James Boswell

1740 - 1795

James Boswell
©2022 Gazetteer for Scotland

James Boswell

Biographer and traveller. Born in Edinburgh, the son of the prominent advocate Lord Auchinleck, Boswell was educated at the Universities of Edinburgh, Glasgow and Utrecht. Although a lawyer by profession, Boswell travelled widely in Europe and is noted for his accounts of these journeys written in his distinctive style. Perhaps his best known work described his travels, with Dr. Samuel Johnson (1709-84), to the Scottish Highlands and Islands, published in 1785 as The Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides.

On the death of his father in 1782, Boswell inherited the family estates at Auchinleck, East Ayrshire and he moved there to become a capable and well-liked Laird. He spent much of his time there writing the biography of his friend and mentor Johnson, which was published in 1791, to great acclaim.

Boswell died in London, but lies buried anonymously in the family crypt in Auchinleck Parish Church.

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