James Boswell

[9th Laird of Auchinleck] (1740-1795 / Edinburgh)

James Boswell Quotes

  • ''There was nothing to equal it in the whole history of the Corps Diplomatique.''
    James Boswell (1740-1795), Scottish author. (Originally published 1791). Life of Johnson, May 15, 1776, p. 776, Oxford University Press (1980). Burke's compliment to Boswell for bringing together the radical John Wilkes and the conservative Samuel Johnson.
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  • ''I have seen many a bear led by a man: but I never before saw a man led by a bear.''
    James Boswell (1740-1795), Scottish author. (Originally published 1791). Life of Johnson, May 10, 1773, footnote, p. 548, Oxford University Press (1980). Margaret Boswell's comment about her husband's friendship with Samuel Johnson.
  • ''EDWARDS: "You are a philosopher, Dr. Johnson. I have tried too in my time to be a philosopher; but, I don't know how, cheerfulness was always breaking in."''
    James Boswell (1740-1795), Scottish author. (Originally published 1791). Life of Johnson, April 17, 1778, p. 957, Oxford University Press (1980).
  • ''[A]s a lady adjusts her dress before a mirror, a man adjusts his character by looking at his journal.''
    James Boswell (1740-1795), Scottish author. (Originally published 1791). Life of Johnson, "30 March 1778," p. 898, Oxford University Press (1980).
  • ''I have Johnsonised the land; and I trust they will not only talk, but think, Johnson.''
    James Boswell (1740-1795), Scottish author. (Originally published 1791). Life of Johnson, p. 8, Oxford University Press (1980). Advertisement for the second edition.
  • ''I had now formed a clear and settled opinion, that the people of America were well warranted to resist a claim that their fellow-subjects in the mother-country should have the entire command of their fortunes, by taxing them without their consent.''
    James Boswell (1740-1795), Scottish author. (Originally published 1791). Life of Johnson, 1775, p. 590, Oxford University Press (1980). Boswell is countering Johnson's view that the American colonists are "a race of convicts."
  • ''Had his other friends been as diligent and ardent as I was, he might have been almost entirely preserved. As it is, I will venture to say that he will be seen in this work more completely than any man who has ever yet lived.''
    James Boswell (1740-1795), Scottish author. (Originally published 1791). Life of Johnson, p. 22, Oxford University Press (1980).
  • ''In progress of time, when my mind was, as it were, strongly impregnated with the Johnsonian æther, I could, with much more facility and exactness, carry in my memory and commit to paper the exuberant variety of his wit and wisdom.''
    James Boswell (1740-1795), Scottish author. (Originally published 1791). Life of Johnson, July 1, 1763, p. 297, Oxford University Press (1980).
  • ''My father had declared a predilection for heirs general, that is, males and females indiscriminately.... I, on the other hand, had a zealous partiality for heirs male, however remote.''
    James Boswell (1740-1795), Scottish author. (Originally published 1791). Life of Johnson, January 1776, p. 667, Oxford University Press (1980). Said by Johnson to Boswell.
  • ''My mind was, as it were, strongly impregnated with the Johnsonian aether.''
    James Boswell (1740-1795), Scottish biographer. Life of Samuel Johnson, July 1763 (1791).

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