebels at the
battle of Prestonpans. The rescue took place at Glammis, the captors
being followers of Lord Ogilvie, a zealous adherent of the Prince.
Soon afterwards Mr. Brown was ordained minister of Cortachy, a parish
inhabited by Lord Ogilvie’s tenantry. Reports to his disadvantage soon
spread, and in 1748 he demitted his charge on account of “the odium
of the disaffected, the prejudices of the people, and his life being
attacked by a ruffian.” Through the influence of the Duke of Cumberland
he was appointed chaplain to a British regiment stationed in Flanders,
and was subsequently admitted pastor of the Scottish church at Utrecht.
In 1757 he received a commission from the Crown as Professor of Church
History at St. Andrews, but he did not obtain induction for several
years; his appointment, on account of the rumours at Cortachy, being
resisted both by the university and the presbytery. He was at length
admitted by decree of the General Assembly. His lectures were composed
in Latin, but his theological attainments were less conspicuous than
his patriotism. He died on the 10th January, 1791, aged seventy-two.
His son was the celebrated William Laurence Brown, Principal of
Marischal College, Aberdeen.

[144] The Rev. Thomas Hunter, minister of New Cumnock, Ayrshire, from
1706 to 1757, died in 1760, in his hundredth year.—_Dr. Scott’s

[145] Sir David Dalrymple, Bart., a judge in the Court of Session
by the title of Lord Hailes, was one of Boswell’s earliest patrons.
Admitted advocate in 1748, he was raised to the bench in 1766. He
employed a portion of his time in literary and historical researches.
He died on the 29th November, 1792, aged sixty-six (see _supra_ p. 10).

[146] Theodore Tronchin belonged to an eminent Protestant family at
Geneva. On the mother’s side he was related to Lord Bolingbroke. Born
on the 14th May, 1709, he studied medicine, and settled at Amsterdam in
1736. He attained eminence in his profession, chiefly as a promoter of
inoculation. In 1757 he published “De Colica Pictorum.” He died 30th
November, 1781.

[147] Boswell’s Journal was probably destroyed by his family. (See
_supra_, p. 186.)

[148] Almack’s Hotel was thus originated: A sister of Dr. Cullen, the
celebrated physician, was waiting-maid to the Duchess of Hamilton.
She married the duke’s valet, whose name was Macall. They were both
favourites of the duke and duchess, who resolved to establish them
comfortably. As they inclined to open an hotel in London, the duke
secured eligible premises. Macall was deemed a name unsuited for a
London landlord, and on the duke’s suggestion it was changed to Almack.

[149] Helen Dempster, only sister of George Dempster, M.P., married
General Burlington. On the death of her brother without issue, in 1818,
she succeeded to the family estate of Dunnichen.

[150] An amiable man, but crushing satirist, Caleb Whitefoord was
born at Edinburgh in 1734. He was intended for the Scottish Church,
but preferring the concerns of business, settled in London as a wine
merchant. He contributed satirical poems, in prose and verse, to the
_Public Advertiser_, directing his shafts chiefly against Wilkes. He
attracted the notice of Government, and on his recommendation Dr.
Johnson was requested to prepare his pamphlet in defence of the recent
negotiations respecting the Falkland Islands. He was secretary of the
commissioners appointed to meet at Paris in 1782, to treat of a general
peace with America on the separation of the colonies from the mother
country. He latterly received a Civil List pension, and was honoured
with the diplomas of the Royal and other societies. He is described
by Goldsmith in his poem, “The Retaliation.” He died in 1809, aged

[151] The Rev. John Home, author of “Douglas,” was born at Ancrum,
Roxburghshire, on the 22nd September, 1722. Having studied for the
Church, he was in 1741 ordained minister of Athelstaneford. During the
previous year he distinguished himself as member of a volunteer corps
in support of Government; he was taken prisoner by the rebels at the
battle of Falkirk, but contrived to escape from Doune Castle, where
he was confined. In 1755 he produced his tragedy of “Douglas,” which
soon became popular. On account of encouraging theatricals, he was
assailed by his clerical brethren: he escaped deposition by resigning
his charge. He obtained a Civil List pension of £300, with the sinecure
office of conservator of Scots privileges at Campvere. He died 5th
September, 1808, in his eighty-sixth year.

[152] A younger son of William, second Earl of Aberdeen.

[153] Secretary to the Prussian Embassy.

[154] Mr., afterwards Sir Andrew Mitchell, was only son of the Rev.
William Mitchell, minister of the High Church, Edinburgh, and who had
the singular distinction of being five times Moderator of the General
Assembly. After following legal pursuits at Edinburgh, Mr. Mitchell
was in 1741 appointed secretary to the Marquis of Tweeddale, minister
for the affairs of Scotland, and in 1747 was chosen M.P. for the Banff
district of burghs. In 1751 he was sent as ambassador to Brussels,
and in 1753 was created a Knight of the Bath and envoy extraordinary
to the court of Prussia. He was a great favourite with Frederick the
Great, whom he accompanied in his campaigns. He died at Berlin, on the
28th January, 1771. Boswell became acquainted with Sir Andrew Mitchell
during his Continental tour. (See _supra_, pp. 43-47.)

[155] Archibald, third Duke of Argyll, was born in June, 1682. As
colonel of the 36th regiment he served under the Duke of Marlborough.
Devoting himself to civil affairs, he was in 1705 nominated Lord High
Treasurer of Scotland; in the following year he became a commissioner
on the Union, and in 1710 was appointed Justice General. He was wounded
at the battle of Sheriffmuir in 1715, when he held a command under his
brother, the Duke of Argyll and Greenwich. He succeeded his brother
as Duke of Argyll in 1743, and died 15th April, 1761. He founded the
family residence at Inverary, and there established a valuable library.
He was a zealous promoter of learning, and excelled in conversation.

[156] The celebrated George, tenth Earl Marischal, whom Boswell had the
honour of accompanying through Germany and Switzerland in 1763. Born
about 1693, Lord Marischal held a high command in the army of Queen
Anne, and on her death signed the proclamation of George I. Deprived
of office by the Duke of Argyll, he joined the Earl of Mar in the
insurrection of 1715, and at the battle of Sheriffmuir commanded two
squadrons of cavalry. In 1719 he made a second attempt on behalf of the
Chevalier. In the rising of 1715 he took no part. Having by a residence
in Prussia gained the favour of Frederick the Great, he became Prussian
ambassador at the courts of France and Spain. In 1759 he revealed to
Mr. Pitt, afterwards Earl of Chatham, the family compact of the house
of Bourbon; he was, consequently, invited to the court of George II.,
and his attainder was reversed. On possessing himself of his forfeited
estates he purposed to reside in Scotland, but on the urgent entreaty
of the Prussian monarch he returned to Berlin. He died, unmarried, at
Potsdam, on the 28th of May, 1778.

[157] Sir Adam Fergusson, Bart., of Kilkerran, LL.D., was elected M.P.
for Ayrshire in 1774; he afterwards sat for the city of Edinburgh. He
died 23rd September, 1813, at an advanced age.

[158] By the cabinets of St. Petersburg and Berlin Stanislas
Poniatowski was presented to the Poles as their king in 1764: owing to
the partition of his dominions he died broken-hearted at St. Petersburg
in 1798.

[159] Alexander, tenth Earl of Eglinton, died in 1769, and was
succeeded by his brother, Colonel Archibald Montgomery.

[160] John Turberville Needham, a priest of the Roman Catholic Church,
and an eminent physiologist, was born 1713 and died 1781. He received
honours from many of the learned societies, and was sometime director
of the Academy of Sciences at Brussels. In botanical science his name
is perpetuated in the _genus needhamia_.

[161] The Hon. Captain Andrew Erskine.

[162] Sir Joseph Yorke was third son of Lord Chancellor Hardwicke.
After serving in the army till he attained the rank of general, he was
appointed ambassador at the Hague, where he remained thirty years. In
1788 he was created Baron Dover. He died on the 2nd December, 1792.

[163] Andrew Stuart was counsel on the Hamilton side of the Douglas
case, and fought a duel with Edward, afterwards Lord Thurlow, the
leading counsel for Mr. Archibald Douglas. He published, in 1773,
“Letters to Lord Mansfield,” on the Douglas case, which, as models of
polished invective, have been compared with the Letters of Junius. In
1798 he issued a “Genealogical History of the Stewarts.”

