James Harris - author of Hermes

James Harris

Born Jul 20, 1709 in Salisbury
Died Dec 22, 1780


English grammarian, author and politician, born in Salisbury. Educated at Salisbury and Oxford. He inherited a small fortune in 1733 upon the death of his father. In 1744 he published three treatises, to which Boswell refer in LJ071262, on art; on music, painting and poetry; and on happiness. In 1751 he published Hermes, a philosophical work concerning grammar. MP for Christchurch (1761-1780). Comptroller to the Queen (1774-1780). His son, James Harris (1746-1820) became 1st Earl of Malmesbury, and published (1801) the complete works of his father.

Life with Boswell: 

Boswell met James Harris Lord Eglinton's on December 7, 1762 and May 9, 1763. He clearly knew Harris' works in advance, and referred to them in his journal. He may also be the Mr. Harris at whose place Boswell dined on September 12, 1769.


Searches for Title: Hermes and Author: Harris at AbeBooks.com yields several copies of Hermes or a Philosophical Enquiry Concerning Universal Grammar, some of them original 1751 editions, other later reprints. His treatises seems to be much harder to come by.