James Boswell's uncle John was a member of a sect known as the Glasites.
Oliver Goldsmith - Author of the Vicar of Wakefield
Oliver GoldsmithBorn ca. 1730
Died Apr 04, 1774 from kidney failure
Irish author, probably born in the County of Longford, the son of a clergyman in the Church of England. He got a BA from Trinity College, Dublin, in 1749, whereafter he went to Edinburgh to study medicine. Best known for The Vicar of Wakefield, which was published in 1766. Other works include the plays The Good Natured Man (1768) and She Stoops to Conquer (1773), as well as the long poems The Traveller (1764) and The Deserted Village (1770). He died from some sort of kidney failure in on April 4, 1774.
Boswell first met Goldsmith at Thomas Davies bookshop on Christmas day, 1762 and described him as "a curious, odd, pedantic fellow with some genius." They also met at Drury Lane on the opening night of Frances Sheridan's comedy The Discovery (February 2, 1763), and Boswell went to see Goldsmith at his lodgings in Canonbury House (Islington) on June 26, 1763.
On July 1, 1763 Goldsmith gave Boswell a very fitting characteristic, as recounted by Boswell in his journal: He said I had a method of making people speak. "Sir," said I, "that is next best to speaking myself." "Nay," said he, "But you do both." I must say indeed that if I excel in anything, it is in address and making myself easily agreeable..
In his journal of September 21, 1769 Boswell mentions meeting him by chance, in the place where they first met, Davies' bookshop, and that they hadn't seen each other for about 3 years. This presumably means, that they met during Boswell's short stay in London in February and March, 1766.
From 1769 until Goldsmith's death they met occasionally, dining and chatting together in various circumstances, and Goldsmith was chairman of the Literary Club on the night (May 30, 1773) that Boswell was elected a member.
Boswell had "not been so much affected with any event that has happened of a long time", wrote he to David Garrick on April 11, 1774, referring to the death of Goldsmith some days earlier.
James Prior's early (1837) biography of Goldsmith dedicates an entire chapter to Boswell's relationship with him. Boswell's journals weren't known at the time, and the general impression of Boswell was not good. It is interesting to note, how certain passages in Boswell's Life of Johnson can be understood very differently, depending on whether one has read Boswell's journals or not. Prior certainly thought that Boswell had misunderstood Goldsmith completely, and that Boswell himself should be the target of all of those accusations which he says Boswell blamed Goldsmith for. As such, the rather long chapter is more of an attack on Boswell than a defence of Goldsmith.1
- 1. Prior, James. (1837). The Life of Oliver Goldsmith, M.B. from a Variety of Original Sources. Vol 1. p. 427-463.
Goldsmith's plays, poems and other works are today widely available in numerous editions via AbeBooks.