[164] William Nairne, son of Sir William Nairne, Bart., of Dunsinnan,
was admitted advocate in 1755. He was in 1758 appointed conjunct
commissary-clerk of Edinburgh, and in 1786 was raised to the bench,
when he assumed the judicial title of Lord Dunsinnan. He died in March,

[165] A zealous patriot, deeply imbued with republican notions, Andrew
Fletcher of Saltoun opposed the arbitrary measures of the House of
Stuart, and after the revolution proved, from his irritable temper, a
considerable incubus on the Government of William III. He violently
opposed the union, and subsequently to that event retired from public
affairs. He died at London in 1716, aged sixty-three.

[166] The celebrated Bishop Berkeley, who maintained the non-existence
of matter as one of his philosophical opinions.

[167] The Hon. Peregrine Bertie, third son of Willoughby, third Earl of
Abingdon, was born in 1741. He became a captain in the Royal Navy, and
was sometime M.P. for Oxford. He died in 1790.

[168] General the Hon. Sir William Howe led the troops at the battle of
Bunker’s Hill in 1775, and was subsequently appointed commander of the
British forces in America. As an officer he somewhat lacked energy, but
he was much esteemed in private life. Captain Howe, mentioned in the
anecdote, was Sir William’s elder brother, afterwards the celebrated
Admiral Earl Howe. Sir William Howe died in 1814.

[169] Charles Churchill, now nearly forgotten, enjoyed considerable
reputation as a satirical poet. Bred to the Church, he abandoned the
clerical profession and embraced infidelity. He acted honourably in
discharging his debts, but was in other respects profligate. He died on
the 4th November, 1764, in his thirty-third year. His political satire,
referred to in the text, was the most successful of his poetical

[170] Andrew Lumsden belonged to an old family in the county of
Berwick. After the suppression of the rebellion in 1745 he proceeded
to Rome, where he became private secretary to Prince Charles Edward.
He latterly returned to Britain, and established his residence at
Edinburgh. He published “Remarks on the Antiquities of Rome and its
Environs,” a pleasing and judicious performance. He died on the 26th
December, 1801, aged eighty-one.

[171] The Rev. James Ramsay, one of the earliest opponents of the
slave trade, was born at Fraserburgh in 1733. A surgeon in the Royal
Navy, he incurred a serious accident, and thereafter abandoned his
profession and took orders. For some time he held two livings at St.
Christopher’s, worth £700 a year. He returned to England in 1781,
and became vicar of Teston in Kent. His work against the slave trade
appeared in 1786. He died on the 20th July, 1789.

[172] The Rev. John Willison ministered at Dundee from 1716 till his
death, which took place in May, 1750. An eminent theologian, his
numerous writings found a ready acceptance, and have been frequently
reprinted. Mr. Willison was a leader in the Church courts; he was much
esteemed for his urbanity.

[173] Colonel Archibald Edmonstone, of Duntreath, created a baronet in
1774, was in 1761 elected M.P. for the county of Dumbarton and the Ayr
burghs. He died in July, 1807.

[174] Sir Gilbert Elliot, of Minto, Bart., Lord Justice Clerk, died
at Minto, Roxburghshire, on the 16th April, 1766, aged seventy-three.
His father, who bore the same Christian name, was the first baronet
of Minto, and a senator of the College of Justice. His grandson was
created Earl of Minto.

[175] Of John, fourth Earl of Loudoun, Boswell in his “Scottish Tour”
thus writes:—“He did more service to the county of Ayr in general, as
well as to individuals in it, than any man we have ever had.... The
tenderness of his heart was proved in 1745-6, when he had an important
command in the Highlands, and behaved with a generous humanity to the
unfortunate. I cannot figure a more honest politician; for though his
interest in our country was great and generally successful, he not only
did not deceive by fallacious promises, but was anxious that people
should not deceive themselves by too sanguine expectations. His kind
and dutiful attention to his mother was unremittent. At his house was
true hospitality, a plain but a plentiful table; and every guest being
left at perfect freedom, felt himself quite easy and happy. While I
live I shall honour the memory of this amiable man.” Boswell relates
that, having sent a message that he and Dr. Johnson purposed to dine
with him, the messenger reported that the earl “jumped for joy.” John,
fourth earl of Loudoun, was born in 1705, and died in 1782.

[176] John, fifth earl of Stair, born 1720, died 1789. Joining the
army, he attained the rank of captain. He composed several pamphlets on
political topics.

[177] General Philip Honywood was a cadet of the House of Honywood,
Evington, baronet; he died in 1785.

[178] John Clerk, a cadet of the house of Clerk, of Pennycuik, was
born in 1689, and having studied medicine, became the first physician
in Scotland. In 1740 he was elected President of the Royal College of
Physicians. He died in 1757.

[179] Sir John Clerk, second baronet of Pennycuik, was appointed a
Baron of Exchequer in 1707. He was a patron of Allan Ramsay, and an
ingenious antiquary. From his pen proceeded the song commencing, “O
merry may the maid be that marries the miller.” He died 4th October,

[180] The Campbells of Succoth are descended from a branch of the ducal
house of Argyll, their ancestors possessing Lochow, in Argyleshire
(Nisbet’s Heraldry). John Campbell of Succoth, mentioned in the text,
was progenitor of Archibald Campbell of Succoth, Principal Clerk of
Session, and of Sir Islay Campbell, Lord President of the Court of

[181] Anne, third wife of James fifth Duke of Hamilton, was daughter
and co-heiress of Edmund Spencer, Esq., of Rendlesham, in the county of

[182] Sir William Gordon of Park, Bart., was grandson on the mother’s
side of the celebrated Archbishop Sharp. He joined Prince Charles
Edward in 1745, and was attainted, but the attainder was afterwards
reversed. He died at Douay, 5th June, 1751.

[183] Charles Cochrane, of Ochiltree, grandson of the first Earl of
Dundonald, succeeded his mother in the estate of Culross. He died in

[184] Charles Erskine, of Tinwald, third son of Sir Charles Erskine,
Bart., of Alva, was admitted advocate in 1711. He was elected M.P.
for the county of Dumfries in 1722, and nominated Solicitor-General
in 1725. Raised to the bench in 1744 by the judicial title of Lord
Tinwald, he was in 1748 promoted as Lord Justice Clerk. He died at
Edinburgh, on the 5th April, 1763. Lord Tinwald combined a dignified
deportment with much suavity of manner.

[185] Sir Walter Pringle, of Newhall, was called to the Bar in 1687.
After enjoying a high reputation as a pleader, he was raised to the
bench, as Lord Newhall, in June, 1718. He died 14th December, 1736,
and the judges in their robes attended his funeral. The Faculty of
Advocates commended him in their records, and the poet Hamilton, of
Bangor, composed his epitaph.

[186] Sir Alexander Ogilvy of Forglen, Bart., second son of George
Ogilvy, second Lord Banff, was Commissioner for the Burgh of Banff from
1702 to 1707. Admitted advocate, he was in 1706 appointed a Lord of
Session, when he assumed the title of Lord Forglen. He died 30th March,

[187] The first wife of William, fourth earl of Dumfries, was the Lady
Anne Gordon, only daughter of William, second Earl of Aberdeen. She
died in 1755.

[188] John Lord Hope succeeded his father in 1742 as second Earl of
Hopetown. A nobleman of considerable parts, he was appointed one of
the lords of police in Scotland, and in 1754 was nominated Lord High
Commissioner to the Church of Scotland. He died 12th February, 1781,
aged seventy-seven.

[189] Robert Cullen, advocate, was eldest son of William Cullen,
M.D., the celebrated physician. He was called to the Scottish bar in
1764, and was early noted for his forensic talents. Contrary to the
estimate formed of him by Boswell, he was held in general esteem for
his courteous manners, while his powers of mimicry were of a first
order. He was appointed a Lord of Session in 1796, by the title of Lord
Cullen. He died at Edinburgh on the 28th November, 1810.

[190] Boswell’s allusion to Frederick the Great is evidently founded
on a remark of Dr. Johnson’s. Conversing with Dr. Robertson, the
historian, in 1778, Johnson remarked, “The true strong and sound mind
is the mind that can embrace equally great things and small. Now I am
told the King of Prussia will say to a servant, ‘Bring me a bottle of
such a wine, which came in such a year; it lies in such a corner of
the cellar.’ I would have a man great in great things, and elegant in
little things.”

[191] The Rev. John Pettigrew, A.M., was minister of Govan,
Lanarkshire, from 1688 to 1712; he died in March, 1715, in his
seventy-eighth year. He was remarkably facetious; a number of his witty
sayings have been preserved. (Dr. Scott’s “_Fasti_,” vol. ii., p. 69.)

[192] The Rev. William Love, A.M., ministered at Cathcart,
Renfrewshire, from 1710 to 1738, when he died at the age of
fifty-seven. He made a monetary bequest to the poor of Paisley. (Dr.
Scott’s “_Fasti_,” vol. ii., p. 61.)

