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james boswell Quotes

James Boswell Quotes

Birth Date: 1740-10-29 (Saturday, October 29th, 1740)
Date of Death: 1795-05-19 (Tuesday, May 19th, 1795)



    • 'Sir,' said Mr Johnson, 'a lawyer has no business with the justice or injustice of the cause which he undertakes, unless his client asks his opinion, and then he is bound to give it honestly. The justice or injustice of the cause is to be decided by the judge.'
    • I fancy mankind may come, in time, to write all aphoristically.
    • The best good man, with the worst natur'd muse.
    • Influence must ever be in proportion to property; and it is right it should.
    • In every place, where there is any thing worthy of observation, there should be a short printed directory for strangers.
    • As all who come into the country must obey the King, so all who come into an university must be of the Church.
    • My lord and Dr Johnson disputed a little, whether the savage or the London shopkeeper had the best existence; his lordship, as usual, preferring the savage.
    • I regretted I was not the head of a clan; however, though not possessed of such an hereditary advantage, I would always endeavour to make my tenants follow me.
    • Such groundless fears will arise in the mind, before it has resumed its vigour after sleep!
    • When I called upon Dr. Johnson next morning, I found him highly satisfied with his colloquial prowess the preceding evening. 'Well, (said he,) we had good talk.' BOSWELL: 'Yes, Sir, you tossed and gored several persons.'
    • He who has provoked the lash of wit, cannot complain that he smarts from it.
    • His mind resembled the vast ampitheatre, the Colis?um at Rome. In the centre stood his judgement, which like a mighty gladiator, combated those apprehensions that, like the wild beasts of the Arena, were all around in cells, ready to be let out upon him. After a conflict, he drives them back into their dens; but not killing them, they were still assailing him.
    • We cannot tell the precise moment when friendship is formed. As in filling a vessel drop by drop, there is at last a drop which makes it run over; so in a series of kindnesses there is at last one which makes the heart run over.
    • You are a philosopher, Dr. Johnson. I have tried too in my time to be a philosopher; but, I don't know how, cheerfulness was always breaking in.
    • Then, all censure of a man's self is oblique praise.
    • What can he mean by coming among us? He is not only dull himself, but the cause of dullness in others.
    • [...] for the Doctor observed, that no man takes upon himself small blemishes without supposing that great abilities are attributed to him; and that, in short, this affectation of candour or modesty was but another kind of indirect self-praise, and had its foundation in vanity.
    • Johnson is dead. Let us go to the next best:-there is nobody; no man can be said to put you in mind of Johnson.
    • james boswell

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