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TO EDMOND MALONE, ESQ.
MY DEAR SIR,
In every narrative, whether historical or biographical, authenticity is of the utmost consequence'. Of this I have ever been so firmly persuaded, that I inscribed a former work' to that person who was the best judge of its truth. I need not tell you I mean General Paoli; who, after his great, though unsuccessful, efforts to preserve the liberties of his country, has found an honourable asylum in Britain, where he has now lived many years the object of Royal regard and private respect'; and whom I cannot name without expressing my very grateful sense of the uniform kindness which he has been pleased to shew me'.
The friends of Doctor Johnson can best judge, from internal evidence, whether the numerous conversations which form the most valuable part of the ensuing pages are correctly related. To them, therefore, I wish to appeal, for the accuracy of the portrait here exhibited to the world.
As one of those who were intimately acquainted with him, you have a title to this address. You have obligingly taken the trouble to peruse the original manuscript of this
See ante, ii. 497, note 1, and iii. 237. • His Account of Corsica, published in 1768.
• Horace Walpole wrote on Nov. 6, 1769 (Letters, v. 200) : I found Paoli last week at Court. The King and Queen both took great notice of him. He has just made a tour to Bath, Oxford, &c., and was everywhere received with much distinction.' See ante, ii. 81. • Boswell, when in London, was his constant guest.' Ante, iii. 40.
Tour, and can vouch for the strict fidelity of the present publication'. Your literary alliance with our much lamented friend, in consequence of having undertaken to render one of his labours more complete, by your edition of Shakspeare', a work which I am confident will not disappoint the expectations of the publick, gives you another claim. But I have a still more powerful inducement to prefix your name to this volume, as it gives me an opportunity of letting the world know that I enjoy the honour and happiness of your friendship; and of thus publickly testifying the sincere regard with which I am,
My dear Sir,
JAMES BOSWELL. LONDON, 20th September, 1785.
· Boswell's son James says that 'in 1785 Mr. Malone was shewn at Mr. Baldwin's printing - house a sheet of the Tour to the Hebrides which contained Johnson's character. He was so much struck with the spirit and fidelity of the portrait that he requested to be introduced to its writer. From this period a friendship took place between them, which ripened into the strictest and most cordial intimacy. After Mr. Boswell's death in 1795 Mr. Malone continued to shew every mark of affectionate attention towards his family.' Gent. Mag. 1813, p. 518.
• Malone began his edition of Shakespeare in 1782; he brought it out in 1790. Prior's Malone, pp. 98, 166.