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Albemarle Street, June 1. 1835.
THIS volume opens with Boswell's Journal of his Tour to the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, with Dr. Johnson, in the autumn of 1773.
As the reader will be told by the Author, in the sequel, this Journal was perused, from time to time, in the original manuscript by Johnson himself; who acknowledged that he was astonished with the minute fidelity of its details. It was published, in one volume, octavo, in October 1785, within a year after Dr. Johnson's death. The original edition had two mottos: one in the title page, from Pope,— "O! while along the stream of time thy name Expanded flies and gathers all its fame, Say, shall my little bark attendant sail, Pursue the triumph, and partake the gale ?"
the other on a fly-leaf, from Baker's Chronicle,
"He was of an admirable pregnancy of wit, and that pregnancy much improved by continual study from his childhood; by which he had gotten such a promptness in expressing his mind, that his extemperal speeches were little inferior to his premeditated writings. Many,
no doubt, had read as much, and perhaps more than he; but scarce ever any concocted his reading into judgment as he did.”
The Dedication of the Journal was in these terms:
"TO EDMOND MALONE, ESQ.
"MY DEAR SIR,
"London, 20th September, 1785."
"In every narrative, whether historical or biographical, authenticity is of the utmost consequence. Of this I have ever been so firmly persuaded, that I inscribed a former work to that person who was the best judge of its truth. I need not tell you I mean General Paoli; who, after his great, though unsuccessful, efforts to preserve the liberties of his country, has found an honourable asylum in Britain, where he has now lived many years the object of royal regard and private respect; and whom I cannot name without expressing my very grateful sense of the uniform kindness which he has been pleased to show me.
"The friends of Dr. Johnson can best judge, from internal evidence, whether the numerous conversations which form the most valuable part of the ensuing pages are correctly related. To them, therefore, I wish to appeal, for the accuracy of the portrait here exhibited to the world.
"As one of those who were intimately acquainted with him, you have a title to this address. You have obligingly taken the trouble to peruse the original manuscript of this Tour, and can vouch for the strict fidelity of the present publication. Your literary alli
ance with our much lamented friend, in consequence of having undertaken to render one of his labours more complete, by your edition of Shakspeare, a work which I am confident will not disappoint the expectation of the public, gives you another claim. But I have a still more powerful inducement to prefix your name to this volume, as it gives me an opportunity of letting the world know that I enjoy the honour and happiness of your friendship; and of thus publicly testifying the sincere regard with which I am, my dear Sir, your very faithful and obedient servant,
To the third edition, published in August 1786, Mr. Boswell prefixed the following Advertisement:
"Animated by the very favourable reception which two large impressions of this work have had, it has been my study to make it as perfect as I could in this edition, by correcting some inaccuracies which I discovered myself, and some which the kindness of friends or the scrutiny of adversaries pointed out. A few notes are added, of which the principal object is, to refute misrepresentation and calumny.
"To the animadversions in the periodical journals of criticism, and in the numerous publications to which my book has given rise, I have made no answer. Every work must stand or fall by its own merit. I cannot, however, omit this opportunity of returning thanks to a gentleman who published a Defence'(1) of my Journal,
(1) ["A Defence of Mr. Boswell's Journal, in a Letter to the Author of the Remarks, &c." 1786.]
and has added to the favour by communicating his name to me in a very obliging letter.
"It would be an idle waste of time to take any particular notice of the futile remarks, to many of which, a petty national resentment, unworthy of my countrymen, has probably given rise; remarks which have been industriously circulated in the public prints by shallow or envious cavillers, who have endeavoured to persuade the world that Dr. Johnson's character has been lessened by recording such various instances of his lively wit and acute judgment, on every topic that was presented to his mind. In the opinion of every person of taste and knowledge that I have conversed with, it has been greatly heightened; and I will venture to predict, that this specimen of the colloquial talents and extemporaneous effusions of my illustrious fellow-traveller will become still more valuable, when, by the lapse of time, he shall have become an ancient; when all those who can now bear testimony to the transcendent powers of his mind shall have passed away, and no other memorial of this great and good man shall remain but the following Journal,' the other anecdotes and letters preserved by his friends, and those incomparable works which have for many years been in the highest estimation, and will be read and admired as long as the English language shall be spoken or understood."
This "Journal," in some respects the most interesting part of Boswell's whole record, was first incorporated with the rest of the narrative in Mr. Croker's edition of 1831.