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James Boswell

'Every Scotchman,' says Sir Walter Scott, 'has a pedigree. It is a national prerogative, as inalienable as his pride and his poverty. My birth was neither distinguished nor sordid.' What, however, was but a foible with Scott was a passion in James Boswell, who has on numerous occasions obtruded his genealogical tree in such a manner as to render necessary some acquaintance with his family and lineage. The family of Boswell, or Bosville, dates from the Normans who came with William the Conqueror to Hastings. Entering Scotland in the days of the sore saint, David I., they had spread over Berwickshire and established themselves, at least in one branch, at Balmuto in Fife. A descendant of the family, Thomas Boswell, occupies in the genealogy of the biographer the position of prominence which Wat of Harden holds in the line of the novelist.