Moffat Town :- James Boswell, Biographer
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They Were Here :
James Boswell is one of the few Scots of his time known to most Englishmen, largely because of his friendship with Doctor Samuel Johnson, for whom he is the primary biographer. Boswell had the ability to recount his experiences in a way that put across his feelings and what he saw and experienced. His 'London Diaries' are on a par with those of the diarist Samuel Pepys, and of equal (though overlooked) bracing humour.
Boswell appears to have visited Moffat at least twice. The first recirded occasion was in 1752, when he was brought as a young boy to overcome 'a scorbutic illness'. This is interesting, as in that day and age it was not properly realised that scurvy was caused by a lack of Vitamin C. The waters would probably have been of small use to him, but fresh local food may have helped him.
By his own account, James Boswell also came to Moffat during 1768, taking the Moffat waters for his health and reporting the strange appearance of a Presbyterian who enjoined him and like bathers to pray for their sins. The reasoning behind the minister's words may lie in the fact that Moffat Well's waters were particularly beneficial to those (like James) who had eaten and drunk far too much for their own good. James was also a notorious womaniser whose Diaries were only published as late as 1957, his family having previously managed to prevent this. The papers are now at Yale University in the United States.
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All text and images © 1999 Richard Edkins of Dalbeattie Internet.
Moffat Town Website started 9th June 1999.
Last updated 23rd June 1999.