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TO JAMES BOSWELL, ESQ.
“ August 3, 1773. “DEAR SIR, -I shall set out from London on Friday the sixth of this month, and purpose not to loiter much by the way. Which day I shall be at Edinburgh, I cannot exactly tell. I suppose I must drive to an inn, and send a porter to find you.
“I am afraid Beattie will not be at his college soon enough for us, and I shall be sorry to miss him; but there no staying for the concurrence of all conveniencies. We will do as well as we can. I am, Sir, your most humble servant,
“ Sam. Johnson."
* August 3, 1768. “ DEAR SIR,—Not being at Mr. Thrale's when your letter came, I had written the inclosed paper and sealed it; bringing it hither for a frank, I found yours. If anything could repress my ardour, it would be such a letter as yours. To disappoint a friend is unpleasing; and he that forms expectations like yours, must be disappointed. Think only, when you see me, that you see a man who loves you, and is proud and glad that you love him. I am, Sir, your inost affectionate,
hnson sets out on his Visit to the Hebrides—Sketch of his Character, religious, moral, political, and literary–His Figure and Manner-He arrives in Scotland-MemorabiliaLaw of Prescription-Trial by Duel--Mr. Scott-Sir William Forbes—Practice of the LawEmigration - Rev. Mr. Carr-Chief Baron Orde-Dr. Beattie and Mr. Hume-Dr. Robertson-Mr. Burke-Genius-Whitfield and Wesley-Political Parties - Johnson's Opinion o. Garrick.
This chapter opens with Boswell's Journal of his Tour to the Highlands and (slands of Scotland, with Dr. Johnson, in the autumn of 1773.
As the reader will be told by the Author, in tbe sequel, this Journal was perused, from time to time, in the original manuscript by Johnser. bimself; who acknowledged that he was astonished with the minute fidelicy of its details. It was published, in one volume, octavo, in October, 1785, within a year after Dr. Johnson's death. The original edition had two mottos : one in the title page, from Pope,
“O! while along the stream of time thy namo
Expanded flies and gathers all its fame,
the other on a fly-leaf, from Baker's Chronicle,
“He was of an admirable pregnancy of wit, and that pregnancy much improved by continual study from his childhood; by which he had gotten such a promptness in expressing his mind, that his extemporal speeches were little inferior to his premeditated writings. Many, no doubt, had read as much, and perhaps more than he; but scarce ever any concocted his reading into judgment as he did.”
The Dedication of the Journal was in these terms:
“ TO EDMUND MALONE, ESQ.
“ London, 20th September 1785. “MY DEAR SIR, “In every narrative, whether historical or biographical, authenticity is of the utmost consequence. Of this I have ever been so firmly persuaded, that I
ADVERTISEMENT TO THIRD EDITION.
inscribed a former work to that person who was the best judge of its truth. I need not tell you I mean General Paoli; who, after his great, though unsucmessful, efforts to preserve the liberties of his country, has found an honourable asylum in Britain, where he has now lived many years the object of royal regard and private respect; and whom I cannot name without expressing my very ateful sense of the uniform kindness which he has been pleased to show
“ The friends of Dr. Johnson can best judge, from internal evidence, whether the numerous conversations which form the most valuable part of the ensuing pages, are correctly related. To them, therefore, I wish to appeal, for the accuracy of the portrait here exhibited to the world.
“ As one of those who were intimately acquainted with him, you have a title to this address. You have obligingly taken the trouble to peruse the original manuscript of this Tour, and can vouch for the strict fidelity of the present publication. Your literary alliance with our much lamented friend, in consequence of Laving undertaken to render one of his labours more complete, by your edition of Shakspeare, a work which I am confident will not disappoint the expectation of the public, gives you another claim. But I have a still more powerful inducement to prefix your name to this volume, as it gives me an opportunity of letting the world know that I enjoy the honour and happiness of your friendship, and of thus publicly testifying the sincere regard with which I am, my dear Sir, your very faithful and obedient servant,
“ JAMES BOSWELL."
'To the third edition, published in August, 1786, Mr. Boswell prefixed the following Advertisement:
" Animated by the very favourable reception which two large impressions of this work have had, it has been my study to make it as perfect as I coulii in this edition, by correcting some inaccuracies which I discovered myself, and some which the kindness of friends or the scrutiny of adversaries pointed out. A few notes are added, of which the principal object is, to refute misrepresentation and calumny.
“To the animadversions in the periodical journals of criticism, and in the numerous publications to which my book has given rise, I have made no
Every work must stand or fall by its own merit. I cannot, however, omit this opportunity of returning thanks to a gentleman who published a * Defence' of my Journal, and has added to the favour by communicating his name to me in a very obliging letter.
