James Boswell died in 1795 believing he had touched and kissed a cache of Shakespeare's original letters and papers discovered by a Mr. Ireland. His friend, Edmond Malone, publicly exposed the lot as a forgery just a year later.
John BlairDied 1772
- 1. This identification of the Captain Blair mentioned by Boswell both in letters to John Johnston and in journal entries is suggested by Ralph Walker in Correspondence of James Boswell and John Johnston. It is based primarily on the facts that 1) Blair was a first cousin once removed of Lord Eglinton's where Boswell met him on May 26, 1763, and 2) Boswell referred to all junior officers as Captains. One may wonder if John Johnston had the same habit, for in a letter to Boswell of March 10, 1763 he too refers to a Captain Blair, mentioning that the said Blair would arrive in London three weeks later. Pottle, in the London Journal, suggested that Boswell might have referred to a Lieutenant Alexander Blair of whom no more seems to be known, but more information may have been available when Correspondence of James Boswell and John Johnston was published.
Life with Boswell:
Boswell mentions a Captain Blair in an ecstatic letter to John Johnston dated September 13, 1762, and again in his journal of May 1, 1763, where he dined with Blair in the home of Andrew Douglas. He referred several times to Blair as a generous and honest soul; good company during the following months, when he saw a bit of Blair either together with Douglas or William Temple.