Was James Boswell a freemason?

Question

Was James Boswell really a freemason?

Answer

James Boswell was admitted a Freemason in the Canongate Kilwinning Lodge in Edinburgh on August 14, 1759, probably on a recommendation from his uncle John Boswell. Later on, he became Master of his lodge for two terms, and Depute Grand Master of Scotland from 1776 to 1778. Incidentally, the Grand Master of Scotland during Boswell's terms as Depute was his close personal friend Sir William Forbes.

How did James Boswell die?

Question

How did James Boswell die?

Answer

Boswell died in the early morning of May 19, 1795, in his London apartment at Great Portland Street. He was buried at Auchinleck a few weeks later.

Boswell's final downfall began when, on April 14 of that year, he suddenly fell ill during a meeting at the club and had to be taken home to his lodgings. From this time on, until his death, he suffered from fever, shiverings, headache and stomach disorder. He remained confident of a recovery until the last, although unable to read, write or even leave his bed.

William Ober, in Boswell's Clap and Other Essays: Medical Analyses of Literary Men's Afflictions (1978), suggests that the actual cause of death was uraemia provoked by an acute recrudescence of chronic urinary tract infections. The book is available via AbeBooks.