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 ShawBorn 1723 in Straiton, Ayrshire
Probably the son of John Shaw (d. 1740) and Agnes Crawford. Possibly married to Helen Kennedy (d. 1795).1
In his journal, Boswell refers only to the Laird of Daltoune which doesn't identify Shaw with absolutely certainty, but the evidence seems to fit.
- 1. The Mort Roll from The commissariot record of Glasgow Register of testamenis, 1547-1800 mentions a relict [widow] of John Shaw, of Daton (Daltoun). Helen Kennedy probably died around November 11, 1795. Alan Hersey has provided me with information on Shaw's year of birth, and has further supported the identification of John Shaw as the Laird of Daltoune.
Life with Boswell:
Boswell met Shaw at James McAdam's on September 15, 1762. He described him as a man "who, from having a pretty fortune, is reduced to live in a cottage. He is a tall, lean man of tolerable parts, but has that happy absence of feeling which makes men easies under adverse fortune than all the reasoning of philosophy".