[193] A portrait of Cullen in “Kay’s Portraits” (vol. ii., p. 331) does
not warrant Boswell’s assertion as to his extreme ugliness. He was
plain-looking, as was his father before him, but his aspect was not

[194] Son of George Lockhart, of Carnwath, and Lady Euphemia
Montgomery, daughter of the Earl of Eglinton, Alexander Lockhart passed
advocate in 1722. He distinguished himself in defending the unfortunate
persons who were taken at Carlisle and subjected to trial for taking
part in the rebellion of 1745. Elected Dean of Faculty in 1764, he was
raised to the bench in 1775 by the title of Lord Covington. He died
10th November, 1782, aged eighty-two.

[195] John, third Earl of Bute, the favourite minister of George III.,
a munificent patron of literature, and himself an accomplished scholar
and man of science. Lord Bute died 10th March, 1792.

[196] In his “Scottish Tour” Boswell thus refers to the Lord Chief
Baron Orde:—“This respectable English judge will be long remembered
in Scotland, where he built an elegant house and lived in it
magnificently. His own ample fortune, with the addition of his salary
enabled him to be splendidly hospitable.... Lord Chief Baron Orde was
on good terms with us all, in a narrow country, filled with jarring
interests and keen parties.”

[197] A native of Ayrshire, Matthew Henderson long resided in
Edinburgh, where his society was much cherished. Allan Cunningham
relates on the authority of Sir Thomas Wallace, who knew him
personally, “that he dined regularly at Fortune’s Tavern, and was a
member of the Capillaire Club, which was composed of all who inclined
to be witty and joyous.” When Robert Burns visited Edinburgh in 1787,
Matthew Henderson was one of his chief associates; he subscribed for
four copies of the second edition of his poems, and by his pleasing and
beneficent manner gained a deep place in his affections. Henderson died
in the summer of 1790, and his memory was celebrated by the Ayrshire
bard in an elegiac poem, of which the following stanzas are familiar:—

“O Henderson! the man—the brother! And art thou gone, and gone for
ever? And hast thou crossed that unknown river, Life’s dreary bound?
Like thee where shall I find another The world around?

“Go to your sculptured tombs, ye great, In a’ the tinsel trash o’
state! But by thy honest turf I’ll wait, Thou man o’ worth! And weep
the ae best fellow’s fate E’er lay in earth.”

In transmitting the poem to Mr. McMurdo, Burns writes from Ellisland,
2nd August, 1790, “You knew Henderson? I have not flattered his
memory.” In a tract by the Lord Chief Commissioner Adam, entitled “Two
Short Essays on the Study of History—the gift of a grandfather,”
and printed at the Blair-Adam press in 1836, the author concludes
a list of eminent Scotsmen, his contemporaries, with the following
note:—“Besides these here enumerated, there were many others who made
a respectable figure in the society of Edinburgh during the period here
referred to (between 1750 and 1766), and there were some who stand more
prominently forward, whose rank, whose wit, and whose taste and talent
for conversation adorned the society when they joined it, such as
Thomas, Earl of Kelly; Thomas, Earl of Haddington; Nisbet, of Dirleton;
_Matthew Henderson, at a future period distinguished by Burns_; Sir
Robert Murray, of Hillhead; George Brown, of Elliestoun, and others.”

[198] The Hon. Alexander Gordon was third son of William, second Earl
of Aberdeen. Born in 1739, he was admitted advocate in his twenty-first
year. In 1764 he was appointed Steward Depute of Kirkcudbright, and in
1788 was raised to the bench as Lord Rockville. He died 13th March,
1792. He was much esteemed for his urbanity.

[199] John Armstrong, M.D., physician and poet, was son of the minister
of Castleton, Roxburghshire. Having studied medicine at the University
of Edinburgh, he became physician in 1732, and commenced practice in
the metropolis. His “Art of Preserving Health,” an ingenious poem,
appeared in 1744. He was appointed physician to a military hospital
in London, and afterwards to the army in Germany. He subsequently
resumed medical practice in the metropolis. He became notorious for
his indolence; spending his time lounging in a coffee-house, where he
received his letters. He died on the 7th September, 1779, about his
seventieth year.

[200] Son of the poet of the same name, Allan Ramsay the painter
was born at Edinburgh in 1713. Having studied his art in Italy, he
became portrait-painter first at Edinburgh and afterwards in London.
Introduced by the Earl of Bute to George III., he was appointed
principal painter to the king. He was an associate of Dr. Johnson, who
thus spoke of him:—“I love Ramsay. You will not find a man in whose
conversation there is more instruction, more information, and more
elegance than in Ramsay’s.” He died on the 10th August, 1784.

[201] Robert Dundas, of Arniston, was born 9th December, 1685, and
admitted advocate in July, 1709. He was appointed Solicitor-General in
1717, and soon afterwards Lord Advocate. In 1721 he was chosen Dean
of Faculty. In 1722 he was elected M.P. for the county of Edinburgh.
He was raised to the bench in 1737, and in 1748 succeeded Duncan
Forbes, of Culloden, as Lord President. An ingenious pleader and
powerful reasoner, he was also distinguished for his sound judgment and
inflexible integrity. He died on the 26th August, 1753.

[202] Sir John Dalrymple, first Earl of Stair, son of Lord President
Stair, was born about 1648, and passed advocate in 1672. With his
father he experienced much persecution under the rule of the House
of Stewart; he afterwards made his peace at court, and in 1687 was
appointed Lord Advocate. In 1688 he was raised to the bench as Lord
Justice Clerk. He became Lord Advocate, and one of the principal
Secretaries of State. His connection with the massacre of Glencoe
brought him into odium, and compelled him to seek temporary retirement.
In 1703 he was created Earl of Stair. He was a chief promoter of the
Treaty of Union. He died on the 8th January, 1707.

[203] Sir Gilbert Elliot originally practised as a writer in Edinburgh,
and was a vigorous supporter of the Presbyterian Church. From his
adhering to the Marquess of Argyll he was found guilty of treason,
and forfeited. Obtaining a remission of his sentence, he applied to
be taken on trials as advocate, but was, on his first examination,
rejected. He was admitted in November, 1688, and soon attained
important practice. In 1700 he was created a baronet, and in 1705 was
raised to the bench. He died 1st May, 1718.

[204] Sir William Anstruther, Bart., was M.P. for Fifeshire during the
administration of the Duke of York in 1681, and stoutly opposed the
measures of the Court. In 1689 he was appointed an ordinary Lord of
Session; he afterwards obtained other offices and honours. He died 24th
January, 1711.

[205] The Rev. John M’Claren was, in 1690, doctor in the Grammar
School, Glasgow. He was in 1692 ordained minister of Kippen, and was
translated to Carstairs in 1699. In 1711 he was preferred to the
Tolbooth Church, Edinburgh. He declined the oath of abjuration in 1712,
and was one of six who protested against the Seceders being loosed
from their parochial charges, November, 1733. As a preacher he was
most acceptable, delighting his hearers by his fertile and striking
illustrations. He died 11th July, 1734.

[206] An ancient Scottish ballad, entitled “The Bonnie Earl of Murray,”
is founded on the murder of James Stewart, Earl of Murray, son-in-law
and successor of the celebrated regent. He was slain at his own
residence at Donibristle, Fifeshire, on the 9th February, 1592, by the
hereditary enemy of his house, George, sixth Earl of Huntly. According
to the story, the Earl of Murray, who was young and extremely handsome,
attracted the admiration of Queen Anne of Denmark, who in the king’s
hearing described him as “a proper and gallant man.” This emphatic
commendation offended the king, who requested the Earl of Huntly to
bring him into his presence. Huntly forthwith set fire to Donibristle
Castle, and the earl in attempting to escape was slain. Lord Huntly
was thrown into prison, but being released at the king’s command was
created a marquess. According to Boswell, James, seventh Earl of Moray,
who died in 1767 was also styled “The Bonnie Earl.”

[207] Charles, eighth Lord Cathcart.

[208] Mr. Richmond of Bardarrock, an Ayrshire landowner in the vicinity
of Auchinleck, remarkable for his humorous sallies.

[209] Lord George Sackville, third son of the first Duke of Dorset,
entered the army in 1737, and served at Dettingen, Fontenoy, and
Culloden. In 1759 he was present at the battle of Minden, serving
as lieutenant-general under Prince Ferdinand. Accused of disobeying
orders, he was tried by court-martial, and being found guilty, was
dismissed from the army. George II. caused his name to be removed from
the roll of Privy Councillors. During the reign of George III. his good
fortune was restored. As Secretary of State for the colonies under Lord
North, he conducted the American War. In 1782 he was created Viscount
Sackville. He died in 1784, aged sixty-nine. Some have ascribed to him
the Letters of Junius.

