In this volume we follow Boswell from his return from his grand tour of Europe until his marriage in 1769, in what was probably some of the happiest years of his life. During the course of the book he graduates as an advocate, he gets involved in the Douglas cause, he publishes both Dorando and the hugely successful Account of Corsica, he travels to Ireland in search of a wife, and finally ends up marrying his own cousin Margaret Montgomerie.
Boswell apparently ceased to write a full journal upon his return from Europe in early 1766. The year of 1766 is therefore mostly illustrated by some of his letters to and from William Temple, Samuel Johnson, David Dalrymple and William Pitt. In early 1767 he again began to write a journal, although not as detailed as his earlier ones. He continued this until June 3, 1767 after which no further journal entries are known until January 1, 1768 - which may be either due to his ceasing to write once again, or it may have been lost. Several journal fragments from January 1 until May 22, 1768 are then included, followed by another pause in the journal of almost a year until April 25, 1769 and his "Journal of Journey to Ireland" together with his cousin Margaret Montgomerie. James and Margaret became so close on this journey that they eventually decided to marry, which they did on November 25, 1769.
The blanks left by missing or non-existent journal pages are to some extent filled in by letters and extracts from The Life of Samuel Johnson, LL.D., the Scots Magazine and the London Chronicle.