James Boswell had a positive talent for making friends and engineering strange meetings. He brought high Tory Samuel Johnson together with notorious radical John Wilkes (they had a rare old time); he met Rousseau, and Voltaire; he befriended and then offended the great philosopher David Hume.
But besides the renowned Dr Johnson, Boswell’s best, and most constant friends were a little more modest – Johnston of Grange, a quiet country lawyer in Dumfriesshire; William Temple, a Parson from Berwick, and the mercurial, melancholic and ultimately tragic poet Andrew Erskine. These friends stayed in touch with Boswell from youth to old age, and were often the lucky recipient of his candid letters and downright scandalous personal journals. His early London Journals were send every week for the entertainment of his friend Johnston; for his eyes only, but still written with an audience in mind. No wonder they were so entertaining! Johnston provided Boswell with a constant source of support and understanding, steadiness in contrast to his flighty, inconstant nature.

Here, Boswell describes the scene when two Highland soldiers entered a London theatre, and received the sharp end of anti-Scottish resentment;

…two Highland officers came in. The mob in the upper gallery roared out ‘No Scots! No Scots! Out with them!’, hissed and pelted them with apples. My heart warmed to my countrymen, my Scotch blood boiled with indignation. I jumped up on the benches, roared out, ‘Damn you, you rascals!’, hissed and was in the greatest rage. I am very sure at that this time I should have been one of the most distinguished of heroes. I hated the English; I wished from my soul that the Union was broke and that we might give them another battle of Bannockburn. …[I] asked them of what regiment they were. They told me Lord John Murray’s and that they had just come from Havana. ‘And this’ said they, ‘is the thanks that we get – to be hissed when we come home…’But,’ said one, ‘If I had a grip o yin or twa o the tamd rascals I sud let them ken what they’re about.’

So, what kind of friend of Boswell are you? Destined for immortality, or a consoling spirit such as Johnston? We would like you to follow Emma and Mitch as they follow Boswell. As a ‘FoB’ (That’s ‘Friend of Boswell’) you will receive a special username and password right before the launch of Boswell in Space online. And, in the preamble to the event, will also receive exclusive material that fleshes out the story of Boswell, and the backstory to Emma and Mitch’s jaunt.

It’s dead easy, and can be done by:

-Clicking the RSS feed and following this blog – we will take note of you as a follower, and keep in touch!

-Liking our Facebook Page

-Writing to us at boswellinspace@gmail.com, where we will add you to our mailing list.

Boswell himself has graciously agreed to haunt the proceedings, and has learned the art of tweeting. Follow BoswellsGhost to receive his thoughts on the project. Incurable gossip that he is, Mr Boswell will also be using twitter to spread rumour, hearsay and news on a fairly regular basis.

Hope to see you there!