Marshall Waingrow (ed.), The Yale Editions of the Private Papers of James Boswell: Research Edition: Correspondence, Vol. 2: The Correspondence and Other Papers of James Boswell relating to the Making of the Life of Johnson (Second Edition)

Find Location in text

Main Text

From Sir William Forbes, Thursday 13 October 1791

MS. Yale (C 1295).

Edinbg., 13th Octr. 1791

... I rejoice exceedingly, My Dear Sir, at the profitable issue of your publication of Dr. Johnson's life, from the perusal of which I derived a very high degree of entertainment. I found in it, indeed, several things that might, and some I must pg 346honestly confess, that I do humbly think ought to have been omitted. Yet I must at the same time add, that I met with many an[on]ymous anecdotes, to which I could easily supply a Key, from having formerly heard you relate them to me, and which you have prudently and discreetly foreborn to apply to their Authors by name. I feel regret that You did not oftner use the same precaution. You will pardon me, I hope, for this remark, and allow me the same indulgence in that respect, that You have kindly shown me on former Occasions.1...

Notes Settings


Editor’s Note
1 Forbes had been critical of the Tour on just these grounds, and had cautioned JB early (e.g. in his letters of 6 Dec. 1785 [C 1276] and 25 July 1787 [C 1278]) against giving offence in the Life. The subject of JB's candour (judged to be imprudent though innocent) makes up an interesting exchange between Forbes and Beattie, 9 Jan. and 12 Feb. 1786 (Forbes, An Account of the Life and Writings of James Beattie, LL.D., 1806, ii. 181 ff.).
logo-footer Copyright © 2019. All rights reserved. Access is brought to you by Log out