James Boswell

Born in Edinburgh in 1740, James Boswell followed a career in law set out for him by his father. After he completed his education at Edinburgh and Glasgow Universities he practised law in Edinburgh.

Boswell wanted to join the London elite and spent several months between 1760 and 1763 integrating himself socially with other professional gentlemen there. It was during one of his stays in London that he first met Dr. Samuel Johnson. Boswell and Johnson soon became close friends despite Boswell being much younger. Boswell was inspired by Johnson's outstanding knowledge of all things academic and his process of thought and articulation. From 1766 to 1785 Boswell worked as an advocate in Edinburgh before moving to London permanently.  In 1769 he married Margaret Montgomerie, his cousin.

In late summer, 1763, Boswell embarked upon a two and a half year Grand Tour of Europe as was the habit of young gentleman at the time. Ten years later he persuaded Samuel Johnson (who by this time was in ill health) to tour Scotland with him and the two men visited Boswell's father's home in Auchinleck (which James inherited in 1782 along with the rest of his father's estates and proved himself an able and popular Laird) as well as other sites in the south west of Scotland after a successful tour through the Hebrides. Johnson's account of their trip was to be regarded as one of his best works, while Boswell's account, concentrating on his conversations during the trip with his older friend, as much as the journey itself, was to make him a household name and establish him forever as one of Scotland's literary giants. "A Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides" was published in 1785. Later, in 1791, he also wrote "Life of Johnson", a biography of his older travelling companion. Just a few short years later, in 1795, James Boswell died in London a popular and successful writer who had been held in high esteem as much for his character as his academic and literary achievements which had been substantial.

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