[210] The Rev. William Auld, designated _Daddy_ Auld by the poet Burns,
was ordained minister of Mauchline, Ayrshire, in 1742, and died 12th
December, 1791, in his eighty-third year. He was a pious exemplary

[211] Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Francis Kinloch, of Gilmerton, married
Andrew Fletcher, a judge in the Court of Session by the title of Lord

[212] Sir Francis Grant, Bart., passed advocate in 1691, and was raised
to the bench as Lord Cullen in 1709. A zealous loyalist and profound
lawyer, he was, according to Wodrow, a man of exemplary piety. He died
on the 26th March, 1726. Sir Alexander Ogilvy, Lord Forglen, died 30th
March, 1727.

[213] A respectable tavern-keeper near Edinburgh.

[214] The heroine of this anecdote, whose name Boswell omits, was his
relative, Mary Erskine, daughter of Colonel Erskine of Carnock, and
aunt of the celebrated Dr. John Erskine of Greyfriars Church, Edinburgh.

[215] Brother of Robert Dundas of Arniston, Lord President of the Court
of Session.

[216] Alexander Leslie, second son of David, third Earl of Leven, was
admitted advocate in 1719. He succeeded his nephew as fifth Earl of
Leven in 1729, and was appointed a judge in 1734. From 1741 to 1753 he
held office as Lord High Commissioner to the General Assembly. He died
in 1754.

[217] The second wife of Alexander Leslie, fifth Earl of Leven, was
Elizabeth, daughter of David Monypenny, of Pitmilly, Fifeshire.

[218] Bryce Blair, of Blair, died 4th February, 1639.

[219] The Rev. William Blair was son of John Blair, burgess of Irvine,
and great-grandson of Blair of that ilk; his youngest brother was the
celebrated Robert Blair, minister of St. Andrews. Born in 1586, he
became a regent in the University of Glasgow, and in 1620 was ordained
minister of Dumbarton. He died in December, 1632, bequeathing a house
for a residence to his successors.

[220] Mr. Blair’s wife was Barbara Robertson, probably of the family of

[221] Bishop Warburton, author of “The Divine Legation of Moses,”
published in 1739 a series of letters in defence of Pope’s “Essay on
Man,” against Mons. de Crousaz, who had accused the poet of favouring
the doctrines of Spinoza. These letters led to a close intimacy between
the poet and his vindicator. Bishop Warburton died at Gloucester on the
7th June, 1779.

[222] Afterwards Sir Joseph Banks.

[223] Sir William Meredith, M.P., published a work entitled “Historical
Remarks on the Taxation of Free States.” Lond., 1788, 8vo.

[224] See _supra_, p. 17.

[225] Sir George Colebrooke was chairman of the East India Company’s
Court of Directors. He represented Arundel in three successive
parliaments. He married Mary, only daughter and heiress of Patrick
Gaynor, Esq., of Antigua. Sir George Colebrooke died 5th August, 1809.

[226] David Charles Solander, the eminent naturalist, was born in
Sweden in 1736. He was a companion of Sir Joseph Banks in Captain
Cook’s first voyage. In 1771 he received the degree of D.C.L. from the
University of Oxford, and in 1773 became assistant librarian in the
British Museum. He died in 1782.

[227] James Hamilton of Bangour, son of the poet, William Hamilton of

[228] Thomas Alexander Erskine, sixth Earl of Kellie, was celebrated as
a musician. Addicted to convivial pleasures, he made sacrifice of his
genius, and expended in social humour talents which might have brought
him eminence in the literary or political world. He died at Brussels,
on the 9th October, 1781, aged forty-nine.

[229] Patrick Murray, fifth Lord Elibank, was an elegant and
accomplished scholar. He studied law and passed advocate, but
subsequently joined the army. In 1740 he accompanied Lord Cathcart in
the expedition to Carthagena. Latterly he established his residence at
Edinburgh. Dr. Johnson much enjoyed his society; in a letter addressed
to his lordship he used these words:—“I have often declared that I
never met you without going away a wiser man.” Lord Elibank employed
much of his time in classical studies. He died 3rd August, 1778, aged

[230] Andrew Crosbie of Holm, an eminent advocate, the original of
“Councillor Pleydell” in “Guy Mannering.” He met Dr. Johnson at
Boswell’s residence in Edinburgh, and engaged with him in keen debate.
In his “Journey” Boswell has described him as “his truly learned and
philosophical friend.” Crosbie attained opulence in his profession, but
having made an unfortunate investment fell into poverty. He died in

[231] See _supra_, p. 74.

[232] Orangefield, an estate in the parish of Monkton, Ayrshire, now
belonging to A. Murdoch, Esq.

[233] Mr. Bennet Langton, of Langton, in Lincolnshire, was an attached
friend of Dr. Johnson. Many sayings of Dr. Johnson, which he preserved,
Boswell has included in his great work. Mr. Langton at first sought
employment as an engineer; he was an eminent Greek scholar. Possessed
of an agreeable demeanour, he excelled in conversation. He died on the
10th December, 1801, aged sixty-four.

[234] ‘History of the Life of James, Duke of Ormonde,’ by Thomas Carte.
3 vols., fol. 1735-6.

[235] Thomas, Marquess of Wharton, a vigorous supporter of William of
Orange, was on account of his peculiar manners familiarly known as Tom
Wharton. He remained in favour with William III., and held high offices
of state under Queen Anne and George I. He composed the celebrated
“Lillibullero,” and used to boast that he had sung a King out of three
kingdoms. He died 12th April, 1713.

[236] Son of Archibald Campbell, of Succoth, and Helen Wallace, of
Ellerslie, Ilay Campbell was admitted advocate in 1757. Obtaining
distinction as a lawyer, he was appointed Lord Advocate in 1784, and
was in 1799 promoted as Lord President of the Court of Session. This
office he resigned in 1808, when he was created a baronet. He died
on the 28th March, 1823, in his eighty-ninth year. The Most Reverend
Archibald Campbell Tait, D.C.L., Archbishop of Canterbury, is his

[237] See _supra_, p. 255.

[238] Alexander Murray was admitted to the Scottish bar in 1758, and
three years afterwards succeeded his father as sheriff of Peeblesshire.
In 1775 he was appointed Solicitor-General, and was in 1780 chosen M.P.
for Peeblesshire. He was promoted to the bench in 1783, with the title
of Lord Henderland. He died 16th March, 1795.

[239] Charles Hay passed advocate in 1768, and with the title of
Lord Newton was raised to the bench in 1806. By Lord Cockburn in his
“Memorials” he is thus described:—“A man famous for law, paunch,
whist, claret, and worth. His judicial title was Newton, but in private
life he was chiefly known as ‘the Mighty.’ He was a bulky man with
short legs, twitching eyes, and a large purple visage; no speaker, but
an excellent writer and adviser; deep and accurate in his law, in which
he had extensive employment. Honest, warm-hearted and considerate, he
was always true to his principles and his friends. But these and other
good qualities were all apt to be lost sight of in people’s admiration
of his drinking. His daily and flowing cups raised him far above the
evil days of sobriety on which he had fallen, and made him worthy of
honours quaffed with the Scandinavian heroes. His delight was to sit
smiling, quiet, and listening; saying little, but that little always
sensible, for he used to hold that conversation—at least, when it was
of the sort that merits admiration—spoiled good company.” Lord Newton
died on the 19th October, 1811.

[240] John Maclaurin, son of the celebrated Professor Colin Maclaurin,
was admitted advocate in 1756. He enjoyed a high reputation as a
lawyer, and was extensively consulted by his professional brethren.
In 1788 he was raised to the bench, with the judicial title of Lord
Dreghorn. He died on the 24th December, 1796, in his sixty-second year.
His works, chiefly on judicial subjects, were published in 1798 in two
octavo volumes.

[241] David Erskine, son of the proprietor of Dun, was called to the
Bar in 1698. As parliamentary representative of the county of Forfar he
strongly opposed the Union. In 1710 he was appointed a Lord of Session,
when he took the title of Lord Dun. He died on the 26th May, 1758, in
his eighty-fifth year. Lord Dun was respected for his piety.

[242] Lord President Dundas.

[243] The Right Hon. Charles Townshend, styled by Lord Macaulay “the
most brilliant and versatile of mankind,” was second son of the third
Viscount Townshend. Entering the House of Commons in his twenty-second
year, he became in Chatham’s last administration Chancellor of the
Exchequer and leader of the House of Commons. He died suddenly 4th
September, 1767, in his forty-fifth year. A considerable humorist, he
marred his reputation by a tendency to sarcasm.

