was warmly attached. He died suddenly in the prime of life, about a fortnight before his brother." '
When Boswell, at the age of twenty-seven, published his Account of Corsica, he boasted in his preface that "he cherished the hope of being remembered after death, which has been a great object to the noblest minds in all ages." When he saw his Life of Johnson reach its second edition, he said with a frankness which is almost touching, " I confess that I am so formed by nature and by habit, that to restrain the effusion of delight on having obtained such fame, to me would be truly painful. Why then should I suppress it? Why 'out of the abundance of the heart' should I not speak?" He goes on to mention the spontaneous praise which he has received from eminent persons, " much of which," he adds, " I have under their hands to be reposited in my archives at Auchinleck." How little did he foresee that his executors, with a brutish ignorance worthy of perpetual execration, would destroy his manuscripts ! If Oliver Goldsmith had had children and grand- children, they too, when they read of his envy and his vanity, when they were told that " in conversation he was an empty, noisy, blundering rattle," 2 might have blushed to own that they were sprung from the author of The Deserted Village and The Vicar of Wakefield.
It is a melancholy thing that Boswell's descendants should have seen their famous ancestor's faults so clearly as to have been unable to enjoy that pride which was so justly their due, in being sprung from a man of such real, if curious genius. Was it nothing to have written the best biography which the world has ever seen ? Nothing to have increased more than any writer of his generation "the public stock of harmless pleasure ?" Nothing to have "ex- hibited " with the greatest skill " a view of literature and literary men in Great Britain for near half a century ? " Nothing to have been the delight of men of the greatest and most varied genius ? Nothing to be read wherever the English tongue is spoken, and, as seems likely, as long as the English tongue shall last ? Sume superbiam quasitam meritis, " Assume the honours justly thine," we would say to each one of his race.
How widely Boswell's influence is felt is shown in a story which was told me by Sir Charles Sikes, the benevolent inventor
1 Lockhart's Life of Scott, vii. 33.
2 Macaulay's Miscellaneous Writings, ed. 1871, p. 369.