James Boswell of Auchinleck
Advocate & Biographer of Johnson
James Boswell is probably better known as the biographer of Dr. Johnson, served twice as the Master of Canongate Kilwinning, but declined the nomination for the Grand Master of Scotland, but became the Depute Grand Master in 1776-78.
Though they were both Ayrshiremen, Burns and Boswell never met. That Burns hoped for such a meeting is shown by the letter he wrote to Bruce Campbell on 13th November 1788:
'I inclose you, for Mr Boswell, the ballad you mentioned; and as I hate sending waste paper or mutilating a sheet, I have filled it up with one or two of my fugitive Pieces that occurred. Should they procure me the honour of being introduced to Mr Boswell, I shall think they have great merit. There are few pleasures my late will-o'-wisp character has given me, equal to that of having seen many of the extraordinary men, the Heroes of Wit & Literature in my Country; & as I had the honour of drawing my first breath almost in the same Parish with Mr Boswell, my Pride plumes itself on the connection. To crouch in the train of meer stupid Wealth Greatness, except where the commercial interests of worldly Prudence find their account in it, I hold to be Prostitution in any on that is not born a Slave; but to have been acquainted with such a man as Mr Boswell, I would hand down to my Posterity as one of the honours of their Ancestor.'