[244] Henry Home, Lord Kames, author of “The Elements of Criticism” and
other works, was son of George Home of Kames, Berwickshire. He passed
advocate in 1723, and was elevated to the bench in 1752. He died 27th
December, 1782, aged eighty-seven.

[245] Second son of the Rev. Robert Wallace, D.D., George Wallace
was born at Moffat in 1730. Admitted advocate in 1754, he attained
considerable eminence in his profession. He published “A System of
the Principles of the Law of Scotland,” vol. i., Edinb., 1760, folio;
“Thoughts on the Origin of Feudal Powers, and the Descent of Ancient
Peerages in Scotland,” Edinb., 1783, 4to.; “The Nature and Descent of
Ancient Peerages, addressed to the Earl of Mansfield,” Edinb., 1785,
8vo.; “Prospects from Hills in Fife,” 3rd edit., Edinb., 1802, 8vo. The
last work is composed in verse, the author remarking in the preface
that the “Prospects” were mostly composed many years ago to afford
their “author an occasional relief from the austerity and vexations
of a profession very remote from poetry.” Mr. Wallace died on the
15th March, 1805, in his seventy-fifth year. His father, Dr. Robert
Wallace, successively minister at Moffat and in the city of Edinburgh,
was founder of the Philosophical Society, which afterwards merged into
the Royal Society of Edinburgh. An expert mathematician, he assisted
Dr. Alexander Webster in making calculations connected with the
establishment of the Ministers Widows’ Fund. He died in 1771.

[246] Andrew Balfour was admitted advocate in 1763; he practised at the
bar for nearly half a century.

[247] The negro’s name was Joseph Knight. (See _supra_, p. 115.)

[248] Major-General John Scott, of Balcomie, descended from Scot of
Scotstarvet, author of “The Staggering State,” was one of the most
noted Scotsmen of his period. About 1768 he was elected M.P. for
Fifeshire. Lady Mary Hay, his first wife, was the eldest daughter
of James, thirteenth Earl of Erroll. The general married, secondly,
Margaret, youngest daughter of Robert Dundas of Arniston, Lord
President of the Court of Session. General Scott died in December,
1775. A notorious gamester, he acquired numerous estates, and at
the period of his death was regarded as the wealthiest commoner in
Scotland. He is represented by the Duke of Portland.

[249] Afterwards Lord Henderland.

[250] Sir William Nairne, Bart., Lord Dunsinnan (see _supra_).

[251] General Sir Archibald Grant had served in the East Indies; he
succeeded his father as third baronet of Monymusk. He died in 1796.

[252] William Nisbet of Dirleton died 1784. He was a patron of John
Kay, the eminent Edinburgh caricaturist, who frequently resided at his
house. His present representative is his great-granddaughter, Lady Mary
Christopher Nisbet Hamilton.

[253] Sir Alexander Dick, Bart., younger son of Sir William Cuninghame
of Caprington, Ayrshire, was born in October, 1703. For some years he
practised as a physician in Pembrokeshire. Succeeding his brother in
1746 in the lands and baronetcy of Prestonfield, near Edinburgh, he
assumed the name of Dick, and fixed his residence at the family seat.
He was elected President of the Royal College of Physicians, Edinburgh,
and attained other professional and scientific honours. Dr. Johnson
held him in high esteem. Boswell, in his “Tour to the Hebrides,”
commends Sir Alexander for his amiability and culture. He died on the
10th November, 1785, aged eighty-two.

[254] David Stuart Moncrieffe, of Moredun, second son of Sir David
Moncrieffe, Bart. He was an advocate at the Scottish bar, and latterly
one of the Barons of Exchequer.

[255] John Brown, china merchant in Old Shakespeare Square, and
sometime one of the magistrates of Edinburgh, caused to be erected at
his sole expense an elegant window of stained glass in the great hall
of the Court of Session known as the Parliament House. He died 13th
April, 1780.

[256] Hon. Archibald Erskine was younger brother of Thomas Alexander,
the musical Earl of Kellie, and succeeded him in 1781 as seventh
earl. For twenty-six years he served in the army, and became
lieutenant-colonel of the 104th Foot. In 1790 he was chosen a Scottish
representative peer. Through his unwearied efforts the restraints
imposed on Scottish Episcopalians in 1746 and 1748 were abrogated. He
died at Kellie, Fifeshire, 8th May, 1797, aged sixty-two.

[257] John Thomson, of Charleton, Fifeshire.

[258] Lady Anne Erskine was eldest daughter of Alexander, third Earl of
Kellie, and wife of her cousin, Sir Alexander Erskine, second baronet
of Cambo, Lord Lyon King at Arms.

[259] James Beattie, LL.D., Professor of Moral Philosophy, Marischal
College, Aberdeen. His essay on “The Nature and Immutability of Truth,”
alluded to by Boswell, was published in 1770. Dr. Beattie died on the
6th October, 1802.

[260] Sir Adam Fergusson, Bart., of Kilkerran, LL.D., was eldest son
of Sir James Fergusson, Bart., a judge of the Court of Session by the
title of Lord Kilkerran. Elected M.P. for Ayrshire in 1774, Sir Adam
continued to represent that county for eighteen years. He afterwards
sat for the county of Edinburgh. By the House of Lords he was found
to be heir-general to Alexander, tenth Earl of Glencairn. He died
23rd September, 1813. That he was “great-grandson of a messenger”
is not historically borne out. His paternal great-grandfather was
Simon Fergusson of Auchinwin, youngest son of Sir John Fergusson of
Kilkerran, Knight.

[261] The seat of John, fourth Earl of Loudoun.

[262] Major Andrew Dunlop was second son of John Dunlop, of Dunlop,
Ayrshire. He served in the American war, and afterwards commanded the
Ayrshire Fencibles. He died in 1804. His mother was Frances Anne,
daughter and heiress of Sir Thomas Wallace of Craigie. She was a friend
and correspondent of the poet Burns.

[263] David Kennedy was admitted advocate in 1752. He was elected M.P.
for Ayrshire in 1768. In 1775 he succeeded his elder brother as tenth
Earl of Cassilis, and died 18th December, 1792.

[264] David Rae was called to the bar in 1751, and soon obtained
reputation as a lawyer. He was appointed a judge in succession to Lord
Auchinleck in November, 1782, and was promoted as Lord Justice Clerk
in 1799. He was created a baronet in 1804. He died the same year, aged

[265] John Swinton, son of John Swinton of Swinton, was admitted
advocate in 1743. After several professional preferments he was raised
to the bench as Lord Swinton in 1782. He published an abridgment of
statutes relating to Scotland, and other works. He died 5th January,

[266] John Hamilton, of Sundrum, was for thirty-six years Convener of
the county of Ayr. He died in 1821 at a very advanced age.

[267] James Burnett, of Monboddo, was admitted advocate in 1737.
After a brilliant and successful career at the bar, he was raised to
the bench in 1767 as Lord Monboddo. He visited London every year,
accomplishing the journey on horseback. Introduced at court, he was
especially honoured by George III., who much relished his conversation.
An accomplished scholar, he cherished some strange ideas regarding
the origin of mankind. Of his several works the most notable is his
“Origin and Progress of Language.” He died on the 26th May, 1799, aged

[268] General Robert Melville was son of the minister of Monimail,
Fifeshire. Entering the army in his twenty-first year, he served in
the invasion of Guadaloupe and other important concerns. After the
general peace he travelled over Europe, and endeavoured to ascertain
the passage of Hannibal over the Alps. He traced the sites of different
Roman camps in Britain. His historical and antiquarian learning were
acknowledged by several learned societies, and the University of
Edinburgh granted him the degree in laws. General Melville died in
1809, aged eighty-six.

[269] Eglinton, youngest daughter of Sir William Maxwell, Bart., of
Monreith, married, 4th September, 1773, Sir Thomas Wallace, sixth
Baronet of Craigie. Like her elder sister, Jane Duchess of Gordon, she
was celebrated for her beauty and wit.

[270] Son of Sir James Fergusson, Bart., of Kilkerran, George Fergusson
was admitted advocate in 1765. Appointed a judge in 1799 he adopted the
title of Lord Hermand. He retired in 1826, and died the following year.

[271] Richard Burke, collector of Grenada, was brother of the
celebrated Edmund Burke, who used every opportunity of bringing him
forward. He possessed some share of his brother’s powers, which,
however, he only displayed in the social circle.

[272] Andrew Stuart, M.P. (see _supra_), published in 1778 “Letters
to the Directors of the East India Company respecting the conduct of
Brigadier-General James Stuart at Madras,” 4to.

