Veronica Boswell - daughter of the Biographer

Personal data
Born March 15, 1773
Died September 26, 1795

Daughter of James Boswell (1740-1795) and Margaret Montgomerie (1738-1789).

Veronica died just four months after her father at the age of just 22.

Life with Boswell

When Dr Johnson arrived to see Boswell in Edinburgh at the beginning of their tour together through Scotland in August 1773, Veronica was Boswell's only living child, although just four months old. In Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides Boswell described how "Mr. Johnson was pleased with my daughter Veronica, [who] had the appearance of listening to him. His motions seemed to her to be intended for her amusement, and when he stopped, she fluttered and made a little infantine noise, and a kind of signal for him to begin again. She would be held close to him, which was a proof from simple nature that his figure was not horrid. Her fondness for him endeared her still more to me, and I declared she should have five hundred pounds of additional fortune."

For more than a century, it was thought that Boswell did not eventually follow through with his promise to grant his daughter an additional fortune. However, in 1937, a document was discovered by Colonel Isham, drawn up by Boswell on March 3, 1795, reading in part:

I, James Boswell, Esquire, of Auchinleck in the Country of Ayr, from the love which I have for my daughter Veronica Boswell, and also in consideration of myu having said that I would give her five hundred pounds of additional fortune when I was pleased with her infantine attention to my illustrious friend Doctor Samuel Johnson when he was in Scotland, do give and grant to her ... five hundred pounds sterling lawful money of Great Britain.1

Sadly, Veronica died before the grant was paid, and her funeral bills were charged against the bequest. The remainder was divided among her brothers, Alexander and James, and sister, Euphemia.