Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 05.djvu/436

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Boswell
Boswell
428

clair's Memoirs of the Right Hon. Sir John Sinclair, Bt. (1837), i. 183–8; Gent. Mag. (1813), lxxxiii. pt. ii. 630, 704; Ann. Reg. (1813), Chron. p. 123; European Mag. (1813), lxiv. 562–3; Scots Mag. (1814), p. 168; Hunter's South Yorkshire (1831), ii. 343–60; Chambers's Book of Days (1869). ii. 705–6.]

G. F. R. B.


BOSWELL, ALEXANDER, Lord Auchinleck (1700–1782), Scotch judge, the eldest son of James Boswell of Auchinleck, advocate, and Lady Elizabeth Bruce, third daughter of Alexander, second earl of Bancardine, was born in 1700. After studying at Leyden University, where he graduated 29 Dec. 1727, he was admitted a member of the faculty of advocates 29 Dec. 1729. In 1748 he was appointed sheriff-depute of Wigtownshire, which office he resigned in 1750. Upon the resignation of David Erskine, lord Dun, he was appointed an ordinary lord of session, and on 16 Feb. 1754 took his seat on the bench with the title of Lord Auchinleck. On 22 July in the following year he was also appointed a lord justiciary in the place of Hew Dalrymple, Lord Drummore. This last appointment he resigned in 1780 on account of his feeble state of health. He continued, however, to sit as an ordinary lord until his death, which happened at Edinburgh on 31 Aug. 1782, in the seventy-sixth year of his age. Lord Auchinleck was a sound scholar and a laborious judge. In religion he was a strict presbyterian, and in politics a strong whig. Dr. Johnson's visit to him at Auchinleck in November 1773 is amusingly recounted by his son James in the 'Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides.' Scott gave some additional anecdotes to Croker. It was Lord Auchinleck who is said to have designated Johnson as 'Ursa Major.' Lord Auchinleck married twice. His first wife was Euphemia Erskine, daughter of Colonel John Lrskine and Euphemia his wife. By this marriage there were three sons: James, the biographer of Dr. Johnson; John, who entered the army and died unmarried; and David, who in early life went into business, but afterwards became head of the prize department in the navy office, bought Crawley Grange, Buckinghamshire, and died in 1820. Lord Auchinleck's second wife was his cousin Elizabeth, daughter of John Boswell of Balmuto, and sister of Claud Irvine Boswell [q. v.], afterwards Lord Balmuto. There was no issue of this marriage, which took place on the same day on which his son James was married, 25 Nov. 1709.

[Brunton and Haig's Senators of the College of Justice (1832), p. 518; Boswell's Johnson (Croker's edit. 1831), iii. passim; Dr. Rogers's Boswelliana (1874), passim; Gent. Mag. lii. 55.]

G. F. R. B.

BOSWELL, Sir ALEXANDER (1775–1822), antiquary and poet, eldest son of James Boswell the biographer, w as born on 9 Oct. 1775, at the family mansion at Auchinleck, Ayrshire, and named after his grandfather, the Scotch judge, then living there. Along with his brother James he was educated at Westminster and Oxford. At his father's death in 1795 he succeeded to Auchinleck, and in the same vear commenced the tour of Europe. He wrote, at Leipzig, 'Taste Life's glad moments,' a translation of Usteri's poem 'Freu't euch des Lebens.' Being an enthusiastic lover of Burns's poetry, he composed in his native dialect several songs which were exceedingly popular, and in 1803 collected them into a volume, published anonymously, 'Songs chiefly in the Scottish Dialect,' Edin. 8vo. These are very graphic, full of Scotch humour, but coarse at times.

Having settled at Auchinleck, he studied the literature of his country, and imitated the ancient ballad style. In 1803 he published 'The Spirit of Tintoc, or Johnny Bell and the Kelpie,' Edin. 8vo. The same year he published an 'Epistle to the Edinburgh Reviewers,' in verse, by A. B., Edin. 4to. To George Thomson's 'Select Collection of Original Welsh Airs,' Edin. 1809, fol.,he contributed five songs. His next book was anonymous, 'Edinburgh, or the Ancient Royalty ; a sketch of Former Manners,' by Simon Gray, Edin. 1810, 12mo. In 1811, with his name affixed, appeared 'Clan Alpin's Vow,' a fragment, Edin. 8vo (second edition, London, 1817, 8vo). 'Sir Albyn,' a poem, burlesquing the style and rhythm of Scott, was published in 1812. Turning his attention to the literary heirlooms of Auchinleck, in 1811 he published from a manuscript 'A Breefe Memoriall of the Lvfe and Death of Dr. James Spottiswood, bishop of Clogher in Ireland, . . .' Edinb. 4to, and he reprinted from a unique copy of a black-letter work, originally published by Knox himself, the disputation between Quintine Kennedy, Commendatour of Crosraguell and John Knox, entitled 'Ane Oratioune . . . 1561,' Edin. 1812, 4to. To George Thomson's 'Select Collection of Original Irish Airs,' Edin. 1814, fol., he contributed seven songs, of which 'Paddy O'Rafferty' and 'The Pulse of an Irishman' are well known.

In 1815 he established a private press at Auchinleck. A gossiping letter, telling of his difficulties in the undertaking, addressed to Dibdin in 1817, is given in the 'Decameron' along with an engraving of the thatched cottage, his printing office, 'Officina Typographica Straminea.' Here, as first fruits, appeared 'The Tyrant's Fall,' a poem