Dumfries House any connections

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 02/06/2012 - 19:07

Do you know if there was any contact/friendship to the Earl of Dumfries ( His House was built 1754 -1759 about the same time as Auchinleck House)
I believe that he wrote or was friends with lord Mountstuart, Earl of Bute whos family later inherited the House. Any Thoughts?
I have been told that a Gateway/ Entrance to Dumfries House was built that required access from Boswell lands, it appears this was not forthcoming.  Again any thoughts?

I have checked Boswell's journals from 1778 until 1795, and the Earl of Dumfries as well as the dispute about access through the lands of Auchinleck House are mentioned several times:

The Boswells seem to have had a difficult relationship with the Earl of Dumfries in the 1770s and 1780s. In his journal of November 2, 1778, James Boswell wrote that at a dinner in Rosemount, “[The Earl of Dumfries] was exceedingly attentive to me [...] I was upon my guard, as I well knew that he and his Countess flattered themselves that they would get from me that road through our estate which my father had refused, and which in truth I was still more positive for refusing [etc.]” - he repeated in a later entry (september 1780) that the families were not on visiting terms, on account of the dispute about the road. He again described the Earl as “very attentive” at the funeral of Alexander Boswell, Lord Auchinleck, on September 4, 1782.

Shortly after Lord Auchinleck’s death, however, the Earl and Lady Dumfries paid a courtesey call to James at Auchinleck House, and he and his wife in turn visited Drumfries House on October 14, 1782, noting in his journal that “[o]ur visit was a little awkward, as there had been no communication between the families for several of the last years of my father’s life [...] I however wished to live on civil terms with such near neighbours [etc.]”.

On October 27, 1782, Boswell - then in the company of an acquaintance - wrote that “we looked at Lord Dumfries’s gate and the famous road. [...] I showed him that granting it would make the Auchinleck improvements appear part of the Earl of Dumfries’s domains. [...] If Lord Eglinton - if my Earl - were Earl of Dumfries and living at Dumfries House, he should have the road, but not to him and his heirs. [etc.]”

The Earl is mentioned a few times more in Boswell’s journals for the remainder of the 1780s, and they appear to have been quite civil to each other, Boswell even visiting the Earl a few times in London in 1787 and 1788.

Concerning Lord Mountstuart, Boswell travelled through parts of Italy with the young Lord in 1765, until at some point they had a disagreement and they continued on their seperate ways, Boswell eventually travelling to Corsica and befriending the rebel general Paoli. I believe Boswell dedicated his thesis in law in 1766/7 to Mountstuart, which occasioned Dr. Johnson to ask Boswell (in a letter) why he would dedicate it to a person that Johnson knew he [Boswell] did not much care for. 
I hope this answers your questions. If I discover anything else about Boswell's relationships with Dumfries or Mountstuart, I shall post it here.
Thomas, webmaster @ jamesboswell.info

Just wanted to say thanks for the excellent reply. I have only recently discovered the site and have been really impressed by the content and  replies to questions on the forum.
Seems that I am becoming more interested in James Boswell by the day so I will be a regular visitor to the site from now on.
Thanks again for the answers.