meeting of the minds….

“Who can like the Highlands?” asked Dr. Johnson after James Boswell had dragged him from Edinburgh to Inverness to Skye and back to the Lowlands. Boswell could,and soon set about immortalizing the tour…

At Auchinleck, Dr. Johnson, a vehement Tory, fell into a “warm and violent” quarrel with Boswell’s father, a hotly partisan Whig. The fight, which occurred at the end of the tour, erupted when Boswell’s father showed Johnson a medal bearing the likeness of Cromwell, representative of all that Johnson abhorred. Writing of the quarrel years later, Boswell consoled himself with the thought that the two combatants were now united in heaven, “where,” he observed with the fatuity that made him and Dr. Johnson immortal, “there is no room for Whiggism.”

—- The engravings depict scenes from Boswell’s Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides with Samuel Johnson, L.L.D., albeit filtered through Rowlandson’s wickedly satirical imagination. It would be difficult for me to pick a favorite, but for obvious reasons I’m especially fond of this one showing a confrontation between Johnson and Boswell’s father. Although Rowlandson has almost certainly exaggerated the intensity of the disagreement for comic effect, the depiction may owe something to the infamous story of Johnson assaulting the bookseller Thomas Osborne with a stout folio.—Read More:

Boswell:MONDAY 8 NOVEMBER. Notwithstanding the altercation that had passed, my father, who had the dignified courtesy of an old baron, was very civil to Dr. Johnson, and politely attended him to the post-chaise which was to convey us to Edinburgh.

Thus they parted. They are now in another, and a higher, state of existence; and as they were both worthy Christian men, I trust they have met in happiness. But I must observe, in justice to my friend’s political principles and my own, that they have met in a place where there is no room for Whiggism….

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