[273] Sir George Pigot, Bart., Governor of Fort St. George, Madras,
was created a peer of Ireland 18th January, 1766, as Baron Pigot, of
Patshul, county Dublin. At his death in illegal confinement in India,
17th August, 1777, the barony expired.

[274] William Seward, F.R.S., was born at London in 1747, his father
being a wealthy brewer, partner in the house of Calvert and Seward.
Educated at the Charterhouse and at Oxford, he early devoted attention
to literary concerns. He published “Biographiana” and “Literary
Miscellanies,” and edited “Anecdotes of some Distinguished Persons,” in
four volumes, octavo. He was much esteemed for his amiable manners. He
died 24th April, 1789.

[275] Sir Hugh Palliser was born at Kirk Deighton, Yorkshire, 26th
February, 1722. Joining the navy, he became lieutenant in 1742. He was
posted captain in 1746, after taking four French privateers. In 1759
he led the seamen who aided in the capture of Quebec. In 1773 he was
created a baronet and elected M.P. for Scarborough. He became a Lord of
the Admiralty, and Vice-Admiral of the Blue. In an action off Ushant on
the 27th July, 1778, a misunderstanding arose between Admiral Palliser
and Admiral Keppel, which was attended with a court-martial, and
brought on Palliser unmerited odium. He became Governor of Greenwich
Hospital, and died 19th March, 1796.

[276] Topham Beauclerk, only son of Lord Sidney Beauclerk, third son
of the first Duke of St. Alban’s, was born in 1739. When a student at
Trinity College, Oxford, he became acquainted with Dr. Johnson, who,
though many years his senior, was partial to his society. Johnson
permitted sallies from Beauclerk which others might not attempt.
Beauclerk died in 1781.

[277] Robert Brompton, an artist of considerable celebrity, accompanied
Lord Northampton, the English ambassador, to Venice, where he executed
portraits of the Duke of York and other notable persons. He returned
to London in 1767, but not meeting with sufficient encouragement he
proceeded to St. Petersburg, where he died in 1790.

[278] Henry, tenth Earl of Pembroke, was lieutenant-general in the army
and colonel of the first regiment of dragoons. He was born in 1734, and
died 26th January, 1794.

[279] The representative of an ancient Scottish house, which produced a
distinguished archbishop and a Lord President of the Court of Session,
John Spottiswoode, younger of Spottiswoode, practised in London as a
solicitor. His literary tastes brought him into contact with men of
letters. The conversation alluded to in the text took place at Paoli’s,
when Dr. Johnson, Sir Joshua Reynolds, and others were present. In
his “Life of Dr. Johnson,” Boswell, who reported the conversation in
reference to wine drinking, omits with unusual reticence his remark
respecting his own habits. Spottiswoode was son-in-law of William
Strahan, the printer. He died 3rd February, 1805.

[280] This anecdote is related in the Life of Johnson, the quotation
from Horace being correctly given, thus:—

“Numerisque fertur Lege solutis.”

[281] John Dunning was born at Ashburton, Devonshire, on the 18th
October, 1731. Called to the bar, he attained a first rank in his
profession. In 1767 he was appointed Solicitor-General. In 1768 he was
elected M.P. for Calne. He was in 1782 created Baron Ashburton, and
appointed Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. He was an occasional
associate of Dr. Johnson, who styled him “the great lawyer.” Informed
by Boswell that Mr. Dunning experienced pleasure in listening to him,
Dr. Johnson expressed appreciation, adding, “Here is a man willing to
listen, to whom the world is listening all the rest of the year.” Lord
Ashburton died 18th August, 1783.

[282] George Colman the elder was born in 1733. While studying at
Christ Church, Oxford, he was called to the bar, but he soon renounced
practice as a barrister and sought fame as a dramatic author. He became
joint manager of Covent Garden Theatre, and was ultimately proprietor
of the Haymarket. For many years he enjoyed an annuity from Lord Bath,
who married his mother’s sister. After a period of mental aberration,
Colman died in 1794, aged sixty-one.

[283] The Hon. Henry Erskine, second son of Henry David, fourth
Earl of Buchan, was a celebrated humorist. Born in 1746, he was
admitted advocate in 1768, and soon attained the foremost place in
his profession. He was Lord Advocate in 1783, and again in 1806. He
latterly retired from public business, residing on his estate of
Amondell, Linlithgowshire, where he died 8th October, 1817. His younger
brother was Lord Chancellor Erskine.

[284] Patrick Murray, an Edinburgh advocate, published, with others
“Decisions of the Court of Session,” from November, 1760, to November,
1764. Edinb., 1772, folio.

[285] The outer house of the court of session, where the lords ordinary
formerly sat, is a spacious hall, the ancient meeting-place of the
Scottish Parliament. It is now solely used as a promenade-room by
advocates and others attending on the business of the court.

[286] Household servants in Scotland formerly assembled in the hall
when guests were departing, doing obeisance to each, in acknowledgment
of which they expected gratuities. These were termed _vails_.

[287] Lady Diana Spencer, daughter of Charles Duke of Marlborough, was
born in 1734, and in 1757 married Lord Bolingbroke. She was divorced in
1768, and thereafter became the wife of Mr. Topham Beauclerk.

[288] Algernon Seymour, who succeeded his mother in 1722 as Baron
Percy, and in 1748 inherited the Dukedom of Somerset. His only child,
Lady Elizabeth Seymour, became Duchess of Northumberland.

[289] Thomas Parnell, D.D., author of “The Hermit” and other poems,
was an Irish clergyman, and a friend of Swift, who bestowed on him a
share of his patronage. Early inclined to the excessive use of wine,
he latterly became an habitual drunkard. He died in July, 1718, in his
thirty-ninth year.

[290] Robert Harley, Earl of Oxford, Lord High Treasurer, was a steady
promoter of men of letters. His career forms an important part of the
political history of England. He died 21st May, 1724. The Harleian
Collection of books and MSS. in the British Museum is a monument of his
learning and industry.

[291] The great Dr. Benjamin Franklin, born 1706, died 1790.

[292] Jean Baptiste Antoine Suard published “Variétés Littéraires” and
“Mélanges de Littérature.” He was born 16th January, 1750, and died
20th July, 1817.

[293] Thomas, second Lord Foley, died 8th January, 1766.

[294] See _supra_, p. 97.

[295] Sir Matthew White-Ridley, Bart., M.P. for Newcastle-on-Tyne,
married, 12th July, 1777, Sarah, daughter and heiress of Benjamin
Colborne, Esq., of Bath. Lady White-Ridley died 3rd August, 1806.

[296] _Née_ Miss Hadfield, born at Leghorn, of English parents. She
married Richard Cosway, R.A., and shared her husband’s reputation as
an artist. Her musical _soirées_, at which she was _prima donna_, were
much resorted to by persons of rank and fashion.

[297] Wilkes was in 1703 imprisoned in the Tower on the charge of
sedition. In 1774 he was elected Lord Mayor of London.

[298] Probably James Hutton, M.D., author of “The Plutonic Theory of
the Earth.” He was born in 1726, and may have been styled _Old_ Hutton
to distinguish him from Charles Hutton, the eminent mathematician, who
was born in 1737.

[299] Charles Burney, Mus.D., author of “The General History of
Music,” and other works. He was an intimate friend of Dr. Johnson, who
confessedly prepared his “Tour to the Hebrides” after the model of Dr.
Burney’s “Continental Travels.” Dr. Burney was born at Shrewsbury, on
the 7th April, 1726, and died at Chelsea, 12th April, 1814.

[300] John, seventh Earl of Galloway, K.P., one of the lords of the
bedchamber to George III. In 1796 he was created a peer of Great
Britain by the title of Baron Stewart of Garlies. He died 13th
November, 1806.

[301] John, Lord Daer, third son of Dunbar Hamilton Douglas, fourth
Earl of Selkirk.

[302] The celebrated Edward Gibbon was born in 1737, and died in 1794.
In conversation he was genial and elegant, but he occasionally indulged
in flashes of irony.

[303] William, second Earl of Shelburne, subsequently Marquess of
Lansdown, a distinguished statesman. In 1782 he succeeded the Marquess
of Rockingham as Prime Minister. At one period he much frequented the
society of Dr. Johnson. The Marquess died in May, 1805.

[304] Richard Price, D.D., a Dissenting minister in London, and eminent
philosophical writer, was born in 1723, and died in March, 1791. Dr.
Price was a friend and correspondent of Lord Shelburne. An advocate
of civil and religious liberty, he supported the cause of American
independence, and welcomed the early triumphs of the French Revolution.

