- Museum number
Object: Revising for the Second Edition
Series: Picturesque Beauties of Boswell. Part the Second.
A laird in Highland dress (left) seizes Boswell by the throat. The latter is seated at his writing-table, holding up his hands in supplication. His 'Journal' is open at pp. '168' and '169'. The laird, Sir Alexander Macdonald, points with his cane at p. 169; torn-out pages lie on the floor, one is '165', another '167'. On the wall of the bare, boarded room are (left) 'A Map of Skye' showing 'Armidale' and (right) 'View [of] Auchenleck, the Seat of' (name obscured by Boswell's cap). Boswell is dressed as in BMSat 7031, &c, his pen is in the inkpot which stands on the table, its ribbon hanging from it. Beneath the title is engraved:
'"Having found, on a revision of this work, that a few observations had escaped me, the publication of which might be considered as passing the bounds of strict decorum, I immediately ordered that they should be omitted in the present edition." Vide Journal p. 527 2d Edn
"Let Lord McDonald threat thy breech to kick,"
"And o'er thy shrinking shoulders shake his stick."
Vide Poetical Epistle to Jas Boswell Esqr by Peter Pindar Esqr 16.' 15 June 1786
- Production date
Height: 260 millimetres
Width: 275 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- (Description and comment from M.Dorothy George, 'Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires in the British Museum', VI, 1938)
The passage in question related to Sir Alexander McDonald, then living in a tenant's house in Armidale, the family mansion having been burnt down. Dr. Johnson's expectations of him as an 'Eton Scholar' were disappointed by his visit and by complaints 'of rents racked and people driven to emigration' (pp. 165-6). Boswell wrote to the 'Gentleman's Magazine', p. 285, complaining that the passage from the 2nd edition, p. 527, here quoted, had been 'misunderstood by some and grossly misrepresented by others'. He had omitted 26 lines relating to Sir A. McDonald, but no application had been made to him 'by the nobleman alluded to' (see BMSat 7051). The last paragraph of this letter is quoted in the advertisement of both parts of this series, where the title ends 'under the Inspection of a learned Friend'. The slander was grossly expressed in 'Peter Pindar's Poetical Epistle', p. 16, quoted above, with the footnote: 'A letter of severe remonstrance was sent to Mr. B. who, in consequence, omitted, in the second edition of his Journal, what is so generally pleasing to the public, viz. the scandalous passages relative to this nobleman.' For the relations between Boswell and Macdonald see the much longer and severer observations in the original 'Journal', ed. Pottle and Bennett, 1936, pp. 114 ff. and n.
Grego, 'Rowlandson', i. 196.
One of a set of twenty plates, 1864,0309.167 to 186, bound together in an album along with letterpress handbills listing the prints and prices for each part (10s. 6d.).
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number