Johnson and Boswell: The Transit of Caledonia

By Pat Rogers | Go to book overview

Conclusion

Among the most poignant episodes in the two Hebridean narratives are those brief moments when emigration ceases to be an abstract debating point, and surfaces abruptly as a live reality:

The port is made by an inlet of the sea, deep and narrow, where a ship lay waiting to dispeople Sky, by carrying the natives away to America. ( JWI 67)

The gentlemen of the clan went away early in the morning to the harbour of Lochbracadale, to take leave of some of their friends who were going to America. ( LSJ v. 212)

In the morning I walked out, and saw a ship, the Margaret of Clyde, pass by with a number of emigrants on board. It was a melancholy sight. ( LSJ v. 236)

There is a bitter irony here. John Locke famously said that all nature was once in the state of America. Now Johnson and Boswell had come to inspect this aboriginal state of nature on their own doorstep, only to find that the inhabitants were leaving for the real America. One motive on Johnson's part, at least, had probably been to counter optimistic views of primitive living (as propounded by men like Rousseau) by encountering the hardships and rigours of the 'real' primitive world. Hence his stress on the harshness of the climate, the inconveniences of 'a country upon which perhaps no wheel has ever rolled' ( JWI29), and the suffering of a people whose agriculture was 'perhaps rather feeble than unskilful' ( JWI 79). So much for the idylls of Tahiti. The Journey can be seen as Johnson own Supplément au voyage de Cook.

To be literal about it, Johnson could not have seen the Supplément au voyage de Bougainville. Diderot drafted most of this in 1772, and a manuscript version circulated in the following years: but it was not published until 1796. None the less this is a classic statement of Enlightenment revaluation of the primitive. An interlocutor in one of the dialogues in the Supplément observes that 'the Calabrians are practically the only people left who have not yet succumbed to the blandishments of legislators,' and suggests that 'their barbarism is less depraved than our urbanity'. The exchange continues with a disputant: 'A--I see that, on the whole, you'd be

-216-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Johnson and Boswell: The Transit of Caledonia
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 245

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.