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James Boswell by W. Keith Leask

JAMES BOSWELL

FAMOUS SCOTS SERIES

_The following Volumes are now ready:_--

THOMAS CARLYLE. By Hector C. Macpherson. ALLAN RAMSAY. By Oliphant Smeaton. HUGH MILLER. By W. Keith Leask. JOHN KNOX. By A. Taylor Innes. ROBERT BURNS. By Gabriel Setoun. THE BALLADISTS. By John Geddie. RICHARD CAMERON. By Professor Herkless. SIR JAMES Y. SIMPSON. By Eve Blantyre Simpson. THOMAS CHALMERS. By Professor W. Garden Blaikie. JAMES BOSWELL. By W. Keith Leask.

[Illustration:

JAMES BOSWELL

BY W KEITH LEASK

FAMOUS .SCOTS. .SERIES.

PUBLISHED BY OLIPHANT ANDERSON & FERRIER. EDINBURGH AND LONDON

]

* * * * *

The designs and ornaments of this volume are by Mr Joseph Brown, and the printing from the press of Messrs Turnbull & Spears, Edinburgh.

* * * * *

~To~

GEORGE BIRKBECK HILL, D.C.L.; M.A. Pembroke (Johnson's) College, Oxford;

CHIEF OF JOHNSON SCHOLARS AND EDITORS; AND HIMSELF MOST "CLUBABLE" OF MEN.

* * * * *

PREFACE

The literature of the Johnsonian period has assumed, in spite of the lexicographer's own dislike of that adjective, prodigious dimensions. After the critical labours of Malone, Murphy, Croker, J. B. Nichols, Macaulay, Carlyle, Rogers, Fitzgerald, Dr Hill and others, it may appear hazardous to venture upon such a well-ploughed field where the pitfalls are so numerous and the materials so scattered. I cannot, however, refrain from the expression of the belief that in this biography of Boswell will be found something that is new to professed students of the period, and much to the class of general readers that may lead them to reconsider the verdict at which they may have arrived from the brilliant but totally misleading essay by Lord Macaulay. At least, the writer cherishes the hope that it will materially add to the correct understanding and the enjoyment of Boswell's great work, _the Life of Johnson_.

My best thanks are due to J. Pearson & Co., 5 Pall Mall Place, London, for the use of unpublished letters by Boswell and of his boyish common-place book. And if "our Boswell" could indulge an honest pride in availing himself of a dedication to Sir Joshua Reynolds, as to a person of the first eminence in his department, so may I entertain the same feeling in inscribing this sketch to Dr Hill who, amid the pressure of other Johnson labours, has yet found time to revise the proof sheets of my book.

W. K. L.

_ABERDEEN, December 1896._

CONTENTS

PAGE

CHAPTER I

EARLY DAYS--MEETS JOHNSON--1740-63 9

CHAPTER II

THE CONTINENT--CORSICA--1763-66 35


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