Tuesday, November 10, 2009

And Now, O My Journal!

He advised me to keep a journal of my life, fair and undisguised.  He said it would be a very good exercise, and would yield me infinite satisfaction when the ideas were faded from my remembrance.  I told him that I had done so ever since I left Scotland.  He said he was very happy that I pursued so good a plan.  And now, O my journal! art thou not highly dignified? Shalt though not flourish tenfold?  No former solicitations or censures could tempt me to lay thee aside; and now is there any argument which can outweigh the sanction of Mr. Samuel Johnson?  He said indeed that I should keep it private, and that I might surely have a friend who would burn it in case of my death.  For my own part, I have at present such an affection for this my journal that it shocks me to think of burning it.  I rather encourage the idea of having it carefully laid up among the archives of Auchinleck.  However, I cannot judge fairly of it now.  Some years hence I may.  I told Mr. Johnson that I put down all sorts of little incidents in it.  "Sir," said he, "there is nothing too little for so little a creature as man.  It is by studying little things that we attain the great knowledge of having as little misery and as much happiness as possible." [16 July 1763]

Boswell's London Journal