[305] Dr. Brocklesby, an accomplished physician, and the generous
friend of Edmund Burke and Dr. Johnson. He published various periodical
papers on professional subjects. Dr. Brocklesby was born in 1702, and
died 1797.

[306] William Schaw, tenth Baron and first Earl Cathcart, born 1755,
died 16th June, 1843.

[307] Colonel George Hanger, an eccentric writer and clever humorist,
served in the American war. He subsequently resided in London, where
his society was cherished by the Prince of Wales, afterwards George IV.
Several works from his pen are full of whimsicality. He succeeded his
brother in 1814 as fourth Lord Coleraine, but refused to accept the
title. He died in 1824, aged seventy-four.

[308] Mrs. Heron, of Heron, Wigtonshire.

[309] Rev. Ebenezer Stott, minister of Monigaff, Wigtonshire. He was
ordained in 1748, and died 17th September, 1788.

[310] Houstoun Stewart, second son of Sir Michael Stewart, Bart., of
Blackhall, succeeded to the entailed estate of Carnock, Stirlingshire,
when he assumed the name of Nicolson.

[311] Harry Barclay, of Collairnie, Fifeshire.

[312] In 1741, Henry Home, Lord Kames, married Miss Agatha Drummond,
only daughter of the proprietor of Blair-Drummond, Perthshire, who, on
the death of her brother in 1766, succeeded to the paternal estate. Her
proper designation was Mrs. Hume Drummond, of Blair-Drummond.

[313] Anne, only surviving daughter of Sir William Bruce, Bart., of
Kinross, and heiress of his estates. She married, first, Sir Thomas
Hope, Bart., of Craighall; and secondly, Sir John Carstairs, of
Kilconquhar, and had issue by both marriages.

[314] Patrick Heron, Esq., M.P.

[315] John, tenth Viscount Kenmure. Died 21st September, 1824. He was
Vice-Lieutenant of Kirkcudbrightshire.

[316] John, seventh Earl of Galloway, had as his first wife Charlotte
Mary, daughter of Francis, first Earl of Warwick. He bore by courtesy
the title of Lord Garlies before succeeding his father as Earl in 1773.

[317] Edward, Viscount Coke, eldest son of the Earl of Leicester. He
married Lady Mary Campbell, daughter and co-heiress of John, Duke of
Argyll and Greenwich, and died _s. p._ in 1753.

[318] Pope has thus described the character of this noted
libertine:—“Francis Chartres, a man infamous for all manner of vices.
When he was an ensign in the army, he was drummed out of the regiment
for a cheat; he was next banished to Brussels, and drummed out of Ghent
on the same account. After a hundred tricks at the gaming-tables, he
took to lending money at exorbitant interest and on great penalties,
accumulating premium, interest, and capital into a new capital, and
seizing to a minute when the payments became due. In a word, by a
constant attention to the vices, wants, and follies of mankind, he
acquired an immense fortune. He was twice condemned for rapes and
pardoned, but the last time not without imprisonment in Newgate, and
large confiscations. He died in Scotland in 1731 (February, 1732).
The populace at his funeral raised a great riot, almost tore the
body out of the coffin, and cast dead dogs into the grave along with
it.” Arbuthnot’s epitaph on Colonel Chartres is celebrated for its
epigrammatic force.

[319] John, Duke of Argyll and Greenwich, celebrated as a statesman and
military commander, is immortalized in these lines of Pope,—

“Argyll, the state’s whole thunder born to wield, And shake alike the
senate and the field.”

The Duke was born in 1678, and died in 1743.

[320] Lady Catherine Murray was elder daughter of William, third Earl
of Dunmore.

[321] George Baillie of Jerviswoode and Mellerstain. His
great-grandson, George Baillie Hamilton, became tenth Earl of

[322] There are several versions of this song. The oldest has this
opening stanza:—

“How blithe, ilk morn, was I to see My swain come o’er the hill! He
skipt the burn and flew to me; I met him with good-will. Oh the brume,
the bonnie, bonnie brume! The brume o’ the Cowdenknowes! I wish I were
with my dear swain, With his pipe and my yowes.”

[323] John McKie, of Bargaly, in the stewardry of Kirkcudbright. His
grandson, who bore the same Christian name, was many years M.P. for the

[324] Probably Sir Robert Dalzell, first Earl of Carnwath.

[325] John, eighth Viscount Kenmure.

[326] Mrs. Dunbar, of Mackermore, whose estate in the parish of
Monnigaff, Kirkcudbrightshire, bordered that of Mr. Heron of Heron.

[327] Lord Mark Ker was fourth son of the first Marquess of Lothian,
a distinguished military officer; he was wounded at the battle of
Almanza, 25th April, 1707; he acted as brigadier-general at the capture
of Vigo. In January, 1745, he was appointed Governor of Edinburgh
Castle. He died 2nd February, 1752.

[328] Hugh Montgomerie, a prosperous merchant in Glasgow, and Lord
Provost of the city, succeeded his uncle as fourth baronet of
Skermorly. He became M.P. for Glasgow, and was a commissioner for the
Treaty of Union. He died in 1735.

[329] James Corbet, merchant in Glasgow, rejoiced in tracing his
descent from Roger Corbet (Roger the Raven), who came from Normandy
with William the Conqueror. Till lately the family of Corbet possessed
lands in Clydesdale.

[330] David Campbell, first of Shawfield, second son of Walter
Campbell, Captain of Skipness, made a fortune abroad, and was elected
M.P. for Glasgow; he was a commissioner in the Treaty of Union.

[331] Colonel John Irving, pronounced Irwin, of the family of Irving,
of Logan, served in the Madras army, and became lieutenant-colonel of
the Dumfriesshire militia.

[332] Catherine, second wife of Alexander, sixth Earl of Galloway was
youngest daughter of John, fourth Earl of Dundonald.

[333] This gentlewoman was second wife of John, Lord Garlies,
subsequently seventh Earl of Galloway. She was daughter of Sir James
Dashwood, Bart., and was married to Lord Garlies in 1764. Her ladyship
died in 1830.

[334] Son of Sir Adam Whitefoord, Bart., of Blairquhan, Ayrshire. The
baronetcy is extinct.

[335] Sir William Maxwell, third baronet of Springkell; born 31st
December, 1739; died 4th March, 1804.

[336] The earldom of Fife was renewed in the person of William Duff of
Braco, who in 1727 was elected M.P. for the county of Banff. In 1735 he
was created Baron Braco of Kilbryde, and was raised to the Earldom of
Fife in 1759. He died 30th September, 1763.

[337] The reference is probably to Miss Jane Maxwell, second daughter
of Sir William Maxwell, Bart., of Monreith, who married, in 1767,
Alexander, fourth Duke of Gordon. The Duchess was celebrated for her
beauty and wit.

[338] David, sixth Lord Stormont, died 1748.

[339] Apparently the dowager of Alexander, fourth Baron Elibank,
daughter of George Stirling, surgeon, Edinburgh.

[340] Sir William Baird, Bart., of Newbyth, succeeded his cousin Sir
John Baird in 1746.

[341] Robert Riddell, head of an old Dumfriesshire family, was
predecessor of Robert Riddell of Glenriddell, the antiquary and an
active patron of Robert Burns.

[342] James, sixth Duke of Hamilton. He married Elizabeth, one of the
three beautiful Misses Gunning, who on his death espoused John, fifth
Duke of Argyle. The Duke of Hamilton died on the 18th January, 1758, in
his thirty-fourth year.

[343] Representative of Sir Alexander Fraser of Durris, who was created
a baronet in 1673. The baronetcy is extinct.

[344] John, third Earl of Hyndford, was in 1741 appointed envoy
extraordinary and plenipotentiary to the King of Prussia. He died 19th
July, 1767, aged sixty-seven.

[345] John, fourth Earl of Dunmore. His eldest son, George, Viscount
Fincastle, was born on the 30th April, 1762. The Earl died in March,

[346] Thomas, ninth Earl of Cassilis. Died 30th November 1775.

[347] Probably a brother of John Alexander, the celebrated painter.
John Alexander studied his art chiefly in Florence; he returned to
Scotland in 1720, and thereafter chiefly resided in Gordon Castle,
under the patronage of the Duchess of Gordon.

[348] Henry, second Duke of Newcastle. His Grace died in 1794.

[349] George Selwyn, M.P., the celebrated humorist, was born in
1719, and died 25th January, 1791. (“Sir George Selwyn and his
Contemporaries,” by J. H. Pope, 1843.)

[350] Walter Macfarlane, of that ilk, descended from the old Earls
of Lennox, was an accomplished antiquary and ingenious genealogist.
He died at Edinburgh, on the 5th June, 1767. His valuable MSS. were
acquired by the Faculty of Advocates.

