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Quotations From JAMES BOSWELL

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  • 1.
    O charitable philosopher, I beg you to help me. My mind is weak but my soul is strong. Kindle that soul, and the sacred fire shall never be extinguished.
    James Boswell (1740-1795), Scottish author. Trans. from French. James Boswell: The Earlier Years, "Sketch of the Early Life of James Boswell," p. 6, Frederick A. Pottle, McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc. (1966). end of his appeal to Rousseau, written Dec. 5, 1764.

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  • 2.
    Hume, and other skeptical innovators, are vain men, and will gratify themselves at any expense. Truth will not afford sufficient food to their vanity; so they have betaken themselves to errour. Truth, Sir, is a cow that will yield such people no more milk, and so they are gone to milk the bull.
    James Boswell (1740-1795), Scottish writer. Johnson, in Life of Johnson.

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  • 3.
    I make it a kind of pious rule to go to every funeral to which I am invited, both as I wish to pay a proper respect to the dead, unless their characters have been bad, and as I would wish to have the funeral of my own near relations or of myself well attended.
    James Boswell (1740-1795), Scottish author. Laird of Auchinleck, journal, February 1, 1779, p. 46, McGraw-Hill (1977).

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  • 4.
    A good pun may be admitted among the smaller excellencies of lively conversation.
    James Boswell (1740-1795), Scottish author. (Originally published 1791). Life of Johnson, June 1784, p. 1309, Oxford University Press (1980). Contradicting Samuel Johnson, who had "a general aversion to a pun," ibid.
  • 5.
    I argued that the chastity of women was of much more consequence than that of men, as the property and rights of families depend upon it.
    James Boswell (1740-1795), Scottish author. Boswell in Extremes, journal, April 6, 1776, McGraw-Hill Book Publishing Company, Inc. (1970).

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  • 6.
    I then went to the Parade. I saw the King. It was a glorious sight.... As a loadstone moves needles, or a storm bows the lofty oaks, did Frederick the Great make the Prussian officers submissive bend as he walked majestic in the midst of them.
    James Boswell (1740-1795), Scottish author. Boswell on the Grand Tour: Germany and Switzerland, journal, July 13, 1764, p. 24, McGraw-Hill (1953).
  • 7.
    Yesterday morning had gone to bed very early, and had done it once: thirteen in all. Was really affectionate to her.
    James Boswell (1740-1795), Scottish author. Boswell on the Grand Tour: Italy, Corsica, and France, journal, February 12, 1766, p. 279, McGraw-Hill Book Publishing Company, Inc. (1955). Sole evidence that Boswell had an affair with Thérèse Levasseur, Rousseau's mistress, on his return journey from France.

    Read more quotations about / on: yesterday, gone
  • 8.
    We must take our friends as they are.
    James Boswell (1740-1795), Scottish author. Boswell The Great Biographer, journal, February 25, 1791, p. 18, McGraw-Hill Book Publishing Company, Inc. (1989).
  • 9.
    For my own part I think no innocent species of wit or pleasantry should be suppressed: and that a good pun may be admitted among the smaller excellencies of lively conversation.
    James Boswell (1740-1795), Scottish lawyer, biographer. Life of Dr Johnson, entry for June 19, 1784 (1791).
  • 10.
    My wife, who does not like journalizing, said it was leaving myself embowelled to posterity—a good strong figure. But I think it is rather leaving myself embalmed. It is certainly preserving myself.
    James Boswell (1740-1795), Scottish author. Ominous Years, November 3, 1775, pp. 174-75, McGraw-Hill (1963).
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