James Boswell

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James Boswell

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Mar 23, 2014, 2:37pm

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Mar 23, 2014, 5:54pm

Do the Scots consider James Boswell as Scottish?


James Boswell was a patriotic Scot but loyal British subject too. If you consider his Life of Johnson or his A Journal of a tour to the Hebrides you will find plenty of occasions where he defends his natives against the digs from his hero, Johnson...

Doctor Johnson proposed to define the word ‘oats’ thus: ‘A grain which in England is generally given to horses, but in Scotland supports the people.’ And I replied: ‘Aye, and that’s why England has such fine horses, and Scotland such fine people.’

This Life of Johnson inspired me in no small part to take up the study of Latin, as it is peppered throughout with quotations in that Ancient language. It is a hefty tome but is well worth the read.

Mar 23, 2014, 8:28pm

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Mar 23, 2014, 8:31pm


I certainly think that he bemoaned some aspects that he perceived to be failings of his compatriots, but he was a Scot, and defended his country, nonetheless.

I think for the most part, he sought out London because it was the place to be for the ambitious, whether that be those of a legal or literary ilk, it was certainly the place to blossom and be recognised in your time.