Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Boswell, James, biographer of Johnson, was born in 1740 at Edinburgh, where he was educated at the university and at Glasgow. He was always of a literary turn, and in 1762 published The Cub at Newmarket, a humorous poem, and in 1763 Letters between the Hon. Andrew Erskine and James Boswell. In this same year he made the acquaintance of Dr. Johnson in the back parlour of Tom Davies's shop, in Russell Street, and a close intimacy at once sprang up between them. He then proceeded to Utrecht to study civil law, where he received an allowance of 240 a year from his father, Lord Auchinleck, a judge of the supreme court in Scotland. After leaving Utrecht university he travelled on the Continent, visiting Voltaire and Rousseau, and returned in 1766 to England, where he published in 1768 his Account of Corsica, Journal of a Tour to that Island, and Memoirs of Pascal Paoli. In 1769, after various love affairs, Boswell married a cousin, Margaret Montgomery, a relative of the Earl of Eglinton, and in 1773 he removed to London, where he was admitted as a member of the Literary Club, and immediately set out with Johnson on the famous journey to the Hebrides. In 1785 appeared the Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides, the year after his last meeting with Johnson at Sir Joshua Reynolds'. His Life of Johnson appeared in 1791, and was rapidly bought up. Though on the death of his father in 1782 he had fallen heir to an estate worth £1,600 a year, he was yet usually far from solvent, and after his wife's death in 1789 his drinking habits grew upon him. Towards his death, which occurred in 1795, he had become an habitual drunkard.