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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 accusation:

"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,* has a rage for knowing anybody that was ever talked " and

* Richard Owen Cambridge, author of "The Scribleraid other works. A gentleman of opulence, he entertained in his villa at Twickenham the literary celebrities of his time. He died in 1802, aged eighty-five.


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 np 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 :--*

"Pembroke College, February 25, 1768.


"Mr. Boswell's book I was going to recommend to you I received your letter. It has pleased and moved me strangelyall (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."+

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,

* 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.

+"The Works of Thomas Gray. Edited by the Rev. John Mitford." London: 1816, 2 vols., 4to, vol. ii., p. 498.

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


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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 clairn 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 And now my friend, my best adviser, comes to hear me talk of her and to fix my wavering mind."


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