James Boswell Essay

This essay has a total of 1242 words and 9 pages.

James Boswell

In 1757 it does not appear that he published any thing, except some of those articles in
the Literary Magazine, which have been mentioned. That magazine, after Johnson ceased to
write in it, gradually declined, though the popular epithet of Antigallican was added to
it; and in July 1758 it expired. He probably prepared a part of his Shakspeare this year,
and he dictated a speech on the subject of an address to the Throne, after the expedition
to Rochfort, which was delivered by one of his friends, I know not in what publick
meeting. It is printed in the Gentleman's Magazine for October 1785 as his, and bears
sufficient marks of authenticity.

By the favour of Mr. Joseph Cooper Walker, of the Treasury, Dublin, I have obtained a copy
of the following letter from Johnson to the venerable authour of "Dissertations on the
History of Ireland."



"I HAVE lately, by the favour of Mr. Faulkner, seen your account of Ireland, and cannot
forbear to solicit a prosecution of your design. Sir William Temple complains that Ireland
is less known than any other country, as to its ancient state. The natives have had little
leisure, and little encouragement for enquiry; and strangers, not knowing the language,
have had no ability.

"I have long wished that the Irish literature were cultivated.2 Ireland is known by
tradition to have been once the seat of piety and learning; and surely it would be very
acceptable to all those who are curious either in the original of nations, or the
affinities of languages, to be further informed of the revolution of a people so ancient,
and once so illustrious.

"What relation there is between the Welsh and Irish language, or between the language of
Ireland and that of Biscay, deserves enquiry. Of these provincial and unextended tongues,
it seldom happens that more than one are understood by any one man; and, therefore, it
seldom happens that a fair comparison can be made. I hope you will continue to cultivate
this kind of learning, which has too long lain neglected, and which, if it be suffered to
remain in oblivion for another century, may, perhaps, never be retrieved. As I wish well
to all useful undertakings, I would not forbear to let you know how much you deserve in my
opinion, from all lovers of study, and how much pleasure your work has given to, Sir,

"Your most obliged,

"And most humble servant,


"London, April 9, 1757."



"DR. MARSILI Of Padua, a learned gentleman, and good Latin poet, has a mind to see Oxford.
I have given him a letter to Dr. Huddesford,3 and shall be glad if you will introduce him,
and shew him any thing in Oxford.

"I am printing my new edition of Shakspeare.

"I long to see you all, but cannot conveniently come yet. You might write to me now and
then, if you were good for any thing. But honores mutant mores. Professors forget their
friends.4 I shall certainly complain to Miss Jones.5 I am,

"Your, &c.


"[London] June 21, 1757.

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