· It would be an idle waste of time to take any particular notice of the tutile remarks, to many of which, a petty national resentment, unworthy of
!" A Defence of Mr. Boswell's Journal, in a Letter to the Author of the Remarks, &c." 1786.
my country'nen, has probably given rise; remarks which have been industri. ously circulated in the public prints by shallow or envious cavillers, who have cndeavoured to persuade the world that Dr. Johnson's character has been lessened by recording such various instances of his lively wit and acute judg. ment, on every topic that was presented to his mind. In the opinion of every person of taste and knowledge that I have conversed with, it has been greatly heightened ; and I will venture to predict, that this specimen of the colloquial talents and extemporaneous effusions of my illustrious fellow-traveller will become still more valuable, when, by the lapse of time, he shall have become an ancient; when all those who can now bear testimony to the transcendent powers of his mind shall have passed away, and no other memorial of this great and good man shall remain but the following ‘Journal,' the other anecdotes and letters preserved by his friends, and those incomparable works which have for many years been in the highest estimation, and will be read and admired as long as the English language shall be spoken or understood."
This “Journal,” in some respects the most interesting part of Boswell's whole record, was first incorporated with the rest of the narrative in Mr. Croker's edition of 1831.]
Dr. Johnson had, for many years, given me hopes that we should go together and visit the Hebrides. Martin's account of those Islands had impressed us with a notion, that we might there contemplate a system of life almost totally different from what we had been accustomed to see ; and to find simplicity and wildness, and all the circumstances of remote time or place, so near to our native great island, was an object within the reach of reasonable curiosity. Dr. Johnson has said in his “ Journey,” that “he scarcely remembered how the wish to visit the Hebrides was excited ;" but he told me, in summer, 1763, that his father put Martin's account into his hands when he was very young, and that he was much pleased witb it.'
We reckoned there would be some inconveniences and hardships, and perhaps a little danger ; but these, we were persuaded,
1 It is entitled, “A Description of the Western Islands of Scotland," by M. Martin, Gent., 1703. A second edition appeared in 1761. On a copy of Martin, in the Advocate sLibrary, I found, last summer (1834), the following note in the handwriting of Mr Boswell :
“This very book accompanied Mr. Samuel Johnson and me in ou Toui to the Hebrides, in autumn 1773. Mr. Johnson told me that he had read Martin wbor. br WW vers young Martin was a native of the Isle of Sky, where a number of his relatinop atjų mamein His book is a very imperfect performance, and he is erroneous as to many nnethirlps. Cyn yme concerning his own island. Yet, as it is the only book upon the subjent, k is very generally known. I have seen a second edition of it. I cannot but have a kinda eta JO1 ANOS, 10tuith standing his defects --James Boswell.”-UPCOTT,
TOUR TO THE HEBRIDES.
were magnified in the imagination of everybody. When I was at Ferney, in 1764, I mentioned our design to Voltaire. He looked at me, as if I had talked of going to the North Pole, and said, “ You do not insist on my accompanying you ?" “No, Sir.” “ Then I am very willing you should go." I was not afraid that our curious expedition would be prevented by such apprehensions, but I doubted that it would not be possible to prevail on Dr. Johnson to relinquish, for some time, the felicity of a London life, which, to a man who can enjoy it with full intellectual relish, is apt to make existence in any narrower sphere seem insipid or irksome. I doubted that he would not be willing to come down from his elevated state of philosophical dignity ; from a superiority of wisdom among the wise, and of learning among the learned ; and from flashing his wit upon minds bright enough to reflect it.
He had disappointed my expectations so long, that I began to despair ; but, in spring, 1773, he talked of coming to Scotland that year with so much firmness, that I hoped he was at last in earnest. I knew that, if he were once launched from the metropolis, he would go forward very well ; and I got our common friends there to assist in setting him afloat. To Mrs. Thrale, in particular, whose enchantment over him seldom failed, I was much obliged.' It was, “ I'll give the a wind.”—“Thou art kind.” To attract him, we had invi. iations from the chiefs Macdonald and Macleod ; and, for additional aid, I wrote to Lord Elibank, Dr. William Robertson, and Dr. Beattie
To Dr. Robertson, so far as my letter concerned the present subject, I wrote as follows :
“Our friend, Mr. Samuel Johnson, is ir great health and spirits; and, I do think, has a serious resolution to visit Scotland this year. The more attraction, however, the better; and, therefore, though I know he will be happy to ineet you there, it will forward the scheme, if, in your answer to this, you express yourself concerning it with that power of which you are so happily possessed, and which may be so directed as to operate strongly upon him.
She gives, in one of her letters to Dr. Johnson, the reasons which induced her to approva this excursion :-" Fatigue is profitable to your health, upon the whole, and keeps fancy from playing foolish tricks. Exercise for your body and exertion for your mind, will oníribute nore than all the medicine in the universe to preserve that life we all consider as invalu. able." -Letters, vol. I. p. 190.--CROKER.