[351] Lady Elizabeth Macfarlane, wife of Walter Macfarlane, of that
ilk, was eldest daughter of Alexander, fifth Earl of Kellie. She
married, secondly, Alexander, eighth Lord Colville, of Culross, and
died in 1794.

[352] Edward Shuter, comedian, died 1st November, 1776.

[353] The Duke de Nivernais, an eminent French statesman and poet, was
born 16th December, 1716, and died 25th February, 1798.

[354] General Sir George Howard served under the Duke of Cumberland in
suppressing the Scottish Rebellion of 1745. In a note to his “Life of
Johnson,” Boswell styles him “My very honourable friend.”

[355] Mrs. Boscawen was daughter of William Evelyn Glanville, Esq.,
and wife of Admiral Edward Boscawen, a distinguished commander, and
sometime a Lord of the Admiralty. In 1761 she became a widow. Her only
son succeeded as third Viscount Falmouth; and of her two daughters,
Frances, the elder, married Admiral John Leveson Gower, brother of the
first Marquess of Stafford; Elizabeth, the younger daughter, married
Henry, fifth Duke of Beaufort. In her poem entitled “Sensibility,” Miss
Hannah More remarks of Mrs. Boscawen that she—

“Views enamoured in her beauteous race All Leveson’s sweetness and all
Beaufort’s grace.”

In the “Life of Johnson,” Boswell, in allusion to having met the Hon.
Mrs. Boscawen at dinner at Allan Ramsay’s (29th April, 1778), writes:
“Of whom, if it be not presumptuous in me to praise her, I would say
that her manners are the most agreeable, and her conversation the best,
of any lady with whom I ever had the happiness to be acquainted.”

[356] See _postea_.

[357] Sir Philip Ainslie, of Pilton, Edinburghshire.

[358] Sir John Pringle, Bart., a distinguished physician. He was
in 1772 elected President of the Royal Society, and six discourses
delivered by him to that body were published after his decease, under
the care of Dr. Kippis. These discourses form the theme of Boswell’s
criticisms. John Pringle died on the 18th January, 1782, aged

[359] The Hon. Patrick Boyle, second son of John, second Earl of

[360] Sir John Wemyss, Bart., of Bogie, Fifeshire.

[361] This improvident gentleman, who had sought refuge from his
creditors in the sanctuary of Holyrood Abbey, was related to the
family of Lord Colville, of Culross. From a dinner card pasted into
the commonplace-book, the wife of Dr. Alexander Webster, of Edinburgh,
formerly minister of Culross, thus entreats Boswell’s support to this
unfortunate bankrupt:—

“Mrs. Webster begs Mrs. Boswell would set about the collection for
poor Mr. Colville, who is truly starving and has not a house to cover
his head. Mr. Ely Campbell has too much humanity not to give something

[362] Sir Thomas Rumbold was created a baronet 23rd March, 1779, being
then Governor of Madras and M.P. for Shoreham. He had distinguished
himself at the siege of Trichinopoly and the retaking of Calcutta. He
was wounded at the battle of Plassey, when acting as aide-de-camp to
Lord Clive. He died 11th November, 1791.

[363] John Paradise, D.C.L., P.R.S., was son of the English consul at
Salonica, by his wife, a native of Macedonia. He studied at Padua, and
afterwards at Oxford. Having settled in London, he became a cherished
associate of Dr. Johnson. He was distinguished for his learning and
social virtues. He died 12th December, 1795.

[364] This gentlewoman, _née_ Anne Cochrane, was wife of Sir George
Preston, Bart., of Valleyfield. She was daughter of William, Lord
Cochrane of Ochiltree.

[365] A naval captain, of the House of Brisbane, of Brisbane in

[366] Katherine, Lady Maxwell of Monreith, wife of the fourth baronet.
She was daughter and heir of David Blair of Adamton, Ayrshire.

[367] Charles Cochrane, Esq., of Culross, a member of the Dundonald

[368] Sir Robert Monro, Bart., of Fowlis (not Sir Harry Munro), is
commemorated in the churchyard of Falkirk by a massive and elegantly
sculptured tombstone. He fell in the engagement at Falkirk on the 17th
January, 1746.

[369] The Rev. James Rolland was ordained minister of the first charge
of Culross in 1758; he died 10th December, 1815, in his eighty-eighth
year, and the sixty-second of his ministry. He was reputed for his
amiable manners and sterling piety. (_Scott’s Fasti._)

[370] William, second Earl of Dumfries, had only one son, Lord
Crichton, who reached maturity. He predeceased his father, leaving a
son and daughter. The earl died in 1691.

[371] Dr. Robert James, best known in connection with the fever powder
that bears his name, was born in 1703, at Kinverston, Staffordshire.
After practising as a physician at Sheffield, Lichfield, and
Birmingham, he removed to London, where he published his “Medicinal
Dictionary.” In the preparation of this work he was assisted by Dr.
Johnson, who had been his schoolfellow, and who regarded him as a
skilful practitioner. Dr. James produced several other medical works.
He died at London on the 23rd March, 1776.

[372] Mr. Gilbert Walmsley, an early friend and patron of Dr. Johnson.
He was an elegant scholar, and contributed many translations in Latin
verse to the _Gentleman’s Magazine_. He died on the 3rd August, 1751. A
monument to his memory has been reared in Lichfield Cathedral.

[373] Thomas Sheridan, father of his more celebrated son, Richard
Brinsley Sheridan (see _supra_).

[374] _Née_ Lady Charlotte Compton, daughter of James, Earl of
Northampton, and wife of Field-marshal George, fourth Viscount

[375] James Short, the eminent optician, was a native of Edinburgh, and
studied at the university of that city. In 1736 he became mathematical
tutor to the Duke of Cumberland. In 1739 he made a survey of the Orkney
islands. He subsequently settled in London as an optician, and obtained
a high reputation for his skill in constructing telescopes. He died
on the 15th June, 1768, aged 58. He had experienced the patronage of
James, thirteenth Earl of Morton, and he evinced his gratitude by
bequeathing a thousand pounds to Lady Mary Douglas (afterwards Countess
of Aboyne), the daughter of his benefactor.

[376] Boswell refers to the Dowager Lady Colville, relict of Alexander,
the eighth Baron. She was daughter of Alexander, sixth Earl of Kellie,
and sister of the Hon. Captain Andrew Erskine.

[377] Thomas Alexander, sixth Earl of Kellie, an eminent musician and
noted humorist. Died 9th October, 1781.

[378] David Dalrymple, son of Henry Dalrymple of Drummore, passed
advocate in 1743, and was raised to the bench as Lord Westhall, 10th
July, 1777. He died 26th April, 1784, in his 65th year.

[379] The parish of Carsphairn, in the Presbytery of Kirkcudbright,
became vacant in May 1780, by the death of the Rev. John Campbell.
The presentee, Mr. Affleck, was probably a son of John Affleck, of
Whitepark, in the same county. His settlement was successfully resisted.

[380] The Rev. James Brown merits more than a passing notice. Youngest
son of the Rev. John Brown, minister of Abercorn, he was born in that
parish in 1721. Licensed by the Presbytery of Perth in 1745, he was in
1747 ordained minister of Melrose. In 1767 was translated to Edinburgh.
At Melrose he gave an impulse to the linen manufactures of the place;
he afterwards became a zealous promoter of the national charities. On
his recommendation, Scripture Paraphrases were added to the Psalmody of
the Church. He died on May, 1786.

[381] Lieut.-General Alexander Leslie was second son of Alexander,
fifth Earl of Leven. In active service during the American war, he
distinguished himself at the battle of Guildford, on the 15th March,
1781. His only child, Mary-Ann Leslie, married 15th June, 1787, John
Rutherford, Esq., of Edgerstown.

[382] Sir James Johnstone, Bart., of Westerhall, was a
lieutenant-colonel in the army and member of Parliament. In 1792 he
laid claim to the marquisate of Annandale. He died unmarried in 1794.

[383] Mr. Robert Keith was ambassador at Vienna in 1749, and in 1758
was transferred to St. Petersburg. He died at Edinburgh in 1774.

[384] Miss Jenny Keith. The younger sister, Anne, latterly called
Mrs. Murray Keith, was an intimate friend of Sir Walter Scott; she
is the prototype of Mrs. Bethune Baliol, in the introduction to the
“Chronicles of the Canongate.” She died in 1818, aged 82.

[385] Thomas Barnard, D.D.

      *      *      *      *      *      *

Transcriber’s note:

—Obvious errors were corrected.

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